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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - How To Flourish In Chaos - Part 2

Allen Jackson - How To Flourish In Chaos - Part 2

Allen Jackson - How To Flourish In Chaos - Part 1
TOPICS: Provision, Chaos

God's plan. I wanna take a minute with that. I've got a minute. If we don't finish here online, it's okay, we'll work on it to some later. I'll quit by 9 o'clock, no matter where we are. 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 3. if I were limited to a single passage to give you a perspective on how to navigate what's before us, I would be as happy starting here as any place. This is Peter, the big fisherman that Jesus recruited. He had no imagination what was about to happen to him. "'Follow me,' he said, 'I'll make you fishers of men.'"

Jesus borrowed his boat one day. A crowd had gathered on the shores of the lake and Jesus needed a little distance to teach the crowd, so he pushed out a few feet from the shore and used Peter's boat and taught the crowd. And when they was done, Peter got down on his face and said, "Go away from me, I'm a sinful man". And Jesus gives him the invitation that was to change his life. And he accepted the invitation. Not everybody Jesus gave that invitation to accepted it. Keep saying yes to the Lord, please?

Don't imagine that the only time you have to say yes to the Lord is when you're born again. He will keep putting invitations in front of you. He did that to Peter. "Peter, I'm praying for you. The Devil has asked to sift you, I've prayed for you. Peter, do you love me"? "You know I do". "Peter, don't you call unclean what I have called clean". Peter had to keep saying yes to the Lord, are you willing to keep saying yes to the Lord? Well, the time he writes this, he's an old man. A magnificent strength of his from pulling those nets out of the lake, it's been diminished a bit.

Those powerful shoulders and forearms have been diminished a bit. His hair is streaked with grey. He didn't spend very many more days fishing on the lake. I'm sure it was the joy of his life, cause when the pressure was really great, that was his default; he went fishing. But he spent the majority of his life providing stability to this emerging notion of Jesus people. And near the end of his life... We don't know how Peter died, the Scripture doesn't tell us. Church tradition says that he was crucified, but that he asked to be crucified upside down because he didn't deserve to die in the same way that his Lord had.

But he wrote these words, 2 Peter chapter 1: "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these, he has given us his very great and precious promises so that through them, you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world, caused by evil desires". That's an amazing collection of statements. He said that God's divine power has given us everything that we need for life and godliness. There's nothing you need or I need to lead our lives, or to lead it in a godly way, that God has not provided. He's given us everything we need. Amen?

Now I think we might as well start with the ultimate promise, it seems to me, Joshua, chapter 1 and verse 8. Joshua is the one that's gonna lead the people into the Promised Land. And, he says, "Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night, so you may be careful to do everything written in it, then you'll be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go".

Now let's start with that last sentence, "Be strong and courageous". You've learned enough now about some principles of reading your Bible, that when you see these things, you know for certain that the people being addressed have a problem. If God says to them repeatedly, be strong and courageous, what are they not? Probably not strong and courageous. And then he said, "Be strong and courageous, don't be terrified". "Y-y-yes sir". "Don't be discouraged". Little prefix "dis" means without, don't be without courage. Discouragement doesn't mean you're blue, doesn't mean you're a little low. To be discouraged means you lack the courage to address the opportunity. We have to understand what's necessary to be in courage, to be with courage.

So the instruction to Joshua and those people with him is, be strong and courageous, don't be terrified, don't be discouraged. Now let's go back to verse 8. There's the promise, "Don't let this book of the law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night. You be careful to everything in it, you'll be prosperous and successful". That's the promise. God said, "Listen if you'll focus, I will see to it that you prosper and are successful". I'm in, if there's a line over here for prosper and successful, I'm gonna get in it.

People say, "Are you one of those prosperity people"? Yeah, what are you? I mean, I don't need to compromise my character or manipulate the Word of God to get my way, I don't want to inflate my carnal nature, but the blessing of God brings good things. And he's telling Joshua and the generation with him how they can live in that blessing. God is no respecter of persons, if you meet the conditions, God will do for you what he did for any of his servants. I've interacted with lots of people at this point, I've never met anybody that just truly wants to fail. Each of us is born with a deep desire to succeed.

When we fail, it's not because of a desire, we lack understanding on how to succeed. It's beyond us. And God is giving to Joshua the conditions for a promise, he said, "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth. Keep it in your mouth". To meditate on it, which was a part of the assignment, refers to your heart and your mind. Think about it, reflect upon it, let your feelings walk through the words. So I had to summarize the conditions for the promise it's think about God's law, speak about God's law, and act on God's law. Rightness is established by God's law not by governments or judges or pastors, God does that. It's why we have to know God.

