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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Beth Moore » Beth Moore - The Fight for Peace - Part 1

Beth Moore - The Fight for Peace - Part 1

Beth Moore - The Fight for Peace - Part 1

You may be seated. Would you turn with me, if you have your Bibles, to John chapter 14. If you didn't happen to bring your Bible, that's no problem. I'm gonna read you everything that we are going to need to hear from the scriptures. I won't just call it out. I will read it to you. But I'm gonna tell you something. What I pray for is that we will get to where we love the scripture so much that we even like the sound that it makes when we turn the pages. You know what I'm saying? I think something about that is so beautiful to the ears of God. I really, really do. We know that the scriptures describe the movement of the angel's wings in Ezekiel chapter 1 as roaring, I mean, roaring, that when they lift their wings and they lower them, that it's just a roar. I wonder what it is like for the Lord to hear just some pages of a Bible turning.

Now, here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna read two portions of scripture: John 14:18 through 27. Then we're gonna flip over to John 16. And what we're doing is we're coming right in on Jesus as he is giving what is called by theologians the Farewell Discourse to his disciples, and it's at every word of it, every word of it. When you think, if this was the last thing he wanted to say this side of the cross, what is it he would say to them? And you see these words pouring out of his mouth with the priority of "listen carefully before I leave you because this is what I will leave you with".

So looking to those, I wanna read John 14:18 through 27. Lord, bless the reading of your Word. Jesus says to them, "'I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. And on that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. And I will also love him and will reveal myself to him.' Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, 'Lord, how is it you're going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?' Jesus answered," in verse 23, "'If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. The one who doesn't love me will not keep my words. The word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me. I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I've told you.'"

Now, let me pause here for just a moment because I really take the Lord up on that promise right there. I love to practice memorizing scripture. Gets harder as I get older. It also gets harder to keep what I've already memorized where I can still bring it up. I have to do, you're always constantly having to accrue and go back and review over and over again. But I love this particular promise that he says: "The Holy Spirit will remind you of what I've taught you". So I'm often doing my memory work when I'm on a walk, and so I cannot even tell you how many times I say, "Holy Spirit, remind me. Remind me of that next word. Remind me of that next phrase".

And how often he does that, because what the Lord has taught, the Holy Spirit will remind you of those things. Verse 27, here is our key verse: "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don't let your heart be troubled or fearful. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful". John chapter 16, flip over a couple of pages. I'm gonna start at verse 25 and read through 33: "I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech. A time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. On that day you will ask in my name, and I'm not telling you that I will ask the Father on your behalf. For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world.

Again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father," telling him over and over again, "I'm gonna be leaving you, but I'm not gonna leave you as orphans. I will come to you, and I will send my Holy Spirit to you". Verse 29, "His disciples said, 'Look, now you're speaking plainly and not using any figurative language. We know that you know everything and don't need anyone to question you. By this we believe that you came from God.'" Jesus responds the most interesting way: "'Do you now believe? Indeed, an hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. And I have told you these things so that in me you may have...'", what is that word? "'...peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.'"

Couple of years ago, I was at Kroger grocery store in Houston, or, really, outside our small town on the outskirts of Houston. We live about 6 miles out in the country from that small town, and I was in the grocery store. Things were already getting pretty weird, pretty scary, but we had not been just closed up yet with the pandemic, lots of fear, lots of stirring, but not really closed up yet. And so a number of us, we're already wearing masks. We're doing the things, but we're shopping. Some are in the canned goods section. Some are over in dairy. Others are over in the vegetables. The others are over in the chips and with the soda, and somebody else might have been over in the wine, just scattered all over the store. But all of a sudden, an alarm goes off on all of our phones, not just iPhones but every kind of phone, and it sounds like that AMBER ALERT. You know what I'm talking about?

So all of a sudden, it goes off loud, and we all look at one another because it's going off at the same time with every single one of us. I've never seen that sight before where everyone suddenly pulled out their phone. I mean, on cue, the alarm goes off. People are digging through their purse. People are pulling out of their back pocket. And all of us are looking on the face of it, and it is a warning from our mayor's office, saying, "We are at Code Red with COVID-19. You need to isolate yourselves in your homes". And it was the most stunning, surreal moment. We're on this side of it now, so it sounds a little more acceptable to us today because we've already lived it. But at that time, you talk about spooky, and you talk about us looking at one another and suddenly we have everything in common, as different as we are, different ethnicities.

Our Houston area is extremely diverse, different ages, different status of health and wealth, and yet all of us have the same thing that we're reading on the phone. And all of us look at one another, and we can't even do anything with our mouths. We're doing it all with our eyes, and everybody's just, like, moving like zombies, trying to decide, "Do I leave my groceries? I mean, is it like... or is this like a Rapture, only it's, like, to your home"? It was just, like, the most amazing "go home" to everybody, that urgency. I've been thinking how crucial it is that we take stock of what we have been enduring, the cumulative effect of what we have been through, say, just in the last five years, and what's so weird about it is that much of what I'm about to describe has been everyone. It's not just some of us.

That's what's made it so weird, and you would think it would have united us in our common suffering, but that is not what happened. It just splintered all of us. But I want you to take stock of what we've been through. Here are just a few things we've been through as a society and as a culture. This is not even bringing into account what has happened to you personally. I don't doubt that you've either been to a funeral in the last five years or didn't even get to go to the funeral and be with your loved one who was dying because you couldn't go because of the pandemic. We have lived through the strangest thing.

So setting all the personal traumas aside, let's just think about the cultural traumas we've been through: the global pandemic, a social media and information absolute overload, extremism, where I don't know, I don't know where you are, but I look to the Far Right and I look to the Far Left and I think to myself, "I have no home. I don't even know where I belong. I don't even know who these people are. I've ceased to know who I am". Am I speaking to anybody tonight? Just the pure extremism, division, ecological disasters, threats of civil wars, threats of nuclear weapons, just such disinformation, the news media. Listen, just the yelling, if you want peace in your home, just having on some of those stations where they're all yelling at one another. It's like, "Why do I need this? Why do I need this"?

And I'm gonna tell you something. The news media well knows that good news does not keep viewers and it does not cause clicks, that what causes people to keep getting back online or keep flipping on that screen is to scare them to death and make them think you have some kind of answer for them and that you are the only one, and I say this across the board, across the board media, at so many extremes. It's all like, "We are right, and everyone else is wrong". And we just scratch our heads, going, "Who is telling the truth"?

Wouldn't you say that we are all, whether from Missouri, whether from Kansas, whether from Texas, Louisiana, or New York State, were we not all absolutely scarred by Uvalde? I believe that we were. That's the kind of thing you can't sleep over. That's the kind of thing you replay over and over again, and you can't wrap your mind around how something like that happened. I wonder if there's any possibility that you heard news that would've come just a couple of days later. I just wonder if it came your way at all about something that happened in Centerville, Texas, with a grandfather and his four grandsons who had gone to their, like, country house. It was kind of like a little hunting ranch there in the middle of Texas. He had taken his grandsons with him, and they were all shot violently, as if there's any other way to be shot, but I'm just simply saying that, worst-case scenario, of an escaped convict killed all five of them, a man and his four grandsons.

Did you happen to read that news or happen to hear it? We have known that family for 40 solid years, 40 years. When my friend and I and her husband pulled up to that funeral, there were five hearses outside that church. It was unthinkable. What has happened to us? And whether it is disinformation or it is violence, the overall tenor that has overwhelmed us and encircled us like a tornado has just been chaos. Would you agree with that? Just pure chaos. I want us to think through that word for just a moment because it has very big implications, and it's very important when we're trying to deal with something to name it. It's very important for us to use the word "peace," but then there's "chaos," and the way you even say it, you can feel it while you say it. But for just a moment, I wanna bring up on the screen, this is just regular "Merriam-Webster's Dictionary".

I want you to hear what this word means. You see that first part of the definition: chasm, abyss. Two is something that you'll perhaps recognize: when it's capitalized, so there's a capital C, a state of things in which chance is supreme especially: the confused, unorganized state of primordial matter before creation of distinct forms. B of that second definition: the inherent unpredictability in the behavior of a complex natural system (as the atmosphere, boiling water, or the beating heart). Three, A and B: a state of utter confusion; B, a confused mass or mixture.

Okay, what I'm about to do, I'm just gonna ask you to stay with me here because I'm about to quote a couple of short paragraphs out of "Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary" because I want you to hear what they would say if you looked up "chaos" in the Bible dictionary. This is what they would have to say, and it's interesting, so stay with it. Don't let your mind wander here. It says, -and I'm quoting, and I'll tell you 'cause I'll make a couple of comments along the way and tell you when I'm not quoting, and I'm quoting right here: "In Hebrew thought, however, the most prominent concept of chaos is that of the primeval disorder that preceded God's creative activity. When", and now they're quoting out of the scriptures, "'darkness was over the surface of the deep'" that's Genesis 1, verse 2, "God through His word destroyed the forces of confusion. Throughout the scriptures, chaos is personified as the principal opponent of God".

Does anybody hear that? Let me say that again. "Throughout scripture, chaos is personified as the principal opponent of God," and so, I'm interjecting this here, the most common, it goes on to describe this, but I didn't want to read that long. The most common metaphor for "chaos" in the scriptures is either a raging sea, or more often, even, when it gets very, very pictorial, when it's got a lot of imagery to it, it's gonna be sea monsters, like Leviathan, like ram, like, there are several different ones that are called by name that are these sea creatures, these sea monsters, that are used in imagery to try to give the feel of chaos.

