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Watch 2022 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Occult Influence - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Occult Influence - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Occult Influence - Part 2
TOPICS: Christianity, Paganism

It's an honor to be with you again. We're continuing our discussion on escaping our descent into paganism. It's happening all around us. Don't get hung up on the words. Paganism and hedonism are very, very closely aligned. We're watching it happen. If it continues unchecked, it will deteriorate into demonism and violence and savagery. It's not new. It's been repeated throughout human history, but the church, salt, and light makes the difference. The Spirit of God in you and me withholds those things. It's a very important time for the church to find our voice, to have the courage to acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as Lord, Christ, and King. God will use our lives in more powerful ways than we've ever imagined possible. Grab your Bible and a notepad. Most of all, open your heart. God is moving, and he's called you and me.

There's a purposeful intentional turning away from and turning toward some things. I just want to introduce some categories, I trust the Holy Spirit to help you, and they have to be negotiated in every life. No life gets through without negotiating these things, every one of us. We tend to look at other people and think, "Well, they couldn't have much problem". But I listened to enough people and interact with enough people. We all struggle; rich people and poor people, skinny people and not so skinny people, smart people and average people, and people have big families and people with small families, people that live in the South and poor people that can't. Everybody struggles. And the first category, I'm just going to label them holdouts.

There's a part of us that we hold out of this process of being crucified with Christ. We don't intend to. We think we're good enough to go. We think we've got our eternity sorted out well enough that we can hold out something and no harm no foul. Don't really want to be a zealot. We don't want to be a fanatic. You know, we just want good fire insurance so we maintain some things. We maintain a little stubbornness, or a little pride, or a little religious pride. "That's not how we do it. That's not how I believe". Or you use the label of some larger group you joined and you think if you can just stand underneath the umbrella of that group you can deflect everything that they don't embrace. There's no perfect groups, folks. Maybe it's the opinions of others that you cherish, the perception of you as being a person who's godly and so holy that you don't need to repent or practice humility. Maybe some tradition. Holdouts.

Remember the topic, how do we escape this descent into paganism? You cannot afford to intentionally hold something out of cooperation with the Lord. Those points of vulnerability will ultimately control you. You think you can manage it, but it won't work. In 2 Timothy chapter 4, Paul's nearing the end of his life and he's coaching Timothy, a young man. He said, "Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and he's gone to Thessalonica". How do you like to make the book for that? "He just loved the world. He liked the invitations and the opportunities, and I'm in prison and my life work seems pretty perilous right now and Demas thought he could find a better opportunity". He didn't escape.

What are you holding out? What are you holding out? And then there's holdups. Holdouts and holdups, these are the barriers. These are our life responses; those things that have come out of us, that have emerged from us that haven't been redeemed yet. We haven't placed them under the blood of Jesus. The sins that are forgiven because of the blood of Jesus are the sins that we acknowledge. We don't talk about that much. We have to be willing to acknowledge our need, and we have this kind of casual prayers. "Just forgive me of everything anytime, anywhere," woo-hoo. That's kind of like saying, "Lord, just bless someone someplace somewhere". No. Lord, bless me now. When it comes to acknowledging my need for God's mercy and forgiveness, I have to be equally specific.

And then the third category are holdovers. Holdouts, holdups, and holdovers. These are more generational, and these are grounded in spiritual influences. We struggle more with this one because we have a harder time acknowledging that spiritual forces impact our lives. I'm amazed how quickly we've come to believe in DNA. You know, DNA is a relatively new entry into the scientific discussion and out of that has come a whole series of studies around genetics and things that they can determine from our genetics. They can determine our statistical probabilities for some diseases. It's amazing what the science of genetics has discovered, and it's being manipulated by social ideas as much as it is by science ideas.

You have to listen carefully. But increasingly we've come to understand that genetics, things that you really can't see without the help of some pretty sophisticated technology, you can't see your DNA with your naked eye, but we've accepted it's just a fact of life now; a matter of truth that our genetics have a profound impact on our lives, on our health, our susceptibility to diseases, our physical and our mental abilities; that you can determine IQ or all sorts of things by genetics. The Bible tells us that the physical world we live in is modeled after the spiritual reality that preceded it. Before this physical world existed, God who is a spirit existed, and Genesis 1 says in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The spiritual gave rise to the physical. So of greater truth and the reality of your DNA is the impact of spiritual forces on your physical person. So your earthly tabernacle, your Earth suit is impacted. You have a spiritual DNA just as certainly as you have a physical DNA.

