Joseph Prince - Find Strength To Hope Again
This excerpt is from the sermon, Practical Benefits of Seeing Jesus in the Word, preached on Sep 18, 2022
Let me show you what hope, Bible hope, is like. Bible hope it's not like, "I hope so... I hope it will happen. I really, really hope it will happen". No, when you have Bible hope, it will happen. And God wants you to raise your hopes, Bible hope. The word "elpis," Greek for "hope". Just remember Elvis, remove the V to P, you get elpis, all right? Amen, and it rocks. And I tell you this, you will never roll, amen? Your burdens will roll, but you will never roll, amen? Sometimes you shake. Shake, rattle, and roll, but you can shake, but the rock you are on never shakes. Make sure you are planted on Christ, the solid rock, amen? So it says, the definition of "elpis," it is the positive, confident, joyful expectation of good in your future. That's how we are to live. We are to live life with a joyful, confident expectation of good.
Now, right now I wonder what's your disposition, your mental disposition. Are you having thoughts like, "It's gonna be a good future. I see good in my future," or are you filled with what the media is saying and what the world, and some of it is based on what is happening that's negative around the world? Are those thoughts dominating your mind? Because this is what it looks like with the absence of hope. If there is no elpis, amen, you wake up every day depressed, all right? You feel morose. You don't look forward to your work. You feel more tired than usual, amen.
You look at your marriage, you look at your family, and you feel tired. You feel a sense of despondency. In other words, depressed. You are depressed. Depression has different forms, but it is the lack of hope. Maybe you still have a bit of hope, you have a bit of depression. No hope, complete depression. At night, you can't sleep. You wake up in between your sleep and then you start thinking all kinds of thoughts. What's gonna happen tomorrow? What's gonna happen to this and that, my children, and this and that? Oh, I'm now at this age, you know? What's gonna happen now, you know? And what's gonna happen if something happens to me. Why do I have this pain? Why is this pain continuing? That kind of thing, so it's that you see bleakness in your future. You see all kinds of darkness in your future. That's not good. That's an absence of hope.
Where do I find hope, Pastor Prince? Here. Romans 15, verse 4, "Whatever things were written before were written for our learning. That we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have," what? "Hope". Every time I read the Bible, people, I always leave the Bible feeling like, "Ahh, life is good".
See, either sin will keep you from God's Word or God's Word will keep you from sin. The same thing, amen. You find that you are more depressed. You are very morose when you think about the future. You are dejected, you know? It's only darkness you see. Most likely, you're not spending time in the Word. Sunday sermon is good, but it alone is not enough. "Man does not live by bread". How often do you eat bread, or rice, or ramen, all right, or chapati? Every day. You don't just come once a week, right, and eat your bread. So Jesus Himself says, "Man, there's no way you can live just by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God". And all the people said?
Let's talk about the recession. Whether you know it or not, the world is going into a recession, okay? How do you find hope? You find hope in wherever you find that the Bible says there's famine. The Bible talks a lot about famine. Even we are blessed with the blessing with Abraham. Just because you are blessed with the blessing of Abraham, you see Abraham, definitely the person, the original person we get the blessing of Abraham from is the story of Abraham. If you are Abraham's seed, then are you blessed. You are blessed with the blessing of Abraham because you are Abraham's seed. You are Abraham's seed in the sense that Christ came from the lineage of Abraham, and God says, "In Christ shall all the nations be blessed". And if you are in Christ, you are Abraham's seed.
So you look at Abraham. Did he go through famine? Yes. Just because he is blessed does not mean he will be exempted from famine. No, he went through. In fact, God wants us to go through to show the world what He's like. The world can see that we are not exempted, but we thrive, we flourish. So every time you read about Abraham and his son Isaac, Isaac is even amazing. The Bible says in the year of famine, he sowed and he reaped a hundredfold, so much so that the Philistines around him, the unbelievers, envied him. They were jealous of him. He had a very healthy marriage. He was in love with his wife, amen. And all their wives, Abraham's wife, Sarah, Isaac's wife, Rebecca, they were all beautiful, amen? If we say, "Oh, that doesn't really matter," then why does the Bible tell us that? Amen.
