These are notes on the sermon, Break Free From The Chains Of Condemnation, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 9 August 2020, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Happy National Day, Singapore! We begin the service with a short celebration of our nation’s 55th birthday.
Pastor Prince begins the sermon by emphasizing how vital it is for us to memorize and meditate on Psalm 91, which is the psalm of protection. In this time, when we are facing a global pandemic, this psalm is more relevant than ever.
Psalm 91 is a New Testament psalm even though it was uttered in the Old Testament. It is about those of us who dwell in the secret place of the Most High, which is in Christ.
When fear or anxious thoughts creep in, it is the Word of God that will rescue you from those worries and reassure you of the Lord’s divine protection over your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Whatever trappings the devil might have for you, the Lord will surely deliver you from them.
You can meditate on Psalm 91 this way:
“Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.”
— Psalm 91:3 NKJV
Meditate on the word “surely” — The Lord has promised that He shall surely deliver you from every attack of the enemy. This is a certainty.
“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.”
— Psalm 91:5–6 NKJV
“pestilence that walks in darkness” — For the pestilences that you don’t even know exist around you (i.e. asymptomatic cases of COVID-19), God has promised in His Word that He will protect you, and you need not fear.
Pastor Prince shares a testimony from a lady whose son who was kept safe and divinely protected from COVID-19, even when those who had been in close proximity to him had caught the virus.
“And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee…”
— Deuteronomy 7:15 KJV
“the Lord will take away from thee all sickness” — No matter what type of sickness you may have been diagnosed with (e.g. diabetes, cancer, tumor), the Lord is faithful to deliver you from it all, for all of God’s promises in Christ are “yes” and “amen.”
Pastor Prince shares a story of a British colonel who commanded his troops to memorize and declare Psalm 91 daily during the four years of battling in WWI. He eventually testified that there had been no casualties among his troops, though they were subject to bombings. Like it says in Psalm 91:7, “a thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.”
VIDEO: A video of Pastor Prince’s son, Justin, reciting Psalm 91 from memory is shown on screen.
Pastor Prince encourages all parents to help their children memorize Psalm 91.
The Word will come to rescue us at the right time when we need it the most.
In the Bible, God promises us long life until we are satisfied (see Ps. 91:16). However, even amongst believers, we see or hear of people whose lives have been cut short, and we wonder why this happens.
God never wanted us to experience death. God hates death (which is a result of sin), and He intends for His people to live a long, good life.
There are things that can shorten our lives (e.g. the making of unwise decisions and actions). On the flip side, the more we worship God and honor our parents, the more our days are prolonged.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
— Romans 6:23 KJV
“eternal life” — Eternal life doesn’t start when your heart stops beating. It starts the moment you believe that Jesus has paid for all your sins and you receive Him as your Savior. From that point on, you are spiritually born again.
For a believer, physical death is like taking off the physical body while your soul lives on forever, and you are clothed in a glorious, incorruptible body.
One day, when the rapture happens, we will all be transformed into our glorified bodies (see 1 Cor. 15:51-53).
Today, there is a double curse on the ground because of man’s sin. When Adam first sinned, God cursed the ground (see Gen. 3:17–18), and when Cain killed his brother, Abel, God once again pronounced a curse on the ground (see Gen. 4:11–12). Right now, creation is groaning and travailing with the effect of man’s sin while it awaits Jesus’ second coming.
The rapture is imminent—it can come anytime. Pastor Prince believes that we are the end-time generation who will live to see the rapture happen.
Till that day comes, God has ordained us to live victorious lives here on earth:
“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
— 1 Thessalonians 4:17 NKJV
“alive and remain” — This denotes strength and power. It is one thing to be alive because we are young, but another to be alive and remain. To remain means that we have the power to overcome death.
As believers, we might ask, Why does death overtake believers so easily then? If we have received the gift of eternal life, why do we still have this experience?
Pastor Prince shares how the Lord showed him that it is the effect of living under law instead of living under grace.
The law is also known as the ministry of death, which was written and engraved on stones (2 Cor. 3:7). While the law is holy and was given by God through Moses, it was never intended for us to fulfill by our own effort or self-righteousness. Rather, it was to show sinful men how much we need God’s abundant grace (Rom. 3:19–26, Rom. 5:20).
The Bible says believers are not under law but under grace (Rom. 6:14).
Under grace, God is the One at work in our lives. Under the law, we are the ones who are working. There is no compromise between living under law and grace—either we are laboring to produce results, or it is God who is working in us and through us.
The believer’s life is designed to be one of inward rest. We can be outwardly busy, but inwardly at rest. This is illustrated in the Tabernacle of Moses (in the Old Testament, God told Moses and the Israelites to build Him a tabernacle as they wandered in the wilderness).
The Outer Court — In the outer court, there is a lot of natural light. This speaks of the people of the world who go by what is natural, i.e. what they can see with their physical eyes. People of the world are confined to what they can see. God wants us to walk by faith and not by sight. What we can see is temporal, while what we cannot see is eternal (2 Cor. 4:18)—like the angels, the Holy Spirit, God with us. That tumor you can see on the x-ray is temporal, while God’s promise of healing is eternal.
