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. Well, I have a word of encouragement for you today from the great theologians journey. Don't stop believing. Don't give up. It's doubtful many of us are very good at waiting. What's that saying? Patience is a virtue.
Possess it if you can. Seldom found in woman, never found in man. The stakes are even higher when there's great danger or discomfort. But today on A New Beginning, as Pastor Greg Laurie continues our study series in the book of Romans, we'll see God will come through for us and His timing is always perfect.
And the best example of His providence is in His Son's sacrifice for our sins. Heard the story of two college football players who were taking a very important final exam. Now if they failed, they would not be able to play in the big game that weekend. So they had to get this right. In the exam was a question. It was the last question. You had to fill in the blank. The last question was, Old MacDonald had a blank. Very good. I see some of you got it already.
I'm very proud of you. Old MacDonald had a blank. So Bubba said to his buddy Tiny, I don't know the answer. What did Old MacDonald have? And Tiny said, Bubba, you're so stupid. Old MacDonald had a farm. Right, Bubba said. A farm. And Bubba waited for a moment and then whispered back to Tiny, tiny, how do you spell farm? Tiny said, Bubba, you're so stupid. What's wrong with you?
It's spelled E-I-E-I-O. Anyway. How many of you loved to take tests when you were in school? You like tests. There are some. Apparently not in this church.
Somewhere out there. But I hated tests of course. And the reason I hated tests was well I never studied for them.
That's why. But I have a test for you today. This is a multiple choice issue here. I'm going to pose a question.
And you have three options for your answer. And this comes back to a question a friend of mine has asked his patients. He is a doctor. And he says after he had done the exam and everything they needed he would ask them this question. He would say, if you were to die tonight, which I don't know is a great thing for a doctor to say.
But anyway. If you were to die tonight and stand before God and if He were to say to you, why should I let you into heaven, what would you say? Again the question is if you were to die tonight and stand before God, what would you say to God as to why He should let you into heaven? Here are your three choices. Choice number one. Because I tried my best to be a good Christian. Number two. Because I believe in God and I try to do His will. Number three.
Because I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sin and I accept His gift. So how many of you choose number one. Raise your hand. How many of you choose number two. Raise your hand. Come on. Number two. No. How about number three. How many of you. Oh you are smart aren't you. I knew I couldn't fool you. And that is the correct answer of course.
Why is number one not the correct answer? Because I have tried my best to be a good Christian. Because basically you are saying that you think you can earn your salvation. By trying your best to be what you call a good Christian you will hopefully find favor with God and He will let you into heaven. Getting into heaven is not based on what you have done for God.
It is based on what God has done for you. And by the way I don't even like the phrase good Christian. Oh He is a good Christian. I don't know that I am a good Christian. Am I a struggling Christian. Yes. Are there times when I am a bad Christian.
Yes. Am I a good Christian. What does that even mean. If I have learned nothing else in Romans one to three it is simply that I am not good. I will tell you what I am. I am a forgiven Christian. So I can live with that. Ok but what about number two.
It is a little closer but it is not really there. Because I believe in God and I try to do His will. If category number one is earning your salvation.
Category number two is salvation plus works. I am saying I believe in God which is good but I am trying to do His will. Well that is not going to get me into heaven.
And that is why number three is the only correct answer. Because I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sin and I accept His gift. Ephesians two says, By grace you have been saved through faith not of yourselves.
It is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast. Now in our last message in Romans we are introduced to three important words that every Christian should understand. They are justification, redemption, and propitiation. What is justification? Justification means that God has forgiven you of your sin and in the place of your sin He has put the righteousness of Christ into your account. One way it has been defined is just as if it never had happened.
Number two. Redemption means a price has been paid for your sin. The Romans had many slaves.
They would conquer nations and take people into slavery. People were literally sold down at an auction to be purchased. And so it would be like you are on the auction block and the price is paid for your redemption. Jesus paid the price for our redemption from sin and from death. And then He forgives us and He adopts us. It is like He comes and He buys us off the slave market.
Then He marches us down to the courthouse and adopts us as His son or His daughter. That is redemption. So justification, redemption, and now this tricky word propitiation. Not many sentences you can work that word into.
