Beth Moore - Compelling - Part 4
How can you help somebody, and then help people, help people? This is how it just keeps going on and on. Help people and then they're... Listen, we don't just keep needing that same level of help. At some point, you know what? There is this, there is this dynamic that we have in our Christian circles. Well, it would be any friend circle, any friend circle, that there's the one that is always direct, that always takes up all the energy of the group. If in ten years, that has not changed, need I finish the sentence? Because at some point, if we got a circle, like I have this wonderful group of fellow believers, women of faith, that I work with back at Living Proof Ministries in Houston, and we take turns. I mean, it's not on purpose, but we just do. Like, several of us will be in real emergency need, like right now on our team we have a team member in true emergency need. We're all like, whoa, I mean where you're like drawing your sword, and you're like alert, and you're in it, because that's how it goes.
But what Paul is doing in this gorgeous picture of discipleship, these elders are leaders. And now he's going, "You go raise them up, and you help them, and then you help them to help others". Help people, help people. That is ministry in the name of Jesus. You remember that we were talking about truth and tears, bold truth and bold tenderness. I want you to see through 32 through 38 now. Acts 20:32-38. "And now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. I've not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that I worked with my own hands to support myself and those who are with me. In every way I've shown you that it is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
One reason why in our very prosperous western culture that we are so miserable, so miserable and so joyless is that we, our culture teaches us it is more blessed to receive than to give. And Jesus told us all along that will never make you happy. That will never satisfy you. You are created in the image of the giving God, a God who gives, and so when you are a getter, all the time a getter, and never a giver, then it completely closes you up, closes you and traps us in our self-absorption and makes us miserable. It is more blessed to give than to receive, and it says in 36 through 38, I want you to hear this. I hope you're a visual learner. Try to picture it. it says, "After he said this, he knelt down and prayed with all of them. There were many tears shed by everyone. They embraced Paul, and they kissed him, grieving most of all over his statement that they would never see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship".
One of the scholars that I studied this week in a commentary said that it's a very strong word that they embraced Paul. They embraced Paul. And it is a word, that if we literally translated, it would be, they fell on his neck. And now, you might think, well, you know, I don't really want falling on my neck. But it's very patriarchal. It causes, in fact, it echoes back the early patriarchal narratives in Genesis where when they would see each other again or there'd be restoration, this fall, wouldn't you just like, when you're not like stiff, but like you just kind of lean into someone, and they wept, and they wept. And I thought to myself, they've been served by a man that thought it was still manly to cry. When he taught, you know, when it meant a lot to him, he did not hold back with his tears. And I don't know about you, but when someone's teaching me, Tears are great with a testimony, but if you're teaching I'm kind of like, you know, let's blow your nose, and let's get going. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Like, I just, because it's like let's study.
Let's turn to the back and look at our maps. Miletus will get you over this. Let's get to the maps. And that's not the picture that we're getting here. Like, if tears came while he was teaching, he cried. So, it's just tears, longing, wanting them to be in the fold, wanting them to grow in Christ and know the beauty of him. There's all these hellos and goodbyes in the faith. And I want you to know that you're part of it. 'Cause I have a feeling some of you are really mad at somebody that said goodbye to you, and I want you to know it's part of life. My husband always loves to say, and I don't know where he got it, but he always told our daughters, you know, goodbye is a necessary life skill.
And so often we'll go, well, I don't want to say it. I just want to like... do you ever not show up at that party where you're all saying goodbye to one another? 'Cause you're going like... that wasn't Paul. Paul wasn't unashamed of his tears. He just went, "Man, I'm gonna miss you so much, and I love you so much, and I'm just gonna cry all over your shoulder. I don't care. I'm gonna blow my nose on your robe". Because it's a bold tenderness. I want to read verses 1 through 6 out of 21 to you. It says, "After we tore ourselves away", I mean, it's a strong, strong word, "tore ourselves away from them, we set sail straight for Cos, the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. Finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we boarded and set sail. After we sighted Cyprus, passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria and arrived at Tyre, since the ship was to unload its cargo there. We sought out the disciples and stayed there seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go to Jerusalem".
This is gonna get very interesting to us in a minute. "When our time had come to an end, we left to continue our journey, while all of them, with their wives and children, accompanied us out of the city. After kneeling down on the beach to pray, we said farewell to one another and boarded the ship, and they returned home". Okay, follow me here for a second. For one thing, there's something very, very powerful about saying that they boarded and set sail, and after they sighted Cyprus... Cyprus was an island. I've gotta tell you, in Antioch at the beginning of this third missionary journey, he, Paul and his best friend, Barnabas, had a serious falling out, and they had a serious falling out over another servant who had really, really dropped the ball, and Barnabas was going, "Let's give him another chance". Paul is going, "You know what? He dropped the ball".
You know what I'm just saying? Like, it's just, he's not out of the faith. He's not going with us on the trip. And they ended up splitting and going two different directions. And so I even thought, as they sailed past Cyprus, because the last that Paul would've seen Barnabas, he was sailing off with John Mark, with this young man, sailing off with him to Cyprus. It's tender. 'Cause don't think he didn't remember that. It's one of the dearest friends of his life. His heart would still be broken over it. Notice that they go to Tyre. That's where they dock next, and they're in Tyre for 7 days. Well, they look up the local believers there. Them they don't know. Here's the point that I want you to see. He spent all this time, almost 3 years with the Ephesians. And we just see he's going just for this week to these people in Tyre.
