Beth Moore - Compelling - Part 2
Now, by this time, you have two points down and we're about to take down the third and most important one so far. I want to remind you what we've got. Number one, we have everything it takes to be the most compelling people on earth, and then number two is this: but in an effort to be culturally compelling, we have forfeited our uniqueness. So, we're back to say, "You know what? I want my compelling back. This was my right in Christ. This is my calling, part of my identity in him is wrapped up right here in the pull of the Spirit, as a person of Jesus".
I want you to see something in verse 22 where it says, "And now I'm on my way to Jerusalem, compelled by the Spirit, not knowing what I will encounter there, except that in every town the Holy Spirit warns me that chains and afflictions are waiting for me. But I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God's grace". He said, "I already know what I'm walking into". But I want you to see the third point, because this is so critical for understanding Acts chapter 20. One of the things that we see in this segment of Scripture that I've told you is gonna have so many elements of what makes the people of God so compelling, the followers of Jesus so compelling.
This is one of them: we get to live a life worth dying for. Whatever you do, do not minimize the power of that, because I present to you what I believe globally for people who have come to any age of awareness of what life is all about, and struggling with what they're doing here, and everything existential in life. I am telling you that for the most part, overwhelmingly, what people long for is to live for something so dear that it takes them past their own self-preoccupations into something so much bigger that they know, listen, "I can live for this, because I'm gonna tell you something. If I had to, I would die for it".
Now, here's the thing. Jesus has already died for us. But if this would be worth dying for, and there have been people, every one of those apostles, except John, who died and is believed to have died in exile or maybe afterwards back in Ephesus. Every one of the rest of them went to their deaths for the name of Jesus. Not one of them recanted, not even for a moment. There was not even a hesitation. I'm gonna tell you something. You don't give your neck to the sword for something you're hoping is true. They knew the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. They knew he was everything. They knew he was the Son of God and God made flesh and giving his life for them, for their sins, that they might live forever. They knew it, they knew it, they knew it. And for every single one of us, we have this desire in us.
Man, I want something to mean a lot to me that I live for that drives me and that compels me. If they gave their lives, I mean, died for it, we can live for it. We can live for it. We just get in there and live for it. He's not asking us to die, not those of us in this room, but to live, because we get to live a life worth dying for. I'm gonna tell you something. I know what awaits me. He said, "My life is not of value to myself, because my life is of value to my Christ. He will watch after me while I go carry his name. And if I give up my life in that process, blessed be the name of the Lord". I'm not telling you that that's not radical. I'm telling you that, girlfriend, is purpose, when you know this is everything, this is everything there is to live for. Do not tell me that every one of us do not wish somewhere along the way that we could be relieved of our miserable self-preoccupations.
We are so tired of ourselves. Can I get an amen from anybody? How many selfies does it take? How many postings of our pictures online does it take before we're just sick of our own self-preoccupations, when we're licking our wounds because people keep hurting us. And listen, hurts hurt. But what I'm saying is we might as well be able to deal with our hurts while we are living for something much bigger than our pain, where our pain gets put to work for the purposes of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's what I'm saying. We would just be relieved of the burden of our own egos, because it's a heavy, heavy, heavy burden. Listen, there's nothing heavier that could be on a set of human shoulders than a big head. Is that fair to say? Just nothing heavier on us.
Now, this is really important for us to know, because what I want you to see here, it would be so easy for us to think, "Well, he just wasn't afraid". I mean easy for them because, I mean, they were them. I mean, that was Paul, that was John, that was Peter and James. And, I mean, they had a whole different thing going. You know, I want to remind you of something.
Now, you sit tight where you are, but I'm gonna read a verse to you that comes out of Romans 15, and it's going to be verses 30 and 31 when he asked them to pray for him, and he says this: "I urge you, brothers and sisters," this is Paul talking, "by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe". He wasn't going, like, just, like, "It doesn't matter to me. Let them throw me to the wolves". No, he was telling them, he said, "Would you pray for me? Would you join me in my struggle"? You don't ask people to join you in a struggle that you are not in. We are in struggles, and we've got a lot to be scared about there. But he's saying, "I want to do this, I want to do this with everything I've got. This is the most important thing in my life. This is what I want to do with my life. Would you struggle along with me? Would you pray for me? And would you pray for me to be kept safe"?
