Joseph Prince - Why You Can Have Bold Faith Even When You Have Failed
All right, you ready for the Word? Turn to your neighbor, at least three persons and say, "Something good is going to happen to you in this service". All right, John 21, John chapter 21, "After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself". So, this is the way Jesus showed himself. Whatever it is, he's about to show himself in a way the Holy Spirit is warning you, all right, giving you a little insight that this chapter is full of revelation about Jesus manifesting himself that he wants us to see, okay?
"Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee", that's James and John, "two others of His disciples were together". Altogether seven plus Peter, all right? "Simon Peter said to them, 'I'm going fishing'". So much like Simon Peter, all right, "I'm going fishing". Okay, he's a natural-born leader, the rest just followed him. "They said to him, 'We are going with you also'. They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing". Now, many of us, we are in, you know, in a place where we are toiling, working hard.
You know, there is a beautiful verse in the Bible in Proverbs that goes like this, "The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich and addeth no sorrow to it". But in the Hebrew, all right, it is actually like this in the Hebrew, when the Lord blesses, the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich. All right, don't just think of money, think of it makes rich every area of your life, your family life, your health. Maketh rich your health, maketh rich your relationship with God. Maketh rich, the blessing of the Lord maketh rich. And where it says, "And adds no sorrow to it", it says that sorrow there is laborious toil, painful work, cannot add to God's blessings. Painful labor cannot add to God's blessings, all right? This is how Delitzsch, a Hebrew scholar, translates that verse from Hebrew, all right? In other words, when God blesses, all right, you don't need all your painful labor.
So, here we have the disciples working all night, coming up with empty. Have you, parent, parent your best ability that you know how and yet you look at the result, you know, and you are very disappointed? Have you worked very hard in your work only to find yourself coming up empty? Have you walked with the Lord and you do your very best, all right, to walk holy, walk worthy of the Lord and all that, you come up empty? We're about to see something about Jesus that will change all that.
You see, today's message is about this, many of us, we're not struggling, we're not upset or troubled by the sins before we were saved, but we are troubled by the fact that after we are saved, we see ourselves still having challenges in areas of our life. We find ourself still having some sinful tendencies, thoughts, words or whatever it is. We see ourself and we don't like what we see in ourselves. Am I right? It is not so much the sins before you were saved that troubles you. It's the sins after you are saved that troubles you. Okay, I'm the only one here, okay.
All right, so the concern that people have, this passage is about to reveal to you, after you are saved, after you have known the Lord for some time, all right, what is the Lord's attitude towards you? We all say things like, "Well, you should have known better. Now you've been a Christian for ten years, you've been a Christian for 20 years, all right, you should know better". But what is the Lord's attitude, okay? The fact that you are troubled by what you see in yourself tells me that you are truly born again. People who are not born again, they call themself Christian when they fill a form, all right, age they put down religion, they put down there Christian, doesn't make them a Christian.
All right, if you live a lifestyle of sin and there's compunction in your conscience, all right, then I will question whether you are really saved. People who are saved are concerned about their walk with God, they're concerned about what they see in themselves. Are you listening? So, the fact that you see these things and you are troubled by them tells me that you are saved, all right, okay? Now, the Bible tells us they went fishing and they worked all night, they caught nothing, no thing, okay? "But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus". Okay, so they went fishing, and then, in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore. This is the third time he appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead, all right?
Next. "Then Jesus said to them, 'Children, have you any food'"? He called for them, "Do you have any food"? "They answered Him, 'No'. And He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the boat'". It's very interesting that he mentioned the right side, not the left side. In the Bible the right side, like Benjamin, Benjamin, son of the right hand, the right place, right hand is, "I'll uphold you the right hand of my righteousness", it's the place of righteousness, the gift of righteousness, is the place of favor, is the place of promotion, amen? Whatever you do, whether you parent, or you do business, or whatever you do, make sure that you come from a posture of favor. Cast your net from the favor side. You got it?
Now, please don't go out here and just walk one step, right hand, do everything right hand, all right, look one eye. Please don't get superstitious. It's the principle that is teaching, all right? Everything physical, like I said, is teaching a wonderful truth. The wisdom is in the interpretation. All right, now Jesus says, "'Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some'. So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish".
There was so much fish, they were not able to draw it in because the multitude of fish. "Therefore the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!' Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish". They had even to drag it. They cannot put it in the boat, all right? It was so plentiful, so abundant, they had to drag it and it's buoyant in the water so it's easier to drag through the water. And it tells us how far Jesus was from the disciples, 200 cubits. All right, a cubit is from our elbow to your middle finger here, that's one cubit. So, it's about 90 meters, 90 meters away.
Now notice, the moment Peter realized, all right, he was topless, he's been working all night, the moment he realized it was Jesus, he put on his outer jacket, all right, jumped into the water to go straight to Jesus. Now, my question is, why? Why did Peter do that? Why did Peter jump into the water and he went straight to Jesus? The answer to that question will answer many questions in your life, especially the part where you say, "Now that I'm saved, now that I'm born again, now that I'm a child of God and I see all these things in myself, how does God think of me"?
