Sermon 754. The Saint and the Spirit
Delivered on Lord's-day Morning, JUNE 9, 1867, by
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"But you know Him; for He dwells with you, and shall be in you."- John 14:17.
THE Holy Spirit, although He is the most active, most potent, and most real Worker in the world, is not discerned by the massof mankind. The great majority of men are affected only by what they see, or hear, or feel. Their life is confined to thenarrow range of their senses. "What shall we eat?" Or, "What shall we drink?" Or, "With what shall we be clothed?"-these arethe trinity of questions which absorb the attention and effort of the worldly. If they can see a thing, they believe in it!If they can hear the sound of it, they recognize it. If they can discern its shape, they put it down as real. They know notthat the things which are seen are temporal, and therefore shadowy-and that the things which are not seen are the only substantialthings, because they exist forever.
There they are, owlets fluttering in darkness, earthworms confined to their groveling sphere, mere moles borrowing in thedark earth. They have no eagle wing to bear them aloft, no eagle eyes with which to see afar off. Because the Holy Spiritis neither seen with the eye nor heard with the ear, therefore the world cannot receive Him because it sees Him not, neitherknows Him. There are a few nobler spirits in the world whose souls are above mere dead matter, who mount into the spirit-world,in a certain sense. They recognize the existence of the soul and believe in its immortality and grandeur, but still, neverhaving believed in the Spirit of God, their eye is blind to the first and chief of spiritual beings. Whatever else they see,they see not Him, and though they hear some voices from the land unknown, yet they hear not the Divine voice.
Celestial influences pass over them as sound through a forest which stirs not so much as a single leaf-no power or passionof their spirit being moved by the Holy One of Israel. They can think of things sublime, and philosophize upon spiritual topics.Their theories are plausible and sometimes they speak as though they were among the number of God's enlightened, but still,having no faith, they are without the Holy Spirit. Feeling none of His Divine energy they have no life in Him, no love toHim, and the affections not being moved, none of the other powers yield to the mighty influence of the glorious Spirit ofthe living God.
Beloved Friends, the vital distinction between the man of God and the man of the world is this: the man of God knows the HolySpirit, for He is with him and dwells in him. But the man of the world knows not the Holy Spirit. He may know His name, buthe is not personally acquainted with that Glorious One, because he sees Him not, neither knows Him. Mere outward distinctions,such as may be caused by Baptism or the participation of the Lord's Supper, are nothing at all apart from the Holy Spirit.
Mere nominal distinctions, caused by wearing the name of "Christian," or the name of Mohammedan, are just superficial, surfaceworks. But if you know the Holy Spirit you are a new creature in Christ Jesus! You have passed from death unto life! You shallnever come into condemnation. If you know not the Spirit, then you are carnal and sensual, and not having the Spirit you aredead in sin.
You have not the Spirit which quickens and the flesh can profit you nothing. Whatever you may have attained in depth of knowledgeor in excellence of morality, or in boldness of profession-you have foolishly begun to build your house at the top insteadof at the bottom! And your house, lacking a foundation, will fall to pieces-and all your building shall be but as the cardhouse of little children, or the sand-built tower of the fool which falls in the day of the storm.
The great question which I want to raise in every heart this morning will be this: Do you know the Spirit of God? Does Hedwell with you? Is He in you? If you have not the Spirit of Christ, you are none of His. But if the Spirit is in you, thebody, indeed, is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. You are a living child of God if theSpirit of God dwells in you-without Him you are dead while you live.
In trying to show this morning, so far as our poor powers can show, what it is the Believer knows of the Holy Spirit, I shallfirst say that the Believer knows the Holy Spirit by virtue of His operations. Secondly, and better still, he knows the HolySpirit by virtue of His personal indwelling. And, thirdly, that the Believer shall know the Holy Spirit yet better, for thetext says, He "shall be in you."
I. First, the Holy Spirit is known to Believers, and is with Believers THROUGH HIS OPERATIONS IN THEM AND UPON THEM. My Brothersand Sisters, we have seen the operations of the Holy Spirit in the Church at large. It was the Holy Spirit who at the veryfirst formed the Church. It is He who called out the chosen ones, quickened them, made them living stones fit to be builttogether for a habitation of God through the Spirit. It is He who binds these living stones together, for all Christian unitycomes from Him as the Spirit of Peace, the Holy Dove proceeding from the Father.
