God Bless America: A Prophetic Perspective-Responsibility of Truth | TBN

God Bless America: A Prophetic Perspective-Responsibility of Truth

Watch God Bless America: A Prophetic Perspective-Responsibility of Truth
June 23, 2019
27:34

Allen Jackson Ministries

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God Bless America: A Prophetic Perspective-Responsibility of Truth

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  • Allen Jackson: It's good to be with you again.
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  • We're going to continue our study today
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  • on God bless America.
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  • It's really about a prophetic perspective on our nation.
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  • Biblical prophecy is not centered in telling the future,
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  • anticipating what's to come nearly as much as it is focused
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  • upon a God perspective being delivered to his people.
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  • The Hebrew prophets were consistently saying,
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  • "This is what God thinks about your lives," to the people of
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  • Israel, to generation after generation after generation.
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  • It's an important question for you and me.
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  • What would God say to the church in America?
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  • Now, I know there's not a singular answer, and I wouldn't
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  • presume to deliver the only answer, but I think it's
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  • a question that for you and me to grapple with is significant.
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  • What does God have to say to the church in America?
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  • If we could understand that, you and I will know how to live more
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  • effectively, more significantly, more intentionally
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  • for the kingdom of God.
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  • Enjoy the lesson.
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  • Allen: In Exodus chapter 3 and verse 8,
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  • God said, "I've come down to rescue them from the hand of the
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  • Egyptians and to bring them up out of the land into a good and
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  • a spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey,
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  • the home of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites,
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  • the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites."
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  • Those last few words in that verse are not something to be
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  • sprayed for, they are people groups.
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  • And what God said to Moses is, "We're leaving Egypt
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  • and we're going to another land."
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  • And he identified the land so Moses would know where they were
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  • headed, it's the land where these people live.
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  • God had promised that land to Abraham and his descendants
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  • forever hundreds of years earlier, but God said now
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  • that--the Scripture says that the cup of their
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  • unrighteousness had been filled,
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  • so they're going to be displaced.
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  • God's going to put the Hebrew people in that land
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  • he's promised them forever.
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  • It would help the United Nations a lot these days if they'd just
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  • read the book of Genesis.
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  • A lot of consternation in the planet about the Jewish
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  • people and that piece of land.
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  • God said they belong there and nobody's moving them.
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  • It's not a very fruitful way to spend
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  • your life, raging against God.
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  • He doesn't move much.
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  • So, God said, "We're leaving Egypt to go to a piece of
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  • territory, a place on the globe."
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  • In Ezekiel chapter 11, we've stepped
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  • forward hundreds of years.
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  • God kept his promise to Moses, you know the story.
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  • The plagues, Egypt is decimated, the Red Seas parted.
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  • They escape Egyptian slavery, God feeds them with manna,
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  • he brings water out of the rocks in the desert.
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  • He leads them with a pillar of cloud.
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  • They get all the way to the Promised Land.
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  • Moses doesn't finish it, Joshua takes them in.
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  • They conquer the Promised Land.
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  • They live for hundreds of years with judges.
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  • Gideon, Debora, Samson were all judges.
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  • The last of the judges is Samuel,
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  • and they say, "We want a king."
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  • And God said, "All right," and he chooses the king for them.
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  • He chooses Saul and then David and then Solomon.
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  • They've lived in the land that God's promised them for hundreds
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  • and hundreds of years by the time we get
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  • to the book of Ezekiel.
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  • There's a temple in Jerusalem.
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  • Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
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  • They have no memory now of Egypt.
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  • It's a part of their story, they have holidays when they tell the
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  • story, but none of them remember Egypt.
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  • It's hundreds and hundreds of years removed from them.
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  • And while they are still the chosen people of God living in
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  • the land he promised them with a temple and with daily sacrifices
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  • and a high priest, their hearts are a long way away from God.
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  • They're still keeping kosher rules.
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  • They still have the Torah, they have the law,
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  • they still have the Ten Commandments,
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  • but their hearts are a long, long way from God.
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  • In Ezekiel 11 and verse 9, listen to what God said.
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  • "I will drive you out of the city," Jerusalem,
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  • "and hand you over to foreigners and inflict punishment on you."
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  • God said, "I gave you the land, but now you're leaving it.
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  • You can't stay here anymore."
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  • Their right to live in the Promised Land was connected
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  • to their relationship with Almighty God.
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  • And he said, "If you'll turn your back on me and it doesn't
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  • please you to honor me and you don't want to accept my
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  • boundaries, you're not staying here, you're leaving."
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  • May I ask you a question?
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  • When they were in Babylon, God sent
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  • the Babylonian armies in 587 BCE.
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  • Nebuchadnezzar's armies encircle
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  • Jerusalem, they destroyed it.
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  • They literally tore the wall down, destroyed the temple,
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  • slaughtered many of the inhabitants of the city.
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  • They took some of the brightest and best with them back to
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  • Babylon, the first Jewish ghetto in history.
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  • There were to be many more.
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  • In Babylon, are they still God's chosen people?
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  • Absolutely, absolutely.
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  • The Scripture says that God disciplines those he loves.
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  • I would submit to you God loved them
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  • in the midst of the judgment.
