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They Had Been with Jesus | Is It Obvious You've Been with Him?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2024 3:00 am

They Had Been with Jesus | Is It Obvious You've Been with Him?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 7, 2024 3:00 am

When we spend some serious time out in the sun, it’s pretty obvious. People can see it all over our face. “You got some sun, didn’t you?” Well today, we’ll see when we spend some time with the Son – S-O-N – it may be just as obvious. People will wonder what’s different about us. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie continues our studies of the Church of the First Century in the book of Acts. It’s a series called The Upside-Down Life. Let’s see how to show we’ve been with Jesus.

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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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Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie points out when we spend time with the Lord, people will notice. It'll show on the outside. Can people tell you have been with Jesus?

That's what our culture needs to see right now. Christians that walk and talk with Jesus. Christians that live such a godly life, they effectively earn the right to be heard.

People that you can look at and you can just tell they've been with Jesus. You know, when we spend some serious time out in the sun, it's pretty obvious. People can see it all over our face. Oh, you got some sun, didn't you? Well, today we'll see when we spend some time with the sun, S-O-N, it may be just as obvious. People will wonder what's different about us. Today on The New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie continues our studies of the church of the first century in the book of Acts.

It's a series called The Upside Down Life. Let's see how to show we've been with Jesus. A while ago, my wife and I were celebrating our anniversary.

And so I thought I have to go big or stay home. I have to get something good for her. So I went to a nice store, and I bought her a nice ring, and I put it in a nice box. So I was going to present it to her that night, and I made a stop at a toy store to get something for one of my grandkids. And they had those little cheap mood rings.

Do you remember those? And I looked at them, and I thought, you know, it's kind of cool, the design. I wonder if I were to put that in the box with a nice ring if my wife would think it's a nice ring as well. So I put it in the box with a nice ring, and I presented it to her, Kathy.

Happy anniversary, and I love you so much. I got you two rings. But here's the problem. You can only have one.

Which one do you want? She actually deliberated over it for a long time, which is alarming to me. It's like, really? I mean, this is the nice ring, and you're actually thinking maybe the mood ring. She goes, oh, I don't know. Okay. And she picked the good ring. And then I said, well, good news. You can keep the other one. I paid three bucks for it.

It's a mood ring. But so here's the point I wanted to make. Packaging can make a difference. You know, when something is presented in a certain way, you might think, oh, this is a quality product.

This is something that is really valuable. And so I bring this up because now in the book of Acts, we're seeing genuine believers at work. We're seeing how the Holy Spirit of God worked through the lives of the most ordinary people. If you were to sum up the book of Acts in this sentence, it would go as follows. It's the Spirit of God working through the Word of God in the hearts of the people of God.

And that's what our culture needs to see right now. Christians that walk and talk with Jesus. Christians that live such a godly life.

They effectively earn the right to be heard. People who have been with Jesus. People that you can look at and you can just tell they've been with Jesus. You should be able after church if you go out to a restaurant to be different in every way to a server or someone at the next table and a person who has not been to church. They should look at you and go, oh wow, they've been with Jesus.

People should see it in us. Can people tell you have been with Jesus? I bring this up because here in Acts chapter four, verse 13, we read these words.

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had no special training, but they also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. Being a Christian isn't trying to imitate Jesus. It's not about imitation. It's about impartation.

There's a difference, isn't there? Imitation is I'm trying to follow the example of Christ and walk in his footsteps and be a good Christian as people sometimes frame it. I'm not trying to be a good Christian because I'm a bad person. I need more than imitation. I need Christ living in me and the Holy Spirit enabling me to live the life that God has called me to live.

I can't do it otherwise. I love how Paul summed it up when he wrote over in Galatians 2 20, I'm crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.

In the life that I now live, I live by the faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. It's Christ living in us. This phrase, this expression, this term Christian, was not adopted by the Christians initially. It was a name given to them. They were actually identified in the book of Acts as people of the way.

Isn't it interesting? They were called people of the way. Saul, later to become the apostle Paul, talked about how he persecuted those who were of the way. Why do they call them people of the way?

