These are notes on the sermon, The Significance Of This Generation (NCC Leadership Conference), preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 15 August 2021, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Pastor Prince shares that if there is a miracle waiting to manifest in the lives of the conference attendees, he believes that they will receive a rhema word that will cause their vision and hope to spring to life. Just like how Mary sat at Jesus’ feet to hear His Word and receive from Him (Luke 10:38–42), as we sit at His feet listening to the word preached, we will receive the rhema word that God wants us to hear in this conference!
Conventionally, when we receive visitors to our home, we set aside everything to serve them. However in Luke 10:38–42, when Jesus came to visit her home, Mary sat at His feet, listening to Him speak. In that day’s culture, this would have been inappropriate, but according to God's culture, the Lord loved it!
On the other hand, Martha was stressed out because she was seeing the demands placed on her to serve the Lord instead of first taking from Him. Often, when we are burdened and stressed out without first receiving His Word, we can become inwardly impatient with Him, leading to us criticizing our spouse and the people around us. This happens when we have the mentality of “I'm pouring out all the time” instead of “God is supplying me,” which causes us to feel stressed and burdened.
The Bible says that Mary did nothing but sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His Word—she was taking in the supply of His Word. She was doing the “one thing needful” that the Lord loved! When Martha complained that Mary was not helping her around the house, the Lord did not rebuke Martha's busyness. Rather, He rebuked her spirit of anxiousness.
Martha was troubled about many things because she didn't do the one thing that Jesus said was needful.
It is possible to do many good and spiritual things, like serving the Lord in your ministry, yet be doing them in the wrong spirit—a spirit of strife or lacking grace. It was Mary who treated Jesus as God (and not a mere man) by sitting at His feet to receive from Him. Mary let the Lord serve her!
And today, Jesus still loves to serve us (Rev. 1:13). Today, we need to learn how to receive more from Him. Beloved, would you let the Lord serve you each day? As you receive abundantly from the Lord, you will start serving Him unconsciously!
This is illustrated by John, who called himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” multiple times in his gospel. Because John was so conscious of the Lord’s love for Him, He was of use to Jesus at the cross (when all the other disciples had fled the scene). Jesus could entrust His earthly mother, Mary, to John’s care before His death.
When people first receive the Lord’s love for them, they don't consciously think of serving, but these are the ones who end up serving the Lord the most. When you receive from the Lord and are touched by grace, you cannot help but talk about Jesus to people around you all the time and minister to them.
People who are feeling depressed and discouraged often feel this way either because they are ignorant (lacking knowledge) or slow of heart to believe (having heard the truth but still not believing). The cure for both of these groups of people is expounding in the Scriptures the things concerning Jesus, just as Jesus did for the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:25–27).
When you expound on Jesus in the Word, you will first begin to know Him, and then you will find yourself because we are placed in Him (1 Cor. 1:30). To have knowledge about our Lord Jesus is of first priority—even more important than knowing yourself or your enemy.
There is no other character that portrays the Lord Jesus more clearly in the Old Testament than that of Joseph. Joseph is a type of who Jesus is today!
During a time of great famine, Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to buy bread and provisions (Gen. 42:1–2). Joseph saw them but before he was willing to save them, he first wanted to find out if his brothers had a change of heart since the time they had sold him away without a care for how it saddened their father. He imprisoned Simeon and only agreed to release him as well as provide the brothers with bread if they brought their youngest brother Benjamin to him (Gen. 42: 6–24).
The name “Simeon” comes from the Hebrew word “shama” which means “hearing.” Israel’s hearing and understanding the gospel has been withheld (Acts 28:25–28).
Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest son, is a picture of all of us believers in the last days! Pastor Prince wants you to see your place in God's plan in these times as part of this generation and understand why God is raising up this grace generation, the Benjamin Generation, all over the world.
The story of Joseph and Benjamin are pictures of the Lord Jesus and us in the Bible, and the apostle Paul also used types (typology) to bring out truths for us today.
When the apostle Paul was sharing from the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar from the Old Testament (Gal. 4:24–26), he states that Hagar is a type of Mount Sinai, where the law was first given (Exo. 34:2), which produces bondage. On the other hand, Sarah represents Mount Zion or the heavenly Jerusalem, where the new covenant of Jesus’ finished work is given (Heb 12:22–24). In other words, Hagar represents the law, while Sarah represents grace.
