Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. Here's the bigger question. Are we good enough to get to heaven on our own merit?
Now the answer is a resounding no to that. Ever gone to a concert or sporting event and had tickets waiting at will call? You go to the window and say, yes, I'm so-and-so and I believe you have tickets waiting for me. And then you cross your fingers that nothing went wrong, that your name is on the list and you'll get in. Well, some people are hoping their name is on the will call list for heaven.
After all, they did good things. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see it all comes down to our relationship with God's only begotten son. Turn to Romans chapter one. The title of my message is everybody needs Jesus. How many agree with that?
Everybody needs Jesus, right? Okay, so let me start with a question. Are people basically good?
What do you think? Well, I used to think when I was a kid that they were. But then my life experiences did not confirm that belief because, well, I just saw so many people doing bad things.
So I wondered about that. But actually, you might be surprised to know that most Americans believe that people are basically good. In fact, Barna did a poll in his book, What Americans Believe, and it revealed that 87% of non-Christians believe this statement, people are basically good. That shouldn't be too surprising, but what is somewhat surprising is 77% of self-described Christians think the same thing, that mankind, people, are basically good. Now, let me say what I think is the correct response. Are people basically good? You might be surprised by what I'll tell you.
The answer is yes and no. I mean, come on, there are good people. There are people that do good things, you know, that are good neighbors, and they're good citizens, and they're kind, and they're considerate. In fact, to the point, I've met some non-believers that are nicer than some Christians.
Would you agree with me on that? But niceness is not what gets us to heaven, of course. I mean, there are people that have done good things, that have made great sacrifices, or done something heroic on behalf of others, so when we say that people are not good, we're not acknowledging there are not people that do good things and are relatively good people, but here's the bigger question, maybe the better way to frame it. Are we good enough to get to heaven on our own merit? Now, the answer is a resounding no to that. Sure, the prostitute and the murderer fall short of God's standards, but so do you and I. I mean, some might be standing at the bottom of a mine.
Others might be standing at the top of the Alps, but no one is really any closer to touching the stars. Some might be a little better, relatively speaking, than others, but they're not good enough to reach God's very high standards, and if we learn nothing else from the first chapters of Romans, we will discover that we're all sinful. It's like Paul is systematically trying to show everybody falls short, and that's why the gospel is so powerful, because we all need it in our life. Don't forget that Paul is writing these words to believers living in Rome, believers who were so strong in their faith that it was known around the world, and Rome was not an easy place to be a Christian in the first century.
Immorality was rampant. Roman cities like Corinth, where Paul actually wrote this epistle to the believers in Rome, had prostitutes openly walking the streets, leading people to pagan temples to offer their praise to these gods. Idolatry, spiritism, and demonism were openly practiced, and if anyone dared rebel against Rome, they would be executed or imprisoned, and it was a hard place to be a Christian. The first century Christians were ridiculed and opposed and persecuted, yet despite this fact, within 30 years, the original Christians and their converts changed Rome dramatically. Tertullian wrote around 280 these words about the believers and what they'd done in Rome. Quote, we have filled every place among you, cities, islands, fortresses, towns, marketplaces, the very camp, tribes, companies, palaces, the senate, the forum, and we have left nothing to you but the temples of your gods.
End quote. The first century church, without unsheeping a sword, overcame the power of Rome, because they outlived them, they out prayed them, and they out loved them. And so in time the influence of the gospel went around the globe. And what was their secret? They were not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And we cannot be ashamed of it either. So let's read now a few verses together. Romans chapter 1. I'm going to start in verse 16.
Paul writes these words. I'm not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith, from first to last, just as it is written, the just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth and unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. Through everything God made they can clearly see His invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, so they have no excuse for not knowing God.
All right if you're taking notes here's point number one. Salvation is not earned, but it's given to us as a gift from God. Again salvation is not earned, but it is given to us as a gift from God. Look at verse 17. The just shall live by faith.
This word just. And speaking of your new position before God. I'm just or made right with God.
I'm justified. I'll explain that more as we get deeper into Romans, but I'm in a right relationship with Him. I am a child of God now. I stand right before the Lord.
Not because of what I've done, but solely because of what He has done. Now my objective as a Christian is to walk and to live by faith. The just shall live by faith. Notice it does not say the just shall live by feelings.
