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Bringing the Gospel Back Home | The Journey of Sanctification

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 9, 2023 3:00 am

Bringing the Gospel Back Home | The Journey of Sanctification

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 9, 2023 3:00 am

Romans is widely regarded as a textbook on the Christian faith. It clarifies so many issues of sin and salvation, temptation, and redemption. If the whole of the Bible is a balanced spiritual meal, Romans would be a generous serving of meat. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us gain some clarity on the precepts of our faith. We’ll see God does His part, we cooperate with what He’s done, and there are a few things that are up to us. Let’s learn how it all works together.

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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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Sign up at Salvation is coming to Christ. Sanctification is growing in Christ.

Today, Pastor Greg Laurie explains an important distinction between those terms, and more importantly, explains how we need to understand both to understand our faith and our standing before God. Salvation is being forgiven of past sins. Sanctification is where we break free from the power of sin.

This is something God does in our life, and it never stops until we get to heaven. Romans is widely regarded as a textbook on the Christian faith. It clarifies so many issues of sin, salvation, temptation, and redemption. If the whole of the Bible is a balanced spiritual meal, Romans would be a generous serving of meat. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us gain some clarity on the precepts of our faith. We'll see God does His part, we cooperate with what He's done, and there are a few things that are up to us.

Let's learn how it all works together. Turn to Romans chapter 6, and the title of my message is Bringing the Gospel Home. Why study the book of Romans?

Answer. Because Romans is the gospel taught to believers. It's amazing how many people actually don't understand the gospel.

Let me restate that. It's amazing how many Christians don't understand the gospel. So Romans is the book to go to for answers about what the gospel is. Study of this book transformed the lives of very significant people in church history starting with Augustine and then Martin Luther, John Wesley, and even a pastor named Chuck Smith.

So we pray that will happen for us as a church. Why study Romans? Because Romans is the most basic comprehensive statement of what the gospel is in all of the Bible.

The most basic comprehensive statement of what the gospel is in all of the Bible. It is, of course, in Romans 3.23 that we read all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That is why Christ came. It is surprising how many people, even Christians sometimes, will believe that if you live a good life you will get to heaven. If Romans does nothing else, it refutes that idea once and for all.

Because you are not good enough to get to heaven regardless of how many good works you have done. Paul systematically addresses every person with every kind of argument as to why God would accept them on their own merit. He deals with pagan people in chapter 1. He deals with moral people.

Then he deals with religious people. And the conclusion is everybody has to come through Jesus. Everybody has to acknowledge their sin because Romans offers the solution to sin. Romans 6.23, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Romans 5.8, God demonstrated His love toward us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. And Romans 10.23, whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. One word that we have seen a few times in our study of Romans is the word justification. It is very important we understand and appreciate what God has done for us. Justification means that God has forgiven you of all of your sin. And it also means that He has placed the righteousness of Christ into your account.

One way justification has been defined is just as if it never had happened. Romans 5 says we are justified by faith and so we have peace with God. Now if you really get this it is going to cause you to want to live a Godly life. It is going to cause you to want to serve the Lord and discover His plan for you in light of all He has done for you. But some might misunderstand this wonderful teaching and misuse this wonderful teaching and think well because I am saved and because I am justified and because it is just as if it never had happened. Amen. God has kind of given me a license to sin. And I can go out and pretty much do whatever I want to do.

Wow. You talk about missing the point. And there are people that live this way. They will say well you know I believe in one saved always saved. And then they are living in a pattern of habitual and continual sin.

Now look. Every Christian is going to sin. Indisputable fact of the universe. We are going to sin. The Bible even says if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Ok. Having said that that does not give us an excuse to woefully go out and sin against God. Whoever continues in sin without remorse is not in danger of losing their salvation. Rather by their choices they reveal they may have never had salvation to begin with.

Let me say that again. Whoever continues in sin without remorse is not in danger of losing their salvation but rather by their choices they reveal that they may have never had salvation to begin with. Because 1 John 3 8 says, when people keep on sinning it shows they belong to the devil who has been sinning since the beginning.

So this is the thing. God has justified us and in light of that we should want to live a life that honors Him. So I want to bring a new word to your vocabulary for some of you. It is the word sanctification.

What does that mean? Well that is addressed here in Romans chapter 6 verses 1 to 4. And by the way that was all the introduction to the message. Everything that has happened has been the introduction.

It is the longest introduction of all time. Now there is going to be a six minute message to follow. But Romans 6 verse 1 the New Living Translation. Well then shall we keep on sinning so God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace?

