Beth Moore - Resetting The Compass - Part 1
I was raised to think constantly about missions. So, by the time I would have been three years old, everyone, I would have known these passages by heart. So, I want to say them to you. I'm gonna be reading out of the CSB translation. This is Matthew chapter 28. This is after the cross and the resurrection, and this is when Jesus is giving them what many of us call the Great Commission. And it says in verse 18, "Jesus came," and this is to his 11 disciples. And he had directed them to the mountain where he would speak these last words over them before his ascension. And it says, "He said to them," in verse 18, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you". Let me say that again. "Teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age".
So, this is the Great Commission that is upon Jesus followers throughout the generations. Go out there, disciple and teach. And so, the question that I want to throw out on the table as we get started this weekend to set our course is, go where and teach what? Let me say that again. Go where and teach what? We're gonna look back over some of exactly what he would have been talking about so that we can understand what he means by discipleship and what it takes to make disciples. We Jesus followers are the goers. But what direction are we going? And what is it we're taking with us to disciple people? You may think, "Well, I'm not a teacher". You're still a disciple. And there's all sorts of ways that takes place in the workplace by, example, conversation. I love to use my friend Jen Morton as a perfect example. She mentors women in how to cook, brings them into her kitchen and teaches them how to make buttermilk biscuits. And while she does that, she mentors them in Christ.
Now, they're not trapped. They know that's why they're there. But they're also wanting a biscuit in the worst way. And so, it just works. It just works. Whatever place God has placed us to know, what does it look like to really disciple people in Christ? He said that, "you teach them what I have taught you, what I've shown you, what I've told you to observe in me". What does that look like? I've really never put much thought into this before. But one of the commentaries I studied, pointed out that during the gospel pages, and during those three years when Jesus was walking in fully God, fully man alongside his disciples, that he gave them authority to cast out demons, to heal the sick, to do all of these things. And then he would tell them what to proclaim, but that he did not commission them to teach until right now. it is the coolest thing because, why? I mean, why didn't they go? They'd already walked with him.
What about when they'd walked within two and a half years? They knew him really well. Why couldn't they teach them? Because he's going like, "Oh, you don't even know what to teach until I've been crucified and raised from the dead". You see, all... oh, mm-mm. No, no, you see, all discipleship is left lacking unless we know Christ Jesus crucified, raised, and ascended to the throne. And so, until they have seen him crucified and raised, they weren't ready to disciple because everything is in view of the Resurrection, everything, because life is hard. And listen, the Resurrection should be on our minds every day, every day in all the peril that we face and all the hardship that we face. Do you remember every single day of your life that your Christ has been crucified on your behalf, raised from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God and sat down at that side. You have got to have that in view at all times. That's what keeps our hope. That's discipleship.
Now, I want you to see with me, I'm gonna start reading in Matthew 4. This is when we're going back now. So, we want to see the end, why? Because we want to know, okay, we're supposed to go and make disciples. So, go where? Disciple how? So he said, "What have I shown you? What have you observed"? Let's go back to his first major teaching in the Gospel of Matthew, first major teaching. I want to back it up. I'm gonna start with you because there's something that I want you to see, some connections I want you to make. So, I'm starting in Matthew chapter 4. I'm going to start at verse 8, and I'm gonna read all the way through 5:1. Now, as I do that, I want you to be aware. We're gonna hop right into the middle of the wilderness. Jesus is going to be there in the wilderness where he's under temptation by the devil. And so, we're gonna hop right into the center of it, instead of going all the way back to the beginning. The reason being because I want you to make a connection between some mountains.
So, I want you to see a mountain when I start reading it. And I want you to see a mountain in 5:1 so that we can make the connection and put some things together there. Lord, bless the reading of your Word, 4, verse 8. "Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain". Somebody say, "very high mountain". "And showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to him, 'I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.' Then Jesus told him, 'Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.' Then the devil left him, and angels came and began to serve him. And when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali". Verse 14, "This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, along the road by the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. From then on Jesus began to preach, 'Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near.'"
Verse 18, "As he was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter), and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 'Follow me,' he told them, 'and I will make you fish for people'", Verse 20, "Immediately they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father, preparing their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him". Verse 23, this becomes very strategic. This is where our lesson, our emphasis, really begins to take hold. Verse 23, "Now Jesus began to go all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. Then the news about him spread throughout Syria. So they brought to him".
