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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Judgement and Deliverance - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Judgement and Deliverance - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Judgement and Deliverance - Part 1
TOPICS: God Is Moving, Judgment, Deliverance

I want to begin a new series. At least for two or three sessions, I wanna talk about something that seems so apparent. I think it's important that we not just walk past it, and that's that God is moving. God's moving in the earth. We've asked him to do that, and there is abundant evidence, if you're willing to look and see and listen, that God is moving in the earth. To have the number of people we have on a campus such as ours in Murfreesboro, Tennessee for an Easter celebration, only God could do that. I've been here a long time. It's not like the preachings gotten better. God is moving in the earth, and I don't want to miss that. I don't wanna stand apart from that. I don't wanna be a skeptic or a critic. I don't wanna sit and wait for more confirmation.

I think, without any question, the Spirit of God is moving in the earth in a unique way, and I want to explore that with you a bit to see if we can understand how we might participate, how we can recognize it. We've been trained to go to church, and we evaluate services if they were pleasant or unpleasant, or the music was satisfactory or not, if the sermon was adequate or too short or too long, dull or informative. We know how to do those things, but I'm really not sure, we've cultivated an awareness to recognize when God is moving, when his Spirit is doing something in the earth. We might talk about it in terms of our congregational growth or our denomination's growth or decline, but there's a larger picture, a larger story, that goes beyond communities or congregations or nationality that are linked to the eternal purposes of God and the earth, and every generation is not the same.

The opportunities presented, the challenges that are presented, the invitations that are presented, they're not the same in every generation. Some generations are redemptive generations, where the power of God is on display, and people are called out of darkness. Others are generations where the judgment of God is on display, and there are other outcomes. What we want to become is more adept at recognizing what God is doing so that we can take the place he's created us for and spoiler alert, that's more than just sitting in church when it's convenient. I'm grateful you're at church or you're joining us for a service wherever you're watching from. Those are all good things, but there's more to a relationship with God than enduring a church service. I promise.

And God is moving in the earth. In this session, I wanna talk specifically about judgment and deliverance, because I think they often go together. I think they're often presented together, and how you experience the outcome has a great deal to do with the type of relationship you have with the Lord. I'll start with Philippians. I put two passages in your notes, but let's read Philippians 3 and verse 10. Paul said, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection," we can get a pretty hearty amen almost any community of faith for that statement. I wanna know Christ and the power that brought him out of the grave. We'll all lean into that.

It's his next phrase where we lose our voice, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings," well now, pastor, "becoming like him in his death," most of us are willing to talk about being more Christlike, or at least, we want other people to be more Christlike. People you live with, you want them to be more Christlike. Your kids, it'd be good if they were a little more Christlike, your boss. But Paul said, I want to become more like Christ, "becoming like him in his death," at that point, completely and totally yielded to the purposes of God. Wow. And the next statement is perhaps the most unsettling: "And so, somehow," there's no presumption in that passage, there's no arrogance, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing and his sufferings to become like him even in his death so that somehow I might attain to the resurrection of the dead".

We've embraced, or imbibed, a little different kind of faith. We live rather presumptuously. We'll talk about when we made a profession of faith, when we were born again, or saved, or baptized, and those are all good things to do, I believe in them. If you haven't been baptized, you better get in the pool this month. There's a bargain. It's free on Saturday nights all through April. Hey! But Paul doesn't seem to have that kind of a arrogant swagger to his faith. He said that "somehow I might attain to the resurrection of the dead". It's not that he doesn't know Jesus or that he's not engaged in the purposes of God. I don't want you, and I certainly don't for myself, I don't want to lead a life of arrogant faith. I wanna be striving. I wanna do my best. We don't earn our way into the grace of God. It's nonsense. But the life we live, a life in which we pursue righteousness, and godliness, and holiness, and purity, is our reflection of the value we attach to the great gift we received in Jesus.

If you're leading an ungodly life, you don't value the gift very much that somehow we might attain to the resurrection of the dead. I would submit to you that we are witnesses of a generational move of God. He's doing something in the earth we haven't seen in decades. It isn't typical or normal. I don't know when it will happen again. I don't know where it will take us, but God is moving. He's stirring his people throughout the earth. It's not just in Tennessee. This just happens to be where he planted us. We meet people moving here from other states to be in a community of faith. Folks, that's not typical. I've been in Tennessee a while.

I got here about the same time electricity did. Things are changing. There's a group of people responding to God in atypical ways. They're willing to disrupt schedules, routines, family patterns, forge new friendships and expressions of faith. They're willing to verbally and practically express a dissatisfaction with the status quo. The Spirit of God is stirring people to new responses. I can say all of those things unequivocally, without any question. Those are just statements of the reality in which we're living. What comes with that is a little less clear. The outcomes are not clear to me just yet. I think it's safe to say that judgment is emerging. Where it takes us and what the outcomes will be, I don't know just yet. Because as much as I can tell you the Spirit of God is moving, there's some other spirits moving.

