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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - No Fear - Part 2

Allen Jackson - No Fear - Part 2

Allen Jackson - No Fear - Part 2

We have to guard our hearts and our minds. This is far from sloppy Christianity. This is an invitation to a more mature Christianity. We get this in other arenas. We get this with highly trained athletes that have to compete at the highest levels. They have to learn to manage their emotions and their thoughts, not just their physical abilities. In fact, at the highest levels of competition, the difference tends to be about something other than physical ability. It's about those who manage their emotions and their thoughts better. There's a season ahead of us where something else is being, we're invited to something different.

Look in 2 Corinthians 10; it says, "Though we walk in the flesh, we don't war according to the flesh". We still have earth suits, but the real conflict of our lives isn't physical conflict. "The weapons of our warfare aren't of the flesh, but they're divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses". Do you have the imagination that there are fortresses, strongholds of evil and wickedness that would influence your thoughts and your feelings? "We are destroying speculation in every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we're taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ". To let our thoughts and our feelings begin to reflect those of our Lord. Well, I'll tell you the truth, you can't do that on your own. If you try to do that with determination and self control and focus, you'll fall short. We need help.

Now, here's the good news. God has provided help. Jesus gathered his disciples again, it's in John's Gospel, he's telling him he's leaving, and he said, "There's a lot of things I need to say to you. You're not fully trained. There's much you need to know". He said, "But it's more than you can bear right now. But, if I leave, I will send you another counselor, a helper, and he'll be with you always, and he will take what is mine and make it known to you. He will guide you into all truth". Jesus said, "There's a lot you need to know. I haven't told you everything you need to know because you can't take it all right now". Any more than you'd tell a two year old everything they're gonna need to know to be married. He said, "But I'm gonna send you another helper, and he will help you". The Holy Spirit.

Look with me, and you know, it's Acts 1 in verse 7, Jesus is about to leave the earth. He says to the disciples, "It's not for you to know the times or the dates that the Father has set". When we talk about what's next, what's the thing we're most interested in? Times and dates, right? Tell me when it's gonna happen. We think we can cram for that exam like we made it through school. It won't work. It's too late to figure out what to do with Goliath when you hear him bellow his challenge. You better be a really good slinger of stones before you ever hear Goliath. It's too late for, to say to somebody, "Can you show me how to make a sling work"? When big ugly is standing in the middle of the field. Get to know the Lord. Let your faith grow in a season where it doesn't feel like it's a necessity because, when the season comes that requires it, you want to be prepared.

"It's not for you to know the times or the dates that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, to be my witnesses in," Murfreesboro and Rutherford County and middle Tennessee, "and to the uttermost parts of the earth". I know I changed those last words, but it's the same concept. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit... t is highly improbable that you will withstand, your faith intact, the season ahead of us, without the help of the Holy Spirit. Now, that's the truth. You're gonna need to recognize his voice, his leading, his prompting, his caution, his invitations. You'll need to be able to discern the true from the false, or you'll be adrift only able to read the signals that the secular people, Jesus referred to as pagans.

If you're following the same path they are, you're gonna get the same outcomes they're getting. We have a helper, a guide, and we want to become world class at recognizing his invitations. We've been working that, on that for Sunday night for a couple of weeks, we're gonna take one more week with that tonight. I wanna invite you, if your schedule will permit you, 6 o'clock on campus. We'll be in Three Crosses tonight. We tried it in New Harvest, and we couldn't get everybody in. So we put it in All Nations, and we couldn't get everybody in. So we're gonna come to Three Crosses. If we don't fit, we'll do something else. But we're talking about what it means to be born of the Spirit, what it means to be baptized in the Spirit, what does it mean to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit? You need to be familiar with each of those in a very personal way. And, again, don't hide by saying, "Well, that's not how I believe".

Folks, if I... I'll give you the scripture; you sort out what you wanna believe, but don't ignore what's in the book. That's goofy. We have been given a road map to flourish in the season ahead, and worry and anxiety and fear are flourishing in the church just as much as without. And it's diminishing our effectiveness. I've got a couple of minutes left. I want to just give you a practical point of application. How do we defeat despair? If worry and anxiety and fear take root in our hearts, if they gain momentum, as that grows and mushrooms, it leads to a place of despair, hopelessness. And that settles over you, like Pig Pen had a cloud around him. And that's not God's intention. You can be a Christ follower, water-baptized, Bible-reading, prayer-praying, and be overwhelmed with despair. But I don't want you to stay there. I've just got a couple of minutes, but I'll give you a couple of points towards a way out of that.

