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Watch 2022 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - The Power of The Spirit - Part 1

Allen Jackson - The Power of The Spirit - Part 1

Allen Jackson - The Power of The Spirit - Part 1

It's an honor to be with you today. Our topic in this session is "Truth Be Told". It's an idiom, it's an expression that, well, if I told you the truth, there's almost a reluctance in the expression. But we're living in a season where deception and dishonesty seem to trump the truth. There is very little appetite for the truth in the public square, to a great extent even in the business world. It wasn't too long ago that your handshake was your bond. Now you need a building full of attorneys and somebody to read the fine print. Well, the church can't flourish that way. God's truth will bring freedom to our lives. There is an objective truth that will help you understand right from wrong, sin from holiness, and we have to build our lives on God's truth. Enjoy the lesson.

We're working through this series under the title of, "Truth Be Told," and it's really an idiom, it's an expression, kind of a contraction. The full contingent of words really would be, if the truth were told or if the truth be told. So, we've kinda contracted that into just a little expression, truth be told. And the meaning of it is, well, I must admit, or in actuality, or to be honest. Like, when you hear the phrase, there's almost a confessional note to it, as if I really didn't wanna say anything or I was tryin' to be quiet, but since you asked, truth be told. It's not something that you rush into the gap with. It almost implies a reluctance to express our true feelings or to reveal the information that we hold. But we can't be silent. Truth is a powerful thing, it's not held in tremendously high esteem these days.

So, I've been using that truth be told statement just as a way of trying to reflect a bit on the world we're living in. You know, truth be told, the unraveling of our culture is persisting. Just about everywhere you look, lawlessness, blatant immorality, deception, perversion, violence, increasingly authoritarian users of power, and far too many instances, in our culture at least, a rather timid church. Economic chaos seems to be beginning. The once Christian west, and I don't mean western United States, western civilization was at one time founded upon a Christian worldview, Biblical principles, that's almost hard to believe today. Today it's reeling and the Christian west lacks the moral clarity to lead.

So the question that's so prominent is what's the outcome going to be, who's gonna step into that gap? Well, I believe the outcome of these current circumstances will be determined by God's people. I truly believe that. I mean, the delivery system could be the United Nations or some political party, but the real outcome will be determined by the decisions of God's people. I don't fear governments, I'm not frightened by politicians or immorality or lawlessness. The anxiety I carry emerges from the persistent indifference of so many. It's almost as if we're playing shuffleboard on the deck of the Titanic, busy keeping score.

Now, without any question, God is awakening his people in ways that I've never seen in my lifetime, and I've had a couple birthdays. We see evidence of it every week here in middle Tennessee in multiple ways, very encouraging things. People coming from across the nation, people coming from across our region, people engaging in communities of faith, changing their lives, evidence of supernatural involvement of God in our individual lives in our families in our communities of faith, other churches working together. The challenge, it seems to me, is to turn our hearts and our attention to the Lord of Host. It's God who delivers. Don't watch the evening news, don't stay on the Internet and be filled with anxiety, it isn't helpful.

In 1 Samuel 14:6, there's a wonderful verse, it's Jonathan, the son of King Saul, he's talking to his armor bearer, he is suggesting a raid on an enemy enemy position, but it's gonna be a raid of two, Jonathan and his armor bearer. And this is the statement, "Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from, saving whether by many or by few," amen. You need to put that verse somewhere where you can see it again. Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. I don't know what the outcome will be yet, I think the outcome is still in the balance. I still think God is watching the hearts of his people, how we're responding to him, but I assure you there is no force arrayed against us, no plan that has been launched that threatens God. It's good to know that. It's important to know that.

So, this series on truth, in scripture and with God's people truth and freedom go together, deception and bondage go together. So, we wanna be people of the truth and we want to understand that the purpose of God's truth in our lives is to bring freedom to us. In John 8 in verse 31, Jesus is speaking, and he said, "'To the Jews who believed in him,' he said this, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. And you will know the truth,'" and the truth will send you to church. "'And the truth will set you free.'" The purpose of our faith is not obedience to rules or learning the words to the choruses or the ability to gather for a public service and know when to sit and stand without embarrassing whomever you're visiting with. The objective of God's truth in our lives is to bring freedom to us.

And on this point, I think the church has wandered from our assignment. I've spent my life in the church, so I'm not casting stones at anyone. It's more of an analysis of our current position. We have wandered off course. Biblically, the demonstration of God's power is a part of his invitation towards his kingdom. Throughout scripture God demonstrates his power and then invites people towards participating in his kingdom. It's not intended to be an intellectual exercise. This is the consistent pattern throughout scripture, contemporary Christianity has for the most part stepped away from expectations of God's power, we just like a good study. And partially that's been true because we've had so much affluence, so much opportunity, so much exposure to healthcare or education or whatever that we really didn't have to depend upon God, so we were allowed to have these rather dry theological debates about whether we believed God still engaged in the supernatural.

