We understand in Psalm 62:11: "God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this;
that POWER BELONGETH UNTO GOD." it did not belong to any Christian man whom God has greatly used in
this world's history. Power belongs to God. If any one has had power,
they certainly got it from God.
But God does not give His power arbitrarily. It is true that He gives it to
whomsoever He will, but He wills to give it on certain conditions, which
are clearly revealed in His Word; if any man of God will meet those conditions, God can make him the most wonderful preacher of his generation.
Now there are seven things to be considered in the life of any Man willingly to be used by God.
A man of God must be a fully surrendered man. Every ounce of his body should belong to God; everything he was and everything he had,
belonged wholly to God. This is not neccessarly mearnt to say that the man is perfect;
but perfect in the sense in which the Bible commands us to be perfect, i.e., men who are wholly God's,
out and out for God, fully surrendered to God, with no will but God's will;
and not neccessarly a man in whom one could not see some defects, some places
where he might have been improved.
If you and I are to be used in our sphere by God,
we must put all that we have and all that we are in the hands of God, for
Him to use as He will, to send us where He will, for God to do with us what
He will, and we, on our part, to do everything God bids us do.
There are thousands and tens of thousands of men and women in Christian work,
brilliant men and women, rarely gifted men and women, men and women who are
making great sacrifices, men and women who have put all conscious sin out
of their lives, yet who, nevertheless, have stopped short of absolute surrender
to God, and therefore have stopped short of fullness of power. We should not stop short of absolute surrender to God; we should be a wholly surrendered man, and if you and I are to be used, you and I must be wholly surrendered
men and women.
The second secret of the great power exhibited by Men of God was that
they were in the deepest and most meaningful sense a men of prayer. Wonderful preacher on earth had been far greater prayer man than they were preacher.
Time and time again, they would be confronted by obstacles that seemed insurmountable,
but they knew the way to surmount and to overcome all difficulties.
They knew the way to bring to pass anything that needed to be brought to pass.
They knew and believed in the deepest depths of their soul that "nothing
was too hard for the Lord"
and that prayer could do anything that God could do.
Yes, we believe in the God who answers prayer, and
not only believe in Him in a theoretical way but believe in Him in a practical
way. We meet every difficulty that stood in our way by
prayer. Everything we undertook was backed up by prayer, and in everything,
our ultimate dependence was upon God.
The third secret of power, or the third reason to be used by God is to be deep and practical student of the Word of
God in every day of our life. Oh, you may talk about power; but, if you neglect the one Book that God has
given you as the one instrument through which He imparts and exercises His
power, you will not have it. You may read many books and go to many conventions
and you may have your all-night prayer meetings to pray for the power of
the Holy Ghost; but unless you keep in constant and close association with
the one Book, the Bible, you will not have power. And if you ever had power,
you will not maintain it except by the daily, earnest, intense study of that
Ninety-nine Christians in every hundred are merely playing at Bible study;
and therefore ninety-nine Christians in every hundred are mere weaklings,
when they might be giants, both in their Christian life and in their service.
Oh, men and women, if you wish to get an audience and wish to do that audience
some good after you get them, study, study, STUDY the one Book, and preach,
preach, PREACH the one Book, and teach, teach, TEACH the one Book, the Bible,
the only Book that is God's Word, and the only Book that has power to gather
and hold and bless the crowds for any great length of time.
The fourth reason why God continuously, through so many years, used Men of God was because of their humility. I think any man to be used by God must be humble.
As the saying goes;
"Faith gets the most; love works the most; but humility keeps the most. "
Have the humility that keeps everything it gets. An humbled man loved to put himself in the background and put other
men in the foreground. An humble man could believe that the others that were coming after him were really better than
he was. In his heart of hearts he constantly underestimated himself, and overestimated others.
He really believed that God would use other men in a larger measure than he
had been used. Man of humility loved to keep himself in the background and would push the other men
to the front and, if he could, have them do all the preaching.
Oh, how many a man has been full of promise and God has used him, and then
the man thought that he was the whole thing and God was compelled to set
him aside! I believe more promising workers have gone on the rocks through
self-sufficiency and self-esteem than through any other cause. I can look
back for forty years, or more, and think of many men who are now wrecks or
derelicts who at one time the world thought were going to be something great.
But they have disappeared entirely from the public view. Why? Because of
overestimation of self. Oh, the men and women who have been put aside because
they began to think that they were somebody, that they were "IT,"
and therefore God was compelled to set them aside.
When God used any Man and even beyond any man of his day; but it made no difference
how much God used him, Man of humility never was puffed up. He will bow face before God, knowing he was human, and ask God to empty him of all self-sufficiency.
Oh, men and women! especially young men and young women, perhaps God is beginning
to use you; very likely people are saying: "What a wonderful gift he
has as a Bible teacher, what power he has as a preacher, for such a young
man!" Listen: get down upon your face before God. I believe here lies
one of the most dangerous snares of the Devil. When the Devil cannot discourage
a man, he approaches him on another tack, which he knows is far worse in
its results; he puffs him up by whispering in his ear: "You are the
leading evangelist of the day. You are the man who will sweep everything
before you. You are the coming man. You are the D. L. Moody of the day";
and if you listen to him, he will ruin you. The entire shore of the history
of Christian workers is strewn with the wrecks of gallant vessels that were
full of promise a few years ago, but these men became puffed up and were
driven on the rocks by the wild winds of their own raging self-esteem.
The fifth secret of Man of God's continual power and usefulness is his entire
freedom from the love of money. Man of God might have been a wealthy man,
but money had no charms for him. He loved to gather money for God's work;
he refused to accumulate money for himself. If he had taken, for himself, the royalties on the books which
he had published, they would have amounted, at that time, to several millions dollars.
But Man of God would refused to touch the money. He had a perfect right to take
it, for he was responsible for the publication of the books and it was his
money that went into the publication of the first of them.
This is the point at which many an evangelist makes shipwreck, and his great
work comes to an untimely end. The love of money on the part of some evangelists
has done more to discredit evangelistic work in our day, and to lay many
an evangelist on the shelf, than almost any other cause. Let us lay the lesson to our hearts and take warning in time.
The sixth reason why God used Men of God is because of their consuming passion
for the salvation of the lost.
Oh, young men and women and all Christian workers, if you and I were on fire
for souls like that, how long would it be before we had a revival? Suppose
that tonight the fire of God falls and fills our hearts, a burning fire that
will send us out all over the country, and across the water to China, Japan,
India and Africa, to tell lost souls the way of salvation!
The seventh thing that was the secret of why God men and women was that
they had a very definite enduement with power from on High, a very clear and
definite baptism with the Holy Ghost. There is a cloud that had
been gathering over our nations for many days, a cloud big with the mercy and
grace and power of God; and as we began to pray our prayers seemed to pierce
that cloud and the Holy Ghost fell upon us. Men and women, that is what we
all need the Baptism with the Holy Ghost.