Beth Moore - Between Two Advents - Part 1
Turn with me please to the book of 1 Peter and chapter 1, 1 Peter and chapter 1. You're going all the way deep in your New Testament, and I'm going to start reading at verse 1 through verse 13. Let it sink in as we go. "From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ's blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God's power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time".
Oh, it starts getting here in verse 6, "This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold, gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away, and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now, but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy because you are attaining the goal of your faith: the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who predicted the grace that would come to you searched and investigated carefully. They probed into what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified beforehand about the sufferings appointed for Christ and his subsequent glory. They were shown that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things now announced to you through those who proclaimed the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things angels long to catch a glimpse of".
Look at the beginning again, look back at verse 1, it's written by Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. If you're familiar with the gospels, you are familiar with Peter. Of all the apostles you would be most familiar with Peter in all probability. And it says, "To those temporarily residing abroad". Wherever you live is where you are temporarily residing abroad if you are in Christ. Because we're going to see that we are gathered into the same kind of people that he's about to describe. So, he takes on, then, five different cities, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia.
And so what he's doing, if we were to look on a map, we would look in what was Asia Minor or what is modern Turkey today, and we would find five different locations that would make, if we were to draw a line between them and connect the dots, they would roughly make a circle. And one reason why we would see that in a number of cities that are located close together in a letter, and in many ancient letters and pieces of correspondents you'd see something like this, because they were going to go from city to city to city by a courier that was doable. That it was few enough miles that they could get from one location to the next to the next. Taking that letter, reading it to those, then going to the next place, reading it to those.
So, in these five different locations, there were these early, early New Testament churches, these little nascent, baby churches that had already been brought into existence by the Holy Spirit of the living God, and that's who he's talking to. And he says, listen to this, "Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ's blood". So, by this time there are the Jewish people that have been given this Promised Land, very few of whom are living in it. And they were called the diaspora, it's a word that means, it's a sowing term, and by sowing I mean S-O-W-I-N-G. It means to scatter seed.
It's the most gorgeous thing, because when the New Testament church was instituted in Acts chapter 2, when God pours out his Holy Spirit and their tongues are lit with fire, and they preach the gospel in all these different languages and so many come to know Jesus, he had told them before he ascended, "You will be witnesses to me here of me, here in Jerusalem, then in Judea, and then on to Samaria and into the uttermost parts of the world". Well, when the persecution broke out so hotly, they scattered. So, only a little community of Jewish Christians remained in Jerusalem, and they were under James the half brother of Christ's leadership. And many of the rest of them scattered all over the place, so what were they doing? They were taking the gospel to all of those places. And they were being obedient to the Spirit already, but I do want to suggest to you when God says go, sometimes he thinks you may need a little help to go.
So, I will give you, I'm going to turn up the heat here so you'll know you're going to have to move. And that's exactly what happened. So, they became their own diaspora, their own scattering. And that's the way Peter's looking at it. He's going to use terminology here that is so brilliant, because you're going to see him tie together the old covenant and the new. Remember, you can't take the Jewishness out of these gospel roots. It wasn't meant to be broken off, this was a fulfillment. This made complete sense in the gospel plan, it wasn't that there was suddenly a plan B. This was plan A all along, and he fulfilled it just as he said it would.
So, now I want you to notice with me, this is Peter writing, who is a simple fisherman by trade from the northern part of Galilee. And he has one of the most spectacular, gorgeous openings to a letter in the entire New Testament. Because listen to what he does as he involves all three members of the trinity in the people of Jesus Christ. He said, "By the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Holy Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ's blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure". Then he goes on to say, "Blessed be God". All of this is so Jewish, but he's going to turn it to where it has all the newness of the gospel shining all over, it's spectacular. But is it by the foreknowledge?
I want you to understand that this went into your salvation. If you are in Christ, the entire Godhead has been involved in your salvation. In all our struggling with insignificance and all our wondering if we matter here, if God even knows we're alive down here, and if he can see what we're suffering down here, the entire Godhead, there is no exception in this room, has been involved in your salvation. You were chosen by the foreknowledge of God the Father. You were set apart by the Holy Spirit of the living God for sprinkling with the blood of the one and only spotless Lamb. Now, what he's doing right there with the sprinkling of the blood, he is tying right back to Exodus chapter 24. I'm not going to have you turn there, but I'm going to tell you a little bit about it, because this is such a wild scene.
So, Moses is trying to prepare the people of God for the laws of God. And so they say to him, "Now, listen". They're all gathered around that Mount Sinai, and they're like, "You go up, because that looks scary to us". And so 'cause all these thunderings are coming from it, a dark cloud is there on the top of that mountain. And here's Moses and they say, "Tell you what, you just tell us what he says, and then we're going to do it. That's it, that's all it's going to be. You tell us, we're going to do it". And so he begins to write a lot of things down, the laws of God. You can look at it for yourself. And what I'm thinking is he's thinking, "Oh, you ain't doing it. Nobody can do it". And so what he does...
Now, it doesn't say that. I'm just saying based on what he's about to do now, and of course he's under the power of the Holy Spirit doing it, obedient to the Spirit, what he does, then, is he asks for a number of sacrifices. And then it says he has half the blood that he uses on the altar. The other half he takes in a bowl. I want you to try to get this with me, imagine being at a gathering and somebody takes a bowl of the blood of sacrifice, and he starts sprinkling it on the people. Can you even imagine? What kind of scene would that be? How shocking would it have been to them to have that sprinkled on them? But what was he doing?
He knew, and under the power of God and the leadership of God, they could only be covered by the blood. That was it. There was no way they were going to come through and be obedient to all of those laws, just exactly like us. And so he's using that same terminology 'cause they're saying like, "Oh yeah, we will. We're going to do what you say. We're going to do it, that's it. You go be with him. We're going to be down here. You be the intercessor. We're good to go". He said, "You're not good to go. You're not good to go. You've got to be covered by the blood". Without the blood, there is no remission of sins.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Verses 3 to 12 in Greek are one sentence. All of those, it's one gorgeous run-on. And it seems to us like that would be a treacherous way to use language, but to them, I mean, it was a style of writing. Paul did the same thing over and over again. But I mean, when I tell you that Peter is displaying the work of the Spirit in what he is laying out here in this letter, I am not kidding. And it says here, he says in verse 4, "That is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading". Anybody else just like at your wits end trying to figure out what to give people who already have anything? Anybody?
Most of the people we know have everything they could possibly need and most of what they want. I mean, I have to come up with things. Melissa did something with me this year that was brilliant, because I say to them every single year, "I need your list". And the reason why I need a list from them is because if they don't give me a list, I'm going to buy my own stuff for them, and they're not going to like it. Anybody? Anybody know what I'm talking about? So, I need a list. So, this year she said to me, "I'll give you my list as soon as you give me your list". Well, I couldn't even think, I said, "Babe, I can't even think. I just want y'all". I said, "You know, old people don't need a lot of stuff".
I don't know how to explain that exactly. I don't know. It's one beautiful thing about getting older is you just don't like lust after a bunch of stuff. It just does not have the same, you've already found out that that just doesn't really do anything for you, so it's like... but looking for something to give. I mean, today I thought, "Well, okay". You know, I'd already done some shopping for the grandkids so that you don't feel sorry for them, but I even looked up, should I give them a goat? You know, 'cause you can give a goat into a community where it's so helpful, and I could do it in their honor. Would they understand that they had given a goat to someone? Would that make them really, really happy? Because aren't we looking for something imperishable, undefiled, and unfading?
I want you to understand that's our inheritance. In other words, time has had no impact on it. It's a wonderful thing to think about, the eternal condition and state and what that order will be like, because I don't know about you, but I tend to want to think living forever and ever and ever, I mean, it's better than dying, but it seems like a long time. Does it? And that there's no night there, I need night. Like are we going to get away from people some? 'Cause there's going to be ten... So many. Will we all get a little private time? I don't know, you know? It's just like, but see, the thing about it is time will not exist there, so where we're thinking we're going to go, "Man, we've been here a long". No, we won't have a concept of time.
And so understand with me, nothing can get old there. So, your inheritance, like those that went to be with Christ that were in the first generation believers, Peter and the rest of the apostles, all of those that were in that generation that knew Jesus, our inheritance is no older than theirs was, because it can't perish, it can't fade. Nothing can happen to it. Just all there just waiting, just waiting. In the New Testament, there are three primary terms that are used for the second coming of Christ, three different terms that are used for the second coming of Christ. One of them is the original Greek form of our word, it looks almost exactly like it, it's just got a little bit of a different ending on it, it looks like our word and is what our word comes from, epiphany.
