Joyce Meyer - The Keys That Unlock the Door
I started last night, a three-part series about the invisible kingdom, it's called, "The Kingdom of God". The first thing that Jesus said in his public ministry is, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". Matter of fact, all over the New Testament it talks about the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. And I wonder how many of us really don't even fully understand what that is. You see, we live in the United States, which we might say is a type of a kingdom. The United Kingdom is called a kingdom. But there's another kingdom within this kingdom that we don't see with our natural eye but it's actually, more important than what we do see in the natural.
Paul prayed that, "The eyes of their hearts would be enlightened that they might know the truth". So, I have these eyes, but I have eyes in my heart also, with which I can see things but I see them by faith. I see them because I believe God's word. And I believe, what I believe so strongly that it can't be taken away from me. It's one thing to believe a little bit but it's another thing when you are like... You can get to the point where you don't just believe something but you know. I mean, you absolutely, know that you know.
One of the very important things to be rooted and grounded in is the knowledge of how much God loves you unconditionally. There's nothing more important than that. Don't ever say when you have a trial in your life, "Well, God don't you love me"? Yes, God loves you. And the Word of God says that we should be rooted and grounded in that love. It talks about us being more than conquerors in Romans 8. And you know what it means to be more than a conqueror. It means that you know that you've won the battle before the fight ever starts. And that's a powerful way to live. You know, we're walking through something now that we already know how it ends. But when we're walking through it, that's when we have to keep in mind, we know how this ends. We haven't seen it yet, but we know it's going to end well.
You know, I formed a habit in the last couple of years, is no matter what I'm going through I say, "This is gonna end well. This is gonna end good, and God is gonna work something good out of this, and I'm gonna know something I didn't know before, and be a better person than I was before". Listen, you can encourage yourself when you're going through difficulties. How many of you are going through something pretty tough right now in your life? Well, and see you came here today because you wanted to be encouraged, and I want to encourage you. And I think realizing that there's a lot of stuff going on in your life that you don't see, that's good stuff is very encouraging. Just because you don't see anything happening in your life doesn't mean nothing is happening. God does a lot of work behind the scenes before it's actually manifested in our life. Amen?
I mean, you see me here today, but you don't have any idea how much work has gone into this before we ever got to this, today. I couldn't even explain it to you if I tried. How do you get from where I was to where I am? One step at a time, one day at a time, not giving up, learning, learning, learning, learning, ever learning, learning, learning. And there's a lot of things I don't know but I'll tell you what I do know. I know, that I know, that I know that God loves me. And I know that he will never stop loving me. In the Bible, Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments". He didn't say that he would love us if we keep his commandments. He already does that. And it's because he loves us that we should respond in a proper way through being obedient, and a word I used last night that I'm going to use some today.
I think, to some people it's almost like a nasty word, but sacrifice. If you're gonna be the kind of Christian that God wants you to be and really be a world-shaker and don't just live just for you and just always after God to give you another thing that you want that you think is gonna make you happy. There's so much more than this. Eternity is like forever. We can't comprehend that with our minds. You read in Genesis the genealogy of the first several generations and it was like, man was so powerful and so strong that in the beginning like, Adam lived 900 years and then his sons would live 860 years, and 850 years, and then Methuselah lived I think it was 930 years. And it took the devil a long time just to teach us how to die. And as you read: the lifespan got shorter, and shorter, and shorter. And you know why? Because the more sin that enters into the world the more it affects everything in our lives. Amen?
And so, if you want to have the kind of life that Jesus has promised you, I don't mean talk about it, I don't mean hear sermons about it, I mean live it. If you want to have that joy, and have that peace, and know who you are in Christ, and watch God do literally, the impossible through you then we have to follow the example of Christ who sacrificed everything for us. And when God asks us to make really, some small sacrifice there should never be an argument about that. God is never trying to take anything away from you, he's always trying to get something to you. Amen? So, how many of you kinda, sorta get that there's another whole kingdom here that we don't see? But see, I think that we need to keep it in mind more. What does Colossians 3 say? "Set your mind on things above not on things upon the earth. For you are dead and your real life is hidden with God in Christ".
Now, that doesn't mean that you just go around all the time just thinking about heaven and you know that you just become unrealistic and not facing the truth about anything. But we should... You know what? If you're having a hard time going to sleep at night, this is something that I do. And it's okay to do because God says to become like a little child. So, you can do things that aren't just real adult, you know, if you wanna have some fun with God. I like to lay in bed at night, when I'm waiting to go to sleep, and think about what it's gonna be like when God's done with me here. I mean, is he gonna come and get me and walk me through the pearly gates? Is he gonna meet me...
