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The Secret to Sharing the Gospel Effectively | Christian Unity

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

The Secret to Sharing the Gospel Effectively | Christian Unity

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 30, 2024 3:00 am

Whether it’s a small folk group or a large orchestra, beautiful music comes when everyone plays together in rhythm and harmony. If each is playing a different tune, they have a word for that: yuck! Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the importance of unity in our efforts to bring the gospel to our generation. In a time of division and disunity in the culture, it’s more important than ever that we all come together “in one accord,” as the Bible puts it.

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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 supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. Coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie has an important word of encouragement about focusing on what's most important. I don't know if I can remember a time in our nation when we've been more divided than I think sometimes we're allowing our political views to overshadow our theological views and we find ourselves divided. We need to remember that our primary message is about God's kingdom, calling people to Christ. Whether it's a small folk group or a large orchestra, beautiful music comes when everyone plays together in rhythm and harmony. If each is playing a different tune, they have a word for that. Yuck! Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the importance of unity in our efforts to bring the gospel to our generation.

In a time of division and disunity in the culture, it's more important than ever that we all come together in one accord, as the Bible puts it. Hey, if you've ever had a new car, there's nothing like the smell of a new car. You know what I'm saying? It's cruising down the road. Everything is clean and shiny and everything's working. Let's just say you got your new car and you're driving around. You're loving it.

It's so fantastic. And then after about a week or so, your car just sputters and stops. You have to pull over to the side of the road. You have it trailer to the car dealership. You're pretty upset. You're saying, why did this car stop?

It's brand new. And the dealer gets in your car and he turns it on and he says, you're out of gas. Okay.

How silly would that be? And so I bring this up because sometimes as Christians, we fail to realize that we need to be filled and refilled and refilled again with the Holy Spirit. And we're looking at a church, the first century church, the church that changed the world. And this was something that they encountered on a regular basis because I think sometimes as Christians, we're sort of sputtering. We're slowing down. We're not firing at all cylinders.

It's because we need fuel in the tank. But what does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? I think when we hear that phrase, we imagine it must be an emotional experience. Well, the fact is it can be.

Right? When you say, Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit, you may feel something. But then again, you may feel nothing. I said recently, do you have an emotional experience when you put gas in your car or your SUV?

And I said, you may once you see how much money it's going to cost you. Right? So we have to set the emotional idea aside. Understand this first century church, they were filled with the Spirit again and again and again. And it set them into motion. In fact, I think you could title the book of Acts the Acts of the Holy Spirit. The Bible doesn't call this the Acts of the apostles.

It was titled later. But really this is the work of the Holy Spirit. And when we bring up the Holy Spirit, some people wonder, who is the Holy Spirit?

I heard someone ask my wife the other day. They're very new in the faith. Who is the Holy Spirit?

Well, that's a good question. The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is a personality. He's not just a force.

He has a distinct will and purpose. In fact, the Holy Spirit can be resisted. The Holy Spirit can be quenched. The Holy Spirit can be lied to. The Holy Spirit can be insulted. And the Holy Spirit can even be blasphemed. In fact, the only unforgivable sin in the Bible is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. What does that mean? The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring us to Jesus Christ.

That's point number one. He's come to bring us to Jesus. John 16a, Jesus says, speaking of the Spirit, when He has come He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. So if I blaspheme, it means I'm resisting the primary work He has come to do in my life. I'm saying no to Jesus. The only unforgivable sin is the rejection of Christ.

Every other sin can be forgiven. So the Holy Spirit comes to bring us to Jesus. Number two, the Holy Spirit seals us. So when you become a Christian, He seals you.

What does this even mean? Well over in Ephesians 1 13 it says, when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. Listen, the Spirit is God's guarantee and He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He purchased us to be His own people. So let's go back to that new car purchase. If you go down to the car lot you say I like that car.

I'd like to buy that car. Can you hold it for me for six months? They're going to say no we cannot do that because someone else may come and want to buy that car. But if you put a deposit down we'll hold it for you for you know a certain amount of time. You know maybe 24 hours.

Maybe 48 hours. But we need a deposit showing that you really want to buy this car. So you put a serious deposit down on the car. In the same way God says I'm serious about the work I'm doing in your life. And to prove it when you believe in me I'm giving you the Holy Spirit. It's my guarantee.