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  • But he said, "You can't stay in the land if you
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  • don't intend to honor me."
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  • And God gives instructions to Adam, it's Genesis 2:15.
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  • The Lord took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to
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  • work it and to take care of it.
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  • And the Lord commanded the man, 'You're free to eat from any
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  • tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the
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  • knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat
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  • of it, you will surely die."
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  • Now, just as certainly as God placed the Hebrew people,
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  • the descendants of Abraham, in that land at the end of the
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  • Mediterranean, God placed Adam and Eve in that garden.
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  • He created the earth and everything in it, but the
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  • Scripture says he planted a garden, a specific place.
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  • And he put Adam in the midst of that garden,
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  • and he said, "I give you authority over it.
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  • Tend it, take care of it, that's your job."
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  • In fact, God called it work.
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  • Did you catch it?
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  • Said the Lord took the man and put him in the garden of Eden
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  • to work it and to take care of it.
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  • Did you know that work is God's idea?
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  • This is before the fall, sin hasn't entered.
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  • God created us to work.
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  • Work is not evil.
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  • Work is not an intrusion into your life.
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  • Work is an expression of your faith.
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  • Now, after the fall, God amended it
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  • and work became disproportionate.
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  • The benefit that comes from the work diminished,
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  • and the effort that was required increased.
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  • But don't imagine work is an intrusion into your life.
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  • We have perverted it and made it--we've put a burden
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  • on work that it can't sustain.
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  • I hear people say, "You know, my job doesn't fulfill me."
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  • It's impossible.
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  • We bring fulfillment to our jobs.
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  • God gave Adam an assignment to tend that garden,
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  • but he placed him in a very specific place.
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  • He gave him one thing, he said, "It's all yours,
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  • enjoy it, it's for you.
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  • But there's one tree, and that one tree you can't touch.
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  • If you do, you'll die."
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  • You know the story, what'd Adam do?
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  • Got in line by that tree.
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  • If he'd have been keeping the work that God had given him when
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  • the serpent made his way into the garden,
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  • Adam would have addressed him before they ever got
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  • to the deception or the sin.
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  • Watch what God says.
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  • Genesis 3, "The Lord God banished him from the garden of
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  • Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
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  • And he drove the man out and he placed him on the east side of
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  • the garden--he placed on the east side of the garden of Eden
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  • a cherubim, an angel to guard the entrance to the garden."
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  • The place God created for Adam he forfeited because
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  • of the condition of his heart.
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  • He drove him out.
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  • Now, I've told you on many occasions that the first
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  • chapters of Genesis establish for us the central principles of
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  • Scripture, that the big ideas of the Bible are introduced
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  • to us in those first chapters.
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  • We meet God as the creator of all things,
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  • as the initiator, the sustainer of all things.
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  • We meet God as judge of all the earth, he brings a flood.
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  • That God defines righteousness and unrighteousness.
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  • Well, I believe we're also introduced to another one of
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  • those ideas, fundamental ideas of Scripture,
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  • that God in his sovereignty, he places us at his--at his
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  • decision at the point in time and the point in the planet
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  • where he wants us to be.
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  • We don't control the day of our birth nor
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  • the location of our birth.
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  • We don't choose our parents, nor our
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  • nationality, nor our ethnicity.
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  • God makes that choice, it's an expression of his sovereignty.
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  • And back to the point where we began this morning,
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  • I believe God in his sovereignty placed us in this nation.
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  • We're a nation of immigrants, we've all
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  • come from other places.
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  • But God in his sovereignty has orchestrated our
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  • presence in this place at this time.
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  • And it happens to be a nation on planet earth in this season that
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  • has unprecedented liberty and freedom.
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  • We have greater opportunities, more blessings,
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  • more privileges than any nation on this planet.
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  • It's not perfect.
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  • Far from it, as a matter of fact.
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  • But amongst the options, it is very unique.
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  • That is the blessing of God in our lives.
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  • But that blessing does not come without responsibility.
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  • It has come--it has come from Almighty God.
  • 00:09:40.140 --> 00:09:43.030
  • We're not a nation--we're not a nation defined by a specific
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  • ethnicity, by the color of our skin or the shape of our eyes.
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  • We are a nation of immigrants.
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  • We're defined by an idea, we are one nation under God.
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  • That is what has bound us together.
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  • Most of us came here originally because we weren't overly
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  • welcome in other places or we had very limited opportunities,
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  • and we came here with the imagination that that idea would
  • 00:10:11.070 --> 00:10:14.240
  • provide a greater future for us.
  • 00:10:14.250 --> 00:10:18.200
  • Now, with that comes a responsibility.
  • 00:10:18.210 --> 00:10:22.130
  • Now, I don't expect the people outside the church to
  • 00:10:22.140 --> 00:10:24.250
  • acknowledge that or to embrace that,
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  • but for those of us who are within the church,
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  • we can't afford to miss this, folks.
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  • If we turn our backs on Almighty God, if we turn our backs
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  • on his principles, if we don't care about his opinions and
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  • his boundaries, do you imagine we will maintain
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  • our liberty and freedom?
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  • It's insanity. It's certainly unscriptural.
  • 00:10:46.100 --> 00:10:50.270
  • What keeps us free isn't that we are exceptional.
