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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 2

Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 2

Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 2
Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 2

Biblical illiteracy has reached a very low ebb in our culture today. While general knowledge has been on the increase in the last 100 years, biblical knowledge has been reaching a lower and lower ebb. Even non-believers in the past, they used to have some biblical knowledge, they used to have some understanding or some knowledge of some stories from the Bible, and you can still hear it today. But no more, no more, and the reason for this is that our postmodern culture has invaded every aspect of life. Our postmodern thinking has replaced biblical worldview. Our postmodern culture thinking has erased or erasing the knowledge of the scripture. Today I want us to focus on how we got here. How did we get here? How did we reach this abysmal condition, this abysmal state of biblical illiteracy in the west?

1 Chronicles chapter 12, verse 32, it says that the people of Issachar, that's the tribe of Issachar, were wise. But why were they wise? Because the Bible said they had understanding of the times in which they lived. And my beloved special friends, I want to tell you if there is a desperate need today, it is to understand the times in which we live, it is to discern how we got to this state that we're in, it is to understand all of the facts that brought us to such abysmal state as far as biblical knowledge is concerned, it is to know where we have fallen, repent, and turn to the Lord.

A few moments ago when I began, I talked about our postmodern culture. I have no doubt some of you did not know what that means, but you nodded your head, but you're in good company. I spent many years in graduate school hearing professors use big words I didn't understand, but I nodded my head. Historians have divided the history AD, after Christ, into three segments. They said there is pre-modern, modern, and postmodern, and I'm going to tell you about each one of them very, very quickly. The pre-modern time began with the collapse of the Roman Empire on the 1st century when Constantine made Christianity to be the official religion of the Roman Empire. People from that moment on, they began to interpret reality in terms of the relationship with God. That was the beginning of this pre-modern culture. Their worldview were colored by the knowledge of the Bible.

Remember, that was the time of Saint Augustine. I have preached about him many times. It's the time of the great early Christian fathers who fought heresies in Egypt and in modern-day Turkey and in Antioch and in all these churches where heresies were coming in from every direction regarding the Trinity, and these early fathers fought them and succeeded, and as a result we have the Nicene Creed that was written in the city of Nicaea, 325. But gradually the Word of God and the worldview became distorted. It became disfigured, and the power and the authority that was in the Word of God shifted to the Roman Catholic church, which ushered what the historians call the modern period, the 14th century, and during the modern period there were two competing worldviews.

Listen very carefully 'cause this is very important. Two competing worldviews, and those competing worldviews have replaced pre-modern to a modern time. What are these two competing worldviews? The Reformation, and the Reformation came first, followed by the Renaissance or Renaissance as some have pronounced it. Either way is fine. I want to stop here for a moment and tell you that whenever God is doing something great, Satan is nipping at the heels, and that's what happened. The Reformation opened the eyes of the population of Europe, but what happened, the Renaissance came nipping its heel and hijacked the Reformation. The Renaissance gradually fought against reformed theology and made man to be the center stage instead of what the Reformation said, that God and his Word at the center stage. Slowly but surely in western civilization man displaced God and the cry of the time was, "I think, therefore I am".

Now, here's the important point. Secularism, which we now see in spades, secularism is the direct descendant of the Renaissance. See, everything is connected. One historian claimed that this was the time when God was dethroned and man was enthroned, this was the time when humanism and the natural world began to replace biblical worldview. This was the beginning of the marginalizing of the supernatural. Mercifully, there was a group of good and godly men and women who tried to escape from these horrors of the Renaissance and the persecution of Christians. And make no mistake about it, Christians were persecuted in Europe. I'm talking about faithful Christians, Bible-believing Christians.

And so these men and women, these godly men and women wanted to escape from that toxic environment in European culture and the persecution. They sought to found and build a biblical society in the new world where the Word of God occupies the center stage and not man, and thus they landed on Plymouth Rock. Can I get a thank you, God? Don't you ever believe anybody tells you that America was founded on anything other than the Bible, the Word of God. But as often the case, even in this brave new world, even in the people who wanted to found a new world built and based upon the Word of God and the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the godly founders of this nation who came and wanted to have a nation built on biblical truth, but as always the case, I told you, Satan always nips at the heels.

