Jesus Is the Way, the Truth and the Life
Series: The Great I Am
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 23, 2014
*Jesus Christ is the great I AM, Lord God Jehovah of the Old Testament, and over the last 5 weeks we have looked at the Lord's "I AM" statements in John.
*For us the "I AM's" reveal great truths about our Savior. But through these statements, Jesus also rightly claimed to be the God of the Old Testament. Fourteen hundred years before Christ was born as a man, He appeared to Moses in the burning bush. And when Moses asked God His name, God said this to Moses: "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'''
*In Hebrew this name "I AM" was Jehovah or Yahweh, and it's fair to say that this is God's favorite name for Himself. He uses it almost 7,000 times in the Old Testament. God also uses this "I AM" name almost a thousand times in the New Testament. I say that, because the name "Jesus" means "Jehovah is salvation."
*Please open your Bibles to John 14, to see another of the Lord's famous "I AM" statements. This morning we will begin by reading John 14:1-6. This statement came from the Lord on the night before He died on the cross for us.
*Do you ever get troubled? -- The disciples were certainly troubled that night. Remember the situation: The disciples had been with Jesus for almost 3 years, and they had seen the most amazing things anyone has ever seen. They saw raging storms calmed with a word. They saw 5,000 men, plus thousands more women and children, all fed with a little boy's lunch. The disciples also saw thousands of people instantly, miraculously, completely healed with a word or a touch from Jesus. They had even seen people even raised from dead!
*Then in Matthew 16:15&16, Jesus asked His disciples:
15. . . "Who do you say that I am?''
16. . . Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.''
*The Lord rejoiced over the revelation our Heavenly Father had given to Peter. And Jesus boldly declared that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church. But in the same conversation, Matthew 16:21 tells us that: "From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day."
*The disciples got very troubled on that day, and their trouble only grew as they got closer to the cross. They were highly troubled in John 14, because things had not worked out like they hoped. They were also troubled, because they were coming face to face with their own weakness.
*In the last 2 verses of John 13, the Lord pointed out how weak Peter was, and it hurt.
37. Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.''
38. Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.
*Sometimes the Lord has to point out our failures, too. And yes, He loves us. Yes, He forgives us. But it's still a time of trouble. The disciples were troubled, because they came face to face with their own weakness
*They were also troubled, because the one who mattered the most to them in life was being taken away. But in vs. 1, Jesus said: "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me." Verse 6 gives us 3 great reasons to believe in Jesus.
1. First: Believe in Jesus because He is the way without exception.
*Jesus said, "I am the way." The word picture is a road or some route to take for a journey, and there is no other way to Heaven but Jesus. As He said in vs. 6, "No one comes to the Father except (by or) through Me." The Apostle Peter later echoed this truth in Acts 4:12, when he said: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
*Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, though many people try other ways. Greg Buchner explains: "Buddhism teaches that the ultimate goal is Nirvana where all pain and suffering exist no more. And the way to reach this Nirvana is by following the Eight-Fold Path to Enlightenment. Then you reach that place of total nothingness.
*In Hinduism, the ultimate goal is also Nirvana, but this Nirvana is different. Instead of being snuffed out like a candle, Nirvana for a Hindu is being reunited with the all-pervading force of the universe through reincarnation."
*They believe that how you live in this life determines what kind of animal you will be in the next life. They believe that a man's soul can be reborn in the future as a cow, a snake, a bug or some other animal. But in Hebrews 9:27, God's Word says: "It is appointed unto men once to die. . ."
*"In Islam, heaven is a paradise of wine, women, and song. And the way to achieve this blissful paradise is, ironically, to abstain from these things in this world. In addition, a Muslim must follow the Five Pillars of Islam to achieve paradise.
*Judaism denies that Jesus Christ is Lord, and holds that one obtains eternal life by following the Laws of God. But no one except Jesus has ever been able to fully live up to the Law. So what are we to do?" (1)
*Without a way to Heaven, we are hopelessly lost. But Jesus IS the way! James Merritt points out: "Jesus said the way to Heaven is not a principle, not a practice, not a precept, and not a philosophy. . . The way to Heaven is a Person. We can try to keep the Golden Rule and all of the Ten Commandments. We can go to church, study our Bibles, pray, and give lots of money to charity. And all of that would be great, but all of that all put together, would not pave one brick on the road to Heaven. Jesus is the way. And if you're going any other way, you're going the wrong way." (2)
*A lot of misguided people are like the man who said that getting to Heaven was like getting to Boston. There are a lot of roads that will get you there. But a wise Christian told him: "No, getting to Heaven is much more like flying into the Boston airport. The pilot has to land that plane on just the right runway, at just the right speed, at just the right time, at just the right angle. There is only one way to land that plane. And there is only one way to Heaven. It's Jesus Christ!" (3)
*Anthony DeMello told about a family that moved into a new neighborhood. Soon, one of the grandfathers came for a visit. Papaw took his little granddaughter for a walk in the new neighborhood.
*They walked for around 15 minutes. Then Papaw asked, "About how far do you think we are from home?" The little girl said she didn't know. "Well, what direction do you think we should take to get back?" Papaw asked. She said: "I don't know!" Then with a twinkle in his eye, Papaw said, "Sounds to me like you're lost." But the little girl smiled and said: "I'm not lost Papaw. I'm with you." (4)
*That little girl trusted her papaw enough to know that he was the way home, and that's the way we should trust in the Lord. Jesus Christ loves us so much that He died on the cross for our sins. And now the Risen Savior says: "You can trust me today, tomorrow and forever. You can trust me to lead you all the way home to Heaven, because I am the way." Believe in Jesus because He is the way without exception.
