Isaiah 45:2-3. “1 will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”
The Lord is bound to get us through somehow if we will be true to Him. People frequently ask me: Where do you get your Bible Readings? How. do you get them? My answer is that my Bible Readings grow. Some passage of scripture will be placed upon my heart and mind, and that will open up a chain of thought. It was so with this reading. The third verse in particular impressed me very much. God said: “I will give thee hidden riches.” Everyone desires riches, There is no subject of such deep interest to men today, in this age of commercialism, as the subject of riches; and God said: “I will give unto thee hidden riches of secret places.” Naturally you inquire, What are these riches; what is the nature of these riches? And out of that thought grew this Bible reading.
Job 28:7: “There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen.” It is hidden. “Which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen.”
Job 28:8: “The lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.” It is hidden, — a hidden life.
Now as to the value of these riches:
Job 28:15-19: “It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof: It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it; and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.” You see that he is struggling with a problem to which he is unequal. He seemed unable to fix a real estimate as to its value. He says that gold cannot equal it, and silver shall not be weighed for the price thereof, And he speaks of the gold of Ophir, and the coral, the crystal, the topaz of Ethiopia, jewels of fine gold, pearls, and rubies; he says they cannot equal it. He seems to have difficulty in fixing the exact valuation of this thing.
Perhaps someone might help him out; about what is your religion worth; in other words, what would you take for the hope you have today, the measure of grace you now enjoy, — how much would you take? — “Nothing!” O, but you say every man has his price, and many have come to believe in this world that money is everything. But, brethren, what would you take for your salvation? How much is it worth, — how much would you take for it? You say, “I do not want to sell it.” That is no question; how much would you take for it in selling it, — how much is it worth? You say, “It is priceless.” How would a million dollars strike you? You say, “Too cheap.” Well, ‘how about ten million? You say, “Too cheap.” I am trying to find out what you would take for your soul’s salvation; how would fifty million strike you? You reply: “That is gold; it is above gold.” You have not answered my question; what would you take for your religion? You reply: “Heaven.” How would the world suit you; would you take the world for your religion? You again reply: “What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Well, but the world is pretty large in the estimation of most people.
Friends, I want you to see that we have the best thing, the biggest thing there is going; there is positively nothing that will compare with it; and yet, strange to say, many will barter away their hope for five minutes of fleshly gratification; — for a nickel some would barter away their hope.
But it has no money valuation; it cannot be gotten for gold.
Job 28:28: “And unto man he said: Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom: and to depart from evil is understanding.” That is what we are talking about. Seeing God has provided such glorious things for His people, the question naturally arises: Why, then, are they hidden? You will find the answer in:
2 Cor. 4:3-4: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” It is hidden “because the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not.” One of the fearful results of sin is that it darkens the understanding, and shuts out the light and knowledge of God. A man in sin can never realize his own peril, nor have any appreciation of the value of these things. He is blinded to his own best interest, his own highest good. “The god of this world,” — here spoken of has reference to Satan. These things are not hidden because God does not desire that we should have them, but because sin hath darkened the mind and shut out the light and knowledge of God. To whom, then, are they hidden?
Luke 10:21: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight.” It is hidden, then, to the very people that we would naturally suppose would know it, — “the wise and prudent,” and I would have you note that it is “revealed unto babes,” little fellows. Turn to:
I Cor. 2:9: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for ‘them that love Him.” Of whom is he speaking here?
I Cor. 2:14: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The natural man is referred to; he “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God;” they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them.” I have no sympathy with this modern idea of so popularizing the gospel that every sinner will just be delighted and fall in with it and approve of it. A Spirit-filled man or woman is always an enigma to the world. The more you become like Christ the less the world will understand and appreciate you. The nearer you get to heaven the farther you are removed from the world, and the wider becomes the gap between you and the world. It is foolishness to the natural man, neither can he know them.
I Cor. 2:10: “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things; yea, the deep things of God.”
