These are notes on the sermon, Prosper God’s Way During Recession, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 6 November 2022, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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The gospel is meant for everyone and has the power to impact all who receive it.
The gospel is about how God loves us so much that He sent His only son, Jesus, to die for our sins. Jesus is the only perfect sacrifice who can take our place at the cross. When we accept Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we are born again as new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). While we may still sin and experience the desire to sin, God no longer sees us in our sin but in our righteousness in Jesus.
Our faith in Jesus’ finished work pleases God. The Bible says that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Rom. 4:3).
Why is faith so important?
It is important for us to know God’s promises in the Bible. We can only actively possess our inheritance when we know what God has for us! If you do not know what God has for you, you cannot believe it, and you cannot claim it.
The Bible says “. . . as Jesus is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Notice that “as Jesus is” is in the present tense. This means that just as Jesus is now seated at the Father’s right hand, we too are seated at the Father’s right hand. And since we are as Christ is, whatever Jesus has is ours too.
What is it that you need in this season? If you need healing, ask yourself, “Does Jesus have sickness in His body right now? No. As Jesus is, so am I in this world.” Pastor Prince shares a testimony from a lady who believed and declared this truth, and she was healed of a breast tumor.
This is how we lay claim on God’s blessings. We must not live by the world’s way of seeing before believing. God’s way is to believe and declare it as He has promised in the Word, and we will see His promises manifest in our lives.
Pastor Prince shares an example of how the funding and building of The Star (the building where New Creation Church gathers to worship every Sunday) started with faith. Today we can see and touch a physical building, but it began with faith!
The gathering of God’s people is God’s idea (Heb. 10:25). 1 Peter 5:8 describes the devil like a roaring lion. Lions attack their prey when the herd is confused or when there is a straggler (a picture of one being out of fellowship). They never attack when the herd is together. When believers gather, there is safety. When we dwell together, we protect ourselves from the attacks from the enemy.
Because of many false teachings that over-glorify wealth, many believers think that it's wrong to trust God for provision. While these teachings are erroneous, it does not mean that there isn't a place for us to trust God for practical and financial provision. As we will see in God’s Word, His heart is for us to be provided for! God is not for materialism (Luke 12:15), but He is for prosperity with a purpose—where we are blessed, having enough to be sustained, and then able to be a blessing to others.
There are extreme teachings on prosperity that cultivate greed and selfishness. And because of these teachings, there is another extreme that teaches that poverty is holy. In this season of recession, there are many who may feel like they are at a dead end because their spirits are closed to God wanting to bless them.
This is what the Bible says about God’s blessing: God blessed Abraham and he was a blessing to everyone, including the nations (Gen. 12:2). Whatever Joseph did, God made him to prosper in every area such that even his worldly master, Potiphar, saw it (Gen. 39:3). God did not just bless Joseph spiritually, and we know this because the blessings Potiphar could see were physical and material in Joseph’s life! This shows us God’s heart is for His people to be provided for and to prosper in all areas of their lives.
It’s true that the best blessing that God has given us is our relationship and fellowship with Him. But He doesn’t want us to neglect the physical and material blessings He has also promised us. We cannot receive what we do not believe!
“It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith . . . Therefore, the promise comes by faith . . . As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.”
—Romans 4:13–17 NIV
Abraham and Sarah received their breakthrough after many years of barrenness because they had faith and believed that God would fulfill His promises in their lives.
God also changed their names from Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah, which means "father of many" and "princess” because He wanted them to speak forth the reality they wanted to see—a reality He already saw in their lives. Similarly, we are to speak forth what we want to see in our lives. When we do so, we come into alignment with God’s Word and His will and we will see His power released into our situation!
Even when God created the Earth, He did not declare the darkness that He saw. He declared what He wanted to see—light!
Don’t be swayed by naysayers who label believers who believe and speak God’s promises “the name it and claim it bunch.” They are mocking the way God Himself works.
Jesus in the Gospels constantly called those things which were not as though they were, and many healing miracles happened.
This whole universe bows to faith because it was created by faith—God’s faith.
In all areas, we must go back to God’s Word to know what to believe. In the area of lack or recession, we as God’s children need to know that God wants us to have prosperity with a purpose so that we can be a blessing to many.
Today, we are looking at famines that happened during Abraham and Isaac’s time. The events that happened in the Old Testament are ‘tupos,’ types, for us to learn from today (1 Cor. 10:6). How God blessed His people and delivered them from famines back then is something that we can glean wisdom from today.
“There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.”
—Genesis 26:1 NKJV
This famine in Isaac’s time was severe. It was a time when people did not have enough to eat because crops could not grow.
This famine in Isaac’s time is important for us to study because Isaac is a picture of us.