Now, why did Peter jump into the water to go to Jesus? Was it because he was sin conscious? We know that he denied knowing Jesus three times. In Luke 22, the Bible says, at the Last Supper Jesus said to Peter, "Simon, Simon, Satan has desired to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail". He did not say, "I prayed for you that you will not fail". He knew he would fail. But, "I prayed for you that your faith would not fail. And when you are converted, strengthen your brethren", he said. In other words, Jesus prophesied his victory before he fell. The Lord sees you in your finished product, even before you fall, all right?
And what did Peter say? Peter says, "Even if all these", the disciples, "even if all of them", he said it in front of their face, "Even if all these deny you, I, I'll never deny you. I'll follow you to prison and to death". Then Jesus looked at Peter and says, "Peter before the rooster crows this morning, you will deny knowing me three times". And we know the story how he sat by the fireplace and Jesus has just been seized by the soldiers and then a woman recognized his accent. It was a Galilean accent, wasn't a Jerusalemite accent and say, "Aren't you one of his disciples"? He said, "No, I do not know the man". And then another person came, "Yes, you are one of his disciples". He says, "I don't know the man". The Bible says he cursed and swore that he never knew Jesus.
The third time someone asked him, he said, "I never knew the man". The rooster crowed. And the Bible says it very beautifully in the gospel of Luke, somewhere when he denied knowing Jesus the third time, Jesus turned around and looked at Peter. Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith will not fail, and his faith didn't fail. We know the story, but that look broke his heart. So, Peter went out weeping bitterly, the Bible tells us. But many of us think that this story here, Peter jumped into the water to go to Jesus.
Now, was that because of sin consciousness? You see, if you are sin conscious, if you are aware of your sins, would you jump into the water to go to the one you have just denied knowing him three times with cursing and swearing? No, you will jump the other side. You will try to flee away, am I right, right? Or you'll wait and you'll be the last one behind the boat. You'll wait until the boat reaches the shore and let your companions go out first, using your companions, as it were, as a shield. But there's something that Peter saw in Jesus, something that Peter knew about the Lord that caused him to jump into the water and go straight to the Lord, and he was not afraid to be alone with Jesus. What was it?
The answer to that question is very important for you in your walk with God today. He jumped straight and went to Jesus. Was it the law? Was it because he was conscious of the law? No, if it's the law, by the law is the knowledge of sin. The law will condemn him for denying the Lord Jesus. The law will never empower him to jump into the water to go to Jesus. What was it? What was it about Jesus? He knew this, "In spite of all my sins, the man who's standing on the shore, he loves me and he's my friend. I know him. Yes, I know myself, but more than I know myself, I know him. Yes, my conscience tells me my sins, but more than that, my faith tells me my Savior and my faith says, my Savior still loves me". Are you listening, people?
Oh, come on. And he jumped into the water to go to Jesus. There's something very precious in his action, something very profound. You see, this is not the first time that Jesus restored Peter, all right? In fact, this one is restoration to ministry because Jesus would restore him three times with these words, "Feed my lamb, shepherd my sheep, feed my sheep", all right? Of all the things that Jesus treasured the most in his heart before he left earth to go to heaven, go back to heaven, what was the thing that he treasured the most? His flock, his people, you and I. He treasured us the most. And who did he trust the most in this chapter? Peter. Three times Peter denied knowing Jesus and three times the Lord says, "Take care of my sheep".
We would say, all right, "Forget Peter, you cannot trust him, all right? He failed you three times. He's the last one I will trust". Jesus says, "He's the first one I trust". Somehow Jesus knows where sin increased, grace superabounds. In fact, this entire chapter 21, the last chapter of the gospel of John is actually all about Peter. Peter's the main star. It seems as if the only one, besides Judas, the only one of the twelve that really denied knowing Jesus, all right, is the one that's given special honor in this chapter. Wow, the grace of our God, amen.
Now, I want to tell you that Jesus has restored Peter already. When Jesus restored Peter after he rose from the dead, there's no record in the Bible accept a mere mention. We're not told how it happened, what words were spoken, all right? We're not given anywhere in the gospels where we see Jesus restoring Peter and the words are given. No. In fact, it's so private, a meeting between the disciple and his Lord that the Holy Spirit shields the whole thing with only a mention twice. First it's in Luke 24, "So they rose up". "They" here is the Emmaus disciples, remember the two of them? They walked with Jesus not knowing it was Jesus.
Finally Jesus disappeared, all right, in their house when he took the Lord's supper with them. "And they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, 'The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon'"! That's Simon Peter. Now, the account is not given to us when it appeared. We know that the first woman, the first person that saw the Lord in his risen form, or the Lord appeared to that person is Mary Magdalene, the prostitute out of whom Jesus cast out seven devils. What an honor he placed among women that this woman received this honor of being the first person to see Jesus in his risen form. The second person that saw Jesus, we knew that Peter and John were running towards the sepulchre into the empty tomb, they didn't see his body. We know that they went back. On the way back, Jesus appeared to Peter.
