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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Hope for the Heart of Georgia

Michael Youssef - Hope for the Heart of Georgia

Michael Youssef - Hope for the Heart of Georgia
TOPICS: Evangelism

You've heard it said many times in the last few years we live in unprecedented times, and it's absolutely true. We're seeing chaos and disaster before our own eyes like we've never seen before. According to some media it feels like the end of the world, but none of this should surprise us because Jesus himself gave us some signs about the closeness of his return. He gives us those signs in Matthew chapter 24; and he said these things are going to take place immediately before his return and the Day of Judgment, and those signs are all here right now. But the most important question that every one of us should be asking tonight, "Am I ready and prepared for that great day? Will I be among those who are eternally saved and therefore have peace of mind here and now and for all of eternity no matter what or will I be among those who will be in sorrow and despair and regret and facing torment for all of eternity? Am I truly saved or am I just pretending to be a church person? Am I living for Christ or I'm faking it? Am I truly surrendering to Jesus Christ as my only Savior and Lord or am I living for self"?

And in Matthew 25 right after the time Jesus gives us all those signs in 24 and 25, he goes in and he tells us, there is a story there. Immediately after he says these are the signs and these signs are happening right now, he gives a story to illustrate the difference between those who are truly saved and those who are pretending to be; the difference between those who truly surrendered their life to him and for all of their life and for all of their activities and of all of their concerns and priority or pretending to be church people. It is called the parable of the ten young women or the ten virgins, and I want to talk to you about that. It's very, very important. This is serious matter. In telling us of that parable, our Lord Jesus Christ is giving us a self-administered litmus test whether I will be with him or I will be moaning and crying for all of eternity. He gives us that self-administered test to know am I saved or am I not.

This test will reveal to you where you stand on this Day of Judgment that is soon coming upon the world. This test will tell you if you are prepared to meet Jesus as your Savior or you're going to face him as your judge. Please listen to me. There can be no mistake about it. Every one of us are going to face Jesus one of those days. Every one of us and even those millions of people who are watching us live around the world as we are streaming this and everyone in this beautiful auditorium we're going to face him one day, and you can face him as your Savior or you can face him as your judge. The choice is yours tonight to make, and today you can be absolutely certain to know where you stand. All ten were expected to be part of the wedding party.

Now, I can tell you with absolute certainty that this parable is realistic in its details, it's poignant in its application, and it is profound in its teaching. Ten young women who were supposed to be part of the wedding ceremony, they were all church people. They were church people. Five of the ten called wise women, and the other five were foolish. Now, there's a reason why they were called wise. They showed their wisdom by their lives. They showed their wisdom by their being prepared and ready for any moment the bridegroom Jesus comes back. They were prepared. They were ready. They had the oil for the lamps. Oh, but the foolish ones, the foolish ones on the other hand, they were totally unprepared. They got distracted by other things in life. They neglected the most important decision in life.

This is the most important decision you can ever make. They were not prepared for the test, and this story that Jesus still reveals to us that these ten young women had so many things in common. They had so many things in common. And in fact they all went to sleep at night just like all human beings go to sleep at night, but suddenly goes the cry, "The bridegroom is coming. The bridegroom is coming". The five wise ones got up and they put oil in their lamps and they were ready to go, but the foolish ones said, "Oops, we don't have oil. We have lamps but no oil". We have religion but no salvation. We have traditions but not the Spirit of God. We have church membership but not salvation. So they're going to ask the wise women, the young women and they said, "Can you give us some oil? Can you give us some oil"? They said, "No, we can't do that. We can't do that. We have enough just for us".

Please hear me right. This is important. This is important. Because I need to stop here and tell you this most important thing, that if you did not know you're going to know tonight. Salvation is a personal experience. You cannot inherit it. You cannot buy it. You cannot earn it. You cannot give it to another. Each individual just has enough oil of salvation for themselves and themselves alone. And the foolish ones thought, well, like, many people do it today. They can wait until the end of their life and pray the prayer. You know what I'm talking about? Or they said, "Well, wait until we're dying and then we ask for forgiveness," or, "God might feel sorry for us and just lets us into his heaven". No, he doesn't. Or that hopefully our good deed will outweigh our bad deeds. No. Because there is no such thing as good deed outweighing all bad deeds, but there is such a thing as it is too late, too late.

The Bible said when Noah preached to his neighbors, asked them to come into the ark and be saved and he asked them, for 120 years he preached and they mocked him, they made fun of him, they ignored him, and then the Bible said God shut the door of that ark. Not Noah but God. My dear friend, it was too late, and there is such thing as it going to be too late for us. Oh, dear friends, listen to me. The day is coming when the opportunity of salvation will be no more. When the opportunity comes when Christ comes in order to save you eternally, now that door of salvation will be shut. When the door of mercy is shut, it's too late. When the time of salvation, that door is shut, it's too late. But it is not too late tonight. It is not too late tonight. The time for receiving Jesus as your only Savior and Lord is today. The time to confess and repent of your sins and seek his forgiveness with all of your heart is today.

You know, these foolish, the foolish ones realized, symbolically speaking, it was midnight because they were asleep. In real life it was night, but they didn't realize it's a spiritual midnight. You see, the shops were closed. What does that mean? The door of salvations were closed. The door is shut. No more chances. It is too late. And so they tried to play on the sympathy of the bridegroom and they tried to play on the sympathy, Matthew 25 they cried out to the bridegroom, and he said to them, "I don't know you". Oh, listen to me. They could say, "Well, but we go to church on Christmas and Easter. We go to church on some occasions". "I don't know you". "But we did some good things in life". "I don't know you". "But we were good people". "I don't know you".

