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Watch 2022 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - What To Say To Those Who Deny There Is One Way?

Robert Jeffress - What To Say To Those Who Deny There Is One Way?

Robert Jeffress - What To Say To Those Who Deny There Is One Way?

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. If you've been a Christian for any length of time, you've undoubtedly spoken to friends and family who don't believe the things you do. And one of the common sticking points is this, don't all roads lead to heaven? After all, why would a loving God reject someone who is deeply religious? Well today, I'm going to tackle these relevant questions. My message is titled, "What To Say To Those Who Deny There Is One Way?" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

Remember the friend I told you about you last week I was seated on the plane with him coming from Seattle back to Dallas. He was explaining to me the real reason that he had given up on Christianity. And at the top of his list was the idea that we would claim that Christ is the only way to be saved. He said, "I can't believe in a God who would be that intolerant to say that Christ is the only way to salvation". What do you say to people like that? By the way, if you make that claim, remember you're going to be met with all kind of objections. Now, I don't pretend that you remember anything I said from last week. So I want you to review just briefly with me, the five objections that most people, even Christians, have to this idea that Christ is the only way to be saved.

Objection number one, you are being intolerant. Remember in today's culture, the greatest sin is not murder, rape, or drug dealing. It's claiming to be right about anything. To be intolerant.

Objection number two, people say exclusivity, that is claiming Christ is the exclusive way to be saved, promotes hatred. Why if you believe Jesus is the only way to be saved, it must mean you hate Hindus, Muslims, and Mormons, and Jews. Of course, that is a ludicrous assumption to make but that's what people will say. This idea promotes hatred and religious persecution.

Objection number three. How can so many people be wrong? In other words, if Christ is the only way to be saved, what about the billions of people on the planet who have never trusted in Christ or even heard the name of Christ? How could so many people be wrong and be in hell for all eternity? It doesn't make sense.

Objection number four. Some people will say, well, all religions teach the same thing and there's no reason to claim you're the only right way. All religions basically teach the same thing. As I pointed out from Ravi Zacharias last time, he said anybody who says that really is ignorant about what the world religions teach. They don't teach the same thing. Religion by its definition is exclusive.

And objection number five, which is perhaps the greatest objection to exclusivity. It's unfair people say for God to send people to hell just because they haven't believed in Jesus. Well, what do you say to those objections?

Well, let me share with you for a few moments my four responses that I shared with my seatmate, who had made those very same objections to the idea that Christ is the only way to heaven. I want to share with you today four things you can say to those who deny that there's only one way. Response number one. When people object to the exclusivity of Christ, you can always say your argument is with the Bible, not with me. I think it's critical that we point out what the Bible itself says about this topic. For example, in John 14:6, Jesus, the Son of God said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man comes to the father except by me".

Jesus proclaimed there was an exclusive way to God and he was that way to God. In acts 4, verses 10 and 12, Peter was preaching to a group of Jews and he said, "Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Christ, Jesus of the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name, this man stands before you in good health. And there is salvation in no one else for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which you must be saved".

Or consider the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 10. Paul said my prayer is that my fellow Israelite would be saved. And he went on and acknowledged in Romans 10:2-3 that the Jews loved God. They had a zeal for God. But that zeal for God was not enough to be saved. By the way, listen to what Paul himself said in Romans 10:9. He said, "If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved".

Now look at verse 12, "For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek". There's no different path for the Jew and a different path for the gentile. There's no distinction between the Jew and the Greek for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon him. For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord, will be saved.

Now, when you point out these verses, these words from Jesus and Paul and Peter, it's very important that you point out that Jesus, Paul, and Peter were not southern Baptist evangelists, okay? They were Jews. Do you realize that? Jesus, Peter, and Paul were all faithful Jews. And yet these faithful Jews said Judaism is not enough. You cannot be saved through Judaism. It is through Jesus Christ alone that you can be saved. That really takes the sting out of the antisemitic argument when you people say, well, you must hate Jews if you believe that. No, the three most prominent Jews of the Bible said Christ is the only way to be saved.

Now, when you point out what the Bible says, be prepared for two responses. Some people will say, just like my mates said to me, "Well, that's your interpretation of the Bible. That's your interpretation". And of course, you can always come back and say, "Well fine, suggest to me some other logical interpretation of Jesus' words, 'I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes to the father but by me'". If he didn't mean he's the only way to God, what was he saying in that verse? And most people will stutter and stammer, and they won't come up with an explanation. But more likely, people will say to you when you claim Christ is the only way to be saved, they'll come back with, "Well, who are you to decide who gets to go to heaven and who gets to go to hell. Only God can decide who goes to heaven and who goes to hell".

