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Official Joseph Prince Sermon Notes

Wisdom For Financial Success

Sunday, 17 November 2019
 

These are notes on the sermon, Wisdom For Financial Success, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 17 November 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: Grace transforms the way you handle your finances
  2. Receiving grace makes you a generous person
  3. God's practical wisdom for stewarding your finances
  4. God has given you the power to get wealth—for your family, your company, your nation
  5. Biblical principles of money management from the story of Joseph
  6. Closing Prayer

Introduction: Grace transforms the way you handle your finances

Pastor Prince begins with a short recap of the recent U.S. tour that he just came back from, where many people experienced healing and had their own personal encounters with the Lord during the powerful times of worship and partaking of the holy Communion.

Zacchaeus’ story

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich.”
— Luke 19:1–2 NLT

Jesus entered Jericho” — Jericho was known as the city of the curse ever since Joshua entered the city and pronounce a curse over it in the Old Testament (see Josh. 6:26).

Jericho, the city of the curse, is a picture of our world today. Our world is fallen because of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden. No matter how much we try to improve it, no matter how many advancements we make, it remains fallen.

With all our technological advancements, we are supposed to be more connected to one another than ever before. Yet loneliness has never been a bigger issue than it is now. We are the generation with the most material success to date, yet it seems like we are also the most unsatisfied. More people are discontented and depressed now than ever.

This is the world we live in, and Jericho is a picture of that.

God is love, and He loves our fallen world. But He could not show love at the expense of justice. So in all His wisdom, He made a way by sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to this world that Jesus might die for our sins and in exchange, give us the blessings which He deserved. Blessings like joy.

The mark of a believer is irrepressible joy—not because of, but in spite of, our circumstances.

Jesus entering Jericho is a picture of Jesus entering our fallen world that cannot find answers in material success.

It is in Jericho that Zacchaeus’ story unfolds.

“Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich.”
— Luke 19:1–2 NLT

He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich” — Zacchaeus was a rich man who had material success but he wasn’t happy. He was hated by his own people because he was a tax collector who collected taxes from them for a foreign government (the Romans) and he also overcharged them. He wasn’t just a chief tax collector, he was considered by many as a chief sinner.

He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.”
— Luke 19:3–4 NLT

He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd” — Zacchaeus was looking for Jesus, but the crowd was blocking him. Sometimes, we can get so conscious of the crowd that we miss Jesus. But what the crowd thinks or says about you isn’t as important as what Jesus thinks and says about you.

Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus.

When you see Jesus, you will see that His eyes are burning with love for you. When you look for Jesus and you see Him, you’ll realize that His eyes were always on you.

We don’t come to church to see a preacher. We come to church to see Jesus.

In the midst of the crowd and the noise, the Lord’s attention zooms in on the one who is looking for Him, the one who is looking unto Him. It’s one thing to look at someone to observe them. It’s another thing to look unto someone to meet your need, like a drowning man looks unto a lifeguard. In Numbers 21:4–9, the children of Israel looked unto a bronze serpent on a pole (a symbol of Jesus at the cross) when they were bitten by fiery serpents, and those who looked unto the bronze serpent were healed and saved. Those who fixed their eyes on their wounds died, but those who chose to look away from their wounds and unto the bronze serpent were healed.

LOOK UNTO YOUR SAVIOR AND BE SAVED AND TRANSFORMED.

Zacchaeus was looking unto Jesus.

“So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way...”
— Luke 19:4 NLT

climbed a sycamore-fig tree” — There was once another man who was in a fig tree when God was walking by, but he was hiding from God, not looking for Him. That man was Adam when he had sinned by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When he was hiding, God called to him, “Where are you?” God knew where Adam was, but God wanted Adam to know that Adam was lost. Adam wasn’t in the same place with God as he was before.

Zacchaeus knew that he was lost. So he was looking for Jesus, looking unto Jesus.

All the while Zacchaeus thought he was looking for Jesus, but he didn’t realize that Jesus was looking for him.

“When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.””
— Luke 19:5 NLT

“I must be a guest in your home today” — To the one who looks unto Jesus for an answer, Jesus says, “I must stay in your home.”

