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Official Joseph Prince Sermon Notes

Win The Battle Over Hopelessness

Sunday, 25 August 2019
 

These are notes on the sermon, Win The Battle Over Hopelessness, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 25 August 2019, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

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Overview

  1. Introduction: Find hope in God’s plans and purposes for your life
  2. The life of a believer is a life of hope
  3. With God, even your sufferings will result in hope
  4. Break free from the cycle of destructive thoughts
  5. Hope is a helmet that guards your mind
  6. Hope is an anchor that steadies your soul
  7. Closing Prayer

Introduction: Find hope in God’s plans and purposes for your life

Pastor Prince welcomes us to church and tells us that we, the church, are God’s dream come true.

It’s important that we know God’s dream—His plan for us—because everything we need in life is encompassed in it.

If the past week was a terrible week for you, if you faced challenge after challenge, if you received a bad report from the doctors, you will find hope in God’s plans and purposes for your life.

The world doesn’t know God’s plans and purposes. That’s why they end up misusing and abusing what God has given them—their bodies, their relationships, etc.

God has two dreams:

1. For the people He created to be conformed to the image of Jesus.

“Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption
.”
— Acts 2:26–27 NKJV

Even when Jesus was in the grave, He knew Resurrection Day was coming. On the 3rd day, He was raised from the dead. His body never decayed, never saw corruption.

God wants us to be conformed into Jesus’ image—full of hope, expecting to receive an incorruptible body.

2. For the church to be born.

The devil wants people to think that the church is just a building or a massive government run by people.

But the church is the greatest beacon of hope to the world. Healing is found in the church. Blessings for relationships are found in the church.

God is always giving to His people in and through the church. God’s heart is always to give. He never skimps on what He gives.

He never says, “Unless you get in line, I won’t help you. Unless you change, I won’t heal you.” He’s not like that.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
— James 1:5 NIV

God gives generously and He does not fault-find!

The evilest thing that man has done is to put his loving Savior on the cross.

But despite all the wickedness in man, we cannot “outsin” the grace of God.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
— Romans 5:8 NKJV

The Old Testament proves that everything under man’s control will always fail.

  • When God gave man the perfect environment of Eden, they sinned.
  • When God gave man the law on Mount Sinai, they sinned.
  • When God instituted man as judges and kings, they sinned and failed in their office.

When man came to the end of himself, then God gave grace.

When you have no more strength, then you’re in a position to be saved.

God loves it when we are willing to be weak, because His strength is made perfect in weakness (see 2 Cor. 12:9).

God is not the one who brings suffering to us. We wrestle with principalities and powers (see Eph 6:12). There is a devil, and he is the enemy of your soul. He is the one behind your broken heart. He is the one behind every sickness and disease. He is the one behind your depression.

We are living in a fallen world. Sin is in this world, and it has consequences.

Because we are living in this fallen world and there is a devil who is against us, we need to know God’s plan. What is the life that God wants us to live?

This is the hope we hold on to.

The life of a believer is a life of hope

As believers who have put our trust in Jesus Christ, what is the life that God has given to us?

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
— ‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:1‬–2 ‭NIV

we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” — Another word for grace is favor. Now that we are justified by faith, we have full access to grace ground, favor ground.

We are in the world but not of the world. The world does not walk on this favor ground.

God doesn’t want us to suffer things that the world is suffering—destroyed marriages, depression, addictions, etc. Jesus came to set us free, and whom the Son sets free is free indeed (see John 8:36).

we boast in the hope of the glory of God” — “Hope” in Greek is “elpis,” which refers to a positive expectation of good. Vines describes it as “the favorable and confident expectation of good,” and his most frequently used description is “the happy expectation of good.”

We are to boast in the happy expectation of good in our future.

And this expectation of good is the glory of God manifested in our lives.

Sin is defined as coming short of the glory of God.

But we can look forward to His glory being manifested in our lives—in our bodies, our relationships, our marriage, everything we touch, say, and do.

With God, even your sufferings will result in hope

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings…”
— ‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3‬ ‭NIV

Sufferings are not from God. In His original plan in the Garden of Eden, no one suffered.

Sufferings came because of sin.

But this verse tells us that when suffering happens, it will produce something beautiful and good in us if we know God’s plan.

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
— ‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3–4‬ ‭NIV

Suffering produces perseverance.

Pastor Prince shares how he suffered through depression in his youth, as well as persecution and backbiting when he became a pastor. God encouraged him to persevere, and as he did, God developed in him strength, resilience, and security. Today, the negative things that people say about him don’t matter.

Perseverance produces character.

People with character can be trusted to become leaders. These are people who know what it’s like to be weak and depend on the Lord for His strength. These are the people who have gone through fire and come out the other side, knowing that only the Lord’s love, strength, and faithfulness matters, not human effort.

Character produces hope.

