CHRISTIAN CLASSICS

TABLE OF CONTENTS




Andrew Murray





margin note
Reccomended Reading
DAILY SECRETS of
CHRISTIAN LIVING

How do you live a Christlike life every day? It isn't easy, but now one of Christianity's greatest devotional writers reveals 12 "secrets" that'll guide your spiritual growth and help you develop deeper faith in God. This daily devotional, featuring selections from Murray's extensive writings, also provides monthly topics and suggested Scripture readings. 384 pages, softcover from Kregel.




The Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray
part two


OUT OF AND INTO
And He brought us out from thence, that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He sware unto our Fathers." -Deut. 6:23.

I have spoken of the crisis that comes in the life of the man who sees that his Christian experience is low and carnal, and who desires to enter into the full life of God. Some Christians do not understand that there should be such a crisis. They think that they ought, from the day of their conversion, to continue to grow and progress. I have no objections to that, if they have grown as they ought. If their life has been so strong under the power of the Holy Ghost that they have grown as true believers should grow, I certainly have no objection to this. But I want to deal with those Christians whose life since conversion has been very much a failure, and who feel it to be such because of their not being filled with the Spirit, as is their blessed privilege. I want to say for their encouragement, that by taking one step, they can get out into the life of rest, and victory, and fellowship with God to which the promises of God invite them.

Look at the elder son in the parable. How long would it have taken him to get out of that state of blindness and bondage into the full condition of sonship? By believing in his father's love, he might have gotten out that very hour. If he had been powerfully convicted of his guilt in his unbelief, and had confessed like his prodigal brother, "I have sinned," he would have come that very moment into the favor of the son's happiness in his father's home. He would not have been detained by having a great deal to learn, and a great deal to do; but in one moment, his whole relation would have been changed.

Remember, too, what we saw in Peter's case. In one moment, the look of Jesus broke him down and there came to him the terribly bitter reflection of his sin, owing to his selfish, fleshly confidence, a contrition and reflection which laid the foundation for his new and better life with Jesus. God's word brings out the idea of the Christian's entrance into the new and better life by the history of the people of Israel's entrance into the land of Canaan.

In our text, we have these words:-"God brought us out from thence (Egypt), that He might bring us in" into Canaan. There are two steps: one was bringing them out; and the other was bringing them in. So in the life of the believer, there are ordinarily two steps quite separate from each other;-the bringing him out of sin and the world; and the bringing him into a state of complete rest afterward. It was the intention of God that Israel should enter the land of Canaan from Kadesh-Barnea, immediately after He had made His covenant with them at Sinai. But they were not ready to enter at once, on account of their sin and unbelief, and disobedience. They had to wander after that for forty years in the wilderness. Now, look how God led the people. In Egypt, there was a great crisis, where they had first to pass through the Red Sea, which is a figure of conversion; and when they went into Canaan, there was, as it were, a second conversion in passing through the Jordan. At our conversion, we get into liberty, out of the bondage of Egypt; but, when we fail to use our liberty through unbelief and disobedience, we wander in the wilderness for a longer or shorter period before we enter into the Canaan of victory, and rest, and abundance. Thus God does for His Israel two things:-He brings them out of Egypt; and He lead them into Canaan.

My message, then, is to ask this question of the believer:-Since you know you are converted and God has brought you out of Egypt, have you yet come into the land of Canaan? If not, are you willing that he should bring you into the fuller liberty and rest provided for His people? He brought Israel out of Egypt by a mighty hand, and the same mighty hand brought us out of our land of bondage; with the same mighty hand, He brought his ancient people into rest, and by that hand, too, He can bring us into our true rest. The same God who pardoned and regenerated us-is waiting to perfect His love in us, if we but trust Him. Are there many hearts saying:-"I believe that God brought me out of bondage twenty, or thirty, or forty years ago; but alas! I cannot say that I have been brought into the happy land of rest and victory?"

How glorious was the rest of Canaan after all the wanderings in the wilderness! And so is it with the Christian who reaches the better promised Canaan of rest, when he comes to leave all his charge with the Lord Jesus-his responsibilities, anxieties, and worry; his only work being to hand the keeping of his soul into the hand of Jesus every day and hour. and the Lord can keep, and give the victory over every enemy. Jesus has undertaken not only to cleans our sin, and bring us to heaven, but also to keep us in our daily life.

I ask again:-Are you hungering to get free from sin and its power?-Anyone longing to get complete victory over his temper, his pride, and all his evil inclinations?-Hearts longing for the time when no clouds will come between them and their God?-Longing to walk in the full sunshine of God's loving favour? The very God who brought you from the Egypt of darkness is ready and able to bring you also into the Canaan of rest.

And now comes the question again:-What is the way by which God will bring me to this rest? What is needed on my part if God is really to bring me into the happy land? I give the answer first of all by asking another question:-Are you willing to forsake your wanderings in the wilderness? If you say "We do not want to leave our wanderings, where we have had so many wonderful indications of God's presence with us; so many remarkable proofs of the Divine care and goodness, like that of the ancient people of God, who had the pillar to guide them, and the manna given them every day for forty years; Moses and Aaron to lead and advise them. The wilderness is to us, on account of these things, a kind of sacred place; and we are loath to leave it." If the children of Israel had said anything of this kind to Joshua, he would have said to them (and we all would have said):-"Oh, you fools: It is the very God who gave you the pillar of cloud and the other blessings in the wilderness, who tells you how to come into the land flowing with milk and honey." And so I can speak to you in the same way; I bring you the message that He who has brought you thus far on your journey, and given you such blessings thus far, is the God who will bring you into the Canaan of complete victory and rest.

