Joseph Prince - Jesus Draws Near When You Are Discouraged (Live In Israel)
Well, praise the Lord. Just want to say again that you are in a very special place tonight. You are right where the gospel of grace went forth 2,000 years ago. Paul left this port and he never returned. He appealed to Caesar and to Caesar he went. And, you know, the gospel of grace when for from this place here in different journeys of Paul, missionary journeys of Paul. And Paul preached the gospel. God told him to go west.
Now imagine the earth as a globe, Israel being in the center, and it is the center of the world. And Paul took the gospel westward all the way and that's where his final journey was in Rome. And then from Rome, it when westward. So, imagine a globe it went west. God would forbid at that time. The gospel is for the world, but there's a timing in everything that God does. And the gospel for these 2,000 years have gone west all the way around the globe to America in recent times. And then from America, thank God for America because America has been the number-one nation sponsoring the gospel of Jesus Christ for these past 100 years, and God raised America for this purpose. Let's not forget, In God we trust. God raised America for the purpose of the gospel of grace, and then the gospel went westward.
Look at this, westward all the way these 2,000 years and finally in our day and age, it has hit China, Korea, Singapore, where all these countries in these days have some of the largest congregations in the world. In Korea alone, we have mega, mega churches, and that's what God is doing. But you know what? It's come one full circle. God is not finished with America. God never, you know, decreases in his work. He increases. Your path of the righteous increases, increases more and more, shines brighter, more and more unto the perfect day when Jesus returns. It's come one full circle and finally it's gonna end up all the way back to Jerusalem. Jesus will return. I believe we are the end-time generation, amen. What is the gospel? When we talk about the gospel, what is the gospel? Will the real gospel please stand up?
Today we hear people saying, "This is the gospel truth. That's the gospel truth". But what is the gospel? Gospel is good news, amen? Today when you hear the news, it's almost like, you know, saying that, "I'm gonna give you my car brand new. It's a Ferrari, okay? I've not driven in it. It's yours, just pay me $100 every month. It's is a gift, but it has conditions to it. The gospel is not, do good get good, do bad get bad. What is the gospel? Well, Paul himself who left these regions to preach the gospel, Paul says, "I testify to the gospel of the grace of God". It's called the gospel of the grace of God.
By the way, if you're feeling colder, just get snuggled up. This is the body ministry. Come on, get close to each other. Say hi to the person next to you and get close to one another, okay? The only way that Paul describes the gospel in the New Testament, he calls it the gospel of grace and the gospel of peace. Today, we have different kinds of gospel and the devil is so switched the roles of the gospel that we think that hearing grace is another gospel. If you look at the Scriptures in Galatians chapter 1, Paul says, "I am shocked. I am surprised, y'all," to all the Texans here. "I'm stunned, y'all, that you are turning away so soon from him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel". So, whatever the grace of Christ is, it is the gospel that Paul preached. And Paul is saying, "Guys, I'm stunned that you are turning away from the grace of Christ to a different gospel.
So, what is a different gospel? Anything that is not the grace of Christ. But today, it's the other way around. If you preach the grace of Christ, it sounds like, and some of them are saying, "This is a different gospel". But actually, we are rediscovering the gospel that Paul preached. Can have a good amen? "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ". Under the law, when God first gave the law on Mount Sinai, it was the first Pentecost of Israel. When God gave the law on Mount Sinai, 3,000 people died at the foot of the mount. Now, when God gave what? The Spirit, not the law, on the day of Pentecost in the New Testament, 3,000 people were saved. That shows the law kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Now, the Bible says sin, which in the Greek there is a noun. Romans 6:14, "Sin shall not have dominion, control, power over you, because you are not under law, but under grace". But today we say like, you know, if you're not under law, you become lawless. If you are preaching grace, then you are giving people license to sin. But number one, people are sinning without license. Have you noticed that? Actually, when you preach the law, you are strengthening the flesh. Listen, I am for the law for the reason God gave the law, and God never gave the law to justify men by. God gave the law to show up man's sin. The Bible says, the Bible says, "By the law is the knowledge of sin," not righteousness. The law is like a mirror. When you look at the mirror, it reflects accurately.
So, if you see ugly, which Joel and I never, if you see ugly, don't blame the mirror. The mirror is accurate, it is true. The law is holy, righteous, and true, but it cannot make you holy. It cannot make you righteous, and definitely cannot make you holy. And yet, the devil seems to have hoodwinked the church into thinking that if you hear grace, it's dangerous. When you hear the law, no one puts their guards up. The devil has built fences around grace, and we need to rediscover the gospel that Paul preached, the gospel that left these shores 2,000 years ago, amen. Paul says, "You know, I'm surprised guys, you left the grace of Christ to a different gospel". And then Paul pronounces a double curse on anyone that's mixing law and grace in the Book of Galatians.
Now, I decided a long time ago that I won't come under the double curse. If anyone preaches a mixture, like they did in Galatians, and Paul pronounced a double curse. Paul says, "Though we are an angel from heaven," he didn't say an angel from hell, y'all, an angel from heaven. "Though we are an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you then what we have preached, let him be anathema, let him be accursed". and he repeated himself. So, when I saw that I decided a long time ago, I don't care what people say, I'm gonna preach the gospel of grace and be doubly blessed. And I think that has happened some. I rather have the double blessing, than people's approbation and praise, amen? The law says, "Take shoes off your feet, the place you're standing is holy ground". Under grace, God says, "Put shoes on my son's feet. He has returned. He has a right to stand in my presence".
There's been a change, amen? The lawyers but do, do, do. Grace is about done, done, done. Your only response, rest. The better you rest, the more God can work. God said to me a long time ago, "Son, when you rest, I work but when you work, I rest. And that's why the priests in the Old Testament, they have to clad themself. The garments they wear, even the turban, is made of linen. They must not gird themselves with anything that causes sweat. Smile at your neighbor and say, "Thou shall not sweat". This is talking about self effort. God doesn't want self effort, human sweat, in his ministry. Can I have a good amen?
Like what Matt said just now, we don't fight for victory, we fight from victory. We don't pray for victory, we pray from victory, amen? I'm just saying find out the reason why you are doing what you're doing. I'm not saying you cannot pray. I'm not saying stop praying. You know, some people say, "Well, Pastor Prince is saying, you know, stop, stop working, stop praying. I never said that. Stop giving. In fact when you are under grace, no one can stop you from giving everything you've got. You know, you feel like giving everything you've got. I gotta watch my wife because when she's under grace, she wants to give me away.
I want to give you a prophecy of the Messiah from Prophet Isaiah. Of all the things that Isaiah could have prophesied about the Messiah, how he's a victorious, conquering Messiah, Isaiah said this of him in Matthew 12 the gospel of Matthew quotes the prophecy of Isaiah, "A bruised reed He will not break. A smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory". A bruised reed, a crushed reed he will not break. You know, when you feel like you have lost your song, because in those days, let me show you a picture of a reed up here if you can see it. You see a reed? This is a picture taken in Israel on one of my tours. And that's a reed and what the children would do during Jesus's time is that they will make a flute out of the reed.
All right, there's a flute coming up. Yeah, there's a young boy there. He's one of my pastors, and he's playing a flute. We found this reed by the Lake of Galilee and he picked up, of course, he can't make a tune because it's bruised. So, what do you do? Reeds are a dime a dozen. You throw them away, right? When it gets bruised, you don't, you know, keep on using the reed. You throw it away because reeds are a dime a dozen as you see. Along the River Jordan, you find a lot of reeds. What happens when you lose your song? You lose your praise. You're no more a singing joyful Christian. He doesn't put you aside. A bruised reed, he will not break, and a smoking flax, he will not quench". Whats a smoking flax? You know, back in those days they will use a lamp, an earthen lamp with a picture of the lamp and this is a lamp from Israel. And what they do is they have a wick at the end of... made of cloth, usually it's a linen cloth. And when it is charred, it's burnt out.
Are you burnt out? When you are burnt out, there'll be a smoke and there'll be a stench, and people don't want to be around you. But the Bible says a smoking flax, Jesus will not quench. He'll be right there with you. In our minds, we need to repent. You know, repent means to change your mind. We think that, you know, yes, without faith, it's impossible to please God, but God does not put you aside when you are weak in your faith. Those seasons when you are feeling down, when you are, you know, you are anxious, and you're depressed, and you know you should not be, do you know something? God doesn't put you aside. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoking flax he will not quench.