The next verse says that this hope “does not put us to shame” (Rom. 5:5 NIV).

The world says, “Don’t raise your hopes.”

But as believers, we should say, “Don’t raise your hopelessness.”

God wants us to have hope! He wants us to have the happy expectation of good.

The world says, “If you raise your hopes, you’ll be disappointed.” It’s true that hope without Christ has no power. Even the hope that young people naturally have when they are full of passion and zest for life has no power without Christ.

But as believers, our hope has power. It will not put us to shame.

Our hope is in the fact that Jesus bore our sins and bore the punishment of our sins. That means that there is nothing from our past that will come back to haunt us in the future.

Raise your hope! There is nothing except good waiting for you in the future.

This hope will not put you to shame.

If you’re sick, you can have hope that you’ll be well.

If you have an addiction, you can have hope that you’ll be free.

If you’re advancing in years, you can have hope that you’ll be stronger than you were at half your age.

It is through the comfort of the Scriptures that we will find hope (see Rom. 15:4).

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
— Romans 15:13 NKJV

God is the God of hope—and He is behind your hope.

You’re not just saying, “I hope this good thing will happen one day…” without the power to make it come to pass.

No, THE GOD OF HOPE IS BEHIND YOUR HOPE.

Maybe you’ve been oppressed for so long that you can’t imagine what breakthrough looks like.

Maybe you’ve had so many sleepless nights that you can’t imagine what a peaceful night of rest looks like.

Maybe you’ve been so hurt that you can’t imagine what freedom from unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, negativity, and fault-finding toward people looks like.

Before you can see what your breakthrough looks like, you need hope first.

Some people say that faith is more important than hope.

It’s true that faith is the currency of heaven. Faith is the hand that takes from God.

BUT,
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
— ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

If faith is the substance of things hoped for, then hope comes before faith. Without hope, there can be no faith.

faith is the substance of things hoped for” — The word “substance” is the Greek word “hypostasis,” which refers to something underneath you that you stand on. Faith helps you stand on the promise of God you’re hoping for. Faith undergirds you. It’s what holds you.

In this verse, faith is under you. Hope is in front of you; it is your destination.

If there is pain in your body, hope for a future where you’re free from it. It can happen instantaneously. Or it can happen gradually as you partake of the holy Communion.

Notice that the Communion is called “the Lord’s Supper,” not “the Lord’s breakfast.” It was taken at night, and it is meant for the night seasons of your life. The dark seasons.

The Passover and the holy Communion were both instituted by God in the night.

Maybe you are going through a night season. Maybe you’re suffering sickness in your body, or you are suffering heartbreak because you have been betrayed.

Jesus knows what it feels like to be betrayed. He was betrayed by one of His closest friends, and on that same night, He took the Communion.

So when you’re in a night season, take the Lord’s Supper. Remember Him.

When you eat the bread, you are partaking of your healing that He purchased for you at the cross.

And the bread is not just for physical healing—it is also for deliverance from the oppression of your mind.

The Old English word for “worry” is “wyrgan,” which means “strangle.” Maybe sometimes you are so worried that you can’t breathe. It is a stronghold on your mind.

When Jesus broke bread with His 2 disciples at the end of the road to Emmaus, their eyes were opened and they knew Him (see Luke 24:31). Their minds were opened. Their understanding was opened.

The Lord’s Supper opens your mind when you feel like you are oppressed or depressed. The Lord’s Supper opens your understanding to His wisdom.

Break free from the cycle of destructive thoughts

Where do negative thoughts come from?

1. The devil attacks us with thoughts of guilt, condemnation, and regret to get us to live in the past. He also attacks us with worry and fear to get us to live in the future.

He wants our minds to be pre-occupied with any time but the NOW.

But faith is in the now.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
— Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

Now faith is” — Both “now” and “is” indicate the present. Faith is in the present.

“... Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
— 2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV

now is the day of salvation” — The Bible says that the time of salvation is now. The word “salvation” is “sōtēria” in Greek, which includes healing, wholeness, and deliverance.

If you live in the now, God is a “very present help” to you (see Ps. 46:1).

2. We also live in a culture that is full of distractions.

There is a staggering amount of information coming at us every second, especially through social media and with the ease of our smartphones. It’s like the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

You can spend so much time learning all this information, but what has it done for your marriage, your health, your peace of mind, your finances? Most of all, what has it done for your walk with God? What has it done for your enjoyment of the abundant life that Jesus came to give?

We spend so much time on what doesn’t satisfy.

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?”
— Isaiah 55:2 NKJV

Pastor Prince encourages us to control our usage of our phones and avoid being caught up with all the information that’s available to us.

God wants us to live from the Tree of Life, not from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that doesn’t satisfy.

How to break free from the cycle of destructive thoughts

Many times, we don’t realize that our bad thoughts are from the enemy. They are not our own thoughts.

