Summary: Are there many ways to God, or is Jesus the only way?
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Popular urban legends:
• Bubble gum, if swallowed, remains in your stomach for seven years.
• When you see an oncoming car with no headlights on, don’t flash your headlights at an oncoming car. You may become part of a common gang member “initiation game.” The game goes like this: the new gang member under initiation drives along with no headlights and the first car to flash their headlights at him is now his “target.” He is now required to turn around and chase that car and shoot at it in order to complete his initiation requirements.
• Procter & Gamble, makers of Ivory soap and Crest toothpaste, has connections to the Church of Satan. (A letter making this claim was actually read at my home church about twenty years ago. We were urged to boycott P&G products.)
How many of you have heard at least one of those stories? They are all untrue. They are all urban legends.
A popular spiritual belief is that there are many ways to God. In other words, people can take different routes but end up at the same destination. (Illustration: road map)
A recent survey discovered that most Americans believe many faiths can lead to salvation. Among the more startling numbers in the survey: 57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life.
CLAIMS OF JESUS
Are there really many ways to God? Or is this a spiritual myth, an urban legend? Let’s take a look at what Jesus Himself said concerning this issue.
In John 14, Jesus announced to His disciples that He would soon be going back to the Father, back to heaven. Jesus tried to comfort them by saying, “You know the way to the place where I am going” (v. 4). But Thomas didn’t believe Jesus. He asked, “How can we know the way?” (v. 5).
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
This is the most politically incorrect statement Jesus ever uttered. He didn’t say, “I am a way (one of many ways).” He said, “I am the way (the only way).”
Why should we believe Jesus’ declaration to be the only way to heaven? If Jesus truly is who He claimed to be, then we must believe Him. Who did He claim to be?
“You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds (John 8:57-59).
“I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:30-33).
Jesus declared Himself to be God. If Jesus really is God, then we should believe His claim to be the only way to eternal life. But how can we be sure that Jesus actually is God?
PUT JESUS TO THE TEST
1. Test the CREDIBILITY of Jesus
a. Examine what people SAID about Jesus.
Often, the closer we get to a person, the less we are impressed with him/her. Not so with Jesus. Even His enemies had good things to say about Him.
…[Pilate] went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against [Jesus]” (John 18:38). The KJV says, “I find in him no fault at all.”
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54).
b. Examine what JESUS did.
“What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!” (Mark 6:2).
c. Examine what GOD did.
“You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this” (Acts 3:15).
Peter and the other apostles were so convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead that they were willing to die in order to spread the message of Jesus. But how are the apostles different from other martyrs (example: Muslim suicide bombers)? They claimed to be eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus. They were able to know whether or not what they were preaching was true.
2. Test the CHARACTER of Jesus
“Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?” (John 8:46).