Now, that is not recorded for us. All we know is that Jesus appeared to Simon. Now, in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 5, the Apostle Paul says, "After Jesus rose from the dead, he was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve". You know what's Cephas? That's Aramaic name for Peter. The Aramaic name for Peter is Cephas. And Cephas, after Cephas then the twelve, then by the twelve. Do you see that? He was the first man to see Jesus besides Mary Magdalene, the woman. Now, that's awesome. Jesus restored Peter in this meeting and knowing Jesus, he will do it with the gracious skill of love that he has. Whatever it is, now that Peter saw Jesus, it's not the first time he saw him risen from the dead. He jumped into the water because he had a great sense of the Savior's love for him, of his grace.
Only the sense of his love and grace can make you jump and go straight to him, not waiting for the boat to arrive to shore, only the sense of his love. Was it a sense of his holiness? No. Jesus is holy, oh, thrice holy, holy, holy, holy. He never sinned, the Bible tells us. He did no sin. He knew no sin. In him is no sin. Yet, it was not a sense of his holiness is caused Peter to jump into the water. In fact, the sense of his holiness will cause him to see his sin even more. It was the sense of his love and grace.
Now, do you remember the first time Peter met Jesus? Now many of us think about the boat incident but actually the boat incident is one of the first times. The first time is found in John 1, when Andrew, his brother, Peter's brother, when he realized... By the way, Andrew and Peter both are from the city of Bethsaida. Bethsaida is a beautiful place. When you go down there, you will see the city whereby the Bible says the people reach out and touch the hem of his garment and they'll be healed. I used to think of it this way, how can they line up, the Bible says, they line up sick people on either side of the street, that means on this side of the street, this side of the street.
You must be... I always think of Orchard Road, two lanes, three lanes, four lanes, kind of street, you know, highway. But actually when I went to Bethsaida, that's what the benefit of going to Israel, you get to see things and understand things. The Bible comes alive. It was a small lane. It's like this small lane from here to here. And I remember when my pastors were there, we, you know, we reenacted the scene where Jesus walking and we put sick people like all the pastors. Of course, I'm Jesus. All right, we put them on either side of the street, and I could do this to them, all right? Even then they were flat on their back, they could just reach out their hand and I would touch their hands just like that.
So, can you imagine the scenario from a helicopter point of view? If someone did the life of Jesus and I was the creative director, make it from a helicopter point of view behind, all right, behind are people jumping up and down. In front people flat on their backs. Imagine wherever he went, you know, there's joy and rejoicing he left behind. People are jumping up. In front they're all flat. Isn't it cool, amen? When Jesus comes into your life, the same thing happens. So, think twice, if you want to keep your depression and your morosity and your self-pity and all that, don't even invite Jesus into your life. Don't even invite Jesus into your marriage. He might just turn the water, something bland, into wine, all right? That's Jesus. Wherever he goes, health follows, health literally follows, amen?
So, Andrew and Peter is from the city of Bethsaida, and Andrew, the brother of Peter said, "Hey Peter, we found the Messiah", and he brought his brother Simon to Jesus. And when Jesus first laid eyes on Peter, he says, "You are Simon son of Jonah. I will call you from now on Cephas in Aramaic which means a stone". So, Jesus nicknamed him Cephas. That's the first time he met Jesus but for some strange reason, he never followed Jesus. He went back to fishing and then another one of the first times Jesus met Peter, he still didn't know Jesus well. He was fishing all night just like John 21. This is Luke 5. Let's follow Luke 5 right now, one of the first times Peter met Jesus.
"So it was, as the multitude pressed about Jesus to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then Jesus got into one of the boats, which was Simon Peter's boat, and asked Peter to put out a little from the land. And Jesus sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat". We even know what he taught. It was the sower and the seed. Then after the taught, "When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, 'Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch'. But Simon answered and said to Jesus". Don't forget, this is one of his first times, he's new to Jesus. All right, he says, "'Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net'. And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners, their business partners, in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink".
I call this a net-breaking, boat-sinking load of blessings. "When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus's knees, saying, 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!'" One of the first times he met Jesus, what did he sense about the Lord? His holiness rightfully. He is holy, but my friends, listen, isn't it amazing that in the Christian psyche today what is taught, all right, is like this, when you, "Yeah, you know, you grace people, you talk about God's love, God's love all the time, you know, and that is basic. Grace and love is basic. Yeah, God loves you. You receive salvation, but then after that, you grow in the Lord. When you grow in the Lord, you must know his holiness. You gotta know he's holy. He's a holy God". It's almost like you begin with grace and love, but then you progress into holiness.
So, our idea of the Lord is this, all right, when you first get to know him, you sense his love and grace, all right? And as you grow, you sense his holiness. But what we read is the opposite. What we read is that when Peter, one of the first times he first met Jesus, he sensed his holiness. Is Jesus holy? Yes, but his holiness can go to a sinner, to a prostitute, to a tax collector, to a leper, touch the leper and cleanse that person, and restore them back to life and wholeness. His holiness is not like, you know, in the Old Testament where God is kept in the holy of holies and man is separated from God through a thick veil and through the priest. No more. God has come to man and he is holy, yes, thrice holy. But oh, faith says, all right, "I see his grace. I see his love". Whereas natural flesh will say, "No, God is holy. Depart from me. I'm a sinful man".
Why did Peter say, "Depart from me, I'm a sinful man", in one of the first times he met Jesus? Because he had a sense of his holiness, more than a sense of his love. And we got this upside down. We say that, "As you grow in the Lord, you will sense more of his holy". No, no, no. Everyone, everyone, when they have the thought that God might appear to them in their bedroom tonight, whatever, they're afraid. Why, because they know God loves them? No, they know God is holy. Everyone, flesh knows, instinctively flesh, the flesh of man knows God is holy. Doesn't have to be taught. That's why in the Old Testament, as well as in the new, every time the Lord appears to someone, or an angel appears to someone, they're afraid. They will say things like Manoah, Samson's father, "We die, we have seen the Lord, we're gonna die". Gideon also, "I'm gonna die, I've seen the Lord".
Everyone have this idea when they see the Lord, they're afraid. Why? No one, when the Lord, "I've seen no one". When the Lord appears they say, "Oh, Lord, thou who love me so". What does that tell us? To know his love takes the Holy Spirit. Flesh, flesh can teach you God's holiness and we think that's deep, but the sense of his love and grace, that is faith, that is growth. When you see more and more of his love, why do you think at the end... many years have passed, right? Okay, at least more than three years. Peter now knows Jesus, yet denied knowing him. We can say it like he knew the Lord for some time. He's been saved for some time. We can use that same analogy, and yet, he denied knowing the Lord with cursing and swearing. Yet what was the thing that brought him back in love to the Lord? The sense of his love, his grace. Is the Lord still holy?
Oh, yes, and he'll forever be holy, but more than that, he wants us to see he loves you. You see, you will never know that you are loved until you know that that person sees everything about me and the person loves me. Then you feel loved, okay? But I'm here to tell you you will never feel loved if you put on a show. I remember some years ago I asked the Lord... have you noticed the Lord is, you know, you never find Jesus speaking strong words against tax collectors, against prostitutes, never. But Jesus uses strong words on Pharisees, self-righteousness bigots. He will use words like, "Woe to you, you brood of snakes", but he never used those words on sinners. He never used words like "You brood of snakes" on tax collectors, on prostitutes. But when a Pharisee come and they have an attitude of self-righteousness, finger-wagging religion, you all gotta stand before God in the judgment seat.
When your belief is wrong, you live wrong. When you believe right, you will live right. When I see people pointing their fingers and acting like a Pharisee, I know the problem is believing wrong. These people have a sense of God's holiness, but not a sense of his grace. The Pharisees, they pretend to be custodians of God's holiness and crucified Jesus. Why do you think they're concerned about Jesus healing on the Sabbath day and all the other concerns they have? It's not because they're out for sin. They're out for the law. So, we can say they have a great sense of God's holiness, but not a sense of his love and grace. It takes maturity to grow in the sense of his love and his grace. Isn't it amazing one of the first times Peter saw Jesus, he had a great sense of his holiness. Later on when the knew the Lord and how the Lord sees him with his all his sins having denied the Lord and the Lord still loved him, he jumped into the water to go to the Lord.
I'm here to tell you, church, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, amen, amen? See, Jesus loved the Pharisees as well, but as long as they put a veneer, even though Jesus loved them, they cannot feel Jesus's love. It's almost like he has to strip, by using strong words, that veneer so that his love can penetrate, and it did, at least for one Pharisee named Nicodemus. We're so afraid, we come to the Lord and we act, you know, put up a lot of front. People come to church and then at that time they don't use bad words, they don't do anything, it's because we're in the presence of God. But they step out and that's what happen when you believe wrong, when you think a church is a building. When you think a church is a building, you start behaving when you're in the building, but when you're somewhere else, you act different. Believe wrong, you live wrong. But the thing is this church, listen, it's the sense of his love and grace that changes people's lives.
You know that woman at the well, she had five husbands and at that point in time, she was living in adultery. The story begins in John 4, very touching, very beautiful. The Bible says, "Jesus must needs go through Samaria". You know the amazing thing is this, there is another way to go to Jerusalem. Most Jewish people will not go through Samaria because the Samaritans and Jews have no dealings. They don't see eye to eye, okay? But the Bible says, "Jesus must needs go through Samaria", why? Because of one woman and she would come to the well, the well of Jacob, in the noonday heat of the sun when it's about 12 o'clock. The Bible says she came to draw water at noonday. Most women in that culture, in that place, would draw water early in the morning.
So, why was she there in the afternoon? Because she didn't want to be among the gossipers, among women that would talk behind her back when she drew water. Obviously, her representation was bad, so she came in the afternoon. And who was sitting there? Jesus. And the whole chapter opens with, "Jesus must needs go through Samaria". And he sat at the well and the woman came. Now, Jesus never looked at her and say, "You sinner woman, you got five husbands. You're living in adultery". Some Christians will do that. Look at the gracious skill of love. He looked at her and say, "Give me water to drink". He asked her for a favor. The one who put the waterfalls, and the fountains, and the seas, and fills the oceans, asking this woman for water. And she says, "How come you're a Jew, you're talking to me when I'm a Samaritan"?
