May 24, 2023 3:00 am
As believers, Jesus has changed our lives. He’s given us life eternal and life more abundant in the here and now. If Jesus can change our lives, He can change someone else’s life. And there may be someone we know – someone in our circle of influence right now – that needs to hear, wants to hear, and will welcome the chance to hear our experience. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us get over the hurdles and hesitations that keep us from sharing that Good News.
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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. We all make recommendations all the time. And what is a recommendation?
It's just something we like that we tell other people about. But then when it comes to talking about Jesus, we clam up. The best recommendation we could make would be on the most important subject imaginable. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie says, Share Christ. The best thing to do for life here on earth and for eternity is to believe in Jesus. Right?
That's the recommendation. As believers, Jesus has changed our lives. He's given us life eternal and life more abundant in the here and now. If Jesus can change our lives, He can change someone else's life. And there may be someone we know, someone in our circle of influence right now, that needs to hear, wants to hear, and will welcome the chance to hear our experience. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us get over the hurdles and hesitations that keep us from sharing that good news.
Why don't you grab your Bibles and turn to Romans chapter 8. I am going to start with things that we are afraid of. I looked this up the other day. The top fears of Americans. We all have certain things we are afraid of. Some have a fear of small spaces. Claustrophobia. Others have a fear of heights. Others have a fear of insects. How many of you have a fear of insects? I mean I have a reasonable fear. I mean I don't want to like hang out with insects. And I don't get that alarmed if I have to kill a spider or something.
But some people they flip. You know my wife if a moth is in the room she goes into a panic. I think as a young girl she used to live in Malaysia. Her father worked for an oil company. And I think some big gnarly Malaysian moth got in her hair. And she is still trying. Because you know she has that beautiful hair.
And I think that she still thinks it is going to happen. So she screams and I ran downstairs and I capture usually kill the moth. When I was in Hawaii recently I got up in the morning there was a big giant centipede going across the floor. You do not want to step on a centipede. So there is a fear of insects and other things. But you know what almost everyone's number one fear is? It is the fear of public speaking. How many of you have the fear of public speaking? Raise your hand.
Ok I am going to ask you to come up and speak right now. Seriously. No. That would be like worst case scenario. You know I had that fear too. I never aspired to be a public speaker. This was not something I wanted to do someday. But after I became a Christian God gave me a gift to preach the gospel and to teach the Word much to my shock.
And I might even add my delight. But you know it is something that not everyone is called to do. But I would suggest to you that even if you are not called to be a public speaker you are called to be a communicator of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And you don't have to preach to do that. In fact some of the best evangelists I know don't have pulpits and they are not in front of large crowds. They are just really good at engaging people one on one in conversations about Jesus Christ. But whenever we use the word evangelize or evangelizing or preaching the gospel a lot of us cringe.
We just don't want to do that. In fact most Christians don't share their faith. I read that 95 percent of all Christians have never led another person to Christ. But I also read that two percent of churchgoers invited an unchurched person to church last year. Only two percent. A lot of times we cringe at the idea of articulating our faith.
So I am going to take the word evangelism and set it aside for a moment and I am going to put another word in its place. Recommendation. A recommendation. We all make recommendations all the time. And what is a recommendation?
It is just something we like that we tell other people about. I mean if you are in a town you have not been to before and you are going to a restaurant you have not visited before you might go to Yelp. Hey what kind of a Yelp review? I am not a big fan of Yelp necessarily because I am thinking who are these random people?
And why should I care about their opinion? But I know others oh go to good Yelp review. And I have been to places that had a good Yelp review and I didn't think it was all that good. And I know people that are what we call foodies. You know they are really into food. And if they say Greg go to this restaurant I will go without hesitation. And I know other people if they say this is the best restaurant ever it is going to be some of the worst food you have ever eaten. They have no sense of good food. And so when they say go there I make mental note.
Avoid that place at all costs right. But we all give recommendations. I mean I always have opinions about everything.
They are not right necessarily. But I have an opinion. For instance for late night eating it is kind of hard to beat In-N-Out Burger right. And if you are going to In-N-Out Burger my order is I get a burger animal style. You know what that is. Animal style. And then I also add chopped peppers. And I recently realized this. When I go to In-N-Out for lunch it is not the same as eating there late at night.
I think it is the idea of you are not supposed to do this and this is why I like it so much. It is usually after a Bible study. We are driving home and oh In-N-Out should we. Oh no we should have. Yeah you know we are there right.
