Derek Prince - 8 Effects God's Word Can Have In Your Life
Now I want to deal, in closing this particular section, with something exciting which I only have a short while to deal with. That is the effects of God’s Word. Paul said to the Thessalonians it works effectively in you because you believe it. So I want to point out to you eight effects that God’s Word can have in your life. These are things that God’s Word will do for you and for me. We’ll turn, first of all, to Romans chapter 10, and verse 17. Actually I can quote it without looking at it, but... Romans 10:17: So then, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Now, that is a wonderful Scripture because I lay in hospital for one year on end, in the deserts of North Africa, with a skin disease that the doctors couldn’t heal in that climate. They eventually called it chronic eczema. And actually they really don’t have a cure for that disease even today. And I had just newly become a Christian, and I kept saying to myself, I know if I had faith God would heal me. But the next thing I always said was: But I don’t have faith. And there I was in what John Bunyan calls, the slough of despond, the valley of despair. I don’t have faith. And then, one day, a brilliant ray of light shone into that dark valley, and it came from Romans 10:17: So then, faith comes... If you don’t have it, you can get it. You don’t need to stay without it. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. And faith is coming to many of you even now while you’re hearing the Word of God.
You know that in the time of the New Testament the majority of the people who read, read out loud, even if they were to themselves. For instance, the Ethiopian eunuch was in his chariot reading the prophet Isaiah, and Philip heard him read, although he was reading to himself. And there’s something to be said about reading out loud. Because when you hear yourself read, faith comes, you see? All right. That’s the number one product of the Scripture. Number two is it produces the new birth. It’s by the Word of God that we are born again. James chapter 1 verse 18, speaking about God, he says: Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of Truth [that’s the Bible], that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. Of His own will. You know why God did it? Because He decided to do it. We don’t get any further explanation than that. When you get back to the beginning of everything it all starts with God’s decision. God decided to bring forth a people for Himself, and He decided they would be brought forth by the Word of God, by the Scripture. And that’s what brought you and me to know God, to become a new creation, the people of God, by the Word of God.
Then in 1 Peter, He goes on on the same theme. 1 Peter chapter 2, verses 22-23. 1 Peter 2:22-23: Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren love one another fervently with a pure heart. Notice how you purify your soul? By obeying the truth. Not by hearing the truth but by obeying it. And what will be the result? The result will be sincere love. And then, Peter goes on: having been born again... [Notice that] ...having been born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible. What is the incorruptible seed? through the Word of God which lives and abides forever. So it’s the seed of God’s Word received into the heart by faith that produces the new birth. The seed is incorruptible, the life it produces is incorruptible. The nature of the seed determines the nature of the life that comes from it. If you plant an apple pit you don’t get an orange tree. The nature of the seed determines the nature of the life
The Word of God is incorruptible. And the life it produces is incorruptible. It’s divine, it’s holy, it’s eternal. And then once you’ve been born again, what you need is nourishment. And the marvelous thing is that God’s Word has provided suitable nourishment for every stage of spiritual growth. When you’re just a little spiritual baby, you need milk. And that’s what Peter says in the next chapter of 1 Peter, in verse 2. 1 Peter chapter 2:2: As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word that you may grow thereby. So once you’re born again, you should have a very healthy appetite for the Word of God. And there are many of us here tonight, I’m sure, that could testify when we were born again the one thing we wanted to do was read the Bible. We were born healthy infants with a healthy appetite for the one thing that could really nourish us. But then as we grow up we need things like bread. But we don’t need to turn there, Jesus said to Satan, when he tempted Him to make bread out of stones: Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
So, God’s Word is not only milk, it’s also bread. But as we grow up we need more solid food. And this also is provided. In Hebrews chapter 5, the writer of Hebrews is writing to Jewish people who had a knowledge of the Scripture from their background. And he’s telling them what God might wish to say to some of us. Because of all you know, you should be doing better than you are. He said: You’ve got the knowledge of the Scripture but you’re not using it. I’ll just read these words, in Hebrews chapter 5 verse 12: For though by this time you ought to be teachers you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God, and you’ve come to need milk and not solid food. What was the evidence? They couldn’t digest more than the very simplest, basic truths. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness for he is a baby. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age or mature, that is those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. You understand?
To mature, you have to exercise your senses. You have to practice. You have to apply the Word of God, you have to use it to recognize the situations that you’re in, the forces that you’re dealing with. That’s the way to maturity. If you never really seriously apply the Word of God, if you don’t live by the Word of God you will never become mature. you’ll never be able to take more than milk or maybe a little bread. But solid food is only for those, who have practiced, who have exercised, who have applied the Word diligently, regularly in their lives. So that’s the third result of the Word of God, it’s spiritual nourishment. The fourth result is mental illumination. And I want to turn to Psalm 119. A familiar verse to many, I’m sure. Psalm 119, verse 130. The psalmist is speaking to God and he says: The entrance of your words gives light. It gives understanding to the simple.
So, the entrance of God’s Word into our minds and into our hearts gives light. It’s different from education. Education is not light. You can be educated and totally in the dark. How do I know? Because I was. Highly educated and totally in the dark. Until the light of the Word of God shone into my life. So remember, education is not light. Years ago I was dealing with African students in East Africa whose one ambition was to get education. I wrote a little tract for them once called: You are seeking education but are you also finding wisdom? I pointed out wisdom and education are not the same. And in this tract I pointed out something which has shocked some people. Most of the trouble in the world is caused by educated fools. Theodore Roosevelt, former president of the United States, once said this, he said: If a man is a thief he’ll steal a railroad car or carriage, or compartment. but if you educate the same man he’ll steal the whole railroad.