Right? What is propitiation? It means to appease the wrath of. To appease the wrath of. So God had His righteous judgment. He poured it out not on you, not on me, though He deserved it, but instead He poured it out on Jesus. So Jesus Christ appeased the wrath of God.
You could say God took His own medicine, so to speak, as Jesus drank of the cup. So Paul's conclusion is there is nothing we can do to earn or deserve this. And now he is addressing the law keeping religious Jewish person.
The Jewish person that says, look I am one of God's chosen people, which is true. God established a covenant with us, which is also true. We confirm that covenant through circumcision.
That is right. And we have the law. So we don't really need to come through Jesus. We come in our own way. And Paul is saying, no, you come through Jesus. Those Gentiles, those non-Jews, they come through Jesus to God. But even you guys with all of your benefits still have to come through Jesus Christ. Well they were not getting this.
So he is playing it out. He is explaining it even further because they thought their good deeds, in their case circumcision, and attempts to keep the law would get them into heaven. Now here is the interesting thing. Some people still believe this today. Even Christians. Now if you were to press most believers and say, do good works get you into heaven, they would quickly say, no, it is by God's grace.
But in the way that they live you would think that they believe that good works somehow earn the favor of God. For instance, I expect God to keep me out of trouble and answer all of my prayers if I do my duty as a Christian. I get up every morning and I have my devotions and then I spend X amount of time in prayer. Maybe I share the gospel. I have done my little duty. Now I expect God to bless me. And if something doesn't go right that day or I face some kind of trouble I say, wait Lord why is this happening? I did all of my little Christian duties.
What are you doing here? See in a way you are trying to earn God's favor instead of understanding you have God's favor. I am not suggesting you not open the day with the word of God and with prayer and attempt to share the gospel. What I am saying is don't do those things to find God's favor. Do those things because you found it already. Let them be the overflow of a life with Jesus.
That is the difference. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody what are you doing this weekend? I would like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place. So you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home.
Join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is presenting a message called, Don't Stop Believing from our studies in the book of Romans. Let's continue now in Romans chapter 4. So now Paul is trying to make his point understand with Jewish people. So he picks two iconic Jewish leaders. Two men that were highly respected by all Jews. Number one it was Abraham who is effectively the father of the Jewish people. And the second was David who has been regarded as the greatest king of Israel. So Romans chapter 4 read verses 1 to 3.
This is the New Living Translation. Abraham was humanly speaking the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God's way. For the scripture tells us Abraham believed God and God credited to him as righteousness because of his faith.
So we will stop there. The word credited is used many times here in Romans chapter 4. It is mentioned in verse 3, verse 4, verse 5, verse 6, verse 9, 10, 11, 22, and 23. Over and over Paul uses that word credited to his account. So for the self-righteous religious Jew who thought that because he was circumcised he was made right with God Paul is pointing out Abraham was credited as being righteous before circumcision existed.
But we still do the same thing. And we pointed this out earlier in Romans. Being raised in a Christian home doesn't make you a Christian. Being baptized in water does not save you. Reading the Bible does not save you. Now if you are a Christian you should read the Bible and you should be baptized. But the point is we can cling to these things as though they save us.
No. They are the outward showing of what God has already done. Because salvation is a gift.
Now Paul shifts gears and uses David as an illustration. Look at Romans 4, verse 6. David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it. Oh what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven. Whose sins are put out of sight. Yes what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin. See even David was declared righteous.
But why? Because of the awesome stuff David did. There are a lot of things David could have boasted of. He after all was the giant killer. Brought down Goliath and the Valley of Elah. People loved him. They wrote a song about him.
It was number one on Israeli radio for weeks. He was like a rock star to his own people. Also David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel. He was a great poet. He was a writer of psalms. He was a musician. He was a warrior.
He was a whole package. But that is not why God declared him righteous. He was declared righteous because he believed.
Because he believed. And by the way he had some serious lapses in his faith. I mentioned David and Goliath. Well there is one other name that is associated with the name David. David and Goliath and David and who? Oh yeah.
That is it. One represents his greatest victory Goliath. One represents his greatest defeat Bathsheba.
