Learn Christ

             (3 ways of life)

The Bible reveals 3 ways of possible life-styles:  the Broad Way for broad
minded people but without proper insurance for eternity, the
Narrow Way
of Christ and His teachings, and the
Half Way for those who think they
have one foot in the kingdom of Christ and one foot in the world.  Actually
this latter group, perhaps the largest of the three in world population
especially in the U.S., does have one foot in the world and one foot in a
church or denomination, or some other man-made organization that they
depend on for salvation; and the fine line of separation of the Bible
between the Broad Way and the Narrow Way is with the single phrase “in
the world, and not of the world.”  It is the failure to see and implement in
life this fine point of distinction in life style that makes Half Way such a
large and popular group of the world population, that plus the importance
to the American character of pragmatism and functionality.  In other
words, it works for most Americans to keep one foot firmly planted in a
church or denomination {certainly not the same as in the kingdom of
Christ, and even in the body of Christ which is the only church that counts,
written in heaven (Hebrews 11:8)}, and the other foot firmly planted in the
things of the world.}
The Apostle John in his little treatise on the Narrow Way of Continuing
Faith of I John, gets into the subject of exactly what is the world, love of
the world, and love of the Father in I John 2:15-17.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the
world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world--
the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of
the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and
the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”  (I John
2;15-17)

NOTE:  If at this point, you are confused by this introduction as what
it means to be too much of the world and still be in the world, some
clear teachings from the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 5:9-13, then
please read on into the brief Bible explanations below of the 3 Ways
of Life.

1.  The Narrow Way recommended in the Bible by Jesus on numerous
occasions including as the only way to heaven and God the Father, “I am
the Way”...and “no man cometh unto the Father except through me” (John
14:6); and then in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:13,14) as the (1)
more difficult way of the 3 ways, (2) as the way that so few of humanity
find, but (3) as the only way that leads to eternal life and an abundant life
of inward peace now.  It is only when world citizens trade the
superficialities of the Half Way, where Christ is improperly learned
(Ephesians 4:20,21), and which will be explained under Half Way below, or
narrow their focus on Christ and the Bible away from the Broad Way
perspective of the “world”, that they begin to appreciate the difference
from the Apostle Paul of being in the world, yet not of the world.  
{Actually
this key phrase and Bible concept, “in the world, but not of the
world” summarizes from both the Apostles Paul and John.  It could
be consider a Harmony of the World from John and Paul.}
Paul wrote, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an epistle before I
Corinthians in which he told church members not to associate with
persons who live habitually in the sin of adultery {that is without confession
of that sin to God and without repentance and forgiveness:  in other
words, never facing up to it as a sin}; and then in I Corinthians 5:9-11, he
had to explain “in the world, but not of the world”.  When he said in a
previous epistles not to keep company with the sexual immoral, covetous,
idolators, etc, Paul was talking about not to keep company with church
members {brothers} who practiced habitually such bad habits.  He was not
talking about those in the world outside the church, for them they literally
would have to get out of the world.  Paul meant to avoid members of the
church and churches who habitually lived without repentance and
forgiveness in covetousness and immorality, and he so explained.

“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually
immoral people.  Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually
immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or
idolators, since then you would need to go out of this world.  But
now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a
brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a
reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner--not even to eat with such a
person {don’t have such church members in you home or keep
company with them even in a church}.”  (I Corinthians 5:9-13)

NOTE:  Please read “Avoid These Church Members” at
www.biblecombibleman.com/AvoidTheseChurchMembers.html  .

