************ Sermon on John 14:6 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on April 6, 2003

John 14:1-11
John 14:6
"I Am the Way and the Truth and the Life"

How many ways are there to God?

This is an important question today. It is important because almost everyone claims to be believe in God. It is important because almost everyone wants to establish some kind of relationship with God. It is important because people want to find a way to connect with God.

How many ways are there to God?

In our text for this morning Jesus answers this question for Thomas and Philip and us too:
(Jn 14:6) "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Don't forget, this is one of the seven "I AM" statements of Jesus that we are studying this year during Lent. In these statements Jesus wants us to think of God speaking to Moses out of the burning bush; at that time God identified Himself as "I Am Who I Am." By using the same expression, Jesus claims divinity, He claims to be God's equal, He claims to be part of the eternal Godhead.

I Other Paths to God?
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." How many ways are there to God? People today want to believe all paths, all roads, and all faiths lead to God; they want to believe that all religions are equal. People want to believe that all people will be saved. So, for instance, they believe Mohammed, Buddha, and Confucius are on a par with Jesus and the faiths or religions started by these men are as valid as the Christian faith in bringing one to God and heaven.

A study of the Bible shows us that humankind has tried all sorts of ways to get to God and heaven. During the Old Testament period, for instance, Israel's neighbors thought they could get in touch with God through the sacrifice of their children, or by dancing and screaming as they did with Baal in the contest against Elijah. During the New Testament period, there were those in Israel like the Pharisees who thought they could get in touch with God by observing the Law and its rules and regulations.

The attempt to get in touch with God has also given rise to some strange beliefs and practices. One such modern attempt is through channeling:
Shirley MacLaine claims to be a channel to God. She claims that in a past life she was a monk, a Russian ballet dancer, a male court jester, her own daughter's daughter, a harem dancer, a Brazilian voodoo practitioner, a Chinese tai chi artist, a prostitute, an Incan youth in Peru, and a Roman guard. She has gone so far as to say that these voices from the distant past has revealed to her that she is god. And, if you allow voices from the distant past to speak to you through modern-day channelers you will also find yourself to be god.
Others, today, attempt to get to God and heaven by killing themselves in order to join aliens behind a comet remember the Heaven's Gate Cult. Because they are promised an instant trip to Paradise, suicide bombers from the Middle East blow themselves up or fly planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

How many ways are there to God? People want to believe there are as many different ways as there are different people and beliefs.

I'm always taken aback by anyone who thinks all roads lead to God, that all religions are equally valid. Nobody believes that about anything else. I wonder why anybody believes that about religion.
Friday we drove down to Los Angeles to visit two of Ruth's aunts and to watch a hockey game. Let's say for some reason I decided all roads lead to LA so instead of taking Highway # 99 South I took Highway # 198 and headed East or West and just kept going and going. Would I have ever reached LA by doing that? Of course not! But I would have ended up in the mountains or in the ocean.
A couple of months ago I stretched more network cable from the telephone box to Tim's office. I opened the telephone box and there was a bewildering amount of conduit inside. Let's say I decided all conduit leads to Tim's office and started pulling cable through any old conduit. Would I have ended up at Tim's office? Maybe. But I could also have ended up in the parsonage or the electrical room of this building or even at the road.
Or, suppose you go to the dentist for a root canal. What if the dentist decided it really doesn't matter how he does a root canal. Eventually all roads lead to that problem tooth. He can go directly to the tooth, or he can go in through your ear, or he can go in through your nostril, or he can drill into your neck and work his way back up to that gum. I think you would look for a new oral surgeon.
I am sure you get the picture it is impossible to believe that all roads, all faiths, and all religions lead to God and heaven; that all are equally valid.

II Jesus: the Only Way
A Jesus cuts through all this nonsense about other paths, other faiths, other ways in our text for this morning:
(Jn 14:6) "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

You need to realize that this is an intolerant teaching and it makes the Christian faith an intolerant religion. It gives no saving credit to other religions. I know this is heresy from the world's point-of-view. I know the worst sin today is the sin of intolerance. But the fact is, Jesus Himself is intolerant of any other religion or faith. Jesus tells us there is only one path that leads to God Jesus. All paths do not lead to God and heaven. Only one path does. And that path is Jesus.

Jesus Himself spares us from having to dabble in all sorts of religious activity. We don't have to try and make a connection with God. We don't have to earn our way into heaven and the presence of God. We don't have to believe weird things and do weird things. All that we need is Jesus.

