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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. it in their minds, and they're doing it in their heart.
Is there really any difference? We all know someone who seems like they're on non-stop sin patrol. You know, they spend their time looking into everyone else's business, seeing if they can spot any kind of inconsistency in a person's walk of faith. Maybe in searching for other people's sin, it helps them ignore their own. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us each check ourselves.
We learn to walk more closely with the Lord and spend less time worrying about the spiritual scorecards of others. We're going to be looking at the book of Romans. That's the book we're looking at together.
And the title of my message today is Everybody Needs Jesus Part 2. I read a story about a group of boys that were standing around a small stray dog. And a pastor was nearby, and he wondered what this was all about. So he walked over and said, What are you boys doing? And one of the boys said, Well, we're just telling lies. And we figure whoever tells the biggest lie gets to keep the dog. The minister said, Well, I never did anything like that when I was a boy.
I've never told lies. The boys looked at each other and said, He gets the dog. You know, I have five grandchildren and four girls and one boy.
And they were over last night, and it's always so much fun to be with them. And one of my grandchildren, Allie, whenever we'll have a meal, we'll say, Who wants to pray? And Allie is always the first.
I want to pray. So the other day, Allie said to Kathy and I, I'm going to preach a sermon like Papa. That's what she calls me. So she grabs a book. She kind of holds it up like a Bible. And she steps up in a little box, and then she starts telling all the bad things that her older sister and brother had just done. I thought, Is that how people see me?
I hope not. I mean, hey, look, I'm here to comfort the afflicted, but sometimes I'm also here to afflict the comfortable. And really, that's what Paul does in Romans chapters one and two, is he kind of calls us out. He calls us out as sinners and says, Really, we all fall short. Now, most people will generally admit they're a sinner. But with this caveat, they'll say, Well, I'm a sinner, but you know, I'm not as bad as some people. And besides, everybody's doing it. And hey, nobody is perfect.
And that's all true. But you have to own up to what you've done and admit, Yes, I'm a sinner. And pretty much Romans one calls out what I would call garden variety sinners. These are not religious people. These are not church people.
These are basically what we would call pagan people that worship other gods and the Lord God, people that are engaged in immorality and all the things that people get engaged in. So Paul pretty much says, You guys are all sinners. So the religious Jews would be standing next to Paul saying, You preach it, brother. You tell those sinners how bad they really are.
Then Paul says, No, I'm setting my sights on you. In Romans chapter two, he deals specifically with religious Jews, but really with what I would call self-righteous people. So chapter one, Paul tells unrighteous people, sinners, that they fall short of God's standards. In chapter two, he tells self-righteous people that they are sinners as well. And by the way, the hardest people to reach are self-righteous people. Because at least a sinner will generally admit they're a sinner. But a self-righteous person will say, Well, I'm good. You don't need to preach that to me.
Well, don't I? Doesn't Paul? Here, Jesus told a story that illustrates it perfectly of two men that went to pray. One is identified as a sinner. The other is identified as a publican. Not a Republican.
A publican. And one had their prayer heard by God and the other did not. The Pharisee, a religious man, a devout man, a rule keeping man, actually prayed this prayer.
God, I thank you that I am not like other men. You know your prayers messed up when you pray that by the way. And then he goes on to personalize it. There is a sinner next to him. He says, And especially I'm not as bad as this guy. Meanwhile the sinner wouldn't even lift his face up. And he just said, God be merciful to me a sinner. And actually a better translation would be the sinner.
Man, Lord, you know how bad I am. You know I am the sinner. God be merciful to me the sinner. Guess who had their prayer heard by God. Not the self-righteous man. Even though he kept the rules.
Even though he did the right things outwardly. It was the man that admitted his true condition who had his prayer heard by God. So now we come to chapter 2. I am going to read a few verses with you. And by the way I am reading from the New Living Translation. Romans 2 verse 1.
Notice it starts with the word you. And before I address this word you I want to just say don't think to yourself I wish this really self-righteous person I know was here in church today. This sermon my friend is for you. It is for me. Ok. So don't think about how this applies to someone you know. This applies to you.
Trust me. You Paul writes may think underline that word you may think you can condemn such people. He is talking about the garden variety sinners of Romans 1. You think that you can condemn such people but you are just as bad.
And you have no excuse. When you say they are wicked and should be punished you are actually condemning yourself. For you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God in His justice will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things why do you think you can avoid God's judgment when you do the same things.
So we will stop there. If you are taking notes I want to contrast self-righteous and unrighteous people. Number one. Self-righteous people do not understand how bad their sin really is. Self-righteous people do not understand how bad their sin really is. Now a truly righteous person. And by the way I am righteous.
