Subtitled, “The applause of the world vs. the approval of God.”
Preached at the Stone Church communion service, November 5, 1922
Published in the Latter Rain Evangel, June 1923.
This is a very blessed time for us to gather together in remembrance of the Lord. I want to remind you of this fact, that this is the only service we render to the Lord. All other services we attend are for us to get blessing from the Lord, but Jesus said, “This do in remembrance of Me.” We have gathered together to commemorate that wonderful death, victory, and triumph, and the looking forward to the “glorious hope,” and I want you, if it is possible at all, to get rid of your religion. It has been “religion” at all times that has slain and destroyed that which was good. When Satan entered into Judas, the only people that the devil could speak to thru Judas were the priests, sad as it is to say it. They conspired to get him to betray Jesus, and the devil took money from these priests to put Jesus to death. Now it is a very serious thing, for we must clearly understand whether we are of the right spirit or not, for no man can be of the Spirit of Christ and persecute another; no man can have the true spirit of Jesus and slay his brother, and no man can follow the Lord Jesus and have enmity in his heart. You cannot have Jesus and have bitterness and hatred, and persecute the believer.
It is possible for us, if we are not careful, to have within us an evil spirit of unbelief, and even in our best state it is possible for us to have enmity unless we are perfectly dead and let the life of the Lord lead us. You remember Jesus wanted to pass thru a certain place as He was going to Jerusalem, because He would not stop and preach to them concerning the kingdom, they refused to allow Him to go thru their section of the country. And the disciples which were with Jesus said to Him, “Shall we call down fire from heaven upon them as Elijah did?” But Jesus turned and said, “Ye know not what spirit ye are of.” There they were, following Jesus and with Him all the time, but Jesus rebuked that spirit. I pray God that we may get this out of this service, that our knowledge of Jesus is pure love, and pure love to Jesus is death to self on all lines, body, soul and spirit. I believe if we are in the will of God, we will be perfectly directed at all times, and if we would know anything about the mighty works of Christ, we shall have to follow what Jesus said. Whatever He said came to pass.
Many things happened in the lives of the apostles to show His power over all flesh. In regard to paying tribute, Jesus said to Peter, “We are free, we can enter into the city without paying tribute; nevertheless, we will pay.” I like that thought, that Jesus was so righteous on all lines. It helps me a great deal. Then Jesus told Peter to do a very hard thing. He said, “Take that hook and cast it into the sea. Draw out a fish and take from its gills a piece of silver for thee and Me.” This was one of the hardest things Peter had to do. He had been fishing all his life, but never had he taken silver out of a fish’s mouth. There were thousands and millions of fish in the sea, but one fish had to have a piece of silver in it. He went down to the sea as any natural man would, speculating and thinking, “How can it be?” But how could it not be, if Jesus said it would be? Then the perplexity would arise, “But how many fish there are, and which fish has the money?” Brother, if God speaks, it will be as He says.
What you need is to know the mind of God and the Word of God, and you will be so free you will never find a frown on your face, nor a tear in your eye. The more you know of the mightiness of revelation, the more does everything in the way of fearfulness pass away. To know God, is to be in the place of triumph. To know God is to be in the place of rest. To know God is to be in the place of victory. No doubt many things were in Peter’s mind that day, but thank God there was one fish, and he obeyed. Sometimes to obey in blindness brings the victory. Sometimes when perplexities arise in your mind, obedience means God working out the problem. Peter cast the hook into the sea, and it would have been amazing if you could have seen the disturbance the other fish made to move out of the way, all excepting the right one. Just one among the millions of fish God wanted. God may put his hand upon you in the midst of millions of people, but if He speaks to you, that thing that He says will be appointed.
