This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
If you turn to this, we’re going to say it, more or less, from The New King James. You’ll find it’s addressed to people. It says:
“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God...”
But we make it personal. We say “we humble ourselves,” you understand? It’s our way of saying we believe the Word, we take it seriously, we apply it to our lives. So, God helping us, we’ll say it:
“Therefore we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt us in due time, having cast all our care upon him; for He cares for us. We are sober, we are vigilant, because our adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. We resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by our brotherhood in the world; but the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after we have suffered awhile will perfect, establish, strengthen and settle us. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
In these evening meetings we’ve been dealing with the theme of the end time or the last days. We’re going to continue with that. Last night I took the words of the greatest of all the Hebrew prophets. The Hebrew people have produced a wonderful line of prophets but there’s one who towers above them all, and His name is Jesus. We examined what I believe to be the greatest of all His prophetic discourses which He gave from the Mt. of Olives just before He suffered. It’s recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.
Tonight I want to move on from there and I want, by the help of the Lord, to give you a kind of general picture of what the condition of the world will be like in the last time. That, I believe, is something that concerns all of us. We need to understand the kind of situation in which we are living because it is not an easy situation. It is not going to get any easier. In fact, it’s going to get a lot tougher. We need to be prepared.
The first thing that we need to bear in mind is there’s more than one side to the situation in the world in these last days. There’s a bright side and a dark side. There is wonderful good and terrible evil. And, they are coexisting side by side in the world today. We have to consider both because otherwise we’ll give people a very one sided impression of the condition of the world and the situation that confronts us. We can speak only about the good and give people an unrealistic sense of optimism which will be shattered when they encounter reality. Or, we can speak only about the evil and leave people with a sense of hopelessness.
I remember years ago I was teaching on the need to pray for our government and a dear lady came up to me at the end and said, “But Brother Prince, doesn’t the Bible teach that all things are going to get worse and worse?” So I said, “No, I believe it teaches some things are going to get worse and worse, and some things are going to get better and better. I’m one of the things that’s going to get better!” That’s the attitude I want to impart to you.
We’ll look at just a few scriptures that bring out this contrast between good and evil. We’ll start with Isaiah 60:1–3, which is addressed primarily to Zion. Its ultimate message is to the Jewish people but it has a message for all believers. Isaiah 60:1–3:
“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, the darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles [or the nations] shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
There is a very clear contrast. One the one hand, the glory of the Lord over His people, drawing even the rulers of nations; and on the other hand, deep darkness covering the peoples of the earth. Those of us who travel and see the situation in the world today, I think we would all agree that the darkness is growing deeper. It is gross darkness. But, in the midst of it, side by side with the darkness is the brilliant light of God’s glory upon His people. We do not have to be discouraged by the darkness but we do not have to be unrealistic about it. We are faced by a challenge of evil such as has never faced humanity since the days of Noah.
Then in Matthew 13, I will not read there, but verses 24–30, and 37, Jesus teaches the parable of the wheat and the tares. Tares, I understand, are sort of plants that look like wheat but they don’t produce fruit, they’re kind of weeds. And in this parable a certain man sowed good seed in his field but an enemy came in the night and sowed tares. In due course, when the wheat grew up, the tares grew up in the midst of them. The servants of the man who owned the field said, “What shall we do? Shall we go and root up all the tares?” He said, “No, because if you do that you may root up some of the wheat as well. Let them both grow together until harvest. Then I will send out my servants and they will root up the tares.”
That’s a picture of what we call Christendom. It’s not the whole world but it’s the world that professes Christianity. The wheat are the true believers, the tares are the counterfeit believers—they look like them but they don’t bear fruit. And remember what Jesus said, “By their fruit you will know them.” Not by their profession, not by their gifts, not by their words but by their fruit.
I believe that’s the situation in Christendom today. The wheat and the tares are growing up side by side. And God in His wisdom is not going to root out the tares until the harvest is complete. So there we are, we have them. You have to decide whether you’re wheat or whether you’re tares. The decision must be based on the kind of fruit you produce in your life.
Jesus says the harvest is the end of the age. At the end of the age God will deal with that situation.
As a pastor, and I think many pastors have felt the same, there were times when I thought let’s go out and root up the tares. I’m so tired of these people that make all the profession and produce no fruit. But I realize God in His wisdom didn’t give me that job. In fact, He’s reserved it for angels.
One of the interesting things about agriculture, or whatever you want to call it, agronomy, is that the same climatic conditions that ripen the wheat ripen the tares. I believe we are approaching a time of tremendous ripeness both in the wheat and in the tares.
If you were to ask me what kind of condition in the world is causing both the wheat and the tares to ripen together, my answer would be permissiveness. I believe we live in a generation which is incredibly permissive. People tolerate almost anything. But it’s true in the church, too. Fifty years ago you wouldn’t meet many people that would lift their hands in the air and clap them and dance in the aisles. Basically, Christianity was regarded as a pretty gloomy business. You had to sit a certain way, use a certain kind of language, don’t get excited, and be very sober. But all that has changed. Some of you never lived in those days, you can’t imagine what it was like. But today, anything goes. You can have any kind of performance, you can have people turning cartwheels on the platform and somebody will say, “Isn’t that wonderful!”
