Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.
If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.
You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. We all know people who need to know the Lord. We want them to be saved. We want them to go to heaven. Pastor Greg Laurie reminds us God wants that too. It is the heart of God for people to be saved.
Listen to this. God wants people to be saved even more than you want people to be saved. So keep praying for your son. Keep praying for your daughter. Keep praying for your mom and your dad and your grandparents and your neighbor and whoever it is you're praying for. Don't give up because God won't give up either. Before you came to the Lord, it's more than likely there was someone praying for you to do so.
Maybe many someones. Aren't you glad the Lord heard those prayers? Who are you praying for right now? When someone talks about people who need the Lord, whose name immediately comes to your mind? Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us take a big step forward in understanding the issues at hand and in learning to pray more effectively that that person might meet Jesus.
Everybody needs Jesus. If you ever share your faith, it won't be long until someone will say to you, well what about the person who's never heard the gospel? You know, they're living in the middle of a jungle. I don't know why they're in the middle of a jungle. Or they're in the middle of a desert and they've never heard it. By the way, just about the entire population of earth has a mobile phone these days.
So they're not completely cut off. But still, you know, they've never heard the gospel. How could a God of love send a person like that to hell? And the reason people usually ask this is not because they want to answer, but rather because they just want you to go away.
So first of all, I would see if someone does ask that question, you might respond and say, wow, that's interesting that you would ask that. Because you mentioned why would a God of love send them to hell? So clearly you believe there is a hell. And you think some people are going there. And also you're talking about the power of the gospel.
Oh no, I'm not saying that. You know, so they really are not asking it generally. But just for the sake of a point, let's address this question. The reason people bring this up is because they are assuming that God will send to hell a person who has never heard the gospel. And they are reacting to the claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father. By the way, that is an essential belief of a true follower of Jesus Christ. Yet I read the other day a poll that was just taken among self-identified evangelical Christians.
And they asked them this question. Does God accept the worship of all religions including Christians, Judaism, and Islam? And 91 percent of the so-called evangelical Christians agree.
Houston we have a problem. People are not reading their Bibles. Look if all religions are true. If every belief is valid. If all roads effectively lead to God then why did Jesus Christ come to this earth and suffer and die on a Roman cross?
Answer. Because there was no other way for us to be made right with God. Christ and Christ alone was uniquely qualified to satisfy the righteous demands of a holy God that we have all offended. That is why Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. And no man comes to the Father but by me. There is no wiggle room here.
No wiggle room. Ok. Someone might say you believe that. But what about the person who has never heard the gospel? Well first of all let's identify some basic things. Number one I think deep down inside we are all sort of pre-wired to know God. There is a longing.
This isn't there? When we are born we are longing for something. Go back to your earliest childhood. Oh if I just had this. If I got this doll.
If I got this bike. If I had this toy. If I had this boyfriend. If I had this wife. If I had this wife.
See we are moving on now. If I had this other wife. If I had this house and bigger.
If I had the career. We just change the things but we are longing. We are searching. We are on a quest.
What is it? Deep down inside here is what you are really searching for. Let me simplify this for you. You are searching for God. You are searching for God. Because the Bible says God has placed eternity in our hearts. Ecclesiastes 3.11. But here is the thing. Even if you haven't heard this gospel you have heard some things.
More than you may realize. Number one we have the testimony of God's creation. I may not have the testimony of the gospel yet but I have the testimony of God's creation. And Paul deals with that in Romans 1.20 he says, from the time the world was created people have seen the earth and the sky and all that God made.
They can clearly see His invisible qualities so they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. To me it takes a lot more faith to believe that everything we see in this life came about randomly. It takes more faith in my mind to be a non-believer than it does take for me to be a believer. To believe there is a design in the solar system. And there is a design in the human body. And there is a design in this creation. I believe God made it. I believe there is an author. I believe there is a creator. I believe there is a master artist.
That is a pretty simple conclusion to come to. It would be like looking at a brand new 747 sitting there in the runway. And you say that is amazing. And someone says well you know that was made by Boeing and the engineers and the builders.
It took them years. Oh it was made by Boeing. I believe that a tornado swept through a junkyard and produced a 747.
Can you believe what? Yeah a tornado. Grabbed all those random parts. Put them together.
Put the seats in that are too close together. A tornado. A tornado did all of this.
You are crazy. Or you are in the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italy and you are admiring the work of the master artist Michelangelo. It took him years to paint it. And you look up there and say I don't believe in Michelangelo. He never even existed. I think someone took a stick of dynamite and threw it into a paint cart and it just appeared.
Really? But that is about how logical it is to say that all these things happen by chance. There is the testimony of the creation of God.
