Allen Jackson - Remember Your Deliverances - Part 2
It's an honor to be with you again. We're continuing our study on "Remember Your Deliverances". I've been encouraging you to make a good news list, certainly a personal list about those places where you've experienced the power of God in your life but also a list about what you see happening in the world around us; where you see truth breaking into the public square, where there's been a deception or a lie or something that has been a part of the public narrative and it crumbles and the truth breaks forth in those places.
Begin to take note and keep a list. The timing may not suit us but the reality of the truth being spoken is a point of freedom and it gives us confidence to know that God is moving in our lives in the most powerful way. God has not abandoned us, he hasn't withdrawn from the field. Quite the opposite, he's watching over us and leading us towards his best. Grab your Bible and a notepad, but most of all, open your heart, God's got something for us today.
I wanna submit to you that it is essential that you remember your deliverances. Good news lists, those breakthrough lists, are more than just trying to humor Pastor, it is essential that you remember the deliverances of God in your life. And I'll begin, if you're a Christ follower, with the one that changed everything. You've been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of his son whom he loves, and that was not because of anything you or I could do for ourselves. We couldn't purchase it, we didn't earn it, we certainly didn't qualify for it, it was an expression of the grace and Mercy of God. Apart from that deliverance of God on our behalf, we would've spent eternity in darkness, in torment and suffering. God has delivered us.
Now, I want to make just a couple of observations, then we're gonna look at several passages of Scripture. See, our pattern is that we typically experience God's help. Then, when we're faced with a new challenge, and new challenges come, it's the nature of the journey, we act as if we've never known God to intervene. We experience God's help, then a new problem rules and we go, "Huh. Well, God's never done anything for me". Oh, you mean except get you out of hell forever. Well, I mean, there's that. Or we experience God's help, then we choose not to serve the Lord with a heart of gratitude, we just gobble up the blessings and accept the freedom as if somehow we qualified for it on a merit basis.
And why should we respond to God with an attitude of surface or humility or gratitude? I would submit that biblically we have a generational responsibility, we must tell of God's goodness to the generations who come behind us, we cannot afford to turn loose of our history. Look at Deuteronomy chapter 4, in verse 9, this is Moses's instructions to the people. The single greatest story of deliverance in the Bible, what do you think it is? It's the redemptive work of Jesus, there's nothing to compare with it, it's the greatest story, it changed the destiny of all humanity for time and eternity. From the garden, until Jesus steps back into time, the redemptive work of Jesus changed the story of Adam and his descendants.
The second greatest story of deliverance in the Bible, it's the Exodus, the deliverance of the Hebrew slaves from Egyptian torment. To take them from the brick pits of Egypt to a land that flows with milk and honey, a sovereign territory that God had promised to Abram and his descendants forever, that's the canvas of this narrative. In Deuteronomy 4, Moses is talking to the people, in verse 9, he said, "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them". Now, that is the crux of the assignment, "Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live," and teach them to your kids and to their kids.
Now, if that warning is there and it is given repeatedly, it's because we are likely to leak. We looked at this in the previous session, and I don't want to go back through all the verses, but after all the plagues had been visited upon the Egyptians, ending with the Passover and the death of the firstborn throughout the land of Egypt, the Egyptians drove the Hebrew slaves out. They gave them their gold and their silver, whatever they wanted. They said, "Do not be here when the sun goes down, go". They were terrified, and so there's a parade.
If you saw Cecil B, Demille's movie, remember the movie, "The Ten Commandments"? The special effects are a little old but you get the point. There's this huge parade, hundreds of thousands of people streaming out of Egypt, they head towards the Red Sea, Pharaoh changes his mind. Not a shock, how many times has Pharaoh changed his mind? Who's the clueless person amongst the Hebrews that didn't think Pharaoh would change his mind one more time? He's changed his mind every time so far. Every time the plague got worse, Pharaoh hardened his heart again, "No, I won't". So, they're leaving and he changes his mind, who's surprised? The Hebrews. And you know what they say? They say to Moses, "You should have left us alone, we're just gonna die now. We could've died there and now we're gonna die here".
Whaa, they're like the disciples screaming in the boat, he's been speaking to the wind and the waves, they've seen him calm the storm and raise the dead. Why are they stressed? 'Cause he's dancing on the lake. They've watched all the plagues on the Egyptians, Egypt is decimated, they've got the gold and the silver in their pockets, and Pharaoh hardens his heart again. And what's their response? "We're gonna die this time". It says God was angry with them because they didn't remember. They're not months out of Egypt, they're not even days out of Egypt, they are hours out of Egypt, they haven't even crossed the Red Sea yet. And that pattern is going to be repeated, the pattern of their facing challenges and questioning God is going to be repeated over and over and over. Until finally, God is so angry he says, "Not one of you will go into the promised land, you will die in the desert".
