Hey there, thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners.
I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you. If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. I think a lot more people will believe in the name of Jesus.
Let the Harvesters say, yes. Let's pray together. Lord, we believe in you and we're thankful for all that you've done and all that you're doing and all that you are still going to do in our lives. We ask you to speak to us as we open your word now and reflect on this great challenge to share our faith.
Help us to know how to do that more effectively than ever. And at any other time in our lives. So speak to us now, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You can all be seated.
Well, welcome to church everybody. And I wanted to mention a couple of things. We just had a great time with the kids.
VBS, Vacation Bible School. And we had over a thousand children show up at Harvest Orange County and Harvest Riverside. Here's a couple pictures. That's Harvest Orange County.
Look at their color-coordinated shirts. And here's Harvest Riverside. So just, it was so great. And I want to especially thank the 400 volunteers. 400 people volunteered.
Thank you for that. It was a week of effort and boy, did it pay off. Those little children were touched. And best of all, we saw 352 children make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ.
Isn't that great? Great time. And of course, Harvest Crusade is this next weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for the first time ever at the Honda Center. And as we often say, there are three things you need to know about the Harvest Crusade.
Number one, you need to pray. Start praying now for people that you can potentially bring. You say, well, who would those people be? I like to call it frangelism. Frangelism.
No, that does not mean only share the gospel. It's possible with people named Fran. But Fran's an acronym. F for friends. R, relatives.
A, associates. N, neighbors. So those are the people you want to be praying for. Then you invite them. You pray first. Then you extend the invitation.
And you say, would you like to come with me to the Harvest Crusade? Don't send them. Bring them. Because we have found that 85% of those that walk forward to make a profession of faith, the fall of Christ, that Crusade were brought by a friend. So I can't emphasize that enough. So you pray, invite, then you bring them.
And if the person cancels at the last minute, find someone else to take their place. And let's just pray and see what the Lord will do. In an instant, in season, and out of season.
I mean anytime, anywhere, God may call on you to share the gospel. So a number of years ago, I had to go to the bathroom. I hope that doesn't shock you. But yes, I did. I went to a department store and I walked in, trying not to visualize this. I took my seat. And I'm there in the stall. And I hear someone clear their throat in the stall next to me. Okay, someone next to me.
And then I hear a voice say, hi. First of all, I don't talk to people in bathrooms, okay. I don't know what the deal is with girls. Do you want to go with me to the restroom?
Let's go. And five girls will go in the restroom. Guys will never do that. If we see each other in the restroom, hey, how's it gonna get out of here, you know.
But girls, it's all different deals. So I'm in this restroom, in this stall. This guy says hi.
That's weird. And I said, hi. It was not a friendly hi. It was like, don't talk to me, hi.
Moment passes. And I hear that voice say, were you supposed to meet me here? I'm thinking, what is going on here?
I said, no. And then it dawned on me, who knows what's happening here? Well what is this guy looking for? I said, who is supposed to meet you here? He said, a drug dealer. Oh. In a bathroom stall? Or does the Holy Spirit say, I'm not going in there, okay, you're on your own. I don't know. I thought, why not? Jesus said, go into all the world and preach the gospel.
I think that includes bathrooms. So I said, I have something better for you than drugs. The guy says, what?
I said, a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He says, oh, I already tried that. I'm thinking, why am I talking to this guy? It's weird.
I already tried that. He said, really, did you ever go to church? Oh, I went to church, he said. I said, where did you go to church? He said, Harvest Christian Fellowship. I said, do you know who I am? He said, no. I said, I'm Greg Laurie, the pastor at Harvest. He said, oh my God. So, it's a true story, people. So I said, God must really love you to send your pastor to you when you're trying to make a drug buy in a bathroom.
Right? So I said to this guy, you need to get right with God. I'm gonna talk to you, but I'm done with this bathroom evangelism. I'll meet you outside.
So I went out and I'm just waiting. I didn't know what the guy looked like. He was easy to spot.
He was a guilty looking guy. So he stood there and we prayed and he recommitted his life to the Lord. You never know when God will call on you, right?
You have to be ready. So I read about a fisherman who was testing his outboard propeller in a lake in Ohio. And there in this cove, he saw a giant muskellunge fish near the future, or not near the future, near the surface, rather, looking near the surface. And this guy, you know, he cast his line in and the fish didn't bite and so he left.
He didn't know where it went and he came back a little bit later looking for it and it was back. And so he trolled toward it and he realized, what if I just reach down and grab this thing? So he puts on this big leather glove and he reaches down and grabs this massive fish and starts to pull it out of the water. It's so big he can't handle it. Another guy in a boat comes over and helps him muscle this giant muskie into his boat and the fact is this thing weighed over 50 pounds. In fact, if he had caught it with a proper rod and reel, it would have been a record, but he did it by hand. This gives you an idea of how big the fish was. Look at this picture here. So that's a piece of a fish.
