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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - The Church In The World - Part 2

Allen Jackson - The Church In The World - Part 2

Allen Jackson - The Church In The World - Part 2
TOPICS: Church

It's a privilege to be with you today. We're gonna conclude our study on "The Church In The Earth". You know, the heart of this whole discussion is that our faith isn't just about eternity, it's not just about a destination when you're done with your earth suit, it's about being changed in time, in reality, it's a transformation of the whole person. How we think, how we behave, what our hopes and dreams are, God will move in our lives to give us the best possible journey through time. Grab your Bible and get a notepad and be open to God's invitations for you today.

Church, we are called to lead holy and upright lives. Are we perfect? Nope, we're cracked pots and God is working on us and through us. But there's a difference in recognizing that you are in the process of being transformed and yielding to the practices of this world. Do you understand the difference? In one we capitulate and we excuse it. "Well, nobody's perfect. We all have our struggles. That's just the way I am. Well, my people. Well, you don't understand the pressure that I'm under". I mean, we have an amazing ability to provide for ourselves justification for ungodliness.

So I think we need to come back to being the church. Before we have the courage, before we'll find the authority to raise our hand and stand for godliness and righteousness, we're gonna have to start to bring it into our own lives, and to our own kitchen tables, and to our own family circles, and to our friends groups, we've got to be the church. We have lost our way. We're not the first church to do that, we're not the first generation to do that, it doesn't mean it's the end of the age because we've done that, it may very well be the end of the age but the challenges that we're facing inwardly are not the result of the end of the age, they're the result of our own choices in the language of James to walk in the dark.

We have loved the darkness. We have lusted after it. It bugs me when I see us present ourselves in the same way as the world when we bring our music forward. I want excellence in what we do and how we do it, but we should be distinguishable from the people who aren't godly. We're not gonna mock their behavior when we present what we do. Our aspirations for ourselves and our children should be different than the aspirations we see for the ungodly. We should have aspirations that are dramatically different, not the same except they say Jesus once in a while. We have loved the darkness, we've looked at it with hearts filled with envy and covetousness and desire. We've got to be willing to be different because it's better.

God's not taking something away from us, the end of the darkness is destruction every time. It's not a better way, they are lying to you. And you know it's true because all of us have walked those paths far enough to know that the promise was empty, the temptation was real. In the moment there's something you'll want but beyond the moment, it is destructive. I brought you three passages that highlight it. We could do it in a much broader way but I wanna do it quickly 'cause I wanna close with the passage from Chronicles but Romans chapter 12 says, "I urge you, brothers and sister, in view of God's mercies, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice". In view of God's mercy, again, we would be tempted to say, "In view of the mercy of God, just do whatever you want to, he's merciful".

But Paul wrote, and he said, "In view of God's mercy, offer your body as a living sacrifice". Now, we're not familiar with the sacrificial system we haven't practiced, that but you take an animal to the priest and then the priest would slaughter the animal and put the dead carcass on the altar as a part of a burnt offering to God. By the time the animal was placed on the altar, it was empty of any self-determination. Nothing jumped off the altar. And Paul is using that imagery and saying to you and to me, "Offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship".

What's it mean to worship the Lord? It means to offer yourself physically, which means when my body says I want, or I feel, or I think, I say "Hush, I'm gonna worship the Lord". "I don't want to". "I didn't ask for a vote, we're gonna go worship the Lord". "I don't feel like it". "Shut up, we're gonna go worship the Lord". "I don't like the music". "I know and they don't like the way you sing but we're gonna go worship the Lord". The next verse gives us the how to. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world". To conform is to adapt to. Don't adapt to the pattern of this world. "But be transformed". To be transformed is to be changed in potential. Don't adapt to the prevailing standards of this world but be changed in potential "By the renewing of your mind".

We're gonna have to learn to think it's what Paul was telling the Ephesian church. We're gonna have to change how we think, we think too much like the ungodly people. Their values are our values, their entertainment is our entertainment, their goals are our goals. We fill our children with it and then we wonder what happens to them. We wanna blame the schools or the teacher or somebody. We have to change how we think. So transformation begins with our mind and our thoughts but then it extends. Look at 2 Corinthians 3. "The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit".

