Joyce Meyer - Ephesians 4 Bible Study
Do everything you can to get the strife out of your homes. Kids don't get along, kids don't get along with their parents, parents don't get along with each other. You know, the Bible says in James that where there is strife, there will be rebellion and every evil work. So guess what, mom and dad? If you're in strife all the time with each other, you can expect...I mean, your kids don't need to think that you're perfect but they don't need to see you fighting and arguing all the time. Kids need the stability of believing that their parents love each other and that things can be worked out.
Psalm 133, "Where there's unity, there's anointing and blessing." I love psalm 133. There, where there's unity, the anointing abides and there's blessing on that house. So then I guess I have to assume where there is no unity, there is no anointing, and there is no blessing. Hmm. You say, "Well, it's not my fault. I'm just living in the house with somebody it's hard to get along with. If they would change", don't make me go there. I don't have time to go there today.
Matthew 5:9, "Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous, with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions.)" C'mon,He's saying, look, you can be happy no matter what your outward conditions are, if you'll be a "maker and a maintainer of peace." You work for peace. Peace is not gonna fall on us like ripe fruit falling off a tree. If you wanna get along with people, you're gonna have to do it on purpose.
I got one brother out here that's in agreement with me. You're fun to preach to. I'll just give you a few hints. You don't always have to have the last word. If you're married, stop giving your husband driving directions. It's a fight waiting to happen. Matter of fact, the least bit of advice you can give your husband the better off you are because he doesn't want it and he's probably not gonna take it. Maybe once in a while, occasionally, but not real often. God told me a long time ago, "You're a teacher but you're not Dave's teacher." 'Cause I just got a big teacher in me. I'm telling you what, you got a problem, I got an answer. I can fix it for you. At least I think I can. You could occasionally say, "I was wrong." Boy, does that stop a lot of arguments. Or here's a good one. "Well, I think I'm right but, you know, I could be wrong." Even that's good.
So do your best to maintain peace. Be willing to apologize even if you have to do it first. Verses 7 through 14 talk about all the different gifts that we have and I like to say how God gives each of us grace for our place. In other words, if you're raising a special needs child you will have the grace to be in the place where you're at. And you'll have the grace to be there peacefully and still enjoy your life. We look at people and say, "I just don't know how you do what you do." Well, you know what? They don't either, because God's gotten on board with 'em and is helping them do something that is beyond what anybody could normally do. When we put our trust in God, He makes us able to do things that are absolutely amazing.
I wanna get back to Ephesians and we're gonna read a little bit of this. Ephesians 4:7, "Yet grace (God's unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually not indiscriminately, but in different ways in proportion to the measure of Christ's rich and bounteous gift." We all have grace and you might even say we all have the same amount of grace but we have it in different ways for different things. And it's so important for you to realize that whatever you need to do in life, if you trust God, He will give you the grace to do it and you can do it with a smile on your face and continue to have peace in your life.
The last thing you wanna say is, "There's no way I can do this. I just can't do this. I can't do it." Don't get yourself in a dither and start telling God everything you can't do and won't do and can't stand. Just say, "God, if this is where You've got me, give me the grace to be in this place and to serve You with an attitude of joy." We need to learn how to have unity within diversity. I love that statement. I'm never gonna get along with everybody if I expect all of them to be like me. And I'm not gonna get along with people if I'm trying to be what they are. So when we learn that we all have different gifts and that God gives us grace for our place, that means that I don't have to compare myself with you and try to be what you are. That sets me free to totally be me.
Do any of you ever get tired of competing and comparing with other people? Listen, as Christians, we even compare our prayer lives with other Christians. I mean, if I'm praying 15 minutes a day and I'm real happy and sister super-christian takes me to breakfast and tells me how she prays 4 hours every day, now all of a sudden I'm unhappy with myself. You know what? If you're trying to read the Bible through every year, you probably tell people. But if you're reading one verse a day, you probably don't ever mention it. Well, maybe we need to just keep quiet about what we're doing and doing it unto the Lord. And trust that our reward will come from Him.
Now, verse 8, "Therefore it is said, when He ascended on high, He led captivity captive He led a train of vanquished foes and He bestowed gifts on men." Now, maybe you don't understand that. Let me read you what H.A. Ironside said in his commentary on Ephesians. "Our blessed Lord in His triumph over death led captive him who had the power of death up until that time," which is the devil, "That he might deliver those who, through the fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage. In other words, our mighty enemy satan is now a conquered foe."
"When Christ ascended on high, He dealt with the enemy. For this purpose was the Son of God manifest to destroy the works of the wicked one. He has been led captive at the chariot wheels of Christ and our Lord has now ascended as man and taken his place on the throne of the majesty in heavens and there, from His exalted seat in glory, He gives these gifts to His church for its blessing and its edification."
Wow! And there are so many different gifts. There's the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, the pastor, and the teacher. And we read further in Ephesians, it says that these gifts are given for the building up and the edifying of the church that they might go out and do the work of the ministry. I'm not here today just for you to watch me work. I am here today to build you up so you can go out and do the work. Amen? And it is time for people to stop warming the pews. C'mon, some of you have sat on the pews so long, your little bottom's totally flat. And here's what happens. Let me tell you what happens. If you sit on the pew and listen to somebody else, and you get full of the word and you don't then do something with it, here's what's gonna happen. You're gonna start getting unhappy and you're gonna blame the person on the platform.
I had a girl come and tell me one time, she said, "You know what? I have to confess to you that I wasn't getting anything out of your teachings anymore and I started praying for you because I thought you had sin in your life. I thought you'd lost your anointing and you needed, like, a fresh edge." And she said, "God told me, 'it's not her. You're not getting anything out of what she's saying because you're already so full you have no place to put anything else. And if you don't get out and start giving some of it away, you're never gonna get anything from anybody again.'"
Of course, you're gonna get tired and sitting and listening to the same thing over and over and over, if you're not doing anything with it. Yeah, uh-oh, we'll go on. You better be glad I'm about out of time but thank God for tonight. Amen? But I'm not out of time yet. I've still got 10 minutes. Hang on. And then there's the gifts of the Holy Spirit and, my gosh, do we need to hear more teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The word of knowledge, the word of wisdom, healing, discerning of spirits. Prophecy, tongues, yes, tongues, interpretation of tongues. "Oh, Joyce, don't tell me you're one of those."
Hey, listen. If there's anything in that Bible that I can have, I'm gonna go after it. And I don't care whose doctrine it fits into or doesn't fit into. If it's Bible, I want it. Amen? I am hungry for more of God and I need all the supernatural help I can get. And this is where sometimes we need to be willing to make some decisions for myself, for ourself. And say, "I'm going all the way with God and if that means you don't wanna fellowship with me anymore, then I guess God will give me a bunch of new friends." Because I'm not gonna limp through life being pitiful and pathetic when the power of God is available to me on a daily basis, amen?