Derek Prince - This Spiritual Attack Could Be Our Ultimate Defeat
This is an excerpt from: The Cross In My Life - Part 2
In Romans 6:6, a passage that we continually go back to, Paul states that God has provided the solution. Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves of sin. So that's God's provision: execution. But, God has made the provision, we must apply it. You understand? Christ has done His part, we have to add ours. And...
There's a passage in 1 Peter which has spoken to me so powerfully. 1 Peter 4:1-2: Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind In other words, be prepared for the same thing. For he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. That's a rather surprising statement. He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. For a long while I wondered about that because I thought to myself Jesus suffered on our behalf.
So, why do we have to suffer? I think God made it clear to me. Jesus has made the provision, we have to apply it. Our old man was crucified, that's happened. But Galatians 5:24 says those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh. Who does it there? Not God but we. And crucifixion any way you look at it is painful. So what do we have to do? We have to crucify our fleshly nature, we have to take those evil, rebellious desires and attitudes and we have to nail them to the cross. One nail through my right hand, one nail through my left hand, one nail through my feet. I have to do that. That's not done for me. It's painful but it's the way out of sin. He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
Now let me give you an example because otherwise it's difficult for you to understand. The example I usually take is this fine young Christian lady of about 20 years old who is a committed Christian. She's a member of a good fellowship, she has a pastor who is a godly man who really cares for her soul. But she becomes emotionally involved with a man who is not a committed Christian. He'll go to church just to get her but he really has never made a commitment of his life. And her godly pastor says don't get involved with him, he's not really a committed Christian it won't work out. She's got two options. Each of them is painful. She can accept her pastor's advice and nail her feelings and desires to the cross. I love him, that's not the most important thing.
I want to be married, that's not the most important thing. I'm afraid of being lonely, that's not the most important thing. Every one of those attitudes has to be nailed to the cross. That's painful. But it doesn't last for long. After a little while there's a glorious freedom. And if we want a happy ending to the story, in due course the right man comes along and she really gets married and is happy. That's the happy side. Now suppose that she doesn't do what she ought to do. Suppose that she doesn't crucify her attitudes and her desires and her emotions. She goes ahead and marries him. All right.
Fifteen years later after she's had three children he walks out with another woman. She has to pick up the pieces of her life and handle a family without a head. That's far more painful. And it lasts far longer. Hopefully at the end of it all she learns her lesson. She says I was self willed, self pleasing, I gave way to my flesh, I didn't accept the cross. I was giving this example to a group a while back and a lady who was right in the front row right in front of me said, 'You've told my story exactly' when I finished. She had just been divorced and her husband left her with six children. I'm not saying all divorce springs from that cause but a lot of unhappy marriages of Christians are the result of not crucifying the flesh.
So, what are you going to do? Are you going to take God's solution which is painful, let's not be sentimental about it. It's painful to deny your strongest desires and wishes and feelings. Or are you going to refuse the cross and suffer the consequences which will be, in the long run, much more painful. That's the decision we have to make. I must move on to the fifth and final deliverance. Galatians 6:14. Galatians 6:14. God forbid that I should glory [or boast] except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Come on, you theologians, what's the deliverance from there? The what? You didn't say it very firmly. From what? The world. Are you happy about that? Or does it cause you mixed emotions?
Let's define the world first. Worldly is one of those terms that Christians use to criticize other Christians. That's not God's purpose. I mean, I've been through all that, I don't want to go through it again. You know, all the seventeen rules of what you must not do in order not to be worldly. I would say basically the people who make those rules are very worldly people, but that's just by the way. What do we mean by the world? I'll give you my definition. The world is a social order or a system of life which refuses the righteous government of Jesus Christ. Because, Jesus is God's appointed governor, He's qualified, He's met the conditions, He's the only one God will appoint as ruler of the human race. But the world is a system, an attitude that refuses the righteous government of Jesus.
Worldly people can be religious, they can be nice, they can be respectable but when you challenge them with unreserved submission to the Lordship of Jesus, that attitude comes out. That's the world. Let's look at a few things that the New Testament tells us about the world. John 15:18-19, two remarkable verses because in these two verses Jesus uses the phrase 'the world' six times in two brief verses. He says to His disciples: If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. What did Jesus do to us? He chose us out of the world.
