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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Israel, The Epicenter Of Spiritual Warfare - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Israel, The Epicenter Of Spiritual Warfare - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Israel, The Epicenter Of Spiritual Warfare - Part 2
TOPICS: Israel, Spiritual warfare

What a privilege to be with you today. We wanna conclude our study on "Israel as the Epicenter of Spiritual Warfare". There's a spiritual battle raging in the earth today. It's far more significant than the political conflicts or even the military conflicts, the spiritual conflict, and at the center of that stage is the Jewish people in the land of Israel. It's where the Jesus story began, and it's where the conclusion will take place. The more we understand it, the better we'll be prepared to participate. Grab your Bible and a notepad but most importantly, open your heart.

Now, there's one more component of this story, and I wanna take the balance of our time with it. It's a topic I think we're afraid of, and that's unfortunate, it's the judgment of God. Judgment can be for you just as much as it can be against you. I learned that on "The People's Court". I have a very sophisticated education. I remember many times hearing Judge Wapner, you remember him? That's before Judge Judy or whoever else they put on the bench lately. But Judge Wapner would always rule in favor of someone. It was judgment in favor of the plaintiff or judgment in favor of the defendant. Judgment was for someone. And it is really a backwards way of understanding and if you only think of judgment in terms of something harsh. But judgment is as much a part of our interaction with God as his promises and his blessings.

Now, Israel helps me understand this, because God has been dealing with his covenant people in that land for more than three millennia. And there is abundant evidence of his judgment there, his judgment both for them, and his judgment against them. And if you don't construct your imagination of God with an awareness of his judgment as an integral part of that, if you only understand God in terms of blessings or in terms of promises, and you don't integrate his judgment into that you will have a very deficient imagination of God. It's an incomplete gospel, and part of the truth is dangerous. Once upon a time, I studied at Hebrew University and before you could do that you had to go to language school.

Six days a week for several weeks, eight or nine hours a day, immersive, only Hebrew in the classroom. I didn't even know the alphabet when I got there. First time they called on me to speak I got so nervous I said, "I'm a pizza" In Hebrew, of course. That's been a while ago, and while I still know a bit of the alphabet and I can pick out occasionally a vocabulary word, I only get about every fourth word. Did you know how much trouble you can get in if you only understand every fourth word? 'Cause every conversation in the Middle East sounds like an argument. I don't know if they're getting ready to give me chocolate cake or hang me from the gallows, I just know there's a lot of passion around it. Well, that's kind of the position you're in with scripture and your faith and the worship of God.

If you only have room for blessings and promises and you don't understand his character, and his sovereignty, and his judgment, there's such a deficiency that it leaves you at a tremendous deficit. God's judgment is expressed in two ways in scripture: in time and in eternity. When I say in time, I mean is a matter of history, not something when we're done with our journey under the sun, but God's judgment in the present and then God's judgment in eternity. The Bible says we all have two appointments. I didn't put it in your notes, but one is death and after death to give an account for your life. We will all give an account to God. But we first interact with God's judgment in time. We don't have to wait till eternity. In fact, I would submit to you if you wait till eternity, you don't deal with his judgments in time, you won't be prepared for eternity. Judgment also reminds us that we're a people under authority.

Now, we don't like that, because we're a race of rebels that starts in Genesis 2, but we are a people under authority. We're under many expressions of authority. We're under civil authority. The Bible tells us to first of all, "Pray for those in authority over us". Kings, whoever they may be. Whether you voted for 'em or you didn't, you have a biblical assignment to pray for those with authority over you from God. We're under spiritual authority. You're either under the authority of the kingdom of God, or you're under the authority of the kingdom of darkness, but one of those has spiritual authority over your life, and it has very little to do with the church in which you sit or the denomination you prefer. We're under authority in our workplace, in our schools.

God established authority in our homes, don't we love that? Politically incorrect, veer away, veer away. Ultimately, the Bible reminds us that every one of us are under God's authority. Well, we can deny he exists, we can proclaim ourself agnostic or atheist. We can say there are many paths and no one can define the way, but none of those things change God's mind, ultimately we're under his authority. I gave you one verse, it's Psalm 100 and the third verse, it's familiar to many of you. "Know that the Lord is God". You have to begin with that. You should know that there is a God and he is Lord. "It is he who made us, and we are his".