The first manifest dedication and consecration of the Church of the Lord Jesus was at Pentecost, and here the Holy Spiritwas the great active Agent. You have not forgotten those words, "When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all withone accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the housewhere they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And theywere all filled with the Holy Spirit."
On that day the ascended Savior, having obtained gifts for men, fulfilled that ancient promise pronounced by the mouth ofthe prophet Joel, "I will pour out My Spirit upon flesh." There had been no Church of God composed of Par-thians, Medes, Elamites,and dwellers in Mesopotamia if the Spirit of God had not then been poured out upon the first few hundred chosen souls thatthey might be messengers of mercy unto others, to bring in the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Since then, dear Friends,the Holy Spirit has been a gracious Agent in supplying the Church with her ministry.
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. "And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. Andthere are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit isgiven to every man to profit. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom. To another the word of knowledge by thesame Spirit. To another faith by the same Spirit. To another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit. To another the workingof miracles. To another prophecy. To another discerning of spirits. To another many kinds of tongues. To another the interpretationof tongues. But all these works that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He wills."
"Having, then, gifts differing according to the Grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according tothe proportion of faith. Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering. Or he that teaches, on teaching. Or he that exhorts,on exhortation. He that gives, let him do it with simplicity. He that rules, with diligence. He that shows mercy, with cheerfulness."In all our efforts let us depend upon Divine power, for without it we are as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. The gentledews of Barnabas are useless without the dew of the Spirit, and Boanerges' thunder is all in vain unless the lightening ofthe Holy Spirit shall go with it.
Brethren, the more than golden treasure of the Church is the Holy Spirit! The treasury of the Church is not under the lockand key of the State-her caskets of wealth are not to be opened by the power of the policeman or by an Act of Parliament.The true treasury of the Church is not even found in the gold and silver which may voluntarily be given to her- in the powerand energy of the Holy Spirit are the riches of the Church of God! That is a rich Church which shall meet in a barn or underthe blue vault of Heaven if the Holy Spirit is there! But that is a poor Church with "Ichabod" legibly written across itswall, which, with all its wealth, its intelligence, and its respectability, is devoid of the Spirit of the living God.
This is the Church's power, her energy, her life, the earnest of her future glory, the present power by which she is to resistand conquer her foes. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Church is as manifest to many of us as any other great factcan possibly be. Even when we have doubted whether we, ourselves, possessed the Spirit, we have been charmed to see His workin others. We have seen conversions, which nothing but Omnipotence could have worked! We have seen Graces exemplified in Christianswhich unaided human nature could not have produced! We have seen virtues in our fellows which we have delighted to admire!We have coveted earnestly the good gifts God has given to them-we have not envied them nor sought to make their excellenciesto appear less beauteous than they are-on the contrary, we have seen,
to the honor and praise of God, such virtues and excellencies in Believers as have compelled us to feel that the Holy Spiritis still in the midst of His people!
Thus we know the Holy Spirit because we can distinctly recognize His action in the Church of God. We can discern it on everypage of history. We see it in our own times. We have seen it graciously in revivals-we hope to see it yet more. And, as aChurch, meeting in this place, I am sure we can bear our testimony, even thousands of us, that the Holy Spirit has been here,blessing us, indeed, and of a truth!
But, Beloved, no man knows the Holy Spirit to any great extent by mere observation of His work in the Church. Let me comecloser to your souls and deal more personally with your inward experiences. The only way to know the Holy Spirit is by feelingHim at work in your own souls. Now, the works of the Holy Spirit within a regenerate man are very many. It is not possiblefor me to mention them all, but at the commencement let me say that the most of them find an illustration in the work of theHoly Spirit upon the Person of our Lord, who is our Covenant Head and Representative.
What the Spirit did for Jesus, the Mediator, the Head of the body, He repeats after the manner and the measure of each manin each member of the body of Christ. The same oil bedews the skirts of the garment as that which fell so copiously upon theHead. The same Spirit descends to the very meanest Christian as that which was upon Christ, the Anointed One of God. Now,you will remember that the Holy Spirit was concerned in the very birth of our Lord on earth. The angel said to Mary, "TheHoly Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Therefore also that Holy Thing which shallbe born of you shall be called the Son of God."
