“I will go into Thy house with burnt-offerings.” —Psalm 66:13
If you want to get into “the house,” and by that I mean the Holy of Holies, and into the presence of God, the real glorious Shekinah presence of the fullness of the Holy Ghost, you will have to realize that Jesus has been made available to you in the burnt-offering. You will have to take Him as your whole burnt-offering, reckon yourself to be dead indeed unto sin, and then let His fire burn in your daily life around everything that is of self.
When you get to the place where you bring such burnt-offerings before Him you can go right into His house and into His fellowship. I might preach a sermon on separation; but that isn’t God’s word for this process. The kind of separation God loves is not throwing a thing around behind a corner, because you might go around the corner, and get it; but God wants something deeper in your life. He wants to give you such a vision of His Holy Self that all things connected with your self become despicable to you.
The story is told of an old lady who chewed gum and an old man who smoked a pipe, and they each criticized the other. The old lady said to the old man, “Well, I don’t smoke, anyway,” and he answered back, “I don’t chew gum, anyway.” She said, “Let’s give it up,” and he said, “All right.” She went up in the attic and stuck her gum away, and he went to another corner and hid his pipe. Two days later he said to himself, “I can’t stand it any longer, I’ve got to have a smoke,” and went up into the dark attic to get his pipe. While he was groping around in the dark he touched a human hand, and, frightened, exclaimed, “Who’s that?” “It’s me,” came the answer. “What are you doing up here?” “I’m after my gum.” “Well, I’m after my pipe.”
The only separation God takes keen delight in is the separation made by burning. When God says, “What did you do with that?” you hold up a bundle of ashes and say, “That’s what You did, Lord. You took that away, and I don’t want it. I’ve lost my hunger for it.” “He gives beauty for ashes,” that is what God’s fire does.
Jesus is made unto us sanctification. He has so completely taken sin’s penalty for us, and nailed sin to the cross, that we can reckon ourselves by faith to be dead indeed unto sin, and alive with Him in newness of life, and He can so work by His divine indwelling Spirit that He will burn from your life those things you have offered up to Him.
There is a great deal of teaching in our day that I have listened to, talking about the Holy Ghost for service and power, but never telling people about any kind of a work that the Holy Ghost has to do in burning at their life of self before God can fill them with the Spirit. You never saw a man filled in your life, until God had emptied him, and until a burning took place in his life, and he went down broken and melted before God. God’s Spirit can never take you and use you mightily until there is a breaking and going down before God.
Isaiah saw Him high and lifted up, and the minute he did he began to quiver from his heart right out to the ends of his being, and he said, “Lord, even my lips are unclean, and the people I dwell among have unclean lips, and I am unfit for service.” When Job saw God he dropped before Him and said, “Lord, I abhor myself.” John couldn’t even stand up. He fell down like a dead man when he saw Jesus in Glory. I know what he felt like in a measure, for I had the agony of such visions of self, when I didn’t even want to lift my head, and said, “My God, I cannot associate with You. This damnable, stinking pride, this hellish thing called the life of self! I dare not lift up my head; but if you will lift me up and transform me, I can come into your presence, and no other way.” My only relief was to see Him become my burnt offering in death on the cross and to reckon myself dead unto sin.
Then Jesus lifted John up, as Jesus can lift us up, and then we can rejoice in His victory, and His flow of divine love, and in His life. Then you can lift your head up, but not in your old self-life. If you are parading in that old flesh-life standing up when you should go down before the mighty working of Jesus Christ, God help you to drop before Him as a dead man, and reckon yourself dead.
Now the Psalmist says, “I will come into Thy house.” How? With burnt offerings, saying, “Lord, I abhor myself. I am not coming on any merits of my own, on any claims that I have, but simply and purely on the merits of Jesus Christ, My Saviour, to cleanse me from sin. And, thank God, He is my sanctifier, the very One who does the complete work. For He was taken outside the camp for me, and I can go to Him for His righteousness and His power, and His holiness.
