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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Hatred of God's People - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Hatred of God's People - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Hatred of God's People - Part 2
TOPICS: Antisemitism, Holocaust, Israel, Jews, End times, Terrorism, War, Let's Do Difficult

It's an honor to be with you today. We're walking through this series on learning to do difficult things in this session, we're gonna talk about the hatred of God's people. It's uncomfortable, it's unpleasant, but it's a reality of our world. Right now we're seeing fresh expressions of anti-Semitism. It's a fancy word for the hatred of the Jewish people. It's not new to the 21st century, but it's something we had hoped we had banished to the pages of history. We need to understand how to live in the face of resentment and hatred because it's in front of us. Grab your Bible and get a notepad, but most importantly, open your heart.

We're working through a series under the general title of, "Let's Do Difficult". The best things in life are on the other side of difficult. We did easy yesterday. In fact, we've done most of the easy things and now it's time to do difficult. If we want better outcomes and we want our children and grandchildren to have a better future, somebody's gonna have to raise their hand and say, "I think that sounds like a great idea". I do not believe following God is presented to us in Scripture as something that's easy. Jesus said to us that we would have to take up our cross daily and follow him. Not our jewelry, our earrings, or something stamped on the cover of our Bibles. The cross was a tool for crucifixion. And he said we have to, daily, lay down our lives, our will, our preferences. Which means we will engage in things on a regular basis to which my old carnal self says, "I'd rather not. I don't think that's the best idea. I don't feel like it".

Then I have to say, "Hush. I'm going this way and you will like it". And those voices inside of us, you know, you're used, any an area in your life where you exert discipline in a regular basis, you have to learn to quiet those internal voices that cry out against the discipline. If it's exercise, if it's a diet, if it is learning, it's so easy to say, "Well, you know, my memory doesn't work," or, "I don't like to read," or, "It's not easy for me".

Okay. Let's go do it anyway. Let's do difficult. So, that's the invitation. In this particular session, I want to talk a bit about the hatred of God's people. It's a little more personal for me today, and I'll acknowledge it on the front end. I had an invitation, and yesterday I was in Washington DC at the Israeli embassy for a review of some of the raw footage from October the 7th. And it was more than unsettling. Not because of the violence. We knew that hundreds of people had been killed.

And that is unsettling enough, to see hundreds of people murdered. Men, women and children, to watch fathers murdered in front of their children. And the children have to deal with the trauma of that before they're murdered. To watch women abused physically, to watch the joyful glee of the people who invaded Israel take a cellphone from somebody they just murdered, call their parents in Gaza and say, "I have murdered ten Jews today with my own hands". And you hear the parent responding in the background, "Kill. Kill".

I think the most troubling was they loaded some hostages into the back of trucks and even some corpses. I listen to people in some sort of command, giving instructions over cell phones. What we were witnessed came through body cams, and cell phones, and security cams. It's cobbled together from a variety of sources. And I heard people on cell phones saying, "Bring back 10 or 12 heads. We want to carry them through the streets so that people can celebrate with us". And when you hear it, you think, oh, surely not. And then I watch these trucks with people in the back, some alive, some not. They drive into Gaza into heavily populated areas and enormous throngs of people in the most exuberant celebrations you can imagine. And if they can push through the crowds, adding their own expressions of abuse towards the individuals there.

And again, we've been told all those things. We had a friend here from Israel last week who told us most of those same things. So, I can't say it was surprising, but it was beyond shocking to see the celebration of the people. You know, without that, you might convince yourself that the few hundred people who invaded Israel were somehow unique. But it certainly did not appear that way. And then I hear some of the most influential people in our nation, certainly the most influential in education, some of the most revered professional seats in our nation refusing to condemn what happened, and I'm quite confident they had access to far more than I did. And they refuse to condemn it. It's unacceptable. I don't have the language skills to label it. They didn't behave like animals.

I've spent my life around animals, they behave better. And I hear the cries for stoppage for humanitarian reasons and I think, are you paying attention? You can't negotiate with evil. You can't bargain with it. It'll simply wait for the next vulnerable moment to give expression to its evil intent. It's not hidden, it's not quiet, it's not a matter of debate to imagine that the United Nations, as a program, to work on behalf of the Palestinian people and people that are working for the United Nations participated in the planning and the execution of that murderous raid is beyond consideration and we have supported it.

So, it brings me to this topic with that happy introduction of the hatred of God's people. I left the embassy and went directly to the airport and I'm waiting for my flight and a man asked me, says something about why I'm there. So, in a sentence I tell him why I'm in Washington. And his response to me was, "Oh, I didn't really think that happened". And he was an educated person. Person who travels and sees a great deal. And I realize the degree to which we're just disconnected. I'd read an article two or three days before that, before I even knew that I would be going, that said that because of the open border we have had for such a lengthy period of time that there's a very high degree of probability that we'll have an event similar to that in our own country.

