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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Urgently Sharing the Truth

Michael Youssef - Urgently Sharing the Truth

Michael Youssef - Urgently Sharing the Truth
Michael Youssef - Urgently Sharing the Truth
TOPICS: Never Give Up, Evangelism, Truth

In Matthew 24 Jesus warned again and again. He said, "Let no man deceive you". Now the apostle Paul, he was absolutely aware of the insidiousness of that subtle deception. He knew that deception can come to all of us, pastor and congregation, all of us. That deception can come to the most ardent Christian, that deception can invade a believing church, that deception can come to future leaders of a church like Timothy to whom he's writing. And that is why Paul begins chapter 4, the last chapter in the 2nd Epistle to Timothy, in chapter 4, verse 1, and he says to him, "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Jesus Christ, who is the judge of the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom". "I solemnly charge you".

This is a legal term which means to testify under oath in a court of law. Except this is the court of heaven where the witness is no other than the Holy Trinity. So what is this charge that Timothy is to receive? What is that charge that he's charging Timothy with? It's a charge under oath to be faithful to the Word of God and to preach the whole counsel of God that Timothy would speak what God has already spoken, no more and no less, that Timothy would not take liberty to massage or to improve or to soften the Word of God. And by the way, Timothy, if people don't like it, that is not your problem. Now, that's a Youssef translation but you'll get the meaning. Because God is the only one who's gonna judge him. God is the only one who's gonna judge me. God is the only one who's gonna judge every one of us. Why? Because as long as Timothy, as long as you, as long as I, am faithful to the Lord, we have nothing to fear.

Now, you remember in the very beginning Paul told Timothy to guard the truth, guard it. And secondly, he told him to continue in that truth. And thirdly, we saw how he told him, "If you have to, suffer for that truth". And fourthly, here today, he is telling him to proclaim this truth, to gossip this truth, to preach this truth, to share this truth, to pass on this truth. How is he to do this? Well, three ways he gives him. First of all, he's got to be urgent about sharing of that truth. Secondly, he is to be relevant when he shares this truth. And thirdly, he said that he is to be patient for the fruit of that truth. Let's look at those three very quickly. To be urgent in sharing of the Word of God. What does urgent mean? It means to be ready. It means to be on call. It means that you're always alert, looking for opportunities and looking for ways by which you can share the truth. Never lose your sense of urgency.

You see, some people take verse 2 to mean Paul is giving us a license to make pests of ourselves until people believe. No, no, no, no, no, no. The reason he said to preach in season and out of season is not in terms of the person to whom you are witnessing, but in terms of us who are witnessing. It's for us, not for them. It's the one who's doing the witnessing and be ready to witness when the opportunity comes, whether it is convenient for you or not. Literally, be on duty all the time whether it's convenient for you or it's not. You see, the great apostle is not giving us a license for rudeness but an appeal against Christian laziness. Well, the second characteristic about our appeal, it is to be relevant. Bringing the gospel to bear on the circumstances that people are going through, where they find themselves.

This is how you go about it. Is a person in need of healing? Take the opportunity. Tell 'em, "Let me tell you about the great physician. Let me tell you about my God, the God whose name is Jehovah Rapha, God my healer". Is that person in a predicament? Well, tell them about the only one who can deliver them. The reason there are three different ways here, three different words, "convince," "rebuke," and "exhort," there's a reason for that. It's because each of these are to be used differently in different circumstances depending on where the need is. Let me explain this. For those who are tormented by doubt, we convince 'em by argument. For those who are falling into sin and they desperately need to be gently rebuked, exalted, and then be led to the place of forgiveness and restoration, for those who are haunted by fear, we need to encourage them to overcome by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let me show you how Jesus himself did it. Let me show you how he did it. It's very important. With the Samaritan woman, he knew she was living a defeated life. He knew that she absolutely dreaded the life of drudgery that she was living in, where she goes and draws the water and then carries that heavy water jar all the way, long distance. And so, he opened the conversation with her how? "Give me a drink," because that's where she is. That's where she mentally and emotionally. Water was her preoccupation. And what is Jesus doing? He is breaking her preoccupational barrier so she'll be recipient to the Word of God. And from there, he told her about the water of life he himself can give. With Nicodemus, the erudite, sophisticated theologian, he cuts through all the philosophical mumbo-jumbos that theologians like to use. He said, "You must be born again".

