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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Investing In The Life To Come - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Investing In The Life To Come - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Investing In The Life To Come - Part 2
TOPICS: The Benefits of Serving Jesus

So I brought you a collection of folks, I didn't put them in an order of significance, just the order that they're introduced to us in Scripture. I'll start with Abraham. We meet Abram in Genesis chapter 12, very near the beginning of the book. And God gives Abram an invitation. He said, "If you will leave the place that you live and go to the land that I will show you, I will make your name great. I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore and all nations, all people on earth will be blessed through you".

Abram heard that and he went and got a moving truck, and he backed it in the driveway and he went in the house and he said, "Sarah! We're moving". And she was a reasonably good woman. She said, "Fine, where are we going"? And he said, "I don't know". And that's where the conversation headed a little south. And she said, "Well, why would we do that"? And he said, "God spoke to me". "Really, what'd he say"? He said to leave. "Is that all"? "No, he said he'd make my name great, and he said our offspring would be like the stars in the sky and all people on the planet will be blessed through me".

And I'm thinking the follow-up conversation there is not recorded on purpose. But they left. They loaded the truck and off they went. And a day passed, and a week passed, and a month passed, and a year passed, and then decades passed, and there were no children. And then the opportunity passed, and it was no longer an opportunity. And one day two angels showed up and they said, "Abraham," they were having a meal together. They said, "We're gonna visit with you next year at this time, and we're gonna see your child playing in the nursery". Sarah was in the room next door, she heard that she laughed, and they looked at Abraham and said, "Why did your wife laugh"? And he said, "Well, you see I'm an old man, and have you seen Sarah"?

It's in the book I promise, you can read it, it's right there. But they conceived, and Sarah gave birth to a son, his name was Isaac. And Isaac grew to be a young man. And one day God said to Abraham, "I want you to take Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice to me, not figuratively. I want you to put him on an altar and take his life". And Abraham seemingly inexplicably, called Isaac and got all the things he would need, and they started off for the place God would show them. That's what's in your notes. It's Genesis 22, "When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it, and he bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood". He built a pile of stones, then the wood on it to consume the offering in the fire, and then he bound his son and laid him on the altar.

"But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, 'Abraham!' 'Here I am.' 'Don't lay a hand on the boy. Don't do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you've not withheld from me your son, your only son.' And Abraham looked up and in the thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns, and he went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place 'The LORD Will Provide.' And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the LORD, it will be provided.'" It's a pretty fascinating story.

Now, God is omniscient, he knows the ending at the beginning. So I believe God knew what Abraham would do long before Abraham got to that hilltop with Isaac. It's really a story of Abraham understanding what's within his own heart. It's Abraham choosing to yield his life to give the most precious thing he has as a means of honoring the Lord, he trusted God. The book of Hebrews, I gave it to you, you can check me. In Hebrews, it says, "Abraham believed if he took his son's life, God would raise him back to life again". That confidence was built in Abraham over a long period of time.

Let's look a little further. David, King David, the greatest of all the Israelite kings. You and I meet David in Scripture when he is a boy. Samuel the prophet comes to his house and anoints him. He's got older brothers, people more qualified, but God said, "I've chosen this one for my purposes". Pretty exciting stuff. And David starts out with a bullet, well, actually a sling and a rock, but you get the idea. He takes down Goliath. And in a very short period of time, he's pushed to the forefront of national attention, and there's a lot of enthusiasm around David. God said he is gonna be king; the only problem is there's already a king, and the king has no intention of leaving.

So David lives as a fugitive for a long time; he's hunted. God said he would be king, the prophet came to anoint him, and he's living like an animal in the desert. And after years of faithfulness, David secures the kingdom. David is the one who captures the city of Jerusalem and establishes it as the capital city of the nation of Israel more than 1000 years before Jesus. I don't believe it's accidental or insignificant that our nation this week recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the modern state of Israel. But near the end of his life, David says, "I wanna build a temple for God".

Since they were slaves in Egypt all the way until David captured Jerusalem, and that's hundreds and hundreds of years, the center of worship has been a tent. And David said, "It's not right that I live in a house, a palace, and we worship God in a tent. I want to build a temple". And God sent the prophet to David and said, "You can't. There's blood on your hands". David was a warrior. It also says David was a man after God's own heart. God promised David that from his lineage would come the Messiah. That's pretty heady stuff. Anybody here ever been on Did you find Messiah in your family tree? I didn't think so. David is a man honored by God but God says to David, "You can't build the temple".

Now, at that point, if it were Allen, I'd have been tempted to take my toys and go home. Well, if I'm not good enough to build your temple, you can stay in your old tent. Do you ever get mad at God 'cause he doesn't do what you want? I have. I've stood in the field at night and shaking my fist at the heavens, because the hardness of the path I was walking seemed unfair and unjust. And I didn't like God's job performance, and I thought he needed me to explain to him. But David didn't react that way. David took that season of his life, and he put together the plans for the temple, and he secured everything they needed to build it. He made treaties with the neighboring nations to provide the timbers they would need. He accumulated the plans for it, all the resources for its construction. He recruited the skilled people to do the work.

You happen to remember who followed David? Who was the king before David? Saul. Who was the king after David? Solomon. That's very good. This is a smart group. Who was the king after Solomon? I'm not gonna tell you, you'll have to look it up. But David put everything together. So his son Solomon, when he came to the throne, a young man with far less experience, it was, the whole kit was already put together, the team was already recruited, everything's in place, it's fully resourced. But then David did something even beyond that, and that's what's in your notes. It's 1 Chronicles 29. He said, "Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God..." There is no temple. He's just devoted to the idea of the temple.

God said, "You can't build it," but David's all in. "Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple: three thousand talents of gold, seven thousand talents of refined silver, for the overlaying of the walls of the building, for the gold work and the silver work, and for all the work to be done by the craftsmen. Now, who is willing to consecrate himself to the LORD"? David has everything needed for the temple to be put together. And he says, "Beyond that, now from my personal treasury, I wanna make an investment so the temple can be done in the finest possible way. We're gonna overlay the walls with gold".

It says he donated 110 tons. I did a little quick math on that. You know, the values change so it's an approximation, but by current standards, a ton of gold is worth about $40 million. And he gave over 100 tons, and then he gave a ton of silvers worth about a half million dollars. And he gave more than 250 tons of silver. He made a little investment for the temple. And then he did something brilliant. He had all the leaders of Israel with him and he said, "Now, which one of you wants to participate? We're all gonna own this".

He did everything he knew to do with the abilities, and the skills, and the resources that were entrusted to him to let the purposes of God go forward. He did it physically, and he did it with his leadership. He gathered, the people and said, "You want some ownership in this, too. We're all in it together". And God could trust him. He had a heart. He said he had a heart after God. You see, the yielding of our lives for the purposes of God will not diminish your life in time, it will enhance it, but it will be rewarded for all eternity.

I'll give you a different example, we'll go to God himself. God put this pattern in place. God's the one who teaches us to give. John 3:16 says, "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall have eternal life, shall not perish but have eternal life". God gave his Son. Why did he do that? 'Cause we had a problem. We're a race of rebels, and he gave us the rules on how to be holy, and we can hardly read the rules, let alone keep 'em. We complain about having to read them. "I'm not reading that, that's dry".

Ought to try keeping them. That'll dry you out. We had a problem so God intervened; the only resolution for our rebellion and our sin was somebody to take the punishment for that, so he sent his Son. He didn't send him on a summer vacation, he didn't send him on a miracle tour. He didn't send him just to reflect the power of the Creator of all things; he sent him to the earth. He sent him to Bethlehem in the vulnerable package of a baby, knowing he was destined for Golgotha. And he watched the mistreatment, the rejection, the abuse, the mockery of a trial, the Roman governor with the audacity to condemn God's Son to death. God watched the soldiers blindfold his Son and beat him over the head and say, "Tell us who hit you". And he sat on his hands, because you and I needed help.

Look at what Romans says in Romans chapter 8. "He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him over for us all, how will he not also with him freely give us all things"? When God asks us to honor him with our lives, he's not asking for something that he hasn't done on our behalf. He's given his best to us, and we wanna participate in his eternal kingdom, but we quibble. We have to grow up in the Lord to learn to yield to him. Jesus himself, it says, laid down his life. Look in John 10. Jesus said, "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life, only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord".

Jesus could have done other things. He had options, he wasn't forced to do that. He chose the humiliation. He chose the indignity. He chose to suffer. Why would we choose a pathway that was less pleasant? Why would we do that? Because we believe there's a life to come. Why would we not be hedonist? Why would we not eat, drink, and be merry? Why wouldn't we just try to get all we can, and celebrate every way we know, and give full expression to whatever impetus towards pleasure touches our soul? Why would we do anything to discipline that? Because there's a life to come, and we wanna be pleasing in God's sight, because he will reward us. The temptation for Jesus was to accept the worship of the people as king without ever going to the cross.

Isn't that what Satan tempted him with? He said, "If you'll bow down and worship me, I'll give you authority over all the kingdoms of the world". And there were times in his life when the miracles were so remarkable and the response from the people so intense, they would've taken him and made him king. Jesus said that, "I can't do that. I'm here on an assignment". May I tell you the truth? So are we. So are we. Jesus isn't done. Look in John 19, we get to listen in. Jesus is having interview with Pilate. Pilate is the Roman governor of Judea, and Pilate is the one that has been asked to pass judgment on Jesus. And the interview isn't going well, Jesus doesn't seem to be cooperating, and Pilate says to Jesus, "Do you refuse to speak to me"? "Do you refuse to speak to me? Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you"?

Folks, I'm pretty confident of this, Pilate thinks he's the smartest man in the room. "Do you refuse to speak to me"? Can you see him? And Jesus answers him, finally. He said, "You have no power over me if it weren't given you from above". May I ask you a question? Because, you know, if you evaluated Pilate by his contemporaries, he was the most powerful man in the room. That's true. But it was a very narrow perspective to understand his life. Who was the governor before Pilate? Do you know who the governor after Pilate was? Do you know what happened to Pilate after he gave up his position in Judea? I didn't think so. The only reason you knew anything about Pilate is he had a conversation with Jesus.

Imagine how different it would've been if Pilate had taken a knee and said, "My Lord and my God". His wife tried to warn him. She said, "I had a dream, this is an innocent man". Pilate knew he was innocent. He had a bowl of water brought, and he washed his hands in public and said, "I'm innocent of this man's blood," as if that would make him innocent. Imagine if Pilate had gone out and said to Caiaphas, "I'm not doing this". Do you think Pilate's eternity would've been different? Do you think his life in time would be different? You know, I have discovered something. It's much, much easier to see what other people should do.

How many of you have clarity on how the people that work with you could be more godly? How many have a lot of insight on the people that live under the roof with you, how they could be more godly. Don't raise your hand if they're here. That's not good. look bewildered at the question. "I have no idea". It's much, much easier to see that about other people. I give you a little prayer to pray: "God, if there's anything in my heart, in my life that's keeping me from your best, help me to see it".

Folks, there's nothing that you give to the Lord (your time, your talent, your thoughts, your energy, your effort) you will ever regret. We've approached this the wrong way. We've looked at it as something loathsome, a burden, as if it's taking something away from us that we could do something more valuable with. There's nothing more valuable you can do with it than give it to the Lord. Paul said it in the plainest of language, he put it in accounting terms. He talked about profit and loss. "Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ".

Paul was on the fast track to be the rabbi of the rabbis. He was gonna lead the Sanhedrin. He was making a name for himself. He had a great education. He was riding the opportunity, and he met Jesus. And he reoriented his whole life, and he became an outcast amongst the peer groups whose approval he had sought. And now later decades into the journey, he said, "Listen, everything that I thought was to my profit, poof, it was dust. And the things I thought I didn't want any of, I'm all in on those".

