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Summary: Reasons for why the way of salvation that Jesus offers is better than that of other religions

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Islington Baptist Church May 6, 2001

Series: Why Jesus? Why follow Jesus and not any other religion, system, philosophy, or way?

Key texts for this week: Acts 16:30, Matthew 11:28-30, Galatians 1

Follow Jesus because he offers a better way of salvation

A number of weeks ago we began a series addressing this question “Why follow Jesus?: Why follow Jesus and not any other religion, system, philosophy, or way?”

It’s a question the Bible calls us to be prepared to answer at any time; for as I Peter 1:15 says “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”

So far in our series we have considered 2 very important reasons for why a person must follow Jesus and not any other religion, system, philosophy, or way.

1. Follow Jesus because He is the only way to the Father.

In spite of the many voices who assert that there are many ways to God, the fact remains that “There is no other name given to men by which they must be saved”. As Jesus himself said “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me” (That was our key verse: John 14:6)

In considering this exclusive way to the God the Father, we examined Jesus’ statement “I am the truth”, noting that truth is not a relative thing but rather it is concrete and unchanging and exclusive. The multiple and contradictory “ways to God” that are proclaimed fail the truth test. The nature of truth, and logic itself, dictates that their can only be one way to God.

2. Follow Jesus because His sinless and perfect life qualifies him to declare the way to the Father.

Our key verse last week came from John 8:46 where Jesus issued this challenge “Can any of you prove me of sin?”

Unlike the founders and gods of other religions, Jesus suffers from no moral credibility or sin issues. Jesus is the only person who has ever been sinless. The fact of his sinless and perfect life qualifies Jesus to definitively teach the way to God. Since his character, purity, morality, and credibility are beyond reproach, we can be supremely confident in the way of salvation that he teaches.

Today, as we consider the “Why follow Jesus?” question, we are going to ponder this answer: Follow Jesus because He offers a better way of salvation.

Please turn with me to Acts 16:16-34 (READ)

Context:

According to the command of Christ, Paul and Silas are making their way from Gentile city to Gentile city, preaching repentance from ones sins and Jesus Christ as Lord and only Savior.

Along the way, 1000’s had become followers of Jesus. However, another group had also arose: those hostile to Jesus and the gospel message.

In v.16-18 we learn that while Paul and Silas were in Philippi that they were being harassed by a demon possessed girl. Wherever they went, this slave girl, who made great sums of money for her owners by telling peoples fortunes, would continually shout out at the top of her lungs “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they are telling you the way to be saved”

Now I trust the irony of this is not lost on you. Here are Paul and Silas, preaching repentance from ones sins and presenting Jesus Christ as the only one whom one can go to for the forgiveness of their sins; and here’s this demon possessed girl affirming their message.—for the reality is that the demons know who Jesus is and they tremble at his name. Another irony is this: Satan and his helpers know exactly who Jesus is and they are fully aware of his divine status and their doom. There goal is to blind people to the truth they know so well.

Any ways, after many days this girl and her continual shouting starts to grate on Paul and so in the name of Jesus Christ he commands that the evil spirit come out of her. This ticks off the slave girls owners because now their meal ticket has been wrecked. Hence Paul and Silas are thrown into jail.

A severe beating didn’t stop Paul and Silas from preaching Christ. Jail didn’t stop Paul and Silas from calling people to repentance. Jail didn’t stop Paul and Silas from preaching Jesus as Savior and only Lord. Jail didn’t stop Paul and Silas from praising God.

Because of God’s favor upon Paul and Silas and because God still had work for Paul and Silas to do, God rocked the jail with an earthquake so that every door flew open and every prison chain was loosed. This freaked the jailer out and thinking that the prisoners had escaped he began a suicide attempt (for he surely would have been executed in a most cruel way for allowing the prisoners to escape). While in the process, Paul shouted out to him “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”; for not a single person had tried to take advantage of the situation and escape.

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