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Yesterday’s Lesson For Today

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2022 8:00 am

Yesterday’s Lesson For Today

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef

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May 23, 2022 8:00 am

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Listen to pastor and International Bible teacher, Dr. Michael Youssef, as he begins this challenging Leading the Way audio. There is no more powerful of an impact that you can make than personal example.

Whether you are 10 years old or 100 years old, it makes no difference. We can proclaim the truth publicly or privately. We can witness and we can testify and we can speak on behalf of the gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ. But what will impact people's lives in great a way is your conduct. As we travel through life, people dip in and out of our lives.

Distance and life circumstances may keep us apart for the seasons. But as you heard from Dr. Michael Youssef, the life you live is often the most impacting part of influencing those in your circles of influence. You can listen to the entire Looking Up When Life's Got You Down series online at and connect with other relevant content from Leading the Way, like Candid Conversations with Jonathan Youssef, a weekly podcast giving you a biblical view of culture. The website again is

But since you're here, listen with me now to Dr. Michael Youssef. In Acts chapter 19, there was a huge riot in the city of Ephesus. And this riot was instigated by a businessman by the name of Demetrius. And his business was a silversmith.

He was making trinkets for the goddess Artemis. In the beginning of chapter 20, Paul leaves Ephesus and there he goes to Macedonia, then to Corinth or Greece, back to Macedonia, then to Troas. And when he gets to Troas, he meets with the believers on Sunday to celebrate the Lord's Supper. And then nighttime came, he began to preach. He preached for five hours. Now I know what some of you are thinking.

Michael is going to try this. In fact, Paul's five-hour sermon got this poor boy who's between seven and fourteen. That's what the Greek word means. As a young boy between seven and fourteen, he dozed off to sleep, poor kid. And his name was Eutychus, and he was sitting on the windowsill on the third floor, and he fell and he died.

And through the power of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul comes in, raised him from the dead. And believe me when I tell you that while I tenaciously hold onto the truth of the gospel as preached by the apostles, I'll never try their methodology. In other words, relax. I will not preach for five hours. Now some of you may think that it feels like five hours. That's because of your attention span.

It has nothing to do with my length of time. Well, in reality, the five-hour sermon that Paul preached was not a monologue as much as it was a dialogue. The Greek word is very clear on that. There was a time for questions and answers and give and take as he spoke, of course, till dawn after he raised the boy from the dead. Obviously what happened at that time is the Bible tells us that the fumes from the lamps and the stuffiness of the atmosphere in the room caused Eutychus to fall off and die. But interrupting his sermon long enough, Paul goes down, raises the boy from the dead, then goes back to speak till dawn.

That's what I call Preacher-thon. People in Troas were obviously like a sponge. They were soaking up the truth as they were coming out of the mouth of the apostle Paul. The next day, Paul leaves Troas and he goes to Miletus. And in Miletus, he realized if he goes back to Ephesus, it's going to take time, not only time, but they were probably going to ask him to stay. So what he does at Miletus, he sent a messenger to Ephesus and asked the messenger to bring the leaders of the church from Ephesus and come and meet him in Miletus.

Now Miletus is about 20 miles as the crow flies, but with the winding roads and everything else, it would take about three days from the time the messenger left, went to Ephesus, brought the leaders and came back. And there the apostle Paul gives him that warning that I want to talk to you about. In fact, there are three things that Paul's exhortation are absolutely relevant to every person listening to me right now. First, his life as a role model in verses 18 to 21. Secondly, his obedience to the Lord was unconditional in verses 22 to 27. And thirdly, his warning was for vigilance, verses 28 to 35.

I want us to look at the first thing that Paul talks about here when he's warning these church leaders that his life as a role model, look at the verses 18 to 21 of Acts 20. Listen to me very carefully. I want you to listen intently, particularly parents. There is no more powerful of an impact that you can make than personal example.

Whether you are 10 years old or 100 years old, it makes no difference. Parents can instruct their children all day long. Preachers can preach great sermons. Teachers can teach brilliantly.

Business leader can have all the skills. But the life of example is far more impacting than all of that put together. We can tell our children what they should and should not do.

And we should. We can tell our children what is good and what is bad. But your life mom, your life dad, your life parents will impact your children far, far, far, far more than the words you speak. We can proclaim the truth publicly or privately. We can witness and we can testify and we can speak on behalf of the gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ. But what will impact people's lives in great a way is your conduct Christian.

If a Christian is lying and cheating and getting drunk just like everybody else, you will have no impact upon your surroundings. People in general are looking for is this. Please listen carefully.

Are you living your lessons? What children and people in general are watching very carefully for? Are you the same person in public as you are in private? What children and people in general are scrutinizing is whether your walk matches your talk. And Paul said in Acts 20 verse 18, he said, you know, now underline the word know, you know, that's a very important word, how I lived the whole time I was with you from the first day I came into the province of Asia, you know, that's powerful. That's important.

