Joseph Prince - Win Over Fear And Pride
All right, show them 2 Thessalonians 1, verse 6 to 10. Okay, verse 6, "Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you". Now, this is an awesome statement. All right, God says, it will be righteous for God to trouble those who trouble you. And that's why we need to pray that God, you know, God forgive them. When someone troubles you, someone lies about you, cheats, or try to harm you, God says he will trouble them. Are you listening? And it'll be a righteous thing for him to do. Wow, all right? So, God says, "And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ".
Now, this is not for believers. It's telling you that Jesus is returning. This is not the Rapture. The is the second coming of Christ. He's coming back, and how is he coming back? In flaming fire, taking vengeance on all those who reject his grace, those who spurn his grace, those who make a mockery of grace. You know, grace is not something cheap, people. The fire of God fell on the victim on that cross because God loves us. Jesus, the victim, went to the cross because he loves us, amen. And the fires of judgment for us, the guilty ones, fell on Jesus Christ. And the Bible says that we reject that, we make a mockery of that. The day is coming when his second coming, all right, when he comes back for Israel, when he comes back to establish his millennial rule, he will come back in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The way we obey the gospel is by believing that he died for our sins. And all of you have done that, right? At least most of you. Okay, so remember that.
Now, the next verse says these ones who reject him, this Christ-rejecting world, "shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power. When He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction". Say everlasting. The word everlasting is aionios. The reason I'm telling you this is because right now, with what God is doing with grace, and grace is the gospel, people. It's called the gospel of grace and peace. It's not called any other gospel, the gospel of grace and peace. With God restoring the gospel of grace to the world, not through Pastor Prince. God sovereignly did it. Pastor Prince only one of the many voices, but God is restoring the gospel of grace.
The judgment that we see happen to people, all right, that come against the gospel of grace like Elymas the sorcerer was busy sorcerizing, nothing happened to him. But the moment he tried to hinder Paul from preaching the gospel of grace to the deputy of the city, he was struck blind. Sorcerizing, I'm coining the word, I know. Sorcerizing is not something that God approves. In fact, it's an abomination, yet nothing happened to him. But the moment he hindered the gospel, something happened to him. So, the so-called, in the age of grace, the judgments that we see judgments of coming against grace, hindering grace, making a mockery of grace, denigrating grace. Are you listening?
All right, the Bible says, "If under law they will judge without mercy, how much more those who reject the voice from heaven"? And the verse before that says the voice in heaven speaks better things than the voice of Abel. And it says that it's the fearful looking for judgment. If you reject grace, there's no other grace, there's no other provision for you. But a fearful looking for and a fiery indignation, a fiery indignation. That literally happened also to the Jews, all right, who rejected him in AD 70 when the Romans came in and destroyed the temple. But here it's talking about Hell, everlasting destruction. Now, it's very popular among so-called, some grace preachers to say there is no Hell. One movie, the author of it, believes there's no Hell. He says Hell is a restorative place. The fire is restorative. He's a very famous author. All right, the author is a universalist. He believes everybody will be saved at the end, everybody will be saved. My friend, that is not the gospel. Everybody is not automatically saved. Are you listening?
All right, you make a mockery of the blood of Jesus. You make a mockery of missionaries everywhere. You make a mockery of the Word of God. And in that, among these universalists who say that everybody is saved, they will say Hell is temporary, all right, Hell is restorative. All right, the fire there is to burn away all the bad things. No, your only opportunity for the holy fire to burn anything out of your life is here, not after death. And they'll tell you that the word eternal is not eternal, aionios. They will try to prove to you a razzle dazzle from here, from this authority, from that authority. My authority is the Word of God. If the Bible doesn't say it... well, say, "Well, aionios, this scholar says aionios can be an age". I agree. But when it applies to God to the most pertinent verses, eternal life, it is eternal. It is forever. W.E. Vine's bears that out. Kenneth Wuest bears that out.
Let me show you. Y'all judge for yourself, because don't... Leave this domain of people who just talk about Greek and all that and try to razzle dazzle you. All right, so these people are saying that aionios, lake of fire or eternal damnation, is not eternal, it's only temporary. But here it says everlasting aionios destruction, okay? "When He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed". So, he's coming back, coming back as judge, not to judge us, but judge a guilty world. Okay, watch this. This word aionios, everlasting, is it everlasting, or is it for a time? These people, universalists, are saying it's only for a time. Therefore, they apply it to the lake of fire, it's only for a time. "Oh, it's only for a time". Is that what the Bible says? Then you got a problem.
If you use the word "everlasting" and you try to give a new definition to aionios as temporary, then we got a problem, because the same word aionios is used in Romans 16 where it says, "The commandment of the everlasting God". The everlasting God is aionios theos. Now you got a problem. If you have redefined aionios as temporary... is God temporary? Same Greek word, all right? Hebrews says, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit". Eternal spirit, aionios, pneuma. Aionios is used here for the eternal spirit. So, is God temporary? Is the Holy Spirit temporary? Regardless of any new scholars that come and say, "Well, it can also mean temporary". Forget them. Go by the authority of the Word. Is the Holy Spirit temporary? Is God temporary? No, of course not. And best of all, I love this, you know, the Bible can define itself.
