FREE SHIPPING for orders above $80 within United States.
Official Joseph Prince Sermon Notes

Find Answers In Your Darkest Times

Sunday, 17 February 2019
 

These are notes on the sermon, Find Answers In Your Darkest Times, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 17 February 2019, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

Be sure to sign up to get updates on the latest sermon notes by Team JP.

Overview

In a world where we’re bombarded by contradictory opinions and fake news, where can we find real answers to real problems?

The church.

As Pastor Prince teaches on the early church, you’ll see God’s heart for believers to come together, break bread, and find the peace, hope, and answers we need.

We hope these notes will help you understand that:

  • God dispenses His answers and blessings for your life through the church.
  • You and your family come under divine protection and covering when you are part of a church community.
  • God uses other believers to bless and help you in times of need.
  • You receive supernatural wisdom and guidance as you listen to the preached Word.
  • God desires to love and embrace those who have fallen away from the church.

Beloved, allow your heavenly Father to lead you into His abundant life as you get planted in His house!

Introduction

We are in for an exciting year.

When God is doing good things for you, in you, and through you, the devil gets afraid and might bring attacks against you. So when bad things happen, be aware that we are in spiritual warfare. And you can pray against the enemy’s attacks.

When sudden bad things happen, the world will say it’s bad luck, but we know that we are in spiritual warfare. And when good things happen, the world will say it’s good luck, but we know that it’s God’s favor on our lives. It’s God opening doors for us.

Don’t subscribe to the language of “bad luck” or “good luck.” Don’t be conformed to the way the world thinks and speaks.

God’s Word is the truth.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”
— Matthew 24:35 NKJV

Many have come against the Bible but they and their words have passed away. God’s Word is eternal. It is still true to this day.

While the world has come up with new definitions and standards for the way things should be, let’s stay true to God’s eternal Word.

What God’s Word says is, is. It has outlasted all its critics. It’s still the #1 bestselling book in the world.
How do we know God’s Word is still the same after thousands of years?

In 1947, a young Bedouin shepherd boy found the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave in Qumran. The scrolls were found to be from the first centuries B.C. and A.D. These scrolls contain the book of Isaiah, and it’s proven that the Isaiah we have in our Bibles today is word-for-word identical to the text in the 2000-year-old scrolls.

God has preserved His Word for thousands of years.

A beautiful passage from Isaiah is this:

“Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”
— Isaiah 53:4–5 NKJV

Our promise of healing is from the book of Isaiah that God preserved.

Isaiah is a special book—it is a “mini Bible.”

There are 66 chapters in Isaiah and there are 66 books in the Bible.

The chapters in Isaiah can be split into 2 main portions:
Chapters 1–39: God’s judgment
Chapters 40–66: God’s restoration

The Bible is split into the Old Testament and the New Testament:
Books 1–39: The Old Testament (Genesis to Malachi)
Books 40–66: The New Testament (Matthew to Revelation)

Each chapter in Isaiah represents a book in the Bible.

The Bible you have in your hands is precious.

It’s not just something nice to read. It has real power in your life.

Pastor Prince reads a testimony of a man who discovered that he had a malignant tumor on his jaw bone. He went home and decided to start reading the Bible. As he was reading, he felt great joy and warmth in his heart. So he read more and more. When he returned to the doctor for a checkup, the doctor couldn’t find the tumor!

My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh
.
— Proverbs 4:20–22 NKJV

When you come to church, you receive God’s answers and blessings for your life

“But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.”
— ‭‭Acts‬ ‭20:6–7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

on the first day of the week” — this refers to a Sunday, not a Saturday (when the Jews normally have the Sabbath).

Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday. Sunday is the new Sabbath for believers; it is the new “rest day.”

Rest is important.

God demonstrated this to us when He rested on the 6th day after creation. He didn’t rest because He was tired. He rested to show us that rest is holy.

Don’t despise rest.

Moses told the people to “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord…” (see Exod. 14:13). And God opened up the Red Sea for them and killed their enemies.

After Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday, Sunday became the new “rest day” for the believer. When we enter into rest on Sunday, then we can work on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…

For the world, they work first then rest. For us, we rest first in the finished work of Jesus, then we work.

“ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in himAnd ye are complete in him…”
— Colossians 2:6, 10 KJV

When you know you are complete in Christ, you will walk like a prince or princess. Your walk comes out of who you are. Who you are always precedes what you do.

We can rest today because God has completed His work of redemption. All of God’s claims have been fully met by the blood of Jesus.

God is not just satisfied, He is infinitely pleased by what Jesus has done.

