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Watch 2022 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Jew and Gentile

Allen Jackson - Jew and Gentile


Allen Jackson - Jew and Gentile
TOPICS: Israel, Jews, Gospel, Salvation, God's Promises

You know, it wasn't too long ago, a couple of years or so, that there were historic peace accords being made in the Middle East on a very regular basis. Israel and her surrounding nations that had never had formal peace processes were signing agreements and interactions that were changing the alignments of the Middle East. And that has, there's been a bit of a pause in that, and with that pause, Iran has stepped back into the center of that equation and, once again, changing the climate of the Middle East. Iran is not subtle or quiet with their ambitions to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. And I am of the opinion that we will see Israel emerging in the headlines in a far more prominent way in our future. Not a negative thing, but I think an awareness on our part of the Jewish people in the state of Israel helps us pray in an informed way and helps us understand how God keeps his covenant with us.

Now, the reason I believe the recognition of the nation of Israel and the Jewish people is significant is that the spirit of anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, and anti-Christ, the hatred of Jesus's people, are two expressions of a single spirit. They oppose the purposes of God. And unquestionably, anti-Semitism is growing in the world. And historically, the greatest bastion for that, the incubator for that spirit, overwhelmingly has come from the Christian church. It's not well known to us, but it's an unmistakable part of our history. And so, I wanted to take a few sessions to see if we could understand it a bit.

Romans chapter 1 and 16 says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, it's the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: First for the Jew, and then for the Gentile". When Paul says, "I'm not ashamed of the gospel," he's responding to an idea, to a feeling, that existed. If he's saying, "I'm not ashamed of the gospel," you can be certain that there were many who were, who were reluctant advocates for the gospel. There were threats against it. At this particular point in history, imprisonment was a possibility if you acknowledged or identified with the gospel. We've lived such privileged lives. We've had such freedom and liberty, maybe not all the freedom you would like or all the liberty you would have preferred. And we can point to places where we have felt limited or encroached upon. But the truth is, we have known more freedom and liberty than almost any group of people that have ever lived on planet earth.

Paul said, "I'm not ashamed of the gospel. It's the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, for the Jew first and then for the Gentile". In the language of the New Testament, there's two groups of people, the Jewish people, and the non Jewish people, and the word for the non-Jewish world is Gentile. We've separated ourselves along so many other lines, but in the language of the New Testament, it's the Jews and the Gentiles. In Romans chapter 2 and verse 9, "There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: First for the Jew, and then for the Gentile; but glory, and honor and peace for everyone who does good: First for the Jew, and then for the Gentile".

I've heard it said that when God wants to bless the Gentile peoples, he will do it through the Jewish people. But then when he wants to bring his judgment or his discipline to the Jewish people, he will do it through the Gentile nations. And history would bear that out in many, many ways. Look at Psalm 8 with me. There's a unique authority that God has invested in you. It says, "What is man that you are mindful of him"? It's a conversation the psalmist is having with God. "What is man that you're mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and you crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth"!

I think there's a tendency to think you're insignificant, you're unimportant, that you don't have the wealth to purchase Twitter. At this point, you're just happy if you can fill up the tank on your car. Can I get a witness? But the biblical perspective is that the Creator of heaven and earth has made you ruler over the works of his hands. He's invested you with an authority over all of his creation, the flocks and the herds and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish in the sea, the whole thing. You see, even the systems that have authority over us are an expression of our hearts. If we will yield our hearts to the Lordship of Jesus and the direction of the Spirit of a living God, we will see the triumph of our Lord in the land of the living. If we turn our hearts away from the Lord and we pursue carnal things, selfish things, it doesn't necessarily have to be wicked and evil.

If we're just self-indulgent, if we don't give the Spirit of God first place, it puts our feet on a path that will lead towards immorality and greed and destructive things. But it doesn't begin there. It just begins with a sense of permissiveness. We refuse the discipline that the Spirit of God would bring to us. God has given you tremendous authority. You're valuable to him. I know there's a little tape that goes off or a digital message that goes off in your head these days that says, "You don't matter much. You know, where you work, they don't care about your voice. Or the people on your block don't care about your opinion". We can all find people who we don't think value our opinion. But if the Creator of heaven and earth cares about you, do you really care who's on the other side of the ledger? Not so much. He knows your name. It's amazing to me.

Now, what's God's objective in our lives? It's not just that you'd be saved or come to church or be polite or use more sophisticated language. In Matthew 25, Jesus is speaking, said, "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him". Did you know he's coming back with all the angels? Whoo-hoo. It's gonna be a good day. Buckle up. "He'll sit on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him: and He will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He'll put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. And the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world".

From the time that God spoke the earth into the existence, he envisioned a kingdom that he wanted you to be a participant in. Folks, that's better than going to church and making it to the end of the sermon so you can get on with the evening. The Creator of all things has established a kingdom, and he would like you to be a part. I want to do everything in my power to participate in that kingdom. It's not a burden or an intrusion or it's not a limit on my life. What intruded on God's vision for us was sin, rebellion against him. Most of you know the story from Genesis how we met it. But in Romans 5 it says, "Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and this way death came to all men, because all sinned". We are a race of rebels. We are descended from Adam, and in his rebellion, he has given birth to a race of rebels.