Not because of what I do. I am righteous because of what Christ did. And I have been made right with Him through His death on the cross. So I am positionally righteous.
I am still growing into that name and title and I have a long ways to go as do you. But a self-righteous person doesn't see how bad their sin really is. I mean it is always funny how bad our sin looks on someone else. You ever go into a store and you see a cute outfit on a mannequin or cute outfit. That sounds like I am talking to a girl doesn't it. And I am in a way. Because guys don't see cute outfits I don't think so.
Let me restate that. Girls you know when you see. But you know you see something that looks good. But then when you try it on.
Have you ever noticed it never looks as good. And in the same way your sin always looks worse on someone else. But the reason you recognize it so quickly is well because it is your sin.
You are very familiar with it you see. And so that is the whole point that he is making is you are so quick to call other people out. But do you realize how bad your sin actually is.
See if somebody else takes something that is stealing. If you take something well that is just borrowing. If somebody else lies and cheats that is horrible. But you are just stretching the truth or exaggerating a little bit. The self-righteous person will point their finger at a person living in sexual sin but they are doing it in their mind. And they are doing it in their heart.
Is there really any difference. If I condemn someone they shouldn't be living that way. That girl shouldn't be living with that guy. That is sinful. Ok. But did you just watch a TV show and really enjoy that scene and play it back a few times before that happened. Well I am not doing it. Yeah.
Aren't you. Because Jesus actually brings this up in the Sermon on the Mount when He talks about a person who does it in their heart. He says you have heard that it has been said you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you if you look on a woman with lust in your heart you have committed adultery.
So now He is saying you have done it as well in some way shape or form. And by the way that word look isn't just a casual glance. It is a continuous act of looking.
This is a description of a person that goes out of his way to look at something and to keep looking at something. And by the way that doesn't just apply to men. It applies to women. It applies to all of us.
It is a person that goes out of their way to look lustfully. And this is one of the problems of pornography today. Is it so accessible in our culture. And we carry around these little phones in our back pockets and you can access porn on those phones as you know. And on your television. And so there it is. And a lot of people do.
And that is so destructive to your mind when you fill it with things like this. Did you know that 79 percent of 18 to 30 year old American men watch Internet porn at least once a month. 79 percent. We say yeah guys are such dogs. Yeah they are.
But did you know 76 percent of American women ages 18 to 30 year old watch porn once a month. Oh. What happened? We are all sinners.
That is what happened. And so Jesus is saying oh you are so quick to condemn somebody else. But if you are taking this kind of stuff in you are doing the same thing in your heart.
That is the problem with all of it. As I said it is interesting how bad our sin looks on someone else. And so this is something that we want to stay away from as followers of Jesus Christ. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know there is 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 today Pastor Greg is drawing a contrast between self-righteous people and unrighteous people from our studies in Romans. And he continues now. Number two. The self-righteous person is blind to their own condition. They see it everywhere else except in their own life. Verse one. You are just as bad and you have no excuse. And if that is not bad enough they then condemn others who do it. Verse three.
Since you judge others for doing these things why do you think you can avoid God's judgment when you do the same things? And these are the people that are so quick to criticize. And many of them live online by the way. Oh they love to just take shots at everybody. They are the person if you are in a room and you are having a good time they always bring everything down. I have even named them.
It is Debbie Downer and her boyfriend Bobby Buskill. Right. So whatever is going on they will have something critical to say.
Well I know but still I have this one criticism or I don't think this is right. And they are very critical in a hyper way. And this is a kind of an indication of being a self-righteous person. And so that is what he is pointing out.
Number three. The self-righteous person somehow thinks that God is ok with their sin. I mean they would probably never say that openly. I think God is ok with my sin. But they kind of think it.
And the reason I think they kind of think it is because they keep doing it and they don't think they are ever going to have to pay for it in any way, shape, or form. Verse four. Romans 2. Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, impatient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see it is His kindness intended to turn you from your sin? So let's just say you are doing a certain sin whatever it is and you do it day after day, week after week, month after month and nothing has happened. And somehow in your warped thinking you say well maybe God is ok with this.
No. He is not ok with it. And the reason nothing has happened is because He loves you and He is convicting you and He is telling you to repent of it. But if you don't repent of it at one point it is going to catch up with you because the Bible says your sin will find you out. But the self-righteous person deceives themselves. And listen to this.
This is a big one. Number four. The self-righteous person is judgmental and very harsh with others. Verse three. Since you judge others who are doing these things why do you think you can avoid God's judgment when you do the same thing?
