OCTOBER ,«>1972 ■ I V . Z¡:m
SEPTEMBER RADIO FEATURES
Managing Editor ___
President. . .
J. RICHARD CHASE
C O N T E N T S
Iden tification .
J . R ich a rd C h a s e
* P a n e l D is c u s s io n s
Fu ll C irc le
H elen R h in eh a rt
* S e rm o n on th e M oun t . M yron A u g sb u rg e r * A S tu d y in 1 C o rin th ian s J . R ic h a rd C h a s e C h ristia n H om e S e r ie s W . R o b e rt Sm ith
5 2 5 6
J o y in th e C h ristia n Hom e F e llow sh ip in th e H om e . * Edited Biola Hour Radio messages
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Carl Hoferer May 7, 1920 - August 7, 1972
In September, 1965, Carl began his ministry with the Biola Stewardship Department, and recently represented the South East Los Angeles area including Compton, Downey and Long Beach. Carl was an active member of the Inglewood Evangelical Free Church, served as the Bible teacher for his local CBMC, as well as conducting a home Bible study group in the South Bay area. A poem by Mrs. Helen Wheeler written shortly before her death at age 84 as a tribute to Carl Hoferer was read at his August 10 Memorial Service, and expresses the experience of many whose lives were strengthened through Carl's life and ministry. (Mrs. Wheeler's poem has been printed on p. 58 of this issue.)
IDENTIFICATION J. RICHARD CHASE There is nothing more incongruous than an older adult acting and dressing like a teenager in an attempt to reach them. But isn’t identi fication important? Shouldn’t we dress, act and speak the language of those we try to reach or influence? And didn’t Paul even make adjust ments in his pattern of life to reach others (I Corinthians 9:19-22)? According to popular thought, yes. For years, those who would influ ence others have sought to identify with the group they would reach. In our enlightened day, few politicians would make such an obvious blunder as did Calvin Coolidge when he posed in workshirt and cover alls in a field with a pitch fork. Few observant farmers would consider Coolidge one of their own, for in the midst of the hay, beneath the pant- legs of his coveralls, shone two beautifully polished dress shoes. The pose was meant to attract the farm vote, but the shining shoes, over looked in dressing for the quick attempt at identification, all but ruined the image. There is and always has been a vast difference between true identification and merely role playing. Today’s politician plays his role better. Few don Indian headdress, kiss babies, or put on work clothes to capture votes. Now they have sophisticated polling procedures to find out what we believe, what the mood of the country is, what dominates our thoughts. Then, on the basis of these carefully conducted and minutely analyzed polls, the politician knows what he should say on national television or at the local level to win the largest possible share of the vote. Crass? Perhaps, but then the stakes are high. And there always exists the faint hope on the part of the voter that perhaps this man, despite his polls, organization, and Page 4
concern for public relations, believes what he said over the long cam paign trail. Christians face the same malady. We want so despeartely to be liked — perhaps in our best moments, even to be effective in witness — that we will do most anything to identify with the group we want to impress. Whether it’s wide lapels, long hair, harvest dresses, the right car model, the “ in” church, the latest book, music, seminars, or catchy phrases in our language, we are ready to adopt or adapt. We are all trapped in this game of identification. For if we decide to turn our back on the culture of our day, what era do we adopt? No matter which decade we select, our life style will still present a message. We will still identify with some and burn bridges with others. Our line of thought thus far has been based, as we noted in our second paragraph, on “ popular” thought. The popular concept of iden tification urges us to study those whom we would influence and adopt at least some aspects of their pattern of life; or at least to openly show our appreciation for those features of their life we can praise. This, I believe, is a poor substitute for identification. Kenneth Burke, a contemporary scholar interested in communication, has discussed in detail this deeper level of identification. In adapting his ideas to our purposes, I would suggest that identification is best found on the level of commitment; not the popular surface accommodations that we all too often pass off as evidence of unity. To Burke, you don’t have to look alive or even talk alive to be united Page 5
with others or to identify with them. In fact you may, on the surface, seemingly have little in common. A young person seeking a job from a conservative businessman may shave, shower and dress up in his conservative best, but does this mean he now shares the businessman’s political, economical or religious views? Not necessarily. The banker who decides to win back his indif ferent son will waste his money if he buys “mod” clothing and acquires a hip vocabulary. For the basic views or commitments of the banker run deeper than his newly acquired clothes or language. An exasperated parent who says to a teenage son or daughter, “ You can’t go out dressed like that; what will people think,” actually shares the same commitment the teenager does. Both are concerned about what other people think. The teenager would not dress that way unless he was deeply concerned about what other teenagers think about him. And the parent would not be concerned (presuming it was not immodest for a Christian) unless he or she were concerned about what other adults would think. Both have a commitment to being liked or looked up to by their age group. With this knowledge, perhaps understanding and fruit ful discussion on dress and appearance can be achieved. Our life in Christ is a graphic example. It is the foundational com mitment to Christ as Lord that binds together Christians despite race, political persuasion, or station in life. It is not our appearance, political commitment, or cultural background that properly unites or divides