Joseph Prince - You Stand Permanently In The Favor Of God
Well, praise the Lord. That was an amazing camp that I just came back from. Legacy was two weeks ago. Legacy is secondary school age, and last week was the varsity students camp. I was privileged to be in both camps. These are your children. These are the generation that's gonna impact other people's children. Many of them will be leaders. I've seen some leaders amongst them, and it's amazing that the things that they are hearing are things that I wish I heard when I was their age. They will ask questions like, you know, "What is the difference between infatuation and love"? "When is the right time to get attached"?
I told them, "Infatuation and love, you know, the difference, one is lust, and one is actually thinking of the highest good of the other. That's love, amen. And when you love someone, you will not want to use the person for your own lust, whether it is to put on Instagram, to show off to your friends that now you are attached, you know? And your friends really don't care, you know, they are not really that interested. You think they are, but you're gonna put it down so you can show off that you are attached. You're using the partner, the friend, all right, your girlfriend or boyfriend to show off".
I say, "That's lust. That's not love for the person. And if you do things to the person and the person is worried, you know, or she's concerned that this month she's late and all that, that's causing a lot of emotional pain and suffering for the person. Is that love or is that infatuation"? And they all knew the difference, amen? I say that "You will not do that to the person. You will love the person and seek the person's highest good. That's love, when you're willing to sacrifice self for the person," amen? Then you are ready to marry. Then they asked the question, "When is the right time to marry"? I told them, "It's not a matter of the right time. We're not here to stop you. We're not here to kill your joy. We're not people, you know, saying, 'No, no.' We are people that is looking for your greatest good".
So I look around at young people and I told them, "When will you get married? Two years"? And the guy kept quiet. Another guy, "When will you get married? Five years"? He kept quiet. So I said, "That's the thing is, see, if you're gonna get married in seven years time, eight years time, you think about it. If you get attached right now, all right, the first time you hold hands, there's electricity, right? A few months, it's called the law of diminishing marginal utility. The more you consume something, the less satisfaction you have. So, a few months later, you're holding hands, the buzz is there, but not as exciting as before. Then you proceed on. After the six months, some people even earlier than that, you know, they go to hugging. Then later on, that doesn't satisfy. Then they go to kissing. All that in one year, and you're not gonna get married in five years. So you know that you'll put the person in a compromising situation".
I say, "What Hollywood does not show you is that they show you the glamour. They don't show you the abortion clinic. They don't show you the girls waiting outside with fear and trepidation, not even looking at each other, all looking at the floor. All feeling ashamed. And the aftermath of it, nights after nights they wake up in cold sweat, crying. They swear they can hear their baby cry. You know, you don't want the person to go through all that. And that's something that Hollywood will never show". So I shared all that and I say that "God wants you to both have, you know, sparkle in your eyes, radiance, you know, and really loving each other, outdoing each other in love, looking for the best good of the other person," amen? All right, amen?
These are practical wisdom that we tell your young people in this camp. And I'm telling you that I wish I heard these things when I was their age. We have amazing questions, and Pastor Darren preached a sermon in which he showed the visuals of a clubbing scene, one famous clubbing scene in Singapore but it, I won't care to mention the name, but he was showing them dancing, and then we switch off all the sound. So you can see them dancing, and their hands were all raised, you know what I'm saying? And he say, "Look at them, all right? They are raising their hands". Look at them with compassion. They are raising their hands, but they do not know to who. They are dancing, but they don't know what for. In a place that is not safe, in fact, like the Father's house where there's music and dancing, amen, and we know to whom we raise our hands, amen? To the one who loved us and gave himself for us, hallelujah.
And there is substance in our dancing, amen. Dancing is something, parents, if you are averse to that, let me just tell you this. Dancing is instinctive in even children. Little children love to dance. My son is only two years and five months now, Justin, two years, five months. Is it five months? His birthday was in March. He turned two years old in March. Okay, five months, around there okay? My math is not so good, but he loves mathematics. The other day he was at the camp and he was counting fishballs and he counted to 65. That's what they told me, and he loves to count. And he loves to dance. He loves, when the music is on, he will go dancing.
Now, we don't dance, Wendy and I, at home. Just in case you're wondering. But somebody took a picture of him right after his children's church. All the children went back. He's there, waiting for his father, because the father has to be here the whole day, all right? So he was waiting for his father and a few of the Sunday School teachers stayed back, and I'm gonna show you a video of him. It is very interesting. So they are showing him a southern song, "Put your right leg in, your left, right leg". You know, that kind of thing. He felt it was a bit slow, I think, so, "If you give your heart To Jesus. And you turn yourself around. That's what it's all about".
Okay, thank you, praise God. And we... no, we don't dance at home, okay, just to let you know. So it's instinctive in a child to express. You know, David danced before the Lord, amen? But the thing is that there's a purpose in the dancing. There is a significance, amen. We're enjoying ourself for the one who loves us, amen? We talk about safe environment, we talk about the Father's house, we talk about unconditional love. The world can never love you like that, amen? And out there, there's a lot of manipulation, a lot of abuse going on, amen? You can't even trust the drink that you are drinking many-a-times in this kind of environment. But in the Father's house, there's safety. There are older brothers and older sisters to watch over you.
So if your child is 13, 14, 20, even varsity and all that, we encourage you to encourage them to come for the services because, friend, the devil does not think that they are too young to watch pornography. The devil doesn't think that they are too young to smoke. The devil portrays to them that they are not too young to experience addictions, okay? So don't think of them as being too young to be exposed to the Word of God, to the Holy Spirit, and the power of God. We see our young people falling under the power of God, experiencing God, you know, and yet at the end of it all I tell them this, okay: "Do not depend on your emotions". We enjoy great emotions here. We have wonderful emotions, amen. It's great to fall under the power of God, to sense God's presence, amen.
Even in the camp we had a manifestation of the face of Jesus on the screen, and it was captured on, you know, on iPhone and all that, but the thing is that I told them, "All these things, they are not the things that confirm, you know, the presence of God in your life. It is God's Word. And there'll be days," I tell them, "you will feel like God is 1,000 miles away, but God has promised he will never leave you nor forsake you". So I taught them to say, "Look at your feelings. If good feelings come, enjoy them, amen. But when bad feelings come, if feelings come like you feel so angry you're gonna punch somebody, you don't have to act on the feeling. Don't be bullied by your feeling. It has bullied you long enough," I said. "Don't be bullied by your body. Your body says you feel this, you must do this. You feel that, you must do that. You don't have to be bullied by your body. And the more you say 'No,' to all these things, there's a strength that comes from within, amen".
I told them that Joseph, for example, he could dream dreams when he was 17 years old. He could dream dreams, but he has no ability to interpret. See, the ability to interpret God's actions in your life, what God is doing in your life, the ability to interpret the Scriptures, the ability to interpret is actually wisdom. Even King Nebuchadnezzar can see visions and dream dreams, but he had no one to interpret for him. So even a heathen king can dream, but has no power to interpret. So the power to interpret is actually wisdom. So, Joseph had the power or rather, the gift of dreams and visions, but it was only after he was sold off, Potiphar bought him, he was brought into Egypt, into the palace of Potiphar, and then the Bible tells us that Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph, right? Joseph said, "No".