And you see how this helps to separate to the two categories of “in the
world” but “not of the world”.  Christians and church members must live in
the world, work in the world, and associate in the world where they can be
the salt of the earth and the light of the world; however, all their influence is
like taking the name of God and Christ in vain when they strive to live Half
Way with one foot in the kingdom and one foot in the world.
A few ways Christ tried to get both feet on the Narrow Way, away from
the Broad Way of destruction and the Half-Way of destructive influence
{these are by no means all the ways of the way, only those in the
Sermon on the Mount}
:  (1) seek first {a matter of priority in life and
living} the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all the necessities
of life will be added to you automatically (6:33,34); (2) it is impossible to
be subject to or serve both the two masters of God and mammon
(Matthew 6:24), another way to say that you really can not live the ways of
Half Way in God’s judgement, the only final judgement that counts; and
what you truly do is either chose the Broad Way or the Narrow Way {You
see it is a matter of perspective:  from the world’s perspective today as
always, the Half Way is quite acceptable, in fact, more acceptable than
any other; however from God’s perspective, it is impossible to be
acceptable to Him in any way, or His Son Christ with a Half Way religion.};
and (3) it is likewise impossible to be both a friend of the world and the
friend of God as in fact, the Bible says that “the friend of the world is the
enemy of God”  (James 4:4).

2.  The Broad Way.

Each Way has it’s own ways which today we chose to call life styles.  
When God wrote the book of Jeremiah through the Prophet Jeremiah, and
in the Temple Sermon of Jeremiah 7, you will notice the words “Amend
your ways and doings” (7:3) for God’s own people had developed a life
style that while convenient and easy, with much comfort, was a Way that
not only would lead to eternal destruction but more immediate destruction
of Jerusalem and the nation of Judah.
Paul lists just some of the ways of the Broad Way in Ephesians 4:17-19,
which he calls walking {or living} in the way of the rest of the Gentiles (4:
17), and just before he labels these as not the proper Way to learn Christ:  
(1) in the futility of their own mind, that broad perspective where they think
everything they do in right, and their revel in the majority opinion; (2) their
understanding is strictly of the wisdom of this world, dark and alienated
from the life of God; (3) they are just plain ignorant because of the
blindness of their emotions {heart} which clutters their judgment and mind;
(4) past any feeling for God and Christ, or the Bible, they have fully
committed {“given themselves over”} to lewdness, and this lewdness is
immediately described as a way and ways of (a) greed and (b)
uncleanness.

“This is not the Way your learned Christ”, Paul writes in Ephesians 4:
20; and that is the sum total of that one verse.  The proper Way to learn
Christ both warns us against the Broad Way of destruction, and about the
Half Way of the majority of church members and good citizens today who
have improperly learned Christ.

3.  The Half Way.

How can you question the salvation or personal relationship of most
church members and good moral citizens?  Well that is exactly what Paul
and the Word of God are doing in Ephesians 4:17 and following.
“if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth
is in Jesus.”  (Ephesians 4:21)
And we also would go half way in this short and practical Bible study if we
did not quickly point out from Bible, how Christ is heard today.  When
Judas, not Iscariot (John 14:22) asked Jesus the very pointed and natural
question, “How will you manifest {obviously the equivalent of hearing
Jesus today} yourself to us and not to the world, Jesus gave likewise a
short and pointed answer.

“If anyone loves me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love
him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”  (John
14:23)

Just a few ways that Paul uses to distinguish between the Narrow Way
and this Half Way of the defective Way of Learning Christ in Ephesians 4:
22-32:  (1) put off the old ways and habits of life where these lusts of the
world {lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life} daily and
yearly deceive you and grow you more corrupt like the Broad Way; (2)
renew your mind and clean up your act; (3) put on the new man designed
by God, a man of true righteousness and true holiness; (4) lay aside lying
and speak truth; (5) don’t let the sun go down on your anger; (6) work with
your own hands in order to give to the needy and to prevent greed or
stealing; (7) guard against corrupt words that would come out of your
mouth; (8) do not grieve the Holy Spirit that is within you with any bad
habit or habitual sin, and (9) be kind, tenderhearted, and forgive one
another.

4.  Protests from the very vocal
Half-Way House.

It is only natural, and in the nature of the pragmatic psychology of William
James and the VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE, that we
account for the spiritual phenomenon of those who have unsuccessful for
40 years or so, tried to straddle the fence with one leg in the kingdom of
Christ and one leg in the world.  God through the teachings of Christ,
especially in the Sermon on the Mount, has stated that is impossible in
heaven, although popularly practiced here on earth.  This crowd of the
Half-Way House is, as always, very vocal and very loud about it in their
protests; and this is quite understandable as it begins to dawn on them
that no matter what their protests about God and the Bible, they
themselves are beyond the point of no return where it is no longer
possible for them to believe.

