Greg Laurie - Do You Want to Know a Secret?
You know everyone likes a secret. If you are in a restaurant and maybe you are at a table next to some people you have never met before and one of them says to the other, "I am going to tell you a secret and I don't want you to repeat it to anyone", what do you do? You lean in. Right. You don't even know these people from Adam's house cat, but you want to hear the stinking secret. Because everybody likes to know a secret.
Well listen. I have a secret I want to declare to you tonight. A secret that God himself shares with each of us. And it is the secret to having a full and meaningful life. It is the secret to knowing where you will go in the afterlife. In fact it is the very secret of contentment. So here is my question for you? Are you a happy and content person? Maybe you would say almost. I will be eventually. Or does it seem to you that if you were just a little bit smarter, a little bit better looking, a little more successful, a little more wealthy then you would be content.
Well I want to tell you the story from the Bible of a man who found perfect contentment and he is known best as the apostle Paul. He shares the secret with us. And by the way when Paul wrote these words that I will read to you in a moment he was not kicking back on a beach drinking iced tea. He was under house arrest. He was chained up. And he didn't know if he would be acquitted or beheaded. He did not know what his future was. Here is what Paul wrote and I will read it to you from Philippians chapter 4. "I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation whether it is with a full stomach or whether it is with little because I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength".
See there it is. But you see contentment does not come from what you have. Contentment comes from who you know. Let me say that again. Contentment does not come from what you have. It comes from who you know. And the who I am talking about is Jesus Christ. If you know him you will find the contentment you seek in life.
Jim Carrey, a very successful actor made this statement, and I quote, "I think everyone should get rich and famous and do everything they dreamed of so they can see it is not the answer". Eric Clapton arguably the greatest guitar player of all time second maybe only to Jimi Hendrix but he made this statement. "I had everything a man could ever want. I was a millionaire. I had beautiful women in my life. I had cars, a house, a solid gold career, and a future, and yet on a daily basis," Eric Clapton said, "I wanted to commit suicide". There are some of you here who have attempted suicide. There are some of you who have contemplated suicide. That is never the answer friend. The answer is Christ. That is the one you need. You are not going to find the answer in drugs. You are not going to find it in possessions. You are not going to find it in a relationship. You were made to know God. Having a relationship with him.
You know some people say I have tried the whole Christianity thing and it didn't work for me. Nonsense. Christianity is not a product that works for some and doesn't work for others. Christianity is Christ and if Jesus has come in your life he will change you. But maybe you tried to do it on your own. You tried to be a good Christian. You tried to be a good person and you fell short. That is why Paul says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. You know it is interesting.
Take out the word Christ. Put in another word and it falls apart. How about this? I can do all things through drugs and alcohol that strengthens me. Oh no. Drugs and alcohol will just make your problems much worse. How about this? I can do all things through education that strengthens me. Well education is wonderful. But that won't answer all your questions. I can do all things through money that strengthens me. You can do some things through money but you can't do all things. I can do all things through friends who strengthen me. No. Even your friends will let you down. How about this one? I can do all things through politics that strengthen me. No. Politics will not bring the answer. The answer is I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It is Christ you need in your life.
And I love how Paul says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This brings a balance. Listen. There is God's part and there is my part. Listen to this. There are some things only God can do and there are some things only you can do. For instance only God can forgive you of your sin. But only you can turn from that sin. Only God can change your life. But only you can come to Jesus. And I am going to give you a chance to come to Jesus in just a moment. Paul goes on and he says my God will supply all of your needs according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus. Listen. Everything you need is found in a relationship with God.
Maybe you have come here tonight and your marriage is in trouble. It is falling apart. I remember a few years ago at one of our Harvest Crusades a couple came because they wrote me and they were on the verge of divorce. They had already filed papers with an attorney. As they heard the Gospel the husband went forward when the invitation was extended and he was shocked to find that turning around right behind him was his wife. They both gave their lives to the Lord and God saved their marriage. And God can do that for you tonight. But you must come and say God help me.
You say well Greg you must have always been a religious person like this. No I came from the most non-Christian home imaginable. I never was taken to church. I never heard about Jesus. My mom was a raging alcoholic. And I kind of started following in her footsteps and getting into the party scene and drinking with my friends and I was disillusioned with that. And the whole drug culture was coming on strong. I started taking drugs and my problems just got worse. It sent me on a search and then I finally found the answer I was looking for. That relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And he is here to change you tonight. It is going to happen.
By the way have you heard of the golden plover? It is a bird native to Hawaii. A smart bird. The plover migrates in the summer to the Aleutian Islands that are 1200 miles away. There they mate. They lay their eggs and their little fledglings are born. Then the golden plover returns to Hawaii leaving their fledglings to grow up all by themselves. But what is amazing is these little baby birds who have never been to Hawaii somehow all fly to Hawaii. I mean that is like built in GPS. Amazing. So the next time someone calls you a bird brain take it as a compliment. So we are told this is called the homing instinct. An animal has a homing instinct. These little birds have a homing instinct.