The first question, then, that I would ask you is,

ARE YOU READY TO LEAVE THE WILDERNESS?
You know the mark of Israel's life in the wilderness-the cause of all their troubles there-was unbelief. They did not believe that God could take them into the promised land. And then followed many sins and failures-lusting, idolatry, murmuring, etc. That has, perhaps, been your life, beloved; you do not believe that God will fulfill His word. You do not believe in the possibility of unbroken fellowship with Him, and unlimited partnership. On account of that, you become disobedient, and did not live like a child doing God's will, because you did not believe that God could give you the victory over sin. Are you willing now to leave that wilderness life? Sometimes you are, perhaps, enjoying fellowship with God, and sometimes you are separated from Him; sometimes you have nearness to Him, and at other times great distance from Him; sometimes you have a willingness to walk closely with Him, but sometimes there is even unwillingness. Are you now going to give up your whole life to Him? Are you going to approach Him and say, "My God, I do not want to do anything that will be displeasing to Thee; I want Thee to keep me from all worldliness, from all self-pleasure; I want Thee, O God, to help me to live like Peter after Pentecost, filled with the Holy Ghost, and not like carnal Peter."

Beloved, are you willing to say this? Are you willing to give up your sins, to walk with God continually, to submit yourself wholly to the will of God, and have no will of your own apart from His will? Are you going to live a perfect life? I hop you are, for I believe in such a life;-not perhaps in the sense in which you understand "perfection"-entire freedom from wrong-doing and all inclination to it, for while we live in the flesh the flesh will lust against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; but the perfection spoken of in the Old Testament as practiced by some of God's saints, who are said to have "served the Lord with a perfect heart." What is this perfection? A state in which your hearts will be set on perfect integrity without any reserve, and your will wholly subservient to God's will. Are you willing for such a perfection, with your whole heart turned away from the world and given to God alone? Are you going to say, "No, I do not expect that I will ever give up my self-will."? It is the devil tempting you to think it will be too hard for you. Oh! I would plead with God's children just to look at the will of God, so full of blessing, of holiness, of love; will you not give up your guilty will for that blessed will of God? A man can do it in one moment when he comes to see that God can change his will for him. Then he may say farewell to his old will, as Peter did when he went out and wept bitterly, and when the Holy Spirit filled his soul on the day of Pentecost. Joshua "wholly followed the Lord his God." He failed, indeed, before the enemy at Ai, because he trusted too much to human agency, and not sufficiently to God; and he failed in the same manner when he made a covenant with the Gibeonites; but still, his spirit and power differed very widely from that of the people whose unbelief drove them before their enemies and kept them in the wilderness. Let us be willing wholly to serve the Lord our God, and "make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof." Let us believe in the love and power of God to keep us day by day, and put "no confidence in the flesh."

Then comes the second step:-"I must believe that such a life in the land of Canaan is a possible life." Yes, many a one will say, "Ah! what would I give to get out of the wilderness life! But I cannot believe that it is possible to live in this constant communion with God. You don't know my difficulties-my business cares and perplexities; I have all sorts of people to associate with; have gone out in the morning braced up by communion with God in prayer, but the pressure of business before night has driven out of my heart all that warmth of love that I had, and the world has gotten in and made the heart as cold as before." But we must remember again what it was that kept Israel out of Canaan. When Caleb and Joshua said, "We are able to overcome the enemy," the ten spies, and the six hundred thousand answered, "We cannot do it; they are too strong for us." Take care, dear reader, that we do not repeat their sin, and provoke God as these unbelievers did. He says, it is possible to bring us into the land of rest and peace; and I believe it because He has said so, and because He will do it if I trust Him. Your temper may be terrible; your pride may have bound you a hundred times; your temptations may "compass you about like bees," but there is victory for you if you will but trust the promises of God.

Looking again at Peter. He had failed again and again, and went from bad to worse until he came to denying Christ with oaths. But what a change came over him! Just study the first epistle of Peter, and you will see that the very life of Christ had entered into him. He shows the spirit of true humility, so different from his former self-confidence; and glorying in God's will instead of in his own. He had made a full surrender to Christ, and was trusting entirely in Him. Come therefore to-day and say to God, "Thou didst so change selfish, proud Peter, and Thou canst change me likewise." Yes, God is able to bring you into Canaan, the land of rest. You know the first half of the 8th of Romans. Have you noticed the expressions that are to be found there-"The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death". To walk after the spirit; To be after the spirit; To be in the Spirit; To have the Spirit dwelling in us. Through the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body; To be led by the Spirit; To be spiritually minded. These are all blessings which come when we bind ourselves wholly to live in the Spirit. If we live after the Spirit we have the very nature of the Spirit in us. If we live in the Spirit, we shall be led by Him every day and every moment. What if you were to open your heart to-day to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Would He not be able to keep you every moment in the sweet rest of God? and would not His mighty arm give you a complete victory over sin and temptation of every kind, and make you able to live in perpetual fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ? Most certainly! This, then, is the second step; this is the blessed life God has provided for us. First, God brought us out of Egypt; secondly, He brings us into Canaan. Then comes-

Thirdly, the question,

HOW DOES GOD BRING US IN?
By leading us in a very definite act, viz., that of committing ourselves wholly to Him;-entrusting ourselves to Him, that He may bring us into the land of rest, and keep us in.

You remember that the Jordan at the time of harvest overflowed its banks. The hundreds of thousands of Israel were on the side of the river from Canaan. They were told that tomorrow, God would do wonderful things for them. The trumpet would sound, and the priests would take up the ark-the symbol of God's presence-and pass over before the people. But there lay the swollen river still. If there still unbelieving children among the the people, they would say, "What fools, to attempt to cross now! This is not the time to attempt fording the river, for it is now twenty feet deep." But the believing people gathered together behind the priests with the ark. They obeyed the command of Joshua to advance; but they knew not what God was going to do? The priests walked right into the water, and the hearts of some began to tremble. They would perhaps ask, "Where is the rod of Moses?" But, as the priests walked straight on and stepped into the water, the waters rose up on the upper side in to a high wall, and flowed away on the other side, and a clear passage was made for the whole camp. Now, it was God that did this for the people; and it was because Joshua and the people believed and obeyed God. The same God will do it to-day, if we believe and trust Him.

