The Search for Truth
DANIEL WALTHER: Professor of Church History, S.D.A. Theological Seminary
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32.
Truth the central quest: The ancients J. were in constant search of truth intellectual, a fruitless search, never ending, ever beginning across waters of doubt, seas of speculation, and lighted by uncertain stars.
To the Christian truth is:
1. Objectively Real. Man does not create it; he discovers it. Euclid's theorem was not created by Euclid. Newton's law was not created by Newton. Einstein's theory was not created by Einstein. By observation and inductive reasoning they discovered how nature works.
2. Universal. Into the city of God there are twelve large avenues (twelve gates). Not just one entrance, but twelve. So also the truth advances from different directions, over various avenues.
3. Expressed in Beauty and Goodness.
" 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." KEATS, Ode on a Grecian Urn.
There are German, French, American artists; but beauty is universal. Real, true beauty is not confined to one country alone; its language is understood in all the world.
Truth is imperishable, indestructible, absolute, accessible to the Christian. "Ye shall know." Be he simple-minded or a cynic, man yearns for truth.
"What is truth?" asked Pilate. There was no answer. Christ could not say in a few words what took Him a lifetime to demonstrate. Pilate ruled in behalf of the mightiest empire, but his concepts were radically opposed to those of Christ. "When you say kingdom, Pilate, you refer to a material kingdom one that is of this world. But to discern My kingdom, you must be spiritually-minded."
Thus the question is not, "What is truth?" but "Who is truth?" Truth is not only a principle but a Person. Truth was incarnate in Jesus.
There is no truth for the Christian outside the Word of the living God; and outside of Christ, no one can reach the truth. Why, then, are there so many different creeds? Simply because man, the Christian man, too often follows the letter rather than the Spirit: "The letter killeth, the spirit giveth life."
The letter leads to confusion; the Spirit guides into all truth.
The letter causes anxiety and despair; the Spirit comforts.
The letter is mortal, perishable; the Spirit is immortal, divine.
The letter is egocentric; the Spirit witnesses, testifies of Christ.
The letter leads into bondage; the Spirit leads to freedom.
The letter leads to hatred; the Spirit brings the fruition of love.
The letter leads to darkness, senility; the Spirit renews.
The letter leads to death; the Spirit to life eternal, to redemption.
How, then, must we worship? "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." John 4:23. But why the quarrels, the hatreds, mostly in the name of truth?
The late Senate chaplain, Dr. Peter Marshall, in one of his prayers in the United States Senate, said: "O Lord, where we are wrong, make us willing to change, and where we are right, make us easy to live with. . . . Where we have the Truth let us not hit each other over the head with it, but rather use it as a lamp to lighten dark places."
Kipling once said that there is only one thing more terrible than a group of desperadoes led by daredevils and that is a regiment of Scotch Presbyterians who rise from their knees and go into battle, convinced that they are about to do the will of God.
Be temperate in truth! Some disregard truth by exaggeration, half-truths, insincere obsequiousness, diplomatic attitudes, intellectual dishonesty, preaching truth by using untruth. Remember, "In their mouth is found no guile." Others go to other extremes. In the name of frankness and sheer truth they are unyielding, uncompromising, stubborn, willfully unpleasant.
Truth and love do not exclude each other. The aim is to present truth as it is, without artifice and shocking publicity, varnish (make up), flirting with cleverness, or distorting the simple truth.
The truth, nothing but truth. Campbell Morgan's motto, "The word of God. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else," applies also to truth.
Truth is neither frozen nor petrified. Truth is not an icy waterfall but a movement. Our belief must be open to a larger, fuller meaning.
For Seventh-day Adventists truth has a special connotation. To us, truth is a daily quest, a conquest. It is progressive. Let us not think we have it all! How much we have to grow! "We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn." Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 37.
"We are only babes, as far as understanding truth in all its bearings is concerned." Ibid., p. 29.
Truth must ever be enlarged. "The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation." Ibid., p. 35.
Yes, investigation. "You may question matters with yourselves and with one another, if you only do it in the right spirit." Review and Herald, March 25, 1890. J. N. Andrews said, "I'd gladly exchange a thousand errors for one truth."
The genuine quest for truth makes the true scholar humble:
Edison: "No one knows one seven-billionth of one per cent of anything."
