Michael Youssef - Jesus, Know Him and Live - Part 4
Every one of us, every day, are faced with decisions, everyone. School children, teenagers, young adults, middle aged people, seniors, all facing decisions every day. We make decisions, and the word "decision" by its own definition is cutting because, when you make a decision, you are choosing one and then rejecting all the other options. Some of these decisions are important, very vital in our lives, some are ordinary. Some of these decisions, life-altering, or just simple preferences. But throughout our lives, we'll face and make decisions from dieting to healthcare, career, choice of school, all just to mention a few.
But the one overarching decision in life has to do with your eternal destination. It has to do with our eternal destiny. Where will you spend eternity? There are only two places that you can go to, one or the other. One is filled with unspeakable joy, and the other one is filled with pain indescribable. These two distinct choices that you make in life will lead you to one or the other destination. We saw in the last message how clearly the Lord Jesus Christ says that the day and the time for decision is here and now. Because when life ends, it's over and is impossible to change destinations.
In fact, C.S. Lewis once said that when the author walks into the stage, the play is over. And when God shows up at the end of time, it will be over and then you cannot change sides. And if you are serious about your eternal destination, don't go by what some preacher said. Don't go by what a priest said. Don't go by what a philosopher said. Go by what Jesus said, for he knows the beginning from the end. He coexisted with the Father from the very beginning. He created the world. He came into our world. He told us what the Father is like, as we have been seeing in this series of messages, know Jesus and live, know him and live.
In fact, throughout the New Testament, you find that Jesus tells us again and again and again, about these two destinations, about those two decisions, about two options, and two choices. It's right there on the cross were two criminals, one repents of his sins and got to paradise with Jesus, and the other one doesn't. Jesus said there are two roads, one will lead to destruction, the one you can go with all of your baggage, it has a very wide gate. But then there is another one that you can only go with Jesus, nothing else, and no one else that would lead to eternal life. And therefore, Jesus pleads with us to make the wise choice, make the wise choice. In Luke chapter 6, Jesus emphasized the importance of making the right decision.
And in verse 46, Jesus said, "There were two builders, each builder made a different choice and those two different choices brought about two different consequences". All of our choices have consequences. By nature, all people, everywhere, are religious. Did you know that? Everywhere, because every one of them worships someone or something, some worship self, but that's their religion. But there's even more, all of humanity, all of humanity, longs and believes that they're gonna have a blissful place to go to when they die, they do. In Buddhism, they conceive of it, or perceive of it, as Nirvana. Islam defines it as a beautiful garden. Mormonism call it the eternal progression to the Godhood. Hinduism sets it as freedom from this endless cycle of reincarnations and union with Brahman. And even in our Western culture, people would say, "I'm going to a better place because I've been a good person".
Everyone conceive of something, that's because we're all created in God's own image, but there's only one truth. And currently, in our culture today, we are plunging into the abyss of so-called tolerance, which means rejecting the absolute truth of God. Today, there are so many false preachers and false teachers, which would say, anyone will go to heaven if they practice their religion, whatever their religion is, sincerely. If they're sincere about their religion, they'll make it to heaven. Even 57% of so-called born again Christians believe that God is gonna let everyone in heaven. All of those who are sincerely practice their religion without submission, without professing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, they say they will go to heaven and they call that inclusivity. God is inclusive. Here is a big dilemma. Jesus said that his gospel is exclusive.
Don't shoot the messenger, not yet, not yet. You might end up doing it, but not now. What does that mean? It means that when Jesus said in John chapter 14, verse 6 that, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me," he is saying there is no other way acceptable to the Father, there is no other way you're gonna make it to heaven. That's what he's saying. No amount of sincerity will make a person acceptable to God. There is no amount of effort or diligence will lead to God. The disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not only believed, and taught, and preached that same message, but they died for that message.