So keeping that in mind, I'm going back to quoting now: "God demonstrated His power in creation graphically in the crushing defeat of chaos. Leviathan and the sea are at His command," and every one of these are giving scriptures that go with it. "In creation He curbed the unruly sea and he locked it into its boundaries". That's out of Job 38. "Thirdly, the chaos theme is implied, if not used, in the New Testament depicting God's victory in Christ. In the Gospels Christ confidently demonstrated mastery over the sea". We would find it in the Gospels. It's not an accident. It meant more to them than we understand it with our cultural ears, because they knew. It says when they were going across the sea to the other side and they came upon all the storm and the chaos, that was giving the sense of evil and confusion and the mess.

And so Jesus is speaking and rebuking it, and it settles. And it means more than that he just calmed a sea. It means he has complete command over chaos. So keeping that in mind, it says, and I love this, "In Revelation, when the ancient serpent, personified as the satanic dragon, rises out of the sea challenging His kingdom, Christ utterly defeats the adversary forever. So, beginning with Genesis 1, verse 2, when God conquered the formless waste, and continuing through all of the Scriptures, God's mighty power over chaos is shown repeatedly. Finally, the triumphal note is sounded in Revelation 21:1, 'The sea existed no longer.'"

You see, if we don't know all that background to it, we don't know why it would say because we'd go, "Wait, whoa, whoa, whoa, where's the crystal sea? And we know there's a river, so we know there's water. What's he talking about"? No, no, he's talking about the chaos of the demonic powers that make everything unruly and confusing and dark and terrifying. "A new heaven and a new earth", I'm quoting again, "a new heaven and a new earth are proof once again that chaos is conquered"!

Ours is a God of creative order. I love that. I love those two words 'cause they aren't just order but creative order, not just creative but creating in order, in order, the best of it all. And all we need to know about the increasing swirl of chaos around us is that in the words of Revelation 12:12, "The enemy is furious because he knows his time Is short". Chaos, increasing darkness, increasing violence, increasing deception. 2 John tells us that many deceivers have gone out into the world, and it's this crazy, wonderful reversal of the gospel going out to all the nations. It's anything God does, Satan attempts to counterfeit.

And so as as the truth is going from people group to people group to people group to people group, many deceivers have gone out into the world, so there's this enormous battle between truth and deception, and we know that it has already been conquered. And we're here to remember that this weekend. This present darkness, here is the good news, listen carefully, and this helps us explain why the enemy has done such a wonderful job of splintering us into 10,000 different corners, because this present darkness is the perfect stage for Jesus's followers to shine the light. So he certainly does not want that. So what we've done is that we've just adjusted our eyes to the darkness. We keep thinking that someone else is gonna be light in this dark world. No, it was actually you. It was actually me. It was the person sitting next to you, all of us in Christ.

This is our shining moment, but, somehow, we thought it was gonna be easier than this. We thought it was gonna be romantic and fun, and we think that Instagram and Twitter and all the different kinds of media we've got, this is the way our light shines. Oh, no. No, no. It shines in how we feel about our neighbor, in spite of how they feel about us. And all the turmoil and all the division, this is where we were meant to shine. Here's the thing. We humans, you can look on your hands and on your arms, we humans are a porous material. We have pores and we absorb. And that's the thing, is that we are surrounded by chaos, surrounded.

And so here's what I wanna ask you. If the chaos around us, let's say, 'cause I never think to myself, "This is as bad as it can get". Oh, no, no. We have not seen one another carried off and killed yet in this nation for worshiping Jesus. So I'm gonna give it a 7. Let's say that the chaos around us, on a scale of 1 to 10, let's just throw out there a 7, maybe a 6, but let's say a 7. So here's what I want to ask you, and I don't want you to answer it, but I want you to answer it to yourself.

So how's the chaos on the inside? Because what's happening is we are absorbing the chaos around us, and it is inside of us. And I just ask you: How's it going in there? Because we were given peace, and I don't know about you, but it hit me some months ago. This is unsustainable. This is not sustainable. Your psyche, your emotion, may I go so far as to say your physical body, I don't care if you're 25, your physical body cannot take that kind of unrestrained stress and chaos at all times.

And, I mean, it's just following us everywhere we go. We literally, I just cannot say enough how dangerous it is that the way we wake up in the bed is to reach for our phone and start looking at social media. What in heaven's name are we doing? This is where I'm gonna go very old school on you, but nobody's going to talk to me before God talks to me, nobody, nobody. See, I've already got an idea of what they're gonna say. Anybody know what I'm talking about? So I'm gonna try to arm myself in advance 'cause I know what they're gonna say. We gotta hear from God. We gotta have some peace, and we were given peace.
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