By John Larkins
Humans must either decide on some basis or source of what we hold to be the truth. Generally, this is a confusing and painful process, but does not have to be so. We begin by interacting with our parents and accepting their authority or disobeying and experience negative consequences. Often, the relationships we have, especially with our father, predisposes us in our relationship with God.
There is convincing evidence both in the Bible and nature that God or a force we confuse with God, provides the rules by which we live in a universal fashion. God conveys to us that He loves us and is the unseen (or not) superior power in the universe. It seems to me that human beings are fashioned to get along best by cooperating with our parents until we can confidently manage most of our affairs. God will not force us to follow The Way but He does provide hell as an alternative.
As noted earlier, our original parents – even though they lived in the complete domain of God – were duped by God’s primary enemy to disobey the only rule God gave them. All of Adam and Eve’s children seem to have an innate tendency to refuse to follow anyone’s orders, especially God’s. This sets up the central problem we are addressing. The condition or place God wished us to be for eternity now could only be attained by following God’s directions. Graciously, God provided THE WAY. As this process worked itself out, God gradually revealed what we are to do.
Quoting Bible verses is a traditional plan, but that process has been sullied by Satan’s usual pattern of lies and misinformation. However, God insists on our actually doing and acting (not just saying), showing that we love Him and wholehearted desire to be with Him in his Father’s kingdom.
So, Mathew 16, 18-19 says, “And I say also unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatsoever thou shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.”
Note that since Jesus has not yet died and been given His power to redeem men, He is speaking in the future. Also, Matthew 28, 18-20 says, “And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in the earth. Go you, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world, Amen.”
This delegation of authority is immediate, as Jesus is risen from the dead. Jesus gave the power to dispense saving grace through the sacrament of baptism. He also says He will be with His Church on earth, as well as with His Father in heaven. The authority given the Apostles is delegated through time, just as the selection of the new bishop was done in the case of Matthias.
Just as Luke was instructing Timothy in 1 Tim 3-15, “ But if I tarry long , that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the House of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” In Acts of the Apostles, it is written that Luke notes that the apostles were first called “Christians” in Antioch. Also, that King Herod persecuted the “Christians,” killing James and imprisoning Peter, who was delivered by an angel upon the prayers of the “Church.”
In Acts, we see the first workings of THE WAY!
Author’s note: Bible reference are taken from King James 1611 edition.
John Larkins was born in Oklahoma to an U.S. Army family. His education was in the Catholic Church and teaching in the United Methodist Church for 10 years. After 50 years of various positions in federal service at home and in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, John and his wife Carol live in Gadsden. His formal education includes a BS certified for science teaching, an MBA from the University of Missouri and an MPA from Jacksonville State University in public administration and environmental management. For the past 15 years, John evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals, and church situations. Contact him at email@example.com.