Joseph Prince - Accepted in the Beloved, Empowered to Succeed
Praise the Lord. You know, when Jesus was crucified, the Bible says he was crucified in the midst, say "in the midst," between two thieves. Even in his death, the Father puts him in the center. When he rose from the dead, he appeared to his disciples in the Upper Room. The Bible says he appeared in their midst. Say "in the midst". In the midst of their fears, they were hiding in the Upper Room. Jesus appears in the midst of their fears. Put Jesus in the midst of your fear and see your fear disappear.
John in the book of Revelation had a voice behind him say, "The lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed". He turned around. Instead of the lion, he saw the Lamb in the midst. In the midst of the throne of God. Jesus wants to be in the midst of your marriage, your ministry, your churches, and your heart, amen. When he is in the midst, all things are held together in him. In him all things consist. Good evening to all of you. What a privilege it is once again to wash your feet with the water of his Word. I feel honor, privilege.
You know, Joel and myself, we are ordinary people. Actually, we don't like the idea of, like, being in the session and then, you know, we disappear or being whisked off. If we can, we know it's not possible, if we can, we like to shake the hand of every minister because you are just as important doing what God is calling you to do. Every single one of you. We wish we have the time and I speak on behalf of Joel as well, that we can just embrace you and encourage you and tell you that you're doing something great for the Kingdom of God. I want to honor you. You know, I love the way Jesus is described in the Last Supper.
The Bible says: "Jesus, knowing where he came from, knowing where he is going, knowing the Father has given all things into his hands, he stooped down and washed his disciples' feet". Know this. It's only those who are secure in who they are in Christ that can serve. Proud people are insecure people. When you see someone proud, pity them. Jesus, knowing who he is, knowing the Father has given all things, stooped down and served, hallelujah. It's an honor to serve you.
Let's turn to 1 John chapter 4, verse 10. Remember that in our first session we said the law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. My ministry is to unveil the beauty of the new covenant. That's my commission from the Lord. And let's just pause for a while and remember that we are children of the new covenant. 1 John 4:10: This is love. This is the definition of love. 1 Corinthians 13 is not the definition of love. 1 Corinthians 13: "Love is patient, love is kind," are the description of love. Love is defined like this: "This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins".
Notice that love is not us loving God and yet for so long the church emphasis has been, "You shall love God with all your heart, with all your soul, all your mind, all your strength". But this is love. Not that we love God, but that he loved us. For 1500 years, the children of Israel, the Jewish people, were under the law. And the sum total of the law is that thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy soul, all thy might, all thy strength. Has anyone done that? Even the best of them, David, failed. And God knew no one could. That's why the law was given. Even the very greatest commandment was given to expose man's lack and need. No one could love God like that until the perfect man came.
So after 1500 years, God says: "Enough. Do you concede that you cannot? Now watch me," God says. "I will love you with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength," and he gave us his life, hallelujah. So love is not our love for God. It is God's love for us. Under law, you love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind but we are no longer under law. We are under grace where God loves us with all his heart, all his soul, and gave us his Son, hallelujah. Under law, is an old and dying way.
You see the number of times it says, "Don't come near lest you die". The phrase, "lest you die," appears so many times in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. It's an old and dying way under law. You must enter with fear and trepidation. But under grace, it's a new and living way. The more you come, the more you live. If you are sick, the more you come to God, the more you live because it's a new and living way, hallelujah. Under law, God demands righteousness from bankrupt men, and men could not and God knew that. But under grace, God imparts righteousness as a gift to men. We are no longer under law. We're under grace, amen.
When Jesus came down the Mount of Beatitudes, there was a leper that came up to Jesus and we don't know how he got in the midst of the crowd, probably by stealth, because as a leper he's not supposed to be there. And he came to Jesus, said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean". So he has no doubt God can. His doubt was whether God is willing to use his power for him. The first thing Jesus did was to touch him, wow. This man has not been touched for the longest time. When he sees his children from afar, before he was infected, now the kids are grown, he cannot embrace his kids. He's not allowed to. And the first thing Jesus did for this man was to touch him. He humanized the man again. And Jesus says, "I am willing. Be clean". And immediately, the leprosy left.
Under law, if you were unclean and you touched the clean, you make the clean unclean. Jesus came down and brought grace. Jesus the clean touched the unclean and the unclean became clean. Hey, listen, this is the message we need to preach to our young people: under law, sin is contagious but don't be afraid of the world because under grace righteousness is contagious. Let's stop having this law mentality: touch not, taste not, go not, view not, be not there. You might as well be a hermit, amen. Have the confidence you are contagious. You are infectious. Your righteousness, touching the unclean, will make the unclean clean, amen? And we are all cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Can I have a good amen? Hallelujah.
