Beth Moore — Advance
Our word this weekend comes right off the page, verse 12, Philippians chapter 1, where it says, for I'm just gonna tell you, I'll paraphrase this, that what has happened to me has actually happened to, here's our key word, "advance". Would everybody just say that word with me? Say it again, I wanna hear it. Advance. We are here to advance, to advance in the gospel and then to advance the gospel. It is what we are doing here. And I gotta tell you, we're gonna build this acrostic so we're gonna work out an A-D-V-A-N-C-E throughout our time together. We're gonna build a point through each one of those letters of the word "advance".
And so we're gonna start with what letter? "A," and "A" is gonna be for this: "A kingdom is coming". When the apostle Paul says in Philippians chapter 1, "What has happened to me has actually happened so that it could advance the gospel," when we're talking about the gospel there's a very specific context for the gospel. It is the gospel of the kingdom of our living Lord Jesus Christ which he prophesied would go throughout the whole world, a kingdom is absolutely coming. But what's our next letter 'cause we're gonna build it immediately upon the other one? "D," "Dare to advance it". Here's where we have a springboard for everything we're studying this weekend.
And let me tell you something. In this day in which we live, none of us in all of our separate denominations have got by ourselves what this is going to take in our day. We do not have it. I don't know any other way to put it but think of it this way. It's already rigged in advance to put us to unity because we cannot do it. We cannot do it by ourselves. We come to a place on the kingdom calendar when all of our factions are no longer going to work. We are going to have to unify, we're gonna have to come together. We don't have to agree about everything but are we together in Christ? Have we been saved and raised to new life through the cross, the death, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that he has ascended to the right hand of God and he is coming back for us? Do we agree right there? Because that is the power. That's the bottom line, that is the spine of the gospel and it's gonna take allied forces. We're gonna have to be together, side by side and contend for the gospel.
Now I wanna show you a Greek word. It's pronounced "pro-ka-pane". It is from the word "prokopto," and it's that compound between that word "pro" which is pro to us and you know what that means. It means the same thing for us, before or forward, and "kopto," to cut, to strike, or to impel. Now listen carefully. It means to beat or drive forward as if with repeated strokes, hence to go forward or further, to make progress, or to proceed. To cut down, before or forward, or in front of something means to go through something where you are literally hacking it through with a machete.
I want you to think about the sword of the Spirit and that for you and I to advance in the gospel and to see the gospel advance through us, you and I have got to get bold enough, you and I have got to step forward enough to take the sword of the Spirit, and I'm talking about in the unseen realm, and literally, I mean, just start hacking through the darkness to advance the kingdom of God. Anybody willing to do that? I mean, just like, hack the thing through? We're gonna get something on us that changes our perspective this weekend, that lightens us up in a place where we have gotten overly comfortable and are sitting back and shrinking back from what God has called us to do. That's what we're gonna see.
Listen, because if we do not advance in it, we cannot advance it. So you and I, it's a beautiful concept this weekend. I've been telling the Lord all week, "I want this. I want this. I want this so badly for myself". Every one of us, 5000 different ones of us, are being called, wherever we are, to advance in Christ. Every single one of us, wherever we are, we are being called. We're gonna see the concept. Oh, you're not gonna be confused on it. You'll see it very clearly. Wherever we are right now in all of our different places, we're about to push through to that next place. Anybody game for that? We've been in this place long enough, even if it's a good place.
It's not to say anything's wrong with the place. It's just to say we're getting to a place and this is what I was talking to the praise team about earlier, that it is sort of the norm in our Christian experience that we sort of like get in there and, in the early days, we just kind of press it through and press it through and grow and grow and grow and then, for most of us, we just get to a spot where this is our spot. Anybody? Anybody? And so we sort of dig in right here, this is where we're comfortable, this is where we know ourselves. This is how we operate. This is how I do my prayer time, this is how I worship. And I mean, it just looks the same. We get to where it just looks the same over and over and over again. Could anybody just raise your hand? Could anybody just, like, use something new?
