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The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith, Part 1 | The Happiest Christians

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
April 30, 2024 3:00 am

The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith, Part 1 | The Happiest Christians

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 30, 2024 3:00 am

Whatever we’ve accumulated in life, we can’t take it with us when life is over. It’s like a game of Monopoly . . . the cash, the houses, the hotels . . . when the game is over, it all goes back in the box. But there is one exception: people. We can take people to Heaven with us. The Lord invites us, urges us, to share the gospel, and invite them to Christ. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie offers good encouragement as a part of his encouraging series called Refresh.

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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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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. Often as Christians, we hoard the truth. But listen, the gospel by design is meant to be shared, not hid. And sometimes we're hoarders of truth instead of sharers of hope. And coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out when we share the hope of the gospel, we'll find that we live more hopeful, fulfilled lives ourselves. As you give to and serve others, you yourself will be replenished and refreshed. Whatever we've accumulated in life, we can take it with us when life is over. It's like a game of Monopoly, the cash, the houses, the hotels.

When the game is over, it all goes back in the box. But there is one exception, people. We can take people to heaven with us. The Lord invites us, urges us to share the gospel and invite them to Christ. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie offers good encouragement as a part of his encouraging series called Refresh. We all know as Christians, we're supposed to share our faith.

You've probably heard of the Great Commission. In case you don't know what it is, it's found in two gospels, Matthew and Mark. Mark's version has Jesus saying, go into all the world and preach the gospel. Matthew's version is, go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And lo, I am with you always, says our Lord.

The Great Commission. We know we're supposed to do it. But frankly, most of us don't. Studies have shown that 95 percent of Christians have never led another person to Christ. Only 2 percent of churchgoers invited an unchurched person to church in the last year.

And 59 percent of all Christians say they seldom or never share their faith with others. Honestly, we're a little bit like Jonah. By the way, we're going to be looking at Jonah chapter 3.

So turn in your Bibles there. And we talked about Jonah a little bit in my last message, which was titled, The Refreshing Power of Revival. But we can be like Jonah. We don't want to bother ourselves with the needs of others.

We'll get into this a little bit more in a few moments. But Jonah was called to go preach to these people who lived in Nineveh. And Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. And the Assyrians were the enemies of the Israelites. And as a patriotic Jew, he didn't want to go preach to his enemies.

He didn't care about them. And we can be this way as well. If we're brutally honest, we'll say, I don't really care that much about nonbelievers. And I have what I need. And I don't want to share it. Hey, this goes back to our childhood when we were taught to share. We would be happily playing with a little toy as a baby or a toddler. And then another child's introduced into this setting. And someone says, share your toy with your cousin or your little friend.

And you start fighting over the toy. We don't like to share. Often as Christians, we hoard the truth. But listen, the gospel by design is meant to be shared, not kid. And sometimes we're hoarders of truth instead of sharers of hope. Sometimes we become so inward in our focus we miss this great truth. As you give to and serve others, you yourself will be replenished and refreshed. Jesus put it this way. He said, give and it shall be given to you. Pressed down. Shaken together.

Running over. And with the same measure you give, it will be given back to you. Listen. The Bible says that God is looking for people to show Himself strong on behalf of.

He's looking for someone like you who will actually say, use me Lord. I'll go where you want me to go. I'll say what you want me to say.

Listen. Will you be that person? If so, a wonderful adventure awaits you. I believe that sharing your faith can be exciting, joyful, and dare I use the word fun.

Yes you heard me right. Psalm 126 says, those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying their sheaves with them. You've heard that old song, bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves. That's what that's about. You go out with sadness, concern for people that don't know the Lord, but you come back with joy because people have come to Christ. Jesus said, there's joy in heaven over one sinner that comes to repentance.

And C.S. Lewis pointed out, quote, joy is a serious business of heaven. End quote. Jesus said, it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. And that word blessed is interchangeable with the word happy.

So you can translate it as follows. It's a happier thing to give than it is to receive. And that is certainly true when we're sharing the message of the gospel. I already pointed out that there's joy in heaven every time a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ. And if there's joy in heaven because of that, there ought to be joy on earth and in our hearts if we had the privilege of playing a role in that as well. Listen, next to personally knowing the Lord, the greatest joy I know is bringing others to Him and then watching them grow and be transformed. Third John 1 says, I have no greater joy than to hear my children are walking in truth. Joy. There's joy in telling people about Jesus and seeing them grow in Jesus. And the apostle Paul wrote to the believers there in Thessalonica about the great joy he was experiencing as he watched them grow spiritually. And he said in 1 Thessalonians 2 19, what is our hope or our joy or crown of boasting before the Lord Jesus at His coming?

Is it not you? You, Paul writes, are our glory and our joy. Listen to this. The happiest Christians are the evangelistic Christians. Let me say that again. The happiest Christians I know are the evangelistic Christians and the least happy Christians I know are the nitpicky kind. They're arguing over theological minutia and never telling others about Jesus. It was the old country preacher Vance Havner who once said, if we're too busy using our sickles on each other, we're going to miss the harvest.

End quote. Yes, there is a happiness that we are missing out on if we're not sharing our faith. You know they have done studies and found that when you help someone else there's an actual release of endorphins. They call it the helper's high. An actual euphoria that one can experience by helping a person.

Now that's true in just helping in general. But when you're pointing a person to Christ and they would come to believe in Him that's the greatest joy of all. You know as Christians sometimes we find ourselves down and depressed and lethargic.

We don't understand it because we're reading our Bibles. We're praying. We're going to church. We might even be in a small group. But there's a sort of depression that is set into our life and we wonder why. Maybe it's because you need to start thinking of others instead of just yourself. Maybe this is not all about you.

This is about you getting grounded in your faith and then helping others to come and believe in Jesus. I have a 10-step cure for depression. Now before I give it to you let me just say I acknowledge the reality of clinical depression. And I know some people have a serious struggle with this.

I'm not really talking about that. Talking about the depression that many people have in life. So I have a 10-step cure for depression.

So you might want to write this down. 10 steps. Step number one. Find someone who has greater needs than you and do something for them. Find someone who has greater needs than you and do something for them. That's step number one. Step number two is repeat step number one nine more times.

Get it? The idea is look at the needs of others and share Jesus with them. You see Satan wants to steal your joy as a Christian and he wants to keep people from coming to Christ. He doesn't want you to hear what I'm saying to you right now because it's a direct threat to the kingdom of darkness. The devil's not happy he lost you. He's not happy that you transferred your citizenship from his kingdom to God's kingdom. He's not happy you changed your eternal address from hell to heaven.

But I'll tell you what. If you want to make him really unhappy start trying to bring people out of his kingdom into God's kingdom. But listen God wants us to do this. He wants us to share our faith because God chooses to reach people through people. In fact we're told over in Romans 10 14 how can they call on him unless they've believed in him. How can they believe in him unless they've heard about him. And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them.

How true. Now look God could do this work without us. He could roll away the heavens and poke his face through and say hello humanity I'm God and you're not.

Believe in me right now but no God chooses to reach people through people. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Well we're considering the story of Jonah today and Pastor Greg points out the lessons it teaches us about the importance of evangelism. Now when we think of the story of Jonah as I pointed out last time we focus on the whale. But the book of Jonah is not about a whale. There's only two verses that deal with that crazy sea monster he got swallowed by.

The book of Jonah is a story of a massive revival that came about through the efforts of one man and that man was Jonah. He was called to preach to Nineveh which was a great city by the way. The population of Nineveh was around 300,000. It might have been a little smaller but that was a mega city back at that time. The reason the population was so high is because it became the capital of Assyria. There was a magnificent palace built there so it was a very very large city of its day.

300,000 strong. It was a great city we read in Jonah 1.2. But Jonah said, I don't want to go preach to that great city. So then we read in Jonah 1.4, God sent a great wind and then that wind brought a storm and Jonah was ultimately swallowed by a great fish. Jonah 1.17.

But the ultimate story of Jonah is about a great God who showed great love to a lost city like Nineveh and offered them His forgiveness. If we miss that we've missed the whole point of the story. So I heard the story of a police officer who pulled over some guy who had two penguins in the back seat of his car. The officer said, sir I don't know if you know this but penguins are an endangered species.

You can't drive around with penguins in your car so take them to the zoo. And the man said, I will officer. The next day the officer saw him driving around with the penguins again but this time they were wearing Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses. The officer said, excuse me I told you to take those penguins to the zoo yesterday. The man said, I did.

And now we are going to the beach today. Yeah. I think he kind of missed the point of what the officer was trying to say. And we can very easily miss the point of the book of Jonah. God turned around 300,000 people through one man.

