Greg Laurie - Close the Deal
Greg Laurie: Do you remember that it was in a restaurant and I kind of proposed to you?
Cathe Laurie: I don't think you ever proposed to me. Did you? It was just sort of a conversation in a car.
Greg Laurie: In a car? No. It was in a restaurant.
Cathe Laurie: No we went to summer camp together. And you said, "So I guess we are getting married. You better tell your parents". That was it.
Greg: As I remember it was, "So I guess we are getting married huh"? Do you think that was romantic?
Cathe: No. I do remember the ring you gave me was secondhand from a guy who had proposed to a girl and she turned him down.
Greg: We were poverty stricken then. So it worked out in my benefit. He said, "I proposed to this girl and she turned me down". I said, "So what are you going to do with that ring? Can I buy the ring off of you"?
Cathe: You got a good deal.
Greg: $150.00 bucks.
Cathe: I remember that.
Greg: And you wore that ring for many years.
Cathe: I still have it.
Greg: Here is the thing. It seems to me that that is a lot like when it comes to that moment when we are sharing our faith and we want to sort of pop the question. People get really tense. It is like they are afraid to ask. Why do you think people are afraid to ask a nonbeliever after they have been sharing the Gospel with them? Would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now?
Cathe: I don't know. Part of the time is just I feel like maybe in am pressuring and I don't like to feel like I am doing that. I have watched you just follow up with that question. Is there any reason why you haven't asked Jesus to come into your life? You have done it many times. I have watched you with your mom. I have watched you with just people that you meet wherever you are talking. It just seems like it is more on your radar. You just seem to have that gift.
Greg: I think anyone could do that. I don't think that is for just some people. I think there are two reasons people don't want to ask the question. 1. A fear of failure. Because no one wants to be rejected. Nobody wants to have the person say, "I don't want Christ. Why did you ask me this? Go away". It is awkward. Uncomfortable. So a fear of failure. But I also think sometimes it is a fear of success. Because what if they say yes. Now what do I do. First of all you have to pray maybe in a public place like this or wherever you are. I think when a person says they want to accept Jesus Christ close the deal right there. Don't say, "Oh go home and close the door and pray". No. You do it with them. You help them to do it. Then you need to be there for the follow up process. I think we kind of think of it like you know if you ever go buy a car and you have to deal with a used car dealer it is such a game. It is like you know you are looking at a car. They come over, "Hey how are you doing"? "I am fine". That is how the conversation gets going. Then they ask you that question that drives me crazy. "What do I need to do so you would drive this car off of the lot right now"? It drives me nuts. But you know they are not really being straight up a lot of times. It is like well the MSRP is so much. I have got to go talk to my manager. How much would you be willing to pay? You come in with some low-ball offer. Then they come back. Their offer is much higher. They gave you the idea that maybe it wouldn't be. It is just this game that drives you crazy. I think we sort of feel like we are like a used car dealer. No. You are not a used car dealer. You are the person asking a person if they want to change their eternal address. You have to just overcome the awkwardness of it for the sake of the objective and you need to ask the question would you like to... I think that we need to ask that question and just leave the results in God's hands. If the person says yes you do it right there. You don't wait. You don't put it off because that is....
Cathe: Wasn't it D. L. Moody who preached this great sermon once and then sent people home to think and pray about it? Yeah. And then the Great Chicago Fire occurred. That's right. So many people died. He would never ever send people home without giving them an opportunity right then and there to make a profession of faith.
Greg: Yeah. That is exactly right. Because those people died he said, "I will never ever when preaching the Gospel tell people to go home and think about it. I will try to lead them to Christ right there". Impacting his life. Do you remember that old guy who lived in our neighborhood named Roy?
Cathe: Uh huh.
Greg: As I recall someone told me there was a guy in my neighborhood that had, what was his problem?
Cathe: He had congestive heart failure.
Greg: He had congestive heart failure. We looked around for him. I finally met him. I just engaged him in basic conversation. Apparently I think Roy had been to one of our crusades once. That was sort of the point of reference. He had to walk everyday for his heart. We would see him. We would walk everyday. We would see him everyday. We would stop. We would have a conversation.
Cathe: He would stop. He would be walking and then he would stop because he had to catch his breath because he was completely out of breath.
Greg: And he always had questions. What about this? What about that? It went on and on. Honestly I didn't think I was making a lot of progress with old Roy. Then one day we are sitting in our house. I think having breakfast. I look through the window and I saw Roy on the corner almost like there he is waiting.
Cathe: I know.
Greg: He was catching his breath.
Cathe: Right across from our house.
Greg: Yeah. I just sensed the Lord speaking to me this is Roy's day. So I just walked across the street. I didn't want to get into any more questions. I just popped the question. I said, "Roy would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now"? Much to my delight he said yes. We prayed. I came home and told you. Then the next day we saw Roy.
Cathe: Yeah. Walking on the street.
Greg: And what happened?
Cathe: Well he said that he had prayed the prayer and that he had been thinking about his own suffering because of his heart condition and he was in a lot of pain. He would say that he thought of Jesus on the cross and his suffering for him. Then it made his suffering bearable.
