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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Israel, The Church and The Nations - Part 4

Allen Jackson - Israel, The Church and The Nations - Part 4

Allen Jackson - Israel, The Church and The Nations - Part 4
TOPICS: Israel, God Is Moving

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, it'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 a reality of Islam. Under Islam, according to the Quran, 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 Quran 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. But my map doesn't go there. But at one time, it did 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 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 only democracy in the region. Tiny little place. Afghanistan we've heard a lot more about lately.

Do you know where it fits on the map? Right on the other side of Iran, Pakistan, where a tremendous amount of funding for what's been happening in Afghanistan has come from. It's a tough neighborhood. And in the midst of that, God said, I'm gonna keep my promise to Abraham, much to the consternation of the world. In one day, 1948 the nation of Israel was born. Modern Israel was born in one day May of 1948. The end of World War II, there was an awkward circumstance. Six million or so Jews had been annihilated during the holocaust. And the Western leaders understood what was happening. The citizens of Europe understood what was happening.

There's multiple testimonies about the trains headed to the Jewish extermination camps running by churches. And when the trains would come by the churches, people would sing more loudly so they didn't hear the cries of the people. They knew what was happening. So the war is over. The camps have been exposed. The Jewish population has been displaced from all the cities of Europe and they weren't welcome back home, because their property and their assets have been confiscated. So where would they go? They had no political power, they had no physical strength, they had no resources. They were decimated, and only God, in one day a nation was born. Right there. A tiny little place. It's not much bigger than middle Tennessee.

I'll show you a drawing in just a second. And before you get exercised about that, you should understand that the map of the Middle East was drawn predominantly by European politicians at the end of World War I; true story. They sat on a napkin, they sat at a breakfast table in the Middle East with a napkin and sketched the lines. They paid no attention to the the tribal commitments of the region. The tribal commitments are much more powerful in the Middle East than the boundaries on a map that represent nation states.

So Israel is not the only nation here that was created since World War I, Israel just made it after World War II. And God began to regather the Jewish people. You see in 70 AD, 70 AD, just a few decades after Jesus ascended back to heaven, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman legions. They left the Jewish population there, but they destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. They tore down the walls of the city. They humiliated the Jewish people. They destroyed all of their public expressions of wealth of the uniqueness of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They publicly humiliated the Jewish people. But 60 years later in 130 AD, the Jews rebelled again, following a leader by the name of bar Kokhba who claimed he was the Messiah.

That time, the Romans got so mad that they drove all the Jews out. They just drove the Jews out. They weren't allowed to live in the city. They renamed it. They didn't want there to be any connection between the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. And yet King David made Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish nation 1,000 years before Christ. If you're trying to put the timeline together, Muhammad was born in the seventh century AD. So more than 1500 years before Muhammad was born, Jerusalem was the capital of a Jewish state. It's an important component of the timeline. So from 70 AD until 1948, almost 2,000 years, there was no Jewish homeland anywhere in the world. They were literally driven to the nations of the world, and most of the places where they went, they were persecuted.

And the primary persecutor of the Jewish people was the Christian church. We don't know that part of our history, but I assure you the Jewish people do. It's very awkward to sit in Hebrew University and talk about the history of the Jewish people if they know you're a Christian. They were driven out of Spain in 1492, part of the Spanish inquisition. They were forced to convert to Christianity or they had to leave their homes and all their property and their assets. Imagine the attitude that would leave you with. They have been hunted, some of you know, Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote with Jewish lead characters and made them greedy people of corrupt character. The Holocaust and the Nazis were not the unique by any means in their persecution of the Jewish people. To the Jewish people, they think that the Holocaust was driven by the Christians.

And you say, no, that's not right. And they will say to you, well, Hitler was a baptized Catholic, and we'll say, well, he's not a Christian like us, even if you're Catholic, you say, well, he wasn't a good one. You'll excuse them if that distinction is lost on them. Tiny little Israel flourishing in the middle of a sea of hatred. In 1948 God began to regather the people there, and they've come from more than 100 nations of the world. The day the modern state of Israel was born, war was declared on them by the five surrounding Muslim nations. Israel had no standing army, they had no infrastructure, they had no weapons. The nations of the world didn't want to help them. They were being attacked by five militaries that were standing, and trained, and reinforced, and inexplicably, they survived the war.