So it actually became a newspaper article and they interviewed him and asked him about it. How did you catch this by hand? And he said, quote, I was at the right place at the right time and I was full enough to grab it. That sort of applies to evangelism. At the right place at the right time and be full enough to grab it. Jesus said, follow me and I'll make you fishers of men. And so we go fishing for people and sometimes you just grab it. You just go for it.
You never know when that moment will come. You know when Jesus ministered to people during his earthly ministry, he never dealt with any two people in exactly the same way. The way that he spoke with the very religious and moral and educated man Nicodemus is different than the way he spoke with a woman caught in the act of adultery. And that was different than the way he addressed Zacchaeus, the tax collector in Jericho. And that was different than the way he dealt with the woman at the well.
And we talked about her last week in Jonathan's message. But really we see how Jesus would adapt. There is not a one size fits all approach to evangelism.
You need to pray for wisdom and discernment. The apostle Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 9. He says, I become a servant of everyone so I can bring them to Christ. Listen, I try to find common ground with everyone so I can bring them to Christ.
Find common ground. So the woman at the well as we already saw. Initially it was cynical when Jesus is there and he greets her. She comes to draw water in the middle of the day. And he says, would you give me a drink of water? And she said, why would you ask a drink of water from me?
Don't you know Jews have no dealings with Samaritans? Jesus said if you knew who was speaking with you, you would ask him and he would give you living water. And then she said, what are you talking about? And then she goes on to say in John chapter 4 verse 25, we know the Messiah is coming who is called Christ and when he comes he will tell us all things. Jesus says, I who speak to you am he. Let me paraphrase it.
Girl, you're talking to him. I am the Messiah and it dawns on her. This is the Messiah and she believes right on the spot and she goes into her town and she shares her story. John 4 28, the woman left her water pot, went her way into the city and said to the men, come see a man who told me all things that I ever did.
Could this be the Christ? So I want to talk to you about how to lead others to Jesus and here's my first point if you're taking notes. Number one, telling your story that is your personal testimony is a powerful bridge for the gospel message. Telling your story, this woman only minutes old in her faith immediately goes out and tells others. And listen, you have a story to tell. Now I know some testimonies are more dramatic than other testimonies. I have a friend that attends church here, his name is Michael Franzese and Michael used to be in the Colombo crime family, the mafia as we call it.
And he was being groomed to become the next Don, the next Godfather if you will of this family. He lived a life of crime, he lived a crazy life that you just see in the movies and God got hold of him when he was in prison in solitary confinement and Michael committed his life to the Lord. Well that's a pretty radical testimony. I've talked to guys not even that long ago who are gang bangers and served time in prison as well and they talk about how Jesus has changed them. And then you talk to someone who was a drug addict or an alcoholic or had some other issue and you say wow, I don't have anything to compare to that.
I was addicted to ding dongs in the third grade but I mean you know. But listen, your story's valid. Everybody's story's valid.
Not everyone is a criminal, not everyone's a gang banger, not everyone's a drug user. Some people have nice moral lies that one day they just discovered they were sinners who needed a savior. Everybody has a testimony including you. Here's your testimony in a nutshell without even knowing you. As that one man who was healed by Jesus said, once I was blind but now I see.
That's your story. So that story is powerful and people believed because of this woman's testimony. Look at John 4 39. Many of the Samaritans of that city believed in him because of the word of the woman who testified.
He told me all that I ever did. Your personal testimony. Remember the courageous believers in the book of Revelation who overcame the devil.
And how did they do it? Answer from scripture. They overcame him by the word of their testimony and the blood of the lamb and they did not love their lives until the death. Next point, when you share your testimony, don't glorify or exaggerate your past. Don't glorify or exaggerate your past. I bring this up because I've heard some people share testimony. And then 10 years later I hear it again and I'm like, wait, it's a little different. It's a little more dramatic and I don't remember all that stuff.
Did you just remember that or are you sort of exaggerating? Be accurate in your testimony and the key is don't glorify the past. I've heard some people share their testimony and their past sounds more interesting than their present. They'll be talking about all the old life, man. We party. We had so much fun and all the stuff we used to do and then I came to Jesus. And they even talk like that.
Wait, what? I came to Jesus and I carry the old rugged cross. We don't party anymore.