When you are disappointed, when you are dejected, what does God do? Well, when Elijah in the day of his faith, remember Elijah called fire down, he challenged the prophets of Baal, remember that? And God sent him to this brook Cherith. I believe many of you have passed by the brook area going down the Dead Sea. All right, the brook Cherith is not too far away. And the brook Cherith, there the ravens fed him. In the day of his faith, ravens would feed him. But there came a time when he was discouraged, in fact, he was discouraged because a woman threatened him. The woman says, "I'm gonna kill you," and that was Jezebel, right, amen? And he fled, he fled.
The man who called fire down from heaven fled from a woman, a threatening woman. What gives, amen? And then he threw himself under a Juniper tree and says, "God, let me die. Lord, let me die". How many are glad God doesn't answer all your prayers? By the way, not only God did not answer his prayer, he never died and he never died. He's still alive in heaven. Do you know he was whisked off into heaven and today he's in heaven alive? I believe he'll come back with Moses as one of the two witnesses. And God never answered his prayer. He says, "Let me die," and he never died and he never did die. He's still alive. And in the day of the discouragement when he was discouraged under that tree, you know what God did? The angel of the Lord, which is a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, in the Hebrew the person of the Lord Jesus, the messenger of the Lord, he came. Who is that? Jesus, Jesus came and fed him, make a cake for him, and then put him back to sleep.
Listen, in the day of his faith, ravens fed him. In the day of his depression, the Lord himself fed him. God doesn't put you aside just because you missed it, doesn't put you aside just because... you know, yesterday I was just reading the story of Emmaus, the two disciples that left Jerusalem after Jesus died. You know, on the day of his resurrection, they didn't know about it, you know, they thought they were just rumors from some women. And then they left the place of the gathering of God's people in Jerusalem. They left the flock in Jerusalem. They left Peter, James, John, and all the disciples, and they went home to Emmaus. Now, it's a picture of Christians or saints that are disappointed, disillusioned, and backslidden. They left the place of fellowship. They left the church, and they were disappointed. And they were reasoning along the way. My Bible says Jesus himself drew near. As they were reasoning with one another, Cleopas and probably his wife, amen? What makes you think it's not a woman, right? Cleopas and his wife, they were reasoning among themselves.
And Bible says here in Luke 24, "While they conversed and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near". When they left the place of fellowship, they left the church then, Jesus himself drew near. When the draw away, Jesus drew near. Now, for us when someone leaves church, our attitude is we withdraw from them, but the Lord is not like that. Listen, in the day of our faith and all that, he might send messengers, preachers, you know, apostles, but when there's one discouraged saint, when there's one wayward sheep of his own, he does not send apostle messenger. He himself, Jesus himself drew near to restore them. We need to change our minds, people. What a Savior, what a Savior. Do you love him? My Bible says in Psalms God counts the number of stars, he counts the number of the stars, and he calls them by name. And immediately, the psalmist says before that, "He heals the brokenhearted. He binds up their wounds".
Look at the contrast. Right after that, he counts the number of stars. He calls them all by name, and yet it comes right after it says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds". Who amongst us can count the number of the stars? Who among us can fathom the sorrow of a broken heart? The same God who can count the number of the stars and call them by names is the God will binds up the brokenhearted on earth. What a Savior. In the greatness of his love, he gave us his only begotten Son. He sent him to this earth to heal broken hearts. One of the primary things that Jesus said he came to do, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor, and to heal the brokenhearted.
You know, the world is full of broken hearts. There might be outward gaiety and laughter, but like Solomon says in the Book of Proverbs, "Even in laughter, the heart is sorrowful". So, they try to cover up with laughter. You know, you switch on the TV. You hear them laughing all the time, but no one knows the secret sorrows and broken hearts out there in the world, but Jesus does any he binds up the broken hearts. Do you know how he binds up our broken hearts? Remember that weeping sinner woman who came in Luke 7 and wept at his feet? And Jesus was at the house of the house of the Pharisee and he looked at the Pharisee and the Pharisee was thinking in his mind, "Well, if he's a prophet, he would know what kind of woman this is". Obviously, she was a woman of ill repute in that town. How she found his house, I do not know. She probably knew his address before this. Anyway, she heard that Jesus was in his house, in the Pharisee's house, and she made her way there.
And the Bible says she wept over his feet because in those days, they will recline, their feet will be behind and she'll come behind. And Jesus is looking at the Pharisees and the Pharisee is looking at her, and she will weep at his feet and wipe his feet with her hair. And the Jesus looked at the Pharisee and Jesus knew what he was thinking. If he was a prophet, he would know what kind of woman this is. And Jesus says, "Simon," that was the name of the Pharisee, "I have something to tell you. There were two debtors, one owed $100,000 and the other owed $100. When they both could not pay the creditor, he forgave them both. Which of the two debtors do you think will love him more"?
