Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. God can cause all things to work together for good to those that love Him. This is a very specific promise to a very specific person, and that person is someone who loves God. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie highlights one of the most hope-filled verses from the book of Romans.
It can bring you through the toughest of times. If you love God, you can lay hold of this promise for yourself, no matter what you're going through right now. There are certain chapters of the Bible that stand out for their unforgettable truth. Genesis 1, the Creation, Exodus chapter 20, the Ten Commandments, Psalm 23, the Shepherd's Psalm, Matthew 5, 6, and 7, the Sermon on the Mount. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us dig into some powerful words that point out no matter what we're going through, God is aware, God cares, and He's ready to take action.
It is inside recorded by Paul in the eighth chapter of Romans. All right. Well, let's grab our Bibles and turn to one of my favorite passages found in it, Romans 8, 28, and 29. And the title of my message is All Things.
Let me ask a couple of quick questions. How many of you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord today? Raise your hand up. Okay. Good. Very good.
How many of you love Jesus Christ? Raise your hand up. Very good. Very good. How many of you want to become more like Jesus each and every day?
That's good too. Then you come to the right place for the right message today. You know, I was checking out what the top Scriptures are that people search for online. And according to Bible Gateway, which is a site where you can access different Bible translations that I use actually quite frequently, here are the top five passages people search for. Predictably, number one is John 3.16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Number two of the most searched for Scriptures is Jeremiah 29.11.
That's one of my favorites too. I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. Number three is Philippians 4.13 where Paul says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Number four is Psalm 23 verse 4 where David says, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me your rod and your staff.
They comfort me. And finally number five is the verse we are going to be looking at in this message, Romans 8.28. And I want us all to read it out loud together.
Ready? And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. And we know all things work together.
And that's why I've called this message All Things. Now this is a beloved verse. It's an often quoted verse. But do we understand what this verse actually says? When the Bible says all things work together, that is not for the general public. It is not true for every person out there because all things don't work together. There is sort of a variation of it that says something along the lines of, well, all is well that ends well. And then we sometimes hear people say, it's all good, man.
Well, you know what? It's not all good, man. Sometimes it's really bad. And things don't make sense. And things happen to us that are inexplicable. This verse is for the person who has put their faith in Jesus Christ. And there are so many of these inspirational sayings out there now. You find a lot of them on Pinterest, Instagram, usually over a sunset. Something that is supposed to inspire us.
Here is one I came across. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today is a gift.
That's why we call it the present. Ooh. Not bad. How about this one? Today is the first day of the rest of your life. If you say that to me again, today is going to be the last day of the rest of your life. That's so stupid. How about this one?
Hashtag YOLO. You only live once. Yeah, right, whatever. Okay, so when you are going through a time of hardship, someone will actually come up to you and say, you know what, man? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Seriously?
Are you really going to go with that? Here is another one. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. You know, crazy stuff that is supposed to bring comfort or help.
But here is one that I have actually had said to me that actually is so unhelpful it is almost unbelievable. You know what? There is always someone worse off than you.
Really? I know that. But how is that supposed to make me feel better? No, I don't need your inspirational sayings. I need the Bible. I need the Word of God. Because that is the only thing that can correct my course and get me in sync and get a proper perspective. The Bible has the power.
None of this stuff does. All things work together for good to those that love God. As I said, this is a very specific promise to a very specific person. And that person is someone who loves God.
If you love God, and by that I mean if you put your faith in Jesus Christ and trusted Him as your Savior and Lord, you can lay hold of this promise for yourself no matter what you are going through right now. Notice that it says we know. We know that all things work together for good. It doesn't say we think or even we hope or we suppose or we wish. We know.
But wait. How do I know? How do I know that all things work together for good to those that love God? Well the answer is found in verse 32 of Romans 8 where Paul says, "'He that did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely give us all things.'"
Listen. Whenever I am tempted to doubt the love of God and I am wondering if things are really working together for my good, I need to take a long look at the cross and remember Jesus demonstrated His love for me by dying there in my place. Because as I have often said, it wasn't nails that held Christ to the cross. It was love for you and for me. Paul said He loved me and He gave Himself for me. And if this is true, and of course it is, will He not freely give us all things? So whatever is going on in your life, you know that all things work together for good to those that love God. How do I know it? Because God has shown His love toward us by sending Jesus. There are certain things that we just know in life.
