April 27, 2023 3:00 am
The most significant book on some bookshelves is the one with the most dust on it. It has the answers to the biggest questions of life, but it’s opened about as often as a 40 year old Farmer’s Almanac. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see the value of God’s Word . . . and how we need to get that book off the shelf and into our laps. More than that, get its insights into our minds and hearts. Pastor Greg has good counsel today from the book of Romans.
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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.
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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.
Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. Take your time. Don't rush through it. Listen, it's not enough to go through the Word of God. The Word of God needs to go through you. The most significant book on some bookshelves is the one with the most dust on it. It has the answers to the biggest questions of life, but it's opened about as often as a 40-year-old farmer's almanac. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see the value of God's Word and how we need to get that book up off the shelf and into our laps. More than that, get its insights into our minds and hearts.
Pastor Greg has good counsel today from the book of Romans. I have a scale at home. How many of you have scales at home? Okay. How many of you get on the scale and check your weight? All right.
Okay. Well, I do too. And I'm usually pretty disappointed by what I read on that scale. I have one of these really high-tech scales that communicates with my smartphone. So the other day I get a message from my scale. By the way, I didn't ask it for any messages.
But it sent me this message, a direct quote. It said, keep pushing yourself, Greg. Don't be discouraged by last week's results. We believe in you. I'm like reading this coin.
Who asked you for your opinion? And by the way, I wasn't discouraged until I read this message. And I don't care if you believe in me because I'm throwing you in the trash right now. But then it would probably talk to me, why am I in the trash? I believe in you. Shut up.
You know. So sometimes people try to encourage us and they end up discouraging us. Has that ever happened to you? Someone wants to offer you some helpful words and you're like, could you just stop right now? It's called a backhanded compliment. Someone has come up with a phrase. It's a complisalt. A complisalt. It's a compliment insult.
Here's an example. Someone comes up to you and says, girls, that sets a nice dress. It does wonders for your figure. What does that mean?
Are you critiquing my figure or complimenting the dress? How about this one? I actually had fun with you today. You actually had fun? Meaning that other days you don't have as much fun. I love this one. No matter what anyone says, I like you.
Seriously? That's your version of a compliment? So as we read these first chapters of Romans, it sounds not even like a complisalt. It sounds like an insult. Here's a summary of what Paul is saying. You're all sinners.
There are no exceptions. Why is he doing this? Because before he can tell us the truth he has to show us what the problem is. We need to know the truth about ourselves. It's not unlike a doctor diagnosing your condition. You go in with an ache or a pain or a concern and he runs some tests and he checks you out and maybe he prescribes some medication. Maybe he recommends a surgery.
But whatever it is a doctor has to tell you the truth about yourself. So Paul is systematically eliminating any excuses that people may offer about their lives. He says you're all sinners. Now you may find a creative way to hide it but you're still a sinner. There are different kinds of sinners of course. In chapter one of Romans we have what I would call garden variety sinners. These are just the basic person who doesn't want God in their life.
They ultimately turn to other gods and even turn to immorality. Garden variety sinner. Basically your unrighteous person.
Your immoral person. But then in chapter two we have self-righteous sinners. Moral sinners.
But sinners nonetheless who sort of stand behind their morality. Now as we come to chapter three we are coming to a religious Jewish person who is saying, well because I am one of the chosen people I am the exception to the rule. And let me just say a word about the Jewish people. We love the Jewish people because they are God's chosen people.
That is very clear in Scripture. And so much has come to us through the Jews. The Jews gave us our Scripture. It is through the Jewish race that our Messiah came. That is why I often stand up and speak for the nation of Israel because that is the Jewish homeland and the Lord has regathered His people together back there in that land.
And it is by the way a fulfillment of prophecy. We who are Gentiles. Most of us are not Jews.
We owe them a great debt. We have been grafted into the promises of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But the problem is among some religious Jews is there could be a pride in their part saying, well I am Jewish so I am good. And Paul who was a Jew himself in fact he was a very dedicated Jewish leader and a member of the Sanhedrin and much more is saying, hey I am calling you guys out on this.
Everybody needs Jesus. So we come to Romans 3 starting in verse 3. So what advantage is there of being a Jew? I am reading from the New Living Translation. Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision? Yes.