And you know that story. How David was kicking back at the palace when the troops were in battle. He should have been there leading them. And so he was sleeping in late. And he was walking around on his little patio there in the palace. And he saw the beautiful Bathsheba bathing herself. And he was filled with lust.
And instead of repenting and taking a cold shower. He acted on his lust. Had her brought up to his chambers.
Had sexual relations with her. And she got pregnant. Then he should have repented and acknowledged what he had done was wrong before God. But instead he tried to cover his sin up as people often try to do. So he had her husband Uriah brought in from the heat of battle to spend a nice night at home with his wife. And he figured if they had relations together Uriah would think, well that is my child. But Uriah was such a dedicated soldier.
He would not allow himself to have the comfort of being with his wife that night. And so David realized he had a do-gooder on his hands. So he basically sent Uriah to the front of the charge back in the battle. And he was killed. So David you could say really murdered Uriah. So now he is guilty of adultery. And he is guilty of murder.
So he has done some horrible things. Yet God forgave David. And when did that happen? It happened when the prophet Nathan confronted him. And David repented and communication was restored.
And that is what is being mentioned here. How happy is the man whose sin is forgiven. It is quoting from Psalm 32. David is saying God forgave me of my sin. And I am a happy man because of it.
Because here is the bottom line. A child of God is never happy when they are living in sin. If you call yourself a Christian. And you are doing things the Bible clearly says you should not be doing.
And you are doing them over and over. And somehow you have found a way to rationalize it. And you even found a way to think that God approves of it.
You are in a dangerous place my friend. Because a true child of God will be under conviction. Which means they won't feel good about themselves when they are living in sin. So David writes, Blessed are happy as the man whose sin is forgiven because God forgave him of the sin that he had committed.
And this is a wonderful thing. So that is quoted here in this particular Psalm. Notice David did not say happy as the man who has popularity. He had plenty of that. If David was around today he would have more followers on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook than anybody out there. He would have been the most popular of all. But popularity never brought David fulfillment. Nor did David write happy as the man who has prosperity. He had more money than he could have spent in a lifetime.
But no. He knew what it was like to be tormented by his own sin before he repented of it. So instead he says happy as the man whose sin is forgiven. David was not a perfect man. But he was a forgiven man. And because of that he was a happy man. So now we shift gears back to Abraham again.
And this is really now a model. About to hang on to your faith when things are really hard. Look at Romans 4 16. Therefore the promise comes by faith so that it may be by grace. It may be guaranteed to all of Abraham's offspring. Not only to those of us who are of the law but to those who are having the faith of Abraham.
He is the father of us all because God has made him a father to many nations. You see Abraham is a model of how to have faith when things are looking bleak. God gave to Abraham the land of Israel. And God made Abraham the father of the Jewish people. Over in Genesis 12 God said to Abraham. I will bless those that bless you and I will curse those that curse you.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. By the way that is one of the reasons that here at Harvest we love the Jewish people. Because they are God's chosen people. And that is why we also love the land of Israel. Because God gave that land to the people. Now sometimes I will hear people say, Well you know what the Israelis they are occupiers in that land.
Excuse me. God gave them the land in the first place before anybody else. And He gave them the city of Jerusalem. That is why I think it is a wonderful thing that the American Embassy has now been moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Recognizing that is the capital of Israel. If God recognizes it we should recognize it. And then God made a promise.
A covenant promise. He said of Abraham and his descendants the Jewish people, I will bless those that bless you and I will curse those that curse you. So as we bless them. As we stand by them.
God blesses us as well. So then God said to Abraham, I am going to make you a father of many nations. But man he was getting on in years. I mean he was so old Arp wasn't even sending him newsletters anymore.
He was older than old. But he kept believing God was going to give him that son. God was going to fulfill his promise.
So if you are taking notes here is point number one. Abraham kept believing despite his circumstances. Abraham kept believing despite his circumstances. Verse 19. And Abraham's faith did not weaken even though at about 100 years of age he figured his body was as good as dead. And so was Sarah's womb. But Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise.
In fact his faith grew stronger and in this he brought glory to God. There was no way he was going to have a child at 100. No way that he was going to be able to. Well how do I put this delicately? Let's just say it wasn't going to happen. We will leave it at that. And old Sarah sure she was still a fox in her way.