Animal style. And you even get heartburn in the middle of the night. But it was kind of that yeah we weren't supposed to but we did it.
We are living on the edge. But my other favorite take off place is Taco Bell. You know some people say oh Del Taco is better. Shut up. Taco Bell rules over Del Taco. In my opinion. I told you I was opinionated.
It doesn't mean I am right but I actually think I am. And I have those go to orders at Taco Bell. You know I like these little Dorito tacos now. They make the shell out of Dorito. And when you eat it driving the shell shatters immediately. So you have food everywhere but oh it is so much fun.
See it is easy for me to make recommendations. Disneyland. Where is the best place to eat at Disneyland?
Is it this restaurant or that restaurant? My favorite thing to eat at Disneyland is the corn dog. I think they have an epic corn dog.
I got one the other day. I haven't been to the park for a long time. I went in there and I ordered that corn dog and it was fantastic.
I did go into a food coma afterwards but it was pretty good. So you know I have all these opinions. Oh if you are here order that.
Oh if you go there do this other thing. We all make recommendations every single day but then when it comes to talking about Jesus we clam up. So here is the recommendation we ought to be making. The best thing to do for life here on earth and for eternity is to believe in Jesus. Right.
That is the recommendation. But you are going to talk about burgers and not about Jesus. So you know we cringe at evangelism. Oh evangelism. Ok.
Recommendation. Endorsement. You become an advocate for something. That is really what sharing the gospel really is.
Well let's sort of pick up where we last left off and if you are taking notes here is point number one. God causes all things to work together for good to those that love Him. That of course is based on Romans 8.28. And we know that all things work together for good to those that love God another called according to His purpose. The Bible does not necessarily say that God makes bad things good but it does say He can cause all things to work together ultimately for good. As you live life for awhile sometimes you discover that the things that you thought were good when you were younger actually were sort of bad. And some of the things you thought were bad were in other ways kind of good. There are a lot of surprises in life but God is in control of our life and He works all things together for good.
Number two. Salvation makes you invincible. Salvation makes you invincible. That means that no one or no thing can ever stop God from loving you.
Because God is for you even when others are against you. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's a joy to hear when these studies have truly impacted lives.
Listen to these comments from one of our listeners. Hi Pastor Greg I wanted to tell you that after reading your Tell Someone book my husband and I started a new ministry called the Good News Barbecue. We live in Ohio and have been doing a free Good News Barbecue and telling people about Jesus and it's because of you. We've been making a difference in people's lives and seeing God working and changing hearts. I just want to say thank you so much. You put fire in my heart and we have been on fire for Jesus because of you.
Thank you. If you've had your life changed because of the ministry of harvest would you let Pastor Greg know? Just drop him an email. Greg at harvest dot org. Again that's Greg at harvest dot o-r-g. And now Pastor Greg continues our study in Romans chapter 8 called Too Good to Keep to Yourself. So contextually before we read these verses Paul has just spoken about how God has loved us. How God has chosen us. How He has justified us and made us right before Him. So now we pick up with these words in Romans 8 31. I'll read to verse 34. I'm reading from the New Living Translation.
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all won't He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us when God has chosen us for His own? Answer. No one. For God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who will condemn us?
Here's the answer. No one. For Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us and He is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand interceding for us.
We'll stop there. So Paul asked this question. If God is for us who can ever be against us? Well the answer is actually a lot of people are against us. I mean if you stand up for Jesus Christ you're going to have people oppose you. In fact we're even told in 2 Timothy 3 12 all that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Paul is not saying you will not have enemies if you follow and stand up for Jesus Christ. The fact is you'll have some new enemies if you're a true Christian. But the point Paul is making is who or what are these enemies when you compare them to God Himself?
The answer is they are not to be feared. And I don't want you to miss what he says in verse 31. He says if God is for you but you might write the word since right next to if. Circle the word if. Write since.
That would be a better translation. Since God is for you. If you remember nothing else that I tell you today remember this. If you're a Christian God is for you. God is for you. He's on your side. He's on your side. Are you on His side? Sometimes you think God is disappointed with us.
But that's simply not true. It says since God is for you. Now honestly we don't always feel as though God is for us because things are happening in our lives that don't make any sense and things seem to go from bad to worse. And we say God certainly could be for me in this situation. Like Jacob in Genesis 42 36 we complain all these things are against me. Well no it still says God is for you. But then there are times you look at yourself and you see your failings and your sinfulness and your flaws and you think how could God ever be for someone like me? How could God ever love someone like me? And the answer is He does.
