Joseph Prince - The Romance Of Grace: Alive In Christ, Dead To The Law
Let's go right to the Word. I feel like we need to continue from where Paul left off because the argument of Paul is amazing. It's Holy Ghost reasoning, Holy Ghost logic, Holy Ghost arguments, you know? And people sometimes wonder, you know, is it right for us when we preach to assume people asking these questions. Well, the Apostle Paul's preaching style is very much like that. He will say like where sin increase, grace super abounds. Then he will say, he will anticipate someone's question, all right, by saying, "So, then shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace". He will anticipate the question and then gives an answer.
All right, so my ministry is very much like that. All right, long before people asked the question, I will anticipate the question and some of the questions people are asking today, we have anticipated and we have answered even some years ago. But I remember that God said this to me a number of years ago, many years ago. He said this, "You can hear ten sermons on grace, but on the 11th time when you hear a mixture, law and grace mixture, you'll forget all ten, like that".
There's something about law that is captivating because it appeals to the flesh. Men want to do something. Men likes to know that, "If I can do something, it shows that I'm in control, you know? I want to be in control. I dare not let go completely, lest I fall to the ground. Yeah, yeah, I know that underneath me are the everlasting arms but I really dare not trust completely". That's the essence of what the law is all about. It makes you self-dependent. It's all you focused. You shall not, you shall not, you shall not, okay? Grace, God says, "I will, I will, I will". So, you choose which one you're gonna live under, but last week we saw Romans 6:14. We look at that again and we're gonna see where Paul takes off from there. Romans 6:14 says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you, because you are not under law but under grace".
I said last week, I wonder sometimes whether people can read because it's so clear that when you are under grace, when you are not under law, sin has no power over you. So, where cometh this idea that when you are under grace, all right, there'll be licentiousness, there'll be unholiness? Church, I declare, I proclaim, all right, know this, I proclaim very clearly. Know this in your heart, justification cannot come by the law, neither can sanctification. Holiness cannot come by trying to keep the law. In fact, the law is designed to produce the opposite.
So, you would have thought that okay, Paul, we get your hint, all right, sin will not have any dominion over us, and sin there is a noun, because we are not under law but under grace. Okay, Paul, don't overkill it. All right, we get your point. And as if that wasn't enough, Paul devotes the very next chapter, this is Romans 6, the very next chapter is entirely on law and grace. It's almost like the entire chapter of Romans 7 is based on this verse, all right? So, let's go to verse 1 of Romans 7, the next chapter. This is my text today. Are you ready? It says here, "Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives"? Isn't it true?
All right, for those who know the law are the Jewish people. The law exerts power over you as long as you are alive. Then he illustrates from the oldest institution in the world, marriage. And he's about to illustrate something powerful that will free your heart. You must understand this illustration. Like I said, Paul start his argument, you know, with an argument that is Holy Ghost anointed with illustrations and with metaphors that are amazingly, you know, wise. And here he's gonna give us something that help us understand the relationship that we have through law and grace. Are you ready?
Okay, marriage institution. "For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives". Is it true? They don't call it wedlock for nothing, okay, amen? Unless you're prepared for that, don't get married. "For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband". Okay, now don't wish for it. God has a better way, okay? Next verse, "So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress".
We all know that, right? If the husband is still alive, she goes with another man, she'll be called an adulteress. "But if her husband dies, she's free from that law so that she's no adulteress, though she has married another man". And then Paul says in verse 4. This is amazing. "Therefore, my brothers, you also have become dead to the law," by the body or, "through the body of Christ". What are you to the law? Dead. You know what's dead? No response. The law says, "You shall," no response. And that's what Jesus did for you in terms of the law. The law has nothing to say to you anymore. Jesus's body, when he died at the cross many people only know him as dying for our sins, but not only that, he died so that we are dead to the law, we are cut off from the law.
All right, "Through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another," hallelujah. Who? To Jesus who was raised from the dead. We are not married to Jesus when he walked by the shores of Galilee and cleansed the lepers and raised the dead. I mean, that'll be good enough, but we are raised through the risen Christ. We are raised in the risen Christ and we are married to him who is raised from the dead and the result of this union, that we should bear fruit to God, fruitfulness to God. Isn't that what we want?
The reasons why believers are not bearing fruit to God, be it the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, self-control and all that, or it's the fruit of health, wholeness, the fruit of prosperity, the fruits of Jesus's finished work. The reason why there's no fruit in the church, or in individual believer's life, is because they're still alive to the law. If you're alive to your former husband, you cannot be alive to your new husband because that'll be spiritual adultery. But we are dead to the law by the body of Christ.
Only when you're dead to the law, or rather I should say this, realize and be conscious you are already dead to the law, not by your work but by Jesus's finished work, okay? Then you will start bearing fruit to God. You don't bear fruit by trying. You bear fruit by bearing, that's it. He provides it, you bear it, amen. What a wonderful union with Jesus Christ. Can I have a good amen?
So, let's go right now back to verse 1 because he's about to tell you something powerful. But for this, I think I need to illustrate and help you understand because the last time I illustrated this, would you believe it? Someone was telling me it's still fresh in their minds, but it was six years ago when I used this illustration. I think it was on a midweek service. I'm gonna use the same illustration to help you understand, and it's gonna bless you. You must catch this.