It's why we have to have a new birth. That's what made the Jesus initiative so important. The resolution to that intrusion of sin was a story of redemption. That same chapter in Romans, chapter 5, verse 17, "If by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ". Through your faith in Jesus, if you will yield your heart to the Lordship of Jesus, give him priority of your time and your talent and your treasure, we become living sacrifices, representatives, ambassadors for his kingdom. Then the spiritual authority that reigns and rules over our lives changes.

You see, we are born into sin. We don't have to learn to sin. It comes naturally to me and to you. You were looking kind of shocked when I said that about myself, but you know it's true. If you don't know it's true of you, you know it's true of the people you live with. Whoo. But we needed a presentation of righteousness. We needed somebody to show us what that looked like so we can acknowledge our inability to lead a righteous life because without Jesus, we could convince ourselves that we're doing pretty good. We'll compare ourselves to someone else or we'll grade on a curve or we'll think, "God doesn't really mean that. You know, my ungodliness or my rebellion or my sin, not that significant". It is that significant because if we offend in one point, we fail.

Now, God's plan, the biblical Word for describing God's interaction for human beings is covenant. It has some technical religious meanings and I don't want to really spend a lot of time with that. But know this, covenant is the most solemn, binding form of a relationship described in all of the Bible. There's no more powerful relationship presented to us in Scripture than this idea of a covenant so that when God establishes a covenant, he's saying, "I'm making a commitment that is unbreakable, that I will not turn away from, that I will not turn my back on, something that you can count on for time and eternity". In Genesis 17, he made a covenant with Abram. Theologians are very clever people, so they labeled it the Abrahamic Covenant.

What a shock. But it's the principle from which the story, the redemptive story of Scripture, unfolds, and it begins in the book of Genesis. God said to Abram, "I'll make you very fruitful; I'll make nations of you, and kings will come from you". I don't know about you, but I pray for parking places. And God said to Abram, "Kings will come from you and nations will come from you," and it has happened. "I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you're now an alien", Abraham never owned, the only land he owned in the land of Israel was a place to bury his wife. He was a stranger there, but God said, "I'm gonna give this land as an everlasting possession to you and to your descendants after you, and I will be their God".

I smile when I hear the United Nations say, "We think we should petition the land". I'm thinking, maybe you ought to check with the boss on that. He has already deeded that land to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob forever. It's an everlasting covenant. In fact, if you asked me for a root cause of much of what we see in the earth, from the changes in the climate to the hatred and the vitriol that we see amongst people, I think it has to do more with God's anger and his judgment with regarding the way we've treated the Jewish people and that land that he promised to them than any other single factor. There are other factors, but we've treated that so casually and much of that has come from our nation.

I've been in Israel visiting with friends when they say, "The President of the United States mentioned my neighborhood in the news yesterday and said I couldn't add on to my garage". It's a frightening thing. Pray for our nation. Pray for our leaders. And it's not about a single party, folks. That has crossed all those lines. In Genesis 12, "The LORD said to Abram, 'Leave your country, and your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I'll make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I'll make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I'll bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.'"

If you're not in the habit of praying for the peace of Jerusalem, you need a new habit. Every expression of wickedness and ungodliness you can find in Middle Tennessee, you can find in Jerusalem. When you land at the airport, when you land at Ben Gurion Airport, you don't hear the flutter of angels's wings. There are people just as we are, but God's made an agreement with that people in that particular piece of land. And he's still watching over it. In the book of Exodus, you know Exodus. Is the story where the Hebrew slaves are in Egypt suffering under the cruel hand of Pharaoh. And God said he's gonna deliver 'em.

In Exodus 2:24, "God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob". "I have an agreement with those people," he said, "and I'll deliver them from this tyranny". Did you know you have a covenant with God? And if we will turn our hearts to him and listen to him, he will bring relief and freedom to our lives? We can learn that and be assured of that by watching his faithfulness to the Jewish people. It's not an absence of suffering or hardship or difficulty. In fact, it's quite the opposite. In spite of that, in spite of Satan's opposition and resistance, God continues to bless those people because of a covenant with them.

Just a casual study of Jewish history will bring you to a conclusion that there's been an adversary busily at work. A persistent hatred directed towards them. I mean, it's evident on the contemporary stage as well. But if you go back to the beginning in the opening chapters of the Bible, Satan in the Garden of Eden opposing the purposes of God, Jesus's birth in Bethlehem and all the children, the male children, that were in a window near his age are slaughtered in the streets of Bethlehem, Jesus's temptation in the wilderness.

