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4 Convictions of Those Who Turned the World Upside Down | Sunday Message with Special Guest J. D. Greear

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Cross Radio
June 19, 2022 3:00 am

4 Convictions of Those Who Turned the World Upside Down | Sunday Message with Special Guest J. D. Greear

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 19, 2022 3:00 am

Pastor J. D. Greear kicks off our Summer Reading series by taking us to Acts! Though Stephen wasn’t considered a theological leader, he took the job he had and did it well. Listen in as Pastor J. D. introduces four convictions that molded Stephen’s life and see which you can apply!

Notes

1. God wants to use me.

2. The Holy Spirit fills me. 

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. 

3. As Jesus was to me, I will be to others. 

4. Jesus is worth it.

Scripture Referenced

Acts 6:10

John 16:7 

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Hey there, thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie podcast, a ministry supported by harvest partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you if you want to find out more about harvest ministries. Learn more about how to become a harvest partner, just go to harvest.org today him and introduce you to someone I've known for many years is a good friend of mine, a great communicator of the gospel's name is JD Greer and JD is the pastor of the Summit church in Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina is the pastor of Summit life.

The daily broadcasting TV program and also they ask me anything podcast and he's going to be speaking on his book which is titled what are you doing with your life you love JD. Let's give him a warm harvest welcome. Well, good morning harvest church said what Riverside and Maui and those of you are joining us on webcast online. I cannot tell you how honored I am to be here and how much of been looking forward to today. I have to tell you that with all sincerity, I absolutely love your pastor, he is been a good friend to me is one of the most unique people I have ever ever met feel like God constructed him in a lab in order to reach people in our country for Jesus. He is wicked smart smart cool and he doesn't seem to lose an ounce of that as he gets older, Shirley pulls out all he does all this while somehow remaining humble and relatable and nonintimidating. I really is a marvel.

I always say that if 5 mg, Steve McQueen and Gilligan from Gilligan's Island somehow had a kid together to come out of Greg Laurie said, I do love him and he is been a mentor and a friend to me and ministry from any many years, really since I started, and he always says that makes him feel old when I say that, but I'm seriously he's a big impact on my whole family. My grandfather used to tell me how I love listening to Pastor Greg on the radio as a boy when he was drifting off to sleep and I radioed for six if you got your Bible this morning and hope that you brought them acts chapter 6 years ago is returning there I heard a story about a man named Larry Walters who lived right here in orange county. The story goes that one afternoon Larry went out to the Army, Navy surplus store in the area and he bought 75 used Army weather balloons.

He inflated them and then with the help of several of his friends. He attached them to a lawn chair that he had secured to the back of his pickup truck, then with the help of several of his friends. He climbed into the chair. He settled in.

He had one of his friends untied the rope. He was hoping a friend later said in the article that I read to observe the neighborhood from a slightly different angle and thereby to gain a new perspective on his life. Nothing with him on this fateful journey, except for a butter sandwich, a six pack of beer and a fully loaded BB gun to 1/2 hours later, the Los Angeles international Airport reported an unidentified flying object in the skies above LAX at 16,547 feet lawn chair Larry as this man came to be known now for three month bills into the sky and 100 miles from his original launch site. You completely passed out in the chair by the pilot of the 737 who first spotted Larry on his approach to Elliott said well I see what looks like a perfectly still man he might be dead.

He sitting in is a lawn chair. I don't know I think he's holding a rifle in a rescue stunt that would have made Chuck Norris proud SWAT teams from local police areas that went up in the and MM somehow managed that never quite got my mind around this apartment lassoed Larry and got a minute a helicopter and ferried him safely in the ground in case you are curious. Larry's intention had been to when he untied the rope.

He thought it would. This will easily saunter up into the atmosphere at which point he would take the BB gun that I told you we talk and he would then pop the balloons to get him to level off at the appropriate altitude he would cruise around the neighborhood for a while. When it was time to come down. He would take his BB gun pop the other balloons and slowly lower him down. What could possibly go wrong with that right that the report article said.

He said what happened, though, is one of his friends. That is, it would.

Larry untied the rope.

He did not lazily saunter up into the atmosphere to look like he been shot out of a cannon just straight up into the sky ancillaries about 20 just totally freaked out and he didn't want to shoot the balloon so we just kept going higher and higher into the sky. He said at that point I did the only thing I knew how to do in a stressful situation and that is I started to drink the beer drinking, four cans of beer.

