Greg Laurie - The Point of No Return
Hello Southern California. There is a big crowd here tonight, but as I said, God doesn't see a crowd as much as he sees you as a face in the crowd. God knows you already even though you may not know him yet. In fact, I even know a few things about you though maybe we haven't been formally introduced. In fact, I know a few things about every person in California. I know a few things about every person in America. I know a few things about every person walking the face of this planet. Here is what I know. I know that everyone is empty inside. Why is it that? Because we are born with sort of a hole in your heart.
Pascal had it right when he said, "There is a God shaped vacuum in every life that only God can fill". Chris Brown the famous rapper did a post recently on Instagram. He says, "No one knows what I deal with day to day. The average man wouldn't hesitate to blow his blank brains out". Then Chris Brown says, "What is on the surface looks like one big party. But inside there is a little boy looking for help and guidance". Here is this guy. He has got success. He has got women. He has got money. But he says, "I am like a little boy". That may describe you. You are a little boy. A little girl. Underneath your tough exterior there is an emptiness inside.
I know something else about you. Everyone is lonely. Do you know what the two top words are for late night Google searches? Actually the three top words. The three top words that people put in their search engine on Google late at night are porn, lonely, and suicide. That says a lot doesn't it? Porn. Pornography. Lonely. Suicide.
So many people are just lonely and wondering what the purpose of life is. A retail chain just commissioned a survey by a team of psychologists because they wanted to determine what generation y which is people born after 1981 were all about. They wanted to know what interested generation y because they want to sell stuff to them. They interviewed 800 people from this generation. The results startled them. They did another interview because they thought they got it wrong. They got the same result. The results produced an alarming picture of a lonely and lost generation. The average usage on Facebook for generation y is six and a half hours a day. The conclusion was there is a large number of people out there with an increasing sense of loneliness.
I just read about the Creator of Minecraft Markus Persson also known as Xnotch. He just sold his company. He made $2.5 billion from the sale of Minecraft. He went out and bought himself a $70 million mansion. In fact in his mansion where he threw wild parties he put up a wall of candy. I don't even know what that looks like, but that is what he said. A wall of candy. You would think, "Man if you had that kind of money you would be having the best life imaginable". But no. According to tweets he has been sending out he is bored and deeply lonely. He tweeted, "The problem with getting everything is you run out of reasons to keep trying and human interaction becomes impossible due to imbalance". Another tweet he sent out was, "I am hanging out with a bunch of friends and I am partying with famous people. I am able to do whatever I want and I have never felt more isolated".
Yeah. Everybody is empty. Everybody is lonely. People are watching us on television. They are listening on the radio. Some are sitting in front of computer screens. Deep inside of you there is a loneliness. Here is another thing I know about you. You feel a sense of guilt. By the way that just says your conscience is working. That is a good thing. The head of a mental institution said, "I could release half of my patients if I could find a way to rid them of their guilt". Why do we feel guilt? Simple answer. Because we are guilty. We are guilty of breaking God's commandments. We have all sinned. But everybody feels that guilt. There is a universal fear of death.
We may act tough and act like we don't care about it but we are afraid to die. This is something that troubles every person. Everybody feels it. Everybody experiences it. The Bible speaks of those who are held in slavery by the fear of death. There is a reason we feel this loneliness, emptiness, guilt, and fear of death. It is because we need God in our lives. That is what I hope you find tonight. A relationship with him.
Here is the problem. There is like a big wall that separates us from God right now. That wall is called sin. It is an impenetrable wall. There is nothing you can do to climb over it or to tunnel under it or to go around it. It is just too big. This sin separates us from God. But the good news is 2,000 years ago God loved us so much he sent his Son Jesus Christ on a rescue mission to come to this earth and live a perfect life and die a perfect death. Then he rose again from the dead. That same Jesus who died and rose is with us right now. With you right now. He says, "I stand at the door and knock and if you will hear my voice and open the door I will come in".
God can forgive sin. We have all sinned. How many of you have ever sinned? Raise your hand up. How many of you have done things you are sorry that you did? Raise your hand up. God can forgive you of that sin. The Bible says that God is ready to forgive. He is full of unfailing love. The Bible says, "God forgives our sins and throws them into the depths of the ocean".
I am a scuba diver. The deepest I have ever gone down is 100 feet. That is pretty deep. I didn't stay down long because I used all of my air up while I was down there. I remember once I was out diving. I could see the bottom. I was about 40 feet deep. I came to this shelf in the ocean and it just dropped off. It was really bizarre. I come to the edge of it and suddenly I kind of freaked out when I couldn't see the bottom. I wasn't any deeper. But it was just a sense that it was so far down. I just turned around and swam back the other way. "I have got to get out of here".
