Home » Twelve Steps to a Good Year Full Series: Derek Prince (Full Transcript)

Twelve Steps to a Good Year Full Series: Derek Prince (Full Transcript)

Full text of renowned Bible teacher Derek Prince’s talk titled ‘Twelve Steps to a Good Year’ (All 15 parts in one).

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 1) – Right Resolutions

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

Now the theme I’ve chosen for my talks this week and also on through the two following weeks is especially designed to equip you with an attitude and an outlook that will enable you to appropriate the fullness of God’s provision and God’s blessing in the year that lies ahead.

You see, so much depends on these two things: your attitude and your outlook, as you move on into all that God has planned for you in this new year.

The title I’ve chosen for this series of talks is “Twelve Steps to a Good Year.” And the title for my introductory talk today is “Right Resolutions.”

The new year has been traditionally associated with resolutions. I think it’s not quite so fashionable perhaps today, but when I was a boy growing up, at the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year, everybody made their good resolutions for the new year and at the same time they usually laughed at themselves, knowing too well that their resolutions wouldn’t last long into the new year.

However, I do believe at this time it is appropriate to make resolutions, or to reaffirm those already made. You see, resolutions or decisions determine our attitude and our attitudes, in turn, determine our approach to any situation. And our approach to any situation determines the outcome. Let me just restate that sequence:

Resolutions determine Attitudes. Attitudes determine Approach, and Approach determines Outcome. The way you approach this new year will ultimately determine the outcome of this new year in your life. A wrong approach will lead to a wrong outcome. A right approach in God will lead to a right outcome.

So your approach is going to be decisive. And your approach depends ultimately on your decisions, on your resolutions. So our resolutions at this time of year are important. If we haven’t made the right resolutions, we need to make them. And if we’ve made the right resolutions in the past, it is very helpful to reaffirm them at this time.

Now the epistle to the Hebrews provides us with twelve pattern resolutions, each introduced by the phrase “Let us” and that’s very interesting. In due course, I’m going to be quoting to you each of these significant sentences that begins with “Let us…”

To me, it is very interesting that, as I’ve gone carefully through the epistle to the Hebrews in the original language, which is Greek, I’ve discovered that there are precisely twelve such “Let us” sentences in the epistle. And I believe these “Let us” sentences constitute twelve good resolutions for the New Year, or, as I prefer to call them, “Twelve Steps to a Good Year.”

I’m just going to list them in the order in which they occur in the epistle so as to give you an overall view of the material that we’re going to be covering this week and the next two weeks. Here are the twelve “Let us” sentences from Hebrews. I’ll not give you the references now; I’ll give them later.

Number 1 (Very surprising. You’d never guess if you didn’t know.) Number 1. Let us fear.

Number 2. Let us be diligent.

Number 3. Let us hold fast our confession.

Number 4. Let us draw near to the throne of grace.

Number 5. Let us press on to maturity.

Number 6. Let us draw near to the most holy place.

Number 7. Let us hold fast, without wavering, our confession.

Number 8. Let us consider one another.

Number 9. Let us run with endurance the race set before us.

Number 10. Let us show gratitude.

Number 11. Let us go out to Him outside the camp.

Number 12. Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise.

There are one or two interesting points there. Two of those good resolutions begin with “Let us draw near.” The first, “to the throne of grace”; the second, “to the most holy place.”

Also, “Let us hold fast our confession” occurs twice, but the second time a very significant phrase is added: “Let us hold fast our confession without wavering.”

So, those are the twelve resolutions, the twelve steps to a good year, and I’m going to be going through them in my subsequent talks in detail, trying to show you just how they apply to your life and your situation. And just how there really are steps to a good year.

In subsequential talks, we are going to examine each one of these steps as I said. But for a little while now I want to dwell on the significance of the introductory phrase that’s used at the beginning of each one of those twelve resolutions. The phrase “Let us.” This phrase contains two aspects.

First of all, it denotes a resolution, as I’ve already said; but secondly, every time, in the epistle to the Hebrews, the resolution is in the plural. It is never “Let me,” or “I will,” but it is always “Let us.” It is always in the plural. And that indicates not merely that we have to take certain resolutions, but that we have to take them together.

I believe this is a fact which the Holy Spirit is emphasizing in a special way to God’s people at this time, that we are not independent, autonomous units, each one just going to make it through on our own regardless of our fellow believers, but in a very real sense, we are dependent on one another. And if we’re going to make it through to the fulfillment of God’s purpose, we are going to do it together. We will never do it separately as individuals.

Let me show you a couple of verses in Ephesians 4 that bring out this point. Paul says about the ministries that God or Christ has set in His church for various basic purposes, the building of the Body, the perfecting of the saints, and so on. In Ephesians 4:13, Paul sums up the purposes of these ministries. He says: “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (NIV)

And then, in the same connection, with reference to Christ, he says in Ephesians 4:16: “From Him (Christ) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (NIV)

You will notice the emphasis in both those verses on the collective, rather than the individual. Speaking about unity and the full knowledge of the Son of God and maturity, Paul uses the words “we all.” “Until we all reach unitythe knowledge of the Son of God. Until we all become mature. Until we all attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” The implication is clear. We’re not going to do it on our own. We’re dependent on our fellow believers.

And so the resolution that we make is not just an individualistic, self-centered resolution as to what I’m going to do in this New Year, but it’s a resolution which includes our fellow believers. “Let us.”

And then again in that (Ephesians 4) 16th verse, Paul points out how much we are interdependent upon one another. The whole body is a unit, joined together by every supporting ligament, and it only grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work. In the natural human body, if one part malfunctions, it almost inevitably affects the other part.

Take, for instance, the liver. If the liver malfunctions, it is going to affect many of the other main areas and systems of the human body. So all those other areas and systems are dependent on the liver. And in the same way, as Christians, we are dependent upon one another.

The conclusion is this: we cannot attain to true maturity without our fellow believers. It is not enough to have an individual goal. We must also have a collective goal. The New Year confronts us with a need for resolution and decision, but that resolution is not just an individualistic resolution for each one of us alone, but it is a resolution that all of us as believers have to take together if we are going to attain to God’s goal for us.

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 2) – THE BACKGROUND OF HEBREWS

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

This special series of talks is based on the epistle to the Hebrews. Twelve times in this epistle the writer says “Let us.” I pointed out yesterday two aspects of that phrase “Let us.” First of all, those words indicate a resolution, a decision; but secondly, they are a decision or a resolution that we need to make together with our fellow believers. It is not something that each of us can do completely on our own as individuals. We are dependent on one another.

If we are going to attain the goals set before us, we’ve got to make it through together with our fellow believers.

In subsequent talks, I’m going to examine each one of these “Let us” resolutions from Hebrews and show you how each one can help us in a special way to achieve the attitude and the outlook essential for success in the New Year.

Today however, I’m going to say something about the BACKGROUND OF THE HEBREW BELIEVERS. I believe this provides some very important lessons for us as Christians today. In many respects the Christians of today have inherited the special privileges that were enjoyed by the early Hebrew believers, but also the special problems that go with those privileges.

You see, the Hebrews, as the very name indicates, had a different background from all other New Testament believers. All the other epistles, perhaps with the exception of those of James and Peter, are addressed to believers who’d come from a non-Jewish background, to Gentile believers. But this epistle is specifically and primarily addressed to believers from a Jewish background, and that background gave them many advantages, many special privileges, which were not enjoyed by the Gentiles or the pagans from other nations and backgrounds.

Let me just mention three main advantages. First of all, these Jewish believers had been freed for many centuries from the awful iniquities of idolatry and false cults. The law of Moses by which they ordered their lives abounds with warnings against these two things which are abomination with God.

Secondly, they had a thorough knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures, the special, unique revelation which God gave through His Word in the Old Testament to the Jewish people.

Thirdly, they had familiarity with the temple, with its sacrifices, with the forms of worship, with the beautiful liturgy, with many, many things that could have strengthened and purified their faith.

But the sad truth is that many of them had not made proper use of these benefits. That’s why the writer of the epistle had to say this to them, some very sad and solemn words, which he writes to them in the fifth chapter, verses 11-14:

Hebrews 5:11-14: “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.’ Isn’t that a tragic condition to be in, slow to learn, with that special background? ‘In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

That’s what I call the tragedy of arrested spiritual development. They should have been mature and grown-up, but they were still spiritually infants, not able to take more than milk. I believe the same is true of many, many professing Christians in our world today.

You see, the reason why the Hebrews were in that condition is they had failed to do what the writer said. They had not, by constant use, trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. They hadn’t applied themselves to the study of Scripture. They hadn’t given sufficient priority to spiritual things in their lives.

As a result of this condition, the epistle to the Hebrews contains more solemn warnings of the danger of falling away than any other book in the New Testament. That’s remarkable. I’ll give you just five brief quotations from five different passages in Hebrews which contain these solemn warnings.

First of all, in Hebrews 2:1-3: “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? You see the two dangers: drifting and ignoring?

Then in Hebrews 3:12: “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” The great danger there, really, is unbelief.

Hebrews 6:12: “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. What’s the danger there? Laziness. Spiritual laziness.

And then in Hebrews 10:35-36: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” The danger there is failing to persevere, not holding on.

And finally, in Hebrews 12:25: “See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven?” The danger there is just refusing to hear God when He speaks. Isn’t it remarkable that people with such spiritual privileges had to be warned of these terrible dangers?

We’ve looked at the condition of the Hebrew Christians, the Jewish believers, at the beginning of the New Testament age, nearly two thousand years ago. Today I believe, in a certain sense, the shoe is on the other foot. It’s not primarily Jewish believers who are in danger of these things, but believers from non-Jewish backgrounds. People from so-called Christian nations. People who have been “born” in the Christian church. People who’ve automatically called themselves Christians without ever really stopping to consider what that means.

I think that we see many professing Christians today enjoying the same kind of privileges that the Hebrew Christians enjoyed at the beginning of this era. I mentioned three. First, they’d been delivered from idolatry. Well, that’s true of multitudes of professing Christians. They have no thought of deliberate idolatry.

Secondly, the Hebrews had a knowledge of the Scripture. And that’s true, to a degree, of many professing Christians today. In some measure, they are familiar with the Scriptures, the Old Testament and the New.

Thirdly, the Hebrews were familiar with the services at the temple and I find many, many Christians who are in some measure familiar with church services, with religious terminology, with forms of prayer, with ceremony, all of which probably contain within them somewhere tremendous gems of spiritual truth.

And yet it’s a sad fact, to use a phrase borrowed from the world, that many times “familiarity breeds contempt.” We’re so used to things, we take them for granted. We don’t appreciate what’s available to us and we tend to be in need of the same warnings that the Hebrews received, warnings against drifting, being negligent, being lazy, presuming on God’s grace, taking things for granted that are extremely precious and extremely important.

