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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Living Spiritually Aware

Allen Jackson - Living Spiritually Aware

Allen Jackson - Living Spiritually Aware

It's an honor to be with you today. Our topic is, "Living Spiritually Aware". Have a lot of friends that have served in the military and they're always talking to me about situational awareness. They practice it as a matter of habit, it's been drilled into them. We haven't built that into the Christian community, we have clueless lives so often, we're a little spiritually dull, unfortunately, but the good news is God is waking us up. I think it started with the pandemic but it has continued to grow. It's time to lead lives that are spiritually aware, it's a reality that's affecting us every day. Grab your Bible and get a notepad, but most importantly open your heart to the invitations that God has for you today.

We're gonna start talking about spiritual awareness and asking God to elevate our awareness of spiritual things, it's important. We will not succeed in this generation in accomplishing the purposes of God unless we have a heightened awareness of spiritual things. The way we've known church and the way we've practiced our faith in the preceding years is not adequate for the challenges of this season. That's not frightening to me, it's exciting to me. There are new opportunities just as there are new opportunities to communicate, and new ways to share information; God is opening the eyes of his people in a new way and I don't wanna miss out on that.

When I talk about spiritual things, I'm talking about something that transcends time. And one of the great challenges in our life is that time is a limiting factor. When you were young, time feels like it's holding you back, you're in a hurry, you wanna get to it and time's just not moving quickly enough for you, you wanna kinda push the accelerator. You know, how old are you? "I'm four and a half. I'm almost five". And you know, that holds for a while, you just can't turn the calendar quickly enough. You wanna drive, and you wanna graduate, and you wanna get to this, and you wanna do that and then you get to a season in your life where time's going a little bit too fast. I don't remember when people go, "You know, I'm 59 and a half, I'm almost 60". Not so much. And time takes on a different role and a different perspective. But time is a limiting thing. But when we talk about spiritual things, they step outside of time. So a spiritual awareness brings to your life an awareness of things that have a value far beyond anything in time. I'm not opposed to those things.

I like good food, and I'm for education, and I like logic. All those things are important, but they're limited by time. Spiritual things we want a higher awareness of. We've kind of traded that, we sit in church and be polite, but we really haven't cultivated a great spiritual awareness. I wanna play with that just a minute. You can be the most sophisticated, the most intelligent, the most accomplished, you can be the most fashionable. All of those things are weighed in time and they pass pretty quickly. Do a little exercise with you. I think we can highlight that. How many of you this week made at least a dozen posts or entries, communications in one of the various digital media platforms? Snapchat, WhatsApp, I don't know, someplace out there.

How many of you did that at least a dozen times this week? Raise your head if that was you. There's no punishment, I'm just curious, we're not taking your phone away. Raise 'em up again, I wanna see. How many of you have never posted something on Twitter? Raise your hand. About half and half, all right. How many of you know somebody you wish would quit posting on? Don't raise your hand, okay. Well, most of those opportunities three years ago weren't even available. There were some, but the majority of the ones we have today weren't available. In three years from now there'll be a whole new set we haven't imagined yet. How many of you at one time owned a computer that had a monochrome monitor and a dot matrix printer?

Look at you people. And when you had that you thought you were the cutting edge of the technological revolution, with that orange monitor and that printer that when it printed, you couldn't quite read what it said. But we were high tech rednecks. How many of you ever had a phone in your home that was black and had a rotary dial on it? Look at you antiques. How many of you have never seen a rotary dial on a black phone? Raise your hands. Have no idea what I'm talking about. That's all right, with God. How many of you bought music on an album, a vinyl album? How many of you have never bought an album, a vinyl one? That's what I thought, okay. My grandparents dated in a horse and buggy. Now I ate at their table, rode in the truck with him, poured concrete with him.