We didn't make ourselves. We didn't choose the circumstances of our birth. I've been to the places in the world where poverty is the order of the day. I've been to the Amazon Valley and met people who have very little likelihood of traveling more than 50 miles from where they were born and they've never seen electricity used. And the only primary difference in their life and mine was the circumstances of my birth, and I didn't choose that. It's he who made us, we're his, we're the sheep of his pasture, we're his people. You're God's people, you belong to him, he made you. So when he gives you a pathway towards righteousness or holiness or godliness or purity, he's not asking for your vote, he's telling you the designer's intent, and that frustrates us.

And we look for workarounds and so we try to discredit the messenger, 'cause if we can discredit the messenger, we think we've been relieved of the message. Please don't do that. When you see the Lord, you will not be able to justify your ungodliness because I was a poor presenter. Don't we wish that would work? The judgment of God. It's coming to our lives. It's not just an Old Testament principle. In Luke chapter 12, Jesus is teaching, and he's telling a story about a man, a tremendously successful man, a very wealthy, a very powerful, a very influential person, but he's leading a life void of an awareness of God. And Jesus gives us a description. The man says, "This is what I'll do, I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and I'll store all my grain and my goods, and I'll say to myself, 'You've plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry".

Sounds like the American dream. Do you know it's not necessarily a godly dream? I don't believe God gave you all the life experience and the opportunities and the privileges and the blessings that he's given to us so that we can just squander them on selfish indulgence. We need that experience and wisdom and courage and boldness that's been built through the furnace of trial and experience in life to see his kingdom extended and his name exalted. And God had a message for that man, it's in verse 20. He said, "You're a fool! Because this very night your life will be demanded from you, and who will get what you've prepared for yourself? You're not taking it with you," he said. It's foolish to only live on the plain of what you can see in time.

God's not against blessings or affluence or wealth or achievement or success. He makes all of those things possible. They come to us through his blessing, but he said, don't live for them alone, don't sell your soul, don't compromise your integrity. Don't be reluctant to stand for the truth. "If you will honor me," he said, "I will bless you". We read it in Deuteronomy 28. This man had all the blessings, but he imagined he was a self-made person, and God said, "You're foolish! Tonight I'm calling your marker". Folks, he's gonna call all of our markers one day. Don't be surprised by it, it's an open book test, get ready. It's not a threat, it's a certainty. None of us get out of this alive, be prepared. Don't be frightened, don't be anxious, invest heavily.

Well, I don't mean your money. Jeremiah 25, Jeremiah had the awkward assignment of being a prophet in Jerusalem to tell the people that the enemy was coming, and there was nothing they could do. It's not a message anybody would raise their hand to deliver. Said, "Now prophesy all these words against them and say to them; 'The Lord will roar from on high; he will thunder from his holy dwelling and roar mightily against his land. He'll shout like those who tread the grapes, and shout against all who live on the earth. The tumult will resound to the ends of the earth, for the Lord will bring charges against the nations; he'll bring judgment on all mankind and put the wicked to the sword,' declares the Lord". God's the judge of all.

Now I wanna go to the New Testament, and I want you to listen to me with what Jesus had to say about the Jewish people in the land of Israel. This is our Lord Jesus. Contemporary Christian theology in America suggests that Jesus is all about love. Group hug everybody. We're gonna sing "Kumbaya" until we feel the glory rise. In Luke 19, Jesus is approaching Jerusalem, it's the triumphal entry. The hillside is alive with people acknowledging Jesus, hosanna to the king. The children are shouting with such enthusiasm that the religious leaders are annoyed and say to the disciples, "Shut 'em down". And Jesus said, "You shut them down and the rocks will pick it up".

It's Luke 19, "As he approached Jerusalem and he saw the city, he wept over it and he said, 'If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace, but now it is hidden from your eyes. And the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.'" He's describing a siege against the city. You build an earthen embankment so you can roll the siege engines up against the wall and pound the wall or the gates to make a breach in the wall or break through the gates so you can capture the city you besiege, nobody in and nobody out. "They'll dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They'll not leave one stone on another, because you didn't recognize the time of God's coming to you".

