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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Watch Out for the Hidden Enemy - Part 6

Michael Youssef - Watch Out for the Hidden Enemy - Part 6

Michael Youssef - Watch Out for the Hidden Enemy - Part 6

Queen Mary of Scotland was Catholic, and she was schooled in France. And Mary believed that the sovereign, the king or the queen, had the absolute power over the consciences of the subjects. John Knox was a Reform Presbyterian preacher. Knox, on his part, being a very uncompromising preacher of the Word of God and the truth of the Word of God, was sentenced as a galley slave for 19 months. Knox had different idea than the queen when it comes to the church of Jesus Christ. After he was released from that slavery, Knox escaped to Geneva between 1553 and 1559.

In fact, in the summer of 1560, Knox was participating in the drafting of what is known as "The Scottish Confession of Faith," which actually went against even the English reformers. For the English reformers, on their part, were very happy for the sovereign, that's the queen or the king, to be called the head of the Church of England, but the Scottish refused. Under the leadership of John Knox, they said, "Jesus is the head of his church". Needless to say, that Scotland saw no relief from the tyrannical reign of Mary until she was forced to abdicate in 1567.

Trust me, this will have a bearing in all of what we've been going through in this series of messages about the city of God versus the city of man. It has everything to do with it, because that very question about the relationship between the authority, the temporal authority and the church of Jesus Christ raged from that moment on in the 1500s all the way to the time of the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America. And the question was, what is the role of the government in relationship to the church of Jesus Christ? And what is the role of the church of Jesus Christ in relationship to the government?

And we've been looking throughout this series of messages about the tension between those who belong to the city of God who are living in the city of man for this time being. The questioning for us is, what do we do as a church of Jesus Christ in the face of this growing hostility? What should be our responsibility in society? With what voice should we speak with clarity and speak loudly? For whenever you exercise a prophetic voice, and that, my beloved friends, should be the voice of the church of Jesus Christ, a prophetic voice, we will end up challenging some allegiances, and even some political allegiances.

First of all, I need to explain to you the reason why we talk about American exceptionalism. When we talk about American exceptionalism, we are talking about the American system of government as unique throughout the world. Trust me, I lived elsewhere. It is unique. There is no government system anywhere in the whole world like it. Did you get that? American exceptionalism is embodied in the following words, which you can't find in any other country: "We the people". Can you say that with me?

We the people rejected the dictatorship of King George. We the people place leaders in power. We the people hold those in power accountable to the Constitution of the United States. We the people can publicly disagree, publicly criticize those who are in power when they abuse their power. We the people must always obey the laws ourselves, unless those laws will come in direct conflict with our biblical conviction, with our Christian conviction.

Some time ago, I wrote some articles as a citizen, not as a pastor, not a voice of the church, but as a citizen where I have basically pointed out some of the wrong things that our president did. You should have seen the response in the social media. Some misguided, uninformed people began to attack me, saying, "Don't you know that the Bible said you obey your president"? I tried to remind them that we are living in the United States of America, not Cuba. Sadly, this ignorance does not belong exclusively to some members of a certain political party. It runs the gamut.

In America, when the Bible teaches us to obey authority, it would be obeying the Constitution, not the president. The president takes an oath of office on the Bible, one hand on the Bible, one hand up, to defend, uphold, and protect the Constitution. Are you with me? And so, when the president of the United States, any president of any political party, oversteps the authority and contradicts the Constitution, when the president of the United States, any president of any political party, issues a decree threatening school kids that if they not obey his decree, they will be punished, he is breaking the law.

In this case, it's the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 10th Amendment forbids the federal government from usurping what should be reserved to the states. It states clearly powers that are not granted to the US were reserved to the states. And the church's prophetic voice must be loud and clear regarding the bathrooms for elementary school kids and locker rooms is in violation of the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. When the Republican governor of Georgia, of the state of Georgia, refused to sign the Religious Freedom Act, which was voted for by a majority of the legislators, then we the people need to speak loud and clear and say, "Mr. Governor, you are guilty of not protecting the rights of your people and giving in to the lobbyists".

