These are notes on the sermon, God’s Heart For Your Family, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 17 October 2021, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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We are currently living in the last days when we are awaiting our Lord Jesus to return. The Bible prophesies that there will be great darkness that covers the earth when Jesus’ coming is near.
As God’s people, we shall not be subject to this darkness but instead experience the Lord’s glory and light upon us and our families (Isa. 60:2). Today, God has a powerful word in season for families.
In the book of Exodus, we read about the ten plagues in Egypt that came as a result of Pharaoh’s refusal to release the Israelites from slavery. One of these plagues was the plague of darkness. This darkness that came upon the Egyptians was supernatural, and we know this because the Egyptians couldn’t dispel the darkness with candles or fire.
We need to understand that these historical events that happened in the Old Testament speak of what we are seeing today. What occurred in the Old Testament was a shadow, while what we are experiencing today as described in the New Testament is the substance (see Ecc. 3:15).
“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 10:23 NKJV
While the darkness the Egyptians faced was literal darkness, today we are dealing with judicial darkness, where people cannot see the true nature of things and therefore substitute evil for good (Isa. 5:20). However, during these dark times, God’s light and glory will be seen upon you and your family!
“all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings” — The light that the Israelites experienced was not produced or earned by them for they had sinned and worshiped idols while in Egypt (Josh. 24:14). The light they experienced was a light from God because of His covenant with them. All the Israelites had light in their dwellings. Just as the darkness was supernatural, the light was supernatural. Today, know that God wants you to enjoy supernatural light in your dwellings despite the darkness you may see all around you in the world.
Our responsibility is to believe God and let Him bring light into our marriage, our parenting, and all the affairs of life. When you receive light from Him, you will not live blinded like the world, but you will live with supernatural light in these last days. When people step into your house, they will feel a peace and a rest that cannot be explained naturally!
Perhaps you are living in a way that is not the most godly, but know that God’s supernatural light in you will cause you to live a life that is victorious and bears the testimony of His goodness.
We all want to see our heavenly Father glorified, and His light in us will produce the good works we want to see in our life (Matt. 5:16). We cannot earn favor with God or bring forth good works based on self-effort for those are what the Bible calls “dead works” (Gal. 5:19–20).
“Now the works of the flesh are . . . Adultery . . . witchcraft . . . variance . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . .”
— Galatians 5:19–20, 22 KJV
“works” — Works of the flesh are a result of our own energy and effort, and they cannot produce the victories we want to see in our lives.
“fruit” — When the fruits of the Spirit start manifesting in your life, you will see Christ-like results in you. All it takes is for you to be a child of God! As you listen to the Spirit’s promptings and flow with Him, you will experience His love, joy, and peace in everything you do.
Under the new covenant, we have the Holy Spirit in us to help us not only keep the law but go beyond it—to excel in every way in our lives. The Holy Spirit will cause you to overflow with love toward your spouse and love for God. Grace always goes beyond the law.
In these last days, God’s heart is for entire families to be saved. If you are a father, God has appointed you as the head of the household to step in and take charge, for the Lord wants to use you to open the door of salvation for your family. If the father happens to be an unbeliever, the mother can step into this role too.
Many times in the Bible, we see God’s heart to save entire families from destruction and ruin.
“Then the LORD said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous . . .”
— Genesis 7:1 NKJV
“you and all your household” — This speaks of God’s heart to save entire families. Here, we see God speaking to Noah, asking him to come into the ark, a place of refuge. This happened during the antediluvian days, where God sent judgment in the form of floods.
“for you alone I have seen to be righteous” — Noah was the only man righteous in God’s eyes, and that is why God saved Noah and his entire family, protecting them from the floods.
Before the destruction of the wicked cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, God wanted Abraham to plead with Him not to destroy them. That is how much God desires for people to be saved and how slow He is toward judgment and anger. Eventually, Abraham pleaded with God not to destroy the cities if He could find ten who were righteous (Gen. 18:32). However, there was only one man who was righteous, and that was Lot, Abraham’s nephew. Pastor Prince believes that if Abraham had asked God to save the city for one righteous person, God would have saved the city just because of Lot.
Today, we have a perfect intercessor, and that Person is our Lord Jesus Christ who sits at the Father’s right hand. God sees us righteous in Him. Though we are living in the last days, we are not in the day of judgment yet and are still under God’s dispensation of grace.
Here is a word for the men: you are the leader of the house, and blessings are seen in your family because you have received Jesus as your Savior and His righteousness belongs to you. As you follow after Him, you will see generations after you blessed, and all your descendants will benefit from the Lord’s blessings (Gen. 22:18).
God wants to save families, and the enemy wants to destroy them. Realize that the devil wants to destroy and stop the godly influence on your children before it starts to blossom because he knows that the moment the seed (God’s Word) is planted into your child’s heart, it is hard to eradicate it.
“Train up a child in the way he should go (‘peh’),
And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
— Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
“he should go (‘peh’)” — The word, “go” is “peh” in Hebrew, which means “mouth.” When you put a certain food into your child’s mouth when they are young, they may not like it immediately, but their taste for it will be cultivated over time. It is the same for spiritual things. We should put a spiritual taste for God’s Word into our children’s mouths.
As parents, you have authority over your children. Your children may not be keen to attend children’s church at first or find it difficult to pay attention, but set it as a priority for them regardless. Show them that God comes first before going about their other activities for the day. Teaching them to value the things of God is the greatest thing you can do for them.
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;”
— Psalm 34:8 NKJV
“taste and see” — When you let your children taste God’s goodness, even if they go astray at some point, they will eventually come back to Him.
The devil goes about seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8), but you can stop the devil from having your children when you start feeding them the truth of God’s Word.
There are many ways you can introduce God’s Word to them in daily life. When you know you have received a blessing from the Lord (e.g. at work or even something small in daily life), or when the Lord gives you a revelation from His Word that touches your heart, share these things with your children. Show them how real and good the Lord is in your personal life.
In the book of Exodus, we read about Pharaoh’s stubbornness in refusing to let the Israelites go. There are “types” in the Bible, and Pharaoh is a type of Satan.
“So Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh, and he said to them, ‘Go, serve the LORD your God. Who are the ones that are going?’ And Moses said, ‘We will go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.’”
— Exodus 10:8-9 NKJV
“with our young . . . with our sons and our daughters” — Here, God (through Moses) commanded Pharaoh to let His people go, and that included the children because they were important to Him. Children are important to the Lord.
“for we must hold a feast to the LORD” — God doesn’t want us to enjoy the manna (spiritual feeding, blessings) He sends from heaven while we leave our children in Egypt. Egypt is a picture of the world. Bring your children along to church, and as they continue experiencing and tasting the things of God, they will eventually love it.
This was Pharaoh’s response:
“Then he said to them, ‘The LORD had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go! Beware, for evil is ahead of you. Not so! Go now, you who are men, and serve the LORD, for that is what you desired.’ And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.”
— Exodus 10:10–11 NKJV
“your little ones” — Notice that Pharaoh was very unwilling to let the children go.
“you who are men” — In the end, Pharaoh changed his mind about letting the children go. He only allowed the men to go and wanted the children to be left behind. At this point, God sent the plague of locusts to Egypt.
The food God gives vs. the food of the world
After the Israelites left Egypt, God fed them with manna in the wilderness.
“And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land . . .”
— Joshua 5:12 KJV
“old corn” — This corn refers to wheat. This speaks of “tasting” (experiencing) Jesus in different forms or ways.
In the promised land of Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey (Deut. 6:3) where the Israelites were headed toward after they left Egypt, the food that God had prepared for them was easy to gather. They had food like wheat, barley, figs, and pomegranates that the people could simply pluck and eat because they were in reach (Deut. 8:8).
Even in the wilderness, when the Israelites were tired, God sent quails that fluttered down from heaven and were easy to catch at arm’s length (Num. 11:31).
Compare this to the food the Israelites had in Egypt like leeks, onions, and garlic, which are the food of the ground (Num. 11:5). To harvest this food, the Israelites needed to toil and bend down to gather them. This is a picture of toilsome labor.
The food of Egypt is a picture of the nourishment and satisfaction that the world offers, while the food the Israelites received from God is a picture of the nourishment and satisfaction God offers to His children in His Word. We tend to think that finding food in God’s Word is difficult while finding food in the world is easy. But actually it is the other way around—God has made it easy for us to find nourishment in His Word! If we would simply open His Word and seek Him, we would find Him and find all He wants to say to us that will speak to our hearts and shed light in our situations.
Help your children see Jesus by speaking to them about Him, and when you do, you will start to experience days of heaven on earth (Deut. 11:21).
“You shall teach them א ת (aleph-tav) to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
— Deuteronomy 11:19 NKJV
When you look at this verse in the Hebrew Bible, you will find in the middle of the verse the Hebrew letters “א ת (aleph-tav),” which are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
We see the same occurrence in Genesis, where “א ת (aleph-tav)” remains untranslated:
We also see the equivalent of א ת (“aleph-tav”) in the New Testament, which was written in Greek:
“I am the Alpha א and the Omega ת . . .”
— Revelation 22:13 NKJV
“Alpha א . . . Omega ת” — “Alpha” and “Omega” are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. They are the equivalent of א ת (“aleph-tav”). This is Jesus’ signature, His name.
So when Deuteronomy 11:19 says, “You shall teach them א ת to your children . . .” it is actually telling us to teach Jesus to our children!
Even though our children seem to be growing up in a dark world, know that we as believers have God’s light in our dwellings. We can find opportunities to talk to our kids about Jesus and God will give our words weight in their lives. We can talk to them about the Lord in simple ways like recounting our own experiences with the Lord. When you let your children taste and see that the Lord is good, they will grow up as blessed sons and daughters of God.
In Jesus’ second coming, the “day of vengeance” will begin, and He will have His rightful reign on earth (the millennial rule). Right now, God is creating many opportunities for people to be saved for His heart is for none to perish.
The fall of Jericho
The story of the fall of Jericho holds many truths about the times we are living in. Today, we are talking about how it speaks to the area of family salvation.
The conquest of Jericho happened during Joshua’s time, after the time of Moses. Jericho is the first city the Israelites conquered in the promised land.
Two spies were sent by Joshua into Jericho, and they met a prostitute called Rahab who said:
“For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt . . .”
— Joshua 2:10 NKJV
“For we have heard” — Before God judged Jericho, He allowed the inhabitants of the land to hear how good He was to His people. In fact, this incident that Rahab was recounting happened forty years before she met the two spies. So this whole time, the people of Jericho knew that God was on the Israelites’ side and would make a way for His people. All those forty years, they were expecting Israel to conquer the land which God had promised them.
Thirty-eight years ago, when Moses and Aaron first sent out the twelve spies into Canaan, ten spies returned with a bad report of the land and all the congregation believed their bad report. And that is why the Israelites ended up wandering in the wilderness until a new generation arose. During this time, God was giving the people of Jericho opportunity after opportunity to believe in Him.
Rahab was a citizen of Jericho, and she believed God when she heard the stories of how God dried up the Red Sea many years ago. Because the two spies had gone to Rahab’s house, she saved them from being discovered and helped them escape.
Rahab foresaw that Jericho would be conquered (a picture of the day of vengeance that is coming) for she knew God was with the Israelites and they would win. So she requested of the spies, “Be kind to me and my family since I have helped you” (Josh. 2:12). The two spies replied, “When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down” (Josh. 2:18).
