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The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith, Part 1 | Jonah’s Success in Nineveh

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 2, 2024 3:00 am

The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith, Part 1 | Jonah’s Success in Nineveh

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 2, 2024 3:00 am

Some seem to believe the realm of evangelism is for “men of the cloth” . . . for pastors, ministers, evangelists. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie says it’s a privilege and responsibility shared by all believers. In recent days, he’s been pointing out the tremendous lessons we can learn from Jonah’s success in Nineveh. It was the most successful evangelistic gathering in history. And there are six practical lessons we can learn from that account. Let’s take some notes.

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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. It's our job to deliver the good news, and Pastor Greg Laurie says it's imperative to make sure that life-saving news gets through. God has given you a simple message to give you. Your job is to deliver the message.

Some seem to believe the realm of evangelism is for men of the cloth, for pastors, ministers, evangelists. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says it's a privilege and responsibility shared by all believers. In recent days, he's been pointing out the tremendous lessons we can learn from Jonah's success in Nineveh. It was the most successful evangelistic gathering in history, and there are six practical lessons we can learn from that account.

Let's take some notes. Back to the story of Jonah. 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, 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. God turned around 300,000 people through one man.

How was he able to do this? 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. Number two, Jonah went to where the people were. Jonah went to where the people were. Jonah 3-3 says, Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Nineveh was a very large city.

It took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day's journey into the city, crying, 40 more days and Nineveh will be overthrown. Then we read these words.

The Ninevites believed God. Listen, we need to go to unexpected people in unexpected places to share with them what will be an unexpected message. And this is the thing. As Christians, we're not called to isolate. We're called to infiltrate and we're called to permeate. Number three, our message, the message of the gospel, must be delivered with urgency.

It must be delivered with urgency. Notice it says in Jonah 3-4, as he entered the city, he cried out, 40 days in Nineveh will be overthrown. He cried out. This is, by the way, not the first time that Jonah cried. He also cried out in the belly of the fish.

In Jonah 2, we read, Jonah prayed to the Lord, his God from the fish's belly, and he said, I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction and he answered me out of the belly of Sheol. I cried and you heard my voice. Are you in a time of affliction? Are you in a time of difficulty? Are you in a time of trial? Cry out to the Lord. Jeremiah 33, he says, Call out to me and I will answer you, says the Lord.

I'll show you great and mighty things that you do not know. Jonah took the desperation he felt in the belly of the sea creature and channeled it in what God had called him to do in bringing the message to the people of Nineveh. Jonah had been transformed in the fish's belly. Jonah should have died in the fish's belly. He had been saved and preserved by God. Jonah was a resurrection man.

And people cannot argue with a transformed life. Jonah should have been dead, but he was alive and well. Because of this, there was an urgency and there was a passion in what he was saying.

Do you have an urgency and a passion in reaching other people? Jonah certainly had it. There was an authenticity in his voice. He was a changed man, as I pointed out. He probably was also a bleached man who smelled of vomit, perhaps, and fish. But he had a mission and he was going to fulfill that mission and the people of Nineveh could see this was a resurrection man.

This was a man brought back from the dead. There's a lot of power in your personal story. And I want to talk about that a little bit in our next message from this series that we call Refreshing. How to tell your personal story when you share your faith with others.

Point number four. We are to preach the message He has given us. Not our own message. Our own version of the gospel. The message He has given us. Verse two here in Jonah three says, Go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I give to you. God has given you a simple message to give you.

Your job is to deliver the message. I used to be a paperboy and I had a paper route and I had a really cool bicycle. It was a Schwinn stingray with a handlebar. Sometimes they're called ape hangers. It had a roll bar, a banana seat, and best of all a stick shift.

A stick shift on a bicycle. I don't even think they would allow that today. But I had my bags holding my newspapers cruising around in my Schwinn stingray and my objective was to deliver the paper. I got pretty good at clearing the hedges and sideways throw, the over the top throw, the underhanded throw, you know, and I got pretty good at it. So my job was not to write the news. My job was not to be in the news. My job was to deliver the news. That's still my job. My job is to deliver the good news of the gospel. I don't need to add to it.

