Allen Jackson - Family, Fathers, And Faith - Part 2
We've been doing a study on family, fathers, and faith, and I want to continue that because it seems to me that those three words, those three ideas, those three biblical concepts are under a full-scale assault. Family has been redefined and the church has had little to say about it other than we were okay with it. We don't wanna be seen as bigoted or hateful or judgmental. And so, I'm really surprised at how readily we will accept secular definitions about things that are sacred. God defined family, he didn't take a vote. And we need to understand his definition. Fatherhood was God's idea. That didn't start in our hearts. God created Adam and he said, "It's really not good that he's alone. I'm gonna create a helper for him".
And so, God established that notion of marriage. He established us, he created us male and female, and we have rather readily surrendered those things in order to be accepted or integrated into a more secular discussion. And it's very visible in our churches and it's very visible in our schools, it's very visible in our universities, and, tragically, it's almost equally true in our Christian universities and schools. And understanding those roles and why they're important and not being apologetic or ashamed or afraid matters a great deal. If we surrender them, we will lose our freedom and liberty because they are at the heart of our story. In fact, I would submit to you that family, fathers, and faith are really heavenly assignments. They didn't begin with us. They come to us from God. There's many ways to understand them.
I gave you some of the offices or roles that are presented in scripture, and I think they're all embodied in this, the notion of a prophet, the priest, and a king. Those are all concepts we're introduced to in the Old Testament, but they are very much a part of the story of the New Testament, and under the Lordship of Jesus, we are invited into those roles. Prior to Jesus, you needed a priest to represent you to the Lord. You couldn't just fire up your grill and offer your own sacrifice. You took your sacrifice to the priest. That's a bit offensive to those of us who have lived in an egalitarian culture where one person, one vote, and we're all equal before the law. That was not the approach to the Creator of heaven and earth prior to our great High Priest, Jesus of Nazareth. You needed a priest.
A part of the revelation of the New Covenant is that we have a great high priest who's gone before us into the heavens, who is our advocate before the Father, that we have been given permission to approach him in our times of need and, because of that, you don't not longer, you don't need me or a professional Christian to represent you, you have an intermediary, the man, Jesus Christ. But, you have a priestly role. And if you ignore the role, there's a function that you are declining, an outcome, a responsibility. The same is true with a prophet. A prophet is not biblically, primarily, a foreteller, a future predictor. We have misunderstood that. There are some times that is the case, but, principally, the prophet was to bring God's perspective to God's people.
Listen to the prophets that...I mean, you're reading about them through the historical books, you're getting ready to step into the prophets. They're consistently saying to the people, "You're in the wrong lane, you're behaving wrong, you're choosing poorly, what are you doing"? And anything that has to do with the future typically has to do with the consequence to their wrong choices, but it isn't so much about, you know, it's not just some whimsical prediction of the future, it's an addressing the issue in their lives. We desperately need the prophetic perspective in our world today. Not what year is this going to happen, but what does God think about what we are doing? And the king is a bit more obvious, I think, it's an authority issue, it's a leadership role, an administrative function. And we've been called to be administrators of a kingdom, to lead.
Why, we talk about leading with our faith. So many of us are world-class leaders in some arena in business or corporate settings or technology or the hobby of your choice or just an infinite number of things, but when it comes to your faith, we are mute. We're reluctant to assert an opinion. It's as if we imagine that's not... it is our responsibility. You're the light. If the place you work is dark, turn on the light. If your neighborhood is wicked, be the light. Well, that'd be awkward. It can be. And then we're introduced to some other roles, and I think in this notion of family and fathers and faith, it's important, watchman. Ezekiel talks about the watchman's responsibility to be aware of threats and to sound an alarm and if they fail to sound the alarm, the message is uncomfortable. It says the blood will be on your hands.
If you don't provide the warning that you should provide, you are guilty. On the other hand, if you provide the warning and people don't heed it, then they're accountable. So, this isn't something... passive faith is not a biblical idea. Making peace with wickedness is not a biblical idea. I would submit to you, God doesn't encourage us to be tolerant of evil. Well, that message will get you uninvited. I've made rooms full of Christians very quiet. And then the other role is of the gatekeeper. And in these places, in our family systems, we all stand in these places as watchmen, as gatekeepers. You're responsible for what's allowed in. Into our homes, into our discussions, into our behavior patterns and our family systems, and if you assimilate ungodliness and wickedness and you say nothing because you wanna maintain the peace or you don't want a disruption then you accept the guilt of the wickedness and the ungodliness yourself.
