Paul Lyon - Way Within the Way - Medford, Wisconsin

I would like to read to you several verses in John's Gospel: John 6:60,  "Many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, 'This is an hard saying, who can hear it?'"  66th verse, "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, 'Will ye also go away?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go?  Thou hast the words of eternal life.'"  John 12:20, "There were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast. The same came to Philip and said, 'Sir, we would see Jesus.'  Jesus said, 'The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.  He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be.'"  John 18:37, "Pilate therefore said unto him, 'Art thou a king then?' Jesus answered, 'To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that, I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice.' Pilate saith unto him, 'What is truth?'"

 

My mind went to an expression: There is a Way within the Way. A person can be in the outward part of the Way and yet miss the Way. Words of that hymn came to my mind: "Guide Thou my feet, lest I should miss the Way." It just seemed - as I was reading John's gospel -- This is the Way! The Lord's servants going forth two and two is part of the Way. It is an outward expression of the true Way. Meetings in the home are part of the Way, but an outward expression, giving our testimonies, reading the Bible are all a part of the Way, but only an outward expression of the true Way. It is the right way, but it is all given as a means to an end. If we make them an end itself, then we have missed the Way. If I take the fellowship of those who go two and two as an evidence that I am in the Way, then I have missed the Way. if I just read my Bible with the thought, I have read my Bible today, then I have missed the Way. If I cannot say, "Beyond the sacred page I seek thee, Lord," if I have not met with God, then I have missed the Way. My prayer is in that hymn, "Guide Thou my steps lest I should miss the Way."

 

I would like to talk about the Way within the Way. I would like to talk about the positive side, lest one should miss the Way. It is a living thing: the Way of Life. John expressed his purpose in writing this Gospel (20th chapter), "These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name." There is hardly a chapter that doesn't say something about believing, and not a chapter that doesn't say something about living. The Gospel of John is a Gospel of life. The other Gospels present Jesus as He is, giving an account of that life. John's Gospel was written with a different purpose in mind: "That you might believe." It is not like Luke, giving in order an account of what happened in the life of Jesus. "I have presented what would help you to believe." It helped him to believe. John reached into that great rich memory of his. He brought to us these things which helped him in his experience to truly believe in Jesus- "That they might help you to believe all things that were taught by Jesus, that it may enrich your faith, too." The more truly we believe, the more truly we live. Believing and living go hand in hand, and the more faith grows and abounds in us. Life grows in us to the proportion that faith grows and lives.

 

Jesus brought them to a place: "Do ye believe?" Then he led them farther, "Now do you believe?" After all this, facing what they did, He said, "Do you still believe?" "We do." As He led them to something else, He said, "Do you believe now?" One could trace the growth of that life within them. These men had found the Way. The outward part of the Way in the Old Testament was not the same as in the New Testament; but they had enough form to miss the Way. We have enough form to cause us to miss the Way, if we are not careful. We must rise and pray in the morning, but we could miss the Way. We could meet together on Sunday morning -- and we must do that - but we could miss the Way. We have the least formality of any, and yet we have enough to cause us to miss the Way. The inward way of the Old Testament is still the same. Though the outward form was not the same, the Way was still the same. You see Abraham worshipping God and giving the best he had. God said, "Take thy son, thine only son..." Was this his only son? No, he had a son named Ishmael. Why did he say: "thine only son?" He was the only son of faith. The only son that God could accept as an offering, because it was an offering of faith. Whenever he took the nearest and best, it was his son. Yes, he found the Way, and in his son he offered from his heart. He had inwardly offered his son Isaac to God - he found the Way.

 

He found the way, also when he saw a ram in the thicket, a grown lamb. That is what the lamb became at its best. When men and women receive Christ, the Lamb of God in their hearts, then there grows in their experience a possibility of what Christ can become. There was the possibility of Christ becoming to them what they hadn't known -- that lamb grows more and more mature to them. We have found the Way if it means more to us every day we live.

 

Whenever Joseph forgave his brethren and set them free, he found the Way, found that living Way. He found what Jesus taught: to forgive the hymn says: "Forgive as we forgive, 0 Lord, and set each other free." It isn't a matter of forgiving and saying we forgive.. but learning to set people free. Whenever we set them free, we make them feel as free in our presence as before and more so. When we do that, we have found the Way, and we prove it. A woman in Florida had something against another in the church. She said, "Alright then, I'll forgive her, but I do not want to ever have anything to do with her any more." What if the Lord would do that to us: I will forgive you, but will have nothing more to do with you as long as you live. Then she said, "I'll forgive." When we truly forgive, we have found the Way.

 

Think of many characters in the Old Testament who have found the Way. It is the same way the Lord is seeking to lead us today, and every time He points it out, He tries to say, "This is the Way, walk ye in it." Whenever Job prayed for his friends, he found the Way. They misunderstood him, and hated him, and accused him, but, when he prayed for them, he found the Way. When Jacob said, "forgive them," he found the way.

 

I want to talk about this living Way, and how it can grow in your heart. Some Greeks came to the disciples and said, "We would see Jesus." Jesus made the statement: "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." There was never a question about the fruitfulness of this life. The only question was, will it die? IF it die. There was no IF in connection with the fruit. There is an IF in connection with the willingness of our hearts. IF it die, it brings forth much fruit.

 

Some years ago, when going to school, we were dissecting some things in biology. One day the teacher brought some seeds to class which we were to cut apart. They were beans. She showed us, wrapped up inside the cover, was the root of the plant that was to be. Curled up around it was the stem and the leaves of the seed that were to be. No part that was to develop later that wasn't there already -- except the fruitfulness. Whenever God plants that seed of the Gospel in your soul, He plants every possibility that is to be: the life that is to be. The highest aim of every servant and handmaiden of the Lord is, I would like you to be everything that the Lord intended you should be when He first thought about you. When He first called you, He planted certain possibilities within you, that He hoped you would some day attain to. There was only one thing that could not be seen, that was the fruit. But He would like us to grow. When we do that, we have found the Way.

