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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Men, Women, and Angels - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Men, Women, and Angels - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Men, Women, and Angels - Part 2
TOPICS: God Is Moving, Angels

So, every generation has to make a God choice. Every generation has to accept the assignment to deliver the message of reconciliation. You have to be reconciled to God. Parents have to teach it to their children, they have to instruct their grandchildren. This is not a governmental issue. The reason we're in this fine mess we're in, Ollie, is we have not been tending to our assignment. In Judges chapter 6, we're back with Gideon. "The angel of the Lord came and sat down under an oak," and watched "Oprah". Not exactly, it's the location. "Where Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites".

Remember, God delivered the Israelites, he withdrew their protection, and the Midianites are oppressing them. What that means is they were plundering them economically. It'd be the modern day equivalent if they would hack your accounts and steal all your assets, then they'd buy your houses. Gee, that sounds like what's happening in the world today. Other governments buying all of our assets, millions of people pouring across our border and saying they should have what you have built, coming illegally, and our government's not doing anything about it. It would almost look as if God had withdrawn his protection. We've lost our minds. And an angel of the Lord comes to see Gideon. "When the angel of the Lord appeared to him, he said, 'The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.' And Gideon said, I'f the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?'"

If the Lord is so tight with us, how did we get in this place? "Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, 'Didn't the Lord bring us out of Egypt?' But now the Lord has abandoned us.'" God used to help us, but now God doesn't help us. "And the Lord turned to him and said, 'Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?'" I'm sending you. Then Gideon said, "Lord, how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest and I'm the least". And the Lord answered, "I'll be with you and you'll strike down all the Midianites together".

Gideon is seemingly an inconsequential person. He's not a military commander, he's under resourced, he's under financed, he's under connected, he's not an influencer. There's nothing about him that commends him as a champion for his people except God sent an angel with a message. And God said, "Gideon, I have decided to use you". And Gideon responds, "You have chosen poorly". He said, "I know some people that might be able to help you, but I would not be on that list". And nevertheless, God persists. In the same chapter, verse 23, "The Lord said to him, 'Peace! Don't be afraid. You're not going to die.' So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace".

I thought it was worth noting that Gideon's response was to imagine he's just gonna die. He's completely overwhelmed. He's terrified. I think we understand that. We look at the problems, it's easier not to look at them because they're overwhelming. They're beyond us, they're beyond our ability, they're beyond our strength, they're beyond our wisdom. I would tell you that Gideon is not unique, that all of the heroes you and I know from scripture were either overwhelmed with the challenge or felt inadequate for the task and they gave expression to that. I gave you some samples, we can't read them all, but Abram, God said he would make it, from him a mighty nation, that all the people on earth would be blessed through Abram.

And in Genesis 15 Abram said, "You've given me no children". "Hey God, not to be a pest or anything, but before I left home on this grand adventure on which we have embarked, you promised me that my descendants would be more numerous than the sand on the seashore and I got no kids". Abraham was giving expression to the kind of feelings that you and I understand, "I don't feel adequate to this". Moses, God's recruiting him. I mean, we know him as the prince of Egypt, as the greatest leader in the Bible until we get to Jesus. But when God's recruiting Moses, Moses says, "Who am I? Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh? I grew up with Pharaoh. I know Pharaoh, Pharaoh knows me, and we do not exchange Christmas cards. Pharaoh has got an arrest warrant out for me, dead or alive.

Who am I? Why would you recruit me? Why would you ask me to do that? Do you understand the consequences if I go back there"? All that's Living Bible, but it's what Moses is giving expression to. "We grew up together. We've been competing since we were kids. Yeah, and I got angry and I killed that Egyptian taskmaster trying to save a Hebrew slave and even the slaves didn't hide me. Who am I? Who am I"? Esther, you know her story. She's a Jewess. She's become the queen of Persia, modern day Iran. The Iranians have hated the Jews for a long, long time and the command is to kill all the Jews in the Empire. It's been signed by the king and the only possible intercession, it seems, is Esther.

And so, the man who reared her sends her a note and says, "You've got to do something". And Esther says, "Wait a minute. If I go to the king uninvited and he's not in a good mood when he sees me, I'll be executed. There's a cost to standing up for what I believe". And so it goes all through the Bible. We're either unwilling, we're unaware, we're under informed. In Matthew 26 Jesus is getting his disciples ready for his betrayal and he said, "You're all gonna deny me". And Peter speaks up, he tends to speak up before the rest. Don't you know they loved him for that? And Peter said, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will".

Don't you know that made him a fan favorite in the room? "Lord, I agree with you. The rest of these guys seem a little inconsistent. I'm not too certain about their courage, but I will never back up". Can you see the eye rolls? And Jesus said to him, "I tell you the truth, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times". Peter's undeterred. "Yeah, Jesus, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah". "Even if I have to die with you, I'll never disown you". Then Matthew slips in that other little line. "All the other disciples were the same". We pick on Peter, but all the disciples at that point, they're up giving high fives. "Yeah, we're never backing out on this". Were in until they weren't. When God is moving... you see, we think it's gonna be like a parade, a picnic, it'll be easy.