And so, I kind of imagine it. What it's gonna be like to meet him, and what we're gonna talk about, just how different things are gonna be. You go to sleep fast when you start thinking about stuff like that. Now, if you wanna worry, the devil will keep you up all night. Are you listening to me? But if you start putting your mind on God, you'll go to sleep pretty quick. You know, I think the reason why God doesn't tell us any more than what he does about how heaven is gonna be, I mean, there's some things, no more tears, no more crying, no more sadness. You know, it's gonna be beautiful, streets of gold and things like that. But there's a lot that we don't know. We don't know exactly what we're gonna be doing there and you know, these things.
And I think that the reason why God hasn't told us more is because it is so amazing that we couldn't grasp it even if God tried to show us. That's why sometimes when you read revelation, it's like, "What"? Because John had a vision of these heavenly things and he's trying to explain them in terms that people can understand. And I just think that there's gonna be things so amazing and so wonderful when we finally get out of these bodies. Imagine the freedom. Eat and never gain weight. No cellulite, whoo. Muscles without exercise. I don't know. It's gonna be absolutely wonderful. So, we live in this invisible kingdom.
And in 1 Corinthians 13, it says that, "When that day comes that, right now, we live like we're looking in a dark mirror. And we see things but in a foggy, clouded way". You kinda like, sorta see some things but you're not seeing 'em clearly. But when that day comes, when Christ comes to get us, it says we're gonna see him face-to-face. Boy, that's exciting. We're gonna see him face-to-face and we are gonna... Now we know in part but then we will know completely. We'll under... All the things that you have questions about they will someday get answered. But by the time they get answered, you won't care. We just drive ourselves nutty with questions.
In Matthew chapter 16 beginning in verse 13, it says, "Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'who do people say that the son of man is?' and they said, 'well, some say John the baptist, others Elijah, others Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.' And he said to them, 'but who do you say that I am?'" See, you can't get into heaven because you inherit your mother's faith. You gotta have your own walk with God. You gotta have your own faith. You have to know him for yourself. "'Who do you say that I am?'" And Peter, who was always willing to talk, said, "'You are the Christ, the son of the living God.'"
And I don't think that I could say that in a way that would get across how that must have sounded. You are, "'who do you say that I am?' 'you are the Christ, the son of the living God.' and Jesus answered him, 'blessed are you, Simon bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'" now, the rock that Jesus is speaking of is not Peter. It's Peter's faith. It's the rock of our faith. And he says, "'I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven...'"
I told you last night that today we wanna talk about keys because keys unlock doors. And so, there's a lot of things the Bible says that are ours, but somehow we don't seem to know how to get to them. And so, we hear sermons about 'em and we read books about 'em. But if we're honest, in reality, we're not actually, experiencing it on a day-to-day basis. The Bible says we can, "Have the peace that passes understanding. And that we can live in the rest of God". But most of us don't. It says, we can, "Have joy unspeakable and full of glory, not the joy of this world, but the joy of the Lord".
But how many truly, consistently, happy Christians do you know? I think that should be one of our greatest goals is consistency. Positive all the time, prayerful all the time, obedient all the time, peaceful all the time, joyful all the time, let the world do what it's gonna do but you keep your eyes on Jesus. "We walk by faith and not by sight". Amen? So, "'I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven".
Now, he's giving Peter and the church authority. We're not just weak, wimpy, know-nothings, we have authority, and we have power. "Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world". Get rid of the words, I can't". Just get it out of your language. Now, there are times that we need to admit that we can't do something. And you can't just do anything you want to do, but whatever God tells you to do that you can do. Are you with me? I got a few happy people up here on the front row.
See, sometimes we wanna go and have authority over a devil and we don't even have authority over a sink full of dirty dishes yet. I mean, you know, we gotta start with the practical stuff. Can you make it through one day without complaining? Let's try that one. Can you get through one day without murmuring or complaining about anything? That in itself takes a miracle. But you know what? One of the keys into the kingdom living is an attitude of gratitude not an attitude of murmuring and complaining. And here's a good one. The Kingdom of God is all about everything positive. You can't be negative and enjoy kingdom living. You're not gonna be happy if you're negative. You're not gonna be happy if you're selfish. It's the simple things, it's the little things that can make such dramatic changes in our lives.
