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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - God's Authority In The World - Part 1

Allen Jackson - God's Authority In The World - Part 1

Allen Jackson - God's Authority In The World - Part 1
TOPICS: Authority

It's good to be with you today. Our topic is "God's Authority in this World". Most of us have come to know God through some sort of a relationship with church. And one of the unfortunate side effects of that is we tend to think of God in terms of religious experiences or worship experiences, architectural styles, particular clothing, music, sermons. None of those things are wrong. I spent my life in the church, but that is not an adequate definition of God. He's the creator of heaven and earth, everything in the world. He's the God of ultimate authority, ultimate power. He knows everything. And we're His people. That changes the nature of our journey through time. We're more than church attenders or religious people. Our world's in a mess. The children desperately need us to stand up for the truth of God. With his help, we're gonna do that better than we've ever done it before. Grab your Bible, get a notepad, but most importantly, open your heart.

We began a study, and I wanna continue it for a bit. In my imagination, at least, there's almost chapters in it, but it's a general theme of the purposes of God breaking forth into the earth. See, I'm of the opinion that God is moving in the earth. I understand there's expressions of darkness and that there's no question that there's some demonic influences that have been unleashed in ways that we have not seen in recent history. The things that are being challenged in the public square, the biblical worldview where there's an intentional attempt to dismantle it and discredit it, things that we haven't seen in the way we're seeing them right now. But in the midst of all of that, the purposes of God are breaking forth. And I don't wanna be distracted. I refuse to focus on the darkness.

I intend to give my strength and my energy and my attention to what God is doing, to raise my hand and say, I wanna be a part of that. I'm not here just to do business as we've always done it, or to maintain the status quo, or to protect the sacred cows. I wanna see the purposes of God, and it takes the Holy Spirit to help us do that. And I will continue to invite you beyond just attending church, and the recitation of a prayer, and imagining that you've got all of your God business in a neat little row. The real question is, are you growing? How are you growing? And what's the evidence of that? Because God is moving. It's growing season. And the first chapter in this study for me, in my, at least as I'm unpacking it, has to do with God's faithfulness to watching over his Word.

One of the remarkable parts of this book is God has told us what he intends to do. It sets your Bible apart from any other book that's available to us. And there's not, you know, there are some sections of it that we group as the prophets, but the whole book is a presentation of what God intends, what he said he will do in time, and what he will do for us in eternity. And so every time you see another component of that fulfilled or evidence to support it, it should give us confidence to trust God more fully for what he said is yet ahead of us. And we've looked at a couple of those portions around some of the birth story of Jesus, but it isn't limited to that, nor should it be in our imagination. I just wanna be certain that we get as the foundation, as we kinda walk through this, how God is moving, is the authority of God in our world.

I don't know why there is such pressure to not consider that or to discount that. But I'm telling you, there's an almighty God, a creator of heaven and earth, and he is engaged with the descendants of Adam on their journey through time. And if you will look around you, you can see multiple expressions of God's authority in our world. I'll start in Matthew 26, and verse 53. Jesus is speaking, they've come to arrest him. Peter's trying to decide just how many ears he's gonna cut off. And Jesus does an intervention. He says, "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than 12 legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way"? And I just wanna briefly draw your attention to the fact that Jesus understood a part of his assignment in time was to see that what God said would happen, would be fulfilled.

It wasn't always about the convenient, or the easy, or the comfortable. He understood that God's Word was being fulfilled through his life. And if you'll allow me to suggest, God's word is being fulfilled through your life and my life. You know, we're not just bumping along going to church. God's purposes in the earth are breaking forth and he is searching for men and women who will cooperate with him. So his purposes can be given evidence through our lives. Do you wanna be one of those people? Or do you just wanna be a church attender and say, I'm born again? I said the prayer, I got dipped in a pool, I'm golden. I don't wanna do that. I don't think it's the right path. I don't think you'll be happy with the results when you get to the end of your run. So I have this notion of Jesus in the midst of some rather horrific things in front of him saying, listen, I have to do this. The Father gave me an assignment and we could mount a resistance, but that's not the path.

So knowing the path of God is of incredible significance. We're capable of things. We have the potential to do things, to accomplish things, to initiate things that God's not involved in, and I don't want to spend my life doing that. So I'll take one more Jesus passage that describes our time in the arena. Matthew 24 and Luke 21 are parallel passages. Both gospels record the same presentation of Jesus. There's some variations in them. Two authors, two different audiences. Don't let that perturb you. But the comment that started the passage was Jesus is on the Temple Mount. It's the most magnificent structure in all of Israel, Herod's Temple. It was one of the wonders in the ancient world. People came from all over the Roman empire to see it. It was certainly the pride of the people of Israel. And Jesus said, if you destroy this temple, I'll build it back in three days. And he went on to say, there won't be one stone left here when this destruction's done.

