Michael Youssef - When the World Goes Mad and God Laughs
On March 15, 2017, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, speaking to the Catholic Lawyers Association, said the following, "The country," talking about the United States, "has become increasingly hostile to moral beliefs". Then he went on to elaborate on how there is a relentless war on biblical morality. At least to me personally, the saddest thing is that war on biblical morality is waged in many a church today. That is the saddest thing. War on biblical morality and biblical truth is raging in the United States of America, the bastion of gospel preaching for 200 years and the bastion of Christian mission for over 200 years. But then if you lift up your eyes above and beyond the United States to the rest of the world, you're gonna find that there is a relentless war against Christ, and against Christianity, and against Christians like never before.
More than 100 million Christians today are living under severe persecution. Globally, like never before, this rage and outrage against the name of the Lord Jesus and his followers. Here in the United States, court after court literally ruling the name of Jesus out of public life. In schools, in Minnesota, and in California, and even Texas, they would allow a dedicated room for Muslim students to pray and even leave class to go and pray at their appointed time, and they would never allow Christians to even use a classroom before or after school to have a Bible study. And the question that I'm sure in the mind of so many of you, if it's not, it ought to be, why? Why? Why is this rage against God's holy anointed Jesus and his followers?
Well, first of all, what you need to know is this. This has always been, and is, and always be the case. The faithful remnant will always suffer. Even in the beginning, in Roman Empire, there was an outrage against Christians. Now, Romans worshipped many gods. They were polytheistic. And if the Christians came and said, "Hey, we have a God named Jesus". They said, "Hey, the more the merrier. Let's add him to the list of gods". But the reason they were hated, the reason they were killed, the reason they were persecuted is because they said Christ alone is God. But that's not all, 1,000 years before the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1,000 years, David prophesied that this will be the case until Jesus comes back and take his children home to heaven.
A thousand years before God became flesh in Bethlehem of Judea, David prophesied of the supremacy of Jesus. Only those who bow to Jesus, only those who serve Jesus, only those who are committed to Jesus are going to rejoice and are gonna be saved eternally, but those who'll be deceived and let themselves be deceived by Satan's lie, those who are enraged against Jesus and his supremacy in the world, they will suffer eternally. I don't say that with joy, with pain in my heart. But I'm sure some of you know this, but the rest of you will be interested to know that Psalm 2 is the most quoted psalm in the New Testament. It's the most quoted psalm, and it's the most quoted psalm to say that this psalm has been fulfilled in Jesus 1,000 years later.
For example, in the book of Acts chapter 4, the apostle said that Psalm 2 has been fulfilled in Jesus. In Hebrews chapter 5, verse 5, it says that this psalm has been fulfilled in Jesus. In Revelation 2:27 and also 19:15 says that this psalm, Psalm 2, is fulfilled in Jesus. And I hope you'll have it open in front of you as we study it together. That's what we're gonna do, we're just gonna go through it and study it together. The first thing you notice in this psalm very clearly, that it is divided into four sections. Remember, a psalm is a song, and there are four stanzas in this song, Psalm 2, very clearly divided four stanzas. And here also, you're gonna find the clearest teaching of the Holy Trinity in the Old Testament.
You see, the Old Testament is filled with teaching that God is a triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For example, in the book of Genesis, God said, "Let us go down," and "Let us," how many times there? "Let us". But here is the clearest, without a doubt and without equivocation, teaching, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God. And so, section one or stanza one, verses 1 to 3, it talks about man's defiance of God. The second stanza is verses 4 to 6, and it shows us the Father's derision towards that defiance. The third stanza, verses 7 to 9, it shows us the Son's dominion, talking about the Lord Jesus Christ. And finally, the fourth stanza, verses 10 to 12, about the Spirit's deliverance. So, you get defiance, derision, dominion, and deliverance. I hope you're impressed, 'cause I was.
