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Power With God
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MARCH 8TH, 1906.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 16, 1876.
"As a prince have you power with God." Genesis 32:28.
MEN think a great deal of anyone who has power with royalty. If it were said, concerning somebody in this place, "That individual has very great power with the Queen," there are a great many of you who would turn at once to look at that person. He who has great power with an earthly prince is sure to have many flatterers around him who will pay him homage for the sake of the advantage which they hope to gain through his mediation. But, dear Friends, what a far greater honor it is to have power with the King of kings! Power with men may be an evil thing, but what blessing must come from power with God! How it ennobles the soul of the man who possesses it! This man, Jacob, who has power with God, is called Israel, a prince, for so he is—but princes have no such dignity as his unless they, too, have power with God, for he is "a prince of God."
What a comprehensive blessing it must be to have power with God, for he who has power with God must have power with men! Creatures must submit where the Creator, Himself, has yielded. If you can have your way with the Master, you may depend upon it that you can have your way with His servants. The man who has power with God must be safe. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" No weapon that is formed against such a man can prosper and every tongue that rises against him in judgment, he can condemn, for, having power with God, he shall be able to plant his foot upon the neck of his adversaries and to reign over those who rebel against him. Such a man as that cannot be in need. If he has power with God, he will tell Him about his needs and they shall all be supplied. He will confess his sins and they will be forgiven. God will deal well with the man who has power with Him. There is such a wide range of blessing here that I must not stop to enlarge upon it. If you have power with God, you will see that this is a weapon which, like the flaming sword at the gate of the Garden of Eden, turns every way. Or I may say of it what David said of the sword of Goliath, "There is none like that; give it to me." Human language can never tell a thousandth part of the value of power with
I. I want you to note, first, WHAT THIS POWER CANNOT BE. "Power with God."
You scarcely need to be told that it cannot be anything like physical force in opposition to God. It is power with God, not power againstGod, that is mentioned in our text. No creature, however mighty, can have any power to stand in opposition to Omnipotence. Who are we that we should ever stand up to oppose the Most High? Let the twig contend with the fierce flame, or the wax with the burning heat, but let us not contend with God! If we did so, we should be like the moth in the candle—utterly consumed. The strongest and the proudest men must be but as stubble in the day of God's anger. In fact, to think of man having any power against God is sheer madness, for we have not any power at all apart from God. We only exist because He wills it. The breath in our nostrils is His gift, moment by moment. We should go back to the nothingness from which we sprang if He withdrew, for a single instant, His sustaining hand! Man has no power against God. O you foolish sinners who are resisting Him, give up the unequal battle! I charge you, before God, to count the cost of a contest with your Maker before you begin it! As well might a potsherd strive with him who molds it as for you, a creature, to strive with your Creator! He will break you in pieces, like a potter's vessels, in the day of His anger. Therefore, be wise and end the fight—and be at peace with Him!
Neither can this "power with God" mean mental power. There are persons who seem to exalt their intellect even above God Himself! It is a fine thing to be gifted with powers of argument and to have a keen reasoning faculty. But, at
the same time, to some people these are very dangerous possessions. I know certain individuals who say that they will never believe what they cannot understand. If they adhere to that determination, they will never believe in their own existence, for they certainly cannot understand that! They seek to overthrow the Word of God and the Doctrines of the Gospel with their subtle wit and profound thought, but it is sheer madness for human folly to contend with Divine Wisdom! It is insanity carried to the very highest point for even the wisest of men to think that their intellects are a match for the Omniscience of God, for, "the foolishness of God is wiser than men." Even the simplicity of the Gospel— and it is very simple—and "the foolishness of preaching"—which, in some people's esteem, is utter foolishness, shall win the victory while those who imagine that they are wise shall be proved to be fools! Brothers and Sisters, let us never attempt to argue any case in opposition to God's will, for we cannot have any power with Him in that way. Let us always surrender our judgment to the teaching of His Word and conform our will to His will. If we ever think that a certain course is best, but it is evident, by the working of God's Providence, that He does not think so, let us not for a single moment hold a debate with Him, but let us say, as David did, "I was dumb, I opened not my mouth because You did it." If God does anything, that is enough for us! If God saysanything, that is enough for us! Instead of arguing and reasoning, "It is written," or "God has said it," is sufficient to settle any question that concerns a Christian!
