These sermons were given during the course of a visit to Chicago in 1895. They were published in the Record of Christian Work, Vol. 14, 1895, (Chicago: Fleming H. Revell, 1895)
Click on the following links to find the associated sermons.
Well-Pleasing: (Pleasing God in everything.)
Humility, the Glory of the Creature: (Humility is the highest virtue.)
Denying Self and Taking Up the Cross: (Self is the great problem!)
Fulness of Jesus: (We must live in Christ's fulness.)
To give pleasure, and to receive the assurance of having pleased, is indeed one of the strongest motives, and one of the deepest joys in the life of a child. And is it only the child of God who is to be shut out from this source of strength and happiness? The relation of a child to a parent is, in every possible aspect, of duty, of love, of trust, of chastisement, of dependence, taken as the illustration of our relation to the heavenly Father. And is it to be only in this one respect, in the very deepest joy the childlife gives, that the child of God may not hope to have reproduced in his own life, what makes the child-life so beautiful and so blessed? No, indeed. The Father does want His child to live in His smile; the Father has provided grace and strength to enable him to do it; the Father does want His child to know that He is pleasing, and will by His Holy Spirit give the blessed witness that it is so in very truth.
There is a religion, clinging most firmly, as it thinks, to Scripture and evangelical truth, from which this sunshine of the Christian life is almost entirely banished. The soul walks in the light of pardon and acceptance. But it is a clouded sky, not the bright sunshine. To cultivate a sense of our own unworthiness and abiding sinfulness is with such counted the only safeguard against superficiality and pride. They do not understand that just he may have the deepest conviction of utter corruption and impotence, who, in total despair of self as utterly loathsome and hopelessly evil, has given it into the death of Jesus, now to let Him live and work within. Nor do they see how this is the true meaning of being well-pleasing in Christ Jesus, having Him so live and work that we ever present ourselves before the Father in Christ as the One in whom all our works are wrought.
Child of God! let me urge you not to rest content in your intercourse with the Father without the enjoyment of this wonderful privilege. There is not a family life so happy as that of the Father with His children; the joy of pleasing Him is one of the deepest elements. A child cannot know whether he pleases his father, when that father is a hard man, impatient of every failure, inconsiderate of a child's weakness, taking no account of its loving work and effort. But a loving father-a child can know whether he has tried to please, whether he has succeeded, and whether the father has given the smile of approval. Let the intention to please God in everything as the best and happiest thing in the world, become the inspiration of every day's work. Do not hesitate to offer every prayer, every performance of duty, every act of love and kindness, to the Father as done for Him, and seek the assurance of His approval. Gradually, but surely, the sense of walking in His light and in His smile will grow stronger and clearer. This will bow the soul into a deeper humility than ever the sense of its sins could work. The pursuit of this will make the absolute need of God's working in us, and Christ's dwelling in us, and the Spirit's leading us, more deeply felt, and will urge us to claim them as indispensable to the life of a child of God. And the pleasure and delight and love with which the Father looks upon the Son will be on us and in us, because the spirit of the Son is seen in this too-the confiding trust with which we live our life as offered to the Father, and make His pleasure our chiefest joy. (67)
"They shall cast their crowns before the throne, saying: Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they were, and were created.” Rev. iv. 11.
When God created the universe, it was with the one object of making the creature partaker of His perfection and blessedness, and so showing forth in it the glory of His love and wisdom and power. God wished to reveal Himself in and through created beings by communicating to them as much of His own goodness and glory as they were capable of receiving. But this communication was not a giving to the creature something which it could possess in itself, a certain life of goodness, of which it had the charge and disposal. By no means. But as God is the ever-living, ever-present, everacting One, who upholdeth all things by the word of His power, and in whom all things exist, the relation of the creature to God could only be one of unceasing, absolute, universal dependence. As truly as God by His power once created, so truly by that same power must God every moment maintain. The creature has not only to look back to the origin and first beginning of existence, and acknowledge that it there owes everything to God, but its first care, its highest virtue, its only happiness is now, each moment, and through all eternity to present itself an empty vessel in which God can dwell and manifest His power and goodness.
