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The title of my message tonight is “You Can Have Total Security.” I want to talk about God’s provision of security. I believe security is something that almost all people everywhere from every kind of nationality and background are craving and seeking desperately. And, the majority of them never find it. I believe God has provided total security for the believer in Christ but I have to say—and again, I base it on meeting and mixing with so many believers from so many backgrounds—I would have to say I think the majority of contemporary Christians don’t really have deep settled security in their hearts. I would say further that the problem is most acute with Christian ministers. Of course, there are many exceptions. I’m aware of that and I’m sure you are. But, basically I think Christian ministers are some of the most insecure people that you can meet anywhere.
And so, I want to address this problem of insecurity here this evening. I believe that security depends on right relationships. But, we have to get our relationships in the right order. The cross is one of the accepted symbols of the Christian faith, a unique symbol, no other faith has anything like it. But, the cross has got two beams. A horizontal beam and a vertical beam. We have to bear in mind that the vertical beam supports the horizontal. I take that as a picture typifying two kinds of relationships in our lives. The vertical beam is our relationship with God, the horizontal beam is our relationship with our fellow human beings. As I’ve already pointed out, it’s the vertical beam that carries the horizontal. In other words, the primary relationship in our lives on which everything else depends is our relationship with God.
I was part of a movement—as some of you know—which talked a great deal about security and laid great emphasis on it but essentially, sought it out of horizontal relationships, relationships with our fellow believers. This movement laid tremendous emphasis on that. And, there were many things that were true but I’d have to say that it did not produce the results it claimed. It did not produce people with real security. I believe the reason is because the order was wrong. We have to get our relationship with God firmly established and be confident of that. And, horizontal relationships with our other fellow human beings will be firm when they’re fastened to the vertical beam which is our relationship with God.
I would like to say also that—and you may think I’m critical of the Charismatic movement. In some ways I am. On the other hand, I’m part of it, I don’t disassociate myself from it. I’m as much involved in its problems as anybody else. But, I would say that the Charismatic movement has been very wide. It’s had a very broad coverage. It’s reached almost every part of the earth and almost every section of the church. But, on the whole, in most cases, it has been shallow. It is broad but shallow. There has been, I consider, a tremendous emphasis on things in this life and an almost complete ignoring of eternal issues.
It’s very interesting. You read any hymns that were written up to, say, World War I. Almost every hymn of faith had a verse about death. Today, I don’t think you could find a hymn that has any reference to death in it. It’s like death is something of the past, it’s an unhappy problem which we don’t deal with nowadays. I just want to tell you that’s very, very unrealistic. I’ve experienced the death of my first wife which was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my life. I want to tell you, from experience death is very real and death is very cruel. Thank God that Jesus has conquered death. But don’t ever begin to think and act as if death has no place in your experience because it has in the experience of every one of us.
I believe the essential problem is that we’ve got so excited about things in this life and experiences here in time—which are wonderful—that we’ve lost sight of the eternal. I heard a Christian brother say once, “Even if it was only for what I got in this life I would be so pleased to be saved.” I just have to remind you that Paul said something very different. He said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most to be pitied.” In other words, if your salvation doesn’t do anything for you beyond this life, you’re living in a delusion. You are to be pitied.
I’d like to read a scripture here from 2Corinthians 4:17–18.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory...”
When you think of what Paul went through, it’s somewhat remarkable it talks about a “light affliction.” He was beaten in the synagogue three times—five times with thirty-nine lashes, he was beaten with rods, he was stoned, he was shipwrecked, his life was a continual struggle against tremendously powerful forces of evil, and in the end of that he talks about our “light afflictions.” So, brother and sister, what are you complaining about tonight? Huh? What have you got that is so much worse than what Paul had? Or have you just got a different perspective?
Anyhow, he says our light affliction which is only going to last a moment is doing us good. Do you believe that? Do you believe that affliction does us good? The Bible teaches that very clearly. It teaches that if we come into affliction we should rejoice. Do you do that? All right, praise God.
It’s working for us something eternal. Glory. Now listen:
“...while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporary; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
So Paul says, in effect, we’re all going to go through times of testing and affliction and pressures. But, it will do us good on one condition, that we keep our eyes fastened not on the things of time but on the eternal things. If we take our eyes off the eternal we’ll still go through afflictions but it won’t do us any good. It only does us good while we are looking at the invisible, eternal things.
