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How to Live a Successful Christian Life | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 17, 2023 3:00 am

How to Live a Successful Christian Life | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 17, 2023 3:00 am

Pastor Greg Laurie starts a new series called, “Joshua: Living in the Land of Promises” with an encouraging message on living a successful Christian life.

New believers tend to be on fire: excited for church, Bible studying, having a healthy prayer life. . . But then a backslide happens: going back to the same sins, neglecting prayer and Bible reading. . . In this message we'll see how we can put a stop to that.


Joshua is the story of the end of the wilderness wanderings of the Jewish people.

God promises spiritual rest to those who believe in Him.

Matthew 11:28

Jesus promises eternal life to those who put their faith in Him.

John 4:14

Jesus promises a rich and satisfying life to those who follow Him.

John 10:10

The promises of God are like gift cards; they need to be claimed. God’s promises are exceedingly precious!

For years, the Jewish people had cried out for someone to deliver them from Pharoah—God heard their cries and sent Moses to be that man.

The Lord guided the Jewish people with the ultimate GPS: cloud by day, fire by night.

Just as the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt, we were slaves to sin. Just as they took the Passover lamb and applied the blood to their homes, Jesus was the Passover Lamb slain for us, and we applied His blood in our lives.

“Conversion has made our hearts a battlefield.”

Ephesians 6:12

Satan does not want you to follow Jesus Christ because he knows we are in the End Times.

Revelation 12:12

This is not really a choice of fighting or not fighting; it’s a choice of victory or defeat! In the Christian life, you are either an overcomer or you are overcome.

Exodus 23:30

“I will drive them out a little at a time…”

No addiction needs to control you; no sin needs to have a foothold in your life.

“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.”

They focused their attention on the obstacles instead of their objective. When you focus on the obstacles rather than the objective, fear will always eclipse your faith.

Read: Joshua 1:1–5

To succeed in the spiritual life, you must overcome fear and admit you need help.

Joshua 1:6

“Be strong and of good courage.”

Joshua 1:7

“Be strong and very courageous.”

Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you?

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid.”

Joshua 1:5–6

“I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage…”

2 Timothy 1:6–9

To succeed in the spiritual life, you must be consistent.

Our job is to be faithful in our generation.

Acts 13:36

Joshua 1:5

To succeed in the spiritual life, you must know and keep God’s Word.

Joshua 1:8

Meditate means, “to ponder, consider, contemplate.”

Matthew 13:23

You decide what soil you will be!

Matthew 13:23

“They hear and accept God’s Word.”

Success or failure in our lives depends on how we hear God’s Word.

Luke 12:48

The golden key to spiritual growth is hearing, receiving, and obeying the Word of God.

Jesus’ blood was shed for you on the cross!


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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you. If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to Here with your family, opening your word.

What a privilege it is. Speak to us now from Scripture and help us, Lord, to live a successful Christian life, one that honors you, what we bring for spiritual fruit. So speak to us as we start this brand new series in the book of Joshua together. We commit it to you. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

You can all be seated. Good morning to everybody. Harvest Riverside, good morning.

You that are watching at Harvest at Home, good morning, or depending on your time zone, good afternoon, maybe good evening to all of you. Guess what? Today is National Grandparents Day. Did you know that? Isn't that great?

Yeah. Hey, we deserve more than one day, don't we? We're great grandparents, some of us. How many of you are grandparents? Raise up your hand. Well, lots of grandparents here. Good. How many of you are great grandparents? Raise up your hand.

Well, fantastic. Here's a picture with some of my grandkids that we took in Maui maybe a couple months ago. And here's another picture.

I love this one in particular. This is my grandson jumping over all the kids. He really cleared him too. That's a good jump. That's Christopher. Very good jump.

But happy Grandparents Day to all of you. And we're starting a brand new series that we're calling Joshua Living in the Land of Promises. And I want you to turn in your Bible now to the Bible. It's the book of Joshua. If you don't know where it is, go back to the beginning. Go back six books in and you'll find it. The book of Joshua.

And the title of my message is How to Live a Successful Christian Life. We all remember the day that Jesus Christ came into our life, right? It's a big day.

