Derek Prince - Things That Threaten The Church To Be Accursed
Then there’s another very important curse pronounced in the prophet Jeremiah. Which is just a few short words, and I think often we pass them over without really appreciating their significance. Jeremiah 17:5-6: Thus says the Lord; Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.
Notice please that that’s a very good description of somebody under a curse. Blessings are all around but he lives in a salt land. Rain falls everywhere else but it doesn’t fall on him. What’s the cause of that curse? Trusting in man, making flesh your arm. But the Scripture says whose heart departs from the Lord. In other words, here is a man who’s known the supernatural grace and blessing of God and then turns back to relying on his own efforts. Turned his back on God’s grace. And that brings a curse. I ask you to exercise your own judgment. But I would say that’s the condition of the greater part of the professing Christian church today.
Almost all the major movements in the church that we know of today, and I will not name any, began out of a sovereign supernatural visitation and work of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise they’d have never made it in history. But most of them today, I would say, have turned away from the supernatural grace and power of God and have started to rely on their own efforts and what their own strength and ability can do. And on that count they are under a curse. I think that’s one tremendous problem with the Christian church, that whereas we should be in the blessing, because of disobeying Jeremiah 17:5, we’ve come under a curse.
I must go quickly now, in Zechariah 5:1–4, Zechariah had a vision of a flying scroll and there was a curse on each side of the scroll. One was a curse on anyone who steals and the other was on anyone who commits perjury. And in the vision this scroll would go into a person’s house, take up lodging there, and the whole house would disintegrate. See, that’s the nature of a curse. It doesn’t just affect the particular area but it has a kind of corrosive effect all around it. So we need to consider that. When next time you (I’m sure you do fill in an Income Tax Return) just bear in mind that if you are dishonest you’re exposing yourself to a curse. Because I’m sure you have to say this is a true return, et cetera, et cetera.
You know that, at least in the United States, nearly ten percent of the cost of retail goods is due to insurance against theft. Just think of how different the situation would be if people didn’t steal. Basically, that would be the answer to inflation. Can you see how real that curse is? That it affects a whole nation. And then in Malachi three, I think we have to look at this. Malachi 3:8-10: Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you say: In what way have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse; for you have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour you out such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
Now I’m not teaching that all Christians ought to pay tithes. Because as I understand the New Testament it’s not law, it’s grace. But I would suggest to you that grace should make us more generous than law. We’re told we have a better covenant established on better promises. Do you think on that basis we could offer less than the Israelites? But I’ll say this one thing. Stinginess toward God brings a curse. It is very poor economy to be stingy with God. And I tell Christians everywhere when the offering comes around, God does not need your tips. Really, if you stop and think for a moment, just to tip God half a dollar or a dollar or fifty Pence or whatever it may be, don’t do it. You don’t have to give but you are giving to God. Actually, as I said, He does not need your tips.
There’s such irreverence in the church in this matter of giving. We should realize that giving is part of worship and do it as worship. I’d have to say I’m British right to the core. About my own nation Britain, I think Britain came under a curse because the British Christians basically were stingy. Now, I thank God that’s changing. I think there’s a new day coming in Britain. But I’ve lived through that. I was a pastor for about nine years in England. The motto of the church board in England is You keep him humble, we’ll keep him poor. And they certainly keep their side of the bargain! And then in Galatians chapter one, Galatians 1, here is another tremendously significant statement that affects the church.
Paul is speaking about the Gospel that was revealed to him supernaturally by Jesus. And he says in Galatians 1:8-9: Even if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let it be accursed. The Greek word there is anathema which has been taken over into the English language. The word anathema means something so totally abhorrent to God that He will never have any dealings with it. It’s totally shut off from Him.
What is the cause of that curse? Preaching anything under the name of the gospel which is not the truth of the Gospel. When you put Jeremiah 17:5 and Galatians 1:8-9 together and apply them to the contemporary church, I think it’s marvelous there’s any blessing left. And you add Malachi 3, cursed is the one who is stingy with God. Brothers and sisters, do you know what we need to do? We need to repent. We need to change our ways, we need to take God very seriously. There are a lot of different definitions of faith but I’ll offer you just a very simple one. Faith is taking God seriously. Taking the Bible seriously.
Now, we’ve come to the end of this particular period. Let me briefly, if I can briefly, sum up the main causes of curses which we’ve looked at. First of all, false gods: idolatry and the occult. And that is right at the top of the list before any other. And then disrespect for parents, treachery against a neighbor, injustice to the weak or helpless, illicit or unnatural sex or incest, Antisemitism, depending on flesh rather than the grace of God, stealing or perjury, stinginess toward God, and perverting the gospel: preaching a message which claims to be the gospel but misrepresents it.
I was five and a half years in the British Army during World War II. And I heard many, many (quote) chaplains preach. I didn’t know the Lord and I didn’t know the gospel when I went into the army. I met the Lord in the army. I cannot remember hearing one chaplain preach the gospel. So this is a tremendous issue that confronts us. Now, we have to close this session but we’ll be continuing in the next one. I’ll be carrying on where I left off. I’ll be dealing with other causes of curses. Then we’ll come to the really important part which is how to be released from the curse.