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Honest to God | You Can't Fool God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 12, 2024 3:00 am

Honest to God | You Can't Fool God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 12, 2024 3:00 am

In the movie industry, they talk about the “suspension of disbelief.” It’s all make-believe, right? But they try to make the costumes, and the special effects, and the acting so convincing that it suspends our disbelief. They hope we forget it’s fake. Or fiction, if you prefer. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that some people sort of act their way through life. They try to suspend our disbelief about how they’re really living. We’ll see that’s a fruitless pursuit.

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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. You can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool God any of the time. In the movie industry they talk about the suspension of disbelief. It's all make believe, right? But they try to make the costumes and the special effects and the acting so convincing that it suspends our disbelief. They hope we forget it's fake, or fiction if you prefer. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out some people sort of act their way through life. They try to suspend our disbelief about how they're really living.

We'll see that's a fruitless pursuit. So we're in the book of Acts in this series that we're calling The Upside Down Life. And now we're going to see some of the challenges that they faced. We've seen the Holy Spirit poured out and you know thousands of people believing on the day of Pentecost.

We've seen a man raised up who was unable to walk from his youth. We've seen a lot of preaching, a lot of powerful things. Now we're going to see some sinful things because this is real world life that we're looking at here. This story shows that the early church was not all about romance and redemption. They also had flaws and sinful people and we see how Jesus dealt with these people. Now Barnabas is seen giving a gift to the church for the use of ministry. So Ananias and Sapphira see this and they think, wow look at how the people appreciate this.

We want to be seen as virtuous people too. So this is what happens next and one of the most shocking stories in the Bible quite candidly. Acts chapter 5 starting in verse 1.

I'm reading from the New Living Translation. There was a man named Ananias who with his wife Sapphira sold some property. He brought part of the property to the apostles but claimed it was the full amount. His wife agreed to this deception. Underline that this deception.

Then Peter said Ananias why has satan filled your heart. You lied to the Holy Spirit and you kept some of the money for yourself. This property was was yours to sell or not sell as you wish or not. And after selling it the money was yours to keep or to give away.

Why would you do a thing like this? You're not lying to us. You're lying to God. And as soon as Ananias heard these words he fell to the ground and died. And everyone who heard about it was terrified. Well then some young men wrapped him in a sheet took him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife comes in not knowing what had happened. Peter asks her what was this price you and your husband received for the land. She said yeah that was the price. Peter said how could the two of you even think of doing a thing like this conspiring together to test the spirit of the Lord.

You might underline that phrase test the spirit of the Lord. Just outside that door are the young men who buried your husband and they'll carry you out too. And instantly she fell to the floor and died. And the young men saw she was dead and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear gripped the entire church and all the others who heard what happened. We'll stop there. How's that for a story?

Wow. Why did God deal so severely with these two people? Because they committed a specific sin against the spirit that still can be committed today. They lied to the spirit of God. Verse four.

You've not lied to men but to God. Their sin was they lied to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a member of the Trinity.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has a will. The Holy Spirit has a personality. The Holy Spirit can be specifically sinned against. There are specific sins identified in the Bible that can be committed against the Holy Spirit. For instance you can insult the spirit. You can resist the spirit. You can lie to the spirit as the story here shows.

And you can blaspheme the spirit. So what is this about? Again Ananias and Sapphira were hypocrites. They were playing a part. They were pretending to be something that they were not. They wanted people to think they were really devoted to God when they weren't. Now before we criticize them let's just ask ourselves this question. Have we ever done anything like this?

The answer is yes. You know some people always say I'm going to really just you know sing louder and lift my hands higher. And that's all good.

We want that. But don't do it in a way where you're drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. God doesn't like it when you do that. Better to be an honest sinner than a lying saint.

So don't put this show on. That's what Ananias and Sapphira were doing. They were pretending to be something they were not. The hypocrite extraordinaire was Judas Iscariot. I don't know why it is but whenever I type the words Judas Iscariot in my Word document and I run spell check they want to change the last name Iscariot to Escargot.

Just Word does not understand the word Iscariot. Judas Escargot. So that was Judas's French brother. I don't know if you know about him. Or maybe his brother who likes snails.

I'm not sure. No there is no Judas Escargot. But there was a Judas Iscariot. And he was a great deceiver. In fact he was perceived as one of the more virtuous of the disciples. On one occasion when a woman brought a very expensive perfume to anoint Jesus with.

Probably a family heirloom worth a lot of money. And she knew he was going to die and she wanted to do something sacrificial. It was Judas Iscariot who spoke up and said this is not good stewardship. Could this not have been sold and the money given to the poor. All the other apostles probably thought yeah you know he has got a point.

