Allen Jackson - Living a Supernatural Life - Part 1
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It's an honor to be with you again. We're doing a study on "Determined Faith," and in this session I want to talk to you about a supernatural life. I think so often we think if God does a miracle in our lives that it means we can step back or step away. That's not how I understand Scripture. I think God joins us as we follow him in obedience and we see outcomes that are beyond ourselves. That's a supernatural life. You can lead one of those. We don't want to just talk about faith, we want to live it. Grab your Bible and get a notepad, but more importantly open your heart.
I want to continue the series we've been studying about "Determined Faith" because I think that's what's going to be required of us, and in this session I want to speak specifically about what it means to live a supernatural life; not a church life or a religious life or a polite life or a moral life or a generous life or a kind life. You know, there'll be kind, generous, good people in hell. I don't say that with any pleasure. Jesus of Nazareth is the line of demarcation and the decisions you make around him, who he is, what you believe about him, the position of authority that you give him in your life. You can know about him. You can believe he existed. You can accept him as a historical character.
You can even recognize him as a miracle worker or a great teacher. Everything changes when you acknowledge your need of a Savior and you make Jesus Lord of your life because then he establishes the authority. He sets the priorities. That's the assignment of the church. That's the message we have for the world. But it's not primarily an intellectual message or a theological message, it's a transformational message. And to do that, we have to recognize that there's a power beyond us, beyond our intellect, beyond our physical abilities, beyond our five senses. The message of the Bible is there is a God. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and God can be known.
So really it's nonsensical to have a discussion about the life of a Christ follower apart from a supernatural life, but to lead a supernatural life, you are going to have to cultivate it. It will not come automatically. You will have to cultivate it like good health or good financial habits or good personal hygiene. You will have to cultivate it in order to live with a determined faith. I have a concern for the church, principally in our nation. It's where I spent most of my time, I interact with others. But we have to continue to say yes to God's invitations in our lives. That is not a singular event. I believe in the new birth and conversion, but we have mistakenly accepted the premise that when you've done that, everything else is kind of secondary. I don't believe that. I don't believe that you will sustain your spiritual life.
Some would say if you don't continue to say yes to the Lord, that original statement wasn't sincere. I don't know how to monitor all of that. We're not like a Thanksgiving turkey there's a little popup indicator saying that your prayer was sincere. So the best evidence of our sincerity is the fruitfulness of our lives, and that requires a determined faith. To look at that a little bit, I want to go back to the book of Exodus. We looked in Genesis last week at Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I want to go to the greatest story of deliverance in all the Bible until we get to Jesus. It's in Exodus 3. Many of you know it because of Cecil B. DeMille and "The Ten Commandments" and Yul Brynner. If you get to...and Charlton Heston. Thank you. I heard that. If we get to heaven, what's Charlton Heston, about 6'5" something? Big, he was a big guy. You get to heaven and Moses is about 4'2" with a squeaky voice, it's going to feel awkward, isn't it? He got the job done. It's not about what you look like on the outside. That's what he said to David.
But in Exodus chapter 3, God is recruiting Moses. He actually began recruiting Moses at his birth. There was an edict that the babies, the male children born to the Hebrew slaves should be murdered. Murdering babies, folks, is not a new thing. We wrap it in packages that make sense. The Egyptians said they felt threatened by the reproductive prowess of the Hebrew slaves, so they wanted to kill the male children. In the 21st century, we talk about in choice in terms of a woman's choice over her own body, but the reality behind all of that across human history is just the demonic attack on humanity. Please don't be confused. We can be compassionate towards people who've been touched by abortion. It's touched every one of us directly and indirectly. We don't have to be angry, but we shouldn't be confused about the initiative.
Moses's parents hid him. They risked the wrath of Pharaoh, and the punishment that would have come to them, it would have been severe. And they hid the child until they could no longer hide him. I know it sounds heroic and we've made it heroic, but at some point, they said, "Our well-being is significant, and the child is no longer, there's no way we can hide him". So they put him in a basket and set him in the Nile River. That would bring a rejection problem to the life of any human being.
Now, Pharaoh's daughter found him, you know the story. He grew up in Pharaoh's palace, but he grew up conflicted. He grew up with some confusion. He understood that his people were slaves and he was living in the privilege of the palace, educated in the science and the learning of Egypt. And one day as a young man, he saw an Egyptian slave master beating a Hebrew, and he killed him, the Egyptian. And when he found out that what he'd done was not hidden, he tried to hide the body. He had to flee. So he spent decades on the backside of the desert, tending sheep.
Can you imagine the guilt and the shame? His people are still slaves, and he's a fugitive. That's when we get to Exodus chapter 3. There's a bush that's burning, and Moses has gone to inspect it. "The LORD said to him," out of the bush, first he said, "Take off your shoes. You're standing on holy ground". And then God said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt, and I've heard them crying out because of their slave drivers. I'm concerned about their suffering. And I've come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them out of that land into a good and a spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the home of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites".
