Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 9

Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 9

Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 9
Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 9
TOPICS: Identity, Identity Theft, Transformation

Everyone in Christ Jesus will be like Jesus. We may actually go into the very gates of hell itself, but that's only to declare and to witness, not to stay there. Like Jesus, we may be experiencing the depth of Hades in this life. Like Jesus, we will be in glory and glorified in Jesus to reign and rule with Jesus.

The self-esteem movement gained really ahead steam, pardon the pun, because I remember very clearly parents, schools, institutions, teachers, they all bought into this self-esteem fervor. In reality, there is nothing wrong with self-esteem. You need to ask the question, what is the basis of my self-esteem? That's really the question. The secular humanist influence upon our society from education system to business world based their self-esteem on athletic abilities, on outward looks, on how aggressive and self-assertive the person is, or how popular, or ability to network, his clothes, his outward appearance, all the image they project, and on, and on, and on, and on. These are all not only false characteristics of self-esteem, but they are based on one's effort. And what happens if a person cannot perform? You're gonna find discouragement sets in, depression sets in, or even worse, as we seeing all around us.

And that is why, throughout this series of messages, I have been emphasizing over and over again and focusing on the transformed identity from whatever it is to being on Christ alone. Please listen to me. If a person grew up in a home that is not biblically sound, it's not a Christian family, not a believing family, and never received the encouragement to have a healthy, biblically-sound self-esteem, listen to me, when that person comes to Christ and becomes born again by the Holy Spirit of God, God's power can transform their past confusion and they will bring this transforming power of Jesus Christ into their life. I want you to go with me to 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 8 to 22. For when your identity is being transformed by Christ, when you have a biblically-sound self-esteem, you're gonna do three things.

First of all, in verses 8 to 11 and part of 12, you're gonna be compassionate toward other believers. Secondly, you gonna be sympathetic, not defensive with non-believers, verses 12 to 17. Thirdly, you will be confident in your victory in Jesus. If your identity is transformed in Jesus Christ, you will be compassionate with believers, your fellow believers. How? He gives us five in number. By living in harmony with others, by being sympathetic with others, by being caring for others, by walking in humility with others, and by not being vengeful. Listen carefully please. Because the question is, how and when do we learn these five important qualities? You can learn them at any age. You can learn them at any time. For it is the work of God in us, it's not something that we gin up. It's not something we say, "We're gonna be caring. We're gonna be loving. We're gonna be... I'm gonna do this and I'm..."

No, no, no, no, it is the work of God in us. But certainly, the younger to learn these things, the easier they may be. We can model Christ in his humility by obedience to the Father regardless of the cost, by not having an inflated view of ourselves. We model Christ by not taking revenge, but give God the opportunity. He says, "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord". But rather, we forgive and forgive, and then we forgive some more. Here's something that I don't want you to forget. Never forget, with very few exceptions, very few exceptions, kids who have grown up in a loving home with loving parents, they will be loving parents themselves. With very few exceptions, those who grew up in homes where there is compassion, not legalism, they will be compassionate. With very, very few exceptions, kids who grow up in homes with parents who are forgiving will be forgiving themselves.

So, you say, "How come"? It's that modeling again. I mean, Peter has been emphasizing this modeling from the very beginning, and Peter is telling us to imitate the one who did not talk a good game, but our Lord lived as well as he preached. Look at verse 9. If you do that, you'll obtain a blessing. What is that blessing? You will see good days. Verse 12, he says the Lord's ear is attentive to your prayers. I'm gonna come to that again. See, when your identity is being transformed, when you truly have a biblically sound self-esteem, you're gonna be compassionate with other believers. Secondly, when your identity is being transformed in Christ, you will not be defensive with non-believers.

