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Greg Laurie - It's Time For Another Jesus Revolution

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    Greg Laurie - It's Time For Another Jesus Revolution
TOPICS: Revival

It's time for another Jesus revolution. How many of you agree with that? It's time. So if you watch the news like I do or you read a news feed, you know that America is at the crossroads right now. Literally, our nation is unraveling before our very eyes. Why? Because we have rejected what God says in his Word. We're seeking to redefine what God has already defined. As the Bible says, we're sowing the wind, and now we're reaping the whirlwind. You know, the closest parallel time that I can think of to today would be the late '60s, early '70s. Yes, I've been around that long. I was born in 1952. Elvis was still singing, Marilyn Monroe was on the screen, you know, Ike was president. You've probably never even heard of Ike.

And in all these decades that have come and gone since then, I look at today and I especially look at this young generation today. It reminds me a lot of what was happening in the late '60s, early '70s. We have a drug epidemic that is sweeping our nation. A big issue that is a problem today is Fentanyl, and there are 300 Fentanyl deaths every single day. But this whole drug revolution, this whole stupid mentality propagated in the '60s of "turn on, tune in, drop out," that's where it all started. And we basically smoked a lot of marijuana and took LSD. Here's what I find ironic. Those are the two most popular drugs again right now. Pot use is up so much now, more people smoke pot than cigarettes. It's become really mainstream with edibles and all of the things legalized in many states and now experts warn of a cannabis use disorder that causes psychosis and addiction. So our young people have all of this happening to them and then you add social media. That's like pouring gasoline on a fire.

So everything is amplified. In many ways, it's not as bad as it seems but it's right there in your face. Self-harm among young people is up 334%, overdose is up 119%, anxiety up 94%, depression up 84%, the US suicide rate has increased 30% since 2000 and tripled for young girls. This generation needs help. So here's what I wanna say. We're not gonna take this lying down. We are gonna stand up and do everything we can here at Harvest to reach this generation. Now we don't decide when a revival happens. God does. We can't make it happen. We can't organize it, but we can agonize for it in prayer. We can prepare the ground, maybe I should restate it: we can pre-prayer the ground. Get our hearts ready. Revival starts with you, it starts with me, it starts with us as a church, but it begins right where we are.

I was having a conversation with Pastor Chuck Smith some years ago and, for those of you that don't know Chuck, he is called the Father of the Jesus Movement. And he was just that man that God used and I'm gonna show you a scene from the Jesus Revolution film that will explain it in many ways to you, but he was a man who was willing to take a risk. But he was right there at the epicenter of this great awakening. And I went to ask Chuck, "Chuck, do you think we'll ever see another Jesus movement"? He paused for a moment and he said, "Would you stop asking me stupid questions"? No, he didn't say that. No, he should have said that 'cause I always was asking him questions. He said, "Greg, I'm not sure if we're desperate enough".

Now, that was some years ago. I think we may be desperate enough right now, where we're really gonna start seriously praying about this. Psalm 85:6 says: "Will you not revive us again that your people may rejoice in you"? That's a prayer of the psalmist, "Lord, revive us again". I love these words from Habakkuk chapter 3, verse 2 where he says: "I've heard all about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by the amazing work you have done in this time of deep need. Revive your work as you did in days gone by". So I know you that are younger, you think, "Oh, that's cool, but that was then and this is now". Your prayer should be, "Lord, do it again". It's our responsibility as those who are now older, to pass this on to the next generation.

In Joel 1:3 it says: "Tell your children about it. Let your children tell their children and their children, the next generation". The Jesus movement was not a political revolution though some called for that. Some are calling for it today. It was not a moral revolution. It was a Jesus revolution. In fact, it's, of all things, it was "Time Magazine" that dubbed it "Jesus Revolution". This is an original copy of the magazine. We didn't call it that. We called it the Jesus movement but "Time" saw it was more than a movement. They saw it was a revolution. And the word "revolution" means upheaval, change. It means turning around and rotating, a revolution. I'm gonna demonstrate a revolution. Get ready. This is gonna be exciting. Pray I don't fall.

Here we go, revolution. That's a revolution. Thank you. Returning to something. That's what it is. And so what are we returning to? We're returning to New Testament Christianity. We're returning to the faith that was given to us from the Lord, practiced by the early church. So this great movement happened when no one can pinpoint it exactly, probably 1969, 1970, and all these people started coming to Christ. It was happening all around the country but the epicenter was California. I wanna see it happen again in California. All right, so, a full-length feature film coming out and I'm gonna show you a scene from the film. Who wants to see a scene from the film? You sure?

