Our Calling (part 2)
Message given at Glad Tidings Tabernacle and Bible Training School, 1536, Ellis Street, San Francisco, California August 22, 1922
TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION: “The Lord is that Spirit that moves in the regenerated, and brings us to the place where fire can begin and burn, and separate, and transform, and make you all know that God has made an inroad into every order. Because we have to be divine, spiritual, changed, and on fire to catch all the rays of His life, first, burning out; second, transforming; and third, making you fit to live or die.”
Oh, thank God for that interpretation.
I want to turn your attention again to the fourth chapter of Ephesians, to continue our subject of last week. I will read from the first verse:
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Ephesians 4:1-13
I believe the Lord, this morning as on the last morning, especially wants me to emphasize facts which will be a blessing and a strengthening to the preachers. If there is anything of importance it is to the preachers because God must have us in the place of building and edifying the Church. And we must be in that order of the Spirit that God can work through us for the needs of the Church.
As it was only out of the brokenness of Paul’s life that blessing came forth, so it is out of the emptiness, and brokenness, and yieldedness of our lives that God can bring forth all His glories through us to others. And as our brother said this morning on the platform, except we pass on what we receive we shall lose it. If we didn’t lose it, it would become stagnant.
Virtue is always manifested through blessing which you have passed on. Nothing will be of any importance to you except that which you pass on to others. So God wants us to be so in the order of the Spirit that when He breaks upon us the alabaster box of ointments of His precious anointing which He has for every child of His, He wants us to be filled with perfumes of holy incense that we may be poured out for others and that others may receive the graces of the Spirit, and all the church may be edified. And there shall never be known in Glad Tidings Tabernacle one dry day, but there shall always be freshness and life which makes all hearts burn together as you know the Lord has talked with you once more.
We must have this inward burning desire for more of God. We must not be at any stationary point. We must always have the highest power telescopes looking and hasting unto that which God has called us to that He may perfect that forever.
Oh, what a blessed inheritance of the Spirit God has for us in these days, that we should be no longer barren, nor unfruitful, but rather filled with all fulness, unlimited, increasing with all increasings, with a measureless measure of the might of the Spirit in the inner man, so that we are always like a great river pressing on and healing everything that it touches. Oh, let it be so today!
TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION: “The Lord has awakened in us the divine touches of His spiritual favor to make us know He is here with all you require if you are ready to take it.”
But are we ready to take it? If we are, then God can give us wonderful things. We must be always in that hunger ready for every touch of God.
Last week you remember we were dwelling on verse three: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
It was a very precious word to us because it meant that under any circumstances we would not have our way but God’s way. We have it for the person and for the Church.
Whatever God means us to be, He means us to be peacemakers. Yes, love without alloy; that which, always at its own expense, goes to help another and pays the price for it. I shall not find a Scripture which will help me so much on this line as Matthew 5:23,24:
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar; and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother; and then come and offer thy gift.
Most Christians are satisfied with the first line of it, but the second line is deeper. Most people believe it is perfectly right if you have offended another, to go to that one and say, “Please forgive me,” and you gain your brother when you take that part. But this is a deeper sense: “If thou...rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee,” go forgive him his transgressions. It is so much deeper than getting your own side right, to go and get their side right by forgiving them all they have done.
That will be a stepping stone to very rich grace on the line of “keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Someone says, “I cannot forgive her because she did that, and the brother said that. You know the brother didn’t recognize me at all. And he has never smiled at me for at least six months.” Poor thing! God help you through evil report and good report. God can take us right through if we get to the right side of grace.
My brother, when you get to the place of forgiving your brother who hath ought against you, you will find that is the greatest ideal of going on to perfection, and the Lord will help us “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
I like that “bond of peace.” It is an inward bond between you and the child of God. “Bond of peace.” Hallelujah! Oh, glory to God!
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling. Ephesians 4:4
We must recognize there is only one body. It seems to me that God would at one time have made such an inroad into all nations on the lines of the truth through the Plymouth brethren, if they had only recognized that there was more in the body than just the Plymouth brethren. You will never gain interest without you see that in every church there will be a nucleus which has as real a God as you have.
It is only on these lines I believe that the longsuffering of God waiteth for the precious fruit. And the longsuffering of God is with the believers who have an idea that only those in Glad Tidings Hall are right, or those in Oakland, or those in England. It is all foolishness.
