[forthright] Which Way?/To Whom Do I Answer? (2)

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2007 13:34:50 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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Which Way? by Paul Goddard
To Whom Do I Answer? (2) by Tim Hall
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COLUMN: Up for the Task

Which Way?
by Paul Goddard

"Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any
more than going to a garage makes you an
automobile." -- Billy Sunday

Jesus spent three years preaching, teaching, and
healing people throughout the regions of Galilee,
Samaria, and Judea. While withdrawing from the
public during the last week of his life, Jesus
celebrated the Passover meal with those he loved.
During this meal, he told them that he would be
betrayed and killed. Seeing that they were visibly
troubled, Jesus comforted them by saying, "Don't
let your hearts be troubled. ... You know the way
to the place where I am going" (John 14:1-4).

Perplexed with this comment, they questioned,
"Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how
can we know the way?" He replied, "I am the way
and the truth and the life, and no one can come to
the Father except through me" (John 14:5-21). With
these powerful words, Jesus proclaimed to them
that he was the way to salvation.

After the resurrection, his followers were called
a variety of names. The most common designation
was "the followers of the way of the Lord." /1
This phrase was often shortened to, the Way (Acts
24:22). When persecuted in Jerusalem, many of the
Way left this holy city. Some were tracked down
and killed. Yet, while being pursued, the Way
continued to share the holy story of the way (Acts
9:1-4; Acts 22:3-5; Matthew 7:13-20)./2

Where are you going? Are you lost? Take a look at
the way (Psalm 119:105). Christian, are you up for
the task?


"The way of the cross leads home."
-- Jesse Brown Pounds

__________
1/ The term "Christian" was used later (Acts 11:26).

2/ When Saul became part of "the Way", he was
persecuted by Judaizers (Acts 19:8-10; Acts
19:23). Saul is a common Hebrew name. While
preaching to the Gentiles, he went by the Greek
name of Paul (Acts 13:9).

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COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

To Whom Do I Answer? (2)
by Tim Hall

In our previous post under this title, we noted
two truths taught clearly in the New Testament:
(1) Apostles possessed significant authority in
the early church; but (2) the authority of Jesus
Christ is ultimate, surpassing even those who were
his apostles.

That being said, we should nonetheless pay close
attention to the teachings and actions of the
apostles. Of all the early Christians, their
examples are most worthy of imitation.

Paul made that claim in Philippians 3:17:
"Brethren, join in following my example, and note
those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern"
(NKJV). Paul not only commanded Christians to
study the apostles ("us") as examples of how to
practice their faith, but he also pointed to
"those who so walk." Even those who followed the
apostles' doctrines and actions were to be studied
and imitated ("keep your eyes on those," ESV).

It's hard to argue against the authoritative
nature of the apostles' actions after considering
passages like these. But it's also vital to
remember that their direction came from above:
"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (1
Corinthians 11:1). Paul, Peter and all the others
were not innovators, but men who carried out the
will of their Lord.

What was the role of the apostles in the church?
"Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and
foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints
and members of the household of God, having been
built on the foundation of the apostles and
prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief
cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:19,20).

Members of that household (church) in later
generations must be careful not to move away from
the foundation upon which they have been built.
This is God's foundation!

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