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Ambassadors | Sunday Message

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

Ambassadors | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 14, 2024 3:00 am

Pastor Jonathan Laurie points out that, as followers of Jesus, we’re called to be more than refugees, we’re called to be ambassadors: "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20 NKJV). Get a closer look at what this means!


Hebrews 13:14

Philippians 3:20

2 Corinthians 5:20

Matthew 6:19–21


Matthew 7

1. Judging and Condemning

Matthew 7:1–5

Matthew 7:3

“We should be as severe with ourselves as we are with others.” —Warren Wiersbe

2. Holy Discernment

Matthew 7:6

“There are men whom Jesus, for all His gentleness, has to estimate thus. His pitying eyes were not blind to truth. It was no breach of infinite charity in Him to see facts, and to give them their right names; and His previous precept does not bid us shut our eyes, or (urge us to) give up the use of common sense.” —Alexander MacLaren

“Preach to every creature.”

Mark 16:15

3. Looking to God

Matthew 7:7–11

“The believer who seeks to obey the Word of God must constantly ask for strength, seek wisdom, and knock at God’s door for the supply of grace needed.” —Warren Wiersbe

James 1:5

4. The Golden Rule

Matthew 7:12

5. A One-Track Mind

Matthew 7:13–23


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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 on the mount. Everybody say, aw. Aw.

Right? Yeah, I've had a lot of fun going through this series. Without a doubt, some of the wisest teachings, not some of the wisest teachings ever spoken of by anybody in human existence. Jesus, the Son of God, teaching us really the culture of heaven. Well, again, as we're in Matthew chapter 7, we're really what the Sermon on the Mount is that I've found is, um, it's Jesus teaching the culture of heaven. Jesus is the King, right? He is our King. He is our Lord. He is our Savior.

He is our one true King. And as the King, Jesus is teaching us, his disciples, his followers, what the culture of his kingdom is. That's really what I see the Sermon on the Mount as, the culture of heaven. What is heaven like?

Ultimately, it's the worldview of heaven. For those of you that have traveled internationally, how many of you have traveled internationally? Canada and Mexico count.

You can raise your hand for those as well. It's North America, you know, it's okay. Mexico, Canada, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, of course, those are continents, but each one of those countries inside of those continents have their own culture. It's so interesting going from one country to the next. In Europe, um, Europe is so small in comparison, you know, the countries. So you can go from France to Italy, to Germany, to the UK, to Spain, and they're all pretty close to each other.

You can be there within a few hours. Here in the US, you can drive in California for 10 hours and still not be out of Southern California, right? You can drive forever. Texas, I mean, you drive for 10 hours and you're still in the same county. And so they're big places. But each one of those little spots, each one of those countries has its own culture, right?

Has its own culture, has its own food, has its own values, its own philosophies. And you've got to be careful when you travel internationally because things that you are used to doing here, um, maybe you're not acceptable or appropriate in those other countries. Certain gestures you have to be careful with. Certain phrases, certain words that you use on a daily basis.

You can Google those later if you want, what those might be. But certain phrases you would use here just in everyday conversation. Certain people, their names, their very name, Randy, for instance, okay? If you are from the UK, you probably know, but like certain things are just not acceptable. Certain things are, are frowned upon. Making direct eye contact with somebody. Wearing short pants, showing your knees, like that could be a big cultural no-no.

All kinds of things. Of course, we are aware of just how different things are than the United States. You go overseas and you realize, wow, you know, there's no place like home.

That's for sure. But when you're a tourist and you're visiting these places for a week or two weeks or maybe for a longer stay, you generally, you don't really have to worry about it too much because you're not there long enough for it to really make an impact in your life. So maybe you learn a couple of key phrases, but you're not like investing in real estate. You're not like researching a landscaper for your hotel room.

You're not trying to buy a refrigerator for the place that you're staying. You're there for a short time and then you leave. You're a tourist. You don't get hung up on these things.

You stick together with your group and then you're gone. And so that's if you're a tourist when you're traveling. So as you're a tourist, you don't really care too much.

You're in, you're out onto the next thing, onto the next place. When you're an immigrant, that's very different, isn't it? If you were immigrating to that country, you would learn the language, you would learn the culture, you would learn the values and the cultural nuances, the gestures, the things to stay away from, the best parts of the city to live in, the good places to eat.

