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The Road Less Traveled | Sunday Message

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

The Road Less Traveled | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 21, 2024 3:00 am

Pastor Greg Laurie begins our new "Psalms of David" series with a message focused on the choices we have in life, including the choice to follow God.

Notes:

Matt. 7:24-29/ Ps.1

Choices matter, because we make our choices, and our choices make us!

We are not the only ones who make choices; God makes choices, too!

There are over 59 references to David in the New Testament, yet he was far from perfect.

He wasn’t only a shepherd, warrior, and king, but also, an adulterer, murderer, and abysmal failure.
 
In battle, David was fearless. In wisdom, in ruling, he was without peer.
 
“My heart is fixed, my heart is fixed, O Lord.”
Psalm 57:7
 
The book of Psalms gives real insight into David’s heart; it shows his courage, his weakness, his fears, and prayers.
 
Psalms is a collection of 150 Hebrew poems, songs, and prayers of Israel’s history.
 
The first Psalm gives a contrast, as we see the difference between right and wrong choices.
 
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” ¾Robert Frost
 
Read: Matthew 7:24–29
 
We make our choices, and then our choices make us.
 
The final test of what our foundation is will come in times of testing and hardship in life.
 
Read: Psalm 1:1–6
 
The happy person walks the right way.
Psalm 1:1
 
Walking is used often to picture the Christian life.
Colossians 2:6
 
The happy person walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.
Psalm 1:1
 
Ungodly does not necessarily mean immoral or outwardly wicked.
It just means, “Without God.”
 
You can be ungodly and still be moral and relatively nice.
 
We, as Christians, can vote them out and vote others in.
Proverbs 29:2
 
“Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord.”
Psalm 33:12
 
The happy person thinks the right way.
Psalm 1:2
 
“Man must have some delight, some supreme pleasure.
His heart was never meant to be a vacuum. If not filled with the best things,
it will be filled with the unworthy and disappointing.” —C.H. Spurgeon
 
In Eastern meditation, the goal is to empty the mind.
In biblical meditation, the goal is to fill the mind.
 
You must read, study, memorize, and meditate on God’s Word.
 
There is an art to listening. If in conversation you look at a person, respond!
 
God told Habakkuk to write down the vision He gave to him.
Habakkuk 2
 
The happy person is rooted the right way.
Psalm 1:3
 
A godly person, a happy person, stays in the Word of God every day.
 
As we abide in Christ, we bring forth spiritual fruit.
Matthew 7:17
 
Our change in conduct and character is described as spiritual fruit.
Galatians 5:22
 
“By their fruit shall you know them.”
Matthew 7:16
 
Worshipping God is spiritual fruit.
Hebrews 13:15
 
Winning others to Christ and helping them grow spiritually is fruit.
 
Psalm 1:4–6
 
The choice is yours, to be godly or ungodly.
 
The choice is yours, be planted or be rootless.
 
The choice is yours, the happy life or the wasted life.
 
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father, except through Me.”

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Hey there, thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. Let's all pray together, Father, as we have just sung Hallelujah, our God reigns. And Lord, we're so glad that you are in control as we look at this topsy-turvy world we're living in, conflict in the Middle East, danger all around. Sometimes it seems like it's complete chaos, yet we know you have a plan, you have a purpose, not only for our world but for our lives. We come to you as individuals, as your children, who need wisdom. We need guidance. We need to know your will.

We want to know the right way to live, and we want to avoid the wrong way. So speak to us as we open your Word. We commit this time of Bible study to you now. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Well, good morning or good afternoon. Please grab a seat. Welcome to church, everybody.

Harvest Orange County, Harvest Riverside, Harvest Maui, all of you watching at Harvest at Home. All right, let's grab our Bibles and let's turn to Psalm 1. We're starting a brand new series in the book of Psalms. And the title of my message is The Road Less Travel.