It'll give you the inheritance I promise. Number three, the Holy Spirit assures me that I am a child of God. Have you ever doubted if you're really saved? Have you ever questioned if you're really going to heaven? Have you ever wondered if you really are God's child? Listen if you put your faith in Christ the Bible says God has sent His Spirit into your life to remind you that you belong to Him. In fact we read over in Romans 8 16 the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. I know I'm a Christian. I know I'm a child of God. You say why?

Because you're such a great person. Yes. No. Not really. Au contraire.

The opposite of that. Despite my shortcomings and my mistakes and my sins I know I'm God's child because His Spirit confirms it in my heart. And you sense that as well don't you? We're told over in 1 John 5 13 these things we write to you that you may know that you have eternal life because you believed on the name of the Son of God.

So let's review. The Holy Spirit comes to bring us to Jesus. He seals us. The Holy Spirit reminds us we're God's children.

Here's another one. The Holy Spirit teaches us. John 14 26 the Helper Jesus says the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send to my name He will teach you all things and will bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you. Have you ever had a time you're you're just reading the Bible and all of a sudden it just comes alive. A verse just jumps off the page and it speaks to you so directly that's exactly what you needed to hear. Or has there been another occasion where maybe you're sharing your faith with someone or encouraging or ministering to someone and suddenly a verse that you don't know you don't even remember memorizing jumps into your brain and you're quoting it perfectly and you're saying how did that happen. That is the work of the Holy Spirit teaching you and bringing things to your remembrance. And also the Holy Spirit leads us.

Romans 8 14 says for as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God. And I found this leading is usually just a prompting. Just a sense of direction. I feel like I need to go talk to that person.

Maybe I need to do this thing. Little promptings from the Holy Spirit that you will begin to sense as you mature in your faith. And finally the Holy Spirit wants to empower you and fill you again and again and again. Ephesians 5 says don't be drunk with wine because that will ruin your life but be filled with the Spirit speaking to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody in your hearts of the Lord. That phrase be filled is a command. You're commanded to be filled with the Spirit.

Secondly it's something you should receive again and again. It speaks of a continuous flow of the Spirit into your life. So we need to be praying for this each and every day. So we're in Acts 2. And we're reading about the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church.

They spoke in new languages or tongues and there were divided flames of fire on their head. Now let me say this. This was a one-off event. It never happened like this again. Again people were filled with the Spirit again but not in this particular way.

So this was sort of the explosion of the engine if you will like when you start your car that set the early church into motion. We don't need another Pentecost any more than we need another Calvary. Jesus doesn't have to die again and again.

He's done that. It's finished. And we don't need another Pentecost. What we need is to appropriate what was unleashed on the day of Pentecost for the power of the Spirit is still here for us today. For as Peter said to the believers there this promise speaking of the Holy Spirit is to you.

It's to your children. It's to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Well Pastor Greg is about to lead us into an exciting part of our text today in Acts chapter 2.

He continues. So let's find out what happened because after this outpouring of the Spirit took place Simon Peter got up and preached a sermon and 3,000 people believed. That's a lot of people.

Why? Why did so many respond? I think there's some principles in his message that we can employ in our own lives as we share the gospel. Let's read Acts 2 verses 2 to 7. I'm reading by the way from the New Living Translation. On the day of Pentecost all the believers are meeting together in one place. Suddenly there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty wind storm and it filled the house where they were sitting and then what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and they began speaking in other languages as the Spirit gave them this ability. At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem and when they heard the loud voice everyone came running and they were bewildered to hear their own language being spoken by the believers and they were completely amazed and said, how can this be?

We'll stop there. So people from around the world are gathered in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is poured out and everyone hears their language represented as people who don't know those languages are speaking in those languages and giving glory to God. This reminds us the gospel is for everyone on every continent. The gospel is not just for the white man. It's not just for the black man. It's not just for the Hispanic person or the Asian person. It's for every person in every continent in every language. It's for everybody.

Everybody. We read in the book of Revelation chapter 7 verse 9 that there's going to be a great multitude in heaven that no one could number from all tribes, peoples, and languages. So the question is sometimes asked what about the person in the middle of the desert who has never heard the gospel? Apparently these people are going to hear the gospel because every language every tribe every culture every race is represented in heaven.

So what's the explanation? Some people say they're just drunk. Oh yeah this is what drunk people do all the time. Speaking languages they've never heard before giving glory to God.

Most of the time you can't even understand what a drunk is saying. What a ridiculous explanation. But it reminds us of 1 Corinthians 2 14. People who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit. It sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it.

But for those who are spiritual they understand what the Spirit means. So God is getting ready now to change the world with 120 people. What can we learn from them?

