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. Greg points out what believers can look forward to. Trust we're the insight coming from the pages of Scripture. We can make two mistakes when it comes to the afterlife. Some people think, well, hell won't be too bad. They joke that all their friends will be there. They'll just party all the time.
There won't be any parties there. The other mistake we can make is thinking heaven isn't all that good, especially if you don't play the harp. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see what's really waiting for believers. We learn about the abundant life in the here and now and eternal life in the hereafter. This is a new series that we're calling The Seven Signs of Jesus. They're all found on the Gospel of John. John is the author of a gospel that is unique from all of the other gospels.
You don't find the nativity story in John's gospel, nor do you find the temptation of Christ by Satan, nor is the Sermon on the Mount or the Olivet Discourse there. However, all of the great I Am statements of Christ are found uniquely in John's gospel. Where Jesus says, I am the bread of life, John 6. I am the light of the world, John 8. I am the door of the sheep, John 10. I am the good shepherd, again, John 10. I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die, John 11, 25. And probably the most well-known I Am statement of Christ.
I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by me, John 14, 6. So John uses these signs like building blocks. The seven signs crescendo to the final and seventh sign, which is the resurrection of Lazarus. So this is a journey that begins with a wedding and it ends with a funeral. I almost titled my message Three Miracles, a Wedding and a Funeral.
That seems like that's been used in some way before by a movie. So what is Jesus doing? He's preparing them for the ultimate sign.
And what is the ultimate sign? Again, it's his death and resurrection from the dead. So here now we see the first miracle of Jesus, a miracle that effectively says God saves the best for last. Let's read John chapter two. I'm gonna read verses one to 11.
Read along with me. And I'm reading from the New Living Translation. John two, verse one.
The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there. And Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities. So Jesus' mother told them they have no more wine. Dear woman, that's not our problem, Jesus replied.
My time has not yet come. But his mother told the servants, do whatever he tells you. Standing nearby were six water jars used for Jewish ceremonial washing.
Each could hold 20 to 30 gallons. Jesus told the servants, fill all of the jars with water. When the jars had been filled, he said, now dip some out and take it to the master of ceremonies.
So the servants followed his instructions. When the master of ceremonies tasted the water, there was now wine. Not knowing where it had come from, though of course the servants knew, he called the bridegroom over and said, a host always serves the best wine first, he said.
But then when everyone has a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine, but you have kept the best until now. This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him. So this is the first miracle performed by Jesus.
And the way it is done is important. Look at verse seven. Jesus told the servants, fill the jars with water. And when the jars had been filled, he said, now dip some out and take it.
By the way, this took a while. Because they didn't have a faucet. They had to put the jar into the faucet, turn it on. They have to go out to the well, dip their bucket in the well, fill it, bring it back, pour it into the water pot, go out, do it again, do it again, do it again. This took a long time. It was hard work.
These were big water pots as well. And I love how he doesn't tell them what's going to happen. He doesn't say, when you do it, the water will turn to wine.
He says, just go do this. And I said, why? This makes no sense. And to the point, could he not have just spoken a word?
And the water would have turned to wine. Why do we have to go do all this extra work? Because he wanted to involve them in the process. I don't know why God uses me. I don't know why God uses you. If I were God, I would probably do it differently.
I'd just roll the heavens away and poke my face through and say, hello earth. I'm God. And you're not. Why don't you all believe in me now? Or I might send an army of powerful angels to deliver my message. But instead, God in his wisdom chooses to use broken, flawed, sinful people like you and me.
Well, I'm thankful I can be a part of the process. Because the Lord can convert anyone, but he chooses to reach people through people. The scripture says, how will they believe unless they are sent.
How beautiful are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things. God wants to use us in that. So these people, as an act of obedience and faith, do what he says. Faith, it's walking into uncertainty.
You don't always know. But faith is not just intellectual assent. It's action. Hebrews 11, 1 defines faith as follows. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It's the evidence of things not seen. Faith is the means by which the infirmity of man takes hold of the infinity of God.
Let me say that again. Faith is the means by which the infirmity, that is the weakness of man, takes hold of the infinity of God. And faith doesn't have a back door. And I have found in my life that God has always led me one step at a time.
I've never had a blueprint. Here's a blueprint of your whole life, Craig. Here's everything that's going to happen.
No, it's just one step at a time. A door opens here. An opportunity there. A setback over in this other place. A really hard time of trial here. A great blessing here. Another opportunity.
