Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Let's Join Him - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Let's Join Him - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Let's Join Him - Part 2
TOPICS: God Is Moving

In Matthew 8 and Luke 7, there's a story of a man who comes to Jesus, he's a Roman Centurion, some of you will remember it. He needed Jesus, he was pursuing a miracle and he needed healing for someone he cared about. And he met Jesus, and Jesus said, "I'll come to your home," which fried the circuits of everybody in the crowd, "He's going to a Roman Centurion"? And the Centurion said something, the Bible, it says that Jesus was astonished. He said, "Lord, I don't deserve to have you come to my home, I'm a man under authority. I can say to a servant, 'Do this and do that,' or to a soldier, 'Do that,' and they'll do it". And he said, "I recognize an authority in you, an authority that I don't have. And if you'll just say the word, my servant will be healed". And it says that Jesus turned and addressed the crowd, a crowd of Jewish people who are already annoyed with Jesus for agreeing to help a Roman Centurion, and he said to them this, "I haven't found faith this great in all of Israel". "I'm a man under authority".

What I'm suggesting you is that when God begins to move, one of the things you wanna do is submit to the authority of God in your life in a new way, with fresh eyes, with a purposefulness, with an intentionality. Eliminate the places you've been sloppy, maybe change your prayer habits, maybe you begin to fast with a bit of regularity, begin to seek the Lord. God is moving and you wanna be able to hear, you wanna recognize what he's doing, you wanna be sure you're in the group that's moving with him. And often, before you understand all of those components, you begin the process of responding, "Lord, it seems to me you're moving".

Let's say you're wrong, and all you did was change your prayer schedule and up your fasting schedule and spend more time in the Word of God: that's not a bad thing. But if your inclination, if your sense, if your discernment was right, and God was moving, you've already got some momentum. The next thing I would tell you, when God is in motion, there's also enemies present. I didn't get this, I thought for a long time if God was moving, the enemies would be vanquished, it'd be like skipping down the yellow brick road, "Woohoo," be like a parade, be like running a 5k, and everybody's clapping and giving you orange slices, have a cup of Gatorade, you look hot. And both biblically and my life experience suggest to me that even when God is moving, your enemies are present.

Gideon's story makes no sense apart from the backdrop of the Midianites and the people from the east. When God is moving, it's not that the adversary has vanished, typically, it's quite the opposite is true, God is moving because without his movement, we would be overwhelmed by the enemy. See, I think that's what we fail to understand. If God is moving in our season, it's because if he weren't moving, we would be without hope, lost and undone. And he's moving, and he's inviting us to change and to refocus, and to step towards him and to begin to listen, to submit to his discipline. And we're sitting here going, "I don't wanna do it, I don't wanna do that, I don't like it, I'm okay, I'm good," and the reason God is moving is it isn't good.

The reason God sent Moses is the condition of the Hebrews slaves wasn't just wonderful, God sent David, sent Samuel to get David, a little shepherd boy, because the leadership Israel had was not good; on, and on and on. And if God is moving in our generation, it's because we need his movement. We don't stand apart from this going, "Well, you know, that's not quite how I believe". How we believed is what got us in this fine mess, Ollie, so we're gonna make some changes. We saw it in Ephesus, we looked at that in a previous session. There was a revival in Ephesus, a powerful move of the Spirit of God, shifted the attitude in the city, people came and publicly confessed their sins and destroyed millions of dollars of valuable assets that were attached to their expressions of ungodliness and wickedness.

Significant life change taking place in the public square, and in the same passage, butted right up against that good news, is a riot. Why? Because the the unclean spirits in Ephesus were stirred. Like, "Well, why? I would think if the Spirit of God was moving, hundreds or thousands of people were responding, the evil would be quiet". Now, why do you think that? Not from Scripture, because we would prefer that. I'd prefer everybody to make the change, but then, Jesus didn't tell us the truth when he talked about the narrow gate and the broad gate. You see, I've wanted it on my terms, I've let my imagination shape this, I haven't allowed the invitation of Scriptures to.