Now, admittedly, you and I have a broader revelation than Joshua had. We have the whole counsel of Scripture, so we have a bit of a broader revelation, but the principles are the same. I can illustrate that if you'll bear with me, in Romans chapter 10, I'll give you a New Testament passage. It presents us with the requirements for salvation. "But what does it say? 'The Word is near you. It's in your mouth and in your heart,' that is the Word of Faith we are proclaiming. That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it's with the heart that you believe and are justified, and it's with your mouth that you confess and are saved".

Again, it's very plain, it says that with the heart man believes, and with the mouth man confesses. Definitions help a little bit, to confess is just to say the same as. When we confess, we're saying the same with our mouth that God says in his Word. And the instruction is to cultivate the habit of saying with your words what God's Word says. Salvation is something of a technical meaning in the Scripture. In the New Testament, it's an all inclusive word that reaches around all the benefits of Jesus's redemptive work. It's not just a ticket into eternity in the presence of God. Salvation is everything you need for life and godliness, both in time and for all eternity.

And it's made available to us through Jesus's redemptive work, his death, burial and resurrection. That is salvation. And to believe less than that is to reject a portion of what Jesus did for us. That makes no sense, it's disrespectful. In both Romans and the passage in Joshua, there's a relationship between the mouth and the heart. In Romans 10 and verse 8, it says, "The Word is near you in your mouth and in your heart". In verse 9, it says, "Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart". In those two passages, it begins with your mouth and follows with your heart. In verse 10, it reverses the order. "With the heart man believes, and with the mouth he confesses".

In the simplest way I know to put it, the way to become convinced of God's truth, is to make the right confession. You believe God's Word is true, and you humble yourself and you say what God has said. It's not an accident that I say to you hundreds of time, I believe God created the heavens and the earth. I understand that idea is pummeled with skeptics and derision. It's the introduction to the Word of God. If you reject that statement, the rest of the book makes no sense. The way you establish yourself in the truths of God's Word is by being willing to say them out of your mouth. Look at James 2:17: "So in the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead".

You see, for a concept to actually become transformational, you have to believe it, you have to put your faith with it, which means you have to act upon it and the primer for that, the trigger point for that is being willing to verbalize it. It's why we need one another so much. It's why there's strength when we're together and what happens before church and after church and the conversations you have, encouraging one another, saying, "I'll pray for you. I believe God is faithful. I believe he will see you through. I believe he will deliver you". Every time you give expression to your faith, it grows in you and it benefits someone else.

But one of the problems we all face is the problem of sin, our sin. And if we can have a candid moment, we can all acknowledge it's a problem. It has been a problem in our lives, it continues to be a point of temptation. And the real issue, and if you haven't thought about it, it's a real issue. How can we be sure God will forgive us? Cause understand this, if you're not absolutely, completely, totally forgiven, you're not participating in the Kingdom of God. Ninety percent won't make it. Being good won't make a difference. There will be good people in hell. Being generous isn't enough, there will be generous people in hell. There will be kind people. There will be polite people, there'll be people who lived tame lives.

How can we know, how can we be sure God will forgive us? Well, the Bible is very clear. And the beginning point, and I think it's essential, is that there's just no one who has not sinned, we're all guilty. In fact, you outta look at the person on your right for just a second, say, "I thought you looked a little guilty". Look at second... I'm sorry, 1 Kings chapter 8. This is the instruction, he said, "When they sin against you, for there is no one who doesn't sin..." He's preparing them, he said, "Listen, when your neighbor sins against you or your adversary, they're gonna do it because we all do it". And yet we're shocked by it. We're surprised by our tendency to do it.

You know, laws will not diminish sin. We're not gonna outlaw evil. Isaiah 53 and verse 6: "We all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way". We have all gone astray, and the fundamental nature of that sin is that we turn to our own way. We just don't want to be encumbered with God's way. It doesn't mean you've been involved in gross immorality or some violence against your neighbor, but all of us are guilty of saying, "I'd just rather do it my way, I don't intend to do it God's way".

In the New Testament, Romans 3:23 says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". All have sinned and the ultimate sin is we've fallen short of the glory for which God created us. Sin in its simplest definition is a failure for which we are accountable. It matters. Sin leads to the same consequence every time: death. It's a failure for which we are accountable. It's a failure to live up to God's requirements of us. When we sin, we rob God of his glory, we fail to fulfill the function for which we are created by God. And again, it's a failure for which we are accountable. Now the prognosis of sin, the outcome of sin, the Bible tells us it's not a mystery.

In Romans 6:23, it says, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". It's a spiritual law, it's more dependable than gravity. It's clear, and it's undeniable in the counsel of Scripture. Now I understand sin is no longer fashionable. I understand that if you listen to conventional wisdom and the public discourse, sin is a construct of your own imagination. That is an unscriptural idea, it will lead you to a destructive place. Help your children, they're being bombarded with it. They're being taught that in schools, they're learning it from their peers, they're absorbing it from social media. They need to see that you have a healthy respect for God's boundaries, it's important. Sin always leads to death and destruction, not sometimes.