us. In Christ, a banker and a janitor study the Bible in the same class and potentially, enjoy each other’s company in a variety of situations. When the apostle John writes Gaius (III John), his point of refer ence with Gaius is not a surface identification (“we attended the same schools,” “ voted the same way,” or “ look and dress alike” ), but the foundational commitment: “Whom I love in the truth.” John said, in essence, “we are one in Christ.” Such commitments will prompt further evidences of Identification— or similarity in life. If two people are one in Christ, they may dress dif ferently but share a desire for a deeper knowledge of Christ (Phillipians 3:10) and God’s Word (I Timothy 4:13). They may disagree over presi dential candidates but desire to be good citizens of the land (Romans 13) while they work and wait for the return of our Lord who will establish the only just kingdom. The wise citizen and surely the wise Christian should not rely on nor be mislead by popular forms of identification. He should not confuse “ accommodation” (that is dressing a part or playing a role) with effec tive communication. He will seek, as did Paul to those to whom he ministered and wrote, to understand the feelings and concerns of his listeners. He will seek to reach them by looking beneath the surface to note the basic commitments that cause a person to live the way he does. Identification is far more than donning appropriate dress — be it “mod” or conservative — or speaking the language of another person, it is sharing basic commitments and concerns. As sinners, we have a point of reference with all who are lost. As redeemed sinners we walk in fellowship with all who rejoice in Christ as Lord and Savior. Page 6
w o r r y ■ A tiny little worry grows Into a great big thorn, That turns into a burden Too heavy to be borne. Bowed low tiWarry-str^ffl^Maj We only ¡se rry ji^ au rjii^^ And so we: miss Go to Mpmises Which in His ^jferjLMiWwQ’B i Our worries clip the wings of faith; Sap strength, vitality, So that we cannot soar into The realms of victory. ^TOosprajBises are diamonds; LikgjStars jn*WWh%ht's blue! Look Heavenward a pud claim them, Forthey ai^ meanttoryou. —Esther B. Heins
Dr. Charles L. Feinberg Dr. Samuel H. Sutherland Discussions
Dr. J. Richard Chase
liever by faith in Christ. His re straining hand is taken out of the way when the Tribulation begins. However, He once again will come upon individuals even as He did during the Old Testament times. This is why it is so important to believe and understand the dis- pensational aspects of Scripture. Q. Santa Ana, Calif. "My husband, who works In sales, is sometimes expected to give cocktail parties. He is a non-Christian and I be lieve in submitting to him as a ser vant unto the Lord. The thing I want to know is how far does sub-
Q. Seattle, Wash. "Will the Holy Spirit's work be finished at the Rapture as the Father's work was finished at creation and the Son's at the cross?" A. While the work of redemption was finished on the cross, yet there is a lot of Christ's work yet to be done. At Calvary He saved us from sin but His ministry is continuing now and will be completed when we are all glorified. It is our under standing that in the Old Testament times the Holy Spirit came upon individuals. In this present age He comes into the heart of each be
tion to sin. We shall be eternally free from the very presence of sin as well as from its power. Q. San Diego, Calif. "In Mark 16:19, as well as several other verses, it seems to indicate that Jesus Christ is sitting on the right hand of God in heaven. How can He be God if He is sitting at the right hand of the Father?" A. There is no finite being who can fully understand or explain the fact of the Trinity. There is one God eternally manifest in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spir it. These Three are one in the same in substance and equal in power and glory. We know that He is omnipresent, that is, everywhere present at the same time, as well as omnipotent and omniscient. Q. Denver, Colo. "For many years there has been a great concern as to whether a Christian should sub mit to Old Testament regulations. Christ kept the passover and the other feast days. As followers of His, are we not bound to keep these days?" A. You must remember that Christ came to fulfill the law. There was not even the smallest aspect of it on which He could be judged. If today's legalizers would really fol low Christ then they should be baptized in the River Jordan. The law was not given to every one. The Lord came to Israel (Gala tians 4:4, 5). The Saviour was made under the law to redeem them (Is rael) who were under the law. It is so strange to hear of some so- called Christians who would ex change the liberty they have in the Saviour for the unnecessary bond- Page 9
mission go?" A. The unsaved, naturally, have the motivations of pleasing themselves in the things of this world. The child of Cod, living for the glory of the Lord, is directed by the Holy Spirit. It is a sad commentary on our times to see the widespread use of alcohol on every hand. One of the best rules of practice for a believer to follow is "abstain from all appearance (every form of) evil" (II Thessalonians 5:22). Without a nagging attitude of self-styled pi ety, the Christian should express the concerns and objections in volved in such activities. If it is necessary to attend any such gath erings it is not necessary to partake of cocktails. All must be done in the Lord and for His glory. Prayer is one of the most vital aspects to be considered. Do more with in tercession before the Lord than talking to others about it. God will give you the solutions. Q. Portland, Ore. " Will we be free from sin in heaven or will we be subject to it as Satan, and there fore have to be cast out of heaven?" A. Yes, we will be free from sin in heaven. Jesus Christ died on Cal vary's cross to redeem us from sin, delivering us from the power of sin, and ultimately from the pres ence of sin (Colossians 1:13, 14). Satan, unlike those who have re ceived the Saviour, can never be redeemed. Heaven is an absolute monarchy where Cod is complete sovereign. Satan had his choice which was to rebel, trying to be come like the Almighty. The angels who followed him were cast out also. Heaven would not be heaven if there were always the tempta
