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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - When Judgment Begins - Part 1

Allen Jackson - When Judgment Begins - Part 1

Allen Jackson - When Judgment Begins - Part 1
TOPICS: What Are We to Do?, Judgment

It's good to be with you today. We're gonna continue our study on "What Do We Do"? And I wanna particularly talk to you about when God's judgment begins. I suspect you've heard me say that I think it's a very plausible explanation that God's judgment upon our nation has begun. So a very important question is, "What do we do"? And I don't think the answer is just endure, I think our choices to God will make a difference in how God responds to us in these next few months and in our immediate future. So it's a very important question for the people of God. And spoiler alert, it's not a political solution. Folks, the hearts of God's people will change the destiny of our nation for better or for worse. Grab your Bible and get a notepad but most importantly, open your heart.

I wanna conclude, or I think conclude a study we started a few sessions ago looking at a question that is the most frequently asked question I've had for some months really, probably for a couple of years is, "What are we supposed to do"? Really, since the disruption of COVID and increasingly larger percentage of the population seem to be growing aware that there's change amongst us, rapid change, cataclysmic change, and change that often seems to be going against biblical worldview or Judeo-Christian worldview. New values, new principles. It's very common in the public square these days to hear people say, "In our community". I've read it from leaders in our community.

Well, our community's not like it was 40 years ago we shouldn't behave the way we did. And they're setting aside the moral values and the ideas that defined to us marriage and family. Folks, the fact that something's new doesn't always mean it's better. Don't apologize because you believe your Bible, or because you've embraced a biblical worldview, or you believe marriage is between a man and a woman. Please don't apologize for that, don't feel ashamed or embarrassed. You haven't abandoned your intellect or checked your IQ at the door. It doesn't mean your education is inadequate or insufficient. Amen, you don't have to be angry about it or belligerent about it, and you certainly don't be violent about it, but you're entitled to your opinion, a biblically informed opinion.

And in the midst of all that change people are saying to me frequently and just about any place I go, "What can we do"? And there's a lot of confusion around that and a lot of frustration around that, and so I wanna pick it up as a topic. We spent a couple of sessions just identifying some of the components that the Bible tells us will be in play before the Lord returns. Because it seems there's kind of two big options right now. Is this the end of the age? Are we coming to the end of all time? Is Jesus of Nazareth returning to the earth, gonna rule and reign on the earth and wrap everything up? Is that why things are getting difficult? And then that's a legitimate question. I'm of the opinion that that's not imminent in the sense that I don't think that's the next thing on the calendar.

I think it's a more likely answer right now that what we're witnessing is the end of an empire. We're witnessing and living in the midst of the dissolution of the authority that has come largely, we would call it from America but it's really come from the dollar. And I don't wanna get into to all the reasons why I think that's true, I think it could be changed, but I would understand that as God's judgment. And so I think what we do really does matter. So for this session, my topic is that I'd like to focus on, is what do we do when judgment begins?

Now, I don't want it to be frightening, and I know it can be because it's about change, but all change doesn't have to be negative, and all judgment doesn't mean it's against you, judgment can be in your favor. We all learned that from the People's Court. Or Judge Judy or whomever you watched, you know, I don't know who the newest version of that is, but judgment was always for somebody. It was for the plaintiff or for the defendant, it wasn't against anyone. And you wanna lead your life in such a way that when it's time for God's judgment to intervene in time that God judges for you. If you're doing anything else, it's foolish. You wanna live your life every day that if God's judgment became imminent for you, it would be in your favor. It's just every other bet is just not clever.

So that's the topic, we're gonna unpack it for a few minutes, but I wanna kind of kick that off because if you've been paying any attention, The Theatre of the Absurd is open again. I don't think it ever closed, but it seems they've released several new programs and the latest set of versions seem to be more about fear and terror, but the new presentations are unsettling. They really defy the ability to respond to them logically 'cause while you're trying to formulate a logical response, they release a new presentation. And lately, it seems more like a horror show. And much of it that's been capturing my attention has been centered on the open border.

