Sunday, 13 November 2022 You Are Blessed To Be A Blessing

       

Sunday, 13 November 2022 You Are Blessed To Be A Blessing Home

Sunday, 13 November 2022
You Are Blessed To Be A Blessing

In this sermon, Pastor Prince shares God’s heart to provide us with more than enough so that we can be a channel of blessing to others and advance the gospel. Discover how you can experience true success when you rely on God’s grace instead of your own efforts. Learn how having a generous spirit is important to God and the benefits it brings!

These are notes on the sermon, You Are Blessed To Be A Blessing, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 13 November 2022, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

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Overview

  1. Introduction: Find hope in troubling times when you read the Scriptures
  2. God’s heart is for you to be healthy and prosperous with a purpose—to advance the gospel
  3. Health and provision are God’s unmerited blessings for you
  4. Receive practical provision when you rely on Jesus instead of yourself
  5. God’s way for you to be blessed holistically is to give generously
  6. Be a blessing and testimony when you are planted in God’s house
  7. Salvation Prayer
  8. Closing Prayer
  9. OWN THE WORD (Life Application)

Introduction: Find hope in troubling times when you read the Scriptures

“That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done . . .”
—Ecclesiastes 1:9 NKJV

The events that happened in the Bible will happen again in our times. We are living in times that are similar to when the children of Israel were coming out of their years of captivity in Egypt.

When we take time to study the events in the Bible, we can find wisdom and hope for the times we are living in (1 Cor. 10:11, Rom. 15:4)! Even though the world is getting darker and we are experiencing more troubles (e.g. inflation, recession, lack), we can take heart in knowing that the things which are seen (such as the troubles we are facing) are temporal, and the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). As we discover in the later part of the sermon what the children of Israel went through as they came out of captivity, we will see how God’s supply in our lives is eternal and we need not be afraid!

God’s heart is for you to be healthy and prosperous with a purpose—to advance the gospel

God is restoring truths about health and provision to the body of Christ. Some people come against these teachings on health and provision, calling it the “Health and Wealth Gospel” and arguing that these teachings were not taught in church history. But that depends on the period in history we are looking at. If we go further down in history and look at the early church in the New Testament, we can see that there was a time when great grace and power were upon them all such that they did not lack!

“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked.
—Acts 4:33–34a NKJV

“resurrection of the Lord Jesus” — This refers to healing miracles that the early church experienced.

“gave witness” — This means that the miracles were visible and tangible!

“Nor was there anyone among them who lacked” — Because great grace was upon the early church, everyone was healed, healthy, and not one of them was in lack! This shows us God’s heart for His people to prosper in their entire wellbeing. This prosperity does not refer to storing up riches, power, or status for oneself. That is greed and covetousness, which Pastor Prince is against. The Bible tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10) and those who make their life about the pursuit of riches will fall into hurtful perdition (1 Tim. 6:9).

While God does not want us to chase after money, His heart is still for us to be provided for!

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
—Psalm 23:1 NKJV

“There is no want to those who fear Him.”
—Psalm 34:9 NKJV

These verses show us God’s heart for us to be provided for. When He is our Shepherd, we will not lack in any area of our lives.

There are many attacks on the teachings on health and prosperity because the enemy does not want us to lay hold of God’s truth and advance the gospel. But God is restoring these truths in His church today. And when these truths are restored, the church will become richer spiritually, physically, and financially. The enemy does not want us to prosper in these areas because he does not want us to advance the gospel!

Some of us may wonder, “How am I supposed to believe God wants to provide for me with all that’s going on in the world right now?”

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
—Romans 10:17 NKJV

How do we hear God?

Let’s take a look at the verses preceding Romans 10:17,
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
—Romans 10:14–15 NKJV

In its context, we can see that God’s ordained way of hearing His Word is through listening to the preaching of the Word!

