Derek Prince - Do This To Receive Complete Salvation
This is an excerpt from: Complete Salvation And How To Receive It - Part 2
What I've described is what God has done, the provision He's made. I've told you already it's perfectly perfect, it's completely complete. But, it still remains for us to know how to appropriate it. I could just close this message at this point and you'd have a tantalizing vision of something glorious but many of you wouldn't know how to take the steps to come into it.
So I'm going to do my best to describe the steps by which we can appropriate what God has done. In my thinking there are four simple steps. Number one, to repent. Number two, to believe. Number three, to confess. And number four, to act out what you believe. I'll say that again. Number one, to repent. Number two, to believe. Number three, to confess. And number four, to act out what you believe.
Let's look at a few Scriptures. The first essential step which no one can ever bypass is to repent. The whole of the New Testament, in fact, the whole of the Bible makes it clear that no one can ever be reconciled to God out of sin and rebellion without repentance. I see today that the teaching of repentance is very weak and ineffective in many areas of the church. I think the church suffers greatly. Like many people who've been a pastor, a counselor and so on, over the years I've counseled multitudes of people. I don't do much of that now. I discovered there aren't many Christians who don't have problems. My conclusion after spend a lot of time with Christians with problems was this, that 50% of their problems were due to lack of repentance. In other words, had they really repented their problems wouldn't be there.
You see, there's no way around repentance. I think it's important to emphasize this because I believe there's some teaching that repentance is negative and we don't need it. Repentance may be negative, but we certainly need it. Let's look at the words of Jesus in Mark 1:15. This is the beginning of His public ministry. The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel. God never tells anybody in the New Testament to believe without first telling them to repent. I believe it's impossible. You cannot really believe unless you've really repented. You can go through all the outward motions, and forms of believing but the reality isn't there.
What is repenting? Repenting is not an emotion, it's a decision. The Greek word that's used in secular Greek is almost invariably translated 'to change your mind.' So repenting is changing your mind. You've been living one way, you decide to live another way. You've been pleasing yourself, living by your own standards, doing your own thing. You decide I'm going to submit to God, I'm going to live God's way, God's going to tell me what to do and I'm going to do it. A person who has truly repented does not argue with God.
See, I've had letters even since I've been here from people with problems. And some of them are people who've had problems a long while and are almost despairing of a solution. I think, in a way, at least in some cases, those people have not really repented. Because they want their problem solved in order to be able to do what they want. See? They have their plan for what they'd like to do and be in life. But that's not repentance. Repentance says here I am, God, do with me what you want. I won't make my own plan. I'll lay aside my ambitions. You may have totally different plans for me. I lay down my own plans, my own desires and God, I'm open to what you tell me to do, whatever it may be. That's repentance. I don't say that to criticize those people, but I don't think they realize.
Let's look at a few passages where this is emphasized. After the resurrection in Luke 24, Jesus explained to His disciples the Scriptures about His death and resurrection. He said in verse 46: Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name.
What's preached first? Not forgiveness but repentance. We have no right to leave out repentance and offer people forgiveness. I was in a meeting in Southeast Asia where an American minister was preaching. He preached an excellent message on healing. He pointed out how we can receive healing through the word of God. The message blessed me. But at the end he said to this mixed multitude, most of whom were Chinese, if you want this wonderful life and all these blessings, come forward and receive. He didn't mention the word repentance once in the whole message.
Well, a lot of people came forward who were idol worshipers and all sorts of other things, and they wanted but they didn't get. See? The result, in a sense, was confusion at that point. Ruth and I found ourselves trying to minister to people, we couldn't speak their language, they didn't understand us. It was very clear to us they hadn't met the conditions. But it wasn't their fault because the condition hadn't been stated. We with a background of Biblical knowledge, we can sometimes assume that people know they have to repent. Although, I think it's a rash assumption. But you go to another culture and another background, they have no concept of what repentance is. For many people repentance is inflicting suffering on yourself, climbing the steps of Saint Peter's on your knees and so on. All sorts of things, flagellating yourself.
Amongst the Moslems there are those people who actually flagellate themselves amongst professing Christians. Repentance is not inflicting suffering on yourself. Jesus has endured all the suffering. Repentance is making up your mind to change or to be changed, letting go of everything you hold onto, saying, 'God, I'm at your disposal.' You look in Acts 2, the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit had fallen, a multitude of people were convicted of their sins. They didn't know what to do. In verse 37 they said to the apostles: Men and brethren, what shall we do? And out comes Peter with the three step answer. Repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit. What's the first requirement? Repent, that's right.
I believe that's God's answer today. I don't believe that's a sort of installment deal, I believe it's a package deal. You should get them all at one time. Repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit. I don't, personally... I will come to that in a moment, about being baptized. And let me just show you the ministry and the message of Paul in Acts 20. Paul is speaking to the elders of the church at Ephesus, reminding them of his ministry in Ephesus and he says in verse 20: I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed to you and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. It didn't matter whether they were Jews, or Greeks or who they were. The order was first repentance, then faith.