The course of that level of blood alcohol content. So that's why he completely passed out on the ground on the ground at LAX after being revived back to consciousness. Larry was issued get this. My favorite part of the story. 1/4 thousand dollar ticket by local police for the obstruction of airport traffic, a local journalist then asked him three questions three questions is one Larry, were you scared Larry said yes yes I was very afraid. Question number two. Larry would you do it again and Larry said no no impact.

By the way, no offense by this, but that's how we know that he is from California not from North Carolina.

You do that from what you wanted the redneck answers scared not do that again right now is not here, more humble number three Larry this is the reason I share this story later why did you do it and Larry said he said I just got tired of always sitting around.

Now I know that you hear that story you say that story true, of course, I read it on the Internet. How would it not be true, and I am quite sure that part of that story have grown with Internet legend, but the core of it is true that there is an article on CNN that you can look up and I look it up later if you want to check it out. But I share it because I believe that it captures many of us particularly in our generation and the generation coming behind us how they feel that is just tired of always sitting around wondering if they're making any real difference in the world are wondering if you're leaving a legacy there wondering what kind of life there actually living and if it really matters, and so because of their inability to answer that question, they turned to entertainment employees and other random things to fill up their time and so to that end, I will walk you through the story of an ordinary guy and ordinary guy who literally changed the world through ordinary acts of obedience.

Know what I want to try to show you this morning is for convictions that shaped this man's life that I believe should also shape yours and mine.

The man's name is Stephen's story begins in acts chapter 6, I will explain more of this here in a moment, but Stephen's story occurs at the pivotal moment in the book of acts, and for that reason, I believe that his story is given to us as the example.

The example of how God intends to use ordinary people to spread the gospel around the world. We typically call the book of acts, the acts of the apostles and the apostles from a very important book of acts, but you see it one of the moments in the book of acts is not an apostle is a layperson that God uses to transform the world accept the context Stephen was not an apostle. Make sure you get that because a lot of people get that wrong. Stephen was just a so-called ordinary guy, but his story is this turning point the book back to see.

Up until this moment. As far as we know the gospel movement has yet to leave the borders of Jerusalem even though even though Jesus had clearly had clearly told the disciples that he wanted them to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth and.acts 18.

Acts 18 is the outline for the book back.

She will preach the gospel verse in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth right now. It's been an exciting ride for the last six chapters to be sure 3000 baptisms in miracles and people construct dead and offering them and whatnot but the bottom line is all that by acts chapter 6 the gospel has still not left the borders of Jerusalem are still meeting in small groups holding hands and singing Kumbaya. Whatnot that all changes with the story of Stephen in acts chapter 6.

Stephen is selected to help deliver food to the widows so that the apostles can devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.

What you should hear from that is Stephen's job in one sense was not that important was an elected teacher.

He was an elected group president. He did not write any books. He was not considered to be one of the theological leaders of the early church. He was just a table waiter was the Meals on Wheels, so to speak, of the early church, but acts chapter 6 verse seven tells you that Stephen did his job so well in his witness was so full of the spirit. It was so compelling that I got the attention of a lot of people in the community including many of the Jewish priest to begin to turn in large numbers to faith in Christ. Well, that got the attention of the Sanhedrin who begin to try to discredit Stephen. I love this verse accepts six verse 10 yet Veda Sanhedrin with all their degrees could not withstand the wisdom, the wisdom and the spirit with which this ordinary layman was speaking in acts seven.

The Sanhedrin drawls him before Jewish counsel, where Stephen perceives to give the longest recorded sermon in the book of acts, and by the way, the least seeker friendly sermon in the New Testament.

It's basically a detailed history of Israel showing how all the Old Testament. All of the Old Testament points to Jesus and the basic point.

The punchline of the sermon is you and your ancestors killed all the other prophets and that's why you kill Jesus to Stephen brings his message to a climax at the end of acts seven verse 54 and he says this now this is how the story when they heard these things, they were enraged in the ground their teeth at him, but he full of the Holy Spirit, Jason evidence, all the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God, but they cried out with a loud voice, and he stopped their ears and they rushed together at him. The McKesson out of the city and they stoned him and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. Now, if you know anything about the Bible you recognize this all is the first name. The pre-conversion name of the man who would become the apostle Paul and there he was watching this take place as they were stoning Stephen Stephen called out, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit then falling to his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, Lord, do not hold this sin against them.

