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RA-LL RIGHTS IIESFRVI-ID.1 BIBLE STUDIES CONDUCTED BY PASTOR RUSSELL. DIFFICULTIES OF THE RICH. I TKe Le.cm: Mark x. 17-31. The Text: "Ye cannot serve God and mam- iiio.ri.LuL-e xvi., 13. It must have been an enthusing sight for Jesus' disciples to see a rich young ruler run after the Master and kneel at his feet, saying "Good Master, what shall 1 do that I may inherit eternal life?" The Great Teacher did not answer the question directly, but inquired why the title good was applied to him. He would have the young man notice, and would wish all to notice, that everything, really good must in some way be of God. and in accordance with God. There were only two ways in which Jesus could be viewed. Either he waa, as he claimed, a Son of God, come into the world on a special mission for humanity, and therefore a servant of Goa;, or he was a deceiver, misrepresenting himself, and deceiving the people. Jesus wished the young man to consider the force of his own. expression and to decide- at once this im- portant question. What did Jesus mean by telling the young man that the way to everlasting life was the keeping" of the commandments? \Vp would not so tell him now. On the contrary, we would tell him that he could not kee > the commandments perfectly, and that" only hope for everlasting life wo Mid through the exercise of faith in Christ's sacrifice for sins. Why did Jesus p. iut to the Law? We reply that the Law Covenant was- still in force in Israel, as it had been for more than sixteen centuries. A fter the close of the Jewish Age, Jesns would plainly have stated the impossibility for an- imperfect person to keep the Divine Law F ifectly and the necessity of having the imputation of Christ's merit to cover our imperfections. Only thtis can the, righteousness of the Law be fulfilled—in us who are walking, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. We are not hastily to suppose that Jesnw meant the riches should be given away recklessly or indiscriminately. Had the young man agreed to the terms and asked the Lord how best, he could distribute his wealth, we doubt not that the Lord would have said. Give it all to God; and then as His steward distribute according to the wisdom- God will give you. Even this full surrender of earthly possessions would not be sufficient. One who would gain a place in the Kingdom must become active in the I Lord's service, take up his cross, practise self-denial, and follow on patiently in the I narrow wav of «elf-fiacrifiee, in the foot- prints of the Redeemer. "SORROWFUL. BECAUSE VERY RICH." The young Jewish ruler was anxious to do right, to do justly, but unwilling to sacri- fice. Jesus and all his followers. on the eon- trarv. engaged to sacrifice their lives, even unto death. "Present your bodies a living, sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. Rom. xii. I. The young ruler's riches were not of them- selves harmful. God is very rich; Abraham of old was rich. The difficulty was that the young man had set his heart upon the '•io'.ies, so that when the testing came he Voionstrated that he loved God and the SI vine will iess than he loved his earthly rroperty. He forsook the opportunity to do t'ie greatest good, and thus turned his back a membership in the Kingdom class. We arc not, however, to understand that 'cre is no hope for that youug man, who h;\d such a noble character that Jeaus loved him. Ever. while missing the Kingdom opportunities, he may be one of the imilti- i blessed bv the Kingdom. .It MIS points" out this test, saying, "Ye iroiKii perve God and mammon." The call of this Gospel Age is to be servants of God i.1 any sacrifice, with the assurance that "all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall Mitfef persecution. and find the path to glory, honour, and immortality in Jesus' f-otr>tc-ps a very rugged one. With all now 'ifi-ig called out of the world to be sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ, the test is. first." We should have no idols, either wealth or fame or selfish, ease, which might attract our devotion awav from God us to leave the rich hlessing. which lie now offering. FEW RICE: IX THE KINGDOM The rich young ruler's failure to become a disciple on Jesus' terms furnished a text for Jesus. He said to his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of Gcd!" for "it is easier for a came; to go through the Xeedle's Eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God." "T'ie Needle's Eye" was the name given t ) a small gate or opening-, in a large gate in the city wall. The gates of Jerusalem were closed at Might for protection against robbers, and watchmen were on duty. An arrangement was made, h0Yc.ver, for travel- lers who failed to reach the gate before it wa.> closed. The smaller gate, the Xt-ecf/c's By! wa.' just large c-nough to permit a camel to go through after it had been un- burdened. Thus understood, Jesus taught that as a camel could go through the Needle's Eye, or smaller gale only by having its load removed, so a rich man could enter the Kingdom of God only by giving up all to the Lord. All this caused amazement to Jesus' dis- ciples. They inquired, "Who, then, can be f-avedr The Tich seemingly had all the opportunities of time, influence, and money to enable them to give better service to the Lord than could others; and if they would have such difficulty in getting into the Kingdom, how would it be with others, less favoured apparently? Jesus answered that "dl things are possible with God." That is to say, if the rich man be honest-hearted and humble, and his riches alone stand in the way, the Lord would show him His will in respect to their use; or if this did not itvail. the Lord would know how to strip him of his wealth, even as the master of the camel would unload his beast to permit it to pass through the Needle's Eye. Many have had this very experience. They have been rich in honours of men, in social standing, or in financial wealth; and God, in mercy and love toward them, has stripped there of all these, giving them the lessons necessary for a share in the Kingdom. With God* this is possible. He knows., how to overrule all things for good to those who love Him supremely. "WE HAVE LEFT ALL." St. P-oler seemed to get the thought that joint-heirship with the Master in the King- i il g dom mean a full surrender to Goo- leavi)), all, an yielding up aIL--ill order to a fuii acceptance by God. Poter said: "Lo, we have left- all. and have followed Thee." Jesus did not fully endorse Peter's state- ment. He knew abour Judas, who had not iic-,iri N- left, all. He lenew about Peter him- self—that some self-will still remained, and that self -presorr-ion would lead him to deny his Master, but his answer fully covered the question, not only for the Ape-sties, but for all his followers, from that day until now. He said: "Verily I say unto you. "There is no man that hath l?ft houses, or or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the Gospel's, hut he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time -with persecution; and in the world [Age] to come, eternal life." Whal a broad promise, and how abun- dantly fulfilled in its earthly respects to m:-iny. They are sure to get the persecu- tions; "but everything sacrificed for the Lord's cause is compensated a hundredfold in the present life: and then, beyond—the eve rip.sting life, and if faithful, a share with the Master in the Kingdom. How gracious is the Divine arrangement!






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