These are notes on the sermon, Five Words To Live By—The Battle Is The Lord’s, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 10 January 2016, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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God is the maker of good days. Ephesians 6:13 implies that our days of trouble are few (“the evil day”—singular), while our good days are plentiful.
In the last days, the world will get darker but the church will shine brighter and more glorious as Jesus will be seen in and through His people (Isa 60:2).
You need not worry about what’s going to happen in the world because you don’t live in that economy or kingdom. We are part of the kingdom of God and we live off the supply, provisions, and resources of heaven (Phil. 4:19).
Jesus said that in the end times, nation will rise against nation and there will be pestilences and great earthquakes (Matt. 24:7). In the midst of this darkness, He urges us to look up as our redemption draws near (Luke 21:28). We can look forward to being transformed into our brand new bodies to be forever young and strong.
VIDEO: Video of the Theme of the Year 2016, Possessing Our Possessions, is screened.
One description of Canaan, the land that God promised the children of Israel they would inherit, is that the land had huge clusters of grapes. The clusters of grapes were so huge that a single cluster had to be carried on a pole between the shoulders of two men.
While huge grapes grew in the promised land, grapes were difficult to grow in the land of Egypt (a picture of the world).
Grapes and wine represent the joy of the Holy Spirit. This tells us that the pleasures of God’s kingdom are bigger, greater, and far surpass all the pleasures of the world.
The pleasures of the world are created by either perverting God’s pleasures or adding on to them in ways that bring negative side-effects or even bondage. However, the pleasures of God have no such effects and are always abundant and increasing!
God told Joshua that this wonderful promised land belonged to the people of Israel and that every place the sole of their feet trod upon would be theirs (Josh. 1:3).
When it comes to God’s promises for you, the same thing applies. While all of God’s promises are yours, you will take possession of them (experience them manifest in your life) step by step.
Pastor Prince shares a testimony of a sister whose husband experienced supernatural healing of a tumor due to testicular cancer. This healing came gradually, step by step, as he simply committed the difficulty to the Lord and partook of the holy Communion.
Pastor Prince shares about his series Boldy Ask, Boldly Receive which addresses questions such as “Is it wrong to ask God to bless me again and again?”, “Does God answer ‘selfish’ prayers?”, “Why do I need to pray if God already knows my needs?” These are all good teachings to ground ourselves in as we seek to possess God’s promises for us.
Instead of entering the promised land shortly after they left Egypt (which was God’s plan for them), the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of their unbelief.
In the Hebrew, the word “Egypt” means “double straits” or “double stress.” God promised to bring them from a land of stress to a land of rest—where they would live in cities they did not build and eat from vineyards they did not plant (Josh. 24:13). God promised them a finished work prepared by someone else.
When Israel sent spies into the promised land, the spies came back with reports of giants in the land. These giants had prepared the land (e.g. the giant grapes), but they had no right to be in the land as the land did not belong to them. They were merely squatters occupying it illegally.
Perhaps today you are believing for healing or provision and the devil is sitting on it. Know that the devil has no right to be there because God didn’t give that land to him!
God will evict the enemy from the areas of your life he is squatting in. The Lord will bring you into the promised land where you will enjoy the overflowing blessings of His finished work!
The promised land is a land of rest. While the food of Egypt (melons, leeks, garlic, onions) required back-breaking work to pick, the food of Canaan the promised land (figs, pomegranates, vines, olives) were easy to pick.
The Christian life is easy. Though there are trials, Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28–30). While we may face trials on the outside, we are meant to be at rest on the inside.
God was telling the people of Israel that He had prepared for them a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Exod. 3:17)—a land abundant with blessings. His heart was for them to enjoy the blessings restfully instead of having to earn the blessings by the sweat of their brow.
Today, the Lord wants the same thing for us. He wants us blessed, healed, and full of overflowing joy (3 John 2). Don’t doubt His heart of love for you!
When Israel sent 12 spies to spy out the promised land, 10 of them returned with an intimidating report of the huge giants and strong walls in the land. Because they were conscious of the enemy’s power, they saw themselves as grasshoppers in their own sight and thus were such in the giants’ sight (Num. 13:33).
However, there were 2 spies named Joshua and Caleb who were conscious of God’s heart of love and God’s hand of power. They knew that since God delighted in them, they would surely possess the land.
“...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 14:7–9 NKJV
“they are our bread” — Joshua and Caleb saw the enemies as bread for them to devour.
God doesn’t send problems to us, but He allows them so that they can become bread for us to nourish and strengthen us.
While Joshua and Caleb spoke these words of faith, the congregation of Israel did not believe them.
“And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.”
— Numbers 14:10 NKJV
“all the congregation said to stone them with stones” — Today, there are also many people who will oppose us when we trust the Lord, His heart, and His Word, and when we speak in faith.
At the end of the day, Joshua and Caleb were the only two people in the whole congregation whom God was pleased with and who entered the promised land eventually.
To everyone who did not believe the Lord’s promise, the Lord said:
“they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.”