You say, "Pastor Prince, I don't know about Greek and all that". Never mind. If you read your Bible, depending on the Holy Spirit, you can also come to this conclusion very simply. Look at 2 Corinthians 4. Paul says, "While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal," aionios. So, aionios is compact with temporary. So, according to them, this is how it should read. "The things which are seen are temporary, but the things we have not seen are also temporary". So, you don't have to know Greek. You just look at this passage. If you read it in the Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost logic, you just look at it, you just compare, you know that God's definition of aionos is eternal. And by the way, it includes your redemption. He obtained for us aionos redemption. Jesus gives us aionos life, eternal life. We cannot lose our salvation. He gives us eternal life, amen? Can I have a good amen?
Someone, "Pastor Prince, you know, you cannot lose your salvation, but you can renounce it". And I always find that a problem because, because it denigrates the work of Jesus. If you can renounce your salvation, there are people who renounce salvation, renounce Jesus and all that, but we do not know the circumstances they are in. We really don't know. Let me ask you a question. Can a sinner renounce his sinnership? Can a sinner say, "I don't want Jesus. I don't want God. But I don't want to be a sinner. I don't want Satan also. I am my own man, captain of my destiny. I renounce Satan". Can he do that? But according to Christians, a Christian can renounce Jesus, and he's gone. But a sinner cannot renounce Satan. Another thing, why is a sinner a sinner? A sinner is a sinner because Adam sinned. We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are born sinners.
I know it's not very popular to preach this nowadays. But you know, who cares? "Preach it, Pastor Prince," amen? Before you can appreciate grace, you must understand the severity of God. God is a holy God. Then you can appreciate what he did, or else that's only for the cross. So, what is it, then? These people that are saying, you know, it's temporary, it's this, and all that, you need to know that God loves you, but God is holy. God cannot allow sin to come into his presence. Just like you have someone you love who has cancer. The cancer is in the person. If I ask you the question, Do you hate the cancer? You say yes. How much do you hate? Depending on how much you love the person. The more you love the person, the more you hate it.
If you listen to someone, a colleague, you know, share, sharing about a distant cousin who has cancer, it might not affect you so much. Why? You don't love the person. You might sympathize with your colleague, but if someone close to you, you hate the cancer to the degree you hate, you love the person. You know why God hates sin? God loves you, and sin is destroying you. It always destroys. So, how come, how come now we are Christians, and how are we believers? How are we righteous? The Bible says, "By one man's obedience, we are made righteous," not my obedience. So, we sin because we are sinners. We are sinners because of Adam's sin. Likewise, listen, all right, by one man's obedience I made righteous, not even by my obedience. I cannot glory. By one man's obedience, I'm made righteous.
Now, can I right now say "I renounce Jesus" after I'm made righteous? Is it eternal life or not? So, that's the thing. They say that yes, you can renounce Jesus. Then you got a problem because a sinner cannot renounce Satan. A sinner cannot renounce his sinnership. The only way out of his sinnership is to accept Jesus Christ. So, what we are saying, in essence, is that what the first Adam did is more powerful than what the last Adam did. I got a problem with that. I got a problem with, "Pastor Prince, don't you believe in free choice"? But free choice didn't work for the sinner, did it? The sinner uses free choice to renounce Satan and Satan is still there. The sinner uses free choice to renounce his sinnership. I don't want to be a sinner. I renounce my sinnership, but you're still a sinner. He uses free choice.
So, friend, we have the everlasting gospel. If any part of you believe you can lose your salvation, it's a miserable doctrine to believe in, all right? Nothing is so secure as to know that his work is perfect and his Word is sure. His Word tells us, "I give them eternal life," not until their next sin. "I give them eternal life and they shall never perish". If you're gonna argue about Hebrews 6, Hebrews 10, don't forget, these two passages are from the Book of Hebrews. And it pertains to people who have tasted the Word of God, tasted the powers of the world to become, taste these things just like Judas did when Judas walked with Jesus. He was a partner with the Holy Spirit, but he didn't have the Holy Spirit. He wasn't saved. Right, when you fell off, it was impossible to renew him to repentance, okay? That's not my sermon. Are y'all ready for the sermon? It was all good, free, amen?
Remember my last sermon, I ended up, I ended on Elijah discouraged. All right, he begged for God to kill him, right? And how God answered that prayer, right? He's the only one in the Old Testament, besides Enoch, that never died, amen, and how he went to heaven in a blaze of glory. I just try to imagine him, you know, the chariot of fire coming down. That's better than then being sick and then slowly dying, and then finally dying, like most people would, all right, at that time. He would just step into the chariot, and then blast off right into heaven. Oh, man, the man who was discouraged who asked God to heal him, to take over his life, how God answered his prayer, amen? And by the way, he has never died. Elijah went up in a blaze of glory. But before he went, I want to go back to the story.
You know, there are great lessons for us to learn. We left him, the last time, in the cave, the Cave Horeb, remember? He went, he went, not that he was sent. When God sent him to the Brook Cherith, God sent him there, provision was there. God sent him to the widow of Zarephath's house. God sent him to Mount Carmel. But this time he went. All these other times at the Word of God, but here, at the word of a woman who threatened him, he fled. So, God asked him. God never asked him this question when he was in Cherith, Zarephath, at Carmel. But now God asked him, "Why, what are you doing here? What are you doing here, Elijah"?
So, let's follow the story. "And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not". Remember I told you about the the rock band, "Earth, Wind & Fire"? "There was wind, there was earth, there was fire, but the Lord was not in any of this". You know, we think that that powerful miracles like Elijah, miracles of judgment and all that, will stir the people's hearts. It was amazing, a miracle, but yet the people's hearts did not turn around. There was some remnant that believed, the 7,000 obviously, but as a whole, his ministry is what we call, quote, unquote, "failure". That's what discouraged him, you see? He was discouraged because the people didn't turn around en masse the way he expected them to. So, he was discouraged. So, God says, "What are you doing here, Elijah"? And the Lord was not in the earth, wind, and fire, but after the fire, a still, small voice.
