Beth Moore - Life Unhindered - Part 2
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. The apostle then, they're here in Sicily, Syracuse, they then go up to Rhegium. Rhegium is in the toe of the boot of Italy. So, he is now officially in that nation and on those grounds, and then he goes up, sails up finally where you see Puteoli, then he goes on, Three Taverns, you've just seen it named in the Scriptures, and then it says, and then we came to Rome and that's it.
This is what it's taken, so can anybody now appreciate a little bit further that it's going to say that he boldly taught about Christ, unhinderedly? He's had nothing but hinderance, one right after another. So, pick up with me in verse 17. "After three days," so he's there in Rome. "After three days he calls together the leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered together he said, 'Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. After they examined me, they wanted to release me, since there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. Because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no charge to bring against my people.'" Verse 20, "For this reason I've asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain".
So, we know at this point he's under guard, he is getting to live in a place to himself, but he is under guard and he is wearing a chain. And so, what he's done is he has invited the Jewish leaders in Rome, those that would come, he's invited them to him. Now, his usual custom was that he went to the local synagogue anytime he came into a particular city. The first thing he did, see, it's such a tragedy, because he was so rejected by many of them because it was like he's teaching something totally new and he's going, "I'm teaching the fulfillment of our own Scriptures. This is not a detachment, this is the gospel that has been proclaimed since Genesis 12, 'Through you all nations shall be blessed.'" But they just could not hear it. But he did the same thing, just diligent to be obedient, going to the Jews first, to the Gentiles second. Jews first, to the Gentiles second.
Did exactly that same thing, and so he says it is for the hope of Israel, our own people. This is my world, too. It's me, too. I'm one of you, and this is our Messiah. Verse 21, "Then they said to him, 'We haven't received any letters about you from Judea. None of the brothers has come and reported or spoken anything evil about you.'" Now, whether or not they're telling the truth there, we don't know, but it's being reported to us in the narrative as truth. And it says in 22, "But we want to hear what your views are, since we know that people everywhere are speaking against this sect". The sect they're talking about is the people of The Way, or Christianity. "After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and testified about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them about Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Some were persuaded by what he said, but others did not believe".
Okay, this is fascinating, because what he's doing, and he tries to do it over and over again. This is a masterful teacher. This is a rabbi, Pharisee of Pharisees. This guy knows how to teach, and he's teaching under the anointing, and he's telling them this is all fulfillment of the law and prophets. He said look how it goes together. Look who he is. Look how its prophesied. This is Jesus. This is Messiah. Look what happens here in verse 25. "Disagreeing among themselves, they began to leave after Paul made this one statement".
Man, how sensitive could they be? But I just can't wait for you to hear the statement. "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors though the prophet Isaiah when he said, 'Go to these people and say: You will always be listening but never understanding; and you will always be looking, but never perceiving. For the hearts of these people has grown callous, their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them. Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.'"
So, that was the little statement that he said that, like, where did everybody go? So, this most amazing thing is underway here, because did you notice with me that it says, "Disagreeing among themselves"? Listen, if we are not living in an era exactly like this, I don't know how we would begin to capture it, because everybody's just in it for the disagreement. And let me tell you what disagreement can be. When we're just in it for the disagreement, disagreement is a way to keep from listening. Because if we can just get all distracted and fight with one another, we don't have to change, because we'll make a lot of noise.
Let me tell you, when a lot of noise takes place, when the Holy Spirit is speaking, and then suddenly, people get noisy. Because if you get quiet and listen, the Holy Spirit might speak. Anybody know what I'm talking about? You just watch. You just watch. In all our disagreements nobody's changing, nobody's changing, because we're disagreeing most of the time because we don't want to change. Just a distraction. Just a deflection. So, disagreeing among themselves, they began to leave after Paul made this statement. I thought it was also interesting that they wanted to hear his views, 22. "We want to hear what your views are". Everybody, just, what are your views? What are your views? What are your views? What do you care what my views are, because your view is gonna be the same when I'm done telling you what my view is? Anybody know what I'm talking about? Somebody say amen in the house.
Why are we talking about one another's views? Because nobody's view ever changes. Most of the time, we want to know somebody's view it is so that we can tell them our own view. Please tell me your view, you are an idiot. Am I telling anybody the truth in the house tonight? This is the time we are living in. We can hear, hear, hear, hear, hear and never really listen. We can hear all the sermons we can possibly find on the world wide web, we can attend one Bible study after another, we can do every in-depth Bible study under heaven, and hear, hear, hear, hear and never really listen. We can go through the whole thing just looking for what they said wrong, because that'll keep us from changing. If we can figure out they need changing, we don't have to change.
Now, 30 and 31, "Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house. He welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness," and everybody tell me those two words. "Without hindrance," everybody say 'em again, "Without hindrance". Now, I want you to notice, remember that I told you that he's wearing a chain, we know that because he's chained to the soldier that's keeping watch over him. Obviously, soldiers are trading out, you know, this one will work for this many hours, and another one would come and relieve them, and then this one, and so it's got to be awkward sleeping and all, but he's chained there. People are having to come to him, so that's what we're seeing in the Scriptures. So, he's wearing a chain.