So if you are doing it to someone else that is the problem. Now look. When we say a Christian should not judge let's understand it. As I have often said the non-believer's favorite verse is judge not lest you be judged. Ok. There is a place for judging. Let me define the word.
Evaluating. If I see something wrong in your life. If I love you I am going to get together with you and I am going to point it out. I may compliment you for a few things and acknowledge the great things you are doing but I will say there is something I am concerned about. And by the way I will do it privately. I won't initially call you out publicly to embarrass or humiliate you because my objective is not to destroy you.
It is to restore you. And there is a big difference. I think some people take information. They weaponize it. And they use it to bring a person down.
If I have information I want to use it to help you. It is sort of like going to a doctor. And you walk in and doc I think I broke my arm. And he looks at it and does an x-ray and he says you did. So let's set it.
Put it in a cast. Thank you doc. You are the best.
You are welcome. Come here for a second. Yeah. And he breaks your other arm.
Why did you do that? I need the business. What are you crazy? So that is sometimes how we restore people in quotes. Oh come here.
Let me help you. Oh now I am going to kick you when you are down. That is not restoration. And so when Paul is saying don't judge a person that is what he is talking about. Not judging for evaluation but it is a word that means to judge to condemnation. What should we do if a fellow believer falls into sin? Here is what the Bible says. Galatians 6.1. Brothers if someone is caught into sin you who are spiritual should kick them while they are down and tell as many people as possible. Right. Is that in the Bible? No it isn't.
You would think it was by the way some people act. Now here is what the Bible actually says. Brothers if someone is overtaken in a sin you who are spiritual should restore him gently but watch yourself or you may also be tempted.
Carry each other's burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. By the way that phrase that Paul uses there in Galatians for caught into sin implies it was not premeditated. So this isn't even a person that went out to sin intentionally. This is a person who probably lowered their guard and they got caught sort of like an animal in a trap. First of all I should take no pleasure in it. No delight in it. And care enough to help this person and maybe I will tell them what is wrong but now I tell them how to get right and I restore them gently.
I want to help them. But the problem is sometimes we want to judge them. And Jesus talked about this also in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 7 verse 3 he says, why do you look at a speck in your brother's eye and not consider the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother let me remove the speck from your eye when you have a plank in your own eye?
By the way the word that Jesus used there for plank speaks of a very large piece of wood and speck speaks of a very small piece of wood. So it would be like saying hey how can I pick a little bit of sawdust out of my brother's eye when I have a telephone pole in my eye? How can I possibly even see what is wrong in their life when I have so much more of it in my life? And that is precisely the point.
The reason I am so quick to identify it is because I am so familiar with it. In a way I might be telling you more about myself when I condemn another person than I am telling you about them. I may be giving you a glimpse into my heart. Oh you are so full of pride. You are so arrogant. You always want to be the center of attention. Are you talking about yourself? No. Yeah you are actually. Actually that person you are accusing may not be guilty of any of the things that you are very guilty of but you are so blinded because you are self-righteous you don't even see it. That is the problem.
Someone else has to actually tell you. So the whole idea here is to restore a person because it is eating us up inside. Kent Hughes a great Bible commentator made this statement. Quote, We find it so easy to turn a microscope on another person's sin while we look at ours to the wrong end of a telescope. Maybe the reason we see pride in another is because that is our sin. We see a speck of phoniness in another and another because that is our sin and really we are guilty of the same thing. End quote. So in a way you are projecting your sin on another person.
Here is a perfect example. King David powerful man ruling over Israel. Saw a beautiful woman named Bathsheba.
Got that lustful look. Kept looking for a long time and he did more than that. He had her brought up to his palace and had sexual relations with her. And she got pregnant. And instead of admitting his sin to God he tried to cover it up. He had her husband who was in his military serving Uriah.
Come back hoping he would spend a night with his wife and think it was his own child and Uriah wouldn't go be with his wife. And this frustrated David so he had him sent out to the front lines to lead a charge. Everybody else fell back and Uriah the courageous husband of Bathsheba was killed. So basically David had this man murdered in so many words. And he thought he had covered up his sin. So he marries Bathsheba.
He thinks everything is cool. No one will ever know. Well God knew. And a lot of time passed giving David opportunity to repent.
But he did not repent. And one day the prophet comes in to see him. Nathan. He says, King I have a thing I have to talk to you about. Yes.
Yes. What is it? Well there is this guy who has all of these sheep. So many sheep he can't even count them. And he has a neighbor who has one little baby lamb. It is like their pet. They push it around in a stroller.