Paul then goes on to say in Galatians 4:29 that the son that Hagar birthed (Ishmael) persecuted the son that Sarah birthed (Isaac), although both sons had the same father. It is never the son of grace who persecutes the son of the law. It is always the son of law that persecutes the son of grace. People who persecute those who preach grace have the same heavenly Father but not the same mother as them.
There are churches who believe that they need to bring Hagar (the law) back to bring balance to the teachings in the church. However, Sarah (Grace) does not need to invite Hagar back to take care of Isaac as she can do it very well herself (Gal. 4:30). This means that grace does not need the law to raise up Isaac—the law is not necessary to us believers today as we are under grace, under the new covenant (Rom. 7:4).
In a similar analogy to illustrate law and grace, Leah and Rachel were the two sisters who married Jacob (Gen 29:15–30). There were a total of 10 sons (representing the law) that were borne by Leah, her handmaidens, and Rachel’s handmaidens. These 10 sons paint a picture of bondage and represent the law (the Ten Commandments).
In typology, Rachel can be seen either as the church, or a picture of grace. Here, Rachel is a picture of grace (her name means “Lamb”, representing the lamb of God). Eventually, Rachel gave birth to Joseph (a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ) and Benjamin (a picture of us today, believers who are under the grace of God.)
“Leah's eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance.”
— Genesis 29:17 NKJV
“Leah's eyes were delicate” — The word “delicate” is translated as “weak-eyed” in the King James Version. This likely means that Leah was short-sighted.
“For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”
—2 Peter 1:9 NKJV
“shortsighted” — The significance of Leah’s short-sightedness is explained in 2 Peter 1:9. Every time you forget that you are a forgiven and cleansed person, it causes you to be spiritually blind or short-sighted.
The stories of the last judge, Samson, as well as that of the last king of Israel, King Zedekiah, are similar. At the end of their lives, they became physically blind, illustrating how they lost their spiritual sight and turned away from God (Judg.16:21, 2 Kings 25:7).
The last church in the New Testament was the Church of Laodicea (Rev. 3:14–22), whose name means “the people rule.” When the people rule, the leadership has no more say and has to give in to the whims and fancies of the people. This will happen in the last days, where the church is very wealthy but it is not a wealth that comes from God. Instead of confessing that “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” their confession of faith instead is “I am rich and have need of nothing” and God is not in their speech (Rev. 3:17). As a result, the Lord told the Laodicean church that they were spiritually blind—they had lost sight of Him.
Pastor Prince believes that the Church of Laodicea and the Church of Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7–12) will both exist in the last days and it is up to us to choose which one we will belong to. The name “Philadelphia” means “the love of the brothers” and is described by the Lord as a church that has not denied His name, but rather loves the name of Jesus (Rev. 3:8). This church loves to talk about the Lord Jesus, and to see and sing about Him.
Beloved, let’s make the choice that our churches will not be like the Laodicean church, but instead like the church of Philadelphia, lifting up no other name but the name of Jesus Christ!
When Rachel gave birth to her son Joseph, she named him “God will add to me another son.” (Gen. 30:24). She had faith for another son and was already prophesying the coming of her next son, Benjamin. Similarly, when Jesus, our heavenly Joseph, came into this world, God was looking forward to the Benjamin Generation. God was looking forward to you and expectant for such a time as this.
Though there are many young people who are part of this Benjamin Generation, regardless of our age, as believers we are all a part of this generation. This is the generation that God is raising in these last days!
However, the sad truth is that many young people, who belong to the Benjamin Generation, do not even know they are part of it. There are so many young people who are taking their lives these days. With technology, social media, and games, it seems as though this generation has access to pleasure whenever they want. Yet, even with all this pleasure and entertainment at their fingertips, many of them are jaded and asking themselves, “Is this all there is to life?”
In order to drown out the cry in their hearts, many young people distract themselves through means of social media and entertainment. Many of them are afraid of silence and being alone, so they keep themselves occupied through these means. But the truth is that this young generation is looking for more to satisfy the cry in their hearts because they were not designed merely to be filled with entertainment and social media.
“And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-Oni; but his father called him Benjamin.”
— Genesis 35:18 NKJV
“she called his name Ben-Oni” — All throughout church history, the movements have been named by the church, such as “the Joshua Generation,” or “the prophetic generation.” In the Bible, this is represented by Rachel (now represented as the church), naming her son “Ben-Oni” which means ”Son of my Sorrow,” as she was dying.