A day you don't forget. It was like we went from darkness to light. It's like we went from black and white to color. We were old enough to remember when color television came out, okay? I don't know if some of you have never heard this before, but we used to watch black and white television. And the TV sets were gigantic boxes.

There was no remote control. If you wanted to change a channel, you had to walk up there and turn to one of three channels that you could watch, right? And then one day color TV came out. It was like a revelation. We couldn't believe it. We'd been fiddling around with rabbit ears on top of black and white TV.

And now it's color television. Well that's what it's like when you come to Christ. You go into this whole new world. Sin no longer is controlling you as it once did. Your addictions fell away. Your depression cleared. Your guilt was gone and there was an inward peace and a joy you did not previously have. And you opened up the Bible. And this is like the user's manual of life you've been searching for.

Here it is. I remember as a 17 year old boy reading the Bible for the first time. And it spoke to me in my young life and it still speaks to me now in my 40s because plus a few more years. But it was relevant then.

It's relevant now. And then of course prayer. What an amazing thing it was to pray. And know that there was a God in heaven who listened to our prayers and cared about what we were facing and would answer our prayers. I heard prayer. I remember mine. I was a brand new believer.

17 years old. I'd accepted Christ. And my grandmother found out and I lived with her and my grandfather for a number of years when I was a little boy. And she said Greg I want to get you a brand new Bible. A nice leather Bible.

Funny thing. That very day I prayed Lord I would like a nice leather Bible. I didn't have any money. I had this cheap paperback one. I wanted a proper Bible.

You know with ribbons and all the cool stuff. That Bibles have. And that was my first answered prayer. So amazing.

And I remember the first time I went to church. How life changing it was for me to be in this environment of people of all ages. Different cultures. Different races. Men and women. Young people. Older people. Worshipping the Lord together.

And this is what happens when we come to Christ and we say man I'm never going to go back to the Lord of Life again. This is the way I'm going to live. It's blue skies. Singing birds. Sunshine. Butterflies and maybe even a unicorn. I don't know.

It's looking good. And then inexplicably you started having some issues. It was like you would take one step forward and you would take two steps back. And you found you were falling into the same sinful patterns again. In fact if you were to describe it you might liken it to wandering in a wilderness.

Or being in a desert. Listen. That can change if you want it to.

And that's what we're about to look at together. Because the book of Joshua is the story of the end of the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites as they enter into the promised land. And what happened for them can happen for you. Now we've titled this message Joshua Living in the Land of Promises. Because the Bible is filled with thousands of promises that God has made to you. And He promises them as exceedingly great and precious promises. As an example God promises spiritual rest for all those who believe in Him. Jesus said in Matthew 11 28 come to me all you who are laboring and are heavy laden and I alone will refresh you with rest. The Bible promises eternal life for those who put their faith in Him.

Because Jesus said in John 4 14 if you drink the water I give it will become a fire. A fresh bubbling spring within you giving you eternal life. The Bible promises a rich and satisfying life to those who follow Him. Jesus said in John 10 I have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.

Or as another translation puts it that you might have a rich and satisfying life. See the promises of God they're sort of like gift cards. I mean decorations are already in the store. So here comes Christmas and we're thinking what do I get for different people and so you buy gift cards. And I don't know about you but I have a pretty good supply of gift cards I've never redeemed. I read recently that there are five billion dollars in unused gift cards. Wow. So I think every now and then I'll go through them and let's see what we have here.

And I find a lot of them are outdated. Oh look a gift card at Sears. Oh. I don't think Sears is around anymore. Oh I found a Blockbuster card. Oh here's a Radio Shack gift card.

I think there might be one Radio Shack out there somewhere. I'm not really sure but they're not very effective. In contrast the promises of God are not dated. They don't have an expiration date.

They're good forever. But you have to claim them. Just as you have to redeem a gift card you have to claim the promise of God. And this is the thing with the Israelites. They had to possess their possessions. God gave to them this new land.

A land flowing with milk and honey. The promised land. But they had to go into the land. They had to go in there and take possession of what God had already given them. But instead they found themselves needlessly wandering around in the wilderness. It didn't take long to get from point A to point B. To get from Egypt to Israel. They could have taken a month, two months on the outside if they took their time. But 40 years?

