New eBook from Jay … “Is Jesus the Only Way?”

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
OK, another interruption on our travels though the book of Colossians.  But I wanted to let you know about a short book that I just published, Is Jesus the Only Way?, available here in the Kindle store at amazon.com.  (It is also available here as a pdf file.)  My goal is to not only answer that exact question, but to draw us back to the heart of the gospel message.  In my opinion, we have added a lot of baggage to the gospel over the years in connecting Christianity with legalism, political activism, creationism, capitalism, materialism, and a host of isms. Now with a new generation coming into church leadership, many are quick to throw these connections over the side of the ship.  And I agree wholeheartedly that this baggage needs…
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Back to Our Two Issues: Is Jesus the Only Way and Is Sin Compatible with the Child of God?

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
Our tour through the gospel of John, chapters 5 through 7, has been a long answer to a single question:  Is Jesus the only way to heaven?  And our conclusion, based on Jesus' own words, is an emphatic "Yes" many times over.  The reason I went into so much detail on this topic is because Jesus' divinity claims followed by His death, burial, and resurrection (His resurrection being God's stamp of approval) are what make Christianity CHRISTianity. The reason this is so important is because we have a confused generation coming up that has been raised on salad bar religion.  They have been taught to pick and choose their truth from a variety of religious traditions.  And in this setting, the idea that Jesus is the only way comes across…
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“Is This the Christ?” – John 7:37-52

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' " 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 40 Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, (Jesus' proclamation regarding His identity as the living water) were saying, "This certainly is the Prophet." 41 Others were saying, "This is the Christ." (Remember, we understand now that the Prophet and the Christ are one in the…
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Rivers of Living Water – John 7:25-39

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
John 7:25 So some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, "Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill? 26 Look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they?" (The crowd in their confusion are asking, "Since the leaders who we thought wanted to kill Jesus are not moving in, is it possible that they believe He really is the Christ?") 27 "However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from." (Wait just a minute.  Jesus cannot be the Christ.  We know where Jesus came from.  We know where He grew up.  The Messiah is going to come out…
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Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem – John 7:10-25

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
As we learned last time, Jesus turned down His brothers' suggestion that He join them in Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths.  But once they are on their way, Jesus does follow them to the feast in secret. 10 But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if in secret. 11 So the Jews were seeking Him at the feast and were saying, "Where is He?" (There must have been some rumor of Jesus' arrival at the feast or just an expectation by the Jewish leaders that this is an event He would attend.  The "Jews" here are probably the Jewish religious leaders out to arrest Jesus.  They had no authority to arrest Jesus while He was in…
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“My Time Has Not Yet Come” – John 7:1-9

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
Moving now to John chapter 7, let's take a quick review of our timeline so far. Jesus heals a lame man on the Sabbath in Jerusalem. Jesus claims to be the Son of God. The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem seek to kill Jesus. Jesus explains to the Jerusalem crowd His unique relationship with the Father. Jesus supports His claim with several witnesses:  John the Baptist, Jesus' supernatural works, the voice of God the Father, and the Old Testament scriptures (particularly the words of Moses) Jesus goes to Galilee and feeds 5000 people. Jesus rejects the attempt to be made king. Jesus explains to the Capernaum crowd His identity as "the Bread of Life that came down from heaven." Jesus clearly presents the crux of the gospel:  "He who believes in…
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Words of Eternal Life – John 6:66-69

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
Returning now to the narrative of John chapter 6, Jesus has concluded His discussion about true food and true drink with the following result.  John 6:66 As a result of this (the confusion over Jesus' explanation of the spiritual meaning of the true "food", and possibly His claim to be the Christ) many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. (The followers who withdrew were not true disciples in the spiritual sense.  They were followers in the material sense.  It appears that they were attracted to Jesus by the signs and miracles; wonders performed in the material world.  His true disciples embraced the spiritual significance of the signs.  But now the crowd has diminished dramatically and Jesus turns His attention to the twelve apostles.) 67 So Jesus said…
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The Father Draws His Own – John 6:64-65

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
John 6:64 "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father." (In the midst of His hearers' confusion, Jesus explains that only those chosen by the Father can grasp the spiritual significance of what is going on here.  This text harkens back to John 6:44, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him.") The idea of God choosing and our responsibility in salvation is just as confusing today.  Here is the short answer…
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True Food and True Drink – John 6:55-65

