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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - It Is Never Too Late - Part 7

Michael Youssef - It Is Never Too Late - Part 7

Michael Youssef - It Is Never Too Late - Part 7

2 Peter chapter 3, we come to the very last in the series of messages where I deliberately called it "It is Never Too Late" because, as long as you are breathing, it is never too late. It is never too late if you've never committed your life to Jesus Christ and received salvation to do so. It is never too late to renew your covenant even if you've gone into the far country. It is never too late to rededicate yourself to Christ. It is never too late to purpose in your heart that you are to discover his purpose for you in this life and obey it.

The very last written words by the great Apostle Peter is pleading with the believers, pleading with every believer who will read his words, that they need to discern the times in which we live, to wake up to the fact that judgment is on its way, to be alert and not to be mislead by false preachers and false teachers, to number our days, to know that the Lord's return will happen and will take place. I hope you've turned with me already to Peter, 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 10. "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the element will be dissolved with fire".

The second coming of Christ will take those who are unsuspecting by surprise, those who are building monuments for themselves, those who are planning their own future without God, those who are so busy in this life's issues, those who are totally consumed with the pleasures of this life. Peter tells us all of this because Peter is not making his own rules. Peter tells us this because he heard this from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. In Matthew 24:44, Jesus said, "The Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect him". Peter is telling us all of this because he heard this from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ himself when he said, "If the man of the house had known at what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and he would not have allowed his house to be broken into".

Several of you have expressed to me, you said, "I have family members who are not believers," and left you uneasy, but let me give you this word, okay? This is a personal advice that I have learned through the years of all the years in ministry all over the place. If you have an unbelieving family member, you need to share Christ with them once. Did you get that? Once. Don't nag them. You share Christ with them once, but then you never, never, never, never, never give up praying for them. Amen? We have a great God. We have a merciful God. We have a gracious God who not only hear our prayers but answers them.

1 Corinthians 7 tells us that the family, the children of even one believing parent are sanctified in that believing parent, which tells me that, in God's economy, that non-believing members of a believing family have a special place, and therefore, when you pray and don't give up praying, and you keep at it and you keep at it, I have seen with those two eyes people who have given their life late in life, and they knew that the family, the members of the parents have prayed for them, but I'm telling you, God will answer your prayer. Don't give up praying, and that is why Peter is saying to all of us who know and love the Lord that we must order our lives. We must order the totality of our lives in the light of this great event that is about to take place.

The judgment is as sure as God himself is sure, and that is why he goes on verses 11 and 12 to say, "Since judgment is a reality". What sort of people you ought to be? Or how shall we live now in this life in the light of the second coming of Christ? Or how shall we be known to the community? How shall we be known to those around us? And he gives us two things. First, he said that we are to live holy lives. What does that mean? There are some people kind of use the word "holy". It's a bad connotation. The word "holy" is a beautiful word. It means to be set aside. It means to be set aside for the use of God, for the exclusive use of God. You are to be set aside exclusively for him.

When your tongue is set aside, you will bless and not curse. When your money is set aside, you will use it for the glory of God, not on frivolous things. When your time is set aside for God, you're going to spend your time serving, encouraging, uplifting others, living a godly life or living a holy life, but then, secondly, he said that we live a life of expectantly, expecting the return of Christ. In the last message, I shared with you the parable of the ten virgins that Jesus tells.

You see, physically, they were asleep. You're all asleep. Whether Christ will come in the middle of night or whether he comes in the daytime, it doesn't matter whether we're awake. Maybe those of us will be asleep here. Other people in the part of the world will be awake or vice versa, so it doesn't matter. He is not talking about the physical sleep. He is talking about the spiritual alertness, the spiritual expectation, the spiritual awaiting for the second coming, for the bridegroom to come. Five were prepared, although physically, they were asleep, but they were ready.

As soon as the bridegroom came, they jumped into action and lit their lights and ready to go, but the other five were like church goers, professing Christians of our day, who are saying, "Yes. We know maybe it's going to happen, but I hope it's not for a long, long time. I will not look for his return. I'm going to focus on this life because I hope I will do that sometime in the by and by". That is the difference between those who are exacting Jesus and those who are not, those who are expecting him and those who are deeply entrenched in this life as if it's the only life there is, those who are awaiting for his second return and those who totally gave up on it.

Now, Peter makes a statement here that may have startled some of you. I know it startled me when I was reading it the first time. The NIV said, "Speed the return of Christ". Other translations said, "Hasten the return of Christ". And so, the question is can we really hasten the return of Christ? Can we really speed the return of Christ? Let me explain to you what it means here. Rather than fearing the impending destruction of the world, we long for it. That's what he's saying. We have everything to hope for and nothing to fear. We can hasten the day of the Lord by praying, "Your Kingdom come," by praying, like I said in the last message, "Maranatha," or, "Come, Lord Jesus," but the second thing he makes a point here is that not only we pray and we prepared, but we also make him known.

