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Watch 2022 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Bless Those Who Persecute You

Derek Prince - Bless Those Who Persecute You

Derek Prince - Bless Those Who Persecute You
TOPICS: Book of Romans, Bible Study, Persecution

All right. We’re going on. We have to reach still the final stage of this progress which is in verses 6 and following. And since we have gifts, Rejoice Charismatics, the word is charismata, since we have charismata. that differ according to the grace given to us And the word for grace is charis. Charisma is a derivative of the word for grace. They are grace gifts, gifts you can’t earn. So, once you’ve found your place in the body, then God will equip you with the gifts that you need to function in that place. Do you see that? It’s really not sensible to pray for gifts in the abstract. Lord, give me this gift or give me that gift. You need to find out your place in the body and then you will know what gifts you need. As a matter of fact, God will begin to give them to you.

I remember when I got thrust into the ministry of praying for people to be delivered from demons. I remember very early on a man brought his sister to my first wife, Lydia, and me for ministry. And I sat there and looked at her and And I said, You need to be delivered. And I named eight demons. And I thought to myself, How did I know that? And I thought, God must be giving me a word of knowledge. See? But I didn’t get it in the abstract; I got it in the situation where I needed it. Because, that was part of my job in the body. God will not leave you unequipped. And I agree with what Bob Mumford says, The spiritual gifts are not toys, they’re tools. We need them to do the job; they’re not a little extra chrome on the car. They’re part of the engine. The car doesn’t work right without it. But, they’re very practical. They’re not ornaments. And, they are practical when you’ve found your place in the body and you’re functioning as that part of the body. God will equip you.

Let’s look at the list of charismata. And this is not a comprehensive list of charisma. You’ll find another list in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and others. I’ve counted twenty-two different things that I call charismata. And one of the most exciting, just to whet your appetite do you know what it is? It’s celibacy. Is that one you’ve been praying for! 1 Corinthians chapter 7, Paul says every man has his charisma. One after this manner, another after another. Mine, he said, is celibacy. And I could pray for everybody to be the same, but he said, I won’t. So, don’t limit your concept of spiritual gifts to one or two things like miracles or healings or prophecy, because it’s a very wide range.

And here we have, I think, seven is’nt it or is it eight? Let’s have a look. Verse 6: Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly That’s put in by the translators, though I think it’s legitimate. If prophecy, according to the proportion of faith; Now, that is very, very important. Because, a lot of people begin to prophesy, they have seen exciting results and their minds get blown up. And They get beyond the proportion of faith and they start to say things that are not from God. And they create, in many cases, a lot of confusion.

I have to say that I have reservations about people prophesying over me. If it’s a professional activity, I’ve had a lot of prophecy over me and I praise God for it. But I don’t go to somebody as you would go to a fortune teller to find out what’s going to happen next. Because, you sometimes get fortune telling and not prophecy... They’re very, very close together. There’s just a razor edge division between the true prophetic gift and a divining spirit. Think about the young woman in Philippi. When Paul and Silas arrived there with their companions, she went out everywhere saying, These men are servants of the most high God which show us the way of salvation. Every word she spoke was true. She knew it supernaturally but she didn’t know it by the Holy Spirit. Eventually, Paul got so provoked he cast out the divining spirit.

I’ve commented sometimes that modern missionaries would have made her a charter member of the church in Philippi. This is not just idle I mean this is a problem that confronts us very really today. There’s a great upsurge of prophesying. Thank God for it, but let’s have the real thing and let’s be cautious that we don’t get involved in a counterfeit. So, according to the proportion of faith. Don’t go beyond your faith. Don’t strain yourself. I’ve seen when people strain for results they get into problems, whether it’s healing or whatever it is. The most exciting healings that have taken place in my ministry usually happen, as I’ve been saying, by accident. Do you know? I didn’t plan it. Like, a well known lady in the Charismatic movement came to Ruth and me about two years ago in Hawaii. Her husband said, I want you to pray for my wife. She was scheduled for a triple heart bypass. I didn’t feel the least bit like praying for her.

