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Don't Make Deals with the Devil | Help in Time of Need

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2024 3:00 am

Don't Make Deals with the Devil | Help in Time of Need

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 21, 2024 3:00 am

Ever been caught in gridlock? Maybe you’re trying to get out of the parking lot of a large sporting event. You’re stuck. You can go forward, you can’t back up, you can’t go to the right or the left. Only thing you can do is...look up. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie takes us to a time of challenge in the history of the Israelites. They needed help. They were stuck. They looked up, and God came through. We’ll see what lessons we can learn for our own spiritual gridlock.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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

Sign up at harvest.org. Life can be full of problems, pressures, quandaries, and quagmires. Well, today, Pastor Greg Laurie has good counsel. You need to pray about everything. Nothing's too small to pray about.

Nothing's too big to pray about. Lord, help me with this. I need wisdom. We're told in the book of James, if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who will give it generously and not hold it back.

You need to reach out and take that wisdom because it's there for you. Have you ever been caught in gridlock? Maybe you're trying to get out of the parking lot of a large sporting event. You're stuck. You can't go forward. You can't back up. You can't go to the left, to the right.

Only thing you can do is look up. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie takes us to a time of challenge in the history of the Israelites. They needed help. They were stuck. They looked up and God came through.

We'll see what lessons we can learn for our own spiritual gridlock. I read a story about a man that adopted a hippo, a hippopotamus, as a pet. He lived in South Africa and apparently he found it when it was still a calf and he raised it. He said he would ride it around like a horse and even brush its teeth and he was quoted to say he's like a son to me. He also said in an interview and I quote, people think you can only have relationships with dogs and cats and domestic animals. I have a relationship with the most dangerous animal in Africa end quote.

Famous last words. Have you heard of the little game hungry hippos? Unfortunately this didn't turn out so well for this man because Humphrey the hippo grew from a calf to a menacing creature that ultimately killed him. So that's a very sad outcome. Take away truth.

Don't make hippos into pets. Right. But we can also do the same with sin. You know maybe what we have what we might describe as a little sin. It's not a problem. We have control of it but then it grows larger and larger and then your sin starts taking you over.

And that's what I want to talk about today. You know the Bible doesn't compare the devil to a hippo. Though hippos do kill more people in Africa than lions, leopards, elephants, and water buffalos combined. But still the Bible compares the devil to a lion. 1 Peter 5 says, stay alert watch out your great enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Now the devil can take many forms. He can come to us as the devil of hell or a fiery dragon. But he can also masquerade as an angel of light. If you don't answer his call at the front door he'll knock at the back door. And he might tunnel up to the floor. He's always looking for a way to get into our lives. Sometimes he'll slither in like a snake. And that is the case here in Joshua chapter 9.

I guess the devil operates by the old adage which says if you can't beat him join him. So we see now the story of the Gibeonites. So the Gibeonites from the city of Gibeon was about 25 miles from the camp of Israel. These inhabitants knew they could not defeat Israel so they came up with a strategy. Let's get them to sign a deal with us. We'll pretend like we're coming from a long ways away. We're not even in this land that they're told by God to conquer.

And we can deceive them and they'll give us immunity. So that's how the story begins in Joshua chapter 9 starting in verse 3. But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags, old patch wine skins. They put on worn out patch sandals and ragged clothes and the bread they took with them was moldy and dry.

And when they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal they told Joshua and the men of Israel we have come from a distant land and we ask you to make a peace treaty with us. We'll stop there. Here is point number one if you are taking notes. The spiritual battle never stops. Oh I wish it would. I wish the devil would just take a day off. Better yet a month off.

A year off. But he is always out there trying to destroy lives. The Bible describes him as always active, always working, seeking to undermine the work of God.

Number two. Don't make deals with the devil. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4 27 don't give place to the devil. Another translation of that is don't give the devil a foothold. Listen the devil is wicked but the devil is also cunning.

He has been honing his craft for a long time. He comes and says why don't you try this thought on for size. Why don't you take this little sample or a test drive and play this out and see how it goes for you. See here is the thing. You can get into a relationship with a non-believer and it can hurt you spiritually. Now look we need to have relationships with all kinds of people including non-believers. How else will we evangelize them? But we have to be very careful especially if it is a romantic entanglement. And here is why it is a problem. It is far easier for a non-believer to pull you down than it is for you to pull them up.

