In this new study, Derek shares with us the most important practical lessons about the life of faith he has learned from his experiences. He begins with his most outstanding message: God is faithful, and discusses how this theme runs throughout the Bible.
It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week, sharing with you Keys to Successful Living which God has placed in my hand through many years of personal experience and Christian Ministry. The title of my talks this week is: “Learning by Living.”
But first, let me say “Thank you” to those of you who have been writing to me. Before I finish this talk we will be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So please take time to write, even if it is only a brief personal note. Now back to my theme: “Learning by Living.”
I have been a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is how James described himself at the beginning of his Epistle, “A servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” and that is what I have been. I have lived at various times in four different continents. I have raised a large family. I have mingled with and ministered to people from many different backgrounds—racial, social and religious. I can say, like the apostle Paul: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.” I have seen God confirm the truth of His Word with many different kinds of signs and miracles in many different situations.
I feel it is appropriate, therefore, that in my talks this week and next I should share with you the most important practical lessons about the life of faith that I have learned from all these experiences. Remember, I will not be sharing with you mere theory or theology, but truths that I have proved in my own experiences. That is why I call these talks “Learning by Living.”
If at the close of my life I were asked to pass on one message to posterity—my family, my friends, my fellow believers—I have no doubt what it would be. I would not have to hesitate or ponder, even for one moment. My message could be summed up in just three words: God is faithful.
I want to say that again. If you carry nothing else away from this talk today but those three words, it can make a difference for the rest of your life. God is faithful.
This is a theme that runs through the whole Bible. For instance, in Deuteronomy 7:9, Moses admonishes Israel:
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”
Notice how Moses describes God, “the faithful God,” the only God, the God who is always faithful, who always keeps His covenant to those “who love Him and keeps His commands.”
And then the same theme recurs many times in the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians 1:19, Paul says to the Corinthian believers:
“God, who has called you into fellowship with his son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”
God has invited us, through the gospel, to enter into fellowship with Himself and with His Son Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. And what Paul is saying is God never revokes that invitation. If we accept, we will enter into to that which God has invited us to do.
And then in the same 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul says again in another context:
“God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
God is faithful when we are undergoing temptation. Perhaps that applies to you just now and you are thinking, “Can I bear it? How long will this last? Is God really in this?” Well, let me give you this assurance out of my own experience, proved many, many times in my life; God is faithful, He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. And when the temptation becomes unbearable, He will also provide a way out so that we can stand up under it.
And then in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, there is a short and simple statement along the same lines concerning God:
“The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”
Whatever God calls any one of us to do, He is faithful. If we obey Him, if we respond to His call, He will enable us to do all that He has called us to do.
A little further on in this talk I am going to illustrate that from various experiences in my own ministry. But I want to just point out to you now three aspects of God’s faithfulness that emerge from the Scriptures I have been reading to you.
First, God is faithful to keep His covenant, that is His most solemn commitment. Anything that God has covenanted to do, He will do.
Second, God is faithful to keep us in temptation and from evil. It does not say that He will always keep us from temptation, but when we are in temptation, He is faithful to keep us from evil.
And third, God is faithful to fulfill all that He has called us to do and to be. Someone has said it this way, “God’s calling is His enabling.” When He calls you, if you respond, you can count on Him seeing you through to the very end of the job.
I want to return now to the theme of God’s faithfulness, in that which He calls us to do or to be. You remember the Scripture that I quoted there in 1 Thessalonians 5:24: “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” Isn’t that so simple? As I look at those words in front of me I notice that they are all words of one syllable except one, and that is faithful. “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”
What always impresses me about the Bible and has done for many, many years, is that it makes the most profound statements in the simplest language.
I would like to illustrate that now very briefly from my own life and ministry.
In 1943 I was in the land that was then called Palestine, which is now Israel, serving with the British Army. I was what the British Army calls a medical orderly; Americans call it a hospital attendant. I was a very insignificant person, I had the rank of corporal, nobody turned around when I passed by, nobody ever saluted me. Of course, I had to salute all the officers. I was in a small medical supply depot, in a little settlement called Kiryat Motzkin just north of Haifa. And as I was there one day God spoke to me, and this is what he said, and I have never forgotten these words, “I have called thee to be a teacher of the Scriptures, in truth and faith and love, which are in Christ Jesus, for many.” And at the end, He emphasized those two words, for many.
I have to say now looking back, if God had given me even an inkling of what He would do, I would have been unable to believe it.
I just want to mention briefly certain ways in which God has been faithful to fulfill that calling. There are three main outreaches for my teaching ministry to which God called me.
First of all, my radio teaching ministry, which you are listening to now. You may not be aware, but today this ministry of mine covers all six continents of the earth. It includes the Philippines and part of Southeast Asia, most of India, part of East Africa, the Middle East and from there as far north as Siberia and as far south as Johannesburg in South Africa. It covers Central and South America, parts of the Caribbean, New Zealand, the south of Australia and finally, most dramatic of all, it reaches all of Communist China. Conservatively, more than two billion people are within the hearing of this teaching every day.
Then in my books and my teaching cassettes, I am now making them available free of charge to leaders in the Third World. And my teaching books have been translated into more than forty foreign languages.
And then the personal ministry of Ruth and myself together. In the year 1984, we calculated that we had ministered in ten nations on five continents. There is a little booklet, Derek Prince: The Man and His Ministry. If you write in for that, we will send it to you free—that gives you some picture of this.
What is the reason for all this? Is it my cleverness? Is it my spirituality? No, my dear friends, the reason is: God is faithful. He called it and He is doing it. It is not my own righteousness, my own wisdom, my own strength, but God’s faithfulness.
Let me end with a verse from Psalm 18:25. David said to the Lord:
“To the faithful you show yourself faithful.”
How can you enter into God’s faithfulness? How can you benefit from it? By being faithful to God on your side. And that includes just three things: to be committed, to be obedient and to be diligent. Will you make that your aim in living for God?