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. Not a coincidence, it's providence. It's not an accident, it's an appointment. Every ship captain likes smooth sailing. No squalls, no storms, no stress. And every ship captain has seen the weather change very suddenly.
How many of us have started a particular day with the sun shining and the birds singing and ended the day wondering how we'd make it through until tomorrow? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how Jesus is with us in the midst of our trials and how those trials may be handpicked to turn us into the stalwart saints God wants us to be. Romans 5. I'm going to read verses 1 to 11.
And by the way, I'm reading from the New Living Translation. Therefore, writes Paul, since we have been justified, that's a King James translation here in the New Living that says we've been made right with God by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. We can rejoice too when we run into problems and trials for we know they help us develop endurance and endurance develops strength of character and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation and this hope will not lead to disappointment for we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love. When we were utterly helpless Christ came at just the right time and died for his sinners. Now most people would not be willing to die for an upright person though some might be willing to die for a person who's especially good but God showed us great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners and since we've been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ he will certainly save us from God's condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his son while we were still his enemies we will certainly be saved through the life of his son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends with God.
Wow. Look at all that God has done for you. Look at all that God has done for me. He's made us his friends. It's a hard thing to wrap our minds around the idea of being a friend of God but Jesus said from this point on I no longer call you servants I call you friends. How did this amazing friendship with God come about? Point number one. We have friendship with God because Jesus made it possible.
There's nothing I did to merit it. But we have this friendship with God because Jesus made it possible. Look at verse 5. We've been made right in God's sight by faith and we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Now what are some of the benefits of friendship with God?
Number two. This friendship with God brings us personal peace. But listen to this. You cannot experience the peace of God until you first have peace with God. Because here's why you need peace with God. Prior to becoming a Christian you are at war with God. That's what the Bible teaches. In fact right here in Romans chapter 5 we read over in verse 10 we were the enemies of God before we were reconciled. Romans 8 5 Paul says the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws and it never will.
That's why those who are under the control of the sinful nature can never please God. Here's another one. Number three. A true friend is always there for you.
A true friend is always there for you. Verse 2. We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Verse 1 says we have peace.
Verse 2 says we have access. So peace with God takes care of my past. He no longer holds my sins against me. Access to God takes care of my present.
I can come to Him any time. And thirdly joyfully looking to the future takes care of my future. So God has got you covered past present and future. You have an all access pass into the presence of God.
Number four. True friends stick together through thick and thin. They stick together through thick and thin. A friend will be there for you when others are not. In fact one way to find out who your friends are is when crisis hits. Your friends will stand by you.
Your fair weather friends won't. And here's what Paul says to bring that point home. Verse 3. We rejoice when we run into problems and trials for we know they help us develop endurance and endurance develops strength of character and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Interesting. Paul did not merely endure these experiences. He is rejoicing in them. You know Paul never had a boring day in his life. Everywhere Paul went there was either a riot or a revival. There was always something going on with Paul. And you can read about him in the book of Acts and all of his adventures and hardships.
And of course he talks about them in his epistles as well. But Paul made a choice that when he went through times of trial he was going to rejoice. And we have that same choice before us. I can't control what happens around me try as I may. But I can control how I react. And here is my choice in life. When difficulties come my way. When things that seem unfair happen to me. When I am going through some time of hardship my choice is I can choose to be better or bitter.
And some people choose the latter. They are bitter. They are mad at God. They are mad at the world. They are mad at their family. They are mad at everything. And others say well Lord I don't know why you allowed this.
And I wish you had not allowed it. But I want to be better. I want to learn through this. The word that Paul uses here for trials is an interesting word that means squeezing.
It is used to squeeze olives to get the oil out or to squeeze grapes to get the juice out. It also means to be under pressure and to crush. Paul is describing the kind of trial where there is nothing I can do to make it go away. Some trials that come in our life are short lived. They happen and they are gone. But others are there and they don't leave. And I try to find a way around them. I try to climb over it. Tunnel under it. Nothing works. There is no way around this particular trial.