I want you to notice with me that it says that he taught about the Lord Jesus with all boldness and without hinderance. You and I are gonna try to figure out what does it mean to be without hindrance? Because this is what it can't mean, because he's having to pay for his own ministry. He's there, he's being guarded at a place, and he's having to pay for it. Is anybody working with me here? It's by his own expense that he is there, so it can't be a hindrance to your ministry or mine, and I believe that we're all called to ministry. What that very simply means is that we are fulfilling our callings in Christ. Takes place in all sorts of ways. Whatever work you are in, if God has you there, if it is ethical, honest work, I mean, that is your mission field right there.
And so, one of the things he's telling us is that, okay, it can't be a lack of financial support from others for our ministries that is a hindrance, because he's without hindrance here and he's paying all his own expenses, even while he's under guard. And so, also it can't be that we're chained down, because that was not a hindrance either. It can't be that we can't leave home, because that is not a hindrance either. So, what on earth? Got all this freedom in a situation that we'd all go, "Man, that's a lot of hindrance". I mean, we'd just be going, "Lord, these are impossible circumstances. No one can minister like this".
But Luke's all like, oh, we didn't have an... I mean, no hindrance, no hindrance, not even their... okay, this is big, this is big, this is big, not even their rejection and refusal to believe was a hindrance to him. I mean, they flat out, like, walked out on him, and even that wasn't a hindrance. Their determination just to argue wasn't even a hindrance. It turned out what God ended up doing, I don't know if y'all think this is profound, too, but this kind of blows my mind. That what God ended up using it for was showing Paul who he was supposed to serve. He was saying let me help you here. I'm gonna make this group so ornery that they're impossible to teach, so here's what we're gonna do. I'm gonna just give you this opportunity so you'll know. Get this one out of your system, because this is not going to be it.
So I'm going to move, because I've called Peter to them, and you can check this out in the Book of Galatians, because Galatians says, and it's very clear when Paul is telling the testimony of how this happened, that they said, okay, Peter has been called to take the gospel to the circumcised, and Paul has been called to take the gospel to the uncircumcised. But see, Paul has to go all the way through this to go, okay, we're getting to who we're not serving. Sometimes God will show you what you're not doing before he will show you what you are. Don't despise it, it's part of what keeps you from being over there and going, "I wonder if that would have worked". No, you already tried that. So, you get all these no's right in a row so that you know a yes when it hits you in the face, and he was getting his yes.
And so, Paul has already gotten to live by his unhindering, and so the question remains for us, what does Scripture have to say about an unhindered life for us? What does that even look like? And so, here's where I began to think. In order to identify hindrances, we gotta figure out, okay, what has been assured to us? Because certain things that we work into it, like, this is what was supposed to be God's will, I mean, it's guaranteed God's will, half of what we are taught that is guaranteed as God's will for us as new covenant believers can't even be found under our covenant.
And so, we have to figure out, like, what did he say that life could be expected to be like for a believer this side of the day of Pentecost when the Spirit was poured out on those who believed on Christ? What was promised? What is the assurance of what we can picture life being as a Jesus follower in this age in which we live, so that we'd even know are we living unhindered, or are there hindrances, and then how do they move? So, are you in with me? So, here's what we know. It's not material possessions, that's not what he assured us of. It's not health, it's not wealth, it's not batting a thousand in prayer. None of those things, if we looked all of those things up and tried to go, well, now he promised us.
Oh, no, he didn't. He can bring wealth to anyone he pleases. He can bless us in material ways, or he can bless us in ministry ways that have nothing to do with any kind of materials at all. He can do it any way he wants to, but there is no promise attached to it that that's the way it's going to go down, none, none. It's not always getting the job. He didn't say every job you apply for you are going to get if you follow me. Didn't do it. Did not do it. Following Jesus is not a guarantee that we are gonna win at everything. Everything we try out for, everything your kid tries out for, oh, because you are in Christ. Yes, she's going to get cheerleader because you're a Christian. No, that's not what he says. He didn't say they would become president of their senior class because they're a Christian. He didn't say it, can he?
Absolutely, did he promise that as the normal outflow of the life in Christ? No, he didn't say we'd always be happy, he didn't say that what we felt like would always even feel bearable. It's not an absence of hurt, it's not even an absence of harms, how do I know that? Because of Paul, and it's certainly not an absence of conflict. Good grief, we war against demonic powers and principalities. It's certainly not going to be a life free of conflict. So, here's what... do you remember way, way, long time ago when we began this lesson? And we talked about that one way we could translate our keyword, that one Greek word, one way we could translate it is minus hindrance. So, here's what I want you to do with me in a lot of the remaining time we have. I want you to think in terms of word equations, word equations.
