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Watch 2022 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Perverted Morality - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Perverted Morality - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Perverted Morality - Part 2
TOPICS: Morality

It's good to be with you again. We're going to continue our study on escaping the descent into paganism. We are witnesses to a very unique season. It's not just in our nation it's happening globally, but we need a biblical response. We don't want to just complain or be frightened or angry or resentful; we want to understand God's response, and we can do that. So in each of these sessions we're going to explore some steps of faith, things that we can do. We will not overcome what we're watching by maintaining the responses we had in the past. We're going to have to move.

The Bible says that God will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death. I don't want to camp in the valley; I want to move through it, and to do that we're going to need some steps of faith. Some of them will be familiar. Some of them will be an invitation that we've considered but we have walked past. Whatever your relationship to these steps of faith, practice saying yes to the Lord. We need a new response for a greater victory. We want the name of Jesus to be lifted up and the impact of wickedness and darkness and evil to not make an impact on our lives. God is leading. Lift up your head. The Lord is coming for his church.

Well, I want to take the time we have this morning left and the step of faith I want to explore in a little more detail with you is baptisms. It's plural because the New Testament presents us with more than one baptism. Look at Hebrews 6 and verse 1. "Let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity". It exposes the problem we have. I think very few of us are really interested in growing up in the Lord because we've been coached the real objective is to be born into the kingdom of God. And if you're born, what difference does it make? It makes all the difference. Because when you're finished with your journey through time, when your earth suit comes to its expiration date, you and I will, everyone have to give an account for what we've done in the body.

Imagine that, standing before a judge who is impartial, just, and cannot be bribed. You will have wanted to have served the Lord in such a way that his response to you is, "Well done. Well done". Agreed? Agreed. So I want to know how to go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation. So he's going to list for us a half a dozen things that are elementary truths about our faith. These aren't things for grownups. This isn't Christianity 201. This is the introductory level. "Not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God. Instruction about baptisms". It's plural.

Well, there's multiple baptisms in the New Testament. John's baptism is the first we meet. John the Baptist, he's identified by the ministry he had. John baptized in water into the forgiveness of sins. Remember him? Jesus's forerunner, his cousin. You do remember John the Baptist, right? Okay, good. Then there's Christian baptism. That's baptism in water, but it's baptism into the body of Christ. And then the New Testament talks about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It's a baptism in the Spirit of God into the life of the Spirit or a Spirit-filled life. We're going to look at them briefly, really just as an introduction to you. I want to plant them as a seed. And at whatever point the Scripture has not yet been introduced into your experience, it's time to move.

If you've never been baptized in water, I would encourage you to begin to process that. If you've never been baptized in the Spirit, I would encourage you to begin to process that. Once you decide it's biblical, the next question is, "How do I become a participant? How do I become a participant"? You see, baptism was, that's presented in Scripture is about a transition. You move out of one thing into another. The whole of you moves. You can't be partially baptized. It's very important. In fact, the word baptize is not really an English word. I mean, I know it's made its way into the English lexicon and the English dictionary, but it didn't begin as an English word.

When the Bible was translated into the English language, when King James initiated that project, the Church of England at that time was already baptizing by christening, by sprinkling. Infant baptism was prevalent. Didn't begin with them, but it was very prevalent in the church. Well, the Greek word from which we get the English word baptize, baptizo, it means literally to plunge, to dunk, to dip, to immerse. And there are more than one theory as to why they chose to do this, but they just took the Greek word and rather than translate it they just took the Greek word and put it into English letters so the meaning would not be apparent to the English-speaking audience perhaps because they weren't using that practice for baptism. I don't know. It isn't relevant for us. But the word that's used in the New Testament for baptism means to dip, or to plunge, or to immerse.

Now, you can immerse something either by putting something into the water, under the water, or you can immerse something by pouring the water over. You can stand under a waterfall, you'll get immersed. So immersion can be understood in two ways, but they mean the same thing: to be totally subjected to that element in which you're being immersed. So with that in mind, there's no partial baptism. You're either all in or you're all out. Now, in the New Testament, baptism is used with a couple of different prepositions. Bear with me for a moment. Studying English is about as exciting as studying history, right? But this really will help, I believe. The preposition in refers to the element in which you're immersed, and the New Testament is clear you're baptized in water. But the preposition into describes the end product of being immersed. What you pass into is the result of the baptism.

Now let's look at John's baptism with that in mind just very briefly. In Mark chapter 1 and verse 2, "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", but the Greek word is into, "Preaching for repentance (into) the forgiveness of sins," into the forgiveness of sins. What did we say John's baptism was? It was a baptism in water into the forgiveness of sins. It's important to understand. "And the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him".

