“The Only Way”

"THE ONLY WAY"
"I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (Jn. 14:6)

     INTRO.: A song which emphasizes that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him is "The Only Way" (#336 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #541 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Thomas Obadiah Chisholm (1866-1960). A prolific author of hymn texts, he produced such well known songs as "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," "Living For Jesus," "O to Be Like Thee," and "Only in Thee," as well as with Lloyd Otis Sanderson for the Gospel Advocate Co., "All Things Work Together for Good," "Be with Me, Lord," "Bring Christ Your Broken Life," and "A New Creature" (or "Buried with Christ").

     The tune for "The Only Way" was composed by Samuel William Beazley (1873-1944). Other songs with his melodies include "After the Midnight," "Home of the Soul," "I Choose Jesus," "The Love of God" (beginning "Since the love of God has shed"), and "Ring Out the Message," in addition to many of the country-music gospel-convention type special selections that have appeared in some of our more recent books ("Jesus Paid It All," "Our King Emmanuel," "Go into the Field," "Matchless Love," "The Great Redeemer" and "Walking in the Light"). "The Only Way" is dated 1915, and the copyright was later owned by the Stamps-Baxter Music Co.

     Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1940 Complete Christian Hymnal edited by Marion Davis; and the 1952 Hymns of Praise and Devotion edited by Will W. Slater. Today, it may be found in Hymns for Worship and Sacred Selections, in addition to the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.

     The song identifies several items for which Jesus is the only means for us to receive them.

I. Stanza 1 mentions freedom
"Would you be freed from your burden of sin?
Hear the sweet whisper of pardon within?
Would you this moment a new life begin?
This is the only way."
 A. Every responsible human being at one time or another has a burden of guilt to bear because all have sinned: Rom. 3:23
 B. However, God offers pardon: Isa. 55:7
 C. With this freedom from sin, we can begin a new life: Rom. 6:3-4

II. Stanza 2 mentions light
"Would you have light that no clouds can obscure?
Would you have joys that are fadeless and pure?
Would you have help that is mighty and sure?
This is the only way."
 A. We need something to be a lamp to our feet and light our pathway: Ps. 119:105
 B. Darkness is often used poetically to indicate sorrow, so light brings joy that we also need: Phil. 4:4
 C. The light and joy provide help that is mighty and sure: Ps. 121:1-2

III. Stanza 3 mentions peace
"Would you have peace never broken by fears?
Would you have hope that can smile through its tears?
Friendship unchanging through earth’s changing years?
This is the only way."
 A. Everyone seems to be looking for peace of mind in this troubled world: Phil. 4:6-7
 B. When a person finds true peace, he also finds hope that can smile even through tears: Rom. 8:24-25
 C. Such peace and hope are made possible by a friendship that is unchanging through earth’s changing years: Jn. 15:13-15

IV. Stanza 4 mentions rest
"Would you find rest in a blessed retreat,
Rest undisturbed by the tempests that beat?
Would you be ready the judgment to meet?
This is the only way."
 A. Those who are weary seek rest: Matt. 11:228-30
 B. The tempests that beat symbolize the trials and tribulations of life which make us weary: Jas. 1:2-3
 C. This rest is necessary to help us be ready to meet the judgment: Jn. 12:48

     CONCL.: Each stanza asks several questions and ends by saying, "This is the only way." The chorus then explains what that way is:
"Come to the cross of the Son of God,
Trust in the power of His saving blood,
Walk in the path where His feet have trod–
This is the only way."
Hymns for Worship places this hymn in the section of invitation songs, and it can well be used for that purpose, because it does encourage the sinner to come to the cross of the Son of God. But it also can be used to exhort Christians to bring their burdens to the cross as well and to remind us that in order to receive a home in heaven Jesus Christ is "The Only Way."

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