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  • We're not smarter than everybody else on the planet.
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  • Our natural resources aren't that unique.
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  • It has been the blessing of Almighty God.
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  • And the health and the vitality of the church of Jesus Christ in
  • 00:11:02.140 --> 00:11:06.150
  • the midst of our people is what affords the
  • 00:11:06.160 --> 00:11:09.280
  • blessings of God upon us.
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  • That's our responsibility.
  • 00:11:12.210 --> 00:11:19.230
  • There's a prayer they pray in morning prayer
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  • these days for our nation.
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  • There's a group of people that come to campus seven days a week
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  • at 6:30 in the morning to pray for you.
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  • They've been doing it for more than 15 years,
  • 00:11:31.160 --> 00:11:33.220
  • haven't missed a day.
  • 00:11:33.230 --> 00:11:36.000
  • And there's a prayer they've been praying recently,
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  • and in that prayer there's one line that I have heard lately.
  • 00:11:37.210 --> 00:11:40.280
  • It says that we shouldn't be afraid of the battle.
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  • And folks, I think the church, for too long of a season,
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  • and I don't mean just this church, but Church with a
  • 00:11:49.120 --> 00:11:50.290
  • capital C in our nation, has been a bit frightened.
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  • We've been a bit intimidated.
  • 00:11:55.020 --> 00:11:57.140
  • We've been reluctant. Now, it's not a new thing.
  • 00:11:57.150 --> 00:12:00.160
  • It's not a new thing. You remember David, King David?
  • 00:12:00.170 --> 00:12:04.070
  • We're introduced to him in Scripture when he's just a boy,
  • 00:12:04.080 --> 00:12:07.010
  • a teenager, early teens it seems.
  • 00:12:07.020 --> 00:12:10.260
  • And he's taking to his brothers, who are
  • 00:12:10.270 --> 00:12:12.270
  • in the Israelite army, food.
  • 00:12:12.280 --> 00:12:15.240
  • And when he gets to the Israelite camp,
  • 00:12:15.250 --> 00:12:17.210
  • he happens to hear the champion of the other people,
  • 00:12:17.220 --> 00:12:20.120
  • the Philistines, come out and say,
  • 00:12:20.130 --> 00:12:22.130
  • "It's foolish for us to all go to battle.
  • 00:12:22.140 --> 00:12:25.180
  • Let your champion come face me, and whoever wins is the victor."
  • 00:12:25.190 --> 00:12:30.010
  • And when Goliath bellowed that challenge,
  • 00:12:30.020 --> 00:12:31.240
  • everybody in the Israelite army went and hid in their tent.
  • 00:12:31.250 --> 00:12:36.280
  • It seems to me a little bit of what the church has done in
  • 00:12:36.290 --> 00:12:40.000
  • recent--we've been hiding.
  • 00:12:40.010 --> 00:12:42.160
  • We've been reluctant to engage our culture.
  • 00:12:42.170 --> 00:12:44.120
  • We've been reluctant to stand up and speak the truth.
  • 00:12:44.130 --> 00:12:47.130
  • Remember what David said when he heard Goliath?
  • 00:12:47.140 --> 00:12:50.180
  • He said, "I got this.
  • 00:12:50.190 --> 00:12:53.030
  • Who does he think he is?
  • 00:12:53.040 --> 00:12:54.270
  • He has challenged the armies of the living God."
  • 00:12:54.280 --> 00:12:59.270
  • Now, the Israelite army had heard Goliath say he was
  • 00:12:59.280 --> 00:13:02.230
  • challenging the armies of Saul.
  • 00:13:02.240 --> 00:13:06.020
  • And David said, "He has challenged the
  • 00:13:06.030 --> 00:13:08.130
  • armies of the living God.
  • 00:13:08.140 --> 00:13:10.110
  • He'll fall.
  • 00:13:10.120 --> 00:13:13.270
  • What are you doing in your tents?"
  • 00:13:13.280 --> 00:13:17.260
  • And they said, "Well, you know, if you're so bad, you go."
  • 00:13:17.270 --> 00:13:21.200
  • Now, if you're reading that casually,
  • 00:13:21.210 --> 00:13:23.000
  • it's an enormous mismatch.
  • 00:13:23.010 --> 00:13:25.050
  • Goliath is trained as a warrior, he's an
  • 00:13:25.060 --> 00:13:27.070
  • imposing physical specimen.
  • 00:13:27.080 --> 00:13:29.050
  • His experience and expertise with weaponry and the weapons he
  • 00:13:29.060 --> 00:13:32.100
  • has far exceed any training David has.
  • 00:13:32.110 --> 00:13:35.080
  • They certainly exceed his physical ability or strength.
  • 00:13:35.090 --> 00:13:40.040
  • Goliath has spear and sword, and David has a rock and a sling.
  • 00:13:40.050 --> 00:13:45.180
  • But David has something else.
  • 00:13:45.190 --> 00:13:48.150
  • He said, "Look, when I was watching my father's flock and a
  • 00:13:48.160 --> 00:13:51.020
  • lion or a bear came, God delivered them into my hands."
  • 00:13:51.030 --> 00:13:54.060
  • He couldn't overpower a lion or a bear either.
