Published in the Pentecostal Evangel, 21 April 1945.
We read in the Word that by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain; by faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; by faith Noah prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed. There is only one way to all the treasures of God, and that is the way of faith. All things are possible, the fulfilling or all promises, to him that believeth. And it is all by grace. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not or yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
There will be failure in our lives if we do not build on the base, the Rock Christ Jesus. He is the only way. He is the truth. He is the life. And the Word He gives us is life-giving. As we receive the Word of life, it quickens, it opens, it fills us, it moves us, it changes us; and it brings us into a place where we dare to say Amen to all that God has said. Beloved, there is a lot in an “Amen.” You never get any place until you have the Amen inside of you. That was the difference between Zacharias and Mary. When the word came to Zacharias he was filled with unbelief until the angel said, “Thou shalt be dumb... because thou believest not my words.” Mary said, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” And the Lord was pleased that she believed that there would be a performance. When we believe what God has said, there shall be a performance.
Read the 12th chapter of Acts, and you will find that there were people waiting all night and praying that Peter might come out of prison. But there seemed to be one thing missing despite all their praying, and that was faith. Rhoda had more faith than all the rest of them. When the knock came at the door, she ran to it for she was expecting an answer to her prayers; and the moment she heard Peter’s voice, she ran back and announced to them that Peter was standing at the door. And all the people said, “You are mad. It isn’t so.” That was not faith. When she insisted that he was there, they said, “Well, perhaps God has sent his angel.” But Rhoda insisted, “It is Peter.” And Peter continued knocking. And they went out and found it so. What Rhoda had believed for had become a glorious fact.
Beloved, we may do much praying and groaning, but we do not receive from God because of that; we receive because we believe. And yet sometimes it takes God a long time to bring us through the groaning and the crying before we can believe.
I know this, that no man by his praying can change God—for you cannot change Him. Finney said, “Can a man who is full of sin and all kinds of ruin in his life, change God when he starts to pray?” No, it is impossible. But when a man labors in prayer, he groans and travails because his tremendous sin is weighing him down, and he becomes broken in the presence of God; and when properly melted he comes into perfect harmony with the divine plan of God, and then God can work in that clay. He could not before. Prayer changes hearts, but it never changes God. He is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever—full of love, full of compassion, full of mercy, full of grace, and ready to bestow this and communicate that to us as we come in faith to Him.
Believe that when you come into the presence of God you can have all you came for. You can take it away, and you can use it, for all the power of God is at your disposal in response to your faith. The price for all was paid by the blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary. Oh, He is the living God, the One who has power to change us! “It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” And He purposes to transform us so that the greatness of His power may work through us. Oh, beloved! God delights in us, and when a man’s ways please the Lord, then He makes all things to move according to His own blessed purpose.
We read in Hebrews 11.5, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death.... Before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” I believe it is in the mind of God to prepare us for translation. But remember this, translation comes only on the lines of holy obedience and a walk according to the good pleasure of God. We are called to walk together with God through the Spirit. It is delightful to know that we can talk with God and hold communion with Him. Through this wonderful Baptism in the Spirit which the Lord gives us, He enables us to talk to Himself in a language that the Spirit has given, a language which no man understands but which He understands, a language of love. Oh, how wonderful it is to speak to Him in the Spirit, to let the Spirit lift, and lift and lift us until He takes us into the very presence of God! I pray that God by His Spirit may move all of us so that we walk with God, even as Enoch walked with Him. But beloved, it is a walk by faith and not by sight, a walk of believing the Word of God.
I believe there are two kinds of faith. All people are born with a natural faith, but God calls us to a supernatural faith which is a gift from Himself. In the 26th chapter of Acts Paul tells us of his call, how God spoke to him and told him to go to the Gentiles, “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.” The faith which was in Christ was by the Holy Spirit to be given to those who believed. Henceforth, as Paul yielded his life to God, he could say, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me”—the faith of the Son of God communicated by the Spirit to the one who puts his trust in God and in His Son.
I want to show you the difference between our faith and the faith of Jesus. Our faith is limited and comes to an end. Most people have experienced coming to the place where they have said, “Lord, I can go no further. I have gone so far, and I cannot go on.” But God can help us and take us beyond this. I remember one night, being in the north of England and going around to see some sick people, I was taken into a house where there was a young woman lying on her bed, a very helpless case. Her reason was gone and many things were manifested that were absolutely Satanic, and I knew it.
