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 e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. We're like a lump of clay on the potter's wheel. Now, am I going to be pliable and open, or am I going to be resistant? See, I can sabotage God's plans for my life. Will you trust God's plan even when you can't see where he's taking you? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says that's your best choice. Put your trust in the Lord. God's plans for you are better than your plans for yourself. Don't fight. Say, Lord, go ahead. Have thine own way.
Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Sometimes you might wonder, should you pick your own route through town right now, or does Google Maps know better? Well, there's one of you, for there are some 7,100 people at Google Maps updating things for you. Worth considering. How about charting a path for your life? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says you can choose the path you might think is best, or let an infinite, omniscient God choose the path that he knows is best.
Worth considering. Why don't you grab your Bibles and turn to Romans chapter 9. And the title of my message is, Every Generation Needs Jesus.
Did you know that you have been chosen by God himself? Before your parents are born. Before their parents are born. Before their parents were born.
Before our first parents were on planet earth, Adam and Eve. Before there was a planet earth in the councils of eternity, God Almighty chose you. He chose you to be his child. Why did God choose you? Because he loves you.
Know this. God loves you. God chose you. Now we start thinking, yeah, but how did he choose us? On what basis did he choose us? And do we have any say so as to who gets chosen and who isn't chosen? And I want you to know the greatest theological minds have debated this for centuries.
But I think what we need to do is all agree on this fact. We have been chosen by God and we should rejoice that we have been chosen by God. Now sometimes when we talk about this we talk about the elect.
The elect is a phrase that would be used to describe those who were chosen as compared to the non-elect. And so one person put it this way. Quote, try to explain election and you may lose your mind. Try to explain it away and you may lose your soul.
End quote. So what was the basis for the choice of God? Some would say it is irresistible grace. This would be the Calvinistic view. The reformed view. Irresistible grace. They would say God's irresistible grace has been extended. You have no choice in the matter.
You actually can't resist it. And they would even believe some in something called limited atonement. Meaning that Christ only died for the elect or the chosen ones. So if you are not one of the elect actually Christ did not die for you at all.
Let me just say at the outset I disagree with these views. I believe that Jesus Christ died for the sin of all of the world. Jesus put it best when He said, for God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son and whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Earlier in Romans we read Paul writing, Romans 5, when we were without strength in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Scarcely for a righteous man one will die. Perhaps for a good man some would dare to die.
But God demonstrated His love toward us that while we were yet sinners He died for us. You want to know how to determine if you are one of the chosen ones? Believe in Jesus Christ and you will confirm you have been chosen by God. Sometimes we will debate so much about who is chosen and how they are chosen and we won't ask the question why they are chosen. In other words why did God choose me? What am I predestined for?
What is the end game here? What is God's will? Well I will give you two answers to that.
I could give you many more but a couple of quick ones. Number one God chose me to become more and more like Jesus every day. Why did He choose me? So I would become more like Jesus. Remember we looked at Romans 8.28 together which says, which says, all things work together for good to those that love God another called according to His purpose. And then it goes on to verse 29 to say, for whom He called He also predestined to be conformed into the image of His own dear Son. Why did God choose you? Because He wants you to become more like Jesus. Number two God chose you so you would become a spiritually fruitful Christian. Jesus said in John 15 16, you did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain and whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give to you. So why am I chosen?
To bring forth spiritual fruit so people can look at my life and see the evidence in it of a follower of Jesus Christ. But so many times in the Bible we are called to appeal to people. We are told in Romans 10 13, whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. And then Revelation 22 17, when the Spirit and the bride say come, let him that hears say come, and let him that is thirsty come, and whoever wants to let him drink of the water of life freely. Look I could talk to you all day long about the offer of God to lost people. But we are not going to take that offer to anybody if we don't care about lost people.
It starts with a heart for them. And that is what Paul mentioned in our last message that we looked at in Romans 9 how much he cared about his fellow Jews that they would believe in Jesus. He said in Romans 9, I would be willing to be forever cursed that is cut off from Christ if it would save them. Paul is effectively saying I would be willing to go to hell if they could go to heaven.
And I am so glad we don't have to do that. Trade our salvation for the salvation of someone else. That salvation has already been purchased not in a limited atonement but in an atonement for everyone who would believe by Jesus on the cross. And if a person will believe he will forgive them of course.
