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I want to speak to you tonight on the importance of decision. I think this is a much underrated word. I feel that Christians far too often leave it to the devil to make decisions, or leave it to somebody else, or leave it to situations or circumstances. There’s one of the words associated with man when he was created that is a very powerful word and neglected. That is the word dominion. In Genesis 1:26 the Lord says that he created man to have dominion over all the earth. And man was never intended to be a slave of situations, circumstances or external forces. But the way out of this condition of bondage to circumstances and negative forces, evil powers, and things that would bind and destroy, the way out is a decision. And I feel many of God’s people are enslaved, oppressed, downtrodden and defeated simply because they have not realized the importance of making a decision. I suppose most of us would agree, and this is not intended to be a controversial issue, that the most obviously successful evangelist of our generation over a period of time would be Billy Graham. I’m not saying who is the greatest of all evangelists, but I have said the most obviously successful, the best known, the one that has through twenty years and more maintained a level of ministry that is tremendous. And I had the privilege of being in Billy Graham’s meetings many times and worked in his original crusade in ?Herringay?, England, which was one of the most successful he ever conducted, in l954. And I believe one of the great secrets of Billy Graham’s success is that he’s realized that within his particular sphere of ministry the importance of bringing people to a decision.
And what God has been showing me over the last two years is that exactly the same principles that apply in this area of what we would call conversion or salvation, the vital importance of a right decision. The necessity of it. These same principles apply in various other areas of God’s provision for his people. And many times we are not living in what God has provided for us because we have not realized the importance of making a right decision. Generally speaking, I think when you meet full gospel people you expect to meet people who are highly emotional. This isn’t really an accurate assessment at all. But it’s the general impression and as a result of this, I think, when people get in full gospel circles they have the impression that unless they get a strong emotion, not much is going to happen. This is a deception. Emotions are important but they’re not primary. Man is an emotional animal. And if we try to stifle and bottle up our emotions and give them no expression, we’re just living a stunted life. And it’s unnatural. And the result will always be some kind of inward wound sooner or later because what we stifle goes on working inside us but works in a negative way. But, on the other hand, man is not intended to be ruled by his emotions. The decisive factor in man that decides his destiny is the will. And your will and your emotions are not identical.
One of the most successful preachers of all generations in my opinion, an outstanding and unique man was Charles Finney. He was unique probably in the respect of the percentage of his converts that stood. People have carried out investigations and they estimate something between thirty and forty percent of Moody’s converts stood permanently. Whereas with Finney it was between sixty and seventy percent. And Finney said, amongst other things, “I do not preach to people’s emotions. I preach to their understanding and I seek to move their will.” And I believe that this is a tremendous secret: reach people’s understanding and change their will. And there are not a few of you here tonight that are in situations that are not God’s will for you. You’re accepting less than God’s best. You’re accepting less than the provision of his love and what he’s made available to you through Jesus Christ. But you’ll stay in that situation until you learn to exercise your will and make a right decision on the basis of God’s word to get out of that situation.
So I’m going to speak tonight on decision. The word that is used in the passage that I want to read is the word choice. But remember, choice in the true sense of the word is a decision. It’s an interesting thing, in the Latin language the word for character is a plural noun. And it’s the plural of the word for habit. So your character is the sum total of your habit, which is true really. And your habits are formed by repeated decisions. And you never make an unimportant decision. Never. Even the smallest decisions you make are important. Because every decision is either positive or negative. It’s either building up or breaking down your character. And you cannot go through life habitually making wrong decisions and end up the right kind of person. And a miracle of God’s grace can set you free from your bondage, but God’s grace does not make decisions for you. You have to make them for yourself. So many, many people are waiting for God to do what God has told them to do for themselves. God’s grace has made it available but it’s our decision that makes it effective.
Take this example of humility which I have spoken about so many times. You hear so many Christians in one word or another they’ll say, “Lord, make me humble.” It’s an unscriptural prayer. There’s not one sentence in the Bible that suggests that God can or will make you humble. God says always in his word many times, humble yourself. God can’t make you humble. No one else can make you humble. Humility comes by an inward decision. That’s what it is. No one can make that decision for you. You can humble yourself. You can submit yourself to God. The Bible says so. James 4:7–8:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. [What’s the next step?] Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”(KJV)
But don’t try to resist the devil till you’ve submitted yourself to God because he’ll be much stronger than you are. We have to put this in the right order. Submit yourself to God first. But when you’ve submitted yourself to God then you have an obligation to resist the devil. And if you are submitted to God you must resist the devil because you cannot be the friend of God and the friend of the devil at the same time. You cannot take orders from God and from the devil simultaneously. But the order is this: submit yourself to God first. Then resist the devil and he will flee from you. It does not say that he will flee from preachers, missionaries or evangelists. He’ll flee from every Christian who is submitted to God and resists him according to the word.
