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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 10

Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 10

Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 10
Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 10
TOPICS: Identity, Identity Theft, Transformation

If you don't know who you are in Christ, you will find your identity in something else. But if you find your identity in Christ alone, your life will be radically transformed. That's why I'm doing this series of messages, entitled, "Identity Transformation". It will transform the way you live out your Christian faith, so don't miss this life-changing message and don't live your life with an identity crisis. Stay tuned.

I wanna begin by asking you, have you, each of you, whether you're young or old, it doesn't matter, what is the purpose of your life? What do you want to accomplish in life, and how do you know you're accomplishing it, and how do you measure success when you're reaching your goal? I believe these are crucial questions. I pray to God whether you're 8 or 80 that you would sit down and answer those questions, and under God, that you will follow through with this. Through the years in ministry, I saw some people fail miserably. And I tell you, it is not because they were not talented.

In fact, some of these people are the most talented people I know. But the reason they fail again and again is because they do not have a defined purpose and ambition in life, and when you bring that to their attention, they become defensive. Which reminds me of the city slicker who went to ride horses, and he put the saddle backward. And the cowboy was standing there, he said to him, he said, "Hey fella, you are getting your saddle on backward, aren't you"? And the defensive city slicker said, "That's what you think. You don't know which way I'm going".

The reason we have so many confused Christians today, the reason we have so many non-discerning Christians today, the reason we have people are so mixed up in their biblical knowledge, the reason we have so many aimless Christians today, the reason we have so many Christians who accomplish nothing for God is because they have no defined purpose in their Christian life. They touch no lives. They change no situation. They impact no one. They achieve no results. They flounder around from church to church and accomplish nothing.

Now, I want to plead with each one of you here and watching around the world. Every believer who hears the sound of my voice, I want to plead with you from the Word of God, is to discover your purpose in life, is to discover your purpose in Christ, that you discover your vision for Christ. And you don't have one, ask him, he will give you one. To define your aim and make it clear, share it with others so they can hold you accountable to it. And the Word of God tells us, 1 Peter chapter 4, verses 1 to 6, that we must know our purpose just like Jesus did. Jesus not only knew his purpose, but he stayed the course. More and more in America today, we are having churches that are not the body of Christ. More and more, we're having churches that are entertainment center where the spectator's in the pews and the performers up front on the stage.

Beloved, that is not what Jesus intended for his church to be. This is not the church that seeks to imitate Christ. That is not the church that is the body of Christ where every part, every member is working together in unison so that it may be a healthy, functioning, impacting body of Christ. Look with me at what Peter is saying. And I wanna summarize actually this very short passage of six verses. I wanna summarize them in a way that you will remember them, and I pray to God you will never forget them. But when your purpose in life is to glorify God, three things will happen.

Three things, write them down if you're taking notes. You will become mentally prepared for whatever the world throws at you, verse 1. Secondly, you'll be spiritually powerful to resist temptations, whatever they may be. And thirdly, you will be approved by the Lord on that final day, the day of accountability. Not the day of judgment, but the day of accountability. Put it another way, mentally prepared, spiritual powerful, and ultimately approved. Let's look at the first one. When your purpose is defined in your Christian walk and it is to bring glory to Jesus, to please him in every way, you will know exactly where you're going and you know when you get there.

Look at verse 1. "Arm yourself". This is a military term, "Arm yourself with the same attitude as Jesus". You see, Jesus' purpose for which he left heaven and came is the cross, right? He had one goal. That's the cross. The Bible said that he set his face toward Jerusalem like a flint, that he's gonna cut all the way through the gibberish to get there. Even the projection of pain of the cross, even the anticipation of the horrors of the cross, even the expected suffering of that moment of separation from the Father for the first time since eternity, even the awaiting agony, even the expectation, the fact that Peter was gonna deny him, all of the disciples are gonna forsake him, all of that did not deter him from accomplishing his purpose and the purpose of the Father for him. And Peter is saying to us that because Christ died on the cross, he made sin to be defeat-able. He made sin to be overcome-able. He made sin to be destroyable.

I know I'm making up words, but that's all right. You'll understand what I mean. For most of us probably, we'll never get killed for our faith, never be tortured like they do in Iraq, and in Syria, and many other parts of the world. Oh, but you may experience scorn of some. You may experience the misunderstanding on the part of many. You may experience questioning of your pure motive. And so, Peter is telling us, during those times, during those times, arm yourself with the power of Christ's cross. Arm yourself with the power of the cross. I know many of us have GPS, global positioning system, and it tells you within feet of whether you've got to your destination or not.

