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Watch 2022 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - The Power of The Spirit - Part 2

Allen Jackson - The Power of The Spirit - Part 2

Allen Jackson - The Power of The Spirit - Part 2

It's an honor to be with you today. We're gonna complete our study on "Truth Be Told". You know, on a lot of occasions, I think we're afraid of the truth. If you're not feeling well, maybe you're reluctant to go to the doctor because you don't want to get a bad diagnosis. Or if you think your children aren't doing great in school, you don't really want to talk to the teacher 'cause you don't wanna hear all the negativity. Well, there's no opportunity to be better. If you're sick and you need to help, you've got to have the truth before you know how to chart a course to be better. Well, the same is true in our spiritual lives. We need God's truth so that we know how to walk in freedom and liberty, to walk in his authority and his power. So don't be frightened by God's truth. Sometimes it's awkward, sometimes it's a message you'd rather not hear, but God's truth is a pathway towards freedom and his authority being unleashed on your behalf. Grab your Bible and get a notepad. Most of all, listen for what the Lord has for you today.

I want to take the balance of the time in this session and talk to you about that demonstration of the Spirit's power. What might that look like? It's so far removed from us. You know, we'll talk about orders of worship and orders of service and timelines and when we're gonna meet and where to park and where the welcome center is and how you drop your children off and how to check them in. None of that is evil or inappropriate, but it would be tragic if we knew how to come to church and how to engage as brothers and sisters in the Lord in a safe manner, but we missed understanding the demonstration of the Spirit's power. So I'm just gonna identify, in my brain, they're buckets, but if buckets is disrespectful to you, some expressions of the Spirit's power. And I'll start with the one I think that we probably are the most aware of: miracles.

Now, miracles are a part of the story of Scripture from Genesis all the way through to Revelation. Supernatural interventions, when God steps into time and does something that's beyond our physical ability. They're difficult to explain because they're not something we originated. We can identify outcomes. We can identify a gap in the logic. The best definition I ever heard for a miracle is that miracles were places where God utilizes aspects of creation that we don't understand. If that bugs you, come up with your own definition. But they're a part of the story of Scripture from fire from heaven when the prophet prayed, and the fire came at the exact time. Say, "Oh, that was just lightning". Well, okay, but if you're good enough to be able to get lightning to respond to you in a specific location and a specific time on command, I'm thinkin' that's a miracle. You know, I meet Christians that they seem to be dependent on a logical explanation for God's supernatural involvement. I don't feel that burden.

I read an article one time that said the reason that, it was written by a physician, well-trained, godly person, said the reason that David was able to defeat Goliath was Goliath had a pituitary problem. That's what caused him to grow so tall. It's logical. And it's not uncommon for somebody with a pituitary problem like that to perhaps have had a knot of some sort on their forehead, kind of a protuberance, and the bone structure would have been weaker at that point. And David recognized all of that. So he said, "I got this". You know, and I'm good with that. If David had enough chutzpah to look across the valley and recognize that great, big guy that everybody else was afraid of had a bony protuberance that was a result of a pituitary problem... I heard somebody else one time say that the reason Jonah was so effective in having the people of Nineveh repent was the acid in the belly of the whale had bleached him, his hair, his skin color, that he looked so absurd that when he walked through Nineveh, everybody was terrified. They'd have done whatever he said.

Folks, if that's the case, let's all go bleach. We'll turn loose a bunch of evangelists. I'm happy if there is a rational explanation for when God steps into time. On the other hand, it isn't necessary. I don't carry that burden. I'm not tryin' to check my brain at the door. You better use every ounce of intellect that God's given you. You'll need it. But miracles is an unmistakable expression of the power of God's Spirit in our midst, and God hasn't stopped them. Do you think that we're in such a good place that we don't need God's help anymore? So, miracles. Healings would be another category, another bucket, another way of understanding how God intervenes in our lives. Lepers are cleansed. There's a woman who said, "If I can just touch the hem of Jesus's robe, I'll get better".

There are words that are spoken with an invitation, "Silver and gold I don't have, but what I do have, and in Jesus's name, walk". The man walked. Cloths which Paul prayed over were taken to sick people who didn't have access to him physically. And when those cloths were placed on them, they got better. That's all in the book. In Acts chapter 5, in verse 12, it said, "The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade". That's a portion of the Temple Mount. "No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number". Now, that's the objective. More and more people believed in the Lord and were added to their number. It doesn't describe this as if the causative agent in that was their clever sermons or their flawless presentation of the Jesus story.

It says there were many miraculous signs and wonders so that a respect and a reverence for God was upon the people to the point that they were a little reluctant even to hang out with these folks. They recognized the power upon their lives that was unique and different. Verse 15, "As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by". How offended would you be? You had somebody facing a real serious health challenge, and you to ask for prayer, and said, "Listen, just stand by the sidewalk. We'll walk past". We've lost so much of our reverence for God. I'm not suggesting that's a resolution, but I'm telling you the attitude reflected here and the attitude in the world we have lived in is widely divergent. And we are in a place where we are desperate to see the power of God in our midst.

