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Looking Up When Life's Got You Down (Part 1)

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef
The Truth Network Radio
September 25, 2019 1:00 am

Looking Up When Life's Got You Down (Part 1)

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef

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This is a message from leading the way with Dr. Michael.

You sat we pray that it will encourage you in your walk of faith. If you would like to learn more about Dr. you Seth for leading the way, please visit LTW.or how many of you like surprises like surprises. I sure don't like surprises of funding to be very threatening a fungus concerning our final to be a little bit unsettling about this man who actually said that his wife is not talked to him since Christmas. This is why is it well. I asked her what would you like for Christmas and she said all well just surprise me so I said about 3 o'clock in the morning. I leaned over there.

Christmas night I leaned over and I said back in the days when the fathers used to wait in the waiting room when the babies are being born. Now you go with them.

Back in those days there were in the hospital in Minnesota. There were three fathers in the waiting room waiting and the nurse came out and said to the first one, and set them great news. You have twins and he said that's ironic.

I pitched for the Minnesota Twins and then two minutes later the nurse comes in.

She looked to the second manager said you have great news you have triplets said that's unbelievable. I work for the 3M Company upon which the third man began to sweat, and about the fate's face turns white machine in the gym around them is what's wrong.

Can we help you is that I work for the 7-Eleven. I'm out of here. The truth is when you walk closely with God. When you develop intimacy with God.

When you delight yourself in the Lord you going to discover that far from being surprised and seeing surprises are threatening or disconcerting or unsettling.

You gonna rejoice in the surprises of the grace of God far from seeing surprises is something you want to avoid at any price. You will learn to revel in the surprises of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you look at Christian history.

You gonna find there are so many surprises of the grace of God I mean truly surprises, but that's how God works a playboy who was a college professor by the name of Aurelius confronted by the grace of God becomes the great sent August as slave trader who knew nothing but degradation knew nothing but debauchery. A man by the name of John become the great preacher and the author of amazing Grace John Newton Barber by the name of Mel. This man was so devoid of anything that is decent because of his addiction to alcohol that when his little girl died, he stole the shoes in which he was to be buried in order that he might warning them to get some money for a drink to become meltwater, the founder, one of the largest chains of rescue missions that extend from Boston to San Francisco.

That is the grace of God, but perhaps there is no greater surprise and there is no greater surprising story of the grace of God than the story of Saul of Tarsus there no greater transformation than that of Saul of Tarsus no transformation that had greater impact upon the world history than Saul of Tarsus. I want to share with you briefly for surprises that God's grace reveals to us in acts chapter 9 verses 1 to 31. Surprising man verses 1 to 3. Secondly, surprising method, verses 1 to 9. Thirdly, surprising mentor versus 10 to 25 and finally surprising mates versus 2631. Surprising man. You see Saul of Tarsus was a Jew. So were Jesus and his apostles Saul of Tarsus was trained in the pharisaic school. So Jesus and his apostles. But this is where all commonalities in this is the end of what they have in common Saul of Tarsus was a Roman citizen, Saul of Tarsus was educated in Greek Saul of Tarsus was not born in Israel, like the rest of them, but he was born in the city of Tarsus which is where the modern-day Turkey and Syria meet, but far more important than any of this is that Saul of Tarsus was a persecutor of the church of Jesus Christ know he was a persecutor of Jesus himself, like many others who have come after him, Saul of Tarsus thought that he could stamp out Christianity, but he not only failed everybody to follow him, who had this idiotic thought they'll infect Luke uses a word here that's really very significant. He uses a word to describe Saul of what Saul is doing to the church infect that word is so unique. It is used to describe how our wild boar devastates a vine. That's how he uses that magnificent work.

Luke said that Saul wanted to devastate the church.

Saul wanted to destroy the church. Saul wanted to ravish the church of Jesus Christ.

So he got permission from the high priest and from Jerusalem to go to Damascus to stamp out Christians in that city.