One of the things we're doing in each of these sessions is to talk about steps of faith, and I want to take the last minutes I have and do that with you. So if you'll step forward in your outline, we introduced this topic. In a previous session we talked about baptism. And we looked at Christian baptism, water baptism, but the New Testament speaks of multiple baptisms. In fact, the word "baptize" in general is not really an English word. I know it exists in English, but it is a transliteration. It's a Greek word that was just moved and written with English letters, and there's a variety of suggestions as to how that happened. Some suggest it was when the Bible was translated into English, the King James Version.

By that point, the Church of England was baptizing by christening and they didn't want to bring the disruption to the church in England by putting, 'cause the Greek word baptizo means to dunk, or to plunge, to immerse, to put under. And they didn't want to bring the disruption to the church. So rather than translate the word's meaning, they just took the word over and wrote it in English letters. Now, you can immerse something in one of two ways. You can immerse something by putting it under the water, or you can immerse something by pouring water over something. Either way it means you're fully involved, and baptism as it's presented in our Bible is a transition. You move out of one thing into another realm, and the whole of you moves. You can't be partially baptized. Baptism is about your entire person.

It's an important idea. Baptism in our Bible is used with a couple of prepositions, and it's helpful, if you'll bear with me, for just a moment. English is almost as much fun to study as history... The preposition "in" and the preposition "into". To be baptized in something refers to the element in which you're immersed. You're baptized in water. To be baptized into something describes the end product of being immersed, what do you pass into as a result of the baptism.

Now, I mentioned multiple baptisms. Look at Hebrews chapter 6 and verse 1. "Let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that leads to death". There are six things here that are lifted up as just, these are basics, the author of Hebrews says. These are elementary things. The kids should know these. He said, "The repentance from acts that lead to death, faith in God, instruction about baptisms", it's plural.

Now, what baptisms are we presented with in the New Testament? I'm not going to give you an exhaustive list, but I'll give you three really quickly. One is John's baptism. We know him as John the Baptist. The forerunner to Jesus, his cousin, baptized in the Jordan River. You remember John? So there's John's baptism. Then we have Christian baptism, certainly a part of the New Testament narrative as well. Peter on the day of Pentecost, the people said, "What do we have to do"? And he said, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus".

Well, prior to that day, we hadn't been doing that. And then there's baptism in the Holy Spirit. In each of the Gospels when Jesus is introduced to us, the first introduction to Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, this is important, he's introduced to us as the one who will baptize us in the Holy Spirit. So I would submit you need to be aware of all three. What you're baptized in and into makes a difference. John's baptism is a baptism in water, and it's a baptism into the forgiveness of sins. That's what he called people to do, was repent of their sins, right? Christian baptism is a baptism in water, but it's a baptism into the body of Jesus Christ. And the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a baptism in the Spirit of God but it's into a life in the Spirit.

Now, I'm not going to have the time to develop those fully, but we'll take just a minute with John's baptism because I think if you understand John's baptism it'll give you a heightened appreciation for Christian baptism. We've equated baptism as just the, you kind of say you're sorry for your sins so you ought to get in the pool. And then we live with this tension, "Well, what if I backslid or what if I made a mistake, do I need to get wet again"? Folks, if you have to get baptized every time you got it wrong, we would all drip. Wetsuits would be a part of church uniform. It'd just be easier. But John's baptism was a baptism of repentance.

Look at Mark 1. "It's written in Isaiah the prophet: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way, a voice of one calling in the desert, "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him".' And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for", the Greek preposition is into. "Preaching a baptism of repentance into the forgiveness of sins. And the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him confessing their sins, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River". John is a very unique biblical character. I don't think he's given appropriate attention. He bridges a gap between that dispensation of the law and the prophets and the dispensation of grace. He's a very significant transitionary character.

In the same way, Samuel was one of those very significant transitionary characters. John is pivotal. He prepares the way for Jesus. How would you like to have that job description? "What's your assignment"? "Well, not much. I'm just going to prepare the way for Jesus". Do you know why we don't get more significant assignments? 'Cause we're not willing to say, "I've been crucified with Christ". One of the discussions I've had many times in recent months is about whether it's appropriate to talk about current events at church. Not to be political, not to choose candidates or political parties, but do we acknowledge what's happening in our world when we gather with the people of faith? I would submit to you John would have lived a much longer life if he had abstained from talking about current events.

He pointed out that the ruler of the realm where he lived was immoral and it cost him his head. But John had a God assignment of tremendous significance to prepare the way for Jesus, and it intrigues me. You know, John didn't rent a stadium. There's nothing in Scripture that suggests he hired a PR firm. I think it's probably fair to say he had very little brand awareness. He didn't think, "I'm going to make eating locust the new menu". I'm not opposed to PR or brand awareness, but I think it's worth noting that the supernatural moving of God shook the region, and the reason I point it out is we desperately need it today. I don't want to just use the tools that the ungodly world uses. An automobile can be used for something ungodly. I'm not going to walk because some people use an automobile in an ungodly way.

