Beth Moore - The Caller and The Called - Part 4
We can trip over our own feet, we can trip over someone else's feet, and we can trip over Jesus's feet, and on the other side of that colon, what word do you have there? "Offense". Everybody, say it again. We can get offended by him. And I mean, we're trippin' over our own Savior's feet because he's, like, made us mad or somehow made us draw back, and we don't understand what he is doing. Now, I want you to hear this in verse 60 of John chapter 6: "Therefore, when many of his disciples heard this, they said, 'This teaching is hard. Who can accept it?'"
Anybody? He'd been talking about, they'd ask him about the Manna from heaven, and he'd been talkin' about the Bread of Life, and then he gets into saying to them, he said, "I'ma tell you something," in 53, "Truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life in yourselves". Well, they're like, blurghf. Of course, he's not talkin' about cannibalism. What he's talking about, and this is where he was like, going too far to them, is what he's talking about is like, it's not just this compartmentalization we do with calling, like, it's the work that I do. No, he said, "You're ingesting the whole of it," taking it in yourself but also, you know, has some sacramental implications to the bread and the wine, and he's saying, "You will'", like, it becomes part of you. It's your being.
Well, there's a, whoa, you know, like, you be there. I'ma be here. And I'ma tell you, let me tell you, if you do not think any of Jesus's teaching is hard, you are not reading the Scriptures enough. If there's no time that you're reading something that he said, that you don't go, "I don't know what you meant by that," or, like, "That was rude," I mean, you know, "I hate to say something, I know you're sinless, so your heart had to have pure, but your words were rude". You know, they were just times that were just like, "What"?
And it says Jesus... John 6:61, this is one of these things that drives me crazy about Jesus, but it's what keeps me so honest with him is that he's constantly reading our hearts. Like, we do all of this, He goes, "You know what? I'm seeing this, but I'm hearing this, just so you know that because you're just... mm, but I'm mute to this. Right now I'm hearing this," you know what I'm saying? And so he knows. He knows what they're complaining about, and he says, "Oh, does this offend you"? Verse 62: "Then what if you were to observe the Son of Man ascending to where he was before"? In other words, he's talkin' about "I'm gonna ascend, and I'm gonna send my Spirit to you," but he's like, "Listen, I'ma be leaving you before your very eyes".
"The Spirit," verse 63, "'is the one who gives life. The flesh doesn't help at all. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some among you who do not believe,' for Jesus knew from the beginning those who did not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, 'This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by my Father.'" In verse 66, "From that moment many of his disciples turned back and no longer accompanied him". Verse 67: "So Jesus said to the 12, 'You don't want to go away too, do you?' And Simon Peter answered, 'Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.'"
I gotta tell ya somethin'. The Spirit really makes me cry because there are decisions that God makes that we are not happy about, but he could've done it a different way. We're all like, "How hard would this have been for you? You're God". There are things that he says and things that he does that we're just like, "Why'd you do that? Why'd you do that? Why did that go down that way"? And we know that, one day, we'll see his face, and we'll see him face-to-face, and we will know as we would know. In other words, this will be complete to us, and we'll see the other side, and we'll know. You see, he's seeing all of time at once. He sees what's happening four generations from now that your now-life is impacting.
You have no idea that it is, but it's going to impact the line after you, and you're going, "Beth, I don't even have children". Listen, in the Word of God, it's spiritual lineage that gets the most press in the New Testament framework of "family". It's spiritual lineage, yes, physical lineage, but this is the kind that where Paul was going, "You are my true son, Timothy". I'm talkin' about spiritual lineage. There are things that are affecting generations from now, if the Lord tarries, that are like complete mysteries to you, and these things will happen. John the Baptist sat in prison, waiting. He knew Jesus had the power to free him. He knew what Jesus could do. He knew what he could do, and he sat there just waiting and waiting and waiting, and "Surely, he's gonna come get me. Surely, he's gonna come get me. I mean, I baptized him. I'm his relative".
He even sends his disciples. Oh, he goes, "Would you just go ask him, I mean, like, do the blind see? I mean, would you ask him, 'Are you the one, or is there another one to come?'" He knew exactly who he was. Jesus. He'd heard the voice. Well, Jesus does not rescue him because an age is ending. The age of the Old Testament prophets is ending, and the Messiah has come, and Jesus even says, "There's no man born greater than that one right there". If you don't think he had a marvelous entrance, but he went out of this place completely confused. They raised the sword, and he's goin', like, "Where is he"? And all Jesus said to him is "You tell him back that I said that the blind see. The mute speak. The dead are raised". 'Cause he knew. He knows that's messianic.
When Jesus found out he had died, it was like, "Blessed is the one who is not offended at me," because the chance for offense, like, "I have loved you. Why didn't you come through for me"? There's mysteries. Some of these had been losses in their life, devastating losses. What do we do with that when Jesus has offended us, I mean, hurt our feelings or made us mad? But "You could've done this so differently. Why didn't you"? What do you do with that? I'ma tell ya something. This is after many, many, many, many years in the faith and watchin' many people, 'cause I just hear from time to time.
