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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Jesus Divides

Michael Youssef - Jesus Divides

Michael Youssef - Jesus Divides
Michael Youssef - Jesus Divides
TOPICS: Enduring Wisdom

For 2,000 years the gospel of Jesus Christ has divided humanity into two categories. No third, two categories, those who are saved and those who are lost, those who are redeemed and those who are unredeemed, those who will spend eternity in heaven with Jesus and those who will spend eternity in hell with Satan. Two divisions. Hear me right. This is not a forced division by one side against the other. No, no, no, no. This is not a division that is created by violence and intimidation. No, this division by individual choice, it's by individual choice. This division is created by men's volition.

When Jesus said in Luke 12:49 "I have come," he is describing his mission that brought him from heaven, for I tell you that he came directly from heaven. Those who say Jesus is just a founder of another religion, he is just a leader of another religion, are absolutely wrong. Jesus came from heaven because he co-existed with God the Father before all worlds, and in Matthew Jesus said the Son of Man has come. He came from heaven to seek and save that which is lost. In John 5:43 Jesus said, "I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me". In John 10:10 when he's talking about himself as the good shepherd, he said, "The Son of Man has come that his sheep may have life, and then have it more abundantly". And while his mission from heaven is to save that which was lost, but also his mission is to bring judgment, God's judgment.

You see, Jesus has a dual mission, a dual mission, those who have rejected him and chose not to be saved and therefore they will spend eternity in judgment and hell, and those who have received him and escaped that judgment. The Bible is often, speaks all, Old Testament, New Testament often speaks of judgment as fire. And just as fire has a dual purpose, so is the coming of Jesus. The Jewish hearers who are listening to Jesus at that time, they understood the Old Testament passages about the fire of judgment, but they believed that that fire of judgment is going to only hit the Gentiles. It's never going to hit them as Jews, and he is trying to wake them up from their stupor. Just as fire has a dual purpose, so is the coming of Jesus Christ. What is the dual purpose of fire? Well, on the one hand fire consumes what is combustible, but on the other hand fire does not consume that which is not combustible.

Fire burns hay so fast and so quickly, but it purifies gold. This is the dual role of the fire. The gospel fire either purges or purifies. Take your pick. Take your pick. The apostle Paul said it is to one the aroma of death to death, and to the other is the aroma of life to life. First of all, this fire, Jesus said, will take place on the cross. I'm going to explain that to you. It's very important. That is why this passage is vitally important passage to understand. It is the gospel in ten verses. He is referring to that fire of the baptism that he has to undertake, the cross. Don't miss this. Don't miss this. It's very important. The instruction that Jesus is giving to his disciples and is giving to all of us is this. Before judging unbelievers for their sins of unbelief, Jesus himself has to take their judgment and the judgment of everyone who believe in him on himself.

The judgment of sin of every repentant sinner, he's going to take that judgment on that cross. That fire of judgment is going to hit him first. What Jesus did on the cross is that he took the place of the believer's death on that cross. He became the curse of the believer on that cross. He took the punishment of the believer on that cross. He received the penalties of the believers on that cross. Who are the believers? Everyone who acknowledge that they're a sinner heading for hell and that Jesus took their judgment on that cross. Look with me please at verses 49 and 50. "I have come to cast fire upon the earth; how I wish it were kindled"! He's talking about the cross. He's talking about the cross. He said, "I have a baptism that I have to undergo, and how distressed I am until it happens". Jesus carried that burden all of his life until he went to that cross, and there he hung, stretching his hands and bleeding love and mercy and said, "It's finished. It is done. It's accomplished". He took the sin. He took the judgment. He took the punishment of everyone who believe in him.

John the Baptist said, "I baptize with water, but he who comes after me is going to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire". The fire of the Holy Spirit purifies the believer. It cleanses the believer. It sanctifies the believer. It seals the believer for the day of Christ. Verse 52 and 53, these are some of the most misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misapplied verses in the whole of the gospel. I want you to listen carefully, please. God haters say that the Bible is full of hate speech. I said yeah, the Bible hates sin. Bible hates unrighteousness. Sure it is. Bible hates bloodshed. If Jesus wanted to shock his disciples into attention, he has succeeded here. He has succeeded because the Bible tells us that Jesus is the only prince of peace, that Jesus is the only author of peace, that Jesus is the only giver of peace. You say, "How then"? He says, "I did not come to bring peace". How come the one who said, "My peace I give to you. My peace I leave with you. Not as the world give peace do I give peace, but my peace, it does not make sense. It passes all understanding".

Jesus wanted the disciples who already received the peace of God, already have peace with God, he wants them to understand that the very mention of his name will bring them trouble, hatred, and persecution, and not peace. That's what he's trying to tell them. He's trying to warn them. The very act of identifying with Jesus and the name of Jesus will create a division between them and those who hate his name. Tragically, the name of Jesus Christ always produces some sort of painful division, and that's what Jesus is talking about here, that's what he was warning them about. He was preparing them for that, but there's more. There's more. Division is only half the story. It's only half the story.

Here Jesus is quoting from the Old Testament of Micah chapter 7 beginning at verse 6. Jesus is quoting from the book of Micah because Micah prophesied hundreds of years before Christ that one of the ways to recognize the messianic age, one of the ways to recognize the Messiah when he comes is that going to be, the gospel is going to create a division, those who believe and those who don't, division between those who have accepted the Messiah and those who have rejected him. That's the division. So much for the modern preaching of getting unhitched from the Old Testament, and Jesus quoted the Old Testament over and over and over and over again, and he used it as a testimony to him. Jesus is saying that the true disciple of Christ must be willing to pay any price. I know that is an anathema to our culture. I know that. People want easy believers and easy Christianity.

