Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - A Prophetic Perspective

Allen Jackson - A Prophetic Perspective

Allen Jackson - A Prophetic Perspective
TOPICS: America, USA, Prophetic

I have entitled this study "God Bless America" because the field in which God has planted us is in this nation. We certainly have a voice beyond. and we have a heart for things beyond the boundaries of our nation, but this is our first assignment and before we can have an imagination for what God is doing globally, we needed an imagination for what God is doing locally. Well, I'm clear on this point, God's not in America, all right? I understand when you get to heaven, they won't be playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the elevators. I don't imagine that once you stand in front of the pearly gates, that there'll be a flagpole with the red, white, and blue flopping in the breeze. I'm not confused, God loves all people, but I also understand that we're a part of the church in this nation. And while we're part of a global community, our first and foremost responsibility is across our back fence.

So, understanding a God perspective on our own nation right now, it seems to me, is critical, because we are approaching a turning point, not about elections, it's a much more significant issue than that. We are at a point of change. So this week, we're gonna begin a discussion of prophecy. My observation is that very often we just dismiss the idea of prophecy, for a lot of reasons, and some of them are valid, but many of us have, to our own misfortune simply said, "It's not relevant, I'm not going to pay attention to it".

So it seemed to me, our study should begin by establishing some fundamental ideas that have a bearing on how an individual responds to prophetic Scripture. And that's where I want to begin with you this morning, just handing you some simple ideas to walk us towards this notion of prophetic Scripture. I'm gonna tell you on the front end, you're gonna need your brain. If you left it in the car, we'll dismiss you for a moment to go retrieve it. My goal today is not to entertain you. Some days that's a part of the assignment. This morning seems different to me. I wanna look at the Word of God with you, in fact, I don't really intend to hand you fully formed conclusions.

I wanna invite you to think, I wanna send you away with Scripture, with some ideas and I wanna ask you to reflect upon them, for you to pray about them, for you to consider them. The goal of church is not for someone to tell you what you believe. We gather as the people of God to honor him and to acknowledge him and to invite his Spirit into our midst to help us. I wanna begin in Genesis 1 and verse 1. It says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". it's the introduction to the Scripture. And the last chapter in the Bible is Revelation 22 verse 7 says, "Behold, I'm coming soon". Did you know Jesus is coming back? Just as certainly as he came to Bethlehem, he's coming back to the Mount of Olives. "Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book".

There's some very straightforward things we can glean from those two passages. The Bible very plainly is a linear story, it has a beginning and it's moving towards a conclusion. God introduces us, it says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". It's not an accidental beginning, the Bible isn't a good book if God's not the Creator, because God presents himself in that way. It's not an accident, we're introduced to Almighty God. There are many things the Bible is not, it's not a science book. Sometimes we wish it were more of a science book. I began my academic career in the basic sciences, I understand some of the confusion or the alternatives and theories of origin.

The Bible doesn't give us the origins of the earth, nor the origins of God. The Bible is limited to a discussion or a presentation of the relationship between Almighty God and Adam and his descendants on planet Earth. The Bible doesn't offer us an opinion about the origins of God, it simply says, "In the beginning God". It doesn't even offer us an opinion on the beginnings of the earth. When we're introduced to the earth in the first chapters of Genesis, it's already here. It's chaotic, it's disorderly and out of the disorder, God brings order and life. And he's identified to us as the Creator. If you'll accept God as Creator, the Bible makes sense, if you reject God as Creator, it's a foolish book. But it's equally clear that as much as there's a beginning, there's a plan for the conclusion of this episode.

The Bible deals predominantly with the lives of the descendants of Adam in time. Time is not eternal, time has a beginning and a conclusion. God's eternal, your spirit is eternal. You are created in God's image. Human beings are distinct from all the rest of creation. We alone are the image bearers of Almighty God, it's what brings a dignity to every human being, regardless of our race, our gender, our ethnicity, the shape of our eyes, our IQ, our physical strength, every human being has an innate dignity because we're created in the image of God. It separates us from all the other living things on planet Earth. And while we live in time, your spirit is eternal. When your body ceases to function, your spirit will step into eternity, continuing on.