You'd research all of these things. Well, as Christians today, we know that our King is Jesus. And the Bible tells us that our citizenship is in heaven. Hebrews 13 14 says, for we here have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. And so while we are living on this earth, we are not tourists. We are not tourists living here. We are also not immigrants where we will be living for all of our eternal lives here on this earth, learning the culture of this earth.

We already know it so well. Spiritually speaking, we are exiles. We are exiles. We are not tourists.

We are not immigrants. We are exiles. An exile is someone who's been expelled from their current country, but they have to retain their cultural identity. Their home is someplace new, but for now, they have to make their home in this new place for an undetermined amount of time. And so an exile will invest in their new country. They'll find new community. They'll learn the culture, but they long for the day when they can go back home, where ultimately their original cultural identity is.

There's no place like home, right? Philippians 3 20 tells us, but we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives, and we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior, to be the King of the world once again. Jesus came in riding on a donkey, lowly. We learned that on Palm Sunday, a couple of weeks back, as He rode into Jerusalem. When Jesus returns, He's going to be riding on a white horse, and He's coming to judge the nations. It's going to be a very different return.

And as His followers, we long for that day, as He will be King of the physical world, as well as the spiritual. Could you imagine moving to a country, you are immigrating to this place, and you don't do any research, you don't learn the language, you don't learn about the political situation, you don't learn about the safe places to live, and you just show up, and now you're going to be living there. That would not be a very wise way to approach that, would it? You would want to do all the research. You'd want to learn about all the things.

You'd want to be prepared when you hit the ground. You would want to seamlessly blend in when you got there. Well, unfortunately, there are many believers who do not live this way. Yes, you are a citizen of heaven, but you do not know the culture of heaven.

You see where I'm going with this? You're living here on this earth, but your ultimate destination, your ultimate home, is with God, is with Jesus in heaven next to Him. And so, as you are a believer, would it not be appropriate to learn and embrace and begin to practice the values of heaven, your ultimate home, and of Jesus, your Savior and your King? As we see Jesus' words recorded for us the last few weeks, really, again, He is teaching us the culture of heaven. In fact, as followers of Jesus, we're called to be more than just refugees, outcasts, waiting to return back home. We're ambassadors.

We're ambassadors. We are to reflect and to put on our best behavior and demonstrate to the world what the values of our King are, Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5-20 tells us, Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us, we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. That's what it means to be an ambassador for heaven, that we would be imploring people to be reconciled to God.

That's our goal, is to introduce people to Jesus, to win them over. Matthew 6-19, Jesus reminds us, Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal. And I love this, for where your treasure is, say it with me, there your heart will be also. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Home is where the heart is. And if your heart is in heaven, and that is where your home is, that's what you have to look forward to. For those of us who have loved ones in heaven, we know we look forward to that reunion. We look forward to going home with Jesus someday, and that's a blessing to have that hope. If you've missed any of the sermons the last eight weeks that we've been going through, I'd encourage you to, first of all, just read the Sermon on the Mount yourself starting in Matthew 5.

Read these words of Jesus, but also you can go back and you can listen online on our YouTube page or our webpage, and listen to one of those messages from the last eight weeks as well. But Matthew chapter 7, it's our text today, it's what we're going to be looking at, and as Jesus wraps up this earth splitting, world changing, flip everything upside down talk, he ends with an exclamation point in this text with us today, is what we're going to be looking at. And so I've titled this message Ambassadors.

Ambassadors. Let's read together in verse 1. I'm reading from the New King James Version. Jesus says, judge not that you be judged, for with what judgment you judge, you will be judged.

And with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own? Or how can you say to your brother, let me remove the speck from your eye, and look, a plank is in your own eye, a log is in your own eye. Hypocrites, first remove the plank from your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

Let's pause there. Lord, now as we look at this first passage, these first teachings in Matthew chapter 7, Lord, we just pray that you would speak to us, that you would help us to see the nuance that you are teaching these cultural values, these things that really define what it means to be your follower. Jesus, we need you, we need your Holy Spirit, we need your discernment, and so we pray that you would speak to us through your word now. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Amen. Point number one, for those of you taking notes, number one, judging and condemning. Judging and condemning. This is without a doubt, that first verse there, it's got to be the non-believer's favorite verse, right? Judge not lest ye be judged. Come on, how many times have you said it? Be honest, to your spouse, to your friend, to somebody, hey, judge not lest ye be judged. Second only to the verse that says, hey, he who is without sin cast the first stone, man.

Okay, nice, thank you very much. Those are the two verses that you know. But we get from this verse and we see from the culture that the way they understand it is that judging is wrong. Judging is wrong.

Don't hold me to some impossible standard, dude. You know, judge not lest ye be judged. Why is this their favorite verse? Probably because they want you to shut up and leave them alone. It could be that you're witnessing to them and telling them they need Jesus in order to get to heaven, they need to be forgiven of their sin. These things that they're doing, the way that their life has turned out to be a mess is a direct result of their decisions. And then they respond back to you, hey, judge not, man.

Don't judge me. Doesn't the Bible say something about that? Well, yeah. And you often want to go into the whole context. Well, that's not exactly what Jesus was saying. He was kind of saying, but not really. And so it's sometimes hard.

It's sometimes hard. So this, is this really the essence of what Jesus was teaching though here? Is this what Jesus was really saying? Don't ever judge a person. Never make a judgment of somebody else.

Never speak truthfully if you see somebody doing something wrong. Is that what Jesus is saying? Is that the essence of what he was trying to communicate? What does he mean when he says judge not lest ye be judged? Well, this is one of those moments where as a preacher, I'm going to say what's been said many, many other times, and that is context is key, right?

Context is so important. We understand who Jesus is talking to, how that he expects us to respond to this, and really we see the answer to that in verse three. This is the type of person Jesus is speaking to, specifically saying, don't judge lest ye be judged. He says this in verse three, why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the log, the plank, in your own? What a great visual, right? Jesus was such a visual teacher talking about flowers and birds and the sky and all kinds of things to see, and I love this picture that this person has a speck in their eye.

Meanwhile, you've got a plank, a tree branch sticking out of your own eye, and you're over there trying to do, you know, microscopic surgery on them. It's absurd. It's laughable, and that's what Jesus is saying. If you are the type of person who has such a great flaw on your own, you should not be going and trying to pick the minutia out of somebody else's lives. Warren Risbee says we should be as severe with ourselves as we are with others.

I love that. We should be as severe with ourselves as we are with others. We need to exercise caution when assuming the motives of others as well, not just the actions, but the motives. How often do we see people doing something on social media, and immediately we say, oh, they're just doing it for the likes. They're just doing it for attention. They're serving in that soup kitchen. They're going overseas on that mission trip because they just want the attention. They're just going on a vacation.

That's on a mission trip. And so quickly, we will assume their motive, not really knowing why they're going, but we'll assume it. We're quick to do that, aren't we? Oh, the only reason he's working so hard is to make us look bad.

No, you just look bad on your own, and he's actually doing his job. That's what's happening here. Or you say, oh, you know, they're working so hard. They're just doing it to get ahead.

They don't really care. They're just doing it to do better and to make more money. Generally, yes, this is why people have jobs.

They want to succeed in life and make more money. Is that such a bad thing? Again, you're probably jealous.

A person who is ignorant of their own sin and yet hypersensitive to the sin of others is guilty of judgmental, critical, and condemning behavior. I'll be the first one to tell you, it exists in my life. I've got to keep it on guard. I see it. Oh, yeah, that rubs me the wrong way. Oh, this person, no, they did that. It happens.

I think all of us struggle with it in some capacity. I am sorry to say, but if you've been to church for long enough, you are bound to encounter one of these people. That's right. Usually they're believers who have been around for a while. They know enough theology and scripture to present themselves as mature, but rather than build others up with this knowledge, with this understanding, or disciple younger believers, they use it to beat other people over the head with it. That's the worst, isn't it?

And this is usually the case. They complain, they argue, they nitpick over certain things. Meanwhile, their kids are prodigals, their wife is divorcing them, and they don't serve a church.

They don't give in any capacity. This is the person Jesus says, judge not lest you be judged. Take the log out of your own eye, take the tree branch out of your own eye before you go and pick the speck out of somebody else's. The motive, the heart, while you do something is paramount. Is it appropriate to correct another believer who has sin in their lives?

