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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Supernatural On Display - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Supernatural On Display - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Supernatural On Display - Part 2
TOPICS: End times, America, USA

It's not complicated. The expression of our faith and the demonstration of God's power go hand in hand. We need to adjust to our imagination. We have believed for too long. One more Bible study was our breakthrough. Now I'm an advocate for study you know that we read our Bibles together year upon year. We're in the book of Exodus. Don't despair, Leviticus is coming. We're gonna read it, but we have to acknowledge we need the help of God's power. We're not done with Ephesus yet. In verse 23, it says, "About that time there arose a great disturbance about the way". Way was the reference being used for the people that believed Jesus of Nazareth. A Jewish rabbi was actually the Messiah. "A silversmith named Demetrius made silver shrines of Artemis and brought in no little business for the craftsmen".

There was a lot of money made in Ephesus from idols, from worshiping demons. It was profitable. Can we acknowledge that wickedness can be profitable and that people will defend it with whatever lie is necessary because they are filled with greed and covetousness and a demand for more? And all of those things have flourished in the church for far too long. "So he called them together and along with workman in related trades, he said, 'You know we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia.' He says that man-made gods are no gods at all". They have understood the message. They have heard the message, and they have rejected it. They prefer their pattern. They prefer the expression of their will.

Understand what's happening, because we need to understand what is before us. Not everyone who hears the message is going to cheer. They will say things, they will use contemporary language much like Demetrius did. You're intolerant, you're a bigot. You're filled with hate. Now, I don't find on their side of the discussion they're tolerant of my worldview or loving and embracing what I believe to be true. But they are very, very quick to label any dissent as inappropriate and wrong and it needs to be shut down. It is not new. The question in play is our courage and our commitment to the Lord. Watch what happens. Demetrius goes on. He says, "There's a danger that not only our trade will be will lose its good name".

Who said they had a good name? Worshiping demons does not usually bring a good name. "But also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world will be robbed of her divine majesty". Sounds like the same kind of dribble we hear today. "When they heard this, they were furious and they began shouting; 'Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.' And soon the whole city was in an uproar". As something's being unleashed.

In Acts 3, we saw what happened when there was a healing in the city of Jerusalem, says the whole city was stirred and the people came and said, "What do we have to do"? The emphasis is the motivation, is demonic. And it says the whole city's now in an uproar. And they rushed and seized whoever they could grab and drag them into the largest arena in the city. And it was a very confusing gathering with people shouting and accusations being made without any supporting information. Imagine that we've never seen that. Verse 32, "The assembly was in confusion and some were shouting one thing and some another". Some were asserting that they had seen the evidence and they had most certainly colluded with somebody and I'm sorry it's not. "Most of the people didn't even know why they were there". And finally, in verse 36, it says, "When they realized what was going on, they all shouted in unison for about two hours, 'Great is the Artemis of the Ephesians.'"

What begins as an expression of greed and covetousness, an idle worship ends up in this confusing chaotic chant? Great is Artemis. What's the spirit behind that? What's the spirit behind that? That's not a complicated question. It's the spirit of antichrist. It wants to be worshiped in place of the Christ. Antichrist doesn't mean you're just opposed to the Christ, that's part of it, but you want to replace the Christ. You see that craving given expression in this spiritual conflict in Ephesus. It's played out in economic terms. It's played out through the small business association and the chamber of commerce and the city council. It takes place in this rather chaotic town hall meeting, but what's really being given expression is the spirit of antichrist.

And we've gotta become a little more sophisticated in spiritual things just like the new believers in Ephesus were. These aren't grizzled veterans of decades, folks, their faith is pretty new. It's a matter of months, at best it's a couple of years old. Apollos started, Paul's been coaching them. There've been some expressions in public, there's been bonfires where a cult activities in practice were repented of and turned back and people had forfeited millions of dollars of paraphernalia that was wrong. So there's clearly a moving of the Holy Spirit. We shouldn't be surprised that there's a response from the spirit of antichrist exalting demon worship.

So when you see expressions of evil, you should start looking for expressions of the moving of the Spirit of God. What is God doing that would elicit such a response? What is God doing in the earth? Well, I can tell you big picture, a couple of things I've told you many times. He's establishing the Jewish people on a piece of property that he promised to them way back in the book of Genesis. And he's doing it to the consternation of a great deal of the percentage of the world's population including the majority of the UN. But the Jewish people in tiny Israel flourish in spite of the avalanche of hatred, and he's purifying his church. You understand the head of the church is a Jewish rabbi.

I had a phone call this week from a trusted friend, a believer, and he was a little newer to the discussion of the Jewish people at Israel. And he said, "I'm trying to sort this out". And he was, and I said uh-huh, yes and this and we talked a little bit and I said, you know, we have no story. It says we were grafted in. We're not separate from them, we're a part of the narrative. What we're watching is not new in the earth, the question is about our generation. Chapter 20, the chapters and the verses were added much later after the text was written. They're really just references so we can find our places to have a conversation.

