Joseph Prince - Strong Encouragement In Times Of Famine
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a privilege once again to bring God's Word to you and to your family. You know, church, I really miss the times that we get together, as the Bible says: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together," but while we are waiting for that day to happen, where we come back together again, let us not neglect to participate every Sunday and in the spirit just see the people of New Creation Church all gathered together, even though you are alone, maybe at home, but see in the spirit as you gather together and when you partake the Lord's Supper, you're not partaking alone, you're partaking with thousands of people in our church at the same time, amen, every Sunday so that the church life continues, amen?
And there is something significant of Sunday as well, the Lord's day. The Bible tells us that the Lord appeared after he rose from the dead on a Sunday to a Sunday to a Sunday. So the Lord is stamping his approval on the Lord's day which is the Sunday. See, the Jewish Sabbath, the week ends on a Sabbath, the seventh day. But for us, the day after is Sunday. For us, it commence with the Lord's Resurrection. It's a sign of a new beginning, the new creation, amen? We are not under the old, we're under the new, amen.
Let's dive right into the Word of God today. We've been covering on the forgiveness of sins as being the mother of all blessings and it's because we don't fully understand nor do we really appreciate the fullness of the forgiveness of sins that Christ has accomplished for us at the cross. And forgiveness of sins is not just for the present time and we have to keep up with the forgiveness of sins with the latest sin or it's only good for until the next sin. No, no, Jesus came to accomplish everlasting righteousness, amen. In other words, you're not only righteous today in God's eyes and tomorrow when you sin you're no more righteous. No, Jesus came to give you everlasting righteousness. What does that mean? That means that righteousness is like himself, everlasting, eternal God, amen? Our righteousness is everlasting.
Now, we fail but we fail in that righteousness and being conscious of that righteousness restores you back again. Praise the Lord. Just like Noah in the ark, amen. When the waves got a bit violent, amen, he might get, you know, out of balance and he falls but he always falls in the ark. He never falls outside the ark. So we are always in the righteousness of God in Christ and we need to know that forgiveness is complete and the forgiveness is eternal, amen. The blood of bulls and goats accomplish forgiveness of sins only for one year. Every year, the year of atonement, the Bible says in Hebrews 10, they have to observe it yearly because the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. It can only cover sins until Jesus, the true Lamb of God, would come and take away the sins of the world.
But now that Christ has come, why are we treating the blood of Christ as if it's like the blood of bulls and goats, it's only good for a year? In fact, many of us, we don't even feel that it's good for one year. It is good for only a day until our next sin, you know? And this idea of forgiveness not being eternal but only, you know, as we go along, we need to claim it, we need to receive it, is what is causing the body of Christ to suffer from a lack of godly character, suffer from not being whole, not enjoying the peace of God in our hearts, in our lives, translating to peace in our body. That's called wholeness.
If you look at the Bible, the Bible says very clearly that we are to have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at the context. It says here in Romans 4: "Christ was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised up because of our being declared righteous". So notice that he went to the cross because of our sins. We know that. But do you know that he was raised because of our being declared righteous? In other words, it was because God declared us righteous that Christ was raised from the dead. Why is this so? Because the same Lord Jesus Christ and his body who bore our sins, he so identified himself with us that he cannot be raised from the dead unless we are first declared righteous, amen? Then God raised him from the dead. In other words, all our sins were efficaciously put away, completely put away. If not, Christ would not have been raised from the dead.
Another place in the Bible says this like this: "Christ having purged our sins". Notice that? "Having purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high". So whenever you think of Jesus at the Father's right hand, always know that he's there by the fact that he has accomplished redemption for us, amen? The fact that he's seated there, unlike the priests of the old, where they're always standing. Their work is never finished. They're always standing, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, but Christ sat down. That means all our sins have been put away. Now, if we do fall into sin, okay, tomorrow, he's not gonna stand up and accomplish, you know, forgiveness of sins for us again. No, one sacrifice for sins forever. That's what it says in Hebrews 10: "One sacrifice for sins forever," amen? Praise the Lord. Thank you, Jesus.
Now, we fail to understand it's gonna affect our wholeness. It's gonna affect our shalom. Because the same verse here says very clearly right after that in Romans 5:1, it's all one thought. Of course, in the original, there's no division of chapters. The next one says: "Because of our being declared righteous, now, having been declared righteous, then, by faith, we have peace towards God through our Lord Jesus Christ". Now, we have peace with God, that's in the King James Version. We have peace because we have been declared righteous. Now, this word "we have peace," is the word "echo," have. We have peace with God.
But many a times we think of, okay, because we are declared righteous, yes, we have peace with God, but actually the word "Echo" is in the present tense, also in the active voice which means let us, the word "Echo" actually means hold. Hold on to, amen? Hold on actively. Actively hold on to the fact that you have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, amen. Every day, know this: Having been declared righteous and declare, "I'm the righteousness of God in Christ," and then hold on, that you have peace. You're not trying to get it. You have peace. It's a present active in the Greek, amen?
We hold on to the peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. But then, there are many, many erroneous teachings that the devil will try to bring along your way to cause you to be steered off the track, amen, to move you away from that place of being established in righteousness because the Bible says in Isaiah 54: "It is when you are established in righteousness you will not fear and you will be far from oppression," amen? Because you are established in righteousness. Read all about it in Isaiah 54. It says that "all your children, if you are established in righteousness, all your children shall be taught of the Lord". Now, it doesn't say, "Shall be taught about the Lord," like they do in a Sunday school setting. No, "Shall be taught of the Lord". The Lord himself will teach your children directly.