No they're going around and around in circles. And they had everything they needed. God provided for them. He delivered them from the power of Pharaoh. They prayed that God would send someone to do so. And the Lord raised up Moses who led them out. And the plagues came upon Egypt and they were delivered.

And the Lord gave them the coolest GPS system of all time. A fire by night. A cloud by day. So you move. When the clouds stopped you stop.

When the fire showed up and moved you moved with it. And he fed them every day this amazing substance called manna. It's described as the food of angels. The Bible tells us it was sweet to the taste. And another verse says it was flaky like frost. It comes from the Hebrew words frosto flaco. You may have heard of frosty flakes right?

No not really. It's this amazing substance outside of their tent every single morning. They could scoop it up and eat it. They had everything they needed in life. But they soon began to complain against God. And take what he had given them for granted.

And we do the same don't we? We take these blessings of God for granted and we find ourselves in a wilderness. In 1 Corinthians 10 when he says these things happen to them.

That's the Israelites. As examples to us they were written down to warn us. Listen who live at the end of the age. So these words are for last days believers. And he goes on to say if you think you're standing strong be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no other from what others experience. But God is faithful.

He will not allow that temptation to be more than you can stand. So you may endure. Very important word. So these things are written for examples to us who are living in the end times. So we can learn about how to possess our possessions and how to win in this spiritual battle. Now as we get into Joshua there's a lot of war in there. Some bloodshed some big battles that we see and we wonder why is such a place given in the Word of God to a record of the military victories and sometimes defeat. Of this army and the conquest of Canaan.

Answer. Because we too are at war. Right now we're in a big war. More than a political war though it includes that. More than a cultural war though it includes that as well. It's a spiritual war. It's been said conversion has made our hearts a battlefield. In Ephesians 6 Paul says we're not wrestling against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers against spiritual might and high places. Whereas a modern paraphrase puts it we're not in some weekend war that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours.

This is for keeps. It's a life or death fight to finish against the devil and his angels. So true. And we're living in a culture that opposes what we believe. In many ways it's hostile to what we believe.

Especially as followers of Christ. And guess who else knows we're in a battle. And guess who else knows we're in the last days.

The devil. Because Revelation 12 speaking of the devil says he's come down to you in great anger knowing he has a little time. The devil knows his days are numbered. Therefore his objective is to wreck as much havoc as he can until that day. And we too as Christians knowing the Lord's return is near should be doing as much good as we can.

We take people as we can with the gospel until that day. So look this is not a choice of fighting or not fighting. You're either gonna fight or you're gonna lose. You're either gonna gain ground or you're gonna lose ground.

You're either gonna advance or you're gonna retreat. So it's your choice. Well I don't know man I'm a pacifist. I drive a Prius. With my cat. With my mask on when I'm all alone.

It's a spiritual battle. I know I put cats down a lot. There are some good cats. I came across this video the other day. I posted it on my story on Instagram. And I was amazed at what this little cat did. It should be appearing. There it is. Look at this little boy. That's not good. A balcony.

High building. Watch the little boy. Look at the cat. Look at this cat.

Look at this cat. No. Don't do cat.

No. Boy goes back to it again. And the cat stops him. I love this cat. He may be the only good cat out there but I like him. I only say that because it offends cat people and they're so sensitive. I really like cats just fine but because people get so upset I keep doing it. I can't help myself.

This battle is gonna rage to the final day. You might wonder does it come a point where you just stop being tempted. No. Heard about a younger believer who asked an older believer. Come a time in my life when I'm no longer tempted by sin.

Will that actually happen? And the old man says no until you're dead. So that's pretty much how long it's going to go. So we need to make these choices and put the past behind us. I'll tell you this. For me the easiest thing was to give up drinking and drugs. You know as a kid I dabbled in these things. I never got into hard drugs but you know I did things I shouldn't have done.

Evolution film right. But I already knew that was a dead end street. I already knew I wanted to stop doing that but I didn't know what I was going to do with my life and it was shortly after I wanted to close the door in the old life that I heard the gospel for the first time. But some people aren't able to make a clean break with these things. There are people that struggle with addiction throughout their life or they grapple with certain sins and I don't condemn those people. I understand it can be hard. And one man or one woman's struggle is not necessarily another's. And then sometimes you have a struggle that you overcome and then 20 years later it's a struggle again. Right now this is life ok. This is what we're going to face in life. But we need to hang on there. But I want to say this. There is no sin that needs to control you.