And beloved, I wanna tell you, when you set your purpose in life to glorify Jesus and to please Jesus above all else, your GPS system, the Holy Spirit, is gonna guide you, he's gonna lead you, he's gonna direct you. And even when you veer off course, you're gonna be hearing the Holy Spirit saying, "Recalculating, recalculating, recalculating". Amen, amen. He'll bring you back to your destination. You'll be mentally prepared. Secondly, you'll be spiritually powerful to resist the old way of life, to resist past sins, to resist any temptation that might be thrown at you. You see, when you set your purpose on pleasing the Lord and not self, or anybody else for that matter, you're gonna find it easier to resist temptation. I'm testifying now. The Bible tells us that after you come to Christ, when you surrender your life to him, when Jesus becomes the Savior of your soul and the Lord of your life, there are three powerful enemies that conspire together in order to impact you.

The world, the flesh, and the devil, three powerful enemies. The world system, the old nature, and the devil himself, these forces can never take away your salvation. No force, no one shall separate us from the love of God. No force can take away your salvation. So what do they do? They do the second worst thing to us, and that is to render us ineffective for Christ, to neutralize our spiritual power, to hinder our spiritual progress, to slow down our identity transformation. And Peter knows all about this because when they conspired against him and he fell for it, he knows exactly what he's talking about. When these powerful enemies conspired and caused him to deny his Master and his Lord Jesus three times, when they tempted him and he fell in that temptation, he was restored, he was forgiven.

Had Peter not be restored, and renewed, and renewed his purpose to glorify Jesus, the 3,000 people who came to the Lord on the Day of Pentecost may not have happened. I don't know, God is sovereign. But I'm telling you the great things that the Apostle Peter accomplished, a fisherman. He didn't have any degrees. He was a fisherman, and the way God used him mightily, those things, the great use of God of him would've been neutralized had he stayed back in his sin. Hear me right, please. I have never, never in the 42 years in the ordained ministry, I have never, never met a spiritually powerful believer who's continuously rehashing old sins. And Paul affirms what Peter said here in Philippians chapter 3. He affirms it. This is a man who killed Christians. This is a man who put them in prison.

This is a man who persecuted Christians. I mean, he could've had that tape recorder going. "Paul, you can't be used. You can't be used. Because of your sin, you can't be used," but here's what he said in Philippians 3. He said, "Forgetting what's lay behind and I strain forward to what lays ahead". The Lord Jesus Christ in Luke chapter 10, verses 41 and 42, listen to what he said to Martha. He said, "Martha, you are worried and bothered about too many things: but there's one thing is needful". One thing. Can you say, "One thing"? One thing is needful. One thing is needful. One thing. Every time you find yourself going back into your memory bank of past sins and you dwell there, that's the secret word, and dwell there, you're gonna find that you have no spiritual power.

Every time you wander into forbidden territories and stay there, that's the secret word, you stay there, you will find that your spiritual power has been neutralized. A preacher from yesteryear, one of many that I admire, said that the Apostle Paul said, "One thing I do". He said today, the average Christian says, "Here are 50 things I dabble in". He said today's believers are like butterflies, they flit about, looking at this and looking at that, and become deeply concerned about nothing. End of the cord. Beloved, when you are scattered in every direction, when your priorities are out of kilter, when pleasing self takes front and center, trumps pleasing God, when our purpose is not defined, when you flit from one thing to another, when you have divided mind, you're gonna accomplish very little for God. No wonder the psalmist said, "Unite my heart. Unite my heart in the fear of you". He is saying, "Unite my purpose to please you. Unite my life's goal for the glory of Jesus. Unite my thought and action to serve only you".

I tell you why this is important. If you don't get on now with the purpose of glorifying Jesus in your life, let everything in your life focus on that, you're gonna end up with regret at the end of the road. But I wanna tell you today, as long as you have breath, it is not too late. It is not too late. It's not too late. I was thinking about this and I thought of something that you find in the Chester Cathedral out in England. There's an old clock, and underneath it, the following words were written, "When as a child I laughed and wept, time crept. When as a youth, I waxed more bold, time strolled. When I became a full-grown man, time ran. When older still I daily grew, time flew. Soon I shall find, in passing on, time gone. O Christ! wilt thou have saved me then? Amen".

End of the quote. When you have a life defined purpose and it is the glory of Jesus, and the praise of Jesus, and the pleasing of Jesus, you will have the mental ability, mental power, and you'll be mentally prepared. Secondly, you'll be spiritually powerful to overcome any temptation. Thirdly and finally, you'll be approved by our Lord on the day of accountability. Verse 6, Peter is saying that the time to believe is now. The time to be saved is now. The time to give is now. The time to love is now. The time to glorify God is now. The time to invest your life is now. The time to fulfill God's purpose for you is now. Why? Because once you close your eyes in death, it'll be too late.