Because gravity is on their side. And in the same way you have an old nature but the non-believer does not have a new nature so I can find myself going in the wrong direction. That is what the Bible says. Don't be unequally yoked together with non-believers. For what fellowship does light have with darkness? For as another translation puts it don't become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong?

That is not partnership. That is war. Is light best friends with dark?

Does Christ go strolling with the devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Exactly. So we have to be careful of these entanglements.

So Israel was now entangling themselves with these non-believers these Gibeonites that were going to pull them in the wrong direction. But point number three. God can intervene even if we have made a bad decision. Right. We do make bad decisions. We do things we regret. Let's say that you weren't just romantically entangled with a non-believer. Let's say you married them. And now you have been married for a little bit of time and you are saying oh that was a big mistake. Here is what God said.

You may not like what He said. But He says in 1 Corinthians 7 12 if a fellow believer has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him he must not leave her. If a believing woman has a husband who is not a believer yet he is willing to continue living with her she must not leave him. So now you have a new mission. No you shouldn't have married the non-believer but you did. So you built an alliance.

Just like Israel did with the Gibeonites. And you made this commitment. Now you have got to honor that commitment and make the best of it.

And your new mission is win your spouse to the Lord. That is not going to happen overnight. That may take months. That may take years. Listen.

It could even take decades. But you have to keep being a witness to them and praying for them. Point number four. This is my last point. We need to pray about things before we decide.

We need to pray about things before we decide. Joshua 9 14 says the Israelites examined their food. That would be the food of the Gibeonites. They brought this moldy bread. Oh this was fresh out of the oven when we left home and now it is all moldy.

Oh wow. Ok. Looks good to me. So they looked at their food. But look at this. They did not consult the Lord. In other words they didn't pray about it. With Jericho God gave to Israel a battle plan.

And with Ai the same was true. But there was no battle plan with the Gibeonites. In other words they didn't pray. Hey Lord is this a trap? Is this a good thing?

Should we enter into this agreement with these people? They didn't pray about it. You need to pray about everything. The Bible says in the book of Philippians and everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. It doesn't say in only giant big things in everything. Nothing is too small to pray about. Nothing is too big to pray about.

Lord help me with this. I need wisdom. We are told in the book of James if any man lacks wisdom let him ask of God who will give it generously and not hold it back. See God wants to give his wisdom generously to you. You need to reach out and take that wisdom because it's there for you. And in the case of Joshua he could have gone to the high priest and asked for direction. Hey should we make a deal with these guys? I'm not sure if this is a good thing.

No he didn't do any of that. So that's why it's always good to seek counsel. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hearing about listeners who are impacted by Harvest Ministries is so encouraging.

Pastor Greg I enjoy listening to you on the radio here in Indiana. I also really like your devotional book Every Day with Jesus 40 Years of Favorite Devotions. I found the Lord through a friend in 1979 and after that I bought my first Bible started reading it and just could not put it down.

I've read the Bible cover to cover 25 times now. And through this wonderful 44 year journey I continue to be amazed by the power of God's word. I also love seeing your Harvest Crusades. It's amazing to see all the young people worshiping the Lord. I love being a Harvest partner in support of Harvest Ministries.

Thank you Pastor Greg and Kathy for all you do. It's a privilege to provide so many resources through Harvest Ministries. Check them out for yourself at harvest.org. And would you consider becoming a Harvest partner? If so you can make a donation at harvest.org.

Again that's harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg is talking about the value of seeking the wisdom of others who know the Lord. We're in Joshua chapter 9 with today's message don't make deals with the devil. Seek counsel from godly people specifically seek counsel from people that have been around the block a few times. You know when I was a brand new Christian I befriended a bunch of adults who were old enough to be my parents. I would like to hang around Chuck Smith. I would hang around others that really helped me a pastor named Romain at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. Another man named Keith Ritter that became very helpful and influential to me. And then later I met Alan Redpath who was a great British preacher and I became friends with Billy Graham and others. I would spend time with them.

I would ask them questions. I think when we're young we want to hang around all the young kids and that's fine. But I always felt like I could learn so much more from older godly people. And there's wisdom there.

You can ask them questions. It's like you're not the first generation experiencing what you're experiencing. I know it has a different name or a different look and I know there are many challenges young people are facing today that are unique to their time. But at the same time there's a lot of collective wisdom that is there for you if you'll seek it out from others. Proverbs 16 22 says plans go wrong for lack of advice.

Many advisors bring success. To this day I still seek out biblical counsel from a lot of people that I look up to. I have something I need to decide about. I'll say what do you think about this?