That's very significant. You know, I'm not telling you something you did not know, but you know, what is Paul saying? He's saying, you have heard my words, but you also examined my life. He is saying you listen to my teaching, but you also watched my decisions and my action. You heard me talk, but you also saw me walk. You wrote down the instructions that I've given you, but you also have scrutinized my behavior and you saw how the two match, how the two fit together and you yourself can testify to that and you can testify to the fact that there is no discrepancy between what I say and the way I live. You observed that what you saw is what you got.

Yeah, you may not like either, but that's how it is. They were consistent. Acts 20-20, Paul said, I served the Lord with great humility and with tears. You know what? I am grateful that the apostle Paul mentioned tears here because it really used to bother me that I often get moved to tears when I'm preaching about salvation, longing to see men and women saved from eternal damnation into heaven. How I am moved to tears when I think of the grace of God that is given to me, unworthy as I am. At least now I feel that if Paul was not ashamed of his tears, I shouldn't either. You see, Paul was a role model, not just in his words, but in his life. Secondly, Paul's obedience to the Lord was unconditional.

Look at verses 22-27 of Acts 20. Obviously the apostle Paul, and this is not for everybody, but the apostle Paul with his apostolic authority, his apostolic power, he was able to look up through his prophetic eyes and he saw that he's going to face in Jerusalem more opposition and more persecution. What he was facing in Jerusalem, what is awaiting him in Jerusalem was more beatings and more unrests, and we will see that. In fact, happened exactly as he predicted. What was facing him in Jerusalem was more false accusations and discouragement. What was going to be even beyond Jerusalem if his dream of going to Rome is being fulfilled, that when he gets to Rome he's going to meet his death, whether the apostle Paul was able to see through the prophetic eyes that one day is coming when he was going to lay his gray head on the chopping block and then gets chopped and rolled down the Appian Way. We don't know, but obviously that's what happened.

But you know what? Listen carefully. None of that really mattered to the apostle Paul. None of that mattered. He saw it through prophetic eyes. We're going to see in the next message that another prophet actually witnessed to that and affirmed that this is going to happen, but that didn't matter.

Because he knew that God was calling him to go, that's the end of the matter. What a far cry this is from modern day Christianity. What a far cry where people say, I'm willing to follow Jesus if he makes me healthy and wealthy. I am willing to become a church member only if I get all the perks of being associated with a church. Well, I am willing to serve, but only if I can implement my agenda.

Well, I am willing to get involved, but only if it is convenient, if it's not going to conflict with my sports activities, if it's not going to conflict with my social activities, if it's not going to conflict with my lifestyle. Oh, listen, my beloved friends, listen to what Paul said in verse 24. I want to weep, literally, of Acts 20. He said, I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus Christ has given me, the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. What does that mean?

Here's what Paul is saying, desires to the task of making Jesus known. My wants mean nothing. My desires are not at the forefront. My comfort is not my priority.

My personal goals are not the issue. My likes and dislikes are incidentals. Why? Why, Paul? Why is all this?

We live in such a society and a life of comfort and pampering, and we get our wants and our needs and everything else on top of it. Why, Paul? He says, because my life is not my own. Because my life does not belong to me. My life belongs to him. I wonder how many of us can truly say this today.

It's a fact. It is true whether you acknowledge it or not. Your life is not your own if you belong to Christ.

But how often do we really think about that, believe that, practice that, walk by that? His life as a role model, his obedience to the Lord was unconditional. Thirdly, his warning was for vigilance.

Look at verses 28 and following. Every time I deal with the issue of vigilance, I can't help but think what a rare commodity it is today. Vigilance is such a rare commodity. I'm going to be a church someday if it doesn't rain. I'm going to be a prayer meeting. Oh, if I need the church to pray for me. I'm going to witness, well, if it's convenient and beneficial, I will have a real life of prayer.

Only if I'm desperate. But that's not vigilance, beloved friends. That is not vigilance. Being vigilant is always double-edged sword.

It's always double-edged. Paul tells us here, he says, on the one hand, you guard against the attack of the enemy in your own life. On the other hand, you warn others against the attack of the enemy. On the one hand, you do not neglect your personal prayer life and your study of the word and your walk with God. On the other hand, you warn others of the danger of neglecting their prayer life and their study of the word. Bottom line, don't commit the sin that you want others not to commit.

Here's what Paul said. First, keep watch on yourself, and only then you can truly minister to your family and minister to others. For you cannot adequately care for others if you neglect the cultivation of your own soul.

That's what he's saying to these leaders. There's one thing that I often say to young parents when they come and meet with me with their baby. I often hold the baby and I say, this baby is not yours. This is the Lord's body, and he has given you this baby to manage for him. You know, reality is nothing that really we have ours, not the possessions, not the children, not the jobs we have, not the companies we own.

