These are notes on the sermon, Own the Spirit of Sonship, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 19 June 2022, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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The house of God (the church) is the storehouse of all wisdom and knowledge. Every time we come to God’s house, we can expect to find wisdom that cannot be found in the world.
The Bible is like the manufacturer's handbook with God’s blueprint for our lives. When we follow that blueprint, everything prospers and works well. Just like how we go back to the manual when an object we have bought does not work, we should go back to the Bible to find God’s answers for life’s questions.
Today’s session will be different from our regular Sunday sermons. Pastor Prince will be answering some questions that people have been asking regarding the word in season for our church about the importance of the Spirit of sonship.
Similar sessions like this one will be made available in New Creation Church’s Grace Academy. When you enroll in Grace Academy, you will discover biblical and practical truths that will set you free.
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
—John 8:31–32 NKJV
To be a disciple is to be a student of God’s grace. As we continue to be students of His grace, the truths that we learn will set us free. We are lifelong students of His grace!
“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.”
—1 Corinthians 4:15 NKJV
The apostle Paul emphasizes on fathering and sonship. You can be a student of a Rabbi but not be close to the Rabbi. But when you are a son of the Father, there is a sense of being loved and a sense of intimacy.
You can be a disciple and not be intimate with the heart and the thoughts of the Lord. We see this in John 14:8–9, where Philip asked the Lord to show them (the disciples) the Father even though they had already seen the Father’s heart through the words and deeds of Jesus. Even though Jesus’ twelve disciples walked with Him daily, they had familiarity but not intimacy with Him.
Yet, there were some others who were intimate with Jesus even though they had not spent time with Jesus like His disciples did. One example would be the Roman Centurion in Matthew 8. The Roman Centurion had a servant who was paralyzed and he went to Jesus knowing that Jesus would be able to heal his servant with just His words. His act of faith deeply touched the Lord (Matt. 8:10) and his servant was healed. Even though the Centurion was a Gentile, the Holy Spirit revealed to him Jesus’ heart. Intimacy with Jesus leads to having faith, which leads to receiving your miracle.
The Syrophoenician woman in Matthew 15 is another example of a Gentile who had intimacy with Jesus. This lady went to the Lord for deliverance for her daughter who was demon possessed. The Lord first kept silent because it was still not time for the Gentiles to receive from Him (Jesus’ first coming was to the Jews, the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. 15:24)).
As the woman kept crying out to Jesus, He answered:
“It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs (little puppies).”
—Matthew 15:26 ESV
“Dogs” — The Greek translation of this word refers to little puppies.
“The children’s bread” — This refers to healing.
Little puppies belong to the house, to the family. Even though it was not yet time for the Gentiles to receive from Him, the Lord gave this woman a way to do so.
“. . . Son of David, have mercy on me . . .”
—Matthew 15:22 NIV
When the woman first approached the Lord, she called Him “Son of David.” This was a title used only by the Jews. By calling Jesus by this name, she was impersonating a Jew. When we pretend to be who we are not, we cannot receive from the Lord. In response to her hypocrisy, the Lord told her that it was not right to take the children’s bread so that she would know that He knows the truth about her.
The woman then repented and called Jesus “Lord.” And she said:
“Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
—Matthew 15:27–28 KJV
The Holy Spirit gave this woman intimacy with Jesus and His heart. For this woman to say that even the crumbs could heal her daughter meant that she saw Jesus’ heart. She saw that Jesus loved her and loved her daughter. She saw that Jesus was making a way for her even though it was not time for the Gentiles to receive.
Today, we can receive from the Lord because we are sons of God! We don’t sit under the table but at the table. We can all partake of the children’s bread. Healing belongs to us!
“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.”
—1 Corinthians 4:15 NKJV
Many of the Corinthians understood the concept of a Rabbi-student relationship but they did not understand the concept of a Father-son relationship.
Most of our problems stem from having an orphan spirit. We have a heavenly Father yet we live thinking that we are not cared for, not watched over, not loved. A lot of people suffer from this orphan spirit. That’s why Jesus came to reveal the name “Father.” This is demonstrated through our leaders, who are to be spiritual fathers to us.
“. . . the disciples were first called (‘chrématizó’ – divinely called) Christians in Antioch.”
—Acts 11:26 NKJV
The Holy Spirit changed the word “disciples” to “Christians.” We are no longer disciples, we are Christians.
