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Sign up at harvest.org. The devil knows his time is short and his judgment is going to come and he wants to wreak as much havoc as he can in the interim. He's upping his game. And folks, it's time for us to up our game too. Now is not the time to stand on the sidelines. Coming up today, Pastor Greg Laurie urges believers to recognize what's going on and to reach out with the gospel.
If your neighbor's home catches fire, that's not the time to just mind your own business or the time to wait until you're in the mood. People's lives are at stake and they need to be saved. Well, in a similar way, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how God's end times calendar is counting down. People's eternal lives are at stake and they need to be saved. And we'll get a good glimpse of the spiritual realm today to help energize and inform our actions. Today we're going to look at Revelation chapter 12. So grab your Bible and turn there with me if you would.
Revelation 12. And the title of my message is Angels and Demons. Where in the heck did demons come from?
And why do they even exist? Simple answer, demons are fallen angels. The Bible tells the story of Lucifer who was once a high ranking angel, later to become known as Satan and the devil, leading a rebellion against God and one third of the angels went with him. So one third of the angels, which number in the thousands, are now what we would call fallen angels or demons doing the bidding of Lucifer. The bad news is one third defected.
The good news is two thirds are still on our side. So the objective of demons seems to be twofold. They want to hinder the purpose of God and extend the power of Satan.
Let me say that again. They want to hinder the purpose of God and extend the power of Satan. So any efforts that you or we as a church or as believers make to permeate culture with the gospel will be opposed by the devil. So he wants to stop the purposes of God but then he also wants to extend his own power. What are the tactics of the devil?
Well let's read about it now. Revelation chapter 12. Turn there with me if you would. Revelation 12. I'm going to read verses 7 to 12. And war broke out in heaven. Michael, that would be Michael the archangel and his angels fought with the dragon and the dragon and his angels fought but they did not prevail nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
The great dragon was cast out that serpent of old called the devil and Satan who deceives the whole world was cast to the earth and his angels are cast out with him. Verse 10. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven now salvation and strength in the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ have come for the accuser of the brethren.
Underline that statement. The accuser of the brethren who accused him before our God day and night has been cast down. Don't miss this. They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice oh heavens and you that dwell in them and the inhabitants of the earth and sea for the devil has come down to you having great wrath and he knows he has a short time. Now in these verses we learn a lot about our adversary the devil.
Here's another point. The devil knows his days are numbered. The devil knows his days are numbered. He knows that time is short.
He knows that he's going to ultimately be defeated. He's read the bible too and we see so many demonic things happening in our culture right now. I think you have to acknowledge the demonic factor that people don't talk about when you have these mass shootings.
That's demonic. The drug epidemic that is just out of control. You have people on streets of major cities in America that look like they're zombies. It's like a zombie apocalypse. The rise of fentanyl.
The depression and suicidal ideation of young people today. I think the only explanation for this kind of activity is this is devilish. The devil knows his time is short. He knows it's the last days. We know it's the last days and we're looking forward to the return of Christ but he knows it's the last days.
His last days and his judgment is going to come and he wants to wreak as much havoc as he can in the interim. You know there's an interesting verse here that I want to read again. Revelation 12 12 from another translation.
It's modern and it gives a little light on it. It says the devil's come down on you with both feet. He's had a great fall. He's wild and raging with anger. He doesn't have much time and he knows it. So the devil knows it's the last days. He's upping his game and folks it's time for us to up our game too.
Okay. And the most powerful offensive weapons we have in our arsenal. Our prayer and the proclamation of the gospel. We got to focus on that. Here's the best thing that we can do is give the gospel to people.
Share Jesus with people because when lives change culture changes. And so as people come to faith and their worldview changes. I know it happened for me.
I know it happened for you as well. Then it affects our nation as a whole because the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. But here's what we need to remember. We win in the end and Satan loses and he knows it. Now let's in closing talk about how we can overcome the devil. The devil does not want you to know what I'm about to tell you. So wake up.
Pay attention. The devil does not want you to know that one of his primary ways of defeating Christians is through accusation. Accusation. He's called the accuser of the brethren.
We already read that together. Paul wrote we're not ignorant of the devices of the devil in second Corinthians 2 11. Victor Hugo the author of the well-known book Les Miserables made this statement and I quote a good general must penetrate the brain of his enemy end quote. So it's good for us to understand the tactics of our adversary the devil. He attacks us through accusation. Verse 10 of Revelation 12 the accuser of the brethren who accused them before our God day and night has been cast down.
So here's how it works. Satan tempts you. By the way it's not a sin to be tempted.
Did you know that? Because sometimes you're just minding your own business. Maybe you're sitting in church. Maybe you're reading your Bible. Maybe you're singing a praise song. Maybe you're praying and all of a sudden this wicked twisted impure thought comes into your mind and then the devil comes and says how could you think something like that.
