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Watch 2022 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Our Victory In Christ

Derek Prince - Our Victory In Christ

Derek Prince - Our Victory In Christ
TOPICS: Book of Romans, Bible Study, Victory

In our previous session we looked at the total opposition between the flesh and the Spirit. We saw that there’s no reconciliation between them. And for that reason God’s plan of redemption is to put to death the old fleshly nature and to bring into being a totally new nature by His Holy Spirit within us. Although God has made total provision for this, I pointed out to you that it has to be worked out in our lives. So we have to put to death the deeds of the body. That’s not something that God does for us, He’s given us the legal right, He’s given us the authority and the power; we have to exercise it.

You know it says of those who are born through receiving Jesus in John 1, to them God gave authority to become children of God. It’s very important to see that when you’re born again, what you get is authority. You don’t become any more through the new birth than you become by exercising the authority which God has given you. Authority is useless if it isn’t exercised. So really, the new birth is just a potential, it’s the opportunity to develop into something wonderful if you’ll use the authority. But if all you do is keep telling everybody you’re born again and never take any intelligent attempts to exercise authority in a scriptural way over the problems that confront you and the sins that still beset you in your own life, you’ll make no progress at all.

Paul says we have to move out of one way of thinking, one area of living: the flesh, and into a totally different one. We need the help of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is willing to help us. He comes to this conclusion. For as many as are being led by the Spirit of God, these and these only are sons of God. Then he reminds us in verse 15 of chapter 8 that we have not become slaves again, we haven’t come under a spirit of slavery. And that’s legalism. He’s contrasting Sinai with Golgotha. Sinai, they were frightened, they backed off from the mountain. They said, We don’t want to hear that voice again. But God doesn’t want to make slaves. He wants to make sons who are motivated by love and respect and who cry out Abba, Father.

And in this, the Spirit help us because He bears witness that we are children of God Everyone that is born of God has the witness in himself. If you don’t have that witness, you need to check whether you’re really born of God. I say that because I’ve been on mission fields with missionaries who didn’t know what it was to be born again. They were sincere and good living people but it’s quite different to have the supernatural testimony of the Holy Spirit that you are a child of God. If the Holy Spirit tells you you’re a child of God, it really doesn’t matter what other people say. He’s the one that matters. Paul goes on in verse 17, and this is important: If we are children, then we are also heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ I prefer to say joint heirs because according to the laws of inheritance, it doesn’t mean that every one of us gets a little part of that inheritance but it means we all share the total inheritance together.

That’s a tremendous statement. We are heir to all that Jesus is heir to because we’re His younger brothers. But there’s a condition and a lot of people don’t ever read the condition. At the end of verse 17: if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified together. So, our inheritance depends on our willingness to suffer with Him. You cannot become an heir of God without being willing to face suffering. If you reject the suffering, I don’t believe you can claim your inheritance. We’re heirs of God if indeed we suffer with Him. There’s a certain tendency in the church today to dismiss suffering as something that doesn’t belong to the Christian life. I can’t think where people find that in the Bible, there are countless statements in the Bible that tell us the exact opposite.

Let’s go on then and consider the nature and the purpose of suffering which is something that every one of us partakes of in some degree. Paul says now in the next verse: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. And coming from Paul, that’s a rather impressive statement if you consider what he suffered. I want to read the list for a moment, it’s found in 2 Corinthians 11 verse 23 and following. He says this verse 23 talking about people who claim to be servants of Christ: Are they servants of Christ? [I speak as if insane] I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. I understand that means 195 lashes altogether. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spend in the deep.

We don’t need to go any further. The remarkable thing is in the same epistle, a little earlier on, he says: our light affliction which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more eternal and exceeding weight of glory. So, what are you complaining about brother? How heavy is your affliction compared with Paul? And Paul said his affliction was a light affliction. Here in Romans he says the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed to us. What made the difference with Paul was that he had a vision of the glory. If we lose the vision of the glory, we won’t benefit from our suffering.

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:17: Our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more eternal and exceeding weight of glory while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, the things which are not seen are eternal. So suffering will work God’s purposes in you while you’re looking at the things which are not seen. Paul had a vision of the unseen glory and nothing he suffered was worthy to be compared with the glory he saw in the future. But if we lose the vision of the eternal, we’ll still suffer but we’ll get no benefit from it.

