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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - No Fear - Part 1

Allen Jackson - No Fear - Part 1

Allen Jackson - No Fear - Part 1

We've been working on this series called "What's Next"? It's really not a series, it's a study, and it's really an umbrella about prophecy. God has given us some insight into what he plans to do in the earth so that we can be prepared and can participate in an informed way with what he's doing. And I have been suggesting to you that the next big rock on God's prophetic calendar is Jesus's return to the earth. Jesus is coming back. Just as certainly as he came the first time, he's coming back. Yeah, God. But the skeptics keep saying to me, "Well, duh. You could have said that at any point since he left". Well, you could have said it, but you wouldn't have been right Because there were some big rock issues prior to that that had to take place, I'll give you one.

The birth of the modern nation of Israel. God said that would happen, that he would restore them to their homeland and gather the Jewish people from the nations of the world. For almost 2,000 years there was no Jewish homeland, but in May of 1948, in a day, the modern nation of Israel was born and God began to gather the Jewish people. We couldn't have credibly talked about Jesus's return being next on the calendar until the nation of Israel was reborn. Now, there are some smaller things that this scripture tells us are yet to take place. And again, that's not a new thing. The prophets told us that before the Messiah came, there would be one come before him to prepare the way. They talked about John the Baptist. And there are some things that the scripture tells us have to happen before Jesus returns that are yet to be fulfilled.

Some of those we're looking at, but the big rock idea is we're getting ready for Jesus to come back to the earth and we wanna be ready for that. So, we've been looking at some things that are a part of that discussion. We talked about the Antichrist. On a couple of levels, the spirit of Antichrist that is present in our world and it's gaining in expression and in strength. You don't have to travel broadly to see that. In our own nation, a nation with a Christian heritage, the name of Jesus is less welcome in the public square than he's ever been. We say we don't want him in our public schools, we don't want him expressed in many of our public gatherings, he's not welcome in many of the market places where we work because we're told he's divisive. In an age where we talk more about tolerance than we've ever talked, we're the least tolerant we've ever been.

I have come to the conclusion that the discussion about tolerance isn't about being tolerant. It's about shutting down the people whose opinions you don't like. I'm off track. We were talking about the Antichrist and a spirit that's prevalent in the world and there's gonna be an individual that will be the embodiment of that spirit, a world leader. They will gain authority over all the nations. He won't gain it. He'll be given authority over all the nations of the world. And initially, he will look like the most remarkable leader the world has ever known. But when his true character is revealed, the Bible describes him as beastly. He'll be the most wicked and evil leader our world has ever known. That's ahead of us. It's a certainty. He'll be a very religious figure.

In fact, one of his closest associates will be a prophet, a man of tremendous spiritual ability and insight, miracles in the supernatural. It's just that the Bible tells us he'll be a false prophet and the spirit through which he accomplishes those things will be an evil spirit and not the Holy Spirit. That's on the horizon. A part of that discussion is the tribulation, the big trouble. I like the big trouble better. Says between where we stand today and Jesus's return, trouble is coming to planet Earth. Aren't you excited about that? We've talked about a whole host of things in that, the Rapture, the believers on earth being caught up to meet Jesus when he returns. A lot of discussion about when the Rapture is gonna take place, whether it's gonna take place before the big trouble, in the middle of the big trouble, after the big trouble.

Will we get entrenched, we're gonna argue for hours, and I'll give you my official position. I want out of here on the first load up. All right? Now, I think we have crafted, kind of, an American theological position that suggests that the church won't have to suffer, which tends to push us towards the sooner the better on the out of here part. But I think that's a very difficult message to communicate to the church in the earth. I think that's a hard message to deliver to the church in Iraq. It's a very difficult, awkward message to deliver to the church in Iran or to the church in China or Russia or many places in Africa. In fact, for the majority of the church in the Earth today to say to them, "You won't have to suffer," would be very difficult to say with any credibility.

So, I wouldn't build my theology based about my desire for that which is easiest and I would make a suggestion. When we talk about prophecy and theology and the system that you adhere to, and most of us, if you grew up around church, most of our traditions come with one of those, kind of, preset ideas attached to it. Folks, I wanna encourage you not to use what you believe about that set of things as a club with which to beat brothers and sisters in the Lord. I have a personal choice I have made. There's a handful of things that are at the heart of our faith. They're non negotiables. Jesus is the Son of God. He was born of a virgin. He died on a cross, physically. He was buried and raised to life again. He ascended back to heaven. He's coming back to the earth as the judge of all the earth.

