Michael Youssef - Watch Out for the Hidden Enemy - Part 2
Anger, and discontentment, and restlessness has been from the very beginning of humanity, back all the way in Genesis, when man chose to be in the city of man instead of being in the city of God. From that time on, humanity has been either running away from something or running to look for something, to find something. In the midst of this growing darkness and oppression, how shall we live now? Those of us who belong to the city of God, those of us who are citizens of heaven, those of us who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, but for now we are living in the city of man here on earth, how shall we not just survive, but thrive?
I want to begin by showing you how this separation between two distinct cities, the city of God and the city of man, began in the Bible. And so, I'll be following Genesis 3, 4, and 5. From the very beginning, there has been two humanities, made up of two cities or two cultures. Those two humanities are found in the book of Genesis chapter 3, verse 15. You can turn to that with me so you can look at it, because that is the very, I'm gonna repeat this, it's the very announcement of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Genesis 3:15. God told the serpent in the Garden of Eden, "I will put an enmity between you and the woman, I will put an enmity between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike at his heels".
Now, of course the ultimate descendent of the woman is the Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation chapter 12, verse 1 to 6 makes it very clear, the descendent of the woman is the Lord Jesus Christ. And he tried to strike at his heel, but he failed, but on the cross, Jesus crushed his head and he rendered him ineffective for all of the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin, my beloved, created that enmity. Sin created that distinction. Rebellion against God's Word created that strife. Disobedience to God, listen to me, always, whether it be among individuals, or be in families, or be in churches, always creates division and strife.
When the serpent or Satan tempted Adam and Eve, he had two goals in mind, two things he wanted to do. First of all, he wanted to stop them from fellowshipping with God, and the second things, he wanted them to worship him. He wanted to stop them from worshipping God and worship him instead. He succeeded in the first, but he failed in the second. Do you know why? Because of God's first announcement of the gospel of Jesus Christ in chapter 3, verse 15. Satan hated Eve from the moment she was created, even though he pretended to be her friend in order to tempt her away from obeying God and tempt her to disobey God.
Let me testify to you that I know many of you would stand here and testify equally. Before Christ came into my life, I liked sin. I did. I liked continuing in sin. The only thing I didn't want is to be found, nobody to know about it. I wanted to keep it a secret. The only thing I didn't really like is the consequences of sin, which I knew in my head. That's the only thing, but I liked sin. But the moment Christ came into my life, I hate sin. I hate sin in my life more than anybody else's. The presence of God in my life makes sin to be a miserable experience, why? Because God placed an enmity between me and Satan, and between you, the lover of the Lord Jesus Christ, and Satan.
And that is why I want to tell you now and throughout this series of messages, do not be surprised when you are hated by the descendants of the serpent. Do not be shocked that they want to malign you. Do not see it as a strange thing when they try to call you names, because we are two distinct humanities. Who are these two humanities? There are descendants of the serpent. Of course Satan cannot have descendants because he's a spiritual being. Can't have natural descendants, so the natural descendants are the ones who follow him. And the descendants of the woman, the Lord Jesus Christ, you and I who love the Lord Jesus. Every one who follows Satan in disobedience to God is a descendent of the serpent. This distinction between the two, or this enmity between the two is carried forward in Genesis chapter 4 and in Genesis chapter 5. It just continued.
The first evidence that Adam and Eve believed God, trusted God when he said to them that the descendent of the woman is gonna come and is gonna crush the serpent, the very evidence why they believed God, took him at his Word, is the naming of their first son. What was the name of their first son? Cain. Do you know what Cain means? Here he is. They thought, "This is the one, the descendent of the woman who's gonna crush the serpent's head". They didn't realize that they're gonna have to wait for a few thousand years until the descendent of the woman, the Lord Jesus Christ, come on the scene. When Cain and Abel were fully grown, you see that distinction between them so clearly.
You see it with absolute clarity. You see that enmity between the two of them is very clear. One followed Satan in disobedience to God and the other one followed God. That distinction became emphatically clear, because Cain rejected God and he wanted to come to God his way. You see, when God slay a lamb to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve with the skin, he was teaching them what the Bible later said that there can be no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood, that the only sacrifice acceptable to God is the shedding of an innocent blood. But Cain said, "I know what God said. I know what God wants. I want to come to God my way. I'm gonna bring him some groceries. I'm gonna bring him grains".
