You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie urges you to discover those promises and redeem them. God's promises are reliable and life-changing.
We've all had promises made to us that were broken, but when God makes a promise, you can take it to the bank. History is replete with examples of people who lived meager lives, not allowing themselves the simplest of luxuries. And then it's discovered after they died that they had millions. They lived as paupers when they could have lived as princes. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the blessings God has reserved for us, but how so few of us have claimed them.
They're stored up like dollar bills in an old mattress. Let's learn how to use them as God intended. Why don't you grab your Bibles and turn to Romans chapter 11. The title of my message is God Keeps His Promises. How many of you believe God keeps his promises?
Yeah, I believe that too. I heard a story about a guy who was getting married, and he made an unusual offer to the pastor who would be officiating. He said, Pastor, look, I'll give you $100 if you will change the wedding vows. When you get to the part where I'm supposed to say that I'll forsake all others only unto myself and be faithful to her forever, let's leave that part out.
And he took the $100 and he put it in the pastor's pocket, walked away satisfied everything was going to go his way. So the wedding day finally came. The pastor's leading the bride and groom through the vows, and he turns to the groom and he says to him, do you promise to obey her every wish and command? Do you promise to bring her breakfast and bed every morning?
Do you promise to your lovely wife that you'll not even look at another woman for as long as you both shall live? The groom kind of gulped and said, I do. So after the ceremony, the groom went up to the pastor and he said, Pastor, I thought we had a deal.
The pastor said, well, son, she made me a much better offer. Promises, easily made, not as easily kept. We've all had promises made to us that were broken. But when God makes a promise, you can take it to the bank, right? Take it to the bank.
It's good to go. There are a lot of promises to us in the Bible. Someone said that there are 3,000 promises given to believers on the pages of Scripture. I've never counted them all so I don't know if that's true or not. But I know there's a lot.
The Bible says there are exceedingly great and precious promises. It reminds me a little bit of gift cards that have not been used. Did you know that every year $5.8 billion in gift cards, $5.8 billion in gift cards go unclaimed, right? There's a whole industry around this where they sell the card to the person who gives it to someone else. The card will never be claimed. Pretty good deal for them.
How many of you have unused gift cards? That's it. That's how it works. And the promises of God can be that way. They're just sitting there. Sitting there in the pages of the Bible and all you have to do is claim those promises or believe them for yourself.
Let me just share a few very briefly. Number one, God has promised you that you will never be alone in life. Sometimes you feel as though you're all alone. This is good news especially for generation Z. That's a generation following the millennials. I just read that they are now being described as the loneliest generation. There's never been a generation more connected through technology but yet they're the loneliest. And the reason for that is they pulled the boomers and they pulled generation X and millennials and generation Z and there were more lonely people in this generation.
So I've got good news for generation Z and any other generation to follow and any generation that preceded it. You're not alone in life if Jesus Christ is in your heart. Jesus said I will never leave you or forsake you in Hebrews 13 five.
And in the original language he was emphatic about it. It could better be translated I will never no never no never leave you or forsake you. In Isaiah 41 the Lord says don't be afraid for I am with you. Don't be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you and I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Number two God promises to get us through whatever we're facing. I don't know what you're going through right now but it might be a hard time and you're wondering will I ever get through this. God's going to get you through it.
He'll be with you every step of the way. Isaiah 43 2 the Lord says when you go through deep waters I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up and the flames will not consume you. David in Psalm 23 a beautiful psalm that most of us know by heart said yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. Do you know the rest for thou art with me. And that verse has brought comfort to a lot of people in life and on their deathbeds as well.
Here's another one. Jesus promised he would come again. Jesus said in John 14 and My Father's house are many mansions and were not so I would have told you if I go I will come again.
I go to prepare a place for you and I will come and receive you unto Myself. He is coming again. Did you know that of the 333 prophecies concerning Christ in the Old Testament only 109 of them were fulfilled in his first coming. That leaves 224 that are yet to be fulfilled in his second coming. 23 of the 27 New Testament books mention the Lord's coming and Jesus referred to his second coming at least 21 times.
The point is he is trying to remind us again and again I am coming back again. This is a very important thing for us to know as a Christian because God keeps his promises. And one of the ways we know he keeps his promises is his faithfulness to the Jewish people. The chosen people. The very apple of his eye he has kept his promises to them and he will keep his promises to us as well. In fact Romans 9 to 11 talk about God's special relationship with Israel.
