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Watch 2022 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Boldness Needed - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Boldness Needed - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Boldness Needed - Part 1
TOPICS: Boldness

It's an honor to be with you again. We're walkin' through a series on leading with faith. We need a whole new generation of leadership in our nation. Not necessarily about ages, but about a generation of people who are willing to lead with their faith. We've led with our pocket book, we've led with our preferences, we've led with our recreation, but allowing our faith to be the influence of our lives is one of the great opportunities of the days we're walking through. We're gonna talk a little bit about the boldness we're gonna need.

Folks, I'm over passive Christianity. You know, we have to love all people, but we don't have to love all behaviors, and we need the courage to say there is truth and there is deception. There is right and there's wrong. There's moral and there's immoral. We're not condemning people, but if we don't tell people the truth about behaviors, we will release them to God's judgment and we'll be held accountable. It's gonna take some boldness to be the church in the days ahead, but I believe with the help of the Spirit of God and the truth of his Word, we can take a place and be difference-makers with what's unfolding in the earth. It's an exciting time to be a Christ follower. Grab your Bible. Get a notepad. Most of all, open your heart.

Now, in this session I want to talk a little bit about the necessity or the requirement of boldness to do that. We have such a desperate need for leadership with a biblical worldview. I read an article this week, and I don't want to give it to you completely because I don't need, it's not intended to be polarizing. It was an article in a reputable place about one of the major American political parties. We have two of those, and the particular party in this case isn't particularly relevant because we're split about down the middle. When we have national elections, it's so close to being even that it's a coin toss, right?

So the party itself isn't particularly relevant and you can know that half of America would not object to this position or the party wouldn't be putting it forward. But in the article was a statement and I can't quote it exactly, but it was something to the effect that somehow the general public has embraced this mistaken idea that parents should be responsible for the curriculum that's taught in our public schools. They were mocking that idea and then went on to say parents need to understand they're not the clients of the public schools, that the public schools have the responsibility to teach the children what society wants them to know. Can we talk about a lack of leadership, Christian worldview?

Folks, we have been distracted for so long that the public schools in our communities where our tax dollars pay for the schools. I understand teaching is a difficult job, that parents far too often prefer their children over the information that the teachers give them. It's a very difficult job and it's beyond my objective at this moment, but I would submit to you that teachers unions and external forces have far too much influence in what our children are learning in the public schools.

You know, if you live in Riyadh, if you live in Saudi Arabia and your child goes to a public school, I would expect the child to learn something about the Prophet Muhammad. If your child attends a public school in the city of Jerusalem, I would expect your child to learn something about the first and second temple periods in Judaism. If your child attends the school in Kwazulu-Natal, I would expect your child to come home with a greater understanding of the Zulu people and their heritage. They go with the setting. If your child attends a public school in Tennessee, I expect your child to learn something about a biblical worldview, about American exceptionalism, and about their responsibilities as a good citizen of this nation. And if they're not learning that, I'm not really blaming the teachers or the unions.

That's our assignment. We gotta pay enough attention. And we're gonna have to get involved enough that we not only see those things happening in our public schools and the lower schools, we're gonna have to turn our attention back to the universities. It wasn't very long ago that we thought universities were a place where a free of exchange of ideas was a really good thing, that you could talk about all sides of an idea so that we could learn how to reason. That's not what they are any longer. They're propaganda centers. I'm tired of hearing that in the lowest levels of our education right up through the highest levels, we're teaching our children the benefits of Marxism. They don't bundle it just that way, but they pit them against one another. And that is a fundamental tenet of Marxism. It's evil, it's divisive, and it will not lead to good outcomes.

It's not okay, but we don't want to be angry. We don't want to spend our time pointing fingers and accusing others. We want to be involved, and begin to use our influence, use our voices, and talk, and be engaged, and serve, and pay attention. It's not just about my children, it's about the children. We will give an account when we see the Lord for what happened with the children of our generation. Jesus was very plain about that. He scolded the disciples. He says, "Don't do anything to hinder the children from coming to me". Remember that? "Don't do anything to hinder the children from coming to me". He's going to talk to us about that. "What did you do to open the doorways and the pathways of possibility so children could have full access to who I am"? He said, "If you mistreat one of these little ones, it would really be better for you if you tied a millstone, a huge stone, around your neck, and then tossed the stone into the deep end of the sea".

That's a really bad day. That's harsh words from the boss. So I'm thinking caring about the children matters. If you're not in the habit of praying for the children on a regular basis, I would encourage you to put that on your list. And not just your children, not just for your children to do better than the neighbor's children. Parenting really is not intended to be a competitive sport. How'd I get there? Faith to lead, boldness is going to be required, and I've been reading articles. Philippians chapter 3, and verse 10, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to obtain to the resurrection from the dead".

