Derek Prince - Orphans, Widows, The Poor and Oppressed
God does... Do we? The slogan that our ministry has had for a good many years is Reaching the Unreached, and Teaching the Untaught, and we have done that to the best of our ability. I think my radio program is in about thirteen languages. My books are in probably in more than eighty nations and in more than fifty languages, but recently we got involved in Kosovo. We didn't plan it. God did it. And we've added a new phrase to our slogan... It's Reaching the Unreached, Teaching the Untaught, and Touching the Untouched. And really that's what I'm going to be talking about tonight. I have a message which God has laid on my heart in which I will seek to communicate as faithfully as I can.
I would like to begin from Philippians chapter 3 verse 9, where Paul says his prayer is: That I may be found in Him [that's Jesus] not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith: I want to speak about that: the righteousness which is from God by faith, and I want to suggest to you that there is only one kind of righteousness. It runs all through the Scriptures from the beginning to the end: the righteousness which is from God by faith, and it's a very practical righteousness. It's not a religious kind of righteousness, it's not sentimental, it is down to earth, it is practical and it is demonstrated in every age of God's dealings with His people.
I want to take you briefly through the various main ages of God's dealing. I want to start with what we would call the Patriarchs, and I want to go to the book of Job. I have been so grabbed by this book of Job just recently. I could never believe that there was so much in it as I found lately. Basically, theologians, if you want to use that rather unpleasant word... I mean, I'm suspicious of theologians, to say the truth. The word theologian means the Word of God, and if that's what theologians were telling us, I'd be delighted. But most of the time it's not. That's a simple fact. Anyhow, the main ages of God's dealings, I would say, are the Patriarchs... Including Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the New Testament. And I want to look at the kind of righteousness God looks for in each of those ages, and I want to show you it never varies. It's always the same, it's very practical, it's very down to earth.
Let's turn to the book of Job, chapter 29 verses 11 through 17. This is Job's testimony of the way he lived and God Himself bore testimony to Job that he was a righteous man. And this is what Job says, and these words have gripped me so much I can hardly get beyond them. When the ear heard, then it blessed me. And when the eye saw, then it approved me; Because I delivered the poor who cried out, And the fatherless and him who had no helper. The blessing of a perishing man came upon me, And I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind, And I was feet to the lame. I was a father to the poor, And I searched out the case that I did no know. Isn't it remarkable that Job's righteousness was not his own? There is no kind of self-righteousness anywhere in the Bible.
Job said, "I put on righteousness and it clothed me". He was clothed with a righteousness which he had received by faith from God. And this is the outworking of his righteousness. I delivered the poor, The fatherless and him who had no helper. The blessing of a perishing man came upon me, And I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. The poor, the widow, the fatherless are the objects of God's compassion, the way we express our righteousness. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice [or my righteousness] was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind, And I was feet to the lame, I was a father to the poor, You'll find the people whom God has in mind when He speaks about righteousness are the widow, the fatherless, the poor, the blind and the lame. And we can measure how much we have of God's righteousness by the way we relate to those people, the fatherless, the widow, the poor, the blind and the lame.
So tonight you're going to have an opportunity to search your own heart and life and see just how much of that righteousness there is in you. And I go on to Job 31 and this is the most remarkable passage... Verses 16 and following, and I want you to understand Job is here justifying himself and he's listing sins that he did not commit. So all the things that he speaks about here are sins, but he says, "I didn't commit these sins". But we need to recognize they are sins.
"If I have kept the poor from their desire, Or caused the eyes of the widow to fail, Or eaten my morsel by myself, So that the fatherless may not eat of it. (But from my youth I reared him as a father, (And from my mother's womb I guided the widow); If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, Or any poor man without covering; If his heart has not blessed me, And if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; If I have raised my hand against the fatherless, When I saw I had help in the gate; Then let my arm fall from my shoulder, Let my arm be torn from the socket."
Job lists the things which he was doing. He provided for the poor, he blessed the widow, he cared for the fatherless, and he provided clothing for those who were without clothing. And this is the most remarkable statement. It gripped me when I saw it. He said: If I have not done these things then let my arm fall from my shoulder, Let my arm be torn from the socket. If I understand it, Job is saying, "If my arm and my hand have not been continually engaged of these acts of love and mercy and provision for those who need it, then it has no right to a place in my body". That's a dramatic statement isn't it? It's a dramatic statement. I want to say it again. Job said, "If my right hand, and my arm have not been engaged continuously in these acts of mercy and love for the poor, the needy, the widows, the blind and the lame, then this right arm of mine has no place in my body. I don't own it. It's a disgrace".
That's strong language, but it's the truth. Then we go on to the Law of Moses and in Leviticus 19 we have a provision for the poor. Leviticus 19 verses 9 and 10, These are ordinances that Moses gave to Israel: When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger; I am the Lord your God. I think probably Israel is the only nation on earth that has a legal system which compels you to provide for the poor. You're breaking the law if you don't provide for the poor and the stranger. That's remarkable isn't it? That's dramatic and yet it was the Law of Moses.
