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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Transition of Power

Allen Jackson - Transition of Power

Allen Jackson - Transition of Power
TOPICS: All Things New

We're gonna continue this theme we've been working on under the title of "All Things New". I've really enjoyed this study for my own self. I pray that it's been a benefit in some other way, but it's certainly been a blessing to me. It's given us an excuse to put some fun things in the lobbies of the church. We've had virtual reality stations out there so you can have a little technical experience that perhaps haven't been a part of your journey yet. Not necessarily brand-new but it's certainly on the newer edge, and just a fun way to remember that God's not caught off guard by technology. You know, when the first iPhone rolled out, I don't think God went, "Wow! Never thought of that".

You know, sometimes we hold the imagination. I think it gets some cultural momentum that to be a Christ follower means you're a little out of date, you're a little antiquated, a little out of step, that somehow God's intimidated by what's new or fresh and that the cutting edge of ideas and creativity and innovation resides somewhere in the secular arena, but the church should stay away from it. I don't believe that. I believe the most creative force that will ever touch a human life is Almighty God. That's the truth. In the church, we don't always have to be the earliest adapters of technology or on the leading edge.

But, folks, we don't have to be afraid of it either. The message that we hold is timeless. The truths of God's Word are not subject to changing cultural standards or fads or traditions or ideologies. They have stood the test of time across the centuries, across cultures. The sanctity of human life, the central role of the family, the definitions of marriage, God gave us those things. And he didn't rethink his position when the Supreme Court had an idea. The truths of the Word of God are timeless. But the delivery system in which those truths are served and provided, have to fit the hands of every generation. And sometimes, we confuse the two. We get more heated up about the delivery systems than we do the truths that we're delivering.

You know, on a typical weekend at church, we'll have people from every age and life stage, from the youngest infants all the way across the spectrum. And we serve water to everybody that comes. Across the hall in the nursery, the babies are getting their water this morning from a bottle. To move down the lobby a little bit to the early childhood area, we're gonna give them a drink during snack time, but they're probably gonna get theirs in a sippy cup with some goldfish crackers. But if you move on down the lobby, we're gonna give away several thousand cups of coffee today in a cup and it's up to you whether you want a lid on it or not. By the time you can drink coffee, you can decide how you're gonna receive it.

Same basic beverage, served in different containers based on your lifestyle. And we give away the timeless truths of God's Word in containers that fit our generation. And too often in the church, we get confused about that. We end up getting really heated up. I mean, we lose the joy of the Lord over containers. "I mean, I can't worship the Lord. That's not the style of worship I like". And the young say it, and the old say it, and everybody in between says it. May I just make an observation? Your decision to worship has nothing to do with style or the individual that's leading, "That's not the worship leader I like so I'm not gonna worship".

May I tell you, you are deceived if you're living in any one of those excuses. We worship God because of who he is. We should worship the Lord if all we had was a kazoo and a bucket, because God is worthy of worship and praise. I appreciate personal style and preference and there's times and places for that, but don't let it intrude. People say to me, "Oh, I can't read that translation of the Bible". Well, really? "Yes, it's so contemporary". Well, may I just... let me... the clue phone's ringing, just a minute. We have no hand-signed autographs of any of the literature in the Bible. We have no original copies of any book of the Bible. Everything we have is a hand-copy of a hand-copy of a hand-copy, in another language, from antiquity. And they've been translated into English, after all that process.

And then you and I look at it, and go, "Oh, I can't read that one. Those aren't the word choice..." For real? You know, I still think there are some verses still stuck in my head in King James English. But I gotta tell you, the apostle Paul didn't write that translation. Didest thou know that? So sometimes we just get way heated up about secondary stuff and we set the truth of God aside, really casually. I don't wanna be guilty of that. All things new is the topic. We've been looking at a list of things God is gonna make new.

