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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Be Vigilant

Michael Youssef - Be Vigilant

Michael Youssef - Be Vigilant
Michael Youssef - Be Vigilant
TOPICS: The Invisible War, Spiritual warfare

Please open your Bibles to 1 Peter 5:8 and 9. You can read with me. "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, stand firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings". Now, when Peter said that the devil prowls around, he does so very quietly, very cunningly. He waits for an opportune time. I'm going to talk about that more next message with the temptation of Jesus, give you an example. Waiting for his moment, and he saves his roar until the victim is pinned down. The Bible calls him our adversary.

This adversarial relationship started the moment we said yes to Jesus, why? Because that moment he lost you as his follower, because that moment he had been insulted by you, because that moment you were snatched out of the jaws of death and sin, because that moment he lost a future companion with him in the lake of fire, because that's the moment with God's power and God's grace you kicked Satan in the teeth, and he never forgives you for it. He just doesn't know how to forgive. He can't forgive you. Please, please, hear exactly what I'm saying, okay? There can be no neutrality in Satan's attitude toward you. You may have neutrality in your attitude toward, he has no neutrality of his attitude toward you, who is a Bible-believing Christian, because he thought he had you in the bag, but you broke free. He can't forgive you for that.

And when that happened, Satan doesn't shrug off and said, "Oh my goodness, another one bit the dust". No, no. Or "Never mind. I'll never miss him. I'll never miss her". No, he sends one of his agents after you. Now, beloved, if your experience anything like mine, now, I can only go by telling you about my experience. Satan wants to stop you from living the life of faith. He wants you to live by sight so there'll be no distinction between you and those who don't know Jesus. He wants to stop you from living a life of obedience to the Word of God. He wants to separate us from the power of God. He can never separate you from God. I'm gonna tell you this in a minute. But he wants to separate you from the power of God. I want to remind you of the promise that we've been going through every... in the series, it'll be continued for the rest of the series. "He who's in us is greater than he who's in the world".

I want you to say that with me, "He... who's in us is greater than he who's in the world". Now, I don't want you to ever forget it, ever forget it. Because if you know all about the enemy of your soul and you don't understand the promise of God for those who put their faith in Jesus, you can be terrified, and that's not what God called us to do. He called us to live with joy and peace and in victory. No doubt that Satan's agent whispers in your ear. He may be doing that right now. "You don't believe the stuff about the devil, do you? Do you really believe that stuff? Do you really believe that there is a personal Satan? Does a Satan exist? This Satan idea is a metaphorical, not literal". Oh my goodness, I heard preachers say that. "You have enough problem to worry about than worrying about a personal devil. You need to forget about that stuff. You're a decent person, and God has no choice but to accept you because you are a decent person".

Be very careful negotiating and debating with the voice of the enemy. Be very careful negotiating, debating, for when you do that, you will end up like the man, the hunter, and you get into the same risk as he did who faced a huge grizzly bear. So, he took his rifle and aimed, and he's about to pull the trigger when the bear spoke. He said, "The grizzly speaks"? Yep, and the hunter was so surprised of how soft the voice of the grizzly was, almost hypnotic. And the bear said to the hunter, he said, "Isn't better to talk than to shoot? Why don't we just sit down and negotiate? Let's find out what you want and we come to a middle answer somehow". The hunter lowered his gun, and he thought about it for a moment. He said, "Well, all I want is a fur coat". The grizzly said, "Fur coat, that's not a problem. That's not a problem. We can talk about that, because all I want is a full stomach. Let's come to a compromise".

So, they talked it over, and they negotiated. In the end, they talked it over, they discussed it, they agreed, but then the grizzly was walking away alone. Through the negotiation, the bear managed to fill his stomach and give the hunter what he wanted: a fur coat. You can no more negotiate with Satan than you negotiate with a grizzly. Remember again, Isaiah 14:13 and 14, "Satan said in his heart, 'I will ascend to heaven. I will make myself like the Most High.'" He wanted to be worshiped instead of God, and as a result he was thrown out of heaven. But don't ever forget, don't ever forget, don't ever forget, even though Satan was defeated on the cross, he has never given up his ambition, never given up his ambition. Even though he was rendered toothless and clawless by Jesus and he can never, ever, ever challenge God again, but he can still try to challenge God by going after his children, his faithful children.

Ah, that is why Peter, who had experienced firsthand, he experienced firsthand the falling in Satan's trap, he could give us this warning. Only a man can speak from the crucible of his pain could say, "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary is prowling around like a roaring lion". I told you in the last message that when you hear the scripture says, "Be vigilant and be sober," doesn't mean you grit your teeth and you're worried and you're sitting there 24/7 and say, "Oh, I've got to be vigilant, I've gotta be vigilant, I've gotta be vigilant". No, no, no, no, no, no. That's not how it works. Being vigilant means that you rest in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let me translate this to the spiritual. Living in disobedience to the Word of God is a spiritual drunkenness. Why, how? Living in disobedience numbs your spiritual senses and makes you not alert to the enemy's design on you. Listen to me. Those who are not spiritually sober are unable to see things from God's perspective. And if Peter is telling us anything in these few verses, he is telling us to be serious-minded about the devil, to be serious-minded about Satan's traps, to be serious and not flippant about Satan because he means business, because he cannot get to God, so he will try to get to one of his children.

The man who says, "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil is prowling around," Peter, the chief disciple, he warned us, and he warns us out of the crucible of his own experience, his own experience. Like all of us, Peter had his Achilles' heel. What was Peter's real Achilles' heel? He's courageous, right? He's a bravado. And he wanted everybody to know it. He's not just important in his own eyes. He wanted everybody to know how courageous he is. "Look at me". Luke 22:33, he expresses this courageous enthusiasm by saying to Jesus, "You know, Jesus, with all these wimps", not his word, "they all kind of forsake you, not me. I'm your man. I've got your back. Not just go to prison with you, I'm going to die with you if I have to".

