Friday, October 3, 2008

Those Who Are of "The Way"

There is an interesting description of the Lord's people in the book of Acts. In a few places, the Lord's church is called, “The Way.

Saul went to Damascus “so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:2).

Later, after Saul (then Paul) became a follower of Christ, he was preaching in Ephesus. “But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples” (Acts 19:9).

Answering his accusers before Felix, Paul said, “But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our Fathers” (Acts 24:14).

Each time this term is used, it is describing a people who were suffering for their faith. They were spoken against. They were persecuted. They were called a sect. Sound familiar? Doesn't this happen with the Lord's church today?

There is something that I find interesting as we relate this to our day and age. Today we have brethren who argue that we should not use “church of Christ” as a name or description of a local congregation. What is usually the reason for wanting the change? The negative connotation people have of churches of Christ. What is probably the primary complaint against us? “You people in the church of Christ think you're the only ones going to heaven.” This is too exclusive and narrow-minded for most people's liking.

What if we started calling ourselves “The Way” so we would not be called by the unpopular term, “church of Christ”? Would that be any better? You can't get much more exclusive and narrow-minded than this term. “The Way” implies that there is just one way. Couldn't people say, “you people of the Way think you're the only ones going to heaven,” just the same?

We need to not care about what the world thinks and focus on pleasing God. The passages we looked at show us that if we follow Christ, we will not be popular or well-liked. So don't seek the popularity or approval of the world. Let's simply do the will of God no matter what people say about us.

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