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2978. Power With God

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Power With God

No. 2978-52:121. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, September 16, 1875, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, March 8, 1906.

As a prince you have power with God. {Ge 32:28}

1. Men think a great deal of anyone who has power with royalty. If it was said, concerning someone 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 all 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 honour it is be 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; only prince’s have no such dignity as his, unless they, too, have power with God, for he is “a prince of God.”

2. 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 on 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 on 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 on 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 nothing like that; give it to me.” Human language can never tell a thousandth part of the value of power with God.

3. I. I want you to note, first, WHAT THIS POWER CANNOT BE: “power with God.”

4. 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 against God, 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 tow 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 only like stubble in the day of God’s anger. In fact, to think of man having any power against God is sheer madness, for we do not have 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. Oh 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 moulds it as for you, a creature, to strive with your Creator. He will break you in pieces, like a potter’s vessel, in the day of his anger. Therefore, be wise, and end the fight, and be at peace with him.

5. Neither can this “power with God” mean mental power. There are people, 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 did not open my mouth; because you did it.” If God does anything, that is enough for us. If God says anything, 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.

6. 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, {a} 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 for that particular work, so those who are sick send for an official to come and “pray to them,” — I have often heard that expression, as though is was thought that this person, by reading a prayer out of a book, could, by a kind of magic, do the sick one good. Oh sirs, mere words strung together, whether they are in Hebrew, or Greek, or Latin, or English, are of no avail 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 on to grant his blessings by any such fooleries as these; he utterly abhors them.

7. 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 that, 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 favour 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 produce in themselves, which they are to bring before God, so that, when he sees it, he will say, “Now I will have mercy on you, and grant you the blessing you crave.” Oh 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; because, 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. Oh brothers and sisters, let us for ever shake off from us, as we would shake a viper from our hand, all idea that, by any goodness of ours, which even the Spirit of God might work in us, we should be able to deserve anything from God, and to claim as right anything from the justice of our Maker!

8. II. Now, secondly, let us enquire WHERE DOES THIS POWER COME FROM? 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”

9. 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 on, 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 forty-eight 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 relieving 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 opposite, 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 arouse your pity. Because you see them in such a sad state, you, being a man of compassionate spirit, are immediately moved to try to relieve 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, and tenderness, and 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 need, — our low estate, our sinking heart, our trembling spirit, our utter nothingness. In that way, we shall have power with him.

10. If you have been accustomed to visit the poor, you know how those, who have gotten to be “old stagers” {b} at receiving charity, never put their best foot 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 on them, you will have to fish a long while before you will find it out; but they are very apt at bringing forward the black side of their case, because their power lies there with those who have generous hearts. And so, brethren, our power with God, when we come to him as sinners, does not lie in what we are, but in what God is. He is love, he is pity, he is tenderness, he is gentleness. He does not wish the death of a sinner, but delights to display his saving mercy, to reveal 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 to 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.

11. But we get a further view of the source from where this power with God comes from when we reach the next point, namely, God’s promise. 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 promise, he is not free to break it, 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 out of his mouth. When God gave his promise, he did, as it were, put himself in the power of those who know how to plead the promise. 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, brethren, 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 an honest 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 promise in black and white, here it is 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 like this to lay hold on him, bringing his own gracious promise in your hand? There is a conquering power in faith, because faith pleads the promise of God.

12. So, you see, there are two sources of power, — God’s nature, and God’s promise.

13. 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, restrain 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, and 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 on 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.

14. 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, since he chose them, he cannot cast them away, because he is an immutable God; since he has made his choice, he stands by it. Paul asks, “Has God cast away his people?” And he answers his own question, “God has not cast away his people whom 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 permit us to be lost? Can he pay for us 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 who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Only 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, oh 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 has given me Jesus Christ.”

15. Do you not see, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, that every mercy which God has bestowed on you gives you power over him? Therefore, you 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 even 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 forty years, for fifty, sixty, seventy, — and I see some who have numbered eighty years, and you have had God’s blessing all the while, — then, has he not, by all these years of favour and mercy, pledged and bound himself to bless you even to the end? Assuredly it is so.

16. III. Now, in the third place, notice HOW THIS POWER WITH GOD CAN BE EXERCISED BY CHRISTIANS. What form does power with God take? Of course, it takes the form of prayer. Christians exert the power they have with God when they draw near to him to ask for blessings on themselves and on 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.

17. First, this power is exercised by those who are deeply aware 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 I am strong.” I have an idea, and I think that Scripture supports it, that Jacob wrestled very hard with the angel, but that he never won the victory until the angel touched the hollow of his thigh, and caused the sinew to shrink. Then, when Jacob could not stand any longer, as he fell, he clutched the angel with all his might as though he would pull him down also 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 until 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, “Oh 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.

