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The Danger of a Hardened Heart | Where to Find the Cure

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
August 29, 2023 3:00 am

The Danger of a Hardened Heart | Where to Find the Cure

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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August 29, 2023 3:00 am

Remember Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh books? He was an old grey donkey with a sour disposition. Complaining, pessimistic, discontented. Now, many of us get down and discouraged here or there, but some people just bring a dark cloud of hostility with them everywhere they go. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that could be evidence of a spiritually-hardened heart. And today, we’ll learn to spot that syndrome, and where to find the cure.

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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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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at Always complaining, always criticizing. That's a sign of a hardened heart.

We want to keep a tender heart. Remember Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh books? He was an old grey donkey with a sour disposition. Complaining, pessimistic, discontented. Now many of us get down and discouraged here or there, but some people just bring a dark cloud of hostility with them everywhere they go. Well today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out there could be evidence of a spiritually hardened heart.

Today we'll learn how to spot that syndrome and where to find the cure. Alright, well we're in our new series, Water, Fire, Stone, and we're in Exodus chapter 5. We're going to move through a few passages today and the title of my message is The Danger of a Hardened Heart. And so you remember that the Lord directed Moses to take his shepherd's staff, throw it on the ground. He became a cobra, presumably a snake at least.

He grabbed her by the tail. It turned into a rod again and he was to go in and perform this miracle in front of the Pharaoh, which was God's way of saying to Moses, take the snake by the tail. Face your fears. You're going to overcome the Pharaoh and the might of Egypt. But the thing is, is despite the many miracles that Moses was about to do for the Pharaoh, this man's heart became hard. And I'm going to talk about that in a few moments, but the hardening of one's heart can happen to anyone, certainly to a non-believer. Because every time you hear the gospel, every time you hear God's offer of forgiveness for you and you reject it and say no to it, your heart gets a little harder. But even Christians can harden their heart. And I'm going to deal with the so-called contradiction of the Bible because one verse says Pharaoh hardened his heart and another verse says God hardened Pharaoh's heart.

So what gives with that? We'll talk about that in a few moments. But in contrast to the hardened heart of Pharaoh, iron had entered the heart of Moses. He was full of faith and courage. The Lord spoke to him at the burning bush. Moses offered a lot of excuses, which God rebutted. And now Moses is ready for action.

So let's pick the story up. Here's round one with Moses and the Pharaoh, Exodus 5. I'll read verses 1 to 3.

And by the way, I'm reading from the New Living Translation. Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, Thus says the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness. And the Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I don't know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go. And they said, But the God of the Hebrews is met with us. Please let us go three days' journey into the desert and sacrifice to the Lord our God. Lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with sword. So we'll stop there. So the big moment has finally come.

Moses knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I think he was a little shocked by how unresponsive the Pharaoh was. So let's shift gears. It's round two. Round one didn't go so well.

Here's round two. Exodus chapter 7 verse 10. I'm reading, So Moses and Aaron went into Pharaoh, and they did so just as the Lord commanded. And Aaron cast down the rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and they became a serpent. And Pharaoh also called his wise men and sorcerers, and the magicians of Egypt, they did so in like manner with their enchantments. For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents.

But I love this little commentary. But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods, and Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them as the Lord had said. Okay, it's time for the conflict to begin. The Lord's predicted this is going to happen. So basically a series of ten plagues are going to fall upon Egypt and upon the Pharaoh, each gaining in intensity as Pharaoh's heart got harder. This includes the Nile River turning to blood. That's in Exodus 7, 14 to 18. Moses takes his rod, touches the river, it turns to blood, kills all the fish.

And to strike the Nile was to strike the very heart of Egypt. So in a way the Lord is saying, okay, is this your God? I'm going to take your God down to reveal to you there is no God but me. People make gods out of a lot of stuff. The Bible tells us little children keep yourself from idols.

An idol, a God, can be anyone or anything that takes the place of the true God in your life. For some it might be a career. For another it might be their fame.