When God first gave the law, you ask any Jewish rabbi, they'll tell you, the law was given on the first Pentecost ever. Fifty days from Passover, the first Passover in Egypt, the children of Israel traversed the wilderness and they were on mount Sinai. Exactly 50 days, God gave them the law. And what happened at the foot of the mountain? Three thousand people died in the first Pentecost. Notice under grace, Acts chapter 2: when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, God gave not the law but the Spirit, and 3000 people were saved. The letter kills but the Spirit gives life! Hallelujah!
When we preach grace, life is imparted to our people, amen. This is love. It's not my love for God. It's God's love for me. You know, when I was a youth pastor many years ago, quite a many years ago, I don't tell many, many years ago. God keeps me young. He renews our youth like the eagles. And an eagle's renew is literal, amen? Believe God for that. When I was a youth pastor, I remember preaching to my people strong messages like, "You've gotta love God. C'mon, what's wrong with you? You've got to love God more. You folks are to love God. The problem with you people is that you don't love God enough".
And all the while when I'm preaching like that, in my heart I'm asking myself, "How do I do that"? I'm not madly in love with God. And yet, I was preaching that to my people because I didn't know any better. Today, I must tell you I'm in love with Jesus. You know, we can sit down at a table. It's not a message. It still goes on when I sit with Ray, I sit with Joel. We are still talking about the Lord and his love. It is not a message. It's our life. Today I'm desperately, deeply, irreversibly in love with Jesus. The Bible says today we love because he first loved us. Your King James says we love him. "Him" is not there in the original. We love. We love him, we love one another, because he first loved us.
The challenge then is that our pulpits must unveil the love of God to our people. The reason people are not loving God is not because they are bad. It's because there's been no unveiling of the love of God. While there's law given: "You've got to love God more. You've got to love God more". No, we've got to unveil the beauty of Jesus. That's why it takes the Holy Spirit to teach grace because it doesn't take the Holy Spirit to teach law. Motivational speakers who are unsaved do that all the time. It takes the Holy Spirit to elucidate the beauty of Jesus and the excellencies of the perfect new covenant, amen. That takes the Holy Spirit. Doesn't take the Holy Spirit to understand "Do good, get good; do bad, get beat". But it takes the Holy Spirit to teach you grace you can receive good you don't deserve because somebody received bad that he did not deserve. That takes the Holy Spirit, amen?
So on the night of the Last Supper, Jesus looked at his disciples and he said, "One of you shall betray me". The Bible tells us Peter spoke up. You know, Peter's always the fastest one, quick on the draw. You all have Peters in your leadership. No, look straight, don't look beside you. Look straight. I'm not talking about your wife, I'm talking about you. All right, he is quick to respond. He says, "Lord, if all this," and he was pointing to the other disciples. "If all this should forsake you, I will never leave you. I will never forsake you. And where you go, I'll follow. I'll follow. You'll always be my true love". In other words, Peter represents believers who boast of their love for the Lord. Then we have John. John was leaning on Jesus's bosom.
In those days, their culture was to recline as they eat so they would rest on their arm. So obviously, John was on the right hand of Jesus. Leaning on Jesus's breast. What a picture of leaning on Jesus's breast. He's resting on the Lord's love. The breast represents love. He's boasting of the Lord's love for him. Peter, his name means stone. He represents the law because the law was written and engraved on stones. John, his name means grace. He represents all the believers who do not boast of their love but the Lord's love for them. And I believe we have them in this house, this evening, amen. Now, if you look up here, in John you find that after Jesus said, "One of you shall betray me," the one who boasts of his love for the Lord, Peter, had to gesture to John. "Now there was leaning on Jesus's bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved".
Now, I used to wonder why Jesus loved this particular man in a special way. Because you find that John is always described as a disciple whom Jesus loved. Until one day I found out it appears only in John's own gospel. So what was John doing? Actually, Jesus loved all the 12 the same. But John knew it. It is like if I were to spend some time with Pastor Joel and Pastor Ray at a café somewhere and I go back to my hotel, I bring out my notebook or my diary and I jot down, "Today I spent time... or three pastors were at this café: Pastor Ray... three wonderful pastors, amen. And Pastor Ray, Pastor Joel, and the pastor whom Jesus loved".
Now, what am I doing? I am practicing his love for me. I am being conscious of the Lord's... now, the Lord loves them just the same. But I am conscious of it. The Bible says we have known and believe the love that God has for us. It's not enough just to know it mentally. You've got to believe that God loves you, amen. Paul personalizes it: "The Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me," me. He personalized it. That's what we need to do. So when Jesus said, "One of you shall betray me," notice it says that Peter who boasts of his love had to gesture to John: "Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom he spoke".
