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Watch 2022 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Revolutions and Revivals

Allen Jackson - Revolutions and Revivals

Allen Jackson - Revolutions and Revivals
TOPICS: Revolution, Revival

We think of a curtain, we think of a rather flimsy piece of fabric that covers a window either as decoration or perhaps to mitigate light that's coming through the window, but the curtain in the temple was different from that. Think more like a Persian rug. It was thick, and God tore that in two, so the people who kept it were responsible for that most holy space, the religious leaders of the people, the people most trained in the truth, at least in theory, would know that there was a new way opened into the holy place. It was an affirmation of who Jesus was, but it was a message for all the ages that everyone was now welcome in the presence of God. It's what the author of Hebrews said.

We could come boldly before the throne of grace, not on the day when you feel most righteous or holy or good, but you can come in your time of need, in your darkest hour, in the deepest pit of your failure. You can come before the throne of mercy because of our High Priest. I brought some silly little props for my Easter sermon 'cause I have a feeling you'll forget the words of my sermon, but you'll remember some of my goofy props, and I don't want you to forget the three invitations. This first invitation is to know that there's a new and a living way into the presence of God. Whoever you are and whomever you have been or wherever you have been, there is a way for you into the presence of God, and this is not just an invitation for beginners.

Folks, if there's anything we're being awakened to, it's those of us who are Christ-followers and have walked with the Lord for a while, we need to understand there is a new and a living way for us into the presence of the King because the challenges before us are new. We've never seen them before. The opposition that's being expressed towards us is something we've never experienced in the way we're seeing it now, and there is a hope for us. I can't tear a Persian rug, but I found a piece of purple cloth, purple for the royalty of our King, but I don't want you to ever forget that the only barrier between you and God is the condition of your heart. There's no demon in hell, there's no expression of evil, there's no failure from a church leader, there's no disappointment, there's no shortcoming in your family system, there's nothing that describes your life that can keep you from God.

When God tore that curtain in two, when he separated it, there was a new and a living way made for you and for me to approach the throne of grace and find help in our time of need. Please don't imagine that's a prayer for the sinner that needs to be saved. That's a prayer that every one of us needs. That's a truth that every one of us needs tucked in our heart, amen. We haven't had anybody come by helicopter yet, but it'd be a good day. We'll get him a chair down front. You'll have to tell 'em about the curtain. They missed it, all right? I'm gonna ask you to say a prayer with me. It's a prayer we typically associate with a new birth.

If I'm helping somebody that wants to be a Christ-follower, I tell 'em they don't have to join the church. It's not about a building or a denomination or a congregation. It's about Church with a capital "C," the body of Christ, and your only way into that group is through a birth, a new birth, Jesus said, and that's initiated by what you believe in your heart and you say with your mouth, but you and I repeatedly need a fresh breath of life. The church desperately needs resurrection life this Easter, and this prayer works for every time we need that resurrection life, so I'm gonna ask you to repeat it with me. If you've never made it that as a profession of faith over your life, I encourage you to. Welcome to the kingdom. But, if you're a grizzled veteran with a long list of Sunday school pins, there are places we need new life today. Let's pray this prayer together. You can just repeat it after me:

Almighty God, I'm a sinner, and I need a Savior. I believe Jesus of Nazareth is your Son. I believe He died on a cross for my sins, and I believe You raised Him to life again that I might be justified. Almighty God, forgive me of my sins. I forgive all who've sinned against me. Jesus, be Lord of my life, Lord of all that I have, all that I am, all that I'll ever be. I'll serve you with my whole heart, mind, soul, and body, amen.

Hallelujah. There's a second invitation I wanna be sure you leave with. It begins with a different kind of a question. Have you ever made a purchase and not gotten what you paid for? I have. How do you feel about that? Well, I suspect the depth of your emotion is pretty much linked to the investment that was involved. If you're makin' a late-night run for some food, and you drive through your favorite hamburger joint, then you order a burger and fries, and you supersize it, and you take the bag, and you head off down the road. And while you're drivin', you start to open the bag so you can grab that French fry, and the fries aren't in the bag. It's annoying, and if you're like me, you can lose the love of Jesus, but if the Spirit of God intervenes, you don't drive back.