Am I addressing a soul who is saying:-I remember how God first brought me out of the land of bondage. I was in complete darkness of soul and was deeply troubled. I did not at first believe that God could take me out, and that I could become a child of God. But, at last, God took me and brought me to trust in Jesus, and He led me out safely." Friend, you have the same God now who brought you out of bondage with a high hand; and can lead you into the place of rest. Look to Him and say, "O God, make an end of my wilderness life-my sinful and unbelieving life,-a life of grieving Thee. Oh, bring me to-day into the land of victory and rest and blessing!" Is this the prayer of your hearts, dear friends? Are you going to give up yourselves to Him to do this for you? Can you trust Him that He is able and willing to do it for you. He can take you through  the swollen river this very moment;-yes, this very moment.

And He can do more: After Israel had crossed the river, the Captain of the Lord's host had to come and encourage Joshua, promising to take charge of the army and remain with them. You need the power of God's Spirit to enable you to overcome sin and temptation. You need to live in His fellowship-in His unbroken fellowship, without which you cannot stand or conquer. If you are to venture to-day, say by faith "My God, I know that Jesus Christ is willing to be the Captain of my salvation, and to conquer every enemy for me, He will keep me by faith and by His Holy Spirit; and though it be dark to me, and as if the waters would pass over my soul, and though my condition seem hopeless, I will walk forward, for God is going to bring me in to-day, and I am going to follow Him. My God, I follow Thee now into the promised land."

Perhaps some have already entered in, and the angels have seen them, while they have been reading these solemn words. Is there anyone still hesitating because the waters of Jordan look threatening and impassable?

Oh! come, beloved soul; come at once, and doubt not.

THE BLESSING SECURED
"Be filled with the Spirit."-Ephesians, 5:18.

I may have some air, a little air, in my lungs, but not enough to keep up a healthy, vigorous life. But everyone seeks to have his lungs well filled with air, and the benefit of it will be felt in his blood and through his whole being. And just so the word of God comes to us, and says, "Christians, do not be content with thinking that you have the Spirit, or have a little of the Spirit; but, if you want to have a healthy life, be "filled with the Spirit." Is that your life? Or are you ready to cry out, "Alas, I do not know what it is to be filled with the Spirit, but it is what I long for." I want to point out to such the path to come to this great, precious blessing which is meant for everyone of us.

Before I speak further of it, let me just note one misunderstanding which prevails. People often look upon being "filled with the Spirit" as something that comes with a mighty stirring of the emotions, a sort of heavenly glory that comes over them, something that they can feel strongly and mightily; but that is not always the case. I was recently in Niagara Falls. I noticed, and I was told, that the water was unusually low. Suppose the river were doubly full, how would you see that fulness in the Falls? In the increased volume of water pouring over the cataract, and its tremendous noise. But go to another part of the river, or to the lake, where the very same fulness is found, and there is perfect quiet and placidity, the rise of the water is gentle and gradual, and you can hardly notice that there is any disturbance as the lake gets full. And just so it may be with a child of God. To one it comes with mighty emotion and with a blessed consciousness, "God has touched me!" To others it comes in a gentle filling of the whole being with the presence and the power of God by His Spirit. I do not want to lay down the way in which it is to come to you, but I want you simply to take your place before God, and say, "My Father, whatever it may mean, that is what I want." If you come and give yourself up as an empty vessel and trust God to fill you, God will do His own work.

And now, the simple question as to the steps by which we can come to be "filled with the Spirit." I shall note four steps in the way by which a man can attain this wonderful blessing. He must say, (1), "I must have it," then, (2), "I may have it," and, then, (3) "I will have it," and then, last, Thank God, "I shall have it."

1.       The first word a man must begin to say, is, "I must have it." He must feel "It is a command of God, and I cannot live unfilled with the Spirit without disobeying God." It is a command here in this text,-"Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit."  Just as much as a man dare not get drunk, if he is a Christian, just as much must a man be filled with the Spirit. God wants it, and oh, that every one might be brought to say, "I must, if I am to please God, I must be filled with the Spirit!" 

2.       I fear there is a terrible, terrible self-satisfaction among many Christians,-they are content with their low level of life. They think they have the Spirit because they are converted, but they know very little of the joy of the Holy Ghost, and of the sanctifying power of the Spirit. They know very little of the fellowship of the Spirit linking them to God and to Jesus. They know very little of the power of the Spirit to testify for God, and yet they are content; and one says, "Oh, it is only for eminent Christians." A very dear young friend once said to me as I was talking to her-(it was a niece of my own)-"Oh, Uncle Andrew, I cannot try to make myself better than the Christians around me. Wouldn't that be presumptuous?" And I said, "My child, you must not ask what the Christians around you are, but you must be guided by what God says." She has since confessed to me how bitterly ashamed she has become of that expression, and how she went to God to seek His blessing. Oh, friends, do not be content with that half Christian life that many of you are living, but say, "God wants it, God commands it; I must be filled with the Spirit."