B "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Jesus is not the only person who used the expression "the way." Shortly after Jesus ascended into heaven it was used to identify the early church. Saul, before he became Paul, went to Damascus to persecute members of "the Way" (Acts 9:2). And later at Ephesus there arose a great disturbance about "the Way," when Demetrius stirred up the silversmiths (Acts 19:23). Before the governor Felix, Paul admitted he was "a follower of the Way" which the Jews "call a sect" (Acts 24:14).

Within the Old Testament this idea of "the way" appears often. The Exodus, for instance, is the way out from the slavery of Egypt to the Promised Land. At that time, the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, is "he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters" (Is 43:14,16). And, throughout the Psalms we read of the way laid out for man by God:
(Ps 27:11) Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.

(Ps 32:8) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.

(Ps 119:9) How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

(Ps 119:30) I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.

(Cf Ps 1:1,6; Ps 2:12; Ps 5:8; Ps 18:32; Ps 25:9; Ps 25:12; Ps 27:11; Ps 37:5; Ps 37:23; Ps 37:34; Ps 86:11; Ps 119:9; Ps 119:30; Ps 139:24; Ps 143:8)
I think, too, of the words of Isaiah the prophet that foreshadow the ministry of John the Baptist:
(Isa 40:3) A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God."

In our text for this morning, Jesus has all of this in mind and more!

C "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

What exactly does Jesus have in mind when He says this? The Way is not a following of traditions handed down from generation to generation by the rabbis of Israel. It is not the learning of doctrines from and about Jesus. It is not what Jesus said. It is not what Jesus did. It is not what the disciples wrote about Him. It is not what can be found in the hundreds of theology books in my office. The Way is Jesus Himself.

"Lord," asked Thomas, "how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way ..." The way is a person. The way is to follow Jesus Himself, not a system of doctrine. So, if you know your theology, if you fly through Seminary with a 4.0 GPA, if you know all your Catechism answers, if you memorize vast sections of the Bible (I was told this past week of a Christian who has made it his goal to memorize the book of Ecclesiastes), but have not made personal contact with Jesus Christ Himself, then you are not following "the Way." To follow the Way, you need a personal, living relationship with the Lord Jesus in which you love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

D "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Strictly speaking, a way is a road going somewhere. It is not an aimless, wandering way. It has a destination, a goal. So, for instance, the Exodus was the way out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. And, Highway # 99 goes north to Sacramento and south to Bakersfield.

Jesus is the Way to the Father. He is the Way to the Father's house where He is preparing a room for us (Jn 14:2).

E "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

This tells us that Jesus is the Way of Salvation. Don't forget, Jesus says this just before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. He says "I am the way," just before He hangs impotent upon the cross. He says "I am the truth," just before the lies of evil men nail Him to the tree. He says "I am the life," just before He Himself is placed in the tomb.

Jesus is the Way of Salvation. The slave girl with the spirit of prediction who followed Paul and Silas in Philippi clearly saw this. She shouted, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved" (Acts 16:17). Her demon knew that Paul and Silas showed the Way of Salvation through preaching Christ crucified (1 Cor 2:2).

Now, Jesus and Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life. There is only one Mediator between God and man Jesus.
Topic: Christ
Subtopic: Only Savior
Index: 3368
Date: 9/1998.1
Title: Only Jesus Could Atone

Moses could meditate on the law. Mohammed could brandish a sword. Buddha could give personal counsel. Confucius could offer wise sayings. But only Jesus offers an atonement for the sins of the world.

Because of His death and resurrection, Jesus is the Way of Salvation. Jesus is the Way because He died for our sins.
Friday night, as I mentioned earlier, we went to a hockey game. It was between The Colorado Avalanche and the Mighty Ducks.
Colorado's goalie got a penalty for "delay of game." Now, when you get a penalty in hockey your team plays short-handed for 2 or more minutes while you sit in the penalty box.
Yet, during this penalty Colorado's goalie was still in the net. Do you know why? Because another player on his team was allowed to take the penalty for him. That other player was in the penalty box, suffering the consequences of what the goalie did, as if he was the one guilty of breaking the rules.
That's a picture of Christ. We broke the rules, we are the sinners, we have offended God's majesty, we have strayed from the Way, yet it is Christ who paid the penalty. The result? Through Christ and His cross we have a way to God and heaven and eternal life. Through Christ we are saved!

How many ways are there to God?

Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (Jn 14:6).

That says it all, doesn't it?!

Jesus is the Way! So, surrender your heart and life and soul to Him. For, there is no other way, there is no other path. He is the Way, the only way, to God and heaven and salvation and eternal life.
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