God will help you reevaluate; it's a part of growing up in the Lord. God will reward you if you will honor him with your life. I've been giving you each week in this study, a summary, a set of summary points, and I brought some; I didn't put them in your notes, I ran out of room. And I built the outline with eight-point type font. And when I looked at it, I realized you need a miracle to read it. So I put it back to its normal place, but I'll give you the points real quickly. You can just jot 'em down if you want 'em, if not, just hear 'em. Number one, giving reflects God's character. God's character will grow in you as you learn to live more generously with your time, your energy, your talent, your resources. Secondly, possessions gathered in time may have an impact on your life to come.

What you do with the things entrusted to you in time can have an impact on your life to come. It's easy to substantiate from Scripture. The rich young ruler that came to Jesus, Jesus said, "Come be my disciple, just liquidate, come on". The man was holding onto something. Lots of examples. Three, in your heart and in your thought process, begin to cultivate a spectrum between generosity and stinginess, giving God a tip. You wanna be generous, and I'm not talking primarily about your money, and your evaluation, and how you think about God, the effort you put towards him, the energy, the resources, the space in your life. Be generous towards him versus a tip. Giving is the simplest way to process that.

The Bible talks about a tenth, the first tenth belonging to the Lord, but that's not all. That really, that's not even a good tip by today's standards. You say there's no more offerings today or no pledge cards under your chair. We have drifted a long way from the invitation. We think in terms of, "It's mine, and I need it, I want it. There's stuff I want to do, and places I want to go, and things I wanna become". There's a link between your heart and your possessions. And finally, the last one from God's perspective, and this is biblical, we've looked at it through these weeks. From God's perspective, it's foolish to trade your life to gain something you can't keep. You only get one trip under the sun. You only get one brief stint in time, and what we do in time determines our reward for all eternity.

And God said if you spend your whole life in time trying to accumulate something you can't keep, he said that's just a foolish perspective on life. It's immature, it's childish, not childlike. Honor the Lord, he will reward you. You've been birthed into his kingdom. You've been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of his Son. Hallelujah. But now let's honor him with our lives. In whatever season you're in, give God your best. Say, "Lord, there's a gulf between where I am and who you are, and I want to narrow that gulf. Holy Spirit help me. I wanna honor you in my choices. I wanna give you my best". And God will respond to you in time and for all eternity. I'm more excited than you, but I've done this three or four times today.

I brought you a prayer, but I'd really rather pray for you if I may. Why don't you stand with me? You know, God wants good things for you? God doesn't need anything Allen has. My talent will not put the heavenly economy over the top. Any financial gift I could make will not relieve the anxiety and the angels of heaven over their resource needs. I don't have anything that God needs, but he is giving me the privilege of yielding my life to him that he might reward me for all eternity; and that's not just about me, it's about you. I just wanna ask you to begin to say to the Lord, "Lord, help me to see that with more clarity. I don't wanna live foolishly".

God's not against nice things, and nice opportunities, and that's not what this is about at all. We get too hung up comparing ourselves to somebody else. Well, they've got more than I do, so it's okay for me to want more, which it doesn't matter how much you have, it's never enough if you haven't yielded your heart to the Lord. You feel insecure. You know somebody that has more, and you want what they have. But if we can learn to say to the Lord, "All I have is yours," God would not only meet all the needs that we have and give us a fulfilling, rewarding life, he'll reward us for all eternity. It's a great deal. It's the best deal I know; it's why I signed up, and I wanna be certain you were told. I don't want anybody not knowing. Can I pray for you? All right, let's bow:

Father, thank you, thank you for your Word, for its truth, and power, and authority. I thank you for every person here, Lord, that you have called us out of darkness into the kingdom of your Son, Lord, that you have delivered us from slavery. You have broken the power of sin over our lives and established us in a place of freedom and liberty and hope and promise, and we praise you for it today. Holy Spirit, I pray you give us wisdom to make choices that would bring God's best to us in time and would bring his rewards to us in all eternity. We praise you for it. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear, a heart that is open to your invitations. Forgive us, that we have demanded our will, and our way, and our wants, and we have turned deaf ears and unseeing eyes to you. I thank you that you will help us. Let a respect and a reverence for God grow within us, that we might attach a value to your eternal kingdom that is far beyond anything we can see or experience in time. We praise you for it. I thank you for it, in Jesus' name, amen.

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