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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 1

Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 1

Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 1
Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 1

I'm doing a short series of messages entitled "Defending a Lion," playing on the words of Martin Luther, who said, "Defending the Bible is like defending a lion". The truth is, I feel inadequate in this task, and that is why I really pray that the Holy Spirit, who authored the Bible, will take the words that I'm gonna be speaking and bring a personal revival for each one of us, for revival starts in each of us individually, and then the fire would catch, and revival comes to the church. I have always believed, and I always will believe until the Lord takes me home, that the Word of God is a mighty power when it is read, applied, and obeyed. When it is read, applied, and obeyed. Say those with me: "When it is... read, applied, and obeyed".

In the West, just the average home probably has more than one Bible gathering dust. I read survey after survey, I don't live by surveys, but sometimes when they're all saying the same thing, I like to stop and just take notice, and every survey, their, basically, the conclusion is the same: Eighteen percent, that's "one-eight" percent of professing Christians daily read their Bible, that 82% of the Bibles are seldom opened in homes. Oh, to be sure, the Bible is still the best-selling book, but it is the least read book. That convinced me that the real reason behind our increased social and moral upheaval in this country is because we have abandoned and ignored the Word of God.

An unknown author said the following. He said, "The Bible is the only book that contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, the happiness of the believer. Read it and be wise. Believe it and be saved. Practice it and be holy. It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, and the soldier's sword. Read it slowly, read it frequently, and read it prayerfully", and I want to say, "Amen" belongs here. There is no book like it. There is no book like it. While it contains 66 books, 40 different writers over a span of 15 or 1,600 years, and it contains various subjects, but it only has one theme, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer.

That is the theme of the entire Bible, the books of the Old Testament tell us that he's coming, and then the New Testament announces he's here. The Old Testament predicts his coming. The New Testament pronounces his arrival. The Old Testament anticipates the coming of Jesus. The New Testament receives him gladly. There is no book like it. There's no book like it. Those 66 books in one book, they don't tell 66 stories. No, they all tell one story. What is it? Man's rebellion against God and God's redemption for everyone who repent of that rebellion, and that is why, to this day, the unity of the Bible has defied human wisdom. The unity of the Bible has baffled the critics. The unity of the Bible challenges its enemies. The unity of the Bible goads its opponents. There is no book like it.

Throughout history, people have either loved the Word of God or hated the Word of God. People either believed it, or they rejected it. Throughout history, they have tried to change it, they've tried to modify it, they've tried to undermine its authority, they tried to water down its demands. Throughout history, dictators, despots, and potentates have sought to banish it, yet they are all dead, and the Word of God still lives today, amen, amen. Give God glory. I just wonder, how many of us have ever asked the question, "Why would some people who claim to love God, and they may even claim Jesus as their Savior, and, yet they will spend more time watching television, playing golf, reading books, other books, socializing, than reading the Word of God"?

Have you ever thought about this? No, nothing wrong with these things. I do all of these things except that golf thing. I don't understand anybody spend money to get frustrated. But, for some reason, we have time for everything except spending time with the Word of God and drinking deeply from it and gaining the benefits. The common answer that, when I ask people, you know, about the Bible, "Why don't you read it"? "Well, I don't have time. I don't have time". You have time for everything else. And to make things worse, many evangelical preachers today are casting doubt in people's mind about the authenticity and the infallibility of the Word of God. This is how they go about it in order to be popular, in order to be liked: "Believe what you like, and don't believe the other stuff".

Well, after this very short introduction, I want to share with you, and this is gonna be very brief. I want to share four things, and if you're writing, take notes. Take notes because I am here to tell you, after 53 or 54 years, walking with the Lord, that the Bible is the only spiritual food that will nourish your soul, and, secondly, the Bible is the only power that you can have in your life, power for living, and, thirdly, it is the only mirror that will truly reveal to you your true self, the only mirror, and, fourthly, it is a perfect temperature shower that washes you and cleanse you.

Here, look at those four things very quickly. First of all, the Word of God is the only food, is the only food. I am not against preaching. I preach. I'm not against reading other books. I write books. But I'm telling you now, on the authority of the Word of God, that the Word of God itself is the only food that will sustain you spiritually, that will nourish you spiritually, that will encourage you every day. The analogy between the physical body and the spiritual body is often mentioned in the Scripture, that just as our physical bodies need nutrients, need good food, nutritious food for the body to be strong and survive, so is the spiritual food is needed for our spirits.

In Deuteronomy chapter 8, verse 3, Moses said to the people of God, he said, "The reason God provided you with the manna in the wilderness is so that you might know that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God". And just let me remind you, in case you don't know or can't remember, that those are the very words of the Old Testament that Jesus used when he defeated Satan in the wilderness. Job 23:12, says, "I have treasured the words of your mouth more than my daily bread".

Now, beloved, I know, and I know you know that, in this country at least, we haven't missed too many meals. We haven't missed too many meals. Thank God. I don't want to make you feel guilty about it. I just thank God. But how in the world can we go months after months without feeding our spirits on the Word of God? We work hard to provide daily food for our families, and that's wonderful. It's good. We work hard to stay healthy, and that's great. We work hard to educate our children. We work hard for physically to thrive, and, yet when it comes to feeding of our spirits, of feeding of our soul, we think that we can survive and few crumbs that we get here, there, and everywhere. No, listen to what God said through Isaiah 55:2, "Why spend money on that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare".

Beloved, listen to me: The reason we are spiritually in a famine, the famine, the spiritual famine we're in today is because God's people are so malnourished to the point of getting into a coma. The Word of God is not only the only food that's worthy of the name for your spirit, but, secondly, it is only power for living. Romans 1:16, says, one of my life verses, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power," say that with me, "the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Gentiles". I know we're forever looking for power. I think every single person, at some point, is looking for power. We're looking for power over our circumstances when we feel helpless. We're looking for power over our lives. We're looking for power over the challenges of life that we all face, but what do we do? We go and look for that power in self-help books and self-motivational books and how-to books.

All of these are fine, but they will not give you the real power that you hunger for. We leave out the only book that has the power. We forget that the Word of God is the only power over sin, that the Word of God is the only power over temptation, that the Word of God is the only power over our circumstances, that the Word of God is the only power over diseases and illnesses, that the Word of God is the only power over the challenges of life. The Word of God is not only food for our soul, the Word of God is not only a power for living, but, thirdly, the Word of God is the only mirror that can truly reveal to you yourself, the only one. We find reality to be very difficult to handle, and so we try to live in the fantasy world.

Most people, Christians included, do not want to be confronted by with their failures. I was thinking, you know, in my late teen years, God allowed so many failures in my life. I didn't like it. It wasn't great. In fact, so much of it, they made me despair of life itself. One day, I'm gonna write a more extended biography than "Trust and Obey," where I can tell some of these stories, but I thank God I lived long enough that I can look back, and I say, "God, thank you for these failures". Why? Because, back yonder, God was teaching me and preparing me to stand in this pulpit and by helping me to learn how to confront my failures.

And let me tell you, they were not few in number. See, most people don't wanna be confronted with their hypocrisy. Most people don't wanna be confronted by their double standards. Most people don't wanna be confronted by their compromises. Most people don't wanna be confronted by their complacency. A preacher preaches about prayer, and they feel guilty. They're gonna start prayer life, and they do okay for a while, then back to normal. Another preacher preaches on the Word. "Oh, I've got to read the Word of God. I gotta be", but that's complacency. It's the permanent change that God is looking for. So what do we do? Most people stop looking in the mirror, thinking, "Well, if I don't look in the mirror, I won't see myself. I won't confront my failures. I won't confront of these things that I don't like".

Please, please, please, am I right on this? The mirror confronts us with facts, and so many would say, "Because of that, I don't like to look in the mirror. I'm not gonna look at the mirror". James, the half-brother of Jesus, said the following in chapter 1 of James 1:23 and 24, "Anyone who listens to the word of God but does not do, does not do what it says would be like a man who looks his face in the mirror and, after looking at himself, gets away, immediately forgets what he saw". I'm not gonna ask you to raise your hand, but I want you to think with me, okay? I wonder how many of us, how many of us really, really enjoy and likes looking in the mirror first thing in the morning? Hello, when you wake up... no, no, I'm talkin' about... you know what I mean? When your hair is so disheveled and your face looks like a truck has been, whoa, driven all over it.

