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How to Be Happy, Part 2 | Sunday Message

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

How to Be Happy, Part 2 | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 3, 2024 3:00 am

Pastor Greg Laurie continues covering The Beatitudes, where we see what the actions of happy people look like. 

Notes:

Matthew 5

The Sermon on the Mount is only for Christians

Happy are the humble

Happy people are "unhappy" people

A happy person will be a meek person

A happy person passionately desires a righteous life

Read Matthew 5:7

Point #1: Happy people are merciful people

Extend God's mercy toward you to others; forgiven people should be forgiving people

Read Matthew 5:8

Point #2: A happy person will be a holy person

Pure in heart = whole being is directed toward God. To be single (single eye), or pure in heart, means to have a single focus on Jesus Christ.

Read Matthew 5:9

Point #3: A happy person will be a peacemaker

If you're a Christian, you're a son or daughter of God

Read: Matthew 5:10

Point #4: A happy person will be persecuted 

If you want to be a happy person, you're going to be a persecuted person

If persecuted, rejoice (Matthew 5:12)

Let persecution be for righteousness sake

God can work through persecution

It's not easy to be a Christian. It takes courage. But Jesus Christ is worth not only living for, but dying for. It's worth it!

A relationship with God will bring you happiness.

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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 harvest.org. We're so thankful for your promise in scripture that if we will seek first your kingdom and your righteousness, all these things will be added to us. And those things include what we're going to eat, what we're going to wear, what we're going to drink, where we're going to live, who we're going to marry, what's going to happen in our future, everything.

We put you first. And we ask you to speak to us now as we open your word because we live in a culture that fills our minds with half truths and outright lies and we need solid, pure truth. And we'll find that in scripture. So speak to us because, Lord, we're hungry and thirsty for righteousness. So we dedicate this time of Bible study to you now. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. You can all be seated.

Okay. Well, welcome to church, everybody. I just had the opportunity last Friday to fly to Colorado and speak at an event called Heal Our Patriots.

That's sponsored by Franklin Graham and Samaritan's Purse. And it was wonderful. Seventeen hundred couples were there. All of these people served in our military.

Many of them were wounded in battle, some severely, even losing limbs, some dealing with PTSD. But here they were at this couples conference looking for hope and encouragement from God's word. And it was so amazing to be able to speak to them. And I gave an invitation for people to come to Christ and many of them walked forward and gave their lives to the Lord. So that is a real joy.

Yeah, real joy. Let's grab our Bibles now and turn to Matthew chapter five. We're in a brand new series in the Sermon on the Mount. And this is a second part to a message I started last time that's titled How to be Happy.

So I thought, what do I call this message? It's the follow up to How to be Happy. And I came up with this amazing title, How to be Happy Part Two.

Or part do if you're French. Happiness. It's something we all want, but it can be so elusive. And it's not unique to our day and age, by the way. Two thousand years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle made this statement. Happiness is the meaning and purpose in life.

It's the very aim and end of human existence. But how can we find happiness? Sometimes people say money will make you happy. Well, we know that's not true because we all know of people that have a lot of money who are not happy. I know a guy who lives in a home without a sink, without water, without a ceiling. This guy has nothing. Yet he's happy. And you want to know why?

Because he's stupid. Now, that's a joke. OK, so we know where we won't find happiness, but where do we find happiness? You know, USA Today newspaper did an article on happiness, what it is and how to get it.

They interviewed hundreds of experts on the topic and they did this study during the holiday season. So they thought people would maybe be a little more happy than normal. And here's what they discovered from talking to experts on the subject of happiness. Number one, they discovered that families and friends provide the best antidote to unhappiness. A marriage makes most people happier and a close family inoculates many kids against despair, according to long term research. They also found the happiest people all seem to have good friends.

So families and friends, the best antidote to unhappiness. Number two, things don't make you happy. University of Illinois psychologist Ed Diner said, quote, materialism is toxic for happiness. Even rich materialists aren't as happy as those who could care less about getting and spending.

Number three, I found this one very interesting. If you want to be happy, be grateful for what you have. So gratefulness is a key component of happiness. Psychologists say gratitude has a lot to do with life satisfaction. Talking and writing about what they're grateful for amplifies adults happiness. They also said it's important to learn to savor even the smallest pleasures of life.

Here's another one, I really like this. Forgiven people are happy people. Forgiven, excuse me, forgiving people, well forgiven too. But forgiving people are happy people. University of Michigan psychologist Christopher Peterson says, quote, forgiveness is the trait most strongly linked to happiness, end quote.

He adds, it's the queen of all virtues and probably the hardest to come by. One more point, they found that Scandinavians are the happiest people. Do we have any Scandinavians here? Okay, are you happy? Okay, there you go.

So if you're Scandinavian, you have this wire. Otherwise there's these other principles. But isn't it worth noting that all of these are biblical principles and premise apart from being Scandinavian.

Gratefulness, forgiving, family, friends, and so forth. So here before us now in the Sermon on the Mount, the point of entry is what we call the beatitudes. Or another way to put it, attitudes that should be.

You could even call them the be happy attitudes, right? And each word or each beatitude begins with the word blessed. And as I pointed out to you before, the word blessed is interchangeable with the word happy. So you could just as easily say happy are the poor in spirit, happy are the meek, happy are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness and so forth.

So keep that in mind as we read them again. Jesus is unlocking for us the secret to happiness. Matthew chapter five, starting in verse two. He opened his mouth and taught them saying.

Let me add a little note here. We often think that the Sermon on the Mount was delivered to thousands of people. In reality it was delivered to the disciples of Jesus while a crowd was gathered around them. And the reason I bring that up is because these truths are for Christians only. Only a believer can live by the Sermon on the Mount.

He opened his mouth and taught them. That would be the disciples saying, verse three. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. We'll stop there.

Let's review what we already discovered together. First of all, happy are the humble. Happy are the humble. Blessed are the poor in spirit. To be poor in spirit means you see yourself as you really are, spiritually destitute, a sinner in need of a savior.

Number two, happy people are unhappy people, if you will. Blessed are they that mourn, verse four, for they shall be comforted. Contextually, what this means is I see my sinful condition. I'm sorry for the way that I am.

I'm sorry for the things I've said and things that I've done, and I mourn over it. The Bible says godly sorrow produces repentance. Then thirdly, a happy person will be a meek person, verse five. Blessed are the meek, and all that means is simply seeing myself as I am. It's power under constraint. Remember, meekness is not weakness. Power is submitting yourself to the authority of God. Then we have the desire for a righteous life.

A happy person passionately desires a righteous life, verse six. Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. This is speaking of spiritual hunger. There are some kinds of food that when I eat those foods, I'm not hungry afterwards. Mexican food would be one of them.

Italian food would be another, especially if it involves pasta. After I eat, I'm full. In fact, I'm ready to go into a food coma. But then there are other kinds of food that when I eat them, I don't feel as full, like sushi. I love sushi, right? But maybe an hour later, I'm hungry again. I remember a bunch of us went out to sushi one night and had a great meal.

Afterwards, we were hungry, and we went out and got a pizza, right? So it's a hunger and thirst for righteousness, though. A hunger and desire for God.

And so this is something we should desire. And then we come to the first now of the beatitudes we're going to look at, where we look at what happy people do, how they behave, starting with happy people are merciful people. Happy people are merciful people. Look at verse seven. Blessed are the merciful.

What does that mean? To be merciful means that I understand and empathize with those that don't know Jesus yet. You know, it's very easy in our polarized society today, especially as we're in an election year, to see anyone that disagrees with us as our mortal enemy. But we should never think of someone who holds a different view than we hold, or someone who does not have our faith, a nonbeliever, as the enemy. They're not the enemy.