That holds true for theology. True knowledge is a telescope. A telescope is not to look at, but to look through; not to hide, but to re veal, to bring the stars closer.
Newton: "I seem to myself to have been like a child on the seashore finding pebbles and shells, while the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me."
Quest for knowledge does not mean that there is a never-ending quest, but mainly that truth stands the test of investigation and proper light. Truth does not fear clarity; one cannot be without the other; in fact, truth calls for clarity.
Truth has its rewards: happiness, peace of soul, tolerance, a relieved conscience; but a conscience "captive of the Word of God," as Luther said before the Imperial Diet of Worms.
Truth also brings freedom, freedom from error, hatred, sin, fear. And only truth gives that freedom; the "truth shall make you free."
Let us be religious adventurers, religious revolutionaries. Today there seems to be a lassitude in our ranks. We are now better equipped, better educated, richer. What we lack is conviction and enthusiasm; the human soul on fire is man's greatest weapon. (Foch.)
Let us acquit ourselves like men, unafraid of truth, invincibly courageous.
"A man of truth is something more than a man who knows the truth, whose intellect has seized it. A man of truth is a man into whose life the truth has been pressed, till he is full of it, till he has given to it, and it has been given to him. . . . His strength and courage depend on how fully the truth is woven into his own experience and character." PHILLIPS BROOKS, The Influence of Jesus, p. 218.
Never depart from the One who is truth eternal, the same yesterday, today, forever.
Think truly, and thy thoughts shall the world's famine feed.
Speak truly, and each word of thine shall be a fruitful seed.
Live truly, and thy life shall be a great and noble creed.
Applying Ezekiel's Prophecy
D. W. ANDERSON: Chaplain, Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital
The eleventh and twelfth chapters of Ezekiel present a vivid picture of spiritual conditions approximately six centuries before the first advent. Ezekiel faced a situation that was comparable in many respects to that which the remnant church faces today. At the time of this prophecy Ezekiel and many of his fellow countrymen were in captivity in Babylon. Zedekiah, the last and idolatrous king of Judah, still held forth in Jerusalem, surrounded by false prophets, wicked counselors, and such Israelites as had survived Nebuchadnezzar's first invasion. They were determined not to go into captivity, and directed their lives accordingly.
In the first verse of the eleventh chapter we find that Ezekiel was carried away in vision to the "east gate of the Lord's house," where he saw Jaazaniah and Pelatiah, princes of Israel. The next verse indicates that "these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city." Eze. 11:2. The nature of their wickedness is portrayed in verse 3, where we find that the doom of Jerusalem predicted by Ezekiel (verses 4-12), seemed to be of no particular concern to them. "It is not near," they said. How similar to this is the attitude of many professed Christians of our day toward Christ's second coming and the destruction that will accompany it!
Notice this statement of a prominent minister of our time, quoted by L. H. Christian in Modern Religious Trends, pages 67, 68, from Prophecy's Light on Today, by Charles G. Trumbull, page 20:
"In these days, among ourselves, certain writers and speakers hotly affirm as fundamentals what no reasonable man can believe the absence of error from the books of the Old and New Testaments, the necessity of expiation in order to be forgiven, . . . and the return of Jesus of Nazareth in the flesh, no longer as Saviour but as Judge. One may sympathize deeply with the zeal of these persons, even praise their passionate desire to vindicate what they believe to be true, and yet hold that the ideas cited are not only wanting in character of fundamentals, but that they are simple foolishness."
Such wicked counselors of our time set at nought the positive statements of Christ in John 14:1-3, and Matthew 24:27; and of Paul in Hebrews 9:28, fulfilling the prophecies of 2 Peter 3:3, 4, 10, and Matthew 24:28.
In Ezekiel's day they were saying, "Let us build houses." Eze. 11:3. Certainly the act of building a house is not in itself sinful. The context here, however, would indicate they had failed to make the necessary spiritual preparation for the world-shaking events that all too soon would occur. (Eze. 11:12; 12:2.) Is not this a lesson for our age? Building and enlarging physical properties are perfectly proper, but spiritual growth should parallel the physical, or we give the lie to our faith, and the coming of the Lord may find us unprepared.