Our Lord was born into this world through the marvelous, mysterious, secret operation of the Divine Spirit. He was born ofthe Virgin Mary but He is the Son of the Highest. Our Lord might have addressed the Holy Spirit and said, "A body have Youprepared Me." Beloved, anything like a new birth in you and me is also of the Holy Spirit! Christ was not born at Bethlehemwithout the Spirit of God, and neither is He born in our hearts. The Christ in the manger is begotten by the Holy Spirit,and the Christ in every humble heart comes there by the same Divine agency.
In us Christ must be conceived. In us Christ must be formed. And this it is that Paul longed for when he said, "I travailin birth till Christ be formed in you the hope of glory." It is the Spirit's work, then, to bring Christ to any one of us,and to make us to know Christ and every good desire towards Jesus. Much less every real reception of Jesus into the soul isthe work of the Spirit of Grace. When our Lord was grown up and had come to those years in which He exercised His public ministry,although He was baptized by man with water, He was also baptized with the Holy Spirit. In the midst of Jordan, you will remember,when He was fulfilling all righteousness, He saw the heavens opened, and lo, the Spirit of God descended upon Him like a doveand did rest upon Him.
That was His consecration to His work. That was the anointing which commissioned and qualified Him as the Servant of God.He was that day publicly and effectually set apart by the Holy Spirit to be distinctly the great Captain of our salvation,the Apostle and High Priest of our profession! Beloved, it is thus that you and I must be separated from the world by theHoly Spirit resting upon us! With all His dove-like influences He must descend into our souls, that from then on we may notserve sin but become the servants of God. It is only in the power of His Divine anointing that we can have power to ministerin the Lord's House as the sent servants of the Master of the household.
Then, in Jesus Christ's three and a half years of ministry, the power by which He worked miracles, and the power by whichHe preached is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself said that He cast out devils by the Spirit of God-it was His owndeclaration. So, albeit that as God He could work what miracles He willed, yet He chose to use the Divine power of the HolySpirit of God in the working of many of His wonders.
Beloved, you have not forgotten the famous text of His sermon at Nazareth, which is appropriate to the point in hand, "TheSpirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek. He has sent Me tobind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; toproclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."
Did the Master work in the power of the Spirit of God, and shall not the servants do so? If you would work such works as Christdid, you must work them in the power which Christ bestowed so abundantly on His Church when He ascended to His Father. Ifyou would be here on earth wonder-workers to arouse the dead, to open blind eyes, and to set at liberty the captives-and tothis you are ordained in your measure even as He was, every one of you-then you must have the power of the Holy Spirit restingupon you, for only by that power can you lead the life of Christ on earth!
The resurrection of Christ from the dead is sometimes in Scripture ascribed to the Holy Spirit. You will recollect that passagein the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, at the 11th verse: here you are promised that the same power which "raisedup Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies." Our resurrection from the death of sin is worked in us bythe Holy Spirit. There is no rising out of the grave of sin unless the voice shall say, "Lazarus, come
And with that voice, there must go that irresistible life-giving power without which the dead in sin will remain dead untilthey corrupt and are cast into Tophet where their worm dies not, and their fire is not quenched. See then, Beloved, from thebirth of Christ to His resurrection, He was pleased to put honor upon the Holy Spirit by receiving abundantly of His power.He was anointed as Man with the oil of gladness above His fellows, and though able, as God, to have done as He pleased, independently,yet in order that the unity of the blessed Trinity might be manifest to us, Christ went not without His Father's sending,and spoke not His own words, but His Father's words. And so the power which rested upon Him, which He chose to use, was thepower of the Holy Spirit.
Now, as the strength of the Head, so must the strength of the members be. As the Head was anointed of the Spirit, so mustthe members be anointed in like manner. As the Head rose from the dead, so must the members rise by the same power-by theenergy of that Holy Comforter who has been shed abroad upon the people of God. By virtue of the Lord Jesus Christ's ascensionwe must be sustained and perfected that the many Brethren may in all things be made like to the Elder Brother. There is muchmore in this illustration than I can bring forth, therefore I leave it with you as a goodly dish to feed upon at your leisure.
