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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You - Part 5

Michael Youssef - Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You - Part 5

Michael Youssef - Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You - Part 5
Michael Youssef - Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You - Part 5
TOPICS: Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You, Sex, Sexuality, Marriage

The verses that I'm about to deal with in this part of this series are of uttermost importance, and I'll tell you why, because our culture is absolutely sexually-charged culture. Look with me, please, at what Jesus said regarding the seventh commandment: "Thou shall not commit adultery". It's found in Matthew 5, verses 27 to 30. Here he tells us that all acts of adultery start with obsessing with someone else who's not your husband or your wife; therefore, we should start there. We just start there. That's the beginning. We have seen in this series of messages that God is concerned with the source of sin, that God is concerned with the origin of sin, that God is concerned with what leads up to sin, and you've got to stop it at the source.

In the last message we saw also the absolute necessity of dealing with anger biblically, because if you don't deal with it biblically, you're gonna get into trouble. In fact, here he tells us the absolute necessity of dealing with the thought that leads to adultery. It all begins with the eye. The eye is very powerful. The eye is the gatekeeper to the thought. The eye is the key to the thought, and that is why our Lord starts there. When you begin to allow that thought to possess you, it's gonna lead to adultery. Listen, we've gotta stop here, and I'm gonna tell you, listen carefully, as Bible-believing Christians, we believe that sexuality is a gift of God. We believe that God created sex as a gift between husband and wife in a heterosexual marriage. And yet, man perverted, that gift has perverted all the other gifts.

Don't ever forget it's God who created pleasure, and it is between man and woman in monogamous relationship, and it's delightful. God is the one who created us as sexual being, but that sexuality is only legitimized in heterosexual marriage. But listen to me. Just as anger has to be controlled by God's power, and God's power alone working in us, so must also sexual attraction must be controlled by the power of God working in us. So, what is Jesus saying here? He's interpreting the seventh commandment. He said, "Let me explain to you what my Father meant by this. Here's his original intent. This is what he wants you to know". And he is saying that all of God's gifts come with operating manual. All of God's gifts come with a operating manual. You have to follow the operating manual, otherwise, you'll be self-destructing.

Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of England, is one of my favorite people. She was quoted in the Independent newspaper, October 12, 1996, and I quote, "Our sexuality is like a fire. A fire in a fireplace is a wonderfully delightful thing. But put it out of the fireplace, and it burns the house down to smithereen". Good English word. But there is something else that I need to make very clear right at the outset here. Jesus is not speaking about normal attractions. That's not what he's talking about. He's not even talking about the temptations that we all face. He's not even speaking about the thought that is fleeting. No, he's talking about being obsessed with someone who is not your husband or your wife. The Greek word means to persist in leading into enticement. It is obsession that comes day and night, thinking that I must have that person, I must have that person.

But I must hasten to say that all of this begins with emotional intimacy, because sometimes we don't keep an eye on that one, and then it trips us. You see, any emotional intimacy, other than with your spouse, is the first step toward adultery. Husbands and wives listen to me. I'm gonna say more about this in the next message when Jesus talks about marriage and divorce. But we must learn how to affair proof our marriages. In this ministry, we have certain guidelines and certain rules about sitting with a door shut with anybody of the opposite sex or even get in the car with one. We did this 33 years ago in order to protect ourselves and protect others. You see, you've gotta start there. You don't wait until you are in the ditch and then say, whoops. No, no, we start with that emotional, emotional intimacy. And the best way to affair proof your marriage is not to get emotionally hooked with somebody who's not your spouse. Because of that relationship between the eye and the heart, the eye and the heart, that's the situation.

This is the relationship that Jesus is talking about here, which gives us the next two verses, which if you don't listen very carefully, you might misunderstand those two verses, 29 and 30. They're very important, very important. "If your right eye..." You see back then they thought anything left is sinister. "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away". And that is why this really needs a huge explanation. I hope you're listening. It needs a huge explanation, because I can tell you if this is meant to be taken literally, just about everybody, everywhere is eyeless, handless, and legless. And that's why we send people to seminary, we spend money on them, and they take years of studying in seminary so they can study Greek and Hebrew, study the languages in which the Bible was originally written. Why? Because not understanding the original meaning of the text, in fact, throughout history, it led to the rise of many false teaching when they don't understand the biblical language.