“me and my family . . . scarlet rope” — With the scarlet rope left hanging from Rahab’s house, the Israelites would know not to destroy them. The scarlet rope is a red rope, and it is a picture of Jesus and represents His blood that was shed for us at the cross. Know that Jesus’ blood is covering your household and it protects, saves, and cleanses you of all sin.
Rahab and her family lived on the wall of Jericho (Josh. 2:15), and while the walls were supernaturally destroyed, her house didn’t fall because she and her family believed on Jesus.
Paul and Silas
Another instance of family salvation in the Bible happened when Paul and Silas were singing praises unto God while in prison, and all the prisoners’ chains were supernaturally broken. The prison guard became afraid for his life because this happened during his watch, and he wanted to kill himself. But Paul and Silas told him not to do so because none of them had chosen to escape.
“Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.”
— Acts 16:29–34 NKJV
“you and your household . . . having believed in God with all his household” — It is true that your family members must personally choose to believe in Jesus to be saved. But be assured that because you believe, there is an open door for the Lord to come in and save them. Believe that God’s grace will make it easy for your loved ones to believe.
We go back to the story of the fall of Jericho:
“And the young men (‘naar’) who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel.”
— Joshua 6:23 NKJV
“Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had” — Because Rahab believed on the Lord, her entire family was saved.
“young men (‘naar’) who had been spies” — The phrase “young men” is “naar” in Hebrew and describes youths who fall in the age category of infancy to twenty years old. Jericho is a picture of the world in the end times. And in these last days, it will be the younger generation who will be the ones saving many people.
Before Joshua and his men took down the city, God instructed them to go around the walls of Jericho for seven days. While they went around it, they carried the Ark of the Covenant (representing Jesus). This was a chance for the people of Jericho to believe in Jesus one last time. God is always reaching out to man to repent and turn to Him.
God is raising young people to be evangelists for Jesus is coming soon and God cannot wait for them to grow old. There is going to be acceleration for this young generation. Let us shepherd and take care of them for there will be revival among the young people—not only teenagers but also children.
In Samson’s story, we know God gave him the physical strength to slay all his enemies. But Samson fell when he told his enemies, the Philistines, that the secret to his strength was in his long hair (long hair is a picture of weakness, and this speaks of how God’s strength flowed through Samson’s weakness). Once Samson told his enemies his secret, the Philistines cut his long hair, leaving him without strength. They also blinded him by gouging out his eyes and held him captive. The blinded Samson is a picture of the church today, which is blinded.
During a heathen festival that the Philistines were celebrating, Samson was brought into their temple to perform for them. They stationed him between two pillars, and this is what happened:
“Then Samson said to the lad (‘naar’) who held him by the hand, ‘Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them.’”
— Judges 16:26 NKJV
“the lad (‘naar’) who held him by the hand” — Again, we see the younger generation that will hold the church by the hand and lead them to the place of victory.
Then Samson prayed and asked God to give him strength one last time so that he might kill all his enemies who had mocked him. God gave him so much strength that when Samson pushed the pillars, the whole temple collapsed, killing everyone in it. In his death, Samson killed more enemies than in his lifetime; this became his greatest victory.
As Samson stretched out his arms between two pillars, we can see him take the posture of a man on a cross. In this instance, he can also be seen as a picture of Jesus who won the greatest victory for all of us at the cross.
Notice how it will be the younger generation who will bring the church back to Jesus’ finished work at the cross!
In fact, most of Jesus’ disciples were very young men, mostly teenagers. The Lord Himself was only thirty-three years old when He gave His life for us. Don’t think that maturity only comes as you grow older for only the Lord can give you wisdom (Prov. 2:6).
Even as you advance in age, God can renew your youth like the eagle’s. You can be part of the young men that the Bible speaks about!