Now, when people say that to you, you say, "You're absolutely right. I couldn't agree with you more. Only God can say who's going to heaven and who's going to hell". But God has already made that decision and it's found in his word. God has already decided who goes to heaven and who is going to hell. A Franklin Graham has written, "A loyal follower of Jesus does not create personal ideas about these matters. All he or she does is faithfully represent the words of the master". And when you tell people Jesus is the only way to be saved, you are simply representing the words of your master, the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Response number two. When people object to the exclusivity of Christ, response number two is truth by its very nature is exclusive. Truth by its very nature is exclusive. And we pointed out several weeks ago that we live in a world that rejects the notion of absolute truth, especially when it comes to matters of spirituality. And yet, there are other areas in which we readily accept the idea of absolute or objective truth. For example, you can ask a person how many possible different answers do you think there are to the question, what is two plus three? How many right answers are there to that question? Or how many right answers are there to the question, what is the capital of Pennsylvania? How many right answers are there to that question?

Now, people will come back and say, well, I know what you're getting at. But laws of mathematics, laws of geography, laws of science, those are precise. Those are exact. But when you get to areas of spirituality, well that's subjective truth. That's a matter of one's own opinion. You see people make a great error when they assume that just because things are unseen or invisible, that somehow they are not real or less exacting. And whenever you make that mistake of believing just because we can't see something, there aren't exact laws that govern that something, and the result can be a disaster for us.

On Friday afternoon, August the 2nd, 1985, captain Ted Connors was preparing to land his jumbo jet liner at DFW airport on runway 17 left. As he was on his final approach, he noticed a strange cloud formation at the end of the runway. At first, he thought he might fly around that cloud. But then he reasoned to himself, he had hundreds of thousands of pounds of jet liner underneath him, three powerful Rolls-Royce engines, 43.000 hours of experience between himself and his other co-pilots. What damage could a little wind and rain do to his aircraft? But what captain Connors didn't realize was that inside that cloud were invisible, but very real forces at work. Microbursts, wind shear, vortexes.

As Delta Flight 191 made its way through that cloud, those invisible, but real forces of nature grabbed hold of that jet liner and threw it to the ground, killing all 131 passengers aboard. You see in an instant, captain Connors and the air traffic controllers made an error in judgment. An error that all of us are in danger of making when dealing with the unseen. It's the error of thinking that just because we can't see it, somehow, it must not be exacting.

Ladies and gentlemen, just as there were very real laws of aerodynamics and physics that govern that doomed jet liner, so there are very real spiritual laws that govern your and my relationship with God. We can say, well, we don't believe in those laws. We're going to alter those laws or we're going to try to go another way and approach God in a different way. And when we do that, the result will be spiritual disaster. God has said there is one way and only one way to himself and that's through Christ Jesus. truth by its nature is exclusive.

Response number three to those who object to exclusivity. And that is we ought to always say God wants to save as many people as possible, not as few as possible. Whenever we point out to people that yes, God has said there is only one way to be saved, we need to quickly add, but God wants to save as many people as possible. Consider again the words of those three Jewish men I cited earlier, Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul, the apostle Peter. Listen to what they said about God's desire to save in 1 Timothy 2:4, Paul said for God desires that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. Or 2 Peter 3:9, the apostle Peter said, "For the Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness. But he is patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance". Or Jesus words in Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost".

God wants to save as many people as possible, not as few as possible. Well then the person asked if that's true, why is God only said that he will save those who come to know Christ as Savior? Does it make sense that God would condemn people to hell because they haven't heard of Christ? Have you ever had people ask you that question before? How could a loving God send people to hell because they have never trusted or even heard the name of Jesus? The Bible clearly teaches that God will reveal himself to those who want to know him. We ought to always say that to people when they say, well, what about the heathen in Africa or the people in China who've never had a Bible. What do you say about those people? And you can always come back with the assurance that God will reveal himself to those who want to know him.