So this isn't like ancient history to me, they dated in a horse and buggy, not because it was a novelty. The fastest mode of transportation available to him was a fast horse. How many of you have ever saddled a horse? Really? This is church now; you're telling the truth. You haven't seen a horse or seen a saddle. You have put a saddle on a horse. Really? How many of you have ever ridden a horse to town? Now we're getting about right. I mean, I know this is the south and they talk about us but we've got bicycles now. Now, nothing in that list is inappropriate, wicked, or immoral. And at the time you participated in all of those things, I suspect you thought you were right there on the cusp of what was creative, innovative, pushing the technological boundaries. And now we look back on most of it, we kind of chuckle.

You know, whatever to you is the most finest expression of fashion today or technological sophistication, 50 years from today they will laugh at. They'll look back at what you and I think is so remarkable, we're striving so much for, what brings us a sense of dissatisfaction to us if it's not being addressed, is passing away pretty quickly. Even if it's your appearance and the effort you take for that, folks, time is gonna have an impact on that, too.

Now again, there's nothing wrong with that set of things, but if our only awareness is grounded in time, we are forfeiting eternity. And we're gonna ask God for a few weeks to help open our hearts to him in a new way, so that we could lead our lives where they're not simply gonna run through our fingers in time but that we can make an investment in eternity that will travel far beyond the days of our earth suit. Isn't that exciting? All right, now let's start in Revelation chapter 12. It says, "There was a war in heaven, and Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, for they lost their place in heaven. And the great dragon was hurled down, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him".

Michael is an archangel. And we're told there's a battle in heaven, that Michael, this archangel is leading the forces on behalf of the kingdom of God, and Satan and the angels that have rebelled with him are standing in opposition and they're defeated. Michael overcomes and Satan is cast out. It says, "The great dragon who leads the whole world astray". Did you know there's a force present on planet Earth to lead people away from the purposes of God? That resistance to, the rebellion against the things of God does not originate just in the heart of human beings or in our intellect.

There is a spiritual force that incubates, that fans into flame the rebellion against God; it's why we will never outthink evil. We won't out-organize evil. We won't out-manage evil. It requires a power greater than itself for evil to yield. And we have to know the power of God. We have to understand what it is, how it's released, how to lead spiritually aware lives, or we are vulnerable to that force in the earth that is leading the whole world astray.

Now let's push on verse 10. It says, "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: 'Now,'" now is a timing word you should circle it. Not in the past, not in the future, "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down," out of the heavenly realms into the earth. Satan is alive and well on planet earth opposing the purposes of God. That's played out in the lives of human beings. Do you understand? The Bible says that "God so loved the world that he gave his Son", in John 3:16. I think we typically kind of play that forward. I think he's talking about the crucifixion but the important first step in that is that God gave his Son to be one of us.

The fancy word for that's the incarnation that the Son of God became a human being, he put on flesh and blood. God allowed his Son to become one of us. Why? Because he loves us so much. A third of the angels rebelled and God's Son didn't become an angel. We rebelled against God, we had a problem we couldn't fix, we owed a debt we couldn't pay and God intervened. He loved us so much he sent his Son. The Bible never explains the love of God for humanity. It simply asserts it as a fact. It says that "It pleases God to pour out his grace and his mercy upon human beings".

Did you know it pleases God to bless you? God wants his glory to be reflected in your life and mine. He loves us and Satan understands that. And because he is a rebel, 'cause he's rebelled against God, and because he hates the purposes of God, he's determined to destroy you and me. He wants to destroy those through whom God wants to pour out his blessings, his grace, and his mercy. That conflict is still raging in the earth today. And if we lead our lives without spiritual awareness, we are unnecessarily vulnerable. I'm not asking you to be a spiritual fanatic, or crazy, or on the lunatic fringe.

Folks, this is at the heart of our story. Look in verse 11. It says, "They," the believers on earth, "overcame him," Satan, "by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they didn't love their lives so much as to shrink from death". They understood that their life was more than about their days in time. How did they overcome Satan? It's important. There's a formula given us there. It says, "They overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony". The authority we have is grounded in the cross of Jesus Christ, his shed blood, the exchange at the cross that we've talked so much about this year. But that fact in history doesn't in and of itself bring freedom to you and to me; we have to give it application in our lives, in the language of revelation by the word of our testimony.