Psalm 23, one of the best known Psalms in the Bible, you prepare a table before me with all of my best friends, right? Wow, I don't wanna go to a small group of people I don't like, why would I do that? I don't wanna work with people that are ungodly, it's hard. Send my kids to a public school, they're wicked. "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies". I don't wanna eat with my enemies. Well, if you want to sit at the table God prepared, you will. Some of us have worked really hard never to sit at a table God prepared. That could get very meddlesome if I pushed it. "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; and my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever".

So, when you see God moving, don't imagine the enemies will disappear. The next one is when God moves, the status quo is redefined, if you prefer a conventional wisdom, is amended. You see, I think a part of what God is doing is, conventional wisdom, the status quo has become increasingly less welcoming of a biblical perspective in the world we live in, does that seem right? I mean, those are the standard answers. In the public square, in the public schools, in academia, in the business world, you can advocate for almost any sort of imagined, possible ungodliness or perversion, but if you advocate for Jesus of Nazareth as Lord, Christ and King, you gotta hush, you're offensive. And a part of what will happen as God moves is that status quo is going to be redefined, it's gonna change.

The point of Gideon being a leader in the midst of that season was that the hearts of the people were redirected to God for a season. Well, they wandered back in the weeds again. The reason the apostle Paul would come to town and begin in a synagogue or begin to speak is he was redefining the status quo, "I'm gonna tell you a new way of salvation," he said. So when God begins to move and you recognize he's doing that, understand a part of that outcome, I believe if it goes to its completion or to its full expression, is the status quo will be changed. Acts chapter 2 is a great example of this. This is the day of Pentecost. Jesus, in Acts chapter 1, goes back to heaven, Acts chapter 2 is the first public event they have absent Jesus. And Peter stands up to preach, and very near the end of his sermon, he said, "Let all Israel be assured of this: God made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah".

You understand those are very harsh words? Those are not bridge-building words, those aren't compliant words, those aren't words trying to extend inclusivity. God made the man that you murdered, the Messiah. They've been longing for a Messiah, praying for a Messiah, waiting for a Messiah, and Peter stands up and said, "You murdered him". Very insightful, very incendiary language. "When the people heard this," this is the God part, "They were cut to the heart and they said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'" It wasn't very many days ago when, when Pilate said, "This is Jesus and this is a murderer, I'm gonna release one, who do you want"? And they said, "Give us Barabbas". "And what do you want me to do with Jesus"? "Crucify him".

Now, Peter has pushed it into their face and they're cut to the heart, and they said, "'What shall we do?' And Peter replied," this is bizarre, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins". You talk about redefining the status quo. He didn't say, "Go show yourself to the priest," he didn't say, "Tighten up your Kosher rules, you're sloppy on how you're observing the 10 Commandments". He's giving them a message they have not heard, they've never imagined that the way of salvation, to spiritual freedom, had anything to do with that Jesus from Nazareth character. We screamed, "Kill him," a few days ago.

I wonder if we're prepared for the status quo to be realigned in a godly way, I think it would make us really anxious. I think we have been caught in the cultural drift so far that just the notion of saying that, I know what happens when I stand in a room full of people that gather because they're Christians and I say, "There is no other way into the kingdom of God other than the person of Jesus of Nazareth". You can feel the room get quiet. When I say, "God created us male and female, and he didn't give 16 other options," or that, "Marriage was God's idea and he implemented marriage between a man and a woman".

I mean, I can go on and on with the statements, you feel... you see, we have drifted so far from those fundamental biblical values, and when God begins to move, he will realign that status quo. It'll mean we will get in alignment with him, we'll have the courage to say that at our kitchen table. What Peter and the crew were willing to say in the streets of Jerusalem is stunning to me, it's a completely new response to a very old question, and now it's no longer centered on sacrifice or Kosher rules or whatever, it is very difficult to realign our thinking.