And then God said in that context, "I am the Lord your God". What did He mean by that? I think He meant this, "That's the kind of God I am and that's why I want you to represent Me. I care for the poor, the fatherless, the needy. I don't approve of selfishness. I don't approve of eating your bread alone. Find somebody who needs your help and help them. Then you'll be representing Me as the God that I really am". And then again in Deuteronomy 14 verses 28 and 29: "At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you... [The Levite was the one who served the Lord [and he did not have any geographical inheritance.] and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do".
So if you want the blessing of the Lord, God said to Israel, "You've got to care for the widow, the poor and the fatherless. And when you celebrate the abundance that I give you, don't leave them out". It's a very powerful language. It's very clear, very consistent; it's always the same message. So let's go to the prophets. We'll go to the great prophet Isaiah, chapter 1 and I want you to notice that Isaiah was addressing a very religious people, but they were a people who were not righteous in the sight of God. And God says, "Your religion wearies Me, I'm tired of it, I don't want any more of that kind of religion". And I wonder if God doesn't say that to some Christians. "I'm not interested in your religion. It doesn't impress Me. Please stop it".
Isaiah says in verse 12: When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies... I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; That's powerful language from God isn't it? "All your religious activities don't impress Me the least bit". They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. God says, "Don't come to Me with all your prayers if your life isn't in line with My Word". And then He comes with the instructions with what He requires them to do.
In verse 16: "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; [What is learning to do good?] Seek justice, Reprove the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow". What is God looking for? Not empty religious language and ceremonies but a practical care for those who need our care. Then He says: Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. Come now and let us reason together, Says the Lord, Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; [and He continues] But notice that religion does not impress God. They were full of religious activity, but they weren't caring, for the people who needed their help. God said, "If you want My favor this is what you have to do. Learn to do good, seek justice..."
I wonder how much we realize how intensely God cares about justice. It's become a revelation to me. God is passionately concerned about justice. He hates injustice. "Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the oppressor; Defend the fatherless and the widow". Everywhere you look in the Bible when it lists the things that God's righteousness requires you'll always find the fatherless and the widow. If we have no concern for them, our righteousness does not impress God at all. I'm going to speak from personal experience a little later. And then in Isaiah 58, this is what David Wilkerson calls the "key to continuing revival". Isaiah 58 beginning at verse 6: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bond of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke"?
Last night to the best of our ability we sought to do that and I believe many yokes were broken and many oppressed were set free. That's what God wants the church to do. And then he goes on: Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out: When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? I think that applies to the United States. I'm an American citizen by choice. I chose to take American citizenship, and I'm grateful for all the privileges that it's brought to me. But I want to ask you, who are "your flesh"?
When God is speaking to Israel, whom is He speaking about? He's speaking about their fellow Israelites. When God is speaking to you in the terms of this language as Americans, what is He speaking about? Your fellow who? Your fellow Americans. How much do you care, how much do you really care, for your fellow Americans? I'm British and you can get offended with me, and Britain has nothing to boast of, but I would like to say that the inner cities of America are a crying shame to this whole nation and to the church in this nation. And if the church is not concerned about them I think God has the same attitude toward the church in this time as He had toward Israel. Stop all your religious activity, do something! I always think when this happens...
Years ago I was living in Florida in a house with a swimming pool, and I have a large family. I'll tell you how I got the family later. And a few of my daughters and their husbands and some of their children, who are my grandchildren, were in the home and they were running around and playing by the swimming pool and a little boy of about four fell into the pool. So they fished him out and he stood their dripping wet on the edge of the pool, he looked at us all and he said, "Do something somebody"! And when I look at the church I want to say, "Do something somebody! Please do something". I mean there's somebody who agrees with me.
So let's look at this what David Wilkerson calls "The key to continuing revival". Isaiah 58 verse 6: Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? I believe that's what we were doing last night in our deliverance service. It wasn't very dignified, but I believe it was what God wanted. I'm not sure that God is much impressed by religious dignity, especially if it covers up secret problems and sins.
Now what is it God is asking? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; What do we call them today? The homeless isn't that right? How many of you are doing that? When you see the naked that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? [Your own fellow Americans.] Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, Has it ever occurred to you that there's a key to healing?
Sometimes we have to do something to release God's healing. God says, "If you'll do what I ask of you, I'll release My healing. It will come speedily". Your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, And the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, "Here I am". In other words, God guarantees answered prayer on the basis of our doing what He requires. And then in Ezekiel chapter 16, and this is really one of the most remarkable statements in the Bible because it's a statement about the sin of Sodom, and if you or I as Bible literates were to be asked what was the main sin of Sodom, we would answer homosexuality. It's remarkable that when the Lord lists the sins of Sodom He does not mention homosexuality.
