Michael Youssef - Healthy Living in a Sick World - Part 2
Hello, my precious friends. I want to speak to you from my heart. We have a great and mighty, powerful God. And he promised to cover us by his wings. He promised to protect us. Jesus said, "Who of you by worrying can add an hour to your life"? No, none of us can. We'll be careful. We'll be wise. And we'll take precaution. We'll do all the hygienic things that are recommended for us to do. Of course, absolutely. But at the same time, we are at peace. Our hearts are warmed and comfortable within us because to live is Christ and to die is gain. And therefore, we have an amazing opportunity that God has presented to us in the midst of this frenzy and that is to show the peace of God that passes understanding. In the middle of the struggle.
So, we have an opportunity, a great opportunity, this could be an amazing time for harvest in witnessing to your neighbors and your friends particularity your family members who are going through fear and doubt right now. I always remind myself of what God did in Egypt. It says in the land of Egypt it was darkness in the middle of the day. Noon hour they couldn't see their hand in front of them. It was so dark. And yet, in the community of faith the people of God, Israel, had light. And in every way, when the plagues were plaguing Egypt God's people stayed secure in the palms of his hands because they are to fulfill his purpose and the Messiah will be born from their loins.
And that is why God protected them. And I believe with all of my heart that God is gonna protect his own in the middle of that frenzy because of one purpose and one purpose only. God wants the light of the gospel to shine brighter in the darkest moment. And so, will you pray with me? And would you say, "Lord Jesus, open doors for me that I never thought possible. Give me an opportunity to speak to someone on the phone. To email someone. To have a conversation with someone. To relate to someone whether it's my family or my friends or my neighbors".
And God will do it. He will answer that prayer. And so, let us be a light in the middle of this darkness. And let's have confidence in our God. Wise? By all means. God will give us wisdom from Heaven. But at peace, when Jesus said, "I give you my peace, not like the peace the world gives. It passes understanding". Mean, it doesn't make sense to the world. It doesn't make intellectual sense. It doesn't make mental sense. But it will make sense to you. And so, rest in the peace of Christ and we love you, and pray for you, and I know that God will use you.
There is a severe shortage of Godly wisdom in our society today. There is a severe shortage of Godly wisdom in our churches today. It is a miracle of God that we are still surviving. I have said when I started this new series of messages healthy living in a sick world, is that first apostle of Paul to the Corinthians. Is the most relevant for our day because we are seeing a very similar cultural trend as they did back then. In fact, the ancient Greeks, which have influenced the thinking of the church in Corinth a great deal. Their whole culture was built on worldly wisdom, on human wisdom. In fact, the word philosophy comes from two Greek words. Philein, which you know it means love. Sophia, which means wisdom.
The love of wisdom and the ancient Greek culture was in love with wisdom. Not Godly wisdom, but worldly wisdom. And the ancient Greeks who were truly in love with worldly wisdom had five different schools of philosophies at the time. Who vied with each or who debated with each other. Who fought with each other. Who constantly was trying to get converts to their schools of thought. Here's the sad part. The Corinthians believers came to the Lord from that type of culture. That's where they come from. And they brought these fights, and divisions, and arguments that they've had in their culture in terms of different philosophies. They brought all of this to the church.
The Corinthian believers brought all of this factionalization and the contention of the pre-Christ life. They brought it all into the church. Like so many of people today, they trusted Jesus for their salvation, but they added human wisdom, they added worldly philosophies into their church. As many a church depart from biblical absolutes and biblical authority they fall prey to the trends and the fads of culture. They fall prey to human ideas and human philosophies. They fall prey to human instincts and insights. They fall prey into placing human opinions above the word of God. Or they often use the scripture, not as their authority but as a departing point.
They twist the scripture and the scriptural text in order to make it fit their philosophical worldview. And what Paul is pleading with them and he would plead with us today, "Please, please, please since you have become believers in Christ, let the word of God be the ultimate authority". Paul is telling them and us that all of these non-biblical trends lead only to division, carnality, and heartache. All of these non-biblical trends lead to confusion and the loss of God's power in the church. All of these new trends which really are old heresies that just dressed up in a new dress. It's gonna make the believer sick in a sick world.
As I said, we began this series and the last message from First Corinthians. And we saw in the last message that the reason Paul chose first and foremost of all the messes they were in, of all the sins that they were exposing, with all of the difficulties they were facing. All the inconsistency in the church he chose the first to deal with this factionalism. With this division that is based on the personality cults. And the reason he chose to deal with this before all the other unholy things that were in the church because he is saying, "Get your biblical absolutes right, and the church will be on the right track. Place your authority of the word of God above all else. And everything else will right itself. Hold onto to biblical revelation as supreme, and you will avoid the threat of human wisdom and human philosophies".
