Joseph Prince - Make Jesus The Center Of Your Life
Praise God. Greetings, church. Grace, mercy, and peace be with all of you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Are you all ready to see more and more of your Lord Jesus? What's gonna happen when you see more of Jesus? The Bible says grace, which is unearned, undeserved favor, will be multiplied in your life, amen? You will find yourself being at the right place at the right time. You'll find good doors of opportunities opening to you. You'll find that doors that the devil has designed to put you in a place where you'll be defeated, where you will be even, you know, something bad happening or what, God will shut that door, when the favor of God abounds in your life. Only God, no matter how intelligent you are and how accomplished you are and how many degrees do you have to your name and you know, it doesn't really matter at the end of the day, the Lord is to be our shepherd. We are just to be sheep and when we follow him, guess what? When the Lord is your shepherd, you will not lack. You will not want.
By all means study, by all means pursue the highest levels of learning if you want to. Yes, be diligent. Always make sure that you work for the honor and glory of our God, but remember this: health comes from the Lord, success comes from the Lord, promotion does not come from the East or the West, the Bible says, or from the South, and that's all it says, which means it comes from the North. It's God that promotes. God demotes, God promotes. When we realize that, it really doesn't matter, all right, where our life is heading, as long as we are following the Lord. Sometimes it seems like there's no results for a while, and we are wondering what's happening. You look at your colleagues, you look at your friends, you envy them, all right? You look at their houses, and I say "houses" on purpose. You look at their cars that they drive and you think that, wow, you know, how I wish that I can have that lifestyle, but you do not know how poor they are.
Like I said before, they are poor people with plenty of money. You do not know the struggles they go through, the sleepless nights, and the depression that they are experiencing, and here you are, enjoying the peace, the grace being multiplied. Not only grace multiplied, the Bible says peace will be multiplied in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus in his high priestly prayer said to the Father, "To know you", and for the first time Jesus used his earthly name and the title together. "To know you and Jesus Christ whom you have sent". That is real life. To know him, amen? You know, the first mention in the Bible is very important on any subject. When the Bible mentions a subject for the first time, there is something significant. And the first mention of love in the Bible is in Genesis 22 when God told Abraham to offer his son, his only son, the son that he loved, amen, and all the while God did not want a human sacrifice, of course, amen. And God spared Isaac, Abraham's son. The whole picture there in the chapter is actually God talking about the time will come when he will give up his Son, his only Son, the Son that he loved, for us all.
So the first mention of love is the love of a Father for the Son. You might be experiencing, you know, you might have experience or are currently experiencing, you know, the challenge with your father, for example, and you might not understand the Father's love, God the Father's love. But God wants you to know that even if your earthly father, all right, put you aside, God wants to love you with a father's love, amen? And the first love, the first mention of love, is Father's love for the Son. It is the Father's love for our Lord Jesus Christ. When you know how much the Father loves Jesus, then you know how much God loves you, because God gave up Jesus for you, amen. The thing is this, church, all right, when we start pursuing and spending our energies, our health, the best years of our life, our time, we sacrifice even our family, all right, to pursue things like money, all right, your ambition is too small. You were not created for things like this. You were created to enjoy God's love, amen. To flourish in that love, to grow in that love, to know about love in the way God wants you to know it, and then you find your life becomes fulfilled.
And God is not against you having money, all right? In fact, when you pursue the Lord Jesus, money pursues you. And money pursues you, not for you to be materialistic but for you to use it to be a blessing to many, because the poor cannot help the poor, amen? Money makes a good servant but a lousy master, okay? So remember this. You were created for greater things. Are you ready for God's Word? All right, I wanna tell you something, okay? Today I wanna share with you something that is so glorious, remember this when you read your Bible, all right, the Old Testament, all right, is actually the New Testament hidden. The New Testament is actually the Old Testament open. So you'll find when God gave us the book, all right, God knew how he designed the book. I believe in the verbal plenary inspiration of the Scriptures. I believe every part is God-breathed. And when God gave it to us, God meant for us to study. It's the only thing that we can touch and feel this side of heaven, from heaven, from God himself.
And you can see every time, you know, someone deviates from Scripture, their life is messed up. Some even die prematurely, all right? God never meant for us to live life, God never meant for men to grow old even, all right? We know that God never meant for man to die. The Bible calls death, God calls death an enemy. Just as God hates sin, God hates the wages of sin which is death. God never meant for anyone to die, but the wages of sin, man sinned against God and brought death. So when you study the Bible, you are studying, all right, the book that's designed for your success in every area of your life, amen. There is one place in the Bible, it's so interesting when I first discovered this. That it says that God spoke to Moses from above the mercy seat, you know, the ark of the covenant, all right, that is found, that holy furniture that's found in the Holy of Holies, is the only furniture that's found in the Holy of Holies, and for those who know, all right, that furniture is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. The only time in the Bible that says that God spoke from above the mercy seat and gave instructions to Moses is the passage we are about to read. Are you ready for that?
You know, in the book of Leviticus, for example, God spoke to Moses from out of the tabernacle. Another time, God spoke to Moses from the top of Mount Sinai. God spoke to other people in other places, but the only time that God spoke, I can call it the word from the Holy of Holies. The only time God spoke from above the mercy seat, it must be very important instructions, all right? So chapter 7 of Numbers ends like this: "And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then Moses heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat, God's throne, that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubim: and God spoke to him".
