The Bride Prepares Herself
Derek Prince
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Bend The Church And Bow The World Series
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The Bride Prepares Herself

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Part 5 of 6: Bend The Church And Bow The World

By Derek Prince

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Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

‘Bend the Church and Bow the World’ was the theme of the revival that shook the little nation of Wales in 1904. It is still true today and just as relevant. If the Church will bend, the World will bow.

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I want to say, first of all, it is a tremendous challenge and privilege to me to follow two men like Bill Bright and George Otis. I’ve admired and prayed for the ministry of them both for a good long while, and I passionately believe in the things for which Bill Bright stands. I want you to know that. Fasting and prayer, and getting the gospel of the kingdom to all nations. And as for you, George, I think I told you about our visit to Cuba. Well, you know my radio program is in a dozen languages, one of which is Spanish. We were broadcasting from George’s station somewhere in California into Cuba and much of the rest of Latin America, and we didn’t have any money. So we just didn’t pay, but the broadcast went on for several years. Then about a year and a half ago, something like that, Ruth and I went to Cuba to preach. I can’t tell you that story, but it’s a complicated one. I wasn’t allowed to preach but I could speak to ten people. That was all. So I said, “That’s wonderful. I’m happy, just as happy.” I just went on to another Latin American country where I spoke to fifteen thousand. But I was just as happy speaking to ten as to fifteen thousand. And they made cassettes of all my messages and they are going out from Cuba to much of Latin America.

But anyhow... Ruth usually knows what I am going to say next. Well, I’m not very well known in the state of Florida, which is where I have lived for thirty years. We haven’t spent much time there, but that is where my home is. So here we are in this hotel in Havana and we ordered some room service. A young boy came up and the first thing he said when he got inside the door was, “God bless you,” which was a little unusual. So we ordered some soda water, something like that, and then he came back and I signed on the slip and he looked at my signature and he said, “Are you Derek Prince?” I said, “Do you know me?” He said, “I hear about you every day at Bible School.” And I have to tell you, I’m a well known personality in Cuba. There was no part of Cuba that we were in that I was not known. You know why? Because of the radio.

Cuba is an oppressed, starving nation. We just had a message yesterday that the Christians there have sent an invitation to our representative to go and visit them. It said, “Bring some food because we are all out of food.” And that’s not an exaggeration. It’s actually true. They are out of food. But of eleven million people in Cuba today, it’s estimated that at least three million are believers in Jesus Christ. So thank God for Fidel Castro, and thank God for the radio. Things that are happening there are exciting. Some of the brothers were smuggling some of my literature into Cuba in their suitcase, and one of the boxes fell open and material in Spanish fell out. And he was starting to apologize and the man picked it up and said, “Derek Prince. He’s approved.” It’s almost unbelievable. We never made an application. So now the government printing presses in Cuba are printing my material for the rest of Latin America. You just cannot beat God. That’s all there is to it.

Now I want to say in a way, I really don’t want to preach. We’ve heard so much, but in a way I probably owe it to you. After all, you paid my fare, and I believe God has given me a message. We’ll make our proclamation. We won’t make the big complicated one. We’ll make our ministerial proclamation which is Matthew 24:14.

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.”

When will the end come? When who, the angels have preached the gospel? Who? People like you and me. If we don’t bring the gospel to those nations that haven’t heard, we are holding up the return of the Lord because He will not come back until we’ve done what He told us to do. So what do I do next? Preach. You see why I need a wife. I have to say I thank God for my wife. I really do. God showed me in a vision—I don’t get many visions—that I was to marry this woman. I’d only seen her once in Jerusalem. I went to pray for her because she had a back problem. And I said, “Well I have a ministry to people with back problems, and the ministry she’s working for has been distributing my material. I would be very selfish if I didn’t do something.”

So I went to there office and said, “Do you have a woman named Ruth Baker working for you?” They said, “Yes, but she’s sick. She’s had a back problem.” So the Lord said to me, “Are you going to pray for her or not?” So I said, “You know I have a ministry to people with back problems. I think I’d like to pray for her. Do you think she’d want me to come?” So they phoned and said, “Yes.”

So I tried to make my way there by got lost in the streets of Jerusalem. Driven in a Volkswagen van by a young Christian friend. After about half an hour we gave up. We said, “It must be God’s will that we don’t meet her.” And so we stopped and we discovered we’d stopped right outside the house where she lived. So I went in and there she was lying on a couch and I had never consciously met her before. So I said, “Well I have a rather unusual way of praying for people with back problems. I need to explain it. I check whether your legs are equal and if they’re unequal the short leg grows out and then you know God has touched you and you can receive healing.” Incidentally I did it for a lady after the banquet last night, right in the middle of the passage way.