“his father called him Benjamin” — However, Jacob named him Benjamin instead, which means “Son of my Right Hand”. This illustrates how for the first time, God the Father (represented by Jacob, the father) is naming the generation Himself—the Benjamin Generation.
The naming of this generation by God is significant because it shows us how He is telling us, “You are not the son of my sorrow. You are the son of my right hand—the son of prosperity, power, my grace, and my righteousness, for I've held you with the right hand of My righteousness.”
When Jesus was born, a very old man named Simeon came to see Him and to bless Him (Luke 2:25–33). Once he had seen Jesus, Simeon said, “My eyes have seen your salvation (Yeshua), now let your servant depart in peace.” Simeon, a picture of hearing, also represents the law—summed up in the great commandment, the shema (Mark 12:29, Deut 6:4–5).
The law was glad to see Jesus. Once the law had seen Jesus, it could now depart in peace.
Once Simeon had blessed baby Jesus, Hannah, whose name means “grace,” came next. She “spoke of [Jesus] to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:38). Once the law had departed, grace came, saying to all, “Come, come, see this child! To all who are looking for redemption, this child is the One. He is the One!”
Just as Simeon (hearing) was locked up by Joseph until Benjamin (the generation of grace) was brought to him, a change is now happening. There was a time that Israel’s hearing of the gospel was closed. But today, the ability to hear is coming back to Israel. The Israelis are opening their ears to hear the gospel from the Benjamin Generation! Pastor Prince shares several examples of people he had met on his trips to Israel and the USA who experienced grace and were saved.
Coming back to the story of Benjamin and his brothers:
“So the men took that present and Benjamin, and they took double money in their hand, and arose and went down to Egypt; and they stood before Joseph.”
— Genesis 43:15 NKJV
Eventually, at Joseph’s request, his brothers brought Benjamin to see Joseph as they were in need of bread.
“When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my home, and slaughter an animal and make ready; for these men will dine with me at noon.””
— Genesis 43:16 NKJV
“When Joseph saw Benjamin with them” — Joseph represents our Lord Jesus. For so long, the church has had the same heavenly Father, but not the same mother. Jesus has been waiting to see a generation that has the same mother as Him for so long.
“the steward of his house” — Joseph spoke to an unnamed steward who represents the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has not come to draw attention to Himself, but to glorify Jesus, taking what is Jesus’ and showing it to us (John 16:14).
This is just like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus who felt that their hearts were warmed when Jesus revealed Himself in the Scriptures to them (Luke 24:27, 32). Let’s believe that this will be the experience we have in church every single week!
The Holy Spirit loves Jesus and longs to reveal Him to us. If you want to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, focus on what He is focused on, and agree with what He is agreeing with—then you can walk with Him (Amos 3:3). The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Jesus! When you pray for the sick, always point them back to Jesus by telling them, “It's not me, it’s the Lord who healed you.” Once we have done our part, let’s learn to step back and let people see Jesus’ glory and fall in love with Him themselves.
When Joseph’s brothers returned to Joseph with Benjamin and the money to buy bread, Joseph put the money back into their sacks before they returned home. This shows us how we cannot buy the Bread of Life (John 6:35, Isaiah 55:1).
““And we have brought down other money in our hands to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.””
— Genesis 43:22 NKJV
“We do not know who put our money in our sacks” — The brothers were unaware that their money had been returned to them until they reached home, and did not know who was responsible for it.
Pastor Prince shares the examples of major tech companies that were founded by Jews and are extremely successful today. The Jewish people are some of the wealthiest people in the world, and many groundbreaking ideas have disproportionately come from them compared to the rest of the world. This happened because the Lord Jesus—typified by Joseph—was the one who put the money in their sacks (Gen. 43:23), and many of them are not aware of Who has given them this blessing. God is the One who has blessed the Jewish people with the ability to prosper!
This present generation of Jewish people might not be religious, but they are blessed because of their previous generations’ giving. The Bible says that when you tithe, generations are tithing in you. Levi tithed in Abraham’s loins to the High Priest, Melchizedek, who is also a picture of our Lord Jesus (Heb. 7:9–10).
Some people argue that tithing can be seen as trying to qualify ourselves for blessings. We do not believe this as only Jesus qualifies us for righteousness and blessings. Rather, tithing should be seen as an expression of appreciation and thankfulness.
