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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Beth Moore » Beth Moore - This Jesus - Part 3

Beth Moore - This Jesus - Part 3

Beth Moore - This Jesus - Part 3

Let's go on with our fourth point, then we'll read the text that backs it up. "This Jesus is the Jesus of Scripture". This Jesus is the Jesus of Scripture. That could not be more important. I want you to hold right there, but I wanna read you a portion of 1 Corinthians chapter 15. I did not plan on this but, as I'm teaching, it's coming to my remembrance and I want you to hear it. "Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain".

Verse 3: "For I passed on to you as most important what I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures," and then it tells who he revealed himself to and who saw him, ending with, like, 500 different people that saw him resurrected from the grave. I make that point for you to hear that reference over and over to, "according to the Scriptures," because this was huge to them, and it is extremely important to us, that we acknowledge and are able to understand that this Jesus who gave his life on the cross was consistently the one foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures.

Now watch this in Acts chapter 17:1 through 9. Now remember, you know what key words to be looking for. "After they," and this is Paul and his little cohort. "After they passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue". I've got to pause here long enough and tell you all something. One of my commentaries was pointing out how long the trip would have taken them if they had walked it or how long it would have taken them if they had been on horseback. And I saw this for the first time when I was studying Thessalonians and I gotta tell you, it was the game-changer for me. Somehow, I had never thought of the disciples on horseback, ever. And I have to tell you something. It is a disturbing thought to me to this day, because somehow them in their robes and their sandals, I don't know, I come from Texas. We wear cowboy boots there if we're going to ride a horse. I don't know.

I have trouble picturing it but I can almost hear the "Bonanza" music, if you're my age or older. And I can just see Paul, Silas, and Timothy, I mean, on their three horses, and here they are in the map, and the map's just burning and here are the three of 'em. I don't know, it's hard to make something out of that, isn't it? But I do want you to know that it is possible that they were on horseback here. I don't know. I have read that tradition tells us that Paul was a little bit bow-legged. You can look it up for yourself, that some of the early church fathers say he was bow-legged. Wouldn't it be something if that was from riding a horse? And we just, like, we'd never wrapped our mind around it before.

So, anyway, I know that some of you, that was your word for the weekend. Now, I don't know why. Don't know why exactly but you're like, "Oh, I knew, I knew I was supposed to be there at that moment". So it says in verse 2 and we're reading to verse 9: "As usual," so we're about to see Paul's custom here, according to the Scriptures, when it says that he went into the synagogue. Now, he would have been there 3 Sabbaths so we know he's there at a minimum of 3 weeks and he's going week after week and he's doing a very, very diligent work to show these people that this is the Christ.

And I just wanna bring it up on the screen for you so you can get the idea of it. I've emphasized certain words so that you can watch. Watch his diligence. I'm gonna read it again: "As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. 'This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,' he said. And some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women". Somebody say "Amen".

I wanna take apart some of these words so that you see this because you get to see in action some of what is involved in sharing the gospel. You know, so often we will picture that all it really takes to share Christ is that we could be with somebody for 5 minutes, we could evangelize them, invite, "Do you want to know Christ"? Have them pray with us, and I mean, it's just done. We just walk away and that's all there is to it. And so, listen, I'm not saying that God cannot use that. God can do anything. He could do it in 1 minute. He could do it in 30 seconds. There's nothing God cannot do. But I want you to see the diligence of Paul as he is putting this together for them. He's coming, bringing the Scriptures. He's reasoning with them, he's explaining, and we're gonna see a little bit about what that word "proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead".

Why was that so important? Because the Jews were not expecting a Messiah that was going to suffer, be killed, and then rise from the dead. Although Paul was able to show them Scriptures where it clearly says it. And I'm just, I'm just telling you, I'm assuming it was something like this, based on Isaiah 53, for example. The suffering servant. No, don't you see? Here it is. Explaining to them. And this way, bringing them around the Scriptures, that this is a reasonable gospel. Miraculous, yes. Reasonable gospel.

I've got to tell you something. I have lived 62 years now. I have heard it all. I have a very, very diverse family. I'm extremely close to a sibling that practices a whole different world religion. I have gone through every conceivable, when you walk this long in the things of the faith, you go through all sorts of things and you struggle with whatever doubts you may have and whatever form they take, but I can tell you this. I have never been more convinced that Jesus Christ is the only answer for this lost world. Never been more convinced. I'm gonna tell you something. There's nothing the world has going, you need not be ashamed. There is no answer out there the world is handing over to us that can beat what we see in the gospel of Jesus Christ, nothing, nothing. Nothing even more reasonable than what we have in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And I want you to see that the work that he is going to, the diligence in his teaching. This word "explaining" in Acts 17:3 when it says: "He reasoned with him from the Scriptures, explaining," it's a wonderful word. The lexical form of it is dianoigó. Dia meaning through, and anoigó meaning to open. To open. And it means, and I'm quoting, "To open what before was closed, open as the firstborn opens the womb. To open the ears, eyes, understanding, the heart, to open the eyes of anyone, to cause to see what was not seen before. To open the Scriptures, to explain, and to expound". Turn with me now to Luke 24 again, and I wanna show you where forms of this word are used. 24, this is after Jesus was raised from the dead.