For another their beauty or their money. And they worship at the altar of that God. And when I say worship I mean that's all they think about. That's what they're passionate about. That's the first thing they do. When they get up in the morning they think about that.

They pursue that thing. And sometimes the Lord will bring our gods down so we will understand there's no God but Him. Now this didn't even impact Pharaoh one bit. We read in Exodus 7 23.

He returned to his palace and put the whole thing out of his mind. Yeah, until plague number two came along. He changed his tune. That was the invasion of frogs.

Exodus 8 one to two. So all of these frogs show up. God says you want to worship your frog god? You want Kermit?

You got Kermit. You have frogs in your oven. You have frogs in your bed. You have frogs in your fridge. You have frogs in your vehicles. You have frogs in your shoulders, under your feet. Wherever you go there will be frogs.

Now I lived in Hawaii when I was a little boy. And there were a lot of frogs in Hawaii. I loved reptiles. I never have been that fond of frogs. They kind of gross me out a little bit. They're just a little slimy and eek you know. And worse than holding a frog is stepping on a frog.

Right? So what would happen in Hawaii is it would rain and all these frogs would come out. They're all excited you know. And then the rain would stop and the sun would come out and they're all in the street like whoa whoa. And they get run over by cars.

So they were all sort of laying there in kind of this position you know. And we'd pick them up and throw them. They were like frog frisbees.

They were only good for one throw. But frogs everywhere. And this kind of freaked out Pharaoh. And he went to Moses and said please pray to your God. And telling him to remove the frogs so the frogs all die. So Pharaoh's like oh pray to your God.

Help me out. Okay Lord intervene. And the Lord did and the Pharaoh's like yeah see you next plague.

Don't we do the same thing? Think of people that make great promises to God. Oh God if you get me out of this mess I'm in usually a mess you created for yourself. And the Lord intervenes and helps you then you go and do it again and again.

So the Pharaoh kept hardening his heart. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We're 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.

A hundred percent. 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. Well the title of today's message here on A New Beginning is the danger of a hardened heart. Pastor Greg is leading our study based in Exodus chapter 5. Now let me return to this idea of a contradiction in the Bible. Because it says multiple times Pharaoh hardened his heart. Romans 8 15 being one of them. And then we read in Exodus 10 one. And the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart. Ok so which was it? Did Pharaoh harden his heart? Or did God harden his heart? Answer.

Both. God has given to each of us a free will. The ability to choose. God honors that privilege that we have. He will not force you to do his will.

Sometimes it seems like he ought to but he doesn't. Here's the choice like he says in Deuteronomy. I set before you life and death.

Blessings and curses. Choose life that you may live. That's your choice.

I'm even telling you what choice to make. Ok Pharaoh here it is. Release the Jews.

Or don't release them. And Pharaoh says I'll harden my heart. The word that is used here for hardened can be translated strengthen or stiffen. The Lord strengthened Pharaoh's heart. In other words Pharaoh made his decision and the Lord strengthened him in it. You see you make your choices then your choices make you. But Pharaoh was culpable.

Pharaoh was responsible. And if your heart gets hard it's because you chose to harden it yourself. How does one get a hardened heart?

You might be surprised by my answer. One of the easiest places to get a hardened heart is where you are right now. In church.

In church. Well it seems like this is the place where I should have my heart softened. It can be. And it should be. But for some it isn't.

As I've said before the same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay. So we're all hearing the word of God today. I decide how I'm going to receive this word. So some are listening with an open heart wanting to do what God says. And their heart will get softer more pliable. And another is listening to the same message and they're saying, Oh I've heard that before. Oh I already know that.

Oh you're not telling me anything new. And the problem is that the same message that is impacting one is actually causing you to have a harder heart. You become hardened by the very truth that should have softened you. You become judged by the very message that should have set you free. Sometimes you hear of PKs getting in trouble.

