These are notes on the sermon, The Power of Forgiveness Brings Freedom, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 21 June 2020, 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 Father’s Day. To all the dads, blessed Father’s Day!
Pastor Prince begins the service by declaring a blessing over all the fathers:
“Heavenly Father, I thank You for every father under the sound of my voice that is watching this right now. I’m praying, Father, on their behalf, that in the name of Jesus, You will cause them, in spite of all the negative events that have happened this year, to experience good days until the end of the year.
In Jesus’ name, I pray, Father in heaven, for those who are struggling with their health, Lord, in any part of their body, in Jesus’ name, that You will heal them even right now, Father. Grant them a fresh infusion of strength and renewal of youth like the eagles, Father.
I pray in Jesus’ name, Father, that You will banish every thought in their minds that they are growing older, that they are aging faster than they realize, or thoughts of a bleak future. I pray, Father, that You banish all these dark thoughts from their hearts and minds, in Jesus’ name, and let Your light shine in, Lord—Your light, Lord, where You say, “I know the thoughts I have for you, thoughts of good and not evil” (Jer. 29:11).
I pray, Father, that those thoughts of good from Your Father’s heart will just be imparted to all the fathers right now, in Jesus’ name. And they will start to see their future with Your eyes, Lord—they’ll see themselves healthy, strong, prosperous, and walking in intimacy with You, their heavenly Father.
I pray in Jesus’ name, for those who feel that they have failed at parenting, for those who feel that they have not been a good father. In Jesus’ name, Father, I pray that You remove that guilt that they are under, and I pray that You reveal to them that You have forgiven them, Father, of all those things.
Have that revelation in Jesus’ name, and receive that assurance that your sins are removed. They are sent away far away from you through the blood of Christ, and start standing tall, amen, in the gifting and the anointing of God, the charisma of God, and start to know that from this day, it will be different—what is past, is past, amen. You will be a good father because His grace is working in you right now.
And I pray in Jesus’ name, that God works in you both to will (giving you the willingness) and to perform His good pleasure. And from this day forth, He will continue to work in you and make you the kind of parent He wants you to become, the kind of father He wants you to become, the kind of husband He wants you to become, the kind of man He wants you to become, in Jesus’ name.
I pray, Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus, grant to them, Lord, a vision of hope, of positive expectation of their future. Thank You, Father, in heaven, in Jesus’ name. And I commend them into Your loving hands, Father, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
We are reminded to love and honor our parents:
“‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’”
— Ephesians 6:2–3 NKJV
“Honor your father and mother . . . that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” — As children, God calls us to honor and love both our father and mother. When you honor this promise, God honors you, and you will live long and see good days ahead.
During these times when COVID-19 has taken the world by surprise, we as believers can hold on to this promise: God is never blind-sided by the enemy’s attack. He knows every future event that will happen. Though He is not behind the virus, He is working His plans and purposes for our good through this time.
As a child of God, you have an inheritance. In moments when you feel discouraged, know that God still works all things together for your good (see Rom. 8:28). “All things” includes moments when you feel down, depressed, and confused by what’s happening in the world.
Even as the world grows darker with negative news, God promises us that the church will be the one that shall arise and shine amid the darkness.
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.”
— Isaiah 60:1-2 NKJV
“darkness shall cover the earth” — When there is darkness all around, the focus comes back to the church.
“The Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you” — Right now, the church is going through an unparalleled time in history, where it is being disrespected and dishonored. Sometimes it’s because of what people in the church have done, but nevertheless, the Lord is going to restore honor to the church at this time. His glory will rise upon it.
As believers, we can look forward to good days ahead:
“The triumphing of the wicked is short…”
— Job 20:5 NKJV
Rest in this truth—the joy of the Lord in you shall be your strength, and all of God’s plans for you are good. God doesn’t plan something He won’t execute.
We are reminded to pray God’s will into our lives, which is for us to “prosper and be in health, even as [our] soul prospers” (3 John 1:2).