Now he's got my attention. "Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live". Now, some clever person will say, "Yes, Pastor, but that's Old Testament". Well, Obi-Wan, I'm glad you came to church, 'cause we're gonna look at the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians chapter 11, in verse 23, Paul is writing to a group of Christians, to a church in the city of Corinth, and he said, "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.'"
Now, he's with the disciples, his closest friends, the guys that were in the boat when he walked up, they were there when Lazarus walked out. And he's having a meal with them and he said, "You wanna remember me". Any chance they're gonna forget him? No, so it's not like there's a sense of memory loss, there's something else afoot here, something else that God was trying to put it in the hearts of his people way back with the Exodus generation. There's gonna be challenges in front of you. In fact, between where we are sitting having this meal with Jesus and when they're gonna see him the next time, he's gonna go to a Roman cross and be put in a borrowed tomb, but these are the next time they see him, he's gonna have the signs of his passion in his hands and his feet. And he said, "When you come to this Passover meal, when you take the bread and the cup, remember what I did for you". Because we forget and we say goofy things like, "Well, he's never done anything for me, I'm not sure I believe in miracles".
You are a miracle. Apart from the supernatural power of God, we're doomed to a destiny apart from him. We are living expressions of the power and the grace and the mercy of God. Why do we celebrate communion? because we need to be reminded, because there's new challenges, fresh obstacles, there's hurdles, we become discouraged and overwrought. In John 14, verse 25, Jesus with his disciples, preparing them for his suffering, "All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I've said to you". Why do we need reminding? Because there'll be fresh challenges, we leak like sieves.
Turn to the person on your right, "You look a little leaky". Afraid to say that to one another, aren't you? It really is biblical. He said, "When the Holy Spirit comes," we've been so reluctant to embrace the Holy Spirit. We have all kinds of language to talk about him but very real little intent to invite him into our lives. Most of our conversations about the Holy Spirit begin with what we won't do, how we won't welcome him, what we no longer believe. And Jesus said his purpose in coming was to be our Comforter, that he will remind us of what Jesus has accomplished for us. We need the help, we don't know it fully, we're like the disciples; we may have seen Jesus speak to the storm and calm the wind and the waves, but this particular night in the boat we're gonna scream.
We need to be reminded, we need to be reminded the one we worship is a conquering King and the judge of all the earth, there's nothing we face that threatens or intimidates him; that there's no demon in hell or principality or power or earthly ruler or authoritarian mandate or anything else that challenges the lordship of Jesus of Nazareth. And we're his ambassadors, we lose sight of it, we don't tell our stories enough, we don't teach our children enough. We let them hear us complain about the people we worship with, or be disgruntled because of where we parked or who sat in our seat, or because we're not sure it's appropriate that the coffee be served in that kind of a cup or some other something or other.
Teach the children about the faithfulness of God, let them hear it in you, resonate from you, let them hear your enthusiasm for the Lord more than your enthusiasm for the Titans or for Rocky Top. And I'm not opposed to either one, but we do our children and grandchildren a disservice if we don't teach them the faithfulness of God more than the faithfulness of the athletic enterprises that we support. It's important. The faithfulness of God has defined our lives, and if we don't guard our hearts we will fail to remember our deliverances and lack the courage to stand and overcome the challenges of today.
I started making a list, as I've been working on this little study, of the places we've seen God's faithfulness in the midst of our little community, just one little congregation. There are dozens and dozens and dozens across our community and the stories can be repeated, it's not exceptional, we're not the only place God has blessed, but you need the stories. Our church began as a home Bible study. For a dozen years, it outgrew the home and they they began meeting in a rented hotel space.
In 1980, Easter Sunday was the first worship service of WOC. Three weeks later, they came up with the name, there were 30 people and they named it World Outreach. Go big or stay home, right? And they began looking for a place to worship and the community was dramatically different then but they found 28 acres on Highway 99. It had already been dedicated for a subdivision so there was a bit of legal hassle that had to be revisited, but they made that purchase. It was about $78.000, if I remember correctly. They borrowed the money to purchase the property and by the end of that year, they made the purchase in June, and they had the resources to retire that note on New Year's Eve. There was a businessman in the church that was in development and he stopped one day and said, "You need a building and I'll help you do it, I'll help put the construction pieces together".
So when we went back to the bank, I was in for that visit with my Dad, they wanted his house as collateral. I didn't have a house, mine wouldn't help. And I think we needed to borrow $150.000, if I remember correctly. I remember the banker until this day, he said, "Well, when you borrow the money to pay for the property," he said there was something, he said there was something, that there was something out there in that that group of people, something was there. He said, "You paid that debt off," and he said, "Do you think that something's still there"? Yes, sir, we are full of something. And I'm grateful to say, 40-plus years later, there's something still going on, God is faithful. For fairness, there have been abundant challenges.