And the next verse says, "When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and after encouraging them, he said goodbye and he set out for Macedonia". Paul didn't imagine that a riot in town was enough to disrupt the church. God, I'll see you later. For real, but that was a contemporary thing. Well, I can't leave for four or five more years. Paul said, "Now you got the foundation, you've seen the victories and you understand the nature of the challenge. Go get it". Wait till we get to Ephesians. You'll hear him reminding them. This uproar begins as an economic problem. The gospel is changing lives and disrupting patterns of behavior. You understand the gospel is intended to be disruptive to sin. It needs to be disruptive to sin in our lives first. "Amen, Pastor".

This is not a 21st-century problem, folks. We're not the first group of God's people to face invitations towards immorality in perversion and to be told, it's a more enlightened way to live. Our adversary doesn't have new ploys. The old ones have worked so well, they've never had to be improved. This way when we study civilization back through history when we study forms of government, they always arrive at the same place, authoritarian domination because there's a spirit of this age behind them all. The only thing that will enable us to retain liberty and freedom or to regain liberty and freedom because much of them have already been taken from us. We haven't been paying attention, they suspended our freedom of assembly. They have suspended our freedom of worship. They suspended our freedom of speech or they call it misinformation.

Who said you had to speak the truth in order to speak in public? Do you understand what's happened? They don't intend to relinquish those. They'll create the excuse to reassert the authority we've always read and seen them assert, and we said so little. We put on our masks and went home. We're going to have to find a new kind of courage. "Guard what has been entrusted to your care". Paul said to Timothy. Turn away from godless things. Turn away like they did in Ephesus. Yes, there's a cost to turning away. I even know if you decided to be one of the people that thought that what Paul was teaching was true and you brought your things to be burned, that you had friends in your peer group that didn't intend to do that. I mean, if understand that it was not a unanimous response in Ephesus or there wouldn't have been a riot. There wouldn't have been an arena filled with people chanting, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians".

If everybody had sided with the gospel, I think it could have been intimidating to get the believers together the day after that riot. Well, I want to close, not quickly, but I want to close. Didn't want to get your hopes up with a little bit of application because I very much wanna move beyond just gathering information and begin to invite you to participate with the Spirit of God in your life. In the previous session, we walked through this with specifically some things targeting bitterness or unforgiveness and the opportunity of forgiving. I would encourage you to go back and listen to that previous session, particularly the last 20 minutes of it.

It's a powerful set of tools and those prayers that are in that outline, they need to be in your portfolio. If not in your memory, they need to be in your phone. They need to be something that are a part of your own spiritual practice and they need to be something that you can share with people who are on the journey with you. There are those who will be delighted to find that there are things that will help them gain freedom. There'll be others who are obstinate and who are offended. We're not different. Celebrate those who will receive it and continue to pray for those who are obstinate. I wanna pick up a different topic in this session, same pattern and it's the challenge of pride versus the promise of humility. If you ask me for the most destructive element, the most destructive weapon focused on humanity in scripture, I'm not sure I could find one that is more powerful than pride. In fact, it really predates our human conditions.

Satan lost his place in heaven because of pride. So I need you to begin to make space in your imagination and your thought process that pride is more than just some subtle weakness. It will rob you of what God intends you to have and leave you in complete destruction. It's a far greater threat than any physical disease process that we could identify. Jesus said don't be afraid of something that can just kill your body. Be afraid of something that after it's destroyed you physically can cast your soul into hell. So pride is far more threatening and far more dangerous than any disease process that anybody could ever diagnose you with. But I think for the most part, we treat it pretty casually as if it's something we can manage or it is a cute part of our personality. I brought you just a couple of passages scripture. We could elaborate this in great detail.

Proverbs 3 in verse 5 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight". Now, for the skeptics in the house, that's not a verse that's promoting anti-intellectualism 'cause the book of Proverbs also teaches us to search for wisdom with the same determination and enthusiasm that we would search for silver or gold. Meaning we would have to move enormous amounts of inert material to get to a very small amount of something that was precious. So Proverbs tells us to spend tremendous effort in energy on learning God's wisdom. But we're being reminded in this verse to trust in the Lord with our whole heart. That's not just with our mind, that's with all of our emotions, with our will.

You know, there's a difference between your brain and your thoughts. When your physical body stops functioning, the engine of your brain will stop functioning but you'll still have your mind and your thoughts. That's another day, huh? Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him. Acknowledge God's ways in how you think about male and female. Acknowledge God's ways in how you think about family. Acknowledge God's ways in how you think about business. Acknowledge God's ways in how you think about telling the truth. Acknowledge God's ways in how you feel about moral and immoral. And don't imagine that sitting in church makes you a God person. I think it's far more important how you do when you sit at the kitchen table than how you do when you sit at church.