The fact of the matter is they're under the control of the enemy. And the enemy is Satan. And the Bible says we should pray for people that are not believers yet. 2 Timothy 2.26. So they'll come to their senses and escape from the devil's trap, for they're being held captive by him to do whatever he wants. So when I'm merciful, I see behind the mask, I see behind the facade, and I see the person.

And I find myself caring about them. Now, this is a radical thing for Jesus to say. Remember, Rome was effectively in control of a good part of the world at this time, including Judea. So this is a Roman culture, and Romans did not value mercy. In fact, Romans looked with disdain on mercy. A Roman philosopher of the day said, quote, mercy was the disease of the soul, end quote. They saw mercy as a sign of weakness. The Romans glorified justice, courage, discipline, and power.

And they did not value human life. When a child was born at this time in Roman culture, the father had the right of patria protestus. Patria protestus, which simply meant that if he wanted the newborn child to live, he held his thumb up.

If he did not want the child to live, he held his thumb down. And he had this power of patria protestus throughout the life of the child, which means if he didn't like the way the kid was turning out, he could have the child executed until that child became an adult. So that means that they could kill their children at any stage of life. Is that any different than abortion, especially late-term abortion? Did you know that 10,000 babies' lives are lost every year to late-term abortions, the majority of which take place for elective reasons? Former Virginia governor Ralph Northam admitted publicly that he believed it was permissible as both a physician and a governor to allow survivors of botched abortions to be left to die even if they were born alive. Now, that's just a modern version of patria protestus. That's just a modern version of saying, I don't want this child who has been born to live.

Senate Democratic leaders killed a bill that would have required medical care for babies who survive abortion. What kind of thinking is this? And you say, Greg, why are you bringing this up? This is political. Yes, it is political.

And sometimes our moral views and our spiritual views derived from Scripture spill right into the world of politics. We're getting ready to vote, people, right here. I'm holding a ballot. This is not my ballot. It's someone else's. So I have to return it to them. But I'm going to open up and see how they voted. No, I can't.

That would be illegal. We all need to vote. And I'll tell you, for me personally, I could never vote for any candidate that supports abortion. So coming back to mercy, the Romans derided mercy. They left at mercy.

And our culture is similar today in that regard. But Jesus says, blessed are the merciful. But what does it mean specifically? The word that Jesus uses here in Matthew 6-3 for mercy is also used concerning the word almsgiving. So what it means literally is helping a person in need.

It's very simple. Mercy is seeing a man without food and giving him food. Mercy is seeing someone who is lonely and giving them company. Mercy is not just seeing a need. It's meeting the need.

It's pity plus action. It's doing something about it. We can stand around all day and say, oh, I feel so sorry for those people. But mercy says, I'm going to do something for those people. These people who extend mercy.

It's very important. But let's not misunderstand it. He says, blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Jesus is not saying, I must give mercy in order to receive mercy. Because if that were the case, that would mean there's something I do to receive salvation.

Here's what it really means. Jesus is saying, since you have been a recipient of mercy, since God has extended his mercy to you, therefore you should be a merciful person. Forgiven people should be forgiving people, willing to show that same mercy to others as well. Number two, a happy person will be a holy person. A happy person will be a holy person. Verse eight, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Now this comes back to what's already happened to us if we go to the first beatitude. I've seen myself as I am, a sinner. I've mourned over my condition, producing a sense of meekness in me and a hunger and thirst for spiritual things and a desire to extend mercy.

Now I have this purity in heart. You know, it's funny with the heart because we use it to express our emotion. We'll say something like, well, you know, my mind says one thing, but my heart says another. Or if we don't think someone is compassionate enough, we'll say, hey man, where's your heart? Or of another, we might say, oh, he wears his heart on his sleeve. This is coming back to the question of where's your heart? Maybe it's on your sleeve.

Check it might be there. Then there's countless songs about the heart. Of course, Stevie Nicks sang along with Tom Petty, Stop Draggin' My Heart Around.

Billy Ray Sias had an achy breaky heart. And he also had a mullet. And the mullet has made a comeback.