First I need a couple. All right, so we're gonna have Dan and Shoai come up. All right, Dan and Shoai is a married couple. Stand over here to, all right, stand together. All right, I need a mean guy, mean-looking guy. Okay, Gabriel, come up here. I need someone who looks like he can bark orders, okay? Stand over there, all right, and wipe off that silly grin. You're Mr. Law, Mr. Law. Call him Mr. Law. Yeah, we have one in our church. We have one Mr. Law, you know, Lawrence. Okay, Mr. Law, listen this is God's law, okay? By the way, they're both married, legally married, all right? They are really an actual couple, okay, so don't worry 'cause when they come real close and all that, it's kosher. Shoai will stand over here near to Mr. Law, all right.
Now, when Paul opens up the argument, Paul is saying, this woman is married to Mr. Law, in as much as the law came first before Jesus came. In the Old Testament, God gave the law on Mount Sinai, long before Jesus came, okay? Jesus was in the beginning before the law, of course, but God did not send Jesus first. God sent the law because many people will not appreciate Jesus when he comes because they won't see their need for him. But when the law has done its job, they will be crying out to Jesus as a Savior. So, the law came first.
All of us, even today among the Jewish people, they will tell you that they are married. The rabbis will tell you that they are married to God at Mount Sinai, that not mount was actually a huppah, all right, a covering of the marital tent over Israel and God. So, God married Israel just like all of us were married and God gave the law, okay? So, the law was given to illustrate God's marriage with Israel. So, we're all represented by this beautiful lady here, all right, Daniel's wife. But for the moment forget about Daniel, forget about Gabriel, forget they are pastors and she is not Shoai, she is us, okay? As you can, we are tall, slender, beautiful.
Okay, I think I better go on. Okay, so she represents you and I, got it? Now, you and I, we were married to Mr. Law. All right, turn around. Mr. Law is holy, but cannot make her holy. Mr. Law is righteous, but cannot make here righteous. The law is good. Don't misunderstand, don't misunderstand, the law is good, but the law cannot impart goodness, okay? The law is inflexibly just, all right, completely holy, and absolutely unbending, okay? All right, when she's married to him, all right, he leaves... the whole marriage is a finger-wagging marriage. It's always "You ought to, you should, you should".
Let me stop here for a while. Let me just tell you this, it's miserable, all right, to have a marriage that is a finger-wagging marriage. "You know, you should, you should, you should, you should". And worst of all, you drag your pastor's name. "You know, Pastor Prince says you should, you should, you should, you should". That's terrible, you know? You want to fight, leave me out. All right, it's always wagging and it's always demanding, demanding, demanding, demanding, okay, demanding from her. And she's like you and I, subject to weaknesses and failures, and she has her moods and mood swings and all that.
For him, there's no mood swing. He is perfect. He is holy. He is complete, you know, and he's always demanding. The problem is that whatever he demands, he never helps her. He never, never helps her. He demands from her, and she's required to produce all the help, produce all the resources that she needs. All he does is demand. He wants the breakfast exactly at 7:30, no later, must be exactly 7:30. He wants his toast just nice, all right, not over toasted or under toasted or she'll be toasted, all right? He wants the eggs to be just perfect like a sunshine egg, all right, not runny. If it breaks all over again, back in the kitchen. He's demanding, demanding.
And some religion, all right, some Christian religion, all right, is finger-wagging religion. It's not Christianity. Christianity is not a finger-wagging religion, it is good news. All right, but nonetheless the law says, "You shall not. You shall not. You shall not. You shall, you shall, you shall. You shall not, you shall not, you shall, you shall". So, poor girl, she lives in this place and she's trying her best to make sure the eggs are not runny, doesn't break and she's helping and she gets burned and he doesn't help. He's always, demanding, demanding.
Now, she's bound to him for life, all right? God's laws cannot change. God's laws, God's requirements cannot change. If God lowers his requirements, if Mr. Law lowers to help her, he's no more law. Do you understand? The law is the law, the law is the law. If the law bends, the law is no more the law, okay? But God is not defined as law. God, you never find God is law. God is love. He has high requirements? Oh, yeah, perfect, matching with his name. He has standards? Oh, awesome, peerless standards in line with his glory. How can God ever bring his standards down? We don't want him to or else we cannot worship him. But therein lies the problem, we are not up to his standard.
So, the law demands, demand, demands, doesn't lift a finger to help. And along God sent his Son because God is love and God loves you and I. Always remember God is defined as love. God is love. Say, "God is love". All right, God is not law. God is love. God has laws. God is love. He's not law. So, God loved her so much, God sent his Son Jesus Christ. Look at Jesus. Hair flying in the wind, robes flapping in the breeze, eyes burning with holy fire, yet, beckoning sinners, amen? Fairest of 10,000. You see how fair? No, that means most beautiful. He's altogether lovely.
And the amazing thing is that his standards, as illustrated in Sermon on the Mount, is even higher than Mr. Law. Of course, the Creator is higher than the creation, right? The amazing thing about him is that whatever he demands from her... step over here. Okay, step near him. Whatever he demands from her, he helps her. If he wants eggs and bread, you know what he does? He doesn't demand it from her. He wakes up early and he brings her breakfast in bed. And the eggs are just right, the bread is toasted just at the right temperature. Everything is perfect.
