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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Gift of Life - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Gift of Life - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Gift of Life - Part 1

It's a privilege to spend a few minutes with you today. You know, today's discussion, more than many times... sometimes I write a sermon because it's the job of the day. Sometimes I feel like the Lord puts a message inside of me. I think they're equally important; they're both anointed. Well, this is one of those times where I know the Lord put something inside of me. We're gonna talk about the sanctity of human life, where every life has a dignity and why we have to respond to it in that way, in fact, why the church has a responsibility to be a voice for those who can't be a voice for themselves. Grab your Bible and get a notepad, but, most importantly, open your heart.

But this morning, I want to talk to you about something that I think is significant, and the timing is important. It has to do with the gift of life. You know, we are living in a very, very unique time. There is tremendous change afoot, and there are many ways to understand it. We could look at it from a strictly prophetic perspective, a biblical perspective, and try to understand it in terms of those things alone. We could look at it from a cultural perspective, we could look at it from economic perspective, a political perspective. There are many viewpoints, and they're all legitimate, and they all contribute to the whole. What I can tell you in broad strokes is that there is tremendous change under way. It was accelerated greatly by the virus that came our direction from Wuhan, China. Many things have contributed to that acceleration. Many things that were hidden, or were shadowed or in darkness or were unknown or we were unaware of, have become very clear.

Now, there's a stubborn determination not to acknowledge them by broad segments of the culture, but they're becoming increasingly apparent. Things that are illogical, irrational, that make no sense, that go against the values that have been held for hundreds of years, are being celebrated these days. It's a disorienting time because of the magnitude of the change. I don't believe the outcome is completely clear just yet. I can say to you, for the part of the world that we inhabit, I believe that, if God's people cooperate with Him, we'll see a moving of his Spirit that exceeds anything we have seen in recent generations. I think, if we fail to do that, we will experience the judgment of God.

You know, I think those outcomes are still being sorted out. I'm encouraged by the people I see seeking the Lord. It brings hope to me. I've never seen the kind of hunger that I see today, and not just in our community, certainly here, you know, and wherever I go, and we've had the privilege of traveling a bit in the last few months, I look forward to coming back to being with the people in this place and in this community. I thank God for your hearts, for your willingness to seek the Lord and to serve him, to stand together, to lift up the name of Jesus. You serve, you give your time and your resources and your talent with generosity. And the Lord is honoring that in ways. He's multiplying our little country church and the influence he's given us to make an impact for the kingdom of God.

And it's really our story. But, having said all of that, if I were asked to describe what we're witnessing, I believe the most accurate description would be that we're witnessing a descent into paganism. It's not a new thing. It has happened previously. We have read about these seasons before when the truth was buried. What you should understand, because sometimes we think, well, it's just like a political movement or a party change, and that really isn't it at all. Paganism is violent, murderous, demonic, and, ultimately, it results in destruction. It stands in opposition to the purposes of God, and the values of paganism, ungodliness, immorality, you see them flourishing, being celebrated, being venerated, being rewarded as if they're heroic. People of the Year being celebrated and acknowledged and chosen and selected because of their ungodly behavior.

In John chapter 10, in verse 10, you have it in your notes, it says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy". These were Jesus's words. And he said, but, "I've come that you might have life, and have it abundantly or have it to the full". You see, when you see satanic influences, you don't need to have great discernment to know the ultimate outcome. Initially, it presents this temptation, something that will be fulfilling or rewarding or pleasurable or bring happiness. But the outcome of participating with ungodliness is destruction every time. There's lots of windows into paganism through history. You know, it's been very fashionable now for several decades in American academia, and the more elite, the more fashionable.

I really think it's a misnomer to call the most celebrated levels of American academia elite any longer. When they refuse to condemn anti-Semitism, when they celebrate Hamas murderous terrorists who are committed to genocide, they don't deserve to be referred to as elite, and they certainly don't deserve our esteem and our respect. They're despicable. But, in those settings and because of those settings, it's filtered down to almost every level of academic exercise. It's been very fashionable to denigrate the beginnings of this nation, to call into question the motives of the founders, and you know the narrative, you've heard it frequently, there's a whole curriculum now that have been written around it. And, while they're doing that, they celebrate almost every other heritage of people, as if their cultures were remarkable and transcendent and insightful. But, apart from the influence of the gospel, apart from the influence of a biblical worldview, left to demonism and paganism, human beings behave in horrific ways.