Flabbergasted old Nicodemus. He looked for the opportunity where the need is, where the circumstances are, and he presented himself, and presented his message, to that person's need. The truth of the Word of God reaches everybody at their level, and therefore, our task is to make the Word relevant to them. Not water down the Word so they can accept it, no. We make it relevant to them. The Word of God needs to be communicated... What? Urgently. Secondly, it needed to be communicated relevantly, and thirdly, it need to be communicated patiently. Invariably, it always happen when I use the word "patience" or "patiently," I come under complete conviction. I wanna quit right here. See, there are those who try to manipulate people's emotions to get the results they wanted. But the problem with all of that is this.

Listen to me very carefully, please. The problem with all of it is these folks believe that they and their clever methods and their clever techniques and their clever marketing, is what converts people. Beloved, that is not true. So they think, "If I can water down the message, if I can soften the gospel, if I make it acceptable, I'm gonna get more people". Jesus said, "Only those whom the Father draws to me will come to me". We are incapable of converting anyone. Why do you think we ought to be on our knees all the time, praying for the lost, praying for people to be saved? You see, our faithfulness is not measured by results; by the faithfulness in our proclamation, by faithful witnessing, by faithfully passing on the God news to the next generation, to our children, and children's children. And then patiently wait for the fruit. Because, beloved, listen to me. It is always, always, always God's timing, not ours.

Question: why did Paul charge Timothy to be urgent, to be relevant, and to be patient? Why does he ask him to do that? Well, he gives us three reasons. Three reasons why he's got to be urgent, why he's got to be relevant, why he's got to be patient. The first reason, he said, because God will judge our faithfulness and lack thereof. He's talking to believers now, okay? I know there are Christians who don't like to hear this. They don't wanna hear that they're gonna give an account of every idle word that came out of our mouth. I know that and sometimes, I confess to you, I don't like it either. You see, in addition to the judgment of hell, the judgment of the non-believers who will be eternally sent into that fire that would not be quenched and the worm that will not die, in addition to that judgment, there is another judgment the Bible talks about. It is a judgment of the believers.

You know, in this church, we take the whole Word of God to be the absolute authority and, when the Word of God says we are saved by grace alone, it means what? By grace alone. You cannot do anything to earn it. You cannot do anything to achieve it. It is a gift. It is by grace God gives it to you, and you graciously and thankfully receive it from his hand. It is given by grace. Listen to what Paul said to the Ephesians in 2:8, 9, and 10: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it's a gift from God". Verse 9: "Not because of works," as if he said, "If you didn't get it in verse 8, I'm gonna emphasize it, verse 9". "Not because of works, lest anyone boasts". No bragging: "I'm a sinner. God gave me what I don't deserve". Verse 10: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus".

You see, we were created when we were born, physically. We are recreated, that's the rebirth, that's regeneration. "We're recreated in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in". What is this judgment of the believers? And if you wanna read more about this, go to Romans 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10, and read about this judgment of the believers. Sometimes, I like to refer to it as our award-giving ceremony celebration. Each of us, how many? Each of us will be rewarded differently. God is fair and he's just. All the believers are saved by grace, gift of God, but not all the believers are gonna be rewarded equally. Paul said: "We are not saved through good works, but unto good works". Say that with me. "Not through good works, but unto good works".

Hear me right. If a person claims to be a Christian, does not give of themselves to the work of God, does not walk with God, that person, if he's saved at all, he or she is in a world of hurt. Paul told the Corinthians in chapter 3, 1 Corinthians chapter 3, "Every believer's work is gonna be judged by fire". Well, let me give it to you in the Youssef translation: In that day of judgment for the believers, God is gonna light a match, fire. And those who sat on their blessed assurance and done very little, if nothing, that fire is gonna burn their works like you have lit a fire to a bale of hay. Nothing but dust, smoldering. But for the faithful believers, the ones who gave of themselves, used their gifts, gave sacrificially, always serving and always giving, their work is gonna be like gold. And so the appeal here is urgent, relevant, and it's to be done patiently. Why? Because in the last days, every believer is gonna be judged.

