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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Helping Others Experience God's Best - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Helping Others Experience God's Best - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Helping Others Experience God's Best - Part 2

It's a joy to be with you today. We're gonna complete our study on how to help others experience God's best. Your faith will change when you open your heart to what God will do through you and not just for you. The most narrow imagined life you can have is a me-centric life. What will God do for me? What will God give to me? Will God answer my prayers? Those are all important things, but they aren't at the beginning of our journey when we say, "God through my life, let your purposes be accomplished". Jesus taught us to pray that way, he said, "Pray that your kingdom will come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". We are expressions of the will of God in the earth. What a powerful assignment, what an exciting way to live our lives. We're gonna take some new steps and follow the Lord in some new ways. I'm excited for what God has ahead for you. Grab your Bible and a notepad, but most of all, be willing to say, "Yes" to the Lord. Following the Holy Spirit is not frightening, it's liberating.

So where does faith come from? Hebrews 11:6, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him". So we can deduce a couple things. Faith is essential, it's not optional. Faith is believing in what you don't see. Faith means you believe in spiritual things. Faith believes you're not denying the reality of matter in this physical world, but you believe there are greater, more powerful forces at work in the earth, than the physical forces that we see and we're most familiar with. Faith is the connection between your existence and the unseen, the spiritual world.

Faith is essential. But that verse also tells us, that diligence is essential as well. You can have faith and be lazy and your faith won't be of much benefit. Or you can be a diligent skeptic and your diligence will be limited. But if you'll combine faith with diligence, you can get some remarkable outcomes. Read the book of Acts. They said, Jesus friends they said, "These men are unlearned and uneducated. These are ignorant dummies, but they spend a lot of time with Jesus and they have shaken this city to its foundation. What are we gonna do with them? We're educated and we're smart, and we've got resources and these uneducated hicks are causing us trouble".

Faith and diligence. Stop believing the lies that the enemy or somebody else puts in you about what you can't do. If you'll put your faith in God and be diligent with it, God will use you to impact our generation. We have capitulated long enough. Well, how do we get that kind of faith? Where does that come from? Romans 10:17 says, "So faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of Christ," very familiar verse. Seems to me there's kind of two stages, two steps that you expose yourself to the Word of God with an open heart, and an open mind, and you begin to learn to hear what God is saying. And that's a learned process.

I've learned, I have been asked to learn several languages, I won't say I've learned them. And you have to develop an ear for that particular language. You learn to start to recognize how the verbs are declined and you start to recognize feminine and masculine. You just start to learn to because every language has a bit of a different rhythm to it. But you have to listen to it a while to pick it up and begin to understand it, we have to learn to listen to what God is saying. And then secondly, as you hear what God is saying, it will cause faith to develop in your heart. You can't wish it there. You can't get a vitamin, you can't just hang out with people that have it and automatically catch it.

The fourth piece there, you have to be willing to give God some time. I don't know, that's awful. Can't we microwave this sometimes? Sometimes God sends an angel to you and says, "Mighty man of valor. I see you're hiding in a wine press. I've come to tell you, you are more valiant than you know". But be careful if God gives you that kind of big guidance, you're gonna need it. I have come to be very appreciative of that still small voice. If you get dramatic guidance, you're gonna need every bit of the confidence that comes from the drama to withstand what's in front of you. So don't spend your time looking for drama, say God, "You don't have to shout at me, I'm listening. You wanna whisper? Whispers are good".

I mean, Moses needed a burning bush, but think how many times Moses sat in his tent going, "What have I done? These crazy people. Most ungrateful group of people I have ever met. If I hadn't seen that bush and heard it talk to me, I would sneak out of camp tonight". All right, "but you know, I've still got that jacket over there smells like smoke from that stinking burning bush". I can imagine him sitting there sniffing the smoke in that jacket going, "Yeah, that was God, that had to be God. Everything else I've got smells like sheep and that one jacket smells like smoke, that was God". Don't carry that longing in your heart. I tell you that because I did for a long time in my life.

Some most of you know I grew up around horses and for a little season I got to take care of them, so one of the things I used to say pretty consistently is someday one of my horses would talk to me. Cause you walk in the barn in the morning to feed 'em and water 'em and they'll nicker or respond, cause they're used to you coming and feeding and watering them. And I thought, how cool would be if you walked in and one then said, "Hey Bubba". You know, I'm like I'm in.

And there was a godly couple visiting my parents and I'm sure I was smarting off. I know that's hard for you to believe, but you know. And I said, "You know, one day one of my horses is gonna talk to me". And Evelyn said, "Why would you say that"? And I said, "Well, Balaam's donkey talked to him". And she said, "Allen, have you ever thought about the position Balaam was in when his donkey spoke up"? "Oh, You mean the angel of the Lord was about to sever his head from the rest of him. He was in such abject rebellion that the only chance he had of survival was a talking donkey? No, I really never thought about that, but I withdraw the request".

