These are notes on the sermon, All Things Work For Your Good, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 11 April 2021, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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We are continuing from last week’s sermon, Stand On Favor Ground.
“Who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
— Romans 4:25 NKJV
“was delivered up because of our offenses” — Jesus was sent into this world to die for our offenses (sins). The reason Jesus came in the form of a human body was so that He could sacrifice Himself for us at the cross. Though He took on the likeness of sinful flesh, He had no sin in His flesh (Rom. 8:3).
During Jesus’ ministry on earth, there were times people tried to kill Him but were unsuccessful because it wasn’t His time yet. As Jesus held all power and authority, no one could kill Him without His consent. He chose to lay down His life for us (John 10:18). When the time came and the guards went to arrest Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was the One who stepped forward and allowed Himself to be captured (John 18:6).
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life (zóé) through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
— Romans 6:23 KJV
“For the wages of sin is death” — Man fell when Adam chose to listen to the voice of the enemy who hated him instead of submitting to the voice of God who loved him. Subsequently, all of mankind had sin in their blood; all of us were like sheep who had gone astray (Isa. 53:6) and needed saving.
“eternal life” — Though sin was man’s fault, God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die at the cross for all our sins and give us eternal life. “Life” here is the Greek word “zóé,” which refers to the highest form of life—the life that God Himself lives by.
We go back to Romans 4:
“. . . and was raised because of our justification.”
— Romans 4:25 NKJV
“was raised because of our justification” — Through Jesus’ perfect work at the cross, we have not only been delivered from our sins but we have also been justified. Jesus’ work was to remove our sins in the presence of a holy God so that when God looks at us today, there is no more sin on us. While there is still sin in our physical bodies, God sees no sin on us. When Jesus comes again, we will receive our glorified bodies with no trace of sin or its effects.
Jesus has done a perfect and eternal work, one that is efficacious forever—and we stand in that value of work before God. This is why through Jesus’ perfect work at the cross, we can come boldly to God and receive what we need.
The Young’s Literal Translation translates Romans 4 this way:
“. . . and was raised up because of our being declared righteous.”
— Romans 4:25 YLT
“was raised up because of our being declared righteous” — If we were not declared righteous, God would not have raised Christ from the dead. Jesus was not raised because of His position as the Son of God (that He always was), but because of His perfect work at the cross. Because He has borne all our sins in His own body, today we stand righteous and without sin before God. As believers, we need to receive and believe this truth in our spirit.
The perfect work that Jesus did at the cross includes bearing our sins and everything that is a result of sin—including sickness, disease, depression, and pains.
There are people who struggle to believe that Jesus did this perfect work. They believe that He bore their sins but are unsure of whether He bore their sicknesses and pains. So when they are trying to trust God for their breakthrough, they say, “I can’t believe. I don’t have enough faith.”
Beloved, it’s not about the amount of faith you have, but about the trustworthiness of the Person you have faith in. Don’t look at your faith; look at Jesus. He is perfect. Because Jesus is perfect, there is no doubt that He did a perfect work at the cross and purchased the healing or provision breakthrough you need.
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.”
— 1 John 5:13 NKJV
“These things I have written to you . . . that you may know that you have eternal life” — The Bible doesn’t deal with “perhaps” or “maybe,” the Bible says “these things are written that you may know that you have eternal life.”
“that you may know that you have eternal life” — Eternal life is your portion as a child of God. Eternal life is not about living eternally (all mankind are already spirit beings that cannot die). Those who refuse to accept Jesus and end up in hell will also live eternally. Eternal life refers to the quality of life (zóé life)—the life that God Himself lives by. When we are born again, God imparts His zóé life to us (Rom. 6:23).
Plants, insects, animals, and humans all have varying degrees of life, but the life of God Himself is the highest form of life (zóé life—eternal life). You and I have this eternal life that comes through Jesus, who came to give us life more abundantly (John 10:10)!
The Christian walk is about learning to allow the Spirit to lead you in life. This is how we practically live by the tree of life. When Adam and Eve partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that was when all the problems started. Today, living according to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is to live by natural reasoning and logic. On the other hand, living by the tree of life is to be led by the Spirit.