In Luke chapter 9 Jesus tells us about two would-be disciples, two would-be disciples but did not become disciples. Why? Because they were unwilling to sacrifice anything, especially family relationships. One wanted to wait until he gets his inheritance, then he follow Jesus. The other wanted to delay obedience to Jesus until he had settled everything in his family. To this half-hearted commitment, listen to me. To this half-hearted commitment, Jesus said no one, no one, no one, means no one, after putting his hand on the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. I wish you could meet the people that I meet when I travel. I wish you'd know the people that I know and I have the privilege and the honor of fellowshipping with them who literally sign the life, their death warrant the moment they come to Jesus, and they know it, but the joy on their faces is indescribable. And they talk about death not by strangers, but by members of their family.

Beloved, please listen to me. We are commanded. We're not given an option, we are commanded not only to love those who spitefully use us, but to pray for them, pray that when they repent, we should be prepared to embrace them and love them with the love of Christ. Don't ever forget, don't ever forget the gospel that brings us inner peace even in the midst of turmoil, the gospel that brings us inner peace in the middle of difficult circumstances will also be the cause of the believers to be misunderstood, maligned, mistreated by those who don't believe, often by those who are closest to us, the nearest, and the dearest. The most heartrending division are always, always among the dear and the near. There is no greater or deeper feeling of hurt and pain, yet part of the cost of our discipleship as believers is to love even the family members who are non-believers with self-sacrificing love.

Finally, in this passage, our Lord Jesus Christ comments on those who refuse to be discerning and talking about the danger to those religious leaders, verses 54 all the way to the end, 59. In fact, what Jesus does here, he gives us two illustrations, two illustrations as a warning. Beloved, this is a warning to us today as they were to the disciples. It's a warning to those who lack discernment, which may put them in danger of missing out salvation altogether. Two parables. They have seen the numerous array of supernatural miracles. They've seen the dead rise. They have seen the blind could see. They have seen how the lame is able to walk. They have seen how the deaf ears were opened and were able to hear. And in the face of these irrefutable evidence of his Messiahship, they failed to comprehend that he's the one, that he's the one, that he's the one, the one for whom at least 300 prophecies said he's coming, he's coming, and the description of the birth, description of the suffering, description of the miracles, description of the resurrection.

And these two illustrations, I'm going to tell you very quickly two illustrations Jesus gives, it was double-edged rebuke. The first illustration was to rebuke their lack of discernment. They failed to discern the times. Oh, beloved, listen to me. I plead with you. Discern the times in which we live. Discern the times. Secondly, he's rebuking them for not discerning the threat, the threat and the danger that's about to engulf them. First of all, the first, they failed to discern who Jesus was. Of course, back then they did not have modern tools that meteorologists have today such as satellite photos and Doppler radar and sophisticated computer models and all of that, yet just simple observation of the weather, just simple observation by repeated weather pattern helped them to discern the short-term weather, what's going to be like, short-term forecast.

Look at verse 54. "When you see the clouds rising in the west, immediately you say, 'Shower is on its way.' And so it happens". And Jesus said to them, "You hypocrites". So much for the weak and mild Jesus, the milk toast Jesus, the doormat Jesus. "Ooh, didn't want to hurt their feelings". I am very happy to hurt anyone's feeling if I can save them from hell. "You hypocrites, you know how to analyze the appearances of the earth and the sky, but you cannot recognize the time of your visitation from heaven". Why did he call them hypocrites? Why did he call them hypocrites? Because their spirituality was a false spirituality, because their allegiance to God was a sham, because their virtue was only for show, because their religion was only external, because their hearts were evil.

Some of you may ask, "Well, Michael, what prediction of the weather and hypocrisy have got to do with each other"? Well, I'm glad you asked, because I want to answer you. They can drew a conclusion on weather patterns with far less evidence than what they saw with their eyes, impeccable life, sinless life, supernatural miracles. All this evidence are conclusive of his Messiahship. That's hypocrisy. You know, I hear people all the time say, "If we have miracles like the 1st century," but I can tell you no one saw more miracles, more signs and wonders than Judas Iscariot. You see, the Jews in the time of Jesus did not reject him because they looked at the evidence and they reject him based on the evidence. They didn't. But because he was not the military leader whom they wanted to come and liberate them from their enemies.

That's what they were looking for. They were looking for the wrong one. They wanted an earthly king and an earthly kingdom, and they failed to recognize Jesus who said, "My kingdom is not of this world". They failed to recognize the times. And secondly, the second illustration or rebuke is because they failed to recognize the danger and the threat. Verse 57, "Make the right judgment," he said. I want you to picture this. This is what he said. I just want you to picture it. You have an altercation with someone. You get into a dispute, and you go to the magistrate, and the magistrate or the judge is going to decide who's guilty and who's not and what the punishment is for that person.

Now he said, basically Jesus is saying that guilty person knows he's guilty. So don't wait to go to the court, settle out of court. Confess, say, "I'm sorry," pay the penalty, whatever it is. Get it done before you get to the court. Get it done before you face the judge, and Jesus is saying to them spiritually speaking, do that. Recognize that you need salvation. Recognize that you need repentance. Picture yourself standing before the great judge of the universe at the white throne judgment where you will be found guilty and the judgment will be not few years in prison, but eternity in suffering and torment. Picture that. And Jesus is urging them and everyone at the sound of my voice, everyone at the sound of my voice, consider carefully the humongous threat of eternal judgment and embrace the gospel now before it's too late. One of the great preacher of yesteryears said the following. "By his obedience Christ wiped off our transgressions, by his sacrifice he appeased the divine anger, by his blood he washed away our sins, by his cross he bore our curse, and by his death he made satisfaction for us". Come now.
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