Another example of a decision is one that Eldon has mentioned. It’s forgiveness. So many people don’t forgive others because they wait for an emotion of forgiveness. This is a deception. I cannot tell you how many scores of people that I’ve dealt with on the issue of forgiveness. Have you forgiven your husband, have you forgiven your mother, have you forgiven your father, have you forgiven your wife, have you forgiven your children, your mother-in-law, your daughter-in-law, your son-in-law? That’s usually the area in which forgiveness has to be ministered. Because the people that are further away from us don’t bother us enough to create a problem unless by some accident somebody swindles us out of money or something like that. But normally the people we have to forgive are the people that are closest to us. You don’t resent the milkman because really he doesn’t bother you enough to be resented. But the person that shares your bed at night, he or she can cause you a lot of problems. People say, “Well, I don’t feel forgiving.” I say, “Praise God, I’ve got news for you, you don’t have to feel it. You have to will it.” You make a decision. “Sister, have you forgiven your father, your husband, your wife?” “Well, oh, yes.” “When did you do it?” “Well I prayed for him.” I said, “That isn’t what I asked.” “Well, I love him.” That’s not what I asked about. “Well, I understand he couldn’t help himself.” That isn’t what I asked. I said, “Have you forgiven him?” “Well, I don’t know.” And I say, “If you have, you’ll know.” And I’d give people this example scores of times. If I have borrowed a thousand dollars from you and I’ve given you my IOU for a thousand dollars, I’m not interested so much in whether you pray for me, love me or understand me. I’m interested in what you do with my IOU. As long as you keep that IOU intact in your hands, I owe you a thousand dollars. Whether you love me or pray for me is secondary. The moment you tear that IOU up and drop it in the wastepaper basket, then I know the matter is closed. This is forgiveness. It’s a decision to tear up the IOU and drop it in the wastepaper basket. And when you’ve done it, you know it. If you don’t know it, you haven’t done it. And any other kind of emotion or attitude is completely irrelevant to this question. You say, “Well, I love my husband.” Sure, and resent him too. The more you love him the more you resent him, actually. Unless you get rid of it. Because he has more power to harm you, make life miserable for you and wound you than any other person. The persons that are closest to us are the ones that wound us. So forgiveness is a decision. I preached on this once, a lady came up to me and said, “I got rid of about thirty thousand dollars while you were preaching.” Some of you need to get rid of some IOU’s. You can do it right where you sit right now. Just mentally take that IOU, tear it up and drop it away. Your wife, your husband, your father, your mother.
There’s another thing that’s a decision and that’s repentance. Again, a greatly misunderstood word. The majority of Christians in evangelical circles at least associate repentance with an emotion. And they try to work it out. I preached so many times in Pentecostal churches on some subject that convicts people and you’ll see them come forward to the altar and have a little ten minute sob. They think that’s repentance. But it isn’t. And John the Baptist, when people came to him claiming to have repented said, “Let’s see the fruit, let’s see the change.” If there’s no change you haven’t repented, that’s your problem. I want to see the difference. Rufus Mosley said, “You’re forgiven when you stop doing it.” And that’s a pretty good test. You see, the trouble is we do not really make a decision. That bad temper of yours will go on troubling you all your life until you make a decision. I’m not going to let temper rule me any longer. What you need to do, in Bible language, is repent. And that’s what you haven’t done and remember, the whole gospel begins with one word: repent. There’s no substitute for it. You’ve got to make a definite, firm decision. This thing I’ve tolerated in me, which I would never tolerate in my wife or my husband, but I tolerate it in me. I will tolerate it no longer. From this moment it is finished. And when you take that firm, definite stand in line with the word of God, then it is finished. Many of us have played around for years and years with things in our character that we have tolerated that should never have been tolerated. It doesn’t always have to be anger. It can be fear, doubt, unbelief and indecision. You can go on permitting yourself this. If you go to Alcoholics Anonymous they tell me that when you’re on your way out one of the things they’ll tell you is this: Resentment is a luxury which you can no longer afford. There are other luxuries that you cannot afford. You can’t afford to go on entertaining doubt, anger, fear, unbelief and indecision. They’re too expensive. You can make your mind up, it’s finished.
Years back in London, England my wife had a condition which was medically diagnosed as being due to the heart. And two American evangelists came to London at that time, one was Gordon Lindsay and the other I think was called Phil Green. And we went to the meeting and my wife was determined to get Brother Lindsay to pray for her. But the way it worked out she just couldn’t get to Brother Lindsay. She had to be satisfied with this other evangelist, Philip Green. And she went up to him and said, “Would you pray for me?” He said, “What’s your trouble?” And she said, “I have heart attacks.” And he said, “I’ll pray for you on one condition.” And she said, “What’s that?” He said, “That you’ll agree with me you’ve had the last heart attack.” She said, “That’s a good condition, I’ll agree.” She agreed she’d had the last heart attack. She has never had another heart attack since. You see, you can tolerate a thing forever and ever, or you can decide this is it. No more.