Listen to me, please. The church of Jesus Christ should be a spiritual maternity ward where the cries of new babes in Christ can be heard. The church is not a country club for the spiritually fat cats. Are you with me? There ought to be believers, new believers coming into the church of Jesus Christ all the time, but beloved, I know and you know that there are some people who are not very wise in sharing Christ, right? There's some people kind of don't act wisely. You see, sharing Christ ought to be as natural as you talking about the weather, as you talking about your family. It should be as natural conversation.

Now, beloved, we live in a post-Christian era. I'm so privileged to rub shoulders with a lot of people who really have very little knowledge of Biblical truth, and this is where we need to start. It's got to be a conversation. It's got to be something that just comes up naturally, not something that is forced. On the other hand, I know there are some Christians who are like the Arctic River, frozen over at the mouth. They never say anything. They have people all around them who would long to know, but they never hear it from them. I thank God for each one of you here in this place, I really do, who constantly share in Christ or constantly want people to come to know Christ, constantly trying to help people to come to be eternally saved.

I thank God for all of you here who share the love of Christ at every opportunity you have, and Peter is saying that the way to hasten the return of Christ is by telling others. Jesus said in Matthew 24 that, "This gospel of the Kingdom must be preached around the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come". Why do you think we broadcast the gospel 2,300 times or more a week in 26 languages? We want to hasten the return of the Lord. I, for one, I want to hasten it, and I want to do whatever it takes to do it, but look with me again, give God the glory. Verse 14, you say, "How do you get sharing Christ with others from this"?

I want to tell you because the word "peace" that he uses here in the context is that peace that comes from knowing that you have peace with God because, when you have peace with God, everything else falls in place. That is the peace he's talking about that stems from absolute confidence of faith in the Lord's salvation. This is the same word that the Apostle Paul uses in Philippians chapter 4, verses 6 and 7. Listen carefully. "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God," and here it comes, "and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus".

That peace that Peter's talking about is the same peace that Paul talked about. That peace banishes both earthly worries, earthly anxieties, and any fear of judgment. It is the peace that comes from knowing without a shadow of doubt that you are forgiven eternally, that you are redeemed eternally, that you are saved eternally, that you are justified before heaven eternally, that you have been set aside for the exclusive use of the Lord eternally, that, no matter what catastrophes may take place, no matter what cosmic destruction there is, no matter what troubling times that are ahead of us, our hope is as sure as Christ himself is sure.

I was thinking about those who only have focused all of their attention and concerns about this life and what's going on in this life instead of ordering this life and the life of the life to come. There are some even in churches, and I thought about this church, a country church, where they have a tradition where the deacons all sat in the front pew, and they always responded to the preacher. They always said something in response to what the preacher says, and so, one day, the preacher was preaching on the day of judgment.

Now, I am not approving or disapproving of his theology, okay? I'm just telling you the story as it is, and he started preaching, and the deacons were affirming him. Everything he says, the deacons were affirming, and so the preacher said, "One day, we will wake up, and it's going to be dark, very dark in the middle of the day," and one of deacons yelled, "Lord, deliver us". At that point, the church treasurer was dozing off. He woke up, and the pastor continued.

"We're going to pick up the phone and call Hong Kong, and we're going to say, 'Oh, it's very dark over here,'" and another deacon's, "Lord, have mercy," and then he said, "We're going to pick up the phone, and we're going to call Honolulu, and we're going to say, 'Oh, it's very dark, dark over here,'" and another deacon, "Lord, deliver us". And then, he said, "We're going to pick up the phone, and we're going to call Moscow, and they're going to say, 'Yes. It is too dark here too.'" At that point, the treasurer, who's been silent, just couldn't take it anymore, and he yelled uncontrollably, "Lord, Lord, what a phone bill".

Peter's leaving us with no doubt that he wants believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to live every single day with the expectation of the return of the Lord, to order their lives, their business, their affairs, everything they do in this life and everything they're involved in in the light of the return of the Lord. I know that, in the 21st century, in the west particularly, we are deeply entrenched in politics and economics and all the things to do with this life, and we do nothing from the light, not only people kind of think this is hard to even think about, they think it's weird. Try to talk to a nonbeliever, they think it's weird. But beloved, be confident that you are living a spotless life when you live by the light of the return of Christ.