Listen. God created you with a homing instinct as well. It is a homesickness for heaven. You were designed to know God and go to heaven one day. That is what you are longing for deep down inside. That's it. You are longing for God. You are longing for real peace. You are longing for the forgiveness of your sin. That is why you have been on a quest ever since you have been a little kid and you have come to the right place tonight because you can come into this relationship with the Lord.
You know my wife Cathe she likes puzzles. I have no idea why. If she sees a puzzle on a table she wants to stop and put it together. I see it. I keep walking. I could care less about puzzles. But you carefully put the puzzle together. So the other night she was putting a puzzle together with the grandkids and they got to the very end and there was a piece missing. There was a piece missing from the puzzle. Right in the middle too. You couldn't miss it. So they are down on their hands and knees looking for the missing piece of the puzzle. They finally found it in the cushion, put it in, and wha la it was done.
Life is like that. We think if I just made this much money and if I just was married to this person, and if I had this car or if I had this experience I would be happy. We put it all together and something is missing. I will tell you what it is. It is Christ. God holds the missing piece and he has it for you tonight. You need to reach out and invite Christ into your life. Then you will find contentment. Then you will find what you have been looking for. But you must come to him and believe.
Well I would like to do that. How does one ask Jesus Christ to come into their life? Listen very carefully. First of all you have to admit you are a sinner. That is hard for some people. Because you will say well I am a good person. I am not a sinner. No. News flash. You are a sinner. Well I am not as bad as some people. That may be true but guess what? God does not grade on the curve. One sin is enough to keep you out of heaven. The Bible says, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". And the Bible says, "If you offend in one point of the law you are guilty of all of it". We have all sinned. We have broken God's commandments. We have fallen short of God's standards. There is a big giant wall that separates us from God. And you can't get over that wall or under that wall through good works or moral living or religion or anything else so you are a sinner. But here is the good news. Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sin and for mine and paid the price for it. The Bible says while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. The apostle Paul personalized it and said, he loved me and gave himself for me".
So you have to admit you are a sinner. You need to recognize that Christ died on the cross for your sin. And then thirdly you need to repent of your sin. You say what does that even mean? Repent. Well it means to turn around. So you have been going away from God. You do a u-turn in the road of life. And you go to God. You say I am sorry for my sin. The Bible says, "Godly sorrow produces repentance". What that means is you are sorry but you are sorry enough to stop and turn from that lifestyle. You need to repent. The Bible says God has commanded people everywhere to repent and times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord.
Then you must receive Christ into your life. You must say Lord come and forgive me. I can't do that for you. Your mom or dad can't do that for you. Your friend who brought you here tonight can't do that for you. Only you can do that. Only you can say Jesus forgive me. Only you can say Jesus I believe in you. And you can do that tonight. Lives have been changed on this field. Families put back together. Drug addicts delivered. Alcoholics set free. People who were in a life of crime coming out of it. And some of these people have gone on into ministry. Some are pastors of churches. Some are missionaries. Others are just out there living as followers of Jesus. California is a better place because of this. And your life will be better as well if you say Jesus come and forgive me. You will find the contentment you have been seeking in life. Not in what you have but in who you know. You will find that peace you have been looking for. You will find that happiness you have been seeking for your entire life. And best of all you can know with certainty that when you die you will go to heaven.
Well we have just been in a stadium as you have seen. You have seen people walking forward to make what we call a profession of faith to follow Jesus Christ. Now why do we have them walk forward like that? Answer. Because Jesus said, "If you will confess me or acknowledge me before people, I will acknowledge you before the father in heaven". That is what these people are doing. If you now that are watching this maybe you would like to make that same commitment to Christ. You don't have to get up and walk forward.
I did hear a story of one of crusades that was on television. A lady wrote me. She said when I was leading people in prayer she came into the front room and there was her husband kneeling in front of the computer praying the prayer. I thought that was so incredible. You don't have to kneel before your tablet device or your computer. You just need to call on the name of the Lord. The Bible says, "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved". That is a perfect word. Saved. That is how desperate our situation is. We are like a person at sea drowning and we are trying to get the attention of the lifeguard to save us. Your situation if you don't know Christ is even worse because you are drowning in sin headed toward an eternal separation from God. But if you will call on Jesus he will forgive you.
You say Greg how do you even do that. Through prayer. Maybe you have never prayed a prayer before. Maybe you learned little prayers when you were a kid. You have never really talked to God. Listen. Prayer is just communicating with God. I would like to lead you in a simple prayer. If you would pray this prayer after me. You can even pray it out loud if you would like. God will hear this prayer. And listen. God will answer it. Jesus Christ will come and live inside of you. That is what being a Christian is. It is having Christ living in you. So I am going to pray this simple prayer. If you want your sin forgiven, if you want to go to heaven when you die, if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life right now, pray this prayer with me. Just pray this.
Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner. But I know that you are the Savior who died on the cross for me. I am sorry for my sin. I turn from my sin. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for loving me and calling me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Maybe as you just prayed that prayer you felt something emotional. Maybe you felt nothing at all. But I want you to know that if you prayed that prayer and meant it, God has just forgiven you of all of your sin. The Bible says, "If we will confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". Listen. You have God's word on it. Let me be the first to say God bless you and welcome to the family of God. And until next time I pray that you will walk closely with him.