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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - The Secret of the Presence of God

Michael Youssef - The Secret of the Presence of God

Michael Youssef - The Secret of the Presence of God
TOPICS: God's Presence

The moment we take our eyes off Jesus, there's going to be all kinds of problems, all kinds of offenses. The man who discipled me when I was 17 and 1/2, 18 years old, and he taught me some things that I still remember, more than some theologians. And one of the things that he taught me over and over and over again, he said, "If you ever want to fall and fail miserably, keep your eyes on church leaders. And the bigger they are, you keep your eyes on them," he doesn't mean size. "The bigger they are, the greater you'll fall". Never forgotten that. Never forgotten that.

I sought with all my heart to teach you the importance of keeping your eyes on Jesus, but how do you keep your eyes on Jesus? By constantly keeping your eye on the Word of God. Hear me right, please. The secret of God's protection is in the secret of his presence. And the secret of God's presence is in the secret of keeping his Word. Now, before we read this section of the Psalms, those eight verses, I want to tell you a few things about Psalm 119. It is 176 verses. It's the longest psalm in the Bible, and it's divided into 22 sections. You see them in your Bibles. Each section is numbered not in numbers, like, one, two, three, four. Each section is numbered by the Hebrews alphabet. And so, you get the letter aleph, which equivalent to A, that's the beginning, aleph, beth, B, and so on. Each of these sections have different emphasis, but they all, the whole psalm, basically has to do with the importance of the Word of God.

Now, I selected for today the second section, beth, B equivalent, the second letter of alphabet. And like in the English language, the letter B can be just the letter of the alphabet, or if you say, "Let it be," it's a... B, in this case, is a word. But when we hear it, it's the same, letter B or, the letter B. Now, in the Hebrew language, those letters have meaning that they can be a word by themselves, or just a letter. In this case, "beth," or the letter B, means "house," from which we get "Bethlehem," Bethlehem, or "Beth-El," Bethel, "the house of God". This section of Psalm 119 tells us that the only real protection a person can have is when the Word of God finds a home. That's why the letter beth, or beth, means "a house". Unless the Word of God finds a home in our hearts.

And that is why Paul said, "Let the Word of God dwell richly," where? "In your hearts". But there is a world of difference, my beloved friend, listen carefully. There's a world of difference between fighting the enemy in your own strength or trying to overcome temptation by your own strength and fighting in the power of the Word of God. And that is why Psalm 119, verses 9 to 16 tells us two very important things. Write them down if you're taking notes. First of all, it tells us about this indescribable power of the Word of God, verses 9 to 12. Then it tells us about the incalculable preeminence of the Word of God, verses 13 to 16.

Question: how do you experience the power of the Word of God? Verse 9, it tells us that it has the power to cleanse us. And in verse 10, it tells us that it has the power to control us. And in verse 11, it tells us that it has the power to correct us. Here it is: cleanse, control, correct. How can a person keep his or her way pure? By obedience to the Word of God. The psalmist is saying that when it comes to character and conduct, and we're talking, in our culture, always talking about ethics. And they teach ethics in the schools, my goodness gracious, and they never, they don't know what the word means. Your conduct, character, all those word, buzzwords that we throw around. But he is saying to us, when it comes to character, and when it comes to conduct, no amount of good will, no amount of good intentions, no amount of good efforts, no amount of good anything will achieve the desired effect.

These do-gooders give you false advice, give you lies. They have never taken you to the Shepherd Spinal Clinic to show you the effect of drunken driving. They never take you to an STD clinic to show you the result of promiscuity. They never take you to a psychiatrist or a psychologist to show you how there are broken hearts, and damaged emotions, and shattered relationships, and fear of intimacy, and pain of addiction, they don't. You have to, sadly, experience that for yourself. But the Word of God warns us. The psalmist is telling us something that the world will never, never, never comprehend, let alone understand. He is saying, "The younger you begin filling the mind and the heart with the Word of God, the more of his power you experience when you grow up".

The younger you begin to make your heart a home for the Word of God, the more peaceful, contented, and joyful you will be later on. Now, I cannot begin to tell you how many I have encountered in the 45 years in the ministry who suffered these awful addictions and the destructive behaviors, the inability to relate to spouse, and the inability to relate, just to love another person. These are all the results of bad seeds that have been planted early in life. Habits in an undisciplined life begins early in life, but thank God, thank God, thank God, thank God that at any age and at any stage, the Word of God, when it's applied, it has power to purify. The power of the Word of God not only cleanses, but it also controls.

Verse 10: "With my whole heart I sought you: don't let me wander from your commands". In other words, "Keep me under the control of the Word of God". The power of the Word of God does what? What's the first one? Good, the second? Third? Situational ethics, which is taught in many even Christian environments and Christian colleges, teaches that our actions depend on the circumstances. They just depend on the surroundings. Hmm, but God's Word said, "Do the right thing when nobody's watching". When Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt, as you know, the Bible was not written. The Word of God was not there. Ahh, but Daddy Jacob, Granddaddy Isaac, and most likely, Great-Grandpa Abraham, have taught Joseph to fear the Lord, and that did it.

In the times of temptation, Joseph could have thought, "Man, I can get ahead in politics. I can get ahead with the Pharaoh's household. I can become rich. I can become powerful. I could experience success. Man, this is my chance". But he said, "No". The power of the Word of God cleanses. The power of the Word of God controls. The power of the Word of God corrects. Why? Because there is indescribable power in the Word of God. Secondly, there is incalculable preeminence in the Word of God. Look at verses 13 to 16. Beloved, our generation seems to know the price of everything and the value of nothing. The value of the Word of God is incalculable. There is no calculator that can work.