The Road Less Travel. So life is filled with lots of choices, isn't it? You can sit down in front of a television set and have over a thousand channels to choose from.

Have you ever flipped through those channels and literally not found anything worth watching? And if you're like me, I'll start on something. Oh, I'm going to watch this. And then the commercial comes and now I'm gone. I leave.

I'm off to something else. I'm watching this. Then a commercial comes. So I go back to the other thing I was watching until the commercial comes again. Now I go to a third thing. So sometimes I'm watching three things at the same time while scrolling on my phone.

Am I the only one? All these choices in front of us. Then you have choices when you go into restaurants.

Have you ever gone to Cheesecake Factory? That menu is too big. It's like a book, page after page after page. Let's turn in our menu to page four. I mean, it's like, what is this? That's why I like In-N-Out Burger.

It's so simple. Hamburger. Hamburger with two patties. Add cheese, french fries, malts. That's it.

We're done here. Or even Chick-fil-A. You know, you can get the spicy.

You can get the regular. But not a lot of options. It simplifies life. Well, we have choices we make that are really important in life. What career path we're going to follow. Who we're going to marry.

That's a huge choice. The most important choice of all is what we do with Jesus Christ. Well listen, we're not the only one that makes choices. God makes choices too. And His choices don't always make sense to us. But we're starting a brand new series on the life of David.

And this is a man that God chose. David. He rose from obscurity to being the greatest king in the history of the nation Israel. They still sing about David today.

There's a folk song that's been popular that's still sung to this present day. David, David, Melech, Israel, Chai Chai, Veikayam. Which means David is still the king in Israel. It's been a long time since he sat on the throne there in Jerusalem.

But think about David. A shepherd boy, a musician, a poet, a warrior, and a great king. But he also was a part of the messianic line.

And that's so significant. Because when Jesus walked this earth he could have identified with a lot of people. He could have said, I'm Jesus the son of Abraham. Or I'm Jesus the son of another great patriarch. But he identified himself as Jesus the son of David.

Remember blind Bartimaeus heard Jesus was coming and he cried out, Jesus son of David have mercy on me. There's more written in the Bible about David than any other Bible character. As an example there are 11 chapters dedicated to the life of Abraham and Joseph. There are 14 chapters, excuse me, 11 chapters dedicated to Elijah and Jacob.

Or I got that wrong. Jacob has 11 chapters. Elijah has 10. But in contrast there are 66 chapters dedicated, 66 chapters dedicated to the life of David. 59 references to him in the New Testament as well. But he was not only a shepherd and a warrior and a king.

But he also was an adulterer and a murderer and a dismal failure. The story of David is not the greatness of a man. It's a greatness of the God who gave him second chances.

David's life is a study in contrast. In battle he was fearless. In wisdom and ruling without peer. But he was not just some macho dude. He had a tender heart. He was a poet. He was a musician. He had a heart toward God. And he's uniquely described in the Bible as a man after God's own heart. Who could forget his dramatic rise from shepherd boy to giant killer. And two other names come to mind when you think of David.

And I bet you know them both. David and Goliath and David and that's it. One was his greatest victory.

The other his worst defeat. But yet he was greatly loved by his people. And he had his heart turned toward God. And David kept a diary. It wasn't a little diary with a little heart shaped lock.

You know with a little tiny key. But he kept a diary. And the diary is what we call the book of songs. And in many ways these were songs. Some of them were composed with music and sung. But they're also lamentations. Honestly sometimes they're complaints. Sometimes they're declarations of praise. Other times they're prayers. And actually the Psalms, 150 of them in total, are songs and prayers from the history of Israel.

But 73 of them were written by David. Think of the comfort and the encouragement that people have received from the Psalms. Just take Psalm 23. How many people have been blessed by that Psalm? Especially as they're passing into eternity. The Lord is my shepherd.

I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

My cup runneth over. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. And on it goes, or excuse me, I said that part. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Such a powerful Psalm. We're going to look at Psalm 1.