— Numbers 14:23 NKJV
The children of Israel did not believe that God was good enough to give them the promised land and complained that they wished they had died in Egypt or in the wilderness (Num. 14:2). As a result, God told them that as they had spoken, so it would be (see Num 14:28).
“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 14:24 NKJV
“a different spirit” — Caleb had a different spirit. In the Hebrew, the word “different” also means “following.” Caleb had a spirit that followed the Lord.
What is this spirit? It is the spirit of faith!
“And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak.”
— 2 Corinthians 4:13 NKJV
The spirit of faith operates like this: “I believe before I see, then I speak,” not “I see first, then I speak.”
Joshua and Caleb, who had this spirit of faith, were the only ones of their generation who entered the promised land, and they brought the new generation in with them.
Let’s be people who have a good opinion of God in the face of the trials of life. As you trust the Lord and see your challenges as bread for you to feed on, you will receive your victory and become rich spiritually with wisdom and understanding of the ways of the Lord.
The sad thing about the older generation of Israel who did not enter the promised land because they feared the enemy giants is this: The giants they were terrified of were terrified of them (Josh. 2:9–11). The enemies in the land knew that the Lord had split the Red Sea for Israel and knew that they were no match against Him.
Faith doesn’t pretend that the problem is not there. Joshua and Caleb did not deny the existence of the giants in the land. But instead of comparing the giants with themselves, they compared the giants with God.
The spirit of faith acknowledges the problem but compares it with God.
The nature of our flesh is to be inclined to the visible and palpable, that which our five senses can observe. However, God lives in the invisible realm.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.”
— 2 Corinthians 4:17–18 NKJV
“our light affliction, which is but for a moment” — Whatever difficulties you are going through will only last for a moment.
“our light affliction . . . is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” — This temporal difficulty you’re facing now is working for you a far more exceeding and eternal, permanent weight of glory!
The word “glory” is the word “kavod” in the Hebrew, which means “heavy.” At the end of your trial, you will see yourself coming out of it with an added weightiness or influence. Your presence and words will carry weight.
Does this mean that anyone who goes through trouble will come out with a weight of glory?
The next verse says:
“For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
— 2 Corinthians 4:18 NKJV
Your trouble will work for you when your eye is on the invisible, not on the visible, on the unseen, not on the seen. Your trouble will work for you to give you that added glory when your eye is on God’s unchanging Word and promises, not your ever-changing circumstances!
Things around you such as a negative doctor’s report or an unfavorable bank account balance are visible, and hence temporary. On the other hand, God, angels, and all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ (Eph. 1) are unseen, and hence are eternal. Even though blessings are invisible, they produce visible effects in our lives, e.g. healing and provision.
The enemy will often draw your attention to the visible, such as physical symptoms or circumstances which are worsening, to discourage you.
As children of God who belong to the kingdom of God, let’s learn to live in the realm of the invisible and eternal. Let’s stop focusing only on what is visible and tangible, and open our eyes to see the things of God that are invisible and eternal. “Eternal” means they will outlast every visible and temporary difficulty in our lives.
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.” Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, 'They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.' So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'”
— Hebrews 3:7–11 NKJV
“My works” VS “My ways” — The people knew God’s works, but they did not know His ways (His heart for them and His ways of faith).
“My wrath” VS “My rest” — The opposite of God’s wrath is His rest. Today, “rest” is our promised land. The promised land is not a physical land for you and I. The promised land is the land of rest (where we never need to be afraid of God’s wrath that has been borne on the cross of Jesus Christ, and where we can receive every blessing by resting in Jesus’ finished work).
Even though the healing has not yet manifested or the provision has not yet come, you can tell God, “Lord, I thank You that I can be at rest because You are fighting this battle.”
We please God by resting!
“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
— Hebrews 3:12–13 NKJV
All of us have the propensity in the flesh to have hard thoughts about God, which come from the devil. Let’s encourage one another often, even using texts and social media. As we feel exhorted, we will not be hardened through unbelief.
“Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.”
— Hebrews 3:17–4:1 NKJV
“since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it” — The only thing that God tells us to fear is that we come short of His rest, or that we live life without being restful. In the face of your problem, God is saying to you today, “Can you be at rest? I want you to be at rest because this trial is temporary. The work has been finished, the victory is yours and you will see it in the end.”
“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”
— Hebrews 4:1–2 NKJV
“not being mixed with faith” — The reason many of the Israelites did not believe Joshua and Caleb was because they did not mix what they heard with faith. Today, as we listen to the preached Word, let our hearing be mixed with faith.
“For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,' although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”
— Hebrews 4:3 NKJV
“we who have believed do enter that rest” — We enter our promised land of rest by believing in what the Lord has accomplished for us at the cross (every blessing and victory), even if we cannot see the manifestation yet.
“the works were finished from the foundation of the world” — God has done everything in your life and prepared everything for you before you were even born. God lives outside of time, so He can see it. We live within time, so we cannot see it with our natural eyes. But we can see it with our spiritual eyes by faith.