Epiphany. That word, a form of that word in Greek is used in reference to the second coming. It is a word that means appearing, it means a manifestation of the divine. I love that it means an arrival, an arrival of sorts. So does the next word, but I want you to think in terms of this. 2 Timothy 1:10 uses a form of it for the first advent, and listen carefully to it. Speaking of salvation, Paul writes, and I'm reading to you 2 Timothy 1:10, talking about salvation, "Which has now been manifested through the appearing", that's a form of the word epiphany, "appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel".
So, it is used for the first advent, but it is also used at times for the second advent. So, that's one word that is used for the second coming. Another word that is used, it is less familiar to us, parousia, and it is a word that means the same general thing, arriving, arriving, a coming, an appearing. It's found in 2 Thessalonians. It's found in a number of places, but it's found specifically in a beautiful place in 2 Thessalonians 2:1, "Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together with him".
Now, this is where we're going. This is where we're going, because the third word looks very much like and is what we get our word apocalypse from. Apocalypse, it is the word that means revelation, a manifestation, a seeing. This third one is used twice in these passages here. It's used once in verse 7, "Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold, gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away, and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed". And then you go to verse 13, "Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed".
Any of those three words could be used interchangeably. And very often they're not even really distinctive from one another. But when they are distinctive from one another, and this is what one Greek dictionary points out and this is why I wanted you to hear it, this word that is much like our word apocalypse. it is a word that means revelation, uncovering, unveiling, a disclosing or a disclosure. Listen to this Greek definition, it says, "This word is a grander and more comprehensive word, includes not merely the thing shown and seen but the interpretation". In other words, when the Word of God says that every eye will see him, there won't be anybody who does not know who it is, because the interpretation of it will come with the revelation of it.
You understand what I'm saying? So much will be understood in that moment. So much that has been confusing that on the sight of this one holy, immortal Son of God, not only will there be the revelation, there will be the interpretation that goes with it, the unveiling of it, the manifestation of it. I can't think of much better news. So, as we're gathered here on this particular day for this particular lesson, you and I are at a time in history between two advents, the first advent of Christ and the second advent of Christ.
And what I want to suggest to you is that that is a peculiar place to be, and we feel it. We in this diaspora, we the people temporarily residing abroad in a place that does not feel like home to us. And most of the time, we do not know why, longing for belonging that we cannot seem to find. Am I speaking anybody's language in this place? With a greater and greater reality at all times that this world is not fond of us, we who carry the gospel and believe that there is only one name by which man, woman can be saved, and that is the name of Jesus.
I want to say something to you. In our non-liturgical churches, we've got a mix in this room, which is what I love about our Living Proof gatherings, and it's always, very, very interdenominational and nondenominational. But what we have in this room, we have a number of people coming from liturgical churches and a number of people coming from non-liturgical churches. But our non-liturgical don't realize that there is a heavy emphasis in the liturgical churches placed upon the second advent as well as the first.
And what I want to suggest to you, whether that's our practice or not, whether that is how we would want to practice our holiday season or not, it is meant very much to be on our minds as certain as was the first coming of Christ, there will be a second coming. And that our remembrance of it, what I am hoping the Holy Spirit is going to do through this lesson is somehow awaken something in us to understand that as surely as Christmas ever gets on our minds, and I mean how soon, I mean, the moment it's out at Target, the moment we see the red and green at Wal-Mart, I mean the moment we see the first, if you're like me, man, I start nearly trembling 'cause like no, no. Because I know what that's going to mean to the matriarch in the family.
Can I see anybody? Anybody pressing in with me on it? I know the kind of pressure that's going to be at stake at that point. But as surely as it's ever on our minds, we're supposed to be mindful that he who came is coming again. And I wonder if we could interrupt this holiday season with a strong emphasis, with a shaking to our bones of the glorious expectation that the one who came is coming again? I'm going to tell you something, if we got that, our Christmas would be brighter. That here living between these two advents has complete implications for everything we do, everything we do.