You know what a PK is right? Preacher's kid. So you hear this person is a preacher's kid and they did all these horrible things. People say does that shock you Greg? My response is I'm more shocked when they don't do that stuff. I'll tell you why preacher's kids are such notorious sinners.

Because they're put under a lot of pressure from the first day. I have two sons. One of course as you know is with the Lord.

Christopher. My other son Jonathan is now a pastor. But both of them were prodigals earlier in life. And I had a lot of patience with my sons because I knew the foundation had been laid.

And I believed that they would make that deeper commitment to Christ which they both did in time. But you see what can happen is you're so familiar with these truths and you're raised with them. And then when you're a preacher's kid people put you under extra pressure. You know when the preacher's kid shows up at Sunday school the teacher will say, Oh we have the pastor's son here don't we? And we know he'll be a perfect example. And don't get that's like I'm going to make trouble.

That's what I'm going to do. So you know pray for preacher's kids. It's hard. Or any child of someone that's in ministry. But not only nonbelievers can get hard hearts.

Christians can get them obviously. Jesus' own disciples allowed their hearts to harden. When they ran out of food before he performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. We read in Mark 8 17, Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Don't you perceive and understand? Are your hearts hardened? Let me ask you today Christian.

Do you have a hardened heart? Well how do you know? Well maybe one way is you just stop caring. You just don't care. You don't care about your spiritual growth. You don't care about your Christian brother or sister.

You don't care about lost people. You don't want to worship. You know you come into church and when others are engaging in worship your arms are folded. And not only do you not want to worship but you're even judgmental of those who do. And you sort of look down on them.

Oh look at that. That's far too emotional for me. Another sign of a hardened heart is you're always critical. Some people think they have the spiritual gift of criticism. That's not a spiritual gift. Oh this is wrong here and that's wrong there.

And why did they do this and what about that? And always complaining. Always criticizing. That's a sign of a hardened heart. You always see the bad. You never see the good. And then when people accept Christ you're like oh who cares.

It doesn't affect you at all. In fact you're irritated if I go a little bit longer, whoever is preaching, to give an invitation. Oh does he really have to do this? Yeah I really do.

I really do. Because God cares about lost people. And you used to be a lost person. And I'll tell you this if you're in church with a friend who has not accepted Christ on that day when I or someone else is giving an invitation you're praying that your friend responds or your family member. But if you have a hard heart you can't remember the last time you've brought anyone to church. Yeah Pharaoh hardened his heart.

We want to keep a tender heart. I remember years ago I was in Portland, Oregon at a Billy Graham crusade. And after Billy spoke we got in the car and we're driving out. And I love one point he made.

I turned over to the back where he was seated with his son Franklin. I said Billy I loved your point when you said Christ can resensitize your conscience. And that's what God can do. Your heart may be a little hard but Christ can resensitize your conscience and he can soften your heart. Hebrews 3.12 from the Phillips translation says, You should therefore be most careful my brothers.

So this is being directed toward believers. If there should be in any of you a hardness of heart which refuses to trust and instead deserts the cause of the living God. Help each other to stand firm in the faith every day while still called today. And be aware that none of you becomes deaf and blind to God to the elusive glamour of sin.

For we continue to share what Christ has for us as long as we steadily maintain until the end the trust with which we began. Yes don't harden your heart. The Bible says if you can hear his voice do not harden your heart. Yeah you harden your heart and then God will strengthen you in that decision. So let me say something in closing to someone that is not a believer. Maybe you've been here before.

Maybe this is your first time. But you've not asked Jesus to come into your life yet. He can change your life. He can forgive you of all of your sin. And you can have a fresh start.

A new beginning. If you ask him to come into your life and he died on the cross for your sin. And he paid the price for every wrong you've ever done and then he rose again from the dead. And now he stands at the door of your life and knocks and says if you'll hear his voice and open the door he'll come in. Would you like Christ to come into your life? Would you like to be forgiven of your sin?

That can happen for you right now. He's just a prayer away. 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 to anybody that wants to believe in Jesus. Let's pray. Father I pray that you'll speak to the hearts of those who do not yet know you. Lord we know you love them with an everlasting love. We know you want them to believe. Help them to do that now.