Now, he still desire a good breakfast, but his love, his fulfillment, his enjoyment is in loving her. So, keep on loving her. Keep on loving her. Whatever she needs, he gives to her. When she is lacking in direction, he becomes her wisdom. When she's down, he becomes her lifter of her head, all right? When she feels dirty, he is her righteousness. When she fails, he still loves her. An amazing thing, there's not one word of condemnation ever for her. His love for her has no condemnation. Even when she fails, he loves her. He loves her back into wholeness.
Now, this is what Jesus and us is like, there is now no condemnation. He looks at her and he says, "You're altogether lovely. There is no spot in you". She's aware of failures but she says, "No, no, I've been seen by the Son and I'm dirty, you know? I'm not glorious". And he says, "No, you're a together lovely". He sees her through his eyes. Now, how not to love someone like that? Then there are times she feels like, what? Waking up in the morning and making breakfast for him without even demanding the want to, now she does it with a joy. She does it with a, "I want to" and she makes sure the eggs are just right because she wants to please him, not because she has to, but because she wants to.
What a relationship. This is how Daniel loves you, right? No condemn... oh, amen, wow. Whoa, whoa! But honestly, honestly, Shoai was asked before, not me, whether she has ever seen Daniel get angry or raise his voice. All right, back then I don't know now but she says never, never, you know? And the rest of us all felt condemned straightaway, you know? So, I think It's good that we use him as Jesus 'cause only Jesus. Okay, anyway, so there you have it, a wonderful relationship. The only problem this, the only problem is this...
by the way, you say "Well, Pastor, that's an illustration with Jesus and the church and all that, that's not applicable for marriage". Stop, the Bible says we are to love our wives as Christ loves the church. And that's why until you know how much Christ loves the church, all right, we'll never know how to love our wives. You cannot have a marriage seminar, even a Christian marriage seminar, without bringing Jesus into the seminar, amen? Because theories don't work, techniques don't work, skills don't work. Everything works only with Jesus in the center. Can I have a good amen? Amen.
Until you know how much Jesus love you, and then for example, you say, Jesus never condemns you, "So why should I condemn my wife," amen? If Jesus loved me with all my idiosyncrasies, my short-comings, my weaknesses, all right, and my sins and failures, all right, I can look at my wife with all that and still love her, but I get my strength and my inspiration from Jesus. Can I have a good amen, church? And now she loves him because he first loves her, amen? And all that he wants from her, honestly, all right, is... lean on his breast. Just put your hand around her. Yeah, "Put your head on his shoulders".
Okay, all he wants is for her to rest on him, all right? This is the picture. All Jesus wants from you is for you to call it resting in the Lord. Call it trusting him. Call it depending on him, yielding to him. However you want to call it, this is what the Lord wants from you. This is what he wanted from Martha. Martha was too busy serving the Lord forgetting that he don't need her meal because he multiplied loaves and fishes from five loaves and two fish to feed more than 5,000. He does not need her to be in the kitchen. He needs her to be in a place where he can serve her. And only one sister, Mary, set at Jesus's feet listening, listening, resting, resting and listening, listening and resting, resting and listening.
That's what he wants from you. He wants to be the eternal server. The more he serves us, the more we can serve him. The more he gives to us, the more we can give to others. The more we receive, the more we give. But the problem is that the church wants to give to the Lord. They want to serve the Lord. But the Lord wants you to rest in him because the more you rest in him, the more he does for you, all right, the more he performs for you, then Mary, at the right time, was the only one who anointed Jesus with this ointment for his burial, okay? Got this? Okay, you can rest because she looks like she's resting hard.
The only problem is that... Shoai, go back here. The only problem is that she cannot go with him. Say, "Oh," yeah. See, she's married. She's married to the dude. She's married to the man, all right, and this man cannot die. You see how healthy, how strong. He cannot die. Let me just tell you this, all right, about God's law, God's law cannot die. God's law is eternal. God's standard is eternal. God's holiness is perfect, amen. God's justice is inflexible and unbending, all right, you understand? It will never change.
Some people think, "Well, you know God is good," and the idea of God is good is not biblical goodness of God. "It is this occultic, universalism where God is good. We don't need Jesus to be our Savior, you know, boys will be boys and God sweep our sins under the carpet. There's no such thing as sin actually, you know"? And that is not the accurate teaching of God's goodness. God is good, but God has high standards. Can I have a good amen? All right, so what's gonna happen? God's standards cannot be compromised. The law, Mr. Law cannot die. Therefore, she's married to him, right? And she cannot marry him because she marries him now, it is adultery.
So how? If he cannot die, she can die. Please don't do it. Okay, if you're in a bad marriage, all right, this is just an illustration, please don't do it, okay? Now, if he cannot die, she can die. Remember I told you that whatever she needs, he provides for her, remember that? He loves her so much that whatever she needs, he provides for her. So, you know what he provide for her? So what does she need now? A death. The Bible says he died for her. He died at the cross and we read just now, you are dead to the law, cut off. Now, she's legally severed from Mr. Law, legally, with God's holiness backing this whole thing up. And now the Bible says he rose from the dead so he brought her into death and rose with him.
Go back here, okay? Now, are they legally married? Yes, because he provides the death, but did she die? All right, she didn't have to suffer. His death became her death. All right, once she dies, Mr. Law can only come to what is earthly, what is natural. The law was given for earthly people. It's never given for heavenly people, remember that. All right, The law is not made for righteous people. It's made for unrighteous people. So, the law can only follow to death, and the law has exacted his demands on her substitute, Jesus Christ. The law, whatever the law demands, for everything that we have broken, all right, Jesus paid. Whatever she needs, Jesus delivered. Whatever she wants, Jesus provided. So, even the death at the cross, Jesus provided the death. Jesus died for her.