There is no addiction that should have a stranglehold on your life. The Bible says whom the son sets free is free indeed. You can be free. But when you sin and you will sin and I will sin we need to ask God to forgive us. As we turn from that sin, acknowledge it, repent of it. The Bible says that we will confess our sin. He's faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We need to accept God's forgiveness.

Sometimes people say well I need to learn to forgive myself. They're probably the same person that drives the Prius. Notice I always go back to the that same voice. This is the voice that people that I think are odd. You know man. They're kind of like that.

They start every sentence that way. So I have to forgive myself. You can't forgive yourself.

Where did you ever get such a silly idea? You don't have the ability to forgive yourself. But God can forgive you.

So instead of forgiving yourself you need to walk in the forgiveness of God. Going back to the Israelites when God delivered them from Egypt the Lord said I'm going to send a series of plagues upon Egypt to get the Pharaoh to listen. The Pharaoh didn't listen. Finally the Lord said I'll bring my judgment upon your firstborn Pharaoh. You tried to kill my firstborn when you gave the command to drown the Jewish baby boys. I'll bring the same judgment on you if you don't repent.

Pharaoh didn't repent. So now the judgment of God came upon the land of Egypt over the firstborn and the Lord said to his people, the Jews, you slay a lamb. You take that blood.

You apply it on the top of your door. On the right and to the left. And when I see the blood I'll pass over that home.

Right? And what is that a picture of? Jesus.

He's the Passover lamb. Think about the blood. On the top of the door. On the right and the left.

Does that remind you of anything? The cross that Christ hung from. The crown of thorns on his head.

The spikes through his hands and his feet. They had to apply the blood. They had to put the blood in their homes or the judgment would have come upon them too. We need to apply the blood in our life. You say what does that even mean?

What it means is you say I believe you shed your blood for me. I accept that. I accept your forgiveness and I'm going to walk now as a forgiven person. Okay? As the Bible says of the believers in the book of Revelation, they overcame him by the blood of the lamb.

You see we have to take practical steps as well. A while ago I was given a large container full of pretzels with peanut butter in them. Now I'm not a huge peanut butter person. But there's something about pretzels and peanut butter together I like.

I think it's a salty and sweet. So I ate one. Then I ate two. Then I ate ten. Then I ate twenty. Then it was handfuls. Like it was so bad. I was walking around with a brown paper bag wrapped around it.

You know just it was getting out of control. And so I realized I'm not going to stop until I eat all of these pretzels. So I didn't know what else to do. I went over to the toilet, poured them in and flushed it.

Kathy came out into the kitchen. Where are those pretzels with the peanut butter? I said I flushed them down the toilet. She didn't believe me. She thought I ate them all.

I'm telling you I flushed them down the toilet. I know that seems extreme. But sometimes you have to take extreme steps. Let's say you're struggling with drinking. Oh I get tempted by drinking all the time in my wine cellar at home. Why don't you get rid of the booze?

Well how do I do it? You pour down the toilet, flush it. If you don't flush it the dog might drink it and get drunk. So flush it. You have drugs get rid of them. Well could I sell them?

No. That's drug dealing. Don't do that. My point is get rid of it. Oh I get tempted by pouring on my phone. Well get another phone. Get a flip phone for Pete's sake. But take practical steps.

We make it all so mystical. Just do what you got to do. You can stay in the wilderness.

You can wander around in circles. Or you can enter into the land of promises. Now why did most of these Israelites not make it into the promised land? They focused their attention on the obstacles instead of their objective. Again they focused their attention on the obstacles instead of the objective. So I left this part out. Early on after they were released from Egypt they came to the point of entry of the land of Canaan.

It was called Kedesh Barnea. Say they thought let's send spies in. Twelve spies check this thing out before we go in. Honestly they should have just gone in.

The Lord said I have given you the land. Let's send twelve spies in. So twelve spies go in. They return later. Ten bring a negative report.

Two bring a positive report. The people had a choice. Believe the majority or the minority. The majority said oh we can't go in. The people that live in the land they are gigantic. We felt like grasshoppers in their sight. And then the two that brought the minority report Joshua and Caleb said yeah it's true things are big but check out this cluster of grapes. It took two of us to carry them out.

