Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series, where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has shared many revelations of spiritual truth with me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we discuss the new and living way and compare it with the old way.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The New and Living Way
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father except by me." John, Chapter 58, Verse 11
Brothers and sisters, to help us grasp the magnificence of the new and living way, as compared with the old way, we shall use a material analogy.
Prior to the 1950's, if we wanted to travel from Florida to New York via automobile, we had to travel via local and state roads, going through every little town on the way. When we came to a body of water, we had to wait and take a ferry across to the other side. Some of these roads were in poor condition. There were no controlled accesses or exits to these roads. Speed limits varied and sometimes there were speed traps set up by the local authorities. This was particularly true when going through small towns in the South.
There were no standardized rest stops, no chain refueling stops or restaurants located on these state and local highways. One never knew what quality of service to expect. Some sections of these roads were isolated and very dangerous, especially if a vehicle broke down. These roads did lead to a final destination but what an ordeal to get there.
But during the 1950s the federal government began building a system of highways known as the Interstate Highway System. These roads connected various states to each other. They were well paved and safely constructed. All of them had two lanes of traffic on each side. Some larger cities had up to eight lanes, four on each side. The speed limit was constant at 60 miles per hour. Access and exits were controlled and constructed such that there was little to no interference with existing traffic. There were no stop lights on these highways. There were tunnels and bridges across rivers and bays so that the traffic was not delayed while, say, a ferry passed.
There were well-lit rest stops located at convenient points along the way that allowed motorists to refresh themselves before continuing their trip. The refueling stops and restaurants were all of the same level of quality. If a vehicle broke down, there were patrols that could assist. A vehicle could be towed to a reputable repair station, sometimes at a convenient exit and re-entry point. All of these factors tended to make the trip pleasant and less tiring. Now that we have a feel for the new way, we shall reflect on the spiritual parallel.
Prior to the Son of God, Jesus, incarnating in the flesh some 2,000 years ago, man only new of the old and dead way of approaching God. Man wanted to enjoy favor with God, but he knew only the old methods, which involved an intricate set of rules known as the law. Man fasted and prayed, seeking to gain favor with God. The religious regarded themselves as God’’s servants but not as God’’s intimates, where they enjoyed a personal connection with him. This old God was for the group and not for the individual. Believers culled their scriptures to discern God’’s will often during times of crisis. When we study the Old Testament, we get a glimpse of this practice. Many often failed to gain a sense of the heavenly Father’’s favor. Though they were told that the Father bestows blessings to the faithful, this idea seemed too much of a stretch for many minds of those days. And so there were elaborate rituals and ceremonies designed to cultivate the consciousness of God’’s favor.
Whenever they entered into any social or moral situation, they were propelled by a countless list of "thou-shalt-nots." They had continuously to watch over themselves lest they break a law and offend God. They lived in a steady state of self-denial and fear. And while they were doing all of these things to gain favor with God, they evidenced little hope of eternal life. The prophets kept trying to elevate the people’’s concepts of God. It seemed the best they could arrive at conceptually was that God was God of the nation.
Of John the Baptist, Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is but small in the kingdom of heaven is greater because he has been born of the spirit and knows that he has become a son of God." Those of the old way never did gain consciousness that they were sons of God.
Jesus brought the new way to earth. He is the way, the truth, and the life for all who would know the Father. Of his followers, he said, "My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. And to all who follow my teaching I give eternal life; they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given me these children, is greater than all, so that no one is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. The Father and I are one."
Those who do the Father’’s will are conscious of it and of him; they thus execute the Father’’s will. By doing the Father’’s will as Jesus revealed we become sons of God and enter into new relationships with the Father. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God.”” The Spirit of Truth immediately enshrouds our souls and empowers us to know and choose the Father’’s will.
In the new way, we are taught to believe the Father’’s precious promises Jesus proclaimed and rejoice in the goodness of our Father’’s love for each of us. No longer must we fast and pray, begging to be heard and be blessed. Now we are the Sons of God, representatives of the Father through his Son, Jesus, which means that our desire to have the qualities needed to negotiate all moral and spiritual encounters is proof that we have received those very qualities. The material mind is not conscious of having received already these blessings and thus continues to petition; but the soul, having experienced the gift of divine values, gives thanks, praise, and worship to the heavenly Father for his goodness. This is to suggest that all divine qualities that redound to knowing and doing the Father’’s will are always present. All we need do is ““stretch out our hand”” to receive them.
Now that we as sons of God are powerized, no longer do we concern ourselves about violating one of the hundreds of laws required by the old and inferior approach to God. As free and liberated sons and daughters of the Father, there is only one law we have to obey--the law of love. The law of love bids us to love one another as Jesus loves us.
And with the spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of Truth, surrounding our souls and minds and interpreting the Father’’s will for us, we enter social and moral situations with a different viewpoint. Our viewpoint now is of a liberating attitude of love, with goodness and the fruits of the spirit running over the brims of our souls. The new way fills us with joy, peace, and righteousness; it not only gives us a consciousness of God’’s favor but a consciousness of eternal life.
Now that we have become the sons and daughters of God by faith, we eschew the old way and merge onto the goodness highway of the new and living way. Before long, we reach our destination and stand in the presence of God in comfort, peace, and joy, giving thanks and praise to the one who beckoned us.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the new and living way. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry