Allen Jackson - Living a Supernatural Life - Part 2
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It's an honor to be with you again. Our study is about 'Determined Faith.' I wanna complete the session on the supernatural life. And I think far too often we imagine that the spiritual journey is almost entirely encapsulated in being born again. Well, I believe in conversion and salvation, but that is a beginning point of a journey and a life filled with saying yes to the Lord. If you haven't said yes to the purposes of God in the last few weeks, you've missed opportunities. I don't wanna do that in my life, and I don't think you wanna do it in yours either. So I wanna encourage you today to open your heart to what God has put before you. If we'll have the courage to believe, God will lead us on a supernatural life. I promise. Grab your Bible and get a notepad, most importantly, open your heart.
Moses is a very reluctant recruit, he doesn't yet have that confidence in the Lord. In Exodus 4, verse 29 says, "Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told him everything the Lord had said to Moses," because Moses doesn't talk so good. And, "He also performed the signs before the people and they believed". He performed the signs. What signs did he perform? The staff-snake thing, and the hand and the coat thing. "We're not just crazy preachers look, God sent us". They've been slaves for hundreds of years. There's no way they lead a rebellion, they don't have the arms, they don't know, there's just no way, there's no imagination possible.
And Moses and Aaron roll in and Aaron's telling a really good story saying, "you know, Moses is sent to do this, I'm the spokesperson here". "Now why should we believe"? And he said, "Well, let me show you God met me in a bush and he gave me this message and he told me to throw down my staff," and Moses does and it's a snake and he picks it up and it's not. And it says that the people believed them. "When they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped". They honored the Lord, they made a God decision there's a sequence here, it's worth noting. God's people are learning to believe and God demonstrates his power to the unconvinced. 'Determined Faith.' We haven't even been invited to develop this, we've been invited to imagine a saving faith, that 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, and 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 wanna take a moment and I can't take long, with what unfolds between the promise of God at Exodus 3 God says, "I'm coming to get them, I'm gonna 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 foreman 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 foreman realized 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 have put a sword in their hand to kill us.'"
Wow, wasn't very long ago they were a 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 maybe". Look at 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 did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage. Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his 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 wanna make it our primary objective, but we have to understand the powerful expressions the 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 gotta 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. We'll 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. "Moro you go on Mo". "No, I won'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 have," 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 in your people with a plague that would've 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.
Now, 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 not 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 endgame, and I understand something about the assignment in the moment. It 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 in floods, I think "Wow, this is gonna be for the purpose of God". When I see the wickedness being expressed, when I see technology burgeoning, I think, "God's gonna use this, this will 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's 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 gotta 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, or 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 and maybe we would say the Apostle Paul had an impact beyond his lifespan.
I think Moses did something other than 10 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. "And when you and 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.' Then 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 gonna change this circumstance, we are going to have to continue to say, "Yes" to the Lord when we recognize his invitations. And I'm fascinated by what God said to them. You see, he could've delivered them with the Passover you know the Passover story? Every family took a lamb, they had instructions on how to, it had to be a lamb without spot or blemish, God was concerned about their menu, he told 'em how to prepare it. And that night, death came through Egypt, the first born in every household, both human and animal dies. Unless that blood is on the doorpost of the homes from those lambs. And the Egyptians drive them out.
That was enough God could have said, "You know, I got you out," but he said, "No, I want, this is an annual event you do this year, after year after year, your children are gonna ask you why we're doing this". They're gonna be on their iPads playing, "Why do I have to put my iPad down"? 'Cause I'm gonna tell you the story. "That same old story you told me". Yes I am. "I don't wanna hear it". Shut up and listen. My mother's present I'm not allowed to say shut up. So be quiet and listen. She'll still smack me it's okay. 'Cause they're gonna need to know me too. And they're gonna need the strength of your story to know me. More important, the most important thing you could help your children see and understand, is the value of trusting God. I'm not saying the other things aren't important, I understand them but you see, if we relegate the children's learning about God to a session in Sunday school, if we're more concerned that they have experiences traveling the world or meeting something or doing, those are all things have value I'm all for it do as much as you can, but make it secondary to them knowing the Lord.
Tell them your God stories, let them be a part of Easter, tell them why Easter matters, tell them the Easter story. Make it a centerpiece of your lives. Talk to them about Christmas being more than about a fat guy in a red suit. I'm not offended by a reindeer with the nose that glows, but I'm gonna celebrate the reason. The people humbled themselves, they worshiped, they were obedient to whatever God said. Look at chapter 12, same chapter verse 50 says, "All the Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron". All the Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded. "And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt". The Lord leads 'em with a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire you know the story. He's guiding them and God guides them right into a trap. That's the truth. God chooses a path that makes them easy to be trapped. I know that's awkward, but if you look at the map and you follow their course, that's it.