We just know them. I heard about a lady that went to buy some food for her cat in a pet store. And there is a parrot on a perch on the very front.
Very prominent place. A parrot took one look at this woman and said, You know you are the ugliest woman I have ever seen. She was shocked.
Offended. She said, What did you say to me? He said, You heard me.
You are the ugliest woman I have ever seen. She couldn't believe this parrot said that to her. She demanded to see the owner of the pet shop. He came out of the back room. She told him what the parrot had said to her. He said, Man I am so sorry. Let me deal with this parrot. He took the parrot in the back room, slapped him around a little bit.
Feathers flying. The parrot was very sorry. Said he would never do it again. He says, You do not say that to the woman again. The parrot says, I won't. So he took the parrot out, put him back in the perch.
The lady is leaving the pet store. She kind of looks over her shoulder like I got you. The parrot yelled out to her, Hey you! She said, What? He said, You know. There are just some things that we know. And we know that all things work together for good to those that love God. You know I think Christians are the most realistic people around.
Sometimes people will say, Oh you know you Christians. You read your Bibles and you believe in God who is in control of all things. And you have your head in the sand. Or worse, you have your head in the clouds.
Are you kidding me? The Christian is the realist. The Christian is the person that recognizes bad things happen in this world that we live in today. The world is not a nice place.
It can be a very bad place. But the good news is we serve a very good God. So we know that. We know mankind is not basically good. We know the rest of mankind is as sinful as we are. And we know that people do bad things. But we know God loves us. So when something bad happens we know that God can cause it to work together for good.
Listen to this. All things are not good. But all things work together for good because God is good. There are things that are bad that will always be bad. So this verse is not saying God makes bad things good.
No. It says all things work together for good. So the Lord can even take something that is evil in its intent.
Something that is designed to harm us and somehow in His providence turn it into a thing that ultimately produces something good in my life. This is only the hope of the believer. You see we don't believe in dumb luck. We believe in God's guidance.
We don't believe in coincidence. We believe in providence. And when things are not working out for good in the given moment we don't freak out because we know that there are no accidents in the life of the Christian. Proverbs 16 33 says the lot is cast into the lap but every decision is from the Lord.
Now the lot casting lots was sort of like flipping a coin. And God is even saying that is in His hand. So He can take the small seemingly random events of life and weave them together for His glory. Psalm 1 19 91 says all things are your servants.
Yes. All things. Ephesians 1 11 says all things are done according to God's plan and decision.
So this is a very important distinction to make. Because sometimes things happen and we go this is not a good thing. How do you know? Do you even know what a good thing is?
Well yes I do. Well maybe it isn't a good thing. Has it ever occurred to you that that thing you think is a good thing could ultimately become a bad thing for you? So how do we know what a good thing is?
How do we know what a bad thing is? Well we have to go to a higher authority. So we go to God.
And we start with this basic truth. God is good. The Bible says taste and see that the Lord is good. And so with this in mind that means that God is the final court of arbitration when it comes to defining what is good and what is not good. So if God says something is good it's good. If God says something is bad it's bad. You say but what is good? Answer good is what God approves. Where do we go beyond that?
We don't go anywhere beyond that. God says it's good therefore it's good. You say well that's circular reasoning. Now actually that's biblical reasoning. So we say God knows what's good and there are things that happen to us that seem like they may be bad that are actually kind of good.
Example. For us good is well just everything going our way. Right? Good is green lights. Good are blue skies. Good is paid bills. Good is good health. Good is everything happy. And that is good.
I'll agree with you on that. But sometimes an affliction or a hardship can be good because it can cause us to turn to God. Because sometimes when things are going really well let's be honest we forget God. We don't pray like we ought to. We don't read our Bibles that often. We just take these things for granted.
But when the bottom drops out and a crisis hits we drop right to our knees and that's good. So God can take what is perceived as a bad thing and can actually become a good thing in His hands. In Psalm 119 there's a number of statements that Psalmist says about this. First of all in verse 67 he says before I was afflicted I went astray but now I have kept your word. Then he writes in verse 71 of Psalm 119 it was good for me that I was afflicted that I might learn your statutes.