What does that mean to take the blood of the Lamb and to give it application through the word of our testimony? The best picture I know of that in Scripture, comes to us from the book of Exodus. The Hebrew people were slaves in Egypt. Remember the story? And God sends a shepherd out of the desert, Moses, to say to Pharaoh, "Let my people go". And Pharaoh says, "I think not".

And there is this remarkable conflict that takes place between Pharaoh and the purposes and the will of God. They're played out in the realm of human beings, but the forces at work are far greater than human forces. Moses is unleashing things that he doesn't have the physical power to unleash: the plagues that visit Egypt. When the plagues are finished, Egypt is decimated. Their economy's been decimated, their gods have been humiliated. And the last night that the Hebrew slaves are in Egypt, they're instructed to take a lamb for every household and to slaughter the lamb, to roast it, to take the blood in a basin and to put it on the doorpost of their house. Remember the story? It's called the Passover.

The Jewish people celebrate Passover until today, millennia later. And the Scripture says that, "God instructed the people to do that because that night death was coming through the land of Egypt and every household that didn't have blood on the doorpost, the firstborn would die". And the Hebrew people respond. Let me ask you a question, of the Hebrews there, do you think that everybody, every household had blood on the doorpost? I promise you not. There were some skeptics. There were some people that went halfway, maybe they roasted a lamb, maybe they ate with their neighbors. They thought, "Oh, you know, it's not that big a deal". And that night, death came to the whole land of Egypt to the firstborn in every household.

Can you imagine the abject panic when the sun came up and death had blanketed the whole nation? It says that they literally drove the Hebrew people out. "You go, we don't want you here anymore. Take our gold, take our silver". There was terror. They didn't want that group of people in that land when the sun set the next day. Well, that's the picture I have when I read that verse in Revelation 12, that we overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb, by the authority of what happened on the cross, when we give application to it with the words of our mouth. Do you know that your words have spiritual authority? I know that can be misused, or misconstrued, or used to manipulate, but that doesn't diminish the truth of that. Food can be misused, but I intend to eat today.

So don't let the fact that someone does something inappropriate cause you to distance yourself from truth. Your words have spiritual authority. So I've never thought about that much, I never considered it much, and I certainly don't utilize it much. The big picture word we would use for that is prayer. See, we have diminished prayer, we've obscured the idea. We think prayer is something that takes place behind one of these boxes in a special building on a special hour on the end of the week. And the truth is, prayer is the spiritual authority that God has invested in you to be displayed every day in your home, in your neighborhood, in your job. Bless your children. Say, "How would I do that"? "Bless you, my children".

Can you do it better? Well, you might make it longer but that's the essence of it. "So I've never done that". It's a great day to start. Don't you want God to bless your kids? Why wouldn't you use your words for that? The place you go to work, "God bless us here, may we prosper under your direction". Never thought about that. I know. There's an enormous authority that's been given to us that we've left dormant. We've never even taken it out of the case. What if my supervisor comes and says, "We don't use that kind of language here". Thank you very much, God bless my supervisor.

Spiritual authority in your words. Look at Matthew 4, this is Jesus. "The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 'All this I'll give you if you'll bow down and worship me.' Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! For it is written, "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only".' Then the devil left him, and the angels came and attended him". We have this interlacing here of eternal things and time, of the kingdoms of this world and of spiritual authority. Satan comes to Jesus.

This is the incarnate Jesus, this is Jesus in the flesh. He's been in the desert fasting for 40 days and Satan appears, not another man, a spiritual being. And he says to Jesus, "If you'll worship me, I'll give you authority over all the kingdoms of the world". He said, "I have an authority in this realm". And Jesus rebukes him with the Word of God. In that one passage, we have Jesus acknowledging the reality of heaven, of God's dwelling, of Satan, of his authority. We wrestle with this I think more than we need to. If we don't accept Jesus' perspective, clearly in Jesus' perspective, Satan was a reality.