Do you know that some of you today, you could just do like this and go from negative to positive? Don't be a negative, murmuring, griping, half-glass-empty person all your life. Get happy. Amen? But you know what? God wants to do more miracles for us. He wants to do more great things in our life, but he can't if we're gonna be complaining all the time, and negative, and grumpy. So, let me say it again. Just start by trying to get through one whole day without complaining. So, there are keys. It's cool when you've got the key to the door. Keys give you authority. And you have authority. In Luke 10:19, in the amplified Bible, I love this. It says, "Behold"! Which means look and see. "I have given you power and authority over all the power the enemy possesses".
Now, please notice the enemy has power but you have something he doesn't have. You have power and authority. And the only authority the enemy has is what we give him through our lack of knowledge. He didn't have any authority over Adam and eve until he lied to 'em and they believed him and took the bait. And we need to get wise enough to know our enemy. That's my book that's coming out this fall, "Your battles belong to the Lord". But that doesn't mean there's nothing for you to do. You can't win a battle if you won't even show up for the fight. Amen? So, I've been stopping several times a day and just thinking, "Man, there's angels with me everywhere I go".
And as I said last night, they're not those little, fat, baby, cherubim with the little, fluffy wings on their back. I mean, the pictures that people come up with that represent the things of God, probably the first angel we saw, we'd fall flat on our face in reverential fear. It sure wouldn't be a little, chubby baby floating around with wings. Our God is an awesome God. But I want to talk to you today... I mean, I've been talking to you for half an hour already but I wanna zero-in on what is, "The key". There's keys, but there's one main key and that is simply, this faith that we see in Peter when he said, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God".
And I don't know about you, but sometimes I just need a good talking-to about staying in faith. 'Cause you know what? Faith is easy till the devil gets after you with doubt and unbelief. And a lot of that doubt and unbelief comes by paying too much attention to what we see and feel, and not enough attention to the kingdom that we can't see, and believing what God says about what's going on in that atmosphere more than we believe even what we see right here. Our state, Missouri, is called, "The show-me state". And I wish it wasn't called that since I live there, but it is. And you see, in the world that's pretty much the attitude. "Well, you show me and then I'll believe it". But if you're gonna get along in God's economy, you gotta learn to be just the exact opposite, "I'll believe it and then I'll see it".
We always believe first, sometimes, for a long time with all kinds of tests in-between. But if you won't give up, "Be not weary in well doing: for in due season you shall reap, if you faint not". When the devil gets a hold of somebody that refuses to give up... His days are numbered. Amen? Hebrews 11, what is faith? I love to go and look at Hebrews 11 just every once in awhile. It says, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see". "Faith is the substance," the amplified Bible says. So, it's a real thing, it has substance. "Faith is a substance of things we hope for, the evidence of things we do not see".
So, I won't have it in the natural until I first have it by faith. When I first started serving God, I always believe that because I'd been abused I would just have to be satisfied with a second-rate life. I would have never thought back then that I could be doing what I'm doing, now. I mean, it really, really, really, really is a miracle. But you know, it wasn't something that just all of a sudden happened. I mean, there was a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice, and swimming pools full of tears, and quitting and starting again, and quitting and starting again, giving up, and getting started again, listening to sermons, and reading books, and reading books, and reading books, and reading books, and reading books, and reading the Bible, and reading the Bible.
This is not just, you know, one dab will do ya. You can't just like, have a lifetime full of problems and go to church a couple times and then get mad at God if they're not all fixed. I remember the lady who came to me... I was somewhere here up on East Coast but I don't remember exactly where and that was when we had few enough people in our meetings that I could pray for everybody at the end. And she came and she... And she looked at me and she said, "I want my money back". And I said, "I don't understand what you're talkin' about". She said, "Listen, I've been doing what you told me to do for three weeks and nothing has changed". Honestly, it was hard for me not to laugh in her face. We'll give the devil 50 years to destroy us but we don't wanna give God more than three weeks to fix us.
God wants to give you discernment and he can give you discernment even about timing. When I need to talk to Dave about something that could be volatile, I never do it without praying first that God will give me the perfect timing, and show me exactly when the time is right. We don't just do things when we wanna do them or do what we feel like doing. We got this communication thing going on with Jesus, and we're always asking him to help us in every situation. We walk by faith. We live by faith. But faith is all about believing what this says more than you believe what you see or feel. Come on, is anybody with me, today?
