AW Pink (1886-1952): The Cross and Self

The Cross and Self
By
AW Pink (1886-1952)
Copyright: Public Domain

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Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any will come after Me let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (Matthew 16:24).

Ere developing the theme of this verse let us comment on its terms. If any: the duty enjoined is for all who would join Christ’s followers and enlist under His banner. If any will: the Greek is very emphatic, signifying not only the consent of the will, but full purpose of heart, a determined resolution. Come after Me: as a servant subject to his Master, a scholar his Teacher, a soldier his Captain. Deny: the Greek means deny utterly. Deny himself: his sinful and corrupt nature. And take up: not passively bear or endure, but voluntarily assume, actively adopt. His cross: which is scorned by the world, hated by the flesh, but is the distinguishing mark of a real Christian. And follow Me: live as Christ lived to the glory of God.

The immediate context is most solemn and striking. The Lord Jesus has just announced to His apostles, for the first time, His approaching death of humiliation (v. 21). Peter was staggered, and said, Pity Thyself, Lord (v. 22 mar.). That expressed the policy of the carnal mind. The way of the world is self-seeking and self-shielding. Spare thyself is the sum of its philosophy. But the doctrine of Christ is not save thyself but sacrifice thyself. Christ discerned in Peters counsel a temptation from Satan (v. 23), and at once flung it from Him. Then turning to Peter, He said: Not only must Jesus go up to Jerusalem and die, but everyone who would be a follower of His must take up his cross (v. 24). The must is as imperative in the one case as in the other. Mediatorially the cross of Christ stands alone, but experimentally it is shared by all who enter into life.

What is a Christian? One who holds membership in some earthly church? No. One who believes an orthodox creed? No. One who adopts a certain mode of conduct? No. What, then, is a Christian? He is one who has renounced self and received Christ Jesus as Lord (Col. 2:6). He is one who takes Christ’s yoke upon him and learns of Him who is meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29). He is one who has been called unto the fellowship of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor. 1:9): fellowship in His obedience and suffering now, in His reward and glory in the endless future. There is no such thing as belonging to Christ and living to please self. Make no mistake on that point Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple, (Luke 14:27) said Christ. And again He declared, But whosoever shall [instead of denying himself] deny Me before men [not unto men: it is conduct, the walk which is here in view], him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven (Matthew 10:33).

The Christian life begins with an act of self-renunciation, and is continued by self-mortification (Rom. 8:13). The first question of Saul of Tarsus, when Christ apprehended him, was, Lord, what wouldst Thou have me to do? The Christian life is likened unto a race, and the racer is called upon to lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (Heb. 12:2), which sin is in the love of self, the desire and determination to have our own way (Isa. 53:6). The one great aim, end, task, set before the Christian is to follow Christ, to follow the example He has left us (1 Pet. 2:21), and He pleased not Himself (Rom. 15:3). And there are difficulties in the way, obstacles in the path, the chief of which is self. Therefore this must be denied. This is the first step toward following Christ.

What does it mean for a man to utterly deny himself? First, it signifies the complete repudiation of his own goodness. It means ceasing to rest upon any works of our own to commend us to God. It means an unreserved acceptance of God’s verdict that all our righteousnesses [our best performances] are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). It was at this point that Israel failed: For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God (Rom. 10:3). But contrast the declaration of Paul: And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness (Phil. 3:9).

For a man to utterly deny himself is to completely renounce his own wisdom. None can enter the kingdom of heaven except they become as little children (Matthew 18:3). Woe unto them that are wiser in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight (Isa. 5:21). Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools (Rom. 1:21). When the Holy Spirit applies the Gospel in power to a soul, it is to the casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). A wise motto for each Christian to adopt is Lean not unto thine own understanding (Prov. 3:5).

For a man to utterly deny himself is to completely renounce his own strength. It is to have no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3). It is the heart bowing to Christ’s positive declaration Without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5). It was at this point Peter failed: (Matthew 26:33). Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:18). How necessary it is, then, that we heed 1 Corinthians 10:12: Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall! The secret of spiritual strength lies in realizing our personal weakness: (see Isa. 40:29; 2 Cor. 12:9). Then let us be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 2:1).

For a man to utterly deny himself is to completely renounce his own will. The language of the unsaved is, We will not have this Man to reign over us (Luke 19:14). The attitude of the Christian is, For to me to live is Christ (Phil. 1:21) to honour, please, serve Him. To renounce our own wills means heeding the exhortation of Phil. 2:5, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, which is defined in the verses that immediately follow as that of self-abnegation. It is the practical recognition that ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19,20). It is saying with Christ, Nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt (Mark 14:36).

For a man to utterly deny himself is to completely renounce his own lusts or fleshly desires. A man’s self is a bundle of idols (Thomas Manton, Puritan), and those idols must be repudiated. Non-Christians are lovers of their own selves (2 Tim. 3:1); but the one who has been regenerated by the Spirit says with Job, I am vile (40:4), I abhor myself (47:6). Of non-Christians it is written, all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s (Phil. 2:21); but of God’s saints it is recorded, they loved not their own lives unto the death (Rev. 12:11). The grace of God is Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12).

This denial of self which Christ requires from all His followers is to be universal. There is to be no reserve, no exceptions made: Make not provision for the flesh, to the lusts (Rom. 13:14). It is to be constant, not occasional: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23). It is to be spontaneous, not forced, performed gladly, not reluctantly: And whatsoever ye do, do heartily, as to the Lord (Col 3:23). O how wickedly has the standard which God sets before us been lowered! How it condemns the easy-going, flesh-pleasing, worldly lives of so many who profess (but vainly), that they are Christians!

And take up his cross. This refers to the cross not as an object of faith, but as an experience in the soul. The legal benefits of Calvary are received through believing, when the guilt of sin is cancelled, but the experimental virtues of Christ’s Cross are only enjoyed as we are, in a practical way, (Phil. 3:10). It is only as we really apply the cross to our daily lives, regulate our conduct by its principles, that it becomes efficacious over the power of indwelling sin. There can be no resurrection where there is no death, and there can be no practical walking in newness of life until we bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus (2 Cor. 4:10). The cross is the badge, the evidence, of Christian discipleship. It is his cross and not his creed, which distinguishes a true follower of Christ from religious worldlings.

Now in the New Testament the cross stands for definite realities. First, it expresses the worlds hatred. The Son of God came here not to judge, but to save; not to punish but to redeem. He came here full of grace and truth. He was ever at the disposal of others: ministering to the needy, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, delivering the demon-possessed, raising the dead. He was full of compassion: gentle as a lamb; entirely sinless. He brought with Him glad tidings of great joy. He sought the outcast, preached to the poor, yet scorned not the rich; He pardoned sinners. And how was He received? What welcome did men accord Him? They despised and rejected Him (Isa. 53:3). He declared, They hated Me without a cause (John 15:25). They thirsted for His blood. No ordinary death would appease them. They demanded that He should be crucified. The Cross, then, was the manifestation of the worlds inveterate hatred of the Christ of God.

The world has not altered, any more than the Ethiopian has changed his skin or the leopard his spots. The world and Christ are still in open antagonism. Hence it is written, Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (Jas. 4:4). It is impossible to walk with Christ and commune with Him until we have separated from the world. To walk with Christ necessarily involves sharing his humiliation: Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach (Heb. 13:13). This is what Moses did: (see Heb. 11:24-26). The closer I am walking with Christ, the more shall I be misunderstood (1 John 3:2), ridiculed (Job 12:4) and detested by the world (John 15:19). Make no mistake here it is utterly impossible to keep in with the world and have fellowship with the Holy Christ. Thus, to take up my cross means, that I deliberately court the enmity of the world through my refusing to be conformed to it (Rom. 12:2). But what matters the world’s frowns if I am enjoying the Saviour’s smiles!

Taking up my cross means a life voluntarily surrendered to God. As the act of wicked men, the death of Christ was a murder; but as the act of Christ Himself, it was a voluntary sacrifice, offering Himself to God. It was also an act of obedience to God. In John 10:18 He said, No man taketh it [His life] from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. And why did He? His very next words tell us: This commandment have I received of My Father. The cross was the supreme demonstration of Christ’s obedience. Herein He was our Exemplar. Once again we quote Philippians 2:5, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. In what follows we see the Beloved of the Father taking upon Him the form of a Servant, and becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Now the obedience of Christ must be the obedience of the Christian voluntary, gladsome, unreserved, continuous. If that obedience involves shame and suffering, reproach and loss, we must not flinch, but set our face like a flint (Isa. 50:7). The cross is more than the object of the Christian’s faith, it is the badge of discipleship, the principle by which his life is to be regulated. The cross stands for surrender and dedication to God: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service (Rom. 12:1).

The cross stands for vicarious service and suffering. Christ laid down His life for others, and His followers are called on to be willing to do the same: We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16): that is the inevitable logic of Calvary. We are called to follow Christ’s example, to the fellowship of His sufferings, to be partners in His service. As Christ made himself of no reputation (Phil. 2:7) we must not. As He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister (Matthew 20:28), so must we. As He pleased not Himself (Rom. 15:3), no more must we. As He ever thought of others, so must we: Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves in the body (Heb. 13:3).

