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The Only Way

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Almost everybody...regardless of their faith…believes that Jesus was a real person...and even was a good man in history. And pretty smart and did some cool and good things.
And many can relate with Him in some way or another.
From what we know he lived a pretty common life before His ministry. People can relate to that...
Like us He experienced sorrow and struggle and suffering and temptation.
He said some quotable stuff…in our day you might say He was tweetable.
In our day you might say He was very tweetable. People will pick out parts of things He said that they like or agree with and quote them...
So people will pick out parts of things He said...that they like or agree with and quote them...
So for various reasons many people can identify with Jesus...even admire him. He was loving. He stuck up for the poor and the needy. He had followers who were common and the lowly. Even some who had been rejected by the world or by culture or by religion.
even admire him. He was loving. He stuck up for the poor and the needy. He had followers who were outcasts and the lowly. Even some who had been hated and rejected.
He loved his enemies…and teaches us to do the same.
He was humble…and honest…full of grace and truth.
Why did so many who followed Him to see His miracles flee right after they heard Him speak?
Why did the Jews and Gentiles hate Him and crucify Him? Because of what He said.
they also killed Him.
Why was he so hated by the world?
He tells us...
And He tells us...
John 15:18 ESV
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
John 18
The world hated Him...
Or...
Matthew 10:22 ESV
and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Or in 1 John
even admire him. He was loving. He stuck up for the poor and the needy. He had followers who were outcasts and the lowly. Even some who had been hated and rejected.
e wfriends with the neglected and the weak and the downtrodden. He hung out with the despised and the rejected. Even when he was fiercely/unfairly attacked, he didn’t retaliate.
He loved his enemies…
He loved his enemies…he taught others to do the same.
1 John 3:12 ESV
We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.
1 John 3:13 ESV
Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
He was humble...
So Jesus loved His enemies…brought a message of salvation…good news of great joy…grace and truth...and was hated and killed.
Not just by the Jews…but also the Gentiles…the world.
And tells us we should expect the same...
Why? What was the final straw?
Because of who He said He was…and who we believe He is...
Becasue of who He claimed He was…and who we belive He is...
The Son of God…the great I AM.
And like the people in the parable of the ten minas…the world…the majority of people…are ok with a good teacher…they are ok with a prophet…they like miracles and free food…they are even ok with a Savior…but not a Lord…not one who is God.
And so like in the parable...
Luke 19:14 ESV
But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’
Savior…fine…Lord…no thank you.
And even with all of this...Jesus made some of the most argumentative…controversial claims of any person in the History of the World…and therefore He was hated and killed.
Jesus made some of the most argumentative…controversial claims of any person in the History of the World…including that He was and is God…with power over life and death…forgiveness and judgement...the only way to salvation.
On Wednesday we read which starts like this...
John 6:2 ESV
And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.
5000 men following Him around…which is estimated to be up to 20,000 people following Him including women and children...
Jesus feeds them with the 5 loaves and 2 fish…they believe something about Him after this...
John 6:14 ESV
When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”
But then He speaks…tells them He is the bread of life…sent down from Heaven…that no one can be saved unless the Father sends them to Him…and He will be the one who raises up God’s people on the last day…that following Him is completely relying on Him for everything…so much so that He will give His flesh for us...
And everyone leaves…from 20,000 to 12…and Then He says to the 12...
John 6:67 ESV
So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”
Then He tells them that even they were chosen…and it is really only 11...
John 6:70 ESV
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”
Jesus most bold statements were about who He was and is and will always be...
The Son of God…the great I AM…the one with the fate of humanity...eternal life or eternal judgement...was...and is in His hands...and therefore He was hated and killed by the world.
In the book of John Jesus makes 7 “I am” claims where He says something deep…profound…and bold…and controversial about Himself.
Not coincidentally all of these statements are preceded by the words…I AM.
So what I plan to do is to read all 7....then briefly look at 6…and end by focusing on our text for today….
