Rev. John G. Lake
July 16, 1920
There is a wonderful single word that expresses what God is trying to develop in us. That word is CONSCIOUSNESS. I love it. It is an amazing word. Consciousness means, THAT WHICH THE SOUL KNOWS. Not that which you believe, or that which you have an existent faith for, or that which you hope, but that which the soul has proven, which the soul knows, upon which the soul rests, the thing, bless God, which has become concrete in your life.
Consequently God’s purpose, and the purpose of real religion, is to create in the nature of man a consciousness of God. And that church which will succeed in creating the highest degree of consciousness of God in the soul of man, will live longest in the world. And the only mode of possibility of perpetuating a church in the world forever is to bring into the souls of the people the full measure of the consciousness of God that Jesus Christ enjoys.
It is a good thing, not only to be good, but to know WHY you are good. It is not only a good thing to be an American, but to know WHY you are an American. It is a good thing, not only to be a Christian, but to know WHY you are a CHRISTIAN and to know why CHRISTIAN CONSCIOUSNESS is superior to every other known consciousness.
And I want to declare that Christianity stands superior to every other form of religion under the heavens and in the whole earth; that no other religion under the heavens has the same consciousness of God or the same means of producing a consciousness of God, that Christianity possesses.
In 1893 in this city, was the great Chicago World’s Fair. Among the features of the fair was a Congress on Religions. All the religions of the world were invited to send their representatives, and present their peculiar religion for the good of all. Many regarded is as a great calamity that the varied forms of Eastern Philosophy should thus be introduced into this country. I never felt that way. I have always felt that if Christianity could not demonstrate her superiority over every other religion, then Christianity has not the Place and power that Jesus Christ said Christianity had in the world.
But the result of that Congress of Religions was that Christianity was so poorly presented that the Indian Philosophers ran away with the whole thing, and in the minds of thousands who listened, it left a belief that their knowledge of God, and God’s laws, and the laws of life, were greater than the Christian possessed.
And fellow Christians, there began in my soul a prayer that Almighty God would reveal in my soul what the real secret of real Christianity is, in order that in this world Christians might become kings and priests, and demonstrate the superiority of the religion of the Son of God beyond that of every other in the whole earth.
In later years I went to South Africa. It was at a time of peculiar interest in South African history, just following the Boer War. The great industry there is mining. One quarter of the gold of the world comes from Johannesburg and vicinity. The diamonds of the world come from South Africa, and the United States is the greatest diamond market of the world.
When the Boer War came on, the native people became so frightened over war between white men, that after the war was over and settled, they could not coax them back to open the mines. The result was that in order to get the industries established again, they had to send to China and got two hundred thousand (200,000) Chinese, and put them to work to open the shops and mines, and all the other industries. These Chinese came in real colonies. Come were Confucianists, some were Buddhists, some were Brahmans, some represented this form, and some that form of Philosophy. They brought their priests, and their priest ministered unto them.
At the same time there were in South Africa one and a half million East Indians. These represented all the cults of India. They made complaint that they were not being properly cared for, and the British government sent to India and imported a great company of Buddhist priests, and Brahman priests, and Yogi priests, and all the rest of them, and they came to South Africa to assist their own people.
I had a Jewish friend, Rabbi Hertz, who became famous as a great Rabbi, and because of his influence for the British during the war. There was also a Roman Catholic priest, Father Bryant, a wonderful man. I listened to Dr Hertz give a series of lectures on the Psalms of David, which I regard as the finest of that character I had ever heard.
One day he said, “Did it ever occur to you what an amazing Congress of Religions we have in this country? It would put the one in Chicago in 1893 in the shade.” I said, “I have thought of it, but do not have sufficient acquaintance among these other men to undertake it, but would gladly give a helping hand.” So it was eventually brought to pass.