In the Hebrew language, there is a figure of speech known as the Hebraic hyperbole. What is that Hebraic hyperbole? It's a form of speech that uses dramatic form of speech to highlight a point. Like a dear friend of mine, a pastor, says, "I am not exaggerating. I'm just blowing it up so you can see it". This type of speech is the very opposite of what our generation is now thinking and striving. What do I mean by that? Instead of pampering and indulging ourselves, we need to exercise self-discipline, self-denial, and we need to understand that Jesus is not recommending mutilation, but mortification. Jesus is not recommending mutilation, but the resolute determination to reject sinful practices. It is not mutilation that he's recommending, but dying to self-indulgence and instant gratification.

Here's the point: If there's an area where temptation comes through the eye, don't look. Pretend you're blind. That's really what it means. If your hands that caused you to sin in the past, tempt you, pretend that you're paralyzed. Put your hands in your pockets. If your feet took you to places that caused you to sin in the past, pretend that you can't walk. Here's what Jesus saying to every believer, listen to me. Heaven and your heavenly reward is far, far more important than any temptation. Heaven and your heavenly reward is far, far, far more important than temporary gratification. Eternity and eternal reward infinitely longer than any momentary pleasure. In fact, Jesus is saying more than that. He is saying that it is better to accept alienation by the world than risk losing your heavenly reward. It is better to accept cultural amputation in this world than risk the loss of your eternal reward. It is better to be prudish in this world than experience the test of fire at the end times.

Question, what is that test of fire that Jesus is talking about? Well, most of you know this. But in case you don't know, all the believers have escaped the judgment of hell. "Therefore, there is no condemnation upon those who are," what? In Christ Jesus. But every believer in Jesus is gonna stand before a judgment seat that is different from the judgment of the world. We'll be judged in a different way. And it's to do with our eternal reward. The Apostle Paul gives us an explanation of that in chapter 3 of 1 Corinthians, particularly verse 15. He gives us really an imagery that will help us understand what this judgment seat of Christ is all about. Christ is going to light a torch, a fire to every one of our works and how we lived our lives. He's gonna light a fire, and every believer's work will be tested. What we've done in the flesh, how we lived our lives.

Have we been faithful or unfaithful? All the believers' deeds will be tested by fire. Imagine the lighting of that torch for the life works that you and you and me have been building through the year on the foundation of Christ. If your work has been for the glory of God, serving God, denying yourself for the sake of Christ, that fire is going to make you shine as the fire does to gold and silver. But for those who have indulged themselves and pleased themselves, and not Christ, our work will light up that fire as if it's a dry hay or straw. It will burn. Some people are gonna be walking around heaven smelling like fire. Here's what he said. "We will be saved as by escaping through the flames". The Lord is talking about this judgment seat of Christ, in front of which every believer is gonna stand, every believer is gonna stand.

2 Corinthians 5:10, he says, "Each one of us will appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Each one of us will receive what is due to him or her for the things done in the body, whether good or bad". And so here in Matthew 5:29-30, this very difficult two verses, Jesus is not speaking about being saved or lost. He's speaking of the kingdom of God and the assumption here, because he's speaking to his followers who are already saved. In other words, he's saying to the believers... hear me right, please, hear me right. It is of uttermost importance to demonstrate the righteousness of Jesus Christ that he imputed on you, the righteousness of Jesus Christ that he gave you, the righteous robe of Jesus Christ that surpasses that of the Pharisees. He is saying this is a serious business. Don't take it lightly.

And that is why, back to 1 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 10, Paul goes on to say, "Be careful how you build, how you're building your life, how you're building your life, how you're using your time, how you're using your energy, how you're using your talent and the gifts, how you're using your treasure". He said, "Be careful how you build". You and I are builders. We're building every day. Self-indulgence or self-denial? Self-pleasing or Christ pleasing? Self-gratification or self-discipline? It's a super structure that each of us are building in our lives. Is it gold and silver of faithfulness, or a straw and hay of unfaithfulness? Is it the gold and silver of righteousness of Christ or the straw of seeking our own happiness? "Ah, God wants me to be happy".