It is almost necessary, in these days of superstition, to say that neither can any man have any magical power with God,for, albeit that people nowadays would be ashamed to confess that they believed in magical arts, yet something very akin to it seems still to exist among mankind. They suppose that there is some efficacy in the mere repetition of certain words. I am sure they must think so, for they do not put their hearts into the words, but they are quite content if they have galloped through a collect, or some set form of prayer. Another supposition is that the prayer is all the better for being offered by a certain individual who is ordained to that particular work, so those who are sick send for an official to come and "pray for them"—I have often heard that expression, as though it was thought that this person, by reading a prayer out of a book, could, by a sort of magic, do the sick one good! O Sirs, mere words strung together—whether they are in Hebrew, or Greek, or Latin, or English—are of no use before God! It is the utterance of the heart that He hears, and you must never imagine that there is any excellence in a certain arrangement of letters and sounds, or that certain men, by the use of these words, can bring down blessings from above! Oh, no! Jacob had no abracadabra, no talisman, no magic, no charm, no enchantment—and God forbid that you and I should ever be such heathens as to believe that there is any power with God in any such things! God is not prevailed upon to grant His blessings by any such fooleries as these—He utterly abhors them!
And, again, when we speak of having power with God, we must not suppose that any man can have any meritorious power with God. It has been thought by some people that a man can attain to a certain degree of merit, and then he will receive Heaven's blessings—if he offers a certain number of prayers, if he does this, or feels that, or suffers the other, then he will stand in high favor with God. Many are living under this delusion and, in their way, are trying to get power with God by what they are, or do, or suffer! They think they would get power with God if they were to feel sin more, or if they were to weep more, or if they were to repent more. It is always something that they are to do, or something they are to producein themselves which they are to bring before God so that, when He sees it, He will say, "Now I will have mercy upon you, and grant you the blessing you crave." O dear Friends, all this is contrary to the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! There is far more power with God in the humble acknowledgment of sinfulness than in a boastful claim of cleanliness—much more power in pleading that Grace will forgive than in asking that Justice should reward—when we plead our emptiness and sin, we plead the truth—but when we talk about our goodness and meritorious doings, we plead a lie! And lies can never have any power in the Presence of the God of Truth. O Brothers and Sisters, let us forever shake off from us, as we would shake a viper from our hand, all ideas that by any goodness of ours, which even the Spirit of God might work in us, we should be able to deserve anything at God's hands and to claim as right anything from the Justice of our Maker!
II. Now, secondly, let us inquire FROM WHERE THIS POWER PROCEEDS. If anyone asks, "How can a man have power with God?" The answer is, "Not because the power is in him, but he can have power with God by reason of something that is in God."
First, God's people get power with Him from the very Character of God's Nature. You will soon see what I mean. Have you ever visited a family in the depths of poverty and found them with a few rags to sleep upon, with nothing
whatever in the cupboard, with a child dying for lack of food, mother and father with pinched countenances who tell you that, for the last 48 hours they have had nothing whatever to eat? And have you not felt that they have had power over you, so that you could not help them? I am certain that it has been so, if you have a tender heart, and are of a gracious, generous spirit. The power that they have over you does not arise from their riches, but quite the reverse—from their poverty. Their power over you does not lie in their being respectable and well-to-do—quite the opposite—their power over you lies in their being in abject distress. Their misery has power to excite your pity! Because you see them in such a sad state, you, being a man of compassionate spirit, are straightway moved to try to help them. There is many a spectacle of suffering and sorrow in this world that even a strong man cannot bear to look at, especially if he is unable to relieve those who are in distress. Now, if we, being evil, are so stirred by the sight of human misery, how much more is our heavenly Father, who is all goodness, tenderness, gentleness and love, moved to pity by the miseries of His children? Whenever you and I come to Him, it is wise for us to plead before Him our weakness, that He may pity it and make us strong—our poverty, that He may pity it, and enrich us—our dire necessity, that He may pity it and supply all our needs—our low estate, our sinking heart, our trembling spirit, our utter nothingness! In that way we shall have power with Him.