So I'm not trying to avoid the tools that are available to us, but I am asking God for outcomes that will cause unbelievers to watch and go, "How could that happen"? John required three things of the people that came to him. He required repentance. We've talked about that a bit already. It's not an emotion, it's a decision. He required them to publicly confess their sins, and he demanded of them evidence of a changed life. He refused to baptize people who wouldn't repent. If they weren't already in repentance, he would not baptize them into forgiveness. Matthew 3, "When he saw the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them, 'You brood of vipers.'" That's not really an inclusive introduction. John is not building bridges. You know how helpful it would have been if the religious leaders from Jerusalem would've said, "This guy's okay with us"?

Can't you see John's disciples when John looks at them and he goes, "You brood of vipers," they'd go, "Oh jeez, he did it again. Could one of you talk to him"? Remember when the disciples would take Jesus aside and say, "Did you know you offended them"? "Never occurred to me, fellas". "'You brood of vipers. Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.' Do you think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father?' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham". I mean, it's not like he just calls them a brood of vipers. He just keeps coming at them. "The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire".

See, baptism isn't what produces repentance. It was the seal of a decision already made. We've misunderstood. We've treated it shabbily. We've cheapened it. We make baptisms about joining a congregation. It's more of a membership right than it is a kingdom issue. Christian baptism, I would submit, is far more important than the average Christian or the average Christ follower has realized. We're not baptized into Jesus because we're a sinner. It's not a baptism of repentance. In Matthew 3, I'm going to stop I promise, Says, "Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by you.' And Jesus said, 'Let it be so now, for it's proper to do this to fulfill all righteousness.' And John consented".

At this point the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus. There's a voice from heaven that says, "This is my son". It's impossible to overemphasize the importance which the New Testament is attaching to baptism. In this one scene, all three persons of the Godhead are visible at Jesus's baptism. How many of you would like to participate in something that causes that kind of attention from heaven? Me too. Well, the nature of Christian baptism is not a baptism of repentance. Jesus didn't need to repent. He's the perfect, sinless, obedient Son of God. What was his answer? He said we need to do this to fulfill all righteousness. For you and me to fulfill all righteousness, we want to identify ourselves with Jesus. He did it so everybody who was going to follow him could identify with his submission to righteousness.

"I am crucified with Christ. I want his righteousness to live in me". It's a gift, but I choose to lead a righteous life having received that free gift of his righteousness. Baptism matters. Baptism matters. Baptism is a part of the pathway to complete, or fulfill, all righteousness in your life. If you've never been baptized, get in the pool. Talk to your friends. Have a faith conversation. Tell your baptism stories. Talk to people about what you've watched and seen. Help them think. Use your words. What was the phrase you watched? Snatch others from the fire.

Folks, we are plummeting into paganism. We got to use our voices. If the Ukrainians will stand in the street and take their produce and send it to the troops, surely we can use our freedom and liberty for the sake of the gospel. I want to pray for you, that God will help us. Let's baptize more people in this spring festival than we did all last year. Why not? How would that happen? God will have to stir some hearts, but we'll have to use our voices.

I want to stand in the middle of hundreds and hundreds of people that are cooperating with the Lord. I just want that to be happening around me. Why would we not believe this could happen? Why would we not? "Well, I've never seen it before". Well, they had never seen anybody like John before. Why don't we stand together? I'll hush. Teenagers will come get us. Can we ask the Lord to pour out his Spirit upon us? Are we ready? Are we willing to say to him, "I've been crucified with Christ. I no longer live but Christ lives in me".

Father, thank you for your Word, for its truth and power and authority. Lord, we need your help. We're weak and inconsistent. Lord, nothing's hidden from you. You know our stories. But we come tonight to present ourselves to you, to ask for your mercy. We want to say by faith, Lord, that we've been crucified with you and that we no longer live but Christ lives in us. We consider our achievements, and accomplishments, and degrees earned, and the things accumulated as nothing compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus as our Lord. We thank you for it; that you're stronger than any power arrayed against us, any disease that challenges us, any temptation that besets us; that through the blood of Jesus we have been delivered out of the hand of the enemy, and we praise you for it. Father, we ask you to pour out your Spirit upon us; upon the young and upon the old, upon the strong and the weak. Lord, let us see with our eyes a moving of your Spirit beyond anything we've known. Lord, nothing but that will bring deliverance to us. And we know it and we ask you now for your mercy in our lives. We praise you for it. Thank you for the resources and the tools and the opportunity. Thank you for the weeks ahead and the victories that we will see. Lord, we will celebrate and give you the glory and the honor, in Jesus's name, amen.

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