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Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. This is the message that says you don't ever have to die. You can live eternally. It's a message of the gospel.
Don't be ashamed of it. There are so many things people will unabashedly advocate. Their favorite sports team, a certain TV show, a particular recipe or certain diet, a particular model of car or truck, their favorite soft drink, Mac or PC.
Those subjects come up. They're not shy. But believers talking about the gospel?
Sometimes not a peep. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie continues our studies in Romans about boldly proclaiming our hope in Christ. We're reading now about the first Jesus revolution, if you will, when Jesus himself started it and passed this message on to his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel. So let's read now from Romans chapter 1. We'll read verses 8 to 16 and I'm reading from the New King James Version. Paul writes, first I thank my God through Jesus Christ for y'all. So we know Paul was southern.
For y'all. That your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world, for God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit and the gospel of his son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making requests if by some means now at least I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift that you may be established, continues on, that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I often planned to come to you but was hindered until now, that I might have some fruit among you also.
Underline that phrase. We'll come back to it just as among the Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, to wise and unwise. And as much as it is in me, I'm ready to preach the gospel to all who are in Rome, for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God as salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
For in it is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith as it is written, the just shall live by faith. Wow. Boom. There's some truth there. It's like trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant.
Right? It's just a lot of truth coming our way. So a Jesus revolution Christian is a fruitful Christian. A fruitful Christian.
Verse 13. Paul says, I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I often planned to come to you but was hindered until now, that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. I'm looking for some fruit. Now it's Paul just basically saying to you guys, you know, do you have pears and apples and oranges because I'm really into fruit?
No, no. He's talking about a different kind of fruit. It's spiritual fruit. Actually that Bible uses that word a lot to describe different things.
If you're taking notes, listen to this. A change in your behavior and character is fruit. It's called the fruit of the spirit. And Galatians 5, 22 says the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. You know, I know some people that are theologically astute. They know a lot. But they're not loving people. And I know other people that don't know that much but, man, they're just full of love.
Can we have both? Can we have our teaching right but be loving, caring people? Jesus said by this, shall all men know you are my disciples, that you have love one for another. It's a wonderful thing to have this fruit in your life. Number two, offering our praise and worship to God is a form of spiritual fruit. Hebrews 13, 15, through Jesus let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips to Him.
The fruit of your lips. So, you know, sometimes when we have worship, and I'll admit I look around a little bit, and some people are worshiping. They have their hands lifted up. They're singing every word.
Other people are just there, tight lipped, no hand raising for them, looking up, looking down, looking up. Wait, what are you doing? Bring forth some fruit. Well, I don't sing very well.
So, the fruit of your lips. Verbalize it. It's like with your wife. You think, I love my wife so much. I love her. Tell her, you idiot. Verbalize it. She can't read your mind. You do have the love.
I just heard a wife say, yeah, that's right. But, you know, verbalize it to God. It's not like God doesn't know. The fact is God can see your heart, but He wants you to verbalize your praise. That is a form of fruit. Paul says, I want to see fruit in your life. So, that would be the change in our character, the fruit of the Spirit. That would be our praise and worship offered to God. And thirdly, giving our finances to the work of God as a form of fruit. Because Paul writes, Philippians 4 16, even in Thessalonica, you sent aid once and again from my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Listen, spiritually fruitful Christians are generous Christians.
Here's what we miss about giving. We think we're losing our money when in fact we are investing our money because it's not your money. It's God's money because you belong to God. I belong to God. The Bible says you're not your own.
You've been bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body. I'm only giving back to God what He first gave to me. And when I give, I receive interest in heaven. Spiritual fruit to your account that Paul's alluding to here means you've laid up treasure in heaven. Now look, you don't have to give anything if you don't want to. I don't know what the problem is, but whenever you bring up two subjects, sometimes Christians get defensive or disconnect.
One of them is evangelism and the other one is giving of your finances. Why are we uncomfortable? Why? I think the reason is because these are areas we may be weakened.
They may be areas that we're not participating in. So here's what I want to say to you. I'm going to let you off the hook. You don't have to give anything. Don't give anything. You don't have to ever share your faith again. You're off the hook.
You feel better now? But here's the point. Do you want to have an eternal reward waiting for you in heaven or not? Because when you leave this earth, you're not going to take any of your cool stuff with you. But when I invest in the work of the kingdom of God, I know it will be waiting for me on the other side as spiritual fruit in heaven.
That's right. Jesus revolution Christians are people who preach the gospel. And that brings us to verse 16 again. I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It's a power of God and salvation for everyone who believes in the Jew first and also for the Greek. Paul was fearless when it came to proclaiming the gospel.
