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Official Joseph Prince Sermon Notes

Is The Bible Still Relevant Today?

Sunday, 29 September 2019
 

These are notes on the sermon, Is The Bible Still Relevant Today?, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 29 September 2019, 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: Every word in the Bible is God-breathed and true
  2. How to read and study God’s Word
  3. The Bible is more modern than you think
  4. Most importantly, read your Bible to see Jesus
  5. See Jesus and find the answers you need
  6. Closing Prayer

Introduction: Every word in the Bible is God-breathed and true

The things of God are simple. They are not for the exclusive few. They are available to everyone, e.g. the holy Communion. The Communion elements—a piece of bread or cracker and some juice—are simple things that anyone can find at home.

Every good and perfect gift is from God (see James 1:17). His “good” gifts are for the whole world, e.g. He makes the sun rise and the rain fall on everyone, regardless of how good or evil they are (see Matt. 5:45). But His “perfect” gifts are reserved for His children.

These special gifts are dispensed in the body of Christ, the church. When we gather as the church, something powerful happens. The gifts of the Spirit are dispensed.

Don’t neglect coming to church!

This Sunday, we are talking about God’s Word.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
— 2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16–17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” — The phrase “inspiration of God” in Greek is “theopneustos,” which means “God-breathed.” This is the same breath that God breathed into Adam in Genesis 2, and Adam became a living soul.

The Bible you hold is God-breathed.

If you feel yourself getting weak, spend time in God’s Word. You’ll get physically stronger because every scripture you read has God’s breath in it.

“My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And
health to all their flesh.
— ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:20–22‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh” — God’s Word is health to ALL your flesh. Medicines created by man are good and helpful, but most of the time they only target a certain part of your body and might cause side effects in other parts. God’s Word is health to every part of your body and causes no side-effects.

God’s Word that releases life and health is available for everyone.

Every scripture is God-breathed.

There’s the opinion now that the Bible is irrelevant. There are even preachers who don’t use the Bible anymore.

Pastor Prince encourages all preachers to use the Scriptures to preach. When God’s Word is preached, the Holy Spirit will be the One to convict people’s hearts as the Word goes forth.

We as a church believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture.

There are those who believe that the ideas in the Bible are inspired, but not the words. We believe that everything—both the ideas and the words—are inspired.

The way Jesus Himself spoke about God’s Word proves that every single word is divinely inspired.

In Matthew 22, the Sadducees confronted Jesus about the resurrection of the dead which they didn’t believe in. Jesus responded:

“But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.”
— Matthew 22:31–33 NKJV

have you not read” — many of our problems exist because we have not read God’s Word.

The answers we need are found in God’s Word.

When Satan came to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus responded time and time again with, “It is written… It is written… It is written…” He quoted the written Word.

When Satan tempted Jesus to turn the stones into bread, Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matt. 4:4).

Pastor Prince believes that when Satan tempted Jesus to turn the stones into bread after Jesus had fasted for 40 days, he was actually saying, “Find your nourishment in the law.” Stones represent the law because the law was written on stones. Also, it was at the end of Moses’ 40 days on the mountain of God that he came down with the law written on tablets of stones.

But Jesus said no—He would only find His nourishment in the words spoken by God. These are the words God spoke to Him before He went into the wilderness and they are words of grace: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17).

Find your nourishment in the word of grace!

“But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.”
— Matthew 22:31–33 NKJV

“I am the God of Abraham…God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” — Jesus argues from one single word—“am”— to prove that the resurrection is real. This word “am” indicates the present tense, which means that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are alive even today.

The Bible is not just poetic expression. You can make an argument from a single word because every word is divinely inspired and carries authority.

The apostle Paul also demonstrates the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures in Galatians 3, when he explains that the prophecy about “Abraham’s Seed” is referring to Christ and not referring to the Jewish people.

“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.
— Galatians‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Paul argues from one letter—“Seed” versus “seeds.”

“Seeds,” plural, would refer to the Jewish people, but “Seed,” singular, refers to Christ.

Every word, every letter in the Bible is inspired.

This is why we believe in the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures.

The original Hebrew and Greek that the Bible was written in are inspired. It’s okay for you to read new translations of the Bible, especially if it helps you understand and appreciate Bible stories, but it’s best to stick to translations that are close to the original Hebrew and Greek.

How to read and study God’s Word

Pastor Prince shares with us how he personally studies God’s Word.

He has a wide-margin Bible that gives him space to write his own notes as he reads it. He does read scholarly material, but he takes it with a pinch of salt because scholars have their own biases, e.g. some of them are biased against healing or the gifts of the Spirit.