It's a different perspective of transformation. It says we are being transformed, it's the continuing present tense, it's not a completed fact. It wasn't something that happened at a point in time and was absolutely accomplished and therefore resides as something fully, the language is very capable of expressing that thought. That's not what's being communicated. It says we are being transformed. It's describing a spiritual freedom that comes to us and continues in us. We are being set free, we are being transformed. I hope I have more freedom in my life with the Lord today than I had a year ago and I certainly hope I have more than I had a decade ago because I am being transformed. But you have to desire that, you have to be interested in that, you have to cultivate that, it won't be forced upon you.

The Holy Spirit does not dominate. He'll put before you an invitation but you'll have to choose to cooperate with him. You have to choose to cooperate with transformation. Again, we've had this really destructive idea that there's some minimal kind of Christianity that you can embrace but you don't have to go any further with it, that's just for those hyper people. Folks, the Bible makes no such distinction. There's not like hyper Christians. There's just God's people, and you either are or you aren't. This notion that there's, you know, this middle lane is the fabrication, it frightens me. And then in Philippians it describes for us a completely different kind of transformation. It says, "Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies".

Remember, transform is to change in potential. Our bodies will be changed in potential "So that they'll be like his glorious body". Do you know, you're gonna get a physical makeover. And if you're young enough that that doesn't matter to you, just hang on. But in this case, it's future tense, it's tense, it's something that's ahead which will be accomplished. Our current physical self serves some very important purposes. It's a daily reminder that there is a God. It says we're fearfully and wonderfully made, it doesn't say we are fearfully and wonderfully evolved. That defies logic to me. Something as amazing as an intricate as the human immune system. All of the layers, the ways that you are protected from things that would diminish or destroy your wellbeing. The human body, you are designed to heal. I'm always a bit amused at Christians.

"Don't believe we should pray for healing". God built you to heal. If you drop your phone and the screen breaks, if you go put it in a dark place and put a little water on it, it'll heal...not. You've gotta get a new screen or a new phone. You cut your finger, that little rascal will heal. Nobody goes, "Oh my God, I've lost my finger". "No, it's a paper cut Buckwheat, it'll get better". I mean, we're built to heal, it's the most remarkable thing. If you'll just stop doing destructive things, your body will get better. So our body reminds us that there is a God. It's like a flashing neon sign. It also reminds us of our temporary status 'cause you're born with a termination date. You're on a countdown clock. And if you turn the calendar enough times that will begin to break through and you're like, "Wow, I should think about something beyond now".

So your body has a very important function but the promise of scripture is there is an update coming, a complete transformation. So the encouragement is to take care of your current assignment, take care of the temple but don't worship the temple. Understand it's a container. We talk about it as an earth suit and we struggle with that, we end up worshiping the container. We think it's the container that gives us value and the container that makes us significant. And God said, "No, you're gonna get a whole new one". A glorious upgrade. So we're invited to transformation of our thoughts, of our spirit and of our body, it's a total makeover. How are you doing with that?

Now I wanna close with a passage that has come from our reading. We've been reading through Chronicles. That takes a little determination. There was a lot of begetting. And when we get in 1 Chronicles 9, there was a passage that caught my attention. And I just wanna, really, I wanna point it out to you. It's a description or a discussion of the Korahites. And it's a subgroup of the priestly tribe, the Levites. Now, they were given an assignment, by the time we get to the New Testament, their primary assignment is to serve in the temple. But prior to the establishment of the temple, they also had in their assignment portfolio the care of the tabernacle, to help relocate the tabernacle.

In fact, it said, I think it was in Chronicles where he was talking about David when they decided to move the... Solomon, when he decided to move the Ark of the Covenant to the temple. It made the comment that when they had moved it previously, they hadn't done it according to God's instructions. Just when they got ready to move it to the temple, the Levites carried it on their shoulders as God had instructed them. You remember how they were moving the Ark of the Covenant on a cart with oxen drawing it and an oxen stumbled and the ark started to fall and somebody reached to catch it and they died? Well, the Korahites are this subgroup of the Levites and they have an assignment in caring for the place of worship. And I won't read all the details and I'm not gonna pronounce all the names 'cause it doesn't matter.

You know, in fact, I like to just give them my own names. Like Sam, the son of Kora "And his relatives of his father's house, the Korahites, they were over the work of the service. The keepers of the thresholds of the tent as their fathers had been over the camp of the Lord, the keepers of the entrance". And it goes on to give you some of the specifics. "Phinehas, the son of Eleazar was the ruler over them previously and the Lord was with him and Zechariah, the son of somebody, was gatekeeper of the entrance to the tent of meeting. And all of these who were chosen to be gatekeepers at the thresholds were 212".

