These are notes on the sermon, Activate The Gifts Of The Spirit, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 31 May 2020, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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God enjoys being in a relationship with us. He delights having us in His presence when we pray and talk to Him.
During this time, we are physically distanced from our friends and families and long to be in their presence again. In the same manner, the Lord also desires for us to come to Him. While He is always with us, He appreciates it when we acknowledge Him and draw near to Him.
One way to spend time in the Lord’s presence is to partake of the holy Communion regularly. When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we bring to remembrance Jesus’ finished work at the cross.
When we look at the Temple of Solomon (on which our theme of the year is based), we see the Lord providing for us plenty of grain and wine (a picture of the holy Communion), every step of the way.
There are three chambers in Solomon’s temple.
Recap of the three chambers:
The three chambers are a visual representation of how our year will be.
The first-floor chamber, which contains plenty of grain and wine (elements of the holy Communion), represents God’s abundant provision for us.
Grain, which is used in baking bread, is a picture of Jesus’ body, which went through scourging and the fire of judgment to become the bread of life for us.
Wine, which is achieved through the crushing of grapes and a period of aging, represents Jesus’ blood that was shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins.
The grain and the wine represent Jesus’ sufferings at the cross for us.
Today, when we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we are proclaiming His death till He comes (1 Cor. 11:26).
The Father delights in being reminded of His love for us. When we worship the Lord by bringing Jesus in His glory and beauty, He is filled with joy!
Just a few days ago, Jews celebrated the Pentecost, the Feast of Shavuot, which started on Thursday (May 28) and ended on Saturday (May 30).
The Festival of First Fruits (of which is the barley harvest) and the Pentecost are celebrated fifty days apart from each other.
It is interesting to note that during these dark times, where people have been called to stay home due to COVID-19 concerns—the Passover, Festival of First Fruits, and the Pentecost have been celebrated.
Pastor Prince believes that something special is happening in the Spirit, and there will be a lifting of the dark atmosphere that the world has been facing. For whenever there is a feast, nothing stays the same, the situation only gets better.
The Bible says that the Jews celebrate Pentecost as the giving of the law.
The Pentecost was first celebrated after they came out from Egypt, when the law was given at Mount Sinai (see Exod. 20). On the same day of the Pentecost, God gave the Spirit (see Acts 2:1–4).
While the Jews celebrate Pentecost as the giving of the law, we who are under grace today celebrate it as the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Comparisons between the giving of the law and the coming of grace:
The law demands; grace supplies.
Whether it is in our jobs, finances, or parenting, God will supply us the willingness, and give us the performance we need to go through every fresh challenge.
As believers, we have the Holy Spirit in us, which we receive by faith. Because we have the Spirit, we are supplied with every good thing!
If you have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (the gift of tongues), you can pray to receive it. Once you pray, believe that you have received it by faith, and start speaking!
There is power when you pray in the Spirit. Even if you don’t feel it.
Faith has nothing to do with your emotions and everything to do with the integrity of God’s Word. When you ask Him for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, He will surely give it to you.
The church is not a building or an old religious organization. It is God’s most brilliant plan from the beginning. In the Old Testament, it was a hidden mystery. In the New Testament, it was brought to life through the ministry of the apostle Paul. You can think of the most successful organizations you know out there. The greatest of all is the church of Jesus Christ, made of living souls and beings. To be part of the church and enjoy the church is our heavenly Father’s heart for us.
God calls the church “the bride of Christ” and “the house of God,” and says that we are one with Jesus Christ.
“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.”
— Hebrew 12:22–23 NIV
“the church of the firstborn” — We are the church of the firstborn because Jesus is the firstborn. In the Old Testament, the firstborn is the one who receives a double portion of all that the father has.
An example of someone who had a firstborn spirit is the prophet Elisha:
Elisha was the servant and apprentice of the prophet Elijah. When Elijah was about to be taken away (to be with the Lord), he asked Elisha what he wanted. Though Elisha was Elijah’s apprentice, Elisha asked for the inheritance of the firstborn blessing—he asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (see 2 Kings 2:9). Upon hearing Elisha’s request, Elijah told Elisha that he would receive the double portion he desired if he witnessed Elijah being whisked away in a chariot of fire, which he did. While Elijah was being taken away, he cried out, “My father, my father…” (2 Kings 2:12).
This story demonstrates how the spirit of the firstborn is the spirit that cries out, “My Father!”
When Jesus (the firstborn) was at the cross, He cried out “my God,” instead of “my Father,” so that through the divine exchange, we could receive the spirit of sonship and call God our Father. This is our portion as the firstborn.
As the firstborn, we are entitled to the firstborn blessings. The significance of the firstborn blessing is explained in the story of Jacob and Esau.
