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Psalm 139:23, 24. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Hebrews 4:12. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Romans 6:19. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
“Live out Thy life within me, O Jesus King of kings,
Be Thou Thyself the answer to all my questionings.
Live out Thy life within me; in all things have Thy way,
I Thy transparent medium, Thy glory to display.”
How would you like to be transparent so that nothing of yourself would appear anywhere, but only Jesus Christ with His divine attributes would shine forth from within you? That’s what you are if you’re a real follower of Jesus Christ, or that’s what you will be if He has His way with you. “Ye are the epistle of Christ written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.” And there’s no substitute for it.
When I was working as a jeweler, I found out that there were many substitutes for gold, and that many people could be fooled by these substitutes. But after a while, I couldn’t be fooled anymore because I recognized the value and the power—the strength—of real gold. There was one sure test, and that was the test of acid and of fire. We had a man working in our shop who tried to make a lot of money on the side, and when I was an apprentice, he used to bring me his jewelry and ask me to work at it to make it ready for a sale so that he could make more money. One time, he brought me a gold broach and he wanted me to solder something on it, and my, it felt like solid gold: it was heavy, and it shone like gold. The minute I put it into the fire, it melted. It was filled with lead.
It couldn’t stand the test of fire. And I thought how many, many Christians are like that. They have a profession that shines like gold. They talk about it. We can preach about it. The Apostle Paul says, “Lest that when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” He took care of his own life and of his own ministry that it was real. And beloved, it must be real, and it can be real, and it will be real when I “delight myself in the Lord” alone, and when I learn that one grand doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ: “Ye have been the slaves of sin,” the Apostle Paul says. “That’s ended. That’s finished!”
And you and I will not be satisfied with a subterfuge or with a substitute. We will not. We will search our own hearts by means of the acid test of the word of God and by that fire that melteth the iron. Oh, thank God for the fire of the Holy Ghost! And we’ll ask God, “Search me, O God, and try my heart; know me, and try my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me.”
And God won’t test you if you refuse His rebuke and His reproof. He says, “Turn you at My reproof. Behold, I will pour out My Spirit unto you.” Oh, is that what reproof is for? You want to remove this substitute—this lead that doesn’t glorify God. You want to remove this inward corruption of mine and substitute for it: “Here’s the substitute; here is the righteousness of the Son of God.” Oh, “that I might not have a righteousness of mine own which is by the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” And what is that righteousness? That righteousness is Jesus Christ Himself.
Oh, if I search my own heart and see how my love will not stand the test! Oh, it’ll go a certain distance because we have learned to veneer ourselves—to put on a substitute for love. We know how to love, especially in meeting; we can make very sweet faces at one another, and sometimes in the heart there is “the gall of bitterness.” Why not admit it? Why not say, “Search me O God, and try me, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”? And God will say, “Your tongues are a tinkling cymbal and as sounding brass, unless they’re backed up by the fire of My love.”
When I was a very young Christian, God dealt with me about a certain matter in my life—about pride. I didn’t know how proud I was until God exposed that thing, and He threatened me. Mind you, I’d been baptized with the Holy Spirit; I’d been greatly blessed in preaching the gospel! And God said, “You’re not humble like you ought to be, and if you don’t get down…” He threatened me with death. That was terrible. I said, “Well, this is a fine how-do-you-do! I’ve been seeking God with all my heart. I’ve been praying for humility, and now God comes along and reproves me, and says, ‘I have not found your works perfect before My God.’” My God—I began to thank my Lord for exposing that inward fault of mine.
I would never have gotten rid of it. You’ll never get rid of it. You’ll never receive “gold tried in the fire” as long as you hang onto your brass and to your substitutes. But when you let go… “The harlots and the publicans,” He says, “will enter into the kingdom of God before the Pharisees,” because they cloak themselves with a cloak of self-righteousness and they “refuse the sentence of God concerning themselves.”
They didn’t want to get rid of corruption. Oh, no. Who in the world wants to get rid of his inward corruption? And I’ve seen Almighty God speak to hearts and people got angry: “I’m not like that!”
In other words, we want to appear righteous; we don’t care whether we are righteous or not. But “blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness; they shall be filled” with reality. “Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved…”
Beloved, the gospel is still going forth into all the world, not primarily to heal the sick, but to save souls—to transform lives, to deliver you from the bondage and slavery and corruption and defilement of sin. And whoever wants that will not have to ask long for divine healing. It’ll come by itself. “…Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases.” But first of all, He wants that soul of mine to be healed and—glory to God!—here is a medicine: it’s “the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanseth from all sin.” The question is only whether I want to be cleansed.
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” How long is that cleansing process going to go on? Until we’re fully displaced—until Jesus Christ has come, and we’re transparent, hallelujah! The devil comes and he finds “nothing in me” but the conquering Hero, the Lord Jesus Christ—His love that never fails.
Faith. The secret of faith is to “believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” But the secret of New Testament faith is not only to believe in God who created all things, but in God who redeems me, hallelujah! He who created me is now my salvation—is now my redeemer. I cannot do it myself. That’s why He undertook the job, thank God! And that’s why Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God; believe also in Me.”
What do you mean, Jesus? Where shall I believe in You? Well, He says, “I’ve come to dwell within you, to live out My own life within you.” That’s the glorious mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And when God commands us to repent and believe the gospel, He says, “Forget yourself. Forget the things that are behind. And now, let Me go before—let Me be the one; let Me reign over your will and over your affections; let Me perfect you.”
And that’s why the Bible says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” God will not be pleased with me until He is pleased with Jesus Christ’s image within me—until looking upon me, He sees Jesus Christ fulfilling in me “that which is well-pleasing in His sight.”
“Ye have obeyed from the heart…” From the heart! That’s what my heart is made for; it’s made entirely for Jesus Christ.
“Reckon yourselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God.” Oh, this wonderful life “unto God.” I don’t have to wait until my body is laid into the grave to enjoy eternal life. I must enjoy it now! And the question is whether I want it.
“They overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, not loving their lives.” There’s the test. The test will come to every true Christian whether you will choose Jesus or your own life.
A story of seekers who fled from conviction. “Preach the truth, and see how they’ll run.” (from 13:09)
Comments on divine healing. “I know this thing cannot be taught successfully today because people think they can force God to heal them by throwing their medicine away. That isn’t the way it happens. It’s something that happens in your heart.” (from 24:51)
Live Out Thy Life Within Me, a hymn by Frances R. Havergal (1836-1879):
Live out Thy life within me, O Jesus, King of kings!
Be Thou Thyself the answer to all my questionings;
Live out Thy life within me, in all things have Thy way!
I, the transparent medium, Thy glory to display.
Savior, More Than Life, a hymn by Fanny Cosby, 1875:
Savior, more than life to me,
I am clinging, clinging, close to Thee;
Let Thy precious blood applied,
Keep me ever, ever near Thy side.