Summary: This sermon was a part of a series titled, "Great Question" where we asked our congregation to text us questions they would like answers to through sermons. This particular sermon was my favorite of the series.
Today we are continuing our sermon series we are calling, “That’s A Great Question.” By the way, if you have a great question we want you to share it with us. You can text your great question to ______.
This past week I read this excerpt from an article on Preaching Today’s website: “Buried within Pew's recent study on the American religious landscape was a startling find. Adults who identified with a specific religion were asked whether they see their religion as "the one, true faith leading to eternal life" or if, in their view, "many religions can lead to eternal life." In a stunning revelation, two-thirds of Christians believe that many religions can lead to eternal life and 50 percent of all Christians believe some non-Christian religions can lead to life everlasting. James Emery White concludes, "With such a mindset, one should not be surprised at tepid attempts at evangelism. And when attempted, poor results."
James Emery White, "I Like My Way of Doing It," Church & Culture blog (1-11-16)
When someone you know dies or even worse when someone you love dies, does it matter what they believe, or can’t we all hope that each of us will reunite someday in heaven no matter what we all believe or who we believe in? What does the Bible have to say about this big question?
In John 14:6 Jesus made this statement, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” These words have stirred up a lot of strong feelings from a lot of people over a lot of years. People have a hard time swallowing those words. " ... No one comes to the Father except through me." Did Jesus really mean that, or was He just trying to get their attention?
Is Jesus really saying that He, and only He, is the one means by which people have any hope of reaching heaven? Many believe that’s an awfully narrow mind -set, even egotistical. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.”
At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, what have to be some of the most frightening words to religious people of anything he ever said.
This is what he said. Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven." What a statement. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven."
He goes on to say, verse 22, "Many will say to me on that day," (referring to the day of final judgment) "'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy or preach in your name and in your name cast out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from me you who practice lawlessness.'" The old spiritual song put it this way. "Everybody talkin' 'bout heaven ain't goin' there."
Proverbs 30:12 says, "There is a generation who is pure in their own eyes, yet is not washed from their filthiness."
In other words, there are, millions of people who feel religious, millions and even billions of people who believe in their religion, even millions of people who associate with Christianity, people who would say to Jesus, "Lord, Lord." Yet, according to this scripture these people will not enter heaven.
It is possible that many people who acknowledge that they believe in Jesus will never enter heaven? To say nothing of a world of people who are in religions other than Christianity.
So in answer to the question, Do all religions lead to God? The answer actually is NO, in fact No religions lead to God. Only through a relationship with Jesus can anyone see heaven.
Now don’t get the wrong idea. I like church. I love to get together with people who love God. I like people of all denominations. I have nothing against people who belong to one. But I’m not crazy about religion. I grew up in church. I was in church soon after leaving the hospital nursery and I was there almost every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night of my childhood. I went to Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and almost every event the church held. So when I talk about being in church, I know what I am talking about. But I grew up missing something. And that something was a relationship with Jesus.
A “Relationship” is a hard thing to define. We all have a lot of relationships in our lives. But your relationship with your spouse is different than the one you have with your boss. Your relationship with a sibling is different than one with your parents. The closer the relationship is, the deeper the meaning behind it and its importance to you.