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Watch 2022 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - God's Indispensable Word - Part 2

Allen Jackson - God's Indispensable Word - Part 2

Allen Jackson - God's Indispensable Word - Part 2
TOPICS: God's Word

It's good to be with you again. We're learning to lead with our faith. Folks, leadership isn't about titles, or desks, or positions, or where you fit in an org chart. It's about the influence of your life: your opinion, your perspectives, and whether you use them for godliness or not. That's the assignment of our lives, to be a godly influence in our world. It's called salt and light in Jesus's language. It's an important season for God's Word and God's people to be leading. We're gonna unpack that in a little more detail today.

I hope you'll open your heart and your mind, and imagine that God has called you not to sit in a church service, not to be a faithful attender of worship, not even to be someone who builds a systematic theology, but to invite the Spirit of God to help you see your neighbors, your family, your work environment, where your children spend time with their friends, those are all environments we're asked to be leaders, not by leading someone to the Lord. I'm not opposed to conversion or the new birth, but if that's the only way we look at the people around us it's like we only have one tool. If all you have is a hammer, everybody looks like a nail. And the truth is we need a godly worldview, a biblical perspective on life around us, and God's called you and me to that. Grab your Bible and a notepad, but open your heart. God's got an assignment for us.

We struggle with the Bible. It's 66 books. They're all put into one book. Different authors, written from different points in history, different styles of literature. There's poetry. There's history. There's narrative. There's just a whole hodgepodge, and then it's dumped in there and it's not arranged chronologically. And it can be confusing and intimidating, and so often we just want to pretend like we know. We read our bibles like we learned English. You know, when you begin school, in our systems at least, you begin English at the earliest grades and I continued to learn English until I quit school years and years later. Postgraduate work, I was still learning English 'cause you can't learn another language if you don't know English here. And I didn't know what a pluperfect verb was 'til I got to Greek class. But we just bluff it, right?

By the time you get past about the fourth grade, nobody wants to say, "I don't understand English". We're a little bit like that with our Bibles. By the time you've been to church for a few weeks, you don't want to say, "Well, I don't know," but to a great extent, we don't know. So I'm gonna give everybody permission this year. We're gonna be learners together. We're going to learn to lead. We're gonna begin to learn the Word of God in some new ways. We're gonna learn to trust God for his outcomes in our lives so that our faith is connected to outcomes and not just theories. And to do that, we're gonna need to understand our Bibles a bit.

So we're gonna go this morning, with the help of the young people in the house, we're gonna learn a timeline. There's only 12 points on it, so the kids can do this. They'll help the rest of you, just like they do with your technology. You think you're monitoring their technology. They're letting you monitor what they want you to see. It's the nature of the arrangement. There's just 12 points. The first one is creation and the last one is the return of Jesus. You should be able to remember those. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the last book is Revelation. Jesus is comin' back. So you've only gotta learn ten more points, and if you'll learn these 12 things, you can take every event in the Bible and have a general idea of where it fits. Wow! And we can do it in 10 minutes.

Come on, listen fast. Let me just give you the 12 points, because I need the young people that help me remember 'em. Then I'll hang a little bit more on them, but let's start. It's with creation. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. That's your first point. The second point is Abraham. I'll tell you why in a few minutes, but for the moment it's creation and then Abraham. No explanation, just 12 points. Number three is the Exodus. Not the movie, the escape from Egypt. It's high drama. The Exodus. We've got creation, Abraham, the Exodus, and then the judges. Not long black robes, not courtrooms, not gavels. Leaders, a whole book filled with superheroes. I'm telling ya, they're better than anybody Marvel has thought up. There's strong men in there. Freaky strong men. Make Hulk look like he's a wimp. The judges. And then we get to the kings, the monarchy. Whole book filled with kings, lots of kings. And then we have a nation divided. There's a civil war and we no longer have a monarchy. We've got two nations and two capital cities. Are you with me?

Creation, Abraham, the Exodus, the judges, the monarchy, the nations divided. We have a problem, right? And there's a lot of prophets in there talkin' about the problems in the nation, and it leads to an exile. Everybody's gotta leave home. Imagine if everybody in Rutherford County had to leave and you're not coming back. No problem, you get two hours' notice. Take what you want. You're never coming back. Your bank accounts don't matter. You're not coming back. Your investments are irrelevant. You're not coming back. "But this is where I've lived", you're not coming back. Your ungodliness has been so persistent, you have to leave. Do you know that's the same God you and I worship?