But that brings me to my first point if you are taking notes. Everybody needs to hear the gospel no matter who they are. Everybody needs to hear this. Every generation needs to hear it. Every baby boomer needs to hear the gospel. Every millennial needs to hear the gospel. Psalm 145 verse 4 says, Let each generation tell its children your mighty acts.
Let them proclaim your power. Baby boomers generation X. Millennials generation Z. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The answer is Jesus for every generation.
Number two. The religious person needs the gospel as much as the pagan person. By pagan I mean just the nonbeliever. Religious person. Paul is addressing the Jewish mindset in verse 6. He says, So wait then. Has God failed to fulfill His promise to Israel?
No not at all. Those who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God's people. Being descendants of Abraham doesn't make them truly Abraham's children.
So basically saying look just because you are born a Jew doesn't mean you really understand what it means to be Jewish and what it means to have a relationship with God. You could apply that to Christians too. I think sometimes people think well I was raised in a Christian home. I must be a Christian.
No. You were just raised in a Christian home. Sometimes some of the worst sinners are people raised in Christian homes because they rebelled against it. And sometimes some of the greatest saints come from Christian homes.
It just depends on the person. We love to put all the blame on the parents but we have a say so in how we go in life regardless of how we were raised or maybe not raised. But you need to have your own faith. You can't live off the faith of your parents. You can't live off the faith of your spouse or somebody else. You need your own relationship with Jesus Christ.
And here is the funny thing. One of the easiest places to get your heart hardened to the gospel is actually in church. As you hear the truth of the gospel you hear the truth of the Word of God you decide if you are going to be responsive or resistant to it.
The same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay. Our hearts can get hard in church even because the author of Hebrews writes in Hebrews 3.12 to believers, Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters, make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You need to warn each other every day while it's still called today so none of you will be deceived and hardened against God. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We're hearing from so many people who have been impacted by Pastor Greg's film Jesus Revolution like this listener.
Pastor Greg, I just watched Jesus Revolution for the third time. This time it was with my 18-year-old granddaughter. She loved it. I had a great conversation with her about God on the way home. While talking with her I found out that your story, Greg, deeply touched her and she felt a shift in her anger over the death of her mom, my daughter.
God is healing her heart and her spirit. Thank you, Greg. Do you have a story to tell? If so, would you consider letting us know? Contact Pastor Greg by emailing him, Greg at Harvest dot org.
That's Greg at Harvest dot org. And now Pastor Greg continues his study called Every Generation Needs Jesus. Let's listen. So now we come to the final movement of this chapter that we're going to look at in Romans 9 verse 19 where Paul tells us we're like a lump of clay on a wheel. Well then you might say why does God blame people for not responding?
Haven't they simply done when he makes them do? No, don't say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it?
Why have you made me like this? So the point is here we are. We're like a lump of clay on the potter's wheel.
Some of you who do this know a lot more about it than I do. But you put the clay on the wheel. You begin to dig in your thumbs and your fingers and you have a concept. Like I'm going to make this lump of nothingness into this beautiful object. It's the same when an artist sits down in front of a canvas and they get their paints out and they have an idea in their mind.
This is what I'm going to paint. Or the musician who picks up the guitar or sits at the keyboard or pulls out whatever instrument they're going to play and they maybe play a chord or think about it and they say a word or two and they're starting to form this. They have an idea.
So God has us on the wheel. He says here's my plan for you. Here's what I'm going to do for you.
Now am I going to be pliable and open or am I going to be resistant? You see I can sabotage God's plans for my life. God's plans for you are better than your plans for yourself but you can still sabotage them by being resistant to them and saying I don't want this in my life.
You'd say I don't get this. I thought it says that God predetermined these things. Yes He chooses you but you must choose Him as well. Here's a verse that pulls it all together in Philippians. It says work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Fear and trembling. And then it goes on to say for it is God that works in you both the will and do of His good pleasure. See there's my part and there's God's part. It's God that works in me both the will and do of His good pleasure but I need to work out my own salvation. Well what does that mean? Work for my own salvation?
Of course not. Because salvation is a gift. It is not by works that we are saved but by grace the Bible says.
So work it out means to carry it to the goal and complete. As Saint John and Saint Paul said we can work it out. Only the baby boomers got that joke right?
