These are notes on the sermon, Take Back Your Identity In Christ!, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 30 October 2022, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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“There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar. Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you.”
—Genesis 26:1–2 NKJV
“Do not go down to Egypt” — The times that we are living in are similar to the times when the children of Israel were experiencing a famine. Even though there appears to be more troubles and lack (e.g. recession, food shortages, etc.), God instructs us to not go down to Egypt, which is a picture of following the ways of the world. Even as the world continues to experience famine or recession, we as children of God will see more of the provision God has for us in these times.
“Now all these things happened to them as examples (‘tupos’ – types), and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
—1 Corinthians 10:11 NKJV
The events that happened in the Old Testament are examples and types written for our learning and benefit today. Even in these times of lack, we can find the answers to our needs in God’s Word.
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
—Galatians 3:29 NKJV
As believers, we belong to Christ and are therefore Abraham’s seed. Since we are Abraham’s seed, all the promises that God gave to Abraham and his descendants are ours!
The first blessing of Abraham is righteousness. God imputed righteousness to him (Rom. 4:3) and considered him right in His eyes. Every other blessing comes from this.
The second blessing that Abraham received was health and renewal of youth for himself and his wife, Sarah. Even at an old age, Sarah was able to conceive a child (Gen. 21:2). For this to have happened, God must have renewed her youth and restored her health, reversing physical ailments of old age (e.g. menopause). Sarah was also physically beautiful in her old age, to the point where even a heathen king found her attractive. The Bible also tells us that Abraham lived a good long life of 175 years (Gen. 25:7).
The third blessing of Abraham was material blessings. Genesis 13:2 and Genesis 24:35 tell us that God blessed Abraham and he was rich in cattle, silver, and gold. Pastor Prince cautions against materialism for the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10). It can also lead to us developing an insatiable greed for riches. Instead of hoarding these things for ourselves, God wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to others.
When we study Genesis 26 and see how Isaac thrived in a time of famine, we can receive God’s wisdom on how to thrive, be supplied, and enjoy a victorious life as we face the famines in the world today!
”There was a famine in the land, besides the first (רִאשׁוֹן) famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.”
—Genesis 26:1 NKJV
“the first (רִאשׁוֹן) famine” — This first famine refers to the famine that Abraham experienced (Gen. 12:10). The Hebrew translation for “first” is “רִאשׁוֹן (ri'šôn).” The etymology for “רִאשׁוֹן (ri'šôn)” is “רִאשׁ (rō'š)”, which means “head” or “chief.” רִאשׁ (rō'š) is also the same Hebrew word for Russia. This is significant because it tells us that this story of famine that Abraham experienced contains wisdom pertaining to a famine related to Russia. The world right now is experiencing such a famine!
God’s wisdom for us in times of famine is built on the foundation of the finished work of Jesus.
We need to remember that salvation is a gift. In the story of creation, we see that God created man last, on the sixth day, before He rested on the seventh day. God rested because His work was finished. God created man last because He did not want man to boast in his own glory, thinking he had a part to play in creation. Instead, God created man last to enjoy a finished creation! Similarly, we cannot take credit for earning our salvation and forgiveness through our good works and morality. God sees that as pride because the work for our salvation has already been finished and came at a great cost to God—through His beloved Son who died for us at the cross.
Through Jesus’ finished work, we are now new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), created in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24). Because of Adam’s sin, man’s spirit was cut off from God. But through Jesus, our spirits are born again, and we are born again as new creations, established in righteousness and true holiness.
After the first Adam sinned, sin came upon all generations of man, and this is why we see old age, sickness, disease, and death. The troubles we see today (e.g. depression, war) are a result of Adam’s sin. But this is not God’s plan for us. God’s dream is for us to enjoy a perfect paradise as we see in the book of Revelation, where there is a new heaven and new earth, where there is no more sickness or death and we will live forever young, strong, and healthy! This is why Jesus came as the second Adam—to be the new head of a new human race (1 Cor. 15:45–47). As new creations in Christ, all that Jesus has accomplished and every victory He has won are ours to enjoy today!