Now we come to Numbers chapter 8, verse 1. So in other words, Numbers 8, verse 1, is telling you what God spoke from the Holy of Holies. Would you like to hear? Okay, remember this. There are a lot of details that God gives in the types. Say types. Types means figurative symbols that illustrate the essence, the truth. For example, the lamb that they killed on the night of the Passover is a picture of the true Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the anti-type, all right? So we study the type, we understand clearer the substance, the anti-type. And guess what God spoke from off the mercy seat, from the Holy of Holies? Chapter 8, verse 1: "And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick". Next, "And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the Lord commanded Moses. And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according to the pattern, which the Lord showed Moses, so he made the candlestick".
Let me show you a picture of the candlestick, or the lampstand, all right? From now on I will interchangeably use the word lampstand or menorah, all right? We are a church that understands some Hebrew, amen, all right? Today when you go to Israel, you will find this everywhere in souvenir shops and even in the Jewish shops everywhere. You'll find it displayed in every house, Jewish household, you will have this menorah that they will light every Shabbat or every Saturday they'll light it up, all right? And this came from the time of Moses, all right? There's a seven branch which for the most part, covers the Old Testament, and there's a nine branch which is during the time of Jesus and there's a reason for that as well. But seven branch is what we are focused on today. And church, this candlestick, notice, is out of beaten work.
Look at the last verse or verse 4 just now: "This work of the candlestick was of beaten gold". It is solid gold. It is made of one solid slab of gold. It is not wood and then overlaid. It is solid gold. And it's one slab. It is not like the branches you see are not inserted. They're all pounded and hammered into shape, from one talent of solid gold. And by the way, the tree that you see is the almond tree, so what you can say, the menorah is actually a golden almond tree. Now, almond is very interesting, all right? The almond tree is the first tree to bear fruit after winter, of all the trees. And God designed it that way. Of all the trees, the almond tree is the first one to bear fruit after winter. It speaks of life out of death. It's a picture of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ who arose from the dead, amen. So what you see on the menorah is almond right at the top. You see seven almonds.
Now, the center shaft is called the candlestick in the King James, all right? The center shaft is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. The tree branch on your right, the tree branch on the left, speaks of all of us, amen. And the entire thing speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ and also the church, because the church is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you listening, church? "Now, why am I studying this, Pastor Prince"? You're studying this because God spoke these words from the Holy of Holies, from above the mercy seat, and there's something he wants us to learn, okay? So the center shaft is the Lord Jesus Christ, amen. And the other branch on the right or the branches on the right and left, they are you and I. Now, each branch plus the center one, but each branch on the sides, they have a bud, they have a flower, and they have a fruit. And the fruit is almond fruit, okay? On this side, every branch has a bud, has a flower, and has a almond fruit. But the center shaft that represents our Lord Jesus Christ has a bud, has a flower, has an almond fruit, and another almond fruit. Two almond fruits, because he stands in a class of his own. How many understand that?
So the instruction from the Holy of Holies is awesome. Go back to Numbers 8. God is saying, verse 1 and 2, God said, "Speak unto Aaron". Now, who is Aaron? Aaron is the high priest of Israel at that time, the first high priest. Now, who is our high priest today? Our Lord Jesus, except that Aaron never had the title our Lord has. Aaron was never called the Great High Priest, our Lord was. He's the Great High Priest. But you can learn from the types. He is a type, so we can understand the anti-type and see what God wants from us, amen? Because I'm telling you, when you order your life in such a way that you're in perfect alignment with God, it's like a river going the same direction. Everything flows in your life, amen.
Now, what did God say? "Tell the high priest, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick". In other words, over against is the face in Hebrew, panim, all right? Over against the candlestick. What is it saying? It's telling you the three branches on the right and on the left, okay, when you light them, their light must face the center shaft, which is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at this picture, all right, of the top-down view. Can you see it? The three branches, the light is pointing to the center, and the one over here, the three branches is pointing back to the center. Can you see that? That tells us that the Lord is telling us and this is a message from the Holy of Holies, people. In other words, it is a message of message. It is instruction of instruction. The most important, God wants you to know is this: Everything you do is to bring glory to the center shaft, the Lord Jesus Christ. Your life, whatever blessing God gives you, the light, and the revelation is to bring light to the center shaft, the Lord Jesus Christ. Can I have a good amen?
You know, your marriage is to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. It's not just to satisfy each other's needs, because that becomes a very small world, and you'll be frustrated with each other, because there's no way, even how much love you have, without a higher purpose, that marriage becomes natural, amen. Your career, if you're not building your career on Christ, focused on the glory of Christ, I'm telling you it becomes empty. You wake up with a feeling of futility in everything, frustrated. Don't spend your best years pursuing small ambitions, people. You were created for greater things. So God wants your light to bring light to the center shaft, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, sit back and watch this video and notice especially how the lights, all the six branches, bring light to the center shaft. Watch.
As we look at the golden menorah, okay, the light, can you see? The wick dip into the oil and they're all pointing to the center. The one on the right points to the center, the one on the left points center, okay? Praise the Lord.
Every church, every ministry, the true test, the genuine test of any ministry, is whether it brings glory, honor, to the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, there are seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation. We have people asking questions about the seven churches in the book of Revelation. Well, there are many things for us to talk about, all right? Whatever we know about the seven churches, it can be interpreted as the seven historical age of the church history, all right, there are seven churches down through church history, as such, seven, the number's symbolic. Of course, there are more churches, local, but I'm talking about symbolic number. Or it can also refer to the local churches during the time the book of Revelation was written. Both are right. But more importantly, all right, it is knowing what the lampstand is there for.