age of the law. They just do not know that it is a yoke of bondage as Paul tells us in Galatians. The law requires obedience which you and I can never fulfill because we were born in sin. Then, if there is not obedience to the law death is demanded, no matter how small the infraction may be. Instead of worrying about keeping the laws and ordinances that Jesus did, thank God that the Lord cancelled forever the handwriting of these ordinances (Colossians 2:14, 15). Q. Phoenix, Ariz. " God seemed to approve of war in Old Testament times such as when the Israelites went into Canaan and killed the inhabitants. This seems inconsis tent with much teaching today that war and killing is wrong." A. You must understand why God seems to approve of war in Old Testament times. He used one na tion in judgment against another. The Israelites were commanded to go into the land of Canaan because of the Lord's condemnation on the wickedness of the inhabitants. Ar cheology has helped us understand something of why this was neces sary. Ancient records discovered in more recent years have shown the utterly debased religion of the peoples who were demon worship pers. They engaged in all kinds of vile practices which could have polluted the entire human race if left unchecked. Unfortunately, the Israelites did not obey God in ev ery detail. As a result, nothing but misery and disorder came to the Jewish camp because of their lack of obedience. The Lord could very easily use another nation to bring judgment upon our own beloved land. When one considers the im
morality and corruption on every hand it would be no wonder. Q. Wichita, Kans. "In John 20:17 Jesus told Mary, 'Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father.' Then in Luke 24:39 He tells the disciples to handle Him. Can you explain the reason for this?" A. The reason is explained in the text first quoted since Christ had not yet gone into the presence of God. A Bible teacher once asked his class, made up of believers, "What would you rather have, Christ at the right hand of the Father, as He is now; or right here in this room, just as He was in the first century?" Practically the whole class said they would rather have Him here on earth. He then ex plained, "In that case, you are go ing directly contrary to the Word of the Lord. He said that it was expedient for us that He go away." There is something of this in our Lord's remark to Mary. When He finally came to the disciples, He had completed His ministry of atonement for our sins. Q. "If Jesus were both human and divine at all times, why did He say while on the cross, 'My Cod, My Cod, why hast thou forsaken me'?" A. This is one of the great myster ies of the Trinity. Both the person and the work of our Lord Jesus Christ is unique in world history. There never was and there never will be another individual like Him. He was 100 percent divine through all of eternity. This w ill never change. At the appointed hour He came to this earth, born of a vir-
that awful, agonizing moment. In order to redeem us He had to as sume this horrendous task. If Christ had not reconciled us to God we would be estranged from the Al mighty for all eternity. Q. Seattle, Wash. "Is there anything in Scripture that might tell us if God the Father has a shape? I am thinking of John 5:37 which seems to suggest that He does. Could you help me?" A . The Bible reminds us that Cod is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth. If we could see Him with our spiritual eyes it is hard to im agine what He might consist of. It is like trying to imagine a smile without a face. We do know from the Old Testament that God ap peared in the form of a Man. We
gin, and during those short years was 100 percent human as well, apart from possessing a sin nature since He did not come through Adam on both sides of the family. Things He knew in His divine om niscience could be withheld from His human consciousness. Scrip ture tells us that He grew in wis dom and in favor with Cod and man. This is again an emphasis up on His humanity. In this physical body He suffered more than any human being will ever possibly know. It is His deity that provides efficacy for all the world as men and women put their trust in Him. The words which He uttered on the cross were given to fulfill proph ecy. Every word of Cod will be established. He actually felt the forsakenness of a sinner before God. He fully took our place in
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also realize that He has also been manifest in the Person of Jesus Christ who said, "He that hath seen Me hath also seen the Father." The Saviour's assuming the form of a man was so that we could under stand, comprehend and visualize more readily God's love and grace. The fact is, no one knows what shape God takes. Anything that would attempt to be explicit would have to be erroneous. Q. " Would you please explain what the Lord meant in Matthew 23:37 when He declared, 'How often would I have gathered thy chil dren'? Was He giving Israel a last and final chance to accept Him as King?" A. Christ was willing to be accepted as Israel's Messiah. For such He was, right up to the very end. In
this passage we see more human pathos than could ever be ex pressed by any other individual. The word "Jerusalem" is used twice because of the intense feeling and depth of His agony. This portion, however, is not dealing with a last and final chance for the Jews to accept Him as King. He is simply saying, "Why have you not real ized the hour of your marvelous opportunity?" A similar section is found in Luke 19:41, 42. One can not keep putting off marvelous in vitations and opportunities from God endlessly. There comes a time when the day of grace will end for you as it did for Israel nationally. Q. "Who are the sons of God in Genesis 6? Are they men of the godly line of Seth or fallen angels? Also would you please explain who the giants are?''
