Joyce Meyer - The Raising of Lazarus - Part 2
Hebrews 5:7-9: "During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death", but he didn't, "And he was heard because of his reverent submission". Now, please get this, "Son though he was", the very Son of God, "He learned obedience from what he suffered. And once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him". Now, this is even better if I get into it deep. It actually says that Jesus gained the experience and the equipment that he needed to become the author of our salvation through the things that he suffered.
And you know why I have the authority to have the privilege to do this today? Because I have gone through things that have been so hard that I would not even know how to tell you how hard they were and how bad they hurt. But it gave me equipment. And I can say to you, I know how you feel. But don't give up because God's gonna bring you through, and he's gonna bring you out, and you won't be the same person you were when you went in. You're gonna come out with some experience and you're gonna come out with some equipment. Everybody, when they're hiring people to work, they always want people with experience. Well, God's got a lot of jobs open. God's got more jobs open than anybody on the earth. And he's looking for people with experience. Whew. I'm think, I'm just gonna preach until I make myself happy today. Are you understanding me? He's looking for people that's got equipment with some experience that he can trust. Hallelujah.
I get to preach to so many people. But you know what God told me, one time? And to me, this is awesome. He said, "I want you to always remember something. However many people you can help, that's exactly how many you can hurt". So, yes, I'm on television in about two-thirds of the world and a 100 languages. My God, how could a messed-up woman who'd been abused, how can that happen? I mean, who am I to do that? Nobody. God chooses and uses the weak and the foolish things of the world, so people just shake their head and say, "I just don't get it. I just don't get it". But I got the equipment. "Here am i, God, send me". John 11:11-16: "After he had said this, he went on to tell them, 'our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep: but I'm gonna go there and wake him up'. And his disciples said, 'well, Lord, if he sleeps, he'll get better'. But Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead'", like dead, "'but for your sake I'm glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But now let us go to him'".
And I love this part. "Then Thomas (also known as didymus) said to the rest of the disciples", see, now, he's thinking, "He's done it now. Now, he's gonna go over here, and he's gonna try to raise a dead man. And we're gonna all get killed". And Thomas said, "'well, let's just go, let's all go, so we can just die with him'". Do you have a Thomas in your life? C'mon, how many of you have a Thomas in your life? You wanna believe something big, and they just keep trying to tear you down. Well, just hope you're not Thomas. I love that. That's one of my favorite parts of this story. "Well, let's just go die with him". But it was for their sake that he waited. It's for your sake that God is waiting.
Now, you think you're waiting on God. But I wanna tell you that I think he's probably waiting on you. "Well, what's he waitin' on me to do"? Well, maybe, to get over getting mad every time somebody doesn't just make you feel wonderful. Or get over being so easily offended. Jesus waited for the purpose of teaching them a greater lesson. Like I said, in the early service, if you don't like mysteries, you are not gonna like hanging out with God. Because there is just a whole bunch of stuff that's gonna go on in your little, sweet life that you are not gonna understand. And we live life forward, we understand it backwards. I can look back now, and I can say, "I get it". But there may be some things that I'll never understand until I get to heaven. There's things that happen that don't seem fair. There's things that happen that don't seem right. Sometimes, you see God blessing people that you think, "I mean, really? I mean, God, I fast. I pray, I give".
Well, maybe that's the problem. You're counting up all the good things you do. And thinking, "Well, I'm more spiritual than you are". Where do you think I got all this information? I've lived through this. Oh, I remember when God gave a friend of mine something that I was believing for. And I could not believe that she got that because I was way more spiritual than she was. I mean, like, way more spiritual than she was. She didn't deserve that. But I did. I thought God made a mistake. And I'll tell you what, she brought it over and showed it to me, and I thought, "Oh", I played the game, "Oh, praise God. Oh, I am so happy for you". And inside I'm thinking, "God, you gotta get her out of my house before I have a all out fit, right here". Well, why did God do that? You know why he did it? Because he wanted to, God would do things like that sometimes, not because they deserve it, but to pull junk out of you.
See, that was like a magnet. I didn't know that I had that kind of jealousy and envy, and yuck, I didn't know I had that in me. I thought I was so spiritual. I've learned some stuff in my life. Man, but it's hurt. Trials mixed with waiting develops patience. And patience is the ability to wait with a good attitude. "When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, 'Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn't have died'". And Martha said the same thing. "Lord, if you would have been here". Well, just because Jesus wasn't there when you thought he should be, that doesn't mean that he still can't do anything. Come on. "Well, Lord, it's just too late. You didn't come through for me". It is never too late with God. You just have no idea what God's got up his sleeve.
I love that scripture that says, "Eye has not seen, an ear has not heard all the good things that God has made, ready, prepared, and stored up for those who love him". I'll tell you what, I'm still a mess sometimes, but I love Jesus. I love him. And if that's all the qualification, you need to get blessed, then I'm in for some good stuff. "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 'where have you laid him'? He asked. 'well, come and see, Lord,' they replied". And the shortest scripture in the Bible: "Jesus wept". It's also the saddest. And he was not weeping because Lazarus was dead. He already knew what he was gonna do. He was weeping because of their lack of faith.
God wants us to believe him. He wants us to trust his word. He doesn't want us to live in fear of all the junk the world can come up with. Don't live in fear. Don't live worried all the time. Don't live angry all the time. Please, for Jesus' sake, enjoy your life. "Well, how can I enjoy my life? I got all these problems". That's the whole point. You can enjoy your life while God works on your problems. Ew, and that makes the devil so mad. And see, you almost feel like that's not right. "Well, I can't enjoy my life. I got these problems". Yes, you can. That's the whole point. You cast your care on him and he cares for you. And while he's doing it, you can just enjoy your life. That doesn't mean that you're irresponsible.