Now everything you get from God which is spiritual, you have to get by going past the burnt-offering place. You cannot get any blessing God wants to give until you have gone past this place. You have to see that you must give up that old life, and have nothing to do with it, your talents, your powers, your ingenuity, anything of the life of self. How we hate that kind of doctrine! I know Christian workers by the hundreds that despise the thing; but whenever they see the vision of Jesus Christ they won’t despise it. I don’t care to preach the doctrine and rub it in, because it won’t do any good. The only thing I can do is to exalt the glorious life which is Christ in us, and make their poor mouths water so much for it that they will say, “Lord, let me die that I may live.”
The old way is the legal way, emphasizing only the death, but this way is the way of grace, catching a vision of the life, and there is no way to get into all the fullness of God but by the way of grace, where you see beyond the death-reckoning a place of boundless life in the Holy Ghost given free. If you don’t get your salvation by good works, how do you think you are going to get the fullness of the power of the Holy Ghost by your works? If you began with grace, why don’t you go on in grace? If you began to trust the merits of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sin and the blotting out of your past transgressions, why don’t you trust that same sacrifice, to put away the selfish flesh that is hindering you now? Why do you try to work your pride out and cultivate it out? You could not cultivate your sin out. You might rub it with every eraser in the world, and cry with Lady Macbeth, “Out, damned spot,” and all to no avail.
Tonight you are up against that fleshly disposition of yours. You are up against self, your temper, and all those things that are bothering you. Why do you struggle and try to work them out and try to kill them out? You cannot kill them. No power of yours will put them out of the way. Unless you see tonight that the cross of Calvary attends to that business for you, and you can reckon the whole business dead with Jesus on the cross, you will never get victory. You will always work at it by odious prayers and pleading and struggling. I see so many people who are supposed to be deeply spiritual people, who have the most terrible struggle in the world. Their prayer life is a struggle because they are still under the law. They don’t see that the life of victory is a life of grace, and it is an easy life because it is His life living itself within us.
When I saw the first automobile go by it was a great delight, and when I saw the first one stop and I got a chance to get in, I could hardly believe I didn’t have to push or pull. I got into one, a Pierce-Arrow, and a man who drives a machine himself was sitting next to me. The first thing I knew my companion was putting the brakes on me, and pushing his elbow into me as the chauffeur in front handled the wheel. He had run a car so long he couldn’t even keep his muscles still while a good chauffeur was handling it. Some of you have run your life so long you find oh such a struggle just to let Jesus live it for you.
All you have to do is to ride. You struggled so hard to do right, and failed, and you say, “What’s the use? I tried and I failed. I get so discouraged,” but oh, friend, when you see the grace of God that has made all provisions, not only for your sins, but for your poor failing self, you will quit the struggling, you will let Him live it for you. You will be so ashamed of your selfish life of failure that you will be glad to do His will.
Let me illustrate it: Here is a fine father, a fine mother, three or four boys and two or three young girls running down in age until there is a little baby just learning to walk, toddling around the house. There is the splendid father sitting looking into the grate fire, in a great big old home place, with all the family gathered around singing sings, paring apples, and some of the boys cracking nuts, having a lovely time on a winter’s night. You say it is a lovely home circle. There comes a knock at the door, and a poor fellow comes up, and the father looks at him and says, “Well, son, I am mighty glad to see you back.” “Father, can I come in?” The father says, “I would like to have you in. Certainly, you can come in, on the same old conditions, boy. You left this house willingly, didn’t you? You told me you didn’t want to have anything to do with me. That you were going to build something better than I had. You told me you didn’t want my way, and you didn’t want to mind your mother and obey my laws and enjoy the things in my house, and you went out to shift for yourself, didn’t you?”
That is what every last one of us did. We all like sheep went astray, and turned every one to his own way. You turned to your way, and I to mine. You didn’t get all you wanted. Wouldn’t somebody have suffered if you had gotten all you wanted? We turned every one to his own way.