When you said this, he fell asleep. Now watch this in your Bible.

There's a chapter break right there right and mine also is a terrible place for a chapter break and I'm not criticizing the Holy Spirit. When I say that the Holy Spirit didn't the chapter breaks and there is what we did to try to make it more readable and more accessible, but I think it's a terrible place for a chapter right because the story Stephen is not over yet. Look at separate verse one and there arose on that day, the day the day of Stephen stoning a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria stuff in your Bible is the word you out on the line right here except the apostles are not averse for those who were scattered about preaching the word go. It is the first time the gospel leaves Jerusalem and I want you to let this sink in. Not a single apostle is involved even indirectly is Stephen's service that provokes the trial is Stephen's testimony that provokes the riot and all those who left Jerusalem, preaching the word.

The author of the book of acts goes out of his way to point out to you that not a single apostle was included in that number now like I told you I think Stephen story is given you with an example of how the gospel expands globally is the acts 18 is the key verse of the book of acts it gives you the outline of the book of acts gives you the trajectory of where things are supposed to go Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria uttermost parts of your the fact that Luke brings up Judea and Samaria for the first time since he mentioned that shows you. This is the fulfillment of that, just like Jesus said it would happen. It is happening. You will be my witnesses and not a single apostle is involved in that expansion. Stephen is a picture of the so-called ordinary Christian and what happens when ordinary Christians.

What happens in the church. What happens in the world when ordinary Christians are the people that they are supposed to be me to be the first of these four convictions of those who transform the world conviction such as save my life and yours. Number one God wants to use me.

By the way, these points are not profound deliver something really deep complex lot big words. That's not me. Okay, wait for Dr. Jack Graham on that right this very simple painfully simple historically ordinary believers have always been the tip of the gospel spirit. The gospel traveled outside Jerusalem and around the world. Ordinary people like Stephen not to apostles as a book called the history of of Christian missions written by guiding Stephen Neal Stephen Neal met story and an incredible history of Christian mission points out, this is the only thing more remarkable than the entity of the spread of the gospel in the first century was its anonymity is about the end of the first century by 99 A.D. you have three major church planting centers established in the ancient world, Antioch, Alexandria, in Rome. These are but they all have in common is we have no idea who planted the churches in Antioch, Alexandria and Rome impact the story of the planting of the church in Antioch is recorded for us in acts 11 and literally what is says is that some believers came to Antioch and the hand of the Lord was with them.

That's all the detail you get them them is like saying a bunch of guys whose names I like to tell you because you never hear from him again.

This is bystander number three in the credits of the end of the movie a bunch of people whose names are forgotten in history, but they planted a church that would one day send out the apostle Paul, Paul or Peter, neither of them found the church in Rome, who founded the church in Rome is referred to in acts 28 save others to show up.

Not exactly people but the same kind of people brothers that show up and plant a church that would one day become the most influential church in the ancient world, the anonymity of ordinary people. It's the gospel spreading ordinary people faster than the apostles can keep up the same thing is true today. The gospel travels around the world faster the wings of business than it does in the mouths of people like Pastor Greg warrior me. I sever this recently read this article about about what's going on in missions around the world that you know the vast majority want to call unreached peoples live in something that missiology is called the 1040 window per the terms and 40 window basically between the 10th and the 40th parallel, think, think. North India East Asia, Africa, others, places in between there that's for the greatest concentration of unreached people. It if you add up all the evangelical missionaries from every evangelical denomination that are at work spreading the gospel in the 1040 window. That number is 40,000 not praise God for that we need 10 times. That meant the same article said get this if you add up the number of American citizens United States citizens who are right now working so-called secular jobs in the 1040 window that number this morning is 2 million 2 million Americans right now at work in the 1040 window now. If demographic statistics hold up and I assume it would mean what 36% of them identifies born-again muscle can look at your neighbor and say that's not really true. Okay. Just because a check on the box that mean they are two thirds of that number is not really serious about their faith was just at that down to what 1012% of people living in the 1040 window that are at least actively involved in following Jesus, you realize what that means if they understood that their primary calling in life, whatever their assignment was, whatever the rotation was to be a disciple making disciple. That means we would take the mission force in the 1040 window today from 40,000 to 240,000 without spending time that's what I'm telling you the future of gospel expansion is not in the malls of apostles. It is in the hands of ordinary people.