“Called” — The Greek translation of this word is “chrématizó,” which means “divinely called.” This is the same word used when the angel Gabriel divinely warned Joseph to flee from Jerusalem with baby Jesus (Matt. 2:12). It is also the same word used when the Holy Spirit divinely revealed to Simeon that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ (Luke 2:26).
It is God who divinely renamed the disciples “Christians,” which means “anointed ones.” It was not the disciples who chose to rename themselves.
There are some people who think we have to focus on discipleship if we want to be serious about our Christian walk. They put being a disciple above being a Christian, but this is a form of regression. The Greek and Hebrew translations of the word “disciple” are “mathētēs” and “limmud” respectively, which refer to “student” and “teach.” This means that a disciple is simply someone who is learning.
One can be a disciple (a student) and not be a Christian. The seventy people who followed Jesus were disciples, yet many of them walked away from Him (John 6:66). They could not accept that it was the grace of God the Father that drew them to Jesus and not their own intellect and desire to learn.
We can be students but miss out on the Spirit of sonship. When we believe that being a disciple makes us better Christians, we sacrifice our position as sons because we cannot get close to the Father that way. As sons, we are also disciples because we are students of His grace!
A son will always want to learn from the Father. But a son does not learn like a pupil of a Rabbi or the disciple of a master. He learns in the spirit of family, through observing the Father. He learns by being loved and seeing the Father’s heart.
Timothy was a disciple of Paul but Paul never called him his disciple. Instead, he always called Timothy his beloved son or his son in the faith (1 Tim. 1:2, 2 Tim. 1:2).
“. . . when we were children (‘népios’ – infants) . . .”
—Galatians 4:3 ESV
“Children” — The Greek translation of this word is “népios” which means infants.
“Now before faith came . . . So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came . . .”
—Galatians: 3:23–24 ESV
“Faith” — Faith here refers to justification by faith through grace.
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
—John 1:17 KJV
The law was given by a servant while grace came to us personally by the Son.
“But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,”
—Galatians 3:25 ESV
“For you are all sons (‘huios’) of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
—Galatians 3:26 NKJV
When we were under the law, we were infants (“népios”). But now that faith has come, we are all sons (“huios”) through faith in Jesus Christ!
“Sons” — The Greek translation of this word is “huios,” which refers to someone who is fully grown, a son with rights and titles. It speaks of dignity.
As a whole, God saw the Jews as infants because they were under the law. They could not inherit all that God had for them. Today, under grace, we are all brought into mature sonship. This does not refer to our spiritual growth but our position in God’s eyes.
“. . . we might receive adoption as sons (‘huiothesia’ – sonship).”
—Galatians 4:5 ESV
“adoption as sons” — The Greek translation of this phrase is “huiothesia,” which means sonship.
In Jewish culture, the Bar Mitzvah ritual celebrates the manhood of a boy when he turns thirteen. There are no teenage years. Instead, the boy is now seen as a man. He has rights and privileges and the dignity of a man. He has moved from being a child to being recognized in the family as a mature son. In the same way, the Lord is telling the Jews in Galatians 3 and Galatians 4 that He sees them as full grown sons since they were born again.
The older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son
“. . . These many years I have worked like a slave for you, and I never disobeyed your commands. Yet you never gave me even a goat so that I could celebrate with my friends!”
—Luke 15:29 NET
“And he said to him, ‘Son (‘teknon’ – child), you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.”
—Luke 15:31 NKJV
“‘Son” — The Greek translation of this word is “teknon,” which is an affectionate term for a child. Even though the older brother was initially referred to in this story as a full-grown son (“huios”) in Luke 15:11, he never saw himself that way, which led to his self-righteousness, bitterness, and anger. He was performance-oriented instead of conscious of his father and his father’s love toward him.
“for this my son (‘huios’) . . . was lost and is found . . .”
—Luke 15:24 NKJV
On the other hand, the prodigal son came home and saw his father’s heart. He learned to receive from his father, and his father regarded him as a full-grown son (“huios”). In the same way, we grow in sonship by learning to receive God’s grace more and more.
Many people focus on doing right and regard the law (the Ten Commandments) above God’s grace. But to go back to the law is to regress. Christian growth is growth in believing. It’s not about the things we do but the things we believe, because what we believe affects what we do. When we believe right, we will live right.
We believe right by being taught. Many times, we grow by unlearning what we have learnt from religion and what we have learnt from the world. We unlearn the ways of the world and learn the ways of God. As students of God’s grace, we learn through discovering what Christ has already done for us, how complete He has already made us, and the unlimited resources He has made available to us.
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel . . . poured water . . . and began to wash the disciples’ feet . . .”
