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Official Joseph Prince Sermon Notes

Practical Leadership Keys To Living Holy

Sunday, 29 July 2018
 

These are notes on the sermon, Practical Leadership Keys To Living Holy, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 29 July 2018, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

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Overview

As true believers in Christ, we all desire to live lives that glorify God. But how do we practically live a holy life? In this message, learn biblical keys on how you can experience wholeness in your marriage and family life, freedom from bondages and addictions, and protection from the darkness in this world. Discover:

  • What causes people to break free from the chains of bitterness and sexual immorality.
  • How you can cultivate godly character and values.
  • How you can flourish in every area of your life when you value the gospel of grace.

Introduction

The way God trains us isn’t by giving us sickness, accidents, or tragedies.

Examples of how He trains us:

  • He causes us to see an ugly characteristic in someone else and opens our eyes to see that we have it too.
  • He allows us to encounter/have experiences with people who have a similar but worse characteristic than we do, e.g. Jacob met Laban, who was dishonest and conniving—just like Jacob (see Gen. 29).

Why does God correct and train us?

God corrects and trains us so that we might be "partakers of His holiness":

“Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:9-11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“partakers of His holiness” — the outcome of yielding to God's correction is that we get HIS holiness. We learn to walk in HIS level of holiness. Whatever we go through in life is to make us more like Jesus (see Rom. 8:28–29).

“afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness” — there is an "afterward." God's correction is not all pain and no purpose. The "afterward" is the fruit of righteousness (notice it is the fruit, not the work; it is an inside-out kind of transformation).

God’s correction brings us back to grace

How do we end up yielding the fruit of righteousness? We receive grace more and more.

Most of the time, we need training because we take our eyes off Jesus. It’s not so much about this sin or that sin. Actually, the real problem is that we take our eyes off Jesus and fall away from grace. And God wants to restore us back to grace.

Grace produces holiness

There seem to be 2 opposing camps today: GRACE vs. HOLINESS.

But nothing could be further from the truth. There is no animosity between grace and holiness. Grace is the root; holiness is the fruit.

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:”

Hebrews‬ ‭12:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Sometimes, preachers use this verse to tell people they’ll lose their salvation unless their behavior is holy. But this cannot be—it's impossible for us to lose our salvation (see John 5:24).

When we are sure of our salvation because of Jesus' finished work, we are under grace. And this grace produces holiness.

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

‭‭I Peter‬ ‭1:13-16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“The grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” — in the Greek, this portion reads, “The grace that is BEING BROUGHT to you IN the revelation of Jesus Christ.” See YLT: “Wherefore having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, hope perfectly upon the grace that is being brought to you in the revelation of Jesus Christ.

When you listen to a Jesus-centred sermon, the revelation of Jesus is being brought to you. Grace is being brought to you.

Grace = God is giving to you. God is working for you, in you, through you. God is supplying what you need. God is dispensing His blessings in your life.

Law = It's all about you giving, you doing, you producing.

It is only when grace is being brought to you that you can be obedient and holy:

“rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct...”

‭‭I Peter‬ ‭1:13-16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

What does holiness really mean? What does it look like in real life?

The opposite of holiness is not sin. It is commonness. The Hebrew word for holy is the word Kadosh, which means to be "set apart."

To be holy is to be uncommon.

Uncommon from the world.

Holiness = uncommonness

When the world is depressed, you have the peace of God.

When marriages are breaking down, yours is filled with the love of God.

When people use profanities, your words are filled with praise and thanksgiving.

When we preach the gospel of grace in its fullness, people's lives are entirely transformed. They begin to live uncommon lives for the glory of God.

Falling short of grace leads to sin—bitterness, fornication, and profanity

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:14-15‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

"see the Lord" — we see the Lord by seeing Him in the Word. It's important to prioritize spending time with Him. Make time to see Jesus in the Word, listen to Jesus-centered sermons, etc.

When our ears and heart are fixed on the right thing, we end up doing the right thing at the right time. We end up living life for the glory of God.

"looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble" — when we see Jesus, we will not fall short of the grace of God and fall into bitterness (which is the opposite of "pursuing peace").