And the verses go on to say that the gospel can only go forth when preachers are sent to share the Good News! In order for this to happen, they will need financial support. This is why the devil does not want God’s people to have more than enough resources to be a blessing and support the spreading of the gospel. God’s heart is to bless us so that we can be a blessing to others! God’s definition of prosperity includes money but it is more than money.

God prospers us with a purpose—to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ!


Exodus 7–12 records how God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt after more than 400 years of captivity. On the night that God sent the last plague, God led the children of Israel out of Egypt and prospered. God gave them favor with the Egyptians and they received articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. This was a restoration of their wealth, having slaved without pay for more than 400 years!

But why did God prosper the Israelites with gold, silver, and rich clothing? The purpose for their prosperity was to build God’s house (Exod. 3:12, 35:20–29). God prospered the Israelites so much that when they brought their offerings to build the tabernacle, they had to be told to stop because the artisans had received more than enough to build the tabernacle! (Exod. 36: 3–5) This shows us that when God prospers us, He prospers us with more than enough so that we can be a blessing and build His house.

Knowing that God prospered the children of Israel so that they would build God’s house, the devil distracted them by instigating them to build a golden calf as Moses was receiving God’s instructions to build the tabernacle. This is similar to what is currently happening in our times. The enemy is trying to distract us from receiving God’s truth about provision because he does not want us to advance the kingdom of God.

In fact, because of the many false teachings and attacks against the teaching on provision, there is a young generation that is averse to laying hold of God’s promises of provision for themselves because they think it’s not of God. They’d still want to experience good success but instead of trusting God, they end up relying on themselves or worldly methods to provide for themselves. This is why it’s important to restore God’s truth on prosperity back to the church.

Again, prosperity is not about selfishness nor avarice. But we should not swing to the extreme teaching that poverty is holy.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
—Matthew 7:11 NKJV

Just as we desire our children to be well, our heavenly Father desires even more for us to be well and experience good success in our lives! This is God’s heart for us!

Some might argue that God wants us to give without expecting anything in return but our Lord Jesus said:
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
—Luke 6:38 NKJV

Just like how a farmer sows because he desires to receive a bountiful harvest, we can believe God for great returns when we choose to give and sow into His house.

“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”
—Deuteronomy 8:18 KJV

“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God” — God wants us to be grateful and remember Him as the source of our supply.

“power to get wealth” — God doesn’t give us wealth but the power to get wealth. The Hebrew translation for the word “get” is “ʿāśâ” which means “to create.”

“establish his covenant which he sware unto thy father ” — God gives us the power to get wealth so that He can establish His covenant. This covenant is the covenant that God made with Abraham: the covenant of grace.

What the devil is trying to do, especially in these last days, is to destroy us by taking away God’s truths from us. This is why there is a rise in new age teachings on health and wealth. But these teachings are perversions of God’s truths and are merely empty promises. There is no power in these teachings. The power to create wealth, to prosper in life, and to heal comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Health and provision are God’s unmerited blessings for you

Luke 4:14–30 records Jesus reading the Scriptures in a synagogue in Nazareth. When Jesus was handed the book of Isaiah, he read from Isaiah 61:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

—Luke 4:18–19 NKJV

“To preach the gospel to the poor“ — The word “gospel” also means “good news.” What is good news to the poor? It is that they would be provided for! Our Lord Jesus came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

“To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” — The Hebrew translation for the word “acceptable” is “rāṣôn,” which means favor. We are living in the time when the free favors of God are profusely abounding!

Initially, those in the synagogue spoke well of Jesus and were amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips. But Jesus knew that they would reject Him and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country” (Luke 4:24).

What was Jesus about to share that would lead to the Nazarenes rejecting Him? He shared about two miracles of provision and healing from the Old Testament.