For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake, shall find it (Matthew 16:25). Words almost identical with these are found again in Matthew 10:39, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24; 17:33, John 12:25. Surely, such repetition argues the deep importance of our noting and heeding this saying of Christ’s. He died that we might live (John 12:24), so must we (John 12:25). Like Paul we must be able to say, Neither count I my life dear unto myself (Acts 20:24). The life that is lived for the gratification of self in this world, is lost for eternity; the life that is sacrificed to self-interests and yielded to Christ, will be found again, and preserved through eternity.

A young university graduate, with brilliant prospects, responded to the call of Christ to a life of service for Him in India among the lowest caste of the natives. His friends exclaimed, What a tragedy! A life thrown away! Yes, lost so far as this world is concerned, but found again in the world to come!

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CH Spurgeon (1834–1892):Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you

Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you.

By

C.H. Spurgeon (1834–1892)

Copyright: Public Domain

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1 Peter 5:7

It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel—“HE careth for me.” Christian! do not dishonour religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden upon your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight which your Father would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to him but as the small dust of the balance. Nothing is so sweet as to “Lie passive in God’s hands, And know no will but his.”

O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in his providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is One who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, his heart beats with pity for your woe, and his hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if thou art one of his family, will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart. Doubt not his grace because of thy tribulation, but believe that he loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence! With a little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, he has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God.

Andrew Murray (1828-1917): Absolute Surrender

Absolute Surrender

BY

Andrew Murray (1828 – 1917)

Copyright – Public Domain

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Absolute Surrender

“And Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it. And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Benhadad, Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine. And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine and all that I have” (1 Kings 20:1-4).

Ahab gave what was asked of him by Benhadad – absolute surrender. I want to use these words: “My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have,” as the words of absolute surrender with which every child of God ought to yield himself to his Father. We have heard it before, but we need to hear it very definitely-the condition of God’s blessing is absolute surrender of all into His hands. Praise God! If our hearts are willing for that, there is no end to what God will do for us, and to the blessing God will bestow.

Absolute surrender-let me tell you where I got those words. I used them myself often, and you have heard them numerous times. But once, in Scotland, I was in a company where we were talking about the condition of Christ’s Church, and what the great need of the Church and of believers is. There was in our company a godly Christian worker who has much to do in training other workers for Christ, and I asked him what he would say was the great need of the Church-the message that ought to be preached. He answered very quietly and simply and determinedly:

“Absolute surrender to God is the one thing.”

The words struck me as never before. And that man began to tell how, in the Christian workers with whom he had to deal, he finds that if they are sound on that point, they are willing to be taught and helped, and they always improve. Whereas, others who are not sound there very often go back and leave the work. The condition for obtaining God’s full blessing is absolute surrender to Him.

And now, I desire by God’s grace to give to you this message-that your God in heaven answers the prayers which you have offered for blessing on yourselves and for blessing on those around you by this one demand: Are you willing to surrender yourselves absolutely into His hands? What is our answer to be? God knows there are hundreds of hearts who have said it, and there are hundreds more who long to say it but hardly dare to do so. And there are hearts who have said it, but who have yet miserably failed, and who feel themselves condemned because they did not find the secret of the power to live that life. May God have a word for all!

Let me say, first of all, that God claims it from us.

GOD EXPECTS YOUR SURRENDER

Yes, it has its foundation in the very nature of God. God cannot do otherwise. Who is God? He is the Fountain of life, the only Source of existence and power and goodness. Throughout the universe there is nothing good but what God works. God has created the sun, the moon, the stars, the flowers, the trees, and the grass. Are they not all absolutely surrendered to God? Do they not allow God to work in them just what He pleases? When God clothes the lily with its beauty, is it not yielded up, surrendered, given over to God as He works in it its beauty? And God’s redeemed children, oh, can you think that God can do His work if there is only half or a part of them surrendered? God cannot do it. God is life, love, blessing, power, and infinite beauty, and God delights in communicating Himself to every child who is prepared to receive Him. But ah! this one lack of absolute surrender is just the thing that hinders God. And now He comes, and as God, He claims it.

You know in daily life what absolute surrender is. You know that everything has to be given up to its special, definite object and service. I have a pen in my pocket, and that pen is absolutely surrendered to the one work of writing. That pen must be absolutely surrendered to my hand if I am to write properly with it. If another holds it partly, I cannot write properly. This coat is absolutely given up to me to cover my body. This building is entirely given up to religious services. And now, do you expect that in your immortal being, in the divine nature that you have received by regeneration, God can work His work, every day and every hour, unless you are entirely given up to Him? God cannot. The temple of Solomon was absolutely surrendered to God when it was dedicated to Him. And every one of us is a temple of God, in which God will dwell and work mightily on one condition-absolute surrender to Him. God claims it, God is worthy of it, and without it God cannot work His blessed work in us.

God not only claims it, but God will work it Himself.

GOD ACCOMPLISHES YOUR SURRENDER

I am sure there is many a heart that says: “Ah, but that absolute surrender implies so much!” Someone says: “Oh, I have passed through so much trial and suffering, and there is so much of the self-life still remaining. I dare not face entirely giving it up because I know it will cause so much trouble and agony.”

Alas! alas! that God’s children have such thoughts of Him, such cruel thoughts. I come with a message to those who are fearful and anxious. God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender in your strength, or by the power of your will; God is willing to work it in you. Do we not read: “it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13)? And that is what we should seek-to go on our faces before God, until our hearts learn to believe that the everlasting God Himself will come in to turn out what is wrong. He will conquer what is evil, and work what is well pleasing in His blessed sight. God Himself will work it in you.

Look at the men in the Old Testament, like Abraham. Do you think it was by accident that God found that man, the father of the faithful and the friend of God? Do you think that it was Abraham himself, apart from God, who had such faith and such obedience and such devotion? You know it is not so. God raised him up and prepared him as an instrument for His glory.

Did God not say to Pharaoh: “For this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power” (Exodus 9:16)?

And if God said that of him, will God not say it far more of every child of His?

Oh, I want to encourage you, and I want you to cast away every fear. Come with that feeble desire. If there is the fear which says –“Oh, my desire is not strong enough. I am not willing for everything that may come, and I do not feel bold enough to say I can conquer everything” — l implore you, learn to know and trust your God now. Say: “My God, I am willing that You should make me willing.” If there is anything holding you back, or any sacrifice you are afraid of making, come to God now and prove how gracious your God is. Do not be afraid that He will command from you what He will not bestow.

God comes and offers to work this absolute surrender in you. All these searchings and hungerings and longings that are in your heart, I tell you, they are the drawings of the divine magnet, Christ Jesus. He lived a life of absolute surrender. He has possession of you; He is living in your heart by His Holy Spirit. You have hindered and hindered Him terribly, but He desires to help you to get a hold of Him entirely. And He comes and draws you now by His message and words. Will you not come and trust God to work in you that absolute surrender to Himself Yes, blessed be God! He can do it, and He will do it.

God not only claims it and works it, but God accepts it when we bring it to Him.

GOD ACCEPTS YOUR SURRENDER

God works it in the secret of our heart; God urges us by the hidden power of His Holy Spirit to come and speak it out, and we have to bring and yield to Him that absolute surrender. But remember, when you come and bring God that absolute surrender, it may, as far as your feelings or your consciousness go, be a thing of great imperfection. You may doubt and hesitate and say:

“Is it absolute?”

But, oh, remember there was once a man to whom Christ had said: “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). And his heart was afraid, and he cried out: “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

That was a faith that triumphed over Satan, and the evil spirit was cast out. And if you come and say: “Lord, I yield myself in absolute surrender to my God,” even though you do so with a trembling heart and with the consciousness: “I do not feel the power. I do not feel the determination. I do not feel the assurance,” it will succeed. Do not be afraid, but come just as you are. Even in the midst of your trembling the power of the Holy Spirit will work.

Have you not yet learned the lesson that the Holy Spirit works with mighty power, while on the human side everything appears feeble? Look at the Lord Jesus Christ in Gethsemane. We read that He, “through the eternal Spirit” (Hebrews 9:14), offered Himself a sacrifice unto God. The Almighty Spirit of God was enabling Him to do it. And yet what agony and fear and exceeding sorrow came over Him, and how He prayed! Externally, you can see no sign of the mighty power of the Spirit, but the Spirit of God was there. And even so, while you are feeble and fighting and trembling, with faith in the hidden work of God’s Spirit do not fear, but yield yourself.

