Joseph Prince - Win The Battle Over Bitterness
Praise the Lord. I want to share with you further on Hebrews 12. And in times past, I've shared from this portion. Every time I meditate on this portion, I get fresh revelations. There are people today telling people who believe in grace, which is supposed to be all believers, telling them, "Well, it says pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord". And when it says holiness, and the Greek there is sanctification, they are actually saying that you cannot be saved unless you are holy.
Now we are on dangerous ground. We are telling people that they are saved or maintain their salvation by holiness. They are saved by holiness and they maintain their salvation by holiness. This is dangerous teaching. It is what Paul calls another gospel. "What do you mean then, Pastor Prince"? "Holiness, without which no one will see the Lord". It's talking about revelation. Jesus himself said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". We saw that the Gentiles in Cornelius' house, their hearts were purified when they believed the good news that their sins are forgiven through Jesus Christ. That's how you get a pure heart. And the Bible tells us that we should live our lives in such a way that we are hungry for fresh revelation of the Lord every day. And then it tells you, "Looking carefully, lest anyone fall short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness," ha ha. It's telling you how bitterness spring up. And when it springs up by this, many... let me read the whole thing. "Lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, by this many become defiled".
You know when a root of bitterness springs up in the church, you know what happens? It's not just one person having trouble. It's not just that one person who is now defiled. When someone has a root of bitterness, he goes around defiling many, especially in today's society that we live in. All right, they hide behind pseudonyms. They hide behind bloggings and all that, and they defile as many people who are willing to read as possible. Some things, if I read it, it would defile me. It would defile you. You're not above it. But the thing is this. What happens when you read it? You are imbibing someone else's mixture, someone else's syrup that they have mixed and they are saying, "Drink," and you are drinking it to the last dregs.
Now his bitterness is in you. The words of a tale bearer are like wounds. If you listen to the words of a tale bearer, you are cut inside. So what is the thing that causes bitterness to spring up, which is the opposite of peace? And right after this, verse 16, not only bitterness, "Lest there be any fornicator". The Greek word here is pornos, so the word pornos, which is fornicator. Look at this, "Lest there be any fornicator". Lest is always continuing. Lest there be, make sure this don't happen, lest there be bitterness, a root of bitterness, lest there be fornicator. It's all tied up, which means if you see a person having sexual problems, most likely he has a secret bitterness somewhere.
Okay, go back again to verse 14. Pursue peace, the opposite is what? Bitterness. And holiness, the opposite is what? An example, fornication. So why is it that this is prevalent in the body of Christ? Why is it that maybe one or two here, you may have a challenge in this area and you find yourself falling in that area all the time? What God is saying is this. God is saying that long before you have fornication, sexual immorality, addiction to porn, all right, your problem is there's a root of bitterness somewhere. Why is it some days you are so angry? Tied up with bitterness. You're not interested in following peace with all people. I'll tell you this, it's all got to do with law and grace. At the end of the day, it's all about law and grace.
We notice the very next verse tells you how it's done. "Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God". That's the area you must look for. You don't look for that area of falling short of God's grace in life, in church, in ministry, you are to... the word looking carefully is a very interesting word, people. It is the word by which we get the word episcopal. All right, the Greek there is epis corpio, from where you get Episcopalian Church. Episcopal or epis corpio means oversight. It's not just looking diligently like the King James says, or here in New King James, looking carefully. It's actually a word that says look carefully over your people, look carefully over others that they don't fall short of God's grace. Because long before there is sexual sin, long before there's a root of bitterness, people fall from grace. Look people, it's there right after holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. It's telling you what produces peace, what produces peace with people, what produces holiness by which you get a revelation, fresh revelation all the time? It is always in the grace of God. It's back to law and grace.
"What do you mean, Pastor Prince, law and grace"? You see, law is all about demand. The mountain of Sinai, when God gave the Ten Commandments, it's all about demand. The Mount Zion, which is the mountain of grace, where the Holy Spirit descended and the church was birthed 2,000 years ago in the upper room, that mountain, all right, it's called Mount Zion. It's the mountain of grace. And grace is about supply. So it's back to the mountains again. Your children, what kind of relationship do you have? "But there are times, Pastor Prince, don't you agree we have to place demands on our children"? Life is such that when they lack the knowledge and the experience, it's already like that in life, that from the young until they come to your age, you know, where you are now, or younger or whatever. It all depends on maturity. Different kids mature differently. But the thing is this, demand is part and parcel of parenting. So as such, can you offset it with the supply?
There are times you can say, "You know something? You have it in you. I have seen that. You care for other people. All right, this girl that you're not happy with, this classmate or whatever, all right, you are bigger than her. I've seen you forgive and I know you'll do the right thing". Supply. Now I can also say, "Hey, don't you know you are Pastor Prince's daughter? How can you be angry at people like that? You know, how long already, two weeks"? I'm just giving a scenario, all right? This never happened or it happened in different way, not two weeks. But supposing two weeks. "How can you do that? You know, it's bitterness in your spirit. You're destroying your own self".
