A Person Who Professes Faith in Jesus Christ Without Ever Seeking to Serve Christ Actively is a Hypocrite and in Danger of Outer Darkness

There are many people who attend church, and who may even claim to believe in Jesus Christ, but neglect serving Him out of laziness, carelessness or stubbornness (there is even a term for such individuals – “pew-warmers”). According to the late bible teacher, Derek Prince, the bible warns that such individuals are in danger of outer darkness. Below are excerpts from the book The Spirit-filled Believer’s Handbook.

We shall now consider in greater detail the principles by which believers will be rewarded for their service. These are set forth by Christ in the form of two parables: the parable of the talents (see Matt. 25:14-30) and the parable of the minas (see Luke 19:11 -27).

The central theme of both parables is the same. Each concerns a man of wealth and authority who commits a certain sum to each of his servants to administer on his behalf and then takes a journey to a distant country. After a considerable lapse of time, this wealthy man returns and holds an individual reckoning with his servants as to the way in which each has handled the money committed to him.

In both parables three servants are mentioned individually: the first two are faithful in administering their master’s money; the third is unfaithful. This is how the money was distributed in the parable of the talents:

And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability (Matt. 25:15).

(A talent was a considerable quantity of money, perhaps as much as fifteen years’ wages.)

Notice that this verse reveals the principle according to which the talents are distributed: “to each according to his own ability.” That is, God distributes to each believer the maximum number of talents that his own ability will permit him to use effectively. God does not give to any believer either more or less than he is able to use effectively.

In this parable the first two servants each achieved an increase of 100 percent. The servant who had received five talents gained five more; the servant who had received two talents gained two more. The lord assessed the faithfulness of these servants not by their net gain but by their percentage increase. The servant who gained five talents was not considered more faithful than the servant who had gained two talents, although his net gain in talents was greater. Rather, each of these servants was considered equally faithful because each had achieved the same proportionate increase: 100 percent.

This is indicated by the fact that the words of commendation spoken to these two servants, recorded in Matthew 25:21 and 23, are exactly the same in each verse.

His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”

Each of them had originally received the maximum number of talents that his ability would allow him to use effectively; each of them had achieved the maximum gain possible – 100 percent. It is on their faithfulness, as expressed in the percentage increase achieved, that their judgment is based. The fact that one man originally received five talents and the other two is not the basis on which their faithfulness is assessed.

In this parable of the talents the third servant merely hid the one talent he had received and later brought it back to his lord in exactly the same condition in which he had received it. For this he was not only deprived of any reward, but he was also totally and finally rejected and cast out from his lord’s presence.

But his lord answered and said to him, “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. Therefore you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:26-30).

There can be no doubt whatever about the meaning of these words. This third servant not only received no reward; he was actually deprived of the one talent which he had originally received, and he himself was cast out from his lord’s presence.

Let us now tum to the parable of the minas in Luke 19. (A mina was a quantity of money equivalent to about three months’ wages.)

In this parable ten servants are mentioned, although only the cases of three of them are described in detail. Originally, all ten servants received the same amount committed to them by their lord: one mina each.

Of the three servants whose cases are described, the first gained ten minas, the second gained five minas, and the third merely hid his mina away and eventually brought it back in the same condition in which he had received it.

It would appear that each of these three servants possessed equal ability, since each received the same amount committed to him. However, they were not equally faithful. The first gained twice as much with his mina as the second. For this reason his reward was twice as great.

Then came the first, saying, “Master, your mina has earned ten minas.” And he said to him, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” And the second came, saying, “Master, your mina has earned five minas.” Likewise he said to him, “You also be over five cities” (Luke 19: 16-19).

We notice that, in two respects, the reward of the first servant was greater than that of the second. First, the first servant was specifically commended by his lord as a good servant; the second servant received no such special commendation. Second, the first servant was given authority over ten cities; the second servant was given authority only over five cities. That is to say, their rewards were in exact proportion to the increase which each had achieved.

One further conclusion we may draw from this parable is that rewards for serving Christ faithfully in this present age will consist in positions of authority and responsibility in the administration of Christ’s kingdom in the following age. In other words, faithful service in the present age leads to continued and extended opportunities of service in the next age. For those who truly love Christ there can be no greater joy or privilege than that of continuing to serve their Lord. For those who are faithful, this privilege, begun here in time, will be extended throughout the ages of eternity.