And when you do yield yourself in absolute surrender, let it be with the faith that God does now accept it. That is the great point, and that is what we so often miss, that believers should be thus occupied with God in this matter of surrender. Be occupied with God. We want to get help, every one of us, so that in our daily life God will be clearer to us, God will have the right place, and be “all in all.” And if we are to have that through life, let us begin now and look away from ourselves and look up to God. Let each believe, I, a poor worm on earth and a trembling child of God, full of failure, sin, and fear, bow here, and no one knows what passes through my heart. I simply say, “Oh God, I accept Your terms. I have pleaded for blessing on myself and others. I have accepted Your terms of absolute surrender.” While your heart says that in deep silence, remember there is a God present that takes note of it, and writes it down in His book. There is a God present who at that very moment takes possession of you. You may not feel it, you may not realize it, but God takes possession if you will trust Him. God not only claims it and works it and accepts it when I bring it, but God maintains it.

GOD MAINTAINS YOUR SURRENDER

That is the great difficulty with many. People say: “I have often been stirred at a meeting or at a convention, and I have consecrated myself to God.

But it has passed away. I know it may last for a week or for a month, but it fades away. After a time it is all gone.

But listen! It is because you do not believe what I am now going to tell you and remind you of. When God has begun the work of absolute surrender in you, and when God has accepted your surrender, then God holds Himself bound to care for it and to keep it.

Will you believe that?

In this matter of surrender, there are God and I — I a worm; God the everlasting and omnipotent Jehovah. Worm, will you be afraid to trust yourself to this mighty God now? God is willing. Do you not believe that He can keep you continually, day by day, and moment by moment?

Moment by moment I’m kept in His love;

Moment by moment I’ve life from above.

If God allows the sun to shine on you moment by moment, without intermission, will God not let His life shine on you every moment? And why have you not experienced it? Because you have not trusted God for it, and you do not surrender yourself absolutely to God in that trust.

A life of absolute surrender has its difficulties. I do not deny that. Yes, it has something far more than difficulties: it is a life that with men is absolutely impossible. But by the grace of God, by the power of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, it is a life to which we are destined, and a life that is possible for us, praise God! Let us believe that God will maintain it.

Some of you have read the words of that aged saint who, on his ninetieth birthday, told of all God’s goodness to him — I mean George Muller. What did he say he believed to be the secret of his happiness and of all the blessing which God had given him? He said he believed there were two reasons. The one was that he had been enabled by grace to maintain a good conscience before God day by day. The other was that he was a lover of God’s Word. Ah, yes, a good conscience is complete obedience to God day by day, and fellowship with God every day in His Word and prayer — that is a life of absolute surrender.

Such a life has two sides — on one side, absolute surrender to work what God wants you to do; on the other side, to let God work what He wants to do.

First, to do what God wants you to do.

Give yourselves up absolutely to the will of God. You know something of that will; not enough, far from all. But say absolutely to the Lord God: “By Your grace I desire to do Your will in everything, every moment of every day.” Say: “Lord God, not a word upon my tongue but for Your glory. Not a movement of my temper but for Your glory. Not an affection of love or hate in my heart but for Your glory, and according to Your blessed will.”

Someone says: “Do you think that possible?”

I ask, What has God promised you, and what can God do to fill a vessel absolutely surrendered to Him? Oh, God wants to bless you in a way beyond what you expect. From the beginning, ear has not heard, neither has the eye seen, what God has prepared for them that wait for Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). God has prepared unheard-of-things, blessings much more wonderful than you can imagine, more mighty than you can conceive. They are divine blessings. Oh, say now:

“I give myself absolutely to God, to His will, to do only what God wants.”

It is God who will enable you to carry out the surrender.

And, on the other side, come and say: “I give myself absolutely to God, to let Him work in me to will and to do of His good pleasure, as He has promised to do.”

Yes, the living God wants to work in His children in a way that we cannot understand, but that God’s Word has revealed. He wants to work in us every moment of the day. God is willing to maintain our life. Only let our absolute surrender be one of simple, childlike, and unbounded trust.

GOD BLESSES WHEN YOU SURRENDER

This absolute surrender to God brings wonderful blessings.

What Ahab said to his enemy, King Benhadad — “My lord, O king, according to thy word I am thine, and all that I have” will we not say to our God and loving Father? If we do say it, God’s blessing will come upon us. God wants us to be separate from the world. We are called to come out from the world that hates God. Come out for God, and say: “Lord, anything for You.” If you say that with prayer, and speak that into God’s ear, He will accept it, and He will teach you what it means.

I say again, God will bless you. You have been praying for blessing. But do remember, there must be absolute surrender. At every tea table, you see it. Why is tea poured into that cup? Because it is empty, and given up for the tea. But put ink or vinegar or wine into it, and will they pour the tea into the vessel? And can God fill you, can God bless you if you are not absolutely surrendered to Him? He cannot. Let us believe God has wonderful blessings for us if we will but stand up for God and say, be it with a trembling will, yet with a believing heart:

“O God, I accept Your demands. I am Yours and all that I have. Absolute surrender is what my soul yields to You by divine grace.”

You may not have such strong, clear feelings of surrender as you would like to have, but humble yourselves in His sight, and acknowledge that you have grieved the Holy Spirit by your self-will, self-confidence, and self-effort. Bow humbly before Him in the confession of that, and ask Him to break the heart and to bring you into the dust before Him. Then, as you bow before Him, just accept God’s teaching that in your flesh “there dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18), and that nothing will help you except another life which must come in. You must deny self once and for all. Denying self must every moment be the power of your life, and then Christ will come in and take possession of you.

When was Peter delivered? When was the change accomplished? The change began with Peter weeping, and the Holy Spirit came down and filled his heart.

God the Father loves to give us the power of the Spirit. We have the Spirit of God dwelling within us. We come to God confessing that, and praising God for it, and yet confessing how we have grieved the Spirit. And then we bow our knees to the Father to ask that He would strengthen us with all might by the Spirit in the inner man, and that He would fill us with His mighty power. And as the Spirit reveals Christ to us, Christ comes to live in our hearts forever, and the self-life is cast out.

Let us bow before God in humility, and in that humility confess before Him the state of the whole Church. No words can tell the sad state of the Church of Christ on earth. I wish I had words to speak what I sometimes feel about it. Just think of the Christians around you. I do not speak of nominal Christians, or of professing Christians, but I speak of hundreds and thousands of honest, earnest Christians who are not living a life in the power of God or to His glory. So little power, so little devotion or consecration to God, so little perception of the truth that a Christian is a man utterly surrendered to God’s will! Oh, we want to confess the sins of God’s people around us, and to humble ourselves.

We are members of that sickly body. The sickliness of the body will hinder us and break us down, unless we come to God. We must, in confession, separate ourselves from partnership with worldliness, with coldness toward each other. We must give ourselves up to be entirely and wholly for God.

How much Christian work is being done in the spirit of the flesh and in the power of self! How much work, day by day, in which human energy, our will and our thoughts about the work, is continually manifested, and in which there is little waiting upon God and upon the power of the Holy Spirit! Let us make a confession. But as we confess the state of the Church, and the feebleness and sinfulness of work for God among us, let us come back to ourselves. Who is there who truly longs to be delivered from the power of the self-life, who truly acknowledges that it is the power of self and the flesh, and who is willing to cast all at the feet of Christ? There is deliverance.

I heard of one who had been an earnest Christian, and who spoke about the “cruel” thought of separation and death. But you do not think that, do you? What are we to think of separation and death? This death was the path to glory for Christ. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross. The cross was the birthplace of His everlasting glory. Do you love Christ? Do you long to be in Christ, and yet not like Him? Let death be to you the most desirable thing on earth, death to self, and fellowship with Christ. Separation — do you think it a hard thing to be called to be entirely free from the world, and by that separation to be united to God and His love, by separation to become prepared for living and walking with God every day? Surely one ought to say: “Anything to bring me to separation, to death, for a life of full fellowship with God and Christ.”

Come and cast this self-life and flesh-life at the feet of Jesus. Then trust Him. Do not worry yourselves with trying to understand all about it, but come in the living faith that Christ will come into you with the power of His death and the power of His life. Then the Holy Spirit will bring the whole Christ — Christ crucified and risen and living in glory — into your heart.

Andrew Murray (1828-1917): God Accomplishes Your Surrender

God Accomplishes Your Surrender

By

Andrew Murray (1828-1917)

God Accomplishes Your Surrender

I am sure there is many a heart that says: “Ah, but that absolute surrender implies so much!” Someone says: “Oh, I have passed through so much trial and suffering, and there is so much of the self-life still remaining, and I dare not face the entire giving of it up, because I know it will cause so much trouble and agony.”

Alas! alas! that God’s children have such thoughts of Him, such cruel thoughts. Oh, I come to you with a message, fearful and anxious one. God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender in your strength, or by the power of your will; God is willing to work it in you. Do we not read: “It is God that worketh in us, both to will and to do of his good pleasure”? And that is what we should seek for — to go on our faces before God, until our hearts learn to believe that the everlasting God Himself will come in to turn out what is wrong, to conquer what is evil, and to work what is well-pleasing in His blessed sight. God Himself will work it in you.

Look at the men in the Old Testament, like Abraham. Do you think it was by accident that God found that man, the father of the faithful and the Friend of God, and that it was Abraham himself, apart from God, who had such faith and such obedience and such devotion? You know it is not so. God raised him up and prepared him as an instrument for His glory.

