King's Business - 1928-04


T h e K i n g ’ s B u s i n e s s

Aprü 1928

Knowing Christ In the Emotional Life B y T he E ditor - in -C hief {An Anniversary Conference Message)

HE subject this morning is the knowing o f Jesus Christ in the cleansing o f the emotional life. This is vital and fundamental in its importance. Someone has said that we do more, in response to emotional impulses than we do as¡ a result of our thinking. This was the idea of so great a thinker as Jonathan Edwards. He said the author of human nature (that is God Himself) has not only given affection to man but has made it very much the spring of man’s actions. He also says that the most of the irregu­ larities and wrong thinking come through the affections, or the emotions. This is absolutely true to the teachings o f the New Testament. Jesus Christ recognized this. He calls atten­ tion to the fact that one o f the foundation things in a man’s religion is love. A certain man asked Him a ques­ tion regarding the commandments, and in answer He said, "Thou _shaft love the Lord thy God with all o f thy heart,' with all o f thy soul and with all o f thy mind."-: He calls this the first and the greatest commandment. It is the out­ going of the whole being in the passion of love to God. " The second is like-unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor o f thyself,” indicating that a man’s1 relations’ with his neighbor are regarded in the realm o f the emotions. Jesus says that on these two commandments the whole law hangs, and the prophets. In other words, Jesus recognizes that the fulfilment of life is -conditioned by the emotions and its deepest roots find their rooting in that part of the nature. This does not mean to say they are more important than the intellect or the will, but it does mean they have a fundamental place in human .personality. Therefore, a life that is wrong in this realm is just as fundamentally wrong as when it is wrong in the realm of the intellect or the will. A man who is wrong in his emotional life is just as definitely heterodox as the man who is wrong in his religious thinking. Wherever we break down, either in our love to God or in love to our fellow men, in that njeasure our life is gone wrong and is heterodox in the sight of.Gpd. S upreme E vidence of D iscipleship In the second place, Christ says the supreme evidence of our discipleship is in the realm of the emotions. “ A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know ye are my disciples, i f ye have love toward one another.” This is Christ’s own test and we dare not trifle with it. A man who lacks this kind of love cannot be orthodox in his life. Again, let me say that we are not saying that it does not make any dif­ férence what a man thinks if he is right in his emotions. What we are saying is that it is just as important for a man to be right in his emotions as it is in his thinking. I am also calling attention to the fact that he gives this as the supreme evidence o f the reality o f our -life o f dis­ cipleship. In the light of this, we are not at all surprised to find that Jesus is supremely concerned as to irregularities in the life in this realm of the emotions. This is very strik­

ingly illustrated in a letter He sent to one of the leading churches of the first century. Many years after His ascension and after many o f the people who saw Him on earth had gone to be'with Him in the glory, He. became concerned about a group of churches in Asia Minor and sent messages to them through His servant John. Among these was the church at Ephesus, a church which was highly favored inasmuch as it had as its pastors men like the Apostle Paul, Timothy,and the Apostle John himself. We are not surprised to find it was an unusual church and had fine and intensé interest. This is revealed im the message that Jesus sent to it. He says, “ I know thy works.” It was very active. “ 1 know thy toil.” It put great life and paásion into all o f its activities. “ I know thy steadfastness,” or patience, a great characteristic in an intense activity. “ I know that thou cgnst not bear evil men,” intolerance of those people who are wrong in their life and contrary to the mind of God. This also is a com­ mendable characteristic. " I know that thou didst try them that called themselves apostles.” They were tremendously sincere in the matter o f truth and were willing to try the people who were false and said they were apostles when they were not. In all o f these activities they had patience and did bear for His name’s sake and did not grow weary. What a wonderful church! Jesus Christ speaks of it sympathetically, knowing all o f this about it. And yet we are startled when we come to the next revelation, which brings us face to face with something He has against the church. “ I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love.” Is this a mere incidental or is it a very serious thing? Let us frankly face what Jesus Christ has to say about it. Sometimes you hear people speak of the lack of love as a mere inci­ dental in the life of the church, but Jesus did not so con­ sider it. He speaks o f this church as a fallen church. “ Remember, therefore, whence thou art fallen.” - This is the way we speak o f people when they go fundamentally astray in the matter o f morals.; The worst thing we could say about a woman is that she is a fallen woman. O f course, as a matter of fact, a woman that goes wrong in her moral life is no more fallen than a man that goes wrong in his life.' But Jesus Christ speaks here o f a fallen church, and it is fallen because it has gone wrong in the realm of its love. His plea with the church is that it repent and do the first works, ‘‘or else I come to thee and will move thy candlestick out o f its place.” That does not necessarily mean they were to lose salvation, but it does mean that the church was to be removed from the place o f privilege and opportunity, which would mean the losing of its mission and message. This did not necessarily mean it would dis­ continue its work, its patience, steadfastness and defense of truth; but it did mean it had no vital message and it was absolutely wrong as far as its relation to God was concerned. T he P ersonal A pplication This brings a searching message to the heart o f each one o f us, both for ourselves individually and for the Church o f God as an institution. Are there not many

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