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The Foolish Wise Man | What Success Is

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2023 3:00 am

The Foolish Wise Man | What Success Is

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 16, 2023 3:00 am

You can find success principles nearly everywhere: in books, seminars, podcasts, videos, radio programs. But people who are successful often find it less fulfilling than expected. A famous celebrity said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.” Well today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie identifies those things that offer enduring satisfaction – from serving the purposes of God.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at From possessions to purpose, from mere success to significance. I mean, what a success anyway. In the eyes of God, success is serving the purpose of God in your generation. You can find success principles nearly everywhere in books, seminars, podcasts, videos, radio programs. But people who are successful often find it less fulfilling than expected.

Famous celebrities said, I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie identifies those things that offer enduring satisfaction from serving the purposes of God. Grab your Bible and turn to 1 Chronicles 28 and Ecclesiastes 1. So we're going to look at the words of David to his son Solomon who will now succeed him as the king of Israel. He's saying, Solomon, these are things that you need to remember.

But really, when you get down to it, these are truths that every believer should remember. Now, David is at the end of his reign. He's done his job. He's completed the task that God set before him. And there's a powerful verse in Acts 13, 36 that said, For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his generation, fell asleep.

I love that. David, after he had served the purpose of God in his generation, fell asleep. Now, by the way, the phrase fell asleep means to die.

And that is only use of a Christian. And I love the fact that the Bible describes death for a Christian as falling asleep. I don't know about you, but I kind of like to fall asleep. So it's not something you dread when you're young. You don't like it so much, right? But when you get older, something called a nap.

That's nice because when you get older, happy hour is a nap. But anyway. But here's the thing that's so important. He served the Lord in his generation.

Now, I want you to take that same passage and remove the name of David and put your name in it. For Greg. For Kathy. For Jonathan. For Brad. For Susan.

For Sergio. I don't know. Any name you want to put in there. Mortimer.

Whatever name works. For this person, after he, she, served the purpose of God in their generation, they fell asleep. So here's my question for you. Are you serving the purpose of God in your generation? You know, we all have purpose in life, I hope. But the problem is a lot of people have not found their purpose in life. They think life is just about success or accomplishing something great or having everyone know their name or having more followers on social media or making more money or being whatever it is they think they should be to be a success. But long life is not the objective. Fulfilling God's purpose for your life is.

That's what we all want to focus on. Fulfilling God's purpose in our lives. Our lives are not measured by duration but by donation. There has to come a moment in our life where we pass from money to meaning. From possessions to purpose. From mere success to significance. I mean, what is success anyway?

There are so many different measures of it. But in the eyes of God, and that's all that matters to me. In the eyes of God, success is serving the purpose of God in your generation. So question, how can we best serve the purpose of God in our generation?

If you're taking notes, here's point number one. Focus on what God has given you, not on what He has not given you. Focus on what God has given you because sometimes we can be disappointed about one thing and we miss sight of all the great things that God has done for us.

Has the Lord not done great things for you? Remember that. Focus on that. We often forget this. Now he gives his final words to his successor, Solomon.

And one day we too will give our final words. David says this in 1 Chronicles 28, verse 9, Solomon my son, learn to know the God of your father intimately. I would underline that. Know the God of your father intimately. Worship and serve Him with your whole heart and a willing mind. I guess I'd underline that whole verse.

So here's point number two. Point number one was focus on what God has given you, not on what He did not give you. And number two, have an intimate relationship with God.

Here's David's advice. Let me just tell you kind of the secret sauce, son. Let me tell you what kind of made Dad tick, what got me through all those hard times, being chased by that lunatic Saul, all of the problems I had to deal with throughout my life.

Here's what kept me going. I knew God intimately and we need to do the same. Verse 9, know the Lord God of your father intimately. It seems so obvious.

It's like a no-brainer, right? But a lot of people know about God, but they don't know God. And I wonder if David could already see in his son a wayward bend. He could already see that Solomon was inclined to go in the wrong direction.

