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´╗┐Title: Studies in the Life of the Christian: His Faith and His Service
Author: Sell, Henry T. (Henry Thorne)
Language: English
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STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN

His Faith and His Service

By

HENRY T. SELL, D.D.



PREFACE

These studies consider the questions: What did Christ teach? What is
the standpoint of Christianity?  What is a Christian? What ought he to
believe and why? How shall he regard the Bible and the church?  What
should be his relations to God, to his fellow men, to his home, to
society, to business, and to the state?

The strength and reasonableness of the great main positions of
Christian faith and service are constructively presented. Careful
attention is also given to the practical application of Christian
principles to the perplexing problems of modern life.

This book is for use in adult Bible classes, Bible study circles,
pastors' training classes in the essentials of Christianity,
educational institutions and private study.

It is uniform with the author's "Bible Studies in the Life of Christ,"
"Bible Studies in the Life of Paul" and his other Bible study books.

HENRY T. SELL.
Chicago.



CONTENTS

   I. CHRIST, THE GREAT TEACHER

  II. THE CHRISTIAN'S GOD

 III. THE CHRISTIAN MAN

  IV. THE CHRISTIAN'S FELLOW MAN

   V. THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

  VI. THE CHRISTIAN'S BOOK

 VII. THE CHRISTIAN PRAYER

VIII. THE CHRISTIAN SERVICE

  IX. THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

   X. THE CHRISTIAN HOME

  XI. THE CHRISTIAN BUSINESS WORLD

 XII. THE CHRISTIAN SOCIETY

XIII. THE CHRISTIAN STATE

 XIV. THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE



STUDY I

CHRIST, THE GREAT TEACHER


Scripture references: Matthew 4:23; 5:1,2; 7:29; 13:54; 26:55;
28:19,20; Mark 1:21,22; 4:1,2; 6:6; Luke 5:3; 11:1; 19:47; John 6:59;
7:14; 8:28.


THE FOUNDER OF CHRISTIANITY

The heart of the Christian religion is found in Jesus Christ. If we
desire to know what Christianity is and of what elements it is
composed we must look to Him and His teachings. He is the great source
of our knowledge of what God, man, sin, righteousness, duty and
salvation are.

Our interest in the books of the Old Testament lies in the fact that
they lead up to Him. We study the books of the New Testament because
of their vivid portrayal of His life, teachings, death and
resurrection.  With Jesus Christ a new era dawned for the world with
new principles, ideas and aspirations for humanity.  His teachings
touch every department of human life and, where they are accepted and
followed, they show their marvellous transforming power.  There can be
no more important study than what Jesus Christ said and did while upon
this earth.  "Never man spake like this man" (John 7:46).


WHAT CHRIST TAUGHT

There are five great lines which His teachings followed; they have to
do with God, man, sin, salvation and the future life.

The Right Relation of God to Man and Man to God.--How does God regard
man? and, How shall man look upon God? are questions upon which the
best thought of men in all ages has been expended.  Upon the answers
given have been founded all sorts of religious and philosophical
systems.

Man in this great universe desires to know in what relation he stands
to the Author of it. Is man only a creature of fate? What does God
care, great as He is, for one man?

Jesus Christ recognized this desire of man to know his standing with
God and He proclaimed not only the power, but the Fatherhood of
God. When He taught His disciples how to pray He began His immortal
prayer not with "Great God of the universe," or "Creator of all
things," but "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which
art in heaven" (Matthew 6:9). Here was a new conception of God.

Through Christ man comes into personal relations with God as the
Father (John 16:27) who cares for him as a son. Man is to love and
forgive as God loves and forgives in this relation of Father (Matthew
22:37; 6:14,15). Man is to do all that he does as in the sight of his
Father in heaven (Matthew 6:1-26). God is made known as supreme love
(John 3:16).

The Right Relation of Man to Man.--There are many causes which divide
men into classes, castes and nationalities. Once divided men begin to
develop a class feeling and pride which tend to deepen and widen the
gulfs which separate them from each other.

With the truth proclaimed by Christ of the "Fatherhood of God" came
also the great truth of the "Brotherhood of Man." The true relation of
man to man, no matter what the caste, class, employment or
nationality, is that of sons who have a common father.  The second
great commandment given by Christ is, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour
as thyself" (Matthew 22:39). When He took the example for a good
neighbour He selected a Samaritan, a man of an alien race. Men are
naturally inclined to do good to those who treat them well and whose
help they need; but Christ, in carrying out this new law of brotherly
love said, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to
them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and
persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in
heaven" (Matthew 5:44-48). It is only through this love of man for
man, no matter what the class or condition, that right relations
between men can ever be established and maintained.

The Right Relation of Man to Sin.--Man violates his sense of
righteousness and justice. He transgresses the laws of God and his
nature. Man's sin is everywhere doing its destroying work. There is
individual, social, corporate and national sin (Romans 3:23). This
fact of sin is not only set forth in the Bible in unmistakable terms,
but every government recognizes it in its laws and courts of justice.
Society puts up its bars to protect itself against the sinner, and all
literature proclaims the evil results of sin.

What ought to be man's attitude to sin? Shall he make light of it and
call it a necessary part of living?  Shall he continue in it, although
he recognizes its evil results, and draw others with him into greater
and larger violations of the laws of God and man?  These are practical
questions. Some temporize with sin and say, "Let us lead outwardly
correct lives, but within certain bounds we will do as we please";
hence arises the practice of secret sinning.

Christ came declaring that man's relation to sin should be
uncompromising. He used vigorous language in regard to sin. He said,
"Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that
offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off and cast
them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or
maimed, rather than having two hands or feet to be cast into
everlasting fire" (Matthew 18:7,8). But Jesus in thus advocating
heroic treatment for sin was but doing what eminent surgeons are
advising every day in regard to certain dangerous bodily
diseases. Jesus also laid His finger on the source of sin when He
declared, "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these
are the things which defile a man" (Matthew 15:19). A man must think
evil before he does evil, and hence the emphasis which Jesus placed
upon keeping the heart clean.

The Right Relation of Man to Salvation.--Man feels his inclination to
do evil and, seeing also the degradation wrought by it, desires to be
saved from it.  The cry has gone up from many hearts to be free not
only from the power of sin but from the desire to commit sin. No man
can save himself. He may succeed in a certain outward reformation and
correctness of habit and speech, but he cannot control the thoughts
and inclinations of his own heart.

The special mission of Jesus Christ was to place man in the right
relation of salvation from his sins and to show Himself the Saviour of
Man. It was declared of Him before His birth, "He shall save His
people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). He said at the last supper,
"This is My blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the
remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28). He had power to forgive sins (Mark
2:10). He said not, "I show you the way," but "I am the way, the truth
and the life" (John 14:6). There is here a mighty spiritual power
which can save man from sin and can keep him from the desire to
sin. It is only as man enters into personal relations with Jesus
Christ, repenting of his sin and having faith in Him, that the burden
of sin is lifted from his heart (Matthew 6:33; 11:28,30).

The Right Relation of Man to Death and the Future Life.--The facts of
death and of what comes after cannot be set aside; they must be
faced. All forms of religion and systems of philosophy have striven to
sustain and comfort men at their trying hour of need. The trouble has
been, however, to find any certain ground of the hope of a future life
upon which to rest. No man has been able to do more than present a
good argument, in regard to the hereafter, which might or might not be
true.

But when Jesus Christ came He was able to speak with authority and
power. He plainly, in His description of the last judgment scene
(Matthew 25:31-46), showed the relation of man's faith and actions in
this world to his state in the world to come. He declared that a man
need have no fear of death or the hereafter who trusted in Him. "I am
the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he
were dead yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me
shall never die" (John 11:25,26). "In My Father's house are many
mansions, if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a
place for you" (John 14:2). In a supreme trust in Jesus Christ all
dread of death and the hereafter may be taken away and man may enter
into a right relation to immortality in this life.


FORMS OF CHRIST'S TEACHING

He used many forms in placing the truth before men. He paid great
regard to the timeliness and the manner of presenting what He had to
teach. Upon many occasions the multitudes were so captivated by His
words and works that they followed Him out into desert places.

Direct Discourse.--The Sermon on the Mount is a good example of this
teaching. Here He taught plainly, (1) "The nature and constitution of
the Kingdom" (Matthew 5:1-16); in itself (blessedness, vs.  1-12) and
in its relation to the world (vs. 13-16).  (2) The law of the kingdom
(Matthew 5:17-7:12); general principles (vs. 17-20), the moral law
(vs. 21-48), religious duty (6:1-18), and duty in relation to the
world and the good and evil things in it (6: 19-7:12). (3) Invitations
to enter the kingdom (Matthew 7:13-29).

He was equally plain in regard to His own mission. He declared Himself
to be the Son of God and claimed equality with the Father (John
5:18-23).  He said, "I and My Father are one" (John 10:30).  He
affirmed His preexistence and that He had glory with the Father before
the world was (John 17:5) and whoever had seen Him had seen the Father
(John 14:9). At His trial, in answer to the question of the High
Priest, He declared that He was the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew
26:63-66). After His resurrection He told His disciples, in sending
them forth to their mission, that all power was given Him in heaven
and in earth (Matthew 28:18-20).

Parables (Mark 4:2; Matthew 13:3).--Christ spoke in parables to convey
and send home to the hearts of His hearers the truth, just as Nathan
employed the parable of the lamb in the case of David to make him
acknowledge his sin. They were adapted to the capacities of His
hearers. Each parable had some great central truth.

The parables have been classified as:

1. The Theoretic, which teach general truths concerning the kingdom of
God, such as, "The Sower" (Matthew 13:3-23), "The Treasure" and "The
Pearl" (Matthew 13:44,45).

2. Grace, setting forth the divine goodness and grace as the source of
salvation and law of Christian life, such as, "The Lost Coin," "The
Lost Sheep" and "The Lost Boy" (Luke 15).

3. The Prophetic or Judgment parables, which proclaim the
righteousness of God as the supreme ruler, rewarding men according to
their works, such as, "The Wicked Husbandmen" (Matthew 21:33-41), and
"The Ten Virgins" (Matthew 25:1-13).

Miracles (John 3:2; 2:23; 6:2; Mark 1:32-34).--Christ appealed to His
works as an evidence of His divine mission (John 10:38). Miracles are
possible, probable and credible, when we believe there is a personal
God, who is the Supreme Ruler of the universe and that He cares for
man.

The thirty-six miracles of which an account is given in the four
gospels have been divided into three classes; their teaching is
important:

1. The Nature miracles show the divinity of Christ.  The feeding of
the five thousand men (Matthew 14:15-21) reveals His creative power,
and the stilling of the storm on the Lake of Galilee (Matthew 8:23-27)
His divine command over Nature and its forces.

2. The Healing miracles reveal not only His divinity but His humanity
and compassion. They set forth the one being who loves the human race
with His whole heart. This class of miracles shows the mission of
Jesus to be the extinction of sin and disease, and the redemption of
man, body and soul.

3. The Moral miracles are the life of Christ and its effect upon the
world.

Example of Living and Dying, the teaching of which is elaborated in
the Acts and Epistles (Acts 1:8; 2:31-41; 13:23-42; Philippians
2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-20).


HOW CHRIST TAUGHT

With Authority (Matthew 7:28,29; Mark 1:22).--He declared that "All
power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28: 18). He
did not quote precedents but said, "I say unto you."

With Persuasiveness and Love (Matthew 11:28-30; 19:13,14; John 3:17;
Luke 9:56).--People of all classes gathered about Him, in the
marketplaces, in the fields and by the seaside. They followed Him into
desert places to hear the gracious words that fell from His lips.

With Originality (John 12:46).--He taught a new philosophy of sorrow
and suffering, a new law of self-sacrifice and a new law of love for
fallen humanity.

With Promise (Matthew 28:20; John 14:12-19; 16:1-14; Acts 1:4-8).--His
work He declared was not to end with His resurrection and ascension,
but was to continue. He promised to endue His disciples with power
from on high in their task of converting a world. This promise of
divine help was also extended to all His disciples in their effort to
lead pure and righteous lives.


QUESTIONS

What can be said about the Founder of Christianity and His teachings?
What did Christ teach; about the right relation of God to man, man to
man, man to sin, man to salvation and man to death and the hereafter?
What can be said of the forms of Christ's teaching; direct discourse
(give examples), parables (give the teaching of the three classes),
miracles (give the teaching of the three classes) and example of
living and dying? How did Christ teach?  What can be said of His
authority, persuasiveness, originality and promise?



STUDY II

THE CHRISTIAN'S GOD


Scripture References: Genesis 1:1; 17:1; Exodus 34:6,7; 20:3-7;
Deuteronomy 32:4; 33:27; Isaiah 40:28; 45:21; Psalm 90:2; 145:17;
139:1-12; John 1:1-5; 1:18; 4:23,24; 14:6-11; Matthew 28:19,20;
Revelation 4:11; 22:13.


WHO IS GOD?

How Shall We Think of God?--"Upon the conception that is entertained
of God will depend the nature and quality of the religion of any soul
or race; and in accordance with the view that is held of God, His
nature, His character and His relation to other beings, the spirit and
the substance of theology will be determined." When one man says, "I
believe in God" he may have in mind an entirely different conception
of God from another man who uses the same expression. There is a
Christian idea of God and there are many non-Christian ideas about
God; it is the latter which keep men from heartily engaging in the
service of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wrong Conceptions of God.--Some of these are:

1. That He is a blind fate or unknowable force.  Personality is
denied, and it is asserted that this great force neither sees, cares
nor even knows what men do or do not do.

2. Even if this great force be personal, and knows what is going on
amongst men, He is perfectly indifferent to right or wrong actions.

3. God knows and sees all that is going on, but He has wound up this
universe like a great clock. To help or succour any man in his
distress would disarrange the whole system. Natural law must have its
course; it is useless to pray.

4. God is revengeful or weak; in the first place men seek to keep out
of His way, in the second they do not care.

When men adopt these wrong ideas of God and cherish them they are
fashioned after them in life and character. Here are the
stumbling-blocks which need to be removed before men, who think this
way, can be brought into sympathy with the Church of Christ.  Man can
never come into personal loving relations with a Universal Substance
or Force, no matter how mighty it is.

Right Conceptions of God are necessary for the true worship of the
Almighty, for the exercise of proper conduct to our fellow men and for
the upbuilding of our own spiritual life. Never was there a time when
the great fundamental positions of the Bible, in regard to God, needed
to be more plainly stated than to-day. When men stand firmly upon
these positions a whole host of perplexities and anxieties will take
their departure.

The Christian Conception of God has been thus expressed, "God is the
Personal Spirit, perfectly good, who in holy love, creates, sustains
and orders all." The essential matters covered in this statement are:

1. The nature of God. He is the Personal Spirit (Exodus 3:14; John
4:24) who can enter into personal relations with man, and who hears
and answers prayer.

2. The character of God. He is perfectly good, pure and holy (Psalm
25:8; Nahum 1:7; Romans 2:4). Man may have perfect confidence, however
matters may seem to him to go wrong with his imperfect vision of the
world and the happenings in it, that there is a good God who governs
all in the interest of righteousness (Matthew 13:24-30,36-43).

3. The relation of God to all other existences. He creates, sustains
and orders all (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 19).

4. The motive of God in His relation to all other existence; it is
holy love (1 John 4:8).

Supreme power, personality, intelligence and perfect goodness are then
the great revealed truths which the Bible presents to us as the proper
conceptions which we should have of God.

But if it is desired to know what God is like we look at once to Jesus
Christ. He is supreme intelligence.  He has power over nature and men
and He uses all with the motive and purpose of a holy love. We know
that He controlled nature, when on earth, and not nature Him. He
taught the great love of God for man. He made it plain that men were
not in a relation as atoms of matter in a whirlpool of action, but as
sons to a loving father.


GOD IS SUPREME

God's Attitude to the Universe.--The Scriptures are consistent in the
statement, many times made, that God is the source of all things. He
brings all things into being and sustains all by the word of His
power.  His is a work of perpetual administration. But God is not
wholly occupied in conducting the affairs of the universe, neither
does it exhaust His possibilities (Psalm 8:1; 148:13). He is greater
than the universe.  God, says Dr. Clarke, in his "Outline of Christian
Theology," is like the spirit of a man in his body, which is greater
than his body, able to direct his body, and capable of activities that
far transcend the physical realm. God is a free spirit, personal,
self-directing, unexhausted by His present activities. This statement
affirms both the immanence and the transcendence of God. By the
immanence of God is meant that He is everywhere and always present in
the universe, nowhere absent from it, never separated from its
life. By His transcendence is meant--not as is sometimes
represented--that He is outside and views the universe from beyond and
above, but that He is not shut up in it or limited by it, not required
in His totality to maintain and order it. By both together is meant
that He is a free spirit inhabiting the universe, but surpassing it,
immanent as always in the universe, and transcendent, as always
independent of its limitations and able to act upon it.

God's Attitude to Man.--God has not only placed man at the head of the
animal world, but has endowed him with qualities which make him its
lord and master. God is more than the Creator of man. He is his
Father, Saviour and Friend.

God comes to man in the attitude, of The Supreme Spiritual Being,
approaching a spiritual being who is of priceless value. Jesus Christ
makes this truth very plain. He everywhere teaches the great worth of
the life of a man and that God is seeking to come directly into touch
with this life which is so precious in His sight (John 3:16; Matthew
10:30,31). This life is not the physical but the spiritual which is
the real life of a man. "Not what one has, but what one is, gives the
true measure of a man." He said, "For what shall it profit a man, if
he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a
man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36,37). "Is not the life
more than meat and the body than raiment?"  (Matthew 6:25). "In
harmony with this view of the worth of life," Professor Stevens in
"The Theology of the New Testament," says, "Jesus taught that the most
humble and insignificant person, on whom men set no value, is precious
in the sight of God. These little ones, be they children or humble
believers, are not the despised (Matthew 18:10). The least important
person who goes astray from goodness excites the pity and solicitude
of God, and He seeks him and brings him back as the shepherd, leaving
his ninety-nine sheep, goes into the mountains in eager search after
the one that has wandered away" (Luke 15:14).

The hope of everlasting life is bound up with the recognition by man
of the priceless value of the spiritual life and of the necessity of
his coming into harmony (in thought, will and action) with God's plans
for him (John 17:3; Luke 12:16-21; John 1:4; 3:15,34-36; 6:35,47;
14:6).


"GOD IS THE PERSONAL SPIRIT"

"God is Spirit," these words of Christ, uttered to the Samaritan woman
(John 4:24), have reference to the nature of God and show us how we
are to think of Him. He is not limited to a particular place of
worship, but is to be worshipped "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23).

When we speak of a spirit we mean a being who has intelligence and
will; one who thinks, feels and wills. God the great intelligence and
will can enter into communication with man who, while he has a body,
has also a spirit possessing intelligence and a will. We need not
define the difference between God and matter, "if only we give full
weight to this vital and practical difference, that He is one who
thinks and feels and wills. The composition of spirit we may never
understand, but this is the action of spirit and this is
intelligible." God is everywhere represented in the Scriptures as
exercising intelligence and will (Genesis 1:1,2; 6:3; Job 26:7-14;
38:1-41; Psalm 2; 19; 72; Isaiah 61:1; Mark 10:27; 12:27; John 3:34;
Acts 3:26).

God is Personal.--Personality has two characteristics;
self-consciousness and self-direction. When it is said that God is
personal, the meaning is that He knows Himself as God and directs His
own actions.  In the Bible He is represented as saying "I" (Exodus
20:2; 3:14) and as directing all things. Personality does not limit
God. He is the one perfect personality.  Personality in man exists
only in a more or less imperfect degree. Personality is understood
here not as "bodily," but as belonging to the spirit.


GOD IS GOOD

The Character of God is a subject of great importance to man. God is
the Supreme Personal Spirit, yet to know only this is to leave out a
very vital part in our estimation or knowledge of God. We desire to
know and feel that God is not only the greatest, but the best being in
the universe. Hence God is shown to us in the Bible to be inwardly
perfect and outwardly consistent with this perfection. The Old
Testament shows a struggle between God and man; God seeking to bring
man to the thinking of right thoughts and doing of right actions and
man resisting Him. The history of Israel is a story of a nation whom
God would make a righteous people; all the laws given to it, civil,
sanitary and ceremonial, were with the end in view to make it "a holy
nation"; all its prophets and teachers proclaim the righteous and just
character of God (Exodus 19:6; Leviticus 11:45; 19:2; 20:7, 8; Numbers
15:40; Deuteronomy 14:2,21; Joshua 24:19; Psalm 22:3; 99:3; 111:9;
Isaiah 6:3; 57:15). In Jesus Christ and His life upon earth we see the
goodness of God in its largeness. "In His gospel holiness is the
ideal, the substance of Christian character and the end in view in
Christian experience."  He says, in the Sermon on the Mount, "Be ye
therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect"
(Matthew 5:48).

In Christ we have the one perfect ideal of moral excellence. In Him we
can see what goodness in God means (John 14:9).

The standard for the conduct of man is that of God's goodness,
righteousness and truth; this is not a double one--the Old and the New
Testament--but a single one and applicable to all men of all races and
climes.

"If sin exists holiness in God must absolutely and forever oppose
it. From the holiness in God's character we can understand His
righteousness and justice.  The man who does evil sets his will
against God's will and against the principle upon which He conducts
the universe. Such a man has placed himself where he must either turn
back and forsake his sin or take the inevitable consequences of
resisting the purpose which God is fulfilling."

God's love for man is bound up with His goodness.  God, foreseeing the
fearful consequences of man's sinning, seeks in every way to warn and
turn him back from the evil way. He knows the great worth of the soul
and desires to save it to everlasting joy (John 3:17; Luke 9:56; John
14:1-3).


GOD'S MANIFESTATION

The Manifestation of God in Jesus Christ.--Paul says, "when the
fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son" (Galatians 4:4);
"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven,
and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue
should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the
Father" (Philippians 2:10,11).

