T H E K I N G ’ S B U S I N E S S
his head to see whether he had brains enough to preach!” Now as an educator, I have often wished there were some such short and easy way of discovering the presence of brains in ministerial students. But even if we could thus “put our fingers” on intellectual ability so as to be sure of it, it would not be enough. For you will need something vastly more than mere brains to preach the gospel as it ought to be preached. You will need a thousand other things. You will need that wisdom which comes down from above. You will need almost infinite patience. You will need a heart of compassion. You will need to know how to be full and how to be hungry, how to be abased and how ».to abound. You will need to know when to speak and when not to speak. Once, in order to make sure about this impor tant matter, God struck the prophet Ezekiel dumb, and then opened his mouth only when He wanted the prophet to speak. If God should sud denly do that today, I think a vast and impressive silence might blanket the land next Sunday morning. But if the Lord Jesus Christ has chosen you and “ordained” you, no matter what the task, you may be sure that He will pro vide that special fitness which, is needed. “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go.” Let us pause for a moment with this word "GO.” It is the command of the Lord. Listen as He speaks: "Go . . . to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” “Go . . . into the high ways.” “Go ye into all the world.” “Go . . . and teach all nations.” If the mis sionaries and the ministers of the early church had any distinctive characteris tic, it was mobility. Study their lives, and you will find them generally on the “go.” They fought very few battles in the trenches. They won their victories by great offensive movements. We talk sometimes about the missionary methods of the apostolic church. That church, it seems to me, had just one simple and comprehensive method — they went places, and kept on going places! One of the troubles from which the church today is suffering is too many men who insist upon being “chosen” and “or dained,” but who have no passion to “go” in obedience to the Lord’s com- mand' We have plenty of theological move ment today, but altogether too little missionary movement. Let the slightest measure of success come to our work today, whether in Chicago or .in Shang hai, and men will begin to say, “It is III. The Com mand of Christ is the Only Suf ficient Definition of the Scope ' of Christian Service.
good for us to be here. Let us build something and settle down.” Even on the mission fields, instead of moving out into the unreaihed regions, we have too often built our comfortable shelters, settled down and said, “Let the people come to us.” Doubtless a certain mea sure of this procedure is necessary. But may God give to this graduating class of 1940 a great baptism of divine “rest lessness” that will move you out into the great unreached places of the earth. Perhaps you already have felt this di vine urge; you are willing to “go,” and you are asking, “Where shall I g o ?” Each one of you must get your1orders from the Captain of your salvation. But I do know that no man will ever find the perfect will of the Lord in this mat ter by standing still. The mightiest ship of the ocean ways can be steered by a touch on the wheel, but only if the ship is moving. Therefore, if there is any se cret of divine guidance, its first prin ciple is to keep moving. The great mis sionary Paul had learned this secret. Advancing through Asia Minor, he tried to go to the left and was stopped; then he tried the right and was stopped again. Since he never retreated, no di rection was left but straight ahead. Taking this road, he came at last to Troas, and there he got his vision. The visions of God in this age, come to those who are on the march, not to those who sit in monkish retreats. If you desire the assurance of the Lord’s guid ance, start out and go some place—even if it should be only across the street to bear your testimony to a neighbor. “I have chosen you . . . that ye should go and bring forth fruit.” There can be no fruit-bearing apart from Christ. The branch can not bear fruit of itself, The source of the fruit is not in us, but in Him who said, “I am the vine.” Sec ond, there can be no fruit-bearing apart from Calvary. Remember what He said: “Except a com of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24). If Christ had not died, all that glorious and eternal life of the Vine would have remained shut up forever in Him alone. But, oh, thank God, He died! And because He died, the barriers were broken down, the life was released, and it now flows out in saving grace to a world of sinners. Now we come to the deepest part of tHMK mystery as it concerns us who be lieve: We have been chosen to bear the fruit. That eternal life which was with the Father, that life which was released IV. The Life o f Christ Is the Only Sufficient Source of Fruit-Bearing Service.
of eternity, a sovereign God saw you, fixed His loving choice upon you, brought you into the priceless boon of your personal existence, providentially watched over your life, led you to Christ for salvation, brought you to this very school, planned every detail of your life, makes everything in the universe from the fall of a raindrop to the fall of an empire work together for your final, good—I say, if you believe this—and you have a right to believe it if you are bom again—then you can never retreat, and you can never be crushed by any defeat.
II. The Ordina tion of Chrigt Is the,, Only Suffi cient Preparation f o r Christian Service.
“I have ordained you,” He says. This is perhaps neither the time nor the place to discuss the meanings of Greek terms. But it is a curious fact that not one of the various Greek words translated by the word “ordain” in our common version ever refers exclusively to' that ceremony we call “ordination.’’^ I have no criticism to offer against such a ceremony as this. Undoubtedly the min isters and missionaries of the early church were set apart thus by the lay ing on of hands. But we should under stand that, in the truest sense of our Lord’s words, no human hands or power can “ordain” one to a place in God’s service, nor impart the preparation needed for service. The Lord Jesus Christ, and He /ilone, is able to do this. Great stress is being laid today upon educational preparation as a prerequisite to ordination to the Christian ministry. If held within proper bounds, this em phasis is right. I believe in higher edu cation. In fact, *I see no reason that the Christian worker should not be trained as rigidly and exactly in his field as the doctor is trained in his field. And if we should limit the field of the minister to the Word of- God alone, the field would be so vast that if the student should spend ten years doing nothing but concentrating upon this Book, he would then not know any too much. It is because this field has been neglect ed in many institutions of higher educa tion that the land is cursed with so much loose thinking and inaccurate preaching. But mere intellectual equipment is not sufficient. James Strong tells the story of a little boy who had attended and watched with deep interest an ordina tion service. When he arrived home, his father asked him to tell what happened, and the boy replied, “One man read the Bible, another one asked a lot of ques tions, and then all the ministers put their hands on the young man and felt
Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker