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Hang in There – You Are Not Alone

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef
The Truth Network Radio
May 19, 2022 8:00 am

Hang in There – You Are Not Alone

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef

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May 19, 2022 8:00 am

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Dr. Michael Youssef, challenging you to stand for the truth, even when it seems to backfire.

This is Leading the Way Audio. Have you ever stood for the truth? Have you been faithful to God and faithful to God's word and then you found yourself being undermined by even some Christians? And the Lord has a word for you, that He loves you and He wants you to stand firm and never give up, never, never give up. Dr. Youssef grew up in Egypt in a culture opposed to Christianity, so he understands what's at stake when a person takes a stand for Christ. Today on Leading the Way Audio, Dr. Youssef guides you to the words found in the book of Acts, words that will give you courage to stand up for Christ in your workplace, in your neighborhood, and in your home.

It's a challenge to never give up. Now before the teaching begins, do make a note of this special website. It's slash jesus. This is a place to explore some of your faith questions and to reach out to a compassionate Leading the Way team member.

Once again, slash jesus. Now Dr. Youssef with his message, hang in there, you are not alone. If you are a person who is prone to discouragement of fear, I want you to stay tuned because the Lord has a word for you today. In fact, the Oxford dictionary defines intimidation this way. It says to inspire with fear in order to influence change.

Let me repeat this. To inspire with fear in order to influence change. The Bible said that the spirit of fear is not of God. And if the spirit of fear is not of God, then it is of Satan. It's one of satanic spirits, one of satanic demons.

I want you to listen very carefully please because this affects every one of our lives, every one of us. When you allow the spirit of fear to take hold of you, you are opening yourself up to Satan's banging on his empty kerosene cans to get to you. If you allow Satan's bluffing to intimidate you, you will surrender your rightful victory that God has given you. When you open yourself up to Satan's hooting and scaring you, you are giving up the very power that God intended for you to have as His child. When you allow and open yourself up to Satan's con job because that's all it is, then you will be retreating and you're giving up territories that is rightfully your inheritance by believing and submitting to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now I want to tell you of brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps no one understood the spirit of fear like the Apostle Paul. In fact, he writes to Timothy and he says, God has not given us a spirit of fear. And he definitely make it clear that the spirit of fear is an evil spirit.

It's not of God. No one knows about fear like the Apostle Paul. You say, are you talking about the same Apostle Paul that wrote third of the New Testament? Are you talking about the great Apostle Paul who allowed himself to be stoned? The great Apostle Paul who got beaten nearly to death? Are you talking about the same Apostle Paul who was singing songs of praise when he was in the stock in the prison in Philippi? Are you talking about that Paul?

Yes, that Paul. Acts 18 tells us that he was afraid, lonely and discouraged. Turn with me please if you haven't already to Acts chapter 18, the first 17 verses. Say, how do you know that he really was afraid? Look at verse nine. The Lord appeared to him in person and he says, don't be afraid, Paul.

Let me tell you something. God is not going to waste words of telling Paul not to be afraid if he was not afraid. Not only that, but in first Corinthians chapter two verses two and three, he tells them that he said, I came to you in fear and trembling. That was a frightening time in Paul's life. Acts 18. You see the Apostle Paul, he came from Athens to Corinth.

What he has done, he got out of the frying pan into the fire. I mean, he left one city that was full of intellectual and philosophical pride to a city that was full of pride for their immorality. I mean, that was not a vacation for the Apostle Paul.

That was a tough assignment, but God sent him there. Let me tell you a couple of things about Corinth. Corinth was one of the great commercial centers of the Roman Empire.

Certainly the greatest commercial center of Greece. Corinth was the political center of Greece. Corinth also was the center of wickedness.

It was the center of immorality. You know, back then when you called somebody a Corinthian, you were basically saying you are the most vile, degenerate, depraved person I've ever met. That's how you could describe a Corinthian back then. Corinth was also the center of pagan worship.

