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The World Changer at the End of the World, Part 1 | Through the Narrow Gate

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
August 8, 2023 3:00 am

The World Changer at the End of the World, Part 1 | Through the Narrow Gate

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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August 8, 2023 3:00 am

Scripture warns us that wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction. Lots of folks going that way. It’s the way that “seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie shows us an alternative. He helps us through the narrow gate. It won’t make us popular or politically correct. But better to live in a way that’s pleasing to God, even if it displeases people, rather than the other way around.

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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. If you want to be a rebel, follow Jesus Christ. You'll be a real rebel today. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Again you hear when the angels are singing. This is the day, the day when life begins. Scripture warns us that wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction.

Lots of folks going that way. It's the way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie shows us an alternative.

He helps us through the narrow gate. It won't make us popular or politically correct, but better to live in a way that's pleasing to God, even if it displeases people, rather than the other way around. This is the day, the day when life begins. I want to talk about a man that really changed his world. He is what we would call a hero of the Bible. And he did it during a very dark time in human history.

Maybe the darkest it has ever been. I am talking about the time before the great flood when God brought His judgment upon planet earth. Jesus called it the days of Noah. And it is relevant to us because Christ said, as it was in the days of Noah, so also shall it be when the Son of Man returns. So Christ is saying, remember how it was in Noah's day.

It is going to be very similar in the time before my return. Yet against this very dark background lived a man who walked with God, showing you can live a godly life in an ungodly culture. And I like to call him a world changer. What is a world changer? A world changer is someone who does not accept the status quo. Rather a world changer wants to change the culture.

They think for themselves and they do what is right. A world changer is a follower of Jesus Christ and they affect their surroundings more than their surroundings affect them. And a world changer is someone who wants to make a difference. In fact world changers, or let me put it another way, committed Christians are the true rebels in culture today. Don't tell me it is rebellious to do drugs and party. That is the status quo man. Don't tell me it is rebellious to do what everybody else does and say what everybody else says and be a woke person and conform to pre-existing culture that is changing before our eyes. A world changer, a real Christian is someone that believes this book and they live by what this book says. You want to be a rebel?

Follow Jesus Christ. You will be a real rebel today. You don't even need a leather jacket or a motorcycle. Or your wallet attached to a chain. I don't know why bikers always do that you know.

Who is going to take a biker's wallet anyway? But you know. But that is real rebellion in the best sense of the word. World changers are thermostats not thermometers. A thermometer just tells you what the temperature is.

A thermostat changes the temperature. And in the same way a world changer changes the world. Well the guy I want to focus on. Well everyone knows his story. His name was Noah. We think of Noah. We immediately think of Noah's ark and that is appropriate.

But there is a lot more to his life than that. But Noah is one of a number of people, men and women, that are mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11 which has been described as the hero's hall of faith. Sort of the rock stars of the Christian world.

Of the Bible culture. The people that just stood out and lived as God wanted them to live. They are not in the hero's hall of faith because they were perfect. In fact they were far from it. They are there primarily because they exercised faith.

That is the word that keeps popping up again and again. By faith they did this. By faith they did that. And it just reminds us that you don't have to be a perfect person to be used by God. God is not looking for ability. He is looking for availability. God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

He is just looking for some man, some woman, young or old to just say, Alright Lord. Here I am. Send me. I want to make a difference in my world. I want to make a difference in my family.

I want to make a difference in my culture. I mean look at some of the people God used for Pete's sake. I mean there are some people that messed up pretty badly. When we think of Abraham. Abraham the father of faith. He had faith but he stumbled in his faith at least twice lying. Sarah his wife laughed at the promises of God.

Then she denied that she laughed. Samson he made it into the hall of faith. He was a woman chaser and a pretty immoral guy. Gideon struggled with fear and self-doubt.

Rahab was a prostitute. David had an affair and murdered a man to cover it up. Elijah the prophet struggled with depression and wanted to die.

The Samaritan woman had multiple divorces. The disciples fell asleep when Jesus asked them to pray. Simon Peter denied the Lord three times. Timothy had an ulcer. Lazarus was dead.