I don't find that in the Bible. Nothing against happiness. I'm a happy guy. I'm very happy, actually. Let me illustrate to you and expound on the words of Jesus here by telling you a story that will illustrate the opposite, the exact opposite of what Jesus is saying, but to make the point. You'll understand it, a true story. An Oxford University student was brought to the University hospital, complaining about pain in his right leg, just below the knee. Batteries of tests were conducted and the doctor came and broke the bad news to this young man. He had cancer centered below his knee. And the cancer was so advanced, it was life-threatening. And so the doctor strongly urged him, begged him, pleaded with him to let them amputate his leg below the knee so that they can save his life. But he absolutely refused. He was adamant.

And so they attempted to treat the cancer with chemotherapy and radiation. And while it showed the cancer slowed some, it didn't get rid of it. The doctors again began to plead with him and urge him to amputate to save his life, but he again adamantly refused. He was gambling on that slender chance that the cancer might go into remission, but it did not. Within three months, they found the second growth in the liver and the kidney. Six months later, he died. Afterward, two of the team of surgeons went over to visit his heartbroken mother, and they asked her, "Why did he refuse to let us amputate, when the operation most certainly would have saved his life"? His absolutely brokenhearted mother stammered as she explained. "He has been very proud of his looks and his athletic ability, and he said, 'I'd rather die than lose my leg.'" And he did. Beloved, that's the opposite of what Jesus is saying. The little sacrifices you make in order to save for all of eternity and the eternal reward.

Someone will say, "Michael, Jesus is setting forth an impossible standard no one can follow". And if that is your question, let me tell you. You are absolutely 100% correct. Beloved, listen to me. Sin in any form, any form, any form is so subtle and so deceiving, and none of us can deliver ourselves from its clutches. Let me tell you, that this impossibility that Jesus has set forth is twofold. Listen carefully, twofold. First, Jesus wants all men, women, boys, and girls to despair of their own righteousness and seek his righteousness. And secondly, our Lord's remedy to our sinful heart is a new heart, is a new heart. People will say, "Oh, I'm good. I haven't done anything bad, not really something very, very bad. I kept the golden rules, and God will have to let me into heaven".

Listen to me, please, please, please, let me plead with you. Think again. Most people who say these kinds of things, "I'm okay, and I'm good," they can't even live up to their own standards, let alone the standards of Christ. So, what some of them try to do in order to keep people happy, they lowered the bar all the way to the ground. So, they tell people where to step on it and over it, and you'll be fine. Oh, they're gonna pay. Just wait. The day of judgment is coming. This is tragic 'cause all they're doing is allowing people to dig deeper and deeper holes. And that is why sometimes you see them angry and call the Bible-believing Christians names. They're expressing their anger, because we would not allow the lowering of the bar, and we confess our sinfulness without Christ and inability to save ourselves without Christ.

There's only his righteousness that's gonna take us all the way home. I want to speak to you, to the person who is unfaithful to his or her marriage vows. I want to speak to you for a minute. You cannot sin deeper or further than God's grace. Did you get that? Our God is a bondage breaker. Come to him, confessing and repenting, and the Bible said his blood would cleanse us from all... how many? All unrighteousness. And so let me finally tell you about a man whom we know as Saint Augustine. He was far from being a saint. He was a playboy, adulterer, and he lived a wild life. He comes from what's modern-day Algeria and Tunisia, that area in North Africa. He was living this wild life.

Meanwhile, in North Africa, his mother, Monica, was crying tears over him, and pleading with God to save him, and God heard her prayer. And he was thoroughly converted to Christ, thoroughly converted to Christ. And immediately, his life began to change, began to change. He rejected his former lifestyle and began to live for Christ. One day after that happened, he was going back to Rome for business, and he was discipled by a godly bishop in Milan, actually, but he was in Rome. And as he was walking in the streets of Rome, a voice of a woman in the back, who recognized him, and she said, "Augustine, Augustine, is that you"? He turned around and said, "Yes, that's me". And then when he saw her, he recognized this is the woman that he was shacking up with for a long time in his past, and he began to run and run, and he called back, he says, "It's not I. It's not I, but Christ lives in me".
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