Our text is Revelation 21 and verse 5. Says: "He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I'm making all things new.' And He said, 'Write these words, for they are faithful and true.'" I don't believe it's an accident that the Bible begins with God's presentation as the creator of the heavens and the earth. And the Bible concludes in the book of Revelation with God as the creator of the new heavens and the new earth. He said, "I'm gonna make all things new". There's a symmetry in that. We grapple a great deal, way too much energy spent, on trying to decide whether or not we're gonna believe God's the creator of heaven and earth.

Folks, if you reject God as the creator of heaven and earth, you've rejected God. 'Cause if you don't believe he can create the heavens and the earth, why would you trust him with your eternity? Why would you imagine he has the power, the authority, the insight, and the wisdom to take you through your life beyond time, if he didn't have the juice to create the place to begin with? Now there's enough intellectual space in there, I suppose, if you want to debate young earth or old earth or the structure of the days in creation. If that's helpful to you, just jump on in the pool. But the Bible very clearly says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and it says with equal clarity before we're done, he's gonna create a new heaven and a new earth.

The creative power of God did not conclude in the opening chapters of Genesis. The God we serve is a creative, innovative God. The Bible says that you and I are a new creature in Christ Jesus, a totally new creation. It didn't start on the outside. You didn't get a new earth suit. You got a new spirit made alive to God, a whole new authority, ruling and reigning in your life. A new power present, a new vessel containing the spirit of a living God. Miraculous. The Bible says there will be a new heaven and a new earth. It says that you're gonna get a new body. Woo-hoo! Allen 2.0 is gonna be an upgrade. Says there'll be a new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, that heaven is the authentic, that the earth is the reproduction.

God is not done with this creative imagination in the earth. It's our topic again this weekend. For there to be something new, there have to be transitions. And before there's transitions of structure, there are transitions of power. And there's gonna be a transition of power in our earth. We're familiar with this idea in a much reduced way. Our own nation functions on a regular consistent transition of power. It happens for us every four years. We're struggling with that, perhaps, more than we ever had. It's a really simple idea. If we lose that idea, and we cannot observe a peaceable transition of power, we will lose our liberties and freedoms. That's a topic for another day. But I assure you, in the earth and in the kingdom of Almighty God and the kingdoms that stand opposed to him, there's a transition of power ahead.

The Bible refers to Satan as the prince of the power of the air. I didn't give you the verse in your notes but in Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 2 it says: "When you follow the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient". Satan is described as the ruler of the kingdom of the air, now at work. Through the cross of Jesus Christ, he was defeated. His dominion's power was broken, but he has not yet been displaced. That time is coming and is ahead of us, but in this season, he still is alive and well and at work on planet Earth. His greatest tools are deception to cause you to believe something to be true that is not, and temptation to get you to act on a behavior against the invitations of God with the promise that it'll bring something good to you.

But because he's a deceiver, every invitation he puts before you is a lie and dishonest. What he promises will bring contentment and fulfillment and joy and happiness, when you bite on it and you take those steps, it leads you to destruction and disarray and brokenness. But he is still at work. But Philippians chapter 2 and verse 2, again, it's not in your notes. You've got the simple version. Says: "There's a time coming when at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord". In that chapter of Philippians, it says it will happen. Doesn't say it's happened yet. Every knee hasn't yet bowed to Jesus, has it? Every tongue hasn't yet confessed, but that season is ahead of us.

There is a transition of power coming. Jesus is going to rule and reign on planet Earth in righteousness, justice, and holiness. How exciting is that? That'll be an upgrade in the governments in this earth. Hebrews chapter 12. You have it, in verse 25, says: "See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking". Do you live with the imagination that God is speaking in the earth? I hope you do. "For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.' This expression, 'Yet once more,' denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain".

Two categories we're introduced to: those things that cannot be shaken, the temporary created things, the Bible says, and those things... I'm sorry, those things which can be shaken, and those things which cannot. Everything that you're introduced to in the introductory chapters of Genesis that are created, are going to be shaken. Everything that we imagine is immutable, that we are responsible for, the Bible says will be put into the blender, that you will see it tremble and quake. But what will be revealed is the eternal unshakeable kingdom of our God. The response is in verse 28: "Therefore..."