This personal manifestation of God in Christ is in perfect harmony
with the nature and character of God as we know Him through the
Scriptures. This manifestation of God is not only subject to a
historical test, but may also be made the subject of a personal
experience test, "If any man will do His will he shall know of the
doctrine" (John 7:17). Soon after the resurrection and ascension of
Jesus the disciples, who had been with Jesus when He was upon earth,
began to urge others to make a test of personal experience in regard
to the manifestation of God in Christ (Acts 2:14,31-47; 3:19-21;
7:56). Paul, who had a special experience (Acts 9:1-8), preached this
test of personal experience throughout the Roman Empire.  Ever since
those early times there has been the same urgent appeal for men to
come to a knowledge of God through Jesus Christ and to make the test
not only historical, but one of personal experience.

The "Threefold Self-manifestation of God."--Christ in instructing His
disciples after His resurrection, said, "Go ye therefore and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and
of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19).

In the Old Testament we have the manifestation of God as the one
living God of all. He was specially known as the God of Israel in
preparing that nation for the great part it had in the divine economy.

In the New Testament Christ is recognized by His followers--and so
taught Himself--as the personal manifestation of God, to whom divine
honour was and is to be given. Christ told His followers that He would
"pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may
abide with you forever" (John 14:16). This Comforter (16:7-15), the
Holy Spirit, would guide them into all truth.

The Holy Spirit, upon whom they were to wait for His manifestation
(Acts 1:8), came in wonderful power on the Day of Pentecost (Acts
2:1-4), thus beginning the great work which was to spread around the
world. When Paul and Barnabas were ready for their large missionary
task, the Holy Spirit called them to it (Acts 13:2). The early Church
felt the presence of that mighty indwelling Holy Spirit. "As God
Himself had come in the Son so it was felt that He had come in the
Spirit. The one God of all known to the fathers, had manifested
Himself in the divine human Christ, and in the invisible Spirit of
truth and life. Both was His and yet each was truly Himself."


QUESTIONS

Who is God? How shall we think of Him? Give some of the wrong
conceptions of God. What can be said of the right conceptions of God?
What is the Christian conception of God? How can we know what God is
like? What is God's attitude to the universe and to man? What do we
mean when we say, that "God is a Spirit"? How is God personal? What
can be said of the character of God?  How is God manifested, in
Christ, and in the threefold manifestation?



STUDY III

THE CHRISTIAN MAN


Scripture references: Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7; 9:6; Job 33:4; Psalm
100:3; 8:4-9; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Acts 17:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:7;
Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 15:45; Hebrews 2:6,7;
Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Corinthians 2:9.


WHAT IS MAN?

What Shall We Think of Man?--Who is he?  What is his place on the
earth and in the universe?  What is his destiny? He is of necessity an
object of thought. He is the subject of natural laws, instincts and
passions. How far is he free; how far bound?  How is he linked with
the physical and the spiritual worlds? These and a host of other
questions press upon us for answers, when we begin to think about man
and his destiny.

Taken in detail the inquiries lead investigators in many different
directions and result in many contradictory systems of thought. Taken,
however, in a general practical way all questions about man may be
considered from two standpoints; the physical and the spiritual. The
danger is in making the physical alone interpret the spiritual and in
declaring that "man is simply a ripple on the sea of human events and
human life, merely on episode marking a particular stage in the
cooling of a nebula." This method of interpretation leads to the
ruling out of any personal responsibility on the part of man for his
thoughts or actions, the obliteration of the distinction between right
and wrong and the denial of a personal God and personal immortality.

The right standpoint from which to consider the many questions about
man, as he appears upon this earth, is that of a personal spiritual
being with a physical body. There is here no denial of the physical
part of man, but it is made subordinate to the spiritual. Man is
personal and responsible for his thoughts and conduct; upon this
conception of man is founded human society and the state. Man is
spiritual, knowing the distinction between right and wrong, capable of
knowing God who is The Personal Spirit and looking forward to a
personal immortality.

The Christian Thought of Man recognizes him as a personal spiritual
being with a physical body; he has large responsibilities, and a great
destiny to attain--if he so wills.

There are six heads under which the Christian conception of man may be
considered:

1. Man is mortal (Psalm 90:5,10; Ecclesiastes 12:5). The physical part
of man is quite definitely limited in years. His body is formed of the
same elements as that of any other animal and is subject to the law of
decay and death. This linking of man with, what we call, the material
universe is asserted at the very opening of the Bible (Genesis
2:7). Man is a member of a race of men with all that this membership
implies (Acts 17:26).

2. Man is immortal (1 Corinthians 15:53,54).  The physical body is the
house of the spirit of man.  All the appeals in the Scriptures are
addressed to this personal spirit of man (Matthew 6:25,33; John
14:1-4). There is in the New Testament a great forward look to the
things that shall come to pass after the passing away of the physical
body (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 21,22).

3. Man is a moral being (Romans 2:14,15). There is a law of conscience
impressed upon man when he comes into the world, which makes him a
moral being capable of distinguishing between right and wrong.  Man
knows when he sins against the law of his conscience.

4. Man is a responsible being (Romans 2:1-11).  He is self-conscious
and self-determining. He knows himself as himself and he can determine
his actions; it is these characteristics which make him responsible
for his sins. He has the power of choice and in willing to do right or
wrong he brings the consequences of his doing upon himself.

5. Salvation for man is through Jesus Christ.  Man sins and violates
his moral nature; he feels the responsibility for his sin; he desires
forgiveness for his sin and to be freed from its power over his
spiritual nature (Romans 7:23,24). But he finds no earthly help. Such
help can come to man only through a spiritual being who, subject to
all the assaults of sin (Matthew 4:1-11), has triumphed over them all
(Romans 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus Christ, the manifestation of
God the Father, is the Spiritual Being through whom man can receive
forgiveness for sin (Luke 5:23,24; Acts 2:38; 13:38,39; 16:30,31).

6. Large possibilities are everywhere asserted for man in the
Scriptures. This earthly life is looked upon as the beginning of a
greater and fuller life (1 Corinthians 13:9,12). Yet in doing the will
of God man may even here enter upon a life full of joy (Hebrews
12:1,2).


MAN MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

The Statement of the Case.--In Genesis 1:26 we are told that God said,
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." In Genesis 2:7 the
narrative relates, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the
ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man
became a living soul" (see Psalm 8:4-8). These passages have a great
representative character and the truth expressed in them has lived and
will live under all theories of the appearance of man upon this
earth. In the Bible man is shown as the latest and highest creation of
God, the last and best of His work in the animal world, but with a
difference that is world-wide between him and the brute creation.
Here is an animal, coming up out of the dust, endowed with spiritual
qualities which place him not only at the head of the animal kingdom,
but dominating it. The most radical evolutionist must admit that man
is the last in the list of uplifts in the animal world, that he has
qualities which elevate him far above it and by which he dominates
it. Somewhere back there, again, he must admit that there came a
change and the dust-born animal was changed into a God-born soul. The
great truth then remains, man is an animal but endowed with a growing
marvellous self-conscious, self-determining personality. As the Bible
is a progressive revelation, showing us more and more the greatness of
spiritual truths, it represents man as starting from no high plane of
civilization and as a learner through the ages. Man is even now in the
process of making; he has not yet come to his best estate.

The Image of God.--What is the likeness of God?  "God is Spirit" (John
4:24) and that part of man which counts is his spiritual kinship to
God.

Man's intelligence, moral nature and will constitute "the image of
God" in him and make it possible for him to come into communication
with God and to occupy his unique place in the universe. Only a person
can understand a person.

"Man is dear to God because he is like Him. Vast and glorious as it
is, the sun cannot think God's thoughts; can fulfill but cannot
intelligently sympathize with God's purposes. Man, alone among God's
works, can enter into and approve of God's purpose in the world and
can intelligently fulfill it. Without man the whole material universe
would have been dark and unintelligible, mechanical and apparently
without any sufficient purpose. Matter, however fearfully and
wonderfully wrought, is but the platform and material in which spirit,
intelligence and will, may fulfill themselves and find development."

The Bible seeks to show men in how many ways they resemble God and to
urge them to be worthy of their likeness to God. There is a certain
philosophy on the other hand, sometimes called "the dirt philosophy,"
which seeks to show men in how many ways they resemble the brute and
to urge them to live the life of the brute.

But a great practical question which demands an answer of us--as we
look out upon the world of men taking them as they are--is, Did God
make the evil man "in His likeness" as well as the good man?

The Good Man.--The best things bear the stamp of their maker. If a
good judge of pictures is taken into some famous art gallery it is not
necessary to point out to him the excellencies of the paintings, they
tell their own story. There are men in the Bible who manifestly bear
the image of God; Abraham, Isaac, Enoch, Moses, David, John, Paul and
others.  There have been many men in ancient and modern times who,
when some great crisis has come in the state or church, have conducted
themselves as men born in the image of God; men who have sacrificed
their own interests to be loyal to the truth. We all recognize such
men as God-born.

The Evil Man.--The difficulty is however to recognize any image of God
in a certain class of evil men who have low instincts and desires; men
who lie, cheat, steal and break every commandment of God and man.

Did God make the worst and the lowest of men?  If we are to consider
fairly the question of the making of man in the image of God we must
not shun this problem, which the vilest of men and the most degraded
savage presents. What can be seen in these men that reminds us of "the
likeness of God"? We are to judge men, however, by what they are
capable of and are, at their best, rather than at their worst.  The
art world regards Michael Angelo's statue of Moses as one of the
greatest creations of the sculptor's genius. Suppose, however, some
one should maliciously deluge this masterpiece with ink, smash it into
fragments with a huge hammer, and then ask as he looked upon the
marred and blackened bits of marble, "Is that a masterpiece of Michael
Angelo's genius?"  So we look upon a man who has been marred and
broken by sin and ask the question, "Was that man created in the image
of God? Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright;
but they have sought out many inventions." Trace back the cause of the
degradation of the individual or society or state and we always find
the root to be in some transgression of a righteous law of God.

The Bible uniformly asserts that God is not the author of sin or man's
fall into evil ways, but that he has sufficient light to follow right
ways, if he will.  But that an evil man has this marvelous heritage of
being God-born is shown by the fact that even when he has marred "the
likeness of God" in him, by sin, beyond human recognition there is
still a possibility of its being restored. Jesus Christ said, "For the
Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10;
Matthew 15:24; Luke 15:4); the most evil men came to Him and,
confessing their sins, were brought back into sonship with God. The
incentive to Christian work, in the slums of the cities, amongst the
most degraded savages and everywhere, is the finding of men broken and
marred by sin and the possibility of bringing them back to God.

God disapproves the sin but loves the sinner. "God commended His love
towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us"
(Romans 5:8-11).


THE CHIEF END OF MAN

The Bible declares the divine origin and the divine destiny of man,
and that he was made in the image of God and for His glory.

A Threefold Obligation rests upon man to serve and glorify God,

"1. On account of his creation by God, the Father.

"2. On account of his redemption by God, the Son.

"3. On account of his regeneration and sanctification by God, the Holy
Ghost."

The Great Concern of Man should be conformity with the divine likeness
(John 5:30; Matthew 6:10,33; 16:26; Romans 14:8; I Corinthians 10:31).
"Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing
of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and
perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2). It is only when man succeeds in
bringing his will to do God's will and makes God's plan his plan of
life that he comes to his best and highest estate. The world is full
of sin and misery, and there are many burdens heavy to be borne,
because man insists upon having his way instead of seeking God's
way. Many great civilizations have gone down and many forms of society
have been disrupted because, in them, man strove to set up his glory,
rather than God's glory, as the standard to be striven for. Man has
repeatedly attempted to attain to "the dominion" promised him only to
fail because he has desired such "dominion" to spend it upon
himself. God desires to crown man with glory and honour and to do
exceedingly large things for him, the Scriptures are filled with great
promises, but man only grasps at the shadow of power, when he might
have the substance. All great inventions and discoveries but point to
still greater ones, when man shall be fitted by spiritual grace and
goodness to be intrusted with them. The kingdom of heaven must come in
man's heart before any great material or spiritual advancement can
come in the world. Education, commerce, art, science, in all their
majesty of strength, can never do what the Christian religion can do
for men when it shall succeed in getting them to seek to be conformed
to "the divine likeness": this is a truth too little emphasized, but
it is fundamental and necessary to any real progress in the
world. "There is a higher law for life than self-will and unregulated
impulse; the real world goes deeper than things of sense; this
temporal life is related to eternity; and God is the central verity of
all."


THE PERFECT EXAMPLE

God's Measure of a Man.--What is the standard by which man is to
compare himself? Great things are expected of a man but how is he to
work them out?  These are fair questions.

Jesus Christ has two titles in the New Testament, "The Son of God" and
"The Son of Man." If we want to know what God is like we look into the
face of Jesus Christ. If we want to know what man ought to be we look
into the face of Jesus Christ (John 14:5-9; Matthew 5:48).

Jesus Christ is the Perfect Example.

He is the Perfect Example of a Physical Man.--The test here is bodily
endurance and perfect control over the body. Look at Jesus Christ and
note His physical endurance tests. He was forty days without food
(Matthew 4:2); this is not a weakling's task.  A man must have a
strong body to endure through such a starvation period. For a man to
be crucified upon a cross, after being scourged, was to undergo the
most terrible agony; yet Christ so had His body under control upon His
cross that He could speak forgiveness for His enemies and commend His
mother to the care of a disciple. "How can I start a religion?"  said
one great Frenchman to another. "Go and be crucified," was the
reply. If we want to behold the perfect physical man, who had His body
in complete control and made it do His will, we must look to Jesus
Christ. How many sins come to man through a weak physical control!

He is the Perfect Example of an Intellectual Man.--What man can
compare with Jesus Christ in the power of His intellect? He stands
ready before all to state and defend His precepts and principles. He
so spoke to the people that they listened with growing conviction.
"Never man spake like this man."  Difficult questions were brought to
Him, questions which would make the wisest judges hesitate in their
answers, and at once He gave His replies which stand unimpeached
to-day for marvellous wisdom and power.  Living in an age long before
modern science had its birth, He handles Nature as her Master and
makes no mistake. His words to-day are a power in the court, in the
senate and the marts of the world, as well as in the pulpit. He is the
perfect intellectual man for our example.

He is the Perfect Example of a Moral Man.--Many intellectual and
physical giants fail upon the moral test; but in Christ we find no
moral flaw. He is the standard of moral perfection. He is the perfect
moral example for all men.

Here is the foundation for physical and intellectual progress, but
without a true moral foundation they will both fail.

No man ever so ministered to men as Jesus Christ.


QUESTIONS

What is man? What shall we think of him? What is the Christian thought
of man? Give the five points in the Christian conception of man. Man
made in the image of God; give a statement of this case. What is the
image of God? Did God make the good man, the evil man? What is the
chief end of man? What threefold obligation rests upon man to serve
and glorify God? What should be the great concern of man? What can be
said of God's measure of a man? What can be said of Jesus Christ as
the perfect physical, intellectual and moral man?



STUDY IV

THE CHRISTIAN'S FELLOW MAN


Scripture references: Luke 10:29-37; Matthew 7:12; 5:16; Luke
12:13-15; 1 Corinthians 13; Matthew 7:3-5; 5:42-49; John 21:21, 22.


MAN AND OTHER MEN

The Question of Relationship.--One of the most important questions is
that of the relation which a man shall hold to other men.

1. It is fundamental in every system of philosophy and religion. The
answers, which are given, show their widespread practical bearing in
the social, industrial and political spheres, as well as in the
religious.

2. It is imperative from the fact it demands a reply which becomes at
once the basis of action. A man, amongst men, is under the necessity
of deciding how he will conduct himself towards his fellow men.

There are many divergent opinions, in regard to the relation which a
man should sustain to his fellow man, which lead to widely divergent
courses of action and largely affect the world for good or ill.

Jesus Christ was outspoken on this matter. His words (Luke 10:29-37;
Matthew 22:36-40) go at once to the heart of the question and give its
only possible solution.


THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN

The Inequalities in the Lives of Men are many and far reaching. They
divide men from each other and tend, if brooded over, to make them
live lives apart, with a lessening sympathy and a growing hostility.
They pertain to race, education, business and society. They may be
natural, or artificially induced.

The great inequality to-day, however, upon which men place an acute
emphasis is that of wealth or the lack of it. A man once came to Jesus
and said, "Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance
with me" (Luke 12:13); there is the same demand to-day. Men are not
seeking to share the responsibility of a self-denying service to their
fellow-men, such as Jesus gave; neither are they greatly desirous of
advancing the cause of righteousness in the world, but they are too
largely looking to the betterment of their material condition. It is
this state of affairs which often spurs men on to accumulate wealth by
the oppression of their fellow men. Many men work and plan for certain
great results in financial matters (as though these were the supreme
things), only to be disappointed and in consequence lose their
interest in life. It is the making of the struggle for material
betterment the chief thing in life which causes strikes, lockouts and
most of our modern industrial troubles. Here we find also the cause of
heart-burnings and jealousies and deep-seated hatreds.

It is said that out of these struggles between competitors, and
employer and employee, there is coming a better understanding between
the contending parties and also new adjustments which will do away
with these destructive strifes. This may all be true, but so long as
men seek simply and only for material betterment, ignoring the
spiritual and moral in their lives, any readjustment of hours of
labour or scale of wages or agreements will only be of a temporary
character, for the real cause of the whole trouble is left untouched.
One of the ablest writers upon "The Social Unrest" says, "At the heart
of the larger labour movement is the race longing for a society in
which at least the spirit of equality shall be realized. Most radical
remedies are only means to this end. Beyond, and deeper than all the
machinery of social reconstruction, is this master passion of
democracy." But this same writer also, after a survey of the whole
question, declares that before this equality can be realized there
must come a character founded on love.

Cause and Remedy.--Selfishness is often the real cause of the sting of
inequality and of the keeping of men apart; until this is eradicated
and replaced by the master passion of love--employer for employee and
employee for employer--no agreements and no legislation, between the
contending forces will serve the purpose. It was the master passion of
a supreme love which produced the first social equality society (Acts
4:32-37); it was selfishness which broke it up (Acts 5:1-13). This
selfishness is also at the root of the arrogance which causes men to
despise men of an inferior race, culture or social position and seeks
to use them for purposes of gain.

Perfect equality amongst men, however, outside of equality before the
law and God, hardly seems a realizable thing; certainly all men cannot
be of the same age and of the same stature at the same time; there are
gifts of talent; there are different races, but where supreme love is
it takes out the sting of a sense of an inferiority and the jealousy
and hatred of superior gifts; under its benign influence the rich and
the poor, the talented and the untalented, work together as brethren.
The brotherhood of love is the only true brotherhood and the only
solution of this vexed question.


THE TRUE RELATION OF MAN TO MAN

Who is My Neighbour?--The answer which Jesus gave to this question
(Luke 10:29), which a certain lawyer asked of Him in order to justify
himself, shows the true relation of man to man.

The lawyer doubtless supposed when he put this question to Jesus that
he would silence Him. The Jews in their proud isolation considered
themselves the chosen people of God and despised other races, even
looking with a certain contempt upon their Roman conquerors. How would
the Jewish Messiah, if not put to silence, answer a question like
this? Doubtless the reply would be that only a Jew could be neighbour
to a Jew. The race spirit is a strong one and men born to a certain
nationality have many stout binding ties of speech and customs, which
are not easily broken.

Mark, however, the large mindedness of Jesus. He breaks at once
through race ties and without so much as mentioning the Jew, he takes
the Samaritan as the example of a good neighbour. Now the Jews and the
Samaritans had no dealings with each other, their animosity was well
known; at this distance of time we can hardly realize how startling a
thing it was to take a Samaritan as an example of a good
neighbour. But it is right here that Jesus begins to show us the true
relation of man to man and that this relation is superior to race,
caste, language, social distinctions, customs and organizations.

My neighbour, then, is not only the man who lives next door, or is in
the same business, or belongs to the same church or labour
organization, or political party, but all men are my neighbours and I
am to seek to do them good (Luke 10:30-37). This definition of
neighbour does away with all clannishness and exclusiveness, and man
comes face to face with his fellow man as a man.

How Shall I Treat My Neighbour?--A number of answers may be given:

1. Investigate the claims of my neighbour when I see him in a sad
condition. The good Samaritan did this at considerable personal risk,
for he could be by no means sure that the robbers would not return and
rob him. Too many men, when they see their neighbours in want, pass by
on the other side, as the priest and Levite did. Adversity has been
described as "a deep pit, into which a man has fallen, which is
surrounded by his near-sighted friends."

2. Sympathize and succour my neighbour in trouble and do what is
needed to help him get upon his feet.

3. Interest myself in the well being of my neighbour after the
immediate and acute necessity for aid is past. There are many who are
willing to aid when a pressing call comes, but who are unwilling to
keep up that aid through the convalescing stage; here is where the
summons comes to be not weary in well doing to one's neighbour.

Outside of money help and aid in times of disaster and sickness there
are many who are lonesome for words of cheer and acts of kindness on
the part of those with whom they daily come in contact. There is a
deeper meaning in the parable than that which relates to physical
pain. There is a suffering of the soul and a mental trouble which
beseech the kindness of the Christlike neighbourly touch.

4. There is also the larger work, which is fundamental, of bringing
one's fellow man into the fellowship and communion of Jesus Christ;
this is the greatest benefit which any Christian man can confer upon
his brother-man (John 1:40-42,45).


CHRIST'S LAW OF LOVE

Statement of the Law.--"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself"
(Matthew 22:39). A certain lawyer asked Jesus, "Master, which is the
great commandment of the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all
thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is
like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  The kingdom
of God will come when this commandment is fully obeyed by men.

Exposition of the Law.--It would seem as if a law so plainly stated
would need no explanation or exposition.  But before men can rightly
love each other they must have certain principles and a certain
character.  It is not desirable that evil men with depraved thoughts
and bad lives love us as they love themselves; for they love that
which, if accepted by men, would lead to deep corruption of character.

