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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 4

Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 4

Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 4
Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 4
TOPICS: From Valley to Victory

Please turn with me to Romans chapter 2, beginning at verse 17, as we will look through all the way to 18. And if you have not been following this series of messages from the Epistles to the Romans, I hope that you download it and that you follow, go start from the beginning and follow through. In the last message, the Apostle Paul tells us that the moralists, the moralists, people who think they're good, and they're better than others, and they compare themselves with the worst of society and say, "Well, I'm not as bad". And he's talking about these moralists, both Jews and Gentiles, by the way. He says they will be brought before the courts of justice of heaven, before the heavenly Judge, at the end times. He said neither of them have any basis or should have any basis for security, any security that they may devise to convince themselves. It's a false sense of security.

Any security that they devise other than being saved through the shed blood of Jesus Christ is a false sense of security. And here beginning in this passage, the Apostle Paul turns from talking to the moralists, both Jews and Gentiles, and he focused exclusively upon the Jewish people of his day, the religionists, those people of the covenant, why? He said, "Because they have greater measure of light". They have greater measure of God's knowledge. They have greater measure of God's blessings. They have greater measure of privilege to know God. And so, with all of that, he says comes a stricter judgment. There's gonna come a stricter accountability. And therefore, he turns onto them like a laser beam in order to remind them that any security they have other than coming to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, is a false sense of security.

And that is why James, the half-brother of our Lord Jesus, warns us not to be anxious to be teachers, why? Because those of us who take upon our lips the teaching of the Word of God, we're gonna be judged and we're gonna be held accountable in a far stricter way than the average person. He is basically shattering their false sense of security in regard to their heritage. And secondly, he warns them of not shrinking their personal responsibility. And then he highlights the only basis for their accountability, and these are the three things we're gonna look at today.

Three things that we can see in this passage: false sense of security, verses 17 to 29; personal responsibility, chapter 3, verse 1 to 8; accountability, chapter 3, verse 9 to 18. First, he's saying it is dangerous. It is dangerous to have this false sense of security. In fact, if it is so dangerous to have a false sense of security about your job, or about your finances, or about your future, in fact, not anywhere near as dangerous as having a false sense of spiritual security. Hear me right, please. When it comes to salvation, when it comes to eternal life, when it comes to where you're gonna spend your forever, you cannot count on anyone or anything other than faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything else will be false sense of security.

Baptism will not save you. Church affiliation will not save you. Going to mass and confession will not save you. Going to church once a month or even ten times a day will not save you. Only a complete faith and surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ will save you eternally. The Jews at the time of Paul had this false sense of security that stemmed from the fact that they know all about God, that they know all about the law, that they know all about their history and God's dealing with them, that they know all about the temple, that they know all about what God has permitted and what God has forbid. But all of that knowledge, Paul is saying, only gave them a false sense of security.

Verse 19, "You are confident that you yourselves are guides to the blind, and a light to those in darkness". Here is the most fantastic thing and fantastic irony. Being light to the Gentiles, or those in the darkness, is what God wanted Israel to be. That's what he called them to be, to be a light to the nations, to be light to the Gentiles. But instead of being light to the world, realized that being a Jew is sufficient. It's like a Christian who said, "I'm saved and sanctified. I don't have to do anything," and they resisted the sharing of God's knowledge with the others. In fact, many of them joined the darkness. They enjoyed it too much.

You see it throughout the Bible, throughout the Old Testament. Beloved, there are so many professing Christians today who think that they can live any which way they want if they tip their hat to God once a week or whatever, they're okay. The Apostle Paul, having dealt with the moralists in Roman society, as we saw in last week's message, he turns his attention to the religionists of his day. Instead of allowing what the prophets have been saying to them in their Bible about pride and guard against pride, they allowed that very pride to possess them. I'm gonna talk more about pride next week.

You see, when Jesus said to the Jews in John chapter 8, verse 31, when he said to them, "If you abide in my Word, you will be truly my disciples, and you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you," what? Free. You know what happened? Most of you know. They got uppity. You know what I mean by that? They got uppity. They really became angry and they said, "We are the descendants of Abraham. We're always free. We're not slaves". Listen, this is pure fantasy. It is really fantastic when you think about it. They're double slaves. They were slaves to sin and they're also slaves to Rome. They were not free. But Jesus went on to say to them, John chapter 8:34, "Everyone who keeps on committing sin is a slave to sin". And Abraham won't help you one bit.

