Beth Moore - Resetting The Compass - Part 4
All right, do you remember that he's just described the people around him as "sheep without a shepherd". They're distressed, they're dejected. It's a word that also means oppressed and harassed. Asked his disciples to pray. Pray that God will add workers to the kingdom work. But then do you remember with me in verse 5 of chapter 10 he says to the 12 after giving, "Don't take the road that leads to the Gentiles, and don't enter any Samaritan town. Instead, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, proclaim, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.'"
Okay, now, like, why are they the lost sheep of Israel? If Israel had anything at this time, and listen, let's not get anything anti-Semitic in our head here. If this had been us, it have all been the same situation. We look back at the Fall in the garden and we know good and well that if we'd been Adam or we'd been Eve, the same thing. It was just a matter of time till the same thing was going to happen. So let's be sure and keep that in view. But notice that he says: "I don't want you going anywhere past that, even though the plan from the beginning was that all nations would be blessed through that Abrahamic line". He's talking, that's the line that Christ is going to come from and all nations, so the Gentiles were already on the radar before time began. But he says, "Start with Israel. Start with the lost sheep of Israel".
Now what we're gonna see in chapter 28 of Matthew is this is when the release goes out and it's like, "Now go everywhere. Now go everywhere". But he's going in that immediate sphere of influence first. And he says, "These are lost sheep. These are just". Why are they lost? Because here's what I wanna tell you. They had no lack of shepherds. So why you got a bunch of lost sheep when you got a surplus of shepherds? Because something has gone awry. Now let's look at Ezekiel chapter 34. It's so important, I've got to read you 1 through 16 even though it's long, but it has so much to do with our lesson in Matthew 10.
Number one: "The word of the Lord came to me: 'Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy, and say to them, "This is what the Lord God says to the shepherds: Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who have been feeding themselves! Shouldn't the shepherds feed their flock"?'" Now, here's an important thing to know. Just when we wanna feel really pious about it... Jude. In Jude's book, in that one little chapter of Jude, he talks about shepherds feeding themselves. So he's now speaking to it in that New Testament era: shepherds feeding themselves. So it's coming from this exact same passage. "Shouldn't the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat, wear the wool, butcher the fattened animals, but you do not tend the flock. You've not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost. Instead, you've ruled them with violence and cruelty. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd".
Okay, so back in 10. Why are there lost sheep? Because "'"they've been scattered for lack of a real live shepherd; they became food for all the wild animals when they were scattered. My flock went astray on all the mountains and every high hill. My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and there was no one searching or seeking for them".'" Said, "You didn't go look for 'em. They left your flocks by the droves. You did not even go look for the ones that left. '"Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. As I live"'", this is the declaration of the Lord God, "'"because my flock, lacking a shepherd, has become prey and food for every wild animal, and because my shepherds do not search for my flock, and because the shepherds feed themselves rather than my flock, therefore, you shepherds, you better hear the word of the Lord"!'" Somebody feeling it coming? "'"This is what the Lord God says: Look, I am against the shepherds. I will demand my flock from them and prevent them from shepherding the flock. The shepherds will no longer feed themselves, for I will rescue my flock from their mouths so that they will not be food for them. For this is what the Lord God says: See, I myself will search for my flock and look for them".'"
I've got a lump in my throat reading it because it's making me think of that gorgeous place in Luke chapter 15 when Jesus is giving the parables of finding the lost. It's the same chapter where you would find the lost coin. It's the same chapter where you would find the prodigal son that comes back. But it says that he goes out. This is where he leaves all the sheep, goes out to look for the one, and it says that he carries the sheep on his shoulders and says, "Look. Look what I found. I found my lost sheep". Something is so precious about him going for the one that scattered and just holding it. Holding it right on his shoulder so what he says, "I myself will search for my flock and I'll look for them".
Verse 12, we're almost done. "'"As a shepherd looks for his sheep on the day he is among his scattered flock, so I will look for my flock. I will rescue them from all the places where they've been scattered on a day of clouds and total darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples, gather them from all the countries, and bring them to their own soil. I will shepherd them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the land. I will tend them in good pasture, and their grazing place will be on Israel's lofty mountains. And they will lie down in the good grazing place; they will feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will tend my flock and let them lie down. This is the declaration of the Lord God. I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bandage the injured, strengthen the weak, but I will destroy the fat and the strong. I will shepherd them with justice".'"
I mean, is like, okay, I wanna tell you something. There are lots and lots of godly shepherds out there. Lots and lots of godly shepherds. But one of the things that God is doing right now in his faithfulness is that he is surfacing so much dross out of the gold. He is heating it up with fire. I mean, there really is no way to even deny this at this point, that something's going on. That he is unearthing all of these things and he's causing the kind of heat that causes these things to surface. So here's what we're doing. Here's how we're reacting to it: "Well, I mean, this is what they are. This is what Christians are like. So I'm leaving the faith. I'm leaving Jesus. I'm leaving this whole thing because this is what it was like".