Can you imagine the hubris of Satan coming to tempt Jesus? Well, our picture of Jesus is the incarnate Son of God born in Bethlehem growing to maturity, beginning a public ministry. Satan has seen Jesus in all of his glory. He's seen him in the midst of the splendor and the glory of heaven. And he had the arrogance to come and present him with a temptation. "If you will worship me", excuse me? The persistent rebellion against God, the hatred throughout the book of Acts. "If you ever mentioned the name of Jesus again, we will shut you down". They had all the power. They had the authority and the privilege. They had the high platforms, and they were threatened by a group of itinerant fishermen talking about someone who had been crucified. They stoned Stephen. They arrested Saul of Tarsus and did their best to murder him.

If it hadn't been for the intervention of a Gentile authority, the Jews of Jerusalem would have murdered Saul. The hatred for the purposes of God, the opposition to his covenant, we shouldn't be surprised that it persists in the 21st century. It has persisted since the opening chapters of Genesis. In the same way that the disciples seemed to be unable to hear Jesus when he said, "When I get to Jerusalem, I'll be betrayed and arrested, I will suffer greatly. I'll be crucified and buried. On the third day, I'll rise again". They couldn't seem to conceive of that. In a similar fashion, we seem equally shocked that there's opposition to the purposes of God.

I mentioned the word earlier, it's kind of a fancy word, "anti-Semitism". It's just a hatred of the Jewish people. In Zechariah, the prophet, chapter 12, it says, "On that day," it's talking about a future day. "All the nations of the earth will gather against Israel". And God said, "I'll make her an immovable rock for all the nations. And all who try to move it will injure themselves". Maybe a more literal translation is, "They will rupture themselves". God said, "If you try to move my purpose for the city of Jerusalem, you'll have a rupture". It may not be the end of your life, but it's the end of your heavy lifting. And we see that hatred persist until today. It's illogical. But the opposite side of that coin is the hatred of Jesus.

In Matthew 24, Jesus was speaking about the end of the age. He said, "You'll be handed over to be persecuted and put to death. You'll be hated by all nations because of me". All nations against Jerusalem and all nations will hate those who align themselves with Jesus. Well, the history of the church is not perfect. You don't have to be particularly discerning to find bad chapters and mistakes and ungodly or unholy or things that seem to be unredeemable, but that's true of every people group. That's true of every human initiative. It no way excuses the illogical, irrational hatred against either the Jewish people or Jesus's people.

I want to close with the revelation, the resolution of that. It's in the book of Revelation chapter 5, and verse 5. It says, "One of the elders said to me", this was John, he's had this vision, "See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. And he's able to open the scroll and it's seven seals. And I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne". It's so important that we understand the one we worship has triumphed over evil. He has triumphed over darkness. He has triumphed over every challenge that we face.

Now, we still live in this world, and we are still subject to that conflict that is raging. But the reason we align ourselves with him, the reason we allow the Spirit of God to help us recognize the places where we deviate from those pathways of righteousness and we're willing to change, to repent, to say we're sorry, to bring a new direction and a new momentum, to cultivate new habits, to choose new values, what makes us distinctive is we want to align ourselves with the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And that can grow in us. We have focused on a personal salvation. I believe in conversion, initiation, whatever label you refer to that, being born again, being saved, absolutely essential. But it's the beginning point and from that point forward, how can I more fully align myself with the purposes of God? We've got to grow past saying, "Oh, no, I did that," as if I'd done everything I needed to do.

Let's begin to acknowledge the things we believe because of our biblical worldview. Let's engage in the conversations. It takes courage because the people that work with you and live near you and interact with you, they know you when you haven't had your best moments. And that's a part of our story too. We're still a people in process. It's not an excuse for sloppy living or ungodliness or immorality. If you are practicing sin, stop it. It will destroy you. You're not getting away with it. Don't imagine that you will outsmart God or out-manipulate him. You don't want to try to time that market. It won't work well. But having said that, none of us are perfect. We're in process. We're growing. We're being redeemed and renewed. And the one who is our Lord has conquered even death. It's good news we have for the world.

Our hope is not in governments or parties or politicians. For our freedoms and liberties to be extended to the generations who follow us, we need a renewal of the hearts of our citizens before we need any political changes. Amen, church. I don't expect the unbelievers or the ungodly to know that, but we have to know that. The circumstances in which we find ourselves has more to do with the hardness of our hearts than the hardness of anyone else's. But God is moving. He's changing our hearts. We're willing to sit outside and have church and act like we enjoy it. I brought you a prayer. It's in your notes. They'll put it on the screens. If you'll stand with me, I'm gonna ask you to pray it with me. Have you found it? You'll need to use your outdoor voice. If you just whisper, it'll sound like I'm praying by myself:

Almighty God, we turn to you, asking for mercy and grace that we might serve you. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may her inhabitants dwell in safety. Open the eyes of the people of the land to their King. Awaken the Church to complete the assignment you have given. May the leaders of the United States make decisions regarding Israel that will enable your blessings to come upon us. All this we ask in Jesus's name, amen.

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