Jesus Christ well put it that God must first be loved, with all the
heart, soul and mind, before a man is ready to love his neighbour as
himself. This loving of God, first, implies an acceptance of the
standpoint of God in regard to man and the looking upon one's fellow
man as God looks upon him. This standpoint of God is best seen in the
words and acts of Jesus Christ. A man in order, then, to love his
fellow man aright must be thoroughly imbued with the principles of the
Master. A man must look upon other men as having souls of eternal
value. A man who would do as Jesus would have him do must first have
His spirit of self-sacrificing love (Matthew 23:8-12; John 17:19;
Philippians 2:5-7; Isaiah 53:3; John 13:12-15).

Application of the Law.--The beauty of this law of love is that it may
be universally applied. There is no condition of man that it cannot
meet and satisfy.  The crying wrongs of the home, society, the
industrial world, the state, arise out of its neglect and
condemnation.  Men seek to make good their claims for things which
they think belong to them, they fight for them, gain them or lose
them, fight again or are fought, and in consequence race hatred, class
and industrial hatred embitter the hearts of men.

This law applied to the life of the individual, sweetens it in its
lowest depths and makes the strongest kind of a character. Paul is an
example of an able yet impetuous man, who let the gospel of the love
of Christ have its supreme way with him. We find in him no shrinking
from difficulties or death itself (2 Timothy 4:6-8). In the midst of
sore trials he wrote that remarkable classic (1 Corinthians 13) upon
love which has been the help and stay of many a burdened soul.

This law applied in society is its only saving power.  It is this
Christ love which sends men into the slums of the cities to work for
their fellow men. It is this love that is the moving power of the
missionary of the cross, when he goes into the heart of heathendom. It
is this love that has brought into the world all the reforms that are
worth having and caused it to care for its sick and its poor.

It is to be deplored that in some quarters we should hear voices
talking about the inability of the Church to cope with the modern
conditions of life and that these voices should be calling for new
institutions to take its place. So long as the Church recognizes its
duty to preach and practice the love of God to man, man to God, and
man to his fellow man, no institution can take its place; for it has
in this preaching, and the application of it, the supreme remedy for
the ills of mankind. Where there is no love or regard of man for his
God or fellow men all agreements and all laws however stoutly made,
with and for contending parties, have in them a fatal weakness.

It is love that sent Jesus Christ into the world (John 3:16,17) and it
is its proclamation, and acceptance as the ruling power of life, that
has caused all the real advancement in civilization since His advent.


QUESTIONS

What can be said of the question of the relationship of man to other
men? What can be said of the inequalities in the lives of men and the
great inequality? What is the cause and remedy of the sting of
inequality? Who is my neighbour?  How shall I treat my neighbour? What
is Christ's law of love? Give the statement, exposition and
application of the law.



STUDY V

THE CHRISTIAN FAITH


Scripture references: Hebrews 11; Matthew 9:29; 17:20; Mark 10:52;
11:22; Acts 2:38; 3:16; 10:43; 16:30,31; Romans 1:17; 5:1; 10:17;
Galatians 2:20.


FAITH AND PRACTICE

Belief Controls Action.--"As the man is, so is his strength" (Judges
8:21), "For as he thinketh in his heart so is he" (Proverbs
23:7). "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:28,29).
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of
life" (Proverbs 4:23).

The Scriptures place stress upon the fact that a man's actions are
largely dependent upon what he believes or disbelieves rather than
upon his environment (Proverbs 4:23; Romans 10:10; Acts 8:21; Matthew
9:4; 12:34; 15:11,18-20; 23:25).

There is the will to believe and there is the will not to believe
(Matthew 15:28; 16:24; Luke 9:23; John 5:40). Man grows from the
inside out. What he believes in his heart will sooner or later
manifest itself in his acts. If a man thinks evil in his heart and
cherishes that evil, while outwardly his life is moral and upright, it
is only a question of time when the inner badness will break through
the thin crust of outer goodness. The real battle of life is in a
man's soul and if a man sets himself to win this battle he need have
no fear of outward evil circumstances; he will have to set no guard
upon his words or acts for he will speak and act from a pure and
upright heart.  It is not what he disbelieves, but what he believes,
his conviction of truth, that makes him strong.

Hence the necessity for the vigorous and living faith which Christ
urged upon His followers (Mark 11:22-24; Matthew 17:19,20; Luke 8:
24,25), a faith that could not be daunted by mountains of difficulty
or great storms of afflictions.

Jesus came into the world with a positive program.  He had a
constructive gospel to preach to men. His disciples after His death
followed in the footsteps of their Master and carried out His
commands.  The result was that faith was translated into action; the
old world was changed and myriads of men gave in their allegiance to
the Christ. The positive setting forth of the Christian faith always
brings definite results.


BASIS OF CHRISTIAN FAITH

The Christian Faith is Founded Upon the Fact and Experience of Jesus
Christ.--Without Him there would have been no such faith.

1. The fact of Christ. This faith bases itself primarily not upon
reason or feeling, but upon Jesus Christ, a historical person, and
what He said and did while upon this earth in bodily form. The early
disciples and preachers declared themselves to be witnesses. They were
sent forth as witnesses (Matthew 28:18-20; John 15:27; Acts 1:8; 2:
32). The speeches of Peter (Acts 2:14-40; 3:12-26; 4:8-12), Stephen
(Acts 7:1-56) and of Paul (Acts 13:16-41; 22:1-21) are recitals, of
certain well attested occurrences, which have for their chief point
the setting forth of the fact of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the
Saviour of men and hope of the world (Acts 2:38,39).

2. The experience of Christ. By this is meant the experience which men
have who receive Christ as their Saviour and Lord. There is a
historical Christ; and there is a spiritual Christ who enters into a
communion of happiness and joy, with believers in Him.  Jesus Christ,
when on earth in bodily form, promised the coming of the Holy Spirit
who should glorify Him (John 16:13,14); He also declared to His
disciples, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"
(Matthew 28:20). Wherever this gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and
men under its power truly repent of their sins and accept Him as their
Saviour, as in the past so now, men may enter into personal relations
with their risen and glorified Lord (Acts 2:40-42; John 7:17; Acts 8:
5-7; Romans 8:1-10; Colossians 1:27; Acts 26:15-19).

Essential Elements.--In the Christian faith there are six component
elements.

1. Belief in God as The Spirit, "infinite, eternal, and unchangeable
in His being, wisdom and power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth"
(John 4:24; Exodus 20:2-7; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6; John 17:3; 1
Corinthians 8:4,6; Psalm 19; 104:24).

2. Belief in man, as a child of God, whose spirit is destined to live
forever (Genesis 2:7; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Matthew
6:25; 5:29,30).

3. Belief in sin which taints and corrupts the heart of man, making it
finally, if unchecked, the dwelling place of all evil. The effects of
sin are everywhere plainly manifest. Men not only sin through
ignorance and carelessly but willfully. The worst sins are those which
are of the spirit, anger, pride, malice and envy (Isaiah 53:6; 64:6;
Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8; Romans 1:18-3:23; 8:7).

4. Belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Saviour of men, who
can cleanse the heart of man and save him from his sins. Jesus Christ
came not only to reveal God, the Father, to man but also to purge his
heart from evil. "He is the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:1,2;
Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:24,25; Matthew 20:28; Romans 3:24,25; 5:8; 8:3;
Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Matthew
9:2-6).

5. Belief in the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians
6:11; Ephesians 3:16; Galatians 5:22) who "testifies of Christ, as the
Saviour of sinners, unites us to Him by faith, and makes us partakers
of all His benefits." Jesus said, "When the Comforter is come, whom I
will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which
proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me" (John 15:26).
"The Spirit of truth ... will guide you into all truth.... He shall
glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine and shall show it unto you"
(John 16:13,14; 14:26; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Titus 3:5,6; Matthew 28:
19; John 3:5,6).

6. Belief in the resurrection and the life to come, the issues of
which are declared to be eternal. "The hour is coming in which all
that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth;
they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that
have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28,29;
Matthew 25:31-46; 25:1-13). The great rainbow of promise that spans
the future, for those who trust in Christ, is in the fact that He
said, "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me,
though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and
believeth in Me shall never die" (John 11:25,26; I Thessalonians 5:23;
John 6:47; 14:2,19). The resurrection body "will be spiritual,
immortal, incorruptible, and like unto the glorious body of Jesus
Christ" (Philippians 3:20,21; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23,35-57).

Definiteness.--There is a marvellous directness and definiteness in
the statements of the New Testament writers, in proclaiming the
Christian faith, because they believe that they are dealing with the
tremendous facts of life and destiny. God has manifested Himself and
spoken in Jesus Christ as He has never manifested Himself before. "God
who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in time past unto the
fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His
Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things" (Hebrews 1:1,2). The
eternal things of God, kept secret from the foundation of the world,
are now made known to man; why should he not, in spite of any
punishment or threatened ignominious death, proclaim these truths
definitely and plainly to his fellow man (Acts 4:13-20)?

The keynote of all of Paul's work is sounded in a very definite and
direct way in his first Epistle to the Corinthians (2:2,5) where he
says, "For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus
Christ and Him crucified.... That your faith should not stand in the
wisdom of men but in the power of God." Paul consistently maintains
throughout his Epistles that the sole basis of salvation is the grace
of God through Jesus Christ, to be appropriated by faith on the part
of man.


TESTS OF CHRISTIAN FAITH

Effects Upon Men and Institutions.--Jesus Christ was ever urging His
disciples to test His words and principles. He declared the difference
between true and false prophets could be known by their fruits.  He
said, "Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?  Even so
every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth
forth evil fruit ... wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them"
(Matthew 7:15-20). When Thomas expressed doubt of His resurrection,
Christ gave him ample opportunity to test its reality (John
20:24-29). Christ's challenge to the world is, "Try Me!" "Come and see
what I can do!"

What kind of men has the Christian faith made?  What kind of
communities has it produced? Two pertinent questions are asked in a
recent book of sermons, What would be the effect upon this world if
everybody was a consistent Christian? What would be the effect upon
this world if everybody was a consistent infidel? "The argument is a
crushing one, for of a truth Christianity can stand such a test with a
glory that would astonish even the most ardent enthusiasts. And it is
the one test, let it be admitted with sorrow, that a reviling world is
not willing to have it judged by."

A Saving Faith which meets men at their extremity of need and gives
them a new heart. It is not only a faith that did save men when Christ
walked the earth and healed the sick, giving sight to the blind and
raising the dead, but it is a faith which saves men now. Christ is
still performing His miracle of cleansing the hearts of men of
evil. He is saying, "Come unto Me," and men are coming as of old. The
question whether He can save now is being put to the test every day
and every day it is being answered in the regeneration of
men. Wherever this gospel is preached amongst the wealthy and learned
or the poor and ignorant, it shows its splendid fruitage as it did of
old.


USES OF CHRISTIAN FAITH

To Make Plain the Great Cause of All as Father.--We live in an immense
universe, in the midst of giant forces of which, after science has
made its most searching investigation and said its last word, we know
comparatively little and that little imperfectly. No set of men is
more ready to admit this state of affairs than that which has made the
closest scrutiny of the phenomena of nature. There is a host of
questions to which the most painstaking investigation on the part of
the philosophers can afford us no answer.

Without this Christian faith which tells us of a revelation from God
and His plan and purpose for man we should be helpless, ever seeking
for light in this universe which we could not find. Then again we
might believe in a first great cause of all things, but without a
revelation we could not know God as the Creator of all things and as
our Father who cares supremely for us--made known in the manifestation
of Jesus Christ.

By faith in Christ we are brought into communion with God the Father.

To Show the Importance and Value of Human Life.--How could man know
that he was more than an atom in a whirlpool of atoms, his life of
sense but a transitory thing, if it had not been for the Scriptures
which seek to impress upon him the value of his life in the sight of
God (John 3:16,17; Matthew 16:26)?  Without the pale of the Christian
faith men hold life but cheaply, they squander it and waste it in sin;
they too often say, "Let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we
die"--forever passing out of existence.  The Christian faith holds
human life as a very precious thing, something to be cherished with
infinite and loving care, for the spirit in man is to live forever.
Here is a new significance given to life which, when the individual
accepts it, gives him new and great ideals, which lift him to a higher
level of living.

By faith in Christ we are brought into proper fellowship with our
fellow men, and their lives are made precious in our sight.

To Show the Way to Happiness and Joy Through Jesus Christ.--If there
is one thing more than another which man is seeking it is happiness,
but it is the kind of happiness which frequently destroys the body and
soul--still he seeks it. Many men seek happiness through relaxation of
their moral nature.

Christ came preaching the happiness of a conqueror, the victor who
sings the song of rejoicing over some victory won; He set forth a joy
which celebrated a conquest over evil desires and made a man noble and
pure in his thoughts and aspirations. Jesus did His work for the joy
that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). The Christian faith was never
intended to make a man gloomy or downcast, but to put joy in his heart
and a song upon his lips. No one has more right to a cheerful
countenance than the sincere Christian, for he can be sure that he
knows the way of happiness here and nothing can come to him hereafter
save peace and glory in the redeemed life.


QUESTIONS

How does belief control action?  What is the basis of Christian faith?
Give the six component elements of the Christian faith. What can be
said of the definiteness of the Christian faith? Give some of the
tests of Christian faith.  Give three uses of Christian faith.



STUDY VI

THE CHRISTIAN'S BOOK


Scripture references 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:20,21; John 5:39;
Romans 15:4; 2 Samuel 23:2; Luke 1:70; 24:32,45; John 2:22; 10:35;
19:36; Acts 1:16; Romans 1:1,2; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; James 2:8.


WHAT IS THE BIBLE?

What is the Bible? How shall we regard it?  Where shall we place it?
These and many questions like them at once come to the front when we
begin to discuss the Bible as a book. It is only possible in this
brief study, of a great subject, to indicate the line of some of the
answers.

It is not Like Other Books.--Although its last paragraph was written
and the canon completed many hundreds of years ago, it is still one of
the freshest and newest of books and its moral precepts and
admonitions are far in advance of the world's practice.  It has an
adaptability to all sorts and conditions of men and a flexibility in
meeting the most radical changes of thought, which is possessed by no
other volume. It has been attacked and denounced and seemingly
demolished only in the end to lead its critics captive and to come
forth from the fray stronger than ever.

It is a God-filled and God-inspired book. It is the most lasting in
its popularity of all books.

It is Like Other Books in that it is cast in the mold of the
literature of a certain people. We find here all the forms of
literature, history, philosophy, poetry, letters, etc. There is much
plausibility in the plea for the study of the Bible as literature for
it is the best of its kind.

It Leads the World's Thought of Righteousness and Purity of Life.--The
Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) and
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:29) set forth the highest
ethical standards known to man.

It is the Record of a Revelation from God.

The theme is, "the entrance of God into the spiritual life of man."
This makes it superior to all other books and invests it with a unique
character which commands our most earnest attention. God, who is
speaking to men through this book, says, "Thou shalt have no other
gods before Me." God is not only the God of the Israelites but of all
nations and peoples.

The great men, whose life stories are given in the Bible, were God
called to, and God guided in, their work of uplifting the world. We
have only to look at the record to see how the initiative is declared
to have been taken by God. Here is the roll call, Abraham (Genesis
12:1-3), Moses (Exodus 3:14), Joshua (1:1-6), Samuel (1 Samuel
3:4-21), David (1 Samuel 16:3,11-13), Isaiah (1:1), Ezekiel (1:1),
Jeremiah (1:2) and all the prophets, John the Baptist (Luke 1:13-17;
Matthew 3:1-12), Peter, John and Paul (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 13:1,2).

The Old Testament shows the looking forward to the Christ and the New
Testament records His coming as the Spiritual Light of the world. No
other book or set of books announce "the entrance of God to the
spiritual life of man" through Jesus Christ (John 1:1-18), who came
speaking of the new spiritual birth of man (John 3:1-21).

The only key to the understanding of the Bible is this plan of God to
enter into the spiritual life of man.  We may easily look in the Bible
for what is not there and read into its pages what is in our own
thoughts or read out of them that which we do not wish to see, but
back of all we must acknowledge this peculiar purpose of God.

Back also of all theories of revelation and inspiration--and giving
rise to them--stands the great thought of God for the spiritual
redemption of men.  For this end He enters into covenant with the
Israelites, He sends them prophets and teachers, and at last He sends
His Son. Continually God is calling to men, "Be ye holy for I am
holy."


STRUCTURE

In any book, after the consideration of the theme, we look for the
form and the plan. In order to study a book to the best advantage, the
different parts and their relation to each other and to the whole must
be made plain. The Bible readily lends itself to an investigation of
its structure.

The Bible is One Book with one thought running through it, God's
purpose to redeem man, and may be so read and studied.

The Bible is Composed of Many Books written by different authors in
different languages, at different times. Some of the books were
circulated separately before they were gathered either into the canon
of the Old or New Testaments. The gathering together of the books and
the placing them in the order that we have them now was a slow
process, but all in the order and interest of a progressive revelation
of God and because of a common sympathetic subject.

The books take different forms and have different classifications,
such as books of the law, wisdom, history, poetry, etc. In studying
any book it is necessary to attend to its classification; there has
been much misunderstanding of the Bible books because of the
interpretation of a book of poetry as history or the holding the free
style of a letter to the hard and fast standards of a carefully worded
court document.  The standpoint of the author of a book, and some
consideration for the age in which he lives, must always be taken into
consideration; in this way a book, which may seem to us now to be
behind the age in its thought, will be seen to be far ahead of the age
in which the author lived and making and marking an important epoch in
a progressive revelation.

Each Bible book has a well considered plan, a special aim, a
historical setting and a practical value. For instance, in Genesis we
have a book of beginnings; a broad explanation of the origin of the
world, man, sin, salvation; and the revelation of God as Creator,
Preserver, Lawgiver, Judge and Merciful Father. After the introduction
the book, if we look into the book itself, is divided into ten parts
with the recurring formula, "These are the generations of." This book
cannot be overestimated from a religious standpoint. The fact of a
Creator is the fundamental teaching of its cosmogony. God, one God, is
here clearly distinguished from a host of heathen gods. He is over and
above matter, everything in the universe is subject to Him.  Again in
this book we have the early history of the human race shown in large
outline and also the story of the fathers of the Jewish race from the
calling of Abraham to the death of Jacob. Behind any theory of the
construction of Genesis the great representative truths stand
firm. Every Bible book can be considered and its plan and purpose
shown in this way.  Even a small book like Ruth, which seems to be
only a little pleasant story, has an important part to perform.
Without it the times of the judges would present only a very somber
picture, but with it we can see that in those dark and troublous times
there were noble, God fearing men like Boaz and true women like
Ruth. We could not spare a single book of the New Testament, for with
one lacking something would be wanting in the picture of early
Christianity.

The Bible is Composed of Groups of Books Which Relate to Special
Eras.--They show God revealing Himself and also dealing with the
chosen nation, under different forms of administration; they indicate
the steps leading up to Christ and His appearance on the earth.

First Era, the Time of Beginnings (Genesis 1-11:32). This extends from
the creation of the world to the call of Abraham. We have here set
forth the connection of the world with God, the beginning of life and
beginning of sin, which rendered salvation necessary.

Second Era, the Theocracy. The record is found in the books of
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth
and 1 Samuel.  This period is known as the Theocracy because it marks
the direct rule of God over His people. It lasted from the covenant of
God with Abraham to the anointing of Saul as king. We here see the
beginning of the chosen family, and nation, what laws and precepts
were given it and what fortunes befell it. This training time shows
God's high standards in the laws and precept given this Israelitish
people.

Third Era, the Monarchy. The record is found in the books of 1 and 2
Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Psalms, Jonah, Amos, Hosea,
Micah, Joel, Isaiah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk and Jeremiah.  We have
here the story of the rise, glory, division and fall of the Jewish
monarchy. The people desired a king and the king sought to rule by his
own will rather than the will of God. We note God's desire to make
this nation a "Holy Nation" and its sin and failure.  The function of
the prophets was to declare the sin of the nation, to set the right
way before it and seek to lead it back to God, but the nation would
not heed the voices of the prophets, hence the fall of the
monarchy. The coming of the perfect king and kingdom under the Messiah
is prophesied. The work and place of Christ is foretold by the
prophets.

Fourth Era, the Captivity. The record is found in the books of 2
Chronicles, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel and Obadiah. The people
rejecting God are taken into captivity. In this captivity the people
turn to God in their affliction, their worship is purified and the
hope of the coming of the Messiah grows very strong.

Fifth Era, the Restoration. The record is found in the books of Ezra,
Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. The people purified by their
captivity and uplifted by their hope of the coming Christ are restored
to their own land.

Sixth Era, the Christian. The record is found in the books of the New
Testament. The Christian era is ushered in by the coming of Christ and
the fulfillment of God's promises. The mission of the Jewish nation
finds its fruition in Christ and the coming of the Saviour of all
mankind.

It will be seen from this very brief summary of the eras how God
gradually revealed Himself and His plan for the spiritual
enlightenment of all men. The necessity also of studying each book,
not only in its own plan but in its group place, in order to find its
meaning, cannot be too earnestly commended.


CREDIBILITY

It is natural that a book demanding our belief in such great things
should be asked for its credentials and that these credentials should
be subjected to the most searching investigation. The Bible has
nothing to fear, however, from the keenest scrutiny of any scholar who
has only the desire to get at the truth.  The trouble begins when a
critic, who is hostile to its spiritual truth or who has a theory to
maintain, takes a part in the investigation; even then the truth is
sure, in time, to assert its rightful claim (Acts 5:39). The fact of
different interpretations of the same set of facts in different times,
but leading to the same practical results, must also be taken into
consideration. All men do not receive the same truth in the same way
while they may be one at heart in the fundamentals (1 Corinthians
12:4-14).

The Bible welcomes any and all searching of its claims; it stands out
in the open; it has won its way amongst mankind not by the might of
those who advocate its claims, but by the power of the truth within
its pages.

Some of the arguments for the credibility of the Bible are here given.

The Argument from History.--Back of all questions of authorship, date
and composition of the books of the Bible, is the one great question,
Are the records true to the facts? Is the Bible, in plain words, true
history?

