T h e K i n g ’ s B u s i n e s s
do as the angel had said. Perhaps Satan’s two most successful wiles are those by which he persuades sinners to wait awhile or else prevails upon them to be secret be lievers. “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it,” is the only sure method of obtain ing what God has to give. Third, his obedience was intelligent. When Peter came to him, he could say, “Now therefore we are all here present before God”—to hear what God had to say. They were not before Peter, nor did they desire to hear what Peter thought. If there were more such gatherings today, there would be more preaching o f words whereby the hearers might be saved, 3. The instruction for Cornelius (34,35). First, he was informed as to the source of blessing—God, who is “no respecter of persons.” The gospel that saves is preach ed alike to Jew and Gentile. Peter noW realized this as he saw God working in the Gentile’s heart. Formerly, Peter would not have thought of approaching a Gentile, lest he himself should become unclean. But he now perceived that the gospel was for every man. Second, he was told the pathway to bless ing from God. For Cornelius, that path was fearing God and working righteous ness. While these things could not pur chase salvation—that is secured only through the blood of Christ—they proved the condition of heart in Cornelius by which God could pour in His salvation. Third, he was assured of the certainty of blessing in the words, “is accepted of him.” This o f course does not mean ac ceptance in the sense of being saved, for that would make salvation depend alto gether upon works. But these words as sured Cornelius that by his works he was accepted with God from a governmental viewpoint, and hence he might have every assurance that, by believing the gospel preached to him, he would also be accepted on the moral plane. Here again we are brought face to face with the truth that living with people of other races is only accomplished in reality by bringing people o f different races into common, harmonious relationships in Christ. The greatest service any one can render in the interests of peace to this strife-worn world is to publish the gospel o f the grace o f God which brings all who believe into that body in which there is neither Jew nor Gentile, but all are one in Christ Jesus. Lesson Questions John 4:5-10. What Jewish custom did Jesus disregard when He passed through Samaria ? By what other name was the city known? Why was it notable? What indi cation is there in this passage of the hu man nature of Jesus? of the divine? Is it often tactful, when approaching a person on spiritual matters, to ask a favor? Why? How did Jesus turn the conversation from the commonplace to the eternal? Is this the secret o f successful personal work? Acts 10:30-35. Describe Cornelius. What did his prayers and fastings and almsgiv ing do for him, if they did not save him? Why do you think Peter was sent to him? Had he, too, a lesson to learn through this experience? What was it? What is the only common ground upon which men may stand? Telling a Foreigner of Jesus A cts 10:25-34 Memory Verse: “For God so loved the
world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Approach: Jesus had a special work for each one of His disciples to do. After He left this earth, He put into their hands the work of telling to others the gospel story.
a foreigner called Cornelius. He wanted Peter to come and preach to him. Then Peter understood the vision, and he went. Sometimes we are like these disciples of old. Perhaps we think that we are a little bit better than other people. A great many foreigners have come to live in our country. Their ways are different from ours. They seem strange to us. We seem just as strange to them. But neither one seems strange to God. We are all one in His sight. Golden Text Illustration In these days, the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” may be in your own home. Do you remember the story of Sophie Brugman who had been praying to become a foreign missionary ? One day she thought to ask herself these questions: “Where were you born, Sophie Brug man ?” “In Germany,” came the answer. “Where are you now?” “In America.” “Well, are you riot a foreign missionary? Who lives on the floor above?”
But these d i s c i p l e s were all Jews, and they thought that the gos pel was just for the Jewish people. They forgot that it was be cause God loved the world (and not just the Jews) that He gave His Son. God had to remind the dis- o f this. L e s s o n S t o r y :
God helped Peter, who was one of the dis ciples, to know that he was to preach to the foreigners as well as to the Jews, by show ing him a vision. While Peter was praying on a quiet housetop in the city of Joppa, he had this vision. A sheet filled with animals was let down from the sky. A voice said, “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.” Now Peter had been taught from a child that certain animals Were unclean and therefore must not be eaten. So Peter said, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” >i Three times this vision came, and three times Peter made the same answer. Three times the voice said, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” Just then there came a knocking at Peter’s gate. A messenger had come from Lesson Text: Neh. 8:10-17; Mk. 6 :30-32. Golden Text: “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). The Place Apart T here is nothing like “the place apart” to which one may go to be free from the distracting influences of daily life, and really dwell “in the secret place of the most High.” Jesus knew it, so He took His twelve disciples, who had just re turned from a strenuous preaching tour,
“A family o f Swedes.” “And who above them?” “Why, some Swiss.” “Who in the rear?” “Italians.” “And who a block away?”
“Some Chinese. And I have never said a word to these people about the blessed Jesus,” said Sophie to herself. “It is no wonder I am not sent thousands of miles to the foreigners and heathen when I do not care enough about those at home to speak to the ones at my very door.”
DECEMBER 11, 1932 THE CHRISTIAN’S USE OF LEISURE L ev . 23:39-43; N eh . 8:9-18; Z ech . 8:5; M att . 11:16-19; M k . 6:30-32; 1 C or . 10-23-33
As Jesus and His disciples sat beside this stream, they were far from the teeming cities o f this region. Tiberias, Magdala, Capernaum, Chorazin, Bethsaida—all were on the western shore o f the lake or near its northern end. The only village near the eastern shore of Galilee was that of the Gadarenes, and it was several miles to the south. What a place to draw apart and be alone with God I As we sat by that stream not long ago, and read about the life o f Christ which was lived there, His presence seemed more real than ever before. We felt strength ened physically and spiritually as were the five thousand whom He fed upon this spot nineteen hundred years ago. We seemed to receive new inspiration for our journey home.
and in one of those characteristic b o a t s which even to this day ply the Sea of Galilee, He went with them to a desert place apart. What better place was there than that se cluded nook beside the little s t r e a m which finds its way into the
Outline and Exposition I. H earing the W ord of the L ord (N eh . 8:10-17).
eastern rim of the lake near its northern end? It finds its source in some springing fountain in the dry and barren hills of Gilead. As it flows on to mingle its waters with those of the historic Jordan in the Sea of Galilee, it provides refreshing drafts for the plants and flowers upon its banks. _Its waters are filled with fish. It is an oasis in the barren land where a weary traveler may firid food and drink to sus tain him for further journeys.
The chapter in which this lesson occurs is one o f the great chapters of the Bible. The work of Nehemiah in building the wall had been completed, the people had been reckoned by their genealogies, and “the children of Israel were in their cities.” Then the people turned to Ezra, the scribe, to_ bring forth the law of Moses, that they might hear what the Lord would say to them. From morning until noon, the peo ple listened to the reading o f the Word. All
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