Derek Prince - Our Poverty for His Abundance
The next one is really part of that. But it’s such an important part, that I deal with it separately. Jesus on the cross endured our poverty, that we might share His wealth. This came to me as a revelation years ago here in New Zealand. I was invited over with my first wife one year to speak. And when we got here they had promised to pay our fares to and from the United States. They didn’t have the money, but that was allright. They said we’re going to take up an offering and we want you to preach on offering. So I was motivated! If I remember rightly it was in Auckland. I’ve taught on money many times and I’ve got that book there: God’s Plan For Your Money.
So I had my outline and I was preaching on it but a strange thing happened. As I was going through my outline, mentally I was seeing Jesus on the cross. And I saw Him as He really was, stripped totally naked. And as I defined the aspects of poverty, I saw that every one of them exactly applied to Jesus on the cross. Well, they took the offering at the end. And they had four cartons used for apples at the front on the platform. And the people streamed forward to put their money in or to put in their pledges. And that one offering covered the total expenses of everything. The next day Lydia and I were in Auckland with the pastor and we met the people going to their savings accounts to draw out the money that they’d promised the previous night. I have never seen a more abundant offering. And the people were what the Bible calls hilarious givers. They were almost intoxicated with the excitement of giving. But now I’ll share with you the revelation that I got.
First of all, let’s do the Scriptures, the New Testament Scriptures. 2 Corinthians 8 and verse 9. 2 Corinthians 8:9. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich yet for your sakes He became poor that you through His poverty might be rich. You don’t have to be a theologian to see the opposites. What’s the bad thing? Poverty. What’s the good thing? Riches. Now, the opposite side of the exchange is in 2 Corinthians 9:8, which Ruth and I have already recited once. Come on, sweatheart, we'll do it again. I feel better every time we do it. You've got to get near to the microphone. God is able to make all grace abound toward us that we always, having all sufficiency in all things may abound to every good work.
See if you can find any area that’s not covered by that promise. God is able to make all grace abound toward us. That’s not some grace, but all grace. That we always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. That’s the level of God’s provision for His people made possible by the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. He was made poor that we might share, I prefer to say abundance, because I don’t think it’s necessarily scriptural that every Christian will have a large bank account or drive a Rolls Royce. But I do believe it’s God’s will for every Christian to have his needs supplied and enough left over to give to others. Because, it’s more blessed to give than to receive. And God doesn’t want any of His children to live on the lower level of blessing. So He provides abundance that we may be able to have the higher level of giving to others.
Now, some people picture Jesus in His earthly ministry as a kind of poor preacher wandering around in rags looking for handouts. I don’t think that was true. I don’t think he was poor. He was clothed like a normal man of his day. And He had a very elegant seamless robe on top of the others, which was so valuable that the soldiers at the cross wouldn’t divide it. They cast lots for it. I just say this: Jesus didn’t carry a lot of cash. He just used His Father’s credit card! And it was always honored. I mean, any man who can feed 5,000 men plus women and children in the wilderness and leave them abundantly satisfied is not poor. There was a time when the question arose about the tax money. He didn’t send Peter to the bank, but to the Sea of Galilee. But the money came, what difference does it make? Jesus said at the Last Supper to His disciples: When I sent you out without staff or purse or other provision, did you lack anything? And what did they answer? Nothing.
There’s a lot of missionaries who got abundant allowances and are equipped with cars and houses, who lack a lot of things. But those first apostles lacked nothing. Because they were supplied out of God’s abundance. Let's look now for a moment at the chapter of curses. How many of you know which is the chapter of curses? Deuteronomy 28. It’s blessings and curses. It’s got 68 verses, it's a long chapter. The first 14 verses are blessings and the remaining 54 verses are curses. And if you’re ever in doubt as to what a curse is, just read those 54 verses. You may find that as a Christian you’ve been enduring curses, when you should have been enjoying blessings. In the middle of this are two verses in the list of curses 47 and 48. And please note this is a curse.
Deuteronomy 28:47-48: Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart for the abundance of all things. That’s God’s will. But the alternative for the unbelieving and the disobedient: Therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness and in need of all things. Take those four statements: Hunger, thirst, nakedness, need of all things. What is that in one word? Poverty. Absolute poverty. You can have no greater poverty than that. Being hungry, thirsty, naked and in need of all things.
Now, picture Jesus for a moment on the cross. He was hungry, He hadn’t eaten for 24 hours. He was thirsty, one of His last statements was: I thirst. He was naked, they’d stripped Him of all His clothes. And He was in need of everything, He didn’t have a single thing. When the time came for Him to be buried, He was buried in a borrowed robe and a borrowed tomb. Why? Because He exhausted the poverty curse. That we might have what? The abundance, that’s right. See the exchange? Let’s say it. I’ll say it once and then you say it with me. Jesus endured our poverty, that we might share His abundance. Jesus endured our poverty, that we might share His abundance. Look happy, it’s good news! I tell Christians it’s no sin for a Christian to be happy.