Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Israel, The Church and The Nations - Part 3

Allen Jackson - Israel, The Church and The Nations - Part 3

Allen Jackson - Israel, The Church and The Nations - Part 3
TOPICS: Israel, God Is Moving

I wanna talk this weekend and for the next two or three sessions about "Israel, the Church and the Nations". Three distinct groups with whom God is dealing in the earth these days, towards the same objectives: the establishment of his kingdom and the acknowledgment of Jesus is Lord of all. But it's important and it's one to which a significant portion, I believe, of the contemporary church is, if not unaware, perhaps not as informed as we might be. When I talk about Israel, I'm really speaking primarily of the Jewish people living in the historic homeland that God promised to Abram and to the generations who followed him. We have traveled to Israel for many years.

My parents took my brother and I when we were boys and that's been 10 or 12 years. Hey, don't heckle. And we had the privilege of studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. We have been in and out of the land of Israel consistently since we were boys. And it has been very much a part of our spiritual formation. I hope someday you'll get to visit that land. We have done tours for a number of years. Covid's interrupted that. We have a tour built for next summer, we'll see. There are some protocols that need to be put in place before international travel can be revived, but we trust God will do that in his time. It will change your Bible, whether you go with us or however you go.

I would trade 10 days in the land of Israel for any year of graduate school I ever had. It will change your faith and your Bible more than anything I know. And the streets of Jerusalem are safer than the streets of Tennessee, and the streets of Tennessee are pretty safe. So I encourage you to make that effort. So when we talk about Israel, we're talking about the Jewish people living in their historic homeland. About 6 million Jews live in the land of Israel today. Another million Israeli citizens are Arab, with all the rights of citizens. When we talk about the Church, I'm not talking about a particular denomination or a building. I'm talking about Church with a capital "C". Every person from every nation, race, language, and tribe who names Jesus of Nazareth as Christ, Lord, and King, that's the Church.

We find all sorts of ways to divide ourselves and subdivide ourselves. But they're really more points of confusion. Jesus is the head of the Church. You know, in the academic world, we used to have lots of discussions about what Jesus looked like. I'll give you the most helpful idea I ever have come across is he doesn't look like you. Stop trying to make him look like... he's not like me. He's a better version of whatever I may have ever been. And it'll give you compassion for other people, if you think Jesus looks more like them than you. It'll just help a lot. We're so self-centered, we all want him to look like us. He's not like us. He spoke to the wind and the waves and they got still. He stood outside Lazarus's tomb and said, "Come here," and he walked out.

That's why we worship him. He's the Creator of all things, the sustainer of all things. At his name, every knee will bow in heaven and earth and under the earth. And the Church is his initiative from every nation, race, language, and tribe. We gotta grow up a little bit. But I have to understand the one we worship and the love he has for all people: the broken, the lost, the Church. "Israel, the Church and the Nations". From a biblical perspective, the nations are those group, that body of people that live under the present world order apart from God's covenants, and the outcome for that group is not good. But that group represents the harvest fields.

That's the group to whom we have been given an assignment. We haven't been called to isolate, to huddle apart from them and point accusing fingers through the windows of our buildings. We haven't been called to pontificate about their weaknesses and their ungodliness. We haven't been called to compromise in order for them to like us more. We have been called to hold out the truth, to tell our God stories about how a living Jesus is transforming our lives from the brokenness of our journey to, increasingly, places where his wholeness is emerging within us and through us. It's not a story of condemnation. It's a story of hope. Israel, the Church and the nation. You need an awareness of what God is doing in those places. It will strengthen your faith. It will help you understand your assignment.

We've been too narrow. We've been too siloed. We've been in the bunker with the windows closed and the lid sealed, concerned that something, and I'm not talking about a virus from China. We were living like this long before we heard about that. We have to have a heart for the purposes of God and the earth. That's why we're here. We're not here so God will take up my cause. We're not here so God will just bless me with the things that are on my to do list. I'm here to give my life to his to do list. And God has begun to shake us, to awaken us, to stir our hearts.