Nothing is really ours. It's God's. I remember the story when John Wesley, his house burned down and somebody came running to him. He says, Mr. Wesley, Mr. Wesley, your house was burned to the ground.

He said, good. That's God's house, number one, and number two is less for me to worry about. And Paul is saying to the Ephesians here, he's saying that you must understand that the church is not yours.

It belongs to Jesus Christ. It's Jesus' church, not ours. God has called those in leadership to manage it for him.

And throughout history, you see people coming generation after generation who made a botch of it, who made a mess of managing the church. And what does God do? He just takes it out of their hand. He gives it to another group and gives another group. And then they mess that up.

They gives it to another group. Why is Paul warning the church leaders to watch out and be vigilant both for themselves and for others? Here's what he said. He said, there are wolves everywhere, are ready to come and devour the sheep. Where do you think the wolves were that Paul is talking about?

Can you tell me? Where were they? In the church. They were right in the church. They're hiding and waiting.

They're ready to mislead God's people. And I want you to listen carefully, beloved friends. There are wolves in your children's schools. There are wolves in the churches. There are wolves in your children's clubs. There are wolves in the vile music. There are wolves in the vile books. There are wolves in the vile movies. And you are to be vigilant for yourself first and then for them. In the ancient Near East, wolves were the chief enemies of the sheep. Number one enemy.

They were a constant threat. In fact, sheep were defenseless against wolves. And that is why shepherds could not afford to take their eyes off the sheep, not even for one minute. And you know, we used to say about false preachers and false teachers in the church, we used to say, there are wolves in sheep's clothing. Have you ever heard that?

A dear friend of mine from Sydney, Australia, said, Michael, you're living in the past. He said, now the wolves have taken the sheep's clothing off and they could not care less. They have become so brazen that they took the sheep's clothing off. There are some people who would say, in fact, they cringe when they hear falsehood being exposed and refuted. And they'll say, that is a negative approach. Don't expose false teaching. Don't expose false teachers. Don't expose false churches.

Don't expose them. Just preach the truth. All did both.

And you and I must do both. Not one or the other. Here's what he said. He said he preached to them the whole counsel of God. That's everything in the scripture that they need to know.

He did it publicly and he did it from house to house. But here he's warning them about the wolves that are ready to come and undermine the truth. Friends, listen, it is not negative to say this is right and this is wrong. It is not negative to say this is the truth, this is falsehood.

It is not negative to say this is biblical, but this is not biblical. But I wanted to listen to something else I'm going to tell you that many of you would testify to what I'm saying, that vigilance is costly. Vigilance is troublesome. Vigilance is hard. Vigilance is exhausting. Vigilance will not win you a popularity award. Vigilance will bring false accusations. Vigilance will cause misunderstandings. Vigilance will isolate you and alienate you, but it's your call. Vigilance may increase with such overwhelming volume, but the gospel of Jesus Christ never changes and that is why the Bible speaks again and again and again and again and again about the importance of holding on, the importance of being vigilant, the importance of being on the alert, the importance of receiving a crown when you do that. Thank you for listening to Leading the Way Audio with pastor, author, and International Bible teacher, Dr. Michael Youssef. No matter where you turn on the radio or television, you can't miss someone talking about the stock markets or inflation numbers.

And when those numbers are up or down, they offer quick insight into overall financial health of the economy and of course your own investments. But have you thought about your investment in eternity? One way to maximize return is by partnering with Leading the Way. Through Dr. Michael Youssef and the worldwide teams, lives are being touched in deeper ways more than ever before, and that impact lasts into eternity. So once you consider becoming a part of what God is doing, it's easy. Just call and speak with a ministry representative about ways to stand with Dr. Youssef at 866-626-4356.

866-626-4356. And you can click on over to That's Leading the Way is reaching a world in chaos with the love of Jesus. Through our Vision 2025 campaign, we are witnessing dramatic impact across various platforms across the world. Reaching around the entire globe is Leading the Way's award-winning satellite television channel, The Kingdom Sat, specifically targeting Arabic-speaking countries and populations. The Kingdom Sat is continuing to grow, and as part of Vision 2025, our plan is to double its audience. This past year, we've started producing a host of new programming, new programs for women, apologetics programs, as well as indigenous worship programs. The Kingdom Sat aired in over 100 live broadcasts to over 195 million homes in the Muslim world, including two live events in the Middle East with Dr. Youssef.

Through the Kingdom Sat, viewers in the Middle East are coming to Christ daily, including Muslims who have nowhere else to go to learn about the Christian faith. With each passing year, the world keeps changing, but our calling is the same. Leading the Way is right there on the cutting edge, adapting to the new tech and media landscape, using every tool to reach the world with the hope of Jesus. Contact us today to find out how you can join with Leading the Way's global outreach and become a part of what God is doing through this worldwide ministry. This program is furnished by Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, passionately proclaiming uncompromising truth around the world. Learn more at
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