We gathered once a week. They sat on the floor all night, Eastern fashion, a priest with his interpreter, and we gave the individual a whole night if he wanted it, or two nights if he wanted it, or as long as he wanted, to tell out the very secret of his soul, to show the very best he could, the very depth of his peculiar religion, and the consciousness of God it produced. It was not the details of his religion we sought, but the soul of it, and the consciousness it possessed. We listened to the Indian Buddhist priest one night, and the Chinese Buddhist priest the next night, the Indian Confucianist priest one night, and the Chinese Confucianist priest the next night; the Indian Brahman priest one night, and a Chinese Brahamn priest the next night, and it went on. Eventually it came to the night that Dr Hertz, the Jewish Rabbi, was to give the secret of the Jewish religion, and tell out the whole of God that the Jewish religion revealed, and the consciousness of God that was produced by the Mosaic and the prophetic teachings.
Did you ever stop to think that in all religious history, the Jewish prophets knew more of God than all the Philosophers of earth combined? They superseded all others of the ancients in knowledge of God, His ways and power. They gave to their day and generation such a revelation of God as the world had never known. Stop and think of the wonders of God that the Old Testament revealed. Think of the marvels that it seems would stagger the very soul of modern Christianity.
When the Israelites were travelling over the deserts, God arrested the processes of decay in their very shoes and clothing, and they wore them continually for forty years. Think of the marvel of it, the arrest of the process of decay! And then someone wonders if it is possible to arrest the process of decay in a man’s life. Yet, it is. Bless God! Jesus Christ arrested the process of death by the power of God, through the introduction of the life and the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ, giving man eternal life.
Think again of the old prophet, who when they had lost the axe in the water, and came to him in their distress, takes a stick and holds it in his hands. What for? Until that stick became magnetised by the Spirit and power of God. And when he threw it in the water the axe arose and came to the stick. Think again of the prophet, when he was called to the dying boy. He said to his servant, “take this staff,” the staff that he carried, “go ahead of me, lay it on the child.” What for? Because he carried that staff next to his God anointed hands until the staff itself became impregnated with the life and power of God. So the servant went ahead, and there was enough of God in that staff to keep the life there, and the spirit there, until he arrived and called the child to life by the power of God.
Later they were burying a man, and in their haste they opened the grave of Elisha, and when the dead man touched his old Go-filled bones, he became alive. There was enough of God in the old bones to quicken him into life again. Bless God.
You say, “Well, how can Christianity demonstrate anything further than that?” When I listened to Dr Hertz, my heart asked, “Dear God, when I get my turn to reveal what Christianity is, what am I going to say that is going to reveal Christianity as superior to the Jewish dispensation, and the consciousness of God that it produced in the souls of the prophets?”
From eight o’clock at night until four-thirty Dr. Hertz pours out his soul in a wondrous stream of God revelation, such as my soul had never heard. In the morning as I started for home I prayed, “God, in the Name of Jesus, when it comes next Thursday night, and it is my turn to show forth Jesus Christ, what am I going to say to surmount the revelation of God that he gave?”
I had searched Christian literature for it. I had searched the libraries of the world. I could not find it in the writings of the old Christian Fathers. I searched the Word of God for it. I saw flashes of it, but somehow it would not frame in my soul. I decided there was only one way. I gave myself to fasting and prayer and waiting on God. And one day in the quiet GOD TOLD ME THAT SECRET.
And from that day my heart rested in the new vision of Jesus Christ, and a new revelation of the real divinity of Christianity came to my heart.
So it came my turn and I sat sown and reviewed for hours with care, step by step, the consciousness that the Philosophers and priests had shown as belonging to their respective religions, and finally the wonderful consciousness that Dr Hertz had shown as belonging to the Mosaic dispensation.
Oh, bless God, there is a secret in Jesus Christ. CHRISTIANITY IS ALL SUPERNATURAL, every bit of it. The Philosophies are natural. The Mosaic dispensation and its revelation was supernatural, but its revelation did not have the high degree of overcoming consciousness that belongs to Christianity. Yet you can go around the world, and you will not find one in a hundred thousand that can tell what the real secret of Christianity is, which makes it superior to all other religions.
