Derek Prince - God Now Commands All Man Everywhere To Repent
And then we look at the ministry of Paul the great apostle of the Gentiles. We’ll see, as it’s recorded in the book of Acts. First of all, Paul found himself in Athens which was a very intellectual and idolatrous city. He ended up by preaching to them. I don’t think he had any intention of doing it but he ended up where they wanted to know what he believed and he told them. He concludes his message in Acts 17:30 and following, speaking about all the time that they’d lived in idolatry and ignorance of God he says: Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked but now commands all men everywhere to repent. That says so clear, God now commands, now commands all men everywhere to repent. No place and no person is excepted. That’s God’s universal requirement from humanity. He’s willing to overlook the past if we will repent.
And then it says: because He (God) has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. And notice also another feature of the preaching of the apostles which is often dropped out, Jesus is not only the Savior He’s also the judge. And He’s just as thorough and efficient in judgment as He is in salvation. If you don’t meet Him as Savior you will meet Him as judge. Again, this is dropped out of so much preaching. People talk about the Savior but they never mention the judge. Actually, in his message to the men of Athens Paul never mentioned a Savior. All he said was the judge. And I’ll tell you, people will live very different lives if they’re not aware of the fact that they’re going to face the judgment of Jesus. There’s a carelessness and a sloppiness in so much contemporary Christianity because we have not faced up to the fact that not only is Jesus the Savior but He is also the judge.
God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness. What’s the issue of judgment? It’s righteousness; how we have lived, what kind of people we’ve been. It’s not a question of our denomination our nationality, our social status. There’s only one issue in judgment, it’s righteousness. And in the first epistle of John, John said: All unrighteousness is sin. It’s like if you wanted to know what crooked is. I’m not a geometrician but I’ll just show you a straight line and say anything that deviates from that line is crooked. It may deviate by one degree, or it may deviate by 90 degrees, but it’s all crooked. And, all unrighteousness is sin. Anything that is not righteous is sinful. There’s no third category. I’ve observed in so many believers today they kind of have a third category, Well, it isn’t righteous but it isn’t sinful. That category doesn’t exist in God’s thinking. Anything that is not righteous is sinful.
And then we look on in Acts 20, to Paul’s description of his ministry in Ephesus, where he’s had some of the greatest results of his whole ministry. He’s speaking now to the elders of the church in Ephesus because he’s about to leave them and he says, You’ll never see me again in this world. He has this message of love and concern for those men. He says in verses 20–21, about his ministry in Ephesus: I kept back nothing that was helpful. I’ve often pondered on that phrase, I kept back nothing. It implies that there might be some motivation not to preach the full truth because it might cost you your social position. If you’re a minister in a denomination it might cost you your position in the denomination. If you’re a popular society figure it might cost you your popularity.
So Paul says, I thought it over and I decided that nothing was going to influence me to keep back any of the message. I kept back nothing that was profitable but proclaimed it to you and taught you publicly and from house to house I like that, his message didn’t change, whether it was in a big meeting or in a home group. It was the same message. What was it? ...testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. What comes first? Faith or repentance? Repentance. Repentance toward God. God, I’m sorry. I’ve been a sinner, I’ve led my own life. Then faith toward Jesus. Jesus, I believe you took my place. You died for me on the cross, you took my sins. But you cannot have true faith in Jesus unless you have first true repentance toward God.
See, the New Testament is so consistent. I think it’s something of which the church needs to repent, that we have so often watered down the message deceived people, given them a false impression of what it means to become a real Christian. You cannot become a real Christian without repentance. There is no faith without repentance. The Bible says all men everywhere have to repent. You might say, why all men everywhere? Let me give you an answer from the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 53:6 says this: All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way. You see, that’s our problem. We haven’t necessarily committed murder or idolatry, or stolen anything, or maybe not even lied. But we’ve all done one thing we have turned to our own way. And our way is not God’s way. That’s one thing we all have in common regardless of our denominational or racial background. Whatever the color of our skin we have all turned to our own way.
And then it says: The Lord has laid on him (that is, on Jesus) the iniquity of us all. That’s a very strong word, iniquity. What is turning to our own way? It’s iniquity, it’s rebellion, it’s putting myself ahead of God. And that’s why God requires all men everywhere to repent. Because we have all turned to our own way. We’ve all been doing our own thing, we’ve been pleasing ourselves and leaving God out of the picture. God says, I’ll accept you, I’ll forgive you, because of what Jesus did, if you will repent. That’s the bottom line, repentance.