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TROUBLES BEARING BLESSED FRUITS.pdf

TROUBLES BEARING BLESSED FRUITS.pdf

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT



" And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples mul
tiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests -were obedient,
to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders
and miracles among the people, " etc. ACTS VI. 7-15.
BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT



" And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples mul
tiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests -were obedient,
to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders
and miracles among the people, " etc. ACTS VI. 7-15.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 02, 2013
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TROUBLES BEARING BLESSED FRUITS.BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT" And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests -wereobedient,to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wondersand miracles among the people, " etc. ACTS VI. 7-15.THESE wise and prompt measures were immediatelyfollowed by blessed results. The murmuring was silenced. The irritating leaven of discontent was castout of the Church. This was done, not by a high-handedauthority, exerted to silence the murmurers, but byacknowledging the existence of the grievance, and instantly devising the means of redressing it. Justicewas administered at once; there was no vexatious delay,The boon was bestowed gracefully, and left no sting.There was no taunt. The redress was complete as wellas prompt; for there is reason to believe that all, ornearly all, the deacons appointed belonged to the section that complained. All the seven have Greek names.This does not necessarily imply that they were allHellenists, for many Palestinian Jews bore Greek names.Andrew and Philip, in the college of the twelve, bearnames that are purely Greek, and yet they were nativesof Palestine. These two, although really Hebrews, mayhave had some family connection with Greeks. Besidestheir names, there is the interesting circumstance, thatwhen some Greek strangers at Jerusalem (John xii.)desired to obtain an interview with Jesus, it was tothese two disciples that they applied for an introduction. It is probable that most of the elected deaconswere Hellenists; for it was in order to satisfy that section of the Christians that the appointment was made.There is great wisdom in this straightforward andfrank mode of dealing. It takes all the bitterness away,
 
and sweetens the breath of the society. Best of all, it removes the hindrance, and promotes the spread of theWord. Divisions impede the progress of the kingdom;but divisions wisely, generously, promptly healed, notTroubles bearing blessed Fruits. 137only restore matters to their former condition, but carrythe common cause further forward. When a brokenbone is healed, the limb is stronger than it was before.Thus it often happens in Christian communities, thatwhere faith and love are in exercise, incidental difficulties become the occasion of edification and progress,according to the promise that God will make all thingswork together for good to his own. The troubles, inregard to the distribution of charity, that threatenedthe peace of the Church, became the occasion of displaying truth and love and fairness in the character of the leaders, and so a new impulse was communicatedto the common work. "The word of God increased,and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly."Of the seven men Stephen comes first to the front,and stands out the chief. After him Philip is distinguished in the apostolic history. These two men, of one spirit, were led by different paths, and employed indifferent kinds of service. Stephen suffered early, andPhilip preached long. The Lord had need of both ashis witnesses. Stephen by his faithfulness unto death,and Philip by his faithfulness in life, served the Lord intheir generation; and now they rejoice together.Without explanation and without comment the narrative proceeds to intimate that these men, chosen andordained for the specific duty of distributing the Church scharity, proceeded forthwith to preach, and to preachwith power and success, the gospel of the kingdom.
 
Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost and of faith; we neednot therefore be surprised that he could not limit himself to the serving of tables. The very qualities which recommended him for that office, carried him beyond it.He burst through the borders of his own special department. He volunteered apostle s work in addition tothe work of a deacon which had been prescribed tohim. No one interposed to restrict his efforts within thenarrower sphere. I take the facts as I find them. I lovethem as they are. There is great freedom and elasticityalong with order in the organization of the Church asit appears in the New Testament. A free developmentbelongs to the nature of the gospel. Wherever the loveof Christ is kindled within the heart, it will burn its own138 The Clntrch in the House.way out. It will keep the higher law of the Lord; butit bursts through all human official regulations. In aquickened time the lower offices.instinctively rise to thehigher work: in a dead time the reverse process may beobserved the higher offices, and those who hold them,gravitate down to the sphere of the lower, and beyondit. At such seasons those who claim the apostolatepractically desert prayer and the ministry of the Word,and strive for mastery in the various ambitions of theworld. In our day the stream has often manifested atendency to overflow its banks. Those who hold onlyprivate station in the Church have, through strong spiritual instincts, glided ere they were well aware into theheart of the ministerial work into prayer and theministry of the Word. Irregularities may be expectedto appear at such a time. Let these be watched andcorrected with all the wisdom and faithfulness availableto the Church: but beware of mere suppression. Iwould rather undergo much toil and trouble in lookingafter the embankments and guiding the course of thestream, than be relieved of labor by seeing the waters

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