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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Israel, God's Word And You - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Israel, God's Word And You - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Israel, God's Word And You - Part 2
TOPICS: Israel

It's an honor to be with you today. We're going to continue our study on Israel, God's Word and you, I just got back from Israel and spent some time in Jerusalem once again. It's always a living reminder of God's faithfulness to his Word. You know, most of us come to faith through church and activities related with formal expressions of religion. When I'm in Israel, it reminds me of something totally different, it's about, it's an organic relationship between Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth and his people in the earth. He's watching over his Word. He'll be faithful to his promises. That's been true with the Jewish people. It'll be true with you and me. Grab your Bible and a notepad. Most importantly, open your heart.

I've been imploring you for several weeks and months now, to take the truth to your kitchen tables, to talk about what you believe to be biblical and right and correct. It's the hardest place in the world to do it, because they're family, and we love one another, and we want our holidays to be happy. God's truth separates. What will we do with that? Will we choose the truth or will we disown it? Will we not acknowledge it? I don't think Jesus is talking principally about some public forum when you have a microphone. If you sit at your kitchen table and you deny the truth, and you embrace evil and ungodliness, and immorality and wickedness, and you sponsor it, do we really think he's going to be our advocate? We want someone else to stand up on our behalf in a pulpit or in a political race or some public platform, and we're reluctant to do it in the privacy of our home?

God's truth is a sword in our own hearts. We've all been on the wrong side of it. We've all had to come back in humility and repent and renounce and release. It's the message we have. The Gospel is enough. Sin doesn't have the power to hold you captive or to write your future. The good news of the Gospel is that God sent his Son and he gave his life on a Roman cross, that every claim Satan could level against us can be broken. His authority over our lives has been defeated, if we will come in humility and repent. We've been trying to accommodate sin, to explain sin, to excuse sin, to justify sin. "It's how I feel, it's what I want; when I'm done with it, I'll make a change".

That's a very, very dangerous choice. Hebrews 6:5, with another statement about God's Word. We've tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the coming age. It intrigues me. We've tasted the goodness of the Word of God. It's like the hors d'oeuvre for the power of God that we will see in the coming age. If we'll submit to the authority of God's Word, it's good for us. It doesn't always feel good for us. My parents had a line when I was younger, I bet you heard it too. "All right, this is gonna hurt me a lot more than it's gonna hurt you".

I knew if I heard that line, what was coming next was not gonna be a blessing. And it never looked to me like they were in so much anguish. I could feel my anguish. Y'all heard that line, too. The goodness of the Word of God. It doesn't always feel good, sometimes it makes me feel awkward, sometimes it's frightening to me. Sometimes it feels like I'm bumping up against something and I don't want that barrier, I don't want that warning, I don't want that caution. I'd rather have license to be angry or whatever it is that I'm bumping up against. The goodness of the Word of God. It's a wonderful little prayer to pray, "God, I believe your Word is good. I choose to believe it's good for me. I'll submit to its authority and its precepts".

Stop finding the one verse you don't understand and start trying to focus on the one you do. I'm amazed, we go find the one verse that seems contradictory to us and we go, "Well you know, I can't believe that. Did God create the world in 6 x 24 hour periods? Or do you believe in a young earth or an old..."? I'm old, I'm not that old, I can have an opinion, but at the end of the day, what the book tells me is God created the heavens and the earth. I'm in, I believe there's a Creator, designer, God. I don't believe something came from nothing. That makes no sense to me, no matter how long a period of time you have, something's not coming from nothing. But I'm amazed. Well you don't say, "Well, you know, with my education, Pastor, it's just hard for me to believe in Genesis". Well, bless your pointed head.

So, with all of your education and all the letters at the end of the name and all your sophistication, you think it's easier to believe something came from nothing? Well just rock on with your bad self. The barn I grew up in didn't make sense. There's a Creator of heaven and earth, the goodness of the Word of the Lord. Look at Isaiah 55, "A word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it". God's Word is not futile, it will not return empty. It expresses his desires and his intent. I stand in Israel, I watch that nation transforming, visit after visit, year over year, and I think only God's Word could do this, only an authority beyond human beings could do this.

This isn't the result of political maneuverings. God's Word expresses his desires and intent. God's Word is released with power. Look at Psalm 19: "The law of the Lord is perfect. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy. The precepts of the Lord are right. The commands of the Lord are radiant. The fear of the Lord is pure. The ordinances of the Lord are sure". All descriptions for the Word of God. "They're more precious than gold, than much pure gold". We don't act like that's true. "They're sweeter than honey, than the honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned, in keeping them there is great reward".

In yielding to the Word of God there is great reward. Start to practice it, say, "God help me see the places where I don't yield to your authority. I would like to yield to your authority. I'll serve when I can serve, I'll give with generosity, I'll be obedient where I've been disobedient". It's not that complicated, it's not beyond our intellect, it's been beyond our intent. "I will pray, I will read, I will think about what you're doing, I will cultivate a boldness for you that I haven't had. I'll not be more bold in advocating for an athletic team than my boldness in advocating for your Kingdom".

