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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Jesus Changes Everything - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Jesus Changes Everything - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Jesus Changes Everything - Part 2

So, when we talk about friendship, we get it. And you and I are gonna be Jesus's friends. It means there is no arena of my life where I don't gratefully take Jesus with me. 'Cause I don't want there to be any arena where he doesn't stand up for me. Does that make sense? Be his friend. He's yours. He's yours. Can you imagine Jesus of Nazareth is your friend?

I tell you, the most emotive description of that I know in all the Bible is the first chapter of Revelation, where John is an old man and his peer group have all gone, and he's been in prison on an island, and he says on the Lord's Day he's in the spirit and he hears a voice behind him. And when he turns to see who's speaking to him, he sees Jesus. And he said, I fell at his feet as though I were dead. And Jesus put his hand on John and said, I'm the living one. I was alive and dead and behold I'm alive forever more. The best friend John ever had came to visit him. Boom! He's your friend too. Say I feel alone... you've got a friend. Sometimes we're mad at God 'cause we don't have the friends we want. I look back at that over the course of my life. I've wanted some wrong friends. Be grateful that Jesus is your friend. That's number 3. How're you doing on 1 to 10? You writing them?

Number 4: I'm a participant in Abraham's blessing. Why do I care? Galatians 4 verse 6: "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father,' So you're no longer a slave, but a son; and since you're a son, God has made you also an heir". We meet Abram in Genesis chapter 12, very near the beginning of the story. God makes a covenant with Abraham. The strongest agreement God makes with a human being in the Bible is a covenant. He makes a covenant with Abraham. He said I'll bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. And through Jesus's redemptive work in Christ, the Bible says you and I have become heirs to that covenant. Do you wanna know the specifics of the contract, read Deuteronomy 28, the first 14 verses. I don't have the time to give them all to you, but it's a life-changing assignment. It will help you understand your relationship with God and his attitude toward good things that he intends to bring to you. We are participant in Abraham's blessing.

Number 5, I'm righteous. 2 Corinthians 5: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God". Righteous, big old religious word, means you can stand in the presence of God without fear, without guilt, or without shame. Now, why do we care? Because the Bible says that every one of us has two appointments, unavoidable appointments. You can't delegate 'em, you can't cancel them. There's two appointments you and I will keep. One is death. And after death, judgment. You're gonna stand before the Creator of all things and answer for what you've done in the body. Your body doesn't define your existence. When your body wears out, your spirit is eternal.

So, the Bible tells us it's not a threat, it's an opportunity to be prepared. To be prepared for death, to be prepared for the time when your body is no longer functional. You're born with an expiration date. We don't like to talk about that much. Like I meet a lot of people that are kind of afraid of that whole topic. Funerals are a part of my job description, and typically if you go to the funeral home, there's dead people there. It's kinda part of that. And people say but Pastor, I just, I don't, I know I should, I don't like to go to funerals. I don't like that. Well, you know, for more than three generations my family was involved in the funeral business. Funeral directors, owned funeral homes, the whole thing.

When I was a kid, I'd go visit my grandparents and my cousins and I would play hide and seek in the casket room. Explains a lot about Pastor, doesn't it? But death is a part of your life. It's a part of your journey. It's a transition, it's not the end of you. And after death, judgment. You're gonna stand before the Creator. And this righteous word says you could stand in that space without fear, without guilt, and without shame. How many think that'd be good way to be there? No guilt, no fear, and no shame. So how do you get that righteousness? Well, it's a gift.

2 Corinthians 5 again, God made him who knew no sin to be sin for me. In Christ, I might become the righteousness of God. He took my sin that I might have his righteousness. Hoo! I'm not standing in front of God owning everything I've done because through the blood of Jesus and my humili...if you're willing to humble yourself and repent, you can be cleansed. Righteous before God. Now, you've got an enemy, an adversary. He reminds you of your failures and your inconsistencies and your inadequacies and your bad word choices and the wrong thing you poured in your cup and the wrong thing you... he reminds you of all that junk. And you have to learn to say and that's true, that's me in the video you just played for me, but have I shown you the cross lately? Do you know who I am? I'm in Christ. I'm not in that past.

Number 6: I'm a citizen of heaven. Philippians 3: "Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ". The Bible uses a whole set of words. It says we're aliens, strangers on earth, that we have another value system, that we're in this world, that we're not of this world's system. Jesus is ultimately going to establish his kingdom on earth with his values on earth. But that's not this time period. We live in a sin-filled world. We not only struggle with sin, the temptation of sin. Sin impedes our lives. We look all around us and we see the impact of sin. It reminds us that our citizenship is someplace else. We have another set of values, another set of objectives, another set of parameters, another set of goals. We're striving for something differently than those people who are not in Christ.

And if you haven't been awakened to that, if you're still climbing the same ladders that all the people that aren't in Christ are climbing, you're climbing the wrong ladder. I'm not opposed to the things in the world. God created the world and everything that's in it for our pleasure. But I'm a temporary resident here. I like to travel. Weekends are a little confining and they limit that and I'm grateful to serve in the place that God has asked me to serve, but I'm telling you if I get a little freedom, I'm gone.