He saw what happened in his own life and how God transformed him and he wanted it to happen for others. But if we are honest, we don't do this as often as we should. I don't do it as often as I should. You think, oh no, Greg, you must go everywhere and preach to everyone.
No, no, I miss opportunities just like you do. I've never told this story publicly before, but years ago I met George Harrison. Ever heard of him? One of the Beatles, right? So I'm a Beatles fan. Anybody like the Beatles? Anyone hate the Beatles?
You hate them. Get out. No, get out. No, don't. Don't get out.
So I've always loved the Beatles. And anyway, I'm in Hawaii. I'm on the island of Maui. And over on Hana, which is sort of the other side, the very tropical side of Maui, it's a beautiful place to visit. There's not many places to stay.
There's like one general store, one restaurant. And I knew that George Harrison lived over there. And so I went over there with Kathy, my wife, and I said, wow, maybe we'll run into George Harrison.
She says, I don't think so. And so we're sitting in a restaurant and her back is to the door. And I say, oh, Kathy, George Harrison is walking in right now. Hey, George, over here. Come here, George. She says, what? And she turned around. Of course, he wasn't there.
Then we're in another place. They said, oh, look, it's George Harrison. Hey, George, come on over here.
She looks around. It wasn't him. Stop doing that. So we're sitting down at the beach and I have my back to the stairs coming down to the beach. Kathy says, George Harrison is walking down here right now.
I said, right. She goes, I'm not kidding you. I said, my back to the stairs. Hey, George, come on down here.
My wife, it's him. Look. I turn around. There he was.
A living, breathing beetle. And he sat right behind me. And I'm sitting there. I'm trembling. I'm so nervous. And I thought, what do I say?
What do I say to him? And he's talking to some guy and it's, you know, I'm George Harrison. I talk like this, you know. I'm from Liverpool. I'm with the Beatles. And all of a sudden it's this lovely fab gear and all that rot, you know.
And he's talking. George Harrison. So I look in my little backpack and what do I have? I have a Beatles cassette. This marks it in time, a cassette. How many of you have never heard of a cassette? You can find cassette players on eBay somewhere.
Check them out. But anyway. So I have this cassette of the Beatles and I grab the cassette and I turn around to George Harrison. I said, hi.
I love the Beatles and I have your cassette. He just looks at me. He doesn't even like respond to me. It's like I don't even exist. I turn back around.
OK. So a little later on, we went back up the stairs and we get him ready to leave. And he's standing there.
So I walk up to him and I start talking to him. And we're just chatting away. And now you're thinking, Greg, did you share the gospel with George Harrison? No. Why not? Because I was too star struck. I was too nervous. And I missed a great opportunity, you see. And we all miss opportunities, don't we?
All right. So learn from that. And next time, because I could have said, George, all you need is love, but you need Gold's love, you see. Now, who knows what I would have said? You might have beat me to death with one of his guitars.
I don't know. But don't miss those opportunities. Don't be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We're thrilled when we hear from listeners that join us from all across the country. Pastor Greg, I'm from New Jersey, and your messages are the reason I have balance in my life. For years, I've listened to your daily podcast.
I start every day reading the Bible and journaling. I'm proud to be a Harvest partner and provide monthly support to your ministry. I appreciate you, Pastor Greg. It's a privilege to bring these studies your way. And we're thankful for our Harvest partners who make them possible. Would you consider partnering with us so they can continue? Make a donation online at harvest.org.
That's harvest.org. Well, Pastor Greg's message title today, Not Ashamed of the Gospel. But sometimes we're hesitant to evangelize. Let's explore why. Why do we not share our faith? Number one, maybe fear of rejection and failure.
Fear of rejection and failure. Well, I'm just going to bomb. I won't have the right words.
Maybe not. But what is success in evangelism? Listen to what I'm saying. What is success in evangelism?
Is it results? I led 20 people to Christ. I have notches on my belt right here.
See it? No, no. Success is faithfulness. Success is faithfulness to give the message of the gospel because only God can convert a person, not you and not me. So my job is to share the truth and if they respond, praise God. If they don't, well at least I did my job. Because on that final day when I stand before Jesus, He will not say, well done, good and successful servant. No. He's going to say, well done, good and what? Faithful servant.
So be faithful. That's how you measure success. I've used this illustration before but I'll use it again because I only have four illustrations. Let's say that you had cancer and obviously you wanted to be cancer free. So you were a medical scientist and you spent hours and hours and hours and hours and years and years working for a cure. And one day you came up with one. Amazingly it was one pill you took one time.
