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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Israel, The Church and The Nations - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Israel, The Church and The Nations - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Israel, The Church and The Nations - Part 2
TOPICS: Israel, God Is Moving

Paul goes into some rather elaborate language in the book of Romans to talk about how we've been grafted in to a tree so that all the blessings that come to us extend from the blessings God made long before Jesus was born in the stable in Bethlehem. We're not two separate paths. The goal for my Jewish friends is not to cause them to convert to Christianity, but to help them acknowledge that Jesus of Nazareth is their Messiah. Jesus was an observant Jewish rabbi. They don't need to be more like me. They've got to grapple with the truth about Jesus. And you and I, we have to get over our arrogance that we're more right and somehow superior, that we haven't missed it, that we haven't made mistakes.

May I remind you that we've had two millennia with the assignment to preach the gospel in the whole world. And I'm pretty certain that our vacations get on our calendar before the assignment to preach the gospel does. So before we wag our fingers and shake our heads at someone else's disobedience, we gotta go find a mirror and say, "Really, all I wanted to do was go to heaven and not go to hell. And I could have cared less about the purposes of God, not two covenants". And then I would take a moment and just reinforce for you biblically that the church did not replace Israel. Look at Romans 11:1: "I ask then: Did God reject his people"?

That's a very common assertion amongst many sets of Christians, that God rejected the Jewish people. After all, they crucified the Messiah. Well, the Romans actually are the ones that had the authority to do that. But did God reject his people? And Paul answers, in English it's a bit softened; in the Greek language, it's the most strident possible answer. In English, "By no means," but literally, you know, "Absolutely not," he said. "I'm an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know that the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he appealed to God against Israel: 'Lord, they've killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I'm the only one left.'" Elijah was complaining about his folk. "'They're trying to kill me,' and what God answered: 'I've reserved for my 7000 who have not bowed their knees to Baal.'"

There is tremendous diversity in the Jewish community, some of the most fervent, godly, honorable people I've ever known, and some of the most wicked. And having spent my life, my adult life, in the Christian church, I can tell you under that umbrella of "Church" are some of the most remarkable, holy, humble servants of God I've ever known, and some of the most wicked. We've got to be a bit more astute, wiser observers. See, one of the challenges for the Jewish people when they look at Christian community is they imagine we're the same, that we're homogenous, that a Christian is a Christian is a Christian.

And they know that in the 15th century, the Spanish Inquisition was driven by the Church, and the Jewish people were tortured and forced to convert to Christianity or driven from their homes and driven out of the nation. To which we respond, "Well, they weren't good Christians," and the Jewish people go, "I don't know. I don't know the difference between a good one and a bad one. I just know what the Church did". And we have a tendency in the same way to look at the Jewish community and imagine they're homogeneous, that they're all the same. And I assure you, they're not. Tel Aviv is the gay capital of Europe. They market themselves in that way. All the challenges that we find in our own hearts and in our own community, you find in the communities of Israel. It doesn't mean that God has rejected them, any more than it means he's rejected you and me.

Galatians chapter 3: "You're all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus". What an amazing statement. We stand together in that. Look at Ephesians 2:13: "Now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and its regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace".

I hear Christians say rather frequently that Jesus was the end of the law, which is a biblical statement, but they don't finish the verse. Says that he was the end of the law as a means of righteousness, that we no longer establish our standing with God by keeping a set of rules. But it doesn't mean God got soft when he finished Malachi. It wasn't like he got the ten commandments out and went, "Whew, that was harsh. Thou shalt commit only a little adultery". No, he didn't. His character didn't change. His determination didn't change. It's just our standing with God is not established by our ability to keep the rules because none of us can keep them perfectly, and the standard is absolute holiness, perfection. God does not grade on a curve. That's why we needed a Savior.

That's why we needed somebody to exhaust the punishment for our ungodliness, so that we can in turn receive the blessings due his perfect obedience. And having received that tremendous gift of grace and the gift of righteousness, it does not remove us from a lifelong commitment to walk uprightly, holy lives before God. There is an insidious idea that has flourished amongst the church that because of the great grace of God and the love of God, it no longer really matters how we live. Folks, that is a perversion. If you're leading a sloppy life, please do not imagine there are no consequences, please. If you have occupied a seat amongst the lukewarm, I wanna invite you, not to suit me. Just simply begin to say to the Lord, "Lord, I would like to learn to honor you. Give me a new love for you".

I'll tell you some ways you can kind of sort that out. God does it in my life. One of the real indicators for me that I was much further away from the Lord than I should be is I didn't like his people. You laugh because it's so obvious when somebody says it out loud. But I was like, "Oh, I don't like to hang out with Christians". They annoyed me for all kinds of reasons. Put me in the middle of ungodly people, I was good to go. And I could give them excuses and grace and mercy and they were more fun. And the Lord began to say to me, "You know, if you're more uncomfortable with the wicked, than you are the righteous, perhaps", and some of you have a little bit of what I had.