But that's amazing because, if you think about it, he was far, far from his father's house, there was no one in the palace at the time to do favors for the boss's wife would give you some natural advantages, and yet Joseph was a man, by the way, he lived before the Ten Commandments was given. He never heard about "Thou shall not commit adultery," yet he practiced the presence of God. And I preach this to your young people, amen. He practiced the presence of God. He told Potiphar's wife, who was probably very beautiful, because Potiphar was a captain of the guard and he has the pick of the cream of the crop, c'mon, all right? It was a real seduction, but what did Joseph say? "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God"? And he ran before he changed his mind.
Now, it was after he said no to the temptation, when he was thrown in the dungeon, he had the power to interpret the dreams of the butler and the baker. So I told them, before that he could not. After that, every time you say no to temptation, so I told them, "Look, you'll not be perfect. There'll be stumbling in the future. You might fall here and there, but at least it's an upward stumbling. Don't be one of those who watch pornography and, you know, those who indulge in their lusts all the time, like an animal. And many of them, you can look at their face," I told your young people, "and they look like a zombie. They are zonked out. They look at every woman that passes by, and they see them as objects. Don't be that". I said, "Be cool. Be attractive. Have a fire in your eyes, a twinkle in your eyes, a light that comes from your face".
And all our young people and our girls and our guys have a radiance about them, not by conventional standards. Can I have a good amen? Amen, but there's a light that comes on. I've met girls who are considered very beautiful physically, but after you talk to them for a while, you just realize it's a empty shell. There is nothing there to hold you, amen? And I have met people who are not that attractive physically, but after you talk to them, you wanna talk to them some more because you see there's a light on their face, there's a sparkle in their eyes. And that's what God gives. It's called favor. Can I have a good amen, people?
So these are the things we teach your young people, and we, you know, I promise, I told the girls this. If he tells you that he's gotta have it or else he will explode, I promise you, we have never picked up pieces of guys who exploded. We never picked their lungs, their heart, their head, you know, one corner. We don't have to put them together. In fact, the more you say "No," your energies are transferred into intelligence and creativity, amen. It will be transferred, amen. And you will learn to say, "No". And so I told them this, "Let it be an upward stumbling. You won't be perfect, but let it be an upward stumbling". I feel like you adults need to hear that as well, amen? Praise God.
All right, are you all ready for God's Word? All right, the last time I preached on, "Will the real gospel please stand up"? We've been doing a series on that, and the last time I preached to you was Part 2, and remember that the gospel is what the world needs today. When we say the gospel, that means it's good news. Good news about what Christ did for us. The good news that God is not mad at you, God is not looking out to hurt you, to judge you. God is looking out to save you, to bless you, and to give you abundant life. And this he did by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, while we were still sinners, while we still hated him, we didn't care about him, we don't care about his things, God sent his Son, seeing our need of him, even when we don't see that we are in sin, we were full of self-righteousness, God still sent his Son. His Son died for our sins on the cross, and because that death is on our behalf, we will never, never die for our sins.
We will never be punished for our sins because Christ was punished for our sins. And the same body that hung on the tree, bearing our sins, on the third day was raised from the dead without our sins. What does that mean? That means all our sins are put away. Friend, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the reason why he went through all that is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. That's what the world needs to hear. And the world, Christian world, listen carefully. Christians are not about morality, all right? Our gospel produces moral excellence. But focusing on morality does not produce morality.
In fact, people who focus on morality can produce bitterness, all right? In the fight for morality, they are bitter and they are angry. But if you focus on the gospel, the gospel will produce true character. It will produce moral excellence. Are you listening, people, amen? The more you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, all right, number one, the gospel is the only hope the world have. If we can pull ourself by our bootstraps, improve ourselves, and get better, we do not know tomorrow if something else we're failing in, and that's it. If anything depends on us, even a hairline of salvation depends on us, there'll be no security in your heart. But, friend, God has made this entire salvation and redemption that he has given us totally dependent on Jesus Christ and his work. And because it's totally dependent on Christ and his work, we can rest assured, settled, with abiding peace, because it's not dependent on us.
We don't have to maintain it tomorrow. It maintains us. We are not holding onto him; he is holding onto us. If I hold onto him, I'm afraid my hands are too small, I might lose him. I lose grip, lose touch, but he will never let go, he will never slip. Can I have a good amen? All right? You need to understand one thing. The apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, many of them were martyred. They were not martyred for the cause of morality. They were martyred for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Are you listening? Many of them lived during the Roman Empire, and they were martyred for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, don't let the world think that the church is all about "against, against, against," when they do not know what we are for. We are for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the gospel of Jesus Christ produces true holiness.
The gospel of Jesus Christ produces character. The gospel of Jesus Christ produces moral excellence. I'm gonna prove that right now with the Scriptures. We saw this two weeks ago, but for the sake of recap visualization as well as those who are new, let's look at Acts 10. Acts 10 is the apostle Peter's preaching at the house of Cornelius. It is the first time a Jew, a saved Jew, a believing Jew, Jesus's own apostle Peter went to a Gentile's house, a Roman, a Roman centurion. His name is Cornelius, and he's preaching here, and when he came to this point, verse 43, "To Christ all the prophets witness that, through His name," the name of Jesus, "whoever," say "whoever," Jew or non-Jews, Gentiles, "whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins," forgiveness of sins.
"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word". They all got saved in one fell swoop. Where? At what point of the sermon? When he says, "Whoever believes in Jesus will receive forgiveness of sins". No qualification, amen. No trying to balance that statement. Just pure, complete, unqualified proclamation, "Whoever believes in Him, receive remission of sins". Amen, church? Are you with me? Now, this is what has been proclaimed around the world, people. And we are seeing moral excellence rising up. So remember this, that "While he was preaching," what? The gospel. He wasn't preaching morality, he was preaching the gospel, "And the Holy Spirit fell".
Now, what happened in the next chapter is very interesting. In the next chapter, notice, by the way, there is no mention of repent. You know, sometimes people say, "You've got to preach repentance, preach repentance". Well, sometimes I say it. Sometimes I don't say it. In this instance, Peter did not use the word repent. But notice, they all repented. How do I know?
Well, in the next chapter, Acts 11, this happened in Caesarea, but next chapter, chapter 11, the people, the believers, the Jewish believers in Jerusalem, HQ, they heard about what happened, and they summoned Peter on the carpet. They said, "We understand you went to Gentiles and you preached to them," and Peter rehearsed the entire story about the vision he had from the Lord. And then he came to this point in Acts 11. "If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, 'Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.'"
Interesting, repentance to life. But the thing is this, the word repent was never used by Peter. But there was repentance going on. So just because he used the word repentance, doesn't mean repentance is going on. And if you use the word... don't use the word repentance, doesn't mean repentance is going on, all right, vice versa. I encourage you to use it if you want to, but the word repentance, metanoia in Greek, actually means change of mind. If the pulpit is anointed, if the delivery of God's Word is prophetic, word in season, I'm telling you the people will change their minds, amen. And that's repentance. But repentance is not just beating your heart, you know, that kind of thing, and screaming at the top of your lungs. That's not repentance. It may manifest like that, you know, but it can be very quiet. Most of the time, it's just a quiet changing of the mind, okay? Praise God.
