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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - No Troubled Hearts, No Fear - Part 1

Allen Jackson - No Troubled Hearts, No Fear - Part 1

Allen Jackson - No Troubled Hearts, No Fear - Part 1

It's an honor to be with you today. Our topic is "No Troubled Hearts, and No Fear". You know, the reality is we live in a troubling world, a frightening world, but I have good news. Jesus said we don't have to let our hearts be troubled, and we don't have to be afraid. If Jesus said it, there's a pathway through this season without anxiety and without great fear. Now, that is good news. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we're gonna look at that idea and see if we can understand how to embrace it in such a way that we can live courageous, triumphant lives in the midst of a troubled world. Grab your Bible and get a notepad, but, most importantly, open your heart. The title is "No Troubled Hearts and No Fear".

Folks, we've just given place to some things that we don't have to. We don't have to. I'm not saying that the feelings aren't real. I'm not saying that the motivations behind them aren't legitimate. We have to choose whether we're gonna give in to troubled hearts and anxiety, or we're going to walk in the triumph and the victory that's ours. Now, we're walking through troubled times, but we don't have to be filled with trouble. That's the truth. And so, John 14, Jesus is speaking. He's begun to prepare his disciples for his exit, and he said, "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 have said to you". That's a pretty amazing promise that we have a counselor that God has provided for us that will teach us all things.

What kind of student are you? What kind of student are you? For the children and the young people who are in school, I can tell you this: If they're not reading, and they don't know whose authority they're under, they're not very good students. And so, if you're going to really flourish at the instruction of the Holy Spirit, I would ask you how frequently you submit yourself to taking in information, reading and learning and listening, and do you understand whose authority you're under? Because, if you don't, you're forfeiting, you know, education is a horrible thing to waste. It's a relatively small period of time in your life when you have the privilege of gaining an education, and when you have the privilege, it feels intrusive. It's really difficult to have the maturity to appreciate it.

You know, even college, we've turned college into an experience, and that's a very destructive thing. The purpose, as I understand it, at least, of that higher education was it was a very short window of time to help you prepare to provide for yourself and your family in a way you couldn't had you not had that opportunity, and so you have two or three or four years to gain a little extra experience and information that will change the trajectory for decades to come. And if you fritter that away on hobbies and experiences, the consequence of that is spread out for decades to come. Well, as much as I think we've perverted the college experience and that preparatory time of education, I think the church has perverted it. We have very little interest in learning and growing in the Lord. We'll talk about the fact that we're born again, and then we think the rest of it is kind of a, like, a trivia contest, but we're engaged in this spiritual journey, and we need to grow.

So we have a Counselor, who will teach us all things. And then Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I don't give to you as the world gives". And then he gives us instructions, two very specific things: "Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid". Now, if Jesus said that, you know by now that two things are gonna be a very real challenge: a troubled heart and fear. And here's the instruction: "Don't let your heart be troubled, and don't be afraid". He didn't say there wouldn't be troubling times or frightening things. He just said don't stay there. If you have to go through the shadowed valley, keep moving. So our objective tonight in the time we have, in this single session, is how can we gain a little momentum on being less troubled and less frightened? You ready?

Okay, I wanna read you, it's a pretty familiar narrative. It's 2 Kings. The foreign armies invaded Israel. They have besieged, they have encircled the city, and nobody can come or go. They have a supply chain problem, but they have a complete supply chain interruption to the point that the people are starving. It wouldn't take very many days of no supplies arriving in Rutherford County, and we would have a significant problem. Most of us don't have months and months supplies stored up, and if the places that you purchase food were not resupplied, we would have a problem. That's the exact problem that's here to the point that the people in the city are starving to death, and there's four men with a terminal disease. It's a skin disease, but it's terminal. It's incurable, and they're so sick, they're not even allowed inside the cities, so they're outside. They're between the city walls and the enemy that have surrounded them, and they have gotten to the point, they're so desperate, they said, "You know, we're just gonna die. Let's just choose the method by which we're going to die".

