Joseph Prince — Win Over Guilt and Condemnation
There are a number of covenants in the Bible, but basically Old Covenant, New Covenant, law, grace. That's basically what we need to know, amen? Of course, there are other covenants, Davidic Covenant, Noahic Covenant, but what we need to know is just Old Covenant, which is law, New Covenant, which is grace. Now, when I say Old Covenant is law, I don't mean all the way from Genesis. The law started 450 years after the time of Abraham so but then it's still generally speaking, all right, the Old Testament are people under the law, and New Testament is grace. And when I say New Testament is grace, it's not Matthew 1, all right? Matthew, 1 is still appear under the law of Christ was born. But when the church on the day of Pentecost came into being, that's the fullness of grace period, amen? But nonetheless, it's important for you to know.
Now, in the Old Covenant, I like to say like this, in the old, the new is hidden. In the new, the old is open, okay? For example, in the Old Testament, we have the story of the people of Israel. They were murmuring and complaining, and then serpents came and bit them. You see, all the while the serpents were there in the desert. In the desert, they have many, many serpents, right, just like in Arizona and all that, there are rattlesnakes. The serpents were always there, but it never bit them until they start complaining, okay? In other words, they broke down the hedge, they broke down the protection, and the snakes came in, bit them, and then God told Moses, "Make a bronze serpent, put it on a pole". So the pole he lifted up, you know, to have a bronze serpent, you gotta have a cross, right, for it to blend around. Okay, so he lifted up the cross and the bronze serpent on it. And the Bible says that, "whosoever looketh, liveth". John 3, Jesus said to Nicodemus, all right, even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up. So Jesus is that bronze serpent.
Now, you know, some people would love to put a bronze lamb on the cross, but it wasn't a bronze lamb, it was a bronze snake. Why, why is Jesus typified as a bronze snake? Because God wants you to know that at the cross, Jesus became what you were that you might become what he is, amen? 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, "God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him," amen? So, how did Jesus who didn't commit sin become sin? He received our sin. How do you and I who commit no righteousness, become righteous? We receive His righteousness. When Jesus received our sin, God judged him, God punished him. When we receive Jesus as our righteousness, God blesses us, God favors us. Can have a good amen? Jesus didn't deserve to become sin, you and I don't deserve to be righteous but he became sin and we became righteous. There's been a change, people, and this is true Christianity.
In the Book of Hebrews chapter 10, the Bible says that "for the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year," which is on Yom Kippur. All right, the Jewish people back then and even today they celebrate, but today they cannot celebrate properly because they don't have the temple, they don't have animal sacrifices. But every year during the time of Moses, all right, they would offer a bullock, all right, on the day of Yom Kippur, which day of atonement, every year. And it covers their sin, it covers their sin every year annually until the day comes that Jesus will come and John the Baptist says, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away," not cover, "takes away the sin of the world," amen? But until then, the blood of bulls and goats, it's an inferior blood, but it only covers, covers, covers like a Visa card. It's not real payment, but it's considered as a payment for the moment until the real payment is made. So, Jesus came and he's the real payment. Can have a good amen? But every year, now he's telling you this.
Now, "Those sacrifices they offer cannot make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered"? Those Old Testaments sacrifices. "For the worshipers, once purified". The word "once" in the Greek is "hapax," which is once and for. The believers, the worshipers once and for all purified would have had no more consciousness of sins. This is true Christianity. This is the organic extra virgin primitive Christianity in the Book of Acts, amen? This is what they believe. You don't find them always sin conscious, amen? Drop down. Has this happened? "In those sacrifices there's a reminder of sins. See, he's contrasting this with no conscious of sins with reminder of sins and it seems like people believe in this even today. It's like every sermon has to be a reminder of sins or else we have not done our job, but it's the opposite of what true Christianity is, amen? Once Jesus has died for us, there should not be a reminder of sins, amen? "For it's not possible that the blood of bulls and goats would take away sins".
So, when you are conscious of sins, you're reminded of sins, you are saying the blood of Jesus did not take away sins. Now, we understand the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, but the blood of Jesus, friend, have not just removed your sins, it's obliterated out of God's sight forevermore, amen? Did Jesus do that? Drop down. "But this Man," capital M Jesus, "after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever". Everyone say, "One sacrifice for sins forever". Say it like you mean it. One sacrifice for sins forever. "Sat down at the right hand of God". He sat down because his work is finished. Now, we drop down and we see what the Holy Spirit says. The Holy Spirit adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds," God says, "I will remember no more".
Now where there's remission of these, there is no longer offering for sin. Where your sins have been forgiven or remitted, there's no more an offering for sin. "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way". Now, there's been a change because in the Old Testament, it was an old and deathly way, you know, dying way because the more they try to come near God with their sins, right, chances are they died. The high priest goes in once a year and that with great trepidation and fear with amazing amount of pre-preparation before he goes in. He gotta be washed here, washed, and almost like he gotta fast and make sure that he goes in and hope that he doesn't sin. He was an old dying way. But what Jesus did is that it's now a new and living way to God. I say it's a new and living way, which means the more you come, the more you live.