Fifteen years after the incident at Cornelius's house, fifteen years after, again there was a conference in Jerusalem, and they're questioning whether the Gentile believers should keep the law. Then Peter stood up again and Peter said this in Acts 15. "And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: 'Men and brothers, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth,'" he was referring to 15 years ago, "'the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.'" Go on. "'So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us,'" Jewish believers, "'and them,'" Gentile believers, "'purifying their hearts by faith.'"
Now, how many know that a pure heart is more to be desired than pure actions? Because some people can deceive you with their actions. Not everyone who gives to charity has the utmost noblest intention. But a pure heart, what will one get for that? Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". So what is this pure heart? How does one find it? Here, he's talking about Cornelius's house: "God purified their hearts by faith". How did that happen? They believed the gospel. I'm telling you, church, every time believe the gospel, their hearts become pure. How, by works? By faith. How do you get a pure heart? By faith. Faith in what? In what Christ has done. What the whole world needs is the gospel of Jesus Christ. When the gospel is preached, hearts will be purified.
I told our young people at the end, you know, I prayed for them and I told them that God raised more evangelists amongst them. Even healing evangelists. The world is dying for a lack of good news, amen. And God is raising them, praise the Lord. So remember this. We are not about, you know, if you talk about the gospel, you believe in the gospel. For the first four chapters of Galatians, it's about law and grace, law and grace. Then the fifth chapter, he talks about the fruit of the Spirit, which is a life of beautiful character and moral excellence. But notice, it's the fruit of believing the gospel. But the problem is that people look at that fruit and they say, "Try to imitate the fruit". Can an apple tree looking at another apple tree imitate its fruits? No, he can't. Fruits cannot be imitated. I repeat again, fruits cannot be imitated, amen.
So, fighting for a moral issue is not the way to get it resolved. The way to get it resolved is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, amen. May all the churches be rallied together all over the world with one purpose, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. To take it up from where it's been hidden and dust it off and tell the world, "This is how good the news is". See, the world still thinks that God justifies the godly. You see, it sounds very logical: God justifies the godly. But the Bible says in Romans 4: "To him that worketh not, but believes on God that justifies the ungodly". God justifies the ungodly. Romans chapter 4. God justifies the ungodly.
There's an old man that was sharing about his search for salvation. He heard many preaching about salvation and how to have peace with God. And still he's about 80 years old, an octogenarian, yet has no peace in his heart. Has no assurance if his heart stop beating at any time, heaven is his home, all is well between him and God. You know why? Because he never even began at a starting point. You know what's a starting point? The starting point is this: God justifies the ungodly. He's trying to be godly so that God can justify him. And there are many people who are trying to be godly so that God can justify them. They never take, come to God as they are and believe that God justifies the ungodly. And the fruit of believing right is to live right. But don't try to struggle to live right without the believing, amen?
So let's go right now to Romans chapter 5 and we're gonna see how the gospel produces character. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ". People, if you have put your trust in Christ, you are now justified by faith. With God, you have peace. Think about it, peace with God. The Creator of the heavens and the earth, the one who supplies food for the birds, causes the flowers and the herbs and the harvest to be fruitful. The one who supplies us food. This God, the Creator of the universe, we have peace with him. We have peace in our conscience. There is no more hostility. There's been a cessation of all hostilities and there's no more war. We have peace with God. You know how? Being justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, when it comes to our past, all right, whatever you have done in the past, whatever evil you have done, how much you have blasphemed God, hated God, amen, how much you have lived only for self, how much you have used people for your own gain, no matter how evil, how ungodly, you were in the past, once you believe in Christ, you are justified by faith. You have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. What about your present? Okay, that's your past, all right? Whatever happened in the past, you are now justified by faith. You have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, but what about your present? The next line: "Through whom," through Jesus Christ, "also we have access by faith into this favor, into this grace, in which we stand".
So, our past, all right, is taken care of. All guilt is put aside, all sins remitted, we are now justified by faith. Our present position, what a permanent present position, because in the Greek, the word "we have access, we have," and the word "into this grace in which we stand, we stand," both of them is in the perfect tense. And people, perfect tense means it's a once and for all act never to be repeated. That means our position through Christ is favor with God forever. This is a permanent boon, a permanent position, a permanent privilege. You cannot be removed from that position because you didn't put yourself in that position. It is "through Christ also we have access by faith into this favor in which we stand". And the word "stand" is again in perfect tense. So we have in perfect tense, "we stand," perfect tense, which means, people, once you are saved, you are forevermore in favor with God.
So if there comes a preaching, if there comes a teaching, if you are reading a book and it gives you the idea that you can fall out of favor with God, throw it away. It is not God. God cannot give you this verse and assure you even in the original language of the Greek, in perfect tense twice in the same line, tell you it's permanent, never to be repeated, and then you think that, "Wow, I better watch it now because once I'm in this position of favor, I don't want to lose it". What makes you think that your doing or not doing can cause you to lose that favor ground, when you never got it in the first place because of what you did? Being justified by faith, again, even your past, you are forgiven, not because of what you did. It is through our Lord Jesus Christ, amen. Your present position in favor is also through him, that we have permanent access into this favor. It's a permanent standing.
You see, you might think, "Well, Pastor Prince, what is this favor"? Well, friend, if you know it, if you know it, you'll break down doors to get it. This favor position would come and go in the Old Testament on certain individuals. For example, Joseph had that favor. The Bible says when Joseph was sold as a slave in the Egyptian market, some people say they don't even give him the courtesy of a loin cloth because they have to see the entire body before they buy the slave in case they are bringing somebody into the house with contagious diseases on their body. So imagine being sold at "$50, $100, $120. Do I get a 200, 220, 200". You know, standing down there, being sold like stock, like cattle. And Potiphar bought him. And the very next verse says what? "The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man".
Wow, no clothing on his back, no savings account in the bank, and yet the Bible says, "The Lord was with him". And because the Lord was with him, he was a prosperous man, and God gave him favor in the sight of his master, Potiphar. You know what happened, right? In a short time, he rose through the ranks, right, in the palace so much so that even Potiphar's wife noticed him. And friend, you have this favor as a permanent blessing. Joseph had it and he was conscious of it. That's why he can say no to Potiphar's wife, why? When you feel you are called to higher things, you don't go down for low things, you know? And finally, he did have a wife, a beautiful one, that he can have a clear conscience to enjoy life with. It's not as if God is saying, "Well, I will never let you enjoy physical intimacy". No, God gave him the best. But the favor of God is what gives a person, a man or a woman, the ability to say no, amen.
God gave him favor. In a short time, he rose through the ranks. Favor brought him before important people, and finally before Pharaoh. Within one hour in front of Pharaoh, with the favor of God on him, he ruled the entire Egypt. It's not, I'm very careful in saying this. It's not higher education, it's not further studies. It is not coming from that university, it is not having the big breaks. It's not knowing the right people. Friend, it's the favor of God. In a way, it's knowing the right One, you know? And stop looking horizontally and start looking vertically. When God give you favor, I don't care who is around you and who is competing with you; when God's favor shines on you, everything they throw against you falls flat because God's favor is on you. Who wants the devil's smile when God is smiling on you, amen?