Her is you and me, okay? Jesus became liable for our sins, her sins. Jesus bore the full brunt of God's holy righteousness and divine wrath against all lawlessness, and Jesus cried, "It is finished". So, his death becomes her death. And then when he was raised from the dead, his resurrection becomes her resurrection. So, the Bible says in verse 4. Verse 4, please, "Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ". And who are you married? "That you may be married to Him who was raised from the dead".
So, now they have ROD'd. They have passed out from this realm. He cannot follow anymore. She's out of the realm of even earthly realm. She's now in the heavenly realm with her divine lover, legally married. And look at the union, it brings forth fruit to God, amen? And together, literally, they live happily ever after 'cause in heaven, we will live happily ever after. Give them a good hand. Praise the Lord. Okay, got it? All right, so some people feel as if, "Well, Pastor Prince, you're just telling us to leave the law and come under grace". But once you see this illustration, you see that Jesus's death provided even the death.
So, what Jewish people, for example, if they become a believer, do you know how in Israel, if a Jewish person becomes a believer, many a times they are considered dead by their family members. You are dead to me, all right? In other words, you are no more alive. As far as I'm concerned, you are dead, you understand? They are not far from wrong because now she's dead. We are dead to Judaism. We are a dead to the law that you should marry Jesus Christ who's raised from the dead to bring forth fruit to God.
Now, this is wonderfully illustrated. By the way, church, listen carefully. Just now I illustrate something very powerful here. I do not know you understand what I'm saying or not. When she leans on him, whatever he lacks, he provides, okay? Jesus came to serve, not to be served. Many of us are stopping him from his true ministry. He wants to wash our feet and like Peter, we say, "No, you cannot wash my feet". And he has to say, "Look, if I don't wash your feet, you have no part with me". He wants to serve us and we want to serve him as if we are full when we are empty and bankrupt. We want to give to him when he wants to give to us.
So, the best thing for you to do is rest in him, like what she did just now, all right, and let him provide for her. Let him love her. And she go with the flow. Dancing is like that. If both people, both persons are dancing and both are taking the initiative, there's gonna be no flow. One must flow, one initiates, that's how you have the flow, amen? If both are taking the initiative, it's gonna be completely destroyed. There's no harmony, there's no flow. You understand, okay, amen?
Right now I'm preaching to you, right? I'm preaching to you. What I'm doing, if I want my ministry to be really influential, stamped with God's favor and God's anointing, I must learn to rest upon Christ. I must trust him to give me the app illustrations, succinct words anointed by him. I must trust him because I know I'm not that smart, amen? I must know in my heart that Joseph Prince, in and of himself, has nothing to give. People don't queue up to hear Joseph Prince. They queue up to hear that Word from God that can change their life.
So, the more I realize that, the better. So, I rest in him and I'm trusting him to give me the words. I'm trusting him to work in me, work through me, and work for me. That's grace. Under law, under law, man works for God. Under grace, God works for man. Which realm are you in? Are you conscious that you gotta work for God, gotta work for God? Then you are under law. You have put yourself under law. No wonder you're frustrated. But when you realize your life is a life of rest, God works in you, providing what you don't have. It is God who's perfecting things in your character and conduct until Jesus Christ comes again. God who began a good work will continue to perform and perfect in you what is lacking. You just have to rest in him.
When I pray for the sick, I must know even the faith I don't have, he will provide. When Jesus came to a child that was demon-possessed, the Father says, "If you can do anything, help us"! Jesus told the Father, "If you can believe that all things are possible to the one who believes". And many of us think that Jesus is saying, "Daddy, not if I can do anything, if you can believe". Jesus is not saying that. He's not putting the pressure to believe on the Father. What he's actually saying in the Greek, it can actually mean like this and this is what I bear witness with. He actually says to him, the Father says, "Jesus, you can do anything, help".
Jesus says, "If you can believe that all things are possible to the one who believes, to the one who never wavers, to the one who never doubts". And there's only one there who never wavers, never doubts. His name is Jesus. Jesus says, "Just believe that my faith will carry him through. Believe that my faith will work when your faith fails. All I need for you to do is believe my faith never wavers". That's what Paul says, "I live by the faith of the Son of God". So, when I lack faith, I trust him for the faith. What do I lack? If I stand down here and worship lead, all right, I trust him to worship lead through me because in Hebrews, it is written, "I will sing praises with my brethren in the midst of the congregation". Jesus leads worship. I gotta rest in him.
All of a sudden, when I'm preaching and I'm trusting him, man, I'll say things that I'll never dream of saying. I'll say, man, that's good. I feel like stopping and taking down notes, but I know: Joseph Prince, you are not that good, you know that. What happened is that the teacher took over. The Holy Spirit started flowing, why? I depend on him. So, this realm of grace is a realm where you trust and believe and rest in the fact that God is serving you. God is working for you. God is in you. God is working in you, through you. And all of a sudden, you find that you can serve God even better. You can work for God even more glorious than you can in your own strength. That's the life of grace, folks.
