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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Men, Women, and Angels - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Men, Women, and Angels - Part 1

Allen Jackson - Men, Women, and Angels - Part 1
TOPICS: God Is Moving, Angels

In our previous session, I began a new series talking about when God is moving, because I believe God is moving in the earth. I think it's inappropriate simply to look at the darkness or the evil or the multiplication of immorality or all the things that so easily trouble us, and to not understand that God is moving in a more profound way than anything in the darkness, because he truly is. Then, we're gonna explore that a bit, we're gonna use some biblical characters to try to help us understand. My goal is that we would be prepared to participate with God. And in order to participate, we have to be aware of that he's moving, understand how to recognize that he's moving, allow the scripture, which gives us this revelation of the character and nature of God, to prepare us to know, "Oh, that is God".

Because, typically, I think what we would like to do if we could just draw it up ourselves, and we can't, is we would like to maintain the routine that we have had and then see God do such extraordinary things to change the world in which we live that we could come and give him a polite round of applause. But my understanding of scripture is that is not the pattern through which God brings change. He uses people. Isn't that awkward? He uses people like us in all of our brokenness and weirdness and all that we are not. God uses people. So, if we need a different outcome, we have to be willing to become a part of that transformation.

In this session I wanna talk to you about men, women, and angels because all of them give expression to the will of God in the earth. God won't do through the angels what he intends for men and women to do, and there are things that he's called men and women to do that he won't do with the angels. So, I think we need to understand our roles and the interplay amongst those things, all of them a part of this larger portrayal of God moving in the earth. In the plainest of language, I would submit that we're witnessing a generational move of God and that he's doing something today that in scope and scale is beyond anything I have seen in my lifetime.

And I believe I could support that in many ways. He's stirring his people throughout the earth. It's not just something in middle Tennessee, it's not a Southern thing, it's not about red states or blue states. There is a group of people responding to God in atypical ways, ways that are not normal. They're willing to disrupt schedules, routines, familiar patterns, to forge new friendships, to step outside of old friendships, to create expressions of faith. I witness on a weekly basis, in the broadest way I have ever seen, a wholly dissatisfaction with the status quo. The Spirit of God is stirring people to responses.

Now, I can say all of those things, I'm quite confident in that set of statements, I would be willing to share them in just about any setting. But I would follow that by saying the outcomes of what's happening are not as clear to me. My most honest analysis at this moment is that it seems judgment is emerging. I don't believe we should be surprised. We cannot continue with the patterns and trends that we've embraced for quite some season now and imagine that God wouldn't intervene. We are also, as much as we're witnesses to this remarkable move of God, we are also witnessing some rather brazen, unprecedented expressions of the spirit of Antichrist.

Again, we shouldn't be surprised. The Bible tells us those will grow as we move towards the the culmination of this age. But to see it as close to us, it's one thing if it happened on the other side of the globe amongst the pagan nations of the world, but we live in a nation that is defined as a Christian nation. That you need to... that that's a malign statement these days, but it is an accurate reflection of who we are as a people. We're a nation of immigrants. We've come from the nations of the world. We weren't bound together by the color of our skin or a unique ethnicity or a language or a lengthy history. We were a lot, to a large extent, either fleeing or being driven from the nations of the world. What bound us together was a worldview, a Judeo-Christian, a biblical worldview. It underscored our legal system, our founding documents, our educational system. That's just a matter of historical record.

Now, we've never been a uniquely Christian nation where that everybody here identified as a Christian or with the church. We've never been an exclusively Christian nation where you had to be a Christian or go to church to live here. In fact, our founders very wisely gave us a freedom of religion. Not freedom from religion, that's a perversion, but of freedom of religion. So, when I say we've been a Christian nation, it's that that world view is what bound us together. We've always been an amazingly diverse group of people. Think of what you know, because you need to have this tucked away in your heart because there's so much manipulation. If we talk about Iran today, it is a Muslim nation.