Can you believe it? Who would have ever thought of all hairstyles we would see mullets again? But I'm seeing them everywhere. Every guy with one right now.

Okay. So I had something worse than a mullet. And I wish I had a picture, but I don't have one for you. I had something worse than a mullet.

I call it a scullet. Oh, there it is. We have the picture. Okay, now let's analyze this for a moment.

This is Greg in about 1992. I'm losing my hair, so I'm combing it over on the top. You know what a combover is, right? How many of you have combovers?

Okay, they'll never admit it. We know what you're doing. So you grow your hair really long, you comb it over, and then you lay hairspray on it. I had so much hairspray on my combover, it was bulletproof. But then if that wasn't enough, look at that. Oh, that's brutal. That's brutal. So it's combed over. Oh, it's just, that photo needs to be burned. Wow.

I'm so humiliated I'm leaving. Anyway, Billy Ray Saez had his achy breaky heart in his mullet before I got sidetracked. So we sing about the heart, we talk about the heart, and what we are saying is, well, it's our emotion. But in the Bible, that's not what the heart means.

It doesn't mean your emotion. When the Bible says love the Lord your God with all of your mind, with all of your soul, with all of your heart, it's talking about loving God with everything. In the Hebrew thinking, and as Jesus is expressing it, when we talk about being pure in heart, it means your whole being is directed toward God, and it's purity.

I mean, how can you be pure in heart? We're so into purity these days, you know, pure water. We all carry bottled water around with us. You know, everyone has the bottled water.

You have Agua Vida, Agua Fina, Dasani, Evian, Evian. Arrowhead. And we carry them in special bottles. Did you notice how these Stanley Cups got really popular? Did you see this? Look at this cup here.

It's on the screen. This silly cup. They weren't selling that well. Someone had the bright idea to paint it pink, and people were waiting in line for three hours to get them running into stores, grabbing as many as they could hold.

They were paying over $300 for them on eBay to get this pink cup, and they're kind of on the big side. I mean, look at this girl drinking this cup. Do we really need this? Do we need this much water?

Are we really that dehydrated, people? So we obsess over the purity of the water we drink, you know, but God is interested in the purity of our heart. But how do you have a pure heart? Let's understand what it means. To be pure in heart means to be single in your heart.

Let me explain. Later in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, if your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is evil or double-visioned, your whole body will be full of darkness. To be single or to be pure in heart means to have a single focus on Jesus Christ.

That clarity. It's a one thing we should all want as Christians. David wrote, one thing I desired of the Lord and that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

One thing. Then Paul says, this one thing I do, forgetting the things that are behind and pressing forward to the things that are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. But also a happy person will be a peacemaker.

Look at verse nine. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Now this is not talking really about people that march for peace or work for peace.

So that is a good thing if it's done right. But having said that, this verse is really talking about a person who is spreading the gospel of peace. Seeking to introduce people to the prince of peace. The gospel is called the good news of peace through Jesus Christ in Acts 10, 36. In Romans 10, 15 it says, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things. But I have to warn you, when you preach the gospel of peace, some people are going to revolt.

Sometimes people need to get mad at you before you can get them happy with you. Does that make sense? Jesus summed it up this way. He said over in Matthew 10, 34, Do you think that I came to bring peace on earth? I did not come to bring peace, but a sword from man's enemies will be those of his own household. You see, I don't understand what you're talking about.

Okay, here's how it works. It's the unity that brings division. Let's take your family. And let's say your family, you're all non-believers. And when you get together for the holidays, you drink and you get drunk and you tell off-color jokes and you carry on like a family.

And in your own dysfunctional way, you have something going there. And then you go out and dare to become a Christian. And you show up at the family reunion, Hey, everybody, and now as the meal's being served, you say, Do you think maybe we could do a little prayer?

And you even say it like that. Let's pray. Oh, brother.

Yeah, go ahead. You do your little prayer. Everyone resents you.

