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Official Joseph Prince Sermon Notes

What It Means To Fall From Grace

Sunday, 22 November 2020
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These are notes on the sermon, What It Means To Fall From Grace, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 22 November 2020, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

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  1. Introduction: We are no longer under the law but under grace
  2. What does “falling from grace” really mean?
  3. Your part is not to earn God’s blessings but to simply receive them by grace
  4. You fall from grace when you depend on your own effort to get what God has already given you
  5. Only grace can produce moral excellence in your life
  6. Only grace can supply you with divine favor and peace with people
  7. Grace, not the law, is at the heart of true holiness
  8. Under grace, divine health and healing flow
  9. Under grace, you receive favor in your marriage and relationships
  10. Closing prayer

Introduction: We are no longer under the law but under grace

We are continuing from last week’s sermon, Five Times More Favor and Provision, where we explored how we can learn from Old Testament stories because they provide us with types and shadows of biblical truths that are relevant for us today (1 Cor 10:11).

"Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman."
— Galatians 4:30 NKJV

“So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.”
— Galatians 4:31 NKJV

Today, we are building on last week’s teaching of Galatians 4 by looking at Galatians 5, which states that the law has been cast out. Today, we are no longer under the law but under the grace of God!

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
— Galatians 5:1 NKJV

Stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free” — “Liberty” here refers to freedom from the law, not freedom to sin. Only when you are free from the law can you follow the Spirit and walk in holiness. It is the Holy Spirit in us who produces holiness that the law cannot.

do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” — The yoke of bondage does not refer to sin but refers to the law.

Today, we are under the grace of God and no longer under the law!

What does “falling from grace” really mean?

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
— Galatians 5:4 KJV

We are often taught that if we have sin in our lives, Christ becomes of no effect.

However, what Galatians 5:4 states is that Christ becomes of no effect to anyone who is trying to be “justified by the law”. These people have fallen from grace.

Pastor Prince reiterates that he is against sin and is for the greatest good of man, which is to have Christ in his life.

ye are fallen from grace” — The word “fallen” indicates that grace is a high ground from which a person can fall. To have “fallen from grace” shows that grace is higher than the law.

Falling from grace does not take place when a person has sinned, but rather when they are trying to keep the law in order to be righteous.

“Falling from grace” does not refer to falling into sin; it refers to falling back under the law.

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” — The verse states that the “you” referred to here is a person (1) who is justified by the law, (2) to whom Christ has no effect on, and (3) who has fallen from grace. This is a very sad situation to be in. We certainly want Christ to have an effect in our lives, whether in the area of healing, provision, or deliverance!

What causes Christ to have no effect in our lives?

When we have been justified by grace but then put ourselves back under the law in order to earn God’s blessings—that’s when Christ becomes of no effect in our lives!

What Jesus Christ did at the cross for us (bearing the full punishment for our sins and giving us His righteousness) is the reason we can be blessed today. So when we try to earn God’s blessings instead of simply receiving them because of what Christ has done, then Christ becomes of no effect in our lives. And this is what it means to fall from grace.

Actually, the very mentality of “I have to keep the law before Christ becomes of effect in my life” causes people to fall from grace!

How do we know that it is not sin that causes Christ to have no effect in our lives?

In the gospels, many of the people who touched Jesus and were miraculously healed were overt sinners. Yet they were able to reach out, touch Jesus, and receive from Him. Obviously, sin does not cause Christ to become of no effect in a person’s life.

In fact, Jesus said to the Pharisees who were judging Him for eating with sinners that it is those who are sick who need a doctor, not those who are well. Jesus had come to the world to call sinners, not the righteous, to repentance (Mark 2:17 NKJV). The truth is that no one in the world was righteous until Jesus died on the cross for us all, not even the Pharisees who thought they were righteous.

To remain true to the gospel, we must stay true to the Scriptures and not let man-made ideas about Christian life alter it. Some examples of these man-made ideas include, ”Unless you live a holy and sinless life, you cannot be healed,” and, “You must suffer for every known sin in your life before God can heal you.”

Such ideas cause people to feel condemned and responsible for the sickness they or their loved one is facing. No human can bear that heavy burden, and Jesus’ finished work at the cross made sure that we never have to feel that way.

Making people feel burdened and condemned for their sins is what the Pharisees did, and Jesus called them out for it:

“Jesus replied, "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”
— Luke 11:46 NIV

Instead of laying the burden of sin upon people as the Pharisees did, Jesus called them to Himself and gave them rest (Matt. 11:28 KJV).