The Bible shows that the devil plants bad thoughts in people, and these thoughts seep into their hearts.

“But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…”
— Acts 5:3 NKJV

“And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him…”
— John 13:2 NKJV

Know that your bad thoughts, your sinful thoughts, your discouraging thoughts, your disparaging thoughts about yourself are not from you.

The good news is that God also speaks to your heart. He puts things in your heart.

When God was instructing Nehemiah, Nehemiah said, “Then my God put it into my heart to gather the nobles…” (Neh. 7:5).

Today, God works in you from the inside out because He lives in you. God “works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

When the devil tries to give you bad thoughts, he has to give them to you from the outside in. He’s not living in you. The Holy Spirit is living in you.

So what the devil does to plant negative and destructive thoughts in your mind is use the first person. He uses the personal pronoun “I” to make you think that you are the one thinking those thoughts, e.g. “I am an addict.”

Pastor Prince shares his personal story of having blasphemous thoughts against the Lord when he was a youth, and how he realized that those thoughts were not his own.

You can’t stop birds from flying over your head but you can stop them from making a nest.

You can’t stop bad thoughts from entering your mind, but you can stop them from taking root.

Recognize that negative thoughts are from the enemy—they are not your thoughts, and they do not define you.

Let the breastplate of faith and love protect your heart and your conscience.

“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
— ‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:8–9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

let us who are of the day” — We are children of the day. We not meant to live in darkness, but there are times we’ll go through night seasons. But we will come out of them.

the breastplate of faith and love” — The breastplate guards the heart. Your heart is so important. The heart is where accusations are aimed. The devil comes to accuse your heart which is where your conscience is.

Faith and love will protect your heart.

Make sure you are listening to sermons that deliver God’s Word and leave you with the breastplate of faith and love on your heart.

Don’t listen to anything that leaves you with fear, or leaves you feeling holier-than-thou and bitter toward other Christians. The Word of God does not evoke such a response.

God’s Word always causes the breastplate of faith and love to be on your heart and your conscience.

Hope is a helmet that guards your mind

“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
— ‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:8–9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

as a helmet the hope of salvation” — The word “salvation” is “sōtēria” in Greek, which includes not only salvation from the eternal judgment in hell, but also salvation from sickness. “Sōtēria” comes from the word “sōzō,” which means healing. This word “sōzō” is the same word used when Jesus said to the woman with the issue of blood, “Daughter, your faith has made you well (“sōzō”). Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” (Mark 5:34)

The word “salvation” or “sōtēria” in Greek includes healing, rescue from danger, deliverance, and protection.

Jesus’ name in Greek is literally “sōtēria.” It is an all-inclusive, all-encompassing name. And He demonstrated His name everywhere He went. He healed all those who were oppressed by the devil (see Acts 10:38).

Pastor Prince encourages people who have been battling negative and even suicidal thoughts for a long time not to identify themselves with those thoughts.

Negative thoughts linger and repeat themselves when we own them by accepting them as our own. They stay in our minds when we don’t recognize that they’re from the enemy.

When you look down from a high building and a thought comes—“Jump”—don’t accept it. Don’t ask yourself, ‘How can I be thinking that way?’ It’s not you. Don’t accept it.

Things will change when you start to say, “No, these are not my thoughts.”

Young people especially become susceptible to destructive and suicidal thoughts because they do not have the hope of salvation.

You can have this hope of salvation—this positive, confident, happy expectation of good in your future—because Jesus took all your sins at the cross. There is no sin that will penalize you or produce any bad fruit in your future.

The hope that we have is based on the certainty of our salvation in Christ.

This helmet called “the hope of salvation” guards your mind.

The world does not have this salvation, so they are right to say, “Don’t raise your hopes.” But you, child of God, have this rock-solid foundation of hope!

The helmet and the breastplate are vital because they guard your mind and your heart.

Maybe you have gone to the doctors and they have told you, “Your father has this disease, so you will have it too.”

Even in that situation, you can have hope. Why? Because you have a new father, your heavenly Father, who is always in perfect health.

Because you are born again, you have a brand-new DNA.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
— 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

Hope is an anchor that steadies your soul

“that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
— Hebrews 6:18–20 NKJV

The apostle Paul gave us a powerful illustration of hope when he used the analogy of an anchor.

In Paul’s time, when a ship was waiting to dock at a port, the sailors would lower the anchor into the ground under the ship. Once that heavy anchor was in the ground, it stabilized the ship as the sailors waited to enter the port.

Being anchored, the ship would not be swept away if winds and waves came. It would be steady.

How to lay hold of hope

“that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
— Hebrews 6:18–20 NKJV

fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” — When Paul used this phrase, “fled for refuge,” he was alluding to the Jewish law in the Old Testament about cities of refuge. Cities of refuge were built for sinners to find refuge and be shown grace. Jesus is our city of refuge.

“fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” — When we listen to a sermon, don’t just listen passively. LAY HOLD of the truths that you receive. For example, if you are facing a health challenge and you hear about the holy Communion, lay hold of it! Go home and start partaking.

Pastor Prince shares how his dear friend, Samuel Smadja, was recently healed of a rare form of prostate cancer after partaking of the Communion regularly.

Pastor Prince shares how his new book, Eat Your Way to Life and Health, is filled with many of these powerful testimonies that we can read to encourage ourselves.

Hope steadies your soul (your thoughts and emotions)

“that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
— Hebrews 6:18–20 NKJV

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul” — When a ship drops anchor and a storm arises, it remains steady. You can’t see the anchor, but the anchor holds you.

AS You hold on to hope, hope holds on to you.

Your part is just to see the hope that the Bible promises you. See that destination, that good future, that God says is ahead of you.

Pastor Prince gives a word to couples planning to get married but are worried that they don’t have the finances to do so: Set a faith date and have hope that the finances will come in by that time.

Hope as an anchor steadies you.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t be hit by winds and waves. In fact, the anchors exist so that when storms hit, the ship will not be swept away.

When your soul is hit with storms, this anchor of hope will make sure you don’t get wrecked.

Your salvation is secure

“that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
— Hebrews 6:18–20 NKJV

This hope we have as an anchor … enters the Presence behind the veil” — Our anchor has gone past the veil and into the Holy of Holies where God is.

We might not be in heaven now, but we have an anchor in heaven. There is an unbreakable rope that will surely pull us there. This means we will never lose our salvation and never lose our righteousness with God.

Your emotions can stray, your soul can feel storm-tossed, but your anchor holds firm. You are never losing your salvation and you are never losing your righteousness in Christ!

Pastor Prince gives an analogy of a ship sailing from England to New York. The ship has to pass through the English Channel, sail through the Atlantic Ocean, then port in New York. But this ship’s anchor is already in the New York harbor. This means that no matter what, this ship will make it to New York.

In the same way, our anchor has gone into the Holy of Holies. This anchor has secured our salvation.

“that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
— Hebrews 6:18–20 NKJV

where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus” — The “forerunner” is someone who goes ahead of an important person to announce his arrival. The forerunner is like a herald. His presence at the destination is a guarantee that the important person is coming.

The forerunner is also usually someone of no reputation since his role is only to announce the coming of the personage. Jesus made Himself of no repute and made us the VIP!

Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” — The forerunner is also a representative of the VIP. Jesus is our High Priest forever, meaning that He is our perfect representative. Because He is perfect, He is accepted, and therefore we are accepted. There is no way that we will be rejected from the Holy of Holies!

Pastor Prince leads us in a prayer of hope

“Father, I thank you that the days ahead of me are full of blessings. They’re full of good things, Lord, that You have in store for me daily. You will load me up with Your benefits and Your goodness because you love me and because of what Christ has done. He died for my sins, He was raised for my justification, and now I have access to this favor ground. I stand on grace ground. I boast in, hope in, and have a positive expectation of the glory of God being fulfilled in my life, in my ministry, in my career, in my marriage, in my children, in all my loved ones, in my church. Your glory is always manifesting. Your glory is always visible. Thank You, Lord. I rejoice in that.

And I boast in my current sufferings, knowing they are fulfilling the objective of producing character in me. I will become a person free of depressive thoughts and full of hopeful thoughts. I will become a person who believes for Your goodness to be seen in my future in the land of the living. There is no death in my future. No disease in my future. No curse in my future. There is only Your blessings, your health, your shalom, your well-being, your protection, and good days for my family and I. Thank you, Father. And even my sleep will be sweet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Pastor Prince prays for people who:

  1. Have been having sleepless or restless nights.
  2. Are struggling in their marriage.

Closing Prayer

“Father in Heaven, we are releasing our faith for a wonderful future. This future includes the coming week. We look at this week with hope. We ask in Jesus' name that we run smack-dab into great surprise blessings that You have in store for us. I pray that when we experience these blessings, we will remember this prayer.

I pray this week in the name of Jesus, be Thou their shield, be Thou their strength, be Thou their defense and their protection from every evil, from every infection, from all the powers of darkness. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, be Thou their favor in their workplace, in their ministry, wherever they are. Be Thou their favor with one another in their marriage and their family relationships, Lord. Be Thou their wonderful shalom-peace, shalom well-being, that they will wake up every morning with a wonderful expectation of good for that day.

Thank You, Father. Thank You for the discernment to recognize when evil thoughts cross our minds. They may come but we know they're not our thoughts. Give us the gift of ignoring them. Give us the gift of knowing Your thoughts which are good for us and never evil.

In Jesus' name, and all the people say, 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 2019
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.


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