In enlarging upon the operations of the blessed Spirit, dear Friends, if you and I know the Spirit of God at all, we shallknow Him first as having operated upon us to convict us of our sin. I trust I shall never be second to anyone in preachingplainly that whoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ has everlasting life. Yet I cannot but think that many, in their over-zealfor preaching up the simplicity of faith, have fallen into grievous error by disparaging repentance of sin, and setting atnothing all idea of a sinner's coming to Jesus because sin has become loathsome and unbearable. Beloved, no one ever did cometo Christ nor ever will until he feels his need of Jesus Christ!
Though it is the duty of the minister to preach the Gospel to every sinner, yet that Gospel never can be and never will beof any value to a soul until that soul is emptied of self, made to see its sin and to abhor it. Now, if ever you and I havespied out our disease, have seen the blotches of our spiritual leprosy, have been made to know that it is more than skin-deepand lies far down in the very core of our being. If ever we have been made to feel that the whole head is sick and the wholeheart is faint (and I am sure we must feel this before we can savingly put our trust in Jesus), this is the finger of God,this is the work of the Spirit of God in the soul!
"When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He shall convince the world of sin." And if you have been convinced of sin, the Spiritof God has come to you. There is no convincer like the Spirit. Beloved, I may tell you of your sins-I do try to do so as plainlyas I know. I may set before you the heinousness of sin as against a just, and holy, and merciful God. I may try to show youthe bitterness of sin in its eternal results. But all this is nothing until the Holy Spirit comes-and then, without wordsor with them, by whichever way He chooses to act-He can make your soul shake! He can make your whole heart quiver till rottennessenters into your bones.
I pray God that all of us may feel this in such a measure as He may think fit to show it to us. But you will never doubt theexistence of the Holy Spirit after such an experience of His power as a consuming fire and a rushing mighty wind! When Hewields the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and drives that sword through you again, and again, and again, you will knowHim beyond a question! When He takes the great sledge hammer of the Law and breaks you in pieces, and pounds you like wheatin a mortar with the pestle-you will never have doubts about His power! You will know Him, for He is with you and has bowedyou in the dust by His Presence.
But next, if you know the Holy Spirit, you will also know Him as the great Revealer of Christ. There is the serpent liftedup on the pole in the midst of the sin-bitten, dying, host. But, Brothers and Sisters, many may die, albeit that the bronzeserpent is within view, unless someone shall direct their eyes to the spot. How many have I known, who, when they have beentold about Christ and the plan of salvation, have said, "Where is He?" And they have turned their poor bewildered glanceseverywhere except to the right place! And even when their eyes have had a little light, they have been looking for quite anotherChrist than the one who is set before them in the Gospel.
Oh, I remember how long I looked for Christ but could not find Him, and when at last I did spy Him, I perceived how near Hewas while my eyes were looking a long way off for Him-looking up into Heaven or into my own soul! But of this I am consciousat this moment-that I never could under any ministry have been enabled to spy out my Lord Jesus if it had not been that theHoly Spirit cast a ray of light upon Christ and opened my eyes so that I could perceive Him! It is our duty to set forth Christvery plainly, manifestly, crucified, in the congregation. But Jesus Christ is never seen by any light which comes from eitherthe minister or his hearer-the light must come from the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit shines full upon the crown of thorns and the five wounds and the mournful countenance of the Man of Sorrows,oh, how the wounds glisten, and how fair is Jesus to a poor sinner's tearful eyes! But without that light a man may sit atthe foot of the Cross and see nothing, and even die in his darkness and sin. Brethren, if you have ever put your trust inJesus, you will know the Holy Spirit who worked your faith in you and led you to trust in the finished salvation of our exaltedSavior!
Since that blessed day, have we not often known the Spirit as our helper in prayer? I went to my chamber and I bowed uponmy knees and tried to cry unto God, but though I sought to pray, I could not till on a sudden I found a Friend. It is written,"The Spirit also helps our infirmities...for He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." What delightfulpraying it is when the Holy Spirit indites the prayer so that we have nothing to do but just to read what He writes-to utterwhat He suggests, to speak out what He speaks-to be the ram's horn trumpet and He the breath that causes the sound! Oh, itis rapturous praying when the Spirit helps you pray!