And so, I want to give you one so that we can, like, what is the question on the table? The question on the table is what can I expect? What did he say that I can expect out of the believing life so I'll know if I'm hindered or not? Is that a fair question? So, what does it look like. If it's not going to be that I'm gonna be wealthy, that I'm gonna win everything that I ever try out for or that I'm gonna do, then what does it look like, okay? So, I have given this a lot of thought, and it's at least very, very near this. Unhindered life equals full plus infused, but I want you to put Spirit infused beside it in parentheses, so you know what kind of infusing it is, plus fruitful, plus forever. Those things are yours because you are Christ's.
Now, somebody's thinking here, and I think this kinda stuff is fair game. We learn so much from having this kind of a thought process and asking some questions, because somebody is here that is fairly new to it and is going, "I could think of better things than this". I mean, anyone else? Because I can, I mean, if I were God, I can do anything. I mean, I could come up with more than this. But I beg to show you that it's just like everything. This is like everything. Everything of meaning and purpose falls under those categories somewhere. I'll give you a couple of ways how. Okay, so let's think full. It means full. Okay, where am I getting that? Well, from John 10:10, where he says, "I have come that you might have life and that you might have it to the full," you might have it more abundantly.
So, we know this for sure, he has told us if you come to me, if you are in me, I will give you abundant life. Now, we don't always live out of that abundance, because we will live in that scarcity mentality, but it's the bare minimum. Like, Lord, give me three words a week, Sunday sermon, or Wednesday morning Bible study, whatever it may be, give me three words. That's scarcity mentality. Here's God, he's just going, like, I'm gonna tell you something, honestly, you can't get to the bottom of me as a resource for your needs, you can't. You can't if you tried, you cannot. You can't even get to the bottom of the matter when you are studying my Word, because in Christ, Colossians tells us, are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
He says you'll never figure it all out. I got so much mystery for you, I got security and mystery for you, both of 'em. Everything you want in life and in an adventure and it a sacred romance, I have got every bit of it for you. So, full, it begins with full, so that means a lot of life. A lot of life. So, when there is no hinderance, we're not just, like, empty of life. Like, there's somebody to serve. What so often happens is that we live in this sort of way where we just choose emptiness and nothingness instead of doing the simplest things of ministering. All you have to do to minister in the name of Jesus is keep your ears open for the next need, that's it.
Do you know how many people around you don't feel like anybody loves 'em? So, love 'em. We want it to look so much fancier than that. We want it to have a lot of glitter and a lot of sparkle to it. Nope, this is ministry in the name of Jesus, meeting some needs in the name of Jesus. Visiting those who are in prison or jail, helping the sick, going to the aid of the poor. All of these, this is ministry. My friend here gave someone just recently her very first Bible, and she turned with her to the table of contents. I can barely say it because I wanna cry every time I think about it. When she told me, she nearly cried and then I nearly cried. Just the profoundness of that, of just showing somebody. I mean, do you know how much this thing is...
I've said so many times the Son of God saved my soul, and the Word of God saved my mind, and I'm not playing with you. He literally saved me from insanity through studying this book, just having my tortured mind renewed. She turned her to the table of contents, there's Genesis, Exodus, and okay, here's where the New Testament begins, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Acts, and the letter to the Romans. There ain't no cause for your life to be empty, not if you're in Christ. I mean, I'm saying, like, it may be more than you can handle, but it's full. This tub ain't empty, I'm gonna tell you that. It's full of living water, full. Well, how about Spirit infused? Oaky, this is just, like, Spirit infused.
I chose that word, I love the word "infused," because if I say Spirit filled, and it would have been so perfect, because it would have had such a good, I had good alliteration going here with the full, and then the filled, and then the fruitful, and then the forever. That is the way somebody from my Baptist tradition likes to teach Bible study, but if I say Spirit filled, then because we're multidenominational, just the way we like it, our minds go to certain perimeters. For many that is speaking in tongues alone and does not mean the whole gamut of what it means to have our lives infused by the Holy Spirit.
Now, I looked up infused in Merriam-Webster's, I love this. I'm quoting it to you, "Infuse implies a pouring in of something that gives new life or significance". So, what it's talking about when the Spirit infuses us, because the moment we are born in Christ, reborn of the Spirit this time, not of our mother and fathers, our natural parents' flesh and blood, but reborn of the Spirit, in that moment, the Holy Spirit comes to take up residency in us, and then we're sealed. The Holy Spirit's not leaving, and nothing else is getting in, we're sealed. And then from that point, I mean, we're like, we have the capacity to be Spirit empowered, led, fed, filled, thrilled, stilled, I can keep going. That's what it means. Do you know how much is wrapped up in that divine power? Spirit infused, fruitful, listen, okay, Jesus does not promise that life will always be fun, but he does promise that it can always be fruitful. He said you abide in me, I'm gonna tell you, you can't go through the thing that I cannot produce fruit from, you can't.