And this first Psalm is a study in contrast. It shows us that life is filled with cause and effect. You do this and that will happen.

You do that and this will happen. So we need to think very carefully about our choices. Last night my granddaughter Stella was at our house and she has a little Bible study that she goes to on Saturday nights. And I thought, what a great thing for a bunch of kids to do on a Saturday night, right? And these kids range from age 18 all the way down to 11, one of them was. And she said, Papa, that's what they call me, would you come over to the Bible study?

It will freak the kids out. So I went. And I had a great time talking to these kids.

And so I said, why don't I talk to you about Psalm 1? Because I had been preparing for it. And I just said, you guys, you're young. And you have your whole life in front of you. And you're making choices today that are going to affect you in years to come. So choose well and make the right choices. And then we just sort of went through Psalm 1 and showed them how it applied to their life. And that is true for all of us as well.

Here's what it comes down to. Do you want to be a happy person? If you want to be a happy person, do the things that we're about to read. And also, if you want to be a happy person, don't do the things that we're told not to do. The Bible tells us this. If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife.

From my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you. How many of you have read that verse? It's not in the Bible. It's a really weird song. How many of you remember that song? Yes, you're old, aren't you?

I remember it as well. And there's no truth in it whatsoever. Because I actually married a beautiful woman. But seriously, if you want to be a happy person, there are certain things you should do and there are certain things you should not do. And they're laid out for us here in Psalm 1. So why don't we read it together? And by the way, I'm going to read from the King James Version. Normally I read from the New King James Version or from the New Living Translation. But I'm going to read the King James Version for this reason. I memorized this psalm at the age of 17 in the King James Translation.

There's something about the cadence and the way that it's written that is very memorable and has somehow stuck in my mind in the best way possible. So from the King James we read these words. Psalm 1, verse 1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth fruit in his season. His leaves shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Now in contrast, the ungodly are not so. They are like the chaff, which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. There it is.

Psalm 1. I recommend you commit it to memory too, and you can do it. Why can't, I can't remember anything. Oh stop, you can. You remember weird jingles on television. One, eight, seven, seven cars for kids.

Songs from the radio, or from Spotify. You remember lines from movies that you quote. And don't tell me you can't memorize scripture.

You can't memorize this. So here are some points from what we have just read if you are taking notes, and I hope you are. Point number one. The happy person walks the right way. The happy person walks the right way. Verse one. Blessed is the man that walks not on the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. So walk. Most of us walk. Some of us run. I think you notice a person more if they run. Especially if you are Tom Cruise. He is always running. Have you ever noticed that?

In all of his movies here is the scene where Tom Cruise is going to run really fast. Okay you can run, you can walk, but what is so great about this word walk is it just speaks of a cadence and a consistency. It is not a spectacular thing to do, but it is something that speaks of the Christian life on more than one occasion. The Bible compares our relationship with Jesus to a walk. Colossians 2 says as you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord so walk in him. Colossians 5 says walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. First John 1 says that we walk in the light as he is in the light.

We have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. Back in the book of Genesis we read that Enoch walked with God and was not. Which means that one day he was out taking a walk with the Lord and maybe the Lord said hey buddy we are closer to my house than yours.

Why don't you come home with me today? And he was caught up in the presence of the Lord, but this is the idea of just consistency. I was telling those kids last night you know the secret to the Christian life is consistency.

I think we are all looking for the big emotional experience. And I am going to go to church and have this encounter with God or go to that retreat and everything is going to change. And I am not in any way suggesting God can't move at certain moments in our life.

But here is what I am saying. The real secret sauce of Christianity is daily obedience to God. One person defined it as long obedience in the same direction. It is walking by faith not by feeling. And the problem is you know we have these emotional highs and lows and these ups and these downs and we are at the height of the mountain and then we crash and burn.