I was very tired, it was the end of the meeting and I thought, Well, here he is. He’s a brother minister. If I don’t pray for his wife I’ll offend him forever. So Ruth and I prayed and forgot about it. We met the lady last October in Britain. She said, I want to tell you, I was completely healed of a need of a triple bypass. We didn’t plan that. About the same time in Hawaii and do things do happen elsewhere than Hawaii I want you to know! But in Hawaii we had lunch with a man who is the author of a very significant book, I don’t know wheter you’ve seen it? It’s called Target Earth. I can’t get involved in telling you about it. Anyhow, while we were at lunch he told us his wife had an incurable disease in which her body didn’t develop enough protein, or didn’t digest protein. She was being studied at Duke University. They told her, We can’t help you but we’d like to get the statistics and the figures so that we can try to help other people.

And after the meal as we walked back through the parking lot, Ruth said to this lady, I feel I want to pray for you. And so right in the parking lot without any preparation, without any worship music or... Ruth prayed for her. And I just stood by and said amen. We discovered a few weeks later that the lady had been miraculously healed. A total miracle, there was no possibility of having healed medically. So, what I want to say is don’t force it. Let it come naturally, let it flow. The Holy Spirit is compared to olive oil. Olive oil flows. It’s not jerky, it’s very smooth. All right. Let’s look quickly at the other possibilities. If service It could be deaconship. If you’re to be a deacon, and a deacon is another word for servant. I’ve often thought that baptist churches would be different if they called the Board of Deacons the Board of Servants! Yes or no? And that’s what they should be because the word deacon is just the translation of the Greek word for a servant.

So, if you’re to be a servant, then specialize in serving. And serving is an art, did you know that? One thing I’ve learned about people who serve because Ruth and I have to have people when you’re serving a person you don’t do things the way you think you ought to do them, you do things the way the person wants them done even whether you think it’s right or not. That’s an art. To adjust your thinking to the thinking of another person and do it the way the other person wants. We’ve had a number of young women who have served Ruth and they’ve all been wonderful. But some of them have been really gifted with the ability to serve. It is a gift, do you see? It’s not something you can really work out. I must be careful because these tapes get around! And I mean, I want to say we appreciate them all. We’re going on, "he who teaches, in teaching". And I want to say that the Bible says we shouldn’t have too many teachers. Did you know that?

James chapter 3. Don’t be a teacher unless God has called you, stay out of it. I know God called me. Whether I’m a good teacher or bad teacher, one thing I know God specifically called me to be a teacher of the Scriptures. I can’t help teaching. You can stand me in the corner on my head and I’ll start teaching, it’s just in me! But I hear people teaching, I think, dear God, he has a gift but that’s not it. All right. He who exhorts, in exhortation you.

See, a lot of people have got this wonderful gift of exhorting but it isn’t teaching. Don’t become a teacher when you should be an exhorter. Stick in your profession. There’s some wonderful evangelists but when they become teachers, every time they open their mouth they put their foot in it. If you give, it says; Do you realize there’s a ministry of giving? It’s a ministry, it’s a gift. Do it with, it says liberality, but simplicity. Don’t make a big deal out of the fact you’re giving. I thank God for the ones that support our ministry. But I have discovered that some people want to manipulate us by their gifts. And we have to be very, very careful that we don’t go that route. All right. I’m not getting nearly as fast as I should through this, I want you to know.

The next one is showing mercy. That’s a gift. And I have to say it’s a gift I don’t have. I mean, for me to visit people in hospital is a chore. I’ll do it if it’s absolutely necessary but I have friends who are like a duck in water when they get to the hospital. It’s their natural gift. And it’s a very precious and wonderful gift. And I thank God for the people who have had gifts of mercy that have ministered to me with. But I just know for me it’s not a gift. I do it as a duty if it’s necessary. Some people are not happy unless they’re showing mercy. So, if that’s your gift, cultivate it. Whatever your gift is, cultivate it. Going on, is there another one? Yes. He who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Okay, we’ve come to the end of that.