You know right now I'm thinking of a major, huge seminar that's coming up. I don't know how many thousands will be there, and I'm scheduled to speak in that huge conference towards the end of this year. When I think of it, I can allow it to burden me or I can think this way, "Jesus, what are you gonna preach down there? What are you gonna do down there"? You know there are times when I drive to church, I say, "Jesus," I literally say this, "Jesus, you're my guest speaker today".
Now, I'm speaking that day, you understand? But I don't look at myself. I say, "Jesus, you're my guest speaker today. I wonder what you're gonna tell the people. They've come to hear you. They've come to enjoy you. Praise you, Lord Jesus. You are in control. This is your problem. This is your service, this is your church". And all the while, I'm the preacher, you understand? I'm the preacher. But I'm looking, "Lord, this is your problem. This is your service. How are you gonna make it for four services? But you are Lord". Then I come down here and he speaks through me. He ministers through me, amen.
And sometimes I feel like a spectator, hearing things that I know that, in and of myself, I'm not that smart to say, and that's what changes people's lives. Not the words of Joseph Prince, the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, amen. So, that applies for you. If you think of, "Well, man, Mondays". No, "Thank God it's Monday. You know, what if Monday's such a problem, I give you off tomorrow, okay, cool? Take off, in the name of Joseph Prince, take off. Okay, tell your boss you'll be back on Tuesday, okay?
So, supposing you know you're the type you cannot even wake up on Monday or Monday, the coming week or this coming Tuesday looks such a burden something and, you know, such a cumbersome thing. And you feel like, "How in the world am I gonna make through? You know, life is just blah at work and all that". Why don't you put Jesus in the whole picture and say, "Lord Jesus, you're gonna handle this Tuesday". You say, "How am I gonna face that boss? He's always barking, he's always ordering, he's always nasty and all that".
Well, imagine Jesus handling him. That's what's gonna happen. Jesus is gonna handle him, not you, amen. What do you do? You rest in Jesus. You still go to work, your feet bring you the work but you say, "Jesus, this is your assignment, this is your project". Your life becomes a life of rest. But the moment a little shift happens, you start thinking, "I gotta produce this, I gotta work. I gotta be diligent. I gotta". All of a sudden you find that you get stressed, you get depressed, you get frustrated, you get pessimistic, but when Jesus does it.
I know, church, it is a shift, but that's what has happened between law and grace. Under law, you are working for God. Under grace, God works for you. Under law, man works. That's why God says, "You shall not, you shall not, you shall, you shall". Man works. Focus is you shall. Under grace, God says, "I will, I will, I will". You rest in his "I will". You hear what I'm saying? Is this helping, church? Okay, let's go to this. Notice that when you're married to Jesus, what happened? You bear fruit. All of a sudden, your boss begins to realize you're bearing fruit.
You see, the moment I did that years ago, many years ago, I never asked for a church to become big. I never asked for this church to become big. Never asked for, you know, mega church, whatever you want to call it. In fact, right now I don't even have a desire for mega church. Okay, I'm preaching just whatever Jesus tells me to, I'm preaching. But I'll tell you one thing, what you're seeing is fruit. Fruit don't come by focusing on fruit. Fruit comes because of the root. If the root receives water, it brings water to every branch, every stem, every leaf. Even in a place that's like a desert, if the roots are strong, the tree will live. Are you listening, people?
You must be rooted in grace, amen. Be rooted in, what? Not in "I work for God". Be rooted in "God is working for me," amen. When you take Communion, you see, we use the word "take" but many people really believe they're taking Communion, they are doing Communion. "Let me do Communion". No, actually you receive Communion. Who is giving? Melchizedek brought bread and wine. Abraham received. He's giving you bread and wine. So, you say that, "I don't have the discernment, Jesus, you are my wisdom". Jesus, believes that he's always giving you.
Sometimes it's just the way you think, all right, as you partake. Whatever I'm lacking and discerning, Jesus provide for it. Whatever is lacking in faith, Jesus provides for it. So, I take it in grace, whereas the other type is that, "I'm doing it, I must discern it. I must do this. I must release faith. I must, I must". Without knowing you're under law, and there's no fruit. You understand? There was a lady called Ruth in the Bible. There's a whole book on her. Say, "Ruth". Ruth was a Moabitess, all right, from the tribe of Moab. The tribe of Moab was cursed by God, all right? God says they cannot enter the congregation of the Lord in Deuteronomy.
So, she lives under the ban, she lives under the curse. Now, she's married, however, to a Jewish guy called Mahlon. Say, "Mahlon," all right? Mahlon and Chilion, the two brothers are the sons of the Naomi and Elimelech. So, what happened is that as time went on, Ruth had no baby. Ruth had no fruit married to Mahlon. Mahlon, his name in Hebrew means sickness. The brother's name, Chilion means dying. I do not know why parents would call their kids' names dying and next boy is sickness. Usually they name these children after an event in their lives, all right? But what a name.
So, she had no children. She had no fruit. Her husband died. The other brother also died, okay? And then but she's the only one that decided to go back with her mother-in-law, Naomi, a Jewish girl, back to Bethlehem, all right, the town where Jesus was born. So, when she went back over there, she worked as one of the lowly and menial tasks of gleaning harvest, okay, gleaning the barley harvest. She will pick whatever the harvesters as they glean, they drop some things, okay, some stalks were dropped by accident. She will pick up all those stalks. That's called gleaning, all right, it's a thankless, hard, back-breaking kind of work under the hot sun.