We're looking in Ezekiel 16 verse 49. These words are addressed to Jerusalem and the Lord calls Sodom a sister of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 16:49: Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness: neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. There's not a mention of homosexuality. Isn't that remarkable? It's very, very much like contemporary American culture. Am I right? "Pride, fullness of bread, abundance of idleness, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy".
Now I would suggest to you, and this is a deduction, that that kind of culture will always produce homosexuality. And I believe it's that kind of culture in the United States that is the root cause of the tremendous upsurge of homosexuality. That kind of lifestyle will produce homosexuality. But homosexuality is not the root sin; it's the fruit of the sin. The root sin is "abundance of food, and idleness, and not caring for the poor and the needy". The conditions in Sodom that produced homosexuality, exactly the same conditions are producing homosexuality in contemporary America. Please understand I'm not justifying homosexuality. It is a terrible, horrible sin, but its root cause is a kind of selfish, self-indulgence which is, to say the truth, characteristic of contemporary America. Am I right? I don't think you can argue with me, but you're welcome to do so if you want to.
And then just one from Daniel chapter 4. Daniel, chapter 4, and... verse 27. Now you have to know the background to this. Nebuchadnezzar, the king, had had a terrible dream in which he saw a tree cut down with only the stump left in the ground, and he went to his friend and advisor, Daniel, and Daniel said, "King Nebuchadnezzar, you're the tree. If you don't change you're going to be cut down". And then Daniel offered some very simple advice to Nebuchadnezzar. "How can you avoid the disaster that's coming"? Daniel 4 verse 27: Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, The Hebrew says "by righteousness". You see, that's repentance. It's not some gradual slow process. It's breaking off sin and replacing it by righteousness. That's repentance. And then he says: And your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.
So how could Nebuchadnezzar have prolonged his prosperity? By showing mercy to the poor. He didn't do it. The tree was cut down, and he endured the judgment that was revealed in the dream. Could that be true of contemporary America, that we can postpone or set aside God's judgment by righteousness and showing mercy to the poor? After all, we are a wealthy nation. We can afford as individuals to be generous. And I thank God, and I have to say the American people have been wonderfully generous to me. I'm not speaking out of any sense of need or want or any complaint, I'm concerned that America is headed for judgment and for disaster and there's only one way we can avert it and that's the way that Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar, "Breaking off your sins by righteousness. A complete change from sin to righteousness, from dark to light, and by showing mercy to the poor".
Did it ever occur to you that that could be the way we could either avert or postpone the judgment of God upon the United States? Not some political institution, but we, the church of Jesus Christ, by showing mercy to the poor. I'm going to speak briefly from personal experience at the end, and then you can challenge me if you wish. Let's move on to the New Testament. And what's so remarkable is in the New Testament God's righteousness has not changed the least bit. He still expects exactly the same from Christians as He did from the Patriarchs, from the people under the Law of Moses, from the people to whom the Prophets spoke. You know, of course, that God sent a forerunner before Jesus... John the Baptist, to prepare the way. And the message that prepared the way was the message of repentance in one word repent.
And we read in Luke 3 verses 9 through 11, these are the words of John the Baptist to the people of his time Luke 3:9 to 11: "And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire". Would you see that it's not sufficient that you don't bear bad fruit? God requires good fruit. A fruitless tree will be cut down just as much as a tree that bears bad fruit. God will accept only one kind of tree a tree that bears good fruit. And John said: Even now the ax is laid to the root of the tree You know what the word radical means? You probably don't, but it comes from a Latin word radics, which means a root.
So radical is something which deals with the root, and John the Baptist's message was radical. He said, "You've got to cut down the root. You've got to get rid of this tree that does not produce good fruit". And I believe Christianity is a radical religion. Anything that is not radical is not Christianity. I had the privilege of ministering to what later became the "Jesus People" in the 1960s. In fact, had there been hippies in the day when I was growing up, I would have been a hippie, but there were none so I just had to be a hippie all on my own. But I could identify with them. I understood them. Theirs was a protest. They were dissatisfied with the state of society. They didn't know how to express it. They didn't know what to do, but they just didn't want to identify themselves with the secular culture that was so materialistic.
You see, in most young people, there is a kind of desire for something right. I mean, I went through this as a student and a professor at Cambridge. I was a hippie before there were hippies. I didn't know how to identify myself. I shocked and surprised some people by telling them that I had an idea that I could make a fortune at roulette. And I had some friends with me and I represented them. They paid for me to go down to the south of France to Cannes and Monte Carlo and I spent weeks there in Monte Carlo. In Monte Carlo it's usually pretty warm so I wore sandals and not shoes and for some reason I didn't understand, I painted my toenails red. People find that hard to believe but I did. And I've asked myself, "Why did I do that"? Then I think about the young lady [with blonde hair who colors it blue, and I'm not against that if that's the way she wants to have her hair, well all right.