So it's a relatively small group of people. "And they were enrolled by genealogy in their villages whom David and Samuel the seer appointed in their office of trust". I think they had an office of trust. "So they and their sons had charge of the gates of the house of the Lord, even the house of the tent as guards". They're the guards of the house of the Lord. "The gatekeepers were on the four sides". Now, when you said gatekeeper to me, when I lived at home as a kid, my father was a veterinarian, he had an equine practice which meant typically we went to the farms of the people where the horses were. And one of my assignments was, I was the gatekeeper. If we had to drive into a pasture that had a horse in it, we needed to go see and you pulled up to a closed gate, somebody had to get out and open the gate.

So you get out and open the gate, they'd pull through, you close the gate so the livestock doesn't escape. When I read gatekeeper, that was the image I had in my head. Somebody opens and closes gates. That's not what's being described here. It says they were the guards at the house of the Lord's meeting. "The gatekeepers were on four sides, to the east, west, north and south. The relatives in their villages were to come every seven days from time to time to be with them. The four chief gatekeepers were Levites were in an office of trust, and they were over the chambers and over the treasuries in the house of God". They're guarding the wealth of the nation. "They spent the night around the house of God because the watch was committed to them; and they were in charge of opening it morning by morning".

Yeah, they opened the gates, but their responsibility was the security of God's house. "Now, some of them had charge of the utensils of service, for they counted them when they brought them in and when they took them out". So nobody stole them. Some of them were gold. "Some of them were appointed over the furniture and over the utensils of the sanctuary and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the frankincense and the spices". The Korahites have the responsibility of watching over what God has entrusted to the people. They have a responsibility to watch for threats on all sides. They stand watch through the night. They have a responsibility to care for what has been received, small and large. There's a recognition of the great value, the necessity of the presence of the Lord in the midst of the people. And this specific group has the assignment to guard the place that allows the presence of God to remain in the midst of the people.

Now, I've belabored it a bit but let me add one more component. In the New Testament, and I didn't bring you all the verses, I trust you will remember. It says that "You and I in Christ have become kings and priests". Have you heard the phrase, the priesthood of all believers? That you and I don't any longer need an earthly, you don't need a pastor or a priest or a cleric to take your prayers to the Lord because you have a great high priest, his name is Jesus. And that every one of us have an assignment over the temple that God has given to us.

We have a priestly assignment to guard the temple. We have been given realms of authority. We are gatekeepers, we are guardians of our homes and our families from a spiritual standpoint. We are gatekeepers, we are guardians of our heritage, of freedom and liberty. We are gatekeepers, we are guardians of our faith. We're gatekeepers and guardians of our freedom of religion. We're gatekeepers and guardians of the gospel. Is it appropriate to say we have been a bit distracted, maybe a bit sloppy? Would it be appropriate to say to the Lord, "We are sorry that we've been less than vigilant but that if he will help us, we will take our place as gatekeepers in this generation".

Would you accept that? What was the description? The Lord gave them a place, an office of trust. Do you realize the office of trust you've been given by God? It's significant, it is significant. He'll reward you for it but he will hold us accountable for it. So that's my prayer. Won't you stand with me. Is that exciting? This little voice here says "You're not very important". It's a lie. God's given you an assignment of trust. He's called you to be a gatekeeper. He paid an enormous price for you and me to have that privilege. You do matter, you are important, you are significant.

Father, thank you for your Word for its truth and authority and power. Thank you for reminding us of the value that you see in us. Forgive us when we have failed to respond to you. Forgive us for when we have failed in our assignment as gatekeepers. When we have not been diligent, we've been distracted. We have given ourselves to thoughts and behaviors and attitudes that were disrespectful and dishonoring to you. We come tonight, Lord, to acknowledge that and in humility, repent. Ask you to forgive us, to cleanse us. Holy Spirit help us. Awaken us to our responsibility as men, as husbands and fathers, as women, as wives and mothers, as brothers and sisters in Christ, as ambassadors for the kingdom of God.

In all the places Father, you direct us and that you have assigned to us authority. May we discharge those responsibilities in a way that you might respond to us, "Well done". Holy Spirit, help us, give us understanding. Where we have failed to see or hear, give us new awareness. Give us boldness where we have been timid. May the fear of God within us be greater than the fear of men. We thank you for it and we praise you for it. We thank you for the new beginning from this night forward. In Jesus' name, amen.

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