The Integrity of God's People
John G. Lake
“Back to Christ” is a slogan that is being adopted by real Christians everywhere these days. The result of unbelief being taught in our educational institutions was discussed by W.J. Bryan in a recent sermon. The expression behind Bryan’s sermon was “I sent my boy to college a Christian; a returned an atheist.” That experience has become so common that it is not a matter of surprise any more. Consequently the world has drifted into the attitude of mind that the individual who believes the truth of God as expressed in His Word is intellectually a back number. He is not an u-to-dater.
I have taken this ground for many years in debate and otherwise that there is a science of the Gospel of Jesus Christ so profound that no man with a simple knowledge of material science, discovers it or knows anything about it. It is beyond his ken. But through simple faith the souls of men enter into a relationship with God, where God makes known to them in consciousness His Presence, His love, His power, His salvation which is indisputable, for the evidence from heaven is not to be disputed.
When a Christian is truly born of God, and has really received from God witness to that salvation, you cannot cause that individual to doubt or question, if he is living in the light of God. You can bring all the scientific disputation to bear jupon him, but they have no weight. That is the reason that the Christian who does not even know the meaning of the word “psychology,” or “science” goes through life with a song in his soul and a triumph in his spirit, because he has something in his heart that the other man does not know anything about.
I love to tell this incident because it illustrates that splendid truth. I was lecturing at the Medical Department of the University of Dublin, by arrangement of W. T. Stead, and was going down the line of action of the power of God in men’s lives in salvation, in healing, in bringing the consciousness of God in clearness to their lives. The janitor and his wife were doing some work in the back of the hall. The old man was a rheumatic cripple. As I went along I said, “Old man come down this way.” Then I inquired, “What is the matter with you?” He answered, “It is rheumatism.” He told me he had had it for ten years. I prayed for him, asking that the Lord might heal him; as I did so, his dear simple soul went up to God, and the faith of God in my soul went up to God for him, and the old man was healed. I had the consciousness before I ceased praying, that he was healed.
The chairman addressing one of the professors, said “Explain this occurrence.” And he proceeded to give a long technical psychological statement. The janitor’s wife, in her delight, broke in with "Ach, it’s just Jesus."
Night before last I prayed for a man at Carlton, Oregon. He had a slipped vertebra, the result of an accident. He suffered agony. I laid hands on him and prayed, and before I ceased praying I was conscious that he was healed. But he did not know it. By the Spirit of God one is aware of what God has accomplished. So when I finished praying, I put my hand upon his stomach and I said, “Bend down, and do it quickly.” The poor fellow was so startled; perspiration came upon his brow, because he expected the usual thing to take place. But God had healed him.
Now get the scientists of earth to define that power that instantly heals, and tell you what and how it is applied. There are some things that the Christian soul learns that nobody else knows anything about.
Once I was talking with Professor James, psychologist of Harvard, a splendid man. We were discussing Harold Bixbee’s books, “Twice Born Men,” and “Broken Earthenware. He said this pungent thing, “Lake, it is a rather sad thing that when we want to get a good example of what you Christians term real conversion, we are compelled to go over to the slums of London, to the work of the Salvation Army to find it.” I replied, “James, my judgment is that it such fellows as you and all the other big lights, who brought that condition to pass.” There was a time when every godly Methodist had the testimony from heaven that he was a son of God, and if he did not have it he was not a Methodist. That was what distinguished Methodism.
I want to talk to you a little about the overcomers. Job is the best Old Testament example of the real overcomer in the Bible. As I study the Word of God, I see great outstanding types in the Old Testament. Enoch, a type of the translation. Enoch was not aware of what time he was going away. He just traveled so far out in God that he could not get back again. There became a detachment; the earth’s environment let go, and the heavenly drew him; Enoch never returned. “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him.” Genesis 5:24
Elisha is another type of translation. But Elijah knew he was going. The whole school of the prophets knew it. He went over to Jericho, and when he got to Jericho the prophets there said to Elisha, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head today”? (II Kings 2:5). Where did they get it? They got it from heaven.
Oh, there are some fine lessons; here is one of them. Elisha persisted in being with Elijah. Elijah tried to dismiss him several times, but without avail. He answered, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave the.” Elijah could not get rid of him, and after they crossed the Jordan on dry ground, Elijah replied, “Thou has asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.” Verse 10.
So they went on, and as they talked–oh, you dear folk that get your eyes off the Lord and on the phenomena, get this lesson. You hear folk say, “Did you see how the power of God came on that fellow” My, didn’t the power of God come on him wonderfully when I prayed.” And they were so entertained with the power of God that the eyes were taken off the Lord, and they wondered why nothing was accomplished.
“And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” Verse 11.
A flaming chariot and horses rush between them, and they are parted, but Elisha had the good sense to keep his eyes on the prophet. The chariot and horses from heaven, rushing between them, did not have power enough to take Elisha’s eyes of Elijah. He was watching and expecting something, and there was nothing going to attract his attention from the object of his desire, not even if it came from heaven. And that test was applied by God Himself. If a chariot and horses broke through the window today, would we forget about the Lord in our interest in the phenomena?
I had a young preacher on whom a marvelous power of the Spirit rested. I was in a meeting once when he prayed for about 150 people, and I think one hundred or more were prostrated as he prayed. I observed that the first twenty five were really healed, and after that they just fell on the floor. I took him home with me, and I inquired, “Tell me why were there only twenty five healed?” He answered, “Well, I do not know. Why do you think that they were not all healed? But weren’t those first twenty five wonderful?” I replied, “I examined them; they were not all healed. Now I will tell you what was the matter. When you started to pray for those people, your soul was lost in the Son of God and you were hardly conscious anybody had fallen. But when you saw them strewed all around you, then you forgot the face of Jesus, and became absorbed in the phenomena. That is why they did not get anything. You forgot to connect faith with the power.”
