By Gipsy Smith
Ephesians 3: 8 -- "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."
Now this is a big subject, and instead of fifteen minutes I should like to have fifteen hours, because you have a continent to explore. I can only bring you a leaf from the forest, just to let you see something of the foliage of the wonderful and the glorious possessions which God has for those who are interested and believe and love Him. I can only bring you a tiny flower, just one from the garden to show the tropical splendors of the Lord's garden, just a tiny feather from the wing of a little bird, to let you see something of the plumage of the feathered tribe of this wonderful, unexplored, inexhaustible, boundless inheritance to which you and I are called in Jesus Christ. "The unsearchable riches of Christ."
To be practical, what does it mean for you and for me? If you will read the 14th verse you will see what Paul says: "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man."
I pray that you may be given, according to the riches of grace, to be strong in the Lord. This means that you may be strong, round, full-orbed, robust, glorious, beautiful, strengthened by His spirit in the inner man, as beautiful as a bunch of roses on a June morning, as glorious and as sweet as a field of clover on a May day, as fresh and invigorating and life-giving, as attractive as a spring morning fresh as it bursts from eternity, as full of music as the woods are full of song. "Strengthened with all might by his Spirit in the inner man."
That is Paul's prayer: that God may give you and me from the riches of His glory the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ.
Has that prayer been answered for you? Are you strong in the Lord and in the power of His might? Are you anchored steady, firmly fixed in the Lord, and in the power of His might? Are you firmly fixed on the Rock of Ages? Is your face toward the hill-tops? Are you as strong as a mountain, and as fresh as the morning, strong in the Lord, in the inner man? This is one of the riches of His grace.
Once the fathomless wealth of these riches gets into your soul, do you suppose you can hide it? You will be like the man who was converted in one of my meetings some time ago, at a noon service. He was so full of his new joy that he went home after the meeting instead of going to his place of business. As he went from the meeting, he told me that he was gloriously saved and he was going home to his family. I said, "You will tell them about it, when you get home?" He replied, "I shall not say anything about it." "You won't," I said. "No," he replied. "Do you know you are converted?" I asked. "Yes. I am confident," he replied. "Very well," I said, "go home and keep quiet if you can." What do you think he did when he got home? He did what he had never done before in all his married life; he went into the cellar and chopped up all the wood he could find, to the surprise of his wife and daughter, then he filled all the scuttles with coal, and when he found nothing else to do he shouted to his wife, "Mary, do you want any potatoes from the barn?" Mary said, "John, what is the matter?" And he said, "I am converted."
The riches of His grace will come out. You cannot hide the sun at noon-day.
Here is another thing. If the riches of His grace are to dwell in you richly, you must be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. If your roots are in Christ, the fruit will be there. You know you always know a rose-tree, if it is alive, because it bears roses. Men do not gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles, and if you are rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, there will be the fruits of grace coming out of your life, out of your mouth, out of your hands, out of your feet, out of your whole deportment. You will have the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, forgiveness.
When I was a Gipsy boy, and my father pitched his tent in the summer-time, I would not be there many minutes before I had a garden. I would get a stake out of the hedge and I would dig up a little space, and I would gather primrose roots and violets, and such things, and I planted them all nicely, but it didn't matter how much water I gave them, as soon as the sun got up and got on the top of them, they would all wilt and die. And why? They were just stuck in and had no rootage. And lots of you are just stuck in the Church like that. You have no roots. But where you are rooted and grounded in the love of Christ there is fruit and beauty. There will be no doubt about your fruit-bearing if your roots have got hold of the soil which is provided by the riches of His grace. In the kingdom of His grace, the land is so wealthy that the fruits are plentiful because the supplies of the wisdom and the love and the fullness of God are so abundant.
Do you think that your life would be what it is? Oh, I know you're a member of the Church. A man said to me this morning in my room, "I shook hands with you last night; the people who are church members do just what I do, and there is no difference in them, but if I go into the Church I can't do that. I can't do what they do. My conscience won't let me." I said, "What are you going to do now?" He said, "I am going to get into the Church."
I once heard Sam Jones say this: "You folks who are outside of the Church, when you get inside, do what you think you would do when you are outside, when you get in." There is a bit of sanctified sense there; you get rooted and grounded in the love of Christ.