You just accept the comment on your current weight and keep going. Sometimes the investment is more. Maybe you hired somebody to do a task for you, plumbing or electrical or remodeling, or you spent some money to get something done, and you've paid your bills, and you realize that it wasn't done appropriately, or it's not working correctly, and you're gonna have to spend more money to get to the same outcome, and you didn't get what you paid for. It's kind of annoying, and you ever been there? I have. I got a friend. He's a car guy, and it was time for a new truck, and he spent weeks and months researching and makin' the choice. He decided what he wants and picked out all the details and made the purchase, and they delivered the truck. And being who he was, he was gon' take it out and try it out on different roads and different speeds. It was his new truck.

And on the interstate, at 60 miles an hour, there was a little bit of a vibration, just barely detectable, but he could tell, and that went away at 70. When he told me, I said, "What's the problem? Who drives 60"? God just said, "Speed up, come on, let's go". But he wasn't gonna accept that. It was a new truck. So they balanced tires and checked alignments and went through all of those things that you would imagine and looked at suspensions, and he was in and out of the service department and talked to the service manager, and they talked. They went up the chain and talked to regional advisers in multiple appointments and multiple phone calls, and months later, they finally agreed there was a problem, and there was a resolution, but it didn't fix it. There was another resolution, and it didn't fix it, and months later, a new truck. That one's a lemon. "I paid a lot for that truck, and I want what I paid for".

We've all felt that from time to time. When we talk about your life and your faith and your relationship with God, I want you to understand it's not arbitrary, that it's not accidental, that it's not based on a whim, that there has been a price paid for you and for me to be considered children of the King, and when we reject the Lord, we're not just rejecting an act of kindness. We're rejecting the price that was paid on our behalf. You see, the scripture puts it this way that God sent his Son. Humanity was broken. We're born, the Bible says, into sin. We don't have the ability to redeem ourselves, to transform ourselves. It's a myth when you hear people say that if you leave human beings alone long enough, we'll work together for the common good.

There's no evidence in human history that that's true. We may do it in a short burst, but if you leave us alone long enough, some group of us will consolidate power and take advantage of the rest, and it's not about our nose or our hair color or our height or our nationality, folks. That is born within every one of us. We needed help, so God sent his Son. Now, what you may or may not know is he didn't just send his Son on a vacation. He sent him on a search and rescue mission, and the cost of that was going to be the sacrifice of his life, and God knew it before Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

The scripture says that Jesus offered himself, that God sent him, but Jesus offered himself. He said, "I'll take that assignment," and when the time came, he yielded to the abuse of the Roman soldiers, not because he was without power. He said to Peter, "I could call legions of angels, and we could mess with these boys's minds, but I need to do this". Jesus offered himself. There was a price paid for you and me. The Bible tells it to us over and over. 1 Corinthians 6, "You're not your own. You were bought at a price". Acts 20, in verse 28, "Watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood".

Folks, churches don't exist out of the whim of human beings. What makes a church possible, the gathering of God's people to stand together, to pray together, to serve together, to impact communities together isn't just an idea that we hold in our heart. We are under the authority of the King with a tremendous price that has been paid for us to have this privilege. We don't come to church when it's convenient or the weather's nice or there's not a game on we wanna watch. We come as an expression of gratitude for the price that's been paid for us to have this privilege, for that new and living way through the curtain.

Peter, the fisherman that Jesus recruited, he says it pretty plainly, "You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect". And even in the book of Revelation, it's describing the saints at the end of the age, at the end of this age. They're saying, "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation".

We've been bought with a price. We've mistakenly described ourselves in these kinds of terms, "It's my life. It's my schedule. It's my calendar. It's my time. They're my days. It's my money and my resources and my gifts and abilities and talents. I'll do with them whatever I want". That's true if you've never yielded yourself to the Lord, but if you say, "Jesus is Lord," it's not your time and your days and your talent. You've been bought with a price. That's the only way into the kingdom, and if you don't want that lordship in your life, if you say, "I'm not interested," please understand, you're saying to the Creator of all things, "I don't care how much you paid. I'm not cooperating". You understand the essence of that affront?

