Consciousness of God
by John G. Lake
November 26, 1916
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1–4)
On the day of Pentecost, the hundred and twenty who composed the little circle of believers that had met in the upper room after the ascension of Jesus were sitting together in prayer and meditation upon God. Suddenly there came from heaven—not born out of man’s emotionalism, but by faith—there came from heaven the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting. And there appeared cloven tongues like fire, which rested upon each of them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost, the living Spirit of God. As a result of being thus filled, they began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. That filling of the Holy Ghost, that coming of the living Spirit of Jesus Christ upon mankind, was the dawning morning of the first Christian day. That was the day-dawn of Christianity. Christianity never existed before. Religion existed, but Christianity never existed before. The Christianity of Christ has its birth then and there, bless God. It had not even manifested itself in the world during Jesus’ own lifetime nor during the forty days after His resurrection.
Christianity has a secret, bless God, the secret of divine power, the secret that makes it different from other known religions. It is the secret of the consciousness that it contains, and the consciousness that Christianity contains is due to the fact that the Spirit of the triumphant Son of God, who had entered into death, who had experienced resurrection and thereby power over death, who had ascended in triumph to the right hand of God and sat down a victor, was poured forth upon the world. He poured forth His own living Spirit, containing that consciousness. Consequently, when the Spirit of Christ came upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost, it produced in them, of necessity, that which was in the mind of Christ, the same consciousness of power and victory and dominion and Christlikeness that was common to the nature of Jesus Himself as He sat down in triumph at God’s right hand.
When I went to Africa and sat down quietly to study the native peoples and their minds, I was forced to study myself and my people, too. I said, “What is the thing that makes us Anglo-Saxons different from these native people?”
My friend said, “Well, it is our education.”
I said, “Education does not do it.”
He said, “Yes, it does.”
I said, “No, it doesn’t. I will show you why.”
And I took him down to one of the towns and introduced him to an educated native missionary. Some missionaries had sent him over here, and he was educated at Yale, and he was just as much a heathen as he ever was. He was an educated heathen. He was not a Christian.
Another says, “It is our good breeding that makes the difference between the Anglo-Saxon and the African native.” It is not our good breeding. It is something else. It is the consciousness that the Anglo-Saxon mind contains that the other man has not. That consciousness is the consciousness of power, a consciousness of mastery, a consciousness of self-control, and all other varied qualities of the sensitive human mind.
How did they get there? They were established in the mind of the Anglo-Saxon through transmission of those who believed. Consciousness is a growth, an evolution, or an impartation. It is all three in most people.
The incoming of the Spirit of God into the disciples was an impartation of the Spirit of Jesus that brought with it the very conditions of the mind of Christ Himself. He was the one who had throttled death and mastered it and rose up in His own consciousness as King. Therefore, He could say to His disciples,
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.(Matthew 28:18–19)
In other words, [teach the precept of] submitting your body, your soul, and your spirit in an act of union with the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, with the purpose of establishing in the individual the conscious knowledge of the living Father and the living Son and the living Spirit. Glory be to God!
When I was a little tyke, I was sprinkled like the rest, and I suppose I squalled just like the rest did. I was not an angel, so far as I know. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.
When I became a man, God revealed the real purpose of what real baptism was supposed to bring into a man’s consciousness. And I saw that the purpose of Jesus was to produce in the souls and bodies and spirits of man such a consciousness of the living, triune God that man became a king, a living king. I saw the dignity, I saw the power, I saw the manifestation of Spirit that Jesus purposed should be evident in the life of the person who has been really baptized into the living God—not just baptized in His name, but actually baptized into God—buried in Him, inducted into God, inducted into the nature of God the Father, into the nature of God the Son, and into the nature of God the Holy Ghost.
It is almost a sadness to my soul that men should be astonished and surprised at an ordinary, tangible evidence of the power of God. A woman came into the healing rooms on Thursday afternoon with a tumor larger than a full-grown, unborn child, and her physicians and nurse had been fooled, believing it to be such, until nature’s period had passed. Then they decided it must be something else.
She came to the healing rooms, and I interviewed her. She said, “Mr. Lake, I have the opinion of several physicians. They are all different, but each has said, ‘It is possible it may be a child,’ but now the time has passed, and they do not know what to say.”
I put my hand upon her for a moment, and I said, “Madam, it is not a child; it is a tumor.” She sat down and wept. Her nurse was with her. Her soul was troubled, and she did not receive healing.
