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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - A Supernatural Life - Part 2

Allen Jackson - A Supernatural Life - Part 2

Allen Jackson - A Supernatural Life - Part 2
TOPICS: Lessons from Peter, Supernatural, Lifestyle

It is such a privilege to have this time with you and to open the Word of God. We're gonna conclude our study on lessons from Peter. We're still looking at this notion of a supernatural life. There is no Jesus story apart from the supernatural. The Jesus story began with a virgin birth, it ends in the earth at the Resurrection and Ascension back to Heaven, and we're in the 21st Century edition of the Book of Acts. We need the help of the Holy Spirit, his anointing, his power in the midst of our lives. We're not gonna outthink evil, we need a power greater than evil at work on our behalf, and we have that and that authority in Jesus' name. Enjoy the lesson.

In Acts chapter 8, the very next chapter, verse 1, it says, "On that day, on the day of Stephen's murder, a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria". Those are regional names. Judea and Samaria would be like saying Rutherford County and Williamson County. "Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him". Same chapter, verse 14, "When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they got scattered". It's like throwing water on a grease fire and the fire scatters.

Samaria, the next outlying region. When they got driven out of Jerusalem, they went there and began to tell their Jesus story. "And when they heard they'd accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. And when they arrived, they prayed for 'em that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit hadn't yet come upon any of them". They'd simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. They'd been born again, they'd accepted Jesus as Lord of their lives, but in the context of the book of Acts, that Acts chapter 2 experience hadn't become a part of theirs yet.

So, they sent Peter and John. It's good news, the Jesus story is spreading. Remember what Jesus said in Acts 1? "You'll be witnesses for me in Judea, Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth". So, when Luke tells this story, he tells it to fulfill very specifically what Jesus said would happen to them. Now they're in Samaria and there are people there with wrong motives. Simon, he's been a sorcerer, but he accepts Jesus as Lord, but he's still young and immature. And when Peter and John get to town and it says, "They placed their hands on the people and they received the Holy Spirit".

Simon saw that the Spirit was given by the laying on of the apostle's hands. He offered 'em money and he said, "I want that ability". And Peter, he's just walked through the Ananias and Sapphira thing, so, he's a little edgy. And he answers Simon, he says, "May your money perish with you; you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You'll have no part or share in this ministry because your heart isn't right before God". He's a believer, the man has accepted the Lord and he repents, to his credit. So, Peter is... they're out of Jerusalem now and the Jesus story is gaining momentum. Remember, it didn't get any traction during Jesus' life, it was limited. The opposition kinda, it was a standoff until they crucified him.

Chapter 9, verse 32, "As Peter traveled the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda, and there he found a man named Aeneas," he's doing what he saw Jesus do. Jesus traveled the countryside going to the Jewish villages and towns, sharing the good news of the Kingdom of God. Peter is practicing what he had watched. And he gets to Lydda, "And he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed, and he'd been bedridden for eight years. And Peter said to him, 'Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.'" Sounds Jesus-like, doesn't it? "And immediately Aeneas got up. And those who lived in Lydda and Sharon, the neighboring community, saw him and turned to the Lord".

You see the demonstrations of the supernatural are intended to be the doorway, the invitation to the Kingdom of God for our culture. We've gotta stop having seminars on miracles and starting inviting people to believe that God will do something. I'm not opposed to doctors or medicine or science or technology, I'm grateful for all of those things, but none of those replace the supernatural power of God. We have to be awakened to a new belief in God. We have trusted our organizations, or we thought we we would win by number. Folks, we don't need a majority of the people to see God honored in our nation again. The truth has a weight all in of itself. We need a group of people dedicated to the truth and then God will make up the difference.

"So, those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, turned to the Lord. In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha who was always doing good and helping the poor". I edited there, just for the sake of time. If I put all the verse in there you really would have been panicked. But she died, and they heard Peter was nearby and he'd already had a remarkable miracle with this man being healed. So, they sent for Peter to go to Joppa to pray for Tabitha, and she's raised to life again. I mean it is a supernatural story coming from the life and ministry of Peter, who had a hard time keeping it between the navigational buoys, when Jesus was here. I mean, he was just all over the map. And now the most remarkable, the things that happened in Jesus' life are happening in Peter's life. Isn't that what Jesus told them? So, the supernatural. We're outside of Jerusalem.