So, Esther was another one. She was a simple poor girl from the house of Mordecai. Her parents had died, her cousin actually, an older man, brought her up, and the Bible says there was a call for all the virgins in the land to appear before the king because the king was about to have a beauty contest to choose one amongst them to be his bride. And the Bible tells us when young Esther, she was not even a Persian. She was a Jewess. And when she appeared before the king, her turn came. The Bible says she obtained grace and favor. Obtain means God gave her grace and favor before the king, amen. And because of the favor, she didn't use the favor for herself. She used it to help her Jewish people from destruction. And I'm telling you, church, the more you are conscious of this favor, when you go to work, we wake up in the morning, just imagine there's a light on you.
You know, I was telling our young people that when they leave the camp, remember, all right, that you are not what your feelings tell you you are. You are not what your body tells you you are. The real you when God made you, see, everyone just say this after me. Say, "I am a spirit". Do you know that? "I am a spirit". Say it. "I live in a house called the body". See, this is your house. This is not you. These are windows. Look at a neighbor's windows. Say, "Very dusty," all right? Look at another neighbor's windows, say, "Very brown". Another one, "Very blue," all right? These are windows. They say "windows of the soul," but listen, I am a spirit, I have a soul. Say, "I have a soul". The soul is the part where your emotions are.
So you are not your emotions. You are not what you feel. You have emotions, but you are a spirit. God breathed his Spirit into you, into the house. Your body came from the dust. And when all is said and done, your final condition of your body is dust. But this is not you. You will still live, amen. I've said it before. If I die right now, which I won't by the grace of God in Jesus's name, amen, with long life he satisfies me, 120 years old is what I'm looking for, amen. Praise the Lord. So if I drop, my heart stop beating right now, boom, the first thing I feel is that I'm still alive. "Wa-hah! I feel good, man". You will never feel more alive than when your encumbrance drops off. So when your encumbrance drops, the first thing you feel is perfect happiness, never to be taken away from you, because there can be nothing that can make you unhappy no more.
So that's the first thing, you are born, for those who are born again, talking about those who are born again. Straight away, the Bible says you feel so alive. Now, this is separate from the "world's idea" of death. And then you look down there, saying, "Who is that good-looking body"? Then you realize it's you, amen? But if you look into the mirror, you see yourself younger, better looking, than you did down there. That's a encumbrance, that's your house you live in, and the Bible says you won't be like this all the time. Now you still have your emotions with you, you have a soul, but the Bible says when Jesus comes again, you will have a brand new body like Jesus's body, a glorified body, that'll never grow old, never fall sick, never feel bored, never feel tired, never fall asleep when the pastor is preaching, ever again, amen. And the Bible calls it the Rapture.
And that's what the church of Jesus Christ is waiting for. The devil knows it's gonna happen. The Rapture is not the Second Coming of Christ. Don't confuse the two. When Jesus talk about Second Coming, he's coming for Israel, all right? Before the worst happens, the world is not gonna get better. The world is gonna get worse, all right? But the church is gonna get better and better, brighter and brighter, and greater glory will rest on the church just before the end times.
And church, what's gonna happen is that all of a sudden, Jesus will appear, and the Bible says this is called the Rapture, parousia, the presence of the Lord. He will come for his church. His feet will not touch down on any mountain on earth yet. That's the Second Coming later on, seven years after that. But he will be in the mid-sky. He will call for us, and the Bible says, "in the twinkling of an eye," in the Greek, "in a atomic second, we'll all be transformed". Our bodies will be transformed and our bodies will be like his body, forever young, forever healthy, forever strong, never to die again, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
And that's why his second... his first... not his First Coming. His First Coming when he came as a baby in Bethlehem, but the Rapture is not the Second Coming. After the Rapture, the church has gone. Seven years of tribulation will happen. The man of sin will appear, the Antichrist. And he will persecute, especially Israel, amen? And Israel will get saved at that time, because the only evangelists on earth, 144,000 of them, will be Jewish evangelists. Israel will get saved. But the church is not down there, looking up, hoping for Jesus to come. The church will be with the Lord, looking down, with a brand new body. You know for how long? For eternity, which is pretty long, y'all. He went up, we are looking down.
At the end of seven years, Jesus Christ will return and set this world right. No more innocent being preyed upon by predators. No more human trafficking, sex trafficking, abuse of this earth, killing, murder, rape, all kinds of destruction and carnage, no more. The King will set it right, but with judgment, with judgment. The Second Coming will be with judgment. And the Antichrist will be destroyed. But we won't be here looking up, you understand? We are going up already, we have gone up already. And that's why, for the church, he comes as the bright and morning star. Because the bright and morning star appears first, early in the morning. But for Israel, the last chapter of the last book of the entire Old Testament says he will come for Israel as the sun, S-U-N, of righteousness. When the sun appear? Before or after the morning star? After.
So notice, for the church, he comes as the bright and morning star. For Israel, he comes later after seven years as the sun of righteousness. Look at the signs, people. We are very close. But anyway, that's not my message, okay? Come back here again. So our past, we are justified by faith. Our present, we are in a permanent position of favor, all right? What about our future? Our future is this: "We rejoice in hope," hope is always future, "of the glory of God". In other words, our past, we are justified. Our present, permanent blessing of being in favor with God. And our future, we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
You see, friends, if you subscribe to the belief that you can lose your salvation tomorrow through some weakness that you have not taken into consideration or you feel the devil has tempted you on the blind side, maybe next year or whatever, if you subscribe to the teaching that you can lose your salvation that Jesus obtained for you without your effort, but you can lose it by your effort, if you subscribe to that, you cannot rejoice in hope. Obviously, for the apostle Paul to teach that we rejoice, when we look at the future, we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. That means he knows something that those who do not believe in eternal security do not believe in.
And what is that? Your past, justification, to where you are now, was not dependent on you. It was dependent on the Lord Jesus Christ and what he did at the cross. Your present permanent blessing or being in favor with God is not dependent on you. Here's why. Your future in the glory of God is also not dependent on you. We are not blessed based on who we are, what we have done, what we have not done. No, no, no, a thousand times no. We are blessed according to Jesus Christ in God's estimation who he is and what he has done, God sets to my account. Therefore, in 1 John 4:17 it says: "As Christ is, so are we," where? When we die and go to heaven? "In this world". "As Christ is, so are we in this world".
In other words, do you understand, God is not judging you, not estimating you, not measuring you, not esteeming you, not reckoning you, not measuring you according to who you are, what you have done, what you have not done. No, God is not looking at you. God is looking at Jesus Christ who judged you. God is looking at Jesus Christ and how good he is to judge you, to bless you. My friend, look away from self and look to Christ, amen. "As he is," so stop asking the question, "Am I pleasing to God? Am I pleasing to God"? Ask the question, "Is Christ at the Father's right hand pleasing to God"? Yes or no? "As he is, so are we in this world," amen.