Then later on he writes your judgments are righteous and in faithfulness you have afflicted me. Because you'll go through things in life and you'll say this isn't good but maybe it will turn out to be good. But there are things that happen and we'll say wow you know I don't think anything good will ever come out of this. This might surprise you to know I thought that. I thought that when my son Christopher died. I thought nothing good will ever come out of this. This is effectively the end of my life.
You're saying Craig you're a pastor. You thought you better believe I thought that. And I felt that and I felt that deeply. It felt as though my life ended and in many ways it did. I can take my life and mark it in two sections.
We could call it BC and AC. Before Christ and after Christ. There's my life where I was a non-believer and I came to Christ at 17. And there's my life after that. And there's my life before Christopher and after Christopher. I had one life when he was alive on earth. I have a different kind of life now that he is in heaven. And my life was a very sad life at first when he was taken from us suddenly.
And you know I don't think this might surprise some of you. I don't think that Romans 828 should be the go-to verse in every situation. For instance if you've just had a loved one die.
If your husband died or your wife died or your child died. You don't need a Christian coming up to you and saying Romans 828 says all things work together. Just stop okay. That is the Word of God. I believe that Word. But the Bible also talks about a word that is fitly spoken. There is a right verse for the right situation. And when I talk to someone who has lost someone they love I quote instead the statement of Jesus when He said, Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. And I will tell them there is a time to mourn and there is a time to laugh and this is a time to mourn. I will encourage them to cry. Cry. No they should be rejoicing. No they should not.
Don't be stupid. Of course you mourn the death of a loved one. The depth of your sorrow is an indication of the depth of your love. Even when the godly young Stephen was martyred when he was stoned we read godly men mourned over him. There is a place to mourn. You've got to mourn.
But you don't stay there forever. Because it says blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. Now later on we can start seeing how Romans 8 28 works all things together ultimately in our life.
You say well did that work for you Greg? Has it been Romans 8 28 since your son died? Yes.
But it is still in process isn't it? There are still things I don't understand. It still hurts.
We still miss him. But I will say to you there have been things that God has brought out of this that have worked for good. For starters it's changed us. My wife Kathy.
My son Jonathan. It's given us more compassion for others who are hurting. It's given us a ministry to people who've lost loved ones especially children since then. It's made us stronger in our faith. Causing us to take bold steps of faith we would probably not have taken otherwise.
So yes I can see all things working together for good. So in light of this bad thing God has produced a good thing. People ask me well are you disappointed with God?
The answer is absolutely not. Because I'm not in the explaining business. I'm in the trusting and praying business. And I know God is in control. And I know his plans for me are better than my plans for myself.
And I know that one day all of my questions will be answered. And I know that a disappointment can be turned into an appointment with God. Maybe some of you who are here today are watching.
You've just had a huge disappointment. And you're saying where's God in all this? Maybe he orchestrated it. Or maybe he just allowed it.
But he is at work. I heard about a young man who saw a beautiful woman on his college campus. It was a Christian campus. And he thought he would ask this girl out to go to dinner with him. So he walked up to her and said would you go out with me? She said no I won't. He said why? She said well because you're not spiritual enough. I'm looking for a godly man.
And I don't think you're godly enough. That really got his attention. And he made a deeper commitment to Christ. Oh by the way his name was Billy Graham.
Right. So you have that setback. Oh that was bad. Was it bad? If it got you to make a deeper commitment to Christ was that thing actually bad?
Or in reality was that bad thing ultimately a good thing? You see God can cause all things to work together for good to those that love him. Pastor Greg Laurie with important perspective on a well-known verse.
The title of today's message on a new beginning is taken from that verse. It's a study called All Things. You know Pastor Greg I did a search for movies that people had watched over and over and over again. And there were a lot of surprises on the list. Some of the movies are just so bad. They're either just silly movies or they're movies that are so offensive I wouldn't sit through them once. But there's a recent movie that people have seen in theaters repeatedly four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten times. And I know they'd like to be able to see it in their own homes. And we're talking about we're talking about the Jesus Revolution film.
Yeah absolutely. You know it exceeded everyone's expectations. I read an article uh just the other day with a headline why are so many people going to see Jesus Revolution? And the person writes and just asks this question what is it about this film? And I think the reason it's connecting is it's not a big budget film like you know Top Gun or Avatar or something like that. It's a powerful story beautifully told amazing performances. But I think the reason it connects and resonates is because it's a true story of real people.