Going back to Romans 8. Now he comes to one of the most profound passages, I believe, in the New Testament in the Bible. Verse 19: For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. What he’s saying, I understand, is this. We’re not the only ones that are suffering. The whole creation is suffering because of our sin. Because it was man’s sin that plunged creation into chaos and futility. Creation will not be redeemed until we are redeemed. So the whole creation is waiting for us. That’s a tremendous statement. Let me read that again. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For us to be revealed in our resurrection glory, that’s what the creation is waiting for.

You see, I find that creation is a lot more alive to the promises of God than many Christians. I’d like to turn to two psalms briefly. Psalm 96:11–13. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all it contains; let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord, for He is coming All nature is anticipating the coming of the Lord basically, except the church. The church is asleep. The trees are awake, the mountains are awake, the lakes are awake, the animals are awake and the church is sleeping. We’re out of harmony with God and with creation.

Look again in Psalm 98:7–9. Let the sea roar and all it contains That excites me because Jesus said right at the end of this age, men’s hearts will fail them for fear and for the things that are coming upon the earth, for the roaring of the sea. So as the Lord’s coming is imminent, the sea is going to get so excited it’s going to roar and frighten the unbelievers. That’s something. Let the sea roar and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it. Let the rivers clap their hands Have you ever pictured the rivers clapping their hands? let the mountains sing together for joy What’s it all about? before the Lord; for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. All creation is longing for the Lord to come and put things right.

You see, man was made the steward of the earth but after his fall man raped the earth. He’s left the earth in many areas desolate, stripped, bare, exploited. And the earth is crying out to God, How long are you going to let these people trample over us and tear us up and defile us and fill our atmosphere with that horrible pollution? Can you picture that? See, the trouble with most of us is we’re so self centered. You know, somebody said the typical prayer of the average church member is: God bless me and my wife, my son John and his wife. Us four, no more, amen.

Paul is drawing us into an experience where we empathize with the whole of creation. Oh, that our hearts would be enlarged. Going on, verse 20: For the creation was subjected to futility The old King James says vanity. Emptiness. I think perhaps in a way the contemporary word would be frustration. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Notice it’s only when the children of God come into the freedom of their glory that creation will be set free.

Now look back for a moment in Genesis 3 and just see the root Scripture here after man sinned. Genesis 3, God’s pronouncement of judgment for the sin of man. Genesis 3:17; Then to Adam God said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you saying: you shall not eat from it, cursed is the ground because of you. Have you ever pondered on that? Man was the steward of the whole earth, he was answerable to God. And his fall brought disaster on all that he was responsible for. See this principle of responsibility is one we run away from today. But the fact is we are responsible before God for certain things. Parents are responsible for their children.

How many of you agree if parents fail, children suffer? They don’t deserve it but it comes because of the failure of the steward who was over them. The same principle applies to the whole earth. God set Adam over the whole earth. He said you’ll subdue the earth, you’ll rule over it, it’s under your stewardship. But when he fell, it brought a disastrous consequence upon the whole earth. See how much we’re responsible for? It’s a frightening thought, at least it is to me.

Now listen. Cursed is the ground because of you. In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. What is the mark of the curse, the visible mark? Two things. Thorns and thistles. Who provided redemption from the curse? Jesus Have you ever noticed that they gave him a crown of thorns and they gave him a purple robe which is the color of the thistle? That was God’s attestation that Jesus was redeeming the earth from its curse. But the redemption will not come till man’s redemption is complete.

Let’s go back to Romans 8 [verse 21] that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Verse 22, for we know And this is another of those places where I think most of us don’t know. But we should know. We know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. Did you know that? And listen, how do we respond to it? And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

Let me ask you frankly, and I could ask myself the same question. Is that true of you? Do you ever have this experience of the Holy Spirit groaning within you not for some problem in your life but for the redemption of creation? Do you ever empathize with this creation on which we, men and women, brought such terrible consequences by our sins? And continue those consequences. We haven’t acted as stewards of the earth, we’ve acted as exploiters of the earth. Our selfishness and our greed are rapidly ruining this earth. But we who have the first fruits of the Spirit should have a totally different attitude. We should have, I would call the word empathy with the earth with its groanings, sharing its groanings, sharing its longings.