Notice that Peter sensed, Peter did not sense his closeness to the Lord. Whenever you boast of your love for the Lord, you will sense a distance because that is law. Peter had to gesture to John to ask Jesus who is the one. So John, the Bible says, I love it, "Then, leaning back on Jesus's breast," a picture of depending on the Lord's love, John said to Jesus, "Lord, who is it"? Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread". Did you know, that of all the disciples, only John knew who would betray Jesus?
When you boast of the Lord's love for you, you hear his heartbeat. You are brought into the urim and the thummim of the priest. You are brought to the closest place of Jesus's heart. When you boast of your love for the Lord, you will be like Peter having to gesture to John. Instinctively, he felt John was closer. When all is said and done, Peter and John who represent two kinds of believers, one who boasts of his love for the Lord, that's Peter, and John who boasts of the Lord's love for him. Before the night was over, Peter who boasts of his love was found cursing and swearing, denying he ever knew Jesus. But where was the disciple that boasts of the Lord's love for him? Where was he? He was at the foot of the cross. When all the disciples were not there, John was there. At the cross, "Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved and he said to him, 'Woman, behold your son.' He said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother.'"
John brought comfort to Jesus in his dying moment. John was the only one that was meat for the Master's use. If you want God to use you, you want to be at the right place at the right time, boast of the Lord's love for you, magnify the Lord's love for you, be conscious of the Lord's love for you, sing songs about the Lord's love for you, feed on the love of God for you because right now he loves you as if you are the only person in this dome, amen. Now, how many understand that the same rays of the sun fall upon every blade of the grass, but when you put a magnifying glass over a blade of grass, it burns up. I believe that we need to put a magnifying glass, spiritually speaking, over our heads of the love of God.
We need to be conscious of it until it burns us up. And you will end up being used by God by accident. You will find yourself hearing the secrets of God effortlessly, whereas those who boast of their love for the Lord are always feeling the distance and therefore because they are feeling condemned, they condemn others. So while Peter was weeping Peter tears, having denied the Lord that loved him, John was at the foot of the cross. Isn't it interesting that when John boasts of the Lord's love for him, you find him loving the Lord the most, amen?
Pastors, ministers, the pulpit is the place for unveiling the love of God. It's the place for feeding, not a place for beating. If you have a problem with somebody in the church, have the guts to confront that one person. Do not slap 500 people from the pulpit to get at 1. The pulpit is for feeding. Oh, yes, there is correction, all right? There is exhortation and there's discipline in the work but it's not a beating. When Moses misrepresented God by beating the rock and shouting at the people, saying, "Hear now, you rebels," God says, "Moses, come over here. You're not entering the land because you misrepresented me. You make me look hard, mean, and judgmental. I know they are murmuring but I see they are terse and you misrepresented me. For that, you're not entering the land". He that have ears to hear, let him hear, amen. Amen.
It's a lesson of leadership. You know, when Jesus came out of the waters of baptism, the Bible says, I love the way the Bible says it: "The heavens opened to him". To him. What about Jesus is in the midst of the church, the heavens opened to him. The heavens are not open over Joseph Prince. It opens over Jesus. So when he came out of the waters, the heavens opened over Jesus and the Father says, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased". Say it, beloved. Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Right after that, you see, I want to say this to all the fathers here. The father's approval will empower you to reign in life.
Therefore, when you approve and speak words like, "You are my favorite," to every child that you have, amen, you're empowering them for success. They'll meet the temptations of life and they'll win. The father's approval will always empower you to succeed. And, mind you, Jesus has not yet even done one miracle at this point. His first miracle was turning water into wine. When he came out of the waters and the Father gave him the approval, he has not yet done one single miracle, Charismatics. We think that God approves of us because we do more miracles. "I got more miracles than you".
Well, you know what God says? That's not important. You are important. And in my eyes, you are well favored. Right after that, right after Jesus heard that voice from his Father, what happened after that? He was in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. Now, do you know this? That the devil came to him, the common theme of the devil is... I'm gonna try, okay, and be like the devil. It's a lost cause because I'm hopelessly saved. "If thou be the Son of God, turn the stones to bread". Another time, "If thou be the Son of God".
Notice the constant refrain: "If you be the Son of God, if you be the Son of God". Notice the devil left out one word: beloved. He drop off the word "beloved". Jesus just heard the Father says, "You are my beloved Son". When the devil came to Jesus, he drop out the word "beloved," because it's counterproductive for the devil to remind Jesus that he's beloved. Ha, ha, ha, hallelujah. Hey, hey, listen. Temptations can not succeed against our young people, against us, when we have a sense that we are God's beloved. The reason why our young people are giving away their values and their morals, it's not because they are bad. It's not because they are rebellious. It's because they don't have a sense that they are beloved.
