The Simplicity of Having
(A sermon given by Brother Rex B. Andrews on October 23, 1949)
I am going to start on a little excerpt from the message given to us years ago. I took it down myself and it is perfectly correct. “Whatever brings us to Jesus personally increases our faith, and whatever takes us away from Jesus personally decreases our faith.”
The question that started the talk that day was, “Why have we less faith after growing up than at the beginning?” Now, this was years ago, maybe thirty years ago. There was a question asked, “Why have we less faith after growing up than at the beginning?” The answer was, “We lose the simplicity of just having Jesus.” The reason we have less faith after awhile - after we are grown up and know everything, and have proved that nearly everybody else does not know very much compared with us - the reason that we have less faith after growing up than at the beginning, is because we lose the simplicity of just having Jesus. In the course of the talk it was expressed this way: “Whatever brings us to Jesus personally increases our faith, and whatever takes us away from Jesus personally decreases our faith.”
I will not have time tonight to start in on that great long list of things that take you away from Jesus personally. We can have a list three feet long here, and then would not exhaust it. There are so many things that take us away from Jesus personally, but if I named some of those things it would hurt somebody, maybe, because there are some things that take us away from Jesus personally which are very great treasures to our hearts. The things that become great treasures to our hearts are very often the things in our own spiritual lives which we have come to prize and idolize. God is sweeping away all the idols, and He is rooting them up out of the hearts. That is deeper than the teeth in your jaw, the roots are down in your heart, and when He begins to yank on your idols, the things you love about yourself, and for years you have been building up your hopes in, and you are the center of it, and of which you have been enjoying the prospects - when the Lord begins to pull He gets hold of that thing. He says, “Now just do not try to hang on and it will be all right.” The trouble is, we hold on, and that is what makes all the trouble. We hold on, and we kick and we squirm, and we do all kinds of things to keep God from setting us free. Is it not queer what kind of things we will just hold on to; things that keep God from setting us free.
When He tries to pull, we say, “Oh, oh, I can’t stand it. I can never stand it, oooohhhh,” and there we go. We cannot stand it as long as we say we cannot. But the reason for it is the reason for the lack of our faith as we are growing up; it is that something takes us away from Jesus personally. We lose the simplicity of just having Jesus. In these meetings, and the meetings we have been holding this year especially, the Lord has been cutting through things to open the heart to see that, “I do not need anything but just Jesus.” The thing He has to cut through mostly, is that which is opposite to the Poverty of Spirit which Jesus spoke about and the Mercy which is the Will of God; the things which are opposite to the lowliness and Poverty of Spirit which Jesus described and taught about. In fact, it was the ingredient in every teaching of His, and the mercy which is the Will of God. When you know those two truths of Jesus you are in the beginning of the revelation of Jesus Himself.
Poverty means you do not have anything of your own, not even your own spiritual life. In fact, the worst kind of riches you can have, the very worst kind of goods, riches, that you can have is your belief in your own spiritual progress, and in your own spiritual goodness. Those are the things which blind you to that which blinds people so that it is impossible for them to make any more progress until the Lord cuts through and leaves them dumped down and broken, where they were at the beginning. Though they are teaching and preaching to other people on the various phases of the Christian faith, yet in their own hearts they are missing Jesus personally, by the things that they have arrayed before them as their expectation, or their achievement, or their hopes. So, whatever takes you away from Jesus personally decreases your faith. You can go and listen to all the sermons in the world on faith, but unless those sermons which you hear open your ears so that your eyes open to Jesus, He will not put any faith in you because you will be leaning on the teacher; you will be leaning on the person that is teaching you about faith, and you will be trying to bring to pass something that cannot be brought to pass that way. So it works out opposite to what you are expecting it to work out. There are some little points that are secrets to all these things. If you live in these things your faith grows, by the word of God. That is what it is: Faith in you is simply that God’s Word is the Truth in you. You are willing to say, “God is true.”
It is a very great thing, isn’t it, when you come to that place where you are willing to acknowledge that God is not a liar! You have been acknowledging you are true all the time, and you have not been able to see that God is more true than you. You have been believing in yourself. And that is UNBELIEF. Unbelief is not that you do not have any faith, but you have the wrong kind of faith - a dead faith. You believe in the wrong thing. You believe in yourself, and so it is no good. It does not get you anywhere and it does keep you from seeing the Lord. It does keep you from hearing the Lord. It does keep you from growing in the faith of God, because faith comes by hearing the Word of God. If you know it is God’s Word it goes down into your heart, and is seed because God is never apart from His own Word.
He lives in that and then any word that you receive from God as God’s own Word, is a LIVING THING. It is just as living as any kernel of corn or wheat, or any other kind of a seed. Infinitely more so, because it is germinating seed of an endless life - a life that never ends, a life that will not fade and will not pass away.
That simple word of God in your heart is faith, faith because you say, I believe HIM, I believe He is true. What is faith? Well, that is it. Faith is the new creation, you understand that God is true. You just understand it because His Word is alive IN you. Now all of that happened in you at the beginning, not because you were a Bible student, not because you grasped the significance of things, but because you believed that God sent Jesus Christ to Calvary’s cross to save you. You believed in the truth of God; you believed in God’s truth, the truth of God, the truth of His Love. When you believed in the truth of His Love, the truth of God, that was reality, that was life because He is real. Very simple.
But it is not simple to stay there. It is very simple to come there when you do not know anything much, and when you are conscious of the guilt of your sins. It is very easy to come to Calvary when you have been convinced by the Holy Ghost in your heart that you are a lost and doomed sinner, and that you have not anything at all to help you, not a single thing. Then under the light of the Word of the Cross you come to Calvary hopeless and helpless and you come and sing: “Rock of ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood from Thy riven side which flowed; Be of sin the double cure, save me from its guilt and power.”
