The sermon "Book of James Bible Study - Part 4" - Enjoying Everyday Life - Joyce Meyer (online). Good works are not a requirement, but a result of God's goodness in our lives. Learn from James chapter 2 how to increase your impact in the Kingdom of God.
full textual sermon "Book of James Bible Study - Part 4" - Enjoying Everyday Life - Joyce Meyer
Joyce Meyer: there's no problem between what Paul said and what James said if you look at it like this. What Paul said is right, we are justified before God by our faith, but what James said is right too, we are justified before men by our works. James chapter 2. Woo-hoo! All right, James chapter 2 is basically divided into two parts: verses 1 through 13 and verses 14 through 26. And the first part of it deals with how we are no longer justified by keeping the law of moses. We are not under the law of moses but we are now living under a new law. It's called the royal law of liberty and it's basically the law of love. Jesus said, "one new commandment I give unto you." This one sums up all the law and all the prophets. You can keep everything else, everything. The spirit of the law in the old testament will be kept if we learn how to walk in love. And love is very simply how we treat people. Let me tell you that when you're around people, they may not remember much of what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel, amen?
Joyce Meyer: they will always remember if you made them feel good or if you made them feel bad. If you made them feel valuable or if you made them feel unvaluable. And that can be something as simple as learning to listen to other people without interrupting them every 2 seconds. I mean, there's a lot of little ways that we can add value to people if we will let God show us how to do that. Now, I don't know if you believe what I'm saying yet or not but I am telling you that loving other people and how we treat people-- I personally believe that how I treat people is the most important thing to the Lord. I think how I treat all kinds of people is the most important thing and I think that that has everything to do with the anointing on my life and the anointing on your life. And I can tell you if we spend our lives making sure that we value people and we treat other people right, you are not gonna have to concerned about your blessing package because blessings will chase you down and overtake you. So maybe sometime--maybe we need to fix our focus a little bit. The second half of James chapter 2 then deals with what James had to say about how you can't-- you can't see faith apart from works. And there's always been a little bit of a challenge, theologically, between what Paul said about being justified totally by faith and what James seems to be saying here about, "well, okay, you say that you've got faith but I'm telling you that if you have real faith, then there's gonna be works to back it up." And so he's saying, "i can by my good works show you my faith. But you can't show me your faith without good works." And so actually, there have been theologians down through history and some very popular ones who thought that James was a little bit off because it almost sounds like he's disagreeing with what Paul said. But really what was happening is what usually happens in the church, you learn a truth, "we're justified by faith and not by our works," and that's right. We are justified before God by faith not by works. Salvation cannot be earned. God's love cannot be earned. We cannot buy a ticket to heaven. It comes from God's grace and we receive it through our faith. I believe what Jesus did for me, I receive it. And the bible says if we truly believe, then we are justified before God by our faith, amen? Well, man, that is such good news. And if you're on the legal side of christianity, boy, that news is super-good to you because most of us, we come into a walk with God and then we start trying to be real good and trying to change and then we're mad at ourselves all the time and we feel like a failure because we're always failing and then we get the good news. Who will deliver me from this body of death? O thank God, he will through Jesus christ. So now we're all excited because we've learned about the grace of God and I don't have to do it by my works. God's done it for me and if I believe--and so we're just like, "ohh!"
Joyce Meyer: and then, of course, there are always people who keep that balance and everything is fine but then there are also people and we have some of this today where, "well, then, if God loves everybody and God is so gracious and merciful," then they begin to slip over into thinking that what they do doesn't really matter because, after all, God is love and he loves everybody and he's merciful. So then you get all this junky immorality. You get all this immorality going on among christians and then our witness is completely destroyed because the world cannot see our faith if we don't show them some works. And so there's really--there's no problem between what Paul said and what James said if you look at it like this. What Paul said is right. We are justified before God by our faith. But what James said is right too. We are justified before men by our works.