I believe, as I’ve already said, that’s a picture of multitudes of professing Christians. Could it possibly be a picture of you?

I want to suggest to you that the remedy is just the same as it was for the Hebrew Christians. I believe that’s exactly why, in that epistle to the Hebrews, we have that phrase “Let us” twelve times. Those twelve “Let us” resolutions of Hebrews are the answer to that spiritual condition which was the particular problem of the Hebrew Christians and which, I believe, almost by an inheritance, is the particular problem of multitudes of professing Christians, especially in our Western culture today.

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 3): LET US FEAR

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

The title of my talks this week is “Twelve Steps to a Good Year.” They’re specially designed to help you find God’s highest will for you in this New Year. My talks are based on the epistle to the Hebrews. Twelve times in this epistle the writer says “Let us.” These words indicate a resolution, a decision, but they also indicate one that we have to make together with our fellow believers. Taken together, they constitute twelve New Year’s resolutions that we all need to make.

In my talk yesterday, I pointed out that the Hebrews had a different background from all other New Testament believers. They enjoyed certain privileges.

First, they were free from idolatry and false cults. That freedom they had by inheritance through the law of Moses.

Second, they had a knowledge of all the Old Testament Scriptures: the Law, the Psalms, the Proverbs, the Prophets, and the Historical Books.

Thirdly, they were familiar with the temple, with its sacrifices, with its worship. All things that spoke to the various ways of the nature of the true God and how to worship Him.

But, in many cases, the Hebrew believers had not benefited from these privileges. On the contrary, they had been lulled into a false sense of security which was not justified by their spiritual condition. As a result, the epistle to the Hebrews contains more solemn warnings against the danger of falling away than any other book in the New Testament, warnings against drifting, unbelief, negligence, laziness, and so on.

I suggested yesterday that the situation of many professing non-Jewish Christians today corresponds to that of the Hebrew believers at the time of the New Testament. We have long enjoyed many special privileges and benefits, but all too often these have not produced in our lives the fruit that God requires. Today we are the ones who need to be warned against such things as drifting, unbelief, negligence, and laziness.

Today I’m going to speak about the first “Let us” resolution in Hebrews. If we did not understand the background of the spiritual condition of the Hebrew believers, this first resolution could really take us aback, but in the light of that background we can see that it’s very appropriate; in fact, absolutely necessary.

This first resolution is found in Hebrews 4:1: Therefore, let us fear.’ [That’s the first of these twelve resolutions. ‘Let us fear.’ The verse goes on like this:] …let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering God’s rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.”

So that’s the first resolution, “Let us fear.” You see, why? Because of their presumption, because of their false security, because of their laziness, because they hadn’t availed themselves of all the privileges and blessings that they’d enjoyed in a special degree.

The writer to the Hebrews also gives them a specific example of why they should fear, and this example is taken from the past history of the people of Israel. It’s based on the experience of the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land, and it’s what God says to them there. It’s quoted from one of the psalms but it’s what God said to Israel in connection with their attitude and their conduct at this time of wilderness wandering.

These are the words in Hebrews 3:7-15: “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert [or the wilderness], where your fathers tested and tried Me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known My ways.’ That’s a remarkable fact, God brought that whole generation out of Egypt by many miraculous wonders; but nevertheless, because of their subsequent conduct, He was angry with them.

Then the Scripture goes on, and it’s God speaking: ‘So I declared on oath in My anger, ‘They shall never enter My rest.’’ Now the application: ‘See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God, but encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’”

So that’s the essence of the warning: “Do not harden your heart.”

IN WHAT, EXACTLY, DID THAT GENERATION FAIL? I think that passage makes it clear. There was one basic failure: they did not hear God’s voice. They were content to get things second-hand through Moses. They had a form of religion. They had the tabernacle, the Ten Commandments, the priesthood, the sacrifices, and the various laws of ceremonial cleanliness, but in all that, they missed the one essential. They were just satisfied with externals and so they missed the one thing that could have saved them from disaster. The one thing that could have carried them through to God’s rest for them.

What was that one thing? They failed to hear God’s voice.

That first resolution that we’ve looked at in Hebrews 4:1 says “Let us fear.” In other words, it’s not restricted to the Israelites in the wilderness. They’re merely put forward as an example and a warning to us and it applies still to us today. “Let us fear.”

Why should we fear? I think the reason is clear in the context. We need to be fearful, we need to be very much on our guard, we need to be very careful that we do not make the same mistake as the Israelites made in the wilderness. The mistake of focusing on externals and missing the real inner essential.

That inner essential, as I’ve said, was hearing God’s voice. You see, this principle runs all through the Bible. The one basic essential for a right relationship with God is to hear His voice.

Jesus says the same to us as His disciples in the New Testament. In John 10:27, He says this: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” I believe perhaps that’s the clearest and simplest description of true Christians found anywhere in the New Testament. When Jesus says “My sheep,” He’s speaking about those who truly believe in Him, those whom He acknowledges, accepts, being Himself the Good Shepherd. He says two things about them. Very simple.

The first is “My sheep hear My voice”. Second, “they follow Me.” That is true of all of all real Christians. They hear the Lord’s voice and they follow Him. It isn’t possible to follow the Lord if you don’t hear His voice.

The pattern of the Oriental shepherd and his sheep is very clear. They followed the shepherd because they heard his voice. If they didn’t hear his voice, they couldn’t follow him. So the essential, then, is to hear the voice of Jesus and to follow Him.

And the danger is that we make the same mistake that Israel made in the wilderness, that we’re preoccupied with external, with religion, with ceremony, with laws, but we miss that basic, inner essential: hearing the voice of the Lord.

I want to urge upon you today the importance of learning to hear the Lord’s voice. You see, that’s not just a set of religious rules. It’s not even just reading the Bible, though that’s good. It’s not even saying prayers. It’s having that intimate, personal relationship with the Lord where He can speak to you directly and personally, whether it’s through the Bible or some other way.

Jesus didn’t say, “My sheep read the Bible.” It’s a good thing to read the Bible if you hear the Lord’s voice, but, believe me, many, many people read the Bible but don’t hear the Lord’s voice. The essential thing is that you hear the Lord’s voice.

I want to promise you this: that if you will make this your first step in this New Year, you will be a better person by the end of it. So please accept this as the first resolution. Let’s fear that we don’t make the same mistake that Israel made. Let’s cultivate hearing the Lord’s voice.

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 4): LET US BE DILIGENT

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

Yesterday I spoke about the first, rather startling resolution found in Hebrews 4:1: “Let us fear…” That’s not the kind of resolution that most of us would make unless we were directed to it by the Word of God: “Let us fear.”

But I pointed out that it was particularly appropriate because of the spiritual condition of the Hebrew believers, which could be summed up in such words as presumption, carelessness, laziness, a general failure to benefit from all the special spiritual blessings that they had enjoyed. They just seemed to be taking it for granted that they were God’s people, probably rather superior to any others, and that they didn’t have to do much about it.

And so the resolution that was appropriate for them, the first one, was “Let us fear.” I’ve said already, I believe the condition of the Hebrew Christians in those days is paralleled by the condition of many professing Christians, mostly not of Jewish origin, in our day. So let’s take that to heart, all of us. “Let us fear.”

Today I’m going to speak about the SECOND RESOLUTION which occurs later in the same fourth chapter of Hebrews. It is found in verse eleven: “Let us therefore be diligent.” So that’s the second resolution, “Let us be diligent.” It goes on like this:

Hebrews 4:11: “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.”

I pointed out that this warning is based on the experience of the Israelites on their journey from Egypt through the wilderness, that many of them didn’t make it through to the promised destination, the rest that God had promised them, because of their misconduct and their wrong attitude.

And they fell in the wilderness. Scripture says their carcasses fell in the wilderness because of unbelief and disobedience. And through unbelief and disobedience they failed to hear the voice of the Lord. They had the externals, but they did not have the great essential, inner reality of all true religion: hearing the voice of the Lord.

So that was the mistake of Israel, a tragic mistake. And after saying “Let us fear,” the writer of Hebrews goes on still on that basis of that example of Israel. He says, “Let us be diligent.” I believe that’s very natural. I believe if we really take to heart the dangers of that spiritual condition and we do, in that sense, fear, the next thing we will naturally do is become diligent.

Let’s consider for a moment what diligence is. Sometimes one way to find out the meaning of a word is to consider what its opposite is. And I suppose you could say that one obvious opposite of diligence is laziness. The Bible doesn’t have one good word to say about laziness. It’s a theme that doesn’t receive enough attention in contemporary Christendom.

I want you to compare what the writer of Hebrews says again in chapter 6:11-12:

Hebrews 6:11-12: “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

So the warning there is that we not only need to be diligent, but we need to be diligent to the very end. We’ve got to continue to be diligent. And the opposite of diligence is there stated in plain words. It’s to become lazy. Not primarily physically lazy, but spiritually lazy.

I’d like to compare with that the words of Peter in 2 Peter 1:5-9, where he says this: “For this very reason, make every effort (and one of the translations says, ‘give all diligence.’ The thought is the same) make every effort to add to your faith goodness, to goodness knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, to brotherly kindness love.” You see, the Christian life is not a static condition. It’s a life of adding. It’s a life of growth. It’s a life of progress. To be static in the Christian life is to backslide. And to do that adding requires diligence. It requires making every effort.

Then Peter goes on with an “if.” “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” Would you believe that possible? That somebody had been cleansed from his past sins and forgets that it has even happened? But the Scripture indicates that it is possible.

Peter really sets before us two alternatives. The one is to be effective and productive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The other is to be ineffective and unproductive with a condition that he describes as being nearsighted and blind. Those are strong words. In the light of this, Peter continues in the next two verses, verses 10 and 11:

2 Peter 1:10-11: “Therefore, (I always pause when I read a ‘therefore’ in the Bible. Perhaps you’ve heard me say this, ‘If you find a ‘therefore’ in the Bible, you need to find out what it’s there for.’ This ‘therefore’ relates to the warning that Peter has given.] Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

So that’s good news.  There are things that we can do that will guarantee that we never fall and that we have a rich welcome into the kingdom of our Lord.

Basically, as I have said, the condition that we’re warned against there is laziness. And I am deeply concerned about the lack of concern in Christian circles about laziness.

The majority of Christians view drunkenness with horror. They would reject any person professing to be a Christian who was drunken. Now I agree with that attitude. Drunkenness is a sin and I’m certainly not commending it. But I want to say that laziness is much more severely condemned in the Scripture than drunkenness. And the problem is that many Christians who would never be found drunken are habitually lazy. So let’s take to heed that warning to be diligent.

Let’s consider for a few moments a little more of what’s involved in diligence. There are two beautiful Scriptures in Proverbs 10 that have long been a kind of guiding light to me in my own experience. Together they sum up the two conditions for true riches or enduring wealth. One condition is on the Lord’s side, the other condition is on our side. We have to fulfill both conditions to attain the results.