Sounds like you should call Orkin. "And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I've seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go, I'm sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt". I mean, it's a familiar passage. We've read it here dozens of times. I know you know the story. I'm still captivated by the order of what is unfolded there. God stops Moses. He's busy about his day. He's established a new life. He has a family. He has a routine. He's inspecting some oddity he has seen, and out of that God speaks to him. He's not looking for an opportunity. He doesn't say he's dissatisfied. None of that. And God says to him, "I have seen the misery of my people".
And if you look carefully, I can almost see tears start to roll down Moses's cheek because he knows about the misery of those people. "And I've heard them crying out because of their slave drivers". Moses has seen the lash and seen the impact upon his people. And God said, "I'm concerned about their suffering". And at this time I think Moses's head drops. "So I've come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians". I can't imagine the emotion there. "And I'm going to bring them up out of that land into a good and a spacious land, a land that flows with milk and honey. And the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I've seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them". I promise you he's just saying out loud what Moses has repeated on his heart ten, hundred, thousand times. It's the next sentence that is completely befuddling. "So now, go, I'm sending you". No more tears. The emotion just changed completely. "What? Sending whom? For what? No, it couldn't be".
I read that and I identify with it 'cause I walk and pray almost on a daily basis saying, "God, you've got to do something for the young people, for the children, for the old people, for our cities, and for our church. God, you've got to do something". Don't you feel that in your heart? "God, raise up a voice, cause somebody to do something. Give us a leader, say change something. God, you've got to do something". I think I put somebody in front of you that asks for prayer. I think, "Oh, God, I didn't mean that. What if I pray and nothing happens? What if I pray and something does happen"? I think the conundrum of Exodus 3 is just as real in the 21st century as it was on the backside of that desert.
And Moses answers him, and his answer is very familiar to me. He said, "The assignment is greater than my confidence in you. Yeah, I agree with the problem. I got it. I know there is a problem. People are suffering. I believe it. And I believe you could or should or would do something about it, but I part ways with you at the fact that perhaps I should be involved. Couldn't I just go on with my routine"? In Moses's case, "I'll tend a few sheep". In mine, couldn't I just keep my head down and kind of stay in my little pastor lane? Couldn't we just convene services and do a polite Bible study on the Gospel of Mark and put our blinders on and act like we didn't hear the news, or we don't know our cities are crumbling?
Well, in Exodus 4, "Moses answered, 'What if they don't believe me, or what if they don't listen to me, and they say, 'The LORD did not appear to you?'' And the LORD said to him, 'What is that in your hand?'" "Well, God, eyesight bad here? It's a staff. It's a shepherd's...it's a piece of wood. It's a stick. I shoo the sheep with it". "The LORD said, 'Throw it on the ground.'" You know the story, "Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it". Smart Moses. "And the LORD said to him, 'Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.'" "Well, that's bad practice, God. You obviously don't handle a lot of snakes". "So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 'And this,' said the LORD, 'is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.'"
I love the generational components of this. We talked about Abraham last week, and Isaac a little bit, and Jacob, and Joseph concludes the book of Genesis, and now in chapter 3, Moses of Exodus, Moses is getting recruited, and God's saying, "The one that made the promises to Abraham is standing behind you, son". You understand we're standing in the heritage of people of faith? You've heard me say many, many times the book of Acts doesn't have a conclusion. That's because we're the 21st century edition. One day we're going to tell our story. We're going to sit around with Peter and James and Paul and Timothy and Luke and the crew and Moses is going to chime in. We've made this into some sort of a nonsensical game where we say a little prayer, thinking we're going to go to heaven, then we can live our life on our terms and ignore God. "It's my time and my calendar". No, that's not how it works. Our lives are an offering before the Lord. "How do I honor you today"?
Determined faith. We haven't even been invited to develop this, we've been invited to imagine a saving faith, I'm an advocate for that, but I'm not an advocate for stopping with that. Chapter 5, "Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, 'This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.'" And Pharaoh said, "'Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I don't know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.'" I don't think it's an accident in where this is presented. It's a very sharp contrast between Pharaoh and the Hebrew slaves. The Hebrew slaves believed and Pharaoh doesn't. And if you'll allow me, I believe Pharaoh knew Moses better than the slaves did. They'd grown up in the palace together. Moses was reared as one of Pharaoh's sons. So I don't think it's any extreme conjecture at all to imagine that Moses and Pharaoh know one another. And Pharaoh says, "There's just no way".
Now, I want to take a moment, and I can't take long, with what unfolds between the promise of God in Exodus 3. God says, "I'm coming to get them. I'm going to take them out of Egypt and take them into a land that flows with milk and honey". At that point, you think... we've read the beginning and the end of the story, but what happens between the promise and the fulfillment is the story. In Exodus 5, "The Israelite foremen realized", Pharaoh's angry now, and he said, "They have to continue to make their bricks, but take away their supplies. Make them gather their own supplies". There's a supply chain problem. In Egypt, no chips. "And the Israelite foremen realized that they were in trouble when they were told, 'You're not to reduce the number of bricks required of you each day.' When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, 'May the LORD look upon you and judge you. You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and to his officials, and you've put a sword in their hand to kill us.'"
