Let’s see the necessity of afflictions to accompany the Word. Do you remember in Paul’s writings in the Corinthians? Do you remember what He said that knowledge did? Puffeth up. What are we getting here every time we meet? More knowledge. What do we need to keep that from puffing us up? Jesus said, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. He was talking about the covetousness, pride and their self-consciousness and self-centeredness. We need something to help us with the knowledge that God has given us that it may be turned from just being religious accumulation to being an inspiration inwardly in our hearts by the revelation of Christ to us. That it change us inwardly and make us a stronger and better companion to the Lord Jesus and not just make us more intellectual.
Psalm 105:17, 18; He (God) sent a man before them (that is before Israel, down into Egypt), even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: (Hebrew reads: his soul came into iron) Why was this done? Verse 19: Until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him. Do you think God, who is no respecter of persons, is the same yesterday, today and forever and will be any different in mine and your life than He was in Joseph’s? What was it that tried Joseph? It was the Word of God.
Dear soul, what you are doing here today is the most glorious thing that any mortal person can ever attend to. What you are doing here today is the most dangerous thing that you ever got yourself involved with. It is more dangerous than the AIDS virus, more dangerous than anything you can possibly do; that is to listen to the Word of God without giving heed to it, to add faith to it and determine to take it into your activity and make it part of your life. The Word of God will try you! It is ordained to do so, that is what it is all about. We see that Joseph was tried by the Word of God.
2 Corinthians 1:8; For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, (I thought God wouldn’t tempt you above that you are able. That is what He said in His first letter. That is the truth, that is God’s Word. He will not tempt you above you are able. But when it happens to you; in His second letter, He writes how it felt. It feels like you are going to be pressed beyond your ability to handle it.) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13. But when it happens to you, that storm will horrify you it will feel like, to you, pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: Why did you have that sentence of death in yourself? Why did God bring that on you so hard? But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
It would better suit us to be sanctified, dead people than to be self-controlled alive people. God was resurrected. You say, if God doesn’t let up on me, it is going to kill me. Well, He is not going to let up on you and it WILL kill you! God doesn’t want you flopping on the bank! He wants you plumb dead; when you get plumb dead, God will raise you and then God will use you for His glory!
So He said, this is how it works: that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; so you past, present and future delivery depends upon the Person of God Himself. It is God, dear friend, which orchestrates your storms. It is God that orchestrates your trials. He is the one that said, “Get in the boat!!” He is the one who said, “Launch forth!” He is the one that said; “Let us go to the other side.” He knows what’s coming, He lies down, resting in God and it seems like He doesn’t care. He leaves you to your own oars and sails and it seems like you are just going to have to do this thing by yourself. You see, we have been our self longer than we have been Christ’s self because our first birth brought us into the consciousness of self in Adam; our mama and daddy “birthed” us and we became aware of “us”, as “us,” before we ever became aware of “us” in Christ. So, you are going to have to be pressed out of trusting in flesh, your flesh, your own self, your own ability. We have the sentence of death in ourselves. God makes it so you can’t do anything except cry out, “Master, you have to do something about this storm.” That is the only thing they had to be able to help them.
1 Peter 1:5; Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I have been saved, I am being saved, I’m going to be saved. Salvation will be finished when He comes back to get me.) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, (That’s great! I’m glad I’m saved!) though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (Do you know anything about a manifold? Do you know about the intake, the manifold on a car? Has different ways of coming at you, don’t they? So do trials.) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Dear souls, God has invested His blood in you, He has invested His honor in you and He will have it return to him a hundred fold! But you cannot have a pure faith that brings honor and glory to God except you suffer for awhile. Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. That is what it is all about.
1 Peter 4:19; Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. Now, if there has ever been a “pillow-verse”, that’s it. Let’s read it again. Grab your pillow, throw your oars down and listen to this. Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God (“Get in the boat! Go to the other side, I’m with you, I won’t forsake you.”) commit the keeping of their souls (To the oars, sails, to our ability as fishermen? No!) to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. Do you want to be perfect? You will not be without suffering. Do you want to be established on the solid rock? You cannot be without a sanctified cross. Do you want to be strengthened and settled by God? Grab a pillow, learn to rest in the Lord, trust in Him and cease from our own self efforts.
