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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Gift of Life - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Gift of Life - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Gift of Life - Part 2

There is a plan for each life. Again, this is a very, this is not a subtle idea in scripture. It goes far beyond the time of any single session. In Luke chapter 1, that's the New Testament, for those of you who prefer. An angel said to Zechariah. Zechariah is a priest serving in the temple in Jerusalem. He and his wife are childless and he has an angelic visit. "And the angel says, 'Don't be afraid; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you're to give him the name John. He'll be a joy and a delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth. He'll be great in the sight of the Lord. He's never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he'll be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.'"

God has a plan for a child to be given to Zechariah and Elizabeth before they've conceived. It's a very important point. It wasn't that the baby had arrived and they presented him at the temple, and God sends somebody with a message for them. Before conception, God said, you're going to conceive. It'll be a boy. There will be a unique calling upon his life. "Many of the people of Israel he'll bring back to the Lord their God. And he'll go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah". Thank God they didn't live in a time when something could have been done before he was born. It doesn't stop there. It's not some subtle thing. Luke chapter 1, this part, you know, because of our Christmas narrative. Angels visiting Mary this time. Not in a village close to Jerusalem, in the northern part of Israel, in the hills of Galilee, in Nazareth, "You'll be with child and give birth to a son, and you're to give him the name Jesus. He'll be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever".

Please don't imagine that the future of those children doesn't emerge until they graduate from high school. You see, we have denigrated parenting. We've reduced it to something, but something that isn't connected to Scripture. Jesus said, if you harm one of these little ones, if you do something to impede their spiritual development, he said, the best possible future for you, not judgment. The best thing that could happen to you would be to find a big rock, a short rope, and deep water. That will be a better day for you than when you see me. Then Matthew 1, this is Joseph, "After he considered this," divorcing Mary because she's been found to be with child. And he knows he hasn't been involved. "An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, don't be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.'"

God is very aware of what is conceived in Mary. He is watching over it. "She'll give birth to a son, and you'll give him the name Jesus, because he'll save his people from their sins". So I think it's important to understand that God is watching over our lives. Every aspect of them. The Bible very clearly tells us that God is the author of our story. In Hebrews chapter 12, and verse 2, it says, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross". The author and the completer is one translation, or the perfecter of our faith. He's the initiator. He writes our story. We don't live it out. We've been processing the series on the fact that our identity is in Christ. And the fundamental beginning point of that is we belong to him. Our life is in his hands.

See the new birth when you are spiritually born again and made alive to God, you're bringing alignment between God's original intention, that we are his servants. God created Adam and Eve, put them in the garden, gave them an assignment, and he gave us life and has given us an assignment. It's true for every human being. In Judges chapter 13, another example, a man named Zorah, of Zorah. It's a village named Manoah, the man, the father's name is Manoah, "From the clan of the Danites. He had a wife who was sterile and remained childless. And the angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, 'You're sterile and childless.'" Well, isn't that encouraging. Like an angel of the Lord showed up in my house going, you're old and fat. Thank you. Good to see you too. "'But you're going to conceive and have a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink so that you don't eat anything unclean, because you'll give birth, you will conceive and give birth to a son.'"

You have an assignment before you ever see that child. "No razor may be used on his head because the boy is to be a Nazarite". The Nazarite was a sect within Judaism. The people who participated in that sect, they didn't drink any alcoholic beverages, they didn't cut their hair. There was some, it was a fasted life. Not a Nazarene. Nazarene's come from the village of Nazareth. Nazarite adhered to this more strict segment of behaviors, and it meant they were, "set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hand of the Philistines". Those are Samson's parents. Before Samson ever worked out in the gym, before anybody knew he was strong, God said, I have a plan for this child. In fact, you'll need to moderate your behavior in anticipation of his arrival.

Please note God did not say listen, it's your body. You just do whatever you want to. You live any way you want to. You make any choice you want to. Don't worry about that child. We have arrived at a place that has very little of anything to do with a biblical worldview and we've tried to institutionalize it. I'm not talking about the secular culture. You see, we can't hope to get to a place where the blessings of God inform our future, or he gives us leaders who fear his name, and men and women who will honor him, until we're willing to honor him in the private places of our lives in our homes, and our families. God is omniscient. It's a very fancy way of saying God knows everything. I really, I had to look it up so I could spell it. But if I'd said God was really smart, you'd have known I was from Murfreesboro.

Acts chapter 9, Saul of Tarsus has had an encounter with Jesus of Nazareth, and he's blind at the moment. And he's in Damascus waiting instructions because that was the last message he got. Go to Damascus and wait for more information. He's very well educated. He's very religious. He can quote enormous sections of scripture. He's one of the most brilliant biblical scholars the world has ever known. We benefit from his writings until today. But at this point in his journey, he's blind. And he's awaiting on instructions from Jesus. And so Jesus is recruiting someone to go pray for Saul because he's an angry man. He murders Christians. And Jesus needs one of his friends to go visit Saul, because it's not an easy recruitment. And Ananias has been tagged. "Ananias said, 'Lord, I've heard many reports about this man and all the harm he's done to your saints in Jerusalem. And now he's come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.'"