There’s something about looking unto Jesus that arrests His heart. He cannot help but stop in His tracks and respond.

If you are looking unto Jesus, He says to you, “I cannot take one more step because you have looked unto Me for an answer.”

Right before meeting Zacchaeus, there was a blind beggar who cried out to Jesus, and Jesus stopped in His tracks to heal the man (see Luke 18:35–43).

We have a Savior King who is not oblivious or uncaring about the needs of His people but will stop to answer their cries for Him.

“When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.””
— Luke 19:5 NLT

he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!”” — Jesus made it a point to call Zacchaeus by name. In Hebrew, “Zacchaeus” means “righteous one” or “not guilty.”

Every time someone called Zacchaeus by name, Zacchaeus must have felt like a hypocrite because of his lifestyle.

But the King of kings deliberately called him “Zacchaeus!” in front of everyone. Jesus didn’t give him the Ten Commandments or any law to fulfill before He pronounced him “not guilty.” It was purely by grace.

“But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.”
— Luke 19:7 NLT

He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner” — There is no doubt that Zacchaeus was a great sinner, but so are we.

That is the scandal of grace (undeserved favor). We are all undeserving of the Lord’s salvation, but Jesus shows us grace.

Because Zacchaeus received grace, this is how he responded:

“Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!””
— Luke 19:8 NLT

I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” — Because he encountered Jesus, the person of grace, Zacchaeus decided to give half of his possessions to the poor, and return four times the amount that he had cheated from anyone.

Jesus never told Zacchaeus to do that. But he did it anyway.

Receiving grace makes you a generous person

Zacchaeus vs. the rich young ruler

In contrast, in the chapter before this, Jesus gives the law to a rich young ruler who asked to be qualified for eternal life through the law (see Luke 18). Jesus gave him the law, and the young man walked away sorrowful because he couldn't keep it.

If your boast is in your ability to keep the law, there will always be an area where you fall short of it. The law will always bring you to the end of yourself. When you fail in one of the Ten Commandments, you fail in all.

When the rich young ruler boasted in his ability to keep all the commandments, Jesus said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22) And the rich young ruler went away sorrowful because he couldn’t give up even a dollar of what he had.

In Luke 18, Jesus gave the law to a rich young ruler who couldn’t part with his money.

In Luke 19, Jesus gave grace to a rich tax collector, a great sinner, who responded by giving away much of his money.

GRACE CHANGES THE WAY YOU HANDLE MONEY.

Receiving grace brings about effortless transformation.

Notice that Jesus never asked Zacchaeus to do anything. He didn’t ask for Zacchaeus’ money.

When Jesus saves people or heals people, He never asks for anything in return. He never says, “Now that I’ve healed you, you have to follow Me.”

Jesus freely offers grace to people without putting a price tag on it. We see in so many accounts that Jesus always asked those He healed to return to their friends (Mark 5:18–19) or to go their own way (Mark 10:52), but those who encountered Him usually wanted to follow Him anyway. It was a natural response to the grace He showed them.

Jesus is so beautiful. When we read the gospels, we shouldn’t read them just to find an example to follow. When we read the gospels, we should see Jesus in all His beauty and simply adore Him. When we behold Him in all His loveliness, that’s when we’ll experience true transformation anyway (see 2 Cor. 3:18).

Jesus never asked Zacchaeus for anything in return, yet Zacchaeus responded with huge generosity.

“Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.””
— Luke 19:8–10 NLT

Salvation has come to this home today” — In Hebrew, the word “salvation” is “Yeshua,” which is the name of Jesus.

It is an encounter with Jesus, the person of grace Himself, that brings true transformation.

From Zacchaeus’ story, we see how transformation can be seen in the area of finances.

God's practical wisdom for stewarding your finances

Right after Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus, He tells a parable about finances. In the same breath of grace, He imparts wisdom for handling money.

Context: Jesus’ journey through Jericho is the last leg of His ministry on earth before He went to the cross. At this crucial time, He felt the need to tell His people this parable. It was something of importance.

