Joyce Meyer - Holiness - Part 2
Well, thank you for joining me today on "Enjoying Everyday Life". And if you were watching yesterday and you are watching the program again today, I am especially proud of you because you know that I'm teaching on a subject that can be a little bit ouchy. I'm teaching on holiness. I didn't get finished with my message yesterday, so I'm gonna do a little recap and then pick up where I left off and then go into part of my second message in this little three-part series. I'm bouncing off the scripture, Hebrews 12:14 that says, "Strive to live in peace and pursue holiness without which no one will see the Lord".
Now, we can see why that's a little bit of a ouchy scripture because we like to think that just because we say a prayer inviting Jesus into our lives and we go to church every week that that means we've automatically got a ticket to heaven no matter how we live. But this scripture says that "Without holiness no one will see the Lord". Now, that can get scary because we think, "Holiness, my gosh, what does that mean"? Well, it actually means pursuing perfection. Holiness actually is perfection, but the Bible teaches us that we are to pursue it. We're not going to arrive. We're not gonna manage to be completely holy as long as we're in these fleshly bodies, but God wants us to pursue it with everything that we've got.
I always say when Jesus comes to get us, it's not gonna matter to him where we're at on the growth chart as long as we are seriously pressing toward that mark. The apostle Paul in Philippians chapter 3 said, "My determined purpose is to know him", it's Philippians 3:10. "And the power of his resurrection, which lifts me out from among the dead even while I'm in the body". And, he said his goal was to pursue perfection, but he had not yet arrived. He said, "However, one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and pressing toward the things ahead". So, Paul said, "Look, my goal is to be just like Christ in everything. And he was perfect". But, he said, "I've not arrived".
Well, I can say that my goal is to be just like Jesus, but I haven't arrived. And if you don't believe me, ask my husband. He'll let you know that I have not yet arrived. But when I make mistakes, I'm sorry for them. I repent right away and ask God to forgive me. Or if I've hurt somebody else, I ask them to forgive me. And then I've learned over the years that once I repent, I don't need to feel guilty because if I hang on to the guilt, it just keeps me from growing. If you feel guilty once you sincerely repented, then you're not truly guilty, it's just a feeling. And you can't live by your feelings. You have to say, "No. The word says I'm forgiven, that God has forgotten my sin and removed it as far as the east is from the west, and that he remembers it no more. So, I'm not gonna remember it anymore either".
Our body, our soul, our mind wants to make us think that we have to make up for what we did wrong, but we can't. Jesus already paid for our mistakes. We don't have to pay, and that's good news. Okay, the purpose, we finished yesterday was 1 Corinthians 5 where Paul said, "Don't associate with sexually immoral people". And he's talking about having close relationships with them. He said, "Now, I'm not talking about the people in the world, otherwise you'd have to get out of the world altogether". You can't go to work and not ever speak to somebody or be around somebody who's living an immoral life because that's what people in the world do.
Matter of fact, I don't think we should ignore all them because they need to see us living for Christ so they can tell that there's a difference between us and other people. Not being a smug religious, "I'm better than you" kind of person, but just being kind and sweet and humble and having the nature of Jesus, especially walking in love because that's a high call on our life. But he said, "If someone is a brother or sister in Christ, if they're claiming to be a Christian and they're living these greedy, immoral lives," he said, "Don't even so much as eat a meal with them". Now, what's the purpose of this? Is this to be mean to them? It's not like a shunning, like I'm not ever gonna speak to you again. But it does mean that that doesn't need to be your close friend that you hang out with all the time. Why? Because you don't wanna have their behavior rub off on you. It'd be good to hang out with somebody that is good. They might affect you.
And I always say, you can hang out with people that are not walking with God as long as you're affecting them and they're not infecting you. Don't let somebody else's sin rub off on you. And he even mentions, "Don't hang out with a slanderer". That means somebody who slanders other people. Well, my gosh, how many Christians judge and criticize other people? I catch myself doing it sometimes and the Holy Spirit has to convict me, and I have to repent and press on from there. "A drunkard or a swindler". Well, the purpose of not associating with them is twofold. First, so we don't become like them. Remember that unholy things are contagious. We don't wanna become like them. But secondly, it's in hopes that they will recognize their sin and repent. Our disassociation is not meant to be mean or unmerciful, but to correct them in the hopes that they will change.
You know, now please listen to me, we need to not be afraid to confront people in love. The Bible says, "Speak the truth in love". Now, let's just say that you have a friend that's always gossiping about other people and you're either gonna have to break fellowship with them or you're gonna need to confront them in a loving way. So, wouldn't it be better instead of losing a friend to just say to them, you know, we'll say their name's Mary, no, not picking on anybody if you're named Mary, it's just a name I picked. Or let's just say your name is Joyce, we'll pick on me. And so, you have a friend named Joyce and they're always gossiping about other people, always slandering people, being critical. You need to say, "You know, Joyce, I care about you, I love you in the Lord, I would love to maintain a relationship with you, but you're always, you gossip about other people, you're critical about them, you judge them and you really need to stop it because it's not the will of God and if you don't, I'm not gonna be able to hang out with you anymore".
