These are notes on the sermon, The Year of Living in the Upper Room, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, January 14, 2024, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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- 2024: The year of living in the upper room—a picture of living under God’s grace
- This year, follow the Holy Spirit to the blessings God has prepared for you
- Go deep into the gospel of grace (especially the Pauline epistles)!
- The upper room is the place of healing
- The upper room is the place of practical wisdom for every area of your life
- The upper room is the place of being filled with the Spirit
- The upper room is a place of resurrection
2024: The year of living in the upper room—a picture of living under God’s grace
“And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, “The Teacher says, ‘Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?’” Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.’”
Here, we have Jesus’ instructions to His disciples on how to find a place to prepare for the upcoming Passover meal, which would also be the last supper that the Lord would eat with His disciples before going to the cross.
When we read the Gospels, we know our Lord was not a secretive person. He preached everywhere He went. However, this time, He did not want anyone other than His disciples to be with Him in the upper room. This year, like the disciples at that last Supper, we will get to listen in to the secrets of God’s heart.
Throughout the Bible, the upper room is where significant events happened. Besides our Lord having His Last Supper and Farewell Discourse in the upper room, the Holy Spirit was given and received on Pentecost in an upper room, and in Acts 20, Paul preached and resurrected a young man in an upper room in Troas.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places (“upper heavenlies” in Greek) in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
—Ephesians 2:4–7 NKJV
For new covenant believers, the idea of being in the upper room is a picture of us seated with our Lord Jesus in the “heavenly places.” It is also the secret place that David spoke of in Psalm 91, where we are sheltered and protected. What is important is to realize that we already are in the upper room with our Lord Jesus. We are not trying to get into the upper room. And this year, our Lord wants to reveal to us what it means to truly live life in the upper room!
In our Lord’s last discourse in the upper room, He shared revelations of the new covenant of grace that He would be cutting soon at the cross with His disciples, a group of people who were close to Him and whom He treated as family. In this warm and loving family time before He would be scourged and wounded and crucified, He instituted the holy Communion and revealed the sending of the Holy Spirit as a Helper.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”
—John 16:12–14 NKJV
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”—The Lord’s heart was full of revelations He wanted to share, yet, the disciples were not ready to receive the richness and depths of the revelations as they had not completely understood the new covenant of grace (John 16:24). These were revelations that our Lord wants believers and the church to run with when they have received Him as their Lord and Savior.
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come”—Here, besides revealing the giving of the Holy Spirit, our Lord also alluded to Paul’s ministry after His departure. In essence, Paul’s teachings in his letters were based on the words of the ascended Christ (1 Thess. 2:13), the Christ who is seated at the right hand of the Father in the third heaven, and are for the present-day church.
This year, follow the Holy Spirit to the blessings God has prepared for you
The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of truth, will always point us to the Lord and bear witness to the new covenant truths or truths about grace in our lives. In the account of how our Lord’s disciples found the upper room to prepare the Passover meal, we see the Lord instructing them to follow an unnamed servant . . .
“a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water”—Back in those days, women were usually the ones who went out to draw water. But in this passage of Scripture, Jesus tells His disciples to look out for a man. This man is a picture of the Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, the water in the pitcher represents the revelations and life-giving Word we receive through preachers and ministries in our present day. The truth shared here is for us to follow teachings that quench our spiritual thirst.
“he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared”—This is a picture of how the Holy Spirit leads us into the finished work of our Lord Jesus! Everything in that upper room is “furnished and prepared.” This year, we can look forward to the Lord bringing to pass the promises of Deuteronomy 6:10–11 in our lives.
“So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full.”
—Deuteronomy 6:10–11 NKJV
It’s all because of the Lord’s finished work. Because we are His, we get to enjoy the fruits of His perfect, finished work. These blessings are not earned through our self-efforts but are received. As we continue to keep our eyes on the Lord, He is the one who will bless us with every good thing (Matt. 6:33).
Now, it is important to understand that we are not just talking about material blessings here, but the fullness of the blessings that come through our Lord’s finished work. That believers are to step into an upper room that is “furnished and prepared,” and that, like the 2 disciples in Mark 14, whatever we are to “make ready” or do begins from this finished work!
Go deep into the gospel of grace (especially the Pauline epistles)!
When we study the teachings and revelations of the apostle Paul, we get to see the fullness of the truths that the Lord wants us to experience in our Christian walk.
These are the secrets of God’s heart that our Lord Jesus could not share during His time on earth because the people had yet to receive salvation through Him. They were still living under the old covenant and were not ready to hear these new covenant truths.