Watch this. In Revelation 1, John had a revelation. Would you like to go to heaven and have a revelation and see heaven? See what John saw, John the beloved. What did he see, all right, in heaven? "Then I turned to see the voice," John talking, "that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band". The seven lampstands, he saw seven lampstands which later on, the Lord himself said, "The seven lampstands are the seven churches," amen. And what do you find in the center, in the midst of the seven lampstands? Here is not the seven branch, all right, menorah, but it's actually each branch is a lampstand by itself. And yet, in the center you find the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. Go back to Numbers 8. God says, "So when you light the lamp, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick".
Now, I'm gonna show you the New King James Version. It says here: "When you arrange the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand". Same idea, but I don't like the New King James because the word arrange is misleading. It is not the word arrange. Literally, in Hebrew, it is the word light. When you light. But I like the second part. It says in front of the lampstand. It's clearer. Are you with me? Your life, your ministry, pastors, leaders, your church, your local church, everything that we do is to point and bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, amen, church? What happens when you do that? Well, life takes on a whole new meaning. Power comes into your life. Remember the early church? Peter and John, they were on their way to the temple, and the Bible says: "At the Gate Beautiful there was a man lame from his mother's womb who never had walked".
Since he was born, he never had walked, and you know, Peter went to him, Peter and John, and it says, you know, he asked for money. He asked alms, all right? And this is what Peter did. Peter said, "Silver and gold I have none, but such as I have, I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk". Church, if you are the bride of Christ, and he's our bridegroom, know this, you have the power of attorney. You can use your husband's name. In fact, you can have a supplementary card, in case you didn't know, amen. You can sign off in your husband's name, hallelujah. Whatever your husband has, you have. Some ladies are going amen! Whatever he has, you have. And you know, Jesus gave us the power of attorney. It doesn't matter if I'm poor. If a rich man gave me the power to sign off in his name, it's not how rich I am, it's how rich the person I represent is, okay?
So Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Go ye therefore". That's the power of attorney. You're not going in your power, you're not going in your wisdom, you're not going in your strength, you're not going in your provision. You are going sponsored by Jesus Christ our Lord who has all power. So, Peter and John look at the lame man who never had walked and says, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth". Learn to use that, all right? Your child is sick, learn to rebuke that fever in the name of Jesus, amen. You can even curse that pimple on your face in the name of Jesus, all right? Use the name. It's been given to you, amen? Are you with me? So he say, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk". And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up. Say "lifted him up". Just think of that phrase, "lifted him up". We will come back to that again.
"And immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength". Verse 8: "And he leaping up stood, and walked, entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God. And they knew that it was he who sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him". Next, "And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it," in other words, they were admiring Peter and John like, wow, Superman has come down, or Ironman also, you know? And they were looking at them like they're some special, you know, person, all right?
But "When Peter saw that, he answered to the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk"? Sometimes there's an impression given in some ministries that are miraculous, you know? We have that in our church as well. We have people healed of cancers, we have people healed of terminal diseases, but remember this, it is the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, all right? It is his power, his glory. We may pray and a healing happens in front of our eyes, but remember this. It is not the holiness of the man praying, amen. It is not the power of that lady praying. It is the name of the one she represents. So Peter was looking at them, "Hey, guys, why are you looking at us as if our own power or holiness made this man walk"? Wow, these lamps, they were shining brightly on the center shaft. They would bring glory to Jesus. They refused the praises of men. They didn't camp around there and say, "Yo, man, look at this. C'mon, take a good look at this. Look at this". No, they were very careful not to take the glory. "So why look on us as though it's our power, our holiness"? The next phrase: "The God of Abraham," he told them, "and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Son Jesus".
Wow, these lamps were shining brightly, and bringing light and glory to the center shaft, the Lord Jesus Christ, amen? Do you see that? That's a message of the Holy of Holies, people. God wants your life, your gifts, whatever it is that is in your life, to bring glory to Jesus Christ, amen? See, these guys, they were not out to make themselves popular. They were not out to exalt themselves, they were not out to exalt one another or somebody else or whatever. They are here to exalt one name: the Lord Jesus Christ. There's no need for the high priest to use tongs to cut off the burnt wick because it's smoking badly, stinking. That's what the high priest does in the mornings. The high priest will go into the holy place, go to the menorah, the lamp stand, and he will cut away the shard, all right, the charred part, the charred part of the wick that is burnt.
Aren't you glad that there are things in our life, had it been still there in our life today, it would've caused you maybe to die prematurely? It might've cost you a lot of wonderful relationships if the Lord had not cut it away. Are you glad for some things have been cut away? Are you listening, people? All right, he would never cast you away, but he'll cut those things that are burnt out in your life, things that give up smoke and not light, things that bring stink, all right, to your person, he will cut them away. Aren't you glad? But for these disciples, there's no need to cut anything away. They were burning brightly. May you and I become like them, all right? Always bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. Pastors and leaders, you don't have to worry about the seven churches. Just know this: The purpose of the seven churches is to have Jesus in their midst, amen?
All right, let's go back to Numbers 8. By the way, do you know what happens when someone doesn't give glory to God? Would you like to know? A life wealthy, prestige, position, you have everything that this world can give you, all right, the adulation of the people, but there's no purpose to give glory to our Lord Jesus Christ, would you like to see what happens? Okay, also, in the book of Acts, you will see this man called King Herod Agrippa I. Now, this is not Herod that built the temple, Herod. This is the grandson of King Herod the Great. He's called King Agrippa I. By the way, he was the one that killed James the brother of John, okay, and then he proceeded to try to kill Peter as well, but prayer was made by the church for Peter without ceasing, and Peter was released by the angel, and the gates even opened by itself, the Bible tells us. The greatest thing you can do for your pastor, church, is to pray for him. Thanks for the few "Amen," but I'll take it anyway. The greatest gift you can give me is to pray for me and my family, okay? That's the greatest gift.
And prayer was made... sometimes I think to myself, James the brother of John died. Peter didn't die. No mention made of church praying for James. It mentioned made of Peter, prayer made for Peter. Peter was delivered. Interesting. Okay, so we have the power of attorney. Anyway, this is the same King Herod Agrippa. There was a day, the Bible tells us, let's follow the story. Acts 12, "And on a set day Herod Agrippa, arrayed in royal apparel". Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells us that his royal apparel was a special material. I've never heard of this material even in modern times. It's made of silver tissue, believe it or not. Silver tissue, the entire robe, and he chose when the sun was the brightest before he step out in that royal apparel, all right, silver. So when he step out, he shone like the sun. "And then he went to his throne, sat down, and he gave an oration to the people. And the people kept shouting, 'The voice of a god and not of a man.'"
And in Josephus's account, he tells us King Herod encouraged them to shout like that. They were flattering him, of course. See what happened. Next, "Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give glory to God". Wow. "And he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God grew and multiplied". Josephus tells us that immediately he was struck down. He collapsed. They took him, and his intestines were eaten up alive by worms for the next five days. He died an excruciating death. But the reason is given to us: "He did not give glory to God". Even a evil king like him, God wants him to know "You are where you are because of me". And, friend, he holds your breath in his hands. The breath that people use to blaspheme his holy name, he holds the breath of their nostrils in his hand, and just like that, "pyoo," you're gone. You can be boastful today. Where will your riches be?
So, friend, there's a life not spent for the glory of God, amen? Can you imagine, if he fell sick with a terrible disease and died before his time because he gave not God the glory, by the same token, what happens when your life is to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ? How healthy will God keep you? How strong will he keep you, amen? Are you with me, church? Come on. All right, the Bible tells us, when God lights the lamp, the light will shine on the center shaft. Go back to Numbers 8, all right? "When thou lightest the lamp", now, every time you find the high priest lighting the lamp, whether it's the book of Numbers or Exodus, all right, you find that the same phrase is used, "light the lamp". But the word "light" is very interesting in the Hebrew. You know what is it? It's the word "alah," "alah," which means "ascend," "raise," "lift up", "alah," where you get the burnt offering, "olah," "ascending offering". "Ascend," "lift high," when you light the lamp, you see, what happened is this, folks: Sometimes the wick, you know, the wick is halfway in the oil, and the wick goes down. It speaks of discouragement in our lives, depression.
There are times, you know, you're on fire Sunday, hallelujah. "Come on devil, show me your hair. I'll cut it off, in Jesus's name," you know? You feel like that, you know? But there are times when Monday come, Tuesday come, and you go down. You get depressed, all right? So what the high priest does, this is how he lights you up so they can bring glory to his name. You know how he does it? He takes the tong, and by the way, the tong is made of gold as well, all right? He takes the tong, and he lifts up. He lifts up the wick out of the oil. The way God causes you, when you are burned out, depressed, no more shining brightly", he doesn't knock you down further. He doesn't repress you. He doesn't condemn you. He lifts you up. And that's why I told you just now, the ministry of the disciples are like Jesus's ministry. They lift up. Jesus loved to lift people up.
I love the scene in "Passion of the Christ," that movie, where the woman came crawling, the woman caught in adultery, to his feet. And the next thing, she looked up, she saw his beautiful face like this, stretching his hand. He's always lifting up to the downcast, to the brokenhearted, to the widow who had lost her only son, all right? He lift the boy up, the young man who was dead. He says, "Young man, arise". And the young man stood up. All right, to Jairus's daughter, the 12-year-old girl, he said these words in Aramaic, "Talitha, cumi". "Cumi" means "arise". Jesus is always raising people. He's always lifting the brokenhearted, lifting those who are discouraged.
Many people sin, not because they are evil, all right? You know, you understand where I'm coming from when I say that? People sin because they are discouraged, they are down, they have no more purpose, they lose their vision, they think that, you know, "God doesn't take care of me. I must steal". "God will not take care of my marriage. I must commit adultery". "God will not take care of me. I must do this, I must cheat". "God will not protect me if I tell the truth. I must lie". You know, so, because of that, they are down, down, down, down, and the way God makes you shine brightly, many a times, he lift you up. David sang, "My glory and the lifter of my head. My glory and the lifter of my head. For thou, O Lord are a shield unto me. My glory and the lifter of my head". And the giant came tumbling down, "boom". God is the lifter of your head. He lifts you up, all right? Don't cry. And he sees to the young men, "Arise".
At the Pool of Bethesda, the man was lame for 38 years. Jesus says, "Rise up, take up your bed and walk". He's always raising people up, and he still is doing it today at the Father's right hand, hallelujah, amen, amen. The way he makes you shine is not repress you. He lifts you up. You know, when I was a young Christian, all right, there's one passage in the Bible that frightened me because of the preaching I heard. You know, Jesus said, in John 15, "I am the vine". Actually, what he said was "I am the true vine," because there are many fake vines. "I am the true vine," he said, "and you are the branches". Remember that in John 15? But this part used to scare me in the next verse: "Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away".
