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The Deeper Christian Life
AUTHOR: Murray, Andrew
PUBLISHED ON: March 27, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN

The Deeper Christian Life

  * I. DAILY FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD
        o II. PRIVILEGE AND EXPERIENCE
        o III. CARNAL OR SPIRITUAL?
        o IV. OUT OF AND INTO
        o V. THE BLESSING SECURED
        o VI. THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST
        o VII. A WORD TO WORKERS
        o CONSECRATION

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Typed by: Kathy Sewell, ksewell@gate.net, June 1, 1997
This book is in the public domain
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                          THE DEEPER CHRISTIAN LIFE

                          AN AID TO ITS ATTAINMENT

                                    BY

                                ANDREW MURRAY

                    AUTHOR OF “THE MASTER’S INDWELLING,”

                  “WITH CHRIST IN THE SCHOOL OF PRAYER,”

                                ETC., ETC.

                          FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY

                          CHICAGO NEW YORK TORONTO

                    PUBLISHERS OF EVANGELICAL LITERATURE

                            COPYRIGHT 1895, BY

                          FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY

                        I. DAILY FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

1. The first and chief need of our Christian life is, Fellowship with God.
    The Divine life within us comes from God, and is entirely dependent
upon Him. As I need every moment afresh the air to breathe, as the s sun
every moment afresh sends down its light, so it is only in direct living
communication with God that my soul can be strong.
    The manna of one day was corrupt when the next day came. I must every
day have fresh grace from heaven, and I obtain it only in direct waiting
upon God Himself. Begin each day by tarrying before God, and letting Him
touch you. Take time to meet God.
    2. To this end, let your first act in your devotion be a setting
yourself still before God. In prayer, or worship, everything depends upon
God taking the chief place. I must bow quietly before Him in humble faith
and adoration, speaking thus within my heart: “God is. God is near. God is
love, longing to communicate Himself to me. God the Almighty One, Who
worketh all in all, is even now waiting to work in me, and make Himself
known.” Take time, till you know God is very near.
    3. When you have given God His place of honor, glory, and power, take
your place of deepest lowliness, and seek to be filled with the Spirit of
humility. As a creature it is your blessedness to be nothing, that God may
be all in you. As a sinner you are not worthy to look up to God; bow in self
abasement. As a saint, let God’s love overwhelm you, and bow you still lower
down. Sink down before Him in humility, meekness, patience, and surrender to
His goodness and mercy. He will exalt you. Oh! take time, to get very low
before God.
    4. Then accept and value your place in Christ Jesus. God delights in
nothing but His beloved Son, and can be satisfied with nothing else in those
who draw nigh to Him. Enter deep into God’s holy presence in the boldness
which the blood gives, and in the assurance that in Christ you are most
well-pleasing. In Christ you are within the veil. You have access into the
very heart and love of the Father. This is the great object of fellowship
with God, that I may have more of God in my life, and that God may see
Christ formed in me. Be silent before God and let Him bless you.
    5. This Christ is a living Person. He loves you with a personal love,
and He looks every day for the personal response of your love. Look into His
face with trust, till His love really shines into your heart. Make His heart
glad by telling Him that you do love Him. He offers Himself to you as a
personal Saviour and Keeper from the power of sin. Do not ask, can I be kept
from sinning, if I keep close to Him? but ask, can I be kept from sinning,
if He always keeps close to me? and you see at once how safe it is to trust
Him.
    6. We have not only Christ’s life in us as a power, and His presence
with us as a person, but we have His likeness to be wrought into us. He is
to be formed in us, so that His form or figure, His likeness, can be seen in
us. Bow before God until you get some sense of the greatness and blessedness
of the work to be carried on by God in you this day. Say to God, “Father,
here am I for Thee to give as much in me of Christ’s likeness as I can
receive.” And wait to hear Him say, “My child, I give thee as much of Christ
as thy heart is open to receive.” The God who revealed Jesus in the flesh
and perfected Him, will reveal Him in thee and perfect thee in Him. The
Father loves the Son, and delights to work out His image and likeness in
thee. Count upon it that this blessed work will be done in thee as thou
waitest on thy God, and holdest fellowship with Him.
    7. The likeness to Christ consists chiefly in two things–the likeness
of His death and resurrection, (Rom. 6:5). The death of Christ was the
consummation of His humility and obedience, the entire giving up of His life
to God. In Him we are dead to sin. As we sink down in humility and
dependence and entire surrender to God, the power of His death works in us,
and we are made conformable to His death. And so we know Him in the power of
His resurrection, in the victory over sin, and all the joy and power of the
risen life. Therefore every morning, “present yourselves unto God as those
that are alive from the dead.” He will maintain the life He gave, and bestow
the grace to live as risen ones.
    8. All this can only be in the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in
you. Count upon Him to glorify Christ in you. Count upon Christ to increase
in you the inflowing of His Spirit. As you wait before God to realize His
presence, remember that the Spirit is in you to reveal the things of God.
Seek in God’s presence to have the anointing of the Spirit of Christ so
truly that your whole life may every moment be spiritual.
    9. As you meditate on this wondrous salvation and seek full fellowship
with the great and holy God, and wait on Him to reveal Christ in you, you
will feel how needful the giving up of all is to receive Him. Seek grace to
know what it means to live as wholly for God as Christ did. Only the Holy
Spirit Himself can teach you what an entire yielding of the whole life to
God can mean. Wait on God to show you in this what you do not know. Let
every approach to God, and every request for fellowship with Him be
accompanied by a new, very definite, and entire surrender to Him to work in
you.
    10. “By faith” must here, as through all Scripture, and all the
spiritual life, be the keynote. As you tarry before God, let it be in a deep
quiet faith in Him, the Invisible One, who is so near, so holy, so mighty,
so loving. In a deep, restful faith too, that all the blessings and powers
of the heavenly life are around you, and in you. Just yield yourself in the
faith of a perfect trust to the Ever Blessed Holy Trinity to work out all
God’s purpose in you. Begin each day thus in fellowship with God, and God
will be all in all to you.

                        II. PRIVILEGE AND EXPERIENCE

    “And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I
    have is thine.” –Luke 15:31.

The words of the text are familiar to us all. The elder son had complained
and said, that though his father had made a feast, and had killed the fatted
calf for the prodigal son, he had never given him even a kid that he might
make merry with his friends. The answer of the father was: “Son, thou art
ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” One cannot have a more
wonderful revelation of the heart of our Father in heaven than this points
out to us. We often speak of the wonderful revelation of the father’s heart
in his welcome to the prodigal son, and in what he did for him. But here we
have a revelation of the father’s love far more wonderful, in what he says
to the elder son.
    If we are to experience a deepening of spiritual life, we want to
discover clearly what is the spiritual life that God would have us live, on
the one hand; and, on the other, to ask whether we are living that life; or,
if not, what hinders us living it out fully.
    This subject naturally divides itself into these three heads:–I. The
high privilege of every child of God. 2. The low experience of too many of
us believers. 3. The cause of the discrepancy; and, lastly, The way to the
restoration of the privilege.

    I. THE HIGH PRIVILEGE OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD.

    We have here two things describing the privilege:–First, “Son, thou
art ever with me”–unbroken fellowship with thy Father is thy portion;
Second, “All that I have is thine”–all that God can bestow upon His
children is theirs.
    “Thou are ever with me;” I am always near thee; thou canst dwell every
hour of thy life in My presence, and all I have is for thee. I am a father,
with a loving father’s heart. I will withhold no good thing from thee. In
these promises, we have the rich privilege of God’s heritage. We have, in
the first place, unbroken fellowship with Him. A father never sends his
child away with the thought that he does not care about his child knowing
that he loves him. The father longs to have his child believe that he has
the light of his father’s countenance upon him all the day–that, if he
sends the child away to school, or anywhere that necessity compels, it is
with a sense of sacrifice of parental feelings. If it be so with an earthly
father, what think you of God? Does He not want every child of His to know
that he is constantly living in the light of His countenance? This is the
meaning of that word, “Son, thou art ever with me.”
    That was the privilege of God’s people in Old Testament times. We are
told that “Enoch walked with God.” God’s promise to Jacob was: “Behold, I am
with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will
bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee until I have done
that which I have spoken to thee of.” And God’s promise to Israel through
Moses, was: “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” And
in Moses’ response to the promise, he says, “For wherein shall it be known
that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? Is it not that Thou
goest with us; so shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the
people that are upon the face of the earth.” The presence of God with Israel
was the mark of their separation from other people. This is the truth taught
in all the Old Testament; and if so, how much more may we look for it in the
New Testament? Thus we find our Saviour promising to those who love Him and
who keep His word, that the Father also will love them, and Father and Son
will come and make Their abode with them.
    Let that thought into your hearts–that the child of God is called to
this blessed privilege, to live every moment of his life in fellowship with
God. He is called to enjoy the full light of His countenance. There are many
Christians–I suppose the majority of Christians–who seem to regard the
whole of the Spirit’s work as confined to conviction and conversion:–not so
much that He came to dwell in our hearts, and there reveal God to us. He
came not to dwell near us, but in us, that we might be filled with His
indwelling. We are commanded to be “filled with the Spirit;” then the Holy
Spirit would make God’s presence manifest to us. That is the whole teaching
of the epistle to the Hebrews:–the veil is rent in twain; we have access
into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus; we come into the very
presence of God, so that we can live all the day with that presence resting
upon us. That presence is with us wheresoever we go; and in all kinds of
trouble, we have undisturbed repose and peace. “Son, thou art ever with me.”
    There are some people who seem to think that God, by some
unintelligible sovereignty, withdraws His face. But I know that God loves
His people too much to withhold His fellowship from them for any such
reason. The true reason of the absence of God from us is rather to be found
in our sin and unbelief, than in any supposed sovereignty of His. If the
child of God is walking in faith and obedience, the Divine presence will be
enjoyed in unbroken continuity.
    Then there is the next blessed privilege: “All that I have is thine.”
Thank God, He has given us His own Son; and in giving Him, He has given us
all things that are in Him, He has given us Christ’s life, His love, His
Spirit, His glory. “All things are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is
God’s.” All the riches of His Son, the everlasting King, God bestows upon
every one of His children. “Son, thou art ever with me; and all that I have
is thine.” Is not that the meaning of all those wonderful promises given in
connection with prayer: “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, ye shall
receive.”? Yes, there it is. That is the life of the children of God, as He
Himself has pictured it to us.
    2. In contrast with this high privilege of believers, look at

    THE LOW EXPERIENCE OF TOO MANY OF US.

    The elder son was living with his father and serving him “these many
years,” and he complains that his father never gave him a kid, while he gave
his prodigal brother the fatted calf. Why was this? Simply because he did
not ask it. He did not believe that he would get it, and therefore never
asked it, and never enjoyed it. He continued thus to live in constant
murmuring and dissatisfaction; and the key note of all this wretched life is
furnished in what he said. His father gave him everything, yet he never
enjoyed it; and he throws the whole blame on his loving and kind father. O
beloved, is not that the life of many a believer? Do not many speak and act
in this way? Every believer has the promise of unbroken fellowship with God,
but he says, “I have not enjoyed it; I have tried hard and done my best, and
I have prayed for the blessing, but I suppose God does not see fit to grant
it.” But why not? One says, it is the sovereignty of God withholding the
blessing. The father withheld not his gifts from the elder brother in
sovereignty; neither does our Heavenly Father withhold any good thing from
them that love Him. He does not make any such differences between His
children. “He is able to make all grace abound towards you” was the promise
equally made to all in the Corinthian church.
    Some think these rich blessings are not for them, but for those who
have more time to devote to religion and prayer; or their circumstances are
so difficult, so peculiar, that we can have no conception of their various
hindrances. But do not such think that God, if He places them in these
circumstances, cannot make His grace abound accordingly? They admit He could
if He would, work a miracle for them, which they can hardly expect. In some
way, they, like the elder son, throw the blame on God. Thus many are saying,
when asked if they are enjoying unbroken fellowship with God:–“Alas, no! I
have not been able to attain to such a height; it is too high for me. I know
of some who have it, and I read of it; but God has not given it to me, for
some reason.” But why not? You think, perhaps, that you have not the same
capacity for spiritual blessing that others have. The Bible speaks of a joy
that is “unspeakable and full of glory” as the fruit of believing; of a
“love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto us.” Do
we desire it, do we? Why not get it? Have we asked for it? We think we are
not worthy of the blessing–we are not good enough; and therefore God has
not given it. There are more among us than we know of, or are willing to
admit, who throw the blame of our darkness, and of our wanderings on God!
Take care! Take care! Take care!
    And again, what about that other promise? The Father says, “All I have
is thine.” Are you rejoicing in the treasures of Christ? Are you conscious
of having an abundant supply for all your spiritual needs every day? God has
all these for you in abundance. “Thou never gavest me a kid!” The answer is,
“All that I have is thine. I gave it thee in Christ.”
    Dear reader, we have such wrong thoughts of God. What is God like? I
know no image more beautiful and instructive than that of the sun. The sun
is never weary of shining;–of pouring out his beneficent rays upon both the
good and the evil. You might close up the windows with blinds or bricks, the
sun would shine upon them all the same; though we might sit in darkness, in
utter darkness, the shining would be just the same. God’s sun shines on
every leaf; on every flower; on every blade of grass; on everything that
springs out of the ground. All receive this wealth of sunshine until they
grow to perfection and bear fruit. Would He who made that sun be less
willing to poor out His love and life into me? The sun–what beauty it
creates! And my God,–would He not delight more in creating a beauty and a
fruitfulness in me?–such, too, as He has promised to give? And yet some
say, when asked why they do not live in unbroken communion with God, “God
does not give it to me, I do not know why; but that is the only reason I can
give you–He has not given it to me.” You remember the parable of the one
who said, “I know thou art an hard master, reaping where thou hast not sown
and gathering where thou hast not strawed,” asking and demanding what thou
hast not given. Oh! let us come and ask why it is that the believer lives
such a low experience.