That's a bold prayer. It's a prayer I don't think very many of us have the courage to pray. We'll pray portions of it. I think we're pretty much universally on board to say, "I want to know Christ and his power. I would love for his power to be operating in and through my life". But to follow that up with what the rest of what Paul said, "And I want to know him in the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings". 'Cause be certain of this, our Lord suffered. And we're told there's a fellowship with him in that, that when we suffer, we understand we have an ally, a fellow traveler, someone who has suffered, the Scripture says, in every way. He was tempted in every way as we are, and yet he faced those temptations without sin. Becoming like him in his death, completely yielded, silent before his accusers.

"Father, into your hands, I commit my Spirit". And then the pay off, Paul said, is that somehow I might attain to the resurrection of the dead. By this point in his life, Paul is arguably the most effective evangelist of his generation. He's planted churches all over the Mediterranean. He's had personal revelations of Jesus that are changing our world until today. Then when he wrote this letter to the church in Philippi, he said, "You know, I just, somehow, I want to attain to the resurrection of the dead".

We live very presumptive lives. We talk about reciting the sinner's prayer and being born again. I believe in those things, but I don't believe in those things as like a one-time event and then you can live arrogantly. Paul said, "I'm giving attention to it on a daily basis". There's a boldness in that prayer. I wanna submit to you that we need a bolder faith. We've been kind of passive church attenders, We've been bold in other arenas of our lives, with our hobbies, and our interests, and our business, and our investments, and whatever. We're bold in defending our children or whatever, but we haven't been particularly bold with our faith.

In the Greek, the language of the New Testament, faith and faithfulness, believe and belief, they're all very obviously interrelated. They all share the same root. You can't really think of one without the other. You can't be a person of faith without being a faithful person. If you're a person who's a person of belief, you're a person of faithfulness. So when we talk about faith in God, it's inseparable from the faithfulness of God. They go together. And I think one helpful note is to make a personal notation that God not only watches over you, he watches over your adversaries. That makes me smile some days. It's like God's not just watching over my life, God's watching over what's going on in my life. And some days when I don't have anything else to bring encouragement to me, I think, "Y'all would back up if you knew my boss".

In 1 Peter chapter 2, and verse 23, it's speaking of Jesus. Peter is writing. This is the fisherman. Jesus recruited him. He knew him. He lived with him for three years. He says, "When they hurled their insults at him". Remember, Peter was there for much of this. This isn't some theory to him. He watched. "When they hurled their insults at him, he didn't retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats". Peter knew what Jesus was capable of. He watched him still the storms. He watched him call Lazarus out of the tomb. He knew what the boss could do. Don't you know he was waiting when they were hurling their insults at him? Get 'em. And he reflects much later in his life. He said, "When he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly".

Jesus knew that there was a just Judge watching over him. He didn't have to defend himself, that his Father would defend him. See, I would suggest it takes a bold faith to know that God is watching over us, to believe that he's a just God, the God of mercy and compassion, but he's also a God of righteousness. We learn to entrust our wellbeing to him. That's not an easy place. That is not an easy place. Parents cultivate that trust in their children. God cultivates that trust in us. In Hebrews chapter 11, it's the hall of fame of our faith. In verse 24, it's speaking of Moses. "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose," Moses, Moses chose, "to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time".

We need to be honest enough to at least agree with the Bible that there are some expressions of sin that are pleasant for a bit, for a little while. If they weren't pleasant, they wouldn't be tempting. Nobody's very often tempted to have invasive medical procedures. They're not particularly pleasing. You do those things when they are completely required and there's no other option. But it says that Moses refused, declined the pleasures of sin for a short time. "He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ is of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. And by faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who was invisible". It's a remarkable series of statements about Moses. In the Scripture from the book of Genesis until we get to Jesus, Moses is the greatest example of leadership. There's no one else held up to us in Scripture that did a better job of using his influence for the good of the people of God than Moses until we get to Jesus.

So this collection of statements around Moses should inform our thinking about what it would mean to lead with our faith. It tells us of the choices Moses was making. It said he refused to be known as the son of the Pharaoh's daughter. He refused his inheritance. He had a right to it. There was a sense of entitlement. He turned it down. He chose something else. Can you imagine choosing to be identified with God, knowing you are forfeiting something? It's a different attitude than we have cultivated in much of contemporary Christendom. Then it says, "He chose mistreatment rather than inappropriate pleasure". He chose to be mistreated with the people of God in lieu of enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season. I would rather be mistreated with God's people than have the enjoyment of ungodliness.

Wow, folks, that's a bold faith. Would you choose to be mistreated with God's people? Monday was a national holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. King suffered for standing up for what was right. He faced all sorts, not just of threats. He suffered physically. Ultimately, he paid with his life. Now, he brought many benefits and he pushed an idea in front of our nation that I pray we won't turn loose of in spite of the pressures of the day. But it's gonna take bold faith in this generation to make the differences we need made. Thirdly, it says of Moses that he regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ to be of tremendous value. He thought disgrace for the sake of Christ had greater value than the treasures of Egypt. He said, "There is great value if I am dishonored because of my affiliation".

I'm intrigued. The author of Hebrews says that he regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt. Does anybody remember the timeline? If you were here for our last service, the first point in the timeline was creation. The second one is Abraham. The third one is the Exodus. That was Moses's deal, right? Then we've got judges, and a united monarchy, and a divided nation, and the prophets, and the exile, and the second temple period, and the Gospels. This would be where Jesus lives, and Old Moses is way back over here in the Exodus. And the author of Hebrews said he regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ. He had a perspective beyond the moment, didn't he? He had an awareness of the purposes of God that reached beyond the comfort of his calendar. Wow, bold faith. Bold faith. It says he left Egypt and he persevered, seeing him who is invisible.

How do you see what's invisible? Well, you can't with your eyes. It's invisible, so you have to see with something else. You have to see with the eyes of faith. You have to see with the understanding of a heart. Bold faith. Look in 1 Peter chapter 5. He knew something about bold faith. It says, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time". It's a troublesome verse, isn't it? We all know the proper time, yesterday. "Casting all your anxiety on Him". Why would you be anxious? 'Cause I'm not being exalted adequately. "Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. And after you've suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you".

Do you see the outcome for suffering? It says God himself will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. How many of you'd like those things to happen in your life? Yeah, me too, but the pathway for those things is gonna take some bold faith. It's not just a seminar. Don't you wish we could have a seminar on being perfect, confirmed, strengthened, and established in God? Well, could we do it in 30 minutes? The refining of our faith, if we're going to have bold faith, we're gonna have to submit it to God for him to polish it and improve it. 1 Peter again, chapter 1, and verse 6, "In this you greatly rejoice, though for now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come", wouldn't, that's such an important statement, "Grief in all kinds of trials".

Have you ever asked God why? Whew, I've worn out that "why" question. It's a way of establishing your maturity in the Lord. If you've ever been around a little kid, the only questioning word they know is "why," right? They'll ask you "why" 12 times in a row. And you finally resort to, "Because I said so". "Why"? Well, Peter brings it up. He said, "You've had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come," he tells us why, "so that your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes, even though refined by fire, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed". Your faith isn't genuine until it's had to be tested. Theoretical Christianity remains just that. It's a theory. Truth remains theoretical until it becomes a part of your experience.

Most of us don't want to have those God experiences. We're happy just to have the theoretical truth. But our faith has to be tested. In order for it to be an influence in our world, for it to be a part of your God story, we've got to go through those things. Bold faith enables us to endure. Bold faith has been refined by embracing the disappointments that life brings with it. You know what a disappointment is, right? Our little working definition: a disappointment is something that comes to your life that didn't have an appointment. It shows up on you. That little prefix "dis," D-I-S, means without. So a disappointment's somethin' that rolled in that didn't have an appointment, but there it is on your schedule. You've got to meet with it. You've got to deal with it. You've got to face it. But I didn't want to. I understand it's a disappointment. In fact, I think we ought to pray.

I would like to pray specifically for those people that are struggling with disappointment, that are walking through difficult places. You've had to face grief, in Peter's language, and all kinds of trials. And you know, I didn't choose this. I didn't want this. I wasn't looking for this. And yet in the midst of that, God is at work. If Moses could make those choices that he made, we can make the choices before us to honor God. I don't understand God's timing. I'm telling you, for the whole run of my life, his timing seems to have been a little off, but I serve at his pleasure and I've decided I'm good with that. Can you trust him? How many of you say, "I need a little bit of that prayer"? Yeah, we all do.

Father, I thank you. I thank you that nothing is hidden from you, nothing is beyond your awareness. Lord, you know what's hidden in the darkness and you know the plans of evil. You know the limits you have drawn for it. We pray for one another tonight, Lord, those gathered on our campus and those that are joining us in other ways. I thank you that you're a God who delivers, and restores, and heals, and renews; that you know how to refresh and provide. And I pray that your presence would be more real to us than any disappointment that has intruded. I thank you for it. Lord, I pray not one of us will turn back, that not one of us would concede to the pleasures of ungodliness in the moment, but that we would choose the honor of standing with you and on your behalf. Give us a boldness to choose you beyond anything we've ever had before. And we stand together in the power of Jesus's name, the authority of his shed blood, to speak to the the anxiety, and the fear, the frustration that comes with disappointment. Go, in Jesus's name. And may the peace of God fill our hearts. It's in Jesus's name we pray, amen.

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