The greatest delight in my life and I don't know how it happened, I don't know exactly when it happened, but it's to be with God's people. I'm so thankful he let me be a pastor. I get to hang out with God's people. I do. Begin to talk to the Lord. Tell him the truth. Stop the charade. If you don't care about the things of the Lord, tell him. See, it's better to start to be honest with God now, while there's still a little bit of road in front of you, because God delights to show mercy, he says, even to the wicked. Don't wait until there's no more options. Tell him the truth.

I have found that the more honest I am with the Lord, the more forthright he is in dealing with me. And that's not a bad thing. It's a tremendous gift. It's a tremendous gift, Church. If Israel doesn't matter to you, tell the Lord. Say, "I just never cared. I've cared far more about UT sports teams than I did about Israel. God, I get a whole lot more excited about the Titans' wins and losses and what they're gonna do in the upcoming draft, than missiles and rockets falling on the city of Jerusalem". Tell him the truth. We want to stop the charade. It's amazing what God is doing. We stand together with the Jewish people.

So what should we expect? What's coming? Well, I'll give you a big-picture view. First of all, I would tell you that God will continue his restoration of the Jewish people, establishing them in the land that he promised them, in spite of the consternation of the nations. And there is great consternation. Our own nation demanded that they withdraw their troops from Gaza under threat of removing all military support. There's only about 7 million Jews in Israel. They're surrounded by tens of millions, hundreds of millions, of people who are sworn to their destruction, who have the resources of the petroleum dollars.

So if they're totally isolated, apart from the sovereignty of Almighty God, they have no pathway forward. And the United States who has been a relatively consistent ally on their part, in recent weeks said, "We're not gonna demand that the hostages be released. For political expediency, we're going to demand that you remove your forces. Never mind you were invaded by a group of people who still publicly are sworn and committed to your destruction and are funded by Iran. You withdraw your forces". But I'll tell you this: God's judgment will come on us. But he still watches over Israel.

In Joel chapter 3 and verse 16, it says: "The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel". For 2000 years, they were distributed, from about 70 AD until 1948, the Jewish people were scattered throughout the nations of the world. No homeland, no nation, no central government, no anything. They were assimilated into the nations, partially. And in 1948 when the modern nation of Israel was born, they began to come back: a group of people speaking many different languages, but a group of people united by some things. They still kept Sabbath, they still celebrated Passover. They were still people of the book. God had kept them. There's really nothing else like that in history.

We're a nation of immigrants. We've come from the nations of the world. We've been here a little over 200 years and we have been assimilated into a people, assimilated around a set of shared values that have been more significant in our national formation than any other single thing. More significant than our ethnicity or the color of our skin or the accent with which we have spoken. What has bound us together was that biblical worldview. It's established in our founding documents, in our legal system, and our academic system. And we're watching it be systematically dismantled and we are more fragmented, we're more filled with hate, we are more selfish, and we're more divided than we've ever been in our history as a people.

While those leading us tell us they're unifying us. It's called a lie. What binds us together has been that biblical worldview, not that we have all universally embraced it. We've never been uniquely united around that, but that has been the core values around which our nation has coalesced, unmistakably our story. Well, God is watching over the Jewish people. He will continue to do that. Look at Isaiah 44: "I'll pour out on the thirsty land, streams on the dry ground; I'll pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessings on your descendants". It's amazing to watch. I've been visiting Israel since I was a boy, and when I first went it was very much a developing country. The food was very limited, the accommodations were very meager, the roads were two-lane, many of them gravel. It was very much a developing country.

Today, Israel leads the world in many, many categories. Their technology corridor is really only exceeded by Silicon Valley. They set world records year after year in agriculture in a whole variety of products. And for a group of people who, for the majority of the 2000 years of the dispersion, weren't allowed to own property, that's a remarkable accomplishment. The most limiting factor in the land of Israel, the most valuable resource in the Middle East is not oil, it's water. The wars in the Middle East have been fought over water, not petroleum, and Israel has implemented technology in the last half-dozen years that enables them to desalinate the water of the Mediterranean, and for the first time in their history, they have an abundant supply of water. The desert is blooming.

God is keeping his promise to the people of the land of Israel. And as you watch, in spite of the consternation of their enemies, because a great deal of the frustration is the Middle East is the prosperity and the development of the Jewish people in the land of Israel is a humiliation to their adversaries. Now, there's great stress in front of Jerusalem. Please don't imagine that to be a people with a covenant with God removes you from conflict. There is tremendous destruction in the future of Jerusalem. It's biblical. You will watch them flourish in spite of the hatred of their enemies. And the Bible very candidly says: "He will bless those who bless them and curse those who curse them".

You decide. You decide. And in parallel to that, there's a response to the nations. God said, "In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem," and we're watching that happen, "I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat," literally the Valley of Judgment. "And there I'll enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. They cast lots for my people and traded boys for prostitutes; they sold girls for wine that they might drink".

