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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 11

Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 11

Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 11
Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 11
TOPICS: From Valley to Victory

I know you've heard it said, there are no such thing as free lunch, right? Meaning, of course, that you cannot get something for nothing. In the end, someone has to pay, right? There's someone that has to pay. The phrase, "no free lunches," is really, expresses a reality that somebody has to pay. What we're saying when we say there are no free lunches is that there is no such thing as pure grace. There's no such thing as no unearned favor. No such thing as unmerited gift, right? In most business relationships, the axiom is, you scratch my back, I'll scratch your back. You give me something I want, I'll give you something you want. You do something nice for me and I'll do something nice for you, but someone has to pay.

Say that with me, "Someone has to pay". In reality, no free lunch, it may be a good deterrent for the freeloaders, but when it comes to salvation, somebody already paid. So, I wanna tell you about a real free lunch today that will keep you alive for all of eternity. If you turned already with me to Romans 8, and we're going from verse 28 to the end, and I wanna show you three things from this passage. In verse 28, you're gonna find that this free lunch will sustain you, will nourish you, for all of your life and then for all of eternity, even when you eat some junk food and poisonous food sometimes. Secondly, I wanna show you from verses 29 and 30, two verses, that this free lunch you could never get yourself if you lived to be a million years old. And finally, thirdly, God himself guarantees that no one will eat your lunch.

First, God's free lunch that will nourish you, that will sustain you, that will keep you, regardless of what junk food you might eat at times or poisonous food you may eat at times, and that's in verse 28. Verse 28 of Romans 8 is called the glorious verse in the Scripture. In fact, it is the most glorious verse in this whole epistle, but it is also the most misunderstood and the most misquoted verse probably in the whole Bible. For true believers, it has been the soft pillow on which many a weary head has laid and rested. It is breathtaking in its magnificence. It is overwhelming in its generosity and it is all-encompassing in its magnitude.

And here the Apostle Paul is saying, "We know". People always jump those two words and they go to the next few words. But those two words are very significant, "We know," say it with me. He is saying that based upon the security of the believers in which we say very clearly, based on the fact that the Holy Spirit already has sealed our adoption papers, they are permanent, and they are forever. Based on the fact that our names are written in the book of life by the blood of Jesus Christ, we know, therefore, beyond a shadow of doubt, that God is weaving all of our circumstances, the bad circumstances and the good circumstances, and don't ever call bad circumstances good, the bad is bad, amen?

Don't spiritualize, but he can take them all and he weaves a tapestry. We know beyond a shadow of doubt that God uses our deep disappointments and brings his own divine appointments. We know beyond a shadow of doubt that God takes all of the bad, and the painful, and the hurtful, and the confusing things in life, and he shakes it up together in his sovereign mill, and voila, blessing comes out. Here's what Paul is saying. "We know that in all things," can you say, "All things"? All things, that means all things, did you get that? I mean, that's very profound.

When he said all things, he meant all things, not just some things, not just the good things, not just the happy times, not just the good fortune or the good luck, no, no, no, all things, and the word is that he incorporates them, how come? Because God is working unceasingly on behalf of those who love him. Because God is working energetically on behalf of those who love him. Because God is working purposefully on behalf of those who love him. And please, please, please, do not quote this verse to somebody who's not a believer. This verse is for those who love him. It's for those who what? Because often you hear people glibly say, "Well, everything will work out for the good," or, "Everything works okay in the end," or you hear some people glibly say, "Everything will be alright". No, no, no, no, the good will certainly work out only for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. An amen belongs here. This is not a promise to the non-believers, it is only for those who truly love Jesus.

Let me illustrate, because Joseph demonstrated his love for God by his faithfulness. Even though he did not have a Bible, or a preacher, or a Bible study, God took them horrible, they were horrible things that happened to him. Because of his faithfulness, God took all of this and he brought glorious things out of it. Because Job was tested by God with the most dreadful circumstances, God double blessed him. When Daniel placed God above his safety, God came down and zipped the lion's mouths. Because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego loved God so much, even at the thread of death, God himself showed up in the middle of the fire, and don't ever forget he did not save them out of the fire, he walked with them in the fire and he turned it into a garden. Because the divine, eternal Son of God, obeyed the Father unto death, the death of the cross, the Father mightily raised him from the dead.

