Parables of Jesus - Part 1 - Joyce Meyer (sermon online). Jesus' parables give us great insights on life! Join Joyce as she shares important lessons from the parable of the prodigal son.
Joyce Meyer: how many of you've ever heard of the story of the prodigal son? Okay, well, we're gonna talk about that tonight, but I wanna tell you the truth. The story is really about a lot more than this one boy who wanted his inheritance, and took it, and went off and wasted it. It's actually about three different situations, all equally important. It's about the prodigal son, the young man who wanted to get away from mom and dad as quick as he could. And that's not uncommon, a lot of young people, they just think, "man, I gotta get outta here. Don't want anybody telling me what to do. Gonna move out on my own." And it's kinda funny because sometimes parents try to keep 'em home, but you know, you might just let 'em go and find out what the real world is like, that living in that apartment they wanna live in's a lot more expensive than living in mom and dad's bedroom somewhere, amen? You gonna have to put breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the table now, not somebody else, amen? And so, the young man, he found out a lot about what life was really like, but he had to go find that out for himself.
And of course, we'll go through the scriptures. But then, it's also this story is majorly about the father, and it majorly represents the father heart that God has toward us and how desperately he wants those that are lost to come back to him. But then, it's also about a real stinker of a guy called the elder brother. And I tell you what, that guy, I was so much that guy. He was just like this religious, "I do it all right" guy that was judgmental and had no mercy on people who made mistakes. And so, we're gonna get into this, and I hope that you find something that's gonna be pertinent to your everyday life here. Luke chapter is a chapter that's all about searching for things that are lost, and that's what God does. He searches for people that are lost. And whether you've been lost your whole life, and you're here tonight or watching by tv, and you've never received christ as your savior, or whether you've backslidden and you've been lost for a couple of years, or whether you just really messed up royally in the last week and you've just been lost for a week. We could do that. You know, even people that are born again and love God, I mean, you can get don't you ever just get, like, "I just feel I feel like I've lost my footing. I feel like I was stronger in God than what I am now, and then somehow or another, I've kinda gotten off base. I've kinda wandered and kinda lost my way"?
So, whether you're, like, really lost, a little lost, or just a really little bit lost, God is looking for you. He's searching for you. And when he finds you, he's not gonna chastise you and tell you how bad you've been, he's gonna rejoice and have a party. I don't know if you know it or not, but God really likes parties. I mean, if you study how many parties God had, and I mean, in the old testament, he commanded them to have parties. I mean, they had to do them. There are, like, big feasts a year that were - days long. I mean, all they did was eat, and drink, and make merry, and dance, and party. Well, you know what I've found out? Religious people don't like parties. Now, just so we're clear, when I say a religious person, I'm not talking about somebody who really loves God and is really committed. I'm talking about legalistic, rule-keepers who think they do everything right, but they don't have any they may go to church every week, they may give, they may even do a few good works. But here's the difference in a religious person and a christian, the religious person can do everything right but they don't have any real, intimate relationship with the father. Joyce Meyer: and you say but see, there's so many people, they go to church every week and they think you know, you say, "are you a christian?" "well, I go to such-and-so church." I didn't ask you what denomination you were.
I don't even like it when people ask me, "what religion are you?" I'd much rather you ask me, "do you have a relationship with Jesus?" Amen? So, that's what christianity is, it's a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus where he doesn't want to just visit with you for minutes on sunday morning if you feel like getting up and going, but he wants to get in everything that you do. He cares about everything you do. It's intimate, it's personal. You are the home, the house of God, and he lives in you, and you can't get any closer than that. There's three stories in luke that all make the same point, and the first one is the parable of the lost sheep, and it's luke :-. "now the tax collectors and [the notorious and the especially wicked] sinners." I don't know about you, but that was me. I was not just I was not just a sinner, but I was an especially wicked sinner. Joyce Meyer: and the tax collectors, just so you're up to speed, they were, like, the biggest crooks and everybody hated the tax collectors because they could charge them whatever amount they wanted to charge them and they were all just trying to get everybody's money. "they were all coming near to [Jesus] to listen to him." So, here's the thing. They were wicked people, but they wanted to hear what Jesus had to say. So, there must have been something in their heart that wanted to change. So, here's the thing.