And I like to go to weird places, strange places. I like to meet new people, hear how they worship, hear their God stories. I like, the whole thing is amazing to me. But I've never been tempted to immigrate. Every time that we walk back in our house, I'll say to the cat there's no place like home. There's no place I visit that makes me smile as broadly as when I walk back in the house. I'm a citizen of heaven. I wanna learn to live with that awareness more clearly in my mind. Because sometimes you get dissatisfied. You envy the wicked. You covet what they have and you think, ahh, like no, I'm working on a different set of parameters. I'm working on another set of parameters.

Number 7: I've been chosen by the Creator. It's a big deal. Did you know God chose me? No, you need clarity on this. I don't want you to be fuzzy at all. He chose me. I got a sign in my office. Says Jesus loves you, but I'm his favorite. Now, if you had the sign, it could be true of you, but I got the sign. God chose me. Now, I know, you could read the verse and he chose you too, but the one that's most important to me is he chose me. You know why? 'Cause every one of us know what it is to be left out. To be left off. To be rejected. To have somebody say no. To look past you or overlook you. To devalue you. That's a part of the journey. Nobody gets through without that. Nobody gets through without that, and we're never gonna fix that with legislation. So, it's very, very important to understand that the Creator of all things looked across the span of human history, billions of people, and he chose you.

There's a bit of a theological issue here. People say to me, do you believe in free will or predestination? Yes. They're both biblical. It's very clear that God looks across the span of human history and he chooses his people. God chose you. Nothing's hidden from him. He knows the worst thing about, the thing you pray never sees the light of day. He's got the video. He knows what you thought, and he still chose you. Need to stand a little taller. There's no room for arrogance in that or hubris in that, 'cause in 1 Corinthians in the first chapter, it's not in your notes, but it is in the book, it says God chose the weak and the foolish and the things weren't noble and the things that weren't so clever. He chose all the cracked pots. So that when something glorious happened, he'd get all the credit. So welcome to the cracked pot club. But never forget, God chose you. God chose you.

Number 8: I've been justified. The technical definition of "justify" is to be acquitted, to be forgiven, to be declared not guilty. Somebody shared a definition with me I like. It says to be justified is just as if I'd gotten it all right. Most of us are far more into what we didn't do, the opportunities we missed, the things we didn't say, when we made a wrong choice. To be justified means you've been acquitted of all that. It's just like you got it all right! Now again, not because of something you've done, 'cause we both know we didn't get it all right. But in Christ, he exhausted the curse due my godlessness and my rebellion that I might have the fullness of his blessing for his perfect obedience. I've been justified in him. Yes, I wanna be his friend. I don't try to honor the Lord and choose godliness and holiness and righteousness and purity and wholesomeness because I think I'm gonna earn my way to heaven. It's one way of me expressing my appreciation of the gift that's been given to me.

Number 9: I'm free of condemnation. Romans 8: "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". No condemnation. "Through the Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death". There's that escape notion again. I've been set free from something. There's no condemnation for you. Folks, none of us are perfect. We have an adversary that will remind you of your weaknesses and your failures and your shortcomings and the times you didn't get it right. And he'll do his best to hinder you, to render you quiet and mute and inert and inactive. But you're gonna have to learn to say to him, that's right. That was a season in my life that I didn't make godly choices, but I have humbled myself and repented, and I stand now in Christ.

There's a difference than having sinned and repented and been forgiven and practicing sin. If you are practicing sin, if you have committed yourself to the habitual engagement of ungodliness, you need to repent. It will destroy you. Are we clear in that? You can sit in church and practice sin and church won't protect you. You can quote your Bible and practice sin and that won't protect you. The practice of sin. The scripture says if you live like this, you will not inherit the kingdom of God. I know that's not popular in a lot of settings today, and most of them originate from within the church. But if you will humble yourself and repent, the Bible says God is faithful and just to forgive you and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You can lead your life free of condemnation. And when the devil reminds you or somebody else reminds you or some social media post reminds you, you say, "In Jesus, I've been set free! I'm sorry you remember, 'cause God has delivered me".

Number 10: I have a new life in Christ. I have a new life in Christ, a new future, a new set of boundaries, a new set of invitations. There are some things I've escaped, and a new set of opportunities have opened up in front of me. I'm not limited to my frailty and my weakness and my intellectual limits or my physical limits. God has some gifts for me and invitations that he uniquely created me for. I have a new life in Christ, and the overwhelming characteristic of that new life is that sin is no longer my master. Yes, I live in a sin-filled world, and I struggle with temptation. Jesus struggled with temptation. His life was...he bumped up against sin. When he would heal people, they'd say you did it on the wrong day of the week. There was more than one community where he came to speak the truth and they drove him out. So, he bumped into the sin and some of the limits that it expressed. But sin is not our master. It doesn't own you. There's no habit. There's no fear. There's no dark cloud. There's no pronouncement. Sin is not your master. Look at Romans 6: "Sin shall not be your master, because you're not under law". You're under grace.