We go to bed at seven o'clock after reading our Bible for four hours straight. Your old life sounds better than this life. So you're missing it. Let me tell you what your old life was. You were separated from God. You were empty. You were lonely. You were afraid to die. And you were headed to a certain judgment. Paul summed it up perfectly when he described his old life when he said in the book of Philippians, those things I used to think were so important are gone from my life compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ as my master.
Everything I once had going for me is insignificant. Dog dung. I've dumped it in the trash so I can embrace Christ and be embraced by Him.
It's a modern translation. Dog dung. We all know what that is, right? People were talking about poop. Yes, I used the word poop in church.
And that is the word that Paul used. Excrement. My old life compared to my new life, it's like excrement.
I've dumped it in the trash. So don't make your past sound better than your present. And when you tell your story, it's not about you, it's about Him. You see, your story is just a bridge to get to the most important story.
And the most important story is a story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now, a big challenge we have in sharing our faith is overcoming the language barrier. Because sometimes Christians engage in what I like to call Christianese.
It's our own unique language that is not understood by a non-believer. Example, you walk up to someone who isn't a Christian and say, hey you, uncircumcised Philistine, come here. You're a sinner and you need to repent and you need to be sanctified and justified and washed in the blood and become a part of the body of Christ. You're going to freak them out. Because first of all, they don't know what you mean when you say be part of a body and then get washed in blood.
Why, blood? What are you talking about? I'm not suggesting we not use biblical terms, but I am suggesting we understand that people today are largely biblically illiterate. I thought they were biblically illiterate when I started years ago.
Oh man, it's even worse today. This is illustrated by a recent episode of Jeopardy. You know Jeopardy, the game show? And so here are these very intelligent, well-read contestants that go on this show. And they were asked this question.
All three contestants were stumped by this question. Here it is. Matthew 6-9 says, our Father who art in heaven, blank be your name. So the answer is, what does that say? Our Father who art in heaven, what? There you go. You'd all do well in Jeopardy.
But three contestants didn't know the answer. Now there was a time where people would know the answer to that even if they weren't Christians because they knew the Lord's Prayer. There was a time when they would teach Bible as literature in schools. But today we have a culture that is largely biblically illiterate. Here in America only 6% of us hold a biblical world view.
That's why we're doing this series that we're calling Timeless. We want to help you develop a biblical world view. And this is despite the fact that 87% of American households have one of these, a Bible. But very few read it, much less believe it. A survey of graduating high school seniors revealed 12% of them believe that Joan of Arc was the wife of Noah. This is not a joke. The question was asked, was Joan of Arc the wife of Noah?
Answer, yes. We don't know the name of Noah's wife, but it wasn't Joan, that's for sure. People also thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. That'd be an interesting ceremony to do, Sodom, will you take Gomorrah? They thought that.
And then also this is the strangest of all. A good percentage of them believe that Billy Graham gave this sermon on the mount. Just, we're about 2,000 years off, people. And Billy Graham was a great preacher, but no, that one goes to Jesus, the sermon on the mount. You know, I think we're living in a time very similar to what Paul dealt with in Acts 17 where he went to Athens, Athens, Greece. And at that time Athens was the cultural and intellectual center of the world, the base of the great philosophers like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and many others.
And there were two primary groups that Paul was addressing there on Mars Hill. They were the Epicureans and the Stoics. The Epicureans followed the teaching of Epicurious and they believed in the pursuit of pleasure.
They thought there's no order to the universe, no God, no absolutes, no judgment, so you might as well live for the moment. They were the party animals of the first century. And their descendants are among us today, people that have an Epicurean philosophy.
It's all about partying, it's all about the weekend, it's all about the pleasure, anything goes. But then there were the Stoics. In contrast to the Epicureans, they were more disciplined, almost had a sort of Buddhist-like worldview. They believed that God was in all things. He was in nature, he was everywhere, it was sort of a New Age-type belief.
And so here is Paul trying to relate to these people. So when you walk through Athens, there are all these altars erected to various deities. In fact, it was said in that day it's easier to find a god in Athens than a person. And Paul walked around and looked at all these altars and he saw one erected to the unknown god. They figured, in case we miss one, we'll just, this is to the unknown god. So he stands up in a place called the Areopagus, Mars Hill, sort of the place where all the philosophers would meet. He said, men of Athens, I perceive that you're really spiritual and you have an altar erected to the unknown god.
That's the one I want to talk to you about today. That's our culture today. Nobody knows anything about the Bible. Very few people know anything about Jesus, so that's the culture we're addressing. But every generation needs to hear the gospel. My generation, the baby boomers need to hear it. And then of course there's the millennials. And so much is said about baby boomers and millennials. People from Gen X are feeling left out. Sorry Gen X, you need the gospel too. But now we hear so much about Generation Z, Gen Z, right? And they've been described as the hopeless generation.