I don't need to take away from it. And that brings me to my next point. We must declare the gospel.

Now listen. If I have the luxury of time, I'll take the time to hang out with the person, talk with them, get to know them, enter their world. I won't hit them immediately with both gospel barrels. It might be a time of just sowing the seed. It might be a time of watering the seed that someone else sowed of the gospel in their heart. And it might be a time to reap. There have been times when the Lord has directed me to ask a person point blank, would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now?

It doesn't happen all that often. But I think of one time when I was out to lunch with some of the pastors from our church and the server was helping us and she took our order. She said, you guys are from the church here in town, Harvest, right?

Yes, we are. Yeah, she said, I've been thinking of coming out to your church one of your service times because I need to get right with God. And I felt prompted by the Lord right then and there to ask her a question. I said, would you like to get right with God right here right now? She looked a little surprised. She's got her tray, you know, here. I said, yeah, you could pray right here and right now and commit your life to Jesus Christ.

She set her tray down and said, yes, I would like to do that. And I was able to lead that server to the Lord. Now, that's not normally what happens to me, but there are those moments when the Lord says, do it now. Other times we're just sowing the seed.

We're watering the seed. So if you have the luxury of time, do that. But let's contrast that to a different scenario.

Let's say you're in a plane and all four of the engines were out and the plane was on fire and it was headed to the earth. So you know your time is limited. I hope you would have the presence of mind to proclaim the gospel. You don't have time to turn to your seat mate and say, well, tell me a little bit about yourself.

Where do you live? No, no. Tell him the gospel. There's an urgency. That was the case with Jonah. He had basically 40 days to reach 300,000 people. So with this urgency he went and preached this message. Let me say something about preaching because the Bible says that we should preach the word and be persistent whether the time is favorable or not. We are to preach the word. Preaching doesn't mean yelling. Preaching is proclamation. Maybe you elevate your voice to be heard by a large crowd. Maybe you're talking to people one on one. I've actually seen Christians like preaching, yelling at people.

That's crazy. Don't do that. Calm down. Lower your volume. Listen more. And lovingly share in an understandable way the things that they need to hear.

The primary way that God has chosen to reach nonbelievers is through the verbal articulation of the gospel. You may preach it. You may text it. You may tweet it.

You may share it conversationally. But the idea is I tell people that there is a God in heaven who loves them and sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for their sin. And Christ rose again from the dead three days later.

Listen to this. There's only two things the Bible tells us have power. It's God Himself and the gospel. The gospel in particular.

Because we read over in Romans 1 16 Paul says, So the word for power that Paul uses is the Greek word dunamis. The story is told of a man named Alfred Nobel. He had invented this material that exploded.

There had never been anything like it before. What would he call this explosive device? He talked to a friend who knew Greek and a Nobel asked him, What is the Greek word for explosive power? And the man said, Oh, it's dunamis.

And so he called it dynamite. So there's dynamic, dunamis, explosive power in the simple message of the gospel. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Well, we're concentrating on the gospel today. The good news of God's love.

Pastor Greg is basing our studies in Jonah chapter 3. The gospel. What is the gospel? We talk about the gospel. Oh, I love the gospel. I live by the gospel. We should preach the gospel. Do we know what the gospel is? Why do we make the gospel so complex?

It isn't. What does the word gospel mean? Literal translation, good news. It's good news. Why do we make the good news bad news? And the way we deliver it or the way we distort it or the way we leave parts out of it.

We don't know. Deliver the explosive dynamic dynamite gospel of good news to people. Now sometimes before we can appreciate the good news we have to first know the bad news. I heard about two old guys that loved to play baseball. And they wondered, will there be baseball in heaven? So they made a deal if one of them went to heaven first he would somehow communicate with the other and tell him whether or not there was baseball in heaven. Well one of the friends passed and a week later he spoke to his buddy still on the earth through the clouds. He said, buddy I've got good news for you. There's baseball in heaven. And his friend was so overjoyed and he says, but I've got some bad news too. You're pitching on Friday.

