These are notes on the sermon, Expect Good In Times Of Trouble, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 17 May 2020, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Pastor Prince declares this over us, “Good days are ahead of you!”
“For 'He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.'”
— 1 Peter 3:10 NKJV
This promise is mentioned both in the Old Testament (Ps. 34) and here in the New Testament. The days ahead of you are good days that you can believe God for. It is God’s desire for you to enjoy life. Jesus Himself said that He has come that we may have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
God’s will for you is to enjoy life and to see good days!
When the Bible mentions an evil day, it refers to a day of testing or trial. God calls it an evil day—singular—but when it comes to good days, it is in the plural form. God has many more good days for you. It is not God’s will for you to have long protracted seasons of suffering and trouble. Believe God.
Believe for good and speak it forth. You will see good when you speak good. 1 Peter 3:10 says, “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil”.
Pastor Prince shares a powerful testimony about a sister and her family who experienced God’s protection and healing from COVID-19 through the partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
Put your trust in God and in His Word. His word stands true regardless of the situation. God’s Word never changes. Heaven and earth will pass away but His words will never pass away. You can put your trust in Him.
“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
All the promises of God, even the ones in the Old Testament, are YES in Christ Jesus. While some promises are unique to the nation of Israel or specific to that particular time period which the verse was written in, there are promises like the ones in Psalm 91 that we can still claim today.
We are seated with Christ in heavenly places (see Eph. 1:20)—that is our position today! When you are seated and at rest in this secret place, all the blessings of protection will be on you and your family!
The word “Amen” comes from the Hebrew word for faith. When we say, “Amen,” we are saying, “I agree, Lord. Be it unto me as it is in Your Word!”
Because of Christ, God gives a hearty YES when you ask Him for any promise. Today, you can believe God for your children, for your family, for your friends, that they will experience the goodness of God that is promised in His Word.
We are not praying to command or persuade God to do something good. When we pray, we are agreeing and aligning ourselves with the Word of God, declaring that His will be done as it is in heaven. By praying like this, we are attesting to the integrity of God’s Word and putting our faith in what He has promised.
That is how Jesus wants us to pray: “As it is in heaven, and so shall it be done on earth for us and our families” (see Matt. 6:9–13). For us to say this, we need to know what it is like in heaven. In heaven, there is no COVID-19 virus, no sickness, no disease, no shortage, no lack, no poverty. God wants that for us here on earth. If you are sick, pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
That does not mean we will not have trouble or persecution in this world. A believer’s life is not without troubles but in this sermon, Pastor Prince wants to encourage those who are experiencing troubles right now and are asking questions like, “Can I pray myself out of my troubles? Does God even want to deliver me out of this trouble?”
There are many erroneous teachings that tell us that the Lord does not want to deliver us from troubles. Erroneous teachings are teachings that cause you to believe wrong about the Lord and your relationship with Him. When you believe right, you will live right, and you will experience right.
The Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of Truth. The Spirit cannot testify to a lie. In God’s eyes, all our sins have been put away by Jesus. Instead of rejoicing and living that redeemed life, some believers still live their lives beaten down and trodden on like they have not been saved.
The sacrifice of Jesus has paid the penalty for sin once and for all. God is not dealing with us based on our sins anymore. He is not withholding blessings from us because of some sin that may still exist in our lives. When we start believing that lie and behaving like it is true, we are actually living a lie and the Holy Spirit cannot bear witness to that.
For instance, there are some who say that we cannot partake of the Communion because there is still sin in our lives. However, what 1 Corinthians 11:27 deems as partaking in an “unworthy manner” is when we partake of the Communion conscious of our sins instead of conscious of what Jesus has already paid for at the cross.
Perhaps, some people are asking, “Why do some people experience their breakthrough but I don’t?” It all comes down to having right believing. The word “repentance” is the Greek word “metanoia,” which means “change of mind.” We repent by looking to Jesus and believing that all His promises are for us to claim.
Believe right about the troubles you are in right now. Know that the Lord wants to deliver you out of them. Whether that trouble has to do with a wayward child, a long-term medical condition, or problems in your marriage, God has a promise for you in His Word that you can claim. Let’s learn to believe and pray His promises daily.
“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our troubles which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us”
— 2 Corinthians 1:8–10 NKJV
“sentence of death in ourselves” — A hebraism for putting one’s trust in God and not in themselves.
“who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,” — Paul was facing great troubles but he was certain that the God who delivered him before was the God who would deliver him again. This is the attitude that a believer must have: Believe that God who delivered you then is delivering you now and will continue to deliver you. This is the Christian posture that we have towards our struggles and trouble.