First of all, you see here very clearly man's defiance of God. And the psalms ask why. Why? Why do the nations rage and the people conspire and plot against the Lord? Why there are hundreds of organizations, and lobbying organizations, and groups that are organized, that register with the government for the sole purpose of oppressing Christians and Christian morality? Why? Why do so many political leaders in our culture today refer to Christians as out of the mainstream? Why? Now, I for one take that as a compliment, but they don't. They take it as an insult, you see.
Why do so many governments around the world persecute Christians just for being Christians? Why do countries like Saudi Arabia and others feel that the Bible is a threat, and therefore they banned it from their country? Why? Why do these different groups that are normally at each other's throat, they hate each other, they literally deplore each other, they, given half the chance, they would kill each other, and yet they become united in their opposition to the Christian faith, and to Christian values, and to Christians? Why? I'm gonna answer that question, but before I do that, I'm gonna show you how they express it. How they express their rage against Jesus, the Anointed One is by going after his children, by going after his followers, and they call them every name in the book, like bigots and intolerant. They take their evil acts and they try to stick it to us.
Now, these groups, like a beehive of unholy industry, they are swarming in the media to denounce the righteous. But why? Because they want to believe in false gods. They want to believe in themselves as gods. They want to believe false religion because they hate the teaching that says that there is only one way to the Father, there is only one plan for salvation, there's only one faith, there's only one doctrine, there's only one heaven, and there's only one Savior. And that's why. They don't want that. Romans 1:18 describes it this way, "They knew the truth but preferred to believe in the lie". I mean, don't you see that we're living that right now? For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature instead of the Creator.
Here's something that you need to know. This rage, this outrage against Jesus, the Anointed One, and his followers, is gonna reach its apex, is gonna reach its zenith immediately before the return of Christ. And look at it now. And I'm not making any predictions, but just think about this. Fifty years ago, we said, "Oh yeah, the Christians are persecuted over there. Yeah, the Christians are hated in this country and in that country," and now it's here. You see, it's a global rage. It's a global outrage and it's sweeping Europe and North America. You see, that's gonna be the case as we get closer to the return of Christ. But there is a fallacy that's in the mind of some, including those in the churches, that says that we can have freedom, that we can have liberty, without submission to God's authority. There is no such thing.
Freedom without God's sovereignty will lead to anarchy, and we're seeing it in the streets of our cities today. Freedom is liberty under authority, and history attests to this fact over, and over, and over again. Only when people submit to God's authority can they experience true freedom. Why do you think the founders, they understood that perfectly, and in the founding, and in the papers, and in the discussions, and in the debates, and in the Constitution, they understood that. That's why Washington said this Constitution, this kind of form of government is only designed for Christians, for people who believe the Bible.
Man's defiance. Secondly, the Father's derision toward that defiance. So many professing Christians these days are in total denial of the derision of God. There are many denominations who are actually going through their hymn books and they're taking out any reference to the wrath of God. Any hymn, anything that talks about the wrath of God, they are removing it. They do not want to believe that God's wrath is coming upon the non-believers, that it's coming upon evil, that the wrath of God will be fully exercised. They don't wanna believe that. They wanna believe in a god who's a milktoast god. They wanna believe in a god who obeys them, you know?
They wanna believe and they wanna think of a god whose grace means that he is clueless and powerless. And for this reason, they cannot accept verse 4 of Psalm 2, "The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them". Why? Because our God, listen to me, our God is far from milktoast. Our God is a God of power and might. Our God is a God who exercises his authority, whether they accept it or not. Our God is a God who rules the universe, whether they like it or not. Our God is a God who controls the events of history, whether they believe it or not. Our God is not sitting on his throne in heaven and wondering, "What am I gonna do with these people"?
Actually, some evangelical writers are saying that God doesn't know the future and that he is going along with us, experiencing life like we are, and I wanna say that is not my God. The God I worship is omniscient and omnipresent. The God I worship is a God of power and might. That's the God I worship. He's not sitting in heaven wringing his hands, and drinking Mylanta, and saying, "What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do"? No, these people who believe lies over against the truth, no and a million no. But rather the Bible said he laughs. Verse 5, "He rebukes them in his anger, terrifies them in his wrath, 'I installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.'"
