Beth Moore - These Words of Mine - Part 1
You have a seat please and turn with me to John chapter 6. John 6, and I'm gonna start reading at the 63rd verse. So give me a few minutes to lay some wet concrete down so that you understand where we're heading and the more we get into it, the more it will make sense. But let me give you a little bit of background so that we can set this in motion, so we're starting right in the middle of a chapter in John chapter 6 and the 63rd verse. So it says then: "'The Spirit,'" this is Christ talking. "'The Spirit is the one who gives life. The flesh doesn't help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.'"
I want to pause there for just a moment and say that again. This is Jesus talking to many followers that are crowded around him, and he said, "'These words that I am speaking to you, they are spirit and they are life. But there are some among you who don't believe.' (For Jesus knew from the beginning those who did not believe and the one who would betray him.) And he said, 'This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by my Father.'" Verse 66: "From that moment many of his disciples turned back and no longer accompanied him. And Jesus said to the Twelve, 'You don't want to go away too, do you?'" And Simon Peter answers him with some words that run through my mind every single week of my life.
We're in a time of tremendous purification and pruning, I believe, in the church, especially in this prosperous West, and it seems like every other day we are hearing that someone is leaving the faith, someone is refusing to ever darken the door of a church again, someone is leaving it all behind, and the same thought goes through my mind every single time: "Then what shall you do? Where shall we go"? Because once you have known Jesus, once you have known words that are spirit and life, where do you go? For all of us there have been things and there have been times and there have been moments and there have been seasons when we did not understand what God was doing, nor did we understand what he was saying, and we were offended in our Spirits. But just when you think about maybe I might give this whole thing up, and walk away from the things of the faith, and you're like, "Where would we go"? You have the words of life. You have the words of eternal life.
I want you to think about the word "words," "words". According to the book of Colossians and the very first chapter, Jesus was the very one who spoke the universe into existence. Now, we know because of places like John chapter 17 when Jesus refers to the glory that he and his Father had before the world was, we know of course that they have existed throughout all of eternity, the three in one, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we can't even imagine the fellowship between them but this we know: one of the things I think about often is you know that there was all the fellowship, all the conversing, all the dialog, all the taking counsel over the things regarding creation, but how was it when he raised his voice a certain way and said, "Light be," and it just was?
And I don't mean this, this is tongue in cheek, but you have to wonder did they whisper the rest of the time because if they said any plans out loud, boom, it would be. You understand what I'm saying? Because it was like the authority of the Word, the incarnate Word, the eternal Word, the full revelation of God in being, when he would speak words, there would be a reaction. The power, the creative power, of the voice of the one that John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, the logos". According to the Gospel of John it was Christ himself who Isaiah saw when it says in Isaiah chapter 6: "I saw the Lord high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple". Jesus himself.
In the Word of God, the voice of God is described like thunder, it's described like the roar of waterfalls, it's described like a trumpet, it's described like a still small voice, all sorts of ways but what I want you to try to track into with me is what happens when the Word, the logos, speaks the words, the rhema. Imagine that he who spoke all of creation into existence then just dialoged with his disciples, "Come and see. I am he. I am the one you have waited for". The sound of the voice of God. Logos, the Word, capital "W," used many, many, many, many, many times for word and words in the New Testament. When you see it with that capital "W," it is talking about Christ as the Word incarnate, eternal Word, the full expression of the Godhead before their very eyes. But when there is a distinction made between the word "logos" and "rhema," we think of it this way, and I'm quoting out of one of my Bible dictionaries, a Greek dictionary, that says: Rhema then would be "utterances or sayings in particular as contrasted with sayings in their totality". Specific utterances. These words of Christ.
I want you to hold something there in John chapter 6 because in all likelihood we'll be back to it, but turn with me now to Matthew chapter 5. I'm gonna land you in 7, but I wanna show you where it begins in Matthew 5. Turn with me there. This is the first of Christ's sermons in the Gospel of Matthew, and if you'll glance, if you have a red-letter edition, and many of you may not, but if you do, glance with me and see how long it goes on. It's gonna start in 5:3, it goes red, if you have a red-letter edition, all the way from 5:3 all the way through chapter 5, all the way through chapter 6, you're not seeing a single sentence in black here, until it picks up at the very end of chapter 7. So this is one long sermon, what we know of as the Sermon on the Mount beginning with, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven".
So, notice with me, it begins that first sermon in the Gospel of Matthew, then look toward the end of 7 where it ends, and I want you to see how he ends it. In verse 24, so I'm in Matthew 7, verse 24, remember, what we're looking for is references to the words of Christ, to the words of Christ. "Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be", acts on them, "will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded the house". I mean, he is going ahead and saying, "Let me tell you something: winds are going to blow. Rains are going to come, and they will pound your house".