Because Jesus is the One who did this work, we can be sure it’s perfect.

He Himself took our infirmities
And bore our sicknesses.”
— Matthew 8:17 NKJV

“But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.”
— ‭‭Acts‬ ‭20:6–7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

the first day of the week” — This is a Sunday, which tells us that Paul did not depart from the believers in Troas for 7 days. Even though he was in a rush to get to Jerusalem. He chose to wait in Troas for 7 days so that he could be there when the church gathered to break bread.

Paul understood the importance of coming together and partaking of the Communion.

The #1 reason that the early church gathered was to take Communion together. They gathered to break bread.

Even when Paul—the greatest apostle from whom the teaching of God’s grace came—was visiting the church, the believers didn’t gather for him. They gathered first and foremost to break bread together.

Pastor Prince encourages churches to make Communion the priority.

Every time we take the Communion, we proclaim His death. We proclaim His finished work.

“...when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
— ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:20–22‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

In 1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:20–22, Paul rebukes the believers for not coming together to eat the Lord’s supper.

The Lord’s supper is of utmost importance.

It’s important that we pay attention to Paul’s letters in the New Testament, because in them, we find truths that are relevant and crucial for the church.

Pastor Prince mentions that this does not mean that we should only read Paul’s letters and ignore the rest of the Bible. Every passage in the Bible is God-breathed (see 2 Tim. 3:16). But we should be conscious of which portions of Scripture were written for the church, which portions were written for the Jews, which portions were written for the people under the law before Jesus came, etc. This will help us rightly discern God’s Word.

Under the new covenant, God uses Paul’s letters to tell us that we receive His blessings and promises through the church.

Today, God is emphasizing the importance of the church, the gathering of God’s people.

In the church, there is a corporate anointing that can’t be replaced or found anywhere else. You’ve got to come to the house of God to experience it.

The more we see the signs of Jesus’ return, the more we know that Jesus is coming back soon, the more we must gather.

Come to the house of God. Sunday alone is not enough—gather as believers as often as possible.

When you come to church, you come under God’s protection and covering

In the early church, there were cases of excommunication. There were cases of harsh judgment upon certain people in the church.

But the Scriptures never say that these people were believers. From the contexts of these accounts, we can see that these people were not believers, yet were in the church and were taking advantage of God’s people and/or being a negative and false testimony of Christ.

For example, in Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead after lying to the church. In the book of Acts, every time a believer is mentioned, they are referred to as “a certain believer.” But in the case of Ananias, Acts 5:1 says, “a certain man named Ananias…”

This tells us that Ananias was not a believer. And he and his wife tried to cheat God’s people of money. God’s punishment for people who come against His people is harsh.

Another example is in 1 Corinthians 5:
“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! … deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
— 1 Corinthians 5:1–5 NKJV

There was a man in the church who had taken his father’s wife and was living with her. The fact that Paul said, “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus,” shows that this man’s spirit was not yet saved. He was not a believer, and he was being a terrible testimony of the gospel.

Paul told the church to excommunicate him, to deliver him to Satan by not keeping company with him—“not even to eat with such a person” (see 1 Cor. 5:11).

This means that when someone is led out of the church, he is delivered to Satan. He is delivered to the place of danger where Satan is.

And this tells us that in the church, there’s protection. In the church, there’s God’s covering.

When someone is alone, they are in danger.

The Gadarene Demoniac in Mark 5 was isolated. All alone, he was grieving and depressed.

Jesus sailed across the sea to find that one man.

While Jesus was still in the middle of the sea, the devil brought on a storm to stop Him. With just one word, “PEACE,” Jesus calmed the storm. There was perfect peace.

The demon-possessed man experienced the same perfect peace. With just one word, “GO,” Jesus cast out all the demons from the man.

And the man was restored in his mind, he was clothed, and he was seated at Jesus’ feet (see Mark 5:15).

Who gave him clothes? Jesus did.

When Jesus was asleep in the boat during the storm, he was sleeping on a pillow or a cushion (Mark 4:38), which was likely the man’s clothes. He was keeping them dry and warm because He knew He was going to clothe the man.

When you come to church, you experience light in your darkness

“There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.”
— ‭‭Acts‬ ‭20:8–9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

the third story” — there were 3 stories in the building that they were in. This represents the 3 heavens that the Bible talks about: the 1st heaven (the atmospheric heaven; the sky that we see), the 2nd heaven (outer space), and the 3rd heaven (where God dwells). Heaven is a real place, it’s not a mystical place.

many lamps in the upper room” — The main lamp is the Word of God.