I want you to see that there is a play on words in verses 22 and 23 that is not as obvious to us in English. But to a Greek speaker, they would be able to stare right in the face of it. So, look with me at 22 and 23. "And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me". Those two words, "compelled" and "prison," are a verb and a noun form of the same root Greek word, "deó". In other words, prison lies ahead, but Paul had already become the Spirit's prisoner. This is the play on words, this is the pun; he's saying, "Yes, I've already been warned that prison is ahead for me. But I need you to know something. It's too late because I'm already a prisoner to the Spirit".
I want somebody to get this with me because it's absolutely gorgeous. He says, "I'm going with the Spirit, because I'm held captive to him. I am bound to the Spirit. So, it doesn't matter if they bind me up when I get there or not. I'm already bound to the Spirit. If that's where he's going, I'm going with him". I need someone to get excited with me in the house, because that is just marvelous. It is just marvelous. Leave something right here in Acts 20, and I want you to turn with me now to Acts chapter 9, and I wanna show you something, Acts 9. There's so much happening all over the pages of Acts that it's just absolutely mind blowing. I want you to see a little something here, and it says, "Now Saul was still breathing threats and murder, and murder, against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest," and verse 2, "requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem".
Okay, try to just go here with me a minute, because he asked to be allowed, "Would you give me permission that I could bind these people"? And this was gonna be with fetters. "I'm going to bind these people, and I'm going to drag them to Jerusalem, where they can be tried," and, listen, killed. He not only was imprisoning people, he was seeing to their deaths. You need to understand that at Stephen's death, he stood there giving approval to it. He said, "Listen, I'll watch the coats. You guys just stone away". Do you know, we downplay, for many of us, we've heard it so many times that it has lost its edge to us. Understand with me who it is God chose for this job. This was the guy. You think you are not good enough to be used by God for the sake of the gospel? Are you out of your ever-loving mind? Behold the power of the cross. There is no one who cannot be used powerfully by God.
So, I want you to understand that he is binding them so they can be imprisoned in Jerusalem. Go back with me to Acts chapter 20, because here he is the one being bound to go to Jerusalem, even if he gets imprisoned. What he did in the flesh for the ruination of a church that would not be ruined and cannot be ruined, the Holy Spirit then does with him; he bonds him to him. He takes him to Jerusalem, and he will be imprisoned there, but it will not be the end of his life, because he will have some of the most important things ahead of him that ever await him in his ministry when he gets to Jerusalem, and Jerusalem will be exactly his path to make it to Rome, and all roads led to Rome.
I want you to just try to soak it in, that Paul imprisoned them for evil, and the Holy Spirit imprisoned Paul for good. And if you're thinking, "What does that mean, he imprisoned? Because that seems like a very negative thing to me". No, no, it means, think about it as captive. He so captured him, that wherever he was going to lead, Paul was going to go. I'm just captured by him. I want to be where he is. I want to be where he's moving. I want to be where he sends me. This is what I want you to listen to very, very carefully. The very thing that captivates us is what captivates people with us.
There's no faking compelling. The very moment we start trying to act compelling, the very thing that makes us fake compelling is the repelling of the Holy Spirit that caused the compelling. What I love about the Holy Spirit, he's on to us. He's on to us. It doesn't matter how much bull we're getting away with out there with people; he's like, "You know what? I'm so on to you. I'm so on to you. You are the biggest fake that I have ever seen". And because you're trying to be compelling, you know what? Good luck, because people are not as stupid as you think they are, and they also think you're a fake. Anybody know what I'm talking about? We cannot come up with a methodology for becoming a compelling people.
Don't get any thought in your mind, if you're part of the leadership at your church, going back and say, "You know what? We need to become a compelling church". It will not work. "We need to be a compelling staff". It will not work, because it is the Holy Spirit who compels. And when we try to work it up, we're gonna repel the very Holy Spirit who made us compelling. Compel and repel are antithetical terms, that "pel". I love, I love, love, love, love, love word studies. I love word origins, and "pel," the P-E-L that's on the end of both of those words, it is a word that means to drive, to drive. So, what it means when it says "compel," "com," C-O-M means something that is together, something that's together. So to be "com-pelled" means that something in me is attaching to something outside of me that will not let me go. You understand what I'm saying?