But remember this. God does not just see you for who you are. He sees you for who you will become. See God can see into the future.
I can't. God will see one day you are going to be this man. One day you are going to be this woman. You are going to be so like my son Jesus Christ through all of the circumstances of life that I have either orchestrated or allowed. And you are going to be molded into the image of Christ. And so yeah you see shortcomings but God sees the finished product.
Point number three. God will give you the things you need when you need them. God will give you the things you need when you need them. Look at verse 32. Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all won't He also give us everything else? See Paul is pointing out that God proved His love for you by sending His Son Jesus to die for you. Therefore He is going to take care of you. Paul is arguing from the lesser to the greater. His point is look while you were a sinner God gave His best sending His Son to die for you will He then not give you all that you need now that you are His children? And listen He will even give you more than you need. Because Ephesians 3 20 says He is able to do exceedingly above and beyond that which we could ask or think.
Know this. You do not follow a stingy God. You are not serving a God that is reluctant to show affection toward you. You are serving a God that loves to bless you. A God who wants to lavish His love on you. A God that is for you.
Jesus even said it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Our grandson Christopher recently fractured his arm. He ran into a pole somehow at school. And he said it was sore.
We didn't know it was fractured. But he was still sensitive. And so a few days went by and he went to the doctor and they did an X-ray and now they have to put it in a cast. And actually he was kind of excited about getting a cast. That is a boy for you right? And so I called him up and I said, Christopher do you know what happens to little boys who have to get a cast?
He said, no Papa. What? I said, they go to the toy store and get a really good toy. I just made that up. I don't know if that is what happens to other boys.
But that is what happens to my grandson or granddaughter. And so that is something I wanted to do. Something I am happy to do. And in the same way God loves to bless us. Jesus basically argued this by pointing out look God takes care of the flowers.
He is aware of them. God is aware of every little bird that falls to the ground. If God takes care of the flowers and of the birds will He not also take care of you? We put a bird feeder on a tree in our backyard and we can see it in the morning. And I will put seed in this bird feeder. And the birds like the seed. But I went with my granddaughter Allie to a store the other day and they had this seed that said it attracted colorful birds.
And I thought well let's try it out. I don't know what they put in this seed. But these birds are stinking flipping out. They are like there are so many birds there and they eat it up so quickly.
And they are so excited about it. I go out and I refill it all the time. Oh I am running low on seed. I have to go get some more seed for the birds. Now I have a stray cat I told you about that comes to my house. And I give him milk. I give milk to stray cats. I give seed to birds.
If I do that for animals won't I take care of my own children and grandchildren? In the same way God is simply saying look won't I care even more for you. You are my children.
Point number four. Jesus Christ is interceding for you right now. Interceding means He is representing you. He is defending you. He is speaking up for you. And that is found here in verse 33. Who will condemn us?
No one. For Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us and He is sitting at the place of honor at God's right hand interceding for us. I mean think about that. Christ is interceding for you right now. And He is calm about it. Notice that it says He is sitting at the place of honor at God's right hand. You know when we get bad news our heart jumps and our stomach drops and maybe we get up and start walking around in circles and pacing but Jesus is relaxed at the right hand of the Father because He knows the outcome. We always read of Him sitting at the right hand of the Father. There is only one time we read of Him standing at the right hand of the Father.
Do you know when that was? It was when Stephen the first martyr of the church was killed and God gave to him a vision of glory. And he says, look I see Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. So it is almost as though Jesus stood up and said, come on home son.
Welcome. But He is sitting there interceding for you. You can be confident in that.
Number five. Not only is Jesus Christ interceding for you. The Holy Spirit is interceding for you as well. Verse 26. In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness we don't know what we ought to pray for but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
So let's sum it up. If God gave you His best why are you worried? Nothing or no one will ever separate you from the love of God.
That is point number six. Nothing or no one will ever separate you from the love of God. Look at Romans 8. Let's read verses 38 to 39.
I am reading from the New Living Translation again. For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life nor angels nor demons nor our fears for today or our worries for tomorrow. Not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.
No power in the sky above or on the earth below. Indeed nothing and all of creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord. What an amazing statement that is. Nothing in human experience can separate us from God's love because verse 38 says neither death nor life. Nothing in the spiritual realm not Satan not any demon can separate you from God's love because verse 38 says neither angels nor demons. Nothing in time yet the future or the past will separate you from God's love because He says again in verse 38 neither our fears for today or our worries about tomorrow. In fact nothing in all of creation will separate you from God's love because Paul says in verses 38 to 39 not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.