Okay, so this is kind of where it started. There was this pastor. I've referenced him already, named Chuck Smith. Chuck pastors a very small church. It's not doing very well. And meanwhile, the whole '60s counter culture is happening. Kids are freaking out. They're on drugs, and Chuck doesn't know what to do. His wife, Kay, has a heart for these kids. She wants to reach them. Chuck thinks they all need to get a haircut, take a bath, and get a job. He's not really open at all. And so he has his daughter, Jan, and they're talking about this and he's trying to understand it and he says that "if I could meet a hippie I'll ask 'em what this is all about". So Jan meets this evangelist from San Francisco who's named Lonnie Frisbee and she brings him home. But Dad doesn't know he's gonna meet this hippie evangelist. Here's the scene now from "Jesus Revolution".

Chuck Smith: My stars.

Lonnie Frisbee: Hi, Chuck Smith.

Chuck Smith: Who are you? How do you know my name?

Lonnie Frisbee: Oh, your daughter told me, when she picked me up.

Chuck Smith: You tell me right now where my daughter is. Janette?

Janette: What? Here.

Chuck Smith: Who is this?

Janette: It's Lonnie.

Lonnie Frisbee: Hi.

Chuck Smith: Hi. Would you mind just stepping outside for a minute, Mr.?

Lonnie Frisbee: Not at all. Frisbee. Lonnie Frisbee. Do you have any sugar, by any chance?

Chuck Smith: What is going on?

Janette: You said you wanted God to send you a hippie.

Chuck Smith: I said that, but I did not mean it.

Janette: Dad, I am telling you, there's something about this guy. We talked all night, he pretty much blew my mind.

Chuck Smith: You spent the night with him? He could be an ax murderer.

Janette: Anyone could be an ax murderer. Look, just listen for 10 minutes and if you think he's crazy, I'll throw him out myself.

Lonnie Frisbee: This house has a very good vibe. So great to meet you.

Chuck Smith: So, tell me about yourself, Lonnie, and your people.

Lonnie Frisbee: My people? I like the sound of that. You know, it reminds me of the words of Jesus. "To what then can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like"? I was up in San Francisco for a long time, living in Haight Ashbury, on the streets, all over, and hated everything and everyone. But that was the point. You see, the drugs, it's a quest.

Chuck Smith: For what?

Lonnie Frisbee: For God. How can you not see that? There is an entire generation right now searching for God. Man, we thought acid was gonna save the world. Thank you.

Chuck Smith: Thanks, Mom.

Lonnie Frisbee: That was a lie. As much of a lie as what we were rebelling against.

Chuck Smith: And what brought you to that realization?

Lonnie Frisbee: I kept searching and searching and I just finally got to the end of it, and there was still a void. And my people, well, they're a desperate bunch. And in desperation, man, there's power in that word. What would it take for you, Chuck Smith, to be desperate? Janette tells me you're a pastor.

Chuck Smith: Yes, currently.

Lonnie Frisbee: I know we must seem pretty strange, but if you look a little deeper, if you look with love, you'll see a bunch of kids that are searching for all the right things, just in all the wrong places. So to answer your question: how do I describe my people? They're sheep without a shepherd, chasing hard after lies, and the trouble is, your people reject them. So I ask you, Pastor, how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? We can only walk through doors open to us, and your church, well, that's a door that's shut.

To his eternal credit, Pastor Chuck Smith stepped out of his comfort zone. He let that crazy guy come preach in his church and before you knew it, Christian music was beginning. Chuck Smith and Lonnie Frisbee were like nitro meeting glycerin. It was an explosive result. God used both of them. And, you know, we're so divided in America. We're even divided in the church. And we're divided over second- and third-tier issues. And it's time for us to come together and pray together and work together and do something to change what's happening. There's an old country preacher named Vance Havner that once said, "If we're too busy using our sickles on each other, we'll miss the harvest".

And I think sometimes we're debating all these things when there's a lost world out there and, of course, the late '60s, early '70s, was a time, a division, as well. It's so bad right now that I read that 43% of Americans think we're headed toward a civil war. This is crazy. We need God, and we need another spiritual awakening. One writer put it this way, and I quote: "If all the sleeping people will wake up, if all the lukewarm people will fire up, if all the dishonest people will confess up, if all the disgruntled people will cheer up, if all the estranged people will make up, if all the gossipers will shut up, if all true soldiers will stand up, if all the dry bones will shake up, if all the church people will pray up, then we can have a revival".

Well said, right? When we look at the breakdown in culture, we're quick to point the finger at Hollywood. It's Hollywood's fault. Or it's because of these politicians in Washington, D.C. And they may all play a role in it to some degree, but when God sees the breakdown of a nation, he doesn't point his finger at the White House. He points it at his house. 2 Chronicles 7:14, God says, "If my people which are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways," then God says, "then I will hear them and I will answer this prayer and I will forgive their sins and heal their land". You know, we all gravitate toward the "heal the land" part. Yes, Lord, heal our land.

