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Official Joseph Prince Sermon Notes

God’s Supply Unveiled In Elijah And Elisha

Sunday, 16 August 2020
 

These are notes on the sermon, God’s Supply Unveiled In Elijah And Elisha, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 16 August 2020, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

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Overview

  1. Introduction: Be found under God’s supply of grace every day!
  2. God is not out to punish but to show grace to His people
  3. Jesus brought us out of the law and its demands into His supply of grace and blessings
  4. Closing Prayer

Introduction: Be found under God’s supply of grace every day!

Pastor Prince begins the sermon by sharing a testimony from a lady who experienced a healing breakthrough after decades of depression and migraines.

We are continuing this new series about how condemnation kills but the Spirit gives life. Last week, Pastor Prince shared about how the law is also known as the ministry of death. The result of this ministry is death because the law demands perfection, which man cannot attain.

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
— Romans 3:19–20 NKJV

What then is the purpose of the law? While the law is holy and was given by God through Moses, it was not given so that we can fulfill it by our own efforts. Rather, it was to show sinful men how much we need God’s grace.

The law doesn’t give you the knowledge of righteousness and God. It is grace that reveals who God truly is. The law reveals a segment of God’s demands and requirements as a holy and righteous God, but it is by no means the clearest expression of who God is.

Today, as believers, we are not under the law but under grace (Rom. 6:14). We do not have to strive to achieve perfection, which is unattainable, but we rest in the perfection of Christ who now lives in us.

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”
— Colossians 2:6-7 NKJV

The law demands but Grace supplies. The law demands from spiritually bankrupt men saying, “You shall . . . You shall . . . ” but under grace, under the new covenant, God says, “I will . . . I will . . .”

Under the law, we have to work our way to produce results but under grace, God is the One at work in our lives.

Every single day we can choose to be under the law or under grace. But when we choose to live under the law, the fact is that the law is perfect, and when it cannot find perfection in the recipient, it has no choice but to confer death (condemnation). The moment you take your position under the law, you come under the curse that follows those who cannot keep the law.

“who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter (law) but of the Spirit (grace). For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end,”
— 2 Corinthians 3:6–7 ESV

The letter” — This refers to the law (the Ten Commandments), which was “carved in letters on stone.” It is the law that results in death. The “Spirit” refers to grace, which is the person of Jesus, who gives life, and life more abundantly (John 10:10).

the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone” — The ministry of death is the law, and it is known to “kill” because the law condemns sin in our flesh. However, it is through the ministry of grace that we live, for it is the Spirit of grace that gives life.

The strength of sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56). God did not put in place the law for man to justify himself by. Our efforts to be morally excellent cannot produce true moral excellence. It is not about behavior modification, but heart transformation.

Grace produces true moral excellence.

The reason many believers today are subject to death, not only in their physical bodies but also in their minds, relationships, etc., is that they still believe they are under the law. As believers, know that you are no longer under the law but under grace. When you are under grace, life is constantly being ministered to you.

“For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.”
— 2 Corinthians 3:9 ESV

The law is the ministry of condemnation but the ministry of grace confers righteousness. Sinful man can stand before a righteous God because of grace and the gift of righteousness that we have received through Jesus Christ.

A life that is lived under grace is a life of thankfulness and glorifying God.

God is not out to punish but to show grace to His people

It is important to rightly discern the Word when you read the Bible. When you read the Old Testament, understand that for the most part, God’s people were under the law (the ministry of condemnation). Most of the prophets of the Old Testament were sent to condemn, not to bless, because God’s people were under the law.

There were exceptions like the prophet Elisha, who was a prophet of grace. His predecessor, Elijah, had a ministry of judgment.

Elijah’s name means “Yahweh is God.”

Elisha’s name means “God saves.”

In contrast, Elisha’s ministry (a ministry of grace) saw double the miracles that Elijah’s ministry saw.

When we look at Elijah’s ministry, we can see that it was a ministry of judgment. But we can also see that it was not a reflection of the Lord’s heart for His people.

Elijah commanded a drought on the land and God was eager to end it

“And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.””
— 1 Kings 17:1 NKJV

except at my word” — This phrase shows that it was as though God gave Elijah a choice regarding the judgment he would call upon the land.

