May 15, 2023 3:00 am
There’s a conspiracy afoot. Forces are conspiring together to bring you down. What are they? The world, the flesh and the Devil. We’re surrounded by temptation, and those forces make sure we’re aware. So is our fall, our failure a fait accompli? An unavoidable, irreversible outcome? Pastor Greg Laurie says no. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, he offers some important help from the book of Romans in a practical message called How to Overcome the Power of Sin.
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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. You don't have to be a slave of sin. You can live in the victory that Jesus has purchased for you at the cross. Sin is like a tiger crouching at the door. But Pastor Greg Laurie says those who put their faith in the Lord are more than conquerors. Thank God the answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
There's no power you still need to be under, no addiction that needs to control your life, no lifestyle you can't break free from. The answer's here. There's a conspiracy afoot. Forces are conspiring together to bring you down.
What are they? The world, the flesh, and the devil. We're surrounded by temptation, and those forces make sure we're aware. So is our fall our failure a fait accompli, an unavoidable, irreversible outcome? Pastor Greg Laurie says no.
Today on A New Beginning, he offers important help from the book of Romans in a practical message called How to Overcome the Power of Sin. Heard about an old farmer and his wife and their son who had never been to the big city before. So they got into their old beat up pickup truck, drove into the big city, parked their truck.
The wife stayed in the car and the old farmer and his son walked into a gleaming skyscraper. Massive lobby. And as they stepped in, they saw these sort of mysterious doors open up. And an elderly woman walked in. Then those doors closed. A few moments passed and the doors opened up and a beautiful young girl came walking out.
The old farmer said to his son, quick, go get mama. Wouldn't it be great if you could just walk into church as one person and leave as another? Well in a way you can. Because if you are not a Christian and you have joined us here today, you literally could walk out a different person with a different eternal address. Because you put your faith in Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us when we become Christians we turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. And by the way that is not a process. That is instantaneous. Conversion happens in a moment.
So that can happen for you today for sure. But for the rest of us who are already believers, you know the Christian life is one of growth. It is one of consistency. And Romans 7 is a story of a man who is struggling. A man who wants to do right but keeps doing what is wrong. He is honest about it. He is forthright.
And at the end of the chapter he gives a solution. And this man is none other than the great apostle Paul. So let's read now Romans 7 and I am going to read verses 14 to 24.
By the way I am reading from the New Living Translation. The trouble with me writes Paul is I am carnal. A slave to sin. I really don't understand myself for I want to do what is right but I don't do it. Instead I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong this shows that he agreed that the law is good. But I am not the one doing wrong. It is sin living in me that does it.
And I know that nothing good lives in me that is in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right but I can't. I want to do what is good but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don't want to do I am really not the one doing it. It is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life that when I want to do what is right I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart but there is another power within me that is at war within my mind. This power makes me a slave to this sin.
It is still within me. Oh what a miserable person I am. Wow.
Is that honest or what? So here comes the law. The law. The Ten Commandments. And it tells me what right and wrong are. This is important because I heard a preacher say recently that we don't need the Ten Commandments anymore. We can just disregard them.
And I could not disagree more. The commandments that were given to us by God of Mount Sinai were written by the very finger of God. And in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said in Matthew 5 17, I did not come to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them. Then He went on to say that the person is in trouble who would seek to set aside even the least of those commandments. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus did not eliminate the commandments. Rather He elaborated on them saying, You have heard that it has been said you shall not murder. That is one of the Ten Commandments.
But I say to you if you have hatred in your heart it is the same thing. You have heard that it has been said you shall not commit adultery. Another commandment.
But I say to you if you look with the lust on a woman you have committed adultery in your heart. So He didn't do away with them. He was fulfilling them. And then there is that rich young ruler. A very successful young man came to Jesus one day and said, Good teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said, Why do you call me good?
There is no one good but God. You know the commandments. Don't murder. Don't commit adultery. Don't steal.
Don't bear false witness. Why did Jesus do this? First of all He is validating the commandments and He is using the commandments as a moral mirror to the rich young ruler to say, Buddy you need Jesus. The commandments don't make you righteous.
No one can keep them. But they weren't given to make us righteous. They were given to show us we are not righteous. The commandments were given to drive us into the open arms of Jesus. So the commandments have their place. That is the purpose of the law.
Romans 3 and 19 says, Whatever the law says, which would include the commandments, it says to those under the law, so every mouth may be silenced and the whole world will be accountable to God. Let's say you are cruising down the freeway and you are going the speed limit. Whatever that is.
I mean what is it? We see a poster but does anyone drive the speed limit? Everyone is at least 10 miles over. Sometimes 50 miles over it. And you are cruising along you know with the flow of traffic.
You feel good about it. And you know then there are some people that go under the speed limit and that is against the law too. Prius drivers are you listening to me? It is against the law to drive under the speed limit.
