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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - A Triumphant Life - Part 2

Allen Jackson - A Triumphant Life - Part 2

Allen Jackson - A Triumphant Life - Part 2
TOPICS: Triumph, Success

It's a privilege to be with you today. We're continuing our discussion on worship, praise, and thanksgiving. Worship in our lives is so important. It's a catalyst for the power of God moving in our world, and we desperately need his help in our lives. Worship is not principally a song service. It's not even a formal religious service. I know, I plan worship services, but that doesn't mean the people who gather necessarily worship God. Worship is an attitude. It begins within our hearts and it permeates our whole lives. We're going to explore that in some detail today. Enjoy the lesson.

In Philippians chapter 2, it's in your notes, there's a recitation of what Jesus did through his obedience and his sacrifice. And then the 'therefore,' it's a culmination statement. In verse 9, "Therefore God exalted him," Jesus, "to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father". In Revelation 5, we see the scene. It's this most remarkable, Hollywood doesn't have enough drama. There's not enough, they don't have enough computing power yet to create the imagination for that. All of creation, worshiping the Lord.

See, when I want to plant a seed is when the stability that we know is questioned, and the things that have been the cornerstone, that have enabled us to navigate life, when we watch those cornerstones begin to crumble, we're gonna need to understand what the source of our authority is. What the platform for our future truly rests upon. We're not the first generation. You know, it's easy to scroll forward and say, well, it's the end of time, and we're gonna get raptured out. Could be, I'm not really arguing against that, but there've been other points in the journey of God's people, when the foundations crumbled. In 70, when the Romans came and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple was torn apart, literally stone by stone, Jesus had told them it would happen, but it completely took away the foundation of how they knew God.

In order to be the chosen people of God, they had a daily sacrifice. They were commanded three times a year to come to Jerusalem for festivals. And when they got to Jerusalem, they were supposed to be able to see the temple and the temple's gone. You know, after 70, when they go to Babylon, there are no more sacrifices. The foundation, everything that has defined them, and yet they're still God's chosen people living in the midst of God's purposes. He said, I'll bring you back. He said, when you get to the nations where you're being taken, he said, pray for them that you might flourish as they flourish. We haven't had that imagination, folks. We've been determined that the next election would fix us and it may bring some good things to us.

That isn't the point. It is very much secondary to the people of God, understanding where our strength is, what our future is truly founded upon. Then I'm concerned because we haven't had to. We just haven't had to. So we quibble about this stuff. Well, that's not my style. Stop. My Style is the privilege of being with God's people. Do I have to go to church? No, but you get to. Some knucklehead said it was non-essential. They don't know our boss. It's essential to my wellbeing. It's essential to me flourishing. Well, I can watch from, I don't have to be in church to be a Christian. Bingo, you surely don't. We'd manipulate that to no end if that was a requirement. Can you imagine the ticket prices? We're messed up folks. You're right you don't, but you gain strength from being in community with God's people.

So here's the idea. Begin to let worship resonate within you more. Initially you'll have to develop it. It's a new year. Some of you want to lose five, or ten, or forty. And then, you know, we'd love to wake up on January the first, a new me. But the new me starts with a decision on the inside of me. Fewer Oreos. Well, if I eat fewer, can I have Double Stuff? Maybe I can get a bigger one. You know, I've seen those that look like... never mind. It's going to take a change of behavior and I'm inviting you towards that. Not coming to church more often, but to begin to look at your day with a little different attitude. Lord, I thank you for this day. You've been good to me.

Maybe you write yourself a note, maybe you put it in your calendar. Stop and say thank you to the Lord. You've got all kinds of digital reminders. It seems to me nobody will take an appointment with me anymore unless there's a digital reminder about the appointment. Put stop and say thank you to the Lord into your calendar. Let's begin to cultivate a different kind of spiritual discipline. Well, I've done pretty well up to this point. Granted, many of us have been crazily blessed. But folks, the world is shifting. Let's be prepared. Let's walk into it. Perhaps God will relent and bring a new season of stability. Wouldn't that be amazing, that we could give that gift to our children, And our grandchildren? I'm an optimist more than I am anything else. But I don't believe those things will come apart from the sovereign intervention of God, and God's people are the delivery system for that.