So, the Holy Spirit within me and the Holy Spirit work around me, I am drawn by that. I am drawn by that. I'm drawn by that. To be "re-pelled" means that whatever it was that you thought drew you in for a moment has now repelled you back. It means to be driven back from something. Only the Holy Spirit can make us compelling. But here's the thing. All it takes is for us to give full sway to who we are, full sway to the Holy Spirit who lives within us. It is ever at work around us. I think that we live like Christian fractions. Know what I'm talking about? Like, a quarter in. I don't mean this is in any way as condemnation, could not be further from my intent. But we compartmentalize our spiritual lives, save it for certain things. When he's going, "The thing about it is I intended for you to take my Spirit everywhere you go".
Whether you're a bank teller, whether you're a school teacher, whether you're in some kind of car sales, whatever technology it may be, home schooling, parenting, in our neighborhood, in our social lives, that the Holy Spirit is so full on in us that we might not even have to say a word until God opens the door and people's elbows are starting to scoot across. All it takes to be different in this world is not to be self-consumed. But for the life of us, if we just start praying, "Help me not to be self-consumed," we become consumed with praying about not being self-consumed. I'm trying so hard not to be self-consumed. Every day I'm praying, "Help me not be self-consumed". And so, you know, I'm just consumed with not being self-consumed, and it just, all it does is just get us further and further in the spiral. It's like, "Overtake me with your Spirit. Overtake me with your Spirit".
Now, I've gotta tell you something that's become really important to me at Living Proof Live. This is not gonna seem like a big deal. It's not even gonna seem like some big revelation. But some years ago, I don't even know how long now, probably 4 or 5 years ago, I just began very, very forthrightly asking God to work in our midst whatever it was we were talking about. In other words, Lord, that we wouldn't just learn about it, but that it would happen among us, that we would experience it, give us an earnest deposit of it. And here is what I'm praying for myself. It's what I pray for for my kids, for my grandkids, for my loved ones, for my friends, that each one of us would come to a place to be utterly compelled by the Holy Spirit of God to live the rest of our lives. I mean, compelled, because when we begin to be led of the Spirit in such a way that we're not thinking about, like, pros and cons, that I mean it's like, "I'm going with the Spirit on this".
And sometimes it's not picking up and going anywhere with our physical feet. Sometimes it's just, like, getting into the groove of what God is doing in our present environments. Be like, "I'm with him. I'm with him". Wouldn't it be wonderful if when you got in a mess, you knew you did not get yourself there? Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing? Because I've lived so much of my life having gotten myself in a mess and thought every bit of this pain that I'm going through was over a decision that I made. Can anybody go with me there? But what if with confidence, you knew that whatever struggles and trials met you in that place, as sure as you know in your human thinking and understanding, as sure as you know to be, the Holy Spirit led you right there. I'm bound. I'm bound by the Spirit of God.
I want to tell you something. In fact, I'm going to ask you to stand. Remember when he says in that verse, "But I consider my life of no value to myself: my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God's grace". I want somebody to understand in this house tonight, if that sounds harsh to you, that what he's saying is this: "You know what? I'm of such value to God that I am part of the most important thing happening in the universe. That's how significant I am. I am part of the most important thing happening in the universe. So, I don't have to stress over what degree I am valuable, because I am completely priceless to him".
By the time someone says, "I tell you what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna give my life for you," what else are we asking him to have done? Because he said, "I will give up myself for you. I will go through this torture and through this pain and to the grave for you. That is how valuable you are to me. And I will overcome death and the grave that you might live". A life preoccupied with the most important thing going on planet Earth. You have a place in it. That's what I believe. If you will let him, God has brought you here to convince you of that we could have new verbiage to put around what it is we want in life. I want to be compelled by your Spirit, Lord. I want to be so drawn to you that I'm drawn by you. And then I won't even have to worry. I mean, yes, yes, I want to seek who I can tell my testimony to. Yes, yes, I want to take the message of Jesus Christ out there. But here's what I also know: if I'm drawn to you, you will draw people to you in me. That is the power of the gospel.