Long before someone is bitter, that person fell short of the grace of God.

How do people fall short from the grace of God?

“You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When you fall from grace, Christ becomes of no effect.

The tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers received from Jesus. The Pharisees, who boasted in their own efforts to keep the law, didn't receive from Jesus.

When you boast in the law/your efforts, you fall short of grace. All the time.

But what about God wanting us to be bold?

Boldness = eyes on Jesus

Self-confidence = eyes on yourself

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:14-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

"lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau" — long before there’s fornication or profanity, there’s falling from grace.

Based on the scriptures in Hebrews 12, some signs that a person has fallen from grace are:

  • The person develops a deep-rooted issue with bitterness
  • The person is challenged in the area of sexual immorality, e.g. lust, porn addictions, affairs

The grace of God produces:

  • Follow peace with all men
  • Holiness

Falling short of the grace of God produces:

  • Bitterness
  • Fornication/Profanity

(*Refer to slide 19 for diagram)

That’s why we need to rediscover God’s grace.

Grace is the highest holiness there is—it brought together a holy God and sinful men.

How do you know you have fallen short of grace?

You are law-conscious and performance-conscious.

There are pastors and leaders today who see their people falling into sin and they believe that the answer is to emphasize the law and good behavior. But that produces even more sin.

Two examples of characters in the Bible who fell into bitterness and sexual immorality because they were law-conscious and performance-conscious:

Esau

Esau fell from grace by being performance-oriented. He despised his birthright and sold it for food, thinking that he would still get the firstborn blessing because he could earn his father's love by his performance (hunting and bringing back game). But Isaac could not give him the firstborn blessing once he had given it to Jacob. As a result, Esau ended up bitter and sexually immoral.

The older brother in the parable of the prodigal son

“So [the older brother] answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:29-30‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“I never transgressed your commandment at any time” — the older brother thought he had to earn (and thought he could actually earn) his father's blessing. But obviously, it's impossible to have "never transgressed."

This law-consciousness and performance-consciousness produced bitterness and lust issues:

"as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him..." — He was bitter about the fact that his father was gracious to his younger brother. And he specifically called out his younger brother's sin of indulging with harlots. People call out things in others because they see those things in themselves. In this statement, the older brother revealed his problem with lust.

His father responded with grace:

“And [the father] said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.'

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The older brother never saw that all that his father had was his. And because he could not see this, the word that his father used on him was "child" (in the Greek)—indicating the lack of ability to fully walk in his inheritance:

“And he said to him, ‘Son (CHILD), you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:31‬ ‭NKJV‬

Contrast this with how the father addressed his younger son who received grace:

“for this my son (FULL-GROWN SON WITH PRIVILEGES) was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:24‬ ‭NKJV‬

The moment we turn back to grace, we become "a full-grown son with privileges," able to access the high life that God has prepared for us.

We have come to the place of grace (Mount Zion), not law (Mount Sinai)

[Cont. from Hebrews 12:14-17 (about how falling short of grace produces fornication and profanity)...]

“For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:18-21‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

"blackness and darkness and tempest" — also refers to the darkness of depression

"the voice of words" — the 10 commandments

"those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore" — the children of Israel were so terrified that they begged Moses to talk to God rather than have God talk to them.

WE HAVE NOT COME TO THIS DARK MOUNTAIN. We have not come to the place of law, judgment, and depression.

Instead, we have come to Mount Zion:

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:22-24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Mount Sinai (law) = Everything is against you.

Mount Zion (grace) = Everything is bright, glorious, and good. And it’s all for you.

(*Refer to Slide 20 for more examples)

Let us have grace!

“See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:25-29‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“See that you do not refuse Him who speaks … from heaven” — Grace is spoken from heaven. The law was spoken on earth. Grace is higher than the law.

"let us have grace" — in the Greek, the word “have” is strong, i.e. "Let us possess, receive, focus on, be unapologetic about grace!”

“let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” — only by grace and by receiving grace can we serve God well, with the right inward posture.

“For our God is a consuming fire” — God will burn everything that’s not of Him so that the things that are unshakable will remain. What's unshakable? Grace, and the things built on the foundation of grace.

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 2018
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.


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