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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Secure In An Insecure World - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Secure In An Insecure World - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Secure In An Insecure World - Part 2
TOPICS: Clarify Your Identity, Security

In all candor, I think we have to be prepared to walk through God's judgment. I don't believe we can continue to live as we're living and imagine that God will smile at us. I don't mean that as a threat. It appears to me that we're more afraid of the consequences of embracing the truth than we are the consequences of ignoring God's truth. We understand intuitively, there are some consequences if we step into the culture and tell the truth about a biblical worldview, and we're more afraid of those consequences than we are God. If we hide from our assignment, we'll not be able to hide from God's response. So I believe we have to be prepared. Again, it's not a threat. It's a very prudent move. It's a part of preparation. Jesus prepared his friends for the judgment of Jerusalem. Jesus himself, on the ground with his closest friends, said, "The Romans are coming and you need to be prepared".

We need to understand where our security is. And if we imagine it's coming to our future, into our children's future, from any place other than the person of Jesus Christ, I think we're incredibly vulnerable. Jesus prepared his friends for the hatred and antagonism which awaited them as they went forward as advocates for him. He told them, he said, "You will be hated by all people because of me". Before he left, he said, "You need a sword". Everybody's not going to give you a group hug. I'm not encouraging violence, folks. I can get in enough trouble without you misconstruing my words. But I think it's improbable that the kind of stability that we have known defines our future. And we've got to be prepared, spiritually and emotionally. Jesus's best friends, they were not delivered out of hatred and persecution.

Read the book of Acts. We've just completed it together. They faced challenges from the beginning to the conclusion. They were delivered through them. God will deliver us. He will take us through whatever, we don't have to be afraid. We don't have to be frightened. We don't have to be anxious. We can recognize that God is moving. At the end of the day, the name of Jesus will be lifted up. He's preparing a people for himself. We wanna be a part of that. We should not imagine that our future will be like our past. Look in 1 Corinthians 6:19: "Do you not know..." Whenever the Bible says that, our answer is, "No, probably not". "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who's in you, whom you've received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. So honor God with your body".

It's not complicated stuff. Honor God with your body. Think of the messaging that cascades over us about how we look, how we appear, how we present ourselves, how we identify. The biblical direction is really clear: You're not your own. You've got an Earth suit, but it's been bought and paid for. Honor God with it. Honor God with where you take it. Honor God with how you decorate it. Honor God with your body. You're not your own. You were bought at a price. Look at Romans 14: "None of us lives to himself alone. None of us dies to himself alone". That's a challenge to the doctrine of personal salvation. Again, I believe in that, but we have a collective responsibility, a responsibility to be a part of the body of Christ, to love one another, to care for one another, to honor one another, to stand with one another.

What unifies us is we stand under the Lordship of Jesus, not our nationality, not our hair color, not all of the things that... we stand unified in him. And there are powerful voices, powerful forces, seeking to bring great division and animosity and hatred amongst the people of God. It is not the Holy Spirit. "None of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord". We belong to him. "So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord". We belong to the Lord. Our security is anchored to the foundation of the one who saved us. We build our lives upon this security when we practice the truth that we know. Remember the parable Jesus told? It's not in your notes, sorry, but it is in the Book. You can check me later.

Jesus told this parable about men who build houses. Two men and they built two homes, they chose different locations. One chose beachside property. The view was amazing, but the foundation was on sand, and when the storms came, the house couldn't withstand the storms. Remember that? He said the other person built it in Middle Tennessee. In all fairness, what it really says is he built it on rock. Sounds like Middle Tennessee to me. We've been building some roads around here. I'm telling you we're long on rock. But what Jesus said by explanation was the rock was the person who heard the Word of God and put it into practice. And the same storm that assaulted the beachfront property assaulted the home that was built on the rock. It's identical in description. And where the beachfront property collapsed, the house that was built on the rock withstood the storms. "The one who hears my Word," Jesus said, "and does it is like a person who builds his house on the rock".

We've had lots of studies and lots of discussions and lots of sermons. And I'm not opposed to any of those things but your application of the truth you know, is what will secure you in what is before us. It's not theoretical any longer. It is our reality. I wanna encourage you, if you don't hear anything else, we don't have to be afraid and we don't have to be discouraged. We do not. You can live in frightening times and discouraging circumstances and be unafraid and not discouraged. Look in 2 Chronicles 20. It's a message that God brought to the people of Israel through one of the people given responsibility to minister to the people. If we call it a message from a prophet, I think somehow it changes the context. It's a message God gave through one of the people that had accepted the responsibility to minister to the people of God, one of the Levites from, "He said, 'Listen, King Jehoshaphat'", and Israel is facing an army that they are... is too powerful for them.