And look not only at God's command, but look at the need of your own soul. You are a parent, and you want your children blessed and converted, and you complain that you haven't power to bless them. You say, "My home must be filled with God's Spirit." You complain of your own soul, of times of darkness and of leanness; you complain of watchlessness and wandering. A young minister once said to me, "Oh, why is it I have such a delight in study and so little delight in prayer?"-and my answer was, "My brother, your heart must get filled with a love for God and Jesus, and then you will delight in prayer." You complain sometimes that you cannot pray. You pray so short, you do not know what to pray, something drags you back from the closet. It is because you are living a life, trying to live a life, without being filled with the Spirit. Oh, think of the needs of the church around you. You are a Sunday School teacher; you are trying to teach a class of ten or twelve children, not one of them, perhaps, converted, and they go out from under you unconverted; you are trying to do a heavenly work in the power of the flesh and earth. Sunday School teachers, do begin to say, "I must be filled with the Spirit of God, or I must give up the charge of those young souls; I cannot teach them."

Or, think of the need of the world. If you were to send out missionaries full of the Holy Ghost, what a blessing that would be! Why is it, that many a missionary complains in the foreign field, "There I learned how weak and how unfit I am?" It is because the churches from which they go are not filled with the Holy Ghost. Someone said to me in England a few weeks ago, "They talk so much about the volunteer movement and more missionaries; but we want something else, we want missionaries filled with the Holy Ghost." If the church is to come right, and the mission field is to come right, we must each begin with himself. It must begin with you. Begin with yourself and say, "O God, for Thy sake; O God, for Thy church's sake; O God, for the sake of the world, help me! I must be filled with the Holy Ghost."

What folly it would be for a man who had lost a lung and a half, and had hardly a quarter of a lung to do the work of two, to expect to be a strong man and to do hard work, and to live in any climate! And what folly for a man to expect to live-God has told him he cannot live-a full Christian life, unless he is full of the Holy Ghost! And what folly for a man who has only got a little drop of the river of the water of life to expect to live and to have power with God and man! Jesus wants us to come and to receive the fulfillment of the promise, "He that believeth in Me, streams of water shall flow out from him." Oh, begin to say, "If I am to live a right life, if I am in every part of my daily life and conduct to glorify my God, I must have the Holy Spirit-I must be filled with the Spirit." Are you going to say that? Talking for months and months won't help. Do submit to God, and as an act of submission say, "Lord, I confess it, I ought to be filled, I must be filled; help me!" And God will help you.

And, then comes the second step, I may be filled. The first had reference to duty; the second has reference to privilege-I may be filled. Alas! So many have got accustomed to their low state that they do not believe that they may, they can, actually be filled. And what right have I to say that you ought to take these words into your lips? My right is this-God wants healthy children. I say to-day a child of six months old, as beautiful and chubby as you could wish a child to be, and with what delight the eyes of the father and the mother looked upon him, and how glad I was to see a healthy child. And, oh; do you think that God in Heaven does not care for His children, and that God wants some of His children to live a sickly life? I tell you, it is a lie! God wants every child of His to be a healthy Christian; but you cannot be a healthy Christian unless you are filled with God's Spirit. Beloved, we have got accustomed to a style of life, and we see good Christians-as we call them-earnest men and women, full of failings; and we think, "Well, that is human; that man loses his temper, and that man is not as kind as he should be, and that man's word cannot be trusted always as ought to be the case; but-but-" And in daily life we look upon Christians and think, "Well, if they are very faithful in going to church and in giving to God's cause, and in attending the prayer meeting, and in having family prayers, and in their profession." Of course we thank God for them and say, "We wish there were more such," but we forget to ask, "What does God want?" Oh, that we might see that "It is meant for me and for everyone else." My brother, my sister, there is a God in Heaven who has been longing for these past years, while you never thought about it, to fill you with the Holy Ghost. God longs to give the fulness of the Spirit to every child of His.

They were poor heathen Ephesians, only lately brought out from heathendom, to whom Paul wrote this letter,-people among whom there still was stealing and lying, for they had only just come out from heathendom; but Paul said to every one of these, "Be filled with the Spirit." God is ready to do it; God wants to do it. Oh, do not listen to the temptations of the devil, "This is only meant for some eminent people,-a Christian who has a great deal of free time to devote to prayer and to seeking after it,-a man of a receptive temperament,-that is the man to be filled with the Spirit. Who is there that dare say, "I cannot be filled with the Spirit." Who will dare to say that? If any of you speak thus it is because you are unwilling to give up sin. Do not think that you cannot be filled with the Spirit because God is not willing to give it to you. Did not the Lord Jesus promise the Spirit? Is not the Holy Spirit the best part of His salvation? Do you think He gives half a salvation to any of His redeemed ones? Is not His promise for all, "He that believeth in me, rivers of water shall flow out of him"? This is more than fulness- this is overflow; and this Jesus has promised to everyone who believes in Him. Oh, cast aside your fears, and your doubts, and your hesitation, and say at once, "I can be filled with the Spirit; I may be filled with the Spirit. There is nothing in heaven, or earth, or hell, can prevent it, because God has promised and God is waiting to do it for me." Are you ready to say, "I may I can, I can be filled with the Spirit, for God has promised it, and God will give it."?

And then we get to the third step, when a man says, "I will have it; I must have it; I may have it; I will have it." You know what this means in ordinary things, "I will have it," and he goes and does everything that is to be done to get permission. Very often a man comes and he wants to buy something, and he wishes for it; but wishing is not willing. I want to buy that horse, and a man asks of me $200 for it, but I don't want to give more than $180. I wish for it, I wish for it very much, and I can go and say, "Do give it me for the $180; and he says, "No, $200." I love the horse, it is just what I want, but I am not willing to give the $200; and at last he says, "Well, you must give me an answer; I can get another purchaser;" and at last I say, "No, I won't have it; I want it very much, I long for it, but I won't give the price."

