Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Deployment Begins - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Deployment Begins - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Deployment Begins - Part 1
TOPICS: Spiritual warfare

The theme we're pursuing is "Strategy, Tactics & Your Unseen Adversary". In this session, we're gonna talk about the beginning of our deployment. I had a bit of a learning moment with our guest last weekend. As I listened to them through their services and the podcast and some conversations we had, it became very clear to me that they were trained in some ways that I haven't been trained. They had some tactical training, some skillsets that had not been a part of my experience.

Chad shared a story of one of those places about being caught in a large open field and a truck filled with armed and aggressive Taliban rolled in behind him. And he said, you know, "The chances of survival were very, very small". It was he and one other person, it was Aziz, he said. He said, "But we had been trained. And we had a tactic". I thought, "Yeah, I've been trained too. My tactic would have been to kneel and pray, 'cause that was the only training I had that would have served me in that instance". And I really listened with interest and I thought about it all week long. And as I was just quietly reviewing that and praying about it, it occurred to me that we have been in church, many of us, for enormous sections of our lives, but we really haven't been trained in spiritual things.

We've been trained to be born again or maybe read our Bibles or to be polite or kind or tame or something. But when it comes to spiritual things and spiritual outcomes and spiritual forces that shape our lives, our training is pretty minimal and if we're caught in a place with an assertive adversary, we're toast. And that's not adequate. I'm afraid of the boss. So we're gonna spend a few sessions doing a little bit of training. We're gonna learn some strategy and some tactics, and I'm gonna do my best to encourage you to be a bit more aware of an unseen adversary. In this session, again as I've said, we're gonna talk about deployment. That means when you, you actually are engaged. When you move out of the theoretical.

Folks, we've had enough theoretical Christianity. How many Bible studies do you have to have before you do something with the truth that you know? You know, I read and please don't misunderstand me, I'm an advocate for studying the Bible, but the evidence around us is the light is dim and the salt has not been effective and that's on our head, that's not pointing a finger at the wicked or the evil or the ungodly, or the immoral or whoever you imagine the enemy to be. So a couple of definitions are helpful: strategy. I just took it from the dictionary. It's a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. It's a big picture piece. You need a strategy for flourishing in our world. Tactics are a little different. A tactic is a conceptual action or a short series of actions with the aim of achieving a short-term goal.

Strategies are big picture; tactics are a bit smaller, an objective in the moment. You need the tactics necessary in order to achieve the strategy. Now strategy and tactics will change. The way we knew the Lord and worshiped the Lord and the way we gathered prior to 2020 isn't adequate for the world we're living in now. I've been a Christ follower for a while, long enough to see strategies and tactics have changed a great deal, many times. The truth we hold doesn't change. It's eternal. Don't ever get caught up in this notion that the Word of God or God's principles or God's discussions of righteousness or justice or purity or honor or dignity, those aren't seasonal. They're not like fashion: they don't change. But the strategies for reaching our world do. Paul sailed on a ship and rode a horse. I'm grateful we don't have to have a sailing ship and a horse, amen. I mean, I like horses, but there's a better way.

So let's start with the nature of our adversary. You've got to understand something about the nature of the opposition. When you heard Chad and Aziz and Kevin last weekend, they described a Taliban to us that we don't hear from our leaders these days. In fact, they tell us they're our strategic allies. That wasn't the message we heard last week. And if you listen to the voices that come from a lot of leadership places in the body of Christ, you'd think you could negotiate with evil. That if you'll be kind to evil, evil will be kind to you. That if you'll just be polite, evil will be polite right back to you. So we've made our aspirations to be kind and polite and tame and everything will go well with you. It's a lie. It's a lie from the pit. Jesus gives us some clues. Two statements from Jesus. He describes for us kingdoms in conflict. This was our Lord.

