Articles, Blog

Defending a Lion (Part 4)

March 5, 2020

… male: There are many ways to God and people waste their time
focusing too much on the Bible. female: I think it is
close-minded to believe that there is only
one way to God. female: My church believes
that we should love people, instead of offending them with
difficult parts of the Bible. male: I think sharing your faith
with someone is unloving. female: It is more important
to make an impact in our world today, instead of worrying
about eternity. Dr. Michael Youssef: I believe
with all my heart that if there is a desperate need
today, is to help Christians to be able to sort out the truth
from fiction, to be able to expose falsehood, to be able to call them
for what they are. The Bible does not tell us
that we have to choose between two truths
within the Word of God. male: I think it is more
important how we feel about God in our personal experiences than
exactly what the Bible says. Dr. Youssef:
“Saving Christianity?” is the most controversial book
that I’ve ever written because I’m exposing
why and how all this modern defection
from biblical truth by some Christian pastors, and what causes that defection
from the faith, how it starts, and why you need
to immune yourself and to galvanize yourself, to protect yourself
from that false teaching. male announcer:
In his newest book, “Saving Christianity?,” Dr. Michael Youssef exposes
the false teachings that are infiltrating
churches today and shares the keys
to seeing a revival of true Christianity
in our day. Receive your own copy today
for a gift of any amount. Don’t fall for a false faith. Don’t settle
for less than the truth. Order your copy of
“Saving Christianity?” today. It’s the most important book
of our time. You can call, write,
or visit us online at ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ Dr. Youssef: There is a way
that seems right to man, but in the end
it will lead to death. If you want to 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. This is God’s Word,
and God’s Word is saying to everyone here,
“Choose life.” Dr. Youssef:
That operating manual that is given to us by God,
if we don’t read it regularly, if we don’t read it carefully,
if we don’t follow it closely, the lostness
can be very serious, very serious indeed. But I can tell you truthfully, as I have been watching
and listening, that many a church today refuse to follow
God’s only instruction manual. Some of these are preachers,
and teachers, and authors; and that is why I have been
imploring you, not only to regularly read,
and heed, and obey the Word of God, please hear me right
because it’s very important because it is not what I say
ultimately, it is not what they say,
it is what the Word of God says. I want to tell you today
about seven deadly sins that you must not commit
as you read the Word of God. Seven deadly sins
that you must avoid at any cost when you begin reading
the Word of God. Some of you might say,
“Well, Michael, why do you start
with the negative?” Well, if I don’t start
with the negative, you won’t know the positive
when it comes through. The first deadly sin
is proof texting, proof texting. What is proof texting? Okay, let me put you
to the test. What have I been saying
for decades that I have been privileged
to preach in this place? Put the text where?
In its context. When you take a text
out of its context, that’s called proof texting. In other words,
you basically take the text out and run with it. I want to give you an example. In fact,
with every one of those, I’m gonna give you examples
from the Scripture so you know practically
what I’m talking about. 2 Corinthians
chapter 12, verse 9, the Apostle Paul said,
“The Lord said to me, ‘My strength becomes perfect
in your weakness.'” So, a person who’s struggling
with some moral weakness, and he was trying
to get the victory over his moral
or her moral weakness, we see this text says that God’s strength
will be perfect in me, I don’t need to deal
with these moral issues. No, that is not what it means
because the Apostle Paul is talking about
physical illness, physical ailment
that he had experienced. And he said,
“Three times I prayed, ‘Lord heal me,’
but the Lord did not heal me. In fact, he said to me
that my strength will become perfect
in your physical weakness.” Sometimes God blesses people, in spite of their
physical weakness. In fact, sometimes
I believe he blesses us because of some of those
physical weaknesses. I know of a man
who had amazing gift of healing, really was and yet he himself
suffered a great deal. You see,
that’s what Paul is saying. He’s not talking
about moral weakness. He’s not talking about things
that we need to repent over. So, in context,
you would understand it, that it is something to do
with physical ailment that he was living with
because not doing that is called proof texting. And beloved, let me tell you,
if you proof text, you’re gonna find yourself
up a creek without a paddle. Now, you’ve been forewarned. Second deadly sin
about reading the Bible that you must avoid at any cost is that you need to know when
to take the Scripture literally and when you take it
figuratively. “Uh-oh,