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A. There are equally fine Bible teachers on both sides of this ques tion. Those who believe that fallen angels cohabited with women be lieve that this unlikely union brought forth giants in the land. Others state that the godly line of Seth intermarried with w icked , worldly women. There are some very credible arguments on both sides of the picture. In any case the warning is clear of the danger in trying to mix believer and un believer. The results are always ca lamitous. We read that "Cod saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." He will always judge the impure thoughts and acts of sinful man. Q. "/ have been confused as to who actually washed the Lord's feet. Was it Mary Magdalene or Mary of Bethany?" A. To answer this we need to gath er together all of the New Testa ment passages that relate to this event. There are three parallel pas sages on the same incident (Mat thew 26:6, Mark 14:3-9, and John 12:1-8. This occurred right after the miraculous raising of Lazarus from the dead. As we consider the prevailing conditions, we find that it was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus in this situation. Again in Luke 7:36-39 there is an entirely different incident with a different Mary. That name was very common in those days and was the Creek equivalent of Miriam, the sister of Aaron and Moses. This person was described as "a wo man in the city, who was a sinner." She knew that Jesus was eating at
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the Pharisee's house and bought an alabaster box of ointment which was very costly. It is not stated that this was Mary Magdalene, howev er, the description given of her has lead many people to think so. Q. " Why are we commanded to pray when the Lord knows what we need of before we even ask?" A. There are many reasons why we have been commanded to pray. One of the primary things is that we might know personally that He is a loving heavenly Father and that He will grant our requests ac cording to His infinite loving will. We need to keep in mind that all our asking should be in accord ance with God's will. Unless we come with our petitions how can we ever know what is in the Lord's mind for our best and highest in terest, as well as for His glory? Keep in mind that prayer is infin itely more than asking for some thing. It is an expression of fellow ship between the Father and His child and that is the supreme heights to which we can go in our prayer life. He urges us to pray because He wants our communion. Q. "Is there a distinction between the phrase 'the Son of God' and 'the Son of Man'? I know they re fer to Christ but the latter title does not seem like a very honorable name." A. Son of God relates the Saviour to deity. He has this position in a unique sense as the second person of the Trinity. Someone has well said, “ God had one Son, and was so delighted with Him that He wanted many conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29).
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described quite extensively in the Gospel of John, chapters 14, 15, and 16. He is our Comforter, the One who comes alongside of us to help. The promise Christ made on that occasion was that He would abide with every believer "forev er." His work now is to reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. "Our Lord de clared, "When He, the spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth for He shall not speak of Himself but He shall glorify me." That you feel His power still lack ing means you, with each of us, have room for growth and devel opment in your spiritual life (II Peter 3:18). Keep on yielding com pletely to Him and to His will. Give yourself over to Him daily and He will empower you. He has promised to give you power and strength. Do not depend on your feelings but rather depend on Him.
The other description emphasizes His perfect humanity. It is not lack ing in honor when you understand it. It comes originally from Daniel 7:13 and 14 where there is one like unto the Son of Man who comes to the ancient of days. In this great Messianic passage He is designated as the One who inherits rule over the earth. This is also true in Psalms 2 and 8. By becoming the Son of Abraham, Christ inherited all rule and sovereignty rights over the earth (Matthew 16:27). The climax is found in Matthew 25:31 "when the Son of Man shall come in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, then shall he sit on the throne of His glory." Q. " What is the Holy Spirit's func tion in this age of grace? I try to yield completely to Him but still I feel His power lacking in my life." A. The work of the Holy Spirit is
On the wintry day of February 25, there was no warning. Icy roads, a car out of control, and in one instant of time Valetta lost both remaining children.
