The Pentecostal Evangel, 14 October 1922.
Preached at Glad Tidings Assembly, San Francisco.
Faith That Prevails, chapter 2.
Read 2 Peter 1.1-8.
We are dull of comprehension because we so often let the cares of this world blind our eyes, but if we can be open to God we shall see that he has a greater plan for us in the future than we have ever seen or dreamed of in the past. It is God’s delight to make possible to us that which seems impossible, and when we reach a place where he alone has right of way, then all the things that have been misty and misunderstood are cleared up.
This like precious faith that Peter is writing about is a gift that God is willing to give to all of us, and I believe God wants us to receive it so that we may subdue kingdoms, work righteousness, and, if the time is come, to stop the mouths of lions. We should be able under all circumstances to triumph, because we have no confidence in ourselves, but our confidence would be only in God. It is always those people who are full of faith that have a good report, that never murmur, that are in the place of victory, that are not in the place of human order but of divine order, since God has come to dwell in them.
The Lord Jesus is the divine author and brings into our minds the “Thus saith the Lord” every time. We must not have anything in our lives but what we have a “Thus saith the Lord” for it. We must see to it that the word of God is always the standard of everything.
This like precious faith is for us all. But there may be some hindrance in your life that God will have to deal with. It seems as if I had had a thousand road engines come over my life to break me up like a potter’s vessel. There is no other way into the deep things of God but a broken spirit. There is no other way into the power of God. God will do the exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think for us when he can bring us to the place where we can say with Paul, “I live no longer,” and another, even Christ, has taken the reins and the rule.
We are no better than our faith. Whatever your estimation is of your ability, or your righteousness, you are no better than your faith. No one is ever any better than their faith. He that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God overcomes the world. How? This Jesus, upon whom your faith is placed, the power of his name, his personality, his life, his righteousness, are all made yours through faith. As you believe in him and set your hope only on him, you are purified even as he is pure. You are strengthened because he in whom you trust is strong. You are made whole because he who is all your confidence is whole. Of his fullness you may receive, all the untold fullness of Christ, as your faith rests wholly in him.
I understand God by his word. I cannot understand God by impressions or feelings; I cannot get to know God by sentiments. If I am going to know God I am going to know him by his word. I know I shall be in heaven, but I could not build on my feelings that I am going to heaven. I am going to heaven because God’s word says it and I believe God’s word. And faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
There is one thing that can hinder our faith: a conscience that is seared. Paul sought to have a conscience void of offense. There is a conscience that is seared, and there is a conscience that is so opened to the presence of God that the smallest thing in the world will drive it to God. What we need is a conscience that is so opened to God that not one thing can come into and stay in our lives to break up our fellowship and shatter our faith in God. And when we can come into the presence of God with a clear conscience and a faith unfeigned, our heart condemning us not, then have we confidence toward God, and whatsoever we ask we receive of him.
In Mark 11.24 we read, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” The previous verse speaks of mountains removed, difficulties cleared away. Veneering won’t do. We must have reality, the real working of our God. We must know God. We must be able to go in and hold converse with God. We must also know the mind of God toward us, so that all our petitions are always on the line of his will.
As this like precious faith becomes a part of you, it will make you so that you will dare to do anything. And remember, God wants daring men. Men who will dare all, men who will be strong in him and dare to do exploits. How shall we reach this plane of faith? Give up your own mind. Let go your own thoughts, and take the thoughts of God, the word of God. If you build yourself on imaginations you will go wrong. You have the word of God and it is enough. A man gave this remarkable testimony concerning the word: “Never compare this book with other books. Comparisons are dangerous. Never think or never say that this book contains the word of God. It is the word of God. It is supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in value, infinite in scope, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest, personal in application, inspired in totality. Read it through. Write it down. Pray it in. Work it out. And then pass it on.”
And truly the word of God changes a man until he becomes an epistle of God. It transforms his mind, changes his character, moves him on from grace to grace, makes him an inheritor of the very nature of God. God comes in, dwells in, walks in, talks through, and sups with him who opens his being to the word of God and receives the Spirit who inspired it.
When I was going over to New Zealand and Australia, I had many to see me off. There was an Indian doctor who was riding in the same car with me to the docks. He was very quiet and took in all things that were said on the ship. I began to preach of course, and the Lord began to work among the people. In the second class of the ship there was a young man and his wife who were attendants on a lady and gentleman in the first class. And as these two young people heard me talking to them privately and otherwise, they were very much impressed. Then the lady they were attending got very sick. In her sickness and her loneliness she could find no relief. They called in the doctor, and the doctor gave her no hope.
And then, when in this strange dilemma—she was a great Christian Scientist, a preacher of it, and had gone up and down preaching it—they thought of me. Knowing the conditions, and what she lived for, that it was late in the day, that in the condition of her mind she could only receive the simplest word, I said to her, “Now you are very sick, and I won’t talk to you about anything save this; I will pray for you in the name of Jesus, and the moment I pray you will be healed.”
And the moment I prayed she was healed. That was this like precious faith in operation. Then she was disturbed. Now I could have poured in oil very soon. But I poured in all the bitter drugs possible, and for three days I had her on cinders. I showed her her terrible state, and pointed out to her all her folly and the fallacy of her position. I showed her that there was nothing in Christian Science, that it is a lie from the beginning, one of the last agencies of hell. At best a lie, preaching a lie, and producing a lie.
Then she wakened up. She became so penitent and broken-hearted. But the thing that stirred her first was she had to go to preach the simple gospel of Christ where she had preached Christian Science. She asked me if she had to give up certain things. I won’t mention the things; they are too vile. I said, “No, what you have to do is to see Jesus and take Jesus.” When she saw the Lord in his purity, the other things had to go. At the presence of Jesus all else goes.
This opened the door. I had to preach to all on the boat. This gave me a great chance. As I preached, the power of God fell, conviction came and sinners were saved. They followed me into my cabin one after another. God was working there.
Then this Indian doctor came. He said, “What shall I do? I cannot use medicine any more.” “Why?” “Oh, your preaching has changed me. But I must have a foundation. Will you spend some time with me?” “Of course I will.” Then we went alone and God broke the fallow ground. This Indian doctor was going right back to his Indian conditions under a new order. He had left a practice there. He told me of the great practice he had. He was going back to his practice to preach Jesus.
If you have lost your hunger for God, if you have not got a cry for more of God, you are missing the plan. There must come up from us a cry that can not be satisfied with anything but God. He wants to give us the vision of the prize ahead that is something higher than we have ever attained. If you ever stop at any point, pick up at the place where you have dropped through, and begin again under the refining light and power of heaven and God will meet you. And while he will bring you to a consciousness of your own frailty and to a brokenness of spirit, your faith will lay hold of him and all the divine resources. His light and compassion will be manifested through you, and he will send the rain.
Shall we not dedicate ourselves afresh to God? Some say, “I dedicated myself last night to God.” Every new revelation brings a new dedication. Let us seek him.