The Bible is the inspired Word of God. If you don't believe those things, it isn't Christianity. It's a fine philosophy, it just isn't Christianity. Attached to that, though, there are a whole host of things that are biblical, but you and I could disagree on them and we could both go to heaven. If I can disagree on a point with you and we can both still go to heaven, I wanna extend to you a hand of fellowship. Now, there's some things simply can't be negotiated. But if you like to read the NIV and I like to read the New American Standard, we can still stand together in Jesus. Amen. And particularly, when we talk about the...because sometimes this set of issues, it brings a divisiveness to the body of Christ.

Jesus said, "I'm sending you a helper, a counselor, a comforter, and a primary objective of the Holy Spirit in the Earth is to bring unity to the body of Christ". Read John 17. It's Jesus's great, high priestly prayer. He prayed for those that have believed in him, that they might be one. And I wanna encourage you to build bridges to your brothers and sisters in the Lord. I'm not talking about going soft on sin, we're not down to three commandments. I'm not looking for a happy clappy gospel. I'm willing to tell the truth plainly and clearly, but I also wanna know how to stand with the believers in the earth. Because in the season ahead, we need one another. Patrick Henry said it in a different context with a different objective, but he said, "If we don't hang together, we will hang separately".

And that is true of the body of Christ in the earth. So when we unpack these set of things, it's not to entrench you in your position or to prepare you to go forth and bludgeon your neighbor. It's to help us be prepared for what's coming. Look at Hebrews 12. Says, "See to it that you don't refuse him who speaks. If they didn't escape when they refused him, who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.'" Pause, just briefly. If he says, "Once more I'm gonna shake the earth," what's the implication? He's done it before. If he's doing it once more, he's done it once before, at least.

"The words 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken, that is, created things, so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.'" God said he is going to shake the earth, that everything that can be shaken, every institution, every point that we imagine brings security and stability to our world, God is shaking. Not the devil, not demons, not the the host of hell. Almighty God is shaking the earth with the objective of revealing the one unshakeable aspect that is here and that's his eternal kingdom.

Now, that's a very frightening scenario if your hope or your future are secured by something that God is shaking. Because I'm telling you, if God shakes it, it's not gonna stand. It's an invitation for the people of God to put our trust in the unshakeable. And I have discovered that isn't something that happens intuitively or in totality at a single decision. We transfer our trust incrementally. We gradually place our trust more fully in the Lord. It's a very biblical notion. If you read through the gospels, Jesus recruits these men to be his followers, they are Jesus's closest disciples. And Jesus repeatedly says to them, "Are you really that dull"? He says, "You're men of little faith".

He keeps inviting them to grow up in the Lord. And when we see what is ahead of us, one thing that is clear, for us to be overcomers that we're called to be, we're gonna have to grow up in the Lord. Look at Luke 21. Jesus is speaking and he said, "With the season ahead of us, men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world". One translation says, "Men's hearts will fail them for fear of what is coming in the world". Such anxiety, such terror. Why? Because all the things we've trusted and all of the security, the stability, the things that we thought protected us or provided for us or ensured our future are going to be shaken. Jesus discussed it in Matthew 24. He said, "You'll hear of wars and rumors of wars". He's talking about this season that's immediately ahead of us.

"See to it that you aren't alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains". You ought to circle that word "beginning". Jesus said, "When you see all these things happening, it's just the beginning," the beginning of what? "The beginning of the season that will be concluded with my return to the earth". That was the question that was posed to him before he started on this presentation. So, when you see wars and rumors of wars, and nations against nations, and ethnic groups against ethnic groups, when you see famines and the earth changing, understand it's the beginning. If it's the beginning and then he says, "It's the beginning of birth pains".

Now, I have a confession. I've never given birth. You're shocked. But I did grow up in a veterinarian's home so I've watched lots of things be born. Kittens and puppies and cows and horses and gerbils and goats and... I've seen lots of things be born and there are some common themes to that delivery process. One, it's a very, very vulnerable time for both the mother and the one being birthed. It's a very vulnerable time, isn't it? There's some other characteristics. It's also a time of tremendous effort. Great stress and strain comes with delivery. Am I getting that right?

