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Watch 2022 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Jesus Saw Our Day

Allen Jackson - Jesus Saw Our Day


Allen Jackson - Jesus Saw Our Day

It's good to be with you again. We're continuing our study on "Visions of the Future". We're gonna talk a bit about what Jesus saw about our lives. I hope you understand Jesus knows what's ahead of us. Now, I know in Acts chapter 1 he went back to heaven, he ascended back to heaven, but he hasn't stepped out of what's happening in time. He's not disinterested, he hasn't washed his hands of it. In the book of Revelation, when that opens, there's a message to seven separate churches, and Jesus says to each one of them: "I know your deeds, I know what you're doing, I know what you're engaged in".

In fact, it's a diagnostic. "I know your strengths and your weaknesses". What I really wanna do is invite you to a larger imagination of your faith to think beyond just the point of your salvation, your entrance into the kingdom, and the steps of your discipleship. We're gonna begin to ask God to give us a vision of what he's doing in the earth in our lifetime. I wanna be a part of that so that the generation who follows us benefits from our faith. It's an exciting assignment and God will do it in you and through you. Grab your Bible, get a notepad, but most of all, open your heart.

But I think it's very important to acknowledge that we are witnesses to a most remarkable time. I know there's some stuff going on that would cause anxiety or cause you to be perhaps a bit anxious or frustrated, but we are witnesses to the most remarkable of times in human history. The Spirit of God is moving throughout the earth in unprecedented ways. He's stirring the hearts of men and women. Every weekend, we have people that gather on our campus with us from many states around the nations. That's not typical or normal. And it's not simply the result of some new ministry expressions. God is doing something in the hearts of men and women. It's unusual for us to have a week slip past without multiple reports of God's supernatural involvement in the lives of those around us.

Remember the good old days? We used to have seminars on whether God still does miracles. Now we're living in the midst of one. There is a miracle within a few feet of you, if you just had time to hear one another's stories. It's the truth. And we have to, on purpose, intentionally, with some determination, focus our attention on the good things that God is doing or we'll be caught up in the frustration of the other things that are happening, because they're happening simultaneously. Jesus told the parable about the wheat and the tares, or the wheat and the weeds, that they would harvest. And Jesus said it was a parable of the end of the age. In my opinion, this season. And it said both the wheat, God's crop, what he intends to flourish, and the weeds, the wicked, will grow at the same time.

The same conditions that cause the wheat to ripen cause the weeds to ripen. So we wanna focus our attention on what we can see God doing. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are growing on a daily basis expressions of evil. You don't need much discernment to see that. You know, in recent months, it has become very apparent that our children have been targeted in more aggressive ways than at any time we've ever watched in places that we didn't expect to betray their wellbeing. COVID has helped to uncover the degree to which education has yielded to indoctrination. I'm not saying it's happening in every setting and in every classroom, but it's been happening in a far more widespread pattern than we've paid attention to: from the college campuses to the schools of our younger children. And the shocking part is when that's been uncovered, the perpetrators have defended their intent to shape the worldview of our children.

Folks, the purpose of education is not indoctrination, and it's a bit embarrassing for the duration of my lifetime, in my academic career, I'm a product of the public schools, I'm an advocate for the public schools. We cannot abandon them. We have a responsibility to those children, but the message we were given was that if you expressed an opinion about your worldview in a public setting and one person objected, that you needed to withdraw that expression of that opinion, that it wasn't appropriate. If just one person objected, it would silence the rest of the people in the room. Does that sound like the experience you were coached towards?

Today, we're watching the opposite of that. If you object to the worldview that's being taught in the classroom, you're silenced or removed from the classroom. Now I'm embarrassed that I was so tolerant when they asked me to be quiet in those foregone years. We're gonna have to find the courage to own the truth, not to be angry, not to be belligerent. Here's the tragedy: church leaders, educators, even the medical community, should not be influencing our children to embrace things like gender confusion or homosexuality. It's not appropriate in those settings. We can hold very different views and different perspectives. We don't all have to agree. But the parents have the privilege of shaping the worldview of their children. And we're gonna have to awaken to that and have the courage to say it.