The condition that’s on the Lord’s side is stated in Proverbs 10:22:“It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.”

So the great, primary condition for true riches, spiritual and otherwise, is the blessing of the Lord. We cannot count on anything that’s really good apart from the blessing of the Lord.

But on the other hand, the blessing of the Lord, by itself, is not sufficient. For Proverbs 10:4 says this: “Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”

First of all, the blessing of the Lord makes rich, but second, the hand of the diligent makes rich. It takes the Lord’s blessing plus our diligence to attain to true wealth. It’s not enough to just expect the blessing of the Lord or even to receive the blessing of the Lord. It will not accomplish its purpose in your life unless you add to it your own personal diligence. And remember we’ve said diligence is the opposite of laziness.

I have to say, that’s a Scripture that I’ve proved true in my own experience through nearly forty years of Christian living. I’ve been in many different situations, in many different forms of ministry, in many different lands, in different continents, and I think I can say, by the grace of God, I’ve always displayed diligence in small things and in great things.

And every situation that I’ve been in with responsibilities, I have left in a better condition, spiritually, financially, in every obvious way, than it was when I found it.

Now, first and foremost, I have to thank the Lord for His blessing, but the blessing of the Lord would never have done that if I hadn’t added to it my own diligence. So, let me leave those two words with you, “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Add those two together and you have true spiritual riches.

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Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 5): LET US HOLD FAST OUR CONFESSION

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

Let me briefly mention the two first steps that I’ve spoken of in my previous talks. The first step, the first “Let us,” is Hebrews 4:1: “Let us fear.” Surprising at first, but I believe I’ve shown you why that was appropriate, because of the particular spiritual condition of those Hebrew believers, and I added that, in many cases, professing Christians today are in the same kind of spiritual condition and desperately need that first resolution, “Let us fear.”

Then the second “Let us” is in Hebrews 4:11: “Let us, therefore, be diligent.” I believe that the right kind of fear will lead to that second resolution, to be diligent.

I pointed out that the opposite of diligence is laziness and that laziness is a sin which is tolerated in many Christian circles today. Although in many ways it’s much more deadly than drunkenness, drunkenness is frowned on, laziness is tolerated. But, believe me, the end of laziness is disaster.

Today I’m going to go on to the third step, the third “Let us” in Hebrews. This, too, is found in the fourth chapter. Interestingly, the first four steps are all found in Hebrews 4.

This third step is in Hebrews 4:14: “Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. That’s the third “Let us.” “Let us hold fast our confession.”

We need to understand what is meant by confession. That word is derived from a word in the original Greek of the New Testament which means “to say the same as.” That’s the basic meaning of confession. It’s saying the same as and, in its scriptural context, it means that we say the same as God says, that we make the words of our mouth agree with God’s Word.

There’s a further implication to the word confession. It means that we say it out boldly,” that we’re not intimidated. The word confession has a considerable history in the history of the Christian church. There have been certain confessions, certain statements of faith, that have been very significant, and many, many times it’s taken boldness and courage on the part of those who made them to take that stand. But the Bible says, “Let us hold fast our confession.”

And then it points out particularly that it’s our confession that relates us to Jesus as our high priest. I think many Christians don’t have a very clear picture of Jesus as our high priest, but it’s one of His most important ongoing ministries on our behalf. He’s there as our representative in the presence of God the Father, standing good for us. And every time we make the right confession, we say the right, positive thing with our mouths, Jesus has obligated Himself to ensure that that confession is made good in our experience.

Listen to what the writer of Hebrews says just a little earlier on in chapter 3:1. He says this:

Hebrews 3:1: “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” Notice those last words, “the High Priest of our confession.” That means that our confession enlists Jesus as our High Priest, but the opposite, unfortunately, is also true. If we make no confession, we have no high priest. Not that Jesus has ceased to be our high priest, but that we give Him no opportunity to minister as our high priest. He’s the high priest of our confession.

If we say the right things in faith, with our mouths, according to Scripture, then Jesus has eternally obligated Himself to see that we’ll never be put to shame, that we’ll always come into the experience of what we confess. But if we don’t say the right thing, then alas, we silence the lips of our high priest. He’s got nothing to say on our behalf for us in heaven.

He’s also called our Advocate. The word advocate is pretty similar to the modern word attorney. Jesus is the legal expert who’s there to plead our case in heaven. He’s never lost a case. But if we don’t make a confession, He has no case to plead, so the case goes against us by default.

So you see how important confession is and therefore it’s so important that we give heed to this third “Let us” of Hebrews: “Let us hold fast our confession.” This principle of right confession, saying the right thing with our mouth, has a central place in the gospel and in our experience of salvation. In fact, there is no salvation without right confession.

Listen to what Paul says in Romans 10:8-10. Verses in which he explains as clearly as anywhere in the New Testament what is required for salvation. He begins this way: ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ The basis for salvation is the word (that is, the word of faith which we are preaching) [It has to be appropriated by faith and then this is the message:] that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”

You see, there are two things we have to do, one with the heart, one with the mouth. We have to believe with the heart; but we have to confess, or say it out, with the mouth. And then Paul goes on in the next verse: “For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

So you see, no confession, no salvation. It’s good to believe in your heart, but it’s not sufficient. You’ve not only got to believe in your heart, you’ve got to say it out boldly with your mouth making the words of your mouth agree with the Word of God. Our initial confession relates us to Jesus as high priest, but His ongoing ministry on our behalf as high priest depends on our ongoing confession.

You see, the whole Bible shows that our words determine our destiny. Let me just give you some very penetrating Scriptures.

Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” See, the tongue is either going to produce death in our lives, if we make a wrong confession; life, if we make a right confession. And whatever we say with our tongue, we’re going to eat the fruit of it.

And then in Matthew 12:36-37, the words of Jesus: “And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.”

I’ve so often heard Christians say silly things that they didn’t mean and were not honoring to God and then they excused themselves by saying, “Well, I didn’t really mean it.” But you see, Jesus said, “Every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment.” It’s not an excuse that you didn’t mean it. You’ve got to hold fast your confession.

Ultimately we only have two alternatives in our relationship to Christ and to the Scriptures: to confess or to deny. Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 10:32-33: “Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. [That’s His response as our high priest. If we confess Him, He confesses us. But the alternative is given in the next verse:] ‘But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”

And between those two ultimately there’s no third alternative. In spiritual things, in the long run, there’s no neutrality. Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me. Either you’re going to make the right confession to salvation or you’re going to make a wrong confession and it will not produce salvation.

So let’s go back to that third “let us”: “Let us hold fast our confession.” I want to say this to you, keep affirming your faith verbally. Use the positive to exclude the negative.

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 6): LET US DRAW NEAR TO THE THRONE OF GRACE

We’ll just look briefly at the first three steps which we spoke about last week. Interestingly, each one of them is found in Hebrews chapter 4.

The first is in verse l: “Therefore, let us fear, lest while a promise remains of entering His rest, any of you should seem to have come short of it.”

The second one is in verse 11: “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.”

The third one is in verse 14: “Since then, we have a great High Priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”

Just briefly recapitulated, those are the first three steps to a good year. Number l, let us fear; number 2, let us  be diligent; number 3, let us hold fast our confession.

Today we are going to move on to the Fourth Step. This also is found in that fourth chapter of Hebrews; it’s in the last verse, verse 16: “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”

That’s the fourth step, “Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace.” I believe that fourth step is directly related to the first three steps. I believe that there is significance in the sequence.

I believe that in order to be able to draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, we need to make sure that we’ve taken the first three steps. The first, let us fear, that we’ve come with an attitude of reverence and an awareness of our need of God’s grace.

Then secondly, let us be diligent. I believe this is our response to God’s grace, that we are not slack, not lazy, not indifferent, not presumptuous. We see that God’s grace is no excuse for our indifference or presumption; but rather that it provokes us to be diligent.

And the third step, let us hold fast our confession. I believe we have to have the right confession, we have to say the right thing with our mouth about Jesus, what He’s done for us, if we’re going to be able to approach that throne of grace with confidence.

In regard to our approaching the throne of grace, we are told to come for two things: mercy and grace. Now it’s my conviction that if God invites us in His word to come, and if we meet the conditions which I’ve briefly outlined, and God says that there’s mercy and grace waiting for us, then I believe we can count on mercy and grace.

I don’t believe we ever need to be disappointed. I don’t believe that God ever gives us an invitation that He doesn’t stand behind. So many of the promises and the invitations in the Bible are conditional. God says, “If you do this and this, I’ll do that.”

And I believe God is saying to us here, “If you’ll  approach My throne, having met the conditions, and you’ll acknowledge your need of My mercy and My grace, then you can count on it. I will make My mercy and My grace available to you.” We don’t need to be in any doubt about that.

That’s why I believe the scripture says, “let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace.” If we come as God’s children, we don’t come as beggars, we’re invited. God has no second-class children. He never holds us at a distance if we’ve met the conditions for approach. It’s very important that we come with confidence. That’s faith in action. It’s faith that won’t be denied. It’s faith that takes God at His word and believes that God is as good as His word. It’s faith in God’s faithfulness. So that’s how we are to approach the throne, with confidence.

We’re told to approach God’s throne of grace to receive two things: mercy and grace. I believe we need to look at what’s involved in each of these two things. I believe the order is significant. I believe we need first of all, mercy, and then grace.

Mercy essentially relates to people who’ve done wrong, who cannot claim their right, who are weak or unworthy. There’s an attitude in the world today that makes everybody want to claim their rights. Everybody says, “This is due to me, and that is due to me, and why didn’t I get that, and I ought to have this.”

And with that attitude prevailing, it’s hard often for people to see that they need mercy. I thank God personally that since I came to know the Lord, there is one thing I have never been in any doubt about: that I need God’s mercy. I’m clear about that no matter what situation I’m in. I can’t just trust in my rights. They’re not sufficient. I need God’s mercy.

It’s so important to see that. I’m reminded of a friend of mine, who’s in full time Christian ministry now, but once upon a time he was a traveling salesman and he had been driving rather recklessly and he had received several tickets for exceeding the speed and so on, and he had been summoned to the sheriff’s office.

And he went there with a terrible feeling that he was going to have his license suspended. Of course, that would have been very serious for him because he would have had no means of carrying on with his profession as a salesman. So he prepared what he was going to say and when he was summoned before the sheriff, he said this, “Sir, I’m not asking for justice. I’m asking for mercy.”

And the sheriff replied, “No one has ever said that to me before.” And he was so taken aback that, though he gave him a severe warning, he permitted him to retain his license.

Well, those words have always stuck with me. I think when we come to God, we’d better come with that attitude: I’m not asking for justice, I’m asking for mercy. And I believe that when we come with that attitude, God will never withhold His mercy.

The only problem, the only reason why people don’t receive mercy is they don’t see their need of it.

