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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Women, Wives, and Mothers - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Women, Wives, and Mothers - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Women, Wives, and Mothers - Part 2
TOPICS: Mother's Day

We're gonna wrap up our discussion today on women, wives, and mothers, but what we're really doing is looking for a biblical perspective on our homes. Our culture isn't confused, we're rebellious. We don't want anyone telling us what to do, and we look for reasons to be victimized or to be angry. We have to change. The problem isn't out there, the problem is in here. With God's help and some biblical guidelines, we can find a better way. Enjoy the lesson today.

There was another lesson from our mom, and we've all got this one pounded into us pretty good: tell the truth. Make it the practice of your life. Make it your habit to tell the truth. It's a phrase I've used many times that we've laughed about and sometimes been serious about, but in Matthew 8, and verse 10, it says, "When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, 'I tell you the truth,'" when you hear Jesus use that phrase, you know he's about to drop a truth bomb. What he's about to say is disorienting. So he says, before he tells 'em, he says, "Listen, I'm about to tell you the truth. You're not gonna believe it. It's almost unimaginable". It isn't that he lied the rest of the time. It's like a flashing yellow light: "What you're about to hear is going to shift your expectations".

God's truth does that. God's truth brings correction to cultures, to behaviors, to patterns, to habits, even amongst the religious. Even amongst the covenant people of God. Proverbs 23:23 says, "Buy the truth and do not sell it". To purchase something is a transaction, and a purchase means you take something that has value to you. If it's money, that money reflects energy and time and effort that you have spent to collect that. And you trade that for something that you consider to be more valuable than that money, or at least of an equal value. You'll trade it for food, or you'll trade it for electricity, or you'll...whatever, but that's...a purchase reflects an evaluation of something. And so, the coaching of scripture is "Buy the truth". It doesn't say, "Buy it when the market's down".

Whatever it costs, buy the truth, and when you get it, never sell it. There's nothing that's gonna be valuable enough that you should trade the truth for it. That's a very powerful guiding principle in a season of unprecedented deception. "Buy the truth; get wisdom, discipline and understanding". All of those things come from your decision to garner the truth. Proverbs 6, and verse 16 says, "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue". God hates it. So, here's the deal: let's just decide we're gonna be truthful people. Now, don't use the truth as a club. Don't use the truth to be disruptive.

Do you understand the difference? I gave you just three simple expressions that these were a part of our training. Don't lie. When you're asked a question, when something is presented to you, tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If you withhold the truth, you're deceitful. If you only tell a portion of it, you're deceptive. Please do not imagine you can practice deception or dishonesty and live in the blessing of the Lord. You can't do that. Say, "I'm born again, pastor. I've been baptized, I take Communion, I'm grateful". I'm not suggesting that your eternity isn't know, I'm just telling you you cannot live in the blessing of the Lord and practice deceit and dishonesty. And we have whole vocabularies; now we call it good business. We call it spin.

We say, "Well, you can't understand my truth". Baloney. Not all truth is subjective. Gravity is gravity, whether you've ever fallen off a roof or not. You're not clever enough to confuse God with the manipulation of language. One of the best pieces of advice that didn't come from my parents, but it certainly came from some friends of theirs. They said when I was practicing talking to the Lord to use the plainest definitions I could. he way it was put to me was, "Call a spade a spade. Don't call it an agricultural implement". That when I'm repenting, tell God in the plainest possible language what I'm repenting for. If we will cultivate that habit, it will change the nature of your relationship with the Lord and it will bring wonderful fruit to your life.

The second component of this is if you make a mistake, admit it. That was one of the rules we grew up with. You made a mistake; if you come and confess, the punishment would be mitigated. But if you tried to hide it and it got uncovered, it did not go well. Sounds so simple, but I can tell you our old nature is strong enough and powerful enough. We had a hard time, I had a hard time implementing that. I won't even speak on behalf of my brothers. Sometimes, because of the ungodliness in my younger brother's lives, it was necessary for us to fight. I generally was an advocate for just quoting a few verses of scripture, but. I just lied, okay?