So, just bear in mind that the same climate that is letting wickedness grow is allowing the Christians to become free. I think, in a sense, because of the permissiveness we’re each of us left to decide what will I indulge in? How will I take advantage of the permissiveness that’s in the world today?
This is a horrible thing, but I happened to read it yesterday in the paper. Some of you may have read it. There was a couple in a train somewhere here in Britain that actually were having sex in the carriage and there were lots of other people in the carriage. But nobody protested until the couple started to smoke. That to me is a kind of example of permissiveness. I mean, it’s not something fancy or thought up, it’s a phase of our lives today.
Nude bathing is permitted in many different parts of the world. That’s an example of permissiveness. But, it faces you and me with a challenge. What are we going to indulge? Are we going to indulge our carnal appetite or are we going to indulge the liberty that we have in the Holy Spirit? It’ll be one or the other.
And then in Revelation 22, right at the close of the Bible, a picture of the situation just before the Lord returns. We read these words, Revelation 22, beginning at verse 7. Jesus says:
“Behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
Now in that context it goes on in verse 10:
“Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.”
I want to point out to you this is right immediately prior to the Lord’s return. Then it says, and these are amazing words:
“He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”
Do you realize that that’s the word of God? It says he who is unjust, let him still be unjust; he who is filthy, let him still be filthy. It’s as though the Lord says you don’t have long. If you want to live it up, live it up now because you don’t have much longer. If you want to display your wickedness, display it now. That’s where we’re living. He who is unjust is going to be unjust still. He who is filthy is going to be still filthier. But, he who is righteous is going to be still more righteous, and he who is holy is going to be still more holy. It’s the parting of the ways. There’ll be no neutrality, no sitting on the fence. I’ve commented sometimes that when the Holy Spirit comes into a church, one of the things He does is electrify the fence and then you can’t sit on it any longer. Our churches of today are full of people sitting on the fence. You don’t know whether they’re for or against. But, that’s not going to last, there has to come the parting of the ways.
And I believe there’s a principle involved which is illustrated in the life of Abraham. I’ll just read one verse from Genesis 15. God had told Abraham that he would have descendants as the stars and that his descendants, the nation descended from him, the nation of Israel, would come back after four hundred years into the land of Canaan. This is the explanation that He gives. He says to Abraham in verse 15 of chapter 15:
“Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers [that’s die] and be buried in peace. You shall be buried at a good old age. But, in the fourth generation, they [that is your descendants Israel] shall return here [to the land of Canaan], for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”
In other words, God says, “I’m going to deal with the Amorites but there’s going to be four generations before I do. Why? Because the iniquity, the wickedness of the Amorites, has not yet come to the full.
One of the principles with God is that He reaps the harvest when it’s full. That’s the harvest of righteousness and it’s also the harvest of wickedness. So, we see so much wickedness in the world today we could wonder why doesn’t God do something? The answer is He’s waiting till the harvest is full. I think the full harvest of wickedness is going to be something truly shocking. If we don’t have faith in God, if we don’t realize that God is just waiting for the time to reap that harvest, we will become discouraged and lose our faith.
In particular, concerning this period, I want to turn to some words of Jesus in Luke 17:26 and 28. Verse 26, Jesus says:
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man.”
The days of the Son of Man being the days immediately prior to the return of Jesus. And then He goes on to say in verse 28:
“Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot.”
So Jesus says the condition of the world at the close of this age will be similar to what it was in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot. So we have a very specific, scriptural standard of reference. I want to look with you briefly at what the Bible teaches about the days of Noah and the days of Lot. I want to point out altogether six distinctive features of that time.
We’ll turn first to Genesis 6, which describes God’s dealings in the days of Noah. We’re not going to read the background but we’ll just go straight to the passage that’s relevant. First of all, Genesis 6:1–4:
“Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men...”
Now in the context, and by comparison with other scriptures, it is very clear that the sons of God there are the angels.
“...the angels saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, of all whom they chose.”
And the Lord’s attitude was:
“My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
In other words, God set a limit of a hundred and twenty years before He cut off that whole wicked human situation. But the thing that provoked God’s decision was the intermingling of angelic beings in sexual relationship with human women. I’ve observed in the Bible there are certain boundaries which God has set and when those boundaries are crossed, judgment is not far away. When these angelic beings crossed the boundary between heaven and earth, that brought God’s judgment near.
This is described both in Jude and in 2 Peter. It’s very clear. Also, I happen to have been a student of the classics, Latin and Greek, and there are many different accounts in that literature of supernatural beings, I would say, it’s well attested in secular records.