Now, this is grace. Grace is despised, because people say, you know, I heard someone says, "Grace is mercy. For me, grace is mercy". Grace is not mercy. And that's why people despise it, because they think that, "Oh, it's only for people who are failures. Those who don't have a strong will, or people who are not disciplined, people who are not committed Christians. So, they depend on grace". That's an insult to the grace of God. Mercy is mercy. Even in the Greek, there are two different words, eleos for mercy, and charis for grace. You cannot put them together. Now, mercy in the Old Testament, many a times is grace. Hesed ve emet, but you cannot put them together. It's not mercy. So, we still don't understand grace. Okay, people? So, it was the voice of grace. God is telling him, "When all the razzle dazzle and the outward show and the noise and the wind and the feelings is gone, what remains, Elijah, is grace".
A soft tongue breaks the bone. Love will win more. You know, when God want to break our hearts, he uses his kindness. And I had that happen to me many times. You know, when God is hard, all right, people get even stronger in their rebellion. So, preachers need to believe this. At the first sign when a preacher falls into sin, all right, I submit to you that 70%, 80% of preachers will say, "Well, that's what happens. He must be listening to messages of grace". Instead of saying, "What kind of belief system does this brother have? Does he know that God loves him? Has he been watching pornography privately because he doesn't feel complete, he doesn't feel, you know, that God really loves him, even surrounded with all the evidence of God's favor and blessing". Deep down he feels insecure. Is it because as he was growing up, his father wasn't there?
Now, some people don't like me preaching like this, but it's the fact. All these things can affect us. Rejection can produce lust. The problem with lust is not lust, it's rejection. As we grew up, if there's rejection, you got a problem with lust in your future. So, this guy needs grace. He may even talk about grace, but he doesn't know grace. If he knew grace, sin will have no power over him. That's another sermon altogether. I wish I have time. But look at the effect of grace. The effect of grace is this. "So it was when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle". The moment you know you're in the presence of God, look at the reaction. Before that, "I'm jealous for the, Lord, I'm here because, you know". He's bold, but the moment the Lord appeared, and how did the Lord appear? As grace, he wrapped himself. That's worship.
See the reaction? Grace produces true worship. It hides yourself. You don't talk about your achievements, your glories, what you have done, what you, you, you, you, you. It's all about him. And it's also, preachers, not about how bad people are, it's how good God is. You gotta make sure that our ministry is not about, you know, reciting people's sins, as we're about to see. "So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" Next. "And he said, 'I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant,'" one accusation, "torn down Your altars," second accusation, "and killed Your prophets with the sword," third accusation. "I alone am left, and they seek to take my life".
So, watch this. Watch this, okay? By the way, God is about to bring him back to heaven already in a blaze of glory like no other honor that the other men of God have received. This man is favored by God. But God also want a lesson for all of us to learn, because what happened in the cave is not kept in the cave. It's for us to learn.
Now, listen carefully. When he was preparing the 12 stones and put the wood on it and put the victim on it, fire came down and consumed everything. Am I right? Before the fire came, how did he pray? The prophets of Baal also prayed. God didn't hear their prayer, or their god didn't hear that prayer. But when he prayed, God heard his prayer. You know how short was his prayer? You can time it one day. But his prayer is like this, he didn't talk about, "God, answer me, Lord, today by fire, so that people will know I'm a prophet". He did not pray that. It's not an I prayer. Many a times we want God to answer to vindicate us. But his prayer is this, "God, answer that the people here may know that there is a God in Israel". David, in front of Goliath, said that, "Today God will deliver you into my hand, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel". They're always conscious of getting God, alone, all the glory, are you? Are you listening?
The key to answered prayer is that you want God glorified. But let me tell you about God's glory. Every time you read the Bible that Jesus healed someone, they glorify God, or many in times the Bible it says that, not every time, right? But God always gets the glory and someone gets healed. Isn't it wonderful? And the people rejoice, and the people give glory to God. And God was glorified, amen? Healing glorifies God. Isn't it wonderful? So, you can pray for God's glory. Pray for his glory, and don't worry about your name being vindicated. What name? The original name that we all have is four letters, W-O-R-M. Oh, you don't like it, right? Okay, it's me, it's me, amen? Jacob's name was supplanter, wrestler, striver. Then God named him Prince. So, don't forget your new name.
I know you're a new creation. I know that you reject all these kind of things. But you know, be humble, because even though you are a new creation in Christ, you cannot function based on your efforts. And if God has blessed you, give God the glory. If God uses you, it's a privilege. If God tells you to do something, it's a privilege, because this guy's about to learn that right now, at Mount Carmel, he told God to vindicate his name. Down here, he vindicate his name. "I have been very zealous for the Lord my God," the rest are not. Do you pray prayers like this, or something like that? Then he says, he recite all the sins of Israel. One thing you don't do in prayer before God. All right, remember this, after you're saved, because you're saved, you can come to the table and eat. But the Father expect table manners. He's not gonna allow one son here to criticize another son over here and a fight happens. Are you listening?
