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The First Jesus Movement | Spiritual Renovation

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 29, 2024 3:00 am

The First Jesus Movement | Spiritual Renovation

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 29, 2024 3:00 am

The home renovation business is a 340 billion dollar industry. Reviving an old home takes some skill and a lot of hard work. Well, God has a blueprint for reviving our culture . . . and He’s looking for our involvement in the project. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie continues his opening message in a new series called The Upside-Down Life. It’s a look at the part we’re called to play in bringing a spiritual renovation to the world in which we live.

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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. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to do what God has called us to do. Our task is enormous, intimidating, and exciting. And Pastor Greg Laurie points out how the Lord is making an extraordinary resource available to us. There is explosive dynamite power from the Holy Spirit that can be given to you and me right now. A power to witness, a power to change the world. The home renovation business is a 340 billion dollar industry.

Reviving an old home takes some skill and a lot of hard work. Well, God has a blueprint for reviving our culture, and He's looking for our involvement in the project. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie continues his opening message in a new series called The Upside Down Life.

It's a look at the part we're called to play in bringing a spiritual renovation to the world in which we live. Well, why don't you grab your Bibles and turn to the book of Acts, Acts chapter one. Okay, the title of my message is The First Jesus Movement. Now, the book of Acts was authored by Dr. Luke. This is the second book that he wrote that was underwritten by a godly man named Theophilus. And Theophilus also underwrote Luke writing the gospel of Luke.

The name Theophilus by the way means lover of God. So if you want to know more about Jesus and you want to love the Lord, this is a good book to study. One other thing I would point out about the book of Acts, it's an unfinished book.

It has never officially ended. Now, I'm not suggesting we add to the scripture. I'm just saying we should not put a period where God has put a comma. The church is marching on. The work of the Holy Spirit through the church is continuing on, and we're effectively writing new chapters to it today as we serve the Lord in our time. So let's look now at a few verses from the book of Acts chapter one. I'm going to read verses one to four and share some points with you. And I'm reading from the New Living Translation. In my first book I told you, Theophilus, Luke writes, about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions to the Holy Spirit.

During the 40 days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways he was actually alive, and he talked to them about the kingdom of God. Okay, we'll stop there. Here's point number one. If you're taking notes, before you can change the world, you yourself must first be changed.

Before you can change the world, you must first be changed. Look at verse three. During the 40 days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles. They had their lives changed when they saw Jesus risen from the dead. See, they never thought they would see Jesus again when they looked at his beaten, traumatized body hanging on the cross of Calvary.

But Jesus rose again, and appeared many times over a 40-day period. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, who came to anoint his dead body at the tomb. He appeared after that to Simon Peter. Then he appeared in the upper room to the disciples, and specifically to Thomas, who said, I won't believe until I can put my hand in the wounds in his side. He appeared to two disciples walking on the Emmaus road. He appeared to Simon Peter again at the Sea of Galilee, telling him to feed God's sheep. And he appeared to over 500 people at one time.

This transformed them. Jesus was basically popping up everywhere. And they knew he was alive, and they knew he had risen. You see, before they could change the world, Jesus needed to change them. In 1 John 1, 1 says, John writing, we proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes, and we touched him with our own hands. He is the word of life.

Listen to this. If you want people to follow Jesus, you must be a good example as a follower of Jesus. Let's find point number two.

Here it is. The church had a job to do, and so do we. The church had a job to do, and so do we. Let's go to Acts chapter one, verse seven. And we see Jesus saying, the Father alone is the authority to set the times and the dates, and they're not for you to know, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you'll be witnesses telling people about me everywhere in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, to the ends of the earth. They had a job to do, and so do we. We're still called to tell people about Jesus everywhere.

It starts with a question. In Acts chapter one, verse six, the apostles came and said, Lord, has the time come for you to now free Israel and restore your kingdom? Now, here's the problem. They couldn't get over this notion they had as to why Jesus came. They thought he was coming to establish his kingdom then and there. Then he was crucified. Then he rose again from the dead, so they're back on point again. Okay, Lord, when are you going to establish your kingdom? And Jesus effectively says, guys, will you get off of that? He said to him specifically in verse seven, the Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times.

They're not for you to know. Guys, stop focusing on when I am returning. Focus instead on what you should be doing as you're waiting, and the same thing is happening today. People ask all the time, when is Jesus coming back? Why has Jesus not come back again? Well, he will come back according to his perfect timing, and he's already said, no one knows the day or the hour, only the Father in heaven. So don't focus on when he is coming.