So what is your excuse? I mean seriously God cannot use you. And Noah the guy we are going to focus on for the next two times.

Is a man who got drunk and put himself in a compromising position. But God gave him a second chance. But here is what Noah. Who is Noah?

Ok that is a new character I just invented. Noah was his brother. His lesser known brother. He just built a little rowboat with a hole in it. But Noah built an ark right?

But Noah had great faith and a great God. I think he is a misunderstood character. Even caricature. Of course see him in cartoons. Steve Carell portrayed him for laughs in Evan Almighty. Then there was that film where Russell Crowe portrayed Noah.

That was one of the weirdest films I have ever seen. I think he was channeling Gladiator more than Noah. Because there is a scene when he is getting the ark ready to go and people are trying to get in.

And Russell Crowe as Noah is killing people so they don't enter the ark. That is actually not what happened in the Bible. The fact is the door to the ark remained open for a long time.

So anyone who wanted to come could come. The fact is nobody wanted to go in the ark. So there are all these distortions of the story and it is important to go back to what the Bible says. So Hebrews 11 tells us this. By faith Noah being divinely warned of things not yet seen moved with godly fear and prepared an ark for the saving of his household by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. So there are several principles in this passage that help us to understand what made Noah tick.

Here is point number one if you are taking notes. God revealed secrets to Noah. God revealed secrets to Noah.

Hebrews 11, 7. He was divinely warned of things not yet seen. See God spoke to him and his faith was activated. And I wonder if God has spoken to you lately. You know sometimes people say I don't think God ever speaks to me. I remember hearing Pastor Chuck Smith tell the story of his grandson who said to his mom, Mom God never speaks to me.

She said honey you know when you do something wrong and you feel bad in your heart for doing it? He says yeah. She says that can be God speaking to you. And he paused for a moment and then said mom God speaks to me all the time.

Yeah. There is a lot of ways God speaks to us. But he does speak to us. And the primary way he speaks to us is through the Word of God. But God revealed a secret to Noah.

The Bible says the secret of the Lord is with those that fear him. When my grandkids were smaller I used to take them to secret places. I would say you know we are going into a restaurant. Do you want to go in the regular way like all the other people? Or do you want to go in the secret way?

Oh. They would get all excited. The secret way pop up and I would just take them in through a side door. But they thought it was secret. There was this park that is not far from our house. And so I said we can go to the regular park or we can go to this other park. I call it the secret park.

And that is where we went. It is not secret. Anyone can find it. But to this day we still call it the secret park. God said I am going to walk through the secret park.

Well you know. But we like secrets right? So the secret of the Lord is with those that fear him. God reveals things to Christians that people who are not believers don't understand. As an example as a Christian I know that God's Word is true. You see the basic Christian in many ways knows more than some of the great intellects of our world. Because we believe this book. And we know because we believe this book that there are certain things that are true and certain things that are not true. For instance we know man is not basically good. Man that is a hard one to believe isn't it? Oh man is basically good.

Really? Well the Bible doesn't teach man is basically good. The Bible teaches that man is basically sinful.

Now that makes sense. And the world makes more sense when I accept the premise we are not basically good. We are basically sinful. But the Bible also teaches that God is good. The Bible teaches that one day judgment will come to the world.

The Bible teaches that it is going to get worse before it gets better. The Bible teaches that one day Christ will return and he will right every wrong. And Jesus even said to the Father, Father thank you that you have hidden these things and revealed them to your children. So when you believe the Bible you know things other people don't know.

And Noah understood that and God revealed secrets to him. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We are thrilled when we hear from listeners who find Jesus through the various ministries of Harvest. Pastor Greg in 2011 I was in a homeless shelter. One of my veteran buddies next to me asked me if I had ever heard of Greg Laurie. He let me listen to one of your podcasts and I couldn't get enough. After that my life was changed 100%.

And now I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. Thank you Pastor Greg. If your life has changed because of the ministry of Harvest would you let Pastor Greg know?

Just drop him an email. Greg at Harvest dot org. Again that's Greg at Harvest dot o-r-g. And now Pastor Greg continues his study called The World Changer at the End of the World Part 1.