The last time we borrowed money for a building, we signed the construction contract in August, and the economy disappeared in September. The bankers came to see us a lot, but God was faithful. The Lord is watching over our lives, the Spirit of God is within you to remind you of the person and the work of Jesus Christ. Make friends with him, you'll need to know the authority of Jesus's redemptive work, but the story is much more important than that. In 2 Thessalonians 2, in verse 1, it says, "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering to Him". So the topic is the return of Jesus and our being gathered to him. How many of you'd like to know more about that? Me too.
Well, just let's skip down to verse 5. It says, "Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things"? Well, if he's writing it to them again and he's saying, "Don't you remember"? What can you know for certain? They forgot. So let's look at it, you'll have to turn the page back over, I'm sorry. "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember," no, I'm sorry, we screamed in the boat, "That while I was still with you, I was telling you these things"?
Paul is talking to the church at Thessalonica about the return of Jesus and he gives them three warnings, and he's given them to them before, and you've read them before but we lose sight of them so we panic when change starts. Rather than be anticipatory, Jesus said, "When you see these things happening, lift up your head because your redemption is getting close". And we get grumpy because our vacation got interrupted. Jesus's return is better than your vacay plan. There's three warnings, he says, "Don't become easily unsettled". I took both the NIV and the New American Standard, they say it a little differently, but it's similar. "Don't become easily unsettled or quickly shaken from your composure". Don't be easily rattled. Secondly, he said don't be easily alarmed, "Don't be disturbed by a spirit or by a message," we've heard some disturbing messages.
There's some disturbing spiritual activity, but the counsel we've been given is, "You don't need to be easily alarmed". And then he said, "Don't let anyone deceive you". If he warns us not to be deceived, you can know for certain that there will be a scale of deception taking place that is unprecedented. It'd be like me spending time warning you about being trampled by an elephant; not a great risk, I'm not gonna spend my minutes doing that, but I might talk to you about not getting wet on the way to the car 'cause it's highly probable that your hair is gonna get destroyed. Somebody's watching this in Arizona, going, "What are they talking about? I don't know what they're doing".
And then Paul gives us four reminders about the Antichrist, there's some things about the Antichrist, there is going to be a figure step onto the stage of human history that will accept the bargain that Jesus declined when Satan came with his temptations in the wilderness. He said, "If you'll fall down and worship me, I'll give you the authorities over all these kingdoms," and Jesus rejected that invitation. There's a person coming who will strike that bargain, he will become a global leader with satanic influence and power. He told us four things, that the antichrist will not emerge until the rebellion takes place, or the apostasy occurs. Apostasy is a falling away, but I think it's more helpful to think of it in terms of rebellion. See, it's not talking about Paganism growing, he's talking about people that have stood beneath the umbrella of Christianity with an affiliation with Christianity, but they will rebel against God's truth.
I will not submit to a biblical worldview, to a biblical idea of family or morality or ethics. There will be rebellion, it will precede the emergence of the Antichrist. Secondly, it said, "The man of lawlessness will be revealed," he'll be made known. Don't worry about it, the Spirit of God will show you who he is. Amen is the word you're searching for, we have a Helper. And then that the Antichrist will, "Oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God," he will demand that he be worshiped, and ultimately, he'll "Take his seat in the temple of God". There'll be a temple built in Jerusalem, he'll have the audacity to take his place in that temple.
Now, Paul wrote to the church and said, "Don't forget this". We cannot afford to forget the deliverances of God in our lives, because they give us the courage and the strength and the boldness to face the challenges of today; that even though we may have been delivered from the brick pits of Egypt, we may have even come through the Red Sea on dusty ground and celebrated the destruction of our enemies in total, we're still going to need God's help because we'll need food and water tomorrow. And we may have had our sins forgiven and been justified and sanctified and made righteous in God's sight, but we're still navigating a broken, sin-filled world, and we will need God's help tomorrow. We have a resource that the ungodly don't have, the Spirit of the living God within us, and we have acted as if the only part of our faith that's relevant is eternity. We cannot afford to forget our deliverances.
Hey, we're gonna pray before we go, but just let me remind you, before the Lord comes back, thing's are gonna get a little tense. So don't be frightened by the tension, let him fill your heart with anticipation. The King is coming. Jesus said, "When you see these things beginning to happen, lift up your head because your redemption is drawing near". Well, our redemption is closer than it was, that's good news. Let's pray:
Father, I thank you that just as certainly as you sent Jesus to Bethlehem, that you will send him back into time as our rescuer, our deliverer, as our King and the judge of all the earth. May we each be ready for that moment. In Jesus's name, amen.