These are notes on the sermon, Declare You Are Highly Favored, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 13 December 2020, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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The Word of God is beneficial to our spirit, soul, and body. Every time we come into contact with the Word of God, we come into contact with life. It is the Word of God that saves, sets you free, and brings health and healing to your soul (emotions and thoughts) and body.
Even as the Word is preached today, expect God’s Word to minister and bring nourishment to you—spirit, soul, and body!
Today, we’re beginning in the book of Hebrews:
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
— Hebrews 11:6 NKJV
The Bible puts it plainly: Without faith, it is impossible to please God. It is important for us to learn how to walk by faith because everything we receive from God is by faith and faith alone. The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” (Eph. 2:8)
Faith is the currency of heaven.
But faith is not something you try to conjure up or psych yourself into having. Have you ever tried to “have more faith,” only to feel like the more you try, the less you have?
The simplicity of faith is that it is supernaturally there when you behold Jesus, the faithful One.
Today, we are talking about what faith really looks like in our day-to-day lives. Without faith, it is impossible to please God so it is vital that we know what faith looks like and what it means for us to “have faith.”
The Bible defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1); faith “perceives as real fact what is not revealed to the senses” (Heb. 11:1 AMPC).
But what does faith look like in our daily lives?
When you think the best of God, when you know and believe that God is for you and not against you, you are having a good opinion of God. That is faith.
The apostle Paul says in Acts 20:21 that he preaches “repentance toward God.” Repentance simply means changing your mind toward God. From seeing Him as an angry God who is out to get you, you now see Him as a Father who freely gives you all things and withholds no good thing from you because He spared not his own Son at the cross (Rom. 8:32 KJV).
Today, God is for you, He is not against you. He always has your best interests in His heart. Trust in His heart for you and choose to keep a good opinion of God—no matter the circumstances.
One person in the Bible who did this is Sarah.
“By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.”
— Hebrews 11:11 NKJV
“she judged Him faithful who had promised” — Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was barren. But she was made fruitful because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
One of the best things we can do when life is not going our way is to remind ourselves that God remains faithful. In these moments, say this, “Lord, I thank You that You are faithful and You cause everything to work for my good.”
It is easy to look at a negative situation and feel like everything is working against you. That is how Jacob felt:
“And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.””
— Genesis 42:36 NKJV
“All these things are against me” — Contrary to what Jacob thought, his son Joseph was alive and was working all things together behind the scenes for his good (we learned this in a previous sermon, Five Times More Favor And Provision). Today, our heavenly Joseph—Jesus—is also working all things together for our good.
“...If God is for us, who can be against us?”
— Romans 8:31b NKJV
The word “who” in this verse can also be translated from the Hebrew as “what.” This means the verse can also read: “If God is for us, what can be against us?”
This COVID-19 virus is not from God, but He is making it work for the good of His Church and for the good of His people.
“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 may not be able to see it now, but God sees the whole picture. We see only the step before us, but God sees the whole journey and destination. It may be hard to comprehend how a bad medical report or a retrenchment can turn out for good, but as believers, we can trust that God will work all these things together for our good. Have a good opinion of God!
All the heroes of faith we read about in the Bible are those who had a good opinion of God.
Abraham and Sarah
Abraham and Sarah were in their old age. Sarah was doubly barren because she had been barren in her youth, and now she was old and past natural child-bearing age. She had no physical evidence to show that she could conceive, but she kept a good opinion of God. While the physical evidence showed that it was impossible for her to conceive, Sarah judged God faithful and chose to rest in His faithfulness to her.
Jesus said that He is the Vine and we are the branches (John 15:5). It is dependent on Jesus, the Vine, to produce the results, not us. It is His faith, His grace, and His compassion that sustain us, the branches. We do not have to strive to produce the results or fruits we want to see in our lives; our role is to simply receive from the Lord and only then can we give what we have received (John 3:27).
Let’s look at Abraham:
“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;”
— Romans 4:19–20 KJV
“strong in faith, giving glory to God” — Abraham did not consider the limitations of his circumstances but was strong in faith. He was strong in his good opinion of God and he gave glory to God.
The word “glory” is translated from the Greek word “doxa.” According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, there are three definitions of this word “doxa” in the Greek:
We usually focus on the third definition of glory, but let’s look at the second one: To have a good opinion of someone is to give that person glory. Abraham gave glory to God when he thought of God in the highest regard. Abraham constantly had a good opinion of God.
Therefore, when you believe and think the best of God—that He loves you and is faithful to keep His promises to you—you are giving Him glory. That is why we praise Him! Your circumstances may not be good but you can still praise Him because He is good (Ps. 136:1).
In the midst of your circumstances, your heavenly Joseph, Jesus Christ, is working everything together for your good.