Now I know your tires are the size of donuts. You know they are always in the carpool lane going under the speed limit and you drive around them. Why are they driving so slowly? They are eating kale. They are. They just are.
I think they are under the influence of kale. That's it. So whatever you are doing. You are cruising along. You know flow of traffic. You feel good about it. And all of a sudden CHP pulls up.
What do you do? Slow down. Hey I thought everybody was going the speed limit.
Yeah but who? CHP. Right. So we all slow down. And I think sometimes I don't know about the CHP guys.
Do they like to mess with our minds? Because then they will go to the speed limit. We all slow down. Then they might go a little slower. We slow down. And they are just driving.
Nobody wants to pass them. Right. That's how the law works. So the law sort of marks everything. It is like this is the speed limit and this is the enforcer of the law. Or maybe you are going into an intersection and the light goes yellow and you say, no I am good.
I am good. I am going to go through this light. Through this intersection rather. And as you are just getting ready to hit the gas you see a cop over to your left.
What do you do? You don't go through it. You stop.
Why? That's what the law does. The law says you better not do this because if this light goes on on the top of my car your insurance rates are going up too. That's what the law does.
The law is a marker. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody. Greg Laurie here and I want to personally invite you to the Harvest Ministries Israel tour.
April 9 to 19, 2024. Listen. This is your chance to walk in the steps of Jesus literally in what we call the Holy Land. Learn more at Israel.Harvest.org.
Shalom. And now Pastor Greg continues his important message in Romans called How to Overcome the Power of Sin. I serve as a chaplain to the police department and I want to just say that there is a lot of wonderful people that serve us in law enforcement and I really appreciate them.
That is not an easy job that these men and women do every single day for us but I have a couple friends who are chiefs police chiefs and one in particular wanted to meet me for coffee the other day and he was on his way to work and so he comes this very little small coffee place and he's in his uniform okay so a police uniform is pretty impressive but he had his stars on so it is even more impressive. I am telling you the energy of the room changed when he walked in. Everyone is just like oh. Because he is my friend I am not intimidated because I am keeping the law then and always of course. But I think okay I am not going to rob this place today. I have changed my mind.
No. But you know he is my friend so I am comfortable with him. Even though he is a representative of the law he doesn't intimidate me because I am keeping the law. Listen. The old nature knows no law. The new nature needs no law.
Let me repeat that. The old nature knows no law. The new nature needs no law. Meaning if you know Jesus and He has taken residence in your heart you already do what the commandments say. That is why Jesus said if you love the Lord your God with all of your heart soul and your mind and love your neighbor as yourself you will fulfill the commandments.
Why? If I love God with all of my heart soul and mind I will not have other gods before him. I will not bow before a graven image. I will not take the Lord's name in vain. If I love my neighbor as I love myself I will not steal from him. I will not kill him. I will not commit adultery etc. So it fulfills it.
But here is the thing. Our only hope in this struggle with sin is Jesus. You don't need Immanuel. You need Immanuel. You need God.
So you have to cry out to Him. You have to admit you are carnal. Admit that this thing is real.
This power of sin in your life is real. Stop being an excuse of sorts. Stop blaming circumstances. Stop blaming people.
Own it. Say I am carnal. Under the control of sin. And then you cry out to God for relief. Oh what a miserable person I am.
Again verse 24. The King James translates the word miserable as wretched. And I have to say I favor that word.
Because that is just a descriptive word. Oh wretched. Wretched man that I am. Oh wretched woman that I am. Wretched person that I am. Miserable person. There is nothing more miserable than being trapped by sin especially when you know what is right.
Before you were a Christian you were trapped by sin. You thought well everybody is. This is life. Life sucks.
What am I going to do? But then one day you come to Christ. You know what is true. You know what God can do.
And He has done it for you. But then you walk right back into this old sinful pattern and now you are even more miserable than the non-Christian because you know better. And yet you are trapped and you are trying to live in two worlds you know. But the problem is you have too much of the Lord to be happy in the world.
And too much of the world to be happy in the Lord. And you are in this place that Paul is talking about. So he cries out. How do you get out of this place? I have no idea. God bless and goodbye. No. Ok. See if we can find an answer from the Bible. Ok.
If you are taking notes. How do you come out from under the control of sin? How do you overcome the power of sin? Number one admit you are under its power.
Admit you are carnal. Admit there is no human solution. Only God can deliver you. Jesus said apart from me you can do nothing. You can't do it on your own. I can't do it on my own. Apart from Him I can do nothing. But how about this. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I can do all things. You can do it on your own for Him. He can do it through you by His own power in your life. You don't have to be a slave of sin. You can live in the victory that Jesus has purchased for you at the cross. There is no power you still need to be under. No addiction that needs to control your life.
