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What It Really Means to Love God | A Closer Look at Love

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 12, 2023 3:00 am

What It Really Means to Love God | A Closer Look at Love

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 12, 2023 3:00 am

The book of Romans contains some of the most profound insight on what the Christian faith is all about. Paul wrote this theology textbook for a church some 1500 miles away from his own home. But within the explanations of righteousness and redemption is important information about God’s love for us, our love for God, and love for others. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie focuses on that theme as he brings us a message called What It Really Means to Love God.

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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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Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.

If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. The Lord wants us to let our love for Him burn brightly. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that takes effort on our part. Never let the fire in your heart go out. Serve the Lord and keep it alive. How do you keep a fire alive?

Well, you put another log on it. You continue to feed the fire, and the fire stays strong and even gets stronger. The way we keep this fire alive is by feeding this fire.

How do we do that? Well, you're doing one thing, hearing the Word of God. The book of Romans contains some of the most profound insight on what the Christian faith is all about.

Paul wrote this theology textbook for a church some 1,500 miles away from his own home. But within the explanations of righteousness and redemption is important information about God's love for us, our love for God, and love for others. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie focuses on that theme as he brings us a message called, What It Really Means to Love God. Now we've already seen in Romans chapters 1 to 12 all that God has done for us, how He forgave us of all of our sins and Christ died for us and adopted us into His family.

And then Romans 12 1 and 2 starts with these words, I urge you therefore brothers by the mercies of God present your bodies to Him as a living sacrifice and don't be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then Paul goes on to talk about the gifts that God has given to us. We being many, our one body in Christ, everyone members having gifts that we can use. So let's use our gifts. Now here in chapter 12 verse 9 he shifts gears and shows us how to use these gifts and how to live our lives in a loving way that brings glory to God. Let's read together. Romans 12 starting in verse 9, let love be without hypocrisy, abhor what is evil, cling to what is good, be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor give preference to one another, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints and be given the hospitality. There's a lot more after that but we'll just deal with this little chunk of scripture. If you're taking notes here's point number one, our love should be real not fake. Our love should be real not fake. Verse 9, let love be without hypocrisy.

Now let's be honest. There are some people that are just, how shall we put it, unlovable. And it may be that God has placed one of these people in your life. It is possible you might be married to them.

It might be a coworker that has their cubicle right next to yours or a student in class that has their desk right next to your desk. You have to deal with this every day. So God says love this person and don't do it in a fake way.

Do it in a real way. Let your love be without hypocrisy. So you might say well you know I don't feel love for this person. And it would be hypocritical of me to do loving things for them when I'm not feeling the love in my heart. Therefore I won't do anything loving toward them at all.

Well that is not what Paul is saying. He is saying here that we should be loving to that person while repenting of not being loving. In other words do loving things for them if you feel it or not.

This thing can be applied to marriage. Let's say you feel like you have lost the romance in your marriage. So my advice to you would be well go back and start doing romantic things again. And you might say well I don't feel it. And if I don't feel it I can't do it.

Yes you can. Just start being romantic. Saying romantic things. And you will find the emotions will catch up. Point number two. If you really love God and you love others you will hate evil. If you really love God and you want to love others you will hate evil. We might think that love and hate cannot coexist. But hatred of evil is the other side of love. If I love what God loves I will hate what God hates. Psalm 97 verse 10 says the fear of the Lord is also to hate evil.

And the word that Paul uses here for hate is be horrified. Be horrified by evil. My concern is we are not horrified by evil anymore. We see certain things and we say well you know what can you do.

There it is. And we become somewhat tolerant of it. And I think of the words of Jeremiah when he said to the people of God you have forgotten even how to blush. Not only should we hate evil but we should go to great lengths to even avoid the very appearance of evil.

Number three. If you really love God and others you will be glued to what is good. You will be glued to what is good.

Verse nine. Cling to what is good. And the word cling can be translated be glue. Sort of like if you were climbing up the face of a cliff you are holding on. So we should cling to what is good.

Hold on to that thing. But then at the same time abhor that which is bad. Psalm 1 tells us of the happy man. The blessed man. And it tells us that his happiness is derived from what he does not do as well as it is derived from what he does. So the happy man, the blessed man of Psalm 1 does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful.

He does not do those things. But then it goes on to say but his delight is in the word of the Lord and in it does he meditate day and night. So he stays away from evil influences and embraces what will strengthen him.

Point number four. If you really love God you will love your Christian family. If you really love God you'll love your Christian family. Verse 10. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love in honor of giving preference to one another. Paul uses two Greek words for love. One is phileo which means brother love.

We get our English word Philadelphia from it. And then the other word is storge which means family love. So Paul is saying have brother love. Have family love for your Christian brothers and sisters.

Listen. We are related in the church by blood. We are blood relatives. The blood of Christ that was shed for our sin. It is a special bond. The church is not like a family.