And I want you to understand this, that the faith is a journey of new friends and old friends, I don't know how much you're like this, but I can remember at a season of great loss, my mother died and my... So many changes and transitions in my family. My oldest daughter went to college. Oh, just, and I wanted her to. I wanted her to, just in 5 minutes, not now. And I remember thinking to myself, 'cause I felt like my heart had been broken over things that I'm not gonna get into. I'd have to chase too many rabbits anyway, and it's still emotional to me to this day. But I will tell you that I made the very distinct statement in my own mind, I am not ever loving anyone new. I will love the old people. Everyone I already love, I will continue to love, but I am not loving anyone new, because new people are just more people added on, and you're gonna get your heart broken.
Is anybody going with me there? But life is a constant journey of welcoming new people, of hellos and goodbyes, and more hellos and more goodbyes. And for those of us in the faith, one day we will say hello, and we will never say goodbye. But until then, we're courageous with our goodbyes. We can look one another straight in the eyes and say, "I will miss you so much". We can weep together, we can laugh together, 'cause this is real life together. I want you to write this down. This is number five. We're called to relationships that would be the envy of the world. Do you realize that as the people of the church, that we have brothers and sisters of all manner of ages, of every generation on earth?
So, if you've got this child generation, a child could come to know Christ by the time they're 6, 7 years old. There's not really a number on it when they come to the time of understanding what Christ has done, and that they earnestly know that what it means to accept Jesus and what he's done on the cross. So, you're talking about, what, three to four generations, how many generations that would be present on planet Earth at the same time. Do you understand that we have all over the world every conceivable shade of skin color, every conceivable that are our brothers and sisters? Ten thousands of different accents that your brothers and sisters have, thousands and thousands of different outright languages, many different customs. These are our brothers and sisters.
Some years ago, right after 9/11 happened, I was invited and urged to come to New York City. This was just about 2 to 3 weeks later after the terror of what happened in our nation and in New York City. And I had been asked to come with a small group of servant leaders to serve ministers and their families and any of their staff, anybody that had been involved in all of this, the tragedy, that had been first responders, spiritually speaking. They were the firemen and the police force. These were the spiritual first responders. They were right there that did, I'll never forget what one man said. He said, "I have done countless funerals". And the tears just streamed down his cheeks, and he said, "And we have no bodies". And he was just like, he was just demoralized. But I'll never forget when I went to the airport, that's when security was like, I mean, unreal.
It's when everything changed. Well, you could imagine when I got over to the gate for the New York flight, going straight into New York City, when I tell you that it was barren ground, I'm not even kidding. When I tell you there were maybe 20 of us that were getting on a flight going, I mean, people were not going to New York City at that point. And so there were speakers, the speaker was going off constantly. They were saying, "If you see any suspicious people". Well, the more they say that, everybody is suspicious. It's like, suspicious. They're suspicious. People are looking at me, going, "She is suspicious". We were all suspicious, and I saw two gentlemen, and I thought, you know what? They may be Middle Eastern. They seemed to me to be about the right, they looked about right. They may be Middle Eastern.
And do you know what? I think they're acting fidgety. Well, it may have been because all of us were going. But I mean I just thought, oh, they look suspicious. I wonder if I should call. I mean, it's just madness, just madness. We'd get on the plane. It's barely even, I mean, hardly anybody's even on it. And these two dudes are sitting right next to me. We're in three chairs, and we're all together. We're all together, and I'm right in the middle of them. I go, this is it. This is it. And I think to myself. You know what? What I need to do is I need to be brave. And so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna get out my Bible, and I'm gonna hold it to my chest, because this is how I want to go out. Y'all, it was insanity. It was insanity. I'd get out my Bible, so it's down underneath the seat in front of me. I get out my Bible; and when I do, the guy next to me, he, I mean yelps, I mean yelps. He goes, "Ah"! Like that. I jumped. I cannot even begin to tell you. I jumped out of that seat. I was absolutely besides, he goes, "Ah"! He says, "You, me, we brothers"!
And by the way, he was South American. Somebody give the girl a clue. Give the girl a clue. But it was just like I will never be able to tell you, it was the biggest shock, and I mean he just, he just hugged me. He was, "We're brothers! We're brothers"! We knew about three words to say, and it was Jesus, God, and brothers. But, you know, I've never been so happy to be anybody's brother in my life. It's a sacred bond. And I want you to write down number six. We are recipients of prophetic insights, partial but plenty. Now, remember our premise throughout our whole time together, 'cause I don't ever want you to lose sight of it, or the points won't make sense. Our premise is that we have everything it takes to be the most compelling people on earth.
