Good morning! Glad each of one of you are here with us this morning. Make sure if today is your first time with us or if you haven't done so yet you fill out a connect card or scan the QR code on the back of the chair in front of you so we can stay connected with you.
Mark Series! Starts on 2/5 + Reading plan that starts 2/6
Avert Youth Night:2/7/23 @6pm
Friday Night @ The Q: Game Night 2/10 PT.II
READ Matthew 7:13–14 (CSB)
“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
Why I, Averted
First off I want to thank both Wednesday and King for sharing their stories!
We are doing this series because our testimonies point to the glory and faithfulness of our God.
Our stories are reminders that God is compassionate , loving, merciful, powerful and active in all of our lives.
Our stories can be used to point others to Christ.
Christianity Among Other Faiths:
Christianity Among Other Faiths:
I want to thank Todd for sharing, for his transparency and for how He allows the Lord to use him. Hearing Todd’s journey really got me thinking about there is a growing number of people who like Jesus but don’t like “organized religion” because they are simply uncertain about spirituality and how there are a variety of faiths out there.
Today we are gonna tackle the question “isn't only one way to God narrow minded?” But before we jump into that lets get into Gods word and pray.
We live in a culture or in a world for that matter that has options for everything!!! There doesn’t seem to be just one way to anything. We have multiple routes we can take when getting to work and trying to avoid traffic. We have multiple options when it comes to where we shop, Where we take are vehicles to get repaired and so on.
Options are in abundance for us…… Which can be a great things but can also lead to confusion and anxiety for some of us.
With all of this in mind, no wonder the question of isn't only one way to God to narrow minded? Our culture is essentially training us to believe there are multiple options to everything nowadays. We live in a culture of Relativism which is the idea that views are relative to differences in perception and consideration. There is no universal, objective truth according to relativism; rather each point of view has its own truth. This can be summed up by the term “true for you, but not for me”
So when we hear someone say that Jesus is the only way we can really upset others, It can seem offensive, too exclusive, too narrow, too intolerant. Many people that I know who are Christian and non christians like to say that all religions lead to the same place and that there are many ways to God. But the Bible doesn’t support that idea at all. In fact it refutes that notion of thinking.
Lets look at some of the worlds major religions real quick…..Most religions claim some form of exclusive truth….All religions try to answer the questions of Orgin-meaning-morality-destiny.
Lets be clear here that all religions are fundamentally different and at best are superficially similar.
Hinduism & Buddhism are Polytheistic religions (Worship of more than one God) For Hindus the goal of life is Moksha witch is release from the cycle of rebirth. For Buddhist the goal of Life is Nirvana which is the release from the wheel of life (rebirth) and union with the universe. In both of these is up to the individual to make these life goals possible (human effort).
The Monotheistic religions (worship of one God) are Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The goal for Jewish people is a moral life thorough obedience to Gods law. For the Muslim it is and other world paradise. The way each of these are accomplished is by the works of man and how well jewish people uphold he law and live by it. For Muslims it's living out the 5 pillars:Creed, Prayer, Pilgrimage, Fasting, Zakat. Again both of these come down to human effort.
The Religious Mountain illustration (iPad to Big Screen) Draw the four on one side first…Than move onto Jesus.
-Than there is Christianity….. The goal of Christianity is Salvation( restoration of a right relationship w/God) which is needed because sin came into the world and has distanced us from God…Sin has left creation (all of us) broken. There is nothing we could do to work our way back to God, we fall short every time, but God God in HIs great love for HIs Creation made a way.
-Read John 3:16-21
John 3:16–21 (CSB)
For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”
-This is not based on who we are or what we can do to earn it, it is about who God is and how Great he truly is for even making a way back to Him.
Jesus Proclaimed there is no other way… Read John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” and Peter spoke to this as well in Acts 4:12 “there is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
Jesus says he is the only way to God the Father. Some people may argue that this way is too narrow. Isn't it arrogant to go out into the world and tell people with various worldviews/backgrounds that they are wrong and Jesus is the only way? Absolutely!!
If what Jesus claimed isn't true! Now of course their are Christinas who go about sharing Jesus in the wrong way and with their heart not in the right place(hate, ignorance, arrogance/pride) . We must share our faith with others in a loving and gracious way not in an angry condemning way.
In reality it is wide enough for the whole world, if the world chooses to accept it. Instead of focusing in and worrying about how limited this sounds to have only way to God, we should be praising God that he made a way for us at all. Let alone he made a way that is not based upon our works. We must have faith That Jesus is the sone of God and died and rose again to defeat death and sin once and for all and we must repent (turn away from our old sinful way) and allow God to renew us.