When you are led by the Spirit (the tree of life), you will produce many good works and exceed the standards of the law. You will live with moral excellence. You will not only give what is sufficient to others but have the Spirit’s prompting to be generous. When you trust that God is your supply, you will be generous because you know He provides in abundance. This is contrary to natural thinking (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), which tells you to limit your kindness.
Pastor Prince shares a story of two farmer neighbors (one a Christian, one a non-Christian) who grew crops in paddy fields. The farmer who lived on the lower part of the hill (the non-Christian) used crafty methods to benefit from the flow of water that his neighbor above (the Christian) used to water his crops. Though this was unethical and upsetting to the Christian farmer, he felt the Holy Spirit on the inside tell him to be generous and water his neighbor’s field before his own. Shortly after, his neighbor realized what was happening and asked him about it, to which he replied, “I just felt the Lord tell me to do it.” In the end, his neighbor got saved because he experienced the goodness of God. This is a testimony of what happens when you allow the Lord to lead you in life—you see supernatural results that go beyond what you could have imagined.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
— Romans 5:1–2 NKJV
“having been justified by faith . . . rejoice in hope of the glory of God” — As believers, we were sinners before we were saved by grace, but now we are sons and daughters of God who are justified by faith. We are not perfect in our flesh but we have been made perfect in the Spirit. God doesn’t just want to save and justify us, but He also wants us to have a glorious future!
“Those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
— Romans 8:30 NIV
“he also justified . . . he also glorified” — Jesus is the first One whose glorified body rose from the dead, and our lives are patterned after His. When Jesus comes again for us, our bodies will be exchanged for a glorified body—a body where we will never feel fatigued, sick, or die. While we wait, we rejoice in hope and anticipation. Even right now, we have already entered into His glory (it’s just that the last thing for us to possess is our glorified bodies).
When Jesus raised Lazarus after he had been dead for four days, the power that raised Lazarus was not resurrection life, for Lazarus still died physically later on. Resurrection life and power came when Jesus was raised from the dead—where He would die no more.
In His glorified body, Jesus still has flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Jesus’ glorified body also transcends time and space and can be anywhere in an instant. Yet His body is made of matter and can be touched and felt. This is a picture of our future, where our glorified bodies will be like His glorified body after being changed by His power (Phil. 3:21).
To live in our glorified bodies is God’s plan for us. He never intended for man to grow old and die because He counts death an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). When Jesus comes again in the rapture, God will put the final enemy—death—under His feet (and our feet) once and for all. Death has already been defeated at the cross, but it will finally be under our feet experientially when we receive our glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:52). On that day, we will be with the Lord forever.
“He Himself took our infirmities
And bore our sicknesses.”
— Matthew 8:17 NKJV
“He Himself” — Jesus didn’t entrust His work to an angel, but He Himself willingly bore our infirmities upon His own body. Only Jesus can do a perfect work, and everything He does carries an eternal effect—one that remains efficacious once and for all.
“By whom we have also access by faith into this favour in which we stand.”
— Romans 5:2 (DARBY)
There were many Biblical figures who saw God’s favor at work in their lives. David had favor; Esther had favor before the king; Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord; Ruth found favor in the eyes of Boaz who redeemed her from poverty; and Joseph had favor with Pharaoh though he was someone who initially had nothing to his name and was even cast out by his own brothers. All of them had their own faults and failures, yet God gave them favor with people.
“we have also access . . . into this favour in which we stand” — Today, we have access into this favor in which we stand because we are declared righteous through the cross.
As God’s beloved, you can declare you have favor with God and with man. Not every man will find you favorable (e.g. people against the gospel of grace), but God promises that you shall find favor with many people.
Likewise, Jesus had favor with countless people He met. He even found favor with Pontius Pilate even though He was eventually delivered up to be crucified due to Pilate’s fear of Caesar. The only people that Jesus didn’t have favor with were the Pharisees—the religious people of that day. The Pharisees shunned Jesus because they despised the grace and accessibility He gave to sinners.
Wherever you go, remember that you are living under the unclouded favor of God!
“And we boast on the hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we also boast in the tribulations.”
— Romans 5:2–3 YLT
“boast in the tribulations” — Even if you’re going through a troubling time, the Bible says you can still boast in your tribulations, knowing that God is working every trouble for your good.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
— Romans 8:28 NKJV
“we know” — God doesn’t want us to have some fleeting hope that all things will work together for good. He wants us to know it as a fact!
