Michael Youssef - Interceding For Next Generation
We have been looking about the importance of transferring the whole truth, the whole counsel of God, as the old biblical translation says, the whole counsel of God to the next generation, and that is probably the most important thing about this entire series of messages. It's the most important thing that you can do and the one thing that everyone can do, and that is interceding on behalf of the next generation. And I'm not talking about a quick prayer here and there or even praying when there is a crisis and there's a need, and there's something urgent I need to go, I'm talking about tenaciously, persistently, intentionally interceding until God answers.
You say, "Michael how you can be confident that God will answer that prayer"? Simply because the promises of God. I'm gonna come back to that passage again, but let me tell you, 1 Corinthians chapter 7, makes it very clear, makes it very clear that whenever there's one, one believing parent, one, I'll keep repeating, one believing parent, therefore, that next generation of that one believing parent as sanctified in that one believing parent, translation, God has a plan for the lives of the children of even one believing parent. One of the examples that impacted me greatly is a man in the Scripture who would not give up interceding for his next generation, and he got blessed out of his sandals because he's not only got the answer to his prayer, they experienced salvation. I'm gonna show you this in a minute. I don't wanna jump the gun.
So I want you to turn with me, please, to Scripture, John's gospel, chapter 4, beginning at verse 46, all the way to 53. John's gospel, chapter 4:46-53. It is a story of a man who comes to Jesus, interceding on behalf of his son. You know what I love about this man? I mean, you're gonna see it in a minute. What I love about this man, that he would not be dissuade, He would not be deterred even when his own expectations were not met. This is a father who most likely had very little biblical knowledge. This is a father most likely did not know or hadn't a clue of all the theological debates that were going on at the time.
This is a father perhaps did not know a great deal about Jesus that he is God, a very God in human flesh, and, yet what he expressed here was an unwavering faith in the promise of Jesus, in the words of Jesus. He expressed an immovable faith in the trustworthiness of the words of Jesus. He exercised confident faith in the promise of Jesus. He totally believed Jesus on behalf of his next generation, and that is what I will be focusing on today. The glorious thing about the Christian faith is God is the one who gives us faith to believe. God is the one who gives us saving faith. That is a gift of God. But then, on top of that, if you ask him, he will give you daily faith.
If you ask him, whenever you ask him, he will give you faith to believe in his promises daily, a faith that will not quit interceding, a faith that will never give up, a faith that is willing to trust God regardless of the visible circumstances, a faith that takes God at his word and never, never, never let go. This man in John chapter 4, comes to Jesus, like so many of us, out of crisis faith. I think not all of us, I know that, but some of us, when we come to Christ with a crisis in our life or some issues or something going on and we, in desperation, turn to Christ, and, you know, nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with that. The Lord will honor that crisis faith, but the problem is we dishonor God when our faith stays in that crisis mode or only come to God whenever there is a crisis. That's dishonoring to God.
Beloved, listen to me, there can be no doubt that God does not look down or despise or reject crisis faith, but it is dishonoring to God when we stay in a crisis faith, that every time we get into a crisis, we develop that faith. God often answers crisis-faith prayer in order that may encourage us to go from strength to strength, to get to higher levels of faith, to move on, graduate to the next step of faith, to go from crisis faith, to contagious faith, and that is why I wanna show you five steps that have taken place in the life of this man and that they ought to take place in our lives because, when you go from crisis faith, to contagious faith, there three other steps in between, and so I wanna share them with you very quickly. It began, his faith began with a crisis. It's a crisis faith.
But, secondly, it went to continuing faith. And then, thirdly, we see it blossoming into confident faith, and, fourthly, it leads to confirmed faith. And, finally, we see it here: This father's faith become contagious. I wanna explain all of that very, very quickly. It's not gonna take a lot of time, so listen carefully. As I said, most of us, when we become serious intercessors on behalf of the next generation, we come with a sense of urgency, and that's fine, nothing wrong with that. God uses the circumstances to draw us to himself. God responds to this, old King James Bible says "importunities". God graciously uses these baby steps of faith to take us to the next step of faith, to the next level of faith, to the next stage of faith. Look at verse 46, "A nobleman", that is somebody from the royal household. He's in the king's palace. A nobleman would come in desperation.
