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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - A King and A Kingdom - Part 2

Allen Jackson - A King and A Kingdom - Part 2

Allen Jackson - A King and A Kingdom - Part 2
TOPICS: Clarify Your Identity, Kingdom of God

Jerusalem was the epicenter of Israelite life in the First Century. The temple was there. It's the National Bank. It's the point of national identification. The people are directed to go there three times a year to worship. The Herod's temple is one of the wonders of the ancient world. But Jesus chose a sleepy little fishing village on the shores of Galilee. But he visits Jerusalem and Jerusalem will be the center of the conflict he has with the power brokers because he is threatening them. In Luke 13, he's entering Jerusalem. "Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I've longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

Now, Jesus is the greatest of all the Hebrew prophets. Greater than Isaiah or Jeremiah, or whomever you might put at the top of that list in your imagination. And Jesus is speaking about the future of Jerusalem did you hear him? Luke heard him, Peter, James, and John heard him. It wasn't lost to them. "He said your house will be left to you desolate". Desolate is a fancy word for empty. There won't be anybody left here. You have persecuted the prophets. He said, "It wasn't my choice for you. I wanted to gather you together like a hen would gather her chicks, but you wouldn't have it and now your house will be left to you desolate". They're not idle words, they're not complicated. It's not a one time statement. Same chapter. In fact, I've used the same author for this, because I wanted you to see. Luke is presenting to us a theme of Jesus's ministry.

Luke 19, "As he approached Jerusalem and he saw the city," this is his triumphal entry. We celebrate that on Palm Sunday, this victorious day of Jesus coming into the city of Jerusalem as a conquering King. As he approached the city, what did he do? He wept over it. He said, "If even you had only known on this day what would bring you peace, but now it's hidden from your eyes. 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. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you didn't recognize the time of God's coming to you again".

This is the greatest of all the Hebrew prophets. His friends were there that day. They've heard what he said. It's recounted in multiple gospels. This isn't some side story. It's not incidental. What Jesus is describing is the siege of the city. It would have been very apparent to them. It was the most common means of warfare in the first century. If an attacking army came to a city, Jerusalem was a walled city. You would de deploy your troops around the city. You wouldn't allow anybody to come in or to go out. You would starve them into submission. And it's what Jesus described. They came in 70 AD and fulfilled what Jesus said. If we put it in contemporary language, he said, the missiles will rain down on your city, the drones will drop bombs, the enemy will murder the children in the streets of your city.

It's what Jesus said to them. He has spoken a prophecy over the city of Jerusalem. He has told them their future. The disciples are present. They even ask some follow up questions in private. I didn't put them all in your notes. When they walk away from this presentation, they say to him, tell us when this is gonna happen. We want to know the timing and he tells them. He gives them the timeline, but clearly they don't understand, or they can't comprehend the magnitude of what they're being told. This is a little easier for us following them through the narrative because they haven't been able to comprehend what he said about his own betrayal, arrest and crucifixion and resurrection. Right? He's told them multiple times and they're just a bit addled, confused.

Well, he's told them about the future of Jerusalem and they're going. no, it's no. No. We believe you're the Messiah. We've been waiting for you to come. You're the difference maker. The King. Look at all these people worshiping you and Jesus begins to weep and he said, they're gonna destroy this city. Not because they're wicked, not because the Roman legions are stronger than the defenses of Jerusalem. They're gonna destroy you because you didn't recognize God's presence in your midst. The issue isn't the strength of the enemy. The strength is the problem in the hearts of God's people. Again, it is not a lack of information for the disciples. It's a struggle to imagine God's power and purposes being implemented. They want to understand the world in terms of Romans and Jews, and military power and legions.

And Jesus is saying to them, there's some power far greater than a Roman legion in front of you. Don't you remember? I spoke to the wind and the waves, and I opened a blind eye, or I raised a young man in the middle of a funeral? And the answer is no, they can't assimilate all of that. They know the law of Moses, they know the Sabbath rules. They know the Kosher rules. They know the rules around sacrifice and Passover, and Sukkot. But they're struggling to assimilate what Jesus is saying.

So now I wanna ask you a question. Let's step out of the first century and step into the 21st century. Can we imagine a God who brings judgment upon nations or do you think that's only a biblical thing? Do you think that's just something historical, something in antiquity? Because they weren't sophisticated enough to understand military technology? And then when military technology progressed, new empires emerged, it had nothing to do with God. Oh, really? Is that what we believe is the people of God? Or do we believe that God brings judgment upon nations? Do we believe God would bring judgment upon our nation? It's a very important question for us. You see God deals with us as individuals. Well, I believe in that, I believe in personal salvation, but I also believe that it is equally a biblical truth that God brings judgment upon nations and the awkwardness of that is that when that happens, the righteous suffer as well.