How was he able to do this? Because you and I well we want to be the Jonah in our neighborhood. The Jonah in our family. The Jonah in our sphere of influence.

Hopefully mine is being swallowed by a sea monster. Ok so if you are taking notes here is point number one. It takes a changed person to change other people. It takes a changed person to change other people. It started with Jonah himself. Of course he was swallowed by maybe the whale or whatever that creature was. And it was in the belly of that whale that Jonah had a personal revival.

It was there that he repented of his sin and recommitted himself to the Lord and was willing to do what the Lord had called him to do. And so what happened? The whale cruises up to the beach there on Nineveh. I wonder what that was like. You are just sitting out on the beach catching some rays, watching the surf. And all of a sudden you see this large object coming toward you. The Ninevites might have stood up.

What is that? It is a whale. And the whale pulls right up in the shore and opens its mouth and vomits. The Bible says he vomited. Jonah out comes Jonah. Boom.

Ta da. I wonder what he looked like. His skin was probably bleached white from the gastric juices of the sea creature.

He probably smelled worse than anyone you have ever smelled before. And he has a message. 40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown. Wow. What a story this is. But listen.

Jonah was the right man at the right place at the right time. I wonder if you know somebody right now that the Lord has been nudging you to talk to. You know it is interesting for me because sometimes they will be out and about and I will just see someone. And I just, the Lord, I don't know how to explain this but just in my heart I sense I should go start a conversation with them. And I don't know what to say to them exactly. I don't know how the conversation will go.

I don't know anything about them but I have sensed, I have come to realize that I need to respond to those promptings of the Holy Spirit. That is how it starts. It is just a little nudge. A little prompting. A little direction. Look at that person right there.

Why don't you engage that person in a conversation? Did it ever occur to you that God has placed you right where you are right now to reach certain people? One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of the beauty queen Hadassah. It is found in the book of Esther. The king of Persia wanted a new queen. So he had this beauty contest and Hadassah a very attractive young Jewish woman entered the contest. She had been raised by her uncle Mordecai.

Her father had died. And incredibly she won the beauty contest and she became the queen of Persia. Sounds like a fairy tale right?

Her prince comes and now she is the queen. And if it was a fairy tale it would end with these words. And they lived happily ever after. But this isn't a fairy tale. This is a Bible story which means it is true.

It actually happened. Because a villain enters the story. More sinister than any villain you have seen in any child story with a plan to literally exterminate the Jewish people. And meanwhile Hadassah also known as Queen Esther was oblivious to what was going on.

The king signed a decree that every Jew would be put to death. But Esther was living in the lap of luxury. You know she was being pampered there in the palace.

And she knew nothing of the plight of her fellow Jews. So one day her uncle Mordecai shows up outside the walls of the city. And he is calling out for Esther.

Someone says I think this guy is related to you. She goes oh send him some new clothes. And he didn't want new clothes.

He wanted her attention. And I love what he said to his niece. He says to her if you keep quiet at a time like this deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place. But you and your relatives will die. Then Mordecai makes this very well known statement.

But who knows. Perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this. In other words he's saying Esther this is your wake-up call. This is why you are where you are. You're not there by coincidence. You're there by providence to save your people. And if you don't do it God will find someone else.

So did it ever occur to you that you are where you are because God wants you there? See the problem is is when we become Christians we want to remove ourselves from bad influences. Stay away from ungodly people who might tempt us to do ungodly things.

And that's good. But we have to be careful that we don't lose contact with non-believers. We can sort of retreat in what we might describe as a Christian bubble. You know we we listen to Christian radio. We buy our car from a Christian car dealer. We watch Christian movies. And we've boycotted so many stores there's none left to go to anymore. We're sort of isolated all by ourselves. But listen Jesus said go into all the world and preach the gospel. So I have to go. I have to leave my comfort zone. My safety zone even. Jesus did not say the whole world should go to church.

But He did in effect say the church should go to the whole world. So you need to go to where people are. To that person in the restaurant that's serving you. Tell them that God loves them. Make sure you leave a tip.

Don't be a cheapskate. Nothing worse than sharing your faith with a waitress or a server and then not leaving them a very generous tip. But what about that person?

You're pumping gas around the other side putting gas in their car. There just might come a moment for you to start a little conversation start by praying and ask the Lord to lead us. Because you are where you are for such a time as this.

Now listen to this. God does not need you to accomplish His work. God can reach people without you but He would rather reach people with you and through you.