Greg: I remember one more thing he said. We saw him another day. He said, "I have just been singing Jesus loves me. The song I learned as a little boy. I was thinking about how much God loved me". A little time went by. We got a knock on our door, it was maybe his son. And he said, "I wanted to let you know that Roy went to be with the Lord today". But they thanked us for sharing the Gospel. But it was our privilege. And I just think that we need to look for opportunities to share the Gospel. We need to be open to the leading of the Spirit. Maybe you will fail. They may say no. But the chances are they could say yes as well. Then you effectively close the deal.
Jesus says go into all of the world and preach the Gospel. We are commanded by Jesus to fulfill the great commission. It is not a suggestion. Listen. The moment you became a Christian you entered the Lord's military. Your CEO, your commanding officer has given you a direct order, son. Daughter. Go. It is actually a command in the Greek. Go into all of the world and preach the Gospel. So you either say YES sir or you say NO sir. What are you going to do? You are commanded. We must do this. What is the great commission? It is to preach the Gospel and it is to make disciples. What does that mean? It means to the best of our ability led by the Holy Spirit we seek to bring people to Jesus Christ, get them up on their feet spiritually, and then go and do it again. And go and do it again. And go and do it again.
Let me ask you this. When was the last time you did that? When is the last time you engaged someone? I believe it can energize you and help you as well as it can help the person you are ministering to. I would compare it to going to Disneyland. With adults or kids. It is a drag to go to Disneyland with adults. They complain so much. I would include myself in this. The first thing we say is it is so stinking expensive. What is it? Like $1,000 to get in the park today. It is crazy. So we gripe about that. Then we walk in the park and oh do they have a place to eat here. Where is a good restaurant? Then we go and eat. What happens after that? We are sleepy. So we are saying I know there is Adventure-land. Is there nap-land here somewhere? Yeah that is the problem. Then we go on a ride. That is so fake. That doesn't look real at all. We just complain the whole time. You know it was a lot better when Walt was still around.
That is going to Disneyland with an adult. The happiest time for a kid going to Disneyland is when you walk in. The happiest time for an adult at Disneyland is leaving. Now take a kid with you. A child. See it through their eyes. It really is, as the song says, a whole new world. It is a magical place in the best sense of that word. They love it. They are enjoying it. That is why you should take a child. Because you are standing in line for a ride now. They have these little signs. If you are at this place in the line you will be on the ride in one month. It is like did you have to tell me that. I was happier when I didn't know. Children don't care. They love the rides. They love the whole experience.
This can be true of church as well for those who have known the Lord for awhile. We have become a little jaded. We take things for granted. We start complaining about everything. The music is too loud. The music is not loud enough. It is too hot. It is too cold. It is too big. It is too small. It is too something. On and on we go. Then if that preacher would dare to add an invitation for people to come to Christ at the conclusion of his message we see that as an affront. Because he says now there might be some of you here that don't know Jesus today. You are thinking why is he doing this? It is going to take longer. I want to go to lunch.
I have had people while I am inviting people to Christ get up out of their seat and walk out. To me that is so insensitive. How could we be so out of sync with heaven? Heaven is waiting with bated breath for someone to believe so they can have a victory shout and break out in applause. We just want lunch. We just want the service to end. I am going to tell you how it will change. Bring a nonbeliever or a new believer with you to church next Sunday. Everything is different. You ever notice when you bring a visitor to church how you look at everything in a different way because you look at it through their eyes. While the worship is happening you are kind of looking at them sideways. Are they liking this?
Then maybe if I get up to speak you are praying God don't let Greg tell that lame joke again. Lord help him. He is so weird. Or are those my thoughts? I don't know. Then you praying Lord have him give an invitation. Lord speak to him. Show Greg to give that invitation. Then when that pastor says if you don't know Jesus Christ here is what you need to do. Yes. You are praying for that person. Then that person that you brought if they respond to that invitation and they receive Christ what a joyful day that is. You see how everything can change when you get a nonbeliever or a new believer in your life. Listen. This is the command by the Lord. Don't think of this as a mere duty. Don't think of this as drudgery. Think of this as a privilege. Think of this as a joy. Think of this as the greatest opportunity. The greatest adventure ever to share the Gospel.
Let me say one last thing. To not do this could be hazardous. To your spiritual health. You show me a church that does not have a constant flow of new believers coming in and I will show you a church that is stagnating. The church has a choice before us. We can evangelize or we can fossilize. You have a choice before you. You could seek to reach people with the Gospel and not be a hoarder. But share with them the truth. You could be blessed beyond measure.
Here is the one thing we want to remember. The Gospel is not given to us to be hoarded. It is given to us to be shared. Let's say I am the nonbeliever. Tell me what you would say.
b]Cathe:[/b] Well I would say that we are all born in a state where we are separated from God by our sins. Sins that we know about. Sins that we don't even know about. Our communication with God is blocked. He has come into this world. Revealed himself to us in his Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross. What the purpose and his death and his resurrection was to provide a way for us to come back into a relationship and harmony with God who created us and loves us but we are separated by our sins. I think it is really important that a person understands that they need to acknowledge they are a sinner and that they are sorry for their sins.