The second thing we’re told to come for is grace. WHAT IS GRACE? Grace is what God will freely do for us beyond what we deserve. One essential thing about grace is it cannot be deserved.  Secondly, the grace of God is supernatural. It goes beyond all the limits of our natural ability.

It says we’re to come “in time of need.” I think that’s so important. Are you in a situation of need? Well, don’t let the devil fool you into thinking that it’s too desperate, and that it’s too late to come, and that there’s nothing you can do about it. God specifically invites you to come in time of need.

So if you hear this message today and your situation is desperate, let me recommend this to you: that you come to God’s throne with confidence for these two things. First of all, mercy. Don’t ask for your rights because if you got your rights, you’d be shocked. What you really deserve, you don’t want.

Secondly, come for grace. Don’t limit God to what He can do on your behalf. And don’t be put off by the fact that your situation is desperate. That’s just the time to come.

Finally, remember you’re coming to a throne. And on that throne is a king. And the king you’re coming to is the king of the universe. All authority and power, in heaven and on earth, is in His hands.

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 7): LET US PRESS ON TO MATURITY

Up to now, we’ve looked together at the first four of these resolutions. They were: Let us fear; let us be diligent; let us hold fast our confession; let us draw near to the throne of grace. Let me just repeat those once more: Let us fear, let us be diligent, let us hold fast our confession, let us draw near to the throne of grace.

Today we’re going to look at the fifth such resolution. It’s found in Hebrews 6:1: “Therefore, leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity.” That’s the resolution, let us press on to maturity. It’s tremendously important that we see that we have to do this, we’re not given any options.

I think many Christians have got the impression that somehow in the Christian life you can arrive and settle down and say, “Now I’m there.” But that’s never true in the Christian life. To remain static in the spiritual life is almost impossible.

I’d like to share with you a single very penetrating verse from Proverbs 4:18: “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”

Now that phrase, “the path of the righteous,” is absolutely general. It’s not speaking about some particular believer or even some group of believers, but it’s speaking about every righteous person.

Notice, first of all, that righteousness is a path. A path is something that we move along. A path is never designed to stand still in, much less to sit down in. So righteousness is a path; it implies motion, it implies progress, it implies development. And then it says this path is like the light of dawn. That’s when we first come to know the Lord in His glorious fullness as Savior and Lord. It’s like a sun rising after the darkness; it’s like the dawn that comes in our hearts.

But that dawn is not the end of God’s purposes; it’s the beginning. It says that this path is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the full day. So when we’re walking in the path of righteousness, the light should always be getting brighter on our day. Each step, each day, the light should be brighter than it was before.

And it says “until the full day”, that’s our destination, “the full day,” the height of noonday. God is not content that we’d stop at less than that full brightness of the noonday sun. The dawn is our beginning point, the path is the way of progress, the light gets brighter and brighter; but there’s no permitted stopping place until we reach the full day.

You see, this was the mistake that had been made by the Hebrews. That’s why this particular “let us” is so appropriate to them. As I pointed out last week, but I’ll just go over that briefly again this week, the mistake the Hebrews made was that they trusted in their special privileges and rested in them, and had become, frankly, lazy. They were just taking things for granted.

This is what the writer says to them in Hebrews 5:11-14: “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food. Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

What the writer is saying there, and he’s saying it pretty bluntly, is, “You’re just spiritual infants. But you’ve no right to be infants at this stage in your Christian progress. You’ve had so many opportunities, you’ve had so many years, you should have advanced to maturity.”

He also explains the only way to advance to maturity. He says, “solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”  So, advancing to maturity along that path of righteousness in which the light grows brighter day by day, comes in actual practice by constant use, by training ourselves. It’s not something we can take for granted, it’s not something that just happens automatically, but it requires our application. That’s why one of the earlier steps was, “Let us be diligent”, you remember that.

So by constant use we have to train ourselves to distinguish good from evil. That’s so important. It grieves me so many times when I see large Christian congregations or gatherings who are absolutely unable to distinguish, it appears, from what is truly spiritual and what is truly scriptural from that which is just a fleshly presentation with soulish appeal that has no real lasting effect, and often no real basis in Scripture.

And yet, multitudes of Christians apparently can be taken in by that kind of soulishness and they have not learned to distinguish good from evil. The only remedy is to train ourselves by constant use, by practice. And the only alternative is arrested development, spiritual arrested development, remaining in the condition of infancy when we should be mature.

I want to close my talk today by speaking about God’s provision for attaining spiritual maturity. God has made a very special provision and we need to know about it. It is stated in Ephesians 4:11-13: “It was He (‘He’ is the risen Christ, the ascended Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, some to be pastors and teachers…”

There are five main ministries mentioned there: apostles, prophets, evangelists, prophets and teachers. Verse 12 and following tell us the purpose of these ministries: “To prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

Notice those two purposes. That God’s people may be prepared for works of service. God’s people can’t automatically do the work that they’re expected to do; they have to be prepared, they have to be trained. These ministries are there to do it. Then it says, “so that the body of Christ may be built up.” That’s the second purpose.

Going on in verse 13: “…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature…”

You see, these ministries are placed within the body of Christ to bring us into the unity of the faith and to bring us to maturity. And Paul goes on: “…attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

So to attain maturity, Jesus Christ, as head of the Church has provided these five main ministries. Frankly, I don’t believe that God’s people will ever attain maturity without this provision.

And then in the 16th verse of that chapter, speaking about Christ again, Paul says: “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work.”

You see, the ultimate is not a lot of separated, isolated individuals, each one doing his own thing; but it’s a single body held together by ligaments, by strong bands that hold them together, and building itself up and growing. And part of what’s essential is that each part of the body does its work.

Now, that’s God’s program for coming to maturity. There are two main requirements. First, we must come under the discipline of the God-given ministries that Paul has just listed: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Without that discipline, without that oversight, without that instruction, I don’t see how God’s people can ever attain to maturity. I don’t believe Jesus Christ ever made a provision that wasn’t important, and I believe this provision is essential.

Secondly, the second condition. We must be part of a growing body, not just isolated individuals. And then in that same passage Paul states the only, and the very sad, alternative. If we don’t follow God’s program for maturity, this is the alternative, Ephesians 4:14: “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching, and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”

See, if we don’t come under these ministries, if we don’t become part of a body, if we don’t accept this scriptural discipline, Paul says the only alternative is we’ll remain infants. We’ll be tossed back and forth, blown here and there by every wind of teaching.

I know many, many believers like that. Every year they have a new fad, a new doctrine, and often a new teacher to provide the fad. “And by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming”, we have to come under the discipline of those ministries. We have to be part of a body. That’s the only way to maturity.

As I close my talk today, let me ask you a personal question. How about you? Are you under discipline? Are you part of a body? Are you advancing to maturity?

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 8): LET US DRAW NEAR TO THE MOST HOLY PLACE

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

So far we’ve looked together at five of these resolutions: let us fear, let us be diligent, let us hold fast our confession, let us draw near to the throne of grace, let us press on to maturity.

May I suggest that as we go through these twelve steps, you make a point to memorize them in their correct order? Then at the end of this series of talks you’ll have more than just a general impression. You’ll have something positive and permanent to take with you into the new year.

To help you with this, I’m going to briefly recapitulate those first five steps: Let us fear, let us be diligent, let us hold fast our confession, let us draw near to the throne of grace, let us press on to maturity.

Today we’re going to look at the sixth resolution. It’s found in Hebrews 10, and we need to read verses 19-22 in order to get the context. It’s interesting to me that almost every one of these resolutions that we’ve been reading together begins with “therefore.” In other words, it indicates the logical unfolding of a sequence of thought, and I think each major step in the practical application of this sequence is expressed in one of these “let us” statements.

Going back then to Hebrews 10:19-22: “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the most holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain [that is, His body] and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience, and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

I want to contrast with that the fourth resolution that we’ve already looked at which was, “Let us draw near to the throne of grace.” But this one says, “Let us draw near to God.” And we have to understand it in the context. It’s directly related to the statement in verse 19 of Hebrews 10:

Hebrews 10:19: “Since we have confidence to enter the most holy place…” Then it says: “…let us draw near to God.” To me it’s clear that drawing near to God is equivalent to entering the most holy place.

So I’d like to compare these two statements. “Let us draw near to the throne” means that we are to come for the help we need for mercy and grace. But “Let us draw near to the holy place”, to God Himself, I think takes us much further. I believe the suggestion is not merely that we come to the throne for help, but that we’re invited to take our place with Christ on the throne. That’s entering in to the most holy place.

I certainly don’t have time to give a detailed exposition of the tabernacle, but I’m sure you remember that there were three main areas of the tabernacle: the outer court; and then within the tent, inside the first curtain, the holy place; and then at the end, beyond the second curtain, the most holy place.

And the language in Hebrews is based on the pattern of the tabernacle. Our destination is the most holy place, beyond the second curtain. And the only furniture in that place as it was designed by God was just the Ark of the Covenant, a box of acacia wood all covered with gold. It was covered over with what was called the mercy seat, or place of propitiation. Inside were the two tables of the Ten Commandments, but these were covered up by the mercy seat, indicating that through Christ’s propitiation on our behalf, the broken law, the Ten Commandments that were broken, had been covered by his propitiation.

And then on either end of the mercy seat there were two cherubs facing one another, looking towards the center of the mercy seat with their wings stretched out over them and their wing tips touching over the center of the mercy seat.

Now that box, that mercy seat, was God’s throne. God sits on a throne of mercy. His mercy covers the broken law. The two cherubs with their faces inward toward one another, their wing tips touching, represent the place of fellowship. So, it’s a place of mercy, a place of fellowship; but it’s also a throne, the seat of God as king.

Now in that piece of furniture there was no representation of God Himself, which of course was forbidden for the Israelites. But God did come in there and take His place on that seat. He came in the form of the shekinah glory, the visible, sensible presence of Almighty God. Without that glory, that furthest place, that most holy place, was in total darkness. It had no natural or artificial illumination. But when the shekinah, the presence of God, came in, then it was God taking His place on the throne.

So we are invited in this scripture into the most holy place. We are invited to draw near to God. We are, in fact, invited to take our place with Christ on the throne. And that passage also tells us that we’re to come by a new and living way.

What’s the new and living way? The new and living way is Jesus. We’re to come exactly the same way that He came.

Speaking about our entrance into the most holy place, our approaching the mercy seat and the throne, the writer of Hebrews says there are four requirements. First, a sincere heart; second, a full assurance of faith; third, our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience; fourth, our bodies washed with pure water. Let’s look very briefly at each of those requirements.

First, a sincere heart. We approach God with our heart, not with our head. God is not the answer to an intellectual riddle, but He does meet a longing heart. But it has to be also a sincere heart. We have to come without any pretensions, without any hypocrisy; we have to expose ourselves to God just as we are and not try to cover up anything or pretend to be different than we are. We’ve got to be open and honest with God.