One, it begins, and this shouldn't be a surprise, we've been talking about this all year long, leading our lives through the cross. Something happened at the cross that makes the power of God present for you and me to know freedom. Whatever the seed was that germinated worry and fear and anxiety, it was addressed on the cross. Look with me in Romans chapter 8, it says, "What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us"? God is for us. God is for us. Did you know God's for me? Say, did you hear what somebody said? Yeah, I did. But did you know, God is for me? God is for me. Yeah, there's a battle in your mind and your emotions, and you need that plugged in. This is not easy ground to hold.

I told you I grew up in a veterinarian's home. When we moved to Tennessee, we did it because my dad wanted to start an equine practice. He was gonna only treat horses. He was starting a new business, didn't have any support; we didn't know anybody here. So he started the business out of our house. My bedroom was the drug room. So I went to sleep at night memorizing all the labels on the horse pills. That explains a lot. And, because we didn't have a lot of relational support and things, the family was recruited to help with the practice. He only treated horses, so we got to know horses. He'd bring other things home, but mostly horses. And most people didn't bring the patient to the doctor; the doctor had to go to the patient. So we were in farms all over middle Tennessee, and a lot of times we'd get there, and the farmer didn't have the horse in a stall; he'd want you to catch the horse. They'd be in a paddock or a field or somewhere.

And so, if my dad knew that, he would take one of us along to help him. So on many occasions I'd be, you know, I need you to help me catch this horse. He really wasn't asking. If you want dinner and a bed, we have to catch this horse. We didn't have numbers to turn people in back in the day, you understand, so. And I was young, I was in early elementary, I was a pretty little fellow, and I was afraid of horses. They weighed 1,000 pounds, and I didn't. I had been around him in more controlled environments than out in an open field. And he said, we're going, to catch a horse in a field, you have to walk it towards a corner or some place where you get close enough, you can take it by the halter.

So you kind of herd it towards a confined space. Horses are relatively bright creatures, and they'll go along for a while until they recognize you're herding them towards a confined space. And this is where the nature of the experience begins to change. When the horse realizes that, he will quit going before you, and he will turn and face you. And you can watch the process. He does not intend to be cornered, and he's gonna make a run for it. And, in this case, he has two options, Dr. Jackson or me. And I'm about half the doctor's size, and you can look at the horse look at me and smile. I swear, I saw him grin. And I knew the point of escape looked a lot like the territory I was occupying. Yeah, my dad always said to me, "A horse will not run over you".

Doesn't sound like very significant advice until you're in the field trying to corner one. So I'm standing, and I got this phrase in my head my dad gave me. He said, "A horse will not run over you". He said, "If you think they're going to," he said, "just wave your arms, make a little noise, they won't run over you". Horse makes his decision, and he starts towards me, gaining speed. Here I stand. But there is a war going on on the inside of me. My feet are saying, "Run"! And there's all sorts of chemical and emotional and psychological things saying, "Protect yourself". You're hardwired with a flight or fight response, and my flight system is on full alert. And, the first few times I did that, I did, I jumped in a stall, climbed a wall, went behind a tree. I did something to get between me and that horse that seemed a little agitated. And the horse gets out, and now we gotta start the whole process over again.

And Dr. Jackson takes me aside and suggests that I don't want to abandon my post the next time. Well, I got over being afraid of horses, thank God. But I see that kind of conflict in us. We may know the right thing, but, on the inside of us, there is all kinds of anxiety and fear and worry. There's a conflict within us, and you need to have tucked in your head the line that God is for us. He is for us. Or you'll be jumping in the stall or climbing a tree. You'll be avoiding the challenge, when, in truth, the only way to gain the courage to know the truth. The reality is a horse won't run over you. I caught hundreds and hundreds of horses in all kinds of settings. I never had one... That's not true. One time a horse ran over me. I'd grown up, wasn't a kid anymore, but I was helping my dad one day, and we were catching a horse.