Now what can we see? What can we take from what Jesus said to us? And what can we understand about what's unfolding before us so that we can respond to something more than polite church attenders, song singers, quiet Bible readers? Now, I believe in all of those things, but those are not the fullest expression of our faith. I think we can acknowledge that Jesus told us very clearly that before he returned there would be a time of sifting, a time of shaking. If you prefer, a time of preparation. Acts chapter 2 and verse 40. This verse has been bumping around on the inside of me for weeks and weeks and weeks. I buried it in the Easter message, I buried the lede, my mistake. It's Peter on the Day of Pentecost. He said, "With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, 'Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.'" "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation". And 3000 people in Jerusalem accepted that message that day and were baptized.

Three thousand people in the city of Jerusalem where, a few days before, they'd been shouting "crucify the Lord". "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation". If you take one line away from this session, I pray that's it: "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation". Don't blend in. You don't wanna... to wear spiritual camouflage. You don't wanna adopt the prevailing worldviews that are being celebrated in the media and in the entertainment industry. And tragically, in too many religious settings. Save yourselves. Don't disappear into this generation. Stand out. Separate yourself. Identify with the people of God. Embrace a biblical worldview. Be willing to acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as Lord, Christ, and King. There are not many ways to God. All expressions of faith are not the same.

Folks, the church has got to find the courage to stand with the truth that has been delivered to us. In 2 Corinthians chapter 6, Paul is writing to a church and he's gonna quote from the prophet Isaiah. He's quoting from Isaiah 52 and he said, "We are the temple of the living God. And as God has said, 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you'll be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.'" Now, in order to walk in the freedom of the first portion of that, to be the temple of the living God and to have God walk in our midst, we have to be separate from the spirit of the world. We cannot drink deeply of the spirit of this age and imagine that we can walk in the Spirit of God. It's impossible. Look at the last sentences in that passage: "Since we have these promises, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God". That's our assignment.

Folks, we haven't talked about it enough. What's the difference between yourself and your friends who don't honor the Lord? And it needs to be more than your wardrobe or what goes in your favorite cup when you're relaxing with your friends. We have to have a different worldview, we have to see our world in a different place. We have to understand what divides us is not the color of our skin or the accent with which we speak; it's the condition of our heart. The church has an essential role to play. But we've lived in a culture where the influence of our faith has been so predominant, so widespread, we've been quiet, we've been silent. We're talked about as the silent majority.

Folks, I don't believe we're any longer a majority. We've been silent so long, I'm not sure where we are or who we are. We're gonna have to find the courage to stand up, to save ourselves from this current generation. In the book of Jude, we're given assignments to snatch others from the fire. You can't help somebody out of the fire unless you're willing to acknowledge it's hot. We've been sitting in the midst of the furnace, going, "It's a bit warmish today". I didn't call your name, yet. We have to become more aware of the existence of both the visible world and the invisible world. Again, we've been so blessed. We didn't have to believe that God healed people; we've had such availability of medical care, doctors and medicines and pharmaceuticals and clinics and it's been available to us.

It really wasn't that relevant that we believed in God unless we got in some desperate place with a horrific diagnosis or something that was beyond the realm of what the medical community could do. And then at that point, we begin to cast about and try to formulate a faith that had something to do with the miraculous or the supernatural. But for much about the world, for most of our brothers and sisters around the world, they haven't had that luxury. They believe in the invisible. In Romans chapter 1 and verse 20 it says: "Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen".

The book of Romans is the most masterful presentation of the gospel, certainly in all of the Scripture, but I would submit in all of the history of the church. Those first eight chapters of the book of Romans lay out the gospel of Jesus Christ for us. And it's no accident that in that first chapter it says that God's invisible qualities have been made apparent to everyone, that every person has no excuse. God has revealed himself to every human being. The God we worship is an invisible God so be careful when you're hesitant to believe in the invisible. We just had our lives totally altered around a virus from Wuhan, China. You can't see a virus. The only thing you could see is the effect or the impact of a virus. Maybe with an electron microscope, we can capture an image of that, but you certainly without assistance, you can't see a virus. So don't recoil from the notion of invisible things having tremendous influence in your life.