You know, I know there's a lot of posturing and a lot of dialogue, but it was just a casual glance in the IQ of Iraq. You have to acknowledge that our border is open, the world knows it's open. And it's no longer just about Mexico or Central America, there are people coming from the nations of the world, dozens, and dozens, and dozens, of nations headed to our border which is open so that there is no immigration status, or immigration principle, or immigration policy. But there are several very significant crises that that has already unleashed amongst us. Not the least of which, but perhaps the least discussed of which is the trafficking of children. It's inconvenient, it's not a conversation for polite company.

Many would say, "It shouldn't be mentioned in church". I couldn't disagree more. They're selling children because of the open border in our nation in unprecedented numbers. You have to live with that a little bit. It's awkward, it's uncomfortable, we tend to say, "What can I do"? We can do a lot, we can insist they close the border. It wouldn't end the problem. I'm not suggesting that the only reason children are being trafficked into the sex trades is because we have an open border, but that has created a momentum for that that has changed the dynamic in this nation. And we have tolerated it. We've looked the other... we had a president that wanted to build a fence and the political swamp on both sides of the discussion acted as if there wasn't enough funding.

We've given away two and a half trillion dollars since then. We had an abundance of resources, we had no intention of closing the border. I would submit to you until we get on our knees and put our faces on the carpet and say, "God, we're sorry for what we've allowed to happen to children on our watch". Kathy and I went and saw a movie the "Sound of Freedom" the other day. If that's not an... I mean, we stood silently by and said, while 60 million children were lost, and we talked about other things, choices, laws, baloney. Those responses will feel very inadequate when you meet those people, and they're awaiting us. And we step out of time, we have those people as a part of our welcoming committee. See, it's never too late to do the right thing, it's never too late to stand up for righteousness, and godliness, and holiness.

Now, all of our lives have been impacted by this directly and indirectly. My goal isn't to create shame or embarrassment or humiliation, my goal is to invite us towards the truth so that we can humble ourselves and repent. We can be clean, we can be free. But all of those things we're watching are really the result of the casual way with which we've treated the biblical attitudes towards sexuality, and morality, and immorality. You know, on top of all of that, the illegal drugs that are flowing over our border, the fentanyl overdoses, the deaths that are being calculated now by the tens of thousands. We act as if we don't notice that the world is producing and dumping illegal drugs that are incredibly destructive into our population.

The world laughs at us for the feckless way that we're defending our freedoms and our liberties. It's an invasion, it's an orchestrated invasion. Overwhelming our ability to respond to it, our educational systems, our healthcare systems, our government services. It diminishes the assets of every US citizen, it diminishes our citizenship. We treat it so shabbily we don't even protect our borders. If you need a way to help your imagination catch up, just imagine you took the locks off your house and you opened the doors and said, "Anybody that who wants to come in just come ahead. Whatever you need, make yourselves at home".

How long would your home maintain an atmosphere that would be comfortable for you and your family? It's a larger scale that's a very similar idea. It's absurd, it's indefensible and it's so apparent, it's so blatantly clear. Third graders can understand it if they're presented with the truth. And it persists year, over year. This isn't about a political party folks, this is about a political system that doesn't have the will to defend its citizens. And I would submit to you, it's far more about a church that is so determined not to notice the destructive behaviors around us. That we will tell Bible studies and do Word studies around original language issues before we will deal with the expressions of evil and destruction that are reigning down upon us. God be merciful to us.

So when judgment begins, what do we do? Well, the best beginning point is the one that we've been talking about now for quite a while. I think we have to watch and listen, you have to pay attention. You can't afford to just bury your head in the sand and determine to do your own routine, and keep up with your vacation schedule and do the things that your family wants to do, you gotta watch and listen to what's happening in the world. Now I don't think you need to spend hours every day doing that it'll overwhelm you, about 10 minutes a day, you're up to speed. The rest of the loop is just a repeat and a rinse. You need to watch and you listen, you think, you gotta actually turn your brain on. Does that feel truthful? Is what they're saying to me look like, does it line up with the reality that's around me? And then you have to be willing to act. You don't have to act in anger, not in violence but you gotta be willing to do something.