Fancy people sitting round the table and reckoning that that table is the only table. What about hundreds of people I know who are sitting round the table every day and taking the bread and the wine? Brother, the body of Christ consists of all who are in Christ.
While we know the Holy Ghost is the only power that can take the Church up, we know the Holy Ghost will go with the Church. The Scriptures are very definite in saying that all that are Christ’s at His coming will be changed. It doesn’t seem to be that we can be all Christ’s without something is done, and God will sweep away so many things which are spoiling things. We must get to perfect love, and we will see that God can make even those in Caesar’s household our souls, glory to God!
TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION: “It is the Spirit that joins us and makes us one. It is the health of the Spirit that goes through the body that quickens the body and makes it appear as one.”
Oh, the body appearing as one body! The same joy, the same peace, the same hope! No division, all one in Christ! What a body! Who can make a body like that? Seems to me that this body is made deep in the cross. Hundreds of people are carrying a cross on watch guard, or around their necks. I could never carry a cross, He has carried the cross, He has borne the shame. I find right there in that atoning blood there is cleansing and purifying, and taking away every dross, and everything that will mar the vessel, and He is making a vessel unto honor fit for the Master’s use, joined up in that body, one body.
Let us be careful that we do not in any way defile the body because God is chastening the body and fitly framing it and bringing it together. The body of Christ will rise. You ask, “How will it rise?” It will rise in millions, and billions, and trillions, more than any man can number. It will be a perfect body.
Oh, there is one body! Ah, it is a lovely body. I look at you, I see you. I look in your faces and I know there is a closer association than one can tell or speak about. Oh, brother, there is something deeper down in the spirit of the regenerated person when the dross of life and the flesh falls off.
Oh, there will be a similitude, a likeness, a perfection of holiness, of love! Oh God, take away the rudiments, the weaknesses, all the depravities.
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
I like the word, particular, meaning to say there is just the right place for us. God sees us in that place. He is making us fit in that place so that for all time we shall have a wonderful place in that body. Ah, it is so lovely!
Oh, these exhaustless things! Brothers, sisters, it isn’t the message, it is the heart. It isn’t the heart, it is the Christ. It isn’t the Christ, it is the God. It isn’t the God, it is the whole Body. Deeper and more precious than we have any conception of!
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling. Ephesians 4:4
I feel that God would have me say a word about the calling. Many people get called and they have missed because they are dull of hearing.
There is something in the call, beloved. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” I want a big heart this morning to believe that all shall be chosen. You ask, “Can it be so?” Yes, beloved, it can, not few chosen, but many chosen.
And how shall the choice be? The choice is always your choice first. You will find that gifts are your choice first. You will find that salvation is your choice. God has made it all but you have to choose. And so God wants you especially this morning to make an inward call, to have a great intercessory condition of beseeching the Holy One to prepare you for that wonderful mystical Body.
Called! Beloved, I know some people have an idea (and it is a great mistake), because they are not successful in everything they touch, because they have failed in so many things they have been desirous to go forward in, because they don’t seem to aspire in prayer as some, and perhaps don’t enter into the fulness of tongues, that there is no hope for them in this calling.
Satan comes and says, “Look at that black catalogue of helpless infirmities! You never expect to be in that calling!” Yes, you can, brother! God has it in the Scriptures. Oh, my brother, it is the weakness made strong! “ It is the last that can be made first. What will make the whole different? When we confess our helplessness. He says He feeds the hungry with good things, but the satisfied He sends away empty.
If you want to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the grace of God, get hungry enough to be fed, be thirsty enough to cry, be broken enough you cannot have anything in the world without He comes Himself. I was reading last night in my Bible, it was so lovely, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes...” (Revelation 21:4).
Ah, you say, that will be there. Thank God there are two “theres.” Hallelujah! Let God do it this morning. Let Him wipe away all tears. Let Him comfort thy heart. Let Him strengthen thy weakness. Let Him cause thee to come into the place of profit. Let Him help thee into the place God has chosen for thee, for “many are called, but few are chosen.” But God has a big choice.
He is a big Jesus! If I could measure Him I would be very small. But I cannot measure Him, and I know He is very large. I am glad I cannot measure Jesus but I am glad I can touch Him all the same. The fifth verse: One Lord, one faith, one baptism. Ephesians 4:5.