But why did I color my toenails red and why does she color her hair blue? It's a protest, and a voiceless protest. We're saying, "There's something radically wrong with society. We don't want to be identified with this. We want something different". That's why there was such a move of God amongst the generation of the '60s, because they were radical. In fact, I said to some of my friends later when they'd became Christians, "Listen, you're not nearly radical enough. You were much more radical when you were a hippie than when you're a Christian. As a hippie you'd have gotten in the car and driven off to Alaska without thinking about anything. Now, you want to have you're fare paid and you want to know what motel you're going to be stopping in".
I mean, I have such good friends I think some of them are probably here tonight. They remember me from those days. And I could identify with them. Not that I was living the same lifestyle, but I had the same basic problem... Dissatisfaction with the way things are. There must be something better than that. And I sympathize with them and I believe they are the most fruitful field for the gospel, because if you come to them with a radical message they'll respond. I remember in the 1960s their slogan was "Tell it like it is"! And I said, What preacher could ever ask anything better than that? Tell it like it is let's tell it like it is, and that's one reason why God has blessed John because he tells it like it is.
That's one reason that God has blessed me because I tell it like it is. I'm not interested. I'm not interested. I'm not interested in fooling around with religion. I had enough religion before I became a Christian. I mean, at school every day for ten years in a preparatory school and at Eton, we attended chapel every day. So that's a lot of chapel-going. When I went to Cambridge I said, "Well, thank God I'm finished with all that now. Now, I can begin to have a real life". And I did all sorts of things which were not real life, but there was inside me this plea... "Please show us something real. Show us something that works. Don't just give us language. Don't just give us religion. We're tired of it". And there's a whole generation out there saying that today. Thank God for them. They're the most fertile field for the gospel. But you're going to have to take a radical message, and you're going to have to live a radical lifestyle. Amen! All right you said Amen.
So here's John the Baptist. He says: "Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire". So the people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then"? Now this was not the tax collectors, this was not the prostitutes, this was the people. "What shall we do"? And his answer was very simple and very down to earth: He answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise". That's righteousness. That's the righteousness which is by God by faith. That's the message of the New Testament. That's repentance. It's taking what you have and sharing it with those who don't have, very simple. You don't have to be a theologian to understand it. The problem is it's too simple. Is that right? Well you can make your own mind up.
Now we turn onto Luke chapter 14 verses 12 through 14. This is after Jesus has been invited to a meal in a Pharisee's house, but he takes it more generally, he applies it. Luke 14 verses 12 and following: Then He also said to him who invited Him, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind". Do you do that? Do I do that? Does Jesus mean what He says? And then He says: And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just. Whatever we do that we're paid for now, will get no payment at the resurrection of the just.
Whatever we do now that isn't paid for, will be paid for in eternal currency at the resurrection of the just. And as I came prepared for this meeting I wanted to make a little suggestion to some of you. Consider, keep a little diary for a week and write in it how many hours you spend doing work that you'll be paid for in the resurrection of the just. See what I mean? Most of the things you do you get paid for now. So you won't be paid for those at the resurrection of the just, but whatever you do that's good, that is not paid for now, you will be paid for, praise God, in eternal currency at the resurrection of the just.
I remember when I was in the Sudan as a soldier, in the northern Sudan which is totally Muslim. The British who administered the nation at that time did not allow missionaries into the Sudan because they didn't want trouble with the Muslims. But I wasn't a missionary. I was a soldier so I was posted to a place in the Sudan called Jubayt on the Red Sea hills... A little hospital run for Italian prisoners of war. And I was put in charge of the native labor in the hospital, the Sudani labor. So there was what the Arabs called a rais, a man in charge of the labor, and he reported to me every morning. So we established a relationship of a kind, but we had no real spiritual contact. Then one day I discovered he believed in Satan... Shaitan as they say in Arabic. "Well," I said, "I believe in Satan too".
So, strangely enough, that was our meeting point. We both believed in Satan. We established a point of contact. Then one day he was late coming to the office. When he came in he had his foot bandaged and he was limping and he said, "I've got a sore on my foot. I had to go to the clinic and have it dealt with". So I don't think I'd ever seen anybody pray for the sick at that time, but I knew it was in the New Testament. So rather timidly I said, "Would you like me to pray for you"? "Oh, yes," he said. So I treated him rather like a bomb that could explode. I didn't get too much involved with him. I kept him at a distance, but I laid hands on him and prayed for him. About a week later he came along again and said, "Would you like to see my foot"? I said, "Yes". He said, "It's healed".
I was almost surprised to say the truth. Well, then we became friends, so I used to take the King James Version of the New Testament and read it to him, translating it into soldier's English because he understood English. He didn't read or write it, but he had a good knowledge of the kind of English the soldiers use which is not the English of the King James. So I would translate from King James to soldiers' English, we read. We became quite good friends. Well, then he wanted to teach me to ride a camel. So I said, "Okay". Well, he taught me, and I will tell you one thing about a camel. I don't know if you've ever ridden one, but when one part of a camel is going up, another part is going down. There's no time when a camel is totally level. Anyhow I survived this test.