Well, the disciples, as soon as they had a private moment with Jesus, they escaped the city of Jerusalem, they withdrew to the Mount of Olives, and they said to Jesus, tell us when this is gonna happen. And then they asked him two questions, What will be the sign that it's the end of the age and of your return? In their imagination, for the temple to be destroyed, it had to be the end of everything. Because for the temple to be destroyed, for them it would be the end of everything. And about 40 years after Jesus's crucifixion, the Romans destroyed the temple. But in response to their questions, Jesus answered them both. He described the characteristics that would be present in the earth at the end of the age. And I gave you just a brief excerpt. We touched it briefly in an earlier session. So I'm not gonna belabor it, but he lists about a dozen things.

And then he said, "All these are the beginning of birth pains". So he said, there'll be a beginning to this that will be like a foreshadowing. It will be an experience that will give you a mild indication of something that is coming in a far more intense way. I think, I've never given birth. In case you can't tell, I'm not a birthing person. But I have... my father was a veterinarian, so I have observed many, many things being born. And once that process starts, it gains in frequency and intensity. And so I have this sense when Jesus says that, that we're gonna have experiences that won't be once in a lifetime experiences, but then once we've had them, we should anticipate them being repeated, but they may grow more intense and they may come more frequently. That's a whole different day's discussion. But then he begins to list some things that we could anticipate as a part of our journey.

"You'll be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you'll be hated by all nations because of me". You don't need much imagination. We see the Jewish people right now being hated globally. They were attacked in the most heinous, brutal, evil way. Children murdered, women abused. It was celebrated in the streets. The perpetrators are not apologetic. The population from which they came hide them, shelter them and defend them. And there are many places in the world where there are protests, suggesting that the Jewish people are responsible. The same spirit that hates the Jewish people, is the spirit that drives the hatred of all of God's people. It's the spirit of Antichrist.

And so we've seen some beginnings of birth pains. "You'll be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from their faith or from the faith and will betray and hate each other. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved". What's the assignment? Stand all the way to the end. Well, that doesn't sound like fun. Duly noted. Stand anyway. But then we're given an assignment. "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come".

The ultimate sign is the proclamation of the good news of the kingdom in the whole world. What will be happening prior to Jesus's return? Well, there'll be several things, but the one thing I can tell you Jesus focused on, is the gospel of the kingdom being proclaimed. Come on. So if we had to summarize that, and we do, because I wrote the outline. Jesus describes violence against God's people, hatred because of Jesus's lordship, a widespread turning away from the faith, a great breach of trust. A betrayal is a breach of trust. And Jesus said, many will betray. I think we could suggest that we are witnessing an unprecedented loss of confidence in those that we imagine held the public trust. You can list the agency, or the organization, or the group, and you could include churches in it.

There's a remarkable breach of trust. Public institutions, the media. Jesus said there would be internal fractures. We would hate one another. There'd be an unprecedented proclamation of the gospel. Don't turn loose of that. Ways we've never seen it before. In a magnitude, in a scope, in a frequency, in an availability that's never been possible before. That sounds like the world in which we live. The communications is so dramatically different. You can FaceTime somebody and talk to them in person. We're gonna preach the gospel around the earth in ways that were unimagined just a few short years ago. You can focus on the wickedness, and the demonic, and the darkness, and the redefinition of that, and the challenge of this, and the persecution and the hatred if you want to. I intend to be busy proclaiming the gospel. It means the way we have communicated is gonna be different.

The numbers of people we communicate with will be different. Once upon a time, if over the course of your lifetime, if you communicated with a few thousand people, you'd had a remarkable journey. Not many of you on social media communicate with more people than that on a weekly basis. What if we intentionally share the gospel? I'm telling you the purposes of God are breaking forth in the earth. But that has some implications for you and me. Once upon a time, a handful of us would worship, but that was what the local church looked like. We knew one another, we knew who could cook, we knew who couldn't, we knew who could pray and who wouldn't. And you could centralize who could do what in that small group, because you had access to everybody. Nothing would very much disrupt that. We live in a different time and place. You need to understand your faith. You need to be able to communicate your faith. You need to know how to pray.

Now I wanna give you some good news to add to that. That's a little heavy. There's a description of what it will be like when Jesus reigns on the earth in the scripture. Some of you think you're going to heaven and hang out in the clouds forever with the angels. But the Bible tells us that Jesus is gonna rule and reign on planet Earth. And I'm not gonna dwell on it for long, but I think the description is fascinating to me, because it's gonna be a completely different authority than we're accustomed to. Isaiah describes it in chapter 11. He said, "The wolf will live with the lamb". That's not exactly how it works today. The wolf today lives with lamb chops. "And the leopard will lie down with the goat, and the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, and their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like an ox". It's a beautiful, poetic, majestic description of a different order in the earth. Isn't that good news?

"And the infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child will put his hand into the viper's nest. And they'll neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea". Imagine that, a day when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. The earth is filled with something else today. We are a counter-cultural movement. Much of what we have to say into the world is counterintuitive. It's like light in the darkness. But the day is coming when the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth. Jesus will reign on the earth. It's a new order, a different relationship between very familiar characters. It also implies that currently, that is not true, but that there is something better ahead. I give that to you, because you want to meditate on that. You want to think about it. We aspire to that. It's in front of us.