In Thessalonians, the generation who will see the rapture are described as those who are “alive and remain,” and this phrase is mentioned twice (1 Thess. 4:15, 17). To be alive is one thing (they are those who are simply physically young), but to remain denotes strength despite advancing in age. The ones who remain are those who remain healthy and strong till the Lord comes!
One way to renew your youth is to do as the early church did—to break bread daily together, which is to partake of the holy Communion (Acts 20:7, 2:46). During those times, the early church saw revival and many miracles.
“Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”
— Psalm 103:5 NKJV
“your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” — An eagle's renewal is physical. They molt, and their old feathers are replaced by young, bright feathers. Know that your renewal of youth is not just spiritual, but physical! This is just one of the many benefits that God promises you (Ps. 103:2).
This is what the life of a blessed man looks like:
“Blessed is every one who fears the LORD,
Who walks in His ways.
When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the LORD.”
— Psalm 128:1–4 NKJV
“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine” — Vines produce wine, and wine represents being intoxicated with your wife’s love.
“Your children like olive plants” — Olive plants produce anointing oil, and this is a picture of how your children will grow up anointed by God.
“Behold, thus shall the man be blessed” — All these are family blessings, and the blessed man will see all these blessings. When you are blessed, your family is blessed.
If you are facing challenges in your family life, perhaps with your wife or children, don’t go about demanding them to change. Instead, change your thinking and start seeing yourself as the blessed man. As you keep believing that you are the blessed man, you will start to let go of frustration and stress, and you will see your family blessed and transformed. When you are impacted by the Lord, they will see it and be influenced by you.
The clearest picture of Jesus is found in the story of Joseph:
“So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.”
— Genesis 39:4 NKJV
“all that he had he put under his authority” — If you want your family to be blessed, put everything into Jesus’ hands. He is our heavenly Joseph.
Here is a word of wisdom for parents, as well as husbands and wives: The best thing you can do for your children is to pray for them on a daily basis. What you can't do as a man or as a father, God can do. Pray for your spouse too. Whatever you can't resolve on your own, God can resolve for you and make all the crooked ways straight. You are dressed in righteousness so that you can have influence with God, so pray! And the Lord will cause things to move in your favor. Start by placing everything in your Jesus’ hands!
“So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field.”
— Genesis 39:5 NKJV
“from the time . . . the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake . . . the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field” — You can replace “the Egyptian’s” with your name here, and pray for you and your house to be blessed.
Pastor Prince closes the service by praying for families.
“Heavenly Father, I thank You that Jesus Christ died for my sins on the cross. He rose from the dead when all my sins were cleared away. I thank You that His precious blood washed away all my sins. I thank You that right now I'm a new creation because Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior. And I thank You, Father, for giving me Your Holy Spirit to dwell in me all the days of my life. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and all the people said, Amen.”
“Father in heaven, I thank You that You go ahead of us into this week, and You set the crooked places straight. Throughout this week, place every one of Your people that's hearing this right now at the right place and at the right time. Let us not be afraid, Father, to go out, knowing that our steps are ordered of the Lord. We shall be at the right place at the right time, enjoying the free favors of God. I pray, Father, that throughout this week, Father, You will grant everyone under the sound of my voice a divine canopy, a divine pavilion, a divine protection from the COVID-19 virus and from the Delta variant. I pray, Father, that You'll keep Your people safe, strong, and healthy throughout this week. Father, let them experience that. I pray that sicknesses will turn to healing as Your Spirit falls on them. Even right now, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I pray, Father, for those of us who feel that we are advancing in years. Renew our youth like the eagles—literally, Lord, like the eagles, amen. That we would be part of this end-time company of evangelists, carriers of good news that You're raising. Thank You, Father, amen. And right now in the name of Jesus, receive the peace that guards your hearts and minds that only God can give. Be at peace, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And all the people said, Amen.”
It is God’s heart for you to enjoy loving and flourishing family relationships and for each of your family members to be saved and blessed. Here are some ways you can begin to walk in the family blessings the Lord desires for you to have:
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 2021
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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