Confidence, March-April 1917.
Preached at Bowland Street Mission, February 1917.
The inspiration of a living faith is not on the line of the flesh, but in God’s order. God will never let us move—he is bound up in it—until this faith is perfected. In order that we may merit the quickening of our faith we must lay aside every weight and the sin which does so easily beset us, remembering not only that earthly, but heavenly witnesses are watching to see faith established on the earth. Thus we live not unto ourselves in this race of faith. God plants faith that we may endure hardships. His hand holds; his hand filled with benevolence holds us. Not a moment’s unrest or trouble, if I keep my mind stayed on God. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.” The enemy may seek to insert a dart of bitterness or hardness, but faith is the only production of that which is well-pleasing unto God. I must get my eye fixed, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
The lawyer said: “Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said—this is the principle—“To love God with all thy heart, mind, soul, strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.” It is only possible on the line of faith, “He that cometh from above is above all, and in you all” —the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus our Master is seated in the glory to reach all. There is given us the beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, those that hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure, the peacemakers.
Salvation is the greatest and most stupendous work wrought in man. The healing of the body is wonderful, but to be like-minded with him, to think with him—our salvation began in the glory, and it will be finished there. If we are hindered, there is something not yet set aside. Faith in God is a living substance that abides, always working out the divine will in us. There will be hardships, wars, over-surfeitings to crush us and make us heavy at heart, unless our eyes are in the right place. People say, “Tell us how to get out of this, that, and the other. Consider him! when in awful agony as if your feet were almost swept away; all will go as a mist if you will only consider him. Little things, great things, tremendous things—but all went when you considered him. Looking unto Jesus! It is in the glory times I am likely to be switched off. The easy time is the time to look to Jesus.
[“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.” ] Why should sons need correcting? The sons we love need correcting, because all must go that the image of my Lord may be wrought out. The Lord might have chosen such and such! But me! Oh, beloved, if only you could see the dial; he chases all away to perfect us unto himself. As we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. The chastening is to bear the image of the heavenly—a great structure of his loveliness. Our face in the glory is here, as we can bear chastenings. Don’t think, beloved, the work is done when the gravity is removed; only the body is changed then to stand the glories upon glories. We are changed here, and the chastening is for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness —our profit; eternal pleasures. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Isaiah was undone when he was a moment in the glorious presence. Even the back parts left upon the face of Moses an expression so glorious that men could not bear to look upon; and the angels cry “Holy! Holy! Holy!”
Partakers of his holiness, the same holiness—not an earthly invention, but a divine apprehension through the Spirit, and the chastening is through the Spirit that we might know the breadth and length, and depth and height, and the love of God which passeth knowledge, that we might be filled unto all the fulness of God.
It yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby. It bringeth forth a righteousness which holdeth its integrity in the power of God —a blameless life lived in the world—they cannot live it, but they commend it, and it is a power of judgment to those looking on. Feeble knees —this state means a stretched-out hand to the needy. David says, Show me thy salvation, and “the humble shall hear thereof and be glad.”
When we get God’s salvation we are able to help those helpless from natural causes—those hung up to die, with no hand outstretched to help, linked on to his righteousness, able to help and confirm the feeble-kneed—where there is no vision the people perish, and none can see but those anointed with eye-salve. Anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. The power of God taking away all criticism and hindrance until we see the need of the people.
Jesus always saw the need; the disciples did not always see, but Jesus did. Let it be healed. Follow peace and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Blessed are ye if ye can endure; these people could not endure. Ye are come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, and to an innumerable company of angels. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. Oh, this wonderful inheritance—the fullness of the Spirit. Mount Zion is not far from us, the angels are close to us; we live in heavenly places close to all might, where we can change strength covered with almighty power, so glorified in God that you do not know that you have a body. Your name is written in heaven, clothed with God. His holiness is power, written in heaven—this assembly we are in. God’s voice speaking from heaven; verily we are in a holy place. God’s word, the efficacy of the atoning blood has power to take away this morning everything that cannot stand the judgment (if we will allow it) that that which cannot be shaken may remain.
The removing of those things that are shaken, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. So wholly for God that when the shaking in fervent heat comes (when that which can be shaken will be), that which is of God through the eternal working of the Spirit shall remain. For our God is a consuming fire. Oh, how lovely, beautiful, quickening, reviving, nourishing; and we are now in the place, if we will! If we desire, we can. None shall take our crown. The Lord himself began the work—purposing, hastening, perfecting, and no wind or storm can move us from the rock.
[Tongues and interpretation. “The Lord hath exalted his people, purging the floor, fanning with his fan, taking away the first to establish the second for ever, perfecting in holiness and righteousness (that no flesh should glory in his presence), from grace to grace, spirit to spirit, until the whole church is one solid block in the Lord, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. To this end as a choice vessel keep thine house in order, filled with oil, waiting for the consummation.”]