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Official Joseph Prince Sermon Notes

The Spirit-Active Life—How To Make Spirit-Led Decisions

Sunday, 5 August 2018
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These are notes on the sermon, The Spirit-Active Life—How To Make Spirit-Led Decisions, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 5 August 2018, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

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Ever wondered how to hear the voice of God and make spirit-led decisions?

We hope these notes will help you understand:

  • How being under grace will cause you to live a spirit-active life
  • How to follow the promptings of the Spirit and do the right thing at the right time
  • How the Spirit can guide you through every trial you’re facing

In this sermon, Pastor Prince talks about how the Holy Spirit can teach you all things and lead you into all the blessings and breakthroughs that God has prepared for you!

The service opens with a time of ministry

Ps Prince prayed over various physical conditions at the start of the service:

  • Tumors and growths
  • Severe ulcers in the mouth
  • Knee, elbow, and joint conditions
  • Gastric—precipitated by stress

Other prayers:

  • Provision for someone who has been retrenched
  • Advice to someone who has been receiving attention / flattery from a colleague to not go down this road

Introduction to the sermon

There’s a misconception that if you’re under grace, doing any kind of work means that you are under law. But the Bible says that the “hand of the diligent makes rich” (Prov. 10:4).

Being under grace does not mean “doing nothing”

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

—‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:23–24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Don’t mistake diligence (doing your work heartily) as being under the law.

Whatever you do at work, do it “as to the Lord,” not to men (e.g. your boss). Even in the mundane and menial tasks, say, “Lord, I’m doing this for you.”

Your reward is from the Lord (not from your boss)—whatever you do at work does not go unnoticed by the Lord.

Under grace, the Lord leads you through His Word, by His Spirit, and with godly counsel

The Lord leads us through His Word

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.

—‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭48:17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Whatever you’re facing today, the Lord has wisdom for you in His Word. He leads you from His Word and by the preaching of His Word.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

—Joshua 1:8 NKJV

Good success” — You will have good success when you meditate on God’s Word. Today, good success means you don’t lose your family and your health along the way.

This Book of the Law…” — Notice that God said, “this book,” not, “that book.” This shows that Joshua was already reading God’s Word. God didn’t say, “That book of the law on your shelf…” So it was when Joshua was reading God’s written word that he heard God’s spoken word.

When we read God’s written Word, we’ll hear His spoken Word.

Many of us want to hear God’s spoken word, but we don’t realize that we need to open the Word. God speaks from His Word and from the preaching of His Word.

It’s good for us to read the Bible daily, even when we don’t feel like. When we open the Word, God speaks.

When God speaks to you, He teaches you to profit. When He teaches you to profit, you’ll profit in every area of your life—your family, social life, health, career, etc.

Sin always destroys the good and the profit God wants to bring you.

If you are on drugs, you are destroying your temple. Don't be smoking, taking drugs, doing things that destroy your body. Don’t say, “I can stop it anytime.” See that there’s a problem and ask God to help you. Receive His grace to deliver you from this.

The Lord leads us by His Spirit

What happens when we are led by His Word and His Spirit? We might be busy on the outside, but we’re restful on the inside.

Just like the Tabernacle in the Old Testament:

Outer court = a place bustling with activity, very busy

Holy of holies = still, peaceful, perfect calm in this place

We are not meant to just do nothing, to be inactive, to not work. Even the apostle Paul—the apostle of grace—said, “... If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thess. 3:10).

Rest is not inactivity. Rest is Spirit-directed activity.

Examples of rest (Spirit-directed activity):

  • If you’re sitting at home doing nothing and you feel frustrated, that’s God telling you to get up and do something, perhaps start looking for a job.
  • Sometimes if you don’t discipline your child when he’s rude or misbehaving, you become frustrated. You might think you’re showing grace (or being at rest) by not correcting your child, but the frustration inside is actually the Spirit of God leading you to discipline him. And when you act on that prompting, there’s rest in your spirit.

The Lord leads us with godly counsel

Many times, we want God to speak directly to us, but He wants us to humble ourselves and be open to hear from our church leaders and counselors.

God uses people—leaders in your church—to help you, lead you, and teach you.

When you’re going through a difficult season, consult godly counsel.

Even the wisest man who ever lived (second only to our Lord Jesus), Solomon, sought counsel. In 1 Kings 4, right after receiving wisdom from the Lord in the previous chapter, Solomon surrounded himself with wise men. Many of these wise men were remembrancers—in the Hebrew, “zakar,” referring to men who would record whatever happened in the courts and would remind the king of these things. And the first wise man mentioned was the priest. Today, we can liken Solomon to a successful businessman who still prioritizes spiritual counsel from his pastors and leaders.