I must touch the thought of baptism this morning. We must get away from the thought of water baptism when we are in the epistles. If water baptism is at all mentioned in any way, it is always mentioned as a past tense. We must always remember this, beloved, that while water baptism, in my opinion, is essential, “He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.” I wouldn’t say for a moment a man could not be saved without he was baptized in water, because it would be contrary to Scripture. Yet I see there is a blending. If we turn to the third chapter of John’s gospel we find:
…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5b
I believe God would have us to know that we never ought to put aside water baptism, but believe it is in perfect conjunction and in operation with the working of the Spirit that we may be buried with Him.
But oh, the baptism in the Holy Ghost! The baptism of fire! The baptism of power! The baptism of oneness! The baptism of association! The baptism of communion! The baptism of the Spirit of life which takes the man, shakes him through, builds him up, and makes him know he is a new creature in the Spirit, worshipping God in the Spirit.
If my preaching and the preaching of those who come on this platform emphasizes the facts of being baptized with the Holy Ghost, and you only have touches of it, if you stop at that, you will be almost as though you were missing the calling. John said by the Spirit:
...He that cometh after me is preferred before me.... John 1:15
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I…he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.Matthew 3:11
By all means if you can tarry, you ought to tarry. If you have the Spirit’s power upon you, go into that room or somewhere else and never cease till God finishes the work. Outside the Pentecostal church where there isn’t a revival spirit, and where people are not born again, you will find the church becomes dead, dry, and barren, and helpless. They enter into entertainments and all kinds of teas. They live on a natural association and lose their grand, glorious hope.
I come to the Pentecostal church. Without the Pentecostal church is having an increase on the lines of salvation, without it is having continuous baptisms in the Holy Ghost, and a continuous pressure into the Kingdom, that church will become dry, lukewarm, helpless, and you will wonder what church it is.
But every night if somebody rises up in testimony saying they received the Holy Ghost, and others say, “Oh, last night I was saved,” that church is ripening. She will not flounder. She is ripening for greater things, for God will take that church.
Beloved, you are responsible for this, the platform is not responsible. The whole Church is responsible to keep this place on fire. If you have come into this meeting, if you are baptized with the Holy Ghost, without an unction upon you and ready so that you feel like bursting into tongues, or having a psalm, hymn, or some spiritual song, without you have a tongue or interpretation, without something is taking place on these lines you have fallen from the grace of the Pentecostal position.
You talk about a message. God has given us a message this morning if you dare hear it. We dare say in the open air and everywhere that we are Pentecostal. If we are Pentecostal we shall be Biblical Pentecostal. What is Biblical Pentecost? It is found in the fourteenth chapter of First Corinthians, 26th verse:
How is it then, brethren? When ye come together every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
It is an injunction for a Pentecostal continuance in the Corinthian church. Supposing that was the case of this Pentecostal church, it would not be possible for sinners to come in without being saved, or for people coming in not having the baptism without having a hunger and thirst to come into that fulness. It must be so. God must bring us to a place where we have not a name, but have the position that brings the name.
How many of you felt speaking in tongues as you came into the room this morning? Praise God, there are some. How many of you have a psalm burning through you and feel like rehearsing it in the streets? Praise God, that is very well. How many of you sung a hymn as you came along? Praise the Lord, glory to God! You are going on very well. But don’t you see this is what we have to continue. There has to be a continuance of such things.
TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION: “The hope of the Church is springing up of the Spirit through the Word. Therefore, as many of you as are living in the Spirit are putting to death the flesh. You are quickened by the Spirit and live in the realms of His grace.”
Praise the Lord, it is the grace of our Lord Jesus. Hallelujah! We can sing, “‘I will never be cross anymore.” Beloved, it is the most wonderful thing on earth when God touches you with this new life in the Spirit. Oh, then whether you are on the streets, or roadways, or trains, it doesn’t matter where, you are in the Spirit, you are ready to be caught up.
Oh, beloved, here we are this morning, “one body,” praise the Lord! One spirit, one baptism. I am crying to God for these meetings because I believe God can do a great thing in a moment when we are all brought into line of the Spirit. It wouldn’t surprise me whatever happened.
I have been in meetings for ten days when the attention has been on the gifts, and the people have gotten so worked up, as it were, in the Spirit that they felt something had to happen on a new line else they couldn’t live. And it has happened. I believe these and other meetings are bringing us to a place of great expectancy. “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).