You know I felt a little shy. I said, “Would you mind if I checked your legs?” So she said, “Yes.” I said, “That’s remarkable. Your legs are exactly equal. That’s very unusual to find people with equal legs. Did anybody pray for you?” She said, “Yes, you did.” Well, I didn’t know I had prayed for her. It was three years previously.

So, I thought I had done my duty and I went away. Now I was really seeking God. It was time for me to go back to Jerusalem because my primary call from God is to Jerusalem. So I was agonizing all night trying to hear from God. I had to catch a plane next morning and in the middle of the night I had this vision of a woman in a rather unusual type of Arab dress in an unusual posture sitting beside a trail or a road that led up a very steep hill and it was a winding to and fro trail, and I understood that that was the way back to Jerusalem. It wasn’t going to be straight forward. It was going to be zigzag. But then I got the impression that I was intended to marry the lady at the bottom of the trail. I had only met her once. I don’t think I even remembered her name at that time, and I got rather upset with the Lord. I said, “Lord, are you asking me to marry a woman I don’t know and don’t love?” And God didn’t give me any answer. So I said this is where Pentecostal preachers get into trouble so I’m going to be careful. So I think I’ll take this thing slowly.

So I went back to the States and after a month I still didn’t have any peace so I wrote a nice letter and said, “If you ever come into the United States there’s a fellowship in Kansas City that’s very interested in Israel and I am sure they would be very happy to have a visit from you.” I got a letter back saying, “I’m coming next week to bring my daughter to a Bible School.”

So I thought, “Things are developing.” And if you know me, one of the last things I ever want to do is phone anybody. It’s a red letter day when I make a phone call. But I thought I’ll take the bull by the horn. So I knew the phone number where she was going to stay and just about this area somewhere, in Maryland. So I phoned. I said, “Is Ruth Baker staying there?” Well, the family she was staying with were avid listeners to my tapes and the lady that answered the phone recognized my voice. So I had a nice conversation with her about swimming and things like that. Anyhow, things developed and we ended up by getting married. And God has given me, I’ll have to say, the most wonderful wife. I thank God for her. I tell her and I tell everybody, “Without you I could not do what I am doing for the Lord.”

I didn’t plan to say any of that, but if any of you are in a similar situation, take courage. There was a dear precious brother that wrote to me and said he had recently lost his wife and he felt I would understand because I went through the death of my first wife. So, brother, I just want to tell you. Whoever you are, wherever you may be, God is on your side. Just trust Him and He will bring you through. Don’t try and solve your own problems. Let Him do it. (Tell them about the book. They want more details.—Ruth speaking.) If you want to know more, there’s a book out called God Is A Matchmaker. Some of you’ve read it. But basically it’s how to find out your appointed mate, whether you’re a man or a woman. But in it I relate how God showed me that I was to marry each of my wives, my first wife and my second. I’m a kind of intellectual person. I can handle intellectual problems. I’m not a good judge of character. I just believe people are what they say they are, and you know most people aren’t. So God has never trusted me to choose my own wife. He’s shown me each time whom I was to marry, and each time it has been one hundred percent success. Thank you Lord! Thank you Lord.

I’m just trusting the Lord that the message I have is the message He wants me to bring. Because I could have stopped at the end of Bill Bright and said, “Amen! Let’s go. I mean that’s it!” I believe everything he said and I’m totally for what he preached. I believe it’s the only hope for America. But, and let me also say, I am passionately committed to getting the gospel of the kingdom to every nation. That is really the motto of Derek Prince Ministries—Reaching the Unreached, and Teaching the Untaught. And since we adopted that ministry and that vision, God has actually enabled us to reach one hundred forty nations and my writings have translated into sixty foreign languages. My radio program is on in at least twelve languages including Chinese, Russian, Arabic and Spanish. If you reach those, you’re reaching probably about half the globe. And I thank God for radio, brother. I want you to know that. You know I know it.

I didn’t think I needed any greater challenge than the one that we had. I want to say I thank God for the members of the U.S. and Canadian boards that are here. I would like to have you stand up but it would take too long. I thank God for the members of our staff who are here and who all wear nice badges. If you see somebody standing around looking helpful and intelligent, it’s probably a member of our staff.