It is consistency. It is walking with God. If you want to be a happy person you need to walk with God and also don't walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Now when we say ungodly it doesn't mean that you are necessarily an immoral or wicked person. Though people who are wicked and immoral would be ungodly.

It could just be a description of what we might call a garden variety nonbeliever. You know they are actually a nice person. They pay their bills. They provide for their families. They clean up after their dogs.

I hope they do. Are you one of those people that let your dogs go and don't do anything and leave it there for others to step in? Are you? Just raise your hand now. Okay.

Glad to hear that. But on the weekend church is not a part of their plan. We are going to go to the mountains. We are going to go to the desert.

We are going to go to the beach. We will do whatever but there is just no God in their life. So in that sense they are ungodly. But when you are ungodly you don't have any real direction in life. The ungodly are aimless. They are not sure what right and wrong are.

They are not sure where they are going exactly. Years ago the Beatles. That is a band that once existed.

Kids. This band recorded a lot of songs and one of them was called Nowhere Man. Do you remember that song? The lyrics where he is a real nowhere man living in his nowhere land making all his nowhere plans for nobody. Doesn't have a point of view. Knows not where he is going to.

Isn't he a bit like you and me? And that is the godless person. The ungodly person. They are just drifting through life with no real direction. No biblical world view.

No distinct person. Going nowhere fast. But when God is not in your life a regression will begin to happen. Nonbelievers always go from bad to worse. Notice it says you go from walking in the counsel of the ungodly to standing in the way of sinners to sitting in the seat of the scornful.

This is pretty much how temptation works. First you are walking. Then you are standing. Then you are sitting.

So let's say you are trying to lose weight. How many of you are on a diet? Raise your hand. Oh more of you should raise your hand.

Seriously. Let's talk afterwards. I am always on some kind of a diet that I am breaking I will add. So let's say you are on a diet and you go out for a brisk walk every day and it just so happens that you walk by Krispy Kreme donuts. You ever been to Krispy Kreme donuts? And as you are walking along you know just burning calories. You see that little sign is on. You know what I am talking about. The sign.

So when they light up the sign it means they are making fresh donuts. So you are walking. Now you are standing. You stop. You are not walking anymore. You are standing. You are looking. Your face is pressed against the window. And now you are sitting. Where? Inside Krispy Kreme donuts. Eating 12 of them and washing them down with cold milk.

Right? First you were walking. Then you were standing. Then you were sitting. That is how temptation works.

Oh I am not going to do that. You are walking but then you stop and you check it out. Then you are sitting.

That is what it says. Blessed or happy as a man does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful. This means the mocker. When you have become the mocker you know you have gone really far. The person who mocks God.

You don't want to be that person. I used to mock Christians. I thought they were crazy.

And then I became one. But at first I mocked them because I didn't understand them. I didn't understand why anyone would want to carry a Bible publicly. I didn't understand why people would want to talk about Jesus all the time.

It seemed excessive and strange to me. But then I heard the gospel and it made sense to me. But here is the thing. The Bible says, Don't be deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that will he also reap. If you sow to the flesh you will reap corruption.

But if you sow to the Spirit you will reap life everlasting. I think of that King Belshazzar. It ascended to the throne of Babylon. And one day this young king, this boy king, decided he would go out of his way to mock God. So he said, I want all those goblets and all the things the Jews used in their worship of God.

Bring them in here. So they bring all these things that they had taken from the Jews after they took them into captivity. And they filled them with wine and they started toasting their false gods. The false gods of Babylon. And the Bible says there was a hand riding on the wall.

Many, many, Tekel, Pharsin. And it freaked out Belshazzar. Someone said, there is a prophet here that interprets dreams. He says, call him in. They bring in Daniel. He is an old dude at that point. But he is fearless.

He reads it and goes, okay. That says you have been weighed in God's balances and you have been found lacking. And judgment came on Belshazzar.