What? You think that's Jesus? Do you realize as Jesus is surfacing all this, he is doing this for your sake? So what? He's gonna do his job, what he promised us he would do, and then we're gonna go leave the church over it? Because there are a bunch of, he's going, "Don't you know, I know what a bunch of they are? Am I not being faithful? Am I not being faithful to show this for what it is"? Does anybody understand what I'm saying? We got people all over the place, all over the place, just in... I understand the word "deconstructing". That can mean a lot of things. It doesn't mean undoing the whole thing. But I'm gonna tell you this. There's no deconstructing the cross. I gotta tell you something. Once you ain't got Jesus, I don't know what you've got. I don't know what you've got. Because I'm gonna tell you right now, there's nothing like the gospel, absolutely nothing.
And so we are blaming Jesus. We're gonna leave Jesus because of what all we're seeing, when Jesus is doing his job. And he promised us he would. He promised us he would refine his church. He promised us he would. He is doing us good. This is not time when we get up and go leave Jesus. Jesus is for us. What we see happening around us, he is doing for our sake. We don't go leaving Jesus because he is surfacing all manner of ill against the sheep. Let me tell you something. I'm for a lot of things going on out there. I really am. Others, I'm not. You know, other things are just like, "Whoa, that's not of the Lord". But I'm gonna tell you something I'm not into. I understand that everything's been different over the last year and a half. I get that in every way. I mean, we are dealing with a serious situation, is just the truth. But that there would not be a community of believers, would be devastating. If you are in Christ and you are a Christ follower, autonomy is not how you're gonna cut it. You can't even develop your spiritual gifts without the body of Christ. You can't.
Now, I tell you, we've had to be on Zoom together. We've had to do it all sorts of different ways, but we have got to have one another. And going rogue is not going to be the answer. You may need a new church, but you don't need a new faith. If you think you need a new faith instead of, you're gonna leave, you're going to leave the only truth there is. So it's insanity, it's absolute insanity. Jesus is doing his job. He gonna deal with the shepherds that have not taken care of their flocks and have fed themselves and have pulled together in some kind of weird club where they're sheltering one another instead of sheltering the flock. If you do not think God notices that, you are out of your darling little mind. He sees it and knows it.
Now I want you to see with me, back in Matthew chapter 12... 10, rather, 10. Notice with me in 2 through 4 that he is naming them in pairs. So when he goes through the apostles: Simon and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector, James and Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot. Because he's sending them out in twos. I just love that. So he's talking, he's giving us the names. First time in Matthew that we see the names of all the apostles, of the 12. And so, he's giving 'em to us in pairs because he's going to send them out in pairs to do what they're doing. And I just absolutely love that because let me tell you something. "This autonomy, this word, I might just have my own ministry, you know. I don't have to have the church. The world is the church, you know, all"... And it is. Everybody around the globe that is in Christ is part of the church. We're family. There's no doubt about that. But that does not displace or replace that we need a community of believers because, let me tell you, the early church had no comprehension whatsoever of us all being scattered all over the place. None, none. That wasn't anywhere on their imagination.
I think about 1 Thessalonians chapter 3 when Paul says: "Therefore we were willing to be left behind in Athens alone and sent Timothy, our brother and God's co-worker in the gospel of Christ, so that he could exhort you and encourage you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions". Okay, so I find it so interesting he says, "We were willing to be left alone". Wait a sec. "We" and "alone" seems like an oxymoron. But, see, to Paul, when it was just a few, we're alone. Is anybody getting this with me? You can't do this alone, all by yourself. Your alone is "we". I don't know who your "we" is but you better find them. You better find 'em. And don't make 'em be a mirror image of you. That's one reason we don't have any "we's". We just keep liking ourselves. Can you imagine, how we gonna change if we just like ourselves all the time?
Remember when we were talking about recalibrating, and how easy it is. It's the easiest thing in the world for us to do what I believe there is a lot of evidence has been done, and that is that we somehow recalibrated to the kingdoms of this world and still with all of our doctrine with us, but we somehow thought, based on what we could see, based on our personal experience, this is what it is like to be a Christian. But let me tell you something. It has never been more timely that we would go back to the Scriptures and see how Christ told us it would be for Jesus followers. You'll find it in all the Gospels, but I'm thinking especially in Luke chapter 10. It's so convenient that it's Matthew 10 and Luke 10, because it warns us. You know, we freak out and think something's gone wrong when we have a lot of opposition, but there Jesus is, going, "I told you. I told you this".
Here's the thing. Here's this paradox. Here's this irony right here. You and I are to grow in compassion and get a thicker skin. We can't just freak out every time somebody hurts our feelings. I can't tell you how often I'm asked if I'm going to quit. No, neither are you. Of course not. We're not wimps. We've got the Holy Spirit in us. You've got, listen, you've got to have some endurance. This calls for the endurance of the saints. Endure, endure. Quit asking yourselves over and over again if you're in or out. Settle it for crying out loud. Settle it. Because it just keeps us in a paralysis right there: "Am I in, am I out? Am I in, am I out"? We're in. We're in. If we're gonna be faithful to Christ, we're in.