All this happens when you are established in righteousness. Isn't it true when we are established in righteousness, it has a positive effect on our children? They're affected by our calmness, by our being established in righteousness. We won't impose on them all our dysfunctional, you know, set of characteristics and things that cause them to grow up in an environment of threat and darkness and punishment and things like that. But a environment of love and being established in righteousness. It also says in the same chapter that when you are established in righteousness, listen, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper". Doesn't say that the devil won't form new weapons. Doesn't say that. It says: "But no weapon formed," regardless of what weapon he forms, even COVID-19 virus. No weapon formed against you, regardless of what he forms, like, a time of famine, a financial famine, amen?
People are losing their jobs. It's a weapon the devil is bringing against God's people at this time, amen. Whatever weapon it is, the Bible says: "No weapon formed against you shall prosper," amen? Didn't promise it would not be formed, but no weapon formed against you, child of God, will prosper. And what is the reason? It says: "'For their righteousness is of me,' says the Lord". "No weapon formed against you will prosper, and every tongue that rise against you in judgment you will prove to be wrong. Because their righteousness," again, the righteousness is there. "'Their righteousness is from me,' says the Lord". So once you're established in righteousness, you won't suffer these things that the world suffers from, amen, because you're established in righteousness.
So I feel that my assignment in life, amen, my assignment as a pastor and a Bible teacher is really to establish God's people in righteousness. That's the only way they can grow. That's the only way they can produce that kind of holiness that is not a self-righteous holiness but a true holiness that is radiant with moral excellence, amen, produce a life that is abundant, amen, a life that brings wholeness, shalom, wholeness in every part of your being, amen. So I really delight in doing this. And one of the areas I find I wanna address this today is because there's one particular passage in the Scripture that causes people to be steered off that position of righteousness or to have doubts about their having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
And it's a passage that I remember when I was a young believer, probably about 16 years old at the time, 16, 17 years old, when I got hold of a Christian book and I read this passage that caused me to be so afraid and before that, prior to that, I never had problems with having blasphemous thoughts towards God, all right? Generally speaking, I don't have that particular problem, but right after reading that book, and I start fearing the passage he used which I'll be talking about today is a passage he used from Hebrews that caused me to fear that I might lose my salvation and because I'm a weak person, I know myself, most likely it might not happen today, it might happen tomorrow, might happen next week, but the possibility of me losing my salvation is there. And the result of that was that I began to notice that my mind became blasphemous towards God. I had hard thoughts towards God. I had no more assurance in coming to God that I'm accepted with God.
In the back of my mind, I know that I'm still a believer. In the back of my mind, I know that I'm a child of God. But there is not that intimacy, there's not that sense of right-standing with God that God so delights in and wants to impress on us. Time and time again in the New Testament that this is what has happened as we have learned for the past weeks, amen, that forgiveness of sins is ours, we have it, and not only that we are the righteousness of God in Christ, amen. We have access, in fact, the very next verse says: "After we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, we have access by faith into this favor, into this grace where we stand". We stand on favored ground. We have the favor of God, amen, everywhere we go.
There's never a time that the favor of God is not on you. We have access into this favor. The same favor that was given to Joseph, amen, before Potiphar, before Pharaoh. The same favor given to Esther when she stood before the king. The same favor the Bible says that Jesus grew up in, in favor with God and men. That same favor is now yours always and forever, amen? We have access into this. But I didn't have all that when I started fearing that I might lose my salvation. I started, you know, sort of like, I began to see the result of that belief. And wrong belief will produce wrong results, amen? Wrong believing will produce wrong living, amen. Right believing will produce right living.
Now, those who say, "Yes, we've got to have right believing but we must also have the falling back into works because what the"... New Testament is all about is the righteous shall live by faith, amen? And then, living by faith, believing that you are righteous by faith, will produce the results which is the fruit of the Spirit of godly character, holiness, amen, shalom, amen, wellbeing, wholeness, in every part of our lives, amen. So we don't have to worry about the wrong living part if people can get the right believing, they will have the right living, amen. Because the new covenant is all about the righteous shall live by faith. And somehow, we have this idea that if we don't allow our people to settle down or to have, you know, assurance of their salvation, you know, we even make fun of that glorious hymn, "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchased of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood".
You know, such statements, clear-cut statements, based on Holy Scripture, amen, based on the accomplished redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ, is now being mocked. People say, you know, "Church people will come and sit on their blessed assurance," I mean, making a mockery of that song, you know? As if that it's wrong to have assurance of salvation. They believe, wrongly, that if you give people assurance of salvation, amen, believers, assurance of salvation, they will go crazy and they will live a licentious lifestyle, amen, because they are assured of love.
No, imagine, if I tell my wife, amen, "I love you, and regardless of whatever you do, I will always love you," amen, or I tell my children, "I love you. Regardless of what you do, my love for you will always be there. My love for you is unconditional. It's not based on your works. I may correct you at times, but that's because I love you, amen? I'll never stop loving you". Does that produce in them a sense of, "Yeah, I can go and rebel against my father because he will love me anyway" or will it produce a sense of closeness with the father, and even if he fails he knows that the door is open with the father. The father will always love him, amen? Does that produce a unfaithfulness in my wife, in our spouse, because they know that we love them always? No, I don't think so, friend. I think it is the lack of assurance that produces an unholy lifestyle.