Makes Christians nervous when you start talking to 'em about acting. We'd rather get together and pray. You know, the model that's prevailed in the church in my lifetime and the American evangelical community is, "Ready, aim, aim, aim. Can we get together and pray and aim, and aim, and have a covered dish dinner, and somebody check our aim. Why did we get here"? "I don't know. Are we ready yet"? "I'm not sure". And we never get around to doing very much. Or if we do, we'll go do social service projects that the civic organizations are already doing. The church is not a social civic club. That's not our assignment. We're to hold up the light in the darkness, which is often uncomfortable. If you've ever been in the dark very long and you step into the light, it's not a particularly comfortable moment. There's a lot of squinting and a lot of blinking and there's tears and it takes a while to be adjusted.

Well, I wanna take, you know, there's a long history in scripture and this is really very much a sampling, this is like some light hors d'oeuvres. But there's a long history in scripture of God's judgments. God's judgments in history. The ultimate judgment of God in our lives is in eternity, for both the Christ follower and for the nonbeliever. When we step out of time, one of the things that is before us that's inevitable and inescapable, is the judgment of God. For the Christ follower's not a judgment of destiny, but it's a judgment of reward. We're not all gonna receive the same thing. God is not a socialist. That's probably another session 'cause there's a lot of pressure, a lot of people wanna believe that he is.

I hear people say some really goofy things like, "Pastor, it doesn't really... I just wanna make it in the door". Really? Let's just apply that logic to your marriage. "You know, I don't want you to feel like overly appreciated. My goal is most nights just to make it in the door". How many of you'd sign up for that commitment? You know, you understand well, if you look out your kids together and listen and say, "You know, you're mine and I know I've got some responsibilities, I'm supposed to probably feed you, care for you, help train you, but here's more what I'm thinking". It's absurd. You wanna be as heavily invested in the kingdom of God as you consciously know how to be. And anything less than that is so disrespectful I wouldn't let it come out of my mouth.

You don't wanna stand before the creator of all things and say, "Well you know, I was just looking for the absolute possible minimum requirement". "Well, come right in". We've had this backwards in our heads, we have. So when we recognize that there are spiritual things afoot, when there are spiritual consequences being played out in an escalated way, how do we respond? In scripture, the responses of God's people vary widely. What I will tell you is that our responses in the face of God's judgment make a tremendous difference in God's determination towards us, so this is important stuff.

I'll give you some examples. Some will be familiar, maybe some less so. We'll look at some Old Testament, some New Testament. You'll have to listen quickly, we can't read everything you've got. We'll start with Josiah. He's a king in Israel, king in Judah. Jerusalem is his capital. He comes to the throne when he is a young man, he's a boy actually. And he initiated a remodeling of the temple. They cared so little about God that the place where they worshiped was in total disrepair. And I believe that the places where we've worshiped and the care we give to them. You know, we get all tense about the content but the care with which we give to them is an expression of the value we attach to the Lord, amen. I mean, we haven't always had nice buildings and we certainly haven't had any technology.

I was here when all we had was a tent. And we would stand up in the middle of the worship service and toss the insect repellent around the sanctuary, and all we had was a portable bathroom. And I learned something about bathrooms at church, they're more a social experiment than they are about a necessity. 'Cause when all you have is a portable bathroom outside the tent, it gets very little activity. Now I'm meddling, where was I going? Josiah, he became king when he was very young, and he began remodeling the temple. And when they're remodeling the temple, they found hidden in the wall the book of the law, they had lost their Bible. And as bizarre as that seems, it seems me as the church in our nation we have lost our Bibles.

We talk about what we think and how we feel, and we're trying to accommodate a secular culture when in reality we're supposed to hold out the truth to the culture. We're supposed to be culture shapers not being shaped by the culture. I'm not looking to negotiate with evil, I'm looking to remind the people of what it means to lead a righteous life. Not that we always can achieve those objectives ourselves with perfection, but it is the goal that we hold out and we're not allowed to compromise. We're not allowed to negotiate away the standard. Imagine going to the hospital and the doctor said, "Well, you know, we wanted the OR to be sterile, but it's so hard to do. So we've really cut back, we've just asked 70% of the people that work in here to scrub in and the rest of 'em we just trust 'em".