The gospel always goes around the world faster on the wings of business. I talk a lot today about the lack of Falcons emissions and that's a real thing but I'm telling you God already has his people there. I think of my dad who might have as a godly businessman never been paid to Don for ministry in his life. Minutes of plant he managed textile factory, North Carolina when he retired. The week after he retired his same company hired him. We hired him for more money to go over into the 1040 window into East Asian to set up a factory there where you live about two years. He got a ball sharing Christ with other other businessmen. East Asian businessmen fled a couple of the Christ as part of a church plant over there but only total cost of the church zero dollars and that we make the money on the deal.

The secret hiding while he was over there. I'm just telling you that that what if God, through business had already put all the evangelists he needed everywhere in the world. His latter years. Billy Graham used to always say that he was convinced the next great awakening was going to take place in the marketplace if you quit thinking of guys like me and Pastor Greg as the ones in ministry. You're supposed to support you realize that you are the ones on the front lines of ministry that Pastor Greg and I are called the support that the Bible tells us that the primary role people like me and Pastor Greg is equipped you for the work of ministry, you know. Ephesians 411 writes been in church for this verse God is given pastors and evangelists for what, for the equipping of the saints in the work of the ministry.

According to that verse. Who is it that does the work of the ministry.

The pastor saints like this when I told my church that that I did that when I became a pastor. I left the ministry and I've been took on a roll where I equip and support those who are actually on the front lines of people like Stephen.

If I get this if you count up every miracle in the book of acts. There are 40 total 4040 miracles in the book of acts get this. Of those 40 miracles 39 of them happen outside of the church. That means I work inside the church is your passion for music.

Pastor Greg and I have access to 1/40 of the power of God that that's not great hermeneutics. Pastor Greg, I realize that but you get the point.

The point is, the things that God wants to do wants to do through Stevens outside of the balance of the church wants to use me. That's the first conviction is the realization of where the tip of the spiritus which leads hand-in-hand the second conviction number two. The Holy Spirit fills me. What makes this even remarkable was his confidence or confidence that he apparently gained from an awareness of the fullness of the spirit within him. The most common characteristic repeated about Stephen was that he was filled with the spirit what gives ordinary people such extraordinary confidence and effectiveness is the knowledge of the power of the spirit within them and I clarify that knowledge because all of you have the Holy Spirit. If you are a believer it is, is the awareness of easy awareness of the power that is available.

That actually makes the difference. Jesus paid such extreme ordinary promises about the power, the potential power of the Holy Spirit in believers.

They are so staggering there so staggering that if you don't want your self is not taken seriously, that would be prudent to give you a couple of real quick this morning. John 16 71 of my favorites features allotment book. Pastor Greg mentioned John 16, seven Jesus said, nevertheless I tell you the truth, by the way that's a little device rhetorical device just to get your attention. Jesus was not in the habit of telling lies not stop clarify okay nonaction telling the truth whenever he says that it's because what he's about to say is so mind boggling that you don't get your mind right in your mind not to go right over your head, which is what happens with this verse. Nevertheless attain the truth.

He says it is to your word church that I go away is on the way than the Holy Spirit is not a company to counter not going to help y'all how absurd must that have sounded to this first disciples. Usually it's to my advantage that you, Jesus.

Go away.

How awesome would have been to have walked around Jesus for three years, you think about what that experience was like like you and Dave ministry you come back you got a really difficult theological question about Calvinism and Jesus answered your at your small group and you run out of Chex mix man, Jesus multiplies the Chex mix so that there's no bath is left over your beloved dog dies. Pam Jesus raises your dog back from the dead right your cat dies, Jesus digs a hole in the category that thing forever and ever in the right.

I'm just today okay you been exactly like that but clearly clearly open.

Some Jesus as a ministry companion and now he's telling you that to your advantage goes way whatever he was saying about the Holy Spirit was so significant that he said that you had a choice between having me beside you with the spirit inside of you.