They also said, "This city is the caldron, and we be the flesh." Eze. 11:3. A "caldron" is a vessel for boiling flesh. Thus, we would think of a caldron and flesh as being rather closely associated together. Doubtless these false prophets of Ezekiel's day were hereby indicating the belief that they were to be directly connected with Jerusalem indefinitely, Ezekiel's prophecies notwithstanding. God's answer to this assertion is most interesting.
"Thus saith the Lord God; Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it [Jerusalem], they are the flesh, and this city is the caldron: but I will bring you out of the midst of it." Verse 7.
Thus God shows most emphatically that the dead, and not the living, are to be associated with the Jerusalem of that time, and that those who would have it otherwise would either be slain or carried into captivity.
How like the time of Ezekiel is the materialistic philosophy of our day! The average individual of our age is much more interested in stocks, bonds, bank accounts, real estate, and material things than in the Scriptural truths in regard to the end of the world. His primary concern is that he shall have financial security as long as he lives and that his posterity shall be well provided for. God's message to such today is about like that of Ezekiel and Isaiah's day:
"In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth." Isa. 2:20, 21.
Showing the tenacity with which the inhabitants of Jerusalem in Ezekiel's day proposed to hold on to Jerusalem's soil and their willingness to pervert the facts, Moffatt's translation gives the following: *
" 'Son of man [Ezekiel], the citizens of Jerusalem say of your kinsmen, your fellow-exiles, the entire community of Israel, "You are far away from the Eternal; this land belongs to us."'" Eze. 11:15.
In other words, "Ezekiel, you and your fellow exiles are the sinners, and because of your sins you have gone into captivity. As for those of us who remain in Jerusalem, we are righteous! consequently, this land belongs to us, and we will not be removed." Each of us has doubt less witnessed manifestations of this same attitude in our time. When I belonged to the local ministerial association in a certain Wisconsin village a few years ago, a leader of the group said something like this to me in one of our meetings: "You Adventists are a fine, clean-living group of honest citizens. It is a shame that you insist on breaking up the unity of Christian people by continuing to hold on to a day of worship that has been discarded by the other churches of Christendom." He manifested no personal antagonism toward me; on the contrary, he was a personal friend of mine, and yet he felt that we were the sinners who were bringing trouble to the Christian world. We are told by the messenger of the Lord that this attitude will one day become dominant. (See The Great Controversy, p. 614.) The fact that the ills of the world will be blamed upon the remnant church, however, will in no wise alter the course of events. When Christ appears it will become most apparent who His followers are.
Now a word about spiritual conditions in Ezekiel's day. Notice this picture:
"And ye shall know that I am the Lord; for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed nay judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you." Verse 12.
Is not this verse just as true a description of our day as of Ezekiel's? Disregard for the commandments of God is one of the prevailing problems of our time. As Seventh-day Adventists, we often feel that lawbreaking applies to everyone except ourselves. A truly converted Adventist will indeed keep the law of God, and yet I fear there are those who attempt to do this in their own strength and fail to maintain that close relationship with Christ that alone can make this possible. And then the other point in this verse following the manners of the heathen about us. Let us be honest with ourselves: Is not worldliness, the acceptance of the manners and customs of the unconverted about us, one of our major problems today? The lesson of ancient Israel in this connection is a most obvious one for us.
There were those in Ezekiel's day who doubt less felt that, although his predictions would eventually be fulfilled, there was no particular cause for alarm at the moment. To such the word of God came saying:
"Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision." Eze. 12:22, 23.
It is so easy to look at the great work yet to be accomplished and perhaps feel that the Lord is delaying His coming. God's message to us today is the same as that to Israel of Ezekiel's day: "Behold, I come quickly" (Rev. 22:12); "the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not" (Luke 12:40); and "he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness" (Rom. 9:28). Only a few short years after this prophecy of Ezekiel 12:22, 23 was uttered, it was completely fulfilled. Zedekiah's sons were slain together with many other Israelites; Zedekiah's eyes were put out, and he together with a remnant of Israel was carried into captivity, leaving only a few of the poorest to tend the soil. (See Jer. 52:4-17.)
In the midst of promised captivity and destruction comes this comforting promise of God to Israel:
"Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Al though I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come." Eze. 11:16.
Isn't God always like that? Although sin must be punished, still His great heart of love went out to His people. "Sanctuary" is defined as "a sacred place, a place of refuge." This, God was anxious to be to His oppressed followers. In this Atomic Age such a refuge is available to you and to me as well. Let us claim the promise, and help others to share its assurance for this age of doubt.
