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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Every Perfect Gift

Allen Jackson - Every Perfect Gift

Allen Jackson - Every Perfect Gift
TOPICS: All Things New, Holy Spirit

The text for the study has been Revelation 21. It says: "He who was seated on the throne said, 'I'm making everything new!' And then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'" "Making everything new". The premise of this study has been very simple: that the creative expression of God did not come to a conclusion in the early chapters of Genesis, that the greatest expressions of creativity from our God are yet ahead of us, that if you're struggling to get your mind around the opening chapters of Genesis, if you're struggling to believe that, it'll be impossible for you to believe what's ahead. That's given to us as an introduction, because if you'll accept the introduction, it opens the possibility of what's next.

God was not so exhausted when he finished with Creation that he was out of ideas. He hasn't had writer's block for several millennia. He says that we can't even imagine what he has planned for us. He's going to make all things new, hallelujah. Look at James 1 and verse 17: "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow". I don't believe that's just some hyperbole or some poetic presentation. Every good thing and every good gift comes from above. The expressions of kindness, of tolerance, of love. Those things don't begin with us. Remember the story Moses said, when he talked to the children of Israel, he said, "I showed you how to build the tabernacle because it was shown to me in the Heavenlies".

Moses saw the original. I believe he got a tour. I think he quite literally walked through it. He saw the way it was constructed, the colors, the materials, and he went back and he showed the craftsmen how to reproduce what he had seen. Well, if you'll allow that image into this verse from James, it says every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above. Goodness, kindness, love, they don't originate with us. They are reflections of the authentic and almighty God. All things new. It's gonna be better. I'm looking forward to it.

Now, I want to start with a couple of lists. If you read ahead, you're in panic mode. Well, I'm not going to elaborate on any one of those points, I promise. But it, it's intended to be something of a summary of some of the things we've said. And I didn't bring you all the scriptural support. You can look back at the outlines from previous weeks or spend a couple of minutes on your computer. It's easily found, it's not obscure. But I wanted you to see the breadth of the "all things new" statement. So I'll start with those things that our creative God has said he's gonna make new for us personally. On an individual basis, there's some new things you can anticipate ahead of you. Some, you have already received, but they're just deposits, they're just an initiation of what is to come.

In 2 Corinthians 5 and verse 17, it says, "If anyone is in Christ". In Christ, what's it mean to be in Christ? Yeah, I think it's equally important to note what's not said. Doesn't say if you're in church or you're in religion or you're in the rules. Or you're in the right building. Or you're in the right denomination. Or you're reading in the right translation. It says, "If you're in Christ". How do you get in Christ? Well, it isn't really about a building or a pastor or a theology. To be in Christ begins with Christ. He's a person. Christ is a title. It's referring to the Messiah, the Anointed One, the promised Savior. His name is Jesus of Nazareth. And the decision you make about Jesus changes everything in your life.

If you believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, not just a prophet or a healer or a miracle worker. If you believe he's the Messiah, the Son of God sent to the earth, born of a virgin. If you'll believe that about Jesus, there's one more thing you need. You need to choose him as Lord of your life. See, lordship is about priority. It's about who establishes the cadence of your life. Who gets to set the boundaries. If you believe Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Christ, and you've chosen him as Lord, you are in Christ. Through the cross, we become in Christ. Now, why would you care? What's the benefit of that? Well, the next phrase: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come"!

To be in Christ means the power of creative God, Almighty God, the initiator God, does something within us. We are made a new creation, and we're transformed from the inside out. Our earth suit isn't changed. It looks the same, it smells the same. It will limp the same. If you limped before you were in Christ, you'll limp after you were in Christ. If you were a scoundrel before, you're still gonna look like a scoundrel after. But there's a new power at work in you that you're no longer left to the strength of your own will or the force of your own character to try to transform yourself. The power of the living God is resonant within you to bring about transformation from the inside out. We're a new creation, hallelujah. I may still sound like a hillbilly and I may like grits, but I'm a new creation. That's good news. Cheese makes them better, if y'all didn't grow up around here.

Look at James 1:18. Says: "He chose us to give us birth through the word of truth". I love that phrase, God chose to give us birth into his kingdom. Before the sun ever rose the first time. From the foundation of creation, God looked across the span of time and he called your name and my name and he chose to give us birth into his kingdom. That's amazing to me. God chose us. We're not here in the kingdom of God as a result of the will of a person or a human decision or our own internal goodness. God chose us. "God chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created".

