Beth Moore - This Jesus - Part 2
We're talking about really knowing Christ. Not just about him, but knowing him. Knowing this Jesus from that Jesus. We're not gonna get to know him like this same Jesus, even on a podcast. Our pastors would tell us, "Yes, I believe in investing our lives in a local church". I love my pastor, I love his sermons, I love to take notes on his sermons. I'm never not blessed, but surely he would be the first to say, "You're not gonna get to know this Jesus simply by coming and listening to a 20-minute sermon once a week. It's not going to happen". And we are in a colossal state in our witness right now, in this world, because we're getting some Jesus out there, half the time secondhand instead of knowing this same Jesus of Scripture. We're gonna have to get into the Scriptures and let Jesus speak for himself.
And let me tell you something. If he doesn't offend us, we are not listening. 'Cause he just not, he's just like that. Just when we think, "Oh, he's on our side," next thing that's out of his mouth, he's making us mad. And that's when you know that you're really in it, because just as you're getting comfortable thinking, "Oh, this is him. This is my Jesus," he goes, "You know, actually, I am my own. I belong to my Father". And this Jesus right here, will make you so happy, and he will make you so mad, and he will confuse you at times and bewilder you, and you will wonder what on earth he is doing, and then you will think he's the most majestic, merciful, gorgeous thing I've ever seen in my whole life, but it has to be right here in context, right here, and no better place than right in the Gospels.
What were his ways? What's he like? What were his ways of serving, of reaching people? What were his prayers like? How did he pray? What were his ways of communicating? What drew Jesus and what withdrew Jesus? What compelled Jesus and what repelled Jesus? We need a generation. I'm wondering, could it begin right here in this part of the country? Here, wouldn't it be something if a mighty work in this nation broke out from what the Bible belt believes is the most lost place in our country? What would happen if revival broke out here in this state? What? And what it would take is a people, a generation, willing to be like the words of Psalm 25:4-5 that says: "Make me to know your ways, O Lord. Teach me your paths. Show me your truth and teach me, O Lord, for you are the God of my salvation. For you I wait all the day long".
Remember when it says, if you're familiar with it, in Psalm 103, verse 7, when it says that "God revealed his ways to Moses, and his deeds to the children or the people of Israel"? They were seen as deeds but, you know what he was doing with Moses? He was teaching him his ways. There's watching deeds. I'm asking you, what are the ways of Jesus? What's he like? How was he with people? This Jesus. To the gatherers at Pentecost, Peter said in his sermon, "This Jesus," over and over again. You and I are gonna stare into the page and try to figure out who is this Jesus, and you and I are gonna divorce ourselves from that Jesus. Because we're done with that Jesus. He does not look good on us, brothers and sisters. We need a "this Jesus" if we're going to have a strong and godly prophetic witness in this nation, in this day. We need a "this Jesus" kind of movement.
So I want you to look with me, so everything we're doing, everywhere we'll look, we're looking for those two words. So I want you to go with me. We're gonna be taking, when all is said and done, if I get through all of 'em, my attempt will be to get you through seven different statements revolving around "This Jesus". And so, it's gonna start with number one, and it's gonna be in Acts chapter 4. Turn with me to Acts chapter 4. I'm about to read verses 5 through 12, and let me give you a little bit of background. Peter and John are in a whole lot of trouble because there was simply a man that was seated at the Gate Beautiful at the temple in Acts chapter 3 and he was a beggar. And he asked them if they had silver and gold and they said, "Well, silver and gold have we none, but that which we have we gladly give you. In the name of Jesus, get up. Just get up".
Well, I mean, he got up. They just reached their hand out, he grabs it, he gets up. And I mean, he's leaping and dancing and praising God. Well, it causes an uproar. And so these people are furious because, remember, it's just been days. It's only been a little over 40 days since they had killed Jesus and, of all things, his body goes missing. And rumor is spreading everywhere that he has been seen and by a lot of people. So they've got big worries. And now they think that he's dead, but see, it's impossible for the grave to hold him. And so, it says, picking up in verse 5 of Acts chapter 4, it says this: "The next day, the rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem and Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family". Mind you, many of these are exactly the same ones.
So, this is their nightmare. I mean, you've got to be kidding. Now, they're gonna start this up. And so, imagine this, verse 7: "After they had Peter and John stand before them, they began to question them: 'By what power or in what name have you done this?' Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them..." Remember the last name on earth they want to hear. Please try to just gather this into your psyche, because the last thing they want to hear is that name.
And Peter, "filled with the Holy Spirit says to them, 'Rulers of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man, by what means he was healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom,'" just in case you think it might be any other Jesus, I mean, after all, Jesus is a familiar name. "'Who, by the way, you crucified and whom God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing here before you healthy.'" Verse 11, what are those first two words? "This Jesus is the stone rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone". Verse 12: "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which people may be saved". Can anybody "Amen" those words tonight? There's no evolving past this. This is the eternal plan of God. It will be true in 2000 more years should Jesus tarry.