You don't want big guidance. You want to learn to listen to that still small voice to the subtle promptings of the spirit. There's time to time God will bring you big guidance but you will need it. Give God time. He doesn't offer instant faith. Faith doesn't even come just from reading your Bible. It comes from hearing God. And if you're reading your Bible just as a sense of obligation, perfunctory observation so you can check a box, I'm not saying that God in his grace in his mercy won't meet you there some days, he has done met me in those circumstances. But it's different when you open your Bible, recognizing the privilege that that represents, and you really have a desire to spend that time with the Lord. You don't arrive there in a day, and it doesn't matter what stage that you are in your development, there's some days it still feels like a responsibility. But I hope there are some days when it feels like a joy. Which leads me to the next piece of this, let God speak to you.

You know, Romans 10:17, we saw that faith comes from hearing. The Greek word is rhema and Greek words can be overplayed and sometimes I think we make up meanings and then blame 'em on the Greek language. But in this case, there are two Greek words for the word, word. And rhema refers to the word God is speaking at any given moment, there's something alive about it, vibrant about it. The other Greek word logos signifies the Word of God that's been established in heaven. It isn't dynamic, it's the foundational, it's unmoving, "I'm the Lord and I don't change".

And you need both in your life. I need both in my life. Matthew 4:4 "Jesus said, 'It is written: man doesn't live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" We don't live by a printed volume that we call the Bible. I'm grateful for the Bible, I'm most appreciative for it, I have studied it for a while, but I don't worship a book. We live by the word that's made real to us personally, at any moment by the Spirit of God. But if you haven't taken the Word and put it in your heart, you've left very little material for the Spirit of God to work with.

So how do you read your Bible? Remember our topic, is "Helping Other People Experience God's Best". I understand this is pretty fundamental stuff, but helping people experience God at any level of significance means you have a mastery of the fundamentals or at least a familiarity with them. How do you read your Bible? First is God's Word. That means you attach an authority to it. You don't read it standing apart from it, trying to decide what you believe is real and what you don't believe is real.

When I opened my Bible that says "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". Guess what I believe? I believe God created the heavens and the earth. We've been following the new telescope that they've released recently. Some amazing pictures of the furthest reaches of our universe that we've ever been able to see. I've been reading a bit and listening to some of the discussions from some of the physicists, and because what they can tell now about the previously unknown reaches of our universe, they said it's just decimated the Big Bang Theory. Oh. How'd God do it? I don't know, could have been a big bang, a little pop. I don't know, but I read it as God's Word.

1 Thessalonians 2:13, "And we thank God continually because, you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God, which is a work in you who believe". See, when you hear the Word of God that says, "God hates a lie," don't get mad at the delivery system. Decide to cultivate a commitment to the truth in a new way. When you hear the Word of God talk to you about morality or the sexuality, don't be offended by it, say, "Oh God, I've been so far away from that". Read your Bible as if it were God's Word. Secondly, read it with meekness. It's kind of a biblical world with humility, but not imagining that you're above it.

James 1, "Get rid of all moral filth". That's pretty plain. "Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent". Do you know who the book of James is written to? James chapter 1 to the 12 tribes which were scattered abroad, "Greetings, brothers, consider it great joy," he's writing to the believing community. And what's his message to them? "Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent". James is calling on God's people, he said, "There is evil prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you". And then the last component of this is moving from legal to experiential, "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added".

If you're seeking it, you're looking for it. You're looking for opportunities to implement it. You don't have to be coached, and encouraged, and cheered for it to have a "Let's pray" moment. You have to be barred from having another one. You don't have to be prodded into having a "Let's talk moment" where you share a bit of your God story with somebody whom you know casually, you have to be warned, "This time you need to be quiet". We have to have that intent, that desire to implement those things.

I'm gonna close. I brought you, we're gonna do communion together, if you're watching digitally, I'll give you a half a minute to go grab a saltine and a cup of water. Or if you have a little handy dandy communion pack, you can grab it. But the Lord highlighted a verse of scripture for me. It wasn't a part of our daily reading, but it was a part of my reading, it was Psalm 37, and I've brought you the first four verses, cause it's a way, when God illuminates something to you, it changes your perspective. And that first verse says "Do not fret because of evil doers".

Now I don't know about you, but in this season it can be somewhat easy for me to begin to fret, be anxious, worried, angry, annoyed, agitated, you can choose your word, by people who choose to do evil. And the biblical assignment here is just don't do that. Don't fret because of evil doers. And don't be envious of those who do wrong. Now there's a difference in people who do evil and people who do wrong. And his warning is here, that it's easy to watch people doing wrong and think, "Well, if I can do that, I can have an advantage. That looks like fun. I mean, I know it's probably not too godly, but it looks kind of fun".