We can't live as far in the world as we have been living and imagine that God's best will come to us. We've been more concerned about our plans and our priorities and our stuff. We haven't really worshiped the Lord. We went to a worship service, but we haven't led lives of worship. And I spent my life planning worship services. That's really awkward for me to have to acknowledge. But it's true. In fact, the reality biblically is that Worship is inevitable. It's a part of every life, whether we're conscious of it or not. We should all understand that we are beings that were created to worship. It's the story of the book. It starts in the opening chapters. The only real component in question is whom we will worship.

Now that debate starts in the garden. Did God really say? Are you really gonna believe that? God's trying to keep something from you. There's a better future for you apart from God. We meet that debate in the second chapter of our Bible, and that debate is alive inside of Allen's heart today. Is there really a better life apart from God? He seems a little restrictive, a little confining. If you go out on your own, you can leave a little God on the periphery, but you don't want to incorporate him into the central part of who you are. For heaven's sakes, don't show him your account numbers.

In Exodus 20, when God is beginning to form a people after the deliverance from Egyptian slavery, this is the beginning of the Decalogue, those guidelines, God said: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of their fathers to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me". God will not share worship with anyone or anything. If we worship God, we worship him alone. That's a very important concept. It's easily said, but it requires some contemplation.

If we worship God, we worship him alone. If you worship God and some other things, there's a fancy biblical word for that, It's called syncretism. Common language, it's compromise. Compromise will not grant you access to the Lord. Bowing down is an indication of worship. That's why God said you can't bow down. You can't bow down to forbidden things. It's a rather startling passage. There are evil consequences of misdirected worship that extend to our descendants. You say you love your family? The greatest way to show that love to the generations who follow you, is by choosing to worship the Lord.

Some of us will rather casually say, well, I don't believe that. I appreciate that statement, but if our belief system doesn't change reality. If you stood on the edge of the church building and said, I believe I can fly, I would still not encourage you to step off. And we rather, nonsensically, have imagined that we can set aside the principles of the Creator by saying we don't believe them. Worship is inevitable. The question is whom or what we are going to worship. And the invitation is to determine in your heart to worship the Lord. It's a learned behavior, we grow it. It's not something we master and then put on the shelf. It's not a skillset that no longer requires our attention. Biblically worship and service go together. It's an interesting connection. Whatever we worship, we ultimately serve.

I've often said to you, if you'll allow me to review your calendar and your spending pattern, I can tell you what's Lord in your life. Not because I have great discernment, it's evident in what you've given your time and your resources to. The principle is highlighted in a dialogue between Jesus and Satan, and we're privileged to have it recorded. It's in Matthew 4, and verse 8, "The devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and he showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And Satan said, 'I'll give you all of this if you'll bow down and worship me.' And Jesus said, 'Away from me, Satan! For it's written: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only".' Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him".

It's worth noting the order in Jesus's response to Satan. He said, "You worship the Lord your God and you serve him only". We worship and then we serve. We've kind of flipped the script on that. We imagine that we serve and maybe that's an expression of worship. Service extending from worship brings a new power and strength to bear on the outcomes of our lives. We serve the Lord because we have worshiped him. It's different than just serving out of a sense of obligation, community service, or even expressions of kindness. We've been blessed, we want to bless somebody else, and we'll set apart a little portion of our time. It's my time, how long do I need to be there? Worship is something different. It's back to that living sacrifice notion. My days and my life belong to the Lord. I serve him no matter what I'm doing, no matter where I go, no matter what the role is, whether it's a professional role or a private role or a relational, whatever it is, I'm serving the Lord in that place.