On this occasion, Jesus said to Peter and the rest, that when they went out into the city they would see a man bearing a pitcher of water, and they should follow him. It was not customary in the East for men to carry anything on their heads. The women always did the carrying, but this had to be a man, and he had to have a pitcher. One day there was a man preaching and he said it was quite all right for Jesus to go and arrange, for a colt to be tied there, and another preacher said it was quite easy to feed all those thousands of people, because the loaves in those days were so tremendously big, but he didn’t tell them it was a little boy that had the five loaves. Unbelief can be very blind, but faith can see thru a stone-wall. Faith when it is moved by the power of God can laugh when trouble is on.
They said to the man with the pitcher, “Where is the guest chamber?” “How strange it is that you should ask,” he replied, “I have been preparing that, wondering who wanted it.” It is marvelous when God is leading how perfectly everything works into the plan. He was arranging everything. You think He cannot do that today for you? People who have been in perplexities for days and days, He knows how to deliver out of trouble; He knows how to be with you in the dark hour. He can make all things work together for good to them that love God. He has a way of arranging His plan, and when God comes in, you always know it was a day you lived in God. Oh to live in God! There is a vast difference between living in God and living in speculation and hope. There is something better than hope; something better than speculation. “They that know their God shall be strong and do exploits,” and God would have us to know Him.
“And when the hour was come, He sat down and the twelve apostles with Him.” “When the hour was come”—that was the most wonderful hour. There never was an hour, never will be an hour like that hour. What hour was it? It was an hour of the passing of creation under the blood. It was an hour of destruction of demon power. It was an hour appointed of life coming out of death. It was an hour when all that ever lived came under a glorious covering of the blood. It was an hour when all the world was coming into emancipation by the blood. It was an hour in the world’s history when it emerged from dark chaos, a wonderful hour! Praise God for that hour! Was it a dark hour? It was a dark hour for Him, but a wonderful light dawned for us. It was tremendously dark for the Son of Man, but praise God He came thru it.
There are some things in the Scriptures which move me greatly. I am glad that Paul was a man. I am glad that Jesus was a Man. I am glad that Daniel was a man, and I am also glad that John was a man. You ask Why? Because I see that whatever God has done for other men, He can do for me. And I find God has done such wonderful things for other men that I am always on the expectation that these things are possible for me. Think about this. It is a wonderful thought to me. Jesus said in that trying hour—hear it a moment: “I have a desire to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Desire? What could be His desire? His desire because of the salvation of the world. His desire because of dethronement of the powers of Satan. His desire because He knew he was going to conquer everything and make every man free that ever lived. It was a great desire, but what lay between it? Just between that and the cross lay Gethsemane! Some people say that Jesus died on the cross. It is perfectly true, but is that the only place? Jesus died in Gethsemane. That was the tragic moment! That was the place where He paid the debt. It was in Gethsemane, and Gethsemane was between Him and the cross. He had a desire to eat this Passover and knew Gethsemane was between Him and the cross.
I want you to think about Gethsemane. There alone, and with the tremendous weight, the awful effect of all sin and disease upon that body, He cries out, “If it be possible, let it pass.” Oh could it be! He could only save when He was man, but here like a giant refreshed and coming out of a great chaos of darkness He comes forth: “To this end I came.” It was His purpose to die for the world. Oh brother, will it ever be said to pass thru your lips or your mind for a moment that you will not have a desire to serve Christ like that? Can you deign, under any circumstances to take your cross fully, to be in the place of any ridicule, any surrender, anything for the Man who said He desired to eat the Passover with His disciples, knowing what it meant? It can only come out of the depths of love we have for Him that we can say this morning, “Lord Jesus, I will follow.” Oh brother there is something very wonderful in the decision in your heart! God knows the heart. You do not always have to be on the house-top to shout to indicate the condition of your heart. He knows your inward heart. You say, “I would be ashamed not to be willing to suffer for a Man who desired to suffer to save me.” “With desire,” He says.
I know what it is to have the kingdom of heaven within you. He said that even the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist, meaning those who are under the blood, those who have seen the Lord by faith, those who know by redemption they are made sons of God. I say to you, He will never taste again until we are there with Him. The kingdom will never be complete—it could not be—until we are all there at that great Supper of the Lamb where there will be millions and trillions of redeemed, which no man can number. We shall be there when that Supper is taking place. I like to think of that.