One of Henry Steel's favorite illustrations concerning the uncer tainty of life was that of a piece of string being pulled through a key hole — we never know when the end will appear. Someone else has said we see life as a straight line going on and on toward the hori zon, but Cod sees it as a circle. When the circle is completed, our days on earth are done. This is one of our problems as humans — we are hampered and constrained in every mental pro cess by time. Then we attempt to
force this limitation on Cod. When we are told, "There is no today or tomorrow with God," it is almost an inconceivable idea to us. But the entire history of the world — from the day of creation to the day of extinction — is laid out in full view before Him. He has known from the beginning what is to hap pen to each of His children. To grasp this enormous truth is to give us understanding and acceptance when tragedy strikes. It helps us avoid the "I w ish . . . " or "If on ly. . . " and even the inev-
By HELEN RHINEHART
Page 17 25 there was no warning. Icy roads, a car out of control, and in one instant of time Valetta lost both remaining children. Another fam ily lost their only son, a friend of Leon's who had come home with him for the weekend. Three young people — very special young peo ple. The car that hit theirs was driven by a young person, also, a groom of only a few hours, with his new bride. When a couple from the church went to visit the bride in the hospital, she told them, "I was hoping someone would come.
¡table and agonizing "Why?" Four times now in the Christian life of Valetta Steel the end of the string has appeared in her immed iate family. With her first son, Danny, and her husband, Henry, there was a little time to adjust to the translation from time to eter nity; a little time to prepare for a change in life-style; a little time to quiet the heart. Sometimes God warns us the circle is nearly closed, but at other times there is no ad vance notice. On the wintry day of February
Nobey Spray, from Bellevue, Washington Is a sophomore Communications major this year.
I am a Christian, but my husband is not. Will you visit him?" When they did, the young man wept his way to Christ. Leon, Lorna, and Don Prock were all ready to meet Christ. He meant everything to them—their lives were dedicated to His service. In January Leon had entered College, the first step in his train ing for the ministry. Wanting to serve in every way possible, he
had been singing with a group called "The Recreated." Though once thwarted by the image of his father, Leon had eventually real ized God has His own plan for each of us—no imitation, no strain ing to fit another's pattern. Leon's great concern became his peers, the current generation of young people. This was on Lorna's heart as well, so a memorial fund has been established to hire a youth
had other plans. When Henry died, a statement repeated many times was, "In his few years he reached more for Christ than most Christians touch in an entire lifetime." Already it is evident the same can be said for his children. Not only has the young bridegroom committed his life to the Lord, but a teen-ager and his father came to know Him immediately following the funeral. And others are testifying to changes in their lives through this "trag edy," as we must view it with our human eyes. About a thousand gathered in the Indianapolis church for the double funeral on Monday, Febru ary 28, and over two hundred were in the Sherwood, Michigan, church the following day. This was just a glimpse of the love and es teem earned by the Steel family throughout the world as, step by step, all followed the path God laid out for them. The Sherwood church was Henry's first pastorate as well as the oldest Free Metho dist church in Michigan. The story of lessons they learned there is written in "Mission Accomplished," the Oriental Missionary Society book on Henry's life. And now in the small cemetery there the bodies of Leon and Lorna rest beside their brother and their father. As for Valetta, in her always self- forgetful way, she comments, "I have had them for many wonder ful years. Now it's Henry's turn." Her entire family is gone. But she is not alone, for she is in and with Christ. Reprinted by permission from THE MIS SIONARY STANDARD, The Oriental Mis sionary Society. Page 19
minister at the church where they attended. Another memorial fund is for establishing a dental clinic in an unreached area in Haiti. This will eventually lead to the building of a church as God works through Virgil and Lea Ullom, Leon and Lorna's uncle and aunt who are Oriental Missionary Society mis sionaries to Haiti. Lorna had hoped to be a missionary herself, but God
Sermon By Dr. Myron Augsburger POOR IN SPIRIT Some of the most familiar words of our Saviour are recorded in the Beatitudes which appear in what is known as the "Sermon on the Mount." Here we have principles for Christian living clearly outlined for those who are members of the Kingdom of Christ. They corre spond to the laws of the Old Tes tament. What Jesus is concerned with is not externalities, but rather inter nal motivation to do the will of God. While this section deals more with some future period, all of the teachings appear in some form in the Epistles as instructions for the believer in this church age. The Saviour's words, therefore, are the ideals for Christian living, and are seen from the perspective of how a member of the Kingdom of Christ ought to behave. The first Beatitude is found in Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their's is the kingdom of heaven." At the very core of man's sin problem is his ego. Dr. Samuel Shumaker points out, "When the center of control in your life passes from self to Christ, then you have been born again."