You see that image of Joshua and Caleb carrying the cluster of grapes on as the symbol of tourism in Israel today. So yes the obstacles were big but God was bigger. But they didn't listen. They listened to the negative report. So it comes down to how you look at things. Listen. When you fix your attention on the obstacles rather than the objective, fear will always eclipse your faith.

It's up there on this screen. When you focus on the obstacles rather than the objective, fear will always eclipse your faith. So you have a choice. You can go into the land.

You can stay out of the land. Let's read what happens next. Joshua chapter one. I am reading verses one to four from the New Living Translation. After the death of Moses the Lord's servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun. Moses' assistant, King James calls him Moses' servant. He said Moses my servant is dead therefore the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses. Wherever you set foot you will be on land I have given you. From the Negev wilderness to the south of the Lebanon mountains to the north.

From the Euphrates rivers in the east to the Mediterranean sea in the west including all the land of the Hittites. No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live for I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. We'll stop there. Are those not powerful words? So if you're taking notes, here's point number one.

Greg is a very handsome man. Write that down. Seriously that's the first point.

No it isn't. The first point is this. To succeed in the spiritual life you must overcome fear and admit you need help.

Let me say that again. To succeed in the spiritual life you must overcome fear and admit you need help and lots of it. Look at how many times God tells Joshua to have courage. Verse six. Be strong and of good courage. Verse seven. Only be strong and very courageous. Verse nine. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage.

Don't be afraid. Why do you think the Lord said this so many times to Joshua? Probably because he was afraid.

I mean think about it. He had to take the place of Moses. Talk about a hard act to follow. Moses the great law giver.

Moses the man of God. That's a lot to contemplate. I can think of times in my life when I was overcome with fear. I remember when I was a 22 year old man and I found out Kathy was expecting and we had our first son Christopher. And we brought him home from the hospital and it suddenly dawned on me I don't know anything about parenting.

I mean literally nothing. Because I didn't have a father growing up. And my mother wasn't really parenting me as well. I have never shared this before but I was actually raised by wolves. That's the next movie. Jesus Revolution 2 Raised by Wolves.

It's coming to a theater near you. But I was not parented so I'm now supposed to be a dad to this boy. And then Jonathan was born and I'm not saying I was the perfect dad.

Far from it. But God helped me. He was with me as he will be with you.

Right? I remember the first time I shared the gospel. I was terrified by the idea of going up to a total stranger and engaging them in an evangelistic conversation. But I felt led by the Lord to do it and I found this middle aged woman on a beach and I read the contents of a little booklet to her verbatim.

I hadn't memorized him yet. And much to my shock and delight she accepted Christ. But I was afraid.

I remember when I was invited to pray at a Billy Graham Crusade held at Anaheim Stadium now called Angel Stadium in 1985. I was so excited. And I was really nervous. And I'm up on the stage and I knew when I was supposed to go up and pray. And the moment came and I was just sitting there frozen.

Cliff Barrows, Billy's longtime assistant, yelled over to me, get up there man. I was terrified. But you've got to face your fears. There are things that you're scared of. Are you afraid of something right now?

Is something terrifying you? Maybe it's a job you've been asked to do. Maybe you're starting your family.

Maybe you just got married. Maybe there's some other thing that's frightening you right now. Remember what God said to Joshua. Joshua 1.5. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and of good courage. And that's his word to him and it's his word to us. Jesus said don't be afraid. I'm the first and the last. I'm the living one.

I was dead and I'm alive forever. I hold the keys of death in Hades. Don't be afraid says Jesus. Jesus also says fear not little flock for it is your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Don't let fear cripple you. Paul wrote these words to a young and timid Timothy in 2 Timothy 1 and said I want to remind you to fan into flames your spiritual gift God gave you. For God has not given you a spirit of fear but of power love and self discipline. So don't be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.

My friend J.D. Greer put it this way and I quote courage is the ability to keep going even when you can't see any progress because you know God is faithful. I like that. Courage is the ability to keep going even when you can't see any progress because you know that God is faithful. Point number two. The way to succeed in the spiritual life is to be consistent.

