We are not going to preach what’s wrong with you. We’re going to preach what God said about you in spite of what is wrong with you. There are still things wrong with you, you know that? But we’re not emphasising on that, we’re emphasising on the gospel of Jesus Christ. I didn’t come to tell you what’s wrong with you because we’d stay here the whole night and the whole week. We don’t have much time. If I’m here to tell you what’s wrong with you, tonight won’t be enough. I didn’t come here to beat you over the head because the beating will never stop.
But, we came to proclaim the gospel.
Jesus came to bring good news among people that live in bad news. Let’s go to Luke 15, on the Prodigal Son. I want to call your attention to one verse. Sometimes, there are things in the bible that capture your attention. You don’t read too fast. If something captures your attention, look at that verse for a long long time. You know, it’s like taking sweets. Put it on your tongue and suck it. Get nourished from it. Savour it. Take your time and just enjoy that verse.
Take one verse and just meditate on it – that’s called meditation – until you’re finished with that verse, until you’ve taken all the sweetness and all the nutrients.
This one verse is found here in verse 20. It says:
And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
His father did 5 things. What was it? His father saw him, had compassion, ran, fell on his neck and kissed him. Five things. That’s the number of? [Grace] But this is the thing, this verse is so full of grace that when you meditate on it, it’s so beautiful. Look at it.
When did the father saw him? When did the father show him grace? When did the father’s heart overflow with grace? When? When he was yet a far off.
Now, if God had compassion for His sons that are far away, then you who are near, how much more? Let’s try that one more time.
The bible says, when did God have compassion? When did the father have compassion on the son? When he was yet a great way off.
See, we have this idea. The son came back and the son had a [unclear] with the father. No, that is non-sense. Long before the son, far away, while he was yet a great way off, the father saw him, had compassion.
So, when we were far away from God, God loved us. While we’re still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Isn’t that beautiful? And the thing is this, if that is so, now that we are brought close to God by the blood of Christ, how much more? How close are we to God?
You know, you and God, you are close. I said, you are close.
Like the little boy that went out of his [said] room, one day, and told his parents at night, before he went to bed. “Ya’ll want anything? I’m about to pray.” I like that spirit. Anybody want anything? I’m about to pray. He talked like he really knows God.
And that’s the kind of Spirit we must have. We must know that we have God’s ear. How close are we? We are at the Father’s right hand [Ephesians 2:6], in Christ.
The Hebrew word there is יָמִין (yamin) right hand. “Benyamin” (Benjamin) means what? Son of the right hand. The word יָמִין jamin or yamin (in Hebrew) actually means right hand, but you check carefully. It also means prosperity. We’re in the place of prosperity. Right hand of prosperity. Hallelujah.
Something has changed since the old testament. A new covenant. Old covenant is based on the law. “But, Pastor Prince, I thought the law was only given to the Jews?” In a sense, it was given to the Jews but the Jews, themselves, will tell you; the Rabbis will tell you that when God proclaimed – you won’t find this in the bible, you’ll find this in the Talmud – that when God proclaimed, with thundering voices – and the bible says voices was heard on mount Sinai – they [Talmud] said that God spoke the ten commandments in every known language of the world. Simultaneously, different languages spoke forth from God.
In other words, the ten commandments was given to all mankind. But the bible says, Jesus came to fulfil the law and to give us a new agreement with God. A new contract with God.
And the thing is, some Christians – they don’t even know the difference between the old and new. They mix up both. The bible says the old is the law, the new is grace.
We’ll start off by reading Romans 6, now this is the lesson for tonight.
Romans, chapter 6. Everyone say “Praise God, I’m under grace!” Okay, verse 14 of chapter 6.
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace – Romans 6:14 NJV
You are not under law but under? Grace! One more time, you are not under law but you are under grace! And what’s gonna happen? Sin, one translation says, ‘sin will not be master over you’ (NASB).
Now, how many know the power of sin? How many of you have tried to overcome the power of sin? You don’t have to put up your hands. Alright, you all know what happened today. Some of you, last night. Or maybe, last week. You all know when you had that outburst. You tried your best not to get angry, but you got angry. You tried your best not to get resentful but you got resentful.
Whatever your pet sin is, let me tell you this, if you find sin is such a strong force in your life, it’s a clear sign, you are not under grace. You’re still under law. But people have this idea, “Well, when you’re under grace,” people will say, “let’s go and sin! Because we are under grace and we are not under law.” They will think that way.