In this sermon, Pastor Prince brings a word of encouragement and revelation to those of us who might be harboring bitterness toward a loved one, or those of us who have found ourselves being impatient in our relationships, arguing with or thinking bad thoughts about our spouse or family members.
Sometimes, we feel bouts of bitterness and resentment toward our family members, and more so during these times when we have been staying home due to the lockdown (in an effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus). How we choose to respond to these negative feelings and situations actually shows us what we truly believe about the new covenant of grace.
Today, God wants to show us how understanding our complete forgiveness of sins causes us to respond to those around us with love.
We see the goodness of Jesus’ forgiveness in this passage:
“One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!’ Then Jesus answered his thoughts. ‘Simon,’ he said to the Pharisee, ‘I have something to say to you.’
‘Go ahead, Teacher,’ Simon replied.”
— Luke 7:36–40 NLT
Backstory: This story happened when Jesus was invited by one of the Pharisees to his house. Pharisees were people who knew the law, observed meticulously any deviation from the law, and even had their own laws added to the law. During the dinner at this Pharisee’s house, a woman with an immoral and sinful past came to Jesus, wept on His feet, and anointing His feet with expensive perfume. Even before the woman introduced herself, Jesus knew who she was, and what kind of past she had lived.
The Pharisee immediately judged this woman harshly in his heart, and Jesus knew what he was thinking. This is how Jesus responded to him:
“Then Jesus told him this story: ‘A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave (‘charizomai’) them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?’ Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.’
‘That’s right,’ Jesus said.”
— Luke 7:41–43 NLT
The story Jesus told demonstrates the difference in thankfulness between two people who had their debts canceled. The one who owed more (500 pieces of silver) would be more thankful, for he was forgiven of a much larger debt.
Today, when you realize the vast extent of how much Jesus has forgiven you, you will overflow with love for the Lord.
“kindly forgave (‘charizomai’)” — The phrase “kindly forgave” in the original Greek language is “charizomai,” which means to graciously forgive.
The King James Version describes forgiveness this way:
“Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most, And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged (‘krino’).
— Luke 7:43 KJV
“rightly judged (‘krino’)” — The phrase “rightly judged” is the Greek word “krino,” which means to distinguish properly.
What is judging rightly in God’s eyes? Judging rightly is realizing that the one who is forgiven much will love Him much.
Luke 7 continues with Jesus saying:
“Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. ‘I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.’ Then Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ The men at the table said among themselves, ‘Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?’ And Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’”
— Luke 7:44–50 NLT
Back in Jesus’ time, upon entering a house, hosts would wash their guests’ feet (which were dusty from walking around) and pour perfume on their feet. However, in Luke 7, the Pharisee who invited Jesus for dinner didn’t do the customary actions, which showed his dishonor for Jesus and the way he treated others.
“her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love” — Compared to the Pharisee, the woman who came to Jesus excelled in terms of serving and loving the Lord. The reason she loved Jesus much was that she knew that Jesus loved her much. Because she knew how greatly forgiven she was (from a previous encounter with Jesus), she came to Jesus to express her love for Him.
Likewise, we as believers want to live a life that glorifies Jesus and fulfills God’s greatest commandment—which is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (see Matt. 22:37).” The very next commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (see Matt. 22:39).
As believers, we desire to do this, yet we fall short.
When God gave the law, God knew that man could not fulfill it. The law is like a mirror that shows us our weaknesses but cannot change them. The law was given to show us how far we fall short of God’s standard and to show us our need for the Lord Jesus in our lives.
Though we hope to love and serve the Lord well, we can only do so when we know this truth:
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
— Hebrews 8:12 NKJV
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.”
— Colossians 2:13 ESV
“having forgiven us all our trespasses” — Only Jesus who lives outside time can forgive you of all your sins—past, present, and future.
At the cross, Jesus paid the price of your sins and redeemed you. The law of double jeopardy states that sins cannot be tried twice—so God would be unjust if He tried the same sin twice. Since God judged all your sins in Jesus’ body, He cannot judge them in yours!
