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A New Kind of Family | Bible Principles for Family Relationships

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 14, 2024 3:00 am

A New Kind of Family | Bible Principles for Family Relationships

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 14, 2024 3:00 am

In essence, believers are a part of two families. We’re a part of our earthly families, and we’re part of the family of God. There are privileges and responsibilities that go with both. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how it’s sometimes difficult to share about our faith with our earthly family. Sometimes, one family doesn’t want to hear about the other one. Today, some good insight on what God expects of us within those most important earthly relationships.

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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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A New Beginning
Greg Laurie

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 Sometimes the bond between Christians can be closer than what we call a family. The word family speaks of closeness, unity, and mutual concern. Coming up today, Pastor Greg Laurie says believers have the privilege of being in God's family. Jesus says, anyone who does the will of my Father is my brother and sister and mother, reminding us that when you become a Christian, you become a part of a new family. In essence, believers are a part of two families. We're a part of our earthly families, and we're a part of the family of God.

There are privileges and responsibilities that go with both. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how it's sometimes difficult to share about our faith with our earthly family. Sometimes one family doesn't want to hear about the other one.

Today, some good insight on what God expects of us within those most important earthly relationships. Family. Well, we all have a family of some kind. Some families are big and loud.

Some families are small and quiet. Pretty much every family is, I would say, generally dysfunctional. If your family's a bit weird, welcome to the club. We all have strange uncles and weird cousins. Did it ever occur to you that you're the weird cousin or you're the strange uncle in your family?

You probably are. Every family has its form of dysfunction. I came from a dysfunctional family. Now I'm the head of a dysfunctional family. It was comedian George Burns who once said, and I quote, happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city, end quote.

So you can probably relate to that. Guess what? Jesus had a family, too. He had a mother named Mary and a father named God.

Top that. Jesus also had brothers and sisters and Jesus had a childhood. A mysterious childhood, no doubt. After all, there's never been a man who has ever walked the earth that was fully God and fully man. He was not a man becoming God.

That's impossible. He was God who became a man. God came near. Jesus was God with skin on. Jesus was God walking among us.

God had a face. And here in the Gospel of Mark, we see him beginning his public ministry. You know, the ministry of Christ lasted around three and a half years, but yet he lived 30 years before that, 33 years total. So what was he doing for the first 30 years of his life? Why didn't he have a 15-year ministry?

Why only basically three-year ministry? Answer, because Jesus was out living our life. He was breathing our air.

He was experiencing our pressures. He was facing our temptations and ultimately he would die our death. I know it's hard for us to wrap our mind around the fact that God became an embryo, that God came among us as a helpless little baby born in a manger that needed to be cared for and nurtured and nursed like any other little baby. But that's exactly what happened in what we call the Nativity. When he was in that manger, he cried like any other baby and he grew up like any other child. It's not like he was in the manger and with, you know, the ability to speak, hello, Mary, Joseph, I'm Jesus, I'm here on a mission. No, he was just a little baby that grew up like any other baby and grew physically and grew in every other way. In fact, Luke 2 52 says he grew in height and wisdom and was loved by God and by all who knew him. So he had the privileges of deity that he laid aside as he walked among us as a man. He never ceased to be God, but he walked among us as a human being. He never sinned once. Not only did he never sin, but he never even had a thought out of harmony with the will of his father in heaven. Jesus said, I always do the things that please him.

Who could say that? But Christ himself, he always did the things that please the father. And I would think he was the model child. I mean, if Joseph asked Jesus to go do some work in the carpenter shop, I doubt he would get a complaint. If Mary asked Jesus to clear the table, I'm sure he did it cheerfully.

I'm confident that when they went down to the synagogue to worship, Jesus totally engaged. I know he loved to hear the word of God. I know that he was the perfect child. In fact, we know that his siblings were probably challenged by that. Can you imagine a Mary saying to the brothers and sisters of Jesus, kids, why can't you be more like your older brother, Jesus? They might say, mom, he's like perfect actually. Well, he was indeed perfect.