There was an article this week I read, really, just in reviewing the news cycle. There was an ancient tomb unearthed; it was found in Panama. The Panamanian archaeologist uncovered a 1200-year-old tomb, and it was filled, what I think first got the attention, it was filled with all sorts of gold and treasures, jewelry and pieces of gold, and golden plates. It's the whole assortment of golden fixtures. But it also included a number of victims of human sacrifice. And what the article went on to explain is, when someone of wealth or great influence died, it was customary to take dozens of people and murder them and bury them with whoever had died so that they didn't go into the afterlife alone.

You see, when I read that article, I thought, "Gee, if you worked for somebody that was wealthy or powerful, you'd want to be very careful with their health". But, you know, just in a casual note, and we're not any denigration of that unique culture because it's not unique to that particular point in time or history. But, apart from the influence of a biblical worldview, things like human sacrifice have been a part of the human story from time immemorial. Paganism. So, when you see the boundaries that come with the biblical worldview being cast off and overthrown and deconstructed, please understand what's on the other side of that. It's not greater freedom. It's more violence, it's more hate, it's more destruction, it's less value for the human life.

What isn't told as frequently, but is a very clear part of the historical record, is that the emergence of Christianity brought an alternative to pagan civilization, a pathway that led towards the sanctity of human life, that said every human life has dignity, no matter the the appearance that we have or the strength that we possess or the intellect that we can marshal. That same biblical worldview brings with it the significance of marriage and family, a way of understanding the world that imagines a dignity for people, a God who can be known and who wants the best for every person.

Now, we need to have enough integrity as Christians to acknowledge this, that Christianity is expressed their human beings. So it's only been expressed perfectly one time, through our Lord, and we killed him. He put too much pressure on the rest of us. The critics don't have to search very far. And I mean the critics of Christianity or our worldview or the things that we espouse. Those critics don't have to search widely to find deplorable behavior among people who proclaim adherence to the Christian faith. Hypocrites are abundant. Perhaps the easiest example is Adolf Hitler; we can pick on him; he's kind of disappeared into the mist of history. The critics of our faith would remind you very quickly that Hitler was a baptized Catholic, to which we respond, "Well, he wasn't a truly a person yielded to the Lordship of Jesus. He wasn't a good Christian".

Well, the distinction, I assure you, is completely lost on the Jewish community, to a great extent, not only because of Hitler and his behavior, but because the Christian community didn't stop Hitler until he destroyed almost 6 million Jews. So Christian Europe was silent in the face of a Christian authoritarian. But we are witnessing today the ascendancy of paganism. It's being celebrated in the public square, while we're told that our Christian worldview, our biblical worldview, our Judeo-Christian worldview is antiquated, out of date. You don't have to be an astute observer of culture to see this. In this past week, we were witnesses to the most recent State of the Union speech.

Now, it's a presentation of a party and the platform of a party. It shouldn't be understood in terms of an individual, that really reduces it greatly. There were whole teams of people, broad swaths of people celebrating the messages from that speech. Now, what was uncomfortable is, in a nation which was founded upon a biblical worldview, the party in power put forward a platform which is centered on the right to kill our children. They were celebrating that; they said the pathway to maintaining power, to being triumphant in the choices that are before us this year, is being certain that everybody understands we are the party in favor of unlimited unfettered abortion. It was repeatedly reported that they're convinced that asserting abortion rights will carry them to victory.

Now, this is the part that's even more awkward, not because it's any longer the law of the land, it isn't, but promising to establish a law that would protect the privilege of murdering the innocent. That's the message to our nation, widely celebrated. It's just a political equation, and I don't mean political party. It's just an, it's an equation that has been factored about securing power in our nation based upon the majority attitude amongst us. They choose the position because they believe it has enough popular support, especially among women, to ensure a victory in the desire to maintain power.