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”
— James 5:17–18 KJV

he prayed earnestly” — Notice how the drought wasn’t an automatic consequence of the sins of the people but a result of Elijah’s earnest prayer.

he prayed again” — When it comes to God sending the rains again to end the drought, the Word doesn’t specify that Elijah prayed “earnestly.” He simply prayed and God sent rain. It is as if God was so eager to end the judgment on His people. The heart of God is not in dealing judgment but in showing grace to His people.

“For He does not afflict willingly,
Nor grieve the children of men”
— Lamentations 3:33 NKJV

Yet God allowed Elijah to choose such a punishment upon the people because He wanted to show Elijah that it is not punishment that turns the hearts of man to Him, but it is His grace.

Elijah was humbled at Brook Cherith

During a time of famine, God spoke to Elijah and told him to go to Brook Cherith. There, the Lord commanded ravens to feed him. As a prophet of the law, Elijah must have found that a humbling experience because ravens are considered unclean birds according to the law. It was a lesson to show Elijah that the ways of the law and judgment were not going to work.

Elijah pleaded against God’s people when God wanted him to plead for them

“God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, "Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”
— Romans 11:2–5 NKJV

he pleads with God against Israel” — Instead of pleading with God for Israel, Elijah pleaded with God against Israel. He justified himself and condemned God’s people, and God rebuked him, saying that He had reserved for Himself seven thousand men who had not bowed the knee to Baal. At that point, God also told Elijah to anoint Elisha in his place (1 Kings 19:16), for his ministry had come to an end.

Even though the people deserved judgment, God’s heart was not to judge them but to show them grace. However, Elijah’s ministry was one that called people back to the law instead of showed them the grace of God.

When Jesus was transfigured on the Mount of Transfiguration, Elijah (who represented the prophets) and Moses (who represented the law) both appeared.

“As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.”
— Luke 9:29 NKJV

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus’ glory shone from within. It wasn’t like the glory of God in times past, which shone onto men.

When Peter tried to put Jesus (grace), on the same level as the prophets and the law, God the Father spoke up, saying, “This is my beloved Son, hear Him” (Luke 9:35).

This is the lesson that God wants us to learn:

Hear Jesus, the voice of grace.

Don't hear the voice of the law or the voice of the prophets. Hear only Jesus in your life!

Jesus brought Peter (which means “stone,” a picture of the law), James (which means “supplant”) and John (which means “God’s grace”) with Him to the Mount of Transfiguration. Put their names together and you will get: “The law is supplanted by grace.” The law of the old covenant has been replaced by the grace of God.

God taught Elijah about grace in the city of Sidon

The Lord brought Elijah through another experience to teach him grace: He sent Elijah to meet a widow in the city of Sidon.

Jesus Himself talked about this story.

“But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.”
— Luke 4:26 KJV

city of Sidon” — The city of Sidon is significant because it was where the evil queen Jezebel was from. Jezebel was the daughter of the king of Sidon, and she was the reason that trouble was happening in the land during Elijah’s time. She turned many people toward pagan worship. From the very city that came such evil, God’s grace super abounded. God provided sustenance for Elijah through this widow from Sidon who gave him food, and God also saved the widow by doing a miracle of provision for her and her family (1 Kings 17:7–16).

God’s grace triumphs over everything else.

God demonstrated grace on Mount Carmel

When Elijah called down the fire of God’s judgment on Mount Carmel, the fire should have fallen on all the guilty who were present but instead, the fire fell upon the sacrifice—a picture of Jesus in the Old Testament. God’s heart is not about pouring fire upon His people, His heart is to show grace to them because of the fire that has been poured on the perfect sacrifice, His Son, Jesus Christ.

However, the people didn’t learn their lesson. So the next time Elijah called down fire, it fell upon soldiers who had come to take him captive and the fire consumed them (2 Kings 1). This is a picture of those who reject the sacrifice of Jesus. There is a judgment coming for those who reject Jesus’ sacrifice when Jesus comes back again.

“The Law came in (came alongside) so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,”
— Romans 5:20 NASB

came in” — The words “came in” actually mean “came alongside” in Greek. Despite man’s wickedness, the law wasn’t God’s main agenda.

The children of Israel did not come out of Egypt by their own goodness or works, but God brought them out because of His grace. It was purely by His grace. Yet they exclaimed at the foot of Mount Sinai that everything the Lord commanded, they could do, even before they had seen or heard about what the law entailed.