You're ruining all their fun. Why did you have to go and become a Christian? You think I came to bring peace?

I tell you, rather division. Everyone's mad at you now. But then one other family member comes to Christ. Now there's two of you. Now you're praying together for the rest of the family. Now there's three of you. Now there's four of you. Now everybody in the family has come to Christ, and it's a whole new world.

But someone had to be the first one to believe. So that division ultimately brought the ultimate peace in your family. Blessed are the peacemakers, Jesus says, for they shall be called the sons of God. If you're a Christian, you are a son of God. You are a daughter of God.

What a privilege that is. No matter what you do, maybe you're a wayward son or a wayward daughter, but you're still a son and you're still a daughter. Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us that we should be called the children of God, we're told over in 1 John. Now there's one last beatitude. I don't think you're gonna like this one.

But it's there, and fittingly, it's at the very end. Number four, a happy person will be persecuted. Look at verse 10. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted the prophets that were before you. If you wanna be a happy person, you're gonna be a persecuted person.

Let's put it all together. I see myself as I really am. I'm poor in spirit. I mourn over my condition.

Blessed are they that mourn. It produces a new meekness in me and a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Now I'm extending mercy to others. Now I'm a peacemaker talking about Jesus to others.

People don't like that. And because of that, you're going to be persecuted. This is one of those promises of God we don't like to claim. We'll claim promises all day long about God's provision, God's blessing.

But then, when's the last time you claimed this promise? All that live godly in Jesus Christ will suffer persecution. You prayed that one lately? Lord, I feel like I'm not being persecuted enough. Send more persecution. Well, no, we don't pray that. But here's what we should do if we're persecuted.

We should rejoice. Notice what Jesus says. Blessed or happy are the persecuted. It's interesting because he uses the word blessed twice, so double blessed are the persecuted. Or another way to put it, happy happy are the persecuted. Because it means that you're a child of God. It's confirmation you're a child of God.

Let me turn it around. If you're never persecuted, are you really a child of God? You know, Jesus said beware when all men speak well of you. I mean, you can be the nicest person, the friendliest person, the most considerate person, and then people make up lies about you. Good, let them make lies up about you.

Here's the key. Be persecuted for righteousness' sake. Jesus did not say blessed are those who are persecuted for self-righteousness. See, the problem is sometimes as Christians we're persecuted for the wrong reasons. We're persecuted because we're obnoxious or because we're very judgmental or we all act like a bunch of Karens all the time.

You know what I'm talking about? Always a critical word, always a lecture, always looking down on others, the very opposite of what we ought to be as followers. If Jesus, well, let it be for righteousness' sake because you're a bright light in a dark place, not persecution for being moronic or idiotic or any other reason. And persecution can show itself in many ways. It can be violent. Many Christians have been martyred for the faith. The most persecuted people in the world today without question are Christians. And so you will face persecution. It can be violent.

It can be more subtle. Maybe you're canceled because you speak up for what is true. It could be the loss of a job, being the brunt of people's jokes, losing friends, but it's going to happen. So what should I do?

Hang my head in depression? Jesus says, verse 12, rejoice and be glad. Or as another translation puts it, jump and skip with happy excitement. I like that. Jump and skip with happy excitement. Let's all do that right now. Come on, everybody on your feet. There's really not enough room.

But the very opposite of what we would think. Hey, man, rejoice for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you. Now, look, there is a way out of this, by the way. You say, I don't like what you're saying, Greg.

That makes me uncomfortable. I don't want to be persecuted. Okay, here's how you will never be persecuted.

Are you ready? Don't be a peacemaker. Don't tell others about Jesus. Just fit in. Do what everybody else does.

Say what everybody else says. Never say what you believe is true and you won't be persecuted for righteousness' sake. But remember what Jesus said in Luke 9, 26. Whoever is ashamed of me and my works, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory. I don't want Jesus to be ashamed of me. Persecution is a confirmation that you are a child of God. It means you're doing your job right.

