These are notes on the sermon, His Blessings Over You Are Irreversible, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 12 July 2020, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Pastor Prince begins the service by reminding the church that it is important to always take time to receive from the Word of God.
Look at the story of Martha and Mary: two sisters who served Jesus differently when He visited their house. While Martha was busy and worried about serving Jesus, Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to Him. When Martha became upset, Jesus corrected Martha for being worried about serving Him but commended Mary for doing the one thing needful—sit at His feet and receive directly from Him (see Luke 10:38–42).
Likewise, Jesus’ heart for us is to receive from Him. He wants to serve us. He doesn’t want us to serve Him such that we become worried or troubled about many things. He doesn’t need our service but desires for us to do the one thing needed, which is to prioritize His Word.
We tend to be worried about many things that we deem “needful,” like exercise or making sure we plan ahead for our futures. These are all good things, but the Lord wants us to prioritize His Word.
It’s the Word of God that restores, heals, and delivers our lives from destruction. When we have His Word in our lives, the truth it brings sets us apart and sanctifies us (see John 17:16–17) from the commonness of the world. We are marked for His blessings, His anointing, and heaven’s best!
The primary way we receive the Word is through reading the Bible. When you spend time in the Word, you are not reading ordinary written words on a page, but God-breathed Scripture.
God speaks to us in two ways:
Pastor Prince shares a recent experience during the church’s online youth camp where he followed the leading of the Holy Spirit by praying for a troubled youth during the service. Later on, he found out from the youth pastor that there was indeed a youth who had been dealing with suicidal thoughts who was tuning in. Because this youth was listening to the preached word, his life was saved that night.
The Word of God is what transforms our lives, and when we desire it, read it, or hear it, we will receive the now word, the timely word-in-season, that we need.
Last week, Pastor Prince shared about how the enemy of our souls twists certain passages of the Bible around to bring fear, uncertainties, and difficulties in the lives of believers today. We need to read all scripture in its context and understand that certain scriptures are not written to us, but written to specific groups of people during Bible times.
Today, as believers who live under the new covenant of grace, it is important to feel secure in our relationship with God, for joy and fear cannot operate concurrently. Love, joy, and peace will flow in your life when you are secure in God’s love for you.
Take for example a child who is being corrected: when the child is in an environment that’s loving and non-threatening, the child can feel loved by the parent even while being corrected.
If we want to create such an environment for our children, if we know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more our Father in heaven, who is perfect and good to us (see Matt. 7:11)?
Recap of last week’s sermon:
In Hebrews 6, the strong word “impossible” appears 2 times:
“‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’” — When you look at verse 14, it says clearly that God will surely bless you.
“which it is impossible for God to lie” — The context of the word “impossible” here is that God promises to bless us, and it is impossible for Him to lie in the context of blessings. Let’s not simply focus on the negative use of the word “impossible,” but instead focus on the positive “impossible” that assures us that the Lord will bless us!
Don’t let the enemy snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. Don’t always focus on the part about condemnation.
See how Jesus dealt with the sinners—He was gracious to them as if He didn’t see their sins. He didn’t hold their sins against them. Their sins could not stop His grace. Later, He would bear the punishment of their sins in His own body, just as He did for you and me.
Our Lord Jesus is so grace-minded. Let us be grace-minded too and not condemnation-minded.
“that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
— 2 Corinthians 5:19–20 NKJV
“not imputing their trespasses to them” — The way Jesus went around reconciling the world was through the gracious and merciful way He dealt with sinners. Instead of seeing them in their sin and punishing them under the law for what they judicially deserved, Jesus went around dispensing His restoration, healing, and blessings.
When it comes to the way we present the gospel, we are called to preach the love of Jesus, for the only answer to sin is Jesus Christ.
“the word of reconciliation” — This preached word is what God has committed to us, for we are ambassadors of Christ. It’s not a matter of God being reconciled to us, for He is already reaching out to us. It’s a matter of us reconciling ourselves to God.
“be reconciled to God” — People are reconciled to God when they know that He is not counting their trespasses against them. The moment you receive Jesus into your life, you are given power to become the sons of God (see John 1:12).