We have to be very careful. America is an amazing nation. Uniquely built on Judeo-Christian principles. And when our president came out on Easter Sunday and declared it International Transgender Day of Visibility, that was mocking God. It was an insult to millions of Christians around the world.

And it was a big mistake. Some would say, well you know Greg, we are just going to pray for our leaders. I agree. The Bible tells us to pray for our elected officials. Paul said we should pray for those in leadership when Caesar Nero was ruling on the throne of Rome.

And that was a wicked man. But we can pray for them. But here is what they couldn't do in Rome that we can't do in America. They couldn't vote Caesars out. We can vote people out and we can vote other people in. No Greg, don't get political.

Really? My faith affects everything that I do. Including the way that I vote. And I am going to vote for the person as close to a biblical world view as I can. And I know this is challenging.

There is no perfect candidate. But we have to look very carefully at these issues and remember this great privilege we have in our nation. Our laws are based on our faith. Many times in the first 150 years of our history the Supreme Court actually referred to America as a Christian nation.

But we have strayed so far from that. And maybe that is why a recent poll revealed that Americans are less happy today than they were 30 years ago. It is because we have turned away from God and we have forgotten God. But here is what the Bible says in Psalm 33 12. Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord. We need to turn back to the Lord again.

We need Him desperately. It concerns me that I cannot find the United States of America in the end time scenario. I have been a student of Bible prophecy for 50 years. I am not an expert on it.

But I have been a student of it. And as you look at the end times and the superpowers that will be in place it is concerning that we can't find America. We at this moment still are the reigning superpower. Who knows how long that will last with the emergence of China and the aggression of Russia and all the things changing around the world. But at the moment we are still a powerful nation on this earth with great influence. But why are we not in the end time scenario? Where is Waldo?

Have you ever seen those little books? Waldo. Find Waldo. Where is America? Some would say well we are Babylon.

I don't really agree with that. I don't think you can find us. Now to the point you can find the nation Israel.

She is squarely in the end time scenario. You can find possibly Russia if she is Magog. You can find Iran or Persia.

I already mentioned that. But you can't find America. Why are we not there?

Well we know that there is going to come an anti-Christ. He will have ten nations confederated under him. Would we be one of those nations?

Diminished in economic military power? I don't know. Could be. Would we be taken out through some kind of a nuclear exchange? I hope not. I pray not. I don't think we would necessarily. But you can't rule it out completely.

I have another idea. What if so many Americans came to Christ that when the rapture happened so many of us were in heaven. You know that is why we are not a super power. I don't know.

But I know this. We need to turn back to God. He has blessed us.

And I believe He will bless us again. But let's be responsible. Let's pray for our nation. Let's do what we can for our nation.

And let's make sure we all get out there and vote. So happiness. It comes from not doing the wrong things. The happy person walks the right way.

Number two. The happy person thinks the right way. The happy person thinks the right way. Look at verse two. His delight is in the law of the Lord and in it does He meditate day and night. Now law of the Lord could just as easily be translated to word of the Lord.

Or to put it another way. He meditates in the Bible day and night. Okay so that is the secret.

Don't live in this ungodly way but meditate in the word of God. He delights in it. I love that. It is not something you have to do. It is something you want to do.

C.H. Spurgeon a great preacher from days gone by made this statement and I quote. Man must have some delight. Some supreme pleasure. His heart was never meant to be a vacuum. If it is not filled with the best things it will be filled with the unworthy and disappointing.

End quote. What do you delight in? You take joy in it. Some people delight in eating. Eating.

Others delight in exercise. I don't understand those people. But they do. Others delight in criticizing. It is almost like a sport for them. Oh they love to criticize.

The only exercise they get is jumping to conclusions and running down others. Some delight in the word of God. And the happy person delights in the word of God day and night. You start the day with the Bible. You end the day with the Bible.

What a great way to start your day. Before you read social media. Before you check your emails.

You need to read the Bible before you do it. To get your heart and mind in the right place. Start your day with the word of God. End your day with the word of God. You know sometimes when I am going to sleep I will just go over scriptures that I have memorized.