And this brood mare just ran right over me. And I was getting up out of the dust. He was off chasing the horses that got past me. I was dusting myself, and, as he comes past me, he said, "I should have told you, that one's blind". That would have been good to know about. So I understand the conflict in us. It's real; it's not your imagination. You're not a failure as a person. You're not a weak Christian. It's not immorality. It's not the wickedness of your past because the blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient to cleanse you. Through the blood of Jesus we are redeemed out of the hand of the devil. Through the blood of Jesus all our sins are forgiven. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, continually cleanses us, the scripture says, from all sin. Through the blood of Jesus, we are justified, made righteous, just as if we've never sinned. It's all that accusation. Yeah, that's me in the scene. But I have been forgiven, redeemed, delivered, justified. God is for me.

Now, there's one more component to add to that. And that's the time that we need to spend in the presence of the Lord. We're not great at this. We're too busy. We got too many ways to communicate. We just don't do this too much. I don't say it to condemn you. It's a necessary part of the preparation for what's ahead. You know, in athletics, they practice over and over and over again. They want their muscles to learn, they talk about muscle memory, they want your muscles to learn the response, so, when there's intense pressure and a lot of adrenaline and all sorts of exterior and internal forces, you have routinized a behavior so completely that you can do it under extraordinary stress. We wanna get to know the Lord in such a way. I brought you one psalm. It's a wonderful invitation.

Psalm 40 says, "I waited patiently for the Lord, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire, and he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who doesn't look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you've planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare".

I love the honesty, the integrity of scripture. The psalmist said, "I waited patiently for the Lord, and he turned to me". I don't wanna wait patiently for the Lord. I got 90 seconds blocked out to pray, and I want the creator of the universe to answer my question in the 90 seconds I've got allotted or I'm gonna be unhappy with him. Well, may I humbly suggest Almighty God doesn't respond just because you snap your fingers and tell him you got a couple of minutes. You get this. If you like to hunt, you don't go into the woods with a two minute window of time and come out with a trophy. Takes an enormous amount of time preparing, waiting, watching. And oftentimes your effort is fruitless, but you will reengage with the hope. He said, "I waited patiently for the Lord, and he turned to me".

You want to have had that experience, so, when you need a response from the Lord, you don't get anxious while you're waiting patiently. You don't wanna abandon your waiting. The Bible talks about this, it says, "Don't grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time, you'll reap a harvest if you don't give up". And then the psalmist says something that's equally uncomfortable. He said, "I waited patiently," and he said, "You lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire". I don't want to be in a slimy pit. I wanna be on a mountain top. I like the view better from up there. But, you know, the Bible says, "God leads us through the valley of the shadow of death".

Oh, no thanks. I'll skip that tour if it's all the same with you. It said, "He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies". I don't wanna eat with my enemies. I wanna eat with my friends. I mean, I might sit at the table with my enemies if you promised me, about midway through the meal, they're gonna choke. I'd kinda look forward to that. I'd just sit there and go, "Having a little trouble getting your breath? It's a shame. Color is not too good. I used to know a number to call, 9 something. I don't know. Well, bless you". Do you have enough space in your relationship with the Lord to understand that following the Lord means you're gonna walk through some shadowed valleys. Not because evil exists, because God led you there, 'cause he's gonna prepare some tables for you, that you probably wouldn't choose. But life on its journey, you'll find yourself in some slimy pits. And we need to know that God is for us.

I wanna pray for you before I go. I don't like religious lectures, and I put a prayer in your notes, but you can pray that when we're not together. I wanna ask you to stand with me if you will. I know I'm a little long, but I've been long three times, so the nursery workers have been prepped. If you'll give me three more minutes, we'll make this, okay. I wanna give you an invitation. If you're here today and you have been in a struggle with anxiety, with fear, or with worry. I'm gonna ask you just to slip out of where you're standing and come forward. Okay, I can't take long because I know we have to go. If you're in New Harvest, you can just come to the front of New Harvest. I can pray right through that screen.

If Jesus said, "do not," there is a power here to help us not do. Now, this doesn't mean you're weak or you have an overactive imagination. A lot of times we're facing circumstances that are frightening. Maybe a diagnosis, maybe a circumstance with one of our children, or in our family, or in our business. There are a lot of things. Maybe there's a habit or something that, anything in your life that is an incubator for anxiety and fear and worry. It's not an indicator of a failure on your part. But, when you become aware of it, that you don't have to be that way, there's an invitation in front of you. And that's that invitation that we wanna receive this morning. Y'all can come on, step forward a little bit.

