These are notes on the sermon, Find Security In Times Of Anxiety, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 8 March 2020, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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In a time when everyone is talking about the COVID-19 virus, let’s choose to talk about Jesus instead.
Don’t keep trawling the internet for the latest articles and news about the virus. There may be a lot of chatter and news about the virus but we don’t have to make it the only thing we talk about. Instead, talk about Jesus! Whether it is to your kids, friends, or family.
Even though it might seem like the virus is reigning, it will not last.
“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 NKJV
“abundance of grace” — We can never preach too much about grace. We are those who believe and receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.
“gift of righteousness” — Righteousness is the right standing with God. Today, because of what Jesus has done for us at the cross, we stand in the place where Christ stood. And now we are the righteousness of God in Christ. It is not the reward of righteousness, it is the gift of righteousness. This righteousness that we have is a gift; we did not earn it by our own efforts. Jesus fully paid for it.
What happens to those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness? They will reign in life!
The Word says that in the end times, there will be pestilences and great earthquakes but they are not from God. The events we see happening in the world today are signs that Jesus is coming back soon.
The disciples asked Jesus about the sign of His coming, and Jesus’ reply was:
“Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many”
— Matthew 24:4–5 NKJV
“For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” — In the last days, we will see leaders who will point people to themselves and not to Jesus. True churches will always glorify Jesus. The pastor will always point the people to Jesus, not to himself or herself.
The devil is always afraid when he sees God moving. The devil provides quick fixes but the ways of God have lasting impact and they stand the test of time.
As children of God, we don’t have to fear what the world fears. We don’t have to let the fear cripple us. Even then, let’s be wise and practice good hygiene habits and take the necessary actions when we are feeling unwell.
Pastor Prince shares a testimony from a sister in our church who experienced God’s divine protection against the COVID-19 virus.
The ways of God are amazing. The economy of God is vastly different from ours. We see this in the gospels, in Jesus’ two miracles of feeding the multitudes. In the feeding of the 5000, Jesus used 5 loaves of bread but in the feeding of the 4000, Jesus used 7 loaves. In the economy of God, more people required less resources. It seems like the “bigger” the problem is, the less it takes for God to solve.
God’s ways are the opposite of ours. To be exalted, you humble yourself. That is not to say that God is against us being promoted, but He wants to be the One who promotes and exalts you, rather than you promote yourself by your own efforts or works. Like God did for Joseph in Portiphar’s house, God will promote you so that you can be a greater blessing and bring many people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Prosperity is meant to serve you, you are not meant to serve prosperity. God’s prosperity is always for a purpose, it’s never just for our own selfish or materialistic gains.
When Jesus came to earth, He was a lonely stranger walking on this earth, seeing people being hurt by their own sins and hurting one another, which was not what God created the world to be.
That’s why God sent Him to this earth—to save us from ourselves.
Pastor Prince shares a special moment that he had with his son Justin recently. He told Justin that as his father, he would never sacrifice him to save anyone. He told Justin that he loves him too much. Yet God’s love is much greater than man’s. We read in John 3:16 that “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”
Jesus was never more pleasing to the Father than when He went to the cross to die for our sins. And today, the same love that God has for Jesus is the same love that God has for us.
“...and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
— John 17:23 NKJV
“And have loved them as You have loved Me” — God could have loved us less than Jesus and it would still be beyond our imagination. Yet this verse says that He loves us as much as He loves Jesus.
It is His perfect love that casts out every fear, it is not our love for Him but His love for us. Get to know the One behind the promises.
When we gather as a church, the angels are here in our midst, the angels who are here to keep us in all our ways. They’re not here to just observe what we are doing but they’re here to protect us.
The heart of God revealed in the Parable of the Great Supper
“Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!" Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' ”
— Luke 14:15–17 NKJV
“great supper” — This is unlike any feast man can throw. God Himself has prepared this feast for His people. It isn’t just physical food but also spiritual food. God’s healing, wisdom, and favour are on this table and many are invited to partake of it.
