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Time to Clean House | Moving at Full Speed in the Right Direction

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
July 11, 2023 3:00 am

Time to Clean House | Moving at Full Speed in the Right Direction

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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July 11, 2023 3:00 am

The successful Christian life doesn’t happen by accident. It takes focus and effort. Salvation is a free gift...but Christian growth involves some work and sacrifice on our part. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie continues his series in John called The Seven Signs of Jesus. We’ll learn how to map out a plan to keep us moving full speed in the right direction. If you’ve had a few stumbles and sputters in your walk with the Lord, this is a great opportunity to knuckle down and buckle up.

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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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Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. The successful Christian life doesn't happen by accident.

It takes focus and effort. Salvation is a free gift, but Christian growth involves some work and sacrifice on our part. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie continues his series in John called The Seven Signs of Jesus.

We'll learn how to map out a plan to keep us moving full speed in the right direction. If you've had a few stumbles and sputters in your walk with the Lord, this is a great opportunity to knuckle down and buckle up. All right, let's take a quick poll. How many of you are super neat, organized people? Raise your hand.

Super neat and organized. Okay. How many of you are messy people? Raise up your hand.

Wow. It's almost evenly split. How many of you who are messy and are neat, how many messy people are married to a neat person and vice versa? See, that's funny, isn't it?

And that's how it is in my home as well. My wife, Kathy, total slob. Why are you laughing?

Because that's not true. She's the opposite. She's very neat, very organized, always cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.

And I am not that person. In fact, I think we all know what it's like if you're one of those messy people. Do you have messes get so big that you just, I can't live in this space anymore, right? So finally I have to do something about it. Same is true of a car. You know when you get a car?

There's nothing like the new car smell. Oh, I love this. And you make a vow. I don't know who you make it to.

You just make it. I will wash this car every week. No, I'll wash it twice a week. No, I'm going to wash it every single day. There won't be a single dent in this car and no one will ever eat anything in this car ever.

Well, a little time passes. You get a dent here. You get a stain there. And instead of the new car smell, instead you have the In-N-Out Burger Chick-fil-A smell. And that burrito you lost a few months ago has reappeared. It climbed up into your child's car seat and buckled itself in. So it's getting scary.

So basically, you know, you let things go and you have the problems that developed. In the Jesus Revolution movie it shows me driving around in a Corvair. And I did have a Corvair. Not a Corvette. A Corvair where the engine is in the back.

And that car was breaking down a lot. And I couldn't afford a new set of tires so I had retreads. Do you know what retreads are?

I said this to someone the other day. They said, what's a retread? A retread is just a layer of rubber they put around a ball tire. And I take offense to the phrase ball tire. I don't like it.

I don't like it. And so you put this rubber. You glue it on and I'd be driving down the 91 and the retread comes up. I have to pull over. Stalled by the side of the road changing my tire. Sometimes our lives can be that way. We said we would maintain our Christian life.

We said we would stay strong in our faith but we've neglected it. And before you know it you're on the side of the road. It's been said the Christian life is like a grease pole.

You're either climbing or slipping. It comes down to this. The best defense is a good offense.

Right? So instead of merely reacting you should be acting aggressively in pursuit of your spiritual life. And always cleaning. Don't let messes build up.

You have two choices in life. You can undertake the Greg way of cleaning or the Kathy way of cleaning. The great philosophy in cleaning is never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. And if you don't know what to do with something throw it in a random drawer. So I have drawers filled with stuff. Just all kinds of stuff. Pens and this and that and I don't even know what's in it anymore. And I don't even want to open it.

It frightens me a little bit. The Kathy way of cleaning is always clean. Always stay on top of it. There's dust on the floor. Greg sweeps it under a rug.

Kathy sweeps it properly. And I think the same is true of the Christian life. Always maintaining your relationship with God because you can wait until major problems develop as a result of neglect. It might be a fascination that turns into a habit.

That then becomes an addiction. And soon a little thing becomes a big thing. Suddenly that little problem is like a Goliath in your life. You know what I mean by Goliath? He was that giant of a man in the story of David.

Nine feet six inches solid muscle taunting David and the rest of the people of Israel. And we can have giants in our life like that. That frighten us. That taunt us.

That scare us. But you know Goliath wasn't always a giant. He was a little baby once. I bet he was a big baby right? I bet no one wanted to change his diaper. Would you want to? It's time to change Goliath's diaper.