So, tonight I’m going to invite you to look at some invisible and eternal things. I believe it you can follow me it’s the pathway to total security. Unshakable security.
The key is realizing that we are part of a plan of God which he conceived in eternity. Before any creation ever took place, before time ever began, God conceived a plan and you and I who are in Christ are part of that plan. If you can once grasp that it will change your perspective on your own life, on your problems, on your future. I want to trace with you briefly tonight the outworking of this plan. In Psalm 90 Moses said to God, “From everlasting to everlasting, you are God.” From eternity to eternity, you are God. God’s plan for you and for me is from eternity to eternity. It started in eternity before time began and it’s going to take us through to eternity after time has ended.
Let’s begin with the words of Peter in 1Peter 1. Actually, it’s just the salutation of this epistle. I’ll read the first two verses.
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ to the pilgrims of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”
Those are all places in Asia Minor. They’re all part of what we today would call Turkey.
Now, just as a matter of interest, the word “dispersion” in the Greek is diaspora. This tells us something that doesn’t immediately emerge from the English translation. This letter of Peter was addressed primarily—not exclusively—to Jewish believers. You see, the word diasporaamongst the Jewish people is the description of Jews who are living outside the land of Israel. So, primarily Peter was writing this letter to Jewish believers in Jesus living outside the land of Israel. We need to remember in the early church Jewish believers were the majority. Gentiles—non Jews—were a minority.
Then he speaks to them this way. Just let me mention and this is just by the way, but I make no extra charge for it. There are four epistles in the New Testament which are addressed primarily to Jews. I think so many people don’t realize it. 1 and 2Peter, James—which is addressed to the twelve tribes scattered abroad—and Hebrews which as its name indicates is addressed to people from a Hebrew background. I think you would find in many ways a lot more light in the New Testament if you could appreciate more the Jewish elements in it. That’s by the way. Incidentally, I’m not Jewish, let me add that.
Now, verse 2. Peter describes these people and he says:
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ...”
That’s one of those verses you could spend a week interpreting. Let’s keep it brief. He says of these people they were elect. The modern English word would be “chosen.” Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. So, you and I who are believers in Jesus Christ were chosen by God on the basis of his foreknowledge. He knew us before we were born. He knew us before anybody else ever knew us. And he chose us on the basis of his foreknowledge of us. The result of his choosing us is stated in the verses that follow.
“...through sanctification of the Spirit...”
Through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
“...for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ...”
You understand, it’s God’s choice that brings us to the place where we can avail ourselves of the blood of Jesus Christ.
Notice that before the sprinkling of the blood comes obedience. Before I was a Charismatic I was a Pentecostal—if you can tell the difference. I’m deeply grateful to Pentecostals, I owe them salvation. Everything I have came through them. But, they have certain, what would I say, superstitions, practices. And, one of them was always pleading the blood. I honor the blood of Jesus, I think it’s the most sacred thing in the universe. But, access to the blood is conditional. Lots of people are claiming the blood who aren’t meeting the conditions. Here Peter says obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the blood is not sprinkled on the disobedient. If you walk in disobedience to God you lose the protection of the blood of Jesus.
In 1John 1:7 John said:
“If we walk in the light...”
That’s an “if.” Then, two things happen.
“...we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from all sin.”
The cleansing of the blood is conditional upon the “if.” What’s the “if?” If we walk in the light.
And the first result of walking in the light is that we have fellowship one with another. You see how important it is to be in fellowship? Out of fellowship, out of the light. If you’re out of the light you’re no longer being cleansed by the blood. So, it’s obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus.
But the thing that I want to emphasize tonight is it’s based on God’s choice which is based on God’s foreknowledge. See, that should help you to relax. As I’ve said many times to people, you’re not an accident looking for somewhere to happen. You’re part of an eternal plan. God chose you long before you chose him. And, he chose you on the basis of his knowledge. He didn’t make a random choice, he knew what he was doing. He chose each one of us to be something that he knew he could make us. Relax.
Now let’s go to the words of Paul in Romans 8:28 and following. Verse 28 is a familiar verse for many Christians, it’s a beautiful verse.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called, according to his purpose.”