She came back on Thursday afternoon for prayer and went away like the rest. But she returned on Friday with her corsets on. She said, “I came to show you that I am perfectly normal. When I retired last night at ten o’clock, there was no evidence that anything had taken place beyond that I felt comfortable and the choking was gone. But when I awoke this morning, I was my normal size.”
I said, “Did it disappear in the form of a fluid?”
She said, “There was not an outward sign of any character.”
Beloved, what happened to it? It dematerialized, did it not? There was nothing else. The tumor dissolved. It was evaporated, taken out of the system, and was gone in a single night.
I called a friend on the telephone to tell him about it. Another friend was present in the room, and while he still held the receiver in his hand, he turned to his friend and told him about it. The friend said, “My good God, man, that would be a miracle!”
What is a miracle? It is the tangible evidence of the supreme control of the Spirit of God over every character and form of materiality. The tumor disappeared. It was gone. Why? Because the living Spirit of God entered it, and, by the power and working of God, the woman returned to her normal condition. Blessed be His name.
If these evidences of God’s presence and power had no value except the mere fact of physical healing, they would not appeal to many thinking minds. Beloved, the power of such an event and of such an act and of such a sign is in this: it shows us that all things are possible through living, positive, actual contact with the Spirit of God. Blessed be His name.
I talked with the husband of the lady—one of the most profane men I have ever known—until Friday morning. He said to me, “Mr. Lake, when I got up on Friday morning and saw my wife, I said, ‘I will never again take that name upon my lips in vain.’” And he has walked softly, and a new light is shining in his soul, and a new presence has made itself evident to that man.
Salvation is the best thing that the mind of God ever evolved. Salvation, real salvation, bless God, is that blessed working of God by the Spirit that has for its one objective the absolute transformation of a man—body and soul and spirit—into the likeness of Jesus Christ. And there is no man on earth that could imagine Jesus Christ going around with a big tumor stuck on Him anywhere. Why? Bless God, He did not have any tumors in His soul or in His spirit, either. Why? Because all His nature was joined in complete and holy union with the living God, and the life and nature and substance of God’s being, which is the Holy Ghost, flowed through the spirit and soul and body of Jesus alike.
What marvelous union was accomplished through the consent of His own will, without which Jesus Christ Himself could never have been the spotless Lamb of God! But by saying “Yes” to God, by yielding His nature with His “Yes,” He permitted the mighty Spirit of God to possess His life and accomplish the will of God in Him and through Him. Blessed be His precious name!
Men are afraid to say yes to God. When a young man, I sat in a little meeting one night when the Spirit was talking to my heart. I said, “If I am going to be a Christian, I cannot do this, and I cannot do that.” Oh, mighty God, it almost makes my soul vomit in these days to think of the average conception a man has of Christianity.
About 90 percent of so-called Christianity is all spelled with four letters: D-O-N’-T. Don’t do this and don’t do that—the individual restraining himself, putting himself in a harness, walking according to laws and ordinances, etc. Why, bless God, Christianity is all contained in two letters: B-E. Not performing acts, but being the thing that God purposed.
I was in a meeting in Los Angeles on one occasion [Azusa Street Revival]. An old black minister [William J. Seymour] was conducting the services, and he had the funniest vocabulary that any man ever had. But I want to tell you, there were doctors and lawyers and professors listening to marvelous things coming from that man’s lips. It was not what he said in words, but it was what he said from his spirit to my heart that showed me he had more of God in his life than any man I had ever met up to that time. It was the God in him that was attracting people.
There was one man who insisted on getting up and talking every little while. Some people have a mania for talking. Every once in a while, he would get up and interrupt, and the old minister had endured it for a long time. Presently, he got up again, and the old man stuck his finger out and said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, sit down.” He did not sit down. He fell down, and his friends carried him out.
That is only one manifestation of the living fact of what Christianity is: the divine power of Jesus Christ, by the Holy Ghost, filling a man’s soul and body, bless God, flashing through his nature like a holy flame, accomplishing the will of God.
The idea that man may be the temple of the Holy Ghost brings a demand on his consciousness that nothing else in the world can bring. If God has ordained that my spirit and my soul and my body, and yours, may become the living, conscious temple of His Spirit—that He, God, will live in us and manifest Himself through us by His Spirit—what kind of demand does it bring upon us?