Now Damascus is about hundred and 20 miles north of Jerusalem. I mean, this is probably the fathers that church is meeting imagine the incredible seal. This is a long journey. This is not only a long journey. It's on the physical world is a dangerous trip, but it shows you the incredible commitment that Saul of Tarsus had in his desire to destroy the believers you have anyone suggested Saul of Tarsus just before he left Jerusalem. Had anyone suggested to him is it Saul.

By the time you get to Damascus again become a Christian, love your head off. Don't forget Paul was a vicious man don't think you we talk about St. Paul and we forget that he was Saul of Tarsus one and the same may a Christian, how can I be a Christian. I'm out to get those rascals arrested. I'm going to kill as many as I can. That is why he was not only a surprising man.

He was a surprised man. Not only that he was converted to Christ so thoroughly, but he became the greatest preacher in the New Testament, surprising man. But second, there is a surprising method. Look at verses four, all the way to nine Megan ask you to raise your hand, but I know the some of us, God has to use the 2 x 4 to get our attention to seek God new that Saul of Tarsus was not the kind of man who would respond to the gentle voice got me that God knew that Saul of Tarsus is such a stubborn man that only a surprising method of confrontation is going to get his attention, and only after he falls off his high horses. The Jesus speaks to him.

Have you been there. You see, there are many times when we are so full of our own importance. Even God is having a hard time getting it.

There are times when we are so full of our pride and arrogance that even God has a hard time reaching its there are times when we are so adamant about point of view that even God has to knock us down off a high horses in order to get attention for our own good. And Jesus said to Saul who said the why are you persecuting me my beloved friend I want to tell you something.

Don't forget this. If you are persecuted. If you are harassed simply because of your righteousness simply because of your desire to walk with God simply because your desire to live a godly life.

Let me tell you, those who are harassing you. Those are persecuting you they are not harassing you and persecuting you there persecuting Jesus Christ. In fact, when Saul was confronted by the risen Christ all he could say was, who are you, Mark.

Who are you will not please him right on this one. This is important because I believe with all my heart. You've heard me say this. I know it. I know it because I've experienced it that the reason why many Christians live a defeated and made a good life is because they never asked who are you, Lord. The reason why so many Christians take worshipful granted is because they never ask you Lord. The reason why so many Christians take that Christianity Saul likely is because they never stop to ask who are you, Lord, if you understand if you can comprehend and you can only do that with the spirit of God. If you are not could comprehend the awesomeness of revelation of being called the children of the King.

We would never miss worship we would never take worshipful granted, we would never take worship likely certain we would not come to worship habitually late, we would never take prayer meetings for granted and come only when we need something from God.

If you have never comprehended. If you've never been able to comprehend the awesomeness of the one who called us if you ever get to that point of no who God is and the privilege of calling you to a relationship with him. You would never walk in your own strength. If you ever understand if you could ever comprehend who God is and who called you to have a relationship with him. You would not go around doing nothing and ignoring his word. In fact, later on in the book of acts 2614, Paul said God told Jesus when he appeared and he said it is hard for you to kick against the goats. It's hard for you to kick against the goats. How many of you know what a notice. A goat is a sharp object and it is used in order to break in a new bull is not designed for human beings as design for bullheaded bulls. What did Jesus say to say, refusing to surrender to the voice of God is like being prodded and with a sharp object. Jesus, not knowing that you are doing that by refusing to listen to his voice.

What were these dogs that Saul of Tarsus was kicking against one was that she Paul obviously knew deep down that Jesus was the Messiah, but he wouldn't admit it. He kept blocking that voice.

He kept blocking that voice. He didn't want to hear.

If you want to hear it. He tried to silence the voice the second guard was Stephen. In fact, you see that coming out in Paul's writings later on when Saul heard Stephen testifying to the resurrected Jesus Christ deep down, Saul knew that what Stephen is saying is the truth, but he refused to believe it and he chose to be stubborn and his choice to silence that voice and nonetheless he actually guarded the close of those who stoned Stephen to death.