    3. THE CAUSE OF THIS DISCREPANCY BETWEEN GOD’S GIFTS, AND OUR LOW
EXPERIENCE.

    The believer is complaining that God has never given him a kid. Or, God
has given him some blessing, but has never given the full blessing. He has
never filled him with His Spirit. “I never,” he says, “had my heart, as a
fountain, giving forth the rivers of living water promised in John vii. 38.”
What is the cause? The elder son thought he was serving his father
faithfully “these many years” in his father’s house, but it was in the
spirit of bondage and not in the spirit of a child, so that his unbelief
blinded him to the conception of a father’s love and kindness, and he was
unable all the time to see that his father was ready, not only to give him a
kid, but a hundred, or a thousand kids, if he would have them. He was simply
living in unbelief, in ignorance, in blindness, robbing himself of the
privileges that the father had for him. So, if there be a discrepancy
between our life and the fulfillment and enjoyment of all God’s promises,
the fault is ours. It our experience be not what God wants it to be, it is
because of our unbelief in the love of God, in the power of God, and in the
reality of God’s promises.
    God’s word teaches us, in the story of the Israelites, that it was
unbelief on their part that was the cause of their troubles, and not any
limitation or restriction on God’s part. As Psalm 78th says:–“He clave the
rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. He
brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like
rivers.” Yet they sinned by doubting His power to provide meat for
them–“They spake against God; they said, can God furnish a table in the
wilderness?” (vs. 15-19). Later on, we read in v. 41, “They turned back and
tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” They kept distrusting Him
from time to time. When they got to Kadesh-Barnea, and God told them to
enter the land flowing with milk and honey where there would be rest,
abundance, and victory, only two men said, “Yes;” we can take possession,
for God can make us conquer.” But the ten spies, and the six hundred
thousand men answered, “No; we can never take the land; the enemies are too
strong for us.” It was simply unbelief that kept them out of the land of
promise.
    If there is to be any deepening of the spiritual life in us, we must
come to the discovery, and the acknowledgment of the unbelief there is in
our hearts. God grant that we may get this spiritual quickening, and that we
may come to see that it is by our unbelief that we have prevented God from
doing His work in us. Unbelief is the mother of disobedience, and of all my
sins and short comings–my temper, my pride, my unlovingness, my
worldliness, my sins of every kind. Though these differ in nature and form,
yet they all come from the one root, viz, that we do not believe in the
freedom and fulness of the Divine gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and
strengthen us, and fill us with the life and grace of God all the day long.
Look, I pray you, at that elder son, and ask what was the cause of that
terrible difference between the heart of the father and the experience of
the son. There can be no answer but that it was this sinful unbelief that
utterly blinded the son to a sense of his father’s love.
    Dear fellow believer, I want to say to you, that, if you are not living
in the joy of God’s salvation, the entire cause is your unbelief. You do not
believe in the mighty power of God, and that He is willing by His Holy
Spirit to work a thorough change in your life, and enable you to live in
fulness of consecration to Him. God is willing that you should so live; but
you do not believe it. If men really believed in the infinite love of God,
what a change it would bring about! What is love? It is a desire to
communicate oneself for the good of the object loved–the opposite to
selfishness; as we read in 1 Cor. xiii. “Love seeketh not her own.” Thus the
mother is willing to sacrifice herself for the good of her child. So God in
His love is ever willing to impart blessing; and He is omnipotent in His
love. This is true, my friends; God is omnipotent in love, and He is doing
His utmost to fill every heart in this house. “But if God is really anxious
to do that, and if He is Almighty, why does He not do it now?” You must
remember, that God has given you a will, and by the exercise of that will,
you can hinder God, and remain content, like the elder son, with the low
life of unbelief. Come, now, and let us see the cause of the difference
between God’s high, blessed provision for His children, and the low, sad
experience of many of us in the unbelief that distrusts and grieves Him.

    4. THE WAY OF RESTORATION–HOW IS THAT TO BE BROUGHT ABOUT?

    We all know the parable of the prodigal son; and how many sermons have
been preached about repentance, from that parable. We are told that “he came
to himself and said, I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto
him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight.” In preaching,
we speak of this as the first step in a changed life–as conversion, as
repentance, confession, returning to God. But, as this is the first step for
the prodigal, we must remember that this is also the step to be taken by His
erring children–by all the ninety-nine “who need no repentance,” or think
they do not. Those Christians who do not understand how wrong their low
religious life is, must be taught that this is sin–unbelief; and that it is
as necessary that they should be brought to repentance as the prodigal. You
have heard a great deal of preaching repentance to the unconverted; but I
want to try to preach it to God’s children. We have a picture of so many of
God’s children in that elder brother. What the father told him, to bring
about a consideration of the love that He bore him, just as he loved the
prodigal brother, thus does God tell to us in our contentedness with such a
low life:–“You must repent and believe that I love you, and all that I have
is thine.” He says, “By your unbelief, you have dishonoured me, living for
ten, twenty, or thirty years, and never believing what it was to live in the
blessedness of My love. You must confess the wrong you have done Me in this,
and be broken down in contrition of heart just as truly as the prodigal.”
    There are many children of God who need to confess, that though they
are His children, they have never believed that God’s promises are true,
that He is willing to fill their hearts all the day long with His blessed
presence. Have you believed this? If you have not, all our teaching will be
of no profit to you. Will you not say, “By the help of God, I will begin now
a new life of faith, and will not rest until I know what such a life means.
I will believe that I am every moment in the Father’s presence, and all that
He has is mine?”
    May the Lord God work this conviction in the hearts of all cold
believers. Have you ever heard the expression, “a conviction for
sanctification?” You know, the unconverted man needs a conviction before
conversion. So does the dark-minded Christian need conviction before, and in
order to sanctification, before he comes to a real insight to spiritual
blessedness. He must be convicted a second time because of his sinful life
of doubt, and temper, and unlovingness. He must be broken down under that
conviction; then there is hope for him. May the Father of mercy grant all
such that deep contrition, so that they may be led into the blessedness of
His presence, and enjoy the fulness of His power and love!

                          III. CARNAL OR SPIRITUAL?

    “And Peter went out and wept bitterly.” –Luke 22:62.