So I was in charge of the rations. I could do what I wanted with them, so I said, "Why don't we take a picnic out into the desert and ride our camels". So we rode out on our camels, came to a kind of little hill with a brackish stream trickling down it, and took out our food, but we had nothing to drink. So he looked at me and he said, "Well, we Sudanis drink this water, but you white people don't". "Well," I said, "if there's nothing else I'm prepared to drink it". He said, "Why are you different from other white people"? "Well," I said, "Jesus said if I drink anything deadly in His name it won't harm me". So I drank the water and it impressed him. Well, it so happened our reading that day was from John chapter 3 about being born again. I was translating this into soldier's English and he got more and more interested.
So as we were riding back on our camels I said to him, "Would you like to be born again"? He said, "Yes, I would". I want to tell you I had no experience in counseling and all that, so I said, "All right. This evening you go to your hut, I'll go to my billet and when the sun sets you'll pray and ask to be born again and I'll pray for you". So he said, "Okay". Off he went. I met him next morning and said, "Did you pray"? He said, "Yes". I said, "Did anything happen"? He said, "No". I was about to feel disappointed when the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear, "He's a Muslim". I knew very little about Muslims at that time. "Well," I said, "Did you pray in the name of Jesus"? He said, "No". "Well," I said, "If you want to be born again you have to pray in the name of Jesus. Are you willing to do that"? He said, "Yes".
So I said, "This evening when the sun sets you go to your hut, I'll go to my billet". I met him next morning, I looked at him and I said, "You've got it"! His whole face had changed and it impressed every person in that hospital. They all said to me, "What's happened to your friend Ali"? I said, "He got saved". "What's that"? I said, "Let me tell you". The commanding officer of the hospital sent for me and said, "What's happened to your friend Ali"? I said, "He got saved". He said, "What's that"? I said, "Let me tell you". I mean that was a dramatic transformation. I wonder why I started telling you that. There must have been a reason. I know why.
Now we'll turn back to Luke, chapter 14: When you give a feast invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. I believe, myself, that if I make it through to the end I'll be repaid in eternal currency for what I did for that Arab raiese. So I want to challenge you. Take a diary, keep a record for seven days of all the things you do for which you will not be repaid now, but you will be repaid in heaven eternally. All right we are going on with the New Testament, Matthew 25. I don't need to tell John what is in this chapter. This is the sheep and the goat nations.
Matthew 25, it's the last of the three parables in this chapter beginning at verse 31. When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. You need to go back for a moment to What's the first prophet? Not Hosea. Joel chapter 3 verses 1 and 2, because this is the Old Testament setting for the New Testament.
Joel 3 says: Behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, So it specifically refers to the time of the restoration of the State of Israel. I will gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; [And Jehoshaphat meant The Lord Judges.] And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land. This is a very solemn thought. When Jesus comes He's going to judge the nations on how they have treated His brothers, the Jewish people... And on dividing up what He calls My land. This is a thing that we have to face as nations, primarily the British, but also other nations.
In 1919 at the end of World War I, the British were given a mandate to govern what was called Palestine and make, provide there, a Jewish national home. In 1922 Winston Churchill with one stroke of the British pen signed off 75% of that territory to an Arab nation in which no Jew is permitted to live. That nation is today called Jordan. At the end of World War II, the United Nations voted to partition what was left, which was about 25% of the total land, and they offered Israel or the Jewish people about twelve percent. That was all of a total inheritance. What is the political terminology for dividing up the land? What's the word? Partition!
God is going to judge the nations who have been involved in partitioning what He calls "My land". It's first and foremost His land, then it's the land of Israel because God gave it by an everlasting covenant to Israel. And Jesus says, turning now to Matthew 25: "when He comes in His glory, He's going to judge the nations by the way they've treated His brothers and His sisters. It's a very solemn thought. He will divide them into two groups: All nations will be gathered before Him, [verse 32] and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then He will say to the sheep, 'Come, you blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food: I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me'".
You notice this is all very practical. It's not religious. "Then the righteous will answer Him saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and fed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger, and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' Then the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" That's a very solemn thought in relationship to the re-gathering of the Jewish people in their land. What we do to them is considered done to Jesus. Then He goes on: "Then He will also say to those on the left hand [the goats], 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels;'"
Notice the everlasting fire was not prepared for human beings. The devil and his angels have no option. They will have to go. Human beings only go if they refuse the offer of God's mercy. "And then Jesus says: 'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer Him saying, 'Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it Me.' And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life".
