TAKE THE NAME OF JESUS WITH YOU JOHN 14:6
Jesus as The Way to many blessings; indeed, He is the source of every spiritual blessing that God has to offer - Ep 1:3
But how can we be sure that we have found the true Jesus and are truly His disciples...?
Jesus made it clear that simply believing in Him does not constitute true discipleship - Jn 8:31
How can we be sure that we are not actually following some caricature
A misrepresentation of Jesus, presented to us in error by others?
By those sincerely mistaken themselves such as our parents, preachers, churches
To be sure that we have truly found Jesus, The Way, we must begin with the only reliable source of information about Him: The Bible!
[Surprising as it may be to some, a good place to start is with the Old Testament...
FINDING JESUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
IT CONTAINS MANY THINGS ABOUT JESUS...
Though completed hundreds of years before He came
As stated by Jesus on at least two occasions - Lk 24:27,44-47
It imparts wisdom that leads to salvation in Jesus - 2 Ti 3:14-15
WE SEE JESUS THROUGH THE EYES OF PROPHECY...
For example, from Isaiah we can learn things regarding:
The birth of Jesus - Isa 7:14
The suffering of Jesus - Isa 53:4-6
The sovereignty of Jesus - Isa 9:6-7
Many more prophecies could be taken just from Isaiah alone one reason why he is commonly called "The Messianic Prophet"
Other prophets have much to say about Jesus
It has been estimated there are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus in the O.T.
So we should read the Old Testament in our efforts to find the true Jesus But as important as it is in helping us to find Jesus, it's purpose was predictive, to prepare people for Jesus Ga 3:24-25. Therefore, to find Jesus more fully, we must also come to the gospels...
FINDING JESUS IN THE GOSPELS
FOUR RECORDS WITH A SIMILAR GOAL...
Four accounts of His life...
Matthew emphasizes the "teachings" of Jesus (especially in regards to the kingdom)
Mark features the "miracles" of Jesus, showing His power
Luke underscores the "humanity" of Jesus (without detracting from His divinity)
John stresses the "divinity" of Jesus (without detracting from His humanity)
The goal as expressed by John: to create faith - Jn 20:30-31
To see Jesus through the eyes of fulfillment
As they carefully document how He fulfilled prophecy
REVEALING WHAT HE ACTUALLY TAUGHT...
No one can know Jesus without reading these gospels carefully
We may often be surprised to find out how different the real Jesus is and what He actually taught, from the one imagined by many!
For example, many feel that they are going to heaven when they die
Jesus taught that most will not - Mt 7:13-14
Many will be surprised at the Judgment Day - Mt 7:21-23
Contrary to the "simple believism" many think is what is involved in following Jesus...
The real Jesus taught self-denial - Lk 9:23-25
The real Jesus expected disciples to "observe all things" - Mt 28:18-20
Does this sound like the "Jesus" proclaimed by many today?
[By reading the gospels, then, we come much closer to finding Jesus. But Jesus did not reveal the complete truth while on earth Jn 16:12-14 He left it up to the Holy Spirit to complete the work of guiding the apostles into all the truth. Therefore, to truly find Jesus and what His Will is for us today, we must also turn to the rest of the books of the New Testament...]
FINDING JESUS IN THE ACTS AND THE EPISTLES
IN THE BOOK OF ACTS...
We see the fulfillment of Jesus' promise to send the Holy Spirit Who would guide them into all the truth - Ac 2:4
We see the Holy Spirit:
Guiding the apostles and early church in its formative stage - Ac 13:2,4
Guiding them into all the truth - Ac 15:28
Revealing things taught during Jesus' ministry not recorded in any of the four gospels - Ac 20:35
IN THE EPISTLES...
The words of the apostles (i.e., the epistles) were to be received as if from Jesus Himself!
As Paul wrote to the church at Corinth - 1Co 14:37
And to the church at Thessalonica - 1Th 2:13
As Jesus said it should be - Jn 13:20
The Holy Spirit did in fact guide the apostles into all the truth - Jn 16:13
I.e., with the gospels, the book of Acts and the epistles (including Revelation) we find the teachings of Jesus and about Jesus completely, fully, and finally revealed!
I.e., no more revelation is needed
We have all that is needed to live godly lives - 2 Pe 1:2-3
We have all that is needed to be complete - 2Ti 3:16-17
Not even an angel from heaven appeared with new doctrines - Ga 1:8-9
Our task is to simply remain true to what has been revealed once and for all - Jude 3
With the writings of the New Testament, we are able to see Jesus through the eyes of completeness! All we need to know to follow Jesus as The Way is there, for us to learn it, and live it! No other revelations are needed. Having said this, let me finally emphasize that we only find Jesus when we truly obey Him.
FINDING JESUS IN OBEDIENCE
AS EMPHASIZED BY JESUS...
We must abide in His word to be His disciples - Jn 8:31,32
Jesus abides with us as we keep His commandments - Jn 14:21,23
This is how we truly know Him - 1Jn 2:3-5
AS ILLUSTRATED IN BAPTISM...
This is especially true when we come to Jesus in faith and repentance, and submit to His command to be baptized - Ga 3:27
Having received (or "put on") Christ in baptism, we are now in Christ, where all things are "new" - 2Co 5:17
Yes, all things are "new", for in finding Jesus by keeping His commands we find...
A better life
Forgiveness for our sins
Reconciliation with God our Father
The privilege of being in the Lord's church (and not some denomination begun by men)
The assurance of eternal life
Have you found Jesus, or are you following some cheap imitation of the real thing...?
Which at best is a misconception fostered by honestly mistaken people
Or at worst a slick promotion marketed by those seeking numbers rather than disciples?
You have truly found Jesus if you are heeding the implications of His "Great Commission"...
Accepting the authority (power) He has in heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18
Have been baptized (upon faith and repentance) as He commanded - Mt 28:19
Careful to observe all things that He commanded - Mt 28:20
Such are the only ones who have the assurance: "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." They are ones who have "found" Jesus!
Let Jesus be your way to everything that is truly good! Trust and obey Him today!
BE BAPTIZED IMMERSED