A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

In every age and in every part of the world, the church of Jesus Christ needs a message of conviction, of admonition, and of exhortation. It also needs a message of invitation, that its people might come back to the Lord. We see this in Revelation as the Lord Jesus sends messages to seven churches in Asia Minor—messages that are as relevant today as they were nearly 2,000 years ago.

The church of Ephesus was doing well. Jesus commends them for rejecting false teaching, but He then calls them to repent because they had lost their first love. The church in Ephesus loved their accurate Biblical interpretations more than they loved Jesus. They had fallen in love with their good works and out of love for Jesus. Outwardly they went through all the motions; outwardly they did all the right things. But they had a heart problem. They did the right things not out of love for Jesus but because they were trained to do the right things.

If you do the right thing and believe the right thing out of duty, but not out of love for Jesus, sooner or later you’re going to find yourself going through the motions—whether reading and studying the Bible, attending church, praying, or singing in worship. And if your love for Jesus becomes cold, sooner or later your affection is going to be placed on something else. You’ll begin showing the symptoms of a heart that has grown cold: compromise, complacency, coldness, complaining, and craving the things of this world. Be alert; don’t let these results describe you. But if they do, don’t despair.

Jesus is our first and best love. Just as He called the church of Ephesus to repent and return to Him, He calls us to do the same today. Has something replaced your love for Christ? Has your heart grown cold toward Him? Repent and return to your first love, Jesus Christ. Have you fallen in love with the approval of men or even with the ministry God has given you? Repent and return to your first love, Jesus Christ. For when you do that, Jesus will grant you to eat from the Tree of Life, to drink from the river of living water. He will reward you, and He will reward your faithful love for Him in ways you cannot comprehend.

Prayer: Lord, show me the ways that I have grown cold to You. Help me to turn from these idols and return to You, my first love. Forgive me for growing cold and replace my heart of stone with a heart of flesh. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).

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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