All kinds of twists and turns. Haven't you found that to be true? So you just obey. God tells you to fill a water pot, fill a water pot. He tells you to bring your loaves and fishes, bring them and distribute them. He'll take care of it.
He'll step in. And of course now the water becomes wine. And the host notices. He doesn't know where this wine came from. He doesn't know water was just turned into wine. He goes, hey, this is crazy because normally they serve the good wine up front and the cheap stuff at the end. And you're doing the reverse. You've saved the best to last.
And in the same way, God saves his best wine, if you will, for last. So I became a Christian at age 17. And I gave up a few things. Did I miss anything? Yeah, I gave up some friends.
So-called. I gave up some parties. I gave up some experiences.
Things that other of my generation were involved in. Now you fast forward over 50 years. And I look back at the choices they made. And I look at the choice that I made. And I know I made the right choice. Because for the Christian, it just gets better and better.
Okay? So that's something to keep in mind. I didn't say it gets easier or less complicated or less pressured or more trouble-free. But it's definitely better, sweeter, richer, deeper, and more satisfying.
Every day of walking with Jesus gets better. And someone might say, well, Greg, that's a good message. Why don't you preach that to really old people? Well, I will.
But I think young people need to listen to it as well. Because you decide the evening of your life by the morning of your life. You decide the end at the beginning. So you decide here where you're gonna be when you're way over here.
Decisions you make each and every day. But you will find walking with Jesus just gets better and better. This is certainly true of marriage. Every marriage will go through its times of trial. And I hear couples say, well, we can't be together anymore because of irreconcilable differences.
Really? Every marriage has irreconcilable differences? You put two people together and often opposites attract, right?
All those things that were so endearing and attractive when you first met your mate-to-be now are irritants. Oh, he's always too late. Or she's always too early.
Or probably the reverse of that realistically, but whatever. Or he's this way and she's that way and now we just can't be together anymore. Irreconcilable differences. As I've said before, my wife Kathy and I have had irreconcilable differences for 50 years.
Okay, but is it really irreconcilable? Hang in there because the best is yet to come. A study was done in couples who were having conflict but decided to stay together.
Two-thirds of the unhappily married spouses who stayed married reported that their marriages were happy five years later. Here's what you need to do. Invite Jesus Christ into your marriage.
Just like they invited Jesus into their wedding. Invite Him in. Lord, we need your help. Lord, we're not going to make it without you. Come into our marriage and do what the Bible says.
And you will have a blessed life together. Jesus saves the best for last. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We're thrilled when we hear from listeners who have been impacted by the movie Jesus Revolution.
Listen to these comments from one of our listeners. I just want to say, Pastor Laurie, that I found you through your recent movie that was released, Jesus Revolution. And my brother has known you for years.
He came to know the Lord during that time and I was a little bit later. But I have found your books. I finished the Jesus Revolution.
I've also finished the one on Johnny Cash. And now I'm listening to the one about Billy Graham and I'm enjoying them so much and also enjoying your podcast every morning. And I'm just so thankful for you and your ministry. But I just want to thank you again that God has worked through you to reach us all over the years.
Thank you so much. Do you have a story to share? If so, would you let Pastor Greg know? Just drop him an email. gregatharvest.org.
Again, that's gregatharvest.org. Well, today Pastor Greg is offering some encouraging insights for us in his message from the Gospel of John, Chapter 1. So a couple of closing thoughts. Number one, the best is yet to come in this life. The best is yet to come in this life.
The Christian life is the best life. It is. Amen? Amen. Okay.
It gets quiet. I don't know. Sometimes. It's the best life. Jesus said in John 10, 10, I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly. So whatever you're going through. And some of you are going through something hard right now.
A hardship. How am I going to get through this? You're going to get through it. Whatever trouble you're facing, it will get better.
And you're becoming more like Jesus every day. That doesn't mean you won't have setbacks. It doesn't mean you won't have health problems.
It doesn't mean you won't have aches and pains. But we know there's more to life than this body. We know there's life on the other side when we enter into God's presence. And number one, the best is yet to come in this life, but the best is yet to come in the afterlife. This is the hope of the Christian. We know there's an afterlife. And those that think of the next life have a much better version of this life. Because I realize what I do has eternal ramifications. The right decisions I make as well as the wrong decisions that I make. We know heaven is waiting for me because I've trusted in Christ.
And we know that one day I'll be with Him. See, for a Christian, the best is yet to come. But for the non-believer, the worst is yet to come.
