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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Revolutions and Revivals - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Revolutions and Revivals - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Revolutions and Revivals - Part 2
TOPICS: Revolution, Revival, Easter

It's an honor to be with you today. We're gonna complete our study on revolutions and revivals. It's really a preview of the Easter story. I hope we never forget the tremendous price that was paid for us. It's an expression of the value that God attaches to your life and to mine. You know, the voice in our head says we're not significant, that we've made so many horrific choices and so many broken choices that God certainly doesn't want us and certainly doesn't need us. But the reality is his love for us is so great that he offered his Son, and that Jesus attached such value to your life and to mine that he endured a horrific suffering so that you and I might receive the privilege of being a part of his kingdom. Now, that is good news. Grab your Bible and get a notepad, but more importantly, open your heart to what God has for you today.

There's a second invitation I want to be sure you leave with. It begins with a different kind of a question. Have you ever made a purchase and not gotten what you paid for? I have. How do you feel about that? Well, I suspect the depth of your emotion is pretty much linked to the investment that was involved. When we talk about your life and your faith and your relationship with God, I want you to understand it's not arbitrary, that it's not accidental, that it's not based on a whim, that there has been a price paid for you and for me to be considered children of the King. And when we reject the Lord, we're not just rejecting an act of kindness, we're rejecting the price that was paid on our behalf.

You see, the Scripture puts it this way, that God sent his Son. Humanity was broken; we're born, the Bible says, into sin. We don't have the ability to redeem ourselves, to transform ourselves. It's a myth when you hear people say that if you leave human beings alone long enough, we'll work together for the common good. There's no evidence in human history that that's true. We may do it in a short burst, but if you leave us alone long enough, some group of us will consolidate power and take advantage of the rest. And it's not about our nose or our hair color or our height or our nationality, folks, that is born within every one of us. We needed help, so God sent his Son.

Now, what you may or may not know is he didn't just send his Son on a vacation, he sent him on a search and rescue mission. And the cost of that was going to be the sacrifice of his life, and God knew it before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The Scripture says that Jesus offered himself, that God sent him, but Jesus offered himself. He said, "I'll take that assignment," and when the time came, he yielded to the abuse of the Roman soldiers, not because he was without power. He said to Peter, "I could call legions of angels and we could mess with these boys' minds. But I need to do this". Jesus offered himself. There was a price paid for you and me. The Bible tells it to us over and over, 1 Corinthians 6: "You're not your own; you were bought at a price". Acts 20 and verse 28: "Watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood".

Folks, churches don't exist out of the whim of human beings. What makes a church possible, the gathering of God's people to stand together, to pray together, to serve together, to impact communities together, isn't just an idea that we hold in our heart. We are under the authority of the King with a tremendous price that has been paid for us to have this privilege. We don't come to church when it's convenient or the weather's nice or there's not a game on we want to watch. We come as an expression of gratitude for the price that's been paid for us to have this privilege for that new and living way through the curtain. Peter, the fisherman that Jesus recruited, he says it pretty plainly: "You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect".

And even in the book of Revelation, it's describing the saints at the end of the age, at the end of this age, they're saying, "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation". We've been bought with a price. We've mistakenly described ourselves in these kinds of terms: "It's my life, it's my schedule, it's my calendar, it's my time, they're my days, it's my money and my resources and my gifts and abilities and talents. I'll do with them whatever I want". That's true if you've never yielded yourself to the Lord. But if you say Jesus is Lord, it's not your time and your days and your talent. You've been bought with a price. That's the only way into the Kingdom.

And if you don't want that lordship in your life, if you say, "I'm not interested," please understand you're saying to the Creator of all things, "I don't care how much you paid. I'm not cooperating". Do you understand the essence of that affront? You see, God doesn't want to take anything away from you. He doesn't want to diminish you. He wants to take the limits off of your life. I got another goofy prop. I put it in a chest because it represents wealth. If I liquidated all of my assets, I couldn't buy enough gold to fill this little chest, so I improvised and I bought some gold I could afford. And you're down front, and I'm gonna share. I'd throw it to you in Williamson County, but my arm's not that good. It's not a lot of gold, it could fit in a box. But suppose I said I gave up everything I had for this bit of gold for you, and it'll be right here. It's yours.

Now you know, I suspect, the truth: mine's gold foil filled with chocolate. And if you know me, you know what an expression of love that really is, 'cause I don't share chocolate. But you know the truth about whatever you're holding onto as opposed to the price that was paid for you? It's gonna melt as quickly as that chocolate, because when we stand before God and his evaluation of our lives, there's nothing that you and I imagine today that is ours that will stand that test except what we've placed under his authority. There's a price been paid for us. So we come to God in prayer, and we're asking him for his intervention. In Romans, it says, "What will God withhold from you if he's already offered up his Son"? We're asking him for a parking place on a rainy day, and we're thinking, "Well, you know I don't want to bother God".