Some of you just need to know, you just need to have affirmed, every now and then do you just need to know, have somebody say to you, "What you've been through is super-hard," anybody? We just need it affirmed every now and then. That somebody would say to us, "Okay, I've got to say that's a big one". That's what he's saying right here. "Oh, the winds are gonna blow. Oh, the rivers are gonna rise. That rain is gonna fall, and it is gonna pound your house. But if you heard these words of mine and you acted on them, it will not collapse because its foundation was on the rock". "'But everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn't act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. It collapsed with a great crash. When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, because he was teaching them like one who had authority, and not like the scribes".
Did you think he who built could not rebuild? Is he not the one in Isaiah chapter 61 who brought beauty up from ashes? Is he not the one that when they rebuilt the temple, they rebuilt it out of rubble and stone? You think he cannot rebuild? Oh, you give him some credit. This is a carpenter who knows how to remodel. He also knows when a house has been blown off the map, how to start it all over again. So nobody in the room gets to just drop out of the lesson because it's too late for you anyway, no matter how much your life has collapsed, you have come in to the presence of a great architect and carpenter, and he's saying, "I'm ready to rebuild if you are. This is what I do best". Anybody gain from that?
I wanna say something to you. We're gonna live in the red this weekend and by that I mean the red letters of Christ, but please know with me that all Scripture is God-breathed, Genesis to Revelation. I love how it said there's no better way to say it except the old saying that I don't know who originated that the Old Testament is the New concealed, and the New Testament is the Old revealed. So, the Epistles are as important as the Gospels and I might as easily have come to you with messages out of Hebrews or out of Romans. What I believe God wants us to do is take a yellow highlighter and go straight for the red, over and over and over. "Will you leave me too?" he says. Simon Peter, "Where would we go"? You have the words of eternal life.
John chapter 15 where it says, verses 7 and 8 when he talks about how we've been called to produce much fruit to the glory of God to show ourselves to be disciples, and then he says, "If you abide in me and my words abide in you," he says to his disciples, "ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you". Now I'm just not thinking that we in this age can just take that to mean that we ask anything and we get it. But here's what I will say: I think we can take that very thematically to say that the more the words of Christ dwell in us, the more it shapes our understanding of the will of Christ, then the more we understand the will of Christ, the more we begin to pray according to the desires of Christ. The more we pray according to the desires of Christ, the more we're gonna get what we ask, because he said in 1 John chapter 5, "If you ask according to my will, you shall have it".
I wanna show you something. I think it's so important. Turn with me to 2 John, verse 7 of 2 John: "Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh". Many deceivers have gone out into the world. Do you remember at the very end, if you're familiar with it, the Gospel of Matthew talks about Christ saying his last words to them, the Great Commission that some of us have been raised on: "Go therefore and preach this gospel throughout the world. Preach this gospel of the kingdom, disciple people, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and whatever you do, know that I am with you always," just to paraphrase. But I think there is a counterfeit gospel here that the enemy himself, the darkness itself, has sent many deceivers out into the world, those who do not confess Jesus Christ.
So a whole lot of evangelism going on, only some of it is deceptive and some of it is the truth in the Word embedded in the love of Christ. So, look with me now, 8 and 9: "Watch yourselves so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward". Here we go. "Anyone who does not remain in Christ's teaching but goes beyond it does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son". This is fascinating, fascinating, because it says, "The one who goes beyond it". Everybody say, "Goes beyond it". I memorized it, I think, out of the ESV so somebody check me that has an ESV that says, "Goes on ahead". Am I saying that right? Was it the ESV? "Who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ". It is a word in the Greek that means to progress.
Now, please listen to me carefully. This is not a good time to let your mind wander for fear that I might cause you to misunderstand what I'm saying. We want to make progress in the faith. We're supposed to be growing up in Christ and in truth and in love. We want to make progress, but what it's talking about in 2 John, verse 9, is that there is a way that we can just progress right on out of the teachings of Christ where Christ isn't even in it anymore, where we've got a great church but they're sharing a poem in the sermon and they're gonna spend the rest of it talking and expounding on the poem. And I'm not talking about a biblical poem out of the Psalms. I'm talking about just some really good reading.
I'm gonna tell you something. Call me old school, I've got no interest whatsoever in preaching that does not have Jesus and the Scriptures in it. I just feel, I mean, I'm gonna tell you something, pick your churches carefully because I got to ask you why bother. I could have brunch on Sunday morning. Anybody tracking in this with me? Because we're supposed to be abiding in the words. There's no improving on them, even if we think we got smarter than God. There's no improving on 'em. And he goes, "You can go right on ahead until you progress right out of the Scriptures". Right, well, he's not the only way. Well, that's what he said. I didn't make that up. That's what he said himself. If we said, "Well, you know, that's not what he meant," well then, he lied. He's either the truth or he was a liar, and we who know Jesus know that he's truth.