Jeremiah was a prophet in Jerusalem, a Godly man. God said, I knew you when you were knit together in your mother's room. I had an assignment for you before you ever made your first sound. And Jeremiah went into captivity with the exiles and he's not the only one. He just happens to be one that we know. Again, do we have the imagination that what the scripture tells us about is a part of our world? Or have we peeled out the verses that we like that cause us to think happy thoughts about happy places. And then we don't have to identify as Christ followers because it doesn't really make any difference. Our future is determined by Wall Street or the Federal Reserve or the United Nations or NATO or whatever else we put our faith in. God deals with us as individuals. But the biblical principle is that he brings judgment upon nations, the godly and the ungodly.

721 the Assyrians conquered the nation of Israel, the Northern Nation, the 10 tribes about 150 years later, 587 BC. It's not in your notes, but it is in the history books, I promise. 587 the Babylonians marched their armies across the desert sands and besieged Jerusalem. Destroyed the first temple. Solomon's temple. Took some of the brightest and best of the young people of Israel with them back to Babylon. We call that period, the Exile. It was God's judgment upon his people. It had a little to do with Babylonian military might. God has demonstrated over and over again, his ability to turn back armies that had technological superiority and numerical superiority to the people of Israel.

Think about Gideon, Gideon and a relatively handful of people with trumpets and clay pots defeated an army numbered in the tens of thousands. And a part of the vulnerability of God's people is we recite over, and over, and over again the triumphs, the victory stories, and the deliverances. And we do not listen to the words of Jesus. He said to his closest friends, the Romans are coming and you will not be able to defend yourselves. Is that fair? Is that what he said? Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD within 40 years of Jesus saying that, five Roman legions marched. They came from Europe. They came from throughout the empire because you couldn't afford a rebellion on the edge of the empire, right next to Persia. You couldn't be tolerated. It was a vulnerability that couldn't be accepted. And Jerusalem was destroyed.

60 years later, there was a second war, a second uprising, the Bar Kokhba and in 130 this time, the Romans had, had enough. They wanted to separate the Jewish presence from Jerusalem. They forbid the Jews to stay in the city of Jerusalem. They renamed it. They corrupted the word for the Philistines and they called it Palestine. That's where we got to Palestine until today. The Jews had been in Jerusalem for more than 1000 years before the Romans called it Palestine, but it doesn't stop with just the covenant people of God. God judged the Babylonians. He said you treated, I get, I called you to bring discipline to my people. And you did it with delight and glee, and of violence, and a brutality that I didn't ask you to do and now I'll judge you.

I could spend several sessions with you walking you through history of God's judgment upon nations, both in antiquity and contemporary history. British Empire at the beginning of World War II was the most powerful empire on the planet. They boasted that the sun never set on the British Empire. And between World War I and the end of World War II, the British betrayed their commitments to the Jewish people and they won the war and they lost their empire. It seems illogical. I believe it was the judgment of God. I could give you many examples. The disciples struggle with this. They struggle to understand it. I put one verse in your notes, that's from Matthew because I believe it adds a bit of understanding to this topic. Jesus said, "I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but He on whom it falls will be crushed".

The Jewish people didn't really just reject God. It wasn't that they were trying to set aside a covenant. They wanted to pick and choose the pieces they would embrace. They wanted to be the people of God. They understood themselves to be the chosen people of God, unique in the world. They wanted to offer sacrifices and keep kosher and go to synagogue, but they didn't really want to submit to the authority. Does that sound anything like contemporary Christiandom. We'll go to church when it's convenient. I mean, if it's not a great day to be at the lake or there's not a better option, or our kids are co-operative, or whatever. And God said, I will discipline you for this. The real failure is they rejected the purposes of God for themselves. The Christian church is very arrogantly said, well, they rejected Jesus, therefore, God rejected them.

Folks, if rejecting Jesus brings the imminent judgment of God, it's gonna fall on those of us who have called ourselves Christians. I would submit to you, what they truly did was rejected God's purposes for themselves. Look at Luke 7 says, All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words acknowledged that God's way was right, because they've been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God's purposes for themselves. They rejected God's purposes for themselves. Look at what Luke said in that first phrase, it's in parentheses. So he's added it. It's an editorial note. He said all the people, even tax collectors, the tax collectors were the worst of the worst. They were the greedy ones who had betrayed their own people to line their pockets.

All the people does not mean everyone, all the people means people from every part of society. Even the tax collectors, there was a cross section of people, Nicodemus, a religious leader and Zachaeus, a tax collector and everybody in between all across society. There were people who chose Jesus, but the political and religious leaders would not co-operate. They thought they had too much to lose, the rich young ruler, the high priest, the Sanhedrin. There's lots of examples. The cost is a little 'too' high. Folks, there's a message for us. We have to align our allegiance with God's kingdom.

Our nation in its current state and all that accompanies it is an idea that's failing. I love this nation. But if you ask me for a candid observance of what we're witnessing from open borders to gross immorality, to demanding the right to kill our children, to sexualizing our children at an early age, to unprecedented human trafficking in our nation, and on, and on, and on the list goes. It's a failing idea. And we God's people, we continue to behave as if God were not real. Oh, we're saved. We act as if God is not real. We don't really have to get too excited about this. We don't need to do anything extravagant. God's purposes will continue forward. I promise you that. They continued forward When the Babylonians besieged Jerusalem in 587. They continued forward when the Romans besieged Jerusalem in 70 AD. And they'll continue forward no matter what happens to this constitutional republic. They will.