John 6:35 ESV
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
and
John 8:12 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
and
John 10:9 ESV
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
John 10:7 ESV
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
and
John 10:11 ESV
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
and
John 11:25 ESV
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
John 11:25–26 ESV
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
and
John 15:1 ESV
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
And the one we talked about last night with the youth and will again today...
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
“I am…I am this…I am that…”
“I am…I am this…I am that…” he said, over and over and over again. And he made some pretty extravagant claims about himself.
Jesus made some pretty extravagant, and bold, and controversial claims about himself…unless they are true…which they are…which makes them awesome and powerful and life giving…and life saving.
What was Jesus doing by making these I am statements...
He is clearly setting Himself apart from anyone who had come before…anyone who was living...and anyone who will ever live. Let’s look again briefly at them…and then dive into .
John 6:35 ESV
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
So everyone else is thirsting and hungry…searching for satisfaction and hungry for joy…but fulfilling their desires in things that will not last…and Jesus is the everlasting bread of life…He alone can quench your thirst for joy…and your hunger for meaning and life.
John 8:12 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Everyone else is in darkness…other teachers or prophets or religions will lead you to darkness. Without Christ you are in darkness and even love the darkness...
But He is the light…the only true light in the world…and who are His followers? Those who no longer walk in the dearness but have come into the light…and therefore will have life.
John 10:9 ESV
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
All people are like sheep…wondering and confused and lost…even locked outside of the pasture. In the wilderness…outside of the gate...
With no way to get into the safety and sustenance of being in the pasture. There is only one way to get in…He is the only door…the narrow gate.
John 10:11 ESV
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
And as the shepherd of the pasture He is the better David…who as a young man saved His flock from bears and lions…Jesus sets Himself apart as the shepherd who will lay down His life for the eternal salvation of His people...His sheep.
John 11:25–26 ESV
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus not only will bring life and resurrection to His people…He is resurrection…He is life…life and resurrection are only found in Him…therefore believing in Him is more than a decision…it is putting your life in His hands…trusting in Him alone…the resurrected one who will deliver us from eternal death.
John 15:1 ESV
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
The true vine…meaning there are many others that will not produce fruit…but as the true vine...Jesus…the true Isreal…and for us...only by being connected to Him will we produce fruit…and His Father the vine dresser will remove any branches that do not produce fruit.
And the one we talked about last night with the youth and will again today...
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus has now completely set Himself apart from all other humans…all other prophets…all other messiahs…any other king…and even every other way to live…this is all encompassing...
Everybody else in darkness; he is the light of the world.
Everybody else hungry; he is the bread of life.
Everybody else thirsty; he alone can quench thirst.
Everybody else under the penalty and power of sin; he alone brings forgiveness and freedom.
And therefore He is also the judge…who will return at the end of history. The Shephrd who will sepr=erate the sheep from the goats.
A guy named John Stott, who wrote a book that we’ve got to give away to people who want it today (Why I Am A Christian), describes this best when he says:
And He is also the judge…who will return at the end of history. The Shepherd who will separate the sheep from the goats.
So Him claiming to be the way…the truth…the life…
y named John Stott, who wrote a book that we’ve got to give away to people who want it today (Why I Am A Christian), describes this best when he says:
Is one of the most controversial statements in all of History...
Jesus not only is saing I am this or I am that…He is also telling us he is the I AM!
“One of the most extraordinary things Jesus did in his teaching (and he did it so unobtrusively that many people read the [Bible] without even noticing it) was to set himself apart from everybody else. For example, by claiming to be the good shepherd who went out into the desert to seek his lost sheep, he was implying that the world was lost, that he wasn’t, and that he could seek and save it.
Moses in asks God for His name…Moses says to God…who can I tell the people has sent me…what is your name?
Exodus 3:14 ESV
God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”
And Jesus when explaining to the Jews how He could have seen Abraham…said this...
John 8:58 ESV
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
John
Breathtaking...