Pastor Prince shows us a picture of a page in his Bible (the book of Esther, chapter 6) to show us how God speaks to him as he’s reading the Word (see slide 15). This is to illustrate how God can speak to us too!

A powerful revelation that God revealed to him from that passage in the book of Esther is this: In the night seasons of your life, read God’s Word and see Jesus. You’ll experience a turnaround in your situation.

Pastor Prince shares that when he was first writing down this revelation, he wasn’t doing it because he wanted to preach on it. He was studying the Word for himself, for his own nourishment.

He encourages us to read and study God’s Word like he does: Get a Bible with space to write notes, and have a pen in hand as you read it.

You can expect God to speak to you and give you fresh revelations!

These revelations you write down in your Bible can bless you over and over again. You’ll be amazed by how something you wrote a while ago can minister to you when you see it again. God can also use it to bless others.

The Word of God unveils Jesus, and that’s how lives are transformed.

Pastor Prince shares a testimony from a lady who was healed of a streptococcus infection and delivered from morphine addiction and severe pain.

How to rightly divide the Word

We should read both the Old Testament and the New Testament. But the Old Testament must be interpreted in the light of the new covenant.

We are no more under law, but under grace.

Under law, when people sinned, they died. Under grace, we don’t die, but instead learn how to confess our righteousness in Christ and experience transformation and restoration.

The law condemns the best of us. Grace saves the worst of us.

Before Jesus went to the cross, He told His disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth...” (John 16:12–13).

Paul’s letters were written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They are not man’s words, they are God’s words.

In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul uses an Old Testament law to show that all Scripture—including the Old Testament—is beneficial and relevant for us today:

“For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?”
— 1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:9-11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written” — All Scripture is written for our sakes. For our benefit.

When you read the Bible, be conscious of 2 things:

  1. All Scripture is written to unveil Christ.
  2. All Scripture is written for your sake.

God cares for you. You are His priority.

The Bible is more modern than you think

The Bible is not meant to be a scientific book, but it is scientifically accurate.

The book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible, written 3500 years ago. Yet it contains many scientific facts discovered much later, e.g.

  • The Earth is suspended in space (see Job 26:7)
  • People can be identified by their fingerprints (see Job 37:7).

The book of Isaiah, written 2800 years ago, also contains scientific facts, e.g.

  • The Earth is round (see Isa. 40:21–22).

The book of Leviticus contains many scientific facts important to medical science today, e.g.

  • Blood loss can lead to death (see Lev. 17:11). In the 1700s and 1800s, there was a practice called bloodletting, whereby sick people were encouraged to let their blood drain to remove the sickness from their bodies. This led to many deaths, including George Washington’s.
  • Sanitization is crucial for health (see Lev. 15). It was a Jewish doctor who lowered the mortality rate among women giving birth in hospitals by telling the doctors and nurses to wash their hands after attending to each patient.
  • People with contagious diseases need to be quarantined (see Lev. 13).

The Bible is full of facts. If there’s a “scientific fact” that contradicts the Bible, just wait long enough and it’ll be disproved.

Most importantly, read your Bible to see Jesus

Generally, you should have a systematic way of studying the Word. But even if you just open the Bible at random and ask God to speak to you, you’ll be amazed by how God can still personally minister to you through the verses you read.

Besides studying the Bible (going deep into a specific verse), you can also just read large portions or passages of the Bible. Even if you don’t understand everything, this will have a cleansing effect on you.

This is what will happen to you when you learn to value God’s Word:

“Blessed is the man…
his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.”
— Psalm 1:1–3 NKJV

Many times after reading the Word or even listening to the preached Word, you’ll leave feeling fed and nourished.

“Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart…”
— Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV

When you study the Word of God, remember this: The most important thing about studying the Bible is to see Jesus.

In Luke 24, we see how Jesus rose from the dead and on the same day, took time to walk with 2 of His disciples who were discouraged.

“So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.”
— Luke 24:15–16 NKJV

But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.” — Jesus could have revealed Himself to them with His nail-pierced hands, but He didn’t. To Him, there was a greater way of revealing Himself to them.

“And He said to them, ‘What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?’ … So they said to Him, ‘The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.’”
— Luke 24:17–21 NKJV

But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” — The disciples saw Jesus as a means to an end. Israel was their focus.

Many believers are also discouraged because they see Jesus as a means to an end. They don’t have Him as their main focus. Their focus is on their family, their children, their finances, their career, etc.

When you read the Bible, it’s not about finding ways to prosper. It’s about seeing Jesus.