And by the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th centuries ushered the attitude that man can do all things not through Christ who strengthens him, but if he puts his mind to it. Have you heard that before? You see, and this attitude unleashed what has now become known as postmodern period of history in which we now live. Although even some historians are saying that we are coming out of that, but we never know normally until we look back. I want to make sure before we know where we are that we know where, how we got here. Now, I pray God, please God, that from this place God would ignite an awakening, a revival that would usher forth a godly remnant that will stand strong against the current of culture. Question, what are the characteristics of postmodern thought that is now flooding our schools, university campuses, workplace, entertainment industry, social life, and the tragedy of all tragedies, some churches?

Here's a sample of postmodern thought, and I know you will be familiar with this. The pursuit of truth is meaningless. The idea of morality is obsolete. The sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, husband and wife is archaic. The authority of any shape, any authority is to be despised. Honesty, oh, that's just for the fools. Truth is relative. Therefore, it's your truth, my truth, his truth, and all the truth are fine except the Christian truth because it's absolute truth. If you say there is absolute truth, they will hound you down, they will hound you down and they tell you that you are intolerant and you are bigoted and you don't deserve even to be accepted in society. You have to be armed for the battle because all of these falsehoods are in books, in the academia, in the court systems even. It's in businesses. It's in the boardroom. It's on the floors, on the shop floors. It's in the movies, the television industry.

And sadly yes, it has invaded many a church. Everywhere you go you meet the foot soldiers of postmodern culture. Everywhere you go, there are foot soldiers. These foot soldiers are ready to pounce on you, to intimidate you, to silence you, to hound you down and beat you down emotionally until you surrender to them, and before long you find yourself beginning to talk like they talk and you begin to defend their arguments under the guise of love, and then you begin to adopt your biblical convictions to their worldview, and you become anxious to be accepted by these vicious soldiers of the foot soldiers of postmodernism and so you begin to reinterpret the Bible. We're seeing that happening all over the place. They're reinterpreting the Bible. They're rewriting the Bible in order to be accepted by those soldiers of political correctness.

You may ask, "Well, Michael, what are the characteristics by which we can recognize this cultural invasion of postmodernism"? Well, I'm glad you asked because I want to tell you, and I have five characteristics that will help you recognize falsehood, and I'm telling you, every one of those can only be combated by reading, believing, heeding, and obeying the Word of God.

First of all, when you hear all truths are equally valid or every opinion is equally correct, when you hear it put this way, you know you're dealing with a foot soldier of postmodernism. When you hear them say those in authority have no right to exercise their authority, that the husbands have no right to be the spiritual leaders in their homes, that the parents have no right to instruct their children, in fact, some are working on making that to be illegal. You say, "What about the authority of the Word of God"? They will say, "Oh, this is just the church's way of enslaving people". "What about the absolutes of God"? "Oh, that's just your interpretation". When you try to defend the truth and the fact that the Bible said there is right and there is wrong, they say yes, the Bible is an archaic book and no longer relevant to the 21st century.

Second way to recognize, second characteristic by which you recognize these foot soldiers of postmodernism is style more important than substance. Outward appearance is far more important than inward commitment. Now, beloved, listen to me. That is why the fastest-growing profession is the spin doctors. Spin doctors are not only in politics. They are everywhere. Spin doctors are hired in businesses. They are hired even by... some churches are employing spin doctors. Postmodern thinking says you create the impression you want to create. Impression is everything. Appearance is all that matters. Packaging is more important than content. Outward appearance is more important than inward reality, and that is why Hollywood make-believe has blurred reality.

Thirdly, the third characteristics of postmodern thinking is this. Words have no inherent meanings. What do I mean by this? A word might mean one thing to you and mean something else to another person and mean something else to me, the same word they're talking about, same word. Dictionary definition of words do not mean anything anymore. Some people sometimes hear me preach my heart out from the Word of God and they would walk out and say, "Well, that's just his opinion".

Fourth characteristics of postmodernism thinking which overwhelming our culture today, it is this. They put it in different ways. Just watch for it. Western civilization is oppressive. Other civilizations are much better. And so now they take civic studies out of curriculums. They're removing them out. Remember it was western civilization that originally was founded upon the Reformation theology, not the Renaissance. The Renaissance hijacked the Reformation. It is western civilization that brought about the technology that we all enjoy, that brought about all the freedoms that we have in our constitutions. No matter what you say, they say western civilization is out, other civilizations are in. Aristotle logic is out, eastern mysticism is in. George Washington is out, the Dalai Lama is in. Here's their argument. Because western civilization has been built on Judeo-Christian thought, therefore it is oppressive. Father God is out, mother earth is in.