Be consistent. Not just in the big things but in the little things. Look at verse one. After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun Moses assistant. That's pretty accurate actually.

That's new living. King James says Moses servant. Joshua was like the executive assistant to Moses. I don't think he realized that he was effectively being groomed to become the one that would lead the Israelites into the promised land. It probably all assumed Moses would do that. But in fact God was raising up Joshua and he was a worthy successor to Moses. And it's just a reminder that God raises up new people.

You know people come and go on the stage. Our job is to be faithful in our generation. Acts 13 36 says after David had done the will of God in his own generation he died and was buried with his ancestors.

After he had been faithful in his own generation I have my generation and a new generation comes. One day you'll read maybe in the paper or news feed. I don't know if it'll make the news.

Greg Laurie died. Don't you believe a word of it. At that moment I'll be more alive than I have ever been. Right.

But. I'm a realist. I understand death will come.

I'm kind of hoping the rapture will come first. Lord are you listening. I prefer that. Vote of transportation. But whatever it is my job is to serve the Lord faithfully in my generation then the Lord raises up another.

That's what he always does. Some people think they're indispensable. Listen graveyards are filled with indispensable people. So just serve God in your generation. But now God makes this amazing promise to Joshua. Verse five.

No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses I'll be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Just as God was with Joshua. God is with you. I love how Jesus says in Matthew 28 lo I am with you even to the end of the age.

And he promises to never leave us or forsake us. I mean Joshua was groomed for this role. He was willing to work behind the scenes and just do what needed to be done to assist Moses. Wherever Moses went Joshua went to. When Moses went to receive the Ten Commandments. Joshua didn't go up there with them on Mount Sinai. He sort of waited at the foot of the mountain. Moses comes down holding the tablets you know shining and Joshua says hey Moses things aren't sounding good back down on the camp.

It sounds like they're having a war down there. So Moses descends from Mount Sinai with the Commandments. And what does he find but the Israelites dancing naked in front of a golden calf worshipping it. He had left Aaron his brother in charge. Aaron was the worst babysitter of all time. And one of the lamest when it came to excuses as well because he says paraphrase Moses I know this looks bad but I can explain everything.

We just threw golden some fire and a golden calf came out so what else could we do but strip off our clothes and have an orgy and worship it right. What a loser. Contrast him with Joshua. Joshua the faithful servant and then the brother of Moses a pathetic failure. Not doing the job he had called him to do. Be faithful in little things and God will give you greater things to do.

Okay that brings me to our third and last point. If you want to succeed spiritually you must know and keep the word of God. Again if you want to succeed spiritually you must know and keep the word of God. Look at Joshua 1 8. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate in it day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written.

Underline that all that is written in it then you will make your way prosperous and you will have good success. What God said to Joshua was unprecedented historically. Up to this point when God spoke to people he spoke audibly to them. God spoke audibly to Noah and told him to build the ark. God spoke audibly to Abraham and told him to leave for a distant land he had never been to before. God had spoken audibly to Moses through a burning bush. But now the Lord says I am going to speak to you through the book. And that is how God speaks to us today. I will be honest. When I talk to people that say God speaks to me all the time I get a little suspicious. I am not so sure. But I know this. He will speak to you through this book.

Right? Jesus said lo in the volume of the book I have come it is written of me. God will speak to you through the Bible. But what should I do? I should meditate in it day and night. Meditate in it.

Now what does that mean? When we use the word meditate biblically we are not using it in the same way they might use it in Eastern religions. For them to meditate is to empty one's mind and sit on a yoga mat wearing Lululemon clothes.

I am not sure. But that is not what we are doing. In the Bible to meditate means to contemplate, to ponder, to consider these things. Another way to translate the word meditate is to mutter. To mutter. Or to speak aloud. Sometimes it helps to read the Bible out loud.

Because you know you can read verses and it doesn't penetrate your brain. Someone might say I read ten chapters of the Bible today. Really? Wow. What were they about?

I have no idea. I would rather read ten verses with understanding than ten chapters without it. I would rather finish this sentence frankly.

Let me try again. Because clearly I botched what I said. I would rather read ten verses with understanding than ten chapters without it. Right? So that is where meditation comes in. You think about it.

You consider it. And you hide it in your heart. You memorize it.