Today, as children of God under the new covenant, we get to interpret all of Scripture through the lens of the finished work of Jesus. We get to draw treasures out of the old in the light and revelation of the new. In particular, the Lord wants us to spend more time in the Pauline epistles and revelations that were written and given especially for the church.
The upper room is the place of healing
In the upper room, our Lord Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, the holy Communion, and it is through Paul’s teachings that we learn how the holy Communion (eucharist) is a picture of the Lord’s grace toward us. When we partake of it, we remember our Lord and His finished work for us, how He bore all our sins and how His body was striped and broken so that ours can be made whole. That is how we receive our healing!
Although it may seem like a small thing, just a little bit of bread and juice, yet, it represents the body of our Lord Jesus and His blood that was spilled for us. When we remember our Lord's sacrifice for us through partaking of the elements, His divine power that will drive out every infirmity from our bodies is imparted (Matt. 15:27)!
Moreover, the Lord’s Supper is not just for the healing of our bodies. It also represents God’s desire for all of us to be strong, healthy, and to enjoy a long life. The holy Communion was instituted as a blessing for us to experience the fullness of God’s heart and blessings for us!
This year, keep partaking of the Lord’s Supper!
The upper room is the place of practical wisdom for every area of your life
In Acts 20:8, we are told that there were many lamps in the upper room, lighting the room up even though it was all dark outside. This is a picture of how we can expect to experience supernatural light in the church and in our homes in these last days. This is a light that comes from the Lord and cannot be snuffed out, nor does it depend on our surroundings or natural circumstances to shine. This reminds us of Exodus 10, where the Egyptians, a picture of people of the world, lived in a “thick darkness” for 3 days, while God’s people, the Israelites, had light in their dwellings (vv. 22–23).
In 2024, expect to experience God’s light in our lives and situations.
As we approach the last days, the world will get darker and darker. However, as children of God, we do not have to be afraid because we are in the upper room with the Lord, where His light will keep shining on us and for us. And when God shines His light upon our lives, we will get to experience His supernatural insight and wisdom in all that we see, touch, and do.
When you receive and operate in God’s wisdom, you will not lose out.
In a world where even experts in the same area do not agree, we can depend on God’s light and wisdom to lead us in the right paths. Relying on God’s wisdom made Daniel and his friends 10 times better than the world's experts (Dan. 1).
The upper room is the place of being filled with the Spirit
It was in an upper room on Mount Zion where the first believers received the Spirit and the gift of tongues (Acts 2:1–4) during Pentecost. On that day, Peter preached to the crowd that had gathered nearby and 3,000 people were saved. This demonstrates the power, the favor, and the mercy that is in the gospel of grace!
In contrast, at the first Pentecost when God gave the law, 3,000 people died at the foot of Mount Sinai. This shows us how the letter, the law, kills, while the Spirit (the gift of the new covenant) brings life (2 Cor. 3:6). The purpose of the law was to bring people to the end of themselves, to see that they could not make themselves righteous regardless of what they did, and to see their need for a Savior.
On the other hand, our Lord has declared that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and those who come to Him will never again thirst or hunger, but will have everlasting life (John 6:35, 4:14). And the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, will guide us into all truth and tell us of things to come. He will glorify the Lord and declare to us what is of the Lord (John 16:12–14).
As we dwell in the upper room this year, lean into the leading of the Holy Spirit and be filled with life!
The upper room is a place of resurrection
It was also in an upper room throughout the Bible where we see a number of resurrections of the dead. In all 4 of the recorded instances here, the resurrections began with an embrace or prayer.
- 1 Kings 17:17–22 (where Elijah resurrected the son of the widow of Zarephath)
- 2 Kings 4:8–36 (where Elisha resurrected the son of the Shunammite woman)
- Acts 9:37–40 (where Peter resurrected Dorcas)
- Acts 20:7–12 (where Paul resurrected Eutychus)
In the upper room, we can look forward to this resurrection power manifesting not only in our physical bodies, but also in areas of our lives where we have experienced death.
Parents, if you have an unbelieving child or a child who has left the church, this year, expect the Lord to save them and bring them back! This year, prioritize and cherish spending time with our families and loved ones as it is also on the Lord’s heart for us to experience a thriving family life this year.
Whatever area of your life it may be, your career, ministry, marriage, finances, mental health . . . the Lord’s resurrection power can flow in and restore it, as long as you live and remain in the upper room.
This year, be excited about and allow the Lord to unveil more of the secrets of His heart to you, and to walk in the truths and blessings of His finished work!
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2024
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.