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God's Solution to Man's Problem | The Danger of Envy

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 20, 2024 3:00 am

God's Solution to Man's Problem | The Danger of Envy

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 20, 2024 3:00 am

When you have to walk a ways in the snow, sometimes it’s easiest to use the same footprints on your way back. They’re easy enough to see. What footprints do we leave in our lives that allow our adversary the easiest access to our thoughts and actions? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, as Pastor Greg Laurie continues his series in Genesis, we’ll see the enemy is always on the prowl, looking for his next target. But we’ll learn practical principles for locking the Devil out . . . leaving him out in the cold.

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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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Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.

If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. There are times when we can feel far away from God. Well, coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie warns us against letting the devil gain a foothold in our lives. Are you filled with anger for someone right now? If that anger is controlling your life, the person that's being hurt is you, not them.

It's eating you up inside. And the Bible actually says, don't let the sun go down while you're still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil. When you have to walk aways in the snow, sometimes it's easiest to use the same footprints on your way back.

They're easy enough to see. What footprints do we leave in our lives that allow our adversary the easiest access to our thoughts and actions? Today on A New Beginning, as Pastor Greg Laurie continues his series in Genesis, we'll see the enemy is always on the prowl, looking for his next target. But we'll learn practical principles for locking the devil out, leaving him out in the cold. Grab your Bible.

Hang a hard left. Go all the way to the first book of the Bible. That would be the book of Genesis.

And the title of my message is God's Solution to Man's Problem. So the Lord placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It was literally paradise. They could eat of any tree. I mean imagine God said, this is all yours to enjoy. You can eat of all of the fruit of the trees of the garden and behold the beauty I placed in it.

One restriction. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, don't eat from that tree. Scene two. Adam and Eve standing at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So Adam and Eve eat of the forbidden fruit.

Now let's see what happens after sin has entered the world. Go to Genesis chapter 4, starting at verse 1 and reading from the New Living Translation. Now Adam knew his wife Eve and she became pregnant. And when she gave birth to Cain she said, with the Lord's help, I produced a man.

Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord.

Abel also brought a gift, the best portions of the firstborn lambs from the flock. The Lord accepted Abel in his gift, but he did not accept Cain in his gift. This made Cain very angry and he looked dejected. Why are you so angry, the Lord asked Cain.

Why do you look so dejected? And God gives him this interesting warning in verse 7. Listen, you'll be accepted if you do what is right, but if you refuse to do what's right, watch out. Sin is crouching at your door, eager to control you, but you must subdue it and be its master. The Lord is saying, Cain, you're flirting with disaster.

Sin is like a crouching beast, poised and ready to strike and ruin your life if you don't get control of it. I read a book a number of years ago called Death and the Long Grass. It was written by a big game hunter. He tells incredible stories of not only hunting lions, but actually being hunted by them. There was a group of lions that got a taste for human blood and began hunting people. And one cat alone killed a hundred people. And they would come into these tented camps at night and sometimes step over several people and pick their prey and take them out and no one would even know what happened until the next morning. And a lion can move very quickly. They can move through a lot of distance.

So one charging lion can cover a hundred yards in three seconds. So I think this is interesting because the devil is not only compared to a snake, he's also compared to a lion. Over in 1 Peter 5 we read, be self-controlled and alert because your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Bringing me to my next point, the devil is always looking for trouble.

He's looking for a life to ruin. Jesus said of Satan in John 10 10, the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. So we have to keep our guard up and be alert to this fact. There's an interesting passage in the book of Job where the angels of the Lord came and presented themselves before God and Lucifer was among them. And in Job 1 7 God says to Satan, where have you come from? And the devil answers, I've been going back and forth across the earth watching everything that's going on.

He's just looking for a life to ruin, ready to pounce. One way that he can get a foothold in our life is when we're isolating ourselves from God's people. This is why we're told in Hebrews, don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhort one another daily and so much more as you see the day of the Lord approaching. So basically the author of Hebrews, some believe that's Paul, I don't know, but inspired by God nonetheless, whoever wrote it, is saying, hey the Lord's coming back.

Make sure that you're gathering with fellow Christians, encouraging one another, if necessary, correcting one another because the Lord is coming soon. But some are not doing this and so like when you watch one of those nature shows and you see the prey that the lions get, it's often the stragglers. You know all the little antelopes are out there running together and there's a one struggling antelope. That's lunch for the lion and lions don't like to expend energy unnecessarily.

They'll just kind of lay there in the long grass and then they strike and once they got their claws on that creature and then they bite into their neck, oh man, game over, okay. That's the devil. He's just watching. Oh look at that straggler. Look at that person that isolates themselves from other Christians, always feeling sorry for themselves.