These are breathtaking claims. Jesus was by trade a carpenter…from Nazareth…an obscure village on the edge of the Roman Empire. Nobody outside Palestine would even have heard of Nazareth. Yet here [Jesus of Nazareth] was, claiming to the be savior and the judge of all humankind.” (Stott, Why I Am A Christian, 42-43)
Jesus was a carpenter…from Nazareth…born in a manger.
So Stott concludes: “These are breathtaking claims. Jesus was by trade a carpenter…from Nazareth…an obscure village on the edge of the Roman Empire. Nobody outside Palestine would even have heard of Nazareth. Yet here [Jesus of Nazareth] was, claiming to the be savior and the judge of all humankind.” (Stott, Why I Am A Christian, 42-43)
Jesus was by trade a carpenter…from Nazareth…an obscure village on the edge of the Roman Empire. Nobody outside Palestine would even have heard of Nazareth. Yet here [Jesus of Nazareth] was, claiming to the be savior and the judge of all humankind....the savior…the only way to salvation…and God Himself....
And here Jesus of Nazareth was, claiming to the be savior and judge of all humankind....the savior…the only way to salvation…and God Himself…the I AM.
Which makes even more awesome.
Which makes even more awesome.
I think Jesus’ most astounding claim is John, Chapter 14, verse 6. Soon before he would be betrayed, arrested, and crucified on a cross, Jesus told his disciples, specifically in response to a question from one of his disciples named Thomas, Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” ().
Soon before he would be betrayed, arrested, and killed on the cross, Jesus told his disciples he was leaving…and was asked by Thomas…
John 14:5 ESV
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
john 14 5
is Jesus response to that question…How can we know the way for us to get to where you are going?
Is there any more important question?
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Wow…there it is.
Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” ().
One way…one truth…one way to be saved…and not only does Jesus know the way…He is.
That is an astounding claim. Just think about what Jesus was saying here. In a world of many ways, Jesus was claiming to be the way. In a world of many ways, Jesus was claiming to be the way. So in a world of many different religions, Jesus was saying that he was the way to God. The essence of what Jesus taught is that all people everywhere, including you and me, have been created by God, but we have all turned to our own ways. It looks different in each of our lives…each of our stories is different…but what unites us all is that we’ve all turned from God’s way to our way.
In a world of many ways, Jesus was claiming to BE the way.
The essence of what Jesus taught is that all people everywhere, including you and me, have been created by God, but we have all turned to our own ways.
It looks different in each of our lives…but what unites us all is that we’ve all turned (and the whole world has turned) from God’s way to our way.
The Bible calls this sin…and naturally, it separates us from God. Not only does it separate us from God, but it makes us infinitely and eternally guilty before God.
We have all (rebelled against God, and without a way...we stand under the judgment of God.
In , Jesus said people are under the wrath of God...judgment of God…because we’ve turned away from him.
And Jesus is telling us in that there a way home...one way to be saved from the wrath of God…one way to avoid eternal judgement...Him.
He is the way to be saved.
he’s the way to be saved from that judgment. Not just a way, but the way…and all who don’t believe in him remain under God’s wrath. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (). That is a huge statement.
Not just a way, but the way…and all who don’t believe in him and therefore remain in their disobedience and rebellion also remain under God’s wrath.
John 3:36 ESV
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
There is this idea that everyone in the world is on a journey…or our own way...that will eventually lead to salvation...one way or another...and Jesus is blowing it out of the water...
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (). That is a huge statement.
Jesus here is fundamentally denouncing the mountain theory of religions that’s so common in the world…that it’s like we’re all at the bottom of a mountain, and God (or whatever you want to call him) is at the top of the mountain…and you may take this path, while I may take that path, but in the end, we’re all going to be in the same place. This idea that all religions are fundamentally the same and equally valid. So religion is a matter of preference or personal taste, and no one of them is more true than the others.