“The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.
— Luke 19:11 NLT

When the people followed Jesus to Jerusalem, they fully expected Jesus to overthrow the ruling government (the Romans) and establish His kingdom straight away. They did not realize that His first coming was to save. His Second Coming is to reign and rule.

So Jesus told this parable to “correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away,” and in this parable, He talks about money matters.

“He said, “A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return. Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver, saying, ‘Invest this for me while I am gone.’”
— Luke 19:12–13 NLT

A nobleman” — Here, the nobleman is a picture of Jesus. It is of great significance that before Jesus went to the cross, this was what He wanted to tell His people.

ten pounds of silver” — He gave each of his servants a pound of silver, which is equivalent to three months’ worth of wages.

“After he was crowned king, he returned and called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what their profits were. The first servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!’ “‘Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.’”
— Luke 19:15–17 NLT

You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward” — We are all God’s children, but we will receive different rewards. Our faithfulness and our stewardship of what He has given us will determine our position when He returns to earth to rule with us.

“The next servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made five times the original amount.’ “‘Well done!’ the king said. ‘You will be governor over five cities.’ But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, ‘Master, I hid your money and kept it safe. I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.’”
— Luke 19:18–21 NLT

because you are a hard man to deal with” — This servant saw the Lord as a hard man and as a result, became small-minded about the money he was given. How you see the Lord is how you will steward your money. It determines whether you are stingy or generous with it.

“‘You wicked servant!’ the king roared. ‘Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I’m a hard man who takes what isn’t mine and harvests crops I didn’t plant, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’”
— Luke 19:22–23 NLT

why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it” — To the Lord, putting your money in the bank is the least you can do to steward your money well. It’s not the best you can do.

Like the servants who were rewarded, you can invest your money wisely and cause it to multiply.

In this parable, God is teaching us about money management.

Some people read this parable and read it figuratively, saying that it is only talking about spiritual things. But when we read the Bible, we need to read with wisdom.

“...and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom,
for true wisdom has two sides.”
— Job 11:6 NIV

Job 11 says that “true wisdom has two sides” — it is both figurative and literal.

The Lord could have chosen to use any other metaphor besides money to talk about spiritual matters, but He chose to use money. The Lord found it needful and purposeful to share this practical wisdom right before He went to the cross.

THE BIBLE IS FILLED WITH PRACTICAL ADVICE ABOUT MANAGING OUR FINANCES.

In the Bible, there are 500 verses on prayer but more than 2000 verses on money and how to handle it. 15% of all that Jesus taught had to do with money. Out of 37 parables, 16 of them had to do with how to deal with money and/or our possessions.

God wants His people to be wise when it comes to handling money.

In fact, one of the blessings of partaking of the Lord’s Supper is financial blessings.

After the children of Israel partook of the Passover lamb (a picture of the Communion), this is what happened:

“He also brought them out with silver and gold,
And there was none feeble among His tribes.”
— Psalm 105:37 NKJV

Pastor Prince shares how he highlights the part about the Israelites having “none feeble among them,” being completely healed, healthy, and whole. But if we look at the first part of the verse, it says that the night God brought them out of Egypt, God brought them out with silver and gold.

Pastor Prince clarified that he isn’t talking about “transactional faith” or teachings like, “If you give $1000 to my ministry, you will get $10,000 in return.” That is not from the Bible & Pastor Prince is not for the kind of teaching that is manipulative.

But what is in the Bible is that God wants you to be well-provided-for. It's not about materialism.

God wants you to be wise so that you are able to leave an inheritance for your children’s children. He wants you to be a good steward of the money He has given you.

Pastor is not asking for anything from the congregation. It is his personal decision not to draw a salary from the church so that he can have the moral authority and freedom to speak on the issue of finances.

The Bible is clear that God’s heart is for us to prosper in all things:

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
— 3 John 1:2 NKJV

Prosperity is a blessing, but God did not mean for it to be selfish. You are blessed to be a blessing to others. You are blessed to be able to give to the poor.

