Beth Moore - Do Not Lose Heart
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you, so you love one another". Now, here's the rub: So we're new creations. New creations. But we're still living on the old creation, earth, amid all its groanings, and we're wearing our old tents, which are still groaning, our old creation bodies, and with our old nature still wantin' to cling to us and have some mastery over us. No wonder it's challenging. Can someone say, "Amen"? No wonder because we're new creation still living. We're still very much in process of seeing it perfected and completed in our lives, and we'll not until we see him face-to-face, but we're down here, new creations, trying to live in this old order with our old self goin', "Don't you wanna come back here"?
So what does life look like for us between our new creation and the new creation? Well, 2 Corinthians 4, describes it to us, verse 1, "Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing", listen carefully to this terminology, "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus's sake. For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ".
Is any of this ringing a bell to you? Because listen to all this terminology, verse 7, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed. We are perplexed, but not drive to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed, always carrying around in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh". I want you to hear this because this just blew my mind. When God began to just, like, draw me to these passages in Revelation, and I started fittin' it with Genesis and a little bit of Exodus and even a touch of Leviticus, I wanted to keep goin' on and go, "Well, we could do Numbers". We could do Numbers because they have all those numberless people Just, I thought, "How far would this go if we just kept tracking it"? But then, to look in these passages and to see right here, I want you to notice in verses 4 through 6, if you mark in your Bible, mark these.
Notice the intentional echoes of Creation account in Genesis. You've got the phrases "image of God," you've got "God, who said, 'Let there be light,'" and it says, I wanna read this excerpt by Dr. Barnett out of The New International Commentary on the New Testament, out of this passage, because I just love this. He says, "God, who addressed the primeval darkness with his word that brought day in place of night, now addresses the darkness of human sin and chaos". So he's saying this is connecting all the way back to Genesis chapter 1, when it's talking about the Spirit of God, hovering over all the chaos, and God bringing Creation order out of it, and then his pursuit of man and the plan of redemption. He now addresses the darkness of human sin and chaos: "That darkness, according to verse 4, is attributable to the god of this world, who blinds the minds of unbelievers. This verse gives us the answer to that: God, the true God, the creator and giver of light as opposed to the false god, illuminates the inner lives of those previously blinded by Satan. Paul's use of such language from Genesis 1, anticipates his reference to 'the new creation' in 5:17".
I'm reading that to you so you know I did not make this up. "If there is a new covenant, there is also a 'new creation.'" Now, I want us to land for the next couple of minutes on these passages. If you have been around the Scriptures long, you perhaps know them well, but I'm not sure, I thought, "You know what? Let's just have a few moments of, just, old school revival because I'm really not sure it gets any better than these passages". Would you just look at those verses in 8 and 9? "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed". I want you to see something. "Life's not easy for new creations awaiting the new creation". Not only that, but I started noticing a pattern. I started noticing it first in myself, as we have want to do. And then I started noticing with others. I kept noticing how often I was going, "Man, this has been a hard year". And then I was about 6 or 7 years in going, "Well, have all seven of them been hard"?
So much intensification, isn't there? I'm not sayin' it's all end times because we can look through the pattern of history and see such difficult times. But I am gonna say this: These are intense times. Intense times. And I do believe there is a roar in the heavenlies, and, listen, if you do not think there is a real, live devil and a real, live, demonic, cosmic power out there, you are not gettin' out enough because, let me tell you, it is an evil age. It is an evil age, just like Jesus told us it would be. But here's what I wanna say to you: How on earth will the world see the witness of overcomers? Which we've been told that we are. In fact, Romans chapter 8, says, "We're more than overcomers". We're not just overcomers. "We're more than overcomers". Okay, how in the world will the world ever see our witness if we have nothing to overcome? He said that "When the Spirit comes," in Acts 1:8, "you shall receive power and be my witnesses".
Here's what I wanna say to you. We're trying to, we feel so guilty, and should. I'm not gonna let us off the hook here. I'm not gonna let myself off the hook here for feeling guilty that we don't really like to witness all that much and that most of us are uncomfortable with it. Listen, if we had, really, if we would yield to the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we would witness because, when we have a legit relationship with Jesus, where we are yielding to his authority and he's filling us up with his Spirit, where there is power, there is witness because you can't keep power to yourself. That's how the thing goes.
And so, if we don't somehow outlast them, when it comes to overcoming, how in the world will they even know we're there? And you're saying, "Well, because I tell them". That means nothing to them. Do you know how many people say that they are Christians, that have no relationship, no fruit in their lives whatsoever, that we're just gonna tell people, "Well, I'm a Christian, and that's why you should believe me"? And they're goin' like, "You know what? When I taste your fruit, I'll believe you're that tree. Till then, your fruit tastes a whole different way, to me, because you shall know a tree by its fruit". I need somebody to say, "Amen". I don't care how sophisticated we get. We're not changing the rules where that's concerned.