And I think, for the most part, we're just oblivious. And we think it's a political issue or it's some debate between some group of people on the other side of the planet. And what I would like to invite you tonight to is understanding more of what I believe the root of that is and hopefully to help us understand why it's going to take a courage and a boldness and a determination to do some difficult things if we are to secure the future for the generations coming behind us. There are Israelis tonight, friends of mine, who are either going into tunnels or have sent their children into those tunnels to try to secure a future for themselves. Now, we haven't been asked to do that, but I'm quite confident God has asked us to do some things that we consider difficult. And the question is: are we willing to do it? Or are we going to continue to worship at the altars of comfort and convenience?

So, we'll start with the hatred of God's people. I think two big buckets we can kind of organize that in, and it's a little offensive to both sides, so I will acknowledge that on the front end of this discussion, anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is a rather elaborate word for the hatred of the Jewish people. And they have been hated for a long time. I'm gonna share a bit of that with you as a part of this presentation and right alongside of anti-Semitism, because I believe they're both fueled by the same thing, is the expression of the spirit of Antichrist. The anti meaning has two meanings. It can mean in place of or against. And I believe what really fuels anti-Semitism is the spirit of Antichrist. That will be offensive to my Jewish friends because the incubator for most expressions of anti-Semitism through history have come from organized Christian religion.

If you don't know the history, that's lost on you, but I assure you those are the facts. I'm not saying it's genuine, but under the flag of Christianity, the most heinous things have been done to the Jewish people. They're far more comfortable with the Muslim world than the Christian world, our Jewish friends. So, anti-Semitism and the expressions of the spirit of Antichrist are the labels that we're gonna attach to this hatred of the people of God, the Jewish people, the covenant people of God, through whom, the book of Romans tells us, we have the law, the prophets, a Messiah. We have the story. Without the Jewish people, we have no story. We're told that Christianity is not something new made out of whole cloth.

We're grafted in to the covenant that God made with Abram. And it's the arrogance of Christians that have added a great deal of the voice to the destruction of the Jewish people with wrong headed ideas that God replaced the Jewish people. That every place you read Jewish or Israel, you can just pencil in Christian or church. It's bad theology and it has contributed to the attitude that has made it much easier to attack and mutilate and destroy the Jewish people. In 1 John chapter 4 and verse 3, I made it to your notes, victory number one. John writes, "Every spirit that doesn't acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world".

The New Testament describes this in three ways, and I'm not going to walk you through all the references tonight, perhaps at another session, but it describes the spirit of Antichrist that we just read about. A spirit in the earth that gives expression to that attitude of being in opposition to and desiring to replace the true Christ, the Messiah, the anointed one of God. Then the Bible talks about many Antichrist, individuals that have stepped onto the stage of human history and behaved in such a fashion that it's not difficult to see them as an embodiment of that spirit. And it wouldn't take us long. I mean, Hitler is the one that comes to mind immediately, but he is by no means alone on the stage of history.

And then in the book of Revelation we have a rather elaborate description of the Antichrist, the penultimate individual that will make that bargain with the devil that Jesus rejected. "If you'll worship me, I'll give you authority over all these kingdoms". In the New, he's described in the book of Revelation as a beast, that he will behave in a beastly manner. But you shouldn't imagine that the spirit of Antichrist won't be at work until the beast is present. The spirit is at work today. Expressing murderous hatred and rage towards the people of God. And you don't need great discernment to recognize that, you just need a willingness to acknowledge it. In fact, any behavior that you see directed towards the Jewish people, you should assume will be directed at the balance of the people of God, that it will be directed at the Christian church, the true church.

And if you haven't yet matured to the place that you can accommodate in your thinking a false church and a true church, I would invite you to begin to meditate and think about that. The fact that we fly the flag of Christian does not mean we behave in a manner that we have yielded our lives through obedience to the lordship of Jesus of Nazareth. And if you haven't done that, no matter the building you sit in, or the jewelry you prefer, or the holy book you read, or the general group you identify with, you shouldn't imagine yourself to be Christian. You cannot be pursuing your own self determined agenda, and your own self determined objectives, ignoring the invitations of God, and imagine you're a Christ follower. The recitation of a prayer and a dip in a pool is a beginning point.

I believe in conversion, salvation, the new birth absolutely, unequivocally, but it's the doorway into a life yielded to the lordship of Jesus. And the people who choose to do that will be hated. Less so in the part of the world where we have lived for many, many years. The hatred is growing and becoming more visible. We've watched it incrementally come. Don't pray in that name. Don't post those commandments in our schools. Don't bring that worldview into our corporate boardrooms. And we so meekly, sheepishly, in cowardly ways, have withdrawn while we have watched other world views and other ideologies be driven into all of those places on our watch. I brought you just a sampling of what Jesus had to say.

Matthew 10, "Should be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to local councils and flog you in their synagogues". "Religious people are gonna hate you," Jesus said. "On my account," you should circle those three words, "On my account you'll be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you," not if they arrest you, "when they arrest you, don't worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you'll be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of the Father speaking through you". But it gets even worse. I mean, that's not comfortable. And some will say, "Well, he was speaking to a first century audience".