And a series of wars since then, to become one of the most prosperous nations in the world. Tiny little Israel in the midst of a sea of hatred. Here's Israel, Syria has been through a civil war. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Syrians. Syrians have gone through Turkey into Europe. It's been a Muslim invasion of Europe in the last decade. We hear a lot about the West Bank and the displaced people. A little bubble you see there in Israel, and the refusal by the Muslim world to do anything except that the Palestinian people be resettled in their historic homeland. When Syria had a civil war and hundreds of thousands of Syrians invaded Europe, nobody in the Muslim street said those people should be resettled in Syria. It's hatred against Israel.

I have compassion on the Palestinian people. They need the gospel just like we do. But they're being used as a political pawn by the global community to put political pressure on the nation of Israel. It's an expression of the wickedness of the human heart. This is Israel in proportion to the United States. It's not much bigger than Middle Tennessee. They give the attention it garners from the global community. They have many problems in the world, we're told will go away if Israel just stopped existing. You've heard that. If we could just...why do they have to be there anyway? Well, maybe because God said they were gonna be there.

Maybe it's possible that the hatred directed towards the Jewish people in the state of Israel has very little to do with international politics, very little to do with Middle Eastern tribal communities. Maybe it has a great deal more to do with spiritual conflict. And the reason that should matter to you and me, is we're living in a season where we're beginning to wake up that spiritual conflict affects our lives. That it doesn't just affect tiny Israel, it affects tiny my house, and your house. That the same adversary that opposes the purposes of God and that covenant of Abraham, opposes the purposes of God in your life and my life. And then maybe we should pay a little more attention to how Israel has to survive and the attitude they have to have, so that we understand what we would have to do, Israel, the church, and the nations. It's a topic worth understanding a little better.

The central role of the Jewish people should not be lost on you. I'll just give you an introduction. We're gonna work on this a bit more tomorrow, God willing. But in John chapter 4, and verse 22, Jesus is speaking, Jesus is speaking and he said, "You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews". You need to hear that verse. Jesus said that salvation for all humanity comes through the Jewish people. We live as if it came through the Americans, or through the Baptist, or the Church of Christ, or the Independents, or the Interdenominationalists, or whatever group we happen to find ourselves standing in the midst of today. Jesus said salvation comes from the Jews.

Revelation chapter 5, and verse 5, "One of the elders said to me", John in his vision has seen the throne of heaven and there's a scroll that is gonna tell the unfolding of the end of the age. And there's no one found worthy to open the scroll, and John begins to weep. He wants to know what's ahead. And the elder says, "Don't weep! See, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed. He's able to open the scroll and its seven seals". Who is it that John has seen? It's Jesus and he's identified as the lion of the tribe of Judah. Judah is one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus is identified with the Jewish people for time and eternity. It's gonna be awkward when you see him if you don't like them.

Practice, talk to them about how you know him. You can do it kindly. Don't be belligerent. Listen to them. They know, they understand things about scripture that you don't. Humble yourself. I talked to someone once who had been on a flight to Israel. And then they said I sat down, the person next to me was Jewish. So I began to witness to them so they get saved. And the person complained to a flight attendant, they said they moved me next to somebody else. So I started in on them. They said it happened three times on that flight. They were removed three times, because they were so obnoxious. I said, I'd prefer you didn't travel with me. If you're not an advocate for Jesus in the midst of your family, in the midst of where you work, in the midst of the neighborhood where you live, why should you be visited upon someone else? We have to learn to own the truth of God in the fullness of our lives.

You see, if we will accept that assignment, then we become candidates for other assignments. But we're illegitimate candidates until we're willing to be Christ followers into the midst of the world where we currently live and the influences we have. Revelation 21 is very near the end of the book. "It was a great high wall". It's describing the New Jerusalem, "a great high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates. And on the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel". When you see the New Jerusalem, you're gonna walk through a gate that has the name of a Hebrew man written over it. And at the center of the city, there will be a throne and seated on the throne will be a Hebrew. It's gonna be an awkward town if you're anti Semitic. We are indebted to the Jewish people. It's the truth.

Look at Romans chapter 9, in verse 4, "the people of Israel, Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised"! Without the Jewish people, we have nothing. We have no scripture, we have no law, we have no Ten Commandments, we have no prophets, we have no Messiah, we have no story. We could at least humble ourselves and say, thank you, we could at least humble ourselves and say, thank you.

Now, the adversarial relationship between the kingdom of darkness and the Jewish people is a story of persistent hatred. In a casual reader of scripture, you arrive at that conclusion, Satan in the Garden of Eden causing Adam and Eve to lose their place. The babies slaughtered in Bethlehem when the wise men tell Herod that the king of the Jews has been born. It's a persistent theme all the way through the story. Jesus's temptation in the wilderness. I've never quite gotten past the audacity of Satan to come tempt Jesus. He knew very well who Jesus was. He had seen him in his glory. The hatred towards the emerging church throughout the book of Acts, the stoning of Stephen, he waited tables, just a job we can't fill today.

