Joyce Meyer - God's Arithmetic - Part 2
Well, thank you for joining me today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". And I pray for you right now, that when this program is over, you are gonna feel better than you did when you first started watching it. I don't know what you might be going through in your life, or what might be coming up, but the Word of God strengthens us, and it gives us the ability to handle things that we couldn't handle, if we didn't have that word. So, listen closely because God may speak something to you today that maybe life changing.
Yesterday on the program I started a message that I called, "God's Arithmetic". It's really a message about the, "Math of Grace," and how free grace, the gift of God, to us undeserving sinners is so absolutely amazing. No wonder we sing songs about, "Amazing grace". It just doesn't make any sense. And you know, many times people miss the best of what God wants to do for them, because they can't make any sense out of it. And I know that there are people in the world who still have refused to believe in God, or to believe in Jesus. Because the plan of salvation: Jesus dying on the cross, taking all of our sin upon himself, forgiving us, showing us mercy, it doesn't make any sense. And not only did he do it, but the Bible said that, "He did it while we were still yet sinners".
Before, if you do love God, and you have accepted Christ, before you ever knew him or wanted him, he still did it for you and he did it for me. And you'll see a scripture in a little bit that says that people just don't do that. That's not the way we operate in the world. In the world you have to earn something to get it. But in God's economy, he loves us first, so that we might love him. And he doesn't want us doing an anything for him to get anything from him. He wants us doing everything that we do for him: all giving, all service, all prayer, all spending time with him, everything, he wants us to do because of what he has already done for us freely.
Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey me". And so, I tell people sometimes, if you're having a hard time obeying God in some area, don't just keep struggling trying, trying, trying, to do better. But spend more time with God, love him more, let him love you more, and the more you love him the more you're going to want to obey him. The devil hates it when you have a close intimate relationship with God through Christ, but God has invited you in. Jesus didn't die so we could all have our own little brand of religion, and just go sit in a church every Sunday morning and think that's all there is to it. Jesus created us because he wanted relationship. He wanted people to have relationship with. And you're being invited into a relationship with God through Christ.
So, I was talking to you yesterday about the, "Math of grace," and how it just makes absolutely no sense. And we talked about things like the first will be last and the last will be first, and God uses the weak and the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. And how he said if you give, you don't lose when you give, you give and it shall be given back to you, some 30-fold, some 60, some a 100-fold. And today I wanna talk to you about some of the parables that present this principle in a story form that are so wonderful. Let me just say again, "You cannot figure God out". John chapter 6, 5000 had come to hear Jesus teach and they were hungry. But no one had enough money to buy as much food as would be needed to feed them.
John 6:9-13, the disciples said, "Well, there is a boy here who has five barley loaves", five little loaves of bread, "And two fish". Five little loaves of bread, each loaf contained about two cups of flour, and two fish. Five thousand people, and really it was probably more people than that, because I've heard that in those days, they didn't even really count anybody except the men. So, there were women and there were children, so there's no telling how many thousands of people were there. Five loaves, two fish, most of us would just say, "Well forget that there's no way that's gonna work". "And Jesus said, 'tell the people to sit down'. Now there was so much grass in the place. So, the men sat down, about five thousand in number. And Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. And so also the fish, as much as they wanted".
Now, you got five thousand people and you've got five little loaves of bread and two fish, and Jesus has the disciples, they just keep handing 'em out. He multiply them. How did he do it? I don't know. But the Bible says he did it. And I decided a long time ago, if the Word of God says he did it, then he did it. If the Word of God says he will do something, then he will do that thing that he said that he would do, it's called faith. "And faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that we do not see". And when you have faith in God, something can seem as real to you as if you actually had it in your hands. And the more experience you have with God, the more you realize that he's faithful, and that he cannot lie. It's not that he doesn't lie, he cannot lie, it's not even in his nature to lie.
And when I tell you that the Bible says that God loves you unconditionally, then you can be assured that God loves you unconditionally. And he loves you on your not-so-good days, just as much as he does on those few days when maybe you do a few good things. When the Bible says that, "God will meet all your needs," "Give and it shall be given unto you," you can be assured that if you do that, you'll have your needs met. "Jesus took the loaves, and when he'd given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, and they all had as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told the disciples, 'gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost'". One translation says that, "Nothing may be wasted".
God's not in favor of waste. He doesn't want us to be wasteful. But if you're seeing this, you're already beginning to see that... Well, you probably haven't seen it yet, I'll read it, "So, they gathered them up and filled 12 basketfuls with fragments". So, they started with five little loaves of bread, two fish, and now all these people have eaten, these thousands of people have eaten. Come on, let this encourage your faith today. This is not just a made-up story, this happened. And now they gather up 12 basketfuls of leftovers. Well, how can that happen? Because of God's grace, because of the math of grace, because God's arithmetic doesn't make any sense to the natural mind. The math of the Gospel is outrageous. It is shocking. And you cannot believe it with a logical mind.