So he's trying to provide a corrective measure here, Solomon. Now listen to what I'm telling you. Know the God of your father. You're going to be given a lot of power, a lot of authority. And I'm telling you, as an authoritative figure in your life, you need to know the God that I know as your own in an intimate way. Number three, you need to serve God with a whole heart and a willing mind. Serve God with your whole heart and a willing mind. When a person really knows God, they'll want to serve God. And I've got to tell you, one of the greatest joys I know as a Christian is serving the Lord. I love to serve the Lord. And it's always to me been a great privilege that God would use me in any way, shape, or form, be it in a one-on-one conversation with someone or speaking to a group of people or whatever it might be, to think that the creator of the universe would tap me.

He would say, I want you to go here. I want you to say that. To think that God would use each and every one of us. Now, some people say, oh, I'm tired serving the Lord and I've burned out in ministry. Well, I've been preaching now for pretty much 50 years. And I'm not burned out. I've never been burned out. Do I get tired in the work of the Lord?

At times, yes. Do I get tired of the work of the Lord? Never.

Never. It's a privilege. It's a joy. In fact, the Bible says in Nehemiah 8, 10, the joy of the Lord is your strength. I think when you don't have an intimate relationship with God, that's when you burn out in the work of God. See, when you have this intimate relationship with God, your service is the natural overflow of that. You're looking for opportunities.

You're looking for ways to do something to make a difference. But David is very clear when he says that you need to do it with your whole heart. And you can serve the Lord wherever you are. You can serve the Lord as a Christian doctor, a Christian nurse, a businessman, a computer programmer, an attorney, a police officer, someone serving in the military, someone working on the construction site, someone doing this, someone doing that, a musician, an artist, whatever it is.

There's a place for all of your gifts to be used for God's glory. And by the way, David had personally modeled this, enabling him to say, know the God of your father. Parents, could you say this to your kids? Know the God of your dad.

Know the God of your mom or to your grandparents. Let me put it another way. Could you say to your children or grandchildren, follow God just like I follow God? Well, no one could say that.

No, you should be able to say that. In fact, Paul said, follow me as I follow Christ. And that doesn't mean I do it perfectly.

We all fall short. But the reality is he had this intimate relationship with God. He's effectively saying, Solomon, you've seen your dad do it.

Now you need to do it, so we need to model this. And Solomon would soon ascend to the throne and be the new king. And David was giving to Solomon a beautiful gift and legacy. Now it was Solomon's to own and run with or to forget.

But to make it even better. The Lord himself now appears to Solomon. And that happened in First Kings chapter three.

I didn't have you turn there, but I'll just read it to you. First Kings chapter three. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream. And God said, what do you want? Ask and I'll give it to you. Imagine if God came to you in a dream tonight and said that. Hey, what do you want?

Ask it and I'll give it to you. I was telling this Bible story to my granddaughters the other night, Stella and Lucy, before they went to sleep. I said, Lucy, what would you ask God for if he would give you anything you want? And Lucy said, lava crunch chocolate cake from Domino's?

I'm like, what? You have to understand she really likes sweets, okay? You've never met a child that likes sweets more than Lucy.

You've heard of a heat-seeking missile. She's a sweet-seeking missile. Just if you have any candy hidden somewhere on the top shelf she'll find it somehow. She was kind of kidding.

I don't know, maybe she wasn't, but she said that. But imagine if the Lord said, I'll give you whatever you want. Here's a blank check, you fill it out. What do you want?

Wow, you know, you think of relationships or possessions or position. What would you ask for? Solomon replied, well, Lord, you were wonderfully kind to my father David because he was honest and true and faithful to you, which is a tribute to David. And you've continued this great kindness to him today by giving him a son to succeed him. Lord, you've now made me king. But Solomon says, I'm like a little kid. I don't know what to do.

I don't know how to do it. So Lord, I'm asking you to give me wisdom. And the Lord said, that was an excellent answer. Because you have asked for wisdom and you've not asked for riches or even a long life or even the death of your enemies, I'm gonna give you what you asked for. I'm gonna give you so much wisdom that you'll be the wisest man alive.

And not only that, but I'm gonna give you riches and honor as well. I love that. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We love hearing from our listeners.

Whether it's a short word or they take some time to tell us what's going on, we read every word. God bless you, Pastor Greg. I recommitted my life to Jesus during the YouTube airing of your last Harvest Crusade. I'm working on my first lesson from the Harvest online training courses. I pray for you and your ministry daily.

Thank you so much for everything. How encouraging to hear how this man was impacted by the ministry of Harvest. And if you have a story to share, email Pastor Greg. Greg at Harvest dot org.