The father said, “You went your own way. We are a family, and we are all happy together, but you didn’t want to go our way. Do you want to go our way, now?” “Well, if that is what you call love, I don’t want it.” “What do you mean, son?” “Oh, that’s always the way,” the boy growled, “Sit there in your selfishness and having a happy time and won’t let me in!” “Well, Bud, unless you want to go my way you will make hell out of his home in two minutes. If I let you in here you would spoil the whole family.” Say, some of you old murmuring folks, if you got into Glory it would turn into hell in five minutes, and every angel and redeemed soul would have a sorry time. You are sitting here and you realize you are not living in the Spirit, and are not comfortable tonight, because you are not living in His will. If it is uncomfortable here, in God’s name how do you think you are going to be comfortable in Glory, and if you don’t enjoy and want all God has for you here, in God’s name what is heaven going to be to you? When are you going to want everything that God wants you to have? He wants you to see the complete lost condition of your fallen nature, and everything that you are, absolutely dead.
The father keeps on talking to the boy, and says to him, “Boy, you are not changing any, and until a change takes place you cannot come in here.” The boy speaks again, “All right. That is the way you look at it, anyhow, but listen, Dad, let me in for tonight, and just take me in to shelter me. I am up against it and haven’t any place to sleep. Take me in tonight, anyhow.” “Yes, I will be glad to take you in son; so just go downstairs there, and your brother will meet you in the basement and take off all your clothes and give you a nice bath, and put some of his clothes on you. He is just your size and they will fit you. And put a necktie on and brush your hair and take a shave and come upstairs and sit with us.” The boy speaks again, “Yes, that is the way. You fellows don’t seem to enjoy anything unless it is your way.” “Well, we are going one way, son, and you are going the other. If you want the joy of the family circle why don’t you enter it right?”
The boy keeps protesting, and finally the father says, “Look here, son, I know what you have on the outside of your clothes. I am a wise father, and have always protected my children. You left here willingly and went your own way, and when you are willing to put on clean clothes and live our kind of a life you can come in. You have poison all over you. You have climbed out of a boxcar with a shipment to a drug store, and you are covered with poison. If the little baby should rub up against you and get some of that on her lips in forty seconds she would be dead. I couldn’t let you come in here with my family.” The son speaks again. “Oh, you talk about your love, and about your charity and your kindness and mercy, and your tenderness and forgiveness and hospitality and joy and music and your sons and daughters—you talk about it, but it is all bosh.” The father says, “Rave on, my boy. You could have every bit of it if you would leave outside what I want you to leave.”
Do you see what I mean when I say that this text says, “I will come into Thy house with a burnt offering?” Until that fellow would go past the furnace room he would never get into that home. Something has to be consumed so nobody else will get it. I bless God that the treatment of my Christ throughout eternity will make men so they have no sin on them at all. Jesus dealt with sin once for all on the cross, and is going to put the whole business out of commission eternally; and you cannot get into His house and into all His Glory but by the blood, the spilt blood of Jesus Christ, and you will have to take the cleansing before you enter in.
Finally the father says, “Boy, is it the poison or is it the house? My boy downstairs knows how to handle the whole business, and he will take it all, your old clothes and vermin and poison, and give you a bath and thoroughly cleanse you and come up with you on his arm and present you to me without spot and blemish or any such thing, and present you to me all cleaned up and restored. Won’t you allow him to take you through that process of cleansing and present you to me?”
If you wish to enter into the fullness of the Holy Ghost why do you think the power of the Holy Ghost in His fullness is going to fall on you when you won’t let God burn up dross? Oh, turn from the awful life of flesh. Turn wholly to the Lord, and you can say, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Oh, let Him burn the bridges over which we would travel so quickly into the self-life and lean on the arm of flesh. The smoke of these bridges is sweet incense to God.
A little woman in a tent meeting said, “Mr. Rader, my husband isn’t a Christian. He is a proud, wealthy man, and won’t give up to Jesus; and now they have connected my name with the vilest story, and I just can’t stand it to have it get to his ears. How can I prevent it? Can’t you say something, or get a certain woman and myself together and talk the thing over? If that should get to my husband’s ears it would hinder his salvation.” Oh, it worried her! I said, “Listen, this is the greatest opportunity you ever had in your life.” She looked at me as if I had hit her with a club. “Oh,” I said, “you have the change to put Attar of Roses in the angels’ noses.” She didn’t know what I meant yet. I said, “Listen, heaven couldn’t get a sweeter smell than for you to turn from human help and take this promise of God, “Because of His strength will I wait upon thee, for God is my defense” (Psalm 59:9), and not defend yourself, but go right straight along and trust Him, and when the billows burst over you, you say, “Jesus, I put it up to you. Burn on, Oh fire of God on my self-confidence or confidence in others’ help. I am not going to lean on the arm of flesh, because of His strength.”
She dropped down upon one of the seats, those old seats with the canvas across them, and said, “Jesus, I thank You for the opportunity.” The tears of joy were in her eyes. I saw that woman, for a little bit over two months walk right straight along down there in the congregation. I would look her way, and once in a while she would put up her hand and smile, as much as to say, “Oh, the fire burns, but He is true.” Don’t you see the smoke going up? The fire was just burning all around her; but the smoke was going up. She wasn’t leaning on the arm of flesh, or upon herself. She had found a friend in Jesus, He was everything to her—everything, everything. Who do you trust when you get in trouble? Where do you run when the billows roll? Oh, if He is such a great Christ, why don’t you let Him burn out that old stubbornness? There isn’t anything sweeter than that kind of incense to God. Oh, come in, clear in, with burnt offerings.
One day I began to preach, and I had a most peculiar message, and I had a hard time delivering it, but was confident that He was pleased. I said something about sin, and the judgment of sin; but I never finished that sermon, because a woman got up and said, “Mr. Rader, there is no need of going any further. I have sinned, and sinned openly, and I have to make a public confession of it. Mr. Rader, I have lied against a woman in this place, and I have got to publicly say what I said.” She stood there on that floor, and God made her tell the truth, and every man and woman heard it, and put that lie forever away. When the little woman about whom she had lied arose in her place and lifted her hand to heaven in praise there was stillness in that place and wonderful conviction. The ashes of that burned bridge have become more beautiful as the days go by. Ashes show His grace in the hardest place.
That is what I am talking to you about. There is a life in Christ, and it is His life itself that He wants you to take as your sufficiency. It is His own life in yours, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” Why have any hope in your other life? Why let it have the upper hand, and when God’s Spirit says to you “Have all things in Christ,” why do you rest in your flesh? Why don’t you let God mortify it and burn it as He pleases?
Victory is Christ, He is all you need. He calls His name, “The God All Sufficient”—El Shaddai, “The God of the Breast.” A little babe in its mother’s arms is provided for. There may be a beefsteak market, and a store full of grapenuts and fruits and many different things to eat near at hand, and you say, “Here, Bud, they are selling meat over there,” and if the babe could talk he would say, “Go on, I have enough. Why, mother’s breast is here, and that’s all I need.” He don’t even have to talk. God put the necessary instinct into the little thing, so that as soon as it was born it put its little mouth up and snuggled close.
I was in a pasture one day when a little calf had just come into the world. As the sun came out it shone on the calf to warm it. That little weakling staggered to its feet, and I wanted to help it, but that old lady cow said, “Don’t you come near, Bud, or I’ll fix you. I am El Shaddai, and this is all fixed, and we don’t need your help at all.” The first thing you know he shoved his nose up against his mother’s knees and stuck up his tongue, and then against the other knee. He took two steps and then the breast struck his mouth. The mother had all he needed.
And you, with that flesh life in yourself, struggling, when God says, “My name is El Shaddai, I am all you need.” The devil is trying to make you think this is a life of your paving. No, it is a life of His wisdom and His righteousness and His sanctification provided for you. It is all in Jesus, and He is everything to you, and His is the life of victory.
That mother was everything that calf needed. She was horns to that calf, and, thank God, my Jesus is horns for me, and all I have to do is cry or pray and He gets His horns down and I get close to Him, and the devil says, “I guess I will get on the other side of the barbed-wire fence.” Yes He is all we need. Lose confidence now in your own powers. Oh, start your burnt offerings now. “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).