Did not God say to Pharaoh: “For this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power”?

And if God said that of him, will not God say it far more of every child of His?

Oh, I want to encourage you, and I want you to cast away every fear. Come with that feeble desire; and if there is the fear which says: “Oh, my desire is not strong enough, I am not willing for everything that may come, I do not feel bold enough to say I can conquer everything” — I pray you, learn to know and trust your God now. Say: “My God, I am willing that Thou shouldst make me willing.” If there is anything holding you back, or any sacrifice you are afraid of making, come to God now, and prove how gracious your God is, and be not afraid that He will command from you what He will not bestow.

God comes and offers to work this absolute surrender in you. All these searchings and hungerings and longings that are in your heart, I tell you they are the drawings of the divine magnet, Christ Jesus. He lived a life of absolute surrender, He has possession of you; He is living in your heart by His Holy Spirit. You have hindered and hindered Him terribly, but He desires to help you to get hold of Him entirely. And He comes and draws you now by His message and words. Will you not come and trust God to work in you that absolute surrender to Himself? Yes, blessed be God, He can do it, and He will do it.

God not only claims it and works it, but God accepts it when we bring it to Him.

AM Toplady (1740-1778): Thoughts On The Assurance Of Faith

Thoughts On The Assurance Of Faith

BY

A.M. Toplady (1740-1778)

Copyright: Public Domain

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Thoughts On The Assurance Of Faith

Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778) was a minister in the Church of England, living during the latter portion of the times of the Great Awakening. If he is known at all, he is generally only known as the author of Rock Of Ages. This should not be. He wrote many other tremendous hymns and a great deal of prose, with many practical and devotional items. This is a meditation of his entitled Thoughts On The Assurance Of Faith and should speak much to troubled souls. Read it and pass it along to someone who is so vexed.

The deep things which relate to personal experience of the Holy Spirit’s dealing with the soul ought to be matters of prayer, not of disputation.

It has long been a settled point with me, that the Scriptures make a wide distinction between faith, the assurance of faith, and the full assurance of faith.

1. Faith is the hand by which we embrace, or touch, or reach toward, the garment of Christ’s righteousness, for our own justification. Such a soul is undoubtedly safe.

2. Assurance I consider as the ring which God puts upon faith’s finger. Such a soul is not only safe, but also comfortable and happy.

Nevertheless, as a finger may exist without wearing a ring, so faith may be real without the superadded gift of assurance. We must either admit this, or set down the late excellent Mr. Hervey (among a multitude of others) for an unbeliever. No man, perhaps, ever contended more earnestly for the doctrine of assurance than he, and yet I find him expressly declaring as follows: “What I wrote, concerning a firm faith in God’s most precious promises, and a humble trust that we are the objects of his tender love, is what I desire to feel, rather than what I actually experience.” The truth is, as another good man expresses it, “A weak hand may tie the marriage-knot; and a feeble faith may lay hold on a strong Christ.”

Moreover, assurance after it has been vouchsafed to the soul may be lost. Peter no doubt lost his assurance, and sinned it away, when he denied Christ. He did not, however, lose the principle of faith; for Christ had before-hand prayed, concerning him, that his faith itself might not fail; and Christ could not possible pray in vain. A wife may lose her wedding-ring. But that does not dissolve her marriage relation. She continues a lawful wife still. And yet she is not easy until she finds her ring again.

3. Full assurance I consider as the brilliant, or cluster of brilliants, which adorns the ring, and renders it incomparably more beautiful and valuable. Where the diamond of full assurance is thus set in the gold of faith, it diffuses its rays of love, joy, peace, and holiness, with a lustre which leaves no room for doubt or darkness. While these high and unclouded consolations remain, the believer’s felicity is only inferior to that of angels, or of saints made perfect above.

4. After all, I apprehend that the very essence of assurance lies in communion with God. While we feel the sweetness of his inward presence, we cannot doubt of our interest in his tender mercies. So long as the Lord speaks comfortably to our hearts, our affections are on fire, our views are clear, and our faces shine. It is when we come down from the mount, and when we mix with the world again, that we are in danger of losing that precious sense of his love, which is the strength of saints militant, and the joy of souls triumphant.

But let not trembling believers forget that faith, strictly so called, is neither more nor less than a receiving of Christ, for ourselves in particular, as our only possible propitiation, righteousness, and Saviour—John 1:12. Hast thou so received Christ? Thou art a believer, to all the purposes of safety. And it deserves special notice that our Lord calls the centurion’s faith “great faith;” though it rose no higher than to make him say “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” Matt. 8:8-10

The case likewise of the Canaanitish woman is full to the present point. Her cry was, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David!” And, a little after, “Lord, help me!” Jesus at first gave her a seeming repulse; but her importunity continued, and she requested only the privilege of a dog, viz., to eat the crumbs which fell from the master’s table. What were our Saviour’s answer and our Saviour’s remark? An answer and a remark which ought to make every broken sinner take down his harp from the willow: “O woman, great is thy faith.” Matt. 10:22-28

5. The graces which the blessed Spirit implants in our hearts (and the grace of faith among the rest) resemble a sun-dial; which is of little service except when the sun shines upon it. The Holy Ghost must shine upon the graces he has given, or they will leave us at a loss (in point of spiritual comfort), and be unable to tell us whereabouts we are. May he, day by day, rise upon our souls with healing in his beams! Then shall we be filled with all joy and peace in believing, and abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Rom. 15:13

6. Are there any weak in faith who come under the denomination of bruised reed and smoking flax? Let them know that God will take care of them. The former will not be broken; the latter shall not be quenched. Bless God for any degree of faith; even though it be as the smallest of all seeds, sooner or later it will surely expand into a large and fruitful tree. However, stop not here; but, as the apostle advises covet earnestly the best gifts; and the gift of assurance, yea, of fullest assurance among the rest. The stronger you are in faith, the more glory you will give to God, both in lip and life. Lord, increase our faith! Amen.

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900): Faith’s Choice

Faith’s Choice

By

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

Copyright: Public Domain

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Faith’s Choice: Hebrews XI. 24-26.

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.”

The eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews is a great chapter I need not tell you. I can well believe it must have been most cheering and encouraging to a converted Jew. I suppose none found so much difficulty in a profession of Christianity as the Hebrews did. The way was narrow to all, but pre-eminently so to them. The cross was heavy to all, but surely they had to carry double weight. And this chapter would refresh them like a cordial, it would be as “wine to those of a heavy heart.” Its words would be pleasant as the honey-comb, “sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”

The three verses I am going to explain are far from being the least interesting in the chapter. Indeed I think few, if any, have so strong a claim on our attention. And I will tell you why I say so.

It seems to me that the work of faith here spoken of, comes home more especially to our own case. The men of God who are named in the former part of the chapter are all examples to us, beyond question. But we cannot literally do what most of them did, however much we may drink into their spirit. We are not called upon to offer a literal sacrifice like Abel, or build a literal ark like Noah, or leave our country literally, and dwell in tents, and offer up our Isaac like Abraham. But the faith of Moses comes nearer to us. It seems to operate in a way more familiar to our own experience. It made him take up a line of conduct such as we must often take up ourselves in the present day, each in our own walk of life. And for this reason I think these three verses deserve more than ordinary consideration.

Now I have nothing but the simplest things to say about them. I shall only try to enforce upon you the greatness of the things Moses did, and the principle on which he did them. And then perhaps you will be better prepared for the practical instruction which the verses appear to hold out to everyone who will receive it.

May the Holy Ghost bless the subject to us all! May He give us the same spirit of faith, that we may walk in the steps of Moses, do as he did, and share his reward!

I. First, then, I will speak of what Moses gave up and refused.

Moses gave up three things for the sake of his soul.

He felt that his soul would not be saved if he kept them, so he gave them up. And in so doing, I say that he made three of the greatest sacrifices that man’s heart can make.

1. He gave up rank and greatness.

“He refused to be a called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” You all know his history. The daughter of Pharaoh had preserved his life, when he was an infant; adopted him and educated him as her own son.

If writers of history may be trusted, she was Pharaoh’s only child. Men go so far as to say that in the common order of things Moses would one day have been king of Egypt. That may be, or may not, we cannot tell. It is enough for us to know that, from his connection with Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses might have been, if he had pleased, a very great man. If he had been content with the position in which he found himself at the Egyptian court, he might easily have been among the first, if not the very first, in all the land of Egypt.

Think, reader, for a moment, how great this temptation was.

Here was a man of like passions with ourselves. He might have had as much greatness as earth can well give. Rank, power, place, honour, titles, dignities, all were before him, and within his grasp. These are the things for which many men are continually struggling. These are the prizes which there is such an incessant race in the world around us to obtain. To be somebody, to be looked up to, to raise themselves in the scale of society, to get a handle to their names, these are the things for which many sacrifice time, and thought, and health, and life itself. But Moses would not have them at a gift. He turned his back upon them. He refused them. He gave them up.