Well, the temple was the place where you went to deal with your sins. They had daily sacrifices. They had mikvehs where you could immerse yourself in water there for ritual purity. But John went a day's walk into the desert and the people had to go into the desert to be baptized in the Jordan River, and his challenge to them was, "Show me the evidence of your repentance". Baptism was not the beginning of repentance for John, baptism is what sealed the repentance that had already been taking place. It intrigues me. John didn't rent a stadium. He didn't even have a PR firm. I'm not against stadiums or PR firms. I've worked with both. He had very little brand awareness. He wasn't joined to the temple crowd. The power brokers weren't on his team. In fact, they were doing everything they could to dissuade the people from listening to him.

What John was a part of was a supernatural moving of God, and it stirred the whole region. We need that today. Now, it's not an exclusion of the other things, but I want you to be aware of what we're looking for; something that's really inexplicable, the awareness, the heartfelt responses of the people, the concern, the willingness to change the direction of their life. I promise you there were critics. "Why would you go into the desert to talk to John when you can go to the temple? It's more beautiful. It's a closer walk. You'll be invited by the right people to the right parties and included to the right restaurants to sit with the most powerful people. Why would you go listen to a lunatic that wears camel's hair and eats weird food"? "Because something is stirring in my heart".

If you don't have the courage to follow the Lord, you're going to get caught in this stream that will sweep you away from the Lord. It's been a social movement for us, it's been politically correct, it's been socially acceptable, but day by day it's becoming less so and less so. You're going to have to decide what you believe. John's baptism did not produce repentance. It was the seal of a decision already made. To push on a bit, Christian baptism. It's the one we're more familiar with. We've seen it practiced all of our lives if you've been around church, and most of us have in one way or another. I would submit to you that Christian baptism is far more important than the average Christ follower has realized or imagined.

You see, we're not baptized into Jesus because we're a sinner. It's not a baptism of repentance. That's not what the Scripture tells us. Look at Matthew chapter 3 and verse 13, "Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John". Do you understand the scandal of that? He didn't go to the temple and make his peace with the power brokers. He didn't go negotiate with them because they didn't want to negotiate with him. Please don't imagine that a politician is going to fix our problems, or a new political movement, or a new candidate, or the removal of the one you don't like and the installation of the one you do. We need God's help. The church has to have clarity on this.

"Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. And John tried to deter him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by you. Do you come to me?'" This is interesting to me. John recognized because of Jesus's character that he should defer to him because later John said, "I recognized him as the Messiah because the Spirit of the Lord descended upon him". Well, the Spirit descended on him after John baptized him. So at this point he doesn't yet have that affirmation, but he recognizes in Jesus's character something that is apart from him and he said, "I should not be baptizing you". And Jesus said, "'Let it be so now. It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.' Then John consented. And as soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. And at that moment," we turn the page, "and heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'"

It's impossible, at least with my skill set, it's impossible to overemphasize the importance which the New Testament is attaching to baptism. In this one scene that we just looked at, we have all three persons of the Godhead visible, with the veil pulled back at a scene of baptism. God the Father is speaking, the Holy Spirit descending, and Jesus standing in the Jordan being baptized by John.

Now, 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. He said, "I need to do this to fulfill all righteousness". We are baptized for us to fulfill all righteousness. We confess our sins at that point of repentance when we're birthed into the kingdom of God. And we are forgiven by faith in Jesus through the shed blood of Jesus, but we submit ourselves in Christian baptism so that we can fulfill all righteousness. Jesus identified himself with all of those who would follow him in obedience through baptism. If it was important for Jesus, just perhaps we should get in the pool.

Now, I understand what we've done to it. We've made it about church memberships. We've made it about joining a denomination or a congregation, or it was a license to participate or to lead in a specific place. I do not believe that's what the Scripture presents to us. Baptism has little to do with this congregation. It has everything to do with the Church with a capital C and fulfilling the redemptive work of Jesus in your life. Look at Romans 5 and verse 1. Oh, my time. Says, "Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ".

Justified is a little understood word. It has layers of meaning. It means acquitted, declared not guilty, reckoned righteous, made righteous. We are declared not guilty in the sight of the Creator of all things through Jesus Christ, and in baptism we fulfill that righteousness. Baptism is the pathway to fulfill the righteousness that has begun in our life with that profession of faith. That's Christian baptism. I pray we baptize more people in the next few weeks than we baptized in the last year. It's time, folks. But you can't wish it so. Use your voice. You choose obedience. You tell your story. You tell your baptism story. Talk about your reluctance, your hesitancy.

