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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - Matthew 5 - Part 3

Joyce Meyer - Matthew 5 - Part 3

Joyce Meyer - Matthew 5 - Part 3
TOPICS: Bible Study, Matthew 5, The Beatitudes
Joyce Meyer - Matthew 5 - Part 3

Thank you for joining us today on "Enjoying Everyday Life". Why do I call this program "Enjoying Everyday Life"? Because I wasn't enjoying mine, and I found out from the Word of God that Jesus died so we could have and enjoy our life. And I just wanna encourage you to learn how to enjoy every single day of your life. Especially the ones that seem kinda mundane and boring. You know, we can enjoy everything that we do, even unpleasant tasks, if we do them for the Lord. Everything that we do, we should do it for the Lord, keeping him in mind. God really wants you to enjoy your life. And in Ecclesiastes, Solomon talked about that a lot. He said that we need to enjoy the fruit of our labor, enjoy our food, enjoy our drink. He tried every way imaginable to be happy.

And he finally found out that the way to be happy was to obey God and enjoy your life. We're studying Matthew chapter 5, have been for the last two days, and I'm gonna try to finish it up today. And we just got finished with the beatitudes. And so, we're in Matthew 5:13-16. And these are the scriptures that talk about how believers, God's children, are to be salt and light in a world that is without flavor and that is dark. "You're the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltiness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men".

Now, salt makes people thirsty. And so, Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth," so we should be living our lives in such a way where people are thirsty for what they see coming from us. So, I guess the question today is, are you a flavorful Christian? Is there enough salt in your life to make other people want what you have? Or are you just kinda... A salty Christian. "You are the light of the world". The Bible says that Jesus was the light of the world and when he left, he said, "Now you're the light of the world". He wanted us to pick up where he left off, become like him, be molded into his image and learn to treat people the way he treated people. "A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all the house. Let your light shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your father who is in heaven".

You know, the world today is in a pretty big mess, and if you really think about it, if everybody who calls themself a Christian, everybody who goes to church and claims that they believe in God was getting out in the world, in their part of the world, and actually behaving like a Christian, I think we would have a whole different set of circumstances in the world than what we have now. So, in a way, a lot of what's going on is our own fault. Not just us, but Christians from generation to generation. Because things have just gradually over the years gotten a little worse, and a little worse, and a little worse, and a little worse. And if things don't change, 50 years from now they could be so bad that nobody can stand it. Turn your light up, get a little more flavor in your life.

You know, I think one of the most important things for Christians is how they treat other people. And I think that's what love is. Love is not just a word. It's not an emotion. It's not a feeling. But it's how we treat people. How do you treat people? Let your light shine so that people may see your moral excellence. We need to do what we do with excellence. Get out in the world and be excellent people, not mediocre. Only salt gives flavor and only light dispels darkness. You know, light is really amazing when you think about it. If this whole room was completely dark and somebody flipped the lights on, that light swallows up all the darkness. And so, if we all turn our lights on, and that's talking about our behavior, it's gonna swallow up a lot of the darkness in the world today.

Matthew 5:23-26 talks about forgiveness. Every message that I preach now when I'm out, every single one, somewhere in that message I try to get something in about forgiveness because there are so many angry Christians. I mean, not just unbelievers, but Christians. I don't think I've ever asked in any place where I've been, church or any other kind of venue where we've been having one of our conferences, if I'm teaching on being offended or something about forgiveness, if I ask, "How many of you would be honest and if you're mad at somebody right now that you need to forgive, lift your hand up"? I've never had less than 80% of the whole congregation raise their hand.

So, let's think about that. If 80% of Christians have got unforgiveness in their heart, it's no wonder that we're not impressing the world and that we don't have any power. Because the Bible says that if we have unforgiveness in our heart when we pray, that God cannot answer our prayers. Wow. I mean, I pray a lot and I don't want to waste my time. And so, I have to make sure. And I think it's just good, before you pray, search your heart a little bit and just see if there's anything in there that you need to forgive somebody for. "Well, they don't deserve my forgiveness". Well, they probably don't, but you deserve peace. See, you can't have that peace if you're mad at somebody.

And you know, we're very big on justice, "Well, it's not right. It's not fair". But God is our vindicator. God is the one who will deal with people. If we will pray for them, then God will deal with them. God wants us to work with him. He wants us to work for him. And if you're ready to go to work for God, then you don't get to live by your feelings. You live by the Word of God. In Ephesians 4, it says that, "Don't let the sun go down on your anger. Don't give the devil any such foothold in your life". You know, if you give him a foothold, he'll get a stronghold. I always say that scripture's better for me if I get mad early in the morning, I've got all day to work it out. It's really rough if you get mad right before bedtime.

