Reign As Kings
By John G. Lake
January 4, 1931
I want to bring you a message that came to me today. I have been for years on the verge of this message, but never did I receive it until this morning. In the fifth (chapter) of Romans and the seventeenth verse in another translation there is a remarkable rendering:
“For if by the trespass of the one, death reigned as king through the one, much more shall they who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign as kings in the realm of life, through Jesus Christ.”
That means that the moment you accept Jesus Christ, God becomes your righteousness. That is the “gift of righteousness.” Let me read it again: “For if by the trespass of the one, death reigned as king through the one, much more shall they who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign as kings in the realm of life through Jesus Christ.” It means everyone of us that have been born again come into a kingly and queenly state, and we are accepted by God to reign as kings and queens in the realm of life.
We have reigned as servants in the realm of spiritual death. We have passed out of death, Satan’s realm, into the realm of life, into the realm of the supernatural, or the spiritual, or the heavenlies.
Here are some significant facts. Man was never made a slave. He was never made for slavery. He was made to reign as king under God. If you noticed, I showed you this, that the kingly being that was created was created in the image and likeness of God, that he was created on terms of equality with God that he could stand in the presence of God without any consciousness of inferiority.
I quote you from the eighth Psalm in which this expression is used:
“What is man that thou art mindful of Him? And the son of man, that Thou visitest Him? For Thou hast made him but little lower than God; and crownest him with glory and honour.”
(In Psalm 8:4-5 the word “angel” is from the Hebrew “Elohim” and is the name of God in the first five chapters of Genesis.)
What does it mean? It means that God has made us as near like Himself as it is possible for God to make a being. He made you in His image. He made you in His likeness. He made you the same class of being that He is Himself.
He made Adam with an intellect, with such calibre that he was able to name every animal, every vegetable, and every fruit, and give them names that would fit and describe their characteristics. When God could do that with man, then that man belonged to the realm of God.
Adam had such vitality in his body that even after he sinned and became mortal he lived nearly a thousand years - 930 years before mortality got in its work and put him on his death bed. Methuselah lived 969 years. Life was so abundant, so tremendous in their minds and spirits that it conquered century after century.
“I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have it abundantly.”
More abundantly! Jesus made the declaration: “I am come that ye might have life.”
The thing that was forfeited in the garden was regained. God gave him dominion over
the works of His hand. God made him His understudy, His king, to rule over everything that had life. Man was master. Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms of equality with God. God was a faith God. All God had to do was to believe that the sun was, and the sun was. All God had to do was to believe that the planets would be, and they were. Man belonged to God’s class of being - a faith man. And he lived in the creative realm of God. Friends, if you believe what I am preaching, it is going to end your impotence and weakness and you will swing out into a power such as you have never known in your life.
Man lost his place by high treason against God. He lost his dominion in the fall. With the fall went his dominion over spirit and soul. But universal man over yearned for the return of his dominion.
Brother, do you hear me? Here is one of the most tremendous facts that we have to face, that never a single primitive people that has ever been found that has not yearned for dominion. Not a single primitive people has been found that did not have a Golden Past where they had dominion, a Golden Future where dominion was going to be restored. That is the tradition of universal man.
Man has craved dominion. Man has shrunk from bondage. Man has rebelled against it. Man has yearned to gain the mastery again over physical loss, over mind loss, and over the loss of spirit. This long ago desire to gain the lost dominion is seen in his offerings, in his drinking blood, in his priesthood that he has appointed.
I want to enter this a little bit with you. Darwin foolishly said that the reason man drank blood was because the blood was salty and he craved salt. Friends, human blood was never desirable to any people. Why did they drink it? They drank it in order that they might be like God. They drank it that they might become eternal, immortal.
The desire of immortality of the physical body lies latent in the heart of universal man. And for that reason they drank it, believing if they drank it they would be like God. They took the animal or man, and they laid it upon the altar of their god or gods, and when they did they believed that the offering became identified with their god. Then they said, “If we drink the blood of the man or animal, we drink the blood of God, and if we drink enough of it, we will be God.”
How far is that removed from the communion table? Do you see the analogy? The communion table is practically unknown as yet to the majority of Christians.