You know, when they were building the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, that famous bridge, it was in the '30s, 1930s, when they built it. And when they first started building it, people were falling. Workers were falling to their deaths. And that caused a poor morale among all the workers. And they started feeling like, you know, they don't want to work and work was falling behind schedule, okay? So what happened was that the management got together and they invested in a special kind of net underneath the building of the bridge. It cost them a lot but they invested in it, and from then on, fewer people fell. You would have thought that the net is down there, more people would fall because they know the... no, the opposite happened. Fewer people fell when they knew the net was there.
Another thing happened. People were able to work with a good morale, amen, and the work was accomplished, many of them met their deadlines for, you know, certain timing, they need to have a deadline. They accomplished, they superseded the deadline and work was moving fast and moving well, amen? All because there was a net. Having a net doesn't make you feel like, you know, I can jump on it, you know, I can just fall freely. No, it makes people know the security. A secure environment, a non-threatening environment, produces a shalom inside that causes you to excel outside. Your work will be accomplished with the spirit of love, joy, and peace.
What's the use of having a holiness that is stern, angry at people all the time, fault-finding all the time? That's not the holiness that Jesus came to give us, amen. It's a holiness full of love, joy, peace. Yes, self-control as well. But it is a holiness when you look at someone, you look at that lady or you look at the man, there's a princeliness, there's a princessliness about her, a royalty about her. And yet, they're humble, just like Jesus, amen? A heavenly character, amen. So those workers, when they realized there's a net underneath, their performance became better. Isn't that what we want for our people? We want their performance, amen, holiness, godly character, doing the work in the service of the Lord, with a great spirit, amen? But it only comes about when we provide an environment without removing the net.
And still, there are a lot of people who believe by removing the net, amen, we can shape them up by the threat of fear, by the threat of losing their salvation, maybe they'll line up their life, and the opposite happens, amen? Many of them feel like they're hypocrites and they leave church. And this is true and this is the portion I'm talking about, in Hebrews chapter 6. It says this, and this is what I read many years ago that caused me to be steered away from the Lord and I had hard thoughts towards God. I read this portion here and this is a stronghold of many of those people who come against eternal security.
It says here: "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and have tasted the powers of the age to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put him to an open shame". Now, this portion here, like I said, is the one that, you know, those who come against, those opponents of eternal security, those who believe that a believer can lose their salvation, this is their favorite passage of Scripture besides another one in Hebrews chapter 10, if we sin willfully, all right? But let's talk about this portion here first.
Number one, we need to understand one thing. This whole portion is from the book of Hebrews. We need to understand that first. The Bible is written to us. It is for our benefit. Every Scripture is God-breathed. But we need to also know, to understand the context, to understand the background, who is it written to? And it's written to the Hebrews. Notice the very first chapter, the introductory remarks of the book of Hebrews. It says this: "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days God has spoken to us by his Son". Notice, "God spoke to our fathers in times past in many ways. God spoke to our fathers".
Now, friend, you and I, we who are Gentiles, right, we come from non-Jewish families, it's not speaking about our fathers. It's talking about the Jewish fathers in the Old Testament, our fathers. So it's written to Hebrews, Jewish people. We need to understand that first. Of all the people on earth, there's only one nation that has a covenant with God: the nation of Israel, amen. The only one in the Bible that God has made a covenant with a nation, is the nation of Israel through the father Abraham.
Now, having said that, I want to tell you something. For them, they are the first ones given the fundamentals, the elementary principles of God's Word, which is the laying on of hands, the doctrine of baptisms, you know, King James say baptism, but actually it's the mikveh, immersion in the pool. All that is the A,B,C of their faith, and that was in the Old Testament practice. You know, when God gave them the law, they had all these practices: the offering of sacrifices. But all this, to God, is actually the A,B,C, is the kindergarten of theology, of their faith in him. So when it comes to the book of Hebrews, now that Christ has come, all this that I talk about, the sacrifices and the washings and the immersions, were all pointing to the final cleansing, the final forgiveness, of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Lamb of God who would take away sin.
Now, all this was their visual aids, waiting for their Messiah to come. Now, today we are living after the Messiah has come, amen? Our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, bearing our sins, the sins of Israel, and our sins in his own body, amen? So we're not living before Christ came. They lived before Christ came, and the book of Hebrews is written to Hebrew believers after Christ came, but remember this: It is also written to all the Hebrews that profess faith in Christ. Some of them are born again, some are not. Look at a church, any church for that matter, regardless of how good the church is, there are people there, and I believe that many of them are in the minority, okay, but there are people there who profess to be Christians. When they fill in the form, they will say, it says, "your sex, male or female," they put down, right? Your address, then, when it comes to your religion, they'll put down they're Christian, but are they truly born again?
Now, they profess, they wrote down, they profess to be Christians, but are they Christians? So these are written to people who profess, not possess, eternal life, okay? Now, just for the moment, think of that first, that the background is written to the Hebrews. God is saying, "Now I want to let us go on to perfection". Perfection is the work of Jesus Christ, amen, amen, nothing else but perfection marks everything that Jesus does, amen. But they were in the shadows. This is a substance. They were in the kindergarten stage. This is the top-most floor, amen? No more kindergarten. No more basic. This is the perfection. God's saying, "Let us go on to perfection". That's what the language of Hebrews is always, "Let us go on. Let us go on to perfection," amen? "Let us go on to grace from law. Let's go on now to grace".
Law was necessary for the moment, and the Bible says God gave them the law because they were infants. That's the language used in the original Greek in Galatians. It says that, when Israel were under the law, they were infants, and the Greek word there is "infant". So when you have kids, you have to give them laws, amen? I remember, my daughter, when she has friends come over when she was about seven, eight years old, I would tell her friends, "Okay, don't play in the kitchen," or "Don't touch the knives there. Don't play with the fire that is cooking something there". No, we tell them things, "Don't, don't, don't", why? They are infants.