Just like a couple who is expecting a child goes about preparing everything the child needs before its arrival, your heavenly Father also prepared everything for you and finished all the work long before the world was even created.
When you believe His Word and His promises, your life will be easy. Trust that He has already prepared everything for you. This doesn’t mean there will be no trials or difficulties, but Jesus says, “My yoke is easy!”
There is a secret about how to fight our battles that God has hidden in the Hebrew language.
The Hebrew letters that spell the word “feed” (lechem) also spell the word “fight” (lacham)!
The only difference between the two words is the punctuation.
That is why God prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies (Ps. 23:5). Even while your symptoms, troubles or addictions are still there.
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.“
— 1 Timothy 6:12 NKJV
“the good fight of faith” — The word “good” is the Hebrew word “kalos,” which means “beautiful” or “handsome.” The fight of faith is beautiful because in the end, we win. The only fight for us to fight is the good fight of faith.
When you are in a battle, your only fight is to remain in faith. When you are facing a challenge, you can say, “Father, I thank You this battle is Yours. Thank You, Father, my eyes are on You. Thank You, Father, You have overcome this problem for me.”
“And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. So the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!" Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands."”
— 1 Samuel 17:42–47 NKJV
“the battle is the Lord's” — These are 5 words of grace for you to use when you face any battle. Look at your problem and say this under your breath:
Many times, you may feel like the battle is yours to fight, but it is the Lord’s. The Lord is stronger and greater than you, and He loves you more than you love yourself. He is saying to you today, “Don’t touch it! The battle is mine.”
David took on Goliath wearing the clothes of a shepherd boy and armed with only a sling and stones. He obviously believed that this battle was not his, but the Lord’s.
As you look at your problems, the devil will ask, “What are you going to do about it?”
Sometimes, your victory won’t be as quick as David’s victory but the Lord is still hearing your words of faith.
The devil wants to make you feel like you’re sick and you’re trying to get to the destination called “healed.” He tries to convince you that you must do your best to get there, when in fact you are already healed (Isa. 53:5). He is just trying to hoodwink you and steal your healing. Call his bluff!
There was another king in David’s line who also saw the benefits of leaving the battle to the Lord. His name was Jehoshaphat.
“And he said, "Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's.”
— 2 Chronicles 20:15 NKJV
King Jehoshaphat was surrounded by enemies and recognized that he had no might against them, but his eyes were on the Lord (2 Chron. 20:12). The greatest thing you can do is to rest and acknowledge that while you don’t have the strength to overcome that challenge, the battle is the Lord’s and He has already won it!
Pastor Prince shares a testimony of a brother who had been smoking for 50 years and was unable to quit. He read the book Destined to Reign and decided not to fight against his cigarette addiction because he knew he could not quit smoking successfully through his own efforts. Instead, he chose to rest in Jesus’ finished work and receive His grace. This man recognized the battle against addiction was not his battle but God’s, and the Lord had already won it for him. This brother was miraculously delivered of his 50-year addiction!
“You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you."
— 2 Chronicles 20:17 NKJV
King Jehoshaphat sent worshippers to the battle ahead of his army to praise the Lord. When he arrived at the battle scene, he found all the enemies had killed each other in an internal fight. The battle had already been won for the people of Israel, and they spent three days picking up the spoils of war.
“And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."”
— Exodus 14:13–14 NKJV
“Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” — When Moses brought the people of Israel before the Red Sea with the armies of Pharaoh pursuing them, Moses urged them to simply stand still because they would see the salvation of the Lord.
“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” — Child of God, hold your peace and stand still in the face of the battle, whether it is a disease, debt, or addiction. The One who loves you and cares for you, who gave His life for you, is fighting for you.
Pastor Prince shares two illustrations of how God always feeds and provides for us in every situation. If Jesus places a demand on you, He will always feed you and supply the demand first.
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."”
— John 21:15 NKJV
Before the storm, the Lord feeds you. During the storm, He’ll feed you too.
When you feed, He fights for you. Feeding is fighting. Feeding is possessing all His promises in your life.
Remember this: When you hold your peace, God fights for you. When you fight, God holds His peace. Everything inside you will say, “You’ve got to fight!” but hold your peace. The Lord is fighting for you.
“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
— Hebrews 4:11 KJV
Feed on the Word of God and possess His promises for you step by step!
“God who knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning, God who knows all the months of this year and the weeks and the days, God who knows all the devices of the enemy—this same God keeps you and protects you, keeps you from all evil, protects you and your loved ones from every danger, harm, accident, and tragedy, protects you from the powers of darkness and terror.
This wonderful God who kept the children of Israel throughout the wilderness, who brought them into the promised land, who defeated their enemies—this same God defeats all your enemies. The battle is His.
Today, Father, we make a commitment to You that whatever troubles come our way, Lord, we will see it as Your battle. We’ll take our hands off. It’s Your battle, not ours. Thank You, Father God, 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 2016
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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