For the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. And Jesus told her, "If you knew the gift of God and you knew who is the one talking to you, you would ask him and he will give you living water". And she says, "You have nothing to draw from the well. The well is deep". And Jesus says, "Woman, whoever drinks this water will thirst again". Okay, now she's thinking in the natural. She's saying, "Give me this water always so I never have to come again". And Jesus says, "Go call your husband here". Notice the tact. "Go call your husband here". Now, he's about to reveal to her her sin. Question, why must Jesus reveal to her her sin? Because she will never know she's loved. If she think, "He loves me, but he doesn't know me", she cannot feel loved. Like I asked the Lord, I was saying this just now, I asked the Lord, "Lord, why are you so strong on hypocrisy"? The Lord says, "It's because I love the Pharisees".
I know that as long as they play act, they cannot feel loved, because if you start play acting, all right, you think that God loves you for your acting, not your real self. But when you realize God knows all about your sins and still loves you, you will feel loved, and those who feel loved will love. Those who are loved best, love best. So, that's why Jesus was strong on hypocrisy, because it obstructs his love for the Pharisees. As long as you are performing, you will never know, "God blessed me because I did this or not? Oh, I confessed a thousand times. Oh, I did this. I did that. God bless". You know, you will always have to be performing. You'll never feel like God loves you. So, that woman, Jesus need to bring her gently to the place where he wants her to know he knows her and still loves her. "Go call your husband here". And she says, "I have no husband", technically correct.
Now, notice how Jesus so graciously exposed her, all right, in his presence. Watch this, so that she will feel? All right, he praised her first. Watch the divine sandwich, huh? He praised her first, "You have said correctly. You have rightly said, 'I have no husband' because the one that you're living with now is not your husband. You had five husbands". And then he says, "In that", he finished off by saying, "In that, you have said correctly", divine sandwich. He praised her in the beginning, he praised her at the end. Now, what you and I will do, "You've sinned, repent"! And we think we are being spiritual. We think we are being like the Lord. Then she look at him she says, "Our fathers say must worship on this mountain". That's called changing the subject.
Now, all of sudden she realized she's standing literally naked, you know, vulnerable, exposed, to the one who knows all about her. There's no way, no way anyone could have hold her. He's a Jew. He's not even living in Samaria. How in the world does he, "No, I'm in the presence of someone holy, but he knows all about me. But look at him, he's still here with me. He's talking to me. As a Jew, he's not even supposed to talk to me, but knowing who I am, my background, he still talks to me, and there's no judgment in his eyes, but I see love". And then they start talking about the mountain and worship and then all of a sudden, she said, "I know that when the Messiah comes, the anointed one comes, he will tell us all things".
Jesus looked at her and said... by the way just let you know, through the gospels, very few Jesus himself revealed himself to as the Messiah. This woman was one of them. Jesus said, "I who speak unto you, I am the Messiah", wow. All of a sudden she realized, the Messiah is the one who would expose your sins to forgive, to love you. She says that, "You know what? He knows all about me and yet he loves me. The Messiah, the promised one loves me". The Bible says she left her water, there she went to the city of Samaria, and she was ashamed to even talk to them. Now, she goes to the city of Samaria and I'm sure that some of those people who hurt her were her former husbands. And she told the whole city, "Come, see a man who told me everything about myself". She's not even ashamed now. In an instant, no going to Bible schools. I'm not against Bible schools. In an instant, she became an evangelist. She became an evangelist.
Now, if Jesus just exposed her sins and left her there without her knowing she's loved, she'll never run and proclaim him. It was the fact that she knows she's loved, now she's not afraid of saying, "Hey, I was once this, I was once that". You and I, we're not afraid to say, "I was once this, I was once that", but his love changed everything, amen. It's the sense of his love, his grace, his goodness, his favor, that changes everything. And Jesus's disciples came back from buying food, and they want to give food to Jesus, and Jesus smiled and said, "You know, guys, I have food to eat that you do not know of". Wow, the Lord is fulfilled when somebody allows him to love her. When you allow the Lord to love you, to save you, to give to you, he feels blessed, he feels fulfilled. It's his joy, wow.
All of a sudden disciples saw, "How come? Did someone give him food"? No, a woman came and took from him his love, and that energized the Lord. Our natural propensity of the flesh is to sense that God is holy. If God appears right now, tonight, tonight, God appears in your room, how would you sense? Would you fall down and say, "Thank you, Lord", like David, "your lovingkindness endures forever"? It takes someone whom the Holy Spirit has taught to see that, to understand that. Most people will say, "I'm sorry, I confess my sins". Are you with me? Isn't it amazing? We always think that, "oh, you know some Christians, the way they come against grace. Yeah, they talk about God's love, they talk about God's grace, God's love and all that. But they never talk about God's holiness". No, we do teach on God's holiness, except that even the Pharisees know God's holiness and everyone in the street knows God's holiness if they believe in God. That's why they don't want to acknowledge God because to acknowledge God is to acknowledge the light of his holiness shining on your conscience, so they don't want to acknowledge God. People know instinctively, but to know his love, that takes the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
"Well, Pastor Prince, haven't you read? The Bible says whoever much is given, much shall be required. Amen". Have you ever read, those are the words of Jesus, by the way, that you just quoted. Have you also read the words of Jesus says that says, in Matthew 10, "Whoever denies me before man", Jesus said, "I will deny him before my Father who is in heaven. Whoever confess me before man, I'll confess him before my Father". Have you read that? Are those the words of Jesus? All right, the second balcony, are those the words of Jesus? The last one, are those the words of Jesus? Y'all better say right 'cause you're closer to heaven, all right? When the rapture happens, you're going up first. The pastors go up last. You see, God's economy is always opposite. Those are the words of Jesus, but whenever you read the words of Jesus, even in red, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, you must always interpret in the light of the finished work. Did Peter deny knowing Jesus? Yes. How many times? Three times. Normally? No, with cursing and swearing. He swore he never knew Jesus three times.
