Online Correspondence Course
Lesson 1: Jesus Christ Is The Way
By Sewell Hall
"Man, that is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble." (Job 14:1). These words, spoken thousands of years ago, express the sentiment of millions living today. Now, however, there is a way out - Jesus Christ. He said of Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) To everything that is truly good, both in this life and in the life to come, JESUS CHRIST IS THE WAY.
Finding Jesus, The Way
Following Jesus as "the way" involves more than just praising Him with our lips. He said, "But why do you call Me `Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46) "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)
The life and teaching of Jesus are found in the first four books of the New Testament -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Other books of the New Testament are also the teaching of Jesus, for He revealed it by the Holy Spirit through men like Peter and Paul. Paul wrote:
"If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 14:37)
Following Jesus as the way, therefore, requires a careful study of the New Testament and a determined effort to live as it directs.
JESUS, THE WAY TO A BETTER LIFE Jesus stated His purpose in coming to earth in the following words: "...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)
Jesus provides this better life by offering the solution to the problems that make life difficult -- guilt, self-pity and fear. He does not promise wealth or luxury, but He does assure us of a loving Father in Heaven who cares for His children and will provide the things they truly need.
"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." (Matt. 6:31-33)
The happiest people in the world are those who have most completely committed themselves to following Jesus as the way. "...Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory." (1 Peter 1:8)
Jesus, The Way To Forgiveness of Sins
Sin is a more serious threat to our well-being than any physical, economic or social danger that we face. Yet, all of us are guilty of sin and we are helpless on our own to remove its stain. Sin is a violation of God's Law and only God can forgive it. He has made provision for our forgiveness through Jesus. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." (Ephesians 1:7) "Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:24)
After His sacrifice for us, Jesus explained how those who are lost in sin can have remission of sins and be saved. "...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 24:46-47) "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16)
Jesus, The Way To God
Lost people need more than forgiveness of sins. They need to be restored to that close union with God which they lost by their sin. In sending Jesus into the world - "...God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself..." (2 Corinthians 5:19) Jesus stated that one can reach God only through Him. He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."(John 14:6)
Jesus, The Way Out Of Religious Confusion
Many who wish to follow Christ are repelled by the multitude of churches and the conflicting doctrines taught by those who profess to be Christians. One does not have to be a part of this confusion. Jesus did not approve of it.
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus promised: "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church..." We read of the beginning of His church in Acts, chapter 2. "...And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:47) The Lord is still adding those who are being saved to His church. If we are saved, we are in His church and united with all others who are in it. "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)
It is good for us to worship and work with other saved individuals who are bound with us in Christ by these unifying ties. But if we join another body (denomination), accept another lord (religious authority), or adhere to another faith (creed), we are leaving the unity for which Jesus prayed in John 17:20-21. "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."
Jesus, The Way To Heaven
"It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." (Hebrews9:27) Death is the door, both to heaven and to hell. To die in Jesus is to die in the way to heaven. "Then I heard the 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 do follow them" (Revelation 14:13)
"Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city." (Revelation 22:14)