And so every point we're making is building into that, and this is one of them. You talk about strange. We look at this, and he goes, "I'm gonna tell you something. I'm compelled by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. Now, the Spirit is warning me that at every city I go to, that hardships and trials and imprisonment are facing me. But I'm going anyway, because I am compelled by the Spirit". What happens next but that he gets to Tyre. Did you notice this in 21 and verse 4, listen to this, because this is intriguing and ought to get our attention. "We sought out the disciples and stayed for seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go to Jerusalem. And when our time had come to an end, we continue our journey".
Watch that. Drop it down to verse 7, and I want to read through 15. "When we completed our voyage from Tyre, we reached Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for a day". I'm at verse 8. "The next day we left and came to Caesarea, where we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him. This man had four virgin daughters who prophesied". Verse 10, "After we had been there for several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He came to us, took Paul's belt, tied his own feet and hands, and said, 'This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt.'" Who would that be? Paul. "'...the man that owns this belt and deliver him over to the Gentiles.' When we heard this, we and the local people pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem".
Okay, it's two different times, two different groups of people. Everybody's warning him. Listen, because the Holy Spirit was telling all three of these groups of people the same thing, that hardships were coming, that he would be bound, he would be somehow imprisoned, taken, and jailed. They were already warning him in advance. And watch this whole thing, because the way the prophetic spirit is working, now hold on to this, and let me tell you this. Do you know that a quarter of the Word of God was written in prophecy, a quarter of it, at least 25% of it. I want you to understand something. The Word of God has told us so much about what is going to happen. There are so many things that are going on in this world right now, we were already told those things. We were even told sociologically what this world would be like in the last days.
2 Timothy 3 says, "People will be lovers of themselves, loves of money. They'll be blasphemers. They'll be disobedient. They'll be slanderers without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good. They'll be treacherous, reckless, and conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God". He already said that, and we're watching it happen. We're watching people lose their ever-loving minds. Wouldn't you say that's true? The Word of God already told us in Romans chapter 8 that the earth is groaning for the return of Christ and for the full redemption of the sons and daughter of God. We are watching the earth rebel against itself and fold up on itself. We were already told that.
We were told signs of the times in Matthew chapter 24. We have been told so much, so much. I find it so intriguing the back of the Old Testament, let me see if I wrote it down. In 1 Chronicles 12:32, 1 Chronicles 12:32, it's talking about the different tribes, the people of God, the Israelites. And so it talks about the tribe of Issachar, and some of the leading men in Issachar, and it says about Issachar that they were men, "who understood the times and knew what Israel should do". That's a prophetic working of the Spirit, when people understand the times. Now, the reason I want to make sure you know that it's partial is because we see in part, and the Word of God says in 1 Corinthians 13:9, "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part".
There are tons of times that we think, "I think this is what is happening," and we turn out to be wrong. But so often the Holy Spirit is working to give us insight. I never heard his voice out loud, not one time, ever. And there's nothing, nothing that remotely compares to the Word of God. This is concrete. This is down in eternal stone, no taking away, no adding to. But can God take his Word, through his Spirit, and give us some understanding even to the degree of what should I speak on at this conference? Why are we acting like the Holy Spirit is not fully capable of leading us in that way?
One of the things I say to him all the time, before I come see and speak to a group is "You already know what they're going through. So, you know what to tell me to speak on. I don't. You already know, you know. I need you to tell me. I need to know". What are we asking for? We're asking for prophetic insight. Listen, Jesus holds us responsible. He said, "The Pharisees and Sadducees approached, and tested him," this is Jesus, "and asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, 'When evening comes you say, 'It will be good weather because the sky is red.' And in the morning, 'Today will be stormy because the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to read the appearance of the sky, but you can't read the signs of the times. You're an evil and adulterous generation...'"
You know what he's saying? "You ought to be able to read the signs of the times. I told you it would be like this. I told you to guard your hearts because the love of many would grow cold. I told you this already. I told you this already. I told you not to be afraid like the rest of the world, because what this is leading to is my coming, and I will come, and I will right every wrong. My kingdom will come, and my will will be done on earth as it is in heaven". I love how it says in 1 Peter 4:12-13, "Do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in the degree that you get to share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may rejoice and be glad".
Listen, listen to what that's saying, that if you will, in your sufferings press on into Jesus, just press on in, Lord, this is a very difficult time. I want to know you through this. I want to fellowship with you through this. I want to be with you through this. I don't want an inch between us through this. Take me along in this. He said, "I'm gonna tell you something. When my glory is revealed, I'm gonna give you something to kick your heels up about". If you will trust him in your heart these times, let me tell you something, you're gonna be able to rejoice and be glad; because when you see him, you're gonna go, "Uh-huh, uh-huh". I believe he was... oh, somebody say uh-huh. You have to let your chin gape open. Uh-huh. Do it again. Uh-huh. He's gonna be worthy of that. He's gonna be worthy of that.
See, it's a gorgeous Scripture. It's a different word in the Greek out of 2 Corinthians 5 that says, "For the love of Christ compels us". You know, I asked the Lord to do in our midst what we're talking about. I told you that. That's become an obsession to me, that we wouldn't just study it, but he'd do it. "Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your consciences". Then he goes on to say in 13, "For if we're out of our mind, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it's for you. For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion, if one died for all, then all died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised. For the love of Christ compels us".