If you really understood the Holy Spirit you would choose him every single time is your experience with the Holy Spirit doesn't justify that statement like this, you have a beloved pastor. One of his beloved America. I know you love them as your pastor if he stood up here at the end of the services that folks are just bad news. Got a call me to transition off your pastor anymore or there be a state of gloom in this place right away but I got good news and that is where you have a new pastoral care that we would accept his resume its Jesus of Nazareth. He's taken over. I'm thinking that your gloom turns to joy, dispatch registries, great sermons, but sermon on the Mount mean man you never come close to that. All of a sudden you have Jesus and tell everybody right are you as excited that you are leaving here this morning with the Holy Spirit inside of you is you would be if we told you Jesus was going to lead you.

If not, you never actually taken a promise seriously is to your advantage that I go away, because the spirit inside of you is even better for standing in front of you. And if I were leaving you ordinary people filled the spirit are more important to the kingdom of God than gifted church leaders, even at that church leaders, Jesus himself more. Matthew 1111 Evelyn my favorite Jesus said he set truly begin. There's a little device there truly to essay the there's never been anybody born among women, which is everybody greater then some. Who was Jesus favorite preacher of all time.

Saints Dr. J round with John the Baptist. John that is very good. Yes Jesus loved him some preaching. The John the Baptist podcast John the Baptist you work you Debbie.

Debbie JD Beatty embraces you love John the Baptist, Jesus looks a group of people. He says truly, truly, I say to you that the one of you who is least in my son what is least in my kingdom the one mean you happily tell you the least gifted you know the least about the Bible for personality and personal can ring nobody measure their right now somebody in here in this room right now somebody here's the least of the kingdom of heaven in here mean that mathematically, it has to be true right your significant might be me and God in heaven is like get you the bottom of the file. What I'm telling you is even if that's true, you have more potential in ministry than Sean. This why you have something John the Baptist never had met was the permanent infusion of the Holy Spirit inside of you in the knowledge of the resurrection, and Jesus and from that point on point on, it's not about your abilities and ministry. It's about your availability to the spirit because the Holy Spirit can accomplish more than one act of obedience than all the most talented people can accomplish in 10,000 lifetimes yet another great example of this is just the Holy Spirit showing off at the end of acts eight.

That's another ordinary guy named Phil did not an apostle. He's about this Incredible Revival Taking Pl. in Samaria when all of a sudden the craziest Holy Spirit is the craziest thing there. I want you, Lisa, Mary and I want you to go up N. Abyssal Dusty Pl. basically crossroads gas station up there.

I want you to hang out and wait. So Phil believes this incredible ministry goes out in the middle of nowhere.

He stands and he waits and know he's doing, but a long bar comes to God that we now refer to as the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip shares the gospel with him in obedience to the Holy Spirit and that Ethiopian eunuch professes faith in Christ to get baptized Eusebius the fourth century church historian tells us that that Ethiopian unit to sub-Saharan Africa where he was from and he started a church planting movement but you can now trace some of the African church back to his original thing that happened what happened in one act of obedience by an ordinary person. The Holy Spirit was more than the apostles can accomplish its seven chapters with a girl in our ministry. Her name was was Amy.

She was short quiet painfully painfully shy last person the world you think the doll would use for something incredible. She's part of a team of college students were trying to do something evangelistic on their campus ministries to speak of at her campus of this is entirely student led me to someone to host a big event where they could share their testimony and have somebody share the gospel today. You know they did the same thing you you get some ghetto local bands that are good that I got some. I did share the gospel may offer free food and flyers everywhere sent out invitations and all these things, the week of the event a year despite all the flyers they put up they just the buzz on campus was nonexistent and they knew that this thing was to be a flop. Lisa look like it was going to be so they had a meeting the day before their lunch or sit around the dining room there there there college campus. They were talking about things they could do. The guy was in charge of teams and you talk with some of the leaders over here and all of a sudden behind him. Here's this commotion looks up and there's this Amy stand up on top of the table bases or stamping her foot and she said was an awkward thing I've ever I've ever seen in my life is in the hope of 500 people in the dining room all got really quiet and about legacy about the dance that what's about to happen here and he said it was a lot of voice she could muster.

She just Harley but whisper she said, and this is really unusual she said but but but tomorrow night we can have some people share the gospel about how Jesus changed our life and we have found this firsthand that you do not find any better friend or Savior than him, and we just want you to come so that we can tell you about it.