In fact, in the Book of Acts, chapter 4, verse 12, they preached that with clarity. They said, "There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we can be saved". But during the time of Jesus's earthly ministry, just like our time today, there were lots of people who are fascinated by Jesus. There were lots of people who followed Jesus. There were lots of people who were mesmerized by Jesus's miracles. There was lots of people who were riveted by his teaching. There were lots of people who were intrigued by his life. And yet, very few have received him as their only Savior, as their only ticket to heaven, as their only Master and Lord of their life, few of them.
And that is why Jesus plainly said Luke 6:46, "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say"? What does it mean? It means that obeying Jesus is non-negotiable for a true Christian. Listen, a lot of people call themselves Christians these days, and I'm not gonna get into that. He is saying that to obey Jesus is non-negotiable. If you want to really call yourself a true Christian, obedience to Jesus Christ is part and parcel of being a Christian. Listen, you can admire Jesus all you want. You can be mesmerized by Jesus all you want. You can claim to follow Jesus all you want, but unless you are willing to obey Jesus, it's all talk.
Listen to what happened at the very first church in the Book of Acts, the very first Christian church. Jesus commissioned the disciples, ascends into heaven, they went about preaching. Listen to what they said in the Book of Acts, chapter 6, as they were preaching the gospel for the first time. Chapter 6, verse 7, it says, "A great many of the priests," talking about the Jewish priests now, "A great many of the Jewish priests were becoming obedient to the faith".
Did you get that? They were obedient to the faith, not just claim to know Jesus, no, they were obedient to the faith. They didn't just believe in Jesus, or they believed that he was the Messiah, believed that he was the Promised One and they moved on with their life, no. They obeyed Jesus. Beloved, this is the core of Christianity. Anything else other than this is false Christianity. Obedience to Jesus, if I'm gonna receive him as Savior, I must receive him as Lord as well, and Lord or Master means I've gotta obey him. I can't live my life the way I want to live it in whichever way and then claim to be a Christian.
In fact, the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter, and remember, he denied him three times. In first Peter 1:2 he said, the goal of salvation is what? Obeying Jesus. Jesus himself repeatedly said, "If you love me, you obey me". Why, why? Because not everyone who goes to church is going to heaven. Not everyone who goes through the religious motions that will make it to heaven. Not everyone who call themselves Christian will make it to heaven. And that is why, my beloved friends, listen carefully, Jesus goes on to give us the most unforgettable illustration to make his point.
Listen to it very carefully. There are wise builders and there are foolish builders. Wise builders are the ones who obey Christ. The foolish builders are the ones who follow their own instincts, follow their own desires, follow their own ideas, how? They both hear God's Word. Some hear it and obey, others hear it and disobey. Some trust in the righteousness of Jesus Christ alone to get them to heaven, others trust in their own righteousness. "I'm good. I've lived a good life. God has no option but to accept me". No, no, both builders are confident that they're building will stand, their life is gonna make it, but one has confidence in the Lord, and the other has confidence in themselves, in their work, in their effort.
Both built the same kind of house. They're both good citizens. They both maybe have gone even to the same church. They both watch preachers on television. They both appear to be religious, but the difference is astounding, it's astounding. The difference was of immense proportion. I know that all of you who are associated with the building industry, whether you're an architect or a builder, you're somehow in the building trade, you would know a whole lot more than I do. But you know the importance of building a solid foundation and building on the rock. You know that's important, not building on sand.
One of the most profound experiences in my life, and I've said, shared this with you before. One of the most profound experiences in my life that illustrate this to me was the building of the parking deck in the back there. I doubt there were any of you, when you parked your car this morning, you shut the door and you wondered, "Is that parking deck safe"? Raise your hand if you did. Why? Well, you trusted that the builders, when they built it, they built it well. I remember when they were digging for the, for these huge, humongous columns. I don't know how big, but big columns. And they would dig in there. Sometimes you look at the hole and it's only eight feet and you walk over there, and there's a hole that's about 25 feet.