And I wanna give you three exercises. They're all from the Word of God. To treasure the Word of God in your heart is wonderful. It's very good, but you cannot stop there. For the Word of God to have preeminence, we must learn how to apply the Word of God in every area of our life and in every circumstance we face. I knew some people in the past who memorized the Word of God, and yet their life was contrary to the Word of God. What's wrong with this picture? What's wrong with this picture? Well, that gives me now the segue to come to the three exercises I want you to have. Write them down. The first exercise is that you must speak the Word of God, verbalize it.

The second exercise, that's verse 13. The second exercise, verses 14 and 15, is that you must savor the Word of God. You speak it and you savor it, and thirdly, the third exercise is that you must substantiate the Word of God in your life. That's verse 16. The psalmist said: "With my lips I have told of all your ordinance". Beloved, reading the Word of God right is wonderful. Meditating upon the Word of God rightly is fantastic. Saturating your mind in the Word of God, great, absolutely great. But then, if it's really gonna help you, if it's gonna build you up, if it's gonna bless you, if you're gonna experience its power, then you must be able to, first of all, verbalize it, verbalize it.

"Wow, Michael, are you saying to us that every one of us should become a Bible teacher"? Hello? Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. This is exactly what I'm saying, every one of us. How? By sharing with family and friends and whoever would listen. Sharing what? Sharing what the Word of God taught you on a given day, sharing with others how the Word of God enriched your life, how, in reading and studying the Word of God, guided you and guided your steps. As you verbalize the Word of God to whomever would listen to you, you are being built from the inside out.

The second exercise is savoring the Word of God. What's that mean? Verse 14: "I have rejoiced in the way of your testimonies, as much as some rejoice in great riches". I'm gonna take you into Fantasyland just for a couple of minutes, no more. And I'm gonna bring you back, okay? Don't stay there. Suppose you go home this afternoon and you get a phone call. And in that phone call, you're told that you have a rich uncle whom you really did not know existed, has died and left you a fortune. How do you react? You call your pastor, right? Listen, I'm too realistic, no expectations.

I know human nature very well, but what your reaction? I mean, you're jumping up and down, you're excited. I mean, you tell your family members. You call them immediately, let them know. You want everybody to know what happened. You call your best friend and you're celebrating. And, I mean, you are on cloud nine, right? And the psalmist said that this is how you should feel about the Word of God. It's like having inherited a fortune every day, every day. You are so joyful, you're overwhelmed, and you cannot wait to share it with others. The preeminence of the Word of God causes us to verbalize the Word of God to others. The preeminence of the Word of God causes us to savor and rejoice in sharing with joy with others.

And thirdly, the third exercise, because it's the preeminence of the Word of God is found in substantiating it in your life. Substantiating it, what does that mean? Speaking it, yes. Savoring it, yes. Verse 16, substantiating it: "I shall delight in your statutes; I shall not forget your Word". How, how? By allow the Word of God to be demonstrated in your life, by allowing the Word of God to be proven.

Now, the Word of God is true whether it's proven or not, but when you allow it to be proven in your life, you receive blessing like you have never received before. When David was on the run from King Saul, just think about this, okay, think with me. This young man with a motley crew, the king of Israel and his whole army chasing this man. David knew he was anointed king when he was a young man, and he knew he was gonna be king because God keeps his Word. And he's done nothing wrong and everything right. One day, David had the chance to be freed up from all this chasing, from all of his trouble. He had the chance to be delivered from the pain and the suffering.

David and his small motley crew were walking by, passing a cave, and there is Saul, the king, and his entire army. They were in deep sleep. There is no telling how long they'd been walking. They were so tired. They were in deep, a bomb would not have woken them up. They were so deep in sleep. And, man, David got his chance. Sweet revenge, right? Oh, no, no. "David, God brought you an opportunity. Kill the rascal. What an opportunity, David, to finally you be king. What an opportunity, David, to save your life and save yourself and your family and your friends a lot of headaches and suffering".

Oh, David not only knew the Word of God, treasured the Word of God, but he applied the Word of God. He obeyed it, even when it's not advantageous to him. He proved it in his life, and God honored him for it. Demonstrating the Word of God in David's life taught him that shortcuts, shortcuts in your business deals, in your business, shortcuts in any decisions you're making in life, shortcuts are no good. Shortcuts are filled with worse grief. Shortcuts are short lived.

David, who knew not only the Word of God, but he demonstrated the Word of God in his life, he comes as close to the king as to take his garb, and cuts a piece of it. Imagine, his motley crew probably were saying, "Stab him, stab him. He's asleep, he won't even know what happened". He said, "No". He cuts a small piece of the garment in order to prove to the king what the Word of God said: "Harm not God's anointed. Touch not God's anointed". That's demonstrating the Word of God, and trusting, as I said in the last message. Trust in God's timing. Let's say it again: "Trust".

Beloved, knowing the Word of God is good, but not good enough. Substantiating the Word of God is what honors God. Proving it in your life is what God blesses in your life. Applying it in everyday situation, it brings about God's pleasure over you. Do you want God's protection? You have to have God's presence. You want God's presence? Allow the Word of God not only dwell richly, but be applied and demonstrated in your everyday decision making.
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