There are great benefits. First of all the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. True some of them were unfaithful. But just because they were unfaithful does that mean God will be unfaithful?
Of course not. Even if everyone else is a liar God is true. And as the scriptures say about Him He will be proved right in what you say and you will win your case in court. But some say well our sinfulness serves a great purpose for it helps some people see how righteous God is. Isn't it unfair then for God to punish us?
This is merely a human point of view. Of course not Paul says. Now drop down to verse 8. And some people even slander us by claiming that we say hey the more we sin the better it is those who say such things deserve to be condemned.
We will stop there. So if you are taking notes here is point number one. Reading and knowing God's Word does not save you. Reading and knowing God's Word does not save you. As important and vital as the Bible is you must do more than simply read it. Now if you are saved you should know it. You should read it.
You should study it. But knowing that alone will not save you. God chose the Jewish race to deliver the scripture to. Verse 3 says, first of all the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
That is no small thing. Yes there were benefits to being a Jew. That is what Paul is saying. God gave them His very Word. This word oracles is an interesting word because it means the very words of God.
You see the Jewish scholars and scribes painstakingly wrote the words of scripture out on scrolls. If they made a mistake they didn't edit it in a word doc. Nor did they use whiteout. How many of you remember whiteout?
Right. Some of you are saying, what is whiteout? It was something many years ago that if you typed a page and you made a mistake you would white it out with this little brush.
Anyway they didn't use whiteout. In fact if they were writing a very long scroll and had spent hours even days writing that out and they made a mistake they would go and start over again. It had to be perfect.
It had to be flawless. And when they came to the name of the Lord they would stop. They would go. They would bathe themselves. They would change their clothes. They would take out a fresh brush and write the holy name of God.
Yahweh. So that is how much attention they gave to detail prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. The oldest completed Hebrew manuscript of the Old Testament was dated around 900 A.D. But the Dead Sea Isaiah Scroll is 200 B.C. And when it was translated it was found to have no major changes from the text.
We already have. God gave the scripture to the Jewish people. They preserved that scripture.
And now we have both the Old and the New Testament and we call it the Bible. 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 we're looking at God's Word today and considering its uniqueness and how we should approach scripture with reverence and a receptive heart. Let's continue. Now look there are three ways you can look at the Bible. Number one you may see that it's a book filled with good ideas, moral lessons, just a general guide to life. Number two you might acknowledge the Bible is a book from God. But if it's written by men it may have contradictions.
But it has a lot of good things to say. Thirdly you believe that the Bible is the very Word of God which is inspired by God and is indeed given to us by God. And it is total truth.
Well that is the position I hold. That's the position Paul held. That's the position effectively the Bible holds. Scripture tells us the Word of God is alive and powerful and it's sharper than the sharpest two edged sword. Or as another translation puts it his powerful word is as sharp as a surgeon's scalpel cutting through everything whether doubts or defense laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Word.
We can't get away from it no matter what. And by the way we shouldn't want to get away from it because it's God's Word. And most American homes have a Bible today.
In fact I think it's nine out of ten. But ironically fewer than half of all adults can name the four Gospels. Many of the participants in the survey that was done about their knowledge of the Bible can name all four Beatles but could not name one of the Ten Commandments. Look I don't know what the commandments are but John Paul, George Ringo, I got that down right.
Wow that's really sad. 82 percent of Americans believe that the statement God helps those who help themselves is in the Bible. Not only is that not in the Bible it's not biblical to be precise.
And it gets worse. One in ten of people surveyed thought Moses was one of Jesus' 12 apostles. Moses how did he get in there?
How about this. 12 percent of American adults thought Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. A survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that 50 percent of them thought Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.
Now that's a couple I would not want to hang around with. Hey Sodom make sure you bring Gomorrah with you for dinner tomorrow night. Yeah so that just shows the ignorance of the Scripture. So many own a copy of the Bible. They have respect for the Bible but they don't read the Bible. And you know the number one reason people give and I would probably call this an excuse as to why they do not read the Bible is well they don't prioritize it.
Let me ask you. How many of you now you're in church I want you to be honest. First of all how many of you brought a Bible to church. Let me see your Bible. Hold your Bible up. Hold it up.