There you have again the word “revealed.” We believe and preach a revealed religion, A great many people read that ninth verse: “Eye hath not seen the things which God prepared for them,” and conclude you cannot know anything about them; and the very next verse says that “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
I Cor. 2:15: “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” The marginal rendering of that is: “discerneth all things, yet he himself is discerned of no man.” The spiritual man has an inside track here; he knows what ails himself, and what ails the other fellow besides; while the man who is not spiritual never knows what ails himself, nor what ails the man who is filled with the Spirit. No wonder Brother Bud Robinson says: “We are ahead.” I can see where he is right. I want to give you some of the logic of the Holy Ghost in this chapter. I shall never forget when my attention was first called to this chapter. I had encountered one of those creatures you call “infidels;” of course he denied and decried everything that we could bring to his attention from the Bible; so I took him unawares just a moment, and the Spirit brought this chapter to my attention. I never heard it mentioned, that I could remember, I said: “My friend, you will admit that you and I, — that we, as human beings can understand and appreciate some things that the brute creation cannot understand and appreciate?” He was quite ready to admit that, certainly. “Well,” I continued, “is not that due to the fact that there dwells in us a spirit we term the human spirit which the brute creation does not have?” He hesitated a little. (You know their method is to be evasive.) “Well,” I said, “is it so, or is it not so?” He seemed unwilling to declare himself. “Now,” I said, “if we could give to an ox or horse the spirit of a man, that ox or horse would appreciate and understand the things of a man, would it not?” He finally thought that might be true. Then, of course, the ox or horse cannot appreciate nor understand the things of a man without having the spirit of a man, could it?
He thought that was so. Now, that is logic? He said yes, as far as he could see. I said, exactly; if the ox or horse cannot understand the things of man without the spirit of man, how then can a man understand or appreciate the things of God without the Spirit of God. Instantly he seemed to experience some little difficulty with his breathing apparatus. (Imitation of the clearing of the throat.) That-is not original, that is the logic of the Holy Ghost.
1 Cor. 2:11: “For what man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” Exactly.
1 Cor. 2:12: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” We have received the Spirit which is of God — that we might hope, that we might guess, that we might think we were Christians? No, you have received the Spirit of God for the express purpose “that ye might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” No man can comprehend God by the wisdom of man, for God hath made the wisdom of man foolishness, and the foolishness of God is wiser than men, God is not found by mere human research, or by mere intellectual wisdom and knowledge. You might have all the wisdom of the ages; you might have all the knowledge the schools can impart, and yet be utterly destitute of the knowledge of God. God places no premium on ignorance, but all the wisdom in the world cannot discover the things which are spiritual; they are revealed. We preach a supernatural, and a revealed religion, received by the Spirit.
Have you received that Spirit? It is marvelous how utterly destitute of the knowledge of God a man may be without the Spirit. Take, for instance, Nicodemus. He was a good man, as the world would term it; his character was unimpeachable; there was nothing against that man: he was an official member in his church; he was a ruler among his people. And you remember he met Jesus by night, and sought an interview with him. The first thing Jesus said to him was: “Ye must be born again.” Methinks I can see Nicodemus looking puzzled, and saying: Born again, — did I understand you to say, born again? “Born again?” “Must be born again?” (Thinking deeply.) “Now to save my life I don’t seem to see into that. Born again.” (Thinking deeply.) For a man of his caliber, and learning, his reply was perfectly ludicrous, He said: “When a man is old can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? I don’t see how that can be.”
You speak to the least child that has had the experience, and talk to it about being born again, and it will begin to shout and say to you: “Hallelujah! that is just what I’ve got.” The child would not be able to explain the science and philosophy of it, but it would at once understand and at once grasp the truth that you are trying to impress.
