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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Masculinity That Honors God - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Masculinity That Honors God - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Masculinity That Honors God - Part 1
TOPICS: Masculinity, Fatherhood, Father's Day

Do not accept the premise that, as a rule of thumb, we should think of masculinity as toxic. If somebody's coming through your front door in the middle of the night, you want somebody in the house that's more than empathetic, a promise. You know, we were walking through a time of tremendous change of significant things, foundational, fundamental things, and one of them we're watching is an enormous effort to create what's generally labeled as gender confusion. Number one, I don't believe gender is confusing at all. It's not that complicated. My father was a veterinarian. In fact, he's here today. My dad's here. It's Father's Day. You better stand up, Bob. It's his fault. No, it's not. We've had enough of that.

But when I was at home, he practiced veterinary medicine, and so we had the privilege. My brothers and I have seen lots of things born, puppies and kittens and calves and foals and the occasional hamster or gerbil. And it just, it was never confusing. And one of the first questions was always, "What is it"? I won't ever remember going, well, I'm not sure. It's hard to say. We'll wait and see. You know, gender confusion is a euphemism. I'm not suggesting it isn't real, but I'm suggesting it's mislabeled. I think it would be more accurately described as gender rebellion. There's set of circumstances that we don't like and there's many things that contribute to that. And because we don't like it, we would pretend hold ourselves out as God as if we could change it. And it's wreaking havoc in our culture right now.

This isn't something that's distant. This isn't in some major cities or it's not something that happens in the Northeast or on college campuses, folks, this is amongst us. It's an issue in the families, in the homes and the families of the people who sit in churches and in our Christian schools. It's an issue and we're going to have a bit more wisdom. You know, there are tremendous pressures right now to cause you to want to celebrate gender confusion. I mean, we even saw an expression of it this week from the highest level of our nation on the White House. They hung a flag celebrating LGBTQ, whatever the newest letters are. They disrespectfully hung it in the place that the American flag belonged.

So this isn't something subtle, it's being driven through corporate boardrooms. It's being driven by PR agencies. It's being driven by all the major sports leagues. You can't avoid it, if you avoid it, you're not only burying your head in the sand, you've climbed in under the sands yourself, and the church has to respond. This isn't a political issue. And the startling part of what's happening is the focus on subjecting our children to gender transformation procedures and the demand that they have the right to do so. And that if you as a parent or anyone else would have the audacity to say, just wait a minute, that you are an illegitimate parent, and children should be removed from your custody. That's the law of several states in our nation right now. That's not something that's coming, it's amongst us.

Now, how did we land in this place? It's an important question, but as much as we'd like not to talk about it, I would submit to you, I would, I believe it's the fruit of decades of sexual immorality. It didn't just happen. The church has not taught us how to be clean, and so we've adopted a pattern that has not been effective. We have imagined we could just live through our sin, that we would live through sinful seasons and then at some point, we would make better choices and we would aspire to make better choices even beyond that. And we would encourage others to do that.

So we've had no real imagination of addressing sin. We might say, "I'm sorry". Then we talk about a god of grace and mercy and forgiveness, but with that mindset, we confer those sinful behaviors upon the next generation and the generation after that. And in each case, because of the nature of evil itself, each generation pushes that boundary a little further until we find ourselves standing in the midst of the theater of the absurd where men are competing against women. In athletics, we know that's wrong or we wouldn't have women's sports and men's sports. We wouldn't have different tees at the golf course or different events in the Olympics, but we seem addled and I believe we're addled because we are disoriented because of the sin within us, within the church.

If you do the Bible reading with us, and I hope you do, we're reading through the book of Leviticus right now. Isn't that exciting? Yes. And we did a few sessions to try to unpack that, but the big picture of Leviticus is that sin has to be addressed. There's several chapters that deal with what you do with what to do when you sin unintentionally, not on purpose, but if you realize you have engaged in something that's unpleasing to God, the prescription wasn't just, oh, do better next time. It wasn't like just shake it off and try harder. Something had to die. You had to go find the prescribed sacrifice and present it to the priest with an acknowledgment of the problem. That's not just living through sin. And if you'll allow me, I think the mistake we have made is we think we can just walk away from our past.

Now, I don't want you to live anchored in your past. The great news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is there's a power available to deliver you from the darkness of your past. There is no part of who we have been that has the power to define our future unless we give it that power. The redemptive work of Jesus is the great neutralizer, but we have to put our faith in it. We have to implement it, we have to pay attention. That is the point of Leviticus. When you get over to the last couple of chapters, it says, "If you will listen and obey, these are the good things that will happen. But if you refuse to listen and you refuse to obey, the wheels will come off the buggy and somebody else will occupy your home and you'll be slaves where you were once free".

Folks, we're watching our freedoms evaporate more quickly than the rain after a summer thunderstorm. I mean, it's not because wickedness has increased, it's because of what's happening in our hearts. We don't walk away from our past, it's the wrong prescription. You see, if you practiced fornication and you get married, it didn't nullify your sin. We've had the wrong ideas. And because of that and because we've just winked at it and we watched the next generation coming along and we think, well, they're probably gonna misbehave a little bit like I did, but then they push the boundaries even further and the next generation even further until... then you come and we stand and we say, "I don't know how to have this conversation, it's divisive". It's because we thought we could just walk away from our past. Getting divorced doesn't nullify adultery.