But, actually, this verse doesn’t sound logical. What sounds logical is this. Let me give you my translation, how I think the bible should be read, is it okay? Now, we all know it’s wrong, but is it okay? Now, this is logical to me. Verse 14, “For sin shall have no power over you, because you are under law and not under grace.”
Does that sound logical? In other words, sin will have no power over this church if I keep on preaching the law. I tell you what the ten commandments are all about. Am I right? But what the bible says is what I think it should say.
Now, listen. What this verse says is this. Sin will not have power over an individual, over a family, or over a church if that whole church, or that individual is under grace and not under law. Sin will have no power.
And, now, you all know how it is right? For sin to have power in the area of anger, I’m just choosing those areas that a lot of people deal with. In my counselling, I know that a lot of people deal with, in this area of anger, resentment. Another area, for men, is pornography, lust, having eyes full of adultery.
They are trying to fight it. You cannot say that people are not sincere. There are people who are really sincere when they pray before God. But what is it? They’re under a power. And the bible says, they’re under a certain dominion. The word there is ‘dominion’ – master. It seems that sin is master over their lives. Why?
Why is sin master over their lives? Because, the bible says, they are under law! Not under grace. Because if you are truly under grace, sin will not be master over you. Do you see what the verse says?
Now, listen. If there is someone in this church. You’ve attended the church and you’ve heard my preaching on grace and then, you are living a life of constant bitterness, anger, frustration, un-forgiveness, anger, un-forgiveness – I said all that already. Bitterness, un-forgiveness, frustration. Or you live a life of adultery after adultery or you are living in adultery right now. Let me tell you this, you don’t understand grace. Because, the bible says, if you are truly under grace, sin will have no power over you.
The law says, “Keep off the grass.” And the more you try to keep off the grass, the grass looks attractive. Oh my goodness, I mean, “I’ll try my best…” But the more you ‘try your best’, the more the grass looks greener on the other side. Finally, you eat the grass like a cow. Because, it really looks delicious.
That’s what the law does. The bible says ‘the strength of sin is the law’ [1 Corinthians 15:56]. The law is good. But the law was never meant for us to live by. It was meant to reveal our sins, to bring us to Jesus Christ. It was meant to drive us to desperation so that we can depend on the Saviour. To tell us that, “Hey, we cannot save ourselves.” The more you try, the more you see your failures.
So what God does, in grace, is that God says, “Stay on the pavement.” In the old testament, it’d say “Keep off the grass” but in the new testament, He gives you such a love for the pavement. You have such a love for the pavement. You enjoy walking on solid ground. I mean, He puts in you a love for the pavement.
Help me here, church, come on. I’m trying to illustrate something.
I’m not referring to grass, nor pavement, but you’re on the solid rock!
What God does is this, God says in the old testament, “You shall not do this, You shall not do that, You shall not do this…” and God knew that “They will, they will, they will…” The more they try [not to], they will.
Paul, himself, says “I have never known what greed is all about until I tried my best to keep that one commandment.” Thou shall not covet. [Romans 7:7 & Romans 7:15-20] The more I tried my best not to covet, the more I covet.
Get up in the morning and tell yourself, “that colleague… today I will love him. Today, I’ll be patient with him. Today… I get a hold of yourself. Come on, Joseph Prince, come on.” By the way, there’s no one in my workplace that I have bitterness towards – just an illustration here. “I’m gonna try my best. I’m gonna love him.” And the very statement he says is “Good morning” but the way he says ‘good morning’ irritates you.
Do you sense that there was something hypocritical about… I know he doesn’t mean it, but here you are. What we are dealing with is not your colleague. What we are dealing with is a force called sin. And this sin cannot operate in people who are truly under grace, in people who really understand grace and who live by grace.
If you’re in this church and you tell me that you’re living in sin, no repentance, no nothing, living in sin. And you tell me, “Pastor Prince, I’m under grace.” I’ll tell you there’s only one way all of us can find out. And that is your behaviour, your lifestyle. “But, Pastor Prince, I thought behaviour and lifestyle is not important.” It is not important for justification. It has no place in justification. Only the blood of Jesus justifies us. Not our works, not our behaviour.
But you know what, your lifestyle tells my whether you are under grace or under law. My lifestyle is open to you. Go and ask my wife. “Are you perfect, Pastor Prince?” Of course, not. Ask my wife. But am I living in sin? No. Is there a love for God with a passion? Yes. Wasn’t there before. Is there a strong pull of sin that I used to have before? No, no. But there was, in the past.
You see, when you’re living under grace, you will be tempted, but it has no force. It will fall away.
So, how many want to learn to be really under grace?
[to be continued 11:19]