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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Whose Disciple? - Part 3

Michael Youssef - Whose Disciple? - Part 3

Michael Youssef - Whose Disciple? - Part 3
Michael Youssef - Whose Disciple? - Part 3
TOPICS: Discipleship

The Caesars who ruled Rome with an iron fist, abused power. In Palestine, the Roman soldiers perfected the use and the abuse of power. And yet, our Lord himself who was conscious of the abuse of power all around him at that time, he gave his disciples a unique type of power that the world had never known before. Of course, he gave them power over sin, he gave them power over evil spirits, he gave them power over diseases and sickness, but he also gave them a power that the world had never known, that the world could not comprehend at the time. He imparted to them the power of love.

In John 13, and I hope you turn to it with me please, Jesus told his disciples that he's gonna literally give them secret to power that would change the world through them. And I think all of us have experienced the feeling of powerlessness. We all know the feeling of powerlessness and when we stand helpless and powerless in front of a formidable disease, foreboding circumstances, and certainly we stand helpless in the face of death. Those are the moment when we feel powerless, and Jesus said to everyone who would be their disciple.

In John 13:34-35: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another". I think anyone who knows this Scripture, this is the moment they said, "Hang in there, wait a minute, wait a minute, what is this thing about 'new'? How can that be a new commandment when the greatest commandment in the Old Testament is that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and you love your neighbor as yourself? How can that be new"? Thank God he gives us the answer in the next sentence, that I don't have to come up with the answer. And this is what is new: "As I have loved you, so you love one another". That's what's new about it.

You say, "Why"? Because nobody ever seen this kind of love. Nobody loved like Jesus. In verse 35 he said, "By this love, the world will know that you are my disciples". Whose disciples? Whose disciples? When the world sees the disciples of Jesus loving one another by the power of the Holy Spirit, supernaturally, divinely, now you notice that he did not say, "The world is going to appreciate you for that love". He did not say, "The world will applaud you for your love". He did not say, "The world is gonna welcome that kind of love or gonna welcome you because of that kind of love". He said, "No, the world will know you by that love". He will know you, that's how they're gonna know you. They might not like you, they may hate you, but at least they will know you by this kind of love.

Now, if you really ask the question, "Who in the world can love like Jesus"? You're not alone. You're not alone. I've asked that in the past and, indeed, I ask that question often. But hang in there with me, okay? Let me highlight the greatest challenge first, before I get to the core of the text. I wanna highlight the challenge, and it's unprecedented in my lifetime and I know in most of your lifetimes. The challenge for the disciples of Jesus, right now in this 21st century, when it comes to love like Jesus, we have a modern challenge. Every generation has its own challenge.

I'm not denying that at all. But we have a unique challenge right now, about love, because in western culture we have torn that word "love" to shreds. Love now means loving sin, not just the sinner, which we're commanded to, but loving the sin. Loving now means love what is wrong and shun what is right. Loving now means that objective truth is wrong, but loving like Jesus means, listen to me, please. It means absolute, total, unequivocal obedience to the Word of God. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey me".

Now, in today's world, their motto is: "If you love me, you will let me", and then you fill in the space. That's really what is going on in the very core of our culture today. And you notice where the emphasis is here: me, me, me, me. But Jesus's love is not focused on the one who wants to be loved. Jesus's focus is on the one who's doing the loving, not the one who demands it. Someone would say, "Oh, Michael, are you trying to tell me that I should do all the loving and not expect to be loved back"? Bingo. But bingo may hit the mark. As I said before, that our culture has perverted the whole concept of love.

Now, beloved, we must teach the next generation that it is out of love that we condemn sin. Why? Because sin is harmful, because sin hurts families, because sin destroys communities, because sin creates an upheaval in society, and ultimately, sin dishonors God. And if you love Jesus and love like Jesus, we must point to the harm of sin. Don't ever hesitate, don't ever hesitate. Jesus said: "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another". Whose disciple? In John 13, when Jesus told 'em to love one another, it was right after he washed their stinky feet and, beloved, this is not a derogatory term. This is not, but smelly feet, I said "stinky" because it was stinky feet. This is a fact.