What's your opinion on that? I found that really helps me make my decision. Another thing that helps me decide if something is the will of God or not is do I have the peace of God about it? Colossians 3 5 says let the peace of God rule in your life.

Or as another translation puts it let God's peace act as an umpire in your life settling with finality all matters that arise. Umpires are not very popular now are they? Because they got to make that call. He's safe. He's out. Touchdown.

No there was a penalty. People turn on the umpires. Let the peace of God act as an umpire in your life. You say I don't know what you're talking about.

There might be something that looks good on the outside. You say I think this is God's will for me. Circumstantially everything's fallen into place. This is a good investment. This is a good relationship.

This is a good business opportunity. This is an open door for ministry. Pray about it. Because inside you might have sort of a lack of peace.

There's something about it that isn't sitting right. That's why I like to have time to think about things before I say yes. Let me just think about that for a while. Let me pray about that for a while because I want the peace of God. The Bible says you go out with joy and you'll be led forth with peace in Isaiah 55. I try not to be led forth with peace in Isaiah 55.

I try not to make rash decisions. So in closing the Gibeonites they didn't have to do this. It could have just come hey we're the Gibeonites.

Our city 25 miles away. We know that you are blessed by God. We've heard the miracle story so how about this. We want to repent of our sins. We want to turn from our wickedness. We want to stop sacrificing our babies on the altars of pagan gods. And we want to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

We want to become believers. They could have been. They could have been. Did God not spare Rahab the harlot? Did he not give her a second chance when she took the spies in and hid them in her home? And then when Israel came into the land hey they didn't kill her. They said you're part of us now. But no these Gibeonites didn't want to believe.

They wanted to live in their sin and they tricked Israel. But here's the thing. We serve a God of second chances. I can't change my past nor can you any more than I can unscramble an egg. All I can do with my past is learn from it. And if I've sinned admit I've sinned. Repent of my sin.

Accept the forgiveness of God and move forward. The title of this message is don't make deals with the devil. I think some people think they've made a deal with the devil that's unbreakable. I've heard people say they made a deal with the devil. They sold their soul to Satan.

How would you know? News flash you can't sell your soul to Satan. And I'll tell you why. Your soul is not yours to sell. God says all souls are mine. The soul of the father and the son. So I can't sell my soul to the devil or broker some deal with Lucifer.

Or if he gives me this then he controls me for the rest of my life. Nonsense. All deals are off ever since Jesus Christ died on the cross and broke the power of Satan.

Because in the book of Colossians it says Christ disarmed powers and authorities speaking of satanic powers and made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by the cross. So when Jesus said one word from Calvary. Tetelestai. Which is translated it is what? Finished.

You're right. It's finished. What's finished? The power of Satan in your life. The stranglehold of the devil. Any addiction that has a grip on you right now. Any lifestyle you can't break free from.

It is finished. Christ broke that power. Now do you want that power broken? See the problem is sometimes we still want to live in that old life. We don't want to be free. But if you want to be free, if you want to be forgiven, if you want a second chance it's there for you. All you need to say to Satan is all deals are off. We're done here. You get nothing. Not a hoof will be left behind.

You can't have any area of my life at all. The Bible says submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. See the problem is we don't resist the devil.

We have conversations with the devil. You say what do you mean? Well we check out what he's offering.

Hey I'd never do it but just for my knowledge what is it you're offering? No no don't don't let them do that. Remember when God said to Adam and Eve they could eat of any tree in the garden but stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Pretty clear. Enjoy yourselves.

Enjoy my creation. Just stay away from that tree. Scene two. Adam and Eve at the tree.

They shouldn't be by. And there is the devil coming as a serpent offering his wares. You know the rest of the story.

They gave in to it and sin spread throughout the human race. Here's the thing. When you're a Christian you don't have to be afraid of the devil anymore. But if you're not a Christian you should be really scared of the devil because he's real. He's powerful. Far more powerful than you or me. I'm no match for him.

There's nothing I can do that can keep him away from me. The only force or power out there greater than that of satan is the power of God himself. Now when Christ comes to live in your life you no longer have to be afraid of the devil. When the devil comes knocking at your front door you just say Jesus would you mind getting that? And when the devil says oh okay I'm never mind he'll move on.