They're greatly outnumbered and their technology is not adequate. "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.'" Now, if the message comes, you know this principle well enough by now. If the message comes and says, "Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged," what is the prevailing sentiment? Fear and discouragement. So the message comes and says, "Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged because of this vast army". It acknowledges the problem: You're outnumbered, you're outgunned, they're more sophisticated and they're more numerous. There's nothing you can do. And the message that comes says, "Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged".

Folks, we don't have to be the majority. Truth has an authority and we want to be the people who live in God's truth. "For the battle is not yours, but God's". "The battle is not yours, but God's". So I gave you another proclamation. You just get lots of takeaways today. I didn't give you that passage as a memory verse. I didn't want to frighten you in week one. We'll get some big old verses to learn. But let's start out here with the proclamation: "I'm not afraid, I'm not discouraged! The battle is not mine, it belongs to God"! What if we could say that together? "I'm not afraid, I'm not discouraged! The battle is not mine, it belongs to God"! We're gonna do this together, all right? These two sections, "I'm not afraid". You're not very loud either. I'll tell you what, why don't this section help them, okay? On three, right? One, two, three. That's better. Oh, no, not y'all. Just these three: one, two, three.

Now, this group will be, "We're not discouraged," right? On three. I don't have anybody else to put in here with you, so you all have to be strong and courageous, okay? On three. One, two, three. All right. Don't get ahead of me. Now, those of you in the stadium seats, you got a long one, but you're spread out all over the room so you can do this. "The battle is not mine". No, back here. Don't get ahead of me. If you're in the stadium seats, "The battle is not mine". You with me? You gotta be loud because you're so far away. On three. One, two, three.

All right, here we go. We're auditioning for the Voices of Lee. Now, let's see if we can do it, all right? You three know your line? Y'all help these people over here, okay? One, two, three... Amen! I'll find out when auditions are. I'll write you a reference. You need it tucked in your heart. Yes, we have passports. Yes, we pray for those in authority over us. Yes, we will participate in the process, but our future is secured by Almighty God. It is so important to understand that. We've been idolaters. We put so many things in front of that, so many descriptors, so many points of hope, so many things that we imagine would provide for us or care for us or take us through, and God in his mercy has begun to awaken us.

In the book of Ephesians, there are multiple, dozens and dozens, of statements about who we are in Christ, what it means to be in him, or what's come to us through him, or the attributes that fill our lives because we belong to him. And it's put in this remarkable context of the heavenly places, of what's happening in the heavens. And I think our language is a little bit limited. In 1 Corinthians... I'm sorry, 2 Corinthians 12, it's not in your notes either. You got the cheap version. Paul talked about a man who was caught up into the third heaven. Well, by logic, if there's a third heaven, there has to be a first and a second. So biblically, we can talk with clarity, or at least with freedom, about the multiple heavens. And I think it's in Genesis chapter 1 and verse 1, it says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens".

The Hebrew word is plural. It has a plural ending on it, just like we would put an "s" on it in English. So from the very introduction of the Bible, we're introduced to this idea that the heavens are presented to us as being more than a singular thing. Heavens is plural. Now, I can explain it in the way that it is typically embraced by scholars. There is some opinion in it, but it's at least an informed one. There's the heaven that's God's dwelling. There's really no question about that. In the book of Revelation, we're given several scenes of heaven: the throne room of God and the place where the heavenly hosts dwell, okay? Then we know there's the heavens that are above the earth. The Bible talks about the heavens where God put... it's the stars we can see and the heavens that we look up into.

And then there's that mid heaven, and the implication of scripture seems to be that that mid heaven is the seat of the authority for Satan and his kingdom. So when it talks about the heavens, we need a bit more context and information to know precisely what's being discussed. And I don't think it's really helpful to think of it in terms of a layer cake, like, you know, there's one here and there's one a little higher up like the stratosphere and the ionosphere. And I have a lot of fear. You know, it's not like that. I think it's more helpful to think of it, dimensionally. The place where God dwells, where his throne is, isn't just way far above the Earth on which we stand. It's a different dimension. So these multiple heavens, it's an important idea.

And in the book of Ephesians, we're invited into this discussion. In the 1st chapter in verse 3, you do have this in your notes, it says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ". It says, "in the heavenly realms," in the place where the authority of God emanates from, we have been given every spiritual blessing because we attend WOC. Wow, we would have a crowd for Easter if that were true. But what it actually says is we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places because we are in Christ, because we belong to him. It's given us access to the authority of heaven, wow. It goes on to give some amplification in verse 4. "He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight". God chose you and me in Jesus.