I'm leaving. And we cannot yield the standard because it's difficult. Josiah, I really am going to Josiah. "When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. And he gave these orders to the priest," and some other people. "Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all of Judah about what's written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord's anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they haven't acted in accordance with all that is written concerning us". To tear your robes is an expression of grief, of mourning. As if you've heard of a death announced of someone you love. So he tears his robes that the grief he feels, because he recognizes there's a tremendous difference between what they're called to do in scripture and the way they have been living generationally. And he says something that is easy to read past, but it truly takes a lot of courage. He said, "Our fathers have behaved miserably, and we're behaving miserably".

So he sends someone to inquire of the Lord. And I put just a portion of it in your notes, this is the response, "Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, 'Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence,'" just for a moment it's worth noting God was aware of Josiah's responses. He said, "I saw you weeping, I saw your expressions of grief, I saw your anguish".

I wonder what it's gonna take to shake us out of apathy and indifference. Ambivalence is not an expression of faithfulness. What's it gonna take? I don't know the answer to that yet. You see, the answer is, and it's not a new answer, but the temptation say, "Well, you know, things have always been like this. People have always been wicked". I've got a degree in history. I can give you chapter and verse from generation after generation where people behave abominably towards one another. But I can also tell you that biblically Peter, when he gets to the end of his life, he said, "There are people who say, 'Where is this coming you talk about, things have always been the same.'" That was Peter. That's just about 40 years into the deal. And the people are already saying, "Where is this coming? Where is God's intervention"?

And one of the most powerful messages that I hear that is beset us is, it's just always like this. No it hasn't been folks. We haven't always redefined marriage. We haven't always offered our children up to be mutilated by the most well-trained scientist and medical personnel amongst us. We haven't turned our schools and our public libraries over to perversion, but we have now. I agree people have behaved horribly towards one another. And you don't have to look far to find that but we're watching the institutionalization, the capitulation to things that have not defined our lives for several generations. God said to Josiah, he said, "You tell him I saw his response". "I saw his response".

May I ask you a question? It's when I ask myself, if God were to react based on my response, what would he do? Am I grieved? What am I doing? How am I reacting? "You tell the king, I saw his response". Let's finish this. "'When you heard that I've spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you. Therefore, I will gather you to your fathers, and you'll be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I'm going to bring on this place.' So they took the answer back to the king".

So we've got a little stone now, we've got a little learning block around God's judgment. The judgment God has pronounced, he hasn't withdrawn it, but he said, "Because of your choices, because of the attitude of your heart, it'll be delayed". There's a reprieve for a season. What if the king who'd followed Josiah, what if the leadership that had come in his place, what if his own son had built upon the pattern that he'd seen in his father and had extended it? I think it's a logical conclusion to think that God would've given him a reprieve. Then reality, his son became more wicked than the previous king. But your choices and my choices matter.

So when we talk about the judgment of God, and the trends of culture, and social movements and all this stuff, we have to believe that God is more powerful than governments, and politics, and parties, and elections, we have to hold that truth. We have to believe there's a weight to the truth that is more significant than a majority. God doesn't have to have a majority, he needs people who will stand with his truth, it's a beginning point. Now, in this case, the covenant people of God didn't choose to repent in any broad way.

You know, our adversary tells us we're not important. That we don't know enough important people, or powerful people, or influential people, but I wanna remind you of something, the creator of heaven and earth knows you by name. He keeps count of the number of hairs on your head. So you are valuable and you are important, you're significant in the unfolding purposes of God. Let's pray:

Father, I thank you that you've called us to this unique season. That we are your ambassadors and your representatives. Give us the wisdom to make choices that will bring your blessings upon our homes, our families, our communities, and our nation, in Jesus's name, amen.

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