Michael it’s saying you don’t take
the whole Bible literally.” Wait, wait, wait,
be patient. Because if you understand, there are certain
linguistic principles, whether it be in the Hebrew,
or the Aramaic, or even in the Greek language, but mostly
in the Semitic language, there’s certain things, there’s certain linguistic rules
and principles that you must understand. I’ll give you an example. There is something
in all the Semitic languages really known
as Hebraic hyperbole, something so important. It’s vitally important. It is so serious that
you have to exaggerate the point in order to realize
the seriousness of it. That’s what it means. Again, the example
is when Jesus said, “If your eye causes you
to stumble,” do what? Gouge it out, right? Now, I’m not gonna ask you
to raise your hand if your eyes
ever cause you to stumble. I’m not going to ask you,
but I’m gonna raise both hands. I am looking at you,
I see some glasses, but I don’t see
too many gauged eyes. So, you understand
what I’m trying to tell you. Why? Because this is what you call
Semitic hyperbole. Our Lord is saying
that this is something so, so, very, very important
that you must not allow anything to get in the way
of accomplishing it. Don’t allow anything
to get in the way of you entering
into heaven. Don’t allow anything to get
in the way of you being saved. Don’t allow anything
to get in the way of you going
to heaven. And because
he has to make that point, he blows it up
so you can see it. And so, Jesus is saying, it is vitally important
for a Christian believer, I’m talking to believers now. I’m not talking
to non-Christians. Christian believers
not to allow their eyes to constantly wander in lust, and in envy, and in greed,
and the rest of it. It’s so dangerous. It’s so dangerous that
it could impact your eternity. Or take for example,
the Communion. Our Lord, Jesus said,
“This is my body. This is my blood.” What, did he cut
a piece of his flesh and got him to bite on it? No, it’s symbolism. The body symbolizes,
the bread symbolizes his body, and the wine
symbolizes his blood that was gonna be shed
on the cross. So, you have to understand what is symbolic
and what is literal. Third deadly sin
in Bible reading is ignoring the historic and cultural context
of the Bible. Just because God called Elijah to confront King Ahab
and Queen Jezebel, and the prophets of Baal,
and then he sent fire, consumed his sacrifice. It doesn’t mean
that I or anybody else go down to City Hall
and say to a pagan mayor, “Mayor, bring your bull out here and let’s see
if we can have context.” No, no. God was speaking
and using a certain man at a certain time
for a certain purpose. What do we learn from it? That our God is a mighty God,
that all the so-called god, whether Baal, or Ashtaroth,
or Ashtoreth, they’re not really gods at all, and that is the point that
the Scripture would teach us, not that we would go
and do like Elijah did. Fourth deadly sin
about Bible reading. Be sure to get a good
translation of the Bible. In fact,
I would encourage you to have maybe two or three
in front of you as you’re studying the Scripture because as you read one,
or two, three, you will get the meaning
much better. You don’t have to go
to seminary, but sometimes
these translations, it will give you
a real feel for that. Fifth deadly sin
about reading the Bible is you must avoid,
at any cost, reading into the Bible
what you want to read into it. Oh, my goodness,
that is the curse of the age, I’m telling you. I mean, I have known preachers
who just have one theme, and it doesn’t matter
what text they use, they go to their hobbyhorse, the theme
that they’re preaching from. But that’s dangerous.
That is extremely dangerous. I know there are some people
who say, “When I open the Bible
and whatever my eyes fall on, that’s the text for me.” That is the wrong way
of reading the Bible. Six, I’m moving quickly. The sixth deadly sin
about Bible reading is this, don’t think ever
that you’re brilliant enough to understand the Scripture without the illumination
of the Holy Spirit. Can I get an amen? Listen to what
the Apostle Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy
chapter 2, verse 7. “Reflect on what I’m saying,”
here it comes, “for the Lord will give you
insight into all things.” You see, I have never opened
the Scripture in the early hours
in the morning every day as I wake up and I start
with the Word of God without praying, “Holy Spirit,
open my eyes, that I may see wonderful truth
from your Word. Illuminate my mind
so that I can learn from your Word
what you want me to learn.” Otherwise, the Bible
will become either just an intellectual exercise
in reading it, or we just twist the words to make it
what you want it to make. Finally, number seven,
number seven: failing to apply what you have
just read in the Scripture. I know,
I know, I know it takes time to do that. It takes time. You cannot microwave
the Scripture. You cannot microwave
application. And I know this is the age
of social media, or 90 characters or less,
and all that stuff. We just don’t have
the attention span. We have really taken
all of that into our reading