And thus, the disobedience began. But God does not walk away from Cain, he reasons with him. Look at it in the Scripture. He reasons with him. His desire is for Cain to repent of his sin, and turn, and say, "I'm sorry I killed my brother. I am sorry I sinned against you. I'm sorry I tried to come to you my way," but he didn't. You see, there's one characteristic about our God that I don't want you to miss and I'm gonna share it a lot more in the coming days. Because in Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord". God always trying to reason, even with the nonbelievers. He's always trying to reason with those who are living in the city of man. "Come, let's reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow". That's our God.
Back to the city. There were two distinct humanities, but those two distinct humanities, they've created two distinct cultures, or two distinct cities. That's the whole idea of the city of God versus the city of man, according to Saint Augustine. You see, after Cain killed his brother, Abel, and lied about it, after Cain refused to accept the reasoning of God who was trying to reason with him, Cain became afraid and he went out, and the Bible says he went out and built, a what? A city. He went out and built a city. Beloved, listen to me. This is the epitome of the city of man. It is filled with fear, and anxiety, and restlessness.
Cain built the very first city of man. Cain built a place to escape from God. Cain built a place where people think they can hide from God. Cain built a city for people to pretend that God does not exist. He built a city in order that be easy to revolt against God, a place to outlaw any vision of God. And in Genesis 4:15...I said 3:15, now it's 4:15, so keep that in your memory. In 4:15, God told Cain that his fate, not his faith, fate, F-A-T-E, his fate, his pain, and torment of conscience, restlessness, and anxiety.
Let me ask you, do you know why? Do you know why? Do you know why, even today, so many anti-Christian forces, and we have so many anti-biblical leaders who are issuing edicts, anti-Christian edicts? They issuing anti-biblical edicts. They are destroying morality in society. Do you know why? Because their conscience are burning inside of them. They might pretend to be cool and wise, they might pretend to be anti-discrimination, but in reality, they are like Cain. They are building cities and cultures that defies God. They are seething inside of them with anxiety, and restlessness, and fear, and they're transforming that to the rest of the culture.
Hear me right on this one, the city of man creates perverted pleasures. Pleasure is a gift of God. God created pleasure. God gave us pleasure, but the perverted pleasure is the creation of Satan and man in the city of man. The city of man is filled with entertainment to help relieve their burning conscience. The city of man has created some hustle and bustle in order to occupy our minds. The city of man delves deeply into all sorts of businesses to occupy our time so that we have no time to be convicted of our sin. The city of man is filled with drugs and alcohol in order to numb our guilt. But make no mistake about it, hear me right please, there is nothing, nothing, nothing... can you say, "Nothing"? Nothing will muzzle will the voice of God.
And that is why when you represent the nationality of your proverbial city of God, when you represent the absolutes of the city of God, when you represent the voice of God, you bear the brunt of their anger toward God. I often tell people, hear me right on this one, you know how in sales training, they tell you when somebody doesn't buy your stuff, don't take it personally? They just don't like your product. This is to help prop up salespeople. This is, I'm not trying to prop you up, I'm telling you the truth, okay? Listen to me. You, when you are attacked for your faith in Jesus Christ, you are getting somebody else's mail.
Don't take it personally, hello. That is one time you should not take it personally, because you're getting God's mail. And when you keep on standing firm, refusing to budge, God said there is a reward for you that is indescribable. Genesis 4:16 said that, "Cain went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of Nod," that's N-O-D. Do you know what "Nod" means? Wandering around. That's what "nod" means. He went in the land of wandering around, wandering around, wandering around, and wandering around, aimlessly wandering around. Believe me when I tell you that they will never be happy. They will never be satisfied, no matter how much they try to receive acceptance, and approval, and even creating it to be a virtue.
They will never be happy, never. It's gonna get to bottom, then another bottom, another bottom. They keep going deeper, and deeper, and deeper in the mud of sin. And that's why I'm appealing to every member of the city of God, whether you're watching around the world, whether you're here in this beautiful sanctuary, to appeal to everyone who belongs to the city of God like me, living in the city of man, to never shrink from standing firm, to never shrink from speaking the truth in love, to never shrink from being a light, not an amber, to be a salt, not a dust.