I did that yesterday and it took hours. I don't want to do it again. I was traumatized by it. And imagine him having a temper tantrum as a little toddler. But one day he grows into a giant of a man. And our giants are problems so to speak.

Start small. But little things turn into big things. Little liberties turn into big vices.

And then one day they're a full grown giant. So what we need to do is ask God to cleanse us of our sin on a regular basis. Don't wait till it builds up to some giant problem or horrible mess. Every day it's maintenance in the Christian life. Jesus taught us in the Lord's prayer to pray as follows. Our father who art in heaven hallowed be your name your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.

Just as surely as you should pray on a daily basis for God's provision as in your daily bread you should also pray on a daily basis for the forgiveness of God in your life. All right well let's read now this story which was actually the second sign of Jesus as recorded in John chapter 2 the cleansing of the temple. I'm reading from the new living translation starting in verse 13. It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the temple area he saw merchants selling cattle sheep and doves for sacrifices.

He also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. So Jesus made a whip. I love that underline that. Jesus made a whip.

I almost gave that as the title of this message. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the temple. He drove out the sheep and the cattle scattered the money changers coins over the floor and he turned over the tables.

Then going over to the people who sold doves he told them get these things out of here stop turning my father's house into a marketplace. Okay we'll stop there. So this is sign number two. Seven signs in the gospel of John. Sign number one turning the water into wine. Sign number two overturning the tables. If you were one of the disciples you might have said Lord are you sure you want to make this your second sign?

Because the first one was really popular. I mean Jesus shows up at a wedding. He turns water into wine.

Everybody's happy. Maybe Lord your second sign could be healing a blind man or the recovery of of the ability to hear or or how about raising someone from the dead. Jesus says no I'm kind of thinking of going with this right up front and it was a radical thing. You know to overturn tables that that's kind of a big deal. We've seen it in we've seen it in a million westerns haven't we? The cowboys the gamblers sitting around the smoke filled bar playing cards. Everybody lays their hand on the table and one guy says to the other guy I think you're cheating. And all of a sudden he turns the table over and the cards go flying and the money goes flying and the piano player the piano player always has a little derby hat on.

It's mandatory if you're a piano player you wear the little derby hat not a cowboy hat and he always has a little garter thing on his sleeve and he's playing ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding all these stops. Everyone stops and looks and a fight breaks out. It's a violent act to overturn a table. Money went flying. He did it to get their attention. Kind of reminds me of our own lives. You know we invite Jesus to our table. We invite him into our life. He brings as the Bible calls it joy unspeakable and full of glory. He brings us a peace that passes human understanding.

It's fantastic. Suddenly for the first time perhaps we have hope. We have purpose. We say it's great to invite Jesus to your table until he turns it over. Because he might come and say well there's some things in your life that need to change. This you can't do this anymore. This is destroying you. It's destroying other people.

Why does he do this? He tears something down in order to build it back right. Jesus compared it to someone pruning.

Pruning a fruit tree. In John 15 2 he says he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know when you've walked in the very land where Jesus himself walked you'll gain a whole new appreciation for the truth of scripture. Hey everybody Greg Laurie here inviting you to the Harvest Ministries Israel tour April 9 to 19 2024. This will be an unforgettable journey through biblical sites and a unique opportunity to grow in your own faith.

Listen spots are limited. Be sure to sign up as soon as possible at israel.harvest.org. Again it's israel.harvest.org. I hope to see you there. Well you've joined us for Pastor Greg's study called Time to Clean House based in the Gospel of John chapter 2. So Jesus and his disciples are headed into Jerusalem. It's Passover time. That was when friends and family would gather kind of a happy time maybe a sense of joy in the air and and now all of a sudden Jesus is getting irritated. He's hot and bothered. He walks into the temple and what does he see?

He sees this outer area known as the court of the gentiles filled with all of these tables with these money changers. Now what is this all about? These are people that stepped in and said to you you come in with your little lamb. It's all you could afford. It's unblemished.

It meets the criteria. The money changer says I'm sorry but this lamb does not pass muster but we're having a deal on temple approved lambs that you can buy for a jacked up price and so you would pay it because you wanted to approach God. And in fact even in the old covenant before Christ came and died on the cross for our sins establishing the new covenant God welcomed non-Jews to believe. You could still believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So the court of the gentiles was for those folks but as they're trying to get in to approach God they have this barrier put in front of them and this made Jesus angry.

Bible commentator Warren Wiersbe made this statement and I quote you can tell a lot about a person by how they answer these three questions. What makes you laugh? What makes you weep? And what makes you angry?