These words indicate the turning point in the life of Peter,–a crisis.
There is often a question about the life of holiness. Do you grow into it?
or do you come into it be a crisis suddenly? Peter has been growing for
three years under the training of Christ, but he had grown terribly
downward, for the end of his growing was, he denied Jesus. And then there
came a crisis. After the crisis he was a changed man, and then he began to
grow aright. We must indeed grow in grace, but before we can grow in grace
we must be put right.
    You know what the two halves of the life of Peter were. In God’s Word
we read very often about the difference between the carnal and the spiritual
Christian. The word “carnal” comes from the Latin word for flesh. In Romans
viii, and in Gal. v., we are taught that the flesh and the Spirit of God are
the two opposing powers by which we are dominated or ruled, and we are
taught that a true believer may allow himself to be ruled by the flesh. That
is what Paul writes to the Corinthians. In the 3rd chapter, the first four
verses, he says, four times to them, “You are carnal, and not spiritual.”
And just so a believer can allow the flesh to have so much power over him
that becomes “carnal.” Every object is named according to its most prominent
characteristic. If a man is a babe in Christ and has a little of the Holy
Spirit and a great deal of the flesh, he is called carnal, for the flesh is
his chief mark. If he gives way, as the Corinthians did, to strife, temper,
division, and envy, he is a carnal Christian. He is a Christian, but a
carnal one. But if he gives himself over entirely to the Holy Spirit so that
He (the Holy Spirit) can deliver from the temper, the envy, and the strife,
by breathing a heavenly disposition; and can mortify the deeds of the body;
then God’s Word calls him a “spiritual” man, a true spiritual Christian.
    Now, these two styles are remarkably illustrated in the life of Peter.
The text is the crisis and turning point at which he begins to pass over
from the one side to the other.
    The message that I want to bring to you is this: That the great
majority of Christians, alas, are not spiritual men, and that they may
become spiritual men by the grace of God. I want to come to all who are
perhaps hungering and longing for the better life, and asking what is wrong
that you are without it, to point out that what is wrong is just one
thing,–allowing the flesh to rule in you, and trusting in the power of the
flesh to make you good.
    There is a better life, a life in the power of the Holy Spirit.
    Then, I want to tell you a third thing. The first thing is important,
take care of the carnal life, and confess if you are in it. The second truth
is very blessed, there is a spiritual life; believe that it is a
possibility. But the third truth is the most important,–You can be one step
get out of the carnal into the spiritual state. May God reveal it to you now
through the story of the Apostle Peter!
    Look at him, first of all, in the carnal state. What are the marks of
the carnal state in him? Self-will, self-pleasing, self-confidence. Just
remember, when Christ said to the disciples at Caesarea Philippi, “The Son
of Man must be crucified,” Peter said to Him, “Lord, that can never be!” And
Christ had to say to him, “Get thee behind Me, Satan!” Dear reader, what an
awful thing for Peter! He could not understand what a suffering Christ was.
And Peter was so self-willed and self-confident that he dared to contradict
and to rebuke Christ! Just think of it! Then, you remember, how Peter and
the other disciples, were more than once quarreling as to who was to be the
chief–self-exaltation, self-pleasing;–every one wanted the chief seat in
the Kingdom of God. Then again, remember the last night, when Christ warned
Peter that Satan had desired to sift him and that he would deny Him; and
Peter said twice over, “Lord, if they all deny Thee, I am ready to go to
prison and to death.” What self-confidence! He was sure that his heart was
right. He loved Jesus, but he trusted himself. “I will never deny my Lord.!
Don’t you see the whole of that life of Peter is carnal confidence in
himself. In his carnal pride, in his carnal unlovingness, in the carnal
liberty he took in contradicting Jesus, it was all just the life of the
flesh. Peter loved Jesus. God had by the Holy Spirit, taught him. Christ had
said, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but My Father which
is in heaven.” God had taught him that Christ was the Son of God; but with
all that, Peter was just under the power of the flesh; and that is why
Christ said at Gethsemane, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is
weak.”–“You are under the power of the flesh, you cannot watch with Me.”
Dear reader, what did it all lead to? The flesh led not only to the sins I
have mentioned, but last of all to the saddest of things, to Peter’s actual
denial of Jesus. Three times over he told the lie; and once with an oath, “I
know not the man.” He denied his blessed Lord. That is what it comes to with
the life of the flesh. That is Peter.
    Now, look in the second place at Peter after he became a spiritual man.
Christ had taught Peter a great deal. I think, if you count carefully, you
will find some seven or eight times, Christ had spoken to the disciples
about humility; He had taken a little child and set him in the midst of
them; He had said, “He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that
humbleth himself shall be exalted; He had said that three or four times; He
had at the last supper washed their feet; but all had not taught Peter
humility. All Christ’s instructions were in vain. Remember that now. A man
who is not spiritual, though he may read his Bible, though he may study
God’s Word, cannot conquer sin, because he is not living the life of the
Holy Spirit. God has so ordered it, that man cannot live a right Christian
life unless he is full of the Holy Ghost. Do you wonder at what I say? Have
you been accustomed to think,–“Full of the Holy Ghost, that is what the
Apostles had to be on the day of Pentecost; that is what the martyrs and the
ministers had to be; but for every man to be full of the Holy Ghost, that is
too high”? I tell you solemnly, unless you believe that, you will never
become thorough-going Christians. I must be full of the Holy Spirit if I am
to be a whole-hearted Christian.
    Then, note what change took place in Peter. The Lord Jesus led him up
to Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came from heaven upon him, and what took
place? The old Peter was gone, and he was a new Peter. Just read his
epistle, and note the keynote of the epistle. “Through suffering to glory.”
Peter, who had said, “Of course, Lord, you never can suffer, or be
crucified;” Peter, who, to save himself suffering or shame, had denied
Christ,–Peter becomes so changed that when he writes his epistle the chief
thought is the very thought of Christ, “Suffering is the way to glory.” Do
you not see that the Holy Spirit had changed Peter?
    And look at other aspects. Look at Peter. He was so weak that a woman
could frighten him into denying Christ; but when the Holy Spirit came he was
bold, bold, bold to confess his Lord at any cost, was ready to go to prison
and to death, for Christ’s sake. The Holy Spirit had changed the man. Look
at his views of Divine truth. He could not understand what Christ taught
him, he could not take it in. It was impossible before the death of Christ;
but on the day of Pentecost how he is able to expound the word of God as a
spiritual man! I tell you, beloved, when the Holy Ghost comes upon a man he
becomes a spiritual man, and instead of denying his Lord he denies himself,
just remember that. In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew when Peter had said,
“Lord, be it far from Thee, this shall never happen that Thou shalt be
crucified,” Christ said to Him: “Peter, not only will I be crucified, but
you will have to be crucified too. If any man is to be My disciple, let him
take up his cross to die upon it, let him deny himself, and let him follow
Me.” How did Peter obey that command? He went and denied Jesus! As long as a
man, a Christian, is under the power of the flesh, he is continually denying
Jesus. You always must do one of the two, you must deny self or you must
deny Jesus, and, alas, Peter denied his Lord rather than deny himself. On
the other hand, when the Holy Spirit came upon him, he could not deny his
Lord, but he could deny himself, and he praised God for the privilege of
suffering for Christ.
    Now, how did the change come about? The words of my text tell us,–“And
Peter went out and wept bitterly.” What does that mean? It means this, that
the Lord led Peter to come to the end of himself, to see what was in his
heart, and with his self-confidence to fall into the very deepest sin that a
child of God could be guilty of;–publicly, with an oath, to deny his Lord
Jesus! When Peter stood there in that great sin, the loving Jesus looked
upon him, and that look, full of loving reproach, loving pity, pierced like
an arrow through the heart of Peter, and he went out and wept bitterly.
Praise God, that was the end of self-confident Peter! Praise God, that was
the turning point of his life! He went out with a shame that no tongue can
express. He woke up as out of a dream to the terrible reality “I have helped
to crucify the blessed Son of God.” No man can fathom what Peter must have
passed through that Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning. But, blessed be
God, on that Sunday Jesus revealed Himself to Peter, we know not how, but
“He was seen of Simon;” then in the evening He came to him with the other
disciples and breathed peace, and the Holy Spirit upon him; and then, later
on, you know how the Lord asked him, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou
me?”–three times, until Peter was sorrowful, and said, “Lord, thou knowest
all things, thou knowest that I love thee.” What was it that wrought the
transition from the love of the flesh to the love of the Spirit? I tell you,
that was the beginning,–“Peter went out and wept bitterly,” with a broken
heart, with a heart that would give anything to show its love to Jesus. With
a heart that had learned to give up all self-confidence, Peter was prepared
for the blessing of the Holy Spirit.
    And, now, you can easily see the application of this story. Are there
not many just living the life of Peter, of the self-confident Peter as he
was? Are there not many who are mourning under the consciousness, “I am so
unfaithful to my Lord, I have no power against the flesh, I cannot conquer
my temper, I give way just like Peter to the fear of man, of company, for
people can influence me and make me do things I do not want to do, and I
have no power to resist them? Circumstances get the mastery over me, and I
then say and do things that I am ashamed of.”? Is there not more than one,
who, in answer to the question, “Are you living as a man filled with the
Spirit, devoted to Jesus, following Him, fully giving up all for Him?”–must
say with sorrow, “God knows I am not. Alas, my heart knows it.”? You say it,
and I come, and I press you with the question, Is not your position, and
your character, and your conduct, just like that of Peter? Like Peter, you
love Jesus, like Peter you know He is the Christ of God, like Peter you are
very zealous in working for Him. Peter had cast out devils in His name, and
had preached the gospel, and had healed the sick. Like Peter you have tried
to work for Jesus; but, oh! under it all, isn’t there something that comes
up continually? Oh, Christian, what is it? I pray, and I try, and I do long
to live a holy life, but the flesh is too strong, and sin gets the better of
me, and continually I am pleasing self instead of denying it, and denying
Jesus instead of pleasing Him. Come, all who are willing to make that
confession, and let me ask you to look quietly at the other life that is
possible for you.
    Just as the Lord Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to Peter, He is willing to
give the Holy Spirit to you. Are you willing to receive Him? Are you willing
to give up yourself entirely as an empty, helpless vessel, to receive the
power of the Holy Spirit, to live, to dwell, and to work in you every day?
Dear believer, God has prepared such a beautiful and such a blessed life for
every one of us, and God as a Father is waiting to see why you will not come
to Him and let Him fill you with the Holy Ghost. Are you willing for it? I
am sure some are. There are some who have said often, “O God, why can’t I
live that life?–Why can’t I live every hour of unbroken fellowship with
God?–Why can’t I enjoy what my Father has given me, all the riches of His
grace? It is for me He gave it, and why can’t I enjoy it?” There are those
who say, “Why can’t I abide in Christ every day, and every hour, and every
moment?–why can’t I have the light of my Father’s love filling my heart all
the day long? Tell me, servant of God, what can help me?”
    I can tell you one thing that will help you. What helped Peter? “Peter
went out and wept bitterly.” It must come with us to a conviction of sin; it
must come with us to a real downright earnest repentance, or we never can
get into the better life. We must stop complaining and confessing, “Yes, my
life is not what it should be, and I will try to do better.” That won’t help
you. What will help you? This,–that you go down in despair to lie at the
feet of Jesus, and that you begin with a very real and bitter shame to make
confession, “Lord Jesus, have compassion upon me! For these many years I
have been a Christian, but there are so many sins from which I have not
cleansed myself,–temper, pride, jealousy, envy, sharp words, unkind
judgments, unforgiving thoughts.” One must say, “There is a friend whom I
never have forgiven for what he has said.” Another must say, “There is an
enemy whom I dislike, I cannot say that I can love him.” Another must say,
“There are things in my business that I would not like brought out into the
light of man.” Another must say, “I am led captive by the law of sin and
death.” Oh, Christians, come and make confession with shame and say, “I have
been bought with the Blood, I have been washed with the Blood, but just
think of what a life I have been living! I am ashamed of it.” Bow before God
and ask Him by the Holy Spirit to make you more deeply ashamed, and to work
in you that Divine contrition. I pray you take the step at once. “Peter went
out and wept bitterly,” and that was his salvation; yes, that was the
turning point of his life. And shall we not fall upon our faces before God,
and make confession, and get down on our knees under the burden of the
terrible load, and say, “I know I am a believer, but I am not living as I
should to the glory of my God. I am under the power of the flesh and all the
self-confidence, and self-will, and self-pleasing that marks my life.”
    Dear Christians, do you not long to be brought nigh unto God? Would you
not give anything to walk in close fellowship with Jesus every day? Would
you not count it a pearl of great price to have the light and love of God
shining in you all the day? Oh, come and fall down and make confession of
sin; and, if you will do it, Jesus will come and meet you and He will ask
you, “Lovest thou Me?” And, if you say, “Yes, Lord,” very quickly He will
ask again, “Lovest thou Me?”–and if you say, “Yes, Lord,” again, He will
ask a third time, “Lovest thou Me?”–and your heart will be filled with an
unutterable sadness, and your heart will get still more broken down and
bruised by the question, and you will say, “Lord, I have not lived as I
should, but still I love Thee and I give myself to Thee.” Oh, beloved may
God give us grace now, that, with Peter, we may go out, and, if need be,
weep bitterly. If we do not weep bitterly,–we are not going to force
tears–shall we not sigh very deeply, and bow very humbly, and cry very
earnestly, “O God, reveal to me the carnal life in which I have been living:
reveal to me what has been hindering me from having my life full of the Holy
Ghost”? Shall we not cry, “Lord, break my heart into utter self-despair,
and, oh! bring me in helplessness to wait for the Divine power, for the
power of the Holy Ghost, to take possession and to fill me with a new life
given all to Jesus?”

                            IV. OUT OF AND INTO

    And He brought us out from thence, that He might bring us in, to
    give us the land which He sware unto our Fathers.” –Deut. 6:23.

I have spoken of the crisis that comes in the life of the man who sees that
his Christian experience is low and carnal, and who desires to enter into
the full life of God. Some Christians do not understand that there should be
such a crisis. They think that they ought, from the day of their conversion,
to continue to grow and progress. I have no objections to that, if they have
grown as they ought. If their life has been so strong under the power of the
Holy Ghost that they have grown as true believers should grow, I certainly
have no objection to this. But I want to deal with those Christians whose
life since conversion has been very much a failure, and who feel it to be
such because of their not being filled with the Spirit, as is their blessed
privilege. I want to say for their encouragement, that by taking one step,
they can get out into the life of rest, and victory, and fellowship with God
to which the promises of God invite them.
    Look at the elder son in the parable. How long would it have taken him
to get out of that state of blindness and bondage into the full condition of
sonship? By believing in his father’s love, he might have gotten out that
very hour. If he had been powerfully convicted of his guilt in his unbelief,
and had confessed like his prodigal brother, “I have sinned,” he would have
come that very moment into the favor of the son’s happiness in his father’s
home. He would not have been detained by having a great deal to learn, and a
great deal to do; but in one moment, his whole relation would have been
changed.
    Remember, too, what we saw in Peter’s case. In one moment, the look of
Jesus broke him down and there came to him the terribly bitter reflection of
his sin, owing to his selfish, fleshly confidence, a contrition and
reflection which laid the foundation for his new and better life with Jesus.
God’s word brings out the idea of the Christian’s entrance into the new and
better life by the history of the people of Israel’s entrance into the land
of Canaan.
    In our text, we have these words:–“God brought us out from thence
(Egypt), that He might bring us in” into Canaan. There are two steps: one
was bringing them out; and the other was bringing them in. So in the life of
the believer, there are ordinarily two steps quite separate from each
other;–the bringing him out of sin and the world; and the bringing him into
a state of complete rest afterward. It was the intention of God that Israel
should enter the land of Canaan from Kadesh-Barnea, immediately after He had
made His covenant with them at Sinai. But they were not ready to enter at
once, on account of their sin and unbelief, and disobedience. They had to
wander after that for forty years in the wilderness. Now, look how God led
the people. In Egypt, there was a great crisis, where they had first to pass
through the Red Sea, which is a figure of conversion; and when they went
into Canaan, there was, as it were, a second conversion in passing through
the Jordan. At our conversion, we get into liberty, out of the bondage of
Egypt; but, when we fail to use our liberty through unbelief and
disobedience, we wander in the wilderness for a longer or shorter period
before we enter into the Canaan of victory, and rest, and abundance. Thus
God does for His Israel two things:–He brings them out of Egypt; and He
lead them into Canaan.
    My message, then, is to ask this question of the believer:–Since you
know you are converted and God has brought you out of Egypt, have you yet
come into the land of Canaan? If not, are you willing that he should bring
you into the fuller liberty and rest provided for His people? He brought
Israel out of Egypt by a mighty hand, and the same mighty hand brought us
out of our land of bondage; with the same mighty hand, He brought his
ancient people into rest, and by that hand, too, He can bring us into our
true rest. The same God who pardoned and regenerated us–is waiting to
perfect His love in us, if we but trust Him. Are there many hearts
saying:–“I believe that God brought me out of bondage twenty, or thirty, or
forty years ago; but alas! I cannot say that I have been brought into the
happy land of rest and victory?”
    How glorious was the rest of Canaan after all the wanderings in the
wilderness! And so is it with the Christian who reaches the better promised
Canaan of rest, when he comes to leave all his charge with the Lord
Jesus–his responsibilities, anxieties, and worry; his only work being to
hand the keeping of his soul into the hand of Jesus every day and hour. and
the Lord can keep, and give the victory over every enemy. Jesus has
undertaken not only to cleans our sin, and bring us to heaven, but also to
keep us in our daily life.
    I ask again:–Are you hungering to get free from sin and its
power?–Anyone longing to get complete victory over his temper, his pride,
and all his evil inclinations?–Hearts longing for the time when no clouds
will come between them and their God?–Longing to walk in the full sunshine
of God’s loving favour? The very God who brought you from the Egypt of
darkness is ready and able to bring you also into the Canaan of rest.
    And now comes the question again:–What is the way by which God will
bring me to this rest? What is needed on my part if God is really to bring
me into the happy land? I give the answer first of all by asking another
question:–Are you willing to forsake your wanderings in the wilderness? If
you say “We do not want to leave our wanderings, where we have had so many
wonderful indications of God’s presence with us; so many remarkable proofs
of the Divine care and goodness, like that of the ancient people of God, who
had the pillar to guide them, and the manna given them every day for forty
years; Moses and Aaron to lead and advise them. The wilderness is to us, on
account of these things, a kind of sacred place; and we are loath to leave
it.” If the children of Israel had said anything of this kind to Joshua, he
would have said to them (and we all would have said):–“Oh, you fools: It is
the very God who gave you the pillar of cloud and the other blessings in the
wilderness, who tells you how to come into the land flowing with milk and
honey.” And so I can speak to you in the same way; I bring you the message
that He who has brought you thus far on your journey, and given you such
blessings thus far, is the God who will bring you into the Canaan of
complete victory and rest.
    The first question, then, that I would ask you is,

    ARE YOU READY TO LEAVE THE WILDERNESS?