I hope you will take one step into definite lines with God and believe it. It is an act of faith God wants to bring you into; a perfecting of that love that cannot fail to avail. It is a fact that He has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers, and that He gives eternal life to them that believe. The Lord, the Omnipotent God, it is He that knoweth the end from the beginning, and has arranged by the blood of the Lamb to cover the guilty and make intercession for all believers. Oh it is a wonderful inheritance of faith to find shelter under the blood of Jesus!
I want you to see that He says, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” He took the cup, He took the bread, and He gave thanks. The very attitude of giving thanks for His shed blood, giving thanks for His broken body, overwhelms the heart. To think that my Lord could give thanks for His shed blood! To think that my Lord could give thanks for His broken body! Only Divinity can reveal this sublime act unto the heart! The natural man cannot receive it, but the spiritual man, the man who has been created anew by faith in Christ, he is open to it. The man who believes God comes in is inborn with the eternal seed of truth and righteousness and faith, and from the moment he sees the truth on the lines of faith he is made a new creation. The flesh ceases, the spiritual man begins. One passes off, the other passes on, until a man is in the existence of God. I say the Lord brings a child of faith into a place of rest, causes him to sit with Him in heavenly places, gives him a language in the Spirit and makes him know he belongs no longer to the law of creation.
You see this bread which represents His broken body? The Lord knew He could not bring us any nearer to His broken body. Our bodies are made of bread. The body of Jesus was made of that bread, and He knew He could bring us no nearer. He took the natural elements and said, “This bread represents my broken body.” Now will it ever become that body of Christ? No, never. You cannot make it so. It is foolishness to believe it, but I take it as an emblem and when I eat it, the natural leads me into the supernatural, and instantly I begin to feed on the supernatural by faith, One leads me into the other.
Jesus said, “Take eat, this is my body.” I have a real knowledge of Christ thru this emblem. May we take from the table of the riches of His promises. The riches of heaven are before us. Fear not, only believe, for God has opened the treasures of His Holy Word.
As they were all gathered together, He looked on them and said right into their ears, “There is one of you which will betray Me.” Jesus knew who would betray Him. He had known it for many, many months. They whispered to one another, “Who is it?” None of them had real confidence that it would not be he. That is the serious part about it; they had so little confidence in their ability to face the opposition that was before them, and they had no confidence it would not be one of them. Jesus knew. He had been talking to Judas many times, rebuking him, and telling him that his course would surely bring him to a bad end. He never had told any of His disciples, not even John who leaned on His breast. Now if that same spirit was in any church, it would purify the church. But I fear sometimes Satan gets the advantage and things are told before they are true. I believe God wants to so sanctify us, so separate us, that we will have that perfection of love that will not speak ill of a brother, that will not, slander a brother whether it is true or not.
There was strife among them who should be the greatest, but He said, “He that is chief let him be as he that doth serve,” and then he, the Master said, “I am among you as one that serveth.” He, the noblest, the purest, He was the servant of all! Exercising lordship over another is not of God. We must learn in our hearts that fellowship, true righteousness, loving one another and preferring one another must come into the church. Pentecost must outreach everything that ever has been, and we know it will if we are willing. But it cannot be if we will not. We can never he filled with the Holy Ghost so long as there is any human, craving desire for our own will. Selfishness must be destroyed. Jesus was perfect, the end of everything, and God will bring us all there. It is giving that pays; it is helping that pays; it is loving that pays; it is putting yourself out of the way for another that pays. “I am among you as one that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto Me.” I believe there is a day coming greater than anything any of us have any conception of. This is the testing road. This is the place where your whole body has to be covered with the wings of God that your nakedness shall not be seen. This is the thing that God is getting you ready for, the most wonderful thing your heart can conceive. How can you get into it? First of all, “Ye have continued with me in my temptations.” He had been in trials, He had been in temptation. There is not one of us that is tempted beyond what He was. If a young man can be so pure that he cannot be tempted, he will never be fit to be made a judge, but God intends us to be so purified during these evil days that He can make us judges in the world to come. If we can be tried, if we can be tempted on any line, Jesus said, “Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptation.” Have faith and God will keep you pure in the temptation. How shall we reach it? In Matt. 19:28, Jesus said, “Ye which have followed me in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” “Follow in regeneration”—every day is a regeneration; every day is a day of advancement; every day is a place of choice. Every day you find yourself in need of fresh consecration. If you are in a place to yield God moves you in the place of regeneration.
