June 26th, 2009

Andrew Murray


Romans 14: 17.--For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

In this text we have the earthly revelation of the work of the Trinity. The
Kingdom of God is righteousness; that represents the work of the Father.
The foundations of His throne are justice and judgment. Then comes the work
of the Son: He is our peace, our Shiloh, our rest. The Kingdom of God is
peace; not only the peace of pardon for the past, but the peace of perfect
assurance as to the future. Not only the work of atonement is finished, but
the work of sanctification is finished in Christ, and I may receive and
enjoy what is prepared for me. The new man has been created, and I may in
Him live out my life; if a kingdom is established in righteousness, if the
rule is perfect, there can be perfect rest. If there be peace, no war
from without, and no civil dissension within, a nation can be happy and
prosperous. And so there comes here, after righteousness and peace, the
joy, the blessed happiness in which a man can live; "The Kingdom of God is
righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." May we regard this joy
of the Holy Ghost, not only as a beautiful thing to admire, not only as a
thing to have beautiful thoughts about, but as a blessing that we are going
to claim.

We often see a fruiterer's or confectioner's shop, with beautiful fruit or
cake temptingly displayed in the window. There is a great pane of plate
glass before it, and the hungry little boys stand there and look, and long,
but they cannot reach it. If you were to say to one, "Now, little boy, take
that fruit," he would look at you in surprise. He has learned that there is
something between. If he had never known of glass he might attempt it. The
plate glass is sometimes so clear that even a grown man might for a moment
be deceived and stretch out his hand. But he soon finds there is something
invisible between him and the fruit. This represents exactly the life of
many Christians; they see, but they cannot take. And what now is this
invisible pane of plate glass, that hinders my taking the beautiful things
I see? It is nothing but the self-life; I see divine things but cannot
reach them, the self-life is the invisible plate glass. We are willing, we
are working, we are striving, and yet we are holding back something; we are
afraid to give up everything to God. We do not know what the consequences
may be. We have not yet comprehended that God and Christ Jesus are worth
everything. Whatever is told us of the blessed life of peace and joy, we
say, "Praise God; God's Word is true; I believe the Word;" and yet, day by
day, we stand back. When some one says, "Take it," we say, "I can't take
it; there is something between." Would we were willing to give up the
self-life; would we had the courage to give up to-day, and let the joy of
the Holy Ghost be our religion. That is the religion God has prepared for
us; that is the religion we can claim; not only righteousness, not only
peace, but the joy of the Holy Ghost. That is the Kingdom of God.

What is this joy? First of all, it is the joy of the presence of Jesus.
We are often inclined to speak most of two other things, the power for
sanctification, and the power for service. But I find there is a thing more
important than either of those two, and that is that the Holy Ghost came
from Heaven to be the abiding presence of Christ in His disciples, in the
Church, and in the heart of every believer. The Lord Jesus was going away,
and His disciples were very sad; their hearts was sorrowful; but He said to
them, "I will come back again, and I will come to you. Your hearts shall
rejoice, and your joy no man shall take from you." What took place with
them, may take place with us too. The Holy Spirit is given to make the
presence of Jesus an abiding reality, a continual experience. And what was
that joy that no man could ever touch? It was the joy of Pentecost. And
what was Pentecost? The coming of the Lord Jesus in the Holy Ghost to dwell
with His disciples. While Jesus was with His disciples on earth, He could
not get into their hearts in the right way. They loved Him, but they could
not take in His teaching, they could not partake of His disposition, and
they could not receive His very spirit into their being. But when He had
ascended to Heaven, He came back in the Spirit to dwell in their hearts.
It is this alone that will help us to go, the minister to his congregation
with its difficulties, the business man to his counter, the mother to her
large family with its care, the worker to her Bible class. It is this only
that will help us to feel, "I can conquer, I can live in the rest of God."
Why? "Because I have the almighty Jesus with me every day." With God's
people, there seems to be one hindrance, they do not know their Saviour.
They do not realize that this blessed Christ is an ever present,
all-pervading, in-dwelling Christ, who wants to take charge of their entire
lives. They do not know, they do not believe that He is an Almighty Christ,
and ready in the midst of any difficulties and any circumstances to be
their keeper and their God. This is absolutely true. Many Christians are
asked as to how one may have the joy unspeakable, the joy that nothing can
take away, the joy of the friendship and nearness and love of Jesus filling
his heart. We complain that the rush of competition is so terrible that we
can not get time for private prayer. Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ, if He
comes to you as a brother and a friend and an abiding guest, can give your
heart the joy of the Holy Ghost, so that business will take its right place
under your feet. Your heart is too holy to have it filled with business;
let the business be in the head and under the feet, but let Christ have
the whole heart, and He will keep the whole life. Our glorious, exalted,
almighty, ever present Christ! why is it that you and I can not trust Him
fully, perfectly to do His work? Shall we not say before God that we do
trust Him, that we will trust Christ to be to us every moment all that we
can desire? On the Cross of Calvary Christ was all alone, and you believe
He did a perfect and a blessed work; and Christ in Heaven is all alone, as
high priest and intercessor, and you trust Him for His work there. But,
praise God! it is equally true, Christ in the heart is able all alone to
keep it all the days. May it please God to reveal to His children the
nearness of Christ standing and knocking at the door of every heart, ready
to come in and rest forever there and to lead the soul into His rest.