The life God bestows is imparted, not once for all, but each moment by the unceasing operation of His mighty power. Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is, from the very nature of things, the first duty and the highest virtue of the creature, the root of every virtue.
And so pride, or the loss of this humility, is the root of every sin and evil. It was when the now fallen angels began to look upon themselves with self-complacency, that they were led to disobedience, and were cast down from the light of heaven into outer darkness. Even so it was, when the serpent breathed the poison of his pride, the desire to be as God, into the hearts of our first parents, that they too fell from their high estate into all the wretchedness in which man is now sunk. In heaven and earth, pride, self-exaltation, is the gate and the birth of hell.
Hence it follows that nothing can be our redemption, but the restoration of the lost humility, the original and only true relation of the creature to its God. And so Jesus came to bring humility back to earth, to make us partakers of it, and by it to save us. In heaven He humbled Himself to become man. The humility we see in Him possessed Him in heaven; it brought Him. He brought it, from there. Here on earth "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death": His humility gave His death its value, and so became our redemption. And now the salvation He imparts is nothing less and nothing else than a communication of His own life and death, His own disposition and spirit, His own humility, as the ground and root of His relation to God and His redeeming work. Jesus Christ took and filled the place and destiny of man as a creature by His life of perfect humility. His humility is our salvation: His salvation is our humility.
And so the life of the saved ones, of the saints, must needs bear this stamp of deliverance from sin, and full restoration to their original state: their whole relation to God and man marked by an all-pervading humility. Without this there can be no true abiding in God's presence, or experience of His favor and the power of His Spirit. Without this no abiding faith, or love, or joy, or strength. Humility is the only soil in which the graces root; the lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure. Humility is not so much a grace or virtue along with others. it is the root of all, because it alone takes the right attitude before God, and allows Him as God to do all. God has so constituted us as reasonable beings, that the truer the insight into the real nature or the absolute need of a command, the readier and fuller will be our obedience to it. The call to humility has been so little regarded in the church, because its true nature has been too little apprehended. It is not a something which we bring to God, or He bestows; it is simply the sense of nothingness which comes when we see how truly God is all, and in which we may make way for God to be all. When the creature realizes that this is his true nobility, and consents to be, with his will, his mind and his affections, the form, the vessel in which the life and glory of God are to work and manifest themselves, he sees that humility is simply acknowledging the truth of his position as creature, and yielding to God His place.
In the life of earnest Christians, of those who pursue and profess, holiness, humility ought to be the chief mark of their uprightness. It is often said that it is not so. May not one reason be that in the teaching and example of the church, it has never had that place of supreme importance which belongs to it. And that this again is owing to the neglect of this truth, that strong as sin is as a motive to humility, there is one of still wider and mightier influence, that which makes the angels, that which made Jesus, that which makes the holiest of saints in heaven, so humble: that the first and chief mark of the relation of the creature, the secret of his blessedness, is the humility and nothingness which leaves God free to be all. (134-135)
My remarks will be based on Matthew xvi. 24:
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
Why is it that so many thousands of Christians are content with the low compromise life of which we have been hearing so much? There is one answer, and only one, to that question. It is because they put self between them and God. And they will never find Him until they put away self and live the new life from above. There is the fact. We cannot get away from it. The one word self, comprehends all that is opposed to God, while self-denial brings us into His very presence. Peter was a believer. His answer pleased the Master. But he was still carnal, and drew back at the shadow of the cross. Hence the rebuke of the Lord, "Get thee behind me, Satan." And hence, too, the law of self-denial laid down in our text. Not only must Christ take up His cross, but all His followers.
First as to the nature of self. It is the center of our life and being. God gave it to us that we might bring it back to Him as an empty vessel for Him to fill. When God wanted a vessel into which He might pour the riches of His power and glory, He created the world. Then one of the angels began to think of self more than of God, and soon he ceased to be an angel in heaven, and became a devil in hell. Self turned to God is the most glorious thing in the world, but self turned away from Him is the most hateful. It was through self that Satan tempted Eve. He breathed into her soul the very poison of hell, and that poison is in our blood to-day. Then the works of self are self-will, self-confldence and self-exaltation. To please ourselves is the great sin of the world. A Christian is a man who never follows his own will, but the will of God. The Master said to Peter, "Deny thyself," but Peter denied his Master instead.