He's speaking the Pharisee's language because he had dollar signs in his eyes. And then he said, "Well, I suppose the one he forgave the most". "I came to your house, you gave me no customary greeting. You did not give me the water to wash my feet, but since she came in, she has not ceased to weep on my feet and to wipe my feet with her hair. You know why she does that, Simon? Because whoever's forgiven much will love much". And that's why our message is to tell the world, "You are forgiven". It needs to be received, yes, but you need to tell them they are forgiven, amen. We're all forgiven of our sins. it is because we think we are forgiven as we go, we are forgiven as we repent.
Now, today in the Old Testament, if I live in the Old Testament, you have to repent first before God can bless you, before God can forgive you. But under grace, God forgives you are ready and if you receive that forgiveness, that forgiveness will lead you to change your mind about whatever areas there is in your life. This is the gospel. And why are we so afraid to tell people that their sins are forgiven, past, present, and future? They are because we think they will preach a message that tells people their sins are forgiven. By the way that bad thought that you had of me just now is forgiven. That worst thought that you had just now of Matt is forgiven. What a relief when you live your life no longer introspective and self-occupied, but Christ occupied, what a life. You will fail in your thought, word, and deed.
I'm not prophesying, and some people don't like to hear that. But listen, this is not sinless perfection. You are righteous in God's eyes, but you are not your own righteousness. It's a gift. God sees you righteous but in and of yourself, you will still fail and you need to know you are forgiven. When a bad thought comes just say, "Thank You, Lord, I'm forgiven". When you worship and a bad thought comes, you don't have to put down your hands, sit down, and start confessing, confessing, confessing, confessing. You just say, "Thank you, Lord, I'm forgiven," and go on worshiping the Lord. So, Jesus said, "You know why she loves much? She's forgiven much. Do you know why you love me little"? In essence, he was telling Simon the Pharisee, "You know why you love me little? Because you don't think you're forgiven much".
I love it. I love the Lord, don't you? Tonight, I just want to talk about our Lord Jesus. You know, that day in Zemok before I went up, I just began to see Jesus again by the shores of Galilee. The Bible calls him a king. Both his parents, Joseph and Mary, we know that Joseph, of course, is not his real father, but even then Joseph's lineage go all the way to David, all right, Solomon and David. Mary's lineage goes all the way to Nathan, the son, all the way to David as well. He has a double claim on the throne of David. He's a king, but how does he use his power to cleanse the leper, to cast out demons, set people free? And he loved children. When I come to Israel, I love to see Jesus. And every time I'm here, I get fresh revelations. The revelation is not like drinking from a water tap. It's like, you know, it's like a hydrant, you are drinking from a hydrant, a fire hydrant. Everywhere I turn, I see Jesus.
It wasn't long that when I was at the Mount of Beatitudes, I was reading the Scriptures about Jesus preaching the Sermon on the Mount and the Bible says at the end of the sermon, he went down the mountain. And I always thought, how many of you been there, the Mount of Beatitudes? You saw the banana plantation and the hill? One of those rocks is probably the rock that Jesus sat on. I love to sit on one of those rocks, and I try to imagine the, all the banana plantation as your heads, you know? But the Bible says he went down the mountain, and I always thought he went towards the multitudes. But no, because the Bible says, read your Bible it says, when he went down the mountain, the multitudes followed him, which means he didn't go down this way, he went the other way for them to follow him, follow him on the outskirts. Now, there must be a reason why he went that way because the next part of the story tells us, "Then a leper came to him".
Now, the leper would not be found among the multitudes. He'd be stoned to death. So, the leper must be hiding. So, I was going this way away from the banana plantation and then I saw a lot of fallen, you know, slabs of stone and God began to show me there, one of the slab of stones, the leper was hiding behind that stone and he was listening. "Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they"? And I could see him trembling, so I decided to do a video of this. Would you like to watch it again? By the way, the music came to me one day just supernaturally, this music, and I sang it in church and then they decided to put it on this video. Sit back and feed on Jesus.
Jesus: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So, why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil or spin and yet I say to you and even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Leper: Abba, Abba. Abba.