Here's point number one if you're taking notes. They were unified. They were unified. They were together. Verse 2.

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. These believers had no earthly power. They had no armies. They had no money. They had no status. They had no political power. But they had Jesus.

And Jesus had them and they were together. I don't know if I can remember a time in our nation when we've been more divided. And I would even say in the church. So many unnecessary divisions. And I think sometimes we're allowing our political views to overshadow our theological views. And some people are even picking churches according to if they represent them in every way politically. And we find ourselves divided. We need to remember that our primary message is about God's kingdom. Calling people to Christ. Calling people to Christ. It is the devil that wants to divide us.

Because the devil knows that he can divide and conquer. And my response is let's get together. Let's work together. Let's pray together. And that's what we do in the Harvest Crusade. We come together and we pray and we bring folks out to hear the gospel. And we can disagree on secondary issues and still focus on what matters which is the gospel. So the Holy Spirit is poured out. I wonder what if God was waiting for us to get together before He poured His Spirit out on us.

What if He was waiting for them. Saying I want to do it. But you need to come together. You need to stop letting things divide you. Second Chronicles 7 14 we often quote it. God says, if My people what are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways. Notice that is not addressed to an individual. It is addressed to a group. He is talking to us. Not just to you or to me.

It applies to us of course. But saying hey all of you all y'all as they say in the south. All y'all if you will turn from your sins and get together and pray together I will hear from heaven and forgive your sin and heal your land. So here is this violent rushing wind. The word suddenly implies it was supernatural.

And of course it was. This incredible move of the Holy Spirit. And they are filled with the Spirit. And as I have already said God wants to refill you again and again and again. As a matter of fact after the day of Pentecost some of the apostles were told to stop preaching the gospel.

So what do they do? They say let's pray for even more boldness to preach the gospel. I love that attitude. And in Acts 4 31 we read after they prayed this prayer the building where they were meeting Shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they preached God's message with boldness. So God refilled them again didn't He. Now there is no better example of the difference that the Holy Spirit can make in a person's life than Simon Peter. Simon Peter who openly denied his Lord. Simon Peter who was more concerned about the opinions of some random stranger than what Christ Himself thought. Who gets him to deliver this sermon?

Simon Peter. Where did he get this chutzpah? Where did he get this courage? Where did he get this boldness? He got it from being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Remember Acts 1 8. You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you to be witnesses unto me. This is practical power. This is power with a purpose. Because that is not how high you can jump.

It is how straight you walk when you hit the ground again. And I think sometimes people want to go to church. They want to have an emotional encounter.

That is ok in a way. But what I am more interested in is how it impacts you. The holiest moment of the church service is when God's people walk out the doors and the impact we make in the world. That is what we will see.

That is what we will see if this is making any difference in our lives. So let's look now at what Peter says. Acts chapter 2 verse 36. He gets up and says these words to the people gathered.

Everyone in Israel know for certain the Lord God has made this Jesus whom you crucified to be both Lord and Messiah. Peter's words pierced their hearts. And they said to him and the other apostles, brothers what should we do? Peter replied, every one of you should repent of your sins and turn to God and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, those who are far away, and to all who have called on the Lord our God. Then Peter continued preaching for a long time.

I underline that verse in my Bible. He continued preaching for a long time. See long sermons are good sometimes people. But anyway. He continued preaching for a long time.

Strongly urging all the listeners save yourselves from this crooked generation. Those who believe what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day about 3,000 in all. Wow. Stop there. 3,000 new believers.

It is amazing. On one day after one sermon why did Peter have such an amazing response to his message? He knew his audience or his congregation. He knew that some of the people he was speaking to literally played a role in the crucifixion of Jesus. Can you imagine if maybe one of those Roman guards was there that pounded the spikes into the hands of Jesus.

The religious leaders were there for sure listening in. Very critical. And he points maybe a finger. You crucified him.

Not speaking figuratively. He is saying you. I know you. I remember you. I was there.

I saw you. You crucified him. So it is very specific. He also quotes a lot of Scripture. He quotes huge portions of the Old Testament apparently from memory.

So the fisherman had been busy. He had been reading and memorizing the Bible. It is not like he pulled out the scroll of Joel here. That is a big giant scroll. They didn't have Bibles like we have now. Someone help me open Joel.

No. He just from his heart quoted Scripture. See that was his audience. They were people that knew Scripture. They were Jewish people in Jerusalem for Pentecost and he spoke to them in a way they would understand. Contrast that to Paul on Mars Hill speaking to the people of Athens.