Now the ancients believed this, and the people of Africa, and it caused them to become cannibals. It was not because they loved human blood, but they believed if they could eat the flesh and drink the blood that was given to their god, they would be like God. You will find that all through the legends and poetry of the old world.
Universal man feels the lost dominion can be regained. They have a conviction that it is going to be regained. And this faith of universal man, reaching Godward, finally challenged God to make it a possibility. He believes that union with God will give him this dominion. He hates defeat. He wants to conquer death. He dreams of immortality. He fears death and disease.
Let me recapitulate. This universal man has believed that somewhere God was going to give him this lost dominion. He believed that that dominion would come through His union with God, if that union could be effected. Can you understand now? It was the universal knowledge and the universal need and the universal cry of man for union with Deity that caused the incarnation.
Let me come a step closer. On the ground of what Jesus Christ did, the substitutionary sacrifice, God is able to redeem us from our sins. He is able to impart to us His very nature. He is able to give us eternal life, take us into His own family, so that we can call Him, “Father.” Not by adoption only, but by an actual birth of our spirit, so we come into actual relationship and union with God, and the age old cry of universal man has been fulfilled. Do you see? The new birth has brought us into vital union with Jesus Christ.
This thing I am teaching you about our union with God is not known in the great body of Christians. All they have is forgiveness of sin. There is no actual union with God. They do not know that the new Birth is a real incarnation. They do not know that they are as much the sons and daughters of God Almighty as Jesus is. The great body of the Christian Church has no dominion, does not know it. They have the most befogged concept of what God has done and what God is to them and what they are to God.
Another step. The incarnation that God has given through the new Birth has bestowed upon us the lost authority of the Garden of Eden. And only here and there has a man known it or preached it or dared to assume it.
Let me break in here. J. Hudson Taylor, after his first visit to China, was walking in England and a voice said, “If you will walk with Me, we will evangelise Inland China.” He looked and there was no one there. An unseen angel had spoken to him. Then his heart caught the vision and said, “Lord, we will do it.” He was the founder of the Great Inland China Mission.
Taylor was returning on a sailing vessel and they were going through the Yellow Sea. It was in the section where the seven winds come at eventide, but from a certain hour in the day until evening there is no wind. One afternoon the Captain said to Mr Taylor, “Take this.” And he took the glasses and looked. He could see they were nearing land. The Captain said, “The worst pirates in all this awful section of the ocean are there. Our vessel is in the clutches of the tide and in three hours will strike the rocks and there is no hope of saving it.” J. Hudson said, “Are you a Christian?” He said, “I am.” Taylor asked, “Are there any other Christians here?” He said, “Yes, the cook and the carpenter and another man are Christians.” Taylor said, “Call them, and let’s go pray.” He called them and the five or six of them went to their respective places. They had not been praying but a little while when he heard commands being given on board and men rushing about. He came up, and he could see the wind breaking on the sea that had been so glassy. In a few minutes the wind had filled the sails, three hours before nature would have sent it.
In my own experience I have seen God many times set aside natural law. I told you one day about one miracle. We were putting on a roof on one of our buildings. A storm came up. The boys had unwisely torn off too many shingles for us to cover before the storm reached us. I saw that storm go around us and leave ten or fifteen acres where the rain did not fall for more than one-half hour, and the water flowed down the gutters past our buildings. Those boys worked and sang and shouted. When the last shingle was in place the water fell on it, and we were drenched to the skin. I have seen God perform His prodigies in answer to believing prayer. What God does for one He can do for another.
This inferiority complex that makes men seek God and create religions and priesthoods is a relic of the fall and comes because man is conscious that once somewhere he had power, he had dominion, and he galls under it. Like a mighty athlete that feels his strength leaving him, until by and by he becomes helpless as a little child. Oh, the agony of the thing!
Every man has within him the entire history of every man. That cry of agony of the athlete, that cry of agony of the man that once had physical and mental health is the cry of universal man, crying for the lost authority and dominion that he once enjoyed.
He seeks through rites a new birth, a re-creation that does not come. How many lodges and secret societies have a rite, a symbol of the New Birth. I can not mention them, but you look back. You are initiated into such and such an organisation. I can name four that have a New Birth rite. It is latent in the universal man.
