Joseph Prince - Live Bold Without Guilt and Fear
I'm gonna show you a story now, right now from the Bible that I think is gonna help us see some things, and it is something that I've never shared before, but one particular part is something that I asked my pastors in Israel last month when they were with me. I love to just ask them questions, and then we start meditating around God's Word, start discussing God's Word. And I don't give them the answer straightaway. I let them think it through and we just talk it through. I'm gonna share with you right now, for you free, straightaway, praise God.
All right, we look at Genesis 18. In Genesis 18, all right, we look at about Genesis 18 and in Genesis 18, the Lord came to visit Abraham. He was at a place called Mamre. He ran to me the Lord. The Lord was with two angels, and they sat down and they ate. What a beautiful domestic scenery we have here, Abraham, Sarah cooking, and then the two angels there, and the Lord eating with Abraham. And the Bible says that the Lord promised Abraham at this time next year, Sarah will have a son, the long dream for, all right, the longing for of this elderly patriarch and his wife. They never had a child for all these years, except through his slave girl when he was a slightly younger man. But the thing is this, God promised that through his lawful wife, his legal wife, he'll have a son.
So, at the end of the whole thing, the Bible tells us the Lord was about to get up and go towards Sodom and Gomorrah. As he was on his way, he stopped for a while and says, "Shall I hide from Abraham", The Lord said, "What I'm about to do"? Seeing Abraham will be a great nation. So, the Lord review his heart to Abraham. Let's follow the story right here. "The other man turned and headed towards Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. Abraham approached him and said, 'Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked'"? Now, the righteous here is in reference to his nephew Lot.
Remember Lot was living in Sodom, and Lot was a lot of trouble for Abraham. But Abraham still had a had a heart for Lot. And the Bible and New Testament calls Lot, the nephew of Abraham, a righteous man, but he's a picture of a defeated righteous man. Abraham is a picture of a victorious, a winning righteous man, an overcomer, if you would, amen? Which righteous man would you rather be, a defeated one, or someone who's enjoying friendship with God, fellowship with God, hearing God's secrets, God allowing him to have power with him, to intercede with him, or rather be like Abraham's righteous man? But both are declared righteous.
So, the Lord says, he told the Lord, "Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city, will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? Surely you wouldn't do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn't do that! Should not the judge of all the earth do what is right"?
How many would say that he's bold with God? Come on. Abraham was bold with the Lord. He asked the Lord these things. "Lord, if you find fifty, will you destroy the entire city because even though they are fifty righteous"? And the Lord says, "If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake". Drop down, "And it came to pass". Sorry, go back again. This is Genesis 19 already. So, it goes on to say like this, Abraham asked God, "What if you find 45 righteous"? God says, "I will not destroy for 45 sake". "What if you find 40"? "I will not destroy for 40". He went down to 30. "I will not destroy it for 30". Then he went down to 20. God says, "For 20 righteous, I will not destroy the city". Finally he came to, "What about if you find ten"? God says, "If I find ten righteous in the city, I will not destroy the city". And the Bible says Abraham stopped at ten, the Lord left.
Now remember this, Abraham kept asking, and God kept giving until Abraham stopped, not God. The Bible says when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes and the disciples passed out the bread and the fish to more than about 10,000 people, 5,000 men, not counting women and children. And he passed it out until they ate as much as they would, not as God wills, but as they would. They ate as much as they would. The moment they say, "Okay, enough", the supply stopped. God's supply is always greater than our need. We limit God. I say we limit God, amen? Here you find Abraham very bold with God, very courageous.
By the way, I want to share with you a principle of Bible interpretation, and this is kosher. This is from the Apostle Paul himself. Many of the stories in the Old Testament, if you want to go deeper than just the superficial teaching that's on the surface, there are also allegories and types we can learn from. For example, in Galatians 4. He talks about Abraham's two women. One of them is his lawful wife Sarah. Say Sarah. And the other one is a handmaiden by the name of Hagar. Say Hagar. Now, Sarah was barren. So, Sarah says to Abraham, "Go to my handmaiden, Hagar, perhaps we can have a child by her". So, they had a child, Ishmael.
Now, Paul in Galatians 4, saw in this an illustration, an allegory. Paul says, "These two women are an allegory". They typify the two covenants, Sarah and Hagar. These two women are like two mountains. Hagar, the handmaiden is a picture of Mount Sinai. By the way, our Ten Commandments came from Mount Sinai. And Paul himself says by the Spirit in Galatians that Mount Sinai produces bondage, but Sarah is a picture of grace who's the mother of us all, amen? And they produced what? Ishmael, born of the flesh of human effort, Sarah, by grace, Isaac was born when both Abraham and Sarah, their bodies cannot produce. So, it's of God. Now, perhaps there's an allegory in the story of Abraham and Sarah. We know Abraham is a picture of faith. Now we learn from Galatians 4 from Paul's own pen that Sarah is a picture of grace. Are we on the same page? Okay, let's follow the story now.
