THE BIGGEST BUSINESS IN THE HIGH STREET
"And he called his ten servants ...and said unto them: Trade till I come."-Luke 19, verse 13.
It takes a tremendous amount of education to bring home to the mind of men the indisputable fact that wherever there is a place of worship used, not consecrated to, but actually used for the worship of God and the fulfilment of God's business in the world of time and eternity, there you have the biggest business on earth!
Thousands of Christians have not yet awakened to this truth. I doubt if all the members of Rye Lane Chapel are yet thoroughly convinced about it. Certainly there are many, even Christians, who think that the policies and activities of politicians and statesmen are much more important than the Gospel message of salvation. Any prayer for guidance must be accompanied by the will of all concerned to know and do the will of God. Until we see that God's concern is God's will in the hearts of men, we have not learned the elementary lesson concerning praying to Him about the affairs of men, of governments, of nations and of societies.
Therefore, as we come to our subject this evening, we desire to indicate why,
in actual fact, within this Chapel is carried on the biggest business in Rye
Lane. I hope that the three matters upon which I shall speak may produce a thrill
in the heart of every true believing Christian here. That it may create longings
in the hearts of the unbelieving, and may constrain everybody present to the
conviction that this is indeed the biggest business in Rye Lane! Wherever else
it is carried on, it is a sober realistic fact that the work of God is the biggest
business in the world. The issue is really one of personality. A hundred years
ago, when little children were working in mines and factories, when men and
women were enslaved for life, human personality was of no account, but today
we recognise that human beings are the wealth of the world. And the Christian
Church is in business for God to trade until the Lord returns in advancing the
highest interest of every human being that may be possible.
Therefore this is the biggest business:
1) TO RECREATE MEN AND WOMEN IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD.
This is in itself a marvellous achievement far beyond any human power or device. It cannot be accomplished by any ritual, creed or religion: it is an act of God. Every one of us in the line of Adam is in the bondage of sin and under the judgement of eternal death. There is no device or power within the human race that can in the slightest degree save the situation for any one human being or groups, societies or nations. "All have sinned " and all are under judgement. We may make money; we may make ourselves look beautiful and attractive, we may search for knowledge within the realm of the material universe, but the end is the same. " It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgement."
We have, however, an answer from God, a provision, and so, a possibility. This
is the Gospel message: that any man or woman may, by an act of God, become a
new creation in Christ. Let such a one see that obstinate rebellion against
the will of God is damnation to personality. Let them renounce their sin and
ask for Divine forgiveness; they shall find that Christ by His death atones
for their sin, and by His resurrection gives them Divine life. And that in actual
truth they do become a new creation of God! It is as great a work of re-creation,
indeed greater, than one may read of in Genesis 1.
It represents a complete innermost transfiguration of being, wherein by the processes of grace they shall daily be delivered from sin, its power and its judgement, and more and more grow into the likeness of Jesus, by Whom they have been redeemed. This is the copyright of the Gospel. There is nothing in any other religion in the world that corresponds with this glorious re-creative act of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
There is nothing in this busy thoroughfare that offers anything in comparison
to this. Here you may find many goods offered of value and assistance in life,
of great usefulness, but no other business offers you a re-creation of your
innermost being, a glorious unique satisfaction with inward peace and a renewed
outlook on life of surpassing satisfaction.
Then again let me say that there is offered:-
2) THE PRICELESS BOON OF IMMORTALITY.
A great deal of attention is given, and rightly so, to this present mortal body. We can never be sufficiently thankful for all the benefits that medical knowledge has conferred upon the human body. Lord Lister, to name only one in the field of medicine, has conferred great benefits on mankind. By his investigations he is declared to have saved more lives in the 19th century than in the same century were destroyed in war. When he died in 1912 it was declared that humanity itself, with uncovered head, saluted him.
A great deal of time and thought is devoted to the clothing of the body, the attractiveness of the body, but with all these considerations in our minds we cannot escape the truth that eventually, sooner or later, this mortal body perishes. We may have varying views upon this matter. We may think the interment of the body marks the complete end of the person concerned. To me that makes life a fiasco! Suicide becomes a most rational act for any man or woman troubled with life. But when I turn to the Lord Jesus, the Greatest of those who have trodden this earth, I see an entirely different picture in which He Who came to die for us is coming again. His death was for the purpose of time and for the ends of eternity. He has the answer to the soul bereaved of its body by death. He declares that as He is in heaven at this moment, the Son of God robed in manhood, glorified and immortal, so we may be! The body that perishes in the dust can be succeeded by a body imperishable and incorruptible. The Scriptures make it clear that wherever the Holy Spirit is received, accepted and obeyed, that same Holy Spirit, ruling within the mortal body of the believer, will bring the work of re-creation for, the immortal body to its consummation, so that after we have said goodbye to this present mortal body there shall be prepared for every true believer the body of incorruption that death can never touch.
This immortal body is the priceless boon of the ages. To miss it is to miss everything; to embrace it is to know fullness of life, a possibility, and an enlargement that in our present condition is utterly impossible for any one of us to imagine. We do not point men to what is called the Church, we are not even concerned at this moment to say which is the true Church, but we point men to Jesus, Who only hath immortality, and we say, seek the Lord tonight. Seek Him first for forgiveness and life eternal, for the new creation within your very being, and so yield to the will of the Holy Spirit that when the Lord returns in immortal glory you may share with Him the marvellous boon of immortality in a body of transcendent possibility. No other business in Rye Lane offers such a marvellous gift! Finally there is offered:-
3) THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH.
The characteristic of the new heavens and the new earth will be that therein
dwelleth righteousness. Most people think that heaven already enjoys righteousness,
but heaven is a vast realm, the measurements of which are beyond our minds and
the figures and areas we use! In the present heavens Satan has a place from
which at this moment as I speak, he dominates the human race, except those who
are newly created by Christ Himself. " The whole world, lieth in the
As to the earth, who could be satisfied with the conditions, even of nature, that are so familiar to us. Wherefore God has appointed His Beloved Son, Heir of all things, and conferred upon Him not some empty title but the Omnipotence of God, operative within and, through His own Personality. With the end in view that having brought to birth in immortality the Redeemed in His blood, He shall use them all for the bringing in of His Kingdom, including the burning up of all that to-day we call matter. So that the final creation of God of earth and heaven, unmarred by sin, without any domination from the powers of evil, shall be the delight and joy of all His redeemed through the countless ages of eternity. Thus they will step more and more into knowledge, increase in Divine likeness, and know within themselves the Divine life, express it through the body of immortality, and live within a realm of delight and experience none can define, tell or imagine with our sin-drenched carnal minds.
Surely there can be none present this evening without some interest in these
matters! Let us all lay it to heart that this is the mind of God from all eternity
through all eternity, and it begins for any one of us when, as repentant sinners,
we turn from our sin to our Saviour. This is indeed the business in which we
are to trade until the Lord shall come!
This is the business of the Church, and the, members of the true Church will be concerned with it. God, in His mercy, is ready tonight to do business with us in grace, and how wonderful it is only those who taste and see can know.
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