Now, what's Jesus supposed to do based on Jesus's own words? Deny him before the Father in heaven. Did Jesus do that? But are those the words of Jesus? Yes, that's why you must interpret the words of Jesus in the light of the finished work. "Well, Pastor Prince, Peter repented". There's no record that he repented. There's a record he wept bitterly, but Judas also wept. I mean Judas also was remorseful. Matthew 27, "Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, 'I have sinned by betraying innocent blood'. They said, 'What is that to us? You see to it!' Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple, departed, and went and hanged himself".
Now, remorseful. In the Old King James, he repented himself. So, don't think for one moment remorseful crying and all that means that's what God really wants. God wants you to receive, not feel remorseful and try to perform even by hanging yourself, paying for your own sins. That's pride. When you repent means what? You come to him and receive his love, receive his forgiveness. Peter and Judas, I mean one denied by selling him off, one denied with cursing and swearing. Honestly. Church, one of the accusations that the Pharisees bring against Jesus more than one time in the gospels, they say that he's a friend of tax collectors and sinners. The only thing that can change our lives, even our lives today, is the love of God. You see, faith is not seeing God as a judge. Is God a judge? Oh, yes.
When Jesus comes again, the whole world will know he's a judge, but that's not faith. Faith is seeing God now as a Savior, which is how he wants to be seen. Faith is seeing Jesus in his love for you, that's how he wants to be seen, and that is faith. When someone sees Jesus in his love, I'm telling you, it pleases the Lord. He has food to eat we don't even know of. He wants us to see him in his love. And this love will do great things. Remember the disciples were not able to pull in the fish? All right, after Peter felt love, Peter swam to Jesus. Did you see what Peter did single-handedly? Go back to John 21, all right? Look at this, "Simon Peter went up", verse 11, "and dragged the net to land full of large fish". Hello, single-handedly. The disciples could not drag it into the boat on buoyant water. Peter on land dragged the entire thing single-handedly.
Let me tell you this, when you know you're loved, you do great things, you do exploits. You don't have to have muscles like Pastor Lawrence, only a few creatures have that, all right? But the anointing of strength will even come on you. You will live long. God will keep you young and strong and healthy when you have a sense of God's love. See, God made man to operate by his love, just like your car cannot operate on water. Try it, you won't go far. It won't be healthy. Likewise, God made us to operate on his love, and that's how to become whole. Amen, church? "Well, well, Pastor Prince, I just feel like we need more teaching on holiness"! I told you, you know what's holiness? It means set apart, separated from, to set apart, all right? When I come to your house, and, you know, I'm just an ordinary guest, you give me a normal, normal plate to serve food in. But when the PM or the president comes to your house, you take out your fine china from the cabinet, all right, you put it in front of them, why? They're special guests. You separate that for special occasions. Am I right?
You know, in your house there's a special safe, the safe is for what? Special jewelry and things that you treasure. So, when God says be holy, means set apart. Set apart means when the world is in stress, you are peaceful. Doesn't mean leave the world, don't get close to them. That's the mentality a lot of people have. Set apart means you stand out because you are precious. In a world where everyone is not a virgin anymore, all right, there's still some virgins who stand out. I don't know why I say that. But in a world where everyone is stressed, you are peaceful, you stand out. In a world where everyone is common, you shine. Where in a world where everyone is depressed, you glow, you are radiant. That is uncommon. The opposite of holiness is not sin, it is commonness. Study your Bible carefully. God doesn't want his people common. Mixing around sinners, yet not being like them, but mixing around with them, making them see that God is approachable. He loves them. They cannot contaminate us. We infect them. We are contagious Christians. Can I have a good amen, church?
Okay, let me close with this. The last three verses is back to back, okay? We'll go real quick because I'm gonna show you the Apostle Paul and what we think is growth, spiritual growth, is not the way you think. Many of us, we reason with our flesh. Like we say, "All right, grace and love is basic, law and holiness, all right, is deep", when actually the opposite is true. When Israel was a baby, nepios, Galatians tells us, they learned the law. The law is elementary, the law is ABC. When Jesus came, he brought grace and now they are no more babies, they are sons, whereby we cry, "Abba Father". It's the opposite. This is not logical, flesh is logical, reasonable. Grace is not logical, it's not reasonable, that's why you cannot, you cannot reason out grace. You hear ten sermons on grace, the 11th seven you hear on the law, you can forget the ten.