The second condition, full assurance of faith. In the next chapter of Hebrews, the scripture says in Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith, it is impossible to please God. He that cometh to God must believe.” So we’ve got to come with our faith in God’s faithfulness, not in our own ability or righteousness; but with absolute faith in God’s faithfulness.

Thirdly, we are to have a heart sprinkled from an evil conscience. An evil conscience comes from wrong and sinful deeds that we have committed in the past, but through the blood of Jesus we can receive assurance that all those evil deeds in the past have been forgiven and that our hearts are pure from sin. So we can have our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience through the blood of Jesus.

The fourth condition is our bodies washed with pure water. In the first epistle of John, John tells us that Jesus came by water and by blood. There we see both elements: the blood that sprinkles from an evil conscience, the water that washes our bodies. I believe myself that water is Christian baptism.

Christian baptism, in every place where it’s explained in the New Testament, is sharing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So “the new and living way” is Jesus. It’s coming and partaking of His death, His burial and His resurrection. We are to be identified with everything that Jesus went through after He died for our sins.

Listen to what Paul says in Ephesians 2:4-6: “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ when we were dead in transgression and raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”

Notice the three stages of identification with Jesus. First, “made alive”; second, “raised up” or “resurrected”; and third, “seated with Him.” Where is Jesus seated? On the throne. So what does it mean to be seated with Him? It means to be enthroned, to share the throne with Him.

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You see, once we see our identification with Jesus, we’re invited to follow Him all the way. He is the new and living way. We can be made alive with Him, we can be resurrected with Him, but we don’t need to stop there. We can be enthroned with Him.

You see, in the pattern of the tabernacle, the first curtain, I believe, represents what we enter into through sharing in the resurrection of Jesus. But the second curtain that leads to the holy place represents what we enter into through sharing in the ascension of Jesus. Jesus was not merely resurrected, but subsequently He was raised up to heaven to the throne. And that’s where God wants us.

God doesn’t want us to stop short in this new and living way till we’ve reached the throne and we’re sharing the throne with Jesus, seated with Him in heavenly places. That’s our destination.

Let’s make it our resolution this year that we’ll not stop short of the place where God wants us to come.

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 9): LET US HOLD FAST OUR CONFESSION WITHOUT WAVERING

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

Today we’re going to look at the Seventh Step. It too is found in Hebrews 10, like the previous step. This is in Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

We need to go back over this theme of confession as it’s presented in Hebrews and see how we’ve arrived at this statement in Hebrews 10. I pointed out last week that confession means saying the same as God. Confessing then, our faith, is saying the same with our mouth as God says in His word. It’s making the words of our mouth agree with the written word of God in every point.

As we advance in the spiritual life, our confession comes closer and closer to complete agreement with the Word of God in every area of our life.

I pointed out also that it’s through our confession that we are linked to Jesus as our High Priest. One of the main themes of Hebrews is that Jesus is our High Priest in heaven. He’s there on our behalf in the presence of God the Father to represent us, to present our petitions, to intercede on our behalf, and to make good every right confession that we make.

This is brought out in Hebrews 3:1: “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.”

Note that phrase, “Jesus is the High Priest of our confession.” In other words, it’s our confession that enlists His ministry on our behalf as our high priest. If we make the right confession, Jesus is obligated in His eternal faithfulness to see that that confession is made good. But if we fail to make the right confession, if we make no confession at all, we silence the lips of our High Priest. We give Him no opportunity to minister as high priest on our behalf. So you see the tremendous importance of confession. Now, that’s brought out in Hebrews 3:1.

Then in the next chapter, in Hebrews 4:14, we have one of the steps or one of the good resolutions that we’ve already looked at. But we’ll look at it again because there’s a lot to learn from the way this theme of confession is built up in the epistle to the Hebrews.

Hebrews 4:14 says: “Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”

You see again, when it speaks about Jesus as our High Priest, it immediately goes on to our confession; it’s our confession that enlists His ministry on our behalf as our High Priest. So in Hebrews 3:1, we’re admonished that we have to make the right confession.

But in Hebrews 4:14, we’re admonished that we’re to “hold fast” our confession. We mustn’t change what we’ve said. We’ve got to keep saying the right thing, we’ve got to keep making the words of our mouth agree with the Word of God.

And then in Hebrews 10:23, the step that we’ve looked at today, it says: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.”

Notice what’s being added: without wavering. So you see, if we look through these passages of Hebrews in correct order, we find that in respect of our confession there are three successive stages. First, we make the confession; secondly, having made it, we hold fast, we don’t change; and thirdly, we hold it fast without wavering.

Why do you think that “without wavering” is quoted? What does it imply? Well, I don’t know what it implies to you, but I know what it implies to me, and it implies this to me not merely on logic but on the basis of personal experience, it implies that when we make the right confession, we’re going to encounter negative forces and pressures that will come against us. And even though we’re making the right confession and we’ve been holding it fast, there may come a time when the pressures increase, and it seems all the forces of Satan and all the powers of darkness are turned loose against us.

And then what’s the temptation? To let go of our confession. But the writer says, “Don’t let go, hold fast, without wavering.” The darker the situation, the greater the problem, the more the pressure, the more important it is to hold fast without wavering. Because, He who promised is faithful.

You may feel you’ve lost sight of God. You may feel He’s behind the clouds, you don’t know where He is, you don’t know what He’s doing. But the scripture says He’s faithful whether you see Him, whether you don’t see Him, whether you understand or whether you don’t understand. He is faithful, He is committed to His word, He is our High Priest.

If we will only hold fast our confession without wavering, He’ll do His job as our High Priest.

Compare this simple statement in 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” You see, there’s an opposition between faith and sight. The natural man walks by sight. He trusts his senses, he believes only in what his senses tell him. But in the Christian life, in the spiritual life, we don’t trust our senses. We don’t walk by our senses. We walk by faith. Faith relates us to an unseen, eternal realm where things don’t change.

The world of the senses is always changing, it’s temporary, it’s unstable, it’s impermanent, it’s unreliable. But through faith we relate to a different world, a world of eternal things, eternal realities, eternal truths. And as we relate to that world by faith, we hold fast our confession without wavering.

You see, the pressures that God permits to come in our lives determine whether we are trusting our senses or our faith. If we change our confession because of the darkness, then we’re going by our senses and not by our faith. For faith, there’s no darkness. Faith doesn’t rely on the senses. Faith sees with an inner spiritual eye into a realm that doesn’t change and to a High Priest who is unchangeable.

In connection with this principle of making and holding the right confession, and holding it fast without wavering, I want to look for a moment at the example of Abraham as he is portrayed in Romans 4:19-22. I believe Abraham is one of the best examples of holding fast without wavering. This is what Paul says about Abraham: Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead, since he was about a hundred years old, and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.”

You know, real faith faces facts. Any kind of attitude that’s not willing to look at the real facts isn’t real faith. So Abraham didn’t try to deceive himself; he didn’t picture something different from what it was. With his senses he saw that his body was as good as dead, Sarah’s womb was as good as dead.

But then he didn’t trust only in his senses. So the next verse says: Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. This is why it was accredited to him as righteousness.

And Abraham is called the father of all those who believe, and we are exhorted to follow in the steps of Abraham’s faith. So you see, we’re required to walk that same path of faith. We’re required to lay hold of the promise of God, to make our confession, to hold our confession fast without wavering, not to be deterred by what our senses reveal; but to look up beyond the senses and beyond the seen things into the unseen realm, and see by faith our faithful High Priest, there at God’s right hand.

Just listen to what James says in this connection, because this is so important. So many Christians fail at this point. They make a confession, they hold it fast, but when the pressures build up they don’t hold it fast without wavering.

Listen what James says in chapter 1 of his epistle, verses 6-8:

James 1:6-8: “But when a believer asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double minded man, unstable in all he does.

There’s the man who wavers. He’s started to ask, he’s started to pray, he’s started to believe but he doesn’t hold fast without wavering. He’s tossed to and fro, blown about by the wind and the waves, and the Scripture says, and this is a very solemn warning, ‘that man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.’

So, there’s one way to forfeit our blessing, to lose the benefit of Christ’s ministry on our behalf as our High Priest, and that is, to waver. The remedy: hold fast your confession without wavering.

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 10): LET US CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

The seven successive steps that we’ve looked at so far are these: 1) Let us fear; 2) Let us be diligent; 3) Let us hold fast our confession; 4) Let us draw near to the throne of grace; 5) Let us press on to maturity; 6) Let us draw near to the most holy place; 7) Let us hold fast our confession without wavering.

Let me repeat my suggestion that as we go through these successive steps you commit them to memory.

Today we’re going to look at the Eighth Step. This is found also, like the two previous steps, in Hebrews 10. In order to get an understanding of the context, we’re going to read verses 24 through 26 from Hebrews 10:

Hebrews 10: 24-26: “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” (NASB1995)

Now the English translation that I read says, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” That’s a good translation. But in the original Greek, the order is changed. Or rather, the English translation has changed the order of the original Greek, to be more precise. And in the original, the order is this: “Let us consider one another, how to stimulate to love and good deeds.” I believe that brings out the real essence of this particular resolution. It is, “let us consider one another.” And we’re to consider one another from the point of view how we can bring the best out of each other.

But the essence of the resolution is: “Let us consider one another.”

So many people today are shut up in the prison of self. Their basic problem is self-centeredness. And I have never met a self-centered person who was truly happy and enjoyed true peace. In fact, the more you concentrate on yourself, the more you worry about yourself, the more you seek to please yourself, the more your problems will increase.

There is no solution to your problems in yourself. You’ve got to be released from that prison of self-centeredness. And here is one scriptural way to be released: Stop worrying about yourself. Stop caring for yourself all the time. Stop fighting for yourself. And instead, start to consider your fellow believers. “Let us consider one another.”

In Philippians 2:3-7, Paul sets before us the example of Jesus as one that we need to follow, and I think it’s very applicable to this resolution, “Let us consider one another.” This is what Paul says in Philippians 2:

Philippians 2:3-4: Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” That’s the exact opposite of considering one another, is looking out for your own personal interests. The release is to look out for the interests of others, to be more concerned about others than yourself.

And then Paul says here’s where we need to follow the example of Jesus. He goes on, Philippians 2:5: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…” Remember I said at the beginning of these talks that our attitude determines our approach and our approach determines the outcome. Here’s an attitude for the New Year that you need to cultivate: ‘Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.’

What was the attitude? Philippians 2:6-7: although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant.” The Greek really literally is, “a slave.” So Jesus, who was Lord of all, emptied Himself of all that and was willing to become a servant, a bondservant, a slave. And that is the attitude that Paul says we need to imitate.

There’s a parallel and very beautiful passage in Galatians 5:13-14: “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, [that is, to gratify your own personal and selfish desire] but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’”

So the way not to indulge our fleshly nature, not to yield to selfishness, not to become shut up in that prison of self, is: to look outward to others. Through love, serve one another. I believe that’s one of the key words that the Holy Spirit is emphasizing to God’s people today, learning to serve through love, to serve one another.