In this parable of the minas, as in that of the talents, the third servant was condemned for being unfaithful and failing to make any use at all of the mina committed to him.

And he said to him, “Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?” And he said to those who stood by, “Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas” (Luke 19:22-24).

In this parable, as in that of the talents, the unfaithful servant not only received no reward, but even the one mina he had originally received was taken away from him. The final end of the servant with the one mina is not revealed in this parable. However, it seems reasonable to conclude that, like the unfaithful servant in the parable of the talents, he was rejected and cast out from his lord’s presence.

In both these parables alike, failure to make active use of the talent or mina committed to each servant is described by the very strong word wicked. In each case the lord commences his judgment of the unfaithful servant by the phrase “you wicked servant.”

From this we learn that, by God’s standards, wickedness consists not only in actively doing that which is bad, but just as much in the failure to do good when it lies within our power to do it.

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4: 17).

In other words, the sins of omission are no less serious than the sins of commission.

The same thought is contained in Malachi’s prophetic revelation of God’s judgment.

Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked,
Between one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him (Mal. 3:18).

Here we find a clear and sharp distinction made by God between the righteous and the wicked. The righteous are defined as those who serve God; the wicked as those who do not serve God. Once again the lesson is plain: Not to serve God is in itself wickedness.

It was this wickedness that led to the condemnation and rejection of the unfaithful servant in each of the two parables we have studied. In neither of these parables did the rejected servant do anything evil; in each case the ground of his rejection was merely that he failed to do the good which it was in his power to do. In both these parables Christ indicates that this same principle of judgment will be applied to all those who claim to be His followers and servants.

In the previous chapter we examined the passage that speaks about the Christian whose works are rejected and burned up in the fire of judgment, yet he himself is saved (see 1 Cor. 3: 11-15). On the other hand, in the parables which we have now considered, it appears that the unfaithful servant is not only deprived of any reward, but he himself is rejected and cast out forever from his lord’s presence.

This naturally leads us to ask an important question: What is the difference, in God’s estimation, of these two cases? Why should it be that, in the case described by Paul, the man’s works are rejected but he himself is saved, whereas in the parable of Jesus the unfaithful servant not only loses his reward but is himself also rejected and cast out?

The difference appears to be this. In the case described by Paul, the man actually did try to do something active for his master; in fact, the examples of wood, hay and straw suggest that he did a great deal. However, his work was not of the kind or quality that would stand the test of fire. Yet this activity of his – though misguided and unrewarded – did at least serve to prove that his actual faith in Christ was genuine. For this reason the salvation of his soul was assured even though his works were burned up.

On the other hand, the unfaithful servant with the one talent did nothing at all for his master – either good or bad. This failure to act at all showed that his profession of faith and service was vain and insincere.

Faith without works is dead also (James 2:26).

A faith that does not result in activity of any kind is a dead faith; it is empty, worthless, insincere. Not only does it fail to produce any works of service which can be rewarded; it even fails to secure for the one who professes it the salvation of his own soul. A person who professes faith in Christ without ever seeking to serve Christ actively is a hypocrite.

For this reason, the judgment of such a person is to be cast “into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” A careful examination of passages concerning similar judgments (see Matt. 24:51 and Luke 12:46) shows that this place of outer darkness, with its weeping and gnashing of teeth, is the place reserved for the hypocrite and the unbeliever. The unfaithful servant who does nothing at all for his master must take his place in this same category; he is in reality a hypocrite and an unbeliever. The place appointed for him is outer darkness.

Does a Born-again Christian Never Commit Sin Again?

Does a born-again Christian never commit sin again? In his book The Spirit-Filled Believers’s Handbook, bible teacher Derek Prince provided some good insights on this subject, that would be helpful to new believers who might be struggling with this issue.

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:9).

John here directly relates the victorious life of the overcoming Christian to the nature of the seed which produced that life within him – that is, God’s own seed – the incorruptible seed of God’s Word. Because the seed is incorruptible, the life it produces is also incorruptible; that is, absolutely pure and holy.

However, this Scripture does not assert that a born-again Christian can never commit sin. Within every born-again Christian a completely new nature has come into being. Paul calls this new nature “the new man” and contrasts it with “the old man” – the old, corrupt, depraved, fallen nature which dominates every person who has never been born again (see Eph. 4:22-24).