Good question. What makes you laugh? What makes you cry? And what makes you angry? Jesus was clearly angry. This is righteous indignation. Verse 15 Jesus made a whip.

Wait a second is this Indiana Jones or Jesus of Nazareth? A whip? Seriously?

Overturning tables? Is this necessary? Apparently so. It flies against the stereotypical false image of Jesus that we so often see in religious art where Jesus is scrawny, anemic, sometimes even feminine in appearance and we think this dude needs a sandwich okay. Are you making fun of Jesus?

No I'm making fun of a false religious portrayal of Jesus that is not biblical. The Jesus of the Bible I think he was strong. I think he was a man's man.

If you would have met him as a guy you'd say I admire that man. It takes strength to overturn a table. It takes strength to carry across the streets of Jerusalem after your back has been ripped open with a Roman whip. Jesus was strong but he was meek and there's a difference between being meek and weak. You know sometimes someone is very weak and they say well I'm just meek. No you're actually weak. You're not meek.

You're weak. The word meek means power under constraint. It's someone who has the ability to do something but chooses not to. So Christ is meek but in this particular instance he's showing righteous indignation.

Bringing me to point number one if you're taking notes. There are things that make God angry. There are things that make God angry. This perverting of his purpose was something that clearly made Jesus angry. Listen I don't know about you but I want to know what angers God. I want to know what God loves as well as what he hates. In the book of Proverbs the Lord says there are seven things I hate. It's good to know what those things are because you don't want to do because you don't want to do something that God hates and you don't want to make him angry. By the way it takes time to make a whip.

You know it took I don't know a couple of hours. So this is not a explosion of anger. This is not God losing his temper. Can you imagine if God just went on a temper tantrum.

Planets flying around. I'm mad. I want breakfast. You know whatever makes someone angry. God's not like that.

When he's angry it's for a reason. It's righteous indignation. You almost wonder if the disciples were a bit embarrassed like really Lord seriously. You're doing this.

Yes I'm doing this. But then they remembered Psalm 69 verse 17 of John 2. His disciples remembered it was written zeal for your house will consume me.

That brings me to point number two. God cares about his house. God cares about his house. He likes to maintain it and he likes to keep it clean and he will not tolerate evil.

And so if you come to Jesus he will accept you as you are but he does not want to leave you that way. Yes Jesus was a friend of sinners. Yes he welcomed tax collectors and thieves and prostitutes and other people like that.

But he didn't leave them that way. Matthew was a tax collector. That meant that he worked for Rome. He would have been hated by his fellow Jews because he being a Jewish man was perceived as a turncoat.

A Benedict Arnold if you will. And yet Matthew hears Jesus say follow me and he gets up and leaves this table and follows Christ. And I think of all the disciples he gave up the most materially because he had a very lucrative career.

But he was a tax collector. Then he became Matthew the apostle and also Matthew the author of a gospel. Saul of Tarsus was a murderer on his way to hunt down Christians, torture them, and put them to death. And he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and he was transformed from being Saul of Tarsus to being the apostle Paul and wrote so many of the great epistles.

And it just goes on and on. Yes we serve a God of mercy but he's also a God of majesty. And he doesn't want sin in his church. And he doesn't want sin in our lives. And so he hates anything that opposes us. He loves us and because he loves us he hates anything that would hurt us.

So we should love what God loves and we should also hate what God hates. I read this horrible CDC report that just came out about how sad so many young people are especially young women. The report said quote teen girls are suffering from unprecedented sadness and confusion.

A new report from the CDC says 57 percent of teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless and roughly 30 percent of them were suicidal. That makes me sad. And you know what? It makes me mad. I'm not mad at the kids but I'm mad at a culture that encourages behavior that will hurt these young people.

I'm mad at a culture that has an agenda going down to the cartoons our kids watch that push values that are antithetical to what we believe as followers of Jesus Christ. I'm not mad at sinners but I'm mad at the sin. And I think sometimes we get angry and strike out I hate sinners. I oh hold on now buckaroo.

Hold on. Love the sinner. Hate the sin. The Bible says you should love your enemies. And here's also what the Bible says and it's a good reminder 2 Timothy 2 25. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change these people's hearts and they'll learn the truth and they'll come to their senses and escape from the devil's trap for they've been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

The enemy is the devil. The people who are serving the devil or are living in sin. They're the captives. They're the people in the prisons. News flash you used to be one of them.

