Joseph Prince - Win Every Battle Through Right Believing
How you all doing tonight? I'm telling you, L.A. crowd is amazing, amen. It's like coming home. And I'm telling you, there is a revolution going on all over the world and especially here in America. It's called the grace revolution and the tide is sweeping everyone. And there are people, you know, they can't even stand still because the grace of God is just carrying them. They are no longer moving at will, it's been born along, amen. And what is our part? Receive. See, many times we frustrate the grace of God when we want to do so much, when God just wants us to receive and receive much.
You know, one of the things that we have been accused of is people saying things like, "You know, they don't preach repentance". But actually, when you stop your wrong thinking, your wrong believing, and start saying, "God wants to bless me. I mean, God has a tidal wave of grace for me", do you know you are repenting? Do you know you are changing your mind? Do you know that, at least in my church, repentance is going on all the time? Now, you might not have people coming up and saying, "Jesus, Jesus", you know what I'm saying? I'm not belittling that. I'm just saying you can go through all that and still not have your mind changed, for you have not heard anything that caused your mind to change. But when you hear someone preach the Word, and who's giving you material from Scripture, and you are changing your minds all the time, repentance is going on all the time, because the word "repentance" is change of mind.
You know, one day I was reading Luke 15 where it talks about, "Then drew near all the publicans, the tax collectors, and the sinners to hear Jesus", in that parable of the lost coin, the lost sheep, the lost son, Luke 15. I was very intrigued because at the time, I asked the Lord to help me to define repentance in a new covenant way and he brought me to the lost sheep in Luke 15. In Luke 15, there was a shepherd... do we have the Scripture here? There was a shepherd who lost a sheep. Okay, that's one Scripture we don't have, so I'm gonna tell you a story. You all know it. You're all familiar with that parable. He lost one sheep out of a hundred, and the Bible says this good shepherd leaves the 99, goes out, starts seeking for that lost sheep. When he finds it, he takes it and puts it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Look at the style. Rejoicing, all right?
And then not only that, he brought the sheep back and called all his friends. He says, "Rejoice with me. Let's party for the sheep that was lost has been found". And then Jesus said something profound. Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than 99 persons who need no repentance". So obviously that illustration was to point out that this parable is about repentance. But when I studied the parable, I was looking at how the sheep repented and I could not see it. Jesus ended that parable by saying there is joy over one sinner that repents. He used the word, that sinner "repents", that lost sheep "repents". But when I was trying to study was how the lost sheep repents, all I saw was the good shepherd. The good shepherd left the 99. The good shepherd went out. The good shepherd sought. The good shepherd found. The good shepherd took it and put it on his shoulders of strength. And the good shepherd was rejoicing. And the good shepherd said, "Come on people, rejoice with me".
You know what? I asked the Lord, "So how did the sheep repent"? The Lord says, "This is repentance, when you consent to be saved, when you consent to be loved, when you consent to be carried by my arms of strength and be embraced by my strong hands of love. When you consent, you allow me to, that's repentance". And there is more joy over that kind of repentance than the other legalistic kind, because don't forget Judas Iscariot. In the Old King James, it says he repented when he saw that they wanted to do harm to Jesus. He realized that Jesus isn't defending himself. The Bible says he repented. He threw the money down. He says, "I have betrayed innocent blood".
But how many of you know he's lost because he did an act of self-righteousness? He hung himself. So, that was self-righteousness, and self-righteous is the mother of all sin. You know, when Jesus taught on faith, Jesus cursed the fig tree that bore no fruit, only fig leaves. Jesus cursed that fig tree before he taught on faith, the faith of God. In essence, he's saying you have to curse the fig leaves of self-righteousness before faith can operate in your life. Because the first mention of fig leaves is when Adam and Eve covered themselves with salad dressing. Fig leaves, remember that? They covered themselves with fig leaves. Now, Jesus cursed the fig tree bearing fig leaves. What is he cursing? Self-righteousness, bloodless sacrifice. If you want faith to operate in your life, curse self-righteousness in your life. Renounce it in Jesus's name, amen?
