Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Coaching From An Apostle - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Coaching From An Apostle - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Coaching From An Apostle - Part 2
TOPICS: Let's Do Difficult

It's an honor to be with you today, we're continuing our study on Let's Do Difficult, and the awkward truth about being a Christ follower, it'll take the very best you have. That's not bad news, that's good news, because in return, God gives you the very best he has, that's a bargain. In this session. We're gonna take some lessons from an apostle, we're gonna follow Paul through some of the coaching he gave to the people that he was mentoring in his lifetime. I think it will give you and I, a canvas in which we can understand what it means to be a Christ follower. I don't really like the way we're coached to be Christian, in the sense that we think we sit in church for a few minutes on Sunday, and then the rest of our lives is our time. The reality is, our faith can't be segmented that way. Who we are when with our friends, when we go to work, when we're doing recreation, all of those places are very much a demonstration of our faith or the lack thereof. Enjoy the lesson.

Well, I want to take the minutes we have left, and listen to some coaching from Paul. Jesus recruited him, and the first assignment, the first message he got with skin on when Ananias was sent to pray for Saul of Tarsus, while he was still blind from his encounter with Jesus. God said to Ananias, I didn't put it in your notes, you can check me, it's in the book of Acts. He said, I want you to tell him, show him what he's gonna suffer for my namesake. And we could argue that as much as any single individual, any Jesus follower, Saul of Tarsus becomes the apostle, Paul, has impacted the world with his faith. By title, he wrote two thirds of the New Testament.

In his generation, he took a very promising career, he had a great deal of success very early in life. He had an extraordinary education, he had a zeal to match it, he was getting outcomes that had brought him to the attention of the most powerful figures in the city of Jerusalem to the point that they'd commissioned him to travel around the region. His assignment was to persecute Christians. With joy and glee, he brought men and women in chains to be in prison, because they acknowledged Jesus. So that early group of believers understood the cost, the ones that were close enough to Jesus to have listened to him deliver the Sermon on the Mount, or to have known somebody that was there, or to have had a personal experience, or had a friend that had a personal experience, that generation of believers were willing to face imprisonment to acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as Lord of their lives.

And Paul is the antagonist, until he meets Jesus. And we're gonna scroll forward a few decades. He's an old man, he's in a Roman prison, he's in prison in Rome, and he writes a letter to Timothy, a young man that has been his protege, he's been mentoring him. And you get a little window into the kind of coaching... Timothy's been on some of these journeys with him, he's seen the challenges and the difficulties, and Paul begins to talk to him, in 2 Timothy chapter 2, "Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David". Both the redemptive work of Jesus and the Jewish heritage of Jesus, Timothy, don't forget that, Timothy's gentile. "This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. And therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory".

How will people get the message, those that God has called? Because people are willing to endure whatever is necessary for the message to be communicated. Is that a passable interpretation of what we read? We just had to put it in old, good Tennessee English. He said, I may be suffering, but I may be in prison today, but I'm more than willing to endure that difficulty so that those that haven't heard can hear the gospel. Wow, I wanna get mad at him. Well, if they want to hear the gospel, they should get themselves to church. I teach three times a week, we'll make empty seats, we'll go outside, we'll make room. Paul seems to have a different attitude.

Same book, next chapter. "You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, my faith, my patience, my love, my endurance, my persecutions, my sufferings, what kind of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra," not just once, not randomly, consistently, repeatedly. "The persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them". That's not the answer I want. I would prefer the Lord warned me about all of them and I almost faced them. I would have rather had a dream saying, don't go there, you'll go to jail. That's more fun than getting let out of jail.

I mean, I know when we read the stories about these midnight intrusions, where God comes, and the chains fall away, it's like, wow, but if you're the participant and you've already taken the beating and you've already had the humiliation, both publicly and privately of being arrested, beaten, and incarcerated, I mean, if I get to choose, I would have chosen the advanced notice, right? You would call me a poor planner, if every time I took a short term mission trip, myself and whoever's with me got arrested. What are you doing? What are you thinking? Not traveling with you.

We were in 2 Timothy 3, my persecutions, my suffering, what kinds of things have happened to me in Antioch, Lystra, "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be," what, "persecuted". Let's do difficult, at least inwardly, let's begin to raise our hands and say, God, I'll do whatever you want me to do. I'll start in my house, God, I'll start saying, I love Jesus. They'll laugh because they've seen me kick the dog. Well, I'll have to follow that statement up and go, you know, I do it imperfectly, but I want to learn to do it better, and I would love for all of you to do that as well. Let's decide to take those steps, I understand it's awkward, don't let your past failures be used by our adversary to intimidate you from taking a step towards the Lord. We can have the courage to say, I have lived more like the devil than I have like the Lord, in spite of the fact that I had the facade of being Christian. Like it's probably good to get that out.

