By John G. Lake
February 11, 1917
When I read this chapter there is a thrill that goes down through my soul, and I would to God that the real spiritual truths of it could forever be established in the minds of men.
I once listened to an eminent divine preaching from the text, “What is man?” When he got through I had a feeling that man was a kind of whipped cur with his tail between his legs, sneaking out to throw himself into the lake, and saying, “Here goes nothing.” I said, “He has never caught the fire of the thing Jesus is endeavouring to teach through the apostle; that man was the crowning creation of God - that God endowed him with a nature and qualities that by the grace of God can express more of God than any other of God’s creations - that God purposed by the Holy Spirit to make the salvation of Jesus Christ so real in the nature of man that “He that sanctifieth” (Jesus Christ) “and they that are sanctified” through His grace are both of one nature, of one substance, of one character, one in life, one in the righteousness of His death and one in the consequent dominion that came because of His resurrection and glory.
“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:11).
Brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ! He, the elder brother, we the younger members of the family of the same Father, begotten by the same Spirit, energised by the same divine life of God, qualified through the Holy Ghost to perform the same blessed ministry.
“He took not on Him the nature of angels;
But He took on Him the seed of Abraham.”
I wish I could write these things in your soul and brand them in your conscience.
When the purpose of God in the salvation of man first dawned upon my soul, that is when the greatness of it dawned upon my soul. Experimentally I knew God as Saviour from sin; I knew the power of the Christ within my own heart to keep me above the power of temptation and to help me live a Godly life; but I say to you that when I knew the purpose of God and the greatness of His salvation, life became for me a grand new thing.
When, by the study of His Word and the revelation of His Spirit, it became a fact in my soul that God’s purpose was no less in me than it was in the Lord Jesus, and is no less in you and me as younger brethren than it was in Jesus Christ, our elder brother, then, bless God, I saw the purpose that God had in mind for the human race. I saw the greatness of Jesus’ desire. That desire that was so intense that it caused Him as King of Glory to lay down all that glory possessed for Him, and come to earth to be born as a man, to join hands with our humanity, and by His grace lift us in consciousness and life to the same level that He Himself enjoyed. Christ became a new factor in my soul. Such a vision of His purpose thrilled my being so that I could understand then how it was that Jesus, as He approached man and His needs, began at the very bottom, called mankind to Him, and by His loving touch and the power of the Spirit through His word, destroyed the sickness and sin that bound them and set them free in both body and soul, lifted them into union and communion with Himself and God the Father. Yea, bless God, by the Holy Spirit indwelling the souls of men, Christ purposed to bestow on mankind the very conditions of His own life and being, and to give to man through the gifts of the Spirit and the Gift of the Spirit, the same blessed ministry to the world that He Himself had enjoyed and exercised.
The old song that we used to sing became new to my heart. Its melody runs through my soul:
“Salvation, O the joyful sound,
In a believer’s ear
It soothes our worries, heals our wounds
And drives away our fears.” And lots more, bless God.
I could then understand what was in Charles Wesley’s heart when he wrote his famous hymn, “Jesus Lover of My Soul,” and penned its climax that marvellous verse:
“Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name;
I am all unrighteousness,
Vile and full of sin I am,
Thou art full of truth and grace.”
(This was not the last verse, but the third.)
The same thing was in the spirit of Isaiah when in the beautiful thirty-fifth of Isaiah his exultant soul broke forth in the shout of praise, “He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing.”
I could understand then the thrill that must have moved David, when he sang the
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all they diseases.”
The vision that has called forth the shouts of praise from the souls of men in all ages is the same vision that stirs your heart and mine today. The vision of the divine reality of the salvation of Jesus Christ by which the greatness of God’s purpose in Him is revealed to mankind by the Spirit of the Living One, transformed and lifted and unified with the living Christ through the Holy Ghost, so that all the parts and energies and functions of the nature of Jesus Christ are revealed through man, unto the salvation of the world. Bless God.
The vision of God’s relation to man and man’s relation to God is changing the character of Christianity, from a grovelling something, weeping and wailing its way in tears, to the kingly recognition of union and communion with the living Son of God. Yea, bless God, to the recognition of the real fact that the Word of God so vividly portrayed in the lesson I read. That “in the bringing of many sons into the world” not one son in the world, but in the bringing of many sons into the world, “it became him to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” Blessed be God.
I am glad, bless God, that the Scriptures have dignified us with that marvellous title of “sons of God.” I am glad there is such a relation as a “Son of God” and that by His grace the cleansed soul, cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, filled and energised by His own Kingly Spirit, that he too by the grace of God has become God’s king, God’s gentleman indeed and in truth.
The Spirit of the Lord says within my soul, that the kingly nature of the Son of God is purposed to be revealed in the nature of every man, that Christ’s kingliness may be prevalent in all the world and govern the heart of man, even as it governs the heart of those who know Him and have entered into His glory.
(A young man called up from audience.)
I listened to this young man’s testimony on Friday night with a thrill in my soul. I want him to tell you what God had done in him and for him.