And in the midst of doing that task, he was an unapologetic advocate for Jesus, and they murdered him in the streets. Saul all of Tarsus becomes the Apostle Paul, but when we meet him, he hates the church. So when you see the hatred directed at the nation of Israel, or the hatred directed at the Jewish people, understand the same spirit that operates that, the fancy word for that is anti-Semitism. Just a big old word means that we hate the Jewish people. It's irrational. It's racism. The hatred of the Jewish people, but the same spirit that drives that is the same is the spirit of Antichrist. It's two sides of the same coin. Hates the name of Jesus, refuses to acknowledge him as the Lord.

Zechariah 12:3 describes the hatred towards the Jewish people. It's not going to abate, it's going to intensify. What we have done as a nation in Afghanistan in the last few weeks, is to light a fuse on a fresh expression of anti-Semitism and expressions of hatred towards Jesus. Zechariah 12, and verse 3, "On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I'll make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. And all who try to move it will injure themselves". The literal word is rupture themselves. When you try to pick up the problem of Jerusalem, your days of heavy lifting are over. Says, "All the nations of the world".

In Matthew 24, and verse 9, Jesus is speaking to the church this time about his people. He says, "You'll be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you'll be hated by all nations because of me". Between here and when you see the king, the hatred of the Jewish people and the church of Jesus Christ will increase. We've been told, don't panic. If you're gonna take a flight somewhere between take off and your cruising altitude, your ears are gonna pop. Your body is not coming apart. You're not gonna lose your hearing. It's not a physical crisis. It's a normal part of the journey. And it's helpful if you know that. The babies on the plane don't know it, so they're crying, it's uncomfortable. They don't know why it's uncomfortable. They wanna be more comfortable, so they cry. Been on a plane with some of that? Me too. Praise the Lord.

Well, it seems to me we act like babies on the plane. Why don't everybody like me? Jesus told you. Between here and there, there's gonna be a challenge. So what's our response? Give you one passage and we're gonna pick this up tomorrow. Psalm 122, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 'May those who love you be secure.'" You wanna raise the security level of your life? Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Say, oh, it's too simple. I grew up in a barn in Tennessee, it works for me. When you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, I don't just mean their physical safety. That's certainly a part of it, but they need peace with the Prince of Peace. They need a revelation of Jesus. Pray for the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem. They live under tremendous pressure. It's not an easy place. One president after another makes decrees about what they can do in the land of Israel.

I was there one summer. In our present time it was President Bush. Had ordered a neighborhood where my...I had a good friend who lived there, and the president of the United States ordered them not to build any additions on their homes. Can you imagine? Imagine if Vladimir Putin said you couldn't add a garage on your house? I know you, you'd be building garages. The audacity, the hubris. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 'May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.' For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, 'Peace be within you.' For the sake of the house of the LORD, our God. I will seek your prosperity".

I think you and I wanna know how to live in the security of God. We wanna know how to live with the blessings of God, bringing prosperity to us. We can learn a great deal from how he honors his covenant to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They're not a means to an end. They're the covenant people of God and through them. You and I have been blessed. Amen? It's one more place where your willingness to tell the truth will make an enormous impact on what the future of our nation is. Don't let it be political. Let it be about God's truth.

I celebrated when the United States moved their embassy to Jerusalem. Every president in recent history had campaigned on the promise they would do it. I have celebrated for whoever did it. But when it got moved, I was happy. Every time I've been in the city, I went and got my picture taken. Don't confuse politics in the truth. You want to stand for the truth. That will bring God's security to your life. We're gonna pick this up in our next session. Israel, the church, and the nations, and what it means for our lives and living in victory and security and the confidence that God is watching over us.

But I brought you a prayer. Let's stand together, we can read it. We only pray together here. It's like a starter set. I hope you take these prayers away and pray them all week long. Recruit people to pray them with you. Be that crazy person at work that prays. Brings a prayer with him every Monday. You can't get away from them in the break room. They're gonna pray it when you're there. We've been accused of being crazy for other things, being fans for UT or Alabama or Vanderbilt. That's, now you talk about courage, suffering in the earth. Have you found the prayer?

Almighty God we turn to you asking for mercy and grace that we might serve you. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may her inhabitants dwell in safety. Open the eyes of the people of the land to their King. Awaken the Church to complete the assignment you have given. May the leaders of the United States make decisions regarding Israel that will enable your blessings to come upon us. All this we ask in Jesus's name, amen.

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