If you have been accustomed to visit the poor, you know how those who have got to be "old stagers" at receiving charity, never put their best leg forward when they want to impress you with a due sense of their need. If they had a little of anything in the house, they would take care that you did not see it. If there has been any improvement in their circumstances since you last called upon them, you will have to fish a long while before you will find it out—but they are very adept at bringing forward the black side of their case because their power lies there with those who have generous hearts! And so, Brothers and Sisters, our power with God, when we come to Him as sinners, lies not in what we are, but in what God is! He is Love, He is full of pity, He is Tenderness, He is Gentleness. He wills not the death of a sinner, but delights to display His saving Mercy, to manifest the abundance of His Grace. The foundation of our power with God must always lie in the love and tenderness of God. He is susceptible of pity—yes, He is Tenderness itself. He is a God of Compassion and, therefore, it is that the poor, feeble sons of Adam have power with Him!
But we get a further view of the source from where this power with God proceeds when we reach the next point, namely, God's promises. God has, in His Word, been pleased to say that He will do this and that and give this and that. He was quite free, once, to do whatever He pleased, but now that God has given us His promises, He is not free to break them and it would be inconsistent with His glorious attributes that He should do so. Neither will He ever be false to a single syllable that has gone forth out of His mouth. When God gave His promises, He did, as it were, put Himself in the power of those who know how to plead the promises. Every promise is so much strength given to the man who has faith in the promise, for he may, with it, overcome even the Omnipotent God Himself! Why, Brothers and Sisters, if your character is what it should be, and a person comes to you and says, "You promised to give me such-and-such a thing," has not the person who can say that, power over you to the full extent of your promise? If you are a true man, he has beaten you at once! If you say to him, "But when did I give you that promise? You may have misunderstood what I said," and he puts his hand in his pocket and brings out your promise in black and white, with your name signed to it, there is no getting away from that, is there? Now, that is just the way in which God gives us power with Him, for He has given us His promises in black and white! Here they are in the Book which we know to be His Book, His own Infallible Word! It is a blessed thing to be able to come before God on your knees and to put your finger on a promise in the Bible, and to say, "Lord, this is what You have promised that You will do. I beseech You to do it because You are the God of Truth. I know that You cannot lie, so I remind You of Your promise and plead with You to do as You have said." Do you not see what power you have with God when He has given you faith to lay hold upon Him, bringing His own gracious promise in your hand? There is a conquering power in faith, because faith pleads the promises of God!
Thus, you see, there are two sources of power—God's Nature and God's promises.
But the true child of God knows of other sources of power with God, so next, he pleads the relationships of Grace. God, in His infinite mercy, has been pleased to choose certain people to be His children. "You shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." There was no reason, in themselves, why they should be His sons and daughters, but His Sovereign Grace adopted them and His Spirit regenerated them. But the moment that God made any one of us His child, He did again—I speak with all reverence—give us power with Him and put Himself into our hands! Who among us does not know the power of a child over his father? There are some children who have too much power. There is a Greek story of the little boy who ruled all Athens because he ruled his mother and his mother ruled his father—and his father ruled the senate and the senate ruled Athens! And so, in that way, the little boy practically ruled the whole city! And I am afraid that there are some children who have a good deal too much power in that way. But our Heavenly Father, though He is too wise to indulge us in that way, is so good that He will not deny us any privilege that, by right, belongs to the position of a child. When your child appeals to you because there is something that he really needs, but which you have withheld from him, and he says, at last, "But, my dear father, will you not grant me this?" Or if you have chastened him and he says, "Father, stay your hand! Am I not your child?" you cannot resist his appeal. He has power with you—you know that he has! And what a wonderful power we have when we can truly say, "Abba! Father!" We shall have power with God in our times of greatest weakness if we can cry, "Abba! Father!"
