Allen Jackson - Walking In Freedom - Part 2
It's good to be with you again. We're doing our study on Spiritual Warfare with a focus on the end of times. We're gonna complete this session on walking in freedom. You know, Jesus has provided everything we need for life and godliness. We don't have to lead our lives under the oppression of the enemy. There's a power available to us, an authority available to us to set us free. We're gonna explore the pathway to that with a very simple how to do list. Enjoy the lesson today, it's life changing.
If you're walking through a battle, are you making intentional efforts to be closer to God than you were before? Change your habits, change your patterns. If you wanna lose a little weight, you have to change your habits and your patterns. The cream they're selling at midnight on television will not melt your fat. If you think it will, I'll sell you a few jars. Come near to God, and there are times in our lives you need to make an intentional effort to draw more near to the Lord. It's a season. Seek him, you'll find him. And then eliminate the provisions your enemy needs. If you can't defeat an army on the battlefield, if you can't defeat them with strength against strength, if you can disrupt their supply lines, if you can rob them of beans and bullets, you can defeat them. Eliminate the provisions of your enemy. It's a biblical idea.
Look at Romans 13. It says, "The night is almost gone, and the day is near, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let's behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Make no provision for the flesh in regards to its lust". Don't ask the question, how far is too far or how much is too much, make no provision for it, don't entertain it. Well, why? Because we're living in a season where you no longer have that luxury. We often think we can manage sin, we can manage ungodliness. So we entertain things that shouldn't be entertained. But I have sat with too many people over many years with broken lives, and broken stories, and broken hearts. Make no provision for the flesh.
Look at 1 Peter 2, "I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world," we're temporary residents here, we're passing through. We got a short term visa. "Abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul". Your soul is your mind, your will and your emotions. Those are the primary battlefields. The temptations come to your thoughts, to your emotions, and there's so much fuel for those things. There's so much permission these days. A lot of successful people, prominent people, celebrities, influencers telling you to behave in the most ungodly ways. Eliminate the provisions of your enemies. Galatians 5, "Live by the Spirit, and you'll not gratify the desires of the sinful nature".
Give some thought to what that means for you, be willing to be different. If you are not different from your secular friends, what is the evidence exactly that you're a Christ follower? Where you sit on Sundays or Saturdays, or that you live stream? Folks if what you viewed on the screen defines your eternity, we're probably all on a little bit of a sketchy space. We have been living in this gray middle ground for too long.
Now the balance of our time... I wanna walk through with you a pathway to freedom. And we're just gonna do this together. We're gonna pretend that we've chosen freedom and I'm gonna walk you through a series of scriptures and of points, it's really a journey of faith. And we're gonna make a simple proclamation, a statement of personal choice if you would like at the end of each of these points, but I wanna give 'em to you so you can help somebody else because the needs are too great and the rate of change is accelerating, and the people who will be choosing freedom are growing. You need to know how to help people, help the people at your kitchen table, help your extended family, help your friends. And we're gonna have to have the courage to say, I'm walking away and it's brought better things to my life than when I used to walk another way.
This isn't some theoretical discussion for us, we will acknowledge our own brokenness and the restoration that God is bringing. And then hopefully we're gonna find the courage to invite other people to join us. Not because we walk perfectly, or we never stumble, or we have all wisdom and insight, but because we can tell a story of some momentum we have gained. And if you care about people and you don't invite them towards that momentum, what exactly are you hiding for? So really simple. We're gonna do this pretty quickly. We'll start with the beginning point. We confess our faith in Jesus and his sacrifice on our behalf.
You see, our hope for freedom is not because I'm smarter, or I'm inherently better, or I'm a good person, I'm not, apart from Jesus I'm a bigger mess than you. If it hadn't been for the grace of God, and the power of the blood of Jesus, I would've destroyed my life long ago. You know, I find we tend to look at people that we imagine when I look at people that are thinner than me, I think, well, they just have better metabolism. They just like broccoli. You know, God just gave them that gift. And when I got to know some of 'em, I found out they did like weird things. They like get up at 4:30 in the morning and go run. That's the best sleep of the day between 4:30 and when your alarm goes off, right there. No wonder they're skinny, they're missing the best sleep of the day, that's like messed up.