Of course not. Since we have died to sin how can we continue to live in it? Have you forgotten that when you were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism we joined Him in His death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism and just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father now we may also live new lives.

We will stop there. So Paul is telling us we can live lives of spiritual victory chapter 6. We can live lives of spiritual liberty chapter 7. And we can live lives of spiritual security chapter 8. The problem is some Christians will stop at salvation.

But they don't understand that now there should be the fruit of the results in your life. Billy Graham said and I quote, being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion. It is a daily process whereby we grow to be more and more like Christ.

End quote. So let me contrast for a moment salvation. Or let me use another word regeneration. That is what happens when you believe in Jesus. You are regenerated.

You are saved. Let's contrast salvation and sanctification. Salvation is coming to Christ. Sanctification is growing in Christ. Salvation happens in a moment bringing the sinner from spiritual death to life. Sanctification is an ongoing process. Salvation is being forgiven of past sin. Sanctification is where we break free from the power of sin. This is something God does in our life and it never stops until we get to heaven. And by the way there is God's part and there is my part. God is the one who sanctifies me because I am told over in 1 Thessalonians 5 may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely and may your spirit, soul, and body be preserved until the coming of the Lord.

So He does it. But I need to cooperate with Him because the Bible says, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God that works in you both to will and do of His good pleasure. That does not say work for your own salvation.

That is impossible. Salvation is a gift of God. But work out your own salvation or a better translation.

Carry it to the goal and fully complete. Live it out. Experience it.

And it should affect you in your day to day choices. And Paul sums us up by saying, hey man when you were baptized. He didn't say hey man. He said when you. I just threw that in. That is the new Greg translation.

Hey man. No he says hey when you were baptized that was like a burial. He says you are buried with Christ by baptism. How many of you have been baptized in water? Raise your hand up. That is good.

If you haven't been yet you need to be. You say but why? Well short answer because the Bible commands you to be baptized. The Bible says repent and be baptized. And some will say well I was baptized as a baby.

Does that count? Well did you repent? And babies don't generally repent.

They don't know what is happening. So it is something you need to do with an understanding. But it is sort of like a happy funeral service. When your body is immersed in the ocean or in the baptismal tank or wherever it is you are baptized and you come out at sort of like the end of the old you and the beginning of the new you in a symbolic way. Baptism is an outward showing of an inward doing.

You don't need to be baptized to be saved but if you are saved you should be baptized. And I heard about a pastor who was baptizing a guy who lived a pretty wicked life. And he said to the pastor before he immersed him, Pastor hold me down a long time. I have a lot to bury. So you know. Don't hold him down too long.

We don't want him to literally die under the water. But that is a symbol and now I am to walk in newness of life. It is like I was dead and I am alive again. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. 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 Well today Pastor Greg is offering some important perspective on our salvation from Romans chapter 6 in a message called Bringing the Gospel Back Home.

Let's continue. Remember when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead? Now Lazarus had been dead a long time. In fact his sister said, Lord by now he stinketh. That is the King James translation.

Which I really like the word stinketh. It is a great King James word isn't it? She was basically saying Lord he is in the process of decomposition. He is not coming back to life again. Jesus said Jesus said your brother will live again. Martha says uh yeah right. I don't think so.

Maybe in the last day. Maybe in the day of the resurrection Jesus said I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me though he were dead yet shall he live and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Then he turned to the tomb of Lazarus and he said Lazarus come forth and out of the grave back from the other side comes Lazarus wrapped up in bandages almost like a mummy. He was sort of immobilized. So he is sort of like here I am. And I love what Jesus says next. Loose him and let him go. Cut this guy loose.

He can't go anywhere like that. So he was raised to life but now he had to live like it. And for a lot of us we have been raised to life. We believe Jesus has saved us. We believe Jesus has justified us. But then if we go in sort of this lifestyle of sin we are not living like a saved person.

We are living like a spiritually dead person. As Warren Wiersbe says in his commentary these people are betweeners. Betweeners. They live in a self-imposed wilderness of compromise between Egypt and Canaan. They are saved but they are never satisfied.

They live between Good Friday and Easter believing in the power of the cross but never entering into the glory of the resurrection. Are you a betweener? Are you a person who is saved? You believe in Jesus but you are still bound to a certain sin? A certain vice has a hold on you?