  • 00:13:54.070 --> 00:13:57.120
  • And he said, "This Philistine will be no
  • 00:13:57.130 --> 00:13:59.080
  • different than those animals.
  • 00:13:59.090 --> 00:14:02.080
  • God will deliver him."
  • 00:14:02.090 --> 00:14:04.110
  • May I submit to you humbly it's time for the church to
  • 00:14:04.120 --> 00:14:07.130
  • find our faith in a living God.
  • 00:14:07.140 --> 00:14:11.010
  • We have been quiet too long.
  • 00:14:11.020 --> 00:14:13.110
  • male announcer: It's time for the final volume of Pastor
  • 00:14:18.010 --> 00:14:20.000
  • Allen's "The White Board Bible."
  • 00:14:20.010 --> 00:14:21.130
  • Start now with volume three covering the New Testament.
  • 00:14:21.140 --> 00:14:23.260
  • It's a fun and entertaining way to understand the
  • 00:14:23.270 --> 00:14:25.240
  • framework of the Bible.
  • 00:14:25.250 --> 00:14:27.090
  • This video study begins with the fulfillment of so many of God's
  • 00:14:27.100 --> 00:14:29.160
  • promises in Jesus, and concludes with Revelation and the
  • 00:14:29.170 --> 00:14:32.170
  • assurance of his return.
  • 00:14:32.180 --> 00:14:33.290
  • Today, when you give, you'll receive "The White Board Bible"
  • 00:14:34.000 --> 00:14:36.130
  • volume three, plus its guidebook.
  • 00:14:36.140 --> 00:14:38.140
  • Call the number on your screen or visit allenjackson.com.
  • 00:14:38.150 --> 00:14:41.150
  • And thank you for supporting Allen Jackson Ministries.
  • 00:14:41.160 --> 00:14:44.010
  • Together, we can make a difference.
  • 00:14:44.020 --> 00:14:46.000
  • Allen: We have gathered on this continent in the public
  • 00:14:47.260 --> 00:14:50.110
  • square in large numbers in every generation
  • 00:14:50.120 --> 00:14:55.020
  • to give thanks to God.
  • 00:14:55.030 --> 00:14:57.080
  • And those gatherings of God's people in the public square have
  • 00:14:57.090 --> 00:15:01.040
  • been a dominant force in the shaping of our nation and its
  • 00:15:01.050 --> 00:15:05.020
  • character in our history.
  • 00:15:05.030 --> 00:15:07.160
  • They haven't always been revival services.
  • 00:15:07.170 --> 00:15:09.070
  • Sometimes, we've stood in the public square and said the
  • 00:15:09.080 --> 00:15:11.150
  • principles of Scripture dictate that we be different.
  • 00:15:11.160 --> 00:15:15.220
  • And we will change.
  • 00:15:15.230 --> 00:15:18.000
  • But God's people standing up as God's people to honor the
  • 00:15:18.010 --> 00:15:22.020
  • principles of Scripture has guided us to this point.
  • 00:15:22.030 --> 00:15:27.180
  • In this generation, we're not so welcome in the public square.
  • 00:15:27.190 --> 00:15:32.270
  • They tell us that the name of Jesus isn't welcome in the
  • 00:15:32.280 --> 00:15:34.290
  • classroom or the courtroom, that the name of Jesus probably
  • 00:15:35.000 --> 00:15:40.030
  • shouldn't be mentioned in those public places.
  • 00:15:40.040 --> 00:15:43.160
  • And we've been a little bit like the Israelite army.
  • 00:15:43.170 --> 00:15:45.070
  • We've gone and hidden in our tents.
  • 00:15:45.080 --> 00:15:48.210
  • We have lost our way.
  • 00:15:48.220 --> 00:15:50.010
  • I'm not surprised at the ungodly, it's what they do.
  • 00:15:50.020 --> 00:15:54.260
  • What would God say to the church in America today?
  • 00:15:54.270 --> 00:15:59.180
  • It's an important question to ask yourself.
  • 00:15:59.190 --> 00:16:02.240
  • He has blessed us like no people on this earth.
  • 00:16:02.250 --> 00:16:06.140
  • He's given us more opportunity,
  • 00:16:06.150 --> 00:16:08.040
  • more freedom, more privilege.
  • 00:16:08.050 --> 00:16:11.150
  • I think it's important that we stand in a public square.
  • 00:16:11.160 --> 00:16:15.200
  • You know, when I was a child, stadiums filled with Christians
  • 00:16:15.210 --> 00:16:20.080
  • having religious services was as common as a football game.
  • 00:16:20.090 --> 00:16:25.190
  • They filled our television sets.
  • 00:16:25.200 --> 00:16:27.190
  • You knew what was going to happen next.
  • 00:16:27.200 --> 00:16:28.290
  • It happened so frequently, you know
  • 00:16:29.000 --> 00:16:30.090
  • what--they had an order of service.
  • 00:16:30.100 --> 00:16:31.190
  • You knew what was going to happen.
  • 00:16:31.200 --> 00:16:33.120
  • You knew Cliff Barrows was going to convene the citywide choir,
  • 00:16:33.130 --> 00:16:36.080
  • and George Beverly Shea was going to sing.