Jesus is pronouncing judgment upon the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. It's his triumphal entry. He hasn't been betrayed yet. His passion hasn't begun. Everybody's celebrating, and Jesus is kinda having a downer moment. He begins to weep, and he pronounces judgment. He gives us a little more insight in Luke 21, "Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God but Jesus said, 'As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.'"

See, when Jesus was there, it was Herod's temple. Herod the Great had built one of the wonders of the ancient world. We still don't know how he did it. Stones cut, limestones cut as large as a bus, a school bus, and fitted in place so carefully there's no mortar required. How did they move them? How did they set them? How did they have the precision to do that? We don't have the technology to do it today. And they called Jesus's attention to it and he said, there's not gonna be one stone left on another. I could take you today to the street beside the Temple Mount where the stones were toppled down onto the pavement.

It was 70 AD when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. They literally tore the temple apart stone at a time. We don't know why. There's all sorts of theories, they were looking for gold but there was an unusual animosity, a hatred, there was an effort invested in destroying the temple, but it fulfilled what Jesus said. Luke 21, he said, "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you'll know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city". The siege was put in place around Jerusalem. The future was dim. But back in Rome, Caesar died and the generals of the legions were throwing their hats in the ring and so did the general that was in charge of the siege of Jerusalem. So the siege was lifted.

Now that siege took place in 70 AD some 40 years earlier is when Jesus is issuing these statements. It's the first time there's a real break between the Jewish believers in Jesus and the larger Jewish population. Up until this point, those who believed Jesus was the Messiah were simply another sect amongst the Jewish people. There were Pharisees and Sadducees and the Essenes and Zealots and those people of the way who believed that Jesus from Nazareth was the Messiah. But in 70, when the siege was lifted there was a significant portion of the population of Jerusalem who were believers in Jesus, they remembered what he said, and they ran for the hills. Understandably, the rest of the citizens felt like they'd been betrayed. And it created a real gap, a real wedge between the two populations.

Now why is that relevant to us? I got a couple minutes. I would submit my opinions. You could disagree with me, or you could save yourself some time and just agree. Next week's lesson will be on humility. Why is this relevant to us? I would submit to you, I believe God's judgment has already begun upon our nation. I don't know a better way to understand what we are witnesses to. It's illogical, it defies reason, it makes no sense. And then I can choose any one of a number of ways to express that I can do it really quickly. Our leaders in our nation, with just a casual glance if we can set aside personal feelings, our leaders are addled, and I think at best we could say corrupt.

The executive branch of our government refuses to accept responsibility for the most basic expressions of leadership in the nation. They don't protect our borders, they don't defend our citizens, instead, they betray the citizens of our nation to foreign nations. Again, not opinion, there's an abundance of evidence on this stuff. It's uncomfortable, we prefer not to look at it, we'd rather be busy, let's just go to the beach, but it's our reality. We've abandoned our troops and allies in Afghanistan. We've empowered, emboldened our enemies around the earth. Our justice department and FBI and intelligence communities have become so politicized that they persecute and prosecute political enemies and cover up malfeasance of their overlords. We've never seen this before. Not on the scale of magnitude that we watch it, and we are so befuddled we don't even know how to find our voice. We're afraid to say these things. The Bill of Rights has been swept aside to empower a few at the cost of the many.

Folks, it's our reality. Economically, the dollar, the American dollar, which is really the backbone of the empire that this nation has built, it's been the international standard of commerce since World War II. Someone suggest since the Industrial Revolution, and it seems highly probable that it'll be replaced by the Chinese currency. Changing, it will be as significant to our future as if we lost a world war. It's hardly discussed. We're more than $30 trillion in debt and demanding more.

Let's give away something else. Votes are blatantly purchased with the government distribution of funds, and we say very little if we can get to the trough ourselves. Morally, truth has been driven into the shadows, and there are shadowy powers that are difficult to label, that are very willing to label ideas in the public square as misinformation and therefore it's banished from public discussion. Free speech has been exchanged for a mindless recitation of the prescribed talking points. Moral boundaries, they have declined to the point where we allow our children to be sexualized, coerced, manipulated, and mutilated. The church, we are struggling to find our voice in the midst of the turmoil. We've been weakened by our pursuit of comfort and convenience.