Just like you don’t clean yourself before taking a shower, you don’t have to get rid of all your wrongdoings or sin before coming to Jesus. After accepting Him into your life, He will deal with your sins and wrong behavior, and transform your life by grace.
The gospel is not a bunch of dos and don'ts. The gospel is the reconciliation message of God who loved us so much that He sent His Son to save us.
As believers, Jesus’ finished work at the cross gives us a righteous foundation to receive God’s grace today. The law follows the natural way of thinking—it’s all about “do good, get good.” But the gospel of grace is not natural—it is all about us receiving the good we don’t deserve. It takes the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to unveil to the world the grace of God, which is His unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor, freely given to us to receive.
There is a portion of Scripture about “sinning willfully” that often confuses believers because it seems to say there is a sin we can commit that is unpardonable:
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”
— Hebrews 10:26–27 NKJV
“sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth” — In this passage, it seems as though this “sinning willfully” is something a believer can commit after receiving the knowledge of the truth. However, it’s possible for someone to “receive the knowledge of the truth,” which is to hear about or know about Jesus dying for all our sins, yet not “receive the truth,” which is Jesus Himself. People who “sin willfully” are those who only receive the knowledge of the truth and do not receive Jesus into their hearts.
When you receive the truth (Jesus), He will bring peace to your heart. God wants His peace to dominate our emotions, our mind, and to manifest as wholeness in our bodies.
God’s peace is practical for our physical bodies. Psychosomatic symptoms (bodily symptoms caused by your mind, worries, or stress) and autoimmune disorders are usually the results of us not being at peace with ourselves.
When scriptures are taken out of context and twisted to create a different meaning, they can be used to develop fear in our hearts, which is not what God has ordained. Lining up one’s life with God’s Word out of fear will never cause love in your heart for Him.
To pastors and leaders: while we envision God’s people to have the right behavior, more than that, we want them to have the right attitude—of love, joy, peace, and love for the Lord.
For example, ideally, a husband should not commit adultery because he loves his wife. However, a husband can be outwardly faithful not because he loves his wife, but because of other reasons like job security, worry about what others will say, etc.
It is important to have the right behavior, but also to have the right motivation behind that behavior. The peace of God is what causes us to have the right actions and the right motivations in our service toward Him.
Context of Hebrews Hebrews 10:26–27:
For us to learn about the context of Hebrews 10, let us go back to Hebrews 1:
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…”
— Hebrews 1:1–2 ESV
“God spoke to our fathers” — This passage shows us that the book of Hebrews was written to the Jewish people, and not to us today, who are non-Jews (Gentiles).
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”
— Hebrews 10:26–27 NKJV
“if we sin willfully . . . there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” — If someone comes to you and says that you can lose your salvation if you sin willfully, you would have a fearful expectation of judgment coming on you. The truth is that even as believers, we have all sinned willfully. Does that mean we’ve lost our salvation? No! We can see this from the very next verses:
“Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”
— Hebrews 10:28–29 NKJV
“insulted the Spirit of grace” — What falls into the category of “willful” sin for which there is no forgiveness is turning away from Jesus and saying that you don’t need His grace, and that you can earn your own salvation. This sin that cannot be forgiven is the sin of rejecting God’s grace.
“a common thing” — For the Jewish people, “a common thing” in this context meant that they considered the blood of Jesus like the blood of bulls and goats.
Backstory: During the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), there was the practice of shedding the blood of bulls and goats, which was enough to cover their sins for one year. This was practiced until Jesus, the true Lamb of God, came to take away all our sins once and for all.
Today, when we act like the blood of Jesus only lasts for a day, we take it as a common thing. In actual fact, the blood of Jesus has redeemed us for eternity, is of eternal quality, and has given us eternal forgiveness!
In context, to “sin willfully” means to reject grace and go back to the temple sacrifices (self-effort, and work for your own salvation). On the flip side, when you accept His grace, you are set up to receive all of His blessings!
Once again, let us come back to the promise God made to us who are under the covenant of grace:
“saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’ that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.”
— Hebrews 6:14,18 NKJV
God has promised to bless us and it is impossible for Him to lie. You can rest in the strong consolation and encouragement that He will surely bless you and your family even during tough times.