    You know the mark of Israel’s life in the wilderness–the cause of all
their troubles there–was unbelief. They did not believe that God could take
them into the promised land. And then followed many sins and
failures–lusting, idolatry, murmuring, etc. That has, perhaps, been your
life, beloved; you do not believe that God will fulfill His word. You do not
believe in the possibility of unbroken fellowship with Him, and unlimited
partnership. On account of that, you become disobedient, and did not live
like a child doing God’s will, because you did not believe that God could
give you the victory over sin. Are you willing now to leave that wilderness
life? Sometimes you are, perhaps, enjoying fellowship with God, and
sometimes you are separated from Him; sometimes you have nearness to Him,
and at other times great distance from Him; sometimes you have a willingness
to walk closely with Him, but sometimes there is even unwillingness. Are you
now going to give up your whole life to Him? Are you going to approach Him
and say, “My God, I do not want to do anything that will be displeasing to
Thee; I want Thee to keep me from all worldliness, from all self-pleasure; I
want Thee, O God, to help me to live like Peter after Pentecost, filled with
the Holy Ghost, and not like carnal Peter.”
    Beloved, are you willing to say this? Are you willing to give up your
sins, to walk with God continually, to submit yourself wholly to the will of
God, and have no will of your own apart from His will? Are you going to live
a perfect life? I hop you are, for I believe in such a life;–not perhaps in
the sense in which you understand “perfection”–entire freedom from
wrong-doing and all inclination to it, for while we live in the flesh the
flesh will lust against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; but the
perfection spoken of in the Old Testament as practiced by some of God’s
saints, who are said to have “served the Lord with a perfect heart.” What is
this perfection? A state in which your hearts will be set on perfect
integrity without any reserve, and your will wholly subservient to God’s
will. Are you willing for such a perfection, with your whole heart turned
away from the world and given to God alone? Are you going to say, “No, I do
not expect that I will ever give up my self-will.”? It is the devil tempting
you to think it will be too hard for you. Oh! I would plead with God’s
children just to look at the will of God, so full of blessing, of holiness,
of love; will you not give up your guilty will for that blessed will of God?
A man can do it in one moment when he comes to see that God can change his
will for him. Then he may say farewell to his old will, as Peter did when he
went out and wept bitterly, and when the Holy Spirit filled his soul on the
day of Pentecost. Joshua “wholly followed the Lord his God.” He failed,
indeed, before the enemy at Ai, because he trusted too much to human agency,
and not sufficiently to God; and he failed in the same manner when he made a
covenant with the Gibeonites; but still, his spirit and power differed very
widely from that of the people whose unbelief drove them before their
enemies and kept them in the wilderness. Let us be willing wholly to serve
the Lord our God, and “make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts
thereof.” Let us believe in the love and power of God to keep us day by day,
and put “no confidence in the flesh.”
    Then comes the second step:–“I must believe that such a life in the
land of Canaan is a possible life.” Yes, many a one will say, “Ah! what
would I give to get out of the wilderness life! But I cannot believe that it
is possible to live in this constant communion with God. You don’t know my
difficulties–my business cares and perplexities; I have all sorts of people
to associate with; have gone out in the morning braced up by communion with
God in prayer, but the pressure of business before night has driven out of
my heart all that warmth of love that I had, and the world has gotten in and
made the heart as cold as before.” But we must remember again what it was
that kept Israel out of Canaan. When Caleb and Joshua said, “We are able to
overcome the enemy,” the ten spies, and the six hundred thousand answered,
“We cannot do it; they are too strong for us.” Take care, dear reader, that
we do not repeat their sin, and provoke God as these unbelievers did. He
says, it is possible to bring us into the land of rest and peace; and I
believe it because He has said so, and because He will do it if I trust Him.
Your temper may be terrible; your pride may have bound you a hundred times;
your temptations may “compass you about like bees,” but there is victory for
you if you will but trust the promises of God.
    Looking again at Peter. He had failed again and again, and went from
bad to worse until he came to denying Christ with oaths. But what a change
came over him! Just study the first epistle of Peter, and you will see that
the very life of Christ had entered into him. He shows the spirit of true
humility, so different from his former self-confidence; and glorying in
God’s will instead of in his own. He had made a full surrender to Christ,
and was trusting entirely in Him. Come therefore to-day and say to God,
“Thou didst so change selfish, proud Peter, and Thou canst change me
likewise.” Yes, God is able to bring you into Canaan, the land of rest. You
know the first half of the 8th of Romans. Have you noticed the expressions
that are to be found there–“The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus
hath made me free from the law of sin and death”. To walk after the spirit;
To be after the spirit; To be in the Spirit; To have the Spirit dwelling in
us. Through the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body; To be led by the
Spirit; To be spiritually minded. These are all blessings which come when we
bind ourselves wholly to live in the Spirit. If we live after the Spirit we
have the very nature of the Spirit in us. If we live in the Spirit, we shall
be led by Him every day and every moment. What if you were to open your
heart to-day to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Would He not be able to keep
you every moment in the sweet rest of God? and would not His mighty arm give
you a complete victory over sin and temptation of every kind, and make you
able to live in perpetual fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus
Christ? Most certainly! This, then, is the second step; this is the blessed
life God has provided for us. First, God brought us out of Egypt; secondly,
He brings us into Canaan. Then comes–
    Thirdly, the question,

    HOW DOES GOD BRING US IN?

    By leading us in a very definite act, viz., that of committing
ourselves wholly to Him;–entrusting ourselves to Him, that He may bring us
into the land of rest, and keep us in.
    You remember that the Jordan at the time of harvest overflowed its
banks. The hundreds of thousands of Israel were on the side of the river
from Canaan. They were told that tomorrow, God would do wonderful things for
them. The trumpet would sound, and the priests would take up the ark–the
symbol of God’s presence–and pass over before the people. But there lay the
swollen river still. If there still unbelieving children among the the
people, they would say, “What fools, to attempt to cross now! This is not
the time to attempt fording the river, for it is now twenty feet deep.” But
the believing people gathered together behind the priests with the ark. They
obeyed the command of Joshua to advance; but they knew not what God was
going to do? The priests walked right into the water, and the hearts of some
began to tremble. They would perhaps ask, “Where is the rod of Moses?” But,
as the priests walked straight on and stepped into the water, the waters
rose up on the upper side in to a high wall, and flowed away on the other
side, and a clear passage was made for the whole camp. Now, it was God that
did this for the people; and it was because Joshua and the people believed
and obeyed God. The same God will do it to-day, if we believe and trust Him.
    Am I addressing a soul who is saying:–I remember how God first brought
me out of the land of bondage. I was in complete darkness of soul and was
deeply troubled. I did not at first believe that God could take me out, and
that I could become a child of God. But, at last, God took me and brought me
to trust in Jesus, and He led me out safely.” Friend, you have the same God
now who brought you out of bondage with a high hand; and can lead you into
the place of rest. Look to Him and say, “O God, make an end of my wilderness
life–my sinful and unbelieving life,–a life of grieving Thee. Oh, bring me
to-day into the land of victory and rest and blessing!” Is this the prayer
of your hearts, dear friends? Are you going to give up yourselves to Him to
do this for you? Can you trust Him that He is able and willing to do it for
you. He can take you through the swollen river this very moment;–yes, this
very moment.
    And He can do more: After Israel had crossed the river, the Captain of
the Lord’s host had to come and encourage Joshua, promising to take charge
of the army and remain with them. You need the power of God’s Spirit to
enable you to overcome sin and temptation. You need to live in His
fellowship–in His unbroken fellowship, without which you cannot stand or
conquer. If you are to venture to-day, say by faith “My God, I know that
Jesus Christ is willing to be the Captain of my salvation, and to conquer
every enemy for me, He will keep me by faith and by His Holy Spirit; and
though it be dark to me, and as if the waters would pass over my soul, and
though my condition seem hopeless, I will walk forward, for God is going to
bring me in to-day, and I am going to follow Him. My God, I follow Thee now
into the promised land.”
    Perhaps some have already entered in, and the angels have seen them,
while they have been reading these solemn words. Is there anyone still
hesitating because the waters of Jordan look threatening and impassable?
    Oh! come, beloved soul; come at once, and doubt not.

                          V. THE BLESSING SECURED

    “Be filled with the Spirit.”–Ephesians, 5:18.