We struggle to stand against the waves of deception and evil. Let somebody else stand. We wanna go on vacation. We're too distant from the knowledge of scripture, and we're easy prey for deceivers and deception. The church has become unfamiliar with the person of the Holy Spirit, and we forfeit so much of the help that's available to us. To be completely candid, I think the best description is we've been asleep on our watch, which is the gravest of offenses, and we have surrendered much. We've rejected the truth in favor of public approval, and we have brought about a form of godliness that is powerless. We were warned about that in scripture. But with that rosy scenario, I wanna remind you of what God did after Jesus's declaration of judgment on the Mount of Olives in Luke 19.

There's a remarkable move of the Spirit of God. It transformed Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth. I would submit to you that in spite of the pronouncement of judgment and the impact that we can see, that if we will turn our hearts to the Lord, I believe we can experience a move of the Spirit of God who will exceed anything we could've imagined. Peter and James and John and Mary and the rest of the crew that day on the coming down the Mount of Olives with the triumphal entry did not imagine what was about to happen. You can follow their bewilderment through the Book of Acts. And it's time for us to turn our faces and our hearts to the Lord. We'll be witnesses of expressions of evil that are beyond our previous experience.

I have no doubt that's a part of our future, but I'm equally certain that if we'll turn our hearts to the Lord, we'll see the Spirit of God move in ways that is beyond our polite worship services and our sterile observances. If you'll allow me, we're ambassadors on an assignment, and God has it withdrawn from the earth. Just as he's establishing the Jewish people in that land, the hatred of them exist and is growing on a daily basis. Antisemitism is flourishing in the earth. And so is the hatred of Christians, the most persecuted religion on the planet. I put that in a book and the Christian editor gave it back to me and said, "Well, it's true but it's because you're the largest religion". Even the Christians won't stand up for the Christians.

Folks, it's time for us to determine whether we're gonna be ambassadors for Jesus and see his promises fulfilled in our lives and our families and his blessings determine our future, or we will experience his judgment. I wanna honor the Lord, and I know you do too. But to do that we have to oft raise our hands and say we will honor him. That we will turn away from our ungodliness and our compromise. We'll stop welcoming ungodliness at our kitchen table, and we'll begin to tell the truth to one another. We'll wrestle with the awkwardness of that and the discomfort of that and in humility we'll talk about those places we've had to repent and bring alignment, and how we've seen God bless our lives.

We'll let that conversation become normative, a part of our routine again. And let's see what God will do. Let's just see what God will do. Would you join me in that prayer, why don't you stand? If it's up to us, we don't have a chance. God doesn't need the majority. The truth doesn't even need the majority. The truth has a weight in and of itself, amen? We've put our eyes, we've put our faith and our trust and our confidence in the wrong things. We've treated God as if he were some kind of an appendage to be tolerated.

Folks, he is the center of our existence, we are his. He made us, and we're the sheep of his pasture. There's no reason to hide any part of our lives from him. Let's invite him in, he'll make them better. He doesn't need anything from us. He's not opposed to happiness or pleasure or contentment but as the designer, he's shown us the best way to get to those objectives. And if you don't believe him, you need to start to reconcile that. Talk to him about it. You're not gonna surprise him, he's seen stupid before. He's listened to me. Talk to him, talk to him, hallelujah.

Lord, we thank you. You have blessed us, you have given us liberties and freedom and abundance and food, and you've given us so much and we thank you for it. You've brought outcomes to our lives that bewilder our adversaries, and we thank you for it. And Lord, we come today in humility. Teach us to honor you again, give us a love for your Word. Holy Spirit, we welcome you into our lives. Help us to see anything within us that is harmful or limits or diminishes what you created us for. Give us understanding hearts. May the fear of the Lord grow within us. We praise you for it, Lord. You called us out of darkness. You have begun to cleanse us and wash us and sanctify us, and we offer ourselves today.

Have your way in our lives. Forgive us for our stubbornness. Let the awakening you've begun continue. Clear the slumber from our eyes and the grogginess from our hearts. Give us a clarity of thought and a focused intent. May you be pleased with us, with our days under the sun. May we live in such ways that there's a great reward for every one of us when we step into eternity. We praise you for it, we thank you for it. Our desire is to honor you, may you be pleased with us, in Jesus's name, amen.

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