The idea that you may take this path, while I may take that path, but in the end, we’re all going to be in the same place. The idea that all religions or forms of spirituality are fundamentally the same and equally valid. Even the idea that other religions have that would say Jesus is a good teacher…or a prophet…
And to that He says no…I am the only way...
He is the way…the truth…and the life…and no one will come to the father unless it is through Him.
But no…one way...
He is the way…the truth…and the life…and no one will come to the father unless it is through Him.
He is the way…the truth…and the life…and no one will come to the father unless it is through Him.
So He is the way and…the truth...
And in a culture that questions truth, Jesus claims to BE the truth.
In a culture that questions truth, Jesus claims to be the truth.
Jesus is the way...
And in a culture that questions truth, Jesus also claims to be the truth.
So to say faith is only cultural or just a decision we humans make or even that faith is just a tradition…or that we can choose which version of the truth works for us…Jesus says no…I choose and I AM the truth.
We live in a culture that sets truth aside and says faith is a matter of personal taste or even tradition.
Jesus says that faith is not a matter of human choice or decision…faith is not just a set of traditions or a place to spend Sunday mornings…faith is not a show or entertainment or a way to look like a good person...
Faith a matter of truth.
And into a culture that sees faith as a matter of taste (whatever works for you) or tradition (whatever’s most acceptable around you), Jesus says that faith is a matter of truth. “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (). And it makes sense when you think about it.
John 8:31–32 ESV
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (). And it makes sense when you think about it.
So we are all slaves…slaves to sin..slaves to cultural preferences…slaves to distraction…slaves to the world…and we need Jesus to set us free…and his word is true....
There is only one truth...
Because all religions can’t be true at the same time. This is obvious…just think about it. Either God does exist (which Christianity and other religions would claim) or God doesn’t exist (which atheism or agnosticism would either claim or lean toward). This is not a matter of taste or tradition; this is a matter of truth. Either God is or God isn’t.
This is obvious…if we think about it.
Either God does exist or God doesn’t exist.
Either God does exist (which Christianity and other religions would claim) or God doesn’t exist (which atheism or agnosticism would either claim or lean toward).
This is not a matter of intellect...or a decision I have to make…or tradition...this is a matter of truth. Either God is or God isn’t.
And either atheists or Christians or Muslims or Buddhists...are basing their entire lives on a lie…they can’t all be right. There is one truth.
For example Islam and Christianity.
Christians obviously believe that Jesus died on a cross. Muslims, however, deny that Jesus died on the cross. Both of these can’t be true at the same time. Either Jesus didn’t die on the cross and didn’t rise from the grave and is not alive…is not God...
In which case the true followers of Christ who give there entire lives for Him are wasting their lives and are to be pitied among men— or…
Jesus did die on the cross and did rise from the dead…in which case there is only one option…live for Him...
This has huge ramifications for every other religion in the world…Muslim Buddhist Atheist.
And of eternity for all people is dependent on that one truth....the truth.
And eternity is dependent on what’s true here…not on where we were born or what we prefer. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but certainly where we’re going to spend eternity is a more important decision than whether we’re going to eat chocolate or vanilla ice cream.
Jesus…the risen King…IS the truth...
Jesus claimed to be true…the true representation of God…speaking the truth about God…that all people have turned away from God…and that the only way to be brought back to God was through what he would do on the cross. Days, even hours, after Jesus said these words, he went to a cross, where Jesus (who had never once sinned against God), died.
The true God…speaking the truth about God…that all people have turned away from God…and that the only way to be brought back to God was through Him…His life…His death…His resurrection...because He is.
And the truth IS that the one who had never once sinned against God…days later was going to die on a cross for those who would come to God…through Him…He died for us.
Because the truth is that eternal death is the necessary payment for sin…
Now death is the payment for sin…the just judgment of God due sin. But if Jesus had never sinned, then why did he die? And the answer is, “He died in the place of sinners.” He died for you…and for me. He took the just judgment due you and me in our sin upon himself…so that anyone anywhere…no matter how you have sinned against God…when you put you faith, your hope, your trust in what Jesus did for you on the cross…you can be restored to God forever.