You know, I feel sorry for some people that are so smart. And hey, I'm all for education, get all the education you can, but don't educate yourself right out of having faith. I've heard today that a very high percentage of Christian young people that go into colleges come out having lost their faith. You can hear so much logic, so many things that makes sense to your mind, but let me ask you today, what's in your heart? "Well, off the top of my head"... Well, nobody wants anything off the top of your head. What's in your heart? What is your heart telling you? How can you look around, and not believe in God? I mean, how can you even look at nature and not believe in God? I live in a city where we have all four seasons: summer, winter, spring, fall.
And it's amazing how every winter everything dies off, the grass dies, the leaves on the trees fall off, the flowers die. But then spring comes back around, and without anybody doing anything, it all begins to come back, the flowers come back, the leaves come back, the trees come back, the plants come back. "Well, mother nature..." no, Father God! Let's start giving God credit for what only God can do. You can't make that happen. You know, I have to tell you that I get aggravated at all the people, that are trying so hard to get God out of everything. He is so wonderful, why would we want to get God out of anything? I want more of God in my life. I want more and more of him. And I hope that you do too.
Don't get so smart that you're not able to believe anything. Jesus said, "Unless you come to me as a little child, you shall in no wise enter the kingdom". We have to become like little children. Little children are trusting, believing, if you tell them somethin', they believe you. But it seems like the older people get, sometimes the harder it is for them to believe. 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For our sake he made him to be sin". Jesus did not just take on our sin, he became sin. He absorbed our sin. "For our sake," he did it for our sake. "He made him," Jesus, "To be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God in Christ".
You talk about an amazing divine exchange. What kinda math is that, that somebody's gonna take all my junk, and give me all their riches? Nobody's gonna do that. But Jesus took our sin and gave us the righteousness of God in Christ. He took your sin, and he took the guilt and the condemnation. Where there's no sin, there can be no guilt and condemnation. And anytime you do anything wrong, all you need to do is repent, which means admit it, face it, talk to God about it, confess it, get it out in the open, ask him to forgive you, receive that forgiveness. And the Bible says that, "He removes that sin as far as the east is from the west," and, "Remembers it no more". I love that.
There's a scripture in the Old Testament and I don't know right now where it's at, but it says that, "He makes no mention of past sins". Whoo! My goodness. You know, it's hard for us sometimes when we forgive somebody, to never mentioned again what they did. You know how it is, you get mad at your husband, or you get mad at one of your kids, and even though you forgave them for something they did, they make you mad again and then it's like, "Yeah, well, I remember when". Well, God doesn't do that, he makes no mention of past sins. Why? Because they're nonexistent as far as he's concerned. Let me tell you if you've do not received Christ as your Savior, you are missing out. Why would you wanna live with all that guilt and condemnation? Why live not believing in anything?
It's wonderful to believe. Boy, specially in the times we're living in today where there is so much turmoil, and so much hatred, and bitterness in our world. How wonderful it is to have something good to believe in. Romans 5:20 says, "Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased," or where sin abounded, "Grace did much more abound". There's that unreasonable grace again. The more sin grows, the more grace grows. You cannot out sin God's grace. So, if you think, "Well, you've just done too much wrong, there's no hope for you," that is a lie from Satan. God is using my voice today to reach out to you, to cry out to you, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". "Come to me you that are weary". God's saying to you, "I love you: I want you to come into relationship with me. I'll forgive you for anything, no matter what it was".
And you know, if you've not received Christ as your Savior, and you wanna know more about it, there's a number on your screen right now. You can call and we have operators standing by, that would love to talk to you and pray with you. All you need to do is be sorry for your sin. Believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sin, that he rose from the dead, and confess it with your mouth, and you shall be saved. Yes, there's a lot to learn. God wants us to live for him. He wants us to let go of all of our old sinful ways, and act like the new creatures that we are. But there's plenty of time to learn all that, the first step is to believe and receive.
Romans 5:6-11, "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly". Wow. "For one will scarcely die for a righteous person, though perhaps for a good person one might dare to die, but God shows his love for us that," now, listen to this, "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us". Oh, my goodness. See, maybe you've been hanging out in the bars night after night, and you've done all these kinds of terrible things, and maybe you're a liar and a thief and a cheat and an adulterer, and maybe you've even murdered somebody - Christ died for you. And he will forgive you. Now, I'm not saying that there's no consequences of sin. There are consequences of sin. But just to have that forgiveness, to have that peace in your heart, is so absolutely astoundingly amazing.
"Therefore, we have been justified by his blood". The word, "Justified," means made just as if we never sinned. "How much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were sinners we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life". My goodness, if God sent his son, Jesus, to die for us and he took all that sin upon himself, when we didn't even care. He's sayin', "Well, how much better can life be now that you at least care, even if you just care a little bit"? You know, I'm asking today for people who have a kinda sort of relationship with God. Yes, you believe, and if somebody says, "Do you believe you'll go to heaven when you die"? "Well, I hope so, I'm gonna try to be good".
