Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Seek The Lord - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Seek The Lord - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Seek The Lord - Part 2

It's a privilege to be with you today. You know, the question I'm asked more than any other is, "Pastor, in light of all that we see going on, what can we do"? Well, I believe that one of the single most important things that we can do is seek the Lord. I know that seems like an oversimplification, but I don't believe that's accurate. I truthfully believe that if God's people will seek him, he will show us not just a pathway through, but he'll give us the ingredients to let his purposes break forth. Now that's exciting. Grab your Bible and get a notepad, but most importantly, open your heart.

Time is limited. Our lives are busy. We have so much information available to us. I'm amazed at the information available to us. I like to read, I love to learn, and there was a season in my life where learning required actual physical trips to a library. Does anybody remember that? I have spent days and days wandering through the stacks in libraries, looking things up in won't even know what this means. A card catalog, and then going to search for the book and I'm so old, then when you found the book, you had to actually take physical notes, like with a pen on a legal pad. Can you believe that? And you left the library, and there were dinosaurs outside. It was a very intimidating setting. And now we have so much information.

A few keystrokes and you can access far more than any of those libraries I ever had access to contained. And with all that information, then you and I have to make choices on a daily basis. What we're gonna turn our ear to. What we're gonna take in. What source of information will we listen to. And the great temptation so much that's packaged now as entertainment, as voyeuristic. We watch other people vacation and we watch other people cook and we watch other people exercise. But the counsel that we're given is to turn our ear to God's wisdom, to apply our heart to understanding him. And then it gets a little more desperate. The language here carries with it a sense of desperation.

If you call out for insight, if you cry aloud for understanding, you're beginning to separate a bit from your dignity. You start to call out when you recognize either a threat or an opportunity so unique that you lose your sense of social awareness. You don't care what anybody thinks. "I'm gonna cry, I need help". And it's it's bringing that emotion to this pursuit of God, to seeking God. And then in verse 4, it even raises the emotions are, "If you look for it as for silver". You have to move an enormous amount of dirt to find a tiny bit of silver. There is a profound amount of effort involved in mining precious metal. See, we want to learn about God easily. We want it to be simple and quick and can we microwave it? Can't somebody send me the Cliff Notes? What book do I need to read?

That's men's favorite, "Pastor, I really wanna get to know... What's the book I need to read"? Because, you know, we've mastered fishing or hunting or whatever hobby we were after, and we understand that a few weeks of some focused effort and a few conversations with people that have some experience beyond us and we can get a handle on this. "So tell me what is it I need to do because I wanna get to know God. I've set aside 30 or 40 minutes a week for the next 3 or 4 weeks. Show me what I need to do". And I appreciate the willingness to take those first steps. I began in the same way. What I've discovered is that I'm in pursuit of an infinite God, that I'm a finite creature. And I stand more amazed at God and what I don't know about him today than I did when I began some season ago. Search for it as for silver. The next line is even more interesting to me. Search for it as a hidden treasure. It's not simple. It's complicated.

Anybody here watch one of those "Indiana Jones" movies? There's no way Indy can figure that stuff out. Only the writers make him that smart. But it gives you an idea that it isn't simple. And folks, and I'm a professional Christian and we're guilty of saying to large groups of people interested in knowing God that it's so simple. It's not. It's not simple. Organic chemistry is much simpler than getting to know the Lord. Calculus with multiple variables is much easier than getting to know the Lord. And I promised God if he'd get me out of calculus, I'd never do anything that foolish again in all my life. But if you'll bring that attitude, that effort, that determination, that resilience to seeking the Lord, it says then you will understand the reverence, the respect, the awe of God. And you will find the knowledge of God. You can know the creator of heaven and earth.

It's exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 6: "Seek first my kingdom". See, all that other stuff, it'll come to you. It's counterintuitive. It's not logical. Matthew 13, Jesus is speaking. He said, "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field". Please note the imagery of this. It's a treasure, something of enormous value, but it's hidden. Jesus talked about a narrow gate and a narrow road and few people and a broad gate and a broad road and many people, the narrow, fewer, less traveled road leading to his kingdom, and a broader road leading to destruction. We work desperately hard. We make a great deal of effort. We spend resources. We try to come up with creative imaginative ways to invite people to consider the kingdom of God because the voices cascading over them on a regular basis are leading them in another direction and they're unrelenting and they're reinforced and they're designed purposefully to be suggestive and appealing.

So I don't believe the invitation to the kingdom of God has to be boring or about being preached at, but once you've made the decision, we need to encourage one another, help one another, going, "No, this really isn't gonna be fun always". It's not always gonna be simple. Life is harder than we would like it to be and to know God requires effort and pursuit and thought and intentionality. It's worth it. The creator of heaven and earth has said he would like to have a relationship with you. Suppose you got an invitation tomorrow that said the justices of the Supreme Court would like you to come pray with them because they have a really busy docket.