So I heard preaching when I was a young Christian, "If you don't bear fruit, God takes you away. Sometimes it's by death. Sometimes it's by accident. Sometimes he just removes you into oblivion". By the way, you know that you can never be smitten today? King Herod was not a believer, okay? Even if you don't live a life that glorifies God, God will not strike you down dead because the blood of Jesus has washed away your sins, but you become frustrated, depressed. When you die, you go to heaven, all right? God showed you what you could have if your life glorified God and what you settled for, and then you will cry. You know what he'll do those tears? He'll wipe them away and say, "It's all right. You're home now". I was so frightened. "Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away". Wow.
Let me tell you what it says in the original Greek. The word, "he takes away," is not the word "takes away". It's the word "airo," in Greek, and "airo," in Greek, means "to lift up," "to raise," amen. Now, don't depend on the Greek, people. Go to any vineyard dresser, all right, any husbandman of the vineyard. Go to Napa Valley. Go to whatever valley where they sell, you know, wine that is supposed to be the quality wine. Ask, whenever you go for a visitation at a vineyard, I know some of you do when you travel, all right? And just ask them, "Can a vine", by the way, a vine is called a clinging vine. A vine does not stand on its own. It doesn't have a trunk, all right? It has to cling on something, all right? A vine that is on the ground cannot bear fruit. When it's in the dust, it cannot bear fruit. So what the vinedresser does, he lift up the vine and put it on something called the trellis.
Watch this now. Trellis. In the shape of the cross. Most trellis are in the shape of the cross, and the vine start curling around it, and it bears fruit, hallelujah. "Every branch in me that does not bear fruit," he lifts you up. That's what it means. And we don't have to argue from the Greek. The Greek says it "lifts up," not "takes away". He raises. Just ask any vinedresser, all right? Vine cannot bear fruit on the ground, wallowing in the dust. By the way, do you know that Israel's number one enemy in the Old Testament is called the Philistines? Goliath was the Philistine that David killed, all right? They're the number one enemy of Israel, all right? You know what's the meaning of "Philistine"? Literally, "wallowing in the dust". God doesn't want his people wallowing in the dust, "Oh, I'm lousy. Nobody loves me. I'm gonna eat some worms". Make sure the worms don't eat you first.
You know, and they're wallowing in the dust, condemned. You know, that's why the expression of condemnation and guilt in the Old Testament was to take dust and put it on your head. It's a picture of condemnation, dust. Well, Jesus says, all right, he came that you might not be condemned. He took your condemnation. Dust, wallowing in the dust, you're wallowing in the devil's food because God told the devil, "Dust shall you eat all the days of your life". Don't spend your time in the dust. That's where the devil belongs, amen. He wants to pull you in the dust. God wants to raise you up, lift you up. Let our ministry be a ministry with encouragement, not a ministry of discouragement. And pastors and leaders, when people come, feed them. Don't beat them. "Oh, Pastor Prince, isn't there a place for correction"? Yes, whatever I'm sharing, as we lift up Jesus, people are corrected. That's repentance 'cause the word "repentance," in Greek, "metanoia," means "changing of minds". Minds are changing, amen. But don't beat.
"Well, Pastor Prince, Jesus had strong words for people as well". Who are those people Jesus had strong words? Mind you, he never spoke strongly against the prostitute. In fact, he told her what another woman, for example, he told her, this woman caught in adultery, he says, "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more". He gave her the gift of no condemnation to empower her to go and sin no more. The prostitute, Jesus told her, he lift her up, "Your sins are forgiven you". And all the Pharisees says, "Who is this to forgive sins"? He's always lifting people up. He's forgiving. And these are people, you can call them "rank sinners," and, yet he never beat them. He lifted them. I'll tell you, his strongest words are for Pharisees, those people who look people down their nose, holier-than-thou attitude, "Don't come near me. I'm holier than thou". All right, self-righteous. They have this attitude, "Don't come near me lest you defile me".
Jesus was different. He'll get down and lift you up. How he came down from so high? The Most High God came down to our dust. He went into the dust for us to raise all up. What a wonderful Savior. You know this one that you are to bring glory to? Listen carefully. This guy, this Lord Jesus, this wonderful person, God and man in one. Do you know that it's amazing how humble he is? Of all the babies born in this world, he had a choice where he would be born. No other babies have a choice. The parents choose for them, but for the Lord Jesus, he existed before he was a baby. He was with the Father, the Triune God, not three Gods, three in one. In the beginning, God, Elohim, plural. Hebrew, one God, but plural, created, the singular verb, "created". Triune God created.
Jesus came down as a baby. He had a choice. He could choose the Jerusalem Hilton, the Jerusalem "M", or "W," sorry. It got inverted. He could choose the best, but you know what? He chose to identify himself with the common people. He was born in a smelly manger where the ox were lowing and the sheep were bleating. There, the King of all kings was born because there was no room for him in the inn. He had a choice. "Amen," church? Would you like to be exalted by God? Okay, y'all, don't pretend. I didn't say, "Would you like to exalt yourself", okay? No angel will smite you, okay? I'm asking you this question here: Would you like to be exalted by God? Okay, but you know the parable of the sower, the four kinds of ground? Okay, the last ground, the good ground, Luke 8, all right, it says, "The ones the fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience".
