Consecration, Testing, Power, and Victory
John G. Lake
I wish we could follow the Lord Jesus today in the steps of His life, and the anticipation of His victory. You know we have our eyes so fixed on the fact that Jesus was the Son of God, therefore of course Divine, that we lose sight of the fact that He was also a Man just like other men. That all the soul battles that any man has to meet, Jesus had to meet. It is the realization of this fact that creates such fellowship. It seems to me that the sin of modern Christianity has been the isolation of Jesus into a class by Himself. Then Christians proceed to excuse themselves all along the line on the ground that Jesus was God. Jesus did this because He was God. Jesus had victory because He was God. Jesus healed because He was God.
No, beloved, Jesus was just as much a Man as you and I. Jesus met every challenge of the soul, just as you and I have to meet it. But Jesus willed to do God’s Will and to know God’s Will.
There are two phases of entering into the Will of God. The first is the surrender of our Will to the Will of God. Most people’s conception of doing the Will of God is to become a non-entity. Now it is not God’s ideal for you to have to be pushed around like a machine, or moved like a mechanism. The other is recognizing yourself as God’s son and man’s servant. I think the most wonderful exhibition of this truth that God can give us, is in the fact that He gives us the Holy Ghost to use for God.
For instance the Lord says, “They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” But if you do not lay your hands upon anyone they will not be healed. However, if you have faith to believe you have the Holy Spirit to be used by Him and for Him, your hands and heart will be ready. It is a sad thing to me that God had to go out on a special mission and hunt a soul up and wrestle with him in order to get him to do something for God.
There used to be a Bible school in Ohio where they waited in continuous prayer meeting for nine months for the Gifts of the Holy Ghost. I said to them, “It seems to me if you stay around for ten years and nine months you will miss the Gifts of the Holy Ghost. But if you take off your coat and go out and use what God has given you to bless others, He will give you more.”
Jesus first dedicated Himself. That is the secret of His life. He dedicated Himself not to do His will, but to do the Will of God. That is what His baptism at Jordan meant. Jesus dedicated Himself to God, Body, Soul and Spirit. How many of you have dedicated body, soul and spirit to God? (Many hands raised.) Now all those who took a dose of pills during the last two or three months, put your hands up. (No response.) Pill swallowers do not like to put their hands up.
I want you to see the dedication of your body, soul and spirit means something. It means you have taken yourself out of the hands of man and out of the hands of the devil, and are over in God’s way and God’s will forever. Suppose you have a difficulty in your spirit. Where do you go for relief? You might go over and hang around those Spiritualists, but that would not be God’s way. That is a way a lot of poor folks do.
We have a neighbor who has been a very ardent Spiritualist. One day he rode to town with me, and he told me how fascinated he was. Last week he ran off with another fellow’s wife. I have this much to say on the line. I have watched the progress and process of Spiritualism for years, and it usually ends that way. The tendency is downward, not upward, into selfishness and sensuality.
No, when we have a difficulty in our spirit, we go to the Father of spirits. When we have a difficulty in our soul, we do not go to the spirit of the world, flesh and the devil. The trouble is in our consecration. We have not a real vision of the Christian’s consecration and what constitutes it.
The Lord provided a salvation for the spirit, a salvation for the soul, and a salvation for the body.
The violator is not just a weak Christian, but he is a sinner. He is a sinner against the Will of God and against the spirit of Christian consecration, for the Christian’s consecration demands a separation unto Jesus Christ of all that Christ separated unto God the Father. That was the consecration of the early Christians. The primitive church regarded the individual who took the world’s way of pills and medicine as having departed from the way of Jesus, and they were dealt with in love and disciplined just the same as if they had stolen a horse or committed some other sin. They were treated as having sinned and needing restoration to God.
You say, “That is very drastic.” It may be, but it is very true. That is the law of God. It is not only the law of God, but is “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” Do you suppose if you go up to heaven you will find a lot of folks who are full of pills, headache tablets, or nux vomica?
