Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.
If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.
You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. Brand new Christians can learn a lot from those who've known the Lord for a while. But coming up today, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that the help goes both ways. New believers need old believers. Old believers need new believers.
Having a new believer in your life can have a reviving effect on you as they discover truths for the first time, you can rediscover them. You stabilize them, they energize you. There's a good chance you've seen a two-man saw with handles on both sides. It's an excellent example of teamwork. One man pushes, the other man pulls, and then vice versa.
Some of those saws were 12 feet long. The Christian life has many examples of teamwork. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us focus on discipleship.
It addresses the push and pull of daily life as a believer. For a new believer and a veteran believer, each have something to offer the other. Discipleship. The next step and following Jesus. So let me tell you some things now that new believers need.
And I'm addressing these remarks to two groups of people. Number one, to new believers. But I'm also addressing my remarks to older believers because this is what you need to do for younger believers. The new believer needs acceptance. Because you know what, new Christians have a lot of rough edges. They haven't learned the new Christian vocabulary yet.
In fact, they might have a few words left over from their old vocabulary that will pop up now and then. Be patient with them. Be loving toward them. I think of how little I understood when I came to Christ.
And thankfully there were people that were accepting. Number two, a new believer needs assurance. They need assurance. They need to know that they're saved. So we need to assure them. In 1 John 5 says, these things we write to you that believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. They can know and we need to assure them. And if you're a new believer, we want to assure you as well.
Number three, the new believer needs protection. New believers are vulnerable to their own emotions. They don't understand it when they had a sense of euphoria when they accepted Christ and two days later it's gone. Maybe they thought, oh, it will always be this way, but it won't.
You'll have days where you don't feel anything, right? So we need to say that's okay, that's normal, nothing bad has happened. You need to learn how to walk by faith, not by feeling, because the Bible says the just shall live by faith. New believers are also vulnerable to false teachings. We have to ground them in scripture and old friends are going to show up that will try to drag them down and old girlfriends and old boyfriends will suddenly materialize and temptations they never had will suddenly appear. And the new believer, number four, needs fellowship. That's why we want to involve them in our lives.
That's why small groups are so good. Because some things are learned in rows and other things are learned in circles where you're together and you can talk about it and you can ask questions and so we need to bring a new believer into the church. New believers need old believers. Old believers need new believers.
Having a new believer in your life can have a reviving effect on you as they discover, choose for the first time, you can rediscover them. You stabilize them, they energize you. This is illustrated with spending time with children. Someone asked me in an interview recently, what do you like to do with your free time? And I said, I like to spend time with my grandkids.
I call them up or text them, hey, what are you doing? You want to go somewhere? Yeah, we want to go do this, Papa. We want to get ice cream. Then we're going to get ice cream. We want to walk around in the mall. Let's do it. We want to do this other thing.
Let's do that. See, my job is not to parent them. My job is to grandparent them. Fill them up with sugar and send them on home.
Right? No, but seriously, it's to enter into their life, do what they want to do. You say, well, that's a nice thing for you to do. Actually, I enjoy it. It's good for me too.
And I think when you have a new believer in your life, it energizes you as well. You know, some grandparents have collected a lot of things over the years that they have in their home. And they say to the grandkids when they come over, don't touch anything. That's fragile. Don't break that. You know, get rid of all that junk, okay? Put it in a box. No one likes it anyway. It's funky old stuff. Put it away.
Go admire it sometime on your own. When your grandkids come in, make your home a welcoming place. And the same is true spiritually.
Have a life. Have a lifestyle. Have a home that's welcoming to new believers. It's good for them and it's good for you. Because a new believer might ask questions that you don't have the answers to.
Therefore, you've got to get back in the Bible again. And they'll remind you of things that maybe you have forgotten. I read an article about a number of billionaires who are trying to find a cure for aging. And some of them are getting blood.
I'm not making this up. This seems insane to me. They're getting blood transfusions from healthy young people from the ages of 16 and 25 believing it will reverse the aging process.
