T H E K I N G ’ S B U S I N E S S
tor.” We are administrators of but one thing—“grace.” But this grace has many manifestations, which is the reason that the adjective “manifold” is written to describe it. Grace in its varied aspects may be likened to electricity. Electricity is a single property, but send electricity through a piece of platinum wire in a vacuum and it is manifested as light. Send it through a piece of iron and it is manifested as heat. Send it through a coil of wire and it is manifested as yower. So grace is but one quality with many manifestations. When I ask you what grace is, the traditional answer leaps to your mind: “Grace is the unmerited favor of God.” If grace is God’s favor, then what is that favor? Just a name and a theo logical definition? No! The favor of God is the bestowment of salvation. Sal vation creates life; life brings blessing, for it puts one in touch with omnipo tence; blessings create property. And when you have followed grace to its final fruitfulness, you will discover It is property. It is: 1. The Property of Time. 2. The Property -of Talent. 3. The Property of Possessions. As Christians, we are stewards or managers of these properties. III. Sufferers of Glory— The Phil osophy of PAIN (vs. 12-19). You will bear in mind that these people were sufferers under Nero. But they were not sufferers in gloom but rather of glory for the reason that their suffering had not only a purpose but also a plan that would end in glory. The Christian philosophy of pain is different from any other philosophy of suffering. It is not the philosophy of fate but of faith. It says: God is in this; therefore glory will come out of it. The Christian is instructed to 'expect suffering: “Think it not strange con cerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing hap pened unto you” (v. 12). Why is there suffering in the world? The cause is sin. Sin is a counterforce which threw out of balance the perfect laws of creation. Sin entered the world, and all nature has been affected by it. Now, in a fallen creation, the wind can become the cyclone. Now, the rain becomes the flood. Now, the flame be comes the conflagration. Now, the elec tricity becomes the lightning. Apart from this understanding of sin’s blight ing effect, the presence of pain in a world created by a loving God becomes a mystery. The bewildered cry of a man without a philosophy of pain is the cry of Oscar Wilde, who used to say there was “enough suffering in any lane in London to prove that God doesn’t love the world; disease and poverty and lust and anxiety and gruel ing disappointment and plenty Of graves about! What In heaven’s
fair name can anybody make of it— and of him, if there is such a one, who stands by and allows it, and too often by ten times doesn’t seem to turn his hand? Why? From the very cross itself tortured humanity flings its amazement in the face of that Eternal Silence: ‘My God, my God, why hast -thou forsaken me ?’ ” Only the Christian can begin to ap preciate that cry of the Sufferer on the cross—the One who, God manifest in the flesh, was bearing the pain and the pen alty of sin for all mankind. But if there is suffering because of sin, then why does the Christian suf fer? Should he not, as a part of the inheritance of grace, have freedom from pain and trial and suffering? No, saint hood and suffering, discipleship and de nial, these belong to each other. There is a purpose behind trial: “Be loved, think it not strang concerning the fiery trial which is to try you” (v. 12). This is the purpose—-trial is to prove us. It is the proving ground of char acter and the laboratory of love. There are certain things to remember that will help you to be patient in the fire of trial: 1. Suffering Identifies (v. 12). It is not a “strange thing” for Chris tians to suffer trial, for this experience of suffering is one of the signs of a paternal government. It identifies the sufferer as one of the children of God, “For whom the Lord loveth he chast- eneth', and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb. 12:6). 2. Suffering Purifies (v. 12). The “fiery trial” has a purging and A n E a s t e r M e d i t a t io n By VELMA GRAY SUNDERMAN O, blessed, holy, risen Lord, In deep humility I meditate this Easter-time On Thy Gethsemane; Thy cruel pain; Thy cross of death; For me, dear Lord, for me. O, blessed, holy, risen Lord, I sing of praise to Thee. The shedding of Thy precious blood From sin has set me free. Thy power to rise from death’s cold grave Means endless life for me. O, blessed, holy, risen Lord, ALL praise belongs to Thee. Thy love is great beyond the ken Of mortals such as we. We offer Thee our hearts, our love, In deep humility. _________
purifying effect if obediently submitted to. 3. Suffering Glorifies (v. 13). Suffering brings us into a share of the glory of Christ. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Tim. 2:12). 4. Suffering Develops. You take a roll of pictures and bring your film to the camera shop and say, “I should like to have -this developed.” But there is only one way any picture can be developed: first, in darkness, and second, in chemicals. And in that bath of acid surrounded by darkness, the film is developed and the hidden features of the picture appear. It is in the dark room of trial and suffering that the features of grace can be traced in the lovely lineaments of Christlikeness. It is under the acid bath of the burning fire of trial that the false is purged and the true emerges and stands out in He who suffers in line with God’s will is the only one who can explain the pur poses of God in life. Such a one suffers not “as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody.” (Notice that a busybody is in the same list as a murderer; he or she is an assassin of character.. And the busybody is like wise in the same list as a thief; he or she is a thief of the peace of others’ lives and homes.) Second, this Chris tian is “reproaohed for the name of Christ” (v. 14) and suffers “ as a Chris tian.” And he suffers “according to the will of God” (v. 19).We try to say that suffering is not according to God’s will, and yet here in verse 19 it is stated plainly to be His plan. Here is a threefold philosophy of life for your life. It belongs to you by right of divine government, but it does not become yours until you accept it by act of your choice of Jesus Christ and the will of God. Have you chosen God’s philosophy of purpose and of property and of pain ? Do ally yourself now with those who “commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” Prayer Circle Activities Encouraging reports are continually being received from members of Biola’s World-Wide Prayer Circle — men and women who have covenanted with God to give one specified hour each week to prayer particularly on behalf of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. Recently word has been received of prayer help ers who have been stirred to do personal evangelism in their own communities. One woman gathers a group of thirteen children and takes them in her car to Sunday-school and a week-day chil dren’s Bible class. Interest has been shown, too, in paying for the expenses of students in training at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. Praise God for PRAYING Christians, for they are the ones He uses. the graces of godliness. 5. Suffering Explains.
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