The millennials are like what? We can work it. I am referring to John Lennon and Paul McCartney and the Beatles.
They had a song called We Can Work It Out. That's the explanation. Ok forget about that. Ok so to work it out means it's the idea of going into a mine and in that mine I find gold. So I get the gold out of the mine.
That's the phrase Paul is using. Work it out. Develop it. Explore it. Discover it.
Enjoy it. Work it out in your life. And it's God that's ultimately doing the work in your life. God has a plan.
Don't sabotage it. Samson was chosen by God. Man he had everything going for him. Superhuman strength. A calling from God. But as you know he was the he-man with the she-weakness wasn't he?
And he fell into sexual sin and that's why when the Lord spoke to his parents and said he was going to give them a very special son he also said of Samson in Judges 13 he will begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines. He will begin. He wasn't able to complete it because he sabotaged the plan. Hey you're on the potter's wheel and he's working and it's coming together. I know things seem random at time.
How many of you believe God's plan for you is better than your plan for yourself? Raise your hand up. Oh very good.
How many of you have ever thought that nothing is making sense in your life and you don't get it? Raise your hand up. Oh I hope you all raise your hand. That's very good.
Did you notice my hand is up too? Oh there are times I've said Lord I don't get this at all. This doesn't seem to fit any plan. This makes no sense to me. Why are you doing this or allowing this to be done? But remember when you don't understand what's happening fall back on what you do understand.
I don't understand why this is happening but here's what I do understand or at least I do believe it. That God loves me. That God chose me. That God can work all things together for good to those who love him. That God is in control of my life. He has a plan so I fall back in that and say Lord I don't get it but I trust you. I love the words of Corrie Tynboom.
She said don't wrestle just nestle. Don't fight. Say Lord go ahead. Have thine own way Lord.
Have thine own way. Thou art the potter I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will while I am waiting yielded and still. Oh yes he chose you.
And yes he loves you. And don't let anybody ever tell you any differently. And his plan for you it's all going to come together and it's all going to make sense one day. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow.
But one day it will. And until that day just be pliable clay on the wheel of the potter and watch what the Lord will do. So let me close by asking have you been chosen by God? Say well I don't know. I'll tell you how you can know.
Yeah what? How? Believe in Jesus Christ. And you will confirm you were chosen by God.
Believe in him. But don't harden your heart. See you hear this message I am sharing with you and you say well I reject that.
I don't want that. And every time you hear the gospel and don't respond to it your heart can get a little harder. Listen to this. The greatest inoculation against the gospel is the gospel heard but not heeded.
Let me say that one more time. The greatest inoculation against the gospel is the gospel heard but not heeded. Now if you go to a foreign country you are going to be exposed to some serious viruses. They may require certain shots before you go. And what they are doing when they give you that shot is putting a little bit of that thing you are going to be exposed to in your body so you can build up your immunity. So in the same way I hear the gospel but I don't respond to it and I can actually develop an immunity to the gospel.
Don't let that happen because everything you are looking for in life is available for you in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. My wife Kathy likes puzzles. I am puzzled by that. Why would anyone like puzzles?
I don't. We were in a hotel not long ago. We walked by and there is a puzzle on the table. She said, oh look a puzzle. I just kept walking.
Why don't waste my time doing that? Where is the food? So not long ago she was putting a puzzle together in our house and she called out, Craig help me. I said, what is wrong? She says, I am missing a piece of the puzzle. She had literally put the entire puzzle together and one piece was missing.
So we got on our hands and knees and we are looking around and we finally found it under the chair and the puzzle was complete. Life can be that way. We say, you know what? When I get all these things right I know my life would be right. You know I have got to graduate from high school and then I graduate from college and I have my degree in this and I pursue my career and then I buy my first house and I get married and she is not so good so I get married again. Then we have kids. Then we get a little older and we set up our retirement plan. Now we have grandkids and now we have this and now we have that.
But then one day I get it all done and I say, wait. Something is missing. That missing piece of the puzzle.
Where is it? Well it is not under the chair. God has it. Because that missing piece you are looking for is not going to be found in anything you can find on this planet. It won't be found in drugs. It won't be found in more followers on social media. It won't be found in fame. It won't be found in good things like a family or goals that are legitimate because it is ultimately God you are looking for. Jesus Christ holds the missing piece.