And then the comment is there were giants on the earth in those days. But the Hebrew word is Nephilim, which is directly related from the Hebrew verb “to fall” which is nephal. So, it doesn’t really mean giants, it means fallen beings, angels who had fallen from their heavenly estates and cohabited with human women.
And then it says:
“...also afterwards, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”
The Greek word for that is heroes. Again, Greek mythology is full of the story of heroes and of such beings as Zeus, who came to Leeta in the form of a swan. I mean, all this is in harmony with secular records.
So, because some of you may feel a little doubtful about this, I want to point out to you that the phrase “the sons of God” is used three times in the book of Job, and every time it’s used of angels. In Job 1:6 it says:
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.”
This is a scene in heaven, not on earth. And incidentally, did you notice that Satan sneaked in among them? It’s a very interesting revelation because Satan had a certain access to God. My personal belief is nobody detected Satan except the Lord, because he was transformed, as Paul says, into an angel of light. But the Lord said, “Satan, what are you doing here?” And he came up with a very cheeky answer, “Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it and doing my job.” I mean, the book of Job is an astonishing book, I can’t take time to go into it. Ruth and I have just been through it and we’ve been astonished by some things.
Then again in Job 2:1 it says:
“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.”
Again, the angels came to report on what they’d been doing and along came Satan. You see, that’s typical of Satan. He acted as though nothing had ever gone wrong. I’ve been doing my job just the way I’ve always done it. Don’t look at the fact that I’m a rebel. See, that is so like rebellious people today. They still have the idea, here I am, I’m all right, I’m still doing what I used to do. Just don’t talk about the fact that I’ve turned my back on God and proved totally disloyal and dishonest.
And then in Job 38:7, we have a final reference. The Lord is now talking to Job and He’s asking him some questions that Job cannot answer. He says in verse 4:
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”
And then He says in verse 6:
“To what were its foundations fastened? Or, who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
That’s a scene before humanity was on the scene. When God laid the foundation of the earth, all the morning stars—and that to me is just wonderful. Have you ever thought of the morning stars shouting for joy? And all the sons of God, the angels, applauding God’s creative masterpiece?
I just bring that out because I want to point out to you that in the days of Noah there was infiltration from a satanic kingdom among human beings. I believe precisely the same is happening today. The serious moral problem that we’re confronted with go back to this one primary source, satanic infiltration.
Out of that there developed other problems so we’ll go on in Genesis 6:5:
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
What is the essence of the problem there? I would say it’s corrupted thought life. The thought life of humanity had become poisoned. I say it’s the same today. People’s minds are poisoned. They’re poisoned by the media, they’re poisoned by pornography, they’re poisoned by television. Probably television has been the major instrument of Satan to poison the minds of the British people.
You see, I can remember when there was no television. People thought differently, talked differently, had different standards. Most people today don’t realize that their moral standards have been eroded by television.
I tell people, this is just by the way, if you want really to have a tremendous experience with the Lord and become a really effective Christian, there’s just two things you need to exchange. They are the amount of time you spend in front of the Bible and the amount of time you spend in front of the television. Just switch them and you’ll become a super Christian. But you cannot spend hours in front of television and be a victorious Christian, it is absolutely impossible. You may not even realize how far has gone the poisoning of your mind, the erosion of your moral standard.
I’m not preaching against television, I’m just saying choose. If you want to poison yourself, carry on. But remember, you’ll be the one who suffers in the end.
I want you to see how relevant the picture is in the days of Noah and our day today. In Genesis 6:11 we have another aspect of the days of Noah.
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.”
How extremely similar that is to our world today which is filled with violence. Almost every country: the United States, Britain, and countless other nations. Violence is normal. People have changed their thinking. If I don’t get what I want, I’ll use violence to get it. People didn’t think like that fifty years ago in this country. See, the problem with most of you is you’ve got no standard by which to compare it, but I have. I can remember when if a thief snatched a lady’s handbag it would make the headlines in the papers. Today we think nothing about it. If a thief breaks into your car, the police say, “Why didn’t you lock the car?” We accept violence as a norm. We spend hours every time we travel by plane because every piece of baggage has to be searched for bombs or other destructive material. It wasn’t like that when planes first traveled.
You know the little parable about the frog in the water? If you put a frog into boiling water it will jump out. But if you put a frog in water and gradually heat the water, it will stay there till it gets killed. That’s what Satan is doing. He doesn’t plunge us into boiling water but he gradually heats the water until it kills us.
Is what I’m saying real? Does it correspond to the situation? I think it does.
And then there’s one more statement in Genesis 6:12:
“So God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.”
That’s biblical language for sexual corruption. The whole way of relating sexually had become corrupt. Immoral, unnatural, perverse. Again, they say in America today, and I don’t think these statistics are actually full, they say one out of every four girls has been sexually molested, and one out of every five boys. It’s almost something that we accept as part of life today. I can tell you I’ve ministered in churches where I’ve discovered sexual perversion in the leadership. And yet they continue with all the outward appearances of Christianity.
