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Powerful Name

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef
The Truth Network Radio
April 26, 2022 8:00 am

Powerful Name

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef

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April 26, 2022 8:00 am

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There is nothing more aggravating to a bully than when you take your stand. By and large, bullies are cowards. They really are. And when you stand your ground, they will show their true color.

When you are standing behind your commander in chief, you will make your enemy not only blink, but flee. Practical words to help you stand up to whatever you're facing today. This is Leading the Way with pastor and author, Dr. Michael Youssef. You know, the early church experienced resistance and persecution that was violent and deadly. Many faithful believers were imprisoned, tortured, and put to death. But they turned their trials into pulpits, declaring Jesus, the cross, and the resurrection. Christians in Western churches have limited understanding as to what it really means to be persecuted. Freedom to worship is a crux of culture, and yet the foundation is getting washed away a little more each day. Today, four of Satan's schemes and the biblical response.

If you have your Bible and your situation allows, join Dr. Michael Youssef in Acts chapter four to experience God's power for daily living. You know, some time ago when I was writing my book, No, You Real Enemy, some of you have read it. I had a conversation with the devil. Some of you say, well, you mean you talk to the devil?

Quite frequently. In fact, when I had that particular conversation with the devil that was assigned to me by the enemy, he was trying to stop me from writing this book and revealing his tactics. Now, I'm not suggesting you should do that, by the way.

Stay behind the battle lines unless God specifically call you to spiritual warfare. But back then, the devil began to speak to me and trying to hinder me from writing the book. I said, you know, tell me if you're honest. Just be honest for a little bit. He can be honest. You know, he's a liar and he lies to himself.

Actually, he deceives himself. But if you can be honest, tell me, what kind of a strategy do you use in attacking the soldiers of Jesus Christ who are in active duty? You say active duty, yes, because you know and I know and the devil knows that he doesn't bother with sleepy Christians. The devil does not bother with Christians who are into idolatry of self-worship and self-pleasing and self-promoting. The devil doesn't bother with a Christian who's living in disobedience. You're already doing his work for him.

He doesn't have to waste his time on you. What the devil told me is what the Bible has already revealed and countless of you already know, that he basically has a two-pronged strategy. He uses the unbelievers from without in order to intimidate his people. Then he uses the believers from within in order to discourage and dishearten the faithfuls. He uses the outside forces in order to intimidate the active Christians into silence, in order to intimidate active Christians into compromise. But then he uses from within the church the unsuspecting, the egotistical Christian, in order that he may harass, in order that he may hassle the effective Christian. He uses the ungodly forces of the world in order to numb us into inactivities. At the same time, he uses the non-discerning Christian within the church to disturb your peace. He uses the temptation of the world and worldly temptation so that we may get into inaction.

And then he uses sinning Christians to steal our joy. Two-pronged strategy. This two-pronged strategy has been Satan's strategy since the beginning of time. It has never changed. He has never modified his strategy. It has always been the same. He has never deviated from it. We are the ones who are running around looking for different strategies in every generation. Satan never changes his strategy.

It's always been the same. Oh, he uses a lot of cunning, conniving, scheming. Yes, he comes at you with such speed that even the greatest of saints is so surprised.

Yes, he will choose his time very carefully and very cunningly, but the two-pronged strategy never changes. And this is precisely the strategy he used against the first church of the apostles. Do you know about that church? The first church of the apostles was the first church of Jesus, where the apostles were the leaders. As the work of God began to take hold in Jerusalem, as the gospel began to convert people, as the gospel began to change lives, as the Holy Spirit began to convert people and consecrate them, as the early church began spiritual success, if you like, Satan moved in with two-pronged strategy. From without, he stirred up trouble through the Jewish rulers, the Jewish leaders.

From within, he deceived and misled unsuspecting, careless, insecure, egotistical church members by appealing to their fragile egos. Dr. Luke makes it very clear that this particular persecution was not coming from the pagan world, it was not coming from the Romans, that this particular persecution, later on they're going to have their troubles with the Romans, but this particular persecution was coming from the religious leaders. This type of persecution was instigated by the Sadducees. Now let me just stop for a moment and tell you a few things about the Sadducees. And when I'm through, you'll understand exactly who they are and who are their equivalents in our society, because we got them. Believe me, I dealt with them.

I've known them on first-name basis. The Sadducees were the ruling class of the wealthy aristocracy. The Sadducees were the politically correct liberal establishment. The Sadducees were the religious people who ingratiated themselves with the media lords of the day. The Sadducees believed that the messianic age had come and gone, and they no longer were looking for a Messiah as the rest of the Jewish sects. The Sadducees were the ones who denied the Old Testament doctrine of the resurrection of the body. So you can understand their heartburns when the apostles were running around saying, we saw Jesus with our own eyes rising from the dead, and did not like that one bit.