The next time you are conscious that you are not getting anywhere, sing the song, “Rock of Ages.” Come to the feet of Jesus; quit being what you are; be what He wants you to be - helpless - YOU NEED HIM.
So it was when the Holy Spirit had convinced you that you are doomed; and you were lost and helpless; and you could not do anything, and you were caught in the light of it. He also showed you where to go, and that is what we lose after awhile. We do not always lose the condemning power, as some people express it, of the Word of God. The devil condemns you, and your own heart condemns you, and the world condemns you, but God CONVICTS you. He is desiring to justify you. He is trying to give you something all the time. He never changes. He is trying to give you the same thing all the time. The trouble is, that the thing He wants to give you to make you gloriously His child is something that fades from your vision. You had it when you first came to Jesus -it was the lowliness of God. In your life you called it repentance, but it was God’s own lowliness and mercy enveloping you, so that you wanted that kind of a Spirit to have possession of you. Then you looked to Calvary, that is what the message of the Word was that brought you to salvation. There you came in such simplicity and you hung helplessly upon Him. You loved the thought of it, and you loved the expression of it.
“Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.” The Holy Spirit did not condemn you, He was convicting you. He is convicting you of your sins by the Word of the Cross of Christ because sin is horrible - it is a horror, an awful condition, not simply because of what it does to you but it is horrible because of what you see it did in Jesus for you. Jesus, Himself, dying for you, carrying the burden of your sins, and the effect of your sins, is the only place it is possible for you ever to see what sin is.
After you have been there, and when you have come out into the light, you begin to love the lowliness and the mercy which is peculiarly the revelation of God. It is that which you come into when you enter into the faith of a child of God. In that light you can look back and you can see what sin did to you. And you can begin to grasp the significance of the horror of sin. But if you get your eyes off of Jesus Christ crucified, and turn away to your knowledge of doctrines and to your discussions of various phases of these things and turn away from Calvary, you will begin to lose the center of the light, the very bursting light that brought your eyes to vision.
It was at the Cross where you first saw the light, and it is at the Cross where you secondly see the light. If that is the 79th time that you come to the light, your eyes open more. You come to the light, and your eyes will open where you first saw it. It is always there, the same thing, “where I FIRST saw the light” - at the Cross.
The trouble is you may get so smart, and know so much, that you have argued religion. Most people do it; they argue so much religion and get angry in their arguments that they are right and the other fellow is wrong. When you have proved that you are right a few times, you have pretty near lost your way, because you are not right. You never were right, and never will be right of yourself. The only rightness you have is Christ crucified for you, for HE is yours. HE is your righteousness. God bless you, my friends, if I could take your scalp off tonight with an old-fashioned Indian tomahawk, and it would bring you to the light, and take away your righteousness, would it not be worthwhile to do it? Lose your scalp and get the righteousness that God means for you to have. We won’t say anything about anybody else - your own righteousness, your own righteousness!
Do you know, dear friends, that we are in the Judgment Day? Let us not get into a doctrinal discussion of it. The Judgment Day is not just a “doctrine.” It is God Almighty cleaving between the good and evil. His purpose in doing it is to establish your rights in Christ Jesus in the very face of the devil. That is what the purpose of it is. The result is that He establishes you and divides the evil from the good, and the third point in that Judgment is that He destroys the power of evil. But we are in it. You are in it now. Do you realize that? You ought to. You ought to realize it. Now please do not think that I am saying these things to be rude. You ought to realize in these days, in the condition that the world is in, to perceive that we are at the end of the rope and we are at the end of the ages. In fact, a new age has already begun. But it is difficult for everybody to see just what that means. It is not going to be done by doctrines. It is going to be done by God’s Word unfolding. Heaven and earth may pass away, but His Word will not. What does that mean? Well, it means that His Word changes the heavens and the earth; and the heavens and the earth have to change according to that Word.
We are in The Time when God judges the false righteousness of His saints. Why? Because He must get us free from the self-righteousness which is the climax of evil; it is the apex of evil and it is lying there in most of our hearts as the darling treasure which we are hanging on to. Unless the Lord can deliver you from your self-righteousness in which are various types of pride and coveting, and angers or wrath, jealousy and envy - unless He can deliver you from that self-righteousness which is capable of all kinds of evil - you will have to be “judged with the world.” You are going to suffer loss. You are going to suffer loss as though your building had been burned. The time is now when the fire is burning. It is starting to burn. Do you dare to pray, “Lord, send the fire.”
I have been praying, “Lord, send the fire,” and He has demonstrated it to me a goodly number of times. It is a very amazing thing; the re of God makes the devils come right out in the eyes, and stand right up and try to show off. The fire of God brings them out as when you are burning a log, all the spiders begin to come out, and they go swarming around trying to find a place where they can get away from the heat and the smoke. So it is in the fire of God. The fire of God touches your innermost consciousness - deeper than your knowledge. But it is perfectly opened to God. You are not hidden to Him a particle. You can stick your head in the sand like an ostrich; that is the way some of you live a good deal of the time. You hope God will not see all of it. Well, He sees even your desire to stick your head in the sand. So you might just as well give in, and give up, and find the way into His LIGHT.
God is seeking for us all to be more than conquerors, not just partial conquerors, but more than conquerors. You cannot be more than a conqueror if you are going to keep something that defeats you somewhere. That something which defeats you is the very heart of your heart. Well, I challenge you to say, “God, yank it out of me, be the heart of my heart.”
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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon