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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Who Are God's Chosen People

Allen Jackson - Who Are God's Chosen People

Allen Jackson - Who Are God's Chosen People

Now, I wanna go back to the beginning, I think the foundations matter on this topic. So I'll take just a moment with it, but we're gonna move through it pretty quickly. So Genesis chapter 12. The first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis are universal in scope. They deal with all the people on the planet. The creation narrative, the flood. Those first 11 chapters, the tower of Babel, that they're universal in scope. The principles carry all the way through scripture. If you'll accept the book of Genesis by faith, the rest of the Bible makes sense. If you reject the book of Genesis, the rest of the Bible is nonsense. So don't be so intellectual you can't accept the book of Genesis. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. I'm good with that. How did you do it? I don't know, I wasn't there yet. I'm not opposed to science folks. You will need your brain to know God. But science is a process, it's a system of learning and understanding the world in which we live.

Science is not a completed fact. The most brilliant scientist in the world, the most brilliant medical practitioners in the world, not too long ago, didn't wash their hands between patients. Wasn't malpractice, they didn't understand germ theory. There's much we don't know yet. Don't be embarrassed by believing God. Those first 11 chapters of Genesis are universal and Genesis chapter 12, the entire tone of scripture changes. And the pattern that is initiated in Genesis 12, continues all the way through the conclusion of this age that we read about in the book of Revelation. And the fundamental principle that is different, is God begins to develop a people for himself. He's not talking about all of humanity in those universal terms any longer, he's talking about a people uniquely amongst all the people.

Genesis 12 verse 1, "The Lord said to Abraham, leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you". There's a separation that's gonna take place, Abram. There's a physical separation that's gonna take place. And look into the promise. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I'll bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you". It's a promise of a gospel. It's a promise of a message that can change the destiny of humanity. But it's the beginning of God developing a people for himself.

Genesis 17 and verse 7, "I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you". He's talking to Abraham, "And your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you". See we move from, God created the heavens and the earth to God saying to Abram, "I'll be your God". There's a personal quality of this. In fact, he's willing to be identified. He presents himself for the remaining part of the story as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. "I'm the God that they believed in". Imagine that. Not a heavenly being, not a higher power, not some unknown entity, not some creative force that brought order to the universe in which we live, a God who can be known. A God that looks across the span of human history and said, I'm looking for a people that will believe in me.

In Exodus chapter 3. This was the message God gave to Moses to tell to the Hebrews, the former slaves of Egypt. He said, "I'm the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. At this, Moses hide his face, because he was afraid to look at God". That's Moses' recruitment narrative. That's the burning bush. He just gotten through taking off his sandals, 'cause God said, "You're standing on holy ground and you're messing up the floor". "I'm the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and I've come for you". You see, until that point, you can't really talk about the Jewish people. They went into Egypt as a family, an extended family. They were there for 400 years that they've never lived in the Promised Land, as anything more than a family that lived there. They didn't have a capital city or a central government. God promised to Abraham that he would give him a land, that it would his and his descendants forever, but as of yet, they haven't occupied it.

So when God recruits Moses at the opening chapters in the book of Exodus, he said, "I'm the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob". "I'm still watching over that promise I made back in Genesis chapter 12, and Genesis 15, and Genesis 17, and Moses, you and I are gonna take some steps to fulfill that". And there's this big group of people, the Bible refers to them as a mixed multitude. And from that mixed multitude, we're gonna make a people unto me. They couldn't deliver themselves from Egyptian slavery. They didn't have the power, the might, the experience, the expertise, they didn't have the leverage. It took a very blatant demonstration of the power of God to get them out of the clutches of Pharaoh, and the brick pits of Egypt, agreed? But God said, "I'm the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses, we're going to do this".

Now after they're delivered in Exodus 19, and God's message to them is, "If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations, you'll be my treasured possession". "Nations? We're just the slaves. We haven't even occupied a land yet. And with all due respect, the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the rest of the ites, they think that's their land". And God said, "No, I've given it to you". "Out of all the nations I have chosen you. You'll be s treasured possession. And although the whole earth is mine, you'll be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you're to speak to the Israelites". "Go tell 'em Moses. You're gonna be a holy nation". "Really, we just landed outta slavery".

