My mother will turn 100 in Sept… Think about the “changes” she has seen. The many “first” she has seen. We recently found her I.D. card for her employment in Tennessee on the “Manhattan Project.” You may be reading this and not know the significance of the “Manhattan Project”. “Google it”. 100 years from today, much of what will be accepted by the worldly will have to be “Googled” to understand how it could possibly have come to be “accepted”. Since the earliest civilization man-kind has made decisions contrary to God, because man-kind “thought” they knew better than God. (Job 38:1-4) Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. (NKJV). So here we are in today’s enlightened world. Today we “vote” on what is acceptable and not acceptable in the “church” as if we were to have a say in it. (Colossians 1:16-18) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (NKJV) Today we want to make, what we want, acceptable to those around us and mistakenly believe that we have made it acceptable to God, in His church. God is not listening to you. (Isaiah 59:1-2) Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. (NKJV) So, “Google it”. Live your life outside of God’s wishes and convince yourself you are in the right. Convince yourself you have the right. Convince yourself, but you won’t convince God. If you live to be 100, you may have to “Google it” to see how life was lived before you contributed to what we see in the world today. (Romans 14:11) For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” (NKJV) (Philippians 2:9-11) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NKJV) (Revelation 2:5) “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent. (NKJV) Time does pass quickly, no time like the present, “turn”.
(Romans 8:38-39) For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)
“nor any other created thing” … consider the depth of those words. God’s love is greater than your ability to conceive His awesomeness. God Loves. God is also bound to His own words, “He can not lie” (Hebrews 6:17-18) Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. (NKJV) It is “impossible for God to lie”. Consider (Hebrews 5:8-10) though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” (NKJV) He “Christ” became the “author of salvation” to all who “obey” Him. In Christ own words, (Mark 16:16) “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (NKJV)
(Philippians 2:12-18) Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me. (NKJV)
Work out your own salvation] Go on, walking by the same rule, and minding the same thing, till your salvation be completed: till, filled with love to God and man, ye walk unblamably in all his testimonies, having your fruit unto holiness, and your end everlasting life. … Adam Clarke
Verse 12. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed. The Philippians had from the beginning manifested a remarkable readiness to show respect to the apostle, and to listen to his teaching. This readiness he more than once refers to and commends. He still appeals to them, and urges them to follow his counsels, that they might secure their salvation.
Now much more in my absence. Though they had been obedient when he was with them, yet circumstances had occurred in his absence which made their obedience more remarkable, and more worthy of special commendation.
Work out your own salvation. This important command was first addressed to Christians, but there is no reason why the same command should not be regarded as addressed to all–for it is equally applicable to all. The duty of doing this is enjoined here; the reason, for making the effort, or the encouragement for the effort, is stated in the next verse. In regard to the command here, it is natural to inquire why it is a duty, and what is necessary to be done in order to comply with it? On the first of these inquiries, it may be observed that it is a duty to make a personal effort to secure salvation, or to work out our salvation:
(1.) Because God commands it. There is no command more frequently repeated in the Scriptures, than the command to make to ourselves a new heart; to strive to enter in at the strait gate; to break off from sin, and to repent.
(2.) It is a duty because it is our own personal interest that is at stake. No other one has, or can have, as much interest in our salvation as we have. It is every man’s duty to be as happy as possible here, and to be prepared for eternal happiness in the future world. No man has a right either to throw away his life or his soul. He has no more right to do the one than the other; and if it is a man’s duty to endeavour to save his life when in danger of drowning, it is no less his duty to endeavour to save his soul when in danger of hell.
(3.) Our earthly friends cannot save us. No effort of theirs can deliver us from eternal death without our own exertion. Great as may be their solicitude for us, and much as they may do, there is a point where their efforts must stop–and that point is always short of our salvation, unless we are roused to seek salvation. They may pray, and weep, and plead, but they cannot save us. There is a work to be done on our own hearts which they cannot do.