“But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
—Luke 4:25–27 NKJV

The miracle of provision: Elijah and the Widow from Zarephath
At this time, there was a famine in Israel and the surrounding countries. God told Elijah to go to a widow in Zarephath who would provide him with food (1 Kings 17:9). When Elijah met the woman, she told him that she only had a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug which would only allow her to make a meal for herself and her son. Afterwhich, they would die from the lack of food. Hearing this, Elijah told the widow to not be afraid and to make him a small cake for him, herself, and her son. As the widow obeyed Elijah’s instructions, she received God’s miracle of provision and had food every day even during the time of famine (1 Kings 17:9–16)!

“in the region of Sidon” — This widow was from Zarephath, which was in the region of Sidon. Sidon is where Jezebel (an evil princess who introduced the worship of pagan gods to the children of Israel) came from. Sidon and its people were not naturally deserving of God’s blessings, yet God chose to provide for this widow! This miracle shows us that God gives grace to people who are undeserving!

The miracle of healing: Elisha and Naaman the Syrian
The other miracle that Jesus mentioned was the healing of Naaman the Syrian who had leprosy. Naaman was a commander of the Syrian army, and the Syrians were known to consistently attack Israel at that time (2 Kings 5:1). Once again, this is an example of God showing grace to someone who was undeserving of His blessing.

One of Naaman’s servants saw that her master had leprosy, and she told him that the prophet Elisha in Israel would be able to cure him of his condition. Upon hearing this, Naaman brought gifts to visit Elisha. But when Naaman arrived at Elisha’s house, Elisha didn’t even come out to greet him but instead sent a message telling him to simply wash himself seven times in the Jordan River. This angered Naaman at first because the Jordan River was a small and unimpressive river compared to other rivers in Syria. To dip himself in the river would have been embarrassing for him. However, Naaman chose to humble himself and followed Elisha’s instructions, and he was healed!

“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.”
—Proverbs 22:4 KJV

When we humble ourselves before God, we receive:
1. Riches
2. Honor (promotion, esteem in the eyes of our peers and loved ones)
3. Life (health and longevity)

These two miracles show us two things:
1. God’s heart of grace for those who are undeserving.
2. God’s heart to dispense healing and provision!

These are two truths that get religious people riled up and angry. It is this same religious spirit today that comes against the gospel of grace and the teachings on God’s healing and provision.

Receive practical provision when you rely on Jesus instead of yourself

“The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want (“ḥāsēr” – lack).”
—Psalm 23:1 NKJV

“Want” — This word refers to lack. When the Lord is our Shepherd, we will not lack in any area of our lives. The Hebrew translation for this word is “ḥāsēr,” which is spelt as: חָסֵר. When we break the word down, we see that haser is made up of three letters read from right to left:

1. “חָ (heth),” which means “life.”
2. “סֵ (samekh),” which means “support” or “supply.”
3. “ר (resh),” which means “head.”

Putting everything together, someone who is in lack is someone whose life is supplied by his head. This is a picture of someone who depends on his own understanding, logic, and reasoning to supply/provide for himself. Instead of relying on our own efforts, God wants us to rely on Him.

Let’s look at another Hebrew word that looks very similar: חֶסֶד (“hesed”) which means “grace.”

1. “חָ (heth),” which means “life.”
2. “סֵ (samekh),” which means “support” or “supply.”
3. “ד (dalet),” which means “door.”

The difference between the spelling of these two words (“lack” vs “grace”) lies in the last letter.
In חֶסֶד (“hesed”), the last letter is “ד (dalet),” which means “door.”

This door is not a thing, but a Person!

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
—John 10:9 NKJV

“I am the door” — The door in “חֶסֶד (hesed)” points to Jesus! Instead of relying on our own understanding and efforts for provision, we can rely on Jesus and His grace!

“find pasture” — Pasture for sheep is food. In the context of John 10:9, our Lord Jesus was referring to Himself being the Good Shepherd to His sheep. When the Lord is our Shepherd, He will provide for us.

Jesus is the door through which we receive all the provisions we need in life.