She was a beautiful young woman. Her husband was quite a young man. He came in with a baby in his arms, leaned over and kissed his wife. The moment he did so she threw herself over on the other side of the bed, just as a lunatic would do, with no consciousness of the presence of her husband. It was heart-breaking, The husband took the baby and pressed the baby’s lips to the mother. Again there was a wild frenzy. I said, to the sister who was attending her, “Have you anybody to help?” She answered, “We have done everything we could.” I said, “Have you no spiritual help?” Her husband stormed and said, “Spiritual help? Do you think we believe in God after we have had seven weeks of no sleep and this maniac condition? If you think we believe in God, you are mistaken. You have come to the wrong house.”
There was a young woman about eighteen who grinned at me as she passed out of the door, as much as to say, “You cannot do anything.” But this brought me to a place of compassion for this poor young woman. And then with what faith I had I began to penetrate the heavens. I was soon out on the heights, and I tell you I never saw a man get anything from God who prayed on the earth level. If you get anything from God you will have to pray right into heaven, for all you want is there. If you are living an earthly life, all taken up with sensual things, and expect things from heaven, they will never come. God wants us to be a heavenly people, seated with Him in the heavenlies, and laying hold of all the things in heaven that are at our disposal.
I saw there, in the presence of that demented girl, limitations to my faith; but as I prayed there came another faith into my heart that could not be denied, a faith that grasped the promises, a faith that believed God’s Word. I came from the presence of the glory back to earth. I was not the same man. I confronted the same conditions I had seen before, but in the name of Jesus. With a faith that could shake hell and move anything else, I cried to the demon power that was making this young woman a maniac, “Come out of her, in the name of Jesus!” She rolled over and fell asleep, and awakened in fourteen hours, perfectly sane and perfectly whole.
Enoch walked with God. During those many years of his life he was penetrating the heavens, laying hold of and believing God, living with such co-operation and such a touch of God upon him, that things moved on, earth and things moved in heaven. He became such a heavenly being that it was not possible for him to stay here any longer. Oh, hallelujah! I believe God wants to bring all of us into line with His will, so that we shall penetrate into the heavenlies and become so empowered that we shall see signs and wonders and divers gifts of the Holy Spirit in our midst. These are wonderful days—these days of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. You ask me, “When would you have liked to come to earth?” My answer is, “Just now. It suits me beautifully to know that I can be filled with the Holy Spirit, that I can be a temple in which He dwells, and that through this temple there shall be a manifestation of the power of God that will bring glory to His name.”
Enoch conversed with God. I want to live in constant conversation with God. I am so grateful that from my youth up, God has given me a relish for the Bible. I find the Bible food for my soul. It is strength to the believer. It builds up our character in God. And as we receive with meekness the Word of God, we are being changed by the Spirit from glory to glory. And by this Book comes faith, for faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. And we know that “without faith it is impossible to please Him.”
I believe that all our failures come because of an imperfect understanding of God’s Word. I see that it is impossible to please God on any other line but by faith, and everything that is not of faith is sin. You say, “How can I obtain this faith?” You see the secret in Hebrews 12.2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” He is the author of faith. Oh, the might of our Christ who created the universe and upholds it all by the might of His power! God has chosen Him and ordained Him and clothed Him, and He who made this vast universe will make us a new creation. He spoke the word and the stars came into being, can He not speak the word that will produce a mighty faith in us? Ah, this One who is the author and finisher of our faith comes and dwells within us, quickens us by His Spirit, and molds us by His will. He comes to live His life of faith within us and to be to us all that we need. And He who has begun a good work within us will complete it and perfect it; for He not only is the author but the finisher and perfecter of our faith.
“The Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” How the Word of God severs the soul and the spirit—the soul which has a lot of carnality, a lot of selfishness in it, a lot of evil in it! Thank God, the Lord can sever from us all that is earthly and sensual, and make us a spiritual people. He can bring all our selfishness to the place of death, and bring the life of Jesus into our being to take the place of that earthly and sensual thing that is destroyed by the living Word.
The living Word pierces right to the very marrow. When I was in Australia, so many people came to me with double curvature of the spine; but the word of the Lord came right down to the very marrow of their spines, and instantly they were healed and made straight, as I laid hands on them in the name of Jesus. The divine Son of God, the living Word, through His power, moved upon those curvatures of the spine and straightened them out. Oh, thank God for the mighty power of the Word!
The Word of God comes in to separate us from everything that is not of God. It destroys. It also gives life. He must bring to death all that is carnal in us. It was after the death of Christ that God raised Him up on high, and as we are dead with Him we are raised up and made to sit in heavenly places in the new life that the Spirit gives.
God has come to lead us out of ourselves into Himself, and to take us from the ordinary into the extraordinary, from the human into the divine, and make us after the image of His Son. Oh, what a Savior! What an ideal Savior! It is written, “Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” But even now, the Lord wants to transform us from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the living God. Have faith in God, have faith in the Son, have faith in the Holy Spirit; and the Triune God will work in you, working in you to will and to do all the good pleasure of His will.