Is Christ under God's unclouded favor at the Father's right hand? So are you in this world. Because as he is, so are we in this world. How cool is that? That's why it gives a resting place for your heart and mind where we know it's not dependent on us. If just our salvation, our standing, if it depends even on one strand of hair of effort on our part, it'll be finished before this day is over. But it's not, friend. It's totally dependent on Jesus Christ. Many years ago, the Lord spoke to me and said, "Son, don't just stop there with acceptance and favor". God says, "Go further. Is my Son sick"? I never thought of that. We always ask, "Are you sick? Am I sick"? We don't ask, "Is Jesus sick today"? We just don't ask that, right? So the Lord says, "Is my Son sick"? I said, "No". "As my Son is, so are you in this world".
Don't put buts, don't put perhaps, don't put maybes, don't put peradventures there. God's Word is God's Word. God's Word, "As he is, so are we in this world". And I remember a sister came to our church and she was diagnosed with lumps in her breast, and the doctors were concerned. She had to go for further tests, and she showed me a report, a medical report, and she put down there, she'd just heard my preaching on this, and she put down there, "Does Jesus have lumps in his breast"? She wasn't being funny. She was serious. She wrote down there, "Lord, do you have lumps in your breast? As you are, so am I in this world". Went back for a check-up, and the doctors cannot find the lump.
Well, I shared that story many years ago. A lady heard me preach, came back from America, she wrote to me, and she said this. "I heard you share the testimony of a lady, and I was diagnosed with a lump in my breast. And I say the same thing to God, 'Lord Jesus, do you lumps in your breast? You don't, right, so as you are, so am I in this world". See, when your eye is on Jesus, the Holy Spirit goes to work. When you look here, he stops. You look at Jesus, he works. You look here, he stops. You look at Jesus, he works. He has not come to call attention to himself. He has come to call attention to Jesus. Not for this cause, for that cause, for this cause, for that cause, but for Jesus. One day, it'll be Jesus who will set this outward physical world right. So, the testimonies been going on, and yesterday I had another testimony. I read it for the first time yesterday, and it is from a lady from New York, and she says this.
"I had severe pain in my right leg, especially when using the stairs or getting up. The doctors diagnosed me with arthritis and sent me for therapy. My insurance covered only 18 treatments, but by the 14th treatment there was still no improvement. During that period, my left knee also started to hurt, and I stopped therapy. I was watching Pastor Prince's sermon where he mentioned a lady who was healed of a lump in her breast. I thought if she could experience God's healing, so could I. At that time, I didn't know Bible scriptures like 1 John 4:17, which is 'As he is, so are we in this world'. I just said, 'Jesus, you do not know, you do not have any pain in your knee. Therefore, I do not have any pain in my knee either'. I cannot tell when the pain left, but when it did, I cried for the first time in years. I had stopped kneeling because of the pain, but I can now kneel without pain. I can also sit and get up from the bathroom seat without having to wait five to ten minutes for the pain to pass. I cannot thank God enough. It's a pleasure to go up and down the stairs, sit in regular chairs, bend down to pick things up for myself, and use regular bathrooms. Before that, even bathrooms for the handicapped were a problem for me. At the Seniors Center, it is a pleasure to pick things up for anyone whenever I get the chance to, instead of waiting for someone to do it for me. I try to give my testimony to everyone I hear complaining of knee pains, for all those who would listen. To God be the glory. May God continue to bless you, Pastor Prince, your family, and your ministry. I have gained a lot of insight and freedom from listening to your grace messages. To God be the glory," amen, church?
Hallelujah. All right, so our past, therefore being justified by faith. Our present, we are permanently, irrevocably in favor with God, amen. Our future, wow, you'll be in the glory of God. You'll be radiating the glory of God, amen. Oh, do we have that? We can go home already. But we still have difficulties, we still have troubles, we still have challenges, we still have trials every day, don't we, right? What happens then? What has this position of favor with God, how does it translate to the way problems beset me and how I view it? Well, let's go on. The next one, he says this. "We rejoice in the glory of God. Not only that, but we also glory," and this word glory is the same word, same Greek word as rejoice in hope of the glory of God previously. Same word. "We also glory in tribulations".
Now, tribulations is nothing more than troubles. It does not say, "These troubles is other people's fault". Does not say it is your fault. Does not say it's the devil's fault. Whatever troubles it is, even the troubles of your own making, God says, "Because you are now justified, because I'm no more judging you, I am not, in fact, I'm favoring you, and you are in a permanent position of favor with me, know this, you will still have troubles, but not like the people of the world. Your troubles have a purpose". Let's see the purpose. We don't rejoice in the troubles. Read carefully. Paul is saying, "We also glory in," I'll change the word to troubles, okay, because tribulation is an old word that we don't use nowadays, all right? We don't say, "My wife tribulates me," you know? "My father-in-law, my mother-in-law is a tribulation". We don't say that. We say, it seems to be bearing witness with some people here.
So, we "Glory in troubles". Now, that sounds, you know, this guy loves pain, you know? But it's not that. Knowing that, you must read, "Knowing that". Knowing that. Knowing what? We rejoice in trouble for the believer because the moment trouble comes on our grace ground, we know that "This trouble produces perseverance". Trouble produces what? Perseverance. "And perseverance, character". Didn't I tell you, it all starts with being justified by faith. And that's why I said the gospel produces character. You know what's character? When a lady of character steps into a room, all of a sudden the room is filled with weightiness, with dignity, with a certain radiance. When a man of character speaks, his words carry weight, even though it's a few words.
Character is something that when you're in the presence of someone, it's got nothing to do with physical looks, it's just that you enjoy being in that person's presence. It gives you stability. It gives you peace. People seek you out. People wanna be around you, because you are like a rock, a rock of Gibraltar in the midst of storm-tossed waves. People find strength in you. That's character. And it comes from perseverance. Perseverance comes from trouble. So don't waste your sorrows. You can waste your sorrows by saying, "Oh, why"? Complain and murmur about your troubles. No, because you're on favor ground, trouble does not affect you the way it affects the world. Trouble that comes into your life, that God allows to come into your life is working for your good. Are you listening, people? It produces perseverance.
You know, perseverance is something that you find in marriage especially. People are not persevering anymore, hm? I want all my pastors and all my leaders and counselors to listen up close. Whenever someone comes and tells you he wants to leave his wife or leave her husband, okay, the rule is always this. They have found someone or they're eyeing someone. The exception is that there's no one, no third party, all right, there's really trouble, but that's more the exception than the rule. You'll be okay. If you approach someone, even they say there's nobody, "There's nobody, nobody". "You're nobody called today". And you know that nobody in business, all right, there's somebody. Maybe they're not in a relationship yet, but they are eyeing somebody. Or they're thinking of being with somebody.
Now I didn't say everyone, but you are safe to go by the rule of thumb, majority is this. I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to my counselors. I'm talking to my pastors. The exception will be this real trouble, because I'm telling you, marriage, everyone who gets married, let me tell you this, there are trials and tribulation, okay? That's what I tell the young people. They say that, "How much quarrel is enough quarrel to break up"? Something like that. I say, "Look, let's not give them, let's not give our young people false delusions". Even people who are looking really nice, even there are leaders in church, this church or any church, sometime they look real good, but they got quarrels. Everyone has quarrels, even yours sincerely. I mean, Wendy sometimes don't see my intelligence. She don't see it. And I'm thinking, "Why don't you see it, woman? What's wrong with you, woman," you know? She don't see the wisdom.