Now we come to the next sort of section of this chapter which I have to work through in the next I don’t know how many minutes. The key word or the key phrase is let love be without hypocrisy. As we go through these chapters we’ll see again and again the fountainhead of all Christian living is love. So Paul starts here with love. He says sincere love. And everything else in this chapter flows out of love. This is not a set of rules that you have to follow, it’s guidance for how to direct the love that God has put in your heart. Can you see the difference? Suppose you are trying to water a big garden with a watering can and you had to go back to the faucet every time and carry it to and fro, and you were getting hot and sweaty and tired. And You weren’t doing much of a job. And somebody said, Why don’t you try a hose? Attach it to the faucet, take the thing in your hand and all you have to carry is the hose. And when you’ve got the hose, this is where you need to direct the water, that’s what Paul is saying here.

This is how to direct the water from the hose. But if you’ve got the water in your hose, if you haven’t got any love, you’ve got nothing to direct. Don’t make this into a set of rules. This is suggestions for watering your garden when you’ve got a hose. If you don’t have a hose, the first thing you need to do is get one and attach it to the faucet. Don’t try to lead the Christian life as a set of wearisome religious rules, that’s not what it is. I think I love to read 1 Timothy 1:5, especially in this translation, it’s just so good. 1 Timothy 1:5 The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith. The goal of our instruction is love.

Is that true of us in the ministry? Is the thing that we’re aiming for love? Then Paul goes on to say if you get involved in anything, you’re just wasting time. Anything in the church that does not ultimately produce love is a waste of time and misapplied effort. How much time is wasted in how many churches? Going back now to the hose, and we’ve got to go very, very quickly. I’m just going to show you various parts of flower beds, different types of flowers you can water. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. I think I’ve got a list of twelve here. Hate evil, love good. No neutrality. I’m not going to turn back to the Scripture reference, we don’t have time. Psalm 45 verse 7, a prophetic Scripture about Jesus as Messiah: Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God thy God has blessed thee. Why did God bless Jesus? Because He loved righteousness and hated iniquity. You can’t be neutral about evil if you love God and love righteousness.

Psalm 97 verse 10 says: You that love the Lord hate evil. There can be no compromise with evil and those that truly love the Lord. All right. Going on, the next one in verse 10: Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; and then it says give preference to one another in honor. Be devoted to one another and prefer one another in honor. Give more honor to other people than you seek for yourself. I used to have a lot of trouble with that because you know I thought to myself, Well, how can I honor that brother and I don’t think he’s as good as I am? But you never have that problem. And then I saw Paul says those who compare themselves amongst themselves and measure themselves by other people are unwise. And I realized there’s only one standard and it is Jesus, that’s right. When you measure yourself by Him, it’s easy to prefer other people. you know?

All right. Going on, verse 11, the third one: Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord I’ve translated that not lazy but diligent. You search the Bible and see if you can find one good word in it about laziness. Drunkenness is a sin but laziness is a much worse sin. You’ll find laziness is much more severely condemned than drunkenness. The strange thing is we’ll tolerate lazy people in our churches but we don’t want drunkards. You don’t have any lazy people in your church, I know, it’s different there. You don’t have any people who are too lazy to get up and read their Bible or too lazy to pray or too lazy to go out and visit door by door. Do you know what laziness is? According to the Roman Catholics it’s a deadly sin. All right. Where are we? All right. The second part of that, serving the Lord with passionate dedication.

I love the statement of Lamatashal, that’s William Booth’s daughter, Catherine Booth Clippen. She said this: she said Jesus loves us passionately and He wants to be loved passionately. Let me ask you that. Do you love the Lord passionately? I have a wife who loves the Lord passionately, that’s one thing I can say about my wife. She happens not to be here this morning so I take the opportunity to say it. She loves the Lord with a passionate devotion. There’s very little real passion in the church today. We need to get that hose attached to the faucet.

Going on, verse 13: what ... say there? contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. I’ve translated that sharing with fellow believers, practicing hospitality. Hospitality is a ministry, did you know that? God has blessed some of you with it. Cultivate it as a ministry and use it for the glory of God. And do you remember what Jesus said, Don’t invite the rich, invite the poor, the blind, the people who can’t pay you back. Because He said a wonderful thing, He said you’ll be paid back in the resurrection. You see, if you get your reward now you get nothing then. If you forfeit your reward now, then you have it waiting for you in the next age.