All right, demand. You see the approach? Why don't you, why don't you, why can't you, you, you, you, you know? And that's what the law does. The law says, "You shall not kill. You, you, you shall not, you shall not, you shall not". Grace says, "I will give you rest. I will be your God. I will forgive your sins". See the two mountains? So because of time, let's go to the mountain, should we now, verse 18. "You have not come to the mountain that may be touched". You say you have not come because we have come to a different mountain. All right, verse 22 now, "You have come to Mount Zion". So let's go back again to Mount Sinai, okay, verse 18. "You have not come to the mountain that may be touched". It's a palpable mountain compared to Mount Zion. Mount Zion is the heavenly Jerusalem. No one can see the kingdom of God, but it's real. And in your heart and mind, once and for all settle this.
Just because you cannot see, just because it's not palpable, does not mean it's not real. In fact, things that you cannot touch and feel, things you cannot see, is more real than things you can see. The Bible says in the book of Corinthians that the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are unseen are eternal. God is here right now. He's unseen, eternal. Your chair can be seen, temporal. I don't care how long. You don't even sit on this chair, all right, matter of time it will degrade, it will disappear. All right, angels are here unseen. Your spirit unseen. Your body seen, it's temporal. One day, you'll have a body that's eternal. So stop this thinking about, "Unless I have the money in my hand, it's not real". No, you have the money, you have the healing, you have the favor. You have it; possess it. "But I can't see it, I can't touch it". That's why you need to learn to walk by faith. That which is unseen is eternal.
So it says, "You have not come to the mountain that's palpable, that burns with fire". That's how the law came. That's how the Ten Commandments came. "And to blackness and darkness and tempest". I can almost feel the law, very dark, tempest, fire. Sound of a trumpet, the people beg, "Don't let God speak to us, Moses. You speak to us". They literally begged. Next verse, "Even if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow". Old King James says fiery dart. The word arrow here and darts is the same root word where in Ephesians it says, "Take up the shield of faith by which you are able to quench all the fiery darts, fiery missiles of the wicked one".
What does that mean? The moment you touch Mount Sinai, darts are flying your way, fiery darts. The moment you say, "No, I believe in grace, but I believe in the law. Let's try to amalgamate them both," then the devil says, "All right, his eye's on self and on Christ. Let's hit the self part, show him how he comes short, show him how he falls short, show him where he's missing it. Shoot the arrow and he has no defense". Because you know why? It's part Christ, part him. But Christ is your all in all. He's your shield. Interesting. And even Moses feared and trembled in the atmosphere. When you listen to mixture, you listen to people preach the law, you find at the end you leave the church, but you feel dark. It's as if Mount Sinai has been transposed. You feel that atmosphere of trembling. You feel atmosphere of darkness. You feel a fiery judgment fire. You know, I've been there before, where I don't even know that I'm safe when I left.
Okay, now good news. "You have not come to this mountain, but you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem". This tells us it's not the Zion on earth, in Israel in Jerusalem. It's a Zion that is heavenly. And Paul talks about it in Galatians. It's the mother of grace. Our mother is grace. That's heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to the city of the living God. See, God is mentioned here for the first time. Just not that mountain. God has moved the mountain. He's no longer there. His judgments are there, but he's no longer there. And here the heavenly Jerusalem, "To an innumerable company of angels". Oh, angels were mentioned there in Mount Sinai? Not a single one of them, but here you find myriads of angels. You cannot count them, innumerable. You see, at Mount Sinai, when those who worshipped the golden calf, all right, they were all killed by the edge of the sword of the Levites.
In the Old Testament, there's no answer for the sinner. The answer is kill the sinner with the sin. But when Jesus came down the Mount of Transfiguration, there was a boy possessed with a demon. The father cried to Jesus for help. Jesus didn't throw the boy with the demon. Jesus judged the devil, the demon. He judged the demon, cast the demon out, saved the boy, loved the boy. That's grace. Romans 6:14, please. "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace". Galatians 5, "Christ is become of no effect". That's a terrible thing. Oh, it's a terrible thing when Christ who is our holiness, Christ who is our power, Christ who is our health, Christ who is our life becomes of no effect. Terrible. And why does Christ become of no effect?
"Well, Pastor Prince, because of sin". Wrong, try again. Read the Bible. "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whoever of you are justified by the law". If you are trying by your own self performance to obtain holiness or righteousness with God, you are fallen from grace. And we are to watch each other, that we don't fall short of the grace. Let's go back to Hebrews and I'll bring this to a close. "You have come to Mount Zion to the city of the living God, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn". That's the new creation church, people who are born again. I'm not referring to our church. I'm referring to a church universal, those who believe in Christ. Amen, they are a new creation. "They are registered in heaven". You have a passport in heaven. Amen, you are registered in heaven, amen. And mostly likely your NRIC is 5555. "To God the Judge of all". All right, don't be afraid of this.