Figuring out circumstantially what we are and what we are not is a critical part of us making it. I'm gon' tell you somethin'. It helps so much to get our but not straight. Anybody know what I'm talkin' about? "That I may be afflicted but not crushed. I may be perplexed, but not driven to despair. I may be persecuted, but not forsaken. I may be struck down, but not destroyed". And when someone asks you later, "What did you get out of that event"? "I got my but not straight. That's what I got". I'm not lookin' at my team right now because we don't have an eight-second thing goin'. So that was live, but I'm blessed because I cannot help it if that's what the Scripture says. That is what the Scripture says. Now, let's get this thing goin' here 'cause we have two stacks here in those two verses.
So we've got what he's sayin', that operating in the Spirit, he's already been talkin' about, man, we have this power in jars of clay. Even that clay is harkening back to Genesis and the Creation narrative in Genesis chapter 2, where man was created out of the dust of the ground, the clay of the ground. We may be afflicted, we may be perplexed, we may be persecuted, and we may be struck down, but by the time we are crushed, despairing, forsaken, and feeling destroyed, we are being messed with by the enemy, and he is deceiving us. We better get our but not straight because I may be afflicted, but I am not... tell me that again. I am, but I'm not, listen, these are beautiful, beautiful terms if we could see them, and I'm havin' to go by scholars and commentary, so I'm not tryin' to make myself sound smart, but when we look at these pairings, look at "perplexed" and "despairing". Can you see that, in the center of that word, can you see the same Greek word? One is an intensification of the other.
So there's this word, similar word, but then this one is intensified, and so what the commentary said was that we have no exact way in English to perfectly interpret it, but the best way we would be able to do it is to say this: "I may be bewildered, I may be at a loss, but I am not at a complete loss". Anybody right now, in your situation, just goin' like, "I am at a loss"? Do you know, we can be operating in the Spirit victoriously, victoriously, and, yet feel exactly like that? "I'm just perplexed. I'm just perplexed. I'm at a loss here". I need to see somebody's hand. You know what I'm talkin' about? But don't you agree, not over here, not if we really walk with him. I'm not at a complete loss because I somehow even know, if this kills me, I'm still gettin' up from the grave. So I'm at a loss, but I'm not at a complete loss. I may be persecuted but I've not been forsaken by God. Just 'cause I'm havin' a hard time of people bein' mean to me doesn't mean I've been forsaken by God. I'm loved of God. This is the kind of mentality we have to have.
You know, here's what happens right here. I get it in every way. I would say, and I'm sure I have said the same thing. We think we will often say, you'll often see this on social media that we don't even know, we can't even begin, in our Western world, we can't even begin to use the word "persecuted" because we don't begin to get it. Other parts of the world, they know what true persecution is, and I agree with that. I agree with that in every way, in every way, but it's relative. It's relative, and the reason why I bring this up is because Paul himself, same one writing this, in 2 Timothy 3, verse 12, said, "All who want to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted".
Yeah, some of you do know what that's like. Some of you really do. If we're attempting to live godly lives, we know, some degree, however light, whatever hint, we don't begin to know what some people are suffering on the other side of the world. We don't even begin to, but you have, to some degree, in all probability, known some realm of persecution, but you have not been forsaken. You may have been struck down. That word "struck down" is a very interesting word because it means "to be laid low as by a weapon," and I'm quoting here from a commentary, "bullied or stricken". It means for something to literally knock you down. Anybody had somethin' like that happen here lately, somethin' just, flat-out knock you down? Like, I mean, like, you were not ready for that.
I gotta tell ya somethin' because somebody is tuned in just for this, right this minute, just for this, just for this. Somebody's tuned in just to hear this ole word right here. You have not been destroyed. You are repeating over and over again, "This has destroyed my life. This has destroyed my life. This has destroyed my life. This has destroyed my life". And I'm gon' tell ya somethin' right now. If you're in Christ, nothing can destroy your life, nothing, nothing. You've been hit, and you've been hit hard, but you have not been destroyed. I want you guys to stand up 'cause I want us to do somethin' together for the next couple of minutes. The very end of that chapter goes into these words, 2 Corinthians 4:16 and 17, "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison".
And this is an echo of Romans 8:18, that says, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time aren't even worthy to be compared with the glory that he shall reveal in us, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal". And I'm wantin' to show you two very, very important, original words: "ibeens" and "imboutas". The reason why those are original words is because I made them up. And so what you and I are gonna do, because this ain't gonna take long. Our afflictions are only momentary. That's either gonna be true in our earthy sense with life on the other side of it, we are gonna get through our present struggle. We really are.