The bottom of the ocean is a long ways away. God says he takes your sins. He throws them to the depths of the ocean. That is as far away as God can put your sin away from you tonight if you will ask him to forgive you. Listen to this. God will forgive any sin. If you have committed adultery, if you have lied, if you have stolen. Even if you have murdered God would forgive you. Jesus said of those who were pounding the spikes through his hands and feet, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do". If God would forgive the people that murdered Jesus surely he could forgive us of any sin.
But listen now. There is one sin that is unforgivable. There is one thing that you can do that would determine that you have gone too far in the wrong direction. There is a point of no return. There is an unforgivable sin. I want to talk to you about that for a few moments in my message "The point of no return". What is this sin? Jesus identifies it in Matthew 12. He says, "I say to you every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. Anyone who speaks against the Son of man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come".
Man that is heavy duty. Never be forgiven. What is that all about? Let's get the backdrop. Jesus just healed a guy who was unable to speak and unable to see. If that wasn't bad enough this man was controlled by the devil. The Bible says he was possessed by demons. Jesus came along. He delivered this man. He gave him his sight back. He gave him his hearing back. The religious leaders also known as the pharisees didn't like this one bit. They said, "He didn't do this by the power of God. He did it by the power of satan". This bothered Jesus. That is the backdrop of him this making this statement. Here is my point. Sometimes religion can keep you from God. You say, "Greg you lost me there. I thought you were a religious person". I hope not. I have no interest in becoming religious. I am not religious. That is not what I believe. I have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. You see there is a big difference between that and religion.
Sometimes religion can keep us from God. Someone will say, "Is Jesus living in your life"? "Well I go to church on Sunday". That is nice. Going into a church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going into a doughnut shop makes you a cop. Just a joke. Some of the cops are like what? I am kidding. OK. Going into a church doesn't make you a Christian. Being an American doesn't make you a Christian. I have actually heard people say, "I am a Christian. I am just not one of those born agains". News flash. You can't be a Christian without being born again. Jesus said, "You must be born again". These religious people were blinded by their own religion. They were missing the point all together.
I heard a story about an old guy who was out on his boat fishing. He heard a voice say to him, "Pick me up and kiss me and I will become a beautiful princess". He is looking around. "Who said that"? He heard the voice say again, "Pick me up and kiss me and I will become a beautiful princess". He looks and there is a frog speaking to him for the third time that says, "Pick me up and kiss me and I will become a beautiful princess". So the old codger reaches down, scoops up the frog, and puts it in his pocket. The frog said, "Did you hear me". I said, "Pick me up and kiss me and I will become a beautiful princess". The old guy said, "You know what? At my age I would rather have a talking frog".
Talk about missing the point. That is what these people were doing. They are telling Jesus he did this by the power of satan. There are a lot of people that reject Jesus Christ but they don't reject him because they have carefully examined what the Bible says and have determined that it is not true. They reject him because they don't want to change their lifestyle. They reject him because they want to live the way that they want to live. That is what was happening with these people.
Sometimes people will say, "The reason I am not a Christian is there are so many hypocrites in the church". I wish I could tell you that you are in a hypocrite free place tonight. But I can't. Here is what I would say to you that say there are too many hypocrites in the church. Come on and join us. There is always room for one more. I am not justifying hypocrisy. I am just saying we are human and we mess up. This is something that happens when we make mistakes and people say, "I won't become a Christian because of your hypocrisy". Listen. Jesus did not say, "Follow my people". Jesus said, "Follow me". He will never be inconsistent. He will never be a hypocrite. He will be everything for you that he promises to be.
These guys didn't want God in their lives so they are attributing the work that Jesus had done to the devil. Jesus says, "You guys better watch out because you are just pushing the envelope this time. You had better be careful or you might go beyond the point of no return. You might blaspheme the Holy Spirit". What is that? I am asked that question constantly. What is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? First of all let's understand who the Holy Spirit is. The Holy Spirit is God. God is a triune being. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God has come to show us our need for Jesus. The Holy Spirit of God who is here with us in this place right now convinces us of our sinful condition and shows us our need for Christ.
I bet some of you have sensed his presence. When you came in here tonight you said, "There is something different about this "Place. It is not like a baseball game. "It is not like a rock concert. This is a place where God is present". For some of you who have never walked into a place like this before it almost feels like you are home. You know why? Because you are. This is God's family. This is where you belong. That is the Holy Spirit calling you. But see it is possible to resist the Holy Spirit. God has given us all a free will. I can say yes to him. But I can also say no to him. The Holy Spirit will nudge me. But he won't take me by the throat and choke me. He will call me but I must respond what does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? It means to reject the work he has come to do.