That is true. But then John tells us yeah he said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was stealing money. Because he was the treasure. So Judas put on a good show to show this when Jesus in the upper room said one of you is going to betray me to each disciple. They said is it me. They didn't all point in unison at Judas and say it is Judas isn't it. They didn't know.

No one suspected it. And then the ironic thing is Judas betrays our Lord for 30 pieces of silver. He goes to the religious leaders and he says the one I kiss that is the one you are looking for. So they go into the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ is there with his disciples.

He is just literally sweat blood as he is under the pressure of what is about to come. And as Judas approaches Christ with the temple guard with their swords and their shields and their spears and their torches Jesus says friend why have you come. Did Jesus know why Judas was coming.

Of course. He had already called him out in the upper room and said you are the one who will betray me. But unnoticed by Judas Christ was offering this betrayer one last chance to repent. But Judas was such a hypocrite he betrays Jesus with a kiss. Why not just point at him and say there he is.

Get him. Because in religious art you always know who Jesus is. Everyone has sort of dusty robes and muted colors. Jesus has a pure white robe.

Just came from the dry cleaners. With a blue sash. Where did the blue sash come from.

I don't know. But Jesus has the blue sash right. Well that is religious art.

That is not reality. He blended into a crowd like any other man would. He didn't glow in the dark you know. So Judas had to say the guy I kiss that is Jesus. But when he betrays our Lord with a kiss in the Greek it is implied that he kissed him over and over again. He wanted to appear devout even though he was literally betraying the Lord.

What a horrible thing. And that is what a hypocrite does. It has been said you can fool all of the people some of the time. You can fool some of the people all of the time. But you can't fool God any of the time. Am I talking to a hypocrite right now. If so please stand up.

No don't. You probably wouldn't. But you know if you are a hypocrite. You know. Like right now you are sitting here in church with your wife and your family. Or you are alone and everyone thinks you are such a spiritual man.

Such a spiritual woman. But you know what is going on. You know you are going to go home and look at porn. You know you are in an extramarital relationship. You know you are living in a lifestyle that is contrary to Scripture. You know that you are lying to people to make more money. You know that you are doing fill in blank here.

And you keep doing it and you have no intention of stopping that thing. That is hypocrisy. Now if you tell me I come in with a struggle and I need help and I need prayer.

That is understood. There is a difference between that person and the other person. Don't be that person because you are lying to the Spirit. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Well we are talking about lying and other significant spiritual dangers today. As Pastor Greg presents his message Honest to God.

Let's continue. can commit against the Spirit called quenching the Spirit. The Bible says quench not the Spirit. What does that mean?

That means that you are trying to stop the Spirit from the work He wants to do in your life. The idea is of quenching a fire. You know like when you go camping.

How many of you like to camp? Right. Ok. Some people like to go glamping.

That is a new thing. Right. Sort of a nicer version of camping.

There are giant motor homes with big TV's on the outside and ok whatever. So you are out at your campsite and you set up your fire and it is time to break camp so you extinguish the fire. You can't just leave fires going. Right. And I have noticed when you go to the beach the best part of going to the beach is when you get there and when you leave.

Right. Because I love the idea of the beach. You get to the beach. I love the beach. Sunny. Warm.

Sound of the ocean. Just great. Lay out your towel. No one is there. Set up your chair.

Get out your book. Maybe you have a little music playing. Put your sunglasses on. And then all of a sudden some guy shows up. He has the entire beach to choose from and he sets his towel right next to yours. And his towel actually touches your towel. That may be against the law.

Don't please. Your towel is touching my towel. And then he is the guy who is talking on his cell phone and it is on speaker. Right. So you are hearing the entire conversation and then you go on the ocean to cool off and now the seagulls are flying off with your food and your children. And you say I am not happy anymore. I am going home and you are happy again.

I am leaving the beach. Right. But the main thing is with the fire is you quench that fire. But sometimes the Holy Spirit will prompt you to do something. The Holy Spirit will say I want you to put that phone down and open your Bible. The Holy Spirit says I want you to start a conversation with that person. He doesn't say it audibly but it is sort of a nudge. It is a leading to just go do that thing.

I want you to do this. And we will say no. No. That is quenching the Spirit you see. So Ananias and Sapphira they were lying to the Spirit. And if you are a hypocrite sooner or later one day you will have to face the music. There was a band back in the 90s. A lot of you won't even know who I am talking about.

Some of you will. They were called Milli Vanilli. Does anyone remember Milli Vanilli?