In John 10:10, it's already been referenced this morning. Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal, to kill, and to destroy; but I'm come that you may have life, and have it to the full". Two kingdoms: one will bring destruction and one will bring full life. You choose. Your life is led under the authority of one of those two kingdoms today and it's not determined by where you sit on Sunday morning or Saturday night. It's determined by the authority that you have purposely given over your life. One will bring destruction and one will bring life. When you accommodate evil, when you negotiate with it, when you tolerate it, when you welcome it to the table, understand its objective is your destruction. It's deceptive, it will come and promise you something: pleasure, peace, hope, abundance, an opportunity. It is a liar. It will destroy you.

And in John 16, Jesus gives us an additional perspective: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace". He's talking to his friends, his closest friends. He said, "I've told you some difficult things. I'm leaving. Where I'm going you can't come". It's not a good message. They're not happy. And then he says, "I've told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble". Wow, wouldn't you just love to white that out? Highlight it, delete. "I thought he said it but I can't find it". "In this world you'll have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world". Because of what he's done, we can lead overcoming lives. But we will have to be overcomers because we live in a troubled world. When you're birthed into time, you are entered into a spiritual conflict.

You don't have to choose it, you don't have to vote for it. By nature of existence, it's taking place. And when you choose Jesus as Lord of your life, you have declared a side. You're delivered from the kingdom of darkness and you're brought into the kingdom of the Son of God. And with that, you inherit automatically an adversary. The story of Scripture is the opposition, the resistance, to the purposes of God. It starts in Genesis 3 in the Garden and then carries right through the last chapter of the book of Revelation. Many different contexts, many different points in history, many different cultural expectations of that, but it's true today.

And I meet Christians, "Well, Pastor, you know, I just don't know if I believe that". What? I mean, for real. What are you saying? You read the book and you just... You know, I hear people say things like, "Well, you know, I don't like to read the Old Testament. It's a little dark". Oh, have you read Revelation? There's a conflict in our world and you better know what to do. If you haven't been watching lately, if you've been doing your best, if you have been studiously avoiding what's happening, I'm telling you it's coming for you. It is amongst us. This isn't someplace else. The challenges you read about in the headlines are facing those of us who gather on the weekends to worship.

I hear it week after week after week. And if you don't understand what's happening and you don't have a strategy, and you don't know the tactics, you'll be overwhelmed. If the only thing you know about your faith is you're going to heaven, you're ill prepared. In Mark chapter 3 we get to follow Jesus for just a moment. It's just a few verses, but I'd like for you to listen with me to what he said. It says: "He went into a synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. And some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath".

Jesus, in a synagogue, he's not in a bar, he's not in a strip club. He's not planning a heist. He's not doing something immoral or ungodly. He's in a synagogue, on the Sabbath, and there are people there who could care less. They don't care what the Torah reading is for the day, they don't care what the participation is. They don't care if the temperature's right. They have one agenda in being in the synagogue: they're watching him. And they're looking for a reason to accuse him. Some of us have lived that way. We didn't really wanna follow Jesus. We weren't overly concerned but we spent a good deal of time focused on people that we thought were, 'cause we wanted a reason to discredit them. 'Cause if we could discredit them, it gave us more liberty.

Maybe you don't wanna completely discredit your faith, you just wanna discredit the way they believe, 'cause they believe a little differently than you. They worship with their hands up or their hands down or they sing hymns or they sing choruses or something silly. Some of you are still doing that. Looking for a reason to excuse your disobedience. May I humbly suggest that you stop. Jesus was in the house. The opportunities that presented are beyond my imagination. And they could have cared less. Let's not be that person. Let's be the learner, let's be the one with the open heart. I gotta push on. They wanted to see if he would heal the man. "Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, 'Stand up in front of everyone.' And Jesus asked them," he turns to the people gathered in the synagogue. "'Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?' But they remained silent". Nobody's gonna answer. "So Jesus looked around at them in anger". Jesus got angry in the synagogue. "He was deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts".