Pastor Prince shares with the leaders that teaching your church to say “thank you” is not legalism. Expressing thanks is not out of “works” or us trying to earn God’s favor and provision.
Just as children need to be taught to express appreciation, tithing is a way we appreciate the Lord for what He has done, and it is something we can teach and encourage in our churches as well!
The holy Communion is also a form of thanksgiving! The Lord’s Supper is known as the “Eucharist” which means “giving thanks.”
When we tithe, we are thanking God and saying, “Lord, in and of myself, I cannot have this salary or this wealth that I have right now. You are my sponsor and this is how I say, ‘Thank You.’”
It is only when tithing or the holy Communion becomes obligatory to us, that it becomes legalistic. Pastor Prince shared the testimony of his friend, Samuel Smadja, who was diagnosed with a severe form of prostate cancer and began to partake of the holy Communion daily. He asked Pastor Prince how not to make holy Communion legalistic.
Pastor Prince shared how instead of seeing it as a ritual and him coming to the Lord with the elements, He sees Jesus as the one bringing the Communion to him. Just like how Melchizedek, a picture of Jesus, came to Abraham, bringing the bread and wine (Gen. 14:18). The bread and wine were in Melchizedek’s hands, not Abraham’s! Likewise today, don’t see yourself as the one bringing the bread and wine, see it in Jesus' hands—see Him bringing the Communion to you.
As Pastor Prince pictures Jesus waiting for him with the bread and wine in His hands, he asks himself, “Joseph, have you taken your health today? Have you taken your healing today? Have you taken your daily bread today? He’s waiting!”
After receiving the Communion daily, Samuel has been completely healed of every trace of cancer and has received a new lease of life from the Lord. All glory to God!
“But he said, "Peace be with you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money." Then he brought Simeon out to them.”
— Genesis 43:23 NKJV
“Then he brought Simeon out to them” — The moment the brothers increased their knowledge of the Lord and how He had blessed them, Simeon was released. Hearing of the Lord Jesus is coming back to Israel as they learn more about Him!
“Then he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, "Is this your younger brother of whom you spoke to me?" And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.””
— Genesis 43:29 NKJV
“God be gracious to you, my son” — The very first thing that Joseph spoke to his brother Benjamin whom he had not seen for many years is the word that locates the Benjamin Generation: grace.
“Now his heart yearned for his brother; so Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep. And he went into his chamber and wept there.”
— Genesis 43:30 NKJV
“he went into his chamber and wept there” — You have an effect on the Lord that you don't even know of. He loves to hear your voice. We often say, “Time to do prayer,” but God says, “I love to hear your voice.”
King David of the Old Testament knew that he was in a love relationship with God and that God loved to hear his voice (Ps. 5:3). In Song of Solomon 4, the bridegroom (who represents the Lord) told the bride (who represents us), “Just one look from you and my heart is captured. There is no spot in you. Let me see your face, let me hear your voice.” Beloved, this is what prayer is to the Lord and you can enjoy an intimate and loving relationship with Him!
“Then he washed his face and came out; and he restrained himself, and said, “Serve the bread.””
— Genesis 43:31 NKJV
When Benjamin arrived in Egypt as Joseph had asked, bread was released to his brothers! All over the earth today, bread is released. Pastor Prince feels that the Lord is saying to him now, “The Benjamin Generation is here. Serve the bread!”
“Then he took servings to them from before him, but Benjamin's serving was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him.”
— Genesis 43:34 NKJV
“Benjamin's serving was five times as much as any of theirs” — Benjamin received five times more food than his brothers. The fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is “hei,” which has a numerical value of five. Five, or hei, is the number of grace.
“He gave to all of them, to each man, changes of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments.”
— Genesis 45:22 NKJV
“five changes of garments” — This reminds us of Jesus telling the people not to worry about what they will eat or wear (Matt. 6:25) as God will provide. The Benjamin Generation is well-provided for! Spiritually speaking, five changes of garments can also indicate that for a leader, there are five changes of anointing upon them, allowing them to flow prophetically in one place, flow as a teacher in another, and flow as a prophet elsewhere. The manifold grace of God is upon you!
“…you shall tell my father of all my glory…”
—Genesis 45:13 NKJV
“you shall tell my father of all my glory” — Joseph asked his brothers to tell his father of all his glory when he returned home. Worship is us telling Jesus’ Father—our Heavenly Father— all about Jesus and His glory. The Father loves to hear you talk about Jesus. Everything you do must remind Him about Jesus.