People are now going back home after they've been to the big pilgrimage, a feast of Passover. They know of this one, what has happened to him, this Jesus, this hope, the one they were hoping for. He walks up on these two people and he hears them talking about all who had taken place, concerning Jesus. And they have no idea that the one who has just walked up and said, "What are you talking about"? is Jesus himself. Imagine that it's Jesus asking you about Jesus, only you don't know it's Jesus. Don't you hope you get it right, 'cause it's like, it's Jesus and he's going, like, "Ooh, man, that one part was a little bit rough. That was an off-road, definitely an off-road vehicle you took right there, but the rest of it, pretty good". So he said, and they said, "But we had hoped that he was the one that was about to redeem Israel".

And it says in verse 25: "He says to them, 'How foolish and slow you are to believe all the prophets have spoken! Wasn't it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?'" And then it says: "Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all of Scripture". Now, look with me. It says that they come near their home. They don't wanna let him go, so they say, "Well, you know, would you come and would you eat with us"? So they sit at the table to break bread together. It says in verse 30 of Luke 24: "It was as he reclined at the table with them that he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened," that's a form of our word right there, "and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. And then they said to each other, 'Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?'"

Another form of that same word. So it says here, "Their eyes were opened and they recognized him". And "Weren't their hearts burning within them when he opened the Scriptures to them"? It's this miraculous power of God to open our eyes to what we have not seen before. I'm still praying for that to happen among us, for somebody to see. I mean, this is him. This is the one, and to see a little bit about what he has going. Does anybody have familiarity with this scene that is in 2 Kings chapter 6, concerning Elisha, the prophet of Israel, and his servant? They're in a place called Dothan and the king of Aram wants him captured and killed in the worst way, because this prophet keeps telling the king of Israel what the king of Aram is doing.

And so he finds out that he's in Dothan, he sends a huge battalion of soldiers and surrounds that city and when they awaken the next morning, the servant of Elisha gets up first. He goes outside, he looks around, and the city is absolutely surrounded. And he comes back into Elisha and he says to him, "What are we supposed to do"? And it says in 2 Kings 16 and 17: "Elisha says to his servant, 'Don't be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed, 'LORD, please open,'" there's a form of that word. "'Open his eyes and let him see.' So the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha".

There's so much happening out there that we cannot see. That if our eyes were opened. It encouraged me so much this morning when I looked at those verses again and I thought to myself, "When we feel like we are about to break, when we feel like we're not gonna make it, we have no idea that around us, is a battalion of Christ's own angelic soldiers and messengers and that there are always at all times more who are for us than are against us". Is that any kind of encouragement to anybody in the house today? I've got to know it.

There are some prayers I pray continually when I get up in the morning before I open my Bible. And they're all centered around the word "open" and they're all coming directly out of Scripture, and it starts off with, "Lord, open my mind to understand the Scriptures". That's out of Luke chapter 24, what he did for his own disciples. And another one of them is that he would open my ears as one who is learned. That's Isaiah 50, verses 4 and 5. I always pray that he will open my mouth according to the very end of Ephesians chapter 6 and put words in it, that I may declare the mystery of Christ boldly. And another one is based on Lydia in Acts chapter 16, verse 14, when it says: "He opened her heart to pay attention". Can you think of anything we need more in this day than to just have our hearts opened to pay attention to what Jesus is trying to get across to us?

Have we ever been more distracted in our lives than we are right now? How addicted we are, I'm talking about myself. How addicted I am to my phone, how every available moment is filled up because we're gonna check social media, that at no time are we quiet and just still before the Lord, and paying attention to what's happening around us. I'm taking a little bit of a social media break from Twitter. It's been 3 weeks today. Maybe the 3 best weeks of my life, I don't know.

I was telling Melissa that last Saturday, I had been doing, or maybe two Saturdays ago, 'cause I was doing some birthday shopping for her and because I didn't have any social media on my phone, I was by myself which I am perfectly comfortable being, and I had done some shopping and I was just really, really hungry, so I went to a really busy restaurant and just sitting there by myself. Then normally I would be looking. I'd just be checking my phone. But instead, I just looked around and I just beheld people. I just looked at how wonderful they were and looked at people's little kids walking with them and just taking it in and just paying attention. Life's passing us by while we're getting a crick in our neck, looking straight down at our phone. Open our hearts to pay attention.

So explaining, it was a way of opening their minds and their hearts and their understanding to the Scriptures. Then it says he proving, going back to Acts 17. It says: "Proving to them, proving that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead". This particular word means, in the Greek, to take something and to set it down in front of someone, to set it down in front of someone. It would be used, for instance, for a waiter at a restaurant if they were to set a meal down. It's also used for setting a meal in front of someone. So this is a way, when it comes to a teacher of the Scriptures, of setting the word down in front of someone. But what Paul was doing here is taking the facts of Christ's life, the events of his death, and his resurrection and ascension, and he was setting it in front of them alongside the Old Testament Scriptures going, "Here".

One of the very interesting things about Paul that we find out in Galatians chapter 1 is that after he had his encounter on the road to Damascus with Christ Jesus and, I mean, was like, just stricken, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me"? He's going, like, "Lord, who are you"? It's the most powerful moment because it reminds us that Jesus takes what happens to us personally, because Paul might have thought, you know, "I'm persecuting people of the way". "Listen, you persecute my people, you persecute me personally. Why are you persecuting me"? Well, you know what follows up. But did you know that there was a several-year period where he goes away, I mean, drops out of sight after he receives his sight back, and what he's doing all that time is poring over the Scriptures and going, "Oh my word. How did I miss this? This is the Messiah".

o he's sticking it in front of him, going, "Don't you see it? Don't you see it"? It's a really powerful thing in this text, because it reminds us that even though he explained it, reasoned with them, did what the English is calling proving, but that does not mean that they saw it as proved. That some received it, and some did not. But those who did, I mean, the ultimate result of that was that they joined them, they were persuaded and joined them in belief. This is teaching the Word of God. This Jesus is the same Jesus of Scripture.

Number five is this, and this one is really, really important. "This Jesus can get you into trouble". You and I are talking back and forth about this Jesus and that Jesus. We've got this Jesus of Scripture and then we've got that Jesus whoever we fashion him to be, whoever we understand him to be from what the church is bearing witness to out in the public sphere. Whatever it might be.

Now, we're gonna backtrack and I'm gonna ask you to turn with me to Acts chapter 6 please. Acts chapter 6:7 through 15. This is right after they have chosen the seven to come and work alongside the disciples who are needing to teach and disciple in the Word but there's a lot of ministry that needs to also be done to people in need. So they bring along the seven of whom Stephen is one. So I want, even though our portion really begins at verse 8, as you'll see in a lot of your segments in your Bible, I wanna start at 7 because I believe that this is why there were so many problems and why he caused such a stir with the rest of the people. It says in verse 7: "So the word of God spread, the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly in number, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith". "A large group of priests became obedient to the faith".

Well, you can imagine how confrontational that was to the traditional set that did not want anything to do with Jesus. So we've already got huge problems here. Now, picking up at 8 and I'll read 8 through 15: "Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from some members of the Freedmen's Synagogue, composed of both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, and they began to argue with Stephen. But they were unable to stand up against his wisdom and the Spirit by whom he was speaking. Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, 'We heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.' And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; so that they came and seized him, and they took him to the Sanhedrin. They also presented false witnesses who said, 'This man never stops speaking against this holy place and the law.'"

Verse 14, this is where our pair of words is going to be. "'For we heard him say that this Jesus,'" everybody say, "This Jesus". "'This Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.' And all who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel". After giving one of the most powerful speeches in the entire Word of God, if you want to read a nutshell history of the Old Testament leading up to the Messiah, Christ Jesus, it is right here in this next chapter and it will end with the stoning to death of Stephen. Stoning to death. We read these kinds of things so many times that we take away, we anesthetize them with our familiarity. We forget that it would be very painful to be pummeled with one rock after another until you were dead. But that's Stephen. Because this Jesus can get you into a lot of trouble.

Now that Jesus... no. We want a Jesus that understands that we don't wanna be in an awkward position with our friends. We don't wanna pick up our cross and follow him to be crucified to our flesh. We wanna just pick up our car and follow him to church, amen? And if the air conditioning is not working, we don't want to go. That Jesus is so safe and tepid, so comfy and cuddly, he's like a purring old house cat. That Jesus, but somehow not this Jesus. This Jesus is a lion who teaches his people how to roar with tongues of fire, leading his disciples to know when to slip out of a crowd when they're under threat. Or when, when Jesus is like a lamb, to stay right there and submit themselves to persecution, imprisonment, and sometimes death.
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