This man is a member of the king's courtyard. This man, no doubt, given his position, he had lots of money, lots of prestige, and lots of influence. But his money, prestige, and power could not help him. He needed a supernatural intervention. He recognized that nothing his God can help him in his crisis. Thankfully, this crisis situation led him to a budding faith in Jesus. The most amazing thing about our Lord is that he welcomes this type of beginner's faith. He welcomes it. This man implored Jesus. This man besought Jesus. This man urged Jesus. You see it in his voice. This man persisted an intercession with Jesus, even when, on the surface, it appears, and you'll see. It's very clearly in the Scripture, for, on the surface, it appears that he's being rebuffed by Jesus, but I want you to remember this rebuttal or rebuff, it's not intentional, focusing on this man.
Now, there is a large crowd of people if you read it in the context. There's a large crowd of people, and when they see somebody like this, recognized by his clothes, people were making way, making way for him to come to Jesus. So he comes to Jesus. This is a large crowd, and Jesus was speaking to the crowd, not necessarily to this man specifically, even though he was included. Verse 48, "Unless you people," hah-ha, "Unless you people see miracles and signs and wonders, you'll never believe". Here's a biblical fact. Listen to me. I know many of you testify to this as I do. If we are to grow in faith, we must be willing to accept the test of faith.
There are many people who wanted faith without being tested in their faith. But it's like school. You cannot take it to college unless you graduate from high school. There can be no testimony without a test, and the test of faith is designed by God to reveal to us, he already knows, it's to reveal to us the level of our faith. It is designed to test if we have a fleeting faith or a continuing faith. Do we just have a temporary faith or a permanent faith? Believing God for the next generation, trusting God to do great things with the next generation, totally believing God to use the next generation, he must move us from crisis faith, to continuing faith. You see it clearly in this nobleman. He went from crisis faith, to continuing faith.
You say, "How"? Look at verse 48 again. Jesus puts him off as it were. He was not gonna be deterred. I say he is not taking "No" for an answer. He's not gonna give up. How does he respond to that rebuttal? How does he do that? Verse 49, "You people, unless you see", he said, "Sir, just come with me. I'm not listening to anything else, and just come with me," 49, verse 49. What is he saying? He's saying, "My faith is in who you are. My faith is not only for what you can do but of who you are". And that is why his faith goes from crisis faith, to continuing faith, to confident faith. Look at verse 50. Jesus said, "You go. Your son lives".
Hah, I wanna tell you, here's a Youssef imagination. Had this man's faith stayed in the crisis faith mode, had this man's faith was merely a shallow faith, just tryin' to get what he wants to get, he would've said, "Now, wait a minute, wait a minute, Jesus. Aren't you gonna come with me and see the boy? Hello. Well, aren't you gonna come and lay hands on him and heal him? How can I be sure that this is the case? How do I know that this is really the case? My boy is long, long away from here, Capernaum. It's right there on the lake, and we're here in Nazareth's county. It's a long way away". But he didn't. He didn't. He didn't. And the reason he did not is because his crisis faith moved forward to being continual faith.
Now it is confident faith. It's confident, not arrogance. There's a world of difference between confidence and arrogance. Beloved, confident faith takes God at his word. Now, I testify to you, and I told you this before that I hung, and I'll continue to hang everything in my life on the promises of God, and so can you. So can you, wherever you are, watching. Hang on the promises of God regardless of where your next generation actually are right now, wherever they are spiritually because you know and I know that doubt is the enemy of faith, right? Doubt is the enemy of faith, and doubt tempts all of us, including your pastor. Doubt tempts all of us, but doubt needs to continuously being uprooted like a noxious weeds. How? By trusting in the Word of God, by taking hold of the promises of God, by dropping anchor on the promises of God.
