I divided Weber's Lecture Two into two parts.Following is
Chapter 2, RELIGION IS AN OVERFLOW, part 1.
We will need to change our thought patterns from the form that religion is something we “get and keep” to religion is something we “receive and share” before we’ll learn the secret of living out of the overflow.
Of course, there is a process of cleansing and endowing, which must take place in our lives if we are to be partakers of the divine nature of God. I am not talking about an experience that takes place in the air and has no foundation. Abundant life comes from God and every fundamental event, which was necessary for its accessibility, must not be ignored.
Actually, two things happen to us in the divine process of redemption. We get rid of the man-made image of sin and we put on the image of God. It is a double-action process. One is a cleansing, purging experience; the other is a divine endowment or impartation.
I think you can see that before we can be filled with the fullness of God we must be cleansed of all impurity. Suppose you should ask me to bring you a glass of water and I hold up two glasses to you--one is clean and polished, the other is dirty with grease marks and debris in it. I say to you, “Which glass shall I put the water in?”
You would answer, "The clean glass of course.” When God fills us He will choose the cleansed vessel every time. The first action in the divine process is cleansing, the emptying out of everything which is foreign to God.
But cleansing is not enough. There must be an infilling. After we are cleansed, unless we invite the person of the Holy Spirit to possess our whole being we become subjects of deception. I think I can illustrate this from the teachings of Christ in Matthew 12:43-45: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept and garnished. Then goeth he and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Emphasis added).
Here is the picture of a man who has quit his sin business and been converted. He doesn’t swear any more, he has left off his vices; he has broken loose from the old ties and associations, which ensnared him. But he doesn’t permit the full process of divine action to take place.
After a time the old spirit that has gone out of him comes back and finds him cleansed-but-empty so, he goes and gets other spirits. One spirit whispers in his ear like this: “You remember how extravagant you were in sin. You never considered the value of a dollar. You wasted your money for sinful things. Now that you’ve got religion you ought to be different. You should hold on to every dollar. Don’t spend any unless you have to.” So a covetous devil moves in and this fellow becomes miserly, covetous and stingy.
Then another spirit whispers in his ear and says; “you remember how it was when you were in sin how frivolous you were. You never had a serious moment. you joked and laughed and were always teasing. Now that you’ve got religion you ought to be different. You should be sober and serious. You should act very holy and religious.” So a self-pious devil moves in, and this fellow begins to feel very righteous, much holier even than all the rest.
Another spirit speaks to him and says: “You remember how it was when you were in sin. You patted everybody on the back and told them they were good fellows. You never saw anything wrong with anybody. Now that you’ve got religion you should be different. You should pick out the flaws and weaknesses of people. Find their weak spots. Look for everything that you thing ought to be different.” A criticizing devil moves in and this fellow begins to criticize everybody.
Still another spirit whispers in his ear and says: “When you were in sin, not only did you insist that everybody was a good fellow, but you felt it was none of your business what other people did and it was not for you to judge. Since you’ve got religion you should be different. You should not only look for the flaws in people but you should tell them about them. So a judging devil moves in and this fellow feels he is in a position to decide the right and wrong of every issue. He becomes judge of his church.
One by one these spirits take up their abode within this man until seven other spirits, more wicked than the first, has come in. The scripture says the last state is worse than the first. Why? Because in the first state the man was a lost sinner and he knew it. Now he has a profession of religion, thinks he is more righteous than all the rest, but is deceived by all these unclean spirits.
It is much worse to be lost and not know it than to be lost and know it. In one, the sins are in the conscious and we know of them, but in the other the sins are in the unconscious and we do not acknowledge them because we are unaware of them.
Every person who is cleansed from his old sins but who is not filled with all the fullness of God becomes liable to deception. We need to be filled with all the fullness of God. We are going to be filled with something, either good or evil. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45,emphasis added).
This whole idea of religion is built around the experience of receiving the gift of God’s righteousness, which becomes a stream or spring flowing out of our lives. We are channels of the redemptive stream of God.
This channel must not be dammed or choked. If it is the stream stops flowing and we lose the freshness of religion. Out in the Great Utah Basin is the Great Salt Lake. For centuries the melting snows in the surrounding mountains have formed rivers which have plunged down the canyons into this basin to form the lake.
There is no outlet so the water has a strong concentrate of minerals, particularly salt. The minerals are picked up in the canyons and carried in solution by the water. Evaporation keeps removing the water, and the mineral content continues to increase. It is not a fresh water lake because there is no outlet.
We cannot continue to have an experience of abundant life if the channel is closed and we have no outlet. It takes the overflow to keep the current moving and fresh supplies coming in.
Homer Rodeheaver tells the story of a union prayer meeting that he attended in Kentucky. They were having a testimony meeting. A Holiness sister stood up to speak and told about her experience. She said, “Thirty-five years ago I was saved and sanctified and God filled my cup full and running over” and jumped and shout-ed praises to God. “Thank God through the years he has kept me, and tonight my cup‘s full and running over.”
When she sat down a good old Methodist brother stood up and said, “Thank the Lord, thirty years ago God saved me. And like it was with the sister my cup was full and ran over. I shouted praises to God. Since then sometimes my cup has been half full and sometimes it’s been empty and I’ve been backslidden, but thank God tonight my cup’s full.” And he sat down.
A Presbyterian brother stood up and said, “The Lord saved me thirty-five years ago and when he did he filled my cup two-thirds full. It’s been two-thirds full ever since and it’s two-thirds full tonight.” And he sat down. An old backslider in the back of the building stood up, pulled a dollar bill out of his pocket and said, “I betcha a dollar bill that cup of yours has wiggle-tails in it.”
There is one thing sure if our religious experience doesn’t have an outlet it will soon lose its freshness and there will be creeping things in our life of which we’ll be ashamed. We won’t dare look inside. We need an overflowing experience to keep the freshness and radiance of God’s presence in our lives. Some people’s experience went stale on them twenty years ago. They are sour and critical! They are also unfruitful and unhappy.
Part 2, Chapter 2 continues tomorrow with “THREE KINDS OF PROFESSORS” ...
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