Now, these are Bible-reading, synagogue-attending, kosher-keeping, holiday-celebrating covenant people. Are you with me? He's not with the... they're not all hungover. "He's deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, and he said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' And he stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they could kill Jesus". Now, I would suggest to you that on that particular day in the synagogue, Jesus had many options. He could have said to the man, quietly, slipped up beside him and said, "Meet me after service," right? Jesus could have sat, quietly, with his hands folded, and just healed the man without saying a word. I'm confident he had the ability.

There's many things he could have done, many ways he could have responded. He could have set up an appointment for Sunday after a brunch. But Jesus chose to challenge the heart condition of the people. And I would submit to you an accurate description of that little scenario would be Jesus showing them some provocative truth. Imagine if you were the one that had gone to the rabbi and said, "I have this friend, Jesus. He's a really good Torah reader. Could we let him speak in the synagogue"? And you're sitting there, having been the one that got permission to invite Jesus and he starts all this disruptive stuff, and you're going, "Oh, Jesus. I've lost all my influence in this place". I hear people say that Jesus is all about love. And he is, but he's also about truth and helping people, and if you leave people in the bondage of the enemy, you don't love them.

You know, our culture these days is outraged, almost completely intolerant at the idea of a Creator God, an omniscient, an all-knowing and omnipotent, an all-powerful God, that could speak into our lives and provide direction or boundaries. Or a designer's direction for the best way to navigate our journey through time. In fact, our preference is a cultural mantra. It's been growing for decades. It's not new. This didn't happen with COVID, but you can hear it if you listen carefully. It's woven into the fabric of almost all the communication that cascades over us. "No one can tell me what to do, or no one can tell me how to live my life". Or the inverse of that: "I can do whatever I wanna do. I can become whatever I wanna be. And so can you". Baloney. It's a Greek word. It means I disagree. In actuality, there is someone who can tell you what to do and one day you'll have to talk to him.

God can give direction to us. He is wiser and more powerful and more experienced. He's different from us. And they just follow that up with a revelation and it comes from Scripture. And parents, you need to be teaching it to your children. I know you want to affirm them and you want to motivate them and you want to encourage them. I'll join you in that. I want them to flourish, but personal freedom is not infinite. It's not... just because you declare it so, doesn't make it so. No matter how wealthy or how privileged or how much authority or whatever you may imagine, there are limits to your personal freedom. And we could make a lengthy list, I mean, I cannot choose to eliminate gravity. Be gone. I'm still stuck, right here. And if you haven't had enough birthdays yet, that that makes a difference to you, just hang on.

I'll tell you something else you can't do. You can't stop time. You may photograph it, you may capture it digitally. You may enhance it or Photoshop it or adjust it. You may remove the parts you don't like, but time keeps moving. And we are creatures for the moment of time. I can't choose for the sun to rise in the North. Maybe you've purchased a house and it would just be better for you if the sun rose in the North and set in the South. You can't make it happen. No matter how agitated you get or angry or how many petitions you get signed, or how hard you pound on the desk or how loudly you scream or what messaging you unleash in the social media. You can't do it. There are limits. I can't make myself 7 feet tall. There was a time in my life I thought that was the ticket, about 7'2, about 300 pounds of mostly lean muscle, was gonna... that was my ticket to a better life. God has a sense of humor. I'm far below 7 and most of it's not lean muscle.

Thank you for not laughing. There are limits to our personal freedom. I've taken a moment with this because that idea is being so consistently, so profoundly, challenged and we are reeling before it as if we are disoriented or confused. We've lost our moorings because we've lost sight of the fact that there is a Creator God, an omnipotent, Almighty God, and we're demanding that my personal freedom would override that. And the church is staggering beneath this onslaught. We're cowering before it.

I saw a headline this week, it caught my attention. I was curious. This was the headline: "A majority of Americans believe gender is determined at birth". I thought, "Well, yeah, okay". It was interesting enough I thought, "I'll read a line or two," and the first line of the article was this: "A new poll found that the majority of American adults believe gender is determined at birth, and are against biological males competing in women's sports". Yeah, that's why we have men's sports and women's sports. But the next line was the one that really was interesting to me. This is it, I quote: "The poll found that 57% of American adults believe gender is based on the sex assigned at birth, while 43% say a person could change their gender later in life".