Just in the proportion that you have the Spirit unfolding to you, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” you have the Holy Ghost so incarnated in you bringing into you a revelation of the Word. Nothing else can do it, for the Spirit gave the Word through Jesus. Jesus spoke by the Spirit that was in Him, He being the Word. The Spirit brought out all the Word of this life. Then we must have the Spirit.
If you take up John’s gospel you will find that when He came it wasn’t to speak about Himself but to bring forth all He said. Just as we have the measure of the Spirit, there will be no measure of unbelief. We shall have faith. The Church will rise to the highest position when there is no schism in the Body of the lines of unbelief. When we all, with one heart, and one faith, believe the Word as it is spoken, then signs, and wonders, and divers miracles will be manifested everywhere. One accord: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Hallelujah!
The next verse I think probably is one of the primary verses of all:
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:6
If this spiritual life be in us, we will find we have no fear. We would have no nervous debility, it would vanish. Every time you have fear, it is imperfect love. Every time you have nervous weaknesses, you will find it is a departing from an inner circle of true faith in God. We read in 1 John 4:18:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Then you can get a very good word in the sixteenth verse of the same chapter:
...God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Where is the man? He is swallowed up in God. And when God takes hold of us on these lines it is remarkable to see we are encircled and overshadowed by Him.
TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION: “I feel we must magnify the Lord in the Spirit.”
When the believer sees that God is over all, take a real glance at that. Think about God being through all. See if any satanic powers can work against you. But just think about another step; He is in you all. How can the devil have a chance with the body when God is “in you all”? Hallelujah! Glory!
Don’t you see the groundwork, the great base, the rock of the principles of these Scriptures, how they make us know that we are not barren, we cannot be unfruitful, but we must always be abounding and in the joy of the Lord. We lack because we are short of truth.
When this truth of God lays hold the man, he is no longer a man. What is he? He is a divine construction. He has a new perception of the ideals of God. He has a new measurement. Now he sees God is over all things. Now he sees that God is through all things. The whole world can join in a league of nations, they can do as they like, but the Word of God abideth forever.
“In you all.” Think of that, God is in you all. Who is God? Who is the HoIy Spirit? Who is Jesus? Is it possible to have any conception of the mightiness of the power of God? And yet you take the thoughts of Jesus ,and see that all the embodiment of the fulness was right in Him. And I have Him. I have the Holy Ghost also which is as great in equality for those three are one, and joined equally in power. They never twaddle on their conditions but are perfectly one.
When the Spirit comes in the body, how many are there in the body? You have Jesus already. When you are baptized you have the Holy Ghost. And now God is in you all. Hallelujah! Talk about Samson carrying the gates, if you know your position you will take both the city and the gates. Go in and possess every part of the land, for surely there is a land of gladness, a land of pleasure, a land of peace, And remember, brothers; when the Holy Ghost gets an end of us, and we just utter the Spirit’s power and the Spirit’s words, we find out it is always more and more and more. Oh, yes, we will magnify the Lord on all these lines. If we don’t the stones will begin to cry out against us.
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.Ephesians 4:7
This is a great summing up. Oh, brother, I wish you to see Jesus this morning because if we don’t see Him we miss a great deal. Grace and gifts are equally abounding there. It is as you set your strength on Jesus, it is as you allow the Holy Ghost to penetrate every thought bringing always on the canvas of the mind a perfect picture of holiness, purity, righteousness, that you enter into Him and become entitled to all the riches of God.
How do you measure up this morning? God gives a measure. Oh, this is a lovely word:
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.Ephesians 4:7
I know that salvation, while it is a perfect work, is an insulation which may have any amount of volts behind it. In the time when they laid bare wires, when they were getting electric power from Niagara, they tell me there was a city whose lights suddenly went out. Following the wires they came to a place where a cat had gotten on the wires, and the lights were stopped. I find that the dynamo of heaven can be stopped with a less thing than a cat. An impure thought across the mind stops the circulation. An act stops the growth of the believer. I like Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Then I find in 2 Corinthians 10:5 these words:
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
So I find if I am going to have all the revelations of Jesus brought to me, I am going to attain to all that God has for me through a pure heart, a clean heart, right thoughts, and an inward affection towards Him. Then heaven bursts through my human frame, and all the rays of heaven flow through my body. Hallelujah! My word, it is lovely!
