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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Christians Can Be Bewitched

Derek Prince - Christians Can Be Bewitched

Derek Prince - Christians Can Be Bewitched

This is an excerpt from: The Cross In My Life - Part 1

The theme of this session and the next one is entitled: 'The Cross in My Life.' I need to begin by explaining briefly what I mean by the phrase 'the cross' because there are some people, especially those from a liturgical background who might misunderstand me. For many people the cross is a piece of wood or metal which they hang around their neck or which is placed on the wall of the church, or even above the roof of the church. I have no criticism of that, in no sense am I objecting to that. In fact, I thank God for the people who display the cross. But when I talk about the cross, it's an abbreviation for something else. And the something else is the sacrifice which Jesus offered on our behalf on the cross and all the consequences and benefits of that sacrifice.

So, that one phrase 'the cross' saves me from having to repeat that lengthy phrase over and over again. So, we're going to speak tonight about the cross in my life. First of all, I have been pointing out in previous sessions two very important facts about the cross. First of all, it's the basis of God's total provision for every believer. Everything we ever need in time or eternity, in every department of our lives, spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, financial, temporal or eternal has been provided for us through the cross. There is no other basis. Either we receive on the basis of the cross or we do not receive. Paul said: He who spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things. Just try to absorb those closing words. God will also with Jesus freely give us all things. But without Him nothing.

On the basis of the cross we can receive everything, but without that basis we are not entitled to anything. Secondly, and this is also very important, the cross is the basis of Christ's total defeat of Satan. Through His death, His substitutionary sacrifice, His victorious resurrection, and His triumphant ascension, Jesus has administered to Satan, and his kingdom one total, permanent, irrevocable defeat. There is nothing Satan can ever do to change that fact. And it's on that basis that we have victory over Satan. If we come in contact with Satan, if we have a conflict with Satan on any other basis but the cross, we will be defeated.

But on the basis of the cross we can be totally victorious. Because of these two important facts about the cross Satan has a strategy against the church. He cannot change what has been accomplished by the cross, that's eternal, it's settled by God. What he can do and what he seeks to do is to hide from the church what was accomplished by the cross, so that when the church loses sight of what was accomplished by the cross, then the church no longer enjoys the benefits provided. The church no longer lives in the full provision which was made by the cross and the church is no longer capable of administering Christ's defeat to Satan.

Now, this is brought out very clearly in one particular verse in Galatians 3:1. I have meditated on this verse now for at least ten years, probably longer. When I first read the verse, like so many verses in the Bible, I just read it, and I didn't think much about it. But gradually it impacted me more and more. I see in it myself today a key to understanding the problems of the church. This is what Paul says there are two versions according to different original texts. I'm going to follow the shorter version which is followed in the NIV and the NASB and probably others. O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. That's an amazing statement. Probably you've never been sufficiently amazed by it.

But Paul says to these Spirit filled Christians and you'll see in a few moments they'd been saved, they'd been baptized in the Spirit, they had witnessed and were witnessing miracles but he says to them who has bewitched you? Witchcraft is the primary word, for the spiritual forces released from Satan's kingdom into the earth. So, this quote, Spirit filled Christians and you know, when I hear the word 'Spirit filled' and I see the lives of some people called Spirit filled, I say yes, but just a thimble full. You can fill a thimble, you can fill a cup or you can fill a bath. All of them are filled, but they don't contain the same amount. When I see the lives of Spirit filled Christians I say to myself: They don't realize that Satan has a strategy against them of which they're not aware.

Actually, I found myself in a situation in 1963, I don't want to go back into the details, I had just immigrated to the United States. I'm one of the few people who immigrated to the United States by accident. I came for a visit, the immigration authorities at the border told me that six months was too long for a visit. I said maybe you can help me, because I've dealt with a lot of immigration authorities in different countries and I know you never argue with them, you just put yourself at their mercy. So, they said come on in and we'll arrange it. And so, that way I, with my first wife and our five year old adopted black African daughter, made it into the States.

Now, if we'd ever made application outside with that particular combination, we'd never have been accepted, you understand? So, that was God's way of sneaking us into the United States. Anyhow, I found myself a little while later pastoring a Pentecostal church in Seattle, Washington. I cannot go into the problems of that church but let me just briefly state what had happened, just to give you some kind of idea of what can happen to Spirit filled people. The wife of the pastor fell in love with one of the Board members. As a result, the pastor's wife divorced the pastor, the Board member divorced his wife, and the pastor's wife and the Board member married and carried on pastoring the church. All this was publicly known, there was no secret about it.

Well, you'd say that couldn't happen in a Pentecostal church. It could and it did. And when I talked with the people they said to me there's something about that woman, when she looks at you your blood runs cold and you just don't know what to say. She had actually gained total control over that congregation. My first wife Lydia and I, really, we'd never been in a situation like that and I began to seek God. I didn't know what to do about it. Of course, by that time she had moved out but the congregation was still under her domination. I read this verse: Foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? And I said that's it. They're bewitched. I couldn't believe at first that, you know, Pentecostal Christians could be bewitched.

When I grasped the truth and Lydia and I took a stand, agreeing together in prayer, we broke that power, the congregation was released, the situation was restored. But that was where I was first introduced to the reality of Galatians 3:1, who has bewitched you? How did Paul know that they were bewitched? The second part of the verse tells us. They had lost the vision of Jesus Christ crucified. What had witchcraft done? It had moved in and obscured the reality of the cross and all that was obtained for them through the cross. What was the result of losing the vision of Jesus Christ crucified? I believe this will always be the result and I believe it's the result in many, many congregations today. They went into carnality and legalism. And basically, wherever you find legalism it's the product of carnality.

Even though it may sound extremely spiritual and legalistic people often think they're more spiritual than others nevertheless, it's an expression of the flesh, of carnality and not a spirituality. And, it goes together with the works of the flesh. Let's read these next verses, verses 2-5, and I think you'll see the truth of what I've been saying. This only I want to learn from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Notice they had received the Spirit. Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? They had begun in the Spirit. Have you suffered so many things in vain if indeed it was in vain? Therefore, He who supplies the Spirit to you, and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?

Notice, God was working miracles among them. They were saved, baptized in the Spirit, and they had miracles taking place. And yet, they were bewitched. And Paul says two results expressed in this: the works of the law and the works of the flesh. Legalism, carnality. Legalism is one of those words that Christians tend to use to criticize other Christians. So, I'm going to offer a definition so that it's not vague. As I understand legalism, it's the attempt to achieve righteousness with God by observing any set of rules whatever. Whether it's the law of Moses, Pentecostal law, Baptist law, or Catholic law, it makes no difference. Anyone who is seeking to achieve righteousness with God by observing a law or a set of rules is in legalism.

An alternative definition is this. Legalism is adding anything whatever to the requirements which God has laid down for achieving righteousness with Him. And God has said all that is needed is to believe in Him who delivered Jesus to death for our offenses and raised Him again for our justification. No person, no church, no organization, and no Bible teacher has any authority ever to add any requirement to achieving righteousness with God except that, believing in the One who delivered Jesus for our sins and raised Him for our justification. And any addition to that, in my understanding, is legalism.

So, here were people who had begun in the Spirit, who had seen miracles, but who had been tricked by Satan because Satan had obscured the reality of what took place on the cross and they'd gone back into fleshly attempts to please God by keeping rules. Does that sound like anybody you've ever met? Does that sound like any churches you've ever been in? In America, and I'm not talking about other countries necessarily, a lot of churches call themselves Grace Church. My observation is the ones that talk most about grace generally, know least about it. They're centers of legalism.
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