These are notes on the sermon, Win The Battle Over Sin-Consciousness, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 23 August 2020, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Pastor Prince reminds the church that we are now in the third quarter of the Year of Time And Space.
Last year, we experienced the blessings of the Latter Rain (the theme of the year 2019) that prepared us for this year.
This year, we are literally experiencing what it means to transcend time and space because believers from different parts of the world are gathering and meeting online.
No one imagined we would be in this situation right now—where we are confined to our homes and time seems to have come to a standstill, with no one being able to predict how long this season will go on for. No one knows but the Lord.
That’s why it is important for us to be in sync with Him. Jesus told us to be yoked to Him because His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:28). Jesus’ yoke is a yoke of grace.
The picture of yoking is that of an older ox (Jesus) leading a younger ox (you and I). When the older ox moves, the younger ox has to follow. Through this process, the younger ox will mature and learn from the older ox. This is a picture of our relationship with the Lord and how we should follow His leading and flow with Him especially during this time.
When the Lord says, “Sit still and rest,” listen to Him and rest.
At this time, many countries are under lockdown. The Lord is compelling us to rest, to gather with our families and focus on our loved ones.
We see the importance of rest through the biblical principle of letting the land rest every 7 years (see Exod. 23:10–11 and Lev. 25:1–6). The land needs to rest so that it can continue to be fertile and productive. When King Nebuchadnezzar captured the children of Israel, the Bible states that the reason this happened was that the land had not been given its rest. When Israel was in captivity, the land rested.
This principle of rest applies to us as well. Our soul and spirit comes from God, but our body is made from the dust of the ground. You are a spirit but you live in a body. And God wants your body to rest, just like how He wants the land to rest.
The Christian life is a life of rest, not works.
When God tells us to rest, He is not only talking about physical rest. He also wants us to be at rest in our minds. Salvation first begins when we learn to rest in Jesus’ finished work at the cross.
You cannot be saved by trying to save yourself through your good works. Salvation is about resting in what Jesus has already done for us.
When God tells us to rest, there is a reason for it.
When Noah and his family were confined to the ark for months and were compelled to rest, they must have felt like they were confined in time and space (much like how some of us are feeling during this time). But God was actually working to prepare a brand-new world for Noah and his family. In the same way, God has a plan for you and I during this time. He’s preparing something new and good.
Pastor Prince shares that this pandemic is not the final one before Jesus returns.
VIDEO: A video of a prophecy Pastor Prince gave in 2005 is screened. In this video, Pastor Prince shared that in the last days, the main challenge in the world will not be terrorism, but disease. For believers, we need not be afraid because the Lord is giving us a double-portion of power over the enemy, the gift of the holy Communion, and other weapons for spiritual warfare so that we live with protection and provision.
Follow the Lord’s leading. If He leads you to spend more time in His Word (even though you are watching television and don’t feel like turning it off) heed the Lord’s leading and you will find the rest and refreshing you need.
Jesus’ yoke is easy and when you take His yoke, the Bible says that “you will find rest for your souls” (see. Matt. 11:29).
Recap of the theme of the year, Time and Space:
The theme of this year, Time and Space, is based on the Temple of Solomon. The three chambers in the Temple of Solomon reflect how the year 2020 will play out.
The three chambers in the Temple of Solomon:
When Abraham was climbing up Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son Isaac, God had prepared a ram to take Isaac’s place, and this ram was climbing up the mountain on the other side. In the same way, the Lord has already set His provision in motion for you and it will meet you at your point of need. That is why the Lord is called “Yahweh Yireh,” which means “the Lord sees to it.” He sees your needs before you do, and He promises to see to them.
This is not to say that we are to forget about the holy Communion and anointing oil (the grain, wine, and oil in the first chamber) and rest (the second chamber). All these remain as God’s provisions of grace for His people.
In fact, the holy Communion is very important to the Lord. Before Jesus went to the cross, His last reminder to the church was to partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him (see Luke 22:19). On the night Jesus was betrayed, He partook of the holy Communion.
Paul did not receive the revelation of the Communion from Jesus’ disciples who were there with Jesus as He partook of it, but Paul received the revelation directly from the Lord.
“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;”
— 1 Corinthians 11:23 NKJV
And Paul tells us to do this (partake of the holy Communion) often, because “as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).
The holy Communion is important and we are to partake of the holy Communion and anoint ourselves with the oil until Jesus comes.
It is also important for us to be established in rest (the second chamber) because everything we do should be out of rest, not stress. And it is out this rest that we ascend to the third chamber where the gold and treasures are kept (the Lord’s provision).
In this Year of Time and Space, where we have seen the church transcend time and space, let’s also expect the Lord’s provision!
In the last days, it is important for us to feed on preaching and teaching about how the Lord is our righteousness.
“Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord God,
‘That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the Lord.’”
— Amos 8:11 NKJV
“But of hearing the words of the Lord” — In the end times, the hearing of the words of the Lord will become rare and precious. Notice that it is not the word that is rare, but the hearing of it. So we need to keep hearing the word of God and prioritize receiving His Word daily.
As the Word goes forth, don’t be distracted, but focus with a hearing heart and expect to receive the blessings He is imparting (healing and provision) even as the Word goes forth. Expect His Word to save you, restore your relationships, and bring healing to your physical body, mind, and emotions.
“...receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
— James 1:21 KJV
“engrafted word” — the word is implanted in you.
“save your souls” — “save” is the word “sozo.” The “engrafted word” is able to save your soul. A lot of people need saving in their souls because they are depressed or they are experiencing panic attacks and anxieties. Friend, if that is you, God’s Word is able to save your soul.
Depression, panic attacks, anxieties, and sleepless nights are manifestations of death, and that is not your portion as a believer. “Death” does not only refer to the moment one’s heart stops beating. “Death” is also present in the forms of strife in your relationships, constant fatigue, sickness and disease.
God has made a provision for us to overcome these types of death that we see in our lives. This provision can be seen in the book of Numbers. Numbers 19 talks about the offering of the red heifer.
This is a unique offering that was not offered for the atonement of sins, but offered on behalf of someone who touched death, e.g. a corpse or a bone.
The red heifer is a picture of Jesus at the cross.
A heifer is a female cow, and in the Bible, “female” refers to what is subjective and experienced. In other words, what is applied in a practical way in our lives. In this offering, the red heifer speaks of how we are to apply the work of Jesus in our lives.
Back then, when a person touched a corpse or a bone, he touched death and was defiled. So the priest had to take the offering—which included the ashes of the red heifer, hyssop, and cedar wood—and sprinkle it over the person to make him clean again.
This offering is not found with the other 5 offerings in the book of Leviticus but found in the book of Numbers. Why? Because the book of Numbers was applicable to the children of Israel when they were wandering in the wilderness. The offering of the red heifer is applicable to us today because we as believers still live in this world (a picture of the wilderness). We need the work of Jesus to be applied in our lives.
Pastor Prince shares a personal experience about how he “touched death” when he browsed through a book and had a bad headache after that. When we touch things that belong to the enemy, we are touching death. When this happens, we need to go back and wash ourselves with the Word of God (a picture of the offering of the red heifer).
“Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.”
— 2 Corinthians 3:7-9 ESV
In last week’s sermon, we learned that Elijah had a ministry of condemnation and he dispensed death. “To minister” means “to dispense.” On the other hand, his successor Elisha, whose name means “my God saves,” had a ministry of grace and saw double the miracles Elijah did.
“ministry of death, carved in letters on stone” — This can refer to nothing other than the Ten Commandments carved in tablets of stone.
“came with such glory” — The law had glory but it was nothing compared to the exceeding glory of the ministry of righteousness and grace.
The ministry of death is also the ministry of condemnation:
“For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.”
— 2 Corinthians 3:9 ESV
The glory of the ministry of righteousness far exceeds the glory of the ministry of condemnation.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
— 2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
How established we are in righteousness determines how we walk out our practical sanctification (how we live holy lives in thought and deed).
The moment Christ died on the cross, not only were we justified, made righteous, but we were also sanctified (that is, made holy, made set apart). This is positional sanctification before God. Our practical sanctification is different—it is to do with outward behavior.
For us to live our lives honoring God (practical sanctification), we need to first be established in righteousness (see 1 Cor. 1:30).
We are no longer under the ministry of death and condemnation that Elijah dispensed because we are no longer under the law.
The ministry of condemnation ended with John the Baptist:
“The law and the prophets were until John.”
— Luke 16:16 NKJV
From then on, Jesus came and brought grace. “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
It is important for people who are under grace to ask themselves, “Am I really under grace?”
Because being under grace means you have to remind yourself daily not to judge yourself based on your actions, not to constantly feel like you are being demanded from and pressurized.
You might be asking, “Isn’t it important to look at our actions?”
Your actions are the outcome of your heart. If your heart is right, your actions will be right.
Grace and the gospel is about heart transformation. When your heart is transformed, your behavior will be transformed too.
The law brings death.
From the period between Egypt to Mount Sinai (before the Ten Commandments were given), none of the Israelites died despite sinning.
Throughout their journey, they murmured and complained for years. Murmuring and complaining are considered sins.
But why did they constantly murmur and complain?
“And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the Lord hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.”