Focus on what you are to do until he returns. Their job and our job is very clear. Verse eight, you are my witnesses telling people about me everywhere. It's inescapable.

It's a great commission. It's still here before us to fulfill, and I think a lot of times when we study Bible prophecy, we get sidetracked, and we miss the main point. Bible prophecy is not given to enlarge our brains.

It's given to expand our hearts. It should move us to want to reach more people with the gospel so they too can be ready for the Lord's return. Jesus is not late. He'll come at the appointed hour, but here's what he wants us to do according to 2 Peter 3.9, which says, the Lord isn't slow about his promise, as some people think.

He's patient for your sake. He doesn't want anyone to perish or be destroyed. He wants everyone to repent. You know, back in 1970, when the Jesus movement was happening, we're all praying, Lord, come back.

Lord, return. Aren't you glad he didn't answer our prayer? How many of you have become a Christian since 1970?

Raise your hand. That's quite a few of you. So thank God he didn't answer that prayer. He's waiting for more to believe. It seems to me there may be one person walking on this earth that will be the last person to believe before the rapture of the church.

Can you imagine if you knew who that person was? Like this dude. If this guy gets saved, we go to heaven. Would you be tempted to put pressure on that guy or that girl? Then you just say, all right, why don't you ask Christ into your life right now?

And you lead him everywhere. Boom, you're in heaven. Well, God knows when that will happen. But here's what they were to do, and here's what we are to do. Verse 8, you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere, in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. This is sort of the battle plan for world evangelism. It starts in Jerusalem, then it goes to Judea, then to Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Now for them, Jerusalem was home base. For them, Judea would be the wider area of Israel.

Samaria was outside of their country in the ends of the earth was what was left over. So in the same way, when we think about reaching people with the gospel, we start with our Jerusalem. And what is your Jerusalem? What is my Jerusalem? It's your home base. It's your family.

And guess what? The hardest people to reach with the gospel are your family, right? Because you come home one day and say, I've become a Christian, and I'm following Jesus right now. They're all thinking, oh no, right? And then you tell them they need the Lord, and they're saying, we knew you when you were a little kid.

Why should we listen to you? This is why Jesus said, a prophet is not without honor except in his own country. Jesus himself did not have his own family totally accept him and believe in him till after his death and resurrection. On more than one occasion, they came to take him home because they thought he had lost his mind, you see? So the hardest people to reach are your family.

It took me well over 30 years to see my own mother come to Christ. And so that may be your situation right now, but start with your Jerusalem. Then you go to your Judea. That's the wider area. Maybe that's your workplace. Maybe that's your sphere of influence. People you meet out there.

You go out there, and you leave your comfort zone. But then you go to Samaria. So for a Jew to say Samaria was for them to go to their enemies. See, the Samaritans had nothing to do with the Jews and vice versa. Remember the woman at the wall said to Jesus, why would you, a Jew, talk to me, a Samaritan? Don't you know that Jews and Samaritans want nothing to do with each other? And Jesus said if you knew who it was who was speaking to you, you would ask him, and he would give you living water.

The point is you leave your comfort zone. You go to people you would not normally go to. I think of our own ministry. We started initially here in Riverside. That's our Jerusalem. Our Judea is the inland empire. Our Samaria, well that's going out to California and the rest of the nation and the innermost parts of the earth are just the whole planet that we've been able to go to on any given day at Harvest at Home. We have thousands of people viewing from around the world from places ranging from the United States, every state represented, to Australia, Canada, South Africa, Kenya, the Philippines, Ireland, India, Singapore, the list goes on.

So you start at home base and you move beyond that. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We send these daily studies out via radio, satellite, and online. And we don't always know how these messages are touching lives. But when we hear the stories of our listeners, it really is encouraging. Pastor Greg, you never cease to amaze me.

I just watched the first episode of your new animated series, Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog, and it was wonderful. I struggled to talk to my 16-year-old son who has mild autism and ADHD. This animated episode called The Bridge is Out allowed me to have an open dialogue with him. He asked questions and was able to understand things more clearly.

It also tested all the Bible studying we've been doing together. Thank you again for always coming out with unique ways of reaching everyone. God bless you. It's a privilege to be able to provide so many resources through Harvest Ministries. Check them out for yourself at harvest.org.

That's harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is helping us see what we need to know to join the Lord in impacting our culture for Christ. One final point. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to do what God has called us to do. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to do what God has called us to do. Look at verse 8.

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses telling people about me everywhere. Stop and think about this. These were not intellectuals. These were not even theologians. These were ordinary people. We might call them blue-collar workers today. Fishermen. A tax collector.