You don't understand the Gospel. It's not about how good you can be, it's about how good Jesus has already been. And you need to know where you're gonna spend eternity. And I'm asking those of you that have kind of a watered-down version of Christianity, you think that to be a Christian all you need to do is just go to church every Sunday, and go sit in the back row somewhere, and leave as soon as the service is over. I can go sit in my garage all day and that'll never make me a car. Yes, we should go to church but to learn, to grow, to be with other Christians like us. But if you're just kinda one of those, well sorta watered-down, hope so, maybe, could be, Christians. I'm asking you to get more committed than ever. I'm asking you to throw your hands up in the air and say, "God, I give myself to you totally, completely. I want you to take me, mess with my life, tear it up, do whatever you wanna do, but help me be the kind of person you want me to be".
I don't know about you, but I'm excited today. I feel pretty excited. I feel in my heart that some people are maybe making some decisions. There's some people that are giving their life to Christ, right now. There's some people that are deciding, "Yes, it's time for me to get fully committed. It's time for me to stop being selfish and self-centered, and start doing more for other people". "We've been justified by his blood". You can rejoice through Christ Jesus. Here's a lesson from one of the parables. Luke 15:1-7, "Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to him". Oh, yes, tax collectors, sinners they're drawn to Jesus. Nobody else ever loved 'em unconditionally. "And the pharisees," the religious folks, "And the scribes grumbled".
You know, religious people don't like it when God's good to somebody that doesn't deserve it. "'This man receives sinners and he even eats with them'. So he told them this parable: 'what man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he's lost one of them, doesn't leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he's found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost". Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over the ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance'".
Well, how can one be more important than ninety-nine? Well, you know, I have four grown children and I can tell you I love them all. But the one that's hurting the most in any given time, is the one that gets the most of my attention. The one that's hurting the most, is the one that you're drawn to. And if you're hurting, if you're lonely, if you're alone, if your life is turned out to be a big mess, you don't have to just throw in the towel and give up. God loves you, he's looking for you. He wants you to come to him.
I can give you an example of how this thing works. My wedding ring, I went one day to get a facial, and you know, they have you change your clothes, and you put on a towel, and you leave your clothes and your personal belongings in your locker. And when I got home, I didn't have my wedding ring. And I called the place and they said, "No, we don't have it". Well, it hurt me because the ring meant a lot to me. But then I talked myself down, I said, "Well, it's only a thing. I don't need to get depressed and upset over it. I prayed that God would help us find it". Well, couple of months went by and my daughter called me one day and she said, "You'll never guess what I found today". And I said, "What"? She said, "I found your wedding ring in my purse". And I thought, "Well, how in the world did my wedding ring get in your purse"?
And then I realized the purse that she was carrying, was the purse that I had given her. So, when I took my wedding ring off that day, I put it in her purse, still having in the back of my mind that it was my purse. Well, I'll tell you what, I rejoiced over finding that ring more than all the other pieces of Jewelry I had in my Jewelry box that day. I was so glad that I found that one that was lost. And I tell you, if you're one today that's lost, God wants to rejoice over you. You can receive Jesus into your life right now. All you have to do is admit that you're a sinner, believe in Jesus, believe that he died for you. You can pray the simplest prayer, "God I believe in you. I believe that Jesus died for my sins. I believe he rose from the dead. I repent of all my sins and I receive you right now, and I give myself to you".
There's a number on your screen, call it. Somebody will pray with you, and talk to you, and answer any questions that you have. But don't you live one more day without knowing how much God loves you and how special you are. You know, there's so many other parables like this. I wish I had time to share them all with you. There's the parable of the prodigal son, who was a young boy and he left home, he wanted his inheritance early and he went and squandered it all and wasted it. He ended up living and eating with the pigs, he got in such bad condition.
Maybe at some time you were serving God and you wondered away, you wanted to go your own way. And now, you feel like you're living in that same pigpen that, that young man did. But you know what? The Bible says, "He came to himself". He came into his right mind and he said, "I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna go home to my father because I'd rather be a servant in his house, than to keep living like this". And the father saw him when he was still a long way off, and he ran to him with open arms. He didn't say, "You wicked son you, why did you live like this? Look at how bad you've hurt me". He received him with open arms, and he threw a great big party. Well, there was an older brother and he got upset about it. You know, the world gets upset about grace. The devil gets upset about grace. Religion gets upset about grace. Because you can't understand the math of grace, you can't make any sense out of it. But let me tell you, today, that God loves you, and his arms are open to you. And today, you can start a brand-new life with Jesus.
Hey, we love you here at this ministry, we care about you, we may not know your name, we never see your face, but we wanna help you in any way that we can. And one of the ways we can help you is through our teaching resources. The Word of God is life-changing. Today, we're offering you four CDs called, "Amazing Grace". Learn more about the grace of God. And a book called, "Knowing God Intimately". I love this book. I wrote the book, and I don't just love it because I wrote it. But I love it because knowing God intimately is one of the most wonderful things that can happen to you. So, you call and get these resources or let us answer any questions you have. And remember God loves you and no matter what you've done, he's got a good plan for your life. Thank you for being with us today.