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I Timothy 4:7-8. But refuse profane and old wivesâ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
I Corinthians 9:24-27. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
I Chronicles 28:9b. If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
A man I worked with said to me, âWhat you need is a little exercise.â So I joined the YMCA in Chicago, and we had calisthenics there two or three times a week, swimming. And in a little while I was come right out of my sickness, and I came into a new life as it were.
I didnât overdo, yet they sure put us through the sprouts. Of course, we hadâin those days, when you worked, you worked. It wasnât like today where you go to work in the morningâif you feel like itânine, half-past nine. Then, half-past ten you have a coffee break, and then around eleven oâclock, you yawn and look at the clock andâŚ Well, we had a 58 hour week, if I remember correctly. And then in the evening, three times a week, calisthenics, and other exercise. I remember sometimes my body felt as if all my bones were on joints. Did you ever feel like that? Our gym was upstairs, and we had to go downstairs to the swimming pool, and sometimes I just almost rolled down. Everything was just wriggling from exercising.
But then the war broke out, and then I was called to the war. And I found out that I was one of the healthiest of all the fellows that were drafted in the war. âŚWell, it all had happened because I had exercised.
âI have written unto you young men because ye are strong.â Oh, for strong young menâspiritually strong young men âstrengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner manâ! Young men, do you exercise yourselves unto godliness? Youâll never be godly if you donât. Youâll be sickly, youâll be a consumptive, youâll perish: âEven the youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall utterly fall.â But as we heard the other night, there is a fountain from which you can draw life, strength. Oh, the Bible speaks of a fullness: a tremendous, exuberant fullness. It speaks of the power of His resurrection.
How strange that people expect to be ready for the rapture without exercising themselves unto godliness. The Apostle Paul says, âIâm not making a fool of myself. Iâm not preaching to others and myself be a castaway. So fight I not as one that beateth the air. I know what Iâm doing.â Young man, young woman, youâve got to know what youâre doing!
âThey do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.â Oh, youâve got to see that goal, like the Apostle Paul who saw âthe prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.â He says, âThey all run, but one receiveth the prize. So run, that ye may obtain.â
But beloved, to âexercise thyself ratherâ to please God, to be ready for God, to be ready when Jesus comesâit requires exercise. You cannot get filled with the Holy Ghost if you do not go to Jesus Christ and take oil. They took their lampsâthey took their witnessâbut they took no oil with them. Are you taking oil with you? Are you seeing to it that the Holy Spirit finds room in your life? Are you âexercising yourself,â beloved, âunto godlinessâ? [It] requires more diligence than any earthly exercise that we know of, because this is an exercise to obtain an incorruptible crown. Do you pray? Do you pray âin faithâ? Do you âadd to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, loveâ? Do you âput on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holinessâ? Do you âdiligently follow every good workâ?
Oh, Father! Thatâs what prayer means. It means meeting YouââOur Father who art in heaven,â âThe Father of my Lord Jesus Christ.â Where is He? Heâs in the prayer closet. Heâs where you get on your knees, where you lift your heart, where you say, âMy Father, âThy kingdom come!â âDeliver me, O God!â I have seen Your promise, Your âexceeding great and preciousâ promise: that You will âgive the Holy Ghost to them that ask Him.â God, Iâm not going to let go. Iâm going to come to You. Iâm going to wait upon You, because You said Youâd give âpower to the faint.ââ Beloved, thereâs no one among us that has a right to stay faint, to stay weak, to be defeatedânot a single one of us, because HeâŚ
God, do I âexercise myself unto godlinessâ? Why, then I will certainly avail myself of this marvelous invitation that God Almighty gives me: âthe Father Himself loveth youââthe âFather Himself will reward you openly.â Itâll be visible. There will be ârivers of living waterâ flowing from you. Beloved, it is high time that in this assembly God can raise some examples of godliness, some A-1 soldiers, not 4-F, but number A-1, having âon the whole armor of God,â whose eyes are ablaze with enthusiasm to please God because the Holy Ghost has driven out every other spirit, and has strengthened them âwith might in the inner manââtheyâre sons of God.
Itâs high time that in this assembly God had some eminent saints. And listen, itâs high time that you become an eminent saint. What keeps you? What is it that keeps you from being healthy, pure in heart? What is it that keeps you from running after Jesus and being âstrengthened with mightâ? I know what it is: you donât pray. I can feel that sometimes when I come into homesâthereâs a hole there. I come into other homes and God is there. You canât fool me.
Beloved, itâs a tragedy the lives in some people that profess with their mouths to be saints, and they havenât got the stuff in them. And secretly, they sinâthey live for the devil. And secretly, in their hearts there crawls the vermin of fleshly lusts, and all these things possess them and eat their vitalsââthe worm that shall never die.â Listen, itâs high time you were rid of that. It is high time you came out of that âbondage, sorrow, and night.â It is high time you came down from your pride and your conceit.
Beloved, nothing can save me, nothing can deliver me. All my own efforts wonât do it, unless I make this one effort: to wait upon my God. Thereâs nothing like praying in the Holy Ghost. And if I donât, beloved, my ruin is certainâis more certain than the rising of the sun in the morning.
Oh, when God sees you getting up in the morning to be alone with God, to gain an extra half-hour to be alone with God! Does God watch the sun rise? Sure, He makes it rise. But I tell you, He has more interest in your rising out of your lazy beds to be alone with God than in the sun. The sun will rise alright, rise in time. But I tell you, God will meet you. But thereâs no use talking like this. I know if youâre a procrastinator, if youâre lazy, go ahead! Go to sleep!
Listen, if you look for Jesus, youâll find out Heâs looking for you, oh, glory to God! What is the best part of every day? Is it when you get up to select your breakfast food out of a thousand different boxes and put heavy cream on them, and strawberry jam, and what else? What is the best part of the day? Or is it when you meet your girlfriend, or your boyfriend, or you go out skating, or you go some tomfoolery someplace to satisfy your flesh? Listen, âThey that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh.â That occupies them. God says, âTheir God is their belly.â You might just as well kneel down and say, âBuddha, buddha, buddha, buddha, buddha.â Youâd be better off than to worship your belly and worship your flesh.
But is the best part of the day the day when you can be alone with God? Do you fight for it? Do you steal time from reading and from company?
If you really desire and hunger after righteousness, you will seek Him. And âwhen you seek Him, He will be found of you.â He will be found of you. Oh, the wonder of finding God, meeting Godânot just to be in His presence, but to be united to Him, to be identified with Him forevermore.
An illustration of the rigors endured by worldly competitors: âWhat do these prize fighters do in order to win the fight? Oh, what they donât do!â (at 5:29)
An illustration of a pastor with a lack of ambition. (from 7:16)
Illustrations of diligence: J. S. Bach, and Antonio Canova. (from 8:48)
An illustration of a disastrous ambition: âWell, she wanted a husband. Sheâs got one. Brother, sheâs got a husband. Sheâd be better off to have married a gorilla.â (from 10:59)
An illustration of prayerless ministers: âRevival was dead, and you couldnât do a thing with themâŚ After almost 40 years he said, ââŚMy life is wasted, my life is broken, my ministry is defeated.â Why, of course!â (from 24:04)
German at 2:42:
Verstehst du? â You got that?
German at 9:20:
Hanswurst â a tomfool.
Jesus Calls Us, a hymn by Cecil F. Alexander.
Jesus, I Come, a hymn by William T. Sleeper, 1887:
Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.