“I do not know whether I can tell it all or not. I am sure there is a good deal I can not tell. When I was a lad of about 14 years old I was forced into the mines to work, and I worked a great deal in the water, which brought on rheumatism. I was crippled up for years in my younger days, and gradually grew worse. I could walk around, but you could hardly notice where I was afflicted. It was in the hips and back.
A great many physicians said there was no relief for me. When I came down here to Spokane and was labouring on anything I could not stoop down. When I would drop my pick or shovel I would have to pick it up with my feet and reach for it with my hands.
I came to this meeting last fall, and with one prayer by Brother Lake I was healed in thirty minutes of rheumatism, which had been a constant torture to me for years. Later on I contracted tuberculosis, and was examined by the county physician, Stutz, who advised me that the best thing to do was to go to Edgecliff. Also other physicians said I was very bad, and they did not think I could live more that six or eight months, unless I went out there right away.
I took the same thing for it. I went to the healing rooms for prayer, also Brother Peterson prayed for me, and in three weeks I went to Dr Stutz and he could not find a trace of it. I have gained eleven pounds, and I never felt better in my life.”
That is a simple story isn’t it, but that story is a revealer of the question that has probably caused more debate in Christian life than almost any other, and of which the world has little understanding. That is that the Spirit of God is a living force that takes possession of the nature of man and works in man the will of God, and the will of God is ever to make man like Himself. Blessed be His precious Name.
It would be a strange Word indeed, and a strange salvation if Jesus was not able to produce from the whole race one man in His own image, in His own likeness and of His own character. We would think that salvation was weak, would we not?
If the world were nothing but cripples, as it largely is, soul cripples, physical cripples, mental cripples everywhere, then I want to know what kind of a conception the world has received of the divinity of Jesus Christ, of the Power of His salvation? Is there no hope, is there no way out of the difficulty, is there no force that can lift the soul of man into union with God, so that once again the life of God thrills in his members?
Our purpose, by the grace of God, is to reveal to the world that that is the real truth and purpose and power of the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. My soul rejoices every time I see a man set free, for I say within my heart, “There is one more witness to the divine fact that the Christ of God is a living power, taking possession of the nature of man and transforming man’s being into His own image.”
The mere fact of our brother’s deliverance from suffering and inability to help himself, and a possible premature death, is a very small matter in itself, in comparison with the wonder it reveals to us. The revelation of the power of God at the command of man, to be applied to the destruction of evil, whether spiritual or physical, mental or psychological, shows us Christ’s purpose and desire to bring man by the grace of God once more into his heavenly estate, where he recognises himself a son of God. Blessed be His Name.
Years ago I found myself like my brother, but worse crippled than he when my legs drew out of shape and my body became distorted by the common curse of rheumatism. My pastor said, “Brother you are glorifying God,” and my church said, “Brother, be patient and endure it. Let the sweetness of the Lord possess your soul.” And I was good enough to believe it for a long time, until one day I discovered that it was not the will of God at all, but the will of the dirty crooked-legged devil that wanted to make me like himself. And then, bless God, everything was changed and I laid down everything and went to Chicago to the only place where I knew then that a man could get healed. I went to John Alexander Dowie’s Divine Healing Home at 12th and Michigan Streets, and an old grey haired man came and laid his hands on me and the power of God went through my being and made my leg straight, and I went out and walked on the street like a Christian.
Do you know when my legs straightened out it taught me the beginning of one of the deepest lessons that ever came to my life. It taught me that God did not appreciate a man with crooked legs any more than He does with a crooked soul. I saw the abundant power of the gospel of salvation, and that it was placed at the disposal of man to remove the unchristlikeness of his life, and if there was unchristlikeness in the body, we could get rid of the curse by coming to God and being made whole. For there is just as much unchristlikeness in men’s bodies as in men’s souls. That which is in the inner life will also be revealed in the outer life. That which is a fact in the mental and psychological will become a fact in the physical also. And, Bless God, that which is the divine fact of all facts, that the spirit of man and the Spirit of God are of one substance and one nature, and his mind and body take on of the spiritual power imparted, until it too becomes Christlike. Blessed be His holy Name.
The Spirit of the Lord speaks within my soul and says:
“Within the breast of every man is the divine image of God (living God), in whose image and likeness he was made. That sin is a perversion, and sickness an imposter, and the grace and power of God through the Holy Ghost delivers man from all bondage of darkness, and man in all his nature rises into union and communion with God and becomes one with Him the truest sense. One in the thoughts of God, one in the aspirations of God, one in the Spirit of Jesus Christ as the Saviour of man and man then gives himself a Saviour also lifting man by the grace of God to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” Blessed be His holy Name.
“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His Justice,
Which is more than liberty.
But we make His love too narrow
By false limits of our own,
And we magnify His strictness
With a zeal He will not own.
There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Saviour;
There is healing in His blood.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of Man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
If our lives were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.”