There is a complete contrast between these two: The “new man” is righteous and holy; the “old man” is depraved and corrupt. The “new man,” being born of God, cannot commit sin; the “old man,” being the product of man’s rebellion and fall, cannot help committing sin.

The kind of life which any born-again Christian leads is the outcome of the interplay within him of these two natures. So long as the “old man” is kept in subjection and the “new man” exercises his proper control, there is unsullied righteousness, victory and peace. But whenever the “old man” is allowed to reassert himself and regain his control, the inevitable consequence is failure, defeat and sin.

We may sum up the contrast in this way: The true Christian who has been born again of the incorruptible seed of God’s Word has within him the possibility of leading a life of complete victory over sin. The unregenerate man who has never been born again has no alternative but to commit sin. He is inevitably the slave of his own corrupt, fallen nature.

The Dangers of Overemphasising Spiritual Gifts Over Fruits

According to the late bible teacher, Derek Prince, in many places today the church is an ungodly mixture.

No clear line is drawn between the spiritual and the soulish, and therefore there is no barrier to the demonic,” noted Prince, in his book Rules of Engagement: Preparing for Your Role in the Spiritual Battle.

Genuine  manifestations of the Holy Spirit are interspersed with manifestations that are clearly demonic. As a result, many sincere believers are confused and bewildered.

One reason for this could be a preoccupation with spiritual gifts over spiritual fruits in these congregations.

If people are excessively preoccupied with spiritual gifts, it often indicates that they are more concerned with the things of time than eternity. Such people need to heed Paul’s warning: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:19; NIV)

More important still, the exercise of spiritual gifts gives no indication of a person’s character. Let me illustrate with a crude example. Suppose a person who is lazy, deceitful and conceited receives an unearned gift of one million dollars. His character will not be changed at all. He will still be lazy, deceitful, conceited. In fact, he may even be more conceited because he has a million dollars in his bank account!

The same applies to a person who receives a dramatic spiritual gift, such as prophecy or healings or miracles. If he was weak and unstable before, he will be just as weak and unstable afterwards. But his new gift will give him greater influence with people and he will have the added responsibility of exercising it in a way that is righteous and pleasing to God.

A major problem in the charismatic movement is that people tend to assess ministers more by their gifts than by their character. Yet experience has demonstrated time and time again that it is possible for a person to exercise dramatic, impressive gifts and yet have a very defective character. Sometimes such people may even use their gifts to cover up the imperfections of their characters.

There was a minister in a Scandinavian country who preached on the “latter rain” of the Holy Spirit in such a powerful way that people in his congregation actually felt the Holy Spirit falling on them like drops of rain. Yet he went straight out from those services to commit adultery. When he was charged with this, people could not believe that a man who preached like that would commit such a sin—until eventually he acknowledged it himself.

As a young preacher, I greatly admired an older man who had a spectacular ministry of miracles. He also taught very forcefully that it is possible for a Christian to live without ever sinning. Yet eventually he divorced his wife, married his secretary, and died an alcoholic. Other well known and successful preachers have experienced similar personal tragedies.

When confronted with cases such as these, people often respond, “But surely if a person misuses one of these gifts, God would take it away!

Yet the answer is No! The gifts of the Spirit are exactly what the name implies—genuine gifts, not loans with conditions attached or a repayment schedule. “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). Once we receive one of these gifts, we are free to use it, misuse it or just not use it at all. Ultimately, however, God will require an account of what we have done—or not done.

We need to bear always in mind the warning of Jesus, “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:20, NASB) — not by their gifts. Jesus followed up these words by an explicit warning that the exercise of spiritual gifts is not necessarily a passport to heaven:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

This indicates that it is possible for a person to exercise spiritual gifts and at the same time to “practice lawlessness.” What is “lawlessness”? It is an arrogant assumption that God’s moral and ethical standards no longer apply to those who can exercise gifts of supernatural power.

How Demons Can Infiltrate Christians

Can demons infiltrate Christians? The late Derek Prince suggested that they can, and in the book, Rules of Engagement: Preparing for Your Role in the Spiritual Battle, he explains how:

In James 3:15 the apostle speaks about a form of wisdom which does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual [soulish], demonic. James depicts a downward slide in three successive stages: from the earthly to the soulish to the demonic.

When Christians become earthly they lose the vision of eternity. They cannot see beyond the things of this life: success, pleasure, wealth, physical health. They are only interested in what their faith will do for them in this life! Concerning such people Paul says: If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable (1 Corinthians 15:19). Christians like that often consider themselves prosperous and successful. God considers them pitiable.

