Summary: The Passion of Christ
The Passion of Christ
How do you get to Columbus? Depending on whom you ask you could get very different directions! While some may tell you to get in your car and drive south on interstate 71 someone else may suggest you take the scenic route on state highway 3. Then someone else may tell you to get on a plane in Cleveland, fly to Atlanta, rent a car and take interstate 185 south!
How do you get to heaven? How can you be admitted into God’s presence? Guess what depending upon who you ask you can get a lot of different answers!
• John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (NIV)
Bold statement for Jesus to make wouldn’t you say? Many things Jesus said “rubbed people the wrong way.”
• Lose your life to save it.
• The first will be last.
• If you want to be the greatest, be the servant of all.
• The meek will inherit the earth.
• Rejoice in persecution.
• Love your enemies, and pray for those who mistreat you.
Yet what Jesus says in John 14:6 is extremely hard for people to swallow. It is arrogant and narrow minded. Jesus’ statement was not politically correct when He said it, and His words are still contrary to popular thinking today.
What makes Jesus’ statement so controversial? Why does it get under their skin?
People today have some misconceptions about religion. Specifically people don’t understand the Christian faith. According to George Barna 85% of people in America today call themselves Christians; only 8% of Americans consider themselves to be an agnostic or atheist and just 7% of Americans are associated with another faith.
Now I’m here to tell you that if 85% of people in the US are really Christians then things would be very different in our nation today. Here’s the problem according to Barna, “the findings suggest that many Americans have developed a form of faith that is comforting but only vaguely Bible-related while the stereotypical, Bible-based Christian faith is more of an anomaly than it is typical.” Put simply most so called Christians don’t believe the Bible!
Barna classifies American Christians in three groups. Only 9% make up the evangelical group which could be described as Biblical Christianity; that’s less than 1 in 10 so called American Christians. Yet of this group of evangelical Christians only 68% base their moral decisions on the Bible or religious teaching and only 58% believe in absolute moral truth opposed to believing moral choices are relative to the individual and the circumstances
As a pastor it makes me wonder about the real spiritual condition of the people who make up our church. What do you folks really believe about Jesus Christ? What do you believe about the Bible? How does what you believe affect the way you live? Jesus put it like this:
• Matthew 7:21 Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as ’Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. (NLT)
If I may be so blunt, I want us to have our “Christian heads examined.” I want us to look inside our heads and see if we are carrying around some mistaken beliefs. Have we made the mistake of believing one of the three popular myths about religion in America today?
3 MYTHS ABOUT RELIGION:
1. ALL RELIGIONS LEAD YOU TO GOD.
• Dorothy was told how to find her way to Oz. “Follow the yellow brick road.” Dorothy was not given different options. “Look Dorothy if you don’t like yellow then follow the road of your choice: red, green, blue. You pick the road and it will take you where you want to go.”
People may agree world religions have some fundamental difference from each other, but when you strip them down to the basics all religions will lead you to God. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter which religion you follow as long as you are sincere about what you believe.
• In other words, regardless of what spiritual path you may take, each path leads you up the same mountain. Upon reaching the summit (also known as heaven) we will all discover the “universal fatherhood of God” accepting all his children regardless of the path they chose to climb the mountain.
Jesus said, “I AM THE WAY.” He did not claim to be “a way,” but “the way.”
When you compare world religions you will find many similarities especially concerning some basic values and moral issues. But with one statement Jesus puts Christianity in a class by itself. The uniqueness of the Christian faith is based in the uniqueness of Jesus.