Now, Peter's in Joppa, it's a port city, it's where Noah got on the boat. God wanted him to go one direction and Jonah's going the other direction. That all took place in Joppa. Peter's back in that ancient city, Acts 10, it's in your notes. "One day, at about three in the afternoon, he had a vision". This is Cornelius, he's a Roman centurion. You understand to the observant Jewish community, that God would appear to a Roman centurion is offensive? I don't know what that be like us getting the report that the angels appeared to mob bosses, while they were busy ordering hits on their enemies, an angel appeared to then. You think, "Well that's not right".

So, an angel appears to Cornelius in Caesarea. And he says, "Cornelius stared at him in fear. 'What is it Lord?' he asked and the angel said, 'Well, your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who's called Peter. He's staying with Simon the Tanner whose house is by the sea.'" Remember Jesus changed Peter's name from Simon, which means a reed, to Peter which means a rock? We're watching Peter be transformed by something that's changed by the breeze, to something that's becoming a rock that's stabilizing the church in this emerging Jesus-initiative.

So, they send for Peter. It's not an easy thing, it's several days journey there. Peter, on his end of this is getting prepped himself, you know the story. He has this vision of the sheet let down from Heaven. It's filled with all sorts of animals that are not kosher. He's not allowed to eat them. And a voice says, "Kill and eat". And Peter goes, "Not me. I would never do that". And the voice says, "Don't call unclean what I said was clean". And that same scene is repeated for him three times. And at the end of the third scene, there's a knock on the door and it's these guys from Caesarea.

So, Peter's not supposed to go with them, it breaks all the rules. I don't know where you could think the least appropriate place you can see a picture of me at, I'm sure it's different for all of you or many of you, but that's about what it felt like for Peter, to say he would go with those people. He's not supposed to go there. In fact, it's going to cause him trouble. He's gonna get called on the carpet when he gets back to Jerusalem. But he goes with him and when he gets to Cornelius's house, it's in your notes, verse 25. "As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and he fell at his feet in reverence, but Peter made him get up".

I highlighted the name Peter because in these eight verses Peter is mentioned seven times. Luke wants us to understand, Peter did this, Peter went there. It wasn't Fred or Frank or Alfalfa, this was Peter, day of Pentecost Peter. This was Peter at the Beautiful Gate with the lame man Peter. This was Peter that called out Ananias and Sapphira; Peter went there. Nobody else could have gone there. Nobody else could have been utilized to open this door. It required the force of Peter's character, it required his credibility as a leader in the church in Jerusalem, and that's being highlighted to us in the text. Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence, but Peter made him get up.

"'Stand up, I'm only a man.' Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. And he said to them, 'You're well aware that it's against our law for a Jew to be here. But God has shown me that I shouldn't call any man impure or unclean.'" You understand that's a little offensive? "Until yesterday I thought all of you were impure and unclean, but I had kind of a supernatural experience, and I've decided maybe... not sure yet, but maybe". "So, when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me"? And while Peter is still speaking these words, who else did we think was talking?

"While Peter's still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. And the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. And Peter said, 'Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water?' And they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days".

The rest of you clowns can leave, we need Pete to stay, we like him. It's a remarkable story. The events of Acts chapter 2 now have been duplicated in the most unlikely of places, Caesarea a pagan Roman city with the temple to a Roman God in the heart of the city in the home of a Roman centurion. Remember what Jesus said? "When the Holy Spirit comes on you, you'll be empowered to be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth". Peter talking to this group of people in Caesarea, reflects the uttermost parts of the earth. Before we get to the end of the book of Acts, the Jesus Story will have made it to Caesar's household in Rome.