He was the perfect son. Well, now he's beginning his public ministry as recorded in the gospel of Mark. And remember, Mark is a gospel of action.

The word immediately is used over and over again. Jesus is on the move. Jesus is healing people. Jesus is delivering people from demonic possession.

Jesus is forgiving sins. And he has been confirmed by his father at the baptism when the father says of Jesus, this is my beloved son in who I am well pleased. And the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus in the form of a dove. So question, how does the biological family of Jesus respond to all of this? How does Mary respond?

How do the other siblings respond? That brings us to our text, Mark chapter three, verse 20 to verse 21. One time Jesus entered a house and the crowds began to gather again. Soon he and his disciples couldn't even find time to eat. When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away saying, he's out of his mind. Wait, what? He's doing all these miracles.

He's busy doing the work of the father and his family shows up and they want to take him back home because they say he's out of his mind. This brings us to point number one. The hardest people to reach for the gospel are those who are closest to you. The hardest people to reach for the gospel are your parents or your children or your husband or your wife or your brothers or your sisters. Now sometimes people will say the reason I'm not a Christian is because this follower of Christ was the hypocrite. Do you think Christ was ever a hypocrite? Do you think he ever said or did anything that was inconsistent with who he was?

Well of course the answer is no. He was the perfect example. Yet they still did not believe in him. In fact we even read that Jesus could do no miracle in his hometown of Nazareth because of the unbelief of the people.

And Jesus himself said a prophet is not without honor except in his own country. So be patient with your family. You may think because I'm a preacher that all of my family believed immediately. The fact of the matter is is my mom was not responsive to me when I first came to Christ.

Now I have to admit I probably was a bit on the overkill side and I hit her with both barrels of my gospel gun telling her she needed to repent of her sins. But it took not just years. It took decades from my mother to come around and believe in Jesus Christ. And in fact she did not really come to believe in him until the end of her life. And the same was true of her husband Bill who I tried to reach with the gospel. I didn't really reach him until the very end of his life. So again the hardest people to reach are those in your family. Let me say a word to you if you're married to a non-believer.

Especially if you're a woman and maybe you came to Christ and your husband has not come to Christ yet. And you're saying how do I reach him? I'll preach a sermon to him every day. I'll put little gospel tracts in his sandwiches and when he has lunch he'll bite into them and that will reach him.

No. Actually what you need to do is probably not give him any more sermons. You need to just live it. 1 Peter chapter 3 talks about the way to reach a non-believing person is not by your words but by living the word. As one translation puts it the silent preaching of a lovely wife. So there comes a point where they don't need more sermons.

You need to see it demonstrated. But now as our story progresses we see the family of Jesus showing up again. Now I'm not sure what happened to bring this event about but they let him know that they were there and maybe they wanted special attention or a better seat in the house or whatever it was. But word came to Jesus your family are here to visit with you. And we read in Mark chapter 3 verse 31 Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him. They stood outside and sent word for him to come out and talk with them. And there was a crowd sitting around Jesus and someone said your mother and brothers are outside asking for you.

Listen to this response of Christ. Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?

Then he looked at those who are around him and he said this is my mother. These are my brothers and sisters. In fact anyone who does the will of my father is my brother and sister and mother.

Bringing us to point number two. When we become Christians we're placed in a new family. Jesus could have elevated his mother at that point or even his siblings but he's saying hey who is my mother? Who are my brothers and sisters?

Those that do the will of God. Reminding us that when you become a Christian you become a part of a new family. Now that doesn't mean you're not still part of your biological family. But sometimes the bond between Christians can be closer than what we call the blood bond. We say that we're related by blood. But when we become followers of Jesus are we not also related by blood?

The blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross for all of our sin. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Well we're talking about family relationships today. Pastor Greg continues today's study from his series The Gospel for Busy People. Jesus now establishes his new family of disciples. So we're going to read a list of the men that he used to change the world. Some are familiar names others not as familiar. But as we look at these people we see they had such diverse personalities. We see these people because we recognize them. They're probably like relatives. We already have an eclectic bunch.