We didn't know we'd have to walk 11 miles, we didn't know somebody was gonna put us in a room with 20 3 year olds. This doesn't feel like God moving. This feels like the devil in the room with me. Who put together this plan? If I ever get out of here, doesn't feel like God moving to me. Look at Paul, 1 Timothy 1, he said, "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who's given me strength, he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy". He said, "I persecuted these people. I was a violent, angry man".

Here's the big picture: there are no perfect recruits. Everyone needs redemption. But that should not be confused with license to live in ungodly ways. There's a lot of confusion in contemporary Christendom. You cannot walk in the dark and expect the benefits of walking in the light. You cannot. You can fool the pastor, you can fool a large part of the community of faith, you are not fooling God. The Bible says he isn't mocked. You see, if sin doesn't really matter, if sin really is not that consequential, if there's not really any consequences to it, it's not that big a deal, just kind of say, "Oh, I'm sorry," if sin is not abhorrent, then Jesus's death really wasn't necessary. But if his death was necessary, it means the problem was enormous, gargantuan, and we don't want to be perpetrators of the problem.

So don't laugh at it, don't encourage it, don't stand next to it, don't support it, don't align yourself with it, don't bless it, don't act like you don't notice, don't participate in it. Now, there's an individual struggle and I wanna close with this because the application is really important. If we don't get this last piece right it leaves us inert, we're frozen. If we can understand it and participate with the Spirit of God, we'll be set free to pursue the opportunities of reconciliation that God will put in front of you. So, if you've been sleeping, wake up. Poke your neighbor if they've been snoring a bit.

In Revelation 12, it's not in your notes, we're introduced to a title of Satan. It's consistent with the larger picture of scripture, but it's stated explicitly. We have this picture of the battle in the heavenlies and Satan is presented to us as the accuser of the brethren. It says in that chapter that he accuses men and women before God nonstop. Well, the first place that his accusations are unveiled are within us. He will remind you of all that you're not. He is a master at reminding you of your failures. Moses, at that burning bush, but he was more aware of his failure and the threats of Pharaoh than he was of a bush that was burning.

And so, we've got to do something with this, you can't just live through your sin. The model that we've embraced in much of contemporary Christendom is, if we go through an episode of ungodliness, we make ungodly choices, we make sinful choices, whatever those would be, immorality, we can build out the list, we think, okay, that was a bad choice, that was a bad set of circumstances, but I'm just gonna live through it. I'm gonna outwork it, I'm gonna put some time between me and that set of choices, I'm gonna make some better choices, and we think we'll just live through our sin. That is not an adequate solution. That's not a biblical solution.

The Bible gives us another approach. It says that we can repent and we can be set free. What is presented to us is that our involvement in ungodliness has a residual influence upon us that can't just be lived through, you might look the same on the outside, but there are spiritual repercussions. One of which is you're vulnerable to the accusations of the enemy. So that if you've participated in sexual immorality, abortions, pornography, if you've hidden addictions in your life, we can make a lengthy list, we're all familiar with these because they've touched all of us directly and indirectly, whatever they are. And the approach has just been to live through it and to do better and to learn to overcome that addictive behavior, but never really deal with its roots. You see, the good news about Jesus is that you can be free from the kingdom of darkness. You don't just have to live through it.

Look at 1 John 1:6 and 7, says, "If we claim to have fellowship with him yet we walk in the darkness, we lie and we don't live by the truth. But..." "but" is a negative conjunction, "and" is a positive conjunction, "but" means we're gonna push another idea into this, but we're gonna go in the opposite direction. The previous sentence talked about walking in the darkness, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, and we have fellowship with one another, the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin".

Now, let me jump to the punch line. If we meet those conditions, there's nothing for which you can be accused. So, when the devil says to you, "Oh no, no. You're not gonna be a voice of reconciliation in this family. You can't say to your kids, 'You shouldn't live that way,' because you lived worse than that". If you haven't implemented this, you'll lose all of your momentum, all of your courage to intercede and intervene in that point because in your accusation you'll capitulate. On the other hand, if we will apply that truth, we can be free. We can be free. Four very plainly stated facts in verses 6 and 7: One, we cannot choose to walk in darkness and expect God's protection, you cannot.

I don't care if you sit in church. I don't care if you're generous. I don't care if you volunteer your time. It's very plainly stated, if we claim to have fellowship with him yet we walk in the darkness, we lie and you don't live in the truth. So, if you're walking in the darkness, and only you know that, before we go today I'm gonna give you an opportunity to choose a new path. But there's three more statements that are equally important. In verse 7 it says, "If we walk in the light," you have to choose to walk in the light. And thirdly, "if we have fellowship with one another".

If you're doing those things, then the blood of Jesus will purify you from all sin. I'll give you one more component that's helpful. It's not really apparent in English. The Greek language is more highly inflected, it's a more specific language than certainly modern day English is. And the verb tenses in that passage are in the continuing present tense. I didn't learn that in English class either. I learned that in Greek class when I had to learn the Greek verb tense. Which means that the implication, what's being stated, is that if we walk in the light and we continue to walk in the light, that if we have fellowship with one another and we continue to fellowship with one another, then the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us and purifies us from all sin. Hallelujah.