Now, imagine, if you come to my house, and you're an adult, and I tell you, "Don't go to the kitchen, don't touch the knives there," you'll feel insulted, right? Of course, amen. But the thing is this: We are no more under law. We are under grace, and we have this wrong believing that "When people are under grace, they will sin more. We need to bring in the law". No, friend, we don't go back to kindergarten, amen? So here we go: The Bible says clearly, and those who teach from here, that this portion here is for believers who've lost their salvation. Now, one thing for sure, if this is true, it tells you in verse 6, right? No, verse 4, says, "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, who have experienced all this, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance".
Many a times, people use this passage, and then they have an altar call. Now, if you are consistent, this passage clearly says that it's impossible, if they have experienced all this, this group of people, it's impossible, "impossible" is not improbable. Impossible, it's impossible to renew them to repentance, and, yet we, after we teach them this, we frighten people, and then we have an altar call, and people come up and receive Jesus. Obviously, these are not people that experienced all this, amen.
So, "But, Pastor Prince, this is talking about those who are once enlightened, unbelievers enlightened. They have tasted the heavenly gift. Unbelievers, the ones who have tasted the heavenly gift". I wanna tell you something about this chapter first before I go into the breaking down these verses. I want you, child of God, to be so established in righteousness that you start to see the blessings that come out from righteousness. There's a verse in Isaiah that says, "The effect of righteousness is peace and assurance forever". I love that. "And the work of righteousness is peace and, the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assurance forever". "Quietness and assurance forever". "Peace, quietness, and assurance".
I want you to be a believer that is so established, amen, that you're confident in your relation with God, you're able to pray for others because you're not so self-centered. You know, when you have a toothache, you're thinking about yourself all the time. When there's pain, when there's guilt, when things are not resolved between you and God, you know, you cannot think of other people. You are selfish. So I want you, child of God, to be so established in righteousness that you are able to be a blessing, that you can forget yourself and serve the King of kings, amen? And serve him in a good spirit.
Now, before we go through that, I wanna tell you one thing: Do you know that there's actually, the usage of this word "impossible" is used twice in the same chapter, Hebrews chapter 6? In Hebrews chapter 6, it is used twice, and, yet more people are conscious of the negative one. "It's impossible to renew them to repentance," than the positive, "It's impossible for God to lie," when God says, "Surely I'll bless you". "Surely blessing I'll bless you, multiplying, I'll multiply you". Look at that. Same chapter, if you drop down, that by two immutable or unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation.
Now, look at the context. The verse before this, "God made a promise to Abraham," and this is what God says: "Surely blessing I bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you". Then it tells you, "It's impossible for God to lie". If God says he's gonna bless you, "Surely", and he's swearing by himself because the context says he can swear by no greater, he swore by himself. God has no one to swear by. You know, people swear, "I swear on my mother's grave", "I swear"... they swear by someone greater, but God has no one greater. God swore by himself. God says, "Surely by myself, I have sworn," "Surely blessing, I'll bless you, multiplying, I'll multiply you". And the context says, "It's impossible for God to lie".
When God says he'll bless you, it's impossible for God to lie. God will not perjure himself. He cannot, amen? And, yet we're not conscious of this blessing, "Impossible for God to lie," and blessing us. We are not conscious of this. We are more conscious... oh, it's all in the same chapter. This word "impossible," appears twice in the very same chapter, and, yet people have a propensity towards being negative, you know, negative truths. And nonetheless, it is the Word of God, so how do you explain it?
Let's go back to the portion, Hebrews chapter 6, "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened", now, listen, "enlighten" does not mean you are saved. You can be enlightened. You come to a gospel meeting. You're invited by your friend. Okay, someone is invited by his friend. Let's stop, in third party. He's invited by his friend. He comes to a Gospel meeting. We have seen this happen. They are enlightened. They know that the way to God is through Jesus Christ. Do you know people like that? And still, they'll say, "I feel like, one day, I accept Christ". Have you met people like that? So it's possible to be enlightened, short of being saved, amen.
Now, one good example of a person who had experienced all this and, yet, not saved, is Judas Iscariot. Judas was enlightened. Okay, the next line says, "And it's impossible for those who have tasted the heavenly gift", now, you'll say, "Isn't the heavenly gift, you know, you taste the heavenly gift means you are saved"? No, notice the word "taste," "geuo," in the Greek. "Taste" is the same word used when Jesus hung on the cross. They gave him sour wine mingled with gall to drink when he was on the cross. "When Jesus had tasted," "geuo," tasted it, "he would not drink". "Taste" doesn't mean you imbibe. Doesn't mean you bring in. He tasted it, okay?
So go back to that same word. Same Greek word is used here. "They tasted the heavenly gift". So, like I said just now, there are people who come to church, and they taste the gift. The gift is the Lord Jesus Christ, this heavenly gift. They taste, amen, his presence, and many a times they will say, still, "Maybe it's not time for me yet, and one day, I will. One day, I will". But you cannot say they didn't taste. Many of them were satisfied. I felt something. They taste it, but they didn't bring, invite him into their lives, into their hearts. The next line says, "They tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit". "They have become partakers of the Holy Spirit". Now, "Partakers of the Holy Spirit".
You say, "Pastor Prince, there you go," all right? This person is saved because only those who are saved have the Holy Spirit. But the word there used is the word "metochos," and "metochos" is the word "partakers," in the Greek, okay? "Partakers". Now, "metochos," "meta," "together with," it literally means "joint partner". Joint partner with what the Holy Spirit is doing. Doesn't mean you have the Holy Spirit in you. Judas Iscariot was among the disciples that went out, casting out demons, healing the sick, amen. He was doing miracles among the 12, amen? Yeah, he went out with two by two. He was among them that Jesus sent to heal, but, friend, he wasn't saved. Jesus called him "the son of perdition".
"Pastor Prince, how can you do miracles and all that and not be saved"? There's a belief that only those who are saved can do miracles, but in the Old Testament... listen carefully, none of them were born again. Does that shock you? They were believers, even the 12 disciples, listen, amen? Judas, the son of perdition, but even the rest, they were not saved. They were disciples. They were followers of Jesus, but they were not saved. How can anyone be saved until Jesus had died on the cross for their sins and rose again from the dead, leaving their sins behind, amen? How can they... and notice that they were disciples, yes. They were followers of Jesus, yes. They were believers, yes, but they need to be born again.
Just like the Old Testament saints, they were believers, they were disciples, amen, but they were not saved. They cannot be saved until Christ had died on the cross for all our sins, amen, and paid the price. Remember when Jesus rose from the dead and he appeared in the Upper Room? He breathed on the 11, and he breathed on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. That was when they were born again. Jesus even told a godly, it seems by all outward appearances, he's like a godly man. In the Old Testament, there are godly people. So there were still the Old Testament, it was not inaugurated yet until Christ died. A man called Nicodemus came to Jesus, and what did Jesus say? "With all your erudite knowledge, you're a master of Israel, you must be born again. You must be born again".
So the Old Testament people, they were disciples, they were believers, but they were not born again, amen? We are born again, re-created. The believers, even the prophets and the kings, they had the Holy Spirit on them, but we have the Holy Spirit in us. In the Upper Room, Jesus says, "The Holy Spirit, who is with you, all this while, he's with you, but he will be in you". And when did that happen? Well, when Jesus rose from the dead, in the Upper Room, he breathed on them and said, "Receive you the Holy Spirit". That's when they were saved, and on the day of Pentecost, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit, and there were others who were saved as well on the day of Pentecost, amen? Do you remember when Jesus hung on the cross, he said to the thief, "Today you will be with me in paradise"?
Let me explain this. All those who died in the Old Testament, they all don't go to heaven straightaway. Okay, listen carefully. Today is no more true. Christ has come. Christ has risen from the dead. Today, when a believer dies in Christ, he goes straight into the presence of the Lord, amen? He's in heaven, straightaway, amen. But, back then, there's a place that Jesus shared a story, not a parable, a true story of a beggar who died. His name was Lazarus, and he died, and he went to a place called "Abraham's bosom," and it's another name is "paradise". Like Jesus told the thief, "Today you shall be with me in 'paradeisos,' in paradise".
Now, paradise is not heaven. Paradise is the place where the righteous, the godly, the believers of the Old Testament, that's where they go to. It is not hell. In fact, in the story Jesus shares about the beggar being in Abraham's bosom and the rich man, who obviously is an unbeliever, amen, and he was burning in the fires, and he says, "Why don't you send the beggar, Lazarus, and let him dip his finger in water and cool my tongue. I'm tormented in this flame". See, feelings, feelings don't depart after you die. In fact, the life commences because you are a spirit. For us, it's the real life.
Now, listen to what Abraham said. Abraham says, "There's no way we can go over that side. There's a great gulf in between". This is not heaven and hell. This is a place below where the departed Old Testament saints will go to. Now, where is that place now? It is vacated. When? When Jesus died on the cross, the Bible says, "The dead bodies of the saints arose in their tombs". Remember that? But they didn't come out until his Resurrection, amen. When Jesus rose again on the third day, then they came out. Imagine, David came out in Jerusalem, amen, Abraham from the Cave of Machpelah with Sarah, and all the rest, they got their bodies. The Bible says they came out in their bodies. The bodies. They came out. They were, like, the firstfruit of those who received their bodies. They came up, and the people of Jerusalem saw them, amen. So, but where were they prior to this? They were in a place called paradise, amen.
So the Bible says, Peter says that Jesus died on the cross, and he told the thief, "Today, today", not on the third day, "Today you shall be with me in paradise". He brought the thief that was saved at the cross to the place of paradise, and Peter says, by the Spirit in his writing, that Jesus preached to them that he is the Messiah, the Promised Seed that they have prophesied of, that they have heard of, amen. Daniel was rejoicing, amen. David was rejoicing, amen. Esther was rejoicing, and the Bible says Jesus brought them all out, amen. He brought them all to the heavenly place, amen, and the Bible says, when Jesus ascended, there was a great cloud, and the Bible says in Hebrews 12, "great cloud of witnesses". That's when they entered heaven, hallelujah, hallelujah.
So back to this again, was Judas saved? No, he was not saved. In fact, Jesus called him "the son of perdition". "But, Pastor Prince, how can you be saved and not"... I already answered that. It's possible, in the Old Testament, they would do it like Balaam. He would do, like, he had prophetic gifts, amen, but it was Spirit on him, not the Spirit in him. Today we have the Holy Spirit in us, and Jesus says he'll be in you forever. For how long? Forever. Forever is a long time, my friend, hallelujah. So Judas, was he saved? No, he was never saved, and he betrayed Jesus. "He tasted the heavenly gift and have become partner of the Holy Spirit".