Beloved, faith is more important than power. Faith commands power and vitalizes it.
To me Job stands for another class. That is the class of overcomers that has endured the most dreadful testing. Job is the outstanding Old Testament type of the overcomer. He overcame the most dreadful tribulation. It gives one of the finest, behind the scene views that there is in all the Word of God.
Somewhere where God was, the sons of God gathered before the Lord, apparently to make report, or council and among them appeared Satan also. (See Job 1.)
“And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan,
Hast thou considered my servant Job, that here is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” Job 1:7-8.
Here is a fine distinction between God and Satanic character. The only thing that Satan could understand was his own selfishness. He said, “Doth Job fear God for naught? Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and his house, and about all that he hath on every side?” Verses 9-10.
That old skunk no doubt had been around the hedge a thousand times, and had looked through every crack. He could not even get at a single she-ass. But the Lord answered, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.” Verse 12.
God knew His servant Job. He knew he could stand the testing. So Job’s testing began. The asses were gone, the camels were gone, and to climax it all a servant came with a report that a cyclone had struck the house where his sons and daughters were drinking wine, and all had perished “and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.”
But the final climax came when:
“So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” Job 2:7.
The news spread of his awful calamity. His friends gathered to help him. He was an upright man. One of the richest men of the East, a prince. He was not just a good man, and a just, but he was a great, influential, wealthy, godly man.
There are friends and friends. Job’s comforters were of the negative kind. Let us not be a gloom pot or a tar brush. If you are my friend, and you come to me, you are going to say something with faith in God in it.
When I had my large healing work in Spokane, Washington, where I used to minister to from 100 to 150 people each day, the Lord would let me see everything in man’s soul dozens of times a day. What did He do it for? For me to run and tell somebody else, or to tell the patient? What would be the good of telling him? If you want to get rid of the difficulty, get him to the Lord and get the blood applied. I think the individual who tells any body else or the person himself, unless God signifies it, is a traitor to Almighty God. I never read a single instance in the New Testament where somebody came along and said, “Broth Paul, tell me what is the matter with me,” or “Brother Peter, tell me what is the matter with me.” That is the business of the Holy Spirit.
Job’s friends came, and they were wonderful men. You read the addresses of these four men, as they were given to Job, and you will see that they were unsurpassed in Biblical history. But they reasoned from the point of view that calamity cannot come upon the righteous, that it does not belong to the righteous. The burden of their words was, “Job you have sinned. There is no question about it, you have sinned.”
Job’s friends tried to convince him of sin, that some secret sin had come into his life, but they failed. He said it was not so. He got terribly discouraged and awfully confused; he could not understand why this calamity had come upon him, but he held fast his integrity before God.
Beloved, that is one of the strongest weapons that the devil has. I sought God for the Holy Ghost for nine months. I crawled on my face, and watered my way with tears, and the devil almost whipped me out on this proposition. Every time I got close to God where I ought to have been baptized, I would see every miserable old sin I ever committed in all my life, until my soul would become discouraged, and I said to myself, “Why, God can never baptize me in the Holy Ghost. I am too sinful.” In that, I disregarded the Blood of Jesus Christ, that had covered my sin and blotted out my transgressions long before.
These men loved Job. They came to him when he was lying on the ash heap, scraping himself with a piece of potter; they sat there seven days and nights and never said a word. They were waiting for a solution. Their soul was seeking a reason. Eventually they spoke when they believed they had found a reason. But they were mistaken.
One of the beautiful points in the record of Job, was at the time he was just pouring out his soul, even cursing the day in which he was born. God gave him a beautiful revelation. (Notice that he never cursed God. No, not a word, not an utterance that would indicate lack of faith in God. Oh, God was helping him there to overcome. Job says,
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:25-27.
He would know Him; they were familiar friends.
Eventually God Himself comes. The whirlwind announces His appearing, and the Lord begins to talk to Job, and down through four chapters God Almighty talks to Job. He says: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand thee, and answer thou me …” Job 38:2-7.
And the Lord goes down the line on poor old Job for four chapters. O my, after he had listened to the Lord for a while, Job comes through with a confession. He said, “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:2-6.
God was too big for him. He had not comprehended Him; His way and His purpose were too large for Job’s understanding. Beloved, isn’t that our difficulty? When you go around the world and see some Christians, you find they are trying to bring God down to their own measure. I knew about a dozen and a half saints who just corralled the Kingdom of God, and nobody would ever get into the kingdom excepting those associated with that dozen and a half. One night as I was visiting them, I thought, “If the Lord had you on His Hands, He would have trouble forevermore.” They had become so contracted in their spirit, it was no bigger than a chicken’s. That is not the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The peculiar charm of the Son of God was that He was absolutely universal. Broad as the sunlight, blessing every man, Saviour for the whole world.
Come with your sins of ignorance as Job, come with your sickness. Let the whole world come with its sins, and the Blood of Jesus will blot them out.
I visited an old German lady on one occasion. She was wonderfully anointed of God some years past. God gave her a great ministry of healing. The governor of the state had a dying sister; they brought the dying sister to the dear old lady and she was instantly healed. Then Mayor B. took his dying sister- in-law to her, and she was healed. Others were instantly healed. After awhile she got so jealous for the glory of God, she refused to pray for anybody for fear they would not give the glory to God.
Beloved, you let the Lord look out for His own glory. If you have His love and Spirit in your heart, flood it out on somebody and take a chance on the Lord getting the glory. He will get the glory all right when the soul is redeemed and healed.
So the Lord encouraged Job to forget himself, and pray for his friends, and as he did so, the Lord turned his captivity into a blessing. The Lord restored his body, and gave him twice as many possessions as he had in the beginning.