One of the prescriptions for healing in the Talmud is to repeat the Ninety-first Psalm seven times a day. Well, if a man repeated the Ninety-first Psalm seven times a day, he would not keep it up long before the spirit of faith in the Almighty God got into his soul. That was good medicine for the soul, and good medicine for the body also.
If you are questioning the extent to which Jesus dedicated Himself, you can see the fullness of it in the story of His temptation in the wilderness. Satan tempted Him in the three departments of His life.
First in the physical. Second in the psychological. Third in the spiritual. First he tempted Him to turn the stones into bread for the satisfaction of His physical needs. Then he tempted Him to get the acclaim of
the multitude. A lot of preachers are doing that still. Satan set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, told Him to cast Himself down. A psychological temptation in the realm of the soul.
The third was a spiritual temptation. Satan took Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” By a spiritual flash, one of the marvels of the spirit, Jesus is permitted to view all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them in a moment of time. He did not just let His imagination travel out, but He saw them in their magnificence, and wonder and glory. And Satan said, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
You see His body had been dedicated, and His soul likewise to God, not to anybody else. He was utterly given up to God. I was talking with Mrs. Lake yesterday while we were out driving. I said, “Florence, the greatest sense of freedom that I ever experienced and the happiest days that I ever lived were after I had given away all I had.” The night I preached my first sermon in the fullness of this gospel, I purposely gave away the last five dollars I had, to a widow. I just wanted to get rid of it. It was a wonderful thing to get the weights all off your soul.
Beloved, what are the difficulties that you are struggling over? What is it that is keeping your soul down? Why bless you, in most cases it is a mere trifle. So when I did not have a cent, then the Lord took me to Africa. I do not believe that He would have ever told me to go if I had not obeyed Him. God said, “You are going to Africa,” and I was totally broke. Most of you know the story of how I got there. We had a beautiful home in Africa. It was unusual in that it was built of wood. It was not as nice as our former woodshed in this country, but we were never so happy as we were there. The roof was of galvanized iron. I slept in the attic. Under that African sun in the summer time, it was seven times hotter than the Babylonian furnace, and just as soon as the sun set it was cooler than a refrigerator. But I slept in that attic and got some of the most beautiful things from God, and it was there that many of the truths I preach to you today were revealed to me.
First dedicate yourself to God. I wonder if you have done it? You old church people who have been taking pills and every other old thing, have you dedicated yourself to God? Get through with it all and give your body to the Lord. Make Jesus Christ your Physician forever; take Him as your only remedy.
The result of that dedication was that you could not have kept Jesus from the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. God has been waiting for a long time for folks to do that. My, the heart of God responds to that sort of consecration. When Jesus stood by the waters of the Jordan and made that consecration, something took place in the soul of the Father and the flood-tide of heaven’s glory came down – appearing as a Dove resting upon Christ. At least it looked to John as if a Dove rested upon Him. The Spirit did not come in little dribbles. “He giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” It came down from heaven in fullness, out of the heart of God.
First, Jesus dedicated His all to the Father. The result was that the Holy Ghost descended upon Him and Jesus was filled with the Spirit. When you get filled with the Spirit, you will have something coming to you that is not all shouts and glory and happiness. Right away Satan got on the track of Jesus. He will get on yours too, if you make that sort of consecration. Somebody is filled with the Spirit and Satan knows there is going to be trouble for him. He must get on the job and side track that individual if he can.
So Jesus was led into the wilderness; not by the devil but by the Holy Ghost. Isn’t that a strange thing that the Holy Ghost led Him into the wilderness? What for? To meet the devil. Why? To try Him whether He was going to be an overcomer or not; to see whether He meant what He said at the Jordan.
The devil said, “Did You mean the consecration that you made? Did You mean when you gave Your Body and Soul to the Lord at the Jordan, that it was forever?”
Most folks mean their consecration on the day they are baptized, and then forget it the first time that the devil appears, or they get a pain in the stomach. It was a forever business with the Lord Jesus.