We are witnesses to the most brazen expressions of the spirit of Antichrist we have seen in my lifetime in our nation. There's a political leadership in a Christian nation, and when I say Christian nation, we've never been uniquely Christian or completely Christian, but we are without question a nation who's been founded upon a biblical worldview, a Judeo-Christian worldview. It's what's made it possible for us, a nation of immigrants from the nations of the world, to work together. We shared a common set of values. They informed our legal system and our educational system.

Contrast that to Iran. It's a Muslim nation. It doesn't take a great deal of research to discern that. China is a communist nation. Israel is a Jewish nation. Again, not complicated, not suggesting that everyone in Iran is a devout Muslim, but without question, it's a Muslim nation. Not everybody in China is a great advocate for the Communist Party, but it still remains a communist nation. We have a heritage as a Christian nation. It's beyond description to me that the political leadership in a nation with the background and history we have would purposely express disrespect for our biblical worldview. It goes in the face of who we are. They're denying our heritage. The declaration of LGBTQ Transparency Day on Easter Sunday, the most important day in our calendar for the Christians, was a purposeful, intentional expression of antagonism and hatred.

I don't believe it can be understood in any other way. I wouldn't dignify it with a comment on Easter weekend. It didn't deserve it, but the recognition of what's happening should not be allowed to slip past us. The often used expression that "actions speak louder than words" should give every Christ follower pause, 'cause in recent years, we have been declared non-essential, our beliefs classified as hate speech. Laws are being implemented which oppose our most fundamental values. Parents are threatened with the removal of their children if they fail to comply with state-dictated behaviors. We understand all of this. We don't talk about it much, but instinctively, we understand the conflict because there is overwhelming compliance.

If there weren't some perceived pressure, you would never get such uniformity. We don't want to forfeit opportunity, whether it's business, social, educational, so we remain silent for the most part. We pretend not to notice. We dull our spiritual awareness with the narcotic of self-indulgence, whether it's pleasure, or success, or family, that seems a safe thing to hide behind, whatever distraction will keep us from dealing with the ever-increasing deviation from biblical behavior. It seems to me that compromise has become an idol. Lukewarm, it's the temperature of choice. Personal faith has replaced personal responsibility. We lead compartmentalized lives. Our faith is safely tucked away in our special meeting, where we gather on the weekends, or inside our own homes, or inside our own thoughts, but our business lives, our public lives, they're engineered to provide maximum opportunity within the hostile confines of a secular, ungodly, and increasingly immoral public square. We don't discuss the realities we see. It's impolite. We shouldn't do that.

So we don't talk about state-sponsored illegal activities, where millions of people invade our nation through an open border and upend our local government's capacity to serve. We ignore the intentional cultivation of racial division. We smile politely while junk science is celebrated as motivation for sweeping governmental overreach. Quite honestly, I don't believe the government should select our light bulbs, our kitchen appliances, our mode of transportation, or air conditioning systems.

Now, let's be honest. It's much easier to rail against the misbehavior of those in power, whether it's Washington, D.C. or wherever you perceive others to have gained some power, than it is to address the immorality and ungodliness in our own sphere of influence. Those are the places where we typically lose our voices. We prefer to wait for an election, a new leader, a more anointed message, a better policy, reform in the United Nations, whatever. Because all of that seems simpler and easier than grappling with the implication of our faith in our personal expressions of authority. God has given every one of us authority. Do we have the courage to bring alignment with that and what we know of his truth?

Humbling ourselves in repentance, taking time to learn to pray and seek God, to imagine that God is truly our Savior, our Redeemer, our Deliverer, and not just our default setting for our complaints about the nature of our existence. Well, it seems to me that in a very powerful and profound way that we're being awakened to a rather novel idea that you and I serve at the pleasure of a King. He provides us with breath, and our only secure future is hidden in full compliance with the truth that we know. God is moving, and it may not have been necessary in previous years or decades to cooperate with him in order to imagine you could secure your future, but I'm quite confident that security that before us will be grounded only in cooperating with God. And I'm doing everything in my power to prepare myself and the people with whom I'm traveling on this journey.

For this session and a couple more, I'd like to use Gideon as something of a pattern. We'll take his life for some examples. Gideon was one of the judges in ancient Israel. After the former slaves of Egypt occupied the Promised Land, God was their king. They had no central government, no capital city, no formal structure of authority. When there was some challenge that extended beyond a single tribe and they needed a corporate response, God would raise up a leader, a judge, not by election but by God's sovereign choice. Well, Gideon is one of those judges, one of the leaders of Israel that God raised up and God was clearly moving.

So I'll start in Judges chapter 6, beginning in verse 1. You have it in your notes. It says, "Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord," we gotta stop there just a moment. The word "again" has a meaning. If you've done, do something again, it means you've done it before, right? Have I got that right? I went to school in Tennessee, so. Some of you did too, so we'll go slow. Oh, I'm kidding. We went to school. Never mind, I was gonna be ugly about a surrounding state, but I'm not gonna talk about Alabama tonight at church, so. Says, "Again the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord". They had done evil before. So one thing I think we have to begin with is the recognition that you can be the people of God, the covenant people of God, and choose to be ungodly.