When Israel came out of Egypt it was Moses that opened the waters of the Red Sea. He stretched out his rod, God honored his faith, but it was Moses that took the act. And when the Israelites were safely through, it was Moses that stretched out his rod and the waters closed. And not one Egyptian could follow through the waters. You know what happens? A lot of people forget to stretch out the rod. And a lot of Egyptians sneak through the waters. And there they are, still making trouble. It’s a decision. Stretching out your rod is a decision. It’s a good a type of a firm decision as you can have. When they moved into the Promised Land and they needed to take the city of Ai, Joshua gave the military instructions for taking the city. And then it says he stretched out his spear against Ai and he held his spear stretched out till Ai was taken. That’s a decision. The stretching out of the spear didn’t affect the military issues but it was Joshua’s decision. That’s where I’m going, that’s what I’m taking and I don’t take my spear down till I’ve got it. That is a decision.
What I’m trying to impress upon you tonight is that most of the vital things in your life are settled by decisions. You cannot go through life without making decisions. You’ve either got to make the right ones or the wrong ones. And I’ll tell you another thing, many of the decisions you agonize about turn out to be unimportant. Have you ever done that? Prayed and fasted about something, you thought it was going to be so tremendously important. Made the decision and it turned out to be of relatively little consequence. Another time in five minutes you take a decision that’s changed the course of your life and you only think back afterwards to all that was changed. For instance, our move here to Fort Lauderdale, which has proved a really decisive turn in our life. We made the decision in half an hour. And we hadn’t any previous plans to do such a thing at all. In half an hour we saw and decided to buy the house that we now live in. Didn’t have time to agonize about the decision. What I’m trying to show you is that you’ve got to be so walking in the Spirit that any decision you make is the right decision. Because otherwise you say, “Well, now if I have to make a really important decision I’ll pray it through.” And you’re caught the moment we have to make a vital decision, you haven’t had time to pray it through. You’ve got to be moving in the Spirit where every decision you make is the right decision because it’s the Spirit of God who is prompting you and leading you.
Now I want to bring this down to the question of health. And it’s hard to preach this in a sense. I know it’s true. But it’s so far removed from the pattern of life and thinking of most even full gospel Christians that it is not easy to get it out. Not that I’m afraid of what people think, but we are all in many ways affected by the level of the people round about us. And we affect others by the level we move onto. But I have come to the conclusion both from the study of God’s word and in experience that health is a decision. You can decide to be healthy or you can make no decision. And few people would decide to be unhealthy. I suppose some might. I think my grandmother was one of those ladies of whom it really could be said she enjoyed ill health. If she didn’t have something to go to the drugstore for or some quotation from the doctor, she was really hard up for conversation. Yet she was a very precious woman. But this was her little luxury. She wasn’t really ill, she was a very healthy woman. But it was her little luxury to be kind of sick. My grandfather was so good to her that she could always count on him to look after her and pat her, pay the bills. But I have come to this decision, and it is a decision, that health depends on your decision. You can decide. You can decide whether to be poor or to be prosperous. You say, “How absurd.” Well of course if anybody was faced with that decision who would decide to be poor? Who would decide to be sick? But you see, if you look at the Bible you find millions of people, literally millions in the form of the nation of Israel faced with a choice, that somehow turned down God’s offer. So let me read to you what Moses said just before he handed over the leadership of the children of Israel to Joshua, his successor. The last of the five books of Moses, the book of Deuteronomy, right near the end in the 30th chapter and commencing at verse 11. These are the words of Moses and one of the last exhortations he gave to the children of Israel.
“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”(KJV)
You see, the 19th verse, the choice is very clear. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life that both thou and thy seed may live.” That is so very clear. We have a choice. The choice is between opposites. Things that are completely opposed to one another. On the one hand, life. And the other hand, death. On the one hand, blessing. And on the other hand, cursing.
Now I do not believe that any of those Israelites doubted for a moment at that time that Moses was the spokesman of God. There was no problem in their minds about believing that Moses was the messenger of God to them. And here through God’s mouthpiece they were confronted with this choice. And you might say, “Well, who would do anything, who could do anything so foolish as to refuse this choice? Why naturally anyone would choose life and blessing rather than death and cursing.” But you read the whole record of the history of Israel and you’ll find that those who made the right choice were relatively few.