But I feel, and I really have, I’ve only briefly shared part of this with some of the U.S. board, I believe God has given me a further vision. I say this in a way with caution, because I’m totally committed to the vision we have. But I believe, if I understand God’s dealings, He’s been saying to me, “There’s one thing that is more precious to Me than all the things that you are presently involved in. One thing that I am more excited about. You know what it is? My bride, the church.” I mean that’s logical. Any man whose going to get married will have friends and occupations that he’s interested in, but believe me his number one interest is his bride. Is that right? And I believe Jesus has made it clear to me, His number one interest is His bride, the church. And I think He’s shown me that I have a responsibility to be one of those who prepare the bride for the Bridegroom, because at the present time, dear brothers and sisters, the bride is far from ready.

Let me read in Revelation 19:6:

“And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!’”

Now there’s tremendous excitement in heaven. What’s the reason for the excitement? Let’s go on.

“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

So that’s why all heaven was excited, because there was a marriage that was going to take place. A marriage supper.

Just recently I married off my youngest and only unmarried daughter. My little black African daughter that was picked up dying off the floor of an African hut, and thrust into the arms of my first wife and me. And she got married just over a month ago in Clearwater, Florida. And I tell you, there was a lot of excitement. I could appreciate that there’s going to be a lot of excitement in heaven. I don’t think a wedding should ever take place without excitement. But I want to point out to you one important thing, it says, “...His wife has made herself ready.”

I’ve lived in various cultures, Middle Eastern, African, and so on. I do not know of any culture where the bridegroom makes the bride ready. Isn’t that right? It’s always her responsibility. And this Scripture says, “...she has made herself ready.” Not she is getting ready, but she is ready.

Years ago when I pastored a small congregation in London, we had a Jamaican sister there. And every time she prayed, and it was quite often, she said, “Lord, help us to remember that it will not be enough to be getting ready. We have to be ready.” That has stuck with me all these years. So bear in mind, the bride or the wife has to make herself ready. And one of the preparations is described here in verse 8.

“And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

I want to dwell on that statement for a little while. The fine linen that will make the bridal dress for the bride, is made up of the righteous acts of the saints. You see, when we first receive Jesus by faith as Savior and Lord, His righteousness is imputed to us. But as we live for Him, it has to be outworked in our lives. And what this is talking about is not imputed righteousness, but outworked righteousness. Her bridal dress is made up of righteous acts. And that raises the question, will we have enough material for a real bridal dress, because no bride ever gets married in a bikini. A bridal robe is usually pretty full, and that’s what we’re going to need is a bridal robe made up of righteous acts.

In Matthew 5:16 Jesus said, “Let your light shine so that all can see it.” We often think about letting our light shine as something passive, that just happens because we are Christians. But if you read the rest of that verse it says,

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

So our light shines through the good works that we perform. No good works, no light.

Now I was going to repeat—come on we’ll do it. This is our second proclamation. We make no extra charge. This is Titus 2:11–14:

“The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

I often have asked my self the question, “Why doesn’t God intervene and close the age? What is he waiting for?” And the answer I always get is His own special people. That’s what God is going to get out of history, is a people for Himself. And Peter says in 2 Peter 3:

“God is not slack concerning His promises... but is longsuffering not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Now obviously that doesn’t speak about the whole human race, because we no many do not come to repentance. But I understand it speaks about the bride. And God is waiting, and waiting, and waiting. He could carry away those who are already ready, but He’s not going to take them until the full number is complete. I’m actually not officially Presbyterian, but I believe in divine election. I don’t believe there are ever going to be any surprises for God in heaven. There may be a lot for us. We may meet somebody there, if by the grace of God we get there, and say, “I never expected to see you here.” But I don’t believe God will ever say that, “I never expected to see you here.” I believe He knows who’s coming, and He’s waiting until the list is complete.

But the dress that we’re going to be wearing is made up of our good works. And you know there’s always this conflict in the church between grace and works. Some people are all for grace, and some are all for works. Either is very one sided. That particular Scripture that we quoted says, “...the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men... [you go to the end] that you may be zealous for good works.” That’s the right combination. Grace that does not produce good works is not genuine grace, and good works that don’t proceed from grace are not genuine good works. We can’t have one or the other. We have to have both. That’s what is going to make our dress.

Question is, what are the good works that God is looking for? And this we could give a lengthy answer. But I just want to take a couple of passages from 1 Timothy. First of all, what are the good works for men? When we’ve dealt with that we’ll find our the good works for women. The first passage is 1 Timothy 3:1:

“This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop [much better to say an overseer], he desires a good work. An overseer then must be [and here’s the list] blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate [or self-controlled], sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in subjection with all reverence...”

