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Greg Laurie - Things Jesus Never Said

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    Greg Laurie - Things Jesus Never Said

You know, there are certain things we all believe to be true, because we've heard them forever, they're called old wives fables or old wives tales. And I'm sorry if you're an old wife, no offense, but that's what we call them. And like here's one, if you drop food on the floor and pick it up before five seconds, it's okay, right? Often called the five second rule. Is that true? No, because bacteria immediately transfers to food. Here's another one, you can't go swimming after you've eaten or you'll get cramps and maybe even drown. Again, that is simply not true. Doctors at Duke Health say that science behind this tall tale is all wet.

Here's another one: if you're sick, eat chicken noodle soup. Is this true or false? You're right, it's true. I mean, I know it from my own experience. There's something about chicken soup. And actually they've done extensive studies on this and they've determined it actually does help you. Okay, so now there are things we hear about God or the Bible. We're told, "The Bible says this". And they're not really in the Bible. Here's one you've probably heard. "God helps those who help themselves, the good book tells us that". Actually the good book does not tell you that.

Now, I don't completely disagree with the sentiment of the statement "God helps those who help themselves". You might be saying to your teenager, "You need to go get a job now and be responsible because God helps those who help themselves". Well, that's probably not the one thing to say. You can say it, just don't say the Bible says it. A better verse would be the Bible says, "If you don't work, you won't eat, so get a job". There you go. Actually, if you were to take this concept, God helps those who help themselves, the truth would be God helps those who can't help themselves. God helps those who need his help. And so the opposite is actually true.

Here's another one. The Bible says, "Cleanliness is next to godliness". Nice idea, we quote that one when we want someone to take a shower, but that's not in the Bible, okay. And there are other things that we think are in the Bible or we think this is what God feels. Here's one, "God is angry at me and he's out to ruin my life".

Some people believe this and the very opposite is true. Nothing can be further from the truth. God is not mad at you, listen, God is mad about you. If there's one thing that's clear in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, it is this, God loves you. "He loves you", the Bible says, "with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness, he has drawn you". 1 John says, "God is love". "For God so loved the world," Jesus said, "He gave his only begotten Son, and whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life". 1 John 3:1 says, "Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the children of God".

So God loves you. Here's another one we hear people say, "Just follow your heart". Other variations on this are, "The heart wants what it wants". What does that even mean? "The heart wants what it wants so I'm gonna do this thing and I know you might think it's wrong, but the heart wants what it wants. Listen to your heart and you'll find the truth". So in our modern culture, we would think of heart as our emotion. You know, if someone is not emotional, we might say they're heartless. If someone is too emotional, we might say, "Well, they wear their heart on their sleeve". And then if someone doesn't care, we say, "Hey man, where's your heart"? Maybe it's on their sleeves still, I don't know. But think of all of the songs written about the heart.

Bruce Springsteen, he had a hungry heart. Billy Ray Cyrus, he had an achy, breaky heart, right? And Toni Braxton saying, "Unbreak my heart". Maybe that's because Billy Ray gave her an achy breaky heart so she's saying, "Unbreak my heart". But Celine Dion sorted it all out and she said, "The heart goes on," right? But what does it even mean when we say, "Follow our heart"? It basically means I'm gonna go with my emotion, I'm gonna go with the way I'm feeling about this. So should we trust our heart? Well, the answer is no. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and it's beyond cure. Who can understand it"? No, I'm not gonna follow my heart because my heart can misdirect me. Don't follow your heart, follow God's heart. In other words, his will. And how do I discover God's will? By studying his Word? And really what is prayer?

Prayer is aligning myself with God's will. Jesus said, "If you maintain a living communion with me and my words are at home in you, you can ask it once for yourself whatever your heart desires and it will be yours". See, that sounds good but the idea is, I'm gonna find out what God's will is and get in sync with it. See, when I'm following the Lord and say, "Should my desires will change because my heart has changed". And God promises in Ezekiel 36:26, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you". So then as we're reminded in Psalm 27:4, excuse me, 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he'll give you the desires of your heart". So you get in alignment with God and now your heart changes, and now your prayers change and everything changes.