And that is why Jesus goes on to say keep on watching because you do not know what the hour is, you don't know what day it is of his return. You got to be watching, you're going to be anticipating, and you got to be waiting. Oh my friend, listen. Listen to me. Listen to me. Please don't miss, I beg you not to miss what I'm going to tell you because what Jesus is telling us in this parable something very, very serious, that in his first coming he is inviting whomsoever comes to be part of his bride the church. In his first coming, he betrothed all of those who truly have accepted his invitation and committed themselves to him. In his first coming, Jesus issued an invitation but only those will be betrothed are those who have loved him with all of their heart, betrothed only those who have lived for him and waited for him and longed for him and served him and him alone.

But then there was another group of people. There's another group of people. We see them. Oh, they might admire Jesus. They say, "Oh, he was just a good teacher. He was just a good example of living and loving. We learned from him". You are right. Best of luck. Then someone said, "I'm a follower of Jesus". You do that on your own and you're going to fall and stumble on your face. Only Jesus can help you to be a follower of Jesus. Only when you come to Jesus can you be a true follower of Jesus. These people admired Jesus. They respected Jesus, but they never obeyed Jesus. Those who may have occasionally attended church but they never were born again. They were never born again of the Spirit of God. Those who may have gone through the motions of Christianity but lived their life for themselves, those, my friends, are the foolish ones that makes me weep at times.

Listen to me. This story that Jesus tells about these ten virgins, he gives us seven, seven, I flunked math, so I can hold my fingers up. I don't want to mess this up. Seven things are common between them. I'm going to tell you very quickly, very quickly. They both were invited. They both responded positively to the invitation initially. Both groups were part of the visible church, both had affection toward the bridegroom, both confessed Jesus with their lips, both believed that he is coming back, both physically have fallen asleep. But as soon as a bridegroom showed up, all of the similarities have ceased. Why? Because some were born again and others were not. Did you know that in the Bible oil is the symbol of the Holy Spirit? It's the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and when the Holy Spirit comes into your life... that's why Jesus said you must be born again, born of the Spirit. Not just a religious experience. No, no, no. That the Spirit of God, when the Spirit of God comes into your life, he's going to cause you an inner change.

When the Holy Spirit comes in, he's going to cause inner transformation in your life. The Holy Spirit when he comes in, he cause you to be sold out for Jesus. The Holy Spirit compels you to live for Christ and not for self, and that is why this self-administered test that I'm talking about is very important. It's very important, and I pray everyone at the sound of my voice will be doing this test tonight. "Do I live my life with the total expectations of seeing him face to face? Am I living my life..."

I tell my congregation all the time. Some of them are already here tonight and I'm so thankful for them. But I tell them I live my life with the one thought, the audience of one that I'm going to have with Jesus. But every one of us are going to have that audience of one. Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this. Does the thought of the return of Christ and end times and the Day of Judgment is going to come that we read about in the Scripture both in Revelation and the Thessalonians and here in Matthew 24, does this frighten you or does it thrill you? That's a question. Ask yourself. Now, I'm not asking you if you have had some religion. I'm not asking you if you had some religious experience. No, I'm not asking you if you belong to a denomination. No. Jesus said you must be born again. Be born of the Spirit of God. And if tonight will be the night in which you can affirm that, this self-administered test, is my life lived with this great day in mind or not? And that is why Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into my heaven".

Just like a torch without fuel is worthless, so is a professing Christian without the Christian life. These five foolish young women, what they professed outwardly was not substantiated in their inward life. Someone would say, "Well, Michael, okay. I got it. I got it. Tell me how can I be sure that I am living the life like these wise young women". I'm glad you asked because I want to answer. By accepting Christ's invitation and coming down and confessing and repenting of your sin, by recognizing that only Jesus who died on the cross for you can forgive you eternally, by accepting that his death on the cross to be for you and on your behalf; that when he died he died your death, when he died he paid your debt, that he gave his life so that you may live for him. Can I get an amen?

By accepting the fact that Jesus coexisted with God the Father before all eternity and yet he willingly, obediently laid aside the splendor; not his divinity, but the splendor of his divinity and he took a form of a man, died a criminal's death. The innocent, the perfect, the sinless died for sinners. The worst thing you can do is not respond to Jesus's invitation today. The worst thing you can do; that you come to him at this very moment, for you can never guarantee your tomorrow. For 51 years I've pastored, ministered in three continents and I have buried young and old alike. Life is so uncertain. Don't put it off. Don't put it off. And so I'm going to ask all of us to stand in our place right now.

Let's all stand. And then I'm going to ask all of you to whom the Holy Spirit spoke. If God spoke to you, if the Holy Spirit of God spoke to you and says you need to respond, you need to accept that invitation I want you to come down these aisles. The Bible said if you hear his voice, harden not your heart. Today is the day of salvation. Now is the day of accepted time. Now is the time. Come. Come. Wherever you are, come down. Come down. There are people who have been praying for you. Your fellow citizens in Macon and Warner Robins, they've been praying that tonight be a special night. And who knows? God's hand on somebody who going to do great things for God. God may be calling you to come to him and accept his invitation. Be betrothed to him and so that in the last day you will be in his glory in heaven. Okay, will you pray with me? Will you pray with me? Repeat after me, please:

Heavenly Father, I thank you for Jesus. I thank you that he came and died on the cross for me. I thank you that he's more willing to forgive me than I am even ready to ask. I thank you that you have brought me to this place tonight, and I thank you that you now today as I repent of my sins be the Lord of my life and the master of my life and the Savior of my soul. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.

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