But I would submit to you it brings forward a very important question for the church, not about political parties or affiliation. I look forward to the day when we have an opportunity to choose between multiple parties that all share a biblical worldview. That will be a wonderful thing. But will we stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves, or will we add momentum to the rise of this paganistic destruction of humanity? There's always those who will respond, "I don't wanna be a single issue voter. I don't want a single issue to determine my choices". Baloney. When the choices matter enough, you're quite happy to make decisions on a single issue.

Now, on this topic of abortion, we've lost 60 million children. We had a change in that discourse last year when the Supreme Court ruled that the law had been in place, making it the law of the land, had no basis in our constitution, that it had been fabricated inappropriately. And it's no longer the law of our land. It's left to the people to decide again, to which you would expect, I would have anticipated, a rather thunderous round of applause from the Christian community. Unexpectedly, and surprisingly to me, the the largest thunder has been from those clamoring for the permission to continue to perform abortions. And the line goes this way; it's my body; no one should tell me what to do with my body. We've heard that line repeated over and over for a lengthy period of time now in very many settings.

Many of you have known it. Many of you have taught it to your daughters. Many of you have echoed it. And it seemed to hold some authority, until they did tell us what to do with our bodies, and almost everyone complied. You remember those days, shelter in place, social distance, take a vaccine or lose your job. Don't visit your family in a hospital or a nursing home. Why? Because, if you behave in those ways, you'll put other people at risk, perhaps even death. Don't be selfish. Don't do the things that you would prefer to do; make a personal sacrifice. We're telling you what to do with your body, and the overwhelming majority of us complied. So now, when I hear that line, "It's my body, and nobody should tell me what to do with it," you know, candidly, in general, I agree with the premise; I do.

However, there are circumstances where your choices represent a threat to others, and you forfeit some autonomy. We understand this fundamentally. We live by this principle every day. It's a bit of a false narrative, and we assert it as an excuse to take the lives of children who can't defend themselves. I'll give you an example: drinking alcohol and driving a motor vehicle. It's your body; you can choose what you imbibe. But we have said you don't have the privilege to operate a motor vehicle if you make that choice because you put other people at risk, and we will not tolerate your wanton disregard for the well-being of other people. So you can't drive drunk. And we've accepted that, even though it's your body. We've accepted those limits in many ways. You can't take a knife onto a commercial airplane because the potential harm to other persons requires you to forfeit a bit of your personal privilege.

Well, I would submit to you, as Christ followers, as people of the book, there's people in covenant with the creator of heaven and earth that you can't take a life with impunity and imagine there are no consequences. Almighty God is watching. Now, I'm not a scientist. I have a great respect for science and for medical science. There's some simple facts that you should know. At 12 weeks, when there's a new life, there's a heartbeat that is detectable. At 14 weeks, with the help of ultrasound, the sex of the baby can be determined. And, just in passing, there's two options. At 24 weeks, the baby is viable; it means it can survive outside a mother's womb. Full-term pregnancy is at 37 to 42 weeks; it depends a bit. We're living organisms, and the, what's being clamored for is the ability to terminate that life at any point along that journey, even long after the baby is able to survive outside the mother's womb.

Folks, that's more than a personal choice. That's more, it's a discussion about far more than individual autonomy or inconvenience. I brought you some scriptures, and I had far more than I could fit onto a sheet or a single session, but we'll at least begin here, in Psalm 100, in verse 3, the first point I would make very clearly is that God is our creator. I understand parents contribute DNA. I understand the science, I promise, all right? But God is the one who is the author of our Spirits. There's more to your person and mine than the DNA that represents us, than the genetic code which results in our earth suit. You are a Spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body. And God, the creator of heaven and the earth, is the creator of your Spirit.