Who are you identifying yourself with today?
If you identify yourself with inherited issues from your parents or grandparents, you are identifying wrongly with the first Adam instead of the second Adam. God wants you to identify yourself with Jesus!
While it is powerful to acknowledge the deity of Christ, it is also important to understand that He was a man—human—in every way.
Our Lord Jesus was fully man as much as He was fully God. He was born naturally, in the same way as any other child, and He grew up just like us. As Jesus grew in His understanding, He also grew to understand the true purpose for which He was born. Even though He was as human as every one of us, Jesus was sinless, holy, and righteous. He was the only human being who was able to meet all the requirements of God’s law, and He became the perfect sin offering for us on the cross.
The cross was the only way that God could welcome sinful man justly.
Understanding what Jesus accomplished for us at the cross is foundational in knowing how to respond to times of famine. Everything is based on the gospel.
At the cross, Jesus fulfilled the law—He paid the price for all our lawlessness and satisfied the demands of the law. That is how we were brought out from being under the old covenant of the law to being under the new covenant of grace!
Under this new covenant, God’s blessings do not depend on you—your behavior or performance—but depend on the perfect work Jesus has already completed at the cross.
It’s important that we know Jesus died on the cross as a man and rose from the dead as a man. On the cross, He not only bore our sins, but also bore us. We were crucified with Him.
“. . . knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
—Romans 6:6 NKJV
“that our old man was crucified with Him” — Our “old man” refers to our flesh, our old nature that has the propensity to sin.
What many of us struggle with today isn’t so much the outward sins that we commit but the constant uprising urge to sin within us (e.g. urges to lust, anger, or even have blasphemous thoughts that we sometimes experience even in the midst of prayer). In the face of this, it is important to remember that God does not see us in our flesh. God sees us in the Spirit.
“And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
—Romans 8:10 NKJV
"But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you . . ."
—Romans 8:9 NKJV
This means that because we are in Christ, all that is true of Jesus is true of us!
“. . . because as He is, so are we in this world.”
—1 John 4:17 NKJV
“As He is” — God is not referring to Jesus during His earthly ministry on earth, but Christ who is now glorified at the Father’s right hand (Heb. 1:3)!
When we see ourselves in Christ, we are aligning ourselves with the way God sees us: He sees us at His right hand in Christ.
When Jesus died and rose from the dead, He conquered death as a man so death no longer has a claim on us. Jesus was also resurrected as a man. Today in heaven where Jesus is glorified and seated with the Father, He has a new body as a man! A body that can never grow old, never decay, or die.
“. . . when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
—Hebrews 1:3 NKJV
“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”
—Hebrews 10:12 NKJV
Our Lord Jesus purged all our sins. He was the perfect sacrifice that paid for the forgiveness of all our sins forever! The enemy will always try to make us focus on ourselves, our flesh, and the mistakes we make. Instead of condemning ourselves, we need to be conscious that our sins have already been put aside by Jesus’ blood and that we are accepted by the Father and close to Him in the Holy of Holies.
This is the best way to overcome sinful habits or behavior we may still see in ourselves—have the mentality that our sins are forgiven and we are in the loving presence of God.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
—Hebrews 4:16 NKJV
Many often misinterpret this verse to mean that we need to make our way to God, a perspective that makes God seem far away from us. But when read this verse in its context, we see how this was actually written to the unbelieving Hebrews at that time, which was why the word “come” was used. However, as believers today, we are already close to God as the many-membered body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12–13).
“Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”
—Hebrews 9:12 NKJV
Through our Lord Jesus’ finished work, we have been perfected (Heb. 10:14) and made righteous (Rom. 5:17). God will not impute sin to us because it has already been imputed to Jesus at the cross (Rom. 4:8).