I know it's not the happiest of messages, but if you put it in terms of something that you're very grateful for, your immune system, there are many layers to your immune system. Your immune system helps to keep you strong and healthy and protected many, many times over the course of a day, and you have little or, if any, awareness of it. And it is constantly doing battle to keep you healthy and strong and overcoming things that would not only diminish your wellbeing, would destroy you. Well, we have an assignment to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in maintaining our spiritual health, and that requires us to be conscious of these heavenly assignments, as prophet, priest, king, gatekeeper, watchman. And if you abdicate those roles, understand... you say, "Well, I'm not involved in that". But, if you're giving tacit approval to that, if you're providing cover for that, if you're providing encouragement for that, then you've made yourself vulnerable. It's a serious place.
You know, one of the tools that's being used very effectively right now is the redefinition of words. And we're incredibly gullible. We're incredibly gullible. People relabel things and they call themselves something. You know, they say, "I'm a furry," and identify as a cat. You're not. You're a human being. I'm sorry, I have compassion, I'll pray. Oh wait, I'll be equally offensive across the whole spectrum here, I suspect, before we're done. But I'm amazed at how quickly we allow these definitions to be changed. I made the observation earlier, if you decide to call an elephant an eagle, it doesn't mean the pachyderm can fly. And you can call it an eagle, you can put it in a picture and relabel it, and you can use AI and make it look like they can float, fill their trunk with helium, but it's still an elephant. And we are manipulating language, we're changing family. We've redefined it, God hasn't. Church? Church, help your children.
You know, in the Hebrew language and in the Greek language, and other languages as well but I'm more familiarity there, the same word is used for a man or a husband. And you have to know, you decide by context which to use. The same is true for the word woman or wife. Same word in Greek or Hebrew, I don't mean in both languages, but the same words used in each language, and you decide which is appropriate by the context. So, there is no confusion when God said that it wasn't good for the man to be alone, that he created a woman. It was God's idea. It's implemented very early in the narrative. So, we live in a time where we have women who say they're husbands and men who say they're wives and we nod like that makes perfect sense. And because we want to be included with the inclusive, enlightened, not antiquated, we capitulate.
We have to help our children. We have to tell them the truth, we have to talk to them about why a hundred years after your heart stops beating, if we can examine your skeleton, we can determine your sex. And this redefinition is a farce, and its root is the spirit of antichrist because it intends to displace the authority of the true King over our lives. And you can say all of those things in love or kindness, the people who will respond to you will probably be less so, but it doesn't diminish the truth. To be the head of a family is a sacred life assignment. It's a sacred life assignment, and if your family is intact and everything about it, you know, meets those definitions, that there's something to be celebrated there. If your family is an adaptation, accept the role in where you find yourself. Don't feel inadequate or incomplete or rejected.
Jesus had a borrowed dad. And the last I checked, his story turned out pretty well. Is that fair? Understand that to be in family is a leadership role, it's a priestly role, it's a warrior's role, and we're watching the collapse of our culture. And a significant contributor to that is because men, especially, one, have been diminished, and I think we were able to be diminished because for far too long we wanted to maintain our adolescence well into middle age and beyond. We didn't wanna accept the responsibility that came with being men and husbands and fathers, and then it made it easier for those who wanted to displace those roles to begin to diminish it, and it has been relentless in that. Telling our daughters they can do anything a boy can do. No, that's just not accurate. Any more than telling our sons that they can do anything that our daughters can do. It's not accurate either. We're not lesser or greater, but we are very different.
And the root of this isn't in our secular culture. The root of this has been within the community of faith where we've ignored the council of scripture and we have had our thinking so dramatically influenced by a secular culture that we've ignored the counsel of God, and now we find ourselves in this place where the absurd is being celebrated. I mean, it's beyond description. And we have to humble ourselves. We have to stop being agitated with other people. We have to come back and, on our knees, say to the Lord, "I have entertained ungodliness. I have been a gatekeeper and I opened the gate for ungodliness. I have used my voice or my authority or my affirmation. I excused it, I explained it away, I justified it. I have sold myself under authority to wickedness and ungodliness because I could prosper if I did it. So, I looked the other way and I said, well, It was just good business".
It's not good business if you sell yourself to the authority of wickedness. And if we don't come back and say to the Lord, "I was wrong and I'm sorry and I ask you to forgive me," we leave a wound, and wounds fester. So, living through it is not the objective. Coming back to the Lord and saying, "This is my reality". The Lord will forgive you. You don't have to live in shame and guilt. You don't have to wear a scarlet A and you don't have to be bent over by your failures, but you have to acknowledge them. And we haven't been great at that. And so, because of that, we have been guilty and ashamed and embarrassed and we have accepted wickedness. Jesus had a lot to say about children and family.