And here's my question. Is Christ living in your life? Maybe I'm talking to somebody today that needs a second chance. Somebody today that is trapped by sin or some kind of an addiction. But you must admit your sin and turn from it and ask Christ to come into your life. Jesus died on that cross for you. And he's standing at the door of your life right now and he's knocking. And he's saying if you'll hear his voice and open the door he will come in. So in closing have you asked Christ to come into your life yet?

If not would you like to? You can do it right here right now. Let's all bow our heads. Father speak to every person here especially those that don't know you. Help them to see their need for Jesus. Help them Lord to come to you and believe and find that second chance.

Find that forgiveness that you offer to them because of the death of Jesus on the cross. Now while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying would you like your sin forgiven? Would you like to know that when you die you will go to heaven?

Would you like a second chance in life? Just pray this prayer right where you are after me. 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 my sin. I turn from that sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and my Savior and my Lord. As my God and my friend. I pray this in Jesus name.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer with those who are making a decision for the Lord today and if you've just taken that step well first of all know that your sins are forgiven. The Bible tells us the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanses from all unrighteousness and we want to welcome you into the family of God. Let us send you something to help you get started off right. It's Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible.

We'll send it free of charge. It has hundreds of helps for those who have just begun their walk of faith. It'll answer some of the questions that may be on your mind right now.

Just ask for the New Believers Bible when you call us at 1-800-821-3300 that's a 24-7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg we're so excited about the new project The Adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. Yes. It's an animated feature series based on the track you designed many many years ago The Living Water Track. Yeah. Let me ask you where do you get the ideas for each of these episodes? I get them from everywhere. For instance we have some gags in one of these cartoons about dogs and strollers but we turn it into cats and cats and strollers so Yellow Dog has an irrational fear of cats and strollers and so you've heard me say these things in my sermons who knows maybe a Prius will end up in one of these cartoons and I'll find a way to mock Kale too because that comes up every now and then but here's a little conversation between Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog where Yellow Dog is talking to Ben about all the things that frighten him.

Give a listen. Tell me buddy what kind of things frighten the dog like you? Thunder and lightning, losing my favorite bone, vacuum cleaners, fireworks, rusty door hinges, other dogs, disco music and maybe the lid being closed on my favorite drinking fountain. Do you mean the toilet? Ugh gross.

I'm also afraid of people who push cats in strollers. Another one of these cartoons in fact that's the title of the cartoon is never kiss a jellyfish goodbye where Yellow Dog is out in the ocean and he's playing with the jellyfish and he kisses it goodbye and his face is all puffy cartoon style. This actually happened to my grandson Christopher. His mother Brittany was calling him in from the water and he came in and his face was all red. She said honey what happened to your face? He said well mom we were playing with a jellyfish and we decided to kiss it goodbye.

No kidding. And so when he said that I thought okay that is definitely going to find its way into a sermon and now it's become a cartoon. So I was able to take that and use it and I told Christopher you're going to get a writing co credit on this one because it's your story. It actually happened. So I draw from all kinds of things uh that that I find amusing and I have also stories from my childhood that I've adapted to Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog like some of the listeners we remember the story I've told about when I went to a pet store to pick up a snake with my mother that she was letting me by and we put it in the little cage in the trunk of the car and by the time we got home the snake was out of the cage and she never wanted to drive the car again and she had to drive it a couple of weeks later and she was at a stoplight and she felt a cold coil dropping her ankle and she jumped out of the car screaming and it turns out it was a loose hose but she didn't want to drive the car after that and actually gave it to me.

So I said if you want to get a car from your parents lose a snake in the trunk. So that story finds its way into this cartoon as well but instead of it happening to me it happens to Ben Born Again's mother because Ben Born Again in a way is my alter ego. He's sort of a version of me from my childhood and so everything anything that happens is potential humor for these cartoon adventures. Yeah yeah well that's why they're so enjoyable and friends you'll love them. Your kids and grandkids will love them and not only will they enjoy them they'll learn some important biblical principles without even realizing it.

So we hope you'll check them out. The first episode is available to view for free through our Harvest Plus app and also at harvest.org and then consider partnering with us so we can continue to bring the gospel in innovative new ways. It's a great time for you to invest in getting the gospel out to people who need it and Pastor Greg wants to thank you for your donation. I'd like to send you a copy of the art piece that started it all. We'll send you a redesigned version of the Living Water Tract in comic book form. It's a classic so get in touch today.

You can call us at 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time we move ahead to Joshua chapter 14 and look at an inspiring example of how to enjoy a wholehearted relationship with God. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-21 05:03:03 / 2024-02-21 05:13:24 / 10

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