Well, that's kind of where we step into it. "There were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate, and they said to each other, 'Why do we stay here till we die? If we go into the city, the famine is there, and we'll die, and if we stay here, we will die. So let's go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live, and if they kill us, well, then we die.'" They hadn't read the passage from Jesus about "not let your hearts be troubled," but they have a pretty accurate perspective on their lives. They said, "If we go into the city, we'll starve with everybody else. If you stay here, we're gonna starve. If we go over there, they may kill us, but they might feed us," heh-heh. Human beings don't typically run towards change. These folks are pretty desperate.

"So at dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans, and when they reached the edge of the camp, not a man was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army". Now, there were not horses and chariots, not physical ones, and there was no army from another nation coming. It just simply says that the Lord caused the enemy army to hear that, and it was so realistic that they fled. One of the bridges we have to cross, we're gonna have to decide what we believe about spiritual things. If we think that the only deliverance for us as a people is a politician or a party or an army or we truly believe that, if God's people change, God will make the difference.

These four men start walking, and it seems to have triggered the sounds of an army so that they said to one another, "'Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and the Egyptian kings to attack us.' So they got up, and the fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and their donkeys. They left the camp as it was, and they ran for their live". They were so afraid, they didn't even ride their horses out. They didn't have time to hitch a team to the chariot. They just ran. "The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp and entered one of the tents. They ate, and they drank, and they carried away silver and gold and clothes," 'cause, if you've got a terminal disease, you're gonna need silver and gold and clothes. "And they went and hid them, and they returned, and they entered another tent, and they took some things from it, and they hid them also".

And they rinsed and repeated until, finally, one of them had a little bitty tiny conscience flash and said, "You know, we're not really doin' the right thing. All of the people we know are starving to death, and we're hiding food. Maybe we should go tell them". And so the men that weren't welcome in the city go knock on the city gates and invite the people towards the feast that the Lord has prepared. Now, I wanna think it's a pretty familiar passage, I suspect, to most of you, but see if we can take that as a case study and understand a little bit how to gain some momentum over the trouble that we tend to feel internally and the anxiety that is so prevalent amongst us that we have to acknowledge it begins with a great need. These people are facing death, not only the four characters that are identified.

Now, they're nameless, but we at least know there's four of them. Or the people in the city, they don't have the military ability, they don't have the economic might, they don't have the resources, there is no solution. It's a very humbling place to find yourself up against a wall which you have no means of negotiating. No solution. They have a great need. Those places come into every life. They come into every life. If you haven't been to that place yet, I'm happy, I'm grateful for you, but I want you to be prepared because life brings those places. There's a tremendous need. And then, be careful. When you see people with great needs, please respond to them with compassion.

There was a time in my life, I was a young man. I thought, if you had a problem, it's 'cause you made bad choices, and I wasn't a particularly compassionate person until my own life blew apart, and I came to understand that, sometimes, doing the best that you know in the circumstances where you find yourself causes your life to deteriorate rapidly, and I can tell you, one of the things that I took away, and it's never left me, is a compassion for people. People need mercy. Now, that doesn't mean people need you to bless their sin. If they're being wicked or ungodly, particularly if they're God's people, they don't need your mercy. They need you to tell them the truth. You can do it mercifully, but ignoring sin is not being a good friend. Great needs. And we'll have to make a choice to believe that God will deliver us or whether we'll just surrender to our current situation. Now, this is an expression of will. We'll have to decide that we believe our God is a deliverer, that God is able to make a way. Doesn't mean we won't work. It doesn't mean we won't do the things we know to do, but we need that thing tucked in our heart that the God we worship is able to make a way.

Now, there's another question that we have to address, and it's "Why me"? because, when you're up against those walls, the "Why me"? question almost drowns out everything else. "Why am I here"? I know people that are more wicked than I've been. I know people, you know, for whatever, and I was doin' the best I knew or tried to make a good decision. "Why me? Why did I get to this place"? And my best answer to that is really not particularly satisfying, but I wanna suggest it's the wrong question because it isn't helpful. It's just not always helpful to stand and get stuck in the "Why me"? ditch. We have to get up and begin to exert what faith we do have. That's all those men could do. They said, "You know, if we sit here, we'll die. If we go over there, we might die, but we might not".

