Summary: This sermon examines the question of whether or not Jesus claimed to be the only way, and if so, what evidence is there to prove that.
March 14, 2004 John 14:6
“Is Jesus the only way?”
The election for a new president is about 8 months away, but already, things in the political world are heating up. All week long, President Bush and John Kerry have been taking jabs at each other. They have been making accusations back and forth on issues such as health care, defense, education and the economy. And the way that they believe about each of these issues is very different from one another. They do all this because both of them have a great desire to be the next president of these United States. They know that we the voters are going to choose the next president based on how well they can convince us that the road that they want to take us on as a nation is the right one. Both of them would have us believe that their way is the only way to success for our nation.
Jesus is on a campaign trail too. Like the candidates for political office, He wants to secure your vote for Him as the sole leader of the universe and as the sole leader of your life. He wants you to choose to follow Him rather than following other potential candidates, and He wants you to volunteer at His campaign headquarters to help secure the commitments of other people. He would have you believe that His way is the only way to heaven.
Many if not most of you here would probably say that there is no need for you to listen to the political propaganda anymore, because you have already voted for Jesus. You agree that Jesus is the way to heaven. You believe He has forgiven you of your sins. And you would assume that the people sitting near you would voice that same commitment. After all, we are sitting here in a church – a Baptist church – and we are people who say that we believe the Bible. Don’t all Baptists believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven? Apparently not.
In our Southern Baptist Convention we pass resolutions every year. A resolution is a statement that tells what we believe. One of the things that the Southern Baptist Convention did a few years ago was to pass a resolution stating that we believe Jesus is the only way to salvation. Listen to what one pastor said about this resolution:
“In regard to the resolution, I understand God to be a gracious, life-giving mystery who, for me, is most clearly encountered in the human Jesus, the Christ. Therefore, I am a Christian. I assume that there are other lights, other understandings of God’s movement of love and justice in our world. To judge with certainty another person’s relationship to God is for me the height of arrogance.” (SBC Annual Meeting June, 1994)
That was a pastor of a Southern Baptist Church saying that he believed that there had to be other ways to heaven than just Jesus! Folks, if a Baptist pastor believes that, then I think I am safe to assume that there are people in the seats of Baptist churches – maybe people in this church – who do not believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation.
For that reason, we need to deal with this question: “Is Jesus the only way to heaven?”
1. What did Jesus say?
Politicians are known for making some pretty bold statements. The first George Bush boldly said, “Read my lips. No new taxes.” When it became clear that Dean had lost the New Hampshire primary, he made a wild speech in which he boldly proclaimed that he would take the White House. That speech is affectionately known as the scream speech. That’s all it was – a scream. It was bold, but it was empty.
What about the claims of Jesus? Jesus said some pretty bold things, the boldest of which is found in John 14:6.
(John 14:6 NIV) Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
“Imagine a married man boasting, ‘I have the most beautiful wife in the world!’ You might smile at the man’s affection, though behind his back you recognize his obvious romantic blindness. Such exaggeration is forgivable, and is the stuff of good marriages – even though it’s not reliable information about this woman.
“Now picture that same man’s wife walking up to you and stating, without the least hint of exaggeration, ‘I am the most beautiful woman in the world.’ You would most likely have an entirely different reaction, thinking her arrogant or at least terribly confused [especially since you know that your wife is the most beautiful woman in the world]. ... If she were to summon you to debate the claim, you might not know where to start – but you would definitely know she was wrong.” – p. 11