So many people talk about serving the Lord but they never serve their fellow believers. I don’t know how much you can really serve the Lord if you’re not willing to serve your fellow believers, because the Lord comes to us in the members of His body. And our attitude to those members is really our attitude to the Lord Himself.

In this connection of being willing to serve others, I want to just take an example from the apostle Paul, something that he wrote to the Corinthian Christians. You need to bear in mind that Paul by background was a very strict, observant, orthodox Jew. He had the qualifications to be a rabbi. He was Pharisee. He had a kind of righteousness which separated itself from other people, regarded other people as on a lower level, and kept himself to himself, and despised others.

But when he came to know Jesus, the most wonderful change took place in that nature of Paul. This is what he writes to the Corinthians. Bear in mind those Corinthians were basically the scum of the earth. Paul, in his epistle, says that some of them had been homosexuals, some had been prostitutes, some had been drunkards, some had been revilers, they were just not the best kind of people. Corinth was one of the major seaports of the ancient world, and so often in seaports, that’s the kind of people that you tend to meet.

Now listen to this astonishing statement, 2 Corinthians 4:5. Paul says: “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.”

Isn’t that an amazing statement? There’s this proud Pharisee saying, “We’re your slaves for the sake of Jesus.” To those people! Notice the three steps. First, dethrone self, “not ourselves.” Second, enthrone Christ, “Christ Jesus as Lord.” Third, serve others, “we are your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.” Let me say those three steps again. Dethrone self, enthrone Christ, serve others. By love, serve others. That’s the message, escape from self-centeredness.

Now I want to point out to you in closing this message that serving is a skill we have to acquire. It doesn’t just happen, it isn’t ours by nature. To take an example of a waiter: a waiter is a man who, in a sense, is called to serve. But a waiter needs to be trained. There is much in the training of a waiter. I can’t go into it but I have a friend who used to be a waiter, and he explained to me once all that’s involved in being a good waiter. And I saw a marvelous example of the training to serve.

So serving doesn’t just happen; it’s a skill we have to acquire. We have to study others to find out what produces a positive and not a negative response. We’re to study others to provoke them to love and good deeds, not to the opposite. So this requires practice, it requires training, it requires discipline.

It also requires the right environment. That’s important. You see, after saying, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good works,” Paul goes on to say, “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” So we have to learn to serve in the right environment, and the right environment is expressed in the words, “our own assembling together.” I would say it means this: close, committed, regular fellowship. That’s the environment in which we can be trained to serve one another.

Now in the next verse, the writer of Hebrews states the disastrous alternative. He goes on in verse 26, immediately after that warning against forsaking our own assembling together, and he says this: “For if we go on sinning willfully, after receiving the knowledge of the truth…” It’s no accident that these words follow.

What’s the implication? The implication is that if we don’t stay in the right environment, if we aren’t in close, committed, regular fellowship, we’ll go back to sinning. The only safe way is to stay in fellowship, learn to serve, learn to consider other people.

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 11): LET US RUN WITH ENDURANCE THE RACE

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

Today we’re going to look at the Ninth Step, which is found in the opening verses of Hebrews 12. I’ll read the first two verses of that chapter:

Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The step we’re looking at today, the ninth step, is found there in verse 1, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” However, because of the circumstances of the English translation, I need to add a word of explanation about that verse. If I go back over the complete verse, it goes like this: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and then let us run with endurance the race.”

Now in the English translation there are two “let us” phrases in that one verse, which is perfectly legitimate translation, but it so happens that in the original Greek, the first phrase, “lay aside every encumbrance,” is not in that form in the original. It’s a participle which goes, “Laying aside every encumbrance, let us run with endurance the race.” So, the real “let us” phrase on which we need to focus in that verse is, “Let us run, with endurance, the race that is set before us.”

You see, there and elsewhere in the New Testament, the Christian life is comparedto a race. This implies a specific course marked out before us in advance, and success in the Christian life consists in completing the course in accordance with the rules of the competition.

I want to point out to you in my talk today, in light of the fact that we are confronted with this race that is set before us, four requirements for success in the race. Each one of these requirements is found in the New Testament.

The first requirement is a right mental attitude. And this is exemplified by the words of Paul in Philippians 3:10-14, where speaking about his relationship to Jesus Christ, he says this:

Philippians 3:10-11: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

You see, Paul had a specific objective. He says somewhere else, 1 Corinthians 9, he didn’t run aimlessly. He had an aim before him. He knew what the goal was. This determined his mental attitude. Then he goes on to say:

Philippians 3:12: “Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect [or complete], but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

He has the vision that Christ laid hold of him for a purpose, and that the fulfilling of that purpose means he has to relate to the purpose. He has to be determined that the purpose of Christ will become his purpose. He continues again:

Philippians 3:13-14: “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

You’ll notice that the phrase “I press on” occurs twice. And I believe that’s the mental attitude that you and I need to share, “I press on. I have a goal. I haven’t arrived but I know where I’m headed.” The last time he uses the phrase he says, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” There is a reward for those who successfully complete the race. Let’s always bear the goal in mind, and let’s remember that we don’t want to lose our God-appointed reward.

The second condition for success in this race is self-control, and this is illustrated again by the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25. Again, he compares the Christian life to competing in an athletic contest. I think it’s a really good parallel, and one that’s vivid for us today because we are so often confronted with this theme of athletic contests in the newspapers and on television, so it’s very vivid for us, and the same principle still applies.

But Paul again speaks about the race. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, he says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” That’s an objective. And then he goes on to state this second condition:

1 Corinthians 9:25: “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath [that’s the prize], but we an imperishable wreath.”

So, if we’re going to win the prize, if we’re going to win the race, we’ve got to meet the conditions of self-control. It’s so obvious, I think, from athletics. Every athlete who succeeds in world athletics today has to exercise the most rigorous self-control. He has to “go into training,” as we say. He has to control what he eats, he has to control when he sleeps, he has to control the amount of exercise he takes, and he also has to control his psychology. He has to build up the right kind of attitude. He can’t give way to negative thoughts. He’s got to go into that race with a positive attitude that he’s going to achieve victory.

All this is equally true for us as Christians in our race. We cannot win the race without self-control.

The third condition for victory in this race is stated in the verse in Hebrews 12:1 that we’ve already read. It is endurance. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” This is one quality which is essential to the Christian character if we’re going to achieve real spiritual success and fulfillment. We have to cultivate endurance.

What’s the opposite of endurance? I think it’s giving up or quitting. Christians cannot afford to be quitters. When God commits us to something, we’ve got to set our face and go through with it.

There’s a close relationship between self-control and endurance. That’s why I put them in that order, because in actual fact, without self-control we won’t achieve endurance. We’ve got to master our weaknesses. Otherwise, every time we’re tested in the area of endurance, some kind of weakness, emotional, psychological, physical, will get us down and we’ll give up just at the point where we should have been holding on and enduring.

The fourth condition, it says, is to have our eyes fixed on Jesus. This is stated in the next verse of Hebrews 12, verse 2: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross…”

So, that condition is we’ve got to look to Jesus. In other words, we can’t run the race in self-reliance.  Looking to Jesus means He’s our example, we put our confidence in Him, He’s the author, the beginning of our faith; He’s the perfecter, the one who will bring us through to victory.

Now let me in closing read you the testimony of a victor, the apostle Paul. This is what he says in

2 Timothy 4:7-8: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Paul knew he had won the race, he had finished the course, and he knew the prize was there waiting for him. That’s a glorious testimony, isn’t it? And it can be your testimony and my testimony if we meet the conditions.

There are men and women today in the world, I’ve known a number, of whom the same was true. I’ve seen them complete their course and they could say, like Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 12): LET US SHOW GRATITUDE

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

Yesterday we looked at the ninth step, “Let us run with endurance the race.”

Today we’re moving on to the Tenth Step. Like the ninth step, this also is found in Hebrews 12. The ninth step was at the beginning of the chapter, the tenth step is near the end. It’s found in verses 28 and 29:

Hebrews 12:28-29: “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”

So that’s the tenth step, “Let us show gratitude.”

The King James version says, “Let us have grace.” It’s important to understand the connection between grace and thanks. The King James translation, “Let us have grace,” is a literal translation of the words, but that phrase “to have grace” is commonly used in Greek to express giving thanks. And so this brings out the connection between grace and thanks.

This connection is found in various modern languages. For instance, in the French language they say, Grâce à Dieu, “Thanks to God.”Grâce’ is exactly the same word as “grace” in English. And both in Italian and in Spanish, the word for “thank you” is taken from the word for “grace.” In Italian it’s Grazie and in Spanish (don’t laugh at my Spanish pronunciation) it’s something like gracias. I can’t say it right but I know what it comes from.

So you see, all through these languages there’s a connection between grace and thanks. And I want to tell you that you can’t have the grace of God in your life unless you practice giving thanks. Grace and thanks go together. And there’s nothing more ungracious than an unthankful person, whereas a thankful person will always experience the grace of God.

You see, God requires two things of us as His people. First of all, He requires that we appreciate what He does for us. Secondly, He requires that we express our appreciation. It’s important to understand that we need to express our appreciation.

There are people, I believe, who really are grateful for God but they never take time to tell God that they’re grateful.

How would you feel if your children never thanked you in spite of all that you did for them? They never said thank you, they never showed their gratitude, they accepted everything you did for them as if by right, they took it for granted. Unfortunately, that’s how many of God’s children treat God and it’s not pleasing in His sight. We’re required to appreciate what God does for us, we’re required to express our appreciation.

One of my favorite scriptures is in Proverbs 3:6: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him [that’s God] and He shall direct thy path.”

I’ve learned by experience that if I pause at every stage in life to acknowledge God, I can be confident that He’ll continue to direct my path. You say, “Well, how can I acknowledge God?” The simplest and the best way is simply by thanking Him, thanking Him for all that He’s done, thanking Him for His faithfulness, and you get the assurance immediately that He’s going to go on being faithful, and just as He has helped and guided in the past, He will guide in the future. But the key to this assurance is acknowledging Him by our thanksgiving.

Now we need to look at the background of this exhortation to thankfulness as we read it in the epistle to the Hebrews, the twelfth chapter. Looking at the previous two verses or three verses, 25, 26, 27, we read this, and it’s a rather solemn warning:

Hebrews 12:25-27: “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking to us.” And then a parallel is taken from the Old Testament, when God spoke to the people of Israel through Moses: “For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we [believers in the New Testament] escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘YET ONCE MORE AND I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.’ And this expression, ‘Yet once more,’ denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”

So this is the background of the exhortation that we should show gratitude. We’re in a world that’s crumbling, that’s falling apart. There’s distress, uncertainty, perplexity, confusion, hatred, division, war, fear, all around us, not merely in one nation, but in all nations on the earth.