Now, in my case, it's a horror show. Yeah, I mean, it's really scary. But, please, listen, listen, looking at the mirror is precisely what caused me to do something about it. Looking at the mirror is what propels me to hit the shower and do a few other things. Some of us do more than others, but that's okay. Now, suppose you look, and you see yourself, and then you say, "Well, I don't like what I see, but you know what? I won't do anything about it today. I might do something about it sometime down the road". And then, you go to work just the way you are. That would be a horror show for everybody else. But that's precisely what happens when a believer looks at the Word of God as a mirror and confronts failure, frailty, inconsistencies, and the list goes on and on and on, but that's why we do something about it.

Trust me, if you don't do something about it, it only gets worse in time, or I'm just, "Let's me pretend that everything is fine, that I look okay. Well, I'm gonna pretend, I'm just gonna fake it with everybody else. I'm just gonna put a mask on and hope that will mask how I really look". Here's the problem: When you go out that door, everybody else will see it except you. Listen to what Hebrews said, chapter 4, verse 12, "The word of God is living and active and sharper than two-edged sword. It penetrates deep, dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges thoughts and motives," hello. It judges us, and I am personally convinced, again, I take full responsibility for what I'm saying.

This is my opinion, not the Word of God, but I am personally convinced that some of modern-day evangelical preachers, in order to go on the offensive, I already said the Word of God judges our thoughts and our motives. So what they do, they sit on judgment on the Word of God instead of allowing the Word of God sit on judgment on them. Yeah, go on the offensive: "That may not be relevant," "Well, it's not for today". All right, go on the offensive. Judge the Word of God. But thank God, the Word of God is not only a mirror, but, fourthly, and perhaps the most important, it's a perfect temperature water shower. It cleanses. Can I get an "Amen"? It cleanses us. Ephesians 5:26, says, "The Word of God is like a perfect temperature shower".

Now, I know some of you think this is a rough translation, but trust me, that's what he meant. That's what he meant to say. They didn't have showers back then, but that's what he would've said. Regardless of how terrible you may look, regardless of how much dirt you might have accumulated, regardless of how much filth that you feel you're carrying, the moment you go under the shower, you're 100% cleansed. Can I get a witness? But thanks be to God that his Word is not only a mirror that reveals ourselves to us, but it also a shower that washes us. Get under it. You'll feel 100% better. You will walk away rejoicing. I'm gonna explain this, what I mean by the mirror and the shower, and you have to understand, the Word of God interprets the Word of God. I don't have the answers, thank God for that.

In 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 22, here's what he said: "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth," you notice? Not just reading it, obeying it. "Now that you have purified yourself by obeying the Word of God so that you have sincere love for the brothers and sisters in Christ, love one another deeply, from the heart". What has this got to do with the mirror and the shower? Everything to do with it? Listen carefully because I know experientially, and I know most of you do, here's what it means: You take a good look in the mirror, and you see resentment, bitterness. What you do, you go under the shower, the Word of God, and what does the Word of God will do? It will replace that resentment and bitterness by love for one another.

See, that's what it means. The love of Christ will start pouring into you, that the very people that you're having feeling resentment toward, your heart is filled with love toward them. That's when you obey the Word of God. That's what it means. See, the mirror reflects my kind or unwholesome thoughts, and the shower washes them out and cleanse me and purifies me. Can I get a witness? Now, beloved, if each of us, begin with you, begin with me, you begin with you, this is one time that being selfish is okay. Just begin with you. Now, don't worry about somebody next to you. Don't worry about your wife or your husband. No, no, no, no, I'm talkin' about you, individually. You say, "Oh, my goodness, how I wish so-and-so was here to hear this message". No, no, no, it's the Holy Spirit has that message for you, and if everyone, begins with me, and it begin with you, I believe, with all my heart, we can literally reverse the corrosion in our culture today.
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