Michael Youssef - Finding True Peace - Part 1
I am so glad you got to enjoy and be blessed by what we get blessed with at the Church of the Apostles almost every Sunday with Mac Powell, when he's not on the road, yeah; truly anointed man of God. You know, this event was supposed to take place in 2020, but that little virus, which you can't see, had shut down the world for two years. The amazing thing about this tiny virus is, at least to me, in my way of thinking, is that it produced an unprecedented fear in the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, and that is why I'm absolutely thrilled and delighted and privileged to come here tonight and tell you, you can never lose that peace, that peace that only Jesus can give us, that peace that makes no sense to this evil, fallen world, but only Jesus can give us.
That peace that boggles the mind, of the human mind, in general, can only be received from only one person, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, "Come unto me. Come unto me". Now, here's a indisputable fact about Christ's invitation, "Come to me," and I'm gonna talk to you the whole evening about those words, "Come to me". No one, no one in all of human history could ever say or have said, "Come to me". Not one, not asking us to come to a philosophy or come to a lifestyle or come to a religion or come to a denomination or come to a psychology. No, he said, "Come to me". Can you say that with me?
You see, philosophers and founders of religion have spoken eloquently. They have spoken words that kindled emotions and passions. They have uttered inspiring words. They have made profound statements; some of them, anyway. They have motivated people, they have inspired people, and yet none of them could say, "Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest". None could say that except Jesus. There can be no doubt that our world is filled with human weariness. I don't have to tell you that. You turn on the news every night. Our world is filled with emotional weariness. Our world is filled with weariness of fear and anxiety, and, yes, our world is filled with religious weariness, but in Matthew 11:28, when Jesus uttered those words, that invitation, "Come to me," he is the only one in all of human history that have uttered such outlandish invitation.
Let me put this in context, okay? I like to put things in context. The great man who taught me the Scripture, taught me to love the Scripture 50 years ago when I started at Moore College, always told me, "Always put the text in the context," and that's what I want to do. That moment when Jesus pronounced that invitation, that moment when Jesus said to the crowd that was standing there, "Come unto me," it was a very difficult time for the followers of Jesus, as it is today. This was right after John the Baptist was imprisoned and could die any moment. John the Baptist himself, the great preacher, the great evangelist, in prison, began to go through doubt and fear.
You see, the question is not that you have some doubts. It's what you do with that doubt, whether you stay in that doubt or you move on. And so he sent a message to Jesus, saying, "Are you the one? Are you the one"? You see, that time was a time that was filled with a great deal of cynicism and weariness of religious leaders. This was a time of weariness, of empty religious rituals. People were exhausted, looking for a meaning in life, just as they are today. People were exhausted of the burden of sin and guilt, just as they are today. And that is why, rich and poor, young and old, they all went into the wilderness to hear this rough-talking preacher by the name of John the Baptist, and his candor was such a refreshing experience for them. And John the Baptist had one primary mission, one mission, and that is to prepare the way for the Messiah. He's to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus into the world.
But as I said, John the Baptist ended up in prison, and he's going through his own doubt. And so he sent Jesus the question, "Are you the one? Are you the promised Messiah? Are you the hope of the world? Are you the one we have been waiting for for hundreds of years, if not thousands of years"? And Jesus responds in Matthew 11:28-29, was very simple: "Come unto me, all of you who are weary and burdened with life and troubles and fear and anxiety, and I'll give you rest". This is an invitation that only Jesus could give. And now I want to talk to you about three things, three double-barrel pillars. The first one is a double burden; and the second, the double invitation; and thirdly, the double blessing.
I want that to just sink in in your mind so you don't forget it, okay? I'm gonna come back to it. But this invitation that Jesus issued at that time, it was not just for those who were standing there and among the crowd. It was an invitation that was issued for every human being throughout history, throughout time and eternity, all those who live on the face of the earth. It's for everyone here and those who are watching around the world. It's an invitation to men, women, boys, and girls of all nationalities, of all race, and of all ethnic groups. And here's another fact that I need to tell you: Jesus is not only the only one who could issue that invitation, but because Jesus is the only Lord of the whole universe, and because he's the only Lord of the whole universe, he's the Creator of the universe, the Bible said it's through whom and for whom the whole universe was created.
Therefore, Jesus is the only one who could say, "Come to me, all of you who are filled with guilt and stress. Come to me, all of you who are desperate to know that there is a place for forgiveness, that there is place for peace, that there is place for comfort, that there is a place for mercy, and there is a place for grace. Come unto me, all you who are weary in spirit. Come unto me, who feel defeated in life. Come unto me, who feel helpless and hopeless. Come unto me, all who are crushed by fear and anxiety and worry. Come unto me, all you who are depressed and discouraged. Come unto me, all who are enslaved to sin and addiction, and I will set you free," amen, amen. Only Jesus can set you free. I thank God for all the other stuff. I thank God for science. I thank God for medicine. I thank God for counseling. I thank God for everything, but Jesus can set you free.
