This one comes from Damien. And I’m going to move fast. But I love this question. I just love it. I hope there’s some of you that do too. Damien says, “I love God. I worship Him. But I want to know Him more. I want His power to be pressed upon my life more. I want to walk with Him closer. I need to walk in His holy presence. I want to be more for Him. But I just feel weak. I try, but He does not come. I want to experience God more. How can I do that? How can I walk just with Him daily? How can I ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place?” And it sounds like he might have listened to the Bible study that we did about a month ago.
Well, Damien, I come back to one verse over and over and over again. John 14:21 Most of you have heard me quote it before. It’s well worth quoting again. John 14:21 “Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me, and he who love Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love Him, (and here it is) and manifest Myself to him.” There is a manifestation of Christ to the soul of His people. And it is tied with having His commandments and keeping them.
I know that A.W. Tozer, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, they both make comments about our obedience and how they relate to our desires to know God. Brethren, you know what? There’s an Old Testament parallel to this. I like this one too.
Isaiah 66:2, listen to this, God says, “This is the one to whom I will look, he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at My Word.” Guess what? To have Christ’s commandments and keep them? That’s a New Testament version of trembling at God’s Word. You tremble at God’s Word when you do God’s Word. Not when you hear it and don’t do it. But when you hear it, and you tremble, and do it. Jesus Christ says if you have His commandments and you do it.
In the Old Testament, it’s if you tremble at His Word. God says to that man I’ll look. What does that mean? There is something special in that. To that man I look. To that man Christ says I will manifest Myself. Those of you along with Damien, you have some concern about this, you want to excel more.
I want to read to you a quote from Tozer. I’m going to end up here, pretty much, just reading a quote from Tozer and one from Spurgeon and we’ll wrap things up. Listen to what Tozer said. Hear him well. These words he probably wrote, who knows, three or four decades ago. But they stand true and firm to this day. Tozer said this, “We don’t need any new doctrine. No new movement. No key.” You know how we get oftentimes? Well, we got to go to the new deal. Got to go to the new conference. Got to go to the new thing. Some new preacher over there. Some new program; some new thing up in the mountains. Some new thing going to have the special preachers. Yeah, if we could just get to that, we can go to that, then we can be the kind of Christian we need to be. You know what, that doesn’t do it. The fact is, Tozer’s hitting on it. You don’t need a new doctrine; you don’t need a new movement, you don’t need a new key, you don’t need some imported evangelist, some expensive course to show us the way. “It’s before us as clear as a four lane highway.”
What is it? Have His commandments and keep them. He puts it this way: “Just do the next thing you know you should do to carry out the will of the Lord. If there’s sin in your life, quit it instantly. Put away lying, put away gossip, put away dishonesty. Whatever your sin may be, put it away. Forsake worldly pleasures. Forsake extravagance in your spending. Forsake the vanity in your dress. Forsake the vanity in your car. Forsake the vanity in your home. In other words, put away your idols. Get right with any person you may have wronged. Forgive everyone who may have wronged you. Begin to use your money to help the poor. Advance the cause of Christ. Take up the cross, live sacrificially, pray, attend the Lord’s services, witness for Christ, not only when it’s convenient, but when you know you should. Look to no cost and fear no consequences. Study the Bible to learn the will of God and then do His will as you understand it. Start now by doing the next thing and go on from there.”
