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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Beth Moore » Beth Moore - Life Unhindered - Part 1

Beth Moore - Life Unhindered - Part 1

Beth Moore - Life Unhindered - Part 1
TOPICS: Hindrances

In the glorious and beautiful name of our Savior and redeemer Jesus. Hallelujah and amen. You may be seated. Now, I am a rabid reader. I don't mean a rapid reader, I mean a rabid reader. I am serious about the things I read. I'm even serious about fiction when I read it, and the last thing I want is for anybody to tell me how a book is going to end. You better not spoil that thing for me because the moment I know how it's going to end I'm done. I'm done because I love and have always loved, I love the process of discovery. I want to have to dig for something. I don't want it just laying out where I can see it, I want to dig for it.

What has put me into 35 years of in-depth Bible study is something I always related back to Deuteronomy chapter 8 where God is describing to Moses what the Promised Land is going to look like and what it will be like, and he says there will be copper to dig out of the hills. "You will dig copper from the hills". That's what I love. That's my promised land. I don't want the copper laying out catching the sun, I want to have to get the shovel and I want to dig it out because I love discovery. So I like to know the end. But there are some endings that can be so profound to us that they present to us a new beginning, and I wonder who couldn't use really a new beginning. And the way the book of Acts ends is so spectacular. I don't know if you've ever heard a sermon on it or a teaching on it, but I am telling you that every single time I turn or even flip past this particular chapter of scripture I think about this verse.

So I'm going to do something really weird. Taking it completely out of context I am about to read the last couple of verses of it and then we're going to back up and put it in its context, but I want you to see what the word is and then we are going to go back and see how it fits. So I'm at Acts 28. I'm literally going to read to you the last two verses: 30 and 31. Paul, this is the apostle it's talking about. This is Luke writing. So this will be the very last words. This is where the pen of Luke, who wrote the Gospel of Luke and then the book of Acts, is going to run dry right here. He says this: "Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house". We'll find out where he is in just a moment. "He welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance".

He taught with all boldness and without hindrance. That little "without hindrance" or however your translation may say it; if it's got it at the very end of the verse, that's exactly how it is in the Greek. The very last word, only it's one word that you'll see in English translated into two. One Greek word, and I'm about to show it to you, that ends the entire book of Acts, which is Acts the second part. You've got Luke and then you've got Acts. So you've got 24 chapters of the Gospel, 28 chapters of Acts. He ends up the whole narrative, boom, with this one word that translates in our English without hindrance.

I want you to see the Greek transliteration. I'm going to bring it up on the screen so you can look at it. Akolytos is the way you'd say it. Akolytos is going to have the accent on the third syllable. Akolytos. Can you say it with me? Akolytos. Say it one more time. Akolytos. And it very simply means without hindrance. It is a word that rest of the word after the A means hindrance, and then that A when it's a prefix on a word that A means without. And also somewhere in your notes, if you're jotting some things down, I want you to think of translating it this way. Minus hindrance. He taught boldly and minus hindrance. Keep that term in your mind, minus.

My good friend Todd Still is the dean of Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas, and he and I were texting this morning about something. We had a meeting yesterday and we were touching base about it. And so he said, "I'm praying for you for tonight". And so he brought up, "What are you speaking on"? So I told him, and what I loved was that he was familiar with it. And he wrote me back after I told him, I said, "I'm teaching on that very last word in the book of Acts". And he said, and I'm quoting, I wrote it down in my notes. "Who ends a book with an adverb"? And then he puts in parentheses unhinderedly, unhinderedly. "Luke and the Lord, I gather," he says.

Who ends a book with an adverb unhinderedly? That if we were going to translate it in its most literal terms, Luke ends the book of Acts by saying that Paul taught with all boldness and unhinderedly. When was the last time we even knew what unhinderedly looked like? When's your last unhindered moment in the Holy Ghost? Anybody know? Now, we don't exactly know when the church in Rome came into existence. It came into existence the same way any church does, and that is by the Holy Spirit, any true church in the faith by the Holy Spirit and according to the Word, but we're not sure exactly when that community was born in Rome. But Paul's letter to the Romans is dated right about early AD 57, and then we are jumping in to a period of time right here at the end of Acts that is right around 60 to 62, 60 to 62.