Back then, they did not wear socks and nice shoes and rode in cars and walk on paved roads. No, they were either barefooted or flimsy sandals and walking in dirt road. Not only that, but the washing of the feet when a person, a guest, comes into the house was always relegated to the very lowest in the service hierarchy. That was the task that was given to the lowest among the servants. But there's more. You and I may understand Jesus washing Peter's feet, right? He's the COO, he was the chief operating officer of this outfit, the disciples. He was the chief disciple.

You understand Jesus washing his feet. You understand Jesus washing John's feet. He's the disciple whom Jesus loved and he leaned on Jesus's shoulder. But Judas? Judas's feet? Jesus knew that Judas already sold him down the drain. Jesus knew that Peter was gonna deny him three times. Jesus knew that every one of them are gonna flee and leave him all alone, and yet the explanation is in verse 1 of chapter 13. Verse 1: "He loved them to the end". We probably would say: "He loved them to the bitter end". To the bitter end. There is no end to his love.

Now, beloved, this is not human love. This is not self-serving love. This is not selfish love. This is not twisted love. This is redemptive love. This is divine love. This is brand-new kind of love that they've never seen or experienced before. And that is why I said in the very beginning it is neither natural nor easy. This is supernatural. And this supernatural love is why we can never, never, never manufacture, we can never, never accomplish in 100 lifetimes. We cannot do it in our own strength. Only God can love through us and that is why it required a total and absolute surrender and dependence on the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit of God can empower us to exercise this type of love.

Am I saying "loving like Jesus is easy"? Absolutely not. Only Christ himself can empower us to love like Christ. Whose disciple? And the question remain how do we love like Jesus? How do we love like Jesus? Here are several steps I'm gonna share with you from my heart and do with them what God leads you to do. Every time, it's the first step. Every time you are hurt by a brother or sister or another disciple of Christ, now whether that hurt was intentional or unintentional on their part, 'cause sometimes it's unintentional.

The first thing, the first step, that should occur is this: confess to yourself, admit to yourself, that yes, she hurt me deeply, yes, he abused me, yes, she destroyed me, nearly destroyed me. Please do not deny reality. This is the problem. Don't deny reality. Admit the wrong to yourself, admit it, confess it. To yourself. Do you get that? To yourself. And then ask yourself the question: "Did Jesus forgive me? Does Jesus continue to forgive me? Did Jesus keep on forgiving me"? And you're gonna find the answer is yes. Then how come I'm happy to receive forgiveness from his hand, but not dispense forgiveness to others in his name?

Now, beloved, all of us, the disciples of Jesus, are compelled to love like Jesus. Loving like Jesus compels us to call sin "sin". Compels us to condemn sin. It compels us to never pretend that it didn't happen. Beloved, that's sentimentality. First of all, after you take the first step and you verbalize it, confess it, to yourself and to God, that the hurt is real hurt, the second thing is that I verbally, in the presence of God, and only in the presence of God. Did you get that? I'm gonna repeat it. Only in the presence of God, I declare my forgiveness for that person. Just to God. Only to God. That's the second step. Because then, and only then, when and if the person comes and asks for forgiveness, you're ready to dispense it.

Listen to me. If they never come and ask for forgiveness, keep it between you and God. You dealt with it inside here, in your heart. Why I'm saying this, because if you walk up to somebody and say, "I forgive you," that person might never have been aware that he did any, caused any hurt, or just refuse to acknowledge it. I mean, you get yourself into hot water. When someone comes and asks for forgiveness, don't pretend that it was not a problem. Don't say, "Oh, that's all right". Don't do that. I know people do that. Don't say, "Oh, don't worry about it". They should worry about it. Calling sin "sin," beloved, listen to me. Calling sin "sin" is not being judgmental or harsh. It's being honest, it's being truthful.