I said we do this all the time. I do this all the time. Do you inform God? Dad I know what I think you want me to do but it's raining today. Couldn't I do it on a sunny day? Like God's surprise, I'm informing him, he's not aware. Alright? I want you to pray for that person. A lot of, that person is not, they don't like me. Oh God said, I'm sorry, I didn't know. Thank you for pointing that out. So many of our prayers are informing, I'm pretty sure God knows. He knows the thoughts and intents of my heart. But Ananias, we can find some camaraderie with him. He's reluctant in the face of obeying God. That is not original with me. And God says to him, oh, in that case, just don't bother. No, he said, "Go! He's an instrument chosen to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and I'll show him how much he must suffer for my name".

God knows what's gonna happen to Saul long before Saul knows what's gonna happen. We followed him through the book of Acts. He's arrested, he's beaten, he's imprisoned, he's left for dead, he's shipwrecked. Tremendous suffering comes to him, and God knew it all before it ever began to unfold. God knew the challenges that Paul would face. Folks, we need a larger vision of God. This is not my life to do what I want the way I want when I want. I am a servant of the king, I serve at his pleasure, and so do you. We've got to recalibrate a bit. We thought we could recite a prayer, get our ticket stamped for heaven, and then live on our own terms. It's heretical. I believe in the new birth and conversion, but the point of that is that we've been made alive to serve a Living God.

In Acts 22. These were Paul, God's instructions. Paul is reciting his story. He's been arrested in Jerusalem and he's speaking to the crowd, and so he's giving them his testimony. This is his self identified story of when God captured his attention. He said, "'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'Get up, and go into Damascus. And there you'll be told what you've been assigned to do.' My companions led me by the hand into Damascus". That phrase captured my attention. When Saul recognized he'd encountered God, he said, what shall I do? And he's recounting that years after the effect. See, I wanna plant a seed in your heart that it's an appropriate response to the Lord to begin to say, what can I do? How can I serve? What would you like me to do?

The biblical process for cleanliness and freedom begins with repent and believe. It's the message Jesus began with. It's the message the spirit of God is still bringing to all the earth. Repentance is a change of mind, and the associated change of behavior. It's not just saying, I'm gonna live through the sin. You see the reason this is such a difficult topic is abortion has touched all of us directly or indirectly. You say, well, I didn't, I have not been involved with that. No, but someone, you know, you care about, someone engaged in your life has been involved with that. And it makes cowards of us. And I believe, you know, even if it hasn't been something directly you've been involved with, our silence has made us participants.

And I believe we have to come with humility to repent, and believe what God has said, that every life is sacred to him. Then beyond that, I think we have to renounce. That's when we make a decision to cancel all claims that Satan has against our lives. It's more than just saying I was wrong and choosing a new path. There's some spiritual baggage that needs to be addressed to bring complete freedom to us. Again, far too often we say, well, I don't do that anymore. I'm just gonna live through it. I'm gonna overcome it. I'm gonna bury it behind enough birthdays, that it can't be associated with me.

Folks, spirits don't age. Time is something God created for us, and we have to renounce those things. And then we need a release. That's where we forgive others and ourselves. In living through things, sometimes they think, well, because of the grace of God, I can be forgiven. But we carry an enormous amount of hurt, and angst, and resentment, and bitterness. It shapes our lives and how we deal with one another, and how we lead our families, and how we engage with our culture, and it makes us a silent mute church in the face of evil. We can't afford that.

So I wanna invite you to some prayers with me this morning. I didn't have room to put them in your notes, so you can repeat them after me if you choose. They're very simple. The premises are familiar to you. We'll start with the prayer of repentance and belief. An acknowledgment of Jesus, an acknowledgment that the only way to participate in his kingdom is to repent, to turn away from our ungodly behavior and say, we will raise our hands to behave in a godly fashion. So if you invite like I just invite you to say this prayer, you just bow your head or close your eyes, just forget the people around you for a moment. Alright, for those of you that would like to pray with me:

Almighty God, I'm a sinner and I need a savior. Forgive me of my sins. I have ignored your laws and precepts. I have done as I wanted and not as you commanded. Jesus be Lord of my life, I will live for your glory. Holy Spirit teach me to walk in paths of righteousness. I submit to your authority, in Jesus name, amen. Hallelujah.

That prayer of repentance is so powerful. It can change your eternity. It can change every condition about your life. It changes the authority structure over you. We'll post these prayers for you so you can have them. You can share them with other people, you can pray them again. But now beyond that, there's a prayer of renunciation we need to make to cancel all claims that Satan has against us. To eliminate any legal excuse he could have to condemn you. I'd invite you to this prayer. You can just repeat it after me.