The next one, and there'll be some resistance on this one but I believe it's true, when God begins to move, if you're gonna move with him, there'll be effort required, significant effort. We've lost this. Just in the contemporary culture, work is a four-letter word, as in, one you shouldn't use, it's threatening, it's diminishing, it takes away from things that are really important. Folks, when we're introduced to God in the very first chapter of the Bible, the thing we're told that he's doing most frequently is working, every day, until it's time for a day of rest. I would submit to you that work is an expression of worship, and if you don't live with that notion, you are robbing yourselves of the dignity of every day in your life.

Whether you're a butcher or baker or a candlestick maker, we go to do those things in the name of the Lord. And when God begins to move, it is going to require effort of his people. Abraham had to leave, that's a lift, "Go to a land that you don't know, I'll show you when you get there". "Moses, I need you to go help these people, they're in a hole". "I don't wanna go". "Moses, I want you to go". "I'm really good, thank you, they won't believe me". "I'll give you some tricks". "I don't care, I don't talk plain". "Moses, I'm gonna kill you". "Maybe I'm available". I mean, you choose the character. Jesus's assignment, he laid aside the glory of heaven to come become one of us, to feel the weakness and the frailty that comes with an earth suit, to be rejected, mistreated, ultimately tortured to death.

When God is moving, it's going to require a different cadence from us. And again, I'm not recruiting, I want you to be aware and prepared, there's more shaking ahead of us. It's not a bad thing, it's a good thing, there's a dignity in work. 2 Corinthians chapter 11, verse 27, it's just one verse out of a much lengthier discourse, but the context is the same. Paul said, "I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I've known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I've been cold and naked". All of those things not because he was a poor planner or his business model failed, not because he invested in the wrong thing, not because he was cheated, all of those things are descriptors of how he chose to serve God and his people, wow. We get jacked up if the parking spot's too far away, somebody sits in our seat, the sermon's too long. I mean, not you, but those other people that come.

Paul is no longer a leading voice among the Pharisees, he lost the place that he'd spent the first years of his life. He began studying as a small child, and all the prestige and opportunity that came with that, he turned, he said, "I consider it as nothing, I considered it as dung," he said. He said, "I was willing, I jettisoned it overboard". Paul is hated by his former peers and his companions. That's hard work, it's much easier to choose a path that brings applause than a path that brings rejection. We all understand that. Paul creates a new future, he has a message for the Gentiles, he travels to non-Jewish centers with his message. He goes into the synagogue, and in city after city after city, some believe and some don't, and those that don't are mad at those that do, and Paul usually faces the brunt of that. He's beaten repeatedly, he's stoned, he's left for dead.

And at the end of his life, we beat him in a Roman jail, in 2 Timothy, and it looks like the fruit of his life's labor is just hanging by a thread under threat of the people trying to put them back under the law and reject the message of Acts 2:36. And Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:12, it's not in your notes, but he said, "Timothy, don't be ashamed of me". That's a hard letter to write. You're an old man, and you're alone and you're cold and you're hungry, and your friends have abandoned you, and you write a young man that you've been coaching, and you say, "Please don't be ashamed of me, because I know whom I have believed and what I've entrusted to him against that day".

When God is moving, it will require some effort on our part. If you don't believe it, just meditate a little bit of Jesus on the cross, that was not an easy day's Bible study. And then, finally, I'll crap up with this one, I would submit to you that victory tends to make us vulnerable, after Gideon's great victory and all that went with that. When God recruited Gideon, he's not a military figure, he's not a national figure, he doesn't have that reputation, he doesn't have an influence over all the tribes. There's a lot of things that come out of that, but one of them is Gideon fashioned something that became an idol for the people. He didn't do it intentionally, he didn't imagine that would be the outcome, but he's standing in a place he hasn't stood before.