How many of you would go, "Ah, that's inconvenient. I have to drive to the airport and I-24 is a zoo. And I have to fly and that requires security and I have to take off my shoes and my belt," and your pants and your shirt, "and I have to fly and flight schedules are incredibly inconsistent. Flight might be delayed. So I'd probably have to come a little early. You look like a really stuffy group of people in your robes and I don't know if you'd really wanna pray or not". No, I hope if you got the invitation, you'd go, "Yeah, it's a hassle and it's a bother and I'm gonna have to burn some vacation time. It's gonna cost me some shekels, but I'll be there to pray," right?

If you heard, "I got the invitation. I said no, it's inconvenient. I'm not going". I think you'd groan at least. Well, the opportunity to know the creator of heaven and earth is greater than sitting with any justice. It's worth the effort. It's worth the determination. It's worth the focus. It's worth the rearrangement. "Well, I did all of those things and nothing happened". It's like going to the gym twice, and canceling your membership because you don't look like an Olympic athlete. You go to the donut store to overcome your grief. "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again and in his joy, he went and sold all he had and bought that field".

Now, Jesus changes the images a little bit, the emotion behind it is identical. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. And when he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and he bought it". This opportunity to know the Lord. We have lived very presumptively. Then we argue about whether or not we can spell the names of the 12 tribes in Hebrew letters. How many prophecies about Jesus's birth we can quote. And I like to learn, it doesn't offend me that we do that. But the point of all of those things is that we might give expression to a living God in the world in which we live. And that requires a purposeful, intentional, consistent willingness to seek the Lord. To seek the Lord.

In the business or academic world, we call it continuing education. You like the wisdom that comes with seasoned professionals. There's a little more comfort in that than somebody whose diploma still has the ink that's wet. You like the... I do. I like the vantage point that comes from having seen and experienced life. If it's a physician, I like the experience that comes from seeing thousands of patients. If it's somebody in some other profession, I think experience brings many good things to the table. But if you went to that person of some tenure and they said, "Well, you know, I really don't like to learn. And once I got my diploma I haven't read anything since then," I'm looking for a new professional.

And far too often in the Christian community, we've had a little bit of that ideal. "I was born again, I got saved. I can tell you about it. I remember when I felt convicted, I remember the sermon, I remember the preacher, I remember the circumstance". But then the idea of continuing to grow and learn and mature. See, the real question about our spiritual journey is what's God taught us this week? What have I invested lately? What am I doing now? I understand the temptation to post our resume and point at that and go "Haven't I done wonderfully"? But I'm far more concerned that when the Lord steps back into time, he find me busy about his business than having posted my resume and gone to sit down. Isaiah 55:6, "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he's near". Amos 5 and verse 4, "This is what the Lord says to the house of Israel: 'Seek me and live.'" Again, this is not some subtle insignificant imagined portion of Scripture.

Now, I wanna step forward in your outline because I think this idea of seeking the Lord is far more impactful if we contemplate it and consider, reflect upon it, in light of how we relate to ungodliness, to evil, in our world. The presentation of Scripture is very clear from the opening chapters that the purposes of God in the earth are challenged. Our first insight into that is with a serpent in the garden of Eden saying to God's people, "Did God really say," and suggesting that God had ulterior motives, self-absorbed motives, that God did not have the best interest of the humans at heart. And that voice of evil was enticing, luring them away from obedience to God. That's the opening chapters of the story and those expressions of evil continue, right until the concluding of the book.

In the book of Revelation, you pick your hero from the Scripture and we'll talk about how they stood against evil. Jesus from his birth forward, you see the challenges that come, the babies that are killed in Bethlehem, Satan's temptation that the audacity for Satan to tempt Jesus still is amazing to me. It's just stupefying. Satan had seen Jesus in his glory. Something none of us can imagine. He had seen him in his glory. He was an archangel. He knew exactly who he was. The demons knew who Jesus was. In Mark's Gospel, the first chapter, when Jesus steps into the synagogue in Capernaum to begin his public ministry, there's a demonized man and the demon cries out and says, "I know who you are". And Satan, with that awareness, comes to Jesus to tempt him to take from him what God intends him to have. It's a revisiting of what we read in the opening chapters of Genesis.

So you and I had better have an imagination and understanding, a plan, an intentional response for evil. Romans chapter 12 in verse 9, "Love must be sincere". In your outline, it's Roman numeral II, A. If you don't like outlines, it's on the back of your page. How to relate to evil. Romans 12:9, "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good". There's three verses in the concluding chapters of Romans that all speak to this, collectively. Chapter 12, verse 21: "Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good". Romans 14:16, "Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil".

Now, collectively, there's a pretty good little travel kit for how you can begin to imagine your response or my response to evil. Hate what is evil. Don't covet it, don't envy it. Again, I spent a lot of my life around church people and sometimes it almost, I feel as if we're mad at ungodly people because they're having more fun than we are. We'd like to be evil. We're just a little afraid of the consequences. They're just a little more bold than we are. I didn't call your name. But the biblical prescription is when you recognize something is evil, to hate it, distance yourself from it. Don't see how close you can get. We ask inappropriate questions. Well, how far is too far? How much is too much?