And do you know the same is true in the Christian church today? As far as I am able to understand the word of God, God has made complete provision for all his believing people through Jesus Christ to be one hundred percent well. If the Bible teaches anything else, then I’ve never been able to discover it. And I’ve been through it a good many times. And it’s not that it’s stated in just one or two isolated passages; this is the entire tenor of all the gospel message. Whether is it easier to say thy sins are forgiven thee or arise, take up thy bed and walk. Well anyhow, let’s do both Jesus said. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. Whom did he come for? The sinners and the sick. What did he come to bring? He’s the son of righteousness, risen with healing in his wings. He has two great offers: righteousness and healing. This is the entire scope and content of his work. On the cross, himself, bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sin shall live unto righteousness. By whose stripes, whose wounds laid on his physical body, we were physically healed. Not “you will be physically healed” but “you were physically healed.” As far as God is concerned the whole question of health and sickness for every Christian was settled nineteen centuries ago when Jesus died on the cross. When he said it is finished, as far as God was concerned it was finished. He made complete provision for perfect health for every believer. I believe that. If that isn’t so, then the Bible is a very misleading book. And I don’t believe it’s a very misleading book. I believe it’s a very clear, exact, logical, reliable book. And yet we find possibly fifty percent of God’s believing people are sick. Not desperately sick, not sick unto death, but living below the level of hundred percent physical fitness. Why? Well why was Israel sick? My answer is they didn’t make the right decision. I really mean that. And why are God’s people sick? Because they haven’t made the right decision. I mean that. It’s as simple as that.
Listen, I don’t want to embarrass you, but how many of you have actually made a decision to be healthy? Well, praise God. It’s about one out of eight. What’s happened to the other seven? See, you never made a decision, did you? Well you did make a decision actually. You made a decision not to make a decision. And that was a decision. 3John 2:
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (KJV)
The will of God for every believer is not to get healed. It’s to be in health. And I’ll tell you on the basis of experience, it’s much easier to live in health than it is to keep getting healed. And that’s the mistake that God’s people make. God’s people say, “When I get the flu.” In other words, you’ve made up your mind beforehand you’re going to get the flu. Isn’t that right? And you’re bombarded from your TV screen with subtle innuendoes and suggestions that just around the corner there waits the flu. And it’s just a question of which kind of aspirin you’re going to use to get rid of it. How many of you rise up within when that kind of advertising comes on the TV screen and say, “I’m not going to have the flu.” Somebody said to me, “Did you get the flu?” I said, “I don’t believe in the flu.” I literally don’t believe in it. I believe in God, not the flu. Now let me not say that I will not be attacked. Because I will. All of us are attacked. How many of us believe and have decided to live in victory over sin? Would you put your hand up? Well that’s marvelous. That’s many of those here. Praise God for it. That doesn’t mean you’re not tempted, does it? No. Some of you are quite sure about that. And it’s not a defeat to be tempted. But you’ll agree with me also on this basis: That if you haven’t really made your mind up, you’ll not overcome that temptation. Sooner or later it will defeat you.
It’s very much like dieting. Unless you’ve made up your mind one hundred percent, you will not keep that diet. Isn’t that right. I got a lot of agreement from some people out of that one! This is a factual story. I met a Baptist lady in North Hollywood, California who had lost one hundred and thirty pounds in weight. Well that’s not a little. And she looked a healthy, middle aged, happy, woman. I thought to myself what could she have looked like with a hundred and thirty pounds more? She must have looked tragic. And you know how she lost it? She said God showed me the spiritual way to lose weight which is to see Satan in the temptation to eat. And she said God showed it to me from the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. Behind the desire to turn the stone into bread was the devil himself. And she actually—I mean, I believe in something that works. When a woman can lose one hundred and thirty pounds in weight, that works! She did it by no other means but identifying the devil as the one behind the temptation to indulge in gluttony. Because she’s perfectly right.
Now this is rather comical, but a group of Baptist ladies heard about her success and she began to hold classes for them on her means of losing weight. But the comedy of it is this: When she began to speak to them about the devil they got scared and dropped the classes. This is a factual narrative, it happened just recently last year. You have to make a decision.
It’s the same with fasting. If I say to myself maybe I’ll fast till sunset, maybe I won’t. Do you know what happens? I don’t. If I say I’ll fast till sunset, period. You know what I do? I fast till sunset. That’s all. Don was talking to me the other day because I had been going around with him. In fact, even sharing the same very narrow bed. Did you hear about us at Michigan State University where we had a one and a half person bed allotted to us? And furthermore it wasn’t a flat bed, it was a bed that went down in the middle. So we slept desperately holding onto the edge all night. Anyhow, I got to observe him and I noticed that he didn’t have any breakfast. Not one day. He doesn’t take breakfast, he’s decided that he’s better with two meals a day. And I’ll tell you, it shows. I’ve known Don for a couple of years. It shows physically. I mean, literally you can see the change. And it shows spiritually too. There’s not a doubt about that. And if he were here I’d say it. And he said to me this. He said, “I’ve learned that my stomach doesn’t tell me when to eat. I tell my stomach when to eat.”
And this is exactly what I mean. It’s taking dominion by decision. You can be under the dominion of any situation, circumstance, factor, symptom or emotion in your life. You can let anger, fear or discouragement rule you if you decide to. And if you decide not to, they do not have to. You do not need to be under them. You have to make a decision. What is your particular besetting weakness? The Bible says lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us. Every person here has a sin which particularly easily besets us. It’s not the same. With some it’s fear, with some it’s unbelief, with some it’s anger, with some it’s lust, with some it’s pride. But the Bible says let us lay aside the sin which doth so easily beset us. You say, “You mean to say that I can lay it aside?” Without faith in Christ and without the promises of the word of God, absolutely not! But on the basis of what God has promised in his word, yes. The moment you choose, you can do it. Whatever it is, if you’ve tolerated it, you’ve tolerated it because you chose to.