And I think some of the most terrible words ever spoken by God are there in verse 41, spoken to the goat nations. "Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared, for the devil and his angels:" I can't think of more terrible words that could ever be spoken to any person. "Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire..." And you will say, "Brother Prince, what did they do"? Shall I answer you in one word? Nothing. That's all you have to do is do nothing. Jesus is looking for trees that bring good fruit. Every tree that brings bad fruit, or that does not bring fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire. So you see, right through from Job to Jesus, the righteousness which is from God by faith is totally practical. It's not sentimental, it's not religious. It's down to earth. It's meet the needs of the needy, help the helpless, take in the widow, take care of the orphans.
That's God's message from Job all the way through. It has not changed. God has not suddenly changed His mind about what He wants. There's been no change in the way we attain that righteousness. There's been no change in the righteousness itself. Let me just take a few more moments... James chapter 1 verse 27. James 1:27. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father... Let me say just two things. There's salvation, there's religion. Salvation is what God does for us. Religion is what God requires from us in return. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. It hasn't changed, you see. It's exactly the same as it was with Job "to care for the orphans and the widows, to keep himself unspotted from the world".
Now, as a good Pentecostal, and I've been Pentecostal longer than some of you have been born... I've heard many sermons on keeping ourselves unspotted from the world. Isn't that right? It's a major theme. You know I've never heard one sermon on taking care of widows and orphans, never one, never one, except the ones I've preached. Is there not a tremendous gap between our concept of righteousness, and what the Bible says? And what the Bible says is so simple, so down to earth. You can't misunderstand it. There's no room for some complicated theological explanation. Now let me... oh I must read James 4:17 too. You know James was typically Jewish. He was very down to earth. He wasn't impressed by complicated religion, and he says in James 4:17: Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is [what?] sin.
So you understand that we can be condemned, not for the things we've done that were wrong, but for the things that were good that we didn't do. "To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin". See, I'm really putting a lot of responsibility on you people here tonight, because you're going to walk out of here knowing what is good, then you've got to decide, "Will I do it"? You can no longer plead ignorance. Personally I believe the nations of the West the United States, Britain, Europe, etc. Will primarily be judged by God, not for what we've done but for what we haven't done. We're wealthy, we're prosperous, we have abundance, we don't know what to do with all we have, and at least one billion people are without sufficient food today. I almost shudder when I hear Americans say, or British, "I'm losing weight".
Brothers and sisters, there's a lot of people who couldn't put weight on if they wanted to! Surely there must be some better way of adjusting things than we overeat and millions starve. I cannot believe that it's the will of God. I mean, I'm too clear in my thinking. It is impossible that that's what God wants. You don't have to agree with me. Now I want a few general promises about caring for the poor. In Proverbs 19 and verse 17, Proverbs 19:17: He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He [the Lord] will pay back what he has given. So when you have pity on the poor financially, you're making a loan to the Lord, and the Lord always repays what He borrows.
So I think I'd have to say God has prospered me partly for that reason. I didn't do it for that motive, but when I look back on my life I have to say, God has repaid me what I gave. And He's done more than that. He's overpaid, and I'm not one who preaches prosperity's the ultimate purpose of God. It isn't. Actually the word prosperity is misunderstood in contemporary America. It doesn't mean adding a lot of abundance. It means being successful. Paul prayed for a prosperous journey to Rome and he got what he prayed for, but he didn't travel first class in a steamer. He traveled as a prisoner, under guard, in chains, and he had a fourteen day storm in the middle of the sea. But it was a prosperous journey, because it accomplished the will of God, you see. This is simply a mistake in English. The word prosperity has changed its meaning.
In modern America it means abundance, wealth, that sort of thing. But in the Bible and in the Scriptures it means successful. God said to Joshua, "If you listen to what I say and do it, you'll make your way prosperous. You'll have good success". He didn't travel in an air-conditioned coach. He was a soldier making war, sleeping in the fields. It was a tough life, but he was prosperous because he succeeded. If you would just translate prosperity into success you'd get a much clearer picture of what God really said. I don't believe it's God's will for any of us to fail. I believe it's God's will for all of us to prosper and be successful in what God calls us to do. I don't believe it's God's will for all of us to drive a Cadillac... Mind you I do drive a Mercedes myself. But on the other hand, it's twenty years old. All right. Let's not go on with that.
Proverbs 31 verse 20, this is the picture of the excellent wife, the model woman. And I bow down before this because I've been married to two one after the other, let me add. I know what this kind of woman is, and it says amongst many other things in verse 20: She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. So she cares for the poor and the needy. She reaches out her hand, she stretches out. She goes beyond politeness or even duty, and something beyond that. And then let's take the warnings too, in Proverbs 21:13: Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be heard. Does that explain why some of our prayers are not answered because we haven't heard the cry of the poor? We haven't responded. God says, "If you don't hear that cry I won't hear your cry".
God is a very, I would say, intense God. I think that's a word that describes God. He's intense. He wants something, and He's not going to change what He wants. And then in Proverbs 28 verse 27: He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses. He who gives to the poor will not lack... Now I believe in Social Security. I thank God for it. But my confidence is not in the U.S. government, because that could go bankrupt over night and then my Social Security would be nothing but paper. But I do believe in divine social security. I believe that if I give to the poor I will not lack. I don't depend on the American government, or the British government. I depend on heaven's government.
