David Jeremiah — Is There Only One Way to God?
10 Questions Christians Are Asking
01. How can I be sure of my salvation?
02. How can I overcome temptation?
03. How can I get victory over worry?
04. How can I find forgiveness?
05. Is there only one way to God?
06. Why do Christians have so many problems?
07. Why don't my prayers get answered?
08. Is there a sin God cannot forgive?
09. What is faith?
10. What is the greatest commandment?
Is there only one way to God? That is a controversial question. Hello, I'm David Jeremiah, and welcome to "Turning Point". Today, tolerance has replaced truth as the highest value in society. So when Christians say that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, we are quickly labeled intolerant and narrow-minded. But what if it's the truth? That's the subject of today's message on "Turning Point," "Is There Only One Way to God"? This question is one of ten challenging questions I am answering in our current series, which is entitled "10 Questions Christians Are Asking". We are looking only one place for answers, and that's the Word of God. It is God's opinion, not ours, that matters. So I hope you'll join me as we answer this question on this edition of Turning Point.
In our age of pluralism and tolerance, the question, "Is there only one way to God"? is the most toxic and volatile question you could ever ask. On the night of his arrest, Jesus addressed this very question. He was gathered together in the upper room, eating and drinking with his chosen disciples, and he spoke to them about a number of troubling things that would soon take place. And then he comforted them with these words, which are known to us. He said to them, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; and if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 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. And where I go you know, and the way you know".
Well, when Jesus said that to his disciples, that the way to God was certain and knowable, doubting Thomas, one of his disciples, spoke up and he said to Jesus in verse 5, he said, "Lord, we don't know where you're going, and how can we know the way"? Obviously, Thomas hadn't been listening to what Jesus said, He didn't understand that Jesus had just got done telling him that he was going to go to heaven, he was going to prepare a place, and he was going to come back and get them and take them to the place where he was. Thomas obviously thought Jesus was talking about going someplace in Israel and hiding out, and he wanted to know how would he be able to find Jesus, and how would he get there if he didn't even know where he was going? How would he ever know the way? He was looking for some sort of earthly map to where Jesus was going.
You see, Thomas' problem was his mind was on earthly things. Jesus was trying to communicate something spiritual, and the answer that Jesus gave is the question The answer that he gave is John 14:6. Listen, these are the words of Jesus. And Jesus said to Thomas, "Thomas, I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me". In that powerful statement, Jesus declared himself to be the answer to the three greatest questions of the human heart. To the first question, "How can I be saved"? he said, "I am the way". The second one, "How can I be sure"? he said, "I'm the truth". And the third, "How can I be satisfied"? he said, "I am the life. I'm the way, the truth, and the life". And Jesus claims that he is the answer to life's greatest question by pointing to himself and saying, "I, I only am the way to God".
We are like Adam and Eve after they were thrown out of the garden. We keep looking and looking for something to satisfy us, and we can't find it. There's this emptiness in our lives. But here is the good news. When Jesus Christ came, he came specifically to fix all of the things that were broken because of the Fall. He came to be the one who would restore our fellowship with God. He came to be the truth about God in his very being, and he came to give us life, not just in heaven someday by and by, but life in the here and now that's better than anything you will ever find anywhere. In reality, Jesus is communion restored, he is truth recovered, and he is life regained.
Notice, first of all, he is communion restored. He said, "I am the way". Apart from Christ, you are barred from communion with God because of sin. But Jesus says that he came to remove that barrier. The Apostle Paul said it this way, "There is one God and one mediator between God and man, and it's the man Christ Jesus". He came to be the bridge to open up the way again so that we could have fellowship with God. He has come to be the way. Now, we believe, all of us, that Jesus is the teacher of the way. We accept the fact that he is the guide along the way, but that's not what he is saying here. He is saying here that he is the way. He's saying, "I am the way to restore communion with God".
Now, if you've come to this church for very long, you have probably heard the rumor that your pastor is directionally challenged, that I spend at least a few moments every week totally lost. I have so many stories I could tell you of how I have lost my way. One of the most profound ones that I thought of this week was when I was a pastor in Fort Wayne. On one occasion, I was conducting a funeral, and I was in my car following the hearse to the graveyard. And I was talking to a friend of mine about a church that we were trying to help over here. And instead of following the hearse, I took the right turn and went to the church. The hearse went to the funeral, and I didn't know where the cemetery was. It took me a while to get there. And when I got there, they were waiting for me. And I'm telling you the truth, from that moment on, that funeral director would never let me conduct a funeral unless I promised to ride with him. That's how bad it is.