But we were wrestling in my bedroom, and at that time, my mom had a jade tree in the house. She was really proud of it. It had grown, I don't know, it was big. It was just something green, but. But I managed to throw one of my brothers into the midst of that jade tree, and it broke, and we kind of propped it back up, hoped nobody would notice, ignoring point 2 on your outline under the letter B, and inevitably, it was discovered, and the question came, you know, "What happened to the jade tree"? "I don't know". You know, "My brother sat on it". Well, he did, with a bit of help. The best practice is when you make a mistake, admit it. It's the best practice in your home. It's the best practice with God. Don't justify it. Don't excuse it. Don't say, "All of my friends were doing it".

And the third one is when you're wrong, ask for forgiveness. All of those related to the truth. All of them important. You know, now we find people that they put on their résumé they graduated from Harvard when, in actuality, they've never been to Massachusetts. And when it's uncovered, which seems almost inevitable, the response has been things like, "Well, I misremembered". No, you lying, deceptive, manipulative human being. You tried to gain an opportunity by representing something that was not your reality. "Misremembered" is not a really good word for "I'm wrong". When you're wrong, ask for forgiveness.

There's a third thing that we took away from our years at home, and that was the value of prayer. I gave you a verse; it was such an important part of Jesus's life. We've done a whole series on prayer. I won't belabor the biblical side of this, but on those days, it says, "Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and he spent the night praying to God. And when morning came, he called his disciples to him and he chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles". Prayer was such an important part of Jesus's life. The sinless, obedient, perfect Son of God practiced the habit of prayer. Not momentary prayers, not casual prayers, not prayers in desperate times, not just prayers when he was confronted with sickness or demonic activity, but as a matter of relational development. He prayed all night long before he selected the disciples.

And I'm grateful for the prompt that my mom and my parents in our home they gave us to attach value to prayer. They attached value to some other things. They believed in work, but prayer was one of those things that...and they would incorporate us into it when we were small and we were still at home. They operated a veterinary business. It was a small business. And if the business was going slow, they would get us all together, and we would pray. When business got busy and my dad got grumpy, we would pray so he could get harassed. But I have many memories of times when, as a family system, they would involve us, and we weren't very interested. It took all the authority that the parents could bring to get three boys to focus for a moment or two on prayer. But the takeaway from it was I understood it was a valuable part of that environment.

I knew I had choices to make for myself at some point down the line. But it was unquestionably unmistakable that prayer was a part of the fabric of what they intended their lives to be about. They would open their home, they had a small group Bible study in our home for more than a dozen years. It's the genesis of this congregation. Who knew? It truly is what led to this place. And we didn't have all the tools and helps we have around small groups these days. Nobody was creating video curriculums. At least not in the beginning of that. And my brothers and I were the childcare department. They didn't ask us. And it was good because we would have voted no.

In fact, we typically complained. It interrupted our home one night a week. Strangers were coming. And, you know, if you're in a group here, we encourage, well, there's a time limit on how long those groups should last, and we check on it and enforce it. The reason that's so important to us is our parents did not have that training. And their groups lasted too long, but we survived. But all of that, the investment of time that prayer requires, folks, you're not gonna build a relationship with God like a microwave. God will not become the preeminent authority in your life if the only time you talk to him is when you're driving your car to someplace. You'll have to make it enough of a priority that it finds its way into the routine and the habits of your lives. Doesn't mean you have to pray all night, every night, but it needs to become a portion of your relationship with him.

See, I grieve the notion that we have given away with such intensity that once you've recited the Sinner's Prayer and you've taken a couple of more steps of simple obedience that you no longer really have to think about God. That is such a diminished life. That is such a diminished life. Prayer teaches you to love God's Word. It informs your prayers. As you begin to read your Bible systematically and consistently, you find permission for things that you can talk to God about. You learn about his character. And you'll cultivate a respect, first of all, and ultimately, an appreciation. And if you'll stay with it, a true love for the Word of God.