I can never forget a certain illness when I had been racked with pain and brought very low with heaviness of spirit through the nature of the complaint from which I was suffering. I felt driven almost to despair, one night, until I laid hold of God, in an agony of prayer, and pleaded with Him something like this, "If my child were in such anguish as I am in, I would listen to him and relieve him if I could. You are my Father, and I am Your child, then will You not treat me like a child?" Almost at the very moment when I presented that plea before God, my pain ceased and I fell into a sweet slumber, from which I woke up with, "Abba! Father!" on my lips and in my heart! I believe that this is an invincible plea, because, when God calls Himself our Father, He means it. There are some fathers in this world, who do not act at all as fathers should—shame upon them! But that will never be said of our Heavenly Father. He is a true Father and He has a heart of compassion towards His children. And He does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men—and when we know how to appeal to His Fatherhood, we shall prevail with Him!
Once more, dear Friends, the power that we have with God also springs from His past actions. Look at what He has done for His own people. First, He chose them. Well, then, as He chose them, He cannot cast them away because He is an Immutable God! As He has made His choice, He stands to it. Paul asks, "Has God cast away His people?" And he answers his own question, "God has not cast away His people which He foreknew." That is what He has never done! Then, in addition to choosing us, He has also redeemed us. And after He has redeemed us from destruction by the blood of His Son, can He allow us to be lost? Can He pay for us with such a price as that and yet neglect to keep us to the end? That cannot be! When He gave His Son as a Ransom for us, He did, indeed, put Himself into our hands, for, "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Do but know that God gave His Son for you, dear Friend—know that Jesus Christ is yours and the logic of your prayer is clear enough, and forcible enough, when you say, "What can You deny me, O my Father? You have given me Your Son, so, by His blood and wounds, by His life and death, and resurrection Glory, give my spirit the Grace it needs, since You have given me Jesus Christ."
Do you not see, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, that every mercy which God has bestowed upon you gives you power over Him? "Therefore, sing with John Newton—
"His love in time past forbids me to think
He'll leave me at last in trouble to sink!
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review,
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through." If He has done so much for us, will He not do still more? Does not every blessing which is bestowed by God come to us with this message in its mouth, "There is more to follow," and may we not be quite sure that He who has blessed us now for 40 years, for fifty, sixty, seventy—and I see some who have numbered 80 years, and you have had God's blessing all the while—then, has He not, by all these years of favor and mercy, pledged and bound Himself to bless you even to the end? Assuredly it is so!
III. Now, in the third place, notice HOW THIS POWER WITH GOD CAN BE EXERCISED BY CHRISTIANS. What shape does power with God take? Of course it takes the shape of prayer. Christians put forth the power they have with God when they draw near to Him to ask for blessings upon themselves and upon others, but it is not every man who prays who has power with God, or who knows how to use the power which really exists. Who are the people who really have power with God! I will tell you.
First, this power is exercised by those who are deeply sensible of their own weakness. No man has power with God who thinks he is strong, except in the sense in which Paul wrote, "When I am weak, then am I strong." I have an idea, and I think that Scripture supported it, that Jacob wrestled very hard with the Angel, but that he never won the victory till the Angel touched the hollow of his thigh and caused the sinew to shrink. Then, when Jacob could not any longer stand—as he fell, he clutched the Angel with all his might as though he would also pull Him down if he must himself go down—and the weight of Jacob was all the greater because he could not stand. His very weakness was an element of his strength and that moment of weakness was the moment of his victory! Now, if you go to God feeling that you are partly full, He will not fill you, but will wait till you are quite empty before He will pour His blessing into you. He will not mix oil with water and, until He has emptied all the water out of the vessel, He will not begin to pour in His oil or His wine. When you feel that you have a little strength for prayer, I think it is very likely that you will not have power with God. But when it comes to this, that you cry out, "O God, I can do nothing—all my power is turned to utter weakness! I am driven to the lowest extremity," then, in the very desperation of your weakness, you will clutch the promise-making God and, as it were, drag down the angel and win the blessing, as Jacob did. It is your weakness that will do it, not your strength!