Number two. We have a God-given conscience that we blatantly ignore to our own peril. Romans 1 18 says God shows His anger from heaven against all sinful wicked people. Listen. Who push the truth away from themselves. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. And God put this knowledge in their hearts. This isn't just a person who says I never heard. I didn't know.
No. This is a person with a conscience. And this addresses the issue of I live by my own standards. No you don't. Let's just forget the standards of God.
Let's just forget the Bible. And let's just go on your line. I live by my own standards. You do not. You violate your own standards all the time. Right? That is why you keep changing them.
Well I have changed them adjusted a bit you know. You don't even live by your own standards. You have a human conscience and you know when you are doing wrong. You feel it in your heart. You feel it in your soul. You feel it in your conscience.
You know you are guilty of something that is wrong and you don't even respond to that. So Paul shows also that those who have not heard the gospel are still sinners. Romans 2 12. He will punish sin wherever it is found.
He will punish the heathen when they sin. The nonbelievers. Even though they never had God's written laws. Listen. For down in their hearts they knew right from wrong God's laws were written within them and their own conscience accuses them and sometimes it excuses them.
Here is the bottom line. If you are a true seeker of truth you will find your way to Jesus Christ. I believe that.
If you are a true seeker you will find your way to Him. A good example of this is a man named Cornelius. We find him in the New Testament in the book of Acts. Cornelius was a Roman centurion.
By the way that was kind of a big deal. It wasn't easy to become a Roman centurion. That meant he led other Roman soldiers. He would be a very disciplined man.
A man among men. But despite that and despite being a powerful man of Rome he didn't find fulfillment in all the false gods of Rome that they stole effectively from the Greeks. He didn't believe Caesar was God.
Many deified Caesar at this time historically. But he saw something in the Jews and their worship of the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And so with as little as Cornelius knew he began to pray to God.
He says, God I want to know you. So the Lord saw he was a true seeker. So the Lord sends an angel to go to Simon Peter to bring the gospel to Cornelius.
Isn't that kind of the long way around the barn? Wouldn't it be easier to just send the angel directly to Cornelius? And to the point wouldn't it be more impressive if God sent angels to preach to us? I mean imagine if I said next Sunday we are going to have Michael the archangel speak.
Would you come to church? Let's welcome Michael. Michael.
Good to have you. Michael walks out. Radiating light. You listen to every word.
You take notes. That is Michael the archangel. Next week we are having Gabriel. Oh yeah.
That is good. Angels are powerful spirit beings. But the primary job of an angel is not to preach the gospel.
The primary job of an angel is to help us do the work God has called us to do. So the angel goes to Peter. Peter then goes to Cornelius. Shares the gospel with Cornelius.
And Cornelius becomes a believer because God will always reveal himself to the true seeker. 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 talking about those who seek the Lord in his message based in Romans called Everybody Needs Jesus Part 2. How about those wise men? Now we always say the three wise men and well the Bible never says there were three. It just says they brought three gifts. Being guys they may have been nine of them and they kind of went in on the gifts. My wife was wrapping gifts up the other day with some of the girls that are a part of her virtue ministry and I said what are these gifts? Oh we're just taking a little gift because we're going over to a house for one of our small groups. You're just taking a gift for that?
Yes and there are beautiful little gifts and I'm thinking guys don't do that. I mean if it's your birthday I might give you something. I got this old burrito here.
Still got some life left in it. Oh wait wait. I've got this Target gift card someone gave to me last week.
Happy birthday you know. But they brought gifts. Three gifts.
Gold, frankincense, and some myrrh. But who were these guys? We call them the magi.
It comes from the root word magician. These guys were into black magic. These guys were into the occult. These guys were into astrology as well as astronomy. These guys thought that they could know the truth by looking at stars. So what did God do? Forget you man.
Bunch of crazy pagans. I'm not wasting my time with you. No the Lord said oh you guys are into stars. I'm going to send you the most awesome star you've ever seen. Follow this star. It'll lead you to the truth. Some believe that star was not a star at all but the Shekinah glory of God. It shone brighter than any other and they followed that star and it led them right to Jesus.
So here's my point. God will more than meet you halfway. God will come to you, reveal Himself to you if you really want to know Him.
So everyone will have a chance in some way, shape, or form. You won't be judged for what you don't know but you will be judged for what you do know. So when I'm talking to a non-believer and they say what about the person who's never heard the gospel? I'll address it. Then I'll say oh by the way you've you've heard the gospel.
Well I haven't heard it. I'm going to give it to you right now. Here's the gospel. You're a sinner separated from God but God loved you so much He sent Jesus to die on the cross for your sin.
If you'll turn from your sin and believe in Him you can be forgiven. Boom. You just heard it. That's it.
Doesn't take that long does it? And so we'll be held accountable for what we do know. I have a friend whose father died many years ago. His father was not a Christian. But he told me a story. He said you know my dad knowing he was dying asked for a Bible. So a Bible was brought to his hospital room and he died. And then he asked me do you think he's in heaven? Now some would say no he's in hell. And people will say crazy stuff like that.
Here's what I say. If that father knowing as little as he knew in his own way reached out to God and he thought well the Bible if I had a Bible and if he opened that Bible and believed what he read even if he didn't understand all of it but he believed as much as he understood and called out to Jesus Jesus Christ would have saved him from his sin. Okay so don't miss understanding me. I'm not trying to give false hope. But let's not also give false condemnation. It is the heart of God for people to be saved.
Listen to this. God wants people to be saved even more than you want people to be saved. Because he says God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. So keep praying for your son. Keep praying for your daughter. Keep praying for your mom and your dad and your grandparents and your neighbor and whoever it is you're praying for. Don't give up because God won't give up either. All right so what is the sum of the matter of Romans 2?
Everybody needs Jesus. The unrighteous person Romans 1. The self-righteous person Romans 2.
You know if you put them together you have just a great contrast. Here is the one who thinks they are good and they aren't. And here's the one who knows they aren't good and they have to admit their sin. By the way these are the same two people in the prodigal son story. Same two people. We call it the prodigal son. Better description would be the prodigal sons.
Plural. There were two prodigals. One left home. One never left home. But they were both in a way not right with their father. Prodigal son one.
The one we know best. Went to his dad and just said dad I'm tired of your rules your regulations. I'm tired of waiting for you to die. You're living way too long and I just want my inheritance now.
Just give it to me. And the father gave him his inheritance and then he went out and lived a crazy life drinking hookers stupidity and consequences. Sounds like a good book title doesn't it? Drinking hookers stupidity and consequences. That sums up his life.
But he came to his senses as a sinner. And went home and said father I'm no longer worthy to be called your son. Just make me a hired servant.
That'd be good. Father says you kidding me. Son welcome home again. He put the ring in his fingers signifying sonship. Put a robe on him and threw a great party. Meanwhile the other prodigal the older brother was upset and he said dad why would you let my brother back in this house again. He drug our family name to the gutter.
He's an embarrassment and you throw a party for him. And then the prodigal son the older one says to his father dad all these years I've slaved for you and I never once refused to do a single thing you told me to do. See the problem with that boy is he is trusting in what he had done for his father. That's a self-righteous person.
So here's the bottom line. They were both lost and they both needed Jesus. The unrighteous person and the self-righteous person.
So let me ask which one are you. Maybe you've come here today and you've just been doing sinful things and you did not know that you could have your sin forgiven and have a new life and be a follower of Jesus Christ. Well you can.
Your life can change today dramatically if you'll admit your sin and ask Jesus Christ to forgive you and begin to follow him. But then there are others that are here and maybe you've been here many times. In fact you sit in the same spot every week.
That's your little spot. And that's good. I'm glad you're here for sure. But that doesn't mean you're a Christian. As I've often said being in a church doesn't make you a Christian any more than being in a donut shop makes you a cop. I've said that for years.
I'm sorry because I know. Well I do see cops in donut shops sometimes. I mean they've got to get out quick.
That's the whole thing. Because I've asked cops. I know a lot of cops.
I'm a chaplain with a police department. I said I mean you guys do or sometimes in donut shops. Yeah we have to move fast. We get a call you know.
We've got to get out of there. Okay I get it. But anyway. And God bless all of you who are in law enforcement. We love you and appreciate you. We do. It takes a lot of courage to be a police officer today. And I'm serious.
To put that uniform on. Go out there. And with the way our culture is going and the threats against them. And I admire them a great deal. Okay back to the analogy. But being in a church doesn't mean you're right with God. You could be a self-righteous person. And in a way you're worse than the unrighteous person because you don't think there's a problem.
And so you're not going to do anything about it. At least the sinner will say I know I messed up and I need to get it right with God. But you're saying I'm not messed up. I'm doing wonderfully.
I'm amazing. And I've done all these things this week alone that should earn me a place in heaven. No there's nothing you could do that could ever earn you a place in heaven. There's only one way to get to heaven. To admit you're a sinner and realize Jesus paid it all on the cross for you. And put your faith in Him. So I'm going to give you an opportunity to do that if you need to. Whoever you are.
Whatever you've done. You need Jesus. Everybody needs Jesus.
We all do. So we're going to pray and and I'll extend an invitation to you to call out to Christ. Again the Bible says God speaking those that seek me will find me. If you really want to know God right now you'll know him. If you don't you won't.
