Archive for September, 2009

Thirsty No More…

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Hudson Taylor was greatly used of God to bring the gospel to China. Raised in a pastor’s home, he sought to have a relationship with God, but gave up during his teen years because it seemed too hard. Then, at a time when his mother was specifically praying for his salvation, he read a tract in his father’s study where he came across the words: “the finished work of Christ.” As a result of reading those words, he gave his heart to Jesus and God began doing a great work in His heart. He soon felt a call to serve God in China, and began preparing by studying to be a medical doctor and learning to live in complete dependence on God there in London. If you want to read more about this I recommend his book Retrospect which you can find as a pdf at my web site.

Taylor was a pioneer in more ways than one. Not only was he one of the first missionaries to go to China, he was also the first Western Missionary to adopt the Chinese style of dress. He was convinced that the best way to reach the Chinese people was to be as much like them as possible so long as one didn’t compromise and sin. There was a blessed response, and many Chinese were won to the Lord Jesus. Hudson Taylor began recruiting volunteers and they came by the hundreds.

In spite of all this work for God, Taylor was a struggling Christian, and bemoaned his constant seeming defeats. Then things changed, and he found that receiving Jesus brought a new victory and joy into his life. As a result his prayers took on a new life. He had a new joy in reading the Bible. He also experienced a new freedom from care and peace that he had not known previously. He began to live a life on the highest plane. It is out of that experience that His preaching took a new joyful and optimistic tone. The excerpt I share on receiving the Holy Spirit comes from a talk He gave in Detroit Michigan at a great missionary conference in 1894. I am sure you will be blessed in reading.

Hudson Taylor: Learning that “Shall” Means “Shall”!:

“A full equipment is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. And how simply it is to be attained! You know where to go. That poor Samaritan woman did not know in whose presence she was. The Master said to her, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him and He would have given thee living water.” And she did ask, very ignorantly indeed, not knowing what she asked. He knew, and He gave her that which she so ignorantly asked. He said to her, before He had fully blessed her, a word that is recorded for your instruction and mine, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again.” Oh, how true it is; all the waters of earth, how thirsty they leave us, or how soon we become thirsty again! “But,” continued our Master, there is something better, “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” — shall never thirst!

“It may have been the end of 1868 or the beginning of 1869 when I discovered that “shall” means “ shall,” and that “never “ means “ never,” and that “thirst” means “ thirst.” I can’t tell you how delighted I was, for I was so thirsty [for spiritual power and fulfillment] at the time. And so hungry and thirsty was I as the Spirit of God threw his own Divine light on those words, that I saw that “shall” means “shall,” and “never” means “never,” and “thirst” means “ thirst.” I leaped from my seat; I could not sit still. How I did praise God that the thirsty days were all past! Well, you know, it is only a little over twenty years since then, and they haven’t come back since; and twenty thousand years hence, when you and I meet up there, I shall have the same story to tell you. He has promised it to me and I believe it.

“But don’t misread His Word. He does not say whosoever drank shall never thirst; but whosoever drinketh. It is in the present tense. We are not, with the appetite taken away, to stop drinking: “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” Isn’t it glorious to feel that every one of you may just take that living water now and drink now and thirst no more; and to find you have got the well, and that you haven’t to go and seek it — so different from the old pumping I used to try, and that was so ineffective? You cannot give people that which you yourself don’t possess. What is the use of going over the beds with an empty watering-can? But when the Lord fills it and keeps it full and gives you delight to drink day by day, it just overflows! Go amongst your beautiful hills and see a waterfall, and put a great barrel under the waterfall, and it will soon be full and it will overflow, and as much water will overflow from that barrel as comes down from above. Take that great barrel away and put a little bucket there. The bucket will soon be just as full as the barrel, and when it overflows it will overflow just as much. I am the little bucket; it is easily filled and the flowing is so easy; there is no toil, there is no labor.”

Read more about Hudson Taylor at path2prayer.com

Claims of Bible versus Claims of Secularism

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Several years ago, while traveling to New Zealand, my seat mate spent considerable time reminding me of all the bad things that have occurred in the name of religion. It was hard to sit there and say nothing, but I did for the most part. How does one answer such charges? I believe these thoughts taken from a sermon given in the 1800s by Frank Gunsaulus are a good beginning. Read the entire sermon at path2prayer.com

Bible versus Secularism

If ever anti-Christianity had a chance to show its beauty, it was when it was at its supreme strength, and when Christianity was a babe in the manger; and these are only suggestions of the hell it dug for man at Rome. You say that it was not what skepticism is at the present day, and I acknowledge that it is so. Why? Because nineteen centuries have rolled like waves of light between, and Christ has improved it in spite of itself. Never had the world so good a chance to see what almost absolute skepticism and unbelief could and would do for the liberty of the human soul as then. But when the thrones of Rome were occupied with men who held the same opinion of the Bible as he does to-day, what was the freedom of the race….

Shall we go forward with our Bible or backward without it? Infidelity has always forgotten that, so far as it has an eye for liberty and humanity, the Christianity not of sects but of the Bible has furnished it and trained it. The liberalism which puts its Bible aside will acknowledge that a Christless humanity culminated in Rome. Skepticism is often eloquent when it tries to show how much ‘’fragments of Roman art” had to do with the making of modern civilization. Now, as Rome marks the height to which humanity without a Bible ascended, it would seem that this would be just the point where free and untrammeled thought and the fullest intellectual liberty would be found. Right there, where a Christless race was supreme, ought to be the place where the liberty abounded which the religion of Christ is said to destroy.