They need to hear the gospel as well. And now on the heels of Gen Z is what is called the alpha generation, Generation Alpha. I don't care if it's baby boomers or millennials or busters or Gen Z or alpha or whatever else they're going to come up with. The answer for every generation is the same. It's the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It never changes, ever. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And Psalm 145 says, let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts, let them proclaim your power.
The same message that changed the world of the first century is the same world that will change the world of the 21st century. Paul said in Romans 1 16, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. There's power in the message of the gospel. But what is the gospel?
We throw this word around a lot. Preach the gospel. I believe the gospel. Do you actually know what the gospel is? I would suggest to you that most Americans have never heard an accurate presentation of the gospel.
Example, seven out of ten American adults have no clue what John 3 16 means. In case you don't know what it means, of course it's for God's soul of the world. He gave his only begotten son.
Whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. One third of all adults even know the meaning of the expression of the word gospel. So what is the gospel? What elements must be in play for the gospel to be the gospel? It's very important because there are false gospels out there.
So you can't go to the essential gospel message and remove parts of it you might be uncomfortable with and it's no longer the gospel. Like if I'm going to make a chocolate cake and I get the recipe out, I can't say well I don't want to use chocolate, I want to use liver instead. People will enjoy a liver cake. No they won't.
Maybe someone would. But to make a chocolate cake you have to follow the recipe. For the gospel to be the gospel you have to follow the biblical recipe which is given to us clearly in scripture because there is a false gospel. Paul writes about it in Galatians 1 16 he says I'm amazed that you guys are deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and you're turning to a different gospel. Which is really no gospel at all. If anyone comes and perverts this gospel I don't care if it's an angel from heaven let them be eternally condemned. Listen to this any gospel presentation that promises forgiveness without asking for repentance is not the gospel. Any gospel presentation that offers the hope of heaven without warning of the reality of hell is not the gospel. Any gospel presentation that tells you that God loves you but does not tell you that you need to change is not really the gospel.
See we like the good news part but we don't like the bad news part. But for the gospel to be appreciated you got to give the whole message. Sort of like when the jeweler takes the beautiful ring or whatever it is they're offering they put it on black velvet.
Why? To display its beauty. For us to fully appreciate the beauty of the gospel I have to see the dark backdrop of my sin and realize what God has done for me. Now we all know that the word gospel means good news. It's good news.
Before I can fully appreciate the good news I have to first know the bad news. Heard about two old guys that love baseball. Love to watch baseball games and one of them said to the other man I hope there's baseball in heaven. Do you think there is? I don't know he said but I sure hope there is.
Hell I'll make you a deal. If one of us dies before the other when you get to heaven if there's baseball let the other guy know. Well as it turns out one of them died shortly after that. And his buddy was walking along missing him and suddenly he heard a voice from the clouds saying. Hey man I'm here and guess what there's a baseball team in heaven.
That's so exciting I'm so happy. Yeah that's the good news there's baseball in heaven. Oh and then he said but there's some bad news.
The guy said what? You're pitching Friday. Oh not so good.
Not so good. The good news is God loves me. The good news is I can go to heaven. The good news is I can be forgiven of all of my sin.
But the bad news is I am a sinner who have broken the commandments of God and I desperately need the Savior. The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Verse John 1 it says that we say we have no sin we deceive ourself and the truth is not in us. Now if you tell a non-believer they're a sinner they're going to say I'm not a sinner.
So you're probably going to have to define it. The Bible uses multiple words to define sin. But over in Ephesians 2 when it says you were dead in your trespass in sin. Two words trespass in sin. The first word is pretty obvious trespass. You see someone's property you have a fence up no trespassing. Yeah go over that fence you're trespassing. So when I trespass it means I cross a line. So God has given me the Ten Commandments I know what right and wrong are. If I cross that line if I break that commandment I have committed a trespass.
But then there is the other word for sin harmatia is the word in the Greek. It means to miss the mark to miss the mark. So let's say you and I were having an archery contest and the goal was to hit the target. So let's say that you went first and all of your arrows hit the target but none hit the bullseye. Okay then it was my turn and none of my arrows hit the target.
In fact one went in a tree one went into a cow nearby one went somewhere else. Okay now did you do better than me? Yes. But did you hit the mark?
No. And even though you did better than I did we all fell short. So God has set a mark for all of humanity and what is that mark? Perfection. Jesus said be perfect as my Father in Heaven is perfect. You say well how can I live that way? No one is perfect.