Hebrews chapter 11, talking about Moses, says: "By faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible". How do you see the invisible? We talked about that a good bit on Wednesday night. Certainly not with your physical senses, not with your physical sight. We have to see it in another way. Well, the Bible tells us that Abraham saw Jesus, separated by hundreds and hundreds and years and cultures and many changes. Abraham didn't see Jesus with his physical eyes. He saw him with something else. And we've got to orient our lives as much towards the invisible as we do towards the visible. It's not either/or. It's very much at both end. Sometimes we pretend we're spiritual by ignoring the physical things in our world. That's not spiritual; that's goofy. Goofy's a Greek word. Are you familiar with it?

It doesn't make you spiritual to ignore the realities of your life. If you're sick, you don't just have symptoms, you're sick. If you're out of gas, you don't need a miracle; you need a filling station and a lot of cash these days. If you want a garden in Tennessee, if you want some of those wonderful summer vegetables, tomatoes, and green beans and squash and lettuce, if you want that harvest, you're gonna have to plant a garden. You can sit in the house and pray until you lose your voice and it won't cause a garden to grow in the yard. We've kind of lost our balance. It's not whether I believe in the invisible or I believe in the visible, the answer is "Yes".

People say to me, "Do you believe in medicine or prayer"? "Yes". "Do you believe in taking your car to the mechanic or prayer"? "Yes". "Do you believe in studying for an exam or praying for help"? "Uh-huh". I tried praying but I didn't study. The outcomes were not great. Don't be so spiritual that you're no good. Don't be so high-minded that you're spiritually arrogant. We can't afford that any longer. We're in a very critical season of this emerging story of the church, and we need to live with the awareness of both the visible and the invisible.

Let's take a few moments and look a little more closely at Jesus. He's our example. He is our example. In Hebrews chapter 12 in verse 2, the author of Hebrews directs us. He says, "Let's fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and the perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God". And then it gives us a focus point. It says we're to set our eyes on Jesus, or fix our attention on him, but then we're given a very specific focus point in verse 3: "Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart". The implication is that we're going to face opposition from sinful people.

Why are we surprised by that? Why do we panic over that? Why do we allow it to elevate our blood pressure, our anxiety level? Jesus faced some very real opposition from sinful people and they weren't all sinful people that wore the uniform of a Roman soldier. He faced opposition from sinful people who were priests and religious people and people who had the right pedigree of spiritual activity and yet they very much opposed the purposes of God that Jesus came to introduce. And we're told that you and I are going to face opposition from sinful people, some that we would expect to stand in opposition, and some that we don't expect to stand in opposition.

So if we're surprised by that, we're ignoring Jesus and we're ignoring the counsel of Scripture. They tell me that when you exercise, the most beneficial part of the exercise is right at the end when you're tired, when your muscles are weary and your lungs are screaming at you, that if you'll persevere through that portion, that's where most of the benefit is. See, isn't that a mean trick? I think the benefit should be just when you look at the exercise equipment. Maybe when you put on your workout clothes. Who knew putting on athletic gear made you healthy? Doesn't work that way. And we've been asked to persevere. Look in Revelation, as most of you know, the book of Revelation in chapters 2 and 3 has letters to 7 churches and, in each case, Jesus acknowledges that Jesus himself is aware of the condition of those unique congregations.

Did you know that Jesus pays attention to this congregation? And to the one across the street and the one down the road and to all the others? Did you know that the Lord himself is aware of his Church in the earth? If you will meditate on that, if you'll let that settle in your heart for a bit, it will change your engagement. It'll change everything about that. He's aware of the Church. To every one of those seven churches, it's a short read, ten minutes and you can do it, it's worth going back, he gives them a diagnosis of each of those individual congregations: strengths and weaknesses and resolutions. I'm telling you it sobers me, I read it again today a couple of times, that he has that level of awareness of what's happening in our midst. He's not removed and distant.

