Bible Reading--Matthew 16.
The Pharisees and Sadducees had been tempting
Jesus to show them a sign from heaven. He showed them that
they could discern the signs that appeared on the face of
the sky, and yet could not discern the signs of the times.
He would give them no sign to satisfy their unbelieving curiosity,
remarking that a wicked and adulterous generation sought after
a sign, and that no sign would be given to them, but the sign
of the prophet Jonah. A wicked and adulterous generation stumbles
over the story of Jonah, but faith can see in that story a
wonderful picture of the death, burial and resurrection of
our Lord Jesus Christ.
After Jesus had departed from the Pharisees,
and had come to the other side of the lake, He said to His
disciples, “Take heed, and beware of the leaven of the
Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” The disciples began
to reason among themselves; and all they could think of was
that they had taken no bread. What were they to do? Then Jesus
uttered these words, “O ye of little faith!” He
had been so long with them, and yet they were still a great
disappointment to Him, because of their lack of comprehension
and of faith. They could not grasp the profound spiritual
truth He was bringing to them, and could only think about
having brought no bread. “O ye of little faith! Do ye
not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the
five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the
seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye
At one time Jesus said to Peter, “What
thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take
custom or tribute? of their own children or of strangers?”
Peter said, “Of strangers.” Then Jesus said, “Then
are the children free. Nevertheless, lest we should offend
them, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the
fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth,
thou shalt find a piece of money; take that, and give unto
them, for me and thee.” Peter had been at the fishing
business all his life, but he never had caught a fish with
any silver in its mouth. But the Master does not want us to
reason things out--for carnal reasoning will always land us
in a bog of unbelief--but just to obey. “This is a hard
job,” Peter may have said, as he put the bait on his
hook, “but since You told me to do it, I'll try;”
and he cast his line into the sea. There were millions of
fish in the sea, but every fish had to stand aside and leave
that bait alone, and let that fish with the piece of money
in his mouth come up and take it.
A woman came to me in Cardiff, Wales, who
was filled with ulceration. She had fallen in the streets
twice through this trouble. She came to the meeting and it
seemed as if the evil power within her purposed to kill her
right there, for she fell, and the power of the devil was
rending her sore. She was helpless, and it seemed as if she
had expired. I cried, “O God, help this woman.”
Then I rebuked the evil power in the name of Jesus, and instantly
the Lord healed her. She rose up and made a great to-do. She
felt the power of God in her body and wanted to testify all
the time. After three days she went to another place and began
to testify about the Lord's power to heal. She came to me
and said, “I want to tell everyone about the Lord's
healing power. Have you no tracts on this subject?”
I handed her my Bible and said, “Matthew, Mark, Luke,
John--they are the best tracts on healing. They are full of
incidents about the power of Jesus. They will never fail to
accomplish the work of God if people will believe them.”
There is where men lack. All lack of faith
is due to not feeding on God's Word. You need it every day.
How can you enter into a life of faith? Feed on the living
Christ of whom this Word is full. As you get taken up with
the glorious fact and the wondrous presence of the living
Christ, the faith of God will spring up within you. “Faith
cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
Jesus asked His disciples what men were saying
about Him. They told Him, “Some say that thou art John
the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of
the prophets.” Then He put the question, to see what
they thought about it, “But whom say ye that I am?”
Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the
living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed art
thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed
it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” It
is simple. Who do you say He is? Who is He? Do you say with
Peter, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”?
How can you know this? He is to be revealed. Flesh and blood
does not reveal this. It is an inward revelation. God wants
to reveal His Son within us and make us conscious of an inward
presence. Then you can cry, “I know He is mine! He is
mine! He is mine!” “Neither knoweth any man the
Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal
Him.” Seek God until you get from Him a mighty revelation
of the Son, until that inward revelation moves you on to the
place where you are always steadfast, unmoveable, and always
abounding in the work of the Lord.
There is a wonderful power in this revelation.
“Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates
of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto
thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou
shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever
thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Was Peter the rock? No. A few minutes later he was so full
of the devil that Christ had to say to him, “Get thee
behind me, satan; thou art an offense unto me.” This
rock was Christ. He is the Rock and there are many scriptures
to confirm this. And to everyone who knows that He is the
Christ He gives the key of faith, the power to bind and the
power to loose. Stablish your hearts with this fact.