During this financial crisis and pandemic, it is impossible for God not to bless you, for He has sworn to bless you! When thoughts of fear, doubt, and unbelief come in, you can remind yourself that you are a seed of Abraham, and that is why it’s impossible for God not to bless you. Even when you see famine in the job marketplace, you can rest knowing that you are set apart by the Lord and His blessing is upon you.
There was once an evil king called Balak who came against the Israelites. He hired the prophet Balaam to curse the people, but Balaam ended up blessing the people instead.
“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Behold, I have received a command to bless;
He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
‘He has not observed iniquity in Jacob,
Nor has He seen wickedness in Israel.
The Lord his God is with him,
And the shout of a King is among them.’”
— Numbers 23:19–21 NKJV
“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent.” — Many times, this passage of Scripture is used in a negative context that implies threat and punishment, but actually this verse emphasizes how God’s blessings over our lives are completely irreversible. The actual context is that God cannot lie, and so you will be blessed, and continue to be blessed.
“He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, Nor has He seen wickedness in Israel.” — Notice that the verse doesn’t say there are no iniquities, wickedness, or sin in Israel, but it says the Lord does not see it. The comfort is that God did not see or impute their trespasses to them, as if there were no sin in their lives. That is how God sees us today!
“that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.”
— Hebrews 6:18 NKJV
“fled for refuge” — In this context of the Lord’s irreversible blessing on our lives, there is this significant description of believers: they are those who “have fled for refuge.” This was written to the Hebrews, who were familiar with the term “refuge.” In the Jewish culture, there were cities called “cities of refuge” which were built during the times of Joshua.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.
‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, designate cities of refuge to which people can flee if they have killed someone accidentally. These cities will be places of protection from a dead person’s relatives who want to avenge the death. The slayer must not be put to death before being tried by the community. Designate six cities of refuge for yourselves, three on the east side of the Jordan River and three on the west in the land of Canaan. These cities are for the protection of Israelites, foreigners living among you, and traveling merchants. Anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety.’”
— Numbers 35:9–15 NLT
“cities of refuge to which people can flee if they have killed someone accidentally” — Cities of refuge were for people who had killed someone accidentally, not wilfully. In modern-day context, these murders were non-premeditated with no malice intended, i.e. manslaughter.
“three on the east side . . . three on the west” — God positioned and spread out the cities of refuge such that they were easily accessible for those who happened to kill someone accidentally to flee to.
Even in the Old Testament, God hides pictures of His Son:
“‘But if someone strikes and kills another person with a piece of iron, it is murder, and the murderer must be executed. Or if someone strikes and kills another person with a wooden object, it is murder, and the murderer must be put to death.’”
— Numbers 35:16,18 NLT
“if someone strikes and kills another person with a piece of iron [or] a wooden object, it is murder, and the murderer must be put to death” — This clause was included in the instructions for the cities of refuge. It is a picture of Jesus’ death: Jesus was nailed to the cross by pieces of iron, and the cross itself is a wooden object. This makes all of us who nailed Him there with our sins—both Jew and Gentile—murderers. This is considered premeditated murder, and the law is that murderers must be put to death. But Jesus did something that changed our whole situation:
“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’
And they divided His garments and cast lots.”
— Luke 23:34 NKJV
“‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’” — The moment Jesus prayed this prayer while He was hanging on the cross, He put all of us (whose sins nailed Him to the cross) in the category of unintentional sin, not premeditated murder. Because of this, all of us qualify for the city of refuge. We can now run to the true city of refuge—Jesus Himself.
In cities of refuge, there is protection and provision for the slayer. The person who enters a city of refuge gets to depend on the means and resources of the city. Cities of refuge were where the priests of the Old Testament resided, and the priests were well supplied. They lived a good life, they were clothed well, and they were fed the very best. God commanded it to be so.
In Numbers 18, God spoke to Aaron, the high priest of that time:
“All the best of the oil, all the best of the new wine and the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to the Lord, I have given them to you.”
— Numbers 18:12 NKJV
“all the best” — This is God saying to us that He has given us the best of the grain, the wine, and the oil.
The slayers who took refuge in a city of refuge were not priests, but murderers, yet they got to eat the food of the priests as long as they dwelled in the city of refuge. This is a picture of us enjoying God’s best blessings that we don’t deserve because we are in our true city of refuge—Jesus.