I may have some air, a little air, in my lungs, but not enough to keep up a
healthy, vigorous life. But everyone seeks to have his lungs well filled
with air, and the benefit of it will be felt in his blood and through his
whole being. And just so the word of God comes to us, and says, “Christians,
do not be content with thinking that you have the Spirit, or have a little
of the Spirit; but, if you want to have a healthy life, be “filled with the
Spirit.” Is that your life? Or are you ready to cry out, “Alas, I do not
know what it is to be filled with the Spirit, but it is what I long for.” I
want to point out to such the path to come to this great, precious blessing
which is meant for everyone of us.
    Before I speak further of it, let me just note one misunderstanding
which prevails. People often look upon being “filled with the Spirit” as
something that comes with a mighty stirring of the emotions, a sort of
heavenly glory that comes over them, something that they can feel strongly
and mightily; but that is not always the case. I was recently in Niagara
Falls. I noticed, and I was told, that the water was unusually low. Suppose
the river were doubly full, how would you see that fulness in the Falls? In
the increased volume of water pouring over the cataract, and its tremendous
noise. But go to another part of the river, or to the lake, where the very
same fulness is found, and there is perfect quiet and placidity, the rise of
the water is gentle and gradual, and you can hardly notice that there is any
disturbance as the lake gets full. And just so it may be with a child of
God. To one it comes with mighty emotion and with a blessed consciousness,
“God has touched me!” To others it comes in a gentle filling of the whole
being with the presence and the power of God by His Spirit. I do not want to
lay down the way in which it is to come to you, but I want you simply to
take your place before God, and say, “My Father, whatever it may mean, that
is what I want.” If you come and give yourself up as an empty vessel and
trust God to fill you, God will do His own work.
    And now, the simple question as to the steps by which we can come to be
“filled with the Spirit.” I shall note four steps in the way by which a man
can attain this wonderful blessing. He must say, (1), “I must have it,”
then, (2), “I may have it,” and, then, (3) “I will have it,” and then, last,
Thank God, “I shall have it.”
    1. The first word a man must begin to say, is, “I must have it.” He
must feel “It is a command of God, and I cannot live unfilled with the
Spirit without disobeying God.” It is a command here in this text,–“Be not
drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” Just as much as a man dare
not get drunk, if he is a Christian, just as much must a man be filled with
the Spirit. God wants it, and oh, that every one might be brought to say, “I
must, if I am to please God, I must be filled with the Spirit!”
    I fear there is a terrible, terrible self-satisfaction among many
Christians,–they are content with their low level of life. They think they
have the Spirit because they are converted, but they know very little of the
joy of the Holy Ghost, and of the sanctifying power of the Spirit. They know
very little of the fellowship of the Spirit linking them to God and to
Jesus. They know very little of the power of the Spirit to testify for God,
and yet they are content; and one says, “Oh, it is only for eminent
Christians.” A very dear young friend once said to me as I was talking to
her–(it was a niece of my own)–“Oh, Uncle Andrew, I cannot try to make
myself better than the Christians around me. Wouldn’t that be presumptuous?”
And I said, “My child, you must not ask what the Christians around you are,
but you must be guided by what God says.” She has since confessed to me how
bitterly ashamed she has become of that expression, and how she went to God
to seek His blessing. Oh, friends, do not be content with that half
Christian life that many of you are living, but say, “God wants it, God
commands it; I must be filled with the Spirit.”
    And look not only at God’s command, but look at the need of your own
soul. You are a parent, and you want your children blessed and converted,
and you complain that you haven’t power to bless them. You say, “My home
must be filled with God’s Spirit.” You complain of your own soul, of times
of darkness and of leanness; you complain of watchlessness and wandering. A
young minister once said to me, “Oh, why is it I have such a delight in
study and so little delight in prayer?”–and my answer was, “My brother,
your heart must get filled with a love for God and Jesus, and then you will
delight in prayer.” You complain sometimes that you cannot pray. You pray so
short, you do not know what to pray, something drags you back from the
closet. It is because you are living a life, trying to live a life, without
being filled with the Spirit. Oh, think of the needs of the church around
you. You are a Sunday School teacher; you are trying to teach a class of ten
or twelve children, not one of them, perhaps, converted, and they go out
from under you unconverted; you are trying to do a heavenly work in the
power of the flesh and earth. Sunday School teachers, do begin to say, “I
must be filled with the Spirit of God, or I must give up the charge of those
young souls; I cannot teach them.”
    Or, think of the need of the world. If you were to send out
missionaries full of the Holy Ghost, what a blessing that would be! Why is
it, that many a missionary complains in the foreign field, “There I learned
how weak and how unfit I am?” It is because the churches from which they go
are not filled with the Holy Ghost. Someone said to me in England a few
weeks ago, “They talk so much about the volunteer movement and more
missionaries; but we want something else, we want missionaries filled with
the Holy Ghost.” If the church is to come right, and the mission field is to
come right, we must each begin with himself. It must begin with you. Begin
with yourself and say, “O God, for Thy sake; O God, for Thy church’s sake; O
God, for the sake of the world, help me! I must be filled with the Holy
Ghost.”
    What folly it would be for a man who had lost a lung and a half, and
had hardly a quarter of a lung to do the work of two, to expect to be a
strong man and to do hard work, and to live in any climate! And what folly
for a man to expect to live–God has told him he cannot live–a full
Christian life, unless he is full of the Holy Ghost! And what folly for a
man who has only got a little drop of the river of the water of life to
expect to live and to have power with God and man! Jesus wants us to come
and to receive the fulfillment of the promise, “He that believeth in Me,
streams of water shall flow out from him.” Oh, begin to say, “If I am to
live a right life, if I am in every part of my daily life and conduct to
glorify my God, I must have the Holy Spirit–I must be filled with the
Spirit.” Are you going to say that? Talking for months and months won’t
help. Do submit to God, and as an act of submission say, “Lord, I confess
it, I ought to be filled, I must be filled; help me!” And God will help you.
    And, then comes the second step, I may be filled. The first had
reference to duty; the second has reference to privilege–I may be filled.
Alas! So many have got accustomed to their low state that they do not
believe that they may, they can, actually be filled. And what right have I
to say that you ought to take these words into your lips? My right is
this–God wants healthy children. I say to-day a child of six months old, as
beautiful and chubby as you could wish a child to be, and with what delight
the eyes of the father and the mother looked upon him, and how glad I was to
see a healthy child. And, oh; do you think that God in Heaven does not care
for His children, and that God wants some of His children to live a sickly
life? I tell you, it is a lie! God wants every child of His to be a healthy
Christian; but you cannot be a healthy Christian unless you are filled with
God’s Spirit. Beloved, we have got accustomed to a style of life, and we see
good Christians–as we call them–earnest men and women, full of failings;
and we think, “Well, that is human; that man loses his temper, and that man
is not as kind as he should be, and that man’s word cannot be trusted always
as ought to be the case; but–but–” And in daily life we look upon
Christians and think, “Well, if they are very faithful in going to church
and in giving to God’s cause, and in attending the prayer meeting, and in
having family prayers, and in their profession.” Of course we thank God for
them and say, “We wish there were more such,” but we forget to ask, “What
does God want?” Oh, that we might see that “It is meant for me and for
everyone else.” My brother, my sister, there is a God in Heaven who has been
longing for these past years, while you never thought about it, to fill you
with the Holy Ghost. God longs to give the fulness of the Spirit to every
child of His.
    They were poor heathen Ephesians, only lately brought out from
heathendom, to whom Paul wrote this letter,–people among whom there still
was stealing and lying, for they had only just come out from heathendom; but
Paul said to every one of these, “Be filled with the Spirit.” God is ready
to do it; God wants to do it. Oh, do not listen to the temptations of the
devil, “This is only meant for some eminent people,–a Christian who has a
great deal of free time to devote to prayer and to seeking after it,–a man
of a receptive temperament,–that is the man to be filled with the Spirit.
Who is there that dare say, “I cannot be filled with the Spirit.” Who will
dare to say that? If any of you speak thus it is because you are unwilling
to give up sin. Do not think that you cannot be filled with the Spirit
because God is not willing to give it to you. Did not the Lord Jesus promise
the Spirit? Is not the Holy Spirit the best part of His salvation? Do you
think He gives half a salvation to any of His redeemed ones? Is not His
promise for all, “He that believeth in me, rivers of water shall flow out of
him”? This is more than fulness- this is overflow; and this Jesus has
promised to everyone who believes in Him. Oh, cast aside your fears, and
your doubts, and your hesitation, and say at once, “I can be filled with the
Spirit; I may be filled with the Spirit. There is nothing in heaven, or
earth, or hell, can prevent it, because God has promised and God is waiting
to do it for me.” Are you ready to say, “I may I can, I can be filled with
the Spirit, for God has promised it, and God will give it.”?
    And then we get to the third step, when a man says, “I will have it; I
must have it; I may have it; I will have it.” You know what this means in
ordinary things, “I will have it,” and he goes and does everything that is
to be done to get permission. Very often a man comes and he wants to buy
something, and he wishes for it; but wishing is not willing. I want to buy
that horse, and a man asks of me $200 for it, but I don’t want to give more
than $180. I wish for it, I wish for it very much, and I can go and say, “Do
give it me for the $180; and he says, “No, $200.” I love the horse, it is
just what I want, but I am not willing to give the $200; and at last he
says, “Well, you must give me an answer; I can get another purchaser;” and
at last I say, “No, I won’t have it; I want it very much, I long for it, but
I won’t give the price.”
    Dear friends, are you going to say, “I will have this blessing?” What
does that mean? It means, first of all, of course, that you are going to
look around into your life, and if you see anything wrong there, it means
that you are going to confess it to Jesus and say, “Lord, I cast it at Thy
feet; it may be rooted in my heart, but I will give it up to Thee, I cannot
take it out, but Jesus, Thou cleanser of sin, I give it to Thee.” Let it be
temper, or pride; let it be money, or lust, or pleasure; let it be the fear
of man; let it be anything;–but, oh, say to Christ at once, “I will have
this blessing at any cost.” Oh, give up every sin to Jesus.
    And it means not only giving up every sin, but–what is deeper than
sin, and more difficult to get at–it means giving up yourself–self, with
your will, and your pleasure, and your honor, and all you have, and saying,
“Jesus, I am from this moment going to give myself up, that by Thy Holy
Spirit Thou mayest take possession of me, and that Thou mayest by Thy Spirit
turn out whatever is sinful, and take entire command of me.” This looks
difficult so long as Satan blinds, and makes us think it would be a hard
thing to give up all that; but if God opens our eyes for one minute to see
what a heavenly blessedness, and what heavenly riches and heavenly glory it
is to be filled with the Spirit out of the heart of Jesus, then we will say,
“I will give anything, anything, ANYTHING but I will have the blessing.”
    And then, it means that you are just to cast yourself at His feet and
to say, “Lord, I will have the blessing.”
    Ah, Satan often tempts us, and says, “Suppose God were to ask that of
you, would you be willing to give it?”–and he makes us afraid. But how many
have found, and have been able to tell about it, that when once they have
said, “Lord, anything and everything!” the light and the joy of heaven
filled their hearts.
    Last year at Johannesburg, the gold fields of South Africa, at an
afternoon meeting we had one day testimony, and a woman rose up and told us
how her pastor two months ago had held a consecration service in a tent, and
he had spoken strongly about consecration, and had said, “Now, if God were
to send your husband away to China, or if God were to ask you to go away to
America, would you be willing for it? You must give yourself up entirely.”
And the woman said–and her face beamed with brightness when she
spoke,–when, at the close of the meeting he asked those to rise who were
willing to give up all to be filled with the Spirit, she said, “The struggle
was terrible; God may take away my husband or my children from me, and am I
ready for it? Oh, Jesus is very precious, but I cannot say I will give up
all. But I will tell Him I do want to do it.”–and at last she stood up. She
said she went home that night in a terrible struggle, and she could not
sleep, for the thought was, “I said to Jesus everything, and could I give up
husband or child?” The struggle continued till midnight, “but,” she said, “I
would not let go; I said to Jesus, `everything, but fill me with Thyself.'”
And the joy of the Holy Spirit came down upon her, and her minister who sat
there told me afterwards that the testimony was a true one, and for the two
months her life had been one of exceeding brightness and of heavenly joy.
    Oh, is any reader tempted to say, “I cannot give up all”? I take you by
the hand, my brother, my sister, and I bring you to the crucified Jesus, and
I say, “Just look at Him, how He loved you on Calvary; just look at Him.”
Just look at Jesus! He offers actually to fill your heart with His Holy
Spirit, with the Spirit of His love and of His fulness, and of His power,
actually to make your heart full of the Holy Spirit; and do you dare to say,
“I am afraid,”–do you dare to say, “I cannot do that for Jesus”? or will
your heart not, at His feet, cry out, “Lord Jesus, anything, but I must be
filled with Thy Spirit!” Haven’t you often prayed for the presence and the
abiding nearness and the love of Jesus to fill you?–but that cannot be
until you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Oh, come and say, in view of any
sacrifice, “I will have it, by God’s help! Not in my strength, but by the
help of God, I will have it!”
    And then comes my last point. Say, “I shall have it.” Praise God that a
man dare say that, “I shall have it.” Yes, when a man has made up his mind;
when a man has been brought to a conviction and a sorrow for his sinful
life; when a man, like Peter, has wept bitterly or has sighed deeply before
God, “Oh, my Lord, what a life I have been living!”–when a man has felt
wretched in the thought, “I am not living the better life, the Jesus life,
the Spirit life;”–when a man begins to feel that, and when he comes and
makes surrender, and casts himself upon God and claims the promise, “Lord, I
may have it; it is for me,”–what think you? Hasn’t he a right to say, “I
shall have it”? Yes, beloved, and I give to every one of you that message
from God, that if you are willing, and if you are ready, God is willing and
ready to close the bargain at once. Yes, you can have it now, now! without
any outburst of feeling, without any flooding of the heart with light, you
may have it. To some it comes in that way but to many not. As a quiet
transaction of the surrendered will, you can lift up your heart in faith and
say, “O God, here I do give myself as an empty vessel to be filled with the
Holy Ghost. I give myself up once for all and forever. `”Tis done, the great
transaction’s done.'” You can say it now if you will take your place before
God.
    Oh, ministers of the gospel, have you never felt the need of being
filled with the Holy Ghost? Your heart perhaps tells you that you know
nothing of that blessing. Oh, workers for Christ, have you never felt a
need, “I must be filled with the Holy Ghost”? Oh, children of God, have you
never felt a hope rise within you, “I may have this blessing, I hear of from
others”? Will you not take the step and say, “I will have it”? Say it, not
in your own strength, but in self-despair. Never mind though it appears as
if the heart is all cold and closed up, never mind; but as an act of
obedience and of surrender, as an act of the will, cast yourself before
Jesus and trust Him. “I shall have it, for I now give up myself into the
arms of my Lord Jesus, I shall have it, for it is the delight of Jesus to
give the Holy Spirit from the Father, into the heart of everyone. I shall
have it, for I do believe in Jesus, and He promised me that out of him that
believeth shall flow rivers of living water. I shall have it! I SHALL have
it! I will cling to the feet of Jesus, I will stay at the throne of God; I
shall have it, for God is faithful, and God has promised.”

                        VI. THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST

    “But straightway Jesus spake unto them saying, Be of good cheer,
    it is I, be not afraid.”–Matt. 14:27.