Then verse 14 is so important. Where are we? Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. How easy do you find it to bless those who persecute you? Well, I have to say this, I’m writing a book at the moment called Curse or Blessing, and I have to deal with the subject. And God has dealt with me, I couldn’t finish the book, writing it, until I had come to the discipline of regularly forgiving people that had done anything against me and blessing them. And I’ll tell you, it’s lifted me onto a new level. The people that have been mean and unkind and uncharitable, I say, Lord, I forgive them. And having forgiven them I bless them in your name, Lord. So, if you want to get blessed and this is not a serious statement be mean to me and I’ll bless you! But, you’ve still got to answer to God.

All right. I think of the woman with the alabaster jar of very precious ointment when I think about blessing, see, one of our greatest privileges as Christians is to bless. Because it’s godly to bless. And I think we have a lot of critics, we have a lot of people that are against us. But think of that woman that anointed Jesus with that very expensive ointment which was worth about a year’s salary. And people criticized her. But they still got to smell the scent of the ointment. Do you understand? You can be a bearer of perfume bringing perfume into people’s lives. They may criticize you but they still get the ointment. You remember what Jesus said, He said, Let her alone. Stop criticizing her. She’s done a good work. And wherever this gospel is preached, what she has done will be spoken of.

So, that’s the attitude God has to those who pour out the perfume. And blessing is pouring out perfume. When you bless people there’s a little area of perfume around you from that time onwards. All right. We’ve got to go on; we’ve got to move on. Verse 15 which says: Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. I have to say again my wife is a wonderful example of that. She’s a good rejoicer and she’s a good weeper. I can’t say I excel in those, really. See, the problem there is self-centeredness. You can’t really rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep until you’ve been delivered from being self-centered. And let me tell you something, if you want a sure recipe for unhappiness, cultivate being self centered. And I’ll guarantee you you’ll be unhappy.

All right. verse 15 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Equally sympathetic with those who rejoice and those who weep. Verse 16, I’m just going to give you the Prince Version, you can read the other. Living in harmony, humble, not conceited or arrogant. And above all, avoiding pride. Because the book of Proverbs says when pride comes, contention starts. The greatest single cause of quarrels, disunities, is pride. Verse 17, number nine: Never returning evil for evil, maintaining a reputation for right dealing.

And I think it’s that one which says give room for God. No, that’s a little further on, verse 19. Verse 18, the tenth: Sincerely seeking peace with all. But you can’t have peace with everybody, some people won’t make peace. But as far as it lies in you, make peace and keep peace with everybody. It’ll do your digestive system good too. Do you know how many times our tummies get tied up in knots because we’ve become esentful, bitter, unforgiving? Peace. you know the word peace in Hebrew, shalom, it means completeness. It’s a beautiful word. When you give out peace you get peace.

All right. Going on, verse 17: Never returning evil for evil, maintaining a reputation for right dealings. verse 18: Sincerely seeking peace with all. verse 19 and 20 Never repay evil with evil but with good. And if somebody does you wrong, don’t revenge yourself. Paul says a very frightening thing, he says: make room for the wrath of God. That’s frightening. Do you see? If you don’t revenge yourself, God is going to revenge you. Which would I rather have? Brother Jay’s dealings or God’s dealings? I mean if Jay avenges himself, I’m not afraid of Jay. But if God takes over Jay’s case, that’s frightening. You can’t do anything more frightening than step back and say, I won’t revenge myself. God is going to deal with you.

And then we come to this marvelous last verse: If... I am going to make it the last. Meet and overcome evil with good. Respond in the opposite spirit. That’s the teaching of Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM. Respond in the opposite spirit. And here are just a few examples. Meet hatred with love, meet bitterness with sweetness, meet anger with gentleness. Never meet a bad person on their own level. Overcome evil with good. The only thing that’s powerful enough to overcome evil is good. But it is powerful enough. So either we are overcome by evil or we overcome evil. But you know for whom heaven is made? For whom? For overcomers, that’s right. Amen.
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