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Is Jesus the Only Way? January 25, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in God the Father, Jesus, John's Gospel, Religion, Sermons.
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“LORD, HOW CAN WE KNOW THE WAY?”

(John 14:1-7)

Suppose you played a game of blind man’s bluff using different methods to find your way.

a. With no help, eyes not blindfolded.

b. With no help, blindfolded.

c. Using someone’s voice as a guide standing in the correct place.

d. Using someone’s voice as a guide though they are not standing in the right place.

e. Someone taking you by the hand but you not going willingly.

f. Someone taking you by the hand and you go willingly.

How would you best find your way if you could not find it yourself? Today we will look at Jesus’ answer to that question.

I. Don’t be afraid (verses 1-3)! Get a hold on yourselves. The disciples were emotionally stirred up. Jesus has just told them that He was going away and that they could not come with Him. He has also told Peter, the most courageous of their group, that he himself would deny Him before the rooster crowed in the morning. On top of this, they have learned that one of them would betray Him and have been rebuked for their lack of love and service for one another. All of these things were disturbing but Jesus is addressing just one of those issues. He is going away and they are troubled by this.

Jesus is not saying that to be emotionally troubled is a sin. We find in John 11:33 that when Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus and saw all there who were weeping, He Himself was emotionally troubled, groaning in His spirit and outwardly weeping. He was not weeping just for show.

We find in the next chapter, John 12:27, that Jesus openly admitted that His soul was troubled at the thought of what lay before Him, that is, His crucifixion.

In fact, on that same night in the upper room, probably less than an hour before He commanded His disciples to get a hold of their emotions, Jesus was troubled in spirit as He revealed to His disciples that one of them would betray Him.

A. Why then did Jesus command the disciples to get a hold of themselves? Because their place with the Father was guaranteed (verses 1 & 2b). It is hard sometimes for us to get a grasp on what it means to believe in God. This helps us to nail it down. Jesus is saying to these disciples, there is no reason for you to be afraid. My Father and I have it all worked out, believe us, trust us, rely on us, your place with the Father is guaranteed.

Jesus follows His plea for faith with a little kernel of proof. He states that there is plenty of room in His Father’s house for all them and then He inserts a short statement that is full of implications, “if it were not so, I would have told you.” Think on everything that you have heard me teach. Have I told you anything that would contradict that the kingdom of the Father is a great and a glorious kingdom, open to all who would enter? You know the promises of the Old Testament about the glorious kingdom that the Messiah will bring to this earth. Have I said anything that contradicts the truth of the Old Testament? If you can think of one thing that I have said that contradicts the truth of the Old Testament, you can go home, I am not believable. But you know the truth and you know that I have preached the truth to you. Why then not believe it, if you know it to be true? Do not allow this temporary separation to get your eyes of the truth. Believe God! Believe Me! We guarantee that you have no reason to be troubled.

B. My going (crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension) assures this (verses 2-3). Here Jesus finally answers Peter’s question from the last chapter. Jesus said, I am going away and you cannot follow. Peter wanted to know where Jesus was going. Jesus, after rebuking Peter’s self-righteous pride, answers his question in this verse. I am going to prepare a place for you. You cannot come know. The place by the Father is not ready. It must be prepared.

Again, we need to remind ourselves of what Jesus was going to do to prepare a place for us. First, He was going to be crucified for the sins of the world. Then He would be resurrected from the dead. Finally, Jesus would ascend to heaven. Jesus is not saying, I have some carpentry work to finish or I have to create heaven. The Father’s house already exists but no man can enter in until Jesus dies, rises from the dead, and takes His proper place at the right hand of the Father’s throne as the exalted King of glory. That is the preparation work of Jesus Christ.

The fact that Jesus goes to prepare a place assures us, then, that He will come back. When I see my wife in the kitchen pulling the flour out of the cabinet and the cherry pie filling out of the pantry, I know she is preparing something good. All the times that my wife has baked a pie, she has never finished baking and then put it away and said, “I don’t think we will eat this one” No, her preparations to bake a pie are the guarantee that there will be a pie. In the same way, that Jesus went away to prepare a place for us is our guarantee that He will return so that we may live in that place at the right hand of the throne of our heavenly Father.

The writer of Hebrews refers to this in Hebrews 6:17-20. Jesus is the forerunner. Jesus did not go to His Father to rest. He went to His Father to be our High Priest, to prepare heaven for us. His place in heaven is our hope, our sure and steadfast anchor, our guarantee that we have a place in eternity with our heavenly Father.

There are those who seek their guarantee in a church. A church that guarantees you heaven through that particular church, is telling you a lie. There are others who present a list of things that you must do to guarantee a place in heaven. That list is a lie. There are those who hope in their good works outweighing their bad works. Jesus is not their guarantee. They have no true guarantee.

The guarantee though does not end with Jesus sitting on a throne. It continues with the fact that He is coming back. Jesus Christ will return for a specific purpose. To receive us. When Jesus returns, those who believed Him will be taken to be with Him and with the Father for all eternity. We have this assurance from Him.