It's up to you. God wants you to know him. Respond if you need to. Let's all pray. Father speak to every person here.
Every person listening wherever they may be. Help them to see their need for Jesus. Convict and convince them by your Holy Spirit of their need. And help them to believe we ask. In Jesus name I pray.
Amen. As Pastor Greg Laurie said, God wants you to know him. And if you want to respond today and know the Lord personally. If you want to make a change today Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning wraps up. Well Pastor Levi Lusko is here with us today. He and his wife have authored the new book The Marriage Devotional. A great resource to help strengthen that important relationship. Levi let's let's dispense a little first aid. If somebody's listening and their marriage is hemorrhaging. Obviously the book is going to be a great source of insight and help and we want to get a copy into their hands. But what's something they can do right now to stop the bleeding?
Well I would say immediately you need to assess and do an inventory and a checklist of the words that you're speaking. You know when God wanted to create the world he spoke let there be light and there was. And he made us in his image with the ability to create or destroy with our tongues. There's a great story we include in the book about the famous chef Julia Child who at the end of her life had cancer had to have a double mastectomy and she was devastated that Paul her longtime husband would not have desire for her anymore with no breasts. And he said to her words that just gave her life and built her up he said oh honey I didn't marry you for your breasts I married you for your legs. And that just brought her such joy and love to say hey I still desire you.
That what think about what a power is in that one sentence I still love you basically. So if your marriage is hanging on by a thread ask yourself the kind of words that are speaking. Have you become just sort of roommates? Have you just ended up just sort of living together under the same roof separately?
And are you choosing to use your words to speak life? When was the last time you complimented your spouse? When was the last time you just stopped looking in the eyes and said thank you thank you for for this and we're specific about something. I'm telling you like Mark Twain said you could go almost a whole year on just one compliment. So build your spouse up and and you'll be glad you did. Yes the Bible even speaks of the virtuous woman and it says her husband praises her and I think it's a wonderful thing not only to their face but in front of other people to say let me tell you about my husband let me tell you about my wife and it's always a compliment. I would also add never critique your spouse in front of other people. You have a criticism you say that to them privately not publicly about them where you end up humiliating them and also never talk down your spouse in front of your children.
That's their mother or their father. You need a united front as father and mother as husband and wife in a solid family. Yes you will have your conflicts but those are things you resolve together or with a good counselor but you don't put it out there in the public and make other people have to watch it or deal with it but listen we want to send you Levi Lusko's brand new book that he wrote with his wife Jenny. It's called the marriage devotional 52 devotions to strengthen your marriage and it's yours for your gift of any size this month to in the beginning. Yeah that's right that's an investment a good investment in bringing the hope of God to people who need it there's no better time for this good news and when you make that donation today be sure to ask for pastor Levi's new book the marriage devotional and we won't be mentioning this much longer so contact us soon you can call us anytime around the clock at 1-800-821-3300 again 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 riverside california 92514 or just go online you can make your donation securely at harvest.org well pastor gray just before we go would you mind praying with the person listening who wants to make a change today in their relationship with the Lord. I'd be happy to Dave you know as you've been listening to this today maybe you've heard another voice by that I mean yeah you heard me say a few things but you heard God's voice speak to you deep in the recesses of your heart and it suddenly dawned on you this is what I need or to state it more accurately this is who I need I need Jesus and I want Jesus but maybe you don't know how to make that connection let me help you pray this after me right now if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life Lord Jesus I know I am a sinner and I am sorry for my sin and I need your forgiveness right now would you come into my heart my life as savior as God as friend I choose to follow you from this moment forward thank you for calling me and accepting me and forgiving me in Jesus name I pray amen. I know that was a relatively short prayer maybe you felt something as you prayed it maybe you felt nothing that doesn't really matter because God's word says these things we write to you that believe on the name of the son of God that you may know that you have eternal life it doesn't say so you may think you have it or you may hope you have it if God's in a good mood no that you can know it and I want you to know if you pray that prayer in a minute Jesus Christ the son of God has come into your life so congratulations you're now a Christian now continue to follow the Lord yeah and to help you as you follow the Lord we'd like to send you some materials we call our new believers growth packet it'll answer many of the questions you might have and get you started off right in your new walk with the Lord so get in touch and ask for it just call us anytime at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org and click the words know God well next time we'll take a close look at the Bible itself and be reminded of the unique powerful resource God has placed in our hands you'll have a deeper appreciation for God's word join us here on a new beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie Greg Laurie thanks for listening to a new beginning with Greg Laurie a podcast made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a harvest partner at harvest.org
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