Now, this is a really important thing. You have a right to your joy. Nobody gets to take that from you. And when this world, 'cause there's so much to get you down, so much bad news. Man, I'll just say, "Back to Jesus," 'cause I'll just feel the heaviness. You know how you do? Just feel the heaviness. And I'll just, you know, I'll just, like, "Lord, I, in Jesus's name, get to have my joy. I get to have my joy". And I'm gonna tell you, I'm gonna tell you what you're gonna find and he already told us. There are gonna be people... I wonder if this is a point that I've got down. Oh, it is. Four, four, four. Four, four, four, four, four. Four, four, four.
Number four is this: Recalibration of expectation helps us handle the hurt of rejection. You better quit expecting people to approve of you all the time and to like you all the... they're not going to. Some people are gonna think you've lost your faith entirely, and here you are trying to really press in to an invitation of Christ and people are going to say, "You have fallen away". It's very frustrating, very frustrating. And all you can do is just keep living the life. That's all you can do, is just over time prove them wrong. You're gonna have to have a strong stomach for this.
Number four, recalibration of expectation helps us handle the hurt of rejection. Here's what I wanna say. We're simply not going to be welcome some places. Okay, if we really take up the cross, we really walk the way of the cross, and we walk out the ethics of Christ and the values of Christ, the things that are important to him, then what's gonna happen is some of the places where he had been welcome, we will no longer be welcome. Some of these places we have never been welcome. But some places, we have been welcome are no longer going to welcome us. And it's gonna hurt your feelings, and it's gonna make you cry and you're gonna first think, "Maybe I'm imagining it". And then after a while you're gonna go, "Whoa, clearly I'm not".
You understand what I'm saying? But there's... I love that he's telling us in advance, "You may not be welcome everywhere". I thought something else too. I thought about all those pairs. What if maybe one of them was welcome but the other one was not? That can happen. Like, "We'll take you; you, we don't want. You, we've already heard about. You're one of those". What do we do with it? I am so thankful that Jesus gave us something physical to do, 'cause I'm gonna tell you something. Dust has a way of sticking to you and when we get rejected and when we're no longer welcome, man, we just keep walking with that same dust. No matter where we go and no matter who welcomes us next, we just keep suffering over the fact that the last people didn't. So we bear that wound and then we subject everybody else in a new community to the fact that we were already hurt, so I know you're gonna hurt me. You understand what I'm saying? We bring all of it with us, all of it with us. He said, "Shake the dust off your feet".
Now, I'm gonna tell you something. I have not experienced a lot of things. I have experienced this thing, and the wounding of it. Especially because for me, it was an important part of my identity group. This was a world that I loved very, very much, and so it was so hard to know what to do with it and to even know who I was, what my, just to feel like you're just out there like, who, where do I, what do I do? That feeling of lostness. It's just a horrible, horrible feeling. And it just goes with you and you just can't seem to leave it behind. And I had thought and listened. I have to tell you, I'm talking about part of a world that most of this world that I'm talking about, it's just fabulous and wonderful. But I'm just talking about just enough of it to make you absolutely miserable. And then you bear that, you know, and you bear that loss and you bear that grief, and I'd said this to myself over and over again: "You're gonna have to shake this off. You're gonna have to shake this off. You cannot keep walking with this. You cannot do it".
And I take a walk every single morning, every single morning, couple of times a day, I walk my dogs. We have a little bit of acreage and one morning I felt like the Lord pressed upon my heart, "Well, for crying out loud, do it. Do it". And I just stopped right where I was and I just shook every limb I had. Just shook and shook and shook. Just shook and shook and shook. And it felt so good. And I don't know who needs to do that today. You might find a private place because people don't know what to do with that. But you're gonna have to shake it off. And then, treasure what was wonderful and meaningful. And then shake the unwelcome off and go on.
I'm gonna tell you something. You know what Jesus is gonna say when our lives are over here? "Welcome. Welcome. Welcome into the kingdom. Well done, good and faithful servant. Welcome into the kingdom". We're gonna get a welcome. So wherever we're not, he's gonna make up for that when we get home. He's gonna make up for it when we get home, anybody? You know, when Christ called the fishermen, remember? And he said, "Follow me and I'll make you fishers of men," I've got a fisherman. My man's a fisherman. He's the finest fisherman I know. I love to say that he is the finest saltwater fisherman on earth, but he doesn't like for me to say that, but I like to say it. And this is his stringer, and so what he does, this is out in the water like this, and so this part right here, he sticks down, there's a place in his gear that he sticks this down, so he catches a fish and if it's a keeper, then he puts it, you know, through the gills and it goes down like this and it goes over here.
And so, he was fishing one day and he said he felt something kind of tug but he said he had a few fish on it so he thought they were just tugging, and then he said it tugged so hard that he lost his balance and looked over his shoulders and, of course, there was this big old fin just like this and I want you to understand that it bit this close to my husband, this close. Yes, yes. Thank you, "Jaws". This is why, right here, this is why you're my worship leader, right here, yeah. I'm just gonna tell you something. There are some sharks out there. That's what I want you to know. And they're coming for the fish, they're coming for the fish, and if you're in leadership, that's a shepherding role. I'm not calling you pastor, I'm saying it's a shepherding role. Be faithful, be faithful. Be faithful.