Now, he start reciting the sins of Israel. This he didn't do last time. So, he's very discouraged. He says, "I've been very zealous. I'm the only one left. The children of Israel forsook your covenant, torn down your altars". And all this true, by the way. "And killed your prophet". So, even it's true, if someone has done something that you know of, it's not your place to recite their sins before God. God doesn't like that. God doesn't like that. "I only am left". You know what's God's response, right? The moment you think your ministry is so important, this is what happens. All right, God's answer. All right, God told him to anoint a few people, but notice God's response. "And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place," in your place. You hear that?
God says, "Okay, I'll bring you back home. And since you say your ministry is over, you're the only one left, I want you to know something. It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him". What did Elijah say? "I'm the only one left". God says, "I have 7,000". We are not the only grace church. We're not the only grace, you know, preachers. God has them all over the world. But make sure it's not pseudo grace, universalism and all that kind of nonsense. You see, the moment he says, "God, I'm finished. I'm discouraged. Take me home". And how did God answer that prayer? In a blaze of glory, right? When it come to ministry, the moment you don't see it as something as a privilege anymore, you start thinking of the importance of your ministry.
Let me tell you something about the Lord. He will, the Lord will not forget one cup of cold water that's given in his name. But the moment you start thinking your ministry is so important, he will show you he does not want you anymore. You have 7,000, and God says, "This is the Father's chastisement". The Father says, "I have 7,000 who didn't bow their knees, Elijah. You're not the only one. And you know what? You will anoint your successor". So, the successor, you might say, "He's coming anyway, pastor". Yes and no. We can also argue that Moses, did God want Moses to cross the River Jordan? Did God want Moses to be with Israel as they entered the land? We know that Moses was not allowed, but I think God wanted him to, because I read in the bible when God told him to strike the rock... or sorry, speak to the rock, the first time was strike, second time was speak. He hit the rock angrily, and what did he say? "Hear now, you rebels. Must we fetch you water"?
Let's show them the verse numbers. "Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water"? Since when Moses and Aaron were the ones that brought water? And how did they call the people now? Rebels. Now, we think we are preaching hard when we condemn people and call them names. I'm telling you, God does not appreciate you talking about his people like that. God doesn't appreciate you when God shows mercy and you don't. God doesn't appreciate when God shows grace and you don't. Your brother you criticize, also needs grace. Maybe this is the way he learns grace. "'Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water?' Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly". And look what God said. The results were there. "The Lord spoke to Moses and said, and Aaron, 'Because you do not believe me to hallow me.'"
Now, why did God say, "to hallow me"? "You didn't believe me in front of the chair of Israel, to hallow me, to make me holy". In the context, I submit to you, they were murmuring. I would have thought that if God judged some of them, God is hallowing himself. But here God is saying, "Even though they are murmuring, if you speak to the rock and the water comes out, you'll be hallowing me in their eyes. And the way you talk to them, you talk to them like they are rebellious. You didn't hallow me. You make me appear hard". Preachers, are you listening? You make God appear hard, God is saying you ain't entering your promises. This is a complete Word of God, people, that we're preaching, okay? You ready? All right, so look at what God said. "Therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them".
So, does that mean that God wanted him to bring them in? Yes. Did he bring them in? No, because of this sin. This sin is crucifying Jesus twice. I have a whole sermon on it. This is the second time that water came out of a rock. The first time God did tell him to hit. That's Christ on the cross. He's smitten once, he's not gonna be smitten again. Next time you want something, you go to the rock and you talk to the rock, and water will flow out. The first time, the earlier part of their wandering in the wilderness, he hit the rock and God told to hit, and that was a rock. Tsuwr, cela are two words for rock. Watch this now, he hit but here, God says, "Speak to the rock," and this rock here in the Hebrew is a very high rock which means Jesus has ascended. He's now a high priest. He cannot be smitten again, and if you beat God's people, you're beating him.
Remember what he told Saul? "Why persecute thou me"? But he said that in heaven. He was in heaven already, but he feels when his people are being persecuted, because they are one. And God says, "Speak to the rock". Speak to your high priest, but if you beat the rock, even though results was there, it does not mean that he was being obedient to God. And he didn't represent God well. He made God appear angry. It's getting very quiet in this church. I'm just trying to point out that God's will for, even Elijah, is to continue in his ministry. I don't believe that God wanted his ministry to be cut short, okay? But it's a lesson for us. The moment we start thinking that, of our own importance, God will show that we are not actually indispensable. Go back to Elijah's story. Praise God. Are y'all learning, people?
Okay, go back to Elijah's story. Okay, then it says, "Yet I've reserved 7,000 in Israel who have not bowed their knees". The next passage. Okay, 2 Kings 1, thanks. Now, before I tell you the background of this story, I just want to tell you this, Elisha has now been anointed to succeed Elijah. Elijah learned a lesson in the cave. Elijah learned that we are all not indispensable, even Elijah. And he learned the moment he start talking about his own importance, God raised his successor. But Elijah is a man of God. He really humbled himself. He humbled himself and he went and anoint Elisha. I love it, I love it. You know, one of the lessons that God is trying to bring us all to is humility. I said humility. You know, the long, long, long lessons of Job, Job's being tried and all that. At the end, Job said this, the last chapter of Job, "I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you".
Many of you, you hear sermons, you hear by the hearing of your ear, but make sure that you have your own revelation of him. Make that that revelation, that Pastor Prince preached about your own. Are you listening? So, there was a time when Job experienced, not only hearing about God, "But now my eye sees you. Therefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes". The moment you realize you're in the presence of God, man is nothing. And that's why sometimes it's good when people are praising you and all that, close your door somewhere and fall on your knees and give God all the glory. We are nothing. We are dust and flesh. God is everything. Okay, amen? Yes, we are still the righteousness of God in Christ, but once a while we need to stop and remember, without God, we cannot. Without us, he will not, I know that. But without God, we cannot, okay?