First of our points is this: THIS JESUS IS THE ONLY JESUS WHO SAVES. Only God knows the heart. I love this wording in 2 Timothy that says: "The Lord knows those who are his". I love that because, you know, sometimes we may not know if I die today what would happen? God is very certain like there's no more like, "Oh, I mean, it's a little gray right there with him". You know, he just knows those who are his. He just knows those who are his. And so, we can't read another man's heart or another woman's heart, but I'm gonna tell you something. If we don't start being clear about this Jesus 'cause a lot of what we're seeing is unrecognizable. A whole lot of hearing his name, and the Jesus of Scripture is unrecognizable.
And I'm gonna tell you something. If we do not change course, we are going to be inviting people to a "that Jesus" that is not even the Jesus who saves. I cannot tell you how much is at stake if we don't clarify who Jesus is and that this is the one who becomes the object of our worship and in whom alone there is salvation. I wanna show you something that just mesmerized me. This kind of stuff just blesses me more than I can put verbiage around. I want you to compare with me, you know what, I'm gonna take you there anyway. But go with me to Acts 1 and I wanna show you something. Remember Acts 1:11, I'm gonna say 10 as well. "While he was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. And they said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who's been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven.'"
I want you to do something with me. Remember that you have something in Luke. I want you to go to the end of Luke, to Luke chapter 24, and I want you to look at something. Because, listen, this is the beauty of the Word of God, is you just keep learning stuff over and over again about passages that you know, some passages that you may have memorized. I mean, to me, only the Holy Spirit can do that. If for whatever reason, even two words to jump out: "This Jesus". How many times have I read Acts and I've never settled on that pairing of words? Holy Spirit. But there's something so gorgeous going on here.
So in Luke, if you'll look with me, I'm about to put it on the screen. The screen acts as our chalkboard in class, and I want you to see something. It's resurrection morning, it's the very beginning of Luke chapter 24, "On the first day of the week, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared". These are the women. "They found the stone rolled away and they went in and they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. They were perplexed, and suddenly," watch this, "two men stood by them in dazzling clothes. The women were terrified and bowed down to the ground. And they asked, Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here, but he has risen! Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying, "It was necessary for the Son of Man to be betrayed in the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and rise on the third day"?'"
Okay, I want you to watch this. Luke is very deliberately drawing the tie between what happened at the Resurrection and what is happening at the Ascension. Why? Because he is making sure we know it is "this same Jesus". Watch what is happening here. Do you see it in the yellow? So, I mean, they're all looking for Jesus, right? We've got Acts chapter 1, they're looking up in the sky like this. A cloud has enveloped him. We've got the women looking for him. They can't find him in the tomb. They're all looking for him. Okay, we got two men stood by them, one is saying "in white robes," the other is "dazzling apparel".
Galilee is mentioned in both of them because, of course, that's where God determined that Jesus would have as his own neighborhood, that Galilee, the northern part of Israel, that's where most of his disciples came from. Notice that the angels ask a question on both occasions. The one at the Resurrection is, "Why do you stand looking into heaven"? The other one is, "Why do you seek the living among the dead"? And then it says: "And then they returned to Jerusalem, returning from the tomb," they are returning back to Jerusalem.
So, I want you to notice with me that he is putting them, making them, show how they paralleled one another because it's "this same Jesus". I loved it when I learned that in the writings of Luke, Luke wrote his Gospel, the Gospel of Luke, and he also wrote the book of Acts. And in his writing in Luke and Acts, he uses the word "behold" 78 solid times. Over and over, he's going, "Look at this. Look at this. Look at this. Look at this". This Jesus is the only Jesus who saves.
Number two is this. I want you to jot this down: "THIS JESUS STILL CALLS, CLOAKS, AND GIFTS WOMEN TO SERVE HIM". Okay, they've seen this same Jesus, the apostles have seen this same Jesus, just lift off from the Mount of Olives. It says in verse 12: "Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James". Verse 14: "They all were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers".
It's gonna tell next, I want you to just see something. It's not exactly the same scene, but I'm wanting you to see it, so that you'll get kind of an idea of the number of this core group, this nucleus, of believers that were here together, Jesus followers, so early in the work that God was doing, gathered here at Pentecost 'cause it says in 15: "In those days Peter stood up among the brothers and sisters, the number of people who were together was about a hundred and twenty, and said, 'Brothers and sisters, it was necessary that the Scripture be fulfilled through the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David foretelling about Judas.'" So, they're about to say. "We've got to fill the 12 up again. We have got to choose, see who God wants for the 12th disciple," because of course, Judas was gone and out of the picture.