Absolutely it is. But the reason why you do it actually matters more than the way, or it matters more than what you correct. The motive you are correcting with matters more than what you correct.

Ultimately, the motive behind your heart is paramount. You want an example of this, just tell me if you have the wrong motive correcting your spouse on something, how do they respond? You want to tell your spouse, hey, there's a better way to do that. Right away, tensions are up, right?

Right away, you can cut it with a knife. Not me, of course, my marriage is perfect. But little things my wife will tell me, hey, you know, when you load the dishwasher, you should put the forks and the knives with the blades down and the handles up. And I'm like, well, I've heard the opposite, and we get into a whole thing with it, and it's like, it doesn't matter. But if she's genuinely trying to tell me something to help me to make my life easier, I can see that.

Or if I'm trying to tell her something because I just want her to know that I'm right and she's wrong, that doesn't go over so well, does it? It's all about the heart. It's all about the heart with how we correct somebody. If you're correcting somebody, especially when it comes to sin now, coming back to our context, for any reason other than the right one, it's a lost cause. But if it's done in love, if it's done with the right motive, then it can be received more easily. One believer sharpening the other, iron sharpening iron, one spouse sharpening the other. But if it's done with an impure motive or to hold over their head, hey, I saw that you liked a certain post on social media.

I don't think that's too appropriate, do you? Meanwhile, you've got a closet full of sin that you haven't allowed anybody else to see. That's the wrong motive. If it's done with an impure motive or to hold over their head, it's going to be rejected by the person. If our motive is wrong, that is the log in our eye we need to remove. Does that make sense?

If our motive is wrong, that's the log we need to remove. Be an ambassador for Christ. Think literally, what would Jesus do? How would Jesus correct this person? Would he rebuke that person? Maybe, he might. He did rebuke people, didn't he? Would he gossip about it? Absolutely not. Would he extend his own hand in forgiveness?

Absolutely he would. The reason we correct somebody is for the hope of helping them along in their relationship with Jesus, not to hold it over our head, over their head, not to establish ourselves as a more spiritual and pious than they are, but to help this person back up on their feet. And that is why we need point number two, holy discernment. We need holy discernment. Look back at Matthew chapter seven, verse six. Jesus says, do not give what is holy to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you into pieces. Let's stop there.

Okay, I'll be the first one to just say it out loud. That's a crazy verse. That is a wild verse, especially considering what we just read. Judge not, lest ye be judged.

By the way, those men that are swine and those that are dogs, that's, Jesus, that sounds a little judgmental here. That sounds a little harsh, isn't it? Well, it's not.

It's not, it's not harsh. We see Alexander McLaren. He is a British teacher and preacher who's now with the Lord and Bible commentator. He said this, there are men whom Jesus, for all his gentleness, has to estimate thus, has to evaluate them this way. His pitying eyes were not blind to the truth.

It was no breach of infinite charity in him to see facts and to give them their right names. And his previous precept does not bid us to shut our eyes or urge us to give up the use of common sense. Judge not, lest ye be judged. It's not a command to close our eyes and put our fingers in our ears, because there is a time and a place to rebuke sin and confront it in the life of another believer. But what we must be careful now is how we share the pearls of wisdom that we get from God, and what we need is his discernment. Because there are people who will not hear the gospel. There are people we've tried to share with in our lives that simply reject the message, and any more that you talk about it, the more you talk about Jesus, the more you talk about the transformative work he's done in your life and in the life of your family, they'll become antagonistic, they'll become angry, and they'll even become violent. For these people, we need to pray for them. These are the people Jesus says, don't cast your pearls before swine or before dogs, don't give what is holy, because the truths of the Bible, the blessing of laying your burdens down and repenting of your sin, when you share these things, it just impacts them, it bugs them, it makes them so angry. I don't know if you've ever heard of that saying, if you throw a rock at a pack of dogs, the one that barks the loudest is the one that got hit, right? Sometimes the people that are the most vocal about their opposition to Christ are the ones that are the most, excuse me, are the most, yeah, the ones that are most affected by it.