I want to read to you a portion here from Kenneth Wuest. Kenneth Wuest is a highly respected Greek scholar. Kenneth Wuest. And this is what Kenneth Wuest says of the word "partaker," "metochos," in the Greek. "Partakers of the Holy Spirit. We must be careful to note that the Greek word translated 'partakers', does not mean 'possesses' in the sense that these Hebrews possessed the Holy Spirit as an indwelling person who had come to take up his permanent abode in their hearts. Thus the word signifies one who participates with another in a common activity of possession. It is so used here. These Hebrews became participators in the Holy Spirit, insofar as an unsaved person can do so", notice "unsaved person", "namely, in the sense that they willingly cooperated with him in receiving his pre-salvation ministry, that of leading them on, step by step, towards the act of faith. The Holy Spirit had led them into the act of repentance. The next step will be the will be a faith. Here they were in danger of turning their backs upon the Spirit and returning to the sacrifices".
So all these people, they actually were in danger of turning their backs on Jesus. They were enlightened. They know he's the truth, amen, but they turned their backs on him and go back to the temple sacrifices. For these people, the Bible says, and it's a unique thing for that situation because the temple was standing. For these people, the Bible says there is no more. It's impossible to renew them to repentance, amen? The next verse says, "These people have tasted the good word of God", same word, "geuo", "tasted the good word of God. They tasted the powers of the age to come", and the word "powers" is the word "miracles". They performed miracles. They tasted the good word of God, but they tasted the good word of God, just like a sinner.
An unbeliever can come to church, and they taste the good word of God. It's only a taste. They never drink it in. They're never saved. "If they fall away, to renew them again to repentance", it's impossible to "if they fall away, to renew them to repentance, since they crucify again to themselves the Son of God, and put him to an open shame". So, friend, it's not talking about you. If you believe on Christ, the Bible says, Jesus says, "I give them eternal life, and no man can pluck them out of my hand. They shall never perish". Jesus said clearly in John 10, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish". What is it about "never" that we don't understand? Never is never, amen. Praise the Lord.
We need to be established in this truth and don't allow passages like this which is a warning to the apostates, those who, you know, they say they are Christians and they have tasted, genuinely tasted the heavenly gift, the good Word of God, and even they may have partaken as a partner, amen, to do the work of the Holy Spirit like healing the sick, even, like the way Judas did, but they were never saved. They were never born again. In fact, these people, this group of people, they turned their backs and they go back to the temple sacrifice. In other words, with open eyes.
Now, listen, friend, it does not refer to our friends that we invite to church and we encourage them to listen to a gospel preacher preaching and all that and they don't receive Christ. Many a times, we have seen friends like this who receive Christ later on. So obviously, they're not part of this group. This a very unique situation, amen. For that time, when the temple was still standing. Because they can turn their back on Jesus and go back to the temple sacrifices and those sacrifices does not avail anymore. So it's not referring to a situation today where a sinner turn around. He can still be saved.
And for those of you who want to use this passage to frighten people, you can't give an altar call because it's impossible. Those who fall in this category, it's impossible to renew them to repentance. These are Jewish people that profess faith in Christ. They were among the Christians for a while, just like they still can be in church every Sunday but never receive Christ. In this case, they turn their back with open eyes, reject Jesus Christ, and go back to the temple sacrifices. Maybe during that time, they find a persecution and all that, if you go all the way. But they're the only ones that God can say, "Go all the way to perfection, to the new covenant, to the accomplished redemption of Jesus Christ". Are you with me so far?
And if you drop down to verse 9, here it talks about, "But, beloved," notice the change of subject here, "But, beloved". "But, beloved". Now, just now, when he talk about this group of people, this problematic group, he never says "beloved". But now he's saying, "But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you," concerning you. Who is he talking to? "Yes, thing that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner". So who is this "you"? Who is this "you" that, I believe the writer is Paul. Who is he addressing to? Just now he says, and have you noticed the term, "beloved"? Beloved is only used for God's people, amen? So he's addressing those who are truly born again, the Jewish people who are truly born again.
By the way, saying all this does not mean that the book of Hebrews is not relevant. Every book of the Bible can speak to us today, but we need to translate and interpret them, knowing the contexts, all right? So you can make, you actually eisegesis instead of exegesis, instead of bringing the truth and let the truth speak to you in its context, you try to read your persuasion, your background, your denominational beliefs, into the passage. That's eisegesis instead of exegesis. Now, friend, the Bible says he's now addressing believers. Notice, he used the second person, okay? Let me say it like this. I'm the first person, you're the second person and I say, "You". But notice the problematic people, he used the word "they," third party. They, the third person, amen, they, those.
Notice in the passage just now, "It's impossible for those"; verse 6, "if they fall away". "For those," "if they," those, they. What does it mean? He's not talking to you. You are not in this group, this problematic group. I'm talking to you about them. "But, beloved," now that you hear me share this, don't get frightened. "Beloved, we are persuaded concerning you, better things that accompany salvation, the fact that you are saved, we know that better things are coming as a fruit, as the result of you being saved".
So, friend, don't focus on that. He's telling you that it's very clear, the passage, isn't it, amen? You know, the thing about those who believe that one can lose their salvation is always like they believe the other person can lose. They never believe that they can lose. They try to bring all these things and always believe that you can lose, that group can lose, that church can lose. Never themself. Like a guy who went to a doctor one time. Said, "Doctor, my head is painful and my back is painful and my shoulder is painful and my foot is painful," and doctor said, "Whoa, you are a ball of pain, aren't you? I mean, that is the first time I'm hearing this. Come, come over, let me examine you. Show me what happened". He said, "Doctor, see, my head. Aghh, very painful. You see, my shoulder, ohh, very painful. My foot, aghh, very painful. My back, aghh, very painful". And the doctor says, "You have a broken finger," amen?