And you are saying does this pattern have to continue? Listen God can break that pattern of sin. And you can walk in newness of life living a sanctified life as a follower of Jesus Christ. I am not saying you will be sinless. Anyone who tells you they are sinless is an idiot. Because we all sin. But I am saying you can sin less. You say well Greg I can't stop sinning. I can't control it.

It is just human nature. You know yes you can. You make choices. Remember Jesus said to the man He healed in John 5 stop sinning or something worse may come upon you. For every temptation you have ever faced in life that you have given into if you think back you will remember there was always a way out. And there was the power from God to give you the resolve to take that way out. So if you didn't take that way out it is not God's fault.

It was a bad choice that you made. 1 Corinthians 10 13 says, there is no temptation taking you but such as is common to man. We all face those temptations. But God who is faithful will not allow you to be tempted above your capacity to resist but will with the temptation make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it, endure it, or get through it somehow. So there is always a way out.

We make our choices and then our choices make us. Now I have always been a fan of Johnny Cash. Any of you Johnny Cash fans? The amazing thing about Johnny Cash is that he transcends generations. You know my parents' generation loved Johnny.

My generation did. Young people today love Johnny. You know he was a very interesting character because to a lot of sinners Johnny was a saint. And to a lot of saints they thought this guy was a sinner.

Well the reality is he was both. Johnny was a believer in Jesus Christ. And he used his platform to proclaim his faith in Christ.

He actually many people don't know this. I have discovered this in researching his life. He became an ordained minister and was a great student of scripture. But having said all of that Johnny struggled in life. And he struggled through a good portion of his life. In fact he said it of himself and I quote, I confess right up front that I'm the biggest sinner of them all but my faith in God has always been a solid rock that I've stood on no matter where I was or what I was doing. I was a bad boy at times but God was always there for me and I knew that and I guess maybe I took advantage of that end quote. Well let's say he also reaped the repercussions of that because of some lifestyle decisions that affected his health. But Johnny always turned back to the Lord.

Now you say Greg why write a book about a guy like that? Because he represents a lot of people out there right now that just struggle. They struggle in the Christian life. You know they don't go from glory to glory.

They take two steps forward and fall and get up and go a few more feet and they fall. And it's hard for them. And you know he didn't have to live that way. He chose to live that way and right now he's in heaven because he put his faith in Christ and I think his story is fascinating. But I bring this up because some struggle in life more than others.

And you wonder which one am I going to be? The Bible you know among other things is a very honest book. And when our heroes mess up the Bible tells us. The Bible tells us that after Noah filled an ark with a bunch of stinky animals and bobbed around in the ocean and came to that new place that God had created for him and he was just the man of faith.

He was the greatest example. And then he went out and got drunk. The Bible tells us that. Like if I was writing it I'd have left that part out. But the Bible puts it in there.

Because like this is what happened. The Bible tells us that Abraham the father of faith our great leader and example lied on multiple occasions. The Bible tells us that David the man after God's own heart committed adultery and effectively committed murder to hide his adultery. The Bible tells us that the mighty Samson who was empowered by the Holy Spirit and could do supernatural feats of strength was a man that made many bad decisions morally and reaped the consequences of it.

So these are believers that struggled. They didn't have to give into those sins but the story is given to us in its entirety. But then there's other men and women of the Bible that we don't ever read of them compromising or struggling with any sin. Not that they didn't but it's not mentioned. We don't know of any sin Joseph committed except maybe bragging about dreams. Being a little too prideful about his super cool coat.

I don't know. Pretty minor on the scale of sins I guess. And he was tempted big time by the wife of Potiphar. And we don't read of any sin that Daniel committed or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego or fast forwarding to the New Testament or Paul or John. But we certainly know about the sins and lapse of Simon Peter. So really here's what it comes down to. You choose what kind of Christian life you want to live. You want to live a life of struggle. Fall down, get up, be forgiven.

Great we all need that at certain points. But if you want to live in constant struggle you can live that way. Or you can live in newness of life provided for you by Jesus Christ through the cross by the power of the Holy Spirit. There's some of you here that have never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life and forgive you of your sin. This is the time to do it.

This is the moment to do it. Because he died on the cross for you and he shed his blood for you. And he will forgive you no matter what you've done. But then there are some of you here that believe in Jesus and you've put your faith in Jesus.

But you're a little bit more like well Johnny Cash was. You struggle and you keep falling back to these same sins over and over again. But you don't want to live that way anymore. You want to make a commitment or a recommitment to Christ. And we're going to have a moment where we're going to pray and I'm going to invite you to ask Jesus into your life. And for those of you that have been trapped by some sin that want to break free from it and have a fresh start you'll be making a recommitment to Christ. So we're going to pray for you and with you.