When a person asks for forgiveness, thank them. Thank them. Don't say, "Yeah, I'll forgive you but I'm not gonna forget". You see, forgetting, as I said, doesn't mean you're gonna get knocked in your head and have erasing of the memory. That doesn't mean that in the Scripture at all. When God forgives and forgets, it doesn't mean that God somehow, the all-knowing God, the all-powerful God, lost his memories. No, but when the Bible talks about God forgets our sin, it means that he does not hold it against us in the future. It means that he does not keep an account ledger on the file and files it away and brings it out every payday. It does not mean that at all. It means he removed it from the debit column. It's no longer there. Then love like Jesus.

You know, when Peter denied Jesus three times, after warning him, he denied Jesus three times. After the resurrection, Jesus didn't walk out to Peter and said, "Peter, I'll forgive you that miserable thing you did, denying me, after I warned you". He asked him three times, "Peter, do you love me? Peter, do you love me? Peter, do you love me"? So the question is, when do you think Jesus forgave Peter? I'm gonna show you. Immediately, as soon as he heard the third denial, 'cause the Bible said Jesus turned and looked at Peter. And after the resurrection, Jesus said to the women to go and tell the disciples, "and Peter," of his resurrection.

Something else I want to tell you, as I'm coming toward the end here. When Jesus forgave the crowd standing there, here he is, stretched on the gibbet, agony, he didn't say, "I forgive you, you miserable people". Or even, just, "I forgive you". He didn't talk to them at all. He talked to his Father. He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they're doing". Forgive them. It was between him and the Father. When you're hurt, talk to your heavenly Father about those who hurt you, about forgiving them. Because only the Father can give us that supernatural power to forgive. Why is this so important, why I'm harping at it like a broken record. The reason for that is because the Bible said if I incline a sin in my heart, God will not answer my prayers. God will not answer me.

Where is the...inwardly, inside, where nobody can see it. Inside of me. If I hide the sin of unforgiveness, if I nurture the sin of unforgiveness, if I host the sin of unforgiveness, if I entertain the sin of unforgiveness, God will not answer my prayer. There are some who are angry with God. You might be one who's angry with God for whatever reason. Because he allowed something that's so unfair and unjust as far as you're concerned and you're angry with God. Well, I find that very blaspheming. It's a blasphemy. You need to ask God to forgive you for not understanding that in all things... how many? God working together for the good. Whose disciple?

Let me tell you this true story as I conclude. It's about a man named David Simmons. He was an offensive back with St. Louis Cardinals, the New Orleans Saints, and the Dallas Cowboys. His father was a very harsh man and a demanding military man who rarely said a good word or an encouraging word to his son. When Dave began playing football in high school, his father criticized him mercilessly. No matter how well he played, Dave's father would come to him after the game, didn't even wait till he got home, right after the game, with a list of mistakes that he made. After a successful college career, he went to the NFL draft. He was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals as a second-round pick.

There he was so excited that he called his father immediately to tell him the news that he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. And Dave's father's response was: "Good. How do you feel to be second"? Those words, Dave said, stung. Stung him. But because Dave gave his life to Christ and he wanted to love like Christ, he kept on loving his dad. He kept on loving his father. In the years that followed, David would visit with his dad, his father, and he would love on him. And one day he began to ask his father about his own upbringing, the father's upbringing, his childhood, something Dave's father never talked about.

But Dave's love finally got his father to open up and talk about his own father, that's Dave's grandfather. He was a lumberjack with a nasty temper. Not only that, Dave's grandfather beat his father when he was a boy so severely. Never said a positive word to his son. These conversations really opened Dave's eyes to the kind of upbringing his father had and experience and why he was the way he was. And David recalled that because of these conversations, his loving his father like Jesus, he would say and I'm gonna quote word for word here: "By the time he died, I can honestly say we were friends".

Loving like Jesus is the mark of discipleship. You know, the pagans in the 2nd century A.D. used to say and it was quoted by Tertullian, one of the early Christian fathers. They used to say, "Oh, look at them, look how they love one another". And beloved, the world will be able to look at Jesus's disciples in The Church of the Apostles. In these dark days, in these last days, they will be able to look at the disciples of Jesus in this church and they would say, "Look how they love one another".
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