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
— Romans 8:1 ESV
God sees everything from beginning to end—He sees all our sins on Jesus at the cross, all forgiven.
When you understand how deeply forgiven you are, you will live out these benefits:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases.”
— Psalm 103:1–3 NKJV
“forgives all your iniquities . . . heals all your diseases” — Before healing manifests in your body, the forgiveness of sins takes place. Look at the man who was lame in his feet: Jesus declared his forgiveness of sins before telling him to rise up and walk out his healing (see Mark 2:5–12).
Knowing you have been forgiven of all your sins breaks the power of sin over your life and enables you to experience the Lord’s love fully. When you catch this revelation, you will end up loving and serving the Lord well.
We love the Lord because He first loved us.
Today, because of Jesus’ blood, you have a righteous foundation to stand upon for the forgiveness of all your sins.
Before God sent Jesus to earth to bring us under the new covenant (grace), He gave the Ten Commandments through Moses. The reason God initiated the Ten Commandments first was so that we could appreciate grace. Without the law, no one would be able to understand what sin is and what Jesus died for.
The law is holy, pristine, and glorious, and we have all fallen short of it and broken all its commandments. The law’s purpose was to show us that we are sinners who need God’s grace (see Rom. 5:20), and we can freely receive His grace and forgiveness through Jesus’ finished work. Now, we can see what grace is all about.
When you fail, you need to realize how forgiven you are! When you believe that God has forgiven you, you will have the courage and boldness to come into the presence of the Lord.
The more you walk with the Lord, the more you will end up living a life of grace that produces love and excellence that the law could never produce in you.
As believers, we want Jesus to be involved in our lives and help us navigate through it.
Maybe you just lost your temper, and your flesh (sinful nature) is reminding you of the wrong you did, and you are regretting your actions. While the enemy will try to attack you with self-condemning thoughts, remember that God Himself does not do any fault-finding.
God cannot find any fault in you today because His holiness is on your side through Jesus’ death at the cross. Every sin—past, present, and future—has been put on the body of Christ, and all of God’s holiness and righteousness was fully satisfied because of the judgment that fell on Jesus’ body.
The work has been finished! The word “finished” is in the perfect tense, which means that this act can never be repeated. The judgment of God was fully exhausted on Jesus at the cross, and Jesus’ blood has fully met all the divine requirements of God’s holiness in our lives. By the death of Christ, God has been glorified in every way.
Today, because God is righteous, He cannot punish you once you’ve put your trust in Jesus Christ. This is the truth that will set you free from sin’s condemnation, and when you believe right, you will live right.
This teaching does not cause people to sin more. It causes people to fall in love with Jesus and it causes sin to stop being perpetuated in their lives through condemnation. When people are under grace, sin has no hold on them and they end up living holy lives effortlessly!
The Lord’s holiness is now on our side, just like it was on the Israelites’ side on the night of the first Passover in Egypt.
During this time, the Israelites were enslaved by Pharaoh. Despite multiple warnings from Moses, Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go. Finally, God sent a plague that caused the death of all of Egypt’s firstborn children. It happened during the night that the Passover was instituted, where every household was told to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and applied its blood onto the doorpost and lintel of their house. This application formed a picture of the cross. When the angel of death came, all of the Israelites were protected (see Exod. 12).
“Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
— Exodus 12:13 NKJV
“when I see the blood, I will pass over you” — The blood of the lamb on the doorpost and lintel of each house protected the family inside regardless of the family’s right or wrongdoings. The blood was proof that a lamb had died so that the firstborn of the family would not have to. In the same way, the blood of Jesus (the true Lamb of God and God’s firstborn Son), proves that there has already been a sacrifice in our place and we no longer need to fear judgment.
God never comprises His righteousness. When you put your faith in Jesus’ blood, He is righteous in making you righteous!
When you realize your righteousness in Christ, you will realize the benefit of being forgiven of all your sins. This is the source, the foundation, and the springboard of all of God’s blessings in your life!
“Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
— Psalm 103:4–5 NKJV
“redeems your life from destruction . . . your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” — These physical benefits come after you realize that you have been completely forgiven of all your sins.
Pastor Prince shares a testimony from a pastor he knows who was suffering from continuous headaches, migraines, and sleepless nights caused by his condition. He was also under a lot of condemnation and could not forgive himself for many things. However, when he caught a revelation of how God had already forgiven him fully of all his sins, and when he believed this truth in his heart, he was able to forgive himself. What happened after was that he experienced his breakthrough of healing! Years later, he still testifies of his complete deliverance from headaches and migraines.
This testimony is to show that understanding your forgiveness in Christ brings the benefit of health in every area of your life. However, please note that it is not to say that if you are suffering from sickness, the reason is that you lack the belief that you have been forgiven.
Pastor Prince shares that a professor of psychiatry once told him that many believers had suffered from mental health challenges after believing that they had committed the unpardonable sin. Pastor Prince goes on to share the story of how he too once thought (as a teenager) that he had committed the unpardonable sin after reading about it in a book. Due to that wrong belief, he started experiencing negative thoughts about God. The more he tried to rebuke every wrong thought, the more he struggled with his thoughts. It started all because he didn’t believe in the forgiveness of all his sins, which were past, present, and future.
The old covenant was written to the Jews, but for us, when we read it today, we need to understand and discern that those truths were written for the time before Jesus came. When Jesus came, He brought about the new covenant that we live under today. With that understanding, we can benefit from reading the old covenant, for it is full of encouraging truths.
What applies to us today under the new covenant are the letters of Paul, for they are the words of Jesus.
Paul preached repentance toward God:
“testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
— Acts 20:21 NKJV
What is repentance toward God? It is believing in Jesus. The word “repent” is the Greek word “metanoia,” which means to “change your mind.”
You cannot turn to Jesus without repenting from sin. When you turn to Jesus, you are turning away from sin. You cannot do one without the other. When Jesus was walking on earth, He did not ask people to repent by bringing up all their sins in order to receive salvation. Salvation comes by turning to Him and believing on Him.
When you change your mind about forgiveness of sins, when you believe that Jesus has really paid for your sins (past, present, and future), you will think of God differently—that He is not out to judge or impute judgment to you. When you believe that, the result is love toward God, which is the fulfillment of the law.
“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged…”
— Proverbs 16:6 KJV
Pastor Prince shares wisdom for marriage.
Marriage is all about forgiving each other over and over again. Bear and forbear. Forgiveness is the foundation of love. Just like how God does not impute sin (our wrongdoings) to us, let us not impute sin (wrongdoings) to our spouse.
But we can only forgive freely when we know how freely forgiven we are by God.
Nothing you do can ever separate you from God’s love (see Romans 8:38–39).
Know that God has forgiven you of all your sins. So don’t allow the guilt of your mistakes to affect your relationship with God or your family members. It’s time to change your mind (repent) from this mindset, and stop living in the past.
Pastor Prince closes the service by emphasizing that we have been forgiven of all our sins, and to reciprocate that forgiveness to our friends and family members. When you have a revelation of how forgiven you are by the Lord, you will be able to forgive others and live a life that overflows with love for one another.
“This coming week, the Lord bless you with the blessings of father Abraham. The Lord bless you with the blessings of Deuteronomy 28—because all your sins are forgiven—the Lord bless you with good health, the Lord bless you such that whatever you do prospers, while every weapon formed against you shall not prosper. The Lord bless you with peace of mind, great shalom well-being.
The Lord bless you with an intimate walk, an intimacy with Him that comes as a gift, amen. The Lord keep you this week, preserve you and your loved ones throughout this week from the COVID-19 virus every time you are out, in the name of Jesus, the Lord keep you throughout this week. The Lord bless you and keep you from all evil. The Lord make His face shine upon you, be gracious to you, because all your sins have been forgiven through the blood of His Son, and grant to you and your loved ones shalom peace, 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 2020
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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