So by the time he's there, the church has already been born in Rome and is quite active. But there is something now that happens there that is extremely important not only to the regions and nations around them but to us because it made it all the way across oceans into every single continent this gorgeous thing that happens at the end wrapped up in this Greek adverb, akolytos. So here's what I want to do. I want to do a little bit of history with you; and we're just going to take a couple of minutes to do it, a little bit of history with you so that we can understand how significant that last word is. And then we're going to see what does God want to do with it in regard to us tonight because Paul has lived out his ministry unhinderedly, but the call that will be upon us tonight when we leave this house will be to live our lives unhinderedly, boldly, with lives and witness and love and faith that proclaims the great gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

These are days for boldness in the gospel. Anybody know what I'm talking about? The phrase that has been upon me for this particular year has been advance the gospel according to Philippians chapter 1 when Paul says, "I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually turned out to advance the gospel". When was the last time you said to the Lord Jesus, "Leverage it all. My successes, my failures, my weaknesses, my strengths, my experience, my education, my lack of education, my skills, my work, my play, my friendships. Everything about me, Lord, leverage it for the gospel. Advance the gospel with it".

If you've got something better than that going go with it, but this is what lasts past this lifetime. So here's what I want to do. I'm going to take you back just a little bit. If you're the kind that likes to flip, and the reason why I'm saying that, I'm suggesting it to you is because I think there happens to be an anointing upon the women that come into this place that for some reason they really want to study the scriptures. I saw that to be true 30 something years ago. So if you want to go with me, turn with me back to Acts chapter 21. We're coming right here to 28. I'm just going to give you, I want you to look at the captions over the portions and over the paragraphs and over the beginning of the chapters, and you're going to see what I'm about to tell you anyway because I'm going to do a flyover. I literally, we're going to drone over the top of the book of Acts from 21 to 28 so that you'll know and I'll know what makes it so exciting.

So finally Paul is on a very crucial trip. The Lord is leading him, and he is compelled by the Lord. Even though he is told not to go to Jerusalem, that assure arrest and suffering is waiting for him, he's like, "Oh no, I must go. I must go". So he finally makes it there. He is warmly received, and this is in 21 and it's going to continue on into 22. We're going to see he's going to make it into Jerusalem. He has a wonderful, wonderful beginning there, but soon and very soon he is going to be caught up in a riot there in the temple complex because there are going to be people that are going to start yelling.

One starts it and then it just becomes mayhem. Someone says that he is basically teaching heresies and is teaching against the Mosaic Law, which of course he is not doing, and that he has brought a Gentile into the sacred part of the temple grounds where no Gentile was allowed to be, which he also had not done. They said they had seen him earlier, would have been with Trophimus who was a Gentile. It was earlier in the day. But isn't this the way things go, that if there's... I mean, put it all together and then it equals something that's not even true. So suddenly everyone is screaming. It causes a big uprising and so soldiers come, a detachment of soldiers come and they take him into custody. So they got him chained in custody, and then he's allowed to address the Sanhedrin and give his testimony, and then a huge dispute breaks out and the Roman troops have to come get him.

Now, by this time I'm in 23. I want you to see a word. If you've got a red letter edition, if you look on that page you're going to see one little sentence in red because this is where Jesus is about to talk to him. It's Acts 23, and I'm going to read verse 11. So let me just back up to 10 and give us a little bit of a beginning here. "When the dispute became violent, the commander feared that Paul might be torn apart by them and ordered the troops to go down, take him away from them, and bring him to the barracks. The following night, the Lord stood by him," this is the Lord standing by Paul, "and said, 'Have courage. For as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so it is necessary for you to testify in Rome.'" So at this point he knows, "I'm going to Rome".

So what happens next is his nephew overhears a plot. Now, I don't know if you're like me, but somehow we don't expect the apostle Paul to have relatives. It's hard for us to imagine that he had a mother. It's hard for us to imagine that he had like brothers and sisters, let alone he's got a nephew. So this is sister's son. He hears a plot that there have been chief, the leaders among the Sanhedrin and among the Jews in that area. There are a group of them that get together and, I mean, take an oath that they will take his life. And so he hears about it, he runs and tells them about what's going to happen. He enters the barracks. He talks to Paul. Paul then reports it.

