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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Judgement and Deliverance - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Judgement and Deliverance - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Judgement and Deliverance - Part 2
TOPICS: God Is Moving, Judgment, Deliverance

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 can 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 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 What was withdrawn was his protection.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 God's withdrawn his protection from the Israelites.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 have 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 a 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". We're 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, and 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. 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 loved 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 belong to another kingdom. I have another King and another authority in my life, and so do you. You can't bow to this present world order. Your goals and objectives and achievements, your alignment, your dreams for your children, need to be distinctive from this present world order. They need to be dictated by the Word of God. And in that, there's a secure place. 2 Peter chapter 2, this is the big fisherman that Jesus recruited. He's referencing Lot. Where did Lot live? It's not a trick question. Sodom and Gomorrah. God judged those cities. Not for the reasons you think, but I don't have time to go there.

"If he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard), if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment". It says that Lot was grieved, "distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men," that he lived among them. Folks, there should be a part of us that grieves, that feels distress at the blatant expressions of ungodliness that are flourishing around us. But I don't want you to be overwhelmed with discouragement.

I want to turn to Matthew 13. I think it's a very important companion to that passage that we just read. Jesus is teaching in public and he's told a parable, the parable of the weeds. And when his disciples are with him in private, they ask for an explanation. Do you remember the parable? Jesus tells the story of a man who had a field planted with wheat. And when the crop was mature, the field was liberally sowed with weeds as well as the wheat. And there was a question amongst the harvesters.

So when Jesus is in private, the disciples ask for an explanation, that's what's in your notes. It's what I want to read with you. It's Matthew 13:36: "Jesus left the crowd and he went into the house. And his disciples came and said, 'Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.' And Jesus answered, 'The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.'"

Very concise, simple, direct statements. Really not much room for confusion, but he's acknowledging some things we should be aware of, conscious of, they're important components in the world in which we live. That Jesus is busy, sowing seeds for the purposes of his kingdom in the earth. It's equally clear that Satan is busy, sowing his own seed in the world. Two things are happening simultaneously, and it says, "The harvest is the end of the age and the harvesters are angels". Did you know angels have a significant impact upon your spiritual journey? That's not just eternity. Angels are a part of your journey. Some of us are reluctant to acknowledge spiritual things and their impact upon our lives. We do so to our own deficit.

Verse 40: "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they'll weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil". So in the midst of the expression of the kingdom of God, there will be expressions of sin and evil. Not separate; occupying the same space, the same field, if you will, in the parable. "And they'll be thrown into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear".

I think it's worth noting that the same climactic conditions that allowed the wheat to ripen, allows the weeds to ripen. They're both happening simultaneously. We see that in our world. I think we have to be careful to avoid the temptation to be more conscious of the ungodliness, the weeds and the wickedness, than we do of the godliness. Let's keep our attention focused on what the Lord is doing. Let's celebrate that more fully, with greater enthusiasm than we complain or grumble about the ungodliness that we see. Technology can be used for wickedness, there's no question about it. Pornography is more available to anyone today than it's ever been in the history of the world.

So is the gospel. Any place in the world where you have access to a cellular device and a signal, you can hear the gospel, and you can more than likely hear it in your own language. You have access to the Word of God. It's unthinkable. Methods that we were discussing in my lifetime, when I was a younger man, for evangelism and taking the Word of God to the nations of the world, they seem archaic based on the technology that's available to us today. AI can be used for all sorts of perverse means of control and ungodliness and wickedness. It can also be used as an advocate to propagate the good news of Jesus Christ in an unprecedented way, in a shorter period of time, than in the history of civilization. God is moving in the earth. God is moving in the earth, if we'll have the courage to take our story of faith into the arenas where God has given us influence.

In this singular scene in Matthew 13, judgment and deliverance are visible. In the same scenario, the angels are harvesting the wheat and harvesting the weeds. One to the reward of God's blessing and the other to the reward of destruction. But whichever side of that you're on, disruption is common to both. Harvest time is disruptive. The field looks different at the end of the harvest than it does at the beginning of the harvest. You see, I think what we've been so far in the world and the reverence for God so small within us, we haven't wanted the disruption of the harvest. We've wanted God to maintain our place. We don't want anything to change. We want to park in the same space and sit in the same spot and sing the same song in the same way we've always enjoyed it.

And God is moving. God is moving. Are we willing to know him in some new ways? Not to change the truth, not to change the foundations and the fundamentals. Are we willing to co-operate with God if he says, "I'm leading you out of Egypt and I'm going to lead you to a new place, a land that flows with milk and honey. In between here and there, you'll learn to trust me in some new ways. You'll drink water from a rock and eat manna you pick up from the ground, and you'll meet enemies determined to destroy you. But if you'll listen, I'll give you victory over them".