Acts chapter 11, the very next chapter, he has to defend what happened. "When the apostles and brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the Word of God". When Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers celebrated with him that the world had opened to the Jesus story. They criticized him. "And they said, 'You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.'" That's what you'd think when you saw that picture of me that you thought of just a moment ago. "What could you have been thinking, Peter"?

May I offer a suggestion, big rock idea: leading through change is never easy. In this particular case the events of Acts chapter 10 are supernaturally ignited, angels visiting Romans, visions with Peter in Joppa, the sovereign intervention of the Holy Spirit, it interrupted Peter's outline. I mean the Holy Spirit just jumped right in, in the middle of his notes. I mean, the whole story is supernaturally orchestrated. And when Peter gets back to Jerusalem, the heart of the church, the church where the shadow of Peter is bringing healing and thousands of people are acknowledging Jesus, and thousands are being baptized, the leadership of the church in Jerusalem goes, "That's not God".

Change is not easy. Peter Story isn't done in the book of Acts. Acts chapter 12 is a very significant escalation. It's the most brazen attack we've seen yet upon the believers. I don't think it's possible for us to recapture the emotion of it, but we'll take just a moment. It's Acts 12. It says, "It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church. He intended to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword".

Now the three of the original disciples that were closest to Jesus were James and John, they're brothers, and Peter. They were the three that Jesus took with him to the Mount of Transfiguration; there's multiple places where Jesus gave Peter and James and John, and it usually says, "Peter, James and John, the brother of James". But those three were the closest. And Herod arrests James. And we get the definition, it says, "The brother of John," and he put him to death with the sword and he cut his head off. "And when he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. Now it happened during the feast of Passover".

How do you think you would feel? Remember the first time they got arrested, the angels came and opened the jail. "Go finish your sermon". The first time they were drug before the Sanhedrin, they said, "We have to please God more than you". And they just scolded 'em a little bit and sent 'em away. The next time they were before the Sanhedrin, Peter said, "We have to please God rather than you," and that time they wanted to kill 'em. And they gave enough license in the streets of Jerusalem. The sentiment of the Sanhedrin infected the attitude of the city. It was spiritual more than it's political, and it was true then and it's true today.

The attitude of hatred towards what Peter and John were saying about Jesus of Nazareth, was escalating again, that spirit of Antichrist was growing in the city to the point that it manifested itself when they murdered Stephen. And Herod, you could say many things about him, but he was astute politically. And he recognized the tone, the spirit that was seizing Jerusalem. In the midst of all the things that were happening, there was enough jealousy, there was enough antagonism against Jesus that he thought, "I can make some political points out of this". So, he arrested one of the primary leaders of the church and murdered him. And his poll numbers went up. So, he arrests Peter. "And after arresting him," in verse 4, "he put him into prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of soldiers. He intended to bring him out for public trial after Passover. So Peter was kept in prison".

There's a little throwaway line, I don't think I put it in your notes. It's not a throwaway line at all, but it says, "The church was earnestly praying for him". Now the other time we know where Peter was in prison, he got out of prison, the angels came and let him out. This time he's spending nights and days in prison. Remember what Jesus said to him after the resurrection? He said, "Peter, there's a day coming when you won't be able to go;" he told Peter what kind of death he would die. So, Peter understands that his ending will be as a martyr, and they just martyred James. Think that might have been a little bit of a battle in your mind while you're chained in the prison?

Verse 6, "The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and the light shone in the cell, and he struck Peter on the side and woke him up. 'Get up!' The chains fell off his wrists. And the angel said to him, 'Put on your clothes and your sandals,' and Peter did so. 'Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,' the angel told him".

Peter thinks he's dreaming. I don't think it's just a single angel there, because if you read the full passage, it says that the doors in the jail are swinging open. I think Peter saw the angel that's there to guide him out. I think there's a whole contingent of angels there, opening doors, silencing whoever needs to be silenced, blinding whoever needs to be blinded; they're there to get Peter. It's a search and rescue mission. And Peter's not processing it, he's not this man of faith going, "I knew it". He's not talking trash on his way out of the jail, he's not taking selfies, he didn't have his camera up going, "This is gonna make a great post". Verse 11 it says, "He came to himself".