Now, everybody that lives in Iran probably doesn't choose to worship Allah, but you'd be foolish to say Iran is not a Muslim nation. China is a communist nation. I don't imagine that every person in China is an advocate of the Communist Party, but it is factual to say that China is a communist nation. I mean, we can take that, Israel is a Jewish nation. A widely divergent place in terms of opinion and faith and practice, but it is predominantly a Jewish nation. There are some Israeli citizens who aren't Jewish, there's a million or so who are Arab and Muslim, but it is nevertheless a Jewish nation. So, when I say we're a Christian nation, that's the worldview that has held us together.

So, what we're watching is really startling when we watch a Christian nation dismantling our heritage. It would be as bizarre as watching Iran dismantle their commitments to Islam or China dismantle their commitments to communism or Israel dismantle their commitments to the security of the Jewish people. What you are watching is not just bizarre, it is a reversal of the fabric of who we have been as a people. And there are many expressions of that and it's happening from the most powerful levels of our society, both politically, culturally, economically. The political leadership in our nation is purposefully expressing disrespect for our biblical worldview, our heritage. They're not just picking on the current generation of people who sit in church. They are taking our heritage as a nation and calling it vile.

Imagine if they did that to the Native American population, there'd be riots. The declaration on Easter Sunday of a Transparency Day for the LGBTQ community, the most important day on the Christian calendar, was a very purposeful expression of antagonism and hatred. I don't believe it should be understood any other way. It'd be like going to Israel on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and having National Pork Day. It would be purposefully, intentionally disrespectful to the values of the people in that place. And then, for the most part, we yawned. There's an expression that's used frequently, you've heard it, that actions speak louder than words. Well, that phrase should inform our responses and it should give every Christ follower pause.

In recent months and years, I don't talk about ancient history, I mean in time that we could all discuss every one of us, we have been declared non-essential by our own government. Our beliefs are increasingly classified as hate speech, laws are implemented which oppose our most fundamental values. Parents, family was God's idea, he defined it. He didn't invent governments to vote on that. Parents are threatened with the removal of their children if they fail to comply with state dictated behaviors. You can go beyond our local scenarios and local laws. This morning, I woke up to my phone chirping that Israel, under intense pressure from the United States that's been being ratcheted up for several days, Israel is withdrawing their ground troops from Southern Gaza.

They're leaving just a very light presence. They're reporting in the media that targeted raids are a more effective way to fight Hamas. They're bowing to international pressure, and let's not really hide behind international pressure, they're bowing to pressure from the United States. It should concern us. I was in Washington DC not long ago at the Israeli Embassy. I saw the footage of what happened on October 7. There is no defense of Hamas. There is no defense of Hamas. There is no moral equivalency for what they did. If they are allowed to survive, if they are allowed to flourish, if their leadership stays in place, there will be the further loss, not only of Jewish lives, they will bring those same heinous behaviors to us. And yet, we watch these daily demonstrations on behalf of Hamas.

We see them expressed in the halls of Congress, in front of the most celebrated academic institutions in our nation, and the church doesn't want to talk about it. There are some things that God has said will bring a response from him uniquely, and one of them is forcing solutions on the Jewish people in the nation of Israel that he doesn't intend. And whether you pray for our current administration or not, I would strongly encourage you to begin, to ask God to put voices in the administration, whether you voted for them or you didn't, that would not bring the judgment of God upon us more completely. The British Empire in World War II, and I'll do my lesson, I promise, what time is it? Yeah, we're good. Next service in here is Wednesday.

Okay, alright. Even my mom would not clap for that. So, you shouldn't either. When World War II began, the British Empire boasted that the sun never set on the Empire. They were the most powerful empire in the world at that time. There's many ways of understanding this, but I have friends that are British and the analysis they have shared with me is, through the course of that war, and particularly as it came to a conclusion, they betrayed commitments they had made to the Jewish people. They gave every advantage to the Arab League and those... and as a result of that, they won the war and they lost their empire and they were relegated, not to a completely irrelevant point in the global constellation, but one of great, much less significance.