Well, let me point out again that there are certain conditions before you can claim that verse. You have to love God. It applies only to those that love God. And, you have to be walking in God’s purpose for you. But, if you love God and you’re walking in his purpose, then everything that happens in your life is for your good. Can you absorb that fact? Everything that happens in your life is for your good. What room is there left for worrying or being anxious or insecure?
Paul goes on to explain just why this is so. In verse 29 it begins with the word “for,” therefore.
“For whom he [God] foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son; that he [Jesus] might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he predestined, these he also called. Whom he called, these he also justified. And whom he justified, these he also glorified.”
So, Paul says everything is working for good in our lives on the conditions that I’ve stated because we’re part of an eternal plan. Then he says whom God foreknew he also predestined.
Now, Peter has put in “he also chose” so if you want the complete picture, God foreknew us, he chose us on the basis of his knowledge and then he predestined us. Now again, predestination is a word most people are afraid of. I admit that it sometimes has been sadly misused. But, in simple language, to say that God predestined you means that he arranged the course of your life in advance. He arranged the course that your life was to take.
The it says he predestined us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. It would be misleading to say that we’re predestined to heaven. We’re predestined to become like Jesus. If somebody tells me he’s predestined to heaven and I see nothing in him that resembles Jesus, I question whether he’s predestined. But, if I see somebody becoming more and more like Jesus, I think the only explanation could be he’s predestined, God arranged it.
So, here we have three things that happen in eternity before the world was ever created, before there was ever a human race. God foreknew us, he chose us, he predestined us—he arranged the course that our life was to take. That’s why Paul says everything works together for good. Because, it works according to a divine, eternal plan.
Then Paul goes on in verse 30:
“Moreover, who God predestined, these he also called...”
That’s an exciting moment because that’s when the divine plan comes out of eternity into time. The moment when God calls you. The Living Bible uses the word “invite” which is a perfectly legitimate translation. I think if you think of God inviting you it’s perhaps a little less religious than calling you. I believe myself the most vital moment in the life of any human being is the moment when God calls, when God invites. That’s when the eternal plan is precipitated into time and into our experience.
I will always remember how God called me. I didn’t have any doctrinal knowledge of the gospel or of how to be saved. I was—forgive me for saying it—a rather typical Anglican. I’d said the things in the prayer book, I’d been confirmed, I’d done everything that I knew to do and I had to say in my case—this is not true of everybody—it didn’t work. It didn’t produce the results. I had given up on religion and turned to philosophy and become a professor of philosophy. Then I was called up into the British Army, uprooted from my nice, academic surroundings and plunged into the cold, brutal life of the British Army. Then I decided while I was in the army I would study the Bible as a work of philosophy. Not because I believed it, not because I was religious, but because I thought my philosophic duty is to study the Bible. Through studying the Bible I got in contact with a soldier who wasn’t a born again Christian but he was interested in prophecy. One day after our unit had been moved to Scarborough this young man came to me and said, “I wonder if you’d like to come with me to a place I’ve found next Sunday afternoon?” Because it was Sunday afternoon and he was a little apologetic I concluded he was talking about church. So, I replied, “Well, I want to tell you I don’t believe in religion but I’ve got nothing to do on Sunday afternoon so I’ll come along just as a sightseer.” Why I said that I don’t know. I think I must have had a prophetic instinct in me somewhere.
So, I found myself in this small Pentecostal church. I didn’t know such people existed. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know there was such people as Baptists. I was only aware of three denominations. C of E, Roman Catholic, and Methodist. Methodists, as far as I knew, were people who made trouble somewhere back in British history.
Anyhow, I got into this strange atmosphere, heard a type of sermon that I’ve never heard before, couldn’t understand it, wondered what it was all about, and at the end the preacher did something I’d never been exposed to. He said, “Every head bowed and every eye closed.” Then he said if you want whatever it was he was talking about, “Put up your hand.” I was totally alienated by the suggestion that I should put my hand up in church. To me it was altogether tasteless to consider such a thing. I sat there in this stony silence. They didn’t have any worship music, no background music. I wondered what was going to happen.