  • 00:16:36.090 --> 00:16:39.190
  • And you knew as soon as he stopped preaching,
  • 00:16:39.200 --> 00:16:41.050
  • lots of people were coming forward.
  • 00:16:41.060 --> 00:16:43.150
  • That's the part I looked forward to because when it was over,
  • 00:16:43.160 --> 00:16:45.080
  • what I wanted to watch would come back on television.
  • 00:16:45.090 --> 00:16:49.150
  • You know, our children aren't familiar with that.
  • 00:16:49.160 --> 00:16:53.100
  • They haven't seen it.
  • 00:16:53.110 --> 00:16:55.090
  • Folks, we will lose our liberty and freedom if
  • 00:16:55.100 --> 00:16:57.250
  • we fail to be the church.
  • 00:16:57.260 --> 00:17:00.250
  • Do you think God loves us more than he loved the Hebrew people?
  • 00:17:00.260 --> 00:17:05.130
  • He told them they couldn't stay in that land if they
  • 00:17:05.140 --> 00:17:07.220
  • didn't want a relationship with him.
  • 00:17:07.230 --> 00:17:09.020
  • Do you think we'll maintain our blessings if we don't
  • 00:17:09.030 --> 00:17:12.000
  • want a relationship with God?
  • 00:17:12.010 --> 00:17:15.030
  • Again, this isn't about criticizing others.
  • 00:17:15.040 --> 00:17:16.240
  • This is about working on our own attitudes and our own hearts.
  • 00:17:16.250 --> 00:17:20.290
  • I was out of the country when the supreme court made their
  • 00:17:21.000 --> 00:17:26.000
  • ruling on family and sexuality.
  • 00:17:26.010 --> 00:17:30.260
  • And I saw a photograph a day or two later of the White House
  • 00:17:30.270 --> 00:17:34.250
  • with the rainbow imposed upon it.
  • 00:17:34.260 --> 00:17:37.290
  • And the first time I saw it, I thought it
  • 00:17:38.000 --> 00:17:39.290
  • had to be photoshopped.
  • 00:17:40.000 --> 00:17:42.070
  • It was one of those Internet hoaxes
  • 00:17:42.080 --> 00:17:44.050
  • that are far too frequent.
  • 00:17:44.060 --> 00:17:46.190
  • When I found out it was real, it sent chills down my spine.
  • 00:17:46.200 --> 00:17:52.180
  • We're a nation that was founded with the idea
  • 00:17:52.190 --> 00:17:54.210
  • of one nation under God.
  • 00:17:54.220 --> 00:17:57.070
  • And if we publicly flaunt God's
  • 00:17:57.080 --> 00:18:00.070
  • boundaries, God will respond.
  • 00:18:00.080 --> 00:18:04.120
  • Now, that's not a message towards anybody but the church.
  • 00:18:04.130 --> 00:18:08.150
  • And it's not a message towards any single group of people.
  • 00:18:08.160 --> 00:18:11.040
  • God defined moral and immoral.
  • 00:18:11.050 --> 00:18:14.080
  • And sexual morality God defined for us.
  • 00:18:14.090 --> 00:18:16.280
  • He didn't ask us for a referendum on that.
  • 00:18:16.290 --> 00:18:21.090
  • He said, "My people will honor these boundaries."
  • 00:18:21.100 --> 00:18:24.140
  • And sexual immorality across the whole spectrum of the
  • 00:18:24.150 --> 00:18:29.090
  • expressions of that is destructive to us.
  • 00:18:29.100 --> 00:18:33.120
  • That's not to condemn any person.
  • 00:18:33.130 --> 00:18:35.110
  • We're to have compassion on people who struggle.
  • 00:18:35.120 --> 00:18:39.210
  • It's appropriate to invite them towards the truth and to have
  • 00:18:39.220 --> 00:18:42.200
  • expressions of kindness and love for them.
  • 00:18:42.210 --> 00:18:44.180
  • But there's a difference in setting aside God's boundaries
  • 00:18:44.190 --> 00:18:49.190
  • and saying it's okay to embrace ungodliness.
  • 00:18:49.200 --> 00:18:54.190
  • The church has to be the church, not in a hate-filled way,
  • 00:18:54.200 --> 00:19:01.010
  • not in a condemning way.
  • 00:19:01.020 --> 00:19:02.200
  • But if we fail to be the voice God called us to be,
  • 00:19:02.210 --> 00:19:05.280
  • we will forfeit our blessings.
  • 00:19:05.290 --> 00:19:09.230
  • There is abundant evidence for that idea.
  • 00:19:09.240 --> 00:19:14.190
  • And without that prophetic perspective, we're adrift.
  • 00:19:14.200 --> 00:19:19.210
  • We have to care.
  • 00:19:19.220 --> 00:19:25.170
  • I've got just a couple of minutes left.
  • 00:19:25.180 --> 00:19:29.120
  • I've been spending a lot of time lately in the book of Ezekiel
  • 00:19:29.130 --> 00:19:32.000
  • reading just a little bit ahead of our Bible reading together.
  • 00:19:32.010 --> 00:19:35.260
  • Ezekiel is the prophet in the Bible that
  • 00:19:35.270 --> 00:19:38.030
  • God uses during the exile.