No matter what condition your life is in or how far away from God you think you may be, you came tonight, or you're still watching the program. You haven't turned me off yet, and don't, because I've got some good news for you, amen? And you may think, "oh, I accidentally turned this on. I don't even think I like her." Well, you'd be surprised how many people there are that started out that way that got saved, and now, well, life's different. Joyce Meyer: so, now get this. The tax collectors and the especially wicked sinners came to Jesus because they maybe secretly wanted a change in their life. "and the pharisees and the scribes," the legalistic, religious people, "kept muttering and indignantly complaining, saying, this man accepts and receives and welcomes [preeminently wicked] sinners and he even eats with them." What kind of a christian are you if you get aggravated because sinners wanna come and hear about Jesus? Do you know, a lot of churches are praying for revival and they wouldn't know what to do with one if one slapped 'em upside the head.
You know why? Because if a church gets in revival, it's gonna get full of people that aren't like you, don't dress like you, don't smell like you, don't think like you, don't look like you. And aren't nearly as polished. Joyce Meyer: "so he told them this parable: what man of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one, doesn't leave the ninety-nine and go after the one that's lost until he finds it? And when he's found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he gets home, he calls together all of [his] friends and neighbors, and says, rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost." See there, party time. Joyce Meyer: I mean, I guess I'm just being funny when I say this, but I still think it's cute. When Jesus called his disciples, he said, "come and join my party." He meant his group of , but I think they probably did have a party. "I tell you this, there will be more joy in heaven over one [especially] wicked person who repents (changes his mind, abhorring his errors and misdeeds, and determines to enter upon a better course of life]" I love the way the amplified bible puts that. Repentant is not just saying, "oh, I'm sorry I did that," or "i'm sorry I got caught." It's saying, "I am determined to enter into a better course of life. I wanna turn my life around. Joyce Meyer: I wanna turn my life around. And you see, a lot of people just wanna attach Jesus to their mess and have him fix a lot of it. They're really not serious about entering on a completely better course of life. So, tonight, when we give you an opportunity to receive christ, I wanna make sure before you shoot your hand up and say yes that you know that means you need to be willing for a turnaround in your life, amen? That's what repentance is, to turn around and change. Well, I can tell you that I've never had a lost sheep, but I have had a lost dog. Joyce Meyer: that I've ran around the neighborhood like a crazy person looking for, calling everybody I know, got them looking for my dog.
And I can tell you, when I found my dog, I called my friends and I was, "I found my dog! I found my dog!" Well, let's just say that I had a cat, which I didn't have, that I never lost. Well, I wouldn't have been calling my friends saying, "i've never lost my cat, let's rejoice. I've never lost my cat, let's rejoice." For some reason, when we lose something and we get it back, come on, when we lose something and we get it back Joyce Meyer: see, that's why I'm so excited and so thrilled to be able to tell the world about what Jesus delivered me out of, and how he healed me from years of being sexually abused by my dad, and how he's given me back my childhood, and he's given me back you know, when you lose something and you get it back, I don't know how you can keep your mouth shut about Jesus and just go somewhere and be quiet. Joyce Meyer: amen? Joyce Meyer: I mean, Jesus is in the business of looking for and finding things that are lost and bringing 'em back home, amen? And so, then Jesus Told the parable. It says, "jesus told the parable to the pharisees and the scribes, who were upset by the presence of the especially wicked sinners." That's why he told the parable. He told that story because these wicked people came and the religious people got upset because Jesus was being friendly with them.
