Mr. Rader's Victorious Life Message
At the Victorious Life Conference, Cedar Lake, June 30, 1917.
Mr. Rader chose the 66th Psalm as the Scripture for the Victorious Life Conference, calling special attention to the following suggestive verses. He chose portions of these verses as texts also for the messages which he gave throughout the conference.
“Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honor of His name; make His praise glorious. He turned the sea into dry land; they went through the flood on foot; there did we rejoice in Him. Which holdest our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved. For Thou, O God, has proved us; Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; Thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. I will go into Thy house with burnt-offerings; I will pay thee my vows, which my lips have uttered and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.” Psalm 66:1, 2, 6, 9-14
“Though broughtest us out into a wealthy place”—that is the victorious life. But there is much stripping and burning before you are willing to take this life. “I will go into Thy house with burnt-offerings.” There are few people who have anything in their lives that has ever been burnt, and that is what God is looking for. We meet lots of people with an offering. They will give to God, and sing to God and do a lot of things for God, but they haven’t anything that is burnt, haven’t any ashes to bring to God, saying, “Lord, there is my finest fleshly dream, and I am glad to give it to You—it is all burnt up.”
The Bible says, “He gives beauty for ashes,” and all the beautiful characters I have known have submitted their flesh-life to God and He has burned and burned.
“Burn on, of fire of God, burn on,
Thy fire has come to stay;
Burn on, oh fire of God, burn on,
Prepare me for the testing day.”
When my wife came to be with me at Pittsburgh after I had entered this victorious life and saw for the first time the class of people I was working with, the devil brought some hypocrites to her view first thing, and then he tried to get me to explain that they were not the people with this life of victory I had been talking about. He brought one woman who loved to shout like a fool and didn’t have any real experience to shout about. The devil always brings his variety of “tin-cans” around, who haven’t any real experience, but always have something to say at the wrong time, and he appears to exhibit them when you are trying to show folks what the real life is. Should you try to explain? No, let God explain. He shuts your mouth. He is your defense. This is part of the burning. This eternal explaining puts out God’s burning fire.
Then folks will say, “Well, don’t you see, since you have entered this life how things go?” You will be lied about, you will be misunderstood, and they will take everything you say backward—and the Lord is glad to have them do it, for He has to have some fire to burn your self life and you have to learn to look to God alone and not to what people say. He must be your life, not them.
So God is looking for a burnt-offering, and you can have a good time when you get among people who bring burnt-offerings to God. I will never forget a woman who attended our tent meeting in Pittsburgh. Her husband was a wealthy man, and she was well-fixed in her own name. He went through everything they both had, and they finally got into two little rooms and he would come home every two weeks drunk, to see if she had a dollar or ten cents. Proud? She wouldn’t let anybody of the old set know where she was, and she would get work where she could. She got humble enough to go into a little mission. In the earlier days she would trail down the church aisle and sit in a pew, but she didn’t have any salvation or any Jesus in her soul. She didn’t have a Jesus that could go through the storm. She went into that little mission, and saw for the first time poor folks praising God, people who didn’t have anything in the way of material things, but were happy in God.
This Psalm opens up, “Make a joyful noise unto God,” and there are no people who are as joyful before God as the people who haven’t much, but are rich toward God. This woman began to look around, and God began to show Himself to her, and she was wonderfully saved. Her husband was out lying on the sidewalk, his hair frozen to the walk, when they found him. They brought him to the mission after his recovery. Somebody preached and prayed, and he said afterwards that he just fell off the front seat before the altar, and that night something happened, and God did a wonderful work in his life.
The first time I saw this woman she was at the altar in the tent I had put up. The city had taken up the wooden sidewalks around the lot, and I put these sidewalks together and put a tent-roof over them, and a few people came in, and finally this woman, sitting near the front, just slipped down before the altar and began to thank God that He ever took her home away from her, and took “respectability” from her. People thought she was crazy as she said this; but she was bringing a real burnt-offering to God, and oh how she began to praise God for the things that had been burnt out and glory that had come in.