You know like the Lord's Prayer. Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. And lead us not into temptation. That just sort of sets my mind in the right place. Or Psalm 23.

Or someone. Blessed is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. So you reflect on scripture as you are going to sleep at night. You meditate in it day and night. Now when we use the word meditate we might misunderstand. In Eastern meditation one empties their mind wearing Lululemon. Sitting in a lotus position. But in biblical meditation one fills their mind with the word of God.

Totally different. I am not emptying my mind. I am filling my mind. Another way to translate the word meditate would be to chew. To chew something. To enjoy it. To ponder it. To contemplate it.

To internalize it. He meditates. He meditates.

She meditates on the word day and night. You know we need to learn how to listen better. I find when I take notes it jogs my memory. That is why I encourage you to write things down. Or you can put them on your phone. You know type them in. Just you know do that and don't be doing other things. But you know then I will read them.

Oh right I remember that now. But the problem is with my handwriting because I type more than I write now. I used to have extremely legible handwriting. Because I was an artist and I was doing cartoon strips. And so you could really read very easily what I wrote. Now when I read what I write I think what am I a doctor now? I can't even read my own words. I have forgotten how to write well. But take notes of what you are hearing. It will jog your memory.

And we need to listen to what Scripture says. You know read the instruction book. Let's say you decided to go skydiving. How many of you have ever gone skydiving? Raise your hand.

Glad to see you are still with us. That holds no allure to me. I mean if my plane was on fire and I had a parachute I would give it a go. But apart from that I can't imagine why I would want to jump out of an airplane voluntarily.

I did hear about a guy who went skydiving and he listened very carefully to what the instructor said. Then he jumped out and he pulled his chute and nothing happened. And he pulled it again and nothing happened. And he went to the backup chute and pulled that and nothing happened.

Now he is panicking. And much to his shock as he is coming down. As he is plummeting from the sky another guy is coming up. Going up and they briefly see each other in the sky. And the guy who is skydiving says, Hey buddy do you know anything about operating parachutes? And the guy says, No but do you know anything about lighting a gas stove? Get it?

Wait. He is falling. He needs help. He doesn't know how to run his parachute or open his parachute. The other guy lit a gas stove so he shot up see. So they met each other in the air. These are the jokes people.

What do you want from me? I thought it was funny. Clearly you did not. That is ok. Hold on just one second. Just make a quick note. Never use that joke again. What was I saying?

Yes. The happy person walks the right way. They don't walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful. The happy person thinks the right way.

They meditate in, ponder, contemplate, memorize the word of God. And then the happy person is rooted the right way. Look at verse 3. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bring forth fruit in his season. His leaves shall not wither and whatsoever he does will prosper.

You are rooted the right way. You are planted. Jesus said if you continue in my word then are you my disciples. And the word continue is also translated abide. You say I don't know what that means. Is that like the dude abides in the big Lebowski?

No not really. To abide means to stay in a given place. It is like you plant a tree and you keep the tree there. Let's say I planted a tree in my backyard and I thought I don't know. This isn't a good place. I ripped it up, put it in my front yard, planted it. I don't like it there.

I think the backyard was a good choice. Rip it up. Put it back in my backyard again.

Change my mind again. That tree is going to die. If you want a tree to flourish and bring forth fruit you need to leave it in a given place and let it sink its roots deeply. The same is true in the Christian life. Here is our problem.

We get rooted up. I am in a church. I am actively involved.

I am serving the Lord. Oh I don't want to go to this church anymore. Let's go to another one.

Rip it up. Now we go over here. Oh I don't like this anymore. Oh I used to read my Bible. Now I don't do it anymore.

And you know you are always uprooting yourself and this is why you are having all these problems. But abiding is what Jesus told us we should do. He made this amazing promise. John 15. Jesus speaking, If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you. From a Greek translation it would sound something like this. Jesus speaking, If you maintain a living communion with me and my word is at home in you, you can ask it once for yourself whatever your heart desires and it will be yours. It actually says that.

