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Saturday, 9 April 2016

“We believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.” John 14:1-14



Building the right foundation part 23

John 14:1-14
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’
Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’
Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’
Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’
Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.








New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
The church constitution or official rule book by which we adhere contains two other documents which are foundational to what our identity is. We have as part of this series of “Building the right foundation” considered our church covenant to which all who become members of the church promise to adhere. The covenant governs how we operate and how we relate to God and to each other and also the importance of reaching out with the gospel into the surrounding community and further afield.

The second document known as the “Basis of faith” is an outline of the basic principles of faith that we believe in. We are by conviction an evangelical Baptist church which means that we believe that the gospel is the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Jesus' final command to the church was that we should be evangelical which simply means that we should take the gospel to all that it is within our power to do so. In order to be the church and to fulfil the command of Jesus it is important that our theology (knowledge of who God is) is clear and true. The founders of our church thankfully adopted a clear statement of what our foundation of belief is. We are currently considering each of the points in sermon form in order that we might continue to establish the foundation that the church stands upon.



THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all his words are true. On the cross he died in the place of sinners, bearing God’s punishment for their sin, redeeming them by his blood. He rose from the dead and in his resurrection body ascended into heaven where he is exalted as Lord of all. He intercedes for his people in the presence of the Father.


Our text for this morning is John 14:6 in which Jesus simply says that He is the one and only way to God. For us to begin to understand what He meant when He declared that we need to first consider the context. John records in chapter 13 that Jesus had just been telling His disciples that he was about to die. It was the night before His crucifixion and He had already washed the feet of the disciples in readiness to eat the Passover Supper, they had eaten and Judas had left them to betray Jesus. In fact after Judas' departure Jesus announced that He was now glorified for the work of salvation. He gave the disciples the command to love one another, reminding them that it is by the evidence of their love one to another that others will know that they are disciples of Jesus.
Peter was told the devastating news that he would not stand up for Christ but that he would publicly deny Him three time before the next day begins.
Chapter 14 begins with Jesus comforting His people. These are His words of departure to them. He was about to die the most horrendous of deaths and yet His main concern is their comfort:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’


He was telling them that He was about to die for their benefit; He was about to go to heaven where He would be preparing a home for the church. He was not going to stay there but He would return to take them there to be with Him. He added the words that left them confused: “You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas begged to differ and told Him that they did not understand what He was saying to them. How could they know the way?
It is this that caused Jesus to reply:
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’
The first sentence of our basis of faith article says: The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. Throughout his gospel John makes a great deal of Jesus saying “I am”, there are 7 statements from Jesus who claimed to be:
  1. The Bread of life: John 6:35
  2. The Light of the world: 8:12
  3. The Gate to security: 10:9
  4. The Good Shepherd: 10:11
  5. The Resurrection and the Life: 11:25-26
  6. The way the Truth and the Life: 14:6
  7. The Vine which supports life: 15:5
A general reading of all of these claims causes us to wonder at how any man could possible fulfil such qualities. It is for this reason critics often say that Jesus was a madman. He is actually claiming that He is the food that keeps us alive, the Light that causes us to see truth, the Way of entry into security, the only Shepherd that looks after his people as if they were precious sheep. He is the One that raises His people to eternal life, the only way in which we can come to God with a clear conscience, He is the life support system as a vine is to it's grafted branches. When we put that together it is not hard to see what Jesus is claiming of Himself. The logical conclusion is that He is claiming to be God. But even that in our modern day is not enough for many even though these same statements enraged the religious leaders in Jesus' hearing so much that they wanted to stone Him for blasphemy. They certainly understood Him to be saying through these statements that He was equal to God in heaven.
But there is one more significant I Am statement that caused the leaders of the Jews to pick up stones immediately. It is found in John 8:48-59.
The Jews answered him, ‘Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?’
I am not possessed by a demon,’ said Jesus, ‘but I honour my Father and you dishonour me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.’
At this they exclaimed, ‘Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?’
Jesus replied, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.’
You are not yet fifty years old,’ they said to him, ‘and you have seen Abraham!’
Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
It was the statement that Jesus made saying that “before Abraham was I AM” which caused them to want to kill Him. It might just pass us by as we read it but the words I Am in this context are really important. Some years after Abraham died; Moses was being commissioned by God in the wilderness. A voice came from within a burning bush that drew Moses forward. The voice was God speaking and instructing Moses to go to Pharaoh and to demand that he let free the children of Israel (who are Abraham's descendants.) Moses needed an authority to use and so God in Exodus 3:14 gave Him His name which is simply “I AM WHO I AM” which in Hebrew is Yahweh.
The Jews listening to Jesus on that day fully understood what he was claiming of Himself and so did the authors of our basis of faith when they wrote the article we are considering.
The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.
There is no doubt from this and many other scriptures which we do not have time to consider today that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. We only need to consider the declaration made to Joseph by the Angel of the Lord concerning Mary being pregnant: “she will have a son and they will call His name Immanuel.” Immanuel means God with us, the son to be born is God with us, Jesus by all that He said and did was living proof that He was fully divine but yet He was fully Human. In all of His life He did not sin which was the whole purpose of His becoming man. He was to do what no other could do. The passage we have before us happened just hours before His execution. He died on the cross bearing the sins of all of His people.
That is gospel truth but what does it mean for us?
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Is the answer.
It is all about the way to God. Ever since sin entered the world through Adam then there has been no way to God. Sin is an abomination to God, He cannot have sin or sinners in His direct presence which means that all of humanity is barred from heaven but yet Jesus said on the night before he died that he was going to prepare a place for His friends in heaven where they will be at one with God. The impossible needs to happen.
We had surprise visitors in the week and due to circumstance they needed to stay overnight. Whilst drinking their coffee Pam told them that she needed to go and prepare a place for them to stay. That involved clearing out the room we had used to store the contents of the study which we were renovating. It was an arduous task for which she was pleased to do, after all it was for her sister's benefit.
The preparation that Jesus spoke of was much greater than that and far more costly. It involved the ultimate sacrifice on his behalf. As I have said sin bars us from entry into heaven because it is punishable by death. It carries the death sentence which cannot be commuted, there is no remission for sin. The sinner must die.
It is here that we find the grace of God to be amazing. Due to His love for us He does not want any to experience punishment and so He sent His Son Jesus (who as we know is the God-Man) to be the substitute of repentant sinners. Jesus said on that day to His disciples that they knew the way that He was going, He had already told them on a number of occasions that it was a sacrificial death that was His destination and that He would rise on the third day. This was His preparation and He made it just a few hours later.
He is the only Way to God, He is the only Truth of God and He is the only One who gives eternal life!
This is what we believe as the church:
The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all his words are true. On the cross he died in the place of sinners, bearing God’s punishment for their sin, redeeming them by his blood. He rose from the dead and in his resurrection body ascended into heaven where he is exalted as Lord of all. He intercedes for his people in the presence of the Father.
Our Jesus has accomplished salvation by His sacrifice on the cross thus making way for all who believe in Him to one day be with Him eternally. He is now in heaven interceding with His Father on our behalf. We have a man in heaven who understands us and cares for us, our place is secured and we will one day be with Him forever.
That is the promise for all who have been born again of the Holy Spirit, is it true of you? Why not pray that God will give you the faith to see your own need and the faith to believe Him and to repent and trust Him as the Way, the Truth and the Life for you also.


Apply:

Jesus Christ is the foundation of the church, it is He who we believe in. e is the only way to God. He is the One True God-Man and we worship Him and we declare Him to be the only Saviour that is necessary for salvation.

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