Folks, the need for repentance really doesn't begin in the pagan, in the nations. The need for repentance begins in the midst of God's people. I hope you're spending time on your knees regularly saying to the Lord, "Lord, forgive me. I have been so preoccupied with myself and the things I wanted and the perspective I had, and I've been so angry at others and I felt so entitled to the stuff that I wanted. God, forgive me. God, forgive me". Jesus is our Lord. He's our model. He came and poured his life out. He didn't come to demand privilege or position or power. In fact, in Philippians 2, it says he humbled himself and became obedient. And right before it starts that litany of what Jesus did, it says your attitude, my attitude, should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

"He didn't consider equality with God something to be grasped, but he made himself of no reputation and he humbled himself and became obedient, obedient to death, death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted him, gave him a name that's above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow on heaven and earth and under the earth". That's our assignment: to be obedient. To begin to say, "Lord, I'm sorry, I haven't really cared so much about obedience. In fact, I really didn't wanna know much more truth because I was afraid it might expand the assignment to me, and what I really wanted to do was go to heaven". "Israel, the Church and the Nations".

I know you've got an outline, I'll get there. I will quit on time, I promise. God's eternal plan. Let's start there. Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 4: God, "He chose us in him," in Christ, "before the creation of the world". God chose you before the sun rose the first time. How does he do that? Because he's not like us. He spoke this place into existence.

Folks, we gotta get over our reluctance to worship. God is not like us. We don't worship him because his ego is so fragile he needs you to prop it up. You worship him with the enthusiasm in proportion to the degree you understand you're his creation, and the privilege of coming into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise is one of the greatest honors that will ever be extended to you as a living being. Lord, we worship you. We do worship you. In your presence, there is no sin or sickness. Folks, we are delivered from this present age. It says there'll be no more crying or mourning or tears, because those things will have passed away. We gotta stop this foolishness because we need his help today, desperately. "He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight".

Only he could make us holy and blameless because on our own, we're a mess. We're much more comfortable wallowing with the pigs. Yes, I meant you, and me. "In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and to the praise of his glorious grace, which he's freely given us in the One he loves". We're gonna talk a little bit about Christian support for Israel, biblical Zionism. In some segments of Christianity, that term is looked at with more than skepticism and it's not based on the prophetic passages of scripture. I'm not trying to make you a prophecy person. I believe you should be reading the prophets, but that's not why we have a love for Israel. Christian support for Israel is anchored in the great covenant.

God's plan for Israel is a part of his redemptive plan for all of humanity. If you don't understand what God is doing in the midst of the Jewish people and the restoration of the nation of Israel, you won't understand fully what he's doing in the earth. You can't separate them. Even though Israel became the vehicle of God's plan, the goal is the whole world. Israel is a wonderful expression of what it means to be called by God. A wonderful call of God. A wonderful purpose of God. In the center of God's plan, a unique covenant with the Jewish people through which we benefit today. But that's not an easy thing.

You see, we've had this mistaken idea that to be called by God and have the purpose of God would be like a merry skip down the yellow brick road, like a permanent trip to Disney World. Whee! All kinds of junk food, your favorite rides. And the truth is the call of God is opposed in the earth. The purposes of God are opposed in the earth. So when you respond to God, when you accept that invitation into his kingdom, acknowledge Jesus as Lord, you inherit an adversary. He's not committed to making you blue, he's committed to your destruction. You didn't have to make that commitment before you chose Jesus as Lord. You were already doomed to destruction. You belonged to the kingdom of darkness. But when God in his mercy awakened you and you responded to his invitation and you changed kingdoms, you inherited an adversary.