  • 00:19:38.040 --> 00:19:41.020
  • It was 587 BCE when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem.
  • 00:19:41.030 --> 00:19:46.050
  • And God's people go into exile, but
  • 00:19:46.060 --> 00:19:47.250
  • God didn't abandon his people.
  • 00:19:47.260 --> 00:19:49.050
  • Jeremiah is the prophet that says to the people,
  • 00:19:49.060 --> 00:19:51.170
  • "The Babylonians are coming.
  • 00:19:51.180 --> 00:19:53.120
  • You better do something, the Babylonians are coming."
  • 00:19:53.130 --> 00:19:57.000
  • And Ezekiel is the prophet that God uses to speak to the people
  • 00:19:57.010 --> 00:19:59.190
  • when they've been driven out of their land.
  • 00:19:59.200 --> 00:20:02.160
  • It intrigues me, it's a fascinating perspective.
  • 00:20:02.170 --> 00:20:04.240
  • God didn't abandon them.
  • 00:20:04.250 --> 00:20:06.040
  • He didn't say, "I'm angry with you, I hate you.
  • 00:20:06.050 --> 00:20:07.240
  • I'll have nothing to do with you."
  • 00:20:07.250 --> 00:20:09.040
  • He sent them something along to give them God's perspective.
  • 00:20:09.050 --> 00:20:11.200
  • He said, "You'll come back to the land."
  • 00:20:11.210 --> 00:20:16.010
  • You know, God's discipline in our lives is a necessary part
  • 00:20:16.020 --> 00:20:20.000
  • of growing up in the Lord.
  • 00:20:20.010 --> 00:20:22.280
  • The book of Hebrews says if God doesn't discipline you,
  • 00:20:22.290 --> 00:20:25.070
  • he doesn't love you, you're an illegitimate child.
  • 00:20:25.080 --> 00:20:28.180
  • We want the blessings of God, but we really don't
  • 00:20:28.190 --> 00:20:30.130
  • want the discipline of God.
  • 00:20:30.140 --> 00:20:33.210
  • I would encourage you if you're in a place where--you know,
  • 00:20:33.220 --> 00:20:36.060
  • Bible says endure hardship as discipline.
  • 00:20:36.070 --> 00:20:38.000
  • If you're walking through a season that's not easy,
  • 00:20:38.010 --> 00:20:40.000
  • perhaps you should say to the Lord,
  • 00:20:40.010 --> 00:20:41.190
  • "Lord, I want to learn the lesson."
  • 00:20:41.200 --> 00:20:45.070
  • I'm not telling you if it's a difficult--not get back in line
  • 00:20:45.080 --> 00:20:47.140
  • for mistreatment or inappropriate treatment,
  • 00:20:47.150 --> 00:20:49.070
  • I'm not saying that.
  • 00:20:49.080 --> 00:20:50.170
  • I'm saying to say to the Lord, "Lord,
  • 00:20:50.180 --> 00:20:52.140
  • I want your perspective on my heart and my life.
  • 00:20:52.150 --> 00:20:55.010
  • If there's anything in me that's harmful or hurtful or diminishes
  • 00:20:55.020 --> 00:20:57.210
  • my relationship with you, help me to see it."
  • 00:20:57.220 --> 00:21:02.130
  • We need a God perspective, folks.
  • 00:21:02.140 --> 00:21:05.210
  • We've spent most of our energy trying to convince God that our
  • 00:21:05.220 --> 00:21:07.270
  • perspective he needs to pay attention to.
  • 00:21:07.280 --> 00:21:11.060
  • We need to invest a little energy in saying,
  • 00:21:11.070 --> 00:21:12.230
  • "God, help me to see myself and my home and my business
  • 00:21:12.240 --> 00:21:15.270
  • and my life and my nation as you see us."
  • 00:21:15.280 --> 00:21:20.170
  • Two phrases God used with Ezekiel that
  • 00:21:20.180 --> 00:21:22.110
  • I'll hand you really quickly.
  • 00:21:22.120 --> 00:21:23.230
  • One, it's used dozens of times in the book of Ezekiel and
  • 00:21:23.240 --> 00:21:26.130
  • almost nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible.
  • 00:21:26.140 --> 00:21:29.020
  • It's this little phrase, "they'll know
  • 00:21:29.030 --> 00:21:30.180
  • that I'm the Lord."
  • 00:21:30.190 --> 00:21:32.110
  • You see, lordship is a question to be
  • 00:21:32.120 --> 00:21:34.030
  • resolved in every individual heart.
  • 00:21:34.040 --> 00:21:36.140
  • And God says over and over and over and over and over again in
  • 00:21:36.150 --> 00:21:39.190
  • Ezekiel that, "They will know that I am the Lord."
  • 00:21:39.200 --> 00:21:44.090
  • In Ezekiel 12, he says to the Israelites, "They'll know
  • 00:21:44.100 --> 00:21:47.230
  • that I am the Lord, when I disperse them among the
  • 00:21:47.240 --> 00:21:49.250
  • nations and scatter them throughout the countries."