Dear friends, are you going to say, "I will have this blessing?" What does that mean? It means, first of all, of course, that you are going to look around into your life, and if you see anything wrong there, it means that you are going to confess it to Jesus and say, "Lord, I cast it at Thy feet; it may be rooted in my heart, but I will give it up to Thee, I cannot take it out, but Jesus, Thou cleanser of sin, I give it to Thee." Let it be temper, or pride; let it be money, or lust, or pleasure; let it be the fear of man; let it be anything;-but, oh, say to Christ at once, "I will have this blessing at any cost." Oh, give up every sin to Jesus.

And it means not only giving up every sin, but-what is deeper than sin, and more difficult to get at-it means giving up yourself-self, with your will, and your pleasure, and your honor, and all you have, and saying, "Jesus, I am from this moment going to give myself up, that by Thy Holy Spirit Thou mayest take possession of me, and that Thou mayest by Thy Spirit turn out whatever is sinful, and take entire command of me." This looks difficult so long as Satan blinds, and makes us think it would be a hard thing to give up all that; but if God opens our eyes for one minute to see what a heavenly blessedness, and what heavenly riches and heavenly glory it is to be filled with the Spirit out of the heart of Jesus, then we will say, "I will give anything, anything, ANYTHING but I will have the blessing."

And then, it means that you are just to cast yourself at His feet and to say, "Lord, I will have the blessing."

Ah, Satan often tempts us, and says, "Suppose God were to ask that of you, would you be willing to give it?"-and he makes us afraid. But how many have found, and have been able to tell about it, that when once they have said, "Lord, anything and everything!" the light and the joy of heaven filled their hearts.

Last year at Johannesburg, the gold fields of South Africa, at an afternoon meeting we had one day testimony, and a woman rose up and told us how her pastor two months ago had held a consecration service in a tent, and he had spoken strongly about consecration, and had said, "Now, if God were to send your husband away to China, or if God were to ask you to go away to America, would you be willing for it? You must give yourself up entirely."  And the woman said-and her face beamed with brightness when she spoke,-when, at the close of the meeting he asked those to rise who were willing to give up all to be filled with the Spirit, she said, "The struggle was terrible; God may take away my husband or my children from me, and am I ready for it? Oh, Jesus is very precious, but I cannot say I will give up all. But I will tell Him I do want to do it."-and at last she stood up. She said she went home that night in a terrible struggle, and she could not sleep, for the thought was, "I said to Jesus everything, and could I give up husband or child?" The struggle continued till midnight, "but," she said, "I would not let go; I said to Jesus, 'everything, but fill me with Thyself.'" And the joy of the Holy Spirit came down upon her, and her minister who sat there told me afterwards that the testimony was a true one, and for the two months her life had been one of exceeding brightness and of heavenly joy.

Oh, is any reader tempted to say, "I cannot give up all"? I take you by the hand, my brother, my sister, and I bring you to the crucified Jesus, and I say, "Just look at Him, how He loved you on Calvary; just look at Him." Just look at Jesus! He offers actually to fill your heart with His Holy Spirit, with the Spirit of His love and of His fulness, and of His power, actually to make your heart full of the Holy Spirit; and do you dare to say, "I am afraid,"-do you dare to say, "I cannot do that for Jesus"? or will your heart not, at His feet, cry out, "Lord Jesus, anything, but I must be filled with Thy Spirit!" Haven't you often prayed for the presence and the abiding nearness and the love of Jesus to fill you?-but that cannot be until you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Oh, come and say, in view of any sacrifice, "I will have it, by God's help! Not in my strength, but by the help of God, I will have it!"

And then comes my last point. Say, "I shall  have it." Praise God that a man dare say that, "I shall have it." Yes, when a man has made up his mind; when a man has been brought to a conviction and a sorrow for his sinful life; when a man, like Peter, has wept bitterly or has sighed deeply before God, "Oh, my Lord, what a life I have been living!"-when a man has felt wretched in the thought, "I am not living the better life, the Jesus life, the Spirit life;"-when a man begins to feel that, and when he comes and makes surrender, and casts himself upon God and claims the promise, "Lord, I may have it; it is for me,"-what think you? Hasn't he a right to say, "I shall have it"? Yes, beloved, and I give to every one of you that message from God, that if you are willing, and if you are ready, God is willing and ready to close the bargain at once. Yes, you can have it now, now! without any outburst of feeling, without any flooding of the heart with light, you may have it. To some it comes in that way but to many not. As a quiet transaction of the surrendered will, you can lift up your heart in faith and say, "O God, here I do give myself as an empty vessel to be filled with the Holy Ghost. I give myself up once for all and forever. '"Tis done, the great transaction's done.'" You can say it now if you will take your place before God.

Oh, ministers of the gospel, have you never felt the need of being filled with the Holy Ghost? Your heart perhaps tells you that you know nothing of that blessing. Oh, workers for Christ, have you never felt a need, "I must be filled with the Holy Ghost"? Oh, children of God, have you never felt a hope rise within you, "I may have this blessing, I hear of from others"? Will you not take the step and say, "I will have it"? Say it, not in your own strength, but in self-despair. Never mind though it appears as if the heart is all cold and closed up, never mind; but as an act of obedience and of surrender, as an act of the will, cast yourself before Jesus and trust Him. "I shall have it, for I now give up myself into the arms of my Lord Jesus, I shall have it, for it is the delight of Jesus to give the Holy Spirit from the Father, into the heart of everyone. I shall have it, for I do believe in Jesus, and He promised me that out of him that believeth shall flow rivers of living water. I shall have it! I SHALL have it! I will cling to the feet of Jesus, I will stay at the throne of God; I shall have it, for God is faithful, and God has promised."

THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST
"But straightway Jesus spake unto them saying, Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid."-
Matt. 14:27.