That looks like a good prey to me. I'm going to strike. So that's one way the devil can get a foothold in your life and there's another way and that is when we allow ourselves to be consumed by our anger like Cain was. Over in Ephesians 4 26 it says, don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don't let the sun go down while you're still angry for anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil. Let me ask you, are you filled with anger for someone right now?

Well Greg, they hurt me, okay. Maybe it's your parents. Maybe it's your children. Maybe it's a neighbor. Maybe it's a friend.

Maybe it's someone else. But if that anger is controlling your life, the person that's being hurt is you, not them. It's eating you up inside and the Bible actually says, don't let the sun go down on your wrath because when you do, you give the devil a foothold. Bringing me to my next point, sin is crouching at our doors too. He's ready to strike.

He's looking for vulnerability. So we want to be careful and protect our homes from the power of the devil. Starting with this simple fact, I can't do this on my own. I need to pray and ask God to help me and I want to say a word to fathers and mothers out there. You need to protect your home in every way. I know you may have alarm systems and you put all your locks on and you've got everything right and that's fantastic, but also remember to have spiritual protection. Have a time where you get together with your family and have a meal together and get rid of the devices.

No phones, no tablets, no TV playing in the background. Let's just talk to each other. Let's pray together. Let's read the Bible together. And men, I want to say a word to you. You should be taking the initiative and leading in this area. Men need to be the spiritual leaders in their home. Right? You can do this.

You must do this. So Cain didn't listen and he was filled with envy. Envy is a tricky kind of a sin. Shakespeare called envy the green-eyed monster. Webster defines envy as a malignant or hostile feeling of ill will toward another. The funny thing about envy is we often envy those not people that we perceive as greater than us but more like people we see as equal to us. Envy has been described as a small town sin. It thrives on proximity.

It breeds on proximity I should say. In other words, I don't sit around and think why can't I be as wealthy as Elon Musk or why can't I fill a stadium like Taylor Swift. No, I'm more like why does my neighbor have that and I don't have that. Why did my co-worker get that raise and I didn't get that raise.

Why did they get that opportunity and I don't get that opportunity. See, Victor Hugo said quote the wicked envy and hate it is their way of admiring. So it's a thing that can start to consume us. I heard the story of a crab fisherman who was walking around with a pail full of crab pail full of crabs. Someone asked him do you put a lid on that. No I don't have to. Well can't the crabs climb out.

He goes no problem because the moment one crab climbs out the others reach up and pull him back down. Right. You know people like that. Oh that's a great thing just happened to me and they want to pull you right back down.

They don't want you to have that. That's envy and envy can consume you and that's what happened to Cain as well. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's a joy to hear when the work we do here at Harvest Ministries truly impacts lives.

Listen to these comments from one of our listeners. Last year I watched the Jesus Revolution movie, ordered your New Believers Bible and started watching your Sunday sermons online. For 28 years I thought I was a Christian but honestly don't think I was saved until a year ago when I gave my life to Jesus. I'm 60 years old and recently found a Bible teaching church in my area and was baptized. Thank you so much for your influence and evangelism in my life.

I now know for sure that the Holy Spirit lives in me. Discover the many resources available to you at harvest.org and while you're at it share your story. Write Pastor Greg an email.

Send it to greg at harvest.org. That's greg at harvest dot o-r-g. Well glad you're along today for our study in Genesis called God's Solution to Man's Problem. We're talking about the danger of envy right now and Pastor Greg continues. So sin has now entered the world and Cain acts on this envy and this anger and you all know the story. He killed his brother Abel.

Horrible thing. But God had a solution for Cain's sin and all our sin and that takes us back to Genesis chapter 3 because the Lord promised he was going to send a deliverer. After Eve and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit the Lord made this profile statement and this is the first messianic passage in the Bible. By messianic I mean the first verse in the Bible that spoke of Jesus coming.

And it's not what we would expect. We might think well it's Isaiah 9 6 unto you a child is born unto you a son is given his name shall be called wonderful counselor of the mighty God. That's not the first one. Well maybe it's Isaiah 53 that vividly describes the suffering of the Messiah.

No that's not it. Well maybe Psalm 22 that begins with the words my my God my God why have you forsaken me. The very words Jesus cried from the cross.

No that's not the first one. The first messianic passage in the Bible is Genesis 3 14 to 15. Let's look at it together. After Adam and Eve have sinned the Lord said to the serpent because you've done this you're cursed more than all cattle more than every beast of the field on your belly you shall go and eat dust all the days of your life and I will put enmity between you and the woman between your seed and her seed he will bruise your head and you will bruise his heel. So this is the Messiah. So here's what God is saying. Devil I'm now putting you on notice. There is coming one who's going to crush your head.

But you'll bruise his heel. And sure enough Satan struck out at Jesus. He thought he had the ultimate plan. I'll infiltrate their ranks Lucifer thought. I'll get one of Jesus very disciples to betray him and he did. Judas Iscariot who betrayed our Lord for 30 pieces of silver. I'll make sure Jesus is killed and murdered in cold blood on a Roman cross and that'll be the end of it.