See, there is no explanation in scripture for why God loves us. There's none offered any place that I'm aware of. It simply says that God did. The whole redemptive initiative, the incarnation, Jesus putting on an Earth site, Earth suit and coming to the Earth and offering himself as a sacrifice, exhausting the curse of sin, that you and I in turn might have all the blessings of his perfect obedience. There's no explanation for that. Because from the beginning of Genesis to the conclusion of Revelation, we are a rebellious lot. We are stubborn and self-willed. We're idolatrous, we're immoral, we're very uncooperative. Does that sound right? I mean, if it doesn't describe you, it describes somebody you know, and they think of you when they think of the description. There's no explanation.

But what the Bible tells us is that the redemptive work, God did it because of Jesus. There's no redemptive plan for the angels. A third of the angels rebelled against God. They were created beings. There's no redemptive plan for them. God chose us in Jesus. That needs to become more a part of your thoughts and even your words. Lord, I thank you I belong to you. I thank you for that. I want to honor you today. How might I please you today? See, we're so oriented. It starts when we're young with what we wanna do, with establishing our own kingdom of self, how I feel and I think, and what makes me happy and what's gonna satisfy me and what's gonna make me content and my dream and my plan and my life. And that grows in us and it becomes so strong and so powerful, it almost overshadows this invitation to belong to Christ.

And then we learn to hang religious words around it and religious activities around it. And so we go to church or we go to a Bible study or we be polite and we learn vocabulary words we probably shouldn't use, and then we kind of dress it up from the outside in, but the real transformation is from the inside out. "Lord, I belong to you today. What would you have me do? Well, I may have to go to work today. I may have assignments and responsibilities and appointments and places to be and things to do. But in every one of those contexts I'm going on your behalf".

What would that look like? But at the end of the day, Lord, I don't think I got that all just right. I was quiet on a couple of points where I probably should have had a voice, and a couple of times I had some things to say and I'd probably been better to be quiet. Lord, I'm sorry. As I rest tonight, I want to awaken tomorrow and join you in your day. We belong to him. It's really not helpful to think of this in terms only of eternity, folks. There are things in front of us, opportunities in front of us, challenges in front of us, where we're gonna have to be prepared and willing and ready to say, "I belong to him". And it probably will not be responded to with applause. "He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight".

The only shot we got at being holy and blameless is in him. "In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and to the praise of his glorious grace, which he's freely given us in the One he loves". His grace does not come to us arbitrarily. We don't receive the grace and the mercy of God because we're cute. I mean, we are, but that doesn't qualify us for grace. We qualify for grace and mercy because we're in him. If you don't belong to him, you shouldn't imagine you're gonna receive grace and mercy. And if you're receiving grace and mercy, you better understand fully well why: I belong to him. It will help you with that tug of war. It'll help you sort it out.

Verse 7: "In him we have redemption through his blood". It's a little repetitive, have you noticed? In him we have redemption. Through his blood we have redemption. "The forgiveness of sins," through his blood, "in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment, to bring all things in heaven and earth together under one head, even Christ".

Where are we headed? What's our future look like? Folks, it goes way past elections and political parties and movements and ideologies and economic systems. Ultimately, we will stand together under the authority of the headship of Jesus of Nazareth. Let's start practicing. Verse 11: "In him we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will". Paul lives in a world where most frequently when he presents the gospel of Jesus Christ, there's a riot, and what you do not hear is fear or discouragement or reluctance or hesitation or ambivalence or hesitancy.

I pray that you and I will co-operate with the Spirit of God and day upon day, and week upon week, and month upon month, be more completely transformed into the image of Jesus, that we will be unrelenting, unyielding advocates for Jesus of Nazareth, that whoever may know us, in whatever context they may know us, they will know us as men and women who belong to Jesus of Nazareth. We're works in progress. We'll have to help one another. We'll have to encourage one another, because we leak. We do, but it's worthwhile. It's a worthwhile commitment. It will bear fruit for your journey through time and it will be richly rewarded for all eternity. We're not afraid. We're not discouraged. We are heirs according to the promise. It's a wonderful future. I brought you a prayer. And we'll work on Ephesians. Why don't you stand with me? Can we say this prayer together?

Almighty God, You're the creator and sustainer of all things. You establish rulers and You remove them. Forgive me for placing my trust in persons or institutions before You. I repent and acknowledge Your authority over my life. Now awaken me to Your plans and purposes, grant me an understanding heart that I may take my place. Lord, look upon Your people with mercy and raise up deliverance from every attack. May it please You to demonstrate Your great power on behalf of those who cry out to You, in Jesus's name, amen.

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