What is it longing for? Redemption. When will redemption come? When Jesus comes back. What will happen to us? Our bodies will be changed. That will be the redemption of our body. You see, Paul says very clearly at the end of verse 23: waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. It is a heresy to teach that this will happen before the resurrection. At the resurrection our bodies will be redeemed. I think I need to read to you Philippians 3. I look at your faces and I see that we’re moving in an area that you’re not really familiar with. You see, the end of the Christian life is not to get to heaven. That’s just a stage in the journey. The end of the Christian life, the goal of the Christian life is the resurrection. And only then will our redemption be complete because then the redemption of our bodies will be complete.

If all you’re aiming to do is get to heaven, you’re stopping short God's goal. Philippians 3 verses 10–12. This is Paul’s life aim. That I may know Him You’d think Paul had never met the Lord, you know he had. But he said there’s a whole lot more of the Lord that I don’t know yet and I want to know it. That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection How many of you can say amen to that? What about the next sentence? and the fellowship of his suffering Can you understand that? That was his goal. Something is impelling me to warn you again and again if you think you’re going to escape the suffering, you’re going to escape everything. You’ll miss it all. You’ll not be an heir. When I read this I think of something in my own life. Why did Paul want to share the sufferings of Jesus? Not merely his power but his sufferings. I think he didn’t want Jesus to suffer alone.

See, when my first wife died which was now 13 years ago I was due to go away for a conference. But at the last moment I canceled it. I didn’t leave on the Friday, she died on the Sunday afternoon. I’ve always been so grateful that I was there. I could have gone to that conference, she could have died alone. But it would have been a terrible thing for me. I think if I can explain this to you, that’s how Paul felt. He said, I don’t want Jesus to suffer alone. if He has to suffer I want to be there with Him. What I’m trying to paint for all of us is a very different conception of what the Christian life really is. It’s not the list of 17 blessings that you get, there’s a lot more to it than that.

So listen to what Paul says. That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death Letting my old man really experience the death which was accomplished in His execution on the cross. in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. What was his goal? Getting to heaven? No. Sharing in the resurrection from the dead. Getting to heaven is just a sort of resting stage on the journey. The goal is the resurrection. Then he says this. And brothers and sisters, if Paul said this I wonder if we can say less. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect Are you further along the road than Paul was when he wrote those words? "But I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus."

What was he pressing on to? The resurrection of the body. Because, that’s the completion of redemption. Jesus redeemed the spirit, soul and body but the fully outworked redemption won’t be manifested till the resurrection. Go to the end of Philippians 3:20-21. "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." Is that true of you? Are you eagerly waiting for a savior? Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. What’s going to happen to our body when Jesus comes? It’s going to be changed into the likeness of the body of his glory. At the present moment we have a body what the Greek says is a body of humiliation. It’s the result of the fall.

Listen, there’s a lot of things about our bodies that we don’t need to go into detail, but they constantly humble us. You can wear the finest clothes and the nicest perfume, dear ladies, but if you get hot, you’re going to sweat, is that right? Not just perspire but sweat. And you can eat the finest and most delicate food but in a little while you’re going to have to go to the bathroom. How dignified can you be in the bathroom? Do you understand? We’re in a body of humiliation. But when Jesus comes that’s all going to end and we’re going to get a body like His. John says when we see Him as He is, we shall be like Him. I’m naive enough to believe it means what it says.

Now let’s go back to Romans 8 quickly. So the whole creation is groaning in pains of childbirth until now. I want to direct you to some words of Jesus as quickly as I can, the Lord helping me. Matthew 19:28. I want to talk about this regeneration which is not just our personal regeneration but the regeneration of creation. Matthew 19:28: Jesus said to his disciples, Truly I say to you, that you who have followed me, in the regeneration That means the rebirth. when the Son of man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. There is a rebirth coming which is the rebirth of creation. That’s the redemption of creation.

And then Jesus said in Matthew 24:8 about the signs that mark the close of the age: But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. The birth pangs of what? The birth pangs of a new age and I’m not talking about the New Age Movement. I hope you know that. Then he said in Luke 21:28: But when these things That’s what he was describing in Matthew 24. begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Can you see? That’s the climax. It’s not just our personal redemption, it’s the redemption of creation. And all creation is groaning in birth pangs, longing for that. We who have the first fruits of the Spirit, God’s purpose is that we should be groaning together, that we should not be wrapped up in all our little personal problems and church quarrels. But that we should see the glorious vision of what God has in mind and we would give ourselves in prayer to bring it about.
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