The church is a family. So we already have this affection for each other. And Jesus said in John 13 35 by this shall all men know you are my disciples if you have love one for another. Point number five. If you really love God and others you'll not be a slacker. If you really love God and others you will not be a slacker.

Verse 11. Don't be lagging in diligence or as another translation puts it not lazy in zeal and intensity. Whatever we do for Christ must be done with enthusiasm, passion, intensity, and excellence. That's always been our objective here at harvest over the years.

Always wanting to do the best job we possibly can do. And that means periodically re-examining the way we've done something maybe for a certain period of time. And maybe there is a more effective way of doing that thing. Sometimes it is trimming here.

It is adding there. I mean if you take the Harvest Crusade of 1990 and compare it to the Harvest Crusade of today it is much different in many ways. But in other ways it is exactly the same. We remembered what our mission is. But we want to also be relevant for each new generation. Because we want to help broken people get fixed. We want to give people hope for this life and for the afterlife. And we want you to come help us change the world.

Therefore there is no room for phoning it in or just doing the bare minimum. Solomon counseled in Ecclesiastes 9-10, whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your mind. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's a joy to hear when Pastor Greg's message of hope and his movie Jesus Revolution have made a difference in people's lives.

Hello. I listen to Greg Laurie. My church showed the Jesus Revolution movie. It was so awesome. I think Greg Laurie, how he came to the Lord in high school was so super wonderful to hear.

I listen to him all the time. Well during the Jesus Revolution I found the Lord at a church down the hill that I lived at. I am so thrilled to be a Christian.

I'm a widow for four years and nine months. And God got me through that. And I give God all the glory for how he's changed me and made me so grateful, thankful, and blessed. So I just wanted to thank Greg Laurie for doing such an awesome thing on the radio. And I thank you so much. Do you have a story to share? If so, would you consider calling us and letting us know?

Call 1-866-871-1144, 866-871-1144. Well you've joined us today for an important message called What It Really Means to Love God. Here's Pastor Greg once again.

Point number six. If you really love God and others you'll be on fire for Christ. Verse 11 says fervent in spirit. That can be translated be on fire or be boiling over. Another translation puts it never let the fire in your heart go out. Serve the Lord and keep it alive. How do you keep a fire alive?

Well you put another log on it. You continue to feed the fire. And the fire stays strong and even gets stronger. And the way we keep this fire alive is by feeding this fire.

How do we do that? Well you're doing one thing. Hearing the Word of God. Going back to a resurrection appearance of Christ. Remember he appeared to those disciples on the Emmaus road. And after they had a long conversation with them they said did not our hearts burn within us while he walked with us on the way opening the Word. One way you'll keep your heart burning for Christ is by being in God's Word. And I'll tell you one thing. God does not like lukewarmness.

Let me put it more bluntly. He hates it. Jesus actually says to the church of Laodicea, you know what I'd rather you be cold or hot but because you're lukewarm I'll vomit you out of my mouth. So the Lord would rather we all have this fire or even be cold instead of that miserable state of lukewarmness. Let me ask you would someone else describe you as being on fire for Jesus Christ? If you're on fire for Jesus you'll do the following. You'll serve the Lord. Because again it says that we should be fervent boiling over serving the Lord. And so I think when you really have a love for Christ you want to do something for his glory. You want to serve him in some way shape or form.

But some people don't want to do this. When Gideon was rallying an army to go against the Midianites apparently it was a little too large so it was still pretty small compared to the Midianite army. So the Lord said I want you to go to your troops and say if you're fearful and afraid go home. And much to Gideon's shock many of his troops went home.

Actually the Hebrew for what Gideon said to them was returnis mamiitis which translates to go home to mommy. No that's not true. I made that up. But really hey if you don't want to do this don't do it. No one's forcing you. No one has a gun to your head.

You don't have to do it. But if you're on fire for Christ you want to be serving Christ. And if you're serving Christ you're going to go through times of tribulation.

Verse 12, patient and tribulation continuing steadfastly in prayer distributing to the needs of the saints given to hospitality. Listen when you say I want God to use me you will be attacked. And the devil will come at us in a lot of ways. He'll come at us outwardly. Sometimes it's a threat on our life.

Sometimes it's someone slandering us or insulting us or other things. And we don't like this but this is what happens when we're serving God. So what should we do in reaction to that? Look at verse 12, continuing steadfastly in prayer. Another way to translate that is be devoted to prayer. Be steadfast and unwavering in your prayers. Listen not only in petition but also in praise after God answers our prayers. Sometimes we're like those ten lepers who were healed by Jesus and only one came back to give thanks. And Jesus asked the question where the other night.

You know when we're in trouble, when we're in tribulation, when we're going through hardship we're calling out to God. Oh God hear my prayer. Oh Lord deliver me.

Oh Lord I need a good report from the doctor. Oh Lord I need this other thing to work in my favor. Please Jesus help me. Then he helps you. And what do you do? Thanks God see you next crisis.