Hebrews 12:6; (Who does the Lord chasten? Who He hates? No!) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
When I was getting switched, those folks that were doing it to me were my parents. …whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,… “Well, mama, everyone’s doing it.” “You aren’t going to do it! You are my son, you are my daughter, you aren’t going to do it, you aren’t going to act any such way!” Down inside the daughter or son’s heart, there is a little smile going on, “I’m loved. They wouldn’t let me get away with that.” Isn’t that something?
Dear soul, this is an evidence of love! That is the way it is. No wonder kids are doing all kinds of things today, they are trying to get attention, and they are trying to get someone to love them. That is why we have this mess going on today. Because there is no one showing them how much they love them by chastening them. “Oh, you are going to get put in jail, Brother Gene if you keep preaching like that.” Well, okay.
John 15:1; I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (He is the vinedresser) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it,… Get in the boat! Launch out and let’s go to the other side and good night! I hope you brought your pillow. It was not Ishmael that he put on the altar. It was Isaac. God doesn’t punish you for being bad, he punished Jesus for you being bad. Is that substitution? Is that imputation? Is that what I’m talking about? Yes! Why does He have afflictions come on you? Because you are good. Would you like to live in a room of good little children and you are an adult? God said, “I don’t want just goodness, I want glory.” I just gave you a whole lifetime of preaching in that one sentence. Did you get it? Not many folks will understand that. God doesn’t put Ishmael on the altar, he throws him out. He’s not going to bear fruit, throw him out. It is the Isaac’s that go on the altar. It is the ones that are in the boat with him, it is ones that launch out at His command, and it is the ones that He is in fellowship within that boat. God doesn’t punish you for your sins; he punished Jesus for your sins. But He will purge a fruit bearing branch because it is a good branch and He is going to make it glorious. God, before the foundation of the world, dwelled in His glory. Where was God before the world was created? He was in His glory. What did Jesus ask God to share with us in John 17? “That they may see my glory.”
Dear soul, if He just wanted to make you good, He could have done that without all of this. He doesn’t want to just make you good. He is going to make you glorious, do you understand that? Folks have a negative idea about eternal reward. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2) Does that mean just a physical appearance, like I see you? That means, you are beginning to see Him now, you are beginning to understand why He brought a pillow. When you see Him as the revelation of the Holy Ghost through the Word of God it forms you into His likeness. Not only do you go from faith to faith but you go from glory to glory to glory… I have a little heaven to go to heaven in, how about you? I don’t see anything wrong with that do you?
“The Father purgeth it.” What more can He say than to you He hath said, to you, who for refuge to Jesus hath fled? What more could He say? John 20 says, these things are written. What for? That ye might believe! What more could He say? Volumes of books could not be written of all the things that Jesus did. Why do we have these? There is enough in here that ye might believe! What more could He say? It is not that we need more to be said. I don’t care where Cain got his wife!! I don’t want to know how many hairs are in that horses’ tail in Revelation 6. There is enough here that I haven’t put into action, that is going to keep me busy for the rest of my life!!
It is not that we need more. It is like the fellow the other day, at the restaurant, told the waitress that the sugar bowl was empty, to bring more. She looked at it and there were about two inches of sugar in his tea glass. She said, sir, you don’t need more sugar, you just need to STIR UP WHAT YOU HAVE!! It is not that we need more word, we just need to STIR UP WHAT WE HAVE!!
The last three words before He said, “Launch out”, were, “AND DO IT!” Then He steps back, puts Himself in sleep mode and leaves it up to their faith! The issue here is exercising faith!
Luke 8:23; But as they sailed… Number one, … he fell asleep:… Number two, and there came a storm… Uh, oh, you left out a word. I did that on purpose, what was the word? Down. My goodness…. and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
Psalm 89:8-9; O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. Where did that storm come from? It came down. Who is in charge of storms? God is.