I see a few screens. We are going to let that pass today. It's ok really. But I have to tell you that the sound of Bible pages churning is one of the sweetest sounds I know. I love that sound don't you. It's not the same when you are swiping a screen is it.
Just not quite the same. So now how many of you be honest you are in church read your Bible every day. Raise your hand if you read your Bible.
God bless you. But not all of you. How many of you read your Bible at least a few times a week. Raise up your hand.
Ok. So it is great to obviously read the Bible. We should read the Bible. But honestly some people read the Bible without any comprehension. You might be bragging to someone. I read 10 chapters from Scripture today. That is amazing. What were they about.
I have no idea. But I read 10 chapters. Listen you would be better off reading 10 verses from the Bible with comprehension. The Bible uses the word meditate quite often. It has nothing to do with the eastern version of meditation which is to clear the mind. The biblical meaning of the word meditation is to ponder and consider.
One way we could put it is sort of like chewing your food. So when I meditate on Scripture that is something that will help me internalize it more deeply. Think about it. Consider it. Contemplate it.
Take your time. Don't rush through it. You know so it is a good thing to read your Bible every day. But honestly you could take it to the next level and read your Bible multiple times a day. Get the Word of God in you.
Many times through the day. Listen it is not enough to go through the Word of God. The Word of God needs to go through you. It is not how you mark your Bible. It is how your Bible marks you. So let it impact your life.
That is so very important. And being baptized number two. Or doing other outward things does not save you. Being baptized.
Or doing other outward things do not save you. For the Jews it was the act of circumcision. This was a very important right to Jewish people commanded by God for the Jewish males to be circumcised. So they thought I have been circumcised.
I am right with God. Paul calls them out in Romans 2.27 and he says uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God's law will condemn you Jews who are circumcised and possess God's law but you don't obey it. So when he says an uncircumcised Gentile that is a nonbeliever effectively who is believed.
Hey if they are doing what the Word of God says they are better off than you that have been circumcised but you are not doing what the Word says. Now in our day we might say, well I was baptized. Or I was raised in the church. Or my parents were Christians. Or my father is a preacher. Like that is supposed to trump everything. Look if your father was a preacher I am going to pray for you.
Because that means you are a PK. And PKs are among the most notorious sinners out there. I am glad your father was a preacher. I am glad your parents are Christians. I am glad you were raised in the church. But that doesn't make you a Christian.
See the religious Jews were turning to legalism. They were thinking because we do these things we are right with God. It is never about the things we do that makes us right with God. It is the thing He has done for us. And that thing is sending His Son to die on the cross and our place and make us acceptable to God.
Not through what we have done but through what He did. But we can turn to legalism too. Take something like devotions. Where did this even come from. This word. This thing we do. Devotions. Did you do your devotions today? Why didn't you do your devotions today?
Do your devotions. Did you have a quiet time? I said did you have a quiet time.
You are saying I have five kids. I have never had a quiet time in my life. What are you talking about. We make this mandate. Devotions. Quiet time. Now I am all for devotions. I am all for quiet times. But then of course when we are having our devotions we take a picture and post it on Instagram.
After all what is the purpose of having devotions if no one knows about it. Right. So we have our Bible opened up and our little cup of coffee and our notebook and a pen versus highlighted hashtag blessed. Right. Very impressive.
Add another hashtag. I am a Pharisee. No seriously. Think about it. Didn't Jesus call out the Pharisees for doing spiritual things publicly to receive the applause of men. How many likes did I get on that devotional post. You know what. Go have your devotions and have your quiet time and don't go walking around talking about it.
In fact the way I will know if you had it is hopefully by the way it impacts you. But we can make a legalistic thing about that or many other things. So let's get our priorities right.
Number three. Being raised in a Christian home doesn't necessarily mean you are saved. The Jewish people were thinking hey I am one of the chosen people so if I sin it actually shows God's glory because God will forgive me. And then people will see how gracious God is.
Look at verse five. Some might say our sinfulness serves a good purpose for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn't it unfair then for Him to punish us.
This is merely a human point of view. Of course not Paul says. First of all let me say yes it is true that God forgives sin and thank God for that. Yes it is true that God gives second chances but that does not mean we should intentionally sin. You might say well I was saved at a harvest crusade or I was baptized or I received communion recently so now I can do whatever the heck I want to do because I have offered my penance to God. I have earned up some credit with God.