I don't know if you are a visual reader, but I want you to picture everyone single bit of this. I want you to picture that we've got just a couple of disciples at this point. We've got these fishermen that are along with him, fairly sheltered lives. And then I want you to imagine being them and being with him, as it says. "So when the news about him spread throughout Syria, they brought to him all those who were afflicted," that could be all manner of things, "those suffering from various diseases and intense pains, the demon-possessed, the epileptics, and the paralytics. And he healed them". And these fishermen have never seen anything like this in their entire lives, crowds of people. They are from small, small towns, sheltered families, sheltered towns. They don't even know this much suffering is out there. And So, I picture being one of them and seeing all of this. So, they're coming with all of their pain, and they're demonstrating all of their pain.
So this, just imagine what this crowd looks like. Imagine this size, but every single one of you are in a very intense kind of affliction. And picture what that would be like. And then it says in verse 25, "Large crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan". Go with me to 5:1. "When he, that's Jesus, saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and after he sat down, his disciples came to him". Mountain to mountain, you've seen what has happened. It's on the edge of the Sea of Galilee. It goes up on the side of the mountain. Like, why do they suddenly come to him? Well, he is the rabbi. They've already gotten a glimpse. This is Messiah. We know that from John's gospel. But see, when he sits down, he's about to teach. And listen, disciples want to hear Jesus teach, even if they don't like what he's teaching. A true disciple wants to hear Jesus teach. So, he sits down, they eye that he's sitting down. The crowd is starting to draw. So men, they want to be on the front row, so they come sit right in front of him. And it says, "Then he began to teach them".
How often Jesus used a visual to teach the theological. Somehow if they could get their mind wrapped around what they could see, it would help them be able to learn what they could not see. And so, I look for God to give me some kind of visual. It became the compass. And so, I just decided I'm gonna see what I can learn about it. So, I started looking at different kinds of articles about it. I found an article, a website, by Carolyn Ryan. She is... well, she describes herself, "bushwalking and hiking tips from an unexpected outdoors chick". She offers navigation courses. She leads hikes and that kind of thing. And so, she tells a story in the article about meeting up with a friend to hike, and they got out their compasses to start their hike. And when they did, one of their needles went one direction, and one of their needles, hers as a matter of fact, when exactly the opposite. And she said she knew, she knew enough to know, "My needle is exactly the polar opposite of what it is supposed to be".
So, she gets a hold of the company, and she asked the question. So, the article is called, "Why Do Compass Polls Reverse"? So, she says, and I'm now quoting Carolyn Ryan, "I emailed Silva," that's the makers in Sweden of the Silver Ranger Compass that she uses and recommends, "to find out how to fix this. I've heard it's as easy as wafting a magnet nearby. Here's the response". So now what I'm about to read to you is the tech named David at the company that made her compass, Silva. And so he says, and I'm quoting David now, "The reason that your compass is not showing north is most likely due to it being subjected to a magnetic field that has polarized the needle. This is unfortunately fairly common in today's world". Would somebody say, "amen"?
"Since we carry a lot of items that emit a magnetic field such as mobile phones, GPS, and other equipment, a compass needle cannot change its own polarization. It has to be forced to reverse its polarity by a magnetic field. We write in the manual", this is still David talking from Silva, "We write in the manual that it is very important to check the compass every time it is used since polarizations do happen. As it is as important as checking any part of your survival gear before it is used, since your life may very well depend on its functions. It is not complicated to reverse the polarization of the needle, but to be 100% sure of the result, you should be using a controlled magnetic field".
We live in a magnetic field polarizing the needle of our compass. We are a people utterly obsessed with looking right or left, instead of up and down. We are disciples of Christ. Our direction is north and south. Our direction is up to the throne of God who rules over the kingdom of heaven and the universe that he brought into being out of nothing and the down south to the pages of Scripture, that everything we get, our entire value system, is built up and down, not right and left. Everything else depends on us understanding the difference between horizontal values and vertical values. We are given vertical values. And generally speaking, our compasses are malfunctioning because the kingdoms of the world can have crosses on them. Does anybody understand this with me?
