These are notes on the sermon, Perceive God’s Wisdom In Your Heart, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 15 May 2022, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Today, we celebrate Pastor Prince’s birthday!
Pastor Prince shares how he was born on May 15, and 15 is the number of rest. Even in Old Testament times, we see how God prioritizes the Sabbath rest, e.g. before the seven feasts of Israel were celebrated, the Sabbath rest was observed (Lev. 23), and before God talked about the workers and work to be done for the Tabernacle, He talked about Sabbath regulations (Exod. 35).
God’s ordained way is that rest comes before celebration and before work. We are to go about our work, activities, and celebrations first knowing that the most important work—Jesus’ finished work on the cross—has been completed for us so now we can rest. Out of that rest in our hearts, we can then effectively go about our tasks without stress.
Pastor Prince shares how he was recently reading about the life of David.
David and Jonathan were covenant brothers. They wept when they had to be separated because Jonathan’s father, King Saul, was after David’s life. When this happened David wept more than Jonathan. Years later, when Jonathan and Saul were killed by enemies, David wept again and wrote a song to commemorate them.
In many ways, David is a picture of our Lord Jesus (Jesus came from David’s lineage and is known as the greater Son of David).
David’s wandering in the wilderness during the time he was rejected as the king of Israel is a picture of our Lord Jesus right now, being rejected by the world, before He comes again to reign on this earth.
Those of us who follow Jesus today are like David’s mighty men who followed David when he was in the wilderness. These mighty men came to David in his rejection, and they came to him when they were in debt, in distress, and discontented. After being with David, they became mighty men. There were many Gentiles who came to David during that time, and likewise, there are many Gentiles who are followers of Jesus today.
In fact, one of David’s men was a Philistine. His name was Ittai, and he was loyal to David. When David was being hunted by his son Absalom, David told Ittai to go back to his hometown to be with his family. But Ittai insisted that he and his tribe would follow David (2 Sam. 15:19–22). Later on, David made Ittai the commander and chief over a third of his army. Similarly, Jesus told His disciples to be with Him in His trials and that they would be rewarded. Today, those of us who follow Him before His second coming can look forward to rewards from the Lord as well.
We are continuing the sermon series on the importance of the heart.
We are learning more about the heart because it is in our hearts that we hear God’s voice. The heart is where He deposits His wisdom.
“Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.”
— Psalms 51:6 NKJV
“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”
— Psalm 51:6 ESV
God puts wisdom in the heart.
Having God’s wisdom is vital. It is vital to knowing what to do and say in different situations, in understanding the timing of things, in knowing how to pray so that you receive God’s supply for your needs, in learning how to flow with God and walk in paths of abundance.
Psalm 23 tells us that the reason we will not lack is that the Lord is our Shepherd. As our Shepherd, He wants us to follow Him. As sheep, we should eat what He feeds and we should go where He leads. That is our only responsibility. When we simply follow our Shepherd, we will be supplied, even in times of famine.
“Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness (pleasure),
And all her paths are peace.”
— Proverbs 3:13–17 NKJV
Wisdom gives you:
“Length of days” — This speaks of long life and health.
“Riches” — These riches do not necessarily refer to immense material wealth (you can have that and still not be happy). At the same time, God does want to provide for you such that you have more than enough to bless others.
“Honor” — This is what everyone in the world is looking for. Some people think they are seeking fame or influence, but actually, they are after honor. And honor comes from God.
“Pleasantness (pleasure)” — This does not mean that you will not face any trials in life. It means that even in the midst of your trials, your paths are pleasant. Your yoke is easy and your burden is light. As long as you follow Jesus, He will take care of you. There will be more than enough supply for your needs. Just like Ittai was blessed and promoted by David, so you will be taken care of by Jesus.
“Peace” — This is shalom peace, which refers to wholeness in every area of your being and life.
How God gave wisdom to Solomon
Solomon was about the age of 17–22 when God appeared to him in a dream asking him what he wanted. Solomon didn’t ask for money or riches but asked for wisdom.
Today, many of us think we want to be rich because having money will give us security, it will give us a happy marriage and family life, it will allow us to go on many vacations, it will give us access to the best healthcare, etc.
Actually, all the things we are really after are length of days, riches, honor, pleasure, and peace. And the truth is that money alone cannot guarantee these things. These things are from the Lord—they are the blessings that His wisdom brings.
God can bypass the money and give you what you really want. Be aware of what it is you really desire and don’t be under the illusion that those things can only come through money. What can a man have unless the Lord gives it to him?
God wants us to receive from Him. While it is more blessed to give than receive when it comes to people around us, it is more blessed to receive than give when it comes to God. When it comes to us giving to others, we can do so out of pride. But when it comes to receiving from God, saying, “Thank You, Lord, for Your finished work,” that takes grace and humility.