“all things work together for good” — Even as you persevere through tough times, know that every trouble will work for your good. It won’t happen because of your good deeds but because you have the unmerited favor of God upon your life. The word “work” here is the Greek word “synergos,” which means “synergy.” Synergy is an employment of different parts that work together to produce the total desirable effect.
If there seems to be all sorts of challenges that you’ve been facing for a long time (e.g. this pandemic and all its negative repercussions), remember to fall back on God’s Word that reaffirms your standing on favor ground. No matter what you’re going through, big or small, there is always something good that God is doing behind the scenes that will benefit you.
When it comes to the COVID-19 virus sweeping the globe and bringing about lockdowns such that churches had to move online, one positive change the church has seen is the increased number of salvations over the past year. We rejoice knowing that Jesus is being unveiled to more people and more lives are being transformed by His grace.
When the Bible says “all things,” it means all things. Believe that God is synergizing everything for you and your family’s good!
While God is not behind the pandemic or the challenges that you face, these bad things that happen don’t catch God by surprise. We are living in a fallen world—bad things that happen in this world are the consequences of Adam’s sin.
We go back to Romans 8:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
— Romans 8:28 NKJV
“those who love God . . . those who are called according to His purpose” — This describes everyone who is born again. They are characteristics, not conditions. All those who are born again love God, though we love Him in varying degrees. When you are redeemed by Jesus’ work, you will come to love God and know Him (Heb. 8:11). And all those who are born again are called according to God’s purpose.
Knowing the hope of our calling is part of the prayer in Ephesians 1.
As a child of God, you will discover your God-given purpose that He has called you to fulfill.
This year, Pastor Prince has encouraged us to pray this prayer from Ephesians 1 daily:
“May give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling.”
— Ephesians 1:17–18 NKJV
“you may know what is the hope of His calling” — God has a purpose and a calling for your life that only you can fulfill. This calling is not based on your right doings, but it is a destiny that God has called you to before you were formed in your mother’s womb.
Though the apostle Paul said that God had separated him from his mother’s womb (Gal. 1:15) with a calling to preach the gospel of grace, he first grew up to be a Pharisee of Pharisees. Not only that, but Paul was also instrumental in the torture and persecution of many believers, going as far as sanctioning the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Though Paul seemed to miss his purpose and go off-track in his earlier years, God brought him back to His intended purpose.
Pastor Prince addresses a commonly asked question about destiny and predestination: Has God predestined those who will be saved?
Us having God-given destinies does not mean that God has predestined those who shall be saved.
When it comes to Paul and his God-given destiny, we can see the way God set him apart by looking at Paul’s upbringing. Many things in Paul’s life were God-arranged. God caused Paul to be born a Jew in that day and age in order for him to have accurate knowledge of Scripture. He also caused Paul to sit under the teaching of Gamaliel, one of the best Bible teachers of that time. Paul was also fluent in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, and he was a very intelligent man. All these things were to prepare him for his ministry in the future.
Later on in life, Paul realized that all these achievements and accolades were nothing compared to knowing Jesus Christ. Yet he needed to have them to come to this revelation.
We, too, cannot be satisfied by achievements, status, or worldly pleasures. Our spirits are God-breathed, and this is why the things of this world can never satisfy us the way our Lord Jesus can. He is the bread of life.
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
— Romans 8:29 NKJV
“foreknew” — To have foreknowledge is to know what will happen in the future, which God does. In His foreknowledge, God knew whether you would receive Christ or not based on your free choice. God always gives us free choice; He will never manipulate it. If He was going to manipulate man’s free choice, He would have made sure Adam did not make the wrong choice in the Garden of Eden.
“predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” — To believers: Because God foreknew that you would accept Christ, He has predestined you for the good intent He has for your life—which is to be conformed to the image of His Son. This is predestination.
We are predestined to become more like Jesus, the Son whom God dearly loves.
Look at Jesus, look at His moral beauty and glory. He doesn’t see things the same way everyone else does.
When you fail or make a mistake, Jesus doesn’t see the filth on you. Instead, He sees you clean, righteous, and welcomes you with open arms for you are His sheep and He is your Shepherd. For sinners who are not yet saved, Jesus views them as sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:36). His heart as a good Shepherd is to feed them and receive them into His sheepfold.