You haven't done anything wrong. You see it's only if you take that wicked impure thought whatever it may be and bring it inside again. It's been said you can't stop a bird from flying over your head but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair.
Now in my case he better bring his own materials because there's not much to work with. So I can't stop that impure thought from knocking on the door of my imagination. That thought of anger. That thought of jealousy. That thought of lust. That thought of whatever that thought is. I can't stop that thought from coming.
But I can say I recognize where this comes from and I say get behind me Satan. I heard a story about a woman that said to her husband I'm going to go down to the mall and shop. He says no you aren't because every time you go you spend way too much money. She says no I won't buy anything.
I'll just browse. Says okay promise you won't buy anything. She says I won't. So she's walking around at the mall and and she comes home with a brand new dress. Says I asked you not to buy anything.
We can't afford it. She goes but I have to tell you what happened. He says what happened.
She says well I went into the store and I saw this beautiful dress and and so I tried it on and while I was trying it on Satan himself appeared. He says he did. What did he say? He said that dress looks good on you. And he says you should have said get behind me Satan.
She said I did. I said get behind me Satan. And then the devil said looks good from the back too.
Dumb joke. But that's what we say. I recognize where this is coming from. Get behind me Satan.
Go away from me. It's not the bait that constitutes sin. It's the bite. So here's how the devil works. He whispers in your ear go ahead and do it. No one will ever know.
I won't tell anyone if you won't. So you take the bite. You take the bait. You do the wrong thing and then he comes and he condemns you. The accuser of the brethren. So that's what he does.
No that's his tactic. He tempts you and he condemns you for giving in to his temptation. Bringing me to my next point.
They overcame him by the blood of the lamb. So here's what happens. I get tempted. I give in to the temptation. The devil condemns me. He says don't even show your ugly face in church on Sunday. Don't even think about reading your Bible. That would be hypocritical to read your Bible after you just had that thought.
Or after you just did that thing. Don't even consider praying. No. He's a liar. And he's the father of lies and I overcome him by the blood of the lamb. Right. The devil says you're not worthy to approach God.
My answer is you're right. I'm not worthy. Never was worthy.
Never will be worthy. But I don't approach God through my worthiness. I approach him through the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for me. And he hates that message.
And he doesn't want you to know it. You know very easily as Christians we can get into this sort of work self-righteousness trip. We think we do certain things therefore we've earned the approval of God.
No. I have God's approval as do you. The Bible says I've been made accepted in the beloved.
That's not based on what I've done. It's based on what he did at the cross. And when he said that single word to Telestai translated it is finished it meant that I no longer have to be under the power of sin. So you overcome him by the blood of the lamb. Hebrews 10 19 says dear friends enter boldly into heaven's most holy place through the blood of Jesus. This is a new life giving way that Christ has opened up for us through this sacred curtain by means of his death for us. It's through the blood of the lamb I can approach God. Ephesians 2 23 says you who are sometimes far off have been made near by the blood of Jesus. First John tells us if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.
They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and that's how you will overcome him as well. Right? Remember that. So maybe as you're hearing this message you're thinking I've done this thing I should not have done. I said something I should have never said. I've given into this temptation.
What about me? You go to Jesus and say Lord I call that what it is a sin. I'm sorry for that sin. I repent of that sin and I ask you to forgive me of that sin. See if you live with unconfessed sin this will bring your prayer life to a screeching halt. The Bible says the psalmist speaking if I regard iniquity in my heart which means to hold on to or to cling to the Lord will not hear me. So I need to acknowledge my sin.
I need to ask God to forgive me of my sin but once I've done that I need to accept the forgiveness of God. They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony. The word of their testimony. When a believer is walking with God they will want to tell others and that is why evangelism and telling our personal story is so important. Because listen as I was saying earlier our objective as Christians is not just to hold ground.
It's to gain ground. It's to advance spiritually. Think about the spiritual armor that we're told to wear as Christians described for us in Ephesians chapter 6. We have the helmet of salvation protecting our mind. We have the breastplate of righteousness. We have the shield of faith. But it's interesting because it says we have our feet shod with a preparation of the gospel of peace. That's King James. Which means your footwear your boots or sandals with cleats in them worn by the Roman soldier would be used to gain ground to move forward to march forward.
What is that? The gospel. And what is the one offensive weapon we have in our arsenal. It's a sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.
It's the word of God. You know you don't fight your enemy with your shield. You don't try to beat him to death with your helmet or your shoe. You use your sword.
That's what his sword is for. The word of God. There's power in the word of God.
And they overcame him by their testimony. This is why sharing the gospel is so much a part of our DNA here at Harvest. And I think should be a part of the DNA of every church quite frankly.