Now, of course, now we have all of these wonderful devices that are supposed to help us find our way. I have two. I have one in my car and one in my phone. But what I've discovered is that they don't always agree. So here I've got the voices of two women I've never met telling me where to go. And half the time, they get me more lost than if I would just try my best. It's so bad for me, friends, that oftentimes when I get to a place where I have to make a decision, if it seems right to go right, I go left. Suppose I were to go to another city, and I was visiting there, and I needed to find a place. And I would go up to a man and say to him, "I need some directions to this location". And he would then say to me, "Here's what you need to do, Pastor Jeremiah. Take the first right, and then the second left, cross the shopping mall bridge, go past the church, and take the third right".
I'm in trouble right there. I can't listen fast enough, or even write fast enough to hear what this man is saying, and I will probably be too proud to ask him for any questions to be answered. It's happened to me so often, it's like a recurring dream. On the other hand, suppose that man were to say to me, "Look, I have a little time on my hands today, and I know exactly where you want to go. Let me help you, let me be your way, I'll take you there". And suppose he were to get in my car, and ride with me, or maybe he would ask me to scoot over and he would drive the car, or perhaps he would lead me in his car so that I could follow him. That would be a dream come true. It's never happened to me. I doubt if it ever will happen to me. Even though I might pray for it, it's never been a prayer that's been answered.
But that is what Jesus is talking about here. Jesus is saying, "I want to be your way. I don't want to give you directions to the way. I don't want you to follow those directions. I am the way. I will take you to God and restore communication with him". Jesus Christ is the way. Do you know that in the early church, they didn't call the early Christians Christians or disciples? They called them "People of The Way". They called the church "The Way" because that was the unique message, that they had a way to God through their Savior. So, Jesus is communication restored, "I am the way". He is also truth recovered. He said, "I am the truth". In John 1:14, we read, "And the Word," which is the word for Christ, "and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth".
The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the Word. He is God's message to us. He is who God is living in a human body, perfected in his holiness, walking on this earth, showing us what we can know about God. We can never know everything about the Father because he is a spirit, but in his condescension to us, Almighty God poured himself into a human body, and allowed that body to walk on this earth for 33 years, and his life to be wonderfully recorded by the gospel narrators. And in that body, he lived as if God were in that body because God was in that body. He was God walking around in a body. He was the truth about God in a body. He was the Word. On one occasion, someone came to Jesus and said, "Show us the Father". And do you know what he said? He said, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father".
So Jesus Christ is not only the way to God, Jesus Christ is the truth about God. And thirdly, he is life regained. Jesus is the absolute opposite of death. Jesus is life. He is the life, and Jesus said, "I am the life". John 1:4 says, "In him was life, and the life was the light of men". "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live.'" Jesus Christ is the one who came to free us from death. And I'm not talking here about physical death because we all know that if the Lord doesn't come during our normal lifespan, we will die, all of us. I mean, the statistics on death are 100% last I knew. So death is a reality for us, physical death. He's not talking here about the separation of the soul from the body. He's talking about the death which is the separation of the soul from God. And he says that if you come to Christ, you will never experience that death. You will come alive. You will be restored in your relationship to God through his life-giving death. You will come alive.
In the story of the prodigal son, when he came back from the far country, the Bible says that his father said this, "My son was dead, and he is alive". Well, his son wasn't dead, and he had no reason to believe that he was. He might have been, but he had not heard that he was dead. He wasn't talking about his physical life. He was talking about the fact that while his son was in the far country, he was dead to his family. His family didn't know he was dead to what was going on around his family, dead to what his older brother was doing, dead to his father watching for him, dead to all of the joys that were a part of his, he was dead to it all. But when he came back, he became alive to it all.
That's what Jesus Christ is telling us, that if we come to him, we will come alive to God in the places where we were dead toward him. The Bible teaches us that the part of us that is dead toward God, which is true of everyone before they meet Christ, that deadness becomes alive. And the Bible says it's not just life, it's abundant life. "I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly," John 10:10. Jesus Christ did not come into this world simply to invigorate our old sin nature. He did not come to just refine the ugliness in our life. Jesus came into this world to give us a whole new life, where there was deadness, that we might know God and come alive spiritually. I don't know any better way to describe what happens to a person who accepts Christ. They just come alive spiritually. We see it in the testimonies in our baptistery. We read it in the emails and the letters that come and tell us what happens. They were dead toward God, and then something happens, and they receive Jesus Christ. And all of a sudden, the way toward God is opened.
Listen to these words from the other portions of the gospel. John 17:3 says, "This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent". Here's the best one beside the John chapter 14: Acts 4, verse 12. "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved". Did you hear that? How exclusive can you get? And 1 Timothy 2:5, I've referenced earlier, "There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus". Now, when we talk about these things, and I'm not trying to dodge this at all, but to hit it straight on the best I know how, whenever we talk about these things, people are prone to respond in different ways.