After the earthly, the next stage is soulish. To be soulish is to be egocentric, self-centered. For such people, the Christian faith is a way to get what they want out of life. They suppose that godliness is a means of gain (1 Timothy 6:5).

The soulish opens the way for the demonic. This is one main way in which demons infiltrate the church. The question is often asked: Do Christians ever need deliverance from demons? The words of James provide a clear answer. This downward slide from the earthly to the soulish to the demonic exposes both individual believers and whole congregations to the activities of demons.

Year-End Spiritual Spring Cleaning

As we transition into the new year, it is perhaps timely for us to take stock and do some spring cleaning of our hearts.

For in Hebrews 12:1-2, we are admonished to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher [perfecter] of our faith“.

However, as the late Derek Prince noted, “it is not sufficient that we deal with things in our lives that are actually sinful. We must also eliminate weights—things that are not sinful in themselves, but yet would hinder us from concentrating every effort on our service for Christ.

A runner in a race strips down to the bare minimum. He does not carry one ounce of unnecessary weight. We must do the same. Here are some of the things that we may need to eliminate: social obligations that have no spiritual significance – sentimental attachments to people, places or pets – excessive concern with the stock market, sports or women’s fashions – window shopping – worries about money, health, family or politics.

Concerning each thing to which we devote time and attention, we need to ask two questions. Does it glorify Jesus? Does it build me up spiritually?”

P/S:  The above quote can be found in the book Rules of Engagement: Preparing for Your Role in the Spiritual Battle.

Here’s How One Godly and Wise Father Dealt With His Teenage Daughter’s Increasing Desire for Worldly Things

Here’s a great story shared by the late Derek Prince. It can be found in the book Rules of Engagement: Preparing for Your Role in the Spiritual Battle.

Many years ago in London, the daughter of a Swedish pastor lived with us for about three months learning English, which I taught her. She was a very beautiful, talented girl with a lovely singing voice. Her father was the pastor of the largest Pentecostal church in Sweden, and she had grown up in a very strict Pentecostal environment.

When this girl was about fourteen years old, she was listening to what all her friends at school talked about—all the pleasures of the theater and dancing and things like that. And she became more and more interested. So one day she went to her father and said, “Father, I want to thank you for the care that you’ve given me, the way you trained me and brought me up. But I want to tell you that from now on I want to go another way. I want to find out what the world has to offer. I hear all my friends talking about it, and I want to find out for myself.” And her father, who was a wise man, said, “Barbara, your mother and I will pray for you.” He didn’t argue. He didn’t say it was wrong. He said, “We’ll pray.”

That night, the daughter had the most vivid dream of her life. In this dream she saw two cities, and one was a big, modern, beautiful city. It was filled with lights flashing and glittering everywhere. Across a valley there was another city that had a different kind of light. It didn’t flash, it didn’t glitter, but it was steady and calm. While she was looking at the city with the glittering neon lights, a man introduced himself to her. He was very cultivated, very educated and very well dressed. He said, “I’d like to show you around this city.” And she went with him.

The further she went with him, the uglier he became. Soon she realized it was the devil himself. As she stopped there in horror, all the lights in this neon city began to go out one by one by one until the city was in total darkness. She turned to look across at the other city, and it was as bright and clear as it had always been. The next day she went to her father and said, “Daddy, I’m coming to church with you.” She was a wise girl. She listened when the Lord spoke.

Humanism is the Forerunner for the Antichrist (Derek Prince)

According to the late bible teacher, Derek Prince, humanism will be the forerunner for the Antichrist during the end times (which this Editor believes is the very times that we are living in!)

In recent months as I have been meditating on developments in the world and especially in the U.S.A. and Israel I believe that God has shown me the identity of the evil, deceptive power that Satan plans to use to consummate his purposes for the end of this age. It is HUMANISM.

I had always thought of humanism as a comparatively harmless error. When I consulted a dictionary, I was taken aback by its definition: the denial of any power or moral value superior to that of humanity; the rejection of religion in favor of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts.

I realized that humanism is not spiritually neutral. On the contrary, it is a deliberate denial and rejection of God’s power and authority. It is an anti-religious religion. For this reason, it can be and often is taught in educational systems, such as that of the U.S.A., which prohibit the teaching of religion in its usual sense.

