A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

In 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Paul laments: “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”

 

When Paul says he fears the Corinthians will be seduced away from a “sincere and pure devotion to Christ,” the word “sincere” is not the best translation. The Greek word here is haplotēs, which literally means singleness and simplicity--a word that would describe a glass of clear water without any impurities or additives. It’s interesting that both the Old Testament prophets and the apostle Paul use the image of adultery to describe religion to which falsehood has been added. Similarly, we say that when a harmful substance is added to pure water, the water has been adulterated. To adulterate is to taint and contaminate.

 

The Western church has adulterated the Gospel. The Good News of Jesus Christ is simple and transparently clear--yet we have clouded and adulterated it with false philosophies, ideologies, and doctrines. We have added business principles, psychological principles, worldly philosophies, “new revelations,” political ideologies, and human greed to the purity of the Gospel message. Then we call this poisonous stew “Christianity.”

 

We forget that the people of Israel did not deny God. They still proclaimed their love for God, and they still offered sacrifices to Him. They just added a few “harmless” idols and practices borrowed from the Canaanites and the Philistines--just to make God more “relevant.”

 

In His high priestly prayer before going to the cross, Jesus prayed, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:15-17). We must not exchange the Truth for a lie, but be set apart, clinging to the scandalous love of God that confounds the world but brings hope to the lost.

 

Prayer: Lord, bring Your church to repentance and start with me! May I never add to Your perfect Gospel of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. He alone is my rock and my righteousness. Let me not be a stumbling block to Your Truth by adding or taking away from the pure and simple Gospel. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen. 

 

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7).

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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