You see, God doesn't wanna take anything away from you. He doesn't wanna diminish you. He wants to take the limits off of your life. I got another goofy prop. I put it in a chest because it represents wealth. If I liquidated all of my assets, I couldn't buy enough gold to fill this little chest, so I improvised, and I bought some gold I could afford, and you're down front, and I'm gonna share. I'd throw it to ya in Williamson County, but my arm is not that good. But it's not a lot of gold. It could fit in a box. But suppose I said I gave up everything I had for this bit of gold for you, and it'll be right here. It's yours.

Now, you know I suspect the truth. Mine's gold foil filled with chocolate, and if you know me, you know what an expression of love that really is 'cause I don't share chocolate. But, you know, the truth about whatever you're holding onto as opposed to the price that was paid for you, it's gonna melt as quickly as that chocolate because, when we stand before God in his evaluation of our lives, there's nothing that you and I imagine today that is ours that will stand that test except that we've placed under his authority. There's a price been paid for us. So we come to God in prayer and we're asking him for his intervention, in Romans, it says, "What will God withhold from you if he's already offered up his Son"? We're asking him for a parking place on a rainy day, and we think, "Well, you know, I don't wanna bother God". Excuse me, you bothered him to send his Son. There was no other hope for you or me.

I wanna teach you three words. You need them in your portfolio. The first is "repent". "Repent" has two meanings, it means you "change how you think," and it means you "change direction". Jesus said, "Repent and believe". If you're struggling to believe something, if there's an aspect of faith where you're struggling to believe, ask the Spirit of God to show you what it is you need to repent of. Repentance gives you the freedom to believe more completely. "Repent" is the first word. The second word is "renounce," and it's equally important. "Renounce" means to "separate yourself from". See, repentance isn't sufficient. You can say, "I'm sorry, God, I'll choose a new direction, I'll think in a new way," but there's times we have to separate ourselves from our past. There are consequences and influences and impacts from our lives, and we say silly things, childlike things, "Well, I didn't mean anything by it".

Folks, the lack of intent does not protect you from consequences. We all understand that, but in spiritual things, we pretend to be naive, or we act as if we dismiss it as being illogical, "We're protected". We're not, we're looking for a pathway towards new freedom. Repent and renounce. If you've been involved with the occult in any way, intentionally, unintentionally, as a joke for fun with your buddies, you have opened your life to unclean spiritual forces, and you have to separate yourself from them. You can't just say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything by it". Repentance is good. It's a necessary first step, but now you have to say, "In Jesus's name, I renounce any influence that may have opened my life to".

We struggle with habits, with addictions, with patterns that we seem powerless to break in our own strength and our own self-will and determination. We need to repent and renounce, "Lord, show me how that gained influence in my life. In Jesus's name, I'll turn away from it". And the third word is "release". Repent, renounce and release.

Now, "release" is our part of this. The other two are directed by the Spirit of God, but the releasing is ours to do. That's when we turn loose of anyone or anything, any hindrance in my life. We're not gonna hold any hostages. I'm not gonna hold anybody hostage with my anger, with my bitterness, with my resentment, with my frustration. I'm not holding onto a memory because I need it to keep that anger in me 'cause I live off of it. I'm gonna release that hostage. I'm gonna set them free. I'm gonna forgive 'em. I'm not saying what they did is right. I don't have to get back in the queue for another session, but I'm not holding the anger any longer. You gotta release your hostages. You can't afford to hold grudges. Some of you are angry about things that happened decades ago.

Folks, it's time to turn loose. We can't afford to carry that burden. We're in a new season. We've got to be more nimble. We've got to respond more quickly. We need the barriers removed. We need the stones rolled away. We need a clear path. And the final little piece in that releasing is you can't hold back. Some of us have been 10% Christians. We'll say the sinner's prayer. We'll even submit to baptism. We're gonna baptize dozens of people in just a moment. But we've held ourselves back from the Lord. We didn't wanna go too far. We didn't want be too emotional. We didn't want our neighbors saying anything. We certainly won't be labeled a fanatic. Well, what do you wanna be? Lukewarm? Half-hearted? Middle-of-the-road? The only thing in Tennessee that stays in the middle of the road long is a possum. Well, now we have armadillos. We call 'em roadkill. They don't stay there long. Don't hold yourself back from the Lord. There's been a price paid.