In other words, we are to see our wives as beautiful. It's part of the blessing of Abraham, amen, enjoying ourselves in Christ, praise the Lord. God has given us richly all things to enjoy. Praise God, amen? So you see, you find hope in looking at all these patriarchs and how they lived during famine, what they did during famine. Seeing that the Lord blessed them and you are the seed of Abraham, you have hope. And I've shared this with you, that the very first way of studying the Bible is to see Jesus, right? See who? Jesus. Many times we look into the Bible, and I did that, you know, in my early years, to find myself, but you can't find yourself. Yeah, you can find yourself in a sense, you know, in a corporate way, but when you find Jesus, you find yourself. Why? Today, you are in Him.
Once you are born again, you are in Him. In all that He is righteous, you are righteous. That's why it says Christ is made unto us. It's in our benefit to know who Christ is, what He has, what He possesses. Praise the Lord, amen? We are joint heirs with Christ. He is made unto us for our profit. You can say it that way. He is made unto us right wisdom, righteousness, holiness. Even holiness. Christ is our holiness. Joseph Prince is not his own holiness. Christ is my holiness. And when I believe that, it manifests in my actions, in my life without me being aware of it. So once you see this, you want to see Jesus more and more. You want to see Jesus more and more, right? And He's all throughout the Bible. Like when God told Abraham, "Take your son, your only son, the son that you love". But wait a minute, Abraham has two sons at that time by then. The older one was Ishmael through a slave girl, right? And the other one is his true wife, Sarah, Isaac. Now God is saying, "Take your son, your only son. Your only son".
So one thing, God's eyes does not recognize what is born of the flesh, only what is born of the spirit. Number two, God was referring to another Son. "Only Son" sounds like "Only begotten Son". "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," amen? So when you read that, ahh, and you see Jesus, right? Or you can read that and say, "Wow, God wants me to give up my Isaac. What's my Isaac"? Your Isaac is that you spend too much time watching Netflix. That's it. Lay your Netflix on the altar, amen? Your Isaac is golf. You are fixated with golf. You watch everything there is and you try your best to play all the time, amen. You neglect your family. Put it on the altar.
Now, all these are things that I'm not saying it's not things we can learn from, but they are not the primary purpose of that Scripture. It's to unveil Christ. So God said to Abraham, "Take your son, your only son, the son that you love, and offer him on one of the mountains I will show you of". And it so happens that mountain is where Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, Mount Moriah. You know what's the highest peak of Mount Moriah? Calvary. And that's why just before Abraham plunged the knife, God stopped him. God didn't want a human sacrifice. Anyway, Isaac's blood is tainted with sin, as every man is. God wanted to see whether he was obedient, so God stopped him. God says, "Now I know that you fear Me, or love Me. Now I know that you worship Me. How? Because you have not withheld your son, your only son".
Then God showed him a ram behind. I believe Abraham had a vision. How do I know? Because Jesus later on says to the Pharisees, "Abraham rejoiced to see My day". When was that? Then the Pharisees said, "You are not yet 50 years old and you saw Abraham"? They missed the point. They say, "You saw Abraham"? The lesser always see the greater. No, He says, "Abraham saw Me. Abraham rejoiced to see My day". Then He said this, "Before Abraham was, I am. Before Abraham was, I am," amen? So I believe Abraham turned and he saw Jesus on the cross.
Now, I'm gonna tell you something about the ram caught in the thicket. Why must the ram be caught by their horns in the thicket? Number one, it's a mature ram. It's not a lamb. It's a mature ram, male lamb. Was caught by its horns in the thicket, why? Why is that important? Because to offer God a sacrificial lamb, the lamb must be without blemish. Are you listening? If the ram is caught by its fur, it will be lacerated. It will be blemished. But that lamb was caught by his horns. No ram gets caught by his horns. They are mature. He doesn't just plunge into the thicket. He did it on purpose. He wants to be caught. Jesus laid down His life voluntarily, without blemish. The offering was without blemish, amen?