So that’s a little list. Now let’s go on to women which is in the same epistle, chapter 5. I want to point out to you that there are certain things that are in common. 1 Timothy 5:9–10. This talking about widows, Christian widows that have been taken into a system by which the church is responsible. How many churches today are responsible for widows in America? What’s happened? The early church accepted responsibility for its widows, with certain conditions which Paul states here.

“Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number and not unless she has been the wife of one man, [now listen] well reported for good works; if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.”

So you have there those two passages which you can study at your convenience, a little list of primary good works for men and women.

Now, let’s ask ourselves is that what our churches are teaching and practicing. Do we see this kind of good work coming forth in the contemporary church whether is Charismatic, or Baptist, or Presbyterian, or whatever. Where is their emphasis?

I want to go to one further passage which to me is the clincher if I may say it. James 1:27.

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: [what’s coming next?] to visit [or take care of] orphans.”

That’s number one on the list. How many churches today are doing that in this country?

and to take care of the widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

I grew up in a Pentecostal, not from childhood but when I became a believer, I became associated with Pentecostals. I thank God for the Pentecostals, for all that they led me into. But the ones I was with were always emphasizing the negative. You mustn’t drink, you mustn’t smoke, you mustn’t go to the movies, etc., etc. They were all talking about keeping themselves unspotted, but there was very little positive there. They weren’t taking care of the orphans, and they weren’t taking care of the widows with some wonderful exceptions. But they were exceptions. I want to suggest to you that our emphasis is not biblical. Are there no orphans? Are there no widows? I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot, an uncommon amount of single mothers. And I have a little association with some, and it is a hard life. Is that right? Can anybody deny that? How much help do they get from the church? Who’s doing something for them?

And the orphans. Well let’s start outside the United States. It’s estimated that by this time in Africa alone, there are ten million AIDS orphans. What are you doing about it? And it’s estimated that when AIDS really takes over in India, the number in India will be much higher. Are we as a group, or as individuals, or whatever, are we really doing anything about the orphans? So whom are we leaving it to? The United Nations and yet we despise them, rightly in many cases. Not in every case.

I think we have to have a revolutionary change in our attitude toward orphans, widows, and children. And I’ve already warned Gary, I’m going to have a little interview with him up here. Because a lot of people have the idea, “I have a large family, I won’t have time for the Lord, and probably I won’t be able to support them financially.” Gary is a living denial of that truth. Come on Gary. Come up here. This is Gary Bergel well known to all of you I’m sure as the International Director of IFA.

Gary, how many children do you and Susan have. (Gary) We have ten children, eight of our own natural children and two adopted that were rescued from abortion who are biracial. (Derek) Biracial. How many different races are actually represented? (Gary) At last count in our household, we have probably twelve ethnic backgrounds represented. (Derek) And so you have a lot of strife and fighting in your house? (Gary) No. We’re experiences some new dynamics primarily because we have the first male and female teams living together. But we’ve actually seen the children defend one another. Just recently our seventeen-year-old son threatened to put the “lights out” of one on the school bus who was harassing and using the racial slurs against his sister. He said, “If you don’t stop, you’ll be very sorry.” So we’ve seen them really rise in defense of one another.

(Derek) And then, of course, with such a large family you don’t have much time for the Lord’s work, do you? Just a few hours a week. (Gary) Actually, the Lord had us settle the matter by studying the life of Abraham and Sarah, and told us to stop dividing all of our life into these different components. That He sees it as an integrated whole and all of life lived for Jesus Christ is ministry. And yes I have a calling as a watchman on the wall outside of the nation’s capital, and the call with that into Intercessors for America and the prayer movement. But it really has not worked together. In fact, I feel part of my strength in the prayer movement is my strength at home. And I’m fully convinced that I experience a measure less of spiritual warfare because we have been privileged to take into that work, plucked out of the enemies strongholds, and our adversary has to deal with the Lord Himself if he wants to come and deal with us, because the Lord stands guard at our house.

(Derek) So how would you advise people who are considering how many children they should have? (Gary) To hear from the Lord. (Derek) That’s a good answer. (Gary) And to do whatever He says to do. (Derek) Amen. You’re an inspiration to us, Gary. (Gary) As you have been to us, Derek and Ruth.

Susan, you stand up. That’s right. He couldn’t have done it without her. (Applause!!)

All right, now I’m going to call one other person forward. That’s Michael Kilgore who is the Director of Operations in Derek Prince Ministries. He’s married to Keren who happens to be the daughter of Bob Mumford. He has a different approach to this, and I’m going to ask him to tell us a little about the mentoring system which he works with with children in his home.