Okay, so let me say this to you, that when God began to shape this concept with me toward this particular event and I knew we were gonna, like, hit in the red, in the red, we were going straight for those red letters that are in the Gospels, well, I did something on Twitter that was really, really meaningful when I didn't know it was going to be. I just pitched out at a challenge to them. I said, "Okay, I'm preparing a message for this coming weekend and I wanna teach on the wonder of Christ's words, on just treasuring them, on trying to comprehend, these are the words of the Word, the Word made flesh and dwelling among us. And I just want so much for us to just treasure the words from his mouth, his Spirit and life". I said, "So what I'm asking you is what are some words that Christ said that, for whatever personal reason are particularly meaningful to you"?
What happened then was that they began to answer me and I said, "Listen, I'm not asking you to show me your scriptural prowess by telling me what's priority. We can all settle that right now. What was priority is that God revealed himself through his Son Jesus who gave his life for us on the cross and through him and him alone, we are saved. We will establish that. That's done. All words of eternal life in Christ. I'm asking you what words, what red-letter words have particular meaning to you for some specific reason"? Something you read that was just like at a time in your life that you hung onto that. As a friend of mine said, what was the knot in your rope in the Gospels, where he said a particular word, a particular sentence, and you hung onto that for dear life? And they began to answer me and I teared up immediately.
And then, after I read about 30 of 'em, I full on sobbed because it was so magnificent and so beautiful. I have 15 ready words for you, 15 ready words. Fifteen of them. And here's what I'm gonna say and you're gonna understand it as we go. What I decided to do was not use really flashy words. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? I decided because I was thinking to myself, some of you in this room, what may put a chill up your spine is that you yourself very faithfully prayed for a healing for someone who did not live but went home to Jesus, that you had something you prayed very hard about that it kind of gives you a little bit of the willies, if you all say that here like we say it back home, when somebody really goes with that we're gonna settle on words of immediate healing because you've prayed that before and that didn't happen.
Now you need to understand something with me. I fully believe that can happen. I have seen it happen in the course of my 40 years but I also know what it's like to be left in a little bit of confusion where you just have to rest something before the Lord and think, "I was as obedient to that Scripture as I knew how to be, but I did not see that come to pass". And you know what? We're in good company because John the Baptizer had a very similar situation to that. He knew what Jesus could do. He was hearing that he was doing it, and he was like, "Why am I sitting in prison"? And he would have known as that knife, that sword, was raised over his head, "I don't think I'm gonna get delivered here on this earth".
It was about him that Jesus said, "Blessed are those who are not offended in me," because sometimes there are things we just don't understand. So it was important to me, although I have taught on healing, I will teach on healing again. It was important to me to not be particularly flashy with what we chose this weekend. I also believe that God can immediately give a provision financially, but I've chosen also not to go there because that's a pretty flashy word and some of you are going, "You know what? I prayed and prayed for that, and we had to go through bankruptcy". Anybody know what I'm talking about?
So, we're gonna go with a little less flash, and the reason why I like that thought is because what I'm going to say to you is, these are practical words that I'm about to throw out before you and say, if we entered into this, if these words would just abide in us, our lives would be transformed, just absolutely transformed. So what chapter are you in? John chapter 20, all right. I wanna show you this gorgeous place in the Scripture that he literally says just one word. Give you a little bit of background information. This is settling on Mary Magdalene. She has gone to the tomb and begins, this is set to early, early Sunday morning. I love that it says: "While it was still dark," in verse 1. And it says she sees that the stone has been removed and she runs to Simon Peter and to John.
So they come running and they see, all right, I think it's noteworthy that they get there and John stops before he goes in. He's the youngest one, perhaps he's a little bit scared. Peter goes on in, sees the linens just lying there. They would have been splattered with blood. They had seen him. They had seen him. They knew he was dead, even 3 days. And so, like, they are freaked out. They leave, she stays. And I mean, she's just like crying. She looks and she stoops and stares into the tomb and she sees two angels in white sitting where Jesus's body had been, one at the head and one at the feet. I always think to myself: it's got to be somewhat like the cherubim on the ark of the covenant where they were just like overlooking the mercy seat. "They said to her, 'Woman, why are you crying?' 'Because they've taken away my Lord, and I don't know where they've put him.' And having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn't know it was Jesus".
In verse 15, "'Woman,' he said to her, 'why are you crying? Who is it that you're seeking?'" Well, she thinks he's the gardener so she's, "Sir, if you've carried him away, tell me where you've put him, and I will take him away". I love this part about Mary 'cause she's just gonna go hauling his body around. It's just like, "You just tell me where he is, I'll take him from there. I'll take him from there". I mean, don't you know he had to have been warmed by that, because it says in verse 16, Jesus says one word. If you've got a red-letter edition, you got one word in the red there. What is it? "Mary". Mary. And, O, Lord Jesus, she knows 'cause she knows the way he says her name.