So, the invitation is to not walk in the darkness, but to continue to walk in the light. We're on a journey. It wasn't a stop we made at an altar, it was a decision to lead our lives walking in the light. And if we have deviated from that path and we've taken the dark path, we have to repent and humble ourselves, acknowledge our ungodliness, and come back and say, "I will walk in the light". If we have fellowship with one another, folks, this meeting together thing is not simply about a tote board where we count numbers. The participation numbers in Easter are only significant to me in evaluating our effectiveness in being ministers of reconciliation.

If we wanna change the top end of that number, I'll tell you what has to happen. We have to engage more people in serving. I'm not gonna get more or less anointed, this is kind of what you get. But if together we say this matters more to us, we'll invest time and energy and effort and we'll be a part and we'll park a car or stand with a baby or whatever we need to do, we want people to be reconciled to God. If we continue to have fellowship with one another, then the blood of Jesus Christ continually cleanses us. Why does that matter? Because when you're presented with one of those opportunities, the devil will roll in and say, "Just who do you think you are? Who do you think you are to say that you're pro-life and you have participated in abortions? Who do you think you are, you hypocrite? Who do you think you are to talk to your children, or a coworker, or a friend about making biblically moral choices when you've practiced immorality for a lengthy season in your life? Who do you think you are"?

And the list can go on and on and on. And many, many of us have been silenced or crippled, many of us have been in relationships with people who know of our failures. Some of them have suffered because of our ungodliness. And even though we have repented and come back and tried to initiate restoration, we haven't extended forgiveness, we use it as leverage. And whether you're conscious of it or not, if you're using other people's ungodliness as leverage to gain an advantage, you're not walking in the light and you're forfeiting the protection and the opportunity you could have. You see, you may have suffered because of the sins of other people, that's a part of the human condition, but you can't hold resentment and bitterness and hatred. You can't gain an advantage because of other's sins.

We have to forgive them. Do you understand how much effort is being sown in our culture right now to create anger and division and resentment and bitterness and hatred? It's removing God's protection and blessing from us. So, what the Bible says is we have to forgive. We mistakenly think that when we forgive, somebody gets away with it... oh no, no, no, God is just. You don't have to... when you forgive, you are set free. You are set free. If we walk in the light, if we continue in the light as he's in the light, if we continue in fellowship with one another, because that's where all the bumps get, you know, church is such a peaceful place when there's nobody here.

I can walk through this building and I love everybody here. I hardly ever get annoyed. It's just a special, special place, and then they unlock the doors and the quality of peace gets a little spotty because we're an unlikely lot. If we will walk in the light and walk in fellowship with one another, then the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us and we can pick up our assignment to be ministers of reconciliation. Not because we're perfect, we were just like Paul. Some of us were angry and violent, some of us were like Peter and the disciples. We've denied the Lord or we've shut down our Jesus stories because we were in places where they didn't make us popular so we acted like we didn't know him. Some of us have been like Esther. We thought the price was too high so we said, "No, I think I'm just gonna pass on this one, it's okay".

Some of us have been like Gideon, said, "God, you have got to be kidding, I'm not saying anything. Let somebody better equipped say something". You can find yourself all over the Bible. But God, God is moving, folks. Let's move with him. So, I brought you a prayer. It'd be wrong to talk about this and not intentionally take some steps towards freedom. Some of you need to forgive. You have reconciled, you have re-engaged a relationship, you have been willing to go forward, but in your heart there has been anger and resentment, there's been a sense of superiority because you weren't the one who did whatever, you didn't transgress. Some of us, because of our failures. We've lived through them, but we're still living with them and it has silenced you.

You see, we've been silent for so long about so much immorality in the church. We've winked at premarital sex and extramarital sex and all sorts of immorality that now we find ourselves where we can't even find the voice to say, "We don't think transgender participation in sports would be the best thing for our small children". We didn't arrive at this place in a day or a week, we've been ignoring God's moral boundaries for so long and we haven't gone back to these passages to be clean. So today, let's decide to take a step towards the Lord.

I brought you a prayer, but I want you to understand the parts where you can engage. Let the Holy Spirit lead you beyond this first prayer of this. If he brings persons to mind or circumstances to mind, either where you need to forgive someone else or you need to be forgiven, get this prayer back out and pray it again. Let the Holy Spirit lead you, but stop acting like it's inconsequential. When you do that, what you say is, "All this story and drama around Jesus's death is not that big a deal". Do you understand how awkward that will be when you see Jesus? Let's stand together, we'll pray this together, but I really wanna send it with you. You can pray it with us at home just like you're in the house:

Heavenly Father, I rejoice that through the blood of Jesus I have been delivered out of the hand of the devil. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, continually cleanses me from all sin. In humility, I acknowledge my need of forgiveness and my need to forgive others. I release all of those who have wronged me, harmed me or caused me pain, I entrust them to your care. I thank You now that I am free. I have been reconciled to God, set free to fulfill God's purposes for my life, In Jesus' name, amen.

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