That's a joke that never happened. But good news and bad news. So here's the bad news. You're a sinner. I'm a sinner. We're all sinners.

The Bible says in Romans 3, 23, we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We also read in 1 John 1.8, if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Don't assume that your listener will necessarily know what sin is.

So you may have to help them with this. In the Bible sin can be translated different ways. One word that the Bible uses for sin is translated trespass. And that means to cross a line. So you've seen the little signs in the park. No trespassing.

Right? So you want to immediately step over it and step on the grass. Or if it says don't touch wet paint you want to touch it don't you. So trespass is to deliberately cross a line.

But another translation of the word sin from the Greek word harmatia means to miss the mark. Let's imagine we're having a game of archery together. And you go first. And you fire all ten arrows into that target. But none hit the bullseye. So you miss the mark.

Now let's say that I step up with my ten arrows and I miss the target altogether. I hit a cow over in the field. I hit a building.

I hit a bird flying over. So I miss the mark. Now did I miss the mark more than you miss the mark?

Yes. But the goal is you've got to get the bullseye. And the bullseye is perfection. So when the Bible says I've sinned or missed the mark it means I've fallen short of God's standard for humanity.

What is that? Perfection. So a person might say to you, well are you perfect?

Your answer must be no. That's where Jesus comes in. Because God knew I could not hit this mark. God knew I could not be a perfect person. By the way someone might say, well I'm a good person and you might be surprised to hear me say, I won't necessarily dispute that. I would not say, no you're not a good person. You're a bad person.

I would say, I'm sure you're a good person. But you know what? You're not good enough to get to heaven.

Because you've missed the mark. But here's the good news. Jesus died on the cross for your sin. Romans 5 says God showed us great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Here's the verse every Christian should memorize.

Get this in your brain. John 3 16. For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. That's the gospel in a nutshell.

Share that message with someone. If you know John 3 16 you are effectively armed and dangerous. One last point. Jonah's message was an unapologetic biblical directive from God Almighty and so is the gospel. And so as we proclaim this message of Jesus He's not one of many options.

He's the only choice. Another verse you ought to memorize. John 14 6. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but through me. There's only one way to come into this relationship with God.

Because the Bible says there is no other name given under heaven whereby a man can be saved. The greatest revival in the history of the world came to Nineveh because Jonah proclaimed God's message and not what they necessarily wanted to hear. Let me close by saying I challenge you to leave your comfort zone. I encourage you to go to your Nineveh so to speak and engage people in conversations about Jesus. I'll talk about this more next time.

But let me just close with this. Maybe as you're watching this you have not believed the gospel. What is the gospel?

Again it's good news. The gospel says God loves you and God has a plan for you. And it says God will forgive you of all of your sin but you must admit you're a sinner. And you must ask Jesus Christ to come into your life to be your Savior and Lord.

And you can do that right here right now. Jesus who died on that cross and rose again from the dead three days later stands at the door of your life and He knocks. And He says if you'll hear His voice and open the door He'll come in. One day the people came to Jesus and said we want to see a miracle. We want to see a sign. Here's what Christ said. No sign will be given you but that of the prophet Jonah. That is Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish. So will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. In other words Jesus says you want a sign?

Here it is. I died on the cross for your sin and I rose again from the dead. You might say oh come on Greg if you could just do a miracle.

Something to impress me. Then I would believe. Show me and I'll believe. Jesus in effect says believe and I'll show you. This is the message you've been looking for.

This is the answer you wanted in life. It's a relationship with God through Jesus who can come and live in your life and listen. Forgive you of all of your sins. You can put your past behind you and have a new beginning.

A fresh start. But you need Jesus to do that. So in a moment I'm going to pray and I'm going to lead a prayer. And I would ask any of you that are watching right now who have never asked Jesus to come into your life. You don't have the confidence that you'll go to heaven when you die.

