Derek Prince - Is A Biblical Church Excited Or Dignified?
Now I probably know better than most of you that speaking in tongues is sometimes considered (I don’t know) strange unorthodox, even some people call it demonic. I remember a time when there was a dear evangelical minister who would not walk on the same side of the street with me because he knew I spoke in tongues. See? I forgive him but I don’t endorse his opinions. You see, God sometimes puts at the beginning of an experience something that’s a kind of stumbling block. If you’re not really in earnest you’ll be put off. People speaking a language they’ve never learned, and maybe getting very excited to some people is offensive.
I want to suggest to you that basically we from the Anglo-Saxon-European-American background have got a pretty false picture of what Christianity is really like. First of all, we think about it as very dignified. When you get in church you don’t speak in a loud voice, you stand or sit and sing the hymns but you wouldn’t really get excited about anything. That’s the picture of Christianity that I grew up with. I was going to church eight times a week for ten years so I’m not without experience. But it’s not the Biblical picture. You see, we suffer a lot, many of us, because we’re not really free to express what God is doing in us. You read about the people in the Bible: they cried, they shouted, they groaned, they clapped their hands, they danced, they sang, they got excited. They were enthusiastic.
I was a head of a college for training teachers in East Africa for a while and I had to hire the teachers. I learned that a teacher may have all the academic qualifications but not be much good as a teacher. And another teacher with far less academic qualifications may be a much more successful teacher because of one thing, he’s enthusiastic. See, I’ve come to the conclusion there’s no substitute for enthusiasm. When Ruth and I were in Moscow a year ago, or just over a year ago, with 1,000 mainly new believers, I was overwhelmed by their enthusiasm. I thought to myself, God, I wish I could find this in other places, too. When they started to sing they would sing, “Jesus Christ is Lord of all, they’d go on for ten minutes. Nobody had to workthem up or conduct them", they just couldn’t stop.
Ruth and I have a recording of that particular music and when we really need a lift in the spirit we just turn it on. It’s not a professional recording but what comes through? Excitement, enthusiasm. You know, if you want other people to believe in what you believe, one of the best ways to convince them is to be enthusiastic. If you suffered from corns and you found a remedy for corns, which I believe there does exist... I’ve never suffered from corns. You would be so excited about it you’d want to tell everybody who has corns there’s a remedy. Well, you’ve got a much more valuable remedy than that, you have a remedy for sin. And it’s unnatural if you don’t get excited and tell people about it. But the one who provides the excitement is the Holy Spirit.
Remember what Ruth and I quoted at the beginning? Now... may the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. What makes us abound in hope? The power of the Holy Spirit. How many of you today (don’t respond openly) how many of you are really abounding in hope? How many of you are excited about Jesus? How many of you are just bubbling over, you can’t keep quiet? That’s how we should be. That’s how we should be. And all this staid, dignified solemnity really doesn’t have much to do with the New Testament. I’ll come to a few examples in a minute.