What they didn't plan for was the fact that after getting these blood transfusions, they moved back into their parents house and played video games non-stop. Now listen, you want a blood transfusion, get a new believer that you can help grow spiritually. New believers are the lifeblood of the church. You show me a church that doesn't have a constant flow of new believers in it and I will show you a church that's beginning to stagnate. As I've said before, we have a choice. Evangelize or fossilize.
We don't want to live in the past. We rejoice in what God has done but that's then and this is now. And we want to keep reaching new people and help them come into a relationship with Christ. And that brings us now to what we call the great commission here in Matthew 28 verse 16. Jesus said to his disciples I've been given all authority in heaven and on earth therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all my commands I have given you and be sure of this says our Lord I'm with you even to the end of the age. Next point before I can make a disciple I have to first be a disciple.
Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? And are you discipling someone else? Listen we should be either discipling someone or we should be being discipled by someone. In other words we should either have a new believer in our life that we're helping out or we should have an older believer in our life that's helping us out. And guess what sometimes you can do both at the same time.
You can have someone that's mentoring you and you can be mentoring somebody else. This is really important and it's part of what we're called to do. What is the great commission? Number one he says be baptized in the name of the father son and the holy spirit.
And what else are we to do? We're to teach people to obey his commands and by the way the great commission is a command. In other words Jesus says hey if you can work it out in your busy schedule would you mind as a personal favor to go into all the world. Now he says I'm your Lord. I'm your commander and I command you to go into all the world and preach the gospel.
I like to be commanded by Jesus don't you? That's a great thing to do. I remember years ago I had the privilege of being asked to be on the board of directors of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association by Billy himself. And so I was brought onto the board and one day Billy said I need a hat because Billy was always losing his hats. Somehow he thought that a ball cap would disguise him. But people always managed to recognize Billy because he had a profile you could put a Mount Rushmore.
You know very distinctive profile. People always recognized him but he wanted a hat. Craig he said I want you to get me a hat. I felt like I was on a mission from God. We were in some city where he was doing a crusade then went down to the local mall and I found a hat store.
I think it was called Lids maybe. And I've never seen so many hats in my life. And I didn't know what his size was.
I'm looking and I'm praying God give me wisdom. What's the right hat for Billy Graham? And then I finally found a hat and I went to Billy I got you a hat.
So ball cap. He says thank you. He put it on. The next day there was a picture of him wearing my hat. I said that's my hat. I got him that hat.
And then he lost it. So you know. But I love the fact that Billy Graham said do this for me. It was my honor. It's my privilege to do anything to help a man of God like that. Now think the Lord Jesus Christ is saying do this for me. Look at all that I've done for you.
Now I want you to do the following. Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. It's a command. It's not given to only the original disciples. Nor is it given to the so-called professionals alone like pastors or pastors or evangelists or missionaries. These words are addressed to every follower of Jesus.
They're addressed to you. So here's my question. Are you making disciples? When's the last time you've shared the gospel? When's the last time you've taken a new believer under your wing and helped them to grow spiritually?
And this is something for all of us to do. And listen the calling of God is the enabling of God. He will give you all of the power that you need. Look at verse 18. Jesus says all power is given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples. Now whenever you see the word therefore find out what it's there for.
It's always drawing on what was previously said. So contextually Jesus says all power is given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore. Wait would you have the power?
I don't have it. No I'm giving it to you says Jesus. Go therefore into all the world and make disciples. What does it mean to go and make disciples? It means to lead others to Christ.
Establish him spiritually and do it again. It's sort of like wash rinse repeat. You've seen that on some direction for cleaning something. Wash rinse repeat. Or evangelize stabilize immobilize. This is our job. You do it you do it again you do it again and you do it a few more times and then you keep doing it.
It never stops. It's a lifetime commitment. Somewhere along the line we've separated evangelism from discipleship but they're really one and the same.