There's a day ahead of us when God said he's gonna make all things new, everything new, everything around us, everything in our world, in our universe, everything about us. But for right now, the expression of the creative power of God and what is to come began with, internally, you and I being made a new creation, being made alive to God. Jesus came to show us the potential of a human being who understood the principles of the kingdom of God. Storms didn't threaten him. Death didn't threaten him. Sickness and disease didn't threaten him. Shortage of food. He added 5000 people in a happy meal. He said, "Oh, we got more than we need. Sit down, I'm serving". He had a vantage point on life that escapes you and me. He understood something that we don't yet understand. But you and I, in Christ have become a new creation and all things are gonna be made new. I'm looking forward to this. You're a new creation. You also get a new name.

Now, why does that matter? Somebody hack your account and steal your data and... well, it's not really about that. In the Bible, there's a connection between your character and your name. And frequently, when there's a transition in the life of someone, when God's purposes intersect with their life, God would give to them a new name. We meet Saul of Tarsus. He's a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He is the rising young star in orthodox Judaism in the first century with a flawless education and a zeal that no one can match and an enthusiasm that intimidates his adversaries. He is all that and a bag of chips. And then he meets Jesus of Nazareth on the road to Damascus, and Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee of the Pharisees, becomes the apostle to the non-Jewish world. You have to shake your head and smile.

If anybody was qualified to be the Jesus representative of the Jewish world, it was Saul of Tarsus. And God said, "No, I'm gonna make you the apostle Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, to the non-Jewish world". Got a new name for you, son. Abram. He was a godfather where he left his home and his family. But God gave him a new name. He gave him the name Father of a multitude. It's kind of funny because when God gave him the name, he was childless and the biological clock had not only expired, they had misplaced it. And Abraham waited 40 years for that child of promise, it was hopeless. They had celebrated the grandkids of their friends and God said, "I got a new name for you".

The reason I like it is God's got a new name for you. And you and I have made some names for ourselves. Amen or oh me, that'd be our story. In fact, you've probably got multiple names for yourself, depending on the community we're standing in and you pray they never cross or intersect. But God in his love and his mercy and his power has a new name for you. That's exciting to me. A new creation, a new name, a new hope. Hope is about the future. The Bible describes our hope in Christ as being a living thing, a new and a living hope in Christ about what's ahead of us. You see, why does that matter?

Well, in Hebrews 12, it says, "Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before him". He had a hope of something ahead of him that enabled him to endure the challenges, the humiliation, the pain, the agony of the cross. And if you don't have a living hope, you will not endure. You won't persevere, you won't stick with it. You will endure difficult places because you have a hope that either the difficulty is worth the benefit or the difficulty is short term. And you can stand in that place as long as you have hope. If I can crush your hope, I can take away all your motivation. So it's important to know that we have Almighty God, the creator of all things, that has given us a new and a living hope, hallelujah. Because between here and there, when all things are made new, we're going to have to overcome, we're gonna have to endure some things. It's not all gonna come easily. Everything won't be just and fair. We won't always get it right.

And in the middle of our dumbness, while we're paying our stupid tax, we need to know there's a living hope. God's forgiveness and mercy does not always annihilate the consequences of sin. Sometimes we gotta walk that junk out until we get to the fullness of that freedom. But we have a new hope. That's personal, a new creation, a new name, a new hope, a new family, and you get new help. I think this one we overlook a lot. When Jesus was getting ready to leave, he was just about done with his time with the disciples. They had a 3-year run together. He had a long discussion with them about what next was going to be like. He said, "I'm going away and where I'm going, you can't come," and they were way stressed. They said, "Lord, you tell us where you're going, we'll be there". And he said, "Not this time". But he said, "If I go away, I'll send you a helper," and they were pretty stressed about that.

I put the verse in your notes. It's John 14 and 16. Jesus said, "I'll ask the Father, and He'll give you another Helper". If they're going to get another helper, who was their first helper? Jesus. It's not a trick question. He'd been a pretty good helper, hadn't he? He said, "Follow me and I'll make you fishers of men". And he opened their eyes and their lives to all kinds of things they had no imagination of. They were good folks. He didn't recruit wicked people. They were religious, they worshiped the Lord. They offered sacrifices. They went to the synagogue, they read scriptures. They weren't blatantly immoral. He didn't recruit awful wicked, he recruited you, but he said, "If you'll follow me, I'll make you fishers of men. I'll open your eyes to possibilities and potentials that you've never imagined, apart from the time you're gonna spend with me".