That's all got to say and I don't know how to invest in funds for a sitdown yoga back to eating. She sat back down the table, my friends, he looked over at companies like looking in it like what is in that cup she was drinking now he looks at her nieces as he says is what in the world. She's not God told me to do that now I'm not. I'm not suggesting to you that you go into random restaurants and set them on the table and invite people to read. Worker stated that we would actively discourage that, but I want I will tell you that the next night over 700 student showed up at this event and 52 people press faith in Christ, just tell you, God accomplishes one act of obedience than all the talent can accomplish in the world you listen the book of acts. Success in ministry is not doing great things for God with great talent success of the book of acts is simply figuring out where the Holy Spirit is working enjoining him in it and what you and I need her eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit of God is doing around us and you join him in it.

Knowing when he wants you to speak up when he wants you to play going when you want you to trust him for a miracle. One of things that I pray every single morning is God, open my eyes to where you are at work around me so that I can see you at work at one of the reasons we fast, not fasting in order to punish her body because then God is there a better mood to hear you you faster train your heart for the ability to see and hear him better and so you're listening or praising God opened my eyes and your daily, offering yourself or or or how about this like Philip. Maybe you should ask God got him in the midst of something great here, but maybe your wanting to take me to be a part of something out in the middle of nowhere to be part of a church planting team as Pastor Greg mentioned at least some of you know this is in the bulbar church is very committed to church planting and so we set out 1600 of our members to go on church planting teams this I say once you offer yourself to God's sake. God appoints put my guess on the table that you put it on the map. 1600 people over the last 10 years have said yes. Reprinted 502 churches, doing that we tell all of our students at our RRR, our church like Katie gets off somewhere.

I get a job in place of God is doing something strategic you know it means to discover the will of God with our students need.

You do whatever you're good at you well for the glory of God was somewhere strategic for the mission of God yes on the table. My God put it on the map. We tell our retirees.

People like my dad like a not let this greatest chapter of your life that's coming up we have the most offer. Why not do it in a place that is strategic, my wife and I do what I been pastoring a church for 20 years, God has blessed but I'm really really afraid of it becoming an idol that I just cannot close through and so every single year for the last six years. My wife and I New Year's we take a week and we just pray God is this here, but you can uproot us from this church and send us somewhere overseas its mysterious thing that I do every year for the last six years got a said nope not yet. And maybe Jos got to the day that I die, but one of these years, you might say no, this is what I want you to do. I just don't ever want to lose that familiarity with the Holy Spirit because I know obedience to him is greater than all the effectiveness of problem ministry life as you get good at it in the moment you get good at it, you lose your dependence on the Holy Spirit I get a move on number three as Jesus was to me. Hear Stephen's convictions. Jesus was to me so I will be to others.

No verse 59 might be my favorite part of this whole story because it gives us a window into Stephen's soul showing us what Stephen was thinking about at the very moment of his death.

Look at it again as they were stoning Stephen Stephen called out Lord Jesus, receive my spirit and falling to his knees. He said, Lord, do not hold this sin against them? Research. Where have you heard where you are there statements before that exactly what Jesus said when he died on the cross, father forgive them for they know not what they do. And Lord, into your hands I commit my spirits. It seems that in Stephen's dying moments. Stephen was thinking about when Jesus had prayed on the cross for him and in Stephen's dying moments, get this, he was praying for others what he heard Jesus pray for him to see friend. That's what it means to follow Jesus.

It means to sacrifice your life for others like Jesus sacrificed is for you this way. Where would you be without Jesus this morning. What would you be a Jesus not come into your life.

Why would you be had Jesus chosen not to die on the cross. As always, you can answer that question, but let me give you an unusual you beat exactly the same place that millions of people are in the world without you. Because the salvation process includes the sharing of the gospel that Martin Luther you say would matter of Jesus about a thousand times. Nobody ever heard about it, the preaching of the gospel is an essential part of the gospel and that means that people around the world would never heard the gospel or in the same place and you and I would be and we never heard about it and friend that demand something of us.

It is hypocritical for you and I to lift our hands and praise thinking Jesus forgiven his life and we can be safe and not doing everything we can to get the gospel to people who have never heard about that friend had you wrestled with the obligations that your knowledge of Jesus. What it gives you to the world you squarely face up to the fact that there 2.8 billion people in the world with little or no access to the gospel. 2.8 billion.

By the way, do not turn that number into a statistic. Joseph Stalin, who typically don't cauldron sermons by Joseph Stalin. What he said the death of one is a tragedy, the death of a million is just a statistic is a chilling statement, from him.