No. That is where Jesus comes in. That is why I need Jesus because I fell short of God's glory. Because I intentionally crossed that line and fell short of His standards I need a Savior. And a person will say well I don't think I have sinned. And I might ask them well have you ever broken any of the Ten Commandments? No. You are breaking one right now. Thou shall not lie.
Right? In fact this is exactly what Jesus did with someone that we call the rich young ruler in the Bible. So He came up to Jesus. He is wealthy. He is young.
He is successful. He has a super cool customized chariot lowered custom wheels. Holding a lavender latte. I don't think they had those back then. What does He do with lavender and lattes now?
With oat milk. Ok so anyway. No it was matcha. He had matcha. Right. Even better. Matcha.
So He is standing there. I had a matcha earlier. I actually like it quite a bit. I am not mocking it. But anyway He says good teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life? You think Jesus would say hey buddy I need you on the team. Instead He says you know the commandments and He lists some of the commandments.
And the guy says all of these I have kept since I have been a young man. And we read Jesus loved him. He looked at him and loved him. It would have made more sense if we read that Jesus looked at him and smacked him. Because this young man had not kept the commandments from his youth.
That was a lie. Why did Jesus quote the commandments to him? Because by keeping the ten commandments and living a good life I can get to heaven.
No. He quoted the commandments to show this man he fell short. The commandments are not given to make me righteous. They are given to show me I am not righteous.
The commandments are like a moral mirror. You ever look in the mirror and not like what you see? I have a magnifying mirror at home. So I shaved this morning.
Thank you very much. And I thought I am good. I am clean shaven. Then I looked in the magnifying mirror. I missed spots. What is that all about? That is an old man thing.
Right. You see an old man. Why did you miss that spot? Because he needs a magnifying mirror. So I look in God's magnifying mirror and I see myself as I really am. And I say oh man I fall miserably short of God's standards.
The commandments show me I need Christ. They open my eyes and they shut my mouth. A person will say but I am a good person. And you know there are good people. I have met good people who are not Christians.
Let me say something that might surprise you. I have met non-Christians that I think are better people than some Christians I know. And when I say better I mean they are kinder. They are more considerate. They are the kind of a person who if your tire was flat they would help you change your tire. While the Christian would say I will be praying about it.
Bye. They will actually help you. I have met non-believers who are moral. They have integrity.
They live an upright life and I am very impressed by that. So they are good people in a broad sense. So it is not a question of if you are a good person or not. The issue is are you good enough? Are you good enough to get to heaven?
And the answer is absolutely not. No one is because heaven is not for good people. Heaven is for forgiven people. And one sin is enough to keep you out of heaven. So we need to share this news with people and then we also need to tell them the whole story. There is the promise of heaven.
Here is a problem. We will say to someone listen Jesus can come into your life and forgive you of all of your sin. And fill that void deep inside of you and give you purpose and meaning. Is that true? Yes. Is that the whole gospel?
No. It is an important part but it is not all of it. It is the same thing Jesus said to the woman at the well. Drink of the water I give you will never thirst again.
He is appealing to her inner thirst. But there is also an afterlife. There is also a future judgment. And just as surely as there is the promise of heaven the Bible warns of hell. In fact Jesus spoke more about hell than all the other preachers of the Bible put together. You say if I bring that up man that will kill the conversation. Yeah but that is still the gospel. Because you might be sharing with someone well Jesus has changed my life and he has given me joy and purpose and peace. And the person says I am good man. I don't need that. I am pretty happy with my life. So the non-believer asks you so what happens to me when I die?
Do you like warm climates? Wait. Tell them. I will tell you what happens. You reject the promise of Jesus Christ you will face judgment in a place called hell.
Really? How could a God of love send someone to hell? That is the question isn't it? But the simple answer is God doesn't send anyone to hell. Hell was not created for people.
According to Jesus it was prepared for the devil and his angels. The last thing Christ wants is for any man or woman made in his image to spend eternity separated from him in hell. That is why Jesus died on the cross for our sin you see. And so we have to tell them listen to this. Jude 1 23 says rescue some by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Listen some people need the hell scared out of them.
They really do. Now I know we have heard I don't like all these hell fire and brimstone preachers out there. Really? I haven't heard one in a long time. Have you? Go watch television and the preachers. When is the last time you heard a hell fire and brimstone message?
Probably not in a long time. I am not saying we should only talk about hell. Like here at Harvest it is all hell all the time. But I am not going to back away from it. Now when I speak in a crusade I am not going to delete hell. Because I might offend someone because if I don't give them the whole counsel of God I will be held accountable for that you see. So I have to tell them.
But I don't say it with a smile on my face. I warn them of it. That is the gospel message. But here is the heartbeat of the gospel. It is the cross of Jesus Christ.