I hear everybody saying, "We want to go back to normal". You're not goin' back. We're gonna make a new normal. The exile, you have to leave. The second temple period, they got to go home, but it's another generation of people. It's the kids and the grandkids, but they got to rebuild the temple. And now we're to the New Testament. There's only three more bullets. The Gospels, it's the Jesus story. And then there's the story of the church, Jesus's friends and what they did. And now we're at the end, Jesus is comin' back. That's the whole book and you've just learned the whole Bible, less than five minutes. Let's see if we can do it. Have you got it, kids? Hope you were taking some notes. Maybe your parents will let you cheat with their outline. What's the first point? Creation.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. I'm here to tell you there is an Almighty God and he created the earth and everything in it and everything you can see in the sky. How did he do it? Our information is not entirely complete. It's okay with me if there was a big bang, but I'm not embarrassed to tell you that I believe God created the heavens and the earth. If you reject this point, you're stuck. If you don't believe God could create the heavens and the earth, why would you trust him to go to heaven? He's a clown. You couldn't trust him. I understand the weight of the educational system. I spent my college years in the basic sciences.

I've heard the discussions, but I'm telling you there's no competition between God and science. Science is a process. Science is not the end all. If these last two years have taught you anything, it should be that. A hundred years ago, the most brilliant physicians on the planet didn't wash their hands between patients. They weren't being malicious, they didn't understand germ theory. Science is a process of discovery and learning. Don't worship science, be grateful for. In the beginning. Creation is in every book of the Bible. I brought you some samples. This is an important, I'll go back to my timeline in a minute. Will you bear with me? You gotta learn 12 points. Stay focused, but this is so important.

Exodus 31, the Israelites, these are the instructions to the Hebrew slaves. "The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for generations to come. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and the seventh day he abstained from work and he rested". God worked a six-day week. That's another discussion. But it says that God teached the slaves that came out of Egypt that God made the heavens and the earth. In Nehemiah, he fits over here during the exile. He works for the Persian king, but he goes back to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. In the book of Nehemiah, it says this, "You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that's in it, and the sea and all of that is in them. You give life to everything".

You see, if you believe God can create the heavens and the earth, why wouldn't we pray for one another? Nothing's too hard for God. He made the place. Well, Pastor, I just don't know. Read the book, it'll help ya. Mark chapter 10, this is Jesus. You might think of him as an authority. "Jesus replied, 'At the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.'" Jesus believed God created the place. So if you're going to be Jesus's people, you gotta grapple with this. Well, Pastor, with my education, it's just difficult. I understand. The weight of a towering intellect can be heavy. I was delivered that burden. God made me very normal. I'm grateful.

In Colossians 1, and verse 15, it says, "He's the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and earth, visible, invisible". So whether we do it at the book of Genesis, or we do it during the exile, or we take it from Jesus's mouth, or we take it from the church in the New Testament, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The whole book will open up if you'll buy that. Abraham is so important because when we get to Genesis chapter 12 and we meet Abraham, the story changes. Those first 11 chapters are global, universal things.

If you wanna find things that happened to the whole world, go look in Genesis 1 through 11. The Garden of Eden, Noah's flood, all that's packed in those first chapters. It's universal. When we get to Genesis chapter 12, it's the story of God preparing a people for himself. And when we get over here to the book of Revelation and Jesus's return, he's coming back for his people, but that narrative starts in Genesis chapter 12 way back here with Abraham. He's important. God is willing to be identified as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Imagine if he was identified throughout Scripture, throughout history as the God of Allen, Bob, and Fred. But he's not. He's the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

And when the book of Genesis concludes, Abraham's extended family has gone to Egypt. It's another story. It's beyond our timeline, but God's story isn't gonna stay centered in Egypt so they're gonna have to leave, and that's what the book of Exodus is about. It's the greatest story of deliverance in all the Bible until we get to Jesus. So we've got creation, Abraham, and the exodus, but they left Egypt to do what? Go where? Blub, blub, blub, blub. To go to a land that flows with milk and honey, a promised land. So when we get to the book of Judges, God's people, the 12 tribes are living in the promised land. It's a theocracy. No central government, no capital city, no taxation, whoo hoo! And when there's a need for a unified response amongst the 12 tribes, God raises up a leader, a judge: Samson, Gideon, Deborah. Four hundred years, almost twice as long as we've been a nation, God's people flourished under that system.

Now, there were some rough patches. They would drift into ungodliness and wickedness. We're not the first generation to wander off course. We're not the first generation to be disciplined by God. We should get over ourselves. Our default position, "It's the end of the world". It could be, but it could be just the end of our world. We have to change. The book of Judges. The last of the judges is Samuel. There's two books that have his name in your Bible. He's a very important character. The tribal leaders come to Samuel and they say, "We don't like this system. We want a king". And God in his mercy, it's inexplicable, he said, "I will recruit a king for you. If you don't want me, I will recruit a king".

The first king is Saul, and Saul get so overwhelmed with himself. The great enemy of humanity is pride. It caused the problems in the Garden. It caused the problem that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven. It's his great weapon against you. We'll be proud of our religion. We'll be proud of how we look. We'll be proud of how we speak. We'll be proud of things you can't take with you out of time. It is insanity. It's destructive. We want a king. And Saul forfeited his position because of his pride. The second king is David, the greatest of all the Israelite kings. God promised David that from him would come a Messiah. He's over there on the end of our timeline. And David's son succeeded him, Solomon. Solomon's born to the palace. David was born to the sheep. David faced the lion and the bear, and Solomon faced the courtiers. He was born to the purple. He wasn't a warrior and his heart turned away from God. It's awful.

I think there's a higher probability you'll see Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian king in heaven than Solomon. And after Solomon, there's a civil war and the nation of Israel is torn in two, and it's a little confusing. You gotta pay attention in the Bible when you're reading it because now there's two nations. The southern nation is Judah and the capital of Judah is Jerusalem. And the Northern nation is Israel and the capital of Israel is Samaria. And the story is told in parallel. They'll tell you who's king in Jerusalem while they tell you what's happening in Israel, or they'll tell you who's king in Samaria while they're telling you what's happening in Judah.

And all those prophets, all those books that occupy the second half of your Old Testament is God talking to his people, saying, "Stop it. Stop it! Don't be immoral. Don't be wicked. Don't be greedy. Don't practice injustice. Don't do that. I am watching. It's not that I'm removed from you. Please don't do that". And they will not listen. He says, "You have an assignment. You're to be a message to the world. You're the billboard for the display of my glory and you can't do that". And they ignore him. And so the exile comes. It comes with the Assyrians in 721 and the Babylonians in 587, and both nations are gone. Jerusalem is destroyed. Samaria is destroyed. They're gone.

Church, we've lived too presumptively. We've lived arrogantly. We've lived with pride and gods of comfort, and convenience, and ease. And we've treated God as an afterthought and he's asking for our attention. But God said, "My anger won't last forever. After 70 years, you can go home". Seventy years. And the exile, it's one of the most fruitful times in Israelite history. We meet Nehemiah. We meet Daniel. We meet Esther. It's when they wrote down much of their story. When they lived in Jerusalem and they were occupying the temple, they didn't need to write it down. It was a part of their everyday life. But when they think they may never go home again, they don't want their children to lose their heritage and their history so they wrote it down. It's a fruitful time.

Zerubbabel goes back and rebuilds the second temple. Ezra the priest comes back and reads the Word of God to the people. Nehemiah builds the wall around the city. They're back in their homeland. And that's when Jesus shows up. "I have a new covenant for you. You have another opportunity to listen". He weeps over Jerusalem. He said, "You didn't recognize the time of God's coming". Jesus didn't come quietly. He walked on the water, and raised the dead, and opened blind eyes, and made wine at parties. That will get you invited. He didn't do something quiet. Tens of thousands of people came to hear him.

There was a consciousness of something unique about his life, but they didn't want to yield to his authority. Does that sound familiar? He's weeping over the city, "If you'd only known what would've brought you peace, but now there's destruction coming. You've been down this road before". The Romans this time. There won't be a stone left on another in this city. If you visit Jerusalem today, you can still see the earthen embankment of the Roman siege ramps. It's still there. And within 40 years of Jesus's crucifixion, the Romans encircle Jerusalem and destroyed the city. And for 2000 years this time, there was not Jewish authority over the city of Jerusalem. Not until 1967, the Six-Day War. After Jesus, we have the story of Jesus's friends, the church.

It's the book of Acts and it's all those letters that populate the second part of your New Testament. And the story ends with Jesus's return. He's coming back. He's coming back for his people, and they started with Abraham way over there. Folks, it's such an exciting time to serve the Lord. He's moving in the earth. He's preparing a people. I don't know why he chose us for this most unique time. I'm quite certain Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, and that crew didn't understand why they got selected for the assignments they were given. But God in his wisdom chose us for this season. He's not surprised by something that emerged from a lab in Wuhan. He's not surprised by a system of propaganda and censorship that is exploding around us. His truth will triumph. I want to pray for the church. How many think 40 days of some spiritual disciplines is a worthwhile investment of your time? Amen, me too. Why don't you to stand with me? I'll hush. I want to pray with you:

Lord, thank you. Thank you that you called us and created us for this most unique time in human history when you're bringing new alignments and great changes and shifting. You're calling your people forth. Lord, you are establishing the Jewish people in the land that you promised to Abraham that you would give to them. Lord, you're establishing them in spite of the consternation of the nations. I thank you for that. And at the same time, you're purifying your church. We thank you that you wouldn't tolerate us with our divided hearts and the worldliness that we had accommodated.

Lord, I thank you that in your mercy you're calling us to yourself; that you're teaching us. You're showing us how to respond to the lion and the bear so that we'll be prepared for the Goliaths that might be ahead. We thank you for it. Forgive us if we've complained or grumbled. Forgive us if we have lost sight of the deliverances that you have brought to us. Holy Spirit, help us. If there's anything in us that is harmful, or hurtful, or diminishing, help us to see it that we may lay it down. Bring freedom to us. Bring hope to us. Bring an awareness to us of what you're doing. We praise you for your church in the earth and for the great honor and privilege of bearing the name of Jesus. May you be pleased with us. May it be your delight to open the windows of heaven, Father, and pour out your best upon us. We thank you for it. In Jesus's name, amen.

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