Everything in your life—the good and the bad things, the big and the small things—has all been predestined to conform you to the image of Christ. That is what it means for all things to work toward your good.
When you are like Christ, your character starts to be like His. And the results you see in your life are like the results Jesus had when He walked on earth.
Look at Jesus—whatever He touched prospered. When Jesus touched the leper, the leper was completely healed. When Jesus touched the five loaves and two fish, it multiplied in plenty to feed five thousand people. When Jesus touched the poor, they became rich. When Jesus touched a sick body, it became healthy and vibrant. To be conformed to the image of Christ and to have His results is true success in life!
Success is not about being famous or earning lots of money. If you live to please man, that bondage only brings about the fear of man. When you trust in the Lord, you shall be safe (Prov. 29:25).
One example in the Bible is the life of Joseph. Joseph went through trouble after trouble, but ultimately God worked every trouble for his good. Joseph, who started off with nothing to his name after his brothers betrayed him and sold him off, rose to become Pharaoh’s right-hand man. Not everything that happened along the way was of God, but everything working out for his good was of God.
Joseph’s story is also a picture of our heavenly Joseph—our Lord Jesus. When Joseph’s brothers came to meet him to ask for food during a time of great famine, Joseph revealed himself to them as their long-lost brother whom they had sold as a slave. Instead of using his power to execute vengeance against them, Joseph used his power to draw them near to him (Gen. 50:20–21). Like Joseph, Jesus was rejected by His brothers (the Jews) but loved by His Father. Jesus came as the Bread of Life and became provision to the Gentile world. Jesus first came as a lowly and humble man but will come again as the glorious King of Israel.
God forgives every mistake you’ve made and works them all out for your good. This doesn’t mean that you should keep on sinning because that is unwise. God will bring you to the place where you fulfill your calling, but if you carry on living in sin, you will take a longer time to be led to that place.
As a child of God, you can always have the attitude that you are favored. Judgment, death, and all the effects of the curse are behind you. The symptoms you feel in your body are only temporary, for your bodily redemption is drawing nearer and you will receive a brand-new glorified body (1 Thess. 1:10; Luke 21:28; 1 Cor.15:52).
The apostle Paul said in the book of Philippians:
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
— Philippians 1:21 NKJV
“to die is gain” — Regarding our loved ones who have gone to heaven: Know that they are happy, free, liberated, and in perfect shalom peace. Feeling sad over the loss of a loved one is only human, but know that they are in a better place than you and I are. One day, we will meet them in heaven and be with them for eternity. We will even have fun exploring the vast universes (see Zech. 12:1) God has designed for us to enjoy!
Here is some advice for parents: It is understandable that you want the best for your children (e.g. for them to grow up educated, get a good job, and earn a good salary, etc.), but true joy and success are not found in these things. True joy and success happen when your children know the Lord. Encourage your children to attend the children’s ministry or the youth ministry and do what it takes to get them to attend it. This upbringing will produce fruitful results at the opportune time. They may not understand the Word fully now, but one day their eyes will be flooded with light and be filled with the revelation of who Jesus is to them in a personal way.
The enemy wants your children. When Moses asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, Pharaoh agreed but wanted the children to stay behind (Ex. 10:11). The reason why Pharaoh wanted the children to be left behind was that he knew the parents would come back for them. Moses didn’t allow that to happen, and all the Israelites left Egypt, children included. It is important we don’t leave our children in Egypt (the world) but raise them up in the ways of the Lord!
Let us not bypass this opportunity to let our children know the Lord, for the very things you see the Lord do in your life, you also want your children to experience in their lives.
God’s purpose will always cause everything to work for good for you and your family!
“Because as He is, so are we in this world.”
— 1 John 4:17 NKJV
“as He is, so are we in this world” — This is a promise that is happening right now (not sometime in the future). As Jesus is (present tense), so are we in this world (not just in heaven).
Today, God sees you as one with Jesus. As Jesus is above all principalities, powers, might and dominion, and every name which is to come (Eph. 1:21), so are you in this world right now. As Jesus has no unhealthy flesh, so are you in this world (Eph. 5:30). You can declare that you are healthy, for Jesus is healthy. As Jesus is free from disease, having borne your diseases at the cross, so are you free from sickness in this world!