That's Greg at Harvest dot org. We have a front row seat as the mantle of leadership is passed from David to Solomon, revealing principles for serving the purpose of God. Pastor Greg continues.

Point number four. If you want to serve the purpose of God in your generation, put God first in your life and everything else will find its proper order. Put God first in your life and everything else will find its proper order. Because Solomon asked for the right thing, the Lord gave it to him. This is Matthew 633 illustrated. When Jesus says, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Prior to making that statement, the Lord said, Don't be like non-believers. All they think about is what they're gonna wear, what they're gonna eat, what they're gonna drink.

I would add where they're gonna live, what they're gonna drive, et cetera. He says, But seek first God's kingdom. Now, that doesn't mean don't think about those things. You gotta make a living.

You have to have somewhere to hang your hat. These things are fine in their proper place, but what Jesus is saying is put God first and that's exactly what Solomon did. And this is really what prayer is all about. The objective of prayer is not getting God to do what I want Him to do. It's getting me to do what God wants me to do.

Right? Because Jesus says in John 15, If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done to you. A more expanded translation would say, Jesus speaking, If you maintain a living communion with me and my word is at home with you, you can ask at once for yourself whatever your heart desires and it will be yours. Just like that blank check. But wait.

Don't miss the condition. If you maintain a living communion with me, says Jesus, and my word is at home in you. See, when I'm reading the Bible, my desires are gonna change from Lava Crunch Cake from Domino's.

They're gonna change from things like that to things that really matter. Well, I'll start praying for things like, well, Lord, actually what I'd really like is to be more like you. Or Lord, what I'd actually like is to be, have more wisdom in my life. Or what I'd really like, Lord, is for you to use me somehow.

Your desires change because you're getting in sync with the will of God. Oh, man. Solomon was set up for success. But somehow he managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

He had everything going for him. His dad was David. He was given the kingdom. He was given the throne. God himself appears to him in a dream and gives him all this wisdom. And what does Solomon do?

He immediately starts to compromise. He was not serving the purposes of God in his generation. First of all, he compromised his relationship with God. He dedicates a temple, which he did build, by the way, with a beautiful prayer. Then he turns to the people and says, now, let's all remember to obey the commands of God and do what God tells us all to do.

They're all like, amen, yes, we'll do it, King. But Solomon was more of the do as I say, not do as I do approach. Yeah, everybody, let's obey God, but he immediately began to disobey God because one of the first things he did out of the gate was he married a non-believer.

1 Kings 3 tells us he made an alliance with Pharaoh and married one of his daughters. Before you know it, he's offering sacrifices to her false gods because one thing always leads to another. And the point we made earlier in one of our messages from the House of David series is it's always a bad idea to make deals with the devil because you're going to lose. See, Solomon was unequally yoked together with a non-believer.

You say, I don't even know what that means. Okay, so the Bible says, don't be unequally yoked together with non-believers for what fellowship does light have with darkness? The idea of a yoke, think of a yoke of oxen. So if I'm plowing my field and I have a strong oxen on the left and a dead one on the right, is that going to affect my plowing?

What direction do you think my plow will pull toward? The strong living ox or the dead one that we're dragging along? Literally, when a believer and a non-believer come together in marriage, you have someone who is spiritually alive and someone who is spiritually dead. What direction do you think the marriage will pull toward? The believer or the non-believer? Another translation of 2 Corinthians 6, 14 says, don't become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong?

That's not partnership, that's war. Is light best friends with dark? See, it's much harder to pull someone up than it is to be pulled down. I could gesture to someone here in the front row who's even smaller than me and I could try to pull you with my massive strength on my dad, not so much, but I could try to pull you up here and it would be very difficult, but even if you're smaller than me because you have gravity on your side, a good yank would pull me right off this stage and that's the way it is with a believer and a non-believer.

They effectively have gravity on their side and to prove the point, what happens? Does the daughter of Pharaoh worship at the altar of Solomon before the Lord God? No. Solomon worships at the altar of the false God. That's how these things often go. So here's Solomon right out of the gate. Mary's this non-believer. That's his first compromise. Now he literally goes into a full-blown backslide. He didn't do it overnight. It was just one thing leading to another. He compromised his morality.