Notice God is in this mountain. All right, God is in this mountain and he's telling you the greatest security you can have is to know that God is, even when God deals with you judicially, all right, you are the spirits of just men made perfect. Do you understand? I don't want God to just say, "You know, I know you're full of sin, but I'm just going to act like you're a righteous man. I sweep your sins under the carpet". It's not like this. Many of us think that righteousness, it's not like this. If it's like this, Christ don't have to die. No, it is God's righteousness that poured his wrath on Christ when Christ bore our sins. Now that Christ has been punished for our sins, the judge of all, who can do no wrong, demands that you be made righteous, demands no condemnation. So when I come to this God, the judge of all, I come as spirits of righteous men made perfect. It's all on this mountain. Next? To Jesus, ah, Jesus on this mountain, not at Mount Sinai.
Those of you who are going back to Mount Sinai, no wonder you can't find Jesus there. "To Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant. You have come to Jesus, you have come to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel". This blood speaks better things than the blood of Abel. Who is Abel? Abel was the man that his brother killed him because God accepted his sacrifice and he offered blood. His brother didn't offer blood, but God accepted him because he's saying none of my works, it's all Christ. Without a shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. And he brought the lamb. God received him. His brother was jealous. The first murder in the world was over religion, how to approach God. It's not like one guy's an atheist, a guy believing God. No, no, no, both approached God, but one believes his performance, he brought the produce of his hands, religion of Cain. One didn't bring nothing but the lamb. It's not me, it's the lamb. And God accepted Abel, so he was jealous. The performance-centered person is always jealous of the grace person. "He doesn't deserve this shining of glory on him. God accepted him. Mine is better". They are bitter, bitterness.
Now the first murder happened. But when the blood of Abel was spilled, Abel had been sinful. All men are sinful. His blood cries for vengeance on his brother's head. God appeared to Cain, the murderer, and God said, "The voice", blood has a voice. "The blood, the voice of your brother's blood, cries to me from the ground". It cries for what? Vengeance on the murderer. But the blood of Jesus that was shed at the cross speaks better things. When his blood was shed, it speaks forgiveness for the sinner. It speaks redemption for the lost. It speaks restoration for that child that has gone astray. It speaks health and healing and wholeness. Amen? Next verse, "See that you don't refuse him who speaks". The blood is speaking good things. Do not reject grace. Don't refuse the voice that speaks grace. Don't refuse the voice that speaks grace, that speaks better things. Some people would rather receive a voice that speaks judgment. They say, "That's a good sermon".
Be careful, see that you don't refuse the blood that speaks grace because it is Jesus speaking. "For they did not escape who refused him who spoke on earth". Once upon a time, Mount Sinai, he spoke on earth. No one escaped. All right, the Bible says finally, "Much more shall we not escape if we turn away from him who speaks from heaven". Anyone who rejects Jesus Christ and who rejects his grace, God says, "I've done everything for you. This is my love, this is my Son, and you say, 'I don't need him. I can take care of my own life.'" In essence, you slap the gift away. The Bible says that's it, there's no more salvation for you. And that's what the book of Hebrews is all about. And the Bible says, "His voice then shook the earth," at Mount Sinai, "but now he has promised, saying, 'Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.'" The voice of law at Mount Sinai only shook the earth. The voice of grace will shake heaven and earth. Heaven is where? This heaven is not God's dwelling place. It's the place where evil spirits are. It'll all be shaken when grace is proclaimed.
Go on. "Now this, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are manmade". Made means manmade. "But that the things which cannot be shaken may remain". This voice of grace that's been proclaimed, notice, will make nothing of everything manmade. It'll be shaken into oblivion. Only what is of grace, what is of the Spirit, what is of Christ, what is of the Father will remain. I want my marriage, I want my children, I want my church, my ministry to be on unshakeable ground. But more of this, you'll get my teaching on unshakeable, okay? We end with this. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken," aren't you glad, people? "We are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace". Let us have what? Let us have what? And you know that "let us have", let us have in the Greek is an active voice. It's not a passive voice. Let us have grace. The word "let us have" is the word acco in Greek, an active voice. "Let us possess grace. Let us meditate on grace. Let us hold onto grace. Let us preach grace. Let us live grace. Let us have grace, by which," only by grace, "we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear".
So people want the reverence and godly fear in the church, but it comes by grace. "For our God is a consuming fire," and he will consume everything, in the context everything that is not grace. So let's make this practical, church. When you wake up in the morning, you've got two response. Either the sermon I preached is fresh in your mind and you say, "Father, I thank you". When you say give us this day our daily bread, please believe. I said please believe. Give us this day our daily bread is not just physical. It's whatever bread you need for that day to see you through. Supply is coming your way. Wake up with a supply and your wife says, "This needs to be done, that needs to be done". Just say, "The supply, the wisdom will come. The wisdom is supplied. I receive that wisdom". Amen? Are you listening to what I'm saying? But if you find yourself getting short temper, short this, short that, you are short of grace. Long before there is that sin, there is that coming, falling short of the grace, amen? And what is grace? Supply, amen? Amen?