So when you read the whole story, I remember years ago when Jessica was about nearly two years old, she had a viral infection many years ago. And when I went back and I cried because the doctors gave her injection, you know, in the children's hospital and all that. And we brought her back and the doctors say, "You must bring back for another test," and I say, "I don't know what's the problem". And I prayed, and I did everything I know how, then God brought me, then I went to my room. I needed hope. And I just opened the Bible at random. It's okay to open your Bible at random at certain times. Just know that, you know, you keep on opening and it says, you know, "Judas hung himself," and then you open another one and it says, "Go and do thou likewise," all right, don't do it, okay? But it's desperate time. Desperate time call for desperate measures. God talked to me, and I opened up, and it fell on Genesis 22, the offering of Abraham, and I read that.
All of a sudden, I saw how much God loved His Son. God was saying, "I'm gonna give up My Son, My only Son, the Son that I love, for you," amen? And that's why we can say to God today, because while there was a hand that stayed Abraham from killing his son, there was no hand that stopped God that day, all right? God gave up His Son for you, right? You will never know how much God loves you until you know how much God loves His Son, because He gave up His Son for you. So I read that and I saw how much God loved His Son, and then all of a sudden I was lost in that love story, amen, in that whole passage. I forgot, Jessica was still crying next door and I forgot about Jessica's affliction. I went there to pray and to search for an answer, but I got lost in the story of the Bible.
Now, I'm gonna show you how practically seeing Jesus can bring you practical results in your life, even healing that I'd been wanting for my daughter. So when I saw how much God loves me and how much God loves His Son, He gave up His Son, now we can say to God, "Now I know that You love me because You have not withheld Your Son, Your only Son, from me," amen? Just like God said to Abraham, "Now I know that you love Me, you worship Me, because you have not withheld your son, your only son". As far as God is concerned, it was done, amen? So when I saw that, I started crying. The love is so beautiful. No love drama you watch can come close, amen. See, the reason you are married is to demonstrate Jesus loving His church. "I speak a mystery". It's about Christ and the church. That's why God gave you marriage. Oh, Jesus and the church is like our marriage. No, your marriage is like that. You came after.
So Abraham's story is about father/son, the first love. And the word "love" was first mentioned in the Bible there in Genesis 22. It's the father's love for the son. Second is two chapters after chapter 22 is chapter 24. It's the story of the bride and the husband, right, and the word "love" is used. That's Jesus and his bride, romance. That's man and woman love, amen? So chapter 24 is about the Holy Spirit, the Unnamed Servant, looking a bride for the Master's Son. And this has happened for 2,000 years already. The Holy Spirit is still forming a bride for the Son who is soon gonna come and take His bride home, amen? It's like the Jewish custom. Jewish custom didn't come after God. God instituted Jewish custom to demonstrate His style of doing things.
In those days, once you are betrothed, you are engaged, you go build your house while waiting for the time. The father will decide when you get married. That means you're about to get married but you don't know when. If the father says, "Today is the day. Go, get your bride," the guy will go and get his bride. The bride might not be ready, but the bride might roughly know around this time, but she's not ready, but she's ready every night, amen. And that's what we are doing right now. We are waiting for that to happen, very much like the Jewish wedding. Any time, He will call for us, amen? Whoa! And it's just the introduction.
So as I wept, Jessica stopped crying next door, and she was completely healed. She fell asleep, the next day she was completely well. Just seeing Jesus, instead of being engrossed with my daughter, I was very concerned for her, I was now pleasantly distracted by the Lord to be Christ-occupied, focused on Christ, and all of a sudden she got healed. The very thing I'm focused on her, praying, demanding, commanding healing and all that came supernaturally natural when I focus on Jesus. I don't care how bad it gets, God will take care of you just because you are His own. Can I have a good amen?