I believe if you'll make prayer a habit, it will lead you towards spirit baptism. My parents, that became a part of their journey pretty early, and so it was in our house. My mother would pray in the Spirit while she cleaned the house, while she cooked dinner, while she did chores. If you came home from school with a friend and you open the front door, you announced yourself. Or you had to explain something to your friend from school. Yeah, we're bilingual. And then, somewhere along the line, we discovered that my parents weren't gonna leave prayer at church or in their Bible study. They'd pray for anything that couldn't get away.

There's a fourth thing I took away from those years, and that had to do with hospitality. The fact that people matter, the willingness to open your life and your home to welcome other people in. I'm not sure which part of the sinner's prayer that was included in, but when my parents met the Lord, they got that. In Matthew 9, it says, "When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'"

The changes that we so desperately need is a culture. I don't believe they're going to be the result of a revival service. I believe they'll be the result of transformation in our homes and our practice as families. And a portion of that will be hospitality. We're pretty good at getting together to watch a ball game or a concert or a family event or a gender reveal or a birthday. I mean, we know how to do those things, again, that kind of have the current blessing of the cultural trends. But opening your home around our faith, we're not quite as familiar with that or quite as comfortable with that. And I understand it. I get the "why," but I wanna submit to you that it's important because it reflects a concern for people. It reflects a compassion for people that don't know the Lord.

It's an ignition, an acknowledgment that, alone, we're all incredibly vulnerable, but together, we can stand with much greater strength. We learned that in very blatant ways as we walked through COVID a few years ago. And hospitality is a part of this. It doesn't mean your home is perfect. It's about a conviction that people are important. In Luke 13, and verse 16, Jesus was in a synagogue, and there was a woman there who'd suffered horribly for a long period of time. And Jesus set her free, and they criticized him, and he said, "Should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what had bound her"? They wouldn't have cared if he'd have helped her the next day, but they were completely annoyed at his timing. He broke their protocol.

And Jesus said, "My compassion for this woman is greater than my concern about your feeling". And hospitality is an expression of concern and compassion. It's hard work, takes effort. It'll take coordinated effort in your homes. It's a disruption. It's worth it. It's worth it. It is worth it. First Peter 4, and verse 9 says, "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling". He had to put that in there, didn't he? There's something you should know. I've spent a great deal of time studying 1st-century culture. I've learned about the Sadducees and the Pharisees and the Essenes and all sorts of communities and the different nationalities and the intersectional hatreds. Grumbling, that was just a 1st century problem. "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling".

Plain language, folks. Hospitality requires sacrifice and hard work, but it is worth the effort. Then I'll close with one more. I know you've got more in your outline, but I've got more sermons. And I got this from my parents, and my mom was certainly a part of the enforcement on this: give your best to the Lord. Give your best to the Lord. Don't treat God as if he's somebody that only deserves occasional attention, but the great efforts of your life should be invested elsewhere. I watched my parents make those choices, my brothers and I did. And probably as much as anything, it affected the trajectory of our lives. That my parents really oriented their lives to give God their best. I didn't always understand it. I understood that it made them somewhat different from their peer group. I heard the comments. I understood sometimes what the implications were.

In Luke 21, Jesus is encouraging this kind of an idea. He's on the Temple Mount, people are bringing their offerings. They're making public gifts. It's like there's a big tote board, and every time you make a gift, the amount flashes on the screen. I mean, it's the practical equivalent of that. In Luke 21, it says, "Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasure. And he saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. And he said, 'I tell you the truth.'" Here we go. "This poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on". Give your best to the Lord. Paul said it in a slightly different way to the church at Corinth. He said, "Run in such a way as to get the prize. Run to get the prize".