Now to some of you this sounds revolutionary. But you see, some of you have really let your wills become so dormant and passive that you scarcely recognize what your will is. Now this is a sin. It is a sin to be passive. And it’s probably the commonest sin of Christians, in my opinion, is simply to tolerate something that is contrary to the word of God and unpleasing to God. And incidentally, destructive to you. I cannot preach the whole gospel in one night that the scripture makes it absolutely clear that God has made complete provision for victory over sin in the life of every believing Christian. This provision is made through the substitutionary death and triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ. He dealt with the sin question, he dealt with the sickness question, he dealt with every negative, destructive force in the universe. And by that one act on the cross everything was settled for time and eternity there. And now it only remains for you and me to make the right decision.
You see, let us go back to Billy Graham because he’s such a convenient and familiar and well established example. What happens? Billy Graham holds a crusade, he preaches a simple but basic gospel message, very clear, scriptural. And then he calls people forward to do what? To make a decision. And in the language of the crusade, there were two hundred and fifty decisions for Christ last night. Most of us here, I mean there might be a few that aren’t familiar with that language, most of us understand it. What did they decide to do? Did they decide to change God. Did they decide to change the gospel? No. They just decided to get what was theirs in Christ in relation to sin, condemnation and bondage to Satan. And I’m sure over ninety percent of us here this evening would agree that when they make that decision it’s going to work. Isn’t that right? We know it works. Were any of you here saved through Billy Graham’s meetings? Praise the Lord, there’s one person. It works, doesn’t it? Well I was a counselor in Billy Graham’s crusade, I know it works. We know it works. You make a decision, you decide for what God has offered you, you get it. How many of us could possibly change our whole moral nature, character, habits, attitudes and relationships in a way that salvation does? We know absolutely for sure we couldn’t do it, don’t we? I always maintain that the greatest miracle that can take place in any human life is the new birth. To be born again, to get a new nature, a new desire, new attitudes, new relationships. A new relationship with God and with man. Power to live a victorious life. And we know, by experience, the new birth provides life. Every other miracle in God’s word, in my opinion, in human experience is secondary to that. How do you get it? You decide. You say, “Brother Prince, isn’t it asking too much to believe that when everybody is getting influenza around me, my family and I do not need to have it?” It’s much less than asking God to save you and your family from sin. If you’ve got the greater, why refuse the less?
Now I’ve mixed with full gospel people for nearly thirty years. By and large, at least eighty percent of them expect to be sick. I am not exaggerating, that’s the truth. They expect to be sick. And do you know what happens? It happens to them according to their faith. I say to people many times, “If the Lord were to stand here in person tonight and say to you according to your faith be it done, would that be a blessing or a curse.” Which would it be? Some of you would say, “Oh, no, Lord, please.” Isn’t that right? What are you expecting? Good or evil. Life or death. Blessing or cursing. Yours is the decision.
Now I cannot convince you of all the problems that will assail you in one evening. Because when you make this decision whether it be in the relation to sin, your besetting sin or whether it be in relation to sickness or some other problem, the devil will be permitted to tempt you. Jesus gave him that title, the tempter. I’ll tell you, he’s pretty thorough at his job. But if you do your job as well as he does his, you’ll conquer him. You’ll be tempted on every avenue. If you decide that God’s will is health, it won’t be many days before you’ll meet a Christian who will start to talk to you about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Oh yes. You know, Paul had a thorn in his flesh. You know what Smith Wigglesworth used to say to those people? He said Paul had his thorn in his flesh because of the multitude of the abundance of the revelation that was given unto him. What abundance of revelation have you had in the first place to need a thorn in the flesh? Your problem, he would say, is spiritual pride to start with. And he was right. Secondly, there’s not the faintest shadow of evidence in scripture that Paul’s thorn in his flesh was a sickness. In fact, I believe it’s inconsistent. The same people that will tell you that will say, “You know when God heals he does it perfectly”, criticizing people that preach and get people maybe three quarters healed. Well then they must turn their argument against themselves because God healed Paul’s eyes. If he did it according to their standards, he did it perfectly. Paul was never going to get sick in his eyes again. This is only one. What about Trophemus? Somebody wrote a book, a full gospel Bible teacher, Trophemus have I left sick. Oh God is what I can say. Surely there are enough reasons for people being sick without writing a book to make them sick. I mean the problem is to get people well. It’s not the problem to get them healthy. The majority of people regard sickness as normal. Isn’t that right? Surely they do. We have a friend in Denmark, Brother Hanson, he must be getting on towards eighty. And I remember sitting in his home and he said, “I’ve never been sick a day in my life.” And everybody nearly fell off the chair. Amazing, a man seventy and never been sick. But that’s normal. Sickness is abnormal, health is normal. Do you believe that? How could it be otherwise? Well then how do I get it? You know what you do? You make a decision. You make a decision. You just as well make it tonight as tomorrow but don’t make the decision because I made the decision.