Our feelings can really mislead us right. I mean you can have all kinds of emotional reactions to all kinds of things and and you need to understand that the Christian life is a walk of faith. One of the best definitions of being a Christian is long obedience in the same direction. Just putting one foot in front of the other and walking with the Lord each and every day. Some days you feel it. Some days you don't. I think sometimes you come to church and we want to have that breakthrough moment right.
In worship I want the breakthrough moment. Two weeks ago I got this shiver down the spine. Where was I sitting again? I gotta get in that seat again.
Someone said that seat. Get out of my seat. I need the shiver. I need the moment. I need the emotional touch. No you don't. You just need to worship God if you feel like it or not.
Because the just shall live by faith. I mean I've been married now 44 years and when I first met Kathy we were you know I was nervous around her. I had sort of butterflies in my stomach. That's because I'd eaten butterflies earlier.
And they're very tasty especially when you eat them live. No I'm joking. But so you know I was a little nervous around her. Well I don't feel that way when I'm around her now. If I went and saw her in the morning and said Kathy I'm feeling kind of nervous talking to you.
She'd think Craig's having a heart attack or something right. So I cannot expect to have that emotional experience every moment of every day of our marriage. And in the same way in our relationship with God the just shall live by faith. It's just walking with the Lord. I have an Apple Watch. This is not a commercial for Apple Watches but I have one. And this watch gives me constant feedback. Sometimes I don't like it. It will vibrate sometimes. It tells me things. It'll say walk.
What do you mean walk? Stand. It tells me to stand. Now granted I've been laying around for too long. In fact it's telling me something right now.
Just vibrated again. And then it will say breathe. Oh thank you I forgot to breathe.
I'll remember to breathe. It tells me these things periodically. It tells me how many steps I've taken today. And it might point out that you know you have not reached your fitness goal.
You need to walk more. And then sometimes it'll just come up with a message you're a loser. Like who programmed this thing? It would almost be nice if we had an Apple Watch it would say pray or read your Bible. Then if we didn't read our Bible it's like why didn't you read your Bible? What's wrong with you? A little nag feature.
I don't know. But the idea is that you know this gives me feedback telling me what I need to do. We in the same way need to just walk with God and live by faith. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We hear from so many people who find Christ through these studies.
Some in person and even some on the road. Pastor Greg you led me to Christ many years ago. It all happened when I was driving to work and channel surfing on my car radio while stuck at a red light. At first I had no interest in what you were saying but then I felt captivated by your voice and the way you presented the gospel. I left my car radio on that station and listened to you every day on the way to work for the next two weeks before I finally gave my life to Jesus. I still have my New Believers Bible that your ministry sent me many years ago. Thank you Pastor Greg. What a great story of how Pastor Greg's teachings from God's Word have made an impact in this woman's life. If you have a story to tell I hope you'll contact us today. Email Pastor Greg, greg at harvest dot org. Again greg at harvest dot o-r-g. Well today Pastor Greg is leading our study in Romans chapter one in a message titled everybody needs Jesus part one.
Let's continue. Point number two, this salvation that God has given us is given because God loves us. It's given to us because God loves us. Not because I merit it.
Not because I deserve it. But because God loves me. Verse 18, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. Some of you are thinking excuse me I don't see how that verse gives you that point. The wrath of God is revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness and your point is God loves us.
Yes that's right. Because we need to understand what love is when we talk of God. Let's think for a moment about the attributes of God. When we see attributes things that describe God. For instance God is omniscient. God is omnipotent. God is omnipresent.
What does that mean? God is omniscient. It means he knows everything. God is omnipotent. It means he has unlimited power. God is omnipresent.
That means that he's everywhere at the same time. We also know that God is loving right. God is gracious. God is forgiving. God is kind.
We would all agree with that. But the Bible also teaches that God is just. God is righteous. God is holy and yes God is wrathful.
Wrathful. Now when I hear the word wrath of God I recoil I don't like to think of God that way. I like to think of God as sort of a benevolent grandfather.
Somewhat senile and oblivious to really what I'm doing and not really caring. No that is not the picture that the Bible gives of God as our father in heaven. Know this God is love right. We all agree with that. But if God is love and he is that means that he hates as much as he perfectly loves. Does that make sense?
Listen to this. A God of love must hate anything that harms those he loves. A God of love must mean business when he declares something off limits. You know if I have my children or my grandchildren and they run into a busy street and I yell stop I do that because I love them. So God warns us don't do certain things because he loves us.
In the same way God hates anything that would hurt us his own children. Quick poll. How many of you have children? Raise your hand. You have children. Okay. How many of you love your children? Raise your hand. Interesting. Not as many hands went up.
No they didn't. You love your children. So as an illustration let's say you went on a camping trip and you're out there with your kids and they're playing somewhere and all of a sudden a grizzly bear is running full steam toward your children. Would you try to stop that grizzly bear? Let's say that you had a gun. Would you shoot the grizzly bear? Listen I'd shoot him with a bazooka.
Whatever it takes I'd get physically in the way to slow him down at the very least. So the idea is you're going to stop anything that would harm your children. So when we say that God has wrath we're simply pointing out that he is against anything that harms each of us. But when we say God has wrath that's not like our wrath. Our wrath is ignited when someone cuts into our lane. And Californians we are the most selfish drivers on earth you know. It's like you want to change lanes. It's actually legally okay to be okay to change lanes.
I don't know if some people know this. Especially when you put your turning signal on. Excuse me I'm trying to change lanes. And in California that means speed up and close the gap.
Right. Don't let them in. Do not let them in. Even if it's an off-ramp. The only off-ramp on the freeway for the next 20 miles and you don't even need to get off on the off-ramp. You're just in that lane.
You cut them off. No. It's my little space. I mean you know so this is the way we can be. We have wrath. Something ticks us off.
We get angry by something. That's not God. So let's not take the idea of wrath and apply that to God in that sense. God's wrath is settled. It's thought through.
There's a reason for it. God doesn't go on temper tantrums. Can you imagine the Lord was having a temper tantrum.
Planets flying around. God isn't that way. So don't take your idea of wrath and anger and apply it to God. His is different. His is a holy wrath.
It's a righteous indignation. And you'll see it on display in the Old Testament of course. For instance God decided that he was going to judge the earth because of its wickedness in the days of Noah. So he told Noah to build an ark. And it took old Noah a long time to build that ark. And that people could have believed and no one did believe. And he built and built and built and finally the ark was done. And then the ark just sat there for a full year with a door open for anyone that wanted to come in.
So yes the judgment came and God doesn't want to judge people. By the way it's not like it was in that movie about Noah with Russell Crowe. Remember that film?
Did any of you see that? That movie was so off in so many ways. There's one scene where people are trying to get in the ark and Russell Crowe's going like all gladiator on him and he's killing people. You know it's like that's not in the Bible.
The door was open for a year. God said I want you to get in the ark. I don't want to judge you. The last thing God wants to do is bring judgment on people.
But the point is this. God says in Ezekiel 33 I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn from your wickedness. You see sometimes people think of God I can't wait to judge the earth.
No that's the last thing he wants to do. That's why he gives warnings. As in the case of Nineveh a wicked city.
Horrible horrible things that Ninevites did. God said I'm going to judge you. So he sent Jonah to preach it.
Took Jonah a little while to get there granted but he got there eventually smelling a fish. And told the people 40 days in Nineveh will be overthrown. Is that the most hopeful message you've ever heard? Actually there's more hope in that message than you may realize. Because he could have just said you're toast.
Bye. He said 40 days. Which meant you have 40 days to get it together. 40 days to repent.
And what happened? The Ninevites repented. So God sent his judgment anyway right?
No. He did not. When they repented God spared them.
Why? God takes no delight in the death of the wicked. You say well that's the Old Testament God.
He's angry and wrathful. I believe in the God of the New Testament. I believe in Jesus because he never judged anyone. Oh you clearly have not read the New Testament. Jesus had some harsh words for different people. And in fact right after Jesus gave his very familiar statement.
For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son. And whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. A few verses later he says he who does not obey the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him. So yes God's wrath is in the Old and the New Testament.
So it comes down to this. Before you can fully appreciate the good news of forgiveness you need to understand the bad news. Bad news. God hates sin. More bad news.
The wages of sin are death. Good news. God does not hate sinners. In fact he loves them.
Even more good news. God loved us so much he sent his Son to die on the cross and take that judgment upon himself. So the bottom line is the only way the only way to be forgiven of sin is through Jesus. Not through good works. Not through clean living.