Folks, if you get desperate, you'll set that debate aside. And if you haven't recognized yet we're in a desperate place, please be awakened to the present season. As we've stepped away from those expectations of God's power in our lives, we've seen a corresponding decline in Christian influence. Because it isn't our winsome personalities that is going to attract people to the gospel, it's the belief that there is a power that would benefit their life, that would bring freedom to them and deliverance to them and hope to them. That is the good news of the gospel, that guilt and shame and rejection and fear do not have the power to keep you bound if you will choose God's truth. That's a very important message. It is time once again to invite God's power back into the center of our lives. Apart from the Creator and the sustainer of all things, we will flounder and succumb to darkness, you can count on it. We're not going out organize evil, we're not gonna get large enough groups or big enough numbers or find the right party or the right leader or the right politician to outmaneuver evil.

The only thing evil will yield to is a power greater than itself. That is the good news of the gospel. So, in this session, we're gonna look at the power of the Spirit. And I wanna start with the cross of Jesus. In 1 Corinthians, Paul is writing this letter to a group of Christians, it's a church. Now, it's an immoral church, it's a drunken church that also happens to be the group in the New Testament that's most engaged in the supernatural. That will require some realignment in your head. God's involvement in our lives is not merit based, it's not because we're so good or we're so perfect. God's desire to help his people is phenomenal if we will open our hearts to him. I'm not encouraging sloppy Christianity.

If you're practicing sin, stop it, you'll miss the kingdom. You will, I don't want to see your baptism picture. I want to hear about your character formation in this season, it's important. But in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and verse 22, Paul is writing, and he said, "Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified". Christ is the English equivalent of the Greek word Christos, which is the equivalent of the Hebrew Mashiach, Messiah. We preach a Messiah, the incarnate Son of God, crucified. That's a stumbling block to the Jews, you better believe it. And to the Greeks, it's just foolishness. But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God. Paul said, we came with a message about the power of God. And it's centered in a set of facts that seems illogical, disappointing even. If the Messiah was coming from your genetic pool, it would be unthinkable that the incarnate Son of God, your Deliverer, your Savior could be executed by those occupying your nation.

Same book, second chapter, "When I came to you, brothers, I didn't come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified". I didn't come with fancy speeches, I didn't come with a Powerpoint presentation. I decided not to know anything except Jesus and his crucifixion. "I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. And my message and my preaching were not with wise or persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power". Again, it's a very persistent theme, certainly at the beginning of this letter, but throughout Paul's writing and throughout scripture. The presentation of an invitation towards God is most frequently accompanied by a demonstration of his power. And I believe that's the pathway that will bring us through this season.

How do we prepare ourselves for the power of the Spirit? Not just in some simple ways, no intentional disrespect for God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit, no intentional disrespect. That means no compromise, stop cheating around the edges. No disrespect, no disobedience. You may not know everything about God yet, but you want to practice the truth that you know. Do not tolerate willful disobedience. If you need to forgive, forgive. If you're greedy, repent. If you're lustful, tell the Lord you're sorry. If you're lazy, go to work. It's a sin. No intentional disobedience, and then third, no ambivalence, indifference, no eye rolls for God. "Whatever, I'm saved. I've been baptized. I'm not interested, don't bother". You can relax, God won't bother you. He responds to those who search for him.

So, if we're gonna lead a life engaged with the power of the spirit, let's start with no intentional disrespect. And then let's add to that an attitude that welcomes him. Prepare your heart, spend time listening. How do you listen to the Lord? Well, with discretionary time, turn some of it towards him. Read your Bible with enough of a sense of patience and you're not just tryin' to punch through today's reading. I've been behind too, Well, I'm torqued enough, you're not gonna get caught up, come on, I'm gonna speed read this, I've read it before. Somebody begat somebody and begat somebody, oh bother, come on, ain't there something good in here? Spend time with him. Listen to him. Learn to recognize his voice, you learn to recognize his voice. You don't want God to have to shout at you. He shouted at Jonah, you'd rather not have to do that. Get all bleached out.

And number three, be willing to respond. Be willing to respond, in the simplest of language, move. You can't steal second, keep your foot on first. Ah we're not good at this. We like to park in the same spot, sit in the same seat, sit in the midst of the same four people. I know them, it's safe. You all know these people, they're safe. Over there, those people, they do not look safe, do they? I've been lookin' at 'em all service long. I don't know where they came from, I don't know what their background is. I saw many of them don't even have a Bible. Couple of them have nodded off during this amazing sermon. They are not trustworthy, okay? Then there's the people on the other side of those lenses, they're watching us from home, not even in God's house. We're just not good at this.

So, how do you initiate movement? You know this, you are familiar with this fundamentally, you serve, you give, you humble yourself, you practice hospitality. "So, I don't like to do that," who cares? I don't particularly like to exercise, but it's better than the alternatives. I'd rather not eat broccoli, I prefer Oreos, but that's not overly relevant if I want to be physically healthy, do you understand? We have defined our spiritual health based on what we were comfortable with, who cares? I want to know the Lord. We're gonna have to make a fundamental adjustment within us. "Well, that's just not how I am". Change. Hospitality, cultivate a generous spirit. That's not just about money, it's about your attention, it's your time. Present yourself as a learner. Say, Lord, I'd like to know you. Share your God story. Tell people what you know about God, as broken, as imperfect as it may be, let people know you know him.

