Derek Prince - These Kinds of People are Most Responsive to the Gospel
This is an excerpt from: Orphans, Widows, The Poor And Oppressed
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.