So when you have broken finger, everything you, you know, your perspective is wrong. Everything you read is wrong and you experience wrong, amen? But you project that wrong to somebody else, not to you. You don't think the problem is with you; the problem is with somebody else, amen? No, friend, perhaps consider this. That you've been hearing something that is out of context, amen? But don't let fear come into your heart, child of God. We are persuaded, beloved, better things concerning you.
Now, I don't want this to end just on this note so, really quick, let's go to the portion. Drop down, same passage, to the next, "impossible". "By two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie". What are the two unchangeable things? Number one, God's Word is unchangeable. When God speaks, it stands forever. Number two, God's oath or God's promise. God swore by himself. And you know, something, friend, God doesn't have to swear. His word is enough. You and I, we swear because many a times, we have to add, like, a special support to what we are saying because we know at times we don't keep our word. So we swear and we swear by someone greater, but God doesn't have to swear. But God swore. It's almost as if he humbled himself, according to our infirmities to help us have a full assurance, amen, and the context there is that it's impossible for God to lie. When he says, "Surely, I'll bless you," you'll be blessed. "Multiplying, I'll multiply you".
So let's look at the context in closing. Let's go back to verse 13: "For when God made a promise". It's all in the same chapter, friend. "When God made a promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no one greater, God swore by himself, saying, 'Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.'" Those of you right now, you are having challenges not knowing, amen, where your job will be coming from because you have just been, you know, released from your, or retrenched, or whatever, amen. You're wondering where's my next supply gonna come from. Friend, that job was never your supply. God is your supply.
And when God says to you, "Surely," not maybe. "Surely," like "Surely goodness and mercy will follow us," God puts a surely down there and God swore by himself. Notice that. God swore by myself. The context there is actually Genesis 22. God said to Abraham when he offered his son Isaac on the altar and God stopped him from killing his son and God gave him instead of his son, the ram. And this is what God says: "By myself have I sworn, says the Lord," okay? Look at verse 17: "That in blessing I'll bless you, in multiplying I'll multiply you".
Now, go back to Hebrews again. So God swore by himself, "Surely blessing I'll bless you". You don't have to worry about the channels; they are never your source. God is your source. Your job is just a channel. If the channel shuts down, God has other channels. But God is your source. And when God says to you, child of God, "Surely blessing I will bless you," it's impossible for God to lie. You'll be blessed. It's not by chance you're watching this, amen. And not only blessed, God says, "Multiplying, I will multiply you," amen? Multiply in terms of your children if you're open to that, amen, if you want more. And also multiply in every area of your life. The original call of God to man, "Be fruitful and multiply". And not only that, have dominion over the earth, amen?
You cannot have dominion if you're flat on your back, you're always sick, always broke, always poor. So God's original blessing. When God blesses a man, he's blessed. He's endued to succeed. There's a conferring of power. When God blesses you, and God says, "Surely blessing I'll bless you," friend, you're empowered to succeed. You're empowered to be healthy. You're empowered to be fruitful. You're empowered to live life more abundantly. You're empowered to be a blessing to others. There's a blessing.
We sing the song, "The blessing". Now, it's a very popular song now, "The blessing". What does it mean? Blessing on our children, and our children's children, and children's children. What does it mean? What is a blessing? What does a blessing look like? Look at Abraham. Was he ever poor? No, was he ever in lack? No, amen. Was he ever in a place where God didn't, you know, God punish him? No, God did chastise him but that chastisement is not punishment, amen? God corrected him. But God corrected him even with blessings. What about his children? Were they blessed? Yes. His wife? Oh, yes. Even her youth was renewed in her old age, amen, amen. Was he healthy? Well, he lived to 175 years old and there's no record that he was ever sick, amen?
So God says we are the seed of Abraham. You and I, we are the seed of Abraham because we are in Christ, the seed of Abraham. Therefore, when God says to you in the context of Hebrews, he's talking to the believers now, Abraham is already in heaven, he's talking to the believers. "Surely blessing I will bless you. Multiplying, I'll multiply you". Receive it, child of God. And then tell yourself, "Impossible for God to lie". It's not Pastor Prince saying it. It's the Word of God. And God swore by himself. God vested his integrity, his character, amen, behind his word, telling me, even today, amen, in the circumstance we are in, God is saying to you, child of God, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying, I will multiply you".
Don't be afraid of the pandemic. You're a blessed man. You're a blessed woman. You are under the blessing of Abraham. Expect preferential treatment from heaven. Expect good things to happen to you. It's called blessing. And even in your troubles, God will prosper you and bless you, amen? Abraham had a son called Isaac and this is what happened to Isaac many years after, after the promise was given, "there was a famine in the land".
Now, isn't a famine now? We are in a financial famine, amen? We're in this pandemic. So it doesn't mean that you're a child of God, you will not experience famine. I should say it like this. Doesn't mean that you are not in a circumstance where there is famine, amen? Because it happened to Isaac who was actually the seed of Abraham, a type of all of us in Christ. So, "there's a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the Lord appeared unto him, and said to Isaac, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I will tell you of. Sojourn in this land," now watch this, "and I will be with you, I will bless you; for unto you, and unto your seed, I will give all these countries, and," what? "And I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham your father". What is the oath? "Surely blessing I'll bless you, multiplying, I'll multiply you".
Now, God is talking to Abraham's son now, Isaac, and God is saying, "I'll perform to you the promise, the oath, I promised your father. Surely blessing I will bless you, multiplying, I'll multiply you". "Well, Pastor Prince, this blessing means Isaac was peaceful. He had this unseen, unfelt in the physical realm, but it's all spiritual". No, friend, if you drop down, let's see how God kept his oath to Abraham in the life of Abraham's son, Isaac, because you and I are a type of the seed of Abraham as well. Drop down, same passage. "Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him".