So, this is a revelation that Job came to. The moment in this same chapter, he came to this revelation, all right, that his eye sees God. He abhorred himself. Before they were saying, "I did this. I was eyes to the blind. I helped the poor. I clothed them. When I see someone in trouble, I always lift them up. You know, God why am I suffering all these things"? So, his eyes was that God should bless him, and God has been blessing him because of what he did. And God is showing that God doesn't have to bless anybody. But Job was righteous, Pastor Prince. Righteous by the sacrifice that he offered, like all of us.
Listen carefully, if you talk about, "Why did God bring trouble into a life of a man who is righteous"? Number one, there's no man that's righteous. If there's a righteous man, he's righteous by the blood of the sacrifice. We cannot go into this merit system, you know? And people bring this person from history, this person from history. If this person lived today, will God... now they are trying to bring into the place where you divert from justification by faith. No, friend, all of us are righteous because of the blood of Jesus. No blood, no righteousness, amen? Okay, God wanted Elijah to continue even more, but from now on Elijah was a different man. He was a calm, no more fear. I'm telling you, no more fear. Just look at his ministry after he anointed Elijah. He was a cool man. You know what he did? He actually went up a hill and sat down there.
When you have no trace of fear, no worry, poise, peaceful, he has learned about God. He has humbled himself, amen? He's anointed Elisha to take his place, and then he was sitting on the hill. Let me tell you what happen. At this time when Elisha is on the scene, Elijah was sitting on the top of the hill. And Elisha is his servant ministering to him. King Ahab, remember Ahab? His wife is terrible. It rhymes with Jezebel. Her name was Jezebel, okay? She was a wicked woman. Remember when Elijah ran away from him? Well, God would not have that. And Elijah does want to go back in a blaze of glory in a while's time before he handled that, right? So, one of the person he anointed is Jehu, who'll be the one to kill Jezebel, okay? But watch this. Jezebel has a son called Ahaziah. Both Ahab and Jezebel, they have a son called Ahaziah.
So, Ahaziah came to power. He's now the king of Israel, and their HQ is in Samaria. My pastors and I have been there in Samaria. Remember the Samaritan woman that Jesus ministered to? All right, that's their city. That's their HQ, okay? That's where the palace is. So, Ahaziah fell from a lattice, which is from a roof. He fell down, injured himself. He was on the bed, and then he sent his messengers to the prophets of Baal, asked the God of Akron, Baal, whether I'll get up from this bed, I'll recover. On the way, the messengers were going on the way to inquire of the God of Baal. You thought the God of Baal had been destroyed, right? Right? After Elijah's... the fire from heaven? But now they go back to it again. So, go and find. And on the way, Elijah intercepted them. And Elijah says, "What are you guys doing"? Say, "We are inquiring, and this is what happened". "Go tell, go tell your king that because you inquired from the God of Akron, is there not a God in Israel? Tell him because of that, he will not rise from his sofa, all right? He will die".
So, they came back to the king, and the mother was there also, obviously, Jezebel. 'Cause later on, then she was killed. And say that, "This man told us you won't recover, you'll die because you sought Baal. Is there no God in Israel"? All right, say, what kind of man is this? Let's follow the story. "What kind of man was it who came up to meet you and told you these words"? The king asked. "They answered, 'A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist". And he said, "It is Elijah the Tishbite". The king recognized straight away. All right, a hairy man with a leather belt, it's Elijah. He's a pain to all of us. And the mother's probably sneering when she heard the name. Now, watch this. The king says, "Get an army, get my army. Arrest him, bring him up to me".
Now, you're about to see the dignity of Elijah. So, the captain with the 50s came to Elijah. Let's follow the story. "Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty men. So he went up to him; and there he was, Elijah, sitting on the top of a hill. And he spoke to him: 'Man of God,' the king said, 'Come down!'" So, because you have the power, you have the authority, only one man up there can say, "Come down. We have the power. We got the authority. We got the man. We got numbers". He's about to find out that all kings and military might is nothing with a man whom God is with.
Elijah started his ministry by saying, "The Lord before whom I stand". He practiced the presence of the Lord. Later on, he fled before Jezebel before he fled. He forgot to put the Lord in front of him. So, he says, "Man of God, come down!" exclamation point. "So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, 'If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men'. Shoo, fire came down from heaven, consumed him and his fifty". They were fired from their job, okay? Now you thought the king would learn, right, that military might is nothing compared with God, right?
So, the news was brought back to the king and the king sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty men. This is what happened when your heart is hardened like Pharaoh, you start doing stupid things, okay? "And he answered and said to him, 'Man of God, thus has the king said.'" Now use the king. "Come down quickly". "'If I'm a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.' And the fire of God came down from heaven and consume him and his fifty". Got fired also on the spot. Don't forget, these are the days of the law. These are the days. Elijah represents the judicial part of God. He fights for God's righteousness. Elisha, even his name Eli Sha. Sha is the name of Jesus. Yeshua is the same word, but ye is Yahweh. Elisha is Elohim with Sha. That means God saves.