No lifestyle you can't break free from. No giant that should be overpowering and taunting you. The reason they use the word giant is I think of David and Goliath.
I love that story. Here is Goliath. A real guy. Nine feet six inches of solid muscle covered in body armor. The biggest gnarly sword you have ever seen in your life. And he comes down to the valley of Elod and face off with young David. And he sees David with his little slingshot effectively.
And says, what am I a dog that you come with a boy and a stick? And David looks at Goliath and says, you come to me with sword and spear but I come against you in the name of the Lord. And then he started running toward Goliath.
I love that. He ran toward him. He didn't run from him.
He didn't even hold his ground. He ran toward him and started whipping that little sling around and getting in some momentum. And then he let it fly like a guided missile. That rock planted itself into the forehead of Goliath who then collapsed to the ground with a tremendous stud.
Earth probably shook. And then David goes over and pulls out that giant sword of Goliath and cuts off his head. By the way that is one way to get a head in life. And then he holds the head up. That was a big head.
I mean imagine this giant old head. Blood coming out of it. I know I'm getting a little too graphic. Sorry.
But it's in the Bible. See so why are you telling us this story again? Because you've got to face your giants. You've got to call them out.
You have to cut their heads off. See a lot of times we baby things. We baby this little sin.
Well you know I don't know. I really want to let go of it. And we don't want to say I'm struggling in this area. We don't want to go to a fellow Christian and say I have a weakness here and I keep falling here.
Would you pray for me? And maybe even hold me accountable. No I'm saying call it out in the open in the light of day. Attack it. It's your enemy. And cut its head off.
Well how do you do that exactly? You have no backup plan to go that direction anymore. You make a break with the past and start living as a follower of Jesus and be fed enough to call out to God for help.
Oh miserable wretched man that I am. And now accept that God has heard your prayer and will answer your prayer. Look at verse 25. Thank God the answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
The answer is here. I'm not saying you'll never struggle again. I'm not saying you'll never be tempted again.
God knows we will. I'm not saying that you'll never sin again because the Bible tells us we will sin. But I'm telling you in the authority of God's Word you don't have to live in this miserable compromised lifestyle of carnality one more day.
Not one more day. But this is not something God is just going to do for you. You've got to reach out to Him.
You have to own it. Admit it. Cry out for help.
Take His help. And there is one last point I want to make. And this kind of brings us into Romans 8 for just one verse. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who walk according to the power of the Holy Spirit. So I want you to know there is no condemnation. So you come to church you come to church today and you say man I feel bad about what I've done.
Well guess what. There's no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. God forgives you and He's removed your sin as far as as the east is from the west. We should not choose to remember what God has chosen to forget.
If Christ enters your story everything changes. So you say Lord forgive me because here's what we do. We like to beat ourselves up after we sin. We sin.
Oh I messed up. Oh we just beat ourselves up over and over again. Like we're paying penance or something. You don't need to pay penance. All of the cost of your sin was paid for at the cross of Calvary when Jesus died in your place. So you can say I am forgiven of this sin and I'm not going to keep talking about it and thinking about it and I'm going to put it in my rear view mirror. There's no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. We'll get into Romans 8 next time. But Romans 8 starts with no condemnation and it ends with no separation. It doesn't say there's no failures or inconsistencies. There's no condemnation.
So here's the key I want to leave with this. You can't do this on your own but you can do it by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because that's exactly what he says. It's the power of the Spirit that has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Zechariah 4 says it's not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord. Listen the struggle of Romans 7 is a person trying to live out Romans 6 without the help of the Holy Spirit.
Let me say that again. The struggle of Romans 7 is a person Paul trying to live out the promises of Romans 6 without the Holy Spirit. The word I is used 30 times in Romans 7 and there's not a single mention of the Holy Spirit.
In contrast in Romans 8 there are at least 20 references to the Holy Spirit. You can't do it on your own. But you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Some of you have joined us and most of you have. And I said in the beginning of my message that it's possible to come into a place as one person and leave as another. And there's only one way that can happen is if you meet Jesus here today. So you could come in here skeptical full of questions even an outright atheist or just checking it out.
We're so glad you're here. But now you're saying is this true? Are you telling me God could change me? Are you telling me that I could break free from all these things and have control of me?
Are you telling me that I can find peace and purpose and actually know that I'll go to heaven when I die? Yeah I'm telling you that. And it's true. That's why we call it good news.
It's good news in a bad world. Jesus died on the cross for you. He spilled His blood for you. He rose again from the dead and He's with us right now standing at the door of your life and knocking.
And He is saying if you'll hear His voice and open the door He'll come in. If you've never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life why don't you do it right here right now. In a moment we're going to pray and I'm going to extend an invitation for you to put a invitation for you to believe in Jesus.
If you've not done this yet do it now. This can be the day where your life changes for sure. Let's all pray. Father thank you for your word to us. Lord Jesus thank you for coming and dying on the cross for us.