To a greater or a lesser degree, these conditions continue and indeed, grow worse. God says, “There’s coming a time when I’m going to shake once more not only the earth but also the heaven.” This “once more” indicates this is going to be the final shaking, and in this final shaking everything that can be shaken will be removed.

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But in the light of this, the writer of Hebrews says, “Since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude.”

You see, that’s the appropriate response to the particular privileges and benefits that we have in God. We are not dependent on a shakeable kingdom. We have an eternal kingdom, an unshakable kingdom, the kingdom of God Himself, the kingdom which is “righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost.”

In the midst of all that’s going on around us, all that’s being shaken, all the threatening and the alarms and the fears and the inadequate and insufficient remedies that only temporarily stop the gap, in the midst of all this, we have this unshakable kingdom. We have peace, security, purpose.

What’s the appropriate response? There is only one appropriate response, it’s thankfulness. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, let us express our thanks to God.

Not only is thankfulness or gratitude the appropriate response to what God has done and is doing for us, not only is it something that we owe God and we need to pay, but thankfulness or gratitude as the expression of our appreciation does something in our spirits that nothing else can do.

The way I express it is: “Thankfulness releases our spirits for acceptable worship and service.” That’s why the writer of Hebrews says, “Let us show gratitude, that we may offer to God an acceptable service, with reverence and awe.” Without gratitude, our service to God will not be acceptable.  It’s that “attitude of gratitude” that makes our service acceptable, that releases our spirits.

An unthankful person is bound up in himself. He’s self-centered. He really cannot know true liberation. But thankfulness releases our spirits.

Look at what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18-19: “in everything give thanks…” That’s a clear commandment. If we don’t give thanks, we’re disobedient. “…for this [giving thanks] is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” If we don’t give thanks, we’re out of the will of God. And then Paul says: “Do not quench the Spirit.”

You see, failing to give thanks quenches the Spirit. The only release for the Spirit, to serve God acceptably, is through thanksgiving.

And then note the closing warning in Hebrews 12:29: “For our God is a consuming fire.”

What the writer is saying is, “We have to approach this holy, awe-inspiring God with the right attitude, with a humble, thankful heart.”

And then again, just in closing, let’s look at the background of the world in these last days. We’ve already looked at the shaking that’s coming.

Now look at the disintegration of character and morality and standards. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul says this: “But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lover of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

That’s a terrible list of moral defects of character degeneration that’s going to mark the close of this age. And I would suggest to you, if you go over that list by yourself, you’ll find most of these character defects are conspicuous in our contemporary culture.

And right in the middle of it, it says, “disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love.” Notice that association. The ungrateful are right next door to the unholy. You cannot be holy and be ungrateful.

And since our God is a consuming fire, and He requires that we serve Him with holiness, which is appropriate, then we have to serve Him with gratitude. We’re got to come to Him with thankfulness.

Let me read those words once more. “Let us show gratitude that we may serve Him acceptably, with reverence and godly fear.”

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 13): LET US GO OUT TO HIM

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

Let me quickly run through the ten steps we’ve already looked at, as follows: 1) Let us fear; 2) Let us be diligent; 3) Let us hold fast our confession; 4) Let us draw near to the throne of grace; 5) Let us press on to maturity; 6) Let us draw near to the Most Holy Place; 7) Let us hold fast our confession without wavering; 8) Let us consider one another; 9) Let us run with endurance the race set before us; 10) Let us show gratitude.

Let me remind you of my suggestion that you memorize these steps in their correct order. I believe that will be a great blessing and help to you.

Today we’re going to look at the 11th step. This is found in Hebrews 13:12-14: “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.”

So that’s the 11th step, “Let us go out to Him outside the camp.” This deals really with our attitude and our relationship to this present world. And what it’s telling us is our home is not in this world. We don’t have any enduring place in this world.

The world rejected Jesus. It drove Him out of the city, crucified Him outside the gate. The Scripture always emphasizes the crucifixion took place outside the city wall. He was rejected, He was put out of society, the world didn’t want Him.

And the way the world treated Jesus, sooner or later, in one way or another, is going to be the way the world will treat you and me as believers. So we’ve got to be willing to go out to Him, to the place of crucifixion, the place of rejection, the place of shame, bearing His reproach.

Elsewhere in Hebrews it says the reproach of Christ is greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. So His reproach becomes our glory.

And then the writer gives a beautiful reason: “For here we do not have a lasting city. [Other people may think this is permanent, we know it isn’t.] But we are seeking the city which is to come.”

I like that translation which says, “THE city.” It’s one specific city. The King James version, I believe, says “a city,” but this is “THE city.” There’s one particular city which is the destination and the home of all true believers. That’s where we really belong.

Now, two chapters earlier in Hebrews, Hebrews 11, the writer has given a kind of honor roll of many of the great saints of the Old Testament, emphasizing their faith. And then he says about them in verses 13 through 16 of Hebrews chapter 11:

Hebrews 11:13-16: “All these died in faith without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

I am gripped by the words that are spoken there, that these forerunners in the faith who are our examples in so many ways confessed that they were strangers and exiles in this earth. They didn’t really belong, the earth was not their home.

And then it says, “they make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.” Those words have a poignant meaning for me. It so happened in my life I’ve had to deal with quite a number of people who were classified “stateless,” people who didn’t have any country, people who didn’t have any passport. I thank God that by His grace I’ve been able to help a number.

And I know something of the agony of not belonging anywhere. I suppose there are multitudes of refugees in our world today and in the previous generation who went through that agony of not belonging, having no permanent place of their own.

But these people that we’re reading about were seeking a place of their own, but they didn’t seek it in this world. It says that if they’d been interested and wanted, they could have gone back to the place they came from. Abraham, for instance, could have returned to Ur of the Chaldees, which is where he came from. But he had his mind set forward, he wasn’t looking backward. It says, “they desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one.”

And then that beautiful sentence, “Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God.” When we identify ourselves with God and His city and His preparation for us, then He is proud to be our God. I think that is beautiful. It says He has prepared a city, for them, for us.

You see, commitment to Jesus requires identification with His cross. We have to go out to Him to the place where He was crucified. And commitment to the cross of Jesus rules out two things. The first is pleasing self, the second is pleasing the world.

Let’s look for a moment at what the New Testament says against pleasing self. Let me quote to you the words of Paul in Philippians 3:17 and 19:

Philippians 3:17-19: “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose God is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.”

It’s clear to me that Paul was speaking about people who profess to be Christians, but he warned his fellow believers against them. He said, “There’s one thing missing in their lives: they claim to be followers of Christ but they’re the enemies of His cross. They’re indulging self, their mind is set on things of this world; the principle of the cross, of death to self and the things of the flesh has never been applied in their lives.”  And he said, “Be careful. Don’t follow their example because their end is destruction.”

You see, I think we have today people in the church who profess allegiance to Christ but reject His cross.

The second thing which is ruled out by our identification with the cross of Jesus is pleasing this world. Listen to the stern words of James in his epistle, chapter 4, verse 4. And again, he’s writing to professing believers:

James 4:4: “You adulterous people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

That’s very plain language, too plain for some people, I think. Why does he call such people ‘adulterous’? Well you see, the spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ that’s required of us qualifies us to become part of His Bride. But the Bride is required to have a single-hearted total commitment and devotion to Jesus. And if that commitment and devotion to Jesus is infiltrated and adulterated by the love of this world, then we are spiritually adulterers. We are not faithful to the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

So, to try and be friendly with the world is to become spiritually adulterous.

Then listen to the words of Jesus in John 15:18-19: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own.” And when the world ‘loves us as its own,’ that’s a pretty dangerous sign that we don’t belong to Jesus. “As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

That is plain language. We need to give heed to it.

What then should be our attitude in the light of these plain facts and statements of Scripture? I believe that a right attitude is expressed in the words of Paul in Galatians 6:14:

Galatians 6:14: “But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

Those words make a deep impression on me. Let me never boast, let me never place confidence in anything, ultimately, but the cross of the Lord. Let me not boast in my education, my religion, my denomination, none of these things. The only thing in which I can safely boast is the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, where Jesus won a total, permanent, irreversible victory over all the forces of evil.

But through that cross, “the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.”  The cross sets an absolute mark of separation between the people of God and the people of the world. When we accept the principle of the cross in our lives, we don’t belong to this world any longer.

Let me close with a beautiful promise of victory given by Jesus, John 16:33: “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble; but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

That’s good news, isn’t it? The world is not our friend, it’s our enemy, we’re going to have trouble, but Jesus has overcome the world! And through Him, we too can overcome the world, if we’re willing to go out to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 14): LET US OFFER UP A SACRIFICE OF PRAISE

Derek Prince – Bible Teacher

Now, my purpose in going through these scriptural New Year resolutions with you has been to produce in you an attitude and an outlook that will carry you through to a successful outcome when this year ends. In other words, it’ll be a good year.

The last two “let us” resolutions that we looked at were the following: Hebrews 12:28 and 29: “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.”

That one is, “Let us show gratitude”, and it’s connected with the way in which we’re able to serve a holy God.

The next one was in Hebrews 13:13: “Hence, let us go out to Him [that is, Jesus], outside the camp, bearing His reproach.”

That resolution is, “Let’s be willing to be identified with Jesus and His cross. Let’s not try to be Christians and avoid the reproach of the cross.” The attitude of the world to Jesus sooner or later is going to be reflected in its attitude to us.

The cross brings release from two related forms of slavery. The first, pleasing self; the second, pleasing the world. The only way of escape from those two slaveries is through the cross.

And last, yesterday I quoted to you the words of James, that if we want to be friends of this world we become the enemies of God. We’ve got to accept the principle of the cross in our personal lives.

Today we’re going to look at the twelfth and the final resolution. It’s found in Hebrews 13:15: Through Him [that’s Jesus] then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God; that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

So that’s the final resolution. To me it’s very appropriate and very beautiful: “Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.” I think it’s so good that the final resolution is something that we’re to go on doing. Are you going to go on doing that all through this year, continually offering up a sacrifice of praise to God? It’s going to make all the difference to what the year holds for you.

This final step of offering up a sacrifice of praise to God is related in a direct and practical way with the two previous steps, which were, “Let us show gratitude” and “Let us go out to Him outside the gate.” You see, gratitude naturally leads to praise. There are so many passages in the Bible where it relates thanksgiving with praise.

One of the most beautiful is Psalm 100:4, where it says about coming to God: “We enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.”

The first step in access to God is thanksgiving, the second step is praise. Thanksgiving leads to praise. It finds expression in praise. It flows out in praise.

And then the step just before this one, “Let us go out to Him outside the camp, let us be identified with the cross of Jesus, let us not try just to follow Jesus without accepting the reproach of his cross,” brings us, as I’ve said already, release from the two slaveries of pleasing self and pleasing the world.