But this is why we're always talking about reaching our culture in new ways. This is why we do evangelistic crusades. This is why almost every time I or anybody else in this pulpit gives a message it ends with an invitation for people to come to Christ. Because we know that we actually gain ground through the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.
And just let me say this. You have a testimony. Your testimony is simply your story of what Christ has done for you. And one of the best ways to start an evangelistic conversation is start by telling your story. You know they can argue with your facts or your theological statements all day long but they can't argue with your story.
You're an expert on you. And what is your story? What is my story?
What is our story? It's all the same. It's effectively the same testimony that that man who was healed of blindness had.
He said look all I can tell you is this. Once I was blind but now I see. Maybe we had different sins we were trapped by but whatever they were the answer was the same. Christ changed us.
Start by telling your story. You overcome the devil by the blood of the lamb by the word of your testimony and finally they did not love their lives until the death. This means that they knew that their lives belonged to God. The Bible says in Psalm 31 15 our times are in his hands. God is in control. Stop worrying about how long you will live. It's up to God.
Stop being obsessed with it and some are. Instead focus your energy on this. Live a life that honors and glorifies God right. So if this is your last day glorify him with this day. If he gives you 10 more days or 10 more years or decades more whatever that is that's in the hands of the Lord.
We want to be sure that we live our lives well and we want to be sure that we finish our lives well and hear the Lord say to us in that final day well done good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your Lord. So maybe you've joined us and most of you have. And you're saying I don't have a relationship with God. In fact all this talk about demons just kind of freaked me out a little bit.
And let me just be very blunt with you. You have no way to defend yourself against demon powers. They're real.
They're strong. You say well you know I'll just pull out some holy water. There is no such thing as holy water. Well I'll just wear garlic around my neck. Well that'll keep your friends away but it won't keep the devil away. I'll pull out a crucifix. Satan could care less about a crucifix.
See here's the point. The only defense against Satan is Christ living in your life. Then you don't have to be afraid of him. Because the Bible says greater is he that is in us speaking of Jesus than he that is in the world speaking of the devil. When Christ comes and lives inside of you the devil cannot come into your life.
But let me say something else. If you're not a Christian you can be demon possessed. Demon possessed.
Yes demon possession is real. Satan can infiltrate and take control of the life of a non-believer. He cannot come into the life of a Christian but he can come into the life of a non-Christian. But if you have Christ living in you you don't have to be afraid anymore.
And I ask you do you have Jesus living in you? He's ready to forgive you of all of your sin no matter what you've done. You can have a fresh start. You can have a new beginning.
Imagine it for a moment. But you must say to God I know I'm a sinner and I believe that Jesus died on the cross for you. Say what do you mean I know I'm a sinner? Every one of us have sinned. Sin is breaking the commandments of God and it's falling short of his standards as well. So granted some people may sin more than others but every one of us have sinned in some way shape or form more times than you can count.
And the Bible says if you offend in one point of the law you're guilty of all of it. So every one of us have sinned. But the good news is why we were yet sinners the Bible says Christ died for us.
Jesus said for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son in whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Satan hates you. God loves you. Satan wants to destroy you. God wants to restore you. Satan wants you to go to hell with him. God wants you to go to heaven for all eternity. It's your choice.
You decide in this life or you will spend the afterlife. If you've never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life and forgive you of your sin you can do it right here right now as we close in prayer. Let's all bow our heads and pray Father I pray that your Holy Spirit will speak to every person that is here and while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed maybe there's somebody here that would say I need Jesus Christ right now. I need his forgiveness. I don't have this confidence that I'll go to heaven one day. I'm not sure that my sin is forgiven. I want Jesus to come into my life and forgive me of my sin. If you want Christ to forgive you. If you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven.
If you want to find the meaning and purpose of life. If you want a fresh start in life I want you to pray this prayer with me right now. Just pray these words Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. I'm sorry for my sin.
I repent and turn from my sin. I ask you to come into my life as my savior and Lord as my God and friend from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray.
Amen. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer with those making a change in their relationship with the Lord today. If you've just prayed with Pastor Greg and made a decision for Christ we'd like to offer Pastor Greg's New Believer's Bible along with some other helpful resources. It'll help you begin your new life of faith on the right foot and we'll send it all free of charge upon request. Just call us at 1-800-821-3300. We're here to take your call anytime 24 7 at 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.
Or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg our listeners will be happy to hear about your new film called Fame. In it you point out the dangers of pursuing fame and fortune.
How it can lead people away from the Lord and lead them down a very destructive path. Yes. But are there exceptions? You know, can you think of anyone who became better or stronger or more spiritual as a result of their fame? Yeah, I think Johnny Cash would be a good illustration. You know, Cash had huge success in the beginning of his career and he had a huge career slump and then he had a comeback of comebacks and a whole new generation discovered him of young people and people saw the legendary character he was. But you know when Johnny was really experiencing the first aspects of his fame, he had a TV show that was very successful.