Turn to your neighbor and say, "I'm God's beloved". Hey, listen, you must be free from the opinions of man to help man. You cannot help anybody if you are dependent on their opinion. And when you realize, you know, if you love me, you don't love me. Hey, Jesus loves me and my wife loves me. If you have been rejected by someone that you love, your boyfriend leaves you or whatever, hey, it's his loss. I'm God's beloved, amen. I don't have to have a big church. You know, this big church business and all that, honestly, I don't feel it. Take away the church and I'm God's beloved. Ha, ha, ha, amen. I never tie my identity with the church, man. What if one day I'm no longer a pastor? If you say, "Well, I am Joseph Prince, I am pastor". Then that's gonna happen when you're no more a pastor? There goes your identity.
You know the Bible says in Ephesians 1 we are accepted in the beloved. Come on, give him the praise. We are accepted, highly favored, in the Greek, highly favored in the beloved, amen? Ha, ha, praise the Lord. You know, I remember years ago when my daughter was about two or three years old and she had a viral attack. And she was crying more than one day so he brought her to the doctor, and the doctor did some blood tests because it was an unusual virus. And all the blood tests, they could not even understand the blood tests. And she was crying and crying. You know my daughter is so adorable. You know when you carry her, she's so chubby, and she has dimples like her mom, you know? And when you see her cry, your heart breaks. You rather break your own heart than to see her cry.
So, I could not take it after more than a day, and she was crying and crying. Finally, I told my wife, you just take care of her in this room. I'm going to just seek God about this. I knelt down and I cried. I could still hear her crying. She's been crying for more than one day, almost unceasingly. So, I knelt down and I cried when I heard my daughter cry because I just broke down and I said, "Lord, please, I need a revelation. I have bound, I have loosed, I have spat. I've cast out, cast in. Loosening, everything I knew how, confessed until I'm blue in the face. Lord, it's not working, Lord". And I just fell before the Lord and said, "Speak, I need for you to speak to me".
And my Bible was in front of me and I opened my Bible and it was on Genesis 22, the famous story of Abraham offering Isaac. And something about the story attracted me and I kept on reading. And it says, God said to Abraham, "Take now your son, your only son, the son that you love". God is really pushing it. "Take your son, your only son, the son that you love and offer him as a burnt offering". Now, stop for a minute. Abraham had two sons. There was Ishmael and then Isaac, yet God said, "Take your son, your only son".
So, God must actually mean something else than Abraham's son. The whole picture there is about God's only Son. And as Isaac took the wood on his back and went up the mountain, what do you see? Mother, I make all things new. You see the son of God going up, the healer of calvary, amen? And then when he was about to slay his son, God stopped him and God says, "Abraham, Abraham, lay not your hand upon the boy. Now I know you fear me, you honor me, you love me because you have not withheld your son, your only son from me". So, that today, when we look at what Jesus has done for us and the love of God for us, we can say to God, "Now I know that you love me because you have not withheld your Son, your only Son from me".
And the Bible says when Abraham looked back, he saw a lamb caught in the thicket. Do you know that Mount Moriah, where this story happened, the highest range of Mount Moriah in Israel today is Mount Calvary? So, Abraham looked back and saw the cross that God would give his Son, his only Son. He never wanted Isaac anyway, hallelujah. Jesus says, "Abraham, rejoice to see my day". Abraham believed the same gospel you and I believed. He saw the cross. He saw Jesus. And the moment I saw that for the first time, by the way, there is a principle of Bible interpretation called the law of first mention. Every time a subject is mentioned for the first time, there is something significant. Do you know that in this chapter, the word "love" is mentioned for the first time? "The son whom you loved," has got to do with Jesus.
Do you know that the word "worship" is mentioned the first time in this chapter? The boy and I will go there and worship. Worship has got to do with the cross. When you are full of Jesus and what he has done, worship overflows, mmm. And when I sense the love of God, now I wept when I read that, not for my daughter anymore, but for the whole love affair that God has with us, that he will give his own son up. And I wept for Jesus's love was so clearly revealed. And the moment I sensed the love of Jesus, you know what happened to my child next door? The crying stopped, and ever since then she's well.
Now listen, this is a point I want to make. The Bible says, "Faith worketh by love". For the longest time I was taught that when you love others, then your faith will work. But honestly, that's a never-ending treadmill. Faith works when you realize how much God loves you. Faith works by agape love. That's the love of God for you, not for your love for God. When you realize how much God loves you, your faith operates effortlessly. Don't try to conjure up faith. See the love of God and faith will be there and your faith will work, amen?
Poor Peter. He meant well, but here's a picture of the law boasting of the love for his Lord and now he's denying, swearing and the rooster crowed. Does that sound like a South African rooster? Any resemblance is purely coincidental, okay? And the Bible says he wept bitter tears. Well, when Jesus rose from the dead, isn't it interesting the Bible tells us? Hey, listen, do you know that before Jesus died, Jesus says, "Whoever denies me before man, I'll deny him before the Father".
