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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 3

Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 3

Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 3
Michael Youssef - Defending a Lion - Part 3

I wonder how many people who have a confused and fuzzy ideas about the Bible. I just wonder how many people do not have a clue about the time sequence of the Bible. I wonder, I just wonder, I'm wondering aloud how many people just take bits and pieces from the Bible here and there and they throw them together and they believe what they want to believe. In the next message I'm going to show you how to study the Bible, the Word of God in order to have an accurate picture of it, in order to have the maximum impact on your life; but today I want to tell you something and it just may, and I'm just saying may, startle some of you. I know it's not all of you. That's for sure. But it may startle some of you.

So listen carefully please because I don't want you to misunderstand what I'm going to say, and that's a mouthful. But I want to declare to you today that your respect for God can be measured by your respect for his Word. Let me repeat this. Your respect for God can be measured by your respect for his Word, the Bible. But then immediately I want to rush on and say, just in case somebody will misunderstand me, the Bible is not God. We do not worship a book. We do not worship the Bible. We worship a person, Jesus the Christ. Beloved, I'm going to tell you something that is common to all of us. You cannot tell me that you are in love with someone and you never open a letter that that beloved sends to you. You cannot claim that you love someone and when you receive a letter from that loved one you leave it unopened. Why? Because an open letter means this person whom you love is speaking to you, but by the same token an unopened letter means that you do not want to know or hear from that person.

And when God speaks, he reveals himself to us in his Word and he's telling us some things. Telling us what? He's telling us not only the truth about himself, but he's telling us the truth about us. I wonder probably is that why all statistics show that less than 18% of the Christians read the Bible on a regular basis. They don't want to face the truth about themselves. I just wonder, I'm just wondering. The question is this: Why is the Word of God described as double-edged sword? I believe with all my heart that had the Bible writers are writing today they would have said the Word of God is sharper than a surgeon's scalpel. I believe that. Beloved, when your body needs a surgery, the scalpel is your best friend. It really is. I'm going to come back to that in a moment because it's a very important part of this passage.

But the writer to the Hebrews said that the Word of God is alive. The Word of God is alive. What does that mean? It means this. Listen carefully. It means it's not merely words on paper; that these words of God have God's authority in them, that these words have God's power in them, that these words have God's strength in them, that these words have God's command in them, that these words have God's will in them. That is why it is alive. So what does it mean to be active? It means that it produces results, that it bears fruit. It produces results. It can change lives.

Listen to what Peter said in 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 23. We are born again by the Word of God which lives and abides forever. Therefore, when the Word of God acts God acts, when the Word of God delivers God delivers, when the Word of God heals God heals; and that is why I want to come very quickly to three things that I want to share with you from these two verses: Hebrews 4:12 and 13. What the author here through the power of the Holy Spirit who inspired him to write is saying, that when you read and heed and obey the Word of God three things are going to happen. You're going to find that that Word of God stretches you on the surgeon's table; and secondly, that Word of God is going to operate on you and cut out all of the things that don't belong there; and thirdly, thank God, thank God, it sews you back up and heals you completely and restore you fully.

First, the Word of God stretches you on God's operating table. If the Word of God takes you and stretches you before the great surgeon Yahweh-Rapha, stretches you right in front of him, could it that be one of the reasons why very few people, very few Christians actually read the Word of God regularly? They don't want to go through surgery. They don't want to get on God's operating table. Now, I am told, I don't have any firsthand personal experience with physical surgeries, but I am told by doctors and surgeons and people who really know their stuff is that when you are on the operating table, this is for physical operating table. I know the spiritual one. I'm going to tell you about it. I have firsthand experience with that. But I'm told that when you are physically on the operating table, that time the person on that table is most susceptible to all sorts of microbes and germs. Why do you think they scrub so much? I mean, they will scrub their hands bare.

Now, I know that to be true in the spiritual realm. I've experienced that on a regular basis. When I open the Word of God, Satan and the flesh work overtime to neutralize the impact of the Word of God. The first thing they try to do is to keep you away from the Word of God, that's what they try, keep you away from the Word of God. If they fail to keep you away from the Word of God and by God's power and strength you make a decision that you will read, heed, and obey the Word of God, if they fail to keep you away, they will distract you. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about. I mean, all of a sudden you think of things that you never thought about for years that you needed to do. Oh, all of a sudden you start thinking of, you know, what you can, what needs to be done. "You know, I left the stove on". Or you know, something happened. Distract you.

If that does not work, what they do they bring doubt to your mind as to the authenticity of the Word of God. They'll bring doubt in order to neutralize the impact of that Word, the power of that Word working in you. The surgery that only God's Word can accomplish is what the devil try to keep you away from, and if he cannot keep you away from it he neutralizes you. Why? Because when you are on God's operating table, it is the time when you are wide open. Everything is bare before him. Nothing is hidden from his sight. Look at verse 13 Hebrews 4. Again, it's improvisation on my part. It's like an X-ray machine. It reveals who you are, and it separates reality from fiction. "How does this work"? Well, you compare yourself with others, somebody else who is in worse shape than you are and say, "Man, I'm fine". You look at somebody who is struggling in certain areas of their lives that you don't struggle with and you say, "Oh, I'm really much better than they are".

I can only tell you my testimony because in the early hours of every morning when I have that X-ray machine on my lap and I'm reading the Word of God, praying ahead of time for the Spirit of God to open my eyes and empower me and help me to listen whether it's rebuke or encouragement, when everything is bare before him who can see all things, when nothing is hidden from his eyes, when hidden issues in my life become wide open before him, when things I don't want to deal with confront me head-on, when pride and smugness and self-satisfaction hit me in the face, when God's X-ray machine confronts me with his standards not others, when doors I have sought to keep bolted for a long time burst open, when I'm being laid bare before his eyes I am often forced to conclude, listen to me. I'm often forced to conclude with the apostle Paul nothing good dwells in me, in my flesh. I'm forced to conclude that the only good thing about Michael Youssef is Jesus.