In fact, to them that was a Melox moment. But they were not alone. Dr. Luke tells us that the Jewish rulers of the temple, the elders of the Jewish temple, of the Jewish tribes, the priests of the temple, including the current high priest and the former high priest who was his father-in-law, the teachers of the law, or if you like, these were the professors of divinity and theology and of the universities. They were all together on this deal.

All in all, there were six categories that Luke tells us, six categories of people plus some unidentified individuals that we don't know who they are. They all became united in opposition against the teaching of the supremacy of Jesus Christ. That's what they were doing. They did not like the preaching of the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is why all these miserable groups got together and got united. Why were those groups of people who normally can't stand each other? I mean, the Sadducees and the Pharisees were at each other's throats. They literally hated each other's guts.

I mean, they couldn't stand each other. How come they got together and they got united? Well, Luke tells us why. Chapter 4 of Acts, verse 2. He said, because the apostles were giving an eyewitness account of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's why. But why did they put the apostles on trial?

Good question. The one overarching reason is that they wanted to intimidate them. They really did. They wanted to intimidate them. They wanted to silence them.

They had no legal case, so they resorted to intimidation. As if to say, well, let's see. Let's see how you're going to behave after one night in prison. I'll let you cool your heels in the slumber for a night and just see how you're going to take that.

Let's just see what's going to happen to you. Let's break their spirits. I think once we shake them up a little bit, intimidate them a little bit, I think they're going to cave in. Let's ostracize them. Let's alienate them. Let's tell them that they are out of the mainstream. Let's tell them that they are extremists. Let's tell them that they are bigoted and they are sectarian. Let's tell them that their views ought to be silenced. And the sooner the better.

Why? Why go to all this trouble? Because they were afraid. Lest people hear the truth, believe the truth, and embrace the truth. In fact, verse 4 of Acts 4, Luke tells us that many who heard the message believed and their number grew to 5,000. You remember only two weeks ago there were 3,000.

That's a 60% increase, that is a real threat to a politician. Now, not only does Satan's strategy never changes, but it always, listen to me carefully, it always fails to intimidate the faithfuls. It will always fail to intimidate the faithfuls.

Listen to what I'm going to tell you. I know all about intimidation, many of you know that. I know all about intimidations that are designed to silence the preaching of the Word of God.

I used to get regular calls that were designed to silence me. The only success they had is just wasted a bit of my time and a little bit of my energy. But they could never hinder the Word of God.

In the year 33 AD in Jerusalem, Peter and the apostles were being intimidated into silence. But the evidence were on their side. You see, all of the facts were on their side.

And Peter responded to the Sanhedrin with such irrefutable evidence that they literally were baffled they did not know how to react or what to say. Hear me right, please. You must never be afraid to stand up for the truth of the gospel. You must never be bullied or intimidated into silence. The facts are on your side. The historical evidence are on your side.

The truth is on your side and God is on your side. Acts 4 shows us their bafflement. When they could not refute the evidence, they said, these fellows didn't go to the right schools. This is absolutely unbelievable. These guys didn't even get proper education.

They did not have the right credentials. But we have to admit, we just have to confess, they have got us beat with the truth. They have got us beat with the facts. They have got us bamboozled with the evidence. Our minds were so made up, but they are confusing us with the facts.

And Peter shows them how ludicrous their argument was. He says, look, are you arresting us because of a miracle? Is that what you're arresting us for?

Let me tell you something. The enemy is never logical because they don't have the truth on their side. Are you harassing us because we believe in the supernatural God? Is that what you're doing? Are you trying to intimidate us because we saw a man who was crippled for 40 years and now he's standing before you in perfect health? Is that what you're doing?

That's exactly what they were doing. Well, I'll tell you what, before I run out of time and I've just got to the introduction, I want to share with you and I want you to notice there are four things about Satan's attack from without. Make note of them.

They are of uttermost importance. You see, what the evil one means for evil, what Satan means for evil, God always can turn it around for those who love him and bring good out of it. He uses it for good. Joseph taught us that. His brothers hated him and they thought they got rid of him, but God had a bigger plan for Joseph.

See, the evil one means it for evil, but God turns it, brings good out of it. Satan wanted to destroy the first church, but instead the following things happen. Number one, Peter and the apostles become more courageous and fearless like they have never thought they could. The apostles would not be silenced even at the threat of their lives.

Peter would have run if that was a few months earlier. Let me remind you of something that you already know. There is nothing more aggravating to a bully than when you take your stand. Nothing more aggravating to a bully than you refusing to give in. By and large, bullies are cowards.

They really are. They are cowards. And when you stand your ground, they will show their true color. Let me be right, please. When you are wrapped up with the full armor of God, you can stir down the enemy. When you are standing behind your command and chief, you will make your enemy not only blink, but flee.