Jesus: And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house and it the did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
Leper: Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.
Jesus: I am willing, be cleansed.
Leper: Abba, Abba. Abba.
Jesus: And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house and it the did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
Leper: Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.
Jesus: I am willing, be cleansed.
This is your Jesus, come on. He's altogether lovely. You know, when he's strong, he's not hurtful. When we are strong, we are aggressive, we break hearts. When he is tender, he's not soft. He's altogether lovely. And to be like him is our desire. Now go, amen. He heals the broken hearts. You know that woman that came crying, she was a weeping sinner and then we see Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus. You know, the people, the Jews around him, the Bible says they said, "Behold, how he loved Lazarus, how he loved him". Actually, he wasn't weeping for Lazarus. I mean why weep for a man that you know you're gonna raise him in a while's time? But why did he weep? The shortest verse in the Bible "Jesus wept". He wept for Martha and Mary. He came to enter into our sorrows, amen.
It's a wonderful thing to see a weeping sinner shedding tears in the presence of His love. But I tell you, it's a more wonderful thing to see the Savior weeping in our sorrows. He came a long way. You know, I love that portion where the Bible says in John 3, if we have that verse, show them. John 4, He must needs go through Samaria. He needed to go through Samaria. If you study the topography, the Jews of his day would skirt around the River Jordan, go northward towards Galilee. You were there at Zemok, Galilee. From Jerusalem, you will go northward. Most of them, they would bypass Samaria. But Jesus, because the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans in those days, but the Bible says Jesus needed to go through Samaria. Was it a topographical need? Was it a convenient way? No, it was a need of grace. There was a sinner waiting for him. So, he needed to go through Samaria for that one woman.
Now, this is John chapter 4. This is John chapter 4. Notice the Bible says, "He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground the Jacob gave to his son Joseph". This the only time Joseph of the Old Testament appears in the Bible, and Jacob gave this plot of land to Joseph. You know why this is significant? Because there's a prophecy in the Book of Genesis where Jacob blessed his sons, and this was the prophecy that Joseph will be a fruitful vine, a fruitful bough and his brunches will go over the wall of the Gentiles. And he will, listen, he will be by the well. That was a prophecy. He is a fruitful vine by the well. It was a prophecy of the greatest Son who will come as our heavenly Joseph and sit down there, and his grace and love will reach over the wall of partition.
So, there he was seated down there. And I love, you see, John 4 comes after John 3. I need to say that for the benefit of Matt. What happened in John 3? We all know John 3:16, right? "For God so loved the world". How many know that this verse is the most memorized verse in the body of Christ, right, "For God so loved the world". And yet, those will fight for the law, you ask them, "What is the fourth commandment"? "Ahem, well..". "What is the seventh commandment"? "Ahem,, ahem, ahem, mmm". So much for fighting for the commandments. They don't even memorize the commandment, you know why? The Holy Spirit don't help you to memorize the law. The Holy Spirit helps even little children to memorize, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes". Because this is the gospel. Nothing wrong with the law, people. The law is accurate, that's the problem. If it bends to help you, it's no longer the law. You see, I am for the purity of the law and because I am for the completeness of the law, I am for the law for the reason God gave the law, and God never gave the law to justify men by.
So, go back to John 3, you know the story of John 3? The first verse says there was a man of the Pharisees called Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night. In John 4, Jesus came to the woman. John 3, this Pharisee, this theologian came seeking out Jesus by night. John 4, Jesus sought out that woman in broad daylight. In John 3, Jesus calls this man, "Aren't you a master of Israel and you know not this things"? He was a master teacher, not just a teacher, but a master teacher, or rabbi of rabbis. But for that woman, her only achievement is that she had five husbands. For this religious man, this theologian, Jesus used the language of the Bible. He used metaphors, he used types in the Old Testament like, "Moses raised the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man". He talked to Nicodemus in terms of the Bible language, but for this moment, he never quote any Scripture verse from the Old Testament or used natural illustrations. He used water that she was drinking from. "Lady, if you knew who it was that talks, that is talking with you right now, you would ask him and he will give you living water".
