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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Working for the Lord

Michael Youssef - Working for the Lord

Michael Youssef - Working for the Lord
Michael Youssef - Working for the Lord
TOPICS: Never Give Up

I think most genuine believers in the Lord Jesus Christ know that Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Satan's commitment is to obliterate the truth of the Word of God and replace it with falsehood. That's what he and all of his demons are constantly working and doing. Again, probably, there's nobody understood this as much as, this particular deception, as much as the Apostle Paul. And that is why in 2 Timothy, chapter 2, verse 14, he says to the next generation, to the next generation leaders, not only to believe the truth, but to pass it on to the next generation, something we've been very conscious about in this church.

And we've been going through this 2nd epistle, the very last letter that the Apostle Paul wrote. We don't know if it was days or weeks, certainly not months after writing this that he was taken and beheaded and died. And so this is a very intense epistle. It's a very intense letter. You can feel it in every word that is in the page of that letter. We saw in the last message the first half of chapter 2 in 2 Timothy. He gave us three imageries that help us in our faithfulness in passing on the truth to the next generation. And here in the second half of chapter 2, he gives us three more imageries as if to build up the six imageries together can help us truly be faithful in our service of the Lord. These three imageries for faithful service are a good worker, a worker who's not ashamed of what he's doing, working hard. Secondly, a clean vessel, a vessel that is always ready to be used for honorable things. And then thirdly, the third image is a servant who is loyal and obedient to his Master.

Let's look at this very quickly. A worker who's not ashamed. The very reason for serving diligently, the very reason for working faithfully, serving the Lord is not to please others and make others feel good about themselves. Good as that might be, it is not even to please oneself. The very reason for faithfulness, the main reason and the ultimate reason for faithfulness is to please the Lord. Why are the false preachers should be ashamed? Because when their work is only for the show, it's only to impress people. It's only for the praise of people. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. When it is not to please the Lord first and foremost, they ought to be ashamed of themselves. And yet, who have every reason to be ashamed, they're shameless. That is why any ministry, any ministry whatsoever must be done for the glory of God alone. We ought not to have personal or hidden agenda. In other words, be straightforward.

The Word of God is always clear. The Word of God is always straight. The Word of God is always plain. And Paul is saying to Timothy, keep it that way, keep it that way. Nobody's saying that everybody is going to accept our message. No one said that everybody is going to be saved. Beloved, listen to me. Loving people does not mean we compromise the integrity of the Word of God. Loving people does not mean that we compromise the truth. No, being straightforward, we might suffer rejection. We might suffer alienation. We might suffer discrimination and even we might suffer persecution. But whatever you do, stay as a workman who will not be ashamed when you face Jesus on that great day. Verse 16, "Avoid godless chatter". In other words, don't get drawn into these foolish discussion. Don't get drawn into discussing issues that have already been settled in the Word of God long ago. Doing so ruins people and brings about ungodliness.

The Greek word he uses is katastrofi, from which you get the word catastrophe. Compromise does not build up a person. It tears them down and brings about disaster, catastrophe. Compromise leads to false teaching, and false teaching leads to ungodliness. The legacy of false teaching is false living, and false living leads to a catastrophe. False teaching is like gangrene. Did you see he used the gangraina, translated gangrene? I mean it is amazing. Look at verse 17. In other words, it's infectious. Don't take it lightly. It is infectious. It spreads so fast. It is deadly. Because the sinful human heart is more comfortable with compromise. And Paul is writing to Timothy and to us, and he mentions two specific people, and he mentions them by name. These two people allow themselves to be misled, ended up departing from the faith altogether.

I tell you, there is not a week that passes by, I hear some preacher fall, or some musician, Christian musician fall. It is absolutely heartbreaking. And he names those two people, Hymenaeus and Philetus. Isn't it amazing that Hymenaeus means the singing man? That's where we get the word hymns. And Philetus from phileo, which you know that means love, means a lover or a loving. And yet, one is a false singer and the other is a false lover. One is singing the wrong songs, and the other has a misplaced love. And here's what you and I must never, never, never forget. Don't miss this. Don't miss this, please, because deceivers are very attractive people. Deceivers are like the devil himself. They appear as angels of light. Deceivers are very charming people. Deceivers are very eloquent. Deceivers are great communicators. What they do is they take a grain truth, and they wrap it in a whole lot of falsehood or a drop of poison, and they sugarcoat it.

Paul said avoid such people. Verse 18, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity". I believe the Apostle Paul here is quoting from Moses in the book of Numbers, chapter 16, verse 5, because back then there was a man by the name of Korah, who managed to persuade a few others in the Israelite community to oppose the plan of God for redeeming them from Egypt, the slavery of Egypt. Korah was rebelling against the plan of God, and God literally opened the ground and swallowed them, and that's what Paul is saying. "Depart from iniquity. Don't be like Korah and company".

The second imagery the Apostle Paul gives us here in being faithful is a clean vessel. In a big house, you look at some of the castles and the things you see, and he said in a big house. You see those on television. There are all sorts of utensils, and cutlery, and pots and pans, and large numbers of them. And the church of Jesus Christ worldwide, the global church of Christ, the elect of God from every nation, every tribe, they come in all sorts. We're like those utensils. We're like the equipment in a home, except, listen carefully, except as people we have a choice to be a silver spoon or a dirty bucket. There are utensils that the Master of the house proudly displays, and there's some rusty ones he'd soon just put in the basement and hide in the basement.