Something about grace that you must listen, and listen, and listen, and listen again because it is not natural. It is out of earth. It is heaven. It is heavenly. It is from God himself. Jesus himself is grace. For us, Peter is the last person we'll choose to shepherd the flock. And of all the 11, all of them, Jesus chose Peter. All right, the last three verses back to back the Apostle Paul. How many of you think the Apostle Paul is the greatest of all the apostles, besides you who didn't raise your hand? All right, how many think the Apostle Paul is the greatest of all the apostles? Come on, he wrote three-fourths of the New Testament, okay? Now, we're going to look real quick, back to back, by the order of the books that Paul wrote by the Spirit are in sequence of their writing, all right, the oldest to the newest book. Okay, are you ready?
When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 15, verse 9, this is what he said, "For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God". So, Paul put all the apostles together, James, John, all right, all of them together, all the apostles and you know what Paul says, "Hey, you know what, guys, I'm the least compared to all the apostles". Now, we know him, and rightly so, as the greatest of the apostles. But in his own estimation, when he grew somewhat in the Lord, he says, "I'm not even worthy to be called an apostle. I'm the least of the apostles". Are you with me? All right, as Paul grew more in the Lord, all right, he wrote Ephesians, in Ephesians chapter 3, we see this. Now he says this, "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ".
So now, he's no more comparing himself with a limited scope of the apostles. He says, "Put the entire church together". How many of you under the sound of my voice right now, you say, "Pastor Prince, if you knew who I am, if you knew what I've done, even though I believe in Jesus Christ and I received him many years ago, Pastor Prince, I really think I am the least of all the saints". Paul says, "If you are the least, I'm less than you, the least". Are you with me? And Paul was growing in the Lord. This was a later episode. So, the more he grew, he says, "You know what? I'm not even the lesser of the apostles, I'm the lesser, or the least of the saints". And you know what's "am" or not, who am? I checked in the Greek, it means present tense. That means he's saying, "I'm not the less than the least of all saints before I was saved". He wouldn't be a saint, right? He's talking about now, am, present tense. I'm the less than the least of all the saints.
The Apostle Paul, it seems like the more he grew, the more he sees his sins, but please don't stop there, the more he sees the Savior's love and his grace. It magnifies the grace of God, okay? And the last verse, 1 Timothy 1, look at what Paul says. "This a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief". You know what's am or not? I checked in the Greek, it means present tense. By then he has grown a lot in the Lord. He has grown in the grace of God, he has grown. But it seems that the more he rose, the more he sees he's not perfect. But more than that, don't stop there. If you stop there, you'll be in despair. Peter didn't stop there. The Samaritan woman didn't stop there. They saw the Lord. The more you see your sin, the more you see how forgiving you have been.
"But Pastor Prince, we must never confess I'm a sinner saved by grace". Yeah, I taught you all that, right? I taught you all, and rightly so. We don't say we are sinners today. We are saints, we have been saved. I was a sinner saved by grace, but that doesn't mean, listen carefully, just because you're a new creation, you can confess, "I'm a new creation in Christ", but don't have this thought in your mind, "I have sinless perfection", you don't, neither do I. If you think you do, you're in for a great fall. They will prove to you, you are not. Even though we are saved, there is still sin in our flesh, okay? And the sin is not to cause you to be despaired of yourself. The sin is to magnify his grace, to magnify his love.
The more you grow like the Apostle Paul, one time he says, "I'm the less than all the apostles in that category". Then he widened to every believer, "I'm the less of the least of all the saints", after he grew somewhat more. Then he grew some more in the Lord, he says, "You know what? Of all the sinners, I'm chief". You know what's, "am", even now? Present tense, wow. He magnified the grace of God. He magnified the grace of God. So, people say things right, "You know, once you're a Christian, shame on you".
Romans chapter 5, chapter 5, yes. "But God demonstrates His own love towards us", I told you three last verses, right? One more addition, okay, bonus. This is the lastest verse, okay? "But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners", what happened? "Christ died for us". Think about it, God didn't love you because you were seeking him. God didn't love you because you have a heart for God. Even you didn't care about God, God cared for you. You were still a sinner and don't care you're a sinner, God cared. God sent his Son to pay the price for your sins, to be judged in your place. So, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Say, "amen". But this is how we think, many of us. All right, don't read the verse, think this way. "Much more then, having now been justified".
Stop there, stop there for a while, okay, and think of the natural reasoning of the flesh. "Much more then, now being justified". We better watch it, because now we are justified. Much more then, being justified, we better make sure. That's how we reason. But watch what the Apostle Paul said, "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him". You know what that means or not? After you are saved, this for those after they are saved, like you and I today. After you are saved, you know what you're saved from? From God ever be angry with you. God will never, ever be angry with you, never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. Never, ever, ever. Never, never, never, never, never, ever. "Never say never. Never, never, ever, never". Never. Never say never something else, okay? Never be angry with you again, all right? It's the opposite, it's the opposite of flesh. It's the opposite of the fleshly mind, the way we think. You see, many of us, if we were like Peter, we look at Jesus on the beach. We'll jump backwards. We'll try to run away. Peter ran, he knew, "I know him. He knows everything about me like nobody can, but he loves me like nobody loves me". And that's how he loves you today.
