Joyce Meyer - Ephesians 5 Bible Study
Chapter 5. And just before I get into it, I wanna read a couple of scriptures to you. 2 Timothy 4:3 and 4. Okay and I want you to listen to this 'cause we're living in these times right now. "For the time is coming when people will not tolerate (and endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching for something pleasing and gratifying, they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors that they hold."
Isn't that pretty amazing? You know, if you don't like what I'm saying on TV, you can flip the channel and find somebody that you like what they're saying. That's not hard to do but don't ever not listen to somebody because what they say to you kind of makes you a little bit uncomfortable in your seat.
In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul told Timothy, "Herald and preach the word! Keep your sense of urgency stand by, be at hand and ready, whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. Whether it's convenient or inconvenient, whether it's welcome or unwelcome", now listen to this, "you as a preacher of the word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong. Hmm. "And convince them, rebuking, correcting, warning, urging, and encouraging them." Not just encouraging them, but all of it.
And can I tell you, the ministers that you have who really love you will take a chance on you getting aggravated at them if that's what it takes to get the truth through to you that will make the changes in your life that you need that are gonna bring you the things you say that you want. And I feel so strongly about that. It's not my job to make sure you don't get mad at me. It's my job to make sure when I stand before God, that I've done what He wanted me to do and that's your job too, amen?
So having said that, let us press on. In Ephesians 5, the first 9 verses talk about pursuing clean living. Pursue means to crave and to go after with all of your strength. If you wanna be an excellent person, you're gonna have to really want it bad because we live in a very mediocre world and people will fight you on it. If you wanna be a really honest person, it's possible you could lose your job because somebody out there's gonna want you to help them cheat, help them lie. They're gonna want you to do immoral things.
But your responsibility is first and foremost to God. It's not to them. And if you do what's right, listen to me, God will get you a better job than the one that you're being threatened to lose. If you wanna get out in the world that we live in today and serve God, I might as well tell you, it's gonna cost you something. But here's the thing. Romans 4:12 says, "Every man will stand before God and give an account of his life." Every man. And I don't know about you, but that brings a reverential fear and awe to my life. This is going to be over. Things are not gonna stay the way they are here forever. Everybody gets old. Everybody dies. There's nobody can get away from that. And I know you don't think much about it when you're 15 or 20 or even 30, but let me tell you, I've been thinking about it a whole lot more lately. I mean, I'm serious. I had this eye-opening revelation a few years ago that I've already lived a good two-thirds of my life. And I don't have any time to mess around. And let me tell you something, a lot of you don't either. And the day is gonna come where we're gonna all stand before God and give an account of our lives and I am spending my time now getting ready so I don't have to be ashamed then. Amen?
Matter of fact, I love the scriptures and I became very aware of them last year. There are several places in the Bible where Paul talks to people about their behavior and he follows it up with this statement, "For the Lord is near." So can I just say to you tonight, it's time to behave a lot better because Jesus is coming back soon. I think I'll say it to this group over here. I mean, think about that. Think about that. It's time to make those decisions that you know you need to make but you keep putting off 'til another time.
Do you know the most dangerous word that I know is tomorrow. "I'm gonna do that. I'm just gonna do it tomorrow." God doesn't want us to do it tomorrow. He wants us to do it when He tells us to do it. And you know, I told a group of people last week, I was preaching in Jacksonville, and I said, "We have to understand that when God puts something on our heart to do or not do, there's an anointing on us then to do it. And if we'll do it when God says to do it, we're gonna have supernatural help from Him. But if we wait until it's our time, we're gonna end up trying to do it by ourself. And then it probably won't work".
All right, Ephesians chapter 5. Let's just read a few of these first verses, just the talk about clean living. I'm sure you can't hardly wait. Here you go. I love verse 1, "Therefore be an imitator of God copy Him and follow His example, as well-beloved children imitate their father." And the next thing He says is, "And walk in love." Well, you know, love just really covers everything. I mean, to be honest with you, I can just tell you the absolute truth, you could forget everything that I said tonight and do nothing but focus on walking in love and you'd have all the rest of it covered. Because love never does any harm to anyone. Love is always patient, it's always kind, it's always good, it's always humble, it's never jealous, it's never envious, it always believes the best, it never gives up on people, it's not haughty, it's not high-minded, it is not touchy, it's not easily offended, amen?
And that's 1 Corinthians 13, about 1 through 8, something like that. And so honestly and truly, if you don't wanna think about all these other behaviors, I've learned in my life, I just study love a lot and I focus on trying to love God and love people and it just takes care of so many things and then I don't have to try to not say things that hurt people's feelings and I don't have to try to get over being mad at people. There are so many things we don't have to try to do if we focus on love. And you know what? As christians, we're great about talking about love and theorizing about love. Maybe one of the worst-selling books I had was the book I wrote on love, honestly. It was terrible. It was embarrassing how bad it sold. And it wasn't because it wasn't good. It's because people don't place a priority on that. It was about forgetting about yourself and doing things for other people.