Elisha's ministry is more grace, because Elijah represents John the Baptist. And John the Baptist, the Jews tell us that when angel Gabriel appeared before the father of John the Baptist, he was holding the letter of Elijah and said, "Your son will be the forerunner. He will come in the spirit and power of Elijah". Remember that? So, he prepared who's way? The Elisha to come, which is Jesus. And all of Elijah's miracles are miracles of grace, except for two, all right? And there's a reason for that, it's a sin against grace in those two. But the first miracle, the first miracle, the last act of... this is 2 Kings 1, right? Right after this, Elijah went up in a whirlwind in a chariot of fire. His last public act was to call fire down from heaven.
The first public act of Elisha was that God sent him to the city of Jericho. Don't forget, people, Jericho is under the curse. Remember that? And yet the people of Jericho says, "Please come and help us. Because outwardly, it looks fine, but the water, something wrong with the water. We eat and our women are barren, and we lose our children, and people are dying, and the crops can't grow because we cannot water them with this water. It's poisonous, bitter water. Can you please help us"? The Bible says Elisha took a new cruse and his name is Jesus, totally a new person that never exist before on earth. There was salt in it, and he went there, and I've been there with my pastors, the spring where Elijah healed. He went there, and he threw water in. From now on, thus says the Lord. Elijah says, "There should be no more death from these waters". Guess what. It's healed until today.
Today when you go to Jericho, you find that they produce luscious fruits and all that, and it's all fed by one stream. The stream that Elisha healed is still healed today. So, last act of Elijah was judgment. First public act of Elisha, God sent him to the city of the curse. Talk about grace. A city that should not even exist. They rebuilt the city again, and what did God do? Healed the city, reversed the curse. Hallelujah. This is the God that I serve. Come on, give him praise, amen.
So, nonetheless, come back to the story again. Elisha, all right, Elijah called fire from heaven. Again he sent a third captain of 50 with his 50 men. And the third captain already, you know, he's the last one, right? You already see what happened, right? You know what's gonna happen to you, right? "And the third captain of 50 went up and came and fell on his knees before Elijah and pleaded with him and said to him, 'Man of God, please let my life and the life of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. Look, fire came down from heaven, burned up the first two captains of fifties and their fifties. But let my life now be precious in your sight". Look next. "And the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, 'Go down with him. Do not be afraid of him.' So, he arose and went down with him to the king".
Okay, drop down. Then he said to him, okay, He went down, this is Elijah talking to the king now. "Thus says the Lord because you", now, watch this. Elijah went down with the 50 men and the captain, where to? To the very stronghold of the enemy, escorted by the enemy soldiers right into the palace of Ahaziah, the son of Ahab and Jezebel, into his very throne room. Isn't it amazing that the very city that he fled from because of the threat of the woman, now Elijah, with no trace of fear, marches right into that palace. And when he stand before King Ahaziah, you know something else? He's standing also before the mother that's there, the woman he fled from. I told you God won't let him just run off.
So, if you're afraid of your mother-in-law, he will send you back. Obviously, the mother was there always standing beside her son, King Ahaziah, also a wicked king. And Elijah saw Jezebel. There's no trace of fear. What was his message? He repeat the message. "Thus says the Lord: 'Because you, the king, have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die," and die he did. And there's nothing Jezebel could do. What an ending, a man of no more fear.
When you realize that you're not indispensable, when you realize that whatever you have is from God, that it's a privilege to serve him, because if you don't want to, God can raise somebody else, amen. And he will not forget even a cup of cold water given in his name. He will not forget the littlest thing that you do for him. But the moment we start thinking we are something, all right, he will show us that we are not needed, hmm. And that humbles Elijah. In humility, there is such, you know, when you are humble, right, there is no need to impress. You cannot be hurt. I mean, we are all humans, I understand. What I mean is that you cannot be hurt to the point whereby, you know, people say things about you and all that. "Actually, I'm worse than that".
My wife and I had a good talk the other day, and just the other day. I won't tell you which day. One day in the past. And I asked my wife because she was beside me, why is it that all the most rude, inconsiderate drivers are the ones that end up in front of me? Why is it of all the cars, right, in a car park, for example? It's always the one that, you know? And I'm always... I'm always ending up with... and she noticed it. She told me she noticed it. And I look at her and says, you know why? This is a few days after. "You know why"? I said "Pride. Your husband got pride". I have a feeling of I have the right to this road. "No one should be in front of me that's slower". I have a sense of entitlement, that's why I'm angry. That's why I'm not happy. And the more I'm unhappy, the more God make people like this in front of me. You know why? The Father loves me, and the Father will not let me go just because, you know, he loves me too much, he will discipline me.
Now, he doesn't discipline with disease, doesn't discipline with accidents and all that. But have you ever wondered, how come always end up with... Okay, stop and feel loved. God is not running universe, you know, to neglect you. He knows what you need. So now, when I see a car that's slow, I say, "Okay, it's a test. Thank you, Lord, for that car". I'm using simply last week. I've got this daily life. But sometimes there comes this sense of entitlement. You know what I'm saying? And the more accomplished you are, the more you have done great things, the more God has used you to amass great fortunes for his kingdom, even wealthy people, we are the ones, you know, who have accomplished some things in the ministry or in business, but you gotta watch it. Like that, it can disappear without God's blessing, like that.
Have you known people like that? The best response is to do what the last captain did, fall down and says, "Please, Lord, please, be merciful. Don't let me get fired like the rest". And, see, God is still merciful. Let me tell you this, and I'll close with this. There are two occasions of fires falling in Elijah's history. The first time the fire fell, and both fell on a mountain. At Carmel, remember Carmel? Elijah called fire down, prayed for fire to come down. There, the fire fell on the victim instead of the guilty people. The fire from a holy God fell on the sacrifice, and the people were shielded from judgment. Not one Israelite was touched by the fire because the fire fell on the sacrifice.