And so I tell you this, let's not pretend and give to our young people a picture that we are so up there somewhere, you know, that's why I tell all the young people, "Look, every good relationship has troubles. In fact, when you put two good people together, there'll be some rubbing," all right? But it must not be, I'm talking about those who haven't married yet. So those who are married, switch off your ears. Let's spare those who are not married. So I tell them, all right, "If you are quarreling with your girlfriend or your boyfriend all the time, break off. Don't need to wait for an angel to come or a vision or a dream. Break off in Jesus's name. There is someone out there that will love what she hates. It's not that she's bad for you, it's just that maybe her personality makeup is not for you. You're a public person, she's a private person. Maybe, you know, in this case opposites don't attract. But if you're quarreling all the time, break off".
Those who are outside marriage. Those who are inside, too bad, you're inside already. Bye, bye. Sorry, I don't mean that. Jesus didn't... Lawrence, come here and preach on marriage. No, no, no, no. I want you to know that every marriage has its troubles, but you can learn something from there. The best part is this. If you can have it a bit, you can pass by your ego of your wisdom, your intellect, and all that, you can pass by that and say that, all right, this trouble happened because there's something for me to learn about me. Maturity comes when you stops thinking, "It's her fault. It's her fault. It's her fault". And start thinking, "What can I learn about myself here"? Maybe the way I was brought up, I'm so sensitive in this area. God used her to expose it.
Hey, by the way, if you dumped your wife to go for that person, after for a while the romance fizzles out, same thing. A few more years, you'll be back in the same thing. She will expose your weakness again. Then what? Find another brand new model, eh? No, you learn from that relationship. Trouble, especially in marriage, produces perseverance. If everything is rosy-dosy, hunky-dory, sweet-sweet, I love you, I love you, baby, sweetie-pie, honey, love you, lily-pew. Where is you, my damsel darling? You know? If everything's so sweet, why is there perseverance? The idea of perseverance, tribulation worketh perseverance, amen? You are both changing. If you are changing for the glory of God, you are both changing and you both become exciting, as the years go by, amen? Don't give up just yet. All right, praise God. Okay, sometime you've gotta support yourself. Amen, Pastor Prince, good preaching. I'm the only one here who can talk behind my back.
All right, let's go on, okay? We are bringing this to a close. Now, "Perseverance produces character, and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us". Now I'ma drop a bombshell right now. For those of you who study the Bible, do you know that the book of Romans is the first book of the entire New Testament. Now, Acts is about the church, like a historical narration, all right? But in terms of teaching, the Magna Carta of the gospel is the book of Romans. But do you know something? For the very first time in the book of Romans, Romans 5:5, we are introduced to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was never mentioned in the first four chapters. Why? And not only the Holy Spirit, but also the love of God is mentioned for the first time in this verse. Why? For additional taped copies, please write Joseph Prince Ministries.
Now, would you like to know why? This is the wisdom of our God. The first chapter of Romans, he talks about men and their perversion and their sin. Chapter 2 he talks about the Jewish person, all right, and how they're also in sin. Chapter 3, God conclude the whole world under sin that he might have mercy upon all and the Bible says "Now the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, unto all and upon all that believe. Witnessed by the law and the prophets". That's chapter 3. Chapter 4, he talks about Abraham, whom the Jewish people esteem and highly regard, amen, of all the personage in the Jewish history, they regard Abraham as their father, and rightly so. And God used Abraham as a picture of justification by faith. How was Abraham made righteous before God? Was it because he's circumcised? No, his circumcision came after his justification, amen. Was it because he was perfect? No, we know he lied. But how was he justified? Apart from works, by faith.
So that's chapter 4. He talks about justification by faith apart from works. Then chapter 5, that's where we are now. In other words, this is the wisdom of God. God does not want you to focus even on not just your feelings, your affections, all right, looking within yourself. God doesn't even want you to focus on the Spirit's work in you. God wants you to focus first on Christ's work outside you. In other words, let me say it like this. God doesn't want to confound Christ's work for you for the Spirit's work in you. You understand? Many Christians, they go like this. "Oh, do I feel God's love today? Do I feel the Holy Spirit today? Oh, yesterday, I felt him. While he was telling me, 'Do this in a big way' I felt him. I felt the assurance that I'm saved. I felt like I was under the favor of God. But I don't know, it seems so cold today. It seems like..."
That's what Christians do. They don't go by what Christ has done. They don't go by the settled facts of God's Word. They go by their feelings. And that's why the wisdom of God is such that he puts your eyes for the first four chapters, all right, on God, on Christ, and his finished work outside you, and then when he realize you are resting in that, then he tells you about the love of God and the Holy Spirit in you. 'Cause many a times, you start looking within you, all right, you start thinking, "Well, yes, last week I remember I felt the Holy Spirit during worship. But today I feel like he's not there. I feel empty. Maybe I've lost my salvation". There's the problem. You're not settled in Christ's work for you. And now you're looking at the Spirit's work in you. Don't confound the two. Only when you see Christ's work for you can you understand the Spirit's work in you.
Like what I said just now, the more you see Christ, and the Holy Spirit will always make you see Christ. If a sermon is anointed by the Holy Spirit, whether a preacher is anointed by the Holy Spirit, he'll always point you to Jesus Christ, amen. The devil will point you to himself. The devil will point you to other people. But the Holy Spirit will always point you to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will not even point to himself. He will point you to Jesus Christ and his finished work. And when you see Jesus Christ, and now you see him at the Father's right hand, what happen? The Spirit works when you look at Jesus. Are you listening?
You look at yourself, he stops working. You look at the Lord, he starts working. The best leading comes to people whose eyes are on Jesus. "The most... can I feel the leading? Can I feel the leading"? That's not the way to find leading. The more your eyes are on Christ without, can you hear the promptings within. Don't confound the work of Christ for you with the Spirit's work in you. So the wisdom of God, this book. Oh, not only Jesus is perfect and excellent, like a diamond that you would turn it round, it reflects beautiful perfections. But the Bible itself is like him. It's excellent. It knows when to bring a certain subject. It knows if it brings it too early, the Holy Spirit, people start looking at the Holy Spirit in them and try to go by feelings. Even the love of God, he will talk about the work of Christ than for you to know about the love of God in the earlier chapter. Why? Because you always turn things into feelings.
You will say, "Today I don't feel the love of God. Yesterday, I felt so loved, because I was driving into this mall. It was crowded, and I asked the Lord for a parking lot, and he gave me a private lot. And I told my wife, 'I feel so loved'". The problem... by the way, it's okay to pray for car parks. I do that all the time. I mean, you are in favor ground, why not, amen? You have influence with God. But I also use my favor ground when I pass by an accident scene. No one there can really help that person but me with my prayer. God can spare the person's life, God can cause the right doctor to see his situation. God can cause bleeding to stop. God can heal the body, all right?