2. And more than this, he refused pleasure.

Pleasure of every kind, no doubt, was at his feet, if he had liked to take it up, sensual pleasure, intellectual pleasure, social pleasure, whatever could strike his fancy. Egypt was a land of artists, a residence of learned men, a resort of everyone who had skill, or science of any description. There was nothing which could feed the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of life, which one in the place of Moses might not easily have commanded.

Think again, reader, how great was this temptation also.

This, be it remembered, is the one thing for which millions live. They differ, perhaps, in their views of what makes up real pleasure, but all agree in seeking first and foremost to obtain it. Pleasure and enjoyment in the holidays is the grand object to which a school boy looks forward. Pleasure and satisfaction in making himself independent, is the mark on which the young man in business fixes his eye. Pleasure and ease in retiring from business with a fortune, is the aim which the merchant sets before him. Pleasure and bodily comfort at his own house is the sum of the poor man’s wishes. Pleasure and fresh excitement in politics, in travelling, in amusements, in company, in books, this is the goal towards which the rich man is straining. Pleasure is the shadow that all alike are hunting, high and low, rich and poor, old and young, one with another; each perhaps pretending to despise his neighbour for seeking it, each in his own way seeking it for himself, each secretly wondering that he does not find it, each firmly persuaded that somewhere or other it is to be found. This was the cup that Moses had before his lips. He might have drank as deeply as he liked of earthly pleasure. But he would not have it. He turned his back upon it. He refused it. He gave it up

3. And more than this, he refused riches.

“The Treasures in Egypt” is an expression that seems to tell of wealth that he might have enjoyed had he been content to remain with Pharaoh’s daughter. We may well suppose these treasures would have been a mighty fortune. Enough is still remaining in Egypt to give us some faint idea of the money at its king’s disposal. The pyramids, and obelisks, and statues, are still standing there as witnesses. The ruins at Carnac, and Luxor, and Denderah, and many other places, are still the mightiest buildings in the world. They testify to this day that the man who gave up Egyptian wealth, gave up something which even our English minds would find it hard to reckon up.

Think once more, how great was this temptation.

Consider, reader, the power of money, the immense influence that the love of money obtains over men’s minds. Look around you and see how men covet it, and what amazing pains and trouble they will go through to obtain it. Tell them of an island many thousand miles away, where something may be found which may be profitable if imported, and at once a fleet of ships will be sent to get it. Show them a way to make one per cent more of their money, and they will reckon you among the wisest of men, they will almost fall down and worship you. To possess money seems to hide defects, to cover over faults, to clothe a man with virtues. People can get over much, if you are rich. But here is a man who might have been rich, and would not. He would not have Egyptian treasures. He turned his back upon them. He refused them. He gave them up.

Such were the things that Moses refused, rank, pleasure, riches, all three at once.

Add to all this that he did it deliberately. He did not refuse these things in a hasty fit of youthful excitement. He was forty years old. He was in the prime of life. He knew what he was about. He weighed both sides of the question.

Add to it that he did not refuse them because he was obliged. He was not like the dying man, who tells us “He craves nothing more in this world;” and why? Because he is leaving the world, and cannot keep it. He was not like the pauper, who makes a merit of necessity, and says, “He does not want riches;” and why? Because he cannot get them. He was not like the old man, who boasts “that he has laid aside worldly pleasures;” and why? Because he is worn out, and cannot enjoy them. No! reader. Moses refused what he might have kept, and gave up what he might have enjoyed. Rank, pleasure, and riches did not leave him, but he left them.

And then judge whether I am not right in saying that his was one of the greatest sacrifices mortal man ever made. Others have refused much, but none, I think, so much as Moses. Others have done well in the way of self-sacrifice and self-denial, but he excels them all.

II. And now let me go on to the second thing I wish to set before you. I will speak of what Moses chose.

I think his choice as wonderful as his refusal. He chose three things for his soul’s sake. The road to salvation led through them, and he followed it; and in so doing he chose three of the last things that man is ever disposed to take up.

1. For one thing he chose suffering and affliction. He left the ease and comfort of Pharaoh’s court, and openly took part with the children of Israel. They were an enslaved and persecuted people, an object of distrust, suspicion, and hatred; and the man who befriended them was sure to taste something of the bitter cup they were daily drinking.

To man’s eye there seemed no chance of their deliverance from bondage without a long and doubtful struggle. A settled home and country for them must have appeared a thing never likely to be obtained, however much desired. In fact, if ever man seemed to be choosing pain, trials, poverty, want, distress, anxiety, perhaps even death, with his eyes open, Moses was that man.

Think only, reader, how wonderful was this choice.

Man naturally shrinks from pain. It is in us all to do so. We draw back by a kind of instinct from suffering, and avoid it if we can. If two courses of action are set before us, which both seem right, we always take that which is the least disagreeable to flesh and blood. We spend our days in fear and anxiety, when we think affliction is coming near us, and use every means to escape it. And when it does come, we often fret and murmur under the burden of it; and if we can but bear it patiently we count it a great matter indeed.

But look here. Here is a man of like passions with yourself, and he actually chooses affliction!

Moses saw the cup of suffering that was before him if he left Pharaoh’s court, and he chose it, preferred it, and took it up.

2. But he did more than this, he chose the company of a despised people.

He left the society of the great and wise, among whom he had been brought up, and joined himself to the children of Israel. He who had lived from infancy in the midst of rank, and riches, and luxury, came down from his high estate, and cast in his lot with poor men-slaves, bondservants, oppressed, destitute, afflicted, tormented labourers in the brick-kiln.

How wonderful, once more, was this choice!

Generally speaking we think it enough to carry our own troubles. We may be sorry for others whose lot is to be mean and despised, we may even try to help them, we may give money to raise them, we may speak for them to those on whom they depend; but here we generally stop.

But here is a man who does far more. He not merely feels for despised Israel, but actually goes down to them, adds himself to their society, and lives with them altogether. You would wonder if some great man in Grosvenor or Belgrave Square were to give up house, and fortune, and position in society, and go to live on a small allowance in some narrow lane in Bethnal Green, for the sake of doing good: yet this would convey a very faint and feeble notion of the kind of thing that Moses did. He saw a despised people, and he chose their company in preference to that of the noblest in the land. He became one with them, their fellow, their associate, and their friend.

3. But he did even more. He chose reproach and scorn.

Who can conceive the torrent of mockery and ridicule that Moses would have to stem, in turning away from Pharaoh’s court to join Israel.

Men would tell him he was mad, foolish, weak, silly, out of his mind; he would lose his influence; he would forfeit the favour and good opinion of all among whom he had lived.

Think again, reader, what a choice this was?

There are few things more powerful than ridicule and scorn. It can do far more than open enmity and persecution. Many a man who would march up to a cannon’s mouth, or lead a forlorn hope, or storm a breach! has found it impossible to face the mockery of a few companions, and has flinched from the path of duty to avoid it. To be laughed at! To be made a joke of! To be jested and sneered at! To be reckoned weak and silly! To be thought a fool! There is nothing grand in all this, and they cannot make up their minds to undergo it.

Yet here is a man who made up his mind to it, and did not shrink from the trial. Moses saw reproach and scorn before him, and he chose them, and accepted them for his portion.

Such then were the things that Moses chose, affliction, the company of a despised people, and scorn.

Set down beside all this, that Moses was no weak, ignorant, illiterate person, who did not know what he was about. You are specially told he was a “learned” man, he was one “mighty in words and in deeds,” and yet he chose as he did.

Set down, too, the circumstances of his choice. He was not obliged to choose as he did. None compelled him to take such a course. The things he took up did not force themselves upon him against his will. He went after them, they did not come after him. All that he did, he did of his own free choice, voluntarily and of his own accord.

And then judge whether it is not true that his choice was as wonderful as his refusal. Since the world began, I suppose, none ever made such a choice as the man Moses did in our text.

III. And now let me go on to a third thing: let me speak of the principle which moved Moses, and made him do as he did.

How can this conduct of his be accounted for? What possible reason can be given for it? To refuse that which is generally called a good, to choose that which is commonly thought an evil, this is not the way of flesh and blood, this is not the manner of man, this requires some explanation. What will that explanation be?

You hear the answer in the text. I know not whether its greatness or its simplicity is more to be admired. It all lies in one little word, and that word is, “FAITH.”

Moses had faith. Faith was the mainspring of his wonderful conduct. Faith made him do as he did, choose what he chose, and refuse what he refused. He did it all because he believed.

God set before the eyes of his mind His Own will and purpose. God revealed to him that a Saviour was to be born of the stock of Israel, that mighty promises were bound up in these children of Abraham, and yet to be fulfilled, that the time for fulfilling a portion of these promises was at hand, and Moses put credit in this, and believed. And every step in his wonderful career, every action in his journey through life, after leaving Pharaoh’s court, his choice of seeming evil, his refusal of seeming good, all must be traced up to this fountain, all will be found to rest on this foundation, God had spoken to him, and he had faith in God’s word.

He believed that God would keep his promises: that what He had said He would surely do; and what He had covenanted He would surely perform.