“. . . then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
—Hebrews 10:17 NKJV
“no more” — This implies that there was a time in the Old Testament when God remembered man’s sins because they were under the law. But today, under the new covenant of grace, God no longer keeps a record of our wrongs because our righteousness and forgiveness is based on what our Lord Jesus did!
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God accepts us not out of mercy but justice. In accepting us, He demonstrates His righteousness. He is just in making the sinner righteous (Rom. 3:26).
“. . . because as He is, so are we in this world.”
—1 John 4:17 NKJV
This is our reality today!
Yet, many of us are not identifying with Christ and are identifying with our problems. We accept what we go through physically as our reality. For example, we give more weight to what our health report tells us than what the Bible tells us about Jesus' health.
With God, the things that are in the physical realm (such as the things we can see and touch) are temporal, while the things in the spirit realm are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). This includes who we are in Christ. Our current bodies and what we experience in them are temporal. When our Lord Jesus comes back for us again, we will have a brand new glorified body without sickness nor deformities!
We need to identify with our Lord Jesus. Right now, we identify with our Lord Jesus in faith. Some might think that faith is not “real” since we cannot see things which are of faith. However, the spirit realm where we operate in faith is more real than the physical realm. The Bible tells us that faith is the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1)!
Identifying ourselves with the Lord begins with seeing ourselves the way God sees us. Today when God looks at us, He does not see sin on us because His eyes are on the blood of Jesus, the payment for our forgiveness.
This is where faith comes in: see that the part of yourself that likes to sin (the flesh) was finished at the cross of Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:6).
This does not mean that we do not experience sin. But even during times when we feel our flesh/urges to sin rising up, we can be assured that God sees this part of us as dead because it has been finished at the cross. It is important for us to take this position instead of basing our reality on our feelings!
Some of us might even resort to praying against this part of us that has the propensity to sin. While praying is good, such prayers are based on unbelief (we do not believe that our flesh is already dead at the cross), and not based on a revelation of the finished work of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and He cannot bear witness with a prayer that is based on a lie. When we pray to defeat an enemy that has already been defeated, we are not praying in line with God’s truth. In fact, we are negating the Word of God and the work of Christ when we act as though we are still in the flesh! The more we act in unbelief, the more we fall (Gal. 5:4).
When you feel sinful urges, just recognize them as remnants of the flesh that is already gone. Just like you may still feel the motion of waves after you get off a cruise ship, you may still feel the remaining feelings of the flesh. But don’t let that fool you into thinking you are still in the flesh! You are not!
You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit (Rom. 8:9). Your fleshly feelings are not a reflection of who you really are. Identify with the real you that God identifies you with! When Jesus died at the cross, He represented us and died as a substitute for us. So when God raised Him from the dead, He also raised us from the dead without the flesh.
We can overcome sin and live victoriously when we stand firm in our positions in Christ. When we are conscious of our right standing and acceptance before God, we can deal with our sins in our Father’s loving presence instead of running away from Him in fear.
“. . . then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 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 10:17–19 NKJV
When Adam fell, whatever he did became our lot. Likewise, because Jesus is the second Adam, whatever He has, we have too! Since He is today in the Holy of Holies at the Father’s right hand, that is where we are too! We are already in the Holy of Holies. Being in the Holy of Holies means that we are always in God’s presence, always accepted and loved.
When you realize that you are always accepted, loved, righteous in Christ, and always in God’s presence, you can judge your sin.
“And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
—1 John 5:6 NKJV
The Holy Spirit can only bear witness with God’s truth. Sometimes, we may find our prayers going unanswered because they are not in alignment with God’s truth, e.g. praying as though we are far away from God. This is not true and the Holy Spirit cannot bear witness with a lie.
When we pray “in Jesus’ name,” we are not using these words as a magical formula. To pray “in Jesus’ name” actually means to pray as if you are in Jesus’ position—seated at the Father’s right hand!
Having faith is not about believing something that isn’t real into existence. Faith is substantiating what is already true and present in the Spirit realm. It is to act as if God is near, God is hearing every prayer, and all your sins are forgiven.
