Summary: Part 2 of the series, The Truth About Jesus Christ.
Yesterday was April Fool’s Day. How many of you were fooled by an April Fool’s Day joke?
[My best April Fool’s joke]
There’s a website called museumofhoaxes.com that lists “The Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time.”
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest: In 1957, the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in, and many called up wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. To this question, the BBC diplomatically replied that they should “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
Smellovision: In 1965, the BBC featured an interview with a professor who had just invented a device called “smellovision.” This miraculous technology allowed viewers to experience directly in their own home aromas produced in the television studio. The professor offered a demonstration by cutting some onions and brewing coffee. A number of viewers called in to confirm that they distinctly experienced these scents as if they were there in the studio with him. Since no aromas were being transmitted, whatever these viewers thought they smelled coming out of their TV sets must be chalked up to the power of suggestion.
The Left-Handed Whopper: In 1998, Burger King published a full-page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a “Left-Handed Whopper” specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper, but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customer. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, “many others requested their own ‘right-handed’ version.”
What about the Bible’s claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven? Is that just a hoax? Or is it the truth? Today’s message is called “Jesus Is the Only Way to Heaven: True or False?”
First, let’s see what the Bible says about this.
• “I am THE way and THE truth and THE life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). This was the most politically incorrect statement Jesus ever made. He didn’t say, “I am a way”; He said, “I am the way.” He didn’t say, “I am one of many ways to heaven”; He said, “I am the only way to heaven.”
• “Salvation is found in NO one else, for there is NO other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
• There is one God and ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). There is only one person who can bring God and men together—Jesus Christ.
[Answer from a popular pastor: “The only way to have assurance is to trust in Jesus.” What’s wrong with that answer?]
The Bible’s claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven goes against three common myths about religion.
Myth #1: All religions are basically the same.
Every other religion is based on people doing something—through struggling and striving—to somehow earn the favor of God. Jesus taught the opposite of what other religions teach. He said nobody can do anything to merit heaven, so we might as well give up trying.
He said we’re all guilty of wrongdoing—and that’s consistent with out experience, isn’t it? Nobody here would claim to be perfect. And Jesus said that our wrongdoing separates us from our perfect God. Because God is a righteous judge, our wrongdoing must be punished. So out of His love, Jesus voluntarily offered Himself as our substitute to pay the penalty that we deserved for our sin. And when we receive His sacrifice on our behalf, we become reunited with God for eternity.
Other religions are spelled “D-O” because they teach that people have to do a bunch of religious rituals to try to please God. But Christianity is spelled “D-O-N-E” because Christ has done it all through His death and resurrection—and we just need to receive Him.
All religions are not the same. And while other religious leaders can offer wise sayings and helpful insights, only Jesus Christ—because He is the perfect Son of God—is qualified to offer Himself as payment for our wrongdoing. No other religious leader even pretended to be able to do that.
And that makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s illogical to think that God would go over to one side of the world and tell people, “Here’s the say to become reconciled with Me,” and then go over to another place and say, “No, here’s a completely different way to please Me,” and so forth. God isn’t schizophrenic!