At a time when we are seeing so many people giving up, and they have joined the current of culture, when at a time when we are seeing some professing Christians are living for self, and self-indulgence, and self-pleasing, you and I who know God, you and I who know the Word of God, you and I who know God's character must say with Joshua, "As for me and my household, we shall worship the Lord". But we need to do more than that. We need to be like Noah, appealing to everyone who would listen. Escape now while escaping is good. Escape now while escaping is possible. For the Bible shows us that that godless culture of Cain runs through many generations and it gets worse and worse by generations.
Each subsequent generation got worse than the previous one, until we come to Lamech. Lamech is a prototype of a self-made man, but thankfully the Bible also tells us about Enoch. Mercifully, we have role models in the Scripture, Enoch. The contrast between Lamech and Enoch is the contrast between those who belong to the city of God and those who belong to city of man. While Lamech exalted himself, Enoch was a man who walked with God. While Lamech was self-sufficient, did not need God, Enoch feared God. While Lamech killed people for the smallest offense and then he went around bragging about it, Enoch was a preacher of righteousness.
Two distinct humanities, two distinct cities, two distinct cultures, one dependent on God and the other one rejected God. No wonder Hebrews 11, verse 5 said, "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death. He was commended as one who pleased," who? God. May this be said of you. Oh, may this be said of me. What does it mean to walk with God? Listen carefully, it means not only to believe in God, but to believe God, take him at his Word. It means to obey God, regardless of the consequences. It means to be close to God. It means to seek to live for God and not for the cultural mores.
When it says, "Enoch walked with God," it means that Enoch did not fight against God, that Enoch did not resist the precepts of God, that Enoch did not try to water down or try to modify the Word of God. But rather, Enoch found joy in obeying God and in his revelation. Oh Lord, may this be said, that we may love God more than we love acceptance by man, that we would wanna please God far above trying to please anybody else, that we would delight more in fearing God than in fearing the powerful in our culture and our society, that we would crave more to honor God than to honor ourselves, that we would consider being scorned for the sake of Christ as a badge of honor and not something to be ashamed of.
Cain refused to obey God and God's way, and he would not offer that animal sacrifice that his parents taught him to do. He wanted to come to God his own way, and his fate was wandering around, fumbling and stumbling in the city of man. He did not know where he was going. His fate was restlessness, and discontentment, and wandering.
I was reading just this week about the inaugural speech by FDR. He said, "We don't know where we're going, but we are on our way". That's about right. In the city of man, there is restlessness, loneliness. There is rootlessness. Isn't it amazing, when you look at the Scripture, particularly chapter 4, verse 12, you see God saying, he's warning Cain ahead of time. He's warning him ahead of time and he said to him, he said, "You will be a restless wanderer on the earth," end of quote.
Listen to what Cain said. You see, those people who modify the Word of God, they will modify the Word of God wherever they go. He modified the Word of God. Two verses down, two verses below, Cain complained that, "I will be a restless wanderer on the earth," and then he adds something, "and whoever finds me will kill me". God didn't tell him that. See, by the time you get to chapter 6, verse 5 in the book of Genesis, you hear God to be saying, "Man's wickedness has become very great and every inclination of the thought of his heart was on the evil all the time". Thus, God called Noah. He said, "Noah, you reason with him. You call the wicked to escape while the escaping is good".
And my beloved, I tell you, this is a Word of God. God has placed you in neighborhoods, he placed you in schools, he placed you in campuses, he placed you in your workplace, he placed you there to be a Noah. God does not call us to run away from the city of man, no. He called us to invite others before it's too late to come to the city of God. But you will not be able to do this if you're living like them, if you're anxious like them, if you're worried like them, if you're restless like them, if you're discontented like them.
Every day, you read somebody lost their job. It's hard, and I'm not saying it's easy, but with God, all things are possible. He will encourage you. He will stand with you. All he needs you to say, like Noah, "Yes, Lord. Give me the strength and I'll do it. I'll stand firm regardless of the cost". People watching all, literally, tens of countries around the world.
And you might be sitting here and saying, "Well, you know, I'm still in the city of man. I've never came to Jesus Christ, received him as Savior and Lord. I'm living for self. I'm in self-indulgence. I'm self-pleasing". And yet, deep down, you know God is calling you. God is speaking to you. He's speaking to you through colleagues, speaking through friends, neighbors, saying, "Confess, repent, turn to me. I'll forgive your sins and I will assure you of heaven, but I also will give you joy and peace in this life, release you from restlessness". Would you say, "Yes, Lord. Well, yes, Lord"?