Derek Prince - Multitudes Of Christians Are Asleep
God has a purpose which is clearly revealed early on in the New Testament. God has never changed his purpose; He’s working toward it consistently. And it’s stated in a very familiar passage which we call the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-10: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. That’s the approach. That’s not a prayer, that’s an approach. And the first specific prayer is: "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven".
What is the primary objective of God? It’s that His kingdom may come. And we can only align ourselves with God and with His purpose when we are aligned with the coming of God’s kingdom, when everything we do is ultimately directed towards the coming of the kingdom of God. In the same chapter of Matthew, verse 33, it says: Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all the other things will be added to you. And when God says first, He means first. Not second or third. In other words, our primary concern in life is to be the coming of the kingdom of God.
I am naive enough to believe there is no other solution for the ills of humanity. We’re confronted every day through the media with all the agony and the turmoil of humanity. Personally I think people are naive who believe that man can solve that problem by himself. I was somewhat shocked when President Bush, in connection with the Gulf War, said: a new order was being initiated of justice. I consider that a remarkably naive statement for a leader of a great nation. I like to say I will not buy into his new world order; I’m not impressed by it. But, man has entertained the idea for hundreds of years that he can solve his own problems; bring peace and justice to the earth. And I would say today we’re probably further away from it than we’ve ever been at any time in human history.
So, I’m not ashamed to say that I believe the only ultimate, realistic solution for the human race is the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth, under His appointed ruler Jesus Christ. I don’t feel intellectually inferior for believing that, I don’t believe it's a pious superstition; I believe it’s a realistic appraisal of the situation in the world and the nature of man. So, I am committed to the coming of the kingdom of God. And insofar as lies in me, with many weaknesses and frailties, my life is directed toward that end. I happen to be a preacher, I have a teaching ministry. And by the grace of God, my teachings are now reaching practically every nation on earth in various forms: radio, in video, in audio tapes and in print. That’s the practical expression in my life of my commitment to the coming of the kingdom of God.
Now you are not called to do what I’m called to do. But you are called to do something. And first and foremost you need to get your priorities right. It’s not seek the kingdom of God when it suits you or when you’ve attended to all the other things that concern you. Seek it first. And when God says first, He means first. As I was preparing this message I got a vivid picture in my mind of the prophet Jonah. I want to turn there for a moment. You know the story of Jonah, most of you. God said: Go to Nineveh and preach what I tell you. Nineveh was east and Jonah went the opposite direction, he went west.
I think the reason why he didn’t want to preach to Nineveh was that he was afraid the people would repent. And, Nineveh was the number one political enemy of his people Israel. So he did not want to do anything that would forward their cause. That’s my personal opinion. And the remarkable thing is when God eventually got His way with Jonah, the greatest experience of conversion recorded in history happened through him. An entire city of... people believe at least six hundred thousand people was converted. But before that happened, Jonah had to learn a lesson. This is very interesting. He lived on the mountains of Galilee. And when he turned his back on God every step he took was a step downwards. He went from the mountains to the plain, from the plain to the harbor, from the harbor to the ship. And, that wasn’t the end. From the ship into the sea.
And let that be a warning to each and every one of us. When you turn your back on God every step you take will be a step downward. Well, God was on Jonah’s case and when the ships took sail it said: God hurled out a storm into the sea. And all these pagans began to cry out to God and ask for help. Where was Jonah, the only one who knew the true God, the only one who had the answer? Let me read. Verse 5: Then the mariners were afraid and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down and was fast asleep. You know what made him sleep? A bad conscience. He couldn’t face life.
I’ve met people who take refuge in sleep. I knew a lady who if things went wrong would sleep for sixteen hours. That was her escape from life. The captain (who was an unbeliever) came to him and said to him: What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God. Perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish. You know, there are a lot of "Jonahs" in the world today. They’ve had a call from God; they know full well what God wanted them to do. But, it didn’t suit them so they’ve turned their back on God, and now while the world is tossing in the tempest, where are they? Down in the bottom of the ship fast asleep. That’s a tragic situation.
We have some "Jonahs" here this evening. You know God called you and you deliberately turned your back on God. And who knows how you got here this evening? But I’m going to give you an opportunity later in this service to change your mind. So, you can think that over. Think of it, the only man who knew the true God, the only man who had the answer. All the pagans around him were praying earnestly and he was down there in the sides of the ship fast asleep. What a vivid picture of multitudes of Christians today, down in the ship asleep, because they’re not willing to face reality. All right, that’s number one of my recommendations. Align with God’s purpose which is the coming of His kingdom. He’s never varied, He’s never changed. That is His objective.