But the truth is that Jesus had never sinned, so why did he die?
The truth is that, “He died in the place of sinners.”
He died for His sheep…those who would hear His voice and come to Him…those sent to Him by the Father.
The infinite and perfect one died for us…that is the truth…you can stake your life on the truth.
You can and should live boldly and also rest in Him..because of that truth.
Everyone everywhere…with any past...has sinned against God…and anyone anywhere who puts their faith, your hope, your trust in the truth…of what Jesus did on the cross…and believe with your heart that He is the Lord...you will be restored to God...forever.
Because this is the truth…He is the truth.
The truth is that Jesus claimed to have the authority to conquer death…and to come back to life.
Whether it was Muhammad dying at 62, Confucius dying at 72, the Buddha dying at 80, or Moses dying at 120-years-old, all these leaders’ deaths marked the end of their stories. To all who long for peace and joy in life, Jesus claims to be the life. But Jesus’ death, in a very real sense, marked the beginning of his story. For he claimed not just to be the way and the truth, but to all who long for peace and joy in life, Jesus claims to be the life.
Muhammad dead, Confucius dead, Buddha dead, even Moses whom these Jews at the time of Jesus were seemingly putting much of their faith in...died at 120-years-old.
But Jesus is alive...
Which beings us to the third claim of Jesus in .
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
He is the life.
He is the life.
He claimed not just to be the way and the truth, but to all whom are thirst…for all whom are searching…for all who desire joy eternal....life everlasting...Jesus claims to be the life.
He claimed not just to be the way and the truth, but to all whom are thirsty…for all whom are searching…for all who desire joy eternal…He is life everlasting...Jesus is the life.
The Jesus that died on the cross…3 days later was reurrected to life…and is alive.
This makes Jesus the way…the truth…and the life...
The only way to be saved…why? Because He is the most powerful, unique, awesome, person in the history of the world....because He is not only 100% man…He is 100% God.
Who else has conquered death?
Which is why Jesus was always talking about life…and eternal life.
He would meet people at different points in their lives…people looking for peace, comfort, meaning, joy, satisfaction, life to its fullest. Something was missing...
And so he said to a woman at the well , he said:
John 4:13–14 ESV
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
This is also the gospel that we proclaim and see in the baptisms we did a few weeks ago…or your baptism if you have been baptised into Christ.
He said to a crowd of hungry people: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall NOT hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (). He said to a people looking at darkness in the world around them: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” ().
John 6:35 ESV
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
This is also the gospel that we see in the baptisms we did a few weeks ago…or your baptism if you have been baptised into Christ.
He said to a people whose joy and peace were constantly being taken from them in this world: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (). I want to pause here, and I want to let a few other people speak to this.
To people whose joy and peace were constantly stripped away from them in this world:
people whose joy and peace were constantly being taken from them in this world: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (). I want to pause here, and I want to let a few other people speak to this.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” ().
I want to pause here, and I want to let a few other people speak to this.
This is the gospel as seen in the baptisms we did a few weeks ago...
In baptism, someone is immersed in water, but we don’t hold them under there too long, because Jesus wasn’t in the grave very long…just as he rose from the dead, people rise out of the water as a picture of death being conquered…life being found...in Jesus.
A display and celebration of new life that is only possible in him.
The old life leading to death…put to death…and a new life…
Real life…has been found in the giver of eternal life.
Jesus is the life...because Jesus died and rose again…so that we can have new life and eternal life…in Him.
Listen to romans 6 3-11
NO SLIDE...
Romans 6:3–11 ESV
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Because He is the Life...
So I would like to end with
Three Questions …
So I would like to end with 2 questions and 3 really quick points of application...
SLIDE
SLIDE
An important question: Do you believe Jesus?
Notice I said do you believe Jesus…not in Jesus…we will get to that.