It shows the flaws of the people in the movie. And I think that people connect because there's so many storylines woven together. There's a story of a young Greg with his alcoholic mother and the struggles they had. There's a story of Pastor Chuck and Lonnie Frisbee the hippie evangelist that came together opposite to Tracting, Nitro meeting Glycerin, Lennon meeting McCartney, Jobs meeting Wozniak, an explosive reaction and something amazing happened. It's also the story of Greg and Kathy and it's a love story.
This is what people may not know. This is a beautiful love story of two teenagers that fell in love. In fact I want to play a scene now unfortunately you can't see it so use your imaginations.
This is one of my favorite scenes in the film. So Greg and Kathy have conflicts which is true in real life. It shows us arguing with each other and so they've broken up at this point. So Greg had gone to Kathy's father at this point in the story and asked for permission to marry his daughter and Kathy's father said no and Greg's disillusioned and discouraged and then him and Kathy break up. But then Greg comes to his senses and he realizes he loves Kathy and he wants to marry her so he goes to her house.
Now he had just baptized some people down at Pirate's Cove in Newport Beach so he was wet when he walked into the house. He had friction with Kathy's dad up to this point but now Kathy's dad has had a change of heart. I'm giving away plot details of the movie here folks but Kathy's father has had a change of heart toward Greg because Kathy's father went and sat outside one of the services at Calvary Chapel and was moved by it. So Greg comes to the front door and he knocks. Kathy's father answers and now Greg has his encounter with Kathy where he's trying to put this relationship back together again.
Listen to this. Hey, hi. Hi, Greg. Hi, good evening. Sorry to barge in so late.
I did not know how wet I was until just right now and your hard work floors. Oh, I'm so sorry. And you're not wearing any shoes. Yeah, yeah, I'm not. You're right about that but I just, I got to tell you something. I've been really stupid lately. Obviously, you know that.
I'm sure you've heard. I'm so sorry that I pushed you away and I hurt you. It was so dumb. It was really dumb. Really dumb. It really was.
The dumbest. Yeah, but I wanted to ask you if you still mean what you said if you still mean what you said the other day about what you want with us. Because I got really big plans, Kathy. Hopes and dreams. I've got goals.
And I want to do it with you together, you and I. Because I get you. I need you. I want you. And I love you.
Yeah, like a lot. So what, what, what is this? Is this your way of proposing to me? Oh, um, um, What would you say if it was?
I would say that if you ever get in the way of me and God, it's over between us. So is that your way of saying yes? Yes. Yes.
And that's true in real life. She said yes. Thank God for that.
Guess what? Kathy and I in real life are going into our 50th year of marriage. Wow. Congratulations. Well, thank you very much. And so, listen, it's a beautiful love story, among other things. It's a beautiful salvation story. It's a story of conflicts and resolution. It's a story of Jesus at work in the lives of so many people.
It's probably your story as well. So many people connect with different characters, different aspects of this film. And I want you to have your own copy of it so you can see that scene I just described, as well as hear it. I'm offering to you for the first time the Jesus Revolution film on DVD. Now, I know it's out there in streaming platforms and maybe some of you have already seen it in a theater or maybe you've watched it at home. But listen, the reason you want this DVD is so you can now watch it when you want to watch it and show it to who you want to show it to. And it has special bonus content, including a presentation of the gospel I did, complete with a prayer where a person can accept Christ into their life. You can use this movie as an evangelistic outreach. And listen, kids love it.
Young people love it, especially the love story of Kathy and Greg. So get your own copy of the Jesus Revolution film. I'll send it to you for your gift of any size. Now, let me add that we had to pay more for this particular film than we normally would pay for a resource that we would offer you. So I'm going to ask you to be extra generous in what you send to us here at Harvest so we can continue to teach the Word of God and preach the gospel. So order your own copy of the Jesus Revolution film on DVD right now.
Yeah, that's right. And we can send it your way as soon as we hear from you. And we'll include the DVD along with a free streaming code. And thank you so much for your partnership that allows these daily studies to come your way each day. This film is a keeper, and we want to make sure you get one of the first copies on DVD. So call us today at 1-800-821-3300.
That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, more encouraging insight from Romans 828 and Pastor Greg's series, Relentless Grace. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie.
Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-22 05:31:13 / 2023-05-22 05:41:42 / 10