Some others thrown in. How could these guys change the world? Thomas doubted Jesus was alive. Simon Peter denied Jesus outright. If someone as strong as Simon Peter could be demoralized by the words of a servant girl in the high priest's courtyard how could any of them go anywhere preaching? Jesus answers that question.

Verse 8. You'll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you'll be my witnesses. The way they would do this is with the power they did not already have. A power beyond anything they'd ever experienced before. A power to change the world. A power to witness. A power to share their faith. A power to turn their world upside down.

And guess what? The same power that was given to them to change their world is given to you right now to change our world. It's here now.

Nothing's changed. On the day of Pentecost Peter said this promise, and he was speaking of the promise of the power of the Spirit, is to you, it's to your children, and it's even to the Gentiles and all who have been called by the Lord our God. And what is the promise?

The promise of the power of the Spirit. Now the word power is noteworthy. It's from the Greek word dunamis. The story is told of Alfred Nobel who invented an explosive element that he didn't have a name for. And so he went to a friend of his who spoke Greek and Nobel said, what is the Greek word for explosion?

His friend said it's dunamis. Alfred Nobel said I'm gonna call what I've created dynamite. And so really what the Bible is saying is there is explosive dynamite power from the Holy Spirit that can be given to you. To you and me right now.

We just need to receive it. And I think the problem with this is we overly mystify the work of the Spirit. We think it has to always be an emotional experience and maybe it will be and maybe it won't be. You know when you fill your car with gas, do you have an emotional experience? Maybe you do when you see what the price is.

What? Because if you're driving an SUV or a big truck, 100 bucks on gas? Yeah so you don't necessarily have an emotional experience when you fill your vehicle.

But you fill your vehicle. And the Bible tells us that God wants to empower us with the Spirit. He wants to fill us and he wants to do it again and he wants to do it again and again. In fact every day you should get up in the morning and say, Lord fill me with the Holy Spirit. I need this power today to do what you have called me to do.

And these first century believers receive that power. We have a man in our church who teaches Bible studies and leads worship in an assisted living home here in town. His name is Steve and he was teaching the older folks how the early church was so bold in sharing the gospel and he pointed out how they relied on the Holy Spirit to do it. And one of the women who was listening to him is 82 years old so she took so she took it to heart. And they got together the next Sunday and she said, I want to give a praise report.

And he said, what happened? She says, well I've been praying every day that the Lord would fill me with the Holy Spirit and open up an opportunity for me to share the gospel. She said that she was able to share the gospel with an 85 year old gentleman who accepted Christ.

I love that story don't you? You're never too old to share the gospel. You're never too young to share the gospel. This power is available to all of us as we serve the Lord. So we need to take advantage of these opportunities.

But here's what I would like to close with. This power is here for us right now. And as we start this new series in the book of Acts I want to pray that God would fill us with this power and we would experience this real time in our life. So we're going to pray it right now and we're going to receive this power. You may feel something. You may feel nothing.

This has nothing to do with feelings. This is an act of faith where a promise is given. Here's what the Bible says. If you as parents give good gifts to your children how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? That's all you have to do.

Just ask Him. Lord would you give this to me? And the Lord's response is oh yes. Do you like to give gifts to people? You know when I buy a gift for someone I can't wait to give it to them.

It's hard for me to wait till Christmas day or their birthday or whatever it is. I want them to have it now. The Father in heaven is anxious and eager to give you this power in your life.

He wants to do it. Do you want the gift? You know when you're a kid and Christmas is approaching and your birthday is approaching you're anxious to open your gifts right? So you want the gift. The Father wants to give you the gift.

This sounds to me like a good combination. This sounds to me like a moment right now where we can receive what the Lord has for us. So I'm going to do something that I do often with folks accepting Christ.

But this is for all of us who are believers already. I'm going to ask you to pray a prayer after me out loud. Mean this prayer.

God will hear this prayer. In this prayer we're going to ask the Lord to give us the power of the Spirit. Now look when you're a Christian the Spirit is inside of you already. When you're a Christian the Bible says you're sealed with the Holy Spirit a promise. So this is not receiving the Holy Spirit. This is receiving listen the power of the Holy Spirit.

We're talking about a very specific promise in Acts 1a. You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you to be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. So this is a specific prayer of receiving the power of the Spirit. Why don't we all stand as we pray this prayer. So I'll pray and you pray after me if you want this power in your life. Just pray these words.

Lord Jesus. You've called me to be a witness. You've called me to reach the world with the Gospel. But I have not always done that as I should.

But I want to start doing it like never before. But I need help. You've promised the power of the Spirit to me. Now I receive that power. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Give me a new boldness. Give me a new courage.