I don't bite at 10:30; 8:30 I chewed on everybody, but at 10:30 you're good. Okay, anybody else? Don't not come because you're afraid or you're worried what somebody will think. What would people think? Who cares if I get free? They'll think I got freed; if that bothers them, hallelujah, they can sit at the table with my enemies. Do you know how much we have forfeited because of worry and fear? We wanna serve the Lord. We wanna follow the Lord. What will somebody think? What will somebody say? Folks, if the Lord is pleased, the people that oppose the purposes of God, if they saw you walk on the water, would you say you knew where the rocks were? We have let the wrong set of influences dominate our thoughts and our feelings. And we're gonna ask the Lord to bring freedom to us today.

I wanna use a little prayer tool I learned, I learned it as the Quaker prayer, I don't know if they really did it or not, but where we start with our palms turned down. Because, what we're gonna do is acknowledge to the Lord we've been guilty. We've been guilty of doing what he said not to do. And the best response to that I know is repentance. Okay, we're not gonna justify it. Even if there's a circumstance, maybe there's a diagnosis that is a frightening diagnosis. But you say, "Lord, I've been more afraid of that than I have been trusting you. I'm sorry, I'm sorry". We're just gonna repent, and then we're gonna ask the Lord for his peace. And ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to help us know what we need to know so we can hold that peace. That'd be good? All right. So, if you want to pray with us, you don't even have to come forward. We'll pray for you back there in your seats. But we're not worried about you, hallelujah.

Father, I thank you for your Word, for its truth and authority and power, and I thank you for every person that has stepped out. Lord, you know every detail, every circumstance, nothing is lost to you. We come this morning in humility to say we're sorry or to repent of the place that we have given to fear or to anxiety or to worry or to despair. Lord, we've had our awareness so focused on what we wanted or what seemed threatened or what wasn't, that we have almost totally overlooked your invitation that you care for us. So we come this morning to lay it at the foot of the cross. Lord, whatever the origin of the concern is, we lay it down today. You are our healer. You are our forgiver. You are our supplier. You are our source. You are our redeemer. We praise you for that, Lord. Our future isn't secured by our strength or our resources or our knowledge or our connections. Our future is secured by Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth. And we lay down today, we lay down that fear. We lay down that anxiety.

You go, in Jesus's name, get out. Every thought, every feeling, every concern, you go, in Jesus's name. Every unclean thing that has contributed to it. Every demonic influence, every threat, in Jesus's name, your power is broken over our lives today. Lord, I thank you for our freedom. I praise you for it. And, just as we lay that down, Lord, we turn our hearts and our hands to you to receive what you have for us, your peace, your confidence, your security, your certainty. Lord, I thank you that you are watching over us, that you are our guarantor. We praise you for it, that, if the whole earth shakes, you will maintain our stability and our security. We praise you for it. We give you glory and honor that our future is secured, in the name of Jesus and by his shed blood. We praise you for it today, in Jesus's name, amen.

Hallelujah, give the Lord a hand, huh? Whoo, now there's a couple of things you can do. If that's been a part of you, it isn't erased completely from your life. So, the next time you're tempted to be anxious, you stop and begin to thank the Lord. You get that psalm out or you get Romans 8:31 and 32 out, and you read it, and you say what God said about you. We bundled up all that, whatever your worry or concern is, fear, we put it in a trash bag, tied it off, and dropped it on God's conveyor belt. It disappeared in that horizon over there. You may have brought it here, but it's not yours anymore. Now, if you've lived with it a long time, you'll hit a trigger, that sucker will show back up.

I promise you, and you've gotta be prepared to say, "That's true. That used to be mine. But, on Sunday morning, October the 1, at the front of that church with that crazy pastor, I put that in a trash bag and watched it disappear over the horizon. And you go". Now, you may have to do that 15 times today if that's been a part of you. But, if you'll be faithful, if you'll guard your heart and your mind today with it, it'll be fewer times tomorrow and fewer the next time. In a couple of weeks from today, it'll show back up, and you'll go, "You know, you look familiar, but I don't really, I'm not sure". Because God has said something. He said we don't have to be there. We are free, in Jesus's name. God bless you. I'll see you tonight. We're gonna work on the Holy Spirit some more, okay?
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