It is when we are in lack or struggling that we need Christ to have effect in our lives the most (Isa. 26:3 KJV).

“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
— Galatians 5:4 KJV

no effect” — This is the Greek word “katargeō,” which indicates that Christ is still present and holds power but as far as the person justified by law is concerned, none of His power trickles into his or her life.

“ . . . He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil”
— Hebrews 2:14

Destroy” — This same word “katargeō” is used here, describing how the devil once had the power of death, but that power has been destroyed by Jesus. The devil is still in the world but has no more power to execute death in your life. Instead, Jesus now holds all power in heaven and earth!

Your part is not to earn God’s blessings but to simply receive them by grace

Everything we receive from God is by grace. That includes the most important gift, the gift of salvation, and every other blessing thereafter—healing, provision, good success, happy and healthy relationships, etc. All these blessings are unearned, undeserved, and unmerited.

The fact that grace was freely given to us does not mean that it came cheap. It cost God His beloved Son who had to lay down His life on the cross to save us.

Because grace has been given to us as a gift, our part is to receive it freely.

This can be challenging because human nature often makes us feel like we need to earn good things in life. But when a friend gives you a gift and you insist on paying for it, you rob them of the pleasure of giving you that gift. This is especially true if they have sacrificed something in order to purchase it, such as working overtime to earn extra money to buy that gift. But when you receive a gift with gratitude, you give the giver joy!

Receiving God’s blessings freely extinguishes our pride as it shows that no amount of our effort or trying to deserve them can bring these blessings into our lives.

God wants you to always be a beneficiary so that you will always be grateful to Him, acknowledging that He alone is worthy to receive all glory, honor, and power.

Your part is to be a beneficiary—to receive all the goodness, blessings, gifts, and grace that God has for you!

Once you know that this is true and you have Someone who is all-powerful caring for you, it’s difficult for you to feel worried and fearful. Jesus said:

“I am the vine, you are the branches…”
— John 15:5 NKJV

“you are the branches” — Jesus did not tell you to try or struggle to be a branch; you already are one! As a branch connected to the vine (Jesus), you don’t need to strain and try to bear fruit. When you simply relax, you will experience the vine’s life (the sap, a picture of grace) flowing through you and causing you to bear fruit in every area of your life. In fact, when you struggle, the sap cannot flow through the branch, making it hard to bear fruit!

Let go and let the vine life flow!

When you’re in the right environment of God’s love, you simply need to relax and you will grow in grace, which is the only way to grow (2 Pet 3:18 KJV).

Beloved, don’t pray desperate prayers, trying to keep the law to be close to God so that He will answer you. You can come to your heavenly Father freely and comfortably and pray bold prayers to ask Him for what you need in your life. Because you are righteous in Christ, you are close to Him, and He can’t wait to answer you!

People who are angry about the grace teaching claim that it does not factor in the Christian’s part to play. But the truth is that God wants us to rely completely on His grace and not our own effort!

“You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.”
— Galatians 5:4 ESV

The various translations of Galatians 5:4 explain clearly what it means to fall from grace:

  • to be “cut off from Christ” (Conybeare)
  • to be “done with Christ” and “have deserted grace” (Moffatt)
  • to “have finished with Christ” and “lost your hold upon God's favor” (Goodspeed)
  • to “cut yourself off from the power of Christ” and “put yourself outside the range of his grace” (Phillips)

Based on these definitions, we definitely don’t want to be found outside of the range of God’s grace!

You fall from grace when you depend on your own effort to get what God has already given you

Falling from grace does not mean to fall into sin. In fact, long before someone falls into sin, they would have fallen from grace.

We can see an example of this in what happened to the children of Israel in the wilderness. When God first brought them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and to the bitter waters of Marah, they were never tempted to build a golden calf to worship even though they had the gold to do so (they left Egypt with the Egyptians riches as back pay for all the years of work).

It was only at the foot of Mount Sinai, where the Israelites boasted in their own self-righteous and presumed on their ability to keep God’s covenant with them, “All that God says we can do it and we will do it” (Exod. 19:8), that God gave them the Ten Commandments and this was the result:

  • Moses told the Israelites not to come near the mountain of the Lord. Before this moment in their journey, God had always been close to them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. But once Israel came under the law, God had to adopt a distant tone with them.
  • The Israelites almost immediately built a golden calf, breaking the very first commandment, which was to not have any other god before God (Exo 20:3–4 KJV). The Israelites fell from grace first (when they presumed on their own strength to keep God’s law), and then sin quickly followed.