As children of God, we need not be afraid when we look at what’s happening in the world today. Instead of fearing or feeling like we need to turn to what the world is doing, we can rest knowing that our life and the provisions we need for this life come from our Lord Jesus! From Him, we can receive an abundance of grace (Rom. 5:17)!

God’s way for you to be blessed holistically is to give generously

There is a Hebrew expression describing two kinds of people—someone with a “good eye” and someone with an “evil eye.” A person with a “good eye” is someone who is generous, while a person with an “evil eye” is stingy.

“No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.”
—Luke 11:33–36 KJV

“thine eye is single” — In the King James Version, “single” means “good.” This refers to someone with a “good eye.”

“thy whole body also is full of light” — The Greek translation for the word “body” is “sōmal,” which refers to our physical bodies.

These verses tell us that a generous person, someone who is prosperous with a purpose, has a healthy body that is full of light!

“A man with an evil eye hastens after riches,
And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.”
—Proverbs 28:22 NKJV

This refers to a stingy person whose sole purpose in life is to make money. Our purpose in life is not to make money! We work not to make money but to express the gifts and talents that God has given us. Our provision comes from God. When we work as unto the Lord, we will receive the reward of our inheritance from Him (Col. 3:23–24).

“. . . and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the LORD against you, and it become sin among you.”
—Deuteronomy 15:9 NKJV

This shows us that someone with an “evil eye” is someone who is stingy. This same expression is also used when Jesus shared the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt. 20).

In this parable, a landower hired some workers for his vineyard and he agreed to pay them a denarius (a full day’s wage). Around the last hour of the day, he saw that there were still some people standing around and decided to hire them. When it was time for the owner to pay the workers who had worked for only one hour, he paid them each a denarius. Seeing this, the workers who were hired first expected to receive more. But when they too received a denarius each, they began to grumble against the landowner.

“But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?”
—Matthew 20:13–15 NKJV

The landowner was questioning the angry workers if they were angry at the sight of his generosity. The use of “evil eye” here shows us that this expression refers to people who are stingy and calculative.

Like the workers who started work at the last hour yet received a day’s wage, we who are in the end-time generation are living under God’s dispensation of grace! We receive what we do not deserve. But this fullness of grace does not end with us storing up money for ourselves. Those who are full of grace are also generous! When we are generous, we will be blessed (Prov. 22:9).

Having a “good eye” (being generous) cleanses you inside and out
“And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.”
—Luke 11:37–41 KJV

“Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. . . . But rather give alms . . . and, behold, all things are clean unto you” — What Jesus said to the Pharisee tells us that when we give alms, we are cleansed both outside and inside (in our bodies and our souls). To give alms is to be generous in giving money to the poor. The poor are not only those who do not have money, but also those who do not have the gospel. Here, we are encouraged to be generous in our giving to others and generous in our sowing into the spreading of the gospel! Pastor Prince encourages everyone to find a church that preaches the gospel of grace and sow into it financially (it does not have to be New Creation Church).

Be a blessing and testimony when you are planted in God’s house

Going back to the preceding verses in Luke 11:33–36, let’s look at what the Lord says about how we should manage and prioritize money in our lives.

“No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.”
—Luke 11:33–36 KJV

“when he hath lighted a candleWhen God lights your candle, it means that your spirit has received a revelation from God (Prov. 20:27 KJV), e.g. a revelation about God’s grace and His promises of healing and provision. When God lights us up with a revelation, He intends for us to shine as a testimony for Him.

“Bushel” — In Jesus’ time, a bushel was often used as a system of measurement in commerce. So the bushel is a picture of commerce or business. This verse is telling us not to hide our light under a bushel—don’t be so caught up in commerce/business for the pursuit of wealth until it constantly stresses you out, causes you to lose time with your loved ones, and hinders you from coming to church. When our priorities are only about making money, our light diminishes like this candle under a bushel:

Our light cannot be seen—others will not see us as testimonies for the Lord when we are slaving away, depending on the ways of the world and our own intellect, trying to earn more money. When God gives us prosperity or good success (Josh. 1:8), we will have time for our family, time to reach out to our colleagues, time to share the gospel, and time for church!