So what should I do? Well let's think about someone who went through a trial like that. It was Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. As He was preparing to take the sin of the world on Himself as He would die on the cross in our place. And Dr. Luke a physician tells us He sweat as it were great drops of blood. That is King James 4. He was literally perspiring blood.
A rare medical condition known as hematrydrosis where when a person is under intense pressure their perspiration is mingled with blood. That is what Jesus was going through. And what did He do? He said, Father if it is possible let this cup pass from me. But then He went on to say, nevertheless not My will but Yours be done.
And He has given us a model of what to do in times of uncertainty. You have tried to get out of this situation. You have tried to change your circumstances. Nothing is working.
Here is what you need to do. Submit to the will of God and say not My will but Yours be done. Maybe the Lord is actually waiting for that moment.
Think about Job. I mean all the calamity that came on this man of God. And the problem with Job is he never read the book of Job. Because if he had he would have known there was a pretty happy ending to the story. But he didn't know anything. As all these bad things happened in here he was a godly man. I mean if he had done a lot of horrible wicked things and bad things happened it would have made some sense. But the fact is he was living such a godly life as it turns out God was bragging about him in heaven.
But Job didn't know that part. He just knew one day he woke up and everything went wrong that could go wrong. He lost his family. He lost his health. He lost his possessions. He probably also wishes he had lost his wife at that point. Because it was Mrs. Job that said, why don't you just curse God and die. Thank you for that.
Word of encouragement. But he didn't know why it was happening. And the reason it took place is the Lord was saying in the presence of the angels with Lucifer around, have you considered my servant Job a perfect and upright man.
One that fears God and shuns evil. And the devil loose paraphrase said, oh please give me a break. Give me some time with Job and we'll see what he's really made of. And the Lord allowed the devil to bring some hardship into the life of Job.
But what did Job ultimately do when he lost everything? He praised the Lord and said, naked came I into this world. Naked go I out. Praise the name of the Lord. That is what we need to do.
We need to surrender. We say, Lord I don't have any solutions. And the Lord says, now I'll show you what I can do. God says in Jeremiah 33, call to me and I will answer you.
I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We're hearing from so many people who have been impacted by Pastor Greg's film, Jesus Revolution, like this listener.
Pastor Greg, I just watched Jesus Revolution for the third time. This time it was with my 18 year old granddaughter. She loved it. I had a great conversation with her about God on the way home. While talking with her, I found out that your story, Greg, deeply touched her and she felt a shift in her anger over the death of her mom, my daughter.
God is healing her heart and her spirit. Thank you, Greg. Do you have a story to tell? If so, would you consider letting us know? Contact Pastor Greg by emailing him, gregatharvest.org.
That's gregatharvest.org. Well, we're getting some good perspective on the trials of life today as Pastor Greg presents a message called How to Have Peace with God from Romans chapter five. Let's continue. So what should I do in the interim while I'm going through this time of trial? Answer, I should rejoice. Verse three, rejoice when you run into problems and trials because they help us develop endurance. There's a reason for what you're going through. You know, I don't understand it at the moment, but God is looking through it. I need to look through the sufferings to the certainties and remember that God is at work. There's no joy in the trial itself, but it's strengthening me.
The word that Paul uses here for endurance is a word that is translated staying power or fortitude. See, God's toughening you up. Everything you go through in life is preparation for something else.
God's preparing you for something that is coming. He's making you stronger. Sort of like going to the gym. I think the problem with people going to the gym is they don't go regularly. So they want to make up for the times they didn't go so they work out really hard. Then the next day they can't even walk. Right?
They can't even lift the styrofoam cup. Pain. Pain. Right?
You know, they overdid it. They need someone to help them know how to work properly in a gym. And as you know, building up muscle means tearing down muscle. No pain.
No gain. You break it down to build it up and then you get stronger and you develop more endurance and and you're more able to you can lift more weight and time and so forth. And so you might be going through that time right now. You're sort of in the gym and you're going through this difficulty, but you're toughening up. God is preparing you for something that still is yet to come. So you just hold your course and know that God is at work.
Justification is what God does for us, but tribulation and perseverance are something done in us. You're working out what God has worked in. And whatever you're going through right now, remember it's not a coincidence. It's providence.
It's not an accident. It's an appointment. God's in control. He's going to see you through it.
And what is the reason? He wants us to develop character. Verse four. Develop endurance and endurance develops strength of character. The word character means testedness.
It's the idea of something that comes from experience. They call it being battle tested. You know there might be some soldiers from a particular unit that have seen action. They have been in combat. They have learned how to work together.
How to have each other's back. They know what it's like to literally be under fire. So when you have a particular mission you may not pick those guys fresh out of the training camp. Out of boot camp.
You're going to go with that battle tested unit that is more seasoned. And God is getting you ready because folks we are in a spiritual battle and there's no getting out of this spiritual battle. And the objective is to win not lose. And this tribulation is hardship produces hope according to verse four. It produces hope. I think it comes as a shock to some people that hope grows in the garden of adversity. We would think that hope grows in the sunshine.
But the fact is when the storms are beating against us our roots go down deeper and we get stronger in our faith. And really what hope does this world have. I mean if you're putting your hope in anything this world offers you're going to be disappointed. If you're putting your hope in politicians.
I don't care what party you're affiliated with. You're always going to be disappointed. No man no woman is going to be able to resolve all the problems we have in our country today. Now we need to put our hope in God. And our hope will grow stronger as we go through our times of difficulty.
And notice that Paul also writes that this hope does not lead to disappointment or literally this hope is no fantasy. God will never let us down. What did I do to deserve all of this? Simple answer.
Nothing. Let's review. We're told here in verse eight we were sinners. We are sinners.
But God showed his great love toward us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Some might die for a righteous man or a good man. Most people wouldn't die for a bad man. I mean if you were given a choice and your wife was sick and someone said will you die in her place you'd say yeah I'll die in her place. And then they said well okay now your neighbor your neighbor's in need would you die in the place of your neighbor.
I don't know they're kind of a cranky neighbor. How about if I just get beat up for them. No will you die for them. No I won't die for them. Okay now the guy that just robbed your house and is running down the street with your new flat screen TV would you die for him.
No I want to kill him actually. Okay. All right so when did Christ die for us? When we were believers in church with our hands lifted up in praise.
No. He died for us when we were at our worst. When we were sinners.
So that's an amazing thing. I did nothing to deserve this. He died before I believed for me. Number two I was the enemy of God verse 10 says.
And then number four I was utterly helpless. There was nothing I could do to save myself. I was powerless to escape death. Powerless to resist Satan. Powerless to please God in any way. But yet he sent his son to die for me.
Why has he done this? Number one because he loves us and he has justified us. Number two so we can have access into his presence at any time. And thirdly so we can have peace with God.
Now let me close by asking you this. Do you have peace with God? As I pointed out before you can have the peace of God you must have peace with God. Stop fighting with God. Stop wrestling with God.
Stop opposing God and trust in God and believe in him. And he'll give you this peace. The peace that passes all human understanding.
You can have it right now. Drugs are never going to give you that peace. Alcohol will never give you that peace. Things, possessions will never give you that peace. There's no relationship with any person as wonderful as they may be that will give you that peace. There's no thing philosophy will not give you that peace.
Even religion will not give you that peace. Only God can give it to you. And the way to find it in your life is you must say Lord I'm tired of fighting with you. I'm tired of running from you.
I want to know you. I want to be a friend of God. And that can happen for you right now because Jesus has already made a way for you. He's already paid the price on the cross for you and risen again from the dead.
And now he just stands at the door of your life and he knocks and he says if you'll hear his voice and open the door he will come in. And I wonder if all of you have asked Jesus to forgive you of your sin. I've talked today about knowing your sin is forgiven. Knowing today that you'll go to heaven when you die. Do you have that confidence? Or is your heart and mind filled with turmoil and friction and anxiety and fear and apprehension that can be replaced by the peace of God right now. But you must meet God's conditions.