That was before he died. Peter failed with big time with cursing and swearing and yet, when Jesus rose from the dead, Jesus said, "Go tell my disciples and Peter". Peter's name was mentioned specifically. And then we find the incident where they were at the beach by the Lake of Galilee, and Jesus appeared in his resurrected form and the disciples were fishing. And then Peter realized who it was. Actually, it was John who realized it first. The Bible says, Jesus says, "Have you caught anything"? "We have caught nothing". "Throw your net on the right side," and they caught so much fish, but this time the nets did not break. And then John said, "It is the Lord". And Peter jumped into the water to go to Jesus.
Now listen, whenever you boast of the Lord's love for you, you'll be someone with quick perception, quick discernment. You will see the Lord faster than anybody else. It was John who saw, who realized it was the Lord. And then Peter jumped, you know, without thinking. Peter's always rash. All right, and when we came to Jesus, he did not know what to do. Kind of ashamed and he saw that Jesus prepared breakfast for them. Isn't it wonderful? Stop and think, Jesus risen from the dead, never again to die, vested with all authority in heaven and on earth, and what does he do? Prepare breakfast.
Sometimes some of us are too spiritual to prepare breakfast. Resurrected life is shown in preparing breakfast, amen? He says, "Bring the fish that you have caught". Hey, wait a minute, you have caught. They toiled all night, they caught nothing. Many a times, God will give you credit. You will say, "Your faith". But actually the Lord caught the fish. But he says, "Bring the fish that you have caught". He gives you the grace to do what you do and then when you use the grace he gives you to do, he rewards you for using the grace he first gave you. This is the God that we serve, amen? He's such a wonderful Lord. You know, Jesus's strongest words, listen.
Some people say, "Well, Pastor Prince, you and Joel Osteen gotta be more fiery and hard if you're gonna be more like Jesus. Jesus will say things like 'You brood of vipers!'" But have you noticed, he reserves his strongest words only for the Pharisees? You will never find Jesus calling the prostitute, the social outcast, "You brood of vipers". Never! He calls them "Daughter, son, your sins be forgiven you". So they all came around the breakfast. It was quiet. You know how it's like Peter was quiet. Jesus invited them all to sit. "Come and dine," he said. And they were eating.
At the end of the breakfast he turns to Peter and he says, "Peter, do you love me"? Now in the Greek, the word "love" there is agape. God's love, self-sacrificing love which is the love of God. The highest form of love is agape. Jesus used that highest form of love. "Peter, do you love me like that"? Peter, by now is humbled. Peter turned around and says, "Lord". He used a different Greek word for love. "Lord, you know, that I phileo you". That means "I like you".
Peter learned his lesson. Then Jesus said, "Feed my lambs". There was silence for a while, then Jesus turned around again and said, "Peter, do you agape me? Do you love me with the God kind of love, the one you boasted about? I'll follow you. I'll sacrifice everything for you? Do you love me like that"? And Peter says, "Lord, you know, I only like you". At the level of like, Jesus says, "Tend my sheep". And finally Jesus said, "Peter". Jesus came down to his level. "Peter, do you like me? Do you phileo me"? And Peter says, "Lord, you know all things, Lord. You know that my love for you is only at this level of like". And the Lord says, "It's all right. Feed my sheep. Because Peter, now, you know, it's not your love for me. It is my love for you," hallelujah. It's his love for you.
You know, there are some things, you know when I read the Bible, I don't like to read it superficially. I like to go into nuggets, you know? There are meaning to names in the Bible. There are meaning to even numbers in the Bible. You know, we shared in the first service that Jesus went, he was on his way to Jairus's house to heal Jairus' daughter when he was stopped by the woman with the issue of blood. The church has to be healed before the new generation can be resurrected.
But when he was there in Jairus's house, do you know who he brought into the house? Three of his disciples, Peter, James, John. Peter means stone, the law. James means to supplant or to replace. Grace means John. The stone has been replaced by grace. That's the message that will raise this next generation from the dead! Our young people are leaving churches, not because they are bad, not because Internet is so powerful, but because the love of God has not been revealed and the gospel, the true gospel, is not been preached. When we preach the true gospel, they'll come running in because every young person is looking for true love.
I read one day in Isaiah 53, the famous messianic chapter Isaiah 53 of the sufferings of Jesus and his passion. And I read this phrase which confused me for a while. It says, "It pleased the Lord to bruise his Son," and the word "bruise" there in Hebrew is to crush his Son. It pleased the Lord to crush his Son. I couldn't understand that. In the same chapter, it calls Jesus the arm of the Lord. Say, "The arm of the Lord". Isaiah 53 says, "To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed"?