Now look at the next verse. Talking about the word. "No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but set it on a", say it, "set it on a... that those who enter may see the light". What God is saying is this: Based on the parable of the Word of God, on the ground, he's saying, "You know what? If you meditate on my word, you enjoy my word", regardless of your colleagues and your friends, they value God's Word or they honor the name of Jesus, don't worry. "If you honor my Word, you cherish my Word, you meditate on my Word", you come to church and say, "I cannot have enough of preaching of our Lord Jesus," you value the Word of Christ. God says, "You are like a person who is lit up".
You think God says, listen, God saying, "You think I will put you under the bed after you are lit"? This is what I'm paraphrasing to show you. "You think, after you are lit up, you have something of value that you have seen, you think I'll put you under bed? Huh? You think I'll put you under a bushel", which is a covering. "After the lamp is lit, you think I'll cover you up"? God says, "No, once you are something precious from me, I'll put you on the lamp stand so that everybody can see it. No, that's not to touch the glory, but that's telling you when God exalts you. When God look at someone, look, I'm saying this, by the grace of God, our ministry is impacting the whole world. But those who know me for many years, they know that I'm not interested in the world. I'm interested in the world being saved, of course, but I'm not interested in becoming famous.
I just preach what I can down here, but whatever, "My hunger is to know Jesus through the Word". And whatever I see, all right, he must have seen that "Come on, Joseph, I didn't give you all this, my son, for you and your church. It's too precious". So guess what? He puts me on the lamp stand. But I better know, like the donkey that had Jesus on him, walking into Jerusalem, and the people shout, "Hosanna," to the Son of David, the donkey better know, even though he's walking on red carpet and the people are praising, he better not get it in his head, are you listening? We are just bearer of our Lord Jesus, amen, church? But on the other hand, there are those who get super-spiritual and they will say things like, "You know, yeah, yeah, man is not important. Man is", and they don't mean to glorify Jesus either. They don't glorify Jesus, don't say I'm glorifying Jesus, all right?
But they put down men. Sometime, they are jealous, so they will slander that man to put the man down, and they'll say, "We must not exalt men". Nobody's exalting men. I remember telling this to my youth pastors. Every time we have a youth camp, and the youth pastors come out, and the people scream. The young people scream, "Yeah," you know? And they'll say, "C'mon, people," you know? "It's only our youth pastors. Give the glory to Jesus," they are so scared, you know? So, I bring them one side and say, "Please trust the youth. They know you're not Jesus. Allow them to express". Young people like to express. If they don't shout at you, they'll shout at an idol from the world, all right? They shout because they love the way you present Christ. They love the way you change their life. They love it. They honor it. In fact, the Bible actually says in Thessalonians: "Honor those who labor in the Word," and it says this: "Esteem them," in Thessalonians. "Esteem them very highly". Not just esteem, not just highly. "Very highly in love for their work's sake".
So there's a place for respect for men of God around the world. We are not to slander or think that they are just common people. There is a setting apart that you all don't experience that they have paid the price, okay? "Esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake". To their master, they stand or fall. Not to you. Okay, so where we don't understand, we rest in God's wisdom, in God's handling. Don't know how to pray? Just pray, "God multiply your grace, mercy, and peace upon this person". But you're not to judge. Who made you judge? It's a form of self-exaltation. All right, so I just wanna show you that verse. Man, time just fly, man. Now, let's go to the passage in Exodus 27, all right, about the lampstand. "And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually".
Now, who bring the oil? The people of God, the children of Israel bring the oil for the lamp, all right? The oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Then how can we bring the Holy Spirit? Oh, my friend, do you have the Holy Spirit in you? If you come and you come and you come and you come and all of you bring the Spirit of God, we're gonna shine brightly. All of us have something to contribute. That's why in Corinthians, it says every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a revelation. Someone here has a song, someone here has something else. Let's all bring it together and let's edify one another and, most of all, let's glorify the Lord Jesus, okay, amen? Amen. "To cause the lamp to burn continually. In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend the lampstand from evening until morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel".
Now, notice the word, "Aaron, the high priest, and his sons will tend the lampstand". Tend. Now what is "tend"? All right, it doesn't tell you much. What is "tend the lampstand"? Okay, we say "tend the flock," "attend to this business". That's where you get "tend" from, tend. But in the Hebrew, the word "tend it" is the word "arak" which means to arrange in order, arrange and lay in order. Are you with me? Arrange or lay in order. That's why I like the old King James, you know? The New King James sometimes, you know, where it's supposed to say "arranged," doesn't say "arranged". Where it's supposed to say "light," doesn't say "light". They say "arranged," all right? But over here, it's very clear. Every evening the high priest will go to the lampstand and he will arrange in order.
Remember I told you... show them the picture of the lampstand again, all right, from the top, that's right. He will make sure that all the three branches on the right faces the center, and all the ones on the left faces the center. He does this every day for an everlasting statute, the Bible tells us. Every day, every evening, he will go there and make sure that everything is tend. Now, in the morning, he will cut away the burned parts and raise the wick so it burns brightly. But in the evening, notice that the ministry of the lampstand is from evening until morning. Say it. "Evening until morning". What does that tell you? In the darkest hours of our life, in the darkest time, God will make sure that his light shines brightly.
