Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Earthly Consequences

Allen Jackson - Earthly Consequences

Allen Jackson - Earthly Consequences
TOPICS: Heavenly Battles

At birth, we entered a battlefield, and at the time of our rebirth in Christ, we were enlisted in God's army as warriors of light. You didn't have to choose it. it simply came with the birth certificate. Abraham's nephew, Lot, learned this lesson on the evening when two angels told him to gather his family and get out of town, because God intended to destroy the city of Sodom. Moses realized he was involved in a spiritual conflict when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the flames of a burning bush, and he informed Moses that he had just been recruited to confront Pharaoh and secure the release of the Hebrew slaves. He started the day as a relatively contended shepherd, and by the end of the day he had an assignment to change the destiny of an entire nation.

Gideon lacked spiritual vision until the day the angel of the Lord interrupted his life and sent him to battle with the Midianites, the people who were plundering Israel. The stories go on and on, and each of these persons and others, they fought in the power of God against forces empowered by Satan and his demons. We're the 21st century edition. Today the conflict is spiritual, and the war is for our soul and the freedoms that define our lives. The enemy wants to capture our affection and direct our plans. He seeks to destroy us and our families. Now, I know there's some people who'll say, "Pastor, you're being very melodramatic, and I'll not be frightened in some type of fanatical faith".

I have no intent of frightening you. Recognition of spiritual conflict is not the realm of fanatics unless you perceive of Jesus and his disciples as fanatics. We have been coached into a polite faith, into a faith of form with little function. And I would submit to you, God has more for us, and the stakes could hardly be higher. In the simplest of ways, Christianity is about freedom. Jesus didn't come to encumber you, to limit you, to diminish you. Christianity is about freedom. Galatians chapter 5:1, it says, "It's for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then. Do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery".

The implication is it's possible to experience freedom in Christ but to forfeit that because we fail to be watchful or vigilant. Freedom is never cheap. It's not cheap spiritually; it's not cheap in a nation. Our freedom as Americans has been bought and paid for with the blood of men and women. In a similar way, our freedom as Christ followers has been bought and paid for with the blood of Jesus of Nazareth. To squander freedom is not only a waste of my life but of those who have sacrificed for me to receive the precious gift. It's unacceptable. Now I wanna submit to you, or at least suggest to you, that what happens on planet Earth matters to God. The creator of heaven and earth cares about what's happening on planet Earth. In fact, I think it's safe to say he has a designer's interest. He has a designer's awareness.

A few days ago the architect that's worked on the buildings with us here at the church was here for a visit. He wanted to see the outside sanctuary. He's watched online through some of COVID, and he was in Murfreesboro, and he wanted to see the buildings. When he walks through the church, he sees it differently than you do. Every angle has an imagination to him. He saw it before we saw it out of brick and mortar, and God has a designer's interest and an awareness. He understands our world better than any of us do. You don't have to explain to God how creation works. Our environment was his idea. He assigned us a stewardship responsibility, but we can't be stewards of the environment if we're not stewards of God's principles and God's truth and God's laws.

If we cling to his creation more than we cling to his truth, we're idolaters, and we won't have his blessing in our assignment as stewards. God's interest in the earth is people-centric. Humanity is at the center of God's plan. We are the crowning achievement of his creation. We're not just the highest rung on the evolutionary ladder. It's important to establish that in your heart. It's a great deception that there's nothing that separates humanity from any of the other created beings. That's simply not true. God breathed his Spirit into humanity, and you occupy a unique place in God's eternal plans. In Galatians chapter 4:4, it says, "When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under Law".

It's not just rhetoric. God sent his Son to become one of us, the incarnation. That Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, was willing to identify with humanity for time and eternity is a significant cornerstone in the redemptive story of Scripture. In Galatians 1:5, "To which of the angels did God ever say, 'You're my Son?'" A third of the angels rebelled. They lost their place in heaven. There is no biblical plan. There's no suggestion in Scripture that there's a redemptive plan for the angels who rebelled against God. And yet, when we rebelled against God, God launched a redemptive initiative that required his Son identifying with us for all eternity. "To which of the angels did God ever say, 'You're my Son; today I have become your Father?' Or again, 'I'll be his Father, and he'll be my Son?' And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, 'Let all the angels worship him.'"

Humanity is at the center of God's purpose. It's why we're taught to respect one another and treat one another with dignity, it's why the sanctity of human life. We're the image bearers of Almighty God. We can't treat one another disrespectfully or disrespect human life. The very weak, whether they're young or old, we cannot treat them with disrespect and imagine that we honor God. And one of the fascinating parts of the biblical perspective is that God occupies not only the macro of you, he not only understands the big picture of you, he cares about the most intricate of the details.