So, she worked like that. Then the boss of the field came. His name was Boaz. Boaz in Hebrew means in him is strength, amen? And he looked at Ruth and the Bible says Ruth found favor in his eyes. He was a Jew and he was a very eligible bachelor, plus he's the most wealthy man in Bethlehem. Oh, this is wonderful for a like soap opera, you know, it's like a drama serial. You know, and he looked at Ruth and in and of herself she's disqualified from the family of God, and Boaz is in the family of God. So, Boaz is a type of Jesus because under the law, there is a law of God that says when a person becomes poor and his land is forfeited or mortgaged...
By the way, the word "mortgaged" comes from the word "mortuary, mortify, mortician". It's all the same word. Mortgage means a death deal. You put your house on mortgage, remember, that's what it means, okay? So, they have to give up, the house dies to them, in other words. So, when someone becomes poor and he has to forfeit his land, all right, to pay off his debts, there is a way out. It's called the principle of the relative redeemer, all right, close relative redeemer. And if you have a relative who is rich because the rich can help the poor. The poor cannot help the poor. For those who say prosperity is a teaching from the pit of hell, let me announce to you, there is no way you can help the poor in Singapore, unless you are rich, amen?
If being rich is evil, then heaven is full of evil that you're walking on because the Bible says streets of gold. God should have used paper. If you, as you say, gold is evil, all right, being poor is good, then heaven is not a good place. Then Jesus should not have said, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". It's actually saying, gold up there, gold down here. Health up there, health down there. Joy up there, joy down here, amen? Praises and worship up there, down here, amen? Everything: your home, your church is a small replica of heaven. Amen, church?
So, here we have Ruth, poor, gleaning. But there's a way out if she finds a close relative of Naomi, her mother-in-law, who is rich, all right, who is a relative and most importantly, is willing to redeem her, willing to buy back her land. And the law states must also marry her to produce fruit for her husband who has died. All that is in the deal, okay? So, how many of you have relatives that are rich, but they're not willing to help you? Don't put up your hands because it will probably be across this whole place. We know we have relatives who are rich but not willing to help us 'cause money is relative, more money, more relatives.
Okay, so, listen carefully. Not only Jesus must be rich, he must be willing. Is he willing? Oh, yeah, like this with hands stretched out, amen. Is he part of the family? That's why he became man, to be part of the human race, to be a close relative, amen? So, Boaz was the close relative to Ruth and he fell in love with Ruth already. And he wanted to redeem Ruth, Redeem her poverty, redeem her land, redeem the field in the name of her dead husband, and he wants to marry her. But alas in every drama, there's always a third party, and this third party, there is a closer relative, the Bible says, a close relative, closer than Boaz. Boaz is a relative, but not so close. This relative came first.
Now, who came first, the law came first or Jesus came first? The law came first, all right, Jesus came after. So, Boaz told Ruth in that beautiful night at the harvest field, he told her, "I want to redeem you, but I cannot yet. I must allow this close relative to have the first choice, the first prerogative. If he exercises his choice to redeem you, he will marry you. So I'll ask him first". So, the next day at the gate where the elders are gathered the Bible says Boaz gathered ten, say "ten," ten elders. Ten to represent the law. And then the close relative came and his name was never mentioned in the Book of Ruth, why? Because the law has no name for us to memorize or to remember. Jesus has the name.
So, the close relative came, and Boaz says, "Yo". Literally in your Bible, it says, "Ho". That's like a yo in those days, "Yo, come over here". All right, and he told him the story and said that, "If you want to buy the land, you must also in that day marry Ruth and bring up seed for the dead". And this guy, the close relative said, "I cannot," because the law cannot bend to help. The law says what? The Moabite cannot enter God's congregation. And now he says, "I will marry her," he will compromise his standards. So, the law said, "I cannot".
Let's follow the story here real quick. "And the close relative said," Ruth 4, verse 6, "I cannot redeem for myself". Can you see the word "it" down there? It's in italic, so forget it. Forget it, forget it, it, forget. Okay, forget the italics there. "I cannot redeem for myself, cannot redeem her for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself". He told Boaz, "I cannot redeem her". Now, was Boaz glad? The law cannot save you. The law cannot redeem you because you are over here, the law is over here. The law cannot come down to your level, so the law says, "I cannot. If I come down, I mar myself".
Now, Jesus stands by and Jesus came down, amen. And brought us up, amen. Here it says, "Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to another". In other words, if you say that, "Okay, I give up my right to redeem," you must take off your shoe and give to, in his case, Boaz. So, Boaz would ask the relative, "You don't want to redeem her"? Say, "I cannot, lest I mar my inheritance". His name and reputation is more important. So what did Boaz says? "Give me your shoe". That's the custom, all right? "Give me your shoe". He gave his shoe.
Now, what is the meaning of giving the shoe? Giving the shoe means now, Mr. Law, you have no more right to walk all over Ruth. Ruth is you and I, you know that, right now? Ruth is you and I, the bride of Christ. Boaz is Jesus. The close relative is Mr. Law. "Give me your shoe," Jesus says. "Now, you have no more right to walk all over her. You have no more right to walk in the fields". Church, look up here. Even Moses under law, God says, "Take off your shoes". In other words, he has no right to stand in God's presence. But the story of the prodigal son under grace, the father says, "Put shoes on my boy's feet". And that boy wasn't even holy as Moses. He sinned real bad, and God said, "Put shoes, he has a right to stand in my presence". Amen?