All the calamities and destruction we see on earth right now are not God’s design. They are a result of man’s fall in the garden of Eden. The chaos we see happening in the world are not “acts of God,” they are a result of sin.
The enemy’s tactic against you is to make you doubt God’s Word and God’s heart for you
The devil did this in the Garden of Eden:
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
— Genesis 3:1 NKJV
“Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” — This is the very first mention of the devil’s temptation in the Bible. He twisted God’s words. The devil will always attack the Word of God. The devil’s device is to cause you to doubt what God has said in His Word, and when he did this with Eve, he painted God as a miserly and stingy God who was withholding good things from her.
But he was twisting God’s words. What God actually said was this:
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
— Genesis 2:16–17 NKJV
“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat” — God’s instruction to Adam and Eve was to “freely eat” of every other tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Notice that the devil dropped the word “freely” and distorted what God said to portray Him as a harsh and stingy God who did not want Adam and Eve to experience any pleasure. This is still a tactic the devil uses today.
But the truth is that God wants us to have the greatest enjoyment and deepest pleasures. He gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17)! He is against sin (our natural desires being left to run wild without restraint) because it will ultimately be harmful to us. As a good Father, He desires that we are able to enjoy life without harming ourselves.
“And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
— Genesis 3:2–3 NKJV
“God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” — The devil made Eve doubt the goodness of God and caused her to have a bad opinion of God. Once Eve saw God as a miserly and stingy God, she added an additional instruction that God never gave to them: “nor shall you touch it.” God never told her that.
God’s heart is for us to enjoy life. Even marriage was given by God that we might be able to “live joyfully with the wife whom you love” (Ecc. 9:9) and be “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7).
God’s desire is that we experience heaven on earth even as we wait for Jesus to return. Don’t allow the devil or anyone else to make you doubt God’s heart for you cause you to lose your good opinion of Him. Stick to what God’s Word says and what He has promised in it!
When God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, He said that He would bring them to a place of abundance, a place flowing with milk and honey (Ex. 3:17). He had abundance in mind for His people, but when twelve spies were sent to spy out the land, ten of them came back with a different report:
“Then they told him, and said: "We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.”
— Numbers 13:27–28 NKJV
“Nevertheless” — The ten responded to God’s promise with a “nevertheless.” They agreed that what God had said was true, but they did not believe that they could enter the land as God had promised them because of the giants they saw.
Unbelief is the opposite of faith. While faith is having a good opinion of God, unbelief is having a bad opinion of God.
Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, had faith. They brought back a good report that was in line with God’s Word:
“But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: "The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey. 'Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them."”
— Numbers 14:6–9 NKJV
“The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land” — Joshua and Caleb perceived that it was a “very, very good land” (Num. 14:7 DARBY). The two of them had a good opinion of God and they spoke in line with what God had said.
“they are our bread” — Joshua and Caleb saw the giants, their enemies, as bread. God has given you bread in your difficulty, which will feed and nourish you.
In the midst of his trial, the apostle Paul had the revelation that the power of Christ rested upon him when he boasted in his weakness (2 Cor. 12:9–10 KJV). It is the same for us today—God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.
There is bread to be found in your difficulty. Don’t focus on the difficulty, focus on the provision God has given you in that situation.
At 85 years old, Caleb was as strong as he was 45 years ago when he was sent to spy out the land (Josh. 14:11 KJV). How is that possible? Instead of allowing the difficulties to overwhelm him, Caleb saw them as bread and ate them up. They become nourishment for him so that he was strong and healthy even to old age.
When you see the difficulties in your life as bread, you will experience an unwavering peace even in the midst of your circumstances and you will experience a long and healthy life.
“they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.”
— Numbers 14:23–24 NKJV
“a different spirit” — Joshua and Caleb were the only people out of the twelve spies to enter the promised land. Their good opinion of God and their decision to speak in line with what God said set them apart from the rest. The different spirit they had was the spirit of faith—the spirit of always having a good opinion of God.
We see the importance of speaking in line with God’s promises in the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth:
Zacharias and Elizabeth had been barren for many years when the angel Gabriel brought good news to them:
“And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord . . . ”
— Luke 1:12–15 NKJV
Yet when Zacharias heard God’s message from the angel Gabriel, he did not believe it.
“And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time."”
— Luke 1:18–20 NKJV
“How shall I know this?” — In the New Living Translation, Zacharias’ questioned the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen?” He looked at his natural circumstances and deemed it impossible for God’s promise of a child to come true.
As a result, Zacharias became mute throughout his wife’s pregnancy. This was out of the wisdom of God because Zacharias’ words of unbelief could bring death to the unborn baby despite the promise that God had made to them. The power of life and death is in the tongue (Prov. 18:21a).