When man puts himself under the law, the result is not moral excellence but sin. The law was given “so that the transgression would increase.”

God showed Elijah the power of grace when he sought refuge in the law

When Jezebel sought to kill Elijah, he ran back to Mount Horeb, which is Mount Sinai where the law was given, to complain. Elijah went back to the law.

“And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" So he said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life."
— 1 Kings 19:9–10 NKJV

"What are you doing here, Elijah?" — This is the same place where God gave the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel. Elijah wasn’t supposed to be there.

In trying to justify himself, Elijah condemned the children of Israel. The result of people being under the law is the constant need to justify themselves and in turn, condemn others, which is not what we have been called to do.

“Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”
— 1 Kings 19:11–12 NKJV

The law causes you to be afraid and to hide yourself. God asked Elijah to come out of hiding, to come out of the cave. The wind, earthquake, and fire were all pictures of Elijah’s ministry when he called down rain and fire. Yet the Lord was not found in any of these spectacular acts. Instead, He was found in a still, small voice.

God wasn’t in those expressions of judgment, but He was in the still, small voice of grace.

It was only when Elijah heard the still, small voice that he came out of hiding. The only thing that can bring a sinful man out from where he is hiding and into the presence of God is the still, gentle voice of grace. Only grace can reach out to the worst sinner and touch his hardened heart.

“They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.”
— Revelation 16:11 NKJV

Punishment cannot turn people’s hearts toward God. Not because of the inefficacy of the punishment but because of how hardened man’s hearts are toward God.

Because Elijah spoke against God’s people instead of for them, God told him to anoint his successor, Elisha, a prophet of grace.

It is important for us to understand the contrast between Elijah’s ministry and Elisha’s ministry to understand the ministry of the old (the law) and the ministry of the new (grace), which we are living in right now.

There are Christians even today who think that they need to go back to the days of Elijah. James and John are examples of such believers, and Jesus Himself rebuked them.

“And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.”
— Luke 9:54–56 NKJV

We no longer live under that ministry of judgment and condemnation and we shouldn’t carry Elijah’s spirit of judgment and condemnation into our ministries today.

In the Old Testament, many of the prophets were prophets of the ministry of condemnation. And the false prophets tried to preach comfort to the people.

But in the New Testament, those who pronounced judgment were rebuked by Jesus. Today, prophecy is all about edification, exhortation, and comfort.

“But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.”
— 1 Corinthians 14:3 NKJV

Under the new covenant, there is no more judgment. Instead, we are to speak words that edify, exhort, and bring comfort to people.

Pastor Prince encourages the church to move in God’s gift of prophecy (which is available to every believer). He encourages us to send a word of encouragement, whether it is through a text or a video call, to someone whom God has put on our hearts. You never know who you will encourage and uplift through the words that you speak.

“For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.”
— Matthew 11:13 NKJV

John, whose name means “God’s grace,” was the last prophet of the law. The ministry of condemnation ends with God’s grace.

This doesn’t mean that we should cast away the Old Testament or refrain from studying it. Pastor Prince shares that he teaches a lot from the Old Testament, and in fact, it probably makes up more than 50 percent of his teachings. However, he uses the new to expound on the old. The New Testament brings forth truths in the Old Testament. That is how we see Jesus in the shadows of the old.

Jesus brought us out of the law and its demands into His supply of grace and blessings

In Pastor Prince’s own study of the old covenant, he received a fresh revelation of the grace of God that was hidden in the old:

“Every vow and every binding oath to afflict her soul, her husband may confirm it, or her husband may make it void. Now if her husband makes no response whatever to her from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or all the agreements that bind her; he confirms them, because he made no response to her on the day that he heard them. But if he does make them void after he has heard them, then he shall bear her guilt." These are the statutes which the Lord commanded Moses…”
— Numbers 30:13–16 NKJV

What vow is this about? These verses can be taught literally for the benefit of husbands and wives, but more than that, this scripture reveals Jesus.

The woman here represents Israel or the church. At the foot of Mount Sinai, the children of Israel made a vow that they could not keep. God didn’t say anything at that time because He wanted them to learn about their sinful nature and their inability to keep the law.