There was a man in the Bible named Amasai who became a mighty man because he pledged himself to David and allowed himself to be led by him.

“Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the captains, and he said:

‘We are yours, O David;

We are on your side, O son of Jesse…”

—1 Chronicles 12:18 NKJV

Submission leads to an increase in wisdom and favor.

In the church, there is accountability. If you’re going through trouble, consult your leaders and listen to them.

Even Jesus submitted to His leaders when He was 12. He wasn’t preaching, He was listening to the rabbis and asking questions—behavior fitting of a 12-year-old. And when His earthly parents came to get Him, He followed them, being “subject unto them,” and the Bible says He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

When Esther in the Bible submitted to Hegai, whose care she was under, and told him she didn’t want anything but what he recommended, she found great favor with the king and all who saw her (see Est. 2:15). When you submit, favor is released.

Before honor is humility.

Humility is the willingness to submit, to learn, and to accept correction.

You are under grace and not law when you are led by the Spirit

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

—‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

— Galatians 5:18 NKJV

If you’re worried that what you’re doing is you being under the law, here’s how you know you effectively are NOT under the law: you are led by the Spirit (see Gal. 5:18).

It’s not true that if you’re working, then you’re under law. When you’re working out of being led by the Spirit, you’re not under law. You’re under grace.

Grace = God supplying.

Law = God demanding, and you meeting that demand with your own effort.

There are 2 ways you can do things:

  1. Feeling demanded from and stressed out.
  2. Conscious of God supplying you the means to work. Supplying you the charisma, the wisdom, and everything that you need.

Notice that in both scenarios, you’re working. But it’s your inner posture as you work that puts you under grace or law.

You’re under grace when instead of thinking, “I have so many things to do today,” you can tell the Lord, “I have so many needs, so Lord I’ll see Your greater supply today. I expect it!”

Just because you’re doing something or working hard at something doesn’t mean you’re under law. Don’t mistake diligence for being under the law.

How to be led by the Spirit as you work

Question: “If I feel God asking me to do something, isn’t that demand? Isn’t that law?”

When God tells you to do something, you obey Him by flowing with Him. You are a co-labourer with God:

“For we are God’s fellow workers…”

—1 Corinthians 3:9 NKJV

Without us, God can do anything but that’s not His way. He works with us. We can’t supply any power/anointing/wisdom. Our part is to simply obey Him. Follow Him.

A picture of flowing with God is found in Matthew 11:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

—Matthew 11:28–30 NKJV

This verse gives us the picture of a young ox being yoked to an older, more experienced ox. In Jesus’ time, when a farmer wanted to train a younger ox, he would pair the younger ox with an older, more experienced ox. He would place a beam (or yoke) across the two of them, so that when the older ox moved, the younger one would follow—when the older ox walked toward a pool of water to drink, the younger ox would follow.

We are the younger ox, Jesus is the older ox. Sometimes, Jesus leads us to “drink” by giving us a prompting on the inside to read the daily devotional or to read the Bible. Don’t just say, “I’ll do it later.” Obey His prompting. Sometimes, when you decide to do it “later,” the flow isn’t there anymore.

Being accountable and seeking counsel is important, but God also wants every believer to be led by the Spirit. We seek godly counsel to confirm what we heard in the Spirit. The Spirit and godly counsel will never tell you to do anything that contradicts the Word.

The Holy Spirit teaches you ALL things

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

—‭‭John‬ ‭14:26‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

3 things about the Holy Spirit:

  1. He teaches you all things. ALL = ALL. What do you need help in today? The Holy Spirit is your teacher.
  2. He brings to remembrance whatever Jesus has spoken to you.
  3. He glorifies Jesus, not man (John 16:14). He wants your entire person, your life, your family, to radiate with the glory of God.

What happens when you’re led by the Spirit? We will live lives according to His will. What’s His will? When Jesus said the Lord’s prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10), what did He mean? In heaven, there are no hospitals. People walk on streets of gold. This is God’s will for your life too—health, wholeness, provision.

Sometimes we don’t listen to the promptings of the Spirit on the inside and we have to deal with the consequences—whether it’s regarding the food we eat or the lifestyle we indulge in.

The ways of grace—what to do when you’re going through a trial

1. Ask God for wisdom

Don’t go through a trial not asking God for wisdom. You need it. Don’t say, “I can handle it. I have resources in the natural that can solve this problem.”

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

‭‭—James‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

God delights in you asking for wisdom. When Solomon asked for wisdom, his speech pleased the Lord (1 Kings 3:10). Today, when you ask God for wisdom, God will give it to you “liberally”!

It’s only after you ask God for wisdom that you can take the next step and experience His Spirit leading you.