You can choose to be ungodly to the point that God will respond. It's not just some private personal matter about your behavior in the quiet of your home. When the covenant people of God choose to ignore God's direction, God gets engaged. "Again the people of Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years God gave them into the hand of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites were prepared shelters for themselves and mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. And whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, the Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and they didn't spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys".

Let's stop there for a moment. Just as an aside, this is the Book of Judges. We're more than a thousand years before the birth of Christ and the chronology of the Hebrew Bible, probably closer to twelve hundred years before the birth of Christ. Muhammad was born in the seventh century AD. So more than fifteen hundred years before Muhammad was even born, the Jewish people were living in Gaza. That will help you understand a great deal about what's happening in the world right now if you can pay attention and listen. But it says that "because the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites".

God withdrew his protection from his people. They were vulnerable to those who hated them because God withdrew his protection. I want to suggest something: that God is our protector. God is our protector. We cannot protect ourselves from evil apart from God. We need his help. If we have peace, God has provided the peace. That thought has almost evaporated from the hearts of God's people. We imagine we can secure our futures if we could put a camera on our doorbell, or we can invest more prudently, or we can get our children in the right university, or whatever you imagine will secure our future. I wanna submit to you that from a biblical perspective, God is the one who protects us, and apart from him, we are defenseless. No matter how strong, or influential, or wealthy, or how well-resourced, God is our protector. It is a biblical concept, and if we choose ungodliness, and wickedness, and rebellion against the principles of God that we know, he will withdraw his protection.

Now somebody will no doubt quote me some verses, you know, that the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you. Well, he hasn't left his covenant people. They're still his covenant people. At this point, they still get to live in the land he promised them. What was withdrawn was his protection. You see, we don't mock God. You won't manipulate God with his scripture. We've been given the Word of God so that we can know the character of God and how he interacts with people so that if we so choose, you and I might be participants in his eternal kingdom, and the scripture enables us to know his character so that we might receive the benefits of that and avoid the challenges of being in opposition to the Creator of heaven and earth. It's not presented to us so that we can vote on which parts we will receive, which portions we will agree with or disagree with. We've been given the Word of God so that we can become compliant, cooperative.

Here's the word: obedient. We are so flush with arrogance that we've almost lost the idea that we would be obedient to an almighty God. He determines right and wrong, good and evil, moral and immoral, not you, not me. There's some freedom in that. God's withdrawn his protection from the Israelites. They're suffering in horrible ways. I'll take just a moment to try to establish this biblically that God is our protector. When Jesus's disciples came and said, "Teach us to pray. John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray. Won't you teach us to pray"? And Jesus said, "Pray this way". You know the prayer: "Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name".

How many of you ever said that prayer? Yeah, I expect almost all of us have several times. Do you remember the ending of that prayer that Jesus taught us? "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". Jesus taught us to pray that God would deliver us from evil. We can't deliver ourselves. We need his protection. Begin to thank God. "God, I thank you that you're my protector. You're my deliverer. You watch over me. You secure my future". It will break a lot of the anxiety that tends to invade our hearts and our thoughts. Look at Proverbs 18:10: "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe".

Psalm 61:3: "You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe". 2 Thessalonians 3:3: "But the Lord is faithful," and he will elect the president who will protect us from the evil one. No, I'm sorry, that isn't what it says, is it? "The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one," or a little idolatrous. See, we can't choose willfully, purposefully to practice disobedience to God and imagine he will protect us. We have to choose to honor the Lord. 2 Timothy 4, in verse 18: "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen".

Some of you will know Paul wrote that from a prison cell in Rome, not as a free person, not as somebody with great liberty. He's awaiting his execution. He's fully anticipating that, and yet he writes to Timothy, a young man that he's mentored, who he's coaching. And he said, "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack".

What's absent in Paul's thoughts and his emotion is fear, or anxiety, or worry. He understands who is watching over his life. His circumstances are not what dictate the presence of the Lord. All of us have this tendency. It's a part of our spiritual maturity. You know, listen to small children. If small children make a request of their parents and the answer is no... if you'll listen, at some point, they will question the love their parents have for them, "Well, if you loved me, I could have ice cream before dinner," as if that was the determining factor on whether there was any love between parent and child, but it's the perspective of a child. They know what they want, it tends to override all other of the desires they have, and when they give expression to that and it's not met, they assume the authority in their life is unfair, unjust, and unloving.

How many times have I done that to the Lord? "I can't believe you would treat me this way if you love me. I can't believe I would have to walk through such difficult circumstances if you were really just". And Paul can write to Timothy, Timothy knowing full well where he is, because in that same book, Paul says, "Hurry, Timothy, I'm cold, I'm alone. I've been abandoned by most people. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom".

We haven't been living with the determination to participate in that heavenly kingdom as fully as we might. Perhaps we've been a little too engaged with this present world order. I like the world. God made it and everything that's in it for our pleasure. He's given us dominion over it, but I don't imagine that the current edition of this world we're living in is my ultimate objective. I have a larger objective: another kingdom where my allegiance is more important. And if occasionally my worldview and my determination to honor the Lord puts me at odds with this present world order, so be it.

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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