Let's pray, take that let's pray notion out into the big wide world. What will people say, what will God say? Stand against evil, stop being passive, stop watching the news and complaining and go to the school board meeting. What are we gonna do? This is our watch. Intercession, pray for things beyond yourself, fast, skip a meal and pray. Ask God for help, invite God into your life. Be willing to respond. Say, "Well, I responded twice and nothing happened". I feel your pain, I really do. We have all done that, right? Decided you were gonna change your eating habits. It's time to get healthy, so I only had two doughnuts for breakfast and I walked to the mailbox and back kinda fast, did it two days in a row. I got on the scale. I must have a metabolic problem, because I didn't lose any weight. And it seems to me we bring about that same attitude to the Lord.

Well, I read my Bible two days, I prayed once, I went to church two weeks in a row, and one of 'em it was drizzling. And I sat over there with those people. I'm not telling you that you'll have a dramatic lightning bolt from heaven on day three. I've met those people, and I'm grateful for them, I celebrate with them, but for the most of us, God meets us in many different ways. We need the power of the Spirit of God. And I want to pray for you tonight, but, you know, one of the best ways I know to attract the involvement of the Holy Spirit is by talking about Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to those lives where Jesus is exalted. If you'll exalt him in behavior and your words and your attitudes and your choices, you will find the presence of the Lord more frequently in your life.

"So, pastor, I thought the Holy Spirit took up residence in me when I was born again". He did. There's a big difference in him being resident within you and you being yielded to him, cooperating with him, listening to him, available for assignments from him. So, I just put together some names and titles of Jesus. I didn't spend a lot of time with that, I just pulled some that I was familiar with. I want you to stand with me, I want to pray for you. I want to pray for those that need a miracle, how many of you here tonight need a God event? Look at us. You know, in any given service if I ask that, two thirds of us will put our hand up, say, "You know, there's some circumstance in my life that without the sovereign intervention of God, the outcome will not be acceptable".

I'm gonna pray, but before I do that I want you just to listen with me to some of the names and the titles of Jesus. I wanna be on record, he's welcome here. In fact, if he's not going to be in our midst, I'd rather be someplace else. We're not having religious seminars, we gather to give glory and honor to the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He's the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Bright and Morning Star, he's the Image of the invisible God, he's our Savior, Healer, Lord, Rabbi, Teacher, our friend, our Messiah, our Redeemer, he's the way, the truth, and the life, the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords, the Good Shepherd, the Living Word, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the Judge of all, the Chief Cornerstone, the Author and Completer or of our faith, he's the Door, he's the Miracle Worker, he's Emmanuel, Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, he's the head of the church, the Alpha and the Omega, the Almighty, the Bread of Life, the Holy One of Israel, the only Begotten of God.

And he's Lord of our circumstance, he's Lord of our diagnosis, he's Lord of our resources, he's Lord of our relationships, he's Lord over every habit, he's Lord of our lives, and he's the one we're approaching tonight to invite him into the midst of our lives, into the midst of our community. We don't want to get together without him. And the invitation we have for the world is there is a power beyond ourselves that can change your future. Doesn't require you to suspend your intellect, you will need it to keep up.

Thank you, Father. Lord, I thank you for your Word, for its truth and power. And, Lord, we present ourselves to you tonight as living sacrifices. Lord, there's nothing hidden from you, you know our challenges and our weaknesses and our inconsistencies. We come tonight in humility to acknowledge you and your goodness and your grace. You've called us out of darkness into the Kingdom of your Son, and we praise you for it, that through the blood of Jesus we have been cleansed, redeemed, justified, sanctified. We thank you for it tonight. And, Lord, we pray for one another. You know the needs, the physical needs, the emotional challenges, the financial hurdles that beset us, all of the things that have come against us, and we in Jesus's name ask you tonight for your deliverance, for your healing, for a revelation of yourself that is more real than any problem that has beset us.

Let the heaviness lift and the joy of the Lord come. Let your freedom come to our lives as we have never known it before. Bring an anointing upon us, a boldness to our lives to speak the truth about you that we might honor Jesus in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and on the ball fields, in our places of employment. May Jesus's name be lifted up. May Jesus's name be exalted. May his kingdom come and his will be done on the earth. In this season, we praise you for it. Let the darkness be pushed back. Let every unclean spirit that has beset us, may its power be broken over our lives and over our thoughts and over our physical bodies in Jesus's name. Loose us and let us go, we are children of the King. We stand not in our wisdom or our strength, but in the authority of Jesus's name and the power of his shed blood to declare our freedom tonight, that we are whole, body, soul, and spirit. In Jesus's name, amen.

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