So, now Jesus has the law's shoe. The problem is that people are taking the shoe and putting back in Mr. Law to run over church, to walk all over God's people. Hey, "these shoes are made for walking, but they're never gonna walk all over you", amen, ever again. Amen, church? Okay, so Boaz and Ruth. "Love is a many splendored thing". And you know, we all cry and say, "Praise God". You know, it's very touching and all that. And the law walks away alone, "I cannot, I cannot mar my reputation". He remained alone forever, you know? And here, "Love is a many splendored thing, La la la la". Hair flying, you know. Even Boaz took off his... you know, his hair band, his hair also in those days, amen, blowing in the wind, hallelujah. I must get your attention like that, one. Okay, never mind, then see what happened, next.
All right, he took off his shoes, he gave it to... now, look at verse 9 and we'll close with this. "Boaz said to the elders and all the people". Boaz turned around, he got Ruth by his side now, he looked at all the people and said, all right, "You are witnesses this day that I have bought everything that belonged to Elimelech," Ruth's father-in-law, who has also died. "And all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's". Mahlon is the husband of Ruth that died. Chilion is the brother who died. The names mean what? Dying and sickness. Listen to what our heavenly Boaz, Jesus Christ, is saying. He is saying, "You are witnesses this day, on this national day," because Jesus talking to you, right? "You are all witnesses this day that I have bought everything".
Elimelech means God is king. Everything that God the king gave to man that was lost, Jesus says, "I have bought back". It's called redeem. "And all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's," the two brothers who died. The names mean what? Dying and disease. Everything that has to do with death and disease I have bought back for man, bought back for the church, bought back for all you Ruths, the bride of Christ. Hallelujah! And the law cannot walk over you anymore. Hey, he has no more right to walk on your property. Jesus has his shoe. But the best is yet to come. You know what happened when Boaz married Ruth? It's not the end yet. The next scene, Ruth is holding a baby. Wahhh, married already.
Remember when she was married to Mr. Sickness? With a name like that. But look at what she had now. She's holding Boaz's son. His name was Obed. He became the father of Jesse, who became the father of David. And that's why in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Ruth's name is there. Because God has the beautiful gospel story written in the love story of Ruth, showing us that the close relative, don't hold onto him. Oh, for goodness sake, don't be a woman that holds onto Mr. Law.
But what the church does is committing spiritual adultery many a times. What they do is that they say, "I can keep God's standards". Man, they are preaching the law, they want to hear preaching of the law, and they do their best to keep God's standard. And when they fail, which inevitably they always will, they run to Jesus. "Wash me, forgive". Jesus says, "I forgive you". "Ah, now I can. I can keep your standard. Oh, the eggs broke again. Sorry, Jesus," you know? They never have a real relationship with Jesus. And so, they go over here. You know what God calls that? Adultery!
There must come a time in your life you must stop this. You have no more dealings with Mr. Law. You are married to him. When you are sad, you tell him, he is your joy. When you're confused, you share with him, he is your wisdom. He is your peace, he is your Prince of Peace. His love for you never fails. His peace that he gives is beyond human understanding. Every morning when the eggs break, his mercies are new every breakfast morning. And whatever you lack, you are weak, he is your strength. And when you are down, he is the lifter of your head. Don't go to and fro. Once and for all, learn to have a relationship with this man, and together you will bring forth fruit.
One day, people come and look at you, say, "Wah, you look very young". Say, "Do I"? All you are conscious of is this young Savior that has the dew of his youth the psalmist tells us. You've been looking at him. When people say, "Wow, you know what"? Doctor says, "Your blood pressure is much better than it was five years ago when I knew you". Say, "Is it"? All you know is that you've been spending time with the healthy one. And without realizing it, as you behold him, the Holy Spirit in you transforms you from glory to glory into the same image, amen. And one day, people will say of you, "You have been with Jesus, right"? Because you don't even know your face is shining, amen.
So church, you are united to Jesus Christ. And you let him love you. The more he loves you, the more you receive his love, the more love you have to give. No one was more active than Jesus, but then no one was more restful than Jesus. When you read the gospels, you see a man who is always at rest. It seems like always he has time. I still can't do that. When I look at Jesus in the Bible, he always has time. Multitudes thronging him, he has time. On the way to a dying girl's house in her last stages, someone came behind and touched him, and he has time. He has time. Says, "Daughter, be cheerful. Your faith made you well". Time for one.
Turn around and then someone says, "No need to come already, lah, die already". That's in the Bible, right? Okay, it's in the Bible. It's in the Bible, right? Okay, maybe not the way he said it, but did say... okay, let me use the Bible verse. "Trouble not the master any further. The child is dead". In other words, "No need already, lah, die already". Same, same, okay? And Jesus, I love it, look at the father. The father... Jesus grabbed him and says, "Don't be afraid, only believe. Only rest, only depend on the one who always believes, who never wavers. Believe in my faith. I will exercise the faith for you. Believe in me".
He brought the father, and that evening the father in one hand and the daughter came out with Jesus. Amen. You are married to this man. If we are married to this man before he died, see how cool he is? But you're not married to the man when he was on earth. You are married to this man after he rose from the dead, gloriously enthroned with all authority in heaven and in earth. And then the Bible says you are married to him who is risen from the dead. Oh, and that's why, church, today God does not look at you to judge you anymore. God looks at the man. What a glorious thought.