Is it not true that some of our most learned men have no appreciation whatever of the things that are spiritual? I had rather go to some illiterate person filled with the Spirit for help on spiritual lines, than to some of the greatest D. D.’s, LL. D.’s, or Ph. L. D.’s in the world who have not the Spirit. D. D. is all right in its place. D. D. should stand for “devil driver;” and, if that is its significance I aspire to being a D, D. I should like to be ‘a devil driver; but, if D. D. is to be used as the Bible employs it in speaking of ministers, I don’t want it. One time in the Bible ministers are spoken of as D. D.’s:
Isa. 56:10: “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs” — (D, D.’s), “they cannot bark, sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” “Dumb dogs,” D, D. Now it would be very amusing were it not serious; but read on and see what a true description this is:
Isa. 56:11: “Yea, they are greedy dogs, which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain from his quarter.” “Look to their own way, to their own gain, from his quarter; cannot bark.” If D. D. is to be used in that sense, I would not want it.
The great danger is that of substituting the human for the Holy Ghost, — merely relying upon the intellectual deifying culture, and ignoring the Holy Ghost; I am simply trying to say that no amount of education can take the place of the Holy Ghost; these things of God must be revealed by the Spirit of God.
Again we inquire as to the price of these riches: I know people sing lustily: “I’m glad salvation’s free;” but let us see about that; please read, Matt. 13:44: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” “Hid in a field.” What did it cost him? “All that he had.”
Matt. 13:45-46: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he hath found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought. it.”
What did it cost? “All that he had.” I see. While it is true that salvation is free, so far as money and price are concerned, yet I am here to tell you that it will cost all you have to get it; and just what it will cost you will depend upon what you are worth when you start out. I have known fellows who were worth a great deal of money hanging at the altar seeking pardon; their hearts were set on the riches of this world; while the poor publican and sinner, who sought pardon at the same time, got saved first; he had not much to say good-bye to; he simply lumped it and dumped it, — glad to get rid of his rubbish and sins. But those who have so many splendid traits of character and so many good qualities find it hard to give up! People often tell me that they would give all the world if they could be as happy as I am. I always tell them that they can get it for that. That is just what it will cost you, — that is what it cost me. If you are willing to sell out you will get it. “Sell that thou hast.” Satan told me the truth when he said: If you become a Christian you will have to give up your worldly associates, and you will have to forsake these worldly amusements, and you will have to give up your ungodly habits; he pointed out all the things I must give up until it seemed that I was going to lose everything; and it was all true; I had to give them up. But he did not tell me the whole truth. I am going to let you into a little secret he had not told me about: Please read, Mark 10:28: “Then Peter began to say unto Him, Lo, we have left all and have followed Thee.” So they had to pay about the same price. “Left all and followed Thee.”
Mark 10:29-30: “And Jesus answered and said, Verily, I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house or brethren, or sisters, or father or mother, or wife, or children or lands for My sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundred fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecution: and in the world to come eternal life.” “With persecutions;” that is part of the contract, you see. You must always stick to the contract. Satan pointed out how much I must give up, but he never told about the “hundred fold now in this time.” I had given up all, and expected to die simply a pauper. But Jesus said I was to have “a hundred fold now in this time, with persecutions.” That does not mean that, if you will give up one farm that you will own one hundred farms, and not necessarily that if you give up one house you will own one hundred houses; but the thought is that He will give you something that is worth one hundred times more to you. I have sometimes thought that it was literally true in my case. I was very ambitious to have a home of my own, but I had to give up that ambition; and now there are hundreds of homes all over this country where they say: ”Brother Ruth, come in and make yourself at home.” And I do. I would have liberty to go from the cellar to the attic, if necessary. And brothers, — well, I never had any brethren until after I was converted, I had three sisters, and each of them had a brother, but I, myself, had no brother. But since I am saved, my! I have hundreds of brethren; and sisters, — I have hundreds of mothers, — they who would do by me just as a mother, — mothers in Israel. And lands, — well I have hundreds of farms lying out; the thought is that God will supply my needs and your needs if it took a hundred farms to do it; and He makes the other fellow pay the taxes on them, I would not have time to go around and plant potatoes and plant corn, and take the wool and weave it into cloth, so He has some other fellows doing that for me; but He sees to it that I have all I need. He does just what He said He would do. And children, — Paul spoke of those who were converted under his ministry as children: and he calls Timothy his own son in the gospel. Hundreds of those who were brought into the kingdom by our labors, — a hundred fold now in this time. I am glad I have learned the secret. I am glad to say that not in years have I had to struggle to give up anything for God. When God places His finger on something, and says: “Give that up, I just get ready for something better.