Remember, they all had just had a precious meal, all of them had a precious meal with our Lord Jesus, and there during that meal he said to them, he said that he is the Passover Lamb, and he's going to die for the redemption and the salvation of the world. And yet Peter bellows out this bravado drivel. I want you to think with me. He expressed willingness to die, right? Verse 33, Luke 22, 22:33, it's easy to remember. If you go up just two verses above 33, only two verses, here you read of how Jesus said, "Peter". It's a specific warning for Peter in those two verses above, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demands, or sought, or requested, to have you, that he might sift you like wheat. But I have interceded for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have returned", that's when you've repented and when you're renewed, "go back and strengthen your brothers".

I've seen sifting of wheat. I've seen these boys put all this wheat in the sieve, and specific sieve for wheat, and they go like this... shake it side to side, then they throw it up in the air and they blow on it so that the chaff may be blown away and only the wheat left. It is a painful experience for the wheat. It's shaken vigorously. I don't need to tell you that during our Lord's trial Peter denied Jesus three times, three times. And Satan roared, "I got you, man! I got you, chief disciple"! The Bible said Peter went out and wept bitterly, and yet the sifting had just started. It had just started. After the sifting of fear came the sifting of self-doubt. But thank God, Peter did not surrender to that self-doubt.

Question, how many Christians do you know that have been trapped in the feeling of depression and discouragement and despondency? Why? Because they don't know how to repent. They don't know how to be renewed by the Holy Spirit. They don't know how to reclaim their rightful place, position, and authority as the children of the living God. Judas's sin is no greater than Peter's, and yet the difference was knowing how to repent. The difference is believing that God accepts and renews and restores repentant sinners. No matter how big is your sin, no matter how bad you feel, no matter how deep is your failure, no matter how low you have gotten, there is one thing Satan wants you to do, and that is stay down.

Stay down. Getting up, repenting, and returning to your first love is the greatest defeat of Satan's design on you. Did you get that? I'm going to repeat it. Getting up, repenting, returning to your first love is your greatest defeat of Satan's design on you. Peter, no doubt, no doubt, remembered the words of Jesus. "When you return, when you're restored, when you go back to your spiritual sobriety, you need to do one thing: strengthen your brothers". And my beloved friends, part of his strengthening of his brothers is the warning that he gives us in the Bible, 1 Peter 5:8 and 9. "Be vigilant". These words that Peter put here no doubt has strengthened millions of Christians in the last 2,000 years. He's strengthening his brothers just as Jesus asked him to.

Or listen to what John said in 1 John 5:18. "We know that anyone who is born of God does not keep on sinning or does not live in sin or does not stay in sin, but he who is born of God protects himself, and the evil one does not touch him". Now, I need to explain what touch means. Full meaning, does not touch him. You see, Satan can never, never, never, never, never, never sever our vital union with Christ if you are born again. Satan can never, never, never break the cord of salvation. Even careless believers cannot lose their salvation. God has spoken. Jesus said, "Those whom the Father has given me, I'll lose none. My Father is greater than all, and he will lose none".

God has spoken, and Satan is powerless to change that. He's powerless to change that. Ah, but Satan can devour almost everything else around you, if you let him. That's the, really, the operative word: if you let him, if you allow him, if you get away from under the cover of the Word of God and obedience to the Word of God, if you stray away from the covering of the Lord Jesus. Listen to me. Satan can devour your effectiveness for God, Satan can devour your peace of mind, Satan can devour your witness, Satan can devour your health, Satan can devour your marriage, Satan can devour your business, if you let him, if you let him. I repeat, if you let him, if you allow him, if you give him an open door. All the New Testament writers again and again and again are saying, "Be vigilant, put on the whole armor of God, resist the devil".

Let me conclude by telling you how the enemy loves to keep you weak. He loves to keep me weak and vulnerable to his attack, because he's got to start with that. He's got to make you weak and vulnerable so that way you are open to the attack. I can tell you this. And you know this. I'm not making this stuff up. I think the vast majority of Christians are living in the neutral, right? They're in the neutral gear in their Christian walk. They are unproductive for the kingdom of God and for the work of God. They are saved, but their Christian walk is going nowhere. I think you know that and I know this.

Countless troops in God's army have never received their basic training. I pray to God that this part of the series that I'm doing is basic training. I haven't taken you any deeper than this basic training. This is just basic training. And the devil doesn't like it one bit. And I know. Don't ask me how. I know. From the enemy's point of view, his highest achievement is keeping Christians in the neutral. So, you're in the car, and you're pushing the accelerator, and you're going nowhere. And you say, "Well, why is the car not going anywhere? Why am I not going anywhere with my Christian walk"? Hey, put it into first gear. Take it out of neutral! I think most of you know what I'm talking about. Your effectiveness, your impact for God, your influence for God. We saw that Satan cannot undo your salvation because God has spoken, and he's powerless.

So, he does the next best thing for the believer, for the Bible-believing Christian: He keeps them from applying the Word of God into their life. He keeps Christians in that murky, shallow waters of my felt needs. He keeps you focused on your problems. Oh, you've got lots of problems. Oh, me. He keeps them worrying about the little kingdoms, the little kingdoms. They fail to see the big kingdom of God. See, these Christians are never a threat to Satan. He leaves them alone. They are soldiers that cannot shoot. They are fighters that cannot fight. It is my pleading with God and then appealing to you that this would not be the case, not one single person at the sound of my voice, wherever you are, would start today to be the great army of God that makes the devil tremble.
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