All we have had about the work of the blessed Spirit is dependent upon what
we think of Jesus, for it is from Christ Jesus that the Spirit comes to us;
it is to Christ Jesus that the Spirit ever brings us; and the one need of
the Christian life day by day and hour by hour is this,–the presence of the
Son of God. God is our salvation. If I have Christ with me and Christ in me,
I have full salvation. We have spoken about the life of failure and of the
flesh, about the life of unbelief and disobedience, about the life of ups
and downs, the wilderness life of sadness and of sorrow; but we have heard,
and we have believed, there is deliverance. Bless God, He brought us out of
Egypt, that He might bring us into Canaan, into the very rest of God and
Jesus Christ. He is our peace, He is our rest. Oh, if I may only have the
presence of Jesus as the victory over every sin: the presence of Jesus as
the strength for every duty, then my life shall be in the full sunshine of
God’s unbroken fellowship, and the word will be fulfilled to me in most
blessed experience, “Son, thou art ever with me, and all I have is thine,”
and my heart shall answer, “Father, I never knew it, but it is true,–I am
ever with thee and all Thou hast is mine.” God has given all He has to
Christ, and God longs that Christ should have you and me entirely. I come to
every hungry heart and say, “If you want to live to the glory of God, seek
one thing, to claim, to believe that the presence of Jesus can be with you
every moment of your life.
    I want to speak about the presence of Jesus as it is set before us in
that blessed story of Christ’s walking on the sea. Come and look with me at
some points that are suggested to us.
    1. Think, first, of the presence of Christ lost. You know the disciples
loved Christ, clung to Him, and with all their failings, they delighted in
Him. But what happened? The Master went up into the mountain to pray, and
sent them across the sea all alone without Him; there came a storm, and they
toiled, rowed, and labored, but the wind was against them, they made no
progress, they were in danger of perishing, and how their hearts said, “Oh,
if the Master only were here!” But His presence was gone. They missed Him.
Once before, they had been in a storm, and Christ had said, “Peace, be
still,” and all was well; but here they are in darkness, danger, and
terrible trouble, and no Christ to help them. Ah, isn’t that the life of
many a believer at times? I get into darkness, I have committed sin, the
cloud is on me, I miss the face of Jesus; and for days and days I work,
worry, and labor; but it is all in vain, for I miss the presence of Christ.
Oh, beloved, let us write that down,–the presence of Jesus lost is the
cause of all our wretchedness and failure.
    2. Look at the second step,–the presence of Jesus dreaded. They were
longing for the presence of Christ, and Christ came after midnight: He came
walking on the water amid the waves; but they didn’t recognize Him, and they
cried out, for fear, “It is a spirit!” Their beloved Lord was coming nigh,
and they knew Him not. They dreaded His approach. And, ah, how often have I
seen a believer dreading the approach of Christ,–crying out for Him,
longing for Him, and yet dreading His coming. And why? Because Christ came
in a fashion that they expected not.
    Perhaps some have been saying, “Alas, alas! I fear I never can have the
abiding presence of Christ.” You have heard what we have said about a life
in the Spirit: you have heard what we have said about abiding ever in the
presence of God and in His fellowship, and you have been afraid of it,
afraid of it; and you have said, “It is too high and too difficult.” You
have dreaded the very teaching that was going to help you. Jesus came to you
in the teaching, and you didn’t recognize His love.
    Or, perhaps, He came in a way that you dreaded His presence. Perhaps
God has been speaking to you about some sin. There is that sin of temper, or
that sin of unlovingness, or that sin of unforgivingness, or that sin of
worldliness, compromise, and fellowship with the world, that love of man and
man’s honor, that fear of man and man’s opinion, or that pride and self
confidence. God has been speaking to you about it, and yet you have been
frightened. That was Jesus wanting to draw you nigh, but you were afraid.
You don’t see how you can give up all that, you are not ready to say, “At
any sacrifice I am going to have that taken out of me, and I will give it
up,” and while God and Christ were coming nigh to bless you, you were afraid
of Him.
    Oh, believers, at other times Christ has come to you with affliction,
and perhaps you have said, “If I want to be entirely holy, I know I shall
have to be afflicted, and I am afraid of affliction,” and you have dreaded
the thought, “Christ may come to me in affliction.” The presence of Christ
dreaded!–oh, beloved, I want to tell you it is all misconception. The
disciples had no reason to dread that “spirit” coming there, for it was
Christ Himself; and, when God’s word comes close to you and touches your
heart, remember that is Christ out of Whose mouth goes the two-edged sword.
It is Christ in His love coming to cut away the sin, that He may fill your
heart with the blessing of God’s love. Beware of dreading the presence of
Christ.
    3. Then comes the third thought,–the presence of Christ revealed.
Bless God! When Christ heard how they cried, he spoke the words of the text,
“Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” Ah, what gladness those words
brought to those hearts! There is Jesus, that dark object appears, that
dreaded form. It is our blessed Lord Himself. And, dear friends, the
Master’s object, whether it be by affliction or otherwise, is to prepare for
receiving the presence of Christ, and through it all Jesus speaks, “It is I;
be not afraid.” The presence of Christ revealed! I want to tell you that the
Son of God, oh believer, is longing to reveal Himself to you. Listen!
Listen! LISTEN! Is there any longing heart? Jesus says, “Be of good cheer;
it is I; be not afraid.”
    Oh, beloved; God has given us Christ. And does God want me to have
Christ every moment? Without doubt. God wants the presence of Christ to be
the joy of every hour of my life, and, if there is one thing sure, Christ
can reveal Himself to me every moment. Are you willing to come and claim
this privilege? He can reveal Himself. I cannot reveal Him to you; you
cannot grasp Him; but He can shine into your heart. How can I see the
sunlight tomorrow morning, if I am spared? The sunlight will reveal itself.
How can I know Christ? Christ can reveal Himself. And, ere I go further, I
pray you to set your heart upon this, and to offer the humble prayer, “Lord,
now reveal Thyself to me, so, that I may never lose the sight of Thee. Give
me to understand that through the thick darkness Thou comest to make Thyself
known.” Let not one heart doubt, however dark it may be,–at
midnight,–whatever midnight there be in the soul,–at midnight, in the
dark, Christ can reveal Himself. Ah, thank God, often after a life of ten
and twenty years of dawn, after a life of ten and twenty years of
struggling, now in the light, and now in the dark, there comes a time when
Jesus is willing just to give Himself to us, nevermore to part. God grant us
that presence of Jesus!
    4. And now comes the fourth thought,–The presence of Jesus lost, was
the first; the presence of Jesus dreaded, was the second; the presence of
Jesus revealed, was the third; the presence of Jesus desired, is the fourth.
What happened? Peter heard the Lord, and yonder was Jesus, some 30, 40, 50
yards distant, and He made as though He would have passed them; and
Peter,–in a preceding chapter I spoke about Peter, shewing what terrible
failure and carnality there was in him,–but, bless the Lord, Peter’s heart
was right with Christ, and he wanted to claim His presence, and he said,
“Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come upon the water to Thee.” Yes, Peter could
not rest; he wanted to be as near to Christ as possible. He saw Christ
walking on the water; he remembered Christ had said, “Follow Me;” he
remembered how Christ, with the miraculous draught of fishes, had proved
that He was Master of the sea, and of the waters, and he remembered how
Christ had stilled the storm; and, without argument or reflection, all at
once he said, “There is my Lord manifesting Himself in a new way; there is
my Lord exercising a new and supernatural power, and I can go to my Lord, He
is able to make me walk where He walks.” He wanted to walk like Christ, he
wanted to walk near Christ. He didn’t say, “Lord, let me walk around the sea
here,” but he said, “Lord, let me come to Thee.”
    Friends, would you not like to have the presence of Christ in this way?
Not that Christ should come down,–that is what many Christians want; they
want to continue in their sinful walk, they want to continue in their
worldly walk, they want to continue in their old life, and they want Christ
to come down to them with His comfort, His presence, and His love; but that
cannot be. If I am to have the presence of Christ, I must walk as He walked.
His walk was a supernatural one. He walked in the love and in the power of
God. Most people walk according to the circumstances in which they are, and
most people say, “I am depending upon circumstances for my religion. A
hundred times over you hear people say, “My circumstances prevent my
enjoying unbroken fellowship with Jesus.” What were the circumstances that
were found about Christ? The wind and the waves,–and Christ walked
triumphant over circumstances; and Peter said, “Like my Lord I can triumph
over all circumstances: anything around me is nothing, if I have Jesus.” He
longed for the presence of Christ. Would God that, as we look at the life of
Christ upon earth, as we look how Christ walked and conquered the waves,
every one of us could say, “I want to walk like Jesus.” If that is your
heart’s desire, you can expect the presence of Jesus; but as long as you
want to walk on a lower level than Christ, as long as you want to have a
little of the world, and a little of self-will, do not expect to have the
presence of Christ. Near Christ, and like Christ,–the two things go
together. Have you taken that in? Peter wanted to walk like Christ that he
might get near Christ; and it is this I want to offer every one of you. I
want to say to the weakest believer, “With God’s presence you can have the
presence and fellowship of Christ all the day long, your whole life
through.” I want to bring you that promise, but I must give God’s
condition,–walk like Christ, and you shall always abide near Christ. The
presence of Christ invites you to come and have unbroken fellowship with
Him.
    5. Then comes the next thought. We have just had the presence of Christ
desired, and my next thought is,–the presence of Christ trusted. The Lord
Jesus said, “Come,” and what did Peter do? He stepped out of the boat. How
did he dare to do it against all the laws of nature?–how did he dare to do
it? He sought Christ, he heard Christ’s voice, he trusted Christ’s presence
and power, and in the faith of Christ he said, “I can walk on the water,”
and he stepped out of the boat. Here is the turning point; here is the
crisis. Peter saw Christ in the manifestation of a supernatural power, and
Peter believed that supernatural power could work in him, and he could live
a supernatural life. He believed this applied to walking on the sea; and
herein lies the whole secret of the life of faith. Christ had supernatural
power,–the power of heaven, the power of holiness, the power of fellowship
with God, and Christ can give me grace to live as He lived. If I will but,
like Peter, look at Christ and say to Christ, “Lord, speak the word, and I
will come,” and if I will listen to Christ saying, “Come,” I, too, shall
have power to walk upon the waves.
    Have you ever seen a more beautiful and more instructive symbol of the
Christian life? I once preached on it many years ago, and the thought that
filled my heart then was this,–the Christian life compared to Peter walking
on the waves, nothing so difficult and impossible without Christ, nothing so
blessed and safe with Christ. That is the Christian life,–impossible
without Christ’s nearness,–most safe and blessed, however difficult, if I
only have the presence of Christ. Believers, we have tried in these pages to
call you to a better life in the Spirit, to a life in the fellowship with
God. There is only one thing can enable you to live it,–you must have the
Lord Jesus hold your hand every minute of the day. “But can that be?” you
ask. Yes, it can. “I have so much to think of. Sometimes for four or five
hours of the day I have to go into the very thick of business and have some
ten men standing around me, each claiming my attention. How can I, how can I
always have the presence of Jesus?” Beloved, because Jesus is your God and
loves you wonderfully, and is able to make His presence more clear to you
than that of ten men who are standing around you. If you will in the morning
take time and enter into your covenant every morning with Him, “My Lord
Jesus, nothing can satisfy me but Thine abiding presence,” He will give it
to you, He will surely give it to you. Oh, Peter trusted the presence of
Christ, and He said, “If Christ calls me I can walk on the waves to Him.”
Shall we trust the presence of Christ? To walk through all the circumstances
and temptations of life is exactly like walking on the water,–you have no
solid ground under your feet, you do not know how strong the temptations of
Satan may come; but do believe God wants you to walk in a supernatural life
above human power. God wants you to live a life in Christ Jesus. Are you
wanting to live that life? Come then, and say, “Jesus, I have heard Thy
promise that Thy presence will go with me. Thou hast said, “My presence
shall go with thee,”–and, Lord, I claim it; I trust Thee.”
    6. Now, the sixth step in this wonderful history. The presence of
Christ forgotten. Peter got out of the boat and began to walk toward the
Lord Jesus with his eyes fixed upon Him. The presence of Christ was trusted
by him, and he walked boldly over the waves; but all at once he took his
eyes off Jesus, and he began at once to sink, and there was Peter, his walk
of faith at an end; all drenched and drowning and crying, “Lord, help me!”
There are some of you saying in your hearts, I know, “Ah, that’s what will
come of your higher-life Christians.” There are people who say, “You never
can life that life; do not talk of it; you must always be failing.” Peter
always failed before Pentecost. It was because the Holy Spirit had not yet
come, and therefore his experience goes to teach us, that while Peter was
still in the life of the flesh he must fail somehow or other. But, thank
God, there was One to life him out of the failure; and our last point will
be to prove that out of that failure he came into closer union with Jesus
than ever before, and deeper dependence. But listen, first, while I speak to
you about this failure.
    Someone may say, “I have been trying, to say, `Lord, I will live it;’
but, tell me, suppose failure come, what then?” Learn from Peter what you
ought to do. What did Peter do? The very opposite of what most do. What did
he do when he began to sink? That very moment, without one word of
self-reproach of self-condemnation, he cried, “Lord, help me!” I wish I
could teach every Christian that. I remember the time in my spiritual life
when that became clear to me; for up to that time, when I failed, my only
thought was to reproach and condemn myself, and I thought that would do me
good. I found it didn’t do me good; and I learn from Peter that my work is,
the very moment I fail, to say, “Jesus, Master, help me!” and the very
moment I say that, Jesus does help me. Remember, failure is not an
impossibility. I can conceive more than one Christian who said, “Lord, I
claim the fulness of the Holy Ghost. I want to live every hour of every day
filled with the Holy Spirit;” and I can conceive that an honest soul who
said that with a trembling faith, yet may have fallen; I want to say to that
soul, Don’t be discouraged. If failure comes, at once, without any waiting,
appeal to Jesus. He is always ready to hear, and the very moment you find
there is the temper, the hasty word, or some other wrong, at once the living
Jesus is near, so gracious, and so mighty. Appeal to Him and there will be
help at once. If you learn to do this, Jesus will lift you up and lead you
on to a walk where His strength shall secure you from failure.
    7.And then comes my last thought. The presence of Jesus was forgotten
while Peter looked at the waves; but now, lastly, we have the presence of
Jesus restored. Yes, Christ stretched out His hand to save him.
Possibly–for Peter was a very proud, self-confident man–possibly he had to
sink there to teach him that his faith could not save him, but it was the
power of Christ. God wants us to learn the lesson that when we fall then we
can cry out to Jesus, and at once He reaches out His hand. Remember, Peter
walked back to the boat without sinking again. Why? Because Christ was very
near him. Remember it is quite possible, if you use your failure rightly, to
be far nearer Christ after it than before. Use it rightly, I say. That is,
come and acknowledge, “In me there is nothing, but I am going to trust my
Lord unboundedly.” Let every failure teach you to cling afresh to Christ,
and He will prove Himself a mighty and a loving Helper. The presence of
Jesus restored! Yes, Christ took him by the hand and helped him, and I don’t
know whether they walked hand in hand those forty or fifty yards back to the
boat, or whether Christ allowed Peter to walk beside Him; but this I know,
they were very near to each other, and it was the nearness of his Lord that
strengthened him.
    Remember what has taken place since that happened with Peter. The cross
has been erected, the blood has been shed, the grave has been opened, the
resurrection has been accomplished, heaven has been opened, and the Spirit
of the Exalted One has come down. Do believe that it is possible for the
presence of Jesus to be with us every day and all the way. Your God has
given you Christ, and He wants to give you Christ into your heart in such a
way that His presence shall be with you every moment of your life.
    Who is willing to lift up his eyes and his heart and to exclaim, “I
want to live according to God’s standard?” Who is willing? Who is willing to
cast himself into the arms of Jesus and to live a life of faith victorious
over the winds and the waves, over the circumstances and difficulties? Who
is willing to say this,–“Lord, bid me come to Thee upon the water?” Are you
willing? Listen! Jesus says, “Come.” Will you step out at this moment?
Yonder is the boat, the old life that Peter had been leading; he had been
familiar with the sea from his boyhood, and that boat was a very sacred
place; Christ had sat beside him there; Christ had preached from that boat,
from that boat of Peter’s, Christ had given the wonderful draught of fishes;
it was a very sacred boat; but Peter left it to come to a place more sacred
still,–walking with Jesus on the water,–a new and a Divine experience.
Your Christian life may be a very sacred thing; you may say, “Christ saved
me by His blood, He has given me many an experience of grace; God has proved
His grace in my heart,” but you confess “I haven’t got the real life of
abiding fellowship; the winds and the waves often terrify me, and I sink.”
Oh, come out of the boat of past experiences at once; come out of the boat
of external circumstances; come out of the boat, and step out on the word of
Christ, and believe, “With Jesus I can walk upon the water.” When Peter was
in the boat, what had he between him and the bottom of the sea? A couple of
planks; but when he stepped out upon the water what had he between him and
the sea? Not a plank, but the word of the Almighty Jesus. Will you come, and
without any experience, will you rest upon the word of Jesus, “Lo I am with
you alway”? Will you rest upon His word, “Be of good cheer; fear not; it is
I”? Every moment Jesus lives in heaven; every moment by His Spirit Jesus
whispers that word; and every moment He lives to make it true. Accept it
now, accept it now! My Lord Jesus is equal to every emergency. My Lord Jesus
can meet the wants of every soul. My whole heart says, “He can, He can do
it; He will, He will do it!” Oh come, believers, and let us claim most
deliberately, most quietly, most restfully,–let us claim, claim it, claim
it, CLAIM it.