They're the ones that are being hit by it, and so they have to put up this large smokescreen of defense pushing back on you to make you shut up because you know what? The Holy Spirit's doing a work in their life. So when we read, don't cast your pearls before swine or give what is holy to dogs, we should not use this verse to pardon us from the Great Commission, which commands us to preach to every creature, Mark 16, 15 says that, preach to every creature, I love that, I love that because it gives me a picture of every creature, every slime ball, every grease bag, every swine, every dog, every degenerate, creep, and vile person needs to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ because, as the Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6, as such were some of you. You were one of those people, you were a swine, you were wretched, you were dead in your sin, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, and you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

I'm thankful I had people in my life that repeatedly called me out. Even when I did that, I threw up the big smokescreen, I said, judge not, lest ye be judged, every cliche thing you could think of, I pushed back, but I am thankful that people called me to the carpet, confronted me, and even rebuked me because I was a swine, I was a dog, but the people that rebuked me, the people that called me out and drew the line in the sand were also the ones who loved me the most and offered the most grace to me and forgiveness and compassion, and it's because of the many saints in my life that did that for me that I am here today a follower of Jesus Christ, and so I want to tell you that loved one, that co-worker, that friend that is a swine, whatever, that is rejecting the message, don't cast your pearls before a swine, listen, you pray for that person because only God can reach them, and ultimately it wasn't any argument that got my attention, it was God that got my attention, he brought me to a place where I recognized my need for him, so you trust the Lord, you trust the Lord, and that brings us to point number three, looking to God, looking to God, let's look back at verse seven of Matthew chapter seven, ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will knock, excuse me, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you, for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened, on what man is there among you, if his son asks for bread will give him a stone, or if he asks for a fish will he give him a serpent, if you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good things to those who ask him, I love that, as Christians the power of prayer cannot be underestimated, the older I get and the the more I walk with the Lord the more I see, there is such power in prayer, what used to be my last resort is now the first thing I turn to, not every time I'm working on it, but I try to turn to Jesus every time and ask him to help in this situation, I often find I am never let down, and I'm never disappointed that I brought this matter to Jesus, Warren Wiersbe said, the believer who seeks to obey the word of God must constantly ask for strength, seek wisdom, and knock at God's door for the supply of grace needed, why did Jesus insert the topic of prayer right into this context about judgment, casting pearls before swine, not judging lest you be judged, why does he go right into prayer, this topic, it almost seems like an interruption, but it's not, after looking at the exhortation to not judge, and then to simultaneously not cast our pearls before swine, it does sound like a tightrope act right, how am I supposed to do that, don't cast my pearls before swine, but then simultaneously don't judge, how am I supposed to evaluate who's swine and who's not, Jesus how is this supposed to work, when you confront that person in their sin, when you pick that speck out of their eye proverbially speaking, when you share the gospel with that hard-hearted person, Jesus is telling us take some time in prayer, bring this matter to me, empty yourself of self-righteousness, empty yourself of conceit and pride, and now humble yourself and be filled with the Holy Spirit. James 1 says, he who lacks wisdom, let him ask, let him ask God who gives to all liberally and without reproach and will be given to him.

As humans, you and I will make mistakes, we make mistakes daily, we wrongly assume and judge and write off people based on their actions and their motives, we think we know people's their hearts behind their actions, and ultimately the truth is only God can judge perfectly, nobody is a good judge here compared to God, that is why we must be dependent on his Holy Spirit and his wisdom to help people come closer to Jesus. That brings us to point number four, the golden rule, the golden rule, this is a familiar one hopefully for all of us, verse 12, Jesus says, therefore whatever you want men to do, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets. I think we probably heard our mother saying this growing up, do one to others as you would have them do one to you, right? Did we all grow up with that saying?

I guess not everybody here, that makes a lot of sense actually, based on some of you the way you drive into the parking lot, I see you. What I failed to understand when I first learned this lesson as a kid was that this was not a guarantee that the recipient of me treating the person that I wanted to be treated like, when I treated that person, it was not a guarantee that they would reciprocate, that they would do it back to me, right? Being nice doesn't always mean people will be nice back to you, right? In fact, sometimes it means they'll take advantage of you, they'll hurt you, they'll be mean back to you, they don't understand it, but you know what Jesus says here?