Well, it's pretty obvious. Jesus said in John 14 six, I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes of the Father but by me. So they said these people are people of the way, the way of Jesus. But then some non-believers said, you know what they are? They're Christians. And the word Christian was a derogatory term to describe them. They're like little Christs everywhere.

They're like of the party of Christ. That's a compliment. You know, you go into a restaurant, you ask for a table. And it's ready, you know, after, you know, after you wait for a while usually. And then they say, Laurie, party of two. Or if you're an angry person all by yourself, bitter, party of one, whatever.

So you take your seat at the table. I'm proud to be part of the party of Christ. I'm proud to be a little Christ, if you will. And by that I mean a simple reflection of Jesus. Well, these people were walking with Jesus and the non-believers could see it.

And they were observing them. And now we come to the first miracle of the early church. We don't read that the Lord said, go to the temple, by the gate, beautiful, the beautiful gate. It was a special gate there in Jerusalem. And there's gonna be a guy there who begs for money.

I want you to raise that guy to his feet. We don't read that happen. There was no pillar of fire. There was no angelic message. Peter and John were just doing what they did. They went to the temple and prayed.

And I bring this up because a lot of times miracles happen when the extraordinary invades the ordinary without an advance warning. You're just going about doing what you do as a Christian. What were they doing? Praying.

That's a good thing to do. Reading the Bible. Just being open to the Lord. And this door opens and as they're walking in, here's a guy who was a fixture at the temple. Everybody knew him.

Most ignored him. Peter looks down on him and the Lord speaks to Peter. Loose paraphrase. He says, look buddy, I don't have any money for you, but I have something much better. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk. He grabs the guy by the hand and pulls him up. Boy, you talk about putting it on the line.

You talk about bedding the farm. That could have gone south very easily. He could have pulled him up and then he came crashing to the ground. But Peter had an act of faith, but then he took the next step and pulled the man up.

And of course the man was walking and leaping and praising God. Isn't it interesting that this miracle was not announced ahead of time? And I bring this up because sometimes churches will say, we're going to have a miracle service. This Sunday starts at seven, ends at nine. Wait, what? You're going to have a miracle service?

How do you know? We're going to just have miracles. I don't know when God's going to do a miracle. Remember the book of Acts was written over a 30 year period of time. They did not have miracles and healings every single day.

But then periodically something amazing, something out of the ordinary, something supernatural, what happened? But most of the time these guys just like you walked by faith with the Lord. We don't know when God's going to do a miracle. Having said that we should pray for them and we should expect God to work, but it's up to the Lord where and when he will do those miraculous things. And so Peter takes this great step of faith and now here comes an opportunity.

The focus of this story is not the miracle. It was the door that the miracle opened. It was the opportunity that was now before Peter to preach the gospel. We read in Acts 3 12 Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the people of Israel.

He saw his opportunity. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. So many listeners have commented on the help they receive from these daily messages. God's Word ministers to them and it often gets them through some of their darkest hours. Not exactly sure where I first heard Pastor Greg talking, but I remember him talking about losing his son and how you never get over it. As my wife and I lost our 27 year old son and I really appreciate all of the preachings and talking that Greg does on heaven and sometimes I can't sleep at night and I listen to him.

Thank you. Pastor Greg's words have resonated with so many who've lost loved ones. If you've been touched by something Pastor Greg has said or by one of the resources offered by Harvest Ministries, contact us and share your story. Just call 1-866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Pastor Greg is leading our study in the book of Acts today called They Had Been with Jesus. Let's continue.

We need Christians today who are willing to take risks. You know it's funny when you're younger you're more open to adventure, right? You're more open to trying new things. If you're a young person at an amusement park you look at the craziest most gnarly ride you say I want to go on that and when you're older you say I do not want to go on that.

I don't know when it happened to me. I don't know if I ever liked roller coasters frankly. How many of you love to go on roller coasters? How many of you actually go on them but you don't like them at all? Well that's me. I would get on roller coasters and I'm thinking every once in a while I'm thinking I'm hating this.