                          VII. A WORD TO WORKERS

Some time ago I read this expression in an old author:–“The first duty of a
clergyman is humbly to ask of God that all that he wants done in his hearers
should first be truly and fully done in himself.” These words have stuck to
me ever since. What a solemn application this is to the subject that
occupied our attention in previous chapters–the living and working under
the fulness of the Holy Spirit! And yet, if we understand our calling
aright, every one of us will have to say, That is the one thing on which
everything depends. What profit is it to tell men that they may be filled
with the Spirit of God, if, when they ask us, “Has God done it for you?” we
have to answer, “No, He has not done it”? What profit is it for me to tell
men that Jesus Christ can dwell within us every moment, and keep us from sin
and actual transgression, and that the abiding presence of God can be our
portion all the day, if I wait not upon God first to do it truly and full
day by day?
    Look at the Lord Jesus Christ; it was of the Christ Himself, when He
had received the Holy Ghost from heaven, that John the Baptist said that “He
would baptize with the Holy Ghost.” I can only communicate to others what
God has imparted to me. If my life as a minister be a life in which the
flesh still greatly prevails–if my life be a life in which I grieve the
Spirit of God, I cannot expect but that my people will receive through me a
very mingled kind of life. But if the life of God dwell in me, and I am
filled with His power, then I can hope that the life that goes out from me
may be infused into my hearers too.
    We have referred to the need of every believer being filled with the
Spirit; and what is there of deeper interest to us now, or that can better
occupy our attention, than prayerfully to consider how we can bring our
congregations to believe that this is possible; and how we can lead on every
believer to seek it for himself, to expect it, and to accept of it, so as to
live it out? But, brethren, the message must come from us as a witness of
our personal experience, by the grace of God. The same writer to whom I
alluded, says elsewhere:–“The first business of a clergyman, when he sees
men awakened and brought to Christ, is to lead them on to know the Holy
Spirit.” How true! Do not we find this throughout the word of God? John the
Baptist preached Christ as the “Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the
world;” we read in Matthew that he also said that Christ would “baptize with
the Holy Ghost and with fire.” In the gospel by John, we read that the
Baptist was told that upon Whom he would see the Spirit descending and
abiding, He it was who would baptize with the Spirit. Thus John the Baptist
led the people on from Christ to the expectation of the Holy Ghost for
themselves. And what did Jesus do? For three years, He was with His
disciples, teaching and instructing them; but when He was about to go away,
in His farewell discourse on the last night, what was His great promise to
the disciples? “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another
Comforter, even the Spirit of truth.” He had previously promised to those
who believed on Him, that “rivers of living water” should flow from them;
which the Evangelist explains as meaning the Holy Ghost:–“Thus spake He of
the Spirit.” But this promise was only to be fulfilled after Christ “was
glorified.” Christ points to the Holy Spirit as the one fruit of being
glorified. The glorified Christ leads to the Holy Ghost. So in the farewell
discourse, Christ leads the disciples to expect the Spirit as the Father’s
great blessing. Then again, when Christ came and stood at the footstool of
His heavenly throne, on the Mount of Olives, ready to ascend, what were His
words? “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you,
and ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” Christ’s constant work was to teach His
disciples to expect the Holy Spirit. Look through the Book of Acts, you see
the same thing. Peter on the day of Pentecost preached that Christ was
exalted, and had received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost; and
so he told the people; “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
So, when I believe in Jesus risen, ascended, and glorified, I shall receive
the Holy Ghost.
    Look again, after Philip had preached the gospel in Samaria, men and
women had been converted, and there was great joy in the city. The Holy
Spirit had been working, but something was still wanting; Peter and John
came down from Jerusalem, prayed for the converted ones, laid their hands
upon them, “and they received the Holy Ghost.” Then they had the conscious
possession and enjoyment of the Spirit; but till that came they were
incomplete. Paul was converted by the mighty power of Jesus who appeared to
Him on the way to Damascus; and yet he had to go to Ananias to receive the
Holy Ghost.
    Then again, we read that when Peter went to preach to Cornelius, as he
preached Christ, “the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word;”
which Peter took as the sign that these Gentiles were one with the Jews in
the favor of God, having the same baptism.
    And so we might go through many of the Epistles, where we find the same
truth taught. Look at that wonderful epistle to the Romans. The doctrine of
justification by faith is established in the first five chapters. Then in
the sixth and seventh, though the believer is represented as dead to sin and
the law, and married to Christ, yet a dreadful struggle goes on in the heart
of the regenerate man as long as he has not god the full power of the Holy
Spirit. But in the eighth chapter, it is the “law of the Spirit of life in
Christ Jesus” that maketh us free from “the law of sin and death.” Then we
are “not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,” with the Spirit of God dwelling
in us. All the teaching leads up to the Holy Spirit.
    Look again at the epistle to the Galatians. We always talk of this
epistle as the great source of instruction on the doctrine of justification
by faith: but have you ever noticed how the doctrine of the Holy Spirit
holds a most prominent place there? Paul asks the Galatian
church:–“Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing
of faith?” It was the hearing of faith that led them to the full enjoyment
of the Spirit’s power. If they sought to be justified by the works of the
law, they had “fallen from grace.” “For we through the Spirit wait for the
hope of righteousness by faith.” And then at the end of the fifth chapter,
we are told:–“If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit.”
    Again, if we go to the epistles to the Corinthians, we find Paul asking
the Christians in Corinth:–“Know ye not that your body is the temple of the
Holy Ghost which is in you?” If we look into the epistle to the Ephesians,
we find the doctrine of the Holy Spirit mentioned twelve times. It is the
Spirit that seals God’s people; “Ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of
promise.” He illumines them; “That God may give the Spirit of wisdom and
revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Through Christ, both Jew and Gentile
“have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” They “are builded together for
an habitation of God through the Spirit.” They are “strengthened with might
by His Spirit in the inner man.” With “all lowliness and meekness, with
long-suffering, forbearing one another in love,” they “endeavour to keep the
unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” By not “grieving the Holy Spirit
of God,” we preserve our sealing to the “day of redemption.” Being “filled
with the Spirit,” we “sing and make melody in our hearts to the Lord,” and
thus glorify Him. Just study these epistles carefully, and you will find
that what I say is true–that the apostle Paul takes great pains to lead
Christians to the Holy Ghost as the consummation of the Christian life.
    It was the Holy Ghost Who was given to the church at Pentecost; and it
is the Holy Ghost Who gives Pentecostal blessings now. It is this power,
given to bless men, that wrought such wonderful life, and love, and
self-sacrifice in the early church; and it is this that makes us look back
to those days as the most beautiful part of the Church’s history. And it is
the same Spirit of power that must dwell in the hearts of all believers in
our day to give the Church its true position. Let us ask God then, that
every minister and Christian worker may be endued with the power of the Holy
Ghost; that He may search us and try us, and enable us sincerely to answer
the question, “Have I known the indwelling and the filling of the Holy
Spirit that God wants me to have? Let each one of us ask himself: “Is it my
great study to know the Holy Ghost dwelling in me, so that I may help others
to yield to the same indwelling of the Holy Spirit; and that He may reveal
Christ fully in His divine saving and keeping power?” Will not every one
have to confess: “Lord, I have all too little understood this; I have all
too little manifested this in my work and preaching”? Beloved brethren, “The
first duty of every clergyman is to humbly ask God that all that he wants
done in his hearers may be first fully and truly done in himself.” And the
second thing is his duty towards those who are awakened and brought to
Christ, to lead them on to the full knowledge of the presence and indwelling
of the Holy Spirit.
    Now, if we are indeed to come into full harmony with these two great
principles, then there come to us some further questions of the very deepest
importance. And the first questions is:–“Why is it that there is in the
church of Christ so little practical acknowledgment of the power of the Holy
Ghost?” I am not speaking to you, brethren, as if I thought you were not
sound in doctrine on this point. I speak to you as believing in the Holy
Ghost as the third person in the ever-blessed Trinity. But I speak to you
confidently as to those who will readily admit that the truth or the
presence and of the power of the Holy Ghost is not acknowledged in the
church as it ought to be. Then the question is, Why is it not so
acknowledged? I answer because of its spirituality. It is one of the most
difficult truths in the Bible for the human mind to comprehend. God has
revealed Himself in creation throughout the whole universe. He has revealed
Himself in Christ incarnate–and what a subject of study the person, and
word, and works of Christ form! But the mysterious indwelling of the Holy
Spirit, hidden in the depths of the life of the believer, how much less easy
to comprehend!
    In the early pentecostal days of the church, this knowledge was
intuitive; they possessed the Spirit in power. But soon after the spirit of
the world began to creep into the church and mastered it. This was followed
by the deeper darkness of formality and superstition in the Roman Catholic
Church, when the spirit of the world completely triumphed in what was
improperly styled the Church of Christ. The Reformation in the days of
Luther restored the truth of justification by faith in Christ; but the
doctrine of the Holy Ghost did not then obtain its proper place, for God
does not reveal all truth at one time. A great deal of the spirit of the
world was still left in the reformed churches; but now God is awakening the
church to strive after a fuller scriptural idea of the Holy Spirit’s place
and power. Through the medium of books, and discussions, and conventions
many hearts are being stirred.
    Brethren, it is our privilege to take part in this great movement; and
let us engage in the work more earnestly than ever. Let each of us say my
great work is, in preaching Christ, to lead men to the acknowledging of the
Holy Spirit, who alone can glorify Christ. I may try to glorify Christ in my
preaching, but it will avail nothing without the Spirit of God. I may urge
men to the practice of holiness and every Christian virtue, but all my
persuasion will avail very little unless I help them to believe that they
must have the Holy Ghost dwelling in them every moment enabling to live the
life of Christ. The great reason why the Holy Spirit was given from heaven
was to make Christ Jesus’ presence manifest to us. While Jesus was
incarnate, His disciples were too much under the power of the flesh to allow
Christ to get a lodgement in their hearts. It was needful, He said, that He
should go away, in order that the Spirit might come; and He promised to
those who loved Him and kept His commandments, that with the Spirit, He
would come, and the Father would also come, and make Their abode with them.
It is thus the Holy Spirit’s great work to reveal the Father and the Son in
the hearts of God’s people. If we believe and teach men that the Holy Spirit
can make Christ a reality to them every moment, men will learn to believe
and accept Christ’s presence and power, of which they now know far too
little.
    Then another question presents itself, viz., What are we to expect when
the Holy Spirit is duly acknowledged and received? I ask this question,
because I have frequently noticed something with considerable interest–and,
I may say, with some anxiety. I sometimes hear men praying earnestly for a
baptism of the Holy Spirit that He may give them power for their work.
Beloved brethren, we need this power, not only for work, but for our daily
life. Remember, we must have it all the time. In Old Testament times, the
Spirit came with power upon the prophets and other inspired men; but He did
not dwell permanently in them. In the same way, in the church of the
Corinthians, the Holy Spirit came with power to work miraculous gifts, and
yet they had but a small measure of His sanctifying grace. You will remember
the carnal strife, envying, and divisions there were. They had gifts of
knowledge and wisdom, etc.; but alas! pride, unlovingness, and other sins
sadly marred the character of many of them. And what does this teach us?
That a man may have a great gift of power for work, but very little of the
indwelling Spirit. In 1 Cor. xiii., we are reminded that though we may have
faith that would remove mountains, if we have not love, we are nothing. We
must have the love that brings the humility and self-sacrifice of Jesus.
Don’t let us put in the first place the gifts we may possess; if we do, we
shall have very little blessing. But we should seek, in the first place,
that the Spirit of God should come as a light and power of holiness from the
indwelling Jesus. Let the first work of the Holy Spirit be to humble you
deep down in the very dust, so that your whole life shall be a tender,
broken-hearted waiting on God, in the consciousness of mercy coming from
above.
    Do not seek large gifts; there is something deeper you need. It is not
enough that a tree shoots its branches to the sky, and be covered thickly
with leaves; but we want its roots to strike deeply into the soil. Let the
thought of the Holy Spirit’s being in us, and our hope of being filled with
the Spirit, be always accompanied in us with a broken and contrite heart.
Let us bow very low before God, in waiting for His grace to fill and to
sanctify us. We do not want a power which God might allow us to use, while
our inner part is unsanctified. We want God to give us full possession of
Himself. In due time, the special gift may come; but we want first and now,
the power of the Holy Ghost working something far mightier and more
effectual in us than any such gift. We should seek, therefore, not only a
baptism of power, but a baptism of holiness; we should seek that the inner
nature be sanctified by the indwelling of Jesus, and then other power will
come as needed.
    There is a third question:–Suppose some one says to me:–“I have given
myself up to be filled with the Spirit, and I do not feel that there is any
difference in my condition; there is no change of experience that I can
speak of. What must I then think? Must not I think that my surrender was not
honest?” No, do not think that. “But how then? Does God give no response?”
Beloved, God gives a response, but that is not always within certain months
or years. “What, then, would you have me do?” Retain the position you have
taken before God, and maintain it every day. Say, “Oh God, I have given
myself to be filled, here I am an empty vessel, trusting and expecting to be
filled by Thee.” Take that position every day and every hour. Ask God to
write it across your heart. Give up to God an empty, consecrated vessel that
He may fill it with the Holy Spirit. Take that position constantly. It may
be that you are not fully prepared. Ask God to cleanse you; to give you
grace to separate from everything sinful–from unbelief or whatever
hindrance there may be. Then take your position before God and say, “My God,
Thou art faithful; I have entered into covenant with Thee for Thy Holy
Spirit to fill me, and I believe Thou wilt fulfill it.” Brethren, I say for
myself, and for every minister of the gospel, and for every fellow worker,
man or woman, that if we thus come before God with a full surrender, in a
bold, believing attitude, God’s promise must be fulfilled.
    If you were to ask me of my own experience, I would say this:–That
there have been times when I hardly knew myself what to think of God’s
answer to my prayer in this matter; but I have found it my joy and my
strength to take and maintain my position, and say: “My God, I have given
myself up to Thee. It was Thine own grace that led me to Christ; and I stand
before Thee in confidence that Thou wilt keep Thy covenant with me to the
end. I am the empty vessel; Thou art the God that fillest all.” God is
faithful, and He gives the promised blessing in His own time and method.
Beloved, for God’s sake, be content with nothing less than full health and
full spiritual life. “Be filled with the Spirit.”
    Let me return now to the two expressions with which I began: “the first
duty of every clergyman is humbly to ask of God that all that he wants done
in those who hear his preaching may be first truly and fully done in
himself.” Brethren, I ask you, is it not the longing of your hearts to have
a congregation of believers filled with the Holy Ghost? Is it not your
unceasing prayer for the Church of Christ, in which you minister, that the
Spirit of holiness, the very Spirit of God’s Son, the spirit of
unworldliness and of heavenly-mindedness, may possess it; and that the
Spirit of victory and of power over sin may fill its children? If you are
willing for that to come, your first duty is to have it yourself.
    And then the second sentence:–“the first duty of every clergyman is to
lead those who have been brought to Christ to be entirely filled with the
Holy Ghost.” How can I do my work with success? I can conceive what a
privilege it is to be led by the Spirit of God in all that I am doing. In
studying my Bible, praying, visiting, organizing, or whatever I am doing,
God is willing to guide me by His Holy Spirit. It sometimes becomes a
humiliating experience to me that I am unwatchful, and do not wait for the
blessing; when that is the case, God can bring me back again. But there is
also the blessed experience of God’s guiding hand, often through deep
darkness, by His Holy Spirit. Let us walk about among the people as men of
God, that we may not only preach about a book, and what we believe with our
hearts to be true, but may preach what we are and what we have in our own
experience. Jesus calls us witnesses for Him; what does that mean? The Holy
Ghost brought down to heaven from men a participation in the glory and the
joy of the exalted Christ. Peter and the others who spoke with Him were
filled with this heavenly Spirit; and thus Christ spoke in them, and
accomplished the work for them. O brethren, if you and I be Christ’s we
should take our places and claim our privilege. We are witnesses to the
truth which we believe–witnesses to the reality of what Jesus does and what
He is, by His presence in our own souls. If we are willing to be such
witnesses for Christ, let us go to our God; let us make confession and
surrender, and by faith claim what God has for us as ministers of the gospel
and workers in His service. God will prove faithful. Even at this very
moment, He will touch our hearts with a deep consciousness of His
faithfulness and of His presence; and He will give to every hungering,
trustful one that which we continually need.