Then there’s one other feature which is from the days of Lot. Genesis 19:4–5. You remember the story, two angels came to Sodom and Lot being a godly man took them in and gave them hospitality. But, all the men of Sodom, and it’s not some of the men, all the men of Sodom said, “Bring them out, we want to have sex with them.” It says in verse 4:
“Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter; surrounded the house, and they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out that we may know them carnally.’”
The NIV says “that we may have sex with them”. The whole city was given over to homosexuality.
And, they were violent. The same is true today. In San Francisco, if you take a stand against homosexuality, your life is in danger. The homosexuals are no longer retiring, timid; they’re right out front, arrogant, blatant, violent—exactly as it was in the days of Lot. How accurate the Bible is.
And again, I have to say, sixty years ago when I was seventeen, I could not have believed that the things I see today in Britain would ever happen. And, I wasn’t a Christian. I just grew up in a normal British family.
You see, I really fear for many of you that the devil has been heating the water gradually and you’re sitting there happily in water which you would have jumped out of if you’d been plunged into it straight.
Let’s just enumerate those six features of the days of Noah and Lot.
Number one, satanic infiltration from a satanic kingdom. That was the root of all the problems.
Number two, evil imaginations or thought life.
Number three, violence.
Number four, sexual corruption and perversion.
Number five, blatant, violent homosexuality.
As it was in the days of Noah and the days of Lot, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. Jesus was a true prophet. Everything He said has been fulfilled and is being fulfilled exactly. He never exaggerated, He never made a mistake.
There’s one other feature of the days of Noah and Lot which Jesus Himself pointed out. We find it in Luke 17:26–28:
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, as it was in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”
And notice the little word all is in both those passages.
There are four pairs of activities that Jesus mentions: eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, buying and selling, building and planting. Are they sinful? No, there’s nothing essentially sinful in any of those activities. And yet they brought about the downfall of the people of Noah’s day and Lot’s day. What, in one word, was the problem? I’ll give you my answer. Materialism. They were so absorbed in what were actually quite permissible activities that they were unaware of what was happening. They’d lost their spiritual sensitivity. They were just absorbed in the things of time: eating, drinking, marrying, getting married, buying, selling, building, planting.
My personal perception is that the greatest dangers that threaten us as Christians in these days, one I mentioned yesterday, one I mentioned today. The one I mentioned yesterday was deception, the one I mentioned today is materialism. I think materialism and deception will overthrow far more Christians than communism or atheism ever did. The subtle danger is we don’t see it. Our senses are blunted and we’re just living for the things of time.
Paul said something remarkable in 1 Corinthians 15. He said:
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most to be pitied.”
How many believers are there today who in real truth have hope only in this world? Their vision doesn’t go beyond the world? And, how much teaching is there today on how to prosper, how to get rich, how to be healthy, how to be successful and how to have a good marriage? All that’s legitimate but if that’s where we’re living, we’re not living in the kingdom of God.
I observed that Jesus and the first preachers didn’t go around telling people how to solve their problems—which is probably the most popular form of teaching in the church today. There are endless different kinds of problems and there’s always a book somewhere that will tell you how to solve them. There’s a methodology of approach to people that says discover a felt need and meet it, and you’ve got that person. Jesus didn’t go around discovering felt needs, He went around declaring there is a King in heaven and He has a kingdom. And if you want to be in His kingdom you have to meet His conditions. The first one is repent, a word that’s dropped out of the vocabulary of many preachers today.
I hope I’m succeeding in awakening you. There are two words for when God visits the church. One is revival, the other is awakening. I believe that the church in this country, like many other countries, desperately needs an awakening. People are asleep in their pews singing their hymns in their sleep. Somebody conducted a survey in America about pastors and ministers and the average time that each one spent in prayer in a week was seven minutes. This was on their own statement, it was not something that was forced out of them. How much time do you spend in prayer? Don’t answer me. Just ask yourself.
Another observation I’ll make, and it’s been borne in upon me recently in reading the Bible. I think the hardest test that Christians go through—and you’ll never guess what I’m going to say—but it’s prosperity. Amazingly few Christians can survive prosperity. I believe God gives prosperity but it’s a test. I was thinking about the kings of Israel and there’s really not one king that totally survived prosperity. David had a terrible fall but thank God he came back. Solomon was the most prosperous of all kings and he ended up an idolater. You can go through the others, I won’t go through them. But, one after another they did some good but they never kept it up to the end. If there’s a challenge for me in my life at this age of mine, it is, “Lord, help me to make it through to the end.” Not to lower my standards, not to divert from the narrow pathway. Can you say amen to that? God will hold you to that amen but it will be good for you.
Now I want to go to the New Testament just briefly and I want to show you the New Testament in other language says the same thing. In 2 Timothy 3:1–5, Paul says:
“But know this...”
Or, there’s one thing you can be certain of. I think the NIV has a very good translation, I forget what it is.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.”
The margin reading in this version says “times of stress will come.”