That's Jesus, the arm of the Lord. So, Jesus is typified there as the arm of the Lord, and it says in the same chapter, it pleased the Lord to crush Jesus, and I couldn't understand that. So, I asked the Lord, "Lord, I can't understand the fact that you gave us your Son, I understand, but it pleased you to crush him, I cannot understand. How can it please you"?
A few days after that, after I prayed, we did our Singaporean past time and that is shopping and eating. So, I brought my wife and my daughter. My daughter was about three years old at that time, and we parked at a parking area that was quite a distance away from the mall because it was quite full. So, we parked outside, quite a distance away. We had to walk. Now, going to the mall is no problem, because your hands are free. You forget when you park far away, you're not coming back the same way you went.
So, my hands were free, all right, Wendy's, my wife's, her hands were free and we were just happily going to the mall to spend our holidays at that time just enjoying ourselves. But at the end of the shopping, and my wife can shop, I had my hands full of bags. It was cutting through my fingers. She had her hands full and Jessica was tired. She had her day already. You know when children get tired. They get cranky. All right, you should not discipline them when they are cranky because they're tired.
So, I carried my daughter, tried to balance all in one hand, and I carried my daughter on one arm, and she fell asleep almost immediately. I could hear her heavy breathing. And she looked so peaceful and then all of a sudden, I realized it's quite a distance to the carpark. And I realized that my arm was beginning to go numb. You know, when you carry, and she was quite, you know, she was quite cute in those days, all rounded girl. And my arm was going to sleep. And I said, "I don't think I can make it". I gotta hold this bag and Wendy's hands were already full. And Jessica was so peaceful that I didn't want to wake her and put her down because daddy loves her too much.
The worst stage is after your hand goes to sleep, the next stage, pins and needles. That was really the crusher. Then all of a sudden as I walked, or struggled, to my car and Jessica was sleeping peacefully 'cause daddy love her too much to wake her up. I will rather, listen, I will rather crush my arm than to wake her. And then I saw it, why it pleased the Lord to crush Jesus's arm, because of his love for you, amen.
When Jesus hung on the cross, he cried, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? And the Bible says he cried out loud so that everyone will know that he was forsaken. Now, I said in my first session that Jesus never addressed his Father in his earthly life as "My God". Never, it's always "Father". At the cross was the first time he addressed his Father as my God, why? Because he was taking our place and he cried, "Why have you forsaken me"? So that we'll know that he's forsaken so that you and I today can say, "Father, Father, why have you so blessed me"? And this word "Father" is not the word that we use, you know, in a very formal way, "Father". The Bible says that we have received, no longer the Old Testament fear of God, the spirit of bondage again to fear, but we are received the spirit of sonship by which we cry, "Abba, Father".
And Abba literally, the Holy Spirit refused to translate that. He wants us to know it is not just Father. It is Abba. When you go to Israel today, you go to the playground where the children are, you will hear children running around shouting, "Abba, Abba, Abba"! It means daddy, daddy, daddy! That's the spirit of the new covenant. When my daughter has a nightmare back in those days, she doesn't wake up crying, "Oh, president of JPM International, senior pastor of New Creation Church, will thou hasteneth myself unto me-th for I haveth a nightmareth". No, she cries out, "Daddy"! And that's enough prayer for me to rush through. And if there is a monster, the monster will flee.
No long prayers. "Daddy" is the prayer. Jesus gave up his position to take our place at the cross like a sinner, so that you can take his place of favor before his Father and call his Father, Father. You know, I gotta be concerned sometimes when I hear people teach the names of God. I teach the names of God. I have a series on Yahweh, Elohim, El Shaddai. I have a series on it. I believe in teach on the names of God, but the name Jesus came to reveal is Daddy. Among the Jewish kids, Abba. Yes, he's El Shaddai. Yes, he's Elohim. He's Yahweh. Just like Jessica can say, "He's president of JPM International, senior pastor of New Creation Church, good friend of Ray McCauley's, but he's my daddy". "Oh Pastor Prince, you gotta have the reverential fear of the Lord. You gotta teach people the fear of the Lord".
If you were not here during the panel discussion, there was a question asked, "What is the fear of the Lord"? Would you like Jesus's definition? Jesus quoted Deuteronomy in the wilderness temptation to the devil. When the devil says, "Fall before me and worship me," Jesus says, "Thou shall worship the Lord thy God. It is written". And he was quoting from Deuteronomy but when you go to Deuteronomy, you find it doesn't say worship. It says, "Thou shall fear the Lord".
