Published in the Pentecostal Evangel, October 19, 1946.
God does not dwell in temples made with hands; but our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost. We read in Isaiah 57:15, “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
The place in which we worship does not matter much, but the manner in which we worship is of utmost importance. Christ told us, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” How much we need the Holy Spirit to bring us into the kind of spiritual worship that will bring joy to the heart of our heavenly Father, who delights to receive the worship of His blood-bought children.
He wants us to come to a place of undisturbed rest and peace. Only simple faith will bring us there. Christ said, “Except ye... become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Not that we should have a child’s mind, but a child’s spirit of meekness and gentleness. It is the only plane upon which we can meet God.
How my heart cries out for a living faith, for a deep vision of God. The world cannot produce it. There is a place of vision where we see the Lord, where we have Him set always before us. And when we pray, we know that He hears us. We make our requests to God and believe for the answer, knowing no fear, and having a living faith as we come into the presence of God. In His wonderful presence we find fulness of joy, and at His right hand there are eternal pleasures.
God is looking for a people to whom He can reveal Himself. I used to have a tremendous temper, getting white with passion. I was difficult to please at the table. My wife was a good cook, but according to my judgment there was always something wrong with the food. God knew that I could never be of any service to the world until I become wholly sanctified. But after God sanctified me, I heard my wife testify in meeting that from that time on I was pleased with everything. I had men working for me, and I wanted to be a good testimony to them. One day they waited after work was over and said to me, “We would like to have the spirit that you have.”
We read in 1 John 2:6, “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” Abiding in Christ and Christ abiding in us, our actions, all controlled by the blessed Holy Spirit, must be just like those of our Lord Jesus when He was upon the earth. There is a place of death and life where we become dead indeed unto sin in our daily reckoning, but we reckon ourselves alive unto God, and we let Christ reign in our body. Then all is well.
The Word of God is a stimulant to our faith. The Lord would have us all come into a new place of grace, that all may see us as new creatures in Christ Jesus, all the old things of the flesh done away and all things become new and all things of God.
Note the word “behold” at the beginning of our text. What does it mean? It means that the Holy Spirit is arousing our attention. He has something special to say. He wants us to pay attention to the fact that our loving Father in heaven has bestowed such grace upon us that believe, that He calls us sons. He wants us, in likeness, in character, in spirit, in longings, in acts, to be made like unto His own beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. He purposes that we should be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
You can reach this altitude only by faith. No man can keep himself. The old nature is too difficult to manage. You have been ashamed of it many times. However, God can change you. He will operate upon you by His power and will make you an entirely new creation, if you will only believe. Then you can have this testimony: “I am kept by the power of God.” The Almighty will stretch His covering over you, and you will know what it is to be able to do all things through Christ who strengtheneth you. For all things are possible to him that believeth.
Christ says to us, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” The world has no rest. It is full of trouble. But in Christ there is a peace that passeth understanding, and from Him there is an inward flow of divine power that changes your own nature until you live, move, and act in the power of God. The Scripture says, “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.”
I will give you an illustration of this. I have lived in one house for sixty years. I have preached from my own doorstep, and all the people in our neighborhood know me. They know me when they need someone to pray for them, when they are in trouble, or when they are in any special need. But when they call their friends, do they call me? No! Why? They would say, “He is sure to want a prayer meeting, but we want to finish up with a dance.” Wherever Jesus came, sin was revealed, and men did not like sin revealed. But it is sin that separates from God forever.
You are in a good place when you become sensitive to the least sin and weep before God, repenting over the least thing in which you have grieved Him. You may have spoken unkindly; you realize that it was not like the Lord, and your conscience has taken you to prayer. It is a wonderful thing to have a keen conscience. It is when we are close to God that our hearts are revealed to us; it is then we learn to loathe ourselves, and the Holy Spirit turns us to Christ. We take Him to be our righteousness and our holiness. God intends us to live in purity. He has said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” And the pure in heart can see Him all the time in everything.
“Beloved, 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. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” That is God’s standard. Don’t accept a lower one. Our Lord, who died for us, became poor that we might be made rich, that we might be made pure, that we may be made holy. What an offering! He suffered for us, He died for us. He was buried, but rose again, and is now living for us. How we should love Him! What a privilege to know that you may be a son of God now! How simple it is. It is written, “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” When we believe, we receive Him. When we receive Him, anything may take place, for all power is given unto Him.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “In everything ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge.... Come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” God wants us to be enriched with utterance for Him, so that everywhere we go we are joyous witnesses of the goodness of the Lord. Wherever I am, whether traveling by train or ship, I preach to the people. It is God’s plan for me. On board ship, the captain hears, the sailors hear, and the stewards hear. “Oh,” they say, “we have another on board!” The world thinks there is something wrong with you if you are full of zeal for God.
One time, on board ship, a young man came to me and asked me to take part in a sweepstake. I said to him, “I am preaching on Sunday. Will you come if I do?” He said, “No!” Later there was an entertainment. I said I would take part. It was the strangest thing for me. I said I would sing. I saw men dressed as clergymen entertaining the people with foolishness. I was troubled. I cried out to God. Then came my turn, just before the dance. A young woman came to take my book and accompany me. She was only half dressed. She said, “I can’t play that!” I said, “Never worry.” Then I sang, “If I could only tell you how I love Him, I am sure that you would make Him yours today!” There was no dance. A number began to weep, and six young men gave their hearts to God in my cabin.
No man that sins has power. Sin makes a man weak. Sin dethrones, but purity strengthens. Temptation is not sin. The devil is a liar, and he will try to take away your peace. But we must always live in the Word of God and on that scripture which tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” If Christ condemns you not, who is he that can condemn you? Do not condemn yourself. If there is anything wrong, confess it out and then come to the blood of Jesus Christ. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
You can come into a new experience in God, with all fear gone. You can live in a new realm—among the sons of God with power. “If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in His sight.”
Not long ago I received a wire asking me if I would go to Liverpool. There was a woman with cancer and gallstones, and she was very much discouraged. If I know God is sending me, my faith rises. The woman said, “I have no hope.” I said, “Well, I have not come from Bradford to go home with a bad report.” God said to me, “Establish her in the fact of the new birth.” When she had the assurance that her sin was gone and she was born again, she said, “That’s everything to me. The cancer is nothing now. I have got Jesus.” The battle was won. God delivered her from her sin, from her sickness, and she was free, up and dressed, and happy in Jesus. When God speaks, it is as a nail in a sure place.
Will you believe, and will you receive Him? Life and immortality is ours in the gospel. This is our inheritance through the blood of Jesus—life for evermore!