Listen, I feel like the word he put on me today is there is an us, there is a you. You have not even yet met... I need somebody to hear that. There is a you. You have not even met her yet. You have not put her mascara on her. You've not put any lip gloss on this woman. You've not colored this woman's hair yet, not once. You've not dressed this woman. This woman has not carried a purse yet because there's somebody that God's wanting to make you and somebody that God has wanted to make me. At my age! And at whatever age you may be. That we don't even know yet. Anybody game for that? Because this weekend you and I, we're gonna press into it. We're gonna receive it. We're gonna step into it. We're gonna make an advancement. We're gonna advance in the kingdom of our living Lord Jesus Christ. We're going to dare to advance in it.
Now, listen, but we got somewhere to go we have not yet been. We've got someone to become that we do not yet know. Some of the most important parts of your story have not taken place yet. Anybody? Is anybody going, "I'm hoping so," besides me? I mean, anybody need to know there's better days ahead, better chapters to be written? I need to know it. I need to know it. Now, listen, a very closely associated word with advance is the word "advantage". I am a word lover. I not only love words in the original language, I love English words. I look up all sorts of words. I like to look at the history, the origin of the word. And so I look at "advance" very closely, I'll just stare. Listen, I will work a concept. I have wallowed in this concept all week. I've turned it every... I have said it all sorts of different ways. I've said it to all sorts of different things. I've said it and said it and said it.
And so, as I've said it, I've thought about words that are like it and I looked up the word "advantage". Do you already see with me that it's a similar word? What's our word? Advance. And then the word advantage. They both come from the same Latin root word. An advantage is anything that aids in advancement. If I asked you, "What advantage have they had"? It would be something that would have aided in their advancement. Is that clear? You do not have one single disadvantage that God can not use to your advantage. This is the difference between the gospel and the way the Holy Spirit works and how the world works. Every single disadvantage bar none, without exception, can be used to your advancement and to your advantage. I need to know if anybody's happy about that. Anybody happy about that? 'Cause would you show me some hands. Anybody got some disadvantages in here? Anybody? Anything at all stacked against anybody in this room, anybody? Anybody?
Now, we're gonna see this flip and I'm gonna show you the Lord delighted me so much in his Word I had to stand up. Sometimes when I'm studying I just have to get up. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Like, I can't receive it sitting down. I'm gonna have to get on my feet, I'm gonna have to react to Jesus over it. But what God began to show me, it was yesterday, in my hotel room, God showed me the exact moment of revolution where disadvantages through the work of the Holy Spirit were turned into advantages.
I'm gonna read it to you but you write it down. John 16:6-7 say this: "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth". This is Jesus talking to his disciples. "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Holy Spirit will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you". He said, "Listen to me. It's to your advantage". I mean, the worst thing that they could think of that could possibly happen to them is that Jesus Christ left their sight. Worst possible thing. And yet Jesus is saying to them, "I'm gonna make you understand something. This is what happens with the coming of the Holy Spirit". For those of us who receive Christ and we have the Holy Spirit living in us, every single disadvantage is turned to an advantage. Everything that we will cooperate with, God will turn it around and use it. He said, "This is actually for your advantage and not your disadvantage".
I want you to see back in verse 12 of Philippians 1: "Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel". "Have turned out". Everybody say that with me. Say that again. Say it one more time. Look at one another and say, "Give it time to turn out". Give it time to turn out. All a disadvantage needs is time to turn out. It needs some time to turn out. It has turned out the way it all turned out. It may not look like it right now but, girlfriend, that thing is gonna turn out good. Look at somebody and say, "It's gonna turn out good". Oh, it's gonna turn out good.
Oh, and listen, I love the King James Version. Anybody have the authorized version in here tonight? 'Cause it's so much better. Now, it's so much better even than the New King James. Listen to the original KJV: "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel". "Have fallen out". Everybody say, "Have fallen out". Listen, some things just have to fall out. Anybody? Anybody? Listen, some disadvantages, they just fall out. They just fall right out there and then they just fall out into an advantage. But everything you have going against you, God can work for you. Everything, everything.
In fact, it's what shows the evidence of the Holy Spirit on you. It's what brings you life. It is your testimony. It's what makes you living proof to people out there. It's not that you don't have any disadvantages. It's what God is doing with your disadvantages, that he keeps turning everything for you instead of against you. You don't have the one thing that cannot turn out or fall out for the advantage and the advancement of the kingdom of God. In kingdom advancement, disadvantages can be double advantages.