All we have had about the work of the blessed Spirit is dependent upon what we think of Jesus, for it is from Christ Jesus that the Spirit comes to us; it is to Christ Jesus that the Spirit ever brings us; and the one need of the Christian life day by day and hour by hour is this,-the presence of the Son of God. God is our salvation. If I have Christ with me and Christ in me, I have full salvation. We have spoken about the life of failure and of the flesh, about the life of unbelief and disobedience, about the life of ups and downs, the wilderness life of sadness and of sorrow; but we have heard, and we have believed, there is deliverance. Bless God, He brought us out of Egypt, that He might bring us into Canaan, into the very rest of God and Jesus Christ. He is our peace, He is our rest. Oh, if I may only have the presence of Jesus as the victory over every sin: the presence of Jesus as the strength for every duty, then my life shall be in the full sunshine of God's unbroken fellowship, and the word will be fulfilled to me in most blessed experience, "Son, thou art ever with me, and all I have is thine," and my heart shall answer, "Father, I never knew it, but it is true,-I am ever with thee and all Thou hast is mine." God has given all He has to Christ, and God longs that Christ should have you and me entirely. I come to every hungry heart and say, "If you want to live to the glory of God, seek one thing, to claim, to believe that the presence of Jesus can be with you every moment of your life.

I want to speak about the presence of Jesus as it is set before us in that blessed story of Christ's walking on the sea. Come and look with me at some points that are suggested to us.

1.       Think, first, of the presence of Christ lost. You know the disciples loved Christ, clung to Him, and with all their failings, they delighted in Him. But what happened?  The Master went up into the mountain to pray, and sent them across the sea all alone without Him; there came a storm, and they toiled, rowed, and labored, but the wind was against them, they made no progress, they were in danger of perishing, and how their hearts said, "Oh, if the Master only were here!" But His presence was gone. They missed Him. Once before, they had been in a storm, and Christ had said, "Peace, be still," and all was well; but here they are in darkness, danger, and terrible trouble, and no Christ to help them. Ah, isn't that the life of many a believer at times? I get into darkness, I have committed sin, the cloud is on me, I miss the face of Jesus; and for days and days I work, worry, and labor; but it is all in vain, for I miss the presence of Christ. Oh, beloved, let us write that down,-the presence of Jesus lost is the cause of all our wretchedness and failure.

2. Look at the second step,-the presence of Jesus dreaded. They were longing for the presence of Christ, and Christ came after midnight: He came walking on the water amid the waves; but they didn't recognize Him, and they cried out, for fear, "It is a spirit!" Their beloved Lord was coming nigh, and they knew Him not. They dreaded His approach. And, ah, how often have I seen a believer dreading the approach of Christ,-crying out for Him, longing for Him, and yet dreading His coming. And why? Because Christ came in a fashion that they expected not.

Perhaps some have been saying, "Alas, alas! I fear I never can have the abiding presence of Christ." You have heard what we have said about a life in the Spirit: you have heard what we have said about abiding ever in the presence of God and in His fellowship, and you have been afraid of it, afraid of it; and you have said, "It is too high and too difficult." You have dreaded the very teaching that was going to help you. Jesus came to you in the teaching, and you didn't recognize His love.

Or, perhaps, He came in a way that you dreaded His presence. Perhaps God has been speaking to you about some sin. There is that sin of temper, or that sin of unlovingness, or that sin of unforgivingness, or that sin of worldliness, compromise, and fellowship with the world, that love of man and man's honor, that fear of man and man's opinion, or that pride and self confidence. God has been speaking to you about it, and yet you have been frightened. That was Jesus wanting to draw you nigh, but you were afraid. You don't see how you can give up all that, you are not ready to say, "At any sacrifice I am going to have that taken out of me, and I will give it up," and while God and Christ were coming nigh to bless you, you were afraid of Him.

Oh, believers, at other times Christ has come to you with affliction, and perhaps you have said, "If I want to be entirely holy, I know I shall have to be afflicted, and I am afraid of affliction," and you have dreaded the thought, "Christ may come to me in affliction." The presence of Christ dreaded!-oh, beloved, I want to tell you it is all misconception. The disciples had no reason to dread that "spirit" coming there, for it was Christ Himself; and, when God's word  comes close to you and touches your heart, remember that is Christ out of Whose mouth goes the two-edged sword. It is Christ in His love coming to cut away the sin, that He may fill your heart with the blessing of God's love. Beware of dreading the presence of Christ.

3.       Then comes the third thought,-the presence of Christ revealed. Bless God! When Christ heard how they cried, he spoke the words of the text, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." Ah, what gladness those words brought to those hearts! There is Jesus, that dark object appears, that dreaded form. It is our blessed Lord Himself. And, dear friends, the Master's object, whether it be by affliction or otherwise, is to prepare for receiving the presence of Christ, and through it all Jesus speaks, "It is I; be not afraid." The presence of Christ revealed! I want to tell you that the Son of God, oh believer, is longing to reveal Himself to you. Listen! Listen! LISTEN! Is there any longing heart? Jesus says, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."

Oh, beloved; God has given us Christ. And does God want me to have Christ every moment? Without doubt. God wants the presence of Christ to be the joy of every hour of my life, and, if there is one thing sure, Christ can reveal Himself to me every moment. Are you willing to come and claim this privilege? He can reveal Himself. I cannot reveal Him to you; you cannot grasp Him; but He can shine into your heart. How can I see the sunlight tomorrow morning, if I am spared? The sunlight will reveal itself. How can I know Christ? Christ can reveal Himself. And, ere I go further, I pray you to set your heart upon this, and to offer the humble prayer, "Lord, now reveal Thyself to me, so, that I may never lose the sight of Thee. Give me to understand that through the thick darkness Thou comest to make Thyself known." Let not one heart doubt, however dark it may be,-at midnight,-whatever midnight there be in the soul,-at midnight, in the dark, Christ can reveal Himself. Ah, thank God, often after a life of ten and twenty years of dawn, after a life of ten and twenty years of struggling, now in the light, and now in the dark, there comes a time when Jesus is willing just to give Himself to us, nevermore to part. God grant us that presence of Jesus!