Look with me please, verses 12 to 17. I know when I'm gonna tell you if you try to do it on your own strength, it's gonna be really hard, if not impossible. But think of Jesus. Always think of Jesus. And I don't know how many times a day I do that. Think of Jesus. When he was dragged before Pontius Pilate and Herod, he could've said to them, "You just wait, busters, 'til the day of judgment. You just wait. I'm gonna heat up hell specifically for you". He could've said to them, "Do you know who I am? Do you know who you're talking to? Do you know that I am the Creator of the universe? Do you know that I was with Abraham, and I was with Noah, and I was with Moses, and with Joshua, and with David? Do you know that on the day of judgment, I can sock it to you? You're going to pay big time for this, boys. Do you know that you are crucifying the Lord of life, the sinless, perfect Son of God"? He didn't say any of that.

I honestly believe in my heart that Jesus was grieving over them. He was grieving over them and the judgment that they will face. Why? Because earlier he told us in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are you when they insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me". Please listen to me very carefully. When you refuse to threaten your enemy, when you refuse to revenge against your persecutors, verse 12 tells us there's a blessing. There's a blessing for you. What is that blessing? God is hearing, attentive, and answering your prayers.

Now, I gotta tell you something. I'm testifying before God, I'd rather have that than anything else in life. I'd rather have the ears of the Lord than anything in life. Jesus never threatened retaliation, why? Because he did not want to miss out on the blessing. It's right here. He did not wanna miss out on the blessing. He already declared the message to them. He preached to them 3 and 1/3 of a year. They already heard his message. They refused to repent. He told them what the consequences of their rejection was gonna be. But now, he didn't have to be defensive about it at all. We can give defense of the truth without being defensive. Did you get the difference? And that is why in verse 15, he said, "We must always be ready to give an account as to the hope within us". Why? Because you never know when that person who's opposing you, who's antagonistic toward you, is gonna ask you, "Why are you so loving? Why are you caring"?

You'll never know when that person who is hostile to the Christian faith will ask you to help him to take off his blindfold. You never know, and that is why you should be always ready, always prepared. When your identity is being transformed by and into Christ, you will be compassionate. When your identity's being transformed in Christ, you're not gonna be defensive in your defense of the gospel. Thirdly, when your identity's being transformed, you will be confident in your victory. You'll be confident. Look at verses 18 to 22. Question: where does our confidence come from? Where does our confidence come from? What gives us confidence to give a defense of the faith without being defensive? Is it our pride or being right? Is it our arrogance or is it the feeling of superiority over the enemies of Christ? None of the above.

The reason the Lord was confident, even in the midst of his humiliation, is he knew who he was, he knew where he came from, he knew where he was going. His identity as the Son of the living God, as the divine Son of God, gave him all of the confidence in the world. That would have been enough for us. He said, "Look at Christ". You look at Christ and said, "That's enough. That's enough for me". But he gives us more. There's a whole lot more. I'm just beginning, all right? I'm just beginning. We have even a greater reason to feel confident in our victory. Greater reason, because when you understand that in the Old Testament, when it spoke of the angel of the Lord, he was speaking, the Bible was speaking about the preincarnate Christ.

The angel of the Lord is none other than the preincarnate Christ. He is the one who blessed Abraham. He is the one who rescued Lot from Sodom. He is the one who kept Noah and his family safe in the ark. He is the one who guarded Jacob. He is the one who guided Joseph into Egypt. He is the one who guided his people out of the land of slavery into the wilderness. He is the one who provided for his people in the wilderness. He is the one who took his people into the promised land, and on, and on, and on, and on. And Peter said he was the one who preached through Noah the message of repentance before the flood. It was the Spirit of Jesus preaching through Noah.

How do we know that for sure? Because that was the same message that Jesus preached when he began his ministry. And Mark chapter 1, verse 15 said that Jesus preached, "The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent"! It's the same message. "I am the promised Messiah. Come and believe in me and place your whole faith in me". You say, "Well, you can't get any better". Yes it does, watch it. What was Jesus doing before what we call Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday? His body died and was buried in Joseph of Arimathea's tomb. That's what Peter's saying here. But his Spirit soared and he went to Hades. There were the evil spirits in that prison and he declared victory over the evil spirits. His victorious power over Satan and his soldiers.

