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How Can We Say that Jesus is the Only Way to God?

You Asked For It  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Religion by its very nature is exclusive, but the gospel offers hope for all.

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Introduction

True or False Quiz

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. (T)
Los Angeles is the most populous city in the U.S. (F — NYC)
The letter “T” is the most common letter in the English language. (F — "E”)
The sun makes up 99.8% of the mass of our solar system. (T)
The sun makes up 99.8% of the mass of our solar system. (T)
It is morally wrong to commit murder. (T)
It would be morally wrong to steal from your neighbor, even if it wasn’t against the law. (T)
New series, You Asked For It. The question for this morning:
How can we say that Jesus is the only way to God?
We say that because we believe it is true.

The Problem of Religious Exclusivity

Our society believes it is arrogant and intolerant to insist that your religion is right and to convert others to it.
Is the problem religion or exclusivity?
Christians say that Jesus is the only way to God because we believe it is true. “Truth by its very nature is exclusive.” — Ravi Zacharias
People of every religion, philosophy, ideology, culture, and society believe things about the world, and they believe that those beliefs are true (that’s what it means to believe something).
It is impossible to believe that anything is true without also believing that opposing views are false.
If you believe that it’s true that the sun makes up 99.8% of the mass of our solar system, then you must also believe that the idea that Jupiter is bigger than the sun is false, and people who believe Jupiter is bigger than the sun are wrong.
If you believe that it is morally wrong to commit murder, then you must also believe that people who commit murder have done something immoral.
If you believe that you are right in saying people should not convert others to their religion, then you must also believe that people who think it is good to share their faith are wrong.
Subject
Is it possible to believe in exclusive truth and yet be inclusive people?
Illustration: 1 + 1 = 2, not 11

The Religious Problem

The Religious Problem
Religion by its very nature is also exclusive.
Religion claims to be true, and since truth is exclusive, religion is also exclusive.
Christianity is no exception.
John 14:6 NIV
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6 NIV
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Religious exclusivity is a problem, not because of the exclusive nature of truth, but because of the way religion responds to the exclusive nature of truth.
Religion says, “Believe in exclusive truth and be exclusive people.” But this leads to division, judgmentalism, hatred, injustice, bigotry, violence, etc. — the very problem of religious exclusivity.
Anti-Religion says, “Reject exclusive truth and be inclusive people.” But this doesn’t actually fix the problem.

Three Questions

The Religious Response to Exclusive Truth

Believe an exclusive truth
Be an exclusive people
But this leads to the very real problem of religious exclusivity.

The Anti-Religious Response

Throw your brain in the trash by pretending there’s no such thing as truth.
All religions are equally valid and basically teach the same thing.
All religions are equally valid and basically teach the same thing.
All paths lead to the top of the mountain.
Christianity vs. Islam… Jesus is God or Jesus is not God, but both are not equally valid religions teaching the same thing.
What we believe doesn’t affect the actual truth that corresponds to reality. You might believe I’m Travis Kelce, 6’ 5”, 260 lb tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, but no matter how sincerely you believe it—it’s not true.
Each religion sees part of the truth, but no religion can see the whole truth.
The blind men and the elephant
All religions are equally false; no religion is true.
Tolerate only those who agree with you, while pretending to be an inclusive people.
Therefore, it is arrogant and intolerant to insist that your religion is right and to convert others to it.
This is itself an arrogant and intolerant statement that claims to be right and attempts to convert others to its view.
“I will not tolerate your intolerance.”
The problem with this solution is that all of these popular ideas not only reject the very idea of truth, they also ultimately lead to division and intolerance. None of them offers any real solution to the problem of religious exclusivity. We have to find a way to believe in truth without creating division. Is it possible to believe in exclusive truth and yet be an inclusive people?

The Real Question

We’ve seen the problem of religious exclusivity, and we’ve seen that the anti-religious response to the problem doesn’t actually solve it.
The belief that Jesus is the only way to God is an exclusive belief. But every belief held by anyone is an exclusive belief because truth, by its very nature is exclusive. So, the real question isn’t how can we say Jesus is the only way to God; the real question is:
Is it possible to believe in exclusive truth, and yet be inclusive people?

The Hope for All in the Gospel

Every human being is made in the image of God ().
Genesis 1:27 NIV
27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27 NIV
27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
In my boys’ Jesus Storybook Bible, there’s a phrase that resonates so deeply in my heart. It says, “And they were lovely because He loved them.
. We are saved by grace, not by anything we do. Christians are not “special” or superior to others.
Every human being is a sinner by nature and by choice ().
Ecclesiastes 7:20 NIV
20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 NIV
20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.
Every human being who is saved is saved by grace (, ).
Ephesians 2:4–5 NIV
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:8–9 NIV
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:4–10 NIV
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
. Christianity is the most inclusive religious movement in the history of the world!
God wants every human being to be saved ().
1 Timothy 2:3–7 NIV
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
1 Timothy 2:3–7 NIV
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
. We love even our enemies.
The Greek word translated “all” in v. 6 means “all.” Christianity is the most inclusive religious movement in the history of the world!
V. 7 — We are heralds proclaiming the good news that God wants all people to be saved. Why, because we’re arrogant and intolerant? No! Because of what Jesus said in .
John 11:25–27 NIV
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
John 11:25–26 LEB
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die forever. Do you believe this?”
Christians don’t share Jesus with others because we are arrogant and self-righteous. We don’t try to convert people because we think we’re better than they are. We want to see people set free from addictions and sorrow and pain. We want to see lives transformed. We want to see people filled with joy and peace. We want to see hurting people comforted and sick people healed. We want to see lonely people loved and those who are struggling encouraged. Most of all, we want as many people as possible to never die forever. We don’t share Jesus with others out of pride; we share Jesus with others out of love.
John 11:25–27 NIV
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Conclusion

How should we respond?

The question we started out with was this: How can we say that Jesus is the only way to God? But that’s not really the question. We say, “Jesus is the only way to God” because we believe it is true; and truth, by its very nature, is exclusive.
The real question is not how can we say Jesus is the only way to God, the real question is which message will you believe?
The real question is this: Is it possible to believe in exclusive truth and yet be inclusive people?
. Christians don’t share Jesus with others because we are arrogant and self-righteous. We don’t try to convert people because we think we’re better than they are. We want to see people set free from addictions and sorrow and pain. We want to see lives transformed. We want to see people filled with joy and peace. We want to see hurting people comforted and sick people healed. We want to see lonely people loved and those who are struggling encouraged. Most of all, we want as many people as possible to never die forever. We don’t share Jesus with others out of pride; we share Jesus with others out of love.
Religion says, “Believe in exclusive truth and be exclusive people.”

Conclusion

Anti-religion says, “Reject exclusive truth and pretend to be inclusive people (this works best if you exclude those who disagree with you).”
The Gospel says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:9–13 NIV
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Rom 10:9-13
Romans 10:9–13 NIV
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
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