of the Scripture. But, beloved, you will not grow,
you will not learn, and you will not apply
the Word of God if you’re constantly
in a hurry. If you have to,
wake up half an hour early, go to bed half an hour later. Beloved, to read the Bible
for its maximum effect, for its maximum impact
upon your life, you must avoid
those seven deadly mistakes. But then I want to go on
to give you, very quickly, three questions
that you must ask yourself as you read, and heed,
and obey the Word of God. The first question
to ask yourself is, what does this part of the Bible
that I’m reading say to the original readers
of it? Because each one has a context. It was written, it was said
to people at a certain time, so you must ask the question, what did it mean
to the original reader, the first person who read it,
to whom it was written? Secondly,
what is the real meaning of this passage
that I’m reading? And thirdly,
how can I apply this to my life? Let’s look at them
very, very quickly. What did it mean
to the original reader? We have been seeing
how the Bible is written by 40 individuals
in a span of 1600 years, and yet it says
the same thing. It’s one theme. Old Testament Jesus–
says Jesus is coming. The New Testament says
he’s here. There you allow the Holy Spirit
to guide your thoughts, just as the Holy Spirit
guided the thoughts and the hands of the writers
of the Bible. For example,
let me give an example. Moses was speaking
to the Israelites who, for 400 years, were up to their eyeballs
in idolatry of Egypt. They knew very little
about Yahweh. It was just what they heard
through oral tradition. And so, they really had
very little knowledge. So, Moses, speaking to people
who did not know who Yahweh is, or experience his power
as they did later when they crossed the Red Sea
and gone into the wilderness. On the other hand, a thousand years later
Ezekiel and Jeremiah, remember God did this,
God did this, God did this. So, they knew Yahweh, and yet they turned
their backs on him. They saw him perform miracles
before their eyes, and yet they wanted
to worship Baal. And so, Ezekiel and Jeremiah, they’re talking
to rebellious people versus what Moses was doing. They rejected God’s instruction.
They rejected God’s command. Or look at the New Testament, the Apostle Paul has written
to many churches, different cities: Philippi,
Corinth, Thessalonians; but each letter was addressing
and giving answers to certain problems
that that church was facing. He was dealing
with a specific problem and giving them biblical
and godly answers. So, it is very important to know
what the problem was and what the solution is. Secondly,
you have to ask yourself, what does the Bible mean
about what it says? Make no mistake about it, the reason today many people
reject the Bible, they never really read it, but they reject the Bible
as the Word of God because it runs contrary
to man’s nature, it really does. It’s–the Bible
is countercultural. For example, the world says,
sock it to your enemy, right? And we say,
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” I mean, this is very natural,
right? I mean, that’s the very nature
says yes, sock it to your enemy. And then Jesus comes in
and said, “Love your enemy.” What? Bless those who curse you,
do good to those who hate you, and pray for those
who despitefully use you. See, the world says
that’s bonkers. The world says
look out for number one. That’s all that matters,
number one. But Jesus comes in and he says, “Whoever tries to save his life
will lose it, but he who loses his life
for my sake, and for the gospel
will save it.” Listen to me, it does not
make sense to the world, that’s why they
reject the Bible. It does not make sense to them. And it is laziness on the part
of preachers to say, “Well, if it’s too hard
to understand, if it’s hard to accept,
reject it, you don’t have to accept it. Move on. Take what you like,
leave out what you don’t like.” That’s laziness instead of, we’re called of God
as preachers and teachers of the Word of God
to explain the difficult things. And that is why you must always
ask the question, what does the Bible mean
by what it says? Say, “How do I know this?” Well, first of all,
ask the Holy Spirit. I already said that twice, ask the Holy Spirit
to illumine your mind, and he will. Ask him, he will do it. Use a good trusted commentary
on the Bible, a good trustworthy commentary,
keep it handy. Look up if you get into an issue
that’s so difficult and you don’t know,
just look it up. Double check things,
don’t just take it for granted. Make sure
you’re on the right track. Thirdly, and lastly, lastly, the final question
to ask yourself is this, “How can this apply to me? How does this apply to me when I’m facing problems
in my business, in my work,
in my home? How is this gonna apply to me?” It’s very important,
it’s very important. If you’re like me, I spend the first fruit
of the day with the Lord and the Bible
open in front of me. But I found that most mornings
as I open the Word of God and I read it, the Holy Spirit
begins to speak to my heart, “Michael, this Word is for you. This encouragement is for you.
This rebuke is for you. This challenge is for you.