Joyce Meyer: and we not only need to be justified before God. Now I can be justified before God and go to heaven. And I can really believe in God and I can, if you wanna know the absolute truth I can probably mistreat people while I'm here and I can still end up going to heaven. But I tell you what I won't have. I won't be happy. I won't bear any good fruit. I won't take anybody to heaven with me. I might keep a few people out. C'mon, are you out there? And i'll tell you what else I won't have. I won't have any rewards waiting for me when I get there. And the bible teaches us that there is gonna be rewards waiting for us based on how we've lived our lives and what we have done while we're here in the body. And I personally am big on rewards. I mean, this trip that we make through here, what's to even say we've got 100 years, I mean, it's bad enough but when I get to heaven I don't wanna spend eternity without the best life that I can possibly have because I didn't do here what I was supposed to do. I've been saying this and I think it's a good statement. I think we need to spend here getting ready for there. And so maybe we spend too much time thinking about our instantaneous comfort and not enough time thinking, "it doesn't really matter if I'm comfortable here or not, i've got forever to live and I wanna make sure that I'm living now in such a way that when I stand before the Lord, i've got a full reward coming because i've been faithful while i've been here. C'mon.
Joyce Meyer: so I don't earn anything from God by my works but I do have the opportunity I don't--while I'm here but I do have the opportunity to change people's lives. And I do have the opportunity to take lots of people to heaven with me. And I'm--aren't you excited to see when you get to heaven, how many people say, "i wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you"? Wouldn't that be a good thing? "i wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. You were a great example to me. I saw something real in your life and I wanted what you had." You know, my dad was just an awful man and at 83 I got the privilege of leading him to the Lord and he's in heaven. I know that I know that I know that he's in heaven and I'm grateful for that. But I'm still sad that he wasted his whole life. And I'm sad that he mistreated so many people. And so let's just don't live a life where as long as we sneak in the back door of heaven, we're okay. Let's live a life that really glorifies God, that can really make a difference in somebody else's life. So now i've probably preached my whole sermon but we'll go back and look at the verses. James chapter 2, verse 1: "my brethren, pay no servile regard to people [show no prejudice, no partiality]. Do not [attempt to] hold and practice the faith of our Lord Jesus christ [the Lord] of glory [together with snobbery]! For if a person comes into your congregation whose hands are adorned with gold rings and who's wearing splendid apparel, and also a poor [man] in shabby clothes comes in, and you pay special attention to the one who wears the splendid clothes and you say to him, sit over here in this preferable seat! While you tell the poor [man], now go stand over there! Or, sit on the floor! Are you not discriminating among your own and becoming critics and judges with wrong motives?" Now, we all like to think that we're not prejudiced. But to be honest, I think probably everybody in this room today may have a little bit of prejudice in some area of your life. Let's just take for an example, you know, he's given the example, the rich and the poor. And to be honest, sometimes people of means will shy away from people that are poor but also people that are poor right away can form an opinion that's totally wrong of anybody who has more than they do. I'm telling you what, the opinions that we have that are based on nothing are very, very sad. I said, the opinions we have that are based on nothing, we don't know anything about what we're talking about and yet we have a solid opinion of those people. And so I really don't wanna be like that. I don't want to judge and criticize and form opinions about things that I really don't know anything about. But we have a tendency to shy away from what is not like us. Okay, we're gonna go slow. Example.
Joyce Meyer: if you're 50 or above, you come from a certain generation which we all do and i'll tell you the truth, we do think generationally, like it or not. I mean, we just do, okay? And so let's just say that I walk into a coffee shop and the girl that's behind the counter has got tattoos all down both arms. Lots of piercings, her hair is three different colors, going in 40 directions. And if I'm honest, there's something in me that kinda goes--this kinda wall just kinda like--all right. And chances are, she might feel the same way about me. I go in with my three-piece rhinestone suit and my earrings and every hair in place and every piece of make-up perfect and she might automatically think, "well, who are you," you know? And so we have to purposely and I'm doing this because we all have an issue with this. And I purposely want us to start bringing down those walls. I mean, i--we're gonna have to do it on purpose. There are so stinking many walls of division and it's keeping us divided and causing us to even hate people and all it does is just tear down our power, especially in the church. Especially in the church. And Jesus said--look, I mean, these are the words of the holy spirit. "don't be prejudiced." Don't show favoritism to one person while you mistreat another and let's stop thinking that everybody needs to be like us to be okay, amen?