Immediately he wanted to get the gospel in there. He even invited his longtime friend Billy Graham to appear with him and even had Billy quote scriptures and they did gospel songs. So I think this is a man that took his fame and used it for God's glory. And speaking of fame, Billy Graham himself was one of the most famous men who ever lived. And I spent a lot of time with Billy.
I wrote a book about him called Billy Graham, the man I knew. We had a lot of meals together. I was out in public with him and just saw how people would react when they met him. One time we were sitting at the Red Lobster restaurant. He really liked Red Lobster and we're having a meal and there's a little wall right next to our table and then there's kind of an area people can walk by. So people were recognizing him and they would come up and interrupt his meal.
He would stop, chat with them, very friendly, very accessible. So I think you know fame is neutral. It can be good. It can be bad. For many it's bad because they think fame itself is the answer and it isn't.
But fame can be a tool and you can have great success and use it for God's glory. It's sort of like fire. You know fire can do good. It can warm us.
It can cook our meals and it can burn our house down and burn forests down. So it just depends on what you do with the fire and the same is true of fame. So I examined the lives of people who looked at fame in and of itself to satisfy the hole in their heart and how it did not give them the answers they were looking for. And then I talked about some who found the answers like Alice Cooper, Daryl Strawberry and others who are walking with God and have fame but use it for his glory. Well not only is the movie out now called Fame but we actually have a book that goes along with it and it's also called Fame. Is that right? Yeah I just ran out of creative titles so I used the same title twice. Fame.
You know it's funny. You can get two for the price of one I think. Yeah that's right. It's funny we started out and I said working title fame with meaning I planned on changing the title later but as we worked on it we just thought well that kind of sums it up. Fame. You know because some might watch it going yeah fame I love fame I want fame and then they'll see oh wow famous people are not generally very happy people and maybe that's not what I want so we we talk about people who've had all this fame and had all of this success and and so forth but have seen the emptiness of it we show how ultimately it's not fame that we're looking for deep down inside. I think it's significance.
I think it's meaning. We want to know that our life matters and we all should want that. We're here to have a relationship with God and to bring him glory. That's why we exist. The quicker we figure that out the better our life will be. You're not going to find what you're looking for in fame or in money or in success or in degrees hanging on your wall or in a house or in a car or in anything.
It's as someone you're looking for not as something and that someone has a name and his name is Jesus. Yeah that's right and that's such an important message and a message that gets drowned out by the lure of fame and that's why we're so excited about this new movie Fame. You can watch the movie right now at our new Harvest media platform at harvest.org and also other streaming platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Samsung, Amazon Fire and Google Play.
It's free to watch and contact us for the companion book also called Fame. We'll be glad to send this book your way to thank you for partnering with us so we can continue to bring the gospel through this radio program, through books and film and so many other innovative forms of outreach and we'll only be able to mention this resource a short time longer so please get in touch with your donation today by calling 1-800-821-3300 call anytime 24 7 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg you're celebrating 50 years in ministry at Harvest.
Yeah. God has been so faithful in working through this ministry over the years and I know you have a new project, an animation project that draws on something from the early years. Take us back to where it began. I set out to serve God starting with a little cartoon booklet I drew called Living Water and so that's how I got into ministry but I've taken these two characters named Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. Now he's had this dog forever. I've been drawing this dog since elementary school. He's had multiple names.
He was Herman. I think he was T-Bone for a while and I just recently decided to call him Yellow Dog. Now I know you can't see animation but you can hear it so what you're about to see is Ben Born Again introducing himself and then Yellow Dog enters the scene and they have this conversation together.
By the way they're at the beach. What's up? I'm Ben Born Again. Get it? It's a play on words as in I've been born again. Huh?
What does that even mean? Oh, sorry. I forgot to introduce you to my buddy Yellow Dog. Yellow Dog? Why did you even name me that? Dude, because you're yellow and you are a dog.
It's a cool name. Oh, I see. So what do you mean you've been born again? Well, wait till our next adventure for the answer but I'll give you a hint. It's in John Chapter Three. Oh, yeah, yeah.
What is John Chapter Three? Watch for the adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog from Greg Laurie. Coming soon. Well, that's a new animated feature we'll tell you about in the near future but it harkens all the way back to an early skill Pastor Greg developed and we're excited to see how this new feature will minister to kids. But thank you for partnering with us as we bring the gospel in innovative new ways.
Your support is vital and you can invest by going to harvest.org. Well, next time Pastor Greg begins the final message in his new series called Timeless. We'll discover the joy of sharing our faith. So join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
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