Here's another thing Jesus never said, "Love yourself". "We need to love ourselves more". The Bible even says, "Love yourselves". The Bible does not say, "You need to love yourself". No, the Bible says, "Love your neighbor as yourself". Yeah, so what is the Bible really saying? It's saying, "You already love yourself, that's obvious, can you love your neighbor too"? See, the Bible teaches, "I am to love the Lord my God, with all of my heart, soul, and mind". I don't need to learn to love myself, I already love myself, and you already love yourself too. Sometimes people will say something related to this like, "I'm trying to find myself". Usually before they do something really stupid, they'll say, "I'm just trying to find myself". You know what? You wanna find yourself then lose yourself. Here's what Jesus says, "If any man come after me, let him deny himself and take up the cross and follow me". Listen, "For whoever will lose his life, will find it". If you wanna find yourself, lose yourself, in other words, give your life to Christ.

Here's another one. "I deserve to be happy". Do you? "Yes, the Bible even says it". No, it actually doesn't. "But I deserve to be happy". There's nothing wrong with that. Desiring happiness I think is pre-wired in all of us. It's not unique to modern times. Way back in AD 397, Augustine said, "Everyone whatsoever is conditioned desires to be happy". Yes, we wanna be happy. Here's the problem, it's not wrong to be happy, it's not wrong to wanna be happy. It is wrong when you go about trying to find happiness the wrong way.

Some people say, "Well if I, you know, had a lot of money I'd be happier," or, "If I had fame, I'd be happy," or, "If I had more power, I'd be happy," or, "If I drove this, I'd be happy," or, "If I lived there I would be happy," or, "If I used this drug, I'd be happy". And it isn't the case. When comedian Dave Chappelle was starting to make millions of dollars, he said he was not happy. He said, quote, "The higher up I go, for some reason, the less happy I am. And that's what people find out".

Now look, it's not wrong to want happiness but don't say you deserve it. "I deserve". No, you don't deserve it. Wanna be technical, you deserve judgment, because we've broken God's commandments. So don't say to the Lord, "Give me what I deserve". The Lord will say, "Seriously? Maybe we should not go there". No, so you don't deserve to be happy but there's nothing wrong with wanting to be happy. I mean, know this God is happy. Did you know that? Jesus said, "I've told you this to make you completely happy as I am".

I don't think Jesus walked around with a frown on his face and perpetual sorrow. Though it does say in the Bible, "He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," that is referring more to that point where he's bearing the sin of the world, but I think in general, Jesus was a happy guy. I think he had a smile on his face, a spring in his step. I think he was someone everyone wanted to be around for the most part, so happy is good, wanting happiness is fine. Paul even writes about the good news from the happy God. But here's the key, happiness is based on going about it in the right way.

For instance, the Bible says in Luke 11:28, "Happy are those that hear the Word of God and keep it". You wanna be a happy person don't chase happiness, chase after God, live a holy life and you'll be a happy person. Happiness is based on what you do, keeping God's Word, it's also based on what you don't do because Psalm 1 says, "Happy is the man or woman that does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful, but their delight is in the Word of the Lord". So the Bible says, "Happy are the people whose God is the Lord".

You know, there are certain things in life that sometimes we think are true that actually aren't. How about this one, "God loves me and accepts me the way that I am"? Is that true? Sometimes another variation of that is, "Don't judge my journey". And that's sometimes said by people that are doing things they shouldn't be doing and then they say, "God loves me and accepts me the way that I am". "I know I shouldn't go out and party and get drunk, but hey, God loves me and accepts me the way that I am". "I know I shouldn't dissolve my marriage to divorce, but hey, God loves me and accepts me the way that I am".

Now is that true? Yes technically, it's true that God loves you and accepts you the way that you are. Let me add something else, but he doesn't wanna leave you that way. See, you don't have to clean your life up and come to Christ, you come to Christ and he'll clean your life up. You can come with your addictions, with your sins, with your problems. Say, "Lord, here I am". But now God wants to change you and transform you. This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The best illustration I can think of is the story of the prodigal son. He left his father's house, spent all his money, made a mess of his life, came to his senses and decided to return home.

And Jesus said, "While the boy was still a long ways away, the father saw him, ran to him, threw his arms around him, hugged him, kissed him, and said, 'Rejoice with me this my son who was dead, is alive again, he was lost and is found.'" So in a sense you could say the father accepted him as he was. But then we read, the Father said, "Get a clean robe on this boy". In other words, get this boy a bath, right. So we come to Christ but now God wants to clean us up, and he wants to transform us. So yes, God loves you and accepts you the way that you are, but he doesn't want to leave you that way. He wants you to grow in your faith.