What made the difference? Why didn't you dig them all same level? Decide that we're gonna dig for 10 feet, or 12 feet, or whatever, and stop. No, in each case, they had to keep on digging until they found rock. As soon as they hit the rock, once they saw the rock, they stopped digging. Sometimes it's 25 feet, sometimes it's eight or ten feet. It made no difference for them. And beloved, listen to me, there are so many people who are running around, trying to fill their lives with all kinds of things and all kinds of people, and they keep running, and they keep running, and they keep running. But until they hit the rock, the Lord Jesus Christ, they'll never know what satisfaction is, I promise you.
As it always happened, there are some people hit the rock at early age, and they found their faith in Jesus. Some people in the middle of their life, other people toward the end of their life. That's part of the sovereignty of God. That's not something for me to explain. It made no difference. They keep on digging until they find the rock, and once they find the rock, they built their life. Jesus is saying in the spiritual realm, the wise builder, he made sure that the foundation was not laid until there's rock, Jesus. But the foolish builder, he was careless. He really didn't think much about it. Any old piece of land will do, any old lot will do, marsh, sand, rocks, it doesn't matter. Jesus said, no, there are two builders, two builders, they built two houses. Each of that referred to their life. And from the outside, the difference is not very obvious.
Both heard the preaching of the message, they both heard the gospel. One acted in faith and by faith and obeyed Jesus, and the other kept on living his or her life their own way as they always did. One built using divine specifications, and the other using his own or her own specification. That is why it is of vital importance to build your life and your salvation on the rock, the Lord Jesus Christ. No one else will do. No one else would do. Now, the word "rock" or petra here, it doesn't mean just a stone, or even a boulder. It means an expansive rock, expansive rock. It is solid, it is stable, it is unmovable. The sand, on the other hand, is loose, is unstable, easily shifted. False preachers and teachers are forever selling you cheap lots of land on the sand, and they have no spiritual or moral substance or stability. They sell you shifting sands of openness, tolerance, speculations, standards that you just make up as you go. Jesus said the wise builder who builds on the solid rock, Jesus, is the person who hears the words of Jesus and obeys them, and acts on them.
Now, there are so many people who are professional listeners, I meet them. I talk to them, they're professional listeners. They go from this one, to this one, to this one just listening. And then they kind of hear the stuff and they follow this person, and there's all good and bad, and they mix it all together. It doesn't matter, one is good as the other. Buffet Christianity, smorgasbord Christianity. But these professional listeners don't allow anything to penetrate deep into their hearts. In fact, back hundreds of years before Christ during the day of the prophet Ezekiel, in Ezekiel 33:31, God said to Ezekiel, "You know, all these professional listeners who are coming there and listening to you, their heart is so far away from me".
What about you? What about you? What about you? Only you know. Have you been a professional listener who have yet to commit your lives to Jesus Christ, the Rock, and obey him as your Lord, and receive him as your Savior? Please be forewarned, be forewarned, a life that is built on the Rock, Jesus, is a life that seeks to empty itself of pride and self-righteousness, a life that is built upon the sand, is composed of human opinions, and human ideas, and popular thoughts, and society's approval. For those foolish people, the world might be applauding them.
"Ah, he's openminded, she's openminded. Isn't that great? They're not one of those people who say Jesus is the only way. Isn't that great? They're not one of those people who preach sin and repentance of sin and forgiveness of sins". Don't challenge me at all. The foolish builder likes the easy way out, the superficial way out, likes self-satisfying instead of God satisfying. They're like self-pleasing instead of God pleasing. For, make no mistake about it, the rain and the wind, Jesus said, came, and the rain and the wind is coming. The storm is brewing on the horizon. The day of judgment is on its way.
And so, the question is, will your life stand, will your life stand on that great day? Because if you built your life on obedience to Christ, you will stand, but if it's built on anything else, it will collapse. Jesus said its destruction was great. Another translation said, its destruction was complete. On that day, your denominational affiliation will not help you. Your family connections will not help you. Your admiring of Jesus or following him from afar will not help you. Only your life of obedience built upon the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ, will make you stand. And that is why I love that verse in the old song and I'm gonna sing it, "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other grounds," is what? Sinking sands, they really are.