The great commission is not just gospel proclamation. It's follow-up and it's discipleship. And it would be like a doctor you know delivering a baby and then giving the baby a box of pampers and saying son you got to get out there it's a rough world but you'll do okay. That baby needs to be cared for. Speaking of babies a study was conducted in a large hospital and they discovered something interesting. They found that the people working in the nursery noticed that the babies who were in their cribs near the door did better than the babies in the cribs in the other parts of the room. They wondered why. After a careful study they discovered the nurses were more prone to give attention to the babies near the door because they don't want about their duties. This is what a new believer needs. They need care. They need attention.
You need to take time for them. This is what we're all called to do. In Acts 1a Jesus says you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you to be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth.
I'll give you the power you need. And it's interesting the word that Christ uses for power there comes from the Greek word dunamis, dunamis, which we translate into the word dynamite. You've probably heard of Alfred Nobel because there's something called the Nobel Peace Prize. Did you know that Alfred Nobel was an incredible inventor and he actually invented something that we now know as dynamite. So during World War I this was a game changer to have something with that explosive power. And Nobel went to a friend who knew Greek and he said what is the Greek word for explosion.
And the man said well it's dunamis. And so Nobel named it dynamite. But the problem was so many lives were taken because of dynamite. Alfred Nobel decided he didn't want to be known for that.
So he developed something called the Nobel Peace Prize which had a cash prize attached to it that was given to people who worked for the cause of peace. And today we know him more for that. But here's the point. Explosive dynamite power. Paul says I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It's the power.
Same word of God unto salvation. There's power. And you need power. We all need power. We plug our phones in every day. My phone is constantly draining.
What about yours? And we plug in our cars now too. We plug in all kinds of things. God wants to infuse you with Holy Spirit power each and every day.
The Bible says don't be drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit speaking to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. And that word that is used there for be filled means be constantly filled over and over and over again. You need refills. But it seems strange to you if you had a car and drove it for maybe a week and then it wasn't running. You took it to the gas station and and you think can you fix this car for me and they would ask you have you refilled it with gas. Oh I didn't know about that.
No one told me. Yeah you need to refill your car. Listen God gives refills.
He'll fill you again and again. And you can ask him for that power. So we're going to close our service today by asking God to give us this power we need to do this job he has called us to do. And this power is available. So we'll pray together and say Lord fill us with the Holy Spirit.
You want to do that? Let's pray. Father thank you for your promise. Thank you for your calling.
Thank you for the privilege of serving you and you have promised power. You've said you will give the Holy Spirit to those that ask you. So we ask now because scripture promises ask and it shall be given.
Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened. So we're asking for this power in our life. Power to be a witness. Power to overcome our fears. Power to take risks for the kingdom of God. Power to share our faith. Power to disciple. To take other believers under our wing and be a friend to them. Be an example to them.
Be someone who can mentor them and help them get mature and strong. And then go and repeat this process again and again. We see the calling Lord.
We fall short. So we're praying now that you will fill us with your Holy Spirit. Why don't we just pray this together. Just just pray this after me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit Lord. Just pray that. There it is. Fill us Lord.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit. Today. Tonight.
Tomorrow. Open doors of opportunity for us. Let us be sensitive to your leading. Help us to not quench the Holy Spirit. But help us instead to yield to the Holy Spirit. The Lord we know that you will guide us and empower us and do things through us that will amaze us.
It will just open up. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie. Praying that God would empower us to serve him properly. Important insights on the dynamic of discipleship today on A New Beginning.
Glad you've tuned in. You know Pastor Greg, I remember one Christmas as a little boy when I thought I might get a bicycle. Well in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve I very very quietly got out of bed. Grabbed my little boy flashlight and headed down the hall to the living room where the Christmas tree was. And there it was in all its splendor.
A brand new Schwinn Stingray bicycle. And I was ecstatic. Well I went back to bed. I couldn't sleep. And when the time finally came to go open our presents, I went back to bed.
I couldn't sleep. And when the time finally came to go open our presents, I want to tell you I turned in an Academy Award-winning performance of how surprised I was to see this new bicycle. Do you have a Christmas memory? Oh yes, I have one similar to that where I too wanted a Schwinn Stingray bicycle. I made it very clear to my mother which one I wanted, what color I wanted. And late at night I heard them working on something. And as it turned out they bought me a bicycle that you had to put together. But it was not a Schwinn bicycle, it was from the drugstore.