There's a difference. Our lives then become an expression of service to the Lord. It isn't my time. It isn't my agenda. Think of all the agitation when I'm delayed, because what I wanted isn't coming in the timeframe that I wanted it to arrive. Worship and service. Worship brings about two outcomes in our lives. I think I put them in your notes. Our commitment to the person or thing becomes more complete when you worship it, you know that. What you give your time and attention to, your commitment grows. You know that true with every expression in your life. Our identity conforms more completely to the person or thing worshipped. We become more like them. Worship inevitably leads to commitment and identification.

The Bible tells us, teaches us, it's presented to us, that we were created to worship. We can't change our nature. It's who we are. All that we can do is change the direction of the worship from God to a false God. And that has very little to do with church. We can sit in church and all we're doing is think about what we're gonna do next. How long do I have to stay? Will he ever hush? We're not halfway through this. Outline to you, can you see all those scriptures that he is prattling on? Ad nauseam, God deliver me. He will eventually. Worship is something different. It's that attitude in our heart. Lord, it's my time. It's your time. It's your day. You gave it to me. What are we going to do today? What does that look like? It doesn't mean you don't have a schedule and calendars. It doesn't mean you abandon discipline.

It doesn't mean you don't have a plan. God, if he's anything, he is a planner. If God weren't a planner, the prophets would make no sense. If God weren't a planner, The Book of Revelation would be completely fiction. Sometimes we imagine that spontaneous is more spiritual. Baloney, it's not. We come up with all sorts of pseudo-spiritual things. The most intensely spiritual people I've ever known have been the most pragmatic. Weird does not make you spiritual. You're just weird. All right, all of us have a degree of weird in us. It's when you try to use your weird to convince people that that's a genuine spirituality, that we all get in trouble. We will overlook your weirdness until you try to manipulate us with it and push in the 'thus sayeth the Lord.' Stop it. Stop it. The greatest evidence of your cooperation with The spirit of God is the fruit of the spirit in your life. That's the truth. The Antichrist and the False Prophet will be extraordinarily supernatural characters, but it's the wrong spirit.

There are some false gods which are very commonly worshiped around us. Let's look at this and we'll wrap it up. Throughout the world and every culture, you don't have notes on this, I'm sorry. I do, I got the deluxe version. And I was out of paper on yours. Throughout the world and every culture, we find idols of wood and stone that are worshiped today. This wasn't a practice which was just limited to antiquity, It's prevalent in the earth today. There are many ways. I mean, the biblical word for it is idolatry, but idols exist. They exist in our culture. You don't have to go to some dark jungle where they employ witch doctors. When World War II was over and our troops returned home, there was a building initiative across our nation, city after city, state after state, the most beautiful buildings being erected were churches.

There was sense of gratitude for survival, for freedom, for another generation. They had looked into the abyss and God had pulled them back from the precipice. And when they returned home, they were very grateful to have the largest constructions in their communities be churches. The largest buildings in our communities these days are business centers or athletic centers. And we grumble about large churches. Most of my conversations about this congregation begin with, I didn't want to be a part of a large church. Well, thank you. We just could never decide when to put that sign out. You know the one. We're full. Go to hell. You know the perfect sized church is when you find a church that meets your needs. That's a good one. No more people please might interrupt what's serving me. I like it the way it is. Or we recall some time in our life when there was some spiritual momentum, some spiritual growth, and that was the ideal size, or the ideal place, or the ideal tone, or the ideal style.

And we spend our lives chasing that to see if we could recreate it, as if God hadn't had a fresh idea since then. Again, we've made it about us. We've lost the notion of what real worship is, a life yielded to the Lord. It's an attitude that begins within us. Idolatry flourishes in our world. You and I know it. It's all those priorities we put before the one that we call Lord. Lordship, the definition of the term means that is the first priority. Everything that we put in front of Jesus is an idol. There's another false God that's prevalent in our culture. People worship their own physical desires and pleasures. The commitments become so heightened that they are gods in the lives of those involved. In our culture, comfort and convenience have achieved the place of worship. Inconvenience and discomfort are simply not tolerated for any reason whatsoever. If we're inconvenienced or something is uncomfortable, the planning was inadequate.

Let me show you my planning skills. I can eliminate inconvenience and discomfort. The technical word for that is hedonism. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die. We've made gods out of it. In another category, countless people around the world have made money and material possessions their god. The indicator is the expression of security, which is derived from possessions. It's imagined that our future or the future of our families could be secured by these things. In reality, only God can secure our futures. And again, I'm not opposed to things. If your money bothers you, bring it to me. But the technical word for that is covetousness. We make a god of it and we imagine we can secure ourselves. And yet history is filled with culture after culture and season after season.

Our own national history with Times Square, wheelbarrows filled with cash, paper currency were exchanged for a loaf of bread or a meal. We've just imagined, somehow we've risen above it, that there are systems in place that will prevent it. And the people telling you that the systems are in place are asking you to bring them your money. Warning, covetousness is a false god. And there's another idol, another false god, it's power, political leaders, business titans. I prefer the term oligarchs. I think it carries the more accurate emotion with it. We see them in our culture. Religious leaders, there are many vehicles used to consolidate power with the goal of being independent of God. And thereby we think we become God-like.

Oh, we walk about in our pride and our arrogance preening in front of what we've accumulated and pointing to our achievements, even in religious context. Those who reject the true God, with their selfish philosophies, ultimately find themselves worshiping some part of creation. It's a false God. The power that holds the universe together is presented to us in Revelations 4 and 5, we want to worship him. We want to learn to turn our attention on a daily basis more and more to the awareness that there is a God, that he can be known. If we don't have the courage to invite him into the activities of our day, we should change our activities.

Folks, we will see him one day. The Bible says we all have two appointments that cannot be avoided, death and after death judgment. It's not a threat, it's a promise. Let it be a judgment of reward, of blessing, of anticipation, something that you are fully invested in. I had the privilege of a rather lengthy education. And I remember one or two times when I was actually prepared for class. Those were wonderful days. I hope they'll ask for my homework. Most days I went with a completely different attitude. Maybe they'll forget. There was always, do you have that one person in your class that always wanted to take the test? Ah, I hated them. Teachers say, I think I'm gonna delay the test and they go, oh!

Somebody put your hands on that person. I learned something though, if you do something bad to them, two more will show up. Be prepared to see the Lord. It's not a threat, it's a promise. When you step into eternity, you want the Lord to extend a hand to you, not to make a fist. It's the greatest privilege of our lives to serve the King. He's been good to us. I don't know all that the future holds, but I know God is faithful. Don't keep your attention focused on the instability, and the threats, and the discomfort, and the darkness. Turn your attention to the Lord. Perhaps he will look upon us with mercy and bring stability to our children and our grandchildren that has shaped much of our lives. What a blessing that would be. But either way, our future is secured by Almighty God. Begin to worship Him.

Turn your attention away from the things that you have wrongly thought could secure your future. I assure you they can be gone in a day. I've been to the hospital too frequently with people who seem to have everything, and a change in just their physical wellbeing put all of that at threat. Worship the Lord. I brought you a prayer. Surprisingly, I took it from Revelation chapter 5. The words are not mine. I took out the verse numbers, but I left the quotes. I wanted you to understand it wasn't me. I'm gonna ask you to say it with me. If it's good enough to worship the Lord within heaven, it's good enough for Middle Tennessee and wherever you are today. Why don't you stand with me? We're going to read it together, in good voice. Don't whisper. I want the Lord to know I have worshiped him. Don't you? I bet you do. Let's read it together:

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever! Amen.

I bet we can do that one more time, huh? You're still gonna get to the restaurant ahead of the Presbyterians, it's okay. One more time.

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praised and honor and glory and power, forever and ever! Amen.

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