When you find a "therefore" in the Bible, you need to find out what it's there for. It's a summary statement. "Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire". It's a presentation of God in his power, in his majesty. It's not a compliant God or a God of the suffering servant. It's a God who's a consuming fire. We're told two ways we should respond to him. We should, first of all, show gratitude to the Lord, an expression of gratitude. Not something that's held in your heart. Something that is expressed, demonstrated.

Now if there's gonna be a new beginning, by logic, by definition, there has to be an ending. You can't have a new beginning unless there's a conclusion of something. And I brought you a collection of verses and I purposely made it a little broader collection of Scriptures than we would normally process, because I wanted to be sure we saw the breadth of this presentation in Scripture. That it's not some unique verse peeled out of an obscure book or some odd passage. But that it's a part of the context of what the Scripture is telling us, that there's a change ahead of us. That planet Earth is not going to continue on, as is, uninterrupted, ad infinitum. That there's a new beginning ahead of us, and the new beginning is gonna be preceded by a conclusion. It's a very prominent theme in Scripture.

You know, things can be plainly said to us, repeatedly, and we can miss them. One of the starkest examples of that I know in the Scripture is in the life and the ministry of Jesus. If you're familiar with the Gospels, and I trust most of you are, Jesus told his disciples, his closest friends, multiple times, "I'm going to Jerusalem. We're going together. When we get there, I will be arrested. I'll be betrayed. I'll be beaten. I'll be crucified. I'll die on the cross, be buried, and I'll be raised to life again". He told them that plain set of facts multiple times. And we know they heard it because, from time to time, they pushed back on it and said, "We don't want that to happen to you".

But when they got to Jerusalem and those events began to unfold, from your knowledge of the Gospels, were the disciples prepared for that? Not at all. It was as if they'd never heard it. They had no room in their imagination for it. They couldn't process the facts. They could be presented to them, but they were like, "Duh". And I mean, it wasn't like in the... Jesus said on the day of his betrayal, he said to them, "Before the sun rises, you're all gonna abandon me". And old Pete... you know, Peter steps up and goes, "Not me. The rest of these people, I've wondered about them myself, but not me". And Jesus said, "Peter, before sunrise you'll deny me multiple times". They could hear it but they weren't prepared.

Well, what we wanna look at is a clear theme of Scripture. As we read... I'm just gonna read through them with very little comment. I want you to hear the consistency of what is presented. Isaiah 34: "Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter". Clearly, God says he's gonna judge the earth again.

Now God has judged the earth in the past. We called that a flood. He said he'd never do it with a flood again, but he is very plainly saying, "I will judge the earth and the inhabitants of the earth". Isaiah 34:4: "All the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree". Isaiah 13: "Therefore I'll make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger".

Isaiah 51: "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail". Ezekiel 32: "I'll cover the heavens and darken their stars; I'll cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. As the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land, declares the Sovereign LORD".

Clearly, there's a theme here that something's gonna happen in the heavens. There's a culmination of this age. Look at Joel 2: "The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved". Somebody at this point will say, "Well, Pastor, those are all from the Hebrew prophets and they were kind of a grumpy collection of old coots anyway. Never had anything good to say, they were always negative, even the kings in their day didn't like to listen to 'em 'cause all they did was be critical".

Well, Obi-Wan, I wanna read to you from the greatest of the Hebrew prophets. Most of his writings are not contained in the Old Testament; they're contained in the New Testament. The greatest of all the Hebrew prophets is Jesus of Nazareth. And in Matthew's Gospel, we get to read a bit of what Jesus says about the end of the age. It's Matthew 24. It says: "Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'" Sound familiar? "And at that time the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory".