Now, friend, don't add anything to God's Word. When God's Word says a hundredfold in that year, amen, don't try to spiritualize it away. It says this is the Lord's blessing: "The Lord blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great". He became great, thirtyfold. He went forward, and grew, grew great, that is, sixtyfold, and he became very great, hundredfold. Ha, ha, amen. Now, you sees it. "But Pastor Prince, I believe that Isaac experienced spiritual blessings". Next verse. "For he had possessions of flocks, and possessions of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him".
Philistines are people who are unbelievers. They are people who are very natural. They are the enemies of Israel and in this context, they saw with their eyes, they saw with their eyes, the blessing of God on Isaac. The blessing were tangible, the blessing was very evident to sight. So much so that they were jealous of Isaac. God wants to bless you, child of God, until the world is jealous. In a positive way, God is using that so that they will say, "I wanna know your God. I wanna know why there's always joy in your life. I wanna know why there's a smile on your face. I wanna know why there's a radiance about you. I wanna know why things happen to work for you, even at work when things go wrong, I notice that somehow things work for good whenever you're around. Why is it when you step into a room, business comes in, amen. My business prospers," amen. That should be the testimony of every child of God. Everywhere you go, you're a blessing, everywhere you go.
So receive this right now. It is impossible for God to lie. When God says, even during this time of the pandemic, during this time of challenges, that the world's talking, all kinds, you know, the news is full of it. You don't have to bow down to it. It is famine, yes, and we are in the midst of famine, right? And you know, we are, I believe, it's gonna continue for some time but the child of God, remember the illustration from the story of Abraham's seed, that's true of you, my friend. It's true of you, child of God. You're Abraham's seed.
Now, let these words go deep in your heart: "It's impossible for God to lie". When God says, "Surely blessing I will bless you, multiplying, I will multiply you". Receive that word. And don't worry about your job, don't worry about your future, don't worry about your children and what is looming ahead. Just know this: I'm a blessed man. I'm very blessed. God has promised. And God doesn't have to promise. God's Word is enough, but by two unchangeable things: "Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise". What are the heirs of promise? You and I. So God wants to show you so much that he wants to bless you that God and the "unchangeableness of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable, unchangeable, things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong encouragement, strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us".
Friend, look up here. I'll close with this. Listen, God wants so much for you to have strong encouragement, strong consolation, as you look at the days ahead. How? God made himself almost like, based on our human weakness, God lowered himself. God doesn't have to swear, his word is enough. But God swore to give us a strong encouragement that surely blessing he will bless you and multiplying, he will multiply you, amen. Friend, I believe that it's not by chance you are watching this right now. If you've never made Jesus your personal Savior and Lord, God sent his Son, the true seed of Abraham, in whom, the Bible promised, all the nations will be blessed. Not just Israel. Through Christ, all the nations will be blessed.
And what is this greatest blessing? Are the blessings of Abraham, the greatest blessing is Christ and the gospel. And the gospel is that Christ on that cross bore all your sins, my friend. All of them, every last one of them. And then he died under the weight of that judgment and condemnation that was supposed to fall on you and me, but fell on him instead. He became our substitute. He became our sin offering to God, amen, on that cross. And if you believe that and you believe that on the third day God raised him from the dead because you and I were declared righteous by God.
If you believe that, you enter into the fullness of what Christ has done. So if that is you, and you wanna believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, amen, this is not a figment of someone's imagination, this is the word of the eternal God, amen, the gospel of Jesus Christ that comes to you right now, believe on him and receive forgiveness of all your sins. Pray this prayer with me right now, amen, if that is you. Say this from your heart:
Heavenly Father, I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for all my sins. I believe you raised him from the dead when I was declared righteous. I thank you, Father, that in your eyes, I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I thank you, Father, that surely blessing you will bless me and surely multiplying you will multiply me. Thank you, Father, that I'm always under your favor. Thank you, Father. Thank you, Father, that I'm always under grace. Thank you, Father, that I'm always under the blessing of Abraham. I'm always under the new covenant, in Jesus's name I declare Jesus Christ is my Lord forever, in Jesus's name.
Now, child of God, you're now a child of God. Old things about your life are all passed away and all things have become new. Welcome to the kingdom of God. Expect, expect heavenly and preferential treatment from heaven, from God, on your behalf. Angels now accompany you every day of your life, amen. They're always there, praise God. And, friend, if you're watching this right now don't think it's by chance you tune in. Maybe you felt an inclination in the inside to respond to a friend who invited you to watch, but that inclination is given to you by God.
So God wants you to hear what you're hearing. Maybe you are a believer and you've always been shaken by this passage of Scripture and now you realize that God wants you to know he wants you to have strong encouragement. He loves you so much that he wants you, not just to be persuaded somewhat, but to be fully persuaded like Abraham, hallelujah. Amen, praise the name of Jesus. If you can, stand to your feet right now for the blessing for this coming week, amen.
Friend, the Lord bless you, you and your families. The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord protect you throughout this week, you and your loved ones, from the COVID-19 virus, from every infection, from every disease, from every harm, from all the power of the evil one through his Son's blood. The Lord make his face shine on you and be favorable to you. You have the favor of God everywhere you go. You have peace with God, amen. The Lord lift up his countenance on you and grant to you and your families his shalom, peace, wholeness, and wellbeing, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and all the people said, "Amen". God bless you.