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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - A Revelation of Great Things - Part 2

Allen Jackson - A Revelation of Great Things - Part 2

Allen Jackson - A Revelation of Great Things - Part 2

It's an honor to be with you today. We're gonna continue our study on 2020 Vision. I suspect all of us have had an eye exam and we've had to look through the lenses and they change the focus, and we have those embarrassing times when we can't read the chart and if you have eyes like I do, you need a little correction help. Well, I wanna make a suggestion. I think we need some spiritual vision correction. We're either near-sighted or far-sighted, or we just fail to recognize what's happening around us. And the purpose of the Spirit of God in our lives is to help us understand our world from a God perspective. If well open our heart to the Holy Spirit and his help, it will change our vision and cause us to have more productive, fruitful lives for the kingdom of God. Grab our Bible. Get a notepad. But most importantly, open your heart.

Abraham knew his faith was greater than me, myself, and I. Our faith has become too self-centered. It's too focused on "what's in it for me" in the moment. It's almost been entirely coopted by that idea. Now, I believe God wants to help us in the moment, and he does it in the most remarkable ways, but God will invite you, if you're willing to cooperate, on a journey that will impact the generations who follow you. "Amen, Pastor Allen. I'll sign up for a little bit of that journey". God is moving in the earth. God is moving in the earth. Look at the next segment, Joel chapter 2, it's a promise from the prophet Joel. Time was limited; I couldn't give you the whole prophecy. He said "afterward", after what? After God restores the Jewish people to the land of Israel. After he restores them from everything that has been destroyed, taken away from the suffering that they incur.

God said, "After that, I will pour out my Spirit on all people", not just the Jewish people. "Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my spirit in those days". God's gonna give us visions and we're gonna be able to see in a new way. We'll have insight and understanding beyond just our physical eyes. We're gonna need something more than our five senses to navigate the world that's before us. That prophecy from Joel is picked up on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. The Holy Spirit is poured out. The disciples, that look more like Keystone Cops or Three Stooges than world changers, are transformed in Acts chapter 2.

The Holy Spirit is poured out upon them, and they begin to have an insight and understanding that simply was not present prior to that. They understand more about who Jesus is and what he's accomplished. They have a new boldness and a new courage. They have a new willingness to stand before the people who were threatening their very existence, and say we will not stop. All of that is unleashed. That transformation happens in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. I wanna read you just a portion. A crowd gathers, and Peter begins to speak to them. "And Peter stood up with the Eleven, and raised his voice and addressed the crowd: 'Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men aren't drunk, it's only nine in the morning!'"

They're behaving in a way that's caused the crowd to say, well you know, there's somethin' wrong with 'em. They're too happy, they're too enthusiastic. They act like they're drunk. I don't believe Peter just manufactured that. That's not a great introduction. He's responding to the accusations that are being bantered around in the crowd, and he said no, it's a little early for them. Oh, come on, you can laugh at that at church. This is what was spoke of by the prophet Joel, and then he quotes Joel too. "In the last days, God said I'll pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams", they'll have an awareness and an insight, "Even on my servants, men and women, I'll pour out my Spiri, they'll prophesy".

Prophecy is a God perspective. You're gonna have understanding, insight, awareness, a perspective of what God is doing. Folks, we need that. There is no solution for us beyond that. I gave you several passages from the Book of Daniel. Daniel is a young man when we meet him. And God gives him a very unique ability. He gives him an awareness, a spiritual awareness that causes Daniel to become a pivotal figure in the history of the Jewish people, and the people of God. In Daniel chapter 1, Jerusalem's been destroyed. The temple is gone. The Babylonians have conquered it. The Jewish people have been humiliated. The temple has been plundered. And now Daniel is a foreigner living in a foreign city. He's serving in the court of a pagan king. He has every reason under the sun to be angry and rebellious, to be sullen, to be broken, but he's not.

In fact, he's made a public statement that he intends to honor God with his life. And I just gave you the summary statement of God's response to him. Says, "To these four young men, God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds". God gave Daniel a different kind of vision. He said, "I'm gonna give you an insight, and ability beyond your physical eyes, something you won't get from a book, Daniel. You've honored me, and now I'm gonna bless you". I think it's worth noting at least in passing, that those four young men that are discussed there, the first three found their way into a fiery furnace, and Daniel finds his way into a den of lions.