Jesus says He is the Savior…Jesus says He is the Lord…Jesus says He is the I AM…Jesus says He is the only way…the only truth…the only way to eternal life…to spend eternity with God.
Do you belive Him?
In Martha shows some faith in Jesus…primarily in His power but Jesus takes it a step further with her…He sees she has faith in His miracles…but says this to her.
She says that she beilves that Jesus can bring her brother back to life…and He says.
John 11:25–26 ESV
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
So I ask…do you belive this?
We are all going to be somewhere for eternity…and Jesus says…He is the way to eternal life and eternal joy…for all who live in Him and believe in Him…So the first question…the same question Jesus asked Martha...Do you believe this?
And if you do…another question still remains.
I always point out to friends who aren’t Christians that the burden of proof when it comes to the resurrection is not just on Christians…it’s on non-Christians, as well. Because there’s no question – even among the most secular of scholars – that around 2000 years ago an entirely new religious community and movement was formed – almost overnight. And immediately, hundreds of people started claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead, even when it meant they would die for claiming that. A fast-growing movement of people that now makes up what some estimate is as large as a third of the world survives as a result. So how do you explain that? If you don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus, then there’s a burden of proof here to provide some other plausible account for how the church started in the first place.
But even in this…even if you’re inclined to believe this is true…another question still remains.
Do you believe IN Him as Savior and Lord?
Why? Because you can believe things about Jesus and not believe in Jesus…not live in and believe in Jesus in a saving way…in your heart.
Many Many do…from Muslims to the lukewarm...even the demons…believe things about Jesus...
James 2:19 ESV
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Demons believe that God exists…they know Jesus exists…Satan tempted Him face to face...
But something is missing? John writes this gospel to make something very clear to us...
We must belive Him and believe in Him as the Christ…the Savior…and the Son of God…the Lord.
Saving belief is believing He is who He says He is and therefore receiving Him as your Savior and Lord…believing Him is believing in Him.
This is why John tells us He wrote the book of John.
And why did John wirte the book of John.
John 20:31 ESV
but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Belive that He is the messiah…the sent one…the coming savior…and also.
The second person of the Trinity…the Son of God…who is God and was God and is to come…the Great I am.
Do you belive that Jesus is the Savior? Do you belive that He is the Lord?
Look at how Martha responds...
John 11:25–26 ESV
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11:25 ESV
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
And she responds...
John 11:27 ESV
She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Or how about Thomas…sometimes called doubting Thomas…look at what He says when He comes to the full belief in the resurrected Jesus...
John 20:27–28 ESV
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
27
Let’s end by returning to our text with 3 quick application points…
So do you belive Him? Do you bepive what he said?
Do you belive in Him? Have you plaved all of your faith in Him as your Savior and do you follow Him as your Lord?
If so…then is a beutiful statment and promise for you…for us.
And we recognize that this is really not a matter of how many ways there are – if there were a thousand ways, we would want a thousand and one. The issue is not how many ways there are; the issue is that we want to make our own way, and the God of the universe, in his grace, has said, “I have made a way.” He has not left us alone – he has not left YOU alone – he has come to YOU, he has died for YOU, he has risen from the grave so that YOU might have life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” ().
Followers of other religions, or followers of no religion…in all their sincerity, are they really separated from God…and not able to come to God unless they believe in Jesus?
When we hear Jesus say, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” we immediately wonder, “Why would God only make one way to himself?” Isn’t God more creative than that?
More importantly, isn’t God more loving than that?
This is a great question, and it causes us to step back and see the whole story. So have you ever been in a conversation with someone about some intense subject, maybe an hour or two, just diving into this subject…or maybe a week or two?
And after you’ve been talking about this subject for a while with that person, all of a sudden, somebody else comes in and just kind of jumps into the conversation and starts bringing up things that you brought up an hour or two ago or a week or two ago; and you want to say, “Uh, who invited you into this conversation?”