We would describe that as a pagan culture. They didn't know the Lord. They didn't know Scripture. They worshiped false gods. So Paul spoke in a different way to them.

If we were to look at our country today we are much more like Athens than we are like Jerusalem. We are in a post-Christian era. When I began preaching back in the 1800's people were more biblically literate then. When I would say Adam and Eve or Noah and his ark or reference some story they at least had a general sense of what that meant. Nowadays people they don't even know the most basic Bible stories.

That is why we have to really speak in a clear way to people today because they are so biblically illiterate. So when you are sharing your faith get to know the person you are speaking to. Pastor Greg Laurie with great insight today from our studies of Acts chapter 2 and our need to unify and deliver the good news to a culture that needs it so desperately.

And there is more to come from this message here on A New Beginning. Well Pastor Greg let's speak to someone listening today who sort of feels like they are on the outside looking in. They believe in God. They hope to go to heaven but they are not completely sure they will and they are not even sure how to be sure.

They can be sure can't they? That's right. The Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. So think of it this way. Maybe you are out on a riptide in the ocean and you can't get your footing and you are in trouble and you see a lifeguard call out for help and the lifeguard will rescue you.

The same is true spiritually. You are drowning in your sin. You need help. Jesus will save you. He will rescue you but you must call out to Him and you know how you do that? You do it in prayer. So let me just lead you in a simple prayer and you can pray this prayer after me. You can pray it out loud if you like and this is where you are calling out to Jesus to save you.

Just pray this. Lord Jesus I know I'm a sinner and I know you are the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. Now Lord I turn from my sin and I put my faith in you. Be my Savior my Lord. Be my God and my friend. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Hey if you just prayed that prayer I want you to know that Christ himself has come to live inside of you and I have a resource I want to send you. It's called the New Believers Bible. So the New Believers Bible is the New Testament in the New Living Translation with hundreds of notes that I wrote that will encourage you in this commitment you are making to follow Christ. There's some other materials included as well and what we call the New Believers Growth Pack but let me get this New Believers Bible into your hands as quickly as possible.

Here's Dave to tell you more. Yeah we'll be glad to send it all your way free of any charge if you've prayed along with Pastor Greg today. Just ask for the New Believers Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300.

You can reach us anytime 24 7 at 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside, California 92514 or go online to harvest.org and click Know God. Well it's such a privilege to be making available a brand new book called The Truth in True Crime. It's written by J. Warner Wallace, Jim Wallace who's a good friend of ours and a former cold case detective.

Pastor Greg. Jim if you were to sum up in a sentence or two what this book is about and who it is for what would you say? It's a weird hybrid right what we're trying to do here is offer 15 true crime stories, 15 rules for a living that will change your life and 15 attributes of human nature that demonstrate that Christianity is true. So in the end I say it this way all the time it's not a coincidence that we have this inverse relationship in the world especially in our country where we've got an increase in depression, an increase in suicide, an increase in division, an increase in polarization, an increase in crime and violence. At the same time we're having a decrease in Christian proclamation that we don't believe in Christianity anymore. This is happening for a reason and if we'll simply aim at what helps us to flourish if that was it you just had completely selfish motives you'd end up as a Christian anyway because Christianity describes us the way we really are and if you reject the words of the designer you will not function as designed and that's what we're seeing happening right now and so I hope that this kind of book will if nothing else open the door to people who have for the first time perhaps be interested in hearing what is true about your creator. Great statement. If you reject the words of your designer how did the rest of it go?

You will not function as designed. There it is. So insights like this and much more are found in Jim's new book The Truth in True Crime and we'll send it to you for your gift of any size and the reason we say this is we want to get good material to you. We want to offer resources that are going to help you and strengthen you and in some cases transform you but at the same time you know there's resources involved in keeping this ministry going and so that's what we say for your gift of any size. Some of you could be very generous and help us out and others maybe couldn't give that much it's all appreciated and it will be put to good use to continue to do what we do what we feel called to do by God which is to teach the word of God so people can develop a biblical worldview send what you can and we'll put it to good use and we'll send you a copy of this fascinating book The Truth in True Crime by former detective J. Warner Wallace. Yeah that's right you'll find unexpected parallels between time-tested biblical wisdom and modern-day true crime cases. Be sure to contact us right away we won't be able to mention this resource much longer.

Get in touch with your investment today 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 we'll take a close look at the message Peter preached in Acts 2 and identify several principles for effective evangelism. 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 / 2024-05-30 05:15:33 / 2024-05-30 05:26:12 / 11

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