Michael Youssef - Treasure That Lasts - Part 1
If we are honest with ourselves in our self-examination or take ourselves and put ourselves on the examination table and let the Holy Spirit really examine our hearts, I think every one of us will have to confess that there is something or someone that is constantly vying for our love and affection for Jesus. The deeper issue that I will be bringing up here is whoever and whatever is competing for your full affection for the Lord Jesus Christ is your gold. That can be your gold. Gold has been valued and treasured since the beginning of time. In fact, some of you remember when the oil became so valuable and used to refer to it as, "black gold" because it has value in it.
Now here's the question: What is your gold? What's your gold? That is the question. Take time and answer it to yourself. "What is my gold"? And once you answer that question, then the next question is, "Am I willing, for the sake of Jesus and for my love for Jesus, to turn my back on my gold"? I want you to turn with me to Hebrews 11:26, one verse, but then we'll be doing other things throughout the next many weeks to come. It begins by saying, "By faith Moses", and then the rest of the verse that I'm gonna read is a Youssef translation. It's a Youssef interpretation. "By faith Moses", turned his back on the gold of a privileged life in Egypt and chose instead to be a type of Christ and be the deliverer of his people. He's not, of course, talking about gold as a gold medal.
Giving up the world's gold for God's glory is the core of this series of messages that I'm gonna be pursing with you. Since the beginning of time, God has given men and women, boys and girls, given them an opportunity to choose, giving them the opportunity to decide, giving them an opportunity to choose either the world's gold, whatever it is to each of you, or God's glory. Every day, you and I are confronted by opportunities to decide on this question. The first decision that our very first parents made is choosing between God's glory or man's gold, and we know the choices they made. In fact, the word "decide" or "decision" mean "cutting" because, by the virtue of choosing one option, you are cutting out all the other options.
In Acts chapter 7, before Stephen was martyred to death, he somehow said that Moses knew that his mission is to obey God, and he did at a colossal personal cost. Now, that is not something God ask of everybody, but whatever he's asking you to turn your back on, are you doing it, and how can you go about it? Heaven values those who determine to choose the glory of God instead of the world's gold. Moses had a choice. He can obey God or disobey God. He really had a choice. Every one of us have a choice. You obey or disobey. Disobedience has a short-term advantage. Are you with me? Oh, both in the long run, it is extremely painful.
Trust me. Listen, it is hard enough not to seek after these things, whether they're pleasure or were they ease or they're comfort, whether they are wealth, whatever that may be. It is hard enough not to seek out, but to have them all and then give them all up, that's another story. Whatever comes between you and obedience to the Lord is a sin. That is a sin. And that is why the Word of God commends Moses for giving up the world's gold for God's glory. He gave up everything and anything that stood in the way of perfect obedience. Please hear me right. This is important. Obedience is not always easy. In fact, I can honestly tell you it's seldom easy. Oh, but the consequences of disobedience is far worse, far worse, far worse.
So let me ask you this. Please listen carefully. Answer it to yourself. Nobody can answer that question for you. You have to answer it for yourself. What is God calling you to do? When you're alone with God, what does his finger is placed on in your life that is stopping you from the life of holiness? What is it that you're running away from? What mission is he calling you to do, but you're digging your heels? What kind of gold of the world that is holding onto you, that is keeping you from the life of holiness? Only you can answer that question. In Hebrews 11:26, again, let me give you a literal translation. A literal translation. Talking about Moses now. He said, "considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than all of the treasures of Egypt".
Now, the word "considering" here, it's there. It's an important word, very, very important, because it means that Moses didn't just say, "Oh, okay, God. You're calling me. I'm gonna respond". No, no, no. The word "considering" means that he gave this a long, thoughtful, and careful thought. He weighed the pros and the cons. He weighed the "for" and "against". He weighed the power and the wealth of Egypt against what God is offering him, which is very little if anything. In fact, a lot of suffering. Then he decided. He considered it all. He made the decision. The worst that he could endure for Christ, whom, of course, he saw by faith down the road more than 1,500 years before Christ, was more valuable than what the world can offer him.