We get these cues from culture that tell us how to think. But the Bible is in direct contrast to what this world says. Let me define this world. The Bible says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in this world, for all that is in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the mind, and the pride of life is not of the Father but of the world". What does that mean? You know, sometimes well-meaning, but misdirected Christians will misinterpret this. So you're enjoying a great burger. "This is an amazing burger". And they say, "Love not the world". "Wow, look at that sunset". "Love not the world". That's a misunderstanding.

The Bible when it speaks of the world is not speaking of creation. It is speaking of a system, a mentality, a way of thinking that permeates everything in culture today. It transcends politics, it transcends everything. It's in academia, it's in social media, it's in movies, it's in television, it's everywhere. It's basically the mentality of chasing after whatever makes me happy, the mentality of putting me first, the mentality of living the way that I want to live with no rules or no restrictions, and the one in charge of this mentality is the devil. He's called the God of this world, the prince of the power of the air.

So don't love this world or this culture. The Bible gives us an opposite way of thinking. According to the Bible, the way to greatness is through humility, the way to life is through death, meaning dying to yourself. The way to up is down, the way to happiness is sadness, meaning that "I'm sorry for my sin and I repent of it," now, find true happiness. The paradox of the Christian life is the more we give, the more we receive. The more we sacrifice, the more God blesses. The more we give, he gives. So if you wanna find your life, lose it by giving it to Jesus Christ. If you wanna be great, be humble. If you want self-fulfillment, seek the fulfillment of others. The way to up is down. We need God's wisdom not this world's wisdom.

And that's what James talks about in James chapter 3. Let's read some verses together starting in verse 13, reading down to verse 16. "If you're wise and you understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you're bitterly jealous, and there's selfish ambition in your heart, don't cover up the truth with boasting and lying, for jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly unspiritual and demonic". Verse 16, "Wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind".

Here's some takeaway truths from what we just read if you're taking notes. The first one, we need to live our lives God's way not the way of this world. We need biblical and godly wisdom. So James is contrasting the wisdom of this culture, and the wisdom that comes from God. When young Solomon ascended to the throne after his father David had died, the Lord appeared to him in a dream. And the Lord said, "Solomon, I'll give you whatever you want". And I love Solomon's request. He said, "Lord, give me an understanding heart so I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong". We too should pray that prayer. "Lord, I wanna know right from wrong". In fact, were told earlier in James 1:5, "If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives it generally and does not hold it back".

Did you know that God wants to reveal his will to you, but you need to pray about it. Say, "Lord, I need wisdom here. I need to make the right decision". And God cares about all those things you deal with in life. He will give you wisdom, but make sure that you ask for this wisdom. You know, because you can be smart and not necessarily wise. There are smart people that do really stupid things. I've met people, they have great accomplishments. They have the degrees on their wall. We would call them intelligent, but they do the dumbest things ever. Wisdom is different than intelligence. Intelligence is acquiring and applying knowledge, with your skills in life but wisdom is learning from the lessons of life, hopefully acquiring some wisdom. But the ultimate source of wisdom is from God and his Word, where we learn how to think biblically.

So a lot of times the way I make decisions is not because I hear an audible voice from God, but I think of a biblical principle. What should we do in this situation? And then you think of a verse that applies to that, and you apply it and then you make your decision. But God wants to give you this wisdom and Jesus put it this way, he said, "There are two men that build homes. One built his house on the rock, the other built his house on the sinking sand". And then he says, "And the storms came and beat upon the house and the house that was built upon the sand crumbled. And then the same storms came and beat upon the other house that was built upon the rock and it stood strong". He says, "Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does not do them, he's the foolish man building on the sand. Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, he's the wise man or woman building his house on the rock".

We choose what kind of wisdom we're gonna have. Are we gonna be wise or are we gonna be a fool? Because wisdom is known by its actions. Look at verse 13 of James 3. "If you're wise in understanding God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, good works and the humility that comes from wisdom". If you're really a godly person, if you're really a wise person you will live a godly life. Otherwise I'm gonna doubt your wisdom. And also you use it with humility. You know, one of the problems of getting older is you just think you know everything, right? And you become the know it all. So your sitting may be at a table with some young people and they say something, you cut 'em off. "That's wrong, let me set you straight". No one wants to hang out with you. I mean, you might even be technically correct, but it's the way you do it. You should have humility.