And persecution can be used by God to help us spiritually. I read about how they were shipping codfish from the East Coast to the West Coast. But they were having some problems because when it arrived it was spoiled. So then they tried freezing it, but when it arrived it was mushy to the taste.

So then they shipped it live, but when it arrived it was dead. So someone came up with a very clever idea of putting a live catfish in the tank with the codfish. That catfish is the mortal enemy of the codfish. So the codfish spent the entire journey running from the catfish and when it arrived it was fresh and tasty.

Question, has God put a catfish in your tank? You understand what I'm saying? A person that drives you crazy could be a neighbor, could be a family member, could be your mom, your dad, your son, your daughter, your husband, your wife. It could be a co-worker and they're always hassling you, always making fun of you, always battering you with question after question trying to embarrass you. They're like a catfish in your tank and you've literally prayed, Lord get this person out of my life but maybe God will use them in your life to keep you on your toes spiritually. But here's something else you need to know about these people. When a person is persecuting you, when they're attacking your faith, it could be a sign that they're closer to the kingdom of God than you realize.

See we think that passive sweet people maybe are closer than they really are. You might talk to someone about your faith, tell them what Jesus has done for you and they'll say I'm so happy you found religion. I can see you're a much happier person than you used to be.

I'm really happy for you. Oh that's great. Would you like to come to church with me Sunday? No thank you. Oh. How about the next Sunday? No. How about the Sunday after? I'm busy. No.

What about two years from now? Sorry, busy. Okay. But they're so sweet. They have no interest whatsoever in what you've just told them but then there's a person you tell them. They argue with you. They get angry. They yell at you. Oh that person is so far from God's kingdom.

What if they're under the conviction of the Holy Spirit? You know it's been said when you throw a rock into a pack of dogs the one that barks the loudest is the one that got hit. Try it after church. Find a pack of dogs. Throw a rock. No don't. Especially if they're pit bulls.

Those dogs are crazy. Anyway. The idea of that is when a person lashes out when they bark at you so to speak maybe they're under the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Case in point. A man named Saul of Tarsus. Who made it the mission of his life to hunt down, arrest, and stop Christians.

He thought he was doing God's work. And one day as he was on his way on the Damascus road to arrest more Christians Jesus Christ comes to him. And Jesus says to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? Saul says, who are you, Lord? And he's probably thinking, don't say Jesus, don't say Jesus, don't say Jesus. I am Jesus, us, us, us, us, us, us, us.

Echo. Who you are persecuting. And then the Lord says, it's hard for you to kick against the goads. That's King James.

But isn't it interesting, Jesus says when you persecute Christians you're persecuting me, first of all. And then secondly to kick against the goads simply means you're resisting the work of the spirit. A goad is simply a sharpened stick. So when you wanted your animal to go faster instead of pressing the pedal to the metal you poked him with the stick. God's saying you're kicking against that stick.

You're fighting with me when I'm trying to get hold of you. So Paul believed, of course, or Saul believed, I should say, and became Paul the great apostle. But the reason he was behaving the way he was was because God's spirit was working on him. So pray for the people who are persecuting you. Now I know, I've not painted for some a very appealing picture of the Christian life today, have I? Okay, if you want to be a Christian you've got to be humble, you've got to be meek, you've got to be forgiving, you've got to be merciful, and you'll probably be persecuted. Oh great.

Where do I sign up? Well look, it's not easy to be a Christian. Whimps need not apply. Snowflakes, forget about it. It takes courage to be a Christian, especially in this day and age. But listen to this, Jesus Christ is not only worth living for, he's worth dying for.

Right? So yes, it's not easy, but it's worth it. It's worth it because it gives you life and meaning and hope and purpose in this life and the certainty of an afterlife in the presence of God in a place called heaven. Nothing else can give you that.

No guru, no prophet, no religious system, no possession, no career, no amount of success, no matter how many followers you have on social media, none of these things are going to bring you the happiness you want in life, but a relationship with God will. But we have to admit our sin and ask God to forgive us. You say, well Greg, I've done some pretty horrible things.