Today, as a believer under grace, you cannot commit the unpardonable sin. Once you accept Jesus’ finished work at the cross and His grace, God remembers your sins no more!
There are still curses in the New Testament, yet they are all curses against those who come against grace.
Paul pronounced a double curse on anyone who does not preach the gospel of grace:
“So then those who are of faith are blessed . . . For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’”
— Galatians 3:9–10 NKJV
“those who are of faith are blessed” — All you need to do is receive His blessings for you by faith, knowing that the work has been finished and that your sins have been forgiven and put away.
God takes grace seriously because when you speak against grace, you take away the very hope people have. The gospel itself is grace and peace.
“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.”
— Hebrews 10:1–3 NKJV
“For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.” — The blood of bulls and goats was enough to cover sins, which is why the sacrifices had to be repeated every year and they served as a reminder of sins.
There are some churches who want to bring back the reminder of sins because they believe that is being spiritual, but that’s wrong believing because sin-consciousness produces more sin. To have sin-consciousness is to doubt the finality of Jesus’ payment, which insults the spirit of grace.
Right believing is believing that Jesus’ one sacrifice has cleansed and purified us once and for all. Today, God is righteous in making us righteous because the blood of Jesus has fully glorified all of God’s holy and judicial attributes. Today, we ought to have no more consciousness of sins. Jesus has overpaid our debt greater than we can imagine!
Three ‘W’s to establish yourself well in His righteousness:
The will of the Father:
“then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
— Hebrews 10:9–10 NKJV
We all want to do God’s will.
“Your will . . . He takes away the first that He may establish the second” — The will of God is to bring in the law and then bring in grace, to take away the first (the law) so that He can establish the second (grace). By that will, we have all been set apart and sanctified.
The work of the Son:
“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”
— Hebrews 10:11–12 NKJV
“one sacrifice for sins forever” — By Jesus’ one sacrifice, He has established us forever in His righteousness, where our sins have all been forgiven and put away, never to be remembered again.
The witness of the Holy Spirit:
“But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’”
— Hebrews 10:15–17 NKJV
“the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us . . . Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” — Many believers believe the Holy Spirit witnesses to us about our sins, but actually the Holy Spirit witnesses to us that God remembers our sins no more! It’s not because God is going easy on sin, but because all of God’s judicial righteousness and wrath for our sins was satisfied in Jesus’ body on our behalf. When you believe this truth that God no longer remembers your sins and will never revisit your sins or judge you for them, you are believing the witness of the Holy Spirit.
“Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh.”
— Hebrews 10:18–20 NKJV
“new and living way” — The Christian life is not a life of fear of coming close to God, but a life of boldness in coming to His presence in a new and living way. We can draw near with a true heart, with full assurance, and with faith, and hold on to hope (see Heb. 10:22).
“not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”
— Hebrews 10:25–26 NKJV
When we know this truth, there is no reason why we would want to “sin wilfully” and reject Jesus’ grace.
Under the first covenant that God brought, He knew that there was no way for us to be blessed because everything was dependent on us, on our behavior. Under the new covenant, everything is dependent on Jesus. There is no part for us to fulfill except believe on Jesus and His atoning work, and God does the rest. If you’re in trouble, or sick, you don’t need to earn the Lord’s help. He will help you because He remembers your sins no more.
Pastor Prince closes the service by reminding us that when we believe the one truth that God remembers our sins no more, we will believe the 3 ‘W’s—the will of God, the work of the Son, and the witness of the Holy Spirit, and receive all of His blessings of provision, health, and protection.
Pastor Prince prays for the following conditions:
“The Lord bless you with the blessings of father Abraham and the blessings of Deuteronomy 28, even as you are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. And the Lord keep you, preserve, and protect you and your loved ones this week from the COVID-19 virus, from every infection, from every disease, from every harm and danger, and from all the power of the evil one, through the blood of His Son. The Lord make His face shine on you, and be favorable to you. The Lord lift up His countenance on you and your families, and grant to you and your loved ones His shalom peace, well-being, and wholeness. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, amen. Jesus Christ is Lord forever.”
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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