The Father crowned him Lord of All. The Father made the grave give way to glory. For all of us who love God, listen to me when I say that whenever Satan means to harm you, and he wants to harm you, make no mistake about it, God is weaving it and turning it to bring a blessing to you, amen. First, God's free lunch nourishes you, even when you get some poisonous food in your system. Secondly, God's free lunch is something that you could never, never, never, never, in a million years, get yourself. Look at those two verses, 29 and 30. There is no ambiguity in the Scripture. There is no ambiguity in the Word of God as to the fact that we cannot save ourselves. There is no ambiguity as to the fact that salvation and redemption is God's free gift to us.

And those who preach ambiguity which just seems to be growing in number, sadly, those who preach ambiguity, either they're fooling themselves, or they are totally deceived. We cannot work for our salvation. We cannot pay for our salvation. We cannot brag about our salvation, it is a gift of God. It's truly a free eternal lunch. Look at verse 29, Romans 8, this verse has been described by some scholars as the golden chain. And like any chain, you take one link out and the whole thing collapses. It's a golden chain. Every link is significant. Every link is there for a purpose. There's foreknowledge, one link, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification, it's one chain.

In this area, some people in the church really get messed up. They do get messed up about it. They say, "Oh, yeah, yeah, I believe the Bible, I really believe the whole Bible, but I'm having a problem with this predestination thing. What's that predestination thing"? Oh, let's talk about it, okay? Beloved, the only source of election and predestination is the love of God. Are you with me? And that divine love is not changeable. Sure, we make a decision to follow Jesus, but did you know that God's decision about your salvation came before your decision? Did you get that? It is God's purpose, it is God's plan, it is God's pleasure for the believer to be eternally saved, not just saved one day and lost the next day.

I don't know about you, but this truth does not only put me on my knees, it puts me on my face before God in gratitude and in thanksgiving. Think about this, before time began, God knew you by name. Before time began, God willed it that you be eternally saved. And I'm absolutely convinced after all these years in ministry that it is pure human pride, human arrogance, that says, "My salvation is a joint venture with God". Really? You mean you're equating your part of receiving salvation from God with the cross of Christ?

Come on, now, no wonder we have a whole generation now, they don't talk about sin anymore, we just say mistakes. We just make mistakes and that's okay, that's fine. God gave us salvation. He left the glories of heaven, he became an embryo in a virgin's womb. He lived a life of utter poverty. He went about performing miracles to ungrateful people. Then he died a criminal's death on the cross. He satisfied the justice of the Father which none of us and all of us combined could never have done. Christ carried our sin on his sinless, holy body, perfect body. Christ handed me salvation. What reaction should I have to all of this? Boy, I'm glad I helped God out here. I am so glad I stretched out and received salvation from God's hand. I am glad I got this, I'm glad I had... no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, I'm humbled. I'm indebted to God. I'm grateful to the Lord. I'm deeply thankful. But here's the other side of the problem. You see, I was told you go to one extreme or the other, you get into trouble.

Here's the other extreme that is happening today, particularly among younger preachers. They take this grace for granted. In fact, they presume on the grace of God. You know, the Psalmist said, "From the sin of presumption, God deliver me". They're presuming God. "Well, you know, God has chosen me, God has predestined me," so now I can sit on my blessed assurance and do nothing. There's even worse than that, there are some saying now that the grace of God is in me, I should sin boldly. No, my beloved friends, that's equally heretical. One is human pride, the other one is human apathy. There are some people who say about the Word of God here in Romans 8:29 and 30 about election and predestination, they immediately say, "Oh, you see, if God predestined me, if God chose me and I did not choose him, he must be predestining people to hell". Are you listening carefully?

This is important, absolutely not. That is a false conclusion, but do you know why? Because there is not a single verse in the Scripture that says that God predestined people to hell. In fact, in both Old Testament in the Book of Ezekiel and the New Testament, everywhere in the Scriptures it says God longs for people to repent. It's his wish, it's his desire that no one should perish. The Word of God also said that I cannot be apathetic about my salvation. I cannot be apathetic. I can't just say, "Oh, yeah, he saved me, fine". No, that is why Philippians 2:12 says, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling".

