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Watch 2022 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - A Problem and A Promise - Part 2

Allen Jackson - A Problem and A Promise - Part 2

Allen Jackson - A Problem and A Promise - Part 2
TOPICS: Problems, God's Promises

It's an honor to be with you again. We're continuing our study on "There Is A God". We're looking at the problem and the promises. The Bible opens with a statement, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". The assertion that we are introduced to is that there is a God, and he's the creator of all things. That's not put up for a vote, it's not a democracy. God is the creator of all things, we're his creation. We've been invited into his kingdom, but he doesn't need my opinion, it's the sovereignty of God that is the essential component of this.

And I think in contemporary American culture, we are so aware of our rights that we've lost the notion that we are servants of the King. And for the church to find our place, we'll have to come back to the sovereignty of God, the fact that there is a God, it isn't us. We can know his character, we can know his will, but our challenge is to yield to him and let the lordship of Jesus define our journey through time. If we will do that, it'll only make our lives better, but it'll bring God's very best to us for all eternity. I believe God has a good plan for your life, not to diminish you. Grab your Bible and a notepad, but most of all open your heart to the goodness of God today. Enjoy the lesson.

I want to take one slice with the time we have left, just one God perspective that it seems to me, to a significant extent, we have just set aside. We just kinda treated it as if it was a grand suggestion, it didn't emanate from God at all. It is the foundation of human life. Apart from this revelation from God, human beings will not flourish. And I've told you on many occasions that those first chapters of Genesis are universal ideas, they're the big rock ideas of the Bible. Chapter 1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". By the time, we get to the end of chapter 3, sin has entered the equation and we have lost our place in Eden, in paradise; and there's been a curse pronounced upon sin, and there's been a curse pronounced upon Satan. And by the time, we get to Genesis chapter 12, the narrative of the Bible changes dramatically and it never reverts back again.

In Genesis 12, we meet Abram, and God is going to develop a people for himself. But in those first 11 chapters, it's universal. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," God had authority over all creation. God established boundaries; certainly for the waters and the skies and all of those things, but he created other boundaries. And God is revealed to us as the judge; you can't stay in the garden I planted if you won't cooperate with the boundaries I gave you. Well, why is that? Because he's God. You see, if you will accept those universal ideas as they unfold, the remainder of the book will come into complete focus. It will.

As we read through our Bible, if you take those opening chapters of Genesis, and you will embrace them, the rest of the Bible will come into focus. If you reject them, if you hold them at bay and say, "Well, I'm a little too sophisticated, I'm a little too educated, it's a little hard for me to believe that there's a creator," then the balance of the book will remain a mystery to you. If there isn't a God who's a creator, why would you care about what his opinion is? Lots of people have opinions, and they matter very little to me; God's opinion matters a great deal to me. There's a choice before you, there's a choice before every one of us: What are we going to do about God? Will you yield to him as creator of all things, as the judge of all the earth, and the one with the wisdom and the power to establish boundaries? Will we?

The alternative is to place ourselves in the position as ultimate authority, to rebel, and to reject God's authority. He's given you that freedom, you can do that, I can do that. But, in love, he warns us of the consequences. I want to look at some of those things from those early chapters of Genesis. One of the first things God does, it's in the 1st chapter of the Bible, God establishes marriage. It was his idea, not ours, which means rulings from the Supreme Court or edicts from the White House or presidential whatevers don't really change it. Genesis 1:26, "God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them".

One of the most transformational presentations in all of Scripture is that human beings are the image bearers of Almighty God. He didn't say that about the whales or the eagles or the grizzly bear; they're remarkable, but human beings are the image bearers of God. We're not just the highest rung on the evolutionary ladder, there's something unique about us, God's image imprinted upon us. In Genesis 2, "For Adam no suitable helper was found," amongst all of creation. "So the Lord caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. And the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. And the man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called "woman," for she was taken out of the man.' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be United to his wife, and they will become one flesh".

That's Genesis 2, that is very near the beginning of the story. I understand it's inconvenient today, I get it, I promise, but you have to decide what you will believe, the kind of respect, how you will treat what God has said. Now, there's some New Testament components of that revelation. Some people prefer the New Testament. On this topic, the New Testament is not sloppy. There's a passage in Ephesians 5:22, to chapter 6, it says things like, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her". Do you know that's a biblical command? He didn't say, "On the days they're nice to you, when you feel like it". It also says, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord". Ooh, that's a popular message. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord". It doesn't say, "Little kids".