You say, “It is the Holy Ghost.” Well, the prophets had the Holy Ghost. There is no more marvellous record given than the Old Testament records. When Moses wanted mechanics and workmen for the new tabernacle, the Lord called a man by name and said, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in wood, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work all manner of workmanship.” That is the way they learned their trade.
Later they were making preparations for the building of Solomon’s temple. That temple is one of the seven wonders of the world. Did you ever stop to think of where the plans came from, or how they got them? Old David tells us that God gave him the plans of the temple in writing; “while the Spirit of God was upon me in writing,” and he wrote the details of it. He put these details down with such accuracy that they prepared the temple in the mountains, and when they came to put it together, there was no sound of a hammer. Every piece fit to piece. Wonderful movings of God! Wonderful presence of God! Talk about the glory of God. Why, when Moses came down from the mountain, his face shone or radiated with the glory of God so intensely the people were afraid of him, and he was compelled to wear a veil until the anointing had somewhat left his soul.
But, beloved, Christianity is more than that. Paul declares that the glory of Moses’ face was superseded. I said a moment ago, Christianity is not a natural religion. It has nothing natural in it. IT IS SUPERNATURAL from the top to the bottom, from the center to the circumference, within and without. It comes right from heaven, every bit of it. It is the divine outflow of the holy soul of the crucified, risen, glorified Son of God.
Why does God come down from heaven into the hearts of men, into the nature of men, into the bodies of men, into the souls of men, into the spirits of men? God’s purpose in man is to transform him into the nature of God. Jesus said, “I said, YE ARE GODS” (John 10:34).
The philosophers came to the grave and died. They had no further revelation to give. They had left their tenants, and they exist to this day. I have studied the great Eastern philosophies. I have searched them from cover to cover. I have read them for years as diligently as I have read my Bible. I have read them to see what their consciousness was. The secret of salvation is NOT in them.
But in my Bible is seen that the Son of God saves men from their sins and changes them by His power in their nature so that they become like Him. And that is the purpose of Jesus, to take a man and make a Christ out of him, to take a sinner and wash him pure and white and clean, and then come into his life and anoint him with His Spirit, speak through him, live in him, change the substance of his spirit, change the substance of his body, until his body and his blood and his bones and flesh and his soul and his spirit are the body and blood and bones and soul and spirit of the Son of God. (Ephesians 5:30 and 1 Corinthians 6:17).
Oh, Jesus was crucified. Jesus was crucified after there grew in the soul of Jesus the divine consciousness that He could go into the grave, and through faith in God accept the word of God, and believe that He would raise Him from the dead. Jesus went into the grave with a divine boldness, not simply as a martyr. He was God’s PRINCE, God’s KING, God’s SAVIOUR. He went into the grave God’s CONQUEROR. He was after something. He went after the power of DEATH, and He got it, and He took it captive, and He came forth from the grave proclaiming His victory over DEATH.
No more bowing before the accursed power that had been generated through sin. It was a captive. No more fear of hell! Do you hear it? No more fear of hell after Jesus Christ came out of the grave. He had death and hell by the throat, and the key in His hands. He was Conqueror!
When He came forth from the grave He came forth bringing that wonderful spirit of heavenly triumph that was begotten in the soul of Jesus because He had not failed. He had gone and done it. No longer a hope; no longer a faith; now a knowledge - God’s consciousness in His heart. It was done!
Oh yes, bless God, I am coming back to that word with which I started. Do you know the secret of religion is in its consciousness? The secret of Christianity is in the consciousness it produces in your soul. And Christianity produces a higher consciousness than any other religion in the world; no other religion in the world or other revelation of the true God equals it. It is the highest and holiest. It comes breathing and throbbing and burning right out of the heart of the glorified Son of God. It comes breathing and beating and burning and throbbing into your nature and mine, bless God.
So that is the reason I love the religion of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. That is the reason the cross of Calvary is a sacred place. That is the reason that the conquest of the Son of God in the Regions of Death makes a man’s heart throb. That is the reason He gathered His disciples together, and as if He could not wait, He said, “Let me breathe it into you. Go forth in its power. All power is given unto me, both in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore. These signs shall follow. Cast out devils, speak with new tongues, heal the sick. Amen.”
