Beth Moore - These Words of Mine - Part 3
You're in John chapter 11, but I need to know what our first ready words in the red with seismic results have been. So, how many do we have so far? All right, I'm gonna need to know what they are and I've been thinking this morning about when Christ says, and he says it several times in the Gospels, something that you can look up later if you like, "You have heard it said," dot, dot, dot, "but I say," dot, dot, dot. Reason why this is so important is because, let me tell you something. We got to have our firsthand relationship with Jesus. I'll tell you something that we can fall into. This is the easiest trap in the whole wide world, is that we get to where we have this whole secondhand relationship with Jesus. It's through our Bible teacher, it's through our pastor, it's through our community group leader, it's through our good friend who is really a person of faith.
And we don't do the reading for ourselves. We're not just soaking ourselves in the Gospels, in the New Testament, in the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. What we're doing is we're getting it from someone else. But here's what he's saying to us: "There are all manner of people saying this. You've heard this. But I say to you, this". So, we've got to know what this is. What is Jesus saying? One of the things I feel like is crucial in this moment, in the church in America, is that we reconnect to Jesus of the Gospels. It's imperative that we know him and that we reflect him and that we understand that the end goal, somebody stay with me here. The end goal to all discipleship is Christ's likeness. It will always be. It won't be that the end goal of all discipleship will be right doctrine. We want to have right doctrine, but we want right doctrine so that we can pursue and grow through the Holy Spirit in Christ's likeness.
So I don't care how smart we're getting in the Scriptures, if we're getting meaner than snakes, something is wrong. If we find that we are so happy to hate all the right people, something is wrong, because the end goal to all discipleship in Christ is Christ's likeness. That we get more and more like him, love more and more like him. I wanna make this confession again. All of Scripture is God-breathed, Genesis to Revelation, all of it, God's Word. I'll also say that the Epistles are as important as the Gospels, without a doubt. But our charge is that you and I are taking sort of a mental highlighter to red words in the Scriptures, words that stand out in such a way that aren't necessarily flashy but they're the kind of things that if we stepped into 'em, if we knew if this was our starting point, it would be life-changing to us.
So I wanna hear those six. Would you tell me just one word from Jesus please? Two words. Okay, I need to hear those three words. I got four words, what are they? And what are five words? Tell me six words. Let's get started with the next six. You're right there in John chapter 11. If I gave you time enough to look through the chapter, you would be able to tell me what the seven words were. Want you to go with me, you know what's happened here. When word gets to Jesus that Lazarus, the one you love, is sick and then in verse 11, Jesus says this. "He tells them, 'Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I'm on my way to wake him up.' And then the disciples said to him, 'Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will get well.' Jesus, however, was speaking about his death, and they thought he was speaking about natural sleep". So in verse 14, "Then Jesus told them, 'Lazarus has died.'" I mean, it's like, "Stay with me here. When I say he was asleep, I don't mean he's, like, taking a nap. I mean, the man has died".
I mean, sometimes, I think the Lord just wants to go, "Can y'all work with me here? Just work with me here". Well, they're just devastated, like they ought to be. Like they ought to be, Mary and Martha both. And so, he goes to them. It says in verse 17, "When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem (less than two miles away). Many of the Jews had come to Mary and Martha to comfort them about their brother. As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Then Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn't have died. Yet even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.'" I mean, y'all, you talk about faith. That, I mean, for a woman that's been busy with the Lysol at the house and with all the dish cleaning and all the cooking, I'm telling you, this is a woman also of great faith, "and Jesus says to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?' 'Yes, Lord,' she told him, 'I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.'"
Well, you know what's about to happen. He's about to call Lazarus from the dead, and I love, I know this has been repeated so many thousands of times and probably through all the centuries, but I still love the thought of it. That he had to call Lazarus's name or everyone would have just come out of their graves. He couldn't just go, "Come out, come out," because everybody, there would have just been, like, "I'm gonna need the rest of you to go back in. Lazarus, come to the front of the class. The rest of you, go back in". So, I bet you know what the seven words are: "I am the resurrection and the life," John chapter 11, verse 25. So, I just had my recent annual check-up. And so, I got my blood test back, I got all my... And so, I was just, like, declared healthy as a horse and I thought, "You know what? This is the perfect time".