"God, I'll do anything you tell me to do. I'll do what you show me to do". But I have made my mind up that I am not gonna spend my life miserable because the devil comes up with a new problem every day. "Then Jesus wept, and the Jews said, 'see how he loved him'. But some of them said, 'well, could not he who opened the eyes of a blind man have kept this man from dying'"? "Why," is one of our biggest questions, isn't it? You know what? Don't ask why. Just believe. What would happen if you made a commitment today to never again say, "God, why"? Boy, you don't like that, do you? It's been. A good number of years since I've asked God, "Why"? 'cause mostly, it's none of my business. God knows what he's doing. Now, you're not gonna get in trouble with God if you ask him why, but most of the time he's not gonna tell you anyway. God always has a reason for everything he does.
Well, John 11:38-44: "Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. And it was a cave", with a huge boulder across the front of it. And Jesus said something else that makes no sense at all. He said, "'take away the stone'". Now, I ask you, if he was getting ready to raise a dead man, why did they need to roll away the stone? C'mon, now. Here comes the lesson, from today. It's, some of you have got some dead stuff in your life, and it's been dead long enough that it stinks. "Well, Lord, he's been dead four days. If we take that stone away, he stinketh". Come on, you ever say, "My life stinks". Well, maybe, there's a stone or two, you need to roll away. Maybe God's saying to you, "Roll away that stone of unforgiveness". "Roll away that stone of hidden sin. Get it out in the open. Talk to me about it. Let's get this done".
Maybe you're believing God for a healing, but you're still living on junk food. You won't exercise. You don't get enough sleep. You want a miracle. You want God to raise the dead, but you won't roll away the stone. Oh, if you guys don't behave, I'm gonna go talk to them. Is anybody tracking with me? Is anybody know where I'm at? What I'm talking about? I remember when God told me, he said, "Now, there's nothing else that I can do in your ministry", and I was begging God for the ministry to get bigger. He said, "There's nothing else I can do in your ministry until you start treating your husband the way you know you're supposed to". Not talking back, having a submissive attitude. Oh, that submission thing 'bout killed me. I mean, you just don't know. That just about finished me off, 'cause you gotta understand, I was abused by men all my life and I had promised myself, "Nobody is ever gonna tell me what to do again".
Come on, now. And see, sometimes, we can have a stone and we think we're justified in keeping it, because of what's happened to us. No, no. There is no justification for ever doing anything that God has told you not to do. "So they took away the stone". Why did they have to take the stone away? Because we're partners with God. He doesn't do everything for us. Sometimes when you have a problem, one of the things you need to ask God, "God, is there something that I need to do? Is there something that I have done? Is there something that you need to teach me"? And maybe not. I'm not saying that there is every time, but maybe there is. Eh, you don't look like you believe me.
"And Jesus looked up and said, 'father, I thank you that you've heard me. I knew you always hear me, but I said this just for their benefit'. And when he said this, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come forth'"! Whoo. And God is calling some of you out of the tomb today. And you know what? That represents the new birth. Oh, but here it comes. Something else that we don't talk about in this story. "The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and cloth around his face. And Jesus said to them, 'take off the grave clothes'". You say, "Huh? Lazarus, come out. You're born again. Now, let's get rid of the bondages in your life. Let's get rid of these things that are holding you back. Let's go to work".
The Holy Spirit's saying to some people here today, "Let's you and I go to work. Come on, let's get this over with. Let's get it done. Stop running from it. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today". Don't you stand in church and lift your hands up and sing, "I surrender all". And yet, you won't even forgive somebody who hurt your feelings. "Take your grave clothes off". It's time to not only come out of the tomb, but it's time to start rolling away stones. Amen? How many of you can think of... be honest with me, how many of you can, right now, think of a stone in your life that needs to be rolled away? "Okay, Joyce, good job". God loves you so much, and he sent Jesus to die for you, so you could have and enjoy your life. Not just so you could go to heaven. John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to kill, to steal, and destroy. But I came that you might have and enjoy your life and have it in abundance (to the full, until it overflows)". Amen?
Father, I pray for everybody here, today, that's got a stone in their life that needs to be rolled away, that they won't leave this service and just forget about it. I pray that they'll go home and ask the Holy Spirit to start working on them. That they would say to you, "God, you have your way in my life. Whatever it takes, whatever it costs, no matter how hard it is, and just help me not to run away from you. I wanna be what you want me to be, Jesus. And I wanna do what you want me to do".
Now, listen, I just want to ask today, if you're here and you have not received Christ as your Savior, or you've fallen away from God, gone back to livin' the way you shouldn't be living, and today, you would just say by lifting your hand up, in just a minute, "Joyce, I wanna receive Christ today. I want my sins to be forgiven. And I want the assurance that I'll go to heaven when I die. But I don't just want that. I want God to have my life now. And I want him to do what he wants to do in me. I wanna receive Christ today," or, "I've been away from him and I wanna come back home. I'm like the prodigal son. It's time to come back home". Would you lift your hand up nice and high, so I can see where you're at? Come on all over the place. Let's see. Look at that. Okay, pray this prayer with me. Let's all pray this with them.
Father, God, I love you. Jesus, I believe in you. I believe you took my sin upon yourself. You took the punishment I deserved. I believe you died on that cross. That you were buried. And three days later, you were raised from the dead. And I believe you're seated in heaven right now. Jesus, I believe in you. Forgive me. Save me. Now, I surrender my life to you. Take me just the way I am. And make me what you want me to be. Now, I believe I'm saved. My sins are forgiven. I'm a new person. I'm on my way to heaven, and I'm gonna enjoy the trip.