Joyce Meyer: you know, we, several years ago, we changed up some things in the ministry and we started getting younger worship teams. And I mean, I still--i'll still be sitting over there and, I mean, you know, they dress different than we do. And so maybe I get one and they've got rips and, you know, in their jeans. Now, I still can't figure out why anybody wants to pay $100 for a pair of jeans that's got holes in it but. I can tell you this. It's not hurting their anointing. I said it's not hurting their anointing. I said it's not hurting their anointing. But i'll tell you what can hurt mine, if i've got a snooty, I'm-better-than-you attitude. C'mon, now, don't make me come down there. And we don't know anything about somebody because they've got a tattoo and it's something we would never have or they've got a nose piercing and we would never do that. Or they got holes in their jeans and we would never do that. We don't know anything about them. And we need to take the trouble to get to know people's hearts.
Joyce Meyer: and you know how we are. It's, like, "oh, one of those." Whatever that is! You know, it's like to some people I'm one of those. I'm one of those televangelists that's just out to get everybody's money. You know, I am so, excuse me, fed up with labels. I mean, we wanna put a label on everything and we don't even know what we're talking about. And for the sake of the gospel, we need to broaden our circle of inclusion. And I don't mean by that that we have to start accepting sin and saying that it's okay just because that's what somebody wants to do. But I will tell you this. We can love the sinner, amen? James warns the believer to treat all people the same, regardless of their wealth or social standing. I've told this story way too much but I can't resist telling it again. I'm in a doctor's office several years ago waiting for my appointment. There was an elderly man in there who'd fallen on the ice and broke his leg and he kept wanting to tell me about his leg more than once. [audience laughing]
Joyce Meyer: now I kinda knew the guy lives alone and he's just lonely and I'm sure he just wants somebody to talk to but I did not wanna talk to him. I wanted to read my bible and be spiritual. I mean, I had it. I had the bible. I mean, I was praying, reading the bible, and this man kept trying to talk to me. And I actually said to the Lord, "would you make him leave me alone?" Now there are some prayers we can pray that God is not gonna answer. So the Lord spoke to my heart and he said, "if that was billy graham, would you listen to him?" Oh, my God. I mean, God knows how to just rip you up, doesn't he, with just a couple of words? And I am--i didn't even need a further sermon. I knew exactly what God was saying. You would listen to somebody that you thought was important because you would think that that would make you important or that maybe they could do something for you.
Joyce Meyer: so let me tell you something. I never try to give you guys anything that God hasn't made me eat first. A few weeks ago I was out doing my morning walk and I was just thinking about a lot of the stuff that we hear and I just thought, "you know what? I am so fed up with hatred. I mean, I'm just so tired of people hating people and groups of people hating groups of people just because they're different than somebody else." So we--i asked pastor mike to help me and we did a little bit of study and there are multitudes of wars that have been fought through the centuries because people from one culture or ethnic background despise those from another. Started in genesis with cain and abel. They were different. Cain killed abel. In 1618 to 1648 there was a war of religious hatred that existed between catholics and protestants. Now, I'm just telling you here about the religious wars. We're not even gonna get into all the other stuff. All right, I mean, they're not all religious wars but they're all just because people are different. The nazi/jewish holocaust, 6 million people were killed simply because they were jews. No other reason. "i just don't like you. You're not like me so we're gonna eradicate you." In 1967 to '70, 1 million people were killed in the nigerian civil war, a war between 2 tribes who hated one another. The rwandan genocide, in 100 days 1 million people were brutally slaughtered and that war was due to ethnic hatred between 2 tribes, the tutsis and the hutus. There has been a conflict and war in ireland for years between the catholics and the protestants. This one was, kind of like, jaw-dropping. There's a war actually called the cold religious war that has lasted for 962 years and it is between the western catholic church and the eastern catholic church, which is the greek or the russian orthodox and they split in 1054 over doctrinal differences and have not officially fellowshipped together since then. The doctrinal difference they split over was the origin of the holy spirit and whether they should have the eucharist with leavened or unleavened bread.