It is just such people that know how to praise God, because they are not praising about things or circumstances, but praising Him for His glory that is bigger than self and things.
A Joyful Noise
This Psalm starts out, “Make a joyful noise unto God.” People make a great deal of noise on the Fourth of July and at celebration times. Everybody has a different way of making a noise. Noise is a great thing. One night in an Illinois town I slept in a hotel where they were having a dance, closing at the respectable hour of two o’clock (to be nice and decent). And at one of their banquets sensible men were sitting with fool’s caps on and blowing whistles, trouble. Sick people groan and murmur and complain and probably have something to complain about; but when a happy person or child is around about the world knows it. This old world is full of that other kind of music, the music where all creation groans and is in agony. Groans! God says the world groans. It isn’t a joyful world, it groans. It tries to yell and get above the groans, but the groan is in it all the time.
I never felt like really rejoicing in my soul until Jesus did full work there, and having a good time making some noise. College fellows have to yell and make a noise. There is a peculiar noise that God wants us to make, and it is a distinctive noise that cannot be duplicated, and you cannot find it any place in the world but coming from a human throat surrendered to God. I don’t mean yelling or anything that is simply emotion. There is a noise that comes out of the human throat in praising God that is the sweetest music the world knows anything about. Praise God, in the hour of prayer, when there is nobody around you will find out there is joy in praising God.
There are some people who never make a noise to God with their voice, but David believed in singing to God and talking out loud to God. He said, “I cried with my voice unto God,” and God wants us to get our mouths open.
God made birds to look pretty, but He made them also to sing, and there is nothing more delightful than to wake up in the early hours of the morning here at Cedar Lake and hear the birds sing. I didn’t know what a difference in birds there would be between Chicago and St. Louis, but down here on the Mississippi I saw birds I had forgotten all about. The sparrows have chased so many of our birds out of the country, that it is a delight to get where little song bird throats are just thrilling. After a rain when the sunshine comes out, even the hens and roosters in the yard let us know it is sunshiny by the joyful noise that comes out of their throats.
A New Heart
Every kind of an animal has a joyful noise, and also a noise of distress and then I felt life rejoicing and making “a joyful noise unto the Lord.” The natural world doesn’t love the noise of salvation. If ever anybody in the world hated anyone who said “Amen” or made any kind of a religious noise it was myself. You get a person who is walking in carnality and in the flesh, and he will sit smug and don’t like any noise or any praise to God. I have sat in audiences so cold and formal that I had to get up and go outside to shout. Not long ago a friend of mine was talking about the Coming of Jesus, and illustrating the mathematics of it. There is all the difference in the world between running through Daniel and Isaiah and Revelation and getting the mathematics of the Second Coming, and getting the hope of it.
You watch a dog that is happy. The wagon is standing there and the farmer is getting ready to go to town, and the dog will yelp and dance around and jump up and bite the horse’s nose, and is happy because he hopes the farmer is soon going to say “Gid ap,” and they’ll start off. I want to know the doctrine of the Second Coming, but I want the hope in my soul, the expectancy. Today my wife told me some news that warmed my heart, about the baby. We didn’t realize that she knew me so well. When my wife said to her, “We are going down to the depot to see Daddy,” her little face lit up and she said, “Daddy?” That is a delight to me. And when the Holy Spirit tells us that Jesus is coming back, and we say, “Jesus?” that is joyful news. Thank God, He is coming back, folks—Jesus is coming back, and there ought to be a joyful noise in our hearts.
This friend of mine was explaining the mathematics of it, and running through chapter after chapter, and I was sitting at the back of the house, and he had a long poker with a steel end, and there wasn’t an expression on his face. Some of the audience were taking notes as if they were figuring out a railroad schedule, and I didn’t want to disturb the meeting, didn’t want to wake folks up or shock anybody, and I had to go outside and have my shout with Jesus. I love to get alone and praise God. I don’t mean to say that every meeting ought to go with a rip and roar, but if your knowledge concerning the coming of Jesus doesn’t turn into a glowing hope something is wrong. Because “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure” (1 John 3:3) and beloved, with this pure heart you can praise. The hope makes joyous.