In Matthew chapter 10 and verse 29 Jesus is speaking, and he says, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered". That when a sparrow falls to the ground, God takes note. I heard a minister say that God attends the funerals of the sparrows. It's hard to believe it, it's really beyond our comprehension. It really strains the limits of our imagination that the one who could speak our earth into existence is engaged enough and cares enough that he pays attention even to the birds.

I don't believe it's just some poetic language. I think it's an accurate reflection of God's awareness. He has not only a head count, he's got a hair count. For some of us, it's a bigger challenge than others. And there's many, many, many illustrations from scripture that highlight that. Moses forfeited his privilege of leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land because he struck a rock a second time in disobedience to God's instructions. God had an assignment for Moses, and he intended him to pursue it with the precision and exactness that meant a bit of sloppiness in a moment of anger would cause him to forfeit his privilege of entering the Promised Land.

I think we've recreated God in this image of kind of a heavenly teddy bear. He's cuddly and he's, well, I think love and mercy and compassion are an aspect of the character of God, but he's also a God of tremendous exactness and precision, and when he says no, he means no. And when he says go, he means hurry. And we've treated God a little casually, a little shabbily. I'm not talking to the ungodly or the immoral or the unchurched, I'm talking to those of us that would sit outside for a church service. There's room in our hearts and our imaginations to treat God with a heightened respect. When the children of Israel were delivered from Egyptian slavery and God said, "I'm gonna teach you how to worship me," and they were between destinations, they're between Egypt and between the Promised Land, so they can't have a fixed structure, so he gives them instructions for a portable place of worship.

It's a tent covered with badger skin, gopher skins, it's in the middle of a desert, surrounded by a linen fence. But the exactness, the precision of how God tells them how it's to be constructed, how it's to be portable, how it can be made so it can be carried and transported from one place to the other, do you have an imagination that God cares about your life at that level? Are you willing to invite him into your life at that level? He gave them dietary rules, this is what you should eat and this is what you should avoid. God cares about what shows up on our fork. Who knew? You know, so much of our religious life, if you don't really know the Lord, you'll organize it around trying to hide who you are from some groups of people.

That's such a wasted effort. Nothing is hidden from God. Fooling pastor is not difficult. He's not that clever. Fooling the people you go to church with isn't that difficult. They're not paying that close of attention. And it's a fruitless exercise anyway. The objective is to recognize that God desires to be involved. Let's bring an alignment with our lives and our thoughts and our attitudes and our words so that we're thrilled that God is paying attention to the details. Why would we try to hide? If we've been trying to hide, how about saying to the Lord, "Lord, I'm sorry". What is it we want to, we think he's gonna take away from us. God will enhance our lives, strengthen our lives, which leads me to another component of this discussion, and it has to do with the alliances of our lives and the consequences attached to them.

We're God's creation, but creation has fallen. We've fallen short of what God created us to be. It says in Romans that we've all fallen short of the glory of God, that's the one sin that is universal. It's not some specific act we have, we're guilty of. We fall short of the glory for which God intended us to be created. And understanding the consequences, how that came to be in our lives, gives us the opportunity of walking out from under that. It's not automatic. There's a kingdom of light and a kingdom of darkness. It's just logic. We learn it from physics, for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. I don't believe that the spiritual world mimics the physical world.

I think our physical world is an imitation of the spiritual world. The Bible talks about the the true tabernacle being in heaven, not the one on earth. And I believe our physical laws come to us from the spiritual world, so then if we're gonna believe in a good God, it's only logical we believe in a bad devil. If we believe in a kingdom of light, we must believe in a kingdom of darkness. And yet our default response when difficulties happen or unfortunate things happen or unwanted things happen or we see evil, we blame God. "How could God allow that to happen"? And so often we forget to imagine that evil exists.

Jesus said in John 10:10 that Satan comes only to steal, to kill, and destroy. If we don't make room for that in our awareness, in our imagination, in our responses to life, we leave ourselves and those we care about extraordinarily vulnerable to the intent of evil. When in Ephesians 6 we're told to stand, therefore to take our stand against the devil's schemes, it's because evil exists and tends to disrupt God's purposes. And God has deployed us in this generation to be salt and light, to take our stand, to be watchmen on the walls. We talk about watching and listening and thinking and acting when watching what's happening in the culture and the world around us. It's not to meddle or to be, we are here to be image bearer representatives of almighty God. We're not just here to get our salvation worked out and then blend in.

Ephesians 6 and verse 11 says, "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes". Do you believe the devil has schemes to oppose righteousness, to diminish godliness? I hope you do. Jesus did. Satan confronted him on more than one occasion with multiple temptations. Can you imagine the audacity to present the Son of God with temptation? The hubris to say to the incarnate Son of God who you have seen in his glory in the heavens, to say to him, "If you will fall down and worship me, I will give you authority over the kingdoms of the earth". If he has the pride and the arrogance and the hubris to present that temptation to Jesus, imagine his brazenness in opposing the purposes of God in our generation. "Put on the armor so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes".