So I tell my husband, "Baby, I need you to know I'm about to go make all our funeral arrangements". He says, "Well, I'm gonna tell you, I'm not going with you". I said, "You don't have to go with me". I said, "What I'm asking you to do is would you give me your blessing and I'll do all of it myself except where you need to sign. I'll bring the papers to you to sign," because Keith is like some of you in this room in that he has had tragic deaths in his family, tragic deaths in his family, two different siblings. And so, he does not want to go anywhere near it. I said, "I'm gonna take that on myself because I don't have that same feeling, and I'm not scared of it". He said, "You go, you just be my guest".
So I want you to go with me here, someone older that has lived about five to ten lifetimes in one life. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? Sometimes, I think over, I've been writing a little bit about my life story here, recently, and I thought, "Oh good grief, you know, I'm having to come up with a really short version of it because it's just been a wild, wild ride". A wild ride, and some of you know what I'm talking about. But I'm gonna tell you whenever he's ready for me, I cannot wait to see that face. So I got my assistant, KMac, to help. I said, "I'm gonna need you to call the funeral home. This is the one I want". And she's look, "Come again"? And it been the funniest thing 'cause she did all the prearranging for me to have my meeting to go meet with the funeral director and I said to her, "Isn't it odd that I can...not only can I not live without you, I can't even die without you".
But that's a good assistant. It's a really good assistant, KMac, very good assistant. So anyway, I had my meeting with him and I don't know what he's expecting. But, you know, we just have a blast together, an absolute blast together, and I can tell he does not know what to make of me, because by the time we fill out all these things and I said, "Now," I said, "Now, is this when we get to go look at the caskets"? he said, "Yes, yes, if you're ready to do that". I said, "I'm absolutely ready". Listen, I might as well have been at Ikea. I mean, I just was going, "Hmm, hmm, hm". I said, "You know, this is a good color. This is a really good color". I said, "This, ooh, a little pricey". I mean, it was all of this, all this. Well, Keith had told me, I said, "Look, honey, you're gonna need to tell me".
You need to understand something: this is expensive. I tell you, it's hard to afford to die. I'm just gonna tell you that. Some of you are gonna wanna put it off because you're gonna need to save some money, but I need to tell you something. I don't have any problem, I have a lot of friends that have gone cremation route and I don't have any problem with that, come the last day when he raises us up because if he can bring us up out of the sea, when that was, like, 100 years ago when fishes ate somebody, you understand what I'm saying? And then they became part of the bottom of the sea and all that, he's still gonna raise up people out, then he can raise up anything. Absolutely anything. But I need to tell you this. I cannot put my husband's body in a fire. I don't know if you know any part of my story but if you know my story, you might know part of Keith's story, and Keith and his brother, his brother was 3½ and Keith was not quite 2, were in a house fire together in a garage, playing, with the gas can when it rolled into the water heater and it exploded and his brother lived 6 days and Keith was also burned.
And I just, the havoc that that tragedy has played on that family, there is no conceivable way. There's just no conceivable way. I'm putting the man in the ground. It was either that or I'm gonna find a drawer to put him in and, you know, keep him at the house, and I just feel like that's weird. I just feel like that is weird. So he says, "Elizabeth". So I say to him the night before, "You're gonna have to tell me what you want 'cause I might have to go pick it out". He said, "I want a pine box". He said, "I have told you that for years. I want a pine box". I said, "Keith, I feel weird about a pine box". He said, "I want a pine box". "Okay, I'm gonna go get you a pine box". So, here I am, I'm shopping. I said, "My husband wants a pine box". He says, "Well, they're not very pretty". I know that, I already know that. I go over and look at the pine box and right above it, I mean, there's the pine box, but there's a cedar box. It is beautiful.