So the divine realities remain. The reality of God a living power. The divine assistance, the heavenly nature known to every man who enters by the Spirit through the door, Christ Jesus, into a living experience. The man who doubts is the man on the outside. The man on the inside has not questions to settle that do not comprehend God, as that soul that has never been in contact with His life and power. But Christ invites mankind to enter with Him into the divine knowledge and heavenly union that makes the spirit of man and the Spirit of God to be one indeed and in truth. Bless God!
Man is the divinest reality that God has given in His great creation. Man in the image of God, man renewed by the life of God, filled with the Holy Spirit, revealing and giving forth by the living Spirit, transformed eyen as himself has been transformed. Blessed be His name.
God has made us in the truest and highest sense co-partners and co-labourers with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He has not withheld one possibility that was manifested in Jesus from any man, but on the contrary invites mankind to come forth in the dignity and power of sons of God, and to that Christ and in Christ join in the mighty wonder of the salvation of the world over sin and sickness, and the power of death and darkness and hell. Bless God.
Salvation to my heart is Christ’s glorious reality. Under a tree away back in Canada one night I knelt and poured out my heart to God and asked Him, by His grace, to take possession of my life and nature and make me a Christian man, and let me know the power of His salvation. And Christ was born in my soul. Such a joy of God possessed my heart that the leaves of the trees seemed to dance for months following, and the birds sang a new song and the angels of God witnessed of the glory of heaven in my own heart. Blessed be His Name.
Salvation is a progressive condition. The difficulty with church has been that men were enduced to confess their sins to Christ and acknowledge Him as a Saviour, and there they stopped, there they petrified, there they withered, there they died, dry rotted. I believe in these phrases I have expressed the real thing that has taken place in 85% of professing Christians in the world. Oh, Bless, God, we never saw Christ’s intention. That day away back there, when the glory light of God first shone into my soul, was a glorious day, the best I had ever known to that moment. But, beloved, it would be a sorrowful thing in my life if I was compelled to look back to that day as the best. No, bless God, there were better days than that. There were days when the Lord God took me into His confidence and revealed His nature and revealed His purpose, and revealed His love and revealed His nature and revealed His ministry. Yea, Bless God, there came a day when God once more in His loving mercy endowed me with the Spirit of God, to be and perform the things that He had planted in my soul and had revealed in His own blessed Word and life.
I invite you to this life of divine reality. I invite you to enter into the Lord Jesus. I invite you to enter into His nature that you may know Him, for no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. It is through the revelation of the Spirit of Christ in the soul of man that he is privileged to know Jesus as the Lord. Blessed be God. We may know Him as an historic character, we may know Him as the ideal man, we may know Him as the Christ and Saviour, but we do not know Him as the living God who imparts His own nature and life and power to us, until we know Him as the Scripture says in the Holy Ghost. Bless God!
He who has lived and felt that religious life was a dream or a myth or an abstract something that was hard to lay your hands on, an intangible condition, has been mistaken. I bless God. In the bosom of the Living One is the divine realities of God, filling and thrilling the soul of Christ Himself, filling and thrilling the soul of every recipient of the life of the Lord Jesus.
And the Spirit of the Lord once more speaks within my heart and says that, “the joys of God and the glories of heaven and the understanding of angelic existence and being are only known to him who is privileged in consciousness to enter that life and realm. That God by His grace has purposed that man in his nature and consciousness shall live in union and communion with our Father God, and with the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, the innumerable company of angels and the presence of just men made perfect and we shall know the power and wonder of the blood of Jesus that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
And the Spirit of the Lord speaks yet again and says that as Jesus was the Prophet of all prophets, because of the completeness of the union of His nature with God, that man in turn becomes the prophet of prophets as his spirit assimilates with the Spirit of Him, the divine One; that man becomes the lover of all lovers, even as Jesus Christ was the lover of all men, thrilling men with the intensity of His affection in the union of spirit with Himself, binding them by the love of His nature as the bond-salves of Christ forever.
So the Christian draws to himself the love of men, not because he slavishly desires it, but because of the fact that he obeys Christ’s divine law, “Give and it shall be given unto you, full measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over, so shall men give into your bosom.” Blessed be God.
And I want to tell you that this little church is one of the most loved of all churches in all the world. I want to tell you that more hungry hearts are turned in longing toward this little company of people than to any other company of worshippers in the land. Why? They have heard that God is here and the longing of the nature of man to know God causes them to turn their hearts and their faces toward the source of heavenly blessing. Shall we give it to them, or will we disappoint them? Shall they receive the blessing of God through our heart, or will they turn away hungry and dissatisfied? Yea, I know your answer, for I know the answer of the Spirit, “Give and it shall be given unto you.” Blessed be God. The greatest giver is the greatest receiver. He who gives most receives most.. God’s divine law. The reverse of God’s law is always evidenced in the soul of man as selfishness. Always getting, always getting, always getting, until the nature contracts and the face distorts and the brain diminishes and the life that God gave to be abundant becomes an abomination, that men are compelled to endure.
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John G Lake - His Life, His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith (O1)