He believed that with God nothing was impossible. Reason and sense might say that the deliverance of Israel was out of the question, the obstacles were too many, the difficulties too great. But faith told Moses that God was all-sufficient. God had undertaken the work, and it would be done.

He believed that God was all wise. Reason and sense might tell him that his line of action was absurd; he was throwing away useful influence, and destroying the chance of benefiting his people, by breaking with Pharaoh’s daughter. But faith told Moses that if God said, “Go this way,” it must be the best.

He believed that God was all merciful. Reason and sense might hint that a more pleasant manner of deliverance might be found; that some compromise might be effected, and many hardships be avoided. But faith told Moses that God was love, and would not give His people one drop of bitterness beyond what was absolutely needed.

Faith was a telescope to Moses. It made him see the goodly land afar off, rest, peace, victory, when dim-sighted reason could only see trial and barrenness, storm and tempest, weariness and pain.

Faith was an interpreter to Moses. It made him pick out a comfortable meaning in the dark demands of God’s handwriting, while ignorant sense could see nothing in it all but mystery and foolishness.

Faith told Moses that all this rank and greatness was of the earth, earthy; a poor, vain, empty thing, frail, fleeting, and passing away; and that there was no true greatness like that of serving God. He was the king, he the true nobleman who belonged to the family of God. It was better to be last in heaven, than first in hell.

Faith told Moses that worldly pleasures were pleasures of sin. They were mingled with sin, they led on to sin, they were ruinous to the soul, and displeasing to God. It would be small comfort to have pleasure while God was against him. Better suffer and obey God, than be at ease and sin.

Faith told Moses that these pleasures after all were only for a season: they could not last, they were all short-lived, they would weary him soon, he must leave them all in a few years.

Faith told him there was a reward in heaven for the believer far richer than the treasures in Egypt; durable riches, where rust could not corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal. The crown there would be incorruptible; the weight of glory would be exceeding and eternal; and faith bade him look away to that if his eyes were dazzled with Egyptian gold.

Faith told Moses that affliction and suffering were not real evils: they were the school of God, in which he trains the children of grace for glory; the medicines which are needful to purify our corrupt wills; the furnace which must burn away our dross; the knife which must cut loose the ties that bind us to the world.

Faith told Moses that this despised people were the people of God; that to them belonged the adoption, and covenant, and the promises, and the glory; that of them the seed of the woman was one day to be born, who should bruise the serpent’s head; that the special blessing of God was upon them; that they were lovely and beautiful in his eyes; and that it was better to be a door-keeper among the people of God, than to reign in the palaces of wickedness.

Faith told Moses that all the reproach and scorn poured out on him was the reproach of Christ; that it was honourable to be mocked and despised for Christ’s sake; that whoso persecuted Christ’s people was persecuting Christ Himself; and that the day must come when His enemies would bow before Him and lick the dust.

All this, and much more, of which I cannot speak particularly, Moses saw by faith. These were the things he believed, and believing did what he did. He was persuaded of them, and embraced them, he reckoned them as certainties, he regarded them as substantial verities, he counted them as sure as if he had seen them with his eyes, he acted on them as realities, and this made him the man that he was.

Marvel not that he refused greatness, riches, and pleasure. He looked far forward. He saw with the eye of faith kingdoms crumbling into dust, riches making to themselves wings and fleeing away, pleasures leading on to death and judgment, and Christ only and His little flock enduring forever.

Wonder not that he chose affliction, a despised people, and reproach. He beheld things below the surface. He saw with the eye of faith affliction lasting but for a moment, reproach rolled away, and ending in everlasting honour, and the despised people of God reigning as kings with Christ in glory.

And, reader, was he not right? Does he not speak to us, though dead, this very day? The name of Pharaoh’s daughter has perished; the city where Pharaoh reigned is not known; the treasures in Egypt are gone: but the name of Moses is known wherever the Bible is read, and is still a standing witness that whoso liveth by faith, happy is he.

IV. And now let me wind up all by trying to set before you some practical lessons, which appear to me to follow from this text.

What has all this to do with us? some men will say. We do not live in Egypt, we have seen no miracles; we are not Israelites, we are weary of the subject.

Stay a little, reader, if this be the thought of your heart, and by God’s help I will show you that all may learn here, and all may be instructed.

1. For one thing, if ever you would be saved, you must make the choice that Moses made, you must prefer God before the world.

Reader, mark well what I say. Do not overlook this, though all the rest be forgotten. I do not say that the statesman must throw up his office, and the rich man forsake his property. Let no one fancy that I mean this. But I say, if a man would be saved, whatever be his rank in life, he must be prepared for tribulation; they must make up his mind to choose that which seems evil, and to give up and refuse that which seems good.

I dare be sure this sounds strange language to some who read these pages. I know well you may have a certain form of religion, and find no trouble in your way. There is a common worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough, a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice, which costs nothing, and is worth nothing. I am not speaking of religion of this kind.

But if you really are in earnest about your soul, if your religion is something more than a mere fashionable cloak, if you are determined to live by the Bible, if you are resolved to be a New Testament Christian, then, I repeat, you will soon find you must carry a cross, you must endure hard things, you must suffer because of your soul, as Moses did, or you cannot be saved.

The world in the nineteenth century is what it always was. The hearts of men are still the same. The offence of the cross is not ceased. God’s true people are still a despised little flock. True evangelical religion still brings with It reproach and scorn. A real servant of God will still be thought by many a weak enthusiast and a fool.

Reader, do you wish your soul to be saved? Then remember, you must choose whom you will serve. You cannot serve God and mammon. You cannot be on two sides at once. You cannot be a friend of Christ, and a friend of the world at the same time. You must come out from the children of this world, and be separate; you must put up with much ridicule, trouble, and opposition, or you are lost forever. You must be willing to think and do things which the world considers foolish, and to hold opinions which are only held by a few. It will cost you something. The stream is strong, and you have to stem it. The way is narrow and steep, and it is no use saying it is not. But depend on it, there can be no saving religion without sacrifices and self-denial.

Now, reader, are you doing anything of this kind? I put it to your conscience in all affection and tenderness, are you, like Moses, preferring God to the world, or not? I beseech you not to take shelter under that dangerous word “we,” “we ought,” and “we hope,” and “we mean,” and the like. I ask you plainly, what are you doing yourself? Are you willing to give up anything which keeps you back from God? or are you clinging to the Egypt of the world, and saying to yourself “I must have it; I must have it; I cannot tear myself away?” What sacrifices are you making? Are you making any at all? Is there any cross in your Christianity? Are there any sharp corners in your religion, anything that ever jars and comes in collision with the earthly-mindedness around you, or is all smooth and rounded off, and comfortably fitted into custom and fashion? Do you know anything of the afflictions of the Gospel? Is your faith and practice ever a subject of scorn and reproach? Are you thought a fool by any one because of your soul? Have you left Pharaoh’s daughter, and heartily joined the people of God? Are you venturing all on Christ? Search and see.

Reader, these are hard and rough sayings. I cannot help it. I believe they are founded on Scripture truths. I remember it is written, “There went great multitudes with Jesus; and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke xiv.25, 27). Many, I fear, would like glory, who have no wish for grace, they would fain have the wages, but not the work, the harvest, but not the labour, the reaping, but not the sowing, the reward, but not the battle. But it may not be. As Bunyan says, “the bitter must go before the sweet.” If there is no cross there will be no crown.

2. The second thing I will say is this, nothing will ever enable you to choose God before the world except faith.

Nothing else will do it. Knowledge will not; feeling will not; a regular use of outward forms will not; good companions will not. All these may do something, but the fruit they produce has no power of continuance, it will not last. A religion springing from such sources will only endure so long as there is no tribulation or persecution because of the word; but so soon as there is any, it will dry up. It is a clock without weights, its face may be beautiful, you may turn its fingers round, but it will not go.

A religion that is to stand must have a living foundation, and there is none other but faith.

Reader, have you got this faith? If you have, you will find it possible to refuse seeming good, and choose seeming evil, you will think nothing of today’s losses, in the hope of tomorrow’s gains, you will follow Christ in the dark, and stand by Him to the very last. If you have not, I warn you, you will never war a good warfare, and so run as to obtain, you will soon be offended and turn back to the world.

There must be a real belief that God’s promises are sure and to be depended on, a real belief that what God says in the Bible is all true, and that every doctrine contrary to this is false, whoever may say it. There must be a real belief that all God’s words are to be received, however hard and disagreeable to flesh and blood, and that His way is right, and all others wrong, this there must be, or you will never come out from the world, take up the cross, follow Christ and be saved.

You must learn to believe promises better than possession; things unseen better than things seen, things in heaven out of sight, better than things on earth before your eyes; the praise of the invisible God better than the praise of visible man. Then, and then only, you will make a choice like Moses, and prefer God to the world.

This was the faith by which the old saints obtained a good report. This was the weapon by which they overcame the world. This made them what they were.