And I'll tell you what I want you to do. I want you to turn your faith loose. I think some of you just need to be stirred up again in believing God for greater things. That's what Paul told Timothy, "Stir up your faith," fan that flame. Maybe some of you, at one time, really were believing God for something that was impossible, and you just waited so long and had so much trouble that you've just lost sight of the whole thing. And maybe God wants to reignite you today and get you on-fire again, and get you to stir your faith up. Don't just kinda just like, "Monday... Tuesday... Wednesday... Thursday... Friday... Saturday..." You're not too old to do something new.
Come on. And you don't believe me. I didn't even go on TV till I was 52. Who starts something like that at 52? And I've been on television 25, 26 years, so it doesn't take you long to figure out how old I am if you can count. So, don't tell me you're too old to do something. Amen? And don't tell me, "I got too many kids". When I started this ministry, I had three teenagers and a baby. And I'd stick that baby on my hip and we'd just take off and go. Amen? Alright, Joyce, try to get back on track here. Faith is the key to those kingdom promises. 1 Peter 1:3-9, "Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again," I love this, "Into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead".
I am not born again into negativity and hopelessness. I am born again into a living hope. And let me tell you something. You cannot have faith if you don't have hope. You know what hope is? A positive expectation that something good is gonna happen to you at any moment. Could you start living like that? "Something good is gonna happen to me today. And something good is gonna happen through me today". You get up in the morning, you don't feel good, and your back's aching, and you can't stand your job, and your house is dirty and you're just like... Well, shake it off. Get a better perspective. "I'm alive. I'm breathing. Jesus loves me. I'm on my way to heaven. Something good is gonna happen to me today". Listen to 1 John 5:4, "This is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith".
Okay, now, I love this. I get so excited every time I read this. This is continuing on in 1 Peter, he's given us, "An inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power, being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time". In other words, what we know now, is just a little, teeny, tiny bit of what we got coming. You understand that? The Holy Spirit is the deposit of the good things that are to come.
Now see, maybe, this affects me differently than you, but I'm like, I really believe what I'm saying. I didn't just perfectly craft together this little message. I mean, I believe this stuff. And I hope that I believe it strong enough that God can use me to convince you. There's more to life than just getting up and going to bed, and getting up and going, now, that's part of it. But see, the thing about being a believer is you can have a supernaturally good time in the midst of doing same, old, ordinary stuff that you do everyday. I mean, you can enjoy taking the garbage out. You can enjoy going to the grocery store. You can enjoy driving in traffic. All you gotta do is keep a right perspective. And pray every morning, "God, put a hand on my complaining mouth. Don't let me do it".
Let's play the glad game. Come on, no matter what the enemy tries to do, find something positive to say. Can you just imagine if everybody who has a fish on their car, a cross around their neck, if everybody who goes off to a church somewhere on Sunday morning would just be positive? Man, we need good news out there. "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you've been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ". But now, listen to this. "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and you rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory".
That's our heritage. Don't try to tell me that Jesus is not real. It is too late for me. I've experienced too much in my life and seen God do too much. And I can't explain it all but I know, that I know, that I know that he is coming back for us. And even if you never had one good day the rest of your life, it's gonna be worth hanging in there just for the eternity. When you die, there's only two places: you only got two options of where to go. And if you're even a little bit smart, you'll know what the best choice is. Now, it doesn't cost us anything to believe. And you know, if you're positive and you believe something good, even if you're just making it up, at least you'd be happy. Right? And I say all the time if I spend my life believing this and I'm wrong, I didn't lose anything. But if you spend your life not believing and you're wrong... Uh-oh. That ain't gonna be pretty.
So, if I were you, I'd go ahead and believe, just in case. Oh my gosh, I gotta get going here. Romans 14:17, "The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink:" or let's just say, "Stuff". The Kingdom of God is not about stuff, but here's what the kingdom is. "Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost". Now, here's three things that I have now, through faith, through a relationship with Christ that I never had before Christ. I am in right standing with God through faith in Jesus Christ. God is not mad at me. He loves me. And I don't have to waste one minute of my life feeling guilty and condemned. Because when I do something wrong, I repent, I'm sorry. God forgives me. He forgets it, and I forget it, too. And some of you need to, not only hear what I'm saying, but you need to say, "I'm taking that, that's for me". God forgives us and he forgets them. "He removes our sins as far as the East is from the West".
I love the choice of language. Who can figure out how far the East is from the West? He remembers them no more. So, why don't you stop talking to God about something that he's forgotten? How about if you forget it too? "Letting go of what lies behind and pressing on". It's so wonderful to feel good about yourself. Isn't that wonderful? You can like yourself. You can love who you are. You don't have to compare yourself with other people. And peace... Uh, my gosh, to live in rest. Whoo, and joy. Joy unspeakable and full of glory. Now, moving on here. The Bible says we're to welcome the kingdom like a little child.