(Michael) Seventeen years ago Keren and I, in the midst of falling in love, asked each other, “What should we do about children?” We both agreed we’d have as many children as God would give us, and we have two of our own. We have a daughter thirteen and a son who’s eleven. But medically we could not have any more children. So we sought adoption and that didn’t work for us. God did not put that together.

And in the last two and a half years we’ve come across a program that enables us to have children in our home for a week, and then they go back to their own home for the weekend. Then they come back to our house for the week, and back to their home for the weekend. That lasts for a period of six to twelve months. In the process we put truth in action. We talk about budgets, we talk about prayer, we talk about the power of the parent’s word, we pray for children. A little boy, Benny, looked at me with a scowl and said, “Jesus doesn’t do anything.” I said, “Well, Benny, would you like us to stop praying for you?” He said, “No!”

Two days before Benny went home, even though Keren and I tried and our daughter, Abbie had tried, our son, Derek, on the top bunk and down to the bottom bunk was Benny, led Benny through the sinner’s prayer. And Benny received Jesus.

(Derek) Praise God. Thank you. What advice would you give to people?

(Michael) My advice would be to follow the leading of the Lord and do not give up on a hope that you’ve had. The more you apply truth, the more truth goes in you and comes out again. So if you have asked God to be used and you don’t feel used, then you’ve not really experienced what God has for you, because you will be tired when God uses you. So you’ll feel used. Thank you so much. Thank you, Derek.

(Derek) Now, I’m going to do something which I often do. Well let me say it this way. How many of you think children are a blessing? I think everybody almost has their hand up? Then why do you have so few blessings? Answer that one. You see. We have proof before us that you can work it. It’s not whether you’re able, it’s whether you’re willing.

Now most of you know about our family. But in 1928, seventy years ago, my first wife took in a little dying Jewish baby who’s called Tikva. The other missionaries in Jerusalem said, “What’s the good of taking a little baby? You should be preaching.” Lydia was from Denmark, so she got letters from the Christian Danes saying, “We can just picture you preaching to the multitudes.” She said when I got the letters I was washing diapers. But out of that first step there has grown a family of which I am now the head and Ruth is my partner, I have altogether nine adopted children, of whom six are Jewish, one is Palestinian Arab, one is English, and one is Black African. And Ruth when she came, brought a little dowry of three more, all Jewish. So between us we are responsible for a family of twelve adopted children. You cannot say, if you know my schedule, that I am not busy in the work of the Lord. I think I am able to do more because I have the support of doing what God wanted me to do.

I know many of you a passed the age where this is appropriate, but I just want you to think about it. The Bible says, “Children are a heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” So why would you turn away the Lord’s reward? You know, rejecting God’s grace is one of the most serious offenses. If you study the thing between Jacob and Esau. Esau was the good guy. Without going into the details, he would have been the member of the country club anywhere. Jacob was a very difficult character. I don’t believe he was a crook. I think that’s misrepresenting him. But he was very sharp, very self-centered, and very determined. But God said, “Esau I have hated. Jacob I have loved.” What was the difference? There’s one simple statement in Genesis. “Esau despised his birthright.” And that makes God angry. When we despise what He has made available to us out of His goodness then we come under His disapproval. Jacob had a lot of faults, but he had one good point. He wanted what God had for him. He went about a lot of different routes to get there, but eventually he got there.

I have a real burden for people who say, “Well, I couldn’t afford to have children, or many children.” What kind of a God do you have? Do you have the God that fed three million Israelites for forty years in the wilderness? I would tell you Lydia and I had financial shortages. But we never starved. There was a time when I bought my razor blades one at a time because it was more economical than buying a package. So I know what it is to have short supply. Well, I have never regretted the course of the life God led me to. And today, I have to have my statistician here. We have twelve children, thirty-five grandchildren, about sixty great-grandchildren, and we have some great-great-grandchildren. We also have three great-grandchildren that are getting married this year. We have a family tree that one of my grandsons made, but it took up so much space he couldn’t find a computer for it. But he lives near to Detroit so he went to one of the big car manufacturing firms and they provided a computer that would take our whole family tree. But it’s out of date now.

So I’m really concerned because it’s your good works that you’re going to wear at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let me just emphasize again. Jesus is concerned about the heathen, the unreached, the unchurched, the ungodly, and we are in the will of God when we reach out to them with every capacity that we have. But His primary concern, His heart is with His bride. And I believe, personally, that we will only come into full harmony with Jesus in our ministry where we have His priorities. This is a new thought, I won’t say revelation, but a new thought that God has given me. And tomorrow I’m going to speak further, God helping me, about what the bride will be like. Oh, pray for me that I will do justice to such a glorious subject, because it is a glorious subject.

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