And that again is directly related to offering the sacrifice of praise. You might not see it at first, but there are two hindrances to spontaneous, free-flowing praise in our lives: They are love of self and love of the world. As long as our affections are centered in ourselves or in the world, we are not really free to praise God. But the cross removes these two hindrances and sets us free to praise God.

And then we’re no longer affected by what happens to ourselves; we’re not affected by our moods, by our problems, by apparent adversity. We’re no longer affected by what goes on in the world around us.

You know, sometimes we sit and listen to the news and we get up afterwards and we think, “Well, the situation’s pretty bad, problems, disasters, crime, immorality…”

But you see, we’re not living in this world. The world doesn’t dominate us. It doesn’t dominate our thinking. We’re in the world but not of the world. And when we are released from that slavery to the world, when the world doesn’t control our thinking and our motivations, when we’ve been liberated by the cross in that inner attitude towards the world, then there’s nothing left to hinder our praise.

We don’t praise God just when things are going right in the world.  We don’t praise God just when things are going right with ourselves. But we praise God because He’s worthy to be praised. Our liberated spirit isn’t entangled with self-love and the love of the world.

There’s a tremendous mystery of the liberty that comes through being identified with the cross of Jesus. You see, praise is something that’s very significant. You find out a lot about a person when you study how much praising they do. You find out really which kind of life they’re living in. Are they still the slave of the old man or have they entered into the resurrected life of the new man?

There’s one thing about the old man, he’s a grumbler. Any time you hear a person grumbling, you know that’s the old man speaking. But the new man is a praiser. So which is it in you? Is it the old man that speaks or is it the new man that praises? Is it the old man that says, “I can’t take this any longer, things are getting too bad, nobody treats me right, I don’t know what’s wrong with the world,”

Or is it the new man that says, “Hallelujah, praise the Lord, I’m free, I’m a child of God. Heaven is my home. God loves me.” Which is your attitude?

Let me remind you of a sentence from Proverbs that I quoted earlier in this series, Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Two things that come out of the tongue: death and life. If you grumble, if you’re negative, if you’re self-centered, your tongue will bring forth death. But if you’re liberated from all that and you’re walking in the praise of God and the worship of God, your tongue will bring forth life.

And whatever your tongue brings forth, whatever fruit it brings forth, whether it’s sweet or whether it’s bitter, you’re going to eat that fruit.

I want to go back for a moment to that verse in Hebrews 13:15 and just bring out one more important point. The writer says: “Through Him (Jesus), then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.”

One very significant word there is the word “sacrifice.” Praise is a sacrifice. And a sacrifice, according to the principles of Scripture, requires a death. Nothing was ever offered to God that hadn’t passed through death. And so, the sacrifice of praise requires, as I’ve already said, the death of the old man. The old man can’t really praise God as God deserves to be praised. There has to be a death.

And then again, a sacrifice costs something, and praise is costly. Let me put it this way, “We need to praise God most when we least feel like it.” Praise does not depend on our feelings. It’s a sacrifice of our spirit.

I want to just give you the example of David for a moment, in closing this talk, Psalm 34. The introduction says, “A psalm of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, who drove him away and he departed.” At this time, David was fugitive from his own country. The king, Saul, was trying to kill him. He had to leave his own country and his familiar surroundings. He went to the court of a Gentile king for refuge but Abimelech the king suspected him of being an enemy, and in order to save his life, he had to feign madness. It says in the historical book that he scrabbled on the door and he slobbered on his beard. That was his situation.

What was his reaction? Listen to the first three verses of this psalm: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”

Isn’t that marvelous? Right there, in such a terrible situation, with his life hanging in the balance and the shame of having to feign madness, he says, “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” That’s the sacrifice of praise. He says, “I’m going to go on boasting in the Lord. There’s nothing else I can boast in right now, but I can boast in the Lord.”

He says, “the humble will hear it and rejoice.”  And then he goes on, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” I want to tell you, praise is infectious. If you learn to praise God that way, others will join you. But grumbling is infectious, too. If you grumble, you’ll get fellow grumblers. So learn to offer that sacrifice of praise to God continually.

Twelve Steps to a Good Year (Part 15) – Summary

In my closing talk today, I am going to review all the 12 resolutions that we’ve looked at together, and I am going to sum up the main lessons that we’ve learned from it.

Now, let’s go back together over the 12 “let us” resolutions from Hebrews that we’ve been studying together these past three weeks. Let me remind you in this connection of a basic educational principle: review is an essential part of all successful teaching. I believe that this review that I’m going to go through with you today will help to imprint these resolutions on your mind and make them a real part of your life from now on so that this year that we’ve just entered will be a really successful and blessed year for you.

All right, here are the Twelve “let us” resolutions from Hebrews:

Number l: “LET US FEAR.”

“Therefore, let us fear, lest while a promise remains of entering His rest any of you should seem to have come short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1)

That’s the attitude. It’s an attitude of reverent respect for God and His requirements. It’s not slave-ish fear, God has not given us that spirit of slave-ish fear. But it’s an attitude of reverence and respect for God and it’s the opposite of self-confidence and presumptuousness. Let’s lay aside all self-confidence and presumptuousness.

Number 2:“LET US BE DILIGENT.”

“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:11)

“Let us fear” leads to “let us be diligent.” We’re not presumptuous, we’re not self-confident, we’re not negligent, we take things seriously; as it were, we roll up our spiritual sleeves and we go to work.

I quoted two verses in this connection from Proverbs 10. One was, “The blessing of the Lord maketh rich”; the other was, “The hand of the diligent maketh rich.” We’ve got to put those two together to get the blessing of the Lord. It’s His blessing on one hand, but on the other hand it’s our diligence that receives His blessing.

Number 3: “LET US HOLD FAST THE CONFESSION OF OUR FAITH.”

“Since, then, we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” (Hebrews 4:14)

I pointed out that it’s our confession that relates us to Jesus as our High Priest. We have to say the right thing with our mouth. We have to make the words of our mouth agree with God’s written word; and every time we make the right confession, we say it out boldly in faith, Jesus is obligated by His eternal faithfulness to make sure that our confession is fulfilled. He’s the High Priest of our confession. We make it and then we have to hold it fast.

Number 4: “LET US DRAW NEAR TO THE THRONE OF GRACE.”

Hebrews 4:16: “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

We’re to come to the throne where Jesus sits as King, King of the universe, with all authority and power. He wants to help us, but we’ve got to be humble and acknowledge our need of help. We’re told to come for mercy and for grace, not for justice, not for a due reward for our merits, but because we need Him and because He’s faithful. Because He invites us, therefore we can come with confidence, even in the time of need. Even when the situation’s desperate. Even when we think there is no source of help, there is help if we come to that throne of grace.

Number 5: “LET US PRESS ON TO MATURITY.”

Hebrews 6:1: “Therefore, leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity.”

I pointed out that there is no room for remaining static in the Christian life. The Christian life is not a seat, it’s a path. “The path of the just is as the light of dawn which shines more and more to the full day.” So, if we’re in that way of righteousness and faith, we’ve got to be moving on, and our goal is maturity. It’s to be fully grown up. It’s to become complete men and women in Christ.

And in that context, I pointed out the only alternative is very sad: it’s arrested development. It’s remaining forever spiritual infants, always tossed to and fro, never stable, never mature. So let’s press on together.

Number 6: “LET US DRAW NEAR TO THE MOST HOLY PLACE.”

Hebrews 10:19 and 22: “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a sincere heart.”

We have to put those two verses together. When it says, “Let us draw near” in this context, it’s “Let us draw near to the Most Holy Place.” Earlier, we were exhorted to draw near to the throne of grace. That was to come for help. But now we’re invited to go right into the holy place, the place of God’s own immediate presence, the place where God sits on the throne. And we’re invited to share the throne with Him. Jesus is the forerunner. He’s gone before us. He is the new and living way. He died, He was buried, He rose again, and He was raised up into the glory of the Father.

And as we’re identified with Him in each one of those successive experiences: death, burial, resurrection and ascension into glory, we find that we’ve come into the Most Holy Place. We are entitled to draw near to that holy place, to enter in. The scripture exhorts us to do it.

Number 7: The seventh resolution is, “LET US HOLD FAST OUR CONFESSION WITHOUT WAVERING.”

Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

This, of course, goes very closely together with the previous one, “Let us hold fast the confession of our faith,” but two very important words are added: “Let us hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering.” Why do you think that “without wavering” is put in? Do you remember I asked you that? The answer is because there’ll be a lot of things that will come along that would make us inclined to waver. There will be a lot of pressure. There will be times of darkness. There will be times when everything seems to have gone wrong and it seems that things are not working out.

What are you going to do then? Are you going to quit? Or are you going to hold fast without wavering? Make up your mind as you listen to me now that next time that happens you’ll not be a quitter, but you will hold fast without wavering, for He is faithful who promised. You may not see Him, you may not feel Him, He may seem to be far from the scene, but He’s still there and He’s still faithful.

Number 8: The eighth resolution, “LET US CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER.”

Hebrews 10:24: “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.”

Let us consider one another, that’s the release from self- centeredness. I said that a self-centered person is never a happy person. They are never fully content, there’s always something missing in their lives, even though they may have everything that the world seems to offer. We can never find true peace and true inner rest as long as we are centered in ourselves.

And so, one very practical remedy is to consider one another, to invest our lives in others, to provoke others to love and good deeds. I think one of the key Scriptures today is in Galatians 6, “By love, serve one another.” Put others first. Be more interested in them. You’ll get a wonderful response from them and you’ll get release from your own self-centeredness at the same time.

Number 9: The ninth resolution, “LET US RUN WITH ENDURANCE THE RACE.”

Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

The Christian life is like a race. It’s a course marked out ahead of us. There’s a goal and there’s a prize. But if we’re going to achieve the goal, if we’re going to win the prize, we’ve got to run the race with the right attitude. We’ve got to run it with endurance. We’ve got to hold out. To do that, we have to go into training.

Number 10: The tenth resolution, “LET US SHOW GRATITUDE.”

Hebrews 12:28-29: “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, that we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.”

I explained the relationship between gratitude and grace. Having grace will always be expressed in being thankful. God expects us to appreciate what He does and to express our appreciation verbally.

Resolution Number 11, “LET US GO OUT TO HIM OUTSIDE THE CAMP.”

Hebrews 13:12-14: “Therefore Jesus also that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.

That means identifying ourselves not just with Jesus, but with His cross; being willing to recognize that this world is not our home, that there is always a price to pay to be a Christian. We cannot lead the Christian life and reject the principles of the cross. The cross means death to self and death to the world.

Number 12: Finally, the twelfth resolution, “LET US CONTINUALLY OFFER UP A SACRIFICE OF PRAISE.”

Hebrews 13:15: “Through Him let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.”

Praise is the natural outcome of the previous eleven resolutions. It also sets the seal upon them and makes them sure.

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