JESUS, THE WAY

A Free Online Bible Course

"Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6 NASB).

 

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Jesus, The Way Out Of Religious Confusion

Lesson Six Of Seven

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Jesus, The Way Out Of Religious Confusion

When God gave His Law by Moses to Israel, He made no provision for the division of His people into sects and parties. However, by the time Jesus came into the world, sects and parties were very much established. There were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, and others. It was assumed that all who were serious about religion would be associated with one of these parties.

 

To which of these parties did Jesus belong? All must agree that He belonged to none of them. Jesus maintained His independent, non-sectarian relationship with God; for this reason, all the religious sects and parties opposed Jesus.

 

Jesus, likewise, did not make provision for His followers to be divided into sects and parties. Jesus desires that believers be united. After praying for His apostles, Jesus added:

 

"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me" (John 17:20-21 NASB).

 

Through the years, however, divisions have developed, being perpetuated by the writing of creeds and the formation of denominational organizations. The result is that now, among professed followers of Jesus, there are many bodies (denominations), many lords (religious authorities), many faiths (creeds), and many baptisms.

 

How different the present situation is from the unity described in the New Testament:

 

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4:4-6 NASB).

 

Many people today regret the division among believers and wish it did not exist. Some of these people desire the uniting of all the denominations and are working tirelessly to achieve that goal. However, they assume that until this is accomplished, there is nothing an individual can do; except to join one of the existing parties and maintain a kind and tolerant spirit. Nothing in the teaching or practice of Jesus supports this approach to unity.

 

Jesus did not undertake to convene an ecumenical conference designed to effect a merger of Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes into one super sect; neither did Jesus pray that His disciples be united into one super denomination. Jesus prayed that individual believers be united in Himself and in the Father. The design of Jesusí teaching is to turn individuals from the doctrines and traditions of men to the simple word of God. Through His teaching and example, Jesus surely can be for us The Way Out of Religious Confusion.

 

The Lordís Church

Jesus promised to build His own church. He said:

 

"I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18 NASB). 

 

Jesus promised to build only one church and it would be His. The rock on which the church would be built was not Peter, but the truth that Peter confessed:

 

"Simon Peter answered, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16 NASB).

 

The apostle Paul wrote:

 

"For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11 NASB).

 

The word church means called out. By preaching the gospel on the day of Pentecost, Peter and the other apostles called out those who were willing to believe in Jesus.

 

"Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? Peter said to them, Repent, and each of you be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:37-38 NASB).

 

"So then, those who had received his word were immersed; and that day there were added about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41 NASB).

 

This marked the beginning of the church; made up of all who were saved by Jesus Christ, and it grows as people obey the gospel.

 

"praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to the church each day those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47 NASB).

 

Groups of these saved people met in various cities, and each group was a church. These churches, though united in Christ, were independent of any human association or federation. Jesus directed them through His inspired apostles, teaching them how they were to worship and work together (Acts 2:42; 2 Thessalonians 2:15).

 

Avoiding Division By Following Jesus

If we obey the same instructions that Peter gave to those on the day of Pentecost, repenting of our sins and being baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, we too will be saved. When we are saved, the Lord will add us to His church as He did them. The first Christians did not join any other religious organization and neither should we. In Christ, we are united with all those who are in Him.

 

As members of the Lordís church, we must then study carefully the New Testament description of the church. This is found in the book of Acts and in the epistles. Since the apostles were guided by the Holy Spirit, we may be sure that the churches under their instruction were organized exactly how Jesus ordained. Today, if we duplicate the pattern of organization and worship of the early churches, the Lord will be pleased with us.

 

Duplicating a New Testament  church is not as difficult as one might think. There may already be an independent group of Christians, following the New Testament pattern, assembling in your community. 

 

Questions

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Q1. Peter told believers to ____________ and be ____________ for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38).

Q2. Those who received the word and were _______________ were added to the church (Acts 2:41).

Q3. The Lord added to the church daily those were being _________________ (Acts 2:47).

Q4. The disciples continued in the ________________ teaching (Acts 2:42).

Q5. The disciples also continued in the _______________ and ____________________________ (Acts 2:42).

Q6. Regarding the collection, every person should _______ as he purposes (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Q7. Christians are to __________ and make melody (music) in their _____________ to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).

Q8. Christians are to meet on the ____________ day of the week to _________________ (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Q9. Christ is the head of the body which is the _____________ (Colossians 1:18).

Q10. The church at Philippi had B__________ and D_____________ (Philippians 1:1).

Q11. The church is the pillar and ground of the __________________ (1 Timothy 3:15).

Q12. The church in Antioch sent ______________ to the brethren in Judea who were facing a famine (Acts 11:29).

Q13. Disciples were first called _______________ in Antioch (Acts 11:26).

Q14. Christians assembling in various locations were described as churches of ___________ (1 Thessalonians 2:14) and churches of _________________ (Romans 16:16).

Q15. Jesus established only ONE church or religious organization (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 4:4), so who established the many religious organizations (denominations) that we see today ____________.

 We look forward to receiving your answers.