God says, "My people". That means you. That means me. That means us. "Oh, they're all so evil. Look at the horrible things they're all doing". Yeah, maybe it's true. What about you? Do you need to humble yourself and seek his face and turn from your wicked ways? Do I need to do that? That's the prescription for revival according to Scripture. Now, if you're taking notes, here's point number one of my message: the Holy Spirit was at work. The Holy Spirit was at work. There was a sense of expectancy in those services back in those days. No one was ever late for church, right? Sometimes we're late for church. We arrive late, we leave early. No, there's a sense of what is God going to do? And this is what set the early church into motion. It was the Holy Spirit. God's Holy Spirit wants to work in your life. The question is, do you want him to work?

You know, the Bible says that we should "quench not the Spirit". Sometimes, God's Holy Spirit will nudge you. Why don't you do this? Why don't you say that? Why don't you go here? And we say, "No". That's quenching the Spirit. See, God wants to fill you with the Holy Spirit. The Bible says don't be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit. Speaking to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord. So I love how the Lord says, "Don't do this; instead, do that". Hey, don't get drunk. No brainer, don't do that. Don't waste your time doing that, but be filled with the Spirit. So we don't need the spirits; we need the Holy Spirit empowering us, filling us.

Another earmark of the early days of the Jesus movement and I might add of the early church is there was a belief in the imminent return of Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ is coming again. I believe that we are seeing signs accelerating right now, reminding us that Bible prophecy is literally being fulfilled before our very eyes. And I believe that the next event on the prophetic calendar will be the Rapture of the church. That's when we're caught up to meet the Lord in the air in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. Now if you believe this... how many of you believe this? Show us your hand, okay. So if you believe this, it will affect you in the way that you live.

The Bible says: "He that has this hope," that is the hope of the Lord's return, "purifies himself even as he is pure". Sort of like when you were a little kid, maybe you got in trouble and your mother gave you this ominous warning, "Just wait until your father gets home". So now you're dreading Dad's arrival. Poor Dad. He just wants to come home. He's working. No, "Wait until Dad gets home". But let's say you were a good little boy or girl and you heard Daddy's car pull up in the driveway. You run to greet him. See, the idea is if I'm right with God, I get excited about and I look forward to the return of Jesus. If I'm not right with God, it might fill me with a certain sense of dread.

And I wanna shift gears now over to Revelation 3 because these are the words of Jesus to the church of the last days, the church living in the time before the return of the Lord, Revelation 3, verse 7: "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he who opens, and no one shuts; he who shuts, and no one opens; I know your works: I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: you have a little strength, you've kept my word, and you've not denied my name". Here's my third point: Jesus has given to us an unprecedented open door. Verse 7: "He opens, and no man shuts". The door in the Bible is a symbol of opportunity, and the key is a symbol of authority.

Paul talked about this in 2 Corinthians 2 when he says, "I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Jesus because a door was opened to me of the Lord". See, God opens doors. And what does that mean? It just means a conversation you're having with someone. All of a sudden there's a moment, there's an open door. They bring up something and you wanna go through that door with the gospel. And Jesus has the key. He opens the doors. I'm glad he has the keys. If I had the keys, they would be lost by now. I'm always loosing keys. I loose everything. I have those little Apple AirTags on everything. In the church, we want our doors open. We don't wanna put up a wall where God has put in a bridge. We want to be a stepping stone, not a stumbling block, to people coming to Christ. It should never be difficult for people to come to Christ.

A couple may show up at church. They're living together outside of marriage. They should come and hear the gospel. Someone might come, they're strung out on drugs or booze. They need to hear the gospel. They might be gay. They need to hear the gospel. They may dress in a way that makes some people uncomfortable. Our job is to call them to Christ. I don't say, "Clean your life up and come to Christ". I say, "Come to Christ and he'll clean your life up". That's what we're here for. As I've said so many times that church should be a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. So if you go to the ER at the hospital and say, "Ew, who are all these sick people"? There are sick people in a hospital. There are people that need a doctor. That's what the church is. We're here as a hospital for sinners.

Okay, here's my last point in my message. God has given us the power and the resources we need. So we're looking at this church of Philadelphia, the church of the last days. Jesus says, "I've opened a door before you that no man can shut". And then he says in verse 8 of Revelation 3, "You of a little strength". By the way, that's not a negative comment about its weakness, but a commendation of its strength. In other words, this is a church coming back to life.

I remember when I got COVID. How many of you have had COVID? Oh, isn't it fun? Anyway, I had it way back when, way back when. I got it so far back, it became a news story. I have no idea why. But I got COVID, and I remember that, you know, I didn't know what it was gonna be like and I was feverish and I was lethargic and I was tired. Usually I have a lot of energy, and I remember I thought, "I'm better now," and I got up and, ah, I wasn't better. I just wanted to sit there and finally my strength started to return and I got stronger and stronger and the next thing you know I'm eating doughnuts, okay?

So this is the picture here. It's a sick person coming back to life. It's a church coming back to life again, an awakened church getting back to its roots. And this is what we all want to do, but it starts individually. Just think about you. Was there a time in your life where you were stronger spiritually than you are right now? If there was, you can return to that. We can talk about revival all day long. We can talk about an awakening in America all day long. But it starts with you.
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