All the old people. Right. So they were a duo. And they had a song with the title Girl You Know It's True. And they even won a Grammy for it. They sold 30 million records. But then it came out that Milli Vanilli actually never sang that song. They had some session singers come into the studio and record it. And Milli and Vanilli the two guys that made up this group would just sort of lip sync and dance to the song. And then it came out and they had to return their Grammy. And they had to face the music.

And that statement face the music goes back to the early days of Japan. The story is told of a man who wanted to be in the imperial orchestra to play for the emperor. But the problem was this man could not play a note. But he was very wealthy and affluent. So the conductor allowed him to join the imperial orchestra. And when the orchestra was playing he would be like acting as though he was playing a flute when he wasn't playing a single note.

And that went on for years. But he enjoyed the prestige that came with being in that orchestra. And that continued on until a new conductor took the orchestra over. And he told the orchestra that he wanted to audition each player personally. They had to perform in his presence. Well the flautist was very nervous because he knew he could not play. But finally he was called in after he called in sick a couple times. And he appeared before the conductor. And it was clear that he was a fraud. Thus he had to face the music you see.

So Ananias and Sapphira had to face the music. And one day we will have to do the same. Do not be a hypocrite. And if you are a hypocrite repent of it and ask God to forgive you of your sin. I've mentioned some of the sins you can commit against the Holy Spirit.

Let me mention one more. And I'm probably asked about this particular sin more than any other. What is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Okay so the Bible talks about resisting the Spirit.

Stephen that we will talk about later in the book of Acts was preaching to the religious leaders of Sanhedrin. And he said to them why do you resist the Spirit as your fathers did? To resist the Spirit means that I say no I don't want Christ in my life. The Holy Spirit has come to convince us of our sin and of righteousness and of judgment. The Holy Spirit shows me my need for Jesus.

Not to drive me away in despair but to draw me to Christ. So when I say no to Him I'm resisting the Spirit. Then it can get even worse and you can insult the Spirit. Certainly don't want to do that. That's effectively implying that you would acknowledge that Jesus died on a cross for your sins.

And you would say I frankly could care less. I want nothing to do with Him or His offer of forgiveness. That's an insult to the Spirit. So I can resist the Spirit then I can insult the Spirit and it all culminates with blaspheming the Spirit.

What does that mean? That means that I completely reject Christ as Savior and Lord. And that is the only unforgivable sin.

Because the Bible says how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation. So maybe there's someone I'm talking to here that is sort of resisting. Like I believe it's true but I don't really want this in my life right now. And you know maybe some other time and then there's somebody else that's saying I don't know if I think it's true or not. I just reject it. And someone else your heart has gotten so hard you don't even care anymore.

Be careful because you can go beyond a point of no return. The Bible says harden not your heart if you can hear His voice. In Revelation 22 17 we read the Spirit and the bride say come. Let him that hears this say come. Let him who is thirsty come. And whoever desires let him drink freely from the water of life. You see God wants to satisfy your deep spiritual thirst. That's really what you're longing for in life. And we try to satisfy this thirst sometimes with relationships or with possessions or with drugs or alcohol or even religion. None of those things will satisfy that thirst. Only Christ will satisfy it.

A relationship with Him. So the Holy Spirit is saying this is for you. Right now I'm talking to somebody that is sensing this draw this tug this pull from the Holy Spirit. It's up to you how you're going to react. You can say yes Lord come into my life or you can say no I don't want it. And besides there's too many hypocrites in the church. Get over that. You think that's going to hold water on Judgment Day. That's an excuse and you know it. Jesus never said follow my people. He said follow me.

Okay. Just because there's hypocrites doesn't really mean anything. This is about you and God. Just because someone else messes it up has nothing to do with this offer of forgiveness that He offers to you at this very moment. Jesus died on that cross for your sin and He rose again from the dead and now He stands at the door of your life and He knocks and if you hear His voice and open the door He will come in. Don't resist the Spirit. Don't insult the Spirit. And God forbid that someone listening to me right now blasphemes the Spirit. If you have any sense of seeing your need for Jesus you have not gone beyond that point of no return.

But don't keep putting this off because you could. So we're going to close in prayer and I'm going to give an opportunity for anybody here that wants to respond to the work of the Holy Spirit and believe in Jesus to do it right here right now. Let's pray. Father I thank you for the work of the Holy Spirit. He is here right now working in our midst and I pray that your Holy Spirit will work in the hearts of those that do not know you and help them to see their need for Jesus.