Greg: Why is that important?
Cathe: I think that if you don't make that clear that your life is in peril you cannot make your way to God.
Greg: Jesus is not just an additive to your life.
Cathe: You can't reach him by your own trying to be better or doing good works. That your sins will be a permanent blockade unless you acknowledge that Jesus has died and paid for those sins on the cross. You explain that to them and that they can by simply receiving the gift of forgiveness. We never could deserve it. We never could purchase it or earn it. It is offered to us as a gift. They see themselves as a sinner separated from God by their sins but they can receive that gift of forgiveness and eternal life and harmony and fellowship with God.
Greg: That's right. So that is when you close the deal. Here is what I would suggest is you say let's pray right now. Usually the reaction of a person is here. Right here? And I don't do it in an ostentatious way. But if I was like in a restaurant like this. Let's say that Cathe was that person I would say just pray this prayer with me. I would just like lead her quietly in it. Or I may take her outside you know away from people. I would lead that person in a prayer. Here is just sort of like a sample prayer I might lead them in. I don't have a scripted prayer. It would be something along the lines of God I am sorry for my sin. I know that I have broken your commandments. I know I have fallen short of your standards. I believe that Jesus Christ your Son died on the cross and shed his blood for me and rose again from the dead. Jesus I ask you to come into my life and be my Savior. To be my Lord. I will often pray it and have them repeat it after me. You don't have to do this. I will pray it. I will have them repeat it. Thank you for loving me and calling me and accepting me. In Jesus' name. Here is the thing. Can you imagine delivering a baby in the hospital and I am just saying OK son, daughter, here is a box of pampers. It is a rough world out there. Hang in there and hope you make it. No. Babies need to be taken care of. They need to be nourished. They need to be changed. They need to be nurtured. They need to be loved. When you lead a person to Christ they are a baby Christian. They need follow up. I am so thankful there was a guy who did this for me named Mark. I didn't even know this guy from Adam's housecat. Do you think Adam had a housecat?
Greg: So he comes up to me after I prayed and accepted Christ on my high school campus. He says hi. My name is Mark. Hi Mark. Nice to meet you. He says I want you to come to church with me. I actually said no that is OK. He said no you need to come to church with me. I said I really don't want to. He said yeah OK. So what is your address? I am going to pick you up. He wasn't going to take no for an answer. He picked me up. He took me to church. He introduced me to other Christians. He took me home. He lived with his parents. We were just kids. I remember sitting around the table after a great meal and talking about the Bible. He was kind of following up on me.
Cathe: I love it.
Greg: That happened to the apostle Paul. Remember he was Saul of Tarsus. The notorious Christian killer. He is converted on the Damascus road. God speaks to a guy named Ananias and says go to Saul and pray for him. Ananias effectively says Lord don't you know how notorious of a sinner he is? The Lord says go to him. He is praying. Sure enough Ananias shows up and sees Saul who had like scales on his eyes after his conversion. He went to him and said brother Saul. Your sight is given back to you. Then Ananias helped Saul get on his feet spiritually. Then enter another person named Barnabas who comes in a little bit later. Interestingly the name Barnabas means the son of consolation. So he is there to encourage Paul. Then Paul goes on to become next to Jesus the greatest preacher of the Bible. Here is the point. You may not be Paul. But you may be an Ananias. You may be the Barnabas in somebody else's life. Everybody needs an encourager. Someone to show them how to do it. The preacher can only do so much. But I think what new Christians need to see is a real living breathing Christian showing them how to live this Christian life. Hey let's go out and eat. This is how Christians go out and hang out. Hey let's go to a movie. Let's go do this. Go to church of course. And all of the other things. But I think not just going to church but regular life. How we do this. This is how Christians function. You show them what it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ. This is the great commission. It is to go into all of the world and preach the Gospel. That is Mark's version. Then Matthew's version is make disciples. Put it all together. Our command from Christ is to go out, share our faith with people to the best of our ability led by the Holy Spirit. Lead people to Christ. Get them up on their feet spiritually. Go and do it again. And go and do it again. Encourage the people you led to the Lord to do it as well. That is what it is to make disciples. So I hope that all of you will take these principles that I have been sharing with you through this film series and put them into practice. Here is your mission. Here is your command from Christ. Go into this world and share his Gospel. Go tell someone.
Hey everyone thanks for watching our program today. Let me just say to you if you have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life to be your personal Savior and Lord you can do it right now. I would consider it a privilege to lead you in a prayer where you would be asking the Lord to forgive you of your sins so you could know that when you die you will go to heaven. So you can find the meaning and purpose of life that you have been searching for. So if you would please, if you want Christ to come into your life, if you want your sin forgiven, if you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven. Pray this prayer after me. You might even pray it out loud. Let's pray.
Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner. But you died on the cross for my sin and shed your blood for all of the wrongs I have done. I am sorry for my sin. I turn from it now. I ask you to come into my life to be my Savior and my Lord. Be my God and be my friend. Thank you for loving me and accepting me and forgiving me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.