They don’t understand where the conversation is because they haven’t been there. Well, this is where I think we need to step back. When Jesus says these words in , we’re coming in on a story in the Bible that happens here, a claim that happens here, but there’s a lot that’s happened before then.
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
So let me give you a little context. Step back, and broaden the picture…all the way back to the beginning. So imagine God—and I use the word “imagine” there because, like I’ve mentioned numerous times, I realize there are people here who may not believe there is a God, or believe there’s no God. Well, just imagine it’s possible that God exists. I think we’d all have to at least be willing to admit it’s possible that God exists.
If I were to say that something is not in this room, then that means I’d have to have searched this whole room, and then I could say, “Okay, it’s not in this room.” So if I’m going to say God’s not there, that means I would have to have searched all knowledge to see if God is there, and if I’ve searched all knowledge, that means I have all knowledge—and by definition that would make me God, and I’d deny my own divinity with my own statement, “There is no God.”
So it’s at least possible that somewhere in knowledge, there’s a God who exists. Just start there. Just imagine there is a God who exists, and that this God is perfectly good and perfectly holy . . . perfectly loving—all that is love is summed up in God. Imagine God created the world. He created a world in which he put mountains and seas and all the beauty we see in nature around us. But then, after creating all of that, he created man and woman as his prize creation, as a reflection of himself—for relationship with him. Imagine he created man and woman with a capacity to know him, to walk with him, to enjoy him. And he said to man and woman, “I want you to enjoy me and all my creation forever.”
And then imagine God, the Creator, said to his creation, “If you disobey me, if you turn away from me, you will die. I don’t want you to die; I want you to live with me forever.” Imagine the creation says, “Yes!” But then one day, for no just reason, the man and the woman decide, “Our Creator doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t know what is best for us.” So for no just reason, they disobey their Creator. Then the Creator comes to them and says, “I told you that if you did this, that you would die.” Imagine the Creator having in motion, even there, a plan to make it possible for his creation to live with him forever still. Imagine that plan involves calling a people to himself, from among creation—they’re called the people of Israel in the Old Testament.
And he says to them, “I want to show my love to you as a people, to enter into—it’s called a covenant in the Old Testament, but it’s like a marriage relationship—a special relationship with you in such a way that you will then show my love to all the other peoples of the earth.”
And imagine this people says, “Yes,” and they enter into that marriage relationship, that covenant, to enjoy God’s love and to make God’s love known to everyone else on the earth. But imagine, just days after entering into that covenant, imagine—just days later—them saying, “Our Creator is not worthy of worship. Let’s take gold and silver and put it together in the form of a cow, and we’ll worship that instead.” And imagine them continuing to do that in all sorts of other ways—all sorts of other idolatry and immorality.
You are blessed…you have recieved His love…
And imagine the Creator, in his love, sending messengers to that people, messengers that bring good news of the Creator’s love for them, that if they’ll turn back from their sin and turn back to their Creator’s ways, that he’ll forgive them and restore relationship with him. And imagine the creation taking those messengers sent from the Creator and stoning them, sawing them in half, imprisoning them, persecuting them . . . killing those messengers.
After centuries of messengers coming with news of the Creator’s love, imagine the Creator committing the ultimate act of condescension and coming to creation himself, taking on a robe of human flesh, and living among his creation, loving them, serving them, healing them of diseases, and bringing good news of the Creator’s love. And imagine the creation taking the Creator himself—in the flesh—and mocking him and beating him, scourging him and spitting in his face, and then nailing him to a cross in the most cruel form of murder imaginable.
And imagine, in light of that whole story, the Creator saying, not just to his creation who did that but to all people in all history, “If you will only believe in my love for you expressed on that cross, then I will forgive you of all your sins against me, and you can live with me forever.” If all that is true, do you think it would make sense to say to this God, “Couldn’t you be more creative? I thought you were loving!” Now, when we realize the whole story, we realize the question is not, “Why is there only one way?” Instead, we realize that the question is, “Why is there any way at all?”