You know of course, there’s another problem the devil comes up with. Here you are, you’re saved just two and a half months or two and a half years. You believe God is going to keep you healthy. What about, and he’ll give you a whole list of Christians and preachers you know. They’re all sick or their wives are sick or their families are sick. What are you going to do you poor worm? When I was struggling in the hospital to believe God for healing the very lady that testified to me about healing was losing her eyesight. And every time I was getting ready to believe God, bang would come the devil. Well, Mrs. Ross is losing her eyes and she’s much holier than you are. You poor worm, how do you expect God to heal you? But I got the answer to that one and I’ll give it to you—no extra charge. That’s right, you’ve got it. Deuteronomy 29:29:
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (KJV)
Now why Mrs. Ross was losing her eyesight isn’t my business. It’s her business and God’s. Why Brother X should preach divine healing for thirteen years and then got sick or died, why that happened is not my business. You know what? A lot of people are busybodies. The Bible puts the busybody in the same category as the murderer and the thief. Did you know that? Let none of you suffer as a murderer, nor as a thief, nor as a busybody, Peter said. And the trouble with many of God’s people is they don’t have faith because they’re busybodies. They’re finding out why somebody else didn’t get healed. That’s not your business. Your business is to find out what God has for you. A lot of secret things belong to the Lord. But the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do them. And I cannot come to the close of this message without pointing out that when you make your decision, in most cases you make it for yourself and your family. They belong unto us and to our children. Look back at that scripture that I read to you, Deuteronomy 30:19:
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live...”(KJV)
When you choose, you choose for your descendants. Now this is a thing I’ve observed frequently in the ministry of deliverance. That there’s a vicious circle that goes on from generation to generation. The alcoholic’s child grows up with resentment and rebellion and bitterness, brings forth a son who grows up with resentment, rebellion and bitterness who brings forth a son that grows up with resentment, rebellion and bitterness. The same demon just moves on from generation to generation to generation. And I keep saying to people, somebody has got to have the gumption to stop the third one. Why shouldn’t it be you?
“...if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation [a new creation has taken place]: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God.” (KJV)
You do not have to tolerate one thing of the devil when you’re in the new creation. Do you realize that scripture? Everybody quotes this, it’s used for sinners. I’m not misquoting, I’ll quote it again. 2Corinthians 5:17.
“Wherefore, if any man be in Christ, a new creation [exclamation mark, that’s the way Paul wrote it, there’s no verb.] Old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new [not some things, but all things] and all things are of God.”
The new creation is not a patch put on the old nature. It is a one hundred percent God-given new beginning. So what? You always used to catch cold. You’re a new creation. So what? You grew up with this problem and it’s dominated your life for forty-three years. You’re a new creation. No matter what it is, it’s stopped at the cross. Nothing of the old evil inheritance can get beyond the cross of Jesus Christ. That’s where God said stop.
Let me show you this, this is a beautiful scripture. Psalm 35 I believe it is, and if it isn’t, I’ll find it. I just feel the Spirit of God really coming on me now. I don’t boast because what could I do without the Spirit of God but I just feel I’m getting to the very point that certain persons here tonight must grasp. And I pray for you sincerely that you will not leave this place till you’ve grasped what I’m trying to tell you tonight. This is a prayer of David, and I want to tell you that as you go through the prayers of David prayed in the book of Psalms you’ll find that they’re answered in Christ. It would be a tremendous study to make to see how the prayers that David prayed one thousand years before Jesus came were answered when Jesus came. A prayer that’s prayed in the Holy Ghost never can fail. You can pray about anything. You can pray about that TV station. If you pray in the Holy Ghost that’s what’ll happen.
I mention this about the TV station, we were praying some time back, my wife and I in the morning and she doesn’t follow the TV situation too closely. She said, “Lord, you could cause some TV station to go bankrupt and just let them take over.” That’s more or less, I don’t say that’s exactly the words. I told that to Tom Monroe, he said, “Well, channel 51 is going bankrupt.” Now I’m not saying that’s God’s answer but I’m just saying I know something like that is bound to happen because I have listened to my wife pray so often that I know when she’s praying something that doesn’t come from her at all. I told you about the time when we were leaving Denmark for Britain, didn’t I? The end of October, to spend the month of November in Britain, the last day before we left Denmark praying together she said, “Lord, give us fine weather all the time we’re in Britain.” And I nearly rolled out of the bed. I said do you know what you said? She said no. She didn’t. She actually did not know what she had prayed. I said you asked the Lord to give us fine weather the whole time we’re in Britain, and that’s November. Do you know what we had? We had a fine November. The weather was like spring from the beginning to the end. We left the last day of November and as the people came to see us off to the airport we said look out now, the bad weather’s coming. We’re going. This is an objective fact. I’m British, I know what November is like in Britain. It’s unheard of to have a fine November. But if you pray it in the Holy Ghost it’s got to happen. Anything prayed in the Holy Ghost is bound to take place. Thou shalt also decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee. If you pray it in your own natural mind and will, there’s no knowing what will happen.