You know God first established a covenant with them through their father Abraham and God said in Genesis 12 I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those that bless you and I will curse those that curse you. Anyone who has chosen to bless the Jewish people and I think by extension the nation Israel will be blessed.
Anyone that has oppressed or attacks the Jewish people and by extension the nation Israel will face the ramifications of it as well. God has kept his promise to them. And we owe a great debt to Jewish people because it is through the Jews that we received our scripture. It is through the Jews that our Messiah came.
Jesus of course was Jewish. God keeps his promise. And this is a 4000 year old promise that God made to Abraham. And this promise doesn't have a shelf life. I love it when things don't have shelf lives. Have you ever eaten something that you found out had gone beyond the shelf life? Not a happy experience. Or drank something that was not supposed to be drank because it was spoiled. That is bad.
Right? There is no shelf life on the promises of God. When he makes a promise and when he establishes a covenant he keeps it. God also said to Abraham there in Genesis 12, to your descendants I have given this land from the Mediterranean on the coast to the Euphrates River on the east.
That is a lot of land. And by the way Israel doesn't even come close to inhabiting all the land that God has given them. So now let's look at a few points from Romans 11. Because some would say God is done with the Jews. There is a certain theological teaching that you will hear in some churches today called covenant theology.
Sometimes it is called replacement theology. And this theology would suggest that the church, that would be us, have taken the place of Israel. And all the promises that apply to them now apply to us. Well God made a covenant with the Jews that He is never going to break. And God has made a covenant with the church that He will not break either. But I don't believe that we have taken their place. He still has a special plan for them as we will discover in this message.
So that brings me to point number one. If God could reach a Jewish man like Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, then there is hope for everyone. Look at Romans 11 verse 1. Paul is making this argument.
I ask then. Has God rejected His own people, the nation Israel? Of course not. I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, and a member of the tribe of Benjamin.
No. God has not rejected His own people whom He chose from the very beginning. But Paul is arguing against the idea that the Jews are no longer the chosen people of God and that He has broken His covenant with them.
He is saying, hey, if God could get hold of a guy like me, God could get hold of anyone and certainly any Jewish person. And by the way, Paul was what we might call a Jews Jew. He was from the tribe of Benjamin, a highly regarded tribe.
He was named after the first king of Israel, Saul. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, which was sort of like the Supreme Court of the day. And he probably was the leader of the Sanhedrin. And he was a young man at this time. So this is a man that rode to the ranks quickly. He was known for his dedication. He was schooled by the great Rabbi Gamaliel on the southern steps there as you go into the city of Jerusalem today.
So this guy had a real resume that was super impressive. And in fact, he thought he was doing the work of God by hunting down members of this weird new sect that identified themselves as followers of Jesus as the Messiah. He hunted him down. He arrested him. He threw him into prison. And he even presided over the death of the first martyr of this group, Stephen. But one day on the Damascus road a funny thing happened to Saul of Tarsus. He met Jesus. And Jesus stopped him and said, Why are you kicking against the goads?
And we don't even know what that means. But in those days a goad was a sharpened stick. So it is sort of like in a car. If you want to go faster you press down on the accelerator.
In those days when you want to go faster you poke your beast with a sharp stick and it goes faster. God says, Why are you kicking against the goads? Which means you are under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and you are fighting against it.
Why are you doing that? And by the way when someone is always arguing with you about your beliefs as a Christian. When someone is always trying to give you a hard time and you think they are far from the kingdom they may be closer than you think. The reality is Saul of Tarsus was actually closer than he realized to believing in Jesus.
And that is why he was so opposed to it. And then Saul says, Who are you Lord? Because Jesus said to him, Why do you persecute me and why do you persecute my people? Saul said, Who are you Lord? And then Saul is thinking probably, Don't say Jesus. Don't say Jesus. Just don't say Jesus.
Please. And then Jesus says, I am Jesus. Echo. Echo.
Echo. Whom you are persecuting. So Paul committed his life to Jesus. So he went from being Saul to Paul. So his point is if God can reach a person like me he can reach everyone. That is exhibit A. Exhibit B. Elides of the prophet.
