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[ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.] BIBLE STUDIE1 CONDUCTED BT PASTOR RUSSELL. HEAVENLY INTEREST IN SINNERS. I The Lesson: Luke xv. 1-10. The Text: "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."—Verse 10. Bible students should always seek to view the jewels of the Lord's Word in the set- tings in which they have been placed. To neglect this is to lose a portion of the lesson intended. The Scribes and Pharisees held themselves aloof from the common people- the Scribes because the masses were illiter- ate, and the Pharisees under the claim that the people were sinners, cut off from re- lationship to God, and therefore not proper to be recognised by the holy of humanityr which they claimed to be. Jesus, however, received the common people, even the publicans, acknowledged sinners. His superior knowledge did not make him haughty, and his superior righteousness did not make him proud and unsympathetic. He has set his followers a good example that they should walk in his steps. The more closely they follow him, the more pleasing they will be to the Father, and the more ready for a share in the Kingdom for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come." Our lesson tells us of how the Pharisees and Scribes murmured against Jesus, charg- ing against him as a sin that he received sinners and ate with them. Whatever did not harmonise with their standards they could only contest. Their difficulty in part was that they had too high an opinion of themselves. Their spirit in this matter was an evil one, begotten of the Adversary. Hence Jesus sometimes spoke of them as being children of their father, the Devil, because his works they did, and his spirit they had, but even this would not signify that the Pharisees were beyond" hope of salvation. Did not Jesus address St. Peter on one occasion, saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan" (adversary). He was an adver- sary, had the adverse spirit, at the time; but corrected in harmony with the Lord's spirit, everything was changed. THE HEAVENLY NINETY AND NINE. Jesus, knowing the thoughts of the Phari- sees, and perhaps noting their gestures and looks or hearing their words, answered them in a parable. saying. "What man of you, having a hundred sheep and having lost one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost until he find it?" Then, find- ing it, he lays it upon his shoulders rejoic- ing, and tells the fact to his neighbour ex- ultantly. This course of the shepherd, Jesus declared, illustrates the attitude of God and all the holy angels associated with Him. They have a special feeling of in- terest in those who have strayed, and espe- cially rejoice in the recovery of such. How encouraging it is to know that this is the sentiment of Heaven, and that the fall of man and our imperfections do not stand as a perpetual bar to recognition by the Lord, if we return to Him! He is merciful, and will abundantly pardon, and will re- move our sins from us as far as the East is from the West. MANKIND THE LOST SHEEP. Many apply this parable inconsistently. They seem to think of the whole world of mankind as representing the flock of a hun- dred sheep, and the one straying sheep as representing the sinners of earth, compara- tively few. Surely this cannot be the true interpretation? Rather, as the Prophet has declared, "All we like sheep have gone astray." "There is none righteous, no, not one. Let us rather interpret the parable on a broader scale, in comportment with the facts and with the Scriptures. Let us under- stand the one straying sheep to represent Adam and his family; and the ninety and nine just persons needing no repentance as representing the holy angels. To this view every feature of the parable inclines. The Good Shepherd left the Heavenly flock and came to earth to find, to redeem, to recover, the lost sheep; and there is more rejoicing in Heaven over human recoveries from sin and alienation from God than over the holy ones themselves, who have never been thus alienated, never been redeemed with such a price and never have been recovered. The lesson to the Pharisees is plain. They had a different spirit from that of the holy ones. Theirs was an earthly view, selfish, proud, and haughty. out of accord with the Divine Spirit. Jesus would have all his dis- ciples copy God. "Be like unto your Father which is in Heaven." "He is kind to the unthankful." "His mercy endureth forever "—to a full completeness. His mercy sent His Son, the under-Shep- herd, to be our Redeemer, and to help us back into His favour. His mercy will pursue the lost sheep until every member of Adam's race shall have been brought to a knowledge of the Truth and to a full oppor- tunity of returning to the fold of God. To this end the Messianic Kingdom is to be established. To this end also is the present call for the Church, to be a Roval Priest- hood, that under the guidance of the great Deliverer, they may with him carry the mes- sage of God's grace to all of Adam's family. THE GOD OF LOVE. "Oh, how different is this view of .our lov- ing Creator from that one which was handed down through the Dark Ages! How diffe- rent from the one which represented the Almighty as angry in a vicious sense: as having prepared in advance a place for the eternal torture of the human family, except a few who would have the hearing ears, and happen to hear the message in the present life. On the contrary, we find that God.s, loving provision In only beginning to be mamiested, in His favour toward Christ and the Church; and that ultimately the know- ledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth, until every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, to the glory of God. In proportion as we become Godlike we have an interest in sinners—especially in those who through heredity or evil environ- ment are more ueeply steeped in sin, igno- rance, and superstition. Having God's spirit, we are glad to do anything in our power to reach these sinners- Nevertheless,, we are not to be wise above that which is, written. We are not to expect to find all the sheep. Itather, we are to prepare as many as the Lord our God shall call and draw, to be associated with the great Chief Shepherd in the work which he shortly will institute, the work of seeking the lost sheep, finding it and restoring it-all the willing and obedient. "The Son of Man came to seek and to save (recover) that which was lost." The race was lost, not merely the few, the Church; and the recovery is to include all that was lost. This does not signify univer- salism, but will be accomplished in bring- ing every member of Adam's race ta a full knowledge of God and to full opportunity of recovery from sin and death.—1 Tim. ii. 3-4. THE LOST COIN. Jesus gave another parable of similar im- port, to illustrate the same great truth from another angle. It was the custom among Jewish women to wear on the fore- head a fringe of coin bangles. The loss of one of these coins would represent more than its intrinsic value, for its absence marred the beauty of the bangles. The search for the lost coin would mean that, instead of its being abandoned as not worthy of considera- tion, it would be hunted for diligently until found. The female neighbours would learn of the loss, and also learn if it were found, and would rejoice with her greatly. This is another illustration of joy in the pre- sence of the angels of God over one repen- tant sinner. Let each put the question to himself: How do I ir nifest this spirit of God toward my fellow man?





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