Newspaper Page Text
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL
FAITH: WHAT IT 18 ANI> WHAT IT DOES. June 1, 1919. Heb. 11:1-40; 12: 1, 2. Golden Text: Ye believe In God, believe also in me. ? John 14:1. Devotional Heading: Pb. 27:1-14. Additional Material for Teachers: Matt. 8:5-13; Mark 1:40-42; 2:1-12; Acts 1G: 1 4, 13, 29-34; Rom. 1:16, 17; 3:21-30; 5:1; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 5:4. Primary Topic: The Story of a Man Who Believed in Jesus. I-iesson Material: John 9:1-38. Memory Verse: And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. John 9:38. Junior Topic: Heroes of Faith. Memory Verse: Heb. 12:1, 2-a. Intermediate Topic: The Victories of Faith. Senior and Adult Topic: The Place of Faith in the Religious Life. There are a great many people who have a very indefinite idea about faith. They seem to think that it is some thing mysterious which is hard to un derstand and with which they have little experience. The fact is that faith is the most common exercise of the human mind. One reason for thf i misunderstanding, no doubt, is due to the fact that the term faith is used almost entirely in connection with re ligious matters, and we use another term, trust, more commonly in all other matters. To say that we trust a man is the same as saying we have faith in him. There are some people who seem to think that faith and knowledge have no connection one with the other. The fact is that there is an absolute necessary connection. There must be knowledge or there can be no faith We do not trust a man of whom we know nothing. We must necessarily know of his existence in order to trust him. We may to a limited extent trust him because he is a man and because we have some confidence in human nature. When we are told about him by some one else who knows him, our confidence grows stronger and we trust him more. When we know him personally and find him to be a true, honest and capable man, we trust him more com pletely. Just in the samo way do we trust God. In order to have faith in Him, we must know that there is a God. If we had no information about Him, we would have tto receive this Information from some one who would know Him, but when we have come into personal contact with Him, then is our faith strengthened. Faith is not blind acceptance of any idea or theory, but it is based upon knowl edge. The writer of the Hebrews says faith is the substance of things hoped for. That is, it Js that which gives a material existence or foundation for our hopes. It is faith that enables us to feel that the things we hope for are real. Faith is one of the essen tials of all intercourse between ra tional beings and is the ground of confidence even in material things. Lord Lytton says: - "There is no unbelief; Whoever plants a seed beneath tho sod And waits to see it push away the clod, He trusts in God." When we stop to think how little we know and realize how much we take on faith, we can see something of its importance. We have faith in the laws of nature which are but the laws of God applied to the material world, and so we plant our seed, to we build our houses, we launch our ships upon the great sea, we use medi cines that the doctors give us when we are sick. We are constantly ex ercising faith in our fellowmen. It is faith that binds loved ones heart to heart. It is faith that enables a bus iness man to conduct his business. It is because of faith that we trust our lives to the engineer on the railroad train. It is faith that makes social life possible. It is upon faith that all just government is built. The strength of our faith depends upon the character of the person in whom we trust and the ability which we recognize in him to do what is ex pected of him. This is just tin way in which we ought to act toward Clod. We ought to put in Him the same trust that we put in our fellowmen, except that we know there can be no failure in Him. For there is no luck of ability or willingness or purpose on His part to do anything that we have a right to expect of Him. This eleventh chapter of Hebrews has often been called the roll of the heroes of faith. The only way by which we can know of the creation of the world is by faith in what God has told us about it. Creation, the making of something out of nothing, is entirely beyond our experience, but we believe in it because we accept God's testimony in regard to it. Abel showed his faith in God by doing what God told him to do. So far as he could see, no doubt, there was no more reason for his bringing the lamb to sacrifice than it would have been to have followed Cain's ex ample and bring the fruits of the field. But God had told him what to do, and he believed that that was the right thing to do. He trusted God. Enoch showed his faith in God by living a life that was well pleasing to God, and because he was so willing to trust God and ,to walk with Him all through life. God honored him by translating him. This was evidence that he had pleased God, but it was impossible to please Him without faith. Noah showed great faith in God He had had no experience with a flood that would destroy the earth, but when God told him of it and told him to build the ark, he did not hesitate, but obeyed God implicitly. When God called Abraham to leave his home, his country and almost all of his friends and loved ones to go into a strange and far country, he went because he believed God. All during his life he trusted the prom ise of God. for God had told him that the land in which he lived v. as to be given to his children after hit*!. Though he never owned a home of his own, he had entire confidence in God as to the fulfilment of the prom ise. As we go on through the whole of this chapter taking up the study of the life of each one of these heroes of the faith, we will find how com pletely they trusted God, and it was this trust or faith that gave them strength for whatever God called them to do or endure. Gideon could never have gained his great victory with his handful of men if It had not been that he trusted in God to give him the strength and help fhat was needed. So men and women through all the ages have been able ?to bear trials and afflictions and suf fering and persecution because they trusted God, knowing that He does all things well. In the beginning of the twelfth chapter, the writer represents the Christian as a racer in the arena, surrounded by a great multitude of people who are looking down upon him as he started upon the race. Thl3 great multitude is made up of the great heroes