Not by religion or by rule keeping. Pastor Greg Laurie with some great insights today on A New Beginning from our study in Romans chapter 1. Today's message is titled Everybody Needs Jesus Part 1. Well Pastor Greg we're making a book available to help strengthen marriages. You know to work through conflict and bring harmony into the home.
That's right. Yeah you've mentioned counseling young couples who are about to get married who who tell you that oh Pastor Greg we're so in love. We never fight.
We never disagree. We're just we just love each other and and and you tell them what? Get out of my office and go have a fight and when I say a fight I don't mean a physical altercation but I mean you need to learn how to resolve conflict because you will have conflict uh in your marriage.
That that's sort of the understatement of the century isn't it? And I'm uh talking right now with Levi Lusko the author of a book called The Marriage Devotional that we're offering to our listeners for their gift of any size this month. So Levi uh when a couple is having a conflict how do they resolve it? How do they get through it? Are there rules for for lack of a better term having a good fight?
Absolutely. I say this to couples Pastor Greg if you're not fighting you're not growing because the Bible says that iron sharpens iron and for that to happen there has to be that rubbing there has to be that grinding and there has to be sparks flying. That's how you get sharper and you know marriage is one of the greatest means for sanctification to help you become like Jesus because it exposes your selfishness and your preoccupation with having things your way more than anything else. It will show how prideful you are it will show and expose your short temper and when that stuff comes out either you're going to deal with it and repent and grow or you're going to you know double down on your selfishness and just become harder in heart and so you know a fight is inevitable fighting fairly is the goal having a good fair fight like the referee exposing before a boxing match and we give a lot of the principles for having a fair fight in the book you know these are things like not letting the sun go down on your wrath meaning you don't just let things accumulate accumulate accumulate to where when you finally have it out you don't actually remember what you're really mad about in the first place so going to them you have to go to them in the right spirit you don't want to be hysterical so if you need to take a walk around the block first to calm yourself down so you're not flashing off in anger you're reasoned figure out your communication style it might be that you need to write down notes and read them to the person it might be that you need to have a third party there a pastor or a local christian counselor you need to not use the kids as leverage tell your dad to da da da da we'll tell your mom that you know you want to not have a you know collateral damage like that you also need to agree that hey we're gonna we're gonna work through this out if we're both tired and exhausted it's not productive anymore we're not going to just keep going away hammering tongs at two in the morning we're going to agree to put a bookmark a verbal bookmark in the fight and come back to it tomorrow when we're of a fresher mind and spirit we also don't want to get historical meaning we're digging up stuff from 10 years ago well remember back in the ba ba ba you did this hey hold on a second we're talking about this specific fight we don't want to use you always or you never language because that's generalizations we want to be hey when you did this this is how this made me feel this is the story i'm writing in my head can you help me understand your perspective because the truth is we all think that uh that the way we did something or the reason we did something is the right way so we want to help get into each other's heads and then we want to forgive quickly like ruth said uh to come to a place where we're willing to own our part in the disagreement and we can move on hopefully with healed wounds you're listening to levi lusko a couple things jumped out don't be historical or hysterical uh control your emotions don't bring up things from the distant past you know first corinthians 13 says love does not keep a record of the wrongs that are done so when you say well i remember 25 years ago when you said like seriously uh it's time to put the past in the past these are some of the insights that you're going to find in this new book from levi and his wife jenny on the topic of marriage it's called the marriage devotional it's a thick book it has 52 devotions for you to go through with your spouse it's going to be a blessing you could do them on your dates together you can do them in the morning or the evening you can read it on your own and and compare notes however you like but we want to send you a copy for your gift of any size this month to a new beginning it's the marriage devotional by levi and jenny lesko yeah and thanks so much for your generosity it's your investments that help us continue to bring pastor greg studies to you each day it's the only way we can cover the costs of broadcasting and when you donate today please do ask for the marriage devotional you can call us at 1-800-821-3300 we can take your call anytime that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org well next time more from pastor greg's encouraging study in romans chapter one called everybody needs jesus join us here on a new beginning with pastor and bible teacher greg lorry hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow this show and consider supporting it just go to harvest.org and to find out how to know god personally go to harvest.org and click on know god you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-20 05:04:24 / 2023-04-20 05:14:30 / 10