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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Peering Into the Courts of Heaven

Michael Youssef - Peering Into the Courts of Heaven

Michael Youssef - Peering Into the Courts of Heaven
Michael Youssef - Peering Into the Courts of Heaven
TOPICS: God Has the Answer to Every Problem You Face, Heaven

Immediately prior to a coming judgment, you find a huge increase in the perversion, in the corruption, in hostility toward the Lord and his followers. All these things tend to reach a fever pitch immediately prior to a coming judgment. You're going to find this in the Scripture, the case it was just immediately prior to Noah's flood. This is the case immediately prior to the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah. You find that this was the case immediately before the judgment on Pharaoh. And you find that this is the case immediately prior to the Babylonian exile in Israel.

There are some that are saying that we're already actually under judgment now, that the judgment has already begun and nothing can be done to stop it or delay it. They say, "Look at the evidence". There is a global hatred toward Christ and his followers. There is a rampant corruption and perversion in many historic Christian denominations. There are practice of sexual perversion even among people who occupy pulpits. There are abortionists who actually sit on church boards, children abuse and children abusers appear to get off scot free. Courts are legalizing child pornography and call it "free speech".

Greed and covetousness is now sanctified as something that we must demand from God, and they call it, "Faith". Millions of church goers believe that there are many ways to God. The pure gospel of Jesus Christ has been replaced by the gospel of tolerance and the gospel of accepting of all religions as equal to the Christian faith. Entertainment has now replaced true genuine devotion and worship in many a church. I began a series of select psalms, and they are selected to help equip us for today's battle, to understand the mind of God and the folly of man.

And so I want you to turn with me, please, to Psalm 14. When the Word of God says something once, it demands our attention. Anything that God says twice in his Word, it demands our most attention. Anything God says three times in his Word, as in Psalm 14 is, then it demands our absolute application to our lives and live by it. Psalm 14 is repeated several times. As a matter of fact, Psalm 53 is almost a replica, with the exception of two verses. Both Romans chapter 1 and Romans chapter 3 are really an expounding, an explanation of Psalm 14. And so, the Word of God is, in this psalm, has been repeated many, many times, and therefore, we need to stop and take notice of it.

Here, the psalmist has been inspired by the Holy Spirit of God not only to write these words, but he was given the privilege of peering into the proceedings in the heavenly courts. This psalmist gets a glimpse of the inner sanctum of God's courts in heaven. And then he turns around and he gives us three things of the proceedings of the courts of heaven. First of all, he gives us the summons. He tells us what the summons is, verses 1 to 3. And secondly, he tells us the court's summation, verse 4. Thirdly, he tells us the court's sentencing, verses 5 and 6. Easy to remember: summons, summation, and sentence. Then, at the end of the message, there's a surprise, a big surprise.

And so I want you to stay tuned. Focus with me until we get to the very end of the psalm, and then I'm gonna explain something that the average reader, when you read through it so quickly, you miss it. First, he gives us the court's summons. I want you to visualize this. It's a court. The judge is sitting on the bench. And there at the dock, being accused, is the human race, all of humanity. And the accusation is, they are accused of depravity. The height of depravity is the denial of the one and only true God. The height of that depravity is a human race that wanting to create variety of gods of whom they approve or they want to think of as god.

Hear me right on this. The deepest desire on the part of those who do not know the one true God is this. The deepest desire is that he doesn't exist. Are you with me? And that desire is so strong in them, it's so strong that it becomes their religion. You know people like that, and that's why the Bible said, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no one true God.'" Romans, which, as I told you, in reality is a commentary on Psalm 14, puts it this way: "The one who does not want to believe and worship the only one true God is a fool". "The one who does not want to believe and worship that only one true God is foolish". Why? Because he knows or she knows that there is only one true God. They really do. Deep down, they do, and yet they choose to live in denial of that true God.

You say, "How come"? Well, Paul said, "The very Creation itself proves that one true God, not only that he exists, but demonstrates his power in his Creation". But sadly, they choose to ignore him or deny him. You cannot understand who the fool is without understanding who God is. Because the psalmist deliberately here does not use the term "Yahweh," or translated into English, "Jehovah," but he uses the word "El," E-L, from which we get, "Immanuel," and "Bethel". You say, "Well, why is that a big deal"? Why is it a big deal that he uses "Yahweh" or "El"? It is a big deal.

