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The Gospel for Busy People | The Solution for Sin

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 8, 2024 3:00 am

The Gospel for Busy People | The Solution for Sin

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 8, 2024 3:00 am

I John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Given that . . . given we’re all in this boat together . . . what do we do now? How do sinners like us find forgiveness for our sin, relief for our guilt, and re-establish a relationship with a Holy God? That’s the subject on the table today on A NEW BEGINNING as Pastor Greg Laurie launches a brand new series. We’ll see how we can access that second chance Jesus offers.

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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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Sound of Faith
Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy
A New Beginning
Greg Laurie

Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn more at And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. Maybe you've had a setback in life. Maybe you've done something you regret.

Maybe you've had a lapse of faith. But know this, your setback can actually turn out to be a setup and your test can be turned into a testimony. Our lives are never too far gone. The choices we've made don't leave us forever ruined. Today Pastor Greg Laurie points out the hope the Lord offers. If you've fallen, if you've failed, Jesus can give you a second chance.

1st John 1-8 says, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Given that, given we're all in this boat together, what do we do now? How do sinners like us find forgiveness for our sin, relief for our guilt, and re-establish a relationship with the Holy God? That's the subject on the table today on A New Beginning. As Pastor Greg Laurie launches a brand new series, we'll see how we can access that second chance Jesus offers. Hey, I want you to grab your Bible and turn to two passages of Scripture, Mark chapter one, and Luke chapter four.

Again, Mark chapter one and Luke chapter four. And I have a message for you with the title, The Gospel for Busy People. Well, I think most of you watching me right now probably has one of these devices. We call it a smartphone. You probably either have an Apple phone or an Android phone. And these phones have changed our lives, haven't they?

In some ways for better, and frankly in some ways for worse. I remember when Steve Jobs came out with the first version of the iPhone in 2007, and we had never seen anything like it. It was so revolutionary, so different than anything that had been made up to that point. It was dubbed by some as the Jesus phone. Well, no phone can live up to that. But the phone has affected everything that we do now. Now, of course, we have tablets and we have watches that give us data and information in real time.

And we're barraged with information. You can't even have a conversation with a person anymore without it being interrupted by a phone. I mean, if you're talking with someone and your phone's in your pocket and you get a little buzz, you're so tempted to pull it out and see what it is. It might be something from a newsfeed. It might be a text.

It might be an email. There's an article I read in the Wall Street Journal that made this statement, and I quote, even though digital technology has led to significant productivity increase, the modern workday seems custom built to destroy individual focus. I think that's true. I don't even think we're able to have a proper conversation anymore. We have a whole generation, Generation Z, that has never known anything but this tech, having it in their hands. And a poll was taken and they said they would rather text someone than have a conversation with them. And then there's social media that has such a tremendous impact, often in a negative way. Michael Hyatt made this statement, focusing on everything means focusing on nothing. And that's what I think is happening. We're just barraged with all this information and we are unfocused people.

So I thought this is a great time to focus on Jesus. I read an article in the paper the other day about a guy who was driving a big semi and he was looking at his phone and he ran off the road. And that's how I feel like a lot of people are right now. We're running off the road. We've lost our focus.

We've lost our purpose because we're looking down all the time and really we should be looking up. So we're starting a brand new series based on the gospel of Mark that I'm calling the gospel for busy people. Another thing you could call it is the gospel for people with ADD, right?

People with short attention spans. You see Mark's gospel is a very fast paced series of truths laid out in this amazing book. He uses the word immediately 42 times. Mark uses the historical present tense 150 times. In other words, Jesus comes, Jesus heals, Jesus says, all in the present tense, not the past tense. So it's almost like you are there. Mark almost reminds us of a breathless reporter giving us the events in real time as they're unfolding.

And I think this is a gospel we can all relate to today because it seems like we collectively have a short attention span. So who is this guy Mark? His full name is John Mark. He's the author of this gospel and he is the nephew of Barnabas. You may remember Barnabas because he traveled with Paul. And let's just say that John Mark who was much younger than the others got off to a weak start. He was given the opportunity to go on a missionary journey with his uncle Barnabas and the great apostle Paul. And I don't know what happened but Mark got cold feet and wanted to go home. Maybe he was just homesick and he bailed on them. So when they went on their next missionary journey and Barnabas suggested they take Mark along, Paul was supposed to.