I want this to be over with especially when you get to the top of the track and you're getting ready for the dropout. Oh no. Why did I do this? And one day I may have been in my 30s not even when I was that old. By the way if you're 30 you're not old. I'll talk to someone who's younger. I'm 30. I'm so old. Trust me you're not old. You're still young when you're 30. 40. Now we're getting there. 50. It's official.

It's official. When you're my age you're old. Okay anyway somewhere in my 30s I think I just said I don't want to go on roller coasters anymore. But here's the thing. A young person usually not always will take a risk.

They'll try something new. When you're older you're more cautious. You're more careful.

Even going down the stairs. Be careful. Careful. Hold on the rail. Careful.

Careful. You go to the restaurant at the same time. You sit in the same table.

You order the same thing. And then you say life seems to be passing by so quickly. Life is not sped up. You've just slowed down. And you're doing the same thing. So it seems like your life is on loop.

But if you change it up a little bit it might change you a little bit. I love how Peter and John took this risk. Saw this opportunity. And now in his message Peter unlocks a vital element in the gospel. A truth that is often overlooked. I have to say that in many messages I hear people preach. This truth.

This element. This key is not in the preaching. And I think because it's not in the preaching it's not really a complete gospel presentation.

Let's see if we can find it. Acts 3 19. Peter turns to these people after giving a fantastic message about the death and resurrection of Jesus. He says verse 19, repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be plotted out in times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

Here's the missing key. Repentance. Repentance. People are told to believe. People are told if you believe in Jesus he'll come into your life. That's true. People are told if you'll ask Christ to forgive you of your sins he will.

That's true. But they're not told you need to repent of your sin. What does it mean to repent? To repent means to change your direction. It's not just being sorry. I'm sorry. But if you go and do it again are you really sorry? Well I cried. Well tears don't mean you're really sorry.

You can cry chopping onions. The Bible says godly sorrow produces repentance. In other words if you're really sorry you'll be sorry enough to stop. Repentance means you turn.

Go in the opposite direction of where you were going before. And here's the problem. I think there's a lot of people out there that say I'm a Christian but they've never repented of their sin. They're still living in sin.

And this is the problem. What does it mean to repent? It means to turn from your sin. And what is the promise attached to repentance? God says if we will repent your sins will be blotted out and times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord.

I love that. The Greek word here for blotted out means to wash off, to erase, to obliterate. It's like a whiteboard. You know you get those little pins out and you write on the whiteboard.

And then you're done. You bring out the little eraser and it disappears. It's gone. Or you're on your computer and you type out some things and you highlight it and hit the delete key. Where does that text go?

I don't know. It just disappears. And that's the same thing that God does for you when you repent. He blots out your sin. He's wiped away. He's washed off. He's forgiven.

He's obliterated. He's erased your sin and he's forgotten your sin. Now that doesn't mean that God literally has a lapse of memory.

Like a what? No he knows. He knows all things. But the word forget means he chooses to not remember or he chooses to not hold it against you. You see. It's a choice. So why do I choose to remember what God has chosen to forget? Why do I keep dredging up my sins over and over again when God says I've forgiven your sins. I've blotted out your sins. I've obliterated your sins. I've wiped away your sins. And I have forgotten your sins. So it means he will wipe them away.

And what happens when he does that? We're refreshed. Verse 19. Times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord. The word refresh means rest. Relief. Respite. Refreshment. He wipes our sins away and he refreshes us.

How many of you have experienced this personally? Raise your hand. You know what I'm talking about. Isn't that great?

When you've sinned and just have the Lord wipe it away and refresh you. Well this is a powerful message. 5,000 people believed on this day as a result. But this did not play well in Peoria.

I have no idea what that means but it's an expression. In other words the religious establishment didn't like this one bit. And the Sadducees in particular took great offense to it. Now the Sadducees were religious rulers along with the Pharisees. They're two separate groups. They hated each other but the only thing they hated more than each other were the Christians and Jesus.

That's the one thing they agreed on. But the Sadducees were upset because the Sadducees don't believe in the resurrection from the dead. They don't believe there's life beyond the grave. Maybe that's why they got their name Sadducee.

If you don't believe there's life beyond the grave you're sad. You see. So they opposed this and now Peter and John are brought before the Sanhedrin. That's sort of like the Supreme Court of the day. Right.