Jesus is coming back to the earth, not as a vulnerable baby. He's coming back as a conquering King, to rule and reign on planet Earth. It's the truth. But the Scripture says when he appears, the nations of the Earth will mourn. Why will they mourn? Because the season when their authority and power was dominant will have passed away. There's a new authority coming. Now every knee will bow and every tongue confess. There's a change coming, a transition. There's an ending and a beginning.

2 Peter chapter 3. Listen to what Peter says: "The day of the Lord will come like a thief. And the heavens will disappear with a roar; and the elements will be destroyed by fire". That fisherman is gonna help you and I understand how the world's gonna end, or how this age is gonna end. "The earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be"? That's a very germane question. He said, "If there's a cataclysmic conclusion coming, what kind of people ought you to be"? Then he tells us. "You should be a people with concrete bunkers and dehydrated food and water filters and electric generators and a large store of DVDs that you can watch in your bunker".

I'm sorry, that's The Living Bible. He said, "You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming". What's the best response to a world system that is coming to a conclusion? He said, "You should choose to live holy lives and godly lives". He didn't say we shouldn't go to work or we shouldn't accumulate resources or have nice houses or wear good clothes or eat good food. But he said when you're doing all of those things, let a primary objective of your life to learn to be godly, to be holy people.

See, godliness and holiness are not particularly fashionable these days, are they? There's all sorts of negative terms attached to people who will champion those endeavors and those values, and I would submit to you they're of the greatest significance in preparing for what's ahead. They're more important than any other preparation you can have. Not to the exclusion of other things but they're important to make a priority. "As you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. The day that will bring about the destructions of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we're looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness".

There's that idea again, the creative power of God, a new heaven and a new earth. Folks, there's an end and a new beginning ahead of us. And why don't we all stand together? I don't think anybody's excluded from worry. Some of us just make it an art form. Now here's the real question before our prayer. Are you willing to lay it down? If you don't wanna lay it down, the prayer isn't helpful. If you listen to what Jesus said, Jesus said, "Do not do this". Now, I take that seriously. It's not a suggestion, a prompt. I just about fell off the steps. Do not do that either. It's my fourth service on time-change weekend. Just hang on. But if you're willing to lay it down, we can be... for anything Jesus told us not to do, he gave us the power to overcome.

So you're not a victim. We can be different. I wanna suggest we use a little prayer. I learned it as the Quaker prayer. I'm not sure the Quakers had anything to do with it, but we'll give them credit. We're gonna start with our hands up and our palms turned downward. We're gonna relinquish to the Lord all those things that we've been carrying that we wanna entrust to him. And then, at the appropriate time, we're gonna turn our palms up and our hearts towards the Lord to receive what he has for us, all right? If you've never raised your hands in church, this is a good way to begin. It's only half-mast. Doesn't make you like a full-blown fanatic, hallelujah.

Father, I thank you for your Word, for its truth and its power and authority in our lives. I thank you that you love us, that you care for us. And Lord, we come this morning in humility to repent. We have carried things. Lord, we've carried burdens and responsibilities and assignments, and we've elevated them to places of significance that even you didn't attach to them. Lord, we've lost sleep, we've given our heart to them. They have occupied our days and our thoughts and our imaginations and they've preoccupied us so there wasn't space for you in our lives, and we come this morning to lay all of those anxieties and fears and worries at the foot of the cross.

I thank you that through the cross you have made provision for everything we need for life in godliness. And Lord, as we lay those things down, we turn our hearts and our hands to you to receive all that you have for us today: your peace and your strength, your provision, your opportunities, your protection, your security. I thank you that you secure our lives. No system or no plan or no idea or no resource, Lord, you are our security. We praise you for it today. We give you glory and honor that we can leave this place, knowing that we are watched over by Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth, the one who secures everything that exists, is the security of our lives and our futures. And we praise you for it today, for the great honor of calling you our Lord and our God, in Jesus's name, amen, hallelujah.

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