18. 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 clamoured 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 only in Jesus Christ, the sinners’ Saviour.” The gatekeeper said, “Oh, it is you, is it? Come in; we know you well enough, we have known you for these many years, and then I went in immediately. I believe that is the best way of praying, and the way to win the day. When you have gotten on your fine feathers and top knots then 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 thy mercy seat by prayer;
    Mercy heard, and set him free,
    Lord, that mercy came to me; —

and I am that poor tax collector, who dared not lift so much as his eyes towards heaven, but beat on 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.

19. Again, in order to have power with God, we must have simple faith. No one who doubts can prevail with God. The promise is not to the waverer, for James says, “Do not let that man think that he shall receive anything from 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 on it. I shall never forget the faith of a certain member of this church, who is still living. About eighteen or nineteen years ago, I was very ill indeed. Most people thought that I should 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 everyone 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 should be! He deserves a thousand times more confidence than we can ever place 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 on him.

20. I am sure that, if we ministers only believe God more, and preach more in faith, he will honour us more. I imagine 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 five thousand people converted in one day here, most of the churches all around would say, “There is a shocking state of excitement over at the Tabernacle; it is really dreadful!” The very “sound” brethren would feel that we had gone off into Armenianism, 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 aroused in many Christian minds would be one of suspicion. I am sure that, if we reported that, anywhere in England, three thousand 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 finished, 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 all of 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 honour God by believing that he will give great blessings; and, therefore, he does not honour us by giving those great blessings. But if we maintained a closer adherence to the truth, and had a firmer confidence that God’s Word shall never return to him void, he would do far greater things by us than he has ever done yet.

21. 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 succeed 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, “Since 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 offence.” You must go before the Lord confessing your sin, and saying, “Oh 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.

22. In addition to all that I have said, the man who is to prevail with God must be a man who is sincerely 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, unless you bless me!” Cold prayers do, as it were, ask God not to listen to them. When you pray for anything, if you do not present your petition with earnestness and fervour, you cannot expect the Lord to hear you. Some people, when they pray, are like the little boys in the street, who give run-away knocks at the door, and off they go; but the man who prays properly gets a hold of the knocker of the door of mercy, and he knocks, and knocks, and if there is no answer, he knocks again and again, and if there is no answer then, he knocks again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and the longer he is kept waiting, the more loudly he knocks until, at last, you would think that he was going to carry the house by storm, and make the door-posts leap 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 on 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.”

23. To all these qualifications for power with God we must add holy persistence. Wrestling is not merely laying hold on a man, and then letting him go. I wonder how Jacob held that man who wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. I warrant you that he had a tight grip on him, and I expect that, sometimes, it was specially leg work, and then arm work, and then loin work; for when men wrestle in real earnest, all their sinews, and muscles, and bones, and limbs are brought into play. So it must have been with Jacob that night, and he kept on holding the angel tight, and saying in his soul, if not with his lips, —

    With thee 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, persistent prayer. Oh 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 persistence; 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 on you.

24. And, dear friends, there is great power with God when, in persistent prayer, we at last come to tearful entreaty. In Hosea chapter twelve the prophet tells us that Jacob “had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication to him.” {Ho 12:4} 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 hand; 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 to him who 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 pleadings 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 life-guards 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!

25. IV. I close by briefly noticing TO WHAT USE THIS POWER MAY BE TURNED.

26. Whenever this power with God is given, it will bring down many blessings on 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.

27. 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 figure 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 brethren; 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 be gotten out. You will get him out if you know how to pray for him.

28. Moses was another man who had power with God. You remember that, when the Israelites made the golden calf, the Lord said to Moses, “Leave me alone, so that my wrath may grow hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of you a great nation.” Was that not 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 remember how Moses pleaded with the Lord, and he did not plead in vain. The Lord said to him, “Leave me alone, so 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.

29. 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 stopped,” for 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, — namely, Martin Luther. 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 out a sweet savour 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! Remember the power that the early Christians had with God to get Peter out of prison. If you have power with God, it is an instrument which you may use in all kinds 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 firmly, and walk humbly before God that he may not take this power away from you; but may you be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

{a} Liturgical. A name given to “a comparatively short prayer, more or less condensed in form, and aiming at a single point, or at two points closely connected with each other,” one or more of which, according to the occasion and season, have been used in the public worship of the Western Church from an early date. Applied particularly to the prayer, which varies with the day, week, or octave, said before the Epistle in the Mass or Eucharistic service, and in the Anglican service also in Morning and Evening Prayer, called for distinction the collect of the day. OED. {b} Old Stager: One who has become graduated or qualified by long experience; one who has been long employed in an office, a profession, course of life, etc.; a veteran, an old hand. OED.

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