James chapter 1 and verse 13 said, "No one should say when tempted that God is tempting me for God can't be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he's dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it's full-grown, gives birth to death". When we are tempted, it's by our own perverted desires. We're hardwired for ungodliness. We don't have to be taught how to lie, it just rolls out of us. You're dead asleep, your phone rings and you answer it. And we all ask the same stupid question, "Did I wake you"? "No, no, no, I'm sitting on the edge of the bed 2:30 AM just hoping you'd call. Sitting here staring at my phone, I saw you on caller ID and I grabbed the phone". Yes, I was asleep. "Did I wake you"? and what do we say? "Oh no, uh-uh, not at all".

We don't have to be coached up on that. We don't have to be coached on how to be selfish. We don't have to be coached on how to be filled with greed or envy or pride. That's our nature. We need the help of Almighty God, the Creator of all things, to help us overcome those things. Verse 15 gives us the process, it says, "After desire has conceived". I think a better translation is lust. Desire feels kind of tame, lust feels a little edgier, lust leads to sin and sin given expression, brings death. If a progressive desire is left unaddressed, it will lead to death. Sin is addictive and progressive.

Now death in this sense, in this passage, is not just the cessation of life, death is alienation from God. That's far worse. Jesus said, "Don't be worried about somebody that can just kill your body and after that can't do anything". You see, that's not really that big a deal. "Be worried about somebody that after they kill your body, can separate you from God". Now there's one more component of this that we wanna touch, and that's the burden of sin. You see, sin in your life is a burden. Guilt and shame, it's heavy, it limits you. It's as difficult as carrying £100 sack of feed on your back all day long.

Psalm 32: "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me. My strength was sapped, as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and didn't cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I'll confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the guilt of my sin.'" You can be delivered from the burden of sin and set free forever. Hallelujah. It's the good news of the Gospel. We don't wanna excuse it or justify it, or explain it or blame it on somebody else, we wanna be free of it. We wanna be made clean. God's promise, this is the solution. His promise is forgiveness.

Proverbs 28, "He who conceals his sins doesn't prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy". It's the opposite to the promise God gave Joshua. This is the prescription for forfeiting prosperity. God told Joshua how to prosper and be successful. In this Proverb it tells you how you can lose your prosperity: conceal your sin. But if we confess and renounce, it says, we will find mercy. God requires that we honestly acknowledge to him our sins, it's for our sake; he knows. We're the ones that gain the freedom. Do you really think you're hustling God? See we have this bad mistake we make, you think if you can fool the preacher or the person you sit next to at church, that we're good to go.

Folks, God knows the thoughts and intents of our heart. When we bring it out into the open, we make a way for deliverance and freedom. But we're given a pathway, we have to renounce it, turn from it, and all that was involved with that decision. 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he's faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness". The promise is, he is faithful to forgive us. We don't have to live with guilt and shame. He is just to forgive us because of Jesus's redemptive sacrifice. He's not breaking the rules. He's not giving you a carve out. He's not a helicopter parent that's asking for some special permission. He sent his Son to die a horrible death to exhaust the curse of my ungodliness and yours, so that if I will take the instruction, if I will meet the condition, if I will confess and renounce, I can be free.

So what's required? We're getting ready to practice. What's required to be forgiven? You have to confess your sin. You have to renounce your sin. I wasn't confused, I wasn't duped. It wasn't in a weak moment. And then by faith, you have to receive God's forgiveness. From time to time I meet people and they say to me, "I just don't believe God can forgive me". And I've learned to say to them, "Well help me understand, what makes you so special, because for the rest of humanity, the shed blood of Jesus Christ was an adequate sacrifice. But clearly you're so extraordinary, you need something beyond the shed blood of Jesus". You have to accept it. You have to believe it. You have to believe it. Won't you stand with me for this prayer?

Oh Father, I thank you for your Word for its truth and power and authority in our lives. I thank you that you've called us to this most exciting season to bear the name of Jesus and to see your Kingdom extended. As we've received the bread and the cup tonight, Lord we come before you to acknowledge those places where we have fallen short of what you created us for, those places where we have made choices, where we have stood in places that we should not have. We ask you to forgive us, to cleanse us tonight. Lord we offer no excuses, no justification. It's not someone else's fault.

Lord, we ask you to forgive us, and as we do, we forgive all those who have sinned against us. We release them tonight. I thank you that through the blood of Jesus, we have been justified and sanctified. And Holy Spirit, we ask for your help. If there are any places that we have overlooked or we have ignored that need addressed, we ask you to bring 'em to our remembrance. We wanna walk uprightly before you. We wanna be careful to honor you in our thoughts, with our words and with our actions. We praise you for your faithfulness. Lord Jesus, we thank you for your great provision. May your name be exalted in the earth and your kingdom established. In Jesus's name, amen.

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