But you notice one thing here, very important, very important. When the apostles talked about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the members of the sadhydrum did not dispute the evidence. Why did not dispute the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Because they couldn't.

That's why. Standing on the truth gives you courage. Standing on the rock of ages gives you the strength to do what you think in your flesh to be impossible. Standing on the power of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ will embolden you to become fearless. Well, the persecution or the attack of the enemy from without first gave them courage. But secondly, because of the attack from without, the apostles experienced incredible solidarity among themselves. Persecution strengthens the true believers. Persecution binds them together. Persecution unites the true believers.

Persecution draws the true believers to each other and to the Lord. Listen, you and I don't like the devil's attack. If you do, there's something wrong with you. I mean, you and I don't seek the devil's attack.

We don't. You and I don't enjoy the devil's attack. But there is nothing that will draw you closer to the Lord, nothing that will draw you closer to your brothers and sisters in Christ than the enemy's attack.

Please hear me right. The reason the churches in the West are fat and unhappy is because they do not know what it is to truly be persecuted for the name of Jesus. When I travel overseas, I get all fired up by the strength of the persecuted believers. Attack from without gave the apostles courage. The attack from without bind them together in solidarity.

Thirdly, attack from without helped the apostles to turn the persecution into a pulpit. I mean, far from cowering to the intimidation and the attack and go around and say, OK, OK, I'll be nice. Please just leave me alone. I won't say anything. I'll try to be winsome.

I'll try to be a nice guy. Just get us out of here and we will do whatever you tell us to do. I mean, I just not going to take a stand anymore. I've had enough of this.

One night in jail is enough. I'll do whatever you ask me to do. No, no, no, no. In fact, Peter said, Let me tell you about Jesus whom you crucified. He is your only hope. He is your only way to salvation. He is your only way to heaven.

And you had better turn to Him and repent of your sins and believe in Him. Beloved, what the world is desperate for is not more compromises. The world has its fill of that. They're not looking for people who know how to compromise and get along and stamp on their principles and in a conviction. Now, they see through that.

What the world is desperately looking for. There's some who would say with Martin Luther, Here I stand for I can do no other. The enemy's attack gives you courage that you never thought possible. The enemy's attack binds you together with your brothers and sisters in Christ. The enemy's attack from without will help you turn the persecution into a pulpit.

But there's a fourth thing that I see here in this passage about Satan's attack from without. It caused the church to be a praising and praying church. Look at verses 23 all the way to 28. When Peter and John were released, they got into the church and they began to praise God. They began to petition God. They began to trust God afresh. They began to trust God anew in a way they would never have been able to before. When faced with opposition, when faced with enemy's attack, they took comfort in the sovereignty of God. In their darkest hour, they had confidence that God is in control of all things. In their hour of perplexity, they knew that the Lord will not forsake them. And you would not be able to experience that until you come under attack. Far from succumbing to temptation in the face of satanic attack, from without they became bolder. Far from being anxious to compromise and try to get peace at any price, they became fearless and courageous.

As a result, the place shook and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they demonstrated the power of God in word and in deed. Let me ask you this as I conclude. Are you under attack? Begin by praising God.

Are you harassed by the enemy? Praise God. Are you feeling defeated? Sing praises to the Lord. Are you tempted to compromise? Sing praises to the Lord. Are you tempted to give up? Sing praises to the Lord.

Do you feel that you cannot take the heat of the battle anymore? Sing praises to the Lord. For the enemy's attack can only make you more courageous. Bring you into solidarity with your brothers and sisters and help you to turn your persecution into a pulpit and your pain into praise. Dr. Michael Youssef and the entire team leading the way pray that today's message will help you find courage to face your unique battles. No doubt you've heard us mention Vision 2025 in the past months.

It's Dr. Youssef's response to God's prompting to reach the lost with the gospel. And as we look forward, anticipating what God will do, we want to provide you an update with what God has done so far. Using every available means to reach every available person at every available opportunity, leading the way presses on through our Vision 2025 campaign. We are witnessing dramatic impact around the world as well as here in the United States. One key part of our Vision 2025 initiative is expanding our media footprint.

We have added 60 new television networks and stations since the launch of Vision 2025. We are now reaching tens of millions of new viewers, bringing the truth of Jesus into homes that may never have heard the gospel before. In addition, our national TV advertising campaign, Finding True Peace, has produced over 120,000 online visitors to the website where they can find answers to their spiritual questions and learn more about the peace only Jesus can bring to their lives. 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. Learn how to stand with Dr. Yusef in Leading the Way when you call 866-626-4356.

That's 866-626-4356. And online at ltw.org. ltw.org. This program is furnished by Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Yusef. Connect with us through our YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, and all of our social media networks. Learn more at ltw.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-27 11:44:38 / 2023-04-27 11:52:54 / 8

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