Psalm 35, I’m going to read the first seven verses. I’m not going to speak on them all but I want to point out to you another thing about David. You find in many of his psalms he speaks about his enemies. He says in one place my enemies are more than the hairs of my head. Those that hate me, those that observe me, those that watch for my halting. Well now understand the application for us is the demon. Those are our enemies. We are surrounded by as many enemies as David had in the natural, we have in the spiritual. And whatever David said about his enemies in the natural we can say about ours in the spiritual. We are surrounded by demons that watch for us to stumble, they watch for the moment of weakness, they’re waiting, they know just when to grasp us, just when to move in, just when to strike us.
See, I’ve been preparing this message in my spirit for half a week. And what would happen—again, this is another example of praying in the Spirit. About Friday we went down to the beach in the morning, we were praying together, my wife and I. She said, “Lord, thank you that you made us to go upright.” Well I hadn’t heard her pray that prayer in that word before. Went down to the beach and I was skipping about on the rocks, something happened to the small of my back and I could hardly straighten up. And I was in intense pain and very stiff. But my wife had prayed, “Lord, make us to go upright.” So I knew that she knew by the Spirit that the devil knew what I was going to speak about on Sunday, if you can see what I mean. So he was watching, he saw Mr. Prince skipping about on those rocks and said now that demon of backache, get him now. Get him because he’s going to preach on Sunday night about health. And I want him so stooped down and agonized that it will look ridiculous. He didn’t get his way. Praise the Lord. But he would have gotten his way if I hadn’t made a decision, I’ll tell you that. If I hadn’t decided to be healthy I’d be sick tonight. And it took quite a lot of willpower.
So when you read the psalms of David and in almost every other psalm you’ll read about his enemies, those that observed him, those that watched for him. Remember that in your experience, those are demons. The air is literally filled with demonic powers that are seeking to make us stumble, enslave us, make us sick. They hate us. They want to kill us. If they can fasten a cancer on you and kill you, they’ll do it. Remember what the devil is? He’s a murderer. Literally a murderer. That is, he kills people’s bodies. Now I’m going to read these verses.
“Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. [When the Lord stands up, I think the devil takes notice] Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. [That’s the devil] Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them. For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.”(KJV)
Every single word of that applies to these demons that surround us. But notice David’s prayer. He said plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me. Fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear and notice the next word, and stop the way against them that persecute me. Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. And on the cross Jesus fully answered that prayer. He stopped the way against them that persecute our soul and he said unto our soul, I am thy salvation. And if you can understand it, the cross is the great red stop sign in the spiritual world, beyond which the devil cannot pass. The wrong side of the cross is his territory. The right side of the cross is God’s territory. The cross is the dividing line. On the cross the old Adamic evil inheritance came to an end. Jesus, the last Adam died. Not last in time, but last in the sense that all the sins and the sicknesses and the pains, the frustrations and the defeats and the shame of an entire race came upon him on the cross. I was thinking when we saw some of the effects of that eclipse about the time when Jesus hung on the cross, there was darkness over all the earth from the sixth hour until the ninth hour. That was a great eclipse. It must have made a tremendous impression on the whole world. Heathen tribes in distant lands didn’t know why it suddenly became dark. And you know of course, in history that the heathen have always feared the eclipse. And really, looking at it only on TV I could understand it’s a frightening thing. Well that was the last great eclipse. Jesus the son of righteousness was eclipsed. All the dark burden of sin, shame and guilt came upon him. The songwriter said, “well might the sun, in anguish hide and shut his glories in when Christ the mighty maker died for man, the creature’s sin.” And that’s what happened. But when it was over, praise God, it was over. It was finished. It wasn’t a partial victory, it was total. It wasn’t temporary, it was permanent. And we do not need to live in the dark side of the cross, we can live on the light side of the cross. That’s where Jesus stopped the way against those that persecute our souls, our bodies.
Let me show you another good scripture, Psalm 27, very closely in line with that. Psalm 27:1–3:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation...” (KJV)
Can you say that tonight? Or are you trusting in a church for salvation? No, not the Methodist church or the Baptist church or the Assemblies of God, they’re not my salvation. Friend, if you have anything less than the Lord for your salvation you have a pretty inadequate salvation. Can you say the Lord is my salvation? If you can’t, don’t leave this place tonight until you know you can.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.”(KJV)
Notice, the forces that would eat up your flesh are the wicked. That’s really important. Anything that would make you physically sick is the wicked. But because the Lord is my light and my salvation, they’ll stumble and fall. That’s the great message of the gospel. Jesus has finished it. It’s settled. It’s done forever. The cross put an end to Satan’s dominion.