I don't want to take him along because he didn't stay with us on the last journey. And so this was a setback for Mark. But whatever happened he was able to repair his relationship with Paul because later Paul writes of Mark in 2 Timothy 4-11, he's been helpful to me in ministry.

So think about this guy. He's a kid. His uncle is Barnabas. He is a personal friend with the apostle Paul. And then add to this the fact that he was very close to Simon Peter. In fact Peter refers to Mark as his son in 1 Peter 5-13. And in fact many believe that the gospel of Mark was actually written by Mark but dictated by Peter. So it is believed by many and I happen to agree with them that this is effectively the gospel according to Peter.

But yet at the same time Mark was there. He was a young man but he did witness the ministry of Jesus. Later on in the book of Acts we read that Peter was put in prison. You remember that story in Acts 12? And they were praying for him and Peter showed up at a house as an answer to their prayer because God delivered him from the jail.

What house was that? That was the house of John Mark that he lived in with his mother Mary. I mean so this guy was right in the epicenter of so many biblical events that were so incredibly significant.

So here's the reason I bring all this up is Mark had a huge setback. You know he walked away from the apostle Paul and Barnabas at one point. But then he made a recommitment and he ends up being a bona fide gospel author.

Quite a distinction. And so maybe you've had a setback in life. Maybe you've done something you regret. Maybe you bailed on something you had committed to or you've had a lapse of faith. But know this.

Your setback can actually turn out to be a setup and your test can be turned into a testimony. When our nation in the United States of America was forming when we were still fighting with the British Empire General Washington was put in charge of the continental armies of the United States which was a ragtag collection of all types of people ranging from farmers to common workers to people who were scholars. But the point was it was a very interesting undisciplined army. And General Washington who once was in the queen's army I should say the king's army at that time was a disciplined soldier and he was trying to lead this motley crew of troops. And one of the problems that he had was they would just walk off the field of battle with no explanation with no warning a good section of his army would disappear. And it was Washington who in his own words described this group of people as here today and gone tomorrow. He was at his wits end. He didn't know how to rally these troops to fight for the independence of what would become the United States of America.

Well a friend of Washington's a great patriot named Thomas Paine wrote a simple little booklet called The American Crisis. And I'm going to quote just a couple of lines from it and they'll probably sound familiar to you. Thomas Paine writes in his little booklet quote these are the times that try men's souls.

The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis shrink from service to their country. But he that stands now deserves the love and thanks of many women end quote. These are the times that try men's souls. And boy I think we're in another time like that right now in America don't you? A time that is trying our soul. We're in a political season. We're conflicted. We're divided.

We're fighting with each other almost in a way that I've not seen maybe in my lifetime. And we just wonder how are we ever going to turn America around again? I think we need to be turning to God.

The problem is in the same way we too still have our summer soldiers and our sunshine patriots or I would put it a different way our half-hearted Christians and our quasi-believers who are not really followers of Jesus as they ought to be. So this is a time for us to rally. This is a time for us to get back in the battle and serve the Lord because we are in a spiritual battle in our nation today.

So if you've fallen if you've failed if you've stumbled God gives second chances. We certainly see that in the life of John Mark. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Social media posts are very encouraging to us and they let us know the impact of these studies. Pastor Greg, thanks for all you do at Harvest Ministries. I've been listening to you for years and have been more spiritually connected because of your messages. I couldn't imagine my life without and your daily devotions. Thank you Pastor Greg. How have Pastor Greg studies ministered to you and your family? Would you let us know? Tell us your story by calling 1-866-871-1144. That's 866-871-1144. Well Pastor Greg is launching a new series in Mark today called The Gospel for Busy People.

Let's continue. So the backdrop of the gospel of Mark is the believers were suffering in Rome. Nero the Caesar over Rome at that time had declared war on the Christians. He had a hand in burning Rome down and then he blamed it on the followers of Jesus Christ who had nothing to do with it.

So the Christians were forced to flee to the catacombs to survive. So Mark wanted to write a book that would encourage these believers. He wanted to show Jesus in the present tense able to deliver them during their times of crisis. As the Bible says of God he is a present help in times of trouble. So I hope as you might be going through your own difficulties maybe you're being harassed for your faith.

Maybe you're being hassled for what you believe. I pray that this new series that we're doing in the gospel of Mark will be a great encouragement to you. So let's read some of this gospel together. Grab your Bible or your phone or your tablet or wherever you have your Bible and read these words with me if you would.

