Are You Willing to Drink His Cup? # 4
Ours is all theology. We get a starving man and give him a cookbook. Does it help him? He looks in the cookbook and sees there a dish with potatoes, beef, etc. What do you do? You tantalize him! You say, "Oh, I hope one day you can come to our place. We're going to have this dish, this beef, this turkey, and something else." And yet the poor man is ravenously hungry! We give him a picture, but we don't give him the goods! At the average church on Sunday morning, they give you the menu, but they never give you the meal. They give an outline of theology: This is our precious doctrine." So, most people will be reciting doctrine in Hell!
As I've said before, if you say "where two or three are gathered in His Name," If the living Christ is in your meeting, how in God's Name can you have a dead service?! It's totally impossible.
I remember talking once in Carnegie Hall with Miss Kuhlman. We were talking about the Church, as it is, and various other things. She said, "I talked with some young students the other day. They said, "We go to a certain church. We have a wonderful pastor, and a marvelous choir, and he's a great teacher, but nothing ever happens. We come to see your meetings and there's a power of God there. I was in meetings there where billows of power went over the place! All kinds of miracles were done." What does the pastor say? He says, of course, where two or three are gathered, He's in the midst. Do you know what I said to them? "Well, if He's in the midst,and you believe that He's the same yesterday, today, and forever, why doesn't He do in the midst here what He did in the midst there?" We try and bail God out! The pastor has been to a seminary (or as I say, a cemetery). Our pulpits are full of dead men preaching dead sermons to dead people. But there's going to come an awakening. God Almighty doesn't care if He sends America bankruptcy. He doesn't care if we have to stand in bread lines. He doesn't care if our automobiles rust because we have no gasoline. That could happen very easily.
But again, you see, it is so "expensive." We to have more than believe on the Lord. We have to more than have a blessing just because we feel better, we feel inflated, or we maybe get a gift or something.
You know, I've found that when someone gets a gift of the Spirit, they're more proud after they get the gift than they were before. They're proud of the gift! The indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to me, is the most majestic thing this side of eternity! The Holy Spirit produces holy people. Holy people live holy lives, producing holy fathers and mothers. So here's a question, Answer it for yourself. "Do you want to drink the cup that he drank of?"
Between here and there is a Gethsemane, a Cross. There was a young man in 1904, in a town called Newcastle-Emlyn, Wales. He had about 35 people in the meeting. He put his big hands up and prayed "Bend us, Lord, and then break us." Bend us. Bend the Church. Break the Church.
One night in a crowded meeting, with more than 1200 people, suddenly God came upon him. The writer puts it very beautifully, I think, though terribly. That great preacher who had been captivating crowds and turning cities on fire had a public Gethsemane.
He suddenly crumbled to the ground, as though somebody had squashed him downwards. It wasn't a spectacle. It wasn't a demonstration. It was a personal visitation of the Holy Spirit.He writhed. He groaned. He travailed. Some men at the front said, "Let's go help him." And somebody else said, "Don't put a finger on him."
When he got up his face was transformed as though he needed a veil over it. From there he moved into a new sphere of power, a new sphere of authority.
We're not going to gather people together and cause them to repent. Only God can do that.
Read again Joel 2 today. We quoted it so often. "He's going to pour out his Spirit on all flesh." But wait a minute! The price is tremendous: Lay all night between the altar and the doorpost. I'd love to see a couple dozen preachers who would get together and lay between the altar and the doorpost, two nights a week, for the next three weeks, with the Holy Spirit coming upon them. Not "speaking in tongues" in the sense that so many people think, but speaking with a tongue we've never heard: speaking of travailing!
What you've got in Romans 8 is beyond language.
It cannot be uttered. It's God the Holy Spirit groaning through us. It groaned in Jesus so that He travailed. Are you going to suggest that He didn't groan? Of course, He groaned at Gethsemane.
I believe that Jesus, right now, is groaning in heaven. If He's the same yesterday, today, and forever, don't you think he groans over the Church as it is today?
Pour misbegotten thing that it is?
Powerless, lifeless, without authority?
Most of our people can't keep victory themselves, never mind cast out devils.
We can't pull down strongholds.
But I'm convinced that it is going to come. There's going to be a great turnaround. It won't be inside the denominations, as far as in concerned. Oh it's nice to read Hebrews 13:12, "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify," that is, "purity, edify, release, transform." That he might do that, "he suffered without the gate." But the next verse says, "Let us go with him outside the camp." Let's be cut off from everything that is organized, manmade, and supervised.