Wow, it wasn't very long they were having worship together, but now the leaders of the Hebrew slaves are complaining bitterly to Moses and Aaron. Could you believe that? You believe you can come to church and worship the Lord and be mad at God on Sunday? Well, I mean, somebody may be. Look in verse 9, chapter 6. "Moses reported all this to the Israelites, but they didn't listen to him". God said not to worry about it, and when Moses tells them, they don't listen. "They didn't listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage. And the LORD said to Moses, 'Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of this country.' But Moses said to the LORD, 'If the Israelites won't listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?'"
He's back to that I-don't-talk-so-good stuff. Discouragement and difficulty impact the belief of the Hebrew slaves. It impacts ours too; discouragement, difficulty, the persistence of challenges. That's why we have to acknowledge a little bit of what's happening in our world. We don't have to dwell on it or focus on it. We don't want to make it our primary objective, but we have to understand the powerful expressions, spiritual expressions in opposition to the name of Jesus. You don't have to look very far. You can watch the Grammys, and they will celebrate satanic worship without embarrassment or shame. You don't need great discernment any longer, folks, if you'll recognize it for what it is and acknowledge the power it is and the threat it is to what you represent.
You see, you have to keep your heart turned to the Lord or the discouragement or the difficulty of the assignment, we've got to stop saying that Jesus isn't welcome in our schools. He is welcome in our schools. If our kids go to our schools, Jesus is welcome there. Stop this. You know, legally stop this. A year ago it was legal to sacrifice our children, and now we at least have a choice. Some laws are bad and should be changed. We have capitulated long enough. God sends Moses to Pharaoh even when the people are struggling to believe. God doesn't cancel the initiative because of our inconsistencies. "You go on, Mo". "No, I don't talk so plain". "I know that. I recruited you, remember? Go". Moses flounders because of the people's reluctance.
Exodus chapter 9, we get one more component of this part of the story, says, "For by now I could", this is God's message to Pharaoh. Moses may not talk so plain, but he's got a really good message. God says, "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth". Pharaoh's a little slow on the uptake. We're about halfway through the plagues and he's still trying to decide how legitimate this is, and God says to him, "You know, I could have snuffed you out day one". "But I've raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go".
Folks, you need to write something. You need this in your Bible, in your phone, in your heart, someplace. God will be honored in all the earth. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. God will be honored. There are powerful opponents and powerful adversaries. I'm not arguing against that. Pharaoh had enormous power, but God had drawn a line in the sand and said, "We've come to the end of the expression of your power. I've been a bit patient with you, but this is not a power struggle". And what we're watching in the earth today is not a power struggle. I don't understand all about God's unfolding purposes. I wouldn't pretend to. But I do understand the end game and I understand something about the assignment in the moment, is to do everything in our power to see the name of Jesus lifted up. God will be honored.
So when I see the darkness rolling in and floods, I think, "Wow, this is going to be for the purpose of God". When I see the wickedness being expressed, when I see technology burgeoning, I think, "God's going to use this. This'll be for his glory". I don't know how God's gonna use AI for his glory, but we will watch that happen. God is not threatened by our technology, I promise you. And then God begins, the nature of the instructions begin to change. They're getting ready to leave Egypt, but God's attention is on the generations who are to come, not just the generation he's helping. See, we get so focused on our little journey through time. You know, we only do this once and we only get this season once and we get so heated up about that. We think we got to protect it and do it and grab it, and if something doesn't go the way we want, we're broken by it.
Sometimes we get completely sidelined because of tragedy or pain, and I think God would like to invite us to the imagination that we're a part of his unfolding story of the ages. And we get one invitation into time to serve him, but it may be he uses your life for a powerful reason for a generation who's to come. How many of you would say the apostle Paul had an impact beyond his lifespan? I think Moses did something other than tend sheep on the backside of the desert. We get to Exodus 12, these are the instructions to God's people. "Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony". It's the Passover.
"When your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?' tell them, 'It's the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.' And the people bowed down and worshiped. And the Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron". Did you see they did just what the Lord commanded them? So in this little bit of time we've been glancing at this, they worshiped the Lord and said, "We will do whatever". And then they said, "We don't like you. You've screwed this up". And now they got their face back in the dust worshiping the Lord. Determined faith, not perfect faith, not always consistent faith but the recognition, "If we're going to change this circumstance, we are going to have to continue to say yes to the Lord when we recognize his invitations".
You know, most of my biblical heroes were reluctant recruits that could see all the reasons why God's purposes could not be accomplished in their lives. That's important because I feel that way most of the time, too, and I suspect you understand that. When we look at the need for God to move in our world and we consider ourselves, it feels like I don't have a large enough voice or enough resources or whatever. But God doesn't need my things, he needs my willingness and my obedience and my faithfulness. Let's tell him we're willing. Let's pray:
Father, I thank you that you're moving in the earth, and we want to pause today to say, "Here we are. You may send us". We want to serve you and honor you and give you our best. In Jesus's name, amen.