I'm in Mark chapter 1. I'm going to read verses 1 to 8 and by the way this is from the New Living Translation. This is the good news about Jesus the Messiah the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written look I'm sending my messenger ahead of you and he will prepare the way. He has a voice shouting in the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord's coming clear the road for him. This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turn to God to be forgiven. All of Judea including all of the people of Jerusalem came out to see and hear John. They confessed their sins and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

His clothes were woven from coarse camel hair and he wore a leather belt around his waist and for food he ate locusts and wild honey. John announced someone is coming soon who is greater than I am. So much greater says John. I'm not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize you with water but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Wow.

So we'll stop there. John the Baptist the forerunner of Jesus Christ. He was a radical. He was a revolutionary.

He was like a rock star. Everybody wanted to see and hear John. As Mark writes all of Judea including the people of Jerusalem went out to see John. You have to understand that John was not just a prominent figure. He was super prominent. The ancient Jewish historian Josephus actually wrote more about the life and ministry of John than he wrote about Jesus Christ himself. And so John was a significant figure.

You ask well why? Well understand Israel had not heard from God for a long time. From the time of the last Old Testament book the book of Malachi to the emergence of John was 400 years.

Think about that. Israel which was so used to prophets and and miracles and angels hadn't heard from God for 400 years. And then seemingly out of nowhere but right on God's schedule emerges this colorful character John the Baptist. And he had a simple job to do which was to prepare the way of the Lord. John was the last of the Old Testament prophets.

The last of the Mohicans if you will. And not only was he the last of the Old Testament prophets he was the greatest of all of the prophets of the Old Testament. Jesus himself said in Luke 7 28, I tell you of men born of women there has never been a greater prophet than John the Baptist. Now you know we read the story of John and we think well I understand he was a great prophet but greater than Isaiah, greater than Jeremiah, greater than Elijah the prophet who performed miracles. I mean to the point John never called fire down from heaven.

John never stopped it from raining. John never raised a person from the dead. John never wrote a great Old Testament book like Isaiah and others. So why was John the greatest of the Old Testament prophets?

Here's the answer. John and John alone was the direct herald and forerunner of Jesus. His greatness was a direct result of his nearness and connection to Christ.

Now despite this great calling on his life and despite this great popularity that he had he was a really humble guy. I'll look at verse 7 of Mark chapter 1. He says someone is coming who is greater than me so much greater and not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals.

Let me update that. John is saying I'm not even worthy to tie his shoes. He's so great but John understood exactly what his role was. Even though he was a great public figure and very popular his mission was to get out of the way and prepare people for Jesus. That's that's amazing and guess what that's our mission as well. You might say that John's motto was I must decrease and he must increase.

Can you imagine if you put that on your mirror and you saw it as you're getting ready in the morning I must decrease and he must increase or if you put that on your Instagram account before you did a post I must decrease and he must increase. But that was John. He was setting the stage for Jesus. Now Jesus enters the scene. Go back to Mark chapter 1.

Look at verse 9. It came to pass on those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and he was baptized by John and immediately coming out of the water. Notice the way that Mark writes coming out of the water. Not he came out of the water. Coming out of the water. We're there.

Mark puts us right there. You know he's this very urgent kind of a writer coming from the water. He saw the heavens parting and the spirit descending on him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven which said you are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.

Now look at this. Immediately the spirit drove him into the wilderness where he was tempted by Satan for 40 days. He was out among the wild animals and the angels took care of him. Have you heard of the Trinity? Did you know the Trinity or at least the word Trinity is not in the Bible but the Trinity is in the Bible. And I don't know that there's a clearer verse in all of Scripture than this. It's showing us the Trinity in action. We have Jesus the son being baptized.

We have the Holy Spirit coming upon him as a dove and we have the voice of the father saying this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Now look at verse 12 of Mark chapter 1. Immediately the spirit drove him into the wilderness.

The spirit drove him into the wilderness. This is not suggesting Jesus didn't want to go. What it is saying is this was something that was urgent that the Holy Spirit was doing because this was something Jesus had to go through. So no time basking in the glory of God.