2. Listen to the Spirit

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

‭‭—John‬ ‭14:26–27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Right after the Bible talks about the Spirit leading you, it talks about peace. Why?

The Holy Spirit teaches on the wavelength of peace.

If you start doing something and there’s no peace, don’t pursue it.

As believers, peace should be our default mode. When your peace is affected, you know something’s wrong. Let the peace from Christ act as umpire continually in your heart (see Col. 3:15 AMPC), giving you a yes or no, a green light or red light. Peace keeps you on the right track.

3. Consult godly counsel

After weighing the pros and cons of your situation, consult your pastors and leaders. He that walks with wise men shall be wise (Prov. 13:20). In the multitude of counselors there is safety (Prov. 11:14).

4. Take action

The Spirit will lead you as you take action.

But in order to flow easily with the Spirit, you first need to know that you are a son or daughter of God, and He is your Abba Father.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons (in the Greek, “huios,” mature sons) of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption (sonship) by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.””

—‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:14–15‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Our Abba Father is here now. He’s not far away. He’s close to you. He’s family.

The name “Father” is higher than all the names of God we learned in the Old Testament—glorious and reverential as they are. “Father” is higher.

You should feel loved whenever you call Him “Father.” When you know you’re loved, when you know you’re a son or daughter, it becomes so much easier to be led by the Spirit.

The Spirit leads you as you take the first step.

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

—‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

bears witness” — One can only bear witness to something that has already happened.

The first and most important thing that the Holy Spirit bears witness to is that we are saved, and we are children of God.

What about other things in life?

In order for the Spirit to bear witness (lead you), you have to take action.

God can’t guide a parked car.

For example:

  • If you’re a student, study. Then God can lead you as you are doing your work. For example, you might hear Him say to you, “Don’t spend too much time here. Go to the next chapter.”
  • If you want a life partner, go to church and meet people, don’t just sit around and wait for God to bring the person to your doorstep. Many heroines in the Bible found their husband “at the well” (which represents the church).
  • If you want to get a job, go for interviews. Get a sense of the interviewer from the way he/she speaks and the environment. Then you’ll know whether the life inside you regarding that place of employment shrinks or grows.

Rest is not inactivity. Rest is Spirit-directed activity.

Just because something is hard doesn’t mean you’re coming under the law doing it.

We brush our teeth and take a shower every day—even when we get home late, we’re exhausted, and we don’t feel like it—because they’re good for us.

If there’s no action, there’s nothing for the Holy Spirit to bear witness to.

Examples of people in the Bible who were led by the Spirit as they did the work they were given:

1. Prophet Samuel

When God told Samuel to find and anoint the next king for Israel, He said, “I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.” (1 Sam. 16:3).

Samuel didn’t know who it was until he went through the process of going to Jesse’s house, looking at all of Jesse’s sons, and allowing God to show him who the next king was.

God doesn’t bypass the process.

As you go through the process, the Spirit will bear witness to you.

2. Apostle Paul

Paul was directed by the Spirit not to preach in Asia, but in Macedonia first (Acts 16:6–10). There is a right time to do things and the Spirit will show you.

Another time, Paul warned the men on a ship bound for Rome that the voyage would “end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives,” (Acts 27:10), but they didn’t listen. True enough, a tempest arose, and Paul told them, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.” (Acts 27:21–22). They ended up on the island of Malta, which means “honey.”

Malta is a picture of the land flowing with milk and honey—the promised land. A good place.

You can reach your destination peacefully when you follow the Lord, or on drifting planks after a tempestuous journey that could’ve been avoided.

Don’t just do the good thing. Do the God thing.

There’s a good thing and then there’s a God thing. Sometimes, the good thing is the enemy of the God thing. When you follow the Spirit instead of human reasoning, you will end up doing the God thing. He knows what’s best.

Ps Prince shares his own experience of learning how to be led by the Spirit years ago.

He shares how his peace got affected when he drove past an elderly man crossing a road divider. God gave him love and compassion for the man, so he drove back to him and helped him.

The Holy Spirit leads us with peace and love. 1 Corinthians 14:1 tells us to follow after love. Not just “be loving,” but follow after love as though love was a Person.

What does this mean?

When you have compassion for someone, take action. If someone comes to your mind and you feel compassion for them, text them. Reach out. If you see a cleaner and you feel compassion, bless him or her with some money. A little kindness goes a long way.

As a child of God, you can hear God’s voice and follow His Spirit

As a child of God, you don’t have to try to hear your Father’s voice. Your confession of faith should be, “I know the voice of my Father.” Jesus also said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Believe you will hear Him as you ask Him for wisdom.

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

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