The Pentecostal Evangel, 16 September 1922.
Preached at Glad Tidings Assembly, San Francisco.
Faith that Prevails, chapter 1, “God-given faith.”
Read Hebrews 11.1-11.
I believe that there is only one way to all the treasures of God, and that is the way of faith. By faith and faith alone do we enter into a knowledge of the attributes, become partakers of the beatitudes, and participate in the glories of our ascended Lord. All his promises are yea and Amen to them that believe.
God would have us come to him by his own way. That is through the open door of grace. A way has been made. It is a beautiful way, and all his saints can enter in by this way and find rest. God has prescribed that the just shall live by faith. I find that all is a failure that has not its base on the rock Christ Jesus. He is the only way, the truth, and the life. The way of faith is the Christ way, receiving him in his fullness and walking in him; receiving his quickening life that filleth, moveth, and changeth us, bringing us to a place where there is always an Amen in our hearts to all the will of God.
As I look into the 12th chapter of Acts, I find that the people were praying all night for Peter to come out of prison. They had a zeal but no faith. They were to be commended for their zeal in spending their time in prayer without ceasing, but there was one thing missing. It was faith. Rhoda had more faith than the rest of them. When the knock came to the door, she ran to it, and the moment she heard Peter’s voice, she ran back again with joy saying that Peter stood before the gate. And all the people said, “You are mad. It isn’t so.” But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. But they had no faith, and conjectured, “Well, God has sent his angel.” But Peter continued knocking. They had zeal but no faith. And I believe there is quite a difference.
Zacharias and Elisabeth surely wanted a son, but even when the angel came and told Zacharias he was full of unbelief. And the angel said, “Thou shalt be dumb because thou believest not my words.” But look at Mary: When the angel came to her, Mary said, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” It was her Amen to the will of God. And God wants us with an Amen in our lives, an inward Amen, a mighty moving Amen, a God-inspired Amen, that which says, “It is, because God has spoken. It can not be otherwise. It is impossible to be otherwise.”
Let us examine this fifth verse, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony that he pleased God.”
When I was in Sweden, the Lord worked mightily. After one or two addresses the leaders called me and said, “We have heard very strange things about you, and we would like to know if they are true. We can see that God is with you, and that God is moving, and we know that it will be a great blessing to Sweden.”
“Well,” I said, “what is it?” “Well,” they said, “we have heard from good authority that you preach that you have the resurrection body.”
When I was in France I had an interpreter that believed this thing, and I found out after I had preached once or twice through the interpreter that she gave her own expressions. And of course I did not know. I said to these brethren, “I tell you what my personal convictions are. I believe that if I had the testimony of Enoch I should be off. I believe that the moment Enoch had the testimony that he pleased God, off he went.”
I pray that God will so quicken our faith, for translation is in the mind of God; but remember that translation comes on the line of holy obedience and a walk that is pleasing to God. This was true of Enoch. And I believe that we must have a like walk with God in the Spirit, having communion with him, living under his divine smile; and I pray that God by his Spirit may so move us that we will be where Enoch was when he walked with God.
There are two kinds of faith. There is the natural faith. But the supernatural faith is the gift of God. In Acts 26.18, Paul is telling Agrippa of what the Lord said to him in commissioning him: “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, 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.”
Is that the faith of Paul? No, it is the faith that the Holy Ghost is giving. It is the faith that he brings to us as we press in and on with God. I want to put before you this difference between our faith and the faith of Jesus. Our faith comes to an end. Most people in this place have come to where they have said, “Lord, I can go no further, I have gone so far and I can go no further. I have used all the faith I have, and I have just to stop now and wait.”
I remember one day being in Lancashire, and going round to see some sick people. I was taken into a house where there was a young woman lying on a bed, a very helpless case. The reason had gone, and many things were manifested there which were satanic and I knew it. She was only a young woman, a beautiful child. The husband, quite a young man, came in with the baby, and he leaned over to kiss the wife. The moment he did, she threw herself over on the other side, just as a lunatic would do. That was very heart-breaking. Then he took the baby and pressed the baby’s lips to the mother. Again another wild kind of thing happened.
I asked one who was attending her, “Have you anybody to help?” “Oh,” they said, “we have had everything.” “But,” I said, “have you no spiritual help?” Her husband stormed out and said, “Help? You think that we believe in God after we have had seven weeks or no sleep and maniac conditions? You think that we believe God? You are mistaken. You have come to the wrong house.”
Then a young woman of about 18 or so just grinned at me and passed out of the door, and that finished the whole business. That brought me to a place of compassion for the woman that something had to be done, no matter what it was. Then with my faith I began to penetrate the heavens, and I was soon out of that house, I will tell you, for I never saw a man get anything from God who prayed on the earth. If you get anything from God you will have to pray into heaven, for it is all there. If you are living in the earth realm and expect things from heaven, they will never come. And as I saw in the presence of God the limitations of my faith, there came another faith, a faith that could not be denied, a faith that took the promise, a faith that believed God’s word. And I came from that presence back again to earth, but not the same man under the conditions confronting me. God gave a faith that could shake hell and anything else.
I said, “Come out of her in the name of Jesus!” And she rolled over and fell asleep and wakened in 14 hours, perfectly sane and perfectly whole.
There is a process on this line. Enoch walked with God. That must have been all those years as he was penetrating, and going through and laying hold, and believing and seeing and getting into such close cooperation and touch with God that things moved on earth and he began to move toward heaven. At last it was not possible for him to stop any longer. Oh hallelujah!
In the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians we read of the body being “sown with dishonor,” to be raised in power. It seems to me that as we are looking for translation, that the Lord would have us know something of that power now, and would have us kept in that power, so that we should not be sown in dishonor.
Enoch walked with God. God wants to raise the condition of saints so that they walk with him and talk with him. I don’t want to build anything round myself, but it is true that if you find me outside of conversation with man, you will find me in conversation with God.
There is one thing that God has given me from my youth up: A taste and relish for my bible. I can say before God, I have never read a book but my bible, so I know nothing about books. It seems better to me to get the book of books for food for your soul, for the strengthening of your faith and the building up of your character in God, so that all the time you are being changed and made meet to walk with God. “Without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
I can see that it is impossible to please him on any lines but faith, for everything that is not of faith is sin. God wants us to see that the plan of faith is the ideal and principle of God. In this connection I love to keep in my thoughts the beautiful words in the second verse of the 12th chapter of Hebrews: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” He is the author of faith. God worked through him for the forming of the worlds. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. And because of the exceeding abundant joy of providing for us so great salvation, he became the author of a living faith. And through this principle of living faith, looking unto him who is the author and finisher of our faith, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even by the Spirit of the Lord.
God has something better for you than you have ever had in the past. Come out into all the fullness of faith and power and life and victory that he is willing to provide, as you forget the things of the past, and press right on for the prize of his calling in Christ Jesus.