If you were in the streets of Kabul in Afghanistan today, you wouldn't have to declare that you were an enemy of the Taliban. All you'd have to do is show 'em a passport. They would understand your position, I promise. You don't have to declare yourself in the midst of spiritual conflict. You simply have to align yourself with the kingdom of God. Galatians chapter 3 says: "He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus". Gentile is a word in the New Testament that means everybody that's not Jewish. Irrespective of how you understand yourself, if you're not Jewish, you're a Gentile. Welcome to the clan. "He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the non-Jewish world through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit".

That our participation in the kingdom of God comes to us because of a promise God made to Abram way back in the book of Genesis. Don't tell me the Old Testament's unimportant. Don't tell me you're a New Testament Christian. The New Testament makes no sense without the Old Testament. It's indecipherable. Same chapter, Galatians 3, verse 26: "You're all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus," and having a laminated name badge from World Outreach Church. Aren't you glad that's not there? "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There's neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, you are all one in Christ Jesus".

Again, all those things we use to divide ourselves. They're points of pride. They're points of pride. "If you belong to Christ, then you're Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise". The promises of God that are available to you and me, made available through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, are the fulfillment of a promise, a commitment, God made to Abraham in the book of Genesis. Now, if that's the case, perhaps we should know a bit more about what God said to Abraham. You see, God keeps his Word. It's so important to know. You need to know God keeps his Word. One of the things that's happened in this season of turmoil, whatever it was that launched us on this journey at the beginning of 2020, we're not going back to someplace. We're on a journey to someplace new.

I believe it's as much a better place, a more fruitful place, a place more defined by God's leading and God's guidance and God's provision, in the similar way that when the Hebrews left the brick pits of Egypt, they were headed to a better place. I believe we're headed, I don't wanna go back. I don't wanna moan about the food we had when we were in Egypt. I wanna look forward to where God is leading us. We know him better, we're more alive, we're more alert. We're listening more carefully. We're reading our Bibles with greater intentionality. God keeps his Word. You need to know that. Covenant is the most solemn binding form of relationship that the Bible describes.

There's no stronger commitment in scripture. There's no stronger commitment that the Creator of heaven and earth makes with human beings than a covenant. And he made a covenant with Abraham. We call it the Abrahamic Covenant, how creative. And it's reiterated throughout scripture. We just read in the book of Galatians where Paul was reminding the church at Galatia that their status, their standing in the kingdom of God, reflected the fulfillment of a promise God had made to Abraham. That's our status. We get so inflated about where we worship, how we worship. Folks, the basis upon which we worship is the redemptive work of Jesus, and that takes us right back to that covenant with Abraham.

Genesis 17: "I'll make you very fruitful; I'll make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I'll establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant". You better circle that word "everlasting". "Everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now are an alien, I will give you as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God".

Now, that's a pretty strong commitment. God said, "I'm gonna give you a piece of territory, a geographic spot on planet Earth as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you, forever. It's yours". And it's worth noting he didn't insert, "unless the United Nations says otherwise". I can tell you this: in the courts of heaven they don't panic when the Security Council meets. It's good to know. Genesis 12, we'll step back a few chapters. "The LORD said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household. Go to the land I'll show you. And I'll make you into a great nation. I'll bless you, and I'll make your name great, and you'll be a blessing. I'll bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'"

Whenever possible, do you wanna take the plainest possible reading of scripture? I believe God meant what he said, that if you'll bless Abram and his descendants, he'll bless you. And if you curse them, he will come upside your head. That's Living Bible, meaning he will not bless you. Sort it out. Think about it. Find ways you can be a blessing to the Jewish people. Now you're not a blessing by hiding the truth. You're not a blessing by denying what you believe. You're not a blessing if you don't have the courage to love them, even though you believe Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. Doesn't mean you capitulate.

Folks, we've had the wrong message about sin. It's not love to accommodate sin. We've tried that for decades and we've watched our nation descend further and further into ungodliness and immorality. I pray the Church will find the courage to tell the truth, the truth to our children, the truth to one another, the truth to our culture. We don't have to be angry or belligerent or condemning, but we have to hold out the truth or we're not the Church. Judgment will begin. Judgment will begin with the House of God. It won't begin with the pagans. It'll come to us first. In fact, I think it has come to us first.