Church, Romans 5:19 tells us, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one man's obedience many will be made righteous". By one man's obedience. I said, by one man's obedience. Not your obedience, yo, his obedience. How are you righteous today? His obedience. Is it my obedience? No, his obedience. "Well, Pastor Prince, we have to be obedient people". The thing is this, friends, if you believe right, that his obedience made you righteous, right believing will always lead to right living. You don't have to worry about right living. Just preaching on right living does not necessarily produce right living. When you preach right living, right living, it doesn't mean you produce right living. In fact, you produce fear and guilt but it don't measure up. But when you preach Jesus and there's right believing in what he has done, amen, there'll be right living, hallelujah.
Now, the essence of the battle, the warfare that we have today is that the devil is trying to bring our focus away from Jesus and his obedience that made us righteousness. It is his obedience at the cross that made all of us righteous. So, the warfare is this, 2 Corinthians 10, all right, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal". It's not palpable, "but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God", and watch this, "and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ". The warfare is to bring every thought to focus on the obedience of Christ, all right?
This is what it says in the Greek in your Old King James, in your New King James. Some new translations say, "Bring every thought to obey Christ". No one can do that. It is to the obedience of Christ. "Bring every thought to the obedience of Christ". Focus on that one man's obedience. The devil would say, "Look at yourself. You've not obeyed enough. Look, are you obedient? That's why you're not getting this blessing. How can you believe God for healing? How can you believe God for provision when you are not right with God? Remember last night what happened? You disobeyed God". He's gonna focus you back on you, on your obedience or the lack of it. Even when you obey, he says you've not obeyed enough. When you disobey, he sounds the trumpet and the clarion call from that rooftop saying you have disobeyed. He's the accuser. His job is to accuse. Are you listening, people?
And many times, we don't know what to do with our thoughts. You know, the devil doesn't come to you pointing out to you, "You are an addict. You have an eating disorder. You are depressed". He comes in the personal pronoun. He puts in your thought, "I am an addict. I have an eating disorder. I am depressed. Nobody loves me". He'll put that thought as if you are thinking it. Are you listening? All right, and the moment you accept that thought, that's when he's got you. Are you listening, people? The devil is so subtle. He will say, "Look at that lady. Why do you think she's in church? You know why. She's out here looking for a husband". And then after he puts that thought in your mind, he backs away. He knocks you on the head and says, "You are in church. You call yourself a Christian? Look at the thoughts in your head". And then you are like, "La, la, la, la, la, la", you know? You are saying, "What hit me"? He plays mind games with you. Are you listening?
Now listen, I'm gonna share with you something that I think is gonna bless you, gonna help you, all right? The Bible says, "As Jesus is, so are we in this world". Our High Priest today, Jesus, think about it, he walked on this earth for 33 years, but he's been in heaven for 2,000 years as our High Priest. We need to know what he's doing intercession at the Father's right hand. Number one, why is he there? On what grounds is Jesus there? "Well, Pastor Prince, he's the Son of God". Yes, but that's not the reason why God raised Jesus from the dead and sat him at his own right hand. Look at Hebrews 1. Hebrews 1 tells us, "Jesus, being the brightness of his glory and the express image of the Father's person, upholding all things by the Word of his power", watch this, "when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high". In other words, he sat down having successfully purged our sins, or else he'll never sit down. He has done it and the efficacy lasts forever.
Now listen, that's the reason he sat down. He's always the Son of God, but he did not sit down as the Son of God. He sat down having purged our sins. Having finished the work, he sat down. That's our divine receipt, that all our sins are put away. Now, the High Priest is not there in front of God, beside God, for God's benefit. He's there for our benefit. Hebrews 5, verse 1 says, "Every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men", appointed for men, "in things pertaining to God". Say, "For men". Say, "To God". All right, so he's appointed for the benefit of men to God. Let's say God is in front of me here in the Holy of Holies and all of you are behind me. I am representing all man's profit, benefit, all right? I represent you to God. A prophet, on the other hand, is there for God to men.
The Bible doesn't say Jesus, in the book of Hebrews, is our prophet at the right hand. He is a prophet, but he's not a prophet at the Father's right hand. He's our High Priest, for man to God. And in the economy of Israel, it's like this. God looks at the high priest just like the victory of David is the victory of Israel over Goliath. All Israel didn't have to fight. They had a representative to fight for them. His victory would mean their victory. His defeat would mean their defeat. So the high priest. When the high priest is there, all right, it's like this. How good the high priest is is how God will accept the people. If the high priest is bad, and he collapses, and he falls dead in the Holy of Holies, and they drag him out, the people of Israel can look forward to a bad year of enemies conquering them, of drought. But if the high priest comes out alive, they can look forward to a great year of blessing, abundance, and fruitfulness. Are you listening?