“In this manner, therefore pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread…
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
— Matthew 6:9–13 NKJV
“our daily bread” — Prayer is daily. Jesus did not ask to pray, “give us our monthly bread,” or “give us our yearly bread” but He said to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” God loves you and He loves to hear your voice. He loves to have you in His presence daily. When we pray for His promises daily, we are communing with the Lord and putting our trust in Him daily.
Just because we know that the Lord’s will is to bless us does not mean that we don’t need to pray. When it came to the prophet Daniel, he knew the prophecy that Israel’s captivity in Babylon would last 70 years, yet he still prayed for it to happen (see Dan. 9).
Prayer reminds God of His promises, and He loves to be reminded. He does not need to be reminded, but He likes being reminded because it shows Him that your trust is in Him.
Today we are in Christ risen at the Father’s right hand, which is why we can pray and ask God for the blessings we want to see happen.
Last week, Pastor Prince shared about how it is God’s will for us to prosper in all things and be in health (3 John 1:2), and our part is to align ourselves with His will by praying it into existence. Just John said in 3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers,” we are also called by God to pray for these things.
There are people who abuse this verse and use it as an excuse to be materialistic and chase after money, but these people do not negate the truth of 3 John 1:2. We are blessed to be a blessing. Today, we can pray in faith, with no reservations about whether God wants to bless us or not.
The world needs to see a God who is good to His people, a God who loves His people. This is what draws people to Him. They are not drawn to a God who is angry and judgmental. God will judge but we are not in the dispensation of judgment right now, we are still in the dispensation of grace. Jesus came to save, to heal, and to deliver.
When you look at God and see how good He is, the world will see how good God is to you and they will see how He has changed your life. The people around you will be drawn to the Jesus that you show them through your life.
The people around us will see the manifestation of God’s goodness and promises in our lives, just like Pharaoh, a heathen king, could see that the Lord was with Joseph because everything Joseph did prospered (see Gen. 39:2–6).
God wants to make a clear line of demarcation between His people and the people of the world. You are in this world but not of this world. Let your light shine before the world.
“And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
— Matthew 6:13 NKJV
“do not lead us into temptation” — The word “temptation” is the Greek word “peirasmos” (noun). It can mean either trouble, affliction, and difficulty, or solicitation to sin. In this context, Jesus is referring to the troubles or trials that we go through. We see this in James 1:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”
— James 1:13–14 NKJV
“tempted” — This is the same Greek word, “peirazo” (verb), which can refer to trouble or solicitation to sin. Here, it clearly states that God does not lead us to temptation to sin, and He is not a God who tempts anyone to sin.
Back to Matthew 6:13:
“do not lead us” — The words “lead us” can also be translated as “bring us.” In other words, the verse can be read, “Do not bring us into trouble” or “Do not let us be brought into trouble.” That is not to say that God is responsible for bringing you into trouble. The devil does that and sometimes it is even trouble of our own doing but we can pray that God will not let us be brought into more trouble than we already are in. God wants us to pray this prayer every day.
We do not judge God’s Word by our experiences; we are to judge our experiences by God’s Word.
Pastor Prince encourages leaders and pastors to keep preaching at the level of God’s Word, not people’s experiences. Sometimes when you preach God’s promises, it feels like you are the only who has this revelation and the people’s experiences have not lined up yet. Pastor shares how when he first started preaching about supernatural, pain-free childbirth, there was a backlash from people who did not have that experience. But after a while, someone had a breakthrough in this area, and more and more people started to experience supernatural, pain-free childbirth.
When you preach where the people are, you will always remain at that level but in preaching God’s promises in His Word, you are bringing the people up to the level of God’s Word, which is above their natural experiences.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials (‘peirasmos’),”
— James 1:2 NKJV
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;”
— James 1:2 KJV
In the King James Version, it actually reads “temptations” instead of “trials.” In this context, it is clearly referring to us going through trials and not referring to temptation to sin.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
— James 1:2–4 NKJV
There are troubles that God allows us to go through but in those moments, our part is to pray like Jabez did, asking God for deliverance and blessings (see 1 Chron. 4:9–10). If you are faced with troubles right now, you can still pray this prayer. Sometimes, God may allow these troubles as child training (but these troubles will never be sickness, accidents, or tragedies). Perhaps there is an area in your life that God wants to work on. But regardless, these troubles are not meant to be protracted. God always wants to deliver you out of the trouble.
What about the apostle Paul and all the other martyrs in the Bible?
“quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance ('apolutrósis' – redemption), that they might obtain a better resurrection.”