For years and years God has been making me appear to hundreds and thousands of people as a fool. I remember the day when He saved me and when He called me out. If there is a thing God wants to do today He wants to be as real to you and me as He was to Abraham. After I was saved I joined myself up to a very lively lot of people who were full of a revival spirit, and it was marvelous how God blest. And then there came a lukewarmness and indifference, and God said to me as clearly as anything, “Come out.” I obeyed and came out. The people said, “We cannot understand you. We need you now and you are leaving us.” The Plymouth Brethren at that time were in a Conference. The Word of God was with them in power, the love of God was with them unveiled. Baptism by immersion was revealed to me, and when my friends saw me go into the water they said I was altogether wrong. But God had called me and I obeyed. The day came when I saw that the Brethren had dropped down to the letter, all letter, dry and barren.
At that time the Salvation Army was filled with love, filled with power, filled with zeal; every place a revival, and I joined up with them. For about six years the glory of God was there, and then the Lord said again, “Come out,” and I am glad I came. It dropped right into a social movement and God has no place for a social movement. We are saved by regeneration and the man who is going on with God has no time for social reforms.
God moved on, and at that time there were many people who were receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost without signs. Those days were “days of heaven on earth.” God unfolded the truth, showed the way of sanctification by the power of the blood of Christ, and I saw in that the great inflow of the life of God. I thank God for that, but God came along again and said, “Come out.” I obeyed God and went with what they called the “tongues” folks; they got the credit for having further light. I saw God advancing every movement I made, and I can see even in this Pentecostal work, except we see there is a real death, God will say to us, “Come out.” Unless Pentecost wakes up to shake herself free from all worldly things and comes into a place of the divine-likeness with God, we will hear the voice of God, “Come out” and He will have something far better than this. I ask every one of you, will you hear the voice of God and come out? You ask, “What do you mean?” Every one of you knows without exception, there is no word for Pentecost, only being on fire. If you are not on fire you are not in the place of regeneration. It is only the fire of God that burns up the entanglements of the world.
When we came into this new work God spoke to us by the Spirit and we knew we had to reach the place of absolute yieldedness and cleansing, so that there would be nothing left. We were swept and garnished. Brother, that was only the beginning, and if you have not made tremendous progress in that holy zeal and power and compassion of God, we can truly say you have backslidden in heart. The backslider in heart is dead. He is not having the open vision. The backslider in heart is not seeing the Word of God more fresh every day. You can put it down that a man is a backslider in heart if he is not hated by the world. If you have the applause of the world you are not having the approval of God. I do not know whether you will receive it or not but my heart burns with this message, “changing in the regeneration” for in this changing you will get a place in the kingdom to come where you shall be in authority; that place which God has prepared for us, that place which is beyond all human conception. We can catch a glimpse of that glory, when we see how John worshipped the angel, and the angel said to him, “See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow-servant, of thy brethren the prophets.” This angel is showing John the wonders of the glorious kingdom and in his glorified state, John thought he was the Lord. I wonder if we dare believe for it.
Let me close with these words: As sure as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall have the image of the heavenly. It means to us that everything of an earthly type has to cease, for the heavenly type is so wonderful in all its purity. God, full of love, full of purity, full of power! No power only on the lines of purity! No open door into heaven only on the lines of the conscience void of sin between man and God, the heavens open only where the Spirit of the Lord is so leading, so that flesh has no power, but we will live in the Spirit. God bless you and prepare you for greater days.