If you think about the one you think about somebody like you. Somebody is made in the image of God like you somebody who hurts is lonely is afraid love their kids like love yours for him. Going to hell will be every bit the tragedy that would be for you in one of your kids is hypocritical to say thank you Jesus for saving my family and then not offer your life like Stephen is doing so that that salvation could come to others you actually believe the gospel. I'm thinking this morning. I pray this morning for I got up here for places like northern Yemen is a population of 8 million, which is what I think the size of Orange County.

I think the only believers are in that in that you talk about California being on reach the lost. Only believers are in northern Yemen and 20 talk about unreached places like that 20 believers every single one of those people, somebody just like you say some of our younger generation here this morning.

College students 20s below yours. Everything's right. Your generation is yours is a clause driven generation to grow. This global sense and injustice. We got eradicate poverty. We gotta in the disparities gotta correct some of the systemic problems and save the world from planets plastic stroller or whatever. Okay. And a lot of things really good.

You want to relieve suffering.

You understand.

To quote John Piper. The worst kind of suffering is eternal suffering right and give your life to something in the world. It is for people to hear about Jesus so that they can escape the wrath that is to come. Stephen understood what Jesus did for me.

I got to run for somebody else. There's your fourth conviction. Jesus is worth less return one final time to accept seven as they begin to hurl the stones of Stephen. Stephen says behold verse 56 I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man. To this standing at the right hand of God. Scholars point out here Mr. Pastor Greg is explain this to you at some point, but Jesus standing here is odd is odd because everywhere else. You see Jesus on the right hand of God. He is what setting is right.

In fact it's an important theological blowing sitting because the work of salvation is done so yet that's the question why you see standing in the answer is he standing to receive home, his son, the world in this moment has risen up against Stephen to tell him that he's a fool but he's a trader that his life as a waste know it's almost like Jesus can't help himself. He stands up and he says no. Well done good and faithful servant. They call you heretic I call you son based on your stones. I welcome you will.

Stephen looks up at the face of Jesus, and with his face beaming with angelic brightness.

He says yes Jesus you are worth one of the things that I've learned is that you will never go away with Jesus until you are convinced that Jesus is worth more than everything else in your life.

A lot of times we talk about coming to Jesus as being bringing peace in your life and fulfillment, and that's very true. But at some point if you're to be serious about following Jesus following Jesus is going to take you 180 opposite the direction that you think you want to go and in that moment you're going to have to decide whether or not Jesus is worth everything to you, or whether or not your obedience is conditional as it is really quickly because of Melinda's flame bus for the first two years of my ministry years as a missionary over in Southeast Asia walking among Muslims very difficult work.

One night she hardly few people see come to faith in Christ. One night about 11 o'clock I got a phone call from another Christian friend who lived three hours south, and he called me that him and I need your help with this semester.

What you need help with. He said you know, I can tell you that because they are phones. They listened and all the times we suggest come and meet me at the place that I know what he's talking about the bus midnight three hours down the middle like this place and sit next to him as a god never met before members by John Najjar was 32 years old. He was a muscle.

Najjar said my friend. I would like that well yet. My friend said okay tell him what you told me and fudge are said okay so well. He said he said about a month ago.

He said I had this dream is more provision than a dream you submit to basically when I went to sleep. He said far as I can see in front of me, behind me to the right to the last visit was nothing, just emptiness was looking the field when the field felt like days.

He said he set up for like somehow that's a picture of my life because my life feels empty and directionless and very committed as a Muslim, but I just feel lost. He said I'm walking like Daisy said heard a voice behind me. His voice was not there before so turned around to look in there was this towering figure, he said, his face spot them at the Hyatt, which meant it shone like the sun is was wearing this white raiment second started look at an said this man recent side of his robe and pulled out a copy of the NGO. That's the word for the gospel to copy the gospel he said Najjar this is the only thing that will get you out of this field. He said I looked at it and I considered it.

He said not pulled back.

I was afraid because that's Christian I can touch that I'm a muscle. He said I woke up immediately.

The moment I turned them down I knew I made a terrible mistake. I want to sleep exact same vision Jackson dream. He said like days.