Remember him? Great wonder working prophet. Stopped it from raining. Fire came down from heaven.
All kinds of amazing things. But Elijah kind of felt like he was the only guy representing the Lord. Because Israel was being ruled by a very wicked man named Ahab and his even more wicked wife Jezebel. By the way if you are looking for names to your kids don't choose those names. But they are Bible names you have but they are bad people. Judas. Don't use that either. Lucifer.
Out of the question. All right. So King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were encouraging the Israelites to worship the false god of Baal. So Elijah called him out. He stood up for truth and so forth.
And then one day he just got discouraged. Look at verse 2. Romans 11. Elides of the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, Lord they have killed your prophets and turned down your altars and I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me too. Do you remember God's reply? He said, no I have seven others who have never bowed down to Baal. Sometimes you might feel like you are the only Christian in your family.
Right? You are the only Christian in your neighborhood. You are the only Christian on your campus. You are the only Christian at your work site or wherever it is you are. But the Lord always has His people in very unexpected places.
So God was saying to Elijah, buddy you are not the only one. Point number three. As Gentiles that would be non-Jews who have been brought into the promises of God. Now let me take a quick poll. How many of you by birth are Jewish? Raise your hand.
Raise your hand. Shalom. Ok. Not many. Not many. But a lot of Gentiles. How many of you are not Jewish?
Raise your hand. Yeah that is most of us. So we are Gentiles. We are not Jews.
We are not the chosen people in that regard. But the cool thing is, the great thing is, is God has grafted us into their promises. I actually did that thing.
That 23 and Me thing. You know that? And I was honestly hoping they would say, you are Jewish.
No I am not. But I have been grafted into the promises of God. Look at verse 17.
If some of the branches had been broken off and you, though a wild olive shoot, had been grafted in, among the others you now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root. I was in New York City a while ago and a gentleman that I had met who was a member of the Israeli government asked me to come to a private meeting in a very exclusive place with a lot of very well-known New York people who were either Jewish or were great supporters of Israel. And as it turns out a very high ranking member of the Israeli government was going to be there. And so I went in. I didn't know anyone in the room.
I was just sort of saying hello to folks and there to observe. And then my friend who invited me said, Greg here is an evangelical pastor. Now you have to understand how that might come off to some people. Because traditionally and historically sometimes Jewish people have felt that Christians are against them. And sometimes that has been true.
Because there have been things done against the Jewish people in the name of Christ that were not Christian at all. But anyway he brings up the fact I am a pastor. They all look at me like, who let him in? And then he says, and he is from California, which is even worse.
You have to know Californians are not all that popular in the rest of the country. So I looked at all these folks and I said, first of all I want to say thank you. Because my Bible came through the Jewish people. And my Messiah Jesus who changed my life was a Jewish man. And I am thankful for that. And then the guy who invited me said, Greg I know you believe that Israel plays a role in end times events. Why don't you talk about that now? I am thinking I would not have chosen that topic necessarily. But I rolled with it.
It was actually a really great thing to be able to have that opportunity. But here is the thing. I think when we walk with Jesus Christ we can reach out to Jewish friends, people we meet. And help them to come to know how wonderful their Messiah is.
Important insight today from Pastor Greg Laurie from our study in the book of Romans titled, God Keeps His Promises. 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 are either just silly movies or they are movies that are so offensive I wouldn't sit through them once. But there is a recent movie that people have seen in theaters repeatedly four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten times. And I know they would like to be able to see it in their own homes. And we are talking about. We are talking about the Jesus Revolution film.
Absolutely. You know it exceeded everyone's expectations. I read an article 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 is connecting is it is not a big budget film like Top Gun or Avatar or something like that. It is a powerful story, beautifully told, amazing performances. But I think the reason it connects and resonates is because it is a true story of real people.
It shows the flaws of the people in the movie. And I think that people connect because there are so many storylines woven together. There is a story of a young Greg with his alcoholic mother and the struggles they had. There is 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 is also the story of Greg and Kathy and it is 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 have 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 is 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 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 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.
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 on 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 write, A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.
Or go online to harvest.org. Do you help attract people into the faith? Or do you wonder if people ever say to themselves, oh, if that's how a Christian handles that problem, not interested. Next time, Pastor Greg helps us see how we can draw people to the Savior. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins.
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