This was the faith that made Noah go on building his ark, while the world looked on and mocked, and Abraham give the choice of the land to Lot, and dwell on quietly in tents, and Ruth cleave to Naomi, and turn away from her country and her gods, and Daniel continue in prayer, though he knew the lions’ den was prepared, and the three children refuse to worship idols, though the fiery furnace was before their eyes. All these acted as they did because they believed. Well may the Apostle Peter speak of faith as “precious faith” (2 Peter i.1).

3. The third thing I shall say is this, the true reason why so many are worldly and ungodly persons is, that they have no faith.

Reader, you must be aware that multitudes of professing Christians would never think for a moment of doing as Moses did. It is useless to speak smooth things, and shut our eyes to the fact. That man must be blind who does not see thousands around him who are daily preferring the world to God, placing the things of time before the things of eternity, the things of the body before the things of the soul. You may not like to hear it, but so it is.

And why do they do so? No doubt they will all give us reasons and excuses. Some will talk of the snares of the world, some of the want of time, some of the peculiar difficulties of their position, some of the cares and anxieties of life, some of the strength of temptation, some of the power of passions, some of the effects of bad companions. But what does it come to after all? There is a far shorter way to account for the state of their souls, they do not believe. One simple sentence, like Aaron’s rod, will swallow up all their excuses, they have no faith.

They do not really think what God says is true. They secretly flatter themselves with the notion, “It will surely not be fulfilled, all of it; there must surely be some other way to heaven besides that which ministers speak of; there cannot surely be so much danger of being lost.” In short they do not put implicit confidence in the words that God has written and spoken, and so do not act upon them. They do not thoroughly believe in hell, and so do not flee from it; nor heaven, and so do not seek it; nor the guilt of sin, and so do not turn from it; nor the holiness of God, and so do not fear Him; nor their need of Christ, and so do not trust in Him, nor love Him. They do not feel confidence in God, and so venture nothing for Him. Like the boy Passion, in Pilgrim’s Progress, they must have their good things now. They do not trust God, and so they cannot wait.

Reader, how is it with yourself? Do you believe all the Bible? Ask yourself that question. Depend on it, it is a much greater thing to believe all the Bible than many suppose. Happy is the man who can say, “I am a believer.”

We talk of infidels sometimes as if they were the rarest people in the world. And I grant you that open avowed infidelity is happily not common now. But there is a vast amount of practical infidelity around us, for all that, which is as dangerous in the end as the principles of Voltaire and Paine. There are many who Sunday after Sunday repeat their creed, and make a point of declaring their belief in all that the Apostolic and Nicene forms contain, and yet these very persons will live all the week as if Christ had never died, and as if there were no judgment, and no resurrection of the dead, and no life everlasting at all. There are many who will say, “Oh, we know it all,” when spoken to about eternal things, and the value of their souls; and yet their lives show plainly they know not anything as they ought to know; and the saddest part of their state is, that they think they do.

Reader, I warn you that knowledge not acted upon, in God’s sight, is no knowledge at all. A faith that does not influence a man’s practice is not worthy of the name. There are only two classes in the church of Christ, those who believe, and those who do not. The difference between the true Christian and the mere outward professor just lies in one word; the true Christian is like Moses, “he has faith;” the professor has none. The true Christian believes, and therefore lives as he does; the mere professor does not believe, and therefore is what he is. Oh! where is your faith? Be not faithless, but believing.

4. The last thing I will say is this, the true secret of doing great things for God is, to have great faith.

I suspect that we are all apt to err a little on this point. We think too much, and talk too much about graces, and gifts, and attainments, and do not sufficiently remember that faith is the root and mother of them all. In walking with God, a man will go just as far as he believes, and no further. His life will always be proportioned to his faith. His peace, his patience, his courage, his zeal, his works, all will be according to his faith.

You read the lives of eminent Christians perhaps. Such men as Romaine, or Newton, or Martyn, Scott, or Simeon, or M’Cheyne; and you are disposed to say, “What wonderful gifts and graces these men had!” I answer, you should rather give honour to the mother, grace which God puts forward in the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, you should give honour to their faith. Depend on it, faith was the mainspring in the character of each and all.

I can fancy someone saying, “They were so prayerful; that made them what they were.” I answer, why did they pray much? Simply because they had much faith. What is prayer, but faith speaking to God?

Another perhaps will say, “They were so diligent and laborious, that accounts for their success.” I answer, why were they so diligent? Simply because they had faith. What is Christian diligence, but faith at work?

Another will tell me, “They were so bold, that rendered them so useful.” I answer, why were they so bold? Simply because they had much faith. What is Christian boldness, but faith honestly doing its duty?

And another will cry, “It was their holiness and spirituality, that gave them their weight.” For the last time I answer, what made them holy? Nothing but a living realizing spirit of faith. What is holiness, but faith visible and faith incarnate?

Now, dear reader, would you grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ? Would you bring forth much fruit? Would you be eminently useful? Would you be bright, and shine as a light in your day? Would you, like Moses, make it clear as noonday that you have chosen God before the world! I dare be sure that every believer will reply: “Yes! yes! yes! these are the things we long for and desire.”

Then take the advice I give you this day: go and cry to the Lord Jesus Christ, as the disciples did, “Lord, increase our faith.” Faith is the root of a real Christian’s character. Let your root be right, and your fruit will soon abound. Your spiritual prosperity will always be according to your faith. He that believeth shall not only be saved, but shall never thirst, shall overcome, shall be established, shall walk firmly on the waters of this world, and shall do great works.

Andrew Murray (1828-1917): Impossible With Man, Possible With God

Impossible With Man, Possible With God

BY

Andrew Murray (1828 – 1917)

Copyright: Public Domain

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“Impossible With Man, Possible With God”

“And he said, the things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27).

Christ had said to the rich young ruler, “Sell all that thou hast … and come, follow me.” The young man went away sorrowful. Christ then turned to the disciples,: and said: “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” The disciples, we read, were greatly astonished, and answered: “Who, then, can be saved?” And Christ gave this blessed answer: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:22, 27).

The text contains two thoughts-that in the question of salvation and of following Christ by a holy life, it is impossible for man to do it. And then alongside that is the thought– What is impossible with man is possible with God.

These two thoughts mark the two great lessons that man has to learn in the Christian life. It often takes a long time to learn the first lesson-that in the Christian life man can do nothing, that salvation is impossible to man. And often a man learns that, and yet he does not learn the second lesson-what has been impossible to him is possible with God. Blessed is the man who learns both lessons! The learning of them marks stages in the Christian’s life.

MAN CANNOT

The one stage is when a man is trying to do his utmost and fails, when a man tries to do better and falls again, when a man tries much more and always fails. And yet, very often he does not even then learn the lesson: With man it is impossible to serve God and Christ. Peter spent three years in Christ’s school, and he never learned, it is impossible, until he had denied his Lord, went out, and wept bitterly. Then he learned it.

Just look for a moment at a man who is learning this lesson. At first, he fights against it. Then, he submits to it, but reluctantly and in despair. At last, he accepts it willingly and rejoices in it. At the beginning of the Christian life, the young convert has no conception of this truth. He has been converted; he has the joy of the Lord in his heart; he begins to run the race and fight the battle. He is sure he can conquer, for he is earnest and honest, and God will help him. Yet, somehow, very soon he fails where he did not expect it, and sin gets the better of him. He is disappointed, but he thinks: “I was not cautious enough. I did not make my resolutions strong enough.” And again he vows, and again he prays, and yet he fails. He thinks: “Am I not, a redeemed man? Have I not the life of God within me?” And he thinks again: “Yes, and I have Christ to help me. I can live the holy life.”

At a later period, he comes to another state of mind. He begins to see such a life is impossible, but he does not accept it. There are multitudes of Christians who come to this point: “I cannot.” They then think that God never expected them to do what they cannot do. If you tell them that God does expect it, it is a mystery to them. A good many Christians are living a low life – a life of failure and of sin – instead of rest and victory, because they began to say: “I cannot, it is impossible.” And yet they do not understand it fully. So, under the impression, I cannot, they give way to despair. They will do their best, but they never expect to get on very far.

But God leads His children on to a third stage. A man comes to take, it is impossible, in its full truth, and yet at the same time says: “I must do it, and I will do it – it is impossible for man, and yet I must do it.” The renewed will begins to exercise its whole power, and in intense longing and prayer begins to cry to God: “Lord, what is the meaning of this? How am I to be freed from the power of sin?”

It is the state of the regenerate man in Romans, chapter seven. There you will find the Christian man trying his very utmost to live a holy life. God’s law has been revealed to him as reaching down into the very depth of the desires of the heart. The man can dare to say:

“I delight in the law of God after the inward man. To will what is good is present with me. My heart loves the law of God, and my will has chosen that law.”

Can a man like that fail, with his heart full of delight in God’s law and with his will determined to do ‘What is right? Yes. That is what Romans, chapter seven teaches us. There is something more needed. Not only must I delight in the law of God after the inward man and will what God wills, but I need a divine omnipotence to work it in me. And that is what the apostle Paul teaches in Philippians 2:13: “It is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Note the contrast. In Romans, chapter seven, the regenerate man says: “To will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Romans 7:18). But in Philippians, chapter two, you have a man who has been led on farther. He is a man who understands that when God has worked the renewed will, God will give the power to accomplish what that will desires. Let us receive this as the first great lesson in the spiritual life: “It is impossible for me, my God. Let there be an end of the flesh and all its powers, an end of self, and let it be my glory to be helpless.