He says, do it anyway, do it anyway, do unto others what you would have others do unto you, do it anyway. When people take advantage of you, or lie to you, or steal from you, or burn you, or treat them the way that you would want to be treated, do it anyway. You see, our nature is so self-serving, everything we do in life is all about us, how does that make me feel?

How does that thing affect me? Oh, that's nice for them, but did they consider my feelings? Hello, you're at their wedding. No, they didn't think about your feelings, okay, inviting you to it, all right? Be happy for them, it's not all about you, not everything is about you, but our flesh doesn't like to hear it, does it? We think, oh, everything's got to be about me, it's my comfort, it's my feelings, they didn't take that into consideration, it's all about me, me, me, me, self, self, self, self.

That is why it's called being selfish. Everything in us screams to do the opposite of what Jesus commands here with the golden rule. It's interesting that Jesus says, all of the teachings, all of the law, all of the prophets, the entire Old Testament can be boiled down to this one fundamental idea, treat others with the same kindness, grace, and love that you would like to be treated with.

That's pretty amazing. This command to selflessness is really unparalleled by any other religion, belief system, or philosopher. Many different people have taught versions of this, but not to the level that Jesus did. The rabbi, the Jewish rabbi, Hillel, Confucius, Epictetus, the Stoics, all taught the closest version, which is basically, don't do anything to anyone that you wouldn't want them to do to you, right? Don't do something bad to somebody else that you wouldn't want them to do to you.

That sounds pretty good. That's not a bad thing. It's an important part of human ethics, but it also falls so short of God's perfect standard. Its emphasis is really avoiding bad behavior while Jesus' emphasis is on the action. Go and do good to that person. Go and bless that person the way that you would want them to bless you.

Go and take care of that person. Bless them, minister to them, love on them, give them a gift, offer to take their trash cans out, offer to wash their car form, do unto others what you would have them do unto you. This was an expression of love, and the selfless love Jesus commands us to have here does not serve or give or sacrifice in order to prevent its own harm or to ensure its own welfare it gives for the sake of the one being given to, regardless of reciprocation.

Do unto others what you would have them do unto you would have them do unto you. Of course the truest and most obvious version of this demonstrated for us is when Jesus was being hung on the cross, and as those nails were being driven through his hand, what did Jesus say? Father forgive them for they know not what they do. He was praying for the people around him that were causing him the most pain.

They were cursing him and making fun of him and calling him out and challenging him. Jesus still hung on the cross for them. Father forgive them for they know not what they do. But even more than that, the fact that Jesus hung on that cross knowing that there would be people in the future that would not accept this gift of salvation, this sacrifice that he made. He knew there would be people that would reject it, but he still loved them so much that he was willing to die for them as well. Isn't that wild to think that even though that people would reject Jesus' gift, he still was willing to go to the cross because of his love for mankind. That is a picture of selfless love. When we live out the golden rule and we reflect the love and grace that God extends to us, acting as a godly ambassador to a fallen world, really this is the call of the believer. This is what we are called to do is to live out that love. And lastly brings us to point number five, a one-track mind.

A one-track mind. Matthew chapter 7 verse 13. You can enter God's kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.

But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult and only a few ever find it. Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit, verse 19. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.

Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit so you can identify people by their actions. Not everyone who calls out to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and perform many miracles in your name. But I will reply, I never knew you, get away from me, you who break God's laws." Wow, that's got to be one of the most sobering passages of scripture in all of the Bible, right? People who think that they are saved but they arrive in heaven and Jesus says, get away from me, I never knew you, you were doing my will, you were doing it for the accolades, you were doing it for the likes on social media, you were doing it to benefit yourself or to make yourself feel better.

What a scary, scary thought. I will say, you know, there's a lot of teachers as we look about this text talking about false teachers. There's a lot of teachers out there who are called false teachers that are not and there are a lot of teachers that are called, that are not called false teachers and considered true that are false teachers. This is why we as believers really have to rely on the Holy Spirit and his discernment and not Becky on Facebook to tell us what's what, right? Oh, so and so, I heard this person and they're a false prophet.

What do you mean by that? Well, I just don't like that they teach from the New Living Translation. Okay, well that's not exactly the same thing as a false prophet, okay? King James version till death, right?