This happened just here lately, "So-and-So's walked away from the faith". "So-and-so's walked away from the faith", and you know what? They may have, but I'm gon' tell you somethin' about Jesus. He'd be the hardest thing on earth to stay away from. I'm just saying, if you have known him intimately, just go out there and try to replace him. You will have fun for a little while 'cause, like, "You're free. Sleep with who you want. Do what you want. You're free of him. You're free of him". Only, he won't get out of your house and everywhere you turn, and the fact is you miss him so badly, you do not know what to do, but you're afraid, if you talk to him again, you're gon' have to be right back there in that offense again. Is anybody gettin' this with me?
But I'm gon' tell ya somethin'. There's no one like him. There's no one like him. What I think we'll probably see... See, it used to be that people would have the ebb and flow. There's ebb and flow in your faith walk. There just is. Sometimes, you're gonna go through seasons where you're gonna go, "You know what? Really, right now I'm mad". But you know what we're doing right now that we didn't have the capacity to do before? We publish as permanent, we Facebook it, we Instagram it, we tweet it, we blog it, we paste and publish as permanent that which was temporary, and then we do this in the big ways too: "Oh", I mean, I've never, "God has brought me here". Oh, yeah?
Well, you know what? In a year, no tellin' where you might, you know what I'm just sayin'? Let's not go sayin', "I'm on my mountaintop. I am here forever. Oh, he has finally brought me here. I have arrived". I have this weird thing in me that, when I land at an airport... I've tried. It's a compulsive thing. I can't stop doing it. I don't know why. I try to walk past it. I try to walk past it, but I cannot, when I go by the screen that says, "arrivals," I have to see if my flight has arrived.
Now, listen, I'm already off the flight, you understand? I know it's arrived. I got off of it, but we're constantly trying to find out if we arrived. It anybody steppin' in this with me? Like, "I arrived. I arrived. I arrived". And we're gonna post pictures of our arrival. We ain't arrived nowhere. And our high may be followed by a very low low. But I'm gonna tell ya something. We'll think we're gon' walk away from him, but he will not walk away from us. And once you've known him and been with him in a way that human flesh and blood... there's just nobody that can do for me what Jesus can do for me. It's just not gonna work. It's not gonna work. So there's just mystery involved. "In him are hidden the mysteries," the mysteries, Colossians says. All the treasures of wisdom and all, they're hidden in him, and we'll see him when we get home. Until then, we walk by faith and not by sight.
This is Christ who calls us, the one who spun the planets into orbit and spoke the light out of darkness, Jesus, the one worthy of walking away from everything else to follow, the one who captivates us with parables and stories, who takes a coin out of the mouth of a fish, who lets a woman wash his feet at a formal dinner, wash his feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair, who sees Zacchaeus, a wee little man, up in a big tree, out on a limb. "Come on down, Zacchaeus. I'm going to your house today". This is the one; not one disciple ever recanted at their martyrdom, not one. All it would've taken is "No, I will renounce the name of Christ". Not one. Not one. Some of them went to gruesome deaths. Not one. Why? Because there was no one like Jesus. In all we do not know, what do you know? What do you know? This is the one who makes life worth living, makes life worth the trouble and makes life matter.
I tell you what. I want you to turn to 2 Timothy 1, with me again, where we started. "So don't be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner. Instead, share in the suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God. He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel". Listen carefully, 11 and 12: "For this gospel I was appointed", so this is within the call.
There's a divine call direction within that call, "I was appointed a herald, an apostle, and teacher, and that is why I am suffering these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed in, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day". "D" is this: We can trip over a fiery furnace, and on the other side of that colon is the word "suffering". One of the things that has happened in our prosperity over the last century has been that we've sort of lost touch in a world where we can do a lot for ourself, and we have the means to do it. We have not been well trained in how to suffer.
Now, I wanna say something. We're going to suffer. Just so you know that you're not signing up for a life that, if you had not followed Christ, you would not suffer, but if you're gonna follow him, you will suffer because, let me tell you, we live on a broken globe, and all of us are going to know suffering, but are there indications that, in the Scriptures, there are specific areas of suffering that are entrusted to us because we do belong to him, because we are objects of warfare, and because we are being refined in fires so that the impurities will be able to surface and be removed? Yes. He says two times to Timothy in this last letter, "Take your share of suffering for the Gospel".
I'm asking you today, in part of your calling, in a world where we are no longer prepared to just, like, bear up under it, would we be willing, would we be willing? Because one of the things that we have in our generations right now is lots of passion, lots of passion for worship, lots of passion even for the Word of God, lots of passion for justice, but we don't have a lot of perseverance, and this is where we're gonna have to bear up. We're gonna have to bear up and quit havin' such a spirit of fragility. You're stronger than you know you are. The Spirit of Christ dwells in you. There's this wonderful, I don't know if these kinds of word pictures work for you, but I love this.
In the description of the Promised Land in the book of Deuteronomy, when it talks about how there will be the fields of barley and wheat, pomegranates, all of this, and it says, "You will dig copper from the hills," and I think about it all the time 'cause, you know, I don't just want my copper to be layin' up on my hill. Does that thrill you? It doesn't thrill me. I mean, it's a good Instagram picture. It's a Instagram moment: "Copper on the Hills". No, but that may be good for Instagram, but it's not thrilling to our spirits.