I don't know if God would forgive me. I spoke at this event I told you about for the patriots that have served our country and there was one man in particular. His name is Mike. They called him Big Mike because he's big. He's a very big Mike.

You look up at him. He had a long beard. So he fought for our country and was wounded in battle and did things and saw things he could not unsee or forget. He was traumatized, had severe PTSD, tried to take his life on two occasions, one time putting a gun in his mouth and another time his family found him preparing to take his life and they stopped him. Please don't leave us.

We love you. But he was so tormented by the things that he'd done in war and the things he had seen in war. But Mike came into contact with Christians who loved him and his life was changed and he gave his life to Jesus Christ and now not only is he a forgiven man, but now he's actually a chaplain ministering to others who have been traumatized in battle. I mentioned abortion. Maybe I'm talking to someone right now, a young lady, maybe an older lady at this point. You had an abortion. You had more than one abortion and you're tormented by that. Now you realize what you've done. You took the innocent life of an unborn child. Listen, I know you did that and I know it was a sin, but I also know Christ died for that sin and you can be forgiven of it. You'll be forgiven of that sin. No matter what you've done, God will forgive you. But you must come to him and say, Lord, help me. I can't change myself, but I need your help. I need your forgiveness.

Come into my life. That's why Jesus went and died on a cross for you 2,000 years ago because there was no way you could save yourself. But while we were yet sinners, the Bible says Christ died for us.

And why? Because he loves us. For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. God loves you. God will forgive you. God will change you, but you must come to him. You have to admit you're a sinner.

Come back to that first beatitude. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Lord, I know I'm a sinner.

I know I need you. And that I'm sorry for my sin. Blessed are they that mourn you. Turn from your sin.

Listen, when you get to the end of yourself, you get to the beginning of God. Maybe I'm talking to someone right now that has thought of taking your life. Please don't ever think about that.

Don't ever do that. You're loved by God. You're loved by so many others as well. The devil hates you. He wants to destroy you. Jesus said the thief, speaking of Satan, comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus said, I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly. Satan wants to destroy your life. Christ wants to restore your life and forgive you. But you just gotta come to him.

Well, Greg, I don't know. Let me clean my life up and then I'll come to God. No, no. Come to God and he'll clean your life up. You come as you are. Come with your problems. Come with your addictions. Come with your sins. Come just as you are as we sing.

Just come and he will forgive you. In a moment, we're gonna pray and I'm going to extend an invitation to anyone here or watching or listening wherever you are. If you've never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life, you can do it right here, right now. And you will find the happiness you've always wanted.

Not from seeking it, but from seeking and knowing God. If you need Jesus, respond to this invitation now. Let's all pray. Father, I pray for every person here, every person wherever they are. If they don't know you yet, let this be the moment they believe.

Let this be the moment they come to you and find forgiveness. Now while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying together, maybe there's someone here that would just say, Jesus, pray for me. If you want Christ to come into your life, if you want him to forgive you of your sin, if you want a second chance in life, if you want to find this happiness we've been talking about wherever you are, would you just lift your hand up and let me pray for you? Lifting your hand, you're saying, I need Jesus, pray for me, God bless you.

Raise your hand up high where I can see it, wherever you are. Let me pray for you, saying, I want Jesus today. God bless you.

Anybody else? God bless you. Now some of you are watching the screen.

Some of you are hearing this somewhere. You don't have to raise your hand, but this is your moment to believe in Jesus. Now I'm gonna say to every one of you that has raised your hand, you pray this prayer after me. It's a prayer of asking Jesus to come into your life. Again, as I pray, pray this prayer after me. Just pray this, 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 and rose again from the dead.

I turn from my sin now, and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and my Lord, as my God and as my friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name, I pray, amen. Amen. God bless you. Amen.

Amen. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-03 04:25:21 / 2024-03-03 04:42:20 / 17

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