A real christian loves sinners, but religious people now get this. But religious people are offended by their presence. Joyce Meyer: so, we're gonna dig a little bit deep here and maybe get just a tad uncomfortable, I don't know. I hope I can finish this story tonight, but if not, thank God there's always tomorrow. First of all, I'm gonna give you three examples out of my own life. And you know, I've been preaching for words words? Forty-two years. Joyce Meyer: believe me, I've said more than words. I've been teaching for over years, and so I know a lot about the bible. I've learned a lot. God's changed me a lot. But I'm still amazed sometimes when God puts me in a position that exposes yet another attitude. And see, this is what spiritual this is what spiritual maturity wants. It wants to see those things that's hidden. We want God to bring 'em to the surface, even though it's uncomfortable. We want him to show us things so he can deal with 'em and we can become even a better person. Not because we have to to be saved, but we want to because of what Jesus has done for us. Joyce Meyer: so, example number one, I remember a time when I walked into a restaurant to get a coffee, and it was a place I went all the time. But we had a visiting minister with us from another part of the world, and obviously when you hear the story I'm about ready to tell, he was much more spiritually mature than me. My ministry was much larger than his, but he apparently was much more spiritual mature. So, your spiritual maturity is not judged by how big your ministry is or how many scriptures you got underlined in your bible. It's really judged by how do we treat people. Joyce Meyer: come on, all kinds of people. And so, there was a new girl working, and the minute I walked up and started to talk to her, I was just, like, not comfortable because she just was Joyce Meyer: strange. Her hair was going in five different directions and each piece was a different color.
And she had piercings everywhere, and everything was black. Her lipstick was black, her hair you know? And so, I just, like... Joyce Meyer: come on now, you don't sit there and act like you don't ever see, the minute that we see somebody like that, we automatically assume, "well, they can't be a christian, 'cause they're not cleaned up like me. I mean, I comb my hair." Joyce Meyer: well, I color mine too, but it's only one well, it's two colors. It's blonde and brown. So, this other guy that obviously was more spiritually mature, he kinda jumped right in there and he says, "I love your hair!" Joyce Meyer: "how do you get it to do that?" And I mean so, just in a few minutes, he broke down the ice. You see, sinners can feel your religiosity. Joyce Meyer: and instead of drawing back from them, we need to learn a lesson from Jesus. Now, this doesn't mean that you become close, intimate associates with every sinner that you can find. Paul tells us not to do that. But we have to learn to stop looking at people like they're from another planet and treating people like we think that we're better than they are. Joyce Meyer: so anyway, I was kind of amazed at watching him and how he was so here's the thing that amazed me. He was so comfortable with her, and I was so uncomfortable with her. Well, that showed me something about me that I needed to see, amen? Next story.
I was out shopping with a female minister who's an evangelist, real strong evangelist. I'm a real strong teacher. So, she wants to save everybody, I want everybody to grow up, all right? Joyce Meyer: and I mean, you just kinda you come at it from whatever angle, you know, your gift is. So, we went in this store and this girl says, "oh, are you from here?" "no, we're from so-and-so." "well, what are you doing here?" "oh, we're here to do a bible conference." And she says, "oh, I'm spiritual too." Well, right away, I went, "erm, you're spiritual. What does that mean?" 'cause you know, sometimes when people tell you they're spiritual, that's kinda like... You know? And so, right away, I've got my walls up. "yeah, well, what kind of spiritual are you?" So, anyway, she starts cussing. I mean, like, pretty bad. And then she says she says, "oh, I'm sorry about the cussing," but she said, "you know, I think God cusses too." Joyce Meyer: okay, well, now I get my backup and I am, like, gonna defend God. Like he really needs me to defend him. So, I lean across this counter. And I looked at her and I said, "god does not cuss." Joyce Meyer: 'cause see, I'm trying to clean her up. My evangelist friend sneaks in in front of me and she says, "but he loves people who do." Joyce Meyer: well, here's the thing. She wanted to catch a fish. I was trying to clean the fish before we caught it. Joyce Meyer: now, come on, you do this in the office where you work, you do it in your neighborhood, you do it with lost people who come to the church. We wanna clean 'em up before we ever catch 'em and all we do is run 'em off. Joyce Meyer: now, we'll fast-forward about years to where now I'm hopefully a little more spiritual mature, and I'll tell you a nicer story so I don't just look too bad. Joyce Meyer: another state, I was in utah, went in there. I asked for a pour-over. They didn't do pour-overs. I'm not gonna explain what that is, but anyway. She said, "but hey, we got this new french press machine." And I'm like, "no, I don't like french presses, they've always got grounds." "no, you're gonna love this french press. Let me make you one. If you don't like it, I'll make you anything else you want. I promise you'll like it."