And the little tool that we began with tonight is a wonderful first step rather than just sit there and be overwhelmed by the pain and the dissatisfaction and the frustration, and the disappointment. I will stand up and thank God. If I go to heaven, then I'm going to heaven, thanking God. If the enemy overwhelms me, he's gonna overwhelm me thanking God. I will not give into that. Are you with me? But I feel that the battle in us is but you're justified. You've been mistreated, or you've been this, or you've been that, or you deserved better. It's a little "Job-like," and you can find people to commiserate with you, people with lots of initials after their names or people with platforms or people that have written books, and you can go find groups of people to identify. You can stand in the midst of the group of people that have been mistreated.

You can say, "Here we are," or you can say, "I believe God is able to deliver me, and I will give thanks to him". I am going to stand in the midst of the people that believe there is a God and that he's engaged in the world, and I'm not backing up. Problems come with the journey. "Well, I don't think it's fair". Duly noted. I'm not sure I think it's fair that weeds grow in the garden. I don't know that I think it's fair that your metabolism slows down a you get older. I couldn't afford all the Oreos I wanted when I had the metabolism that would burn 'em all up, and now that I can, I have to share them with other people. Just doesn't seem right to me. There's a little wrinkle in the cosmos of injustice. But I'm gonna give thanks to the Lord anyway. "Why me"? Is it going through your mind? I can't answer the question, but I can tell you it's not productive, but if you're willing, I can help you make a brand-new start.

And to those who would say, you know, "I don't really have any great need, Pastor," "There's really nothing in me for which I'm crying out to God," I brought you a verse too 'cause I'm an equal opportunity offender. In Revelation chapter 3, in verse 17, it says, "You say, 'I am rich.'" He's writin' to a church. It's not written to the pub. It's written to a church. "You say, 'I am rich, and I have acquired wealth, and I don't need a thing'", and this is Jesus's message to them: "You don't realize that you're wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked". I'm tellin', you're pretty messed up if you're broke, blind, and naked, and you don't know you have a problem. On the way home tonight, you meet someone on the side of the road, buck naked, and they got a bandana tied around their eyes, and they can't see, and they're not aware of their lack of clothing or that their eyes are covered.

How many'd say, "That person's pretty messed up"? "Whatever it was you did or smoked or drank, or whoever hit you on the head, you're messed up. You have a problem," right? You're all acting like you don't understand the premise. That's the condition of this church. But Jesus says, "I counsel you. I'm gonna give you a solution". He said, "I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire. You can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see". And then he gets a little personal: "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline". I wish we had time to give some testimonies about in recent days or weeks how God has rebuked and/or brought discipline to you.

You see, if he loves you, that's a part of the equation. It's not just that you got rebuked and disciplined when you were a pagan, and you came to the realization of God's saving grace when you experienced the new birth. As we grow and mature, we continue to need the discipline that God brings to our lives. "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. Be earnest," he said, "and repent". Repent. "Here I am. I stand at the door and knock, and if anyone hears my voice and comes to the door, opens the door, I'll come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I'll give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame", do you think of Jesus as having to be an overcomer? "and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches". So we're gonna start with the acknowledgment that we have needs, every one of us, even the people that you think don't. I do. You do. That's our place.

The second component in this is to acknowledge that we're dependent upon God's timing. Ah, my most consistent complaint to the Lord is about his timing. You know, microwaves, to me, are a little slow. What's it take? Six minutes to bake a potato? Two minutes to make water boil in a cup? Can't we do better than that? I mean, if we have worldwide internet, and you can get all the information out of a library in about five seconds and a few keystrokes on your desk, can't we nuke a potato in three minutes? Don't think I have a patience problem, do you? We're dependent upon God's timing, and here's the key: Deliverance comes when we're capable of receiving it. You see, a lot of times, we're not ready for God's instruction. We want him to do what we wanna do. We dictate to him how he needs to respond to us, and we're not open to any solution other than the one that we've dictated to him. Or the list can go on. We are dependent upon God's timing, and we're gonna have to make peace with that.