Here is the simple explanation. The unforgivable sin is rejecting Jesus Christ. The Bible says, "How can we escape if neglect so great a salvation". Sort of like when you text someone. You ever shoot of a text and your text goes through. Then you get those three little dots. You know what I am talking about. That means they got your text and they are going to respond. You wait. Three dots. You are waiting. A minute. Two minutes. Three minutes. An hour. Two hours. Still with the dots. Are they ever going to respond? Here is the frustrating thing. Let's say you did this and they are at the table with you. I actually texted my wife the other day because she was so absorbed in updating her Instagram that I texted her and I said, "Be here now". Right.
So it is like we are sitting at the table. God is texting us and we are blowing him off. We are ignoring him. That is an insult to God. He knows you are there as I said earlier, Jesus stands at the door of our life and he knocks. He says, "If you hear my voice and open the door I will come in". Check it out. It is like a glass door. He can you see you and you can see him. While he is knocking you are looking at him. You say to your wife, "Just ignore him. Maybe he will go away" he keeps knocking. Then the morning comes. He is still knocking. You say, "Just don't answer it right now". Don't you understand that is an outright rejection? You are saying no to God. You are saying no to his offer of forgiveness here is the problem. Every time you hear the Gospel your heart can get a little bit hardened. The greatest inoculation against the Gospel is the Gospel heard but not heeded.
You are hearing the Gospel tonight. You say, "I don't even know what you are talking "About. What is the Gospel"? Check it out. Here is the Gospel. The Gospel is this. You are a sinner separated from God. God loved you so much he sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross in your place and pay for all of your sins if you will turn from your sin and believe in him you can be forgiven and go to heaven when you die and have meaning and purpose in life. That is the Gospel. You have heard it. Now you are responsible.
Let's say you were in love with a girl guys so you took your hopefully bride to be, your girlfriend out. You hired an orchestra to play when you gave them the cue. You dropped down on to knee. You pulled that ring out. You held it up and said, "I love you with all of my heart. Will you marry me"? She is like looking down at you and she says, "Uh no. Not only will I not marry you. I don't even really like you. In fact you are one of the ugliest people I have ever seen. But are we still going to have dinner because I am hungry". That is an extreme illustration. Would that be an insult? Now check it out. The Holy Spirit of God comes and the Spirit says you need Jesus Christ. You need to turn from your sin. You say, "Really? "I don't really want to do that. I don't really care about Jesus Christ. I want to live my life the way that I want to live it". That is an insult to God himself.
You see how that works. You dismiss him. You turn him away. When you do that there is no hope for you or for anybody else who does the same thing. It is the unforgivable sin. But the Bible says, "Harden not your heart if you can hear his voice". We say no to God. That is an outright rejection. Understand this. This is not a sin a Christian would ever commit. I doubt any person in this stadium has committed it. But some perhaps have. No believer has to worry about committing this sin. This is more than someone that just rejects something. This is someone who goes out of their way to reject it. This is a determined decision where a person says no to God. Maybe we even take it a step further and start mocking Christians. You go out of your way to undermine the faith of those that believe. You better be careful buckaroo because you might be headed to the point of no return.
The Bible tells the story of a king was name was Belshazzar. He was the king of Babylon. He was a young man. Perhaps even a boy. Belshazzar didn't believe in the Lord God of Israel. He decided to have a little fun at God's expense. He gave the comman that they would bring in all of the special goblets and instruments that the Jews used in their worship. He filled them with wine and he said, "Let's toast our false Gods. Let's have a party. Let's mock God". The Bible says, "While they were drinking there was a hand writing on the wall and the words that were written on the wall were, "'You have been weighed in the balances and you have been found lacking.'"
Usually when we step on a scale we weigh more than we want to weigh. In Belshazzar's case he weighed less because he was a spiritual lightweight. The point is he mocked God and his knees started knocking together. He freaked out. It was too late for him. Have you been mocking God? Maybe one of the reasons you are mocking God is because the Holy Spirit is working on you. It has been said, "When you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that barks the loudest is the one who got hit". Maybe the reason you are barking so loud and complaining so much and arguing more than anyone else is because the Holy Spirit is convicting and convincing you of your sin. He is saying you need to come to Jesus.