God put them between a rock and a hard place. And Pharaoh changes his mind and he breaks out his fiercest charioteers, and his most angry soldiers and now remember, everybody in Egypt has been touched by death, and they blame the Hebrews slaves. So can you imagine the attitude of that army? They're not passive, they're not neutral, they're infuriated. And you can imagine the dialogue they're having, and the level of emotion they're carrying, and they're headed to the Israelites. It's in your notes it's Exodus 14, "As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, 'Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians?'"
Wow, we just read it. I mean, like that's chapter 14, in chapter 13,12, they were doing all that the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. "Hey Moses, there anything else he told you"? And we get two chapters later and the circumstances have changed, and there's some real pressure on him, and then, "You're the worst leader we've ever seen. We could have gotten killed without your help. We might have lived longer. We revoke your privileges. It would've been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert". Then, "Moses answered the people," that's worth seeing he said, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm. And you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today".
Stand firm. What's happened to Moses? I know, there's not really a clear explanation, there's a change taking place in Moses. And it's not instantaneous. It's not like just 180 degrees, I mean, he comes from the burning bush and he's willing and he starts back but when the people grumble, he disassembles the first time. "God I'm not going back to Pharaoh they're all grumbling, you're grumble, I'm not going anywhere". And God got him through that. And by the time we get to this point and there is no escape, there is no hope, they're all gonna be slaughtered. And Moses can face down an angry mob and say, "You don't have to be afraid I know you're afraid, but you don't have to be afraid".
Look, there's some frightening things coming to our world. There are things more frightening than a pandemic coming. And we better get to know the Lord, we better start to cultivate a determined faith, we better start to live like we believe it, and stop living like church attenders. The totality of our lives need to reflect our faith. I'll just, the God moves the pillar of fire and cloud around between the Israelites and the army. And he stalls the army overnight, while the wind blows. And with sunrise, there's a path through the sea. There's a path through the sea. Exodus 14:29, you have it, "But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the great power of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses, his servant".
You think? You think you could've gotten them to sing kumbaya while they walk through the Red Sea? Just maybe. Even the guys that don't sing. Yeah, in fact, on the other side, when the water collapses, as they see the Egyptians floating, they have a full on worship service. Tambourines, they're dancing, they have lost their inhibitions 'cause now they're beyond Egypt's reach, hallelujah. Now they've had kind of a bumpy beginning, "We believe, we don't believe, we're glad you're here, we wish we'd never met you," and they're gonna continue that. Our time's up for this session we'll, pick it back up but the tragedy of that generation of people, the ones who walked through the Red Sea, the ones who saw the plagues visited on Egypt, the ones who ate the original Passover lambs, they put the blood on the doorpost of their homes, they heard the wails of death in Egypt.
Do you know what they said when they got to the shores of the Jordan River? "It's too hard. Nah, yeah, it's a beautiful place, good looking real estate, but we'd have to go to battle again, and we don't wanna do that anymore". I don't wanna do that. This is about more than a building expansion. And yes, it has some relevance to that story, but don't confuse them. Whatever you do with in relation to that, you determine in your heart to keep saying, "Yes" to the Lord. God is moving in the earth in more profound ways than any expression of darkness you can see.
And my encouragement to you is to say to him, "I wanna be a part". You find what that means for you, and you get in fully. I don't wanna miss what God is doing. Our journey's a little inconsistent, but God is faithful, and I wanna be a part of what he's doing. I brought you a prayer, on the website out there under the sanctuary of scripture there's a family prayer guide it's worth your time. To download it there are prayers you can say each day with the family. If you've still got little people at home, I'd share those prayers with 'em, I'd read 'em together with them at the meal or before we went to sleep or when we got up in the morning before we started our day whatever that looks like, invite them into learning what it means to trust God.
But I brought you the prayer from the second week and I think we should say it together. Why don't you stand with me. Before I do that, let me just remind you about the information. If you wanna know more about the projects, this week on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, there are opportunities in a smaller setting than what we're doing here. So, you can go to the website and register if you're interested. Now let's pray this together:
Father, we humbly ask forgiveness for those times when we have been silent, distracted, or unwilling to share what we knew about you and would not acknowledge our awareness of you. We choose a new path. Give us a new boldness and courage, a new trust in you to hold out the light that we have experienced so that future generations might have hope, in Jesus's name, amen.