No doubt about it. But these are the ones that Jesus called. Recently I watched an old movie from my childhood it was called The Dirty Dozen. Ever see that movie? Starring Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson and others.

It's a story of this military guy that goes to a prison and recruits a bunch of guys some headed for death and others who would spend the rest of their lives in prison. And he recruits them for a special mission. So they were called The Dirty Dozen. I'm not suggesting that the 12 apostles were The Dirty Dozen but I am suggesting they were very ordinary individuals.

We might call them questionable hires but each one was hand selected by Jesus and they could not be more different from one another. We read about them in Mark chapter 3 verse 16. Now he appointed Simon to whom he gave the name Peter. James the son of Zebedee and his brother John.

To them he gave the name Boagenes which means sons of thunder. There was Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed them. So right at the top of the list a very familiar name Simon Peter. Apart from Jesus himself no other name is mentioned in the New Testament more than Simon Peter. He was a central figure of Jesus three years of ministry and also for the first three years of the early church and Jesus spent more time with Peter than anybody else. Another thing I would point out no other person speaks as often or is spoken to as often as Simon Peter. I might also add no other disciple is reproved and corrected as often as Simon Peter was. See what distinguished Peter from others is he would just say what he was thinking. You know how you have inside thoughts and outside thoughts and you veto a lot of things you think about and don't say them. Peter seemed to just blurt out whatever he was thinking.

You always knew you where you stood with a big fisherman. I think he always meant well he just didn't think things through. So if we were to compare this to a family reunion Peter's sort of like your lovable loud uncle who will hold court you know after the meal telling great stories and entertaining everybody. That was Peter very outspoken and on one occasion he made this amazing statement to Jesus. He said in Matthew 19 27 to Christ Lord we've left everything to follow you what then will there be there for us.

In other words he's saying hey Lord we've given up everything to follow you what's in it for us. I mean what a thing to just blurt out but that was Peter he thought it so he thought I'm just going to say it. One of the most familiar statements of Peter speaking is when Jesus was transfigured he took Peter James and John with him and by the way we often think the reason that he took those individuals with them is because they were the more elite apostles. After all he took Peter James and John with him into the garden of Gethsemane. He took Peter James and John with him when he went to raise the daughter of Jairus and he took Peter James and John with him to the moment of transfiguration. I have a different theory. I think the reason he may have taken them with him more often than the others is because he wanted to keep his eye on them.

When I was in school I was always disrupting class and on more than one occasion the teacher would say Greg Laurie I want you to pull your desk up right next to mine so I can keep an eye on you. Maybe that's why Jesus kept Peter James and John closer to him. Well anyway here are Peter James and John they fall asleep and they wake up and what do they see?

Picture this. Here's Jesus Christ shining like the sun. On one side of him is Moses. On the other side of him is Elijah and they're having a conversation.

Now this is what we would call a holy moment. This is one of those times where you say nothing you just take it in you just observe it but Peter thought it would be a good moment to say a few words. So he says out loud it's good we are here. Let's build three tents one for Jesus one for Moses and one for Elijah and one of the gospel tells us this he said because he did not know what to say. Hey here's a thought when you don't know what to say don't say anything.

There's an old proverb it's not a biblical one but it has some truth in it which basically says when you don't know what to say don't say anything because it's better to be thoughtful than to open your mouth and dispel all doubt. Well Peter blurted that out. You almost wonder if Moses turned to Jesus and said who is that guy? Is he with you? Yeah it's Simon Peter he gets a little excited you know.

It's good we are here. Peter blurts out. Now on another occasion Jesus revealed to Peter the fact that he was going to be martyred for his faith. Peter immediately pivots over to John and says well what about this man? In other words okay I'm gonna be martyred I'm not sure I'm real excited about that.

What about him? And Jesus gives an amazing response. He says if I choose to keep him alive until I return what is that to you?