If you've been stealing at work, quitting your job doesn't nullify the fact that you're a thief. If you have a family, it doesn't compensate for terminating a pregnancy. This isn't about guilt and shame. God's made provision for that, but we can't ignore our choices. We have stacked up our sins without asking God to cleanse us. We have moved on and just hope God will forget. We just thought you know that was another chapter and another season and so it's not relevant anymore. I'm not asking you to bring all the skeletons out of the closet and make a video and share them with your friends. I am suggesting that they have to be addressed before God. Otherwise, we live with guilt and shame and unnecessary burdens that truly are toxic and our hearts are hardened and we accommodate sin. And we imagine that it has no consequence, 'cause after all, it didn't have any consequence for us.

We lived as sinners for a while and sat in church, and then we stopped doing that, and we just kind of quit acknowledging it, and we stacked up our sins. There's a better way. There's a better way. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see, to see anything which hinders, which is entangles, or limits your freedom in Christ. We desperately need the power of God to help us become an overcoming church right now. And to do that, we have to be willing to submit ourselves to the cleansing help of the Holy Spirit. As you become aware and he will remind you, he will show you, he'll bring to your memory those places and those circumstances where you have just tried to live beyond it. And if you'll come back in humility and acknowledge it in repentance, he has made provision for our freedom through the cross of Jesus.

The words I've given them to you many times. Repent, it's a change of thought and a change of behavior. It's new thought and new direction, then you renounce it. You separate yourself from your past spiritually. Father, I acknowledged my behavior and I renounce and close any door I opened, any unclean influence, anything that opposes your purposes in my life or in this world. I separate myself from it now by a decision of my will in Jesus's name. It's important. It's far more deadly than any virus you could contract and then release, turn loose to anyone or anything. Don't hold hostages emotionally or otherwise. Don't hold grudges. Release yourself to God, he'll bring fulfillment to your life. You see, we've chosen ungodliness because we didn't think God could deliver. We thought we had a better plan for fulfillment and peace and joy and hope, so we engaged in ungodliness. We weren't confused or distracted, we wanted our way.

But I think it's important to start with this notion of God as Father. It describes the role that God chose for himself in creation. The Bible's not gender-neutral. There's been an effort underway for decades. It's not new, it was taking place in the most celebrated theological institutions decades ago when I was in school to make the Bible gender-neutral. They were abusing the language in which the Bible was written, 'cause it was very clear what was meant, and they were altering the text to conform it to the conventional wisdom of the day. This isn't... what we're watching is not new. Father describes the role that God shows for himself in creation.

Look at Ephesians 3. This is in your notes. "For this reason," Paul is praying. "For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven on earth derives its name". If we don't get the Father part of this equation right, it leaves a deficit to everything else. Amen? I understand this isn't culturally popular. I get it. Acknowledging that men have an important role to play does not diminish the significance of the role women have. Saying we are different does not make one of us greater and the other lesser, it just acknowledges the reality we are not the same. We've lived with that nonsense for so long, why is it an issue that we're confused? That's another session.

If we don't get the Father right, it leaves the deficit and everything else. We all have fathers, we all understand this. They have parented with varying degrees of effectiveness. Biblically, we're giving an assignment to honor them, whether they were great world-class spiritual leaders or they were something less than. How we respond to our earthly fathers has bearing on how we respond to our heavenly Father. Here's the reality, God chose our parents. With whatever that brings, with whatever's implied in that, God chose our parents. And if he chose them, I believe the rest of the story that he has given us everything we need for life and godliness. If there's a deficit because of choices that our parents made, there's a God-designed pathway for us to be triumphant. If there was a momentum given to us because we had parents who helped us along the way, there's a God-designed assignment for us that requires us to be responsible for our generation.

I brought a couple of prayers, I think they're worth praying. Forgiveness. If you had the best father in the world, there are times they'll need forgiveness. We all understand this. We've all had roles of authority and assignments when we failed to get it right. Sometimes because of ignorance, sometimes because of a lack of preparation, and sometimes 'cause we were just willful and wrong. But biblically, we've been given the assignment of extending forgiveness to those from whom we have suffered. It's not an option, it's not a feeling, it's not an emotion, it's a decision. In fact, God says, "His forgiveness but will be withheld through us if we withhold forgiveness to others". So on Father's Day, it seems like a really good day to forgive our fathers. If your father's already stepped out of time, you can still forgive him. We're gonna bless him next, but first, we're gonna forgive our fathers. Why don't we just read this prayer together?

God, I need your help. There's a pain I cannot outrun, in obedience to your Word, I forgive my father. I thank you for his life. I choose to bless him today. Thank you you for your freedom in my life. In Jesus's name, amen.