— Deuteronomy 1:27 KJV
The people complained because deep down in their hearts, they believed the Lord hated them. They were not conscious of the Lord’s love for them. Their murmuring and complaining were results of what was in their hearts. They complained at the Red Sea and at the bitter waters of Marah. They complained that they did not have food. Despite all their complaining and murmuring (which was sin), God did not punish them or kill them. Instead, He opened the Red Sea for them. He made the bitter waters sweet. He rained manna from heaven and satisfied their hunger. He brought water out of a rock.
Why did God not punish them? Because He was not operating under the covenant of the law but He was operating under the covenant that He had established with Abraham—an unconditional covenant where He said, “I will be your God.”
When the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai, God’s heart for the people was, “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” He wanted to set them apart and make them a holy nation; He wanted to carry them on eagles’ wings.
However, they tried to deserve it with their own righteousness. Before they even heard God’s commandments, they said, “Everything God can command us, we will do it” (see Exod. 19:8). It was an emphatic assertion of their own ability and righteousness.
Man presumed his abilities and strength when he had none. This is why God gave the law.
The law is holy but it cannot make man holy. The law is just but it cannot justify you before God. The law is the knowledge of sin, not the knowledge of righteousness.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
— Romans 3:20 NKJV
God did not want Adam and Eve to partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He told them not to eat of that tree for that day they eat of it, they would surely die.
“The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.”
— 1 Corinthians 15:56 NKJV
No true believer in Jesus can live in sin. They might commit sin or fall into sin, but they cannot live in a lifestyle of sin because they are “dead to sin.”
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
— Romans 6:1-2 KJV
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
— Romans 6:14 NKJV
Sin, sickness, depression, and even Satan shall have no dominion over us who are God’s people because we are not under law, but under grace.
The devil wants to bring sin into your life in the same way he brought sin into Eve’s life—through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which is a picture of the law.
What is wrong with having the knowledge of good and evil? With this knowledge, we end up trying to do good, but end up doing evil. This is a picture of the law and what it does to us.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
— Romans 3:20 NKJV
“by the law is the knowledge of sin” — The law brings the knowledge of what is good and also the knowledge of being unable to do it. This is how Paul felt in Romans 7 when he wrote, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Rom. 7:19).
God doesn’t want us to live by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He wants us to live by the tree of life.
So the Israelites boasted that they would do all that God commanded them to do, but the next thing they did was to build and worship a golden calf, which violated the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exod. 20:3).
The strength of sin is the law. The moment you put yourself under the law, you come under the power of sin.
When the children of Israel built the golden calf, it was as if they were declaring how they had forgotten the Lord’s provision and protection over the past 30 years. They were proclaiming that the golden calf delivered them instead. This was a terrible and hurtful sin against God.
It was only after the Israelites boasted in their ability to keep God’s laws that God told them through Moses not to come near the boundary He set at Mount Sinai. Throughout all the years of their murmuring and complaining, not once did God tell them to stay away until this point in time. God had always been close to them, traveling with them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, dwelling in the tabernacle that they carried around with them.
He brought them out of Egypt based on His goodness, not theirs. He opened up the Red Sea based on His faithfulness, not theirs. No good thing He did for them from Egypt to Sinai was based on their actions.
As long as you are under grace, there will be positive transformation in your life. But under law, there is no room for change.
After the Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai, when the people complained, they died. Why?
Because they told God to judge them based on their actions and deeds. They believed that whatever God said, they were able to fulfill on their own. This is what being under the law means—if you do good, you will be blessed. If you disobey, you will be cursed. And it is impossible to obey the law by your own efforts. You break one, you break all.
Sin was already in the world before God gave the law at Mount Sinai:
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin,
“and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned — (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
— Romans 5:12–13 NKJV
There was sin, but sin was not imputed because there was no law.
“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.”
— Romans 5:14 NKJV
During this period of “Adam to Moses,” people lived for hundreds of years even though there was sin. How did these people live such long lives despite there being sin? Death was kept away because they had no consciousness of sin. And death had no hold over them.
For the people who did die as punishment (e.g. the Nephilim in Noah’s time, Sodom and Gomorrah, Onan who spilled his seed), they died because their actions were motivated by the enemy to stop the promised Seed, Jesus Christ, from coming.
“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.”
— Hebrews 10:1–3 ESV
“reminder” — This is the same word used when Jesus told the disciples to “do this (partake of the holy Communion) in remembrance” of Him.
Today, we are not to remember our sins, but instead remember that Jesus is our righteousness, wisdom, holiness, redemption, and length of days.
Pastor Prince closes the service by praying for people with challenges in their bodies, in their mental well-being, and in their relationships and family life.
The Lord bless you and the Lord keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and on your families and be favorable to you. May you and your loved ones, throughout this week, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, be kept, protected from the COVID-19 virus, kept by the power of God from every sickness, kept by the power of God from all harm, danger, and from all evil in the name of Jesus. And the Lord grant you and your families His wonderful shalom-peace. Amen.
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2020
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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