The Bible says your word of I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. Don't tell me you can't memorize things. I can. It is hard. You memorize lines from films, lyrics to songs, sports scores going back decades. And you tell me you don't have any bandwidth in your brain to memorize the word of God.

Of course you do. And in Psalm 1 it says blessed or happy is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord or the word of the Lord and in it he meditates day and night. Notice day and night. And he will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. He will bring forth fruit and his leaf shall not wither. I memorized that when I was nineteen years old.

And I still remember it today. It is a great place to hide God's word in your mind and heart. You know you can carry the Bible in your purse or your briefcase or your man bag.

But I mean what do they call those now? Immerse? I am not sure what it is. But the best place to hide the word of God is in your heart. Meditate in it day and night. But that is not all. You have to observe all that is written in it. That is what the verse says. Observe all that is written in it. It is not for you to pick and choose what parts of the Bible you like and throw out the ones the parts you don't understand or like.

And some people do that. Well I like the Bible. I like what God says about forgiveness and love and grace and peace. I am not so sure about what the Bible says about sexuality. I mean this is our choice and we can do what we want.

It is my body. So if I am pregnant and I want to terminate that pregnancy, my body, my choice. I am sorry that is in contradiction to what the Bible says. The Bible says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and that life begins at conception.

That is another body now inside of your body that has the right to live. Well I don't agree. Well okay you can say you don't agree. But you are going against what scripture says.

I am just saying this. Or we talk about sex. Well you know I don't really like the restrictions of the Bible on sex. You know I want to have premarital sex or extramarital sex.

No. God created sex in marriage. The only place that He will bless it is in marriage. Anything outside of that is disobedience to Him. Well my God would not judge me. Well I don't know who your God is. But He is not the God of the Bible.

It is getting quiet in here and I don't like that. If what I just said is controversial to you something is not right. This should be an amen of course. Right. That is what the Bible says. Right. That is it.

Look folks this is a package deal. We don't pick and choose what parts of the Bible we like like we are at some celestial salad bar. Jesus said you are my disciples if you do whatsoever I command you. And He says if you really love me do what I tell you to do. So it is as simple as that. He gives us His word.

We need the word. And by the way you never outgrow this. There has come a point where you say well I don't really need to read the Bible. I have read it so many times.

Well okay. And besides nothing ever changes in the Bible. That is one of the great things about the Bible. It doesn't change.

I love that. Unchanging truth in a constantly changing culture. I am glad there is something I can believe in and trust in and live by. But haven't you found that certain verses of the Bible that you have read before come alive to you in a whole new way when you read them again depending on where you are at in life. So you read a Bible story when you are 18.

It is different than when you are 68 or older or whatever it is. So that is why the Bible says mercies are new every morning. And I can think of so many times I have been listening to someone preach and they will say something and it is like they wrote that just for me. Has that happened to you? Yes Greg not when you are preaching but others yes.

It is all good. But God will speak to you through His word. This is the golden key of spiritual growth.

This is the secret password that will unlock any device. It will unlock your spiritual life. You say what is it again?

Reading, studying, memorizing, meditating on, and obeying all that the Bible says. Now I will be honest with you. There are times I come to things in the Bible. It is not that I don't agree with them. I just don't like them.

Example. Forgiving someone that has hurt me. I don't want to forgive them. I want to get back at them.

That is human nature right? But the Bible tells me to forgive. Turn the other cheek.

Go the extra mile. Oh really? But I have found that when I even do those things I am uncomfortable with I see the blessing that comes on my life as a result. So we need to trust God's word.

Jesus gave us what is called the parable of the sower. I feel like I am going to sneeze. Don't you hate that? It is just kind of lingering. It is coming. It is coming. No. No.

Stay away. Anyway. So the parable of the sower. A sower goes out and sows seed. Back in those days they just threw the seed out. So some seed fell on the road and the birds came and ate it quickly. Other seed fell on ground and bedded with thorns and it began to grow but the thorns and the weeds choked it out. Other seed fell on shallow soil and shot up in the sun but withered because it wasn't rooted. And some seed fell on good ground. And then Jesus said there in Mark 4.

The seed that fell on good ground represents those who hear and accept God's word and produce a harvest. That is it. You hear it. You accept it. You believe it.