How many of you realize we’re living in times of stress? Well, it’s proof that the Bible is true.
What’s the problem? What causes the stress? What causes the peril? One thing above all others, the decline of human character. We can find all sorts of other reasons—economic reasons, political reasons, social reasons—but they’re not the root. The root problem is the deterioration of human morals and character. That’s where the Bible gives its explanation. Paul goes on:
“For men will be...”
And he lists eighteen moral defects. If you’re having problems in your life and situation, remember the root problem is your character. You can solve all the other problems but you won’t have solved your problem. This is the list, and as I read it I want you to think about the society in which you live and say how much of this applies today?
“Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”
I don’t want to dwell on that list but I personally say I see every one of those characteristics in our contemporary society today. And to a degree that they were not there fifty years ago.
I’ll point out that the three root problems are what people love. It’s love of self, love of money and love of pleasure. You see, I don’t believe that we can have good government in any nation where people are obsessed with the love of money. Because, anybody can be bribed. That is true in the United States where I live and where I’m a citizen. I’m also a citizen of Britain. I would say both in the United States and in Europe real righteousness and good government has become impossible because of the love of money. Because people can be bought. There was a statement in the press that Margaret Thatcher’s son got a ten million pound (unintelligible) for a contract with Saudi Arabia. I don’t know whether it’s true but sums like that are just tossed out into the air.
Many, many years ago in Rome before it became an empire, but when it was the leading city of the ancient world, a king from North Africa visited the city to see it. His ultimate comment was, in English, “A city for sale, if only it can find a buyer.” Every time I go back to the United States I say to myself a nation for sale, if only it can find it a buyer. There are a lot of Arabs and Japanese that are buying. I think the same is true of Europe, a continent for sale, if only it can find a buyer.
And then the ultimate statement is “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” The most amazing statement is the one that follows:
“...having a form of godliness, but denying its power.”
And when Paul uses the word godliness he could not use it of anything other than professing Christianity. So, these people that are described here are not atheists, they’re not people from another religion, they are professing Christians. They have a form of godliness but they do not make room for its power. What is the power that they do not make room for? The power to change lives.
Do you believe that the gospel can radically change men and women from inside out so that the things they love they begin to hate, and the things they hated they begin to love?
I’m by no means perfect, you can ask my wife if you need confirmation of that. But, in 1941 at the end of July in a hotel in North Bay, Scarborough, I had a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. I didn’t have any doctrinal knowledge of salvation, I was just an ignorant Anglican. I mean, you can’t tell me otherwise because I’d been too long in all that to know. But God bless the Anglicans, and I thank God for what I did have from my Anglican background, a basic familiarity with the Bible. It was like seed that had been sown and become dormant, but when the water came on it, it sprouted instantly. But what I was saying was I met Jesus. I didn’t know anything about salvation, I didn’t know what it was to be born again, but I was changed. Totally, radically, permanently changed. I wasn’t made perfect. I’m still not perfect but I was made totally different. And that’s the power of the gospel to make people totally different from what they are by their own nature. That’s the power that is denied in the church today. So we tolerate homosexuals because we think, “Poor people, what can we do?” The truth of the matter is God can change homosexuals. And, many, many others. I don’t pick on homosexuals. Somebody asked me on a radio program here in Britain a year or two ago, “What do you think about homosexuality?” I said, “I think it’s a sin just like every other sin.” Jesus saves from sin. Not in sin but from sin. He changes peoples’ hearts and attitudes and motives and desires.
I remember before I was saved I had heard every now and then about people who had a prayer meeting. I thought to myself whatever can people find to pray about? Fancy spending an hour talking to God! But after I was saved, the meeting I enjoyed much the most was the prayer meeting. I got saved through Pentecostals and they knew I wasn’t Pentecostal, and they kind of treated me gently. One day they took me to a prayer meeting and they were afraid that I would get upset. But I tell you, I upset that prayer meeting because when the Spirit of God came upon me I started to laugh. I laughed loud and long.
How many of you know what it is to laugh in the Holy Spirit? There’s nothing more reviving than that. Ruth and I were praying just a few days ago in our bed, as we usually do, and the laughter came on Ruth and I mean, she laughed for ten minutes hilariously. Hallelujah. You know, God laughs. God says He’ll laugh at His enemies. Laughter is not the reaction to the comical with God, it’s the expression of total triumph. Who can consider the stupidity of some created being actually challenging the great Creator of the whole universe? I mean, it’s laughable.