Get that forever thing into your soul and spirit. There never was a time in history, when the world needed a demonstration that the Lord could keep people forever, under every condition, as much as it does today.
Jesus had thus dedicated His Body, Soul and Spirit to God forever, and Satan tried Him to the finish on each point. A woman recently saved was afterward in despair. Everything had gone wrong from the time that she was converted. She was married to a wretch of a man. He told her if she were going to be a Christian he was through, and away he went. The next thing she knew her best friend went insane. Then her mother gave her heart to God, and she had not been a Christian for a week before her husband came home and said, “What has happened to you?” She told him that she had found God. He said, “Goodbye!” and that was the last they saw of him. Then she had her mother and the insane friend to care for. She was distracted and driven.
One day in the agony of her despair, she was ready to throw up her hands. She said, “O God, after all I have experienced there is nothing else for me to do. I am going back into the world.” About that time the Spirit said to me, “Go over to Salmon Street right away.” I drove over and met her. As she came down the steps I reached out my hand and asked, as I saw the cloud on her face, “Well, how is it?” She replied, “Don’t mention it. It is hell! Is this what folks get for being Christians?” I said, “I do not know dear sister, but one thing is dead sure, when you get through this you will know whether you are a Christian or not.” Then I urged, “Dear little woman, this is not the time to throw up your hands in the midst of the battle. Any fool can do that. You win this battle, and then go and backslide.” She answered, “All right, I will stick to this battle for two weeks.” I said, “That is a bargain.”
At the end of two weeks I said, “Now dear sister, you go and backslide.” She smiled and said, “I don’t think so.” The little insane friend was healed. The dear old mother was healed. Some friends discovered what was going on and filled their house with the sick, and they were healed. It pays to go through.
First Jesus dedicated all His Being, Body, Soul and Spirit to God the Father. Next, the Holy Ghost from heaven came upon Him. He entered the temptation filled with the Spirit. He returned from the battle in the power of the Spirit.
I prayed for the Baptism of the Holy Ghost for nine months, and if a man ever prayed honestly and sincerely in the faith, I did. Finally one day I was ready to throw up my hands and quit. I said, “Lord, it may be for others, but it is not for me. You just cannot give it to me.” I did not blame God.
One night a gentleman by the name of Pierce said, “Mr. Lake, I have been wishing for a long time you would come over and we would spend a night in prayer together. We have been praying for the Baptism for a whole year and there is not one of us baptized yet. Brother, I do not believe that you are either, so we can pray for one another.” I was so hungry to pray, so I went with all the intentions of praying for the rest, but I had not been praying five minutes until the light of God began to shine around me. I found myself in a center of an arc of light ten feet in diameter – the whitest light in all the universe. So white! O how it spoke of purity. The remembrance of that whiteness, that wonderful whiteness, has been the ideal that stood before my soul, of the purity of the nature of God ever since.
Then a Voice began to talk to me out of that light. There was no form. And the Voice began to remind me of this incident and that incident of disobedience to my parents, from a child; of my obstinacy, and dozens of instances when God brought me up to the line of absolutely putting my body, soul and spirit upon the altar forever. I had my body upon the altar for ten years, and I had been a minister of the Gospel. But when the Lord comes, He opens to the soul the depths that have never been touched in your life. Do you know that after I was baptized in the Holy Ghost, things opened up in the depths of my nature that had remained untouched all my life, and that which was shadowy, distant, and hazy became real. God got up close and let His light shine into me. A short time after, I received the Holy Ghost.
You have been sticking away off in the background. You have been following Him a week or two, and then back off. Beloved, you will never get anywhere that way. God has a hard time jarring us loose, and getting us out where we will step out on God and stand.
Jesus went through that awful testing. Supposing He had weakened? Supposing He had gone off and bought a box of pills? He would have been a blemished Lamb. Just once would have rendered His consecration valueless. When He went into the Wilderness He HAD THE SPIRIT, but after He went through the testing, the SPIRIT HAD HIM. Do you get it? A lot of folks have the Spirit of God. Every child of God has the Spirit in a degree, but after they have gone through with God the Spirit has them.