I receive it from you now. In Jesus' name I pray. Now you just receive that power in your life. Let God's Holy Spirit permeate every crevice of your being and give you that boldness that He wants you to have. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer asking the Lord to empower us for the responsibilities ahead.

Glad you've joined us today here on A New Beginning for the launch of our new series in the book of Acts. Pastor Greg, let's speak to the person listening who's on the other side of this discussion. They've never shared the Gospel because they're really not sure what the Gospel is. They'd like to be closer to God, but they just don't know where to start.

Well, they just need to hear more. They need to hear what the essential Gospel message is, and I've got a great resource for you. We've set up a web page that's called KnowGod.org. You go there. I have a video presentation of how you accept Christ, lead you in a prayer, and then it links to other spiritual resources that will help you grow spiritually. So just go to KnowGod.org.

Do it right now. All right. Well, we're so happy to have Jim Wallace in the studio with us, J. Warner Wallace, author and a good friend of ours. He's a cold case detective, and he's written a brand new book called The Truth in True Crime.

And Jim, a couple of the sentences from chapter five really caught my attention. Someone who looked like Santa Claus, oddly enough, had been killed. And you write, Santa Claus was killed over money, sex, or the pursuit of power.

It's as simple as that. There are only three reasons anyone commits a crime, any crime, including murder. Well, first, what a great opening to a novel that would be, you know, Santa Claus was killed over money, sex, or the pursuit of power. But that fact is something most of us don't know. You, an experienced homicide investigator, say there are only three motives to crime. Yeah, there's three motives behind any stupid misbehavior, let's put it that way, of which murder is one. But this is true for all of us who are trying to protect ourselves from any level of misbehavior.

If we're a pastor, or we are a leader of a business, or if you're just a spouse, a parent, the things that will cause us to stumble are always the same things. There's motives for every crime, motive for every misbehavior, every sin, and it is financial greed, sexual lust, relationships, and this huge umbrella, which accounts for about 70% of all other misbehavior, which is the pursuit of power. And, and so when I get out of a crime scene, I'm not looking at and think, oh, there's 1000 reasons why this woman might be killed. No, there's only three. You just find me somebody who has one of those three motives, and we're good to go.

So I just have to look in those three areas. Now, those I discovered those by working murders, but they're in Scripture. And there's a great passage where it talks about, you know, the, the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh. And it's really talking about these three motives. I just didn't discover that until years after I became a Christian. So but the reality of it is, is that the Bible describes the world the way it really is.

And it describes us the way we really are. And that's what you discover working true crime cases, is that every time and some of these cases I describe in the book, I was on a Christian when I was investigating him. But as I kind of walked through and said, okay, the Santa Claus, for example, a guy who was a homeless guy who was living in our city, and he might and he had he possessed nothing of value. He was living, sleeping every night in a porta potty at a construction site, yet somebody was motivated by power. He had disrespected, he thought he felt he had been disrespected by Santa Claus, and by money because this guy has slipped into his region where he was canning where he was collecting cans. And he told me to get out of my area. He was basically impacting his ability to earn money by collecting cans and recycling.

So it was Guinness power and money. This guy resembles Santa Claus. Yeah, he looked just like him. Okay. So all the locals knew him that way.

I don't think they really even knew his name. Wow. And he was one to stab this guy to kill this guy. Because he felt like he had been threatened into the here's what I have learned. If you scratch just one of those three inches, you will eventually scratch the other two.

Wow. So you have to kind of reign all of these three aspects in. And so what I've tried to do is collect all of the data in modern research from sociologists, counselors, all of these different people who are researching these ideas. Like what is it that causes us to flourish?

And what do we need to be careful about? And if you look at those things, what you're going to discover is a list of 15 attributes of human flourishing that are affirmed by secular studies, but are actually ancient. So this book is a true crime book. But it does make a case for Scripture, because it shows you that Scripture has always described us exactly as we are. Yeah, exactly right. All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father, but it's of the world. And then John tells us, so don't love the world, neither the things that are in the world and the best antidote to not love the world is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and mind. And so 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 in the work we do here. It couldn't come at a better time. Would you let us hear from you today? And then be sure to let us thank you with a copy of the new book, The Truth in True Crime. And time is running out for us to make this resource available, so get in touch with us right away. Just call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, Pastor Greg leads us into the action-packed second chapter of Acts as our study series continues, a series called, The Upside Down Light. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Lauren. This is the day, the day when life begins. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-29 05:26:33 / 2024-05-29 05:37:25 / 11

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