Some of you have some experience, I want to be sure I didn't observe wrongly. Looks to me like that's enormous effort on the part of the one that is giving birth. And it's true across all those different contexts I shared with you. So, when Jesus chose that imagery, he said, "These are the beginning of birth pains," there's another thing I've observed. Once those birth pains begin, they're gonna continue until there's an outcome. Once that rascal starts, the fuse is lit and those pains are going to increase in frequency and intensity until there's an outcome. I get that right too? I thought so.

So, when Jesus says, "Wars and rumors of wars, and conflict between nations and ethnic groups, and changes in the earth are the beginning of birth pains," he's saying to us, "That set of things are going to intensify and become increasingly frequent". The cycles that we think of as traditional cycles and economies and events, he said, "They're not gonna be abolished, the cycles are gonna be shortened and the peaks and the valleys are gonna be increased". They're gonna become more severe because God is shaking the earth. And you're gonna say, "It's impossible to secure my future," and you're exactly right. You can't secure your future. "Well, what about my dreams for myself or my children or my grandchildren"? If you're dreaming something for them that isn't anchored in God's eternal kingdom, that dream is gonna be shaken apart.

Jesus didn't leave us without preparation. In Matthew chapter 6, there's a lengthy discourse. Matthew 5 is the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes and some of Jesus's most remarkable teaching and right on the back of that, chapter 6, almost an entire chapter, deals with worry. Says, "Why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They don't labor or spin. And I tell you that not even Solomon in all of his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that's how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' The pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them, but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well".

It's a pretty straightforward passage. The words aren't so difficult. You don't need a lot of help to unpack it. You need a little bit of faith to believe it. At the heart of it is this phrase Jesus used repeatedly, multiple times, in a few short verses. "Do not worry". He said, "Do not do it". Now, the best news of the day, if you don't take anything else away, here it is. If Jesus said, "Do not," he gave you the power to not do. Hallelujah. He doesn't say, "Do not do something," and there's no way for you to not do it. So, if Jesus says, "Do not," you got everything you need to not do. Now, we've still got, "I wanna do," and, "It looks good to do," and, "I feel like I want to," but Jesus said, "Do not". And when he said, "Do not," we have the power to not do. That's really, really good news. But he gives us a picture into this feeling that is flourishing in our world.

If you look for something that is escalating exponentially in our world, anxiety and fear and worry would be that. The most prescribed category of medication in our nation is antidepressants. We're worried and anxious and fearful. We're having to find a whole new labels for diseases so we can orchestrate what's happening and I don't think the origin of it is primarily physical. I think it's spiritual. The conclusion from what that passage, Jesus said, "Don't worry," so if you choose to worry, how would we categorize that? The biblical language, well, that says it's a sin if Jesus says not to do it. Say, "Yeah, but it's not a big sin. It's not like I'm stealing or selling drugs or... it's not a big sin".

Folks, if Jesus said not to do it and you decide you're gonna start grading sins, that's a pretty slippery slope. Jesus said not to... you know, most of us have enough biblical awareness. We wouldn't come to church, said, "I spent my whole week crippled with worry," but we have fashioned a vocabulary to cover it. We'll come in and say, "You know, I've really had a burden this week. I've had such a burden inside of me, I couldn't sleep". And when they share what they're burdened about, it sounds like what everybody else is worried about. You know, we live in an age where language is being severely manipulated. We're redefining things as if that changes the reality. You can redefine a giraffe and call it a guppy, but it won't flourish in a fishbowl. Jesus said, "Do not worry".

Now, the reason is, the impact of worry, it will erode God's best for your life. It'll take God's best and it'll just dry up and blow away. If you give yourself to anxiety, to fear, and to worry, it will rob you of God's best. Jesus said so. Because faith diminishes when worry flourishes. They have an inverse relationship. When your faith goes up, your worry goes down. When your worry goes up, your faith goes down. So, if you give yourself to worry, you have determined that you're going to lead a life of little faith and that's not what we need for the season that's ahead of us. We're gonna need a living, vital, vibrant faith. Jesus was with his disciples one day. Many of them were fishermen. They had spent their lives on the lake, the Sea of Galilee, and he's with them on the lake and a storm blows up and they think they're gonna drown. They're gonna be overwhelmed.

