The Deeper Christian Life
Written by: Murray, Andrew Posted on: 03/27/2003
Category: Classic Christian Library
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
Typed by: Kathy Sewell, email@example.com, June 1, 1997
This book is in the public domain
THE DEEPER CHRISTIAN LIFE
AN AID TO ITS ATTAINMENT
AUTHOR OF "THE MASTER'S INDWELLING,"
"WITH CHRIST IN THE SCHOOL OF PRAYER,"
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
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
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
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
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
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 h
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