And when you see Jesus, you can’t help but prosper. In Him, all things are held together. With Him, there’s always peace and harmony.

“Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
— Luke 24:25–27 NKJV

O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe” — These are the 2 reasons people stay in discouragement. They’re foolish (lacking knowledge) or they’re slow to believe.

beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” — This is the answer to lack of knowledge and slowness to believe. Jesus unveiled Himself in the Scriptures to His disciples.

You'll defeat discouragement when you see Jesus in the Scriptures.

Jesus hid His identity from the disciples’ eyes because it was more important for them to see Him in the Scriptures than in person.

This gives us all equal opportunity today to experience Jesus the same way that they did.

When you see Jesus, you see yourself.

When you see Jesus, everything falls into place.

When you see Jesus, true transformation happens.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
— 2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image” — When you see Jesus, you are transformed into His image. Is Jesus whole? Is Jesus healthy? You are transformed into the SAME image.

Pastor Prince shares that when he’s feeling unwell, he likes reading the 4 Gospels just to see Jesus. As he does that, he’s transformed into the same image as Jesus—healthy, full of life.

How do we behold Jesus “as in a mirror”? What is this “mirror”?

It is the Word of God, which is clear from the context of the passage:

“But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
— 2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:15–18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When Moses is read” — “Moses” refers to the first 5 books of the Bible, which is exactly what Jesus expounded on when He walked with His 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus.

when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” — When you look for Jesus in the Word, your eyes will be unveiled. God’s Word will open up to you.

When you open the Bible, tell Jesus, “Lord Jesus, I turn to You. I open my eyes to see You.” That’s when the veil is taken away.

When you read the Word and get a fresh revelation, write it down. When that revelation nourishes you, it will nourish others. You’ll find yourself sharing it with someone at a time when that person needs it.

See Jesus and find the answers you need

The words of the Bible are so precious. Don’t rush through them.

If your marriage needs help, your answer is found in seeing Jesus.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”
— Ephesians 5:25 NKJV

just as Christ also loved the church” — As a husband, the focus is not on you. It’s on Jesus. Focus on Jesus. How does Jesus love the church? He doesn’t condemn her, and in Song of Songs, He says, “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.”

The more you see Jesus, the more you’ll discover His perspective.

Learn to align yourself with His perspective. Learn to see as Jesus sees. He sees reality like no one else. Start praying to bring heaven’s reality down to earth.

You can pray, “Father, I thank You that You see me righteous, blameless, and altogether lovely in Christ. Thank You, Father, You see me already healed. Amen. You see my family flourishing.”

Don’t just go by what you see in the natural!

There was once when the prophet Elisha woke up with the Syrian army surrounding the city he was in to capture him. Elisha’s servant was afraid, but Elisha answered him:

“‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
— 2 Kings 6:16–17 NKJV

those who are with us are more than those who are with them” — This is our reality even though we might not be able to see it with our physical eyes. Wherever you go, wherever you travel, there are angels with you.

This verse is the Old Testament equivalent of 1 John 4:4, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

Don’t focus on what the enemy is doing. Focus on what God is doing.

When the children of Israel got bitten by poisonous snakes in the wilderness, the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” (Num. 21:8).

Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole” — The serpent on the pole represents Jesus on the cross when He carried our sins and punishment.

everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” — The word “looks” is “ra'ah” in Hebrew, which means to look intently.

When you partake of the Communion, look intently at Jesus and all He has done for you. When you read the Word, look intently at Jesus, your Savior, the altogether lovely One. This is how you overcome the attacks of the enemy and live an overcoming life.

Keep your relationship with God fresh.

When you read the Word, see it as your daily bread. Don’t live on what you remember from a sermon many months ago. Live on what you receive daily.

Closing Prayer

“Father in Heaven, as Your people go back home or to wherever they’re traveling to, I pray in Jesus’ name that Your divine protection be upon every one of them and upon their families. Protect them, Father, from all the harmful effects of the haze. Protect them, Lord, from every sickness and disease. Protect them, Lord, through the blood of Jesus, from things that would hurt or destroy them and their families. Let your angels accompany us, that no plague will come near our dwelling and no evil befall us. Thank You, Father, and I pray in Jesus' name that You grant to everyone here right now the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You, Lord, that receiving revelation will be their craving. Receiving revelation will be their new hobby. Seeing afresh what is revealed in the Scriptures by your Holy Spirit. I pray that everyone who opens their Bible from now on will see Jesus. They will see how the Scriptures are altogether for our sakes. And they will receive life and health to all their flesh. 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 2019
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.


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