The word "living" is living. This is the place. The more you come to God, the more you live. In fact, the more you're away from God, you find that's the time when disease can fasten itself in your body, things can happen. You feel natural like the people of the world, amen? You don't feel like you are special. But the more you come to God, amen, it's a new and living way. You're full of life, amen? Not only that, the Bible says, drop down, "And having a high priest over the house of God, let us draw near". I want you to say three times, "Let us draw near". Shout it. Draw, what? Draw near to God, how? "With a full, with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water". You know what's an evil conscience? Always telling you, "You have sinned, you have sinned, you have sinned, you have sinned, you have sinned. That's a sin, that's a sin". Then evil conscience.
Now we are sprinkled, sprinkled means the blood of Jesus, speaks in silence, in other words, the payment silenced the debt on my conscience. I can come to God in a new and living way. Doesn't mean I'm perfect, but my sins have all been answered by the blood of Jesus. Can I have a good amen, people? Let us draw near. Don't be afraid. You need God's help. In the world we live in today, all right, many people are afraid to draw near. Ask yourself, do a post-mortem. Tell yourself, "Joseph Prince, why are you afraid to draw near to God"? Do you believe deep down that your sins, some of them God has not forgiven or what is it? What belief system have you imbibed? What belief system do you prescribe to that makes you averse to approaching God, the God who is all beautiful, all goodness, perfect goodness, who has all the power to help you? What is it that you're so afraid to approach him? And when I say approach, I don't mean special music, special time carpet, red carpet, all right, menorah nearby, okay? Make sure it's lit and Pastor Henry is singing. No, you can talk to God anytime, anywhere. That is drawing near. What is it about us?
Well, there's been a change and some people are arguing about the change, all right? It says in John 1:17 that the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Like I said time and time again, I can send you an email. Let's say you live in America. I'm here in Singapore. I can send you an email, but what a long distance between America and Singapore? But in other words, I can give from afar but if I come, it's very, very near, it's very personal. Notice the law was given by Moses. Moses represents the law. Do you know what's the first word of God to Moses? The first time God spoke to Moses, you know what is it? We'll study that, okay, in closing. Let's go right now to the story of Moses. But before that, let me give the backdrop. Okay, Exodus 2, "Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage".
Notice it wasn't their prayer. They didn't pray, "Our Father who art in heaven". They just groaned and groaned because of the pain. They were being tortured, amen? So, as slaves in Egypt, they were groaning. "Oh, is not our Father in heaven"? Oh, and the cry came up to God. So, from there, I got a message I preached last time, A Groan Will Reach His Throne. Just a groan will reach his throne, amen? So, God heard their groaning, not their prayer. God heard their groaning and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, with Jacob. I want you to know that this is not the Sinaitic covenant. It's not a covenant of law. The covenant he cut with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was more than 400 years before the law was given on Mount Sinai. It's a covenant of grace where it does not depend on the people, it depends on God. It's not the people's goodness, it's God's goodness. It's not their faithfulness, it's His faithfulness. And the way to activate the covenant is so simple, just groan and God remembered the covenant.
So, what did God do? How did God send help? Look at this, chapter 3, verse 1 says, "Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God". Straightaway it says, God heard their groaning, God remembered its covenant and talked about Moses. In other words, when God wants to deliver you, when God wants to help you, God sends a person. Next verse, "And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush". Now, the angel of the Lord, I shared before, is always pointing to Jesus before he came as a man, his pre-incarnate appearance. Angel is not the angel with wings all the time. The angel of the Lord, that full expression always refers to the pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. The word "angel" means messenger.
So, "Jesus appeared in a flame of fire from the midst of the bush. So Moses looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, 'I will now turn aside and see this great sight.'" How the angel of the Lord is like? How come the angel of the Lord is in the midst? No, why the bush is not consumed? So much like us. So, he got distracted, he wants to turn and God noticed it. Next verse, "So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God says, "I better arrest him right now". "God called to him from the midst of the bush". Okay, that tells us straightaway when God calls in the midst where the angel of the Lord is. The angel of the Lord and God is one, it is Jesus. All right, God called him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses," and he said, "Here I am". So, when God sees that you're distracted, sometime he call you back. And then God said, "Do not draw near".
Ah, this is the first time God spoke to him, the very first instruction. Never before God spoke to him, this is the first time. What was the first thing God said to Moses? And remembering that Moses represents the law, what's the first thing God said to him? "Do not draw near this place". Because Moses was coming near the bush, he said, "Do don't draw near this place". The first instruction, the first voice of God to Moses was, "Don't draw near". Now, you tell me whether there's a change. Hebrews 10 tells us, "Let us draw near. Let us draw near with full assurance, a heart filled with full assurance of faith," right? Has there been a change? All right, show them Hebrews 10 again, drop down all the way. "Let us draw near with a true heart". You can't tell me there's no change. Jesus changed everything. Now God says, "Draw near". At that time because he represents the law God says, "Don't draw near". The very first word of God to Moses ever was, "Don't draw near".