There's a kind of social security which is dependent on the way we live. He who gives to the poor will not lack. I have a feeling, this is just a general impression... That there's coming a time in America when the bubble will burst, and this prosperity that everybody's so excited about will suddenly collapse; and I'm glad that that's not where my security rests. My security rests in the fact that I have given to the poor. I have taken in the widow and the orphan. I have cared for them, and I believe God will care for me. I'm not boasting. I'm just making a statement.
Now I'd like to show you something else about the ultimate purpose of the Lord. We're getting near the end. Just be patient. Isaiah 42 verse 4, speaking about the Lord, the Lord Jesus. You can look at the context: "He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth..." That impressed me. I realize that God has a passionate concern for justice. Injustice is intolerable to Him, and His ultimate purpose is to establish justice in all the earth. Being a good Pentecostal, I was always a little scared of a religion of works. In fact, I had a brother who wouldn't minister because of a certain mission taking up money for the poor. He refused to be identified with them, and I understand his feeling. But you see it's not scriptural, it's not scriptural. The religion that works cares for justice, cares for the poor.
In some ways I can identify more with the secular who are out for justice, than I can for the religious who do nothing. I think I've said enough. I've got one other picture I never thought I'll get through all this. You're a wonderful audience. Just hang in there. It's nearly at the end. Hosea, Joel, Amos. Now the message of Amos is God's passionate concern for social justice. You read it through. That's the theme of Amos from beginning to end. And in Amos chapter 6, verses 3 through 6: Woe to you who put off the day of judgment, Who cause the seat of violence to come near; [Now that's not true of you and me.] Who lie on beds of ivory, Stretch out on your couches, Eat lambs from the flock And calves from the midst of the stall; Who chant to the sound of stringed instruments, And invent for yourselves musical instruments like David; Who drink wine from bowls, And anoint yourselves with the best ointments, But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
I don't believe God has any problems with abundance. I think God normally provides abundance for us, but when we are satisfied with our abundance, when all we want is a good life and pleasure and prosperity and we are not grieved for the poor, we're not grieved for those who don't have enough, then God says, "Woe to you". Now you could say to me, "Well, Brother Prince, what have you done about it?" and it's a legitimate question. So I'm going to tell you very briefly what I've done. I'm not boasting. I made no special claims, but I have cared for the orphans and the poor and the widows.
When I married my first wife, Lydia, whom you knew, she had a little children's home in what was then Palestine, with eight girls-six Jewish, one Arab, one English. The day I married her I got eight daughters, and they're still my daughters today. That was a long while ago. When I married my second wife, Ruth, who many of you will remember, she was Jewish, her first husband had deserted her, and she brought with her three more children... Two girls and a boy, to whom I became a father. So I am a father to twelve children, eleven girls and one boy. I forgot to mention that Lydia, and I adopted a little black African girl when we were in Kenya. So I have to stop and think... I have... Well let's start, I have one boy who is Jewish, I've got one little African girl who's black, I've got one Arab who's a Palestinian Arab, I've got one English and all the rest are Jewish.
And this began at the end of World War II, and we are still one family today. Actually, Actually I am head of a family that contains more than one hundred and fifty persons, and I was an only child with no brothers or sisters. He is a wonderful God, isn't He? And we are a united family. There are representatives of our family in Israel, Britain, Canada, the United States and Australia, but we are still one family. In a period of history when families have been falling apart, this family has stuck together, because it was founded on Jesus. The first child that my first wife took in was a little dying Jewish baby in 1928. And out of that family, out of that little girl and that act of mercy, there has come a family that now numbers more than one hundred and fifty persons.
I don't say this to boast. I have nothing to boast about, but I want to say it works. It works. And I want to challenge you, just in closing I want you to ask yourself, What kind of righteousness of faith am I practicing? Is it just a religious kind of righteousness like the people in Isaiah's day that spent a lot of time in the temple, and in religious services, but ignored the fatherless and the widow? Or is it a righteousness that cares for people? I want to ask you for a moment to just consider this question. I am traying to phrase it right. After hearing what I've said would you say to yourself, "I have to acknowledge I haven't really been practicing the kind of righteousness described in the Bible. I've been in many ways selfish and self-centered. I've cared for me, and me first".
I'll tell you one sure way to be frustrated is to be self-centered. You cannot be self-centered without being frustrated because there's nothing in self that will ultimately give you satisfaction. So I want to give you an opportunity to think this over and to consider whether you need to change your ways. I'm being very frank with you. I love you. You've been wonderfully gracious to me. You've responded to my ministry. I've no complaints. I could walk away and say bless you, praise the Lord. But I don't want to do that because I really believe God has sent me here to challenge some of you. You're Pentecostal, you're Charismatic, you speak in tongues, you sing the best choruses, and you read all sorts of books or watch all sorts of videos.