You should give thanks with as much passion as you cried out for help. When we were in Israel on this last trip there's a friend we have over there. His name is Sammy. And he's a wonderful man who is a messianic Jew.

Which means that he was born in a Jewish family but he has embraced Jesus as his Messiah. And Sammy has cancer. And so we talked about it at great length and obviously it's a great concern to him.

A very uncertain future. And he was very burdened and worried about it. And so we had lunch and afterwards I said why don't we just pray right now and commit this to the Lord.

And you could see it was like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. And so we prayed. And he told us you know I'm going to get a report from the doctor on Monday.

This was maybe Friday. And he said so really pray. So we prayed Lord let there be a positive report from the doctor on Monday. And as soon as our prayer ended his phone rang. And he answers his phone and he disappears. And he's gone.

Like where did he go. He said oh his wife just called. They got the report back sooner than Monday and the report is good. The cancer has stopped spreading. So we are like wow. I mean literally the prayer ended and the phone rang. And it was an answer to the prayer. And you know I think sometimes we are shocked when God answers our prayers quickly.

Right. We are so used to waiting and waiting and praying and praying. And often that is the way the Lord will have it go. But then there are other times you will say Lord would you do this for me. And Lord says yep.

Whoa. Now remember to give thanks. So then someone suggested why don't we offer a prayer of thanks to God right now.

I said absolutely. So then we prayed and thanked the Lord for that fast answer to our prayer. So we need to pray for each other. I hope you pray for me. I need your prayers. Our church needs your prayers because we are in a spiritual battle and we need to use spiritual weapons.

And one of those weapons of course is preaching the gospel. And I want you to know that here at Harvest we are not backing down from that mission to do everything we can to bring the gospel to our generation. But to me it is not about numbers. I mean I am thankful when I hear some large number of people came out.

But it is always about individual stories. And I just got this email and I thought this was a very interesting and somewhat unusual testimony or story of how someone came to Christ. It is from a young man named Martin and he writes the following. And I quote, I was a practicing Muslim for 17 years. I prayed five times a day.

I fasted during Ramadan and I followed the tenets of the faith to the letter. But I decided to attend Sunday services on Easter. And apparently Martin had heard us on the radio and got interested so he decided to attend church. And then he said, and it was there that I made my decision to accept Jesus Christ.

Isn't that great? He says, I felt the power of the Holy Spirit as I never have before. Pastor Laurie I am not given to lying about these things but I am telling you I really felt something.

A physical and mental sensation that remains indescribable even to this day. So I decided to go one step further and get baptized the following Sunday. I love this guy. You know so he accepts the Lord on Easter and then gets baptized the following Sunday. And he says, and again I have to tell you when I was raised out of the pool I felt a tremendous burden lifted from my shoulders. Even as I typed these words my hands are trembling.

This was undoubtedly the most important decision I have ever made. I feel the Holy Spirit so strongly. And I feel the loving presence of Jesus Christ. I tell you pastor I have never felt this way.

Not in Islam. And I know that this is where I need to be. So I can say with an insurmountable expression of inner joy I am now a Christian. Thank you so much. I will pray for all of you and pray for me. Isn't that great? But let me say in closing there might be somebody like Martin here.

Maybe you are listening or you are watching online or wherever you are. I want to just say what happened to Martin the young man who came to Christ can happen for you as well. And if you have never asked Jesus to come into your life our prayer for you is that you will see how much He loves you and you will realize that He showed that love by dying on the cross for your sin and rising again from the dead. And if you will believe in Him He will forgive you of all of your sin.

And you can have the hope for this life and then hope for the afterlife. And if there is anybody that wants Christ to come into their life today let me lead you in a simple prayer as we close our service. And if you have never asked Jesus to come into your life you can do it right now.

Let's pray. Father I pray for any that may not know You yet wherever they are help them to come to You and believe now we ask in Your name. And if you want Jesus to come into your life you can just pray this simple prayer after me. Is pray these words Lord Jesus I know I'm a sinner but I know You're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow You from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord as my God and my friend in Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer with those who've made a decision for the Lord today. And if you've done that we'd like to offer some help. We'd like to send you some materials that'll help answer your questions and get you started as a believer. We call it our New Believers Growth Packet and we'll send it to you without charge if you'll contact us today.

Our address is a New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or call us at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the words know God. 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 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 to 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. 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 Frasier Crane? Yes he was. People didn't know about his whole television career that he had prior to being in the Jesus revolution movie. Of course you're referring to Kelsey Grammer who famously plays Frasier 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 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 in the story from Chuck and Kate 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 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 Jesus warned us that we may well face persecution for our faith but how we respond can further God's kingdom or drive an unbeliever further from the Lord.

We'll get some good insight on that next time. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-12 05:38:10 / 2023-06-12 05:48:45 / 11

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