I’ll tell you what, it doesn’t get a whole lot simpler than that. We don’t really need some new course, we don’t need some new preacher, we don’t need to go out to some new course work somewhere, we don’t need the new thing, the new key, the new secret. It really comes down to that. You want to know the manifestations of Christ more fully than you’ve ever known them? You want to know what it is to have God look at you? You want to know what it is to be visited? I’ll tell you what, God rarely visits with the people who run around their lives living all the way they want to, all extravagant, all worldly, all corrupt, all disobedient. No, they’re typically not the ones that know the savory presence, the aroma of Jesus Christ in the secret place, in the inner parts of the soul. They’re typically not the persons that have that type of visitation. You know what, He is of pure eyes than to behold iniquity. He chooses carefully those whom He visits. And I’m not ruling out what God can do, and I’m not wanting to put Him in a box, but I’m telling you this, you have a word to bank on that if obedience is a regular thing in your life and you are pressing on to live more and more… You know what? He said you need to die to yourself. You need to carry your cross. Do you know what carrying your cross is? It’s that life right there. Carrying your cross is living according to His will. Have we not been talking about it in Romans 12? Living sacrifice. That’s exactly what it is. Living sacrifice to God. All of it on the altar. Doing what His will is. Discerning. Trying what His will is. What is that acceptable, what is that good, what is that perfect? That’s what you find in Romans 12:2. It’s knowing what to do and doing it. And once you do the one thing, then you go on to the next thing. And you live your life doing what you know is good.
Spurgeon says it this way. Now we’re moving off a little bit from the obedience thing. Spurgeon hits on prayer. But I would say obedience and prayer life. But I’ll tell you this, I have never known anybody mark my words, whether it’s been myself, whether it’s been those that I’ve read about, or those I’ve personally spoken to, I have never known a single person that has had great, dear, close extensive manifestations of closeness to God who have not prayed. They do not come to prayerless people. I have not known that to happen.
Listen to what Spurgeon says, “The saint may expect to discover deeper experience, and to know more of the higher spiritual life by being much in prayer. There are common frames in the Christian life. There’s feelings of repentance, there’s faith, there’s the joy and hope that are enjoyed by the entire family of God. But… there is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, of conscious union with Christ, that is far from being the common dwelling place of believers. All believers see Christ. But not all believers put their fingers into the prints of the nails, or thrust their hand into his side. Not all of us have the high privilege of John to lean upon Jesus’ bosom, or be caught up into the third heaven as Paul was. In the ark of salvation, we find a lower, a second, and a third story. All are in the ark. But not all are in the same story. Most Christians are only up to their ankles in the river of experience. Some have waded till the stream is up to their knees. A few find the water up to their shoulders. But a very few find it a river to swim in. The bottom of which they cannot touch. There are heights in experiential knowledge of the things of God, the eagle’s eye of acumen and philosophic thought have never seen. God alone can bring us there, but the chariot in which He takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which the chariot is dragged, is prevailing prayer.”
I read somewhere one time where someone said, we get as much of God as we want. I think there’s truth in that statement. And those who want Him, those who pant after Him, those who hunger after Him, their obedience and their prayer life prove that they want Him. You cannot tell me, “Oh, I want Him; I’m panting after Him; I’m going hard after Him.” And then your life is full of all sorts of disobedience. That doesn’t fly. You can’t tell me, “Oh, I want to know Him.” “I want this experience. I want to find it a river to swim in.” And yet my life is prayerless… You’re not going to convince me of such things. You know what the Scripture says? I sought the Lord, and He answered me. You want to delve into this, there’s got to be a seeking. It’s when you seek, it’s when you knock. There is a knocking and there is a banging, and there is a seeking and there is a praying and there is an asking. There is prayer. There is seeking. There is knocking. Some of that seeking is going to come through the obedience in your life.
Brethren, I’ll tell you, you can pray for this too. Scripture says that He gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask. Part of that great manifestation of God to the souls of His people is just outpourings of the Spirit of God. And it says if we’ll ask. You know, the problem with people is, they hear a statement like that and they say, “Lord, can I have the Holy Spirit?” Nothing happens. They just go on with life. But there are some people, they say no, God has said it. They have the heart of David. “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? O God, You are my God. Earnestly I seek You, my soul thirsts for You, my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” You know what? Scripture says He fills the hungry. You go panting after God, you go after Him, you don’t give Him any rest, you keep knocking, you keep seeking, you keep asking, you keep taking these texts before Him, you keep going to Him and pressing in there, you, by a life of obedience, you keep after Him, you get to know Him intimately in the prayer place, and I’ll tell you, it won’t be long. I know this for a fact. God will not let His people go on like that without eventually coming to him.