They had the final ruling. And we read in Acts chapter 4 verse 7 they brought on the two disciples and demanded by what power and in whose name have you done this? Then Peter filled with the Holy Spirit said leaders and elders of our nation are we being questioned because we did a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to you and all the people of Israel he was healed in the name and power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For this is the one reference to in the scriptures where it says the stone the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone and their salvation and no one else.

For there's no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them. Then the members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John. They could see that they were ordinary men who had no special training and they recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. And since the men who had been healed was standing right there among them the council had nothing to say.

All right we'll stop there. So let's identify what it means to be with Jesus. What it means to walk with Jesus. If you have been with Jesus or if you're walking with Jesus you will boldly share your faith.

You'll boldly share your faith. Don't forget this Saint Peter only days earlier effectively had openly denied Christ even taking an oath saying he never knew the man. Now he's preached on the day of Pentecost and three thousand people have believed and he's preached here and five thousand people have believed. Where did Peter get this confidence and this courage? He got it from the Holy Spirit. Remember we read in Acts 1 eight. You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you to be witnesses unto me. That same power that was given to the believers in the first century is available for believers in the 21st century.

That means us. Because the promise on the day of Pentecost was this promise is unto you to your children to your children's children to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call. So Peter had this boldness and we should have this boldness as well. You know for many to share their faith is a duty. It's a drudgery.

It shouldn't be. Be like Peter and see the opportunities. Here's another point. If you've been with Jesus you'll be a person that knows scripture. As it was pointed out Peter had not been professionally trained. He was not a theologian. By the way they didn't have bibles in those days. They read scrolls and they memorized them and you didn't have your own scrolls that you carry around with you everywhere. You would go and hear the reading of the scripture in temple. That means that Peter committed large portion of scriptures to memory and he was able to quote them.

I think being inspired by the Holy Spirit we don't read that he had a teleprompter or that he was reading off his ipad or no it just was in his heart because he knew the word of God. And listen if you want to get closer to Jesus you'll discover him in the pages of the Bible. People will know you have been with Jesus when you love to read and study the Bible because Jesus said lo in the volume of the book I have come. He'll come to you in the volume of the book. Pastor Greg Laurie pointing out the characteristics of believers who've been with Jesus.

Good practical insight today on a new beginning and there's more to come. If it's obvious that we've been with Jesus it may be just as obvious when we haven't and if we've never come to Jesus and have never come to know him personally well that may be obvious as well. Pastor Greg what would you say to the person who's not sure if they've ever come into a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ?

Yes I think they need to make this commitment to Christ. Here's what the Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved so you need to reach out to God. Not just think about it not just say one of these days I would like to just do it. In fact you can do it right now you say well how do I call out to the name of the Lord? You do it through prayer. God is just a prayer away. How about if I lead you in a prayer and you could pray this prayer after me you can pray it out loud if you like you can pray it quietly in your heart but direct this prayer toward God and you could pray it after me right now.

You ready? Pray this after me. Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the savior and I want a relationship with you so as your word says I'm calling on the name of the Lord. I'm asking you to save me from my sin and I'm asking that we begin a new relationship today.

Thank you for loving me and sending your son Jesus to die on the cross for my sin and then raising him from raising him from the dead. I now put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ and I ask this in Jesus name Amen. Amen and listen if you have just prayed that prayer along with Pastor Greg and if you've meant those words sincerely let us be the first to welcome you into the family of God and we want to help you get started off right in this new daily walk with the Lord. Pastor Greg would like to send you his New Believers Bible. It's a special edition of God's Word for those who are new to the faith with scores of helps for new believers written by Pastor Greg.