Let's listen. Number two, Noah had a great reverence for God. He had a great reverence for God.

I think that maybe this is lacking in our culture today. Have we become too casual with the Lord? Have we taken Him for granted?

Possibly. When it says He moved with godly fear that does not mean that He cowered in fear before God. A better way to translate that would be He moved with reverence. We need to have reverence for God. And one definition of the fear of the Lord that I like is a wholesome dread of displeasing Him.

A wholesome dread. Not cowering in fear like God is going to smack me but rather I love God so much. And God is so holy I have this respect for Him.

But maybe we have gone too far the other way. You know Jesus is my homeboy man. Hey News Flash your homeboy so called created the universe. Have a little respect when you talk to Him. Have a little respect when you worship Him. Have a little respect when you speak His name. I have gotten to know Dr. James Dobson pretty well over the last few years.

And I have been with him in a lot of situations. And he will say to me Greg call me Jim. And I will say ok Dr. Dobson. No no call me Jim. And I don't feel comfortable calling him Jim for some reason. And I think it is because I respect him.

So I will say well Dr. Dobson or if I want to be super casual I will say Doc listen. You know so I call him that out of respect. And so Noah had this reverence and respect for God. And he never lost that reverence for the Lord. And so he was a last days believer because he was living in the time before the flood came. Why did the flood come? Why did God send judgment on the earth the first time? The answer is found in Genesis 6.

I want you to turn over there if you would. Genesis 6. If you don't know where that is it is right after Genesis 5. Hang a hard left and go all the way and you will find Genesis 6. First book of the Bible.

Genesis 6 5 gives us a description of the world in the days of Noah. Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intent of his thoughts was only evil continually. You might underline that. Only evil continually. The Lord was sorry he made man on the earth and he was grieved in his heart.

I would underline that too. I will come back to it. So the Lord said I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth. Man and beast creeping in the birds of the air.

I am sorry I made them. We will stop there. What exactly was going on here on planet earth to bring God's wrath so heavily?

Genesis 6 5 gives the answer. The Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth and every intent of the thought of his heart was only evil continually. I am just amazed at the things I read in the news today.

You know the news feeds. Just the atrocities. The horrible acts that people do against people. It is just endless.

And you know I don't even have to illustrate this. It is just heartbreaking. It is disturbing. And it just seems like people find new ways to do evil things. And that is what was happening at this time. But you know what this shows us is God is aware of the wickedness of man.

He is paying attention. And their wickedness is full to the brim would be a better translation. Sort of like an overflowing trash can or a septic tank. You know. It is bad. It was stinking to high heaven.

It was so bad. You know it is interesting. The book of Genesis can be divided into three sections. Generation. Degeneration. Regeneration. Generation. Degeneration.

Regeneration. So first it was generation. When God created all things and said it was good. Then degeneration. That is when sin entered into the garden. When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. Then regeneration.

We are at phase two here. Degeneration. And God said he is grieved. Now it is interesting that the word grieved is used here in verse six. You only grieve for those you love. You don't grieve when some random person cuts you off on the road. You get angry maybe.

Upset. But it doesn't grieve you. It grieves you when your child is disrespectful or goes astray. Or someone you love or care about says or does something that hurts you. You are grieved only by the people you love.

Right? So the fact that God uses the word grieve shows us that this is hurting the heart of God because he loves humanity. You remember Jesus looked over the city of Jerusalem and he wept over them. Because he knew they were effectively bringing judgment on themselves. And we read in Luke 19 41. He saw the city and wept over it. Said oh Jerusalem. If you had only known this your day the things that made for your peace.

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever shed a tear for someone who is far from God? Have you ever shed a tear over a prodigal son or daughter? Over a prodigal mom or dad?

Over someone you care about that is going the wrong way? God takes no pleasure in bringing judgment on anyone. Pastor Greg Laurie pointing out God's heart for lost sinners. Good insight today here on A New Beginning from Pastor Greg's series Heroes of the Bible.

Well Pastor Greg the movie Johnny Cash the Redemption of an American Icon came out in theaters a number of months ago. And we received a lot of viewer comments. This one said the movie made my soul sing. It sparked my faith in a way I did not expect. I walked out of the theater refreshed and renewed.