As believers who have been saved and justified by grace, we are not meant to keep the law by our own strength, but by the Spirit who lives in us.

Not being under the law doesn’t mean we go crazy and start committing every sin. Actually, when you’re striving to keep the law, you’re presuming on your own strength and you end up activating your flesh and producing the works of the flesh—sin (Gal. 5:19–21). This is because the strength of sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56).

But when you receive grace, you end up producing the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23).

Works of the flesh = the result of self-effort

Fruit of the Spirit = the result of God’s life in you

This is why one of the enemy’s tactics is to come in the form of a religious spirit to give the impression that you need to keep the law in order to receive God's blessings, thereby activating your flesh.

Only grace can produce moral excellence in your life

When it comes to falling into sin, such as adultery, it almost never starts out with the intent to sin. Instead, it begins with us presuming on our own strength, thinking we can handle the temptation. When we trust in our own flesh, we end up opening ourselves up to greater temptation such as sending someone of the opposite sex home or being alone with them.

Falling into sin starts precisely with us putting our confidence in the flesh, which Paul tells us not to do (Phil 3:3 NIV).

The only way to true holiness and moral excellence is by the grace of God, not by trying to keep the law.

Since grace is defined as God giving to us, we can say that grace is “supply.” When you receive grace, you’re supplied with the desire and ability to keep and even exceed the expectations of the law. That’s why grace is what keeps you from sin.

When you fall from grace (by depending on your own strength or self-effort), you are left to supply for yourself based on your own abilities, which are limited, unlike God’s supply. It is often then that you will fall into sin. This was experienced by Esau in the Bible.

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.”
— Hebrews 12:14–16 NKJV

Pursue peace” VS “root of bitterness” — Harboring bitterness is the opposite of pursuing peace with people, and this often happens when someone falls out of grace. Holding bitterness in your heart affects your speech and relationships and often causes others to become bitter as well.

Holiness” VS “fornicator or profane person” — When it comes to sin, many people think of sexual immorality.

In essence, Hebrews 12:14–16 tells us that it is only by the grace of God that we can pursue peace with all people and holiness; and it is when we fall short of the grace of God that we end up having a root of bitterness and practicing fornication and profanity.

A lot of people who try to be justified by the law are bitter people who are resentful of others—particularly resentful of those under grace (Gal. 4:29)—just like the Pharisees.

Jesus’ greatest problem was not from sinners. It was from the people who knew the Bible and outwardly appeared faultless but who were actually full of self-righteousness.

Why do many people who are religious, who try to keep the law to be right with God, have secret sins? The answer is that long before they had this bondage in their lives, these people had fallen from grace. When you rely on your own strength instead of on God’s grace, sin becomes so attractive and strong that you have no power against it.

Pastor Prince’s ministry has received many testimonies of people who have been delivered from all kinds of bondage like sinful lifestyles and sickness. These precious lives were delivered because they recognized and confessed that their sins had been forgiven and they were the righteousness of God in Christ. They stopped trying to become what they already are (righteous in Christ) and simply rested in Jesus’ finished work.

You can read testimonies here.

Only grace can supply you with divine favor and peace with people

One of the areas in which a person can fall from grace is the area of gaining favor with others. There are many people who are trapped in a performance-centered lifestyle of trying to please God and people by their own strength. This lifestyle is very tiring. God wants you to live a life of rest.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
— Luke 2:52 NKJV

Grace is unmerited favor. When you fall from grace, you also fall from having favor with men.

Before we carry on, you must know that even when you are under grace and you have God’s favor in your life, you will not have favor with every single person you encounter. Even Jesus, who had favor with God and men (Luke 2:52), did not have favor with the Pharisees. God’s grace antagonizes self-righteous people and their legalism. There will be people who see you getting blessed by God’s grace, and they will get jealous and angry and they will persecute you. Take heart because Jesus experienced the same thing.

Falling from grace does not only cause you to fall into sin and lose favor with people, but it can also have a deadly effect.