You never have sacrificed anything for God but that He gave you something a hundred times better, It is a good exchange, — a splendid investment; glory! When I see people spluttering around over some little brass jewelry, some rooster- tail feather, some lodge business, or some old smoke pipe or chewing tobacco, I say: “Why don’t you dump it quick; God wants to give you something a hundred times better, — with persecution; glory!”
Persecution is something like taking a Turkish bath. They come and rub you down with a good Turkish towel; that opens up the pores, and starts up the circulation. That is the idea. The fires of persecution keep you from going to sleep. When a man becomes cold and freezes to death, he simply falls asleep and becomes unconscious, and scarcely realizes his danger. But people do not burn up that way. When the fires of persecution are kindled around them they begin to dance, and say: “O Lord, if you will just pull me out of this, if you will just get me out of this, I’ll never disobey Thee again.”
Yes, you make many promises; like the man on board the ship in a storm, when he prayed: “O Lord, if you’ll just save me this time, I’ll never ask you for another thing as long as I live.” We are perfectly willing to make promises when we are in trouble; we find that we need the fires of persecution sometimes to keep us humble and obedient, and in the path of duty. There shall be a hundred fold in this time.
Now I want us to inquire a little more as to the nature of these riches. Turn first of all to:
Romans 2:4: “Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Mark the thought, — “riches of His goodness.” Riches of goodness is associated with the thought of God’s patience, His forbearance, His longsuffering, the mercy that grants us repentance. Men think repentance is a hard thing. It is the greatest mercy and privilege heaven could afford us. It is the goodness of God that leadeth us to repentance. How rich in goodness He is! Often as I see men wicked, and profane, and blasphemous, I say within myself: It is a wonder God does not smite them to the earth; I wonder that God does not cut them down. Then I say: How good God is! And I think of my own wicked heart., my own stubbornness, rebellion, and sin, and how He bore with me in patience. O how rich is His goodness! In proportion as we partake of that spirit of patience and longsuffering and mercy towards others, and towards the erring and unworthy, just in that proportion our goodness becomes manifest — the riches of His goodness.
Now we go a step higher; the riches of goodness alone will not save us:
Eph, 1:7: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Here He speaks of the “riches of grace,” which is associated with another thought; not repentance, but forgiveness: the riches of goodness, repentance; the riches of grace, forgiveness. Does that mean that we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to our standing in society, or according to the size of our bank account? No. Then does it mean according to the multitude of your good works? No, It means the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace.
Grace means unmerited favor. Thank God that there is grace sufficient and abundant enough to save the most guilty. Where sin abounded, grace did much more.” Men say they are hard cases, and I always delight to tell them that my Christ is a specialist on hard cases. That is His specialty, thank God!
How many sins did God forgive you, brother, sister? “All.” O, I understand all, but how many in number? “Don’t know.” They cannot be numbered. If you would know how many sins He forgave me, some bright evening you just take a walk out and count the stars in the firmament, and go yonder to the seashore and count the sands along the beach, and you may then form some estimate as to how many sins He forgave me. but now:
“They’re ALL taken away to stay,
They’re all taken away to stay,
They’re all taken away to stay,
My sins are all taken away, TO STAY!”
Hallelujah! The riches of His grace was sufficient to cover all.
Now the next step — a step higher:
Eph. 2:5-6: “Even when we are dead in sin, hath He quickened us together with Christ (by grace are ye saved); and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Note, He has forgiven us, raised us up together, and we are sitting together in heavenly places. I suppose he has reference to the Bible reading in the Church, — or something like that. Sitting together in heavenly places! Not just sitting together today, and in heavenly places by and by; there are heavenly places here. Quickened us, raised us up, sitting together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. What then?
Eph.. 2:7: “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Note that word: “Exceeding riches of His grace.” “Exceeding.” “Exceeding” is the emphatic word. “Exceeding riches of grace,” that He would show you after He hath quickened you and raised you up, and you are sitting together in heavenly places. Certainly! He could not show a dead man anything; he has to be raised up, then He can show him something. Show him what?