No power in the sky above or the earth below. Nothing in all creation will separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Jesus. So that is Romans 8. What a treasure trove of material. Great insight today from our studies in the book of Romans with Pastor Greg Laurie. It's a series called Relentless Grace.
Glad you're along for this journey here on New Beginning. Well we're so excited to make available the new film Jesus Revolution on DVD. People have been asking about it. And Pastor Greg we've seen questions on social media about what situations in the movie were just as they happened and then situations where they took a little creative liberty. Yeah. So let me ask you about those things. First did Chuck really wash the feet of the hippies coming into the church? Yeah I'm not sure about that.
I've heard it both ways. So I do know there was a conflict with some members of his congregation over the new carpet because the hippie kids were walking in and walking barefoot. This is a crazy thing. I used to go everywhere barefoot.
I wouldn't even think of that today. But you know you I had calloused feet anyway. So we're showing up at church barefoot and the problem was the kids were poking their toes through the communion cup holders in the backs of the pews.
So they're getting complaints. These kids should be wearing shoes and they're going to stay in our new green shag carpet. They did have green shag carpet. I remember it well.
Oh yeah. So the story is Chuck was ready to wash their feet so either he did it or he said he would do it. But whatever happened they changed their mind and the kids were let in. Another question was Pastor Chuck really Frazier Crane? Yes he was. People didn't know about his whole television career that he had prior to being in the Jesus Revolution with you. Of course you're referring to Kelsey Grammer who famously plays Frazier Crane and I thought did an amazing job capturing the essence of who Chuck was. Now you knew Chuck, Dave, and I knew him and and he had a very wonderful personality, a big smile, and exuded joy. And I think what's interesting about Kelsey's take on Chuck is is he didn't try to take on the affectations of Chuck, the cadence of his voice. Chuck had a very unusual and interesting way of speaking. Kelsey just spoke in his own voice but he has a powerful voice and actually is trained as a Shakespearean actor. He went to Juilliard so when he would deliver certain lines as Pastor Chuck it was really powerful and effective in its way.
So I thought in a powerful way he interpreted Chuck. You know John Irwin the director of the film said a feature film is like a painting not a photograph. And I think sometimes people want you know a feature film to be exactly chronologically everything has to be the way it was.
Trust me you would get bored and walk out of the theater. That's why they're called documentary films. This is a feature film.
It's a much different experience. In any feature film you've ever seen from The Sound of Music to Tombstone to you name it, everything's changed for the film to get it in a two-hour format and all but but I thought John Irwin did a beautiful job capturing this story with so many moving parts and so many characters. I end this story from Chuck and Kay to Chuck and Lonnie to Greg and Kathy to Chuck and his daughter Jan to Greg and his mother and so many stories happening simultaneously and as it turns out now that the film has been out for a while and has already been seen by five million people different people connected different stories in the film. And so it's a beautiful way of connecting with people and and it's telling real life stories that people relate to. Well you know the movie has as fascinated people it's inspired people many have been brought to the Lord through the film and now we're bringing the film home quite literally we're bringing this to people's homes. That's right you can now have your own DVD copy of the Jesus Revolution film. Now I know it's streaming you've probably seen you've probably seen it out there in different platforms like Apple and Amazon but here's what you need about the harvest edition of the Jesus Revolution DVD.
You get the movie but then you get bonus content you won't get anywhere else including a special cinematic message I shot on the beach that is designed to be shown right after a person has viewed the film. I'm telling them how they can come into a relationship with Jesus Christ and I even lead them in a prayer. So this is a great tool I think it's one of the best evangelistic tools out there and I think it's the greatest resource we have ever offered here at Harvest by a country mile. So I'm encouraging you now to order your own copy of the Jesus Revolution DVD. Order it from us and start doing evangelistic outreaches in your front room. Yeah that's right we really want to put a copy of this in your hands and we'll send you this new DVD along with a free streaming code to thank you for your partnership right now your investment so a new beginning can continue to come your way and by the way the resource costs us more than we normally pay for other resources. So thanks so much for your generosity right now you can 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. Well next time more insight on the important responsibility and privilege of sharing the love of Christ with those around us.
More from our studies in Romans. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. 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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