As I watch the videos of what happened on October the 7th, and they were almost unbearable, I could not help but think of that verse. I was watching video evidence of people doing what Joel talked about. And God said, "I will enter into judgment against the nations for how they've treated the Jewish people". If you want a prayer to pray, whether you support the current administration or you do not, that's really irrelevant. I would suggest you begin to pray for them on a daily basis that they will make choices that will bring the blessings of God to us and not the judgment of God to us.

You say, "Well, I didn't vote for them". That will not be a line that helps you. "I don't like them". Doesn't matter. It truly doesn't, folks. We have been... do you think that God will only move on your behalf when there's an administration that you prefer? It's such a wonderful imagination to me that the time will come when the momentum, where godly momentum, in our nation will be sustained, irrespective of which parties happen to be an influence. The church has become so idolatrous, we think it requires a candidate or a party or a policy.

Now, I'm not against that. I think we have to participate in the process. But the ultimate authority and power is Almighty God. And the expression of that is his people. I'm looking forward to the purposes of God being pushed forth, irrespective of parties and policies and elected officials. Church, we need to repent. We've made idols of our party, so we go find one good thing that they do and we say, "Therefore they're godlier". We find one bad thing that in a party we don't like and they say, "Therefore, they're wicked," and we stand watch over a culture that is plummeting into paganism: redefining marriage, redefining family, redefining the authority in our home. We're unwilling to say there's a difference between men and women. We no longer educate our children based on their character formation. We educate them based on fun experiences.

That is perversion and it's wicked. And the difference, the dividing line, is not about an election. It's about the heart of the church. God will gather the Jewish people and establish them in the land he promised to them and he will respond to the nations, based on their attitude toward that divine expression of his purpose. Genesis 12:3, and I'll close with that: "I'll bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you". Don't spend too much time on the news, it'll make you nuts. Will you stand with me? I'd like to close with a prayer for the peace of Jerusalem. Can we do that?

We got to Israel and the people, as I mentioned, there was a heaviness. They feel so isolated. They said, "We feel like refugees in our own nation". About 100,000 Israelis cannot live in their homes today because their homes are under constant shelling, rocket and missile fire. And it's been that way for 6 months. They sneak in at night and milk the cows or do what has to be done, and they're back before the daylight comes up again. There's a tremendous sense of despondency. And we began to say to them, at our church, we put up a wall. It's about 80 feet long with a big picture of your flag that says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem". And they said, "Really"? And so we sent a message back home and said, "Can you send us a picture of the wall"? And we got our phones out and started showing people that wall, and Israelis are not typically particularly emotional with strangers.

And I would show it to them and watch tears begin to roll down their faces. "Really"? I walked in a little business in the Old City. The man looked so typically Israeli, looked like a walking piece of leather. He was slight built and sober and, you know, our southern banter of, "How are you"? That's not the Middle East. And I walked into his little shop and he said, "Why are you here"? There was nobody else there. And we said, "Well, we have friends here and we came to see our friends". And he said, "Well, I have two boys in the military and I've had no business for 6 months and I don't know what I'm gonna do".

And we got our phone and said, "We pray for you," and a tear rolled down his face and something that has never happened to me in all the years: he was behind the counter and he stood up and, again, this is an Israeli. He said, "I know this is odd". Kathy was with me. He said, "Could I have a hug"? And he came around the counter and I said, "We're praying for you, but could we pray for you now"? You know, that "Let's pray" thing? I'm paying attention, folks, I am. And we put our hands on him and we said a prayer for him out loud in the Old City of Jerusalem, in Jesus's name. And when I opened my eyes, there were tears running down his face and he said, "Thank you so much". Folks, God is moving. God is moving. Don't be filled with despair. Let's pray:

Father, I thank you that in your great mercy and wisdom, you have awakened us. Now, Lord, we stand today to acknowledge a desire to know you better or not to stand in arrogance or presumption or self-righteousness or smugness. Lord, not to look condescendingly at others, but to present ourselves with humility and say, Father, give us a revelation. Give us understanding hearts, eyes to see, and ears to hear, to be aware of what you're doing in the world today. Forgive us of our idolatry, forgive us for being distracted, forgive us for being disinterested, forgive us for being lukewarm, Lord. Ignite a passion within us to serve you with our whole heart, mind, soul, and body. We pray for our brothers and sisters in the land of Israel today.

Lord, I pray that you will provide protection far greater than any Iron Dome. I pray for your mercy upon them. Give them a revelation of yourself in the midst of the stress. Bring joy in the midst of the heaviness. May the oppression be lifted. Lord, I thank you that we'll see a moving of your Spirit in that land beyond anything we've ever known. And we pray for our leaders or those with influence, those who are making the decisions, whomever they may be, that they would make choices regarding the land of Israel and the Jewish people that would bring your blessings to us and not your curse.

Father, may those who would then make wicked choices and ungodly choices be silenced. May their plans fail or their schemes unravel. May they be exposed. May the truth be shouted from the housetops, and may your people have a desire to see. We thank you for it. We praise you that the one who watches over us never slumbers nor sleeps, that we are on this planet for a purpose, that we've been filled with your Spirit that we might fulfill what you created us for. May you be pleased with us, in Jesus's name, amen.

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