Please don't miss that. And he said, "I've asked the Father and he's gonna send you another helper". Do you think the learning is done? What if, when Jesus said, "Follow me and I'll make you fishers of men". Oh, we got that, dude. We've been in synagogue every Sabbath since we were knee high to a grasshopper. We've read the prophets over and over because the Rabbi in our synagogue has this annual Bible reading thing. And we've, we've even got an app in Nazareth. We just, but they didn't say that they followed Jesus and their lives were open. So in this context, Jesus is saying to them, I'll ask the Father and he'll give you another helper, that he may be with you forever. The spirit of truth.

In fact, Jesus goes on to say to them it's better for you if I go away because if I don't go, the helper won't come. But if I do go, you'll get help. May I just suggest to you that the Holy Spirit is present within you? If you are a Christ follower, if you've made that profession of faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is resident within you. The Bible says you're a temple of the Spirit of God, that he doesn't dwell in buildings built by human hands. The Spirit of God doesn't stay on campus when you leave. He goes with you, all right? But it's not so you can put it, imagine it's like a safe and you've got him locked down. His purpose is to help you, help you do what? Help you understand the God opportunities around you the same way Jesus helped the disciples to do that. When Jesus left, did their God story diminish or grow? It grew, didn't it? They went from being the keystone cops that followed Jesus to being the men that shook the world.

So when the Holy Spirit takes up residence within you, the objective isn't to lock him down. It's how to allow him to help you. To help you understand what God would do in this setting, in this context, in this circumstance. What would happen if the Spirit of God were unleashed here? What would he say? What authority would he demonstrate? What answer would he bring forth? And for the most part, we've been pretty dull of hearing. I mean, I've been in church with it. We've argued more about the Holy Spirit and his role than we've talked about how to cooperate with him. And we've adopted some language that I don't think is helpful. It's a little passive. If you'll allow me, what I hear most frequently and not just in this place, but when I interact with Christians, we use words kind of like this.

"I'm open to whatever the Holy Spirit has for me. Whatever he wants me to do I would do. If I knew God wanted me to do something, I would absolutely do whatever that thing was". Sound familiar? I would submit to you that's a little bit the equivalent of me going and sitting in the middle of the gym and saying, "I will lift any weight in this place that wants me to lift it. I'm here. I will work out with any piece of equipment that calls my name. I'll climb on any piece of cardiovascular equipment you got in this place. If you can get it under me, I'll stay right there".

See, our God language has been a little passive. I would ask you to think about it in a slightly different way in the context of your home. Father, what would you have me do in my home? How might I say a prayer? What would it look like to let your Word become a part of our family, where you work? God, what would it look like? What do you have? Is there anything you would do that I could do, that I could help with, that I could add momentum with, in the place where I work that they might know there is a God. See, we've been walking around going, "Oh, you know, if you can get any way... I can lift that. Sure, I could".

You know the most destructive thing you can do to your body? Nothing. You know, you want a certain way to diminish spiritually? Do nothing. It's when we're willing to be used, to move. I like that phrase to be used. You know, a lot of us are afraid to volunteer, to get involved, because we'll be used. And you know what? It's true, you will. Somebody will ask you to rock their baby or care for their child or to ush, or to serve, and they'll have a bad motive. You'll help somebody and you'll see them coming: I know them. They're wicked, slipping into church, and here I am helping park their car. I hope somebody dings their fender. And it's true, if you decide to serve the Lord, there'll be somebody who will use your expression of kindness for a motive that's not pure, but that in no way diminishes what Almighty God, the value he attaches to that expression of desire. And in our willingness to move, we open up opportunities for the helper in our lives, amen.

A new creature, a new name, a new hope, a new family, new help, a new purpose for your life. It's no longer about just getting my way. A purpose for your life that reaches beyond time. You see, if your purpose for your life is totally enmeshed in yourself, it's a frantic race, life is, because about the time you figure it out, you've moved through that season and that set of opportunities are gone and there's a new season in front of you and you're mourning the ones you missed in the past, and you get increasingly torqued up and your days are just about spent and you're filled with frustration. But if you allow God to bring a new purpose for you, all of a sudden, your life isn't bound by time and your one trip through here.

You've got this brief window to make a difference for the kingdom of God, but he's gonna make all things new and it brings a purpose to your days that are beyond just getting your way and getting your wants fulfilled and your dreams fully fleshed out. In fact, you can have a dream that seems to evaporate and God will bring a purpose to your life that's more powerful and meaning and fulfilling than the dream you have. A new purpose. And then finally you get a new home. I like this one a lot. A home is a safe place, a secure place, a nurturing place. And God has a home for you. Does that make you smile?

Now, that's just a list, a summary, of some personal things God said he's gonna make new. I brought you a second list, some things that God said he's gonna make new and these are in our world. These are global. These are beyond just you and me. These reach beyond my own person. God said, we're gonna get a new heaven and a new earth. I believe that's as true as I believe in the Genesis narrative where it says God created the heavens and the earth. He's gonna make a new one. Now, we don't get full details on that. We get some little windows into it. It's gonna be different than this one. It's not gonna be a one-for-one recreation. It's not gonna be a reboot. God's gonna make a new heaven and a new earth.

In fact, I think one of the reasons we haven't been given all the details is God said no eye has seen, no ear has heard. No heart could conceive what he has in mind for us. It's beyond us. He said, if I showed it to you, you'd overheat, you'd melt your circuits. You're built for 110, and that'd be 220. It'd be more than you could stand. So, just trust me on this, you get a new heaven and new earth, he said. He's gonna make a new Jerusalem. I believe that. You know, the Jerusalem that's here today is one of my favorite places in the world, but it's an odd place. You know, Jerusalem has been conquered 28 times. Twenty-eight times, a single city. Twenty-eight times. It's not on a major road. It's not on a major body of water. Back until the Romans figured out how to move water from one place to another, Jerusalem was limited in size by the spring that was there and it's a relatively small spring. It was a small place.

David's Jerusalem, maybe 1500 people. And yet God said, "I've chosen that city for myself," and it's become the epicenter of the whole world. We can't have peace in Iraq or peace with Iran or peace with Egypt or peace with Turkey or peace with a whole host, with hundreds of millions of people. We can't have peace with... that live thousands of miles away until we sort out Jerusalem. And God said, "That's my city". He's gonna make a new Jerusalem. We get a little window into it, in Revelation. It doesn't look like the present Jerusalem. New heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem. We're gonna get a new world system, a new order of dealing with the way human beings interact, new authority structure.

Don't let that offend you, folks. The way we've done it hasn't worked so well. Our best efforts in co-operation, what do we call it? The United Nations? Isn't that a powerful tool to resolve conflict, to bring about fair treatment? If there's a crisis in the world, don't you want the UN pouring in, because they'll solve that bad boy. Can't manage their own budgets. I'm not anti-UN, folks, but if that's our best expression of co-operation and unity and co-ordinated effort for the goodwill of all humankind, we have failed with a miserable "F". There's a new system coming. Don't be frightened or threatened by it. It's good news. We get some little windows into it. I like the Isaiah 11 passage, because it's so graphic.

Says, "The wolf will live with the lamb," and not as a menu item. "The leopard will lie down with the goat, and the calf and the lion and the yearling together and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, and their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like an ox. And the infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child will put his hand into the viper's nest," and in parenthesis, without its parents wigging out. "And they will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea".

There's a new system coming, that won't be filled with anger and hate and murder and selfishness and carnality and immorality and it will bring peace and joy and contentment, and the knowledge of God will cover the earth, like the waters cover the oceans, hallelujah. I'm gonna be there. New creation, new name, new family, new heaven, new earth, new Jerusalem, new insight, new help, hot dog. It's a Greek word, means yes. I brought you a prayer. I wanna pray with you. If you will, stand with me. The corporate prayers of God's people make a difference. There are many expressions to prayer. Some weeks we pray together and it's one of the greatest privileges of my life. But sometimes we stand together and lift our voices in prayers to God and praise to God. It's a powerful thing in the earth. Don't diminish it. Let's read this prayer together:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great love for us, for all You have done and for all that is yet ahead. We lift our hearts to You in thanksgiving and praise for You are worthy of all honor and glory. You have given us life. You have prepared a future for us and You have rescued us from an empty way of life. We press on to complete the course for which You created us. Grant us the strength needed for this day, in Jesus's name, amen.

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