Psalm 148:7; Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: (in order that the word of God will try you, in order that your faith may take hold of the word and your fetters will fall off and you anchor your soul in the haven of rest which is the Lord. This was a glorious privilege from God, who controls the storms, to give His disciples opportunity to put that richness of revelation that they had had that whole day into active effect. Jesus was expecting them to handle that storm by faith themselves and let Him rest as we read in the Song of Solomon today. “Don’t wake up my beloved; let Him arise when He pleases.” Is that presumption? I think it is the spirituality that not many folks are ever brought to consider.
God was in charge of the storm. How bad do these storms get? Daniel 7:1-2; In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. Isn’t that what was happening to these fellows in the boat in Luke 8? A great wind came down and strove upon the sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. God is going to list out for you the four Gentile world powers. It all came when the winds began to blow on the great sea. The great sea, here is the mass of humanity and of mankind. The power of the wind here, is that which God has given forth in the spiritual realm to allow His will to be accomplished through the blessedness of the Holy Ghost. There is a lion-like beast that comes up and brings forth the Chaldeans and they troubled the masses on the sea for many years. In verse 5 there, as the bear, the Medes and the Persians who took over from the Chaleans. Then the Greeks came and took over for the Medes and Persians in Verse 6, as they were like a leopard. The fourth beast in verse 7 was so terrible that they wouldn’t blame that on any animal, that was Caesar and the Roman government. How are you going to handle that? That is a powerful storm! That just takes the whole world and grabs it by the throat and shakes it and says, “You will do what I say!”
Sometimes, dear friend, the church seems like it has lost all control and that everyone has power over them except themselves. You are in the boat. We were talking earlier, you can row a few furlongs ahead and it will blow you three or four furlongs back so it is just useless to try to row. You are in the midst of that which seems to be chaotic! If you hadn’t awakened to see what state America is in, before it is over with, you will! And you will realize that we are in a mess in this nation! You are going to see that in your little boat, you might as well not even have a rudder, the sail is not going to do any good and your rowing is not going to be any good. You better learn who is the one who sent the storm down. It was God and he is the only one who can control it. It is not going to do any more than what He determines it to do and it will bring glory unto Him. The bible says, resist not evil. Did it say that? Yes it did. You be careful how you deal with these beasts out here.
Daniel, what else did you see? Verse 9; I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit. I began to see that God was finished with that storm and He brought us to the King of all Kings and to the glory of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool:… Hey, it’s like reading Revelation 1 about the description of Jesus Christ! …his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels (that is, His providences) as burning fire. Verse 12; As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: (Aha! He is Alpha! He will let the storm start, but He is Omega! He will stop it when He gets ready! He will wake up, rise up when He pleases) yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. Verse 13-14; I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Dear soul, God said, “Church, I’m going to get you to heaven, but I didn’t tell you that you wouldn’t have Nebuchadnezzar. I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t have Darius the Mede. I didn’t tell you , you wouldn’t have Alexander the great. I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t have all the Caesars. I didn’t tell you that the world wouldn’t be in an upheaval by the great wind that blew on the great sea and broke forth all of these beasts that seemed like they are in control of everyone’s lives. I want you to get your pillow, wait on the Lord, I AM Alpha, I AM Omega, I WILL end this thing and when it is over, I WILL have ALL dominion and I will have ALL the glory!” Folks, we are on the winning side! In fact, that is the only side there is. No one qualifies to be his enemy so there is just one side. It is just folks working evil for his glory and folks working good for his glory. It is all the Lord’s! You get your pillow and you rest in the Lord and believe what God said. You go back to your Sunday School teacher when you were a little kid and you say, thank you for teaching me what you taught me. “I pray the Lord my soul to keep.” You go back and you talk to your teachers and talk to your mom and dad, talk to your godly relatives. Go back and find those preachers that taught you the Word of God and go back and say, “I’m going to put into practice. I have a lifetime of Christianity, poured out on me.” There are people in this world that have never seen a bible. There are people who have never heard one gospel message. I have just been lavished with gospel knowledge, I need to stir up what I have. Hello? Get your pillow out! Just “do it!”
