Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life

John 14:6

We live in a religiously pluralistic society.  A society that says there are many ways to reach Heaven.  Does that make sense?  Does it sound plausible that Jesus came to the earth, bled and died only to leave us without specific direction on how to follow him?  The answer is simple.  He left us a way. John 14:2,3 --  “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”

Jesus’ teaching is exclusive in nature meaning we must follow his word and his alone; leaning not on our interpretation. 

What does the Bible say?

In John: 14:6 Jesus says…
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh to the Father but through me.”  (NASV)

Taking this verse, let us look closely at what he is saying.

1.  Jesus is the answer to man’s “lostness”.
He is THE way! No other way will get us there.

From the beginning God had a plan to bring us back to himself; to redeem us from sin. But it is His way, not our way that leads us to salvation.

Proverbs 14:12 “The is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”  This statement is so important that it is repeated verbatim in Proverbs 16:25.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Left to ourselves we are lost.
Jeremiah 10:23 “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.”

Jesus came to save us.  In John 10 we have the “I AM” statements.
Verse 9  “I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he will be saved….”
Verse 11  “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

Verses 14-15  “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”

Christ is our mediator; our intercessor, or go-between, to God. There is only one—Christ Jesus.

I Timothy 2:5,6 – “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

Acts 4:10,12 – Peter, speaking to the elders of Israel, said, “Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He (Jesus) is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

2.  Jesus is the answer to our ignorance, because He is THE Truth.  He is the personification of TRUTH.  He is the essence of TRUTH.

John 1:14 – “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:17 – For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”

John 8:31-32 – “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ “

We must thirst for truth.  Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.”

John 17:17 -- In a prayer to God prior to his crucifixion, Jesus prayed – “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”

III John 3,4 – “For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.  I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”

I Tim 2:3,4 – “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

3.  Jesus is the answer to man’s mortality.  Just because God wants all of us to be saved, it does not mean we will.  We are free moral agents with the choice of following God or not.
Jesus is THE Life through His cleansing blood. Forgiveness is ready and at hand.  All we have to do is obey.

I John 2: 1-6 – “My little children, these things write I unto you that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous; And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  The one who says, I know him, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoever keeps his word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.  By this we know that we are in Him; the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

John 14: 15 – “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.”

1 John 5:3 – “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.”

Mark 7: 6-9 – And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me.   But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men’  Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.  He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.”

John 15: 9-11 – “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Ecclesiastes 12:13 – “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.”

Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

Points based on a sermon given by Mel Futrell
July 8, 2012
Shades Mountain church of Christ
Birmingham, Alabama

Saturday, April 30, 2011

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Okay, I know that's true, but East Pocahontas is now underwater so we've had enough rain.  Unfortunately, the forecast is for rain to move in again late tonight or early tomorrow and rain for 3 days.  So much for drying out.  Hwy. 67 N. is closed.  Hwy. 67 S. is closed.  The highway between Portia and Black Rock is now closed.  That means the only way out of Pocahontas is west toward Ash Flat or go south from Imboden to Strawberry to Bald Knob and then back up to Jonesboro or south to Searcy.  Wednesday, Denny, Alicia, Matthew and Mitch flew over the area to see and document the flooding from an arial view.  There's water everywhere!  Fortunately, Mitch and I are on the west side of Pocahontas in the "dry" area.  Probably 20% of our school population is affected by the flooding.  Sadly, they are the students that don't have a lot to begin with and now they have nothing.  Once the levy broke there just wasn't time to get their things out.

Northeast Arkansas, Southeast Missouri aren't the only areas affected by weather conditions.  The storm system that came through here also affected Texas and Oklahoma.  Another system hammered Mississippi and Alabama with EF4 tornadoes.  Hundreds of people lost their lives in that system because it went through cities.  Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Huntsville.  So much destruction!


Friday, February 11, 2011

A Week of Snow

I began this week excited over the prospect of a snow day.  It is now Friday and the fourth day spent out of school due to snow (Tuesday was the only exception).  I made Tuesday count.  The PJHS student body voted on Who's Who for the yearbook so I'll be ready to snap pictures as soon as we are back in school.

I can't say I really accomplished that much while off.  I watched the snow fall on Wednesday, read Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen, and enjoyed the day off with my husband.  Thursday I tallied Who's Who votes then Mitch and I escaped to Jonesboro to see Matthew and Alicia.  Today I decided to edit my blog site.  Okay, I know you can personalize it the way you want but I'm having trouble doing just that.  It's been changed but that's all I can say about it.  I need a lesson.  I need to get up and accomplish something to make me feel good.

I know I have spent most of the time conveying my thoughts on this blog.  That's not bad.  But I will try to do more than that in the future.  So bye for now and hopefully more interesting posts will come later.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Snow Day

We are out of school for snow today.  Yeah for today, but we'll pay in May.  (Okay, really it will be June but May rhymed.)  It has given me time to catch news programs I rarely get to see, read some blogs, and yes, do some needed housework.