In fact, the Gospel of Mark portrays our lovely Lord as the perfect servant of Yahweh and in chapter 1 of Mark it ends with what? At sunset, right? The last chapter of Mark ends with what? Sunrise, amen? So chapter 1 of Mark ends with sunset, the last chapter of Mark opens with sunrise. In other words, the Gospel of Mark is the perfect servant going around in our darkness, lighting up our way, bringing blessing, showing us his love, raising us up in our times of darkness. Isn't it beautiful, amen? If you're in a dark time in your life, listen. From evening 'til morning, one thing, okay? It gets very dark. It can't get any darker, you understand? It's gonna get brighter and brighter. The path of the righteous shines brighter and brighter, amen. Jesus has opened for us a sunrise that will never end. We walk in the light of day. But go back to the high priest again. What does he do every evening? He go in, all right, and he'll make sure that all the lamps, again, a picture of the lamp, all right? All the lamps is facing the center.
Can you make sure they're all... but last week I asked some of my pastors this question: Why, I said, and something I love to teach them these questions, all right? Because it's part of, they are still going through Bible school. Because if I'm undergoing Bible school, they have to undergo Bible school. You never stop learning. So I asked them a question: Why is it if no one goes into the holy place but the high priest and his sons, right? No Israelite, no normal Israelite can go in. Only the high priest and his sons. So let's say they arrange all the lamps to face the center on this side, all the lamps to face the center, all right? Why must they do that again the next day, tomorrow? Tomorrow evening, they go in, they have to arrange again. What happened? Does it move by itself? You know what? It does. Listen carefully. For reasons we do not know, in the natural, in the tabernacle of Moses, maybe earthquakes, reverberations, all right, the lamp can shift its light.
What does that mean in the antitype? It means today you're focused on Jesus. The devil's singular objective, just know this, whatever the devil does, he has one objective only. Only one. For you to take your eyes off the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, he knows he cannot successfully win against you as long as your eye is on Jesus. You do not know, people, because you go by your feelings, but if you see the way heaven sees you, you are never stronger, you are never healthier, you're never more prosperous, you're never more better good-looking, all right, than when you are looking at Jesus. You are never more radiant, you are never more influential and affecting more people, than you can dream of, when you are looking at the one who is altogether lovely. So the singular objective of the devil is to take your eyes off the Lord, to distract you, to divert you.
Remember when Peter saw the Lord Jesus above the storm, walking on the waves of the Lake of Galilee, he saw the Lord Jesus, as long as his eyes was on Jesus, he, a mere natural man, a fisherman, who is not perfect, he's got his coarse ways, as long as his eye was on Jesus, he stepped out and he was doing the supernatural. And the devil says, "Uh-oh, this cannot be". And he started yelling, raising the sounds of the waves and the Bible says Peter took his eyes off Jesus, looked at the storm, looked at the waves, and he became what? Just like a little shift during the night, the lamps start, instead of putting light on the center shaft, the light comes on its own now, on its own branch. He starts saying, "What am I doing? Men cannot do this. I didn't finish University of Jerusalem but in my primary school last time in Jerusalem I learned that what goes up must go down. This is not natural," and the devil says, "Amen". Then he went down. He went down, he went down. The Bible says he started sinking and Jesus grabbed him. He's always, what? And he lift him up. And this is what Jesus says: "Simon, why did you doubt"? You want a definition of doubt? Is this: taking your eyes off Jesus.
Okay, let me finish. Can you let me finish or not? Okay, church? Now, some of you are saying, "Well, Pastor Prince..." Aren't you glad every day, shift your children's attention to Jesus. "Yeah, you can shift their attention, study for PSLE, study for", they can finish PSLE, graduate from the highest best university, and still enter into a job that does not give them the fullness of what they have earned. Only God can give you that favor, only God can put them in the right place at the right time. Make sure the lamp is facing the Lord Jesus Christ, all right? Educate them, all right? But don't forget the best education is to know Jesus. Something happens, always point them to the Lord Jesus Christ. Point them to the Lord Jesus Christ. And it's a daily chore, daily work. The high priest make sure that the next day he comes in again, some lamp are like this, the light is down here, the light is pointing on itself and all that. He shift them back.
I feel like there's a shifting going on in the spirit, amen? You know what I see happening around the world today? You know what I see happening around the world today? I see a new generation rising. And they are passionate for Jesus. They want Jesus glorified. They want Jesus exalted. I love it. I love it. And it reminds me, and I'll close with this. It reminds me of this story of Samuel, the young boy. His mother's name is Hannah, and Hannah means grace in Hebrew. I remember how the priest at that time was Eli, or Eli, all right? Eli was a priest, all right, the high priest actually, at that time. But his sons were bad. Sons of Belial, the Bible says. They were sleeping with the women that came at the tabernacle. They were abusing the offerings. They were taking people's offerings and all that. And the Bible says that God warned him but Eli did not do anything about his sons. And finally, Hannah gave birth to Samuel and gave Samuel to the Lord to serve the high priest. Samuel was a young boy, and he represents a new generation that came out of grace.
I wanna close with this verse that says this: "And it came to pass at that time," 1 Samuel 3, "while Eli was lying down in his place," while the priest was lying down, "and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim". Remember what I told you: they cannot see the things of God anymore. "That he could not see," and I love this, "and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down," the young boy, "the Lord called Samuel. And he said, 'Here I am!'" Eli wasn't tending to lamps then. The lamp was pointing in all different directions, but God saw a young boy whose eyes was on the Lord, so much so that if anyone calls him, he thinks it's the Lord. A boy who was focused on Jesus. And guess what happened? God will jealously guard the glory of his son. "If you don't do it," God says, "I'll find somebody else". Before the lamp of God went out.