No. That was the fulfillment of it. Because Jesus came to die on the cross.

And he said so repeatedly. In fact the Bible says of Jesus he was the lamb slain from the foundation of the earth. What this means is before there was a solar system. Before there was a planet called earth. Before there was a garden called Eden.

Before there was a couple named Adam and Eve. A decision was made in the councils of eternity that God would send his own son. That God would walk among us as a man and live a perfect life and die a perfect death and rise again from the dead. This was the plan. And the devil didn't know it and actually in his weird way helped to bring the plan about.

It blew up in his face. But once the devil knew Jesus was coming he wanted to stop him. So we go to the next book of the Bible. The book of Exodus. And we have the Jews multiplying in the land of Egypt under the Pharaoh.

The Pharaoh sees him as a potential threat. And he gives a command to the Jewish midwives. I want you to drown those little Jewish baby boys. And of course those midwives refused to do it. But he is trying to stop Messiah from coming. What is it with the devil always wanting to kill our children? We talk about abortion.

Here is the Pharaoh saying kill those baby boys. You know with some people abortion or women's reproductive rights as they like to call it is almost like a religion. They are passionate about it.

That is the most important thing to them. And we simply say every child should have the right to live. Every child should be able to live their life and make their own choices in life.

Not for you to terminate the pregnancy as you like to say. But in reality you are murdering an unborn child. But here is the devil doing it back in the book of Exodus. Now we fast forward to the book of Esther. And there is an evil man that hatches a plot to destroy all the Jewish people. But thankfully God raised up a courageous young woman named Esther who was the queen and also was a Jew who stood up for her fellow Jews and saved them. But here is another thing we see that Satan hates. Not only unborn children but Jewish people. Satan wanted to stop Messiah from coming but Satan failed. Even Herod hearing that there was one born who was known as the king of the Jews of course slaughtered once again the little ones in Bethlehem.

But he failed. And Jesus came and accomplished his mission and died on that cross for the sin of the world. As we close now let me ask you this. Has sin been bringing havoc into your life? Is there some sin or some vice that has gotten the control of you? Remember what God said to the king. You better master it or it is going to master you.

And the same is true for all of us. Now I cannot master sin in my own power. I cannot overcome sin in my own strength. But through the power of God I can do it because greater is He that is in me and He that is in the world.

All right. So take whatever issue you are dealing with. Whatever sin you are struggling with. Whatever vice seems to have a permanent hold in your life.

And I want to tell you something. God is bigger than that problem. He is bigger than that sin. He is bigger than that addiction. And you can overcome it through Jesus Christ.

Okay. But keep something in mind. Don't unnecessarily put yourself in a place of vulnerability. Don't unnecessarily put yourself in a place where you could be pulled down. Where did Adam and Eve get tempted?

At the place God told them to not be. So I cannot avoid the influence of culture in the world. It is everywhere. But if I am on a diet should I hang around at Krispy Kreme donuts? If I have a weakness in another area should I be in a place where I could be more easily tempted?

So make practical decisions. Because 1 Corinthians 10 says, There is no temptation taking you, but such is as common to man. But God who is faithful will not allow you to be tempted above your capacity to resist. But will with the temptation make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it?

Let me just paraphrase that. There is always a way out of every temptation. There just is. Sometimes it is as simple as the door. Sometimes it is as simple as the off button. Press it.

Sometimes it is as simple as terminating the conversation. But then instead of being in places of vulnerability be in places where you are being built up. Like you are right now in church. Worshiping together.

Hearing the word of God together. But sin is crouching at our door. We don't want to be overcome. And then there are some of us that might be green with envy over somebody else or what God is doing in their life or what they have or whatever it is.

Don't let that happen to you. Just focus on your own walk and relationship with Christ. But let me close with this. Maybe I am talking to somebody right now that doesn't have Jesus living in their life. Now I have talked about the devil. I want you to know that he is a powerful force. And we are not his equal. And there is no way we can overcome him in our own strength.

The only way to overcome him is through the power of Jesus Christ. And if you don't have Christ living in your life my friend you are a sitting duck with a bullseye on you. And that is why you need Jesus in your life. And Jesus died on that cross for your sin.

He paid the price for every rung that you have done. And he will forgive you of your sin if you will turn from it and ask him to come into your life. So I want to close by extending an invitation for anyone here that would like to ask Jesus to come into their heart and life. He stands at the door of your life and he knocks.

And he says if you will hear his voice and open the door he will come in. If you want Christ to come into your life. If you want your sin forgiven. If you want to know with confidence that you will go to heaven when you die.

If you want to find the meaning and purpose of your life. Respond to this invitation right now. Let's pray.

Father speak to every heart. Here. Listening.