You know, I'd meet people that knew their Bible better than I do, then I'd think, "Oh, you know, they're just smarter, they've got better retention than I do". And then I'd get to know 'em and I found out they're actually like, thought about it when they weren't at church. And I got, "Oh! That's no fun". And I realized I was imputing to these people that had some attributes and things that were just made it easier for them. I was never willing to acknowledge that they had made any effort or any decisions behind it. And I did that with my faith as well.
Folks, being a Christ follower isn't about how good the sermons are, it's about the choices I make and the choices you make with regard to a person and his name is Jesus of Nazareth. Am I really willing to let him be Lord of my life or do I just want him to be Santa? Do I want him to arrive occasionally and deliver presents, and then I'd prefer him to fade into the background as soon as I've opened the packages. To Make Jesus as Lord, that's the essence of being a Christ follower. And we can talk about formulas and baptisms but the real essence of it is the desire to honor Jesus. That you would invite him into your day, that you invite him to watch the way you do work, that you would invite him into your social interactions.
So when you're getting together with your friends, you'd be delighted if Jesus came and sat with you or went to the lake with you. Would you invite him into your conversations? Do you really intend for Jesus to be Lord? Or have you got this mistaken perverted idea that you can say a little prayer then live your life on your terms then you're all good to go with God. Jesus is Lord. So it begins with a confession. Romans 10: 9 "You confess with your mouth that 'Jesus is Lord,' and you believe in your hearts that God raised him from the dead and you'll be saved". Delivered from the kingdom of darkness.
The greatest miracle that will ever touch your life as a human being is that conversion experience. If you are raised from the dead, it is not as dramatic as that conversion experience. 'Cause being raised from the dead is just a re-energization of your physical body to be converted by the blood of Jesus means you change kingdoms for eternity. It's a miracle. So I gave you a little statement in your notes, it's in italics. Can we make that declaration together? If you would like. If you don't, you can just, you can hang on. I wouldn't make it until I was ready for Jesus to be Lord. But for those of you that are willing, let's say it together. "Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you are the Son of God and the only way to God; and that you died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead".
Now we're gonna add to that a willingness to repent of our rebellion and our sins. Repentance has two meanings, it's a change of thought and it's a change of action. We have to change how we've thought, we've given our self-permission. We've said it was okay, we've justified excused, whatever. We've pre-empted whatever warning we had with the permission that we extended and repentance says, "I'm gonna change that thought, it's not okay. I'm not justified, I can't excuse it. I choose a new way to think about that and with my thoughts is gonna come a new behavior". Mark 1:15, Jesus said, "The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news"!
The greatest catalyst for believing God that I'm aware of in scripture, is repentance. If you wanna grow as a person of faith, grow as a person of repentance. Repentance isn't for pagans, repentance is for God's people. Jesus came to the people of God. He didn't go to the pagan nations. The incarnate Son of God came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel and his message to them was repent. I believe the message that the Spirit of God is delivering to his people in the earth today, is repent. So I gave you a sentence statement there. Can we make it together? "I give up all my rebellion and all my sin, and I submit my myself to you as my Lord".
The third component is claim forgiveness of your sins. You've gotta receive it. I meet people say, "You know, I'm open to whatever God has for me. I'll just do whatever, if I just know". Folks you'll go to hell with that attitude. And I don't mean that as a criticism, but that passive approach to faith doesn't work. We just read it, you have to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord in order to be saved. So saying, you know, "If God wants to be saved, he'll just come save me".