Now, there's some interesting things about kids that we lose as we grow up. For example, whatever happened to recess? We used to get recess, and now we just work all the time. I think we should go back to having adult recesses. What do you think? What'd we do at recess? We went out and played. Amen? Okay, Luke 18:17, "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive," everybody say, "Receive". Doesn't say get, it says, "Receive". "Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God, like a child shall not enter in". In other words, if you're gonna believe things that you can't see, that you see in your heart, but you don't see with your eyes, then you're gonna have to be a little bit child-like.
You know, if a three-year old's daddy tells him to jump off of the side of the swimming pool into water that's way over his head, and daddy will catch you, he jumps. He's not thinking about the water or worried about drowning. All he knows is daddy's faithful. Daddy loves me. Daddy will catch me. And you know what? When God tells you to jump... I said, "When God tells you to jump..." You don't have to keep working at a job the rest of your life that you hate. You can jump and go do something you like. Even if you make less money, it's better to be happy with less money than to be miserable with a big bank account. We call it, "A leap of faith". Those who are child-like are called, "Greatest in the kingdom of heaven". Jesus called, "At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'who's the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?'" I'm in Matthew 18:1-4. "And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, 'truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'"
Now, that's not talking about you won't go to heaven. That's talking about entering into this kingdom life that I'm trying to talk to you about today that we can have. In the world but not of the world. In the world, but knowing that there's a whole lot more than what we see. Two things about children that are very important is they are trusting and they forgive so quickly. I mean, little Johnny can be ready to tear Henry's head off and five minutes later, they'll have their arms around each other, walking down the street, best buds in the whole world. Come on, who are you mad at? You're probably thinking, "Oh, I wish so-and-so would have been here today. Well, they're not but you are, so there must be something for you.
And see, we receive by faith. God says, "Your sins are forgiven". You receive that by faith. I can't prove it to you in the natural. But if you really receive it by faith, then you don't have to be condemned. When we do wrong things the Bible says that God will be merciful unto us. But we have to receive mercy. We receive Christ into our hearts by faith and thereby, we're born again. Children have no problem receiving. We're the ones with all the questions. "Well, how could it be that simple? How can you live a life of sin and just pray a prayer and it all be gone? How can that happen"?
My father was the most wretched, miserable human being. He was not only abusive, but he was just mean, just ugly mean. And when he was 83 I led him to the Lord. And I can tell you after everything he did, not only to me, but to many, many, many people, the awful way he treated my mother, he ruined my brother's life, I believe, that the moment he received Christ, as his Savior, that every sin was completely wiped away and forgiven. And I believe he's in heaven today hearing this message. Amen?
Let's have our kids. Okay. You got my money? Now, kids are not suspicious. They're good receivers. Boy, don't I have a bunch of good-looking kids up here, today? Okay, how many of you guys know what money is? Raise your hand if you know what money is? Ok, how many of you like money? I got some money here. What if I give you money, would you like that? No, you don't want any? Well, you must be one of those people out there.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: Thank you, hmm...
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: See, you said you didn't want it, but you did.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: Thank you.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: The only thing I'm hearing up here from each one is, "Thank you".
Joyce: God wants to hear a lot more of that.
Joyce: Hey, how about a smile, handsome?
Joyce: Somebody's about to give you money, that's a time to smile.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: Thank you. I like your dress. Now, you can buy something pretty to go with it.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: Thank you.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: Thank you.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: Okay, but it's not over. Now, I got $5 bills here.
Joyce: Aha... How 'bout that?
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: That's the way it's supposed to work. When God gives us something, we receive it, say, "Thank you," and we get happy.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: You're welcome. Whoo!
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: Now, you can really buy something.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: Have you noticed that not one person is refusing to receive because they don't think they deserve it? Where is your smile? Man, you'll have to come and live with me awhile. We'll teach you how to smile.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: You're so pretty.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: Wow, you look like you work out.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: Okay, you can go. Have a nice day.
Child: Thank you.
Joyce: You're welcome.
Now, not one of them said, "Why do you want to give this to me"? Not one of them said, "Eh, I don't trust you". See, if we learn how to receive from God like that... He says, "I love you," and you should say, "Thank you". "I forgive your sins". "Thank you". "Well, I just can't hardly believe that you would do that, not as bad as I've been". No, shh... "Thank you". "I'm gonna give you favor everywhere you go," whoo! "Thank you". Come on, you getting it?