I have no doubt we will experience the same thing if we continue on the path that we've been pursuing. I don't know that it means our destruction, but I know it means our diminishment. We cannot intentionally practice disobedience to the one who caused us to be blessed and to prosper and imagine there are no consequences. So, when we talk about God is moving, it's not something theoretical to me. If we are thinking of our future and our children or our grandchildren or the generations who will follow us, we shouldn't just presumptively think everything goes on as it always has.

That's a very arrogant attitude and it requires a stunning ignorance of history to believe it. We're living in a season of unparalleled, unprecedented change in both the scope, the magnitude of the change, and the speed at which it's unfolding and it represents enormous potential for good. We are able to communicate with more people, more easily, more broadly, more frequently than any time in human history. It also means messaging can be evil or it can honor the Lord. So, if God is moving, the question for God's people is, are we willing to move with him? Are we going to cry because we preferred the brick pits of Egypt? They were predictable and we knew what they were. It's a challenge in the hearts of every one of us.

I'm using Gideon, really, as kind of the the template for this little study, at least as the beginning point. And in Judges chapter 6 and verse 1 it says, "The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord". It's not in your notes, but it is in the Bible. Those notes that you have are a derivative, they've been taken out of that big book. It looks a lot like this one. I hope you read yours. In 6:1 in Judges it says, "The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites".

In the plainest possible language, God withdrew his protection from his covenant people. They're still his covenant people, they're still living in a land that he's given to them, he still identifies with them, they're still offering daily sacrifices, they're still doing, keeping holidays, but God has withdrawn his protection. It's worth noting that we live with the protection of Almighty God, but it is not disconnected from our behavior. We've become so intoxicated with the messages of grace. And I believe in grace, I'm a poster of grace, but it's not the only aspect of God's character we should know. If God would withdraw his protection from his covenant people at other points in time, I know it's safe to assume he could withdraw his protection from us.

I know the scripture says he'll never leave us nor forsake us. He didn't forsake the people of Gideon's day. He raised up a leader to help deliver them from the Midianites. But for seven years he removed their protection and they suffered greatly. They were economically devastated, they were humiliated, they were, lives were completely disrupted, and they began to cry out to the Lord and say, "God, won't you move on our behalf"? We need a fuller understanding of scripture and not our favorite verses and our private theologies that think us God cause us to believe God is some sort of a benevolent, heavenly dispenser of goodness while we mock his character. Men, women, and angels, let's go there for just a moment. What do you know about angels? The Bible talks about them a lot.

In Hebrews chapter 1 and verse 14 it says, "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent forth to serve those who inherit salvation"? But that's the simplest, and it's not by any means a complete definition, but angels are ministering spirits, created beings, that God has given assignments to minister in the earth. So, I believe angels are active and present on planet Earth this morning in the spaces that we occupy. Again, not a complete definition. Daniel chapter 12 gives us a little vision into, angels have different roles, different assignments, different expressions of power and authority. They're talked about as being mighty angels or angels that are used as expressions of God's judgment, angels with the power to afflict the earth.

Lots of different, it's not just a uniform block. Angel is not anymore than saying human. That gives you some general idea, but it doesn't give you a lot of definition about strength or ability or opportunity or assignment. Angel is equally generic, but in Daniel chapter 12, Daniel has a visit from, "Michael, the great prince," he's one of the archangels, "who protects your people". Michael is the archangel assigned to watch over the Jewish people. You have the imagination that God has assigned angels with specific places and people groups in the world? See, we're far more inclined to believe that about the kingdom of darkness, that there are principalities and spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies that have assignments for regions of planet Earth.

What you should know is the Bible seems to suggest to us that Satan modeled his kingdom of darkness after the kingdom of God that he had participated in before his rebellion. So, when we talk about angels, we're talking about spiritual forces, spiritual beings, that God has created, that they play a role in some very specific assignments to help facilitate deliverance, they're agents of God's judgment, they're a part of our lives. I tell you that because if you can imagine that angels have specific roles and specific assignments, when we talk about men and women, it would be completely illogical to go, "We have no assignment other than to get saved and just go to heaven".