And so you tried it on yourself. You were instantly cured of cancer. Now my question is would you want to share that cure with anybody else?
I think you would. I think you would go first to other people you had met at the hospital who were also fighting cancer and you would share it with them. Well listen we have something more powerful than even a cure for cancer as wonderful as that would be. Because you could be cured of cancer but you're still going to die. But this is the message that says you don't ever have to die. You can live eternally. This is the message of the gospel.
Don't be ashamed of it. We need to get it out to people. But we don't.
We don't. Why? Well maybe we're embarrassed to talk to a complete stranger. You're uncomfortable. One of the top fears most people have is the fear of public speaking. So the idea of walking up to a person you've never met before or standing in front of a crowd of people and telling them something terrifies you.
OK I understand that. But there are times when your message is more important than your fear of crowds. Let's say there was a fire and you wanted to warn people.
Well I have a fear of crowds. Shut up. Warn people.
Yell fire and tell them to get out. What are you talking about? Sometimes the message is more important than your personal hang up. And so when you have something worth saying it should transcend your discomfort. Well I'm afraid that someone might ask me a hard question I don't have the answer to. OK I've got the answer.
You ready? You might want to write this down. If someone asks you a hard question here's the answer. I don't know. That's OK. I don't know. It's a good question.
I'd like to get back to you on that. But here's what I do know. You just pivot right back to what you know. And be better prepared next time.
That's all. Learn from it. But see the point is you do know more than you think you know. It's like that one guy who was blind and he was healed by Jesus and they tried to engage him in a theological debate asking this man if Jesus was a sinner or not.
I love this guy's response. He says, look whether he's a sinner or not I don't know but I know this much once I was blind but now I see. You know that don't you? You can tell people about what Christ has done for you. Well you say I don't need to preach. I'll be a good example.
Well that's great. Please be a good example. But Jesus did not say go into all the world and be a good example. He said go into all the world and preach the gospel. Listen. Good examples will not bring people to Christ but good examples can open the door for them to articulate the faith because you earn the right to be heard. So yes be a good example but use it as a springboard to share your faith. And I'll tell you why. There's power in this message.
Paul says I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God. There's power in it. Explosive power.
In fact the word that is used here for power is from the root word dunamis from the Greek. Alfred Nobel. Ever heard of him? He formed the Nobel Peace Prize. And Alfred Nobel.
A lot of people don't know this about him. Created dynamite. And in fact he had this incredible invention with this explosive power and he didn't know what to call it. So he went to a friend who knew Greek and he said what is the Greek word for explosive power? And his friend said it's dunamis. Oh dunamis.
Ok. I'm going to call this dynamite. And the reason that Nobel started the Nobel Peace Prize which he is best known for is because he was known up to that point for the guy who invented dynamite that was being used in warfare at that point. And he didn't want to be known as the guy who invented dynamite. So he formed this peace prize. But the point of it is dynamic explosive.
So there is explosive power. And this is the key in the simple message of the gospel. Don't change it. Don't alter it. Don't take away from it.
Don't add to it. Just proclaim it and stand back and watch what God will do. I have been amazed time and time again in every setting you can think of. Large and small. With very open audiences. Very closed audiences.
Even hostile people. And I have shared this message and I have seen how the gospel penetrates the most hardened heart and goes into the most unexpected places and brings about the most extraordinary results. My job is to not be embarrassed by it. Not be ashamed of it.
Just proclaim it. And that is what we are all called to do. Well if you wanted to sum up what I think we have read here in Romans 1 I think the theme is sharing. You share your spiritual fruit. You share your spiritual gifts. You share your finances. And you share your faith.
And if you do that you will be a Jesus revolution Christian. But we don't like to share. Go back to your childhood.
Who wants to share? I remember when I was a kid I had little toy trucks called Tonka trucks. Anybody remember those? They still make them but they are plastic.
That is lame. Mine were metal. And I ran them into each other and dented them and filled them with gravel and dirt and they lasted forever. In fact I played with them this morning. No I wish I still had them actually.
They would probably be collectible. But you know when you give a toy to a child or a donut to a child or a cupcake or something they are so happy. I got this. Oh they are so happy. And then you use that dreaded word. Share it with your little friend.
Oh no. They don't want to share. And we don't want to share.
We have got our cupcake. What do I want to give you some of it for? I want it all for me. So God wants us to share these things with others. And let me say in closing I want to share this with you. Eternal life is a gift. It is a gift from heaven. I love how the Bible calls it the unspeakable gift, which is another way of saying indescribable. There is no way to describe the awesomeness of this gift.