Trust me when I explain it to you. Because the name "Yahweh" or "Jehovah" communicates a different side of God's character than the word "El". The name of God, "Yahweh" or "Jehovah", communicates the covenant-making God, the provider God, the giver God, the sustainer God, the gracious and generous God. But "El" speaks of the God who revealed himself in the Word of God. It speaks of the God with moral absolutes. It speaks of the God who has clear moral standards, speaks of the God who demands something from us. And therefore, therefore, understanding why the psalmist uses "El" and not "Yahweh" makes anyone, anyone, anyone who rejects that one true God to be a fool. This includes the practical atheists. It includes the agnostic.

And I hope there are some practical atheists and agnostics here today because you are gonna move, like so many of us, from being fools to being wise. But it also includes those who worship a god of their own creation. They want a god whom they wanna imagine what they want for a god. Beloved, this is the god of many professing Christians today, a god who does not change them, a god who does not challenge them, a god who does not challenge their assumptions, a god who does not demand righteousness, a god who does not demand moral absolutes, a god who does not judge their immorality or their lifestyle, a god who does not condemn their corruption, a god who does not demand exclusive allegiance.

All of these folks, according to Psalm 14, are foolish. And we are were fools at once, right? I was a fool. Trust me, I shook my fist at God. Not proud of it, but it gives me sympathy with those who are still in the foolish stage and have not come to the light of Jesus Christ, amen? And we need to be very patient with them. And we need to be thoughtful, and we need to be compassionate. Instead of being mad at them, we need to be very compassionate because Paul keeps saying, "We once were".

Now, I come to something very important, which is the Hebrew word for "fool" that is mentioned here in this passage, in this particular psalm. The Hebrew word for fool here is the word "nabal," which does not mean, listen very carefully. Listen very carefully. It does not mean "intellectual weakness". It does not mean that at all. And if you think so, please don't. But it means "moral perversion". No one can ever accuse some of the non-believers particularly as being dumb or stupid. No, no, no, no, no, no, don't fall for that. Many of them are intellectually brilliant. Many of them are intellectually intelligent, but when it comes to the most important thing in life, they are foolish.

But there's something else here I don't want you to miss in this psalm. In the earthly court, all of you lawyers know this, all of you judges know this, in the earthly court, they judge a person on the basis of what he or she did. Did you do it, or didn't you do it? That's all the evidence. It has to be proven. Did he do this, or did he no? But in the courts of heaven, they judge on the basis of thought. Scary thought, isn't it? The courts of heaven judge our thoughts, and that's why it's so clear here. Beloved, listen to me. God does not grade on the curve. We would like him to, don't you? But he doesn't. And that is why none and no one will make it to heaven other than by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen?

Verse 2: "For by nature no one seeks after God. God looks down from heaven and he sees no one seeking after him". Even all of us who came to believe in Jesus, the Bible said that "we were dead in our trespasses". Dead people do not seek after anything that is good, they're dead. We were dead in our trespasses. Until he came and breathed life in us, we did not even know how to come to God. Thus, the accusation sticks. The summons has been vindicated. The witnesses are impeccable. And the evidences are overwhelming. Those who have depraved minds, have depraved minds because they wanna have depraved minds. In fact, Paul answers this questions in Romans chapters 1 and 3. That the evidence of God is everywhere present in Creation, but a man refuses to believe that evidence, let alone obey and worship God alone.

The first thing that you see here is the summons. Secondly, the summation. Now, don't miss this. Don't miss this, please. The judge's grief here is unmistakably. The judge's sorrow is very evident here. The judge's broken heart cannot be missed. "Have all of the workers of iniquity have no knowledge"? You feel the bleeding of his heart. And the word "iniquity" here is the same word that was used many times in the Old Testament to describe Israel when they kept running after other gods, when they kept worshiping Yahweh, when they kept on worshiping idols, and when they worshiped Yahweh on Saturday, and then for the rest of the week, they're worshiping Baal.