So use your position for the good of men. But the thing is this. I also use it for a carpark. But the problem is this. If you interpret getting a carpark lot as love from God, then the next day God wants to try your perseverance and you go by feelings, you say, "Today, you don't love me, is it? God? God, are you there"? You understand what I'm saying? No, we don't wanna become Christians like that. I mean, thank God for the carpark if it comes, praise God. It doesn't come, that's not the basis for the love of God. The love of God is demonstrated at the cross. And that's why for the first four chapters he talks about Christ and the work on the cross before he talks to you about the love of God so that you can interpret the Holy Spirit, you can interpret the love of God in the context of the finished work, amen?
All right, you see, the problem with all of us is this: We are introspective, you know, to the extent that you look in yourself like, "Why am I feeling this way? How come I feel this way"? I tell our young people, you know, "Don't do that. The devil wants you introspective all the time". You know, I mean, we are introspective, all of us, even pastors. You know, the best thing I can do for Pastor Lawrence, the best thing Pastor Lawrence can do for me is always to point me to Jesus to remind me about Christ, to remind me about my sermon, amen? All of us are subject to this.
We look in the mirror and say we are too fat, we are too thin, we are too this, we are too that. We are self-occupied. We look at a group photo. Who's face we look for first? The dog in the photo right now? No, your face. I'm not saying you look like a dog. I'm saying there's a real dog inside the...huh? And you see girls who are skinny, they that run around in one shower to get wet, you know? And they still think they're fat. The devil is cruel, I'm telling you, especially to girls. He's cruel. He will talk to you about your physical appearance. "Man, why do you feel this way? Why do you feel so blah today? Why do you feel so... and God must be a thousand miles away. You must have fallen out of favor with God. If not, you won't feel this way, or what? You won't feel this way. You see all your friends are rejoicing. You see tears falling down her eyes as she worships the Lord. Look at that girl down there. You're dry as a bone man, your eyes". And then you're looking around. "Everyone's feeling God. I don't feel God".
I know one question was brought up in the camp. Someone says, "Pastor Prince, what do you do during the dry? What can we do during the dry season"? I said, "I don't know. I'm always in it". Sometimes, to help young people, you gotta talk like that. I say, "I don't know. Honestly, I'm always in a dry season. If I go by my feelings, I'll always feel dry". I don't go by my feelings. Good feelings come? I enjoy it. I taste it. But bad feelings come? I just see it. Yup, let it go by. Don't have to act on it. Even depression come. "Yup, hello, Depression. Go," amen? Feel it, let it go. "Let it go, let it go". You're learning, people? Introspection is dangerous.
The devil will always come to you and say, "What are you going to do about this problem? What are you, you, going to do? What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? Why, it's all on you now, and you must do it. You don't do anything, nothing will happen. If you don't make yourself push down other people, other people will climb on top of you! What are you going to do"? Friend, stop, step back, and say, "Wait a minute. I'm in the favor of God. I'm in the favor of God," and cream rises to the top. You don't have to push, don't have to strain, don't have to strive, amen. You race very hard, you win the rat race, number one rat, alright? Don't get involved in the rat race. Step out. You're not a rat, amen, amen?
Breathe and relax. Let it go. You know why? When you let it go, God's takes hold, okay? Don't forget that. But it's almost like the Holy Spirit's so jealous that you don't become introspective again. Right after he says, "The love of God has poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit," straightaway he brings your eyes back to the cross. "For", that means because, "when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for," the godly? Ungodly. All of us qualify. It's almost like after he brings their attention to the love of God poured out in their hearts, the love of God for them poured out in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, it's almost like the Holy Spirit says, "Okay, enough of looking at yourself. Look again to the cross".
So one of the best things to do is to memorize 1 John 4:17, "As he is, so are we in this world". For me, if you feel lousy, you know, and you say, "Wait a minute. I'm as Jesus is. Is Jesus having this blah feeling right now? Is Jesus feeling rejected? As he is, so am I". "I feel unsafe, Pastor. I don't know why I get this feeling. I'm suffering a lot of fears". Then ask yourself, "Does Jesus have these fears"? No, then look to him, and say, "As you are, Lord, free from these fears, so am I in this world". It may not come immediately. Keep on looking, and you know something? As long as you keep on looking, the Holy Spirit keeps on working, alright? But don't bring your attention back to yourself, "Okay, where is it? I don't feel the Holy Spirit," alright? Are you with me so far?
I want to tell you something about something I didn't expound because of time. I'll tell you real quick, okay? Go back to the verse 5. It says what? "Hope does not disappoint". And I'm telling you, church, one of the amazing things is this. The world's wisdom, the highest wisdom of men and the greatest intellect of men cannot even come close to the revelation of God to men. The highest of men cannot even come close, amen, to the revelation of God. For example, there's a book in the Bible called Ecclesiastes, and the book is nothing more than to show you the highest intellect that man can achieve this side of heaven and the greatest wisdom a man can receive apart from God. In all his deductions, for example, Solomon, in his deductions, without the wisdom of God, okay, he will deduce like this: "You know, God is in heaven, you are on earth, so let your words be few".
That's the highest man's wisdom can go. But look at the revelation of God. God's Word says, "You're not on earth, and I'm up here. You are with me in Christ. You are seated in heavenly places, and don't let your words be few when you come to me. Beloved, I seek to hear your voice". Song of Songs, the groom seeks to hear our voice, and he says, "Pray without ceasing". What a far cry, the wisdom of God than the highest wisdom of men, who says, "Let your words be few". God says, "Don't stop asking me. Don't stop praying. Don't stop casting your worries and cares. I love it. You cannot over-ask me, but I'll always over-answer you". Gotta learn his dance. I think he got fed up with seeing them, one foot here, one foot there, and he said, "This is how it's done, folks". Amen, church?
I'mma tell you something: The wisdom of God, the world says, what? "The highest wisdom of the world", say that, "Not to hurt yourself. Don't raise your hopes". Am I right? The world always says that, "Don't raise your hopes," huh? A doctor turns around, looks at the family, and say, "There is a slim chance, but don't raise your hopes". That's the highest wisdom of man can go, and you know what? They cannot go beyond that because they don't believe in a God with infinite love, infinite wisdom, and infinite power. We do, so God's wisdom says, "Hope does not disappoint". The more hope you have, the more you'll be in a place of answered prayer because the love of God... Oh, man, how do I tell you this? When you have a revelation of the love of God based on what Christ did at the cross, when you have a revelation of that, be careful what you set your heart on because you might get it.
Now I didn't talk about another person's house, another person's car, another person's dog, another person's wife, okay? I'm talking about legit desires that we have. Be careful what you hope for because when you are somebody who knows the love of God, you are practicing the love of God, your hope will not disappoint. I remember, when I was in the army, one particular time, I was on duty, and I went to, it was a weekend. Felt kind of down, you know, but that day, I spent some time in the Word because there was nothing for me to do in camp, so I studied the Word, and God gave me a private revelation of his love. It's like, "Wow," I had a revelation of the love of God. My heart was so full of it, okay?