And you know that's the way my wife and I felt after seeing the movie. But what surprised me was how many special guests there were in the film, celebrities. And they bring such rich color to the life of Johnny Cash.

Because they knew him well didn't they? Yes and I think it's really important to notice there have been other documentary films done on the life of Cash. And they're really good some of them. But none of them focus on what we focused on. This is a spiritual documentary. In other words we're telling the story of the man in black.

But we're telling it from the perspective of his faith journey. And so we have a lot of interesting people that wanted to talk about Johnny Cash. Starting with his family John Carter Cash's son. His sister Joanna Cash Yates who was with him obviously from the very beginning. But then we have Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow, Marty Stewart, Winona Judd. And others that some knew him, some recorded with him, some just admired him. But they were all influenced by him. And the interesting thing is they talk about the faith of Johnny Cash.

How strong that came through. Johnny was not embarrassed to talk about his faith. At the end of his life he did a series of recordings that are called the American Recordings with the producer Rick Rubin. I think it's the finest work of the career of Cash.

Even as his health was failing it almost brought a greater authenticity to his recordings. And you know it's interesting because Rick Rubin, this amazing producer that got Johnny back to his roots. And just Johnny and his guitar and some great production added to enhance it.

But not too much to overshadow it. Said that Johnny would say well let's have communion. They would have communion together before they would go into the recording studio.

So here is Johnny recording with people like Tom Petty and his band and Bono and other rock luminaries. And Johnny was always up front about his faith. Everybody knew that Johnny was a Christian. Sometimes he'd be working for a while and he'd say well I'm done.

And he'd go home and just want to read his Bible and pray. This was very interwoven into Johnny's life. So you're going to learn things about Johnny you didn't know. For instance did you know that Johnny Cash was an ordained minister?

Yes it's true. Oh yes he went to Bible school and he got a degree. So these are things people don't know about Johnny Cash. Did you know that Johnny Cash originally wanted to be a gospel recording artist not a country artist.

So there's a lot of twists and turns in the life of this fascinating character. And it's all found in this beautiful documentary film called Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon. And I would add that in this particular DVD we're offering it has bonus content.

You won't find this anywhere else. Now you can stream this film on other platforms like Amazon and Apple. But they don't have this bonus content which includes a presentation of the gospel that I give based on Johnny's life. I tell people who Jesus is how to come into our relationship with him.

And I even have a prayer that they can pray to accept Christ. So think about this what a great tool. You can invite people over to your home and have a watch party. Or sit down in front of a computer or a tablet and watch it with someone. You say well I thought it was a DVD. Yeah it's a DVD but it also comes with a streaming code.

So you can download it to your phone your tablet or your laptop. So this is a great resource. One of the best we've ever offered. And I'll send it to you for your gift of any size. I'm going to ask you to be more generous than normal because we've had to pay more for this resource than we would normally pay for something that we would offer you. And whatever you send we'll take that money and invest it in this work that we do here in A New Beginning to teach the Bible. You know we do that. And also to proclaim the gospel you know we do that too. So if you believe in this mission that we're involved in why don't you join us and become a partner.

We haven't mentioned this for a while Dave. In addition to just encouraging people to order their copy of this new DVD on The Life of Cash. Let's tell them how to become a Harvest Partner.

Yeah let's do that. Harvest Partners are close friends of the ministry who feel strongly about the importance of sharing the gospel. And they recognize how the Lord is working through Harvest Ministries to bring many people to the Lord through this radio program, through TV, through films like this one, through Pastor Greg's books, through digital media, really everything that's available to us. And if you'd like to become a Harvest Partner and regularly support this important work get in touch with us at 1-800-821-3300. We'll take care of the details. And with your first gift as a Harvest Partner we'll thank you with this new DVD Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. Again dial 1-800-821-3300. Or write us and mention you'd like to become a Harvest Partner. Our address is A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg brings us more insights from the life of Noah. We'll continue learning from this great hero of our faith. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie.

This is the day, the day when life begins. 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 / 2023-08-08 04:50:15 / 2023-08-08 05:00:02 / 10

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