Listen to this. For the believer, this life is as bad as it gets. For the non-believer, this life is as good as it gets. So, you know, Satan, he puts the good wine up front. Then he takes that out on you later. Oh, it's so exciting when you're young. And you're facing the same temptations every generation before you has faced, but here it is, man. Don't live by the rules. Don't do what the Bible says. Go chase after your impulses and desires and do what you want with whoever you want to do it with. And try this drug and drink that and have sex with this other person and chase after this other thing.
You're going to love it. And there is, if we're honest, a certain excitement and euphoria the first time you do something you should not do. But then there are the consequences of it later. The Bible says sin is pleasurable for a season, but afterwards comes death. So there's initial pleasure, then the guilt kicks in, then the repercussions kick in. You know, it's been proven that people that try a drug for the first time anything from marijuana to cocaine to heroin even, the first time.
Oh, it was so amazing. And then they spend the rest of their life chasing the first high. Because now it doesn't get you high like it used to. Now there's complications.
Now there's problems. Look at the effect that meth takes on a person physically. Not to even mention spiritually.
Look at the effect that alcohol takes on a person physically. My mother was a beautiful woman. That's why I'm so handsome. That wasn't a joke. I was hoping for some applause and you'd laugh at my face. No. Yes, it was a joke and that's why you laughed.
I meant it as a joke. But she was a beautiful woman. Gorgeous. Looked like Marilyn Monroe. She was a man magnet. And she was raised in a Christian home, my grandparents, that we called Mama Stella and Daddy Charles. They raised her in a Southern Baptist church. They went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night. They had missionaries over for lunch in the afternoon.
And then they would go to a midweek service. So my mom knew all about church. My mother had a drug problem early on. They drug her to this church meeting and drug her to that church meeting.
So my mom said, I'm out of here. And she ran away from home when she was a young girl in a lope with some guy. She divorced him, married another guy, divorced him. Had a fling with some dude in Long Beach. Got pregnant.
Ta-da. Greg was conceived. She went on with her wild life. Married and divorced seven different men. Had a lot of boyfriends in between.
Drank every night to excess. And that beauty began to fade. And the effects of her choices kicked in. She did have a horrible automobile accident. And had a head-on collision with someone when she was driving drunk. It's amazing she even survived it. And when my mother was 70, she looked like she was 90.
Sad. But God loved my mother. And he extended his hand of forgiveness. And I'm thankful to say, toward the end of her life, she committed her life to Jesus Christ.
So, thankful for that. But I wish it had happened earlier. I wish we could have had years together. With her following the Lord as I was following him. But that was not to be. But thankfully, she did come around in the end. But, hey, the effects of sin and bad choices took their toll. And they always will.
There are no exceptions. So the devil comes, he offers his good wine, if you will, up front. And then you pay the price for it. God says, ah, for you, the Christian, the best is yet to come. Just keep following me and trusting me.
And you will see. Why was Jesus at this wedding? Because he was invited.
Isn't that amazing? They invited Jesus. Hey, would you like to come to our wedding?
Yeah, I'd love to. And there he was. And in the same way Jesus stands at the door of your life and he knocks, he says, I would love to come into your life. I would love to reveal to you my plan for you, by the way, which is much better than your plan for yourself. I love you like no one loves you. I know you like no one knows you. I care about you.
I want to bless you. Why don't you let me into your life? But you have a choice here. I don't have to let him in. They didn't have to invite him to the wedding. And you don't have to invite him into your life.
But listen to this. To not say yes to Jesus is to say no. If he's standing at the door and knocking, you either let him in or you don't let him in. I mean, let's just say after church today you go home and you're having lunch and there's a knock at your door. And isn't that Craig knocking at the door? I'm like, hi.
Because you have a window and you're waving hi. You're at your table. Just ignore him. He'll go away. He says, he just wants free food.
He's always talking about food. You go back to eating and I'm standing here. Hi. Knock on the door again. Can I come in? I'm even saying, can I come in?
Don't talk to him. After a while, maybe two hours, I'll get the hint. I don't think they want me in their house.
And I'll walk away. You see, you rejected me. Well, it wasn't a rejection. When I know you're home and I'm knocking and you don't answer it, that's called a rejection.
Right? Jesus says you're for me or against me. So Jesus is knocking. And we say, well, I'll ignore him. Maybe I'll get to this later. I'll get to it when I'm a little older, in my 30s. I'll get to it when I'm even older than that, 40s.
I'll get to it when I'm really old, elderly, 50. But you just expect he's going to stand there and knock forever. And in a sense, he will.