When He came out of the wilderness in the Power of the Spirit, when the Holy Ghost had Him, Body, Soul and Spirit, every fibre of Him, He was ready to go out and demonstrate what Christianity is. We read:
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness . . . among the people.” Matthew 4:23
Everybody wants to jump in and preach, but bless God, when we are willing to go through with Jesus in that “getting ready” process, then it will be with effectiveness, it will be with power, it will be with the love of God.
Charles Parham was preaching in the state of Kansas. An old farmer was very interested, and was all the time saying, “O, I wish the Lord would take all my farms and my cattle and all my possessions and let me preach the Gospel.” So one night Parham got down to pray and he prayed, “Lord God in heaven, send a pestilence and kill all the cattle; let the lightnings come and burn up the sheep.” And the man got up with a start, and said, “What are you praying that way for?” Parham said, “Well, didn’t you mean what you said?”
God bless you, we do not mean half of what we pray. But it finally dawned on that fellow’s soul what a real consecration was, and one day he went and used the finances in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to get men’s souls saved. He backed a dozen missionary boards. Years afterward I was walking down the street of Johannesburg, South Africa, when a street car came along and something said to jump on. The first fellow I saw was this chap. He told me he had just taken a missionary party up to the Congo and settled them, and he remarked, “The work we planted there is going on until Jesus comes and never stop.” Wouldn’t you like to plant something that would go on until Jesus comes, that would bless mankind?
One night in 1909 I was preaching in Los Angeles, and in the course of my address I made the statement that I was located where conditions were such that I would guarantee a soul for every cent invested. I came on to Portland. I had gathered a party of eight that I wanted to take back to Africa. I had money enough for my own personal expenses but not enough for them. One night I knelt by my bed and prayed, “Lord, I have labored these six months and these eight people are ready to go back with me, and I believe every one of them is truly called of God. I haven’t a cent to take them. Now it’s up to You.” I got into bed feeling that I had been heard.
Four or five nights afterward, the night before my meeting closed, I came in about 2 a.m. and found a letter from George B. Studd. I read, “Lake, there has been a windfall in your favor today. A friend of yours came in and asked that her identity be not revealed, and she said, ‘This is for Lake, of South Africa.’ She left a draft for $3,000.00. I have five dollars of my own I am putting with it.”
I took my party back to Africa. I felt that money was a challenge to the thing that I had said, that I would present a saved soul for every cent invested. That would mean 300,000 saved. I want to tell you that there are 50,000 now. How many souls will that $3,000.00 produce if the Lord tarries for 50 years more?
God showed me the value of souls. I was manager of agents for a life insurance company. I received 80% flat on the first premiums. Twenty or thirty minutes with a man might mean a commission of many hundreds of dollars. But God baptized me in the Holy Ghost, and I went back to my office at the end of thirty days, and I never had such a time to talk insurance to a man. The Holy Ghost kept saying, “How about his soul?” After a little bit I had to stop and say, “Brother, are you a Christian? If not kneel down.” I would kneel down and start to pray, and I saw them come to God every day for six months. But O, I forgot about the insurance and the company was paying me to get insurance. I said, “This has gotten
to be such a battle, it is either God and souls now or it is business.” I fought that for six months. At the end, the Lord won.
First give yourself to God, body, soul and spirit. That will take your money and everything else with it. Bless God! It did for Jesus and it did for me. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the son of man hath not where to lay his head,” said Jesus.
When on the African mission fields, my wife, seven children, and I sat down an hundred times when we did not have a thing but corn meal mush, and sometimes did not have salt to put on it, yet I preached three or four times a day, and ministered to the sick continuously. My heart is hungry for it now. I would say, “Goodbye to your pumpkin pie and everything else,” and go back to mush, if I could have the same victory for Jesus Christ.