You have guilt that you carry around with you. I'm going to ask you to pray this prayer with me. You could pray it out loud if you like. You could pray it quietly but say this to the Lord if you want Jesus to come into your life right now. Let's pray together.

Pray these words. Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know you are the Savior. Who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now. I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and my Lord and my God and my friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer with those making a decision for the Lord here on today's edition of A New Beginning. And if you've just prayed that prayer and you've meant those words sincerely, the Lord has heard you and forgiven you of your sin. And we want to help you get started in this newfound faith of yours. We want to send you Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible.

It's a unique edition of God's Word with scores of helps that will answer the questions you might have and help you build a solid foundation for your faith. We'll send it without charge. Just ask for the New Believers Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300. Call anytime 1-800-821-3300.

Or write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or just go online to harvest.org and click the words Know God. Well it's such a privilege to have author J. Warner Wallace with us today, Jim Wallace, former cold case detective. And we're making available his brand new book called The Truth in True Crime.

Pastor Greg? You know, it seems like people are so interested in crime. You know, there's podcasts dedicated to it, television shows, obviously films. And people just love to—why do you think that is? Why are we drawn to that? Well, I think we all recognize—and this is one of the chapters of the book—you know, are we innately good and corrupted by the systems in which we live?

Or are we uniquely fallen and prone to corrupting the systems in which we live? And I think because we recognize that, yeah, sadly, I think a lot of times when you watch true crime stories, you see people you know or you see some side of yourself that's intriguing. Look, Dateline, I've been on Dateline probably, I think, more than any other detective in the country.

And my cases, like all the other ones you're probably going to watch on Dateline, usually involve a spouse killing his spouse or her spouse. And when we watch those shows, we kind of ask ourselves, could that be me? Because we innately know that there's something about our nature that needs fixing. That's why I think the gospel—I always say this, and I say this in one chapter of the book—the gospel cures every kind of stupid you can think of.

Including marriage stupid and murder stupid and political stupid and cultural stupid, whatever the stupid is. And I think because we know that, we have this innate sense that, yeah, we need fixing. We're intrigued with shows that demonstrate how much we need fixing. Wow, that's a great statement.

Well, you've written about these ideas and much more in your brand-new book, The Truth in True Crime. And we're offering this new book by J. Warner Wallace to you for your gift of any size. So whatever you can send to support our ministry and help us to continue to teach the Word of God and to preach the gospel, which is so desperately needed. It seems to me, Jim, people are drifting, even in the church, so far from a biblical worldview. You know, and it seems to me it's so important for us to dig into Scripture and think and act biblically.

Yeah, no doubt. As a matter of fact, Susie's—my wife's not here with me today, but she was here last time we did this. And she wanted me to tell you that we have been so unbelievably impacted by your gospel continuing commitment to a gospel-centered ministry, that when we have a book like this, the first person I want to have it and hopefully leverage it to spread the gospel is you. Because I feel like you get it. But I think we are moving away from the power of the gospel, the people who are willing to listen to it. Look, I know that my books are not going to change hearts. The gospel is the power of God, not my books or any argument for Christianity. But there are times people like me won't even listen to the gospel.

Like, they built this wall around themselves, they won't hear it. And so I think from my perspective, I'm just trying to help lower that barrier, because it's not anything I say that's going to change your life. It is the gospel.

You simply have to have the barriers down so you'll listen to it. Right. So this is a great tool to help get those barriers down. A great resource you can share with people who maybe seem like they're completely closed to the gospel like Jim once was. And the book is called The Truth in True Crime, available to you for your gift of any size this month.

Yeah, that's right. It's such a fascinating book. It offers a unique application of biblical insights to the facts of true crime investigations. Let us send this your way. We'll send it to thank you for your investment in keeping these daily studies coming your way. Just ask for The Truth in True Crime when you call 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or just go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, more insights on doing our part and sharing the gospel as the series called Refresh continues. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-02 05:19:16 / 2024-05-02 05:29:20 / 10

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