So, the blessing of God, the provision of God, did not eliminate them from the conflicts of life. And I don't want you to be confused by that, because sometimes when life is more difficult than we want it to be, when the challenges that come to us are unanticipated and they're very unwelcome, we are tempted to imagine that God has abandoned us, that his promises weren't good, that he's not trustworthy. That's not the message of scripture. Before the story's complete, all four of those young men have triumphed in their stories, but they have some very challenging pathways to walk. By the time we get to Daniel chapter 2, there's a death sentence that's been pronounced over them.

All the wise men of the entire empire are to be murdered because the king has made a request, and nobody can fulfill it. He had a dream that terrified him, and he's asked for his wise men to interpret the dream, but he can't remember the dream. And they've said to him, "You're not being fair. Nobody can be asked to interpret a dream when they don't know what the dream is". And he said, "I may not be fair, but tomorrow you'll be dead". And the message comes to Daniel, and there's a little note there. I just put, it's the 2nd chapter. Daniel says to the king, "There's a God in heaven who reveals mysteries". And he's shown King Nebuchadnezzar what'll happen in days to come. "Your dreams and the visions that pass through your mind as you lay on your bed are these".

And then he tells them his dream and the interpretation. If you're following the narrative, God put a message in the mind of Nebuchadnezzar while he was asleep, and it terrified him to the point that he wanted the insight and the understanding. And when none of the people in his service were able to provide it, he was desperate enough to listen to a Hebrew slave. And Daniel uses the opportunity to give glory to the Lord. Sometimes when we're standing and difficult places, there's a God opportunity in the midst of it. If we can lift our eyes a little bit and lift the heaviness of our heart, then we can push back on the fear and the anxiety and the uncertainty and say, "God, I believe you're a God who delivers".

I'm intrigued by the statement that Daniel made, that there's a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. Do we have that kind of courage to be willing to stand when our lives are in jeopardy, and say there's a God in heaven? We hear it echoed in his three friends when they're standing before the king when they won't bow to his statue. They said, "The God we serve can deliver us from your hand. But if he doesn't, we will never bow to your statue". You hear that same thing in Daniel in chapter 2. "You plan to execute me tonight, and you may do that yet, but there's a God in the heavens who knows everything". Daniel had a confidence in something beyond just his physical eyes. We've gotta cultivate a bit more of that. We've gotta open our hearts to that.

Look in Daniel chapter 10. There's really a part of vision in every chapter of the Book of Daniel, but I went to chapter 10 because I think it's so profound. In the third year of Cyrus the king, there's been an empire change, so there's a change of leadership. A revelation was given to Daniel. He didn't have a single revelation; he had multiple revelations time after time after time. He was trustworthy. God could trust him. You see, who you are when nothing dramatic is happening is the fuel for being prepared when a dramatic response is needed. Don't imagine that the routine of life is bad. Don't imagine that being responsible and faithful to those seemingly small tasks means God has overlooked you.

If you will stand faithfully in the place God has asked you to stand right now, he has a trusted vessel when he needs someone to receive an insight or an understanding. If we are unfaithful in the small things, if we're sloppy with the day-to-day, we don't have time to read our Bible, we don't have time to serve, we don't lead generous lives, we ignore the things of God, they we're not trustworthy vessels. Daniel has a revelation. "His message was true and concerned a great war, and the understanding of the message came to him in a vision". Daniel said at that time, "I mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over". Daniel has an insight and a revelation, but it only arrives after three weeks of prayer and fasting. Three weeks of self-sacrifice. Three weeks of focused effort.

See, I think we imagine God should drop the vision into our heart during the commercial break when we're watching our favorite program. Or at the very least, he should give it to us while we're in the car on the way to or from church. After all, we went to church. And you may have driven thirty minutes or forty-five minutes. Certainly, that deserves some kind of spiritual revelation. Daniel has fasted and sought the Lord for three weeks. "On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, I was standing on the bank of the river, the Tigress, and I looked up, and before me was a man dressed in linen with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like", he's an amazing representation.