Now, you don't need to post in the social media, but you can tell it to the people you love. He said, look, I realize it's been pretty inconsistent, my track record is pretty spotty. That you may have heard words come out of me that didn't sound anything like, bless the Lord, or you've watched me invest my time and my energy in things that you and I both know, the goal was not honoring him, but I'm trying to make a change. I intend to honor the Lord. And there's nobody more important for me to say that to than those of you that I'm doing life with. I understand the difficulty of that. But if we can't honor the Lord and acknowledge the Lord in our homes, folks, we got no shot someplace else. Why would we visit your message on somebody else, if we don't have the courage to do that where we live? They don't need us on the other side of the planet, if we can't do it across the table. Freely acknowledging we do it less than perfectly, but we're on assignment.

Again, it's like maintaining our physical health. It may not be perfect, but we intend to make choices to accept responsibility for our well-being. 2 Timothy 4, "Keep your head in all situations," he wouldn't tell him that if there wasn't enough pressure that would make you lose your mind. "Endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry". That moves it from the arena of the convenient or the comfortable, if you think of it in sense of duty, there's some words we have lost in our contemporary discussions that I think are unfortunate. Words like honor and duty. Those words, those concepts, those principles used to shape the world in which we live.

Now, we have words like entitlement, and what we deserve. And they're far more prevalent. I'm intrigued by what Paul said, "Discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I," he said, "I'm already being poured out like a drink offering". A drink offering is something you took to the priest, and when he received it, he poured it out on the ground. It was an emptying of a vessel. He said, my life is about to be poured out. "The time has come for my departure". He's anticipating his execution, not his flight. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I've kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me, but not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing". What's our motivation for this? Why would we do difficult? If you can say the sinner's prayer, and be dipped in a pool, and get a ticket to heaven, why would you consider difficult? It's a very important question.

One last passage, I'll do it quickly. It's so personal. There's an honesty in it that speaks to us. "Do your best to come to me quickly," remember Paul is in prison in Rome. "For Demas, because he loved the world, has deserted me and he's gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, he's helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Ty to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments". Maybe it's some of the circumstances in my own life, but that is a very emotional passage to me. Timothy, hurry. Everybody's gone but Luke, and I'm cold, can you bring me a coat? And if you'd bring my study materials, Timothy, can you hurry?

"Alexander the metal worker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he's done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense, no one came to my support, everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it". Are you kidding me, he's on trial for his life, and he keeps giving his testimony. How about a defense attorney? How about pleading the fifth? How about something? We have his pattern, we've seen it in the book of Acts, we've seen him do it before. He said, "And I was delivered from the lion's mouth". He's been on this trial before and he narrowly escaped condemnation to the arena, the Coliseum, where he's gonna be fed to the wild animals. "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen".

Now, let me tell you what's missing there. Timothy, I'm ahead of you, I got a couple of decades head start, you got some momentum in your life for the Lord, don't do what I've done. For God's sake, don't do it, Timothy. I've been imprisoned frequently, I've been beaten often, I've been shipwrecked, I've been left for dead. I've been largely deserted by the people that have traveled with me. For heaven's sakes, Timothy, don't do this. That's not what he says. He said, there's a crown of righteousness for me, that the Lord will award to me, not only to me but also to all who are longing for his appearance, for everybody that raises their hand and gets in the arena. Folks, we haven't gotten the best coaching. We've been told that if it was too difficult, it was poor planning. We've been told that if we volunteered, to raise our hand, and it's not easy, somebody messed up.

I mean, I agreed to lead a small group, and you sent me three grumpy people, or I agreed to lead a group and you wouldn't give me a group, you told me to find my own. Yes, we do. Or whatever your answer looks like, or I tried that Jesus thing, and people were unhappy with me. Well, then when I wasn't godly, they were raising their hand going, see, no kidding. You take pictures of how I park all over town. Appreciate that. But there is no regret in Paul, there's no remorse, there's no withdrawal. He cares about Timothy, and he said, Timothy, get on the track and run. I haven't read you all of his coaching, to him, he said, endure hardship like a good soldier. Run in such a way as to get the prize. Discipline yourself.

You know my way, he said, you've been with me, you've seen it, you've heard the stories, you've seen the scar tissue on my back. Five times, they beat me almost to death. Paul is physically disfigured from what he has endured, and Timothy knows that, and he's not telling Timothy to back up. He's saying Timothy, here's the baton. If you don't get here before they condemn me, here's the baton. Let's do difficult. We're gonna see Saul one day, Brother Paul. Now, I think at the very least you ought to have a callous on your hand. If you try to tell him that your suffering for the kingdom of God where you had to park at church. I'm thinking that first visit in eternity is gonna be awkward. Just from what I know of Paul, he'll tell you what he thinks. Let's do difficult. You don't need a global something, need the courage to start at home, and in your circle of friends.

