Beth Moore — Gravity (Full Sermon)
Luke chapter 2, and let me get you a little bit up to speed as we get there. Luke chapter 2, so we made a lot of distance now because what we're tracking is not just the history of Israel. What you and I are tracking is the up and down of the glory of God, that in some way in which he manifested his presence, his Shekinah, his manifested glory or presence, one of the reasons why this is so cool is because when the Old Testament uses the word "glory" most of the time it is the word "kabod". It means to be weighty, to be heavy with a pricelessness and expense. It would be like piling up blocks of gold on a scale that would weigh the scale down, that which was weighty was that which was expensive and beyond price.
So, we have seen his glory go up, so that puts them, the glory has literally left the building, gone up which mountain? Everybody, tell me. And there has been a silence over the land for the words of God for 400 solid years, not one fresh word from God, not one, not one. And the most wonderful thing happens, the Angel Gabriel comes to a young woman and says to her "'Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!' But she's greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. And he will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.'"
Now, this next little portion, I just have to read to you in the King James Version because it is fitting. Somebody say, "It is fitting". There is so much some accounts that can only be fully appreciated in the version in which we first learn them. "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men".
John 1:14 puts it this way in the most spectacular words possible. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth". We have God in the flesh and he has come, which directions, ladies? Down. So, what goes down? So, somehow something's coming up. Jesus began his ministry, was baptized publicly at the age of 30. He served calling his disciples next to him for three solid years, working miracle after miracle, after miracle telling them prophetic word after prophetic word what would be to come. He even told them that he would be crucified and raised again on the third day, but they could not bear the thought of it and their understanding was closed. And he spent those years around them, walked with them in absolute holiness and sinlessness as God made flesh dwelling among them.
Would you turn just a couple of pages prior to where you've been to Mark chapter 15:29 through 32. "And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, 'Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!' So the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, this is Jesus on the cross, saying this, 'He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe'". But he would not because it was imperative, since he was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world, that he would come and go to that very cross.
John 12:32 and 33, Jesus said, "'And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.' And He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die". So, we saw the Word was made flesh to make his dwelling among us and he went which direction, ladies? And he goes up with the cross so the gravity goes up. That which came to down had to go up. He is now on the cross for which he came. Luke 23:52 and 53, "This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid". What direction are we going, ladies? Down, laid in tomb down.
What's gotta come next? Luke 24:1 through 5, "But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, he has risen'". Somebody? He has risen. And so, what has gone down then has just come, what direction? Straight up. Would you write down "Resurrection"?
Look at Acts 1:9 through 12. Somebody just like get excited with me here. Acts 1:9 through 12, watch what's gonna happen here. It says, this is Jesus, he's come back from the dead. He's been raised from the dead. He's then appeared to people for a period of 40 days, speaking about the kingdom of God. And now look what it says, it says then that he's told them to wait for the promised Holy Spirit. He said, "You wait in Jerusalem for what I will send to you. Don't go anywhere till you do. It is a promise, and I will keep it. But this is what I want you to do. I want you to know you're gonna be witnesses for me all over this region and ultimately all over the world". And so, in verse 9, Acts 1, "And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way just as you saw him go into heaven.'" Verse 12, "Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet".
You know what mountain they were on when they saw him just take off? Mount of Olives, mount of Olives, the mountain just east of the city. Would you just get with me that his glory is tracking? He even went up in a cloud. I mean just the majesty of this that in his glory and in his splendor that he would have to be covered in a cloud 'cause he is about to come in to the presence of the throne room. The Son of God is going home. Somebody say, "amen" to that. So, we have the ascension, so I want you to write it over the Resurrection because when we went up this time, he went up, up, up, up, amen? Ephesians 4:9 and 10, "(In saying, 'He ascended,' what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)"
So, I want you to understand far above all the heavens. So, Jesus goes like, just like off the top of Mount of Olives, he starts ascending. They're like this, staring at him going. He gets caught up by a cloud. There he goes and he is ascending far above the highest heavens because in the Resurrection, he went up, but in the ascension he went, up, up, up, up, up. Somebody say, "amen".
All right, so we've got an up so somehow we're gonna have to us a down. Would you see with me in Acts chapter 2 please? I want to read verses 1 through 4. "When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance". It's going to tell us in the verses to come that they literally began giving the gospel message in languages that these people from all these regions that have come in for the great feast of Pentecost are hearing, it's all being interpreted to them. They are hearing it in their own languages, and they're just blown away that they're speaking a language they can understand.
Peter says to them, "But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 'In the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters'" Somebody say, "And your daughters". I need to hear it one more time. Would you just please look at one another 'cause that's some good news to us? Say, "And your daughters". "And your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in these days I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy".
I want you to look at the part of the chapter, look at verses 32 and 33, and I want to narrate this just a little bit for you. Okay so, Peter gets up and he preaches this astounding sermon to all those who are gathered there, who are so absolutely stunned over hearing the message of Christ in their own languages. Then God is pouring out a spirit and here's what Peter says, Peter says in verse 32 and 33, "This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing".