By the way, a few years ago, one of my trips I went to Samaria. You know, the Samaritans are still there? It's a smaller number now, but they even have a high priest. So, I met the brother of the high priest. So, he brought me and my pastors into his special chamber, and they have this list of all the high priests from all the way to the time of Jesus, even before Jesus in the Old Testament. They still keep faithfully the list. So, I asked him, "Can you tell me which high priest it was when Jesus was here"? "Oh," he says, "Let me check". He looked it up. "Oh, yes, it was the 49th high priest". Jesus is number 50, number of Jubilee. Not only that, I asked him, "What is the name of the high priest"? He says, "His name is Yonatan," which means Jonathan, beautiful name. The name Jonathan means the gift of God.
And Jesus told the woman whose high priest then was Jonathan, which means the gift of God. Jesus, looked at him said, "If you really knew who the high priest was, if you really knew the gift of God, if you really knew the Yonatan, you would ask him and he will give you living water". To the theologian, isn't this familiar? Today, I know of people who are being criticized because they don't use Bible jargon all the time or use metaphors. You know who is not too happy with Jesus? The theologians. Do you have this kind of ministry? If you don't, something's wrong. Your ministry is not like Jesus. For this theologian, Jesus said to him, this is what Jesus said to him, "With all your erudite learning, you must be born again". But Jesus never said to the Samaritan, that sinner woman, "You must be born again". He just loved on her. For this theologian, he almost insulted him. He says, "Are you a master in Israel, you do not know these things"? But for that woman, "Pastor Prince, he did reveal her sin".
Now, let me explain this. You know something? You will never know how much you are loved, you will never feel loved if you think that the one talking with you does not know everything about you when he loves you. But when you know when you know that he knows everything about you and he still takes time to talk to you and love you, you are loved. And that's why the very sin that brings out Jesus's anger is the sin of hypocrisy. What is hypocrisy? Pretending to be what you are not. Now, when the Bible says you are righteous and you say, "No, no, I'm not righteous. I'm, you know, I'm just a sinner. You do not know how bad I am". Now, you're a hypocrite. You are pretending to be what you are not. God says you are righteous. God made you righteous. What God has cleansed, don't you dare call unclean, not even yourself. Give honor to the blood of Jesus by standing tall in the mirror and say, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ".
That Pharisee, Nicodemus, he became a disciple of Jesus. Finally, when Jesus died on the cross, it was him and Joseph of Arimathea that came and buried Jesus. Remember that? But his progress was slow, wasn't it? He was still ashamed of Jesus reticent, hiding behind the Pharisees and all that. Finally when Jesus died, he came up front. But that woman, one hour with Jesus. At first look at the progress. What a fast progress. First she called him, "Aren't you a Jew? Why do you speak with me, a Samaritan"? She calls him a Jew. Then she says, "Sir, you have no bucket to draw the water with," calls him a sir, right? Then she calls him, "I perceive you are a prophet because he says, "Go call your husband here". "I have no husband". Jesus says, "You are right. You had five husbands, and the one that you're living with is not your husband".
You know how Jesus said it? With such tact. When Jesus revealed her sin, like I told you just now so that she will feel loved knowing that she knows she knows he knows all about her, he did it with such divine skillfulness. First of all, he praised her. He said, "You have said well". In the Greek kalos, beautiful. "You have said it beautifully. You have no husband. You have had five husbands and the one that you are living with is not your husband". And he sandwiched it like this. He praised her, then he revealed to her sin, and then he sandwiched it with, "In that you say truly. You have spoken the truth". And she says, "I perceive you're a prophet". Now from Jew to sir, prophet. Finally, she said, "I know when the Messiah comes, he will reveal to us all things". Jesus looked at her and said, "I who speak unto you, I Am He". To the theologian, Jesus never said, "I'm the Messiah". But to the woman Jesus says, "I Am He".
Now, look at a the progress. One hour with Jesus and she ran into the city. You know why she came that at noontime? The Bible says a sixth hour at noontime when it's really hot. Most women would draw water when it's cold in the morning, when it's cool in the morning, or in the evening, but she went there in the afternoon, why? Because of her reputation. She was ashamed and she wanted to avoid all the gossipers. And there she went that day and Jesus was waiting at the well. The prophecy, he'll be a fruitful bough sitting by the well whose branches go over the wall. But look at her now. One hour with Jesus and she ran into her city and says, "Come, come, see a man who told me everything about me, about myself. Isn't this the Messiah"? She became an instant evangelist.