When you're trying to make that out, I'll give you a little way to imagine it. I'm not suggesting a behavior. I did this years ago at church. I brought a big bottle of Clorox bleach and I poured a shot glass full and I said, "I'm pretty sure if you drank the whole gallon of bleach, it would have a very negative impact on your physical health. But what could 3 ounces do"? Anybody want to drink it? I didn't get any takers but then I got out a roll of cash and I started counting out hundreds and I watched people start to squirm. Well, how much is too much? I don't know. I don't wanna find out. Hate evil. It's important to me because I spend a lot of time in church world and I can tell you that one of the messages in the church, predominant messages in the church, both in practice and the literature, is how we should accommodate evil. We want the ungodly to come amongst us and be very comfortable.

I sat with a pastor recently in a public presentation we were doing, and he said that Jesus came with a message of grace and truth. And since the Scripture begins with grace, that that's the primary message that the church should give to anybody who comes in the door, that you're valued by God, you're loved by God. And after they're comfortable amongst us, then we can begin to tell them the truth. It sounds so good. It's so enticing. It's like sprinkles on a doughnut. It's just not biblical. Because in the book of Romans, it says until the law came, we didn't even know we were sinners. We didn't even know we needed to repent until we knew the rules. I'm not this old, but there was a time, I'm told, I've read history, when the automobile began to appear in our nation and roads began to improve.

We had roads and cars and no speed limits. I can only dream. So you couldn't speed. You couldn't break the rule. We had to have the law to know you were a reckless driver. And if we invite ungodly people into our midst and we don't tell them the truth, we don't help them get better. We're not showing them love. We're cowards. We don't have to be angry. We don't have to be condemning. We can talk freely about our own brokenness and how God is restoring and redeeming us and cleansing us and delivering us. But we have to acknowledge right and wrong, good and evil. "Hate evil," the Bible says. In fact, it says in that second passage in Romans 12, we have to overcome evil.

Psalm 97:10, "Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and he delivers them from the hand of the wicked". See, we're reluctant around our kitchen tables to say to people that share DNA with us, "You're behaving in an ungodly way," because we have the wisdom to understand there could be consequences for that. It could disrupt a holiday, it might make something uncomfortable. So we have cultivated now for a long season, the practice that we just overlook it. We don't overcome evil. We overlook it. Well, after all, it's important. They have to know they're loved.

Proverbs 8:13, "To fear the Lord is to hate evil". I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech, to fear the Lord, to respect the Lord, to revere God is to hate evil. I think we've been overlookers for too long. Revelation 21, it's near the conclusion of the book. It says: "The one who will inherit all of this, God and his kingdom and all that comes with it, is the one who overcomes". Overcomes evil. And if you look at the very next sentence, the alternative, it begins with the cowardly, the people who don't have the will, the perseverance, the determination. They're not gonna look for God's wisdom like it's buried treasure. They're not gonna look like it's a precious metal. They're not gonna incline their ear and they're not gonna do that. They're not gonna put first the kingdom of God.

"Well, there'll be pushback. They'll call me a name. I might lose something. I might lose a business deal or be declined an invitation. I want to be liked. I don't want my kids to suffer". Stop hiding behind your kids. If you accommodate evil because you think you're protecting your children, you in truth are making your children vulnerable to a far more powerful expression of evil. The short cut on that, the simplest I know, is find somebody else that you know who's seeking the Lord, spend time with them, mow their grass, cook for them. Whatever you have to do. If they are genuinely seeking the Lord, the opportunity to be with them is a tremendous gift. It's an honor.

And don't start with somebody that is seeking the Lord in so many ways, start with somebody where you recognize it. All you need is the next step. You know, if you're 100 pounds overweight, you don't need to know how to run the 100-meter dash in world record speed. You need to know how to walk a quarter of a mile. Just begin to seek the Lord where you are. God will meet you. He's the rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Jesus said it: "Seek first my kingdom". Let's go be that church. Let that be the label of this generation. They began to seek the Lord with a determination, a resolve, a focus that changed their world. Here we go. Will you stand with me? Let's pray:

Father, thank you for your Word, for its truth and power and insight and direction. Holy Spirit, I ask you now that we would be receptive. May our hearts be receptive to your Word and your message for us as individuals, not the opinion of a pastor or a person or a commentator. May we recognize your voice and your instructions to us at this point in time. We say Yes. Yes, we wanna honor you. Yes, we wanna serve you. Yes, we wanna follow you. Yes, we wanna live for your glory. Yes, we wanna seek you first. Yes, we believe you're a rewarder of those who will diligently seek you. Yes. Yes, we will overcome evil with good. Yes, we will hate those things that destroy people, and we will cultivate a love for you in all our heart and our life. Help us, in Jesus's name, amen, hallelujah.

Are you Human?:*