Just because it's got a cross on it doesn't make it of the kingdom of heaven. Anything can have a cross on it. You can go buy one at the grocery store. You get your cross right at the Kroger, get your cross right at the Piggly Wiggly, you'll get your cross anywhere, anywhere. That doesn't make it Christian. You stick a cross on anything and kingdoms of this world can bear crosses. But we don't look that direction for our values. Our direction is not right and left. Our direction is up and down, up to the throne of heaven, down to the pages of Scripture. And we live with that nod continually so that looking up and down, we know when to say no. I know when to say no because I look up and down. And I know the difference between my vertical values, and the kingdoms of this world no matter what God they profess. Our needles are our compasses, generally speaking, our turn toward the kingdoms of this world of so many people saying, "We've lost our way. We've lost our way. We've lost our way".
Oh, no, we have not. We found our way. We have lost God's way. We're doing just what people do. We have found our way. It's our way. It's man's way. It's the human way. We're still talking about the cross and Resurrection. We're still talking about salvation but all according to the values of the kingdoms of this world. The way we've lost is Christ's way. I want you to let that settle because I believe that what we're dealing with is any enormous failure of discipleship. And I can say this, I can say this because I've been right in the middle of it. It's all I've given my life to for the last 35 years. But something's wrong, something is wrong. And somehow, we are still, I mean, doing all our theological conversation. But we're doing them according, we've got an all stuck into the value system, of the kingdoms of this world. And I'm gonna tell you how we know because he's about to turn it upside down.
Listen, I want to say to you something so that there's not just a ton of guilt and condemnation, so you can understand what I'm talking about. Nothing is more natural. We're doing exactly what comes naturally to us, exactly. Nothing is more natural than interpreting the Bible and, in particular, the gospels and the gospel itself by what we see and experience is completely normal. So because we have much more experience out here with seeing, seeing the world, we're, you know, getting into our Bible a little bit here and there. So we're taking what we know of the Bible and we're setting it into the kingdoms of the world. And somehow, the gospel train, it may be parallel to the track in some ways. But we left the gospel track. And there's a way to get back on. We gotta take that compass that has been turned down to the kingdoms of this world, and I mean, we have got to hand it over to Jesus and his Word and go, "Reset true north to us because we cannot find it for ourselves". Anybody? Anybody?
If the needle on Peter, on Peter's compass, Peter's compass, I mean the leader of them, if that needle could be turned exactly the opposite, it can easily happen to the rest of us. Do you remember? I mean, after he said the big thing, you know, you're right there. You might as well look at it. Matthew chapter 16, go there a second because it's just so profound because it'll make us feel better if we realize, "I think this is exactly what's happened to me, Lord. 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' 'But you, you, you, you, who do you say that I am?' Peter says, 'Well, you're the Messiah, you're the Son of the living God.' 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.'"
Now, I gotta tell you something here because you gotta see your past tense and your present tense. There's no loosing and binding we're doing down here that God's going, "Oh, she loosed that and I didn't mean for her to. Dang it. She just found that and that was of the Spirit. There we go. We're off course for the next four years". None of that, none of that. In Jesus's name, he was telling them, "You can bind and loose what I have already authorized as bound and loosed in the kingdom of heaven". So, here it comes right here. This is so good. "So, he gave the disciples orders to tell no one that he was the Messiah". Verse 21, "From then on Jesus began to point out to his disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and raised the third day. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him".
I have looked up the word "rebuke," and it means rebuke. "Took him aside and began to rebuke him, 'Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to you!' Jesus turned to him and looked at him and said Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me because you're not thinking about God's concerns. You are thinking about but human concerns.'" What was more normal than for Peter to go, "We don't want you killed. We don't want you to suffer. We want you to be King upon the throne. We want you to overthrow the Romans and take your seat Son of David. Come". It was all the right things that made sense to Peter. "For this is in your behalf. I'm for you. Don't you see"? And Jesus is going, "Oh, no, no, you don't have in mind the things of my Father. You have in mind the things of this earth". Easy to do, the needle on his compass, polar opposite. Because he was thinking very spiritual things, but polarized by the magnet of this world.