Someone says, "You know, Pastor, I just don't like to think about that. I know maybe it's in the Bible, but I just", that's as naive as saying you don't like to think about COVID. You don't only put yourself at risk, you put the people around you at risk. And the same is true spiritually. You don't have the luxury of simply saying I don't want to think about it, because you create a vulnerability that has implications far beyond yourself. "Our struggle isn't against flesh and blood, but against rulers and authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms".

Kingdoms of light and kingdoms of darkness, and every choice we make, every action that we give expression to, every word we choose has implications for one of those kingdoms. There's no middle ground, there's no gray area. Our lives reflect the remnants of relationships, of the alliances of our lives. We're identified with Adam. We are descendants of Adam, and we're left with the assignment of overcoming our adamic earthly nature. In Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 22 it says, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness".

When you think about spiritual conflict, you don't have to look any further than the mirror. The Bible says there's a conflict within us, that we may be spiritually born again, made alive to God, but we're still in our old earth suit, and because of that we have the remnants of that relationship that attaches us to Adam and that earthly, carnal, adamic nature. And that old self is deceitful. It's corrupted by deceitful desires. Our default position is ungodly. Nobody has to coach us to be ungodly. We don't have to take your kids and do courses on how to be more deceptive, but we do have to learn how to share and how to tell the truth and how to have compassion. Those don't come from the remnant of that relationship we have with Adam.

We have to learn to put on a new self. We have to let our character be transformed. That's what we're gonna take with us into eternity. We've been created in Christ. The new birth is to give us a new beginning, a new life, that we can be like God in true righteousness. We have to grow into that. We have to intend for that to happen. You have to say to your old carnal self, "I don't care what you think. You're not in charge here any longer. I understand you don't feel like going to church. Hush, we're going. I understand that what you think means the Bible sometimes is not easy to accept. I'm gonna yield to the authority of scripture". This is the church. We're the ones that have to grow up. Romans 5 and verse 8, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And since we've now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him"?

Do you understand that the wrath of God is going to be revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness in the earth? I don't understand people who refuse to have any enthusiasm for sharing their faith, who don't care if their neighbors are believers or not, who aren't overly concerned if the people they work with are Christ followers or not. Can we be that insulated? Can we be that absorbed in our own purposes and our plans that we don't care that the wrath of God will be revealed against all unrighteousness? Moses, how many animals did Moses take on the ark? None. Noah is the guy with the ark. Says he was a preacher of righteousness, and the whole time that he's getting his instructions for the ark and putting it together and the animals are being gathered in the middle of the field with no lake and no water source, he's telling the community, "Repent, change your heart, reorient your lives".

I think if he hadn't had those years, they had to be awful, brutal, difficult years, year after year with no response. But if he hadn't made that effort, the ride on the ark would have been unbearable. And we don't want to see the culmination of this age until we know we have made every conceivable effort to share the good news of Jesus Christ with our generation. It's worth the effort, it's worth the ridicule, it's worth their willingness to resist it, whatever it may be. Saved from God's wrath through him, reconciled to God through the death of his Son, been saved for this life. You see, Jesus on the cross achieved a victory for all humanity, something we couldn't do for ourselves. I think we downplay that. We talk about it in terms of a ticket to heaven, and then we quibble about whether or not God does miracles, or he still heals, or if he'll forgive our sins.

People will say to me, "You know, Pastor, just, I'm not sure God can forgive me". And I try to respond in a kind way, but, you know, do you mean you're so exceptional that the blood of Jesus isn't sufficient for you? That you require an exceptional response? I'm pretty confident you're no more wicked than I am. But I believe the blood of Jesus is adequate. You know, if you listen in to our conversations, if you just kind of casually listen to the conversations amongst so many of us church folks, we describe this spiritual conflict, as if it's a tug of war between good and evil. God is powerful, Satan is powerful. God is omniscient, Satan is omniscient. God has angels, Satan has demons. God has a plan, Satan has an agenda.

Again, if you just listen casually, it seems that the struggle is close and the outcome is in question. Nonsense. Jesus Christ won a complete, total, eternal victory for humanity through his redemptive work on the cross. And our lives is our response to that, our willingness to be advocates for him. Yes, I belong to Jesus. Yes, Jesus is Lord of my life. Don't you want to know him? No, I'm not perfect. I'm in process, and the good news is he'll welcome your broken self into process too, if you'll call Jesus Lord.

The understandings that truly transform our lives, I don't believe typically emerge from study or just applying myself. I think God gives us a revelation. I'd like to pray with you before we go that God would bring to you a revelation that would open a pathway of freedom where the place you find yourself today is. It may come to you through study or through information, but God will give you the insight. Let's pray:

Father, you're a God of wisdom and revelation and insight, and I pray that you'll open our hearts and our minds to believe you, to see and understand our world in such a way that we can put our feet on a pathway towards freedom we've never known. In Jesus's name, amen.

Are you Human?:*