Some of you think it’s a bit strange, I know that. I would have thought that fifty-two years ago. But I tell you what, when I came amongst Pentecostals, all sorts of strange things happened. I’ll tell you one thing, the preacher was preaching about the vision that Isaiah had when he saw the Lord and his lips were touched with a coal. He was one of those preachers who didn’t stick to his theme. So after a while he was going up and down through the Bible. I was sitting there trying to find out what he was really trying to talk about. And somehow he got into a situation where he was describing the relationship between King Saul and David the shepherd boy. Quite correctly he pointed out that King Saul was head and shoulders taller than David. So in the middle of his imaginary dialogue between Saul and David he jumped up on a little bench on the platform and looked down at where he had been when he was David. I was following this intently when in the middle of a speech as King Saul the bench collapsed and he—this was my introduction to Pentecost! From an academic background at Cambridge University as a student of Latin and Greek and all that! But you know what? I couldn’t understand it but I knew what they had was real. Furthermore I knew something else, I didn’t have it. Really, as Pentecostals or Charismatics or whatever you want to label us, we do not need to be afraid of anything the Holy Spirit does. When it’s put on and it’s human flesh, it’s offensive; but when it’s the real operation of the Holy Spirit, He knows what to do. He knows how to touch people.
When that service closed they made an appeal. I’d never been in a church where anybody made an appeal. To me it was offensive to ask somebody to put your hand up in public in a church! I didn’t understand what they were offering, the only thing I could think of was it must have been what happened to Isaiah. So I sat there in the silence and there was no background music in those days, it was just real earnest. I knew it was me they were all focusing on. I was a soldier in uniform and most of the other people were elderly ladies. As I sat there in this paralyzing silence there were two inaudible voices speaking to me. One said, “If you put your hand up in front of all these old ladies and you’re a soldier in uniform, you’re going to look very silly.” But the other voice said, “If this is something good, why shouldn’t you have it?” I could not respond and I had no idea what was going to happen. I was embarrassed in the silence. Suddenly a miracle took place. My own right arm went right up in the air and I knew I had not raised, that’s what frightened me. So, trust the Holy Spirit, He knows what He’s doing.
Well, I just want to point out to you we’re going back to 2 Timothy 3, that the background of the problems in this age is the same, it is occult invasion. But, it’s very cleverly concealed. The whole of the New Age movement is occult. A lot of people don’t know it but it is. And so it is in this passage. If you go on into 2 Timothy 3:8–9:
“Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth, men of corrupt minds, disproved concerning the faith.”
Jannes and Jambres were the two magicians that had a contest with Moses in the court of Pharaoh. So, behind the outward decay of morality was the occult. It will always produce moral decay.
And then further on in the same chapter in verse 13 Paul says:
“But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
Now where the English says impostors—I mean, I can vouch for this, I studied Greek since I was ten years old—the Greek word means enchanters. Evil men and enchanters. And enchanting was one of the major practices of occult practitioners, and still is today. So it’s really saying evil men and occult practitioners will grow worse and worse. I want to say this because behind our problems is the occult, it’s the work of Satan. Many of you may not realize that the root of your problems is an occult involvement either in your parents or in your own life or in some contact that you’ve made. And until you come face to face with that and deal with it, you will not finally resolve your problem.
Okay. We’ve dealt with the bad, we’ve dealt with the darkness, but thank God there’s another side, there’s the side of light and good and blessing. I want to turn to that. Again we look at the days of Noah but we look at it this time as portrayed in Hebrews 11:7. This is the other side of Noah:
“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
So, I want you to see this. In the midst of all the wickedness there was this man Noah who had an intimate, personal relationship with God. God could speak to him and he could hear God and receive prophetic warning. God showed him what was coming on the earth and he showed him what to do about it. I want to suggest to you, to all of us, myself, Noah is a pattern for us. He’s the kind of person that we need to be in these evil days, in these days of Noah.
I want to point out to you just a few features of Noah which are, I think, all of them patterns for us. Going back to Genesis 6:7:
“The Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air; for I am sorry that I have made them.’”
Now there are some wonderful buts in the Bible and the next verse begins with a wonderful but. You know Romans 6:23, that’s a wonderful but.
“The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ.”
And here it says God had decided to blot out every living creature, but verse 8 says but.
“But, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”
He wasn’t good enough to be preserved but he found grace. Grace goes beyond anything we can ever earn. What you can earn is not grace, what you receive by grace you have not earned. The trouble with many religious people is they confine themselves to what they think they can earn and they never enter into the grace of God. Grace has been defined as the free, unmerited favor of God. You don’t deserve it but you can receive it. How? By what?
Ruth and I have got a scripture:
“For by grace we have been saved through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:8–10. So it’s by grace through faith. Though he didn’t deserve it but he believed it and his faith was counted to him for righteousness.
So, the first thing about Noah is he found grace. The second thing in verse 9 is Noah walked with God. He had a daily, ongoing, personal relationship with God. There are two men who stand out in the (unintelligible), Enoch and Noah. And it’s said of both of them they walked with God. What a privilege to walk with God, to have daily communion with God, to be in that relationship with God where God can tell you things, show you what you need to avoid, show you the dangers that lie ahead. And, show you how much He loves you. That beautiful song that we heard, I can’t remember the exact words but “you don’t see yourself the way I see you,” God says. But when you walk with God He begins to show you the way He really sees you, that He loves you in spite of all your mistakes.