(4.) It is a duty, because the salvation of the soul will not take care of itself without an effort on our part. There is no more reason to suppose this than that health and life will take care of themselves without our own exertion. And yet many live as if they supposed that somehow all would yet be well; that the matter of salvation need not give them any concern, for that things will so arrange themselves that they will be saved. Why should they suppose this any more in regard to religion than in regard to anything else?
(5.) It is a duty, because there is no reason to expect the Divine interposition without our own effort. No such interposition is promised to any man, and why should he expect it? In the case of all who have been saved, they have made an effort–and why should we expect that God will favour us more than he did them? “God helps them who help themselves;” and what reason has any man to suppose that he will interfere in his case and save him, if he will put forth no effort to “work out his own salvation?” In regard to the other inquiry –What does the command imply; or what is necessary to be done in order to comply with it?–we may observe, that it does not mean
(1.) that we are to attempt to deserve salvation on the ground of merit. That is out of the question; for what can man do that shall be an equivalent for eternal happiness in heaven? Nor
(2.) does it mean that we are to endeavour to make atonement for past sins. That would be equally impossible–and it is, besides, unnecessary. That work has been done by the great Redeemer.
But it means,
(1.) that we are to make an honest effort to be saved in the way which God has appointed;
(2.) that we are to break off from our sins by true repentance;
(3.) that we are to believe in the Saviour and honestly to put our trust in him;
(4.) that we are to give up all that we have to God;
(5.) that we are to break away from all evil companions and evil plans of life; and
(6.) that we are to resist all the allurements of the world, and all the temptations which may assault us that would lead us back from God, and are to persevere unto the end. The great difficulty in working out salvation is in forming a purpose to begin at once. When that purpose is formed, salvation is easy. … Albert Barnes
work out–carry out to its full perfection. “Salvation” is “worked in” (Php 2:13; Eph 1:11) believers by the Spirit, who enables them through faith to be justified once for all; but it needs, as a progressive work, to be “worked out” by obedience, through the help of the same Spirit, unto perfection (2Pe 1:5-8). The sound Christian neither, like the formalist, rests in the means, without looking to the end, and to the Holy Spirit who alone can make the means effectual; nor, like the fanatic, hopes to attain the end without the means.
your own--The emphasis is on this. Now that I am not present to further the work of your salvation, “work out your own salvation” yourselves the more carefully. Do not think this work cannot go on because I am absent; “for (Php 2:13) it is God that worketh in you,” &c. In this case adopt a rule different from the former (Php 2:4), but resting on the same principle of “lowliness of mind” (Php 2:3), namely, “look each on his own things,” instead of “disputings” with others (Php 2:14).
salvation–which is in “Jesus” (Php 2:10), as His name (meaning God-Saviour) implies. … Jamieson-Fausset-Brown
He exhorts them to diligence and seriousness in the Christian course: Work out your own salvation. It is the salvation of our souls (1Pe 1:9), and our eternal salvation (Heb 5:9), and contains deliverance from all the evils sin had brought upon us and exposed us to, and the possession of all good and whatsoever is necessary to our complete and final happiness. Observe, It concerns us above all things to secure the welfare of our souls: whatever becomes of other things, let us take care of our best interests. It is our own salvation, the salvation of our own souls. It is not for us to judge other people; we have enough to do to look to ourselves; and, though we must promote the common salvation (Jude 1:3) as much as we can, yet we must upon no account neglect our own. We are required to work out our salvation, katergazesye. The word signifies working thoroughly at a thing, and taking true pains. Observe, We must be diligent in the use of all the means which conduce to our salvation. We must not only work at our salvation, by doing something now and then about it; but we must work out our salvation, by doing all that is to be done, and persevering therein to the end. Salvation is the great thing we should mind, and set our hearts upon; and we cannot attain salvation without the utmost care and diligence. He adds, With fear and trembling, that is, with great care and circumspection: … Matthew Henry
O B E D I E N C E (compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to
another’s authority).… Wayne
Wayne Sinquefield Minister
Roxboro church of Christ, 2567 Burlington Road, Roxboro N.C. 27573
H:(336) 322-119nine … mobile (919) 428-003six
Reading horizontally (comparing accounts, harmonizing) has the danger of losing the contextual message of the writer, but also offers benefits in comparing the gospels. The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) were written time, place, and purpose specific but have a message for all time with proper application. It is important to recognize context and cultures while avoiding extremes that do not harmonize with today’s world. Application to our lives must be considered in the culture in which we live, without losing the foundation of teaching presented in a different time and climate, considering each writer is likely speaking to a specific group of first century Christians. Yes, we must read, study and make appropriate application of these gems of the Holy Spirit, to our lives today. … Wayne S.