So we talk about loving the Jewish people. It's not practicing rabbinic Judaism. It's not changing your holidays. It's not about becoming adept on the shofar. And I appreciate the Jewish holidays. I've participated in them and I understand the biblical significance of the shofar, but our love for the Jewish people isn't reflected by us blending into their culture. It means you treat them with dignity and kindness and respect, that you're honest with him about the truth you believe and the impact you believe it has upon your life, that you'll listen to them. If you'll do those things, God's very clear, he will bless you. And if you don't, he will curse you.

Now, I don't know about you, that gets my attention. I wanna stay out of any line where God said, "There's a curse on that group". I don't want to get close to it. I don't want anything to do with it. I meet people all the time say, "You know, I don't know if I believe that," why? If you believe John 3:16, why won't you believe the other? You just believe happy verses? You just believe verses that bring good things to you. I'm amazed at how we take the scripture and we parse it to suit us. "I'll bless those who bless you and I'll curse those who curse you". Exodus chapter 2, verse 24: "God heard their groaning. He remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob". I don't have the time, but in the book of Genesis, that covenant is reiterated to each one of those persons individually. God made that covenant initially with Abraham. He restated it to Isaac and then he restated it to Jacob.

Psalm 105 gives us the summary: "He is the LORD our GOD; his judgments are in all the earth". What's our topic? "Israel, the Church and the Nations". God is the judge of all the earth. "He remembered his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: 'To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.'"

The Jewish people got a piece of property. I know that we're not great at geography. Most of us learn geography from a coach and he didn't want to be in the classroom with you any more than you wanted to be there with them, so we didn't pay a lot of attention. But a little bit of geography won't hurt. And if I can make this work, I don't know if you know where the nation of Israel is. It's a tiny little place on the eastern end of the Mediterranean Ocean. Again, there's a population of about 7 million people, about 6 million Jewish Israelis and another million who are predominantly Arab, and it's a democracy. This right here. And you'll notice, it's surrounded by a very Muslim part of the map.

Just a handful of folks, about 6 million Jews living in Israel, surrounded by tens of millions of people who are sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state. Not a political statement. It's the reality of Islam. Under Islam, according to the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, once a piece of territory is occupied by Islam, it belongs to Islam forever. And if they ever lose authority over that land, they're commanded by the Qur'an to reassert their authority. Islam is primarily a political initiative. It has a religious expression, but it's very much territorial and political in the way it's structured. Christianity is primarily about transformation from the inside out, about a kingdom beyond this present world. It has occasionally in the history of the church been expressed through political institutions and it has gone miserably. Islam is different.

My map doesn't go there, but at one time, at kind of the height of the Islamic Empire, it spread all the way to Spain. A battle in France stopped the march of Islam. It would have taken all of Western Europe. So to the Muslim world, not only does tiny Israel, that territory, belong to them and it's an offense that the Jewish people are in that land, but the area around the Mediterranean, all the way including Spain, belongs to the Muslim world. So tiny Israel here, surrounded by a sea of people who don't like 'em. If you think about the United Nations and the votes that are represented in the UN or the Security Council, it's not hard to understand why more than a third of the resolutions in the UN are against the nation of Israel. It's the only democracy in the region. Tiny little place.

Jesus was a living revelation of Almighty God. That's my prayer for us today that we would have more than a religious experience or some experience of reciting a prayer. We need a revelation of Jesus. It will change our lives. Let's pray:

Father, I thank you that you love us so much that you sent your Son, that you sent him in a package that we could relate to, that we could understand, and that he could understand us. I ask you now by your Spirit to give us a living revelation of Jesus of Nazareth. Not a historical figure or a religious leader, but the living person of Jesus. I thank you for it. It's in his name we ask, amen.

Are you Human?:*