Have you ever tried to go to God as a fully-sanctified man? I did so once. I had heard some of the "perfect" brethren, who are travelling to Heaven by the "high level" railway and I thought I would try their plan of praying. I went before the Lord as a consecrated and sanctified man. I knocked at the gate. I had been accustomed to gain admittance the first time I knocked, but this time I did not. I knocked again and kept on knocking, though I did not feel quite easy in my conscience about what I was doing. At last I clamored loudly to be let in and when they asked me who I was, I replied that I was a perfectly-consecrated and fully sanctified man—but they said that they did not know me! The fact was, they had never seen me in that character before. At last, when I felt that I must get in, and must have a hearing, I knocked again and when the keeper of the gate asked, "Who is there?" I answered, "I am Charles Spurgeon, a poor sinner who has no sanctification or perfection of his own to talk about, but who is trusting alone to Jesus Christ, the sinners' Savior." The gatekeeper said, "Oh, it is you, is it? Come in! We know you well enough, we have known you these many years!" And then I went in directly. I believe that is the best way of praying, and the way to win the day. It is when you have got on your fine feathers and top-knots that the Lord will not know you! When you have taken them all off and gone to Him as you went at the first, then you can say to Him—
"Once a sinner near despair
Sought your Mercy Seat by prayer.
Mercy heard and set him free,
Lord, that mercy came to me "— "and I am that poor publican who dared not lift so much as his eyes towards Heaven, but smote upon his breast and cried, 'God be merciful to me, a sinner,' and he went home to his house justified rather than the Brother over there who talked so proudly about the higher life, but who went home without a blessing." Yes, my Brother, you are strong when you are weak, and you are perfect when you know that you are imperfect! And you are nearest to Heaven when you think you are farthest off. The less you esteem yourself, the higher is God's esteem of you.
Again, in order to have power with God, we must have simple faith. Nobody who doubts can prevail with God. The promise is not to the waverer, for James says, "Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord," The man who gets the blessing is the one who fully believes in God's promise and who so believes in it that he acts upon it. I shall never forget the faith of a certain member of this Church, who is still living. About 18 or 19 years ago, I was very ill, indeed. Most people thought that I would die, but, one morning, very early, this good Brother came down to my house and asked to see my wife. It was just about daybreak and when she saw him, he said to her, "I have been all the night wrestling with God for your husband's life. We cannot afford to lose our Pastor and I feel sure that he is going to live, so I thought I would just walk here and tell you so," "Thank you, thank you," said my wife, "I am very grateful for your prayers and for your faith." It is not everybody who can pray to God like that! And we fail to obtain the blessings that we seek because we do not pray like that. But, dear Brothers and Sisters, if we were to believe God just as we believe our friends—if we were to give God as much trust as we give to our husbands and our wives—how strong in faith we would be! He deserves a thousand times more confidence than we can ever repose in the very best of our relatives or
friends and if we have faith in His promises, we shall certainly overcome Him! If you trust Him, He cannot fail you. It is possible for even a good man to fail one who trusts him, but it is quite impossible for God to fail the soul that has relied upon Him!