In Isaiah 46 and verse 9, it says, "Remember the former things those of long ago. I am God and there is no other. I am God and there's none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come. I say my purpose will stand and I will do all that I please. From the East, I summon a bird of prey from afar off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about, what I have planned that will I do". The scripture is clear, it's asserted repeatedly that God knows the end of the matter at the beginning. So when we talk about a prophetic perspective, a God perspective, God the Creator, God Almighty knows the ending at the beginning. His perspective might be helpful, it might be worth pursuing, it might be worth an effort to understand.

Now you'll have to decide for yourself at this point, whether or not you believe there is an Almighty God, whether you believe he's the Creator of all things, and that he does in truth, know the ending. You see, if you'll accept that general principle, then some of the specifics have merit. But if you won't accept that principle, I would suggest it's inappropriate to examine the specifics and decide what you think about them. If the general principle is true, then we can move forward to some of the specific points that God says we can anticipate ahead of us. But if you reject God as the Creator and you don't believe God who knows the ending at the beginning, why would you consider any of the intervening points?

Look at Isaiah 55, it says, "Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord and he will have mercy on him and to our God, for he will freely pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts". It's very plain language, God says his thoughts are different than ours, that they exceed our own. It's a reminder that we are the creation, and he's the Creator, that we are finite and he is infinite. It's not a diminishing of human beings. God created us with the capacity to think and to reason and to remember, it's a gift from God. In fact, I believe God intends us to use our minds for his purposes. But he reminds us that he's different from us, that his thoughts exceed our thoughts. That he has a capacity that we don't have, that we are a limited, finite group of people.

See, there's a battle within you and me, within every one of us, to set God aside and to imagine ourselves the masters of our own fate, that we are the crowning achievement of all creation. And the battle within us is to yield to an Almighty God and to acknowledge that he is excellent in ways that we are not. And the God in our lives will elevate our lives, not diminish us. Some of you prefer the New Testament. I included a passage from Romans, chapter 8. It says, "The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit," and that's a capital S, it's the Spirit of God, "is life and peace". The word death carries with its several meanings as it's used in Scripture.

One of the ways to understand death is that it refers to something that's temporary, that it has an expiration point, that it will not extend beyond time. And Paul, in writing to the Church at Rome, says the mind set on the flesh, on the earthly is temporary, it will expire. It has only limited value. It's not without value, but it will diminish. But the mind set on the Spirit is life. It doesn't know an end, it will extend into eternity, and it will bring peace because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, it does not subject itself to the law of God. It's not even able to do so. And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. In the plainest of language, God's perspective exceeds our own and we can know God's perspective.

That's amazing to me, that Almighty God, the Creator of all things, would make it possible for you and I to see ourselves and our lives, our homes, and our world from his viewpoint. What an amazing gift. And I ask you a question: What have you set your mind on? I know we're in church and the right answer is Jesus, but in the quiet places of your life, what have you given your mind to? What have you given your thoughts and your energy and your efforts to? Have you put your mind to the things of God, the things that will reach beyond time? I don't offer that to you as a condemnation, I offer it to you as a diagnostic tool. Have the courage to grapple with it. The objective of today is not to hand you a set of fully formed things, the objective today is to hand you some tools with which to go forth. What have you put your mind to?

In 1 Timothy, chapter 4 and verse 1, says, "The Spirit clearly says that in latter time, some will abandon the faith," it's that word apostasy again, "and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons". When the truth is rejected by the people of God, I'm not speaking to those outside the church today, that's not what this lesson is about. I'm talking about those of us who gather in the weekends in buildings that represent church. When we reject the truth, demonic influences step into the void. And there's an exponential escalation of rebellion.

Look in James 3 in verse 14: "If you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don't be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but it's earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing". There's this distinction again between what is earthly or temporary, or being invested in those things that are spiritual and have significance beyond time. It's not either... God created the earth and everything that's in it for our pleasure, but he counsels us not to be absorbed with it, not to set our ambition upon it. There is something greater, more real, more powerful. Carnal, earthly responses from those who purport or imagine themselves to be God's people.