Now, Genesis 18, the intercession ends. He stopped at ten. God didn't stop at ten, Abraham did. Next chapter, the judgment came on Sodom and Gomorrah. Follow me now to Genesis 20. "Abraham moved south to the Negev and lived for a while between Kadesh and Shur, and then he moved on to Gerar". Notice these words, okay, Kadesh and Shur, they are still there in Israel today, and Gerar is still there. While living, by the way, you know the helicopter rescue last time I showed you all? That happened near Gerar, Bersheba, it's not too far away. "While living there as a foreigner, Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, 'She is my sister'". So, that's a lie, isn't it? Technically he's trying to say, "She's my sister". But she's the wife. Sarah is Abraham's wife, right?
So, it's right trying to use a technicality, but the purpose is still lying and the result, the effect, is still a lie. And later on he told Abimelech, King Abimelech why he lied. He says, "I was thinking that surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will kill me for my wife's sake". So, he has a very spiritual reason for lying, you know? He rather compromise his wife than to die. So, the Bible tells us, "So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace. But that night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, 'You're a dead man, for that woman you have taken is already married'"!
Can I say this to you? This was before the Ten Commandments, more than 400 years before the Ten Commandments, yet adultery is wrong. When you have a relationship with a married woman, God calls you a dead man. "But Abimelech had not slept with her yet, so he said, 'Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? Didn't Abraham tell me, 'She is my sister'? And she herself said, 'Yes, he is my brother.' I acted in complete innocence! My hands are clean.' In the dream God responded, 'Yes, I know you are innocent. That's why I kept you from sinning against me, and why I did not let you touch her.
Now return the woman to her husband, and he will pray for you, for he is a prophet'". Who just lied. That was from me, ah? It's amazing, and then he says this, "Then you will live, but if you don't return her to him, you can be sure that you and all your people will surely die". When I first read this many years ago I said, "Lord, you appeared to the wrong man. This man didn't know any better. You should appear to Abraham and tell Abraham, rebuke Abraham". But instead the Lord appeared to King Abimelech who didn't know that she was another man's wife. There's something about God pronouncing you righteous. When God pronounces you righteous, he really means it. I said he really means it.
We think, "You know, it's just make believe. I'm not righteous. But in God's eyes, sometimes you see me righteous, sometimes no". When we are still basing our righteousness based on our works but God is saying, "No, you are righteous in my eyes". So, God was protecting Abraham and Sarah and the seed. We do not know at this time whether she's pregnant already, was protecting the seed. And God says, "You better restore the woman to the husband or else you will surely die, you and your people". Okay, allegory now. Abraham is a picture of faith. I think we're all agreed on that. Grace is typified by Sarah. Sarah is a picture of grace. We learned that from Galatians 4, from Paul's own pen, amen?
So, what is happening here? What's happening here? "Return the woman to her husband. If you don't return her to him, you can be sure that you and all your people will die". Let me say this, today the attempt is to remove grace, Sarah, remove grace from faith, from Abraham. The problem, and I submit to you that a lot of sickness, physical, mental, emotional, is that the grace of God has been removed from faith. God wants to restore grace back to faith. And in these last days, God is restoring this message. There's a grace revolution. If you don't have grace in your faith, what's gonna happen is that you'll make your faith legalistic and hard and burdensome. But here you see a picture of a man whose faith worked when he prayed for the sick, even though he's not perfect, why? Grace, amen.
So, people are trying to remove grace from faith. Another principle to remember is this, allegory. I asked you this just now the question. Look at Abraham now in this chapter. This is chapter 20, right? We started with chapter 18. He was bold. He talked to God, "Shall not the judge of the earth do right? God, if you find 50 righteous, will you destroy for 50 sake"? Right, he was bold, right? He was confident of his position in standing with God. He was able to negotiate with God. Like a Jewish lawyer, he's the father of all Jews, by the way, they can argue a good case. He was actually negotiating with the Lord. Then he receives boldness, but two chapters after we see that he's fearful.