Whatever team you advocate for, you know it annoys the love of Jesus out of a lot of other people and you could care less. And yet, when it comes to matters of faith, our mantra is, "Well, I don't want to be divisive". I don't wanna be angry or belligerent or condemning, but I'm not gonna back away from the truth of Scripture, it brings freedom and liberty to people. It's a good thing, there's a reward in keeping the Word of God.

I brought you some promises. Now I'm not going to dwell on them, but I can't come from the land of Israel and not point you back to what God promised in Genesis and Genesis 12. "God said to Abram, if you'll leave your hometown and your relatives and go to the land that I'll show you, I will make you into a great nation. I'll bless you, I'll make your name great, you'll be a blessing. I'll bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you". Are you kidding me? "Abram, if you'll move, I'll make you into a nation. I will be your advocate. If somebody blesses you, I'll bless them, and if somebody curses you, I'll curse them". Are you kidding me? That's pretty personal. And Abram said, "Yes".

Jewish tradition says that he came from a very wealthy family of idol makers. And he said yes. The Jewish people represent a little bit less than 2/10ths of 1% of the world's population. A little less than 2/10ths of 1%, and yet they have received 20% of the Nobel Prizes awarded. I'd call that a great nation. Between 1901 and 2022, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to more than 900 individuals and organizations. At least 211 of them have been Jewish. I made a list, a short list, a brief list. It's not by any means a complete list. You'll know some of these names: Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Niels Bohr, Benjamin Disraeli, Irving Berlin, Milton Friedman, Harry Houdini, Steven Spielberg, Karl Marx, George Soros. Jewish people have had a tremendous impact in the world.

Being Jewish doesn't mean you yield to the authority of God's Word any more than sitting in church does, any more than saying a prayer in the name of Jesus does. It should also be noted that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jewish man, our Lord and King is a part of the fulfillment of the promise God made to Abram. Genesis 13, "The Lord said to Abram..." He and Lot had a little spat. He gave Lot the choice of the nation and Lot chose the portion he wanted and Abram was took whatever was left. This was God's instruction. "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, north, south, east and west. All the land that you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants". What's the next word? "Forever".

When does forever end? Never. "That's your land, Abram. It's yours and your kids and their kids after them, it's their land forever". It annoys the United Nations. It's a problem for the nations of the Middle East. It has become so fashionable to manipulate history, it's staggering to me how we rewrite it. We need a tool to change an ideology, so we rewrite, our history. It's not a new thing, we've done it as long as we've written history, but we're doing it in the current generation with a freedom from the facts that is stunning. So we come up with things like the 1619 project. Or we come up with a map of the Middle East that was drawn by European leaders on a napkin over breakfast. The end of World War I, and we act like Israel is an intrusion into that planet.

David was king in Jerusalem, 1000 BC, chose Jerusalem as the capital city of the empire that he would shepherd. Muhammad was born in the 7th century AD. So more than 1500 years before Muhammad was born, David was king in Jerusalem over a Jewish nation. And the global talking point is that the Jewish people don't have a right to the land. It's interesting history. "I'll give it to you and your descendants forever". Genesis 15:1: "After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in the vision, saying, 'Don't fear, Abram, I'm your shield. Your reward shall be very great.'"

Your reward shall be very great. God's promise is being lived out in front of us; we better find out what God's promises are regarding us. Don't just look at the Jewish people and go, "Oh I wonder what he said to me"? We've been grafted into the same covenant; the same covenant God made with Abraham is available to you and me because of our faith in Jesus Christ. The dividing wall between Jew and non-Jew has been torn down through the Cross of Jesus Christ. God has a purpose and a plan and a place in his emerging purposes in the earth for you and me, that's just as certain, that's just as clear.

I'm gonna close this, my time's about gone, shock. With the blessings of God, but if you're gonna believe in the blessings and embrace the blessings, you also have to consider the consequences of not cooperating with God. You see, his blessings are not arbitrary, and the biblical word for the opposite of the blessing is a curse. And our typical response to that is, "Oh, I don't believe in those. That's, you know, I'm too sophisticated, too educated, too emotionally intact". What we're saying is, "I don't believe there's any consequence for disobedience. I believe I can recreate God in my own personal preference. I'm not gonna be bothered with something that is sovereign. I mean, okay, he created the place, but he needs my help".

Israel is a land of tremendous blessings and abundant reminders of the consequences of ignoring God. It's true, modern day Israel is flourishing, but if you look carefully around the land, you'll see all sorts of piles of rocks and stories of terrific pain and suffering that came upon the inhabitants of the land when they chose not to cooperate with God. I spent three days last week in Galilee in the Northern part of Israel and there's three cities that were very prominent in the pages of our gospels that are nothing more than piles of rubble today.

Capernaum is one, it was the base of Jesus' ministry, he moved there from Nazareth, very important city in his day. It's a pile of rubble destroyed by an earthquake and never rebuilt. Chorazim, Bethsaida, two equally significant cities on the northern end of the Sea of Galilee, but Jesus spoke a curse over them. He said, "If the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom and Gomorrah, they would have repented long ago, but you haven't repented, and so now you'll go down to the depths". It's a serious thing to take the blessings of God and then just use them for our self-indulgence and not understand that they come with conditions.