But she had never conceived a child before and she was past the age of child bearing. I mean the only way this would happen would be if a miracle took place. Now let me ask you a question. Are you in a place right now where you need a miracle in your life? In other words if God does not come through for you you are effectively dead in the water. Well I have a word of encouragement for you today from the great theologian's journey. Don't stop believing. Don't stop believing. Don't give up. God can get you through.
He got Abraham through and he can get you through as well. So don't stop believing. They kept their hope alive. You see they had God's promises.
And we have God's promises as well. Good encouragement today from Pastor Greg Laurie from a study called Don't Stop Believing. And there is more to come here on A New Beginning. We are in the early chapters of a fascinating study series in the book of Romans called Relentless Grace.
Well we are so happy to make available the movie Jesus Revolution on DVD. And you know Pastor Greg your story, your personal story, your dramatic story is told in the movie. You lived a tough childhood but that story has touched a lot of lives. At what point over all these years did you realize your story was something to be thankful for because it helped you connect? Well I probably discovered that well of course after I became a Christian and I began to tell my story.
I saw how it resonated with people. You know we all have a testimony. Our testimony is simply our story of how we came to Christ.
And everyone loves a story. You know people can argue with the facts. They can't argue with your testimony because you're an expert on you. You lived it.
You were there. And all of us have the same testimony. In effect we're like that blind man who was healed by Jesus in John chapter 9 and he sums it up this way. Once I was blind but now I see. So no matter what your background is, once you were blind but now you see. I've been privileged to tell my story in a feature film actually directed by John Irwin and Brent McCorkle.
And it's resonating with people. And you know when I was growing up as a kid coming from a divorced home I was more the exception than the rule. Most of my friends had moms and dads at home and I didn't.
And the funny thing is even as a kid though I had complete freedom, some would say way too much freedom. I didn't go home at night for a family dinner. My mom was working so I went to a local hamburger joint and ordered the same thing every night. A hamburger, french fries, and a vanilla malt. It's the dream of a teenager. But after a while I got tired of hamburgers, french fries, and vanilla malts.
I would go over to my friend's house with a mom and dad there and eat the food I didn't even really like because I found it so novel to sit at a table with a family. Well now my story coming from a broken home is more the norm than the exception. So many come from broken homes to the point my mother was married and divorced seven times. So my home was perpetually broken. But God put my life back together again. God brought a message out of a mess.
He brought a testimony out of a test. As the Bible says he brings beauty out of ashes. So now I look back on my life and though I would not wish my childhood on anyone. I can see that Romans 8 28 came into play which says all things work together for good to those that love God and are called according to his purpose. So my story is a bridge to tell the bigger story.
And that bigger story is the story of Jesus, his life, his death, and his resurrection. And so that's what this movie is about. It's a sort of set the stage for you. Let's say we're in a volleyball game. And you know when you're in a volleyball game they set the ball up for you maybe if you're toward the front to spike right on your opponent. It's almost like we've set the ball up now you got to just spike it. The film is here.
The heavy lifting is done. Pop it into your DVD player. Put non-believers in front of it.
Play it. And it even has a special presentation of the gospel at the end of it that I filmed that you can then show them. And you will have an opportunity God willing to actually pray with those people to accept Christ into their life. Listen folks this is the greatest most effective evangelistic tool we have ever offered in our history.
And I really want you to have a copy. Now you can go pay retail for it somewhere. But you can get it from us for your gift of any size. But what that means is whatever you send will be used to get the gospel out.
And we do pay more for this resource than we pay for other resources we offer. So I'm going to ask you to be extra generous. Send your gift to support our ministry. And in return we'll send you your own copy of Jesus Revolution with a lot of special bonus content. Order one now. And we'll send it your way just as soon as we hear from you. You'll get Jesus Revolution on DVD along with a free streaming code. And thanks so much for partnering with us.
We're completely listener supported. You can call us anytime 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.
Or go online to harvest.org. The visually impaired sometimes trust a companion to lead them by the arm. Why? Because it's good to trust someone who can clearly see the way forward. Well next time we'll see how we need to trust God to guide us because He knows what's ahead. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org
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