for the will of Cod rather than for ourselves. How real have you found this principle? Real love never man ipulates or uses another for one's own selfish purposes. It never vio lates another personality. Love lives to enrich. We see this in relation ships between husband and wife, as well as parents and children. The second aspect of this truth is amplified in verses 17-19. One who is truly "poor in spirit" ac knowledges a will that is superior to his own. Christ refers to the ul timate meaning of the will of Cod as revealed in His Word. Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law. It was His purpose to give it full meaning. All that had been said about Cod in the Old Testament is now said in completeness by the Saviour Himself. One of the greatest claims of the Christian faith is that Jesus Christ is Cod. The Almighty has not been satisfied simply to give us words about Himself, but rather to disclose Himself to us in human flesh. Being "poor in spirit" then means that you respect a will that is superior to your own. You give yourself in obedience and total surrender to His Word. Every man Page 21
That is a good definition for the new birth theologically and psy chologically (II Corinthians 5:17). There are three things that char acterize one who is "poor in spir it." The first is that such a person has a purpose that calls him be yond himself. Jesus illustrates this by saying, "Ye are the salt of the earth." Salt has its value by en riching or benefiting something else. It is of no worth in the shaker but must be added to food to bring out the flavor. It also has very real value in preserving, healing and cleansing. One who is "poor in spirit" has discovered that his great est purpose in life is in what he can do to enrich others. In rela tionship to Cod he has discovered that he is living for the glory of Christ rather than himself. The Saviour also explained, "Ye are the light of the world." Here again His illustration points up the fact that light makes its contribu tion beyond itself, not simply as an ornament. Life for us cannot be oriented around ourselves but rath er for our fellow man. We are to live for the benefit of others. How we do this is an index as to the quality of our own freedom to live
life. By saving your life for your own purposes — simplying living selfishly — means you will ulti mately lose your destiny. On the other hand, losing your life — giv ing it in the service of Christ for others — will ultimately give you the true fullness of daily existence. Consider the paradox of the sec ond Beatitude, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). To be "blessed" means to be satisfied or joyful. Some time ago I picked up a copy of the New York Times and found a quarter page given to an article entitled, "Forgotten Laugh ter, Forgotten Prayer." The author was saying that Americans have really forgotten to laugh. He com mented, "I do not mean some kind of 'Pepsodent smile' that you turn on and off, but real belly- laughter coming all the way up through one!" He continued to observe, "We have forgotten how to pray. I do not mean automatic prayers when you need money, help on an exam, or some touch of special healing. I am talking about real intercession in com munion with God. Many Americans have forgotten how to enjoy life. We have become so perverse that we love things and use people, when we ought to be using things and loving people!" Happy is the man who is at peace with God as well as his fel low man. More than this, however, happy is the man whose peace with God makes him at peace with himself. As you have been born anew into the family of God, you can say you are one of God's chil dren. Then your self-image is some thing that has completely elevated your life and has given you an in-
obeys something. To follow Cod's will implicitly gives you a far great er freedom than if you are simply enslaved to your own ego. This is the way actually to enlarge your life. Finally, one who is "poor in spir it" seeks the righteousness that is beyond his own (vs. 20). The Apostle Paul, before his conver sion, was a Pharisee of the Phari sees. He explained that prior to his knowing Jesus Christ, he had gone about seeking to establish his own righteousness based only on the law. The fact he revealed is, that the righteousness of the law will carry you no higher than the level of the law itself. It is only the righteousness of Jesus Christ that can take you all the way to God. Righteousness really means a right relation between two or more per sons. When you have said "yes" in moving all the way to Cod, Jesus Christ becomes the end of the law for righteousness because of your belief. Are you willing today in humil ity, honesty and openness to God, to enter into His Kingdom and His fullness? Let God be Lord in your life. Let Him give you His perfect directions. Only thereby can you know His joy and power. To be a member of the kingdom of heaven now in this world is the greatest security and the greatest quality of life you will ever find. Jesus Christ will make you a greater person for walking with Him than you ever could possibly be without Him! BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN Life is often very paradoxical. Jesus declared, "Whosoever shall save his life shall lose it." In es sence, this is a basic philosophy of