(1).  This is exactly what happened years ago to all of God’s people
{except for Joshua and Caleb} in the wilderness for 40 years after
rescue from bondage in Egypt.  They rebelled and protested so long, day
after day and year after year for 40 years, that God gave them up to their
own desires.  Quite often, as now in the Falling Away and in the wilderness
against Moses, that rebellion and protest is expressed against God’s
ordained leadership; and just as often by an attempt of the half-way
masses of God’s people to select their own spiritual leadership that will
agree with them, just like the people of God in the wilderness tried to do
with Aaron and Korah.  Goodness this half-way crowd in the wilderness
claimed as much religious authority and holiness as Moses, saying,
“You
take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy
{like
today, would they not wish this were true}
, and the LORD is among
them
{another false but popular misconception}.”  (Numbers 16:3)

In the nature of national citizenship and the American Democratic Faith,
and like God’s deceived and half-way people in the wilderness, American
church members think the democratic vote of the majority is a sacred trust
from God; however being right, and righteous, is the only sacred trust
from God.  Those 250 elected representatives who tried to show their
holiness by burning incense in the tabernacle of God were consumed by
fire from heaven; and Korah and all the congregation that stood on the
side of Korah, with their wives and children and household belongings,
were swallowed up alive by the pit as the ground opened up to receive
them.  So much for the democratic vote of the majority.  One vote from
God, and one vote from one actual ordained leader from God is obviously
worth more than thousands of majority votes.

(2).  In the New Testament book of Jude, Korah and his followers from
among the people of God become a very example of Rebellion against
God (Jude 11).

(3).  And the whole congregation of God’s people in the wilderness except
for two, denied both eternal rest and entrance into the promised land,
became good examples of bad conduct and results for both (a) the Falling
Away, and (b) the point of no-return of “today” where the unpardonable sin
makes it impossible, once beyond that point, for any individual to believe
and experience the new birth.

(a).  Rebellion of the Falling Away, then and now.

“For who, having heard, rebelled?  Indeed, was it not all who came
out of Egypt, led by Moses?  Now with whom was He angry forty
years?  Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell i the
wilderness?  And to whom did He swear that they would not enter
His rest, but to those who did not obey?  So we see that they could
not enter in because of unbelief.”  (Hebrews 3:16-19)

(b).  The Half-Way House and importance of Today!

“For we have become partakers of Christ {partakers Learn Christ,
they are believers of the way of continuing faith, and unreserved life-
time comitters to the Narrow Way} if we hold the beginning of our
confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said:  ‘Today,if you will
hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion’” .  
(Hebrews 3:14,15 and Psalm 95:7,8)

NOTE:  Yes, if it can not be done with the Word of God; then it can
not be done.  And you are beyond the point of no return!

The point of the “Today” from Psalms and Hebrews, from the Word of
God period, is that this is the only time you can count on; now, before you
pass the point of no return in personal rebellion against God, and now,
before you cease to have the capability to repent and believe--a privilege
before God that can be lost after the passage of a certain amount of time
for each individual citizen of the world!  Partakers, or learners after Christ,
commit themselves totally to the kingdom of God and His righteousness:  
the whole heart is committed without reservations toward loyalty to the
world and things; the whole mind is committed to Christ without holding
back on priorities toward the world and things; and the whole soul is
committed to the learning of Christ above all else.  The Half-Way or the
Broad Way are insufficient, only the Narrow Way of Christ will work with
the eternal God of this Universe.


FOR FURTHER READING AND RESEARCH:

1.  For more on this subject in a 5 volume set of commentaries with
the title of THE LEARN CHRIST COMMENTARIES, please go to the
following page:

www.biblecombibleman/LCC5volset.html

2.  Also to learn more about the free New Testament with a focus on
both Learn Christ and Large Print reading, please go to the following
page:

www.biblecombibleman/FreeNewTestament.html