Isn't that the theme of Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy? How many times you hear the people going, "We kind of liked it better back in the brick pits. We knew the menu, we knew the holidays, we knew what the Egyptians were gonna do. You're kind of scaring us here God. Smoke and thunder and the earth swallowed 23.000 grumblers yesterday. And the grumbling line is filled up again today. And we don't like Moses, and the people that delivered the message got leprosy". "I'll make you into a holy nation. That through you, all the nations will be blessed". Isn't that what he said to Abraham? That's exactly what he's saying. They didn't volunteer, they didn't vote, it wasn't democratically decided. God chose them. The sovereignty of God, we've lost sight of that. We've become so rebellious. So filled with our own egos. So filled our own sense of self-determination, that the thought of the sovereignty of God is almost in affront to us.

We call God out, we act as if he's unjust, unfair. I can't tell you how many meetings I've taken with people who wanna talk to me about how unfair God is. It is rampant amongst us. Listen to what God, "If you obey me fully and you keep my covenant, then out of all nations, you'll be my treasured possession". That is a conditional promise. Did you catch it? There's that little preposition, second word in the sentence. If, if you obey me most of the time. "If you obey me fully, and if you keep my covenant, you'll be unassailable". You'll be unassailable. We're reading the historical books right now, we're in Chronicles. They struggle a lot, don't they? That obeying him fully and keeping his covenant, it's a lift and they struggle because of it.

Now that's the introduction. That's the first scene in the narrative. By the time we get to the gospels, the nation of Israel, the Jewish people have been established in the Promised Land for a long time. King David was ruling on a throne in Jerusalem, a 1000 years, BC. A 100 years, BC. I mean, plus or minus a handful. Calendar's got a little fuzzy. So by the time you open your New Testament, where a 1000 years later. They've been to exile they're back in the land. They have survived a lot. Empires have come and gone, the Babylonians have come and gone, the Persians have come and gone. The Assyrians have come and gone, empires have risen and fallen. The Egyptians have been up and down, and the Jewish people persist in the land that God promised them. Do you understand the magnitude of that? Our nation is just about what, 250 years old? Imagine a thousand years in that land. They're still flourishing. God fulfilling his promise to Abraham.

And now the Messiah is here. The one that's been long looked forward to, the one that's been prophesied about. The great deliverer of their people. And in John chapter 8, we get at least to listen in, Jesus is talking to the religious leaders in Jerusalem. We begin with Jesus. He said, "I know that you're Abraham's descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me". You understand I hope, we're not the first generation to recognize there could be pushback if you advocated for the purposes of God. Folks, we got to grow up. We do. Jesus said, "I know that you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I'm telling you what I've seen in the Father's presence, and you're doing what you have heard from your father". And they answered, "Abraham is our father". They're not listening. They have no intention in engaging in a civilized discourse. Gee, that seems familiar.

"If you were Abraham's children, Jesus said, then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father". They're deeply offended. "They protested, 'We're not illegitimate children, the only father we have is God himself.'" So they're extrapolating that the DNA that they share with Abram makes them a special people. "And Jesus said, 'If God were your Father, you would love me, for I've come here from God. I've not come on my own; God sent me.' Why is my language not clear to you? Because you're unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning". Jesus had known Satan from his beginning. "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, there's no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies".

Now this is a very helpful window into this discussion because we started back in Genesis and then in Exodus, and we've watched this story unfold. Now we've skipped over some sections, we'll come back to this, but if we were gonna tell it sequentially, we're over here in like Act 4 or 5 now. And Jesus is talking to the religious leaders, they're experts on the mosaic law, they're experts on their rules. They have existed in this land for the better part of a thousand years, victorious over much more powerful empires. They've seen far superior armies turned back time and time again, they've been delivered, they've seen God's provision. Their family history reads with the fingerprints of God's all over it and they're very confident of that. In fact, they imagine with a great deal of arrogance, that their DNA determines their spiritual status. We share genetic material with the one who had the promise.

Abraham is our father, therefore we are God's people. They've forgotten those introductory verses I read to you just a moment ago. "If you obey me fully and you keep my covenant". They have hyphenated their faith. They're no longer just obedient to God, before they're obedience to God, before their obedience scripture, before the condition of their heart is considered, they have put something in front of the covenant. "We're Abraham's children". Well, the only reason Abraham makes any difference is the covenant he had with God. That's their confidence. Look at it in verse, "Abraham is our father". they said in verse, "who do you think you are? Who are you to question us? Who are you to call us to an account? Who are you to bring correction to us? Abraham is our father. And God dealt with the Babylonians and he dealt with the Persians and he dealt with the Assyrians, and he's dealt with all these others. And he'll deal with... who do you think you are"? They've lost sight of what it means to be the people of God. Not my imagination.