Now, if you have emotion around that, maybe not in this moment, but you know if you were disappointed, hurt, betrayed, abused, you may need to take that prayer and live with it a bit. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you. The fact that you've overcome it and you've lived past it and you've pushed it into the background and it's no longer a part of your present and the people who know you don't know those stories doesn't necessarily mean you have got the freedom that God would bring to you. We wanna do more than live through our sin. There's another prayer I would suggest is important, and that's forgiveness.

As fathers, none of us perform completely as well as we would like in any role that we're given, and I don't think there's any more difficult assignment that we have under the sun than parenting. It doesn't come with a handbook. I mean there's lots of handbooks, but I think most of them are written by knuckleheads who've forgotten. There are some exceptions and there's great tools, but all of us know what it is to need forgiveness because our enemy, our adversary, one of the titles given to Satan in scripture is he's the accuser of the brethren.

And if you live under his accusations of where you failed in what you didn't do, then you will forfeit what you could do. Satan uses guilt to neutralize us, and he's a liar and a thief, and don't let him steal your future. If you failed to shepherd your children when they were young and in your home and they're grown and they're adults and then you didn't give them the opportunities that you wished you had. The Bible says that, "a day with the Lord is like 1,000 years and 1,000 years like a day". God can do in a moment of time what you and I failed to do in a decade. It's true. So I brought you another prayer. Is in your notes, it's forgiveness as fathers. Gentlemen, why don't we read this together?

God, you have given me an assignment, and I have not valued it. Please forgive me. I need your wisdom and courage as a man, as a husband and a father. I believe that what you called me to you can enable me to fulfill. I am not a failure. In Christ Jesus, I am victorious, amen.

Hallelujah. It's another prayer that's worth repeating. You give the Lord a hand for that. That's okay. Again, I understand there's some cultural momentum against much of this message, but it's relevant and important and even in more significant, it's biblical. I would submit to you that arguably the greatest revelation, the unique revelation that Jesus brought to us with his incarnation was the revelation of God as Father. In John 17:6, Jesus said, he's praying. He said, "I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world".

Well, the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament reveals to us the covenant names of God. God is our healer. God is our provider. God is our banner. There's all these revelations of the character of God. He's the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I'll put none of these diseases upon you that I put up on the Egyptians and so this unfolding character of God, but when we get to Jesus the Messiah, not a new religion, the fulfillment of what was started way back there in Genesis, Jesus brings us a revelation of God as Father.

Look at John 14:6, "Jesus said, 'I'm the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" To the Father, not to the holy of holies, not to the mercy seat, not to a tabernacle or a temple, to the Father of all things. It's a very significant revelation of God and the desire he has for a relationship with his creation, and if we miss it, it leaves a deficit in all the aspects of our relationship with God. In Matthew 11, it says, "All things have been delivered to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and the one to whom the Son will reveal him".

You know, at the beginning in Hebrews it says that in the past, God has spoke to us in many ways through prophets and signs and wonders, but in these last days, he's spoken to us through his Son. The unique aspect in which Jesus knew God that he remained a mystery to us prior to his incarnation was God as Father. And don't allow the devil to steal that biblical principle from you because of the inadequacies of your earthly father. It's a temptation because of the lack or the weakness or the failures of a relationship you've had. You may be tempted to believe, and the evil one will come and put the seed in your mind and in your heart that I have a hard time relating to God because of what I suffered because of my earthly father. The revelation of God as Father is adequate and sufficient and complete, and the Spirit of God will bring healing to those places in your life where there's a deficit because of our heavenly Father.

There's some benefits of knowing the Father, and I'll just tag him quickly. One has to do with identity. In John 8, in verse 42, "Jesus said, 'If God were your Father, you would love me.'" He's talking to religious leaders. The equivalent today of pastors or denominational executives or seminary presidents, well-trained religious leaders. "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I'm here. I haven't come on my own, but he sent me". Verse 44, he said, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there's no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies".

For all the people that say to me, Jesus only said nice things. Imagine being a part of that group when he looked at the people and he said, "God's my Father, but you belong to your father, the devil, and your family's a family of murderers and liars". That is not a happy clappy small group. You see, this notion of the fatherhood of God gives us identity and a place in the unfolding purposes of God. It gives you a confidence when you pray, when you talk to him, when you imagine inviting God into your life. It helps you understand God's discipline. He loves you too much to allow you to do whatever you want to do.

A child that's never disciplined is not a child that's loved well, it's a child that's abandoned. It's the abdication of parental responsibility, and God loves us too much to leave us to ourselves. In fact, in Hebrews 12, it says he disciplines every child that he loves. That if we're not disciplined, we're illegitimate children. But the fatherhood of God begins with identity. We belong to him. We're his kids. We belong to his family. It defines our future in time and for eternity. We have an inheritance in his eternal kingdom. I'm not just churched or religious or following a set of rules or trying to fool my neighbor into thinking I'm good. I'm a child of the creator of all things.

I wanna pray with you before we go. I want you to imagine with me, righteousness raining down upon us. We've seen evil rain upon us and ungodliness rain upon us like an avalanche. Imagine Almighty God raining righteousness upon us.

Father in Jesus's name, let righteousness rain upon our lives, our homes, our congregations, our communities, our nation. We thank you for it in Jesus's name, amen.

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