Then God promised to gather Israel again and give them the land of Israel. (Verse 17.) This was fulfilled a little more than seventy years later, when Israel returned from captivity under the protection of Persia. Even so, God will gather spiritual Israel from the ends of the earth at the Second Advent (Mark 13:27), and give unto them the kingdom (Luke 12:32).
Now we come face to face with the question: How can we prepare for the time of trouble and the coming of the Lord? God gave the answer to ancient Israel as they faced their time of trouble, and it applies with equal force today:
"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall he my people, and I will be their God." Eze. 11:19, 20.
The important question to the individual Israelite of Ezekiel's day was not whether he would be carried into captivity or not. It was not a question of how much property he had amassed. It was not even a question of whether he would live or die in the battle for Jerusalem. The question was: "Do I have a new heart? Am I converted? Am I ready to meet God?" Is this not true today? Our greatest need is the need for a new heart, for complete surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing can take the place of this experience. Let us place ourselves un reservedly in the hands of Christ, that we may be purified of sin and prepared for His soon coming.
The Laws of Selling Men Ideas
H. B. LUNDQUIST: President, Antillian Union Mission
The work of making men think as you do JL follows definite laws. As one has very aptly said, the audience is more interested in the orator than in his oratory, at least during the first ten minutes. In order to sell our ideas to others we must with frequency use all the five general ends of public speaking clearness, belief, conviction, action, and even entertainment. It is more than a matter of correct dressing, exquisite phrasing, and effective gestures. It is really getting another to feel as you do, and with the same conviction, to act toward the desired end.
The Bible gives us a very definite clue as to how to persuade, in the simple statement, "Out of it [the heart] are the issues of life." Or, to paraphrase: "In order to win the soul, you must first reach the heart." Add to this the part played by the will, and certainly we cannot fail to see the importance of studying the laws of persuasion. If you want others to do something they are not now doing, "you must enlist the will on the side of right" as you see it.
In this discussion of the art of persuasion we shall limit ourselves to a single step, attention. Speaking of the importance of securing the attention, William James says, "Only those items which I notice shape my mind." In other words, the absence of attention is chaos. Attention has been defined as the selective action of consciousness. Eminent psychologists tell us that if attention can be kept on one thing to the exclusion of all others, action will take place along that line.
Let me illustrate this selective action of the will. When a prospective customer visits a restaurant, three things may happen to him. He may go away hungry because of failure to select, he may go away stuffed with a wrong combination or an unwise choice of food, or he may go away satisfied. Even in so trivial a thing as buying a meal it is highly important to employ the selective action of the will. Applying this same principle to social life, one may go through life as a lonely, unhappy recluse or with relationships that produce only unhappiness, or he may go through life with true, satisfying companions.
Four Kinds of Attention
1. Let us consider attention under four heads. First of all, there is compulsory, or in voluntary, attention, as when consciousness is awakened by a loud noise, a gnawing pain, or a great surprise. Applied .to evangelistic advertising, such a subject would be, "World Dictator Coming," or "Russia and Armageddon." Even a physicist knows why this kind of attention is undesirable, because "for every action there is a corresponding reaction." Abraham Lincoln voiced another and stronger reason against this type of advertising when he said, "Don't pretend what you need not, lest you be called upon to prove what you cannot." This sort of advertising may secure attention, but if it does not hold it, or if the product does not come up to the advertising, there may result a revulsion of inverse proportion. Furthermore, this sort of attention is undesirable because it calls attention to the man and the method rather than to the message.
2. Next, there is voluntary attention. This is often secured by begging for it. Don't say, "If the people will listen, I will preach"; but rather, "If I preach well, the people will listen." As one has aptly said, "If the audience goes to sleep, wake the preacher up." Voluntary attention may be secured by request, but it is not held that way. A definite warning should be considered in connection with this kind of attention: There is no such thing as voluntary attention sustained for more than a few seconds at a time. What is called sustained voluntary attention is a repetition of successive efforts which bring back the topic to the mind.