—John 13:3–5 NKJV
“knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands” — During Jesus’ time, it was common for servants of the house to wash the feet of those who returned to the house after a long day. Yet Jesus chose to do this out of knowing His Father’s love for Him and all that His Father had given to Him. In the same way, our growth as Christians starts by discovering what God has done for us and all He has given to us. When the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth to us, we are empowered to do the things God wants us to do—not only good things, but the right thing at the right time.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
—1 Corinthians 2:12 KJV
The spirit of the world tells us that we have to earn the things we want while the Holy Spirit will show us things that have been freely given to us by the Lord!
When we learn from the Holy Spirit, humility is produced in us. We know we are growing in grace when we realize that we have much more to learn from the Lord!
“. . . we know that You are a teacher come from God . . .”
—John 3:2 NKJV
“we know” — These were Nicodemus’ first few words to Jesus, boasting in his knowledge. And Jesus responded to him by telling him that with all his erudite upbringing, he needed to be born again. Yet, the Lord never spoke these strong words to the Samaritan woman. Instead, He spoke to her gently and revealed Himself to her as the Messiah. This shows us how Jesus handles people differently. If we have pride, he will remove our self-righteousness. But if we go to Him humbly, He will over-supply every area of need.
There are many names of God in the Old Testament e.g. Yahweh, which means “the covenant-keeping God,” or El Shaddai, which means “the God who is all sufficient.” These names show us the different aspects and attributes of God.
“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.”
—John 17:6 NKJV
The disciples were familiar with the names of God from the Old Testament. But “Father” was the name Jesus came to reveal. Jesus always addressed God as “Father.” Only at the cross did Jesus address Him as God, to demonstrate the divine exchange at the cross.
“. . . it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
—Luke 12:32 NKJV
“Look at the birds of the air . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
—Matthew 6:26 NKJV
Jesus constantly revealed God as Father to people and showed them the Father’s heart to love and provide for them.
Often we live life being unconscious of the Father’s love for us. That’s why we don’t forgive readily or love one another. It is only when we are loved that we can love. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
“And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
—John 17:26 NKJV
Jesus’ constant declaration of the name “Father” established the disciples in the love of God. When Jesus continually revealed God as “Father” to His disciples, He caused the love of God to be in them.
“Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
—John 17:11–12 NKJV
“Father, keep through Your name” — This refers to protection. Jesus protected his disciples in the Father’s name.
When we relate to God as Father, we become established in the Spirit of sonship. God has made us all sons.
“saying, "Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
—Revelation 7:3 NKJV
“sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads” — This is a seal of protection.
“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads.”
—Revelation 14:1 NKJV
“His Father's name written on their foreheads” — The mark of the beast boasts of man's intelligence. But the 144,000 servants of God had the Father’s name written on their foreheads. When hurt, evil, darkness, disease, and plagues come, God’s people cannot be harmed because of the seal of protection on their foreheads, and the seal is the Father’s name.
“But I said: 'How can I put you among the children
And give you a pleasant land,
A beautiful heritage of the hosts of nations?’
"And I said: 'You shall call Me, "My Father,“
And not turn away from Me.'”
—Jeremiah 3:19 NKJV
“How can I put you among the children
And give you a pleasant land,
A beautiful heritage of the hosts of nations?” — This speaks of inheritance.
“You shall call Me, "My Father” — The answer to possessing your inheritance (all the blessings and promises of God that Jesus paid for at the cross) is to know God as Father. The more we call Him “Father,” the more we receive.
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption (sonship), whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
—Romans 8:15 KJV
We cannot receive from the Lord if we carry the spirit of slavery. But when we are conscious of our positions as sons, we will be able to inherit effortlessly.
Some of us might feel like we don’t know how to relate to God as our Father because of bad experiences or unhealthy relationships with our earthly fathers. If that is you, your heavenly Father wants you to know that His love is healing. He will redefine “Father” for you and show you what a true Father is like. So don’t be afraid to start acknowledging God as your Father!
Statistics have shown that fatherlessness is the most significant social problem in America. More than 85% of youths in prison come from fatherless homes and 90% of all homeless and runaway children come from fatherless homes. That’s why Jesus came to reveal the name “Father” to us.
Many of us suffer from an orphan spirit, having grown up in a home where we don’t feel the love of our earthly fathers. We feel like we have to take care of ourselves and live in slavish fear because the home where we expected unconditional warmth and provision is the very place that left us in fear. But now that we are born again today, our heavenly Father who is perfect has come to love us into wholeness.