That is where the power is. Sometimes in our attempts to cross over we don't bring the cross over. And a crossless message is not the gospel. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2 when I came to you brothers I didn't come with eloquence or superior wisdom. For I am resolved to know nothing else among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
And then Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1 17 Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel. Listen not with words of human wisdom lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. If I don't give this message as God gives it in scripture you have a powerless message.
Paul said the message of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness but to us who believe it is the power of God. Listen to what I am saying to you right now. What I have shared with you in this message and I am sure you have heard these things before. But what I have shared with you if you will take these truths and implement them you are already armed and dangerous.
In a good way. To use these truths to share with others. Someone once asked the great British preacher C.H. Spurgeon if he could sum up the gospel he says yes I can sum it up in four words. Christ died for me. That's it. Can you remember that?
Of course you can. Christ died for me. That's the essential gospel message.
I watched a video this last week. Gigi Tivigian one of the daughters of Billy Graham was talking about her last moments with her father. He wasn't long for this world. He was on his death bed and she was spending time with him holding his hand. And he would fall asleep then he would wake up for a moment and fall back asleep. So when he was sleeping she quite easily carefully slipped her hand out from under his and was walking toward the door had her hand on the doorknob and she heard her voice the voice of her father say Gigi. She said yes Daddy. He said there's something I want you to focus on. She said what do you want me to focus on. And Billy said I want you to continue to focus on the person of Christ and on the cross of Christ.
Wow. That's Billy Graham for you. And he said something like that to me years ago when I was in his home in Montreat North Carolina. We had had lunch and I turned to him and said Billy if an older Billy could speak to a younger Billy what would you say to yourself.
What would you tell a younger version of you what you should speak on more. Without missing a beat says I would preach more on the cross and the blood of Christ because that's where the power is. I never forgot that.
And you shouldn't forget it either. If I'm preaching to a lot of people if I'm talking to one person I know there's power in the message of the cross. OK so now let's wrap this message up. How do you close the deal. How do you get from A to B.
How do you land the plane. How do you actually lead a person to Jesus Christ. Listen it's not as hard as you think. You've got to pop the question. And what is that question. Let me ask you something.
Would you like to ask Jesus Christ to come into your life right now. We're very reluctant to do that. Why. Because we're afraid they'll say no. And they may. Would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now. No. OK. Well I'll pray for you.
And just know that wherever you are you can call on the name of the Lord. But what if they say yes. Are we really afraid of failure or are we afraid of success. Like what do I do now if the person says yes. It's sort of like popping the question when you get married. There's a lot of creative ways that people propose.
Some people might you know have a plane pull a little banner. Will you marry me. I have a friend who proposed to his girlfriend underwater. They were scuba diving. He had one of those underwater tablets. Will you marry me.
Or it was more like. And she said yes. We were in Israel a number of years ago. By the way we're leading a tour to Israel next year.
It's going to be amazing. You can join us. You go to Israel.harvest.org. Find out more. But we haven't taken a trip to Israel for a long time.
So I'm looking forward to it. But anyway I'm in Israel leading a tour. And we're on the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee. So we had a youth minister. His name was Aaron.
And his girlfriend Michelle was with him. He says Greg I want to propose to Michelle. And I was wondering if you could make that happen.
I want to do it in front of everybody. I said okay hold on. Is she going to say yes. She says oh yeah she'll say yes. You sure. I'm sure.
Okay. So I came to the end of the message. And I said to Michelle Michelle would you stand up for a moment please.
And it was her birthday so she probably thought we were going to sing Happy Birthday to her. She stands up. Michelle Aaron has something he wants to say. Aaron comes gets down on one knee.
Has the ring everything. Michelle I love you. Will you marry me. She says no. Whoa. Really sad. No she said yes. I'm just kidding. It's a great moment.
So sweet. My wife says I never properly proposed to her. She said but no Greg in the Jesus Revolution movie you did. That's not exactly the way it happened. You know the sad thing is people will come to me and say I love this scene from the Jesus Revolution movie.
Is that exactly how it was. And they always pick the scenes that are a little different than the way it really happened. Because in a movie and you'll find this in all movies you know they take something that happened here and put it over there. And in compressed time and so in the movie of course I arrive at Kathy's parents house and I'm wet from baptizing people. And I'm wearing my groovy bell bottoms and I admit to Kathy I've been an idiot. And then I'm telling her I want to spend the rest of my life with her. And she says is this your way of saying you want to marry me. And then movie Greg says what if it was. And then Kathy says well if you ever get in the way of me and my relationship with God it's over.