As I was sitting there two clear inaudible voices were speaking to me. The first one said, “If you put up your hand in front of all these old ladies and you’re a soldier in uniform, you’re going to look silly.” The other one said, “If this is something good, why shouldn’t you have it?” I was incapable of responding. Suddenly in the middle of that a miracle took place and I saw my own right arm go right up in the air and I knew I had not raised it. That was my call. And ignorant as I was I knew I had no right to expect that God would ever call me again. I knew I had my opportunity. Thank God by his grace I took that opportunity. But for me, the word call is charged with dynamic. It’s the moment when your destiny is settled according to the way you respond.
Paul goes on to say “whom he called, then he also justified.” Justified is one of the most beautiful words in the Bible. I would like to give you a simple definition of what it means. When I say I’m justified it carries these meanings. I’m acquitted. Heaven’s court met, considered my case and acquitted me. The verdict was not guilty. Okay?
Then it means in Greek “to be reckoned righteous.” The word “just” and “righteous” are the same word. But it means more than to be reckoned righteous, it means to be made righteous. Then if you want to sum it up this is my favorite summation. Justified means I’m just-as-if-I’d never sinned. Because I’ve been made righteous with Christ’s righteousness which never knew sin. See? There is no room for guilt anywhere in the heart and life of a person who has realized what justification is. That’s why it’s such a shame that so few contemporary Christians have any idea of what it really is.
Then Paul doesn’t stop there. This is wonderful. He says, “Whom he justified, then he also glorified.” Notice it’s in the past tense. It’s not something that’s going to happen, it is something that has happened.
In Ephesians 2 Paul says that God, when we were dead in sins, made us alive with Christ, resurrected us with Christ and enthroned us with Christ. Okay? Because of our identification with Jesus we have been made alive out of the death of sin, we have been resurrected with him, and we’ve been enthroned with him. We’re not to be left hanging around on the earthly level. We’re to share the throne with Jesus. That’s what Paul means when he says he glorified us. He brought us to glory. Not in the next age. That would be wonderful. But in this age. Our spiritual location right now is Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, an innumerable company of angels in festal array, the church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, God the judge of all, the spirits of just men made perfect, Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant, and, the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. We have come there. We’re not going to come there, we have come there. The hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory. The New English Bible says we speak a secret, hidden wisdom of God. I don’t know how you feel about that, I’m excited. It excites me to think that there’s a secret, hidden wisdom of God which has been revealed to us. It says this secret, hidden wisdom of God was for our glory. In other words, God conceived a plan in his divine wisdom of which the end purpose was to bring us to glory.
If you can begin to absorb that fact it should change your whole attitude to you, and to life, and to problems. You are part of an eternal plan designed by God before the ages began to get you to glory. I say again, what are you worrying about? Why are you anxious? Why are you insecure? Because you haven’t realized who you are and what you’re part of. If you could grasp this plan and let it work out in your life there would be no room left for insecurity.
Let me take you one step further in 2Timothy 1:9. Paul says:
“God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.”
Here’s another revelation. When you are saved you’re called because when God saves us he calls us. All right? And he calls us not according to our own works. His calling is not based on our qualifications or what we can do or what we cannot do. It’s based on his own purpose which he had before time began. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but most of the people who are successful in their calling in God are in callings they would never have been in if it hadn’t been for God. God chooses the most unlikely people to do the most improbable jobs. Never estimate what you can do for God on the basis of your ability or your qualifications. They do not impress God.
I think of my own experience just briefly. I’m an only child, I never had brothers or sisters. I was educated in two boarding schools where there were no girls. Then I went to Cambridge and girls were very much in the background in Cambridge. Then I got called up into the British Army and in the purpose of God by divine predestination the army put me in the land of Palestine and ultimately in the city of Jerusalem—which was where God wanted me. I wasn’t concerned about what the army’s plan was, I was concerned about God’s plan. There just before I left the army I married a Danish lady who was a missionary and had a small children’s home in which there were at that time eight girls. Six Jewish, one Arab—and my Arab granddaughter is here tonight, incidentally—and one English. You could not have thought anybody less suitable than me could find myself the father of eight adopted girls. I mean, if people had made a list of possible candidates my name would not have been on it. But God didn’t consult those people, he didn’t even consult me! It was divine choice, divine wisdom. I needed it. It did me a lot of good. I mean, I had to learn that there were other people in the world besides Derek Prince, who thought differently, didn’t react the way I did.