We all know what the power of joy is; we know there is nothing so
attractive as joy, there is nothing can help a man to bear and endure so
much as joy; we know that the Lord Jesus Himself for the joy that was set
before Him endured the cross. One is not living aright if he is living a
sighing, trembling, doubting life. Come to-day and believe the joy of the
Holy Ghost is meant for you. Does not the Scripture say, "Whom not having
seen we love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing ye rejoice
with joy unspeakable and full of glory." Do you not believe that this
blessed, adorable, inconceivably beautiful Son of God, the delight of the
Father,--do you not believe that this Son of God could fill your heart with
delight day and night, if He were always present? And do you not believe
that He loves you more than a bridegroom loves his bride? Do you not
believe that, having bought you with His blood, Jesus is longing for you?
He needs you to satisfy His heart of love. Begin to believe with your
whole heart, "The joy of the Holy Ghost is my portion," for the Holy Ghost
secures to me without interruption the presence and the love of Jesus.

But secondly, there is the joy of deliverance from sin. The Holy Ghost
comes to sanctify us. Christ is our sanctification, and the Holy Ghost
comes to communicate Him to us, to work out all that is in Christ and to
reproduce it in us. Let us remember that in the sight of God there is
something more than work. There is Christlikeness--the likeness and the
life of Christ in us. That is what God wants; that will fit us for work.
God asks not that Christ should live in us as separate persons; temples
full of filthy, impure, foul creatures, with Christ hidden away somewhere
there,--that is not the intention of God, but He wants Christ so formed
in us that we are one with Christ, and that in our thinking, feeling and
living, the image of His blessed Son is manifest before Him. The Holy
Spirit is given to sanctify us. My brother, are you willing to be
sanctified from every sin, be that sin great or small? I am not asking, do
you feel that you have the power to conquer it? I am not even asking, do
you feel the power to cast it out? It may be that you feel no power; that
won't hinder if you are willing. I can not cast out sin, but I can get the
Almighty Christ by the Holy Spirit to do it, and it is my work to say to
Christ, "There is the sin, there is the evil thing, I lay it at Thy feet, I
cast it there, I cast it into Thy very bosom. Lord, I am ready to cut off
the right hand, anything, only deliver me from it." Then Christ will cast
out the evil spirit and give deliverance. The Spirit of God is a holy
spirit and His work is to make free from the power of sin and death. And if
you want to live in the joy of the Holy Ghost, the question comes: "Are
you willing to surrender everything that is sinful, even what appears
good,--but has the stain of sin on it?" You may be involved in
relationships that make your life very difficult. A pastor with his people
maybe brought into very difficult relationships; or a business man with his
partner or those with whom he has to associate, may be in an exceedingly
trying position. But is not the blessed Lamb of God worth it all? What is
the Christ worth to you? The question was once asked the disciples, "What
think ye of Christ?" I ask, "What is Christ worth to you?" And I beseech
you, whatever prospective difficulties there may be, and whatever
perplexities surround you, take the whole world to-day and cast it at His
feet. To have Him is worth any difficulty; to have Him will be the
solution of every difficulty. There are not only such external, manifest
difficulties and perplexities, there are a thousand little things that come
in our life and that often disturb us, temptations to unloving feelings,
and sharp words, and hasty judgments. Oh, come, and believe that the Holy
Spirit, the sanctifier, can come in and rule, and give grace to pass
through all without sinning, and you shall know what the joy of the Holy
Ghost is. Our body, we read in 1st Corinthians, is the temple of the Holy
Ghost. It is to be holy in things like eating and drinking. How often
a Christian comes to the consciousness that he takes or seeks too much
enjoyment in that eating, eating for pleasure, with no self-denial or
self-sacrifice in his feeding the body! How often we tempt one another to