The Holy Place — In the Holy Place, light comes from the menorah or the lamp stand, which is a picture of the church of Jesus Christ. We are shining Christ’s light in this world of darkness. We are telling the world that God’s thoughts toward them are thoughts of love and compassion, not of destruction.
“For He does not afflict willingly,
Nor grieve the children of men”
— Lamentations 3:33 NKJV
The Holy of Holies — This is where God’s presence dwells, and the light in this place comes only from His presence. He lights up the place with His shekinah glory.
Our next step as believers is to step into that shekinah glory, for we already have eternal life within us.
If you look at the Tabernacle from the outside in, you’ll see that the outer court is full of hustle and bustle because there is a lot of activity going on like the sacrificing of animals, but deep inside, in the holy of holies, there is perfect peace. This is a picture of what God wants our lives to be like.
While we might be at work on the outside, we can remain at rest on the inside.
Believe that whatever you do, God will prosper. Whatever you do, God’s favor will be on it.
The Lord wants us to live stress-free lives for a very practical reason. Stress has been medically proven to be the cause of diseases (e.g. heart troubles, high blood pressure), and also causes one to grow old. God’s desire is for us to have our hearts settled, to be at rest, so that we can live victoriously and enjoy a healthy and full life.
As believers under grace, whatever you do has the touch of God’s favor upon it. Every blessing we experience today is tied up with the gospel that saved us—which is the gospel of grace. To believe otherwise is to be self-righteous.
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
— Romans 10:3 KJV
“being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness” — God’s righteousness is a gift to be received, not earned. The state of righteousness is being acquitted from all guilt and having right standing with God. Though we are sinful, when we receive His gift of righteousness, we can stand righteous in His presence. However, we cannot establish our own righteousness through our own works, nor can we have a bit of God’s righteousness and a bit of ours—which is what Israel tried to do.
We have a triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And God has also made us a tripartite being—with a spirit, soul, and a body.
Righteousness is established in a believer’s life the very moment we believe that Jesus’ perfect work at the cross has removed all our sins once and for all—and the outcome of receiving God’s righteousness is seen in our lives, translated in our spirit, soul, and body.
When God instructed Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He said, “The day you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). And yet Adam only died when he was 930 years old (see Gen. 5:5). What happened was that the day he sinned, he died spiritually, but death had not touched his body yet. Eventually, it did, and Adam died.
What happens in your spirit will touch your body.
Grace doesn’t just save us spiritually, but it is also our protection, provision, and divine health. We have been saved by grace, and we need to continue in grace.
The law was designed to show sinners that we cannot justify ourselves and we need God’s grace (Rom. 3:20). It was not designed for us to fulfill in order to receive good.
“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
— Romans 5:17
“reign in life” — Notice that we are to reign “in life,” not “after death.” The Lord wants us to reign in this life here on earth. The secret to reigning in life is through receiving the gift of righteousness, which has been bought and fully paid for by our Lord Jesus Christ.
On earth, we know that death is total. No one escapes from it, no matter how good they are or how rich they are. People die because of Adam’s sin—but God gives eternal life, and eternal life is not just about living forever, but it is the zoe life that God Himself lives by, which is the highest and best form of physical life there is.
Pastor Prince shares a pyramid that explains the different levels of life:
“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter (the law) kills, but the Spirit (grace) gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end.”
— 2 Corinthians 3:5–7 ESV
“the letter kills” — There is an erroneous teaching that “the letter” refers to the superficial reading of God’s Word without revelation, and “the Spirit” refers to the reading of God’s Word with revelation. This is false. “The letter” undoubtedly refers to the law (the Ten Commandments), which is evident in the next line that describes it as “carved in letters on stone.” It is the law which results in death.
“the Spirit gives life” — The “Spirit” here refers to grace, which is the person of Jesus, who gives life, and life more abundantly (John 10:10).
“the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone” — The ministry of death is the law, and it is known to “kill” because the law condemns sin in our flesh. However, it is through the ministry of grace that we live, for it is the Spirit of grace that gives life.
It is important to note that every time we condemn our children, we are ministering death. As parents, we should learn to minister life to our children by extending grace toward them when they make mistakes. This does not mean that we should never correct them, for there are times we have to and the Holy Spirit leads us to do so. But we should not heap guilt and shame on them.
An example of how the law ministers death and grace ministers life is seen in the way 3,000 people died when the law was given on Mount Sinai, while 3,000 were saved when the Spirit was given on Mount Zion.
The fact is that the law is perfect, and when it cannot find perfection in the recipient, it has no choice but to confer death (condemnation). The law is the ministry of death. When someone is under the law, death is constantly being ministered to the person. The reason that many believers today are subject to death, not only in their physical bodies but also in their minds, relationships, etc., is that they still believe they are under the law.
All believers today need to know that they are no longer under law but under grace.
When you are under grace, life is constantly being ministered to you.
When you remove the law from a person, it doesn’t mean that they will become lawless.
The story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead demonstrates this.