“Exceeding riches.” We have riches of grace. There is forgiveness, but He would show you something that exceeds “riches of grace.”
But now I want to find, if possible, what these exceeding riches are: So we read in this same chapter,
Eph. 2:15: “Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” I want you to underscore the word enmity. — “Having abolished in His flesh the enmity.”
Eph. 2:16. “And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” “Having slain the enmity.” Now, if you would read the entire chapter you would see that he is speaking of the ceremonial law, and the Levitical priesthood, and says there was an enmity in connection with the law which has been abolished, and slain. Turn back just a moment to:
Romans 7:12: and see if we can locate this enmity: “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” The difficulty was not with the law; “the commandment was holy, and just, and good,” and yet He says there was enmity in connection with the law that has been slain:
Romans 8:7: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” If it is not subject to the law it is an outlaw. There is something in man that is at enmity with the law; just as we have in this country the anarchists, who say: Away with your rulers, away with your magistrates, away with the law; they are an enemy to us, Is the enmity with the law? No, the enmity is in them. It was just so with the law; the law was perfect, but there was something in man at variance with the law. But on the cross Jesus has slain that enmity. What was that enmity? The carnal mind.
The exceeding riches of His grace is associated with the thought of the slaying of this enmity, which is the negative side of sanctification. Now somebody is saying: “I did hope that you would not begin to harp on that second blessing again.” But there it is. After you have been “quickened” and “raised up” He shows the exceeding riches of His grace, the slaying of the enmity, which is none other than the crucifixion of the old man, the destroying of the body of sin, the eradication of carnality; hallelujah! And when that principle, — the enmity is destroyed and slain, you come into perfect harmony with the law of God. You are not then trying to be a Christian any more than you are trying to keep the laws of the State, because you are in harmony with that law; you do not desire to do anything contrary to the law; this is simply religion made easy.
We will press on to the other round in the ladder. We are getting into deep water now, but we will do the best we can.
Eph. 3:16: “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His spirit in the inner man.”
“Riches of glory.” We have struck the glory realm now; we have had:
The “riches of His goodness,” repentance, — the first round of the ladder;
The “riches of grace,” forgiveness, — the second round of the ladder;
The “exceeding riches of His grace,” — the slaying of the enmity, the third round of the ladder;
“The riches of glory,” — the. fourth round of the ladder.
“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His spirit in the inner man.” Let us get at that if we can. I do not know if I can explain it, but you may turn to:
Psalm 84:11: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” “He will give grace and glory.” “And glory.” I suppose a person might get through with grace, but I like some glory with it. I have met with people who had grace to live right; you cannot pick a flaw in their lives; they live good lives, but you always find them somewhat legalistic, rigid, and inclined to be a little frigid, and so on, so you don’t want to get too close to them. Have you not met with people like that? They don’t seem to know much about the glory. But I like the glory It seems to me that it is something on the order of sitting down to the table to a good meal of bread, and meat, and potatoes, and a few vegetables, — after all has been served then they bring on the little extras, you know; I always like to be on hand for the extras; I could get through with the other things, but I like the extras. I presume a person might get through with grace, but I like the glory. And you will get to the place where you will have use for that word Glory; it will just fit your mouth. Times will come when you are obliged to use it as a measure of relief; there is such a thing as a “weight of glory.” To get it in a more practical form, turn to:
Col. 1:27: “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” “God would make known to you the “riches of the glory, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Does that concur with the original text?
Eph. 3:17: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.” That Christ may visit in your hearts? No, Christ in you, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, being rooted and grounded in love. The glory is the indwelling Christ in the presence and power of the Holy Ghost. That is the positive side of Sanctification. The “riches of goodness” represented the approach to justification; “riches of grace” represented justification fully realized “in the pardon of sins; exceeding riches of grace” the slaying of the old Adamic nature, the enmity, which is the negative side of sanctification; the “riches of glory,” the indwelling presence of Christ, the positive side of sanctification; the immediate effect, you become rooted and grounded and established in love.