You are not looking for a thing. You are looking for Him. And He will come into your life and forgive you of your sin. Now do you want Him to come into your life right now? Don't harden your heart.
The Bible says don't harden your heart. So now it is on you. So you can say I want this. And I believe it.
Ah you have been chosen by God. I don't want this. I reject it.
Careful now. Because this is not an offer of forgiveness. It is resistible grace. Yes it is grace.
Yes it is amazing. Yes it is there for you. But you can say no to it. And some do.
Far too many do. I hope you will say yes I want Jesus Christ and that you will then begin to discover God's plan for your life. Because Jesus who died on that cross for your sin and rose again from the dead now stands at the door of your life and He knocks and says if you hear His voice and open the door He will come in. If you have never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life why don't you do it right now as we close in prayer. Let's all pray. Father thank You for Your Word to us and Your love for us. Thank You for Your offer of forgiveness that is offered to everybody that will believe in Your name. And I pray for any that have joined us who may not yet know You. Lord would You help them to see their need for You and help them to come to You this day we would ask. Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie for those who want to make a change in their relationship with God today.
If that's where you're at if you'd like to make that kind of change Pastor Greg will come back in a moment to help you do that before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. 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 let's say. Yeah. So let me ask you about those things.
Here's the first question. Did you really wind up in military school? Yes I did. Two times as a matter of fact but it's a little different than the film. I went to military school when I was a very young boy in around first grade and then I went back again in around the third or the fourth grade. My mother beautifully portrayed by Kimberly Williams Paisley in the film was living her crazy life running around getting married and divorced partying away so she sent me to live in military school. Now in the film as a young man I'm still going to school in reality I went when I was quite a bit younger but John Irwin the director you know kind of compressed time frames and it was a little different but the technical answer to the question is yes I went to military school.
All right another question. Did you really drive a Corvair? Yes I did. Did it often not start? You know actually it was a pretty trustworthy little car.
The problem with the Corvair was the brakes because when you stopped you had to pump them three times so as long as you knew when you were going to stop it was okay but one time I was driving along and a car stopped quickly in front of me and I pumped once I pumped twice and I was into the third pump I plowed into the back of this large Cadillac and the entire front end of my Corvair crumpled up like tin foil because in the Corvair the engine is in the back not in the front so now the headlamps are cross side and I kept driving it and finally I was pulled over by the police and they said uh you can no longer drive this car so that was the end of the trustee Corvair but it was kind of a cool car I liked it. All right did you really tell Kathy if she ever got between you and God you two were through? That's 100% true yes I said it to her and the funny thing is in the movie she kind of like makes fun of it a little bit but in real life she actually liked it when I said it because in her words she was looking for a guy she could not control or manipulate which came as a revelation to me that any woman would ever try to manipulate a man but she said this to me. Well uh 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 it out there in different platforms like Apple and Amazon but here's what's unique 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 pastor greg a few moments ago you spoke of the need to get our hearts right with god that's right could you help someone who wants to do that very thing right now yes I'd be delighted to listen as you've listened to this program today maybe something's been happening inside of your heart where you're sensing I need to do this personally but how do I do it and what do I do let me help you it's very simple in fact it's so simple you may be shocked god this relationship with him is just a prayer away the bible says if you will call upon the name of the lord you'll be saved so I'd like to lead you in a prayer where you do just that you call on the name of the lord this can be the moment where you change your eternal address literally from hell to heaven just pray these words lord jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead jesus I choose to follow you from this moment forward in your name I pray amen I know it's such a simple short prayer but you just called on the name of the lord and you know what he heard that prayer and if you meant that prayer in your heart he answered that prayer now let me help you to get started on the right foot in your new life in jesus christ the greatest adventure awaits you the life of walking with god I want to send you what we call a new believers growth pack that includes the new believers bible and a whole lot more and let me be the first to say to you congratulations and welcome to the family of god yeah and to get that free new believers growth pack just ask for it if you prayed along with pastor greg to receive christ today we'll be glad to send one your way just call us at 1-800-821-3300 that's a 24 7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 riverside california 92514 or just go online to harvest.org and click on know god well next time we'll discuss the importance of sharing the love of christ with those around us and pastor greg points out the joy that comes from being used by the lord in this way join us here on a new beginning with pastor and bible teacher greg lorry 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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