Well, you would need to share with me the discernment that enables you to read the story and know precisely which verse appeals to the 1st century and not to the 21st. And I'll share it with a few of passage next that it dealt with the period beyond the 1st century without any question, but he went on to say in verse 21, "'Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. And all men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved".

Now, in most of our discussions around salvation and conversion and the new birth, again, I believe in that entry experience, the initiation into the Kingdom of God. But the idea that there's a such a totality in that moment, that there's nothing left for us to stand watch over, ignores what Jesus said. He said, "The one who stands firm to the end will be saved," and that the challenges will come because of him. Same book, same author, same story. Matthew 24, it's Jesus's most lengthy prophetic discourse. He's talking about the end of the age, what was beyond his time. He said, "These are the beginning of birth pains". He's just listed about a dozen symptoms that would begin, but he said, "That's just the beginning. The pains are gonna intensify. They're going to become more severe. You'll be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you'll be hated by all nations because of me. And at that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people".

That's a pretty sobering passage. And I don't believe it's helpful to think that you can count on some escapist theology that says you're just gonna get to avoid all of that. I don't know why Jesus would have warned his people about what would be coming if we... wasn't to prepare his people. Makes sense? I believe in some very triumphant things at the end of the age, but I believe between where we stand today and the return of our Lord and King, we're gonna have to walk through some challenging places. "Well, I don't wanna do that". Okay. Duly noted. But, may I encourage you to prepare anyway? If I'm completely wrong and you don't have to face anything that's difficult, I will apologize when we get the glory. I would rather issue that apology than not do my best to help us be prepared. And Jesus said, "Many will turn away from the faith".

Why would that happen? They'll turn away because people are being arrested, and persecuted, and put to death. The weight of public pressure, the opinion, the threat, the hatred. We see leading voices, influential voices, whole groups amongst those that we have stood with, who are adopting a very covert approach to their faith, encouraging us to make friends with the world, to embrace ungodliness as an evangelism strategy. It's also very good camouflage. If you say nothing about ungodly behavior, and you say nothing about immorality, and you say nothing about transforming fundamental biblical principles to fit an emerging culture that is further and further away from a biblical world view, if you don't use your voice to speak about those things because you say, "Oh, it's political," aren't we just camouflaging ourselves with the same ungodliness of the world? Because we don't want to deal with the consequences of raising our voices?

Many will turn away, there'll be many false prophets. There'll be a lot of voices that give a prophet's assignment was to give to the people a God perspective. How does God think about this? What does God feel about this? What does God think about your responses? And he said, "There will be many people giving you inaccurate responses saying they're godly". And I think the narrowest way to think of a prophet is to think of it in terms of religious terms. I think it's pretty accurate with the biblical presentation that the prophet is the person you expect to tell you the truth. To be a truth teller amongst the people so that the people can know the truth and then navigate accordingly. There are rocks there, don't steer your ship towards it.

So, a false prophet is someone you would expect to tell you the truth and, in fact, they are being deceptive. Is it safe to say we are having an explosion of false prophets? And I don't just mean in the religious settings. And then Jesus said, "Because of that," because of the pressure, because of the threat, because of the deception, many people are gonna be deceived. "Because of the increase of the wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, and he who stands firm to the end will be saved". It's the identical thing that was recorded in chapter 10, verse 22. Same author so I'm not surprised. "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and the end will come".

What a triumphant penultimate line. He said, "There's gonna be persecution, and there's gonna be a falling away, and there'll even be some martyrdom, and there'll be false prophets. But in spite of that, the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world". It's a proactive message. In the face of all of the hatred there will be opportunities for the proclamation of the gospel that will exceed any generation that's ever existed on the planet. And there will be men and women, young people and old people, willing to do whatever it takes to see that happen. Let's go. Let's go.

But Matthew 24 is an escalation of what was said in Matthew 10. But, again, it's the same narrative and as the story is unfolding and Jesus is drawing nearer and nearer to his passion, the intensity grows. But I brought you a couple of passages from John. I think he he echoes a similar message. John 15, Jesus again, "'If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you don't belong to the world," in the New Testament, the notion of the world is the order of this present age that does its best to displace allegiance to Jesus of Nazareth. To convince you that you can be self sufficient and you should be self indulgent. And the order of this age certainly seems to have gained some ascendancy.

And Jesus said, "They'll hate you, but remember, they hated me first. You stand in opposition to what they're advocating for". John 16, "'All this I have told you so that you'll not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue," they'll put you out of religious institutions. You understand, the Antichrist will be a very religious character. He won't be absent religion. He will be very religious in language, and behavior, and routine, and ritual, in clothing, in architecture. You won't distinguish him as a beast because of his behavior on the weekends at worship times. "They'll put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God". But I think it's extraordinarily naive and a very poor application of biblical interpretation to suggest it was only a first century problem. If that's the case, then the Scripture's affording us very little guidance.

I think it's important to remember when we face resistance to our faith that it isn't personal. It's not our hair color, or our vocabulary, or our accent. It's Christ in us that is drawing the resentment. Let's pray:

Father, give us the courage, the love, and the boldness to overcome every expression of resentment. In Jesus's name, amen.

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