You see, the word for church in New Testament Greek, ekklesia from which we get the word ecclesiastical and so on means literally a company of people called out. Called out from what? From the world. So you can either be in the world or you can be in the church but you cannot be in both. They're mutually exclusive. Let's see what John says about the attractiveness of the world, the glamour of the world. 1 John 2:15-17: Do not love the world, or the things in the world. I think that's kind of a question of age. If you're under 25 the temptation is to love the world. It seems so glamorous, it seems so exciting, it seems to have such a lot to offer. But all its glamour is tinsel, there's no reality to it.
If you're over 25 or over 40, your problem will not be so much loving the world as loving something in the world like a special kind of car, or a special kind of house, or special clothes. You understand? There's just something that draws you. Older people probably are disillusioned about the world but there's still something in the world that holds onto them. It may be something intellectual, it may be reading all sorts of books which you shouldn't be reading. You shouldn't be filling your mind with a lot of garbage but because of your intellectual background there's still something that holds onto you.
I have a principle, I try never to fill my mind with garbage. If I think anything is unhealthy for my mind, the moment that I sense it's unhealthy I close my mind and shut it off. I do not want to carry garbage in my mind. But a whole lot of Christians who wouldn't indulge in immorality or sensuality indulge in a lot of intellectual garbage gathering. And that's the way the world still holds on to their lives. Let's see what John goes on to say. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. You cannot love the world, and God the Father at the same time. You have to choose. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Everything in the world is not of God the Father. That's this world system. And John mentions three specific types of temptation, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. In the original temptation in the garden of Eden there were all three. The fruit on the tree was good for food, it was pleasant to the eyes, it was to be desired to make one wise. That's the pride of life. The pride of life is I'm pretty clever, I can handle life on my own. I don't need God. That's all of the world, it is not of the Father.
You see, if I may say so, the essence of sin originally was not the desire to do evil because the temptation was good, be like God, know good and evil. There's nothing wrong with that. The essence of sin is the desire to be independent of God. And that's the pride of life. And as long as there's anything in us that resists depending on God, the pride of life has not been dealt with in us. Then John says: And the world is passing away, and the lust of it It's all impermanent. It's not going to last. Can you say amen to that? It's hard to believe that, isn't it? But it's true. But he who does the will of God abides forever. That's an exciting statement.
If I will renounce the things of the world and align my will totally with the will of God, I am as unshakable and undefeatable and unsinkable as the will of God. There's nothing that can defeat me because there's nothing that can defeat the will of God. So, there's the options. Stay embroiled with the world, and suffer its miseries or turn your back on the world, align yourself with the will of God and become unsinkable, undefeatable. Concerning the world, it's amazing how much the apostle John tells us about the world. He's the chief writer.
In 1 John 5:19, John makes a sweeping statement: We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. Who is the wicked one? Satan. The Greek is even simpler. It says the whole world lies in the wicked one. The whole world. It's under the sway of Satan. And then in Revelation 12:9 we have this picture of the many facets of Satan and it calls him the great dragon, the serpent of old, the devil that's the slanderer and Satan the resister who deceives the whole world. The whole world is under the deception of Satan, you understand.
In James 4:4, James says: Adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that the love of the word is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be the friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. We cannot love God and the world simultaneously. John 14, Jesus said the ruler of this world comes and has nothing in me. You see, the question is do we have a fifth column? Does Satan have a fifth column in us.
Do you know the origin of the world fifth column? Well, there was a war in Spain, in 1936 a civil war, Spaniards fighting Spaniards. There was a certain Spanish general besieging a Spanish city and another general said to him, 'What is your plan to capture this city?' And he said, 'I have four columns advancing on the city: from the north, the south, the east and the west.' Then he paused and said, 'But it's my fifth column that will take the city for me.' The other general said, 'Where is your fifth column?' He replied, 'Inside the city.'
See, the church is never defeated from without. Jesus was never defeated from without, you and I will never be defeated from without. But, if there's a fifth column inside us, that's how we'll be defeated. Let me end with a little parable about the ship and the sea. Some of you have heard that before. A ship in the sea is all right. The sea in a ship is all wrong. What's the application? The world in the church. I am sorry... The church in the world is all right. The world in the church is all wrong.
What happens when the sea gets into a ship? It sinks. What happens when the world gets into the church? It sinks. The only remedy is the cross. Let me quickly recapitulate the five deliverances here in Galatians. From this present evil age, from the law, from self, from the flesh, and from the world. I like to close with the words of Paul. God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified to me and I to the world.