See, the covenant with Abraham is still important. It's important to you and me, it's important to them. You see, you and I are included in the people of God. Not because we sit in the right church. Not because we've joined the right group. Not because of the building we prefer on a Saturday night or a Sunday morning. Not because of our beverage list, our vocabulary words, what gives us status with God, is that same covenant that Abram made. Look in Galatians 3 and verse 14. It's speaking of Jesus, "He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit". Jesus died on the cross to give the entire world access to the covenant that had been made.

So the good news of the new covenant isn't that God wrote a new rule book, he just opened the door more broadly to those who would receive it by faith. And what gives us status standing entrance to being the people of God, has everything to do with our relationship with Jesus. Not the building we sit in or the denomination we've joined or the translation that we read. Not all the things that you imagine that make you superior to the people that you don't like. Galatians 3:29. "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise". Is it possible that we become as arrogant as that first century audience that Jesus was talking to? Is it possible that we're so smog, we'll point at our, the prayers we prayed or the pool that we got in, or the number of service projects that we've been a part of? And we have taken our eyes off what it means to live in obedience to Christ. We have to guard our hearts. We have to help one another.

Look at Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 1. It says, "We must pay more careful attention to what we have heard so that we do not drift away". It couldn't be more plain. We have to pay more careful attention, or we will drift away. That is not the environment that has filled our churches. We haven't been about careful attention. We've been sloppy. In fact, the statistics across the board, we've been a bit unique, but the statistics in how Christians have responded post COVID, is we're far more laid back. Far more casual about how we process our faith. The author of Hebrews is, "We must pay more careful attention to what we've heard so that we don't drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation"?

We've been invited to be the people of God, but it's a total commitment. It's not a part-time job. You don't get to pick your favorite three commandments of the ten. You can't negotiate them away. You can't just put grace over the top of them and say, "God is filled with grace". This salvation was first announced by the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard him. We have been given a great salvation. I love that phrase a great deliverance. Just as certainly as the Hebrews were delivered from Egyptian slavery to freedom, to a Promised Land, we have been delivered, from enslavement to sin, and set free to serve a living God. It's a tremendous deliverance. It's every bit as great in scope and magnitude and implication as the deliverance from the Egyptian brick pits. It's not a casual thing. And if we lack the courage to tell our friends about it, we're deceived to think we've benefited from it.

How can we not tell our friends? You are not their friend if you leave them enslaved to sin. It's a great deliverance, it's a great transformation. We were an oppressed people, and we have become the people upon whom God's favor rests. Time and again through history, through the scripture and through the unfolding history, it's been said of the people of God, God has blessed them, be careful how you treat them. We move from a condition of oppression, to a condition of the unique presence of God abiding amongst us. We have a great deliverance, a great transformation, a great purpose, we have a message for the nations. Lead with your faith. Take your faith with you to the ball fields and to work and to your kitchen table.

Stop leaving your faith in the church building. And finally, an equal part of that great salvation is there'll be great opposition. It follows all the way through the story of scripture. It followed through the life of Jesus. It's following through in the 21st century. You represent a great threat to the status quo. You are an ambassador for a kingdom beyond the boundaries of time, you represent a set of values. You hold out a truth, you hold out light in the midst of darkness and many of those seeking to accumulate power or great resources or pursuing pleasure, understanding that what you hold out is a threat to what they're trying to achieve. Don't imagine there won't be opposition. Don't imagine that.

Too often we undervalue the opportunity which the gospel presents. Too frequently, we imagine God's intent is to diminish us. That idea has taken such deep root. We don't say it out loud, we just live as if it's true. We think he wants to take our money or redirect our time or limit our pleasure, or intrude on our plans. And the thought is partially correct. God intends to intrude upon our kingdom of self. In fact, he asks us to put to death that carnal part of us, that says, "I want, and I feel, and I think". That leads with me first. To enter his kingdom, we must accept the conditions. My time becomes his time. My resources become his resources. I'm asked to live by his view, his definition of purity and holiness. To receive the blessings of the invitation, to be the part of the people of God, means we choose Jesus as Lord. We don't get to negotiate the parameters of his kingdom, it's not a democracy.

I wanna pray with you before we go. I'm gonna ask God to give us a new boldness to stand for Jesus. When Jesus was on the earth, there was significant opposition to who he was and to what he did. And then he told us that that opposition would persist and impact our lives. And yet we're surprised that's not helpful. Jesus told us it was a reality, we can see his response to it, that he was undeterred in his mission and his assignment and we have to be the same. Please don't let fear of someone else's opinion keep you from being who you should be for Jesus.

Heavenly Father, give us a boldness to stand for your truth, with courage and clarity, wherever you open the door. I thank you for what you're doing and I trust you in your protection, in Jesus's name, amen.

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