Isn't it amazing that in heaven, there is a man in the Holy of Holies, one of us made it. His name is Jesus. Don't forget, yes, Jesus is all God, but sometimes we fail in thinking of him as all God. We forget he is also all man. As man, he is in heaven for us. And today, God no longer looks at you to judge you. God looks at the man. God does not look at your bad thoughts. God looks at his thoughts. God does not look at your character and conduct. God looks at his character, his conduct. And as he is, where? So are we, where? One day, when we die and go to heaven, we be like Jesus? No, that's what preachers tell us. But in this world. And what we must do is that we must always see Jesus as you at the Father's right hand. Thank God for preachers. Thank God for books. Thank God for sermons. Thank God for worship songs that point you to Jesus. They are doing you a great help, amen? I think the entire story we shared today is very romantic, Jesus's love and all that.
Just last week or last two weeks, I was at a mall. I was talking to an unbeliever about Jesus. And we were talking, he was really seeking. And I told him about how God sent his Son, how God loved us so much, God sent his Son to die for our sins so that his holiness and righteousness will never find reason to punish us, because he cannot because Jesus took all our punishment. And God loves us by sending his Son. And I said to him, I used this word first time I think probably in a one on one situation I said that, I said, "It's kind of romantic, isn't it"? He looked at me and he said, non-Christian, said that, "You know what? It is romantic. The whole story sounds really romantic".
If we can make the good news the good news, the world is crying for romance. People are watching serial because of romance. People are buying songs and listening to iPods and downloading songs, why? Romance. The number one theme of every serial, of every song is still romance. And the best romance is the divine romance, when God sent his Son. We were created for romance, amen? We were created to be romanced. And Jesus is the most romantic lover, amen? Give him praise, give him a shout of glory. Hallelujah, thank you, Jesus. Keep your eye on Jesus! Keep your eye on Jesus! Economies might fail, Jesus, never. Man might fail, Jesus never. Your favorite speaker might fail, Jesus never, amen. Your best friend might fail, Jesus never. Your husband might fail, Jesus never. Keep your eye on Jesus, amen?
Praise the Lord, hallelujah. Thank you, Jesus. Every head bowed all across this place and also in the overflow. Right now, whatever you're going through, believers, I'd just like for you right now if you can, there's always a special anointing. The Holy Spirit comes and he loves to hear about Jesus. He comes to glorify Jesus, not to glorify himself, but Jesus. So, whenever we preach on Jesus, the Holy Spirit is like leaning over, looking around, and waiting to impart gifts, healings, breakthroughs, miracles to the one that's looking at Jesus. Not looking at Pastor Prince, looking at Jesus. And just let the Holy Spirit have free flow, free reign in your life as you behold Jesus.
Are you sick in some way? Look to Jesus and say, "As you are free from headaches, so am I in this world. As you are free from arthritis, so am I in this world". And don't be discouraged, but keep on looking to Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit have free reign. And for the rest of you, if you can't say that you are a citizen of heaven, you can't say your sins are forgiven, God is your Father, Jesus Christ your Savior, I want to give you this opportunity right now wherever you are. Will you right now, together with all of us, allow Jesus to cut you off from sin, from the law, from this natural world to be with him in the heavenly realm, where all your identity is in the new creation of Jesus Christ? He bore your sins. He provided a death for you and raised you on the other side. All he waits for you now to say is, "I agree. I give my consent that what you have done, Lord Jesus, I accept".
If you are that person, then pray this prayer right now. But if you want to stay natural, stay under the curse of the law, stay under the infirmities of the old Adam, stay in the natural world with all its shortcomings and evil, then don't pray this prayer. But if you want total deliverance that Jesus has accomplished, you want that to become real in your life, then pray this prayer right now. Are you ready? All across the overflow rooms as well, pray this prayer right now out loud. Let's all say this.
Heavenly Father, Father God, I thank you that you love me and you sent Jesus Christ to die for my sins. Your precious blood cleanses me completely and totally from every sin. Thank you when you died, I died with you. When you were buried, I was buried with you. When you were raised from the dead, I was in you. Thank you death is not in front of me, death is behind me. I will never die again. My appointment with death is over. I died in your death. Now, I live unto God in union with you, the risen Christ, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In Jesus's name, amen.
Praise the Lord, hallelujah. I want to pray a blessing over you. All of you lift your hands all across this place and also in the overflow room, all the overflow rooms. I want you to be aware that there is a battle going on, and the warfare is to cause you to be self-engrossed, self-occupied. Whether it's a voice of the flesh, the world, or the devil, and your battle is to focus on Jesus, the author and the finisher of your faith. You don't have to initiate or author your faith. He authors it, he finishes it. Rest in him. Do not worry about your lack of faith. He is your faith. Do not worry about your lack of peace, he is your peace. He will overcome your stress. But he needs you to lean on him, rest, rest on him. Like the picture of that beautiful woman resting on the shoulders of her husband, rest upon your divine lover. He will carry you through. He will impart to you what you need for this entire week. Do not worry about tomorrow. Jesus will still be there when tomorrow comes, and he will be your hope, your life, and the length of your days. In Jesus's name, and all the people said amen.