I know some of you are not liking this one bit. And as I told you, there are times when I don't wanna like it either. But please, don't shoot the messenger. I'm only telling you what the Word of God said. There's a second reason and he said that reason is because we see an increase of unfaithfulness. Look at verse 3 with me please. "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but have itching ears they will accumulate to themselves teachers who will suit their likeness". Paul said such people are suffering from a pathological condition called itching ears. They have itching for novelties. They have itching for what's trendy. They have itching. They have itching for what's new. They have itching for the soft underbelly. They have itching to hear that which is not convicting them of their sin and lead them to repentance. And the only relief they can get from this pathological condition, hah, is for the preacher to tell them what they wanna hear.

Here's a fact about that condition. Their ears are stopped against hearing the truth. How can their ears get unstopped? Well, their itching ears can only be unstopped when someone scratches them. Ooh, I'm under conviction. That's good. So what is Timothy to do? What are you to do? What am I to do? Verse 5: "Stay the course and endure suffering if you have to. And at any cost, don't ever, ever, ever, ever give up on the biblical truth". Beloved, I want you to hear me right on this one. It's a fact. When a church grows in favor with the world, it loses power with God. That's where we are. Let me repeat this. When a church grows in favor with the world, it loses power with God.

We need to communicate the Word urgently, relevantly, patiently. Why? Because God will judge our faithfulness. And secondly because unfaithfulness is rampant. It's rampant and we see it all around us. And thirdly because Paul himself is about to die. Believe it or not, this is not a sad thing for Paul. This is not a sad thing. Paul is about to die, but Timothy, now, must keep the gospel alive. Paul is in chains, but Timothy must preach the freeing power of Jesus Christ. Look at verse 6: "The time of my departure has come". That word "departure" here, it's a significant thing. I want to take a moment and explain it to you. It's a word in the Greek that's used when a ship pulls anchor and beginning to sail to another shore. And that's how he sees his departure.

Beloved, listen to me. This is how we should see the departure of believers. I often call it moving from the basement to the penthouse. Don't miss this. Don't miss this. The apostle Paul saw this, he saw his spiritual life to be a spiritual battlefield. And as a soldier, as a good, faithful soldier, he stayed in the battlefield. And that is why he said, "I fought the good fight". Like faithful military men and women, he stayed in the heat of the battle. He did not defect to the enemy's side. He did not run away. He did not hide. He did not choose the shady and cool spots. He did not choose the easy jobs. He did not run away from the front line, no. He stayed there, and fought the good fight. But he also said his life was like a runner in a marathon. A runner in a marathon. And he kept on running. He kept on running. He would not stop, he would not quit the race halfway.

Even though he may have been tired, even though he may have felt pain, he endured. At times he probably felt exhausted, but he kept on running, and kept on running until he run the race, looking forward not to a green wreath as the Olympic runners would get, but to a crown of righteousness. Listen to me. Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that every believer might wear his crown of righteousness, of his righteousness. And then Paul immediately goes on to say, "I'm not the only one who's gonna get that crown. I'm not the only one. Everyone who loves Jesus's appearing, everyone who loves the return of Christ, everyone who's looking forward to that great day, everyone who's longing for Jesus to come back and take us home, they too are gonna have that crown of righteousness". And if you are in fear, you can change that today. You can say:

Lord Jesus, I receive you as my Savior. Forgive my sins. I'm a sinner and deserve hell, but you, when your blood shed on Calvary, offered me salvation. I receive it gratefully (and you change your destination from fear to joy).

I'm gonna conclude by reading notes that were left in a home of a martyr. He was martyred for Christ, and a few days later, people found this. It's translated, so just bear with it. He said:

I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I will not look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, and my way is rough. My companions are few, my God is reliable, my mission is clear. I won't give up, shut up, or let up 'til I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, for the cause of Jesus Christ. I must go 'til he comes, give 'til I drop, preach 'til everyone knows, work 'til he stops me. And when he comes for his own, he will have no trouble recognizing me because my banner would have been clear.

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