So get in touch and ask for the New Believers Bible. We'll send it to you free of any charge. Just call us at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514. Or go online to harvest.org and click the words Know God. Well Pastor Greg one of the newest episodes for the new animated cartoon series The Adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog is something called Never Kiss a Jellyfish Goodbye which is funny all on its own. Where in the world did you come up with that title that concept? Well our listeners know that pretty much everything that happens in my life may end up in a sermon and so my grandson Christopher was out in the ocean with his buddy and his mom called him it's time to come in and he paused for a few moments and then he came in and she noticed that his face was bright red she said honey what happened to your face he said well mom we were playing with the jellyfish and when you called us in we decided to kiss it goodbye so he literally kissed a jellyfish goodbye and it stung him and when I heard this they said oh that's going to be in a sermon so went into a sermon so then it ended up as the title of a cartoon so he gets writing credit I said Christopher you get writing credit on this one and he got writing credit on another one that I did called Yellow Dog's Bad Day and so the the theme of that cartoon is is how to deal with temptation you know because temptation is so tempting and we all deal with it so we kind of springboard from that story and and Yellow Dog gets himself no bunch of trouble as he often does in these cartoons and and Ben's trying to use it as a teaching moment to show Yellow Dog how to resist temptation so so here's a little scene uh when Yellow Dog has just come in from uh kissing this jellyfish and here's what Ben says to him this hurts yellow dog how did a jellyfish get on your face oh well I was swimming to shore and thought I'd just give this little guy a kiss goodbye yellow dog you never kiss a jellyfish well in case you're wondering they do not taste like jelly oh but he was just so cute I couldn't resist like the time you kissed that dolphin goodbye and when you hugged that octopus yeah or pet that electric eel or hugged that puffer fish do you see a pattern here when you embrace the wrong things you get nothing but pain and suffering you know what you're right so there you have it Yellow Dog getting himself into trouble again but ultimately learning lessons from it as well and so this is a whole cartoon universe that we have created with a lot of spin-off products called the adventures have been born again in Yellow Dog we have animated cartoons that we're doing we have a living water comic book that is an update of my living water track that is out now in printed form and now we are refreshing a very popular item that we have offered for years it's called the Ben Born Again New Believers Growth Book well over 500,000 of these probably a lot more frankly have gone out over the years and they're designed really for kids in elementary school but we found adults like it too you know it's kind of overwhelming when you give a bible to an adult who's never read the bible they don't know where to start they don't know how to make their way through it so this is like an entry level resource that a person of any age could appreciate but I think especially a child a young person so we want to get these into the hands of as many kids as we can and that's where you come in we need you to help us do that so this month we're offering the Ben Born Again New Believers Growth Book as a special resource again I want to remind you this is a brand new version featuring the latest cartoon characters from the animated series Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog telling whoever reads this little booklet how they can grow as a Christian it's it's really a follow-up booklet a follow-up resource and if you believe in getting the gospel to this young generation if you believe in really what the great commission is which is go into all the world and preach the gospel making disciples of all nations teaching them to observe all things and I have commanded you and lo I am with you to the end of the age says Jesus and so that's what we're trying to do we want to evangelize them by bringing the gospel to them and then we want to make disciples help them get grounded as Christians I have found that people of all ages have never gotten themselves a good foundation in the basics of the Christian life I found often people think they know more than they know and so we want to help them get grounded in their faith and that's why we have redone refreshed and we're reintroducing now the Ben Born Again New Believers Growth Book so if you have a passion to reach this young generation order one and be generous and we'll use what you use what you give to continue this mission of bringing the gospel to unexpected people in unexpected places yeah that's right and we're ready to send this your way thank you so much for your partnership that makes it possible so get in touch with your investment and then be sure to ask for the Ben Born Again New Believers Growth Book it's engaging and understandable but more than that it's biblical get in touch with your investment and be sure to ask for the Ben Born Again New Believers Growth Book you can call us at 1-800-821-3300 that's a 24 7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org hey everybody I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home it happens every Sunday at harvest.org and on our brand new app Harvest Plus which is available on your mobile tv devices download it now and you can watch Harvest at Home with Christians from around the world as we worship together and study God's word so again join us for Harvest at Home at harvest.org or on Harvest Plus well next time Pastor Greg brings us more insight on the characteristics that will be evident in our lives when we're walking closely with Jesus good insight is coming join us here on The New Beginning with Pastor and Bible Teacher Greg Laurie. 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 / 2024-06-07 05:07:04 / 2024-06-07 05:19:06 / 12

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