Oh that cursed self! Look at your own lives and see how they are wrecked by it. Next, there is self-confidence, which is so dangerous to many Christians. People ask. Why do I fail in the Christian life? Because they trust in themselves. Lastly, there is self-exaltation. Oh, how much pride and touchiness and jealousy we find among Christians! How much desire there is for the praise of men! This is the self that is killing you. How shall you get rid of it? Only by denying yourselves and taking up the cross and following Christ. Then, and only then, will all be well with you. Jesus led Peter till self was broken down. So it must be with us. We must kill self every day and hour In order that we may find our true selves in Christ Jesus. Say to Him, "Lord, here I am. Take me for thine." It will not be easy, but it is the only way to God. We must learn to hate self, to deny self, in order that Jesus Christ may be all in all. (271)
God can have no dealing with the creature but through Christ. As the only Begotten Son, Christ has received from the Father all He is and all He has. Christ is the outshining of the divine glory: God is the Hidden, Invisible One, and cannot be known except in His Son. God cannot delight in or have fellowship with any creature except as He sees the image of His Son in it. It was the Father's good pleasure that all the fulness should dwell in Him: There is nothing God has, that was not given to Him. It was and is the everlasting good pleasure of the Father to see the fulness in Him. All that ever was or can be pleasing to God is in Him alone. In Him we are made full: we share His fulness, and we share and enter into the good pleasure of God just as we come to Him and show Him the fulness of Jesus possessing and filling us.
Dwelling In His Fulness
What a blessed light this text casts on the life of well-pleasing in its three-fold relation to the fulness of the Son. Whether we think of ourselves as the body of Jesus, and thus dwelling in His fulness before the Father; or of that fulness as it, as a divine seed, is planted in every believer; or of our appropriation of it day by day, as out of that fulness we receive grace for grace for every need; it is only as we acknowledge and live in the fulness of the Son that the good pleasure of the Father can rest upon us.
"God gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” Just as the Son is the fulness of the Father, so the church, His body, is the fulness of Jesus. The Father's fulness dwelleth in and is revealed in the Son: He has it by abiding in the Father. The Son's fulness dwelleth in and is revealed in the church: believers have it by abiding in the Son. He that would live a life in the good pleasure of the Father, would have the consciousness that He is well-pleasing, must begin here: he must take his abiding place in Jesus before the face of the Father. Going out of himself, he must identify himself with that Blessed One who is in the Father's presence, and in whom He is spiritually, and yet livingly and actually, there. He must habitually, day by day, wait for the Holy Spirit to make this union so clear to him, even as it is clear to God, that he can go out and live his life on earth and do all his work, as one who dwells in the fulness of Christ each moment, and so in the infinite good pleasure of the Father.
Receiving His Fulness Inwardly
This will lead him on to the second step, to know that, in the new life, he has received that fulness into his inmost being, for it is there to be preserved and developed. "In Him ye are made full." The plant is first put into the soil; then the life power that is in the soil enters the tree. I place a vessel in the water, then the water enters the vessel. I go out with my lungs into the fresh air, and the air enters my lungs. And even so I am first in Christ, and then Christ is in me: I have my place in His fulness, and that fulness has its place in me. And the God, whose only good pleasure it is that the fulness should be in the Son, looks on me with infinite delight, as having been made full with Jesus and His fulness. And I can, in all my weakness and failure, see the infinite good pleasure of God resting on me, because He sees and treasures and watches over that, to Him unspeakably precious, treasure of the fulness of His Son entrusted to me. And as I wait on the Spirit, to remind me to look upon myself as one with Him in whom the fulness dwells, and as now having it dwelling in and filling me, my life may became a daily walk in the full light of God's love.