But should it kill us? It's done then, and we won't even be able to glance back and go, "But I'm gon' tell you somethin'. That still was hard, Lord. I'm just gon' tell you". No, not with all those angels flyin' around, goin', "Holy, holy, holy," and we're gonna go, "I'd like five seconds with you". We're gon' have a talk with God one of these days. You know what, we're gon', mostly fall on our face, and then, like, whenever. We're gon 'get back up. And he's gonna have so rewarded. We won't even be able to compare it. So it's just momentary. Somebody, say, "It's just momentary". Somebody, say it again, "It's just momentary". Just say, "Give me a moment". And then say to somebody, "I'm havin' a moment," because these are the kinds of things that are gonna happen. I'm gonna bring up the statements on the screen, and I want you to read 'em with me. I want you to read 'em with me.
Every now and then, I'll stop and kind of talk on one for a second, but I want you to read this with me because these are "I've beens," and "I'm about tos". And because this is all momentary. It's all momentary. So "I've been down, but in my God I'm bouta be up". Anybody? "I've been low, but in my God, I'm bouta be high". "I've been scared, but in my God I'm bouta be brave". "I've been lacking, but in my God I'm bouta be supplied". Can I hear somebody in the house say, "Amen"? "I've been empty, but in my God I'm bouta be full". "I've been insecure, but in my God I'm bouta be sure". I need to hear somebody say, "Hallelujah". Oh, "I've been feelin' old", okay, now, stop right there 'cause there's a way you gotta say this.
Listen, listen, when I was 14 years old, I felt old. I had way too much responsibility on me for a kid, way, way, way too much. So you don't have to be old to feel old. Some of you are 25, and you're actin' like you're 85. And so there's a way you gotta say this, and I don't care where you're watchin' this from. You've gotta say it with us this way. This is just the way we say it where I've been from. You gotta say, "I've been feelin' old", yeah, that's the way this has gotta go down. Okay, let's try it again: "I've been feelin' old, but in my God I'm bouta have some youth renewed". "I've been feelin' cold and loveless, but in my God my heart's bouta get lit". Somebody, say, "It's bouta get lit". "I've been feelin' wronged", oh, come on, let's have a good, strong "wrong" there. "I've been feelin' wronged, but my God's bouta show he's done me right". "I've been mad at some folks, but in my God I'm bouta be glad".
I've gotta ask you, look at one another and say, "How long you gon 'be mad at that person"? Honestly, you don't have all that long on earth. It's time to get on with it. Okay, here we go, "I've been beaten, but in my God I'm bouta heal up". "I've been torn, but in my God I'm bouta get sewn". "I've been blind, but in my God I'm bouta see". "I've been bound, but in my God I'm bouta be free". I wanna stop here, amen, amen, before we say this last one because I believe this to my bones. I believe that, because we live so often a second-hand experience with Christ, just lookin' to everybody else instead of... we're gonna go one-on-one with him, and he fills us with his Spirt. We, we receive our own calling. We get in the thing. We get up in the morning. We seek Jesus. We do the thing. We don't just have everybody else prayin' for us.
I could tell, there are so many people go "Can you pray for me"? You, askin' when the last time was they prayed, they wouldn't even remember. Listen, we wanna pray for one another. Do you have a prayer life? Because that's your intimacy with God, and it is worth, we don't even know who we are 'cause we keep imitating somebody else out there. So I want you to say this last one. I want you to say it with some conviction. It says this: "I've been somebody else, but in my God I'm bouta be me". I wanna hear you say it again: "I've been", listen, nobody's you. Nobody's you. When he fills your jar of clay with your DNA, with your gifting, your background, your skill, your experience, even that which was bad, everything you've been through, ain't nobody you, ain't nobody you. Quit bein' somebody else. In your God, you're about to be you.
Number 7, is this: Remember that we said in 6, you have to hear 6: "Life's not easy for new creations awaiting the new creation". But here's the thing: "But nothin' else is life at all". Do you know that the Word of God says that, without Jesus, we are dead in our sins? We are the living dead. This is Jesus we're talkin' about today, the only one that can start it, wrap the thing up, where every thread is tied, the only one who never, ever loses sight of the plan for your life, the one who knew you before the foundation of the world? And you know what? I'll tell ya, I just don't believe that many people are not aware of a thing called "sin," whether or not they admit to it, or whether or not they call it by that name. I'mma tell ya somethin' right now: There is a conscience that says, "I am completely out of control. I'm completely out of control". There's somethin' in us that knows, "I cannot save myself," and that "something" is the Holy Spirit stirring, calling, calling us by name.