The issue is not, well, Jesus knocked. The question is, will your heart be so hardened that you won't hear him anymore? The Bible says, harden not your heart if you can hear his voice. Listen, God will forgive you up to your last moment on earth.
That's how good he is. But the problem with rejecting him is your heart gets so hardened, you won't want his forgiveness. That's why the Bible says today is the day of salvation. This is your moment. And I'm going to close with a prayer. And I'm going to extend an invitation to anyone that has joined us. If you're not sure if Christ is living in your life, if you're not sure you'll go to heaven when you die, this is your opportunity to respond. He'll come into your life right now and forgive you of all of your sin. If you need him in your life, if you want him in your life, respond to this invitation as we close in prayer. Let's all pray. Father, thank you for your word to us. Thank you for your promise of forgiveness. And now we pray for any person here that does not yet know you. I pray your Holy Spirit will show them their need for you, that they would come to you now. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer. And if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes.
So please stay with us. Well, it's our joy to have Shannon Bream in the studio with us today. She's here along with Pastor Greg and his wife, Kathy. She's anchor of Fox News Sunday.
I'm sure you're well aware of the name and the face on your television set. She's written a brand new book called The Love Stories of the Bible Speak. And in it, Shannon, you write about Adam and Eve. Tell us about their love story. Obviously, neither one dated very many other people. How does that love story compare to what we all know today as a love story?
This is like the ultimate arranged marriage, right? Because I think it's such a beautiful thing. You see all through creation as God is presenting the animals before Adam and he gets to name all of them. He keeps saying, it is good. I created day and night, it is good. All of the things that happened, but it wasn't until you have Adam in there that he noticed something wasn't good, that there was no match for Adam.
There was no one. So he actually works from Adam's body to create this helper. But when you really dig into the Hebrew there, it's not what some people, if they are skeptical of the story, would think that Eve was subordinate or she was lesser to him.
It's not that. She was really a partner in life with him. And so I think there's a beautiful model there for how we are to approach marriage. They made some wrong decisions like we all do, but really this was a partnership of equals that have different roles, but God never assumed one of them over the other. They were in this together.
That's so fascinating. I think it's amazing to think that when Adam foresees Eve, he said, this is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man. He couldn't even define who he was or what he was until he saw her. And she is woman. She has been taken out of man. And now he knows who he is and his role, and he sees her in all of her splendor and beauty.
That would have been quite the moment. He says, at last, she's here, she's arrived. This person I didn't know was missing. This thing from my life that I didn't realize was going to be so crucial to me, tending to creation and moving the entire story of humanity forward. So these are some of the things that Shannon writes about in a brand-new book that we're offering to you this month for your gift of any size, and the title of Shannon Bream's new book is The Love Stories of the Bible Speak, subtitled Biblical Lessons of Romance, Friendship, and Faith. And we're offering it to you this month for your gift of any size.
Yeah, that's right. It's always our desire to undergird your Christian growth by putting significant resources into your hands. And this is a wonderful new book you'll want to have. We'll send it to say thank you for your investment in keeping these studies coming your way. So as you donate today, be sure to ask for The Love Stories of the Bible Speak. You can reach us by phone anytime at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514.
Or go online to Harvest.org. Well, Pastor Greg, you spoke today about having a relationship with the Lord. Someone can enter into that kind of relationship with God right now, can't they? Yeah, they really can. That's the amazing thing. I think people are surprised that it doesn't take years to become a Christian. It doesn't take months. It doesn't take weeks. It doesn't take days.
It doesn't even take hours. You can believe on the spot. And I would like to lead you in a prayer where you can ask for His forgiveness, a prayer where you can receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior and Lord. So if you want Christ to come into your life, if you want Him to forgive you of your sin, if you want a second chance in life, if you want to go to heaven when you die, stop what you're doing and pray after me these words. Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I'm sorry for my sin, and I turn from it now, and I choose to follow You from this moment forward as Savior and Lord, as God and friend.
Thank You for loving me and calling me and forgiving me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Amen. And listen, if you have just prayed those words with Pastor Greg and meant them sincerely, the Bible assures us your sins have been forgiven.
We're told the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And we want to send some resource materials your way that will help you in your new relationship with the Lord. We call that our New Believer's Growth Packet. We'll send it without charge if you prayed for the first time today with Pastor Greg. Just ask for it when you call 1-800-821-3300.
That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or go to harvest.org and click the words Know God. Well, next time Pastor Greg points out what it takes to live a successful Christian life. More from his series called The Seven Signs of Jesus. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. In the day, the day when life begins 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.
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