3. The third kind of attention we shall consider is passive intellectual attention. It is related that the famous mathematician Archimedes was so intent in the pursuit of his science that he did not become aware of a Roman invasion of his patrimony until just before he was killed by the invading hordes. During my school days a curious incident occurred that further illustrates this kind of attention. The fire gong sounded. The classrooms, chapel, and dormitories were soon emptied, but a conflagration was averted. Upon resumption of the normal activities of the college, a student was found sitting in the chapel totally oblivious of anything that had taken place. He had been studying! Usually those exercising this class of attention come under one of two heads: geniuses or pathological cases.
4. We now come to the fourth and last class, the spontaneous. When the speaker has secured this kind of attention, he, like Dewey's aide, may begin firing. And those who know their history know that when Dewey's task force began operations, the enemy's ships began to slip beneath the waters of Manila Bay until the fleet had disappeared. Spontaneous attention has been defined as the concentration of consciousness upon something which momentarily dominates the mind. The psychologist Gardner tells us how to secure this highly desirable kind of attention: "Stimulate some inclination not opposed to the message so effectively that it will overflow the consciousness with the corresponding feelings, and submerge the opposing inclinations." In other words, pass from the known and the loved, to the unknown and un loved. I shall give three rules to follow in order to secure spontaneous attention:
a. Say something at once. Don't kill time with banalities or trivia. Get right down to the subject.
b. Talk from three to five minutes in concrete, non-abstract language. Avoid logic or philosophy. Exclude flights of oratory or panegyric. Keep solidly planted on terra firma.
c. Stimulate curiosity or the spirit of inquiry in the audience. This may be done by a series of thought-provoking questions or propositions.
Four Ways to Hold Attention
However important it may be to secure attention, unless it is held it will be of little avail. We shall now consider how to hold attention.
The first rule is, Arouse expectation and de sire. Humanity is hungry for something that will satisfy. We are to point the audience to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but it must be real rather than illusory! The presentation of the speaker must lure his hearers on and on. The perspective situation arouses the mind to positive activity, and the interest passes beyond the hearers' control. They are in the speaker's hands.
The second law is simply variation. Variation has been called the spice of life, the life of business, and other names. But its use is based on a sound psychological law; namely, the tendency of the mind to leap from one thing to another. If an attempt is made to pin the interest down to one thing, it tends to sink into drowsy extinction. Vary the manner of presentation. Frequently introduce short illustrations and ad dress questions to the audience.
The third law is movement. Every discourse should have movement. Different phases of the subject should be presented with a rapidity corresponding to the rapidity of normal mental movement. And let the movement of the dis course be accompanied by physical movement. The younger the speaker and the more difficult the subject, the more he should avoid standing like a stone statue. Use the pulpit as a flight deck. Take off, and come back to fill the bomb bays with ammunition, and take off again. Don't come to rest behind the pulpit until the close of the discourse.
The last rule is rather precautionary, time. Inasmuch as the absolute limit of modern mental endurance is thirty minutes, don't go be yond that time. If you have to, or think you have to, then break the discourse into two parts by introducing something relaxing or diverting halfway through. Remember that no concert runs an hour without a break, no play is given in a single one-hour act, no sports contest is given in one inning. Let us strive to be as wise as the children of this world, and perhaps our audiences will stay with us longer.
Let us, therefore, aim our jet-powered aerial armada, individually directed, with all the deadly earnestness of a wing commander, toward the vulnerable spot in the sinner's armor, rather than striving to drag him chained to our chariot wheel to the desired goal. Remember that success is a simple mathematical formula: Fire power plus aim equals success.
A Deep Spot in the Pacific
EDWARD E. WHITE: Associate Secretary, Educational and Missionary Volunteer Departments, Australasian Division
[EDITORIAL NOTE. If memory serves correctly, it was A. G. Daniells who said, "The best New Year's gift that a preacher can give himself at the beginning of each year is to burn his sermon notes." Now Edward E. White seems to concur with this idea in his present article. An accumulating file of sermon material in the form of a "sermon garden" can, of course, be invaluable. But continual caution needs to be exercised lest such filed notes become stale and out of date, and our sermons dated and stereotyped. In his article "The Worker's Clipping File" in last month's MINISTRY Andrew Fearing gives some valuable points on building up a good, organized file of clippings as sermon material. But he also counsels that "it is well to keep the material fresh removing old-fashioned and outdated articles from time to time, so that the files do not become mere storage vaults."]