There's a foreshadowing of our Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins. When he died on that cross, he's the victim. He's the sacrifice. The fires of judgment that was meant for me and for you fell on him, and we believe then that he has consumed all judgment. We can go around telling people, "Be it known unto you that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins," amen. In home, we have redemption through his blood, not one trace of judgment will fall on me because he took it all, amen? But what happened at Carmel was soon forgotten, as you can see. The king of Israel went back to Baal, most likely, the mother's recommendation again. But this time, do you know, for centuries, the good news is preached all over the world? Do you know that?
The Hudson Taylors in China and, you know, in India, in Europe, all over the world, for centuries, the Gospel, the good news of forgiveness of sins, is preached through that mighty sacrifice of Jesus Christ. How has men responded? This Christ-hating, Christ-rejecting world has spurned, mock, despised the messengers, reject the Gospel, make fun of it in their night shows. God will not allow that because, as it is, he's not asking us to decide because, in our decision, it will affect our eternal future in the sense that "I'm not a sinner, but if I reject Jesus, I become a sinner". No, you're all sinners. Jesus came because he loved us. He didn't have to die, amen. I mean, will I cry tears if an ant just died? No, sometimes I assist the death when it come across my table, you know? But God humbled himself, became a man, because we are all doom, and if God sent all of us to hell, God is righteous. He is justified.
You can shout your loud voice of "That's not right". You know, "In this modern world, it's not politically correct". Doesn't really matter. God knows the truth, and you don't, you whose breath in your nostrils, you're not as smart as God, but God will never be unjust. So I'm saying that God is just even if sending me to hell. But I'm not going to hell, amen. Even though you say to me, "Go to hell", cannot. Impossible already. Revise your version, amen. Why? Because of the sacrifice. But now, many, many years have passed since the fire fell on the victim, and the guilty people were spared. Now there is no more sacrifice. The people did not bring the sacrifice. The soldiers that came, they have no regard for the sacrifice. They come, and they say, "Come down, you man of God".
When the fire fell, there was no victim, that God is telling us, if the world will not learn judgment, how holy I am, if the world will not learn judgment from the fire that fell on my Son so that the good news can be preached that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins, that God is a God of grace, if the world will not learn that, then the world will have to learn the fires of judgment falling on themselves, that our God is a consuming fire. Are you with me? So, many years, they have learned nothing, and there's no sacrifice, so the fire fell on the guilty people. And still, Ahab's house, they've not learned that, okay?
And the time came by... by the way, after this chapter finish, this chapter 1, right? In chapter 2, look, chapter 2, "So Ahaziah died". Oh, show them, "Ahaziah died," all right, "according to the word of Elijah". Chapter 2, verse 1, it's right below. "It came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind", so this was the last, final act. Many years after this event, I'll close with this, many years after this event, the "greater than Elijah" walked on earth. In the same city of Samaria, the time came that he was about to be received up, go back to the Father. He's about to die and be received up, and this is what happened in Luke 9, I'll close with this, "Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Jesus to be received up, that he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem".
The time came for him to be received up, just like Elijah was about to go in a blaze of glory, "and sent messengers before his face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for him". A village of... what? Samaria, the same place where Jezebel, Ahab, all that happened many years ago at this time, "to prepare for him". So the disciples went to prepare for Jesus, "But they did not receive him, because his face was set for the journey to Jerusalem". They did not receive him. Wow, so they rejected the sacrifice, right? Drop down. "And when his disciples James and John", John the apostle of love, "saw this, they said, 'Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?'"
So they have a Bible precedent, you know? All right? Same location, same city of Samaria, same rejection of the man like Elijah is about to ascend, go back to the Father. "But Jesus", watch this, people, "Jesus turned and rebuked them and said, 'You do not know what manner of spirit you are of". He didn't rebuke the Samaritans for rejecting him. "He rebuked his disciples and said, 'You don't know what kind of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them.' And they went to another village".
Now listen to what I'm gonna say. This is gonna bless us. From the time Jesus went up to heaven after this, he died on the cross. He ascended. He arose from the dead, bodily, and went back to heaven. From that time until now, waiting for him to return to earth is the greatest and the most wonderful period of earth's history where the Gospel of grace is being preached, where God is dispensing grace. God is dispensing grace. The disciples cannot understand because they can figure out judgment meted out on earth, and that's why they suggested it, but they had no concept, they can't rise to the thought of grace being dispensed from heaven. And one day, they will, and Paul will help them understand that as well, but at that point in time, they can't understand.
So they actually have the judgment misplaced, and most people right now, most people right now believe that fire can fall from heaven. No, my friend, listen, the fire fell at the cross, but we're in a period of grace. We are now in the age of grace. I said we're in an age of grace, amen, where we don't get what we deserved. Are you listening? We get all the good things that he deserved. It's the age of grace, the most wonderful period, besides the millennium, this is the most wonderful period in church history, I mean, in history of the world, rather, a most wonderful time, the church age. Are you listening? Let's take advantage of it, and let's not leave, like the disciples. They were asking for fire from heaven, right? What's wrong with that? They were actually wrong in that they were transposing themself into a future time after Jesus comes back. And how will he come back?