The writers of the New Testament use the historical argument. They
speak of the things most surely believed amongst us and of the
testimony of eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1-4; John 19:35; 21:24,25).  The
disciples were not to go forth preaching a subtle philosophy, but were
to be witnesses of certain facts and were to testify of the things
which they had seen and heard (Acts 1:8). Peter's speech upon the day
of Pentecost is a recital of facts. Paul's argument for the
resurrection of Christ is based upon the testimony of eye-witnesses (1
Corinthians 15:1-20). If God has manifested Himself in the person of
Jesus Christ we need to know it through the best of testimony in
regard to the fact. The record of the New Testament is made to this
end.

The writers of the Old Testament profess to give us statements of
facts in regard to God's dealings with the Israelitish people. The
critical dealing with each of the books of the Old Testament is all to
the intent whether it fairly represents a historical situation. The
older scriptural narratives show of the doings of other nations than
the Israelites, they describe situations in times long past, where
owing to broken and imperfect records, it has been difficult to get at
the exact facts.  Unfortunately in some quarters the tendency has been
to cast doubt upon the Old Testament writings where the statements
were not corroborated by a research in the archives, often very
imperfect, of other nations.  But happily this state of affairs is
being changed and confidence in the historicity of the Old Testament
records is being greatly strengthened by the investigations of the
archaeologists in the ruins of the great empires of Egypt, Assyria and
Babylonia with which Israel came so closely in contact. Until recently
the Old Testament stood alone in its assertion of a comparatively high
civilization antedating Moses and Abraham, but now we know from
excavations made in Nippur and other buried cities that the contention
of the Bible is true to the letter. The situation in Egypt and
Palestine about the time of the Exodus is made plain by the
Tel-el-Amarna tablets. The history of first and second Kings is not
only corroborated but amplified by the monuments. Much yet remains to
be done along this line, some views may have to be changed, but the
period of destruction has passed and that of construction has begun.

The Argument from Prophecy.--The Old Testament prophets were not only
the preachers of righteousness for their own times and their own
nation, but they had a mission to other nations and times as well.
Their ruling idea was the establishment of God's kingdom upon
earth. They taught the unity, spirituality, holiness, justice and
goodness of God. They made predictions in regard to Egypt, Babylon,
Assyria, Syria, Moab, and their cities, when they were at the height
of their power; these predictions were remarkably fulfilled. They
foretold the captivity and restoration of Israel. Their great subject
was the expectation of the Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom.  The
prophecies in regard to the Christ became more and more explicit as
the time drew near; they declared His mission, His prophetic power,
His kingly office, His priestly activity, the circumstances of His
coming through a man, a nation, and in a definite place.

The Arguments from Vitality, Adaptability and Growth.

1. Vitality. The religions of Babylon, Egypt, Greece and Rome died
with the nations which gave birth to them. The religion of the Bible,
shows its divine author in its vitality and power to outlast the
religions with which it has come in contact. Empires, systems of
thought, mighty kings, great men rise and have their day and pass
away, but this book lives on.  Here is a vitality which persists in
spite of any and all adverse circumstances and influences.

2. Adaptability. The Bible is at home with all races in all climes. It
adapts itself to all conditions of life, the most humble and the most
exalted. The Asiatic, the African, the European, the American accept
it as their book. It finds men, as men, in the deepest needs of their
nature and shows them the all loving Saviour.

3. Growth. The multiplying power of the book is shown by its
translations into hundreds of languages and dialects. It makes its own
way into the remotest quarters of the globe and is found wielding its
power in the hut and the palace. More popular than any book that has
ever been published, its sales, of millions of copies a year are ever
increasing, because it comes with a message from God direct to the
heart of man.


QUESTIONS

What is the Bible? How is it not like and how is it like other books?
How is it the record of a revelation from God? What can be said of its
structure? What can be said of its books, of its groups of books? What
can be said of its credibility? Give the arguments from history,
prophecy, vitality, adaptability and growth.



STUDY VII

THE CHRISTIAN PRAYER


Scripture references: Matthew 6:5-15; Luke 11:1-13; John 17; Matthew
26:41; Mark 11:24,25; Luke 6:12,28; 9:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:17,25; 1
Corinthians 14:13,15; Psalm 19:14; 50:15, Matthew 7:7; 1 Timothy 2:1;
Ephesians 3:20,21; John 16:23; 14:14; James 5:16.


THE PROVINCE OF PRAYER

Definition.--Prayer is the communion of man with God. It is not first
of all the means of getting something from God, but the realization of
Him in the soul.  "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His
righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). The glory of a man is in his
uprightness of character, the purity of his spirit and his nearness
and likeness to God. Man becomes like that which he thinks about the
most often and with which he most frequently communes in the secret
recesses of his heart. Prayer is not merely, then, a matter of stated
times and seasons, although these should be observed, but a constant
walking with God and a realization of His presence at all times and in
all places (Luke 18:1; Romans 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). The man
who thus communes with God will lay before Him his plans and purposes
and will ask for direction and guidance in them; he will expect help
from God as a partner in all his enterprises; he will grasp the power
unseen to work great things in the seen. There will be special needs
and occasions when a man, in harmony with God (James 5:16), will
require special help and for this aid from God he will make strong and
earnest petitions to Him. "Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will
deliver thee and thou shalt glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15; James 1:17;
Psalm 19:14; Ephesians 3:20,21).

The Different Kinds of Prayer.--They are adoration, thanksgiving,
intercession, petition and praise (1 Timothy 2:1).

The Different Places of Prayer.--1. In the public assemblage (Psalm
122:1,2; Acts 3:1; Hebrews 10:25). 2. In the social and family
gathering (Matthew 18:19,20; Acts 1:14; 2:46; 12:12).  3. In private
(Matthew 6:6; Mark 1:35; Psalm 55:17; Daniel 6:10).

The Approach of Man to God.--"All men pray at some time or other,
whether fitfully or constantly, in weakness or in strength, in sorrow
or in joy. Some men pray because it is their chiefest delight to do
so, and some pray because necessity drives them to it; but they all
pray. Prayer is a constant element, and the impulse to pray is ever
present to human nature."  Man has been called "a religious and
praying animal," because of this universal desire of men to come into
some touch with the power over them. This tendency is shown in lands
where the true spiritual knowledge of God is lacking and where men
deify and adore objects of nature. The sun, the earth, the stars,
trees, mountains, waters, winds and carved images have all been made
divine objects of adoration and prayer, because of the desire of man
to find or place the supernatural in them. Paul said to the men of
Athens when he saw the altar to the "Unknown God": "Whom therefore ye
ignorantly worship Him declare I unto you" (Acts 17:23). All the
research of natural science is to find out what is the Ultimate Power
behind all the phenomena of nature. Man by his very nature seeks to
approach God. He is driven by an inward impulse to come to Him. Hence,
where men do not have the true light by which to approach God or
reject it there are found all sorts and kinds of caricatures of
religion.

What are the proper means of approach to God through prayer?

1. Right knowledge and faith. "He that cometh to God must believe that
He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him"
(Hebrews 11:6). "This is life eternal that they might know Thee the
only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3). God
is above all and in all.  There are no other gods before Him. He is
supreme, manifested as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We come at once
here to the Great Personal Power, beyond whom there is no greater. We
do not look upon Him as a cold abstraction or blind force, but as a
loving, kind Father. He desires to do more for us than we can ask or
think. No man prays to God in the right way who does not first of all
have a proper conception of God.

2. Right attitude of the heart. "If I regard iniquity in my heart the
Lord will not hear me" (Psalm 66:18). Again the prayerless prayer of
the Pharisee began with "I" and the burning of incense before
himself. No man, cherishing something in his heart which he knows to
be contrary to the will of God or who only seeks to foster and advance
his own selfish interests, will come, or desire to come, or can come
into a very close communion with God. A wrong attitude of the heart
keeps many men from the enjoyment of God's presence, and makes them
choose to remain away from His sanctuary. No matter what the sin,
however, if a man truly desires to get it out of his heart that man
can come at once into close touch with God (Isaiah 1:15-19; Psalm 51;
Revelation 7:14).

3. Right subjects of prayer. The advancement of the Kingdom of God and
the spiritual interests of man come first. Too many prayers move in
the narrow circles of self and purely physical wants; they take no
wide sweep out over larger interests. God knows that we have physical
needs that must be supplied (Matthew 6:26). Jesus said, "Is not the
life more than meat and the body than raiment" (Matthew 6:25)?  And by
His urgency He would have our prayers rise higher than our physical
wants into an infinitely larger sphere. Then God will more than bless
us and take care of those things about which we are now so anxious
(Matthew 6:26-34).

4. Persistency (Matthew 11:12). It is difficult to deny a persistent
man who, when thwarted in one way, begins to plan and act for the
object which he seeks in another way and who will not be put off.
Christ commended the way of the persistent man to those who sought God
in prayer. He gave examples of the widow who continually importuned an
unjust judge until he listened to her plea and gave her justice (Luke
18:1-8), and of the man who would not take "no" for an answer when he
wanted to borrow bread from a neighbour at midnight (Luke 11:5-8). He
said, "Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Luke 11:9). Men who do not
persist in their praying will fail to receive the higher blessings and
the larger benefits which otherwise God would gladly bestow upon
them. If men know how to give good gifts to their children when they
ask for them, then much more God knows how to grant the best things to
men when they ask Him. "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and
the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12).

The Approach of God to Man.--How does God come near to man?  Does He
hear when men pray to Him? Can He and will He answer prayer?

These questions are all simply and plainly answered in the
Scriptures. There is no doubt expressed here that God comes near to
men and will hear and answer when they pray to Him. "The Lord is nigh
unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth"
(Psalm 145:18; 139:7-12; Ephesians 3:20).

Christian experience answers these questions in the same affirmative
way. Multitudes of Christians testify that God comes near to them and
that He hears and answers their prayers; there are many recorded and
remarkable answers to prayers.

It is only when the testimony of the Bible and the experience of
Christians are set aside that difficulties appear which seem very
formidable.

One of the chief objections urged against God hearing and answering
prayer is the discovery of the widening sphere of what is called
natural law in the ordering of the universe. Where God was formally
looked upon as directly controlling in certain things, it is pointed
out that we now can plainly state the causes and the working of the
laws which produce certain results. According to one theory God is
shut out of His universe; and according to another, He is shut up in
His universe; on either hypothesis the direct control is out of His
hands. Hence, "why pray?" when our prayers even if they reach God
cannot be answered.

This objection from the domination of law annuls the freedom of
God. It is like looking at a great piece of complicated machinery, and
having it explained how part depends upon part and, because the
dependence is plainly shown, being asked to believe that the maker and
controller is under its power. We are asked to-day to concentrate our
attention upon the levers, the springs and the pulleys and all the
machinery of the universe rather than upon the first great Cause and
Ruler of all.

It is assumed in this objection that much more is known of the laws
and forces which govern the universe than really is. Prof. John Fiske
says in his lecture on "Life Everlasting," I once heard Herbert
Spencer say, "you cannot take up any problem in physics without being
quickly led to some metaphysical problem which you can neither solve
nor evade."  Again he says, "The more things we try to explain, the
better we realize that we live in a world of unexplained residua."

Widening knowledge is throwing back into the lumber room many much
vaunted theories of origins.  Many wrong conceptions of the order of
nature have in recent years been radically changed. It is freely
acknowledged to-day by the foremost men of science that no man fully
understands the order of nature.  Under the present limitations of
human knowledge God cannot be shut up in or out of His universe.
Further research may show that such shutting up to be impossible; for
in the end we are to depend not upon our ignorance but upon our
knowledge of the universe for God's free control of all things.

Already the light begins to dawn when it is seen that all the natural
forces and matter itself are beginning to reveal their origin and
control in one Great Master Force. But in this we but return to the
biblical statement "In the beginning God" (Genesis 1:1).

We are perfectly justified in believing, in the intelligence of God
when we see so many evidences of intelligence in the world, and the
freedom and personality of God, when we note the freedom and
personality of man; for however we may argue that man is not free or
personal we believe that he is and act upon this belief in all the
practical affairs of life. The created thing is not greater than its
creator or the law greater than the lawgiver. God is greater than the
universe or man. God as all powerful, and as intelligent and personal
can be approached by man and comes near to him through his communion
in prayer with Him.

It is perfectly possible for God, in His providential wisdom and
power, to answer the prayers of His people. It is an every-day
occurrence for man to deflect the beams of the sun and make nature's
laws do what they would not have done if left to themselves. We know
men to be personal and to be changed by petitions to their mercy and
entreaties to use their power in certain directions. We believe that
God, infinitely greater than man, can be entreated and will use His
power for the benefit of the petitioner. It is not unreasonable for
men to pray for material and spiritual blessings. While the sphere of
prayer may be narrowed in certain directions by what we know of
nature's processes, it has been greatly widened in other directions.


THE MODEL PRAYER

This is the Lord's Prayer which Christ gave His disciples when He
preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:9-13) and when one of His
disciples said to Him, "Lord teach us to pray" (Luke 11:2-4).  "It is
the prayer of prayers. It is the best and most beautiful, the simplest
and yet the deepest, the shortest and yet the most comprehensive of
all forms of devotion. Only from the lips of the Son of God could such
a perfect pattern proceed. It embraces all kinds of prayer--petition,
intercession and thanksgiving; all essential objects of prayer,
spiritual and temporal, divine and human, in the most suitable and
beautiful order."

It has been divided, and this is the natural division, into three
parts, an address, six petitions and a doxology.

The Address.--"Our Father who art in heaven" (Matthew 6:9). This
phrase "Our Father" shows the paternal relation which the Almighty
sustains to us in Christ and the filial relation which we bear to Him
through faith in Christ. It also reminds us that since we have a
common Father in God, we are all brothers in Christ. The phrase, "Who
art in heaven" shows us our heavenly origin and that our home is in
our Father's house. We use the word "our" before Father and by it mean
to embrace in prayer all the children of God. In using the word,
"Father" we at once say we believe in a personal good God at the heart
of all things and controlling all, one who loves and cares for us
supremely (Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:19; Psalm 103:13; Matthew 7:11;
John 1:12,13; Romans 8:14,15).

The first three petitions refer to God.

First Petition.--"Hallowed be Thy name" (Matthew 6:9). God's name
stands also "for His word, His day and His commandments." God's name
is hallowed when we think and speak of Him with reverence and
love. Any man who speaks of God's name with contempt or takes it in
vain at once shows his position in regard to God. The character of a
man and of a community is shown by the respect or disrespect in which
God's name is held. Hence in praying "Hallowed be Thy name" we pray
not only that God may be rightly worshipped but for the upbuilding of
the character of men and communities. "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord
of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory" (Isaiah 6:3; John
17:3; Matthew 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Exodus 20:7).

Second Petition.--"Thy Kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10). "This is the
spiritual kingdom of grace and glory." The supplication is here for
the reign of righteousness in all hearts throughout the world; this
includes the building up of the home church, and home and foreign
missions. It expresses the desire for the conversion of all nations
and bringing them under the dominion of our Lord (Revelation 11:15; 1
Corinthians 15:28; Matthew 9:37,38; 6:33; 13:31-33; Luke 17:21).

Third Petition.--"Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven"
(Matthew 6:10). The will of God concerning us is that we should be
holy as He is holy (Leviticus 11:44) that we should be perfect as He
is perfect (Matthew 5:48) and that we may believe on His Son (John
6:40). In proportion as God's will is done on earth, evil, want,
misery, oppression, hate, jealousy, vanity and evil speaking will
disappear from the earth. We might then, when His will is done on
earth as it is in heaven, shut up our jails, dismiss our police force,
close our courts, and reduce taxes to a minimum. When we offer this
petition we are asking for large things.

The last three petitions refer to man and his needs.

Fourth Petition.--"Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew
6:11). This supplication calls our attention to the fact that we are
dependent upon God for daily food and that we are to ask Him to supply
our bodily wants. Daily bread includes food, raiment and shelter and
all that belongs to our temporal necessities.  The answer to this
prayer may be in health, bodily and mental strength to procure daily
bread, but nevertheless it comes from the hand of God and He should be
thanked for it as well as asked for it (Deuteronomy 8:10; Psalm 145:
15,16; Proverbs 30:8).

Fifth Petition.--"Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors"
(Matthew 6:12). The word debts here means sins. In asking for
forgiveness of sins, we acknowledge that we have sinned and are in
need of forgiveness. We pray the Father to forgive us and seek in this
way to be reconciled to Him. But it is through Jesus Christ that the
Father forgives men their sins. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh
away the sin of the world" (John 1:29; 1 John 1:7-9; John 3:16-19;
Ephesians 1:7). In repeating the latter clause of the petition, "as we
forgive our debtors" we acknowledge that we have not only sinned
against God but also against our fellow men and that they have sinned
against us and caused us to cherish enmity in our hearts. If we desire
God's forgiveness we must forgive our fellow men and be reconciled
with them before we can expect to come to God and receive His full
forgiveness for our transgressions.  "Be not overcome of evil but
overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:20,21). "If ye forgive men their
trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if ye
forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive
your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14,15; 18:21,22; Luke 17:3,4).

Sixth Petition.--"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from
evil" (Matthew 6:13). In this petition we acknowledge our weakness and
proneness to go astray. We seek for God's strong power to guard us
from and in all temptations of the flesh and spirit.  We ask for final
deliverance from the power and effects of all evil. We look forward to
an abode with God where no evil can come to us. "The Lord shall
deliver me from every evil work and will preserve me unto His heavenly
kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:18; Psalm 31:5; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 5:4; 2:15;
Matthew 26:41; 2 Timothy 4:7,8).

The Doxology.--"For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory
forever. Amen" (Matthew 6:13). This is an ascription of praise showing
that in God is vested all power and glory, that there is no kingdom
above His kingdom and that He is supreme over all. Before Him must
come all things for judgment.  He alone is to be worshipped, for in
Him is all power and truth and goodness. "Thine, O Lord, is the
greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the
majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine;
Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as head above all"
(1 Chronicles 29:11,12; Psalm 115:1; Ephesians 3:20,21).


ANSWERS TO PRAYER

Nothing could indicate more plainly that God cares for and loves men,
and is not indifferent to their wants, than the great stream of prayer
flowing through the Bible. He is not a God afar off, neither has He
wound up the universe as a great machine and left it to its fate. He
is in touch with His people. He hears them when they cry to Him. He is
long-suffering, merciful and righteous. Happy is the man who loves God
with all his heart and who seeks constantly to commune with Him.

Notable Instances of Prayer, and the response of God, are shown in the
following passages of Scripture.  Abraham (Genesis 20:17), Jacob
(Genesis 32:24-31), Moses (Numbers 11:2), Samuel (1 Samuel 12:18),
Elijah (1 Kings 18:37-46), Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:2-6), Ezra (9:5-15),
Daniel (9:3-27), Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:6-15; John 17), The Apostles
(Acts 1:14; 4:31), Peter (Acts 12:5-11), Paul and Silas (Acts
16:25-32), Prophets and teachers at Antioch (Acts 13:1-3) and Paul and
the elders at Ephesus (Acts 20:36).


QUESTIONS

The province of prayer; give a definition of prayer.  What are the
different kinds and places of prayer? What can be said of the approach
of man to God? What is right knowledge of God? Right attitude of heart
to God?  Right subjects of prayer? What has persistency to do in
praying to God? What can be said of the approach of God to man? How
does the Bible and Christian experience testify of this approach of
God to man? What is the great outside difficulty urged against God's
approach to man and what can be said of it? What is the model prayer?
Give the divisions of the model prayer and explain them. What can be
said of answers to prayer?



STUDY VIII

THE CHRISTIAN SERVICE


Scripture references: Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-17; Matthew
25:14-30; 23; 13; John 13:4-17; Hebrews 12:1-3; Matthew 5:16; 1
Corinthians 3:13-15; James 2:14-26.


THE CALL TO SERVICE

All Christian belief must culminate in service or else the belief
itself will wither away. Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount, "Let
your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and
glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16); again, in
giving His parting instructions to His disciples, He commanded, "Go ye
therefore and teach all nations" (Matthew 28:19,20). "Faith, if it
hath not works, is dead" (James 2:17).

The New Testament rings with an optimistic trumpet call to service;
there is not a single pessimistic note sounded. A man expresses his
belief and he at once goes to work. To the fact that men were so
willing to lead a strenuous Christian life in those early times is due
in large measure the marvellous spread of the gospel faith.

The Object of the Call was not a cause but a Person (Acts 1:8;
2:22,36,38; 4:12; 10:43; 16:31); to set forth Jesus Christ as the
Saviour of men. The world was full of evil. Society was corrupt. The
state was bad. There were many giant wrongs crying out for the
reformer. The apostles might have devoted themselves to the causes of
social and political reform with splendid success.  They might have
bought only a gradual and purely friendly approach to the people whom
they wished to influence, as we often do now, with some success, but
the New Testament writings show that they believed that in the person
of Jesus Christ they had a more powerful remedy for bad social and
political conditions than any other which they could urge. In Christ
they found a supreme object of service; for Him they were willing to
give up houses, lands, position, even life itself (2 Timothy 4:6-8);
for only through Him, they preached, could the world be truly
reformed. Why then potter with temporary and minor remedies when the
permanent and great remedy was at hand? Times have changed since the
apostolic days, but for any lasting good in reform work Christ is
still the great remedy. He must be at the centre of all social,
political and temperance betterments or they are destined to fall
short of the largest success.

The Place.--Where shall men serve the Christ?

1. In the heart; there is a goodness of conduct on the part of some
men which has no relation to their heart's desire and is simply a
cloak worn for appearance's sake. With this sort of goodness Jesus had
no sympathy and denounced it as hypocrisy (Matthew 6:1-34; 23:27,
28). Christ's service must commence with an inward conformity to the
law of God.  This necessity for a new heart is very clearly brought
out in His conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21).

2. In the home. Jesus said to a man whom He had healed, "Go home to
thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for
thee" (Mark 5:19). Anything that strengthens the home strengthens
society and the state. Good homes are essential for the bringing up of
children and the making of right characters. But it is in the home
that the real testing often comes of a professed Christianity; if a
Christian life can be lived and manifested here it is quite sure to
stand the outward strain.

