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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - I Belong to Jesus - Part 2

Allen Jackson - I Belong to Jesus - Part 2

Allen Jackson - I Belong to Jesus - Part 2
TOPICS: Clarify Your Identity

We're not defined primarily by our sense of fashion or color or style. I'm not opposed to those things, but the most descriptive part of your person is who you are on the inside, and we need God's Word to get that clarity because we will write ourselves an excuse for almost anything. Come on, we can justify almost anything. "Yes, I wanna lose weight, but those Oreos would feel rejected if I didn't, you know? And I don't want the people at Nabisco... there are hard working people at Nabisco, people are trying to put clothes on their children and pay for education, and that one extra package of double-stuffed Oreos would put somebody over their monthly bonus. So I'm being a good citizen and it's an expression of compassion. I think I'll take two packages. And if I eat them, I'm gonna need another treadmill because the one I have isn't built for heavy-duty people. So I'm starting my own little economic engine. I think I'll have a third package. And if I chase it with a half a gallon of ice cream, think of all the people at the dairy I could help".

We can provide cover for any expression of destructive behavior we can imagine. We've got to decide to yield to the authority of the Word of God. It will help us understand ourselves. And unless you have a remarkable group of people around you, you'll find people who will join you in your deception and your lies and your wickedness. Hebrews chapter 4 and verse 12 says, "The Word of God is living and active. It's sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account".

God's Word, the scripture, exceeds any imaging equipment that's available to human beings. One of the big changes in health care systems in the last few decades is the quality of the imaging equipment that's available to us. We can see things that not very long ago were completely blind to us. It's amazing what we can do, but none of them even remotely compare to the Word of God. It can help us determine the differences between the thoughts and the attitudes of our hearts. It can discern between our soul and our spirit. Your soul is your mind, your will, and your emotions, how you feel, what you think. Your spirit is the part of you that's created in God's image. It's not always easy to determine whether it's something I want or something God wants. You need God's Word to help you with those determinations. The spirit and the soul are very distinct, and you better understand the distinctions.

The propaganda washing over you day after day, moment after moment, event after event, is targeting your soul. Wants to affect how you feel and how you think. Hebrews is suggesting there's no other resource for this discernment. You can't get it any other way. People say to me, "Well, do I have to read my Bible again? I read it last year". Yes. But, no, you don't have to. You get to. You have access to it. It's available to you. Why would you not? Are you so confident you can discern everything that's presented to you that you know God's will in every moment of every day and every interaction that you no longer need to be encumbered by anything so pedantic as reading the Bible? Please, we all need to.

If we don't care enough about the Lord to spend time on a daily basis, sitting before his Word saying, "Help me to understand the world I'm in and the choices that are before me and the options. How do I protect my children? What do I say to them? What counsel should I give them"? We're 40... what are we, $34 trillion in debt? God, what should we do to secure our future? Yes, there is a crash in our future. That doesn't make us prophets. It means you can read the balance sheet. I'm sorry. We've had very limited imagination about the impact of spiritual influences on our lives. We've talked about them in terms of being born again. Even within the evangelical Christian community, we acknowledge the importance of conversion, but that's typically linked to an end-of-life experience. We want that out at the end of our lives, not now, sometime later. I don't know when the end of our lives is, but it's not now.

Somewhere out there, we're gonna wanna know something about that. But for now, it's all up to me, even within the Christian community. Thus, our focus tends to be almost entirely upon our soul and our body. What feels good? What do I think? What do I feel? Perhaps even more troubling, we're offended if someone suggests that our spiritual awareness is limited. We assert our credentials as persons duly born again. "How dare you suggest I'm spiritually unaware? I said the sinner's prayer". Well, I'm happy, good. That doesn't mean we've grown up. Look at 1 Thessalonians 5, verse 23: "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through". Sanctify is a religious word. It means to be made holy. The Bible says that without holiness, no one will see the Lord. Imagine that. You've seen those signs, "No shirt, no shoes, no service". No holiness, no entrance.

"Wait a minute, Pastor. I walked the aisle". I know, I got it. But it's not the only verse. It says, "Without holiness, nobody sees the Lord," so I would submit to you to secure this sense of holiness should be a primary objective in your life, or it will change all of your eternity. No, holiness doesn't come from us. "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through". May he make you holy. To be made holy means to be set apart for God's purposes. That word "sanctify" has some kind of specific utilizations in scripture, both Old and New Testament. When Moses is preparing the children of Israel, the Hebrew slaves, the former slaves of Egypt, to become the people of God, they appoint priests and he sanctifies the priest Aaron and those who served with him. He anoints them with oil, physically, the clothing they wear, the instruments they use.

It's a type, it's a foreshadowing, of the anointing that will come through the blood of Jesus to make us holy, sanctify us. You don't just serve because you'd like to. "That's a career I'd like". No, you had to be chosen and then you had to be sanctified. You don't just raise your hand and go, "I think I'll serve the Lord". No, you submit yourself to him. You choose Jesus as Lord. And now what I choose no longer is really the driving factor. I serve at your pleasure. If you are not in the habit of asking the Lord regularly what he would like you to do, I would like to submit that to you as a consideration.