We finish off in what we opened with, 2 Thessalonians 1. "He'll come back", verses before this verse, "in flaming fire". See? "The Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels", do you know, this Lord Jesus is the same one that, on the cross, bore the fires of your judgment and my judgment. It's the same Jesus that became our sacrifice. He's returning, and he's returning with his mighty angels. How? "In flaming fire, taking vengeance on those do not obey God, those who do not know God and obey the gospel".
They "don't obey the gospel" means they don't believe the good news that through Jesus, their sins are forgiven. They are busy trying to make themselves righteous instead of receiving God's given, saying thanks. So the disciples were not wrong, but they are getting ahead of themselves. Don't make the same mistake as James and John. Don't transpose our age of grace into the future. There is fire coming, but we're not in the age.
I was in a conference one time, all right, and they showed this. They showed Singapore skyline, and Singapore down here, and then the guy said, "Do we wanna see this happen"? And then a fire came down on Singapore. Now, I'm sitting down there, and I'm thinking, "What? Say what"? You know, it's like, "What's this? Elijah again"? You were there, right? No, friend, "What? Pastor Prince, you are someone, a preacher of grace. You're saying there's no fire"? I didn't say that. I started the fire, y'all, in my sermon just now, right? I'm just saying it's not the time, no matter how evil we get or how bad we get. The goodness of God will lead us to repentance.
So you can despise it. You are running out for the fire, the wind, you know, the earthquake. You want that kind of ministry, but God is raising ministries that has a still small voice. The gentle tongue breaks the bone. Don't underestimate how iniquity's purge is by "Hesed Ve-emet," "grace and truth," okay? So aren't you glad we are living in this age of grace? I tell you, if I ask you, "You wanna go back to the time of Jesus when he was on earth"? All right, do you want to? "Oh, Pastor Prince, I wish I was there at that time and all that". Don't forget. He's going back, okay? And you'll be the disciples, okay, under persecution, the infant church at the time. It's not exactly the, you know, the greatest period, but the greatest period commence especially when the gospel of grace is understood, and then it brought civilization in this world.
In these 2,000 years, wherever the Gospel has gone, women are honored and respected. Education becomes available to everyone. Modernization comes in. Wealth of nations are created, amen. It's all built on the Judeo-Christian values, but, most of all, the Gospel is preached, amen? So we are still in that age. "Is he coming back, Pastor"? Very close, but the Rapture will happen first. The Rapture will happen first, all right? You'll find one of the judgments of Elisha was "Young men", your Bible in the King James says, "Little children," but it's not little, it's young gangsters coming to Elisha, and he was bald.
So I'll close with this. Don't make fun of bald people. And he said to Elisha, "these young gangsters", all right, in the Hebrew, "na'ar," "young youths," and was sent by the priests of Bethel, and they said, "Go up, you baldhead. Go up, you baldhead. Go up, you baldhead," because this happened when, after Elijah was raptured, they make fun of Elisha. "Elisha, go up, go up". Represents the world we live in. They're making fun of the Rapture. There are even Christians making fun of the Rapture, and you know what? God wouldn't have that also, anything that rejects grace, and the Rapture is a provision of grace, amen? They make fun of it, that's judgment. Praise God. Thank you for your overwhelming excitement over the idea, but you are not on the other side, but you are really saved.
All of you are saved, right? Now God's heart is open. He's your Father. He lavishes things on you. He blesses you, amen. There's no limit to all that God's heart has for you, you know, in terms of blessing you, providing for you, healing you. But how terrible is it to be out there, rejecting, making a mockery of his grace, making fun of the Rapture, amen? So, church, I just wanna say this to you. We are in exciting times, amen? Is Jesus foremost in your heart, amen? The only way to get rid of our self-importance and our pride is to realize all that we have, even the breath we live, all right, but live by, it's really from him. It's from him. Let's give him all the glory, amen? Thank you, Lord.
All right, every head bowed, every eye closed, all across this place. Friend, if you are here and you have never received the forgiveness of sins, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever", and you are one of the "whosoever". You up there, in the "whosoever", "whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life," "aionios" life, life that goes on and keeps on keeping on, going on. If that's you, you have never received this life, you have never received forgiveness of sins, let me give you this opportunity right now. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved and your house". If that is you, pray this prayer right now from your heart. Say:
Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for me. Thank you for dying on the cross, Lord Jesus, for bearing the fires of my judgment and exhausting it completely. Thank you, you cried, "It is finished". There's nothing I can add to it. It's all done for, completed. I love you because you first love me. I proclaim, Lord Jesus, you are my Lord. You are my Savior, and I believe, when you bore that, sins on your body, you rose without them as a declaration that all my sins, past, present, and future have all been put away. Thank you, Lord Jesus. You're alive today, my High Priest, my Good Shepherd, watching over me, leading me. Nothing is too small for your attention in my life. Thank you for loving me, in Jesus's name. All the people said, "Amen, praise the Lord".
You see, you've just been through Bible school, huh? Amen. Lift your hands all across this place.
This coming week, the Lord bless you. (Don't take it for granted). The Lord bless you with the blessings of father Abraham, even as he has blessed you with all blessings in heavenly places in Christ. The Lord keep you. (Don't take that for granted. Say, "I receive it".) The Lord protect you, preserve you, you and your loved ones, throughout this week, from every danger, from harm, from sickness, from tragedy. The Lord keep you from evil people and from all the powers of darkness, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord smile on you, be favorable to you. May you experience great favors throughout this week, and the Lord grant to you and your families shalom in your spirit man, shalom in your heart and in all your emotions, shalom health and well-being in your body, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And all the people said, "Amen". God bless you.