Derek Prince - How To Change Radically and Permanently
This excerpt is from: How to Approach Biblical Prophecy
Now, concerning these people that demonstrate all these sins Paul says something truly amazing in verse 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Now he’s given this list. and then he says these people have a form of godliness The word in Greek is such that I don’t believe Paul would ever have used it of any religion except Christianity. He could not have used this word of any religion that was unchristian.
So, brothers and sisters listen to me. These people that Paul is talking about are professing Christians. They use the word born again. That word has become so glib I shudder when I hear it. All sorts of people claim to be born again. But do you know what’s missing? Their lives have never been changed they’ve never had a radical change in their lives. What is the power that they deny? The power to change human lives radically and permanently. I tell people you can join a church, you can say a prayer you can sign a form and remain the same. But if you ever meet Jesus you’ll be changed. I met Jesus in an Army billet in World War II. I didn’t have any doctrinal knowledge of salvation. I didn’t know what the gospel was I was just an Anglican, that’s all. God bless the Anglicans, there’s some wonderful people amongst them but I was not one of those. I never went to church voluntarily and I didn’t believe the Bible. But one night in the middle of the night, about midnight I met Jesus with such power that I ended up on my back on the floor for an hour, first sobbing and then you know what? Laughing.
Believe me, friends this laughter is not new. It may be spreading but it’s not new. I didn’t know anything about spiritual things. There was one other soldier sleeping in the same billet with me and I was laughing so loud in the middle of the night on my back on the floor in my underwear because the Army didn’t issue us with pajamas. So what could you do? Eventually I woke my friend up. I can still see over the back of my head I saw him reluctantly get out from under the blanket and walk towards me and walk around me keeping a safe distance a couple of times. He was a good friend. He said "I don’t know what to do with you. I suppose it’s no good pouring water over you." Something in me said, "Even water wouldn’t put this out." Well, I thought this must be the Holy Spirit. It’s not my idea of the Holy Spirit but it was. And that produced a permanent radical change in my whole life which has gone on for fifty-three years.
In 1941 I met the Lord Jesus. I was never the same, never. It took me months to discover all the changes that had taken place in me. Why? Because I met Jesus. Dear brothers and sisters, if you meet Jesus you cannot stay the same. You can become religious you can join a church, you can do all sorts of things and radically be unchanged. That’s the problem with these people they deny the power of God to change people radically. That’s why churches are now admitting homosexuals and ordaining homosexuals. Do you know the reason why? They say we have to have compassion. I agree, we have to have compassion. But then they say there’s no way to change them. That’s the lie. I believe in admitting homosexuals and ordaining them if they’ve been changed by the power of God. Ruth and I have a friend in central Europe was a descendant of the Moravians.
You know about the Moravians? Probably the most significant group that's ever emerged in church history. He was a dancer, and most professional dancers are homosexuals he was a well known homosexual in his particular society he met Jesus. And Jesus changed him. Today he’s married, has children and is pastoring a church. He’s one of the most loving people I’ve ever met in my life. He’s rightly ordained because he’s been changed. The problem is, and this time I think I can use the word problem the problem is the people who are ordaining homosexuals are not realizing that Jesus can change people. He changes lots of other people. He changes liars, He changes cheats He changes people who are grieving and jealous and spiteful and malicious. It isn’t just homosexuals. Our mistake is to make an exception for homosexuals.
See, this is exactly what Paul said they’ll have a form of godliness but deny its power, the power to change people radically and permanently for the better. This is a very sensitive issue but it’s very important so I want to give you just three passages from the writings of Paul. The first is in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11. Do you not know I find that where Paul says "do you not know," most Christians today don’t know. When he says, "Brethren I would not have you ignorant," most Christians are ignorant. It’s surprising. It’s gone on for nineteen centuries and it doesn’t seem to have changed much. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters nor adulterers nor homosexuals, nor sodomites And those are, first of all the passive homosexual and then the aggressive homosexual. nor thieves, nor covetors, nor drunkards, nor revilers nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. So God is not excluding anyone in that category provided they’re changed. But, he says, and these are beautiful words, But you were washed but you were sanctified you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. But, you’ve been changed.
I’m all in favor of admitting prostitutes, homosexuals, murderers drunkards, everything if they’ve been changed. But it’s unscriptural to admit them unchanged. And we have a right to demand the evidence of the change in their lives. Notice what Paul said because he uses this phrase in three places. He says "such will not inherit the kingdom of God." It’s one thing to be born again and enter the kingdom of God it’s quite another thing to inherit the kingdom of God. A lot of those who’ve entered will never inherit because they’re in these categories. Then we turn to Galatians 5 Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are fornication And let me say it’s fashionable now to call that premarital sex. But that doesn’t change the nature of the act the least bit. God still calls it fornication.
See, one of the devil’s subtle tricks is to put new labels on old things. So, to kill a baby in its mother’s womb is wrong but to abort a fetus is different. All they’ve done is change the word baby to fetus. But some people are silly enough to believe it changes the nature of the act. No. And some people commit fornication but they call it premarital sex and they think they can get away with it. You can't. You cannot inherit the kingdom of God unless you repent. There may be some of you here tonight who need to do that. You cannot inherit the kingdom of God if you’re a fornicator. God doesn’t admit fornicators. Let me say if He did, you’d be worse off in heaven than you’d be in hell because in the radiant purity of heaven you would be totally lost. Alright, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness idolatry sorcery, hatred contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath selfish ambitions, dissensions You notice the majority of the things in that list are expressions of broken relationships. Then he goes on, envy drunkenness, revelries and the like. Of which I tell you beforehand just as I also told you in times past those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Notice, they can be born again into the kingdom of God, but ultimately they cannot inherit the kingdom of God. They’re excluded. And then we’ll look in Ephesians 5 verses 3 through 7 Ephesians 5:3 - 7 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness let it not even be named among you as fitting for saints. Neither filthiness nor foolish talking nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person nor covetous man who is an idolater has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Three times Paul says such a person cannot inherit the kingdom of God. He says to the Galatians, "I told you before but I’m going to tell you again."
And I believe, brothers and sisters it’s time we tell people again. When I became a Pentecostal fifty-three years ago nobody would ever consider that a fornicator could get to heaven without repenting. Standards have changed but God’s standards have not changed. He’s still the same. Changing the label doesn’t change the nature of the act. Some people have said, and I’ve hear young people say, "Well this is just an experimental relationship to see if it will work." That’s self deception because marriage is not an experiment, it’s a commitment. You can’t make an experimental commitment it’s a contradiction in terms.