As for you follow me. Am I speaking to somebody right now that has just wondered why their life has gone the way it's gone? Maybe you've looked at somebody else's life and you've said Lord why why are they being blessed more than I'm being blessed or why did this tragedy befall me?

Well why are these things happening? And here's the response of Christ to you. What is that to you?

You just follow me. Listen Peter was not only inquisitive he had initiative. On one occasion Jesus said who do men say that I am? And Peter says well they say a lot of things but I'll tell you who I think you are. And Jesus said okay go ahead he says I think you're the Christ the son of the living God. And Jesus says flesh and blood did not reveal that to you Peter but my father who is in heaven. And then he says your name is Peter and upon this rock I will build my church. Not on Peter of course but on the statement that Peter made. You're the Christ the son of the living God. The church is not built on the foundation of Simon Peter.

God help us if it is. The church is built on Christ himself the chief cornerstone but Peter got it right. And then Jesus went on to talk about the fact that he was going to be betrayed and crucified and Peter begins to rebuke Jesus right to his face. He rebukes him saying be that far from you Lord and and Jesus said get behind me Satan for you do not understand the things of God. So on one hand Peter was being led by the father and what he said and on the other hand the devil got in the details and he made that statement discouraging Christ from going to the crucifixion.

Flawed character yes. According to church tradition Peter did die the death of a martyr. And according to church tradition Peter was crucified upside down but he was faithful to the end. Oh sure he denied the Lord but he was there with Jesus in the last hours of his earthly ministry along with the apostle John.

And though he had his lapse and his setback he also had his mega comeback when Jesus recommissioned him again. Yeah he was part of God's family. And then we have Andrew the brother of Peter.

They couldn't be any more different. If Peter was like your loud uncle at the family reunion Andrew is like the quiet cousin while Peter's talking Andrew's clearing the table and working behind the scenes. In fact it was actually Andrew who brought his brother Peter to Jesus. In John 1 41 we read the first thing Andrew did after he realized that Jesus was the Messiah was he brought his brother Peter and he said to him we found the Messiah and he brought him to Jesus. And that's what Andrew was always doing. Bringing people to Jesus. And what a great thing to be known for. Bringing people to Jesus.

You remember the story of the feeding of the five thousand and the people were hungry and they didn't know what to do. And Andrew went and found a little boy with some loaves and fishes and he brought him to Jesus. And you know we give a lot of attention to the Simon Peters of the world but we must not forget the fact that there are also the Andrews. Remember if there were no Andrews there would be no Simon Peters.

People that work faithfully and quietly behind the scene. Well today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie is discussing family relationships. Are earthly family matters and heavenly family matters?

And there's more to come as this study continues. Now Pastor Greg has a special guest in the studio today and he'll introduce him in just a moment. Well Pastor Greg was just talking about the importance of bringing people to Jesus.

That's really what we do here on A New Beginning each day. Bring people to Jesus. Have you ever come to the Lord yourself?

Asked him to forgive your sins and be your Savior and Lord? Pastor Greg someone can take care of that right now can't they? That's right the Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. So think of it this way. Maybe you're out in a riptide in the ocean and you can't get your footing and you're in trouble and you see a lifeguard. Call out for help and the lifeguard will rescue you.

The same is true spiritually. You're drowning in your sin. You need help. Jesus will save you. He will rescue you but you must call out to him.

And you know how you do that? You do it in prayer. So let me just lead you in a simple prayer and you can pray this prayer after me. You can pray it out loud if you like and this is where you are calling out to Jesus to save you.

Just pray this. Lord Jesus I know I'm a sinner and I know you are the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. Now Lord I turn from my sin and I put my faith in you. Be my Savior my Lord. Be my God and my friend. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Hey if you just prayed that prayer I want you to know that Christ himself has come to live inside of you and I have a resource I want to send you. It's called the New Believers Bible. So the New Believers Bible is the New Testament in the New Living Translation with hundreds of notes that I wrote that will encourage you in this commitment you are making to follow Christ. There's some other materials included as well in what we call the New Believers Growth Pack but let me get this New Believers Bible into your hands as quickly as possible.