It was only after the promised child was born and Zacharias named him by writing out his name, John (which means “the grace of God”), that Zacharias was able to speak again (Luke 1:63–64).
In the same chapter, we see a different response from Mary, the young woman who would become the mother of Jesus:
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"”
— Luke 1:26–28 NKJV
“highly favored one” — This is the verse that inspired today’s sermon. Pastor Prince encourages us to practice this: in the morning when you wake up, before you go to bed, and throughout the day, say this, “(insert your name), you are highly favored. Blessed are you among men/women.”
“to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted (highly favored) in the Beloved.”
— Ephesians 1:6 NKJV
In the Greek, the word “highly favored” is “charitoo,” which is the same word used in Ephesians 1:6 that tells us we are accepted in the Beloved, Jesus Christ. This word is only used twice in the Bible—once to describe Mary and the second time to describe us in the book of Ephesians. You’re not just favored but highly favored by the Lord!
“Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
— Luke 1:30 NKJV
“Do not be afraid . . . for you have found favor with God” — When angels appeared to people, they often assured them, “Do not be afraid.” Have a good opinion of God! He doesn’t want you to entertain fear in His presence even for a moment.
Practice this in your daily life as well.
God is on your side; He is for you and not against you. He will work everything together for your good because you have found favor with Him.
“Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”
— Luke 1:34–38 NKJV
“How can this be, since I do not know a man?” — In response to the angel’s message, Mary’s only question was about the method by which the miracle would happen. She did not, like Zacharias did, question if God could even perform the miracle.
“Let it be to me according to your word” — Instead of doubting God and His promise, Mary’s response was, “Let it be to me according to your word.”
This is the response God wants from all of us: “Let it be to me according to Your Word.” When you hear the promises of God being shared, what do you say? Lay hold of them for yourself by saying, “Amen!”
In the Hebrew, the word “believed” is the word “amen.”
“And he believed (‘amen’) in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
— Genesis 15:6 KJV
Not only is the word “believed” the Hebrew word “amen,” but Jesus is also referred to as “the Amen” (Rev. 3:14)! When you say, “Amen,” you are saying, “Let this be so in my life!”
Faith deals with certainties; it doesn’t deal with speculations and suppositions. Faith says, “Amen!”
“But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us — by me, Silvanus, and Timothy — was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”
— 2 Corinthians 1:18–20 NKJV
Because Christ paid with His life at the cross to give us every blessing, God says to us, “Yes!” regarding each blessing and our only response is to say, “Amen!” and claim them!
God wants us to respond in faith. He wants us to have a good opinion of Him, just like Mary who responded, “Let it be to me according to your word,” when the angel gave her God’s promise.
It is not on you to produce the faith to believe. Everything rests on His Word. However little your faith may be, when it is hooked on to His Word, it will produce results in your life.
When you have this perspective, God sees you in your faith, and whoever believes in Him—has a good opinion of Him—will not be put to shame (Rom. 10:11).
When Mary went to visit Elizabeth, who was her cousin,:
“For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.”
— Luke 1:44 NKJV
“as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb” — Your voice can activate the miracle in someone else’s life. When you speak God’s promises over someone, the dream that seemed dormant or barren will leap with new life!
Speak words of life, the words of God, over your family, your children, your marriage. Speak them over your career and your ministry.
We are made in God’s image, and we have the same spirit of faith as God—that is we believe and therefore we speak (2 Cor. 4:12 KJV).
Pastor Prince shares a testimony of a brother who experienced God’s supernatural provision and breakthrough in his career during this COVID-19 pandemic when he started speaking out in faith even before he saw his breakthrough.
It is in our natural propensity to complain when things don’t go our way. But we are not natural beings, we have been born again, and we live in the Spirit. Start to speak the language of heaven; start to speak the language of faith! We believe God’s Word and promises and therefore we speak!
Pastor Prince closes the service by praying for people with these conditions:
Every healing can stand the test of medical science. Pastor Prince encourages those he prayed over to go back to their doctors to verify their healings. Only stop taking your medicine when your healing has been confirmed by medical reports. Then please write in to share your testimony!
With God, nothing is impossible. Pastor Prince leads the congregation to pray over any other ailments in their bodies. Say, “Lord, let it be unto me according to Your Word,” and receive.
“This coming week, the Lord bless you and your families. The Lord bless you with the blessings of Deuteronomy 28, the blessings of father Abraham. The Lord preserve, protect, and keep you and your loved ones from the COVID-19 virus, from every sickness, from every disease, from every danger, from harm, from all the power of the evil one. The Lord make His face to shine on you and be favorable to you, highly favored one. Amen. And the Lord lift up His countenance on all of you and grant to you and yours His shalom 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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