This warning–” Oh, have I ever gotten
more of those than I can count. “This warning is for you,
this exaltation is for you.” Charles Spurgeon, one of the great preachers
of yesteryear, here’s what he said
about the Bible. He said, “This book
has wrestled with me. This book has smitten me.
This book has confronted me. This book smiled upon me.
This book frowned on me. This book clasped my hands.
This book warmed my heart. This book weeps with me
and sings with me. This book worships with me,
and it preaches to me. It maps my going and my coming. It is a young man’s
best companion. And it is still my morning
and evening chaplain.” Beloved, as I conclude
this series of messages, I want to tell you there are
a lot of Bible apps out there, lots of Bible reading plans
that can be overwhelming. The Bible says
that in the last days, they’re gonna be a famine. Listen carefully. But that famine is not gonna be
for bread or water, it’s gonna be a famine
for the Word of God. And when I hear
that only 18% of Christians read the Word of God regularly, I can tell you
the feminine has begun. And so, it is a burden
on my life and the reason for living
is to equip you for those days that are coming upon us, and they’re coming
faster than we think, faster than we anticipate it. So, get ready
for the spiritual battle. The Lord is on your side. And the good news is,
we have read the last chapter and it says that we win. ♪♪♪ male: I do think there
are dimensions of our faith after 2,000 years that we need to go back
and look at and say, “There seems to be
a problem there.” female: Well, I am a Christian
who believes that there are certainly
many more paths to God, other than Christianity. I’m a free-thinking Christian. male: The church will continue
to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters
from 2,000 years ago as their best defense. Dr. Youssef:
I believe we’re living in one of the most
dangerous times of all times. These are dangerous times
because we are hearing so many deceptive counterfeit gospels
in the pews of the churches. False gospels are preached from
many a pulpit in America today. Dr. Youssef: So many of those
who are preaching false gospel under the guise of want to be
relevant to the culture, it’s so subtle. If I die tomorrow,
“Saving Christianity?” is the book that is my legacy because I want to encourage,
not only this generation, but the future generation, to be aware of the fact
that the Great Apostasy has already begun
and it’s in the church. You see, the church never
been destroyed from the outside. The church is strengthened
from the outside persecution, but it’s always an inside job and that is why this book is my
legacy for generations to come. announcer: In his newest book,
“Saving Christianity?,” Dr. Michael Youssef exposes
the false teachings that are infiltrating churches
today and shares the keys
to seeing a revival of true Christianity
in our day. Receive your own copy today
for a gift of any amount. Don’t fall for false faith. Don’t settle
for less than the truth. Order your copy
of “Saving Christianity?” today. It’s the most important book
of our time. You can call, write,
or visit us online at ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ Dr. Youssef: A lot of people
been given false information. Read what Jesus said, not what people said
about Jesus. Go to the Word of God, start reading
in the gospel of John. female: There are some in this
progressive Christian movement that are saying
that even the confessor’s prayer isn’t really that relevant, that’s not really
necessary anymore. Dr. Youssef: Right,
because you sell out on the fact that only those who
confess faith in Jesus Christ and repent of their sins
are gonna be saved, once you deny that
you’re gonna say, “Well, he died for everybody
and whether they know it or not, they’re gonna be saved. So, a person in New York
or a person in Sri Lanka who never prayed,
never accepted Jesus is gonna make it.” That’s called universalism, where Jesus died for all
and therefore all the saved. Now, that is, of course, a very, very, very, very
dangerous premise because it pulls the air
out of the gospel, and you no longer have
to believe in Jesus to be saved. That falsehood
is continuously going around in our culture
and our society, and Hollywood, of course,
loves it. female: But isn’t
part of that true? He did die for everybody,
didn’t he? Dr. Youssef: He died
for everybody so that everybody
can come to him. But in the end,
that death on the cross is only effective for those
who accept it and that is why when you say
he died for everyone that therefore
everyone is gonna be saved, that’s where the reign of truth wrapped up
in the whole lot of lies. He died for everyone so that
whosoever believe in him. It’s like Jesus said
in John 3, whoever believes in him
is saved. announcer:
Passionately proclaiming uncompromising truth, “Leading The Way”
with Dr. Michael Youssef thanks you
for your faithful support through your continued
prayers and gifts. ♪♪♪ Dr. Youssef:
Truth versus partial truth, what causes that defection
from the faith? What causes giving in
to this false teaching? Some think they’re
trying to save Christianity. So many preachers
and so many theologians are teaching falsehood
under the guise of truth. announcer: Join us
for a “Saving Christianity?” TV special
airing March 8 through 14. Check your local listings.

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