Derek Prince - The Thing That God Hates Most
Now, Just a moment longer. I've lost count of time, so I hope I'm within my limits. What is the root cause of all this? Why does God have to deal this way with the earth and with the human race? Many answers could be given and I’ve read books that explain why we’re facing disaster. Some trace social causes, some trace economic causes. I’ve just been reading a book that deals with the United States, it's called The Coming Economic Earthquake, which, I have to say, I think it inevitable.
I don’t think there’s any way the United States can avoid the earthquake that lies ahead. But that’s not the root cause. It’s not economic, it’s not social, it’s not political. The one root cause, and the Bible so unerringly exposes it, is the general degeneration of human character. So we look in closing at 2 Timothy chapter 3. 2 Timothy 3. We’ll read, first of all, the first five verses. But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. I like the way... Oh, let me stop for a moment and see if you can pass your examination. Don’t be frightened.
If you don’t agree with me you can still go to heaven. But, what is the one particular word or aspect of conduct or character, that is singled out all the way through as that which ultimately provokes God’s wrath? Pride, that’s right. God has been dealing with me personally on the subject of pride for nearly two years. I think maybe I should share this personally before we go any further.
In 1990, November, Ruth and I took what was to have been a six month sabbatical in Hawaii. We went to seek the Lord for His plan for our future. We envisaged a nice relaxed time in a beautiful setting, reading the Bible, praying and having fellowship with other Christians. And it didn’t work out that way at all! It was an extremely difficult time for many reasons. I became seriously ill with a disease that could have killed me, and Ruth was left looking after a husband who had no strength at all. And apart from that, God persistently dealt with us. I mean, I’ve seen God deal with my wife, who is a real saintly woman, and I’ve seen God say and do things to her that I wouldn’t have dared to say. Not because I’m afraid of her but simply because I wouldn’t have the the strength to do it.
I’m not going to lay bare any of her secrets. But, for about six months, in fact, we had to prolong our sabbatical because we hadn’t arrived at the conclusion at the end of six months. God relentlessly and remorselessly dealt with us. He was always kind and always patient, never condemnatory. But He laid bare one thing after another in our lives which He insisted that we change. And of all the things that He dealt with, the one that was central to everything was pride.
And you know, there’s various ways of dealing with pride. But let me tell you one good way that we learned. That is, to confess your sins. I think that’s become old fashioned, you know. The church today, we don’t confess our sins. But the Bible says confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another that you may be healed. Now the King James Version, for some reason, says: confess your faults. I think maybe they were afraid of being too close to the Roman Catholics. But the word in Greek is sins, it’s just the same word that’s used for sin all through the New Testament. Confess your sins one to another.
And you know, it’s very hard to stay proud when you’re confessing your sins. You try it. Let me recommend it to you. Especially for a husband to confess his sins to his wife. I mean, if there’s one thing that a husband doesn’t want to do, that’s it. But I’m glad that I had a wife to confess my sins to. And I’m glad she listened so patiently. She confessed sins to me, too. What I’m saying is, I have a totally different view of pride from what I had before. If there’s one thing I’m afraid of, it’s being proud. I don’t claim that I’ve achieved that. And when I see Christians, especially ministers, who demonstrate manifest pride, I tremble. I really do.
See, it seems to me that in the church today you can get away with pride. It’s not considered sinful. In fact, it’s almost considered something to be emulated. A lot of people say pride goes before a fall. That’s not true. It says pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. I don’t want to end up in destruction. I’m speaking to you out of personal experience. And please don’t imagine that I think I have achieved it. But I will say I’m a very different person from what I was 2,5 years ago. And I am continually amazed that God has been so patient with me. I am literally amazed that He would tolerate things in me so long.
And let me say I’ve never been guilty of adultery, or immorality, or fornication, or drunkenness, or misuse of funds. All the things that people think about when a minister speaks about sin. That’s not where it was. I feel God wants me to tell you this. The thing that God convicted me of most was carnality. I was lying there sick and I thought to myself: Here I am, I’ve preached healing for fifty years and I’ve seen multitudes of people healed. I believe what the Bible says, by the stripes of Jesus we are healed. So my problem was not really I was afraid of death, my problem was intellectual. How can I relate my present condition to my belief in the Bible?
And about 2:00 a.m. one morning, on the day in which I ended up in hospital, though I didn’t know I was going to be there, the Lord woke me and very graciously and gently showed me how much He hated carnality. You know that God has got strong feelings, you know that? God loves and He hates. He says in Malachi: Jacob I loved and Esau I hated. And Esau is one of the Biblical types of carnality. God showed me that carnality is absolutely hateful to Him. He didn’t say I was hateful. He reaffirmed His love. He showed me certain scenes from my past, some of them in restaurants, let me say that. I wondered how I would explain to others what He showed me. Because I mean, lots of people do things I never did, and I do things that they never did.
And this is my definition of carnality as far as I’ve been able to see it. The writer of Hebrews said: Here we have no continuing city, but we look for one to come. And any time we begin to think and act and live as if this world was our home, and we had something permanent here, that is carnality. It doesn’t need to express itself in any big or ugly sin, but once we lose the vision of eternity and are not living in the consciousness of eternal issues, that is carnality. And I tell you, God hates it. He doesn't hate you, He doesn’t hate me. And He’s infinitely patient but He wants to deal with it.
Afterwards when I was recovering physically and getting better, the Lord told me that it would take time, that He was going to do it but it would take time. And then He said something so sweet, He said: Be patient with me as I have been patient with you. I couldn’t argue with that! I’m still being patient. I want to testify I’ve come a long, long, long way. I am really flourishing. I’m not totally as strong as I was before I became sick.
Now I say all that because I don’t want to just... Well, I felt the Lord prompted me to say it. But I don’t want to just be in the abstract. I want this to come down to the place where you live. It affects you. Your destiny is at stake. It’s not just theology; it’s how we live. There is no abstract theology in the New Testament, you cannot find it. Every time there’s a theological truth propounded in the New Testament, it’s applied to the way we live. Without exception, you can look. You’ll never find just abstract theological truth. We all agreed on one thing, the thing that God hates most is what? Right, let’s say that again: The thing that God hates most is pride. Amen.
So, we come down back to 2 Timothy 3, which is where we were before. But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come... Dangerous times, tough times. The marginal reading in this version is: times of stress will come. Why? Because men will be certain things. What is the root problem? It’s the decline of human character and behavior. And it’s progressive. And it cannot be reversed. This is something God showed me, corruption is irreversible. Once a thing becomes corrupt, You can halt corruption, you can slow corruption, but you cannot reverse it. Take any piece of fruit, any vegetable, anything like that. It’s corrupt. And if you leave it, its corruption will become totally manifest. You can take the most beautiful, succulent looking peach, but leave it a week, and it looks much less beautiful and tastes much less succulent.
Now, you can do something. You can put it in a refrigerator. A refrigerator will not reverse the process but it will slow it. Forgive me for saying this but I think the church is like a refrigerator. You put a person in the church, it doesn’t change his corruption. But it does slow it down. But God is so realistic. He doesn’t try to reverse corruption. He has only one solution, a new birth, a totally new start. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new, and all things are of God.
The new creation is totally God originated. There’s not one element of corruption in it. So, you can remain in your corruption. If you want to sit in your refrigerator, you can do it. But, the only thing that will change you, is new birth, the new creation. And if you’ve never had that, you need it. Young or old, man or woman, it makes no difference. There’s no sex in the new birth.