eat, and how often the believer forgets that this body is the very secret
temple of the Holy Ghost and that every mouthful we eat and drink must be
for the glory of God in such a way as to be perfectly well pleasing to Him!
Beloved, I bring you a message: There is access for you into the rest of
God, and the Holy Spirit is given to bring you in, and the Holy Spirit will
fill your heart with the unutterable joy of Christ's presence; and with the
joy of deliverance from sin, of victory over sin; the unutterable joy of
knowing that you are doing God's will and are pleasing in His sight; the
unutterable joy of knowing that He is sanctifying and keeping the temple
for Christ to dwell in. Believers, the joy of the Holy Ghost, the joy of
that holiness of God, is His blessedness, His purity, His perfection, that
nothing can mar or stain or disturb. The Holy Ghost waits to bring and to
manifest it in our lives. He wants to come so into our hearts that we shall
live, as Holy Ghost men, the sanctified life, with the sanctifying power of
Jesus running through our whole beings.

My third thought is: the joy of the Holy Ghost is the joy of the love of
the saints. The Holy Ghost was not given to any man on the day of Pentecost
separate from the others; He came and filled the whole company. We know how
much division and separation and pride there had been among them, but
on that day the Holy Ghost so filled their hearts that we find it was
afterward said: "Behold how these men love one another." There was a love
in the primitive church that the very heathen noticed, and could not
understand. Why was that? The Holy Spirit is the bond of union between the
Father and Son; and that bond is love. The Holy Spirit is just the love of
God come to dwell in the heart. When He dwells with me and my brother we
learn to love each other. Though I be unloving naturally, and though I have
very little grace, if the heart of my brother is full of the Holy Spirit he
loves me through it all. You know love is a wonderful thing. As long as a
man tries to love it is not real love, but when real love comes, the more
opposition it meets the more it triumphs, for the more it can exercise
itself and perfect itself, the more it rejoices. Take a mother with a son
dishonoring her. How her love follows him! When she sees that he has fallen
deeper than ever before, how the dear mother heart only loves him the more
intensely through all the wretchedness! Does not the Scripture say, "If He
gave His life for us, we are bound to give our life for the brethren?" The
Holy Spirit comes as a spirit of love, and if you want to know the joy of
the Holy Ghost, and want Him to lead you into the rest of God and keep you
there, beware above everything on earth or in hell of being unloving. One
sharp word to your brother or sister brings a cloud upon you without your
knowing it. People are so accustomed to talk just as they like about each
other that they say sharp and unkind and unloving things, and when a cloud
comes in consequence they cannot understand it. If there is one thing that
grieves God, if there is one thing that hinders the Spirit--the fruit of
the Spirit is love--it is the want of lovingness. If you want to live in
the joy of the Holy Ghost make your covenant with God. "But," you say,
"there is a Christian man who makes me so impatient; he does trouble me and
vex me so with his stupidity. And there are those worldly men; how they
have tempted me in times past and done me harm! And there is that business
man who is trying to ruin me." Take them all, and your own wife and
children and every one around you and say, "I understand it, love is rest,
and rest is love. God resteth in His love. Love is rest and rest is love,
and where there is no love the rest must be disturbed." And let us say
to-day, "I see what the joy is; it is the joy of always loving, it is the
joy of losing my own life in love to others." In connection with humility,
some one asks, "How about that text, 'In honor preferring one another?'"
When a soul comes into perfect humility before God it becomes nothing, and
God becomes all in all. I am nothing. There is no self to be affronted; I
have said before God: "I am nothing; it is only Thy life and light that
shines. The honor is Thine, and nothing may touch me but what is against
the glory of my God."