And we recognize that this is really not a matter of how many ways there are – if there were a thousand ways, we would want a thousand and one. The issue is not how many ways there are; the issue is that we want to make our own way, and the God of the universe, in his grace, has said, “I have made a way.” He has not left us alone – he has not left YOU alone – he has come to YOU, he has died for YOU, he has risen from the grave so that YOU might have life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” ().
A more important question: Will you receive His love?
So now theSo do you belive in what He said…Do you belive in Him ans the question is not just, “Do you believe his claims?” The more important question is: “Will you receive his love?” Right where you’re sitting, will you receive his love for you?
And will you do what Thomas did? This disciple had questions about Jesus – he heard this claim from Jesus, but he still doubted until he saw Jesus alive after death. This is what happened in : Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
And says that (paraphrased) for all who believe in him, for all who receive him, he gives the right to become children of God. Oh, I want to invite you, implore you, urge you, right where you’re sitting today, to believe his claims, to receive his love, and to let today be the day when for the first time, not as a matter of preference or tradition, not as a matter of mere religious routine, but as a matter of life and death, you call Jesus Lord. This is something that can only happen in our hearts, so here’s what I want to do. In just a moment, we’re going to stand together, and these guys are going to sing a song about Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The most important question: Will you call Him Lord? And so we come to the most important question that every single person within the sound of my voice must answer. Not just, “Do you believe his claims?,” or, “Will you receive his love?”
The most important question is: “Will you call him Lord?” Will you say, in your life, “I am a sinner…I have turned away from God…but I believe God loves me…and I put my trust in what he has done for me in Jesus…and I confess him as my Lord and my God.”
Applications:
And says that (paraphrased) for all who believe in him, for all who receive him, he gives the right to become children of God. Oh, I want to invite you, implore you, urge you, right where you’re sitting today, to believe his claims, to receive his love, and to let today be the day when for the first time, not as a matter of preference or tradition, not as a matter of mere religious routine, but as a matter of life and death, you call Jesus Lord. This is something that can only happen in our hearts, so here’s what I want to do. In just a moment, we’re going to stand together, and these guys are going to sing a song about Jesus’ death and resurrection.
To the Lost…He is the Way.
To the wandering or confused…He is the truth.
And I want to invite many of you to join in and sing…but most importantly, if you have never called Jesus Lord, then I want to invite you to do that during this song. As people are singing, you feel free to join in song and to sing this for the first time meaning it. Or…if you want to just silently, by yourself, as others as singing, in your heart, say to God, “I believe. I receive. I confess Jesus as Lord.” I’ve prayed for this moment. My hope, my prayer is that as we sing this song all across this room, that God, in his mercy, might bring many from death to life, might bring many to believe his claims, to receive his love, and to confess Jesus as Lord.
To the dead…He is the life.
Lost…the way
So if you are lost…follow the good shepherd and He will guide you to the narrow road....because He is the way.
When you are wandering or confused…with questions or doubts...look to the light of the world…because He is the truth.
Confused the truth
And if you are not saved…if you are dead…still in your sin....If you have not turned your life to Christ in repentance and faith...
He is the door…so open the door…and find life in Him...what do I mean?
Revelation 3:20 ESV
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
If you have heard His voice…come to Him…come to the table with us and eat with Him...
Come to Jesus.
Come to the only one who will quench your thirst…and satisfy your hunger…the bread of life.
He is the way…the only way.
He is the truth…the only truth...
He is the life…the only way to true and full and everlasting life.
Stop looking anywhere else...
Come to Jesus…receive Him as Savoir and Lord...
And for some of you...Return to Jesus...
Dead…the life
Saturate your life in His glory…life your life with His body…the church.
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
enter throguh the door…find the a=only way to quench tour thirst...
And give your life to the one who sacrificed His...
Come to Jesus.
Come to Jesus.
Come to Jesus.
Our Lord and Our God...
Amen!
STAND PRAY!!!
BACK OF ROOM AS WE SING.
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