Psalm 100, "Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture". We did a baby dedication last evening. We had over 20 new participants in our church, yay, God. One was late. It was almost time for service to begin, and the families had been gathered on the other end of the campus for a bit, and a mom and dad walked in a bit harried, and they saw me, and they said, where are we supposed to be? Then I said, "Come, go with me". And the little fella was six months old, and he was so cute. Everybody we walked past, grinned and gooed at him and ignored me. Did not hurt my feelings; he was better looking. But how you can see a baby and not believe in Almighty God escapes me. Genesis 2:7 said, "The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being".

You see, it's the Spirit of God within us that separates us from all the rest of creation. We're not just the highest rung on the evolutionary ladder. We're not just the epitome of what's evolved thus far. There is something different about us. We are the image bearers of Almighty God. He put his Spirit within us. It's a fundamental precept of scripture. Psalm 119, "Your hands made me informed me; give me understanding to learn your commands". Genesis 1, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them".

Again, there's nothing ambiguous about the story of scripture. I have found that sin and ungodliness and license tries to create ambiguity, confusion. When any time I hear about widespread confusion, I know that the Spirit of God is it not at work. And it's in those places the church needs clarity. We need to speak with the authority that comes to us through God. It's not of ourselves. This notion of our lives in our mother's wombs being something of which God is conscious and aware and engaged, again, is a significant theme in scripture. I wanna invite you away from the notion that God's not involved in the formation of that life. He very much is. We don't just gain a responsibility as stewards of children when we hear them cry or they speak their first word or they take their first step. Parents understand that, with all of the effort that goes into prenatal care; your choices very much affect that life that you are shepherding.

In Psalm 139, in verse 13, "You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well". Said, God's aware of us long before we utter our first sound. Isaiah 44, "This is what the Lord says; your redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who's made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, and who spread out the earth by myself". Or Isaiah 44:2, "This is what the Lord says, he who made you, who formed you in the womb, who will help you". Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you".

Jeremiah is complaining that he's too young. God gives Jeremiah a very difficult assignment. The message that God gave to Jeremiah to deliver to his generation is, your hearts are dark. The hearts of your, the generations who preceded you, he's talking about their mamas in the south, that'll get you in a fight. He's talking about their parents and their grandparents. He's saying, because of their decisions, judgment is coming upon you, and there's nothing you can do. Blood will run in the streets, and you'll be carried as slaves to Babylon. It's Jeremiah's message. It is his life assignment.

Now, that's not the only prophetic tack we see in scripture. God gave Isaiah other messages. God sent Isaiah to the king to say, even though you're outnumbered by the Assyrians, God said, "I will dispel them like a breeze. I'll send them back the way they came. You don't need to fear them". And we like Isaiah's prophecies, wanna take them and use them in every circumstance we face. But Jeremiah's words are just as legitimate. In fact, they're far closer to the words that Jesus gave to his generation. Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives in the Gospel of Luke on more than one occasion, and he wept, looking at the city of Jerusalem, and he said, "Your enemies are going to build an embankment against you, and they will destroy this place. They will dash the heads of your babies against the stones of the city".

Often times people say Jesus wasn't political because, in Acts 1, when the disciples said to Jesus, "Are you gonna restore the kingdom at this time"? He said to them, "That's not really any of your business". I believe the reason he answered that way is the question had already been asked and answered. He told them multiple times what the future of Jerusalem was. It was destruction by the Romans. Jeremiah has a very difficult assignment.

Folks, we should understand, we will be the people of God no matter what the outcomes are to the society in which we live. We'll be called to hold up truth and godliness and righteousness and purity, no matter what the systems around us are. It should matter to you because there are systems that very aggressively persecute our faith all over the world today. Oh, they're being venerated and celebrated, but those places they're celebrating have annihilated Christianity. Jeremiah, God said, "Before I formed you in the womb. I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations". When you were formed in the womb, Jeremiah, I had a purpose and a plan for your life. I believe it's true for every child. I believe it's true for every child. That's why we speak on their behalf. They can't use their voice yet.

Hey, before the program ends, let's pray together:

Heavenly Father, we come today in humility to acknowledge our own failures before you. But we have made poor choices, and we have been quiet when we should have had a voice. We ask for your mercy and your forgiveness today, and I thank you that, through the blood of Jesus, we can be delivered, amen.

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