“ . . . who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.”
— 2 Corinthians 3:6–9 NKJV

the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones” — This refers to the Ten Commandments as they were the only part of the law that was written on stones with the finger of God.

if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory” — There was a time for the ministry of condemnation (the law) to take center stage, and it had glory at that time. However, now, the glory of the law has passed away and it cannot compare to the ministry of righteousness (grace) today, which far exceeds it in glory!

Grace, not the law, is at the heart of true holiness

In Old Testament times, the holiest nation was Israel; the holiest city in Israel was Jerusalem; the holiest place in Jerusalem was the Temple Mount where the temple was, and the holiest place of all in the temple was the Holy of Holies. In the Holy of Holies was the ark of the covenant, and at the heart of the ark was the mercy seat.

The mercy seat is where the blood of the animal sacrifice was sprinkled. This is a picture of the blood of Jesus shed and sprinkled before the throne of God, giving us a righteous basis to come before God. Because of Jesus’ blood, God’s throne of judgment has become the throne of grace for us!

Grace is the greatest holiness because only grace can reconcile you with God.

As children of God, we want to live life with moral excellence—not with a “holier than thou” attitude full of pride and self-righteousness, but with holiness that causes people to feel like they are in the presence of someone heavenly. That’s the holiness Jesus Himself possessed when He walked on earth.

If you want that for your own life, stay under grace because it is the only thing that can produce true holiness!

Your sin has been covered by grace

There was a time in the Old Testament when Israel’s enemies, the Philistines, stole the ark of the covenant. However, they ended up returning it because the ark was wreaking havoc in their camp. The Philistines sent the ark back on a cart pulled by two cows, and the ark arrived at a place called Beth Shemesh. Unfortunately, the men of Beth Shemesh decided to remove the mercy seat and look into the ark, which was forbidden. This is what happened:

“Then He struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. He struck fifty thousand and seventy men of the people, and the people lamented because the Lord had struck the people with a great slaughter. And the men of Beth Shemesh said, "Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? And to whom shall it go up from us?"”
— 1 Samuel 6:19–20 NKJV

Why was the punishment so severe?

Kept inside the ark of the covenant were three elements which represented man’s sin:

  • The Ten Commandments, written on tablets of stone
  • Aaron’s rod that budded
  • The golden pot of manna

These items called to mind moments when the children of Israel rebelled against God.

In order for the people of Beth Shemesh to look inside the ark, they had to push aside the mercy seat. It was as though God had said, “Leave the law in the ark and don’t look at it, for I have covered it with the mercy seat,” yet the people chose to look at the law (which inevitably results in sin) and hence were struck down.

In order for us to bring out the law, we have to push aside grace. Not only will this never bring about true holiness, but the result of doing this is death (2 Cor. 3:7).

Under grace, divine health and healing flow

Pastor Prince shares a personal story of how he was a carefree person who didn’t worry about his health because he trusted the Lord to keep him healthy. But one day, he read about the benefits of detoxing with juice, and out of fear, he decided to take his health into his own hands by drinking carrot juice daily and trying to eat a healthier diet. However, that year, his health suffered more than any year before and he wound up at the doctor’s more often than usual.

There’s nothing wrong with eating healthy, exercising, and going for regular health check-ups. Those things are good for you, but the question is this: Where does your trust really lie? Always put your trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Even the healthiest organic foods come from the ground, which has been cursed. We cannot put our trust in creation which has fallen. We must put our trust in redemption, in the cross of Jesus Christ, where He bore our sins and our diseases!

Once again, Pastor Prince is not discouraging us from eating organic food, taking medicine, or going to the doctor. But even as we are doing those things, let's put our trust in the Lord (e.g. on your way to the doctor’s, you can ask the Lord to give the doctor wisdom for a correct diagnosis). As you look to the Lord to prosper your health, you can pray that all the tests reflect His glory!

When we put all our trust in natural means to get healthy, we fall from grace and Christ’s healing power cannot be made of effect in our bodies.

If the Lord leads you to take a health supplement or to see a doctor, an osteopath, or a chiropractor, by all means, go ahead! But ultimately, put your trust in the Lord so that the glory for your healing and health does not go to man but to the Lord!

Under grace, you receive favor in your marriage and relationships

Have you noticed that people whom you favor a lot are usually people who don't worry about what you think about them?

One of the areas in which we can fall from grace is the area of favor with people. This often happens when you are trying to please or earn favor with someone. Seeking to always please people and bending over backward to do so usually causes you to lose their respect and favor.