I wanna say, when God's people choose selfish, earthly, carnal responses to life, we open the floodgates for disorder and every evil thing. The responsibility doesn't lie at the doorway of evil. Evil's intent is to destroy but God said his people in the earth are salt and light. And when we abdicate the truth, when we turn our eyes away from the truth, we open the floodgates for evil to prey upon everyone else. This isn't about being angry with someone else or pointing our fingers at another. It's standing before the Lord and saying, "God have mercy on me". With the moments I have left, I wanna talk to you just a bit about our response, again from my perspective.

Look in James 1, in verse 21. It says, "Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the Word planted in you which can save you. Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves, do what it says". You'll note that the consistency of this word, deception. But James gives us some very clear, some very... James is the plain spoken book of the New Testament. James says, "Get rid of all moral filth, get rid of it". It says that evil and moral filth are prevalent in the midst of the people of God. I don't know why we're surprised, when we read the Hebrew Bible and the story of God's chosen people, generation after generation after generation, they struggle with moral filth and evil, don't they? And yet we imagine two millennia into the story of the church, that somehow it's not us. It's a challenge within us.

If you need a way to... usually we think of moral filth as something that perplexes others, far less moral than ourselves. Let me give you a tool to reflect upon in the book of Galatians, you don't have it in your notes, you got the cheap set. In Galatians chapter 5 and verses 19 and 20, there is a listing, it's called the acts of the sinful nature or the acts of the carnal nature, the earthly nature. And it lists several things there, some of which you'd recognize immediately as being ungodly, some maybe not so much, but they are expressions of your old, earthly, adamic, carnal self. And if you leave them unchecked, undisciplined, if you give license to them, you will get demonic support for expressing those things. You'll recognize the difference because demonic support, when you gain that you will forfeit a great deal of autonomy, and James says get rid of that.

How do you get rid of it? Well, it's a part of our old self, the New Testament prescription is to crucify it, to put it to death. I heard it described once as a confrontation between a lion and a puppy and godliness in our life begins as a puppy. Well, how would you ever orchestrate a circumstance where a puppy could conquer a lion? Well, the simple answer is you starve the lion and you feed the puppy, and the day will come when the puppy can be triumphant. You need to know how to diminish the nourishment for your old carnal, earthly self and how to increase the nourishment for godliness in your life. That's how we get rid of it. It's not a word used or an outfit worn, it's a set of values, objectives. intent in your heart. Know how to feed uprightness and know how to bring famine to wickedness in your heart.

And James says to humble ourselves and accept God's Word. We have to choose obedience. For you and me, we have to intend to be obedient to God. What did Isaiah say? That uprightness was no longer welcome. We don't celebrate it, we don't make heroes out of it. We introduced some heroes in our lobbies this week and we borrowed the idea from Eric Metaxas. We wanna celebrate men and women that have contributed to our culture and to our life with a set of values and sacrifices that we would like to see repeated in the 21st century. Let's celebrate godliness and uprightness and integrity. In Revelation 3, the book of Revelation opens with a presentation to seven separate churches and the Lord gives each of them a diagnosis of their strengths and weaknesses, and then he gives them a resolution for their weaknesses, a remedy. The one that it seems to me is most closely aligned with contemporary American church, is the Church of Laodicea. Now there will be exceptions, I'm not indicting everyone, but it seems accurate to me.

In Revelation 3, I'll read it with you, it says, "I know your deeds, that you're neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I'm about to spit you out of my mouth". He says, "You're not really that, you're not that committed. You're kind of indifferent. You're willing to be identified when it suits you and you'll step back when that suits you". There's a reluctant in American Christendom today to say that Jesus is the only way. We get a little quiet, we're a little timid. We've told it's intolerant, it somehow dismissive or diminishes others. Folks, owning the truth is helpful. Jesus said, "I'm the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me".

Now, either Jesus told the truth, or he was a liar and a deceiver. There aren't many ways to God, all faiths don't lead to the same endpoint. And we have to have the courage, not to be angry at others or to hate others or to be critical of others, but to invite people towards the truth. Not every food you ingest has the same outcome. Doesn't bother our government to tell us to stop eating sugar, to measure how much soda we can purchase at one serving. Well, surely the church will have the courage to speak the truth that we know. We've become a little lukewarm. In verse 17 it says, "You say, 'I'm rich, I have acquired wealth and don't need a thing.' But you don't realize that you're wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked".