4.       And now comes the fourth thought,-The presence of Jesus lost, was the first; the presence of Jesus dreaded, was the second; the presence of Jesus revealed, was the third; the presence of Jesus desired, is the fourth. What happened? Peter heard the Lord, and yonder was Jesus, some 30, 40, 50 yards distant, and He made as though He would have passed them; and Peter,-in a preceding chapter I spoke about Peter, shewing what terrible failure and carnality there was in him,-but, bless the Lord, Peter's heart was right with Christ, and he wanted to claim His presence, and he said, "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come upon the water to Thee." Yes, Peter could not rest; he wanted to be as near to Christ as possible. He saw Christ walking on the water; he remembered Christ had said, "Follow Me;" he remembered how Christ, with the miraculous draught of fishes, had proved that He was Master of the sea, and of the waters, and he remembered how Christ had stilled the storm; and, without argument or reflection, all at once he said, "There is my Lord manifesting Himself in a new way; there is my Lord exercising a new and supernatural power, and I can go to my Lord, He is able to make me walk where He walks." He wanted to walk like Christ, he wanted to walk near Christ. He didn't say, "Lord, let me walk around the sea here," but he said, "Lord, let me come to Thee."

Friends, would you not like to have the presence of Christ in this way? Not that Christ should come down,-that is what many Christians want; they want to continue in their sinful walk, they want to continue in their worldly walk, they want to continue in their old life, and they want Christ to come down to them with His comfort, His presence, and His love; but that cannot be. If I am to have the presence of Christ, I must walk as He walked. His walk was a supernatural one. He walked in the love and in the power of God. Most people walk according to the circumstances in which they are, and most people say, "I am depending upon circumstances for my religion. A hundred times over you hear people say, "My circumstances prevent my enjoying unbroken fellowship with Jesus." What were the circumstances that were found about Christ? The wind and the waves,-and Christ walked triumphant over circumstances; and Peter said, "Like my Lord I can triumph over all circumstances: anything around me is nothing, if I have Jesus." He longed for the presence of Christ. Would God that, as we look at the life of Christ upon earth, as we look how Christ walked and conquered the waves, every one of us could say, "I want to walk like Jesus." If that is your heart's desire, you can expect the presence of Jesus; but as long as you want to walk on a lower level than Christ, as long as you want to have a little of the world, and a little of self-will, do not expect to have the presence of Christ. Near Christ, and like Christ,-the two things go together. Have you taken that in? Peter wanted to walk like Christ that he might get near Christ; and it is this I want to offer every one of you. I want to say to the weakest believer, "With God's presence you can have the presence and fellowship of Christ all the day long, your whole life through." I want to bring you that promise, but I must give God's condition,-walk like Christ, and you shall always abide near Christ. The presence of Christ invites you to come and have unbroken fellowship with Him.

5.       Then comes the next thought. We have just had the presence of Christ desired, and my next thought is,-the presence of Christ trusted. The Lord Jesus said, "Come," and what did Peter do? He stepped out of the boat. How did he dare to do it against all the laws of nature?-how did he dare to do it? He sought Christ, he heard Christ's voice, he trusted Christ's presence and power, and in the faith of Christ he said, "I can walk on the water," and he stepped out of the boat. Here is the turning point; here is the crisis. Peter saw Christ in the manifestation of a supernatural power, and Peter believed that supernatural power could work in him, and he could live a supernatural life. He believed this applied to walking on the sea; and herein lies the whole secret of the life of faith. Christ had supernatural power,-the power of heaven, the power of holiness, the power of fellowship with God, and Christ can give me grace to live as He lived. If I will but, like Peter, look at Christ and say to Christ, "Lord, speak the word, and I will come," and if I will listen to Christ saying, "Come," I, too, shall have power to walk upon the waves.

Have you ever seen a more beautiful and more instructive symbol of the Christian life? I once preached on it many years ago, and the thought that filled my heart then was this,-the Christian life compared to Peter walking on the waves, nothing so difficult and impossible without Christ, nothing so blessed and safe with Christ. That is the Christian life,-impossible without Christ's nearness,-most safe and blessed, however difficult, if I only have the presence of Christ. Believers, we have tried in these pages to call you to a better life in the Spirit, to a life in the fellowship with God. There is only one thing can enable you to live it,-you must have the Lord Jesus hold your hand every minute of the day. "But can that be?" you ask. Yes, it can. "I have so much to think of. Sometimes for four or five hours of the day I have to go into the very thick of business and have some ten men standing around me, each claiming my attention. How can I, how can I always have the presence of Jesus?" Beloved, because Jesus is your God and loves you wonderfully, and is able to make His presence more clear to you than that of ten men who are standing around you. If you will in the morning take time and enter into your covenant every morning with Him, "My Lord Jesus, nothing can satisfy me but Thine abiding presence," He will give it to you, He will surely give it to you. Oh, Peter trusted the presence of Christ, and He said, "If Christ calls me I can walk on the waves to Him." Shall we trust the presence of Christ? To walk through all the circumstances and temptations of life is exactly like walking on the water,-you have no solid ground under your feet, you do not know how strong the temptations of Satan may come; but do believe God wants you to walk in a supernatural life above human power. God wants you to live a life in Christ Jesus. Are you wanting to live that life? Come then, and say, "Jesus, I have heard Thy promise that Thy presence will go with me. Thou hast said, "My presence shall go with thee,"-and, Lord, I claim it; I trust Thee."