3. In the community. The disciples of Christ were commanded to begin
their first service in Jerusalem (Acts 1:4,8), where Jesus had been
the most persecuted and was finally crucified. It was no easy task for
them to begin to preach Jesus, where they were the most looked down
upon. But the command was justified when the day of Pentecost came
with the marvellous moving power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).  There
can be no clearer teaching from this than that a Christian man should
begin to serve Christ, testify for Him and work for Him in the
community in which he resides no matter what the adverse conditions
are.  Here is the sanction for home missions.

4. Abroad. "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every
creature" (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:18-20). The field of service
broadens out from the heart until it takes in the whole world and
every class and condition of men. Man under the guidance of Christ is
led not only to think of saving himself, his home, his community, but
all homes and communities however remote they may be from his
own. Here is the sanction for foreign missions.

The urgency of the call is everywhere manifest in the New
Testament. In the three years of His ministry Jesus Christ is
incessant in His labours, calling upon men to turn to Him (Matthew
11:28-30). He urges watchfulness, prayerfulness, and earnestness in
seeking to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 11:12; 25:13; 26:41; Mark
14:38; Luke 11:9,10). Paul declared, "Woe is me, if I preach not the
gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:16), and he urges Timothy to "preach the
word" and to be "instant in season and out of season" (2 Timothy
4:1,2).

A conflict is going on in the world and those who believe in Christ
are besought to take every possible opportunity and every means to
advance His gospel and cause men to accept Him as their Saviour
(Ephesians 6:10-18).


THE PATTERN OF SERVICE

The world of men is frequently more easily moved by the force of
example than by precept.

Christ declared Himself to be the great exemplar of the Christian
life. He said, "I have given you an example that ye should do as I
have done to you" (John 13:15; 12:32; 1 Peter 2:21). He practiced what
He preached.

Personal Work.--In winning persons to the new life there is an
admitted need of a work of the individual for the individual, but it
is a task from which many draw back. Yet it is right here that the
most effective service may be accomplished. Every man who receives
Christ becomes in a certain sense a trustee to enlist others in His
service and to give to them the light of life. Christ said to His
followers, "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me" (Acts 1:8).

Jesus was no recluse, He went out amongst men and sought them (Mark
10:45) in the market-place, in the fields and by the lakeside.
Everywhere He entered into personal conversation, with those whom He
met, about the kingdom of God; now it was with Nicodemus (John
3:1-21), then again with the woman of Samaria (John 4:4-26) and
others. This personal work of Christ with individuals shows the
importance He attached to the winning of persons one by one to
Himself. Many of the most important teachings are brought out in His
personal conversations.

"The win one movement" which has been inaugurated in certain churches
is very important. It had its incentive in the narrative of John
(1:40-51), who tells us how Andrew won Peter and Philip won Nathanael
by personal appeals to follow Christ. If all the followers of Christ
in all the churches would each win one soul for Christ every year
there would be no more complaints about decadent churches.

Training Others for Service.--Personal work has its limitations in the
time and strength of the individual who does it. Jesus thoroughly
understood this fact and at the outset of His ministry began to train
a band of followers who would carry on His work after His
resurrection. Not only did He train a select company of twelve but
also other men. We read in Luke, the ninth chapter, that He sent out
His twelve disciples to do the work which He had been doing, and in
the tenth chapter we are told that "other seventy" were also appointed
to carry on a similar work. Careful instructions were given the
seventy as to what they should do. The need (Luke 10:2) and the danger
(v. 3) of the work were impressed upon them. They were instructed how
they were to approach the people, what they were to teach and what
they were to do in case they were rejected (vs. 4-11). They returned
from their journey with great joy over its success (v. 17).

This multiplication of self through the inciting and training of
others to do work in which the individual is interested often leads to
far-reaching results. There are many people who desire to advance a
cause and are willing to devote themselves to it, but they have no
power to set about it themselves. There is any quantity of this usable
and helpful material, in our churches, ready to be made of service for
the Master.  Here is the waste that every professing Christian is not
set to advance the kingdom of God. It is not only what a Christian may
do himself, but what he can get others to do, which counts.

Teaching.--Many men go wrong from erroneous thoughts about God and the
importance of a right character.  Too frequently those who have come
to a saving knowledge of Christ are content to rest satisfied with
it. No effort is made to instruct others in a belief which has helped
them. The church believes in a teaching ministry, but has not yet come
to fully believe in a teaching laity. The laity for the most part
assumes a receptive attitude. Our Bible-schools might be doubled in
numbers and effectiveness if Christian men and women, well qualified
for the task, could be induced to respond to the strong demand for
more teachers. There is no reason why Bible instruction and Christian
teaching should be wholly confined to Sunday. It is time that the
church made an aggressive move upon the week-days and began the
establishment of night schools (for a definite term) for the
systematic study of the Bible for adults and short after day school
catechetical classes for children.  These classes could and should be
made auxiliary to the Sunday Bible-school. In them there would be time
for that larger instruction which is so much needed and for which no
opportunity is found under the present arrangement. Besides, much
talent not available upon Sunday, at the time of the session of the
Bible-school, might be utilized. This is an age of clubs organized for
the study of ancient and modern secular literature, where careful and
scholarly papers are read upon subjects given out long in advance.
This study-club idea ought to be utilized by the church for the
investigation of the best literature which the world knows, namely,
that found in the Bible.

Jesus said, "Go teach" (Matthew 28:19,20), and He Himself taught the
people in large and small groups (Matthew 5:1,2), on a mountain, in
the synagogue (Matthew 4:23; Mark 1:21), by the seaside (Mark 2:13),
in the temple (Matthew 26:55), as He walked through the fields and
when He went to feasts and social gatherings. He had ever in mind His
teaching mission. He set an example of persistent and painstaking
instruction of the people under bitter opposition and in adverse
circumstances. He said, in encouraging His disciples to persevere in
their teaching, "Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant
is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted Me they will
also persecute you; if they have kept My saying they will keep yours
also" (John 15:20).

Works of Mercy and Love.--Jesus was the supreme embodiment of mercy
and love. Possessed of almighty power He used it not for honour or for
selfish purposes, but to heal and help men (Matthew 11:5; 9:36; 14:14;
15:32; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 6:34; Luke 7:13). Modern philanthropy had its
origin in Him. All the modern state institutions for the care of the
poor, the blind, the crippled, the sick are in existence to-day
because of the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. Before He came to
earth and taught men how to be compassionate towards the unfortunate
ones there were no such institutions.

Wherever Jesus went, when He was in bodily form upon this earth, the
people thronged Him for the healing touch. This is another way in
which the followers of Christ may reach men, namely through the
healing touch. In the fierce struggle in the world, for a living and a
position, many men are worsted and trampled upon; such men need the
brotherly help of those who have been with Christ. There are many
sick, discouraged and poor; here is a large field for this service of
mercy and love.

Suffering.--There is a ministry of suffering in taking and bearing the
burdens of others. "For it became Him (Christ), for whom are all
things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory,
to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering"
(Hebrews 2:10). This suffering of Christ is represented by the New
Testament writers as having an object in the salvation of man and
bringing him to glory (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 1:5-7; Hebrews 2:9;
1 Peter 1:11; 4:13; 5:1; Philippians 3:10).

Isaiah said of Christ, "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was
bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon
Him; and with His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). We are urged
to follow the example set by Christ (Philippians 2:5-11) in His
humility and suffering for a great purpose.  "In every age Christ's
sufferings attract to Him the hearts of men; for they prove the
boundless extent of His love, His absolute unselfishness, and His
loyalty to truth and principle even unto death. Thus they have power
with men." In following Christ, and placing Him in a right light
before men, Christians must have a devotion to Him which will endure
and stand steadfast through suffering. It is often only through the
sacrifice of self that the best things in life are attained. "If so be
we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified together. For I
reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans
8:17,18).


THE JOY OF SERVICE

Jesus is represented as doing His work through love (John 3:16), and
for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).

The Search for Happiness.--How can I be happy?  This is the great
question with multitudes of people.  Men seek joy with the same
eagerness that they dig for gold. Yet this world is a sad one, full of
care, sickness, anxiety and sorrow. Many are the railers at fate and
circumstances which keep them from realizing the object of their
search.

The failure to find happiness arises in large part from going wrongly
about it. Men seek happiness through relaxation and the lowering of
the moral standards. Men ask, why should we obey this or that law of
God, man or our moral nature, if it bars the way to our enjoyment?
"Let us eat and drink for to-morrow we die"; and eating and drinking
they go out into a wild and barren land of sorrow. Again men seek
happiness through the abundance of things; as if a human soul, born in
the image of God, could be satisfied with mere things.

The Conditions of Christian Happiness.--Christ, as the Great Pattern
of life, showed that true happiness must be attained through the
mastery of the situation, the victory over temptation (Matthew
4:1-11), and the hardest and most adverse circumstances of life
(Hebrews 12:3; Philippians 2:8-10; 2:1,2; Matthew 16:21-27). There is
no greater joy than that of the victors in a hard fought
battle. Heaven is for conquerors (Revelation 15:2,3; 17:14). It is the
man who has gone down into the tumult and uproar of the arena of life
and fought and conquered in some good cause who tastes the supreme cup
of happiness.  The master words of the Christ were, "fight," "watch,"
"pray"; here is the entrance to the Utopia so long sought by men. The
man who has no control over his appetites, passions and temper, and
who cannot endure hardness in a service in which he is interested, can
never know what genuine joy is. Read the roll call of the heroes in
the eleventh chapter of Hebrews.

1. A great object in view. There can be no greater object than to
serve Christ in all the relations of life (Matthew 6:33; 10:38; 8:22;
16:24; 19:21).

2. Harmony with the will of God (Matthew 6:10).

3. Endurance. Paul exhorts Timothy, "Thou therefore my son, be strong
in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast
heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful
men, who shall be able to teach others also.  Thou therefore endure
hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Timothy 2:1-3). It was
this quality of endurance in service which Jesus sought to set before
His followers in the strongest light (Matthew 10:22; 24:13).

Here then are the elements of the greatest human happiness and a
divine joy. It is only as the human heart is thus prepared for the
reception of the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit that He can be
received in His glory, which He desires to impart to men and to bring
them into joyous fellowship with the Father and the Son.


QUESTIONS

What is the call to service? What is the object of the call? Where
shall men serve the Christ? How shall men serve the Christ in the
heart, home, community, abroad?  What can be said of the urgency of
the call to service?  What is the pattern of service? What can be said
of personal work, training others for service, teaching, works of
mercy and love, suffering? What is the joy of service?  What can be
said of the search for happiness? What are the conditions of Christian
happiness in service?



STUDY IX

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH


Scriptures references: 1 Corinthians 3:11; 3:6-9; Colossians 1:18;
Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:23-27; Matthew 16:16,18; 18:17; Acts 5:11,12;
13:1,2; 14:23; 16:5; 1 Corinthians 11:18-34; 12:28-31; 1 Thessalonians
1:1; 2:14; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 12:22,23; Revelation 1:4,11,20;
2:7,11; 22:16; 22:12-15,17.


THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH

What is the Christian Church?--One of the best definitions is as
follows: "The church consists of all who acknowledge the Divine Lord,
Jesus Christ, the blessed Saviour of mankind, who give credit to His
gospel, and who hold His sacraments, the seals of eternal life, in
honour." Another definition is: "The church is a holy kingdom
established by God on earth, of which Christ is the invisible King."
There are some organizations calling themselves Christian churches
which have substituted certain philosophical doctrines in place of the
principles of Jesus Christ, but it is a fact of history that in
proportion as the Divine Lordship of Christ has been exalted the
greater has been the growth of the church. The church has been able to
meet the needs of the people as He has been lifted up (John 12:32)
that men might turn to Him for light and life (John 1:4; 8:12; 12:46;
Matthew 11:27-30).

The Head of the Church is Jesus Christ. When Simon Peter made the
declaration, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God," Jesus
said unto him, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood
hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And
I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build
My church" (Matthew 16:16-18; Ephesians 2:20). "The question is, What
is this rock? The Romanists say, 'It is Peter'; but Christ did not so
say. His statement was, 'Thou art Petros and on this petra I will
build My church.' The words are cognate but not identical; the former
is masculine and the latter feminine; petra is a rock; Petros is a
stone hewn out of the rock."  When Christ uttered these words He was
on His way to Jerusalem where He was to be crucified. In the face of
the cross, the Master was preparing His disciples for a great trial
and the time when, in bodily presence, He should depart from the
earth. It was necessary that He should now speak plainly in regard to
Himself and His mission.

Paul, in writing to the Colossians, said of Christ, "And He is the
head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born
from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence"
(Colossians 1:18; compare Ephesians 1:22,23).

However Christian churches may differ from each other in form of
government and in other matters they are united in the great essential
doctrine of the Headship of Christ, this is their strong bond of
union.

A Divine Institution.--The Christian church was not organized by any
one man or a company of men, but was given to man as an expression of
the compassion of God (John 3:16-21), that in it men might associate
themselves together for the proper worship of God and that they might
draw near to Him (Hebrews 10:19-25).

1. The beginning of the organization of the church was in the upper
room, where Jesus partook of the last supper with His disciples
(Matthew 26:20-30). Here He showed the significance of His death
(v. 28), His relation to the Father (John 14:9), and the coming of the
Holy Spirit (John 14:16,17; 15:26,27). In the last instructions given
by Jesus, and His prayer (John 14:1-17:26) we have a body of teaching
which constitutes the basis of the faith of the church.

2. The completion of the organization of the church was in the descent
of the Holy Spirit upon the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-24,32,36-41),
which the disciples had been commanded to await in the city of
Jerusalem (Acts 1:6-8,14). Those who accepted the word which had been
preached through the Holy Spirit were baptized (2:41). "The Lord," not
men, "added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).

Ordinances and Faith.--The church, with its ordinances of the Lord's
Supper and Baptism, its faith in God the Father, in His Son Jesus
Christ and in the Holy Spirit, now begins its victorious career.

Human Elements.--The divine institution of the church has been subject
to the admixture of human elements, there was a traitor amongst the
twelve apostles. The organization and the doctrines have been tampered
with in the interest of human ambitions and the pride of human
philosophy, but no institution has shown itself so adapted to satisfy
the great needs of men of all conditions of life, to purge itself when
the human elements proved too great a burden, and to outlast all
man-made organizations.

Authority and Teaching.--The church and its ministers have authority
to teach through Christ and what He has commanded. There is a certain
and quite definite body of truth. This body of truth, preached in the
heart of heathendom or in the most fashionable church, in the most
highly civilized country, is quite sure to produce certain definite
results in awakening men from their sins and causing them to lead a
new life. "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:15-20).

Jesus said, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye
therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you and lo I am with you alway,
even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 10:22; John
3:35; 5:32; 13:3; 17:2; Acts 2:36; Romans 14:9).

Paul said, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid,
which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Form.--The word church, in the New Testament, is used in three senses
to denote the differences in the form.

1. The local congregation worshipping in a house (Philemon 2;
Colossians 4:15) or a certain place as, "The church of God which is at
Corinth" (1 Corinthians 1:2) and "the church of the Thessalonians" (1
Thessalonians 1:1). This is much the most frequent use of the word.

2. The entire community of Christians throughout the world or some
portions of it (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13; Matthew 16:18).

3. The total company of the redeemed, the bride of Christ (Ephesians
5:23,25,27,30; Hebrews 12:23).

The Life of the Early Church, as we have seen, had its origin in Jesus
Christ. Those who came into the church, did so because of their belief
in Him and acceptance of Him as their Saviour.

1. The organization was simple; each church looked to Christ as its
head (1 Corinthians 1:2-18,30; Ephesians 5:23).

2. The officers were appointed for certain necessary duties (Acts
6;20:17-23; Titus 1:5-7); it was the Lord who called men into certain
vocations for the edifying of the church (Ephesians 4:11,12; 1
Corinthians 12:27,28).

3. The time of meeting was upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7;
1 Corinthians 16:2), thus commemorating the resurrection of the Lord
(John 20:1,19; Luke 24:1; Mark 16:2; Matthew 28:1).

4. The aim was to build up pure and godly lives (Titus 2:1-15) and to
bring all men into fellowship with the Master. There was an intense
enthusiasm for the faith and propagation of it. There was an
extraordinary religious elevation and purity of conduct.  The churches
set themselves to eradicate the selfishness in man, out of which all
forms of injustice sprang and aimed to affect the moral renovation of
the individual and of society. There were abuses which arose out of
the former lives of believers; it is surprising, considering the evil
influences surrounding the early churches, that they were so few.

5. But there arose in the midst of a gross heathenism, with all its
great immoralities, a rapidly growing community, which demanded purity
of life and conduct from its communicants and supreme allegiance to
Christ, the Lord and Saviour; how strong it was is shown by the fact
that the Roman Empire tried to stamp it out, failed, and was taken
captive itself by the religion it had despised.


THE WORK OF THE MODERN CHURCH

The Chief End of the Church is to carry on the work which brought
Christ into the world (Luke 19:10; 17:33; 15:1-24; 24:48; Acts
1:8). All things should be made to serve this purpose.

The Activities and methods of work have a wide range. What is highly
successful in one community may prove, however, a failure in
another. The means, which produce large results at one time, tried
again in the same place, at another time, sometimes show small or no
results.

The problem of each church and community needs to be studied, that
means may be properly adjusted and adapted to the ends sought to be
accomplished.  It is remarkable how Jesus adapted Himself to the times
and circumstances. He said to Peter and Andrew, "Follow Me and I will
make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19); He spoke to them in a
language they were able to comprehend; to fish for fish meant care,
understanding of their habits and much toil to accomplish the desired
results. In the conversations with Nicodemus and the women of Samaria
Jesus arrives at the same end but uses entirely different means. The
letters of Paul fit exactly the needs of the churches to which they
are addressed.

It is the really earnest spirit desiring to bring men to Christ which
will produce the largest results; this spirit appeals to men and
compels them to listen; hence it is the cultivation of this spirit
which is most earnestly commended. Mere machinery of effort is doomed
to failure, but when the living spirit is in the wheels and is
adequate to the moving of them, the results are sure to be large. The
disciples of Christ knew all the facts about Christ's life, death and
resurrection, but they were not equipped for their great work until
after they had spent much time in prayer and the Holy Spirit had come
in power; then they became mighty men in the upbuilding of the church.

Worship.--"Men not only need to be urged to be true to their
consciences, but their consciences need to be informed." One of the
great functions of the church is to teach men how to worship God
aright; to do this they must have right thoughts about God.  Jesus
said, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in
spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Men must be led in their worship by
a proper exposition of the Scriptures, by prayer and by praise. The
place of the church in this matter is clearly defined in the New
Testament, it can be taken by no other institution; and no other
organization has so high a mission as this, to bring man into harmony
with God.

Fellowship.--Man is a social being and he seeks contact with his
fellow men. Many of the worldly ways in which this fellowship is
sought are ways which lead to the wrecking of man, body and soul, or
to the obliteration of all the finer feelings. The mission of the
Christian Church is to strengthen the social bond by seeking to
cultivate all the better impulses and finer feelings in man, and to
place society on a firmer footing in love, purity and righteousness (1
John 1:3; 1:5; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 1:9).

Bible Study.--Christianity is a book religion as well as one in which
God enters into spiritual communion with man. The Church has ever
acknowledged its duty to teach the Scriptures, for in them it finds
the truths which it desires to inculcate (John 5:39).

Evangelization.--Beyond the bounds of the Church there are those, near
and far away, who need to be taught about the gospel of Jesus
Christ. More and more the church is feeling the responsibility for the
welfare of individuals and of society and of the state.  If there are
great evils and giant wrongs which need to be remedied, they have
their origin in the evil in men's hearts. For the cure of bad hearts
there is no remedy in all the world save that given by Jesus
Christ. Hence the activity of the church in seeking to evangelize men
not only at home but throughout the world.

There are three things which every church needs to realize in order
that this work may be prosecuted with the utmost vigour and
enthusiasm.

1. A clear conception of what the church is and its relations to God
and man.

2. The opening of the eyes to the fact of sin in the world and its
destructive power upon the soul of man, here and hereafter (1 John
1:8; Romans 5:12; John 8:34; Matthew 18:7-11).

3. That the only real help or salvation of man's soul is through our
Divine Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. "Neither is there salvation in
any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men,
whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12; 16:30,31; Philippians 2:10; 1
John 2:12; Romans 10:13; 1 John 1:7,9; Matthew 9:6).

The Equipment for the carrying on and extension of this work cannot be
too good. The cause frequently lags from making it one of the
interests of life and not the chief care. Every church building should
express in usefulness and beauty, in all its appointments, man's
thought of a temple erected to the great and living God.


THE HOPE OF THE CHURCH

The Establishment of the Kingdom of God Upon Earth.--The prophets of
the Old Testament had two great thoughts which they continually
presented, namely, the coming of the Messianic King and the
establishment of the Messianic kingdom. Isaiah said, "Unto us a Child
is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His
shoulder and He shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His
government and peace there shall be no end" (9:6,7).

When John the Baptist came, he proclaimed the coming of this King and
kingdom (Matthew 3:11,12; John 1:1-28) and when he saw Jesus he said,
"Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. This
is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who is preferred before
me: for He was before me" (John 1:29-33). "And I saw and bare record
that this is the Son of God" (v. 34).

Jesus spoke much about His kingdom, the kingdom of heaven and the
kingdom of God. He sought to explain by many parables and by direct
discourse what this kingdom was like; it is mentioned by name many
times in the New Testament (Matthew 13:11,19,24,31,33,44,45,47, 52;
22:2; 25:1). He claimed that He was the Messianic King (Matthew
26:63,64; 27:11,37; 26:53,54; 16:16,17; John 14:9; Luke 22:67,69; John
18:37; Mark 14:61,62), and the Son of God. He declared that before Him
all nations should come to be judged (Matthew 25:31-46). As in the Old
Testament so in the New Testament the world-wide character of this
kingdom of God is plainly shown.

There are Four Conceptions of the Kingdom of God set forth in the
Bible. 1. The reign of God over all His creatures. 2. The reign of God
over men and nations. 3. The reign of God over Israel.  4. "The reign
of God as Divine Love over human hearts, believing in Him and
constrained thereby to yield Him grateful affection and devoted love."
It is this fourth conception which is most prominently set forth in
the New Testament. The special work of Christ on earth was to reveal
the supreme rule of Divine Love.

The Church and the Kingdom.--It is the care of the church to forward
the establishment of this kingdom of Divine Love everywhere, in the
heart of the individual, in society, in the business world and in the
national life. For this we pray, as Christ taught us, "Thy kingdom
come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).


QUESTIONS

What is the Christian Church? Define it. Who is the Head of the
church? How is the church a divine institution? What can be said of
the beginning and completion of the organization? What are the
ordinances? What can be said of the human elements? Where is the
authority and ground of teaching? What can be said of the forms?  What
can be said of the life of the early church? What is the chief end of
the church? What can be said of the activities of the modern church?
What of the worship?  What of the fellowship? What three things are
necessary to keep clearly in mind, in the work of evangelization?
What ought the church equipment to be? What is the hope of the church?
What are the four conceptions of the Kingdom of God? What is the chief
conception? What can be said of the church and the kingdom?



STUDY X

THE CHRISTIAN HOME


Scripture references: Ephesians 6:1-9; 5:25-33; Colossians 3:17-25; 1
Corinthians 7:12-17; Mark 10:2-12; 7:9-13; 5:19; 1 Timothy 5:4; Luke
15:6; Titus 2:1-15; Exodus 20:12,17; Deuteronomy 6:1-9.


THE HOME

What is a Home?--It has been answered that, "It is the unit of
society." It has also been pointed out that this unit must be kept
clean, pure and right, in all its relations, or society and the state
will suffer grave consequences. Certainly, in the past, the
institutions of society and state have been seriously weakened only
when the moral decay of the family has first set in. There are many
organizations which have for their special care the fostering of the
social and political life, while the strengthening of home ties has
been sadly neglected.

To the individual the good character of the home is of the utmost
importance, for his growth in all the finer things which pertain to
morality and spirituality.

The Difference in Homes.--One ideal of a home begins and ends with the
externals; a great house, a splendid service and fine furnishings.
Everything is here made to bend to the more or less perfect
realization of this material ideal. When all is attained that is
possible in this direction, and this end, and only this end, is sought
of outer adornment, it is found that the essentials of a true home
life have been missed.

Another ideal seeks for the cultivation of love between husband and
wife, and all the members of the family. Care and forbearance are
urged and commended in speech and action. There are set forth a mutual
kindness, a careful consideration of the feelings and a helpfulness in
bearing burdens, which exalt the soul and make life worth
living. According as this ideal is striven for, and attained, will the
true home be realized.

Many a man has wrecked his business, betrayed his friends and gone
down to a dishonoured grave in the struggle to surround his family
with luxuries which he could not afford, but no man ever sincerely
tried to cultivate the graces of love and kindness in himself and in
his family, who did not succeed, in a large measure, in realizing the
great purpose of the home.

The True Home may be found, and is found, in great houses and in small
houses, where there is large wealth and where there is dire
poverty. It is not dependent upon circumstances but independent.

The great essential is love for those things which make a beautiful
and strong character. Low standards of truth and morality in the
family tend to reproduce themselves in exaggerated forms in the social
life of the community. Individuals, coming out of families where there
is no love for the good and no regard for righteousness, often become
a serious threat to peace and good order. No educational system can do
very much for children with an evil family environment. On the other
hand the world is full of examples of men, trained up in righteousness
by their parents, who have strictly kept to the path in which their
feet were started.


THE IDEAL CHRISTIAN HOME

Jesus honoured the home. His birthplace was mean (Luke 2:7) so far as
external things go. The house and the city, where His parents lived,
showed plainly the poor estate of the family which, while it was of
noble lineage, was greatly reduced in circumstances. Jesus Himself
learned and practiced the trade of a carpenter. In living in this home
at Nazareth for thirty years of His life Jesus showed that it was
possible under hard outward conditions to live a noble life and to
cultivate and practice those virtues and qualities which were
afterwards so greatly to bless the whole world.

Duties of Husbands and Wives.--The beginning of every Christian home
is in a supreme affection between two, a man and a woman. "For this
cause," Christ said, "shall a man leave his father and mother, and
cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh, so that they
are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined
together, let not man put asunder" (Mark 10:7-9). He honoured and
sanctioned the marriage relation by His presence at the marriage in
Cana (John 2:1-11). In the first century divorce was very common;
Hillel, the Jewish teacher, held "that the bond was so loose and
flexible that if a wife burnt her husband's food while cooking it, he
was justified in procuring a writ of divorcement from her." Jesus
denounces this practice and declares (Matthew 5:31,32; Mark 10:2-12)
that there is only one cause that justifies divorce.

1. Love to one another. In the various vicissitudes of married life,
and in the bringing up of children the bond which needs to be
strengthened, and the duty which needs to be urged, is that of love.
Love can alone carry husband and wife over the more difficult places
of life. Paul says, "Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also
loved the Church and gave Himself for it" (Ephesians 5:25-33;
Colossians 3:18,19). "Let every one of you so love his wife even as
himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband" (Ephesians
5:33). No stronger language can be employed than Paul uses in urging
husband and wife to love each other with a whole heart, yet he
provides for cases where one or the other party in the married
relation is not a Christian, and where a strong love may be absent (1
Corinthians 7:12-17). He further says, "Unto the married I command,
yet not I, but the Lord, let not the wife depart from her husband; but
and if she depart let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her
husband: and let not the husband put away his wife" (1 Corinthians 7:
10,11). But a supreme love settles all troubles (1 Corinthians,
chapter 13).

2. Forbearance and kindness towards children.  "Provoke not your
children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of
the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21). When Christ was upon
earth, "a father had the power of life and death over his offspring. A
weak and sickly child might be abandoned to death; and this was
approved by such eminent authorities as Plato and Aristotle."  Jesus
declared for the rights of the children. He not only opened His arms
for them, but He gave them a new standing in the world (Mark 10:
14-16; Matthew 18:5). He said, "See that ye despise not one of these
little ones; for in heaven their angels do always behold the face of
My Father, which is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10).

3. Hospitality. True Christian love will extend itself beyond the
bounds of the household, and seek to do those outside of it good by
drawing them within its charmed circle. This hospitality should be
given not only to those who can return it again, but also to those
from whom no return can ever be expected (Matthew 5:46). "Use
hospitality one to another without grudging" (1 Peter 4:9; 1 Timothy
3:2; Titus 1:8; Hebrews 13:2). "But when thou makest a feast, call the
poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for
they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the
resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:13,14,11,12; compare Matthew
25:35,42). In the midst of our splendid charitable boards, which do
such a needed work, individual charity and hospitality should not be
forgotten and put out of its rightful place.

4. Commending the home to God. In writing to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5)
Paul calls to mind the unfeigned faith that is in Timothy, which dwelt
first in his grandmother Lois and then in his mother Eunice. Paul
himself was brought up by devout parents. The Bible has many instances
of men, like that of Samuel, who have been trained for great parts in
the world in a religious household. The old proverb has it, "Like
father, like son." If God is honoured by the parents and the home
commended to Him, the children will be quite sure to honour Him
also. Bring up your children "in the nurture and admonition of the
Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Have them ready to meet Christ at any time
(Mark 13:34-37).

Duties of Children.--1. Honouring parents. "Children obey your parents
in the Lord, for this is right" (Ephesians 6:1,2,3; compare Exodus
20:12; Colossians 3:20). The first necessary lesson in every human
life is to learn the lesson of obedience; if this is not well studied
and practiced in the home, the child, when he grows up and goes out
for himself, will be quite sure to have a hard time of it and receive
some severe buffetings. Those who break the laws of society and the
state are those who have first broken the commandment to honour father
and mother.

2. Care of parents. Children, when grown up, are sometimes apt to
forget the love and care bestowed upon them when they were
young. Their parents become old and feeble and are often unable to
look out for themselves. In Jesus' time there was a bad custom of
repudiating parents who for any cause needed to be helped. The
children had only to say "Corban," that is, that their goods were
dedicated to a sacred purpose, to secure release from their filial
obligations. Christ denounced this custom in the strongest terms and
declared that the children ought to honour their parents by caring for
them. Thus He became an advocate for the rights of parents as He had
of the rights of children (Mark 7: 11, 7-13; Matthew 15:3-6). When in
His last agony, on the cross, Jesus provided a home for His mother
(John 19:26,27).

Duties of Dependents and Servants.--Jesus commended the honourableness
of service. He washed the disciples' feet (John 13:4-16) and then told
them that He had given them an example of the kind of service which
they should render to each other.  He took upon Himself the form of a
servant, hiding His glory, that He might accomplish His great work
(Philippians 2:6-9). Paul exhorted servants of the household to be
obedient, serving, "not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as
servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians
6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Corinthians 9:19).  Masters are told to
be just towards their servants, remembering that they have a Master in
heaven (Colossians 4:1). When the runaway slave, Onesimus, is sent
back to his master, by Paul, he is commended to Philemon as a brother
beloved (Philemon 16).  We should hear but little of strikes and
lockouts if employers and employees would only take these principles,
laid down in the New Testament, for the guidance of masters and
servants, for their rules of conduct towards each other and seek to
carry them out.

Duties of Young and Old.--"That the aged men be sober, grave,
temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women
likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false
accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they
may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love
their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good,
obedient to their own husbands that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Young men likewise exhort to the sober minded" (Titus 2:2-6).


THE ATTACK UPON THE HOME

There are many influences at work which seek to minimize the
importance of the home life and to undermine it.

There are four quite well defined lines of the attack upon the life of
the family.

The Assault Upon the Marriage Relation.--The moral leper advocates
that marriage be dissolvable at will, not by mutual consent alone, but
when either party to the contract desires its conclusion. The church,
in its different branches, stands as a unit against this iniquitous
proposition. But how far the civil power has yielded, by the pressure
which has been brought to bear, is made manifest by the fact that in
the different states of the Union there are now recognized by the
courts forty-six legal causes of annulling a marriage. Our courts are
crowded with divorce cases and the suits which grow out of them in
regard to property and the care of children. That the odour of
scandal, going up from such cases is bad, is unquestioned. That the
influence, of such proceedings upon the morals of the country, is evil
is also sadly admitted. A blow struck at marriage is one which is felt
not only by the family but by society and the state. The fall of the
Roman empire was preceded by an extraordinary laxness of the marriage
tie. It is time the church bestirred itself to oppose more strongly
the theory and practice of the moral leper.

The Assault Upon the Quiet of the Home.--In the modern stress and
strain of life there is need of a quiet place in which to rest, to get
acquainted with God, to know one's family, to live to the best things
and to get ready again to engage enthusiastically in the daily battle
of life. The home is designed to furnish such a place of rest, when
the work of the day is done; it is here, in a Christian home, that
there should be an atmosphere of supreme love and care. It is,
however, when night comes that all the attractions, which appeal to
the love of excitement, put forth their most strenuous efforts to draw
to them the inmates of the home. There are amusements and amusements;
a person, however, who looks only to be amused seeks by and by those
of the strongest flavour and those which border very closely on the
forbidden land. The love of excitement grows upon what it feeds and
soon, to the habitual pleasure-seeker, the quiet atmosphere and love
of the home no longer appeal; he has begun a chase for excitement and
pleasure which will never satisfy him. Multitudes of wrecked homes and
burned out characters, show the disastrous work of this assault upon
the quiet of the home.

The Assault Upon the Purity of the Body.--We are told by Paul that our
bodies are temples of God and members of Christ and therefore they
should be kept pure and clean (1 Corinthians 3:16,17; 6:15,16).  Yet a
certain class of so-called reformers are seeking to teach men that to
sit in a saloon drinking the beverages there served out, and which
defile the purity of the body, makes for manhood.

The modern saloon, which destroys the purity of the body, is one of
the most successful of all agencies for the demoralization and the
destruction of the home.  Once it has fastened its hold upon a man,
the time which he should spend with his family is spent in defiling
his body in this place; the money which should be spent, in clothing
and feeding his wife and children, is squandered here; until the home
loses its hold upon him and he selfishly indulges his appetite, no
matter who suffers. We are faced with actual conditions and no
substitutes of better kept saloons or purer beverages can help very
much. It is a travesty of the truth to call a saloon a working men's
club; it is his destruction.  What is actually needed is a reform
which will send men, who frequent saloons back to their homes. The
real problem is not how to reform the saloon, but how to make the home
better so that father, mother and the children may take delight in
spending their evenings there. The policy of some social
organizations, which work in the slums of our great cities, seems to
be by providing great public dance halls and fostering the saloons to
draw the people still further away from the home life and to make it
harder to maintain it.

After all the only real remedy for the saloon habit is
Christianity. It is only when Christ comes into the heart of a man
that he begins to care for his home and to spend his evenings
there. The Church, then as possessing the lure for the home, ought to
take more seriously to this work in the slums. But the trouble is that
the slums do not receive very pleasantly those who seek to cleanse
their hearts and bodies, but they do take kindly to the agencies, and
often throng them, which look kindly on those things which really keep
them down, and insure them miserable homes. Still it remains true that
the teaching of Christianity, even when received with hostility, is
the only leavening power for better things in the slums. It is one of
the hard things to cleanse a man's body before his heart is made
clean, but let his heart be purified, and the purity of the body will
follow; then the first thought of that man will be for his home and
its betterment.

The Assault of Freedom of Speech.--In no place is there more need of
kindliness of speech and manner than in the home, yet in no other
place is there more plain speaking. The mask of pleasantness, which
may be worn all day in business or social relations, may be in the
home laid aside; and the character revealed and the vigour of language
used may easily drive away every vestige of happiness. When people
live together under the same roof the feelings become very tender and
are easily hurt. What is said outside may be thought little of, but in
the home it is different.  "Take us the foxes, the little foxes that
spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes" (Song of Solomon
2:15).

Incompatibility of temper is a reason sometimes given for the breaking
up of a home, but the real reason is an undue familiarity and freedom
of speech.  Because persons live together in families there should be
no license to say everything and anything, no matter who is hurt.

Home happiness is a tender plant, it needs much care and watching, but
when it blooms the flowers are of a rare beauty of form and their
fragrance exceeds that of all others.


THE PRESERVATION OF THE HOME

How may the home be preserved and made to serve its great end? There
are three ways, amongst a greater number, which are here indicated.

Personal Care.--All betterment of the home must begin with the
individual and every individual has a chance to exercise this care as
his lot is cast in some family. Thought, time, money, all need to be
employed in working out in a practical way the ideal of the true home.

Placing the Home Under the Care of God.--There is a need of the
reinstatement of the custom of family worship; the place and time
where and when the family is commended to God and placed under His
care. As children of the great household of God we need constantly to
keep in touch with our Father.

The Obedience of the Golden Rule, as it is stated in a new form: I
will not do unto others that which I would not have them do to me. I
will not think of others that which I would not have them think of me.
I will not say of others that which I would not have them say of me.


QUESTIONS

What is a home? What is the difference in homes?  What is the true
home? What can be said of the ideal Christian home? Duties of husbands
and wives; what are the four lines? Duties of children; what are the
two lines? What are the duties of servants and dependents; of the
young and aged? What can be said of the attack upon the home; the
marriage relation, the quiet of the home, the purity of the body,
freedom of speech? In what three ways may the home be preserved?



STUDY XI

THE CHRISTIAN BUSINESS WORLD


Scripture references: Proverbs 22:29; Romans 12:11; Psalms 24:1;
50:10-12; Haggai 2:8; Psalm 49:6,10,16,17; 62:10; Matthew 13:22; Mark
10:23,24; Job 31:24-26; Proverbs 3:9; Matthew 25:14-30; 24:45-51;
6:19-21; Luke 12:16-21.


THE IDEAL IN THE BUSINESS WORLD

There is often a wide difference between the methods actually employed
in doing business and when they should be. Good men who are in the
thick of the battle of competition and rivalry with other firms in the
same line of trade, are the quickest to admit this fact. They would
gladly see things managed so that every employee should be satisfied
with his wages and hours of work and every competitor and customer
gratified by the treatment he receives.

Business as a Fight.--"The truth is," says a recent eminent writer on
this subject, "modern business is a fight. At bottom it is a question
of strength and courage." In this fight there are all sorts of men
engaged; men, who are honourable and upright and who fight fairly,
taking no mean advantage, yet nevertheless fighting strongly for
place, power and wealth.  Over against this company of men are those
who are fair only when they are compelled to be fair and who contend
with any means, good or bad, for the objects which they seek to
attain. It is this latter class which upsets trade, causes great
commercial and banking houses to fail, and casts suspicion upon all
corporations, by the sale of watered and fraudulent stocks.  It is
this idea of business as a struggle which causes working men to strike
sometimes rightly, against great abuses, and sometimes wrongly, over
minor matters which might easily have been adjusted if they had been
taken up in the right way.

Business as a Service.--So long as the ideal of the business world is
that business is a fight, little can be done to improve the present
conditions under which capital and labour work and suffer. There is
nothing which is so costly as war, nothing which is so far-reaching in
its disastrous effects and which leaves such a trail of misery behind
it. Industrial war is no exception to the rule.

But why look upon business as a fight? Already a new ideal is before
the world, that of service. This is what business really is, it
carries things from the place where they are abundant to where they
are not, it seeks to feed, to clothe, to house all mankind and to
facilitate travel and commerce. Upon the earth, and in it, enough of
all things has been provided for all the inhabitants--the table spread
by God has been bountifully furnished--if only there were a proper
distribution no one need want. It is this matter of unwillingness to
unselfishly serve others which slows down commerce to-day. When,
however, men shall cast aside all other ideals save that of being of
the largest service to their fellow men we shall have a new order of
things. Men will no longer seek to accumulate for themselves alone and
the labourer will work with his full strength and a glad enthusiasm.

No man ever did his best work without some great ideal before him
which refreshed and quickened all his energies. If the business man
would save himself from becoming sordid, and the poorest paid working
man from becoming sullen and hardened, they should keep ever before
them this vision of service.


OWNERSHIP

If the ideal of service is accepted in the business world as true,
then the question arises, What or whom shall man serve? Shall it be a
thing, silver, gold, house or land? Shall a man serve another man as a
man? Whatsoever a man serves he becomes subject to. He is dominated by
it and his thoughts go no further. Every man is tempted to serve the
lower instead of the higher. Jesus was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11) by
certain seeming great and temporal advantages to relinquish His
service of His Father, but He made it clear once and for all that the
supreme object of service should be God (Matthew 4:10), "Him only
shalt thou serve." Paul also exhorts all men, in all occupations, to
keep in mind first of all the service of God and of Christ, and to do
whatever they do to God. Then if they administer great or small
affairs, if they are masters or servants, they will seek to please God
and, having this higher ideal, will do far better work, than they
otherwise would, in every sphere of life (Ephesians 6:7; Colossians
3:17,23; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 8:5).

God, the Owner of All.--God as sovereign, and over and in all, is the
proper object of service (Exodus 20:3,4,5) for the business
man. Nations have parceled out the earth amongst themselves and claim
ownership. Men hold the titles of lands under the laws of the
nations. Men dig, plant and reap and call the products of the soil
their own. But back of the titles of men, and the claim of nations,
God is the great proprietor.

"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; the world and they
that dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26). "For every
beast of the field is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills"
(Psalm 50:10-12). "The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine, saith the
Lord of hosts" (Haggai 2:8).

Man is a Tenant at the Will of God.--No man really owns the goods in
which he deals or the lands to which he holds the deeds. He may be
called away from the temporary ownership at any time. It was asked,
when a certain very rich man died, "How much did he leave?" The reply
was, "He left it all, he took nothing with him." "For we brought
nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out"
(1 Timothy 6:7; Psalm 49:17; Job 1:21). Christ emphasized the
uncertain tenure upon which all property is held by the parable of a
certain rich man who had much goods laid up, who congratulated himself
upon this fact and proposed to pull down his barns and build greater,
saying to his soul, "Take thine ease, eat drink and be merry," but God
said, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then
whose shall those things be which thou hast provided" (Luke 12:16-21)?


TRUSTEESHIP

Man as a Trustee.--There is no truth more clearly brought out and
stated in many ways in the Bible than that man is in the position of a
trustee. Jesus used the parable of the talents to illustrate this
great truth (Matthew 25:14-30). It is plainly taught in this parable
that man is under obligations to God. No man ever brought himself into
the world. No man ever originated his own talent; some men have been
endowed with what seems to be greater possibilities than others. To
one man has been given the talent for administration, to another that
of a ministering spirit, to another mechanical genius, to another that
of wealth and to another the power of song or speech.  But whatever
the talent given, great or small, it is distinctly set forth in the
New Testament that it is given in trust and is to be used in the
service of Him who has bestowed it.

The business man is expected, by his Lord, to buy and sell, not for
himself alone, but as a trustee. In this office it is of great
importance that a man be found faithful to the confidence reposed in
him (1 Corinthians 4:1,2; Luke 16:2,11; Romans 14:12; Luke 19:11, 27).

A man in a trusteeship, if he is honest, will not waste or squander
the property entrusted to his care.  He will treat fairly and honestly
all men who work for him. The men working for him will feel that they
are also trustees seeking to use their skill and time, so that the
best interests of God and man may be served.

Man's Right to Hold Property and Do Business is recognized by
Christ. In the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:12-26) He commends those
who used the money in trading to gain more and were ready when "the
nobleman" returned to render a good account.  He condemns the man who
having received one pound made no effort to increase it. He says, "If
ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit
to your trust the true riches" (Luke 16:11).  He made no demand of His
disciples, so far as the record shows, to give up their property. The
case of the young man of great wealth (Mark 10:17-27), who would
follow Christ, and of whom Jesus required that he should divest
himself of his property, is fully in accord with Jesus' teaching
concerning wealth and the holding of property. The key to the whole
matter, on this point, is found in what Jesus says of this very case,
"How hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the
kingdom of God" (Mark 10:24). This young man did not possess his
wealth but his wealth possessed him, he was the servant of his money.
Jesus' teaching is that a man should hold money in trust. Jesus warned
men of the risk of possessing property, lest it become their
master. Money, considered simply as money, is a hardening influence
and in the restive desire to get more the best things in men are quite
sure to be eliminated (Matthew 13:22).  "The danger lies in the power
of money to gather affection and to absorb trust, thus displacing God"
(Matthew 6:19,20,24; Luke 18:24; 12:15).