The authority that was entrusted to him was a reality. That there were kingdoms in conflict was a reality from Jesus' perspective. And if we're not gonna accept Jesus' point of view, perhaps we should rethink the label we use for ourselves. Because if we say we're Christ followers, Jesus' point of view has to matter to us. If you find yourself with a little line inside, you go, "Well, I know what the Bible says but I think", I think we're all subject to that, but let me suggest you need to retool that 'cause I don't believe God gave us his perspective so we could offer him ours and then have a debate.

Now, if you're not ready to be a Christ follower, just change your label and say, "Well, I'm an observer of Christians," or "I have a moral code". But to be a Christ follower means Jesus' boundaries, Jesus' perspectives inform our lives. That's why we read our Bibles, it's why we invest time in prayer, it's why we're willing to change. Because my thoughts and my objectives are not the standard. I wanna be conformed more fully into the image of Jesus. And candidly, I need a power to help me do that. The strength of my will is inadequate. The force of my character alone will not bring about that transformation; I need the authority of the shed blood of Jesus Christ to bring freedom to my life, and I don't think I'm that unique. The given from that passage is that there are spiritual forces influencing our lives in both time and eternity.

And if we're going to fulfill all that God created us to be as individuals, as persons, as men and women, as husbands, as wives, as fathers, and mothers, we will need a heightened awareness of spiritual things. It'll change our lives. Let's begin to consciously take the Spirit of the living God with us into every place God invites us. Why would we not do that? It doesn't matter to us, we don't believe it's real or valid. Folks, there are forces of wickedness, spiritual darkness unleashed in this generation in an unprecedented way. Now, my Bible says when the enemy comes in like a flood God will raise up a standard against it.

Now, I know we would like God to raise up that standard independently of us, but we are the standard bearers. I'm more excited about that than you are. You thought God recruited me to be your standard bearer? Nope, I got my own standard to carry. He's got one for you. Now I gave you that prayer. I'm gonna let you take that one with you. I'd like to pray for you. May I do that? Okay, why don't you stand with me? I'm excited, God is about to do something. I don't wanna miss out. It's growing season. The flowers are growing, and the vegetables are growing, and the tomatoes are growing, and we're growing. Hot dog, don't wanna be stagnant, do you? Turn to the person on your right and say, "Is your objective to be stagnant"? Now turn to the person on your left, say, "The one behind me they wanna be stagnant," okay. Don't do that. It's okay, we're gonna pray:

Father, thank you, thank you for your Word, for its truth, and power, and authority. I thank you for your great love for us that you've called us out of darkness into the kingdom of your Son, and, Lord, that you've made provision, you've given us everything we need for life and godliness. And we come this morning in humility and ask that you would give us listening ears and eyes to see, and hearts to perceive those things which you're doing. Protect us from deception. Awaken us, Lord, where we have been asleep. Bring a new boldness to us where we have been passive. I thank you for your church. Lord, we pray for one another this morning, for the challenges we face. Lord, some face great physical challenges, I thank you that you're a God who heals, and delivers, and restores, and in Jesus' name we speak life to one another today.

Let every unhealthy cell wither and die. Let life come to our bodies. Let there be a way where there's been none. Give doctors wisdom to do what needs to be done. We praise you for it, Lord. We pray for those that are in great pain and anguish or that are battling heaviness and darkness. I pray that it'll be broken over their lives today, in the name of Jesus Christ. Let the oppression go. Let the light and the love of God break through into our hearts. May we be more aware of your future for us, and your plans for us, and of every attack which stands before us. We praise you for it. For the homes that are besieged, Father bring peace. Let every tormenting spirit that agitates, and deceives, and diminishes, may your authority be broken over our homes this day in Jesus' name. Father, I thank you that you're awakening us for a new season, for a new harvest, for a new purpose. And we praise you for all that you will do, in Jesus' name, amen.

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