Jesus is The way!!! He has made a way where there was no way. He is the One who has carried us in all of our brokenness and has restored us into a right relationship with God the Father . THERE IS NO ONE LIKE OUR GOD!
Read some Lyrics Hillsong:As you find me
I've been strong
And I've been broken within a moment
I've been faithful
And I've been reckless at every bend
I've held everything together
And watched it shatter
I've stood tall and I have crumbled
In the same breath
And I know I don't deserve this kind of love
Somehow this kind of love is who You are
It's a grace I could never add up
To be somebody You still want
You love me as You find me
I have wrestled And I have trembled toward surrender Chased my heart adrift And drifted home again Plundered blessing Till I've been desperate to find redemption And every time I turn around Lord You're still there
Romans 3:22–25 (CSB)
The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented him as the mercy seat by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.
Jesus Changes Everything:
Jesus Changes Everything:
I think it is important to be reminded that as Christ followers we don’t have hatred in our hearts, we don’t hate or promote hate for those who don’t look like us, think like us, act like us, talks like us, vote like us. We also don’t hate those who have wronged or hurt us....Hatred is not of God and should have no place in the believers life no matter how warranted you think it may be.
If we really believe that Jesus is the only way, and that He is the one who has come down from the mountain top to meet us right where we are, we should be going out in love and be bold as we proclaim the name of Jesus and walk people to the Way, The Truth ,and The Life. WE don’t bring them in by hate or by being rude and angry.
Our society confuses love and lust. Unlike lust Gods kind of love is directed outward towards others, not inward towards ourselves. It is utterly unselfish. This kind of love goes against our natural inclinations. It is possible to practice this love only if God helps us set aside our own desires and instinct, so that we can give love while expecting nothing in return. The more we become like Jesus the more love we will show others around us, not matter who they are.
This love the Lord has for us should compel us to live in Authentic community with those around us. Where everyone from across the board of name your thing the world will try to divide people over come together in Jesus’ name and live life out together to glorify and bear witness to the world of His goodness and faithfulness. This has to be intentional on our end though.
This is a foundation of Avert....And we know doing this is both messy and beautiful. Its messy because people are messy and make mistakes, and sin against one another. can look in the scriptures to see how messy it was at times as Jesus disciples argued amongst each other and the early church had to figure it out as well as jews and gentiles came together and worshiped Jesus as their savior.
Its beautiful, because genuine love is displayed, forgiveness happens, trusting one another and discipleship takes place. And the community becomes your family. Where some times this new family you become more closer than your own blood. Because you are now tied together by the blood that was shed for you.
There are a few things Jesus said that should mark us as His people...
Jesus, spoke of joy, holiness, truth, mission, and unity as essential marks of the church in his high priestly prayer (Jn 17), concluded with an emphasis on love. Here we see the “new commandment” of John 13:34–35 again: “that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jesus said that he declared the name of God to the disciples in order that “the love with which you [the Father] have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn 17:26).
We understand the preeminence of love if we see it in reference to the other marks of the church. What happens when you take love away from them?
Suppose you subtract love from joy? What do you have? You have hedonism, an exuberance in life and its pleasures, but without the sanctifying joy found in relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Subtract love from holiness. What do you find then? You find self-righteousness, the kind of self-contentment that characterized the Pharisees of Christ’s day. By the standards of the day the Pharisees lived very holy lives, but they did not love others and thus were quite ready to kill Christ when he challenged their standards.
Take love from truth and you have a bitter orthodoxy, the kind of teaching that is right but that does not win anybody.Take love from mission and you have imperialism, colonialism in ecclesiastical garb.
Take love from unity and you soon have tyranny. Tyranny develops in a hierarchical church where there is no compassion for people or desire to involve them in the decision-making process.
Let us be Christ followers who are full of love , truth, pertinence, peace, unity, joy, holiness and share this with those around us to point to how beautiful our savior is!
Week 4 Questions:
1.Why do you think people struggle with the notion that Jesus is the only way to gain salvation?
2.Have you interacted with people who are apart of another faith? What was your interaction with them like? Did you share the gospel?
3.How is love displayed in your life? Would people look at the way you love and say you reflect the love of Jesus?
4.Of the things Jesus said should mark His church joy, holiness, truth, unity, and love. Of these what do you feel you live out the best? What do you struggle with?