Through the blood of Jesus, I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil; Through the blood of Jesus, all my sins are forgiven; I renounce my involvement in every expression of sin, rebellion and ungodliness. I'm a child of Almighty God, seated with my Lord in the Heavenly Places. Started the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, continually cleanses me from all sin; My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, redeemed, cleansed by the blood of Jesus; Therefore, Satan has no place in me, no power over me, through the blood of Jesus.

You see, for many, many, many people in the contemporary church, abortion has been a part of our stories. Again, directly or indirectly. And the shame of that. The burden of that, the humiliation of that. The guilt of that has hung over us like Pigpen in a Snoopy comic strip. And it silenced us. But today we are free. We have repented. There will be it for him. Take a deep breath. And seriously you have carried things you don't have to carry. You have been accused, and ashamed, and humiliated. One of the titles given to Satan is he's the accuser of the brethren. And we have accepted it because when he reminded us of our behaviors and our choices and our immorality, and the things we've consented to. This isn't just a women's issue. I'm pretty certain, I remember this much about biology. Pregnancy is difficult without a male.

And we have been promiscuous. We have behaved in ungodly ways, immoral ways. We've winked and nodded at it, and acted like it wasn't significant as if somehow we were triumphant. We weren't. We were wicked and ungodly. And then we sat in our churches, and we wondered why we've been spiritually impotent, because we didn't have the courage to humble ourselves before the Lord. And then the devil accuses us and reminds us. But if you will take these prayers, you can be free. You can be free in God's sight, and you can be freed from every accusation. From every hindrance. From every encumbrance. From every curse. Now, there's one last component, we have to release others. We have to forgive. We can't simply imagine that we deserve to be forgiven. We have to forgive others.

Now, this is difficult. We talk about abortion. Often time what we hear in the discussion, it's about rape and incest, horrible things. Violent acts. It represents a tiny fraction, less than a percentage of the people involved in abortion. But wherever there has been something unwanted, and the rejection that comes with that, it's very easy for anger, and resentment, and hatred to grow. And before we can be forgiven, we have to be willing to forgive. Forgiveness is not an emotion. If you wait for your emotions, you'll probably never get there. Forgiveness begins with a decision. And we have tolerated resentment, and hatred, and bitterness, because we have felt justified. And I wanna ask you, if you'd be willing in obedience to God to release those persons that you're holding hostage. I know that isn't easy, but it's the only pathway to freedom.

So I brought you a simple prayer, if you'll pray this with me. Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving me of my sins. And by a decision of my will, I forgive everyone of everything. I release them and relinquish them into your care. I rejoice in my new freedom. Amen. Now, I would encourage you to take that prayer and go back and put the names in. And honestly, as the Lord brings persons to your mind, because the spirit of God will do that. When he reminds you of a scene, or a scenario, or an event, it may be something you have forgotten, or overlooked, or placed far back. When God brings it to mind, if you'll say, Father, I forgive them. I cancel every imagined debt. They don't owe me anything. I set them free. God will bring an unimagined freedom to you. Now, that simple little trilogy of prayers, of repent and believe, of renouncing, canceling every claim, and releasing, forgiving, will bring a freedom to you for a completely different kind of life. Amen.

Now, I wanna close with one more prayer on this topic. We can't talk about new life and God's involvement with that, without praying for those who wanna conceive. I wanna be sure you're listening, because I'm gonna ask those folks to stand. And if you just stand because you wanna leave, you might get a gift you didn't want. So here's the invitation. Please pay attention. If you're here and you would like an addition to your family, we wanna pray for you. If you'll just stand, everybody's afraid to move now. Like I'm not about to stand up in this room. Don't come see me after the service if you won't stand now. But if you want an addition to your family, we wanna pray for you. God's the author of life. Alright? Any sanctuary, if you're at home, you stand with me there. Alright. I've never seen the congregation, just like going to an auction. You're afraid to scratch, you'll buy something. I'm not raising a hand. I'm not doing anything. I'm not even looking up. I don't want God to get anxious. Oh, the Lord is good. They're good to be free? To be the church? And we're gonna pray for these folks. Let's all stand with them and we're gonna pray alright. You're clear now:

Father, I thank you. Nothing is hidden from you. You know the names and circumstances of everybody today that stood. And Lord we stand on their behalf. And I thank you that life is a gift from you. That you have said, you would make us fruitful, and we pray that in your timing, you would bless them with a new life. We thank you for it, Lord. Beyond anything that science can do or is said, I thank you that you're the author of life. And as we have read story, after story, account, after account today, I thank you for your moving in their lives today. And Lord, I thank you on our behalf for the freedom we have in Jesus name. That in your grace and mercy, you have forgiven us and cleansed us. And that by the Spirit of God, you set us free from every oppression, every curse, every unclean thing, every accusation. That you have called us to this generation to be a voice for you. And I thank you that the dignity of every human life, the sanctity of life, the dignity of every person will be celebrated once again, in our homes, in our schools, in our communities, in our churches and in this nation. May the scourge of abortion be turned back. May the hearts of the fathers be turned to their children, and the children of their fathers, in Jesus name. Amen. Hallelujah.

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