“As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”
— Galatians 1:9–10 NKJV

The apostle Paul is saying that if he sought to please people in the context of preaching about grace, he would not be a bondservant of Christ. If Paul wanted to please people, he would preach about the law. This is because human nature loves the preaching of law and grace combined as the law gives man a part to play and some glory to claim. On the other hand, grace makes nothing of man and everything of God! This truly gives God all of the glory.

Pastor Prince gives some parenting advice, urging parents not to always seek to please their children as they will ultimately lose favor with their children.

King David made this mistake with his son Adonijah:

Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.” And he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom.
— 1 Kings 1:5–6 ESV

His father had never at any time displeased him” — David never displeased, corrected, or rebuked Adonijah. The result was that Adonijah died, just like the rebellious sons of Eli, whom Eli had never rebuked (1 Sam 2:12–36).

Pastor Prince reminds parents that we correct our children because we want them to be the best that God has ordained them to be, not because we are concerned with whether they like or favor us.

One of the ways to correct our children without using the Ten Commandments is to teach them about their identity in Christ. You can tell them, “Because you’re a Jesus boy/girl, you won’t tell lies. You won’t steal.” It’s important to affirm them about who they are.

It’s also important to remind them that they are so beloved by their Daddy God and that He is pleased with them. When the devil was tempting Jesus in the wilderness, he knew that it was counterproductive to remind Jesus that He was the beloved Son of God (Matt 3:17), so he dropped the word “beloved” every time he tried to tempt the Lord.

The Bible also says that fathers have the responsibility to bring children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4 KJV). A good doctor seeks to cure his patients, not to please them. Likewise, good parents seek to raise their children well, not to please them.

We don’t want to fall from grace because grace is what gives us everything. We want to have the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness so that we will reign in life (Rom. 5:17)!

Pastor Prince encourages husbands to love their wives, but this does not mean to try to please them in every matter and pander to their every whim and fancy. This will only cause a wife to lose respect for her husband. Instead, a wife looks up to a man who isn’t afraid of her and who stands up for his convictions. For example, if a wife tells her husband not to go to church, he should put his foot down and stand up for what he believes in.

Pastor Prince also encourages husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Jesus loved the church with arms open wide on the cross even before we said “sorry” for our sins. In the same way, in marriage, it doesn’t matter who says “sorry” first. Take the initiative to love your wife regardless.

When you say, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ,” and, “Lord, I receive Your supply of healing, provision, restoration, wholeness, and family blessings by grace!” then Christ becomes of effect in your life!

Pastor Prince closes the service by praying for people with these conditions:

  • A person who no longer goes to church and who has a lung condition
  • A lady who pulled a muscle from under the armpit to the back
  • Headaches
  • Tooth pain at the back of the mouth
  • Gallstones
  • Pain at the back of the neck
  • Bone conditions
  • Elbow condition
  • Thyroid condition
  • Heart palpitations

Every healing can stand the test of medical science. Pastor Prince encourages those he prayed over to go back to their doctors to verify their healings. Only stop taking your medicine when your healing has been confirmed by medical reports. Then please write in to share your testimony!

In closing, Pastor Prince gives us all an assignment:

Ask the Lord, “What are the areas in my life that I have fallen from grace?” Many times, it is subtle and we don’t even realize it. Once the Lord reveals these areas to you, repent by changing your mind and turning back to grace!

Closing prayer

“Father in heaven, I thank You for everyone under the sound of my voice. I thank You, Father, for every family that is watching right now, and as we lift our hands before You in an act of receiving, an act of benefiting from all that Christ has done at the cross, Father, we pray that we will be a family so blessed that we will provoke the envy of many around us, that they will ask, “Who is this God that you serve?”

Father, I pray in Jesus’ name that this week, there'll be great manifestations of favor in the lives of all these families and the lives of these people who are tuned in, in Jesus name. Father, protect them throughout this week from the COVID-19 virus. Wherever they go, Lord, place them at the right place at the right time and protect them from every sickness and every disease. Even what is brewing in their body right now, smite it, Amen, and cause it not to come to fruition in Jesus’ name. Father, infuse them with life, Your resurrection life, causing every dead spot, even in their head, brain, and memory, to come alive again in Jesus' name. Amen.

Praise the Lord and Father in heaven, preserve and protect them and their loved ones and their little ones from all evil in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Grant to every one of them great shalom-peace in every part of their beings, 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 2020
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.

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