Fulness Supplying Every Grace
And so I am strengthened for a walk "worthy of the Lord, unto all well-pleasing." In accordance with the word, "Of His fulness all we received, and grace for grace." The fulness in which we dwell, and which dwells in us, will be a source from which the supply of every grace for every need can be received. Scripture says: "God is able to make all grace abound, that ye may abound to every good work." This abounding grace for every good work is what is treasured in the fulness of Jesus; out of this we receive grace for grace. Surely we need not fear or doubt any longer; it is possible so to live that our walk, our works, shall day by day be a pleasing sacrifice to our Father. And so to walk and work that the consciousness we had of being pleasing in Christ, and being pleasing by reason of the fulness of Christ in us, shall not be hindered, but increased and deepened, by what our daily life is, because it is the fruit of the grace for grace out of His fulness. In each good work the Father sees the fulness of His Son.
Blessed Father! teach Thy children to believe that they can walk pleasing to Thee all the day. Teach them that it is for this they are in Him in whom the fulness dwells; for this the fulness is in them; for this they receive out of the fulness grace for grace; so that in all their works Thou ever seest Christ, and delightest in them even as in Him. (328-329)
Andrew Murray (recorded comments by a reporter)
Murray founded the Huguenot Seminary for young ladies in Wellington as a result of reading of the work of Mary Lyon's in Mount Holyoke, MA. Try to also read about Mary Lyon's wonderful school.—Dan
"Andrew Murray spoke of the great need and the great opportunity of the Huguenot Seminary for Young Ladies in Wellington, South Africa, which Mr. Murray founded about twenty-five years ago. He was inspired to do so by reading a life of Mary Lyon, the founder of Mount Holyoke Seminary. It opened with forty pupils and two Mount Holyoke graduates as teachers. It has 300 students now, but if its facilities were enlarged it could have many more. A great empire is in process of formation in South Africa, and by means of the seminary Mr. Murray desires to lay the foundations of a great Christian civilization. The seminary has already kindled a missionary impulse. Many of its graduates are now working among the natives. There is a fitness in this, for Africans are best adapted to work in the African field. Half of the seminary girls are members of the student volunteer movement that was started in Mount Hermon nine years ago. A new building to cost $50,000 and containing fifty rooms is needed, and of that sum $40,000 and the furnishing of twelve rooms are secured It costs $50 to furnish a room.
"Since Mr. Moody has forced me to speak," said Mr. Murray, "I will say that as America, through Miss Lyon, forced this work on me, there is a fitnes in your helping me."
Mr. Moody then jumped up and after appointing a correspondent as secretary said: "Now I'll make a speech. Northfield Seminary and Mount Hermon will furnish one room each. That's my speech; who'll follow? Some one stand at the door with a hat so people can contribute toward the support of a missionary as they go out. We want to get all you have got." In less than ten minutes the furnishing of fifty-three rooms, or $2,560, had been subscribed and $300 put in a hat for a missionary." (270)
"The flesh is the name by which Scripture designates our fallen nature, soul and body. When the soul yielded to the temptation of the sensible or material, it broke away from the rule of the Spirit and came under the power of the body—it became flesh. And now the flesh is not only without the Spirit, but even hostile to it: "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit." In yielding to the flesh, the soul sought itself instead of the God to whom the Spirit linked it; selfishness prevailed over God's will; selfishness became Its ruling principle. And now, so subtle and mighty is this spirit of self, that the flesh, not only in sinning against God, but even when the soul learns to serve God, still asserts its power, refuses to let the Spirit alone lead, and in its efforts to be religious, is still the great enemy that ever hinders and quenches the Spirit. Unless the surrender to the Spirit be very entire, and the holy waiting on Him be kept up in great dependence and humility, what has been begun in the Spirit very early and very speedily passes over into confidence in the flesh." (286)
1 Cor. 2: 4 "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
"I begin to understand that the one thing I need is: to look upon the flesh as God does; to accept of the death warrant the cross brings to everything in me that is of the flesh; to look upon it and all that comes from it as an accursed thing. As this habit of soul grows on me I learn to fear nothing so much as myself. I tremble at the thought of allowing the flesh, my natural mind and will, to usurp the place of the Holy Spirit. My whole posture towards Christ is that of lowly fear, in the consciousness of having within me that accursed thing that is ever ready as an angel of light to intrude itself in the holiest of all, and lead me astray to serve God, not in the Spirit of Christ, but in the power that is of nature." (289)