All the sudden I hear his voice calling my name and turn around his Najjar. This is the only thing that can get you. I this field is at this time I wanted to take. I wanted to take just couldn't have work of the strength he said I just stood there paralyzed her standing there for a few moments, that again I will go up in my bed and I knew admitting of the terrible mistake. He said there night I didn't even want to go to sleep because I knew I was going to happen. He said sure enough I go to sleep and all the sudden I'm in this field again and this time is no walk around to see him standing there able to music by John, this is the last time I want to tell you this is the only thing that get you out of this field, Watson was involuntarily shaking hands reached up and grabbed a hold of this copy the NGO Nicole I pulled into my chest and I will go peacefully my bed the next morning to me. I could you not he said not my friend? My friend tells me you are expert.

Can you tell me what my dream needs now is raise in a really conservative country Baptist Church dreams and the interpretation thereof are not part of our spiritual repertoire.

But I'm happy to tell you despite a lack of seminary training, I knew exactly what to say in the moment as a brother.

You are so not dream interpretations. My spiritual gift and I share the gospel with for the next two hours walking from Genesis to Revelation. Showing them how all the Bible pointed to Jesus never got to the part was used on the cross and he said you this is God the Creator doing this is yes, tears streaming on his face said a lot like body, which is their word for God is the greatest discipleship, but appreciated what is the end of this presentation got better at an evangelist. I was like you will receive Christ is, I guess I do, every about every eye closed and I started leaving in a sinner's prayer and got two phrases and you realize it's a big deal when you see Christ you can get baptized in. You know that that's can you put your job in jeopardy. Like family. Mike killed we know people in this region been killed for this never for many snotty set of course hundred 20 think it took me a moment to look up the courage to talk to you mom I knew I knew that you would tell me that the person in my dream was Jesus. I knew it and I decided in that time that month.

That this really was Jesus and he did for me with Chris and said he would do for me that I would go anywhere with him what I had to leave by which, while like I think you need to leave me in the sinners prayer is nothing that I need to get saved now you say he got baptized there something in the heart of every single believer when you hear that story you something you rises up and you say yes fudge are is worth it to tell you it is hypocritical to say yes Jesus is worth it for fudge are to leave everything to follow him and you and may not be willing to do whatever it takes to get the gospel to people like John is just hypocritical decide what's worthy of the offering of your life at some point you decide when it's okay for the stones to come is you that are better younger you decide if you do not fulfill the dreams of your parents or for follow Jesus your parents are precious your dreams are important, but they're not to be waiting for you around the throne when you when you die one day it could be the Lord Jesus and you decide where you want to go and whose approval you're seeking that retirement portfolio you build. That's an important thing you did a good job at security, but that's not what can be blamed for you around the throne and you decide what is worthy of the offering of your life because what Stephen came to the realization that yes, I got all these things that are important, but there's only one was created, and the only one whose blood has redeeming only one glory. I am supposed to live for. For the rest of my life. Jesus you are worth.

Therefore, things that shape one's life and change the world as an ordinary person God wants to use me.

The Holy Spirit fills me as Jesus was to me.

I will be the others. Jesus is profoundly worth those convictions shape your life limited by your heads. If you would all the campuses as you join us online and you just do right now is a believer when I said my wife and I do every January. Lord blank slate, blank check, here I am sending my yes on the table you put it on the map. Maybe it would be to be more involved in the ministries here car at harvest is to serve an underserved population of the area. Maybe it's going to be the say hey tell me where I can be a part of something Samaritans purse is doing around the world aware of this church planting should be how I can use this chapter right now and can I deceive you take your hands and just open them on your lap and symbolic Lord it's here I am sending where what you're doing.

I want to talk for moments to just friends don't like sums missing here like I know that I belong to Jesus. It's a great question.

What Stephen understood Jesus had died for his San Fran he got for your student, and the good news this morning that he offers to you is a gift that you have to receive. If you never see that you can do that right now in this moment were Jesus I surrender to you is Lord I receive you right now is my Savior. You receive that gift to give you because that's the beginning of a life that is going to used to transform others in the world to pray for you and pray for you father I pray these moments, God pray this morning that she would send out laborers into your harvest from harvest, pray to God that she would come to faith in Christ you give me the courage to tell somebody. For those of your calling to give their lives into tone of the people by Jesus, and friends would show them what the next steps look like. We pray, NASA, Lord, in Jesus name Jesus means you agree with that same everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow the show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org and find out how to know God personally go to harvest.org and click on know God