The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.”
— Psalm 119:130 NKJV

If you feel depressed, spend more time in the Word. Just reading the stories will have a cleansing and an enlightening effect on you.

“... In Your light we see light.”
— Psalm 36:9 NKJV

We don’t see because we don’t have light.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.”
— Psalm 119:105 NKJV

When you read God’s Word, you’ll know what to do. You’ll know the next step to take. You’ll know the right path.

So there were “many lamps in the upper room”— one big lamp is God’s Word. Another big one is the Holy Spirit. And then there’s us, the believers. We are called to be the light of the world (see Matt. 5:14).

When we come together, we are even brighter. That’s why when we gather, we can see and find the lost things that the enemy has tried to hide from us.

We can see and understand things about our lives and our situations when we gather around God’s Word.

In the tabernacle of Moses, in the Holy Place, the only source of light was the candelabra or the menorah, which represents the church. The lamps on the menorah provided light to see the significance of the other items in the Holy Place.

In the Holy of Holies, there’s no menorah, no lamps. But the whole place is filled with brilliant light. That’s the Shekhinah glory—God’s own light.

So in the upper room, there were many lights.

God wants His people to have light.

“So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”
— ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭10:22–23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

In the 10 plagues of Egypt, there was a plague of complete darkness. This shows that darkness is a curse.

there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt… But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings” — If the light in Israel was from lamps, the Egyptians would have had that light too. But the light in Israel was supernatural, and the darkness in Egypt was supernatural too.

God wants your families, your marriage, your children, to have His light.

That doesn’t mean that there will be no challenges and no arguments. But even as you are working out your problems, there will be light on you. When people look at you, they’ll still see light.

The Israelites were not perfect, but they still had light in their dwellings.

How should we treat people who have fallen away from God? We love them

“There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.”‭‭
— Acts‬ ‭20:8–9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Eutychus” — “eu” means good and “tychus” means hit the mark.

The definition of sin, “hamartia,” is to miss the mark. And Jesus caused us to hit the mark.

“Eutychus” means “good fortune.”

Eutychus falling and dying represents people in the church losing good fortune.

When you fall away from the rest of the assembly, when you fall away from God, you lose good fortune.

fell down” — a life away from the Lord is a life of descent. When Jonah ran away from the Lord, he went down to Joppa, then he went down into a ship, then he went down into the sea, and finally, he went down into the belly of a big fish.

But when we follow the Lord, when we seek Him, we ascend: “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob…” (see Isa. 2:3).

In Genesis 12, God told Abraham to go up to the land of Canaan, but Abraham left Canaan and went down to Egypt. If he hadn’t gone down to Egypt, there would have been no Hagar (Sarah’s Egyptian maidservant) and no Ishmael. They were not God’s plan.

The devil wants you to think that by following your own intelligence, following your own ways of getting what you want even if it means lying or cheating, you are going up. But you’re actually going down.

“But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, ‘Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.’”
— ‭‭Acts‬ ‭20:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When people fall, we are not to shun them. We are to embrace them.

It’s one thing to deliberately sin and continue living and boasting in that sin (if someone does this, they might not have been saved in the first place).

It’s another thing to fall, to make mistakes, to not be in the best place of your life. All believers can fall like that.

When people fall, we are not to shun them.

Do you know how Jesus looked at people who were sick?

“Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him. But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all.”
— ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭12:9–15‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Jesus showed us in Matthew 12:9–15 that when someone is sick, it’s not about finding out what their sin is. It’s about lifting them out of it.

This applies to people who are sick spiritually as well, i.e. they don’t mean to fall but they fall. We should lift them up.

What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?” — Jesus sees people physically and spiritually sick as sheep. A sheep is to be taken care of. You don’t say to a sheep, “You stupid sheep, why did you fall?”

Pastor Prince shares that a few weeks ago, before Chinese New Year, his 7-year-old son Justin fell from a high railing in school which resulted in 2 fractures in his skull. One of Pastor’s first questions to Justin was, “How did this happen?” to which Justin guiltily responded, “Sorry!”

Then God told Pastor, “Don’t ask him that anymore.”

Once someone is sorry and knows that they made a mistake, there’s no point trying to dig deeper to find out how or why the mistake happened. They already know, and they’re already sorry.

We should lift them up instead.

Pastor shares how by taking Holy Communion with Justin daily (about 3–4 times a day), Justin got better and better in record time. Now, he is totally well.