Help them to come to you now. We pray. 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 with that in just a moment before we wrap up today here on A New Beginning. And then we're so excited to make available the unforgettable film called Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. There was no one like Johnny Cash. He was a country superstar, but also a man whose shortcomings and missteps often ended up as front page news. His honesty and vulnerability came through his singing, but also the country toughness that kept him moving forward. Johnny, or JR as his family called him, was a man of deep faith, but a man who needed large doses of God's forgiveness.

And we want to make this new film available to you right now. A film that tells this fascinating story. You know when you order your copy of Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon from us here at Harvest on DVD along with a streaming code so you can download it to your computer, phone, or tablet. You're going to hear some stories from well-known people including Johnny's sister who he was very close to, Joanna Cash-Yates. One of the events that dramatically impacted Johnny's life was when his older brother Jack was killed in a tragic accident.

Listen to Joanna now, the sister of Johnny Cash, tell that story. He said, mama, I have a feeling I shouldn't go today. And mama said, well, don't go. Go fishing with JR. Jack worked part time after school and on weekends at a local wood mill cutting fence posts. He happily volunteered to make a few cents to help pay the family bills. And he said, no, I'm going to go make three dollars.

We need it for the groceries. So he told Johnny, I'll meet you at the Blue Hold and we'll fish when I get through. And so they both went their separate ways and Jack went to the sawmill and he was sawing some fence posts. And as he pushed the fence posts and jerked him into the sun. He was cut from his neck to his groin. And survived, even though it tore him open very badly. And Johnny was sitting at his bedside holding his hand and he looked at Daddy and he said, Daddy.

Will you meet me in heaven? Daddy dropped down on his knees and gave his heart to the Lord. And so did the doctor. Jack call me Jana. He said, Jana, tell me bye. And I was scared. And I said, no, I don't want you to go anywhere. I wished I had.

But I couldn't. And that's when he left us. He went to heaven. It was a moment of unbelievable sorrow for the Cash family. But it played a role in influencing the pathway Johnny Cash chose for the rest of his life.

You owe it to yourself to hear the full story as told in the new movie, Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon. And we'll send it to you, the DVD and the free streaming code to thank you for your partnership in bringing these daily studies your way. And thank you for your generosity.

This resource is a bit more expensive than normal. So please get in touch today. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300.

That's a 24 7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or go online to Well, Pastor Greg, you mentioned how someone can become a Christian with just a simple prayer. Maybe somebody would like to do that right now. Could you help them with that? Sure.

I'd love to. A simple prayer is right. In fact, I would like to just pray a prayer and I would ask you to pray it after me right now. I pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, but I also know that you are the savior because you died on the cross for my sin and you rose again from the dead. Jesus, come into my life and forgive me of every sin I've ever committed.

I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for answering this prayer, Lord. And I pray all of this in Jesus name.

Amen. If you just prayed that prayer and meant it, I want you to know on the authority of scripture, God Almighty has heard your prayer and he will answer this prayer. You are now a newly minted child of God.

So congratulations. You've made the right decision and welcome to the family of God. I want to send you a special gift because of that prayer you've just prayed. It's called the New Believers Growth Packet. And in it is a copy of the New Testament in a very understandable translation called the New Living Translation. It also is filled with hundreds of notes that I wrote that will encourage you in this commitment you've made to follow Christ.

And there's some other outstanding materials in this little packet I'll send you as well. So order your copy today and let me be the first to say to you congratulations and welcome to the family of God. And to get that free New Believers Growth Packet, just get in touch and we'll be glad to send it right out. You can call us anytime 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to and click the words Know God. How much can I get away with and still be a Christian? People ask that all the time.

Something close to it. Next time, Pastor Greg addresses that in his message, The Danger of the Compromised Life. 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 A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others, or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-29 05:26:20 / 2023-08-29 05:35:58 / 10

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