If God created the angels to be engaged in human history, to let his purposes be done... remember what Jesus taught us to pray? That his will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. That I'm gonna submit to you that men and women have assignments for the purposes of the kingdom of God. I brought you just a sample. Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 22, "God placed all things under his feet," he's speaking of Jesus, "and appointed him to be head over everything for the church". Jesus is the head of the church. Church is the word that's used for the body of Christ. People from every nation, race, language and tribe that have acknowledged Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah and accepted him as Lord, those are your credentials to be included in the church.

It's not about denomination or building or Sunday morning location. He's placed all things under the feet of Jesus and appointed him to be the head over everything for the church, "which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way". The New Testament refers to the people of God as the body of Christ, an expression of his authority in the earth. Jesus said this in very plain language. He said, "In my name you can ask for whatever you need". Our prayers are concluded in the name of Jesus. Not some numb adherence to a formulaic prayer, but rather, understanding the authority in which we can approach the throne of God is not our own or our congregation's nor our denomination's.

We approach Almighty God in the name of his Son Jesus, and we are treated as if we are a part of his family because our affiliation with him. Don't deny Jesus. No matter what the pressure is, no matter what the threat is, your status and standing in the eternal kingdom of God has everything to do with your willingness to acknowledge Jesus. So, whomever or whatever is asking you to deny, diminish, separate from him, understand that is not a good thing, and walk towards those consequences. You want to be identified with Jesus. Romans 5 in verse 10 says, "If, when we were God's enemies," do you know it's possible to be an enemy of God?

If you'll allow me, I would submit to you it is a very serious circumstance to find yourself in an adversarial relationship with Almighty God. That's not gonna turn out well. "I thought God was all about love". Well, he is the God of love, but he's also a God of justice. He's also a God who said, "Vengeance is mine". You don't want to be God's adversary. You're not getting away with it. If you've chosen wickedness and you think you're so powerful or clever or adroit or adept or nimble or whatever you've imagined, that you're gonna pull this off, it won't work. Not a threat, just an acknowledgement. Humble yourself, talk to the Lord, tell him the truth, tell him you're sorry. If you're not sorry, tell him you're convicted. "I know it's wrong and I would rather cooperate with you than be disobedient".

This is New Testament, folks. This isn't some Old Testament. "When we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life"! Jesus's life. It was the death of Jesus that made it possible for you and me to be reconciled to God. There was a breach in our relationship. We were not at peace, we were his adversaries, we were his enemies. He was our enemy. It wasn't just that Allen was ungodly, God was un-Allen, and that's a really bad way to live. But through Jesus's willingness to offer himself as a sacrifice we have been reconciled to God, we can be at peace with him. In fact, he will invite us into his kingdom. Not into a church service, not into a moral code, not into a do-good society.

You see, we have so diminished Jesus there's very little difference between a social club, a civic organization, and the church. And we've been so influenced by this. In the church we've been so influenced by this. We think our primary assignment is to do good things. Yes, we have a biblical assignment to care for widows and orphans, I don't want to diminish that, but we have an assignment from Almighty God that no civic club can do, that no expression of benevolence from the government can compensate for. It's the role of the church.

Look at 2 Corinthians 5:19. "That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to the government the message of reconciliation". He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Michael the Archangel has an assignment. The church of Jesus Christ in the earth has an assignment. It's a message of reconciliation. You can be reconciled to God. You don't have to be an adversary of God. You don't have to be an enemy of God.

Hey, I love the idea that God recruits unlikely characters. I know that's how I got on the team and I suspect it's true for you as well. Don't let the things that you're not convince you that you can't do everything that God has called you to be. We stand in his strength, not ours. Let's pray:

Father, I thank you that you've chosen us, you have selected us, and you will give us everything we need for triumphant lives. I praise you for it. In Jesus's name, amen.

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