Sunday, February 19, 2012

Is Jesus the Only Way?

I have a few questions for you. These aren’t trick questions. I just want to illustrate a point so holler out if you know the answer.

1) 110 plus 220= 412

2) How many quarts in a gallon? 3.12 or I would accept 17.

3) What do you get when you mix yellow and red? Cyanide

4) What do you call a baby kangaroo? Jerry

Do you want me to keep going? It is frustrating isn’t it? Let me ask you one more question. Is Jesus the only way to Heaven? Yes, of course, and I would expect you to say so but if you ask people in the world they might give you all kinds of crazy answers. Some people say it is Muhammed. Some say Confucious. Some Buddha or we are all gods or there is no God and there is no Heaven. That’s very frustrating to us as believers in Jesus.

Then you have those people who say that we are being exclusionists or narrow-minded and to those people I say…you are correct. You are correct to say that we are narrow-minded about Jesus being the only way just like we are narrow-minded about 1 plus 1 = 2. I’m not trying to offend somebody. I’m just speaking truth. I’m also just speaking what Jesus Himself spoke and we will see that in John 14:6.

I know that your Bible probably opens automatically to the Book of Genesis after we spent so long there but this morning I want to look in depth at our Bible memory verse in John 14:6. John 14 is often used at funerals to comfort the family and it is a great passage for that. In fact Jesus was comforting His disciples with these words as they sat in the upper room celebrating Passover just before Jesus was killed. And it should be of great comfort to us as we read, "Jesus answered, [I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.]"

We have talked many times lately about reaching our goal as a church. And what is that goal? To further the Kingdom. To reach that goal, I compared it to all of us being in a lifeboat with 2 oars each. One oar is prayer and the other is scripture. Our prayer this week is that we would be bold in our witness; to be bold in getting others into the boat with us to help us row. As we do that we will hear all kinds of excuses and reasons why people don’t think our boat is the right boat.

You will hear people say that they are religious. They pray every day and meditate and sing kumbaya and they get peace doing that and they probably do to some extent. Some people say they are church members and so they are ok. Mama taught Sunday School and Daddy was a deacon and they have been members of a church for years. Some rely on baptism to get them to Heaven. You hear a lot of people explicate that their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds so that is their way to Heaven.

Proverbs 16:25 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Jesus says, "I am the way…" and the word He uses there means a path or a road. Just like in Matthew 7:13-14 He says, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Just because not many are on this path doesn’t mean it’s not the right way. Jesus said, "I am the right way."

He also said, "I am the truth" but what is the truth? Everybody wants to know the truth. In John 18 Pilate is interrogating Jesus. He asks Jesus what Jesus has done and Jesus just replies that His Kingdom is not of this world. Pilate says in verse 37, "You are a king, then!" and Jesus answers, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

And then Pilate responds with the same question we all have and in the same way too many of us respond. He throws up his hands in frustration and asks, "What is truth?" and turns his back on Jesus not giving Him a chance to respond. He has truth standing there in front of him and he turns his back wondering where to find truth.

The world says that truth is relative. The world says that Jesus stuff may be true for you but not for them. They define their own truth as it fits their lifestyle. All that is is justifying their lifestyle and as my mother says, you can justify anything. You can live together outside of marriage or you can sleep around or you can cheat on your taxes or rob a bank and if you want to you can find some way of justifying it. All you have to do is define for yourself what is truth.

But if you want to know for sure what truth is then listen to Jesus. He just said "everyone on the side of truth listens to me." But how do you know that Jesus is truth? Because Jesus has the authority to proclaim truth not just because of the way He lived but also because of His death, burial and resurrection. He was the only man to ever raise Himself from the dead and He did that because He is God. And when God says that He is truth you can believe it.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life". He is the way, the road, the path even though few find it. He is truth because He is God. And He is the life. If you are driving your car up a winding mountain road you will probably see a sign warning you that the road is winding. That sign is showing you the way your car should go. Just because you don’t believe the sign does not make the road any less winding. The sign is still the truth. And if you do believe the sign then your car will follow the winding road.

It’s the same with Jesus. He is showing you the way and if you don’t believe it then it makes it no less the truth but if you do believe it then your life will be like His. Jesus says I am the life. If you believe that Jesus is the way to Heaven and that He is telling the truth then your life and your lifestyle will match up to the life and lifestyle Jesus.

One of the verses we learned a couple weeks ago was John 10:10 that says He wants to give us an abundant life. It is a life to the full and a life of holiness and righteousness. A few months ago we went through the Fruit of the Spirit. That describes a life like Jesus. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When Jesus says He is the life it does not mean a life without pain but when the pain comes there is peace and even joy. If you believe that Jesus is the way and that He is the truth then your life will bear the Fruit of the Spirit. Your life will reflect Jesus.

In Exodus 3 God tells Moses to go talk to Pharoah. Moses asks God who he should say sent him and God answers in verse 14, "I AM WHO I AM. Tell Pharoah I AM sent you!" God is rightly saying that He was, He is and He always will be and Jesus takes up with the same authority because He is God and He tells His disciples, "I AM the way. I AM the truth. I AM the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Nobody gets to Heaven except through a relationship with Jesus. Nobody gets the blessings reserved for children of the King except through Jesus. Nobody is joint heirs with Jesus to all the good things God has planned without a relationship with Jesus.

Jesus has the power and authority to be the way, the truth and the life because He is God but He also has the compassion and love to show you the way, the truth and the life. That's why He comforted His disciples with these words. He wanted His friends to know just like He wants you to know.

Before His crucifixion, Jesus stood before Pilate and was interrogated but one of these days Pilate will stand before Jesus and one of these days you will stand before Jesus and if you didn't decide in this life to have a relationship with Him then He won't ask about your church membership or how many times you got baptized or how good your deeds were because that's not the way, the truth or the life.

Buddha is not the way. Allah is not the truth. The virgin Mary is not the life. You and your good works are certainly not. Will you accept Jesus into your life today? If you already have does your life reflect His? We are not guaranteed another breath. Know for sure today.

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