Folks, there's barriers in our lives, all of our lives. They come to us generationally. They come to us from our own missteps. They come to us from consequences beyond ourselves. They come to us because there's evil exists in the world, and there's absolutely nothing we have done, yet we find ourselves limited by choices we didn't make. If you're looking for the government or somebody else to set you free, you've got your faith in the wrong power. Technically, we call that idolatry. We're trusting somebody else for our freedom and our liberty. God is the one who sets us free, but we've been a little casual with this. So I've got one last simple little game. No chocolate this time. As an observer, my observation is, when it's time to pray, we're pretty casual with this stuff.

You know, we pray at church when we're together, and men, especially, when I talk to them, "You know, Pastor, I just don't pray". Maybe you pray over your food occasionally. It's Easter Sunday or Thanksgiving Day. Maybe you pray if there's tremendous pressure in your life, but the truth is you pray a pretty quick prayer, and you expect God to answer now, and if he doesn't answer now, you say, "See, I knew it wouldn't work". That's not the prayer I'm talkin' about because that's not the kind of life decision that gets outcomes. That's not training. That's just a hope shot, a hope in the dark, long shot. We've done that all of our lives. We came to church, we said, "You know, I said a little prayer, and the wall didn't move". "I got a promise out of the promise box this morning, and I read it out loud. Nothin' happened. I've done it two days in a row, and I'm a little mad at God".

I'm suggesting a different kind of a response. I'm imagining that it becomes personal to you, that you give the Spirit of God permission, "Lord, if there's any place in my life where there's anything in my life that hinders me from your best, you help me to see it, and I will turn it loose. I'm not holdin' onto it any longer". Fear, we have lived under a blanket of fear. "In Jesus's name, fear, you have to go. You're not welcome in my life. I don't want you here anymore". That's a different kind of prayer. "Well, I told fear to go yesterday, and I watched the news, and I was afraid all over again today," no kidding.

We have an adversary and an enemy, and my Bible says, when you've done everything to stand, you still have to stand, and I'd say, "You have to go again today. You're not welcome here. You can't stay". We need a different attitude and a different posture. We've gotta learn to trust the power of God and to walk with him. We've put our trust in expressions of government and political parties and fairness. I was praying about something. I had a decision, and I needed a blessing from a government institution, and it wasn't happening, and I'd met all the requirements and signed all the forms and been through all the meetings, and I was drivin' down the road to the next meeting, and I was mad.

I said, "God, this isn't right. It's not just, and it's not fair. You help me". And I heard inside of me this little voice say, "Well, who are you trusting"? And then I started with my answer. I was mad, I said, "Well, I'm trustin' the gov, gov, gov", and I knew I was just about to put both feet in my mouth, and I said, "I'm sorry. I'm trusting you, and I've been wrong". We need a church that understands the authority that's been invested to us not because we're perfect. The church is not a Hall of Fame.

Folks, we're a hospital ward. There's authority invested in us because a new and living way has been opened through the curtain because there's been a tremendous price paid for us and because there's a barrier-breaking power at work within you. The same Spirit that brought Jesus out of that tomb is at work in you and me today.

I wanna pray with you before we go. Guilt and shame are such powerful tools of our adversary that we need the help of the Holy Spirit and to understand who we are in Christ to live our lives free from those potent weapons. So I'm gonna ask you to repeat a prayer with me, and then I wanna pray with you before we go. So just repeat these lines after me:

Through the blood of Jesus, I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, continually cleanses me from all sin. Through the blood of Jesus, I'm sanctified, made holy, set apart to God. Through the blood of Jesus, I'm justified, made righteous just as if I'd never sinned. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, redeemed, cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Therefore, Satan has no place in me, no power over me through the blood of Jesus, amen.

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