I used to be one of them. We lived in rebellion against God. So we need to love people and do something and this makes me mad enough to strike back. Yeah how do we strike back? By preaching the gospel.

There's no more powerful tool that we have. Preaching the gospel. Don't curse the darkness.

Turn on the light. And we should always be looking for ways to build a bridge. Understanding that non-believer is held captive by their sin. The enemy is the devil and we want to help them come to know Christ. Such good counsel today on A New Beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie's message title is Time to Clean House and there's more to come in this study. Well it's such a privilege to have Shannon Bream with us today.

It's such a privilege to come with us today. She's the host of Fox News Sunday on the Fox News channel and she's written a brand new book called The Love Stories of the Bible Speak. Shannon, a description about the book caught my eye. It said Shannon Bream draws lessons from the good, the bad, and the ugly of biblical romances, friendships, and families. Tell us about the ugly side of the subject.

Sounds intriguing. It does and I think with every one of my books I've liked to look at the dysfunctional relationships whether it was family or romance or whatever it was. I think about Samson and Delilah and listen this is a man who served over Israel. It was a judge. I mean he did good things but he had so many human things that got in his way and he really dealt with lust of the eyes and the flesh and going after these women who were not good people for him.

They were not chosen by God. They broke a lot of the commandments he was supposed to be following by chasing these women and they were ultimately his downfall but the beauty of that story although Delilah of course wooed and begged and pleaded for the secret of his strength in order to destroy him in the end he in the final moments of his life humbled himself before God and admitted that he had gone astray and said you know Lord strengthen me one more time even though Samson had walked away from God in these dysfunctional relationships God had never walked away from him and when Samson was ready to humble himself and give up his life in the very end saying God it's all you you strengthen me one last time so I can take out these Philistines there was redemption in that story too even though frankly it was a mess. Yeah you know it's a pretty toxic relationship with a woman says show me the secret of your strength so I may afflict you. I mean right hello right and there were multiple times that she did this and each time she would cry to him because he she would attempt what he had falsely told her was a way to take away his strength and then she would say you've embarrassed me and I'm thinking to who like who is Samson thinking wait a minute how am I embarrassing you by leading you astray about what's actually going to take me out why are you not happy to protect me and my you know source of strength so she was a very dysfunctional bad choice in this relationship. What do you do if you're in a relationship that is toxic or one person is dragging another person down? You know what I thought the story of Abigail and David is a great illustration of this because she had this husband Nabal who David was on the run for his life living with kind of a band of men he was commanding out in the woods and and just surviving and they went to Nabal at the harvest season and said listen we've watched over your men and your flocks and we haven't taken anything could you find anything for us in this time of celebration and Nabal was very nasty to him instead of sort of like who is this David well everybody knew who David was and Nabal actually you know revealed that he knew who David was in some of his comments but he was this hot-headed guy that everybody in his household went to the wife Abigail because they knew she was wise and listen David was furious and he wanted to come wipe out the whole household so the servants go to Abigail and say you know this you know this wicked foolish man your husband is going to get us all killed and she then takes on the role of you know modesty a peacekeeper humility she goes to David and says you know please have mercy on us here are all the goods that my husband should have offered you and she wisely uses her position as this wife then it makes you think she probably was in a situation with Nabal where you know she'd had to clean up other messes of him losing his temper and he acted very arrogantly and she was able to wedge that gap save her entire household from this dysfunctional relationship and God struck Nabal down I mean he lost his life in the process and later on David remembers her and just her way with words her humility her intelligence the word that is used for her in the Hebrew there is this word of intelligence that I think she's the only woman in the Bible it was used for but David saw that and he said please come to be my wife and he saw the great value in her but she probably had had to put up with a lot with that husband that was always flying off the handle if you just tuned in you're listening to Shannon Bream and you may know her from Fox News she has her program Fox News Sunday but she's also not just a broadcaster she's a Bible student who's written a brand new book that's titled The Love Stories of the Bible Speak biblical lessons on romance friendship and faith and it's our gift to you for your gift of any size this month to continue to support our ministry of teaching God's word and proclaiming the gospel yeah yeah that's right we like to put significant resources into your hands and this is a wonderful new book you'll want to have we'll send it to you to say thank you for your investment and 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 go online to harvest.org well next time more insights from John chapter 2 and Pastor Greg's message Time to Clean House join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie 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 / 2023-07-11 05:13:13 / 2023-07-11 05:23:20 / 10

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