— Hebrews 11:34–35 NKJV
“not accepting deliverance” — The word “deliverance” is the Greek word “apolutrosis,” which means “redemption.” It is used ten times in the New Testament and in all ten times, it refers to the redemptive work of Jesus as we see in Ephesians 1:7.
“In whom we have redemption ('apolutrósis') through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
— Ephesians 1:7 KJV
Redemption in Hebrews 11:34–35 is not referring to man’s offer of a single instance of redemption or deliverance (e.g. “Renounce Jesus and you won’t be tortured or killed”). The redemption in this verse refers to Jesus’ redemptive work at the cross, i.e. deliverance from the Lord Himself.
Some of us might question if it is God’s will for us to suffer or if it is better to suffer like the martyrs in the early church did. However, it is important to distinguish between practices in the early church and doctrine. Doctrine is found in the Epistles. There are some practices that are relevant to the times that they were set in. Good as these practices were, we cannot define them as doctrine. We must derive our doctrine from the Scriptures. We honor the martyrs and their memory but in the context of their time, many of them chose to suffer and go to be with Jesus rather than live.
What about the apostle Paul and his martyrdom?
“For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith,”
— Philippians 1:23–25 NKJV
The apostle Paul knew that to be with Christ was far better for him but he decided that to remain was more needful for the church. Paul spoke knowing that it was his decision when he would die.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
— 2 Timothy 4:6–7 NKJV
Paul was ready to leave and to be with Christ only when his work on earth was finished. The Lord wants us to be here on earth to testify of His goodness. There is still work to be done here.
Sometimes troubles arise because of Satan’s doing and we see this in this instance:
“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren. But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.””
— Luke 22:31–34 NKJV
There are also instances where God allows us to be tested as we see in the story of Abraham:
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested (“peirazo”), offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,”
— Hebrews 11:17 NKJV
When God tests you, it is to bring out the good He first saw in you.
This testing of Abraham was a unique one. Before God could cut a covenant with Abraham, He had to establish that it was a valid covenant. Also, this test was a picture of God Himself would do many years later. Just as Abraham did not withhold his only son, God did not withhold His only Son, Jesus, as well.
Just as God said to Abraham after Abraham willingly offered up Isaac, “Now I know that you love Me, because you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (see Gen. 22:12), we can say the same thing to God because God did not withhold Jesus from us.
It was God’s intentional purpose to send His Son because He loves you greatly.
“... the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?"... And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.”
— Acts 22:24–29 NKJV
In this instance of the apostle Paul about to be scourged, he used his Roman citizenship to leverage on his rights and privileges and avoided the suffering. Yet there were other times when Paul endured suffering, like when he was stoned by the Jews in Lystra (which was also part of the Roman empire).
This is why we cannot take one instance that we see in the early church and use it as doctrine. As we look at the book of Acts and look at the many great men of God, we have to examine if what we are reading is doctrine or practice. Just because the apostles suffered does not mean that we have to suffer in the name of Jesus. Paul himself realized that there were some troubles or sufferings that were not necessary. Jesus kept His silence before Pilate so that today we can open our mouths and proclaim the deliverance we have in Him.
When you pray that God will bring you out of trouble, have the confidence that God wants you out of trouble. In fact, He invites you to pray this prayer every day, “Lord, let me not be brought into trial or affliction.” There may still be some troubles that the Lord allows us to go through but He has promised that there is a future beyond our troubles and there will be restoration.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
— 1 Peter 5:8–10 NKJV
“after you have suffered a while” — The time of suffering is short, the evil day is short, but the good days that the Lord has for us are plenteous and numerous. If you are in a trial right now, look out for the restoration that is to come, something greater is coming! You never come out of the trial the same way you go in.
When Egypt was in a time of famine, they did not encounter a loss but instead made a profit because of the wisdom of Joseph (see Gen. 47:13–27). Even during this time of the COVID-19 virus and this time of famine, let’s look to our heavenly Joseph, our Lord Jesus Christ, and ask Him for wisdom. The Lord can cause us to profit even during this time of famine.
When you go through trouble, know that you are coming out stronger, complete, and established—that is what God has promised in His Word.
Instead of saying things like, “The worst is still yet to come,” expect to see good in your future and expect to see many good days ahead of you! Let us choose to believe God and say, “Because of what Jesus has done for me at the cross, good days are ahead of me and the best is yet to come!”
“In this coming week, may the Lord protect every one of you, you and your loved ones, from every danger, harm, accident, and tragedy. The Lord preserve you and your loved ones from the Covid-19 virus. The Lord protect you and your loved ones from all evil in the name of the Lord Jesus. And the Lord bless you and your loved ones with His favor, with His health, with His prosperity, and with His blessings and shalom. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and all the people say, 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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