Beloved from the material, something, something, I hope you'll never forget something. I hope the last beyond this day and beyond this week and beyond this month and beyond. This year, when you are fighting against the conviction of the Holy Spirit you are hurting baby you might be 200 pound with your baby when you are fighting against God's conviction of sin in your life.

Deep down you are hurting man your hurting woman dividend give it up today. The grace of God brought us a surprising man.

The grace of God introduced us to a surprising method. Further, the grace of God produces a surprising mentor.

The Lord told Saul to get to the house of Judas in Damascus and then God goes to one of the leaders of the church of Damascus by them of Ananias and Mrs. Ananias, I want you to go and meet Saul of Tarsus. I honestly try to put myself in the nicest place I will probably I would be more scared than he was in. Ananias did not want to question the Lord, but the poor man he said, Lord, you know what you talking about me Lord with all due respect, you want me to do what Lord we talked about the same Saul here. The Saul of Tarsus.

Do you know what this man has done.

Lord, you know what this man is coming here to do more if you wanted to die, will you please kill me because you be more merciful this man's reputation as a writer spread into Damascus and his on his way and he was not going there for a tour.

He is not there as a tourist is not in there for sightsee is not there on vacation. He was coming to drag and into prison and to kill the Christians. This poor guy was scared to death. I can imagine his knees were shaking said Lord I would do whatever you want, but not let this one fight some time ago a historic about Louis Armstrong when he was a little boy in the town that there was a an aunt who actually was a very powerful lady.

His aunt Jenny may by name.

He said the one day and Jim asked me to take the bucket and go to the pond and get some more in there. So he went to come back didn't have any water in engine. I was not very happy about this and she said no. Louis did nothing to go to the pond to get the bucket full of water, he said unto my I did but I got to that point and I saw this big alligator right there and I came back running. I mean those eyes as big eyes were looking scared me half to death. I dropped the bucket. I just ran home. She said literally that you understand that this gator is a scan of you as you are scared of him. Louis is now on Jenny my if that alligator is a scan of me as I'm scared of him.

You don't want that water that's Ananias, the poor guy in his reaction, the words exiting originals very strong words.

I mean, he was absolutely scared stiff Ghats is not a nice that you don't understand all you does not understand the lies you don't understand God's all wrong Ananias listen you are talking about Saul three days ago about Saul of today. It's amazing what God can do in three days. It's amazing what going to do three seconds is the problem is we fail to believe that someone said Ananias is a forgotten hero of the Christian church and I agree with. He was called to mentor a notorious murderer when ask you something. Has God ever called you to do something that seemed to be so insurmountable. Has God ever asked you to do something that seemed to be impossible.

I wanted to remember this when he does ask you it is because he has already gone ahead of you and he prepared the way it is because he's already gone out ahead of you, and took care of all the kinks. He picked out all the bugs in the system.

In this case, God has already taken care of Saul of Tarsus is already knocking down off his high horses and he already converted his heart. Listen to what I'm going to tell you, please what ever your Saul of Tarsus for you that is frightening. You what ever your Saul of Tarsus for you that is causing you worry. What ever your Saul of Tarsus is that is causing you anxiety.

I want you to know this, that he or she or it is already been tamed by the great time of the universe. The truth of the matter is Saul actually has not been able to shut up talking about Jesus.

Look at verse 20 and 21, 22, we can see if this is immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, proclaiming that he is the son of God.

What a transformation. What a transformation.

What a surprising act of grace. The prosecutor has now become persecuted, so much so that he had to be lowered from a little hold. Christians already knew where the holes are in the walls of Damascus, so the little opening in the pushing through allowing him down to get outside of the city and get out of Damascus alive, then we are told that he went to Arabia. Why because the exits and all of the city of Damascus were sealed all the exits in the city of Jerusalem was sealed people looking out from the want to kill him and so he had to go to this liberty, and kingdom and what's modern-day Jordan, the one who was going after the fugitives has become a fugitive himself.

Look at verse 23 Luke said after many days we know those many days were actually three years minimizing many days, three years three years.