You apply it. That is how you bring forth fruit in the spiritual life. So let's wrap this up. What have we learned together? Number one we found the golden key of spiritual growth is hearing, receiving, and obeying the word of God.

Also we discovered that we must overcome our fears and admit we need help and lots of it. And we also discovered we must be consistent in the spiritual life. Be faithful with what God has set before you. Be faithful in the small things and God will give you greater things to do. Be faithful with your finances. Be faithful in your marriage.

Be faithful in your singleness. Be faithfulness in whatever you do and you will find the blessing of God will come to you. But this all starts with a relationship with God. Going back to that story of the blood that was shed.

The blood of the Passover lamb. God loved us so much he sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross and shed his blood for every one of us. And there is no person Christ cannot change. I was talking with a retired police officer named Mike a little bit earlier today.

And he was talking about our prayer meeting that we have at Harvest Orange County and Harvest Riverside. And he was at a table with some guys that were very tatted up. These are not hipster tattoos. These are like prison tats. And when you are law enforcement you know what different tats mean. Because it gives you a sense of who they were affiliated with or what kind of lifestyle they may have lived. And so here are former gang bangers sitting down with a retired police officer.

And he said, he told them what he used to do and they looked a little alarmed. But here they are talking together and praying together. And I thought only Jesus Christ could bring those kinds of people together.

Right? So yes the gang banger needs Jesus. Yes the drug addict needs Jesus. Yes the criminal needs Jesus. Yes the upstanding citizen needs Jesus. Yes the relatively moral person who is not as moral as they think they are needs Jesus. Every man needs Christ. Every woman needs Christ. Every person needs Jesus.

He is here for everyone. And He shed His blood for us so we can come into this relationship with Him. Those Israelites had to take that blood of the slain lamb and put it on their door. And we have to take that blood that Jesus shed for us and say, Lord I am sorry for my sin. I turn from it and I invite you to come into my life to be my Savior and Lord. And I ask you in closing, have you done that yet?

And if not would you like to do that? We are going to close now in prayer. And I am going to extend an invitation for anyone here, anyone watching, wherever you are. If you don't have this relationship with Jesus. If you don't have the confidence that you will go to heaven when you die. If you are not ready for the Lord's return you respond to this invitation. In the beginning of my message I talked about what it is like to believe in Christ. Has that happened for you yet?

I talked about guilt being removed and a joy you didn't have previously. Has that happened for you? If not, why not?

It can. Do you want it to? He is just a prayer away. Jesus says behold I stand at the door and I knock.

And if you will hear my voice and open the door I will come in. You say well maybe I need to get a little religion. You don't need a little religion. You need a lot of Jesus.

You need Him to come into your life. So if you want Jesus to come into your life respond now as we close in prayer. Let's all bow our heads and pray. Father thank you for your word to us today. Thank you for the promises that you have made in scripture. Thank you for Jesus dying on the cross for our sin and rising again from the dead. Now I pray for every person here listening, every person watching wherever they are.

If they don't have this relationship with you let it begin right here right now. Listen. If you want your sin forgiven. If you want Jesus Christ to come into your life. If you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven.

If you want to fill that big hole inside of you it can happen now. You just need to say Jesus come into my life. If you want Christ to come into your life and forgive you of your sin. If you want to go to heaven when you die I want you to lift your hand up wherever you are. And I'd like to pray for you. God bless you. Raise your hand up high where I can see it.

You want Christ in your life. God bless you. And God bless you.

Anybody else? Raise your hand up high where I can see it please. God bless you. Anybody else raise your hand up.

God bless you too. I know some of you are watching this screen. I can't see you of course. But the Lord sees you. You could raise your hand as well. See I need Jesus wherever you are. God bless all of you. I'm going to ask every one of you that raise your hand to just pray a prayer with me right now. This is a prayer where you're asking Jesus to come into your life. Again as I pray just pray this out loud right where you are. Just pray it out loud.

Pray these words. Lord Jesus I know I'm a sinner but I know you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now.

I choose to follow you from this moment forward. As my Savior and Lord. As my God and friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Amen. God bless each one of you. Hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to And to find out how to know God personally go to and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-29 09:13:59 / 2023-10-29 09:31:08 / 17

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