Listen, when you hear some of these teachers and they begin to talk about financial prosperity and they talk about getting a spot in the front of the parking lot and having health and wealth. Listen, those things can be blessings from God, absolutely. I believe God can bless you in the most minute, silly way like a parking spot at the front of the parking lot all the way up to healing you from your cancer. I believe it in Jesus' name.

He can do it, no question, no question. But those things are all at absolute distant second in comparison to the greatest blessing of all, that my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. That is the blessing that we all are looking to. That my sins are forgiven, that God sees me with the righteousness of Christ.

Listen, all miracles, all blessings were designed by God to point to the greatest miracle, to point to the greatest blessing, and that is Jesus dying in your place. You want to know how to spot a false teacher? You want to know how to know that you are on the narrow road that leads to the narrow gate to heaven?

You can find out by answering a simple question. Whose heart are you following after? Whose heart are you following after? Are you following after God's heart or are you following after your own?

When you see something in the Bible and you see that it contradicts something that you want, do you change your opinion or do you just skirt around that part of the Bible and kind of ignore that and pursue your own agenda? A false teacher will tell you what you want to hear. They'll talk about how to get rich.

They'll talk about how to get healthy, how to get the job, how to get the girl, how to get the car, how to have personal empowerment. A true teacher, a true pastor, a true leader will be one that leads you on the narrow path and they will tell you what you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. All those blessings and life matters are secondary to receiving forgiveness by God. You know when you you look back at the Gospels and the whole New Testament and you see the miracles that Jesus did and the miracles that the apostles were able to do through the power of the Holy Spirit, healing people, raising people from the dead, touching them, having limbs restored, people that were maimed, having their limbs restored, I mean just incredible things, Jesus walking on the water. All of those people that were healed and blessed and touched and had their prayers answered, they all died. They all died. So what did it really matter?

The thing that mattered the most was that they were right with God and again that their name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life. And so yes, we want a comfortable life. We want to have nice things. We want to enjoy it. We want to be healthy. We want to live long lives. We wear our seat belts. We eat healthy. We exercise. We pray.

We go to church. But all of those things are secondary in comparison to where you will spend eternity. Where will you spend eternity? Will you spend it in hell, in separation from God, because you pursued a comfortable life as your priority here on earth and you rejected the way of living that Jesus calls us to? Or will you spend it with your Heavenly Father for all of eternity with the saints that have gone before you and your loved ones that have died in faith? That is the hope for the believer. And not just that we'll be floating around in heaven, you know, on clouds and this weird new reality. No, there's going to be a time when heaven and earth will pass away and there will be a new heaven and a new earth and we are going to have an amazing time being in creation. Again, the Garden of Eden 2.0 on the face of the earth.

It is absolutely something to look forward to. Everything else, it falls short. It falls short. The money, the prosperity, the trappings of this world, it does not compare in fulfillment or in deliverance.

And so in closing, I know that there are some here who are still following after a God shaped in their own image. They're still chasing after the things that they think this world will deliver and make them happy with. Listen, have you have you realized yet it lets you down? There's a great quote that basically says the loneliest moment in a person's life is when they achieve that which they thought would deliver the ultimate and they have just found it to be lacking. When you get to the top of the mountain and you're expecting to just think, oh, I've arrived, I'm here, I'm done, this is it, this is what I was always hoping for, and it lets you down. It could be that raise at work, it could be that academic achievement, it could be that marriage, it could be having kids, it could be having your kids move out, it could be having all kinds of things, but what do you find?

It lets you down time and time and time again. Listen, the one thing that will never let you down is a relationship with Jesus Christ. He'll never leave you, he'll never forsake you, and you can have that hope today. And so in closing, I would like to extend to you an invitation to put your faith in Jesus Christ and have your name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Let's pray together. Heavenly Father, we thank you for these words of Jesus, that they were preserved for us for thousands of years with absolute clarity and absolute perfection. Lord, that is a miracle in and of itself that we are just able to open our books, open our Bibles, and be able to see these words so accurately recorded. We thank you for Jesus' teaching, we thank you for the sacrifice and the life that he had, and that ultimately we are called to live lives like his. He is our model, he is our goal of what we want to be like, and we need your Holy Spirit so desperately to live like him. So fill us, we pray, fill us with your Holy Spirit. Help us to follow these commands and to live out the cultural values, help us to be ambassadors for Christ in this life on earth.