But what are you doing for the people who really need you, the people all around you, the poor, the homeless, the orphans, the neglected children? What are you doing? Are you doing anything? You see, I believe if the church in America would change and really act like Christians and care for the uncared for, and love the unloved and go out and show love, not wait for them to come into the building... You know, most unchurched people, they have no idea what goes on inside a church. It's just a building out there, some strange people go there every Sunday and do something and I don't know what it is. But you go out and you begin to show love to people who've never been loved and take care of people who are not cared for, and they'll begin to want to know what makes you tick. Why are you behaving like that? I believe it could bring a great move of God to this nation.
First of all, if we go out to people, sooner or later they'll want to come to know what makes us tick. Secondly, if the Charismatic and the non-Charismatic begin to work together in helping people who are in desperate need, it won't seem so important whether they believe in a pre- or post-rapture. They'll get more interested in things that are more practical and fundamental. I really believe we could have a move of God in America and in Britain if we would start acting like real Christians. I hope I'm not insulting you, but that's the kind of Christianity I read about in the New Testament. It's the kind of faith I read about all through the Bible. It's a faith that cares, it's a faith that loves, it's a faith that does something. I think of my little grandson standing there on the edge of the pool and looking at us all and saying, "Do something somebody"! And oh, I stand in front of the church, so many times and I want to say, "Do something somebody! Do something"!
Now this is a wonderful church and many of you are doing something tremendous, but many of you are not and I want to give you an opportunity to make one simple decision. The decision is "I'll do something. I'll put my faith into action. I'll care for those that are not cared for. I'll show love to the unloved. I'll provide for the homeless and the needy. Out of my own pocket I'll even offer some of them a place in my home to sleep in that nice bed of mine which I've kept so clean and tidy". What a sacrifice. But after all, Jesus made a sacrifice too. He left heaven and came to earth, took a very humble place, led a very humble life, ministered in a really practical way, and as you know ended up on the cross. I say to Americans many times, we have two idols in the American church: comfort and convenience... And they dictate to us much of what we do. If it suits me, if it's convenient, if I enjoy it I'll do it.
I want to suggest to you the message of John the Baptist. You need to repent. You need to change your mind, you need to change the way you think, you need to change. Now I'm going to give you an opportunity to make a decision. Don't make a decision if you don't mean it. The decision you will make is this, and some of you do not need to make this decision, I fully acknowledge many of you do not need to, but some of you and maybe you're a little far away, I can still see you and so can God, and He's looking right down into your heart right now, and He knows exactly what's going on, and He knows all your struggles and your uncertainties. But I want to suggest to you that you would make a decision. You know, repentance is a decision. It's not an emotion. The decision is "I'll be a real Christian. I'll do what the Bible teaches, I will care for the orphan and the widow, I will feed the hungry, I will take the homeless into my home".
Exactly what Jesus said, exactly what John the Baptist said. God has not changed His mind. He's exactly the same today. Now if after careful consideration you say, "That's the decision I want to make. I want to be a real committed Christian, practicing the New Testament righteousness. I want to care for the uncared. I want to reach out to the lonely and the hurting". You know I'm by nature not an emotional person, but God has been dealing with me and I can hardly talk about some things without crying. When I think... I'll tell you who really has my sympathy. The single mothers, and I'm a champion for single mothers. I mean, I never realized this, but I married a single mother twice. First one I got eight, the second one I got three, picked up one more on the way, and I don't regret it. I never have regretted it. My life has been full, it's been rich, it's been rewarding, it's been challenging, it hasn't been easy, but I wouldn't change it. I'm sorry for the people that are leading an easy life with no challenges and no sacrifices. I'm sorry for them. You don't know what you're missing.
So if you are here this evening and you sense that God has been speaking to you. Maybe you came here almost without planning it, or intending it, but you say, What the man has been saying is real, it's true. Christianity is not just sitting in a church seat. It's not just singing a few nice hymns. It's caring for the uncared for, looking for the lost, preaching to the unreached. I told you, the motto of our ministry is Reaching the Unreached, Teaching the Untaught, and we have added Touching the Untouched, because we have seen it's not enough just to give a book or a Bible. You have to give a love, you have to give a hug.
I mean, the character of our ministry has changed since we radically committed ourselves financially to the people in Albania and Kosovo, and we took up an offering worldwide, the biggest single offering we've ever received because it touched people's heart. These people that preach are doing something. I've said it too many times. I want to say again, "Do something somebody"! Now if you want to do something, if you want to make your mind up, if you want to make a commitment, I just want you to have the opportunity to indicate it to God, to yourself, to the people around you. I want you to stand to your feet right where you are. If that's your decision, and don't stand... You've been so good to me all you dear people in here. I really want to say thank you. I've enjoyed my time with you. But the best thing I can do for you is confront you with the truth.