So we're given two instructions, "Don't fret because of people who do evil and don't envy people who do wrong". So I had to start by saying, "God I'm sorry. I have been fretting about evil people. And God, I don't wanna have anything to do with envying people who choose to do wrong. I don't think doing wrong in your sight is a better path. I don't think that's a better option". And then he tells us why, he said, "It's not gonna work out well for them". That's the translation. "For they will wither quickly like the grass and they'll fade like the green herb". But then he gives us a to-do list. Trust in the Lord, stop fretting and start trusting in the Lord.

When I'm fretting I'm not trusting. And while you're trusting, how do you know you're trusting? Start doing something that's good. Stop complaining about the evil and go do good. Dwell in the land. In the language of Ephesians 6, "Having done everything to stand, just shut up and stand there". Hold your space. Be a Christian in that dark place. Take your faith to the classroom, say, "I believe that's sin". No, I don't really think that's so confusing. Dwell in the land. And this translation says, "Cultivate faithfulness". The translation I first read it in, it said, "Befriend the faithful". That was more simpler for me to grasp.

Go stand next to faithful people. I wanna be counted amongst the faithful so I'm gonna go try to find some of those folks. You cultivate faithfulness in small things. You cultivate faithfulness in community, you cultivate faithfulness in serving, you cultivate faithfulness in generosity, you cultivate faithfulness in obedience. I wanna go hang out with faithful people. They'll encourage me to be faithful. Then he gave us two more. "Delight yourself in the Lord". You'll have to build that, that's not automatic. Do I have to go to church on Wednesday night? No, but you could. Why would you do that? 'Cause I'm just delighted about the opportunity.

I'm telling you that, 'cause I'm almost done. 5:30 it crossed my mind it might have been better just to slipped out and gone home. "Delight yourself in the Lord; and he'll give you the desires of your heart". And I took those verses and I just boiled them into a proclamation, I'm gonna leave it with you. "I will not fret because of evil doers, I will not be envious towards wrongdoers. I will put my trust in the Lord, I choose to do good. I will gladly stand where God has placed me and I will practice the discipline of faithfulness. I choose to delight myself in the Lord, believing that he will give me the desires of my heart". And we're gonna come to the communion table because we need God's help. All of the freedoms that is ours come to us because of what Jesus did through the cross.

So we're gonna come in humility to repent for one of those times we've been anxious, we've fretted, or we have envied, or when we didn't trust the Lord or we chose not to do good. Not doing good can be just about as much about refusing to participate, looking away not paying attention. Europe didn't experience the horrors that led them to those destructive camps because they were overwhelmed by the majority, they faced those things because the majority of the people looked away and chose not to do good. I'm concerned folks, there's too many of us that stand beneath the umbrella of Christianity that don't wanna pay attention. Let's decide that won't be us. We will do good, we will trust the Lord and do the things we know to do, we'll use our voices. We will stand where we've been asked to stand, that we will be counted amongst the faithful. But to do that we will need the power of God, so we come to the cross.

All right, everybody have your communion? Do you have your communion at home? Jesus himself put this in place. The end of the Passover meal, he took bread, he had his closest friends with him. He broke the bread. He's just about to be betrayed, there's horrors in front of him and he's preparing his friends and then they taught us. They understood it after the fact more than they did that moment, I promise you. "This bread is my body broken for you, as often as you eat this, do this in remembrance of me". Let's receive together. "And then he took a cup and he said, 'This cup is a new covenant sealed with my blood; as often as you drink it, you proclaim my death until you see me again.'" You know, we're gonna see the Lord. Let's receive together. Why don't you stand with me? I'd like to pray with you. I've given you a proclamation, you can take that home with you, but I'd like the privilege of saying a prayer for you.

Father, I thank you for these men and women, Lord, those that are gathered here and those that are joining us elsewhere, that we stand beneath your authority. I thank you that in your great mercy, and kindness, and love, you've called us out of the darkness. And then through the redemptive work of Jesus, we have been declared not guilty. We've been justified, sanctified, made holy, set apart to God. We praise you for it, that we've been delivered out of all the hand of the enemy, that his authority over our lives is broken. We praise you for it tonight.

Lord, you know our circumstances, where we need health and where we need hope, and where we need strength, and where we need provision, and where there needs to be doorways open, where there have seemingly been impossibility but we trust you tonight. Lord, forgive us where we've been anxious, or worried, or fretful. Forgive us, where we have been envious of the ungodly and the wicked, we've looked upon their choices and their freedoms, and we thought it looked pretty good. Lord, we are sorry, we choose to walk uprightly before you. Forgive us, cleanse us, wash us. Holy Spirit, I pray you'll bring a new spirit of diligence to us. Teach us to encourage one another, to walk uprightly before you. Lord, may our lives be a declaration of the glory and the goodness and the mercy and the power of our God. We praise you for what you're doing in us, through us, amongst us, and in the earth. Here we are, send us. In Jesus' name, amen. Hallelujah, God bless you.

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