So, please bear in mind education is a useful thing but it is not light. In fact, as I say, some of the most educated minds are in the deepest darkness. It’s only the entrance of God’s Word that gives light. And then God’s Word provides physical healing. And I say this out of my own personal experience. Let’s turn to Psalm 107 for a moment. Reading from verse 17, through verse 20: Fools... [That’s the people in the other church, that’s never you and me!] Fools, because of their transgression and because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Does it ever occur to you, that some of us are afflicted because we’ve been leading a wrong life? I’ve heard so many people come for healing to me. Very rarely do they ever suggest that the source of their problem is their wrong living. But it says fools, because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhorred all manner of food The doctor could do no more for them. Then it says: Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble.
My comment on that is people often leave it very late to pray. They were at death’s door and it suddenly occurred to them it might help to pray. And what did God do? Listen: He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Notice three things that God does when He sends His Word: He saves, He heals and He delivers. The three great acts of God’s mercy: saving from sin, healing from sickness and delivering from demon power. He accomplishes primarily through His Word. Some of you, I know this from experience, you’re looking to find some preacher who will lay hands on you and pray for you and you’ll be healed. Well, may it happen. And in fact, I’ve come to the place where I’m a little bit concerned because I see they’re really looking to Brother Prince. Not to the Lord.
And let me tell you, without any preacher you can be healed, if you’ll receive God’s Word. For He sent His Word, healed them, delivered them from their distresses. And then there comes my favorite verse, which is what got me out of hospital when no medication would do it. Proverbs chapter 4, verses 20, 21 and 22. And I quote it in the old King James Version because that’s how it came to me. My son, attend to my words, incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes, keep them in the midst of thine heart, for they are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh. God’s words, he says, will be health to all our flesh. Now there I was, I’d been about seven months in hospital. The doctors were not healing me, and I was saying, If only I had faith I knew God would heal me.
Then I got that Scripture: Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God. But you see, I had a problem. I’d been a philosopher, a professional philosopher, and the job of philosophers is to make simple things complicated. That’s when they get elected. So, I couldn’t take the Word of God in its simplicity. I read promise after promise about God healing, but I thought that only means He heals my soul. He’s not really interested in my body, that’s just corrupt, it’s going to die anyhow. Bless the Lord, O my soul, forgiveth all mine iniquities healeth all thy diseases. I said: that’s only my soul’s diseases. But when I got to Proverbs 4:20-22, I couldn’t get around it. God says: His words are life to those that find them and health to all their flesh. And I said not even a philosopher can make flesh mean anything but flesh. Health to my whole physical body.
And then I looked in the margin, and the alternative reading for health was medicine. I happened to be what the army called a medical orderly. I said how do people take their medicine? The answer is three times daily after meals. I said that’s what I’ll do. I can’t go into the details but over a period of three or four months, I took God’s Word as my medicine three times daily after every meal, and it gave me complete and permanent healing and health in one of the most unhealthy climates in the world, the Sudan. So, I’ll tell you, brothers and sisters, it works. Now, let’s come to just three more results of the Word of God, very quickly. The next one is victory over sin and satan. Psalm 119, verses 9 and 11: How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to your Word.
And then again in verse 11: Your Word have I hidden, [or stored up] in my heart that I might not sin against you. Many, many of our young people today really question whether it’s possible to lead a pure life. And most of their educators will tell them it isn’t. They’ll recommend what they call safe sex, which is never safe. But the Bible says a young man who gives attention to his way according to the Word of God, can lead a pure life. And I thank God when I worked amongst African young people, I saw those words fulfilled time and time again. They were made pure, they led clean lives because they gave heed to the Word of God. And you’ll remember that we looked in Matthew 4, when Jesus encountered satan, He only met him with one weapon: It is written.
And then again, and we’re going very quickly now, in Ephesians 5, verses 25 through 27. Ephesians 5:25-27: Husbands, love your wives... Just let me tell you husbands, that’s not a suggestion, it’s a command. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word. That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. How will Jesus provide Himself with a bride who is holy and without blemish? Through the washing of water by the Word of God. The Word of God sanctifies us, it cleanses us.
John said of Jesus: this is He who came by water and by blood. Not by water only but by blood. By the blood of His sacrifice He redeems us, but by the water of His Word He cleanses and sanctifies us. We need both. We’re redeemed by the blood that we might be cleansed by the Word. And finally, James says, and we won’t turn there, but in his epistle, chapter 1, verses 23-25: the Bible is a spiritual mirror. When you look into it, it doesn’t show you your physical appearance, it shows you what you’re really like inside.
And James points out, when you look in a mirror and see there’s something wrong, the sensible thing to do is tend to it. If your hair is out of order, you brush it. If your face is dirty, you wash it. You act on what you see in the mirror. And James says, you need to do that when you look in the mirror of the Word of God. You need to see your spiritual self in it, and act on whatever it shows you that you need to do. So let me just recapitulate that and close. Eight effects of God’s Word. It produces faith. It’s the seed of the new birth. It’s spiritual nourishment. It produces mental illumination. It provides physical healing. It makes possible victory over sin and satan. It provides cleansing and holiness. And it is a spiritual mirror. Amen.