How many of you men know that women don’t react the way that men do? There I was with nine of them! My wife was Danish. The Danes, in my opinion, are the most outspoken nation in Europe, and my wife was the most outspoken Dane! There was a lot of adjustment needed. But, I can say to the glory of God—and for his glory only—today that family numbers more than a hundred members. We’re scattered across much of the globe and all the eight girls are still relate to one another as sisters. In a way, it’s a closer family than many natural families. I ought to add that we added one more later. In Kenya we adopted a little black African girl. So, she’s the ninth.
Shall I tell you how we adopted her? Everybody likes this story. This has got nothing to do with my sermon but—yes, she has, it’s divine choice! Right? Because there were millions of little baby African girls and God laid his hand on one. At that time my first wife and I were responsible for a teacher training college for African teachers in Kenya. We were very busy. Furthermore, my first wife was well up in years, she was older than I was. One night about 6:30 in the evening a strange group appeared on our doorstep. A white lady and a black African couple. The white lady was carrying a little black baby girl wrapped in a dirty towel. This is very unusual. We said, “Well, why have you come?” They said, “This little girl’s mother died when she was born. A social worker found her on the floor of the hut and took her to the local hospital. They’ve looked after her for six months but they say this is a hospital and not a children’s home. We can’t keep her. We have been going around this part of Kenya for three days looking for any family—Asian, African, or European—that would take this little baby. We heard that you took in children. So, my first wife said, “That was years ago. We’re much too old to do that now. Besides, we’re so busy with our educational work we don’t have any time for a little baby—a sick baby at that.” So, this group of people said, “We’re so tired, would you let us just sit down for half an hour and rest?” They did and at the end of half an hour they got up to go and this white lady carried the little baby past me. As she went past she stretched out one hand toward me like that as if to say, “What are you going to do about me?” I mean, I’m not a fanciful person but it was very unusual. I looked at my wife and normally we would never make a decision like that without talking to each other privately. I said, “Maybe we’ll change our minds.” My first wife—God bless her—said, “Give me a week to get some baby clothes and a crib, and bring her back.” So, that’s how we got our ninth who is a sweet Christian girl serving the Lord in our ministry in Florida today. I’ve always been glad we’ve made that decision.
But, as Ruth said behind me, that was God’s choice. I mean, God did all sorts of remarkable things to put that little baby out of all babies in our lap. Furthermore, when we left Kenya about three years later I said, “We’re going, we’re willing to take this little girl but we don’t have any papers on her.” The child welfare society was so afraid of getting the problem back in their hands they twisted the arm of the authorities and the British regime in Kenya, put that little girl on my passport which is an almost unheard of thing for them to do. She traveled on my passport until she was old enough to get American citizenship.
That’s just to show you that if God intends to do something it will happen. That’s the end of it. If God intends it, it will happen. Relax. See? You’re worrying about a lot of things. If they’re part of God’s plan for you, they’ll happen. If they’re not part of God’s plan for you it would be better if they didn’t happen. So neither way is anything to worry about.
Now I want to point out something that again has become very real to me lately. I just hope I don’t give the impression I go around criticizing everything because I try to be positive. I have come to the conclusion there are two major problems in the contemporary church. Number one, the cross has been displaced from the center of everything. It should be the center, everything should revolve around it. A friend of mine who’s the one who is in charge of our outreach to China—I was with him in Singapore about three years ago and he made a very casual remark to me. He said, “The church today has so many items in its shop window that the cross is obscured.” I thought about that and I thought it’s true. Today we offer so much. We offer healing, we offer deliverance, we offer how to make a successful marriage. I mean, I’ve offered all these things myself. This is no criticism. But, the problem is that people don’t see that everything is dependent on the cross. Nothing works without the cross. You can have all the rules for a happy marriage but if the cross isn’t working in your life, you won’t be able to keep those rules. You can have all the psychological principles about how to overcome this and that but the only way we overcome is by the cross.
The other impression I have—and they go very close together—is that we have removed Jesus from the headship of his own church. Paul said God made Christ head over all things to the church, which is his body. If Jesus is the head, he makes the decisions. He initiates things. My prayer in our ministry which I pray several times a week is, “God, keep us from initiating anything. All we want to do is go through with what you have initiated.” Paul said to the Philippians, “Be confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in your will perform it, will bring it through, to the day of Christ.” Listen, what God has begun he will complete. But, if he hasn’t begun something he’s under no obligation whatever to complete it.