When God asked Solomon what he wanted, Solomon asked for the Lord for an understanding heart:
“Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.”
— 1 Kings 3:9–10 NKJV
Solomon understood that wisdom was deposited in the heart. So he asked God for an understanding heart, in other words, a hearing heart or a heart that hears.
“So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.”
— 1 Kings 10:23–24 NKJV
Some believers think that the human heart is desperately wicked since Proverbs 28:26 says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool.” However, this is only true for people who are not saved. This is not true for the child of God.
It was David’s desire for the Lord to give him a clean heart, especially after his sin with Bathsheba, because he knew the problem was in his heart:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
— Psalms 51:10 NKJV
Today, God has given those of us who believe in Him a new heart under the new covenant.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
— Ezekiel 36:26 NKJV
You have a new heart and new spirit. You are born again, and now you no longer have a heart of stone but a heart of flesh.
Sometimes, you may act according to your old sinful nature, but the truth is that your old nature is gone. You are a new creation. What is left is the flesh—the residues of the sinful nature, the leftover sensations (much like how you may hear the ringing of a bell in your head even after it has stopped ringing). While you may experience sinful tendencies in the flesh, you have a new heart. And in this new heart, God has put His wisdom.
We hear God speak not in an audible voice but through an inner knowing in the heart. He speaks in a gentle stillness (1 Kings 19:11–13).
That is why we mustn’t neglect times of solitude to meditate and contemplate. Don’t get swept up in the culture of busyness, where you feel the need to always be occupied with something, always be scrolling through social media or consuming content. Make time for meditation and contemplation for God to speak to you in your heart. Hearing what God has to say to you is more important than what you have to say to Him.
We think prayer is about us talking to God, but it is also a time of listening to Him. Let’s take time to meditate and hear from Him after we unload what is on our hearts.
We need to have a “root life” and not just go after the fruits (the good results or success we want to see). This root life or secret life that no one sees is a time where we calm down and reflect, meditate, and contemplate what the Lord is saying to us. In these moments, we should not be talking to God all the way but we should be taking time to listen to Him. When God speaks, good things happen.
Today, God writes on our hearts.
“clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”
— 2 Corinthians 3:3 NKJV
We are living letters that Christ writes on.
Pastor Prince shares that just like the apostles, he believes that when he preaches, the Spirit of God is writing on our hearts through his preaching. When the Lord writes on our hearts, we will go out into the world and people can read us as if we were living letters.
We read the Word of God and the world reads us. When they read us, they will see the peace, the joy, the radiance, the moral excellence, and the glory of God. And they will say they want to know this God we have.
The Philistines were envious of Isaac because they saw God’s blessing on his life. When your friends see you, they see the glory of God and the genuine love in your eyes. They are reading the Word of God through you.
Pastor Prince explains how hearing God has to do with the two parts of the brain—the left brain (which is more analytical and logical) and the right brain (which is more imaginative and creative).
“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding (‘dianoia’) being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,”
— Ephesians 1:17–18 NKJV
The Spirit of wisdom and revelation operates when the eyes of your understanding are enlightened.
The part of the brain that has eyes is the right side of the brain, where the imagination is.
“the eyes of your understanding (‘dianoia’)” — This Greek word “dianoia” also means “imagination.” In contrast to this word “dianoia,” there is another word, “dialogizomai,” that appears in the story of Jesus healing the invalid man in the gospels.
“When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned (‘dialogizomai’) thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?”
— Mark 2:5–8 NKJV
“they reasoned (‘dialogizomai’) thus within themselves” — The word “reason (‘dialogizomai’)” is different from “imagination (‘dianoia’).” God uses imagination. The Spirit of wisdom operates by God flooding the eyes of your imagination with His light. This experience is similar to moments when you have a sudden flash of understanding, and you say, “I see!” That’s when the eyes of your heart have been opened and you know what God is telling you.
This isn’t to say that when we come to church, we should leave our brains at home. What our brains need is the washing of the Word because it picks up the ways and thinking of the world, which are often contrary to God’s Word and His ways.
“Jesus perceived in His spirit” — At this moment, Jesus was seeing with the eyes of His heart. He was perceiving on the inside.
We do not perceive in our logical minds but in our hearts. You may hear advice from many experts but the one thing all these opinions cannot shake is the God-given perception in your heart.
Jesus perceived while the scribes reasoned. “Dialogizomai” is never used on Jesus.
Perceiving what the Lord is telling you is something that goes beyond science (what exists in the realm of what we think to be true at this point of time). Science is a blessing to mankind, but down through history, we have seen how scientific theories have changed or evolved. In fact, there are things written in the Bible about the world and our bodies that science only discovered much later (e.g. the earth is round, bloodletting is dangerous because one’s life is in the blood). Science is still catching up to God’s Word.