I want to tell you that the world is watching you, that men outside the Church have been looking at you Christians and have been kept outside because of your inconsistency and want of fruit, and the people who are outside have been kept outside because you don't live as you should. Why don't you alter your methods?
One of the fruits of the Spirit and one of the wonders of grace and one of the unexplored regions for most of us, is that God wants us to have our inner roots so fixed in Himself that we shall draw from Him, and the world may know we belong to Him. Listen to these words: "Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." You prove your discipleship by the fruits you bear and so do I. But to bear fruit we must be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ.
Here is another thing that is practical for you and me within the unsearchable riches of Christ, that you may be able to grasp with all saints what is the breadth and depth and length and height. And some of us, you know, are afraid; we are afraid of the depths, we are afraid to get out too deep into deep waters. We are afraid of the deep waters, we are timid about that. We don't want overmuch religion, else So-and-so or Mrs. So-and-so will think we are extreme. We want just enough to be respectable, and we don't want to be considered peculiar or extreme.
But listen. It is the extreme people that are useful, who stand out as the people of God. It is the lukewarm that are of no use, they are a hindrance. And Jesus said-you read it -- He would that we were hot or cold, not luke-warm. The people who are trying to avoid extremes are the people who are the curse to the Kingdom of God. "I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth."
We ought to go into the deep places. You know Ezekiel in his visions of the waters, when he saw the water flowing from underneath the throne in his vision, stepped in up to his ankles, then up to his knees, then he got out further, and it came up to his loins, then he got out further still, and it was deep enough to swim in. It was a river of God. He got to the deep places. Some of you are up to your knees in the Church, you go to Church once on Sunday, and you have had enough then, and you have graced the sanctuary with your presence and patronized the preacher, and made him feel he ought to consider himself complimented that you were there. Poor deluded thing -- poor half-starved thing, you are only up to your ankles. You want to get out a little bit further and understand what our Salvation Army friends call Knee Drill. Thank the Lord I saw my congregation last night on its knees and there was no trouble to get them there. Last night the whole congregation knelt down before God and wanted to do it.
Some of you are not only stiff-necked, but stiff-kneed. Some of you haven't knelt for years. I tell you what I have noticed in Church when I have gone to worship sometimes as one of the congregation, to pick up a crumb or two for myself; the people, when the pastor said, "Let us pray," remained bolt upright. We are losing reverence for God.
Some are up to the loins. That means the strength of their manhood is Christ's. Then there are those who are out where they can swim in it. They are all in. Why don't you get in like that? There are depths for you church people who are in the shallows. Go out that you may know the heights and the depths.
I wonder if any of you have read of Mrs. Margaret Bottome, who was the founder of the King's Daughters in America. She was the widow of a godly Methodist preacher. She was a godly woman, a mother in Israel. Her face was a benediction and to hear her pray was to be lifted a little nearer to God. I met her the last time at Ocean Grove during the camp meeting and she came to me and said, "I have a story to tell you. I know you can use it. I was walking early this morning on the board walk and a little boy out there in a boat who knew me shouted out, 'Mrs. Bottome, won't you get into my boat and have a row?' And I looked back and said, 'Yes, I believe I will.' So I went to the steps and waited for him, and I got on the bottom step just above the water -- it was a calm, beautiful morning -- and he came along, and when he came close up and the boat was steady, I stood firmly on one foot and touched the edge of the boat with the other foot (and Mrs. Bottome was a full-sized woman), I just touched the edge of the boat and of course the boat went out and left me. So the little fellow came back again and steadied his boat again and then I changed my foot and tried the other one, and of course the boat went out again and left me, and the little fellow scratched his head and said, 'Why don't you get in all of you .v ,, That is it, get in all of you. You know you have one foot in the world and you are trying to keep one in the church and they don't go very well together. Get all in. Get into the depths.
The riches of His grace are able, my brother, to do all this and more for you. We need not look poverty-stricken and walk about like old tramps, we can look like the children of a King. We can wear the garments of praise and the spirit of happiness and we may be clothed like the morning and our hearts, full of praise to God.
God has been doing these things for some of us. We have been entering into a new experience. We have been climbing up on higher ground. We have been getting out of the darkness into the light. Our sighs have been changed to songs.