For some time now, after listening to one newscast after another, I have begun to worry about my freedoms as an American citizen.  Just today there was an article about Michelle Obama and her push to get restaurants to reduce the size of meals.  Even though we are in hard economic times, she isn't bothered by cost but by portion size.  What right does she have to meddle into my personal business? None.  Now, let's stop and think.  "Shrink portion size but not price and blame it all on the government and obesity."  Might sound good to many restaurant owners who may be operating close to the red.  What about these economic times when one meal is shared by two or more people?  Cut the portion size and those people can't afford a meal.  What about people who can't afford a cook stove and share one meal a day from a restaurant?  There are people out there that fit that description.  Many people.  Yes, it would be less expensive if they prepared their meals at home, but not everyone can do that.  Looks to me like Michelle Obama has topped Marie Antoinette.  Marie Antoinette is famous for her quote to the starving, "Let them eat cake."  Michelle Obama will be known for taking away the cake and leaving the starving doing just that ...starving.    Doesn't she understand that economics plays a big part in what people choose to eat?

Think I'll go find some cake.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What have you read lately?

Yesterday I read The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher.  It's a young adult novel about a time in the future when the United States is no more.  An extensive drought followed by melting glaciers and man's abuse leaves the world fighting over water and mega water companies controlling governments.  Interesting Sci-Fi novel.  Check it out.

Over the weekend I read Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick.  Fallen angels and stuborn teenage girls equal a great read for 8th and 9th graders.  Second book of the Hush, Hush series.  Can't wait for the 3rd book to come out.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Learning about Watercolors

If we have the time, Paige is going to give me a lesson or two in watercolor painting.  In preparation I decided to do some browsing to see what I like.  After much contemplating I have chosen Jennifer Comstock's florals as my inspiration.  We'll see how it goes.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On the advice of a friend I began reading a series of books, the first entitled The Last Jihad.  The first book quickly caught my attention.  In my estimation I was reading something inbetween Tom Clancy and David Baldacci, lots of action laced with terrorism that we have come to know so well.  The second book included overtones of Christian conviction.  I use the term "Christian" loosely here as anyone who believes Jesus died for their sins.  It was not until the third book that I realized the magnitude of the writer's intent.  This writer was using "a novel of fiction" to put forth his message of "the last days", a belief of many that Christ will come back to the earth and literally reign for a period of time before the judgement.

Don't misunderstand me.   I read the Harry Potter series and loved it!  I read the Da Vinci Code and enjoyed it, too.  Fiction is just that to me--fiction.  Fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, I love them all.  Who I worry about is the immature reader who has trouble discerning fiction from truth.  This can be the young or the not-so-young.  And when a writer takes scripture and misuses it, the immature reader or the reader who has a background lacking in Biblical study, often takes what's written as truth and not for the work of fiction it really is.

So, back to the Rosenberg series.  Rosenberg proceeded to weave a connection between holy scripture, books written by others that were not included in The Bible,  and fictionalised events to cause the reader to question and possibly come to the conclusion that exerpts from the books of Daniel, Revelation, and Ezekiel forecast a reign of terror of Biblical porportion prior to the second coming of Christ.  And, that prior to these events, God will send "signs" predicting such.

What concerns me is that people will go to great lengths to join passages of scripture together to make their "case" about something, yet won't take complete passages that are repeated over and over as essential.  Take scripture concerning baptism.  Most people who consider themselves Christians do not think baptism is essential to salvation.  However, the following scriptures say otherwise.

Acts 2:37-38     "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  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 8:12     "But when they believed Philip preaching the good tidings concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."

Acts 8:26-40    v.35-  " Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.  And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him."

Acts 9 (Concerning the conversion of Saul--Paul, the apostle)     v.4-6 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest:  it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?  And the Lord said unto him, Arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. ... v.18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized."

Acts 22 (Paul relates his conversion) v.12-16  And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight.  And the same hours I looked up upon him.  And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.  For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."

Romans 6: 1ff    What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid.  How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together [become united with him] in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."

Notice what Paul says to the Corinthians about the disputes among them in I Corinthians 1.  (Read the entire chapter)  (v.10)  "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisons among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  (v. 21-25)  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; andthe weakness fo God is stronger than men.   (v.27)  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound [put to shame] the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound [put to shame] the things which are mighty [strong]."

Question--If baptism isn't essential to salvation, why is it mentioned so many times?  Now, I believe that God only needs to say it once for me to understand that it is necessary, but here for arguements sake let's ask ourselves why the apostles stressed it if it wasn't essential?  The answer is that they knew it was essential so they made sure everyone understood that message.  God requires that we submit ourselves to baptism where we come in contact with His blood.  Not literally but symbolically.  Baptism is a burial in water symbolizing the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord.

 I Corinthians 1 shows us that God has selected how we are to obey Him.  Paul also states that many will reject God's word because they either require a sign to believe or consider the method chosen by God as foolish.  It is important that we take all of God's word and not select only what we want to believe.