Deuteronomy 28, the first 14 verses are filled with blessings, it blesses every part of your life, they're pretty familiar to you. The end of that chapter discusses what happens if you choose not to cooperate with the Lord. I won't read the whole passage, but I'll read a portion. It said: "Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you". You say, "Well, that's not fair, God's mean". No, it's a revelation of his character. If you'll cooperate with the designer's intent, it will go really well for you; but if you ignore the designer's intent, the wheels are gonna come off the wagon.

I'm very fortunate I have a car to drive. It works very well on dry land, but if I tried to drive it to Israel, about 200 yards off the coast, I'd have a problem. It just wouldn't work. It's not designed to work that way. I want it to work that way, I don't like big planes and long rides, I'd rather drive myself. So I've just decided to be a person of faith, and I'm gonna drive. Well, you can decide it all you want, knucklehead, about a hundred yards off the coast, you'll be completely out of luck. And we treat God as if his Word's irrelevant, as if we're the authority. "Oh, I don't wanna believe that, I don't wanna think about that, I don't wanna cooperate with that".

God, in the plainest of language, he said, "Listen, it would delight me to bless every aspect of your life. But if you choose to live beyond the designed intent, it's not gonna go well. You'll be uprooted from the land you're entering to possess. And the Lord will scatter you among all the nations, from one end of the earth to the other. And there you'll worship other gods, gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you'll find no response, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing and a despairing heart. You'll live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life".

It is a description of what the Jewish people have endured. It could not be more accurate. It's a serious thing to ignore God. The promises are conditional. I didn't write 'em down for you, but I'll give you seven points real quick. I'm gonna read 'em. You can listen later and write 'em down. The promises are conditional. The primary condition for fulfilling the promises is the desire in your heart and mine to honor and serve the Lord. If you don't have that intent, you're not going to live in the blessing.

Third, if we choose ungodliness, we will forfeit the blessings and receive the curses. Number four, God's grace often delays judgment. This is so important. I'm gonna talk about this more in the next session. God's grace often delays the judgment. There are examples, there are places in Scripture where there is exemplary judgment, judgment that is immediate. You know some of the places, Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts. They lied about a donation, but it was really a desire. They wanted a place of authority that they weren't willing to make the sacrifice for, and they dropped dead. Now everybody that lies at church doesn't drop dead, can I get an Amen?

We'd be having church in a parking lot cause we're not going back in that building. But the church was fledgling, it was new, he had to establish holiness and purity in the eyes of his people. Sodom and Gomorrah, not every city that's immoral was destroyed. Aaron's sons, they were trained to represent the people to God. They had a very unique place of power and authority, and they took it upon themselves to be disobedient, and God took their lives. And said to Moses, "Don't say a word to me about it". There were many priests who were immoral and ungodly and wicked and selfish, they didn't all die, but God was establishing something. The priesthood was very new, exemplary judgments. God's grace often delays judgment. You should not imagine that judgment delayed is judgment absent.

Number five, we possess a quality for significant self-deception. We have this amazing ability to give ourselves license and excuse. We won't honor our parents. "Well, it's a blended family, it's a broken family". We have all our reasons. "I won't forgive. Well, I mean, I'm going to be immoral, but I'll say I'm sorry later". We have an amazing capacity for self-deception. Six, God's mercy is expressed in redemption. He goes on to say, "I will restore you". Redemption is to restore, it's his mercy, but it's very important to know that God's grace and his mercy are not infinite. If they were infinite, there would be no judgement.

And the last passage I gave you is Revelation. I won't read it, we'll pick it up tomorrow. He's talking to a church, a church listed in the book, a church for whom he has a message. And he says, "You think you're rich and wealthy and you have no needs whatsoever, but you're blind and naked and pitiful and in need of all things". How messed up do you have to be, to be blind and naked and not know it? Come on, I mean, if you showed up at church wearing nothing but your good intentions, we would know you were messed up. You're high on something other than Jesus, and you don't even know it. And that's the condition of that church.

It's eerily close to what we are watching in our world. God's Word, you can trust it. Yield to it, stop fighting against it, stop being angered by it, stop resenting people that are encouraging you to cooperate with it. Begin to yield to the Word of God, enjoy the blessings. God is moving in the earth. He's gathering the Jewish people, he's washing them, he's purifying his church. The purposes of God will prevail. With his help and his mercy, I intend to participate, and I would invite you to, as well. I brought you a prayer. If you'll stand with me, we'll close with this. You ready? What a privilege to pray with you. Prayers change things. Amen.

Almighty God, You have blessed us as a people. Our lives have been defined by Your expressions of grace and mercy. You have repeatedly poured out Your Spirit upon us, directing us back to You. Yet, we continue to rebel, to choose unrighteousness and to pursue our own interests. Forgive us of our sins, turn our hearts back to You, cleanse us from our filth, renew our hearts, restore our love of your word, and deliver us from the spirit of the world. O Lord, you are our hope and our redeemer, we humble ourselves and repent. Look upon us with mercy once again, in Jesus' name, amen.

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