There stood on the hills of the city, the temple of Venus that was known as Aphrodite to the Greeks and then was known as Ashtaroth to the Phoenicians. And there on that temple was filled with one thousand priestesses or temple prostitutes. Now you understand the fear that gripped the Apostle Paul when he landed into this city. Now you understand why he wrote to the Corinthians and said to them, I want to see nothing among you but Christ and him crucified. You can understand why he wrote to the Corinthians saying to them, do not be deceived.

Neither the immoral nor the idolaters nor the idolaters nor the homosexuals nor the thieves nor the greedy nor the drunkards nor the revelers nor the robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And then comes the great declaration of Victor there in chapter six of first Corinthians and he says, and such were some of you. Not are some of you were in the past.

Some of you. Today we tolerate sin in the church and we don't mind sinners coming into the church and becoming members and active in the church of Jesus Christ. Listen, do not be deceived. A habitual sinner will not inherit the kingdom of God. And only Jesus Christ and his blood shed on Calvary can release you and free you from sin. But if you're a believer and habitually living in sin, you are mocking the power of God on the cross of Calvary because he promised to give you power and give us power over sin.

And such were some of you. I want to share some good news with you today. In the times of fears, God does not leave you alone. In the times of discouragement, God does not abandon you.

In the times of loneliness, God is there in a very special way, revealing himself to you. Look at the book of Acts again, chapter 18, verses 1 to 17. There I want to share with you four things that God did in order to encourage his faithful servant Paul. First, he provided him with godly friends. Look at verses 2 to 5 of chapter 18 of the book of Acts. He provided him with godly friends. Okay, God blessed him with fruit for his labor, verses 5 to 8. Thirdly, God fellowshiped with him personally in a very special way, verses 9 to 11. And then fourthly, you're going to see that God caused the frustration of the enemy's plan, verses 12 to 17. In times of fear, in times of discouragement, the faithful child of God, the faithful son and daughter of God is not alone, never alone.

Look at this verses 2 to 3 in the book of Acts. I want you to listen carefully. There is one thing that you must never do in times of fear and that is to lock yourself up. The one thing you must never do is lock yourself up in the times of discouragement.

There is one thing that you must never do in the times of discouragement and that is to isolate yourself. The one thing you must never do in the times of uncertainty is cut yourself out of Christian fellowship. God provided the apostle Paul with a godly couple, a wonderful couple who loved the Lord, to be his friends, to be his companions. A killer and priscilla were God's gift to Paul's burden of responsibility. A killer and priscilla were God's gift to Paul's formidable task. A killer and priscilla were God's provision of companionship, provision of friendship, provision of fellowship, provision of encouragement, provision of love to his faithful servant, the apostle Paul. If the great apostle Paul needed someone to walk with him in the times of discouragement and fear, you and I need it. But listen, these were not ordinary friends.

We use the word loosely these days. These were not a fair weather friends. They were not opportunistic friends. They were not hangers-on. These were not superficial friends. These were incredible friends and I want to tell you where and how you know that. In the book of Romans chapter 16 verses 3 and 4, Paul tells us that they were ready to give up their lives for the apostle Paul.

So you understand what kind of friends they are. They risked their own lives for the apostle Paul. A killer and priscilla came to Corinth from Rome because the emperor at that time, emperor Claudius, he made a declaration that all Jews, whether they're Christian Jews or not, have to leave the city of Rome and they ended up in Corinth just by accident. Just by accident and happened to be around the same time that Paul was there. Don't you like those coincidences? And just to make it even more coincidental, they had the same trade that Paul grew up as a young boy learning, the trade of making tints out of God's skin.

Just coincidence. Rabbis believed that every rabbi must have a trade, must learn a trade and Paul's trade was to make tints out of a skin of goats. The God of all comfort met the needs of his discouraged servant. Not only by giving him new friends who ready to rest their lives for him, but he sent his old friends Silas and Timothy from Macedonia.