God has given you the power to get wealth—for your family, your company, your nation

“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
— Deuteronomy 8:18 NKJV

it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant” — He gives you the power to get wealth, not for your own fancy or self-indulgence. The purpose of blessing you with the power to get wealth is to establish His covenant with you. It is a testimony for His glory.

As a child of God, God has given you the grace and favor to get wealth for your employer, to prosper the company you’re working in, to prosper your nation! It’s even in Singapore’s national pledge that we are “to achieve happiness, prosperity, and progress for our nation.”

This is what Joseph did for Potiphar and Pharaoh even though they were non-believing masters.

To be a light in your company isn’t to read your Bible during your working hours. That’s not being a good testimony. But if you’re helping your company prosper, others will see it and they will ask, “How did you do it?” That’s your opportunity to give glory to God and to share your testimony.

The same wisdom that God gave Joseph to support Potiphar and Pharaoh is the same wisdom that God gives you to be a blessing to the company or the boss you’re working under today.

God didn’t promise to make every believer a millionaire, but He has promised that He will be our Shepherd and we will never be in lack. He has promised that He will supply all our needs according to His riches and glory by Christ Jesus.

To supply our needs doesn’t mean just having enough, but having enough to be a blessing to others as well.

You might feel like you already have enough, but you can ask God for more so that you can be a bigger blessing to others. You can give more away!

Since its early days, the church has been committed to giving away 10% of its income to help the poor and those who are in need, as well as to support other charities, churches, and ministries.

In all the gospels, Jesus never made anyone poor. He always provided for those who were in lack or in need. He provided food for 5000 people with five loaves and two fishes.

In Jesus’ hands, little always becomes much. It’s never the other way around.

Biblical principles of money management from the story of Joseph

“Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years and let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain...”
— Genesis 41:34–36 NKJV

There’s a biblical principle about saving and investing found in the way that Joseph helped Egypt prosper during the time of famine.

"collect one-fifth of the produce" — One-fifth is 20%.

Pastor Prince shares about the small beginnings of the church and how the church practiced setting aside 20% of what they received.

“The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord is giving you.”
— Deuteronomy 28:8 NKJV

For God to bless what’s in your storehouses, there has to be something in your storehouses. For God to bless all to which you set your hand, you need to actually set your hand to things.

If you do nothing, then nothing will prosper.

But in deciding what to do with your finances, don’t get into the get-rich-quick schemes.

ASK GOD FOR WISDOM TO KNOW WHAT TO INVEST YOUR FINANCES IN.

There is also wisdom in doing business with friends, i.e. make sure everything is in black and white.

It is God’s desire that we use money for His glory, to be a blessing to our families and to the people around us.

Never love money and use people. Use money and love people.

Pastor Prince prays for supernatural (and legal) debt cancellation for:

  • those who are in financial debt.
  • those who have made mistakes in the past and have over-extended themselves financially.

Closing Prayer

“This coming week, the Lord Himself bless you and your loved ones with the blessings of Deuteronomy 28, with the blessings of father Abraham.

Blessed going in, blessed going out, blessed in all that you touch, blessed in your workplace, blessed in your storehouses. And I pray in Jesus’ name, that the Lord grant you wisdom to know where and how to invest, that you would not hear the voices of people that are out to get your money in a quick way.

But Father, in Jesus’ name, grant them the discernment and the wisdom to be at the right place at the right time, hearing the right opportunity with the right investment. And I pray, Father, You will prosper them with prosperity with a purpose. And Father, we are not ashamed to hear the word "prosperity."

We know it is a Bible word, but not prosperity for our own greed and covetousness, Lord. But prosperity to serve You. Even as the gold and the silver that the children of Israel were used to serve and build the tabernacle, it is to serve You, Lord, and to bring glory to Your name.

Father, protect everyone under the sound of my voice throughout this coming week. Grant Your angels to keep charge over them. Keep sickness and disease far from them and prosper their ways, Father, and make the crooked places straight. If the enemy has set up something against any one of them, Lord, I pray that You will foil the plans of the enemy and make the crooked places straight. Protect them and their children, the entire family, from every harm, danger, and from the power of the evil one. 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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