Folks, if you're not desperate yet, the circumstances in front of us are going to increase the desperation. And it's too difficult to learn in the midst of the storm. Verse 16, "Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem. They brought their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed". Now, everybody we pray for doesn't get healed. I've done memorial services for people that, in my opinion, left way too early. And not everybody receives healing in the same way. People say to me, "Do you believe in divine healing or medicine"? Yes.

There's a third category of the power of the Spirit that we desperately need to be aware to and alert for, and that's discernment, discernment. Just for a working definition, it's the recognition, the awareness of spiritual influences. Discernment isn't just recognizing something that's ungodly. Discernment is the ability to recognize what is godly. The best protection against counterfeit currency is somebody that recognizes the authentic. You don't have to know every method or plan or means of creating a counterfeit. You just know what the authentic looks like. Well, the same is true of the Spirit of God. You want to be so familiar with him, with God's character, with the activity of his Spirit, that you will recognize something that's not authentic because you're so comfortable with the authentic; discernment.

Folks, we are a church, you know, if you've measured our discernment in contemporary Christianity, I'm concerned. We have little. The fruit of our lives has to match up with the words of our mouths or we are incredibly vulnerable to deception. Deception is the outcome of a lack of discernment. So when Jesus warns us, Matthew 24 is his lengthy prophetic discourse about the end of the age before his return, and the warning that he gives us most frequently is about deception. So one of the things we can glean from that is discernment will be at a low ebb. Don't be one of those folks. There wouldn't be a massive apostasy. There wouldn't be a great falling away. There wouldn't be increase in deception if we had heightened discernment, spiritual awareness.

Think of it as your spiritual immune system. You wanna do everything you can to strengthen your ability to recognize the spirits that are in play in your presence. Acts chapter 14, verse 8, "In Lystra," it says, Paul and his crew, "there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked". It's gonna be a miracle. "But he listened to Paul as he was speaking. And Paul looked directly at him, and saw that he had faith to be healed". This wasn't a healing service. It's not a miracle service. There's a man present where Paul is teaching from the Scripture and Paul discerns that the man had the faith to be healed. "So he said, 'Stand up!' And the man jumped up and was able to walk," wow.

Acts 16, Paul and his crew again, "Once we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling". We don't do fortune-telling so much anymore. We just do online gambling. Amen, Pastor. She earned a lot of money for her owners, because with enough accuracy that there were some validity imagined around it, she would pick winners. "The girl followed Paul and the rest of us". That's the sentence I wish you would circle. She followed Paul and the whole crew, "Shouting, 'These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.'"

The spirit in that woman understood the spirit in Paul and the people with him. "These people are servants of the Most High God". She's not reading their t-shirt. "These people are servants of the Most High God. They're telling you how to be saved". The spirit in her recognized the spirit in them. Are we prepared for the awkward truth that there are unclean spirits around us in play with more spiritual awareness that many of us have had? 'Cause we're still goin' to the seminar, a six-week seminar, on whether or not spiritual things are real. How many seminars do we have to go to before we begin to believe our Bibles? "She kept this up for many days". That would be awkward. That really would. That'd be awkward while you're going to work to have somebody follow you through the halls.

"This person is a servant of the Most High God. They have a job description, but they're really here to tell you the way to be saved". And they just kept it up for several days. And finally, Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her". And the spirit left her and the riot broke out, 'cause those that controlled her realized their revenue stream was being diminished. Discernment. Faith, another category, another bucket. Faith is imparted by the Spirit of God. The Bible talks about faith as a substance. Doesn't take a lot of it. Jesus said if you've got faith the size of a mustard seed, you can do some freaky things. Mustard seeds are little bitty things. They're not like an avocado pit. You've got just the tiniest amount of faith, you can do something amazing. In the story in Acts 14, a man had faith to be healed and it changed his life.

Now, there's some things you should know. In Romans 12:3, it says, "God has allotted to each of us a measure of faith". God's given some faith to every one of us, so you have the necessary component to respond to God, to find your way into the kingdom. Every person has been given a measure of faith. Nobody that rejects God does it from a place of ignorance. We do it from a place of rebellion. But then Romans 10, verse 17 gives us another component. It says, "Faith comes from hearing". When your faith is small, you can grow faith. Faith will come to you. In the same way you develop a muscle or you developed your intellect, your faith can grow. It comes by feeding it on the Word of God. It's important to have a habit set and a routine that allows your faith to grow stronger. You should believe God capable of things in your life and in the world around us this year in a way that you didn't a year ago. Faith imparted by the Spirit of God. Spend time in his presence. Spend time in his Word. Your faith will grow.

Folks, we need a church filled with faith, not foolishness, not presumption, not arrogance. There's another category, another bucket, and this is built around revelation. This is insight, understanding. And there's more than one type of revelation described to us in the New Testament. One is when God gives us his perspective on current events. God reveals to us how he sees our circumstances. The Bible is filled with that. That's what the prophets of the Scripture are. That's what so much of Jesus's messaging was. "Woe to you," he said, remember? God's perspective. We need God's perspective on our world. If we get really honest, I mean, face down on the floor, talkin' to God truthfully honest, we've been far more concerned about God giving us what we want than we have had about his perspective on the world we live.