So, Jesus defined the fear of the Lord as the worship of God. Because listen, if you teach that kind of spirit of bondage again to fearing God, that verse there is talking about fearing God the Old Testament way, not the daddy intimacy. If you teach that what's gonna happen is that, listen carefully, whenever a parent instills fear in a child towards the parent, it is a matter of time the child will hate the parent. If I instill fear in my leaders, it's a matter of time they will fear me and hate me. And what are we doing? We're instilling fear in our people towards God. The Old Testament spirit of bondage again to fear that you have not received. You have received the spirit of sonship by which we cry, "Daddy"!. Amen?
"Pastor Prince, how can you say, I'm righteous without my works"? I will tell you the answer, if you can answer me first. How come Jesus became sin without he's works? He took your place, and you are taking his place. It's a divine exchange. You deserved no blessing, he deserved no curse, but he took your place, and you take his place. And he received your curse that he did not deserve so that you and I can be blessed by God even we don't deserve. Grace. You know Jesus said, "Therefore does my Father love me because I lay down my life".
Now when I read that, we know that the Father loved Jesus all the time, right? What does Jesus mean when he says, "Therefore does my Father loved me because I lay down my life"? Now just like Jessica, I love her all the time, but there are times she will do something really sweet. She will draw a figure of me, and you know it's all out of shape. And she'll put down there, "I love," L-O-V, "U". It's not perfect, but when she does something like that, at that moment I love her in a special way. Do you know something? The Father loved Jesus all the time, but when he gave his life at the cross, the Father never loved him more. "Therefore does my Father love me because I laid down my life".
You know who is the one whose heart was broken at the cross? Not just Jesus, the Father. He had to turn back, turn his back on his Son. And his Son cried, "My God, my God," because he was taking our place and now he looks at all of you, and the Father says, "Welcome home. Welcome home". The Father tore the veil. The same blood that tore the veil removed your sins for you to come in in one fell swoop, and the Father turned his back. And the back parts of God are the curse and the lightnings of judgment. But the face of God is blessings, favor, grace, mercy. Welcome home.
You know in these last days, we know that there are all kinds of giants. What does it take to knock down a giant? What does it take to knock down a Goliath? It takes a David. Do you know the meaning of David, his name? Beloved. It takes someone who knows he's loved by God to knock down the Philistines, to knock down the giants in your life. You gotta have a sense that you are God's beloved, amen? The Bible says in 1 John chapter 4, and we are bringing this to a close. This is how our love, look at this. "Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as Jesus is, so are we in this world". I said, as Jesus is, so are we in this world. Do you know that the question today you need to ask yourself is no longer "Am I accepted before the Father"?
The question to ask is, is Christ accepted before the Father? If Christ is accepted, as he is, so am I in this world. You're not to ask yourself the question, the devil would love to come to you and make you introspective. He loves you to be occupied with yourself. He'll come to you and say, "Yeah, you read one chapter, but so and so read three chapters, every day, ten chapters a day. Yeah, you pray 15 minutes. So and so prays one hour". Whatever you do is never enough. And the devil will point you to something you have done wrong or when you do right, he will say it's not enough. He's always accusing, accusing, accusing you. But hey, the devil wants you focused on you, but God wants you focused on Jesus because as Jesus is at the Father's right hand, so are you in this world.
If Jesus is accepted by the Father, so are you. If Jesus is under the favor of God, so are you. And do you know when you see that, God is no longer looking at you to judge you. God is looking at the man, the perfect man at his right hand to judge you. As he is, so are you. And every which way, when the devil comes to you and point our your weaknesses, you know what you need to do? Tell the devil, "no, this is not who I am. Go to Jesus". Turn him around and see if he can find any fault. Every which way you turn Jesus, you will see glimmers of excellence and perfection. As he is, so are we in this world, amen?
You know when the priest, come real quick, guys. I want to close with this. Now, these are my boys all the way from Singapore. Good-looking guys and they have wonderful families. They are fathers as well. He's gonna be the lamb. Bend down. He's gonna be the priest. I'm gonna be the offerer, all right, I bring my lamb. And when I bring my lamb to the priest, the priest represents God, all right, he represents God the Father. His eyes are God's eyes, so to speak, he represents God. Notice that he does not look at me. I have sinned. That's why I brought the lamb there. It's redundant for him to look at me. The question today is not how good you are, how good is your lamb? Yeah, tell me, how good is your lamb?
So, the eyes of God does not look at me. It's redundant. He knows why I'm there. I blew it, that's why I need a lamb. And you know what the priest does? He examines the lamb. Cool. Everything okay, cool? The lamb is perfect. He does not examine me. It's redundant to examine me. And yet in churches, "Examine your heart". Examine the lamb. If he's okay, raise your hand and worship! It's all right. Cool, good lamb without blemish? He gives me the knife, all right, and before the knife, this happens. I have to lay. I'm the offerer. I'm the guilty one, all right? I have to lay my hands to identify with the lamb. Two things happen when I lay my hands on the lamb. My sins are transferred into the innocent lamb.