What would you like me to do? Not what I wanna do. What would you like me to do? I cannot tell you how frequently I pray that. It's not always clear. I'm not talking about moral or immoral, wicked, or good. I'm not talking about that. "God, days are limited, strength is limited. What would you like me to do? I serve at your pleasure. My days are a gift". "May God sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ". When Jesus comes back, may we be found blameless, spirit, soul, and body. I think the best way of saying that is you are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body. Your spirit is eternal. When your body stops functioning, you're not done. Your spirit steps into eternity.

There's a point in the future when Jesus returns to the earth and there's gonna be a resurrection, you'll get a new earth suit. 2.0 is a significant upgrade. But for the moment you are a spirit, you have a soul, you have emotions and thoughts, and you live in a body. I think we should take that verse and make a little proclamation. I put it in your notes. I don't like theoretical Christianity. Can we make that as a declaration over our lives? An invitation to God? You don't even have to stand to do this. If it's your... you don't even have to put down your bagel to do this, if you're at home. Well, maybe you should put down your bagel. You can't chew and make a proclamation. Let's say this together. Did I put it in your notes? Good, we can read it together. "Now, may the God of peace himself sanctify us completely. May our whole person, spirit, soul, and body, be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," amen.

Don't spend your discretionary time with ungodly people. "So I'm doing evangelism". All right, evangelism's kind of a bump and an invitation. If you're totally engaged in their world and their behaviors, that's not... they've evangelized you. You've not evangelized them. We're confused. 1 Corinthians 15. Oh, mercy. 1 Corinthians 15. I think this adds one more layer to this bit of insight. "The first man Adam became a living being", literally a living soul, "the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual didn't come first, but the natural and after that, the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth. The second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so were those who are of the earth, and as is the man from heaven, so were those who were from heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so we shall bear the likeness of the man from heaven".

There's some imagery being used. There's two titles attributed to Jesus. And I think it's really helpful. Jesus, in that passage, I know you've already turned the page but it will not make me hurry through the outline, sorry. Jesus is given two titles in that passage of 1 Corinthians 15. He's called the last Adam. The last Adam. Now, he's not the last human being, but Jesus represents the end of that Adamic inheritance, the curse of sin. Jesus exhausted the curse of sin. Now, he didn't remove it from human existence. But if you choose to submit to the Lordship of Jesus and willingly acknowledge that you belong to him, if your life becomes his life, if you serve at his pleasure, then that curse of sin is broken over your life. So he becomes the last Adam, a whole new kind of existence, a whole new way to live under the sun.

There should be a dramatic distinction between the people of God and the people who have not yielded to the Lordship of Jesus. We should not be indistinguishable except on Sunday mornings. We should be dramatically different, totally different kind of existence. And then he's called the second man, the last Adam and the second man. A new kind of man, the head of a totally new race, with a new authority over our lives, a new set of dreams and aspirations and visions. And we're still in the world. We're just not of it. We may be butchers and bakers and candlestick makers, but we are anointed by God to do that. There should be a dramatic difference between those who are under the kingdom of darkness. It truly is a life upgrade.

Look at 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 3: "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness". God's divine power has given us everything we need for life and he's given you everything. It's a total package. So you don't have to deny the Lord in order to get an advantage. You don't have to diminish God in your life in order to gain an advantage. Well, you may gain an advantage in the moment, but it's a momentary advantage and it won't prove to be an advantage as time and life unfold. And if you think you're gaining advantages on pleasure or happiness by diminishing your godliness, you're deceived because God's divine power will give you everything you need for life in godliness. The great example of that is our Lord himself, Jesus. It says, "He endured the cross, despising its shame for the joy that was set before him".

There was something that was more valuable to him than avoiding the pain. There was something more valuable to him than avoiding the shame, the humiliation of dying the death of a common criminal while being tortured to death in public, thirsty, hungry, naked, in want of all things. His enemies sat and mocked him. They spat on him. They blindfolded him and hit him over the head time and again. And they said, "If you're the Son of God, tell us who hit you". He could have. He could have said, "Oh, better than that, I'm gonna cause your ears to melt. I think you should grow a nose out of your forehead". No, he said, "I will not serve my comfort. There are places my assignment must predominate". Church, church, he's given us everything we need for a life in godliness. Let's honor him. Let's start to live for him. We're trying to ensure our happiness or our pleasure. We're ignoring godliness.

"Through these he's given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them, you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires". You don't need any discernment to know there are evil desires in the world. Spend 10 minutes online, researching what's happening on our border. You'll be convinced of evil. They are trafficking children. There's more slavery taking place on our borders because of our lack of enforcement than at any point in our history as a people. Evil exist. Joshua 24. Joshua was the one that had the assignment to lead the former slaves of Egypt into the Promised Land, tough job: walled cities, giants in the land. Joshua said yes. And he said, "If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day who you'll serve, whether the gods of your forefathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you're living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord".

