Living Heavenly-Minded in Tough Times
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These are notes on the sermon, Living Heavenly-Minded in Tough Times, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, September 10, 2023, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

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Overview

  1. God’s heart is for us to live victoriously!
  2. Be bold to receive your inheritance
  3. Joy is your portion even in troubled times
  4. Be filled with thoughts about Jesus and live above the trials of life

God’s heart is for us to live victoriously!

“. . . who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.
—1 Peter 1:5–8 NKJV

These verses reveal the posture that we as believers are to have in these last days as we wait for the Lord to return; they speak of the hope and joy that we can have, regardless of the circumstances we might find ourselves in.

Before we look at how we can have this posture of hope and joy, we need to first know God’s heart for us to live victoriously. He wants us to live well and to live strong.

through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”—This refers to the salvation of our physical bodies. When our Lord Jesus returns for us, our imperfect bodies will be transformed into incorruptible bodies (1 Cor. 15:51–54). But before that happens, the Lord still wants us to be strong and healthy.

In Romans 8:11 (KJV), we’re also told: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Here we see that it is the Holy Spirit in us who can quicken our bodies and fill us with our Lord’s resurrection life and His healing anointing as we wait for the final salvation of our mortal bodies

And that’s not all. Our heavenly Father is interested in our total well-being. Because we are tripartite, His heart is to save us, spirit, soul, and body.

So, what does that mean for us today?

Our spirits are saved first, when we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior and are born again in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24). Last to be saved would be our mortal bodies as seen from 1 Peter 1:5–8 and 1 Corinthians 15:51–54.

So what about our souls?

God’s Word tells us that He desires that we prosper and be in health even as our souls prosper (3 John 1:2). He wants us to prosper in our souls—the area of our mind, thoughts, and emotions! The state of our soul is important because out of it flows the issues of life (Prov. 4:23).

Whether it is because of our relationships, our health, our finances, or our careers, God does not want us bound by worries, fears, anxious thoughts, and hopelessness. Even though God’s Word tells us that we will be “grieved by various trials,” His heart is that we would not be crushed and defeated by them, but instead, be kept in His perfect peace and still have “joy inexpressible.”

Our souls (our minds, thoughts, and emotions) are saved, and we can live in the Lord’s perfect peace and have joy inexpressible, when we keep believing on Him (1 Pet. 1:8), keep our minds stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3–4), and have our minds renewed each day (Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 4:16 KJV) with the washing of the word (Eph. 5:25–27).

Be bold to receive your inheritance

As believers, we receive all the blessings that the Lord has purchased for us with His finished work on the cross. These blessings include the Lord’s peace, joy, healing, provision, and protection.

But before we can see the fruits of these blessings in our lives, we need to first believe right. We cannot hold the wrong beliefs and expect the Spirit to do what is right in us. This is because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and cannot confirm a lie.

What are some lies or wrong beliefs that you’re holding onto?

For many believers, it has to do with their identity in Christ and the way they approach God. They’ve not fully owned their identity as children of God and are still approaching God with a spirit of slavery and fear.

But what does the Bible tell us?

“For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore . . . But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect . . .”
—Hebrews 12:18–19, 22–23 NKJV

Mount Sinai is where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and it represents the old covenant of law. On the other hand, Mount Zion represents the new covenant of grace. As believers in Christ Jesus, we are no longer under the old covenant of law but under the new covenant of grace. And we no longer need to stand before God with a feeling of fear or condemnation for our past mistakes.

Through His finished work, our Lord Jesus has fully paid the price for our redemption, and His blood on the altar is the receipt that all the claims on us because of our sins have been fully met (Eph. 1:7–8). As a result, we can freely receive every blessing and promise that our heavenly Father desires to lavishly pour into our lives.

Today, God sees us righteous and holy, and His delight is in us. As beloved sons and daughters of God, we can go boldly to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16) and receive our inheritance as co-heirs with Christ. Because we are joint heirs with Jesus (Rom. 8:17), whatever that we see Him have in the Bible, we can also receive!

Joy is our portion even in troubled times

Believing right about who we really are and thus how we see ourselves matters. We are citizens of heaven living on this earth (Phil. 3:20). So, we live in this world, yet are not of this world (John 17:16). This means that even though we live on this earth and face earthly troubles, we do not need to conform to the patterns of this earth; we need not respond the same way the world does. For the world, happiness comes when things happen the way they want them to.

What about us as believers?

Let’s go back to 1 Peter 1:5–8 NKJV:
“. . . who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.

Isn’t it such a powerful thought to know that we can have joy unspeakable and be full of God’s glory even in the midst of the trials we face? Our joy is independent of our circumstances, and we can rejoice in the Lord even when things do not go our way.

This is why how we see ourselves is so important. As citizens of heaven, we are like an ambassador of a country who has been sent to another country as a representative. The ambassador lives off the resources of the country that sent him (and not the country he is sent to). His car, his house, his office space, and his living expenses are all provided by his home country. Likewise, our resources are from our Father in heaven, and we are to trust that He will supply us according to the riches of His glory (Phil. 4:19)!

But when we forget that we are citizens of heaven, it becomes easy to be consumed by the cares of this earth. We become subject to the vicissitudes of life and more and more we find our happiness tied to the circumstances we are in. When things don’t go our way, we end up feeling depressed. This way of living is similar to what King Solomon described in Ecclesiastes 2:11, a life “under the sun,” where we are consumed by earthly cares. Life under the sun leads to despair and hopelessness.

Instead, God has a better way for us, a way that produces unshakable peace and joy. It is found in “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:7). God wants us to live a joyous and victorious life by living lives that are set on things above, a life centered on the Son.

Be filled with thoughts about Jesus and live above the trials of life

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
—Philippians 4:8 NKJV

Many of us have the propensity to think negative thoughts. But God wants us to meditate on things that are noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report! We can do this practically by being heavenly-minded, focusing on things that are above, things about our Lord Jesus, and seeking Him in the Word.

When we do that and we meditate on the truths we find of the Lord in the Word, there will be joy. Just like how photo albums of our children through the years or beautiful events in our lives help us to remember those happy moments, the Bible is a picture book from God for us to see our Lord Jesus. It unveils to us our Lord Jesus, His finished work, and all the wonderful promises that are ours because of Him.

So the more we see of our Lord Jesus in the Word, the more we can be filled with “joy inexpressible and be “full of glory.” And this is what will give us the faith and strength to get through tough seasons.

Not only that, this joy from the Lord can also guide us and give us good success in the different areas of our lives. When we are heavenly-minded, we receive the wisdom of God and see things through God’s perspective. For example, in the area of our careers, being in a state of joy gives us clarity of mind to make good decisions (as compared to when we are depressed, stressed, or temperamental, and are more prone to making unwise decisions). Or in the area of our parenting, we might face challenges raising our children when we are not in a good emotional state. However, when we are filled with the Lord’s joy, we find that there is an ease in nurturing our young ones with grace.

Being heavenly-minded will allow us to not be crushed by our circumstances and instead rise above the worries of life and live victoriously! Even when things around us might be challenging, in our hearts and minds, we can be conscious that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:6).

Titus 2:13 also tells us that we have a “blessed hope” that our Lord will return for us in power and glory. And as we wait, 1 Peter 1 tells us that we “are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” This means that it is our heavenly Father Himself who keeps us safe even in these tumultuous times, and that our faith is built on the surety of the hopeful future we have in the Lord!

So beloved, start setting your mind on the perfect goodness of God, the hope that we have for the salvation of our bodies, and on the heavenly realm where Christ dwells and where our futures lie.

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 2023
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.