In Matthew 18, he said, "Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me". That's an amazing statement. I can tell you how much you love the Lord by your attitude towards the children of our generation. Not your children. Parenting has become a competitive sport. The children. "If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea". That's one of the more sobering, I've seen millstones, I guess, throughout Israel and other places in the world, enormous pieces of stone weighing thousands of pounds. And the best swimmers amongst us would be challenged with a millstone around your neck in deep water.
Those people who say Jesus is all about love, they have not read this verse. That is not a cuddly statement. "If you cause one of these little ones who believes in me to sin," the best future you could imagine, the best day you should imagine, is a big rock, a short chain, and deep water. It'll be worse than that, but that would be better for you. So, when I look across the landscape of what we're allowing, when I hear teachers union say, "Parents don't have authority over their children," I'm talking to my television or my computer screen or my phone or whatever, I'm like, what a lie. You should lose your authority. You are usurping something that doesn't belong to you.
When the government says, "If you don't encourage your children in their decisions around gender transformation, we will suspend your parental rights". I say, "You no longer have a right to govern. You're wicked, you're evil". I don't care which party, makes no difference to me. Pay attention because at the national level, it's built into the platforms. It's a part of the funding deal they make. Look at verse 7, "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come"! You don't wanna be the delivery system, either by your direct participation or your failure to be a gatekeeper and a watchman. "If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It's better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands and two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire".
I don't really believe Jesus is physically encouraging you to dismember yourself, but I think he's using some very extreme examples to let you understand the significance about what he's speaking. And on this point, I think the church has been incredibly passive. We've been more concerned that we not be perceived as being judgmental, and so we've dropped all the standards. Can you not see the degree to which that capitulation on the church over any standards of authority, over anything be right or wrong? That's our, we're the conscience of the culture, and because for decades now, we have capitulated on that point. We just didn't wanna be seen that way. We just want to get along and go along, we wanna get our opportunities and gather our coins together and get our kids where we want them to go, and get our stuff.
So, we're not about to tell anybody, "Oh, I don't think that's a good idea". So, now we land in this place where they say, "We should defund the police. We shouldn't prosecute criminals". And many of our jails become just like revolving doors and our best people stop serving in law enforcement, and then we start looting stores. And then, you know, it used to be you shoplifted chewing gum. Now, if it's less than $500, you know, just help yourselves. But our cities are descending into utter chaos. You think it's not coming here? You think that's not going to fill our lives? You think what happens in California and New York and our major cities will not affect us? It has affected us our whole lives, from our sense of fashion to what we drive to the language we use to the recipes we eat.
Do you really believe that what we're watching is not coming to us? And our response is, "Well, you know, I don't want to be harsh". We're watching a complete, our border is open. Hundreds of thousands of people on a monthly basis. They're not just poor people coming from difficult countries in Central America, they're coming from the nations of the world. There is so much fentanyl coming across our border, manufactured in China, that hundreds of thousands of us are dying. We are trafficking children. "Well, I don't want to be offensive. What can I do"? I brought you a to-do list. I brought you a to-do list and we're going to get through it. Buckle up. And I'm going to tell the reality of this is you have to practice. You have to practice. You have to practice. You have to practice. Folks, James said, "Don't just be a hearer of the Word, be a doer".
How many sermons about God's truth that we have to hear before we'll decide to do it? How many times do you need to hear somebody tell a story where Jesus prayed for the sick before you'll pray for somebody that's sick? We'll go to a seminar on whether God still heals. We'll have debates and do Bible studies. We'll talk about cessation of miracles or the role of the Holy Spirit, or that's why we have doctors, but we just, we have very little intent to practice what we read. And I'm telling you, if we don't start to practice our faith, we are going to lose our freedom. Not because of evil, because of the hand of God. We are on a precipice.
Now, I love the church. I've given my life to it. God willing, I intend to continue, but we've had this amazing ability to process and do studies and not practice. What can we... I don't know what to do. I'm not very important. You are important. The Creator of heaven and earth knows your name, gave his Son because he loved you that much. And so, we talk about getting saved and going to heaven and then we act like we have no assignment on earth. Which of your heroes do you think imagined they had no assignment? Moses? David? Abraham? Nehemiah? Ezra? Paul? Peter? James? John? Just exactly which one of these characters? Jesus? What has caused us to have this perverted gospel that I got saved so I could go to heaven, but it has no implication for me in time? Do you understand that it completely invalidates the Jesus narrative? He came into time, stepped out of heaven and came into time, to show us the importance of honoring God in time.
I love that promise from Scripture that God rewards those who earnestly seek him. That doesn't require wealth or a great education or a high IQ or a significant contact list. It starts in our heart. Let's determine this year to seek the Lord as never before. Let's pray:
Father, we choose you with our whole heart. Give us an understanding heart to see what you're doing in the world and what you've called us to be. In Jesus's name, amen.