So it's not bad enough. He marries this non-believing woman. Now he has 700 wives and 300 concubines. Oh, really?

700 and 300 concubines? You know how many mothers-in-law that is? I mean, what is this guy thinking? He's out of his ever-loving mind.

He's like mad. And so that's the next step he takes down. Now that brings us to our next passage, Ecclesiastes.

So I told you to turn there, right? Ecclesiastes 1. Now Solomon describes what he did. It's almost like he's doing personal research on sin. It's like Solomon saying, look, I hear these things are bad. I hear God say they're bad.

But I don't know that personally because I've not experienced it. So for the sake of research, I'm gonna go and do everything God tells me not to do to find out if he's telling me the truth. That is the stupidest idea of all time. That's exactly what the wisest man did. That's why I titled this message The Foolish Wise Man. So in Ecclesiastes 1.13, Solomon says, I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven.

He's gonna try it all. First he says, try something noble. I'll just apply myself to wisdom and knowledge. I will acquire great knowledge.

Well, that's a good pursuit. He says in Ecclesiastes 1.16, he says, look, I'm wiser than all the kings that ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them. But you know, I worked hard to distinguish wisdom from foolishness. Now I realize that it's like chasing the wind for the greater my wisdom, the greater my grief.

Wow. I mean, I think it's a good thing to pursue a good education, to go to a college, a university, to get a degree. That's a fine pursuit. Of course, that depends on what college you go to, right? Because with a lot of colleges, we have today with this crazy woke ideology that you're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on.

Is that really setting your child up for success? You know, I read an interesting thing. Of courses that are offered in colleges, I'm not making any of these up. At Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, they have a course, what if Harry Potter is real?

That's a good use of your money. Tufts University in Medford, Oregon, demystifying the hipster. That's a course.

Demystifying the hipster. A college in Portland, Oregon, offers a course on juggling. What are you majoring in? Juggling. Right after I finish that Harry Potter course. And another university I just read about is offering a course on Taylor Swift.

Oh man, you're ready for anything. You know about Taylor Swift, Harry Potter, and juggling, and you've demystified the hipster. So obviously you can waste a lot of money and a lot of time, but here's the real takeaway message. It's not that pursuing knowledge is bad. Pursuing knowledge without God is bad.

You want truth. Such good insight from today's study here on A New Beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie has been highlighting the practical principles David passed along to Solomon and Solomon's unfortunate response. More to come as this study continues. Pastor Greg?

Hey everybody, I'm speaking to you from the North Carolina School of Public Health. I'm going to be talking to you about the Pastor Greg. Hey everybody, I'm speaking with Randy Alcorn, the author of a book that we're offering to you this month for your gift of any size that's called Heaven for Kids. Okay, so Randy, I have three questions about heaven. What is heaven? Where is heaven?

And most importantly, how do I get to heaven? Yeah, heaven is the dwelling place of God and in particular it's where God lives with his people. Right now, heaven is up.

That's the preposition that's used. It's up, it's out, it may be actually another dimension rather than just out as far as you can go in outer space. Another dimension, we have Elijah in a chariot that's taken up into heaven with horses and all of that and you wonder sometimes in scripture is heaven like a dimension that's right next to us that we just can't see, but in terms of how we get there, scripture is so clear on this, as you well know Greg, you've devoted your life to people hearing the gospel message and that is that you can't get to heaven apart from Jesus. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.

And so his death on the cross for our sins, the gift that he offers us of eternal life and eternal life means you live forever but it's not just how long you live, it's the quality of life that you will have forever in heaven with God if you place your faith in Jesus. These are some insights that you will find in this book that we're offering to you called Heaven for Kids by Randy Alcorn that we'll send you this month for your gift of any size. Yeah, it's such a practical book. Every home should have a copy of this resource. It's in a Q&A format and Randy lists all the questions in the table of contents.

So if a particular matter comes up with your kids or grandkids, you can find that section easily. And we'll be glad to send you Heaven for Kids to thank you for partnering with us so we can continue bringing you Pastor Greg's insights each day. You can call us and make the arrangements over the phone. Our number is 1-800-821-3300.

That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to Next time, more insights on Solomon's downward slide and the wise lesson he gives us at the end of it all. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-16 05:04:48 / 2023-03-16 05:15:21 / 11

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