I remember many nights when I would go to bed mad at Dave and, man, I would scoot as far over on my side of the bed as I could because I didn't want to touch him. "I'm not gonna touch him". And if he had most of the cover and it was cold, I wasn't gonna ask him for any cover, and I'd lay there cold on the little seam of the mattress. I wasn't hurting him. He was over there snoring, having nice dreams. So, really, when you think about it, who are you hurting when you stay mad at somebody? Yourself. I mean, they can be out having a good time, and they couldn't care less that you're mad. And so, really, I wrote a book on forgiveness called "Do yourself a favor and forgive".

And we really are, when you understand that, that when you release somebody, that's when God can go to work in their life. As long as you're trying to work it out, then God can't work. Matthew 5:23, "So if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and while there you remember that your brother has something [such as a grievance or a legitimate complaint] Against you, leave your offering at the altar and go. And first make peace with your brother, then come back and present your offering".

So, our offerings aren't even acceptable to God if we offer them with unforgiveness in our heart. And what's he saying? "Go to your brother". There's that humility again. "Doesn't really matter who's right, I wanna get this thing straightened out". "Come to terms quickly [at the earliest opportunity] With your opponent at law while you're still with him on the way [to court], so that your opponent does not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you're thrown into prison. I assure you most solemnly, I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid the very last cent".

So, really, when we hold unforgiveness against somebody, it's like putting yourself in prison. It's miserable, isn't it? Letting go of anger and unforgiveness is one of the most important things that we need to do. Our prayers can't be answered with unforgiveness in our heart. God won't forgive us if we won't forgive others. The Lord's prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". Man, how many people pray that every day while they're mad at somebody? "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us".

Well, do you really want God to forgive you the same way you forgive other people? But how many of you are getting better at forgiving all the time? I've got such a deep Revelation on this now that I'm trying to practice "Forgiving you while you're still in the process of making me mad". I don't even wanna wait until it's over and I don't wanna be mad five minutes or ten minutes or fifteen minutes, I just, I don't wanna mess with it. Forgiveness is not a feeling. And this is where I think a lot of people get messed up. I think a lot of Christians wanna forgive. They know it's something the Bible tells us to do. And so, they pray, "God, I forgive them in Jesus' name". But then they don't feel any different about the person, so they think they haven't forgiven.

This is very valuable, so listen to this. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it's a decision. And so, you may feel the same way about the person you did, but God tells us what to do about it, "Pray for them". You start praying for them and you'll start feeling different about them. "Bless and do not curse them". Bless means to speak well of, curse means to speak evil of. So, that means you can no longer, once you forgive, then you can't go talking about 'em behind their back. You don't need to tell anybody else what they did to you. You've forgiven, you're praying for 'em, and if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he's thirsty, give him something to drink. So, the last thing that he's saying is, "If your enemy needs help, help him". Wow! That's what love is. Love is not how you feel. Love is what you choose to do. That's what forgiveness is.

So, don't get mixed up about that. It's not about how you feel. And as you do those things, then your feelings will change. This really helped me when I finally understood this 'cause I thought, "Why do the same people always keep coming back over and over asking me for prayer for them to forgive somebody"? And God spoke to me so plainly, he said, "Because they're not doing what I tell 'em to in the word". Pray for your enemies. Bless those. Don't curse, bless. If they need help, help them. I always tell pastors, "If somebody that you trusted splits your church and takes part of your people and goes two blocks away and starts another church, buy 'em a sound system". The love that you show is what breaks that power of misery off of your life.

Matthew 5:27-30, "You have heard that it was said, 'you shall not commit adultery'". The Old Testament said, "Don't commit adultery". But now, Jesus said, "'I say to you, if you so much as look at a woman with an evil desire for her, you've already committed adultery with her in your heart'". So, we're back to that heart thing again. Jesus said, "It's not just a matter of doing it, it's a matter of thinking about doing it". And you know, if people would stop their wrong thoughts, a lot of times, they'd never get around to the wrong actions. Right? Because thinking leads to actions. "'if your right eye serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It's better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be cast into hell. And if your right hand serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It's better that you lose one of your members than that your entire body should be cast into hell'".

Now, let me bring a little balance to understanding of this. I don't think God wants you to pull your eye out and cut your arm off. But I use this example sometimes: let's just say that you work somewhere, not at Joyce Meyer Ministries, but you work somewhere and maybe, let's just say that you're a woman and you and your husband have been having problems at home. And so that already puts you, kind of in a little weakened position. So, a man at work starts flirting with you and you're starting to like to talk to him. And then he starts bringing you donuts and coffee in the morning. Then he asks you to go to lunch. So, if you're a smart Christian, you're gonna realize, "You know what? I'm on my way to trouble here". And if you can't resist the temptation, quit the job and get away from him.