And then finally Greg proposes and Kathy says yes. And the actress who plays Kathy Anna Grace Barlow very talented actress one tear comes out of her eye. And John Irwin the director told me we did that take over and over and every time the tear came out of her eye. So I ask Anna I go how do you do that. She says I'm an actress I can cry at will. I thought I'd hate to be your boyfriend. You say to the guy hey why didn't you buy me that dress on cue tear.
You want to get a guy to do what you want him to do bring that tear girl I'm telling you it works. Amazing. So what really happened it's not this would not be interesting in a film. This will not be a great scene in a movie. In real life I'm sitting at a table we're having a meal and I turn to Kathy and say well I guess we're getting married. Huh. That's it.
You want to see that in a movie I don't think so. But thankfully she said yes anyway. All that matters is we pop the question.
It's like that guy with a muscalunge fish. He reached out and grabbed it. And of course if a person says yes I just lead them in a prayer. There's no magical prayer by the way. I've had people come and say tell me the sinner's prayer.
What is it again. It's not really a exact prayer. It's just based on principles of scripture.
Right. So I'll pray something like pray this after me. Lord Jesus I know I'm a sinner. I know you're the savior that died on the cross for my sin. I'm sorry for my sin. I repent of my sin. I ask you to come into my life right now and forgive me. You know you've heard this prayer before.
And it is such a joy to pray that with a person. I'm going to close with a story. Of a neighbor I used to have named Roy. So Roy lived in my neighborhood. He had a serious heart ailment.
And had been discharged from the hospital and was literally sent home to die. So my neighbor came to me another neighbor and said there's a guy named Roy. You'll see him walking around a lot. And he went to one of your crusades.
You might want to have a conversation with him because he's going to die really soon. So sure enough I saw Roy out there walking. I walked up and said hi Roy I'm Greg Laurie.
He goes I know who you are. Right well nice to meet you Roy. I heard that you went to one of our crusades.
Yeah I went to one. And I have a lot of questions okay. So he fires all these questions at me and my wife is there. Okay and then I don't know if he was happy with the answers. But then I see him the next day I have more questions. Okay he gives us all these questions.
We try to answer them. So I get a copy of a book I wrote called Life Any Questions. And I gave it to Roy. Roy why don't you read this book. The next day I see him he says I read the whole book and I have more questions. So on and on this goes.
And I feel like I'm making no progress with old Roy. And I'm beginning to wonder what's even going to happen. And so one day we're sitting in the house.
This has gone on for a couple of weeks if not longer. And we're sitting at our table we're having breakfast. We're actually having a little devotion together. And I look out my window and right in front of my window there's Roy just standing there. Standing there looking around. I thought is he standing there on purpose so I'll see him or is this just the moment.
And I felt directed by the Lord. This is Roy's day. So I walked out walked across the street I said hey Roy how you doing.
And he said yeah I'm good. I said Roy let's talk a little bit more and we did. And I said Roy I think it's time to settle this right now.
Would you like to accept Jesus Christ into your life. Roy said yes. And we prayed together. The next day I see Roy. He's a different man.
He has a big smile on his face. He says I was just singing Jesus loves me. I learned that when I was in Sunday school years ago. I found out that Roy went to his entire family. Gathered them all and said you're looking at a brand new Christian. His family could not believe the radical and immediate transformation that had taken place in his life. So glorious. So I didn't see Roy for a while.
Isn't that great. So I didn't see Roy for a while. And then one day actually it was the evening I got a knock at my door. It was that neighbor that originally told me to talk to Roy. Says I have some sad news. Roy died last night. But hey he went home to heaven. And I was able to see that happen.
But he sure got in under the wire didn't he. Boy he pushed that. There's lots of people like Roy out there.
Aren't there. You know Roy. Your grandfather. Your dad. Your mom. That grumpy neighbor. That co-worker. I don't know what a co-worker is. But especially the co-worker. And the co-worker. They always have the questions.
Always with the challenges. Always with the arguments. And you're thinking what is wrong with this person. They're so far from God. Are they. Or are they closer than you realize. We often think the pleasant people that politely decline our invitations might be closer than the argumentative people.
When in reality it may be the very opposite of that. You invite a person to the crusade. Come to the crusade. Oh I'd love to but we're busy that weekend.
Okay. Want to come to church the next Sunday with me. We're busy that Sunday too. What about the next Sunday. We're busy.
What about busy. Okay. But they're nice. They're nice. I can see it's helped you. I can see you're a happier person. We think oh they're so close.
I don't know how close they are. Then there's the person with the arguments. There's the person with the questions. And it doesn't stop.
Could it be that they're under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. You know it's been said that when you throw a rock into a pack of dogs the one that barks the loudest is the one that got hit. Try it after church. Throw a rock at a bunch of. No don't. No don't.