                                CONSECRATION

“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so
willingly after this sort? for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own
have we given Thee.”

      To be able to offer anything to God is a perfect mystery. Consecration
is a miracle of grace. “All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we
given Thee.” In these words there are four very precious thoughts I want to
try and make clear to you: –
    1. God is the Owner of all, and gives all to us.
    2. We have nothing but what we receive–but everything we need we may
receive from God.
    3. It is our privilege and honour to give back to God what we receive
from Him.
    4. God has a double joy in His possessions when he receives back from
us what He gave.
    And when I apply this to my life–to my body, to my wealth, property,
to my whole being with all its powers–then I understand what Consecration
ought to be.
    1. It is the glory of God, and His very nature, to be always GIVING.
God is the owner of all. There is no power, no riches, no goodness, no love,
outside of God. It is the very nature of God, that He does not live for
Himself, but for His creatures. His is a love that always delights to give.
Here we come to the first step in consecration. I must see that everything I
have is given by Him; I must learn to believe in God as the great Owner and
Giver of all. Let me hold that fast. I have nothing but what actually and
definitely belongs to God. Just as much as people say, “this money in my
purse belongs to me,” so God is the Proprietor of all. It is His and His
only. And it is his life and delight to be always giving. Oh, take that
precious thought–there is nothing that God has that He does not want to
give. It is His nature, and therefore when God asks you anything, He must
give it first Himself, and He will. Never be afraid whatever God asks; for
God only asks what is His own; what He asks you to give He will first
Himself give you. The Possessor, and Owner, and Giver of all! This is our
God. You can apply this to yourself and your powers to all you are and have.
Study it, believe it, live in it, every day, every hour, every moment.
    2. Just as it is the nature and glory of God to be always giving, it is
the nature and glory of man to be always receiving. What did God make us
for? We have been made to be each of us a vessel into which God can pour out
His life, His beauty, His happiness, His love. We are created to be each a
receptacle and a reservoir of divine heavenly life and blessing, just as
much as God can put into us. Have we understood this, that our great
work–the object of our creation–is to be always receiving? If we fully
enter into this, it will teach some precious things. One thing–the utter
folly of being proud or conceited. What an idea! Suppose I were to borrow a
very beautiful dress, and walk about boasting of it as if it were my own,
you might say, “What a fool!” And here it is the Everlasting God owns
everything we have; shall we dare to exalt ourselves on account of what is
all His? Then what a blessed lesson it will teach us of what our position
is! I have to do with a God whose nature is to be always giving, and mine to
be always receiving. Just as the lock and key fit each other, God the Giver
and I the receiver fit into each other. How often we trouble about things,
and about praying for them, instead of going back to the root of things, and
saying, “Lord, I only crave to be the receptacle of what the Will of God
means for me; of the power and the gifts and the love and Spirit of God.”
What can be more simple? Come as a receptacle–cleansed, emptied and humble.
Come, and then God will delight to give. If I may with reverence say it, He
cannot help Himself; it is His promise, His nature. The blessing is ever
flowing out of Him. You know how water always flows into the lowest places.
If we would but be emptied and low, nothing but receptacles, what a blessed
life we could live! Day by day just praising Him–Thou givest and I accept.
Thou bestowest and I rejoice to receive. How many tens of thousands of
people have said this morning: “What a beautiful day! Let us throw open the
windows and bring in the sunlight with its warmth and cheerfulness!” May our
hearts learn every moment to drink in the light and sunshine of God’s love.
    “Who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so
willingly after this sort? for all things come of Thee, and we have given
Thee of Thine own.”
    3. If God gives all and I receive all, then the third thought is very
simple–I must give all back again. What a privilege that for the sake of
having me in loving, grateful intercourse with Him, and giving me the
happiness of pleasing and serving Him, the Everlasting God should say, “Come
now, and bring Me back all that I give.” And yet people say, “Oh, but must I
give everything back?brother, don’t you know that there is no happiness or
blessedness except in giving to God! David felt it. He said: “Lord, what an
unspeakable privilege it is to be allowed to give that back to Thee which is
Thine own!” Just to receive and then to render back in love to Him as God,
what He gives. Do you know what God needs you for? People say, “Does not God
give us all good gifts to enjoy?” But do you know that the reality of the
enjoyment is in the giving back? Just look at Jesus–God gave Him a
wonderful body. He kept it holy and gave it as a sacrifice to God. This is
the beauty of having a body. God has given you a soul; this is the beauty of
having a soul–you can give it back to God. People talk about the difficulty
they meet with in having so strong a will. You never can have too strong a
will, but the trouble is we do not give that strong will up to God, to make
it a vessel in which God can and will pour His Spirit, so as to fit it to do
splendid service for Himself.
    We have now had the three thoughts: God gives all; I receive all; I
give up all. Will you do this now? Will not every heart say, “My God, teach
me to give up everything?” Take your head, your mind with all its power of
speaking, your property, your heart with its affections–the best and most
secret–take gold and silver, everything, and lay it at God’s feet and say,
“Lord, here is the covenant between me and Thee. Thou delightest to give
all, and I delight to give back all.” God teach us that. If that simple
lesson were learnt, there would be an end of so much trouble about finding
out the Will of God, and an end of all our holding back, for it would be
written, not upon our foreheads, but across our hearts, “God can do with me
what He pleases; I belong to Him with all I have.” Instead of always saying
to God, “Give, give, give,” we should say, “Yes, Lord, Thou dost give, thou
dost love to give, and I love to give back.” Try that life and find out if
it is not the very highest life.
    4. God gives all, I receive all, I give all. Now comes the fourth
thought: God does so rejoice in what we give to Him. It is not only I that
am the receiver and the giver, but God is the Giver and the Receiver too,
and, may I say it with reverence, has more pleasure in the receiving back
than even in giving. With our little faith we often thing they come back to
God again all defiled. God says, “No, they come back beautiful and
glorified”; the surrender of the dear child of His, with his aspirations and
thanksgivings, brings it to God with a new value and beauty. Ah! child of
God you do not know how precious the gift that you bring to your Father, is
in His sight. Have I not seen a mother give a piece of cake, and the child
comes and offers her a piece to share it with her? How she values the gift!
And your God, oh, my friends, your God, His heart, His Father’s heart of
love, longs, longs, longs to have you give Him everything. It is not a
demand. It is a demand, but it is not a demand of a hard Master, it is the
call of a loving Father, who knows that every gift you bring to God will
bind you closer to Himself, and every surrender you make will open your
heart wider to get more of his spiritual gifts. Oh, friends! a gift to God
has in His sight infinite value. It delights Him. He sees of the travail of
His soul and is satisfied. And it brings unspeakable blessing to you. These
are the thoughts our text suggests; now comes the practical application.
What are the lessons? We here learn what the true dispositions of the
Christian life are.
    To be and abide in continual dependence upon God. Become nothing, begin
to understand that you are nothing but an earthen vessel into which God will
shine down the treasure of His love. Blessed is the man who knows what it is
to be nothing, to be just an empty vessel meet for God’s use. Work, the
Apostle says, for it is God who worketh in you to will and to do. Brethren,
come and take tonight the place of deep, deep dependence on God. And then
take the place of child-like trust and expectancy. Count upon your God to do
for you everything that you can desire of Him. Honour God as a God who gives
liberally. Honour God and believe that He asks nothing from you but what he
is going first to give. And then come praise and surrender and consecration.
Praise Him for it! Let every sacrifice to Him be a thank-offering. What are
we going to consecrate? First of all our lives. There are perhaps men and
women–young men and women–whose hearts are asking, “What do you want me to
do–to say I will be a missionary?” No, indeed, I do not ask you to do this.
Deal with God, and come to Him and say, “Lord of all, I belong to Thee, I am
absolutely at Thy disposal.” Yield up yourselves. There may be many who
cannot go as Missionaries, but oh, come, give up yourselves to God all the
same to be consecrated to the work of His Kingdom. Let us bow down before
Him. Let us give Him all our powers–our head to think for His Kingdom, our
heart to go out in love for men, and however feeble you may be, come and
say: “Lord, here I am, to live and die for Thy Kingdom. Some talk and pray
about the filling of the Holy Spirit. Let them pray more and believe more.
But remember the Holy Spirit came to fit men to be messengers of the
Kingdom, and you cannot expect to be filled with the Spirit unless you want
to live for Christ’s Kingdom. You cannot expect all the love and peace and
joy of heaven to come into your life and be your treasures, unless you give
them up absolutely to the Kingdom of God, and posses and use them only for
Him. It is the soul utterly given up to God that will receive in its
emptying the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Dear friends we must consecrate
not only ourselves–body and soul–but all we have. Some of you may have
children; perhaps you have an only child, and you dread the very idea of
letting it go. Take care, take care; God deserves your confidence, your
love, and your surrender. I plead with you; take your children and say to
Jesus: “Anything Lord, that pleases Thee.” Educate your children for Jesus.
God help you to do it. He may not accept all of them, but He will accept of
the will, and there will be a rich blessing in your soul for it. Then there
is money. When I hear appeals for money from every Society; when I hear
calculations as to what the Christians of England are spending on pleasure,
and the small amount given for Missions, I say there is something terrible
in it. God’s children with so much wealth and comfort, and giving away so
small a portion! God be praised for every exception! But there are many who
give but very little, who never so give that it costs them something, and
they feel it. Oh, friends! our giving must be in proportion to God’s giving.
He gives you all. Let us take it up in our Consecration prayer: “Lord, take
it all, every penny I possess. It is all Thine.” Let us often say “It is all
His.” You may not know how much you ought to give. Give up all, put
everything in His hands, and He will teach you if you will wait.
    We have heard this precious message from David’s mouth. We Christians
of the nineteenth century, have we learned to know our God who is willing to
give everything? God help us to.
    And then the second message. We have nothing that we do not receive,
and we may receive everything if we are willing to stand before God and take
it.
    Thirdly. Whatever you have received from God give it back. It brings a
double blessing to your own soul.
    Fourthly. Whatever God receives back from us comes to Him in Heaven and
gives Him infinite joy and happiness, as he sees His object has been
attained. Let us come in the spirit of David, with the spirit of Jesus
Christ in us. Let us pray our Consecration Prayer. And may the Blessed
Spirit give each of us grace to think and to say the right thing, and to do
what shall be pleasing in the Father’s sight.

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