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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - How to Achieve Holiness

Derek Prince - How to Achieve Holiness

Derek Prince - How to Achieve Holiness
TOPICS: Holiness

This is an excerpt from: The Cross At The Center - Part 1

Let's look at Galatians 2:20. This is another confession of Paul. It's interesting to notice how many times Paul himself confessed his faith and his stand. I challenge you to search the New Testament and find any negative confession ever made by any of the apostles. I don't believe you can find it. What a pattern! And then you walk through the contemporary church, including its ministers, and you hear almost nothing, but negative confessions. I can't do this, I don't feel like this, I wish, I couldn't, I can't. That's not the way the apostles talked. Not because they were self-confident but because they'd come to the end of their own strength.

So, Paul says in Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives within me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Paul says as a result of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross I've come to the end of my life. When I came to the cross Paul died and now it's not Paul who is living but Christ who's living in me. I could challenge you to make that confession. If you're willing, don't blame me, don't say it if you don't want. But, let those folks who are ready to say that, let's say it. I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live, and yet not I but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

And you see, you notice I changed from the New King James to the Old King James which is the literal translation. By the faith 'of' the Son of God. So, it's not my faith I'm relying on because when Jesus comes in He comes in with His faith. I believe this is the key to New Testament holiness which is, I think you'll agree, in the contemporary church very little is said about holiness. But the Bible says without holiness no one will see the Lord. You see, in the Old Testament holiness consisted in keeping a set of very complicated rules. At the end of one of the chapters of Numbers God says, 'Be holy for I am holy.' In the first epistle of Peter, the first chapter, Peter quotes that statement and says, 'Be holy for I am holy,' speaking in the person of God. But there's a total difference. New Testament holiness is not keeping a set of rules.

Did I communicate that? New Testament holiness is not achieved by keeping a set of rules. New Testament holiness is achieved by dying and letting Christ live out His life through you. So, it's not I but Christ. I say it this way, it's not struggling but yielding. 'It's not effort but union union with Christ. I always think of a little story about a godly lady somewhere who is admired for her holy life. And one day some other Christian said to her, 'Sister so and so, how do you deal with temptation?' And she said, 'When the devil knocks at the door I just let Jesus answer.' That says it in a nutshell. Not I but Christ. Not what I can do, not my best effort, not flexing all my spiritual muscle but yielding. Letting Christ do it in me and through me and for me. There's that picture in John 15 of the vine and the branches which illustrates this so perfectly.

John 15:1 and then verses 4-5. Jesus said: I am the true vine, my Father is the vinedresser. Let me pause there a moment, and offer an observation. Don't let human beings prune you. Okay? There's only one person who's got the skill and the sensitivity to do the pruning, that's the Father, let Him do it. Okay? There are some fellowships where the leaders want to prune you. Do not submit to human pruning because it will be painful and they'll probably cut off the wrong thing. I mean, I've learned this from experience, I'm not sharing theory. God the Father is the vinedresser. He's the one who knows how to prune. And our business as ministers, and leaders of God's people is not to do the pruning, it's to help people to submit to God's pruning and share the process with them.

Going on, Jesus says in verses 4-5 of John 15: 'Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.' Notice the picture. Have you ever seen a vine branch really struggling to bring forth fruit, making good resolution? It doesn't happen, does it? Why does it bring forth fruit? Because the life of the vine is flowing into the branch. In that little parable you have all three persons of the Godhead. The Father is the vinedresser, Jesus is the vine, and the Holy Spirit is the sap. As He flows through the vine into the branches, you bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.

See, the very word fruit tells us it's not by efforts. No tree has ever brought forth fruit by a lot of effort. And no Christian can bring forth fruit by effort. We have to come to the place where we cease from our struggling. And, in a certain sense, cease from all our good works. Not just our sins but the things we think we can do come to an end and yield to Jesus. Then we can say what Paul says. This is one of my favorite scriptures. As a matter of fact, I've been saying this to myself all day because I didn't feel qualified to teach this message. For me, teaching the cross is the most challenging of all subjects. But in Philippians 4:13, after Paul has been through all these processes I'm describing, please note he says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Now there's a better text which we won't go into which leaves out Christ. And this is the Prince version: I can do all things through the One who empowers me within. I can't go into the reason for that translation but I believe it's good. Maybe it would be good for us if we just took a deep breath, relaxed and said: I can do all things through the One who empowers me within. Let's say it again. I can do all things through the One who empowers me within. So that's why we need the cross. The second reason, because only the cross releases the grace of God. You can have all the rules and all the principals and all the teaching but you can't do it unless the grace of God is released through the cross. In fact, the more rules you get, if you don't know how to release the grace of God the worse your problems will become.

And in the end, you're likely to throw it all overboard and say it's no good, I just can't do it. You're perfectly right, you can't do it, I can't do it. There's only one person who can do it, and His name is Jesus. But when He is allowed to live out His life in us. When we've submitted to the cross, and come to the end of ourselves then He's abundantly able to do it. And if we don't do it perfectly right the first time, He doesn't reject us. He says you made a good try, this is where you went wrong, now let's do it again. And He's so patient. I've been a Christian 48 years now. When I think of all the mistakes I've made and all the ways I've gone wrong, I'm just amazed that God still keeps His hand on me.

I want to tell you if you've not been a Christian as long as I have, don't despair. He may deal with you severely, He may correct you, He may do things in your life that you just don't understand. But He'll never give up on you. Some of you have probably got rather bitter memories of your childhood and of parents who didn't understand you or weren't loving. Just bear in mind you've got another Father now and His name is God. He is very patient and very understanding, and very gentle. But at the same time He means everything He says.
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