If you hide the truth at the kitchen table, what makes you think you're at peace with God? Proverbs 3 in verse 34 says, "God mocks proud mockers but he gives grace to the humble". That verse is quoted multiple times in the New Testament. In 1 Peter 5, Peter says, "Young men in the same way be submissive to those who are older". And you thought it was just wives that were told to be submissive. Young people, young men, be submissive to older men. "All of you young and old, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another". It's an interesting image. Put on humility. Gratefully, you all chose to put on clothes to come to church, for most of you it required a bit of thought, some decision-making. That's the image that we're given here intentionally put on humility toward one another, not just towards God, towards one another because... and here's the motivation for it. "God opposes the proud but he gives grace".

Grace is undeserved, unearned blessing. He gives unearned merit to the humble. Now, there's two categories here. There's not a third option. You can be in the group whom God opposes not gonna go well. If the creator of heaven and earth says, "I'm gonna see to it that you lose". Even Vegas would not give you good odds. The other option is this says God will give you undeserved, unearned things you didn't qualify for that could only be understood as blessings from him. And to get in that line, you have to clothe yourself with humility.

Now, humility isn't saying that I have no value. Humility doesn't say I'm just a weak worm of the dust and there's nothing in me that's worthwhile. Humility says that we have a right opinion of ourselves. That we let the opinion of ourselves be formed by what God has said about us. And he said we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that we're created in his image, that we're temples of his spirit but we don't all have the same gifts and abilities, the Bible says. We're different. It says that the hand can't say to the foot, I don't need you. Very different functions, very different abilities and capabilities but all important. So in our differences, we're not lesser or greater. Male and female doesn't make us lesser or greater, it makes us different. God created us male and female. Have enough humility to acknowledge the designer's decisions. It's an expression of rebellion we're being coached towards. We prefer to say how I identify.

Let's finish the passage. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand". Why would you do that? Why would you not be filled with selfish ambition and self-promotion? Because he will lift you up in due time. Look says, the creator of heaven and earth says he's gonna put you in his promotion program. Stand right there. He says, "I'm coming for you. I've got a plan for you. And if you'll be faithful to it, I'll reward you for all eternity". Look at the very next verse. It's so honest. "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you". What are you anxious about? "I don't trust his plan. He needs my help. I gotta get out in front of him".

He doesn't understand. I'm like Ananias. "Yeah, I know you want me to go pray for Saul, but let me tell you about Saul. You haven't checked your social media today. He's an angry violent character. He puts people like me in prison on his good days, on bad days, even worse. And I mean, I appreciate the invitation, but I'll take a pass, thank you. You go pray for Saul if you think Saul needs prayed for". Ananias, I need you to cast all your anxiety on me. God, I know I'm supposed to be upright and forthright and tell the truth, but if I do that my competition is gonna get an advantage. God, I understand what your provisions around moral and immoral are. And I understand the context in which you create in sexual activity for our lives but it looks like a lot of fun. And I'll work on the forgiveness aspect after I'm done with my fun.

And we stand in our arrogance in our pride in our rebellion and we forfeit the blessings of God and we ask as if God is some fool and that we can kind of jovially half-heartedly, wave some message about forgiveness and eliminate all the consequences for our open rebellion. Folks, we hold that because we're ignorant of the scripture. Pride. Pride. The same pride that got Satan removed from heaven was fully evident. When Jesus was on the earth he says that Satan took... Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit of God.

Now, Satan has seen Jesus in all of his glory. So I'm imagining that he would recognize the presence of the Spirit of God upon Jesus. I mean the demons recognized in Jesus in the synagogue in Mark 1 and they said, "We know who you are". So the demons had that kind of discernment and understanding. I'm pretty confident Satan had understanding way beyond the fact that Jesus had just gotten baptized, but he had the arrogance, the pride to still come and say, "I want your place. I want your place. I will trade you the kingdoms of this world if you'll just worship me".

Pride. And we stand in our pride, what we want, what we think, what we feel. What's it gonna bring to me? Oh yeah, we wanna be Christian. We wanna sit in church but I'm not singing that chorus. I don't like it 'cause I'm the arbiter of how worship should be done. Pride, and it robs us. Proverbs 16 says, "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall". Pride goes before destruction. Folks, we can't afford it anymore. We have been a prideful people. We have. I've spent my life in the church. I'm grateful for the church. It has been a tremendous blessing in my life. But we're in a new season, God began an awakening in 2020. He loves us too much to leave us asleep.

Won't you stand with me for this prayer? We're gonna read it together. If you're at home, you can stand and read it right along with us. We can hear you right through the lens. No, we can't. But the Lord can. You ready?

Heavenly Father, you have told us to trust in you with all our heart. You have cautioned that pride goes before destruction and arrogance precedes stumbling. I confessed that I have often ignored your counsel and imagined my strength was sufficient, my training was adequate, my determination would create the desired outcome. I have placed my will above yours and I have sought my way before accepting yours. I confess my sin, my pride, and my selfishness. I pray that all ground gained in my life by enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ would be canceled as I repent and overcome these expressions of my carnal nature. Holy Spirit examine my heart and help me to see the ways I have lived pridefully in the precious name of Jesus, amen.

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