It's just an illustration. Don't throw rocks at dogs. But cats maybe. No don't. I have to say this.
Not related to anything. The only thing worse than pushing a dog in a stroller is pushing a cat in a stroller. And I saw it a few days ago.
It's like this has to stop. Do you think a cat wants to be in a stroller. Anyway I digress. So. But the idea of throwing a rock into a pack of dogs.
The barking is the idea of they're fighting with you but maybe God's working in their heart. You might be shocked if you just said would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now. Yes. You never know.
You never know until you pop the question. So I've got a challenge for all you guys this week. I want you to intentionally engage in gospel conversations with people.
Every one of you. And start with your testimony. Just tell them what Jesus has done for you. Then you beat a quick path to the story of Jesus. His death on the cross.
How He died for their sin. Then you extend that invitation. And what a great joy it's going to be for you.
And all of us. If that person you brought to the crusade walks down when the invitation is given. And you will share in an eternal reward because of that. You can do this.
You really can. I know God's will for your life. You're always wondering what's God's will for my life. I know God's will for your life right now. God's will for you. For me.
For us. Is to go into all the world and preach the gospel. By the way that word that Jesus uses there in Matthew 28. In Mark 16.
It's a command. He says I command you to go into all the world and preach the gospel. You say but Greg how do you know that's God's will? Because the Bible says God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. God wants people to be saved. And the way He reaches them is through people. How will they hear unless someone tells them Paul asks in the book of Romans.
And how will they tell them unless they've been sent. How beautiful are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things. You're commanded to go. Let's do it. But let me say this. It's a joyful thing to share your faith. As I pointed out earlier it's life giving to you to tell others about Jesus.
As well as life giving to the person who is hearing it. God wants to use us. But let me close by saying this. Maybe I'm talking to a Roy. Maybe literally a Roy.
I don't know. But someone that doesn't know Jesus yet. And you're kind of like Roy with all the questions. But you're just waiting for someone to ask you would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now. And I want to ask you that. Is there somebody listening me watching me right now wherever you are. You're just waiting for someone to pop the question if you will.
Well I'm popping it. Would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now. Would you like your sin forgiven. Would you like to know that when you die you will go to heaven instead of hell.
It can happen for you because Jesus who died on that cross and rose again from the dead. Stands at the door of your life and he knocks and he says if you'll hear his voice. And open the door he will come in. So in a moment we're going to bow our heads and we're going to pray. And I'm going to extend an invitation for anyone here anyone watching wherever you are. To ask Christ to come into your life. If you need to do this if you want to do this.
You can do it right here right now. Let's pray. Father I pray that you'll speak to anyone here who does not yet know you. Help them to see their need for you. Help them to come to you and believe we pray.
Now while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying together. Maybe there's someone here that wants Jesus. You want him to forgive you of your sin. You want to go to heaven when you die. You want that big hole in your heart filled.
It can happen right here right now. If you want Christ to come into your life. If you want him to forgive you of your sin. If you want a fresh start in life. If you want to go to heaven one day. If you're ready to say yes to Jesus. Would you just raise your hand up and let me pray for you.
Wherever you are. Raise your hand up I'll pray for you. God bless you.
Anybody else? Raise your hand up high where I can see it. God bless you. God bless you and you and you. God bless you. Raise your hand up wherever you are. Let me pray for you. You want Christ to come into your life.
God bless you. Now of course you guys watching on screens. I can't see you but the Lord sees you. You can raise your hand too. Raise your hand up saying I need Jesus. Okay now if you raise your hand even if you did not. I want you to stand to your feet right now. And I'm going to lead you in a prayer.
Where you will ask Christ to come into your life. You heard me right? Stand up. If you raise your hand even if you did not. You want Jesus to come into your life.
You want him to forgive you of your sins. Stand up and we're going to pray together. Stand to your feet wherever you are.
Let's pray and settle this right here right now. There's some folks standing. Are you standing? Do you want Christ in your life? Stand and let me pray with you.
You will not regret this. Anybody else stand now. There might be a few others. Just stand up. God bless you that are standing. And I'll wait one more moment.
Anybody else? This is your moment to have your life changed. But you have to make this decision. Alright you that are standing. I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me. Again as I pray. Pray this out loud after me.
Pray this if you would. Lord Jesus. I know that I'm a sinner. But I know you're the Savior. Who died on the cross for my sin.
And rose again from the dead. 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 friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer Lord. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. God bless each one of you. God bless you.
Hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries. Follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally. Go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-26 02:21:00 / 2023-06-26 02:42:27 / 21