Look at verse 7: "And I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me didn't see it, but such terror overwhelmed them till they fled and they hid themselves". His friends couldn't see it, but they understood something supernatural was happening, and they all ran and hid. Daniel's left alone. It's gonna take a kind of courage to follow the Lord we haven't had to have before. "I was left alone, gazing at this great vision. I had no strength left, my face turns deathly pale, and I was helpless. And then I heard him speaking, and as I listened, I fell into a deep sleep". Look at the message, it's verse 11: "The angel said, Daniel, you are highly esteemed; consider carefully the words I'm about to speak to you".

Three weeks of seeking the Lord before Daniel has the understanding that he's necessary. We're gonna have to begin to seek God with a new kind of discipline and a new kind of determination. You know, we understand what it means to work on a business opportunity. I'm required to do that. There're some projects I've been working on for well over a year. It's just required all sorts of help and effort and documents and communication. It'll be a wonderful victory when it's completed, but it's not accomplished easily. It's taken days and weeks and months, unfortunately. We understand that if we take our children, if we're gonna help them become involved in athletics, we're gonna watch dozens and dozens and dozens of ballgames. We think it's part of the journey. We find a way to celebrate it. We make friends at the ballfields. We learn to enjoy being outdoors. We find a way to put a positive face on it.

Will you allow me to suggest that we have to cultivate a will to seek God with diligence? Will you consider it? Will you put that back into the bucket of those simple prayers I've asked you to consider? God, if I could seek you with a little different determination or a different kinda diligence, if I can make room for you in my life in a new way, would you help me understand that? See, what I find, and I find it in my own heart, I want God to dramatically new things, but I wanna keep doin' what I've always done. I'd like to see evil vanquished and the kingdom of God celebrated. I'd like to see prayer in our schools. I'd like to see truth in our churches. I'd like to see public figures filled with integrity and honesty. I'd like to see people serve our communities and our cities and our states and our nations with the good of the people as their first interest.

I would like to see violence vanquished. There're so many things I would like to see, but I'd like to see it while I'm eating ice cream. But if it requires me to make a change or to make an adjustment or to reorder my schedule or to forfeit an opportunity and use that time and effort to seek the Lord, my interest becomes to diminish a bit, 'cause I did that once and nothing happened when I got done with it. Or maybe you did it for six months, or maybe you did it for two years, and then you were betrayed by someone or disappointed by a Christian. Please don't let expressions of ungodliness or wickedness or darkness diminish your determination to honor the Lord. The truth is, the body of Christ is the... we are the wounded.

I'm sure I should remember the artist, but there's a picture from the American Revolution. They have the American flag, and I remember the fife player. He's got the bandage around his head. They're all wounded and lame, and you realize it's a triumphant story but the people that are celebrating the triumph have clearly been through a battle. It's the way I see the church. And I don't wanna diminish the reality of the wounds you have, but I wanna submit to you is that they haven't removed you from the contest, and if the pain was so significant that you stepped to the sidelines for a season, we're gonna pray in just a moment. I wanna invite you back onto the field.

One last passage. I got a minute. It's in Acts 13. The church has begun to take the Jesus story around the Mediterranean, and in every city where they go, they find people who were willing to accept it, and in almost every city where they go, they find opposition. There's often riots. There are frequently arrests. Sometimes there's physical suffering. It's a challenging story. It's not like they just had the Roman Road to Salvation tracts that they're passing out, then everybody cheers.

When we get to Acts 13, Paul has found another challenge, and there's a person opposing, a very powerful person. His name is Elymas. He "opposed them and he tried to turn the proconsul", the political ruler of the region, "from the faith. And Saul, who was called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit", that's the phrase I want you to highlight or circle or at least remember, Paul filled with the Spirit of God. He's given an insight and understanding. He's given a response beyond his training as a Pharisee. He's given a response that's beyond just his experience. The Spirit of God prompts Paul to say something, and I wanna draw your attention to it. He said he "looked straight at this man and he said 'you're a child of the devil. You're an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord"?

May I submit to you, those are not warm, fuzzy words of inclusivity? Paul didn't look and him and go, "Well bless your heart. I understand you aren't trained in the ways of scripture. I recognize that you didn't walk with Jesus. I can tell by your accent that you don't understand the Jewish people and who we are and what we believe. You've never read the Torah". He didn't say any of those things. In fact, he gave him no quarter whatsoever. He looked at him and he said, "You're a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that's right and you're full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord"?