That 17th verse is a word picture of deception. It says, "You say of yourself, I have acquired great wealth and I have no need, but in reality you are pitiful, naked, in need of all things". That is deception. "I counsel you", we're not left in this condition, God gives us counsel. "I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire so you can become rich and white clothes to wear so you can cover your shameful nakedness and salve to put on your eyes so you can see. Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline, so be earnest and repent. Here I am, I stand at the door and knock, and if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I'll come in and eat with him and he with me".

This is not a passage of condemnation or criticism, it's not even a passage of rebuke or judgment, it's an invitation. Jesus said, "I'm standing at the door and knocking". It's not evangelistic, he's talking to his people. He said, "If you will invite me in, I will come in". He's given us counsel to some specific responses. He said, "Buy gold from me refined in the fire". Purchase suggests sacrifice. We will not move from a position of deception to a position of truth without some sacrifice, it won't happen. He talks about refinement. Refinement, scripturally, is enduring for godliness, refined by fire it says. Fire typically refers to the transformation of our character, from being concerned with our own personal, selfish ambition to embracing a godly ambition for our lives and our families'. He counsels us to get white clothes to wear. It's used twice in the Book of Revelation beyond this.

One is in Revelation 19 where it says that the Saints that came through the tribulation were given white clothes to wear and the white clothes were the righteous acts of the Saints. The New Testament scholars will say, "Well, Pastor, righteousness is a gift, it's not earned, it's not merit based," and you're absolutely right in that. Right standing with God, which is what righteousness means, is imputed to us. But once we have received the gift of righteousness, and it's available to every person, the Scriptures suggest that the appropriate response on our part would be to choose to live righteously, to live uprightly. That's not easy. It wasn't easy for Jesus, and it won't be easy for you and me, but we choose that as an expression of honor to the one we call Lord.

Will we do it perfectly? No, but if we don't have the intent, we will never even begin. The other place white clothing is used in Revelation, is it says that the Saints were dressed in white because they had dipped their robes in the blood of the Lamb, and they had been washed clean. A reminder of the redemptive work of Jesus, that our right standing with God is not merit, we didn't earn it, it comes to us through Jesus. It's why we believe, we call, Jesus is Lord. It's why we're advocates for him. And finally, it tells us to be earnest and repent. Repentance is a word we use quite a bit, but repentance is only effective if it's preceded by conviction.

If you're really not convicted of your ungodliness, if you're not convicted of the filth in your life apart from God, your repentance is shallow. It's an appropriate prayer to say, "God, if there is any harmful thing in me, any hurtful thing in me, help me be aware". I've watched just a bit of the Olympics, what crazy, gifted people. One of my takeaways, I've watched the swimming, is just don't ever put me in public in that outfit. You would need healing of the memories, 'cause none of those folks are carrying any unnecessary baggage, huh? Me on the other hand, I'm traveling in case of hibernation. But we've been a little too tolerant of some things in the church and I don't mean intolerant of others, I mean tolerant of ourselves. We've been tolerant of ungodliness. We've imagined it's inconsequential and it's not.

Folks, the transformation of our nation, the security of liberty and freedom for the generations who follow us, for our children and our grandchildren, the beginning of that does not begin with the White House, or the halls of Congress, or even the seats of the Supreme Court, the authority for that begins in our hearts, in the church of Jesus Christ, being the church. It's our story as a people. And I'll hush. I brought you a prayer. There's hope, why don't you stand with me? It's at the bottom of your outline.

All those teachers in those new classrooms are looking at the clock, saying, "God, will he ever hush"? He's about to. Let's read this prayer together.

Heavenly Father, we come before you in humility. We have wandered from your truth. We have become comfortable with deception and darkness. Our attention has been turned to our own ambition. We have valued convenience more than obedience. Forgive us our sins, soften our hearts once again. Open our ears to hear your direction. Bring a spirit of conviction to our lives. We lift our voices to you, for only you can bring salvation to our lives. You're a faithful God, a God of mercy and truth. We choose to yield to you in Jesus's name, amen.

Are you Human?:*