And so what happens next is that the Romans send him with 200 soldiers and 200 spearmen to Caesarea so that he can appear before Felix the governor. Now, he gets there. So they've got to get him out of Jerusalem because he's not safe there. They take him to Caesarea so that he can appear before Felix at that point. So because Felix is worried about losing the favor of those people that want his life taken, so Felix is in between a rock and a hard place because he's like, "You know, I don't know what all he's guilty of, but I know if I just let him go I'm going to be in big trouble with them and they're probably going to kill him anyway". And so what does he do? He just does nothing at all.

"I don't know what all he's guilty of, but I know if I just let him go I'm going to be in big trouble with them and they're probably going to kill him anyway". And so what does he do? He just does nothing at all. And so you'd find out looking through that chapter that he literally lets them... I'm at 24:27 at this point. Acts 24:27, "After two years had passed, Porcius Festus succeeded Felix, and because Felix wanted to do the Jews a favor, he left Paul in prison". We are right at AD 60 at this point. So now he just sits there for two solid years. Finally then with this new governor appointed, Festus basically says to him, "Okay, are you ready to go back to Jerusalem and face trial"? And he's like, "Oh, no, no, no. I'm a Roman citizen and I am appealing to Caesar. 'Cause he knows he's got to get to Rome. The Lord has already told him that he's going to testify in Rome as he did in Jerusalem". So he said, "Oh, no, no, no, no. I am claiming my rights. I'm a Roman citizen. I will appear before Caesar".

And so even though he appears before King Agrippa, they would have found actually no real evidence of any kind of illegalities in order to imprison him further or put him to death. And so King Agrippa says, "You know what? If he hadn't appealed to Caesar I'd let him go, but he's appealed to Caesar. We're going to have to send him". And so this is where a trip begins that is really without equal in the book of Acts. At this point, turn with me to Acts chapter 27. So, he is placed on a boat, on a ship that is full of prisoners and then, of course, the actual staff and all the employees and overseers and those that are in charge of the ship on there with him. But it's 276 people on this boat, and they set out at a really bad time of year because the winter has begun. And so the winds are going to be against them.

So it becomes a very treacherous trip, and what happens is this. After they stop for a while and he says, "The winds were just against us". He's later going to say that the winds were for them, and we'll see the timing of the Lord. But at this point, the winds against them they hit a terrible storm that goes on for 14 solid days without them seeing a single glimpse of the sun or stars. That's according to Acts chapter 27. They have to unload a bunch of stuff off the boat, including their grain. So they take it. They break bread together, take the last sips together, and they have to cast everything overboard. Finally, Paul gets a word. He goes, "I'm going to tell you something. We're not going to die, but we're going to run aground on some island".

You know, if somebody's going to speak a prophetic word, I'd like for them to be more specific than that. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Like, "Okay, how is it you know we're not going to die? You know we're going to run aground, but you don't happen to know the name of the island. These are mysteries to us. We do not know that". But it brings us then to the point where we find Paul in the situation that we're going to see in Acts chapter 28. Now, let me just say this to you. So they're going to run aground and they're going to have to... they jump overboard because some of the prisoners want to escape.

So Paul's all like, "You know what? Like, if you escape, you're going to die because really the only reason you're getting to live is because I have to get to Rome. And I mean..." And he's right. He's right. So he's going to like, "If you'll do what I tell you, you're not going to die. If you don't do what I tell you, you are going to die. So I don't know..." Whoa. At this point, they know he's called it so far. And so they get, literally the ship has come apart. They're swimming on planks and they just go up on this island, and it's Malta. And the weirdest things happen there, the weirdest things. I want you to understand with me in case we are not impressed with the book of Acts ending with an adverb that we could translate as unhinderedly, we have to understand what hindrances the man has been through. Just Paul alone. Just Paul alone.