I pity so many people today because they haven’t Jesus’ joy, for the joy of the Lord is our strength. My theology is not my strength this afternoon. I have things straight, but I know men that haven’t gone back on their theology for a minute, that are absolutely as dry as a bone. They have all the theory of it and all the truth of it, but not the joy of the Lord. I would not lose my joy for anything in this world. I couldn’t preach a week. I would dry up, I couldn’t stand it, even physically. It is the joy of Jesus we want, not the joy of surroundings or circumstances; and thank God, victory is where you ride over the top of circumstances and have a joy that the world cannot give, and thank God again, the world cannot take it away.
The Life that is Christ
We are going to talk in this conference about the life that is Christ. Mr. Trumbull said that when he dictated his articles on this life of victory, on every one of his letters and manuscripts he would have to scratch out the apostrophe and “s” and say to his stenographer, “I didn’t say ‘the life that is Christ’s,’ but ‘the life that is Christ.’” This life is a person, and never divorced from a person. It is Himself. He is the life of victory. That is the distinction we are going to make all the time we are here. It is not your life, it is His life.
Paul says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” You are walking in Him, and He is living His life in you—not ‘the life that is Christ’s’—but the life that is Christ—“Christ in you the hope of glory.” There is all the difference in the world in that apostrophe and “s.” If you get that vision, life is changed for you, and it is worth while, for it is victory!
My friend in Kansas City, who was converted in a tent meeting, while stopping at the Fort Pitt Hotel, was telling me afterwards about the joy in life, which God so sweetly illustrated through her while she was talking to a woman who came to a parlor-meeting in her beautiful home. The woman said to her, “Oh, you are so happy,” and she replied, “Don’t look at my happiness, look at the source of it. I want you to see Him and get your eyes on Him.” Soon the woman said, “You have an automobile?” “I haven’t,” she answered. “I thought you owned an automobile.” “No, I don’t.” “You own this house.” “No, I don’t.” “I thought you were wealthy.” “I have five dollars in my pocket.” “Has there been any trouble?” “No.” “You don’t own this house?” “No.” “I understood that you owned buildings down town.” “No, I don’t own an acre of land.” “Did your husband lose all his money, and his property?” “No.” “Has he got it?” “Yes.” “I thought you said you didn’t own anything.” “I don’t own anything, except him and he has got everything, there is nothing in my name, but I have him so I don’t need anything else.”
You see the distinction? Some people really think Jesus is going to give them something apart from Himself. No, sir. He says we are to live with Him and have all things in common. This is the life that is Christ, and the devil is trying his best through formality of all kinds to try to make you think you are living a Christian life, a life that has rules and regulations around it, a life that you are trying to live, and not the life He lives in you without your awful trying. He says, “Lo, I am with you all the days,” it is the life that is Christ.
This life of victory is never hard. It never is hard or it isn’t victory. A lot of people are struggling for this life of victory. If it is Christ, hasn’t He the victory? Who or what can defeat Him? The world is all the time trying to look at me and you and talk of our life, but one day I reckoned myself to be “dead indeed unto sin”—I just reckoned it. That is the word you want to use, “I reckon myself to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ.” No life in myself, I have no life apart from Him. I have no purity apart from Him, and no victory apart from Him. It is His life that is my victory, and whenever I get back into my own life I haven’t any victory. There is nothing there but defeat. All that Adam gave me and all my self effort, He put away on the cross, and I can reckon His death mine, and then as He arose I can reckon His life mine.
While I am in Him it is not hard. When is it hard? When I try to make out like I am living in Him and am living in myself. That is the struggle between the flesh and Spirit, and that is where all the struggle comes and the fight comes; but whenever you yield to the Spirit it becomes easy, and it is His life and His wisdom and His righteousness and His power. “He is made unto us sanctification.” Your testimony must be in Him, and your joy must be in Him, and men and women know whether you are rejoicing in yourself or in Him.