Now, the last part is a Youssef thing, not in the Bible. Here's what Jesus is saying, which is exactly what Paul is saying here. Religious heritage, family connections, ethnic heritage, all of that blinded them to their real needs. It really did. All of this created a false sense of security, why? Because having the Old Testament, and being circumcised, and practicing some religious rituals, being physically descendant of Abraham, all of that will not help them escape from the judgment of God. Listen to me, in the same way today, believing in the existence of God will not get you to heaven. The devil, the Bible said, believes. He not only believes, he trembles.

Something we don't do these days. Being baptized as an infant is not gonna get you to heaven. Being baptized as an adult just with water, without the heart being circumcised, being born again, will not get you to heaven. Going to confession and mass every week will not get you to heaven. Trying to be an out-and-out religious person will not get you to heaven. Denying the power of God that changes lives and that can change your life, denying the power of God to transform you, wanting to live any which way you want to live and want God to give in to you and say, "Okay, this is the way you are. I'll leave you alone. You're fine," thinking that believing Jesus Christ just gives you a license to live in sin against his Word, shopping around until you find a pastor who agrees with you, none of that is gonna help you. None of that's gonna help you. Only when you place all of your sins and guilt under the blood of Jesus Christ will he deliver you here and now and for all of eternity.

Only when you acknowledge that you are helpless without his power, only when you close yourself with his transforming power every moment of every day, will you be set free. As most of us who came to the Lord from sin and guilt can testify, any earthly connection other than trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ will only give you a false sense of security. Secondly, nothing and no one will be able to absolve you from your personal responsibility. Look at verses 1 to 8 of chapter 3. By the way, I wanna make something very clear at the outset before I get going here, okay? The Mosaic Law and the Old Testament are important. Paul is not saying they're not important.

Listen to me very carefully, this is important. Because they are God-given, therefore they are important. In fact, I'm gonna make a startling statement. I'm gonna be startling to some of you. You can be saved by keeping the law. Am I right? Yeah, of course I'm right. You did not mishear me at all. You heard me right. You can be saved by keeping the law 24/7 all of your life. Even if you say, like so many people that I talk to, "I'm gonna be in heaven because I keep the golden rule," really? Do unto others what you want them to do to yourself. Number one, nobody ever kept the golden rule perfectly anyway. It's wide open for abuse. It's just a red herring.

The law of God, beloved, is perfect. Can you say that with me? The law of God is perfect and it is used by God to remind us of how sinful we are. And the commandments show us how desperately we need a perfect Savior to save us because we cannot save ourselves, the only Savior who kept all of the law all of the time perfectly for 33 and 1/3 of a year. Beloved, the task of the law is to tell us to turn to Jesus for forgiveness. That's the task of the law, to turn to God for salvation because we can't do it. To turn to God for mercy and grace. To turn to God for true righteousness, that is right-standing with him. The law should send us running to Christ.

And that is why they do not want to see the Ten Commandments in public, because they know if people see them, they recognize they are sinners and they need a Savior, and they will run to Christ, and they don't want that. And here in chapter 3 of Romans, Paul anticipates his fellow Jews' objections. Paul would've made a fantastic lawyer. I mean, he anticipated their objections and he said, "What advantage is there for being a Jew? What value is physical circumcision"?

Now, this is not a frivolous objection, by the way, on the part of those objecting to Paul. Listen carefully. Today, we would parcel that question this way. What value is growing up in the church? What value is church attendance? What value is infant baptism or participating in communion if they were not necessary for salvation? And that is a valid question. It's a valid question. For the Jew, knowing the Old Testament gave them a tremendous advantage. Look how Paul had to really explain first the old covenant, then the new covenant, then how the New Testament fulfilling the Old. He didn't have to do that with the Jews. And in the same way in the Christian community, a child growing up in a Christian home is a tremendous advantage. It's a wonderful advantage.