We've all been in circumstances where we knew we didn't make our best effort. I went to high school in this community. I played on the basketball team. I enjoyed that. The basketball coach came to me at the end of the summer one year. We were just starting school back, and he said, "Allen, are you planning on playing basketball this year"? And I said, "Yes, sir". And he said, "Good, you're gonna run cross country". I said, "No, thank you". He said, "Allen, are you planning on playing basketball this year"? And I said, "Yes, sir". And he said, "You're gonna run cross country". I said, "Now, I'm really not planning on that". He said, "Yes, you are".

I was on the cross country team. I didn't like track. I wasn't interested in track. So to train, he put us out on the highway and follow us in his car. I think if you look up evil in the dictionary, there's a picture of something like that about right there. But when we go to the meet, he couldn't follow us in his car. So I just run till I got out of sight. But it's safe to say I wasn't running to get the prize. I think many of us do that with the Lord. We kind of take care of the stuff that's visible. We wanna be sure we check the boxes that are probably the most important because we want to get the objective we want. "I want to play basketball. So, yeah, I'll go to the track meets. Not gonna win any races. You won't catch me throwing up because I've exerted myself too hard. I'll save that for when we start conditioning for basketball. Bunch of track people".

And I think we bring a lot of that attitude to the Lord. "Yeah, I'm gonna go to heaven. I've done that, I mean, I'll do that. But the rest of it's on my terms, and you're not gonna tell me what I ought to be doing or how I should be feeling or how I should use my voice. Don't expect me to make an effort. I'm born again". And it's led to a tremendous sloppiness in the midst of God's people. Give your best to the Lord. Give your best to the Lord. Paul said to Timothy, "Prepare yourself as a workman not ashamed". He said we are soldiers that have been enlisted. That no soldier imagines that they're gonna give directions to their commanding officer.

When you meet Paul at the end of his life in 2 Timothy, he said, "Timothy, I'm not ashamed. I know whom I believed, and I'm convinced that he's able to guard what I've entrusted him against that day when I'll see him". And later in that lesson, he said, "Listen, the time for my departure is at hand, but I have fought the good fight, I have finished my race. There's in store for me a crown of righteousness". It's a very different attitude than Philippians chapter 3, when he said, "I want to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering, that somehow I might attain to the resurrection of the dead".

Live your life in such a way that there is abundant evidence that on a regular, consistent basis you gave your best to the Lord. You don't earn your way to heaven. It's nonsense. I wouldn't suggest it. I don't wanna advocate for it. I don't mean that. But the fact that we've received salvation as an expression of the grace of God is not an excuse for sloppiness. That's an affront to the sacrifice that was made for us. When you see the Lord, and you will, you will see him as King and Lord and Judge, and he will extend to you a hand with a nail mark. You at least want a callous. Let's give our best to the Lord. This is our time in the arena. This is our season.

I don't know why God looked across the span of human history, and he said, "At the beginning of the 21st century, I'm gonna call you and you and you and me". I don't know why. I don't know why at the time when communications just exploded and the globe shrunk. And we can have our morning coffee and watch what's happening on the other side of the globe and answer back in real time. I don't know why God called us, but he did. And if he's called us, he said he'll give us everything we need for life and godliness. Everything we need for life and godliness.

It's Mother's Day weekend. To the women, the wives, and the mothers, your role in the unfolding dynamic of the kingdom of God in this season is of the utmost importance. I'm quite confident your circumstances aren't perfect, but I'm equally comfortable that the power of God is sufficient to enable you to bear fruit for which you'll be grateful for all eternity. I brought you a prayer. We're gonna work on some more aspects of this tomorrow, God willing. I brought you a prayer. Why don't you stand with me for this. I was in Columbus, Tuesday, and somebody came up to me at the pastor's meeting and said, "You didn't say you brought us a prayer". I said, "Stop eavesdropping. It's okay, sorry". Let's read it together:

Almighty God, open our hearts to your truth. Establish our homes and families once again in righteousness and holiness. Forgive us of our sins and lead us away from temptation. May our children know the freedom and liberty which only You can give, in Jesus's name, amen.

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