Excuse me, you bothered him to send his Son. There was no other hope for you or me. So we're gonna come to the communion table now. If you're outside, I think you got a little green bag that had the elements of communion in it. if you're inside, you just got the elements of communion. And if you snacked early, you can just pretend with us. If you're watching online, maybe you wanna grab, you can grab a cup of water and a saltine cracker. You don't have to have a church-ordained wafer, isn't that good to know? That is so good to know. When we come to the communion table, we're not just keeping a religious tradition. We're not just walking through some church ritual or some idea. We're coming before that throne of grace through a new and a living way that's open for us, and we're able to come there because we've been bought with a price. The ticket's been paid and the purchase price was the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

So when we come to the communion table as a community of faith or whether you do it at home with your family, we come, not in our goodness or our righteousness or our holiness, but in the authority of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It's why we take the time for communion in public worship services. Now, I'm sure you came today with some circumstances in your life that can only be resolved by the intervention of the power of God. That doesn't make you weak or a failure, that makes you a very normal human being. I came today that way. And it's the reason we take a moment to come to the communion table, because we have a tangible reminder of the price that's been paid. It's been paid. We're not being presumptive or arrogant or demanding or prideful. We don't need an expression of God's will. He expressed his will when he sent his Son on the cross, a divine exchange took place.

In Isaiah 53, it's described in great detail. It says he took our suffering. He bore our shame. The physical marks put on his body that were... so that we might have health and strength in our bodies. It doesn't mean that we don't suffer or have pain or face illness. It means in the midst of those things, we can call on an almighty God for his help. We ask goofy questions, "Pastor, do you believe in prayer or medicine"? Yes, yes! "Well, I've prayed and nothing's happened". Well. "I've missed a meal and didn't lose weight". It doesn't mean the premise was wrong, I needed a little more persistence.

We've treated God like he's some sort of a heavenly vending machine. God is asking us to change our hearts from the inside out, the whole orientation of our lives. We wonder what our friends will say or what our neighbors would think, what our peer group would respond with, and God's saying, "I'm interested in the condition of our heart". There's been a price paid. Now, I know we have needs, but I don't want us to think they're simple. We're gonna come to the communion table and receive the elements, and then I'm gonna pray with you. We'll start with the bread, our Lord himself put this in place. After the Passover meal, it's the night of his betrayal, he took bread and broke it, gave it to his disciples, and said, "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 I'm sure his wasn't out of injection molded plastic, but it doesn't matter. He said, "This cup is the new covenant," literally a new contract. "Covenant" is the most binding agreement that is presented in all of the Bible. "A new covenant sealed with my own blood". Why does that matter? Because that blood opens a new and a living way before the throne of grace. "As often as you drink it, you proclaim my death until you see me again". Why does his death matter? 'Cause he's paying the price that you and I deserve. He's paying the price so we can approach the throne of grace. Let's receive together. You bow with me in prayer.

Father, thank you, thank you for your great love for us, for your mercy and your kindness, Lord, that when we were lost and rebellious and ungodly and could've cared less, you intervened on our behalf. We thank you for it today. We praise you for it today. Lord, nothing's hidden from you, there's no need that we have or challenge we face or habit that we struggle with, there's no attitude within us, there's nothing about us that's hidden from you. And Lord, as we've taken the bread and the cup, we receive your life today. May it bring cleansing to us and freedom to us and life to us and hope to us, give us new eyes to see and new ears to hear and new hearts to receive. Forgive us for our indifference, for our lives of ambivalence. May we choose you with a new passion and a new enthusiasm. I thank you that through the blood of Jesus, we have been delivered out of the hand of the enemy, that the blood of Jesus Christ continually cleanses us from all sin, that through that blood, we've been justified and sanctified, made alive to God. We praise you for it today. Thank you for the great price you paid that our lives might be transformed in time and for all eternity, in Jesus's name, amen.

Hallelujah, one last invitation and we're gonna do it quickly. Can you listen fast? I'll take that silence as a resounding yes. This was the money shot of Easter, the stone was rolled away. You saw it in a video a few moments ago. High drama stuff. A few hours earlier, they had taken the one that they believed to be the Messiah, the incarnate Son of God, the promise that the people have been waiting for for centuries, a miracle worker, a water walker, a demon chaser, one who raised the dead to life, he made wine out of water until the Romans killed him. They beat him almost to death, and then they took what was left of the shell of his life and nailed it to a cross and mocked him while he suffocated in public. And no one intervened. And they hurriedly took down the body because the Sabbath was coming, and God forbid you not be done with that before the Sabbath started at sundown. And they put the body in a borrowed grave and they sealed the tomb. And the Jewish leaders who had orchestrated the sham wanted the stone sealed because there was a rumor that his followers would come and steal the body.

Imagine that. Powerful officials afraid of rumors. So early on Sunday morning, the Bible tells us what happened, it's Matthew 28 and verse 1. It's Sabbath, "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, he rolled back the stone and he sat on it". I love this picture. See, I think we discount the power of God far too often. Most of us believe in the power of evil. We've seen expressions of it in human history, there's things we'll look at and go, "That is definitely evil and human beings are capable of it again". Some of you even believe in the power of demons and unclean spiritual forces and you're confident of their authority, and it's a frightening thought, and Hollywood helps you imagine that. But it seems to me that those of us in the church, we tend to underestimate or fail to reflect on the power of God.