But here comes something that is of uttermost importance, interceding for the next generation, but we must also model faith to the next generation. We must model that faith because, if we model faith, sooner or later they will develop their own faith. When they see us go from crisis faith, to continuing faith, to confident faith, sooner or later, the will experience confirmed faith. This member of King Herod's inner circle believed God for the next generation. He trusted God's Word without visible evidence. He couldn't see it. He took Jesus's word for it. He trusted in Jesus's promise, so much so, that he did not rush home that day. I'm gonna show you how I get this. I don't know where he spent the night, but I can promise you he slept like a baby in a strange bed.
Earlier, I told you about God's promise in 1 Corinthians 7: 14, 15, and 16, that non-believing children of the one who's a believing parent are sanctified or set aside for God to do work in their life. This means that, as you intercede your next generation, as you pray for the next generation, you can rest at peace. You're not anxious. You're not worried. You're interceding, you're not giving up, but you're at peace. Somehow, somewhere, sometime, God is gonna keep his word, God is gonna keep his promises, so you rest in peace. Question, you know why this is really important? Do you know why it's important?
Listen to me, because it has nothing to do with who I am or who you are or who anybody else is. Has nothing to do with who we are. Important as we are to the heart of God, has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with the character of God. Look at the text with me, please. When the nobleman went home the next day, it's the next day. You know how I know that? Gonna see it. The servant met him. Probably gate of the city. They probably stayed at that gate all night long, waiting for the boss to come home. They were probably saying to each other, hah, "The boss-man is not gonna believe what happened. The boss-man is not going to believe the good news that we've got for him. The boss-man will probably want to see for himself. Oh, wait till he gets home, and he sees for himself what happened".
The servants probably couldn't have sleep that night, but the nobleman did. So when he came home, he only asked one question, just one question, one question. No, no, it was not "Let me see for myself," "Hello, where is the boy"? No, you know what the question was? "What time did this happen"? Yeah, "What time did this happen? What time was the boy healed"? Listen, I'm using sanctified imagination here, okay? "Boss, what difference does it make"? "Oh, it makes all the difference in the world because this is not a coincidence. This is not a happenstance. This is not an accident. This is not luck. It happened the very second the promise was uttered from the lips of Jesus".
Crisis faith gave way to continuing faith, which developed into confident faith. Now it becomes confirmed faith. And, my beloved friends, confirmed faith must, must, must, must lead to contagious faith. If you seek God, and God answers you, and you keep your mouth shut, and you don't testify, think about it. Verse 53, they told him, of course, "Yesterday". That's how I know it was the day after that he didn't come home right away. When the nobleman confirmed the moment of the miracle, the Bible said, so "He and his entire household, they all got converted". His testimony and his witness to his household that including all the servants and the slaves and the children, the grandchildren, everybody that's in the household became believers.
That's just the word of testimony. If I learned anything about the Word of God and the reason I've been walking with him is I know this: God is a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. God loves to work with multiple generations. God loves to bless whole households to be used and blessed by God, and that is why believing on behalf of the next generation is not an option. It's not an option. And you see what's... the New Testament, not just your Old Testament, but you see it in the New Testament.
In Acts chapter 10, the very first Gentile, it was a captain in the Italian Army. He was Italian. He was not Jew. This is the first Gentile ever to believe and be redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ, Cornelius. The Bible said in Acts 10, Cornelius and his whole household believed and were baptized. You go into Acts chapter 16, when Paul and Silas were singing in the prison, and there was an earthquake, and the jailer thought all the people are gonna escape, and then "The government is gonna kill me," so he was about to take his own life, and Paul says, "Stop, we're all here".
And then he said, "What must I do to be saved"? And the apostle Paul shares with him, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ," and the Bible said, Acts 16, "The Philippian jailer and his whole household", can you say, "whole household..."? You go again, 16, Acts 16, Lydia, a businesswoman, when she came to the Lord, her whole household. God loves to work with multiple generations. The question is: "Will you covenant to at least intercede for the next generation"?