You may be frustrated that God hasn't solved the challenge of your life or that you've had to bear a circumstance for an extended period of time. I don't pretend to be able to tell you I understand that or I can articulate an answer to that, but I would tell you, I've come to trust the Lord in his timing. And if you can begin to say to him, "Lord, I trust you," one of the most helpful things I know to suggest to you is to begin to have honest conversations with the Lord. You can tell him how you feel. You can even tell him about your displeasure with his job performance. He can withstand your rage about his poor job performance, but when you're finished with that declaration, then you need to follow it with "I trust you, and I will serve you if it means I stand in this place or I walk in this path. Until I step out of time, I will serve you". You with me?

That starts in your heart, in your belly, in the center of our being. It's not emotion-driven. You don't always feel like it, and there'll be thunder in your head, giving you other options, and the enemy, Satan, will be certain that there are places and invitations put around you or people to come around you to commiserate with your plight. And we will have to determine to say, "Lord, I trust you. I'm gonna walk with you. I'm not gonna stop giving thanks. I'm not gonna take the challenges I see right now as a license for ungodliness. I won't concede to immorality or to greed or to whatever the temptation is just because I feel justified because of my dissatisfaction. I trust you to bring deliverance. I'm gonna follow you, Lord. You've been good to me, and I don't understand everything I can see, but I'm in". Are you still with me?

So problems come. We've got to make a decision that God's timing is not about our power and our authority. We're dependent on him. John 11, it's the Lazarus story. Remember Lazarus? Lazarus had two sisters. What were their names? Martha and Mary. Boy, smart people come to church on Wednesday nights. Martha and Mary. Lazarus gets sick. Jesus is the family friend. They send a message to him because, when Jesus is there, sick people do much better. And in John 11:6, it says, "When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days". What do ya mean? In fact, the next message that comes, says, "Lazarus is dead. No hurry".

Jesus purposefully didn't answer the call. I mean, I know some of you know the end of the story. You go, "Yeah, but it's gonna work out," but, yeah, but think of the emotions. I mean, imagine if I had that ability and you call me and said somebody's sick, "Will you come pray"? and I go, "No, it's not a good time for me". And they die, and you go through the memorial and the burial and the grief and the pain, and then I realize, "Ha-ha-ha-ha-hah, no big deal. Watch this". "Boom". I mean, you might be happy about the resurrection, but I think you'd be puttin' a knot on my head about the... right?

Do you have any complaints of some of the things God's let you go through? How many of you have one of those lines in your spiritual portfolio, questions you wanna ask? "I got some things I wanna ask the Lord". Don't you know he's frightened about your interrogation? How many think, when you see the Lord in all of his glory, maybe you'll put your questions in the circular file? "Uh, nothin' here, Lord, heh". God's timing. Jesus purposefully waited. "Were there lessons in it"? Yes. "Can we talk about them"? Yes, but if you're livin' that out, that's just awful. It doesn't feel good. It's grief. It's loss. "What was Lazarus doing for the days when his body was in the tomb and he wasn't"? I don't know. Didn't tell us. "Well, why not"? 'Cause we don't need to know.

Oftentimes, for me, the most difficult part of following the Lord is making peace with God's timing. He just doesn't always pay attention to my agenda or my request or when I want something done. I bet you know what that feels like. Well, I wanna ask if you've got the courage to forgive God for messing up the timing. He didn't answer in the time and the place and in the way that perhaps you would've preferred him to, and we're left with the mess of that. Well, if we can make peace with God, it puts us in a place to receive what he has for us next. It's a better outcome. You willing to do that? Let's pray:

Heavenly Father, I thank you that you love us, that you have a plan for our good and not for our harm. Forgive us for being impatient, frustrated, angry, for stamping our feet. Lord, we want your best in our lives in your time, in Jesus's name, amen.

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