Let’s look at two other scriptures. Colossians 1:12, then I’m going to ask you to make a decision tonight. Not on the basis of what I myself say, but on the basis of God’s word. Colossians 1:12–13, this is one of Paul’s long sentences, we’ll not go into it all.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light...”(KJV)
Bob Mumford says that should be translated capable. And it’s right. He has made us capable to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son [the son of his love].”(KJV)
Notice, as far as God is concerned, it has taken place. He has delivered us from the authority, the dominion, the power of darkness. Darkness has power. The devil has power. But he doesn’t need to have it over you and me. We have been delivered from the realm of the devil’s power and translated into another kingdom. The word translate describes the total carrying over of an entire person. Not partial, but total. There are two men that were translated. Enoch and Elijah. And neither of them left his body behind. And when we are translated, we are translated spirit, soul and body. My body is not in Satan’s kingdom. This is a spiritual reality, not a physical reality. Two persons can sit next to one another in two chairs. One can be under the power of darkness, the other can be in the kingdom of the son of God’s love. They are under totally different dominions. They are under totally different laws. They’re not subject to the same laws. One is subject to the law of sin and death. The other is under the control of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
Let’s look at this last scripture, Romans 8:1–4.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”(KJV)
You must get to that place where there is no condemnation. Nothing you have ever done can now be held against you. None of your failures, none of your weaknesses, none of your disasters. There is no condemnation. If you are in any way condemned, then this law cannot fully operate in you. The basis of it is that you have been reckoned righteousness with the righteousness of Jesus Christ because he was reckoned sin with your sinfulness. That’s the basis of the new creation. That whole statement of new creation in 2Corinthians 5 ends up with this statement: “God has made him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” If you have anything less than God’s righteousness, you’re not in his kingdom. This kingdom is open only to the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Open up to us this gate of righteousness into which the righteous shall enter. Bless those that are righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. Verse 2:
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Now has it or hasn’t it? We’ve got at least two lawyers here tonight. And I’m always happy to speak in the presence of lawyers because really it’s the legal mind that can appreciate the scripture better than any other. It’s that type of grasp. I mean, a law is a law. It’s not a law sometimes or if the judge feels like it, or if the weather’s good. It’s a law, and the scripture says the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Here are two laws, each of them in its own sphere is absolutely total. The question is which sphere are you in? Are you under the power of darkness or are you in the kingdom of the son of God’s love? The law of the power of darkness is the law of sin and death, it’s a law of corruption, it’s a law of weakness, it’s a law of failure, it’s a law of destruction. But the law of the Spirit of life in the kingdom of the son of God’s love is a law of life, it’s a law of liberty, it’s a law of health, it’s a law of strength, it’s a law of peace. It’s a total opposition just as it was in the days of Moses in the 30th chapter, here it is. Choose. Set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, what do you choose? Why don’t you choose. Have you ever chosen? Why not choose tonight? You say, “I don’t know how it will work out.” Shall I tell you something? You don’t have to know, that’s God’s business. When you got saved, you didn’t know how it would work out, did you? But it worked out. Some of us have been saved twenty and thirty years, it has worked out, that’s one thing we know. Amen. It’s not your business to work it out. It’s your business to choose. It’s God’s business to work it out. A lot of Christians don’t choose because they’re trying to work it out. Stop trying to work it out and choose. You say, “What do I have to do?” You have to believe and obey the word of God, that’s all. This word is not far from you, it’s in your mouth, in your heart. How do you get it into your heart? By taking it into your mouth. Believe with the heart, confess with the mouth, thou shalt be saved. What confession are you going to make? Are you going to make a confession of choice or are you going to pass God’s offer by? What do you want tonight? Life or death? And actually, there’s nothing in between. Which do you want? Blessing or cursing? Well I know what I want. I want life. And I want blessing and I want it not merely for me but for me and my family. Amen.
Now what you do now is between you and God, not in relation to Brother Prince. I would like to ask you that for a few moments you bow quietly in silent prayer and I want you not to try to be emotional. But on the other hand, to be as cool and as collected as you have ever been in your life. Like signing the mortgage for your home or something like that. Now, you’re going to tell God if you’re ready with a choice. And if you want to choose life and blessing I would like you to just stand to your feet. Remember, I’m not the one who is going to deliver. That’s for sure. I’m not going to keep you healthy, that’s God’s business. But I am fully persuaded that he is able to do what he performs. Why don’t you tell the Lord now quietly in your own words, “Lord, I tonight choose life and blessing.” Amen. “Through Jesus Christ, through the word of God, I make my choice tonight.”
Now I want you to do one other thing which I have learned is actually very effective. For a moment I want you to open your eyes, turn around to somebody near you, look them right square in the eyes and say, “Tonight I chose life and blessing.” Would you do that right now? I chose life and blessing, amen. Now don’t get too conversational, wait a minute now. Because now I think we just thank the Lord for what he is going to do for us, is that right?