Jesus asked Lazarus’ sisters to remove the stone (signifying the Ten Commandments) from Lazarus’ tomb when He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. When the stone was removed, Lazarus came forth! Similarly, as believers, we are all resurrected spirits, and when the stone (the law) is removed, we will come forth in Christ’s resurrection glory.
So the question is this: Are you removing the stone from stinking flesh or removing the stone from someone who is resurrected? It makes all the difference.
Remove the law from someone who is unsaved and not born again, and you will see lawlessness. But remove the law from someone who is saved and born again, and you will see resurrection life and glory!
“So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’”
— Galatians 3:10 NKJV
“of faith are blessed . . . of the works of the law are under the curse” — The moment you try to earn or deserve your blessings and sanctification, inwardly you are fighting and standing on the law, which brings the curse. But those who believe by faith that they have received all these blessings because of grace get to enjoy the blessed life.
Jesus promised life more and more abundantly (John 10:10). It is through receiving the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:17) that you will reign in life. This is a life that is fulfilling, a life you are satisfied with.
This is what Paul said when he pronounced a double curse on those who preached any other gospel aside from the gospel of grace:
“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”
— Galatians 1:6–9
“the grace of Christ . . . a different gospel . . . the gospel of Christ” — The gospel of Christ is the gospel of His grace. Grace is not a different gospel, but the true gospel. Whatever is not of the grace of Christ is not the gospel of grace but a different gospel.
Grace is not heresy. Heresy is preaching that everyone is saved without accepting Christ. In order to receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, we must first receive Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.
Jeremiah 17 presents the difference between a cursed life and a blessed life:
“Thus says the Lord:
‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.’”
— Jeremiah 17:5–8 NKJV
“Cursed is the man . . . shall not see when good comes” — When you are under the curse, you cannot see good even when it is right in front of you.
“Blessed is the man . . . its leaf will be green, will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit” — For the blessed man whose trust is in the Lord and His supply of grace, he will experience blessings even in the midst of famine.
The Lord’s heart for us is to live by faith in His grace, for it will bring the blessings of the abundant life.
This is how the Lord explains what it means to be “of faith”:
“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.”
— Galatians 3:8–9 NKJV
“justify the Gentiles by faith” — To be justified by faith is to believe that you are righteous by faith because of Christ Jesus.
“of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” — Abraham was a man of faith long before the Ten Commandments were given. Though Abraham was far from perfect, God never held his mistakes against him, for he was a man who lived life under His grace and was justified by faith. You are “of faith” when you live under God’s grace.
People who are ministering the law can be wholly sincere, but they can also be sincerely wrong, for the law is the ministry of death (condemnation).
This is how we can apply the work of grace in our lives:
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
— Romans 6:14 NKJV
“sin shall not have dominion over you” — The word “sin” is a noun, and you can replace it with “sickness,” “death,” or even “Satan”—none of these things shall have dominion over you when you live a life under God’s grace.
Sometimes, we don’t realize it but our mentality might be “under law.” When fear creeps in, and you start demanding from your family members, stop yourself and think—are you looking to yourself to provide for you and your family?
When you are demand-oriented, you are putting yourself under the law. When you realize this, don’t condemn yourself, but simply look to Jesus and His unending supply.
Whatever need or struggle you might have today, be it preparing for an important presentation or trying your best to bring up your children well and make sure they do well in school, the Lord knows and cares about all your needs. Today, trust that He is working through you, in you, and for you. Stop placing the demands on yourself and start looking to the Lord and His abundant supply. He loves you. He cares for you. He is your Shepherd.
The Lord answers exceedingly more than we can ask or think (Eph. 3:20). Let Him exceed the hope you have.
Every time you’re under the law, it seems like provision ceases and health is frozen. But the moment you’re under grace and you start to think and believe right, health flows. Healing flows.
For parents who are concerned about your children’s studies and health, trust that the Holy Spirit will lead you with His peace. When you follow His peace, you shall stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.
God’s supply is still coming your way, so believe by faith and see that His provision is greater than your need. He will answer you above all that you can ever ask, think, or imagine. Start believing God’s Word and be conscious of His supply!
Pastor Prince prays for those who have lost their jobs:
“If there’s anyone who has lost their job, I pray in the name of Jesus that God’s supply will overwhelm your need. That the job in the future will be one that you’ll be overwhelmed by in a good way. You’ll be so blessed by it, and the supply will be great in your life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
For parents who are concerned over their children’s studies and well-being, Pastor Prince declares:
“I pray for every parent, Lord, that is having challenges with their children—in the name of Jesus, impart to them, Lord, I pray, the wisdom that they need to follow the Spirit in every situation of their life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
For those who are struggling with physical conditions in their bodies, Pastor Prince declares this:
“I pray for people who are sick, who are having challenges in your body. Right now, Father, release into their bodies your healing, your life, your zoe life, and cast out that sickness. That sickness cannot exist. Where the sickness is, grace of healing superabounds, and that grace of healing evicts every sickness, every growth, every tumor, out of your body, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Receive the healing of the Lord, health is springing forth speedily in the name of Jesus, amen. Praise the Lord. God bless you!”
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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