II. Believe what you know (verses 4-6)! Jesus is not teaching these disciples a lot of new truth in the following verses. He has assured them with the news of His return but now He returns to what they were told from the very beginning. Believe what you know, fellows. I have taught you, I have shown you, it is time now to believe what I have told you and shown you.

A. God the Father is our goal. (verses 4a, 5a, and 6b). Peter had asked, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered Peter clearly, “I am going to my Father’s house.” Thomas still did not understand. This thought of Jesus going away without establishing the promised kingdom just did not make sense to him. He was having trouble understanding the connection between the physical and the spiritual aspect of the work of Jesus. In his honesty, he says, “Lord, you say we know where you are going and how to get there. We do not know where you are going. How can we know how to get there? You say we will follow you afterward but if we do not know where you are at, how are we going to follow?” Obviously, Thomas did not have a clear understanding of what Jesus has been saying. Jesus says now plainly at the end of verse 6. I am going to the Father and that is where you should go also. To go to the Father is our goal.

America is known as the promised land. Pilgrims and gold-seekers have come here seeking. Men have coming here seeking life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Westward expansion was fueled by men and women seeking the promised land. The civil rights movement has traveled on the wave of the sons of slaves seeking to have their share of the promised land. The recent housing boom was built on the idea that the promised land is within reach. Many have found that life, liberty, and happiness for which they have searched. Many others have not. You see, America is not really the promised land for you and I. It is a blessed place, a wonderful place, but the promised land, the land of rest and blessing, is not in America. Never has been and never will be. The promised land is with the Father. He is our goal. He is the place to which we should desire.

B. God the Son is the way (verses 4b and 5b-6). Jesus is saying, I am the way to God. The statement is simple. It is also clear. If, however, there is a need for clarification, Jesus adds this, “Not only am I the way, I am the only way.” There are those who claim that there are many ways to God just as there are many ways to Rutland. Now if God was as easy to reach as Rutland was, that might be true. But that is certainly not true of every destination. The moon for instance. How many ways are there to reach the moon? Only one. When you get in your rocket, you must calculate your speed and the force of gravity and time of departure and the moon’s orbit and the earth’s rotation and a whole host of other factors in order to determine the necessary trajectory. If you calculate wrong, you will not get to the moon. The parameters are very narrow. In the same way, there is only one way to God. Fortunately, we do not need to do any calculations. Jesus has revealed to us that He is the way to the Father.

C. God the Son, however, is more than just the way to God (verse 6a).

1. There is no truth apart from Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus is the final word on God. What He says about God is truth and anything contradictory is false. Now you may say, cannot God speak to us today. Perhaps there is some information that Jesus and His followers did not know or did not reveal or even worse altered, changed, or covered up. That is what the Muslim or the Mormon or the Ba’haist would say. That is also what many Hindus and Buddhists would say. I like the way that Erwin Lutzer puts it in his book, “Christ Among the Other Gods,” “Of course God can speak whenever He wants to…but when the sun comes out there is no need for the stars.”

Jesus Himself, pointing to His own authority said, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” You can believe Him. He does not lie. He does not misspeak. There is no uncertainty in His words. He is the way and whatever He says about this way is true because He is also the truth. All other teachings and all other ways must square with His teachings and His ways. If they do not square with what He teaches and what He says, then those teachings and those ways are revealed for what they are, a lie.

2. There is no life apart from Jesus Christ. What exactly did Jesus mean? I think the simplest explanation is found in John 12:47-50. Jesus explains how that He is the life. Those who reject His word will be judged by the word which they have rejected and those who receive His word will not be condemned but will receive eternal life. They will be pardoned. They will be saved. Jesus has the words of eternal life, if we will only believe them and receive Him.

III. Know me! Know God! (verse 7)!

This verse is really just a summary of what Jesus has already said but we need to summarize this point because it is the most important point in the Bible. Jesus says to them, “If you have known me, and I assume that you have, you have known the Father. He then comments on their future. He says from now on, because you have known me, you know the Father. Why? Because you have seen Him. When did they see the Father? When they saw Jesus Christ. To see and know and believe and receive Jesus is to see and know and believe and receive God.

This is the message of John’s Gospel. Do you want to know God? Do you want to be received by God? You must accept Jesus Christ as your God and Savior. He died for your sins. That was necessary because He cannot bring a sinful person into the Father’s presence. He rose again bodily, for a dead man cannot be trusted to help a living man. Also, He has ascended to the Father for you as your Lord and as your High Priest. He said He would come again and take you, that is, receive you to Himself and bring you to God. That is His offer. Will you accept His death on your behalf? Will you trust the resurrected and ascended Christ to bring you to God? If you do, when He returns in all His glory, you will be with the Father for all eternity.

NEXT WEEK: “SATISFACTION IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE” from John 14:8-21

 

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