Watching. Wherever they are. If they don't know you let this be the moment they believe. The moment they receive. The moment that you come and live inside of them.

And they begin a brand new life. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie today here on A New Beginning. He's praying that people would open their hearts to the Lord and receive the free gift he offers.

Pastor Greg what would you say to the person who is ready to make that kind of change in their life today? What I would say is he's only a prayer away. Which means if you will call upon the name of the Lord right now through prayer he will hear your prayer and answer your prayer. Listen if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life. If you want him to forgive you of your sin.

If you want to know that you go to heaven when you die. Just pray this prayer right now after me. Just pray Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord as my God and my friend. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Amen. And listen if you have just prayed that prayer along with Pastor Greg and meant those words sincerely we want to welcome you into God's family and we want to help you get started in your new life of faith. Pastor Greg would like to send you his New Believers Bible free of charge along with some other helpful resources. Just let us know you prayed with Pastor Greg and that you want the New Believers Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300.

We can take your call anytime at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the words know God. Well we're so happy to have a good friend with us in the studio today to talk about his new book The Truth in True Crime. He's homicide detective J. Warner Wallace and I'm your humble announcer D. Wayne Spiker. And you know what's funny about that Dave is that I've used Warner now for a number of years because that was my grandfather's name and I learned how to be a married man from watching my grandfather and my grandmother because that was the one marriage that we one intact marriage I had in my family. So I remember watching him and it ended up becoming kind of coming out one of the chapters of this book that I wrote where I talk about the role of fathers. And you are now a grandfather. Now I'm a grandfather right so now I want to do for my grandkids what Warner Wallace did that's for me and and like one of the stories I tell in this book is I was working gangs for two years and I remember. This will surprise you because Jim's very conservative looking you can see him as a detective but he used to have hair because he worked undercover to the middle of your back. Yeah I did. People wouldn't even talk with him he'd go into a restaurant with this wife they would seat her and yes she would get the seat first because he was afraid they wouldn't see them.

Well they wouldn't I mean we'd be waiting forever and you know what's interesting about that Dave. Did you brush your hair was it just wilder? Well I was always better if I didn't brush it but this is how sad it was when I first started I wasn't sure what I was going to do with my hair so I had a mullet. Oh yes. Oh no.

For about the first. They've come back you know Jim. I know they have. Can you believe it I mean they're really popular again.

I know they are. I had a mullet too. Jim I had something worse than a mullet it was called a scullet.

A scullet is when you have your hair and you're balding and you do a comb over on the top and grow it long in the back that's even worse than a mullet. Well you know if you have a hat on you can't tell a mullet from the scullet so that's the problem yeah but but I remember I wrote a chapter in this book Truth and True Crime that was about my experience working gangs and I was working in a part of south Los Angeles county where the diversity of gang members was really dramatic I mean we would have Hispanic gang or multi-generational Hispanic gang members we'd have African-American gangsters we'd have white gangsters in our south and we had Korean gangsters on our west side and they were so different racially socioeconomically where their status was who they really were just from a kind of ethnicity perspective and I had two young boys at the time they were like six and four maybe and I thought what is it what's the common denominator and it was when I discovered it I wrote about it in this book it's simply this it's lack of dad and it's different for different groups it might be that your dad's been locked up your entire life it might be that you never knew your dad it might be their dad's a workaholic great businessman upstanding citizen but he's never home it doesn't matter what the cause is it's lack of dad and when you realize that it was sobering for me because here I'm working these cases where I'm never home and I thought okay this is one of those areas of human flourishing even if you're not a dad you're not a guy your life has probably been touched by somebody who took that role seriously and you're more likely to flourish if there's someone in your family who has done a good job at that and that's something that we can we listen we get to the point now where we're not even willing to think there are any differences in the roles of parents men and women and we do that to our own peril because it turns out that moms and dads provide different features in the family that are driven by their biochemistry it's not a cultural issue right and and because of that we cannot ignore it and by the way this is the teaching of scripture yes and so this is going to seem old-fashioned to people right well it turns out that all these attributes of human flourishing I'm talking about in this book are really old-fashioned Christian principles that we seem like we're just discovering these things again in the last generation or so but these are ancient Jim Wallace has written about this in his brand new book The Truth in True Crime and it's our gift to you this month for your gift of any size to help us continue to dispense God's wisdom to you all on a regular basis yeah that's right and we so much appreciate your investment we're listener supported and have no other way of covering the expenses of bringing these studies your way so thanks for contacting us with your support and when you do be sure to ask for The Truth in True Crime it's our thank you gift for your donation right now you can call us at 1-800-821-3300 that's a 24 7 phone number again it's 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org well next time Pastor Gray points us to the promises of God promises we can count on no matter what join us here on The New Beginning with Pastor and Bible Teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-20 05:35:26 / 2024-05-20 05:46:23 / 11

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