You know you can’t earn the love of God. Did you know that? But, you can receive it.
And then we find of Noah, that it says of him in 2 Peter 2:5 he was a preacher of righteousness. He wasn’t just somebody that walked around leading a harmless life, he proclaimed the righteousness of God.
And then it says in Genesis 6:14–22 he was commissioned to build the ark, he was a builder. And the dimensions of the ark are rather astonishing. Its length was 300 cubits, which is 450 feet. Its width, 50 cubits, 75 feet. It’s height, 30 cubits, 45 feet. It was not a small thing to build. It wasn’t some little spare time project. It must have taken his whole energy and time.
And, he had a family: a wife and three sons with wives. That’s eight people. My calculation is it must have taken at least eight people to build that ark. If you know the Middle East, the women, in a way, hauled the wood and handed it up and the men did the carpentry work. My conclusion is this, and it’s got an application for us, the only people who were saved in the ark were those who worked on its building. I don’t think you’ve got a right to expect to be saved if you’ve done nothing to work on your salvation. There were no passengers on the ark. I don’t believe there’ll be any passengers in the salvation of God. You’ve got to do something to prove you believe it. You don’t earn it, it’s not by works but faith produces results in peoples’ lives.
And finally, and I think this is very relevant to this present age, if you look in Genesis 7:1:
“Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.’”
Do you realize, fathers, that your righteousness can get your family into the ark? God didn’t say, “I’ve seen your family righteous,” He said, “I’ve seen you righteous, bring your family in.” What a challenge, especially to men. How many of you have heard of Dr. James Dobson? He’s doing a wonderful work in the United States. I’ve never met him personally but he sent me a message once and he said, “I have circulated hundreds of your tapes on fatherhood.” And in that tape I point out that the father is responsible for his household.
Sometimes we preach an incomplete version of salvation. Do you know that? But when the Philippian jailer said to Saul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved,” he said “I.” But Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.” The biblical salvation is a household salvation. We have become so individualistic in our thinking in this generation we don’t realize that God saved households on the basis of the faith of the head of the house.
Some of you men need to face up to your responsibilities. One thing that Dr. Dobson quotes me as saying repeatedly is the number one problem of the United States is renegade males. Males that have copped out of their primary responsibilities as husbands, fathers and church leaders.
In closing I want to look at one final bright side of the picture in Acts 2. How many of you know where I’m going now? The words of Peter on the day of Pentecost, and I’m not going to give the background. But in Acts 2:17–21:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams; and upon my menservants and on my maidservants, I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and notable day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
The distinctive feature of the last days is a unique end time outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh.
When the Charismatic movement started I was a confirmed Pentecostal. But I discovered that God was pouring out the Holy Spirit on Baptists and Lutherans. I said I don’t understand. But God pointed out to me that He said all flesh. Even Baptists have flesh. Lutherans, Anglicans, Muslims, Hindus. God is going to continue to visit the entire human race with a sovereign outpouring of the supernatural power and glory of the Holy Spirit. That is good news! I believe God is in the process of doing it but I believe much more is yet to come and it will come very rapidly.
You see, when the power of evil is increasing everywhere on every hand, God in His mercy is prepared to endue us with a greater power. We need a spiritual power that is greater than all the forces of darkness. Jesus said about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, “You shall receive power [dunamis] after the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses.” Jesus did not permit His disciples to go out and start to preach until they had been endued with supernatural power. It’s contrary to divine order. But you can be endued with supernatural power. God is pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh.
Those of you who stood last night to align yourself with God’s plan, if you’ve never been supernaturally endued with the power of the Holy Spirit, you need it now. And others of you who may not have been here last night who did not respond or who already were committed to serving the Lord, if you have never been supernaturally endued with the power of the Holy Spirit, you need it. You might as well get it.
I know that there are ministers who have seen thousands of people. Well, I’ve seen 4,000 people receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit simultaneously. It was a wonderful sight. The sound was like the sound of many waters. And then I said to them, “If you can speak in tongues, why don’t you sing in tongues.” It’s no more difficult. And they did. So why not you? Why should you be left out? You don’t have to become anything except a child of God. You don’t have to become Pentecostal or Charismatic or whatever. You just have to be committed to loving and serving the Lord Jesus, and hungry and thirsty.
I’ll tell you the requirements for receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In fact, I’ll read them to you. They’re very simple, they’re not complicated. In John 7:37 and following, the gospel says this:
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart...’”
But bless God, the good Old King James said out of his belly. I remember sitting in church and thinking it’s rather vulgar to speak about the belly. But I tell you, when I got the baptism I knew where it started. It started in my belly.