So we immediately gravitate toward the latter part of that verse. Oh wow whatever my heart desires. Hold on. Condition. If I maintain a living communion with Him and His word is at home in me.

See that's gonna change what I pray for. Abiding in Christ. And what does that produce? You'll bring forth much fruit. But what does that mean?

What is fruit? Well one answer is given to us in Galatians 5 22. It says, The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If you become a Christian you should be a more loving person. Honestly I'm not that impressed with your theology if I don't see spiritual fruit in your life.

I've met people that know their Bible very well and they love to criticize other people. But I don't see love in their life. I see intolerance and meanness and harshness and I say where's the spiritual fruit? Not just the spiritual knowledge. Hey we can have both.

And we should have both. And the more I grow in the knowledge of scripture the more fruit I should have in my life. But as a believer I should be a more loving person but sometimes I'm the last one to see the fruit.

Sometimes another person can tell you if you're growing better than you can see it yourself. The best way I could probably find out how you're doing spiritually is ask your wife or your husband or your kids. How are they doing? Are they a godly man?

Is she a godly woman? Well yes. Oh great. Fruit takes time to grow. If you pulled a chair up in front of a peach tree and said I'm gonna watch the fruit grow today that's gonna be boring.

You will not see any discernible growth whatsoever but if you were to set up a camera and do some time lapse photography you would see rapid growth. Rapid growth. So as you abide in Christ as you sink your roots deeply into him you will produce spiritual fruit in your life.

That's something we should all want. So you walk the right way. Not in the counsel of the ungodly nor standing in the way of sinners nor sitting in the seat of the scornful. You think the right way meditating on God's word day and night and you're rooted the right way.

You'll be like a tree planted by the rivers of water and you'll bring forth fruit and your season and your leaves shall not wither and whatever you do shall prosper. That's the happy life. That's the holy life. That's the road to heaven. It's not the popular road. It's not the easiest road. But it is the best road.

It is the road less traveled but it's a road you want to be on. I titled this message The Road Less Traveled and that's based on a quote. This I have not memorized.

Here it is. Robert Frost wrote a poem. The title of the poem is The Road Not Taken and he says, two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled and that one has made all the difference.

That's it. So you're like in the forest. There's two roads. There's the easy road. There's the more difficult road. There's the popular road. There's the unpopular road. There is the narrow road that leads to life and there is the broad road that leads to destruction.

I decide which road I'm gonna put my life on. Jesus summed up the Sermon on the Mount as follows. Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I'll tell you what he's like. He's like a wise man who built his house on the rock and the storms came and beat against that house and it stood because it was built on the rock. But whoever hears these sayings of mine and does not do them, he's like a foolish man who builds his house on the sand and the storms come and beat on that house and it falls. It's like building sand castles. You know, I've come to the conclusion that the idea of the beach is better than the actual beach.

You know what I'm saying? I like the idea of the beach. Let's go to the beach. That's a great idea. So you get down on the beach and you lay out your towel and you set up your beach chair and you've got, if you're like me, your backpack, I've got some books, some water, a sandwich, my sunglasses, some music to listen to, some headphones of some kind and now I'm sitting there.

This is so great. I love the beach but now I'm hot and I'm sweating. Okay, so I need to go in the ocean but the ocean in California is so cold to me, always.

Even in summer, it seems cold. So I'm in the ocean and I see some guy has set his beach towel up next to my beach towel. He has the whole beach to choose from. He's set up right next to me and his beach towel is touching my towel.

No touching. What are you doing? And now I come back in and he's on his phone on speaker and I'm hearing the whole conversation.