Now, folks, let's not think about feelings. Let's understand, it's always about the finished work about how God sent his Son. So my heart was full of it. I went to the cookhouse. We call it "cookhouse," the place where you go for your meals in the Army. There was a long queue of others who were on duty in the camp. So I line up. We passed by, and the menu for the day, I was eyeing from afar. There was a mountain of fried chicken, y'all. Fried chicken, all right, like Kentucky Fried Chicken. So the closer we come, I was from this side, and the cook was from the other side, so as I come closer, as my line came closer to the food, I was, in my heart, but that day, I've been full of the consciousness of the love of God for me.
Then I look at the mountain of fried chicken, and I saw one particular one. It looks juicy. It looks big. It looks really good. So, when I saw it, in my heart, I didn't even pray. I just said, "Lord, I claim that in Jesus's name. I loose the cook from that thing. I loosed and bind the rats from off my chicken, and I claim it in Jesus's name". I didn't do that, okay? I just look at it and in my heart, just my heart, "I hope I get that one". But it was a lot of, in fact, it was like a small hill already, right? And it was just one facing me, and it's not on the side of the cook that was dispensing it. One by one passes by. I, sort of, like, my hope, I just hoped to have it, and I came, this guy, for some reason, moved this way, all right, just turned, and he took that one and put it on my plate.
You know, I didn't have a revelation of this verse. It was after that God says, "That's what it means when your heart is full of, you are conscious of my love for you. Even when you don't feel it, you believe it. You have a revelation of it. Your hope, be careful, it will not disappoint you," amen. So what we need in the body of Christ, may God raise more and more people that will proclaim, maybe not from the pulpit but one-on-one, sharing with their friends and their colleagues and their relatives and, you know, whoever they find, to tell them about how much God people, amen. That's why the world is... the world will...the world is the world is the world is the world.
Don't be shocked when the world acts like the world. When sin is sin, because there are sinners, why are you shocked, huh? When a drunk acts drunk, it's because, little revelation, he's a drunk. So what the world needs, "Stop drinking". Is that what the world needs? "Let's come against all alcohol". Is it a good cause? Choose your battles carefully. You can win a battle but lose the war. People might know for what you are against than what you are for, and you have effectively closed the door for evangelism for a world that's crying out for the only love that satisfies because your friends, your colleagues, and why the world is the world and why sinners are sinners is because they don't believe God justifies the ungodly. They think that all of you here are in church, trying to be godly so that God can justify you. They don't know that we are here because we have been justified. They wanna hear more and more as the treasures of our inheritance are being expounded on. That's why we are here.
Let's finish off with these verses: "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die", hardly can find someone die for another good man, "for yet perhaps for a good man someone might even dare to die". Very, it's a rare exception. We see it happen in the movies, in wartime, someone jump on the grenade to save his section, you know, from destruction. I mean, very rare. Rare. "But God demonstrates his own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners", you know what it means, "sinners"? We hate him. We don't care about him. While we were still sinners, evil in our thoughts and desires, "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us". For us. Hmm? And the last verse, and then we close with this: "Much more then," woo-hoo, "much more then, having now been justified by", what? "His blood".
Notice, it is not by our works, our actions, our performance, but "by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath", or wrath, my American friends, "through Him". That's why, church, you know what this verse is telling you? Once you are justified, now you are justified, you need not worry in the future you will ever come under God's anger again. God will never, ever, ever be angry with you. In fact, God has sworn in Isaiah 54, after the work of Jesus in Isaiah 53, God swears, "I will never be angry with you". My cute little boy, Justin, I cannot swear that I'll never be angry with him, but God can, and God swears on righteous foundation, the blood of Jesus.
And that's why, when we look in the future, there's no more wrath, people. I don't care who preaches what. The Bible is my authority, and it says that "much more, being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him". And do you know, the seven years of tribulation, in the book of Revelation, it's called "the day of God's wrath". So how can Christians be there? "We are saved from wrath through Him". That's why we are looking down. God has to remove us. Before God can destroy a city, God will have to remove the righteous people, amen. So people who say that God is judging this country, God is not judging countries. God is dealing with individuals now. Even in the Old Testament, if God can judge a city, God has to remove the righteous.
So, people, listen, you're not going to the tribulation, amen. And the Rapture happens, grab two, three sinners by the hand, and go up with them dangling. Halfway in the air, you ask them, "Want to receive Christ? Or I let go". But, friend, jokes aside, he is coming back for us. You know, the only part that we're waiting for on this side of heaven is our body, our new body. I know you think your body looks good and all that, but you ain't seen nothing yet. When Jesus comes and gives you your body that he paid for at the cross, a body that has no more sickness, no more tiredness, you cannot even feel bored anymore in that body, all right? That's the body we'll have forever, and that's what happens in the Rapture.
The Rapture is nothing more than inheriting your glorified body, "the corruption putting on incorruption," and the Bible says we shall not all die. "We shall not all fall asleep," it says. That means, what? There's a generation that'll be alive when Jesus comes. I really think it's our generation. Are you ready? Are you ready? All right, now, before I pray for you all and dismiss you all, I like to say this to all of you, the same things I told the young people when they left the camp. I said that "spiritual growth, how do you know you're growing spiritually"?
It is not because you feel strength in yourself: "Ooh, I feel strong after this camp. I feel strong. I'm conscious of strength". Because, if you're conscious of strength, who are you satisfied with? Yourself. But spiritual growth is marked by an ever-increasing consciousness of your weakness. In fact, you find that, as you grow spiritually, you are more conscious of how weak you are. You see more of your weaknesses, but you are satisfied with Christ as your righteousness, not yourself as your righteousness. Christ is my righteousness. So if you are strong in yourself, you are satisfied with self, but if you are consciously weak, you are satisfied with Christ as your righteousness. That, my friend, is spiritual growth, amen?
Bow your heads. Close your eyes. Give Jesus a praise, amen, and then you can bow your heads and close your eyes. I wanna pray for you. I wanna give an opportunity for those who are here today, who have never made this wonderful Savior, God's beloved Son, Jesus Christ, your own personal Savior and Lord. I encourage you, my friends, I exhort you, I beseech you, put your trust in Christ. Jesus said, "I come that you might have life and have it more abundantly". "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". If that is you, wherever you are, pray this prayer with me from your heart. Say:
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your love for me. I thank you for the gift of your Son, my Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross in my place for all my sins, and I'm now justified by faith. You raised him from the dead as the proclamation that all my sins are put away. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Father. I'm justified, and I stand permanently in the favor of God. What was a dream to the people in the Old Testament is now my reality. Thank you, Father, I'm saved, gloriously saved, in Jesus's name - and all the people said, "Amen".
Stand to your feet right now. Stretch your hands to the front. I wanna bless you.
This coming week, friends, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of wisdom, the Lord of glory bless you and your families with father Abraham's blessings, with the blessings of Deuteronomy 28, even as you are blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ. The Lord himself, through his own shed blood, keep you and your loved ones throughout this week from accidents, from danger, from infections, from contagion, you and your children, you and your loved ones, protect you from sickness and disease, protect you from the terminal disease, protect you from all that's coming up on the world in these days. In these last days, the Lord preserve you and your loved ones from all evil. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious, be favorable to you. You stand in the favor of God. May the favor of God continue to increase from glory to glory in your life. The Lord lift up his countenance on every family under the sound of my voice and grant to you and your loved ones his shalom peace, in Jesus's name, and all the people said, "Amen".