Well, I'm grateful that 57% of the people recognize you are born as a sexual being, and it can be identified. I was a little concerned that 43% of the people don't believe that. So when I say to you that we're struggling with the notion that there's a Creator God, and that no one can tell me what to do or how to live my life, it's noteworthy that almost half the population would go, "Absolutely. No one can tell me, not anything". 'Cause if you won't accept the sex with which you're born, you will not accept any other direction from Almighty God. We have to help one another. We have to help one another. I can tell you some things. Just some, we've been told to follow the science for a while.

This is good science, simple science, you don't have to have a... Every cell in your body reveals your sex, every single cell. If that isn't sufficient, just a very brief visual check can confirm your sex. Not right now, but I assure you that is an achievable distinction. And if you want one third piece, just some simple science stuff: your skeleton. Your skeleton reveals your sex. If your body was exhumed 100 years after your heart stopped beating, and somebody with sufficient training evaluated it, they could tell whether the person was male or female. It's really not that confusing. It isn't the issue that's confusing, it's the authority we're refusing to submit to. The Department of Justice recently sued the State of Tennessee. Have you heard? It's true.

Our governor and State Legislature passed a law prohibiting gender-altering procedures for minors. It's not really radical stuff. The radical stuff is that you'd have to make that statement. If they're not old enough to buy a beer or drive a car, well, I'm not advocating selling beer to kids but if we think their emotional and mental and physical maturity is not to the point yet that they should be trusted with decisions that could alter their lives or others, then it only makes sense to me that we wouldn't encourage them to make decisions that will alter their lives forever. But now the Department of Justice has sued the State of Tennessee and the line is that Tennessee is denying healthcare to minors. And there's a tremendous amount of pressure coming on the state or anybody that would say that. And it's coming from unexpected places, and the Christian community, to be candid, is strangely silent. We're almost mute. I mean, corporate America has weighed in on this.

Maybelline has said, "Yeah, yeah, kids need to be subjected to this stuff". Disney is an agent provocateur in encouraging this. Budweiser rather famously stepped into this affray. It's been a bit of a bumpy ride for them, but I have reflected on that a little bit and I can speak to this with some experience. I promise you that the veterinarians that are caring for the Budweiser Clydesdales, have you seen them? They pull that wagon, beautiful horses. They're probably more famous than their beer.

Well, the veterinary team that cares for those Clydesdales, when a new foal is born and they're there to assist, and I'm confident there is some medical care there to assist, I assure you they are able to determine whether that new foal is a colt or a filly. I promise they're not confused. But here's the important part. I would submit to you that our healthcare industry should be at least as courageous and competent as the Budweiser veterinarians. This is important. The words we hear are "confused," "how I identify," "what I choose," and I'm grateful for all of those words. I'm an advocate for choice in many respects, but I think we have to continue to come back to this idea, this mistaken idea, that no one can tell me what to do or how to live my life.

It is a spiritual attack. It's not founded in logic, it's not based in good science. I don't care how many letters they have at the end of their name. It doesn't matter which government agency is advocating for it. I understand our hesitancy. I have a bit of an awareness of the kind of pressure that can come if you stand in opposition to some of these current ideas. But we have to help one another. Tell the truth at your kitchen table. Be willing to tell the truth at your holiday table. Lead with your faith. You have a decision to make: Will you give in to fear? Will you give in to the threats? Or will you be a quiet, consistent, persistent voice for the truth? We're going to have to learn.

When the Spirit of God begins to move, one of the most important things we can do is to continue to say yes to him. No hesitation, no reluctance, we're all in. Let's pray:

Heavenly Father, Yes, yes to you. We wanna cooperate in obedience and faithfulness and steadfastness to serve your purposes, in Jesus's name, amen.

Are you Human?:*