When I received this, I was jumping in my heart in my study. Say, "Wow, that's the very first time God spoke to Mr. Law". The second word back to Moses, "Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground". Now, I can show you there's a change. Straightaway, Jesus came and one of the most beautiful parables is the parable of the prodigal son. When Jesus saw the Pharisees were all gathered on one side, and the sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, they were all on the other side, Jesus began to share the story of the prodigal son, first of all, the lost sheep, the lost coin, then the lost son. All right, how the son came to the father and the son says almost like, "Father, I can't wait for you to drop dead, all right? You're too strong, you're too healthy. Give me my share of the inheritance". It's almost like telling the father, "You know, I can't wait for you to die". The father gave him the share of the inheritance. The Bible says he took his inheritance, he went to a far country and spent his time in riotous living.
And after a time or so, there's a famine in the land, his money ran out, his friends also did, and then he was left only with a job that was so servile for a Jew that it's worse than even a slave would do. He's feeding the pigs and therefore a Jew is the pits so he's feeding the pigs. And he start thinking of himself, "Wait, all that I want is in the father's house". He became back, the father saw him from behind. What I'm trying to say is this, the father did not say, "Don't draw near". The father ran to draw near to him. There's been a change, do you think so? The father didn't just say, "Draw near". The father ran to draw near to the son. Are you listening, people, amen? And then what about the second instruction, the second voice of God? The second time God spoke to Moses was, "Take your sandals off your feet. The place you're standing is holy ground". But what did the father of the prodigal son said? And the father there is God, our God, our God and our Father.
"The father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.'" That means what? There's been a change. "Put shoes on my son's feet. He has a right to stand on family ground". Let me just bring this to a close. "And bring the fatted calf here and kill it". Many of us think that the fatted calf is killed in the backroom, in the shed. But notice what it says, "Bring the fatted calf here and kill it. The fatted calf is a picture of Christ. He wants the boy to know that all these things happen because another had died in his place. And let us what? "Eat and be merry. Let us celebrate. Let us enjoy. Let's party," the father says, amen? Hallelujah, isn't it wonderful? Has there been a change? Amen, God says to Moses, "Don't come near, take off your shoes. This is holy ground". And then let's go on back, okay, drop down. "Moreover He said, 'I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.'"
By the way, the God of your father, that tells us Moses's father was a godly man. "'I'm the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.' And Moses hid his face, he was afraid to look upon God. And the Lord said, I love this. "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows". Know what God is saying to you? "I know your sorrows, I know your sorrows". You think God is so far away? He knows your sorrows. Drop down, "So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up". So, this is what I underlined in my Bible, all right, when I saw it, it just jumped out at me. "God came down to deliver you out so as to bring you up to a higher place". And then Moses responded. God said, "I'm gonna send you". Drop down all the way. God says, "I'll send you. Come now, I'll send you to Pharaoh". And God says, but Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt"?
You know, once you are conscious of God's holiness, because he's conscious of holy ground, the law always makes you self conscious, self occupied. "Thou shall not, thou shall not," it's always you. Grace says God says, "I will, I will". It makes us conscious of God. You see, before God tells us to do anything, listen, listen. The question is not, "Who am I"? The question is, "Who is God"? It's not about my weakness, it's about his strength. It's not about my poverty, it's about his inexhaustible supply, amen? It's not about my limitations, it's about God, the unlimited God. Wrong question, "Who am I"? Then God answered, "It's not about you". Drop down. God says, "I will certainly be with you," amen? And this will be a sign when you bring the people here, you will serve God on this mountain.
Then Moses said, "What will I say? If the people of Israel ask me what is your name, what should I say to them"? And God says, "I AM WHO I AM". And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.'" You know what's I Am? I Am is a blank check. "Tell them I Am. It's not about their poverty, it's about my riches. You can fill in the check, I am whatever you want". Are you sick? Write down, "I am your healer," all right? Is your debt piling up? Then write down, "I am your provider," amen? Are you beset by depressive thoughts and struggling to sleep at night? Then write down, "I am your peace. I am your deliverer". Are you afraid to travel or to take a plane or somewhere? All right, are you afraid? God says, "I am your keeper. I am your provider". Fill in the blanks.
Then Jesus came and finally Jesus, throughout the gospel of John he says, "Before Abraham was, I Am. I am the good shepherd. I Am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the resurrection, amen. I am the light of the world. I am the bread of life". He is the fulfillment. God is never the God of the past. He didn't say, "I was". And stop living for the future. Yes, he's gonna return. Yes, there'll be a new kingdom. But he says, "I am," present tense, "right now. I am your length of days if you're afraid of dying. I am your renewal of strength and your youth. I am your Father," amen? Do you love him?