 

If a person tries to save his life or loves his life, he will lose it. If he hates it, or loves the Lord more than he loves himself, then he will keep that life unto life everlasting. One brother told about being in a wheat country in the Midwest. A large Seed Company had sent him some samples of seed wheat. Certain samples the man decided to plant, but some of those samples were never planted. Those that were planted were put out into the dark earth. It rained on them, it was cold. they didn't see the sunlight until they burst. In that cold damp earth they waited for the warmth from above. Those seeds he left on the mantle were warm practically all the time, never wet, never cold. Later on those little plants came through. "The earth bringeth forth first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear." This is the fulfillment of that promise. When heads were budding, and reapers were reaping, and he saw the golden grain; then be saw those on the mantle that never changed. We don't HAVE to face the coldness of the world. It is entirely voluntary on our part. We can exercise our own will, but we cannot exercise our own will in the reaping. "Except it die, it abideth alone." There was a time when you could come and listen if you wanted to. You did not need to make a choice -- but that day is past. You do something about it now, or you have missed the whole thing. Jesus could have said, "There was a time when you watched me perform miracles -- but that time is gone."  "Except it die," you have missed the Way.

 

John 6.60, There were some people who missed the Way because they said, "This is an hard saying, who can hear it?"   Whenever reading that chapter, I wondered, how could a person read this and call the Way hard. How could a person be a partaker of so much that Jesus had to give, and think the Way was hard. He had missed the teaching of Jesus altogether in this chapter. Jesus' saying seemed impossible. Many times, when people listen to the Gospel, they miss the Way because they think things are impossible. If they had grasped what Jesus said, they would not have felt, this is a hard saying. Do you folk feel this is a hard Way? This Way of holiness, purity and love? The man who brought us the Gospel spoke from Isaiah 33:21, "but there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars..." When the great man of God would speak to you about this broad river and streams, it is not too narrow for people who love it. In the beginning Jesus fed them with bread and fish. They were hungry. A little bread and two small fish. It even calls them small. Jesus caused them to sit down, to get quiet for a few minutes, then He could do wondrous things. Jesus blessed it, then the disciples began to give to others, to everyone as much as he wanted. Just as much as each wanted. The disciples were not to gauge how much, not to measure it out; gave as much to each as long as they held out their hands to receive. You may feel, you have not enough to go around, give and it shall be given. "Give and to you it shall be given; prove this golden rule and see, well pressed down and running over, thus the Lord will give to thee." We have proved true Christianity is the only thing that can grow while we are giving it away. It becomes larger by pouring it out to others. Only need was the gauge.

 

Many times I have tried to tell my companions, especially the boys just starting out in this work, when their knees were knocking together and teeth chattering, when they would talk about how hard it was to get up before the people: "Think of these people and forget about yourself. They will leave without bread if we do not help them. These people could lose their souls if we don't tell them the difference ... You can forget yourself long enough to help them."

 

A few years ago a phone call came: "Come, your grandmother is dying." She was as near as any mother ever could be. She was dying with cancer. Sunday morning was the day after. I intended everyone should go except the three of us, (an aunt and myself) and we three would read together. She watched me, said, "What are you doing?" I said, "I am going to stay with you." She answered, "No, you will go to that meeting for those people have heard you are coming, and they have been looking forward to it." I went into the room and fell on my face, on my knees before the Lord, feeling, "How can I do anything for anybody today? I am about to die inside." Then the words came to me: "Give and it shall to you be given. Anoint thine head, wash thy face, and appear not to fast." I remember that day, promising the Lord, "If you will go with me, I will go." I have never been in a Sunday meeting that meant more than that morning. A mother - whose son was shot down in the war - spoke through her tears- "You are not the only one whose son was shot down in the war." She was there and would expect: you to be as brave as she was. Forgetting myself helped me to face it. It works. This is the Way. When people think of others instead of themselves, they have found the Way. Jesus, who is the Bread of Life, came down from Heaven, to give life to tho world. Have you bread that will give life? None except Jesus, came down from Heaven to give life to the world. You have it to sustain life, when it has already been given.

 

Chapter 18, Pilate missed the way altogether. He asked, "Art thou a king then?" Jesus wasn't even thinking about that.  Jesus said, "You are the one who is saying I am the king. I came into this world to bear witness to the Truth; and if you had been listening, you could have seen and known, I came for a greater purpose than to be a king." Then the poor man said, "What is Truth?"

 

When talking about seed, my mind went back to an experience I had long ago, when Jack Jackson first went to South America. He left from one of the Convention grounds. There was something about it I cannot explain. But, in thinking of Jack and many others who left from that place to open another country, it added to the sweetness of our fellowship of that day. In the land of Chile, when all the workers were gathered together, he passed his hands over them and said, "The hope of Chile." Do you remember, when farmers sowed their seed corn? What did they say? What did you call the little ears? Nubbins, the tiny little ears. That is what they saved for seed corn, was it? No, you saved the largest, best ears you had, the very best. A few years ago, my companion and I were praying together before meeting. He prayed, "Lord, we know you have other servants who could do this work in this place far better than we can. You have other servants who could possibly do more than we are able to do here; but, we are the best you have in this place -- please use us!" My friend, you are God's seed corn in this place, and it is the best He has in this place. Ask Him to please use you ... but your little corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die. And IF it does, you have found the Way.