It seems like everyone is in control of the world except Jesus. That’s because He is sleeping in the boat. This let’s you realize, there is a lot of stuff that can happen to you. It is the good guys that get purged. The bad guys get thrown out. Look at His son, how good was He? How is perfection? That’s pretty good, isn’t it? Perfect! Look what happened to Him, in transcending the Incarnation from God, the man, into “God all in all.”( 1 Corinthians 15:28) You need to study that passage. For “God all in all” a cross is necessitated. It will get you from regeneration into glorification. Sanctification is then necessary. For you need a sanctified affliction! Dear soul, during all that time, you have a lot of beasts which you have to deal with. There are a lot of storms you must deal with. Wait a minute! Is God biting His fingernails? It doesn’t look like it!! Is God upset? NO! Is God checking on the polls to see if we are ahead or not; what the percentages are? NO! What is He doing?! He is resting in His love, Zephaniah 3:17.
I think I’m going to get a pillow. You guys can “Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream,” I’m getting ready to lie down. Would you tell me what the victory is? Is that who overcometh the world? Faith is an active faith, in that it believes God. We need to find out what Jesus is doing in our hour and do what He does.
Old Preacher Caldwell used to say, “We need to know which way the redeemer is going!” That’s why I don’t quote Spurgeon or read John Calvin to you. I don’t need that bread, that’s stale bread. I need to know what God is doing right now. That takes a lot of faith! And that takes getting up here when sometimes my ears don’t know what my mouth is talking about because my heart is telling me stuff from the Holy Ghost that I haven’t heard anyone else say. I’m trying to follow God in this hour and do what God told me to do in this hour. I’m trying to present you with a hot, fresh bread of a contemporary gospel that is flown down by angels wings from heaven. That is the only thing God’s people will feed on. Eagles don’t eat dead stuff! That’s buzzards!
They launched, that’s what it says; Luke 8:22. They launched forth, Verse 23, They sailed. But also, they were filled with water. They started out real good. Do you remember Galatians 3:3 and 5:7? They started out real good, how are you doing? Are you tired of this way? Are you tired of your journey? Jesus got tired in the journey but He never did get tired of the journey.
Galatians 3:3; Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? They started out real good but they got hit by a storm. How are you doing? Galatians 5:7; Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? You used to run real good They started out good! We have to keep on doing that which we have always done. All it is requires just believing God and resting in the Lord. You say that is the hardest thing in the world, to wait on God. And that is exactly right. That is the way that it was.
I want you to notice His words to them. Luke 8:24; they came to him… They launched forth, they sailed, they were filled, and they were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked… What did He rebuke? The wind and the water! And what happened? They ceased. In an instant from stark terror; boat filling up with water. It said, there was a calm…
In an hour that ye think not, the son of man cometh. When someone says, “I believe Jesus is coming today.” I know one thing! He isn’t coming today, because if you think He is, He isn’t! For in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 24:44) That last tick of the clock, maybe it doesn’t even get to tock. It just ticks and before the tock can come, Jesus is here. If, in that last tick of the clock, we are in a frenzy of unbelief, blaming God that He doesn’t care, and then Christ is here, and it is all calm, how are we going to feel?
You are going to think I’m crazy when I tell you this. Do you know there are times when I have actually missed trials? There have been trials, that after I have begged God to help me be faithful in them, and to get them off of me. When He did then all of a sudden it went from my stark raving terror to just peace…He didn’t speak peace to my heart, He spoke peace to the waves and the wind. My heart, at the time, He called off the trial, it was still doubting God. That quietness was the biggest rebuke and chastisement that I have ever known from God. I distinctly remember a time of affliction in my life that it was absolutely killing me. It affected my eating, my sleep; my clothes were hanging off of me. I’ve since recovered. Demons from hell were tormenting me to a point where I was like Paul, I despaired of life. I laid my head on the wall. I can take you to that place. And I said, “Oh, God, take this thing from me, I don’t think I can stand another second of it.” (snap) Just like that! It was all gone! I suddenly realized “whom I love, I chaseneth and I scourge every son whom I receive.” Do you want to know what my next prayer was? “Bring it back Jesus, bring it back, Lord.”