Now that the brothers knew who Joseph was, he reconciled with them. The brothers knew why all this had happened to them and repented (Gen. 42:21). With all the power that Joseph held, He drew them near to Him and forgave them (Gen 45:4–5). The time is coming when many will repent and be forgiven by the Lord.
The Benjamin Generation is a generation that could be made up of people whose lives may look like the woman at the well who was living in adultery. In John 4, Jesus chose to teach that woman who was living in sin about worship, instead of Nicodemus, the learned teacher (in John 3). To Nicodemus, Jesus simply told him that even with all his erudite learning, he must be born again (John 3:5–10). Yet to the woman at the well, He was kind, and revealed to her the truth of worship—that those who worship the Father will worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:21–24).
Ultimately, both Nicodemus and the woman served the Lord, but Nicodemus’ journey of conversion to believing Jesus as the Messiah was much slower. It was only when Jesus was buried after His death that Nicodemus began to serve Him (John 19:39). However, for the woman at the well, within a short time of meeting Jesus, was evangelizing to all those around her, telling them to come and see the Messiah (John 4:39).
“Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don't quarrel on the way!””
—Genesis 45:24 NIV
“Don't quarrel on the way!” — Before sending his brothers back to their father, Joseph reminded them not to quarrel on the way. This is a reminder to all of us in the body of Christ, to love one another and not quarrel while Jesus is on the way, coming back for us.
“And they told him, saying, "Joseph is still alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt." And Jacob's heart stood still, because he did not believe them. But when they told him all the words which Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. Then Israel said, “It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.””
— Genesis 45:26–28 NKJV
“Jacob's heart stood still, because he did not believe them” — Often, when we share about Jesus with the people of the world, they may not believe until they see His power for themselves. God wants to manifest His blessings in your life so that people will be able to see it.
“when he saw the carts which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived… “It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive.”” — When you tithe, you proclaim that Jesus, your heavenly Joseph, is alive. (Heb. 7:8). Today, when you tithe, there will be evidence of blessings in your life that testify of our Lord Jesus, so that even people of the world will know that He lives.
“Then Israel said, ‘It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.’” — In Genesis 45:28, when Jacob finally believes the report after seeing the wagons, the Bible now refers to him by his new name, “Israel”. This is also a prophetic picture of how Israel will believe in our Lord Jesus when they see His hand of blessing upon us.
That being said, Pastor Prince does not believe in selfish materialism and hoarding, but being blessed to be a blessing to many lives around the world. He is against preaching the gospel just for the sake of attaining material wealth.
The gospel is the gospel of grace and peace, and Pastor Prince’s broadcast ministry has received many testimonies of precious lives that have been touched and transformed by the Lord Jesus. That’s what the gospel is about! He shares about how the Lord has led people to “chance upon” his broadcast ministry or our church in New Creation, and their lives have been touched by the Lord.
Pastor Prince ends this session with encouraging the leaders that we are the Benjamin Generation that the Lord Jesus has been waiting for, and we can look forward to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in these last days.
“And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-Oni; but his father called him Benjamin.”
— Genesis 35:18 NKJV
Are you struggling with a sense of hopelessness, unfulfillment, and a lack of purpose today? Or perhaps during these difficult times we're living in, you find yourself overwhelmed with a sense of fear, anxiety, or even depression.
Pause for a moment and reflect on this truth—that though Benjamin was initially named “Ben-Oni,” which means “son of my sorrow,” a picture of how you may be feeling like today, your heavenly Father has declared that you are “Benjamin,” which means “son of My right hand.”
Beloved, how do you see yourself today?
Do you see yourself as a person ridden down with sorrow?
Or do you see yourself the way your heavenly Father sees you—as the son or daughter of His right hand?
The right hand in the Bible speaks of a place of righteousness, power, and strength. Today, the Lord wants you to see yourself as the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21), and that all the blessings of the righteousness—including peace, joy, healing, wholeness for your mind are yours to receive (Matt 6:33).
Take some time to meditate on this truth—that you are no longer defined by the sorrow that plagues the world, but you are defined by what your heavenly Father has called you—the son of His right hand. Beloved, when you have a revelation of this truth, you can’t help but step into your calling as part of the Benjamin Generation, and begin to impact the lives of people around you!
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 2021
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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