Well, sure, they're probably gonna get upset, but you'd be better off to upset them hoping that they'll take it to heart than you would to just let them go ahead and live in their blindedness thinking that what they're doing is okay. People don't wanna do that today, but in the early church, they confronted sin. We have a tendency to put up with it, thinking, "Well, it's none of my business". Well, we are to watch out for one another, we're to watch over one another and you need to be around people that would love you enough to confront you if they needed to.
Now, this does not refer to, you know, you still can try to counsel somebody or help them or be an example to them, but you don't wanna hang out with them and closely associate with them. To have a relationship with a Christian who is living an immoral lifestyle is not good for us or them. For example, I know a guy, he was actually rooming with another man who was a Christian, but the man was getting a divorce and he had a girlfriend and, in the process, he was living with this girlfriend part of the time too. Well, right away, that should have been somebody that my friend would have said, "Well, you know, that's wrong and I don't wanna have a close relationship with you". But instead, he just kept staying with him and they prayed together. And the friend, the "Immoral" friend said, "I know what we should do, we should fast and pray once a week for the Fruit of the Spirit".
Well, that sounds like "A nice, spiritual" thing to do, but you know, you can't live in open sin, you can't like, he's living with his girlfriend in sin, having sexual relationships with her, but once a week now, he's gonna fast and pray for the Fruit of the Spirit. Eh! That doesn't work. We can't really expect God to hear our prayers if we're coming to him already with hidden, unrepented sin. One of the ways to not get your prayers answered is to have hidden sin in your life that you know is wrong. And you know, part of the reason why people don't see anything wrong with that today is because "Everybody on television does it".
Well, can I tell you, just because they do it on television, don't make it right. Just because they do it in the movies doesn't make it right. Everybody that you know can do something that's wrong, but that still doesn't make it right. And God's not gonna take the excuse, "Well, everybody does it. Everybody does it". It doesn't matter if you're the only person in the world who wants to follow God, you still need to follow God. Don't be concerned about people not wanting to hang around with you if you wanna live the right kind of life for God. You'd be better off to have nobody but Jesus and be living a right lifestyle than you would to have a whole bunch of unholy friends. I'm sure a few of you are squirming in your seats, but this is what I felt like God wanted me to teach. We cannot have a casual attitude towards sin.
Matter of fact, I think we need to preach a little bit more against sin. We need to preach more about holiness. There are many things that the world approves of that God does not approve of. Hebrews 12:10 says that God disciplines us, so we become sharers in his holiness. Wow. "For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them: but he disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in his holiness". Well, how does God discipline us? Well, first of all, he'll use his word to try to correct our course and put us on the right path again.
You know, there's a broad path and a narrow path. And the Bible says the broad path is easy to be on. The narrow path is harder to be on. You know why? Because there's no room for our fleshly baggage on that path. But that is the path that Jesus walked and the one that he wants us to walk. And so, God will use the word. He will deal with us in our heart. You'll get like this uncomfortable feeling, "I shouldn't be doing this". And then it's just like the attitude I would have had toward my children when they were little and at home. That's been a long time ago, but you know, first I would tell them not to do something. But if they just kept not listening to me, I would eventually touch their circumstances. So, God will then, we'll begin to see the dealings of God in our circumstances if we just keep living in sin and ignoring him.
Some of you may be wondering why things are going wrong in your life. Well, ask yourself, are you listening to God? Now that doesn't mean that if you've got a problem that you're not listening to God. There's all kinds of reasons why people have problems. I just fell and broke my leg. And that wasn't because I had some kind of hidden sin in my life, it was because I wasn't being careful. He wants us to share in his holiness. We are made holy by the Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 1:2, "We were chosen and foreknown by God the Father and consecrated, sanctified, and made holy by the spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ". God makes us holy so we can produce holy behavior. God never expects you to produce something that he doesn't give you first. God pours his love into us by the Holy Spirit and then he asks us to love other people. He puts his holiness in us, his own holiness in us, and then he asks us to live holy lives. He shows us mercy and then asks us to be merciful toward other people. So, I think we need a little more holiness taught from our pulpits.
Now, there's a great scripture in Romans 12:1, we can learn a lot from this, "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and I beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy, (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable, (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship". He says, "Okay, I'm telling you that you need to say, 'God, here I am, all of me. My mind, my mouth, I give you everything that I am, my hands, my feet, my heart, my mind, my mouth, my possessions, I present everything to you for your use'". And he said, he's not asking for too much. It's a reasonable request. After what God's done for us through Jesus, it's very reasonable for him to expect us to offer our whole selves to him.