He was in Arabia. How do we know that Paul said so in Galatians chapter 1 verses 17 and 18. In fact, if you read on. From Galatians. The last part of chapter 1 in the beginning of verse two tells you the whole story and this was not the modern day Saudi Arabia as we know it.

When the Bible says goes to Arabia at that time it was in the modern-day city of Petra, in Jordan that this is a very ancient city that is there and the BC time and it was the center of civilization at that time. This, in liberty, and kingdom and they had some real real civilization. I think it's a cosmopolitan. There were Greeks. There were Romans or Egyptians were coming from all over the world. So it wasn't just out in the desert. He had to go to this civilization known as a liberty and civilization wasn't called Arabia back then when the apostle Paul spent those three years Weiss, Paul, why did he go there.

Why did God lead him why the Holy Spirit taken after this incredible conversion after this incredible encounter with the living resurrected Christ takes into place for three years is my second Battalion is more than three years to meditate, to pray the high because you see we only not have a surprising man would have surprising method, and we have a surprising mentor, but fourthly, there is a surprising mates to say that Paul's fellowship with the apostles as a surprise is an understatement. It really is.

Verse 26 of acts nine Saul came to Jerusalem. He tried to associate with the disciples that were scared of him arming his reputation did not go down a forgotten in those three years, but thank God for the Barnabas's of this world, bless God for the Barnabas's of this world who understand the grace of God. The Barnabas is who value the trophies of grace.

The Barnabas is who understand that God saves from the God of most of the animals.

The Barnabas us who understand that God specializes in saving sinners. The Barnabas is who understand that God delights in the repentance. Barnabas takes Paul by the hand vouches for him and he becomes accepted to the apostles and we know again. From later on that he spent two weeks with Peter, but let me tell you this, as I conclude, after three years in Arabia. Saul went to his hometown of Tarsus for approximately seven years. Again, Galatians, the last of chapter 1 in the beginning of chapter 2 fills in the details so you say this is about roughly 10 years. 10 years 10 years. That's a long time.

Some of you waiting for the Lord to answer your prayer year 234567 and some of you have given up. Pray 10 years since the time Paul encountered the risen Christ and both of mistakes and by the hand and says to the apostles.

This is God's man 10 years a forgotten man for 10 years becomes the most influential man in the entire New Testament. What God was doing. He was training him. He was training him.

God was preparing him listen when you waiting for God to answer your prayers. The devil wants you to give up that is not an answer your prayer.

You know how often Jesus would look at somebody said your face when you talk about is talking about absolute persistence are not going to give up using Paul wondered about that encounter with the risen Christ during those 10 years you think at some point he said Lord's going on here. You think you question what happened from what all of his writings. We know he did want to tell you this, God's way. Not always in God's timing is not our timing. You may have prayed for somebody to be saved and her husband live, son, daughter, relative, friend, and the person is not been saved. Worst thing you could do is you give up praying for that person because you do not know what God is doing behind the scene is orchestrating events is orchestrating circumstances is orchestrating people are serious couple of examples of how we as a congregation have prayed we have prayed for six years for the land in which we can build a sanctuary.

Some said well God might not want us to have a built others have said well when we just go out and spread ourselves among the churches. Two occasions came in which we almost settled for things that are far inferior than what God has provided you give us a superior because you prayed.

We pray for a traffic light for two years. Why because it was dangerous doing this somebody almost lost her life with several accidents reported were cried to God and the governments is impossible.

You can do some suggested we sell the property and get out of here and some gave all kinds of wonderful ideas.

Others were tempted to settle for less than inferior things. But God gave us a superior than everů The patient when you pray, don't ever give up being surprised by the grace of God, shall we pray our precious heavenly father we ask you first of all, to forgive us for our impatience and from not being willing to learn to wait patiently that would grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as your servant Paul did remind us of fresh that you're calling us for a lifelong ministry in the lifelong service of witness. Thank you that you do hear us when we pray and we thank you that your delay does not mean denial that this moment be a transforming moment for each of us and just as you confronted Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus confront each one of us this very day, but those among us who have constantly kept your voice and try to silence him. So no more because your mighty God in Jesus name, amen


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