“secret place (‘cryptos’)” The root word for “secret place” is “cryptos,” which is the same root word for cryptocurrency. God cares for us and does not want us to be taken over/overwhelmed by it, chase after it, or depend on it as our source of supply.

when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it . . . on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light” — A candlestick is a picture of the church in the book of Revelation. When God gives us a revelation (of His grace and His promises of healing and provision), He wants to make us a testimony by planting us in church! God puts us in church so that those who see God’s light through us will come to church and encounter Jesus. We shine the brightest and have the greatest influence when we are planted in church.

“thy whole body also is full of light” — As mentioned earlier, this refers to health. Every time we gather in church to worship the Lord, He prolongs our days (Prov. 10:27) and keeps us healthy and strong!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
—Matthew 6:33 NKJV

While we all desire to be provided for, God’s heart is not for us to chase after riches. His ways for us are easy and restful, and we will not have to sacrifice what’s important to us (e.g. time with our families or time in His house). He will provide for us!

Pastor Prince ends the service by sharing a testimony of a sister in Singapore who was healed of a cyst in her throat. He encourages us to believe the Lord for miracles of healing and provision in our lives. Even in the midst of our challenges, we need not be afraid. We can find hope and the answers to our needs when we keep ourselves in the Word of God!

Salvation Prayer

“Heavenly Father, I confess Jesus Christ is my Lord. For God's beloved Son bore all my sins and took all my judgment upon Himself on that cross that I might receive His righteousness, His favor, His acceptance with You. Thank You for raising Him from the dead as a proclamation that death itself has been conquered. Jesus Christ is my Lord, my Savior, and my righteousness. In Jesus' name. Amen.”

Closing Prayer

“This coming week, the Lord Himself favors you and your loved ones wherever you go. The way of the Lord is to prosper you. His desire is to prosper you and cause you to be in health even as your souls prosper. I pray in Jesus name that you'll be the person whose mind is on the Lord day and night, and that whatever you do prospers. Throughout this week, God will place you and your families at the right place at the right time. For those who are traveling, God protects your flight from every incident, and may you have a smooth, prosperous flight to the other side. The Lord causes your days to be like heaven on earth in these coming weeks, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the favor of our Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the fellowship, the friendship, the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you in a very tangible, real way throughout this week. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”

OWN THE WORD (life application)

Your heavenly Father created you with a purpose: to shine His light and be a testimony for the world to see. And where He desires to place you to shine His light the most brightly is in your local church (Luke 11:33)! When you choose to sow your time and resources into your church, you become an evangelistic light that shines for all those who, being attracted by God’s favor and blessings in your life, walk into your church for the first time and get to hear the gospel of grace!

However, many of us are familiar with resistance in this area of sowing into our church. Perhaps with all the demands in your life—having to provide for your family, working long hours to grow or secure your finances, especially in this time of economic downturn—it’s easy to feel like you don’t even have enough time or resources for yourself, much less for your church.

Friend, if that’s you, it could be time for you to have a heart-to-heart, Scripture-based conversation with your heavenly Father this week about provision, money, where your trust lies, what His definitions of success and prosperity really are, and how He wants to make you a testimony of His grace and goodness for all to see. You can listen to this sermon or last week’s sermon again and ask Him to speak to you. You can also meditate on or study the Bible verses that stand out to you in these messages.

We pray this conversation with your heavenly Father will give you a deep revelation of His heart to provide for you, cast out all fear of lack, and impart to you His wisdom on how you can position yourself to receive and enjoy His good success in every area of your life—in your finances, your family, your relationships, and your health. And may you start shining as a light for all the world to see His goodness and grace.

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 2022
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.