Have you ever comprehended how marvelous is the transforming power of God? May I use the ministry of one of my lifelong heroes to illustrate that transforming power of God available this morning through the Spirit of God.
Nowhere on earth was the transforming power of God's Spirit more needed than the land to which CT Studd gave his life. Born in 1858 to an incredible successful English family with vast real estate and business interests all over the the British Colonial Empire. In the 1880's, CT inherited a substantial amount of money—several hundred thousand dollars in that day, tens of millions of dollars in ours.
On January 13th, 1887, CT and his wife wrote nine checks and gave away their fortune as carefully as a business man invests in some ‘gilt-edged' securities. They chose safe and high yielding securities in the Bank of Heaven. This was no fool's plunge on their part, but a public testimony before God and man that they believed God's Word to be the surest thing on earth. God promised an hundredfold interest in this life, not to speak of the next. This became a reality for all those who believe God's Word and act on it.
On July 3, 1888, he wrote the following letter to General Booth the founder of the Salvation Army explaining why he and his new bride gave everything to God:
"Henceforth our bank is in heaven. You see we are rather afraid—notwithstanding the great earthly safety of the Bank of England—we are, I say, rather afraid that they may both break on the Judgment Day. And this step has been taken not without most definite reference to God's Word, and the command of the Lord Jesus, Who said, "Sell that ye have and give alms. Make for yourselves purses which wax not old." '
When we had given all our money away, I packed up my new bride, and went to China (15 yrs.), then India (6 yrs.) and finally Africa (21 yrs.) as missionaries for the rest of our days. That is the gift of giving that God prompted in my heart and all those with me who love Him more than life!
My ambition and prayer had always been to die a soldier's death on the field of battle, and not be a drag on my fellow-workers through months or years as an invalid. I was a museum of diseases when I left China, and was afterwards hardly ever free. I had a life long battle with asthma, recurring malaria and dysentery as well as the chills and pains of gallstones ever with me in varying combination. Yet God enabled me to go on working not 8 but 18 hours a day, addressing, often for hours, thousands of his fellow-creatures in the heart of Africa's darkest jungles, telling them of Jesus Christ and the wonders of His Love-and this to the very end of my days.
Think about what came out of the gift of my life to Christ: through the fortune I gave to Christ Hudson Taylor was helped in the founding of the China Inland Mission, George Mueller's orphanages were expanded in London, great Salvation Army extensions were made, and the founding of the Moody Bible Institute.
In Africa when I began to invest in the natives in 1910 I arrived to villages of black skinned, naked cannibals who were totally given over to witchcraft. By night they spent their time with orgies to the demons, worshiping the gods of darkness in every impure act imaginable. To the pulsating beat of the drums, dancing by dim and flickering fires passion gave in to beast-like frenzy. Sometimes it was incest, sometimes it was adultery, sometimes it was murder, always it was hard, godless and cruel.
By day there was hatred and guilt. Stealing others wives, sometimes murdering and eating even their own relatives. Always hateful, always mean, always deceptive, always harsh and always cruel. Always enduring a mind tormented by lives of shame and filth. That was the picture at my arrival in 1910 to the North east corner of the Belgian Congo and the 22 tribal settlement areas."
Is it possible to change the entire disposition of a murderous cannibal? Is it possible to see a lifetime of lust, filth, gross immorality and debauchery stop? Is it possible to see murderers become loving, cannibals become tender, adulterers become faithful, demonized become holy? Yes to all these and much more. In 21 years of constant labors CT and his team saw God totally transform those 22 villages. That is the transforming power of God.
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