They came to be with the apostle Paul and obviously they came with a gift from the Macedonians so that it freed the apostle Paul up to preach the gospel full time rather than working on tents in the morning and preaching the gospel at night. I want you to listen very carefully please. When you are faithful, this is a conditional clause now. When you are faithful with God, God will minister to you in your times of discouragements. When your desire to honor God in your life, God will provide for your every need. When your life's goal is to serve the living God and to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, God will always, not sometimes or occasionally, always will send a godly friend to minister to you. God not only provide the apostle Paul with two godly friends to walk with him, but secondly God bless the apostle Paul with fruit for his labor. I think none of us, if you are made of flesh and blood, would not get discouraged when you work long and hard and you don't see fruit for your labor.

I think this is just a natural thing for all of us. And Paul worked long and hard in Corinth. He spent hours in these synagogues persuading and arguing with his fellow Jews to understand that the Lord Jesus Christ who appeared to him on the road to Damascus, the one who lived in Jerusalem and around Nazareth, the one who was crucified and rose again, is nothing but short of their Messiah.

He is the Messiah that the generations of Jews have looked forward to. And he was persuading them, he was arguing with them, and he was talking, he was proving to them from scripture, he was giving them evidence and proof, and he was thoroughly exhausted. And it appeared, now I want you to mentally put a circle around the word appeared, that there were no fruits for his labor.

He worked long and hard and got tired, and it appeared that nothing is happening. I'm going to tell you why I'm saying it appeared in the light of verse eight of Acts 18. But once the Apostle Paul recognized in the words of Jesus that he's been throwing pearls before swines, he got up and he shook the dust off his clothes and he shook the dust off his feet. That's a very dramatic Jewish way of rejection. It's a very dramatic Jewish way of saying that your blood is on your hand.

This is a very dramatic way because the Jews themselves, when they were visiting Gentile lands, when they came back, they got rid of all the spec because they did not want any of the Gentile dust to stick to them. That's why they shook their clothes and they shook their feet, their sandals. And that's what Paul is doing with his fellow Jews in the synagogue, as if to say that your rejection of the Messiah is such a blasphemy that I want nothing of it to stick to me. He said, your blood is on your own head.

I'm clear. In other words, they're fully responsible for the rejection of their Messiah. Paul did his job. Paul was faithful in delivering the message, but they are now responsible for their rejection. But you see, God wants to encourage his servant. You see, sometimes we think God is more interested in the ministry than he's interested in the minister.

That's not true. God is more concerned about his minister than he's concerned about the ministry because there can't be no faithful ministry without a faithful minister. And that is why God is more concerned with ministers, with his servants, your life, your walk, your righteousness, your holiness. That's what God is concerned with. And God is so concerned with all the details of his faithful servant, the apostle Paul. So much so he knew that a fruit for his labor is going to encourage him. So here's what the Bible said. Look at verse eight. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household. I told you that his efforts appeared as if it was fruitless.

It appeared, but that's not so. In fact, the conversion of the leader of the synagogue created such a havoc, created such a turmoil among the Jewish community in Corinth that they wanted the apostle Paul to be silenced and gagged. But for the encouragement of Paul, God gave him this man and his family to come to Christ. So God not only sends faithful friends, not only gives fruit for our labor, but thirdly, God personally fellowships with you in the times of fear and discouragement. God wanted to encourage his servant Paul at the highest level. God wanted to encourage his servant Paul at the most personal level possible. So the Lord Jesus personally comes to him in a vision. And he said to him, verse nine, Lord said to Paul, do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and don't be silent. Don't you love the Lord when he ministers to you in this very special way? If Paul was struggling in his mind, trying to figure out has he really come here according to the will of God? Is that really the right place for him to be?

Should he really stay or should he go? And most of us have been in situations in life when we did not know which way to go. And here the Lord Jesus in his most gracious way appears to Paul and tells him, don't be afraid. Go on speaking. I'm with you. No man will attack you or harm you. There are many people in this city.

There ought to be one for me. Let me ask you this. Have you ever stood for the truth? Have you ever stood for the gospel and you were attacked for your faithfulness?