(Ephesians 4:4-6) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (KJV)
Holy Spirit “baptism” was promised “only” to the apostles. “until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:2-5 NKJV)
Since Holy Spirit baptism was promised only to the apostles, and never commanded, it is clear that the “one baptism” is the baptism in water, required of every penitent believer in Christ “for the forgiveness of sins”
“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 NKJV)
“Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.” (Acts 10:47-48 NKJV)
‘And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.‘ (Acts 22:16 NKJV)
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1-4 NKJV)
“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18 NKJV)
“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:11-12 NKJV)
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27 NKJV)
“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (1 Peter 3:21 KJV)
A careful study of these Scriptures shows the “oneness” of this baptism, both in number and spiritual quality. It is the spiritual link of the human response of obedient faith to the sacrifice of Jesus in His blood – both “for the remission of sins”
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38 KJV)
“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28 KJV)
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4 NKJV)
Much religious division is caused and maintained by those who twist, ignore, and “reject the counsel of God” regarding this one baptism “into Christ.”
Introduction =Jesus As The Way=
As we begin this series of studies, I would like to start by having you ask yourself several questions:
- Do you have problems?
- Are you confused in things pertaining to life itself?
- Do you feel lost, with a sense of despair?
If you do, don’t feel like you are alone. About the time of Abraham, a person who was experiencing a great deal of suffering said:
Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue. (Job 14:1-2)
These words, spoken nearly four thousands years ago, express the sentiments of millions today. Now, however, there is a way out: Jesus Christ! As He Himself said:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6)
Yes, to everything that is truly good, both in this life and the one to come, Jesus Christ Is The Way!
In this study, I want to introduce several areas in which Jesus is truly “The Way”. Succeeding lessons will expand upon these themes, but in this lesson I simply wish to whet your appetite. For example, Jesus is…
THE WAY TO A BETTER LIFE
On one occasion, Jesus stated His purpose in coming to this earth:
“…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
This “abundant life” Jesus offers is more than simply life in the “hereafter”. Though He does not promise wealth or luxury, He does assure us of:
- A loving Father in Heaven, Who cares for His children. As Jesus taught in His “Sermon on the Mount”:
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)
- More than sufficient provision for those who are willing to follow Him as “The Way”. As we read on another occasion:
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
Therefore, it is not surprising to find that the happiest people in the world are those who have most completely committed themselves to following Jesus as “The Way”. As the apostle Paul wrote, even though he was under house arrest at the time:
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)
And when the apostle Peter wrote to Christians undergoing extreme forms of persecution, he could honestly say:
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (1 Peter 1:6-8)
Jesus is also…
THE WAY TO FORGIVENESS OF SINS
He is the only solution to a very serious problem…the most serious threat to our well-being that we face: Sin! This is because everyone of us is guilty of sin:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
And sin is not without its consequences! Often physical, but always spiritual! Unless the problem of sin is resolved, the ultimate consequence is eternity in hell!
But through Jesus Christ, God has made provision for the forgiveness of our sins! Out of love, God offered Jesus as the “propitiation” for our sins:
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
Through His blood shed on the cross, Jesus provides forgiveness for our sins:
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
After His sacrificial death for us, Jesus explained how those lost in sin could be saved; it involves repentance on our part…
Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47-48)
It also involves faith and baptism…
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk 16:16)
But to be truly happy, we need more than just the forgiveness of sins; we need to be restored to the close union with God which we lost by our sins.