of faith and who in their lives trusted God and have been re warded for their faith. He represents the Christian as he enters upon the race as one who is eager to win the prize. In order to do this, he musi lay aside everything that would inter fere with his running. So sins, es pecially those that easily beset us, must be given up, and then when we start out on the race we must gu with patience and determination, knowing that only perseverance will enable us to win, and as we run we ought to look to Jesus not only as the judge who is to award the prize to the winner, but as the one who gives us all needed help and strength. For he it is who gives us all of our faith and who strengthens it as we go along through the journey of life. It was in order that he might endure this for us that he endured the cross, dying for us, and arose again and ascended to the right hand of the Throne of God. If we will but think of Him in whom we put our trust, there should never be any weakening of our faith. THE PRAYER MEETING i MEMORIALS OF GOD'S TOWKR. Week Beginning May 25, 1919. Joshua 4:19-24. The wilderness journeys were at an end. The aspiration of the ages was about to be fulfilled. The children of Israel had reached the border of Ca naar., the Promised Land, and only the river Jordan separated them from it. Joshua at God's command told the priests to take the Ark of the Covenant and march into the river. As their feet touched the water, '.he water was divided. The flow of the stream from above was stopped and the water below passed on. So the priests advanced to the middle of the river and there took their stand with the Ark. Then the children of Israel marched over on dry land as they aad done in the Red Sea. This was a great event in their his tory, and it was one that they would like to remember as long as they lived, but God wanted their children md their children's children to remember it also. So He commanded them to set up two memorials, each one com posed of twelve rough stones. The one was erected in the midst of the river, where the priests had stood with the ark. The writer of the book of Joshua said that it was still stand ing in his day. No doubt, it was high enough to appear above the water when the river was low. The other memorial was built of twelve stones taken from the bottom of the river. This was erected at the place where they camped the first night. God gave as the reason for erecting these memorials that he wanted the memory of this event pre served in future generations. Natu rally, any one who was not familiar with their history would inquire of some one who was there why those memorials had been erected, and the reply to be given was that it was to remind them of the crossing of the Jordan, which was Just like their crossing of the Red Sea. But this was not only to preserve history, but also to proclaim a great truth. Thht truth was that God is all powerful. Only God could divide the water of the river and the sea. Memorials are very useful, because we naturally forget many things that we ought to remember! We often times build elaborate monuments to commemorate the deeds or character of some great person. But a very simple memorial will often recall to mind j ust what we want to know. Though we have had no such mirac ulous experiences as the children of Israel, we have all had many experi ences of God's providential dealings with us which we ought to keep in mind, and there are many helpful memorials which we may establish or with which we may connect these in cidents. As we read our Bibles of tentimes some thought comes to us that is helpful and inspiring, and we find some great truth that draws us nearer to God. A simple mark or note upon the margin will bring this thought to memory when we read this passage again. There are certain places with which we especially connect the thought of the presence of God. Many Christians have some quiet retreat to which they go for meditation and prayer, and whenever they enter this sacred place their thoughts naturally turn to God. So the true worshipper of God, as he goes into God's house at the regular time of worship, has his mind natu rally turned to experiences which he has gone through in that place be fore. He remembers how some ser vant of God preached a sermon that brought comfort and encouragement to his heart and strengthened him for the journey of life. He recalls, it may be, some hymn the singing of which lifted his soul up to heaven, or it may be that he recalled some precious experience of his own medi tation and prayer as he sat silently in the pew. No better memorial can be erected than that of a saved soul. If we have been instrumental, under God's guidance, in winning a soul for Christ, we have experienced a joy that the world cannot give, and whenever we see that person we will be reminded of this joyful experience and will be inspired to put forth earnest efTort to win others. Let each one of us look about us for opportunities to erect memorials to remind us of God's goodness, and let us recall His acts of love to us. YOUNG PIOPLFS SOPITES REVERENCE AND WORSHIP. M., May 20. Reverence for parents. Mark 7:1 13. T., May 27. Honor the aned. 2 Kings 2:23-25. W., May 28. Reverence in God's house. Eccl. 5* 1-7. T., May 29. The spirit of worship. Pa. 95:1-11 F., May 30. Church attendance. Heb. 19: 19-2.1. S., May 31. Love for God's house. Luke 2:41 52. S., Juno 1. Topic ? Our Relation to God. VI. Reverence and Public Worship. Pe. 33:1-11; John 4:19-20. (Con secration meeting.) Whv should we be reverent in God's house? Why should we be respectful to etery one? How are respect and reference shown? Reverence for Parents, Mark 7:1 13: "Honor thy father and thy mother" is one of the Ten Command ments given by God. It is the only entirely positive command among them. All of the others are negative in their requirements. This is the first commandment in what is consid ered the first table of the law, which treats of our duty to our fellowmen. It seems that some of the Jews in the days of our Saviour were guilty of failing to help their parents as much as they ought to have done. They excused themselves by saying that they could not give to their par ents, for what they had was corban, that is, it had been set apart for God's service. Our Saviour teaches that it is more important to do what we can for parents, so far as they need our help, even than to render service to God. The child owes more to the parents than to any others, for they have done more for Ihe child than any one else has.