The Bible says that Jesus is coming with 10,000 times 10,000 of his angels. Folks, that's going to be an expression of power and glory and majesty like our world has never seen. Meditate on that, think about that, let it fill your heart. An angel came down, one little angel came down. Blew the stone away. And there's guards there, hardened Roman soldiers. They've watched crucifixions by the dozen. "His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were as white as snow. And the guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men". These hardened Roman soldiers played possum. Don't breathe, don't look at him, don't run, play dead. The next part's maybe my favorite: "The angel said to the women". Had nothing to say to the possum-playing soldiers. Wants to talk to the women that are looking for their friend. There's something to be said for searching for Jesus. I hope you live with that notion, that you're searching to know Jesus. I want to invite you out of that smug sense of self-righteousness that "I know pretty much everything".

Folks, we're beginners. The last year has taught us that. We started having church outside the first week of May last year, and when we rented the gear, I said, "Oh, we'll be there maybe till Memorial Day". I didn't mean 2021. I didn't know we were gonna do Christmas outside or Easter outside. I could care less, I'll gather with God's people wherever we have the privilege of being together. You want to be a searcher for Jesus. Anyway, the angel's got a message for the women: "Don't be afraid, I know that you're looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He's not here; he's risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay".

Now, our first invitation was about a curtain being torn in two, and our second invitation was about a price that was paid for us. The third invitation is about the removal of a stone, a barrier that's going to be totally annihilated, not through physical strength, no human being moved that stone. God did it by the power of his Spirit. God is still in the business of removing barriers from the lives of his people. There's no circumstance, there's no decree, there's no declaration, there's no family story or family history or inadequacy that can keep you from the purposes and the plans of God. He is in the barrier-removing business. But we've been a little casual with this, so I've got one last simple little game. No chocolate this time.

As an observer, my observation is that when it's time to pray, we're pretty casual with this stuff. You know, we pray at church when we're together, and men especially, when I talk to them, say, "You know, pastor, I just don't pray". Maybe you pray over your food occasionally. It's Easter Sunday or Thanksgiving Day. Maybe you pray if there's tremendous pressure in your life, but the truth is, you pray a pretty quick prayer and you expect God to answer now. And he doesn't answer now, you say, "See, I knew it wouldn't work". That's not the prayer I'm talkin' about, because that's not the kind of life decision that gets outcomes. That's not training. That's just a hope in the dark long shot. We've done that all of our lives; we came to church, we said, "You know, I said a little prayer. The wall didn't move. I got a promise out of the promise box this morning and I read it out loud. Nothing happened. I've done it two days in a row and I'm a little mad at God".

I'm suggesting a different kind of a response. I'm imagining that it becomes personal to you, that you give the spirit of God permission. Lord, if there's any place in my life where there's anything in my life that hinders me from your best, you help me to see it and I will turn it loose. I'm not holding onto it any longer. Fear, we have lived under a blanket of fear. In Jesus's name, fear, you have to go. You're not welcome in my life. I don't want you here anymore. That's a different kind of prayer. "Well, I told fear to go yesterday and I watched the news and I was afraid all over again today". No kidding, we have an adversary and an enemy. And my Bible says when you've done everything to stand, you still have to stand, and I would say, "You have to go again today". "You're not welcome here, you can't stay".

We need a different attitude and a different posture. We've gotta learn to trust the power of God and to walk with him. We've put our trust in expressions of government and political parties and fairness. I was praying about something, I had a decision and I needed a blessing from a government institution and it wasn't happening, and I'd met all the requirements and signed all the forms and been through all the meetings, and I was driving down the road to the next meeting, I was mad. I said, "God, this isn't right, it's not just and it's not fair. You helped me," and I heard inside me this little voice say, "Well, who are you trusting"? And I started with my answer, I was mad, I said, "Well, I'm trusting the" And I knew I was just about to put both feet in my mouth. And I said, "I'm sorry, I'm trusting you. And I've been wrong".

We need a church that understands the authority that's been invested to us, not because we're perfect. The church is not a hall of fame. Folks, we're a hospital ward. There's authority invested in us because a new and living way has been opened through the curtain, because there's been a tremendous price paid for us, and because there is a barrier-breaking power at work within you. The same Spirit that brought Jesus out of that tomb is at work in you and me today. Now, I want to close with one more prayer, and I'm going to ask you to pray it with me. But as we say it, I want you to have in mind the challenges in your life today. Your words have spiritual authority. I'm gonna ask you to stand with me for this prayer, wherever you're watching from. They'll put it on the screen, you can read it along with me. All right?

O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with all who love Him and obey His commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from Your commands and laws. We have not listened to Your direction. Now, O Lord our God, hear the prayers and petitions of Your servants. For Your sake, O Lord, look with favor on Your people. Give ear and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of our day. We do not make requests because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For Your sake, do not delay, because Your people bear Your name, amen, hallelujah.

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