Faithlife Sermons

4-12-2020 I AM the Way

Self Portraits of Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  18:16
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Text: John 14.1-6a Title: “I AM the Way” Topic: Christ as the Way of Salvation Series: “Self-portraits of Christ” Occasion: Sun AM, 4-12-2020, First FWB Church Duncanville, Easter Sunday Introduction: In this series, we have been exploring Jesus’ various “I AM” statements. These statements provide for us our master’s self-portrait. In them we hear not what others had to say about Jesus, but we see how Jesus viewed himself and how he conceived of his life and ministry. In this message, we want to continue by looking at John 14 which contains a trio of I AM statements. We’ll be focusing our attention on the first of those statements today. Reading of Text: John 14.1-6a You may remember that John 13 gives us the account of Jesus washing the disciples feet which occurred at the last supper in the upper room on the night of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest. Now in John 14 Jesus begins his farewell address and he is saying some astonishing things to his disciples. He speaks of his Father’s house and its many rooms and going where his disciples would not be able to follow. All of these mystical sayings were too much for Thomas with his pragmatic and practical mind. Thomas was compelled to ask, “Lord if we don’t know where you are going then how can we know the way?” I am not at all surprised that it was Thomas who asked this question. Thomas may have lived in Palestine, but he must have been a fellow Missourian at heart -- “Show-me!” Remember it was Thomas who later, following the Resurrection, would say “unless I see the nail-prints in his hands and put my finger in his side, I will not believe.” Thomas has often been criticized for that statement, but I think the criticism is unjust. After all how likely is it that someone would return to life? I think what this shows about Thomas was that he was the kind of guy who thought before he acted, who looked before he leaped. He considered his involvements carefully. He counted the cost. Thomas had the mind of a skeptic. A deeper study of Thomas reveals that he was a realist who had an inquiring mind, and one of the most courageous and devoted of disciples. I. Our Questions are Often the Beginning of the Quest for Faith. Sometimes I think we believe that to have questions is to lack faith, or that our questions are the end of faith. Henry Gariepy said that “a faith hammered out on the anvil of doubts and coming to terms with reality will be an enduring faith.” How can that be? It is so because a faith that has examined and carefully weighed in light of our own doubts and questions is a faith that will not easily be shaken by the doubts and questions of others. Remember that the last word we hear about Thomas in the NT is his unreserved confession, “My Lord and my God!” One of my seminary professors told me God is big enough to handle our questions and doubts. Thomas is not condemned by our Lord for his questions. II. How Can We Know the Way? The question of Thomas, “How can we know the way?” is a question that has echoed down through the centuries. It is the pivotal question that every person must ask. I am glad that Thomas asked it for us, because our Lord response to the question provides a answer that is beautiful in its simplicity. Jesus declares very simply “I am the way…No one comes to the Father except through me.” In our world today there are many voices clamoring for our attention and allegiance. Socialism, Materialism, Communism, Secular Humanism, Consumerism, Hedonism, Ambition. There are various cults, false religions, and philosophies. There are numerous vices that purport to give meaning to life. There are many different options, but the options all differ sharply and contrast with one another. They cannot all lead to the same place and some at least must lead down the wrong path, so how can we know which is the right way? He can know the way, because Jesus came from where we are going. Most of us have had the experience of getting lost and having to stop and ask a local for directions. Sometimes those directions are very obscure and convoluted. I used to have a difficult time when I pastored in Southern Missouri. The directions would often go something like this: Let’s see, you go down this road a piece until you get to Shirley’s place (I don’t know Shirley), When you see the big oak turn to left. After you go cross the creek, you’ll come to where the old school house was (which is no longer there because it burned down) , Turn to the left and look for the Red Gate (which isn’t really red anymore but is more rusty brown), take next left, when you see a chestnut tree growing out of a large rock, you’re there. You really can’t miss it!” ….More often than not, I missed it. How much better is it when you have someone who says I’ve just been from there. Follow me and I’ll show you the way. And that is exactly what Jesus tells us, “You don’t know how to get there, but I do since I’ve just come from there – Follow me and I will show you the way.” III. Jesus Is Not A Way, He Is the Only Way. Jesus said I am the way, and in case we missed his point he goes on to say, No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus did not say that he was one way among many, he is the way. So many people today believe that “All roads lead to heaven.” You’ve probably heard the story of the three blind men that were asked to describe an elephant. The first man grabbed ahold of the elephant’s trunk and said “the elephant is like a giant boa constrictor that wraps around you.” The second man who was holding on the leg of the elephant said, “Oh no, the elephant is like a giant unmoveable oak tree.” The third man, who was holding on the elephant’s ear said, “Oh no, you are both wrong, the elephant is like a sail of a great ship.” The point of the story is to suggest that all religions are describing the same God despite their contradictory descriptions because no one knows God completely. That seems legitimate, if the knowledge of God was purely a matter of man’s thoughts and deductions about God. But here’s the problem with that idea. We have a God who revealed himself to us directly. He told us about himself in the direct revelation of scripture. But went even further than that. In Christ Jesus, God became a man and dwelt among us so that we could know him. It is this God in human flesh, this Immanuel God-with-us, who says to us, “I AM the way… and no man comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus said he alone was the exclusive way of salvation. He is the only way. All the other ways are dead ends. Conclusion:
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