Only when you know this truth can you put to death the sinful deeds of the body. Revelation comes before action.
Going back to the famine that Abraham experienced (Gen. 26:1)—this is a picture of a famine related to our times, a time when Russia is prominent.
There may be some of us who are very worried about what will happen in the near future with regards to Russia. The prophet Ezekiel gives us insight into this and assurance for our times.
In his prophecy, Ezekiel foretold a war that would take place beyond our time.
“Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.”
—Ezekiel 38:1–3 NKJV
“Gog” — While this word translates to mountain, the etymology of “Gog” means expansion.
“Magog” — The root word of “Magog” means extension.
“prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” — “Rosh” refers to Russia, Meshech is Moscow, and Tubal is Tobolsk in Russia.
This prophecy assures us that in our time, there will not be a great nuclear war that will wipe out mankind. This is because Ezekiel 38 has not happened yet, so everything cannot come to an end. Ezekiel 38 ends with God’s victory over the nations that come against Israel. A great way we can prepare ourselves for the times we are living in is to study Bible prophecies so that we will not be alarmed by what is happening.
In the coming weeks, Pastor Prince will continue to share on how we can prepare ourselves in this time of famine. These truths can only be beneficial to us when we are first established in our identity in Christ—as a child of God in the Holy of Holies, accepted forever, perfected forever, with a purged conscience.
Everything in the natural may tell you that nothing has changed and that you’re the same person with the same habits. But what is important is what God sees and says about you—that you are in Christ, seated at His right hand.
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
—Psalm 110:1 NKJV
“Sit” — This is a posture of rest.
When a new problem or trouble arises, rest. Sit down and thank the Father for dealing with it. Our part is to labor to enter His rest (Heb 4:11)!
This week, practice this: remember who you are and rest. When you pray, be conscious that you are close to your heavenly Father. You are in the Holy of Holies. It’s not about how loud or quiet, how hard or soft, you pray. He hears you.
“Heavenly Father, I confess Jesus Christ is my Lord, my Savior. I thank You that Christ bore my sins on that cross in His own body. He died, and that was my death. I died with Him. And when You raised Him from the dead, You raised me in Him. And today, Jesus Christ is alive, seated at Your right hand, and that's where You have seated me also. Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior and my God. Thank You, Father. I love You because You first loved me. Amen.”
“This coming week, God gives you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you be strengthened with all might according to His glorious power, and to all endurance and patience with joy. God strengthens you that Christ may dwell in your heart by faith, that you may know the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and the exceeding greatness of that resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Are your feelings lying to you?
“I always mess up. I’m never good enough.”
“It’s been years. I’ll never get out of this bad habit.”
“My marriage is a mess and there’s no fixing it.”
“With the economy the way it is, I’m in for a hard time.”
“This disease is hereditary. It’s just my lot in life.”
“When I pray…God feels so far away.”
When adversity hits and our emotions rage within us, it’s easy to let them define how we see our circumstances, and more importantly, ourselves. So often, we end up seeing ourselves trapped, powerless, inadequate, and without help. And once we identify ourselves this way, we can’t help but respond to our challenges from a position of defeat.
That’s why it’s so important to know that our feelings don’t always tell the truth. The only thing we can rely on to be true and remain true in every situation and season is God’s Word.
And God’s Word tells us that Jesus’ finished work on the cross has put us in a position of victory—where we are righteous in Christ, fully accepted and loved by our heavenly Father, under an open heaven of His blessings and provisions, close to Him, and always able to ask for His help in times of need!
When you choose to believe this unchanging truth, that’s choosing faith over feelings. And that’s how you start walking in the victory and breakthroughs God has for you!
So this week, while it may feel like nothing has changed because you’re still the same person with the same struggles…start seeing yourself differently. Identify yourself with what God’s Word and Jesus’ finished work says about you, and approach each day and each challenge from a position of victory!
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.
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These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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