Joyce Meyer: now, I'm not, you know, and then we wonder why the world is not impressed by us. And then I looked up this morning online how many christian denominations there are. 33,000 divisions in the body of christ. 22,000 of them are independent so that's all the people that don't want anybody to tell them what to do. 9,000 protestant, 1,600 call themselves marginals, I don't know what that is. 781 orthodox. These are, like, denominations, not just people. 242 catholics, 168 anglicans. There are--there's the radio church, the tv church, the online church, the non-denominational church, the--and then there's a group called the independent exclusive brethren. How'd you like to be part of that group? The independent exclusive brethren. And, boy, when you get into the pentecostals, now we got some fun. There are the normal pentecostals and there are the holiness pentecostals. There are the oneness pentecostal and the deliverance church pentecostals. And then there's the charismatics and they are the respectable pentecostals, I guess, I don't know what we are, so. And then there's all the non-denominational and so Lord help us, that's all I can say. I mean, we gotta stop this silliness, amen? "Well, you know, you believe in being baptized as a baby and I believe in being baptized after you receive christ so I can't fellowship with you." Well, you know what? Stone me if you want to but if you're concerned about it, then just get baptized both times. I, you know, I don't
Joyce Meyer: and I'm not trying to be disrespectful but I'm just saying this stuff is ridiculous. I mean, it's like, we're playing right into the devil's hands. He wants us all to find a new reason every week to hate each other but Jesus said, "one new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another just as I have loved you." Well, being a victorious christian actually means more than just believing God and his word and his promises. It must also be followed up with action in our lives. In other words, we study the word of God and we see what God asks us to do then we follow it up with action. And God always gives us the grace and the strength to do what he's asked us to do. Why not ask God today what he wants you to do and follow it up with action? Today, you've watched just a portion of the teaching from the book of James. But you can get the whole study today. This is something that we've done with other books of the bible and people have really enjoyed it. I've enjoyed it. And I just wanna encourage you that bible study, your own bible study is so important to your life. So today we have the book of James, the action plan, and this includes a personal study guide on the book of James, it's a booklet, and four teachings on cd and dvd. And you can also download the study guide. I really want you to learn the word of God for yourself in a personal way that's gonna really affect your life. I believe that God is gonna really help you make some changes that you've been wanting to make for a long time. Now, God loves you. He loved you before you ever did anything right or wrong. And actually, he will never ever, ever, stop loving you. So you remember that and enjoy the day that he's given you. Announcer: "receive and welcome the word, which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls." For a limited time, we're offering a bible study of James action plan, Joyce's teaching through the book of James.
Joyce Meyer: what Paul said is right. We are justified before God by our faith. But what James said is right too. We are justified before men by our works.
Announcer: with this action plan you'll find a companion personal study guide, the book of James booklet, and four teachings on cd and dvd. The book of James has so many valuable things to say about living a successful life. As you take the time to watch and listen, you're planting good seeds that will strengthen your faith. A bible study of James action plan. All this can be yours for a donation of... Call us... Or visit us at joycemeyer.org.
Joyce Meyer: well, jeff from pennsylvania sent us his story and I wanna share it with you. He said, "i was a mess and I had no real direction or purpose, or at least so I thought. Struggling with a hard heart and sinking into self-pity, one morning while getting ready for work, Joyce Meyer's 'enjoying everyday life' tv program came on. It seemed as if she was speaking directly to me. That morning changed my life. Thank you for pointing me to the path of salvation. With your voice each morning reminding me of the right course to follow and with the Lord's grace, I now feel I can achieve anything that's required of me." Well, you know, stories like that is exactly why I'm doing what I'm doing. And I wanna ask you today if you would send a special love gift, a financial gift, just to help us with television air time, to help pay for the program you watch, for the program that jeff watched, for the programs that people in india, and africa, and asia, and so many other places around the world watch, and also to help us continue to expand that outreach to reach more and more people. You know, I always say, not everybody goes to church, but everybody watches tv. Jeff didn't turn his tv on that morning looking for salvation. I'm sure he wasn't looking to hear a tv preacher. But God knew what he needed and he used that television, the message through that television, to get it to him. Will you help me by giving financially to help me continue reaching people like jeff? Thank you.
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