Praise God for the divine teaching that makes us helpless!

When you thought of absolute surrender to God, were you not brought to an end of yourself? Did you not feel that you could see how you actually could live as a man absolutely surrendered to God every moment of the day-at your table, in your house, in your business, in the midst of trials and temptations? I pray you learn the lesson now. If you felt you could not do it, you are on the right road, if you let yourselves be led. Accept that position, and maintain it before God: “My heart’s desire and delight, O God, is absolute surrender, but I cannot perform it. It is impossible for me to live that life, it is beyond me.” Fall down and learn that when you are utterly helpless, God will come to work in you not only to will, but also to do.

GOD CAN

Now comes the second lesson. “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

I said a little while ago that there is many a man who has learned the lesson, it is impossible with men, and then he gives up in helpless despair. He lives a wretched Christian life, without joy or strength or victory. And why? Because he does not humble himself to learn that other lesson: With God all things are possible.

Your Christian life is to be a continuous proof that God works impossibilities. Your Christian life is to be a series of impossibilities made possible and actual by God’s almighty power. That is what the Christian needs. He has an almighty God that he worships, and he must learn to understand that he does not need a little of God’s power. But, he needs-with reverence be it said-the whole of God’s omnipotence to keep him right, and to live like a Christian.

The whole of Christianity is a work of God’s omnipotence. Look at the birth of Christ Jesus. That was a miracle of divine power, and it was said to Mary: “With God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). It was the omnipotence of God. Look at Christ’s resurrection. We are taught that it was according to the exceeding greatness of His mighty power that God raised Christ from the dead.

Every tree must grow on the root from which it springs. An oak tree three hundred years old grows all the time on the one root from which it had its beginning. Christianity had its beginning in the omnipotence of God. In every soul, Christianity must have its continuance in that omnipotence. All the possibilities of the higher Christian life have their origin in a new understanding of Christ’s power to work all God’s will in us.

I want to call on you now to come and worship an almighty God. Have you learned to do it? Have you learned to deal so closely with an almighty God that you know omnipotence is working in you? In outward appearance, there is often little sign of it.

The apostle Paul said: “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and … my preaching was … in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (I Corinthians 2:3,4). From the human side there was feebleness; from the divine side there was divine omnipotence. And that is true of every godly life. If we would only learn that lesson better, and give a wholehearted, undivided surrender to it, we would learn what blessedness there is in dwelling every hour and every moment with an almighty God. Have you ever studied in the Bible the attribute of God’s omnipotence? You know that it was God’s omnipotence that created the world, and created light out of darkness, and created man. But have you studied God’s omnipotence in the works of redemption?

Look at Abraham. When God called him to be the father of that people out of which Christ was to be born, He said to him: “I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be thou perfect.” (Genesis 17: 1). And God trained Abraham to trust Him as the omnipotent One. Whether it was his going out to a land that he did not know, or his faith as a pilgrim midst the thousands of Canaanites-his faith said: “This is my land.” Whether it was his faith in waiting twenty-five years for a son in his old age, against all hope, or whether it was the raising up of Isaac from the dead on Mount Moriah when he was going to sacrifice him-Abraham believed God. He was strong in faith, giving glory to God, because he accounted Him who had promised able to perform.

The cause of the weakness of your Christian life is that you want to work it out partly, and to let God help you. And that cannot be. You must come to be utterly helpless, to let God work. He will work gloriously. It is this that we need if we are indeed to be workers for God. I could go through Scripture and prove to you how Moses, when he led Israel out of Egypt; how Joshua, when he brought them into the land of Canaan; how all God’s servants in the Old Testament counted on the omnipotence of God doing impossibilities. And this God lives today; and this God is the God of every child of His. And yet some of us want God to give us a little help while we do our best, instead of coming to understand what God wants, and to say: “I can do nothing. God must and will do all.” Have you said: “In worship, in work, in sanctification, in obedience to God, I can do nothing of myself, and so my place is to worship God, and to believe that He will work in me every moment”? Oh, may God teach us this! Oh, that God would by His grace show you what a God you have, and to what a God you have entrusted yourself-an omnipotent God. He is willing, with His whole omnipotence, to place Himself at the disposal of every child of His! Will we not take the lesson of the Lord Jesus, and say: “Amen; the things which are impossible with men are possible with God”-

Remember what we have said about Peter, his self-confidence, self-power, self-will, and how he came to deny his Lord. You feel, “Ah! there is the self-life; there is the flesh-life that rules in me!” And now, have you believed that there is deliverance from that? Have you believed that Almighty God is able to reveal Christ in your heart, to let the Holy Spirit rule in you so that the self-life will not have power or dominion over you? Have you coupled the two together – and, with tears of penitence and with deep humiliation and feebleness, cried out: “O God, it is impossible to me; man cannot do it, but glory to Your name, it is possible with God”? Have you claimed deliverance? Do it now. Put yourself afresh in absolute surrender into the hands of a God of infinite love. As infinite as His love is His power to do it.

GOD WORKS IN MAN

But again, we come to the question of absolute surrender, and feel that that is lacking in the Church of Christ. That is why the Holy Spirit cannot fill us, and why we cannot live as people entirely separated unto the Holy Spirit. That is why the flesh and the self-life cannot be conquered. We have never understood what it is to be absolutely surrendered to God as Jesus was. I know that many earnestly and honestly say: “Amen, I accept the message of absolute surrender to God.” Yet they think: “Will that ever be mine? Can I count on God to make me one of whom it will be said in heaven, on earth, and in hell, he lives in absolute surrender to God?” Brother, sister, “the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Do believe that, when He takes charge of you in Christ, it is possible for God to make you a man of absolute surrender. And God is able to maintain that. He is able to let you rise from bed every morning of the week with that blessed thought directly or indirectly: “I am in God’s charge. My God is working out my life for me.”

Some are weary of thinking about sanctification. You pray; you have longed and cried for it; and yet, it appeared so far off! You are so conscious of how distant the holiness and humility of Jesus is. Beloved friends, the one doctrine of sanctification that is scriptural and real and effectual is: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” God can sanctify men. By His almighty and sanctifying power, God can keep them every moment. Oh, that we might get a step nearer to our God now! Oh, that the light of God might shine, and that we might know our God better!

I could go on to speak about the life of Christ in us – living like Christ, taking Christ as our Savior from sin, and as our life and strength. It is God in heaven who can reveal that in you. What does that prayer of the apostle Paul say: “That he would grant you according to riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16)? Do you not see that it is an omnipotent God working by His omnipotence in the heart of His believing children, so that Christ can become an indwelling Savior? You have tried to grasp it, understand it, and to believe it, and it would not come. It was because you had not been brought to believe that “the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

And so I trust that the word spoken about love may have brought many to see that we must have an inflowing of love in quite a new way. Our heart must be filled with life from above- from the Fountain of everlasting love-if it is going to overflow all day. Then it will be just as natural for us to love our fellow men as it is natural for the lamb to be gentle and the wolf to be cruel. When I am brought to such a state that the more a man hates and speaks evil of me–the more unlikable and unlovable a man is the more I will love him. When I am brought to such a state that the more obstacles, hatred, and ingratitude surround me, the more the power of love can triumph in me. Until I am brought to see these, I am not saying: “It is impossible with men.” But if you have been led to say: “This message has spoken to me about a love utterly beyond my power. It is absolutely impossible.”, then we can come to God and say: “It is possible with You.”

Some are crying to God for a great revival. I can say that this is the unceasing prayer of my heart. Oh, if God would only revive His believing people! I cannot think of the unconverted formalists of the Church or of the infidels and skeptics or of all the wretched and perishing around me, without my heart pleading: “My God, revive Your Church and people.” It is not for a lack of reason that thousands of hearts yearn after holiness and consecration. It is a forerunner of God’s power. God works to will and then He works to do. These yearnings are a witness and a proof that God has worked to will. Oh, let us in faith believe that the omnipotent God will work to do among His people more than we can ask. “Unto him,” Paul said, “that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, unto him be glory” (Ephesians 3:20, 21). Let our hearts say that. Glory to God, the omnipotent One, who can do above what we dare to ask or think!

“The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” All around you there is a world of sin and sorrow, and Satan is there. But remember, Christ is on the throne; Christ is stronger; Christ has conquered; and Christ will conquer. But wait on God. My text casts us down: “The things which are impossible with men”, but it ultimately lifts us up high “are possible with God.” Get linked to God. Adore and trust Him as the omnipotent One, not only for your own life, but for all the souls that are entrusted to you. Never pray without adoring His omnipotence, saying: “Mighty God, I claim Your almightiness.” And the answer to the prayer will come. Like Abraham you will become strong in faith, giving glory to God, because you account Him who has promised able to perform.