You know, what is the message that we are preaching? We are preaching mixture. You know, Jesus said, "You cannot put new wine". Say, "New wine". "Into old bottles". Say, "Old bottles". Now, one of the things you learn in Israel is that the bottles are made of goatskin. So, after some time, it gets brittle. When it's brittle, it's hard. And Jesus said, "You cannot put new wine, new wine, into old wineskin," amen, why? Because the new wine will ferment and because of the brittleness of the goatskin, it will break. Now you lose both. Now, we use that for church structure, "We need a new wineskin. We need a new wineskin". Now, it's okay to use that, perhaps, as a, you know, secondary application but in the context, Jesus is saying, "You cannot put grace into the context of law. You cannot mixed law and grace. You will lose both". You will lose the severity of the law, and you will lose the freeness of grace, amen.
What a wonderful Savior we serve. Do you love him? You know, he said to the church of Ephesus, "You have left your first love". First love, protos agape. Protos, prototype. First love, what is first love? We say, "First love is my love for God". Uh-uh, he first loved you and he's telling the church, "You have left your first love". And then he says, "I know your works, your labor, your patience," right? But what was missing in that church was this faith, labor of love, patience of hope, labor of love, patience and hope, faith, and love was missing. So, any ministry, they just focus on labor and performance but not produced faith, hope, and love like the ministries of Joel here, and Christine, and many others that I know, God is raising a whole new generation.
The end result of New Testament preaching is that it leaves faith, hope, and love in your heart, amen? Anything else is not, you know, you talk about sin. What is what is sin? How does God define sin, amen? How does God define sin? Whatever is not of faith is sin, right, amen? But we look at the overt sin, we look at the outward sin and we label that as sin. But you know what, people? We are sin conscious, you know what? We will never, never, ever come to the place we have boldness towards God. Love is not us loving God, it is God loving us. Look at this 1 John 4. "In this is love, not that we love God". Stop, "Not that we love God, not that we love God". Wait a minute, isn't this the sum total of the commandments and the law? Isn't this the greatest commandment of all, "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all their heart, all thy soul, all they mind, all thy strength"? Isn't this the greatest of all commandments? And yet, John, by the Spirit, wrote this. "This is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us".
So, why did God give the greatest commandment? Why did God give us that commandment, "You shall love God". Because he wanted to show us up by, the law is the knowledge of sin. He want to show you and I we cannot, for 1500 years, he put men under the law. "Now love me all your heart," and men could not. Even the best of them, David failed. After 1500 years of being under law, God says enough. For some of us, it's not enough yet. He says enough after 1500, then he says, "I will love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength," and he gave his life. So, now we love, listen, this is not love that we love God, but we love because he first loved us. So, the pulpit is a place, not for saying, "You gotta love God more, you gotta love God more".
I tried that when I was a youth pastor. I remember years ago with my youth ministry I would tell them, "You gotta love God, people. You don't love God enough. The reason you're doing what you're doing is because you don't love God. You gotta love God". And all the while I was saying this in my heart, "How do I do that"? I wasn't really in love with God. But I'm telling you right now, I'm in love with Jesus. Many of you saw the Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock is now. Well, God talked to Abraham about that mountain. God says, "Abraham, take your son, your only son, the son that you love". Boy, God was really pushing it. "Take your son, your only son, the son that you love".
But wait a minute, Abraham had two sons. The other was Ishmael. Why did God say, "Take your son, your only son". What was God thinking of? God was thinking of his Son, his only Son, the Son that he loved who will be sacrificed on that mountain. Because the highest range of Mount Moriah is Mount Calvary. Many of you've been to the Garden Tomb. You know, the Garden Tomb is the highest elevation of Mount Moriah? So, I believe like Isaac took the wood on his back and he went up the mountain like Jesus took the cross on his back, and he went up Golgotha, but before he could plunge the knife into his son, God stopped him and God says, "Now I know. Abraham, withhold your hand. Now I know you love me because you have not withheld your son, your only son, the son that you love," so that you and I can tell God today, "I know now you love me because you have not withheld your Son, your only Son, the Son that you love".
It's not about us, people. All the stories in the Bible, it's about Jesus. That's the gospel in the Old Testament and Abraham, the Bible says Abraham looked behind him and Abraham saw a ram caught in a thicket, but I tell you he saw more than that. He saw the cross because Mount Moriah, like I said, the highest elevation is Mount Calvary. And he looked behind him and he saw Jesus on the cross. How do I know that? Because Jesus, one time the Pharisees were arguing with him and the Pharisees says, "You know, how dare you do all these things? And Jesus says, "Listen, Abraham rejoiced to see my day". And they said, "You saw Abraham"? Now, they missed it. He didn't say he saw Abraham. He said Abraham saw him. He's the greater one. and they said to him, "You are not yet 50 years old, you saw Abraham"? He says, "Listen, before Abraham was, I Am".