God requires something of us. And for forgiveness to impact your life, for it to transform you from the inside out, to find freedom from shame, and guilt, and condemnation from the enemy, you and I have to make a concerted effort to receive the forgiveness of God. I mean repentance is about a changing of thought and a changing of behavior. And some of us have accepted shame and guilt as a part of who we are. And then the enemy will provide voices in your life to remind you of those shameful chapters and reasons you should feel guilty. And you'll have to have the inner strength to know that through the blood of Jesus, I have been washed, cleansed, forgiven, sanctified and redeemed no matter what that voice says.
So this is a bit more assertive than it is passive. We got a whole generation who are recording their lives in the social media. They're gonna need help with forgiveness 'cause there's gonna be evidence unless the cloud fails. 1 John 1:8 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth isn't in us. If we confess our sins, he's faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness". We can be forgiven and pure in God's sight. Wow! So I brought you a profession. If you'd like, read it with me. "I confess all my sins before You and I ask for Your forgiveness, especially for any sins that exposed me to a curse. Release me from all the consequences of my ancestors' sins".
The fourth component is we have to forgive other people who have harmed us or wronged us. This one's not optional. Our Lord said that we can't be forgiven unless we forgive. Now, it's a complicated order because forgiving another person doesn't mean you have to get back in line for further abuse. Forgiving another person doesn't mean that you are saying that nothing wrong happened. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you made it all up. What forgiveness does mean, is that you're tearing up the marker. You see, unforgiveness typically means that we are emotionally or otherwise holding an IOU. And I'm not gonna release that IOU until you've done whatever I think is necessary to demonstrate your change of heart.
And when you adopt that unforgiving attitude, you give away all of your power. You put your future in the hands of other people who have already behaved abominably towards you. It's insane, it's evil, unforgiveness is wicked, it's not a luxury you can afford. Why we have made the sin of unforgiveness acceptable amongst Christian people? Unforgiveness will keep you from the forgiveness of God, that's toxic. So the invitation of forgiveness is saying, "I release you. You don't owe me anything. Not an apology, not restitution, not recognition, I release you. I release you into the hands of a just God".
In fact the Bible says we can begin to pray for those who despitefully use us, do all manner of evil against us. I promise you, God is just. So forgiveness is not about getting away with it, forgiveness is about being free. And I wanna invite you to that place of freedom. Now here's the challenge, if you've lived with unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, hatred, there's a whole category of words in there. They become as much a part of you as your dominant hand. You don't have to think about which hand is dominant, that's the one you'll pick up a toothbrush with or brush your hair with or whatever it may be. And if you've lived with unforgiveness, and resentment, and bitterness, you'll respond in those ways.
So when you make the decision to forgive, you're gonna have to pay more attention for a bit because it takes your emotions a while to catch up with your decisions. You know that's true. How many times have you said, "I'm gonna eat better tomorrow". The moment you have that thought, you become ravenous for every form of junk food you've ever ingested. Something similar with forgiveness. Mark 11:25, Jesus, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins". You can do it while you're standing there, you don't need six months of intercession. So let's make this proclamation.
By a decision of my will, I forgive all who have harmed me or wronged me, just as I want God to forgive me. And in particular, I forgive (and you can plug in the names).
You got this, you can take it away with you. You can work on it through the week. Renounce all contact with anything occult or satanic. You cannot afford to give exposure, give place in your life to the pursuit or information, guidance, direction, interaction with an unholy spirit and imagine that that leaves no impact upon you. You don't have to have intent in order to have the negative impact. We've been incredibly naive. We've done seminars and we've been to classes and we've read books and we've had discussions as if the Bible wasn't there for us. I gave you a passage from Ephesus, they had a revival in town. It was messy, it was sloppy. There were people all over the spectrum on how it went but the people were so stirred, the whole region was stirred that they brought all of the things that had been involved with their occultic activity and burned it in public, millions of dollars' worth of things.