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
As we ended last time, Jesus was explaining the spiritual significance of His "eating My flesh and drinking My blood" metaphor.  Eating the flesh of Christ and drinking the blood of Christ is a metaphor for appropriating Christ by faith, embracing the message of Christ.  It is the same as believing in Christ.  It is meant to be understood in the spiritual realm, not the physical realm. 55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me." (Eating is a word picture for belief in…
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“I am the Bread of Life” – John 6:43-54

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
We are near the halfway mark in our exploration of John chapters 5 through 7.  Summarizing to this point in the story, Jesus is confronted by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem over what we might now consider a minor offense, healing on the Sabbath.  The confrontation escalates when Jesus claims to be following the example of God, His Father.  Jesus first made the Son of God claim in John 5:17 and followed it up with the statement that, therefore, eternal life is found only in Him.  Between His discourse in Jerusalem (John chapter 5) and His teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum (John chapter 6), Jesus has claimed at least seven times that believing in Jesus, the Son of God, is the path to eternal life. John 5:21 - The Son gives…
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The Bread of Eternal Life – John 6:30-42

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
Jesus is in the middle of a dialogue with the Jews as He taught in the synagogue in Capernaum.  He has just emphasized the need to believe that He is the Son of God sent by the Father.  His hearers aren't so sure, so they quiz Him further. 30 So they said to Him, "What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?" (If you are really the one God has sent, what sign do you do in order that we might believe?) 31 "Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.' " 32 Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you,…
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The Food That Will Not Perish – John 6:16-29

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
John 6:16 Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea (the Sea of Galilee), 17 and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. 19 Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. (Jesus walking on the water - another supernatural sign.) 20 But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." 21 So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which…
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The Feeding of the 5000 – John 6:1-15

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
Moving now to John chapter 6, Jesus has left Jerusalem and gone to Galilee.  1 After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias ). 2 A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?" 6 This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. 7…
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Jesus Calls His Witnesses to the Stand – John 5:31-47

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
(Note:  John chapter 7 was published this morning by mistake.  Here is the next post in the series.) Up to this point in John chapter 5, Jesus has been identifying Himself as the divine Son sent by God.  But now Jesus explains that the testimony of one person about himself is not worth much and He calls on the testimony of several witnesses to support His claim to be the divine Son of God. John 5:31 "If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true."  (There is not only "another" who testifies about Jesus, but several "others" as we are about to see.) 33 "You have sent…
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The Father Honors the Son – John 5:19-30

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
Even with the Jews seeking to kill Him because of His claim of equality with God (John 5:18), Jesus continues to add fuel to the fire.  Starting in John 5:19, Jesus begins a discourse where He shows in what sense He claims equality with God. 19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (God, the Father, initiates; the Son follows.) 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; (The unity of the Father and Son is based on love.) and the Father will show Him greater works…
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Jesus Identifies Himself as God’s Equal – John 5:14-18

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
Continuing the story in John 5:14, Afterward Jesus found him (the man whom He had healed by the pool) in the temple and said to him, "Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you." 15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. (Now that the healer - the one whose command contradicted the Sabbath rules - has been identified, the focus of the Jews turns to Jesus.) 16 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. (We are left without much explanation of how the Jewish leaders went from questioning the man who was healed to now persecuting Jesus in such a short span of time, but the…
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Jesus Heals a Lame Man on the Sabbath – John 5:1-13

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
Starting in John chapter 5, the apostle records a series of confrontations between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders centered around the shocking claims of Jesus.  His claim to be the Son of God, His claim to be an equal of God, and His claim to be the only Way to eternal life flies in the face of the Messianic expectations of both the religious leaders and the common folk of Jesus' day.  It is during these confrontations that we learn many things about Jesus Christ, His nature and His work. As we cover John chapters 5 through 7 over the next several weeks, we will follow a verse-by-verse format where the biblical text is included in red letters in the post (not to be confused with the typical red letters…
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Is Jesus the Only Way?

Is Jesus the Only Way?, Thoughts
As you may recall, we started this series of posts with an empathetic ear to those calling for a more open, welcoming, and accepting church body.  I personally think a wider welcome in our churches is a good thing, but there is one point where the road narrows dramatically.  The road to salvation is very narrow, passing through the death and resurrection of one man, Jesus Christ. The reason this is so important is because we have a generation coming up that has been raised on salad bar religion.  They have been taught to pick and choose their truth from a variety of religious traditions.  And in this setting, the idea that Jesus is the only way comes across as too narrow, too intolerant, and too divisive.  While criticism about…
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