Father thank you for new opportunities. Thank you Lord for the sufficiency of what Jesus did on the cross that cleanses us of all sin. But we must be willing to repent of that sin and turn from it. And I pray that for many this is a moment they can mark in time where they either made that commitment or recommitment to follow Jesus Christ.

Speak to their hearts we would ask now in your name. Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie. And if you want to follow through on what Pastor Greg suggested and make a change today in your relationship with the Lord, he wants to tell you he wants to help you with that before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes.

So please stay with us. You know Pastor Greg our radio program has heard on hundreds and hundreds of stations across the country. And I've had the privilege of getting to know a number of the station managers of those radio stations. And I've gotten to know a gentleman named Rick McCleary quite well.

Rick just retired just recently but he was the general manager of a couple of stations in Minnesota that carried our radio program. And he sent me an email after watching Jesus Revolution. I wanted to share it with you. He said please pass on to Pastor Greg how much I appreciated the movie Jesus Revolution. You might remember when the book came out I was also intercepted during the Jesus movement. I wound up helping to run a Jesus people home in Fargo, North Dakota.

Oh wow. I was baptized in a lake with a dozen other ex-hippies. It was an incredible experience.

Anyway during the baptism scene in the movie I cried. It brought back so many memories of that time. Eleven years later the Lord led me into broadcasting and then I retired 40 plus years later in 2021. Please thank Greg for his obedience in following the Lord these many years later. Wow. Well thank you very much for that and God bless you. And the Jesus movement went all across the country. It wasn't just in Southern California. But so many people say their favorite scene is when my character Greg, a very young Greg played by Joel Courtney, powerful performance, finally accepts Christ and is baptized.

Now I know this is radio and I can't show you how powerful it is visually but I think as you just listen you'll be able to see it in your mind's eye. So let me set the scene. Greg and Kathy are at Pirate's Cove which is a little beach in Newport. Kathy has just been baptized. Greg has heard the gospel at this point but he hasn't made his commitment to Christ so he a bit reluctantly walks out into the water and there he is greeted by Lonnie Frisbee played by Jonathan Rumi Best known for playing the role of Jesus in The Chosen and they have some words together and a prayer takes place.

Listen to this. Greg, right? Yeah.

I've been praying for this moment since I first met you. Have you decided? I don't know. You want to decide right now? Yeah.

Yeah I do. And pray with me. Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner. Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner. You are the savior of the world.

You a savior of the world. I ask you to come into my life. I ask you to come into my life. I repent for my sins. I repent for all my sins. And I accept you as my Lord and Savior, my God and friend.

And I accept you as my Lord and Savior, my God and my friend. Jesus name. In Jesus name. Amen. Greg, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen. I want you to see that scene and here's how it's going to happen. I want to send you a DVD of the Jesus Revolution movie. You'll see that scene and many others that will move you in a significant way. I've seen this film with many audiences around the country and individuals sitting in my front room and elsewhere. And so many times people tear up. It's a flashback for some. They remember their baptism. But we've had other people say, I want to be baptized. I heard one story of when this film was shown in a theater. Some people wanted to come to Christ and be baptized and they literally baptized them in the fountain outside of the theater. So these stories are crazy that we're hearing.

They're amazing. And so I want to send you a special edition of the Jesus Revolution on DVD. It has bonus content including a custom message that we shot on the beach as the sun was setting in Newport Beach where I present the gospel.

And it even has a prayer that a person could pray to accept Christ. And there's some other special features on this DVD we'll send you for your gift of any size. Now I'm going to ask you to be more generous than normal because we do have to pay more for this resource. And so we're trusting that you will send a generous gift to us so we can continue to preach the gospel and teach the word of God right here on A New Beginning.

Yeah, and we do appreciate your partnership with us that makes these daily studies possible. So get in touch today for your DVD of Jesus Revolution and we'll also include a free streaming code. Call us anytime at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to And then Pastor Greg, 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. And to help you as you follow the Lord, we'd like to send you some resource 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 relationship with the Lord. So get in touch and ask for it. We'll send it free of charge. You can call us anytime, night or day at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to and click the two words, know God. Well next time, Pastor Greg blows the cover off the devil's deception.

Ever feel like the adversary is pulling your strings, like a marionette? We'll find out we're free from his influence because of the Lord's victory at Calvary. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. 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
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-09 05:17:39 / 2023-05-09 05:28:44 / 11

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