You say, "Well, how come? I mean, 1,500 years or more before Christ, how could he have seen Christ? How can he envision that"? When we get to heaven, we're gonna find that everybody in heaven is saved through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, whether they lived in the Old Testament or in the New Testament because those who have lived in the Old Testament, they looked by faith to the cross of Jesus Christ, just like Abraham, who saw that city from afar, 2,000 years, and all of those who are saved by every time they saw a lamb being slaughtered, they knew it's a foreshadowing of the coming of the cross of Christ, and that's how they are saved in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, we are saved by faith as we look backward by that same faith. But before I go any further, there's something very important I don't want you to miss.
You say, "Man, I know he's talking about Moses, but that's Moses". Well, am I in a school or maybe at work, and a guy who's just gonna get up Monday morning and get on the slog and face all my problems, I mean, "It's just not relevant to me. This is Moses". That's why we're gonna spend several weeks going through the details, but I'm gonna show you that Moses had fallen and stumbled just like we do, that he tried to do things in his own strength, and he bombed out, that he tried to take things into his own hands, and he blew it, and you'll see God stripping him of his own strength, and we'll see God building him back up so he'd be a true instrument of God.
You'll see him learning how to walk with God in the power of God, not his own power. But, most of all, you're gonna see him as a man who's frustrated, and impatient, and angry. In other words, he was just like you and me. He was flawed, too. When he made himself available to him, he used him mightily. He had weaknesses just like we do, yet his decision to give up the world's gold for God's glory sustained him, blessed him, and used him mightily. Someone said, you know, "If it were Moses versus Egypt, you would have to pity Moses, but it was because it was God versus Egypt, you have to pity Egypt". I can assure you of one thing: See, the moment you, in obedience, turn your back on whatever your gold is for God's glory, there will be many others who are watching you, who are gonna be inspired to do great things for God.
My beloved friends, giving up gold for glory has its own incalculable, because there is no calculator in the world that can measure it, it's incalculable rewards. Now, I go back to Stephen in the book of Acts chapter 7. If you can't flip through it, just make a note of it because what Stephen does just before he's martyred and saw the vision of Christ receiving him in heaven, he divides Moses's life into three different stages. Each stage was 40 years. And you've been waiting for God for so long, and you say, "When, Lord"? This man waited 80 years. I hope I'm in heaven by then, so if God wants to do something, he better hurry up. But here's what Stephen did. Stephen divided the life of Moses into three stages, 40 years each, and I'm gonna give you a Youssef explanation, not what Stephen said. You can go home and read it in the book of Acts chapter 7.
Forty years in the palace where Moses was learning that he is something, then forty years in the desert with the Midianites, learning that he was nothing, and third stage, forty years in the wilderness with God's people, learning that God is everything. Had Moses stayed in the palace of Pharaoh, in the lap of luxury, we would've read about him in the history books that he was the first Hebrew descendant of slaves became a Pharaoh in Egypt. Everybody's obsessed about being first in this and first that. Well, Moses wasn't interest in being first anything. Are you with me? All he was interested in was obeying God. That's all that matters to him. All that mattered to him.
Now, let me give you in one and a half minute a historic summary because we're gonna be looking at this for weeks in details, but you gotta come in with me here on the history so you know where we are in this stage of history. Back in Genesis chapter 15, verses 13 and 14, God said to his servant Abraham, to his friend Abraham, he said, "Abraham, your descendants, your children's children, are gonna go into a land in which they'll be enslaved, but I'm gonna hear their cry, and I'm gonna send them a deliverer. After 400 years of slavery, I'm gonna deliver them". All right, just remember that. Abraham, Moses, 400 years apart. And sure, right on schedule, Joseph, that is Abraham's great-grandson, remember, his son is Isaac, so Isaac's son is Jacob or Israel, and Israel's son was Joseph.