Our spirit's thrilled when we climb the hill, and then we start diggin', and we dig, and we dig, and it just looks like dirt, just looks like dirt, but the promise of God is "No, you keep diggin' it, and you will hit gold. You keep diggin' it, and you will hit gold," and then we hit it, and then it's like, "You know what? That five minutes was worth a solid hour. Let's not, especially younger generation, do not get to where you are sustaining your spiritual training on five minutes of Scripture. It will not work". What it's going to take is mighty warriors of the faith ready to persevere, do what it takes, do what it takes, do their share of suffering for the Gospel and get out there and be sustained in the Spirit. It's a huge part of it.
So Ephesians 4, talks to us. It gives us a gorgeous picture of calling. Ephesians 4. I'm going to read verses 1 through 7: "Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility, gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope at your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift".
It tells us that we are one body, one spirit, but to each of us has been given the measure of Christ's gifting. I want you to notice something. You're right here in Ephesians chapter 4, but what I want you to do, keeping it open to Ephesians chapter 4, I want you to compare the wording in 2 Timothy 3. So you've been in 2 Timothy 1, so if you still have that marked, go there. If not, well, go there anyway, hah-ha-ha. Okay, 2 Timothy chapter 3, and I want you to have 'em both open so that we can go back and forth like this. Now, I want you to hear as time goes on and it gets closer and closer to the end of this age and to the return of Christ Jesus our Lord, when he comes splittin' through that sky, this is what the world will get more and more like.
So we're told in other places of ecological increases in turmoil, that the earth itself, we're told in Romans chapter 8, that literally all creation will be groaning for the return of its Creator, and we see that as the world, it's just like the whole earth is just, like, groaning and moaning with troubles, just reaching out for the return of its Creator. So we see those kinds of things, but this is what makes 2 Timothy 3, so interesting is it is the sociological disorder that will happen increasingly as we get closer to the return of Christ. I beg you to do a checklist as I read this to you, and I ask you whether or not this fits today.
And some of us might say, "Well, you know, we would've said that a hundred years ago". Probably, probably, but I just beg you to take a look and a listen to this. 2 Timothy 3, verse 1: "But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people".
When we start to think, you know, something is wrong here when there is all the claim of Christianity, but there is none of the power of the Spirit. Now, listen, with any of us, that can be a momentary thing that we're just quenching the Spirit. Well, it's not momentary. It just keeps on and on and on and on. At some point, we scratch our heads and go, "Something is awry here. Something's awry here because the Holy Spirit bears fruit. You will know a tree by its fruit".
So, number four is this: We are called (I'm not gonna even be shy about it) to be remarkable. Do you remember in the book of Acts when it said that they were just astonished at Peter and John because they really were not even educated men, but it was so obvious that they were extraordinary because they had been with Jesus? What Ephesians 4, is calling us to in our calling, if we're gonna walk worthy of our calling in our followship that is fed by fellowship, it's telling us what we're supposed to be like. I want to show you what is set up against us because what we're going to have to do is push so hard against the trend of this age. You're talkin' about straining and pressing through the crowd. We're gonna have to be like the woman with the hemorrhage that is just, I mean, like, pressing through the crowd to grab onto the hem of Christ's garment because everything around us is going to be going opposite of this, and so our calling is to stick out in these ways.
So notice with me: It says our calling is to be exercised with humility, with gentleness, with patience, and with love. These things are the opposite of what we see happening even in our own Christian communities. We're acting just like the rest of 'em because where has our gentleness gone? We're not gentle with one another. We're harsh with one another. Where's the humility? Where's our patience, and where's our love? Look at what's gonna happen in the culture around us. All of these are the antithesis of what Christ is wanting to bear in us in our calling.
So we've got we're called to humility. What did this just say? Three different words for how opposite the culture will be: boastful, proud, conceited. In a culture in which you and I are called to gentleness, we will be surrounded by people who are brutal, demeaning, slanderers, irreconcilable. The Word of God says that the more time goes on toward the return of Christ, the less reconcilable people will be. Do you understand what I'm saying? In other words, has anybody in the room ever just had somebody, like a friend, that just ghosted on you, and you have no idea what happened?
I need to see somebody's hand. Like a friend, like, you have no idea, that you've tried to find out, and you know what they say? 'Cause you'll say, "Well, what's wrong"? "Nothin'," "Oh, nothin'". You're goin', "Liar, liar, pants on fire," because you know something's wrong. You know what I always wanna say to somebody like this? I wanna say, "You know, the thing about it is I can work through conflict. I was raised in a large family. Just tell me, and let me work it through, but don't just freeze me out. I don't know what to do with that".
Anybody? Irreconcilable people just, like, walk away. That's it. That's not us. That's now how we're meant to be. So we're gonna have the love of God in the Spirit, and this is what we have coming against us. Nothing, nothing is being embattled like the heart, nothing. Because it is the first thing. You will be known by your love. People will know you by your love, so do not think for a moment the enemy does not know exactly what to attack because we will be known by our love. So if we don't love, we will not be known.