Summary: In this sermon we learn why is it not arrogant or narrow-minded to say that Jesus is the only way to God. I borrowed a lot from Lee Strobel's sermon on this subject.
A. The story is told of two rival rabbis who came face to face in a narrow alley way.
1. The alley was so narrow that it was impossible for the two to pass by each other.
2. The one rabbi, pulling himself up to his full height, said, “I never make way for arrogant, narrow-minded, fools.”
3. Smiling, the other rabbi stepped aside and said, “I always do.”
B. There is a godly, humble way to believe and behave when I think that I am right and others are wrong.
1. Unfortunately, we don’t always believe and behave as we should when we think we are right and others are wrong.
C. Dr. R. C. Sproul is a well-known and respected contemporary Christian theologian and apologist.
1. He tells about an experience he had as a lowly freshman in college.
a. He was a relatively new convert to Christianity at the time.
b. He was sitting innocently enough in his freshman college English class, when right in the middle of class, the professor, who was hostile to Christianity called R. C. Sproul onto the carpet.
2. The professor asked, “Mr. Sproul, do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God?”
a. Sproul says that he was shaken by the question.
b. He said, “In that moment, I felt the weight of her question, and I knew that every eye in the room was on me. My mind raced for a way to escape my dilemma. I knew if I said yes, people would be angry. At the same time, if I said no, I would be betraying Christ.”
c. R. C. Sproul muttered almost inaudibly, “Yes, I do.”
3. The teacher responded with unmitigated fury. In front of the class, with a voice as loud as a rocket launcher, she yelled at Sproul, “That is the most narrow-minded, bigoted, and arrogant statement I have ever heard in my life! You must be a supreme egotist to believe that your way of religion is the only way.”
4. R. C. Sproul, thoroughly embarrassed, slouched meekly in his chair without saying another word.
5. Since then, Sproul has learned how to be an effective spokesman for the Christian faith, and if he were back in that classroom now, he would know how to respond to such an attack.
D. But that professor’s charge is one that we, Christians, must learn how to respond to.
1. The question will come in various forms: “Well, all religions are the same, so why insist that yours is the only right one?” or “Why would you be so narrow-minded as to believe Jesus is the only way to God? Isn’t that the height of bigotry?”
2. Whatever the form, this question is always embedded in the idea of tolerance.
3. If the moral and cultural climate of our age has any theme, it is that of tolerance.
a. Our immoral, ungodly, and sinful generation upholds one primary virtue – tolerance of everybody else’s beliefs, choices and sin.
b. Therefore, the only vice that remains is intolerance.
4. It is interesting to me that the tolerance of our age and culture only goes so far.
a. It comes to a screeching halt right at the door of Christianity.
b. Christians who speak up and stand up for what they believe are accused of intolerance, yet those making the accusation are themselves displaying incredible intolerance toward Christians.
c. Pointing out the hypocrisy of this intolerance might make a difference, but don’t count on it.
E. In John 14:6, Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
1. That’s why R. C. Sproul answered his professor’s question the way he did.
2. And that’s why we should answer the same way.
3. Is Jesus the only way? Yes Jesus is – at least that’s what Jesus said and we must take Him at His word.
F. That statement of Jesus is the most outrageous assertion Jesus ever made.
1. It was His most politically incorrect claim of all.
a. That claim rankles people like no other.
b. People call it arrogant, narrow-minded, bigoted, and snobbish; like the professor.
c. For some seekers, it is a stumbling block to faith.
2. But I believe that Jesus was telling the truth when He said it.
a. And I believe He said it out of great compassion, not arrogance.
b. And I believe that when we look closer at it, this statement makes absolute sense.
c. In fact, I believe this single sentence is one of the most critically important bits of information in history and for you and me personally.
3. So why is this claim so controversial?
a. One reason is that it strikes at the core of three great myths about religion.