This was straight to work and that's pretty much the pacing of Mark. Jesus has a job to do but it also shows us something very important. Often trials or testings or temptations come after moments of great blessing. I mean here is Jesus in the Jordan River being baptized by John having the father say this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased and the Holy Spirit come upon him in the form of a dove and immediately right on the heels of that he goes into the wilderness to face Satan.

After the dove came the devil. After the blessing came the trial. Pastor Greg Laurie with the opening study in his new series in the Gospel of Mark. A series called the Gospel for Busy People and there's a lot more to come as this message collection continues here on A New Beginning. Well Pastor Greg good opening insight from your series in Mark. Before we go any further though let's speak to the person listening who has never come to the point of entering into a relationship with the Lord. They're open to it but they don't know what to do next.

Well they just need to hear more. They need to hear what the essential gospel message is and I've got a great resource for you. We've set up a webpage that's called k-n-o-w-g-o-d dot o-r-g. You go there I have a video presentation of how you accept Christ, lead you in a prayer and then it links to other spiritual resources that will help you grow spiritually. So just go to

Do it right now. Well we have a special guest with us today Pastor Greg. Our friend Lee Strobel has joined us. Lee of course was the award-winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, a former atheist and has written so many books defending the faith including the popular book The Case for Christ.

That's right. Lee we're making available your new book Is God Real and in it you point to the resurrection as one of the many proofs that God is real. Why is the resurrection important in this context and how strong is the evidence for the resurrection?

The resurrection is important because first of all it proves that Jesus is who he claimed to be. Anybody can claim to be God but if Jesus claimed it died and then three days later rose from the dead that's good evidence he's telling the truth. And so how good is the evidence? How strong is the evidence? People through the centuries Christians have talked about the evidence for the resurrection.

How strong is it? Well when I was a student at Yale Law School one of my heroes was the greatest lawyer who ever lived. He was in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful defense attorney in history. His name was Sir Lionel Lucku. He won 245 murder trials in a row as a defense attorney either before a jury or on appeal.

Nobody has ever done that before. He was knighted twice by Queen Elizabeth. He was appointed to the Supreme Court of his country and he was a man who understood evidence. You couldn't pull the wool over this guy's eyes. This guy knows what constitutes reliable and persuasive evidence. Well he was a skeptic like I was at the time about the resurrection until somebody said well Sir Lionel you know you're the greatest lawyer who's ever lived. Have you ever really investigated the evidence for the resurrection?

He said no I haven't but I will. And I'll recite to you one sentence he wrote that summarized his conclusion after years of investigating the historical data for the resurrection of Jesus. He said quote, I say unequivocally that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.

And Sir Lionel ended up becoming an evangelist the rest of his life spent the rest of his life spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so how strong is the evidence? Well strong enough to convince the most successful defense attorney who ever lived that it is true that Jesus is who he claimed to be. And so I think we have to be really careful these days when we say oh yeah I think Jesus is a great moral teacher. Yeah but that's not all he is that's not all he claimed. He also made claims about his divinity that need to be taken seriously. That's right. So when someone says something like that really they're providing you with a bridge.

Yes. And you can say yeah that's great let's talk about more of the teachings of Jesus and his exclusive claims about himself and so forth. And so we want to let you know that Lee Strobel who you've been listening to has written a brand new book with the title Is God Real. It's already a bestseller but we want to offer it to our listeners for your gift of any size this month. So whatever you send in for a copy of Is God Real will be used to help us continue to teach God's word and proclaim the gospel through this broadcast. And it will be our joy to send you this book that you're going to love. Again the title of the book is Is God Real available to you right now for your gift of any size.

Yeah that's right. No doubt you know someone who has some questions on this subject. Maybe you yourself have some questions. Well be sure to get a copy of Lee Strobel's new book Is God Real and we'll send it to say thank you for partnering with us here at A New Beginning. You can connect with us by phone 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 just go online to Hey everybody I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home. It happens every Sunday at and on our brand new app Harvest Plus which is available on your mobile TV devices. Download it now and you can watch Harvest at Home with Christians from around the world as we worship together and study God's word. So again join us for Harvest at Home at or on Harvest Plus. How long has it been since you've been tempted?

Did you just look at your watch? Yeah we're all tempted daily often many times a day. Next time Pastor Greg offers some important counsel on standing against temptation as his new series in the Gospel of Mark continues. 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
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-08 05:38:56 / 2024-03-08 05:48:46 / 10

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