I gotta tell you something. I have my husband's full permission, but God forbid that anybody take this story out of context because I not only love my man, I am in love with my man. We are going through the best season of our entire married life. He and I finally hit our stride at 35 years. I know that's encouraging. I know that y'all are thrilled to hear that it could happen any moment for you. Just wait 35 years and you just cannot believe what God can do. But Keith and I have done this... for 35 years. I mean, we have done... well, we have not done this... we did this... anybody know what I'm talking about? I mean, we have been a mess. We were each a mess and then we married into the double portion of a mess.
Oh, listen, he's cute which is what got... I married... I broke an engagement to marry someone who was beautiful. That's it. That's it. And I cannot even tell you what I signed up for and where it went after that. And he was saved, I think, you know. I don't know if he asked Jesus into his heart or asked me into his heart. But listen, listen, engagement evangelism really does not work well. Like, you're gonna have to receive Jesus and then ask me to marry you. That's what we did. That does not work well. And so we rode such a rollercoaster but I gotta tell you something. I am convinced, so many times along the way I was, like, "God, I mean, think how this would have worked well together if he had been really spiritual. Think how good this would have gone if we had been equally yoked. Think! Think how good it could have been. Think how we could have ministered together. What if he spoke and talked, we could go, like, do marriage seminars and stuff".
And I'm just, like, you know, what... "I have friends that have deacons for husbands. I mean, what happened here? What happened"? You know, don't you know the Lord was going, "I'll tell you what happened here. Does handsome ring a bell to you in any way? Does that ring the least bell"? And I just, you know, and I'll just over and over I think, "Oh," and what's... listen, I'm laughing with you about it but it has been H-A-R-D, hard! Hard! A lot of tears, a lot of angst. A lot of times I did not know and he could not have known, we were even gonna make it. And here we were, called to this life.
And I'm gonna tell you something that I believe with all my heart and this is where I'm gonna wanna feel like crying about it. I'm gonna have to press through. I am convinced that God has used it for our good in ministry. I am absolutely convinced that what I considered 10.000 times to be a disadvantage in ministry, to have turned out, to have fallen out, and if I've ever said the words "fallen out," we fell out. That it has fallen out to the advancement of the gospel. I'm gonna tell you why. Because most of you in this room do not have someone at home that is your deacon. Many of you in this room are not pastors' wives. Many of you in this room will go home to someone that does not even believe in Christ whatsoever. Or if he does, he is not really in leadership in your home.
Am I telling the truth? 'Cause if I'm lying, I'm dying here. I'm just saying across the board, most of you, most of the women that I minister to, are in my exact situation, exactly. So I mean, I could have just told you how it was done because I have done it. Or I could tell you that God has been faithful to us. God has performed miracles in my marriage. My marriage is a stinking miracle. And I'm telling you, I have seen God's faithfulness. My God has been faithful to me and even when I thought there is no way my husband could be right on this, no way that man could be right on this, over and over when God would say, "Would you just respect him? Would you just be there for him? And you watch how this thing will fall out". And every time, God brought it to pass. Every single time.
I'm gonna tell you over and over again, I know that no one wants to hear this with my background and I understand it. This will be an offense to some people that have my background of childhood sexual abuse, but I'm just gonna tell you I had no bigger disadvantage in my entire life than that. You're talking about something that turned my world upside down. I could not make a good relational decision to save my life. And yet I'm gonna tell you that as God began to put me together and as God began to heal my heart and God began to heal my mind, he has used that disadvantage to advantage in ministry for me over and over and over and over and over. I have ministered out of that thing over and over. I am telling you, you do not have it. You do not have the one disadvantage that God cannot use to your advantage. And I don't know if that's good news to anybody but me, but that is glorious, glorious news to me.
Now, let me tell you something. You and I, we get stalled in our believing lives. Anybody just, like, stalled? Not a bad place, not in a sinful place necessarily. Just, we just get to a place and we kinda just like stop here. Everything starts looking the same. Could somebody raise their hand that says, "Yeah, I'm kind of in that place. Kinda wanna go somewhere new". 'Cause if you're feeling that way, you're in exactly the right place. If you're not feeling that way, sit here for a minute and I hope you will. Because we're going somewhere new. Everybody say, "We're going somewhere new". And say, "I'm gonna be somebody new".