So if you've been involved with that stuff, you know, at the height of COVID when we had no information about the virus or its behavior or there were no statistics yet, we just had the Dr. Fauci's message. We all got pretty focused on leading clean lives. We didn't hug strangers, we didn't hug family members. We were isolated and sheltered and we were willing to do whatever we needed to do to protect ourselves from an unknown threat that they told us was going to kill millions and millions of people. Thank God it wasn't as lethal as they imagined. But I'm amazed at our willingness to tolerate what the Bible tells us to stay away from. Do we think God's kidding? We think it's a joke. Do you think because you don't drop dead like Ananias did, that there's no consequence? Do you think you can say, "Oh, I was young," as if youthful exuberance protects us from consequences. Do not engage the occult. I brought you a proclamation.
I renounce all contact with the occult or anything satanic. I cancel all Satan's claims against me.
And then we're gonna pray a prayer for a release from any curse. We all can't understand the concept of the blessings of God, outcomes that come for cooperation. The Bible says, with equal enthusiasm, perhaps more enthusiasm, that there's a consequence for rebellion. And we all act like, "Oh no, no, I said I was sorry". Sorry doesn't always eliminate the consequences. We have to break the authority of those curses over our lives. "Well, I don't believe that". We'll see how that works with you with gravity. Your declaration of refusal to believe does not insulate you from the truth. If it's a biblical fact, I would counsel you to choose compliance. "Christ redeemed us" Galatians 3 "From the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. It's written: 'Cursed is everyone who's hung on", Jesus took the curse so that we could have his blessings. There's a proclamation. Let's together:
Lord Jesus, I believe that on the cross You took on yourself every curse that could ever come upon me. So I ask You now to release me from every curse over my life, in Your name, Lord Jesus Christ: By faith, I now receive my release and I thank you for it.
And then finally, it is just the culmination to this little process. Now believe that you've received and go forward, it's a new way, it's gonna feel different, it's gonna feel awkward. It's like a new pair of shoes or a new pair of jeans. I like the old ones better. I knew how they felt, they were familiar. I've invited you to a new way to believe, a new way to act, a new way to interact. It's not going to be as comfortable initially, but it's worth the development of honoring God. Galatians 3 says, "He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus. So that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit". One last proclamation. You're ready?
Lord, I now open myself to receive Your blessing in every way You want to impart it to me.
Now here's a suggestion, take those statements that we made together and bundle 'em together into one proclamation, I didn't have room on your outline but you've got all those statements. Say them over your life as a part of your devotional. Let the Spirit of God bring to mind those places where he will bring freedom. He will remind you of circumstances and situations. You'll see yourself in a place and then take those steps and say, "Oh Lord, I had forgotten that, I need to repent. I'm sorry of that. I didn't respond in the right way". Or whatever it may be. The Holy Spirit will help you. We've been too passive. We thought it's not that big a deal. I'm gonna go to heaven, I'm okay. You're forfeiting too much, we need the church to be the church to protect our kids and our grandkids, amen.
Why don't you stand with me, I wanna pray for you. Bless you. I pushed a lot at you, you know that. "Make him stop, mama". What I'd like to do is invite the Spirit of God to help us. We need more than facts. We need the help of the Living God to establish us in a place so that his light in our lives brings light to the places he puts us, amen. Folks one day we will gather, we looked at it in the previous session, there's a scene in the book of Revelation. There's a hundred million angels, a hundred million angels and an innumerable crowd of God's people. Can you imagine? We're just early adopters. We have thought of faith in terms of a church, or a service, or volunteering, I'm grateful for all of those things, but God exceeds all of that. We wanna ask him to help us, he knows you by name, he keeps a count of your hair. For some, not a big deal, but for some...
Thank you, Lord. Father, thank you for your Word, for its truth. Lord, you've called us to this time and place. We did not choose that, we didn't choose the circumstances of our birth nor the season of our birth, Lord, you chose those things for us and I believe that with that you've given us everything we need for life and godliness. Not to be overcome or overwhelmed, but to be difference makers. And holy Spirit we invite you now, if there's anything within us that limits, that hinders, that diminishes what you would do, what you've created us for, bring it to our awareness. Help us to see it, and may we have the courage and the boldness to take your truth and to walk into the light. I thank you for our freedom in Jesus's name, amen.