I decided to trace humanism back through history, starting with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of an image with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, and legs of iron. Daniel interpreted this as foreshowing four Gentile empires which would arise in succession. The head was Babylon; the chest and arms were Media-Persia; the belly and thighs were Greece; the legs were Rome (see Dan. 2:31-40).

One key factor was impressed upon me: the reproductive organs were in the area identified with Greece. With my background in Greek philosophy, this became particularly vivid to me. I realized that it was Greece more than any of the other empires which, through its philosophy, reproduced itself in subsequent cultures.

Two of the early Greek philosophers of whom we have a record are Heraclitus and Protagoras. Three of their surviving sayings state: all things flow . . . you can never step twice into the same river . . . man is the measure of all things. It is amazing how these three sayings sum up the essence of humanism. They assert that everything is relative; there are no moral or legal absolutes; and man is the highest authority in the universe.

It is outside the scope of this study to analyze how this thinking has molded, first, the concepts of Europe, and then, through Europe, the concepts of contemporary civilization. The Greeks idolized the human mind. Aristotle s concept of God was a perfect mind contemplating itself because nothing less was worthy of its contemplation. Out of this the whole philosophy of rationalism has developed.

In addition to philosophy, another main element of Greek culture was its emphasis on athletic contests. Their Olympic Games represented what was, in fact, an idolatry of athletic prowess, which has come back to life in the present century. The most widely viewed TV programs today are the great international sporting contests.

The Greeks also tended to downgrade the marriage relationship between a man and a woman, and to view a homosexual relationship between two men as being more intellectually fulfilling. In their statuary, the idealized male form was usually presented naked, whereas the female was draped with some form of robe.

The so-called gods of Greece exhibited all the moral failings of humanity: lust, immorality, jealousy, vindictiveness and deception a complete absence, in fact, of any binding moral code. This left man free to be his own god, and to establish his own moral code. After all, no people can be expected to live above the level of its own gods.

All these effects of Greek humanism have been increasingly evident in our Western culture throughout the present century. In 1992, however, the spirit of humanism launched a major new offensive against both the U.S.A. and Israel. Almost simultaneously, a cloud of dense spiritual darkness descended upon both nations.

In their national elections that year the spiritual force that brought to power both the Clinton administration in the U.S.A. and the Labor Coalition in Israel was blatant, undiluted humanism. Both administrations represent an open and deliberate rejection of God’s righteous laws and of the covenants He made with man, first through Moses and then through Jesus Christ. They have demonstrated that, carried to its ultimate, humanism will believe anything but the truth and will tolerate anything but righteousness.

This exaltation of man is the force which will finally give rise to the Antichrist, whose name is the number of man (see Rev. 13:18), the man of lawlessness, who opposes and exalts himself above everything that is called God or is worshiped, and even sets himself up in God s temple, proclaiming himself to be God (see 2 Thess. 2:3-4).

Scripture reveals that he will bring under his dominion all who have refused the love of the truth. For this reason God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie — the original lie, that is, with which Satan deceived our first parents: “You will be like God” or “like gods”. This exaltation of man in the place of God will usher in the “great tribulation” — a period of worldwide agony so terrible that it will exceed even the holocaust of 1939 -1945 (see Matt. 24:21-22).

Before this final period of tribulation, however, God still has tremendous purposes to work out for both Israel and the Church. A harvest of mercy will precede the harvest of judgment. God s preparation for this is revealed in Zechariah 9:13: “I will raise up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece” (NASB).

The “sons of Greece” are those who embrace the deception of humanism. The “sons of Zion” are those who take their stand upon the infallible Word of God, embracing both its promises and its covenants. They will be drawn both from natural Israel and from the professing Church. Of them it will be said, “They overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11). They will be people with one overriding priority; to do the will of God will be more important to them than to hold on to life itself.

Numerically, we are vastly outnumbered by the forces of humanism. Nevertheless, we can take courage from the example of Asa, king of Judah. Facing an invasion by an overwhelmingly superior army, his prayer of desperation turned sure defeat into total victory. For us today, his prayer provides a wonderful pattern with which to counter the self-exalting forces of humanism.

“LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you.” (2 Chronicles 14:11, NIV, emphasis added)

Again we must ask ourselves: Am I ready to take my stand as one of the sons of Zion?

P/S: The above text can be found in the book Rules of Engagement: Preparing for Your Role in the Spiritual Battle.