The Judas I just mentioned in the text is a different Judas than the one who betrayed Christ. I want you to see this because I want you to understand that these women that followed him that are mentioned in the book of Luke and are shown here in the book of Acts, these were his followers. These were his servants. And they're in this group and it's the most gorgeous thing to behold. I want you to understand something. Please hear me when I say this to you. I do not have an axe to grind. What I have is Acts 1 and 2 to teach. Anybody know what I'm talking about? I just simply, I just want us please, God, can we just read the Scriptures? Please, God, let's just, like, get in there and wrestle with them. Let's just do what it takes to see what it says.
Acts 2:17-18: "And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my Spirit on all people; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. I will even pour out my Spirit on my servants in those days, both men and women and they will prophesy". Am I making it up or is it there? I want you to understand, this Jesus still calls, cloaks, and gifts women to serve him. In the book of Luke and Acts, we don't see women presented as displacing men, but we see the women being placed in the gospel story as part of the gospel work. I just, I don't know how we wrap our mind around the thought that Jesus would waste half the gospel population when he was adamant to show their involvement from the beginning. I just wrote down a few places in Acts. In Acts 9 we see the benevolence ministry of a, quote, unquote, "a disciple named Tabatha".
One of the first house churches in Jerusalem met in John Mark's mother's home in Acts chapter 12. The first believer in all of Europe was Lydia in Acts chapter 16. We know that Timothy who begins traveling with Paul in Acts 16, was raised up in the Scriptures by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. In Acts 18, Priscilla, along with her husband Aquila, caught a glimpse of a very gifted young theologian named Apollos and they could see that he was so good at what he knew but he did not know everything. And so they took him aside and they both, they taught him the ways of God more accurately, it says. Acts 21, we're told of the four daughters, stay with me here. Acts 21, we're told of the four daughters of Philip who were of all things prophetesses.
And I want you to understand with me, this was several decades after the outpouring that we see in Acts chapter 2. I'm just begging you, just read it. Just read it for yourself. Because I got no agenda here except can we just stare into the Scriptures and see what they have to say? Because Acts 2 occurred somewhere between 30 and 33 AD and Paul's visit to Philip's house in Caesarea happened just before Paul made it to Jerusalem and was arrested and that was at about AD 57. Years had passed. So if it had just been in that first moment, what's it doing way down here in Acts 21? Anybody getting this with me?
F.F. Bruce writes in his commentary on Acts: "By this time, Philip had a flourishing family of four daughters, a credit to their father, for they all had the gift of prophecy. Several years later Philip and his daughters, with other Palestinian Christians, migrated to the province of Asia, and spent their remaining days there. The tombs of Philip and of at least two of his daughters were pointed out at Hierapolis in the Lycus valley toward the end of the second century. The daughters, at least some of them, lived to a great age, and were highly esteemed as informants on persons and events belonging to the early years of Judaean Christianity".
His letters, Paul calls out numerous women as his co-laborers in the work of the gospel. Now, listen, the intention of Scripture is not contradiction. So, here's what I wanna say to you. Scripture does not mind bringing us into tension with the different things that we read. And so, yes, we see in some of the household codes and the church codes, we see some restrictions put on women, but what I wanna tell you is that these do not cancel out those restrictions, nor do those restrictions cancel out these. There is some way that this all works together, and there is a tension there that we have to pore over and find out what it is that God has called us to do.
And here's what I wanna say to you. The first place I always wanna pour my energies is into my local church. That's what I love. But whether or not there is a place for you to serve in your local church, let me tell you something, if you are a follower of Jesus, you are not only invited to serve, you're responsible to. You are gifted. Listen, your ministry is wherever there's a need. So meet the next need and do it in the name of Jesus. There are so many people that need help. Get out there and be a witness in his name. If there's not a place for you in your local church for what I feel most called to do, there's not a place that I can do that on a regular basis, but there is out here. I can serve you guys the rest of my days and be right in the will of God. Does anybody understand what I'm saying to you?
You have a place. Find it. Serve him with all your heart. Yes, in your home. Yes, in your church as much as you are able and are allowed to. And yes, out there on planet Earth in an hour when people are in such darkness and in such despair and they need the hope of the gospel. The needs and opportunities for ministry, ladies, are endless. Find 'em. You don't have to wait for permission to witness to somebody what is the hope you have found in this Jesus. This is the Jesus that invited Mary of Bethany into Bible study with Martha going, "She is supposed to be with me in the kitchen". And you know what, he didn't tell Martha she had chosen a terrible thing. He just said, "Mary has chosen the better thing. It's right here, right here at my feet".
The dignity that he has given to us, this Jesus. Not that Jesus. This Jesus. You don't wanna miss it. You have a place, you have a calling. You're beloved, you're chosen. But I'm just simply saying when someone says that you're not, Get your face in the Scriptures. Read it for yourself. Read it. Grapple with the tension. Step into what he's called you to do. Number three is this: "THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE SPIRIT OF THIS SAME JESUS". Anybody got that with me tonight? The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of this exact same Jesus.