Oh. And as I remember it had red tires. Now bikes today have tires in all colors, but back then you didn't have red tires. Tires were black.
I was very disappointed instead of a super cool Schwinn Stingray, I had some drugstore bicycle with red tires and soon the tires faded and they turned to pink tires. Oh the horror of it all. Yeah, it reminds me of another story that Chuck Swindoll told of how he was hoping to get a basketball for Christmas and he went and snuck around and found the closet where the presents were stored. And he saw something that was round and wrapped and he knew he got his basketball and he knew he got his basketball. He was so excited. Then when he opened it, it was a globe. Globes are nice, but they don't bounce very well, do they?
No, not nearly as fun. No, well you know, so we've all had our Christmas disappointments, but I think the key to Christmas is not Christmas presents under a tree, but God's presence in your life. After all, is that not the essential message of Christmas? We're told in scripture you will call his name Emmanuel, which means God is with us. Here's what God wants you to know in this Christmas season. You're not alone, he is with you. He's with you in the good days and the bad days and all the days in between and he wants you to draw close to him.
That's the message of Christmas. God came to our world, he was born in a manger, he lived our life, he died our death, he breathed our air. God became a man. God had a face. It's amazing and I love this story and I never tire of thinking about it or talking about it.
Guess what else I've done? I've written a brand new book about it and the title of this book is Heaven's Light Breaking and it is a devotional for the month of December. Now you can start before if you like, you can read it after if you like, but it's sort of designed to be read through the month of December. There's 25 devotions that you can read every day of the month and I want to send you this new resource for no charge and by that I mean I'll give it to you for your gift of any size.
By the way it's beautifully designed, little hardcover book, you'll want to keep it on your nightstand, maybe on your dining room table, you'll keep it read it again next year and the year beyond that maybe pass it on to your kids or your grandkids, but when we say your gift of any size what we're really saying is would you order one and send some financial support to keep us doing what we do. Many of you are new listeners to A New Beginning. Some of you have been listening to us for years, even decades and the reason we're able to keep coming your way is because of the faithful support of people that believe in what we're doing. We call them Harvest Partners and I would like some of you to become a Harvest Partner as well which means you make a financial gift on a regular basis, but listen let me send you this brand new Christmas devotional called Heaven's Light Breaking for your gift of any size and I hope you enjoy it and in advance let me say to you have a very Merry Christmas. Yeah that's right and to become a Harvest Partner just go to our website harvest.org and look for the donate tab. It's easy to make the arrangements and thank you for partnering with us so we can keep teaching believers and sharing Christ with those who don't know the Lord yet well into the new year. Get in touch today by calling 1-800-821-3300. Call anytime 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514 or just go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg, Harvest Ministries is celebrating 50 years of ministry.
That's right. And here in this month of thankfulness what are the things that make this thanksgiving season particularly profound for you? Well I would say the faithfulness of God.
You know we've had our twists and turns, we've had our storms, we've had our challenges along with our blessings and one thing I can say is God has always been faithful and I found his word is true and I have found that he honors it when we have taken bold steps of faith. Example, Harvest America 2016 at the AT&T Stadium in Texas. Now I have to tell you that that's a big place.
It seats upwards of 100,000. I was filled with fear and trepidation as the event was finally ready to happen but much to our delight and surprise not only did we fill it there was overflow crowds and we had people listening in and watching it from all around the United States in churches and movie theaters and in various venues and backyards. We did a little research on it and we discovered that it was the largest single live one-day evangelistic event in human history. So God has been faithful Dave and Jesus did not say that the whole world should go to church but he did say the church should go to the whole world so our objective is to reach unexpected people in unexpected places with the unexpected message of the gospel. Yeah that's right and we're so thankful for you our listeners for your prayers and your partnership as we reach out with the good news in innovative ways and so much is ahead for the new year. You can find out more and show your support for Harvest Ministries by going to harvest.org. Well next time we'll be reminded of the importance of loving God with all our hearts and discover the benefits of that kind of devotion. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
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