In those early centuries of Christianity, Christianity did not go into the world apologising. It went to slay the powers of darkness and undo the works of the devil, and it lived in holy triumph.
I am going into the history of the Old Testament. It is surprising how ignorant people are of the Word of God. God made a covenant of healing with the children of Israel after they crossed the Red Sea, and they lived under that covenant four hundred and fifty years, unbroken, and there never was an Israelite for four hundred and fifty years, so far as the record goes, except Asa, who ever took one dose of medicine. One backslider went back on God and called the physicians like the heathen did, but the people trusted God and God alone for four hundred and fifty years, or until Solomon got into polygamy. He went down into Egypt and married Egyptian wives, who brought their heathen physicians with them. And eventually the whole nation had fallen from grace, and gone back again and were taking pills and medicine and dope, just like some Pentecostal heathen do.
Do you want to get on God’s territory? Cut it out. It belongs to the devil and the heathen, and the great big unbelieving world.
When you see those holy flashes of heavenly flame once in a while in a person’s life, as we observe in our Sister Etter, when someone is healed, it is because her consciousness and Christ’s are one. She is fused into God. I saw a dying, strangling woman healed in thirty seconds as Mrs Etter cast out the demon. The flame of God, the fire of His Spirit, ten seconds of connection with the Almighty Christ at the Throne of God, that is the secret of it.
Oh, I would like to get you in touch with the Son of God for five minutes. I would like to see the streams of God’s lightning come down for ten minutes! I wonder what would take place.
A few months ago I was absent from the City of Spokane, and when I returned we discovered Mrs Lake was not at home. It was just time to leave for my afternoon service. Just then someone came in and said, “Your secretary, Mrs Graham, is in the throes of death, and your wife is with her.” So I hurried down to the place. When I got there the wife of one of my ministers met me at the door and said, “You are too late, she has gone.” And as I stepped in I met the minister coming out of the room. He said, “She has not breathed for a long time.” But as I looked down at that woman and thought of how God Almighty, three years before, had raised her out of death after her womb and ovaries and tubes had been removed in operations, and God Almighty had given them back to her, after which she had married and conceived, my heart flamed. I took that woman up off that pillow, and called on God for the lightnings of heaven to blast the power of death and deliver her, and I commanded her to come back and stay, and she came back, after not breathing for twenty-three minutes.
We have not yet learned to keep in touch with the powers of God. Once in a while our soul rises, and we see the flame of God accomplish this wonder and that, but beloved, Jesus Christ lived in the presence of God every hour of the day and night. Never a word proceeded from the mouth of Jesus Christ but what was God’s Word. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
When you and I are lost in the Son of God, and the fires of Jesus burn in our hearts like they did in Him, our words will be the words of life and of spirit, and there will be no death in them. But, beloved, we are on the way.
I have read church history because my heart was searching for the truth of God. I have witnessed with my own eyes the most amazing manifestations of psychological power. I know an East Indian Yogi who volunteered to be buried for three days, and he came up our of that grave well and whole. I saw them put a man in a cataleptic state and place a stone fifteen inches square on his body, put his feet on one chair and his head on another, and strike that stone with a twenty-five pound sledge seven times, until it broke in two.
I watched these things, and I said, “These are only on the psychological plane. Beyond that is the Spirit plane and the amazing wonder of the Holy Spirit of God, and if God got hold of my spirit for ten minutes He could do something ten thousand times greater than that.”
Why Jesus was the triumphant One. Did you ever stop to think of Jesus at the Throne of God? I like to think of the twentieth century Christ. Not the Jesus that lived in the world two thousand years ago. Not the humiliated Jesus. Not Jesus dying on the cross for my sin, but the glorified, exalted Son of God at the Throne of God, who stands declaring, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Blessed be God.
And that is the Christ that breathes His power into your soul and mine, and that is the Consciousness that is breathed from heaven in the Holy Ghost when it comes to your heart. Amen.