Ah, Beloved, you know what this means, some of you. When you have had wrestling times like Jacob at Jabbok's brook. When youhave been able to say, like Luther, "I have overcome, I have had my desire of God," to what did you ascribe your prevalence,your moving that arm which moves the world, but to the Holy Spirit, who is the great Helper of His people in times of prayer?Yes, we know the Spirit in that respect, for He is with us daily.
Then, when we rose from our knees, we opened the Scriptures and began to read, and the Spirit of Truth acted as Interpreter.He wrote the Book, and therefore He understands its meaning. What Bible readings those are when the Spirit of God is the Expositor!It is poor reading when you merely sound the words and find not the Spirit! The letter kills, the Spirit is life. When "aglory gilds the sacred page, majestic like the sun"-when every letter reflects the light of Deity, and every Word glows inthe Presence of the living God like the bush at Horeb's mountain that glowed with living fire-ah, then, Bible readings becomesoul-fattening times and the soul, being taught of God, sees the Father, has communion with the Son, and is filled with life,and light, and joy ineffable!
You may say, perhaps, the Spirit of God is with us in these solitary and secret engagements and so we know Him, but is Hewith us in public? Ah, Beloved, you know not the Spirit unless you have often recognized Him in His operations as the greatCalmer and Quieter of His people's minds when under distractions. It is perfectly marvelous how a soul that is like the Lakeof Galilee, tossed with a thousand waves, becomes smooth as a sheet of glass when the Holy Spirit breathes upon it. Cares,losses, woes, brokenness of heart-every shape of human misery yields to the soft whisper of the Spirit of God! Oh, if youdo not know the Comforter, I pity you!
You may have a thousand friends, but they are nothing compared to this one Comforter. All the remedies of other comforterscan only be applied to the ear, but this celestial medicine affects the heart itself with matchless power of consolation.He does not merely give us something out of which we may draw comfort, but He actually comforts us for He reaches the secretspring of our being and sheds a sacred peace abroad.
Yes, we know the Heavenly Dove! We have known Him when we have heard the slander of the many, and fear was on every side.We have known Him, for He has helped us to say-
"If on my face, for Your dear name, Shame and reproach shall be, I'll hail reproach, and welcome shame, If You remember me."
We have known Him when we have lost much. When friend after friend has been hurried away to the grave. When there has beendisappointment without, and dismay within, we have turned to Him and have rested in the infallible promise of an immutableGod, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." I trust you know the Holy Spirit as the Comforter!
More especially is the Spirit known to Believers as their Sanctifier. In a certain sense we are sanctified by the blood ofJesus and by the election of the Father. We are set apart by election to be made holy through the blood by the power of theHoly Spirit. This third kind of sanctification which consists in the subjugation of inbred sin, and in the victory of thenew life over the old nature-this is the daily work of the Spirit of God in the soul. It is the Spirit's work to check theunruly passion, to put the bit into the mouth of the fiery desire! It is the Spirit's work to feed the new-born soul, to giveit energy and vigor, to give it victory over the old enemy.
And, glory be to God, it will be the Spirit's work, one day, to make us exactly like our Master! We shall be fashioned intoHis image-we are to be melted and poured anew into the mold-and made like the First-born among many Brethren! And while weshall give the Savior the praise for having washed us in His blood, yet we shall also bless the Holy Spirit who has workedall our works in us, and worked in us to will and to do according to the good pleasure of the Father-
"Andevery virtue wepossess, And every victory won, And every thought of holiness, Are His, and His alone."
My dear Brethren, I have not time to mention at length the multiform and hallowed works of the Spirit in us, but I trust youknow them so well that you know Him by them. Suffice it to say that if you would receive blessing from the ministry, it mustbe through the power of the Spirit. And if, on the other hand, you would minister with power to others, you must wait uponthat Spirit for your help. If we are ever to be lifted up from selfishness to disinterested sacrifice. If we are ever to beraised from cowardly doubts and fears to dauntless courage. If ever we are to arise from worldliness and carnality into heavenlymindedness and true spirituality. If ever we are to shake off the serpent slough of our old nature, and put on the pure vestureof Christ's likeness. If ever, in fine, we are to be delivered from this present evil world and to be filled with all thefullness of God, we must find our strength for each and all in the power and energy and quickening Spirit of the living God.