Every religion has some kind of re-creation. Why? Every man has a consciousness (I am speaking of men who think) down in them. There is something that cries out against death, against sickness, against sorrow, against defeat, against failure. There is something that revels against the bondage of fear and that cries for rebirth, a re-creation that will give them dominion and mastery over the forces that have held them in bondage.
Our redemption is God’s answer to this universal hunger. We saw God’s hunger creating man; now you see man’s hunger bringing God to recreate him. Can’t you understand it, men, that the hunger in the heart of God drove Him, forced Him, until He spoke a world into being for the home of His love project, man. It has driven Him to create universes to hold this world by the law of attraction and make it a safe place for man.
Then when man fell and lost his standing and became a slave and subject to Satan, then this universal cry went up until the very heart of God bled for this broken human. Then He made provision whereby this man that He had created, and had sinned and had de-created, might come back into fellowship with Him of a higher, holier sort than he had lost at the beginning.
I want to take you through some scriptures. Go with me to Romans 5:17:
“For if by the trespass of one, death reigned as king, through the one, much more shall they who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, reign as kings in the realm of life through Jesus Christ.”
By the New Birth you have passed out of Satan’s dominion and Satan’s power and you have come over into God’s dominion, and you have come over into the kingdom of the Son of His love.
You will pardon me, but I have this consciousness when I am preaching - there comes up a wave from the congregation of a kind of stultified unbelief. Do you know where it comes from? It comes from all the years you have sat under false teachers. You have been taught that to be humble you have got to say you are a sinner, you are no good, you don’t amount to anything. You sing:
“Weak and sickly, vile and full of sin I am.”
I do not like to preach one thing, and Charles Wesley another. If you are born again, you are a son of God. And for you to tear yourself out of your sonship, your relationship and the righteousness of God, and put yourself over in the realm of death, and tell God you are dirty and unclean, that His blood has not cleansed you, and His life has not been delivered you, it is a monstrous thing. It is all right to sing that as an unregenerate, but it is not the experience of the sons and daughters of God.
Here is our position through Jesus Christ. God has become our righteousness. We have become His very sons and daughters, and you sing weakness, and you talk weakness and you pray weakness, and you sing unbelief, and you pray and talk it, and you go out and live it. You are like that good old woman. She said: “I do love that doctrine of falling from grace, and I practice it all the time.” Another man said, “Brother, I believe in the dual nature. I believe that when I would do good, evil is always present with me, and I thank God that evil is always there.” You live it and believe it, and God can not do anything with you. You magnify failure and you deify failure until to the majority of you the devil is bigger than God. And you are more afraid of the devil than you are of God. You have more reverence for the devil than you do for God. It is absolutely true. If any saint would dare to say, “I am done with disease and sickness; I will never be sick again,” ninety percent of you would say, “Keep your eyes on that person. He will be sick in a week. The devil sure will get him.” You believe the devil is bigger than God. Your God is about one and a half inches high and the devil is one and a half feet high. What you need to do is to change gods and change gods quick. There have been only a few folks that had a good-sized God.
You go over in Genesis and you see the size of God. It is a full-sized photograph. You see Jesus Christ rising from the dead, and you have seen the God-sized photograph of redemption. We “reign as kings in the realm of life.” And what is the reaction in you? You say, “That is all right and I wish that was true in my case. I would like to reign as king.” And you think this moment how you are whipped, and you think how you have been defeated, and how weak you are, and you will be defeated all the next week. You reckon on the strength of the devil, and on your own sickness, You say, “If he had what I have he wouldn’t talk like that.” How can the potter of God come through such a mess of unbelief? How can God get near? Ninety percent of those who have received the Spirit have made God a little bit of a side issue, a sort of court of last resort. When you get where the devil can do no more, you say, “God, catch me. The devil has finished his work.” God is simply a Life Insurance Company that pays the premium at death.
Turn with me to Ephesians 1:7.