"What would people think? What would my family say"? Talk about the outcomes after you've made that step. This is not going to happen apart from us. We want somebody else to be anointed and somebody else to be bold. Folks, we are the church. There is no mystical closet where the church lives. As awkward as it is, go home, look in the mirror and say, "Hello, church". If we're going to have a different response from the church, it's because we respond differently. Now let's talk for a minute about Spirit baptism. So far everybody's good to go. Very little grief, not much anxiety. Now the anxiety meter is climbing. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is referenced seven times in the New Testament, in each of the four Gospels and then in the Book of Acts. I gave you the passages. I'm not going to comment on them, but I will at least read a portion of them.

In Matthew 3, John said, "I baptize you with water," literally, "into repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I'm not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire". In Mark 1, "I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit," literally. Luke 3, "John answered them all, 'I baptize you with water, but one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I'm not worthy to untie. He'll baptize you,'" again literally, "in the Holy Spirit and with fire". John 1, "I wouldn't have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'"

That's all four Gospels if you're counting. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John introduce Jesus to us. If you know their stories this isn't the beginning of the introduction to Jesus in each of those Gospels, and the way they choose to introduce Jesus to us is the one who will baptize us in the Holy Spirit. Maybe we should understand that. I don't believe that's just some random accident that defies just statistical probability. Why would they introduce us to Jesus in that way? We don't talk about him that way very much. We talk about him as our Redeemer, or our Savior, or our deliverer, the one who forgave us of our sins.

In Acts chapter 1 and verse 4, says, "On one occasion, while Jesus was eating with them, he gave them this command: 'Don't leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised. You've heard me speak about. John baptized with water, but in a few days you'll be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" Acts 11, "I remember what the Lord has said: 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" Jesus, in every one of these passages we've read, Jesus is the one who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit. It's an overwhelming bit of evidence. Let me put something on the table. I think we get a little anxious 'cause when we think of the baptism in the Spirit or Spirit baptism, some of us will associate it with speaking in tongues.

And for the moment, for this particular session at least, my agenda is not to get you to speak in tongues. It's been a part of my spiritual journey for 50 years; so yes, I believe in it, but for the moment just set that aside. Don't not listen to the Scripture because you're presupposing a conclusion that you don't think you want. It's as if somebody wouldn't listen to an invitation to acknowledge Jesus as Lord of their life because they have a habit they don't want to give up. You're forfeiting the invitation of Scripture by leaping ahead to something that you have some discussion around. Please don't do that. We've only got a few minutes. I want to hand you the Scriptures. I want you to think about them, not to think about somebody else's opinion. You decide. You decide if it's biblical. Do the same with Christian baptism. You decide if it's biblical.

If Jesus told us to get baptized, then by all means, if I were you, I would be obedient. Six out of the seven passages I gave you, the experience of being baptized into the Holy Spirit is compared and contrasted with being baptized in water. There are some similarities. Remember we said that you could be baptized either by immersion, being put under something, or having it wash over you. Two of the seven passages, fire is joined with the Holy Spirit. Apart from the verb phrase to baptize, the only other verb used in these passages in connection with the Holy Spirit is the verb phrase to drink. The church has been guilty of creating a lot of well-informed pagans. We create classes with very little expectation of obedience or practice, and God is awakening us. It's an exciting time. I don't know that, because of the schedule and the holiday and everything, I don't know when I'm going to get back to this. I will come back to this.

In the interim, some of you are anxious. Practice saying yes to the Lord. Practice saying yes to the Lord. I want you to stand with me. Following Jesus is an adventure. It is. We try to boil it down to going to church and sit in the same spot and parked in the same spot and sit with the same people. Our expectations were so low. The excitement is when the preacher stumbles over a word, I fell off the platform one time. I got a standing ovation. That's kind of a sad thing. That's not what it means to be edgy. Following Jesus is intended to be an adventure, and we've tried to distill it into something that required nothing of us. God didn't send his Son to become one of us and put on an earth suit and sacrifice his life so you and I can be comfortable and convenient. We're on an assignment, and the arena is filled with people who have already pursued their journey through time. They're waiting to see what you and I are going to do. Let's pray.

Father, we want to be pleasing to you, we want to say yes to you today. If there's any place where we've tolerated ungodliness or we've been resistant to you, we come in humility today to say we're sorry, to repent; to choose a new path, a new way to think, and a new way to behave. Jesus, be Lord of our lives, Lord of our thoughts, Lord of our behaviors, Lord of our time, Lord of our resources, Lord of all that we are. We want to honor you and please you. We're living in a season of great realignment and great change. May we be a bright light for you. May you be pleased with us. May you delight in us. Lord, in all of our brokenness, all of our inconsistencies, and all of the challenges we face help us. Help us. Give us a revelation of Jesus. Holy Spirit, we welcome you into our lives. Lead us. Guide us. Direct us. We want to be pleasing to you. And most of all, may the name of Jesus be lifted up and his kingdom extended for it's in his name we pray. Amen.

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