The first commandment with a promise is to obey, to honor your parents. It doesn't mean that you slavishly do everything they ask all of your life, but it means that you show honor and respect to them. There are no perfect parents, there just aren't. "Well, they didn't do their best". Okay, I believe God can provide healing and wholeness, even for the brokenness that comes into our lives through sinful and broken families. And I'm not suggesting that you should get back in line for further abuse or continued mistreatment, but I am suggesting that you need to resolve with the Lord what it would look like to honor your father and mother because you will forfeit a blessing from God if you don't resolve that.

And if they're deceased and you don't have access to them you can still work through that. I would talk to the Lord about it until I had a sense of what that looked like, if I needed to forgive them or if I needed to ask them to forgive me. I might set a chair up and sit down in front of the chair and say, "You know, there's something I've needed to say to you for a long time". Or I might write it out in a letter, and when I had it all written out I'd shred it. Don't show it to 42 people, don't post it online, don't see how many likes you can get, "How many of you need to forgive a parent"? Don't, let's treat it with some dignity and respect. "Children, obey your parents... Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord".

Before you teach them to hit a curve ball, you better teach them what it means to honor God with their life or the boss is gonna talk to you. And if you missed that window in your life, and many of us did, again, I didn't come to bring shame, I came so that you can make something right with the Lord. "Lord, I was too busy, I was too distracted, I didn't understand, I didn't know you, I didn't care enough about it, and I'm sorry". I've watched it over and over and over again, what you and I may have failed to do in a 20-year window, God can do in the day. God said, "A day with him is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day".

You didn't miss it, it's not a failure. Your prayers today, I trust God makes up the difference for our brokenness, we read it and say it week after week after week. We've gotta bring it to bear in the reality of our lives, not in some theoretical conversation. Colossians 3:18 says it rather succinctly, "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, don't be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord". Who knew the Lord cared about what happened at home? "Fathers, do not embitter your children, they'll become discouraged". Don't discourage your kids. Doesn't mean you shouldn't discipline them, we're told, if we don't discipline we don't care about them. They don't need you to be their buddy, they need you to be their parent. That's another day.

Again, there's some New Testament components of this revelation of family. I think another piece of this that we need to understand is that we have equality before God as men and women, it's not about lesser or greater. Look in Galatians 3, verse 26, "You're all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you're Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise". We just read Deuteronomy 28, that's available to men and women, it's not based on your biology.

The church has been quiet on many things for too long. We're not perfect, folks. Any expression of ungodliness that we can find amongst the secular community has flourished amongst us. This is not a self-righteous platform. You're watching a wonderful demonstration. The Bible tells us that the law came that we might be aware of our transgressions, the law came that we might know we needed a Savior. Okay? The purpose of the law of Moses, this is the presentation of the book of Romans; the law came that we might see that we're transgressors. You're watching this played out on the daily news. The law has been, "Wear a mask". And how many people that have made the laws can't wear a mask?

If there was no law, they wouldn't be transgressors. But they made a law and they can't keep it, so we needed a Savior. You still with me? So God has given us the components of family, a revelation. I'll tell you, there's another. Oh, while I'm wandering, I'll just take a minute. There's another vocabulary shift that is rampant amongst us and I think it leads us to some very destructive places. We have fought for and worked diligently to strive towards equality amongst people. We wouldn't distinguish based upon the length of your nose or your height or the accent with what you spoke; that we would be equal before the law. It hasn't been perfect, we have failed in many occasions, but the objective that is in our legal documents is that we would have equality before the law.

Well, the words have been changed, we have turned away from equality and we talk about equity, it's a very-very different thing. Equality says, "We'll have equal opportunities," doesn't mean we'll all have the same outcome. I have an opportunity to try out for the NFL, but you probably wouldn't want to bet your retirement on me making the team. Equity is something very different, equity's about equal outcomes. And because we are so different, we have different gifts and different abilities, not better or less, not greater or lesser, we're different. Some of us see colors in art in explosive, amazing creative ways, and some other see them as eight in a box. Some of us see numbers and they sing to us, and some of us see numbers and they shout at us. We're different. But when equity says, "We should all have the same outcome," then that requires the intervention of some external authority, 'cause we're so different.

So you want to pay attention; equity is not a great idea, 'cause if it's working for you today, it more than likely will not be working for you in a few days. The deception that is unfolding around us these days is unprecedented. Now we were warned about it, we were told it's coming, but it's still unsettling to see it. Institutions we have trusted for decades and decades and decades, we're reluctant to trust these days. It's a part of this avalanche. But the stable place, the grounding place is to come back to what God has said to us and begin to orient your life, foundationally, from what God has said.