I believe personally that if the church went back to Jesus and said, “Lord, you’re the head, show us what you’ve begun and we’ll go through with it,” a lot of things would cease instantly because Jesus didn’t begin them and he’s not going to bring them to completion.
Let’s look for a moment at God’s choice because that’s the mark of the head, it’s the ability to make choice. I think I’ll just read one scripture. John 15:16. Jesus is speaking to his apostles. As I understand it, this was not spoken to the crowd, this is a remark addressed to apostles and it applies to apostles. In fact, in some ways in my opinion, it is the key to the apostolic ministry.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you [to be apostles], and appointed you [or ordained you] that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give you.”
See, I believe everything in that verse depends on the choice of the Lord. Only if the Lord has made the choice will it work. In fact, I believe no appointment in the church is of any validity unless it represents the Lord’s choice. Jesus said to these apostles, “I have chosen you and ordained you, set you as apostles, that you should do...” what? What’s the first thing? Very, very simple, what is it? Go, that’s right. That’s the key to the apostolic ministry. It’s to go. And everything that follows depends on that. Go and bring forth fruit—fruit that will remain. If we’re not in the will of God we can bring forth a lot of fruit but it won’t remain.
Let me ask you frankly, how much fruit is there in the present move of God which doesn’t remain? How many evangelistic campaigns and crusades that claim thousands of people converted and when you go back and look for the fruit, in some cases there is none whatever. What’s the problem? I believe lack of respect for God’s choice. If we obey God and go, we will bring forth fruit that will remain and God will listen to our prayers. You can’t separate any of those things from the initial choice of God.
I think I need to come to an end so I’ll conclude with one other passage which outlines the same truth. Ephesians 1:3:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ...”
So, don’t ask him to do it because he’s already done it. What you have to do is get in the place where the blessings are. Don’t ask God to move the blessings, let him move you to where the blessings are. Okay.
“....just as he chose us in him.”
What did he do? He chose us, that’s right. See, everything goes back to God’s choice. And he did that before the foundation of the world. Okay? This is not some stop gap emergency measure, this is part of a plan conceived before history began. You are part of that plan.
“...he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”
That’s a pretty high destination, to be holy and without blame before God in love. My conviction is the only way it could ever happen is if God chose it. Apart from God’s choice it’s an impossible goal.
Then it says:
“Having predestined us...”
There’s that word again. God planned the course of our life.
“Having predestined us to adoption by as sons by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he has made us accepted in the beloved.”
Who’s the beloved? Jesus, that’s right. Notice the order there. We’re chosen, predestined, adopted, and accepted. Would you like to say those words after me? “Chosen, predestined, adopted, accepted.” Say them again. “Chosen, predestined, adopted, accepted.”
I’m aware that the modern translations don’t use the word accepted. The word that’s used there means God has bestowed his favor upon us totally. If you want a comparison, in Luke 1:28 when the angel Gabriel saluted the virgin Mary he said, “Hail, thou who art highly favored.” It’s the same word. So, accepted is a good way to render it. We are not just tolerated by God, we’re not just somewhere off in a corner; we are the object of his highest favor. Can you believe that? It’s incredible if God hadn’t done it.
You see, in my opinion, if we talk about insecurity, it’s directly linked with the problem of rejection. According to my observation of the people I deal with in the United States, 50 percent at least of contemporary Americans have a problem with rejection. I couldn’t say what the proportion would be in Britain, I’ve not been here long enough of recent times. The main reason why people today suffer from rejection is that parents have failed. My little statement is there is no such thing as juvenile delinquents, there are only delinquent parents.
See, every baby, as I understand it, is born into the world longing for one thing more than anything else—which is love, that’s right. More than nourishment, more than clothing, more than anything else. And, a baby that does not receive love feels rejected.
Furthermore, in my opinion, I find that some psychologists have come to the same conclusion recently. The particular love that a baby craves most—although not exclusively—is the love of a father. Security for an infant is being in daddy’s arms. I don’t know whether you’ve ever looked at a little infant held in its father’s arms. It says to you, “I’m safe. It doesn’t matter what happens all around me, I am totally safe.”