Verse 19. Now, let me tell you up front, verse 19 is the toughest verse in the Bible. It is the toughest verse. I'm gonna tell you why. Some people believe that means Jesus went to the dead souls that were awaiting in Hades and he declared his gospel and gave them a second chance, but this would be inconsistent with what Jesus told us about Lazarus and the rich man. When the rich man was in hell, he became an evangelist within the first 5 minutes. He said, "Send somebody to tell my brothers. I don't want 'em to come here. Send Lazarus. Do something". Abraham said, "There's no way". The gap between us is uncrossable. There is no second chance.

When a person goes into hell, that is the end of it. And that is why I have a problem with those who interpret this passage this way. Secondly, the Greek word is not "soul," but "spirits". He's talking about the evil spirits. Were not people, they were spirits. But before I go any further, again I tell you, good people argued over this for 2,000 years. I'm only gonna give you my 2 cents worth, okay? You can make up your mind about it. It's not gonna affect your salvation one way or the other. But I believe that Peter, when Peter spoke about Jesus going to the evil spirits in prison, he was speaking of the disobedient angels.

Remember the Bible said when Satan was trying to conduct the coup d'etat, to unseat God, and sit in his place, and receive worship and honor, he got thrown out of heaven. In being thrown out of heaven, third of the angelic beings went with him. They were deceived by him. They believed his lie and they were lost. And so, they are in that prison in which they were placed. And Jesus did not go to preach to them so that they may repent. The devils can never repent. He went there to proclaim. He went there to announce.

The word here is used when a king arrives into a city and the trumpet sounding of his arrival. So, he came to proclaim, to announce, to blow the trumpet of his power, and majesty, and might, and authority over all the demon spirits. He declared that when he shed his blood on the cross, just as foretold in the book of Genesis, he became the only Savior in the world, that he alone can save people from hell. He declared to them that no one can be saved except through him. He declared to them that now he earned all of the authority to be the judge of the whole universe. He declared to them that he and he alone paid for the sin and the wages of sin of everyone who repents and believe in him.

Now, let me ask you something. What do you think these demons were doing in that prison when the devil came to them, and Satan came to them, their leader, and said, "Hey boys, Jesus was crucified and died. And now, I'm gonna get what I've been wanting all along. People are gonna follow me, gonna worship me"? When he went and lied to them, what happened? The poor suckers, they fell for it again. They believed it. So, in the prisons, these evil, these demons, evil spirits, they were partying. They were celebrating. They were having fun. And Satan deceived them yet again and he told them that Jesus is dead, and the fools believed him again.

And so, you can imagine their surprise, imagine their trembling when Jesus showed up in person. "Hey boys, your celebration is premature. Hey boys, your party is over. Hey boys, your fate is sealed. Hey boys, your doom is here. Hey boys, I am the resurrection and the life". What Peter saying is this. Jesus, the Righteous One, suffered for the unrighteous. He now has been exalted in a place of power and might. Power over all creation, power over the universe, power over Satan and his demons. He has now got all the power of heaven and earth. But I haven't come to the best part yet. I haven't come to the best part yet.

Peter is telling us, "Hey, believers in Jesus. You stay faithful, for you will be vindicated. You stay true to Christ, for you will be exalted on high. Stay the course, for your day of glory is coming". He is saying that the ark of Noah was a picture of Jesus. It's a symbol of Jesus. And just as those eight people who entered into that ark were safe from the flood, those who are in Christ Jesus are safe for all of eternity. Just like those in the ark were secure inside of it, those who are in Christ Jesus are secure in him, both now and forever. The onslaught of hell cannot harm you when you are in Christ Jesus. When you are where? In Christ Jesus.

The roaring lions cannot scare you when you are in Christ Jesus. The storms of life may blow and howl all around you from every side, but you are safe, where? (In Christ Jesus). The waters of your circumstances may rise to a dangerous level, but it can never drown you. It can never drown those who are in... (Christ Jesus). Everyone, everyone in Christ Jesus, will be like Jesus. We may actually go into the very gates of hell itself, but that's only to declare and to witness, not to stay there. Like Jesus, we may be experiencing the depth of Hades in this life, but only to witness for our faith in Jesus. Like Jesus, we will be in glory and glorified in Jesus to reign and rule with Jesus. "Amen" belongs here.
Are you Human?:*