You see, He rebuked the wind and the waves but they were still not believing God. The last word they said accused God of not caring, carest thou not? How can you look at the cross and say that? In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, in an hour when ye think not, the son of man cometh. I don’t want to be in that last tick, doubting God, blaming God. I want to be sharing His pillow. Because if God changes the circumstances and doesn’t change my heart before He ends it, then that quietness, that stillness is going to be a greater voice of rebuke than His voice to the winds and the waves!
What doest thou here Elijah? Lord, I’m the only one in Israel left. Go out of the cave. He went out and there was a great earthquake. God wasn’t in the earthquake. There was roaring of a mighty fire. God wasn’t in the fire. Then there was the voice of silent stillness and the prophet covered his face because he recognized God. And in that voice, (King James says still, small voice. It reads, the voice of silent stillness.) the prophet bowed his head and came to know more than he ever had in all the shakings of the earthquakes and fires of religion that were round about him.
Dear soul, there was a calm, immediately. What do you do when you are screaming and yelling, You don’t love me!! Bam!! It is like yelling at someone in a noisy restaurant and all of a sudden everything gets quiet and you are still screaming. Everyone looks at you. There is a calm that is more rebuking than the storm. We need to be careful how we speak to God. We need to be careful because we are not guaranteed the tock after the tick. God can cut that thing off suddenly! The thing I don’t want is to have my hand in sin, to have my heart rebuking God, to have my heart doubting and fussing at God and the 7th trumpet blow! And I’m standing there and God has ended the cross, ended all trials. He has brought an end to everything, and I’m standing there and the last thing I said was; CARETH THOU NOT THAT WE PERISH?! We were shouting because the storm was so loud. All of a sudden, PEACE! And I’m still hollering; uh oh. I think that the three Hebrew children probably told about the furnace of fire many times. Not only to their children and grandchildren and even if they lived long enough, their great-grandchildren. And I think they probably told the story in a way so that the children that heard it almost envied them, in themselves, not being able to be in that fire. “Did we not cast, how many? Three men in the fire? In what condition? Bound!” “Yes, O’ king.” “But now, how many are in there?” “Four.” “What is their condition?” “Loose and walking around.” All the fire burned off that which bound them. A storm will release you from all that binds you to be able to walk in the glory of God with the Son of God. Oh my soul, a sanctified affliction is a glorious thing. God thinks it is a very precious thing. How many sanctified afflictions do we mess up? By yelling at God: “Get me out of this!!” If He cuts it off, you are still screaming, the storm is gone, you can’t get it back: you can’t undo your lack of faith, you can’t undo that you screamed at God. I believe that quietness, just like that, storm blowing, winds beating, professional fishermen, scared to death, boat filled with water:-horrible, horrible situation–Then suddenly like glass! And the last thing they did was holler at God. It wouldn’t have been that way if we had been on our pillow.
I trust God will help us to see the reality of the responsibility that we have and that God will help us to have some wisdom as how to live in it. Folks, I’m going to tell you that there have been people who have had a lot of revelation, and it puffed them up and ruined them. But there has been no one who had a cross which they yielded to that did anything but bring them to a higher degree of glory.
When I asked you this morning, “Did you want to go on”, I wasn’t talking about going on with the message. I wasn’t talking about how much time I was using preaching. I meant, do you want to proceed further into the heights with God? Have you got enough? Would you like a plateau ministry, just level off and let’s don’t push it any further or would you like to go on in the glory of God? Would you like to be like Enoch that just keeps on walking when God tells you was not. Isaiah 40:31; But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Waiting to fly)