But this is a message to one particular congregation, and it's not unique. It's actually shared amongst several of the seven, but he said, "I know your deeds". This is the church at Ephesus. "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance". I know your deeds, I know your hard work and I know your perseverance. "I know that you can't tolerate wicked men and that you've tested those who claim to be apostles but aren't. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary". I want you to hear what Jesus said to them. He said, "I know that you have persevered, you have endured hardship for my name, and you have not grown weary". Now, he still has some things to challenge them about, but it's noteworthy to me that he understood a part of their assignment was to persevere, to endure hardship because of affiliation with Jesus.

Folks, that's not going away. In fact, between where we are today and that point in time when Jesus will step back into time, it's going to be more difficult. It'll be more rewarding. We'll see greater demonstrations of the Spirit of God and the moving of the power of God and the unveiling of the majesty of the kingdom of God, but it's gonna be more challenging. Are you ready? Are you willing? Or you just wanna go back to some other place? Do you wanna live in another time? There's this desperate desire just to get to some place that we call now pre-COVID.

Folks, whatever that world was, it is someplace else. We have some freedoms that were interrupted during COVID. I'm very grateful to see those reemerging again, but the truth is we're going to have to learn to persevere, to endure, to overcome, to not give in, to not be under the circumstances but to overcome them. We'll have to be more flexible. We're gonna have to be more bold, we're gonna be more courageous. We're gonna have to find a voice where we have been silent. We'll have to be willing to be identified in the clear light as standing with the name of Jesus. And I think we have to acknowledge we get tired, that we wish it weren't that way, some days. That it feels like the pressure is persistent, and there may have been an easier time and an easier place. But we're not in that place any longer.

In fact, I wanna pray for you tonight. If you're here and you have a job assignment or a family assignment or there's something about your life that has required you to stand, to persevere, and you're tired. I'd like the honor of praying with you. If that's you, I don't mean you're tired of the traffic coming to church or you're tired of pollen in Middle Tennessee. But if, either your life assignment or your family assignment, your circumstances, have required you to endure, I'd like to pray with you. Won't you stand, if that's you, just real quickly. If you're at home, you stand too. I can see right through those lenses. Not quite, but...

See, it's not just one or two of us. You know, the mistake we make is we look at other people and we think their lift is easier. They think theirs, you know, if I just lived where they live or if I just had that job or if my family just looked like that or if we lived in that house or my kids could go to that school. It's so easy to look across, if there's anything that I have learned from the years that I have had the privilege of serving God's people, it's that everyone's plate is full. Nobody gets through without challenges. You may be in a triumphant season, a mountaintop season. God bless you. I wanna come stand next to you. I enjoy the thrill and the celebration that comes with that. But the truth is, challenges come to every life. We wanna pray with you:

Father, I thank you for these men and women, for those that I can see and those that I cannot. I thank you for their lives. I know that nothing is hidden from you. Nothing is kept from you. Lord, I don't believe you're distant or removed or disinterested. I believe you know the details of every life. You know when a sparrow falls to the ground. You know our circumstances. But I pray tonight that you will renew our strength, that we will be able to run and not grow weary, that we will soar on wings like eagles'. I thank you that your arm is not too short, nor your strength too small to deliver us. That we are the sheep of your pasture, that you know us each one by name. And I praise you for it tonight.

I pray that your presence within us will be more real to us than any challenge we face. Any diagnosis, any disappointment, any frustration, any obstacle, I thank you that the power of the living God overshadows us and that your Spirit dwells within us, that we have been set free from the hand of the enemy. That his authority over us has been broken through the blood of Jesus. I praise you for it tonight. I give you glory and honor and thanksgiving that we're children of the King, that our names have been written in the Lamb's Book of Life. That our sin has been washed away, that we are clean before you, made righteous, justified, sanctified through the blood of Jesus. We praise you for it. May we be more aware of your goodness to us than any need or any challenge or any difficulty. You are our strength, you are our rock, you are our strong tower. You are our deliverer, and we declare your praises and your authority over our lives tonight, in Jesus's name, amen.

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