They say you don’t really know anything until you have to teach it to others. That has certainly been the case for me. I probably learned more of the Bible in my first year of being a pastor than I had in all my preceding years of being a Christian. There’s nothing like being pushed into the pulpit and having to preach every week to make you really study!
I began leading Island City Church in 1999. One book that really helped me in that first year was Derek Prince’s classic The Spirit-Filled Believer’s Handbook. It’s a good introduction to the basics of Christian living and it helped me find answers to many questions.
Recently I posted some links to Prince’s outstanding series on The Divine Exchange. This sermon is one of the best expositions you will find on the perfect and complete work of the cross. I encourage you to take a look.
As you will see from what follows, Derek Prince preached the gospel of God’s grace. He once said, “If you don’t get excited about the gospel, you’ve never really grasped what it’s telling you.” The gospel is 100% good news. If you have been left unmoved by the gospel, then you probably don’t understand what Jesus did. The Divine Exchange outlines some of the wonderful things that Jesus accomplished on the cross.
To inspire you to read Prince’s sermon, I have pasted 12 sound bites below. These will give you a taste of what to expect.
1. “‘God the Father made him, Jesus the Son, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.’ That is staggering! If you think it’s staggering that he took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses, this is infinitely more staggering. He was made sin with our sinfulness that we might become righteousness with his righteousness. What’s the exchange? Not a problem. You don’t have to be a theologian. In fact if you were a theologian you’d probably have problems. Now forgive me, Lord. I just get so impatient with people who make the Bible complicated. My whole aim in life is to make it simple. I may not succeed but at least that’s what I’m trying to do.”
2. “Going to Pakistan was a revealing experience for me because it’s 98 percent Moslem country. And we got as many as 16,000 people out to meetings without much advertising. Why? Because we prayed for the sick. And they got healed… The blind saw, the deaf heard, the lame walked. Believe me, you don’t have a problem getting a crowd if you have that. There are plenty of other fine ways to attract people but the number one central method of the New Testament is miracles.”
3. “The critics of Jesus in his day never questioned that he could heal the sick. They did deny his claim to forgive sins. The church today, the evangelical church takes it for granted that people’s sins can be forgiven but stumbles over the fact that people can be healed. Which is harder? To forgive sins or to heal sickness? Which is the greater miracle? That our sins can be forgiven. There’s no miracle that transcends that.”
4. “Christians sometimes say to me, ‘Brother Prince, how can I know if it’s God’s will to heal me?’ And I usually answer something like this, ‘You’re asking the wrong question. It’s not how can I know if it’s God’s will to heal me, it’s how can I appropriate the healing which God has already provided for me.’ You find that healing is never in the future tense when it refers to the atonement. Seven hundred years before it happened Isaiah said healing was obtained for us. And fifty years or so afterwards Peter said by whose wounds you were healed. It’s very emphatic. A simple past tense. It happened on the cross. It’s a fact of history. Whether we believe it or not, it’s true. What we believe will affect us.”
5. “I’m convinced out of scripture that poverty is a curse. If it’s not a curse, why do you work so hard to get rid of it? If poverty is a blessing, why not pursue it?”
6. “A lot of people think Jesus was poor during his earthly ministry. I don’t. He didn’t have a lot of cash but he was never in need. Anybody who can feed 5,000 people in the wilderness is not exactly poor. And when he needed money for the taxes, he didn’t go to the bank, he went to the lake and got it out of a fish. I mean, what’s the difference whether you get it out of a fish or the bank! My little statement about Jesus in his earthly ministry is this: He didn’t carry a lot of cash, but he always used his Father’s credit card.”
7. “I always picture myself walking out of a typical English church which is at least 200 years old, it’s new. It’s rather cold and I’ve been in this Anglican service where we have been saying the most glorious things about God. I mean, the Anglican liturgy is just glorious. And then the people walk out of church and there isn’t any evidence whatever that they’re excited about anything. I always used to think to myself, ‘Now, if that lady in front of me dropped her lace handkerchief and I ran after her and gave her her handkerchief back she’d get much more excited about her handkerchief than about all the things she’d been saying in church.’ Why? Because they’ve never been real to her. That’s not a criticism of the Anglican Church. It’s true of multitudes of churches. People have never grasped this glorious reality. Now, if you grasp it you’re going to have to be happy—even if you don’t want to be happy you’re going to have to be happy. And let me point out to all of you dear Christians, it is no sin for a Christian to be happy.”
8. “The problem with most religious people is they try to earn grace but you can’t earn it. And as long as you’re trying to earn it by works, you don’t receive it. At some point you just have to stop trying to earn it and just receive it.”
9. “Jesus died of a broken heart. What broke his heart? Rejection. Rejection by whom? By the Father. The most agonizing of all rejection. He cried out in his agony, ‘Why have you forsaken me?’ and no answer came from heaven. The first time in the history of the universe that Jesus prayed and got no answer. It says immediately after that he gave one further loud cry and yielded up his spirit.”
10. “We need to understand God doesn’t just tolerate us, his favor is upon us. He is passionately committed to us. We never have any reason to doubt our access to him.”
11. “Now in order to understand the implication of that you have to be just aware of the procedure for the sin offering in the Old Covenant under the Levitical law… Incidentally, the more important the man, the bigger the offering. This always amuses me because if the high priest sinned he had to bring a bullock. And you know they didn’t keep the cattle next door to the tabernacle. So if the high priest sinned he had to go all the way out to where the cattle were kept and lead his bullock all the way up to the altar. And everybody must have thought, ‘Well, I wonder what Aaron did!’”
12. “Jesus is the channel of all grace. Only through Jesus is God’s grace made available. The cross is the basis of the offer of grace and we receive it by faith, not by works. Nobody can explain the grace of God. It’s unexplainable. Why did God permit Jesus to go through the terrible agonies of the cross on behalf of people like you and me? And the Bible never gives any explanation. So I would say don’t try to look for one. Just be willing to receive by faith the measureless grace of God. The unexplainable grace of God.”
Why is it that preachers surnamed Prince have such a good handle on the grace of God? (Check out what Joseph says about it here.) If you liked reading Derek’s quotes and want more, check out the free book, The Divine Exchange here.