6.       Now, the sixth step in this wonderful history. The presence of Christ forgotten. Peter got out of the boat and began to walk toward the Lord Jesus with his eyes fixed upon Him. The presence of Christ was trusted by him, and he walked boldly over the waves; but all at once he took his eyes off Jesus, and he began at once to sink, and there was Peter, his walk of faith at an end; all drenched and drowning and crying, "Lord, help me!" There are some of you saying in your hearts, I know, "Ah, that's what will come of your higher-life Christians." There are people who say, "You never can life that life; do not talk of it; you must always be failing." Peter always failed before Pentecost. It was because the Holy Spirit had not yet come, and therefore his experience goes to teach us, that while Peter was still in the life of the flesh he must fail somehow or other. But, thank God, there was One to life him out of the failure; and our last point will be to prove that out of that failure he came into closer union with Jesus than ever before, and deeper dependence. But listen, first, while I speak to you about this failure.

Someone may say, "I have been trying, to say, 'Lord, I will live it;' but, tell me, suppose failure come, what then?" Learn from Peter what you ought to do. What did Peter do? The very opposite of what most do. What did he do when he began to sink? That very moment, without one word of self-reproach of self-condemnation, he cried, "Lord, help me!" I wish I could teach every Christian that. I remember the time in my spiritual life when that became clear to me; for up to that time, when I failed, my only thought was to reproach and condemn myself, and I thought that would do me good. I found it didn't do me good; and I learn from Peter that my work is, the very moment I fail, to say, "Jesus, Master, help me!" and the very moment I say that, Jesus does help me. Remember, failure is not an impossibility. I can conceive more than one Christian who said, "Lord, I claim the fulness of the Holy Ghost. I want to live every hour of every day filled with the Holy Spirit;" and I can conceive that an honest soul who said that with a trembling faith, yet may have fallen; I want to say to that soul, Don't be discouraged. If failure comes, at once, without any waiting, appeal to Jesus. He is always ready to hear, and the very moment you find there is the temper, the hasty word, or some other wrong, at once the living Jesus is near, so gracious, and so mighty. Appeal to Him and there will be help at once. If you learn to do this, Jesus will lift you up and lead you on to a walk where His strength shall secure you from failure.

7.And then comes my last thought. The presence of Jesus was forgotten while Peter looked at the waves; but now, lastly, we have the presence of Jesus restored. Yes, Christ stretched out His hand to save him. Possibly-for Peter was a very proud, self-confident man-possibly he had to sink there to teach him that his faith could not save him, but it was the power of Christ. God wants us to learn the lesson that when we fall then we can cry out to Jesus, and at once He reaches out His hand. Remember, Peter walked back to the boat without sinking again. Why? Because Christ was very near him. Remember it is quite possible, if you use your failure rightly, to be far nearer Christ after it than before. Use it rightly, I say. That is, come and acknowledge, "In me there is nothing, but I am going to trust my Lord unboundedly." Let every failure teach you to cling afresh to Christ, and He will prove Himself a mighty and a loving Helper. The presence of Jesus restored! Yes, Christ took him by the hand and helped him, and I don't know whether they walked hand in hand those forty or fifty yards back to the boat, or whether Christ allowed Peter to walk beside Him; but this I know, they were very near to each other, and it was the nearness of his Lord that strengthened him.

Remember what has taken place since that happened with Peter. The cross has been erected, the blood has been shed, the grave has been opened, the resurrection has been accomplished, heaven has been opened, and the Spirit of the Exalted One has come down. Do believe that it is possible for the presence of Jesus to be with us every day and all the way. Your God has given you Christ, and He wants to give you Christ into your heart in such a way that His presence shall be with you every moment of your life.

Who is willing to lift up his eyes and his heart and to exclaim, "I want to live according to God's standard?" Who is willing? Who is willing to cast himself into the arms of Jesus and to live a life of faith victorious over the winds and the waves, over the circumstances and difficulties? Who is willing to say this,-"Lord, bid me come to Thee upon the water?" Are you willing? Listen! Jesus says, "Come." Will you step out at this moment? Yonder is the boat, the old life that Peter had been leading; he had been familiar with the sea from his boyhood, and that boat was a very sacred place; Christ had sat beside him there; Christ had preached from that boat, from that boat of Peter's, Christ had given the wonderful draught of fishes; it was a very sacred boat; but Peter left it to come to a place more sacred still,-walking with Jesus on the water,-a new and a Divine experience. Your Christian life may be a very sacred thing; you may say, "Christ saved me by His blood, He has given me many an experience of grace; God has proved His grace in my heart," but you confess "I haven't got the real life of abiding fellowship; the winds and the waves often terrify me, and I sink." Oh, come out of the boat of past experiences at once; come out of the boat of external circumstances; come out of the boat, and step out on the word of Christ, and believe, "With Jesus I can walk upon the water." When Peter was in the boat, what had he between him and the bottom of the sea? A couple of planks; but when he stepped out upon the water what had he between him and the sea? Not a plank, but the word of the Almighty Jesus. Will you come, and without any experience, will you rest upon the word of Jesus, "Lo I am with you alway"? Will you rest upon His word, "Be of good cheer; fear not; it is I"? Every moment Jesus lives in heaven; every moment by His Spirit Jesus whispers that word; and every moment He lives to make it true. Accept it now, accept it now! My Lord Jesus is equal to every emergency. My Lord Jesus can meet the wants of every soul. My whole heart says, "He can, He can do it; He will, He will do it!" Oh come, believers, and let us claim most deliberately, most quietly, most restfully,-let us claim, claim it, claim it, CLAIM it



TO PART
THREE of ANDREW MURRAY'S DEEPER CHRISTIAN LIFE >



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