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
— 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV
“beholding . . . the Lord . . . transformed into the same image from glory to glory . . . by the Spirit of the Lord” — When you behold Jesus, you will see yourself transformed into His image from glory to glory. This transformation will not happen by your own efforts but by the Spirit of the Lord. When you have an image of Jesus that is based on eternal facts and truth found in His Word, you will be transformed into that same image through that hazon vision (vision from God)!
When Peter asked Jesus to call him to walk on water just as Jesus was doing, Jesus said, “Come” (Matt. 14:28–29). With that one word, there was more than enough power to bring about the miracle of Peter walking on water. As long as Peter’s eyes were focused on Jesus, seeing Him above the storm and transcending the waves, Peter was able to carry on walking on water. This depicts our Christian walk on earth today—we are to walk with our eyes on Jesus. When you do this, you will begin walking above every fear, challenge, and dire circumstance, and you will start being conformed to the image of God and experience the results that Jesus experienced!
Peter only began to sink when he was distracted by the howling winds and fear caused him to take his eyes off Jesus. What was supernatural (Peter being kept buoyant by the Spirit), became natural (Peter began sinking).
What we need today is a hazon vision, one that turns our eyes and focus back on Jesus. While Peter looked away, Jesus never stopped looking at Peter.
How do you behold Jesus today? You behold Him in His Word and the preaching of the gospel of grace.
Pastor Prince shares a powerful healing testimony of a lady in our church who had been diagnosed with lumps in her breast many years ago. Filled with faith after hearing a sermon that Pastor Prince preached on 1 John 4:17, she wrote on her medical report: “As Jesus does not have lumps in His breast, so am I in this world.” When the lady went back to the doctor, she found that the lumps were no longer there!
The results of your testimony are not produced by you but by the Holy Spirit in you. Your part is to keep your eyes on Jesus and let the Holy Spirit transform you supernaturally into Jesus’ image.
Pastor Prince closes the sermon by emphasizing how God wants us to come to a place where our eyes are flooded with light and understanding (Eph. 1:17–18), and we flow and cooperate with what He is doing. Remember, all things work together for good for a child of God! Learn to flow with God so as to move according to His purposes for your life.
Pastor Prince prays for these conditions:
“This coming week, the Lord bless you and your families, and the Lord keep you and your loved ones from the COVID-19 virus, from every infection, from every disease, from every danger, harm, accident, and from all the power of the evil one. The Lord preserve you and keep you for His glory. The Lord make His face shine on you and your loved ones, prosper you in everything that you do, prosper your way and make all the crooked places straight. And the Lord grant you His shalom peace and favor, in Jesus' name. And all the people said, Amen.”
What trouble or challenge are you going through today?
Friend, God is working every detail and circumstance in your life together for your good (Rom. 8:28), even if it doesn't feel like it right now. While that difficulty you’re facing in your career, your health, or your family is not from God, He is able to cause all things to propel you into His glorious purpose for your life—that is, for you to be more and more like Jesus (Rom. 8:29).
To be like Jesus is to have every enemy of sickness, disease, and depression under your feet. To be like Jesus is to have everything you touch prosper. To be like Jesus is to have favor with God and man. To be like Jesus is to be wise and led by the Spirit. To be like Jesus is to have moral excellence and glory. To be like Jesus is to be beautiful in every way. To be like Jesus is to be truly happy and successful in life!
The way we are transformed into His image is by simply beholding Him (2 Cor. 3:18). So in the midst of that negative situation you’re in, will you turn your eyes upon Jesus? See Him in His Word or listen to anointed sermons that reveal more and more of who He is. He is the hazon vision (prophetic vision) God wants you to see.
Just like the lady whose healing testimony Pastor Prince shared, you can also fix your eyes on Jesus by applying 1 John 4:17—“as He is, so are we in this world”—to your own situation. You can personalize this verse and write it plainly where you will see it often. Here are some suggestions:
“As Jesus is healthy, so am I in this world.”
“As Jesus is successful, so am I in this world.”
“As Jesus is far above every storm in life, so am I in this world.”
This is one practical way you can remind yourself of how God is working all things for your good such that you become more like His Son!
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 2021
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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