The question on the table is about you and me. Do we want to continue with God? Don't conflate the two concepts. It's appropriate to stand up for righteousness and to hold our government to account. However, the ultimate allegiance of our lives is to someone and something greater. And if you silence your faith, if you refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord of your life, because you think it's costing you opportunities, we are deluded. It will cost us ultimately every opportunity. Our circumstances fall at the doorstep of the church, not the doorstep of the wicked and the ungodly and the immoral. We want the benefits that come from a secular culture and we want the benefits that come from the alignment with the Kingdom of God. And we try to keep them separate. And God said, I will not tolerate that.

It's the first of the commandments. You can have no God before me. God has never changed his mind. I'm hopeful for the purposes of God. I'm concerned for the future of the place where we live. Look at the struggle, Acts chapter 1, I got enough time for Acts 1, "When they met together," this is post resurrection. The disciples ask him... Luke tells us in Acts 1, that they've had a 40 day seminar on the Kingdom of God. They've heard all these things that I have read to you. We've read together that Jesus has said about the city of Jerusalem. They've asked him follow up questions in 'private.' Now they've seen him be crucified and resurrected, and they've had this lengthy seminar with a resurrected Messiah.

And in Acts chapter 1, they say to the Lord, "Are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel"? Are you gonna get rid of the Romans? We would really like the Romans to go. Huh, huh, huh, huh? How about it? What do you think? Huh, huh? Can we move some Romans? "And Jesus said, 'It's not for you to know.'" He said, "The times and the dates the Father has set by his own authority". Not your business, "But you will receive power to be witnesses for me in Judea," that's the region where they are in, "Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the next region out to the uttermost parts of the world". These expanding concentric circles. I will give you the authority and the power to take the story that you have learned, to the uttermost parts of the earth. You don't worry about this place.

Now, in the 21st century, we read that I have been in multiple settings with some very well educated, influential Christian leaders, and they will read that verse and say, see Jesus said, don't be political. He has told them already in the clearest, plainest possible language what's coming to Jerusalem. It's not going to be spared. This is not Isaiah saying to Hezekiah, don't worry about the Assyrians outside the wall. This isn't God speaking to Gideon saying, I'll send the Midianites home. Don't worry about them. Go get some clay pots and a handful of folks. This is Jeremiah saying the Babylonians are coming and there's nothing you can do about it. Jesus said the Romans are coming and that isn't changing, but I will give you the power to take this story to the uttermost parts of the earth. You belong to me, no weapon formed against you will prosper.

You'll see some weapons formed. You know what happened? The Romans set siege to Jerusalem which means nobody could come or go. And back in Rome, Caesar died. And the Roman general in charge of the siege of Jerusalem wants to put his hat in the ring. So he breaks the siege and goes back to Rome, become Caesar, and the siege is lifted. And when the siege is lifted, the believers in Jesus in the city of Jerusalem fled. They remembered what Jesus said. He said, when you see this city surrounded by armies, flee and they left it. It's really the first breach between in the Jewish community. The overwhelming majority of the church at that point is Jewish. The believers in Jesus. You can't even refer to them as a church. They're just believers in Jesus Messiah, and that group, many of them left the city and the siege is reinstated. And the resentment, the hatred for that, the sense of betrayal for that is a part of the story until today.

Folks, we better understand. We can't demand the right in the streets to murder our babies, and imagine that God will protect us and deliver us. We can't take immorality and redefine marriage, and refuse to talk about it at our tables and with our friends. We can't behave in ungodly ways and say, well, I've been born again. I believe in the God of grace. God will not be mocked. Now he is a God of grace and mercy and love. He's close to the brokenhearted, and I believe he will take us through whatever comes, but it is time to find our voice, and to stand up for what is right.

I don't believe Jesus avoided political discussions. I believe he gave them very clear political direction. He's answered the question they ask in very significant detail. We are at a tipping point. We're either going to engage now, or we are planted, or we will experience God's judgment. And God's, we have an assignment to a broader world. We do. The primary assignment has never changed. Our location and our focus may be adjusted from time to time and season to season. I brought you a prayer. We gotta go, the kids will be in here. Usually we go pick them up, they may come pick us up. I'm hopeful. It's a sobering picture, but it's a hopeful message. The people of God are triumphant. But we've got to understand where our allegiance is, what our primary allegiance is. We have a call, an assignment to be a culture, a conscience in the culture in which we live. Let's pray:

Heavenly Father, thank you for your great provision for my life. You've not left me alone or uncared for but have made me a participant in your eternal purposes. 'You've' called me out of darkness and provided for my justification. Help me to walk in the light and to choose paths of righteousness. Deliver me from evil and restore the joy of my salvation, in Jesus' name, amen.

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