Out of envy and jealousy, his brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt, and there he became the second highest in the land. What happened to the people of Israel, the children of Israel, they grew in number. They multiplied much faster than the Egyptians. They became numerous. So what does Pharaoh do in order to keep them from causing trouble is that he kept them knee-deep in mud, making bricks for the Egyptians, and so that Pharaoh oppressed the Israelites to keep them busy, but right on God's schedule. Don't worry, we're gonna get to that in details. Right on God's schedule, miraculously, he raises up Moses to deliver the Israelites just as he promised Abraham 400 years early.
Beloved, listen to me. God always, always, always keeps his promises. He never failed yet, and he ain't gonna fail now. The amazing thing about God using Moses is this: Moses had it all. He really did. He gave it all up. Says the apostle Paul, I don't know whether you understand, Paul said, and he had the privilege, and he did this out of frustration one time, and he started talking about all the things that he had. He was a great scholar. He was respected. He was wealthy. He was paid big bucks. He had all these things which he calls them rubbish, later on, in comparison to Christ. He had everything. He gave it up.
But, of course, the greatest example of, talk about giving it all up, is Jesus, the Son of God, for whom the world was created when they clicked their fingers and all the stars danced in their place. He is the God from whom and through whom all world, all the universe, all the galaxies were created, and, yet he gave up all of the splendor, all of the glory of heaven in order to glorify his Father. The Bible said he died for us, but he did it all in obedience to the Father to bring glory to the Father. If you study closely Hebrews 11, you read there, "By faith, by faith, by faith". That's the one thing they had in common. You can substitute the word "faith" and put "obedience," and you get the same thing, "in obedience," "in obedience," "in obedience". Able, "in obedience," Moses, "in obedience," Noah, "in obedience".
And if you examine the way the Lord Jesus Christ talked to his disciples, never one time did he praise them for their power, or praise them for their wisdom, or praise them for their passion, or praise them for their sound strategy, or praise them for their strategic thinking. Faith. Faith as small as a mustard seed can uproot the sycamore tree. Faith small as a mustard seed can move a mountain and place it in the middle of the sea. Faith that casts out demon. Faith that makes God's power manifest in the darkest circumstances in which we walk. Every time I see some of these people talking about faith, I grieve deeply in my heart. And the way they talk about faith, it actually makes greed to be virtuous. Are you with me?
"Have faith to be rich. Have faith to be pampered. Have faith to be healthy. Have faith to get whatever you want in life". And, yet according to the Word of God, as I read it, faith is the willingness to let God rule supreme in everything. Faith says, "Have thine own way, Lord". Faith says, "I am willing to give up my gold for God's glory anytime". Faith says, with John the Baptist, "He must increase, and I must decrease". Faith is far from self-serving that we get it all, live it up, for it was the faith of Moses that made him turn his back on prosperity, not demand prosperity. And, by the way, there's nothing wrong with prosperity. God prosper you? Praise God. That's fine.
By faith, Moses renounced all of the wealth of the great Pharaoh, not clawing his way into power and prestige. By faith, Moses identified with God's persecuted people, not the ruling elite. Now here's something you must not miss: That faith of Moses was considered to be foolishness by Grandpa Pharaoh, adopted grandpa. It was considered foolishness by all his cousin, Pharaoh-ettes. There are a lot Pharaoh-ettes running around the palace. The faith of Moses was considered to be foolishness on the part of his adopted mama.
Now, there is no doubt that Moses could have rationalized his staying in the luxury of the palace of Pharaoh. There's no doubt he could rationalize it: "You know, I could do better on the inside than I'm on the outside". And you know what? God calls people to do that, but not for Moses. That would've been a sin. For Moses, faith called him to give up the world's temporary crown for the eternal crown. By faith, Moses gave up the world's gold for God's glory.
Do you know in your heart what the finger of the Holy Spirit is pointing to that is holding you back from holiness, from walking in obedience to God? You know what it is, and it's between you and God to figure it out, and then pray that he'll give you the courage to say, "Lord, here's my gold. I'd rather have your glory," or whatever you are, whatever level you are on, whether you know very little about Christ and you wanna commit your life to him, whether have walked with him and you know what he's saying to you, I pray that your cry and the cry of your heart to the Lord is "Lord, I have disobeyed you long enough. Empower me to give up my gold for your glory". Will you do that?