But I think we need to understand, we need a humility as we see God begin to bring breakthroughs, we need to be listening and to take all of these characteristics we've talked about and be certain that we keep them in place. Judges 8:1, "The Ephraimites asked Gideon, 'Why have you treated us like this? Why didn't you call on us when you went to fight Midian?' And they criticized him sharply". Are you stinking kidding me? Stinking is a Greek word that means, "Really"? The Scripture, Judges 6, tells us that the Midianites and the peoples of the east would come to Israel like locusts, they would cover the landscape and plunder the people, and they did it year after year until the nation was impoverished and the people were starving and hiding in caves.

And after Gideon and the crew that he took with him win this great victory, one of the tribes says, "Why didn't you invite us"? Why didn't you go do it before Gideon got there? We all knew there was a problem, they're just sharply criticizing Gideon because now the victory has been won, and everybody's trying to decide who caused the victory and they don't want to be left out of the parade. So you didn't invite us. No, I'm pretty certain you were being really quiet when we were looking for help. Go back to those earlier characteristics we've been talking about, your willingness to move, to let your status quo be redefined, the value of discipline, not shrinking in the face of the enemy.

But then, after all of that, same chapter, Judges 8, "Gideon made gold into an ephod," which he gave to Oprah and she started a television show. I'm kidding, it's a city, it's a location. "And all Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon into his family". See, as God begins to move, we have to be intentional, purposeful, in maintaining our humility and understanding the one upon whom we're dependent. God gives us the breakthroughs, God is the one who brings the victories, that enables us to overcome, to persevere, and we wanna be careful to continue to give him the glory and the honor and the praise and the thanksgiving. Amen?

Historically, the most vulnerable times in the church are when the church seems to be victorious, the more freedom and liberty we have. It's not unique to us, the Book of Judges, as I've told you, is this pattern, this cycle that is repeated over and over and over again, where God comes and delivers the people, and then they begin to wander back into the weeds, thinking they've made themselves free, and an enemy overwhelms them and they begin to cry out to God. It's just, the fancy label is a cycle of retribution, but the same pattern has occurred throughout the history of the church and the same is true in our own personal lives. When God blesses us and good things happen, it's very easy for us to imagine we've worked hard, we made good choices. We honored God and God blessed us.

One of the great lessons of my life, it came when I was a young man, was that good people doing the best they know can find themselves in desperately difficult places. We wanna walk with the humility, to know that only God ensures our future, and that if he asks us to stand in a difficult place, he won't give us the strength we need to stand until he makes a way of deliverance. And when he makes a way of deliverance, he made the way of deliverance, amen? So I have an invitation for you. God is moving, who wants to go with him? Now, be careful, because he's gonna readjust some things, he'll change your schedule, he'll change some of the things that you thought you didn't want to change, but there's no more remarkable way to live than to give your best to the Lord. So why don't we stand and give God that invitation? But I'm really glad I'm not in Philadelphia, it's good to see you.

Father, thank you for your Word, for its truth and power and authority. Lord, you are moving. Every day, when we listen to the news or we read a headline or we hear a report, it's evident that you're moving in the earth. I thank you for that, we praise you for it, that you haven't left us alone or you haven't stepped away from us, but that you're moving to bring freedom to those who will stand with you. And Lord, we stand in your presence, tonight, to say, "Here we are, send us". Lord, give us understanding hearts and receptive ears and the ability to perceive what you're doing, Lord, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our places of employment, as we worship together.

Lord, in every aspect of our lives, may we have the courage to stand with you and to stand for you, to choose the truth for ourselves and to encourage one another. May not one of us turn back, may not one yield to the discouragement or the temptation, may we choose you with our whole heart. Holy Spirit, help us, you're our teacher, you're our guide. Lord, when you prepare tables for us, may we be willing to take our place at the table and to see through to completion what you give us. I thank you for what you're doing, I praise you for it. I thank you for the victories that we see, for the lives being changed, for the breakthroughs that are coming, for the healings that we hear reported, for the people yielding to you, as never before. We praise you for it, Lord, and we thank you that you would call us to such a time. May we be faithful, and may you be pleased. In Jesus's name, amen.

Are you Human?:*