What are they? You admit you're a sinner. You turn from that sin. You repent of that sin. You ask Jesus Christ to come into your life to be your Savior and Lord. You believe in him and you enter into this friendship with God.
And if you've not done this yet I'd like to give you an opportunity to do it right now. Let's all bow our heads if you would please. Father I pray for any person here any person watching or listening wherever they may be. If they don't know you yet help them to come to you and believe in you and be forgiven by you and enter into this friendship with you.
Speak to their hearts we would ask now in your name. Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie for those who want to make a change in their relationship with the Lord and enjoy peace with God. If that's where you're at today if you'd like to make that kind of change Pastor Greg will come back in a moment and help you do that before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. You know Pastor Greg Jesus Revolution came to theaters right around the time that there was some really wacky weather all across the country.
Here in California there was so much snow in the mountains that people were trapped in their homes for days upon days. And it was that way in many places across the country I saw a social media post that said help we're trapped at home but we want to see the movie can you help us not help we need food help we got to see the movie. And we have some good news for those folks don't we? Yes you can see the movie listen you can own the movie you can watch it as many times as you want because we are now offering the Jesus Revolution film on DVD and that means that you can play it whenever you want to play it and the great thing is don't just watch it for yourself show it to your family show it to your neighbors show it to your friends make it an evangelistic outreach because this film is real it's gritty it connects with believer and non-believer alike. Actually we had some amazing reviews you know the audience gave it a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and there's another website called CinemaScore that gave Jesus Revolution an A plus rating. Now this is just a rating based on the entertainment value of the film and the audience response so you can have your own copy you can show it to whoever you want to show it to but in this special edition of the Jesus Revolution DVD that we're offering you right now there's a message that I filmed that presents the gospel and it has a prayer at the end and a person can pray to accept Christ. Listen this is the most effective evangelistic tool we have ever offered in our history. I believe if you show this film to people that don't know the Lord you will see people come to Christ as a result in a way the film does the heavy lifting you just got to get other people to watch it with you so now you can have your own copy and I'll send it to you for your gift of any size. Now I'm going to be honest this resource costs us more than we normally pay for other resources so I'm going to ask our listeners to be extra generous because we want to get a copy of this DVD to you so get your copy of the Jesus Revolution DVD with bonus with bonus content for your gift of any size to help us continue to preach the gospel and teach the word of God. Yeah that's right our mission statement is knowing him and making him known and we're so thankful for your partnership with us. Listener support is the only way we can continue to bring you these daily studies so contact us today for your copy of Jesus Revolution on DVD and we'll include a free streaming code.
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 Pastor Greg a few moments ago you spoke of the need to get our hearts right with the Lord so we can enjoy the peace of God could you help someone who wants to do that right now? Yes I'd be delighted to listen as you've listened to this program today maybe something's been happening inside of your heart where you're sensing I need to do this personally but how do I do it and what do I do let me help you it's very simple in fact it's so simple you may be shocked God this relationship with him is just a prayer away. The Bible says if you will call upon the name of the Lord you'll be saved so I'd like to lead you in a prayer where you do just that you call on the name of the Lord this can be the moment where you change your eternal address literally from hell to heaven just pray these words Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead Jesus I choose to follow you from this moment forward in your name I pray amen. I know it's such a simple short prayer but you just called on the name of the Lord and you know what he heard that prayer and if you meant that prayer in your heart he answered that prayer now let me help you to get started on the right foot in your new life in Jesus Christ the greatest adventure awaits you the life of walking with God I want to send you what we call a new believers growth pack that includes the new believers Bible and a whole lot more and let me be the first to say to you congratulations and welcome to the family of God. Yeah and to get that free new believers growth pack just ask for it if you prayed along with Pastor Greg to receive Christ today we'll be glad to send one your way free of any charge call us anytime at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or write us at a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org and click on know God. Well next time Pastor Greg continues our Roman series called Relentless Grace by digging deep into the sum and substance of our salvation it's fascinating foundational insight 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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