Again Mordecai said to Esther, if you keep quiet at a time like this deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place. So seize the moment. Pastor Greg Laurie encouraging us to seize the moment. To take advantage of those opportunities God gives us to share the hope of Christ. Good encouragement today here on A New Beginning and there's more to come from this message. Pastor Greg let's do what you said and seize the moment and invite someone listening to accept the Lord's offer of salvation. They don't know for sure if they'll go to heaven when this life is over.

What would you say to someone who wants to take care of that right now today? I would say that God is just a prayer away. You know it doesn't take years to become a Christian. It doesn't take months. Frankly it doesn't even take hours.

It can happen so quickly. It just starts with you saying to God I know I'm a sinner. I know that you love me. I know that you sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sin and pay for those sins and then to rise again from the dead and I want Him to come into my life. So here's my question to you.

Have you done that yet? Because Jesus who did die on that cross and rose again from the dead three days later is alive and standing at the door of your life right now and He's knocking and He's saying if you'll hear my voice and open the door I will come in. Why don't you just stop whatever it is you're doing and pray this prayer with me. Say Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner but I know that you are the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I'm sorry for my sin and I turn from it now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward. I ask all of this in Jesus name.

Amen. Listen if you just prayed that prayer the Bible promises that God has heard your prayer and has answered that prayer. The Bible says that we will confess our sin. He's faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So God bless you.

You've made the right decision. The decision to follow Jesus Christ. Yeah that's right and listen Pastor Greg would like to help you get started off right living for the Lord. He'd like to send you his New Believer's Bible. It features hundreds of helps for new believers and it's written in an easy to understand translation. So contact us for your free copy of the New Believer's Bible. Call 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Call anytime or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org and click know God. Well we're here to talk with Pastor Levi Lesko about his new book called Marvel at the Moon. It's a 90-day devotional for kids.

Now we can't show you the book on radio but you can hear one of the devotions so listen to this. Be like the moon. Jesus said I am the light of the world.

John 8 12. Can you know the moon doesn't shine? It doesn't even glow. Now you may be thinking sure then what's the big bright thing in the sky every night? Okay yeah it's the moon but it's not actually shining. It's reflecting.

Let's try a little demonstration to explain. Grab a small mirror and angle it so the sun hits it. The mirror gets bright right? But is the mirror making a light? No it's reflecting it. The moon does the same thing. It doesn't make its own light. Instead it acts like a mirror.

A gigantic gray dusty mirror that reflects the sun's light. Well that's just a portion of devotion number four and our thanks to Meadow for reading that for us. Pastor Levi there's so much humor and insight and it's just a lot of fun to read these devotions isn't it?

Yeah you're absolutely right. I think when you hear that and that beautiful child's voice you realize why Jesus was so often drawn to children and why children loved being around Jesus. He told his disciples, don't forbid the little kids from coming to me. And I think for us as grown-ups with our big person problems and our full schedules, Jesus invites us to become childlike in our faith.

Not childish, I'm not saying immature of course, but I'm saying childlike. That we would have that spirit of whimsy, of wonder. That we would have our imaginations awakened and that we would, you know kids are so great they can play with leaves and grass and streams and they don't need, you know, like your kid will get a great expensive toy to play with the box more than they play with the toy, you know, because it becomes a rocket ship or it becomes a race car.

And I think if we had that kind of imagination awakened we would find a lot less stress and a lot more serenity in our lives. Thanks Levi. So that's great insight from Pastor Levi Lusko talking about his new book Marvel at the Moon, 90 devotions for kids based on outer space. I think your kids are going to really like this and that's why we're offering it to you for your gift of any size to our ministry. And when you send that gift in, and I ask you to be generous, we use that to continue this ministry. You know we want to reach people of all ages. And all the time I get letters from not only older folks who listen, but they tell me the little ones listen as well. And so this is a devotion that is going to be great for the kids.

Marvel at the Moon by Levi Lusko. Dave tell them how they can order a copy. Yeah you have three ways to contact us, by phone, by mail, or through our website. We're ready to send a copy your way to thank you for your partnership that helps us bring these studies to you each day.

Your support is vital. And today is our last opportunity to mention this resource. So mention Marvel at the Moon when you call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg highlights a number of specific lessons we learned from Jonah's outreach to the city of Nineveh. Good information is coming. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. 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 harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-30 05:25:55 / 2024-04-30 05:36:12 / 10

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