Stop talking about the peripheral things, don't be distracted by the peripheral things, come back and say, "God, I'm sorry, I've ignored your fundamentals". 'Cause the pathway forward, the pathway back to the blessings of God, to Deuteronomy 28, is obedience to what he said. He will take us through apart from governments and economic shifts and the strength of the dollar and inflation, all those things. God will take us through, he's faithful, there is a God, but we want to live as if he's real. We have lived this as if he's a nice addition and we could secure our lives without him, and God has begun to shake us and say, "Not quite as smart as you thought you were, not quite as secure as you thought you were". It's a gift.

We're watching a spirit of confusion and disruption all around us. We hear phrases like, "Toxic masculinity". I'm telling you, what's toxic is the absence of real masculinity, it's important. Gender confusion, we treat that as if it makes sense to us, as if it should be treated with great dignity and respect and encouraged. We are encouraging young people towards gender confusion, I promise you. Sex is biological, gender is grammatical, it's a larger conversation, but the shorthand on this is, "Confusion is not a good thing".

God is not the author of confusion. If somebody is confused, I have tremendous compassion on them. We want to try to resolve the confusion, we don't wanna try to spread the confusion. The wrestling match we're in would be happy to multiply confusion, they would try to convince us there are multiplied untold millions of confused people. We don't have to stay confused. We don't want to be angry or hostile or belligerent or condemning, we can have compassion, to be confused is horrible. Don't play along, you become a part of the deception, sin is contagious, and spiritual disease is terminal, so you don't want to entertain it.

Now we're given some very surprising council in Revelation 22, and I'm about done, it's not something I would expect to find in the Bible. Some of you know the passage, it's very near the end of the book. It says, "Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself Holy. Behold, I'm coming quickly, My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he's done. I'm the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end". It's a very startling verse. "If you wanna be wicked," he said, "Be really wicked, just get out in the middle of the stream; but if you want to be righteous, determine to be even more righteous".

See, we've been lukewarm. This isn't some odd concept, it's pretty consistent. When Jesus talks to the Laodicean church in Revelation 3, he said, "I want to spit you out of my mouth, you're lukewarm". It's a church he's talking to, not a group of Pagans. I believe there is a time ahead of us, and I don't think it's very far ahead of us, in fact, it seems to me it's already begun, where the current of the stream that you choose will become too powerful for you to change dreams. There's been a long season where you could dabble in the world and step back into church, and step out a little while and step back in. And we all can tell that story on one level or another, but I believe the time is beginning to emerge when the current will be too powerful for you to step out. I could give you a number of biblical examples. The momentum will be overwhelming.

So here's my suggestion, just begin today, in small ways, to honor the Lord with your life. You don't need great revelations or big rooms filled with people or huge new initiatives, just begin to honor the Lord with your life, the same way you wanted to live free of a virus. You adjusted some habits and you tweaked some routines, and it may have been uncomfortable, and some of you said, "Well, I miss something," but you made the changes 'cause you wanna be healthy.

I want to be spiritually healthy, Lord, help me see how to do that, if there's any adjustments I need to make, anything I need to turn loose of. There is a God, and he can be known, and I wanna know him. I don't want to just be religious, and know when to go to synagogue, and know what not to put on my fork and what not what to put on my cup. I want to know the Jesus of Nazareth that stood on the boat and said to the wind, "Hush". I want to know the Jesus of Nazareth that said, "Why don't you put your net on the other side of the boat, fellas"? "Well, Lord, we fished all night, Rabbi, Carpenter, but since you said so".

I want to get to know that Jesus, I'm not content. We've been coached towards this spiritual neutral. "Well, have you said the prayer? Have you been baptized? Just wait". And I believe in being born again and I believe in baptism, but you will regret not honoring the Lord and you will never regret your choices towards him. Hebrews 12:9, "How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live"! I know there's a battle in the earth, I know what we're talking about is not easy, I understand it's uncomfortable, I know there's a lot of settings where it's a challenge, but I believe it's the best pathway through. I brought you a prayer, I'm gonna invite you to pray it with me. Why don't you stand?

Heavenly Father, hear our prayers today, nothing is hidden from You. Everything is open before Your sight. You know our struggles, the challenges before us, those who oppose what You have called us to. We ask You to silence the voices of those who resist Your purposes. Deliver us from evil. Open wide and effectual doors for the proclamation of the Gospel of Your Kingdom. Give us strength to endure, the wisdom to choose Your pathway and boldness to choose the truth openly. May the name of Jesus be exalted in this generation, amen.

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