You don’t have to have a special pass or a coupon to sit at the table and it doesn’t cost you a single cent to enjoy the great meal before you. He has prepared His gifts and blessings on this table, and we only have to come and enjoy it.
“Come, for all things are made ready” — When God prepares the room for you, He always provides for everything completely; it is fully furnished and made ready for us to come. He leaves no lack un-supplied for. There’s nothing that slips past His notice—whether it’s peace for your mind or deliverance from an addiction—they have all been made ready and placed on the table.
An example of this in the Old Testament is when God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land, God said that they will eat from vineyards and olive trees they did not plant, and drink from wells they did not dig (Deuteronomy 6:11).
An example in the New Testament is when Jesus and His disciples gathered in the upper room right before Jesus went to the cross. He told them to prepare the Passover meal and that there would be a “large, furnished upper room” already prepared for them (see Luke 22:7–13).
In the Temple of Solomon, we also see a similar large and furnished upper room on the third floor. It is the largest room at seven cubits broad where all the treasures are found. That is where the Lord reveals His secrets to us, like He did with the disciples in the upper room.
So, the Lord has prepared the great supper for us and He sends His servant to invite many to come but what were their responses?
“But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.' And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.' Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'”
— Luke 14:18 NKJV
Even though God has prepared a great feast before us, there are still many who will reject Him. Those who reject Him are a picture of people who would rather depend on their own smarts, abilities, and efforts to earn God’s blessings than to enjoy what has already been made ready for them.
The promises in Psalm 91 are not meant for only a select few, but they are available for all believers to claim.
Psalm 91 begins with us dwelling in the secret place of the Most High: “He who dwells (‘yashav’ — sit) in the secret place of the Most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
“Shall abide” — It is the Hebrew word “luwn,” which also means “to spend the night” or “to rest for the night.” It is referring to a night season, like the one we are going through right now. But the Word has promised that we will spend this entire night season under the shadow of the Almighty, where we are kept safe.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.”
— Ephesians 2:4–7 NKJV
“God, who is rich in mercy” — We may have many different ideas about who God is but the one thing to remember about Him is this: God is rich in mercy. It’s never “God, who is rich in wrath” or “God, who is rich in anger.” It is “God, who is rich in mercy.”
“Because of His great love” — He loves you with a great love. This whole plan of salvation isn’t clinical. God did it because He loves you. It is a deep and personal love. God is the only one who can love us with such an intense and powerful yet deep and personal love for each of us.
Man’s way = “I need to try harder.”
God’s way = “You need to rest in Me better.”
“made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” — God is the one who raises us up, He is the one who makes us alive, and He is the One who makes us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ.
There’s no greater secret place than being in Christ risen, seated in the heavenly places. Before you learn how to walk; you have to learn how to sit and rest in Him. Before we learn spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6, before we learn to stand and to walk in Ephesians 4–5, we first learn how to be seated in Christ in Ephesians 2.
When the devil wants to attack our Christian walk, he doesn’t attack our walk but attacks our “sitting,” that is, our rest. He provokes us into thinking that we do not have the victory and we have to rely on our own smarts and efforts to win our battles, which cannot be further from the truth.
Take on this new faith perspective:
Because every challenge has already been overcome by the Lord.
We only need to abide in Him and to rest in Him (see John 15:4).
Today, our posture of faith is rest.
Stop trying to be in Him when you already are!
“... in Christ Jesus” — Jesus is referred to as Christ Jesus after He rose from the dead. Today, we are in the risen Christ, who has put every enemy under His feet, even death. His victory is our victory today.
How high above is Jesus from every curse, disease, and evil? He is far above all principality and power (see Ephesians 1:23). He is not just above but far above. And because we are in Christ Jesus, we are also far above all these things.