The Bible tells the story of a man whose name was Saul. He came from Tarsus. A very religious man. A very devout man. He thought he was doing God some honor by hunting down followers of Jesus Christ. He tortured them. He arrested them. He executed them. One day while he was on his way to oppose God guess who he met? Jesus. Jesus appeared to him. He said, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me". Saul said, "Who are you Lord"? Saul was probably thinking, "Don't say Jesus. Don't say Jesus". Jesus said, "I am Jesus". Whom you are persecuting. In other words you are fighting with me Saul. Stop. Saul believed in Jesus right there.
I used to laugh at Christians. I thought they were one taco short of a combination plate. A few clowns short of a circus. I looked at them on my high school campus. I thought these poor pathetic people. One of my friends warned me because I had transferred over to harbor high from Corona Del Mar High School. He warned me. He said, "Greg be careful. There are a lot of Jesus freaks here at this school". Here is what I said. Famous last words. "One thing that will never happen is Greg Laurie will never become a Jesus freak". Oh my.
So one day I went to one of their meetings. They would meet on the front lawn of our school. They would sing songs about God. All of their songs had about four chords in them. G, C, E minor. They would play these songs. I would look at them and their stupid smiles on their faces. I thought, "What a bunch of losers. Look at them with their stupid smiles. This is all so phony. This is all so fake. Too bad they can't be miserable and cynical like me".
As I looked at these Christians I tried a new thought on for size I had never considered. I said to myself, "What if the Christians are right? What if God is real? What if Jesus can be known"? Then I dismissed it. That is impossible. There is no way. This couldn't be true. Then I looked at them again. I thought, "What if it is true"? I went there to laugh at them. Then I heard the preacher get up and say this. "Jesus said, 'you are either for me or against me. You are with me or opposed to me.'" I looked at those Christians and I thought, "I am not one of them. Does that mean I am against God"? That was the day I believed in Jesus Christ. This can be the night you believe in Jesus Christ. You didn't come here planning to believe. But you can believe. You can be forgiven of all of your sin.
Here is what you don't want to have. A hard heart. Better to be a drug addict than have a heart that is hardened against God. This is a dangerous place tonight. You say, "Greg come on. This isn't dangerous. It is a bunch of Christians. What could happen"? You are missing my point. It is dangerous because you are hearing the Gospel and if you don't respond to it in the affirmative your heart can get hard. It can get harder and harder and one day you will go beyond the point of no return. It is not so much that God would not forgive you. It is just that you won't want to be forgiven. The Bible says, "He who is often reproved hardens his heart, and he will be cut off, and that without remedy". As you hear this message and you say no to it and you say no to it your heart gets harder and harder. Better to be a prodigal and someday return then never come at all.
Last night a girl who had made a commitment to Christ in 1998 came to our crusade. This girl walked away from her faith. In her own words she said, "I became an adulteress. I was raped. I became an alcoholic". She was then hospitalized because of the multiple suicide attempts. But for two months she said, "I started listening to your radio show a new beginning". She said, "I just couldn't change the station. At first it was just words. Words I had heard before. But in the past two weeks I found out that words were there to bring to me to tears to realize how much God loved me". She said, "I rededicated my life to Jesus last night at the harvest crusade. I was a prodigal daughter living among the pigs". She says, "The thought of my Heavenly Father running to me with open arms humbles me and overwhelms me with happiness".
You can be the prodigal daughter or the prodigal son coming back to Jesus tonight. Don't play games when God is calling you because there comes a time we know not when, a place we know not where, when a man or a woman's fate is sealed. What if this were your last opportunity to get right with God. The last moment before your heart would just become irreparably hardened. What about this? What if this were the night before your death? Oh yes death is coming. I will talk about that tomorrow night. The statistics on death are very impressive. One out of every one persons will die. That means you and that means me. But for the Christian we don't fear death because we know death is not the end. We know there is an afterlife. We know we will go to heaven. But for the nonbeliever there is a judgment.
You may say, "Greg I will think about this. I will maybe come tomorrow night. I will come next year". What if there is not a tomorrow night for you friend? What if there is not a next year for you? What if this were your last opportunity? Don't let this opportunity slip by. Jesus Christ is calling you right now. Think about it this way. You know when you get a call on your phone. I don't know about your phone but on my phone the name of the person appears. Does your phone do that too? Their name pops up when your phone rings. You look at your phone sometimes. You look at the name. You say, "That is a one hour person". You know what I am talking about? Some people if you get on the phone with them the conversation will last for one solid hour. You look at the name. You say, "I don't have an hour". So you don't accept the call.