Lord, it's a vapor, it goes quick, it's there one moment, it's obvious, you see it, it's full of life, and then it's over. Father, we want to remember that this life here on earth, it is not all we have. We have eternity and we look forward to that, so help us to live in light of eternity, we pray. Well, our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying here together.

There may be some who have not yet put their faith in Jesus Christ. As I was talking about that broad way that leads to destruction, you've been following the teachings of this world. You've been pursuing those things that you thought would make you happy. Money, sex, fame, drugs, experiences, academic achievement, whatever it might be. Some things are good, some things are not so good. Having a huge family, having lots of kids, leaving a big legacy behind, hey, that's a great thing.

Pursuing sex, drugs, and partying, hey, that's not so good. But you know what? Both of those things, as far on the spectrum as they may be, they are not enough to get you into heaven. They are not enough to forgive you of your sin. Nothing you can do to ultimately reconcile you to God. That's why Jesus had to come. He died on that cross for you. He shed his blood for you as payment for your sin. Your sin is so severe that it required physical death. And you know whose death was ultimately required of? It was yours.

It was mine. My life was required. My soul was required.

But God loves us so much that he sent Jesus on that cross over 2,000 years ago to suffer and bleed and die and then rise again from the dead on the third day, proving he is who he said he was. All you have to do today to receive forgiveness, to have the hope of heaven, is call upon the name of the Lord. Recognize that you're a sinner. Realize that Jesus died on the cross for your sin and repent.

Call out on his name today. Would you like to have that hope? Would you like to know that when you die, you'll go to heaven? If so, just raise your hand wherever you are. And I want to lead you in a prayer. Wherever you are in this room, raise your hand up and I want to lead you in a prayer. God bless you. God bless you. Raise your hand up where I can see it. God bless you in the back, over in the corner there. God bless you on the side here. Anybody else? Raise your hand up and we'll pray together.

Awesome. There's people that are raising their hands. Are you one of them? Ultimately, you're going to stand before God one day and it's not going to be you with all your buddies or you and your spouse. It's going to be you and God. And ultimately, he's going to ask you that question. What did you do with my son Jesus? Did you receive that gift? Did you receive forgiveness? Did you repent of your sin or did you turn from him? If so, Jesus will say to us, depart from me.

I never knew you. You're going to stand before God one day. So you stand before men today and make a stand for Jesus. You might be watching at one of our other campuses, Harvest Riverside, Harvest Orange County, outside in the courtyard.

You could be in the cafe here at Harvest Orange County. Wherever you might be, you raise your hand up as well and we'll pray together. God bless you. That's awesome.

Anybody else? Okay. For those of you that raise your hand, I'm just going to ask, you would stand up wherever you are.

That's right. I want you to stand up. Stand up and I want to lead you in this prayer. Again, I'm asking you to do this because I want you to make a stand. I want you to make a public commitment before God and before people here today. So wherever you are, you stand up and we'll pray together. God bless you. Awesome.

Awesome. Some of you raised your hand, but you're not standing yet. I'm just asking you if you can, if you're able to, that you would, that you would make this stand. I know it's a little uncomfortable. It's a little scary, but you know what?

Jesus says, if you acknowledge me before people, I'll acknowledge you before the Father and the angels in heaven. What a beautiful picture that is. What a beautiful promise.

Anybody else? Awesome. Amen.

Okay. For all of you that are standing right now, I'm just going to lead you in this prayer. This is you talking to God. You're not talking to me. You're not talking to the person next to you. You're not talking to your spouse or whoever. You are talking to your Father in heaven that wants to hear from you, that sent his son to die for you.

That's how much he cares. So you pray this prayer out loud after me. Meet it in your heart. Pray this now. Dear God, I know I'm a sinner, but I know Jesus is the savior that died on the cross for my sin. And I turn from that sin today from this moment forward. Would you fill me with your Holy Spirit and help me to live according to your standard?

Lead me on the narrow way to the narrow gate. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Amen. God bless you. Amazing. God bless you. People standing all over the place. Wonderful.

Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to And to find out how to know God personally, go to and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-14 04:07:28 / 2024-04-14 04:26:05 / 19

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