I leave this point, only endeavoring to urge each one to enquire, "What do I know of all this?" I am afraid many of you knownothing at all about it. You are a good sort of people. You were sprinkled when you were infants and have been regularly toChurch or Chapel all your lives. You do not owe anything and live as you should live in many respects. But you think thatoutward morality and outward religion are everything. You use your hymnbooks and prayer books, and behave yourselves likerespectable people-but if you have not the Spirit you are lost.
The external without the inward is good for nothing. It is all good for nothing. A wagonload of profession is not worth anounce of Divine Grace-"You must be born again." The Holy Spirit must come into your souls, or else, if for a 1,000 years youcould persevere in the most reputable external religion, you would end where you began-or in something worse, namely, in wearinessof flesh about such empty things-or in a self-righteousness which would be more damnable, perhaps, than open sin.
Beware of resting in anything short of the indwelling Spirit. You must have the Spirit! You cannot pass the gate of pearlwithout it. You cannot know Christ without it. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." This is noslight change which can be easily worked. You must be made new creatures-old things must pass away-and all things must becomenew. This is a work that your free agency cannot accomplish. This is a work that your poor weakness, which you call strength,will never be able to achieve. You must, therefore, have power from above. God must come into contact with you! The EternalSpirit must dwell in your soul or else you can never dwell in Heaven! Let this be laid home to your heart and God bless thethought to your soul's profit.
II. Very briefly, in the second place, the chosen of God not only know the Spirit by His operations which they have seen inthe Church, and which they have felt in themselves, but, THEY KNOW HIM BY HIS PERSONAL INDWELLING IN THEIR SOULS. I shallnot attempt to preach upon this great mystery, but I should like you to catch the thought and to hold it in your hearts. Youknow that Jesus Christ gave us His righteousness and His blood, and He did a great deal more and then gave us Himself. "Heloved us, and gave Himself for us."
You have learned to distinguish between the gifts of Christ, and Christ Himself. Now, the Holy Spirit gives us His operationsand His influences, for which we should be very grateful. But the greatest gift is not the operation nor the influence, butHimself, which "dwells with you and shall be in you." The great Covenant gift is the Holy Spirit Himself.
Do you understand that Truth of God? It is asserted many times in Scripture that the bodies of the saints are the templesof the Holy Spirit. God dwells in you! You are the temples of God!
Now, do not cut that down and say that it means that He influences us and operates upon us. It does mean that, but it meansa great deal more. It means literally this-that the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the sacred Trinity, actually dwells inevery regenerate man and woman-that He has made our bodies to be His shrine and He is the indwelling Lord. Do you perceivethis grand doctrine? I say again, not merely the Graces of God, nor the operations of the Spirit, but the Spirit Himself dwellsin us! He is everywhere. He fills all in all, but still He has a special residence-and though we are told in the chapter beforeus that the Father and the Son take up their abode with us, yet not in the same sense in which the Holy Spirit does.
He Personally dwells in the Church, and in each Believer. God the Holy Spirit is pleased to dwell in our bodies, not so asto deify our humanity, or to take us into connection with Deity in the same way as the humanity of Jesus was exalted, butstill so as truly to dwell in us and abide in us! Brothers and Sisters, gather up this manna, it is better than angels' food!And when you have received this Truth of God thoroughly into your soul, you will say, "This is wondrously condescending; for,O Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof, and yet here it is, 'God dwells in me and I in Him.' "
This indwelling must be singularly effective. It is very powerful for a great God to send His influences, but if He comesHimself? There is no way of doing work well, you know, except doing it yourself. And when the Master comes and gives Personalattendance, it is sure to be done! Since the Holy Spirit dwells in us, how well His sanctifying work will be done! Dependupon it, He will not leave a single relic of sin when His work is achieved, because He has not sent an angel to us, but Hehas Himself come here to effect the Divine purpose of making us qualified for the kingdom.