Well, I text Keith, "Can I get you a cedar box"? He said, "I said a pine box". I said, "But the cedar box is so much better and then you will not get any molds whatsoever". And I said, "What", so I asked the funeral director, I said, "I need to know what is this right here 'cause there's this rubber strip right here". He said, "Well, that's so that when we shut it," and he starts showing me how it shuts, he said, "Well, you know, Mrs. Moore, it kind of, you know". I said, "It vacuum packs us". And he said, "I'd like to say that it just keeps you nice and dry". It was the most hilarious thing to laugh with this man and I told him, he walked me out to the car after we were done. Keith did give me permission for the cedar. He walked me out to the car and I said, "You know, I'll just be dying to see you next time". And it just, I laughed all the way home. I laughed all the way home. And I thought that night, I told Keith. He said, "You know he's still talking to his wife about you right now"? I said, "I know, I know".
But, see, we need not fear. I don't want to leave my loved ones, I don't want you to think that. I've got grandchildren. I'm crazy about 'em. I'm gonna tell you something. When the Lord is ready for me, there are a lot of things I wonder about. He was so clear on the resurrection, so crystal clear on the resurrection. Listen to me carefully. If you're in Christ, you're gonna shut your eyes and you're gonna open 'em and you are going to see the face of Jesus, period. Period. That's it. And then all this crying will be over, and all of us will be made new in him. He is the resurrection and the life. It changes everything. When the enemy has to quit terrifying us and terrorizing us with death. In Hebrews chapter 2, it talks about Jesus coming to free us from the bondage of our fear of death because it has no hold on us. When we're done here, I mean, literally, what will happen with our soul is it will simply drop this body. That's it. And depending on what shape we're in at the time, and how old we are, we're probably gonna say, "Good riddance". But I can tell you this. We're gonna wonder when we see his face, why did I dread this so much? Why?
You're in John chapter 11. Turn to John chapter 5. John chapter 5. So we have Christ in chapter 5 about to heal the man. This is where he says, "Do you want to get well"? Because this man had been disabled for 38 years, and it was a long, long time. He was, like, "Do you want to get well"? Verse 7, "The disabled man answered, 'I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I'm coming, someone goes down ahead of me.'" And Jesus says to him, verse 8, because this is going to be our eight words, "'Get up,' Jesus told him, 'pick up your mat and walk.'" So there are many, many times when what Jesus bids us to do, "Come away with me and rest". Remember when he said that to his disciples? You've not even had a chance to eat, come away with me and rest. Take my yoke upon you and rest in me.
Let this go. And we see that in Scripture over and over again. Come and rest. But would you all agree with me that there comes a time when sometimes Jesus wants to say to us, "I'm gonna need you to get up". Anybody? That we've had a fit now long enough, we've laid down long enough, we've been angry long enough. Is anybody stepping in this with me? That it's just been, somebody say, "It's been long enough". It's been long enough. And so, I don't know who this applies to. Again, listen, grief, we have to take time to grieve a loss. We have to take time to mourn. So, please do not misunderstand that. I'm talking about when we're just like, we're laid out, we're not getting up. We're mad, been out a long time. I mean, like, when is it gonna be time to go back? When, really? When? When are you...you're mad at so-and-so because they didn't let you do so-and-so with the church, so that was 15 years ago. Anybody know what I'm talking about?
Get up. Just get up. Just get up. Let him strengthen our knees and our weary arms and just, it's time to get up. And sometimes, you've just got to get up. One of the things that I love is that he calls us. I love the whole concept of incarnation, God taking on flesh, completely God, completely man, because there are things that the body needs to do, like get up, like walk, like put one foot in front of the other and walk. I don't know, do any of you have teenagers in your house 'cause I've got a word for you to give him. I want you to write down Acts 9:34. This is after Peter healed a man named Aeneas who'd been bedridden for 8 years and he said to Aeneas, "Get up and make your bed". So if you want to needlepoint a wonderful, wonderful verse for your children, or if you want to, you say, "I want to greet my children with the Word of God in the morning". Then say, "Acts 9:34, 'Get up and make up your bed.'"
Okay, how many words are we at now? Nine words, nine words, okay. You're still in John. I was trying to stay tight right here so it won't be so crazy. Go with me to John 13:34. This is going to be the one that you are expecting the most and you should be. You should be. It says in verse 34, "I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. And by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another". Here are your nine words: "I give you a new command: Love one another". Okay, here's the thing. When we're trying to figure out who to love, who to not like, and who to hate, we can just cut through it really quickly because every one of these, you can find in the New Testament out of the words of Jesus himself: "Love God, love one another, love your neighbor, love your enemies".