In 1863, 1863, a lady called Charity Bancroft wrote this beautiful hymn that put a shame to the way we practice Christianity today. "Before the throne of God above, I have a strong a perfect plea. A great High Priest whose name is Love, who ever lives and pleads for me. Who ever lives and pleads for me. My name is graven on his hands. My name is written on his heart. I know that while in heaven he stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart. No tongue can bid me thence depart". Look at the way the song was written. In 1863, no ifs, no maybes, no perhaps, no suppositions, certain, clear cut, emphatic statements before the throne of God. Before the throne above, I have a strong and perfect plea, a great high priests whose name is love, whoever lives and pleads for me. My name is graven on his palms. My name is written on his heart. I know that while in heaven he stands, no one, no tongue, no foe can command me from there to depart. And yet today, I know of this pastor who's even stood up in his congregation and said this, "You can't tell your faith. None of you can tell you're saved or not until you die. I myself can't even tell I'm saved or not".
Wow, if a pastor can't tell he's saved, the Bible says these things are written that you might know that you have eternal life. God doesn't like these maybes, perhaps, somewhats. God is certain, faith is certain. Back in those days they write hymns like, "Full assurance, Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine. O what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchased of God, born of his Spirit". Something about his love, right? Certain, clear-cut statements, washed in his blood, clear cut, emphatic. Say this, "I am loved. I am forgiven. I'm eternally loved, eternally forgiven". There stands a great high priest whose name is love. "Whoever lives and pleads for me. He ever lives and pleads for me. My name is graven on his hands. My name is written on his heart. I know that while in heaven he stands, no foe can bid me thence depart. No foe can bid me thence depart".
Look at the second stanza. Look up here. "When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within", all together, "Upward I look and see him there, Who made an end to all my sin. Because a sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free. For God, the Just is satisfied, to look on Him and pardon me. To look on Him and pardon me". All together, behold the Lamb. "Behold him there the risen Lamb. My perfect spotless righteousness. The great unchangeable I AM, The King of glory and of grace". I love this. One in himself. "One in himself I cannot die. My soul is purchased with his blood. My life is hid with Christ on high. With Christ my Savior and my God, with Christ my Savior and my God". And that, my friend, is true Christianity. That is the gospel, amen.
Every head bowed, every eye closed all across this place and everywhere that's watching this right now. Friend, God loved you so much, my friend, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. The world here is a world of sinners, a world that doesn't care about him, a world that's profane, a world that has gone so astray, they don't even care anymore. They don't care they don't care, but God cares. God loved them, and God sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross all our sins. None of us can say we have little sin. All of us have sinned greatly.
And friend, on that cross, Jesus Christ died on the cross for all our sins because God is holy, and God's holiness must punish sin. If God does not punish sin, God is not holy, but God is holy, but God is love and doesn't want to punish that sin in our bodies, in our lives. So, God's love sent his Son so that our sins will be punished to the full, completely. And our sins have been punished so that today, God's righteousness, God's holiness is on our side. God is for us, not against us. God is declaring us righteous, and God is righteous in declaring us righteous because of what his Son has accomplished for us. If that is you, wherever you are right now, pray this prayer with me from your heart and I promise you, your life will never be the same. Say this:
Heavenly Father, I believe Jesus Christ is your Son, and you send your Son to die on the cross for all my sins. His blood was shed, washing me whiter than snow. Thank you, Father, for your great love for me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for showing me your grace, your abundant grace. Let me live under your grace, always, Lord, and not based on my performance. Let me live under the sense of your favor and of your love. Jesus Christ is my Lord. Thank you, Father. Your grace is greater than all my sins. In Jesus's name, and all the people said, "amen, amen".
Give him praise, church, hallelujah, amen. Lift your hands up to the Lord. I believe that because of what Jesus has accomplished, blessings are yours, paid for, signed and sealed by the blood of Jesus. It's just up to you to receive it. And I promise you this, the more you come under the sense of his love, and grace, and his favor, the more blessings you will see manifest in your life. The Lord bless you and your loved ones throughout this week. The Lord bless you with the blessings of Abraham, the blessings of Deuteronomy 28.
And the Lord bless you with milk and honey flowing, flowing, flowing in your life. The Lord bless you with a special revelation of his love, grace, and favor throughout this week. The Lord keep you, preserve you, protect you and your loved ones from all harm and danger, from all the powers of darkness, from all the power of the evil one through his own shed blood. The Lord keep you and preserve you from all sickness and disease, you and your families, from accidents, from every infection, from all the powers of the evil one through his own blood. The Lord make his face shine on you, be favorable towards you. Throughout this week, may you experience the supernatural favor of God on your life. Everywhere you go, the Lord lift up his countenance on every one of you and grant to you and your loved ones his shalom wholeness, health, well-being, and peace. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and all the people said amen.