I am not saying this. The Word of God says this. What does Peter mean being spotless? Does it mean we're perfect? We're sinless? No. Listen carefully. By daily covering ourselves, putting on the righteous robe of Jesus Christ. None of us, none of our righteousness can get us even one millimeter toward heaven, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ that he gives to every believer when they come, surrendering to him and repenting of their sins, seeking his forgiveness, he hands us a robe of righteousness, and that is why the Father, when he looks at us, he sees us perfect because he sees us through the prism of Jesus. He sees us through that robe of Jesus.

In fact, that is the robe that Jesus talked about when he talked about the parable of the wedding feast, and he said these people, one man came, but he was not wearing the righteous robes of Jesus. You see, there are some churchgoers, there are some professing Christians who think they're Christians, but in the end, they'll be shocked because, when they arrive, they'll be thrown out because they're not wearing the robe of righteousness that Jesus has given them, but listen to me. It is one thing to receive the robe of righteousness when you come to Jesus Christ. It's a whole different matter to daily put on that robe of righteousness, daily, regularly.

Let me tell you something. Time for confession. I know every time I get myself into trouble, and I get myself all by my little self, every time I get into trouble, it's because I have not put on that robe of righteousness. I went to business for myself. I said, "I can handle that. I can take care of this. I can do this," and then I fall flat on my face, and so do you, except I'm confessing it. Peter is dealing with a great truth that Paul also dealt with.

In fact, if you read the transparency, and you put the epistles of Paul or of James or of Peter, they're saying the same things, literally. The truth is hard to accept, particularly now in society, and that may be why it's a sign of the end of times. They're very hard to accept the truth. When you hear again and again, I was talking on the radio show, and he said to me, "What do you do with the statistics that less than 15 to 25% of so-called evangelicals actually believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven"?

I wanted to cry. And this is what is happening, beloved friends. This is what is happening, but let that be a warning for us, not a way to rejoice in somebody else's failure. The truth is always hard, and Jesus said that narrow is the road. If you want to go with all your goodies, there's no room for you, it's narrow. You have to dump everything before you go in there. Wide is the road that lead into condemnation. The truth that there's only one way to heaven and to the Father, and it is through Jesus and Jesus alone.

It's a very hard truth to accept, that Jesus is the only divine Son of God, that Jesus is the only redeemer that can redeem anyone who would come to him and believe in him, that Jesus was born of a virgin, that Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, that Jesus rose again on the third day, that Jesus is soon coming back to judge the living and the dead, especially those who refuse to come to God Jesus' way. That's hard, and that's what Peter is saying here is that many of these truths are difficult to accept or comprehend. That is why I believe with all my heart movies like "The Shack" is the absolute lie from the pit of hell.

It is the most heretical movie that is deceiving so many churchgoing people, and they are changing the hard truth. They softening the truth. They trying to cover the truth. Instead of God being the mighty God, the powerful God who became man in order to redeem us, they want a god, and they created a god in their own image, who is at our beck and call, a god who serves us instead of a God whom we serve in gratitude and thanksgiving for our salvation, but there are some things, of course, we don't know.

There's some things we don't comprehend, sure. I don't know everything about everything, but thank God the day is coming when I will know, when you will know. The last two verses, Peter literally hits us between the eyes. False teachers will lead you astray. In the end, their destruction is sure in the day of judgment, but, as for you and you and you and you, don't get swept off your feet by them. Don't be taken in by their slick presentations. Don't go along with them and get used to placebos. Be steadfast, immovable, abounding in the truth of the Word of God.

Please hear me right. Satan will attack you. If he doesn't, then there's something wrong with you. Satan will attack your faithfulness, but remember this: Jesus is greater than Satan. Jesus is more powerful than Satan. Jesus is the one who will give you victory every time you go to him. Jesus will keep you on growing in grace. Every time you spend with him every day, Jesus will keep you growing as long as you feed on the solid food of the Word of God. Don't develop a taste for sugar pills.

Spend time with God and his Word. Feed upon him alone. Practice to listen only to his voice and obey it. Above all, don't lose your reward. That's what he's talking about here about falling. He's talking about losing your reward. If the great Apostle Paul said, "I want to stay faithful all the way to the end because I don't want to be that person who have preached to everybody else, but then I lost my reward," and he's saying don't lose your reward.

Hold on, and don't give up. Hold on. Jesus is saying, "Wait a little while longer. Hold on. I'm on my way. Hold on. I'm preparing a place for you. Hold on, and don't be tempted to take the easy way out. Hold on. I'm bringing your reward with me and giving it to you for your faithfulness," and above all, those who love him, those who love him, those who love his appearing can cry out and say, "Come, Lord Jesus". Say it with me, "Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Lord Jesus".
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