Are we willing to follow the Lord? God is moving. I wanna read one more passage. Well, actually, I wanna read one more passage. You have more notes than I have time. Revelation 14 is the apostle John with a vision of the end of the age. But he's describing in Revelation 14 what Jesus described in the passage we just read in Matthew. Jesus taught it as a parable. John describes it for us as a vision that he has. "I looked, and before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one 'like a son of man' with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand". What's a sickle for? Harvesting the crop. There's an angel with a sharp sickle in his hand.

"And another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice, 'Take your sickle and reap, the time has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.' And he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. And another angel came out of the temple of heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. And still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, 'Take your sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe.' And the angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath".

Wrath is a little fancier old English word for anger. You know God gets angry? It's important to know. Some would tell us that God is only a God of love, that all he does is sing, "Kumbaya," give group hugs. But I'm grateful for the love of God and the mercy of God. My life has been transformed by it. But I also believe in the anger of God, the wrath of God, the justice of God. They're every much as real and a part of the character of God as his love and his mercy and his grace.

I don't say that so that you'll feel shame or guilt. You don't have to feel those things. You can be free of those things. But I don't want you to live presumptively unaware. We don't want to be on the wrong side of this discussion. We want to live under the mercy of God. "And they were trampled in the winepress outside of the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as horses' bridles for a distance of more than 100 miles". John sees the portrayal of what Jesus described in Matthew 13. Again, in the same scene, in the same picture, the same scenario is both judgment and deliverance, and the nature of your relationship with Jesus is what determines your outcome.

The Israelites, we're told in the book of Judges, chapter 6, "did evil in the sight of the Lord and they were handed over to their enemies". The covenant people of God, people who have experienced miracles, who have generationally known the power of God, have understood themselves to be unique in the earth, chosen, set apart for the purposes of God. But because of their generational choices, they were handed over to their enemies. It seems to me to be a very bold, blatant warning for you and me not to live presumptively, but on a routine basis to say:

Lord, I wanna honor you. I wanna walk uprightly in the truth that I know. I wanna be pleasing in your sight. I want you to be pleased with my choices. Teach me to honor you in my home, with my family, in the way I conduct my business. Let your values become my values; your dreams be my dreams; your aspirations become my aspirations. And where my will and your will are in conflict, Holy Spirit, help me to learn to yield my will. Let your will be done on the earth, as it is in heaven.

Seems like we were taught to pray that way. "Your kingdom come". Most of us are trying to figure out how to get our kingdom to arrive. We don't say it that blatantly, but it's the dream in our heart. Our vision, our plan, our purpose, my expectation. We have all of those things around how we want our family to unfold, our weddings to unfold, our educations to unfold, our children's futures to unfold. That's not wicked if it's informed first by God's will and God's plan.

"Well, I know God wants me to be happy". Not nearly as much as he wants you to be holy. "Amen, Pastor. Thank you. We're so glad we're sitting outside on a chilly spring evening for that hopeful nugget of goodness". It's important. Church, the challenges we face are not because of the depravity of the wicked. The challenges we face are because of the ambivalence of the faithful. We just haven't thought it mattered that much to the Lord, and it does. God is moving. I want to encourage you to begin to consciously raise your hand and say:

Lord, I want to go with you. I want to be a part. I'm volunteering. I'm offering myself as a living sacrifice. I wanna be obedient in places I haven't even thought about being obedient. I want to experience you in ways I've never experienced you. I want again to seek your face, to humble myself, to pray, to read my Bible, to interact with people, to talk about with my faith with people I've never talked about my faith with. I wanna be one of those people. I want to begin to be set apart. Not because I'm weird, but because of the great love I have for you and my determination to honor you in my life.

Folks, loving the Lord doesn't mean you're weird. If you're weird and occasionally you say "Jesus," you're just weird. Oh, I've met those folks. Don't be so spiritual. You know, people said, "I got in the car and I was out of gas and I asked the Lord for direction," you didn't need direction, you needed a filling station and cash. Don't do that. But begin to say, "Lord, I want to honor you. I want to honor you".

We're gonna work on this a little bit more in the next session or two; I brought you a prayer. It's in your notes. Why don't you stand with me? We're gonna read it together. What a beautiful evening. Have you found it? They'll put it on the screen so we can read it together there, if you don't have a copy of the notes. You're outdoors, you can say it loudly enough that you can hear yourself. All right, let's pray:

Almighty God. We turn to You in humble obedience. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Teach us to number our days aright, that we might gain a heart of wisdom. Holy Spirit, help us to learn Your ways that we might walk in Your paths. May God count us worthy of His calling, by Your power fulfill every good purpose of Yours, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified, amen.

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