You see, during his earthly life our Lord Jesus went about, found men and women, boys and girls who were searching for meaningful life, those whose minds were uncertain about the future, those whose souls were restless within them, those whose hearts were filled with unbelief, those who hunger and thirst for authenticity, and he would call them, "Come to me, come to me, come to me, who are weary and... with life's troubles, all of you who are burdened with grief and sorrow over your loss, all of you who have despaired of falsehoods and deceptions. Come to me, all of you who live in fear and terror, all of you've become cynical with what's going on".
And with this background, let me now tell you, go back to those three things I mentioned earlier: Double trouble, double invitation, double blessing. Because Jesus made us, he knew that all of humanity, and I've been around the world 67 times in the last 45 years, all of humanity suffers from double burden, and that is why Jesus is the only one who could offer this double invitation. And for those who receive that invitation and respond to him, he promised double blessing. All of humanity suffers from this burden of life, all fear that they are laboring in vain, all feel that they're carrying huge burden. One of my colleagues, a pastor, was telling me about somebody. He said, "He walks around as if he's carrying a refrigerator on his back".
You know people like that. You might be one of them. Today, that burden will be lifted in the name of Jesus. Doesn't matter where you live. It doesn't matter with what you have or what you don't have. The problem, the core problem, the heart of the problem is sin, and the problem of sin is universal, so the question is, what are those double burdens? They are travailing, and they are burdens. They're both two sides of the same coin, really. They're both sides of the human weariness. One is active, one is passive. The word "burden" expresses the weariness of carrying a heavy load. It means "being tired of carrying a heavy burden of sin and guilt and worry and anxiety".
It doesn't merely mean that it is a physical burden. It can be that, but it is mostly a spiritual burden. It is an emotional burden. It is a psychological burden. It is a burden of sin, which we're all born with. Part of the sin's curse that Adam and Eve passed onto all of humanity, found in Genesis 3:19, it is the carrying of the stress and the strain of life. And the word "burden" here means "feeling fatigued, stressed out". How many people you know are stressed out? How many times do you get stressed out? It means the stress of providing for your family. Now, for the students, it means the stress of studying hard in order to succeed. It means being tired of everyday problem.
You see, the word "burden" here expresses weariness of just being, just being. You don't have to work at it. What does it mean? Well, it means the problem of self-acceptance. Oh, my goodness, how many people I've counseled through the year, in the 50 years of ministry, the problem of self-acceptance, the discontentment regarding who you are, the dissatisfaction of your lot in life, the disheartening of loneliness that is now of epidemic proportion in the West, and these are all part of that sin that we've inherited from our first parents, sin, which we all have in our DNA by virtue of being the children of Adam and Eve. And because of this inherited sin, we have experienced weariness of being. We have shame and deprivation. Oh, we try to cover it all up. Oh, we try to cover it all up, seeking all forms of pleasures and entertainment, and get engrossed in sports.
Probably some did not come 'cause they're watching sports. We try to deaden that pain, we try to numb that pain, we try to drug that pain, but the problem is, there is the next day. There's the next day. These can never permanently satisfy us. As a matter of fact, before Jesus coming and announcing that forgiveness is only possible through his cross, a thousand years earlier, the psalmist, in Psalm 38:4, said, "For my iniquity have gone over my head. They weigh like a burden too heavy for me". Thousand years later, Lord Jesus Christ came to say, "I have come to rescue you from these burdens". And that is why only Jesus, who is God, the very God, and became man, a very man, only Jesus who could issue such an invitation, "Come unto me, all of you who are burdened and weary, all of you who are born with sin and sin nature," which is the root of all sins.
But then we all acted on the root of that sin, and we bore fruit of sin, and that is why our only need is for the perfect, sinless God-man, Jesus, the one who offered himself as a sacrifice for both the sin nature and the act of sin. And my beloved friends, listen to me, all of humanity, all of humanity, we are over our head with sin, and we cannot, by ourselves, swim to a safer shore. No matter how many good things we can try to do, no matter how many times we promise ourselves we're gonna do better in the future, "I'm gonna do better in the future. In fact, that's part of my testament. I'm gonna clean up my act". And no matter how many times we try to improve, we find ourselves drowning under the weight of sin and shame.
Listen closely: every human being who is yet to respond to Jesus's invitation, listen carefully again; let me repeat it. Every human being who have yet to respond to Jesus's invitation, not the ones who have responded, they all are like Cain. In Genesis 4:13, Cain said, "My burden is greater than I can bear". To all guilt-weary, to all life-despairing, to all hopeless travelers, Jesus is saying to you, "Come to me, come to me, and I'll give you rest. Come to me, and I'll give you peace of mind. Come to me, and I will give you power for living". So these are the double trouble. I pray to God that not one person at the sound of my voice who desperately need to come to Jesus would not come tonight. Give him your life. You will never regret it.