That about covers it. Because the population of the community of those we are not called to love is exactly zero. Zero, zero. I don't know if that helps you, but it helps me so much because even if I don't know how to respond, if I've got a really big difference with them, if we see something, like, day and night differently, if we're contrasted in 1000 different ways, what I don't have to wonder about as I'm trying to figure the whole thing out is whether or not I'm supposed to love them. Every single person I meet, every single person I interact with, that is a person and I've tried to tell myself this all the time, especially if it's someone that's been hateful to you, I try to remember that is a person that Jesus loves. That is a person that Jesus loves. My relative right now, even though that relative is out of control, I can promise you this, I know it for a fact, that is a person Jesus loves, and that will temper me to constantly think to myself, "Okay, you better be careful".
Do you remember when Jesus, like, calls out of heaven to Saul who becomes Paul, and he says, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me"? Well, Saul is going, "I'm not persecuting you. I'm persecuting all these Christians". "Oh, no, you hurt them, you hurt me". Anybody getting this with me? If you belong to Jesus, don't you worry because let me tell you, Jesus is the one taking it very personally that someone is treating you like you are not an image bearer. "I give you a new command: Love one another". I love the words in Galatians that say what's more important than anything else, and I'm just paraphrasing that, is faith working through love, and I'm not paraphrasing that part. Faith working through love. Sometimes, we just love by faith. Isn't it the truth? We just love by faith because we don't feel the emotion of it so much. We just step out into it and go, "Lord, by faith I love that person, and I'm asking you that what my heart lacks, for you to pour into me".
I love, love, Romans 5:5. The Word says this: "This hope will not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us". One reason why you and I really wanna walk in the Spirit and yield to the Spirit is because you and I do not have what it takes to love a lot of people. What we have in our natural man is to love our preferential people, the people that our flesh likes, our natural loves. That's what we want. There are a couple of different words for love in the New Testament. Many of you would already be familiar with them. There is the word "phileo" love and that, just that basic word, that means friend love. It's a very important love in the Scriptures. But there's also, you've heard it before, agape, agapao love, and that is when there is a distinction between the two, and sometimes there's not.
But when there's a distinction between the two, one way you can see the difference is agapao is love in best interest and phileo is love in common interest. So with your good buddy, one reason if you came with a good friend of yours and you just go, "I just like, naturally, I mean, we just have a blast together," that's phileo love. That's common interest. You love a lot of the same things. Maybe you love horses, and maybe you have a design business together or whatever it may be, you've got a lot in common. Maybe you play tennis together, whatever it is that you do in Iowa outdoors in the winter. I'm not, maybe you ice skate together, I don't know. But you have good hair doing it, that I do know. That I do know. But I mean, there's just people like, that we naturally like.
One reason why the Cotterells and the Moores are such good friends, we have a lot of common interests. When Travis and I first started working together many, many years ago and, y'all, he looked like he was 13, and he practically was. He looked like he was 13. But we had been raised so similarly, it was like we had missed no time at all. We think the same things are hilarious, we're both extremely cheesy, and we're both really, really corny. Phileo love, it's a gorgeous thing. But agapao, is to love someone in their best interest, and it's not always in someone's best interest to help them stay in a pit. Anybody know what I'm talking about?
So the real question in someone we love so much that does not love themselves, you will love so many people that don't love themselves, and are so self-destructive that you don't know what to do. And you're gonna have to make the decision, you're gonna stand on the edge over here, from that pit, and go, "I love you so much, and I just want you to know, I'm praying for you. What can I do for you? But I'm gonna do it from up here, instead of climbing in that hole with you. I cannot do that with you". I'm gonna let you work this out with the Lord but I'm simply saying, sometimes agapao love is a love that knows where the boundary is and where we're helping someone stay on their mat instead of holding out our hand and going, "With everything I have, I will help you stand to your feet, and I will try to walk with you, but I cannot get in that hole with you or it just puts both of us in the hole".