Eph. 3:18: “May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.” A little while ago you were in darkness unable to know the things of God, but now you begin to comprehend with all saints the length, the breadth, the depth, the height. That does not mean that you will know all about it. Speaking of the breadth, it is so broad it covers the universe, and covers your need; the depth, it goes beneath the deepest dyed sinner; the height, it lifts to a topless heaven. We preach a heaven that has no top, and a hell that has no bottom. And the length, it is so long that it endures forever. You will begin to comprehend with the saints.
Eph. 3; 19: “And to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” “To know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.” You will know some things which are past knowing; yes sir: The man who is saved knows some things which are past knowing to the natural man, and the principle of it is found in:
Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Invisible things are clearly seen. ‘How can that which is invisible be seen at all? the invisible be clearly seen; love that passeth knowledge, and yet know it; a peace that passeth understanding; a joy that is unspeakable; — you cannot tell it; full of glory. The Christian knows some things that are past knowing; he sees some things that are invisible; he feels some things he cannot express; he enjoys some things that are past understanding, and if you go on to know God you will get the peace which will pass all understanding, and all misunderstanding, glory! And added to that, “that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
We are getting into deep water, I tell you. To my mind it would be a wonderful thing to be filled with God, and more wonderful to be filled with the fullness of God; and more wonderful still to be “filled with all the fullness of God.” How your and my little heart could contain Him in all the fullness of His immensity is indeed a question; “to be filled with all the fullness of God.” I cannot explain that. The only way I can get at the question at all is to ask another question: Of what is God full? “Love.” You are to be filled with exactly the same thing that God is full. You say, He is filled with love; you are to be filled with love. You say, He is filled with light; you are to be filled with light; glory! Very well, filled with glory; you are to be filled with glory. You are to be filled with the same thing God is filled with. It is on the same principle as the tea-cup in the ocean. The tea-cup may be just as full as the ocean is full. The water in the tea-cup is just the same as that in the ocean; it comes from the ocean; there is no difference in the quality, but in the quantity. “Filled with all the fullness of God.” And every heart can have all the fullness of God to Himself. I don’t have to share with you. I may have Him all to myself; yet every heart can have all the fullness of God to himself.
I once walked down the beach after the tide had passed out, and there were some pools of water in the sand. The sun was just going forth on his march of the day, and in his noon-day splendor was beaming forth with light and glory. I looked down into that little pool of water, and, to my amazement, saw that little pool of water had the entire sun in its embrace; it had all the whole sun to itself. You could see the disk of the sun right there in that little pool, — it had the whole sun to itself. It danced for joy. It had the whole sun to itself. I said: How fortunate you are; you have the whole sun all to yourself, for your own enjoyment. I walked a few steps farther, and there was another little pool of water; I looked down, and lo! it in like manner had all the sun to itself; you could see the disk of the sun right there. The fact that one had all the sun did not detract at all from the possibility of the other pools having the sun all to themselves. And I thought, so we can have Christ in all His fullness all to ourselves filled with all the fullness of God! Have it all now? Let us see. Come back to the lesson:
Eph. 3:20: “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Now added to all this, in addition to all this, He is still able, — I want your eye, He is still able, — divine ability, His power, — He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” which is omnipotence. See how He piles it up!
Eph. 3:21: “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end, Amen.” Amen. He said Amen. He came to a climax, and then started over afresh; he was not through. He wrote three chapters, and then said Amen, and came down and took a fresh start. Glory!
Is it not marvelous how much riches we have in Christ Jesus? You get a little thimble full, and then jump into your rocking chair and shut your eyes and fold your arms, and sing: “I want to be an angel,” and you think you have it all. Friends, the experience which God has given you should be regarded, — not as a finality, but as preparatory, as a stepping stone to higher altitudes of grace. “Exceeding riches of grace,” “riches of glory;” “rooted and grounded;” the things which are past knowing “comprehend with all saints;” “filled with all the fullness of God;” and still “He is able to do exceeding abundantly,” “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Who can comprehend it?