In fact, we get a little anxious. We dare to wander into that arena where we talk about biblical principles in light of current events. It's not political. I'm not advocating for a candidate. God defined marriage. He didn't ask our opinion. So our assignment is to represent him. We've been given that revelation. God's perspective on current events. Look at Luke 19, "As Jesus approached Jerusalem, he saw the city and he wept over it". The Messiah is there and he's weeping over the city. "If you had only known on this day what would bring you peace, but it's hidden from your eyes. And the days will come when your enemies will build an embankment against you and circle you in and hem you in on every side".

If I could pick you up and take you to the Mount of Olives today, if we looked across the Kidron Valley, you would see the embankment that the Romans built 40 years after Jesus said that. Part of it's still there, hiding the wall on the eastern side of Jerusalem. Jesus had a God perspective. He had a revelation for the people. There's a different outcome. There's a better outcome. Oh, we need God's... do you have the courage to say to the Lord, "Lord, help me to see my life as you see it"? You know, we get so caught up in this, "Well, you know, if I just knew what God wanted me to do".

Another type of revelation is when God gives us knowledge, insight, understanding that comes to us beyond just the benefit of study. I'm not talking about an effective Bible study or a clever teacher, but when God gives you insight, when you know that you know, and what you know is more than the sum of the facts. I often go back and listen to a sermon because I hear things come out of me that did not come from my study time. It's kind of embarrassing, but that's true. There's another category of the power of the Spirit and it's messengers, persons that are anointed, assigned a message. God uses people. He does. He's called you and me.

Now, there's some labels: teachers, prophets, apostles, pastors, evangelists. Don't get hung up on the labels. "We are all ambassadors," it says in 2 Corinthians 5:20. We are all on ambassadorial assignment. You have a sphere of influence. There's people who trust you because of your education, because of your training, because of the authority that you have, because of your professional expertise, or the relationships built around your family system, or your activities of your children. You have an ambassadorial assignment in that. Until you would embrace that, why should God give you any further assignment? We're messengers. God's Spirit empowers us for specific assignments. The Bible is filled with this. This is not some subtle subtext. From Abram in Genesis 12 to Joseph to Moses to right on through the story. Isaiah, "Whom will I go? Here I am, send me". Jeremiah, "I knew you when you were in your mother's womb".

Do you think we don't need messengers today? Stop praying for one and become one in your sphere of influence with your God story with the truth that you know. There's no place for our ego in that. We're a bunch of cracked pots. Stop pretending to be perfect. The people know you better than that. And the last one I would tag for you is deliverance. God's Spirit, the power of the Spirit expressed in our lives through deliverance, it's a fundamental outcome of the gospel. Deliverance from unclean spirits, deliverance from personal bondage. It can be physical healing. It can be emotional healing. It can be freedom from torment. Demons are tormentors. They torment you mentally, emotionally, physically, however they can. They'll recruit their friends. They'll attack you in gangs.

If you don't learn to submit your thoughts to the Lord, they'll torment you in your thinking with envy and greed and covetousness and lust and the list goes on and on. It isn't just your carnal response. There are spiritual forces arrayed against you. And we need to understand the power of God to deliver us. Destructive habits. The goal isn't to hide them, deny them, ignore them, overcome them. You can be free. It's the good news of the gospel. That's why it's so destructive.

If you think our goal is to hide it all from one another, there's no place for the power of God to be expressed in our midst and it diminishes the message for the rest of the world. I've said many times the church isn't the Hall of Fame of faith. This is the triage unit. Did pastor just call me broken? He called us broken. In Mark 9, and verse 25, "When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked an evil spirit". It's a young man who's having seizure-like activities, but he's deaf and dumb. And Jesus's response to him, he said, "I command you to come out of him". He's speaking to an unclean spirit, literally.

The Greek word is not evil, it's unclean. He says to that unclean spirit, that's Jesus's commentary on the spirit affecting that young boy. It's left him mute and deaf. He doesn't have a physical problem, he has a spiritual problem. How did it happen? We don't know. We don't have the backstory. Maybe a traumatic event in his life that made him emotionally vulnerable to an unclean spirit. Say, "That's not fair". That's why it's unclean. The devil's not fair. Don't open any doors for him. Don't extend any invitations to him. He's powerful, but he's not more powerful than the one we worship. Church, we need the power of God.

Hey, before we go today, let's welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives without any limit, without any measure. We're not going to start the discussion with what I won't do. We simply want to say to him, "I want everything you have for me. I'll cooperate with you as fully as possible". Let's pray:

Heavenly Father, I thank you that you love us so much that you sent your Spirit into the earth to live within us, to guide us, and to lead us, to help us. Holy Spirit, we welcome you. Illumine our minds. Give us insight and understanding. May we live in your authority and power. May the name of Jesus be exalted, amen.

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