God offers the complete forgiveness of your sin where you will now know the meaning and purpose of your life and you will have the guaranteed assurance that when you die you will go to heaven. He says here is my gift for you. Will you take it? Now don't say I will have it after dessert. Open it now. Grab it.
Rip off the paper. Take the gift out of the box and enjoy it. And I want to offer you this gift of forgiveness today because there are some that have joined us who maybe don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ. You don't know what it is to say for sure that you will go to heaven when you die. You have even had those despondent perhaps even suicidal thoughts yourself. You are looking for hope.
You are looking for meaning. You want to know that someone loves you and cares about you. I am here to tell you you are loved and you are cared about by Jesus. If you don't give up hope I want you to embrace hope. Hope has a name and it is Jesus. He will come into your life and forgive you of all of your sin. And if you have never asked Him into your life why don't you do it right now as we close in prayer.
Let's all bow our heads. Everybody praying. Father thank You for Your word to us now. Thank You for sending Jesus to die on the cross and our place.
And bearing our sins and then rising from the dead. Now I pray for any person here who does not yet know You. Help them to see their need for You and help them to come to You and believe. In Jesus name I pray.
Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie for those who want to make a change in their relationship with God. And if that's where you're at today, if you'd like to make that kind of change, Pastor Greg will come back in a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning wraps up. Well it's such a privilege to have Pastor Levi Lusko with us today, Senior Pastor of Fresh Life Church. And along with his wife, author of the new book called The Marriage Devotional, which we're making available. Pastor Greg.
Let me ask a question Levi. Would a single person find any benefit from this book? Oh absolutely. You know one of the big hearts we had was for engaged people. I think this would make a tremendous gift for an engaged couple.
Yes, give them the toaster, but also give them something that's going to help them through their engagement, right? But I also think a single person, you know, I always say about premarital counseling, and just, you know, whenever I do a marriage series, I always say to the single people, don't tune this out. It's better to learn this before you're in it.
You go to helicopter training school before you fly helicopters, right? So it'd be good to know where the switches and all these things are to deal with some of the things that are going to present themselves to you in the real world once you get back from that honeymoon. And so, you know, again, this would be really valuable for a single person or someone who thinks marriage is kind of on the horizon. So if you know a single person, or you are a single person, or certainly if you're a married person, get a copy of this new book by Levi and Jenny Lesko titled, The Marriage Devotional, from us, for your gift of any size this month to help us continue on to reach people with God's word.
Yeah, that's right. And you know, there may be a few June weddings coming up. What a great wedding gift this book would be. Again, we'll be glad to send it your way to thank you for partnering with us to keep these daily studies coming your way. Just ask for The Marriage Devotional when you make your donation today. Call us at 1-800-821-3300. You can reach us any time. Again, dial 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or take care of all the details online at Harvest.org. Well, Pastor Greg, a few moments ago you spoke of the need to get our hearts right with God.
Yeah. Could you help someone who wants to do that right now? Yes, I'd be delighted to. Listen, as you've listened to this program today, maybe something's been happening inside of your heart where you're sensing, I need to do this personally, but how do I do it and what do I do? Let me help you. It's very simple.
In fact, it's so simple you may be shocked. God, this relationship with him is just a prayer away. The Bible says if you will call upon the name of the Lord, you'll be saved. So I'd like to lead you in a prayer where you do just that. You call on the name of the Lord.
This can be the moment where you change your eternal address literally from hell to heaven. Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. Jesus, I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In your name I pray, amen.
I know. It's such a simple, short prayer, but you just called on the name of the Lord, and you know what? He heard that prayer, and if you meant that prayer in your heart, he answered that prayer. Now let me help you to get started on the right foot in your new life in Jesus Christ. The greatest adventure awaits you, the life of walking with God. I want to send you what we call a New Believers' Growth Path that includes the New Believers' Bible and a whole lot more.
And let me be the first to say to you congratulations and welcome to the family of God. And to get that free New Believers' Growth Pack, just ask for it if you prayed along with Pastor Greg to receive Christ today. We'll be glad to send one your way free of any charge. You can call us any time at 1-800-821-3300.
Again, that's 1-800-821-3300. Or write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or go online to harvest.org and click Know God. You know, there's nothing like hearing the Word of God and worshipping the Lord together. I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home. It happens every Saturday and Sunday at harvest.org. You can join Christians from around the world as we worship and we study the Word of God together. So join us for Harvest at Home at harvest.org. Well, next time Pastor Greg brings a message called Everybody Needs Jesus. We'll see no matter who we are, what we know, what we've done, or what we've neglected to do, Jesus can save us from our sins and guarantee us eternity in heaven. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
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