When he was out of the jail, when he was clear of the prison, he came to himself, "And he said, 'Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.'" He understood with clarity what was in front of him, he'd been living with that. It's the fortitude, it's the courage, the boldness, the determination that came with the presence of the Holy Spirit. They're different, this is not the same crew we followed through the Gospels, that are bickering and arguing and fighting. They're facing challenges now, but there are different kind of challenges.

Something has happened to them. I mean the story is told in such a way, Peter goes to find the church that's been praying for him. He seems to know where they are. And he goes to knock on the door, it's the middle of the night, and they've got the house locked and he knocks on the door, and they send somebody to answer the door. And she looks and she sees Peter. She leaves him outside. It's really, it's comical to me. She goes back inside where they're praying for the release of Peter and she said, "It's Peter at the door". And they said, "No, it's a ghost, he's in prison". And Peter keeps knocking, "Hey, it's me"! "Whoever that is, tell 'em to hush, we're trying to pray for Peter".

It's really clear that all involved are learning to follow the Lord in a new way. It's not rinse and repeat, it isn't routinized. There's not an arrogance about it, they're not defending, they're learning and God keeps slaughtering the sacred cows. "No, you're going to Caesarea and the Romans are gonna get this, too. They're gonna get the identical thing you got in Acts chapter 2. Your breakout moment's gonna get duplicated in the midst of the least likely place". That debate will rage all the way through the New Testament. And finally, Peter gets their attention. Verse 17, "Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet".

You think there might have been a little enthusiasm? "Oh, can you imagine? They killed James, they killed James, and they got Pete. We have got to pray. What would we do if we lose 'em both? What will become of us"? And he's standing at the door. And he had to quiet 'em down. Do you think, you think there might have been a tear, a little emotion? Do you think the guys are standing there going, "Well, you know, I'm not very emotional". The Lord brought him out of prison. "Tell James". There's another James by this point, Jesus' brother has a role of significance in the church now. "Tell James and the brothers about this," he said. And it's one of the more unexpected lines in the New Testament to me. "He left for another place". "I'm gonna stay quiet for a bit. I've work to do".

You see the last time the angel led him out of prison, "Go back to the Temple Mount. When they come for you in the morning, you tell 'em". And he does, "You killed the Messiah". He spent several days in jail this time. "Tell the brothers I'm okay. I'll see you later". I have to read you the end of that chapter. There wasn't room on your page for the whole thing. But I'll read you the end of the chapter, it's Acts 12, it says, "On the appointed day, Herod, wearing his royal robe, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. And they shouted, 'This is the voice of a god, not a man.' And immediately because Herod didn't give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died".

Look at verse 24. Oh, you don't have this in your notes. Sorry, I have better notes than you do. You can check, it's Acts 12:21 to 24. But the last verse in that chapter, "But the word of the Lord continued to increase and spread". Chapter 12 verse 1, it says, "King Herod arrested some and he put James to death". And the last verse of that chapter, Herod's dead, and the Word of the Lord is continuing to increase. God has called us to this season, to be salt and light. I wanna pray for you, will you stand with me? We got through your outline, plus a bonus passage that I didn't even put in your outline. Glory to God, it's a miracle.

Lord, thank you. I thank you for your church in the earth, Lord Jesus, that you're watching over it. Holy Spirit, I thank you for your presence within us, in our midst, to guide and lead, and to comfort, to direct. And I pray that we would be good students, that we would cooperate with you. Lord, we see around us expressions of darkness and evil, and we hear threats, but we choose to focus our attention on you, on your victory, your triumph over death, your triumph over hell, your triumph over the kingdom of darkness. And we ask that on our journey through time, that those victories would be made evident through our lives, that you might be glorified, that your name might be exalted, and your Kingdom extended. Give us boldness in our homes and our neighborhoods, with our friends, when we gather with others. May we have the courage to tell our Jesus stories. May we have the courage to tell the truth, to not appease evil but to stand up. Lord, give us a new boldness. May the fear of God grow in our hearts as never before. And through it all, may you be glorified, in Jesus' name, amen.

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