“‘...out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit [the Holy Spirit], whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
So that is speaking about believers receiving the Holy Spirit. There are three simple requirements. First of all, if anyone is thirsty. That’s the primary requirement, to want more of God than you presently have. If you think you’ve got it all and you’re good enough, why should God give you any more? Have you ever been truly thirsty? I served in the desert of Egypt in World War II, and sometimes we were very short of water. I’ll tell you, when you are thirsty there’s only one thing you think about, and that is drinking. Jesus said if you’re like that, if there’s just one thing you want, which is this supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, then you qualify. You don’t have to be able to quote scripture, you don’t have to be able to preach sermons, you just have to be thirsty. Requirement number one.
Requirement number two, let him come to me [Jesus]. There is only one baptizer in the Holy Spirit and it’s Jesus. If you want the baptism you have to come to the baptizer. So that’s requirement number two, come to Jesus.
Number three, this is so simple this is where people mess it up. And drink. And nobody ever drank with their mouth closed. And no one has ever been baptized in the Holy Spirit with their mouth closed. Drinking is receiving something within you by an act of your will and your muscles. That’s how you receive the Holy Spirit.
I can say honestly I’ve seen thousands of people receive the Holy Spirit. I have never yet seen somebody who came to the point of drinking who failed to receive. But I’ve seen people who were too religious to open their mouth and drink. And, they didn’t receive.
It’s a gift, you can’t earn it, you never have to be good enough. I can remember the days in the Pentecostal movement where people would say, “I’ve been tarrying 25 years.” They probably went on tarrying until they died. You don’t have to tarry. Tarrying finished on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was given, period, that’s it.
And then when you’ve drunk, a miracle takes place. That little mouthful turns into rivers. Not a river but rivers of living water and they flow from your belly through your throat and out of your mouth. Jesus said in Matthew 12:38:
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
When your heart is filled to overflowing the overflow valve is your mouth. And when it’s a supernatural infilling, it will be a supernatural outflow. You will speak a language that you’ve never learned and don’t understand. Maybe for the first time in your life you’ll really be using your tongue for the purpose for which God gave you a tongue, which was to glorify God. And every word you speak by the Holy Spirit will glorify God.
So, how about it? How many of you tonight say, “Brother Prince, I haven’t received this supernatural experience but I really want to serve the Lord and follow Him. Tonight I’m thirsty. Will you help me?” It will be a pleasure. If you’ll do one thing, if you’ll stand up and walk out to the front. Whoever you are, thirsty, you want to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Don’t be embarrassed. Remember, this by faith, you can’t earn it but you can just take Jesus at His word. I’m going to lead you in a very simple prayer and I want you to say it after me, sentence by sentence. It won’t take long. But remember, you’re not praying to me, you’re praying to the Lord Jesus who is the baptizer. And when you’ve said these words, I’ll end up by making you say thank you in faith. I was brought up in the time in Britain when where you gave a child a biscuit the child said thank you before it got the biscuit. Can you remember those days? You probably don’t. So, when you’re asking the Lord for the Holy Spirit, you say thank you before you get it. All right? That’s faith. When you’ve said amen, that’s the end of the prayer. Don’t go on praying because as long as you go on speaking in your own language you can’t speak another language. So, when you say the prayer, just open your mouth and begin to breathe in the Holy Spirit. Forget about everything and everybody else. Then just begin to speak. It say on the day of Pentecost they began to speak. The Holy Spirit won’t do the speaking but if you’ll do the speaking He’ll give you the words. This is divine and human cooperation.
Now, we’re on your side, we want you to win. So, don’t be embarrassed. If you get a little bit emotional, maybe you need to be emotional. If you start to sob and weep, I’ll tell you why I believe it happens. Because there’s something inside you called your spirit that has been grieved many, many times. But it’s never had an opportunity to express itself so it’s shut up inside you. But when the Holy Spirit comes, He releases that and maybe you’ll cry for things that happened in your childhood. Don’t quench the Spirit, don’t suppress Him. He knows what He’s doing. He knows everything about every one of you. He knows all your problems, He knows the sad things in your life, the happy things, the bad things, and He doesn’t hold anything against you if you trust Him for forgiveness.
So I’m going to begin by leading you in a prayer of acknowledging Jesus and receiving His forgiveness. Maybe you’ve already done that but it doesn’t do you any harm to do it again. These are the words I want you to say—but you’re not praying to me.
“Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you are the Son of God and the only way to God, that you died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead. I’m sorry for all my sins. I turn away from all my sins and I turn to you, Lord Jesus, for mercy and forgiveness. I believe you do forgive me and I receive your forgiveness. Now I come to you as my baptizer in the Holy Spirit. Lord, I’m thirsty. I want to receive from you. I believe you will pour out your Holy Spirit upon me and I open myself to receive all that you have for me. I yield my tongue to you, the unruly member which I cannot control. But by your Holy Spirit you may take control of my tongue and give me a new language to worship you and glorify you. By faith I thank you for this now. In the name of Jesus, amen.”
Now just begin to receive, some of you are already receiving. That’s just a moment when you have to begin to speak. You can speak under your breath but it’s wise to speak so that you can hear yourself. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus.
Now, just speak a little louder because you need to walk away from here knowing you heard yourself speak in tongues.