Fifth characteristics in this postmodern culture is where thinking has been replaced by feelings. Some of you read my book, "When the Crosses Are Gone". That book thesis is I'm showing how in seven aspects of life, including education, the environment, in all these aspects, your feelings all that matters. Thinking is out, feeling is in. And so Christians in the past when they shared the gospel, they appealed to a person's intellect, but no more.

Now in postmodern culture where feelings and emotions of each individual person and your own personal value, that's all that matters. We cannot appeal to intellect anymore. In the past when we disagreed with non-Christians, we used to think, "Well, they're sadly mistaken. We still love them". But in the postmodern culture when we disagree, we assume that all views are correct with someone except the Christian faith. ABC, anything but Christians. It is appearance, remember? It's appearance. In modernism knowledge was vitally important. In postmodernism one's opinion is the most important thing in the world, and those opinions are not driven by what is right and what is wrong, what is truth and what is falsehood, no, but how many people like it.

Let me appeal to you. If you are exposed to postmodern thinking and postmodern culture 16 hours a day, I can tell you that coming to church two hours a week is not going to neutralize the impact and effect of that culture. It's just fact. It's just a fact. Today Satan has succeeded in neutralizing the power of the Word of God. Just as he succeeded with Adam and Eve, he's succeeding today. Back then he brought doubt into our first parents's minds as to the authenticity and the truthfulness and the authority of what God said. Today he's doing the same thing with Christians. Back then he managed to convince Adam and Eve that God's Word was taken out of context, not relevant for them for the day, it wasn't adequate for their needs, it wasn't really for their good, and my goodness, it's not designed to make them happy. Hello. "You can't be happy believing God and read his Word on a daily basis and grow in knowledge of Christ".

Satan will tell you that God is a killjoy. Now, beloved, Satan's deception has never changed. Let me tell you something about Satan. He's a one-trick pony. He really is. He's a one-trick pony. He is not very creative. God is a creative God. All creativity comes from God. Satan is an imitator. What he did thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, he's doing today with professing Christians. You do not need to read, believe, and obey the Bible, do you? Why? Why? Why do you do that? Because if you read it, it's going to tell you that sin is lawlessness, that sin is of the devil, that sin is evil, that sin is an affront to a holy God. Why would you read, believe, and obey the Word of God when it tells you that immorality is a rebellion against God when in reality it's a matter of taste? Why would you read, believe, and obey the Bible when it says God's Word is the final authority when in reality you are the final authority? You have the final word over your life and body.

Why would you read, believe, and obey the Bible to find out what is good and what is evil? You decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong. Hear me right, please. I'm getting close to the end. The Bible answer to Satan's deception is found in Proverbs 14:12. "There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it will lead to death". If you want to live, I mean really live, read, believe, and obey God's Word. But if you want death though you might be living, then ignore it. If you want life and life abundant, drink deeply from the spring waters of the Word of God and be satisfied. If you choose the wilderness of slow death, you stay in the desert of postmodernism. If you want life, then allow the power of the Word of God to change your behavior. But if you want death, follow Satan's deception and doubt its authority.

If you want life, then treasure the Word of God as your daily possession. But if you choose death, then devalue the Word of God and squander it. If you want life, then let the Word of God strengthen you and strengthen your stand so you might stand against the current of culture. But if you choose death, then you can go with the flow with all of the dead fishes. From the very beginning, God gives us an opportunity to choose life or death, life or death. In the garden Adam and Eve chose death, and they were thrown out of the garden. In the wilderness, God said to his people through Moses, "You can choose life or death". And then later on Joshua said to them, "Choose this day whom you'll obey". Today, God's Spirit is simply speaking to everyone at the sound of my voice, but please listen. This is God's Word. This is not my words. I am incapable. This is God's Word and God's Word is saying to everyone here and watching around the world, choose life, choose life, choose life. Say it with me. Choose life. Shout it so the devil can hear it.
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