The second thing, the innocence and the righteousness of the lamb is transferred into me. My sins go out, his righteousness goes out to me. And then he gives me the knife, and I kill the lamb. He's dead. The priest cuts him up, offers him as a sweet-smelling fragrance. Whenever you talk about the cross, whenever you talk about Jesus in the church, God smells a sweet aroma, reminding him of his Son's obedience, his Son's love to him, amen? Hey, listen, you will never know how much God loves you, until you know how much God loves his Son because he gave up his Son for you, amen?
So, as the fires go up and he's burning, I walk away. Watch this now. I walk away with something I never had, righteousness. I have become a gainer. When I came, I was empty but because of the lamb's sacrifice, I walk away with much more. And when I see the lamb burning, I say, "That's my judgment, that's my death," and I walk away under the blessings of the lamb, hallelujah. Under the favor of God, and I have something I never had before. That's why the Bible calls our Gospel, much more, amen?
So listen, today God is not turning you around saying, "Look at your thoughts. Look at your emotions. Look at the way you are behaving. Look at what you just said". God is not turning you around. Stop being introspective. You know, turn somebody around, turn Jesus around and every which way you see him, you see perfection. The man is cool. When they came to arrest him in the garden, he says, "Whom do you seek"? They said, "Jesus of Nazareth," and they had swords, weapons, torches. The Bible says he stepped forward and he says, "I am," the name of God, and they all fell. That's why he says, "No man takes my life. I laid down".
Jesus was not murdered. No one can take his life. He gave his life for you. He laid down his life for you. I mean the best time for him to run is after they all were slain, man. He stepped forward and says, "I am," and they all fell, swords, weapons and all that. He waited for hem to get up to arrest him. "You have found me, let the rest go". Cool, man. Jesus, steel, velvet. Servant, king. Meekness, majesty. When he is firm, he's not hard. When we are firm, we hurt people. When Jesus is gentle, he's not soft. When we are gentle, people walk all over us. Jesus is altogether lovely. As he is, that's how God sees you in this world today. God is not looking at you as you. God is looking at Jesus as you! Amen.
You know when David went down the Valley of Elah to meet Goliath, all the hopes of Israel, their aspirations were wrapped up in that 17-year-old boy. He was representing them. If he was defeated, it was their defeat. And one little stone went up, up, up, up and the giant came tumbling down. His victory was Israel's victory. A greater son of David has come. His victory is our victory! We are more than conquerors through Christ! Amen? You know the Bible says that when David decapitated Goliath's head, he knew how to get ahead. He took Goliath's head and brought it all the way to Jerusalem. And that's where your Bible account stops. Doesn't tell you what he did with the head.
Something interesting, Rabbinical sources tell us, Jewish rabbinical sources say that David buried Goliath's head in Jerusalem. The event of Goliath and the battle took place outside Jerusalem, but he brought the head to Jerusalem, why? Rabbinical sources tell us, he buried the head on a mount called Golgoliath, the Mount of Goliath. Later on it became to be called Golgotha, calvary, where a greater son of David will be crucified, crushing a greater Goliath under his feet, hallelujah. As he is, his victory is your victory! You need not fight! He fought! Your victory is wrapped up in him. As he is, so are you. The devil loves to come to you and say, "Look at your thoughts. Call yourself a believer, call yourself a pastor? My goodness, 20 years as a senior pastor and you still have those thoughts".
He wants you to focus on yourself. That's the time to stop and say, "No, God is not looking at me as me. God is looking at Jesus Christ as me. As he is, so am I in the world". Amen, devil go check him out. Hallelujah. I want to close with this. How many close? This is the final close. "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests," Jesus said, "But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head". You see that phrase, "Lay his head"? It's a very unique phrase in the Greek. It's seldom used, so Jesus had nowhere to lay his head. He who flung the universe into place and put the sapphires and the diamonds of Kimberly, he's the one who create all the wealth in the universe and on earth. He has nowhere to lay his head. He has nowhere to rest.
Now watch this, finally at the cross, the Bible says in John 19, "When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!'" Every debt canceled, every sin forgiven. All the claims of God fully met. Divine righteousness and justice satisfied. He cried, "It is finished". And the Bible says, "Bowing his head, he gave up his spirit".
Now look up here. When someone is crucified, listen, it's after they die their head drop. But Jesus bowed his head first and then dismissed his spirit like a king. The word "Gave up" is dismissed like a king. Dismissed his subject. He dismissed his spirit. Now watch this, that phrase "bowing his head" is exact same phrase you find the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. But finally at the cross when he's finished everything in love for you, he finally found a place of rest. He found his rest in saving you, in loving you, in healing you, in blessing you. He bowed his head, dismissed his spirit. Give him the praise.