Well, you write a book like that, don't expect to sell many copies. I thought about writing one on dying to self and just, you know, I think I may just put out some really gut-wrenching books in the last few years of my life and just see, maybe if you won't read 'em, maybe things get bad enough in the earth somebody will come along a hundred years from now and say, "I need that." Listen, the Bible says the only way that you know that you've passed over out of death into life is by the fact that you love people. Until we learn how to love people, we're held in continual death. Our lives are just full of death. So he talks a lot about love. And then, get this.
"But immorality," verse 3, "(sexual vice) all impurity of lustful, rich, wasteful living" and that doesn't say you can't have money. It says don't be wasteful, "Or greediness", and you know, some of these things become almost acceptable sins. Covetousness. "Well, I want what you've got". Well, the Bible says it's wrong to want what somebody else has got. We should be thankful for what we have and trust God to give us what He wants us to have. "Greediness must not even be named among you." Verse 4, "Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting," like, don't be telling dirty jokes. Okay, let's take it to another level. Don't even tell suggestively, off-color jokes. You know what? God doesn't think they're funny. I'm glad you're here, brother.
I read a story today about a group of men that were sitting around and they were church men, godly men, supposedly. And there were some ladies there also and they'd all had dinner together and so the ladies got up to go in another room to do something else and one of the men said, "Oh, now that the ladies are gone, I heard this story today that I wanna tell you." And one of the, like, really godly men said, "Wait a minute, brother. If you can't tell it in front of the ladies, then don't tell it to us because God's gonna hear you whether the ladies are here or not."
You see, I think that we need to get a little bit braver even with our friends and the people that we love and just say, "You know what? I really don't wanna hear that. You know what? I don't wanna talk about that. I don't wanna keep going there." I mean, somebody that I know got into some sin recently and, man, everybody was just, like, talking about it and talk 'bout, talk 'bout. I finally said, "I don't wanna talk about it. I don't wanna talk about it anymore. We don't need to be talking about that kind of stuff." You talk about things if you need to but you don't need to just keep talking about it and and keep talking about it just because it's gossipy. Because it fills you with death. It doesn't fill you full of life. And since I'm out in the deep water, I might as well just keep going.
Okay, listen, let's talk about sexual immorality for a little bit. "Well, do you really think, sister Joyce, that we should be talking about sex in church?" Well, I think we better talk about it here. I don't care what modern culture says, the Bible says that you should not have sex until you get married. And I know marriage is not very popular today and people say, "Well, it's only a piece of paper." It's not about the piece of paper, it's about the commitment. It's about making that commitment. And I really respect young people today who are taking vows to stay pure until they actually get married. I think that's very important.
Now, listen, this is not under condemnation. If you've already made mistakes there's forgiveness. But don't just keep making them over and over and over. We had a really beautiful thing happen in a conference that I did earlier this year. There was a couple who'd been listening to me and they'd really been touched by the word and they'd been living together for a long time. And they came to my conference in Phoenix and made a decision that night, "It's time for us to get things right," and they went and talked to pastor Mike and said they were gonna make things right, stop living like that, make a full commitment, and get married right away.
You know something? It's time for us to live the way God wants us to live, not the way the world says it's okay to live. Listen, young ladies. It's perfectly okay to say, "No. I don't care what everybody else is doing. My answer to you is 'NO'. And if that's what you want from me, you got the wrong person," amen? I had to say that. Immorality. Use wisdom, ladies, in how you dress. Don't be dressing in some kind of provocative way that's going to. You know, it's a shame when you gotta get up in the pulpit in front of this many thousands of people and tell 'em how to dress. But here's the thing. We're too affected by the world. Just because it's fashion, that doesn't mean I get to wear it. There's all kinds of pretty things you could wear and still not have half your body hanging out.
Well, I'm sure I've gone to meddling now but it's too late to turn back. Paul warns over and over against sexual sin, greediness, indecency. C'mon, when something stupid comes on your television, don't wait to see how stupid it's gonna get before you turn it off. Hey, listen, I do that too once in a while. I think, "Well, surely it's gonna get better." You know what? If it ain't good in the beginning, it's not gonna get better, it's only gonna get worse, amen? If I watch television, I'm not just watching a movie I've rented or something, I actually watch it with the remote control in my hand, with my finger on fast forward. We have to protect ourselves from the junk that's out in the world. We don't need that kind of stuff coming into us. Well, now I know for sure that anybody who comes back tomorrow is really serious.