Okay, stay with me here. If they made such a big deal, if the angels literally crowded the sky up above where the shepherds were and said, "Glory to God in the highest," that Jesus Christ God made flesh had been born on this earth. I ask you to imagine with me, what do you think it was like when he got home? Are you telling me there was no party? Maybe there wasn't, but I have a feeling they were mighty glad to get him home. And then I think this was ceremonial because I think this was a very big deal that the Father literally hands him the promise. I want to say it again, it says being therefore exalted at the right hand of God. So, he comes into the throne room and he walks over to the right hand of God. There's a seat for him to take. "And there at the right hand of God, having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing". I want you to picture it something like this, literally takes of the Holy Spirit, and he's gonna tip it out like a bucket on this planet. And the Holy Spirit, after Jesus has ascended up, up, up, up, up, the Holy Spirit comes... Oh, you better believe it and that same spirit is pouring out today still pouring down. "I will pour out my spirit on my sons and my daughters".
There is nothing like the agenda of God, nothing like the meticulous, gorgeous planning of God. 1 Thessalonians 16 and 17, "For the Lord himself," it says, "will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord". Somebody say, "Hallelujah".
Now, here's what we don't know. For any of you that know a bit about end time events, you may believe in something called a pre-tribulation Rapture. Here's what they would believe, that those who believe in Christ at that time, that there will come a time when that trumpet will blow and when Christ will meet us in the air, and we are out of here and everyone left on the earth will be people that do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. We'll be taken up and then a seven-year, many people believe that it's literal, other people believe that it is figurative or symbolic, but that a period of seven years will come, the first three-and-a-half years being a time of tribulation, the second three-and-a-half years being a time of great tribulation. The beauty of it is more people will come to the knowledge of Christ in that time, an enumerable amount of people. It will be the greatest revival in all of history, however the downside is that people will have wished not to have lived through it.
Does anybody know what I'm talking about? So, we want out of here be like the Spirit is withdrawing the people of God up before the wrath comes but these people, though many are martyred, come to know Christ in numbers that are beyond accounting. It could also be that it's part of one event. It could be that the tribulation that the church will go through a portion of the tribulation or it may not. I don't believe we'll go through wrath, I do not believe that, but I'm just telling you that people who love God, theologians are all over the map on this. But I do want you to hear this. What many are saying is that it is also possible that there be a raising up, a midair meeting is what we're going to call it, that where the people of God come and meet him in the air to accompany him back to this earth.
There are many that believe that that it is part of the same event. Now, you might be going, "How would that be possible"? Because in the ancient world when a king would be returning, a victorious king would be returning, his loyal subjects would go out to meet him and they would accompany him in. Is that making sense to anybody? So, it could be seven years prior, it could be that it's part of exactly the same event and that then they come back with them, they meet him in the air, and then they come back with him. We don't know for sure but this I can tell you, it's all gonna happen. Exactly whether or not it will be separated by X amount of years, I don't know for certain. Theologians for centuries have not known for certain, but it is a beautiful, beautiful thing to know that there will indeed be a midair meeting and it is going to take us straight, could you tell me the direction? Up.
Would you turn with me to Revelation chapter 1, please? Revelation 1:7, "Behold, he is coming with the clouds". I mean, how much more consistent do you want this to be? That the glory when it fell, do you remember in Exodus chapter 40, that when his presence fell on that dwelling place, it fell in a cloud. It was also the same when it was in the temple then when it left in Ezekiel's vision, when it left that same temple, it went out as a cloud. It was last seen on what mountain? Mount of Olives, the Mount of Olives. I want you to know something, do you know that Zechariah chapter 14, just write it down and you can look for yourself later, says that, "When the Lord Jesus returns, he will set his feet on the Mount of Olives and it will literally crack". They say so often, "Well, there's a fault line underneath it, that's why it will probably crack into..."
Listen, when the feet of the immortal Lord Jesus Christ, the King of glory, set down on this earth again, he will not need a fault line to cause an earthquake. His pure majesty will cause an earthquake. And it says, "Every eye will see him, even those who have pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen".
Do you remember when Isaiah said in Isaiah chapter 6, when he saw the glory of the Lord, he said, "Woe to me for I am undone," that the very look of the glory was painful. It will be like that again when Jesus comes. I mean, just like wailing, like the look at just the pure sight of him of wailing. I'm gonna read to you out of Revelation 19:11 through 14 that says, "Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! And the one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. And his eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems," that's crowns, "and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. And he is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses".
That, beloved, is the Second Coming and he is coming down. Every eye will see him. If you're familiar at all with John chapter 14, Jesus said something beautiful to his disciples. He said in verses 2 and 3, "I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and I will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also". Revelation 7:9 and 10 says, "And after this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and with palm branches in their hands, crying out with a loud voice, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'"
Those are the ones coming out of the tribulation that have had the robes washed clean out of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And let me tell you, if that is just a glimpse of the people coming out of the tribulation that know him, can you imagine what it will be like at that throne? Can you even imagine what it will be like? I'm gonna give you just enough, just enough to comfort you tonight. Revelation 21:3 and 4, "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. And he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. And he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor anymore pain, for the former things have passed away.'"
The whole agenda from Genesis from the time that man fell in Genesis chapter 3, God had been enacting a plan that he had had before he had even said, "Let there be light," all about getting us back to the place where not only God is dwelling with man on earth, but man is dwelling with God in his dwelling place, and they will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads and he will... I love that it says that he will wipe away every tear. I love that it says that because I'm hoping we get one good last cry. I hope so. I'm so glad it doesn't say that we come with them dry. No, it says he will wipe, that literally someone get this with me, he will come to your face and he will dry your tears and say, "No more mourning, no more pain, no more death, for the former things have passed away. Behold, the new has come". And so, the people of earth redeemed by the lamb of God will go up.