Paying the price for our sins and rising from the dead. Now I pray that your Holy Spirit will move in the hearts of every person watching, listening, wherever they are. Help them to see their need for Jesus and help them to come to you and believe. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer. And if you'd like to make that kind of change today in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg will help you in just a moment before we wrap up today here on The New Beginning. Well Pastor Greg Jesus Revolution is out on DVD now.
And I know our listeners are excited about that. So many people have asked about that. It's such an extraordinary movie. In fact it was extraordinary even as it was being filmed.
Yes. Tell us what happened at Pirate's Cove during the filming. Well we all know that art imitates life. In other words an event happens and maybe a painting is made about it or a book is written about it or a film is made about it.
But then sometimes life imitates art. So in this instance you know we used to have these big baptisms. We still do actually at a place called Pirate's Cove.
It's a little rocky amphitheater off of Big Corona Beach in Newport Beach, California. This is where all the baptisms were done back in the day of the Jesus movement. And so we went down there with our cameras to recreate these scenes. We had extras on hand. We had people who had gone through wardrobes so they looked like they were around in the early 70s and were baptizing extras. I had to do a little class on baptism for Kelsey Grammer and Jonathan Rumi.
Kelsey played Chuck Smith. Jonathan played Lonnie Frisbee sort of showing them this is how you baptize a person. But the amazing thing is as we're baptizing these extras people want to be baptized for real and people were actually accepting Christ and getting baptized in real time.
That's R-E-A-L as opposed to R-E-E-L. In fact one of the people that was there played a role in the film was baptized in character for a scene in the film but then came to me right after that happened and said I want to be baptized for real. I said well you need to accept Christ. Baptism is for believers only. I shared the gospel with him. He said he wanted to follow Jesus. We prayed together and I baptized him.
He was still wearing the clothes he wore in the film. It was quite a moment. So I think that comes off in the film because you know a lot of times when you watch Christian type films and they show church scenes they have sort of a I don't know an artificial kind of a feel that feels staged but this doesn't feel staged. This feels real and I'll tell you why it feels real. It was real.
It was really happening. God was really at work and I think that comes across in the film. We've heard so many stories of people wanting to get baptized right after they saw the movie and of course as I said baptism is for a Christian. So once you've accepted Christ this is a way of publicly acknowledging it in the waters of baptism. I want you to have your own copy of this movie so you can watch it over and over and show it to your friends and your family and your neighbors and people you know that are not believers. You can have an evangelistic outreach in your house and in the special edition of a DVD that we want to send you from us here at Harvest there's also a message that I filmed on the beach as the sun was setting. It's very beautiful and cinematic actually and I present the gospel and tell people how to accept Christ even lead them in a prayer. This all comes in this special edition of the Jesus Revolution DVD that we're offering. Now I know you it's streaming now you can see it on Apple you can see it on Amazon but this edition we're sending you has features that no one else has and I want you to get a copy for yourself and I'll send it to you for your gift of any size. Whatever you send it will be used to help us continue to preach the gospel and teach the word of God. So order your own copy of the Jesus Revolution film on DVD. Yeah that's right and we'll send it right out when we hear from you. You'll get the movie on DVD along with a free streaming code and if we can be candid this resource costs us more than we normally pay for other resources so if you can be extra generous with your donation that would really help. Thanks for considering that and you can contact us today at 1-800-821-3300.
Call anytime 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg you've mentioned how someone can become a Christian with just a simple prayer. Yes. Maybe somebody would like to do that right now. Could you help them with that?
Sure I'd love to. A simple prayer is right. In fact I would like to just pray a prayer and I would ask you to pray it after me right now. Pray these words. Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner but I also know that you are the savior because you died on the cross for my sin and you rose again from the dead.
Jesus come into my life and forgive me of every sin I've ever committed. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for answering this prayer Lord and I pray all of this in Jesus name.
Amen. If you just prayed that prayer and meant it I want you to know on the authority of scripture God almighty has heard your prayer and he will answer this prayer. You are now a newly minted child of God so congratulations.
You've made the right decision and welcome to the family of God. I want to send you a special gift because of that prayer you've just prayed. It's called the New Believers Growth Packet and in it is a copy of the New Testament in a very understandable translation called the New Living Translation. It also is filled with hundreds of notes that I wrote that will encourage you in this commitment you've made to follow Christ and there's some other outstanding materials in this little packet I'll send you as well. So order your copy today order your copy today and let me be the first to say to you congratulations and welcome to the family of God. And to get that New Believers Growth Packet just get in touch and we'll be glad to send it right out. You can call anytime 24 hours a day 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the words know God. Well next time Pastor Greg takes us into the profound hope Paul provides for us in Romans chapter 8. Read ahead if you'd like and then join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. 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.
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