I am sure that if we ministers only believe God more and preach more in faith, He will honor us more. I fancy that if God were to give us Pentecostal blessings, it would be seen that many of us are by no means ready to receive them. Suppose there were 5,000 persons converted in one day here, most of the churches round here would say, "There is a shocking state of excitement aver at the Tabernacle. It is really dreadful!" The very "sound" Brethren would feel that we had gone off into Arminianism, or some other error and I expect that some of you would say, very dolefully, "Oh, dear! Dear! Dear! Dear! We do hope they will all stand." The first thought that would be excited in many Christian minds would be one of suspicion! I am sure that if we reported that anywhere in England, 3,000 were brought to know the Lord in one day, there is not one Christian in ten who would believe that such a thing was possible! And there is not one in a hundred who would think that it was true! And we ministers would be very much of the same mind. I was preaching in Bedford, and I prayed that God would bless the sermon and give me at least some few souls that afternoon. When I had done, there was an old Wesleyan Brother there who gave me a good scolding, which I richly deserved. He said to me, "I did not say, 'Amen,' when you were asking for a few souls to be converted, for I thought you were limiting the Holy One of Israel! Why did you not pray with all your heart for allof them to be saved. I did," he added, "and that was why I did not say, 'Amen,' to your narrow prayer." It is often the case that we preachers do not honor God by believing that He will give great blessings and, therefore, He does not honor us by giving those great blessings! But if we maintained a closer adherence to the Truth of God and had a firmer confidence that God's Word shall never return unto Him void, He would do far greater things by us than He has ever yet done!
To this sense of our own weakness and our full belief in God, we must add earnest attention to His Word. Brother, you cannot expect God to listen to you if you will not listen to Him. And when you ask of God, you must not imagine that He will give to you what you ask of Him if you do not give to Him what he asks of you. If a man loves to sin, his prayers cannot register with the God of Holiness. When God says to a man, "Such-and-such a thing is to be done," and the man says, "I will not do it," the next time he goes to God in prayer, it is very likely that the Lord will say to Him, "As you did not do as I wished, I shall not do as you wish." The toleration of any known sin deprives us of power with God—and the neglect of any known duty prevents a man from succeeding when he is on his knees. If you would prevail with God, you must have "a conscience void of offense." You must go before the Lord confessing your sins and saying, "O Lord, help me to do Your will in all things! I am perfectly willing to do so and I wish to be Your loyal, obedient servant in all things." If you do that, you will find that whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
In addition to all that I have said, the man who is to prevail with God must be a man who is terribly in earnest. What an earnest man Jacob was in that night of wrestling! What a grand utterance that was, "I will not let You go, except You bless me"! Cold prayers do, as it were, ask God notto listen to them. When you pray for anything, if you do not present your petition with earnestness and fervor, you cannot expect the Lord to hear you. Some people, when they pray, are like the little boys in the street who give runaway knocks at the door—and off they go! But the man who prays rightly gets a hold of the knocker on the Door of Mercy and he knocks, and knocks, and if there is no answer, he knocks again and again, and if there is not, then, an answer, he knocks again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and the longer he is kept waiting, the more loudly he knocks till, at last, you would think that he was going to carry the house by storm and make the doorposts jump out of their sockets, he knocks so hard! That is the kind of man who wins the day with God—the man who will not let the Lord go until He blesses him! The prayers of John Knox brought down upon Scotland such copious blessings because they were the prayers of a man whose heart was all on fire with sacred earnestness, and who prayed with his whole soul and spirit. Our Lord Jesus, Himself, said, "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force."
To all these qualifications for power with God we must add holy importunity. Wrestling is not merely laying hold of a man and then letting him go. I wonder how Jacob did hold that Man who wrestled with him until the breaking of the day? I guarantee you that he had a tight grip on Him and I expect that, sometimes, it was especially leg-work, and then arm-work, and then loin-work, for, when men wrestle in real earnest, all their sinews, muscles, bones and limbs are
brought into play. So it must have been with Jacob that night, and he kept on holding the Angel fast, and saying in his soul, if not with his lips—
"With You all night I mean to stay, And wrestle till the break of day"—
and, therefore, the blessing was given to him because he kept on struggling for it! There are some mercies which never will be bestowed except in answer to continued, importunate prayer. O Brother or Sister, if you know how to keep on pleading, you are the one who has power with God! You will be called Israel if you can spend the whole night in resolute, determined, humble, believing importunity! The blessing must come if you feel that you cannot do without it, because it is for God's Glory that it should be bestowed upon you!