Hebrews chapter 9:27 says that man is destined to die once, after that he faces judgment. Psalm 115, verse 17 says, "Can the dead praise you"? Question, why must I spend my days to please the Lord? Why should that be at the forefront of everything that I do in life? Why must my life purpose be glorifying the Lord? Why should I invest the resources that he has placed in my hands for his work? Why do I need to make an impact for his kingdom now? Well, first, which is the obvious answer, is in gratitude, is in thanksgiving, in deep appreciation for saving me, for redeeming me, for dying on a cross for me, for paying the penalty and the wages of my sins, and for blessing me abundantly. Listen to me, the poorest among us is better off than 95% of the world population. Secondly, Peter is saying that because each of us will be held accountable for managing of our lives with all its facets, not just one area.

You see, those who have rejected Jesus as the only Savior and Lord, those who refuse to believe him, and receive him, and crown him Lord of life, they're gonna face judgment. They're gonna be in a place of torment, and pain, and agony, and they rejected Jesus. That's the judgment for those who don't know Jesus. But for those of us who know Jesus and claim to love Jesus, we escape from that judgment. We're not gonna face that judgment. Oh, but the Bible says we're gonna have a day of accountability. We are going to give an account for every idle word that is spoken.

Think about that. Think about the things you say that may hurt other people. We're gonna be held accountable for every idle hour that we flitted away. We'll be held accountable for every gift that he has given us and we wasted. We gonna be held accountable for squandering the treasures that we received. We will be held accountable for whether we have lived for self or lived for him who died for us. Question for us who know the Lord is this and will be this: did you live a life that is glorifying to God? Did you invest in the kingdom of God? Did you care more about Jesus' reputation than yours? Did you promote his purpose in your life or yours? Did you have ambitions for God or you? Did you, did you, did you?

As a matter of fact, when you go home, read 1 Corinthians chapter 3. Paul makes it very clear that it'll be like fire. How we lived for Christ will be like a fire. If how you lived for Christ is for his glory, it's gonna be like gold. It's gonna shine when it hits the fire. But it's for self, it's gonna be like hay. Light a match to hay and see what happens. You have nothing left but soot. Even non-believing, secular humanists who don't know the Lord Jesus Christ, when they know, because they're created in the image of God, they know they wasted their life, how they flittered their life. They know it. In the early 1700s in Germany lived a young nobleman who was very highly born by the name of Nikolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf. His father died when he was only 6 weeks old. He was brought up in a huge estate by three women: his mom, his grandma, and his aunt.

All three women knew and loved the Lord, so they brought him up to know the Lord. After graduation from the University of Wittenberg, young Zinzendorf embarked on a trip all across Europe, and it was in a museum, in an art museum in Dusseldorf, that he had an encounter with Jesus that completely changed his life, and by the way, changed the world. Housed in that museum was a painting by Domenico Feti entitled, "Behold the Man". It was a portrait of the thorn-crowned Christ, gazing at the viewer. Beneath the painting were the following words: "I have done this for you. What have you done for me"? Zinzendorf looked at this painting and he looked at this painting. He gazed at it for what appears to be hours, but it was only 30 minutes. And at the end, he said to himself, and I quote, "I have loved him for a long time, but I have never actually done anything for him. From now on," he said, "I will do whatever he leads me to do".

As a result of that decision in a museum, not at church, in a museum, he went and he began and started a movement known as the Moravian Missionary Movement. The Moravian missionaries were the first Protestant missionaries in the world before William Carey and the British missionaries going. Before all that, there was the Moravian mission. It's actually ignited the entire Protestant missionary movement. And they led many, many people to Christ. The Moravian missionaries spread all over, including two people they led to Christ. Two brothers, John and Charles Wesley. The Moravian missionaries led them to Christ and God used them to change the world.

I want you to fast-forward 150 years. I know those of you kind of keeping up with me, 150 years, fast-forward. On January 10, 1858, a Christian woman in England who was also well off was so impacted by the story of the founding of the Moravian mission and Zinzendorf. She was so moved that she decided she's gonna go to that same museum and see that painting. Her name was Frances Havergal, who gave us many wonderful songs that we sing here. "Take My Life and Let It Be," is one of her songs. As she went there in Dusseldorf, and she went to that museum, and she looked at the painting that 150 years ago impacted this duke, she was so deeply moved. And then she penned the following words: "I gave my life for thee, my precious blood I shed, that thou might ransomed be and quickened from the dead. I gave, I gave my life for thee; what thou have given for me"?
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