Without exception man's wisdom elevates man above the word of God. Without exception man's wisdom subjects the word of God under man's authority. Without exception man's wisdom elevates man's thinking and desires, and conclusions, above God, and that is why Paul said in Romans 1:25, "Man's wisdom exchanges the truth of God for a lie, and worships the created things instead of the Creator". I want you to remember this. Remember this. Mark it down. When somebody says to you that you can be saved through having good thoughts, positive thinking, positive thoughts or someone says to you can be saved whether you believe that God's word is the authoritative, infallible word of God or not.
When somebody says to you you can be saved only if you follow their formula. I want you to remember this. Remember all these things. Remember all of man's wisdom would only cause heartache and that is why first Corinthians Chapter one Verse 18 Paul said, "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God". It is the power of God. Why does it say we are being saved? Barbecues salvation is three tenses. In the past, when we give our life to Christ, we are being saved every single day. And we will ultimately saved when we see Jesus face-to-face. We're constantly being saved.
You see, human wisdom can never save you. Human wisdom can never redeem you. Human wisdom can never give you true peace. Human wisdom puts a band-aid on a tumor but can never remove it. Listen, when Paul said, "The word of the cross," listen carefully, "The word of the cross," Verse 18, he means the entire gospel message. He means the entire revelation of God's work that was culminated on the cross. In other words, the rejection of the cross or the addition to the cross, leads to eternal destruction. Even the chief disciple, Peter, the chief apostle, the chief disciple, he was trying to deter Jesus from going to the cross. And that's why Jesus said to him, "Get behind me Satan".
The natural mind whether it's Jew or Gentile, can never understand the cross. Can never comprehend the cross let alone accept it. But for those who have placed their whole faith on the cross of Christ as their only hope for salvation, that cross is their only power. Is there only power for living. The apostle Paul goes onto say, "Why"? Because God's wisdom is superior to man's wisdom by far.
Now, please don't misunderstand me. I am not suggesting, not for a moment, that when you become a Christian you have the answer of life's problems. I'm not saying that at all. You see, you gotta understand this is different from what Paul is dealing with in the Corinthian church and what we're dealing with today. He was dealing with people who were looking to man not to God for answers. He was dealing with people who were looking to man's wisdom, not God's wisdom, for the ultimate meaning of life. He was dealing with people who were looking for joy, and peace, fulfillment, contentment apart from God. And as Christian believers, we must never shrink or be afraid of having an intellectual argument with anybody or a debate. We must always, as believers, hold our stand and be immovable as the scripture said.
For after all, we have the most intellectual book that is every written. There is no book like it. It was the great philosopher Kierkegaard who once said, "Christ does not destroy reason, he dethrones it". Verse 22. Jews demand miraculous signs. The Greeks look for wisdom but we preach Christ crucified. Hallelujah. That's what you get in this place. You're only gonna Christ crucified, preached in this pulpit. Whether it's from me or anybody else. Amen. Give God glory. Why did Paul say that? You see, because human wisdom looks at the cross and think it's foolishness. It's foolishness. But I really want you to think with me, okay? Just think with me. God becomes a baby, then a man, lived in poverty, the one who owns the universe living in poverty. Then he gets nailed to a tree.
Think about this. And gets crucified and dies, and buried. And then on the third day they claimed that he rose again from the dead. Think about this. All of this so that he might provide everyone who comes to him forgiveness of sins, eternal life forever with him. Just think about it. I want you to think about from their point of view. One man dies on a tree on top of a garbage dump, and that determines the destiny of every human being on the face of the earth. Including the brilliant people, the clever people. Yeah. When you think about it it sounds stupid, right? To the human mind that sounds really stupid. In fact, the word foolishness comes from the Greek word moria, from which we get the word moron. And when you think about it, the redemption act of Christ on the cross sounds moronic to the non-believer. It really does. Human wisdom can never fathom the cross.
Listen to me. We're trying to Christianize the pagans and we give a pass to carnal Christians in the church. And that's the point that Paul is making here he said, "Don't do that". You see, to the natural mind, whether Jew or Gentile, the cross is an offense. Now, beloved, what we are facing today is precisely what Paul was facing in Corinth. Some of you might say, "Well, Michael, after 2,000 years of Christianity, after 2,000 years of Christian civilization, after 2,000 years of Christian revolution, after 2,000 years of biblical knowledge"? Yeah. Whenever I give you an opinion, I'll tell you it's an opinion and it's not the word of God.
So, do what you want with it. But here's my personal opinion. I believe at the end times, which we're in right now, and the beginning are gonna match each other. Just as it was before the gospel preached to the ends of the earth, which is going on now, is gonna be towards the end. That's why Jesus said, "When the Son of Man, will he find faith upon the earth"? It is so bad, not just the love of man is gonna grow cold. But Satan will deceive even he said, if possible, some of the elect. We're making a full circle.