Number 11: I have an inheritance with the saints. Colossians 1: "Giving thanks to the Father, who's qualified me to share in the inheritance of the saints". How did I get an inheritance? God qualified me. I didn't qualify myself. It's not 'cause I went to church enough. God qualified me for an inheritance in the saints. Most of us are far more aware of what we ain't. We need to grow up a little bit in our inheritance in the saints. Look at the next phrase. It's transformational. "He rescued us from the dominion of darkness". There's that theme again. God rescued us. I didn't deliver myself. God launched a search and rescue mission on my behalf and yours. Now, why do I serve him? 'Cause he rescued me.

See, if it's still stuck in your head that serving the Lord is burdensome, it's limiting, it's constraining, you're deceived! I love you, but you're deceived. Folks, the church has drifted so far away from the truth. This isn't something somebody's done to us. We have drifted. We've drifted away from godliness and integrity and morality and a biblical world view. And now we think it's normal over here in the drifted space, and the Spirit of God is gonna bring us back. He'll begin to show you. If you'll say to him, show me where I've drifted, he'll give you the awareness.

May I make a suggestion? Don't be offended. 'Cause when somebody says to you something that brings you back to true north, your temptation is going to be to be offended. I have an inheritance in the saints. And finally, I have access to the throne. This one's amazing to me. I have access to the throne. Who's in your contact list? The Creator of all things will take my call. Look at Hebrews 4: "We have a great high priest who's gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God". You know, we live in an egalitarian society, which means every person is equal before the law. And then what one person has an opportunity to, everyone should have an opportunity to. And that's clouded our thinking a little bit about the Kingdom of God. It's not a democracy. And the reality is, you can't just offer any prayer you want to, to the Lord.

In fact, for a long season with God's people, if you wanted to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, you couldn't just offer your own sacrifice. You couldn't take a lamb and slaughter the lamb and put it on your barbecue and offer it as a sacrifice. If you needed to make a sacrifice to the Lord, you had to take it to the priest, and the priest would take your... the sacrifice you presented, and he would prepare it, and the priest would offer it to the Lord. But today under the new covenant, you don't any longer need a pastor or a professional cleric, whatever label you use for that person. But you have an intermediary. It's the man Jesus Christ. He's your high priest.

The Bible says that he lives to make intercession for you, that when you offer a sacrifice to the Lord, he takes it and presents it to the Father. Your advocate with the heavenly Father is somebody who understands every frailty of the human condition because he came and was one of us. Because of that, you and I have access to the throne. Tremendous price paid for that. Tremendous sacrifice paid for that. That's why it's not about whether I'm Methodist or Baptist or Interdenominational or whatever label I choose, I'm in Christ. Look to your last phrase: "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we can receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need".

We can find mercy and grace, not when we're prayed up and given up and served up. We can find grace and mercy when we're all dirtied up. He'll help us when we need it the most. And he says we can come boldly before the throne. Not arrogantly, not in pride, not demanding, not stomping our feet like selfish children, but respectfully in the fear of God, understanding the sacrifice that's been made for us. I know we've done it in a hurry, but I've given you 12 spaces. Have you done your little evaluation? You get 15 seconds to review it and pick the three where you scored the lowest, where you said right now in this season, that's just not really alive and well in me.

Well, we'll pray for you before we go. Have you got your three? Look on your neighbor's face, see if they got three. Don't do that. I don't want you to get in trouble at church. I wanna pray for you. Do you know who our helper is? The Holy Spirit. Jesus said he would leave and send us another helper, that he would teach us, that he would take what was the Lord's, what Jesus had done, and make it known to us. So collectively, we're gonna invite the Holy Spirit to help us in those places where we're not adequately living with the awareness of what Jesus has done for us, who we are in Christ.

You ready? Won't you stand with me. Hallelujah. You are precious to the Lord. Nothing's hidden from him. He knows when a sparrow falls to the ground. He knows when we don't get it right. But he's made provision for us. Not an excuse for sloppiness, but a provision for a totally different way to live under the sun, more aware of who we are in Christ than who we are not in Allen. The devil will remind you of all the things you're not, all the things you haven't been. You need to be more aware of what the Scripture says you are in Christ. Amen? Hallelujah.

Father, thank you for your Word, for its truth and power and authority. Holy Spirit, we welcome you here today. We welcome you to help us. We need your help. You're our teacher and our guide in all those places where we're inadequate. We have been unaware, or our awareness is diminished. We ask you to begin to give us new ears to hear and new eyes to see and an open heart to receive, that we might stand in your strength. That we might stand in your authority and in your boldness and in your confidence and your courage, to choose a path that will bring your very best to us. Help us, Holy Spirit.

And if there are any places where we have drifted, where we have taken our eyes off the path and we've wandered into places and engaged in practices that are diminishing your authority in our lives, we want to humble ourselves this morning and repent, to lay them down. Give us the courage to choose you with our whole hearts and to say no to ungodliness and yes to you. For we've imagined we could redefine the pathway that would bring fulfillment to our lives. Bring to us a clarity, the wisdom to choose you with our whole heart. I thank you for your help. May we be aware to encourage one another and to strengthen one another. To stand with one another. Thank you for being our friend. Thank you for being our friend. For it's in Jesus's name we pray. Amen.

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