People say, "Ravenhill is a radical. You shouldn't take any note of him. You know, he has no covering." Well, I didn't know that. Pour me! I've been going around the world for the last fifty years without a covering! I didn't know that! But the Lord knew I had it, so He kept me. Who was John the Baptist covering? People knew when John the Baptist came. He did no signs, no wonders, no miracles. But when he spoke, the words were like fire. They burned in the hearts of the people. If a thing doesn't burn in me, why, in God's Name, should it burn in you? I wouldn't listen to a preacher who didn't kindle something in my heart!
You see, I backed away from that rotten cup that woman had. Then forcibly she said, "Drink it." At that moment I remembered a man in a garden saying, "Father, this is the most degrading thing in the history of the world. If it's possible please". The Lord let Him do it. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him.
When it pleases the Lord to bruise you, what do you do? Ring for help? Phone for somebody? Call the church? Or do you get alone with Him Who alone is able to help? With Him Who alone has the balm of Gilead?
You see, God isn't training Boy Scouts. He's training soldiers! No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (2 Timothy 2:4).
There's a smart advertisement that you see on television and other places. You see these smart boys, these cadets: "Were looking for a few choice men." Come and be one of the specials. That's exactly what God does. "I have chosen you and ordained you," so you don't need any other ordination.
Out of the twelve He chooses three: Peter, James, and John.
People say that you shouldn't be selective. God is selective. He always was. He always will be. Out of the three He choose one. God has a process of elimination. He doesn't ask you to drink a cup a week or a month after you're saved, but you gradually move into that area where you realize that this is what He's after.
He's after me going to the Cross! And not just to go to it, but to get on it! "Oh, I'm glad He died for me." Have you died for Him? Isn't that a fair exchange?
I remember when I was a little boy that they announced that an American was coming. He had just written a hymn that was, I think, one of the sweetest hymns ever written, and he played it for us that night.
Out of the ivory palaces and into a world of woe
Only his great eternal love made my Saviour go.
Out of the ivory angels bowed down, and seraphim bowed and men spit on Him
He had all the glory of heaven, but He had no where to sleep at night ... It would take eternity to unveil to us what it meant for Jesus to come. He drank:
A cup of separation from His Father,
A cup of separation from the glory in eternity,
A cup of separation from the worship
because it says in Hebrew that angels are commissioned to worship Him; men didn't worship Him they spit on Him!
He laid it all aside joyfully. He took up a Cross to be battered and bloodied.
I love that hymn, "My Faith Looks Up To Thee." It was written in the old North Church in Boston Common. (I preached there once, and I had them sing that hymn.) The second stanza says:
May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart,
My zeal inspire;
As Thou hast died for me,
So may thy love to Thee,
Pure, warm, and changeless be,
A living fire!
Suppose God were as fickle in the attitude to you as you were to Him? What would happen? The little servant girl says, "I'm on my knees two and a half hours every morning. Every time I strike that match, I say, Lord, as I kindle this fire, kindle Your fire in my heart, the fire of Your Spirit, of God! I've been here for years. I must have lit hundreds and thousands of fires."
She wasn't at the table serving meals with all the celebrities. She's up at the crack of dawn. She's carrying a heavy basket of coal. She's cleaning up the dirt. It's a ritual most people wouldn't have. But she's turned it into a sacrament! She's turned the tables on the devil! When he says, "Well, you could be praying. You could do more than that."
She says, "I would bow there some days, I would just worship. I would see the flames go up and think of the sacrifice that has been made. No, don't pity me. I've got a wonderful job! They pay me to have my devotions! They pay me to sustain my prayer life!" I wish we had a lot more people like that!
Look out, He might bring you up this week and ask you drink of the cup "Can you share my baptism?"
"My baptism is a baptism of sorrow;
a baptism of desertion,
a baptism of pain;
a baptism of loneliness,"
It's all combined.
Well, can you drink it? Or do we try to make some excuses? All He's asking for is obedience. Obedience is the key to everything.
This is serious business. Time is running out fast for all of us.
The greatest revival that swept America wasn't staged. It wasn't advertised. It wasn't financially backed. It didn't have broken down film stars and ex-footballers. It was in the ordinary course of a meeting, when Jonathan Edwards preached his sermon. "Sinners in the hands of an angry God." There was nobody advertised. There was nobody projected.
Jesus says, "How can you receive blessing of God when you receive honor one of another?"
"He resisteth the proud and saveth such as are contrite and of a broken spirit."
There are many who say, "Come down from the cross and save yourself." If you see somebody else saving his neck, and you follow him, you will lose your blessing. You will lose your reward. You will lose your power.
Nobody stood by Jesus.
Maybe nobody will stand by you.
It's a lonely life, but it's a glorious life.