Man's defiance. God the Father's derision. The Son's dominion. Verses 7, 8, and 9, "I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, 'You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter". You will rule them with what? So much for the milktoast Jesus. Our God is a God of power and might. He came his first coming in weakness; he will come in strength. He came in humility, but he will rule with an iron scepter in his second coming. A thousand years before Jesus's incarnation, God declared, "This is my Son to whom the earth belongs". He owns the earth.
A thousand years before Christ came in Bethlehem of Judea, God declared, "My Son owns the earth". And God the Father declared above the Jordan River when Jesus and John the Baptist got into the water, and the Holy Spirit showed up and he said, "This is my one and only anointed Son". He owns it. Now, I have a big question to ask you. Do you think Satan knows all of this? Of course he does. And that is why Satan offered Jesus a shortcut in the wilderness, remember? "I'll give you the earth. I'll give you the earth". It's not his, but he said, "I'll give it to you. Avoid the cross". Shortcuts, Satan always offering... oh, be very careful when you fall for his shortcuts. They have bitterness on the other side of it. You know what Jesus said to Satan at that moment?
Now, that's a Youssef interpretation. Not even translation, interpretation. "Satan, buzz off. The earth is mine, but I have to obey the Father". And you know what? Had Jesus taken that offer, he would have taken the earth, none of us who are sitting here or watching around the world would be here. We could not have been redeemed. But he went to the cross so that he may redeem every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why he had to obey the Father and not take a shortcut. For he said in Psalm 2, 1,000 years, I keep repeating that, before Christ, 1,000 years earlier, he said, "Ask me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance". Beloved, unless we wake up in time to this calling in mission, we're gonna get to the point where it could be too late, and I'm not really sure if we haven't crossed that already.
Man's defiance of God. The Father's derision over that defiance. The Son's dominion. Fourthly and finally, the Spirit's deliverance. Some years ago, I did a series on the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit of God. I called it, "Know Your Best Friend". You can download it from "Leading the Way". "Know Your Best Friend". The Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood person of the Trinity among evangelicals today. Listen to me, because the third member of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit of God, he is the one who called, and called, and called, and called us until we responded. He is the third member of the Trinity who is calling sinners today, even now, "Come, come to the Father through the Son". He's calling through relatives, through friends, through every one of us. He is saying to everyone who would listen, "Turn to the Son while you can. Come to the Son so that the Father may accept you".
You know, it's fashionable sometimes and we always say, "Accept Jesus. Accept Jesus. Accept Jesus," as if we're doing Jesus a huge favor by accepting him. Let me tell you something. I am on my face in gratitude to God that he accepted me. Come to the Son. Come to the Father through the Son that he may accept you. Look at verse 12 with me please. I'm getting close to the end. Don't miss this. The construction of this sentence could read this, "Kiss the Son, lest the Father", because it says "he," but it's referring to the Father. "Kiss the Son, lest the Father be angry".
Bow to the Son or face the Father's wrath and judgment. And notice here the Holy Spirit has a three-fold appeal. Three-fold: he appeals to our mind, he appeals to our will, and he appeals to our emotions. He appeals to our mind. Be wise. Be wise, don't be foolish. Secondly, he appeals to the will. Serve or obey the Lord out of reverence. And finally, he appeals to the heart. Kiss the Son. Say it with me, "Kiss the Son". Give up your pride, lest your pride will trip you.
Give up your indifference before it's too late. Give up your independence before you regret it. Kiss the Son. After all, he kissed you first when he hung on that cross. Why? Because now, today, this moment, he is speaking in grace, but the day is coming when he will speak in judgment and in wrath. Don't be deceived by those who say everybody's gonna make it in the end. Don't be deceived and don't judge things the way it appears to your physical eye. But rather, develop a God-sized vision while there is time. Be an ambassador of the King, which he called you to be. Grasp his vision and his purpose for your life and embrace it and obey it, and you will be blessed. Kiss the Son.