I had been preaching on this line in Toronto,
endeavoring to show that the moment a man believes with all
his heart God puts into him a reality, a substance, a life;
yea, God dwells in him, and with the new birth there comes
into us a mighty force that is mightier than all the power
of the enemy. A man ran out of the meeting, and when I got
home that night he was there with a big, fine, tall man. This
man said to me, “Three years ago my nerves became shattered.
I can't sleep. I have lost my business. I have lost everything.
I am not able to sleep at all and my life is one of misery.”
I said to him, “Go home and sleep in the name of Jesus.”
He turned around and seemed reluctant to go; but I said to
him, “Go!” and shoved him out of the door.
The next morning he rang up on the telephone.
He said to my host, “Tell him I slept all night. I want
to see him at once.” He came and said, “I'm a
new man. I feel I have new life. And now can you get me my
money back?” I said, “Everything!” He said,
“Tell me how.” I said, “Come to the meeting
tonight and I'll tell you.” The power of God was mightily
present in that evening meeting, and he was greatly under
conviction. He made for the altar, but fell before he got
there. The Lord changed him and everything in him. He is now
a successful businessman. All his past failures had come through
a lack of the knowledge of God. No matter what troubles you,
God can shake the devil out, and completely transform you.
There is none like Him.
One day I was traveling in a railway train where there were
two sick people in the car, a mother and her daughter. I said
to them, “Look, I've something in this bag that will
cure every case in the world. It has never been known to fail.”
They became very much interested, and I went on telling them
more about this remedy that has never failed to remove disease
and sickness. At last they summoned up courage to ask for
a dose. So I opened my bag, took out my Bible, and read them
that verse, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
It never fails. He will heal you if you dare believe Him.
Men are searching everywhere today for things with which they
can heal themselves, and they ignore the fact that the Balm
of Gilead is within easy reach. As I talked about this wonderful
Physician, the faith of both mother and daughter went out
toward Him, and He healed them both, right in the train.
God has made His Word so precious that, if
I could not get another copy, I would not part with my Bible
for all the world. There is life in the Word. There is virtue
in it. I find Christ in it; and He is the One I need for spirit,
soul and body. It tells me of the power of His name and of
the power of His blood for cleansing. The lions may lack and
suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want
any good thing. Psalm 34:10.
A man came to me at one time, brought by
a little woman. I said, “What's up with him?”
She said, “He gets situations, but he fails every time.
He is a slave to alcohol and nicotine poison. He is a bright,
intelligent man in most things, but he goes under to those
two things.” I was reminded of the words of the Master,
giving us power to bind and loose, and I told him to put out
his tongue. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I cast out
the evil powers that gave him the taste for these things.
I said to him, “Man, you are free today.” He was
unsaved, but when he realized the power of the Lord in delivering
him, he came to the services, publicly acknowledged that he
was a sinner, and the Lord saved and baptized him. A few days
later I asked, “How are things with you?” He said,
“I am delivered.” God has given us the power to
bind and the power to loose.
In another place a woman came to me and said,
“I have not been able to smell for twenty years; can
you do anything for me?” I said, “You shall smell
tonight.” Could I give anybody that which had been lost
for twenty years? Not of myself, but I remembered the Rock
on which God's church is built, the Rock Christ Jesus, and
His promise to give to His own the power to bind and loose.
We can dare to do anything if we know we have the Word of
God behind us. In the name of the Lord Jesus I loosed this
woman. She ran all the way home. The table was full of good
things, but she would not touch a thing. She said, “I
am having a feast of smelling!” Praise the Lord for
the fact that He Himself backs up his own Word and proves
the truth of it in these days of unbelief and apostasy.
Another person came and said, “What
can you do for me? I have had sixteen operations and have
had my ear drums taken out.” I said, “God has
not forgotten how to make ear drums.” I anointed her
and prayed, asking the Lord that the ear drums should be replaced.
She was so deaf that I do not think she would have heard had
a cannon gone off. She was as deaf afterwards as it was possible
to be. But she saw other people getting healed and rejoicing.
Has God forgotten to be gracious? Was His power just the same?
She came the next night and said, “I have come tonight
to believe God.” Take care you do not come in any other
way. I prayed for her again and commanded her ears to be loosed
in the name of Jesus. She believed, and the moment she believed
she heard, she ran and jumped upon a chair and began to preach.
Later I let a pin drop and she heard it fall. God can give
drums to ears. All things are possible with God. God can save
Discouraged one, cast your burden on the
Lord. He will sustain you. Look unto Him and be lightened.
Look unto Him now.