Sometime in the southern waters of the Pacific is a depth of several thousand fathoms. While I was crossing in this vicinity recently a bold thought occurred to me. It was possibly inspired by the remark of Oliver Wen- dell Holmes to the effect that if the whole of the contents of the British Pharmacopoeia were thrown into the ocean, it would be so much the better for mankind and so much the worse for the fishes.
I had been a fisherman (of men) for some years and had during that time amassed a miscellaneous collection of "bait." Most of it had been used, much of it on more than one occasion, and some of it was yet to be organized and integrated into future sermons. Some of these precious (?) leaves were typewritten, a few were in manuscript, much was on neat sheets of 8" x 5", but there were some envelopes and odd-sized papers lending by contrast a look of distinguished disorder in the uniform sheets. A few papers were somewhat soiled and obviously much used, the outward and visible signs of my favorite sermons those I fondly imagined to be homiletic masterpieces. Admittedly there was some chaff, and possibly a few grains of wheat. The mute pile represented to me many hours of work, much reading, some writing, more thinking, perspiration, and prayer. To another it would seem an accumulation of rubbish, a sentimental attachment to what in some cases were abbreviations and hieroglyphics.
The temptation was great. Should I keep this hoard of manuscripts of no value to anyone else and of doubtful value to me? On the other hand, dare I, had I the courage to jettison the fruit of toil, the armory of the preacher, and render the barrel of sermons as empty as the widow's cruse?
We had passed the Pacific's deep spot by this time, but a decision had to be made, and soon a compromise was effected. I kept a copy of most of the titles of the sermons, the illustrations used, the references to quotations used, and assessed the remainder as equivalent in value to the "bad" fish in the gospel net. Many titles were not even retained, for the urge to cleanse was upon me. Then with a final desperate act of courage, all, yes, all, of the con tents of the sermon barrel prepared, in course of preparation, and to be prepared was con signed to the Pacific. A passing gull swerved in its flight only slightly, but sufficiently to see that this jetsam was of doubtful food value, and in any case indigestible. The heap of once precious papers floated for a few seconds on the surface. No alarm was given, no life belt thrown overboard, no boat lowered to rescue what I had thought to be pearls of great price; not even a fish, great or small, rose to nibble at a fisherman's collection of bait, and presently the papers, now sodden, sank to the bottom.
The cruse was empty. Every sermon hence forth was to be a new one. Notes must be re written, outlines remade. Memory has doubt less produced repetitions, but the sweet breezes have blown through a mind that was beginning to grow cobwebs. The cruse is filling. It remains empty of accumulated notes, but it is running over with fresh ideas. There is a deep spot in the Southern Pacific, but for those whose duties do not call them to travel that way, there are other spots in the local neighborhood, equally effective for such purposes.
God's Two Covenants With Man PART II
III. CHRIST'S NEW COVENANT.
A. Why Is the Everlasting Covenant New?
1. Jesus' blood confirmed the everlasting covenant. Heb. 13:19-21. Jesus' blood is the blood of the New Testament (covenant). Matt. 26:28.
2. Where in the Bible is this new covenant first mentioned? Jer. 31:31-34. What does Jeremiah call it? Everlasting. Jer. 32:40.
3. Why is the name "new" given? Heb. 8:7-9. To distinguish from the old covenant made by the people at Sinai, it being new in that it was ratified by the blood of Christ some fifteen hundred years after the Sinai covenant was recognized.
4. Which is the better covenant, and why? Heb. 8:6-9. The people broke their word of promise under the old covenant. God made all promises; Jesus fulfilled, ratified all with His blood.
B. The People in the New Covenant.
1. With what people is the new covenant made? Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:10.
2. Who is the "house of Israel"? Believers in the Word of God. Rom. 9:6-8; Gal. 3:27-29.
3. How do the Gentiles become partakers of the new covenant? Eph. 2:11-13.
C. The Basis of the New Covenant.
1. What is the basis of the new covenant agreement? Laws of God. Heb. 8:10.
2. Where does God promise to put these laws under the new covenant? Verse 10.
a. Put them in the mind.
b. Write them in the heart.
3. How does God put them into the minds of individuals? Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Tim. 4:2.
4. What responsibility is connected with this work of giving the Word of God to souls? Eze. 3:17-19.
5. What responsibility does the opportunity to hear the Word of God place on the individual? Responsibility of choosing. Joshua 24: 14, 15.
6. If individuals refuse the knowledge of God by rejecting His Word, can God carry out any more of the new covenant terms? Prov. 1:29-31.
D. The New Heart of the New Covenant.
1. If the individual believes the law of God put into his mind by the Word of God, what will he recognize? Rom. 7:7; 5:20.
2. What will the believer do? 1 John 1:9.
3. By the new covenant relationship, what is promised to the sinner? Jer. 31:34 (last clause); Rom. 11:26, 27.
4. Will God take away our sins without our de sire? Isa. 1:16.
5. What change of heart has God promised? Eze. 36:25, 26.
6. What is this change of heart called in the New Testament? John 3:3; 1:12, 13.
7. How does the old carnal heart relate itself to God's laws? Rom. 8:7.
8. By what power is the law of God written in the heart or affections? 2 Cor. 3:3.
9. What will it mean really to accept the terms of the new covenant? 1 Peter 2:1, 2.
10. To what measure are we to grow? Eph. 4:13.
11. What is the fullness of Christ as related to the law of God? Ps. 40:8.Sin came into the human family by one man's disobedience. The everlasting covenant is made to restore fallen man to perfect obedience, perfect harmony with God. Most people are willing to obey in part. This partial obedience is a cunning deception of the evil one. The heart that consents to remain in one known sin or disobedience is still under the control of evil.
IV. IMMUTABILITY OF GOD'S PROMISES.
A. Our Covenant-keeping God.
1. Who made all the promises in the new or everlasting covenant? Heb. 8:8.
2. When God made promise to Abraham, how did He help Abraham to know that His word of promise was absolutely sure? Heb. 6:13-18.
3. What is meant by the expression "He [God] sware by himself"?
4. Who was to be benefited by this oath to Abraham? Heb. 6:17; Gal. 3:29.
5. What does the word "immutability" mean? Not capable or susceptible of change, invariable, unalterable.
6. What are the two immutable things mentioned in Hebrews 6:18? God's word and oath.
7. Does time weaken the Word of God? Deut.7:9.
B. Christ the Mediator.
1. Who is the mediator of all these covenant promises? Heb. 8:6; 7:25.
2. What is the work of a mediator? He mediates, halves himself, thus becoming the middleman between God and man, the go-between.
3. What is Jesus called in Hebrews 7:22? The "surety" of the covenant. "Surety" means:
a. A person who gives himself as a pledge.
b. One bound for another who is liable for debt or misconduct.
c. One who stands in the place of, or per forms certain acts for, another.
C. Purpose of the Covenant Through Christ.
1. What is God's one purpose in redemption? 2 Cor. 5:19.When are two parties reconciled? When brought together, when united and in perfect accord, or harmony.
2. Is God changing His standard, lowering it to get into harmony with fallen-creature ideas? 2 Cor. 5:20, 21.
3. Under the new covenant what is the first step taken by God to reconcile us to Himself? Heb. 8:10. That of putting His laws into human minds.
4. According to this statement, on what point are we out of harmony with God and in need of reconciliation? On the question of God's laws.
5. If there were to be any alteration or change in the wording of those laws, when should all changes have been brought in or made known? Gal. 3:15; Heb. 9:16, 17.
6. What laws are referred to in the new covenant? Those which Jesus kept, those in operation when Jesus died. John 15:10.
7. Does the New Testament teach and uphold the law of God as spoken at Sinai? Rom. 7:12; 1 John 2:7; Rev. 11:19; Rev. 14:12.
8. If we preach Christ and the new covenant relationship with God through Christ to an idol worshiper, would we expect him to put away all his idols when he accepted Christ? Ex. 20:3-6; Rom. 6:14. Will the profane man stop his profanity when he accepts Christ? Ex. 20:7. Will lying, stealing, adultery, be put away in Christian service? Eph. 4:25, 28; 5:3.
9. As the blood of the covenant continues its cleansing process until the person is perfect, will the believer feel at liberty to transgress any of the commandments of God? Rev. 22:14.
10. What instruction given by Jesus covers the fulfilling of all the law of God under the new covenant? Matt. 5:17, 18, 48. (See 1 Peter 1:15-25.1
11. How can we hasten this work of being reconciled to God in our own individual lives? 1 Peter 1:22.
(To be continued}
*The Bible: A New Translation by James Moffatt. Copy right 1922, 1935, 1950 by Harper & Brothers. Used by per mission.