  • 00:21:49.260 --> 00:21:52.160
  • They have a temple, holidays, rules, high priest, and God
  • 00:21:52.170 --> 00:21:55.210
  • said, "They have forgotten that I'm the Lord.
  • 00:21:55.220 --> 00:21:59.130
  • But they'll know that I'm the Lord when I
  • 00:21:59.140 --> 00:22:01.040
  • scatter them around the earth.
  • 00:22:01.050 --> 00:22:03.120
  • They will remember, they will look back and they will
  • 00:22:03.130 --> 00:22:05.290
  • know there is an Almighty God in heaven."
  • 00:22:06.000 --> 00:22:10.020
  • You know, we lose sight of that.
  • 00:22:10.030 --> 00:22:12.250
  • We kind of distill God down, it's like we
  • 00:22:12.260 --> 00:22:14.120
  • have a divine reduction.
  • 00:22:14.130 --> 00:22:17.040
  • And we kind of come out with a morphed God,
  • 00:22:17.050 --> 00:22:19.030
  • he's kind of like a cuddly teddy bear or a benevolent uncle that
  • 00:22:19.040 --> 00:22:22.090
  • visits once in a while with a sack full of goodies.
  • 00:22:22.100 --> 00:22:25.210
  • And then as soon as we got his goodies,
  • 00:22:25.220 --> 00:22:27.010
  • we hope he leaves because he's kind of an intrusion.
  • 00:22:27.020 --> 00:22:30.260
  • And God said, "They will know that I'm the Lord."
  • 00:22:30.270 --> 00:22:35.130
  • And the book of Ezekiel closes with another prophetic
  • 00:22:35.140 --> 00:22:37.200
  • statement in chapter 38.
  • 00:22:37.210 --> 00:22:39.100
  • He said, "I will show my greatness and my holiness,
  • 00:22:39.110 --> 00:22:41.200
  • and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations.
  • 00:22:41.210 --> 00:22:44.190
  • And then they will know that I am the Lord."
  • 00:22:44.200 --> 00:22:46.160
  • He starts out saying the Israelites will know that I'm
  • 00:22:46.170 --> 00:22:48.150
  • the Lord, and then he says the nations will
  • 00:22:48.160 --> 00:22:50.190
  • know that I am the Lord.
  • 00:22:50.200 --> 00:22:52.120
  • You know the point of the book of Revelation, the end game
  • 00:22:52.130 --> 00:22:55.040
  • in this whole scenario in time is that every knee will
  • 00:22:55.050 --> 00:22:58.120
  • bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
  • 00:22:58.130 --> 00:23:06.040
  • And the assignment of the church is to hold up that banner.
  • 00:23:06.050 --> 00:23:10.280
  • And if we lose sight that he is the Lord of all,
  • 00:23:10.290 --> 00:23:14.120
  • we are failing in our assignment.
  • 00:23:14.130 --> 00:23:16.080
  • It's important.
  • 00:23:16.090 --> 00:23:18.000
  • The courage to own our faith in the sphere
  • 00:23:18.010 --> 00:23:21.140
  • of our influence matters.
  • 00:23:21.150 --> 00:23:25.050
  • And there's one last idea in Ezekiel that I'll give
  • 00:23:25.060 --> 00:23:27.140
  • you today or this morning.
  • 00:23:27.150 --> 00:23:29.220
  • "When any Israelite sets up idols in their heart and puts a
  • 00:23:29.230 --> 00:23:34.190
  • wicked stumbling block before his face."
  • 00:23:34.200 --> 00:23:38.030
  • Where was the idol set up?
  • 00:23:38.040 --> 00:23:41.010
  • In their heart.
  • 00:23:41.020 --> 00:23:42.230
  • So, it wasn't first and foremost about some image that was
  • 00:23:42.240 --> 00:23:45.100
  • carved out of something else.
  • 00:23:45.110 --> 00:23:47.200
  • He said in your heart. Idolatry begins in our heart.
  • 00:23:47.210 --> 00:23:51.180
  • Idolatry in its essence is about priority.
  • 00:23:51.190 --> 00:23:55.110
  • It's about whatever you give first priority to.
  • 00:23:55.120 --> 00:23:58.280
  • What do you look to as the resource of your life,
  • 00:23:58.290 --> 00:24:01.160
  • the stabilization of your life, the hope of your life,
  • 00:24:01.170 --> 00:24:05.160
  • the joy of your life?
  • 00:24:05.170 --> 00:24:09.120
  • So, it really isn't--even for the Israelites,
  • 00:24:09.130 --> 00:24:11.040
  • it wasn't about the Canaanite fertility gods.
  • 00:24:11.050 --> 00:24:13.260
  • They worshiped them because they wanted a more prosperous life.
  • 00:24:13.270 --> 00:24:18.100
  • The idol in their hearts was greed.
  • 00:24:18.110 --> 00:24:21.270
  • But I would submit to you that idolatry is as rampant in
  • 00:24:21.280 --> 00:24:24.230
  • contemporary American Christendom
  • 00:24:24.240 --> 00:24:27.040
  • as it was in biblical Israel.
  • 00:24:27.050 --> 00:24:31.000
  • Now, we haven't carved statues, but in our hearts,
  • 00:24:31.010 --> 00:24:33.260
  • we have assigned top priority to comfort
  • 00:24:33.270 --> 00:24:37.210
  • or convenience or pleasure or wealth
  • 00:24:37.220 --> 00:24:41.010
  • or power or our favorite hobby or our favorite something.
  • 00:24:41.020 --> 00:24:47.110
  • Now, we haven't rejected God, we haven't cast him out.
  • 00:24:47.120 --> 00:24:50.070
  • The Israelites had a temple and a whole pattern of worship.
  • 00:24:50.080 --> 00:24:54.090
  • They had just given the priority in their
  • 00:24:54.100 --> 00:24:55.190
  • heart to something else.
  • 00:24:55.200 --> 00:24:58.090
  • And it seems to me we're a bit guilty on this point.
  • 00:24:58.100 --> 00:25:01.190
  • We come to church, but the priorities of our hearts,
  • 00:25:01.200 --> 00:25:06.010
  • the first priority is someplace else.
  • 00:25:06.020 --> 00:25:07.290
  • It's idolatry.
  • 00:25:08.000 --> 00:25:09.090
  • And I'm not recruiting you to come to church more often.
  • 00:25:09.100 --> 00:25:11.150
  • I'm not signing you up for some new meeting or class or point
  • 00:25:11.160 --> 00:25:15.180
  • of--I'm not asking for more money.
  • 00:25:15.190 --> 00:25:17.060
  • I'm asking you to ask the Lord to help you look at your heart.
  • 00:25:17.070 --> 00:25:21.220
  • Because the outcomes are important to the
  • 00:25:21.230 --> 00:25:23.140
  • generations who follow us.
  • 00:25:23.150 --> 00:25:26.080
  • Allen: Now, I believe it's difficult to overstate the
  • 00:25:28.160 --> 00:25:30.260
  • significance of the church, of Christ followers in our culture.
  • 00:25:30.270 --> 00:25:35.030
  • Jesus said we're salt and light, that we're difference makers.
  • 00:25:35.040 --> 00:25:39.010
  • See, I don't believe there's a political solution for the
  • 00:25:39.020 --> 00:25:41.120
  • problems that face us as a people.
  • 00:25:41.130 --> 00:25:43.170
  • I don't believe our answer is in a particular
  • 00:25:43.180 --> 00:25:45.180
  • individual or a particular party.
  • 00:25:45.190 --> 00:25:47.090
  • I think the resolution begins in our hearts.
  • 00:25:47.100 --> 00:25:50.000
  • Before Pennsylvania Avenue can honor the Lord,
  • 00:25:50.010 --> 00:25:52.170
  • it has to start on Main Street in each of our communities.
  • 00:25:52.180 --> 00:25:55.190
  • And so, you and I become very significant.
  • 00:25:55.200 --> 00:25:57.130
  • Christ in you makes a difference.
  • 00:25:57.140 --> 00:25:59.160
  • I want to pray for you before we go.
  • 00:25:59.170 --> 00:26:01.170
  • Father, I thank you for every person.
  • 00:26:01.180 --> 00:26:03.210
  • I thank you for your truth in their heart.
  • 00:26:03.220 --> 00:26:05.260
  • And I pray we'll have the courage to honor you in all that
  • 00:26:05.270 --> 00:26:09.100
  • we are and all that we do in our homes, in our places of
  • 00:26:09.110 --> 00:26:12.120
  • business, in our churches, wherever you lead us.
  • 00:26:12.130 --> 00:26:14.280
  • Thank you for it. Be merciful to us as a people.
  • 00:26:14.290 --> 00:26:17.200
  • In Jesus's name, amen.
  • 00:26:17.210 --> 00:26:20.010
  • God bless you.
  • 00:26:20.020 --> 00:26:21.120
  • announcer: Join us every week for another exciting message
  • 00:26:22.020 --> 00:26:24.060
  • from Pastor Allen Jackson and until then, visit us online
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  • and discover remarkable information and resources
  • 00:26:28.080 --> 00:26:31.050
  • to help take your Christian life to the next level.
  • 00:26:31.060 --> 00:26:34.230
  • And when you visit online, consider joining our effort to
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  • continue sending this powerful and challenging
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  • message around the globe.
  • 00:26:39.240 --> 00:26:41.140
  • We want to share this program worldwide, but we can only do it
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  • with your help, so consider partnering with us today.
  • 00:26:45.060 --> 00:26:49.020
  • And if you're visiting the Nashville area,
  • 00:26:49.030 --> 00:26:50.280
  • we'd love to see you at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro.
  • 00:26:50.290 --> 00:26:54.110
  • We're easy to find, so look us up when you're traveling
  • 00:26:54.120 --> 00:26:56.260
  • through, and don't forget to connect with Pastor Jackson
  • 00:26:56.270 --> 00:26:59.100
  • every day through social media.
  • 00:26:59.110 --> 00:27:02.090
  • Thanks so much for joining us and being
  • 00:27:02.100 --> 00:27:04.000
  • a part of this ministry.
  • 00:27:04.010 --> 00:27:05.160
  • We'll see you again next time for another encounter
  • 00:27:05.170 --> 00:27:07.250
  • with Pastor Allen Jackson.
  • 00:27:07.260 --> 00:27:09.230
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