So, she was just real, you know, friendly. Her hair was also about four different colors and she had, you know, piercings everywhere. But like I said, I've changed a little bit by now, and so, you know, I'm having a conversation with her, and she's real nice to me, and she's making me this coffee, and we're being friendly. And she said, "I just wanna buy one of these pots so bad," but she said, "I just can't afford it yet. Maybe somebody I'll be able to get one." Well, she no more than had that out of her mouth and I felt that God spoke to my heart and said, "buy her one." Well, I'm thinking I mean, it wasn't the money. I'm thinking, "I don't want this lady to think I'm a nut." You know, I come in here to get a coffee, now I'm gonna I mean, you know, today, it's like, I don't want her to think I'm just trying to hit on her, or flirt with her, or something, you know? Joyce Meyer: well, I didn't know, you know? And I mean, what's she gonna think? I'm like, "hey, I wanna buy you that coffee pot, sweetie." Joyce Meyer: come on, do you know how many excuses you can come up with for not doing what God wants you to do? But mainly, we just don't wanna look stupid, you know? And so, I tried to get out of it, but you know when God's after you, you don't get out of stuff. So, I mean, not unless you wanna be miserable. So, I took my coffee that was good and started walking down the mall, and then I thought, "ugh." All right, so I went back and I said... She comes over and I said, "listen, you just were so kind to me and I just wanna bless you. I wanna buy you that coffee pot." "oh!" She starts crying.
You know, that's what I hate, the scene. They make the scene. "well, you don't no, no, no, you can't do that." [sobbing] I'm like, "oh please let me do it." "no, you can't do it." So, finally she took the coffee pot and all was well, and so, okay, now I can go down the mall and drink my coffee in peace. I've done what God wanted me to do. Joyce Meyer: do y'all know what I'm talking about? So, then I'm not gonna get to my message tonight I don't think, but we'll see what happens. Then, hour and a half later, this is I mean, God is on it, folks. An hour and a half later, I go into another store, upstairs to the ladies' room. I'm ready to go out of the ladies' room and in comes this girl. So, there we are. Joyce Meyer: now, here's the thing. She says to me, "can you tell me why you are the kindest person in the whole world?" Well, I thought, "oh my gosh." And so, I said, "well," I said, "listen, I'm a christian. God has done a lot for me. He's changed my life. He's blessed me, and I just felt like you needed somebody to show you some love. You needed to be blessed, and so I just wanted to bless you." Well, now she starts crying again and she says, "my mother died with cancer when I was years old," and she said, "i've been kinda mad at... The higher power." So, she hesitated, so I knew that she didn't know enough about God to even know what to call him. The higher power.
But she said, "this really means a lot to me." And so, I realized later that God used that silly coffee pot to start drawing a soul to him. And how many times can we be used by God come on. Joyce Meyer: but as christians, we have to stop turning our nose up at people that aren't like us, because God sees things in people that we don't see. Joyce Meyer: see, here's what mercy is. God sees not only what people are doing, but why they're doing it. He knows the background behind it. So, she was lost, God was searching for her, and he gave me the privilege of being involved in it. And that's What he wants to do with every believer on the planet. He wants us to forget about what we want, what we need, "give me, give me, give me, give me," and he wants to use us to draw lost souls to him. Joyce Meyer: well, studying the parables that Jesus taught in the bible is just a wonderful thing to do, because there's so many amazing lessons in each one. Today, we were talking about the lost son and the elder brother. So many wonderful things in there that you can get into if you study the word of God. And today, we're offering you a study bible. It's "the battlefield of the mind study bible." Now, obviously, everything in the bible is not about the mind, but all the articles are, and all the scriptures on the mind and the mouth are highlighted for you. And a lot of work went into this and I believe that people probably have more trouble with their thoughts than anything else, and this is really going to help you keep your thoughts in the right place. Now, stay with me, because I have a special word I wanna share with you right after this.