And, dear Friends, there is great power with God when, in importunate prayer, we at last come to tearful entreaty. In Hosea 12: 4, the Prophet tells us that Jacob "had power over the Angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto Him." Moses does not tell us that in the Book of Genesis, but Hosea also had the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and he gives us this interesting item concerning Jacob's wrestling, that, "he wept." I think I see the Patriarch covered with sweat through his great exertions in wrestling, but, in addition, his heart is breaking within him and he is sighing and crying all the while—and the hot tears are falling on the Angel's hands and I think it was the tears that finally won the victory. You remember that when our Lord Jesus Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane, "He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared." And the man who knows how to weep, if not actually, yet with real spiritual tears—the man whose soul gets stirred up to a passionate agony of desire—is the man who has power with God! If we have any such members in this Church—and I believe that we have many who really do weep over the souls of sinners—they are the men and women who will bring down the blessing in answer to their prayers and tears! Brothers and Sisters, if you are in the habit of weeping over your unconverted children and, in your pleading with God for their salvation, are in the habit of weeping unless the blessing comes, you are sure to get the blessing sooner or later! You are the very strength of the Church! You are the lifeguards of the Church and God will be sure to give innumerable blessings in answer to those prayers and tears of yours! May we have many such Church members, for these are people who have power with God!
IV. I close by briefly noticing TO WHAT USE THIS POWER MAY BE TURNED.
Whenever this power with God is given, it will bring down many blessings upon the person who has it and it will also make him the means of great blessing to others. My time has almost gone, so I will only dwell on that second point.
Abraham was a man who had power with God, but there was poor Lot living over in Sodom, just as a great many professed Christians are doing today. I hope they are God's people, but I cannot make them out. They like worldly amusements and they like worldly talk—they are like Lot in Sodom. I wonder how they can endure the foul atmosphere in which they live? I have often said that the Grace of God can live where I could not. There are some people with whom I should not like to live, yet I trust the Grace of God is in them. At least, I hope so, I must not judge them. But, dear Brethren, if ever that part of the Church which is like Lot in Sodom gets a blessing, it must be through you who are like Abraham and have power with God! Pray for your poor inconsistent Brothers and Sisters—entreat the Lord to prevent them from going any further into sin. Ask the Lord that they may not be destroyed with Sodom in the day of His vengeance, and the Lord will hear you, and bring Lot safely out of Sodom, though it may be that Lot will have to lose all that he has and lose his wife, too, before he will get out. You will get him out if you know how to pray for him.
Moses was another man who had power with God. You remember that when the Israelites made the golden calf, the Lord said to Moses, "Let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of you a great nation." Was not that a wonderful opportunity for Moses? He was to be made into a great nation, and all the rest of the people were to be destroyed. But you recollect how Moses pleaded with the Lord and he did not plead is vain. The Lord said to him, "Let Me alone, that I may consume them," but it seems as though Moses stood up and grasped God's hand, in which He held His rod of vengeance, and at last the Lord said that He would pardon the nation and spare them in answer to the plea of Moses, the man who had power with God.
And there was Aaron, too, when the plague broke out among the people who had murmured against him and Moses, and thousands were being struck dead. At the command of Moses, he took a censer and filled it with burning coals and incense—and ran into the midst of the congregation just where the death wave had come—"and he stood between the
dead and the living; and the plague was stayed." Aaron, the high priest with his censer, had power with God. The Lord Jesus Christ, Aaron's great Antitype, is continually exercising this power on the behalf of His people, and He also helps some of His servants to do the same work—Martin Luther, to wit. How he seemed to stand with the censer of the Gospel between the living and the dead and, in other dark times and perilous ages, God has raised up many eminent servants to whom He has given that same censer of the Gospel which pours forth a sweet savor of Christ as they also swing it to and fro, standing between the living and the dead! Oh, that God would give power to many of you, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, in some such way as this! Recollect the power that the early Christians had with God to get Peter out of prison. If you have power with God, it is an engine which you may burn in all manner of ways for the blessing of your fellow Christians and of poor outcast sinners. Therefore I charge you to seek it! And when you get it, hold it fast and walk humbly before God that He may not take this power from you, but may you be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, for Jesus' sake! Amen.
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