Another fact about babies is that they don’t appreciate intellectual love; they want warm, expressed, outgoing love. The kind of parental love that will provide clothing and education and a car and all that is not what a baby is looking for. Let’s face it, we British—and I’m as British as anybody here—we British are not very good at that kind of love. Is that right? We are embarrassed, we just don’t want to make our feelings known. I mean, I’m not going to go into my background, I know it all. The problem is that our children grow up wondering if we really love them, wondering if they’re really accepted. And, we have to say from the behavior of many, many parents today they know they’re not accepted. They say in the United States there are thousands and thousands of runaway children. I mean, the figures are astonishing. When the authorities pick the children up and find out who their parents are and phone the parents and say, “Do you want this child back,” 68 percent of parents say no. That’s why the child ran away in the first place.
I can’t change your background. The experiences you had in childhood and growing up in early life, they’re just part of history. I’m not sure that we can create a society today where all these evils will be remedied. I think that’s unrealistic. I think the degeneration of human character has reached the point where these things are not going to happen. Okay? I may be wrong. God forgive me if I am. But, I believe we’ve reached 2Timothy 3. You read the description of human character there, every one of those descriptions applies to our contemporary culture.
So, what’s the solution? The solution is be part of God’s family. God has not changed, God is love. God loves every one of his children. There are no second class children of God. If you’re a child of God you don’t have to tiptoe down the corridor and knock at his door to get in. He’s waiting for you with open arms. The solution to this problem of rejection and insecurity is to realize God’s eternal plan for you and your place in it.
Let me give you these beautiful words again. I’ll give them two ways. You are foreknown, chosen, predestined, called, justified, glorified. And then in Ephesians: chosen, predestined, adopted, accepted. But, are you aware of it? Have you appropriated it? Have you ever really taken time to consider God’s plan. Are you living in a kind of superficial spiritual realm where you just get briefly happy in meetings and when the meetings are over you walk out and it’s not long before you’re lonely or fearful or insecure. I want to tell you tonight that if you’ll fit in with God’s plan, take your place in it, God is waiting for you. Okay?
I’m speaking specifically to people who have the problem of insecurity, of rejection, of loneliness, lack of confidence, lack of direction, and somehow you wonder whether you’re a misfit. You may be a misfit if you’re not in God’s place in God’s plan. But the solution is get into God’s place in God’s plan.
We cannot solve all your problems here tonight but I believe one thing we can do is get your to make the right decision. Decisions are what determine the course of our life. The decision I have in mind is that tonight you’ll acknowledge whatever problem you have, be honest about it. Insecurity, fearfulness, loneliness, lack of direction and purpose. To me it’s so tragic to see Christians without direction. It isn’t necessary. If you meet God’s conditions he has a plan for your life that’s tailored to you. And no one else can take that place. It’s a solemn thought that if God has called you to do something and you don’t do it, it will not get done. God has no Plan B for you.
So, if you feel here tonight that God has been speaking to you through this word—and really, all I’ve done is bring you the word of God—and you say, “Brother Prince, I really answer that description. I’m one of those people. I’m lacking confidence, I’m lacking security, I’m lacking direction. I come to meetings and I get temporarily happy but it doesn’t endure.” Then, if you will determine to embrace God’s plan for you as I’ve outlined it, and submit yourself to God and let him take you and make you what he wants you to be.
See, the important thing in our lives is not what we are, it’s what Jesus will make us. Jesus said to the first disciples, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” It’s not what you are before you were saved, it’s what Jesus wants to make you that’s important.
If you would like to tell God here tonight, “God, I’ve listened to what he’s been saying and I realize I’m not really fully part of your plan. I really haven’t taken sufficient time to study what your word says. I’m living a rather superficial and rather unsatisfying life. But tonight I want to repent.” Let’s use that old fashioned word, repent. “I want to change my mind about the way I’m living, about my sense of values, of priorities. I want to line up with your plan and purpose. God, I’ll make the decision tonight and I’ll trust you from this night onward to begin to move in my life to bring me in line with your purpose.”
Now, if you want to make that decision, we want to pray for you. The only thing I’m going to ask you to do as an indication of your decision is to stand to your place where you are. If you make that decision here tonight, “I want to be part of God’s plan for my life,” and you want us to pray for you, just stand up where you are. That’s all we’re asking you to do. Just stand to your feet as an acknowledgment. I haven’t found my place.
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