So, when did Abraham see Jesus? On that mountain. He looked behind him, he saw the cross that God would not withhold his son, his only son, the son that he loved. Who are you that God would give up his Son for? Ladies, you know this, right? When you go to a boutique, you look at a dress or whatever it is, if you're willing to give up your money for the dress, you value that dress more, right? God gave up his Son for you. You see, you'll never know how much God loves you until you know how much God loved his Son because he gave up his Son for you, and God loved his Son. Jesus said, "Even my Father loves me. My Father never left me". And you know something? There are two times that the Father split the heavens, split the clouds and said, "This is my beloved Son". One at the River Jordan when he was baptized and the other at Mount Hermon.
Let me just tell you this, one day I was studying this and then it hit me, and these are the benefits that happen, you know, you get when you come to Israel. At the River Jordan where the Dead Sea is is the lowest place on planet earth, about 1400 over feet below sea level. Mount Hermon, where the father said, "This is my beloved Son," as well is the highest place in all Israel, nearly 10,000 feet. So, in the lowest places and the highest place, amen? In the lowest places of your life, hear the Father say, "You are my beloved son". In your in your achievements and victories he says, "You are my beloved son". He's proud of you. But even your lowest places, he will say, "This is my beloved son. This is my beloved daughter in whom I'm well pleased".
When Jesus went to the wilderness, the devil says, "If you are the Son of God, do this. If you are the Son of God". The common thread is he said, "If you are the Son of God". I was reading that one day then I realized the devil left out the word "Beloved". "If you are the Son of God". But the Father says, "You are my beloved Son". So, the devil left out the word "beloved," you know why? Because no temptation, no attack of the enemy can be successful against you when you know you are God's beloved. Hallelujah, come on, church! Come on. So, we need pulpit ministries and worship teams that unveil the love of God. That takes divine skill, that takes the Holy Spirit to teach do good get good, do bad get bad you don't need the Holy Spirit for that. But you need the Holy Spirit. Is it okay to pray in tongues? You need the Holy Spirit to teach you can receive good you don't deserve because another received all the bad that he didn't deserved, now it's yours, take it, amen?
So, at the cross, at the cross, Jesus looked up and for the first time in his life, he cried, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Search the gospels. He never addressed his Father as, "My God". That was the first time. It's always, "My Father, the Father, Abba, Father". This is the first time he looked up and said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? So that you and I can say, "My Father, my Father, why have you so blessed me"? Come on, come on.
Let me close with this. Listen, when Elijah called fire down from heaven, remember he made an altar of 12 stones representing the 12 tribes of Israel? At that time, they were divided, yet God saw them as one, makes an altar of 12 stones, then put the sacrifice on it, and then pour water again and again as if to make it hard for God. And then finally the fire came, but notice this, the Bible says the fire consumed not just the sacrifice, but the wood and all the 12 stones were completely gone. You know why? Under the law, the judgment is greater than the sacrifice but when Jesus hung on the cross and he took your sins and my sins upon himself, and the fire of God came on him because of our sins, the Bible says he absorbed it all and said, "It is finished"! This time the sacrifice is greater than the judgment.
Come on, this is the gospel, people. This is what the world needs to hear, come on! Stand to your feet, come on. Praise the Lord. Love on your Jesus, hallelujah! Friend, perhaps you're watching this at home and you're thinking, "I've never heard this before. I didn't know God loved me like this". Friend, you are the object of his love. God gave up his Son for you because he loved you, friend. You have tried everything. You have tried, you know, pleasure, hedonistic pursuits. You have tried this, you have tried materialism and it's not satisfied you. You know why? Because there's a God vacuum shape in your heart that only Jesus can feel. You were created for better. Jesus said, "I am come". Why do you come, Lord Jesus? "I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly". Life is empty without his love so if that is you, just pray this prayer with me right now.
Say, "Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for all my sins. Thank you, Father, he's raised from the dead without my sins. All my sins have all been put away never to be remembered again. I'm forgiven forever, greatly blessed, highly favored, deeply loved, in Jesus' name". And all the people said, amen, come on, praise him.