The last verse of the Old Testament ends with a curse brought about by fatherlessness, while the last verse of the New Testament ends with the grace of our Lord Jesus:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."
—Malachi 4:5–6 NKJV
A fatherless generation brings the curse.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
—Revelation 22:21 NKJV
Jesus was sent to reveal to us the name “Father” because God wants to reveal Himself as our Father. He wants us to come close to Him and allow Him to embrace us.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart . . .”
—Jeremiah 1:5 NIV
The Lord formed you in the womb. He has a calling and a purpose in your life. You are not an accident nor a mistake. God destined for you to be where you are today. His heart is to be a Father to you long before you were born.
“. . . he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?”
—John 14:9b KJV
One way to find out more about the Father is to read the Gospels and see what Jesus did. Through His actions, we can catch a revelation of the Father’s heart for us.
“. . . They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all.”
—Matthew 15:30 NLT
Jesus never denied anyone who came to Him of healing. This shows that it is the Father’s will for us to be healed!
Familiarity is different from intimacy. You can be familiar with someone but not be intimate with them. We can grow in intimacy with the Father by maintaining our sense of sonship.
Pray with a sense of closeness to your heavenly Father
Sometimes when we pray, we might pray from a position of slavish fear. But we are to pray to God with a sense of closeness. You are close to God as a son of God. Your position as a child of God has been paid for by the blood of Jesus. Come before God as Your Father and pray from a sense of love and having a consciousness that you are part of His family.
Prayers that we bring to God with a spirit of fear (where we beg Him to answer our prayers because we don’t know His heart for us) are usually not answered. This is because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and cannot confirm a lie. We are beloved sons of God and not servants! When we come to God with slavish fear and pray to Him, the Holy Spirit cannot confirm these lies. He bears witness to the truth. Instead, when we go to God in the Spirit of sonship, we come in accordance with His Word. These are the prayers that God answers.
Sometimes in our prayer time, we might feel like we have been distracted by thoughts of what we need to do, e.g. things that we have forgotten to do or chores that have yet to be done. These might not all be distractions but could be reminders from the Lord! The Lord is practical and will teach us to profit because He loves us. Just because some promptings might not seem spiritual does not mean they are not from God. We can keep a notebook with us when we spend time with God and write down these reminders from Him.
Be conscious that God is your Father. We will not know how much God loves us until we know how much He loves His Son because He gave up His Son for us. Since God spared not His beloved Son but gave Him up for us, He will freely give us all things (Rom. 8:32)! If we have yet to receive our breakthrough, it might be because we are trying to earn what is freely given. We are trying to earn what Jesus has already paid for, God will not allow it. We have to come in line with God’s Word and pray knowing that He has already freely given us all things.
“Heavenly Father, I thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I thank You that Christ died on the cross for all my sins. He bore all my judgment, He died in my place and You raised Him from the dead. Thank You, Father, that Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior. I am now Your son, and You are my Father. Thank You, Father. I know You’ll watch over me, care for me, and supply me from this day forth. Teach me to grow in my sonship. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“Father, I thank You for Your love for each and every person under the sound of my voice. You know their history, You know their specific needs. You know the bondage that they have been deeply entrenched in for years because of wrong believing and because of people that have hurt them. And today some of them are hurting others because hurt people, hurt people. I pray Father, in Jesus’ name, that that bondage stops right now in the name of the Lord Jesus. And in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, free them from this orphan spirit.
And right now in Jesus' name, just receive the Father’s love. Say this under your breath: I am my Father’s child. I am loved by my Father. He watches over me, He cares for me, I am not alone. He watches over me. I’m under His care and His love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
In this sermon, Pastor Prince shared how the Lord wants us to see Him as Father and the importance of owning the Spirit of sonship. The Lord loves us and desires to have a deep and intimate relationship with us.
This week, start practicing seeing God as your Father. Be conscious of the Father’s love for you and feel close and embraced by Him. Throughout this week, you can say simple words like: “I’m my Father’s child. I’m under His care. I’m under His supply. I’m under His love. I’m under His care. I’m watched over. I’m protected by my Father.” Let the love of the Father garrison your heart as you meditate on these words!
Beloved, when you are conscious of the Father’s love for you, you will begin to see Him turn your situation around. Your Father who loves you will meet every need, heal every sickness in your body, and free you from any darkness and mind games. Own your position as a son and daughter of God and begin to walk in the fullness of your inheritance that your heavenly Father has prepared for you!
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2022
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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