So the Word of God stretches us on God's operating table, and that's why we don't do it. And secondly, the Word of God cuts us like a surgeon's scalpel. It cuts us where we need to be cut. And my beloved, beloved, beloved friends, as your pastor I tell you this is the double-edged sword. The Greek word for sharper means to cut or to dissect with precision. This is not just waving that knife everywhere. No, no, no. He pointed that scalpel on the area that needs to be pointed to. It doesn't mean divide spirit and soul and marrow and joints. It doesn't mean separation. Listen carefully, please. This is very important. As a matter of fact, in the human body joints and marrow are not in contact. So you say, "How are they separated"?

I want you to listen carefully. Here's what it means. The Word of God cuts through to the bones. That's what it means. The Word of God penetrates so deep into the recesses of your spiritual being. And so the separation is not dividing one from the other, but it means to penetrate every single cell in your spiritual nature. It means the Word of God stops at nothing until it brings it out in the open and deals with it. Now, my precious friends, take it from me. When you're lying on the table of the great surgeon, on his operating table there can be no pretense. There can be no pretense in any area. Now you understand why the world, the flesh, and the devil conspire, collude to stop 82% of Christians from reading the Word of God regularly. But there's more. There's more. The Bible said that the Word of God judges not only our thoughts but our motives.

Some translations said attitude. It's the motives. The Word of God not only judges our activities but even the hidden motives behind these activities, the secret motives, the real reason for saying and doing what we say and do. When I sense that I have a mixed motive and the many times I'll pray and I'll fast and examine my heart, examine myself and I still get mixed motive and I'll cry out to God. I'll say, "Sanctify my motives". You know, there are so many lies that our culture disseminate in schools, in the media, everywhere. So many lies, but one of the biggest lies, the big kahuna of them all is this. Do what you feel is right. Hello. I want to say, "Give me a break. Are you kidding me"? Feelings are so subjective and they cannot be totally reliable, and that is why the Word of God is the only power that sorts things out. "This is right. This is wrong. This is of the flesh. This is of the spirit".

Let me just give you an example. When you're driving alone in your car down the highway and someone cut in front of you and you react the way you react, it's between you and God 'cause you're alone in the car. Right? There are some people who use sign language, who retaliate or whatever. And then you get on God's operating table, the X-ray machine is open and there you're confronted. What does God Word do? It judges your reaction to that motorist. Now I need to move on because I'm getting under conviction now. Here's the fact. You and I are experts in self-deception. You and I are experts in rationalization. You and I are experts in deluding ourselves. You and I are experts in trying to project an image of ourselves that we want others to see, believe about us, and sometimes we even try to believe it ourselves. I used to have a professor at graduate school, a wonderful gentleman. He would say, "You know, publicity is okay as long as you don't inhale it".

I've not been inhaling ever since. I want you to think with me. Okay? Just think with me. Okay? Why we think the way we think? Why do we spend our money the way we spend our money? Why do we read the material that we read? Why do we see the things that we see? And on and on and on and on. And the Word of God penetrates deep beyond all of these security systems that we have set up for ourselves that get straight into the vault. And you have one, I have one. He goes to the vault. There the Word of God begins to sort out which is real, which is fiction. Jeremiah cries out and said, "O Lord, the heart is deceitful above all things corrupt". But we cannot do what the Word of God does. So the Word of God stretches you on God's operating table. The words of God is like a surgeon's scalpel and cuts where it needs to be cut, remove what needs to be removed. But thank God... can you say, "Thank God"?

Had we started with putting on the operating table and removing what needs to be removed and stopped there, that would be a disaster. It really is. It would be like a surgeon who scrubs and he cuts, removes, and then before he could sew the patient back again he says, "Hey, I'm going to lunch. Bye". But thank God. Thank God. Jehovah-Rapha, he's the great surgeon. He's the great physician. He cuts and removes the bad stuff and then he puts that person back together again for complete healing. See, the longing of the Word of God is to heal us, not to wound us. If we do get hurt in the process, it's for our good and for our healing. Listen, I know by nature we like to run away from people who know so much about us. I know that. Even people start to run away from God because they think he knows too much about them.

We always like to run away from people who know us too much or know too much about us, but God knows everything that is to be known about you and he still loves you. Nowhere to hide from his eye. Please hear me right. When you get to this thought that you keep in your heart, when you really grasp that God knows what nobody else knows, when you understand that God only removes and want to remove the bad stuff and then bring you healing, not partial healing but complete healing; once you know that our God is the God who heals us, who restores us, who fulfills us, who blesses us, who enriches us, who strengthens us, and, yes, he forgives us; once you understand that he wants to pour out more grace, more grace you will walk out of your presence with God on cloud nine.

And that is why Hebrew 4:16, listen carefully, it tells us, "Let us therefore", after what we just heard he said, "Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with confidence". Not cockiness, with confidence not in us but in him, in his mercy, and in his grace so that we might receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of needs. My, my beloved friends, when the Word of God reigns supreme in our lives, when we allow the Word of God to rule our lives, we will always experience peace in his presence. Always. It never fails. Why? Because the Word of God has the same characteristic as God. Did you know that? When you go home, read Psalm 19, read Psalm 19. You'll see the same characteristics of the Word of God as God himself; perfection, faithfulness, righteousness, purity, and truth.
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