They carry it in a sling. I made that part up. But he did say it eats at their table.
Right. It is his pet. He loves a little lamb.
Anyway. So the rich guy with all the sheep had a friend come to visit him for the week and wanted to give him a leg of lamb. And instead of killing one of his many sheep to serve this man he went to the guy with a one little baby lamb and he killed it. Now King what do you think should be done to a guy like that? David's blood began to boil and he said he should be put to death. Wow. Overkill. I mean under the Mosaic law maybe restore fourfold. It is not a capital offense.
It is bad but not that bad. And then the prophet says you are the man. It is you David.
Get it? You are the king with multiple wives with concubines. More women than you could ever access in a lifetime.
And what do you do? You go after this guy Uriah's wife. You take his wife from her and then you have him killed. Why is it David was so quick to be so harsh with such a small sin when he was guilty of worse because he was self-righteous? And this happens to us and that is exactly what Paul is dealing with here. Pastor Greg Laurie is helping us see the destructive nature of self-righteousness on today's edition of A New Beginning. And there is more to come in this message called Everybody Needs Jesus Part Two. Well, it is such a treat to have Pastor Levi Lusko with us today. Of course, he is the senior pastor of Fresh Life Church with campuses in Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Utah. And he is the author of a new book called The Marriage Devotional that we are making available. You and your wife wrote this together, right Levi? Yeah, Jenny and I have been married for 19 years and it has been such a journey. We have lived in multiple states in that time, seen five kids come into our home, seen one child go home to be with Jesus in heaven and blazing the trails of leading in the church.
We have definitely learned a lot of things, most of them the hard way. And we are not trying to answer or give any ivory tower truth from a perfect place, but a lot of the stuff that we are offering up we have discovered along the way in our brokenness, in our pain, in the beauty of watching God work. But it really has been an amazing discovery of God working in our marriage and we want to share that to help other people who are struggling because the truth is marriage is hard. Levi, you mentioned that you have one child in heaven, that is your daughter Lenya.
And I remember the day you called me and told us to pray because she was still alive but tragically she did not make it and she went to be with the Lord. You know marriages fall apart when a child dies on many occasions. Your marriage didn't fall apart, I would even say from observing it, not that your marriage wasn't strong to start with, but I would say your marriage has gotten even stronger. So talk to us a little bit about the impact of having the child die and then just how external hardship can strengthen a marriage in general. Well you know of course it wasn't easy as you and Kathy know from experience too, but I found the truth of what Jesus said that if you build your house on the foundation of his words and doing them, then you're like a man who's a home built on a rock and the storms that come can't destroy the house as if you're built on sand.
And that's one of the key messages that we want to point people to in this book is if you build your life on the right things then storms don't destroy your house. In fact if anything they make it stronger like you said and that really is the message of the beatitudes that you can be brokenhearted but see God right there in the midst of it. And Jennie and I found that our hearts were more stabilized on heaven, our hearts were more focused on the next world.
We cared less for this world and I think that if you have a weak marriage a trial like that will make it weaker. If you have a strong marriage the trial will make it stronger and so our message in this book is prepare for the pain you're not yet in. Train for the trial that's yet to come and build your house today on the rock so that tomorrow's hardship which is going to come whether it's from your aging parents getting sick and dying or a hardship economically or something really happening in your own personal health, you know those things are going to challenge your marriage vows. But if you do the hard work of centering your life on the gospel and living your life you know worshiping in the Holy Spirit, being planted in a local church then that hardship is just going to center you more on the things that you're already anchored on.
That's fantastic. I'm speaking with Levi Lusko who's a longtime friend, an amazing pastor and the author along with his wife Jennie of a brand new book called The Marriage Devotional. It's 52 devotions that you can go through with your spouse that will strengthen your marriage and it's our gift to you this month for your gift of any size to help us continue on here at A New Beginning to teach God's word and to proclaim the gospel and do everything we can to strengthen marriages, marriages just like yours. So order your copy of The Marriage Devotional from Jennie and Levi Lusko from us here at A New Beginning. Yeah that's right it's a book with a tremendous amount of biblical counsel to strengthen that important relationship. Thanks for partnering with us so these daily studies can continue and when you make that donation today be sure to ask for The Marriage Devotional and we'll only be able to mention this resource a short time longer.
You can call us at 1-800-821-3300 that's a 24 7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time more insight from Pastor Greg's message Everybody Needs Jesus Part 2. We'll focus on the power of prayer and our personal evangelism. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and bible teacher Greg Laurie. 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.
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