It is part of human nature to want to perform for God, for ourselves, and for other people. No one has to teach us how to perform. We seem to be natural actors. Consider the following kinds of people, and see if you can find yourself reflected in at least one of them.

The Do-Gooder: Some people are convinced that if they do enough good deeds, if they say enough kind words, or if they develop good character qualities, then they will somehow earn the right to get into heaven. However, the Word of God reminds us that apart from Christ, “all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

The Ritualist: Some people have accepted Christ as their Savior but begin to slip into the comfort of rituals and traditions in expressing their faith. For them, the Sunday-morning order of service has to remain the same with little variation, right down to when they stand up or sit down in the church service. Ritual becomes a means to salvation, and soon they add baptism or communion to their faith in Christ as a means of salvation.

These approaches to Christianity misrepresent the true Gospel, which is not about what man can do, but what God has done in His grace because He “so loved the world” (John 3:16).

Prayer: Father, at times I have focused more on doing good things and on the rituals of my faith than focusing on Christ, the only means of my salvation. Forgive me and help me to remember that grace is a gift. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Got Freedom?: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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