August 18, 1892
IN the field of morals, in the realm of spiritual things, knowledge is not power. There is just the difference between heathenism and Christianity always. In heathenism with its chiefest theories, those of Socrates and all the rest of their philosophers, all they believed they needed to know to be virtuous was virtue. To know the good, was all that was necessary in order to do good. To know the pure, was all that was necessary in order to be pure. And they laid down first-rate precepts, and gave excellent instruction in the matter of purity, in the matter of right doing—ethics—and in all these things, but they themselves did not do the things which they taught to be right and good; and they could not do it; because, although they had the knowledge, they had not the power.
Every man on earth knows that the statement is true, that in the field of morals knowledge is not power; because every man in this world knows better than he does, and always did know better than he did. He knows better than he is able to do; and always did know better than he was able to do. These philosophers and these wise men knew better than they were able to do; and they taught a great deal better than they did; and I say again, every man in the world knows better than he is able to himself to do, and without Christ, all of his life is made up of efforts and failures to do the good that he knows. Paul describes all men as they are in themselves when he says: “To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” A man says he will do better, then does his best and fails; and it always will be so until he finds that power which comes form beyond himself, the power of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ.
It is not knowledge that men want primarily; it is power. Now Christ is that power; the gospel reveals it, and the preaching of the gospel makes it known. But yet the excellency of Christ to men is that he brings no only power, but also, knowledge far beyond anything man can ever otherwise know. Christ is not only the power of God, but he is the wisdom of God. God gives wisdom beyond anything man can know, and power in equal measure with the wisdom. God gives power beyond anything man could ever do, and wisdom in equal measure with power. And all is in Christ, the gift of God to men, and in him dwellth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Therefore I say that any faith which stands in the power of argument, and in the wisdom of man; or believes a certain thing because somebody else believes it; or does a certain thing because somebody else does it—that is worth nothing at all. Our faith must stand in power alone. And Christ is the power of God. Christ and him crucified; this is the power of God, and the wisdom of God; this is the gospel. The preaching of this is the preaching of the gospel, and nothing else is. Therefore our faith must stand not in the wisdom of men or the power of argument, but in Christ and him crucified. This is the power of God, this is the gospel.
Not I want to call attention to another point, which indeed is the main one in the talk this morning, and that is another statement of what the gospel is. Christ sent Paul to preach the gospel, and Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians, that Christ did with him just what he did with the twelve at Jerusalem because he started them to preach the gospel. He commissioned them to preach the gospel; but before they attempted it, they were to be endued with power form on high, and that power from on high was the Holy Ghost. Here we find Paul’s experience before he could preach the gospel. “It pleased God… to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen.” Galatians 1:15, 16. In Acts 26:17, 18 we find the Saviour’s commission to Paul as told by Paul himself afterward: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
That is what Christ sent Paul to preach to the children of men, and the Gentiles especially. Paul says when it pleased God to send him to preach Christ, it pleased God to reveal his Son in him, that he might preach him unto the Gentiles. Before Christ could send Paul to preach, he, too, must be endued with power from on high. Christ must be revealed in him as the power of God and the wisdom of God; then Paul could preach him, and not simply preach about him. It is not enough to preach about Christ, but preach Christ. It is not enough to preach about the gospel, but preach the gospel.
Before Christ could send Paul or any of the rest, He must be revealed in those who were to preach Him. When Christ is revealed in a man as the power of God and the wisdom of God, that man then is made, and has become, a minister of Christ. He then can minister Christ to men. But if Christ is not revealed in a man as the power of God and the wisdom of God, then that man cannot minister Christ, because he has not Christ. For he who has him not cannot minister him. The office of the minister of Christ is to be able to take Christ to men, and have him reach the people in such a way that they can receive him, and have him revealed in them. This is the ministry of the gospel. The gospel being the power of God, this is ministering the power of God.
Here is another passage in which Paul tells of this:—
“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; … whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:23-27.
He was sent to preach the gospel; he was made a minister of the gospel, a preacher of the mystery of God; and that mystery of God is, as he says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Then the preaching of the gospel is the preaching of Christ in men, the hope of glory. The minister of the gospel is the minister of Christ in men, the hope of glory. It is still, and forever, the preaching of God in Christ, manifest in the flesh—the incarnation. For “every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.”
But further, I call attention to that expression, “The mystery of God.” I read in Ephesians 3:3 and onward: “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; … which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men.” That mystery, as he says in the other verse, is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Now he says: By revelation God made known to me that mystery, and it pleased God to reveal his Son in me. “The gospel which I preach is not after  man. For I neither received it of man; neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Not alone the revelation which Christ gives; it is that and more. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ himself, as he was revealed in Paul, and as he is revealed in men, the hope of glory. And this is how Paul received the gospel—by the revelation of Jesus Christ, not only to him, but in him.
This is enough to show that the gospel is the mystery of God; that the preaching of the gospel is the preaching of the mystery of God; and that the preaching of the mystery of God is the preaching of Christ in men. This is the revelation of the mystery of God. This is the gospel that the apostles preached, and this is the only true gospel.
Here is another point. I have read in these verses not only that the gospel is Christ in men, and the power of God, and the mystery of God, but that it has been hid from ages and generations, and was then revealed in a way in which it had never been known before. Now, the gospel was made known to men from Adam down, and they had a measure of the knowledge of the gospel. But when Christ himself came, and revealed God in himself, to the children of men—it was never revealed and understood before as it was revealed and understood at that time. Then it came in a fullness that was never known before. And when the apostles were sent forth to preach it as it then was revealed, they preached it in a fullness and a clearness in which it was never preached before.
So Paul write again in Ephesians 3:8, 9: “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God.” Then from the beginning of the world unto the apostles’ day, this mystery had been hid from the world and from men in a measure, and as it was then revealed and preached, not only to these men, but in them and by them. Read these verses over—Ephesians 3:3, 5, 8, 9; Colossians 1:25-27—with this point in mind.
Then the apostles were sent to preach this gospel, to preach this mystery that had been hid from ages and generations. It was hid before; now it is made known to all men, for the obedience of faith. God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” That is the mystery that has been hid from ages and generations, and which God would now make known unto the Gentiles and to all men. Read Matthew 14:16, 17: “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”
Then by the ministry of the apostles there was made known that which had been hid from ages and from generations, and that thing was the mystery of God. And by the preaching of the gospel, says the word, he would now make known to his saints what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles. And that mystery “is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Though it had been hid from ages and generations in the past, now the Lord breaks off the veil, brings it forth, and by the mouth of the apostles, in the preaching of the gospel, spreads it before all nations for the obedience of faith. (Read Romans 16:26, 27.) This is the gospel; and the preaching of this is the preaching of the gospel.