Monday, July 27, 2009

The Jesus Way: The King’s High Way - A More Excellent Way

In the first and second installments of this series I demonstrated from scripture that Jesus is the only way to heaven and the best route through life. I contrasted it with The Ordinary Way of life offered by popular culture.

Let me introduce you to a much better way. It is the King’s High Way. It is the Jesus Way. For people who do not yet know Jesus, it might look pretty dull….like bread and water. But as we mature in faith in Christ, we find that it is a banquet table like no other.

After he listed the acts of the sinful nature…The Ordinary Way….Paul went on to talk about this excellent way, The Jesus Way. Here’s what he wrote in Galatians 5:22 & 23:
…. the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
You might be interested to know that the early Church was called “The Way” by some. There are several references in the Book of Acts where Luke refers to Christianity as “The Way”.

Let’s take a look at some characteristics of The Jesus Way:
1. The Jesus Way is, first of all, a life of love. Jesus gave us a new command in John 13: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." Loving others as Jesus loved us changes how we treat other people.
2. The Jesus Way is a life of joy. Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness depends on circumstances. Joy is a heart attitude; a deposit of the Holy Spirit. Happiness is like a thermometer; joy is like a thermostat.
3. The Jesus Way is a life of peace. It is a life of peace with God, and peace with one another; it is a life of comfort in times of trouble.
4. The Jesus Way is a life of patience. If ever there was a model of patience, it must be Jesus. Today I am embarrassed with memories as a younger man of my lack of patience with our children and my wife. It gained nothing but hard feelings.
5. The Jesus Way is a life of kindness. Niceness is not the same as kindness. Nice is on our faces and on our tongue. Kindness is in our hearts. Niceness makes people feel good about us. Kindness does good for others.
6. The Jesus Way is a life of goodness. It is a life of doing good. Faith by itself, if not accompanied by action is dead, it says in the Book of James.
7. The Jesus Way is a life of faithfulness. It is a life of reliance on Christ for salvation, a life of assurance, belief and fidelity.
8. The Jesus Way is a life of gentleness. Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. The Greek word means also mildness.
9. The Jesus Way is a life of self-control. When we unite ourselves with Christ we can rise above our lusts and passions to live a life that is good for ourselves and good for others, and glorifies God.
I will mention two others that I have observed.

10. The Jesus Way is a life of service. We have been given the opportunity to co-labor with Christ the King to extend His Kingdom on Earth. Christians in all ages have given sacrificially of their time and treasure to to extend God's kingdom. It was Christians who founded the first hospitals, the first universities, the first orphanages, and even today run countless charities and ministries around the world. There are plenty of opportunities to serve God right here in Anchorage City Church and in ministries started by individuals and groups from this church. You can help build the Kingdom of God by teaching children in our Kid’s Church, driving the Church van, leading or helping with one of our small groups or classes, working in the kitchen, helping keep track of our family data, taking care of part of the church grounds, ushering, working in the New City Café, teaching in the New Direction Resource Center….and the list goes on.

11. The Jesus Way is a life of community. Jesus himself lived in community with His 12 disciples for three years, and that should be a sign to us that we can best live The Jesus Way when we are in community. We started small groups at City Church last fall to deepen community within our family. Our small group leaders Rich and Aaron talked about this earlier today. I hope you will join a group or class that fits you this fall.
More could be added to the list, but I think we get the idea.

Notice that nowhere here did I list that The Jesus Way is a life of material possessions. I also did not say The Jesus Way is a life without pain. Wealth may come, but troubles will come. The Jesus Way is the way of not being owned by what we own and the way to rise above the troubles of life.

Notice also that I have not suggested a list of rules to follow The Jesus Way. The Jesus Way is a life of relationship with Christ and listening to the Holy Spirit. "Come near to God and he will come near to you," the Bible says in James 4.

In my own life, I have found The Jesus Way more satisfying than I could ever have imagined as an young man 30 years ago with no time for God. My life is full of adventure and meaning and a peace that continues to grow in me. Like the rest of us, my life has been painful at times but I have an enduring hope and a peace that continues to grow in me.

So, what do we do with this?

Maybe your life situation is so difficult that it seems impossible that you could ever get on The Jesus Way. If the Lord is speaking to your heart to follow The Jesus Way, the steps are simple:
  1. Repent of your sins and ask Jesus to come into your heart if you have not done so already. You can do that here today either right where you are sitting or with one of our prayer team.
  2. Pray. Talk with the Lord about this. Start a life-long conversation with the God of the Universe. He’s listening.
  3. Read God's word. Start with the Gospel of John.
  4. Join regularly with other Christians for encouragement and support. Join a small group or class.
  5. Remember that The Jesus Way starts with an event….the decision to follow The Jesus Way……but it is a Way of Life.
If you have already accepted Jesus, but don’t see all the Fruit of the Spirit that Paul wrote about, just repent and ask the Lord to show you how you can take the first step toward seeing that fruit manifested in your life. Talk to Christ followers who you have observed that do have these fruits.

It isn't necessary to go to a church to take these steps. The Lord is already near you. Talk to Him now about these things. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.

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