Sitting down is something we don’t see often in the Old Testament. In the Tabernacle of Moses or in the Temple of Solomon, there were no chairs because the priests’ work was never finished. To sit means to have finished the work of atonement. But Jesus finished the work at the cross and He sat down at the right hand of God. That means that His work is finished, our sins have been forgiven, and we can now also sit and rest with our conscience clear.
“that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus” — You want to see grace in front of you? Rest first.
The “secret place” that is written in Psalm 91:1 is actually in Christ. Back in the Old Testament, it was a secret because Christ had not come to fulfill the law. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, it was no longer a secret place. As believers, we are all seated with Christ in heavenly places. It’s not about fulfilling conditions so that we can get there—we are already there. That’s why all the blessings of protection in Psalm 91 belong to us.
What the psalmist dreamt of is now our reality!
Psalm 91:4 says, “... His truth will be your shield and buckler.”
The word “truth” is actually the Hebrew word “emeth,” which means faithfulness. God’s faithfulness is your shield and buckler!
“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.”
— 2 Thessalonians 3:3 KJV
Our trust is in the Lord and in His faithfulness to keep us from evil. It’s not about how extensive your knowledge of the virus is or how well you can protect yourself. The good news is that it is not even about our faithfulness to God, but God’s faithfulness to us.
His faithfulness is your shield and defence. Learn to begin your day by saying, “Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness towards me and my family.” It shifts your focus on Him instead of the things happening around you.
Don’t claim and confess God’s promises out of fear and anxiety, don’t do it ignorant of His love for you. Take time to know the One who is protecting you first. You can do all these things, while remembering His great love and faithfulness for you.
We see God’s great love and faithfulness in the Parable of the Great Supper as well:
So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.' And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.' Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper."'
— Luke 14:21–24 NKJV
“bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind” — This great feast is not just for the affluent and the rich, it is for everyone.
“Still there is room” — God’s provision is always greater than the need. Even after inviting many to the feast, there is still room for more to come.
“Go out into the highways and hedges” — Highways speak of the modern travels that we use these days. The word “hedges” refers to a fence or something that separates and prevents two from coming together. Pastor Prince believes that this refers to the last move of God. When we think of fences or hedges in the nations around us today, we may think of Russia and China (“Iron Curtain” and “Bamboo Curtain”). And we will see God move mightily in these nations in the last days.
“and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” — What a loving and gracious God we serve—that He would compel us to partake of all the blessings He has first prepared for us.
Pastor Prince releases a prophecy about China found in Isaiah 49
“Surely these shall come from afar;
Look! Those from the north and the west, And these from the land of Sinim."
Sing, O heavens!
Be joyful, O earth!
And break out in singing, O mountains!
For the Lord has comforted His people,
And will have mercy on His afflicted.”
— Isaiah 49:12–13 NKJV
“Sinim” — This is the ancient name of China. God has not forgotten the multitudes in China and He is not blind to the afflictions that they are going through.
Pastor Prince prophesies that God has something great for China after COVID-19. We shall see a greater move of the Gospel in China.
“Your sons shall make haste;
Your destroyers and those who laid you waste
Shall go away from you.”
— Isaiah 49:17 NKJV
Pastor is believing that the destroyers (COVID-19) shall go away, and we will see a swift end to this virus, starting in China and in Singapore first.
Pastor Prince encourages us to come to the table that God has prepared for us and to partake of His divine protection. We can eat healthier to boost our immune systems and take the necessary precautions but still, nothing beats God’s protection. This virus did not catch God by surprise and in the “all things [that] are made ready,” (Luke 14:17) we find His protection. So take from Him this week!
“Repeat this after me: Father, in Jesus name, I receive, I come to the table. I receive and I partake of Your divine protection for me and for my family. Thank You, Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You. I thank You for Your love for me. Please Father, throughout this week, show me more, more, and more of Your love, that great love that You love me with. 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 2020
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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