The Reckoning.--There comes a time when every trustee is called upon
to render an account of how he has administered the business entrusted
to his care (Matthew 25:19; Luke 19:15). This time may be long
delayed, and in the meantime many abuses may grow up, and it may
appear that no accounting will ever be demanded; these conditions are
plainly pointed out by Jesus in the parables of the vineyard (Luke 20:
9-16) and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30), but it is also made equally
clear that in the end every man's work shall be judged.

In this reckoning there can be no making of things appear as they are
not. There can be no juggling with the accounts. Every business man
must show his books (Revelation 20:12) and how he has dealt with that
which was entrusted to his care (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Romans 2:16;
Matthew 25:31-46).

It is the looking forward to the time of reckoning which makes men,
who are in offices of earthly trust, pay careful attention to the
investment of funds and painstakingly investigate the security
offered. Jesus would have every man equally careful in the investment
of his time, labour, talent and money for he will surely be called
upon to give an account of his stewardship.

In the uncertainty of the time of reckoning every business man is
expected to be ready for an investigation at any time when the
examiner shall appear (Matthew 24:42-51; Mark 13:34-37; 1
Thessalonians 5:6).

The Profit of business done, as a service in the sight of God, is
declared to be sure and large. Whatever sacrifices may have to be made
will be more than amply repaid (Matthew 19:27,29; Luke 19: 16-19).

It is a well-known fact that, in the business world at large, there is
a very great percentage of failures and too many mark not only wrecks
of business, but of characters. The reason often given is that the eye
is fixed too frequently and earnestly on immediate and large profits
for self. But no man ever yet made a failure who openly and honestly
sought in his business to be of service to God and his fellow
men. Real failure in business is a failure in character. A business
man may be carried down by unexpected circumstances or the fall of
other firms but, if he keeps his character intact, he is no failure;
on the other hand a man who has taken a selfish advantage of others
may be made rich in goods, but he is a rank failure in character.  The
standard of character in business is after all that by which the small
or the large dealer in any kind of goods is judged, and by business
men themselves; business transactions are constantly being raised to a
higher level by the enforcement of this standard.


PRINCIPLES

If employers and employees are ever to be brought into harmony,
strikes and lockouts abolished, the industrial forces attain to their
highest efficiency and the products of the world distributed with the
utmost facility, it must all come about not by the invoking of courts
of law, but by the bringing in of a new sentiment and the adoption of
certain principles. A sentiment is at the base of the present troubles
and, until it is changed, they will be likely to continue and the
world at large will suffer the consequences. So long as men think only
of the inequalities of life--and there are glaring inequalities--the
unfair distribution of wealth and the comparatively obscure positions
which they hold, they will be discontented and will fight to better
themselves, no matter who suffers. The spirit of discontent and
contention finds lodgment in the heart of the humblest working man, up
through all grades, to that of the richest employer, for no man,
however wealthy, ever thinks he has enough of this world's goods;
those who have the most are often the most eager in grasping for
more. Courts of law can only regulate the more flagrant outbursts of
the prevailing sentiment, they do not and cannot remedy the causes.

What are some of the principles which are destined to help the
industrial world out of its difficulties?

The Observance of the Golden Rule.--"Therefore all things whatsoever
ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew
7:12). Just before giving this rule Jesus was speaking of a man whose
chief object was to serve God (Matthew 6:33) and in the beginning of
the Sermon on the Mount, He showed the blessedness of the character
which was to be sought (Matthew 5:1-16), before this rule could be
rightly carried into practice in any life. "Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 22:39) is in the same line of thought
as this rule, but, and here is the point, we do not want certain men
to love us as they love themselves, the thief, the gambler, the
drunkard, and we do not want them to do to us as they do to
themselves.

In order then that this rule be rightly observed there must be first
an avowed allegiance to God. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God"
(Matthew 22:37) precedes the command to "Love thy neighbour." It is
only when men love God aright and obey His commandments that they can
come into proper relations with their neighbours.

Hence, in seeking God first and obeying the Golden Rule, the whole
outlook of employer and employee will be changed, the attention will
not be fixed upon the inequalities of life or the making of a fortune,
but upon the desire to be of service; each man will look into his work
to improve it and seek to help his neighbour; whatever the
compensation, he will seek to do his best, serving as in the sight of
God. "A just consideration of the rights of others is the very
beginning and end of true social economy." It is difficult to enforce
any law which works against a public sentiment, but let the latter be
in favour of the former and the law will enforce itself. Let the
sentiment in the industrial business world be in favour of a supreme
service and the difficulties and trials of strikes and lockouts would
disappear; the energy, time and money now spent in fighting could be
turned to the benefit of employer, employee and consumer.

Cooperation.--Jesus never set class over against class.  He mingled
with the wise and the unwise, the rich and the poor. He sought to draw
men together in a common brotherhood; this brotherhood was not
composed of employers or of men who worked at a certain trade but of
those who sought to build up the kingdom of righteousness.

There is cooperation to-day amongst men but it is the coming together
to build up some trade and make it strong that it may contend more
stoutly for its rights. There have been various attempts for the
federation of unions, but they have too often been for the purpose of
coercing a like federation of employers' unions into taking a desired
course of action.  The world awaits a cooperation of all men in the
business world upon the basis of love for each other and seeking for
the best interests of all concerned.  This again is a sentiment but it
is one which must work against the prevailing sentiment of selfishness
and looking out for self alone, if ever a better state of things is to
be brought about.

The Acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Great Example and Leader.--No
man was ever so marvellously endowed with power as Jesus, yet that
power was used for the good of mankind. He said "All power is given to
Me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18). He made it a proof of His
business on earth that the blind received their sight, the lame
walked, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, the dead were raised
(Matthew 11:2-6).

The man who follows Christ is the one who makes his business minister
to the wants of men and helps them to better conditions, whether he be
ruler or ruled.

The glory is that, to-day, there are many men who are trying
conscientiously, in the ranks of the employers and employees, to carry
out the Golden Rule, cooperate with their fellow men and to follow
Christ in His business of ministering to men.


QUESTIONS

What can be said of the ideal in the business world; fight or service?
What can be said of the ownership of property? Who is the owner of
all? Who is a tenant at the will of God? What can be said of man as a
trustee?  What can be said of a man's right to hold property? What can
be said of the reckoning? What of the profit? What are some of the
principles which can help the business world out of its difficulties;
the observance of the Golden Rule, cooperation, the acceptance of
Jesus Christ as the Great Leader and Example?



STUDY XII

THE CHRISTIAN SOCIETY


Scripture references: Matthew 13:31-33; 5:21-24; Mark 8:1-9; John
2:1-11; Luke 5:29; 14:13; 1 Peter 2:17; Galatians 6:9; Matthew
11:28-30; 12:50; Luke 15:5,6,8-10; John 17:11-15; Luke 5:29,30; Mark
1:28-33; Matthew 6:33; Luke 12:13-15.


THE SOCIAL CIRCLE

The Word Society is used to designate the set of people with whom we
are on more intimate terms of acquaintanceship--whom we call
friends--and those whom we do not know so well, and whom we call
acquaintances. The term society may also have other definitions, such
as,

"1. A collective body of persons composing a community, or the
aggregate of such communities.  2. A body of persons associated for a
common object. 3. The more favoured class or classes, or the
fashionable portion of the community."

The Extent of the social circle of any man or woman is largely
dependent upon personal choice.  There are persons who are exclusive
in their preferences and who seek only the society of those of the
same rank, wealth or profession as themselves. Hence the different
classes in society at large. The pride of the poor often equals the
pride of the rich in this matter.

The Character of a social circle is also dependent upon the
convictions and opinions of those who compose it. There is a social
conscience which is very lax in one group and will allow almost any
departure from the moral law, but in another group it is very strict
in its requirements. The social conscience is constantly weakened in
one case by persons joining the first group, who are weak in moral
principle; and as constantly strengthened by those, joining the second
group, who are strong in the things which make for a right life.

The Example of Christ.--When Christ came upon earth He found that the
rich and educated classes had largely withdrawn from all intercourse
with those whom they considered beneath them. He also saw that the
tone of society was arrogant and that of moral restraint there was
none at all or it was exceedingly weak. The situation was such that
many men despaired of anything better and were secluding themselves
from intercourse with their fellow men. John the Baptist felt that he
could not stem the tide of evil in society and retired to the desert
to deliver his message.  Those who contend for the regeneration of a
corrupt society, and who are decidedly in the minority, always are
prone to step outside and seek to do their work there, and sometimes
it may be the best to do so.

Jesus however entered into the midst of society.  He went to feasts
(Luke 5:29,30; 7:36; 19:5). He was present at a wedding (John 2:
1-11). He said that the kingdom of God was like unto ten virgins who
prepared to attend a wedding (Matthew 25:1-13).  So constantly did He
enter into social intercourse with men that the Pharisees and the
scribes criticised Him severely for it (Luke 15:2) but Jesus justified
His course in being "social to save" by the three parables; the lost
sheep, the lost coin and the lost boy (Luke 15:1-24). He gave a great
feast at which about five thousand men were present besides women and
children (Matthew 14:15-21). He told what garments a guest should wear
at a wedding, what seat he should take and who should be invited
(Matthew 22:11-14; Luke 14:7-24). He did not wait for men to come to
Him, but He went out to meet them by the seaside, and in the city. He
sent His disciples out also that He through them might do as wide a
work as possible.  There is no trace of the recluse in Jesus. He
desired to meet people of all classes and mingle with them.  At the
last He gathered His disciples about Him, in an upper room, and
instituted a memorial supper as the chief ordinance of His church
(Luke 22:19; Matthew 26:26-30).

Everything that Jesus did in meeting people in a social way had a
purpose and that was to level up society and cause it to conform to
the principles of the kingdom of God. Wherever He went He led the
conversation to the better things of this kingdom.  The man who quotes
Jesus and His relation to society, as a justification of attendance
upon numerous social functions, ought also to carry out the purpose of
Jesus in bringing others to a better life; he ought also to lead the
conversation to the same topics. If society sways any man from the
right purposes of life, and he finds that he cannot breast its
temptations he should remain out of it or increase his spiritual
strength.

The Christian Society, composed of a body of persons associated for
the common object of exploiting Jesus Christ and His principles, at
first was almost wholly social. The early Christians met in each
others' houses. They partook of meals in common after which they
observed the Lord's supper. The basis of organization was the
fraternal equality of believers.  The barriers between the rich and
the poor, the learned and the unlearned, seemed to drop of
themselves. No pressure was brought to bear to force men together in
this fraternal organization, but they were united by a common love for
Jesus Christ, their Lord, and like Him they were at home in all social
circles.  No law, no urgency of appeal, no pressure, can to-day
abolish class distinctions or the conflict between capital and
labour. It is only when men's hearts are filled with love for Christ
that they cease to antagonize and begin to care for each other and a
true social bond is formed.


SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS

"There is no problem of importance to humanity which has not some
relation to the Gospel of Christ."

There is a social question and it is a live question.  It is closely
related to the wrongs and inequalities of life, in wealth, in position,
in privileges and in opportunities. There is a social impulse which
causes men to get together in smaller and larger groups and through
these groups to found institutions which will aid in abolishing the
wrongs and in lessening the inequalities.  It is in and through social
institutions that the larger life of the individual is expressed and
he is able to bring about certain results, working in connection with
other individuals, which he alone could not bring to pass. In the
social organism there is specialization of work, one member performing
one function and another another and all working in harmony for a
common purpose (1 Corinthians 12:14-27).

There are three great social institutions through which men seek the
larger life, the family, the church, and the state. They exist in some
form, elementary and crude it may be, wherever man is found.

Christianity entering into all human relations, has much to say about
their construction and specific powers and duties. Its mission is not
only to regenerate the heart of the individual but to penetrate and
transform society. "Its work is to leaven the whole mass of human
interests with a divinely purifying power. It touches every act and
every relation of humanity with a life from above, and interpenetrates
all that a man can do with a new spirit and a heavenly light. It
affects governments, moulds education, rectifies manners, sweetens
fellowship, makes the common ways of men better, healthier, happier,
as well as holier.  Its endeavour is to realize a divine society not
hereafter only, but upon earth; to have the kingdom of God come not in
the skies alone or in the future merely, but here and among men."

The Family.--This is the earliest and most primitive social
institution. We are all born into some family, however imperfect its
form. Upon the family depends in large measure the good or bad
training of the children; here they receive their earliest impressions
and what they are taught in the family often dominates all other
instruction. If the bond between husband and wife is not regarded as
binding and sacred the institution of the family becomes corrupt and a
menace to the good order of society.

Jesus spoke in no uncertain way about the sacredness of the marriage
relation (Matthew 19:3-9; 5:32) and the obedience which children owed
to their parents (Matthew 15:4-6).

The Church.--Man has been called "a religious animal." His desire to
worship is instinctive. He seeks the care and protection of a stronger
power than himself. Even a man who says he has no religious opinions
will often be found, when questioned, to hold most strongly to things
which he believes. Individuals, then holding to certain religious
beliefs, naturally come together and form groups in which they worship
in common. This is the social impulse applied to worship, because man
likes to do things in connection with his fellow men.

Christ sought to direct men to the proper object of worship (John 4:
23,24; 14:6-11), the way to pray (Matthew 6:5-15), the way to enter
into life with God (John 3:1-21) and the character which was required
of those who desired to lead the divine life (Matthew 5:1-16; chapters
5-7). Men who believe in the principles of Jesus Christ associate
themselves together in a Christian church.

The Government.--Everywhere we find men uniting for mutual protection
against their enemies, the guarding of property, the settling of
disputes between individuals, the administration of justice and the
exercise of other powers. This government may take different forms
from the one man power in a monarchy to that of the most liberal
democracy. The necessity for some form of government seems plain.

Christ recognized the duties which a man owed to the state when He
said, in answer to the lawyer's question, "Is it lawful to give
tribute unto Caesar, or not?"  "Render therefore unto Caesar the
things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."
He saw the corruption in the government of His times as plainly as any
one, more plainly in fact, but He was showing the necessity of the
functions of government. He submitted to the decree of the state
condemning Him to death although He knew it to be unjust, and that the
power was not with Pilate (John 19:10,11; Matthew 26:52,53).

What Jesus sought to do was to usher in a new kingdom of
righteousness. He taught His disciples to pray for the coming of this
kingdom upon earth.  "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as
it is in heaven." He was continually speaking of this kingdom (Matthew
13:24-52). He declared that all nations should come to Him finally to
be judged (Matthew 25:31,32). One great theme of the prophets of the
Old Testament was the righteousness, purity and justice of the new
government which God desires to set up amongst men.

Social damage comes to men and great evil is done to individuals when
social institutions are not patterned after the plans given by Christ;
these are divine institutions when they seek to approach to the divine
ideal.  Much of the unquiet and restlessness of the masses of men
to-day and the great wrongs in the world are due to the tampering with
the marriage relation, the substitution of the worship of wealth and
worldly power for God, and the seeking of government positions, not to
be of service to men under God but to rule over men.

Social health and vigour will come in the family, church and
government when men turn again to God and obey and serve Him through
the social institutions with supreme love and enthusiasm for His
service.


SOCIAL AIMS

In Socialism.--There are many schemes presented to-day under the broad
term of Socialism which have for their proposed end the betterment of
the people, the abolishment of all wrongs and the bringing in of a new
order of things; where every man shall do a minimum amount of work and
receive a large return for what he does. These plans vary from the
mildest of reforms--and from "the public collective ownership of land
and capital and the public collective management of all industries"
with the recognition of certain private rights--to the taking of all
land and capital absolutely from private control, the abolishing of
the right to hold private property, the giving up of the marriage
relation, the suppression of the church and the renunciation of the
government.

The trouble with extreme schemes of this sort is that they seek in the
end to abolish the individual and private rights, even in
marriage. But all social and moral health and wealth is but the
aggregate of individual health and wealth. No community and no class
of men are better than the men who compose them. If there are evils in
the present system they would continue, in a magnified form, in the
new. There is here the old political fallacy, made over into a new
social fallacy, that by mere putting of the ballot into every man's
hands the government would be purified of all its evils. We must begin
with the individual to purify him before the state or society can be
made much better. It is the levelling down, the bringing the better
working man to the rate of work and quality of the poorer, which is
sought, rather than the levelling up. The common goods scheme was
tried early in the career of the Christian Church and it failed to
work because of the element of selfishness which came in (Acts 2:
44,45; 4:34; compare 5:1-11); this has been the cause of the breaking
up of numerous social and communistic settlements and communities.

In Christianity.--When the precepts of Christianity have been accepted
and lived up to by any man or company of men, they have never failed
to stand all the social tests which have been applied to them.  They
seek the regeneration of the individual and the purification and
usefulness, for him, of all the social institutions. They endeavour to
abolish evil desires and practices in the individual and all social,
industrial and political wrongs. They give full play to all man's
powers in private and in public matters. They have never been proved
inadequate to their task, but they have found much refractory material
with which to deal.

They level up not down and seek for every man a new moral and physical
life; they present before him the very highest ideals of life and
service.

It is a fact that it is only where their light shines that the working
man has anything like decent wages or hours of labour. In China, India
and Africa we find the labourer gets little or nothing for his toil.

It is only in Christian countries that we have anything approaching
true social equality, in others no man may rise out of his caste or
class. Take the United States and we find that a number of our
presidents have come from the poorest families and most of our
influential and wealthy men have risen from the ranks of the common
people.

It is the lack of Christian principles in individual, industrial and
public life which is at the bottom of the present day social unrest.

In Christ, the Social Reformer.--When He came upon the earth and
before His time all labour was performed by slaves without pay and
with but a dole of food. The mighty buildings of Egypt, Assyria,
Babylonia, Greece and Rome were all built by the unrequited toil of
slaves. Such would have continued to be the state of things had not
Christ said, "The labourer is worthy of his hire" (Luke 10:7; Matthew
10:10). That a working man should receive wages or any pay for his
labour was revolutionary in that time for "Plato, Cicero, Lycurgus
held that it was a disgrace to touch the implements of toil." Christ
dignified labour by toiling at the bench as a carpenter. If ever
labour is to gain any real advantage it must be through taking Christ
as a leader (Matthew 11:28).

He taught that the true bond of social equality was a moral and
spiritual one (Luke 8:21; Matthew 23:8; Philippians 3:13-15; 4:8).

In the Social Settlement.--What is a true social settlement?  This
question is not so easily answered.  There are all kinds and sorts of
social settlements.  Some minister to the health of the community in
which they are situated and some do not. The saloon has recently put
forth its claim to the doing of social service, but no one ever
slandered a saloon keeper by affirming that he had anything in view
save a selfish motive. Whatever little social service he may render is
more than counterbalanced by the social havoc wrought by his
trade. Again there are social settlements where the principal thought
and effort seems to be to provide somewhat questionable vaudeville
entertainments and frequent public dances; the leaders say they are
compelled to adopt these features to hold the people; here comes in
again the question of social damage to the community in which they are
situated.

The true social settlement, with all its features of mental and
physical culture, is one which places Christ at the front of all its
work and keeps Him there.  It is Christ and Christ alone who can
really help the individual and the community and there are numbers of
social settlements where Christ is kept at the head of the work.

The church has changed its methods very much during the past few
years. Seldom is a church now built which does not have its well
appointed kitchen, dining-room and parlours and other social
equipments.  It is according as a church uses these adjuncts, whether
they really help it, or not, to do its work. The church is powerful as
a force for social betterment not as it does or does not open its
doors to lecturers, plan social entertainments, give dinners and hold
festivals--these may be helps--but in so far as it sways the inner
life of the community. This inner life, influenced in right ways,
finds expression in a better individual, home and community
standard. This standard makes for the uplifting of the social state
outside as well as inside the church. The principle is, not social for
the sake of being social, but "social to save." It is quite certain
that unless the church sets up its ideals in the community, a worldly
community will set up its ideals in the church. The more spiritual a
church as a social settlement is the stronger the social bond becomes
between rich and poor, the learned and the unlearned.


BROTHERHOOD

The Christian Social Brotherhood is not a brotherhood of a class but
of all classes and conditions of men.  To-day the popular idea of
brotherhood is the association of men of a certain trade. There is a
strong tendency for social groups to be formed, which are exclusive of
all who do not conform to a certain standard in the industrial world
and inclusive of all who do. The members are looking for protection
and mutual benefit.

Christ said of His brotherhood, "One is your Master, even Christ and
all ye are brethren.... One is your Father which is in heaven"
(Matthew 23:8,9).  We find here the great principle laid down that
there can be no true brotherhood without a common fatherhood.
Christians are brothers because they have a common "Master" and
"Father" hence they seek to do good not only to the members of the
brotherhood but to all men, because God is the Father of all. It is
this thought that is to bring men up out of their selfishness.  The
employer and employee will strive to do all they can for each other
when deep down in their hearts they believe they are brethren in
Christ; we shall hear no more then of injustice upon either side.

The church of Jesus Christ holds the only solution to the peaceful and
happy settlement of the social unrest.


QUESTIONS

What can be said of the social circle, what does the word society
signify? What is the extent of any social circle, the character? What
can be said of the example of Christ in society, the Christian
society? What can be said of social institutions; the family, the
church, the government?  What can be said of social aims; Socialism,
Christianity, Christ, the social reformer, the church as a social
settlement? What can be said of the Christian social brotherhood?



STUDY XIII

THE CHRISTIAN STATE


Scripture references: Matthew 22:17-22; 17:24-27; Acts 23:5; John
6:15; Matthew 4:8-10; John 18:36-38; Mark 14; 61,62; John 18:33;
19:19; Isaiah 9:6,7; 60:3; Zechariah 9:10; Daniel 7:14; Matthew 26:64;
26:53,54; 16:16,17; 25:31,32.