Listen to me. Those who are faithful to the Lord and to his Word, the infallible Word of God, both Old and New Testament, those who are faithful to plow in straight lines are an instrument of honor. Those who twist the truth and preach and teach and speak half-truth, those who teach their own ideas, are instruments of dishonor. As far as God is concerned, listen to what the Word of God said. "If any of you, if anyone purifies himself, he will be used by the Master". There can be no higher honor imaginable in life than being an instrument in the hand of God. There is no greater honor in life than being at the disposal of the Lord to use as he wishes. Ah, but there's a condition. I did not make up that condition. What is it? What is that condition? Cleanliness and purity. Oh, are you preaching perfection now? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Don't miss, don't miss, don't miss this. Perfection is only gonna happen when we get to heaven. Can I get an amen?

I can't wait. But cleanliness and purity is not perfection. It's not perfection. Verses 22 and 23, Paul said that we can actually purify ourselves. We can only be saved by God's power and grace. That's the only way; not by our works. But once we're saved, we can continuously purify ourselves. You say, "Michael, how do I do that"? By confession, by repentance. You see, repentance is not just for sinners who don't know Christ and repent and come and believe in him. Repentance ought to be the lifestyle of every believer, not rationalizing sin, not explaining it away, not justifying it. And then Paul goes on to say, "Shun youthful passions". As soon as you hear that, there are two things that you will miss. Some people think, "Well, the just sexual immorality, those are sexual sins". And other people think, "Well, that's just for the young people".

I want to disabuse you of both. Okay, now listen to me very carefully, please. Youthful passion means more. It means self-assertion. It means self-indulgence. It means headstrong. It means being obstinate. It means being arrogant. See, these are the normal things associated with the early ages of adolescence. And I have met adolescents in this church who absolutely amaze me at their strength and maturity. But this is just the general idea. But the person at any age should have nothing to do with that. These temptations are there for the old and the young alike. To be sure, they are associated with adolescence, but everybody ought to flee from those kinds of things. There is a common mistake among believers. There's a common error.

I want to explain it to you, and I know you'll understand as soon as I explain it. The Bible said flee from temptation but resist the devil. Flee from what? (Temptation.) Resist who? (The devil.) There's a reason for that. God knows us. He made us. He knows us inside-out, and he gave us that delicate formula, because God knows that it's much easier to resist the devil and flee from temptation. Here's what many Christians fall into make the mistake of reversing those orders. You know what I mean? They reverse them. They try to resist the temptation, then they flee from the devil. When you try to resist temptation, you've got a big percentage of a chance to fall in it. But if you flee from it, you've got 99.9% chance of avoiding it. Fleeing from the devil should not be the case. Why? Because you have to stand mano a mano with the devil. You stare him down, and you can do what I do. I talk to the devil. I say to the devil, "You're a defeated foe. You're a toothless lion. You cannot have any authority over me because I am redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ".

Quote the Scripture. Nothing shall separate us from the love of God, not even you, devil. And you know what? When you stand your ground, and you resist the devil, do you know what happens? The devil is the one who flees. That's what the Word of God said. I'm not making it up. But a lot of believers linger and try to fight temptation instead of fleeing. And then they get themselves a bigger chance of falling into it. But then when we flee, we don't just flee to nowhere or to nothing. No, no, no, no, no. We flee to righteousness. The Bible is so clear. We are to die, deny ourselves, and follow Jesus, or we are to put off what belongs to the flesh, to the old nature, put on what belongs to the new nature, that we are to put to death our earthly members and set our minds on things above. We are to crucify the flesh and walk in the Spirit. We are to be ruthlessly rejecting one and relentlessly pursue the other. Now, beloved, listen, this is the secret, if there is a secret, the such thing, this is the secret to victory. This is the secret to godly living.

The third imagery, if you're following with me, follow please. The Apostle Paul gives us a third imagery here, and that's of obedient, loyal servant, just like the worker not ashamed because he cut straight lines, just like a vessel that is continuously cleansing itself for good use, the servant always obedient and loyal. In the not so good old days... you know how people talk about the good old days? In the not so good old days, in the days of slavery, a slave had an overriding duty: obey his master, doing the will of his master. And he does that whether he agrees with the master or not, whether he likes what the masters ask him to do or not. Our loyalty, our obedience is to the boss. Satan is forever trying to entrap us. They have divided loyalty. They have partial obedience. And if you think that I don't know what that is, you would be terribly mistaken. I am forever alert of the fact when I'm being trapped.

Look at verse 26. Being willing and joyful servant will equip us not to fall in Satan's traps. But not only that, but we help others not to fall into Satan traps. Or if they do, we're able to help them be rescued. I'm constantly reminding myself of this. You and I are building a spiritual house. We are the workmen and women in the building of that house. We are the utensils in that house. We are the servants to the Master of the house. So, whether you live in contempt or contentment in your house, whether you live in peace or endless pain, whether you live in the depth of depression or the height of heights, it depends how you see yourself in relationship to the Master of the house. Do you see yourself being a worker not ashamed of your work, being an instrument that is clean and pure, ready for the hard work in the hand of the Master, or as a servant willing to obey the Master? It's up to you, and it's up to me. Oh, my prayer to God that I and everyone at the sound of my voice would say, "Yes, Lord". That's me. And if not, you can say, "Yes, Lord, that's what I want to be".
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