Now, you may be thinking, "Well, what about me? Am I never gonna get to have any fun"? You know what? You're gonna have much more fun living a clean, holy life than you are living a lukewarm one where you've got one foot in the kingdom and one foot in the world. Jesus said in Revelation, "I'd rather you be either hot or cold because if you're lukewarm, I'm gonna spew you out of my mouth". "Well," you say, "I haven't heard that scripture ever". Well, you need to hear it because it's there. God gives us holiness, but he also gives us a free will. He never forces us, but he leads us, and he guides us. The choice is always ours.
Well, what is sin? It seems today like we need a little more teaching on even what it is. Sin is to miss the mark of God's perfection and forfeit the prize. I love that. You know, if we hit the mark, there's a prize that goes along with it. There's a blessing. There's a blessing in living a holy life. There's nothing better than having peace. Nothing worse than a guilty conscience. I always say there's no harder pillow to lay down on at night than a guilty conscience knowing that you did things that day that God did not approve of and want you to do. And now you need to spend your time trying to get right with God again.
Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil". Well, let me tell you something. We are living in times today where the world is saying that things are good that God says is evil. And we all know what they are. Surely, we know that some of the things that people are doing today are not right. I mean, even the laws of the land can say it's right, but that doesn't mean that it's right before God. The law says that you have a right to get an abortion. Well, yeah, you can do that, but that doesn't mean that it's something that God approves of. Just because the laws of our land say you can do something, that doesn't mean that God approves of them.
Boy, I wish we were living in the days when there were so many people that were serving God and serious about God, but I mean, people are falling, they're leaving church by the thousands. And I don't wanna see that happen. You say, "Well, you know, all the people at church are phony". Well, instead of just judging and criticizing them, go be one that's not phony. Go be an example and maybe have an effect on somebody else. Now, the Bible says if your conscience condemns you, then you shouldn't do something. If you feel that it's wrong, then don't do it. Jesus is coming soon. This is why this message is so important, and it's why I'm just being brave enough to preach it. Because he's coming soon and he's coming back for a church without spot, blemish, or wrinkle. He's coming back.
The Bible says, "Who will I find in faith when I return"? He wants to come back for a church that's walking in faith and one that's living a holy life. Philippians 4:5 says, "Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness". It's time to stop living for me, me, me, me, me. "(Your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [he's coming soon]". A couple more scriptures along those lines. "But the day of the Lord will come", this is 2 Peter 3:10, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish with a [mighty and a thunderous] roar, and the [material] elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and all the works that are on it will be burned up".
Do you know the earth, as we know it, is going to one day just melt and vanish and disappear? "Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be [in the meantime] in holy behavior". You know, I'm not making this up today. I'm giving you scripture for everything that I'm saying. He said, "Since this is true, since he's coming back soon, and everything that we", you know, if you're putting your hopes in material things, they're all gonna vanish and go away. And he says, "So that being the case, since Jesus is coming back very soon, what kind of people should we be"?
Now, you know, the only people that are still listening to the program today are those who are serious about God, or who've got such a mess in your life that you really wanna find the answers to what's wrong. I'm well aware that there's probably people that don't like this kind of teaching, and maybe they've turned their TV set off. Well, I'll come back around and preach it again, and maybe they'll listen that time. But we have to get it through our heads that we can't live in habitual, known sin and think that God is gonna put up with that. "So, beloved, since you are expecting these things, be eager to be found by him [at his coming] without spot or blemish and at peace [in serene confidence, free from fears and agitating passions]".
Well, you know, there's only one thing that will help you live a holy life, well, two, really. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God. And the Holy Spirit uses the word to help us walk in what's right. The Bible tells us that we need to face truth. truth is defined as the way things really are, not the way we think they are or wish they were. There's so many people in the world who think things that don't line up with the Word of God. And that's because they get their education from television, or, you can't let Hollywood educate you because they're not educating you properly.
You can't let the laws of the land, you can't let the government educate you because they're not always living right and doing the right thing. We need to have leaders that we can respect, that can be an example to us, that we can look at as heroes, that we want to follow and be like them. There's so much strife in the world today and so much arguing about politics. Can I tell you, democrats or republicans are not going to save us. We need God in our lives.
If you're looking to the government to be your savior, you're looking at the wrong place. Only by walking in the truth can we live holy lives. And you don't know what the truth is if you don't know the Bible, if you don't know the Word of God. And yes, it takes a commitment. It takes a commitment of time. I've been studying the word now for 45 years. You say, "Well, I wish I'd been doing that". Well, I didn't get it by wishing. I got it by putting my time into it. And you say, "Well, probably too late for me". It's never too late to start. God will honor you if you honor him.