2. And believe in Him, because He is the truth without error.
*In vs. 6, God the Son, Jesus Christ says: "I am the truth," so the Lord is the source of all truth. For example, in vs. 1-3, Jesus comforts His followers with great truth about our Father and our future in Heaven.
1. "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
*Just a few hours after Jesus gave these words of comfort to His followers, He stood on trial before Pilate. And starting in John 18:33:
33. . . Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?''
34. Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking for yourself on this, or did others tell you this about Me?''
35. Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?''
36. Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.''
37. Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?'' Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.''
38. Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?'' . . .
*"What is truth?" -- Jesus is the truth! So ultimately, He is the source of all other truth.
*Consider the difference: The world says: "Everyone is basically good." But in Romans 3:10, the Word of God says: "There is none righteous, no, not one."
*The world says: There is no such thing as life after death. But in Hebrews 9:27, God's Word says: "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."
*The world says: "There is no hell, so there's no need to be concerned." But in Matthew 10:28, the Word of God says: "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
*The world says: "Heaven is not a real place." But in Revelation 21, the Word of God says:
1. . .I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
2. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God."
*The world says: "All religions lead to God." But in vs. 6, God the Son, Jesus Christ says: "No one comes to the Father except through me." (5)
*"What is truth?" -- Jesus says, "I AM the truth."
*Sadly, we now live in a post-modern society that no longer believes in absolute truth. Matthew Stoll explained: "If you have been born and raised in the church you may not have even realized this. It used to be that if Jesus said it, we believed it was true. And if it was true, it was always true for every person.
*Unfortunately that is no longer believed in our society. Truth is now considered to be relative to the person. Today if you told someone that Jesus died for us. You might hear someone reply, 'That may be true for you, but it isn't true for me.'" (6)
*As far back as 1991, George Barna found that only 28% of Americans expressed strong belief in 'absolute truth'. So most people are putting their faith in their own opinions rather than the rock-solid truth of God's Word. (7)
*One example was a lady named Sheila. 'I believe in God,' she said. 'I can't remember the last time I went to church, but my faith has carried me a long way. It's "Sheila-ism," just my own little voice.' (8)
*In the end, that poor woman is going to find that Sheila-ism has carried her a long way. But it carried her a long way in the wrong direction. In the end, Sheila-ism is going to carry her to the last place she ever wanted to be. And that's tragic, but it's nothing new. The last verse of the Old Testament Book of Judges says: "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25)
*Many people try to live by their own truth. But in the end they will all see that they were living by a lie. Only Jesus Christ can honestly and boldly say, "I am the truth." So believe in Jesus because He is the truth without error.
3. And believe in Him, because He is the life without end.
*Jesus said, "I am the life." Jesus is the life, so the only way for us to have life is through Him. Jesus gives His abundant, eternal life to all who trust in Him. But we must understand that this life is a relationship with Him.
*In John 17:1-3, later this same night, Jesus:
1. . . lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,
2. as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.
3. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
*Lula Day served as one of the secretaries at McClendon Baptist Church for many years. And she has been a good friend. Her mother, Jo Bayles, passed away in 1986.
*Miss Jo's health had been going down a long time, and though she had been a devoted Christian for many years, she was somewhat afraid to die. But a few days before she died, Miss Jo had a dream. She was part of a great multitude up in Heaven before the Judgment Seat of God. Jesus was on the throne.
*As she stood in the crowd, Miss Jo trembled, wondering what would happen. Then Jesus pointed His finger at her, and kindly said, "You are mine." After that dream, she was never afraid to die again. What a relief! What a joy to hear Jesus say, "You are mine." This is eternal life.
*And this is why James Merritt said, "You can be a Buddhist without knowing Buddha. You can be a Muslim without knowing Mohammed. You can be a Confucianist without knowing Confucius. But you cannot be a Christian without knowing Christ.
*Pastor Philip Brooks was once asked: 'Is it necessary to have a personal experience with Christ in order to be a Christian?' That great preacher paused and then replied, 'My friend, a personal experience with Christ is Christianity.' (9)
*That's because Jesus Christ is the great I AM who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." And "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me."
-Do you really believe in Jesus?
-Do you believe that God loves you so much that He sent His only begotten Son into the world to die for you?
-Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to take God's holy punishment for your sins?
-Do you believe that Jesus rose again from the dead, because He never deserved to die in the first place, and because death could not keep Him in the grave?
-Do you believe that our Risen Savior will save you and forgive all of your sins, if you trust Him and receive Him as the Lord of your life?
-Do you believe that Jesus is worthy of our worship, love, and obedience?
*Believe in Jesus Christ, the Great I AM! Trust in the Lord to save you, and keep following the great "I AM."
(1) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "Being Transformed by the Resurrection, The Way, The Truth, and the Life" by Greg Buchner - John 13:31-14:6 - 02232003
(2) Adapted from Sermons.com sermon "What Are Your Chances of Going to Heaven" by James Merritt - John 14:6
(3) Original source unknown
(4) Original source unknown
(5) Adapted from online sermon "What is Truth?" by Adrian Dieleman - John 17:6-19; John 17:17b - March 13, 2005 - www.trinitycrc.org/sermons/jn17v17b.html
(6) SermonCentral sermon "I AM The Way, The Truth, and the Life" by Matthew Stoll - John 14:1-6
(7) James Dobson, December 1991 letter, quoting George Barna, "What Americans Believe" - Source: Sermons.com illustration
(8) "Habits of the Heart" by Robert Bellah - Source: "Against the Night" by Charles Colson - p. 98 - illustration found at Sermons.com
(9) Sermons.com sermon "What Are Your Chances of Going to Heaven" by James Merritt - John 14: 6