And that is why the bible often says read the seven letters in Revelation the bible in every one of those often say, "Only those who remain faithful to the end will be saved. Only those who will not give in to the human philosophies of this world will be made new. Only those who not be swept off their feet with modern trends and cultural trends will receive their reward. Only those who will not compromise their faith will be blessed for all of eternity. Only those who have placed their faith in Christ alone through faith alone, believing the word of God alone, will be rejoicing in heaven".
In fact, Paul here quotes the prophet Isaiah who prophesied 700 years before Christ. When he says, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate". That's a direct quote from the Book of Isaiah. Human wisdom and cultural trends not only unreliable, not only unhelpful, but they will be destroyed one day. Sure, we have more knowledge today than any other time in history and the knowledge is doubling every week almost.
Question. Are we more moral? Sure, we have greater wealth and luxury, and creature comforts than our fore bearers would've even dreamed about. But are we less selfish? Sure, we have more books and communications regarding relationships like never before. But are we getting along better? Think about it. Sure, we have psychology and education than we ever dreamt of. But do we have less crimes and violence in our society? And the answer is no. No. No, why? Because throughout human history, human wisdom never, never, never once been able to solve humanity's basic problem. Why? Because humanity's basic problem is sin. And only coming to Jesus Christ can deal with the root of the problem.
Verse 20. Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Have they've been able to eliminate poverty or fear or anxiety or depression or loneliness or insecurity? But listen to me. Jesus can. Jesus can when you come to him. Jesus can when you surrender to him. When you turn to him. Human wisdom may have succeeded in showing us the problem, human wisdom may expose the cause of the problems. Human wisdom may explain the symptoms of the problem, but human wisdom is incapable of defining the root of the problem. The root of the problem, which is sin.
Only the cross of Christ, which is foolishness to human wisdom, has the power to transform hearts and minds. Only the cross of Christ can answer the individual problems and society's problems. Only the cross of Christ can bring healing and love, and generosity. Only the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on that cross, which to them is foolishness can give us power over sin to break the chains of sin. To show you how our situation is getting worse by the minute I received an article. A summary of the article is that there is a link between brain damage and religious belief. This supposedly to be a study that was really published in the journal called Neuropsychology.
Bottom line is this. Those of us who believe in the foolishness of the cross have functional impairment in our brain region known as prefrontal cortex. This damage to our brains keeps us from curiosity, creativity, and open mindedness. I love that. But then I thought about this. And I said you know they really are partly right. See, when you come to Christ the part of your brain that has been dead to trespasses and sin becomes alive with Christ. When you come to Christ, that part of your brain that has rejected him before when you come to him declaring your spiritual bankruptcy you become on fire for Jesus. That's what they're talkin' about. They just didn't know how to put it.
When you come to Christ, the part of your brain that brought you into foolishness of man's wisdom now is converted into Christ's wisdom. That hopelessness side of the brain become hope-filled. That sorrowful side of the brain becomes joy-filled. That depressed side of the brain becomes peaceful. And that's how they explain it. But that's how we explain it. God glory, God. Give God glory. Give him glory. Bless the Lord. We're not smarter than they are because we're only saved by his grace. And that is why that humbles us. And so I know better than you. No, no, no, no. I'm so thankful. In fact, I was in tears in thankfulness to the Lord for his grace that opened my blind eyes. That I could see the I'm a sinner heading for hell. I needed the savior.
I want to conclude on a historic example of the blessing of moving from pursuing man's wisdom to receiving God's wisdom. Back in 1787, when members of the house of delegates who were getting together to revise the articles of confederation. They spent weeks. I'm not talkin' about days. Weeks of arguing, and debating, and discussing a model of government that they wanted. Feel that they need to form in the United States. But to no avail. For weeks! During that whole time, they were using human wisdom. Human wisdom, human wisdom. Finally, one of their members, Benjamin Franklin addressed the convention and the following words I'll read them word for word.
"In this situation of this Assembly, we are groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarcely able to distinguish it when it's presented to us. How has it happened? That we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding"?
Then they went on their knees and starting praying. Humbled themselves and prayed for wisdom. And God answered their prayers in spades. In spades. And he gave us a political government, gave us a system of government like nothing in the history of the world. Well, thank you for that question. In fact, this is a question that was asked by many people in the bible. In fact, that was a question that was the Philippian jailer asked the apostle Paul, Saul of Tarsus. What must I do to be saved?
The gospel is much simpler than we make it. There are some people who say you have to jump through some hoops in order to get saved. But the scriptures are clear. It's a recognition that I'm a sinner and that I cannot save myself, and the consequences of my sin is eternal hell. For eternity tormented. But then realize that Jesus came from Heaven, lived a perfect life, died a criminal's death, rose again in order that anyone who would come to him would ride on his coattail to Heaven. And so, salvation is very simple.
Lord Jesus I'm a sinner and I cannot save myself. Only you can save me because you Lord Jesus died on that cross for me. Come into my life.
And the moment you do this the bible said the Holy Spirit is gonna to come into your life and he's gonna help you grow in Christ. He's gonna convict you, encourage you, and give you peace.