The firstborn blessing as seen in the story of Jacob and Esau:
Jacob and Esau were the twin sons of Isaac, but because Esau came out of his mother’s womb first, he was recognized as the firstborn. There was an instance when Esau sold off his birthright to Jacob in exchange for food, and thus despised his birthright. It was also implied that Isaac favored Esau, while Rebekah favored Jacob.
“And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.’ Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright as of this day.’ And Esau said, ‘Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?’ Then Jacob said, ‘Swear to me as of this day.’ So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
— Genesis 25:28–34 NKJV
“sold his birthright to Jacob” — This was the firstborn blessing that Esau despised.
Many years later, when Isaac felt that it was time to give the firstborn blessing to Esau, he asked Esau to prepare a meal for him with game he hunted. While Esau was out hunting, Rebekah prepared game for Jacob to bring to Isaac in Esau’s place and helped Jacob disguise himself as Esau. Isaac, having poor eyesight, was deceived and blessed Jacob with the firstborn blessing. When Esau found out and begged his father for the firstborn blessing, Isaac declared a different blessing over him as the firstborn blessing had been given to Jacob. The blessing could not be reversed.
This is the firstborn blessing that Jacob received:
“Therefore may God give you
Of the dew of heaven,
Of the fatness of the earth,
And plenty of grain and wine.
Let peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you.
Be master over your brethren,
And let your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
And blessed be those who bless you!”
— Genesis 27:28–29 NKJV
This is the ‘leftover’ blessing that Esau received:
“Then Isaac his father answered and said to him:
‘Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth,
And of the dew of heaven from above.
By your sword you shall live,
And you shall serve your brother;
And it shall come to pass, when you become restless,
That you shall break his yoke from your neck.’”
— Genesis 27:39–40 NKJV
Though Jacob was imperfect and he wrongly deceived his father to get the firstborn blessing, he was someone who respected the birthright, and God honored that.
“plenty of grain and wine” — When we compare the two blessings side by side, we will notice that only the firstborn blessing (Jacob’s) has the mention of “plenty of grain and wine.”
The grain and wine in the firstborn blessing were not natural grain and wine, which were staples in the diet of that day. This grain and wine were supernatural. It was a picture of the holy Communion. The holy Communion imparts life and health to us. God does not give us just enough grain and wine, but an abundance of it!
This story shows us how we as believers who have the firstborn blessing through Christ should not despise our birthright for there is so much abundance in that blessing that God wants us to enjoy. Once we have been blessed, the blessing is irreversible!
In the days of the early church, the people valued the grain and the wine, for they went from house to house breaking bread, partaking of the Lord’s Supper as often as they could.
If you are battling a condition in your body, the way to receive health is through the partaking of the holy Communion often, and with a revelation of what the elements represent. When you partake, don’t do it as a ritual. God wants you to receive it with a sense of His love.
“Then Isaac answered and said to Esau, ‘Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him. What shall I do now for you my son?’”
— Genesis 27:37 NKJV
“with grain and wine I have sustained him” — The word “sustain” here is in reference to health, which is what we need in life to sustain us.
Life in abundance is more important than having an abundance of food. Likewise, having a healthy body is more important than having an abundance of clothing.
Jesus is the firstborn in the sense of position (He has always existed). He is one of the divine persons in the Godhead as the Son, but came into position as firstborn when God raised Him from the dead.
Today, we are the church of the firstborn because of what Jesus has done for us at the cross.
This is our portion of the firstborn blessing: We share the same inheritance, same goodness, and same fatness (abundance), as Jesus!
Besides the grain and the wine, we have also received kingly and priestly portions. God sees us as kings and priests.
In the Old Testament, the positions of kings and priests are those of great authority and influence.
This is what Jesus did for us at the cross:
“... To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
— Revelation 1:5–6 NKJV
“kings and priests” — We are made kings and priests today because Jesus has already washed us from our sins. Right now, God does not see us in our natural flesh, but He sees us in the Spirit as kings and priests.
A king does not have to work to make things happen, He only has to speak. This is why when Jesus was on earth, He only needed to speak and the leper was cleansed, deaf ears were opened, the dead were raised, and the storms were calmed. We have this same authority today.
When you know something is not God’s will, you can use your kingly position to speak to that area of affliction (e.g. nightmares and depression). Speak to the condition: “Depression, in the name of Jesus, loose me and let me go! In the name of the Lord Jesus.”
What is God’s will for you? To prosper in all things, to be in health, just as your soul prospers (see 3 John 1:2).
You have the power to speak to that depression, that nightmare, that tumor, and command those conditions to leave, for they are not God’s will for you. You don’t have to plead God to heal you—His will is for you to be in health!