But Paul didn't stop there. He didn't stop with words. He said, "'Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You're going to be blind, and for a time you'll be unable to see the light of the sun.' Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed", duh! He was amazed, it says, at the teaching about the Lord. But I think he was amazed at the demonstration of the power of God. It's a harsh response, and it's a very difficult consequence, and I would submit to you it is not a bridge-building dialogue, nor an expression of tolerance. Paul recognized the opposition and the threat it posed to an untold number of people being able to hear the gospel. And he was not tolerant of that.

Is it possible we have been tolerant of evil impeding the purposes of God? Is it possible that in our passivity, that we have been tolerant while we have sacrificed our children? I don't want you to be angry, and you don't need to respond with belligerence and absolutely not with violence, but we need to be awakened to the story that we've been given. We've been taking our cues from the secularists. They've been defining to us how Christians should respond, and we have nodded passively and said, "Thank you". May I submit, we should take our cues from the Spirit of God? That he should direct us, and he should lead us. We need his help. I thank God that he's awakening his church, that he's called us to this season, and I assure you that he has everything we need to lead triumphant lives in the midst of what is happening in our earth. We can see our children delivered from darkness and ungodliness and evil. We can see our schools released from the grip of some of the things that seem to have taken hold of them. If the church can be awakened. Amen.

I brought you a prayer, but I don't wanna pray that with you. I mean, it's a good prayer. I prayed it several times today already. But I would rather say a prayer for you. And I wanna give you an invitation. If you're here tonight and you need a miracle, that could be physical, it could be emotional, it could be somebody in your family, by miracle, I mean you have a need of an outcome that you can't produce on your own. It would require God's intervention for the outcome to be acceptable, and you would know God had done it. If you're one of those people, I'm just gonna ask you to stand wherever you happen to be seated. So, we can dispel one myth, that people that come to church don't have problems. If you can't see us, three-fourths of us here are standing. And it's not just because the sermon was so long.

Well, we're gonna invite God into the midst of this. The rest of you that are seated near these people, maybe you wanna stand with them if perhaps you put a hand on their shoulder, just their shoulder. If you don't know 'em, tell 'em who you are. If they won't talk to you, don't let 'em touch you. I mean that. I don't like strangers praying for me. But we stand together. You know, how God brings deliverance is up to him. If you have a need for physical healing, if God wants to bring that healing through medicine, yea God. Most of us would rather not be involved with that, we'd rather have something that we imagine is less painful or less costly. What we're really asking God for is to bring health to our bodies. If you're in turmoil, we need the God of creation to bring peace to us. If you family is divided, only God can change a human life. Hallelujah. Let's pray:

Father, I thank you for your Word. I thank you for its truth and authority and power. Lord, I thank you that you created us with the senses we need to interact with this physical world, but I thank you that you've also given us eyes of faith and understanding hearts, and ears that can discern, that we might cooperate with your purposes. We ask you to forgive us when we have been distracted or disinterested. We turn our faces to you tonight. Lord, we pray for one another. There are those standing amongst us with great needs. Some have great physical challenges. Lord, we ask you to bring life to their bodies. Others are facing great stresses or they need wisdom for the decisions before them.

We ask you, Father, to give them insight and understanding far beyond training or education or life experience. Whatever you need, nothing is hidden from you, but we lift them before you now, and I pray that your power and your authority will be released in our lives by the power of your Spirit. That where there are unclean spirits and unholy things standing, opposing your purposes in our lives, that they'll be turned back tonight in Jesus's name. That you'll bring freedom and deliverance and restoration and renewal.

We praise you for it, Lord. Where there's been anger and resentment and bitterness, may its authority over our lives be broken. May we be willing to forgive and to release. Lord, where we have suffered rejection and we have felt isolated and alone and on the outside, I pray that that spirit would be broken over our lives and we would know that we have been accepted by the King of kings and the Lord of lords. I praise you for it tonight. We give you glory and honor and thanks that you're a God who heals and delivers and restores and renews. We praise you for it, and we receive it now in Jesus's name. Amen.

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