CHRIST AND THE STATE

The Relation of Christ to the State.--He was an intense patriot. He
loved His country. The names of His great countrymen, Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, Joshua and David, were ever on His lips. He offered Himself as
the national Messiah (Matthew 21:1-17), He was rejected (John
18:38-19:16; Luke 23:27-30; 13:34) and crucified (John 19:18), after
He had been unjustly condemned to death both by the Jewish and Roman
authorities. Upon the cross and over His head was placed the
inscription, "Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews."

What Jesus Taught About the State.--The ancient idea of the state was
that it was everything and the individual nothing. The first question
was, "Is the state strong and prosperous?" The happiness or
unhappiness of the individual was not considered. The purity or
impurity of the life of the individual was of little consequence. The
citizens existed for the state and to serve it and its ruler. This
idea has lingered long and is not entirely yet extinct.

1. Jesus discovered the individual in the state. He taught that the
soul of one man is worth more than the whole world (Matthew
16:26). Jesus put the individual first and the state second. This
teaching was entirely new and revolutionary. Christ's principle was
make the man, the unit, right and the state will be right. He insisted
that the test of the state is the kind of individuals it produces
(Matthew 7:16). "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:20).
Formerly the state was thought of as an institution to minister to the
comfort or happiness of the ruler or ruling class. Christ reversed
this when He declared that rulers existed to serve the state. He said,
"Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them,
and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not
be so among you, but whosoever will be great among you let him be your
minister; and whosoever will be chief among you let him be your
servant. Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:
25-28). He is the greatest in the state who renders the greatest
service.

2. "He laid the foundation of a true state." In the time of Christ the
common people had no choice in the selection or election of any
officer of the state, of high or low position. Popular government in
any form was unknown. If things went wrong people must endure
them. When Jesus laid the responsibility upon the individual He made a
basis for a popular government of some form. If things are not right
now in a Christian state the people have the power of protest and
change. It is for the people to send their representatives to the
legislature, to congress, to parliament, etc., and to make and alter
the laws when new laws or changes are needed.

3. He was a civil reformer from the inside. Jesus taught the necessity
for the moral and spiritual regeneration of men before much could be
done by the state in weeding out its evils. He saw plainly the folly
of trying to transform the character of the state solely by the
coercive power of law. "Satan tempted Him to take the short
cut,--seize power over men and then change the character in men
(Matthew 4:8).  To have become the kind of a king the Galileans
proposed in John 6:15 would have frustrated His mission. He sought in
society and politics what He sought in each man's life (Matthew 12:36;
23:26; Luke 6:45; John 10:10). Jesus was a true reformer."

4. Jesus taught obedience to the state and Himself strictly observed
what He taught. He paid His taxes (Matthew 17:24-27). He declared that
it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar (Matthew 22:15-21).  When He
was unlawfully arrested, on a trumped up charge, He made no resistance
(John 18:1-9); this was not because He was not able to do so, for He
could have summoned more than twelve legions of angels to aid Him
(Matthew 26:53). Jesus thoroughly understood the corruption of His
times, and the character of the rulers. He said of Herod, when it was
told Him that he would kill Him, "Go ye and tell that fox, Behold, I
cast out devils and do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I
shall be perfected" (Luke 13:32,33). He obeyed the law for a purpose
and the bringing in of a new order of things--the abolition of force
and the substitution for it of service in the kingdom of God. He
suffered the Just for the unjust. He was a Martyr for His country. He
died that it might live in a new order of men, under the banner of
Christianity.

5. He taught the right principles upon which the universal state
should be founded. Up to and at the time of Christ nations were
separated from each other not only by natural boundaries of rivers,
seas, plains, mountains, languages and racial differences but by
religions.  One people worshipped one set of gods, while another
people bowed down to other gods.  Jesus set forth the large ideal of
uniting all races and all peoples in one great spiritual kingdom (John
18:37; Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; 17:24-27).  It is only as different
peoples and nations are united in a common religion that there can be
a proper political federation or union (John 4:20-24; 10:16).  Jesus
taught His disciples to pray that God's kingdom, a reign of
righteousness, justice and peace, might come, not to one people only,
but to all peoples.  This prayer, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done
in earth as it is done in heaven" (Matthew 6:10) means that the earth
and no one restricted part of it is to be occupied by the kingdom of
God. Jesus looked beyond the Jewish state and the Roman state and saw
the beginning of a kingdom of God which would embrace all nations. It
is this kingdom which is to permeate, purify and control the
governments of the earth.


THE AUTHORITY

The Source of Authority is in God. "There is no power but of God; the
powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13:1; Daniel 2:20,21;
4:32; Psalm 2). God is sovereign. He is the final basis of all
authority. "Government has authority delegated to do its duties, but
it has no inherent authority to do anything. God has inherent powers;
institutions have that which is conferred upon them by law. Each one
who exercises authority must derive it directly or indirectly from
God" (Matthew 18:18; Daniel 7:13,14; Isaiah 9:6,7; Luke 10:22; John
3:35).  This is one of the fundamental principles of the Christian
state. This authority may be delegated to men and may be used rightly
or it may be abused.

In the Old and New Testaments it is distinctly taught that all
nations--Christian and unchristian--are directly accountable to God.

The Sanction of Authority is in the righteousness and justice of
God. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right" (Genesis 18:25;
Psalm 58:11; 67:7; 97:6; 9:8; 50:6; Proverbs 16:11,12; Romans
3:21,22)?  The Old Testament prophets looked forward to the perfect
state wherein righteousness and justice should rule. Sovereignty over
a state may be initiated by force but it can never be made the
permanent basis on which sovereignty rests. "States have been
defrauded of their birthright with scarcely the grace of a contract
for a mess of pottage, but the possession may be kept only by a return
to justice.  The strongest is not strong enough to be always master,
unless he transform his strength into right and obedience to duty."


THE LAW

Reign of Law.--The philosopher, the natural scientist and the
Christian theologian all believe that we live in a universe governed
by law. Certain natural scientists may believe that the law is
impersonal in its origin, but the Christian theologian believes that
the origin of law, and the carrying it out, is "the expression of the
will of a personal God."

Law has been defined, as the necessary relations which pertain to the
nature of things. When men come to associate themselves in a state
they find it necessary to define and formally set forth their
relations by certain enactments for the general good, which are called
laws. But these laws naturally will be the expression of, and will
rise no higher than, the social conscience of the people.

The revealed will of God in regard to men and their political
relations to each other, as given in the Scriptures, presents high
ideals, which, if realized, go to make the perfect state (Micah
6:8). The Old Testament prophets were continually presenting these
divine ideals of the state to the people of Israel and urging them to
accept them. Christ had much to say about the higher political
relations of men. Paul in his epistles also had much to say upon this
topic.  Moses urged not only the keeping of the provisions of the
ceremonial, but also the moral and civil laws (Deuteronomy 6:1-9;
Exodus 25:40; Joshua 1:7; Exodus 13:9; Nehemiah 9:13; Psalm 1:2;
Isaiah 1:10-17; Jeremiah 8:7,8; Daniel 9:10,11; Matthew 5:17;
22:36-40; Hebrews 8:10; Titus 3:1,2; Ezra 7:25).

God is the Lord of all nations and they are to be judged according to
His law (Psalm 2; 47:2,3; Malachi 1:14; Psalm 67:4; Matthew 28:19;
25:32; Romans 16:26).

The End of the Law is to make a holy nation, wherein righteousness
shall reign. The effort of the Mosaic law was to make Israel a "holy
nation." Even sanitary and dietary laws were not laid down as such but
were made the distinctive marks of the consecrated life of a chosen
people; details of ritual were prescribed to express the sense of the
holiness of God in whose service they were exercised (Exodus 19:6).
"And ye shall be holy unto Me; for I the Lord am holy, and have
severed you from other people, that ye should be Mine" (Leviticus
20:26; Deuteronomy 7:6; 26:19; 28:9; Isaiah 62:12; 1 Corinthians
3:17).

The effort of Christianity, under the leadership of Christ, is not
only to perfect the church, but also the state. In so far as the
principles of Christianity prevail amongst the people they reflect
themselves in the laws of the state. In a community which is
thoroughly Christian it is impossible for certain evil institutions to
maintain themselves.

The Duty of the Christian Citizen is to recognize the state, to give
it loyal support and obedience and to seek to make its law conform to
the law ordained by God. No man ought to hold himself aloof from the
political interests of his community or country. In many towns and
cities where Christian public sentiment has secured the passage of
excellent laws for the suppression of certain evils, the evils
flourish in spite of the good laws because they are not strongly
supported by that sentiment which secured their passage.

Never was there a time when the highest type of Christian citizenship,
setting forth the ideals of Christ, was more needed than at the
present day. The outlook for any true national greatness must
necessarily be from an ethical and Christian standpoint, bringing to
the front the principles of love, loyalty, service and sacrifice.


FUNCTIONS AND PURPOSE

Functions.--The Christian state is continually widening its sphere of
care and action over and for the individual. It not only assumes the
protection of life and property, but provides schools, from the
primary grade to great universities; it cares for the sick and
mentally deficient; it provides food, clothing and shelter for the
destitute poor, it supervises the morals of the people, and enforces
sanitary regulations. The more thoroughly Christian the state the more
it seeks the betterment of the individual. The less Christian the
state the less it cares for the good of the individual and the more it
seeks to oppress and to use him as its slave.

Purpose--This is the realization of the kingdom of God on earth. The
Christian is working for a state, where the principles of justice and
brotherly love shall prevail.


QUESTIONS

Christ and the state; what was His relation to the state?  What did He
teach about the state? What did Jesus teach about the individual and
his relation to the state? In what way did He lay the foundation of
the true state? In what respect was He a civil reformer? What did
Jesus teach about obedience to the state? What did He teach about the
universal state and the principles upon which it should be founded?
What is the source of authority for the state?  Give the sanction of
its authority. What can be said of the law of the state, the reign of
law, definition, end of the law and the duty of the Christian citizen?
Give the functions and purpose of the Christian state.



STUDY XIV

THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE


Scripture references: 1 Timothy 1:1; Colossians 1:27; Psalm 130:5;
43:5; Proverbs 10:8; Acts 24:15; Psalm 71:5; Romans 5:1-5; 12:12;
15:4; 1 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 5:5; Ephesians 1:18; Philippians
1:20; Colossians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:19; Titus 1:2; 2:13; 3:7;
Psalm 31:24; 71:14,15.


HOPE IN THE PRESENT LIFE

That which a man ardently hopes for he strives to realize. If he
desires fame, office or wealth he will seek to set forces in motion,
here and now, which will bring him that which his soul covets. Back of
every man's striving there is always some hope, an ideal, which he
endeavours to make a reality.

The man who enthusiastically believes in Jesus Christ cherishes the
hope that every man may be brought to believe in his Lord and Master
(Acts 26:27-29). He wants to see Christ not only rule and reign in the
life to come, but in this present life.

The urgency of the New Testament appeals to men is to, at once,
believe in Jesus Christ, and to begin to live the Christian life (Acts
16:31-33; 2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Galatians 2:20). The attempt was made
by the early preachers of Christianity to bring about upon the earth a
new order of things. They prayed and laboured for the immediate
conversion of men's souls and the betterment of the conditions under
which men lived. A new kingdom (Matthew 10:32-42; Mark 1:14,15) was
inaugurated with new ideals (Matthew 5:1-16), new principles and new
aspirations, which was to supersede the old social and political
orders.  It was the preaching of this kingdom of Christ, and that men
owed their first allegiance to it (Acts 5:28,29), which provoked the
terrible persecutions of the first centuries.

Christianity has much to do with this present life, it has a panacea
for all its ills and evils and it has a certain definite programme to
carry out.

The Christian hopes and works for:

The Regeneration of the Individual through faith in Christ (John
3:5,14-21). This is an inward change wrought in the soul by the grace
of God. While this is a work of God, the responsibility for it rests
with man. God does not desire the death of the sinner. By the sending
of Jesus Christ God has shown His love for man while yet a
sinner. Every unregenerate man either does not desire this new life or
else feels that he never sought with all his heart to have God
regenerate his soul (John 5:40; 1:4; 5:24; Isaiah 1:18).  The
regenerate man in Christ thinks and acts from a new basis (2
Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). It is only as the love of a man's
heart is really changed and centred upon right things that he can be
depended upon to walk in right ways. A man may act right, may be
honest and upright from prudential motives, but if his heart is evil
the way of the righteous will be irksome to him and he may depart from
it at any time. The unmasking of the double life of a man, every now
and then, shows how the heart's desire will have its way with a man
who does not love God.  Heart faith in Christ leads a man to follow
and be like Him.

Hence we have such a large emphasis placed upon work for and with the
individual by Christ and His disciples.  Christ Himself called His
apostles to Him one by one and He was continually holding
conversations of the deepest interest with individuals (John 3:1-13;
4:6-26).

The possibilities of the work of the individual Christian for the
individual non-Christian man are too largely left untried. If every
follower of Christ should try to win one, who did not follow Him, to
His cause every year the good effects of such a campaign would be felt
not only in the church, but in every department of life.

All true reform work must begin with the regeneration of the
individual.

The Enlightenment of the Social Conscience.--There is such a thing as
a social conscience. It is possible to say and do things in certain
communities which would not be tolerated in others. One town will not
only sanction the liquor business within its boundaries but will
resist all efforts to abolish it; another town right beside it will
have none of this iniquitous traffic. Lawlessness and immorality find
a hearty welcome in certain cities and in others they dare not show
themselves. All this is due not to the perfection or the imperfection
of the laws or to the large number or small number of men upon the
police force, but to an evil, an apathetic or an enlightened social
conscience.

The progress of the gospel of Christ is often hindered or prevented by
a hostile public sentiment (Matthew 13:58; 17:20; 10:14; Luke
10:10-12).  When Christ sent forth His twelve disciples He recognized
the strong opposition which their message and mission would often meet
and said, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves;
be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matthew
10:16). The disciples were taught to expect social ostracism and
private and public persecution (Matthew 10:17-26). There were times
when they were to flee before the gathering storm of opposition and
there were times in which they were to maintain their position to the
death, but even if they fled (Matthew 10:23) they were not to cease to
preach the gospel.

It is the duty and the right of Christians not only to seek for the
regeneration of individuals, but also to protest and work against
social and political wrongs and to seek to create and strengthen a
strong public Christian sentiment. The Church of Christ should be the
conservator and promoter of high moral ideals in every city and town
where it has a name and place and seek to extend its good influence
into regions where it has no standing.

Better Conditions of Living.--The Bible is always upon the side of the
oppressed and down-trodden. No laws ever enacted by any nation ever
made it so easy for the working man as the Mosaic ordinances; every
seventh day (Exodus 20:9,10) was a day of rest; there were seven
feasts in seven months which called for many other days of rest; every
seventh year (Leviticus 25:2-7) was a rest year; and every fiftieth
year (Leviticus 25:10-17) was one of rest and restitution. Christ
everywhere championed the cause of the poor and the heavy burdened
(Matthew 9:36; 11:28-30; 11:4,5).

But the Bible also clearly sets forth the fact that little can be done
towards bettering even the material conditions of living when men's
hearts are not right towards God. If a man lets the spirit of avarice
reign over him, no matter how much money he may have he will still
want more and he will not care whom he oppresses to get it. If the
spirit of a purely worldly pleasure rules him his money will go into a
bottomless pit and he will not care whom he makes suffer to get more
money to gratify his insatiable desires.

Better material conditions of work and living can only come from the
adoption of high moral and spiritual standards and in advocating these
the Christian Church to-day is the truest friend of the oppressed.

The Maintenance of Law and Order.--It is not an unusual thing for
political parties to elect men to offices of trust and then to have
these same men refuse to enforce the laws which they have sworn to
uphold.  In consequence we have all kinds of abuses and evils growing
up in the body politic. Too often the political race is for the honour
and the spoils of position.

Outside the political arena stands the Christian Church and it can, if
it will, demand that clean and upright men, whatever the issues of the
parties may be, be placed in nomination. Here Christians may hold the
balance of power. If their loyalty is to Christ first of all they will
vote for no man for any office who is known to be of an evil
character. The maintenance of law and order depends in large measure,
in any community, upon the Christian sentiment of that community.

The Turning of the World to Christ.--The Christian's hope is that
Christ may be Lord of and dominate the individual and the home life,
the social, the business and the political worlds, as well as the
ecclesiastical.

The worship of God in Christ ought not to be only upon a particular
day or in a certain place, but upon all days and in every place men
should lift up their hearts to Him (John 4:21-24). If He is Lord of
all (John 1:1-14; 14:9-13) He should be Lord of all; there is no
matter too small and none too great to bring before Him. When Christ
said, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations ... teaching them to
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19,20)
He meant that His teachings should be dominant over all the earth and
in every department of life. And for this we pray "Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). It is
only as this kingdom shall come in power that we can expect to better
the conditions under which men live and work.


HOPE IN THE FUTURE LIFE

Christianity is not small in its anticipations, its desires, its
aspirations and its plans.

It speaks of a large hope for the future, so large that many men fail
to comprehend its magnificence (John 11:23-26; Mark 16:11). It
declares that while the body may be placed in the grave, the real man
never dies. Man in all that he thinks and does lives with two worlds
plainly in view, the one that now is and the one which is to come.

The disciples immediately after the ascension of Christ began to
preach and teach the resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:30-32; 3:15;
4:10,33; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). They used this fact of the
resurrection as a reason for the belief in Christ as the Saviour of
men, a forsaking of sin and an incentive to a life of righteousness.
They taught, as Jesus Himself did, that this life, no matter how great
its opportunities, was but the vestibule to a new and larger life
beyond the grave. It is better to sacrifice everything in this life,
if necessary, rather than to miss the glory of the life to come
(Matthew 5:29; 10:28; Mark 9:47). No good deed done in this life, in
the name of Christ, can fail of large reward in the life to come
(Matthew 19:28,29; 25:34-40). By this emphasis, which was laid upon
the future life, the horizon of thought and action was marvellously
widened. Men were taught no longer that they were to exist for a few
years and then go out forever into the darkness of annihilation, good
and bad alike, but that they were to live forever.

Conscious Personal Existence of the soul after death. This fact is
conspicuously taught in the Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles and
Revelation. In the world to come people are not shades or ghosts, but
they have certain bodies (1 Corinthians 15:44), they know themselves
to be and are known as the same persons who once lived on the earth
(Matthew 17:2-4; Luke 24:36-48; John 20:24-28; 11:25,26; Luke
16:19-31; 23:42,43). Christ said, "But as touching the resurrection of
the dead have ye not read, that which was spoken unto you by God
saying, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but the living" (Matthew 22:
31,32).

Eternal Citizenship in heaven. The aim of Christianity is to make men
righteous. The abode of the blessed hereafter is one wherein dwells
holiness, purity and truth.

There are conditions and hindrances to the entering of the abode of
the blessed.

1. Conditions. The great prerequisite to entering into the joy of
heaven is righteousness, perfect obedience to the law of God. But
every man of himself, when he enters into an honest self-examination,
feels that he comes far short of the perfect keeping of the divine
commands (1 John 1:8,9; Romans 3:23).  He needs forgiveness for past
disobedience, he needs help to lead a righteous life. Hence Jesus
Christ, the divine Son of God, came that through His life and death we
might receive pardon for past sin and help to live the righteous life
(John 3:16-23). What man could not do for himself Jesus Christ does
for him (Romans 3:20-26). The disciples of Christ were rightly
enthusiastic in proclaiming Him as the propitiation for man's sin and
belief in Him, with all that it implied, as the entrance gate into the
heavenly life.  Jesus said of Himself, "I am the way, the truth and
the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). "In My
Father's house are many mansions if it were not so I would have told
you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place
for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I
am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2,3).

2. Hindrances. The great hindrance to the entering of heaven is
disobedience of God, not only acts of disobedience but a state of
disobedience, where the soul of man desires to have no fellowship with
God or His righteousness. There is a disobedience of God through
carelessness, through ignorance and through willfulness; there is
little hope for a man when he deliberately turns his back upon God. It
is wonderfully shown in the Bible how God has sought to make Himself
known to man and to save him here and hereafter.  Every possible
appeal has been made to man to turn to God. The Scriptures give no
answer of hope for a happy hereafter for those who deliberately reject
all of God's invitations and pleadings in this world (Matthew 25:46;
Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Romans 2:1-6).

The Glory of Heaven.--The New Testament writers vie with each other in
striving to make plain the glory of heaven. John describes it, in a
vision, as a magnificent city of gold and precious stones, wherein can
come no evil thing (Revelation, chapters 21,22).  "And the city had no
need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of
God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations
of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings
of the earth do bring their honour and glory into it" (Revelation
21:23,24). The real glory of heaven, however, is not in its outward
adornment or pageantry, but in the triumph of righteousness and the
supreme reward of constancy to the truth of God (Revelation
7:9-17). The holiness of God is vindicated (Revelation 4:8,9). "The
tabernacle of God is with men" (Revelation 21:3,4), and every good
deed stands out glorified in the clear white light of eternity. Every
saint in heaven will feel that he has the hundredfold reward for all
the sacrifices he made when upon the earth for the kingdom of God.

The effort of the New Testament writers is to make the followers of
Christ joyfully do their work here, much of which may be distasteful
and difficult. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our
faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of
God" (Hebrews 12:2). It is worth while to work for a limited future
earthly reward; it is much more worth while to work for a heavenly
reward which shall endure throughout eternity.


QUESTIONS

What can be said of the Christian's hope in the present life? What is
the regeneration of the individual through faith in Christ? What is
meant by the enlightenment of the social conscience? How can better
conditions of living be secured through Christ? How can law and order
be maintained through the advancement of Christian principles?  What
is the Christian's hope in turning the world to Christ?  What is the
Christian's hope in the future life? What is meant by conscious
personal existence after death, eternal citizenship, the glory of
heaven?





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