Earthly Life of Jesus
In all his godlike deeds, the world’s Redeemer declares, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” “This commandment have I received of my Father.” All I do is in fulfilment of the counsel and will of my Heavenly Father. The history of the daily earthly life of Jesus is the exact record of the fulfilment of the purposes of God toward man. His life and character were the unfolding or representation of the perfection of the character that man may attain by becoming a partaker of the divine nature, and overcoming the world through daily conflicts. Jesus assumed human nature that he might work with human nature, and bring fallen man across the gulf which transgression had made between God and his creatures.
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The Lord of life and glory clothed his divinity with humanity to demonstrate to man that God through the gift of Christ would connect us with him. Without a connection with God no one can possibly be happy. Fallen man is to learn that our Heavenly Father can not be satisfied until his love embraces the repentant sinner, transformed through the merits of the spotless Lamb of God. The work of all the heavenly intelligences is to this end. Under the command of their General they are to work for the reclaiming of those who by transgression, have separated themselves from their Heavenly Father. A plan has been devised whereby the wondrous grace and love of Christ shall stand revealed to the world. In the infinite price paid by the Son of God to ransom man, the love of God is revealed. This glorious plan of redemption is ample in its provisions to save the whole world. Sinful and fallen man may be made complete in Jesus through the forgiveness of sin, and the imputed righteousness of Christ.
Jesus Christ laid hold on humanity, that with his human arm he might encircle the race, while with his divine arm he grasped the throne of the Infinite. He planted his cross midway between earth and heaven, and said,
I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
The cross was to be the center of attraction. It was to speak to all men, and draw them across the gulf that sin had made, to unite finite man with the infinite God. It is the power of the cross alone that can separate man from the strong confederacy of sin. Christ gave himself for the saving of the sinner.
Those whose sins are forgiven, who love Jesus, will be united with him. They will bear the yoke of Christ. This yoke is not to hamper them, not to make their religious life one of unsatisfying toil. No; the yoke of Christ is to be the very means by which the Christian life is to become one of pleasure and joy. The Christian is to be joyful in contemplation of that which the Lord has done in giving his only begotten Son to die for the world, “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
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Soldiers in Christ’s Army
Those who stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel should be faithful soldiers in Christ’s army. They should never be disloyal, never be untrue. Many of the young will volunteer to stand with Jesus, the Prince of life. But if they would continue to stand with him, they must constantly look unto Jesus, their Captain, for his orders. They can not be soldiers of Christ, and yet engage with the confederacy of Satan, and help on his side, for then they would be enemies of Christ. They would betray sacred trusts. They would form a link between Satan and the true soldiers, so that through these living agencies the enemy would be constantly working to steal away the hearts of Christ’s soldiers.
I ask you, dear youth, who profess to be soldiers of Jesus Christ, what battles have you fought? what have been your engagements? When the Word of God has plainly revealed your work, have you refused to do it because it did not suit your inclination? Has the attraction of the world allured you from the service of Christ? Satan is employed in devising specious allurements; and by transgression in what seem little matters, he draws you away from Jesus. Then larger attractions are presented to seduce you fully from God. You may have your name upon the church books, and claim to be a child of God, yet your example, your influence, misrepresents the character of Christ, and you lead others away from him.
There is no happiness, no peace or joy, to a professed believer whose whole soul is not enlisted in the work the Lord has given him to do. He is constantly bringing the world into the church, not by repentance and confession and surrender to God, but by surrendering more and more to the world, and engaging on Satan’s side in the battle, rather than on Christ’s side. I would appeal to the youth to cut the finest thread which binds you in practise and in spirit with the world.
Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Will our youth heed this voice of invitation? How little do our young people realize the necessity of setting before their youthful associates a Christlike example in their life and character. Many of our youth understand the theory of the truth, but how few understand by experimental knowledge the practical bearing of the truth upon their every action.
Where are youthful missionaries doing any work that represents itself to them in the great harvest-field? Where are those who are daily learners in the school of Christ? Let them never feel that they are prepared to graduate. Let them wait in the courts of the Lord, that they may be directed as to how to work in unison with the heavenly intelligences. Dear youth, I wish to speak decidedly to you because I want you to be saved. Lose no more time. You can not serve God and mammon. You may apparently be Christians, but when temptations come, when sorely tried, do you not generally yield?
Conflict in Daily Life
The conflict in which you have to take an active part is found in your every-day life. Will you not in times of trial lay your desires by the side of the Written Word, and in earnest prayer seek Jesus for counsel? Many declare that it is certainly no harm to go to a concert and neglect the prayer-meeting, or absent themselves from meetings where God’s servants are to declare a message from heaven. It is safe for you to be just where Christ has said he would be. Those who appreciate the words of Christ will not turn aside from the prayer-meeting, or from the meeting where the Lord’s messenger has been sent to tell them concerning things of eternal interest. Jesus has said,
Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Can you afford to choose your pleasure and miss the blessing? It is indulgence in these things that has a telling influence not only on your own life and character, but upon the life and character of your associates. If all who profess to be followers of Christ would be so in deed and in truth, they would have the mind of Christ, and would work the works of God. They would resist temptation to indulge self, and would show that they do not enjoy the frivolous pleasure of the world more than the privilege of meeting with Christ in the social meeting. They would then have a decided influence upon others, and lead them to follow their example.
Actions speak louder than words, and those who are lovers of pleasure do not appreciate the rich blessings of being in the assembly of the people of God. They do not appreciate the privilege of influencing their associates to go with them, hoping that their hearts will be touched by the Spirit of the Lord. Who goes with them into these worldly gatherings? Jesus is not there to bless those assembled.
But Satan will bring to the mind many things to crowd out matters of eternal interest. It is his opportunity to confuse the right by mixing it up with the wrong. Through attendance at worldly gatherings a taste is created for exciting amusements, and moral power is weakened. Those who love pleasure may keep up a form of godliness, but they have no vital connections with God. Their faith is dead, their zeal has departed. They feel no burden to speak a word in season to souls who are out of Christ, and to urge them to give their hearts to the Lord.