Natural reasoning is not as reliable as we think. Let us trust the One who knows all things to lead us and guide us in the ways we should go.
It is more important that you see what God is leading you to do than to understand it with your natural reasoning.
When you are talking to unbelievers about God, don’t argue with them based on logic. Speak to the heart. The heart knows it has sin, and the heart knows there’s a God. Deep down, every heart knows there is life beyond the grave.
God has made a new covenant with us.
“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind (‘dianoia’) and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
— Hebrews 8:7–13 NKJV
“I will put My laws in their mind (‘dianoia’) and write them on their hearts” — God’s laws here refer to His instruction, not the Ten Commandments. His instruction tells you how to best live life, how to be a good parent, how to respond to situations, etc.
The Lord’s leading on the inside will compel you to love and be generous. The love of Christ constrains us (to be “constrained” is like being carried by a current). Sometimes, God may lead you to be extra kind or give a gift to someone around you who usually goes unnoticed by others. Let the Lord lead you to bless others.
The Lord puts His instruction in our “dianoia,” which is our understanding or imagination.
We are so used to depending on other people’s advice because it is so accessible on the internet and through social media. But in every situation, the Lord is actually giving you the wisdom you need.
Many times, God writes on your heart when preaching is going forth.
Sometimes, you may hear a piece of advice that sounds logical and reasonable, but you can’t shake an uncomfortable feeling on the inside. That feeling on the inside is God leading you. He knows the details of your situation better than anyone, and not every piece of advice works the same for every situation or person.
What is God saying about your situation? Even when it comes to something as everyday as what you should eat, don’t just look for expert opinions, but listen to what the Lord is saying.
For the ultimate resolution to the problem you are facing, you need to listen to the Spirit.
When you listen to God’s Spirit on the inside, you will be led to live a life free from stress.
Pastor Prince shares a time in his life when the Lord delivered him from stress that was causing him irritable bowel syndrome. He would listen to the Lord leading him to take a break, spend time with his family, and do small everyday things that helped him alleviate stress and recover from that condition.
He can lead you in when to take a break before you exhaust yourself doing a certain activity. He can lead you in your conversations with your spouse so they don’t take a turn for the worse. He can lead you to stop binge watching shows and instead spend time meditating and contemplating.
Whenever you follow the Lord, He frees you from stress. His paths are paths of peace.
God writes His instruction on your “dianoia,” your imagination.
For those of you who are worried that you cannot hear God, that is not true. If you are a child of God, you do sense His leading. It can be as simple as the feeling telling you to stop when your friends are gossiping about someone.
“None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.”
— Hebrews 8:11 NKJV
You don’t need direction from external sources when you have the Lord leading you on the inside. You need confirmation, but not direction. Many times, after you have heard something from the Lord, you receive confirmation through preaching or a friend happens to say the same thing God has been speaking to you about.
It is important to sense God’s promptings for yourself. Don’t be tricked into investing or giving to a cause just because someone uses Christianity or God’s name. You must hear from the Lord first.
If you fail to hear God's voice, if you get it wrong, just get up and keep going. It’s okay, so don’t be discouraged. Don’t give up and start depending on social media or experts’ opinions again.
No one needs to teach you how to know the Lord (Heb. 8:11). That’s why sometimes we can tell when someone is not preaching the real Jesus.
“These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”
— 1 John 2:26–27 NKJV
“the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you” — This word “anointing” is a gerund (a verbal noun). It is a movement noun, meaning that this anointing is always working, is always in effect. God’s anointing on the inside is always leading you.
“you do not need that anyone teach you” — This doesn’t mean you don’t need pastors and teachers in the church. They are there to make clear and confirm what you have already received from the Lord on the inside.
The key to John 15:4 where Jesus tells us to abide in Him so that we will bear much fruit is following the anointing within. We are to follow His anointing and not our natural reasoning or logic.
Pastor Prince shares a testimony of how God led him and the church board in 2019 to cancel all the trips to Israel in 2020 before they knew COVID-19 was going to hit and how they ended up saving money because of this call.
Let us live life being led by the Spirit and being conscious that the Lord is always leading us.
“Heavenly Father, I confess Jesus Christ is my Lord. And I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead. Thank You, Father, for forgiving me of all my sins. You have removed them forevermore. And I thank You that I stand before You as the righteousness of God in Christ, and that's my identity from now on. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“Heavenly Father, I thank You. You write Your instructions, Your leading, Your laws in my heart and on my mind. And I thank You that I can fully expect to walk in it, to abide in Christ, throughout this week. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
This week, practice listening to what the Lord is saying to you in your heart. You can do this by:
As a child of God, you can be confident that the Lord will speak to you and that you will hear Him. He cares about every part of your life and wants to lead you in the smallest things. Seek and listen to His wisdom, and you will be led on paths of peace and abundance!
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 2022
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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