King's Business - 1932-11

Noveptbef 1932

T h e K i n g ’ s B u s i n e s s

490 ing in their homes which we should re­ member in order to make our homes pleas­ ing to God. Lesson 5. “Laws for Me to Keep.” Laws should be obeyed not from fear, but be­ cause we know that it is right to obey them. Lesson 6. “Peace and Goodwill among Men.” Only when the gospel message fills men’s hearts will peace come. Lesson 7 . “Jesus’ Idea o f Being Rich.” Seeking the kingdom o f God first is the way to be really rich. Lesson 8. “ Sharing God’s Gifts.” All through the ages, God has warned His peo­ ple to be humble and unselfish and gen­ erous. Lesson 9. “God Choosing a Worker.” God has work for each one o f us to do. Lesson 10. “Telling a Foreigner of Jesus.” All people are equally important in God’s sight. Lesson 11. “Jesus Watching Children Lesson Text- Lk. 2:8-20. Golden Text: “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). d \ The Church of the Nativity hile man - made shrines do not im­ press us so much as the natural holy places, let us today visit the Church o f the Nativity in Bethlehem. Per­ haps this edifice deserves more-than the customary interest accorded similar shrines, for it is doubtless the oldest church church. At that time, a chapel was erected over the spot. It may later have been de­ stroyed, but it is certain that Constantine caused to be built another structure, por­ tions o f which are incorporated in the building of the present day. The majority of the present building was erected by Jus­ tinian in the sixth century. As we approach the building from the west,- we see its stained gray walls ris­ ing across the open, stone-paved square be­ fore it. We walk over to the main en­ trance and, to our surprise, find that it is less than four feet high, and not over three feet wide. One who wishes to enter the Church o f the Nativity must humble himself and enter on his knees, or with bowed head and back. Upon entering, we find ourselves in the porch which leads into the nave of the church proper. In spite of the small entrance, we are surprised to find that the nave and the aisles would accom­ modate several thousand people. We walk across the nave to a spot near the altar, from which a stairway descends to the basement below. Upon more careful inves­ tigation, we find that we are not in the in Palestine, and as such has been the Mecca o f thousands of devout souls through the centuries. As early as the second century, the tradition was commonly accept­ ed that Jesus was born in the cave which to­ day is beneath this

herds were filled with reverential awe as they heard the voice and felt the presence o f the holy one from heaven. There is al­ ways the awakening of such fear when holiness draws near to sinful men. But in spite of their awe, they were attentive to the words of the angel, and they accepted the message as it was given to them. If there were more such readiness to believe the message, there would be more expe­ riences such as the shepherds enjoyed. III. T he P reacher (9, 10). The preacher was an angel, probably Gabriel, who was so often used to deliver messages from the Lord. It was Gabriel who told of the birth of John the Baptist, who told Mary o f the coming birth of the child Jesus, and who, in all probability, announced to the shepherds the Saviour’s birth. God’s truth can be known only by God’s revelation; the medium may be an angel or a human being. In this case, the angel spoke with a certainty which is wholly absent from much modern preach­ ing. He was not telling what he thought, but what the Lord said. The question may be asked, Why do we not have the. min­ istry by angels today? The answer is that the revelation from God to man is com­ plete, and we no longer need the word of angels; they, or any other spirit or demon, can add nothing to God’s revelation to man. Because the angel was God’s messenger, the shepherds were to “ fear not.” This is the first word o f any message from God to man. Man should be filled with dread when he has no message from the Lord, but when he has, there is no occasion for fear. Because the angel spake God’s triith, men could trust it, rely upon it, and commit their souls’ eternal welfare to it. IV. T he T heme The theme of the angel’s sermon was “Christ the Lord.” He is the One to whom all Scripture points, by whom all the prom­ ises are fulfilled, and in whom all glory centers. He is the Seed of the woman, the Sacrifice for the sinner, the Judge o f the people, and the Redeemer of all who trust Him. In His coming to earth, light had come. The only light the world has today is that which has been brought into the world by Jesus Christ. With all the vaunted under­ standing and progress and wisdom and en­ lightenment o f this present century, there is no true light in the world except that which flows from Him who alone is the Light o f the world. In His coming, life also had come, for apart from Him, there is no true life, whatever state of existence man may attain unto. But with the coming of Him who is the Life, even the grave loses its dominion. Finally, in His coming, love had come to the world. Without Him, there would be no conception anywhere that God is Love. The paganism o f the past and present has no idea of such a God. The very theme of the angel’s sermoii would tend to remove all fear; and the preaching of Christ today should have the same effect. V. T he S ermon (10-12). This sermon o f the briefest and simplest ever preached. In spite o f its brevity, it was full and complete, and while it was simple, it was most profound. The first point in the sermon referred to the birth o f Christ, in which there was the element of “good tidings of great joy to all people.” It was good, because it told of God’s love to man; it proclaimed great joy,

Play.” In playing games, remember the Golden Rule. Golden Text Illustration A European was once taken prisoner in a Mohammedan land. During his captivity, he amused himself by sketching. When his enemies saw his skillful and curious pro­ ductions, it struck them that they might turn his talent to profitable account. He was promised his liberty on condition that he would design a new mosque. He agreed to the proposal. An elegant and sub­ stantial building was planned. At first it pleased them, and the hour of his eman­ cipation seemed near. Some keen eye, how­ ever, made a discovery. It was found that the mosque was drawn in the shape of a cross. Disappointed and angry, they put the architect to death. Thus do some re­ ject the gospel. They are well pleased with the plan of salvation—until they discern in it the cross o f self-denial. basement, but in a cave with walls o f vir­ gin rock. In such a rude place, the Son of God came to begin His redeeming work. Outline and Exposition We have no sure way o f knowing the precise date of our Lord’s birth into this world. The date we celebrate, December 25, was adopted by the church in the year 300 A.D. But though we do not know the exact date o f our Lord’s birth, we have the account of the first Christmas service ever held in celebration of His, birth, and this is our lesson today. I. T he P lace The place o f Jesus’ birth was in the open country where there would be freedom from formality and a superiority over all conventions. Probably this first Christmas service was held in the fall o f the year, when the countryside would appear brown and dry and barren. But suddenly this place was illumined with glory, and instead of the barren appearance o f the hillside, all was at once made beautiful. The pres­ ence of the angel and his company would transform this brown and dry spot into one of surpassing beauty and make of the hill­ side a fit temple for the Lord of hosts. II. T he A udience The audience was composed of a few shepherds tending their flocks by night. It was most appropriate that shepherds should be the first to receive the announce­ ment of the birth of Him who was to be the Good and Great Shepherd. The shep- BLACKBOARD LESSON "iUE rHi C^OLJ/V

DECEMBER 25, 1932 GOD ’S GIFT TO MAN L uke 2:1-20

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