The measure of the gift of Christ remains with you. I cannot go on with inspiration without I am going on with God in perfection. I cannot know the mind of the natural and the mysteries of the hidden things with God without I have power to penetrate everything between me and heaven. And there is nothing goes through but a pure heart, for the pure in heart shall see God.
Oh, it is lovely! And I see that the pure heart can come into such closeness with God that the graces are so enriched, and the measure of Christ becomes so increased that you know you are going on to possess all things.
Nothing comes up in my mind so beautiful as a soul just developing in their first love to want to preach to all people. In Revelation, one church is reproved for having lost its first love. And I believe that God would have us to know that this first love, the great love which Jesus gives us with which to love others, is the primary stepping stone to all these things that we had this morning. I don’t know whether there is such a one here who has never lost that first love.
The preacher, I love him. The young man I love. Oh, how I love the youth who is developing in his character and longing to become a preacher. If you ask me if I have a choice in my whole life, I say, yes, I have a choice for a young preacher. I love them. God has perfect positions of development for the preacher.
The young preacher may have greater inward longings to get people saved than he has power over his depravities. And they are hindered in their pursuit into this grandeur of God. I want to take you to a place where there is wonderful safety and security.
God will take into captivity him who is captive to weaknesses, and to failures, and to the power of Satan which has interfered with the young or old life that is longing to preach the glories of Christ. God will take him into captivity if he will let Him for God has gifts for him. He takes the captive into captivity and surrounds him, keeps him, chastens him, purifies him, cleanses him, washes him. And He is making prophets of such, and apostles of such, and evangelists of such.
God has never been able to make goodness only out of helplessness lest we should glorify through the flesh. God destroys every line of flesh that no flesh can glory in His sight. If we have any glory, we will glory in the Lord.
Do you want to be preachers? Nay, verily, I know you do. There isn’t a child in this place who does not want to bear the glad tidings.
...How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!Romans 10:15
Oh, glad tidings! What does it mean? Eternal salvation. You talk about gold mines, and diamonds, and precious stones! Oh, my brother, to save one soul from death! Oh, to be the means of saving many! God has for us a richer treasure than we have any idea of. Don’t say you cannot reach it, brother, sister. Never look at yourself, get a great vision of the Master. Let His love so penetrate you that you will absolutely make everything death but Him. And as you see Him in His glory, you will see how God can take you.
I believe that there are many in this place that God is taking hold of this morning. My brother, don’t fail God, but by the measure of faith in Christ let your hand be outstretched, let your eye be fixed with an eternal fixedness, let an inward passion grip you with the same zeal that took the Lord. And let your mind forget all the past, come into like-mindedness with Jesus and let Him clothe you.
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.Ephesians 4: 8
He has gifts for men. You ask, what kind of men? Rebels also. Did they desire to be rebels? No. Sometimes there are transgressions who break our hearts and make us groan and travail. Was it our desire? No. God looks right through the very canvas of your whole life history, and He has set His mind upon you. I would like you preachers to know:
...Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Corinthians 2: 9
Your weakness has to be riddled through like the chaff before the wind, and every corn shall bring forth pure grain after God’s mind. So the fire will burn as an oven, and burn up the stubble, but the wheat shall be gathered into the garner, the treasury of the most High God, and He Himself shall lay hold of us.
What is it for? The perfecting of the saints. Oh, to think that that brokenness of thine is to be so made like Him, that weakness of thine to be made so strong like Him! Thou hast to bear the image of the Lord in every iota. We have to have the mind of Christ in perfection, in beauty.
Beloved, don’t fail and shrivel because of the hand of God upon thee, but think that God must purify thee for the perfecting of the saints. Oh, Jesus will help us this morning. Oh, beloved, what are you going to do with this golden opportunity, with this inward pressure of a cry of God in thy soul? Are you going to let others be crowned, and you lose the crown? Are you willing to be brought into captivity today for God?
Verily, this morning must decide some things. If you are not baptized you must seek the baptism of the Spirit of God. And if there is anything which has marred the fruit, or interfered with all His plan, I beseech you this morning to let the blood so cover, let the anointing of Christ so come, let the vision of Christ so be seen that you will have a measure that shall take all that God has for you.