To me, that's what it means to pluck your eye out, cut your arm off. If you can see that you're not gonna be able to resist something, then get away from it. Get so far away from it that it cannot be a problem to you any longer. Because let me tell you something, to think that you cannot be tempted is wrong. That's why we have to do something about it quickly. I love what 1 Peter 5:8 says, "Resist the devil at his onset". Don't wait and wait and wait and think that you can play around with sin. I heard this statement, I'd like to do a message with this title, "You can't play with mud and not get dirty". Amen?

Matthew 5:31 and 32, a lot of people won't like this one, what does Jesus say about divorce? And I'm reading the Bible, so don't stone me. "Whoever divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce," that's what it said in the Old Testament, "But," Jesus said, "'I tell you, whoever dismisses and repudiates and divorces his wife, except on the grounds of (sexual immorality), causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a woman who has been divorced commits adultery'".

Now, let me say this. I'm not bringing judgment and criticism on anybody that's been divorced, and I know that there's a lot of people that divorce for reasons other than adultery. I don't think, if you read the whole Bible, it's pretty obvious God doesn't want people to be abused. You know, you need to protect yourself, if somebody's like, my mother should have gotten away from my dad. She should have protected me. She should have protected herself. Of course, he was committing adultery with anybody he could. But God doesn't expect you to stay with somebody that is beating you up and is mean to you but sometimes, let's just say you're married to an alcoholic. I mean, sometimes maybe the answer is to separate from them for a period of time and let them hurt enough to see that they're gonna lose everything they have that they really care about if they don't straighten out.

But I want to say this, God hates divorce, but he does not hate people that have been divorced. So, there's no condemnation but I'm saying this to encourage you to really go the extra mile before divorce is just your first option. There's way too many Christians that are getting divorces. It's not just people in the world but it's people in the church. And I'm just reading you what Jesus said, I was divorced when I was in my 20s. My first husband did commit adultery. He wouldn't work. He ran around with other women all the time. So, I'm not judging people. Only you know what you could put up with and what you couldn't. But just to say, you know, "We're incompatible," to me, that's about the silliest thing I've ever heard because I don't know who is compatible.

You know, you always marry somebody that, well, almost always marry somebody that's the opposite of you. And God does that on purpose because they have strengths you don't have: you have strengths they don't have. And when you learn to get along, then together, you become one. "The two shall become one". And it brings balance into our lives. Matthew 5:41 says, "Go the extra mile". You know what that means? Always do more than what you have to. Let's say that your work hours are 8 to 5 with an hour for lunch. Alright, that means that if you clock in at 8 and then you get your coffee and you say, "Good morning" to everybody and you eat your donut and whatever, you're probably not working until 8:30.

And then, you get back 10 minutes late from lunch and then at quarter to five you get all your stuff together and ready to go home, you end up really not putting in an eight-hour day. This is just one example. I could give you a thousand different ones. But that's not going the extra mile. The person who goes the extra mile always does just a little bit more than what they would have to do. And I'll tell you, those are the people who get promoted in life. God makes sure that people who go the extra mile get promoted. There's many ways that we can go the extra mile. Give a little bit more than what you have to. Do a little bit more than what you have to do.

Matthew 5:42-47, "Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and don't turn away from him who would borrow [at interest] From you". Bottom line is, be generous. Generosity is a beautiful thing. Be generous. "You've heard that it was said, 'you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy'. But I tell you, 'love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,' to show that you are children of your father who is in heaven: for he makes the sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall on the upright and the wrongdoers [alike]". I love this. "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you get for that? Even tax collectors and sinners can do that. But if you greet only your brethren, what more than others are you doing? Do not even the gentiles (and the heathen) do that"?

So, he's saying, "If we only love people who love us back, that's nothing. But when you love people who are not good to you and are mean and mistreat you, now you're behaving like your father in heaven". And I'm gonna get all the way through it. Matthew 5:48, it ends with this, "You, therefore, must be perfect", oh, that used to bother me. Until I read it in the Amplified Bible. "[growing into complete maturity of Godliness in mind and character]". To be perfect doesn't necessarily mean perfect behavior. It means having a perfect heart that wants to grow into being like Christ. "You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of Godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your Heavenly Father is perfect".

So, bottom line is, is God wants us to always be growing. Are you a person who's always growing? I don't think God's gonna be mad at anybody when he comes back to get us if we haven't arrived. He just wants us to be growing. He wants us to be people that are always growing. So, Matthew chapter 5 is a great chapter in the Bible. And you know what would be good for you? Reading Matthew chapter 5 on your own, maybe in the morning. You've heard a lot of good things about it today. Now, if you read it yourself, it'll probably mean a lot more to you than maybe when you read it before.
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