Beloved, are you living in the joy of the Holy Ghost? Come and accept a
blessing and give yourself up to live a life of humility in which you are
nothing, and a life of love like Christ's in which you only live for your
fellow-men, for the kingdom of God is the joy of the Holy Ghost.

My last thought is that the joy of the Holy Ghost is the joy of working for
God. The joy of the presence of Jesus, the joy of deliverance from sin, the
joy of love for the brethren, and then the joy of working for God. Some
of us have at times felt what an incomprehensible thing it is that the
everlasting God should work through us; and we have said, "Lord, what is
this, that Thou the Almighty One dost work in me and through me, a vile
worm by nature?" It is a mystery that passeth knowledge, and yet it is so
true. The joy of the Holy Ghost comes when a man gives himself up to
the Christlike work of carrying the love of God to men. Let us seek the
perishing, let us live and die for souls, let us live and die that our
fellow-men may be reclaimed and brought back to their God. There is no joy
like hearing the joy-song of a new-born soul. But yes, there is another joy
that may be as deep. Even if God does not give me the blessing of hearing
the newborn soul sing its song, I may have the joy, the sympathy with Jesus
in His rejected life, and the assurance that the Father looks with good
pleasure on me. When I think of the thousands of believers in the Christian
world and then think of the heathen world, the cry comes up in my heart:
"What are we doing?" Ah, we need to be crying to God day and night, "Lord
God, wake us up. Lord God, let the Holy Spirit burn within us." Are we the
true successors of Jesus Christ? Are we indeed the followers and successors
of Christ who went all the way to Calvary to give His blood for men? Do
let us remember the joy of the Holy Ghost is the joy of working for God in
Christ. I believe that God has new ways and new leadings and new power for
His people, if they will only wait on Him. But what most of us do is this:
we thank God for all He has given, we look at all the ways of working we
have, and we say that we will try to do our work better. But oh, if we had
a sense of the need, if we had any sense, by the vision of the Holy Ghost,
of the state of the millions around us, I am sure we would fall on our
faces before God and say, "God help me to something new. Oh that every
fiber of my being may be taken possession of for this great work with God!"
The great need is that all Christians should consecrate themselves wholly
to God for His work. May God help us to know what is the joy of the Holy

Concluding, I ask again: "Do you believe that it is possible for the Lord
Jesus, our Shiloh, of whom Jacob prophesied, our Joshua, our glorious King
and High Priest,--do you believe it is possible for Christ Jesus to bring
you to-day into the rest of God?" Remember that word in Hebrews, "Even as
the Holy Ghost saith, to-day." To-day, summon up courage and take up your
ministry, and take up your business, and take up your surroundings, and
take up your natural temperament, and take up your home, and take up your
life for the days to come upon earth, and say, "I do not understand it,
I know not what will come, but one thing I know, I do absolutely give
everything into the hands of the crucified Lamb of God; He shall have me in
my entirety." And oh, remember, beloved, that Christ will be to you more
than you can think or understand, more than you can ask or desire.

Come, let us cast ourselves into those blessed, loving arms, and let us
believe even now that our Joshua leads us into the rest of God, the rest in
which we are saved from self-care and self-seeking and self-trusting and
self-loving, the rest in which we do not think of ourselves, but where He
who is almighty and omnipresent is always going to be with us and is always
going to work within us. And let us when we have done that, claim the
promise, that as we have sought first the kingdom and God's righteousness,
all things shall be added unto us. Beloved, the kingdom of God is within
you, and it is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Come, let
us claim it even now in simple, childlike, humble faith.

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