You might even learn something from some young people if you pay attention. Learn to be a good listener. And then when people wanna hear your wisdom you can dispense it from your little pedestal you carry around with you. But the true wisdom is humble. Here's another thing, true wisdom is known by its good fruit. Look at verse 17, "The wisdom from above is pure, peace-loving, gentle at all times, willing to yield to others, it's full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds, it shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness".

God's wisdom is pure. This speaks of moral purity. If you're a wise person, you'll be a pure person in every way. But also notice it says verse 17, "Willing to yield to others". You don't have to win every argument, you don't have to dominate every conversation. And this is true wisdom that's willing to yield to others. You know, sometimes you just say, "I'll just concede that to you right now. We don't need to have a big conflict". You know, sometimes people take knowledge and even wisdom and they weaponize it. And by that I mean they take something that they know that may or may not be right and they use it to beat others, to knock others down, to tear others down. And that comes to a point where I don't even care if you're right, I just don't like the way you do it, the way that you hurt other people with what you know.

A wise person is not so arrogant to think they can't learn something. So what does it say? It says, "You should be a peacemaker". Learn to be a peacemaker, not a troublemaker. Learn how to be a bridge builder instead of a bridge burner. Be a stepping stone instead of a stumbling block. Don't be that person that walks in a room and everyone goes, "Oh boy, here we go". You know, don't be that person. Be the one who's full of compassion. The one who will give their wisdom when the moment is right. The one who learns to listen, the one who builds the bridges. Okay, one last thought, things Jesus never said. Jesus never said, "If you live a good life, you will go to heaven".

It's amazing to me how even some Christians believe this. They believe that if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, God will let them into heaven. That's wrong because the Bible says, "It's not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to his mercy, he saved us". And Ephesians said, "For by grace you've been saved through faith not of works lest any man should boast". But let's just play that out, let's just for the sake of a point say, "It's true". If your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, God will let you into heaven, okay. Have your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds. I don't think so. So even your own argument is failing and that's not to even mention it's not true to begin with. 'Cause we've all fallen short of God's glory.

Listen, let me say something that may surprise you. There's gonna be some, quote, "Bad people" in heaven and there's gonna be some, quote, "Good people" in hell. Does that make sense? There'll be bad people in heaven. "What do you mean? I thought heaven was for good people". No, heaven is for forgiven people. How about that guy, right? How about that guy who was crucified next to Jesus? We call him the thief on the cross. I think he was guilty of a far worse crime than theft. The Romans didn't crucify thieves but they did crucify murderers. He probably had murdered people, but whatever his sin or crime was, he was crucified next to Jesus. And he said, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom".

And Jesus turned to him and said, "You're gonna have to do a lot of good works really quickly," right? No, don't read that in the Bible. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise". I mean, how amazing is that? And I tell you, that was what you call a deathbed conversion, and I have prayed with people on their deathbeds and seeing them come to Christ. People that had their heart hardened against God for all of their life but literally on their deathbed they realize their need for Jesus, and what a joy it is to pray with someone and lead them to Christ and then saying the authority of scripture, "You're going to heaven".

How gracious God is? Yeah so there'll be bad people in heaven so to speak, and there'll be good people in hell. "Now, what does that even mean"? Well look, if you are good in the sense that you think because of your good works you're gonna get to heaven, you're really missing the point because, "All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory and one sin is enough to keep you out of heaven". The Bible says, "If we offend in one point of the law, we're guilty of all of it". And the fact is, we've sinned a lot more than one time.

Jesus said, "In that final day, many will come to me saying, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not cast out demons in your name? Did we not do wonderful works in your name?'" I would update it and say, "Did we not receive communion in your name? Did we not get baptized in your name? Did we not attend church in your name"? "And Jesus will say to them, 'Depart from me, I never knew you, you workers of iniquity".

See, they knew about him, but they didn't know him. So good works will not get you to heaven. Now, let me close with something Jesus did say. Jesus said, "Come unto me all of you who are exhausted with life and are bending beneath its weight, come to me and I will refresh you with rest". Let's pull some of these elements together. God does love you, God will accept you as you are, but he doesn't wanna leave you that way. God does have a plan for you that's better than your dreams for yourself. No, don't follow your heart, follow the Lord. Discover what he has in store for you in this life and in the life to come.
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