The scripture says that for the joy that was set before him, Jesus endured the cross, scorning its shame. Why would you walk through difficulty, and hatred, and persecution, and rejection, and physical threats? Because there's something better ahead of us. Jesus said, don't be frightened of people that can only kill your body. Well, I mean, excuse me, but I'm thinking that's pretty much a threat. But he said, if all they can do is kill your body and they can't affect your eternity, it's not really that big a deal. He said, be afraid of someone who could affect your eternity. So we need to spend some time thinking about, meditating what's in front of us, because it will give us the courage, and the determination, and the boldness to make the effort, to make the sacrifices that are going to be needed to serve the Lord. It's a sacrifice to serve the Lord.

People say, oh, it's no sacrifice. I just love the Lord. Those are the same people that say to me, when they run, they get a high. Now you may get high and go for a run. But I have exercised a lot in my lifetime and I've never found that, whatever you're talking about. I get tired and hot and sweaty, and my legs scream at me, and my lungs complain, and my brain says, you've got a car and you're running down the road. And I have to know there's a value in that, a purpose in that in order to have the discipline to do that. And you and I need to fill our hearts with what is in front of us, so we will have the discipline to serve the Lord, because serving the Lord is not always fun. It can be, but it's like saying parenting is always fun. I listen to their prayer request over there in the preschool area. They tell on you. Now I wanna take the time we have left and talk a little bit about the authority that God has entrusted to us.

It's remarkable that God would entrust the message of the kingdom of his son to his creation. That still strains at the, just the edges of what's credible to me, that God would entrust us. He knows our weakness and our frailty and our inconsistency. And yet he has entrusted us with a message that holds the potential to transform humanity. It's remarkable to me. In Matthew 7, "When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority".

The beginning point for me is to recognize that Jesus was not simply leading Bible studies, but that his message has an authority in them that intrigued his audience. It perplexed those that were closer to him, because they were close enough to see the outcome of the authority with which he taught. They saw him speak to the wind and the waves and they obeyed. And it says they were terrified. They said, even the wind and the waves obey him. They saw unclean spirits follow his instructions. They saw him pray for the sick and they would get better. They saw him raise the dead. There was an authority that Jesus demonstrated that they were unfamiliar with. And they were very religious. They knew the rules. They made an effort to live righteous, upright, godly lives. They celebrated the right holidays, and they ate the right foods, and they didn't drink the wrong things, but they'd never seen an authority like this. And one of the things that will accompany, I believe the conclusion of the age, is the authority of God being demonstrated in the lives of his people.

So if there's an invitation I would put before you, it would be to not just practice your faith in the way you've always practiced it. Well, that's just how I am. Great change. Most of us behaved differently before 2020 than we do today. In many, many ways. Jesus taught with an authority. Look in Luke 4. Jesus said, "I'll give you all there", this is Satan's temptation to Jesus. In the wilderness, Jesus has been baptized and the Spirit has led him into the wilderness. He's fasted for 40 days and the devil comes to tempt him. "And he said, 'I'll give you all the authority and the splendor.'" It's the kingdoms of the world. He said, "It's been given to me and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you'll worship me, it'll all be yours". Satan's trying to make a bargain with Jesus. It's the bargain that the Antichrist will accept. And Jesus rebukes him with the word of God. But it's worth noting in Matthew 28, that after his crucifixion and his resurrection, Jesus comes to his disciples and he said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me".

See, I believe those two bargains are put before every one of us. The temptation that you could have everything that godliness promises you by choosing ungodliness. Contentment and peace and satisfaction. All the things that come with serving the Lord are promised to you by temptations that Satan himself has orchestrated and will put before you. We know it's true, because most of us have taken some walks down those pathways. But the reality is that if we will choose the kingdom of God, we can have the authentic. So Jesus now at the conclusion of Matthew's Gospel says, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I've commanded you. And surely I'm with you always to the very end of the age".

So Jesus not only had authority and taught with authority, and demonstrated the authority of a kingdom. After his resurrection, he said to the disciples, now here's your assignment: go in this authority. The things I've done, you can do. The things you've seen me do, you go do them. Now, as far as I know from scripture, those instructions have never been amended nor rescinded. We're the 21st century addition to the book of Acts. Hallelujah. That means when we sit down for a chat with Peter or James or Paul, they'll tell their stories and then they're gonna look at us. "Well, I sat through a lot of sermons. Lord, those outlines were long". I don't believe is the answer that we want to give.

There's no problem in our lives that intimidates Jesus. There's no obstacle before us. There's no diagnosis that we've received. There's no opponent that we can see. Jesus conquered everything that stands before us. If we can just know him well enough, we can lead triumphant lives. Not lives free of pain or problems, but triumphant lives. Let's pray:

Father, give us a revelation of Jesus that is more real than any challenge before us today. I thank you for it. In his name, amen.

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