That's the word "iniquity". Hear me right. God's summation against the apostate church is abundantly clear. God has been exercised over the fact that so many professing churches use the name of his Son, but also deny the claim of his Son as the only way to heaven. So many professing churches have Bibles in the pews, but they also have sayings of Confucius and Mohammad and Krishna in those same pews. So many who name the name of Jesus also name other religions. Recently, in an opening of an Episcopal school, an Episcopal bishop prayed from the Quran and he prayed from the New Testament. Beloved, the summation of the courts of heaven is given. Could the judgment be far behind? Could my friends be right? And this is the prejudgment time.

The summons, the summation, thirdly, the sentence. Verse 5, what is that sentence here? "Fear and dread is going to be their life's companion," their life's companion. How come? Since no one can save themselves, since no one has an excuse, since no one can placate themselves from God's judgment, and since no one can stand in another's defense, therefore, the verdict and the sentence is a life of restlessness, a life of fear, a life of terror. Now, I come to that big surprise that in store for us here. And you see it in verse 7. Beloved, you know the Bible is always clear. The Bible always calls sin, "Sin".

Now, we modify it, but that doesn't matter. What we do is really immaterial. The Bible always calls a sinner, "A sinner". The Bible speaks the truth. The Bible always confronts us. And the Bible then invites us and says, "There's hope once you're convicted of sin". That's why this cheap repentance of, you know, take Jesus along the way with your journey without repentance, without acknowledging the fact that you have sinned and offended a holy God, that's a cheap gospel. It's cheap grace. The Bible immediately goes in to offer us hope, always gonna give us good news, always gives us a way out, always gives us an answer to the dilemma that we're facing, always, always, always. And the good news comes in the middle of this hopeless situation.

After the courts of heaven have been adjourned, after the sentence have been pronounced, after the verdicts have been given, after the accused has been escorted out of the court, all of a sudden, all of a sudden, in verse 7, the court reconvenes, reconvenes. Why? New evidence came to light. New facts have been injected into the trial. New hope to overturn the sentence is found. "Oh, that salvation would come from Zion"! Amen, where did our Jesus come from? Zion, and he's our salvation. Without him, it's hopeless. Without him, it's dark. But with him, there is hope. There is life. There's eternal life.

"Oh, that salvation might come from Zion"! Instead, he offers us this hope. He comes from Zion. What's going on here? Oh, the judge, he suspended the sentence for a time. Why? Because the judge wanted to see if any of the accused would avail themselves to the newfound hope. The judge wanted to give the accused one more opportunity for a reprieve. The judge, for a time, ordered a stay of execution. The judge will wait and see if anyone would accept his pardon, amen.

Beloved, most of you know, and I'm gonna tell you, in the day of judgment, whether it be near or far, it doesn't matter, really makes no difference. In the day of judgment, open-mindedness will not save. Tolerance will not save. Indifference to the truth will not save. Ambiguity, which is the gospel of the emerging church, ambiguity toward Christ will not save. Denominational church membership will not save. None will save but Jesus, amen. There is only one who can speak for you and for me, and he offers an opportunity for everyone, whether you're watching around the world, whether you're here in this sanctuary. He offers the opportunity for everyone for pardon.

For only Jesus can defend us. Only Jesus can pardon us. Only Jesus can pronounce us guiltless. Only Jesus can lift up the sentence, and he did that on the cross, amen. Give him praise. Give him praise. For without him, not only that I could not stand here, I would be totally unworthy to stand here. He and he alone, and he's got his arms wide open, "Come unto me. Come unto me. Come unto me". For his Word already said, "Therefore, there is no condemnation upon those who are," what? "In Christ Jesus". No condemnation, the sentence is reversed.

Now, if there's someone here who's never availed themselves upon this incredible opportunity to confess and receive his pardon, today you can do that. But there's something I want to say to the vast majority of you who have already received the pardon from the hand of God, those of you who know Jesus, those of you who even love Jesus. I wanna have a challenge for you. What are you doing with this good news? Are you sitting on it? Are you doing nothing with it? Or are you sharing it with others? You've seen the summons, the summation, and the sentence, but you and you and you and you and me have the opportunity to tell people that they can be set free.
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