What does that mean? God gave it to you, it's a gift, and you better be grateful to it day, after day, after day, and you better live up to that name, live up to that calling. You better be in obedient. I cannot rest on my blessed assurance and take that gift for granted, but I must seek his strength on a daily basis to live in obedience. My beloved, if you receive the gift of God of eternal salvation that gave the assurance of salvation, you need to tell others about it, amen? Amen, amen, that's what God's free lunch should do to every one of us, because he has given us what we could never get ourselves in a million years, and therefore we need to tell others about that free lunch.

First of all, that free lunch nourishes you, sustains you all of your life and then for eternity. Secondly, that free lunch gives you what you could never, never, never, never get yourself, or get myself, in a million years. Thirdly, lastly, God himself is the one who can assure us that no one and nobody can eat your lunch. Look at verse 31, what is there left to say? What is there left to say? What can I say after this incredible knowledge of God's gift of God's grace? The only thing left for me to say is that if you are saved, no one can take your salvation away from you. "If God is for us, who can be against us"? Say that with me, "If God is for us, who can be against us"? Here's the Youssef translation, I pity, I pity the person who thinks they can take away my salvation.

Don't miss this, don't miss this. Paul did not say that we don't have some real, formidable, enemies arrayed against us, he doesn't say that. They are there, trust me, they are there. Many people watching around the world, they know what I'm talking about. Many of you here know what I'm talking about. Look at verse 35, there's a list here, the unbelieving world persecutes us. The indwelling sin is powerful adversary. Death has been defeated but not destroyed together with the principalities and the powers of darkness. These are some formidable enemies. While all of this is true, it is only part of reality.

These things are big, these things are powerful, these things can be scary at times, and they appear that way, but they are nothing, they are nothing when they are compared with the power of the one who is in us and for us. These formidable enemies remind me of a big, big guy, who might be seven feet tall, but he's a fat slob. And he gets into the boxing ring, and a professional boxer comes in, he can take him out with one knock, first knock. Don't ever forget the Holy Spirit is a professional boxer, amen? That's why he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. "Who can bring charges against God's elect"? Who condemns us when God set that free? Who can condemn us when God said there are now no condemnation upon those who are in Christ Jesus? The answer is? The love of Christ for his elect is so powerful.

The love of Christ is so permanent. The love of Christ is so unchangeable. The love of Christ is eternal, but here's the problem, here's the problem. You see somebody who might be hanging around church for a while, a churchgoer, or even might be a professing Christian doing terrible things. And there are people who will say, "See, see, that means people can lose their salvation. See, salvation can be lost, look at this". That person did not lose his salvation, he was never saved to begin with. He or she maybe loved hanging around Christians, and I've seen it. People are never saved, never born again, just love hanging around Christians, and that's why they give Christians a bad name. They love looking like Christians.

Listen to what John said in 1 John 2:19. "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by their going, they showed that none of them belonged to us". They were never saved, they're a lookalike, they're imitations, they're fake. But for those who are true believers, nothing shall separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus. That's what Paul is saying, that's not what I'm saying. It's the Word of God. Nothing, again, look at verse 35 again. It gives us seven, seven powerful things that could really challenge our faith. Every one of them alone could challenge our faith, but they will fail. They will ultimately fail, "For nothing can separate from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Tribulation will not, distress will not, persecution will not, famine will not, nakedness will not, peril will not, death will not".

Some of you might be feeling that your disobedience has maimed you spiritually and you lost effectiveness. Some of you might be feeling that you have sinned too deeply for God to forgive you. You don't even think you deserve forgiveness, and if you feel so, you're in good company. That's how Peter felt after denying Jesus. But beloved, the truth is this, Jesus is ready to embrace you and tell you, "I'll never give you up. My righteousness covers you. My blood washes you clean. My grace is sufficient for you. My mercy is great".

All you need to do is come up, and come home, and say, "Father, forgive me. Father, forgive me". Maybe there's somebody here or somebody watching, and this is the first time you've ever done that, and you understand now the love of God and the very reason you're watching or you're here, you're not by accident, God brought you here for a reason. And this may be the first time you're saying, "Father, forgive me". Or you might have known the Lord and you walked with him and you ran away, it doesn't matter, you can come home. You can come home, the Father is waiting for you, amen?
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