ligious observance or service are rendered ineffective and unmean- ingful until we are reconciled to our brother (Matthew 5:24). When Cain took the life of his brother God asked him, "Where is Abel, thy brother?" In wickedness of heart he responded quickly, "I know not; am I my brother's keep er?" That was not the Lord's ques tion. He told the first murderer, "The voice of your brother's blood crieth to me from the ground." In essence He was saying, "You are not your brother's keeper; you are your brother's brother!" Jesus Christ calls us to love our brothers. The question of anger has to be looked at here. Psychologists and psychiatrists tell us that it is better to be honest about your feelings and give vent to the emotions. Je sus got angry about the way the temple was being desecrated. He threw over the tables of the money changers. There is no evidence that Jesus used the whip on the people but rather on the animals to move them outside. The interesting thing is that Jesus could get angry about issues without getting upset at the people. We seem to do just the opposite. In Ephesians, Paul urges us, "Be angry and sin not." We have to learn to separate issues and personalities. Sin is always measured by inner attitudes. Right eousness is to be an inner rela tionship with God causing us to do His will. Everything today seems to be built around sex symbols. There is a philosophy which reduces other personalities to an "it" or to a body. Such is a violation of the will of God (Matthew 5:27-32). God has given masculinity and femin inity. There is nothing wrong with Page 23
ner sense of security and purpose. You do not need to move through life as a pessimist, always frus trated by negative things. You can go forward with your hand in God's, always believing Him to work good out of a difficult situation. This statement of Christ could also be translated, "Blessed are those who care deeply, or who take sin seriously." Mourning is an indication of deep concern. If something should go wrong in a loved one's life, you find yourself in sorrow and prayer about the matter. Remember that Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is among you." God is moving by His Holy Spirit to draw men and women into fellowship with Himself so that they may in turn yet reach others. We may ask, "How seriously should a kingdom member regard sin?" You will find Jesus' evalua tion in Matthew 5:21-37. There are three areas of sin to which He refers covering emotional, sexual and mental irregularity. Basically, the question of sin is not simply concerned with what a man does, but also is determined from his own attitude. The Lord then is dealing with motives. When we are honest about sinfulness we have to face realistically the fact that there are purposes in our lives which are not Christ-like. Just because you have never killed anyone and thereby broken His commandment does not com mend you. Jesus points out that if you have ever carried hate in your heart you are as guilty as having committed the act of murder. Christ wants us to know that this sin of ill-will between us is so ser ious that all of our actions of re
sex. Sin comes in when it is abused or misused. God's purpose is a one-man one-woman relationship for life. These two persons are to give themselves completely to each other with all of the joy, sharing and intimate love possible. It is entirely possible to violate anoth er personality, even in marriage, if you do not understand that sex involves the total giving of the person, not just physically but also spiritually and emotionally. Here is when husband and wife must be fair with one another. God calls us to holiness of life. When one com mits adultery, having made a vow of fidelity to the one with whom he is sharing life, then he has vio lated God's will in his own inner imaginations. The final dimension is found in vrs. 33-37. The highest will of God is that your word may be as good as your bond. The challenge for mental patterns of life is complete honesty as we stand before God in all transparency. There is great joy and comfort in sharing the will of God through the totality of your life, knowing that you are a part of building the kingdom of heaven by living among your fellows by Years ago the atheistic philoso pher, Nietzche declared, "Love is weak while hate is strong." What a contrast to the principles of Christ which were gentleness, forgive ness, love and meekness. They are the antitheses to arrogance, con ceit, pride and power. Nietzche had Adolph Hitler as his disciple who later vowed, "We will use hate and rule the world!" The Fuehrer is gone while the kingdom of Christ still marches on. kingdom standards. BLESSED ARE THE MEEK
Meekness is not synonomous with weakness. Love is a strategy of operation as it turns the other cheek. When Jesus teaches non- resistance to evil, He is not calling you to back off as a weakling. There should be an objectivity to action that is not determined by a reaction to what is happening. We must be free to respond in a way that is consistent with the will of our Master. Love is what this world needs if it is to understand the truths of God. When you love God you lay your life wide open to Him. This is why Jesus said that the first and great commandment is to love God with all our hearts (affection), souls (ambition), minds (attitudes) and strength (activity). Of course, we sometimes overlook the fact that the second commandment quickly follows to "Love your neighbor as yourself." When you open your life to what God is doing in the world you open it to what He is doing in your neighbor whether he is a friend or an enemy. Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). Many people have ridiculed this Beatitude declaring that it cannot be true. We have to see what Jesus really meant and how this can definitely be applied to our lives. Does the person who is always caught up in the power struggle for a top position neces sarily enjoy the meaning of what life is all about? When Jesus talks about meekness He is really talk ing about a concept of life. As be lievers our whole world does not center in attaining position or status but rather in the service which can be rendered to God through ev ery channel of relationship.
Dr. Augsburger (r) discussing a Torrey Conference lecture (1972) with Biola student Bernie Minton.