What happened to the same Abraham? Now, he's afraid of man. The fear of man brings a snare, the Bible says. If you trust in God, you don't have to be afraid of any man. So, something happened to Abraham. What happened to Abraham? That was the question I asked the pastors last month in Israel when I was there with them. All right, just for the fun of it, you know, when we come here we talk about around God's Word. So, I asked them, what happened to Abraham that he was fearful in Genesis 20? He lied about his wife. What happened to him? Here in Genesis 18, he was bold. Genesis 19, the judgment came on Sodom and Gomorrah, but Genesis 20, he was afraid. He's no more the same man.
What happened to Abraham? How many of you know that maybe last year you were full of faith. Man, I'm telling you, were so full of faith, you pray for the sick, things were happening. You tell people, "Come, put your bald head under my hand. But your head there, come on. You know people are getting healed", amen? I mean, you walk into a restaurant all of a sudden, it's like people say the radiance of God filled that place. And I know of this because I know of people who enter into a boutique, not many people, after for all, they're there other people come in because you are there. You're a blessing of God going somewhere to happen, amen? Everywhere you go, the powers of darkness are ward off, not because of you but because of who is in you, Christ in you. You are the light of the world because the light of the world dwells in you, amen?
So, I believe that. I believe that, you know, we can be confident that our future is bright. Even we go through a trial, we are going through. We're not going to stay or camp in the wilderness. We are going through, amen? So, what made him afraid? What made him fearful? I submit to you. I think something when he saw what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, the judgment of God came on Sodom and Gomorrah. At this point, he did not know that Lot was alive. Lot was delivered, right? God delivered Lot. God sent the two angels and they brought Lot and his wife and his family out. The wife turned back. She delayed, she turned back and she become a pillar of salt, okay? The Bible says that Lot and his daughters went up to a place called Zoar, and they went to a mountain there and they hid in a cave there. We don't know how long that they were there, but they thought that the whole earth perished. And Abraham had no news that his nephew was alive.
I submit to you that Abraham was under condemnation. By the way, the pastors came to the right conclusion. He was under condemnation because he interceded all the way until ten. So, he felt guilty when he saw the entire city perish, he thought Lot perished. They had no news about Lot. So, he thought that he should have prayed all the way to one because there was one righteous, Lord, right? So, he blamed himself. He was under condemnation. And whenever you're under condemnation, what happens? There'll be stress. There'll be fear. Condemnation is the deepest root, producing fear, producing stress, and then it can manifest sometimes physically, mentally, or even in sin like lying because of fear.
People lie because of fear, right? Fear of consequence, fear of something happening, so they lie. Can you bear witness with that? That's what caused Abraham to be fearful. He condemned himself. And it's in the context because the chapter before this talks about the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. And at this point, Abraham didn't even know whether Lot was still alive, so he blamed himself for not praying all the way. Have you ever blamed yourself for not taking the advantages that you had last time? You feel like kicking yourself right now? You wish you could have been kinder to a relative or to a parent that's now passed on? You are condemning yourself today.
Now receive, receive the revelation that even that sin has been forgiven through the blood of Jesus and move on. Stop punishing yourself. You are not your own Savior, amen, amen? To punish yourself is a form of self-righteousness. How dare you? When the most high God has forgiven you, how dare you not forgive yourself? Whom God has cleansed, don't call unclean. God has cleansed you. And here's a message for people. I'll close with this. People will say, "Well, you know, I think it's okay to talk about grace, but don't be so intense about grace. We believe in grace.
Oh yeah, Pastor Prince, I believe in grace. Grace saves us, by grace we are saved and all that. I'm not against grace, I believe in grace, but I think you take it too far". It's the same problem, right? Abraham was talking of grace. He didn't deny grace he just said, "Grace is my sister, still have relationship but grace is not my wife". Guys, what's the difference in your relationship with a sister and a wife? What's the difference? "Intimacy, Pastor Prince", amen. I'm intimate with my wife. I'm not intimate with my sister, amen? My wife is everything to me, not my sister.
So, people take grace, acknowledge grace, pay lip service to grace and say, "Yes, I believe in grace. Grace is important", but they have this brother-sister relationship. They're not radical about grace and then when we are radical about grace, we say, "We are intimate with grace. We love grace. All right, she's my darling, amen? I love the grace message, do you"? So grace to us is not a sister, she's a wife. And you know what they say? They start writing things saying, "Well, this is extreme grace. This is extreme, this is super-grace. This is extraordinary grace", or whatever word you want to use when actually we are just saying, "Grace is my wife". They are saying, "Grace should stay as a sister, related, has its place but don't be radical about it". Sorry, I'm radical about grace, how about you? Have you been blessed? All right, that's it. Give him praise. Amen, thank you, Jesus.