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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - We've Got To Trust God To Work Through The Church

Derek Prince - We've Got To Trust God To Work Through The Church

Derek Prince - We've Got To Trust God To Work Through The Church

This is an excerpt from: The Headship of Jesus - Part 2

So, what happened as a result? What was the outworking of that? Turn to the next chapter of Acts, chapter 14, and you read two verses, verse 4 and verse 14. Speaking about what happened in one of the cities: But the multitude of the city was divided; part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And then verse 14: But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard this You notice what they are now? They're apostles. Before they were prophets and teachers. How did they become apostles? By being sent out. Sent out by who? By the Holy Spirit through the church. You see, everything in the church should be initiated by God the Father through the Son, by the Spirit. But it's only effective when the church responds. And although it was in the eternal counsel of God that Paul should be an apostle, he's never called an apostle until the church has recognized, and endorsed his calling.

It's very important for all of us. It's easy to get impatient with the church and become critical of the church, but God does not bypass the church. Because, it's the body of Christ. And so with all its weaknesses and its failings we've got to trust God to work through the church. So that's the full pattern of how Paul was established as an apostle. It was initiated by God the Father, came through Jesus Christ who was head of the church, was communicated to the church by the Holy Spirit, was received by the church and acted upon. And then that was the appointment of apostles.

Now, the question I want to ask you is could the same happen today? In other words, could we have legitimate apostles operating in the church today? To me the obvious answer is yes. If we can believe or if God can be good enough to grace us with prophets and teachers, and the prophets and teachers will wait upon God, open themselves up to Him, maybe fast, then out of that situation there is a completely legitimate New Testament pattern for the ministry of apostles to emerge. I believe there are apostles in the church today. But I think on the whole the church is not in a condition where it can really lay hold of God's purpose and provision. What I want to point out in this connection, in every appointment in the church I believe should follow the same pattern.

I don't believe there should be any appointments made in the church that don't come by way of the head. Just like I don't think anything in my body should start doing something that's not initiated by my head. I mean, if that happens I'm either paralyzed or I've got some serious problem. I might have cerebral palsy which, you know, for those who have it we are deeply sympathetic. But I don't believe it's God's will that the body of Christ should have cerebral palsy. In other words, all the members should operate under the direction and control of the head. I want to give you just two examples of God's choice. I think one of the truths that's really seriously neglected in the contemporary church is the truth of God's sovereignty.

I think in the Charismatic movement people have largely focused on what they can get from God, what God can do for them. And sometimes it's almost degenerated to the place where God is treated like an automatic vending machine. And if you get the right coin, and put it in the right slot you'll get the right kind of soft drink. I just want to tell you God is not an automatic vending machine. And that is a very incorrect picture of God.

What do I mean by God's sovereignty? This is how I define it. To say that God is sovereign means He does what He wants, when He wants, the way He wants, and asks no one's permission. I suggest to you that if you ever begin to infringe on God's sovereignty, you'll run into trouble because there's one thing that God jealously guards is His sovereignty, his right to do what He wants, when He wants, the way He wants, without getting permission from anybody. And I think particularly in the matter of ministries appointed in the church, God reserves His sovereignty.

For instance, look for a moment in John 15:16. John 15:16. Jesus is talking to His apostles. He's not talking to the multitudes. This was a time alone with his own chosen apostles. And He says: 'You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.' Jesus makes it extremely clear that no one becomes an apostle by applying for the job or by being voted in in the church. He says you didn't choose me, I chose you. I made the appointment. Just by way of comment, what's the operative word when we're talking about an apostle? It's a very short word of two letters. Go, that's right. I chose you and appointed you that you should go. That's right.

A stationary apostle is really a contradiction in terms. That you should go and bring forth fruit that will remain, and that your prayers will be answered. I believe all that depends on who takes the initiative. Bringing forth fruit that remains, and having our prayers answered I believe can only be based on the fact that Jesus made the choice. I suggest to you that where we have choices that are not made by Jesus, in most cases we will not get fruit that remains. And in many cases our prayers will not be answered. He is not committed to do it.

See, there's a lot of fruit being brought forth in the contemporary church which does not remain. Is that right? I have a deep respect for Billy Graham. I'm in no sense criticizing him but his own estimate of the number of converts that remain is about 5%. There's something wrong with the church. The church is not operating in divine order. It's not under the headship of Jesus.
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