Even some of your family members. Have you ever been there? Have you ever stood for the truth? Have you ever been faithful to God and faithful to God's word and then you found yourself being undermined by even some Christians? Have you ever been there?

Then you will understand the incredible joy, the balm of Gilead that came upon the Apostle Paul's heart in this moment. Have you ever been in the point of saying, what in the world I'm doing? What is this all about? Why am I doing this? Why am I standing against the tide? Won't I just give in?

Have you ever been there? And the Lord has a word for you that he loves you and he wants you to stand firm and never give up. Never, never, never give up. God not only provide you godly friends in times of fear and discouragement, God not only gives you fruit for your labor, God not only fellowships with you personally, but fourthly God frustrates the enemy. He frustrates the enemy on your behalf. Paul's opponents tried to intimidate him. They tried to silence him. They tried to keep him quiet. They tried to stop him from preaching. But when all of that did not work, finally they dragged him into court and they said, well, we'll take him to court and then we get the Roman pro consul. He's got to shut him up. So they take him to court. At that time, the authority vested in the pro consul, a man by the name of Gallio, by the way, you can always check scripture with history.

You're going to find it with absolute accuracy. In fact, history tells us that Gallio was the brother of the famous philosopher, Seneca and Seneca was a tutor for young Nero. In fact, Seneca wrote very admiringly of his brother Gallio, whom he admired his sense of fairness. The Jews were hoping that Gallio would rule against the preaching of the gospel and thus setting a precedent throughout the Roman Empire. All they wanted is a piece of paper signed by the pro consul and they would go to every city in the Roman Empire and they say, hey, we have a ruling from the pro consul. Shut them up, shut them up, shut them up. And if that had happened, you and I would not be here today.

Now, my friend, I want to tell you when you are faithful to God, even your enemies are going to be on your side. And so here, instead of having a landmark decision in order to use it for the rest of the Roman Empire, what did the pro consul do? Paul was about to open his mouth and he shut him. He said, no, no, no, no. You don't understand. I'm going to give you my summary judgment.

Case dismissed. God frustrates the enemy's plan. When you are faithful to God, your enemy's plans will be frustrated. When you are faithful to God, God promised never to leave you nor forsake you. When you're faithful to God, no one can harm you. No one can touch you. No one can frustrate the plan of God for your life. No one can derail you.

No one can detract you. The youth grow weary and tired. Vigorous young men stumble badly. Yet those who wait for the Lord will grow new strength. They will mount up with eagle's wings.

They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not be weary. This is Leading the Way.

Dr. Michael Youssef will be back again next time to continue his series called Looking Up When Life's Got You Down. And this reminder, if you want to know how to get started in a relationship with Christ, start by visiting the special website. It's slash Jesus. This is where you can fill out a short contact form and then speak with a Leading the Way pastor. Or you can look through a lot of great frequently asked questions.

It's all right there for you. Now, if you're a new listener, you might not know that Leading the Way has touched lives worldwide for more than 30 years now. And what you heard today is just a small part of the global ministry outreach.

For example, did you know that Dr. Youssef also operates and programs content for 24-7 satellite television channel? It's called the KingdomSat. The KingdomSat features powerful Bible teaching geared toward audiences primarily in the Middle East and other areas of the world where Arabic is the primary language.

As we've seen at heightened levels in recent years, the entire world is media driven. Individuals and families are finding ways to deepen their understanding of God and how God relates to the challenges of their daily lives. And through initiatives like Vision 2025, Dr. Youssef has been able to expand the content and the outreach of the KingdomSat and in powerful ways, meeting people right where they are. So take time to learn about how you can stand with Dr. Youssef in passionately proclaiming uncompromising truth when you go to or you can speak to a ministry representative, 866-626-4356. Now on behalf of Dr. Michael Youssef, you're invited to join him again next time right here for Leading the Way Audio. This program is furnished by Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef. Connect with us through our YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, and all of our social media networks.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-16 15:40:21 / 2023-04-16 15:48:57 / 9

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