But if he does make them void after he has heard them, then he shall bear her guilt.” — Because God did not void the vow when He first heard it, He had to bear the guilt (the curse or the punishment incurred because of the broken vow). And that is exactly what He did. This is a picture of Jesus bearing our guilt in order to break us free from the vow and redeem us from the curse of the broken law.

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"),”
— Galatians 3:13 NKJV

Besides bearing our sins, Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the broken law. Jesus could have died by stoning because it was the standard punishment sanctioned by the Jewish law. Crucifixion came from the Gentiles. But Jesus died by crucifixion because He had to redeem us from the curse, and "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" (Gal. 3:13).

Therefore today, we are not under the law righteously.

For God to forgive us of our sins, Jesus had to carry it in His body. And in order for us to be released from all the punishment and consequences of breaking the law, Jesus had to be crucified on a tree. He redeemed us from the curse of the law, which involves sickness, poverty, and all kinds of destruction in every area of our lives.

In order for us to void our vow, Jesus, as revealed through the figure of the husband, had to bear our guilt.

Elijah had to learn that what would bring a sinner out of his place of hiding into God’s presence and His glory is the still, small voice of the message of grace. Only the goodness of God will lead people to repentance.

The revivals of old had glory but the ministry of righteousness far exceeds it in glory (2 Cor. 3:7–9). God is raising ministers of grace all over the world, and He is equipping us to be ministers of righteousness. This end-time revival will far exceed the revivals of the past which had a mixture of condemnation and grace.

The glory of the old covenant is ever passing like the glory on Moses’ face.

“. . . not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
— 2 Corinthians 3:12–17 ESV

Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.” — Moses had to veil his face because the glory of God was fading from his face. Notice how the veil was on Moses’ face, not on the faces of the Israelites. Therefore when the verse goes on to say, “when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed,” it is likely referring to the veil on Jesus’ face, not our faces. Today, we see the unveiled face of Jesus, with the full glory of righteousness and grace radiating from His face. The more we see Jesus, the more we are transformed from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).

The light on Moses’ face was the light of the law, and when the children of Israel saw it, they ran away afraid. But when Jesus came down from the mount of transfiguration with the glory on His face, the people ran toward Him.

At the foot of Mount Sinai, Moses saw the children of Israel worshipping the golden calf and had to kill the sinners according to the law. When Jesus came down from the mountain in Matthew 8, He also met with sin—a child that was demon-possessed—and He cast out the demon and saved the child (a picture of judging the sin and saving the sinner).

The law destroys the sinner and the sin. Grace destroys the sin and saves the sinner.

You cannot put new wine (grace) into old wineskin (the law). What man calls “balance,” Jesus calls mixture. You’re either under the law or under grace.

When you put yourself under the law, you cannot help but become demand-minded. Even though you mean well to your family, the ones who are closest to you, you may end up ministering death to them, in other words, condemning them. But when you are under grace, you are supply-minded and being mindful of the supply that is upon you, you are able to extend that same grace to your family.

The law doesn’t understand “do your best.” The law says “fulfill every law or the curse will come upon you.” We are no longer under the law, but we are under grace where Jesus has redeemed us from the curse.

Pastor Prince closes the sermon with a time of ministering. He prays over these conditions and situations:

  • Neck pains and constrictions
  • Cancer/cancerous growth
  • Elbow condition
  • Abscess in the gums
  • Pain in the chest
  • Pain in the shoulder
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Financial difficulty
  • A couple believing God for a baby

Pastor Prince prays for us to have wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that we have our eyes enlightened to see and to know all that Jesus has given to us (Eph. 1:17–18).

Closing Prayer

“The Lord bless you and your families throughout this week. The Lord bless you and your loved ones. The Lord bless you with the blessings of Deuteronomy 28. The Lord bless you with the blessings of father Abraham. And the Lord grant you, each and every one of you, divine protection, His own hand protecting you, the blood of His Son covering you and your families throughout this week from the COVID-19 virus, from every infection, from every disease, from every danger, from every harm, from all the power of the evil one through the blood of His Son.

And the Lord favors you, smiles on you. Always see His smile throughout this week. Amen? And expect favor everywhere you turn. Amen. The favor of God is on you. The Lord be gracious to you and your loved ones and the Lord grant to you and your families His wonderful shalom wholeness and peace in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And all the people said, 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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