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” It is the Lord who is your life, and whenever you get that vision there is rejoicing, and others exalt Jesus Christ and everyone of us go right up in praise with them. Whether you feel like it or not, praise Him because He is worthy. It was cloudy this morning, but we knew the sun was still there. So can’t we praise Him whether we feel like it or not? Learn to praise Him. That is praising Him in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Some people say, “I guess I lost it this morning, I had it yesterday.” My friend, He never changes, and when you keep your eyes on Him you walk with Him. When you talk about anything He has done an exultation goes up from your heart. It is all in Him. So let us on these grounds learn to rejoice in Him.
Why Not Praise Him?
There will be some people come in who came because they were tired, worried, sick, burdened. How are you going to lift the burden? They will try to tell you about the burdens. You tell them about Jesus. Sit there and praise Him and tell what He has done, and the first thing you know the cloud will begin to lift and all the burden drops away.
A man came up to see me in St. Louis the other day in a great deal of doubt and worry, and said, “Mr. Rader, I came up to have you pray for me.” I said I would be glad to do that, and we went up to my room and got down and he prayed and told the Lord all about his trouble, and just bawled it out before God. I looked at him and said, “You are not a very good editor, are you?” He said, “What do you mean?” I said, “You are taking stale stuff to God. That’s all old news to God. He knows all about it. I guess you have been staying awake nights keeping Him busy telling Him about that.” He said, “Yes.” I said “Come, let’s praise God.” He answered, “Rader, I don’t feel like it.” “What do I care what you feel like? God is just the same. Don’t you call Him a liar. He don’t change.” He looked at me for a minute and said, “That is right.” I said, “Don’t you know everything you said was an insult to God in your prayer? You were bawling like He didn’t care or love you; as if He never looked your way at all. And all the time He loves you so much He gave you His only Son, and will He not with Him freely give you all things?” He said, “What a fool I am. I was going down sure.” “Yes,” I said, “and every time you would lean over the devil would throw another weight on. Get your head up and begin to praise God.”
He began to praise, and the first thing he laid his hand on my shoulder and said, “He doeth all things well.” He is the victory, the life that is Christ.
Lord, we want to believe You this afternoon and trust You. We praise You for inditing prayer to start the meeting; we praise You for tender hearts that are here. Thou dost give joy when every avenue that is human, thank God, has been shut up. Jesus, we have seen You ride the billows and still the storms that were tossing our little boats, and say to us, “Get out and come to Me,” and then say to the billows, “Be still.”
We came down here to be still and know that Thou art God. Oh, how hungry Thy precious heart is for faith. Jesus, Jesus, we are so sorry our faith is not bigger; but we love You this afternoon, and we want faith, faith that believes that God cannot lie, and that takes it for granted and goes on and expects God to open ways ahead of us.
We have come down here and started this conference, and we just pray that now, for Thy glory and for Thy praise Thou wilt indite faith this afternoon—praise and faith, to praise Thee because Thou art faithful, and praise Thee because Thou hast never left us, nor forsaken us. We turned our backs upon You, but You never forsook us once. Oh, how we praise Thee. Let the angels come in with us this afternoon, and let us go in with them, and lift up our hearts and heads with all the company of heaven before God Almighty and praise Him.
Oh, God, Thou wilt teach people by Thy Holy Spirit how to live this life that is Christ—to praise Thee, to exalt Thee, to honor Thee and hold the merits of the blood and the life of Jesus before they very throne of God, and to live in Thee.
How good, how refreshing to step out of our horrible circumstances, the barrier of ourselves and our pride and our planning and our program, into the sweet serene loveliness of Thyself.
Oh, praise God, the boat is going out under your steam, and we get in. We don’t hold on and drag in the water, but we get in. Thine is the power, and Thou art the pilot, Thou hast the chart, and Thou art Master of the waves, and it is a life of real rest and victory. So we praise Thee, we praise Thee. Amen.