Whose program for the production of intellectual and spiritual liberty can liberals accept? Hoarse is the cry: The Bible is to be cast out. We look and behold men who have these opinions sitting on the throne of the Caesars. Now, one would suppose the intellect of that whole realm would have fair play. There was no Bible there to fetter or to annoy. This ought to be the halcyon age for “the liberty of man, woman and child.” …

But what is the fact? Strangely enough, in that age, when nearly every monarch, or poet, or philosopher was a humorous skeptic and they had no Christian religion to “bind their hands,” in an age when nothing but this sort of infidelity was supreme, Seneca, to whom connoisseurs in ethics blandly turn when they grow weary of the strenuous Paul or the pensive John, Seneca, while he wrote a book on poverty, has a fortune of $15,000,000, with a house full of citrus tables made of veined wood brought from Mount Atlas. While he framed moral precepts which we are besought to substitute for the Sermon on the Mount, he was openly accused of constant and shameless iniquity, and was leading his distinguished and tender pupil, Nero, into those practices and preparing him for those atrocities which Seneca himself had upon his own soul while he wrote his book on clemency. At that hour the Bible Christianity offered to the world’s heart and aspiration, not a book, not a theorist of morals, but a man for the leadership of humanity, and, of that Man the literary and calm French skeptic says: “Jesus will never be surpassed.” In the age of Rome, when people were not burdened by churches or Bibles, Lucian says: “ If any one loves wealth and is dazed by gold; if any one measures happiness by purple and power; if any one brought up among flatterers and slaves has never had a conception of liberty, frankness and truth; if any one has wholly surrendered himself to pleasure, full tables, carousals, lewdness, sorcery, and deceit, let him go to Rome.” There was no Bible either to preach against it or to interfere with it. These things were the product then, as they are now, of infidelity. Whenever the world wishes a civilization so barbarous as that, the reviler of the Bible must create it, for they have the applause of evil and the goodwill of crime. In the age of Rome, when this skepticism was the creed of the State, Nero got tired of the goddess Astarte, and murdered his own brother, his wife, and his mother, and the senate was so affected with the same opinion that they heard his justification and proceeded to heap new honors upon him. He threw the preacher Paul into jail, but there Paul wrought out the impulse of Europe. In the age when the great Livy said that “neglect of gods” had come, Caligula let loose his imperial frenzy, and every stream of blood that could be sent toward the sea carried its red tide. In that age when, like later eloquent critics, Ennius said that he did not believe that the gods thought of human beings, “for if the gods concerned themselves about the human race the good would prosper and the bad suffer,” the courtesan was kept for pleasure and the wife for domestic slavery. In that happy age of unbelief, when Menander sung “the gods do not care for men,” “the homes were,” according to Juvenal, “broken up before the nuptial garland faded”; and according to Tertullian, “they married only to be divorced.” Friends exchanged wives; infanticide and other hellish crimes were common. This is what that spirit, in its purity, did for the home, when there was no Bible to read at its hearthstone and no New Testament to put into the hands of young lovers departing to make a new rooftree.

Labor will some day be too liberal to give up its Bible. In that age, when “God was dead”; in that age, when “the gods had abdicated”; they said, “the mechanic’s occupation is degrading. A workshop is incompatible with anything noble.” The curse of slavery had blotted the name of labor, and they agreed that “a purchased laborer is better than a hired one,” and thousands of prison-like dwellings rose to conceal the myriads of slaves. In that age Nero, who had the same opinion about God which the vaunting spirit which calls itself liberal has to-day, had a “golden house” as large as a city, with colonnades a mile long, and within it a statue of Nero 120 feet high. That is what the theory of infidelity did for labor and the working man when it was on the throne. Do you wonder that from that day to this the “carpenter’s son” of the Bible has been scoffed at by this infidelity?

In that age, when the theories of infidelity ruled, the gladiators made wet with their blood the great enclosure of the arena. The women and timid girls of Rome gave lightly the sign of death. The crowd shook the building with applause as the palpitating body was dragged by a hook into the death chamber, and slaves turned up the bloody soil and covered the blood-dabbled earth with sand that the awful amusement might go on. All this was allowed by infidelity in its purity, before it had been influenced by the Christian’s Bible into believing that such things are atrocious.

Oh, when I hear infidelity prate of the horrors of slavery and defend a Godless theory of the State, I remember that those who had it in its purity did not regard the slave as a man. When I read the story of slavery and hear an exponent of free thought say, “The doctrine that woman is a slave or serf of man-whether it comes from hell or heaven, from God or demon, from the golden streets of the New Jerusalem, or the very Sodom of perdition-is savagery pure and simple,” I say, “That is so, but just that was the ruling idea when infidelity was on the throne of Rome.” And only where the Bible has gone and triumphed has woman the privileges which are thus praised.

Read the rest of Gunsaulus’ sermon comparing the claims of Scripture with the claims of liberalism at path2prayer.com