Stop blessing wickedness, stop acting like you don't notice, stop encouraging people to sit in church, and then behave like the devil. You don't have to be angry, you don't have to be condemning, you can lovingly encourage them to honor the Lord in their lives. But let him know your voice, let him know you care enough about him to share the truth. But I want to take a moment with communion because it's centered in the redemptive work of Jesus. Folks, that's why we have a story, it's why we're willing to do difficult, because Jesus offered his life for us. We owed a debt we couldn't pay, we had an account we couldn't resolve. And if we step into eternity, and we have to bear the weight of that debt, it will cost us an eternity in the presence of God.

And so God, inexplicably, the Bible doesn't explain it, but God, in his love, sent his Son to take the punishment that you and I deserved for our ungodliness. Jesus exhausted the curse of our sin on that cross. For all those who had lived before him and for all those who would come after him, all of that was placed on Jesus. The other side of that divine exchange is that you and I might receive all of the blessings that were due His perfect obedience. It's the most incredible offer that will ever be extended to you. It's rooted in something spiritual, it was played out on Mount Calvary with a Roman cross, but the root of it is spiritual. We had a spiritual debt before the creator of heaven and earth, and Jesus bore the weight of that in his physical body. And when the price was paid, God raised him to life again, and he said that if you and I would acknowledge Jesus as his Son and acknowledge our sin and ask for forgiveness and be willing to forgive those who sinned against us, that he will do something supernatural for us. And we'll have a spiritual birth, we'll be born again.

You know what a physical birth is, you have a spiritual birth at that point. It's the greatest miracle that will ever touch your life. So when we come to the communion table, the reason it's a part of our routine of worship, is that we have a physical reminder of what Jesus has done for us. So there's several things to be accomplished. If there are things we need cleaned up, because of sloppiness in our lives. And it's a wonderful time to come with the humility to say, God, forgive me. If you've been hiding in the shadows and refused to raise your hand and say, I'll do difficult, it's a good time to say to the Lord, Lord forgive me. There have been times when, in my silence, I denied you, and my unwillingness to say something, I've denied you.

And if you've never asked the Lord for forgiveness for that, today would be a good day. But on the cross, Jesus not only paid for our sins, it's our total redemption. I'll spare you the word study today, but it's our physical health, our emotional well-being, the provision for our lives. So whatever it is that's pressing on you today, when we come to the communion table, it's to receive, by faith, Jesus's provision for us, through that redemptive work. So we have a moment, a personal moment with the Lord. Now you alone know what that need is today, but please don't fail to bring it to him. It was important enough that Jesus himself put this in place, and he did it in the evening when there were many, many things crowding his life.

It's the that last Passover meal with the disciples, when the meal is done, they're going to the Garden of Gethsemane, and he's going to be betrayed and arrested there, and it's going to begin his suffering. He has to be, he's already, he's just in the moments prior, acknowledged Judas as his betrayer. A plethora of emotions, but he pauses with his most closest friends. Then he says to them, this bread is my body, broken for you. As often as you eat this, do this in remembrance of me, he hadn't been to the cross yet. It's going to mean far more to them in a few hours. But he implemented something that his disciples are still participating in throughout the earth. Let's receive the bread and then he took the cup, and he said this cup is the new covenant, the strongest word for commitment in the Bible is covenant.

There's no stronger commitment that God makes to human beings or that he invites us into than a covenant. And Jesus said, this cup is a new covenant, sealed with my own blood. As often as you drink it, you proclaim my death until you see me again. Let's receive together. If you'll stand with me, I'd like to pray, and I wanna pray a prayer of forgiveness, of repentance, for healing, and renewal, all those things we invited God into at the beginning of our service. And now perhaps we have just a bit more of a glimpse of why we can pray that with confidence, because of what God has done for us, what Jesus has done for us. It's not because we've done something or we've earned something or because we raised our hand and said, I'll do difficult, God's already done it for us. My willingness to do difficult is simply my paltry response to the amazing grace that God has shown me. Let's pray:

Father, thank you. Thank you for your Word and its truth and its authority. I thank you for your great love for us, that when we were sinners, in the midst of our rebellion, and our ungodliness, that in your love, you sent your Son. And Lord Jesus, I thank you for your faithful obedience, but you came to show us the Father, that you offered yourself as a sacrifice, and we choose you as Lord of our lives today. Forgive us for our ungodliness, forgive us for our silence when we should have had a voice, forgive us for pretending not to notice, when we come in humility to acknowledge our sin, and to thank you for the cleansing blood of Jesus. We invite you into the midst of our lives today. Would you be health to our bodies and peace to our minds and hope to our souls, may your provision fill the days ahead of us. Give us the wisdom to be salt and light in a way that is pleasing to you. Teach us, show us, how to encourage one another and strengthen one another, and walk together, that we might, each one, lay up treasure in the age that's ahead. Most of all, through our lives, and our words, and our actions, may your name be lifted up, may your kingdom be extended, may you be pleased with us, in Jesus's name, amen.

Are you Human?:*