Now I can go have some fun. Do you realize how warped that thinking is? But trust me it enters even into the church.
We think we have done these things now and now I can do whatever I want. Some will even say well you know what I believe once saved always saved so I can go out and sin. If that is your attitude I have to question the once saved of the always saved part.
Because that is not the way a true child of God thinks. A true Christian doesn't walk around saying how much can I get away with and still be a Christian. A true follower of Jesus says because I am a Christian because God has saved me from my sin and done so much for me how much more can I become like Him. How much closer can I be to Him.
It is a big difference. Great perspective today from Pastor Greg Laurie as we consider the right attitude and integrity we should have as believers. And there is more to come as this message continues here on A New Beginning. Well Pastor Greg so many people if they were truly candid might admit that there are times when their marriage is sort of on autopilot.
You know with the demands of making a living and rearing children and fixing the flat tire and the fourth load of laundry for the day and oh look Aunt Gertrude just popped in for a visit. You know it can be easy to just drift from urgency to urgency and neglect that important relationship. Isn't that right?
Yeah I think that's really true. You know the Bible tells us that God brings a man and a woman together and there's two operative words and the words are leave and cleave. For this reason Jesus said quoting Moses shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife or be joined to his wife. So a successful marriage is built on leaving other relationships. Now that doesn't mean you're not still a child to your parents or a sibling or whatever other relationships you have but a new family has begun.
It's a marriage and this family now takes precedence over your other family connections. So there's the leaving then there's the cleaving and the word that is used there in the original language speaks of something that's intentional. Think of yourself as scaling the side of a mountain. You're holding on for dear life. So cleaving doesn't mean you're stuck together. It means you're sticking together. You're holding on to each other and that's something that is intentional and something you need to work at every day. It's almost as though the culture has declared war on marriage and you could take almost every societal ill right now and it would and it would be traced back to the breakdown of the family and this is why here at A New Beginning we care about the family. We care about marriage and we want to strengthen your marriage and we have a great resource this month that we're offering you. It's a brand new book written by my friend Levi Lusko along with his wife Jenny and it's called The Marriage Devotional. Levi let me ask you a question. What are some practical ways that a husband and wife can engage in cleaving or being closer to one another?
You know I think that's a really important question and I think you have to get out of the norm. You know Dave was talking about the fourth load of laundry and that's true. I think it's really easy to get stuck in a rut and so you have to ask yourself the question do I still hear the music? Paul McCartney was asked at one point when he knew the beginning of the end had come for the Beatles and he pointed back to their sold out concert at Shea Stadium because they didn't have in-ear monitors. They had to rely on stage wedges and he said because the the crowd was screaming so loud we couldn't hear the music but we just kept playing anyway and so I ask you in your marriage when was the last time you stopped to listen to the music? Can you still hear the music? You know there was a day when you swept each other off your feet and that's why you decided to court and get married but 20 years in 30 years in even you know seven years in there can come sort of the daily urgency of paying the bills and you know the college fund and the are we feeding the the Roth IRA and we're not hearing the music anymore so we point in couples in the book to something as simple as a staycation booking a hotel room overnight in the same city you live in getting away getting out of the routine order some room service in assess go back to the beginning in your mind tell each other what you originally loved about each other fight to hear the music beautiful that's great so these are some of the thoughts that you'll find in this new book by Levi and Jenny Lesko simply titled the marriage devotional that we want to send you for your gift of any size to our ministry here at a new beginning this month order your copy the marriage devotional yeah that's right and think about how you might give it as a gift maybe an anniversary gift or a wedding gift 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 and we won't be mentioning this much longer so contact us soon call us at 1-800-821-3300 you can reach us anytime again dial 1-800-821-3300 or take care of all the details online at harvest.org I don't know if you know about this but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world listen to this we even have harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the word of God so join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at harvest.org well next time join us as pastor Greg continues our enlightening series in the book of Romans called relentless grace join us here on a new beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Lord a new beginning is a podcast made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God if this show has impacted your life share your story leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-27 05:46:31 / 2023-04-27 05:56:32 / 10