For a Jew, in knowing the Old Testament, he would have learned about the character of God, the love of God, the justice of God, and more importantly, God's promise of the coming Messiah. All that was there, something a Gentile did not know and had to start from below zero. Tragically, the Jews had focused so much of their attention on their privileges, very little attention to their responsibilities, and that's what Paul is doing here. He's reminding them of their personal responsibility. Today, this is happening in the professing church all over the place, yet no one can shrug off his or her personal responsibility for the need to know, and believe, and obey the truth of the gospel.

Listen to me. We are thankful for Christian family upbringing. We are thankful for Bible-believing churches. We are thankful for baptism and communion. All reminds us again, and again, and again, that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. But none of these, none of these will replace or take away the absolute necessity of each person's responsibility when they stand before a holy God on that great day. Every single person here or watching, every single person, every individual will stand before the God of heaven. False sense of security, personal responsibility, thirdly, accountability.

Look at verses 9 to 18 of chapter 3 of Romans. Here's the problem today. Guilt is quietly destroying millions of lives. Guilt is driving people to all forms of addictions. Guilt is driving a lot of people into despair and even insanity. Guilt is leading more and more young people into suicide. And beloved, listen to me. We can play all of the philosophical blame game all we want, but at the end of the day, no one, no one, no one escapes the inner feeling of guilt. Trust me when I tell you this. You can watch them partying hard, having fun, and they look very happy, but I promise you, when the lights are off and they're all alone, they are guilt-stricken. They're guilt-stricken, just as we saw in the last message, by virtue of the fact that the law of God written on the heart of his creation.

It's what the Bible said, but also I have seen in experientially. In fact, the more we have sophisticated psychological services in society, the more guilt-ridden society becomes. Do you know, the truly heart-wrenching, heart-wrenching situation is when people want to be rid of that guilt and they don't know how. To me, this is a horrible nightmare. It's a horrible nightmare. The more they seek human solutions, the deeper they sink into despair. Beloved, here is the truth. Guilt is a mere symptom of the problem. The problem is sin, but they wanna call it everything except that. But that is it. That's the disease. And my beloved friends, all of the secular counseling in the world is not gonna help alleviate that guilt or sin. At best, secular counseling will offer temporary relief, the best. But in the long run, the blame game will intensify the guilt.

You say, "Why"? Because it adds dishonesty to the sin, which is the cause of guilt from the first place. Here's a fact. All of us, your pastor included, have suffered from this dreadful pain of guilt. We all have experienced it in the past. And all of us who have experienced the joy of the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can testify that until sin is dealt with, permanent relief from guilt becomes impossible. It becomes impossible. That is why the word "gospel" means good news, and we're sitting on it and we're not sharing it. It means good news. What is that good news? It's that not only sin but also guilt that stems from sin can be washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. Amen belongs here.

Barnhouse, a wonderful preacher in Pennsylvania many years ago made this statement, he said, "Our society is like a little boy who swears with tears that he has not been anywhere near the jar of jam. He, with air of outraged innocence, pleads the rightness of his position. While at the same time, he is totally oblivious to the fact that there is jam on his shirt, jam on his chin, and jam on his fingernails". And that's what the Apostle Paul is saying. He is aware of man's disposition to deny sin and try to deal with guilt of sin some other way, to refuse to be held accountable for their actions. And so he says all of the denying in the world will not absolve you from accountability.

Look at Romans 3:10-18. Here Paul introduces evidence, evidence presented before the courts of heaven, evidence that says no matter how much people deny their accountability, they are guilty as charged. All of the moralists among both Jews and Gentiles have 13 counts of indictment against them. Please look with me, verse 10 particularly. "There is no one, not even one". And he repeats that six times, "There is no one, not even one". Say it with me. "There is no one, not even one".

Those 13 charges, indictments, are parceled under three categories. Verses 10 to 12, indictment against our character. Verses 13 to 14, indictment against our speech, our words. And verses 15-16, indictment against our conduct. And the verdict is this, the person who is not redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross has no defense. They are guilty as charged. I wanna make a statement. I hope you memorize it. This is my final statement. You must understand that we are not saved by obedience to Christ. We obey Christ because we are saved. I want you to say that with me. We are not saved by obedience to Christ. We are obedient to Christ because we are saved by Christ. Amen, do you wanna give God praise? Stand up, stand up. Stand to your feet.
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