Listen to me, beloved friends, it does not mean that we disrespect these men or disrespect their office or hate the holders of these office. We do not. In fact, we love all people, whether they agree with us or not. We don't have an option in here. We love all of our leaders. We pray for all our leaders. We pray for them here every day. We wish them well, but we cannot be silent when they abuse their office. And so when the mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, fires his fire chief, the most distinguished man simply because of writing a discipleship book for his Bible study group in his church, then we need to say loud and clear, "Mr. Mayor, you are wrong in firing Chief Cochran".

When Jesus said, "Give Caesar what is Caesar's and give God what is God's," this means that we respect both Caesar and God. But when Caesar usurps the authority of God, then God's people must rise up and say, "God above Caesar". Say it with me: "God above Caesar". When the founders, who gave us a separation between church and state, it was so that the state must never impose its will upon the church. Like John Knox, we must say, "The state should never be above the church". But also it means that the clergy of the church do not, do not dominate the state. But never once, never once, go and read, talk to lawyers who know, never once in any writings of the founding fathers do you ever find that there is a separation between God and the state, because they believed with all their hearts that God and his Word are above the state.

Just as the church must not rule the state, neither should the state impose its rule upon the church. As a matter of fact, the church's role, the church's God-given responsibility, the church's call in this world is to hold those in power, hold the state accountable to God from whom all authority came. The church does not and must not have the power of the sword. Oh, but listen, the church must have the power of the truth. And beloved, make no mistake about it, make no mistake about it, the truth is far superior to the sword. And I'm hearing a great deal as I travel across this country and I talk to people and hear people talking about civil disobedience, civil disobedience, that we might have to come to that.

But listen to me, I want to say it loud and clear. I, for one, I am thankful for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He taught us how true biblical civil disobedience should be done. Dr. King and his brother and some of the others never crossed that line. They never used ungodly methods in standing for justice and for truth. From his very beginning to his dying day, Martin Luther King Jr. preached nonviolence. And so, even today, so many black preachers in America today rightfully feel offended when the so-called bisexual and transgenders are equating their cause with the Civil Rights.

Listen, as a man of color myself, I am deeply insulted, too, and it offends me to equate the color of my skin, over which I have no control and with which I'm born, to one's sexual choices. It's offensive. To equate the desire to destroy biblical morality in America with the Civil Rights Movement is an insult to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mr. Obama said that his decree regarding transgender bathrooms and locker rooms came from his reading of the Bible.

Beloved, I don't know what Bible he's reading, for 'cause my Bible said that God created them male and female in his own image. My Bible said sex and sexuality ordained by God and not man. My Bible never said that the president of the United States or any leader is the one to decree what is right and what is wrong. Only my God decrees that. Here's something most of you are not gonna like. Mark it down. I said it on this day. It is coming. The question every one of us are going to face in the near future is this: God or Caesar? That is the question we're all gonna face. Regardless of your political party affiliation, regardless of your political affiliation, regardless of your political bias, the church prophetic voice must not be subject to political parties.

The Word of God is neither Republican nor Democrat nor Independent nor Libertarian. The Word of God is above and beyond an higher power. But beloved, also the Bible said that anyone who will mislead children and cause them to stumble, has a unique judgment. Jesus said, "They would have been better off if they had a millstone wrapped around their necks and drowned in the deepest sea".

And that is why I want to say to you moms and dads, please listen to me, it is your responsibility to discipline and disciple your children. It is your responsibility to instruct your children in the Word of God. It is your responsibility to protect your children. It is your responsibility to bring them up as godly young men and women. And we in this church can promise you this, that we are here to serve you, to stand with you, to be a powerhouse for you. The good thing is the Bible is filled with examples of people who belong to the city of God and were living in a dreadful situation in the city of man. But they can faithfully thrive, not just survive, but thrive against the hostility in the city of man.

Daniel and his three friends, they were men who belonged to the city of God, but they found themselves in the midst of this hostile culture in the city of man, Babylon itself. They were under tremendous pressure to conform. They were told that the king has the final authority. They were told that they had better go along to get along. They were told to keep their mouths shut. They were told to keep their views to themselves. They were told not to rock the boat of the government, that their narcissistic, self-worshiping King Nebuchadnezzar said to them.

"There can be no opposition. Everyone must bow to me". And yet they believed that their God above the Babylonian leader. They believed that their God is in control of all of history. They believed that their God and his kingdom will endure forever, even when Babylon is crushed. Daniel and his three friends are great role models for all of us today. Read it again. Read it afresh. Those of us who are living in an increasingly hostile environment, Daniel and his three friends refused to compromise. Daniel and his friends refused to bow down to idols.

Oh, yes, Daniel and his friends were hated. Daniel and his friends were accused of being traitors. Daniel and his friends were falsely accused of plotting against the government, because I showed you even in the fall of Rome, although Christianity been dominant for 100 years, and yet when Rome fell, what did the pagan do? They blamed the Christians. Daniel and his friends were blamed for every ill in society, but they were triumphant because they were faithful to their God and the Word of God.

Hear me right, please. For a little while, it appeared that God's enemy was successful. It appeared that God's enemies were wielding the power of the sword, that God's enemies were wielding the power of the purse, that the enemies of God were in control of the media, and therefore the messaging of the media. But Daniel and his friends trusted in the Lord their God. And that's what you and I need to do. Daniel and his friends were called intolerant by the media, and so they changed their names. This is their way of intimidating them. This is their way of confusing them. Oh, but they could not change their hearts. They may change your name, but they'll never change your heart.

Daniel and his friends were only teenagers. Did y'all know this, that Daniel was a teenager? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were all teenagers when they stood their ground, refused to compromise, refused to give in to the king. Today, those in power are taking Christian words and are reinventing it. They're revising it, and revising its meaning to convey godless ideas. And so, sin has now been dropped out of common use altogether and replaced by alternative lifestyle.

Now, freedom of choice means you can kill babies without any qualms. Today, happiness is what it's all about. But like Daniel and his friends in Daniel chapter 1, verse 8, that they purposed in their hearts, that you and I must purpose in our hearts that we will not take the junk food of the king. Daniel could have said to himself... listen to me. I talk to enough churchgoers, professing Christians, I talk to enough of them to know what I'm telling you is true. See, Daniel could have done what so many of these folks are saying. "Oh, I want to live for God in a big way, so I'm not gonna worry about these little things". Excuse me, little things? "These small issues, let's not just get hung up on it". "Oh, I wanna be a witness for God".

That's just get along with the pressure of culture instead of standing up and refusing to conform, small issues. If you forgot everything I said, I don't want you to forget what I'm gonna say, okay? It's the absolute truth, and many of you will know that I'm telling you the truth from your own life, great victories are won on small matters. They really are, they are. That is why now the removal of the cross may appear to be a small matter. Why get hang up on the cross? But you can lose our victory on a small matter.

Here's what we should be asking ourselves. Why? Why are they feverishly trying to remove the crosses, even from new churches now? Why? The reason they do not want to lift up high the cross, the reason they don't want the cross to be in the public eye, the reason they wanna remove it from sight is because the cross of Jesus Christ is God's only answer to sin. That is why. And you see, the cross is gonna bring conviction of sin, and they didn't want that. And that is why our prophetic voice must never be raised out of a sense of superiority. No, no, no, no, our prophetic voice must never be raised out of the sense of self-righteousness.

Our voices never be raised out of a sense that we are better than you. No, and a million noes. But rather out of the experience of knowing that we are sinners who can only be redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on that cross. And that is why, in our civil disobedience, we must always proclaim that we love them when they hate us, that we pray for them when they revile us, that we speak the truth in love to them, even when they try to marginalize us. Above all, lift high the cross as God's only answer to man's sin. Lift high the cross. Say it with me: "Lift high the cross". Lift high the cross of Jesus, amen and amen and amen.
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