We can understand then what was in the mind of the apostle when he said, “What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” (2 Peter 3:11).
Why is it that people are slow to yield themselves to the control and government and guidance of the Spirit of God? Why is it that there is not a divine passion in our hearts that such a blessed control should be made a possibility? Shall you and I today assert our own little humanity and walk according to our own light, or shall we, as wise men, as those who seek the most divine in life, say yes to God and let God take our being, inhabit our being, and let Him live His life in us, and then He will manifest His life through us?
I have a brother, a splendid fellow, a finely educated man, a professor. I returned from Africa some years ago, and we were visiting together. As we sat visiting, my sister, who was present, said, “John, I have some old neighbors over here. They are old German people, and they are having a very hard time. The old man died, and one of the sisters died. This thing happened and that thing happened, and finally the son, who was a shipbuilder, fell one day and was carried to the hospital, and they say his leg has to be amputated. Gangrene has set in. The physicians have amputated the toe and a piece of the foot, and now they say the leg has to be amputated. The old mother has been sitting in a wheelchair, a rheumatic cripple, for two and a half years and cannot move.”
My brother and I had been having somewhat of a discussion over this thing. He said, “Jack, don’t you think these things are all psychological?”
I said, “Not much.”
He said, “I think it is.”
He said, “Don’t you think it is a demonstration of the power of mind over matter?”
And I said, “No. If that was all it is, you could give just as good a demonstration as I could.”
After a while, my sister said, “I have been across the street and made arrangements for you to come and pray for these people.”
I said, “All right, Jim, come along.”
I said to the old lady, “Mother, how long have you been here?”
And she replied, “I have been here two and a half years.” She said, “It is awful hard. Not just hard to sit here all the time, but I suffer night and day, with no moment of relaxation from acute suffering in these two and a half years.”
As I listened to her, the flame of God came into my soul, and I said, “You rheumatic devil, in the name of Jesus Christ, I will blot you out if it is the last thing I ever do in the world.” And, laying my hands on her, I looked to heaven and called on God to cast that devil out and set her free. I said to her, “Mother, in the name of Jesus Christ, get up and walk.” And she arose and walked.
We went into the other room where the son was, whose leg was to be amputated. I sat for a few minutes and told him of the power of God. I said, “We have come to you with a message of Jesus Christ, and we have not just come with the message, but with the power of God.” Again, laying my hands on the limb, I said, “In the name of the living God, they shall never amputate this limb,” and it was healed.
I was gone for three to six months and then stopped at my sister’s home once again. The young lady called and said, “You must come across and see my mother and brother. They are so well.” I called and found the old lady very happy. She said, “Oh, Jake, he is not at home. Why, he is so well, he went down to the saloon and danced all night!”
I waited to see Jake, and I tried to tell him something about the living God that he had felt in his body, and who wanted to take possession of his soul and reveal the nature of Jesus Christ in him.
Five years passed by, and I returned again to the United States and was stopping at my sister’s home. She said, “Do you remember some people that you prayed for across the road? Here is Jake now, coming from his work.” We sat on the porch and talked, and I said, “Well, Jake, how is it?”
“Oh,” he said, “I do not understand it all, but something has been going on and going on. It is in me. First, I could not go to the dance, and next I could not drink beer, and next my tobacco did not taste good, and then a joy came into my heart, and then I found it was just Jesus.”
Born of God—the nature of man brought into union with God by the Holy Ghost. Blessed be His precious name.
This congregation has perhaps been blessed with the continued manifestation of the presence of God beyond that of any other congregation in the world. This city has been blessed with the manifestation of God’s presence perhaps beyond that of any other city in the world. Yet, the eyes of many are closed. They have not seen God. Some have seen Brother Lake, some have seen Brother Westwood, but not all have seen God, the living God. Many need the continued process of the Spirit of God in their souls that went on in the heart of Jake, revealing the nature of Christ until all his being said yes to God, and he became a Christian in deed and in truth. Blessed be God.
I leave you today with this message of God: Open your soul to Him, and let the blessed living Spirit of God have entrance into your nature. Say yes to God. Say yes to God.
John the Baptist was a prophet. One day, as Jesus stood among His friends, John said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but…he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).
There is a baptism that belongs to Jesus. It is in His supreme right and control. No other angel or man can bestow it. It comes from Him alone. “He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (John 1:33). So the individual who wants the Holy Ghost must come into definite, conscious contact with Jesus Christ Himself. Bless God.