Can you open your Bibles here, right now? I wanna show you something. Numbers 8, into Numbers 8. It's at page 125. You've got to see this, all right? It cannot be shown on the screen, I'm sorry. You've got to see this for yourself. I started off by saying Numbers, chapter 8, verse 1 to 4 about the lampstand, all right? It comes right after chapter 7. You see, chapter 8 comes after chapter 7. What is in chapter 7? If you look at chapter 7 real quick, we've got no time to read everything. You read chapter 7 real quick, you'll find it's about giving. The leaders of the 12 tribes and their gifts to the tabernacle, to the Lord. Every one of the leaders, their names are mentioned. The tribe they are from is also mentioned. What they gave is mentioned in detail in chapter 7, okay? Then chapter 8, smack dab in the middle, you have the lampstand, but look right at, after the lampstand, verse 5 and 6, it says: "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 'Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them ceremonially.'"
The entire chapter 8 is talking about the consecration of the Levites. Now, church, look up here, church. Smack dab in the middle is the teaching of the lampstand pointing to the center shaft. But before that, a long chapter, the longest in Numbers, is about the names, one by one, of those who gave to the tabernacle, what they gave, which tribe they're from, the princes. Then the lampstand. After the lampstand, the rest of chapter 8 talks about the consecration of the Levites, people who serve God. And smack dab in the middle is the lampstand. Why? The lampstand has its place in Exodus because Exodus talks about all the holy furnitures of the tabernacle: the brazen altar, the laver, the table of showbread, the lampstand. There, you find its place. But here, it seems to be, at first glance, out of place. It is the only furniture mentioned and why not bronze laver, why not ark of the covenant? Why the lampstand?
Now, this tells me this book is inspired of God. Watch this now, and I close with this. The entire chapter 7 before the lampstand teaching that came from the holy of holies, is about giving. The names are mentioned and the tribes they are from and what they give. After the lampstand, consecration of the Levites. In other words, our person for service, our giving, must all be done in the light of the sanctuary. Are you listening, people? In other words, when you give to the Lord, you know there are people who give for different reasons?
You know, there are people who give to be noticed. I mean, there are a lot of reasons but the light of the lampstand shows up the real motive. Then, your service, the consecration of the Levites, the light of the sanctuary, reveals why you are serving. Are you serving for gain? Are you serving to be noticed of men? Are you serving for your own gratification? Or is it for the center shaft? He bears light this way, on this chapter; he bears light this way. This tells me this Bible is inspired because if men writes this Bible, they will not put the lampstand out of its place, all right, smack dab in the middle. But now you see its divine place, hallelujah. May the Lord Jesus have central place in your life. Give him praise, hallelujah.
Every head bowed, every eye closed all across this place. Friend, if you are here today, and you have never made the wonderful Savior our Lord Jesus Christ, I feel there's a special anointing for God to readjust your lamps to point to the center. Before I pray for those who need the Lord Jesus in their lives, who have never received him, let me just invite every believer right now, just tell the Lord:
Lord, today I can see the importance, Lord. My reason is with me, my understanding, and the wisdom that you gave me is very clear, Lord. But I don't wanna end up like Nebuchadnezzar. I don't wanna end up with my lamp shifted during the night. Grant me, Lord, your super-abounding grace to keep my eyes focused on the Lord Jesus. Not just in my walk with you, but also in my marriage, in my career, my ministry, my studies, in my relationships. To know that this is what life is all about. True, fulfilling, meaningful life, to see the Lord Jesus as a center of my life.
God becomes the sponsor of anyone that puts his Son first in central place. God will do to you what you do to his Son. Never forget that. Despise his Son, God will despise you. Reject his Son, God will reject you. Honor his Son, God will honor you. Exalt his Son, God will exalt you. Accept his Son, God will accept you. For everything in this world was made by him, for him, through him, and then back to him. We are part of that creation. The world doesn't revolve around you. It revolves around the Lord Jesus Christ, who loves us so much, he makes us a part of his dream, of his plan, of his purposes. Friend, if you've never made Jesus Christ your personal Savior, I wanna give you this opportunity right now. No one looking around all across this place, just pray this from your heart. Say:
Heavenly Father, I want your Son, my Lord Jesus Christ, to be my Savior and Lord. I put my trust in him as my Savior and Lord. He died on the cross for my sins. He was buried, and on the third day he rose from the dead to be my justification. As he is, so am I. Death, judgment, is all behind me now. I live in Jesus's Resurrection. Jesus Christ is my Lord, in Jesus's name. Amen, amen, amen.
Praise the Lord. Give him the praise and the glory and the honor, hallelujah. Lift your hands all across this place. I wanna bless you. And I say from my heart, "Truly all of you are reflective of the work of grace that the Lord Jesus has done in your life". I wanna encourage you, don't be discouraged if there's some temporary setback or challenge that you are faced with at this time. Sunrise is coming, and the Lord will make sure that it's never sunrise for sunset. It will always be sunset to sunrise with Jesus. Lift your hands all across this place and believe God for yet another great week.
The Lord bless you and your families this week with the blessings of Abraham, the blessings of Deuteronomy 28, and the Lord keep you, protect you, from all harm, dangers, accidents, from every infection, from every disease, from every disease-bearing mosquito, from every sickness, every infirmity. The Lord protect you and your loved ones throughout this week from all the powers of darkness and from the power of the evil one. The Lord make his face shine on you, be favorable towards you, multiple the favor of God on your life, and the Lord lift up his countenance and grant to you and your families his wonderful peace, in Jesus's name.