Oh, how effective that presence must be! How delightfully encouraging is this indwelling, "If God actually dwells in me, thenwhat may I not expect? There can be no blessing too great to expect if I have received the Holy Spirit Himself. If I am likeone of old, a man full of the Holy Spirit, then I cannot be empty of anything else, for when God gives Himself, how shallHe not also give us all things?" Brethren, if this is so, how potently sanctifying the thought is-for if God dwells in us-letus not defile these bodies.
What a powerful operation that Truth ought to have, and will have, upon every man who believes it, for "every man that hasthis hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure." We must make the temple pure while God is with us. We cannot prostitutethe soul to sin while the Holy Spirit resides with us, and embraces us in the mighty cloud of His Divine influences. Whatcan be nobler than a Christian? Talk of kings and queens-what are they compared with men who, every day, carry God about withthem? When Ignatius stood before the judges, they said, "You are called the God-bearer, Theophorus. What do you mean by this?"
He said, "I am a God-bearer. God dwells in me." When the persecutor looked at him and said he blasphemed, he replied thatthe Holy Spirit dwelt in him. Ah, and Ignatius proved it! For when they put him to a cruel death, he bore it with undauntedcourage. God shone through the man, and made human weakness a platform for Divine strength! If you and I dare to say God dwellsin us, we must prove it, too. Perhaps not by a cruel death, but by what is far more difficult-a holy life.
The Lord help us so to live that men may take knowledge of us that God looks through our eyes! That the love of God acts throughour hands in deeds of integrity and kindness! That God speaks through our tongues in words of truth and holiness! And thatGod has been pleased to fill us to the full with His own love, breathing Himself into us that we might breathe out Himselfamong the sons of men in actions that shall be like Christ, and reflect honor upon His name. Thus I have brought before youa rich thought for meditation.
III. Now, in the third place, Beloved, if we thus know the Holy Spirit, WE SHALL KNOW HIM BETTER SOON. We shall be more instructed,and the instructed disciple knows the master better than he who is in the A, B, C, class. We shall be more fully sanctified,and the pure in heart see God. And the more pure we become, the more clearly shall we see the great Purifier. The Holy Spiritwill daily reveal Christ to us, and as we grow more like Christ we shall see more of Christ, and more of Him whose officeit is to take of the things of Christ and show them unto us.
None of us know to what we may yet attain. I had no idea, when I first knew the Lord, of even the small attainment to whichI have come in Divine Truth. I have put away many a childish thing and learned many a manly truth which was
too high for me before. But if the Lord shall spare our lives-why, Beloved, we have specimens among us of saints who haveknown the Lord 40 or 50 years, who far outstrip us in a thousand things-I do not know what we may be even here! I do not thinkany man knows to what a Christian may attain.
We become warped and crippled by our small conceptions of the possible in Divine Grace. Many Christians get Chinese shoesput on their feet and never get developed, and therefore they think there must be doubts and fears always. There is no needfor it. A man might as well live without doubts and fears as not-if he would grow in Divine Grace, he would outgrow unbelief.We fancy if we get to be as full of faith as Abraham that it will be a great attainment. Oh, but Abraham only lived in thetwilight, when Christ had not come!
We live in a better age than Abraham, after the coming of Christ, and we ought never to stint ourselves to the same degreeas those ancient saints. We are to excel them and mount higher and higher. You know not how sweet and clear the air is, howglorious the views above these clouds, if you could but stretch your wings of love and confidence and zeal, and mount abovethe world. We do not know what we shall be! We cannot tell what we shall know of the love and of the Spirit of God here. Thereis one thing we know-that when He shall appear, whose coming is our daily hope, we shall be like He, for we shall see Himas He is.
And when we shall be like He, then we shall know the Spirit of God, for we shall be filled with wisdom and knowledge, andmade in the image of Christ, who is our All in All. If any of you desire the Spirit of God, remember that your business isnot with Him first, but with the Cross of Christ. Trust Christ, poor, broken-hearted Sinner. I pray that the Holy Spirit maygive you precious faith to do it. Your brokenness of heart comes from Him. The Christian who is saved has to do with the Spiritof God, but to you, poor Sinner, the Gospel command is, look to Jesus, look to Jesus and live! May the Lord bless you, forJesus Christ's sake.