And Jesus is asleep and because they're his friends, they wake him up, they don't want him to drown unaware. And Jesus stills the storm and he turns to his friends, Peter, and James, and John, and the crew and he says to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith"? I don't know about you, but when you see Jesus, you don't wanna say, "You, come over here. Get out of this section, get over... this is the section of little faith. You made it, precious children, with teeny tiny, itty bitty, barely visible faith". I don't wanna be in that group, do you? And the Bible says God gives to every person a measure of faith. Then it talks about faith coming when we hear the Word of God. So, the idea is that your faith can grow, your faith can be diminished, your faith can gain strength, your faith can be eroded. And worry and fear and anxiety neutralize your faith.

So, we don't wanna let them flourish. We don't wanna give space to those things in our lives. Jesus gave us the solution. He said it's a priority thing. He said, "Seek first," it's Matthews 6, we just read it, "seek first the kingdom of God," and all those things you're worried about, God will give them to you. See, we typically flip the script on that. We say, "First, I'm gonna spend my life and my energy and my youth and all of the vigor that comes with that securing my future. I'm gonna get enough stuff and enough opportunity and I'm gonna go get all the things I want. And then when I've done all the things I want, then I'm gonna serve the Lord and think about significance". And the challenge is we very seldom get enough and we miss the significance of our lives. And Jesus flips that and he said, "If you'll seek first the kingdom of God, the Creator of all things will give you what you need".

Now, in a season of abundance and prosperity and stability, you could probably do it on your terms and work it out a reasonable number of times, but in a season where God is shaking the earth and everything that's in it, you better start with God's formula. So, what may have worked in the past I don't think it's gonna secure us in the future. We're gonna have to put God first. And Jesus talked about God's provision. He said, "Your heavenly Father knows that you need these things," clothing. How many of you, don't raise your hand, have ever walked in your closet at home and said, "I don't have a thing to wear". You got stuff shoved everywhere, in the closet, under the bed, in the drawers. It's not that you don't have anything to wear, you don't have what you want to wear. What you have to wear doesn't suit your mood, doesn't suit the current trends, doesn't suit whatever. God said he knows what we need. He knows what we need. Not just to clothing, but to make us at peace.

I'm not opposed to fashion or being fashionable or current. I've read the same books you have, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Okay. But you also only get one life to live and if you give your heart and your emotions to fear and anxiety and worry, you will forfeit what God created you for. He said, "I know what you need to wear to eat". He said, "I will watch over your future. You don't have to worry about tomorrow". And then, he's a pragmatist. He said, "because today has got plenty to worry about". There's enough to keep your attention in today, I've got tomorrow. And he makes this crazy promise to us. He says he'll give us peace. Jesus gathered his closest friends together when he was telling them he was going away and he said, "My peace I give to you". My peace I give to you. I think of all the things Jesus had that we might have wanted. "My miracles I give to you. My power I give to you. My experience, like, my peace I give to you".

Well, Jesus's public life was not defined by an absence of conflict. So, whatever he was talking about, it wasn't an absence of conflict. He was driven out of multiple places. He met challenges in synagogues and in Jerusalem at the temple. He's ultimately crucified by the Roman soldiers. "My peace I give to you". We get a little clue in Philippians chapter 4, you've got it there, Philippians 4, verse 7 says, "The peace of God, which transcends all understanding".

See, it isn't just about a logical process. Jesus had a calm assurance of God's unlimited power at work on his behalf. He could still a storm, he could talk to a man, a demoniac, with 1,000 demons, or he could stand before the Roman governor. And the Roman governor was agitated with him and he said, "Don't you know I've got the power to crucify you"? And Jesus said, "You've got no power unless my Dad gave it to you. Don't push". That's not really in there. But when I read it, I always mutter it under my breath. "Don't push your luck, son". You get him riled up. "My peace I give to you".

You know God can give you peace in the midst of tumult and turmoil? You can have God's peace in the face of a diagnosis that you never wanted. You can have God's peace in the midst of family trauma. You can have God's peace in the midst of economic upheaval. God's peace. Jesus said, "My peace I give to you". So, it's out there as a possibility. It says that it "transcends all understandings," it will guard our hearts and our minds. Are you conscious that your heart and your mind need guarding? You know, in the book of Proverbs it says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it's the wellspring of life". Before you guard your home or your kids or your wife or your resources, guard your heart, why? Because all of those other things are secured by the condition of your heart. If your heart's messed up, you can't keep any of those other things intact.

Jesus was frequently in trouble because he wouldn't keep ungodly rules. I don't intend to yield to ungodliness. I want the Lord to be pleased with us. Let's pray:

Father, we want your approval more than we want the approval of any person or any organization. May you be pleased with us. In Jesus's name, amen.

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