I remember being at the one and only HeartCry Conference that I went to, and I remember Charles Leiter told me there, he knew of a pastor friend that took that text in Luke 11:13 that said if we then being evil know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will our Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask. And he said he had a pastor friend who took that verse and he began to plead it. And he was pleading it for years, and finally God came.
Brethren, you want to walk on that holy place? You want to walk on God’s mountain? It’s not going to be something that you’re just going to live your life sitting in front of a television, not going to be living your life sitting in front of a computer that’s going to take you there. You’re going to need to know God in the secret place of prayer. You’re going to need to know God and know His commandments in the place of obedience. I’m telling you, any of you out there you’re hungry? And you have that same heart of David? And you’re heart is panting after God? Press on, brethren. Press on right there. Do the next thing you know how. Go to God’s Word. Study it. You see it there. Apply it. Put it to practice in your life. Live it. And learn what it is to pray. And it’s not something I can teach you. Prayer is not taught. Prayer is something you learn out there in the fields, out there in the closet, out there leaning on your bed. It’s something you’re going to learn as you pray. Yes, there’s theory and there’s theological realities, and there’s verses in the Bible that we can take to. But just doing a study on the theology of prayer isn’t want teaches prayer. You’ve got to come to know God in the midst of it.
Brethren, listen to this. I want to end with this. So often this text is misused. So often, and you probably know the one if I say enough about it where I’m going with this. There is a text in the Bible that is so often misused as an evangelistic text. It is not an evangelistic text. It is a text that is for God’s people. God’s covenant people. You may know where I’m talking about. Revelation 3:20 This is what Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him and he with Me.” I’ll tell you this, the picture in the Jewish mind of eating with somebody was intimacy. You know what Christ was saying? He’s not saying this to lost sinners. So many people want us to believe that. He’s speaking to a church. And He says this, I stand at the door and knock. And if you’ll open to Me… Oh, brethren. What is it to open that door? And that text just rings of one from the Old Testament. Song of Solomon 5:2 “I slept, but my heart was awake. A sound! My beloved is knocking.” Is that not a picture of exactly what we find there? Our Beloved is knocking. He tells us that. Christian, you can stand there and wonder… well, if I go hard after Jesus, am I going to find Him? He says to churches, “I stand at the door and knock.” If you’ll open. I’ll come in and sup with you. You say what’s that? I’ll guarantee you this, it’s worth having. “My beloved is knocking.” You know he says? “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one. For my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night. I’d put off my garment. How could I put it on?” That’s what she’s saying. “I bathed my feet, how could I soil them? My beloved put his hand to the latch. My heart was thrilled within me.” and if you know the story, He left. She finally got up and she went over. You know with that, that’s a picture right there. What happens? The Lord, my love, He’s at the door. He’s beckoning to me. Lord, not right now. I’ve got to check my email. Not right now. I’ll get there though. Oh, you know my favorite show’s on right now, Lord. Not just now. Oh, the guys are coming over, Lord. We need to hang out. Your Beloved is at the door. And we do the same thing. By the time she got up, by the time she got around to it, he was gone. If you have a heart, run when He beckons you. And He beckons you in the Word. Go there. You say can I find Him? You can find Him. If He says He’s at that door and He’s knocking, you say, what does it mean to let Him in?
Oh folks, you’re very familiar with what it is to keep Him out. We don’t have to dig too deep to know what it is. There’s a thousand things in this life that pull our hearts away, that pull us away from Him. There it is. Obey. Pray. He beckons you to come. He beckons you to open. Open. Well, there it is. There are my four. Let’s pray. Father, teach us all what it is to open that door. I know not what else more to pray right now. Just teach us, Lord. Give us a generation of men and women that are quick to open that door. I pray in Christ’s name, Amen.