"The likeness to Christ consists chiefly in two things-the likeness of His death and resurrection (Rom. vi. 5). The death of Christ was the consummation of His humility and obedience, the entire giving up of His life to God. In Him we are dead to sin. As we sink down in humility and dependence and entire surrender to God, the power of His death works in us, and we are made conformable to His death. And so we know Him in the power of His resurrection, in the victory over sin, and all the joy and power of the risen life. Therefore every morning, "present yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead." He will maintain the life He gave, and bestow the grace to live as risen ones." (376)
In the following article, an unknown writer describes attending a meeting in Chicago, at which Andrew Murray spoke on surrender to Christ. One can read many sermons of Andrew Murray, but descriptions of the delivery and relative impact of a sermon on those attending is harder to find.—Dan
That a man should be called from the tip end of South Africa to preach for a couple of Sundays to the largest congregation gathered in Chicago and to lecture through the intervening weeks to the students of Moody Institute, is proof of something extraordinary in the man. What it is that makes Mr. Andrew Murray so extraordinary is easily told. He is a man of God, an extraordinary Christian. A more earnest man has never before appeared in the pulpits of Chicago. The sermon preached at the Chicago Avenue church on Sunday evening last was an event because of its fervid piety and profound spirituality. Mr. Murray understands the deep things of the Christian life; he knows the human heart and how to bring the gospel of salvation to it with saving power. But specially he knows what Christians need to make them more happy and useful and how to lift them up to a high plane of spiritual attainment and blessing. In the large congregation which heard that sermon there could have been but few who did not consider it a special blessing to be permitted to hear such a man.
So far as the oratory of preaching goes Mr. Murray has no special gifts. There is no eloquence of voice or diction or illustration. His enunciation is not clear, and many words are missed by those who sit at a distance. But his earnestness is persuasive and powerful. He is into his subject from the first word, emphasizing, gesturing and pleading personally with his hearers. Frequently he exclaims: "Oh, friends! Oh, brethren!" and all the time he seems to have the whole congregation in his arms trying to carry every individual man and woman up to a higher life where they may see and know and rejoice in the blessings of Christ's fellowship.
The subject of the Sunday evening sermon was "Surrender to Christ," and the argument was based on Potiphar's turning over all that he had to Joseph's care; the motive, method, blessing and finality of the surrender furnishing the main points. After laying off his subject the preacher broke out into a most fervent prayer for God's blessing upon the people as they heard the message. In his closing prayer he besought God to "break down the people." "Break down thy children," he cried, "make them feel the shame and the sin of living such barren and joyless lives, when thou hast for them such wide blessings, so much power and usefulness and love and joy." No doubt the great majority of those present did feel deeply ashamed of their Christian lives after hearing such a message and such a prayer.—The Advance.
"While lecturing in the Institute Mr. Murray and his wife made their home in the Women's Department. Their lives, so in the spirit of the Master, were the best exemplification of the teaching set forth. By that teaching the spiritual life of nearly all in the Department was much deepened. On Saturday evening following the close of Mr. Murray's lectures, a prayer meeting was held which seemed a veritable Pentecost The silences in this meeting were as remarkable as the prayers." (307)
"In addition to the regular work of the Institute, Andrew Murray, of Wellington, South Africa, spent from August 17th to the 30th lecturing each forenoon in the Institute, and in the evening in the Chicago Avenue church, on the Higher Life. It proved to be one of the greatest blessings that has been at the Institute thus far this season, the lecture room being filled to overflowing each morning. His themes during the first week all centered around the work of the Holy Spirit, showing very clearly the distinction between the carnal life with its fruits of selfishness, pride, etc., aud the life in the Spirit, with its fruits of love, gentleness, goodness, etc., and proving conclusively that to live the life of God's Word one must be filled with the Spirit. The second week his themes centered around Jesus Christ, showing what the object of Christ's work was, "That He might bring us to God, the life that Christ lives in us, yielding ourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead, the treasure that we have in earthen vessels etc," leading up to the final meeting which was held in Chicago Avenue church Thursday night, at the close of which a special prayer meeting was held, lasting until after ten o'clock, and to which many testified as marking the beginning of a new era in their life." (306)