Well our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed. Maybe there's somebody here that needs Jesus today. The Holy Spirit has been drawing you. Will you respond to Him? Will you come to Christ now? If you will if you want to just pray this prayer after me right where you sit. If you want Jesus to forgive you of your sin 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 in Jesus name I pray.

Amen. An important prayer today on A New Beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie praying with those who are making a decision for the Lord.

If you've just prayed that prayer and you've meant those words sincerely then Jesus has forgiven your sins and He's taken residence in your heart. And you may have some questions about this new life you're about to live. Well Pastor Greg would like to help you by sending his New Believers Bible. It's free of charge and it'll answer your questions and get you started off right in your new relationship with the Lord. Just give us a call at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24 7 again 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or just go online to harvest.org and click the words know God. You know Pastor Greg all of us as parents or grandparents we feel the responsibility and privilege of bringing our kids to the Lord you know train up a child in the way he should go. But many of us frankly could use all the help we could get and we have something that's a lot of help and at the same time a lot of fun isn't that right?

That's right we have these Ben Born Again cartoons and we have a new episode called Never Kiss a Jellyfish Goodbye and really the theme is how to resist temptation and there's a scene from the cartoon that we're going to play for you in a moment but let me set it up. A lot of these things that happen in these cartoons are based on my own life and you may have heard me talk about the fact that when I was a young boy I was sort of a junior herpetologist. That's someone that studies reptiles and I really loved reptiles. I love snakes and lizards and turtles and such but especially snakes so I got my mother to buy me a snake. We drove to the pet store and we bought the snake and we put it in the little terrarium in the little cage in the trunk of the car. By the time we arrived home somehow that snake got out and was loose in the car never found that snake and then a little bit later my mom was at an intersection and she was aware of the fact that that snake could still be in the car and a cold coil dropped on her ankle and she jumped out of the car screaming thinking it was the snake when in reality it was a loose hose in the car but she never drove the car again and I got a free car out of it so that's kind of cool. It was a very old car for you car people out there it was called a Ford Starliner.

Google that. Back when the cars were really big and kind of had fins anyway so I brought that idea into this been born again cartoon so in this instance Ben's mother is taking him to the pet store to get a snake and this is what happens it sounds very similar to what happened to me check it out. Remember that one time when your mom bought you a snake at the pet store? How can I forget on the way home it got loose in the van we never did find it. When your mom felt something tickling her ankle she almost drove the car off the road. That wasn't even the snake just this old garden hose on the floor she still would never get in this old thing again.

Well at least you got your very own van out of it. And then we just come out and talk about how to actually resist temptation and we have a scene from the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve going there uh to the tree and where the forbidden fruit was and of course the serpent speaks to them so I've sort of raised the idea of the serpent the snake being like the devil and now I'm just talking about how to resist that serpent when he whispers his temptations into your ear. So these are resources we develop we want them to be fun we want them to be entertaining but most of all we want them to be truth given to children in a way that they can understand. So there's sort of a Ben born again universe if you will we've got these animated cartoons we've got printed materials like what we call the living water comic book which is an update of the living water track if you saw the Jesus revolution film you remember the story when I first came with that little cartoon booklet and gave it to Master Chuck and he wanted it printed up so more people could see it and by the way if you haven't seen the Jesus revolution film you really got to watch it it's on all streaming platforms right now including Netflix but anyway so this little booklet was produced and so we have a lot of resources we're spinning off from Ben born again and yellow dog which brings me to our newest resource which is called the Ben born again growth book and what it is is a little cartoon booklet that is designed for a young person elementary age and tells them how to grow spiritually it sort of lays the foundation for them in their life of what it means to be a Christian deals with topics like why the Bible is important why being involved in church matters how to pray how to know the will of God how to resist temptation and a whole lot more so we'll give you one of these to enjoy to share with a child in your life but you might want to get a few more copies and share them with others and be generous in what you send as we continue to reach people of all ages including kids and we have a heart to reach this young generation that needs to hear about Jesus Christ so order your copy of the brand new Ben born again new believers growth book yeah that's right it's our privilege to send it your way to thank you for partnering with us and reaching people of all ages with the message of the gospel and when you send your donation today we hope you'll ask for the new Ben born again new believers growth book it features the latest Ben born again in yellow dog design it helps kids get well grounded in the Lord so 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 again 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 riverside california 92514 or go online to harvest.org well next time pastor greg helps us examine the life of steven as he describes what it takes to live a life well lived join us here on a new beginning with pastor and bible feature greg lorry greg lorry the preceding podcast was made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know god learn how to become a harvest partner sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-12 05:29:04 / 2024-06-12 05:39:37 / 11

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