I wanna ask you a question and I know you're in church and we all know the right answer. How do you identify the people who live around you, who do business with you? How do you identify? Don't tell me that you go to a Christian church. Don't tell me you send your kids to a Christian school. I talk to people from Christian Universities on a weekly basis. They are, for the most part, completely capitulated to ungodliness. Well, can you find Christians there? Yes. On both faculty administration and in the student body. But their institutional policies are ungodly. How do you identify? Have you said, "I will serve the Lord. I will stand up and be counted for him"?

Ask the Jewish people what it means to be identified as the covenant people of God, to be hated by the nations, to be told you're illegitimate. When you occupy the land that God himself said you could occupy, to be told by the most powerful nations and the organizations of nations in the world that you're illegitimate. To have the intellectual elites protest against you, to be accused of every heinous thing. Are you really willing to identify with the people of God? I brought you a list. It's an abbreviated list. I have a much longer list, but a three-page outline was intimidating. There's some specific things that the Bible says about you and me, and my time's really about gone, but I'll touch a couple.

In Galatians 3, it says, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus". This whole list hinges on one thing: Your relationship to Jesus. If you are in Christ, you can be considered a child of God. There's a phrase that's common in our culture, says we're all God's children. No, we're not. We're all God's creation, but we're not all God's kids. You have to choose that. You have to be willing to belong to him. If it's still yours, you don't belong to him. But if you choose, you can be a child of the King. Wow, unbelievable.

John 15, Jesus says it a little differently: "I no longer call you servants. A servant doesn't know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends". You could be Jesus's friend. That's a really helpful construct to me, because I have some imagination of what it means to be a friend. It means you have to care about something other than just yourself. You learn about your friends, what they enjoy, what they don't enjoy, the foods they like, the foods they don't like. And when you're with them, you try to accentuate the things that will strengthen the friendship, or you're a lousy friend. Are you a good friend to Jesus? How many of you would like a friend that when they're with you, they're all about you? "Oh, yeah, I respect you. I like you".

But you hear them talking to somebody else and they say the most hateful things, or the person says something hateful about you and they don't defend you. They're not my friend. Two-faced hypocritical liar. I would rather remove them from my relational network. Are you Jesus's friend? Are we really friends of Jesus? I mean, yeah, we raise our hand. We want all the privileges and the benefits and the opportunities and, absolutely, but are we willing to let it be known we're Jesus's friend wherever and whenever? Jesus's friend. The third one, I'm a participant in Abraham's blessing. And they go, "What does that make? Why would I care"? Galatians 3 says, "He redeemed us in order", "he" is Jesus, "redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus".

Look at 3:29. "If you belong to Christ", if you belong to Christ. If you don't belong to Christ, there's no need to read any further. It's not relevant for you. If you're a part-time visitor with Jesus, if you're just inquisitive, if you're curious, you're observing, you're considering, those are all good things, but when you decide that you belong to Christ, you're Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise. If you don't know what that means, I'll give you a little homework assignment. Go read Deuteronomy 28, the first 14 verses. All kinds of blessings stack up because of the covenant God made with Abraham. Say, "Well, I'm a new covenant person". Yeah, but you got, that new covenant means you get the blessings that went to Abraham's covenant. Trust me, you want in on that. And it's all because we belong to Christ.

Folks, there's no greater privilege in your life. I'll tell you, I grieve when I see people purposely, intentionally, in a manipulative way, fostering confusion in our children, and then they forbid us to try to help them understand who they are in Christ. And we take it as if it's okay. "Well, that's not really appropriate". Who said it wasn't appropriate? Who said it? That's not our history as a people. It's very clear that the people who founded this place where we live and the rules that were put in place intended for us to have the freedom that everybody understand what it means to belong to Christ.

Why did we surrender? So everybody won't choose. It's okay. We'll love them, we'll be kind, we'll show them respect, we will cheer for them. But I believe there's a benefit to belonging to Christ. What has happened to us, church? How do you identify? To whom do you belong? What are you gonna lead your CV with? What is the great accomplishment of your life that you want to be applauded? What is it exactly that you think you're pursuing that is a greater significance than the fact that you belong to him? I brought you a prayer. We'll work on that list some more. There's some amazing things that accrue to us when we belong to Christ.

Let me close it with this one idea: Yielding to Jesus does not diminish you. He takes all the liabilities and you get all the blessings. Now, he's not cheap. You gotta yield. It's free, but it's not cheap. You can't do it on your terms. You can't take commandments 1, 2, and 8 for $100, Alex. It doesn't work that way. But if you will yield to him, you inherit a kingdom without end. It's a bargain. Why don't you stand with me? Have you found the prayer? Wherever you are, let's read it together:

Heavenly Father, thank you for your provision for my life. You have made it possible for me to escape the corruption of this world system and to partake in your eternal kingdom. I choose to give Jesus first place in my life, to serve him as Lord. Holy Spirit, give me a spirit of wisdom and understanding that I may know him better, in Jesus's name, amen, hallelujah.

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