The problem with Israel is that they may have a good high priest now, but he's getting old. And his son Goldberg has been running around partying, and he's the successor. So the thing is that their security is never eternal. Their joy is never unceasing because their high priest dies. But people, we have a High Priest after the power of an endless life. He's a High Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek. Forever! Forever is pretty long time, man, amen? God is saying, "If your high priest is good, you are good. If I accept your high priest, I accept all of you". And who is your High Priest? Is he good? Do you reckon he's good? If he is good, you are blessed, amen? If he is accepted, you are accepted. Ooh, and he lives after the power of an endless life so our joy is forever. Our peace is unceasing.
Now, if peace in your life is tied up somehow with your behavior, it'll be broken before the day is over. But if your peace and your joy is wrapped up in your High Priest, oh, as your High Priest is. Come on, 1 John 4, "As he is, so are we", when? When we die and go to heaven one day? In the sweet by and by? No, "As he is", present tense, "so are we in this world". Is he accepted? So are we in this world by God. Is he under God's unclouded favor? So are we. Is he under God's grace and free favors? So are we. I want to close with this. The high priest, there is something he has on his head called the golden plate. Every piece of the high priest's garments tells a beautiful, redemptive story. Look at the golden plate on his forehead, all right? There is this, engraven on the golden plate are these Hebrew words, "Qodesh la-Yahweh", which means "Holiness to the Lord".
Now, what is the teaching here? What does the Holy Spirit endeavor to teach us about the golden plate of the high priest on his forehead? Let's read in Exodus 28. It says, "So it shall be on Aaron's forehead". Aaron is the first high priest. He's a type of Christ, our High Priest. This golden plate, "Holiness to the Lord", must be on Aaron's forehead. It's a picture of his thoughts and Jesus's thoughts are always holy to the Lord. Can you say, "Amen"? "It shall be on Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts". Stop.
Do you know that in your greatest times of praise and worship, there is iniquity? Do you know that? Do you know in your greatest service, there is sin? Do you know in your greatest performance, whatever it is that you're doing for the Lord, there is sin. Do you know? But you don't have to stop and worry about it. You know why? Because our High Priest bears it, all right? "He will hallow all the holy gifts; and it shall", this golden plate, "Holiness to the Lord", "shall always be on the forehead of the high priest, that the people of Israel", in our case, all of us, "may be accepted before the Lord". His forehead, as long as his thoughts are holy, we are accepted. God did not say, "As long as your thoughts are holy, you will be accepted". God says, "As long as your high priest's thoughts are holy, you are accepted".
And this word "accepted" in the Hebrew is a word "ratson", which means you will be delightsome, you will be pleasurable to the Lord, hallelujah. As long as your High Priest, his thoughts are always holy, you are always accepted. You are always pleasant, pleasurable to the Lord. And when you come with your praise, you come with your worship, you come in prayer, you come to serve the Lord, don't worry about your thoughts. God is not looking at your thoughts to judge you. God is looking at your High Priest, and who is our High Priest? Do you reckon his thoughts are always holy? Always? Then you are always accepted, hallelujah! Right believing always leads to right living. And church, it's all because of Jesus.
You know, Jesus said one time to the people around him, "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head". He came as a divine stranger. The world didn't understand grace. The world understood law. When Jesus looked at the Pharisees and the Jewish people and said, "You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free", it wasn't the law. They already had the law. They were trained from young to know the law. The truth that will set them free that Jesus brought is grace. And Jesus says, "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head".
Now, the Greek word "lay his head" is a seldom-used word. It's called "klino", and it's used one other time in the setting of the cross, where Jesus hung on the cross in the book of John, Gospel of John. And after he cried, "It is finished", every sin forgiven, every debt canceled, Satan defeated, God glorified. When he cried that, the Bible says, watch this, "He bowed his head". The word "bowed his head" is the word "rest". "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay", the same word. He finally found his rest in loving us, in redeeming us, in saving us, amen.