Transcript: Derek Prince on Repentance (Full version)

Full text of Bible teacher Derek Prince’s teaching on ‘Repentance’. In this Bible study, Derek teaches beautifully on what is repentance and why all need to repent, based on Scriptures.

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TRANSCRIPT:

Derek Prince – Bible teacher

This week I’ll be talking to you about one specific form of spiritual experience, which is a must in the life of every one of us…. a must that is, if we’re ever to know true and lasting peace of mind and to lead the kind of life that God intends for each one of us. It’s an experience which we cannot get around, and for which there is no substitute.

And yet, for all that, it’s an experience which is not understood by most people today and which is seldom explained by most preachers.

If I were to offer you several guesses as to the form of spiritual experience I have in mind, I doubt whether many of you would come up with the right answer.

It’s summed up in one powerful scriptural word: Repentance. So that’s going to be our theme today and through this week: the theme of repentance.

WHAT IS REPENTANCE? What Did Jesus Teach About Repentance?

No one in Scripture ever placed a greater emphasis on the need for repentance than Jesus Himself. Listen for instance to what He says in Luke Chapter 13 verses one through five.

Luke 13:1-5: ‘Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

The people here speaking to Jesus were describing incidents that were apparently fresh in everybody’s mind at that time of dramatic disasters that had come to two groups of people. The first was a group of Galileans about whom the record says that Pilate had mingled their blood with their sacrifices. I don’t believe we have any further details available. But apparently these people were engaged in a religious act of sacrifice, and for some reason, Pilate, the Roman governor, had them executed while they were actually sacrificing, so that their own blood was mingled with the blood of the animals that they’d offered in sacrifice.

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This must have appeared a very terrible form of death to the people of the time to be actually engaged in a religious act of sacrifice and to be executed while performing it.

And so the people that were talking to Jesus, asked Him, ‘had these Galileans done something especially bad that this special disaster came upon them? And Jesus answered no, not necessarily.

And then He turned the question around, and said to the people who asked Him, ‘but unless you repent, you too will perish.’

And then the second incident was apparently a disaster in which a tower in Siloam had fallen on a number of people and killed them. Siloam is just south-east from the old city of Jerusalem as we know it today.

But the point is that, though, these two groups of people had suffered especially dramatic deaths which could be viewed as some kind of special judgment of God or a fate upon them, Jesus says don’t imagine that your case is any different from theirs in essence. They perished, because they had not repented, and if you don’t repent, you too will perish.

It may not be that you’ll have some dramatic death, you may simply die a lingering disease, or you may be snuffed out in a moment. That’s not the point.

The point is: there’s one essential requirement which alone can keep us from what Jesus calls ‘perishing’, and that requirement is repenting. And that applies to everybody, no matter what kind of death they may experience.

So in a sense you could sum up that teaching of Jesus there a very dramatic phrase: ‘repent or perish’. And I believe that’s exactly what the Bible teaches: ‘repent or perish’.

Then Jesus continues in that chapter, in the next few verses with a parable, which is obviously related to this theme of repentance.

Luke 13:6-9: Then He told this parable: A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

“‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ 

See, that’s the basic principle: ‘if it bears fruit let it live; if it doesn’t bear fruit, cut it down.’ That’s God’s attitude and relationship to the life of every one of us. God expects good fruit from our lives. And if that good fruit is not found, then God’s judgment is: cut it down; why should it use up the soil, make room for something more productive in its place.

So in the parable, the phrase ‘digging around it and fertilizing’ is a dramatic way of representing God’s last urgent call to repentance. And if we do not respond to this call, then we must suffer the same fate as the fig tree.

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And it could well be that as you hear these words, your life is in that very phase right now where God says ‘dig it around and fertilize it, and we give it one more year. And if at the end of that year there’s no fruit, cut it down.’ Repent or perish; let me burn those words on your mind.

Compare the message of Jesus forerunner, John the Baptist, Matthew 3:1-2: In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Then a little further on the same chapter, Matthew 3:5-10: People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’ (NIV)

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