Here's Dave to tell you more. Yeah we'll be glad to send it all your way free of any charge if you prayed along with Pastor Greg today. Just ask for the New Believers Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300.

You can reach us anytime 24 7 at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to and click know God. Hey everybody I'm speaking with Lee Strobel. So Lee you've written so many books on the evidence for Christianity.

Yeah. Do you Lee Strobel ever struggle with doubt yourself? I wouldn't say doubts. I would say questions. Questions come up and of course I'm an investigator so when I'm sitting here in the middle of the night and thinking about some spiritual conundrum or question or Bible verse I don't understand.

It's natural for me to pick up the phone the next day and call an expert call a scholar call a PhD at a university and say hey I'm wrestling with something help me with with this. So I don't have anything that threatens my faith. I don't have any quite but I will in heaven have my hand up and say oh oh Jesus I've got a couple of questions how do you how do you fit together this Calvinism and Armenian thing how does that actually fit together you know. We all are going to have some questions like that and that's okay because we have so much evidence that gives us confidence that Christianity is true that when we run into a question that that we don't quite have a satisfactory answer to yet it's logical and rational to hold that intention and say you know someday in heaven I'll get a complete answer to this particular issue but it's not going to challenge my faith in light of all of the evidence I have that points so powerfully and persuasively toward the truth of Christianity.

That's right you know the Bible says one day we will know as we are known one day our questions will be answered and it would appear Lee that we'll continue to learn in heaven as well and God will continue to reveal himself to us as well otherwise we'd get to heaven and have gigantic brains would be like little bobbleheads or something you know so I I love the idea that there's continuing truth that God will reveal to us as we spend eternity with him but there are answers to many of your questions there really are not all of them. You know I think one of the things we have to do as parents and grandparents is to understand why we believe what we believe so we can help our kids and our grandkids understand it. You know 1st Peter 3 15 which says always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have but to do it gently and respectfully that's for every Christian and these days we live in an increasingly skeptical and even hostile culture and so we need to be prepared to equip our kids. I'll give you an example I was talking to a guy who said that his his six-year-old granddaughter goes to kindergarten in a public school and she was on the playground at recess and the other kids were taunting her and making fun of her because she believes in God. Oh you still believe in fairy tales you still believe in make-believe this is a six-year-old child being harassed because she believes in God that is what our children and grandchildren are going to face they're going to be challenged in their faith in ways that our generation has not been and so we need to make sure they get equipped and the best way I think we can do that is to be equipped ourselves so that they will learn from us. That's right and we have a way to equip you with a brand new book by Lee Strobel and it's titled Is God Real? This is going to answer many of the questions you have and many of the questions that people have even your children so we want to send you a copy of Lee's new book for your gift of any size to our ministry that enables us to continue to teach God's word because God's word needs to be taught to people my concern is that so many Christians Lee are biblically illiterate today so they need to hear God's word and plus as you know if you listen to our broadcast we proclaim the gospel all the time and we throw the net yeah by that I mean we invite people to come to Jesus and thousands do every year so when you invest in our ministry you're investing in souls literally so let us send you a copy of Lee Strobel's brand new book Is God Real? for your gift of any size. Yeah that's right and we'll be glad to send it just as soon as we hear from you just call us at 1-800-821-3300 and we'll help you take care of all the details reach us anytime day or night at 1-800-821-3300 or send your donation and request to A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to ever have questions about your faith areas of uncertainty well Pastor Greg says you're not alone next time he assures us that God can handle our toughest questions and we shouldn't be afraid to bring them to him join us here on A New Beginning with Pastor and Bible teacher Greg Lord Hey everybody thanks for listening to A New Beginning this is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners so for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner just go to
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-14 05:31:13 / 2024-03-14 05:42:09 / 11

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