In this also, Jesus is our answer, for He is…
THE WAY TO GOD
Many religions, claiming to be Christian, are almost totally silent about the new relationship Jesus provides with God, the Father. About all they seem to talk about is “Jesus, Jesus, etc.” or “Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit, etc.” Could this indicate a lack of real understanding of Jesus’ purpose?
Jesus came to this world to reconcile man back to God the Father. As Paul told the Corinthians:
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
As we have already noted, Jesus claimed to be the only way to the Father:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Why emphasize this point? Because one does not truly experience what it means to have “eternal life” without having an intimate relation- ship with the Father, as well as with the Son. And this is exactly what Jesus has to offer us! As He mentioned in His prayer before His trial and crucifixion:
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:1-3)
Yes, that “eternal life” Jesus offers to us includes “knowing” the Father as well as the Son!
The way to a better life, the way to forgiveness of sins, the way to God…what wonderful blessings! But there is more. Jesus is also…
THE WAY OUT OF RELIGIOUS CONFUSION
Consider the plight of many who wish to follow Jesus. They are confused and even repelled by the multitude of different churches and conflicting doctrines being offered by those who profess to be His church.
But one does not have to be a part of this confusion! Jesus Himself certainly does not approve it. He taught us that:
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25)
Before His betrayal and arrest, we find Jesus praying fervently…
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-23)
How can we even begin to hope to have this unity of which Jesus spoke? It helps to remember that Jesus promised to build HIS church:
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
Despite the efforts of man and Satan to destroy it, or otherwise change it, they shall not prevail! Even today, when someone obeys the words of Jesus Christ, they are added by the Lord Himself to His church:
…praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47)
In His church, we can enjoy the unity of which Paul wrote to the Ephesians…
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
But finding His church and enjoying this unity is experienced only as we follow Jesus as the way out of religious confusion.
Finally, let me point out that Jesus is…
THE WAY TO ETERNAL LIFE
Death is inevitable (unless Jesus returns first), and as the author of the epistle to the Hebrews wrote, it is followed by judgment:
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)
In this way, death becomes the door, either to eternal life or to eternal condemnation. In His description of the Judgment scene, Jesus outlines only two alternatives…
“And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)
To die in Jesus is to die in the way to life eternal! As the apostle John wrote in the book of Revelation:
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)
Yet another wonderful blessing in following Jesus as “The Way”, to find that He is the way to eternal life!
I hope that I have sparked your interest in wanting to learn more about Jesus as “The Way”. As I mentioned at the outset of this study, the other lessons will elaborate upon these great blessings provided only through Jesus.
My purpose in this series is two-fold…
- For those who are Christians, to increase their appreciation of Jesus as their Lord and Savior, so they will want to serve Him with greater zeal;
- For those who are not Christians, to encourage them to let Jesus be their way to everything that is truly good, both in this life and in the life to come!
Questions To Stimulate Your Thinking…
What does Jesus expect of those who call Him “Lord”? (Luke 6:46)
To do the things which He says.
What does Paul claim about the things that he wrote? (1 Corinthians 14:37)
They were the commandments of the Lord.
To whom did Jesus promise the necessities of life? (Matthew 6:33)
Those who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Through what do we have redemption? (Ephesians 1:7)
The blood of Jesus.
What did Jesus say should be preached in His name to all nations? (Luke 24:47)
Repentance and remission of sins.
What did Jesus say one must do to be saved? (Mark 16:16)
Believe and be baptized.
Can Muslims, Buddhists, or any others reach God without Jesus? (John 14:6)
Whom did the Lord add to His church in Jerusalem? (Acts 2:47)
Those who were being saved.
How many baptisms does God now recognize? (Ephesians 4:5)
Who are blessed when they die? (Revelations 14:13) Those who die in the Lord.
This is one of a short lesson series presented by brother Mark Copeland.
Note: The lessons are based on a Bible correspondence course entitled
“Jesus, The Way”, by brother Sewell Hall.