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
—Galatians 3:29 NKJV
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed” — The Bible calls those of us who belong to Christ “Abraham’s seed.” And the clearest picture of Abraham’s seed is Isaac, his direct descendant. When we study how Isaac dealt with the famine, we find wisdom to unlock God’s promise of provision for us in times of famine.
“There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar. Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.”
—Genesis 26:1–3 NKJV
“Do not go down to Egypt” — What this means for us today is that we should not give up on God’s ways and follow the world’s ways when famine happens. The world can offer a lot of solutions and underhanded means that promise quick monetary returns, but God’s way of blessing and prosperity is different. God's way is for us to increase through our labor, not get-rich-quick schemes (Prov. 13:11). As children of God, we can do things with honor and dignity because we trust that our reward comes from Him.
More than just finances, God wants to bless you in every area of your life. According to the blessings of Abraham (Deut. 28), when you remain in God’s ways, you shall lend unto many nations and you shall not borrow (a picture of having more than enough), you shall be the head and not the tail.
How do we know whether we are following the world’s ways?
The principle is simple. Are you losing health or sleep over what you are doing? Is it making you very stressed? Are you overwhelmed by tracking constant monetary fluctuations? Do you feel like life is filled with pain?
God’s way of blessing does not come with these sorrows.
“The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.”
—Proverbs 10:22 NKJV
“He adds no sorrow with it” — The word “sorrow” here means “painful toil.” That doesn’t mean that hard work or diligence is not involved. But it means that even as you work hard, there is pleasure in your work. Using physical exercise as an analogy: a good and healthy workout should not cause you to overextend yourself and suffer acute pain.
What does “God’s blessing” include?
Many people would say it is peace in your mind and heart. But God’s blessing includes much more than that! Yes, God’s blessing brings peace, but that “peace” is much more than calmness in your thoughts and emotions!
In the Old Testament, in Hebrew, peace is “shalom,” and in the New Testament, in Greek, it is “irene.” Shalom is often used as a greeting in the Hebrew language and it means “may all things go well with you.” In fact, according to the Bible scholar Mounce, “shalom can also be translated as ‘prosperity, well-being, health, completeness, safety.’”
More than just peace of mind, shalom refers to completeness in every area of your life.
“Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.”
—Genesis 26:3 NKJV
God’s heart is to bless us in every area of our lives but the first blessing that God came to give us is a relationship with Him through Jesus’ finished work.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
—Galatians 3:13–14 NKJV
“that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus” — At the cross, our Lord Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law, so that we could receive the blessing of Abraham.
“receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” — We can receive the blessing of Abraham because of our righteousness through faith. The blessing that brings every blessing is righteousness of faith! God has made us righteous with Him through Jesus’ finished work at the cross. Today, we are in Christ and close to God.
“Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.”
—Genesis 26:3 NKJV
“Bless” — The Hebrew translation of this word is “bāraḵ.” According to the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology:
"Basically BARAK means endue with beneficial power. The nature of the blessing is that of the conferring and transference of beneficial power, which produces fertility in men and in livestock and lands. Blessing works vertically in the continued growth of succeeding generations. Horizontally, it effects peace, security from enemies, good fortune and well-being for a tribe or group (expressed most comprehensively in the concept 'shalom', 'well-being'.)"
Based on the definition of blessing or “bāraḵ” above, when God blesses us, we receive beneficial power that produces success, peace, protection, prosperity, and wholeness in our lives!
In another definition, “bāraḵ” means:
"To bless in the Old Testament means 'to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity, longevity, etc.'"
—Theological Wordbook Of The Old Testament
“fecundity” — This means to be fruitful in having children.
When God blesses us, He blesses us in all areas of our lives—and in an overabundant measure!
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
—1 Timothy 6:10 NKJV
Many misinterpret the verse above to mean that money itself is the root of evil, but the Bible is actually referring to the love of money.
When you begin to love money, you allow all kinds of evil to manifest in your life. God gave us a solution to break our love for money—tithing. When we honor God with our first fruits, we are demonstrating that no matter how blessed we are, we are not forgetting that God is our source. That is why tithing is constantly attacked by the enemy.
Some may argue from the verse below that money prevents us from entering the kingdom of God:
“Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!””
— Mark 10:23
However, Jesus was not saying that having riches makes it hard to enter God’s kingdom, and He clarified this in the next verse:
“And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!”
“those who trust in riches” — We see here that Jesus was referring to those who put their trust in riches. Now, this can be anyone, rich or poor. It is possible for one who has no money to love money and trust in riches!
When we put our trust in money, we allow money to control us and we fail to move as God moves (e.g. when He leads us to be generous toward others). But when we put our trust in Jesus as our source, His blessings will always come after us (Deut. 28:1).