Why? And now somebody else over here is set up and they're listening to music too loudly and now I just saw the seagull is flying off with my lunch, wearing my sunglasses, hey. Then I discovered the best part of the beach is leaving it. But one thing I do enjoy when I'm at the beach, if I'm with my grandkids, at least when they were smaller, we'd build sandcastles. I build really primitive sandcastles. It's just, okay, here's a tower and here's some shells and now I take the sand and I let it go through my hands with the water and a little moat, we're done.

Other people build elaborate sandcastles because it takes forever. But you know, the tide is gonna rise and that sandcastle will be gone. That's what it's like to build your life on sand or build your life without Christ. So here's how Psalm 1 ends. Verse 4, the ungodly are not so.

They're like worthless chaffs scattered by the wind. They'll be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly for the Lord watches over the path of the godly. But the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

There it is. There's your choice in life. The happy road or the road to misery. The road to heaven or the road to hell. The life of the godly or the life of the ungodly. The life built on rock or the life built on sand.

You can be planted or you can be rootless. You have a choice in life. When I was talking to those kids, I said, you have your whole life in front of you. Make the right choices now and you won't regret it later. But I think of so many people who made the wrong choices. You know them.

Maybe you're one of them. But here's the good news. Even if you've made some bad choices, it's not too late to change. It's not too late to come to the Lord and say, Lord, I've made a mess of my life. I've missed opportunities. I've wasted time. I've wasted so many things. But I'm coming to you and I'm asking you to help me and to change me and forgive me.

That's why Jesus died on the cross. Listen, someone, there's only one person who has ever lived someone perfectly. And it's me. Let me explain. That was a joke.

It's not me. No one has. But Jesus lived it perfectly. He never walked on the council of the ungodly. He never walked on the way of sinners or sat on the seat of the scornful.

He did meditate in God's word day and night. He was like that tree planted by the rivers of water that brought forth fruit in his season. But then he went and died on a tree, so to speak. The Bible says, cursed is every man that hangs on a tree. Jesus died on the cross for our sin so we could be forgiven in life.

And so we could spend eternity with him. Jesus says, narrow is the way that leads to life and few there are that find it. Yes, it is the road less traveled. But it is the best road. And as far as I'm concerned, it's the only road.

Are you on this road? Do you know when you die, you will go to heaven? In the beginning of this message, I talked about the Lord's return. I believe that Jesus could come back at any moment. If he were to come back today, would you be ready to meet him?

And if not, would you like to be? We're gonna close now in prayer and I'm going to extend an invitation to anyone here, anyone watching, wherever you are. If you don't have this relationship with Jesus Christ, it can start for you now. If you need to get right with God, I encourage you to do it.

Right here, right now. Let's pray. Father, would you speak to the hearts of those that do not yet know you? Speak to the hearts of those who have known you but have gone astray and they need to return to you.

Bring them to yourself now, we pray. While our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed, maybe you would say, I need Jesus. I'm not sure if my sin is forgiven. I don't have the confidence that I will go to heaven, but I want it. I want to be ready for the Lord's return. Pray for me. If you want Jesus Christ to come into your life, if you want him to forgive you of your sin, if you want to go to heaven when you die or you want to be ready for the Lord's return or make a recommitment to him wherever you are, would you just lift up your hand right now and I'd like to pray for you. Raise your hand up saying, I need Jesus today. Pray for me. Let me pray for you now, God bless you. Raise your hand up high where I can see it. God bless you.

Anybody else? Let me pray for you today. Raise your hand up. God bless you.

Some of you are watching on a screen. I can't see you there, of course, but the Lord sees you. You might want to raise your hand as well and all of you that have raised your hand, you that want to make this commitment to Christ, you could just pray this prayer after me right now.

In fact, why don't we all just pray it together to encourage those that are praying it for the first time. Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on that cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin and I choose to follow you from this moment forward.

I want to be on the narrow road that leads to life. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name I ask it, amen. Amen. God bless you all. Hey, everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-21 04:07:58 / 2024-04-21 04:25:52 / 18

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