there is a spirit of meekness, one cannot find peace in relation to others. The problem of ego makes us feel that unless we can get ahead of others we will not be satisfied. We will go to any ends to achieve this. How much better to let that person be free to be himself. Then face the question of what we may bring to that person. Eventually, the relationship will change. The dynamic of meekness is in the question, "What do I bring to oth ers in our relationships?" How do you respond when another person Page 25
First of all, one who is meek elevates persons above the mate rial (Matthew 5:38-48). There are plenty of people who feel that concepts such as these cannot pos sibly fit in the 20th century. Have you ever stopped to realize that the problems which arise between persons come up over things? Fre quently they are referred to as "personality differences." Each of us has our own idiosyncracies. This is why we have to adjust, have patience and learn to accept oth ers. To magnify differences only creates more problems. Unless
ple in real need. We cannot live in our American affluent society with all of the attending economic benefits without learning to share. What we are really doing is breed ing the world's contempt when we shut up our hearts to those who have needs. Somewhere along the line Christians are going to have to be willing to chart a new pat tern of sacrifice, giving and caring for the sake of others in the world. As believers we are called upon to take Jesus seriously! The second dimension of this passage (vrs. 43-46) makes clear that we are to elevate others above ourselves. The problem of loving those who do not love us is a very difficult one. As an evangelical Christian it is my responsibility to seek to win the enemies of my na tion to be my brothers in Jesus Christ. Our job is evangelism, call ing people world-wide to become new through faith in the Saviour. Unfortunately national enmity with other nations eclipses the mission of the church. I repeat, our calling is to be evangelistic. We are to take the cross as our mission of communicating the gospel and love of Christ to others. The Chris tian church in America needs its conscience pricked for we have supported the kind of programs which violate other people's lives when we ought to be giving our selves to win them as children of God. The final section in this passage deals with elevating behaviour above bargaining. Jesus said, “ You do not pay back in kind." If we are truly Biblical and committed to Christ, our mission is to bring the love of Jesus into other lives. Our behaviour towards people is de-
is overly demanding and difficult? The strategy Jesus gives is to turn the other cheek. You must main tain the freedom to respond in terms of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The relationship to personality is more important than things. When you are involved in some tension between you and another, be w ill ing to go beyond what is demanded for the sake of interpreting the ul timate value of the human person ality. The land in which Jesus lived was occupied by Roman forces. The military moved across the area and violated the human right of others on innumerable occasions. Jesus had often seen incidents (as He illustrates) growing up in Nazar eth. A soldier might walk up to some Jewish person, kick him in the ribs, and demand, “ Get up, pick up my bag and carry it to the next town!" The man had no choice, but he cursed this ungrate ful Roman all the way. Suppose the civilian gladly got up and did the ordered task. Then, when they arrived at the destination asked the Roman, “ And where are you going from here? If it is any fur ther, let me carry your bag to the next town, too." Such strange be haviour would make the soldier ask, “What is different about this fellow? Why would he want to help me?" Jesus said when we go the sec ond mile the glory of the unre quired is that value of an oppor tunity to share the ultimate mean ing of the grace of Jesus Christ. When you give to the person who asks, even though they may be unlovely in every respect, you are really saying that you care about them. In our times there are peo
to act as if there is nothing wrong with me or the world or the church. I want you to listen when I yell at the stars, and throw stones at the clouds, and slam doors, and shout at the world. Perhaps that is not giving glory to Cod as others do with folded hands and frozen face. But for me it means I am paying You the highest respect there is. It means I trust You with the truth — all the truth." Jesus calls us to thi s honesty when He exhorts us, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy" (Mat thew 5:6, 7). Here He refers to our attitude in relationship to Himself. These Beatitudes could properly be called "be attitudes." It is not so much what you do but why you do what you do. This is the true measure of your ethical behaviour. The real standard of life is not in what you say but in what you live. Each of these deals with inner motivations. Hungering and thirst ing after righteousness means long ing to know the fullness of God. Being merciful is to share the spir it of mercy which comes directly from God. The amplification of these Bea titudes is found in Matthew 6:1-6. When we pray, minister, or per form spiritual duties, we should not do it for the praise of men but for the will of God. A large meeting was held in Bos ton some time ago at which event a well-known minister-orator was asked to offer the invocation. His words were certainly impressive as evidenced by the comment in the next day's newspaper, "It was the finest prayer ever offered to a Page 27
termined by the will of Christ who gave His life for His enemies. Christ died for us and has reminded us, "As the Father has sent me into the world, even so, send I you." He wants us to know, "Just as your perfect Father shows love toward those who do not love Him, you should share that perfection and love to your fellow man so that he can see the beauty and love of the Saviour." "Tell it like it is" seems to be the cry of our times. In a sense, as far as the Christian faith is con cerned, this is exactly what we must do. Hypocrisy is often the accusa tion of the world against the church. To frequently we may give them just cause. There are three areas where we fail and need to confess our sins. The Bible provides for and demands honesty. For exam ple, it does not hurt a husband to confess his faults to his wife or vice-versa. In fact, it is quite essen tial. Living close to one another we see faults greatly magnified. With out real sincerity in all that we do, hypocrisy militates against the real authentic meaning of the Gospel. People cannot respect "phonies." They want to know what genuine Christian faith is all about. Here is a prayer I came across sometime ago, "If I cannot be honest with you, Lord, I cannot be honest with anyone. You are. the only Person who can take it, no matter what I say. People are of fended if I am honest. They want to hear nice things, sweet words of happiness, gentle hymns to a gentle Cod, smiling somewhere on a red, velvet throne. Well, I am sick of being phony. I do not like HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESSPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60
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