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”
For months and months that scripture has been burning its way into my soul. “In whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,” and it is “according to the riches of his grace.” It is illustrated in Israel coming out of Egypt, with the Red Sea before them, with vast desert stretching its burning waste between them and their promised land. We do not have any such redemption in our religion. I’ll tell you what we need. Have you been in Canada? Do you know when we went to Canada for the first time there was one thing that struck me peculiarly. The signs would read, “John Brown, Limited.” Everywhere I saw that sign. That is a Scotchmen’s caution. I was holding meetings in the old St. Andrews Church in Sidney. I asked them one night why they did not put their national symbol on their churches. They wondered what I meant. I said, “Every other business house is ‘LTD.’ Why don’t you put it over the church?” An old Scotchman said, “We don’t have to. Everybody knows it.” Limited? Sure it is limited. Limit God, limit ourselves, limit His grace, limit the Word. Sure, our God is a little bit of a god. Most of us could carry Him in our vest pocket, and it wouldn’t bulge the pocket. Our God with the “LTD” on him.
Brother, sister, that challenge comes to us today to let God loose. There are a few places where they have let God have His way, and how the blessings have come.
“In whom we have our redemption.”
Have you? If you have your redemption it means that to you Satan has been defeated. Jesus conquered the devil as a Jew before He died. Then He let the devil conquer Him on the cross and send Him down to the place of suffering with our burden and guilt upon Him. But after He satisfied the claims of justice Jesus met the devil in his own throne room and He stripped him of his authority and dominion. And when He arose
“I am He that liveth, and was dead: and, behold, I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:18
He had gone into the throne room, taken Satan’s badge of dominion and authority that Adam had given him in the Garden of Eden. And every man that accepts Jesus Christ was identified with Him when He did it. He did it for you. He did it for me. He died as our substitute and representative. When He put his heel on Satan’s neck, He did it for you, and you were in Christ. And to you who believe, Satan is conquered and Satan is defeated. Satan can holler and bellow as much as he wants to, but you withstand him in the faith of Jesus Christ.
I saw a picture this morning. I was reading an article. I saw a company of men walk out, and I saw all the diseases and all the crimes and agonies; I saw cancers and tumours and tuberculosis; and I saw a company of men and women walk down in the midst of it, and I heard them say, “Here come the sons of God: here come the conquerors.” And the sons of God said to disease, “In the name of Jesus, depart,” and disease fled. It fled as it did before the Son of God. It obeyed because the Son of God sent them out and gave them His name as authority. I saw the company of men enter into the lost dominion. They put upon them the garments of their authority and dominion and walked out conquerors over death and hell and the grave. They were masters. They were rulers.
Then I saw another picture. I saw David in the old cave of Adullam. I saw men coming down that were broken and in distress and in debt, and men that were in awful physical conditions. And they gathered four hundred strong around David. And out of that crowd David developed and trained the most invincible army that was ever seen. Then my mind passed over a few years of struggle. And I saw from that company some mighty men come forth. I saw one man come forth and go where there were thousands and thousands of Philistines; men that were shoulders above him; men that wore shields. I saw that man go among those giants and he slew hundreds of them. And I piled them up in hundreds until I had piled eight hundred.
Every one of those mighty men of David were simple men of extraordinary ability. There was no mark to indicate that they were more than common Jews, 5’ 11”, but they knocked down men 6’ 6” and 6’ 8”. They conquered them because they were blood covenant men.
That is the type of the Church of Jesus Christ. And I said, “Where are God’s mighty men today?” Then I saw a picture. David sat there a little way from the spring of Bethlehem, and the Philistines had got control of the water. David said, “Oh, that I had a drink.” And those three men came forth. He said, “Where are you going, boys?” They just waived him off, and those three men conquered the whole company of the Philistines, filled their pitchers with water, and set them down at David’s feet.
I cried, “My God, my God, where are the mighty men of valour of today, the men that can assail the forces of Satan?” God says they are coming out of you; they are going to arrive. God has in training some men and women that are going to do exploits for Him. Will you not come up and live in your realm?
This is the trouble with most of us. We live up in the faith realm, but we have gone down the back stairs into the reason realm, and a lot of you are hugging your old devilish reason right now.
God help you, brother, this afternoon to throw your reason out that has led you into all kinds of doubt and fear, to throw it to the wind and say, “God, here goes. We trust in your omnipotence to put it over.”
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John G Lake - His Life, His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith (O1)