Throughout the course of Acts, he only enters into the story in his own narrative. There in nine we've seen a glimpse of him, but it really begins in nine. He's stricken blind. He's repeatedly imprisoned. He's misunderstood, accused of all manner of misconduct, under suspicion by other followers of Christ, called a heretic, thrown out of synagogues, harassed to no end by the religious extreme right. He's been rejected, had his snot absolutely beaten out of him at one point so much so that his compadres stood around him and thought he was dead, gets on a ship that is stuck in a storm 14 days, shipwrecked, broken to pieces. Finally makes it to shore on an island called Malta only to dry off, warm up by fire, and a snake jumps out of the fire and bites him. Doesn't hurt him, so they decide he's a god. He's going like, "You know, I'm not a god. I need you people to get a grip". Three months later he boards a ship, has to stay the rest of the entire winter because he cannot get there yet.

So I want to start reading with you Acts chapter 28. I'm going to show you a map in just a moment. Why? Because I love maps. So anytime we have an opportunity, we're going to look at a map. So Acts 28. I want to start reading at verse 11. Will you look at the top of it and you see that, at the top of the chapter that caption is going to say something to the effect of Malta's hospitality? Then it's going to talk about his ministry in Malta, how he was used of God for someone to be healed. It became very, very important. And then there were just signs and miracles and wonders on the island, and now it brings us up to 11. "After three months we set sail in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered in the island, with the Twin Gods as its figurehead".

So this, you know, they're part of their mythology. So it's got, you know, in the very front of the boat I'm imagining that it's wooden carvings of these twin gods. And then it says in verse 12, "Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed three days. From there, after making a circuit along the coast, we reached Rhegium". Accent on the second syllable. "After one day, a south wind sprang up". This is when the wind starts taking them where they need to go and they go all of these miles in a very, very short time. Then it says, "And on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found brothers and sisters and were invited to stay a week with them". And so then come these six words. You talk about anti-climactic, but it's so gorgeous in its understatement that it's just a wonder. It says next, and I don't know how your translation puts it, "And so we came to Rome". Okay. "And so we came to Rome".

I mean, this has been going on for chapters and chapters. No end to the drama and Luke says, 'cause, you know, at this point he's done all this buildup and thought, "Well, how exactly do I say this? Well, and so we came to Rome". Yes. Thank you, Luke. Thank you. Thank you. I want to go with you there. It says, "Now all the brothers and the sisters from there had heard the news about us and came to meet us as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns. And when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. And when we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself with the soldier who guarded him". Hold right there, and I want you to take a glance at the map. So look up in the map. Look all the way down. I want you to look at the far right of the screen. Look down and you'll see... see Egypt there?

Okay, look up from there. You'll see Judea, and mark in your mind Jerusalem. So that's really where this saga begins all the way back in Acts chapter 21. So it starts there and then in Jerusalem is when he gets into a whole lot of trouble on the temple grounds. And so he's taken... do you see Caesarea? That's where he's taken because he's supposed to go then before a court that can keep him somewhat safe from what's happening there. Well, he gets stuck there for two solid years. When they finally release him and send him on, because he says, "No, no, I'm appealing to Caesar. I'm going to Rome". So they put him on a boat inside with tons of other prisoners, and he begins this long voyage. You'll see with the red a line how it's going to go up.

Look with me how far this is going up over Cyprus, and what's interesting, do y'all see Tarsus up there? Do you see Tarsus right up there in Cilicia? So he's that close to home. It's like, you know what I'm saying, just waving from the boat. That close to home. So he had gone through the Fair Havens. They've gotten off, gotten back on. They get it, this is where right in the middle of those waters the ship gets lost in the storm and you can see all the northeast are coming down like this, and it's 14 days without any sun and without any stars. They finally make it to Malta. How long do they stay in Malta? Somebody tell me. Three solid months. They have to wait until the winter is over. They get on a boat. The Alexandrian ship, the grain ship then takes them to Syracuse. Do you see where Syracuse is? What is that? Tell me what that land is called. Sicily. These are places. It's so important. It's one reason why I love to have you look at a map because you know these places. This is not a fable. These people had their feet on this same ground, the calluses of their soles on this same ground.
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