And I've had them say something like this to me. And they'll say, "Well, Pastor Jeremiah, that's fine for you. I'm sure that really helps you where you are in your life. But I don't believe that". And then they smile with a kind of accommodating smile that says, "I don't believe it, so it can't be true". But I'd like you to try that approach on the law of gravity. "I don't believe the law of gravity, so it can't be true". If I jump out of a ten-story building, the same thing will happen to me whether I believe it or not because it's a law of God. And the principle of coming to God through Christ is one of God's spiritual laws. How many of you know God gets to make the rules? We don't. I didn't make this up, I'm not saying this. I'm just telling you what the Bible says.
One of my dear friends went to be with the Lord, his name is Kenny Poore. And Kenny Poore is in heaven now. I always loved Kenny because he always had a way of saying stuff that nobody else would say. And I remember one time, he told me, he says, "You know, people are always freaking out because we say there's only one way to heaven". And then he said something like this, "You know," he said, "becoming a Christian is called the second birth, the new birth. Let's use the first birth as an illustration". He said, "As far as I know, there's only one way to get born physically, only one. You have to have a sperm and an egg, and they have to unite, and they bring forth birth. And it doesn't matter whether it's in a test tube or in a womb, it's just there's only one way to be born physically. How narrow-minded of God. How very exclusive of God to make physical birth so one-way. Why then would we be surprised that if the law of God concerning physical birth is very similar to the law of God concerning spiritual birth? There's just one way".
And the principle of coming to God through Christ is one of God's spiritual laws. And it cannot be violated, you can't change it. You might say with all your heart, "I don't believe it," but you won't change the truth of it one bit, and it won't make any difference when you stand before God if you have not believed this. You can say, "Well, I didn't believe it at the time I heard it". Well, that doesn't make any difference, it's true. And it's witnessed to you from the Word of God, and Jesus Christ himself made that claim. So let me stop here for just a moment for those of you who want to be more inclusive than exclusive. Don't come to me with any mitigating nonsense about, "No, I believe that the Christian faith is like other faiths, and I accept all of them". No, if you don't accept the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, you cannot accept Christianity at all because Jesus Christ said he was the only way. And if he isn't the only way, he's a liar, and you do not have the opportunity to follow him.
So, we have this very tolerant "can't we all just get along" kind of thing in the spiritual realm. You can't say, "I believe Christianity is true, and I believe these other things are true as well," because the head of Christianity said, the Son of God said, "I am the only way". That's either true or it's not. So really, in the two ways that people try to deal with God, one of which is to try and do enough to please him so that you can get his favor and go to heaven, which is what all the religions do, and the other, which is that God already has done everything we need for us, and we just need to accept it, both of these ways are very exclusive in how they are presented. And if you want to accept it this way, let me tell you, Christianity is the most inclusive exclusivity there is. Because Christianity says, Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and anyone who wants to come may come".
It doesn't matter what religion you came from. It doesn't matter what you've done. It doesn't matter if you have lived at the gates of hell. It simply says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, but I'm not just a way for good people, I'm a way for all people who will come". And that's how I got in, how about the rest of you, amen? While I know that this is the message to those who haven't accepted the way, what is the message to those of us who have? Ladies and gentlemen, if we truly believe that Jesus Christ is the way, and that no one comes to the Father except through him, what does that say about our complacency concerning the gospel? What does that say about those of us who live and work around people who do not know him, and say nothing about it whatsoever? You know, men and women, we have become such nice Christians. We don't ever want anybody to disagree with us. And even though we might hold our own convictions about this, we don't ever want to tell anybody about them for fear that we will offend them.
And I think maybe it's time for us to stop and ask ourselves, "Do I really believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through him"? And if we believe that, we ought to start acting like we believe it. The idea that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life is not a negative message. It's the most positive message there ever was. Because without him, there is no way. He is the way. Without Jesus, we have no hope. Without him, we are lost, we will never know God. But he came. He condescended to put himself within the limitations of a human body, lived for 30 years in a little place no bigger than a postage stamp on the universal map, and ultimately, one day, went to the cross and hung there while they nailed him to that piece of wood. And because he was God in a body, he bore the penalty for all of us. And he's got the scars to prove that he alone is the way.
I'm here to tell you if you want to go to heaven, if you want to have your sins forgiven, if you want to know the truth, if you want to have life, there's only one person who can do that for you, and that is Jesus Christ. That is not the word of David Jeremiah, that is the Word of the Bible. That is the Word of Jesus himself, the Son of God. And I want you to know that any of us in this room who end up in heaven will be there for one reason, and that's because we have accepted Christ. In case any of you don't know, I'm going to heaven. I'm going to heaven not because of David Jeremiah, I have nothing to offer. I have a Savior who blazed a trail so that my sin could be forgiven. And because of what he did, he's taking me to heaven. He is my way. I want you to make him your way today. I may never, ever have a chance to preach on this passage again. I think of all the places I haven't preached and I want to preach. And this is one of the central passages in the Word of God. It is the answer to the question, "Is there one way to God"? Yes, and his name is Jesus.