Hence, we must understand that money itself is not the problem. It is the love of money that is evil. In fact, when the Bible first mentioned gold in Genesis 2, it says that “the gold of that land is good.”
“Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there.”
— Genesis 2:10-12
We cannot say that gold is wrong or bad because God was the one who put the gold in the land. From the beginning, God’s heart has been to prosper you!
God wants to give you prosperity with a purpose—so that you can be a blessing to many.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
— 2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV
Some may interpret this verse alone to mean spiritual prosperity.
But let’s look at the verses that come before this one:
“For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also. I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
— 2 Corinthians 8:3–9 NKJV
“they first gave themselves” — The context of this scripture is about giving financially. The apostle Paul was writing to the Corinthian church to urge them to learn from the Macedonian Christians and give to the Christians in Jerusalem.
“see that you abound in this grace also” — The grace Paul was referring to is the grace of giving.
The verses that come after 2 Corinthians 8:9 are also still on giving.
“And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.”
—2 Corinthians 8:10–11 NKJV
In these verses, Paul was urging the saints in Corinth to fulfill the promise to give money to the poor saints in Jerusalem.
When we look at the entire portion of scripture in context, we realize that it is all about giving. At the foundation of our ability to give and our generous heart is the truth that Jesus became poor on the cross so that we can be rich and be a blessing to those around us!
In fact, in the next chapter, Paul still continues talking about sowing and giving!
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
— 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
“he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” — Those who give generously will also reap abundant harvests.
“cheerful giver” — Let us give according to the purpose in our heart, not grudgingly or out of necessity.
“God is able to make all grace abound toward you” — When we choose to sow and give generously, God also blesses us abundantly, so that in all things, at all times, we will always be well provided for!
“Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him.””
—Genesis 26:12–14 NKJV
When we sow where God leads us, He will surely bless us. We may not see results immediately, or it may not make sense to us initially, but we have to do it by faith. Isaac sowed in the land when the famine was terrible and the Lord blessed him with a 100-fold harvest—and continued blessing him until he became very prosperous.
This is a picture of the land that God told Isaac to sow into:
Logically speaking, this is perhaps one of the worst pieces of land to sow into. But Isaac still did it in faith. In everything we do or sow into, our mainstay must be trusting in God’s goodness and heart to provide for us.
Wealth and material possessions are simply channels that God can use to bless us. They are meant to be servants, not masters over us. We are not to cultivate greed or selfishness. When we are blessed by the Lord, let us be aware that it is not all about us but also about blessing the people around us.
Practically speaking, when you receive your monthly salary, set aside a portion of it to God through tithing to your own local church (Pastor Prince emphasizes to tithe to your own local church and not to New Creation Church (NCC) if you do not consider NCC your home church). When you give, you can pray this prayer: “God, I know that this money I have is a product of my labor throughout the month, but it is You who brought me through it. And I am tithing a portion of my salary to You, lest I say that it is by my hand that I have gotten this wealth. You are the One who gives me the power to get wealth and I receive your blessings from heaven. Amen.”
“Father in heaven, I thank You for Jesus Christ whom You sent to die on the cross for all my sins, diseases, and even my poverty. In Jesus name, I receive His righteousness, His health, and His riches. I confess Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior. I declare that He rose from the dead and sat down at the Father's right hand. Where He is, is where I am in God's eyes forevermore. Thank You, Father. In Jesus' name. Amen.”
“Father, protect Your people, their children and all their loved ones this week. I pray that You bless them richly, and grant them true revelation in this area where we are studying. For the Lord takes pleasure in the prospering of His servant, as You have declared in your Word. I see God taking pleasure in giving you this revelation. He delights in your prospering. Oh I am so excited for you to see what God is wanting you to see. Amen. Imagine yourself to be a Joseph, a prosperous man and whatever you do prospers. May all of you begin to prosper from this day forth in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.”
As children of God, our Father has given us the power to change our situation with our words. That’s how faith works: by believing and speaking!
Take a moment to ask yourself: What have you been saying about your situation?
Perhaps the economic downturn has hit you hard, and you can’t help but worry and talk about how difficult the times are or how bleak the future looks. Or maybe you are facing lack in another area, whether it is in your health, in your family life or relationships, or in your mental well-being.
While it’s only natural to be affected by our struggles and talk about them, God wants us to understand the power of our words because “the tongue can bring death or life” (Prov. 18:21 NLT).
Just like God spoke light into darkness and Jesus spoke healing into blind eyes and deaf ears, the Bible tells us that “we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak.” (2 Cor. 4:13)!
So what do you want to see change about your situation this week? Whether it is a financial breakthrough, family restoration, or healing . . . first, see that it is a promise in Scripture paid for by Jesus’ finished work at the cross. Then start speaking it forth!
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.
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These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.