Pastor Prince asks the congregation to pray for him and his family to be protected against the enemy’s attacks. Even in the midst of attacks, God is still present. The fall could have been worse; the impact marginally missed a big vein in Justin’s head that would have caused severe bleeding.

“But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, ‘Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.’”‭‭
— Acts‬ ‭20:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Paul went down” — The best way to minister to people when they fall is to go down to their level. Don’t preach at them from your level.

fell on him, and embracing him” — Paul embraced him. Don’t fall on someone and scold them when they’ve fallen.

Let them experience the warmth of an embrace, not the coldness of what they should or should not have done.

Why do people fall? Because they’re half-in, half-out of the church

Eutychus falling and dying represents people in the church losing good fortune. How did that happen?

“And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.”
— Acts 20:9 NKJV

Eutychus was sitting in a window. A window is not exactly in the room and not exactly outside of it. Eutychus was not exactly in with the other believers, but he was saved, so he was not exactly in the world either.

When it comes to being a believer, don’t be like Eutychus, sitting in the window. Because you won’t get the best of EITHER the church or the world.

You’re too saved to “enjoy” the world completely. And you have too much worldliness in you to enjoy God’s abundant life completely.

So be all-in for Jesus and enjoy His abundant life!

Church leaders, even if people “sit in the window” and fall, don’t criticize them or condemn them. Come down to their level and embrace them.

“But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.”
— ‭‭Acts‬ ‭20:10 NKJV‬

Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him” — When Paul said this he was speaking literally, but spiritually, it means that even when people fall, they are still saved. Their life is still in them.

Welcome those who have fallen back into the church and take Communion together

“But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed.”
— ‭‭Acts‬ ‭20:10–11‬ ‭NKJV‬

even till daybreak” — Daybreak represents the coming of the Lord. Every time we partake of the Lord’s supper, we are proclaiming His death until he comes.

The Lord will come in 2 ways:For believers, He will come as the bright and morning star (see 2 Pet. 1:19). Early in the morning at daybreak. For Israel, He will come as the Sun of righteousness (see Mal. 4:2).

The bright and morning star (the Northern Star) is the first star that appears in the sky before the sun rises. In the midst of darkness, Jesus is going to return.

Until then, there is light in the house of God. In the midst of the world’s moral darkness, there are many lamps in the church.

Come together and you’ll see things you’ve never seen before. They will bless your life.

Pastor Prince shares a testimony about how a couple’s broken marriage was restored after hearing about the gospel of grace from the church.

He shares another testimony of a man completely healed of Alzheimer's disease when he and his wife started hearing messages from the church and taking Holy Communion together regularly. This man has been declared free of Alzheimer's disease by the doctors with an MRI scan that shows his fully restored and healthy brain! Pastor Prince encourages the people in the congregation who fear memory loss that what God has done for this man, He can and will do for them too.

The church is not a building. The church is made up of many members of the body of Christ. We are strong together. We are powerful together. The needs of the people are fully met because great grace is on us all (see Acts 4:33). A speaker may have a few gifts, but together, we have all the gifts that God has put in the church.

Don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together.

Closing prayer

Justin comes out at the end of the service to stand with Pastor Prince as he prays for the church:

“Father in Heaven, I thank You for everyone under the sound of my voice. In the name of Jesus, I release upon them the blessings of God in Deuteronomy 28. Thank You, Father, that Christ has redeemed us from all the curses in Deuteronomy 28 that the blessings of Abraham may fall on us, the main blessing being the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. That's what we are, Lord.

As we go out into the world, Father, we know that we are going out into a place where there's confusion, where people are saying that good is bad and bad is good. I pray, Father, that You grant parents here Your wisdom and Your favor with their sons and daughters to help them to see the light. Even when their children are in their presence, Lord, their children will have their eyes open to see the futility of worldly lifestyles. They will see the vanity of that kind of pursuit. They will see their true need for Jesus. I pray, Father, that You grant that anointing upon all the parents here that when they speak, they won’t have to raise their voices. Their words will carry such persuasiveness that will enter right into the hearts of their children. There will be light in every dwelling, every household in New Creation Church, in Grace Revolution Church, and for everyone watching this. In Jesus’ name, 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 2019
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.


Get This Sermon

View
 

Sign Up for Latest Sermon Notes Updates

Sign Up for Latest Sermon Notes Updates

Subscribe

Sign Up for Latest Sermon Notes Updates

No, thank you

Thank you for signing up!

Just One More Step.

To complete the subscription process, please click on the confirmation link in the email we just sent you.

You're already subscribed!

You're already in our mailing list. Thank You!

×