Keep declaring freedom from those afflictions until you see them flee! Like Mark 11:23 says, speak to that mountain (your problem) and it shall be removed. You don’t have to tolerate any of your problems. You can speak to them in the authority of Jesus’ name, and you will see things change.
When you know that you are under attack, the attacks lose their power the moment you start speaking against them. Jesus demonstrated this power of speaking when He cursed a fig tree and it dried up at its roots, although the result of the tree wilting could only be seen the next day.
We too have this same inheritance, birthright, and position as a king in God’s eyes, so let’s use our authority against all the forces of darkness! How? By speaking.
If you are always losing your temper, speak to that evil spirit that is affecting you (from the outside, it cannot be from the inside because the Holy Spirit lives in you), and command it not to trouble you anymore. Pastor Prince shares how a few years ago, he spoke against the spirit of strife that he saw was affecting a couple nearby, and he saw how the man immediately calmed down and reconciled with the lady.
The firstborn blessing includes not only a kingly portion but also a priestly portion.
Priests are those who minister to God on behalf of the people. Jesus, our High Priest, knows what we need and ministers to God on our behalf.
When we worship God, we are actually operating in our priestly role.
In the Old Testament, there are many benefits and blessings that the Lord gives to priests. Others get the breast of the lamb that was offered (a picture of Jesus’ love demonstrated at the cross), but the priest that offers the blood of the lamb gets the right thigh of the lamb (a picture of Jesus’ power).
When you fulfill your priestly role by choosing to worship the Lord, you not only get to experience His love but you also see His power move in your life and meet all your needs.
Pastor Prince shares that when he finds it difficult to discern what the rhema word is for the church for that Sunday, he takes a step back and worships God. He talks to God about the beauty and excellencies of Jesus. And he finds that after he has worshipped God and given God his portion as a priest, there is divine inspiration for his sermon preparation.
Give God His portion and you will turn around and find that He has met all your needs.
Both the kingly role and the priestly role have to do with speaking.
There is another role that employs speaking, and it is the role of the prophet.
The Bible says that Jesus is a King and a Priest, but He is also a Prophet. As we are the church of the firstborn, we too have the prophetic gift present in us. All these roles operate through words, and not human labor. It is a picture of grace—when we speak, we see miracles and breakthroughs happen.
As we have the firstborn blessing, the prophetic, kingly, and priestly characteristics should manifest in our lives. We are called to use this prophetic gift by speaking words of inspiration from the Lord into people’s lives.
Prophecy is not always about speaking about the future. Prophecy is also divine utterance that produces comfort, strength, and edification (1 Cor. 14:3).
The prophetic gift is not just reserved for pastors or leaders. We all have access to this gift because it is the right of every believer. We are in Christ, and we have His portion of this gift.
The gifts of the Spirit are God’s best gifts for us, and He wants us to covet earnestly for those gifts.
“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”
— 1 Corinthians 12:31 KJV
“covet earnestly” — God wants us not just to covet for these spiritual gifts, but to have a yearning, passionate desire for them.
“best gifts” — These supernatural gifts are the nine gifts of the Spirit that are given to every believer because of grace—not given because one is “holier” than another. The word "gifts" is "charisma," which means "grace gifts."
These gifts come when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit. By operating in these gifts, we can minister grace to people and bring worship unto the Lord.
The nine gifts of the Spirit can be divided into three categories:
1. Priestly flow—to say something
2. Prophetic flow—to know something
3. Kingly flow—to do something
Pastor Prince shares many personal examples and testimonies to explain how these gifts can manifest in everyday life.
These gifts are not limited by time and space, so we can use them to release a word even through video calls during this time that we cannot meet in person.
We need to covet earnestly the best gifts, especially in these days that we are living in. Some gifts may manifest in some more than others (e.g. those whom God has appointed as prophets will flow more in the prophetic gifts), but all these nine gifts are our portion as believers.
Pastor Prince prays for the following conditions:
Pastor Prince closes the service by emphasizing the importance of stirring up the gifts of the Holy Spirit by praying in tongues, and to start exercising your kingly and priestly role by praying for your loved ones. As you pray, God will begin to show you things to speak forth with the authority you have, and you will start experiencing your firstborn blessing.
He also reminds us that because our God is supernatural, we are supernatural people who don’t operate by the natural ways of the world. Instead, let us be people who flow in the Spirit.
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, this coming week, the Lord bless you with the blessings of Abraham and the blessings of Deuteronomy 28. The Lord keep you, every one of you, from the COVID-19 virus, from every infection, from every disease, through the blood of Jesus Christ. The Lord lift up His countenance on you and your loved ones, and grant to you and your families His shalom well-being, wholeness, and peace. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2020
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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