Now when my wife calls. Cathe Laurie. I immediately answer. Any member of my family calls I immediately answer. I am not so sure if my wife does that. I think she sees Greg Laurie and just lets it go. She says her phone is on mute but she never answers. Now imagine this for a moment. Maybe it is because I never proposed properly. Imagine this for a moment. Let's say you got a call on your phone Jesus Christ. He is calling you. You have two choices. Accept or decline. You slide the little bar over. Hello. You respond. Or you don't answer it. To not say yes is to say no. To not be for him is to be against him. Christ is calling you right now. Not on your mobile phone. He is knocking at the door of your heart and your life. What is your answer? Is it accept or decline? It is your choice. There are no other alternatives.
You say, "Greg I am not decided yet". OK. To not be decided is to be decided. "I appreciate Jesus. I admire him". You nicely say no. But listen friend no is no. If you say it nicely or you say it in anger it is still a rejection. Don't turn him away. Say yes to him tonight. You say, "Greg what are you talking about? "Say yes to him tonight? How does a person even do that? How does a person become a Christian"? This is going to blow your mind it is so simple.
1. You need to admit you are a sinner. Just admit it. Own it. The Bible says, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". Every one of us have broken God's commandments. Every one of us have fallen short of God's standards. One sin is enough to keep us out of heaven. You say, "Yeah but listen. I am not as bad as some people". But listen. God doesn't grade on the curve. He grades on the cross. One sin is enough to separate you from God. Realize you are a sinner.
2. Recognize Jesus Christ the Son of God died for you on the cross. Yes he died for the world. Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son". But he also died for you as an individual. I like the way the apostle Paul personalized it when he said, "He loved me and gave himself for me". Listen. Jesus died for you so you could be forgiven.
3. Then you must turn or repent from your sin. To repent means to change your direction. Instead of walking away from God walk toward God like that girl that I mentioned who described herself as the prodigal daughter. She had been running from God. Then she turned back to God and experienced his forgiveness. You can do that as well. The Bible says, "Repent and be converted and times of refreshment will come from the God's presence".
4. You must receive Jesus Christ into your life. As I said earlier, this is a relationship with God. Christ will come and live inside of you. I heard about a mom who was telling her little daughter that Jesus lived in her heart. The little girl put her ear up against her mom's chest and listened for a while. The mom was hungry so her stomach was growling. The little girl said, "I think I hear Jesus in there mom". The mother said, "Why do you say that"? She says, "I think he is making coffee in there right now". That's cute. Listen. Really Christ does come and live inside of you. That is what it means to know him. He is with you. It means you will never be alone again. You don't have to live a life of emptiness and loneliness and guilt and the fear of death. He will fill that void in your life. He will be with you. He will remove your guilt and give you the guaranteed assurance that you will go to heaven when you die. You must receive Christ into your life.
5. You must do it publicly. Jesus says, "If you will acknowledge me before people I will acknowledge you before my Father and the Angels in heaven". Then he added, "If you deny me before people, I will deny you before the Father and the Angels". That is why I am going to call you publicly tonight down on this field.
Lastly you must do it now. The Bible says, "Today is the day of salvation". Listen. Tonight is your night. You have an appointment with God. Maybe you didn't see it on your phone. He is calling you. Are you going to say yes or no? Are you going to respond to the work of the Spirit? Or are you going to reject his work? If you say no to the spirit and no to him again and again one day you can actually commit the unpardonable sin and blaspheme him and go beyond the point of no return. Friend don't do that. You say, "Why? What if I want to do it"? OK. Do you want me to be blunt now?
If you go down that road I am going to tell you the truth. You don't hear preachers say this a lot these days. But I am going to say it. If you go down that road, you will end up in hell. Don't clap for that. I get what you are saying. You are clapping because you are saying that is truth. It is scary truth isn't it? God doesn't want you to go to hell. God really doesn't even send people to hell. You send yourself there by rejecting his offer of forgiveness. Listen friend. If you end up in hell on that final day you will have to practically climb over Jesus to get there. He is not going to force you to go to heaven. But if you reject his offer of forgiveness that is your future. I pray that will not be.
It is time to change your eternal address tonight from hell to heaven. From hopelessness to hope. From death to life. Come to Jesus. We will accept you. Come back to Jesus like that girl I mentioned. If you were raised in the church but you have gone astray. It is time to come home. When I was a little boy living with my grandparents back in the days when it was safer to go out on the streets at night my grandmother would be preparing dinner. She would say, "Greg you get home before dark". I always knew when it was dark I had better get home. I am saying that to you tonight. Get home before dark. Don't let it go dark for you. Don't let your heart get too hard. This is your moment. God's Spirit is working on you. You know who you are.
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 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.