By the way, that's what Romans 1 is all about. Romans 1 says anybody can look into the heavens and see the stars and the planets, or look around and look at the trees and the plant life and animal life, or even look at himself and realize this didn't happen by accident. Anybody can look at nature and know there is a power greater than himself. There is a God. You don't have to have a Bible to know that. That's what we call in theology, general revelation. Everybody who's ever been born has that knowledge of God. Is that enough to save us? Can I look up in the heavens and say, gee, there must be a God. Therefore, I'm going to heaven. No. No, if we believe what we heard just a few moments ago, that faith in Christ is the only way to be saved, that a knowledge and even a love for God is not enough to be saved. But listen to what Paul said in Romans 1. He said many people have that truth, but they have rejected that truth. And they have replaced the worship of a true God with a worship of a false God they've manufactured with their own hands.

It's like Dr. Charles Reilly says, "This general revelation about God is not sufficient to save a person. But it is sufficient, if rejected, to condemn a person". And people who have that knowledge that there is a God, but they reject or neglect that truth and never search for that God, Paul says they are without excuse. All mankind is without excuse. Well, pastor, what about people somewhere across the globe or across the street from me who do respond to that truth, but they've never heard about Jesus? They've never seen a Bible. They've never heard a gospel sermon preach. How in the world can those people be saved?

I believe the scripture is clear. When somebody responds to the general revelation God gives them, if they have a right heart, a right attitude toward God, God will send them the knowledge they need in order to be saved. God will send to them the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? Because God is trying to save as many people as possible. He wants people to be saved. He wants all people to come to a knowledge of the truth. And wherever on this planet, God sees a man or woman, a boy or a girl who wants to know him, you can rest assured that God will send to that person the gospel of Jesus Christ.

You say, "Now, pastor, do you really believe that? How can you believe that"? By reading the Bible. Now, think about the Book of Acts. Let me share with you real quickly three precise examples where that happened. Where somebody had the right heart attitude toward God didn't know about Jesus and God sent them the gospel. Think about the Ethiopian official. Remember his story in acts 8? He loved the God of Israel. He went to Jerusalem to worship the God of Israel. On the way home, he was in his chariot. He opened up the Old Testament scripture, the book of Isaiah. He couldn't understand what he was reading. It was a passage about the Messiah. And what did God do? He saw a heart that was right toward him, so he miraculously sent Philip the evangelist to share the gospel with him. Philip helped make sense of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. And that Ethiopian official was saved and was baptized or two chapters later in acts 10.

Here is Cornelius, the Roman centurion. He too loved God. He wanted to know God, but that wasn't enough for him to be saved. What did God do? He miraculously dispatched the apostle Peter to come and share the gospel with him. And Cornelius became a believer. Or acts 19, remember the story about the apostle Paul? He stumbled over 12 disciples of John, the Baptist, in the upper regions of Ephesus. And as he questioned them, he realized these disciples of John, they were not believers. They were lovers of God, followers of the law, but they didn't know Jesus. What did God do? He sent the apostle Paul in order to share the gospel with them. What I'm saying to you is whenever God sees a heart that wants to know him, God will send the truth into that person's life. And by the way, he does the same thing today.

Do you think it is just an accident that we have missionaries around the globe and certain people groups and certain nations sharing the gospel? Is it just by accident we have missionaries where we have them? Is it just at random that somebody's sitting in a hotel room who wants to know God just stumbles across a religious television program, or driving in their car, listens to a radio program, or halfway across the continent tunes into an internet broadcast sharing the gospel through the airwaves. Do you think that is just by accident that those things happen? God will bring the message of salvation to those who really want to receive it.

The fourth response that I make to people who reject the idea of exclusivity is that the fact that God has provided one way of salvation demonstrates his love, not his hatred. The fact that God has provided one way of salvation demonstrates his love, not his hatred. As our plane was making its descent into Dallas and I realized I had a limited amount of time with my newly found friend here, I decided to save my very best argument for last, we preachers like to do that. We like to kind of move toward a climax. So I said to him, suppose this jet liner were to crash and burn right now, all of a sudden the flight attendant and the other passengers started giving me a dirty look.

And so, I lowered my preacher voice just a little bit there in the cabin. And I said suppose this jet liner were to crash and just suppose that the cabin were filling with smoke, the interior lights went off. And the fly attendant was standing at the front of the plane with her emergency flashlight, waving it, saying "This way out. This way out". Would you accuse her of being intolerant because she was insisting there is only one way out of the plane. And in the middle of the darkness and the smoke if I grabbed your hand and said follow me, I'll help you out, would you say I was being hateful? Because I was trying to say there is only one way out of this burning jet liner. For the first time, my new friend began to see the point that I was making.

And by the way, let me point out one flaw of that illustration if you use it. That illustration is only good when people understand that their lives have crashed and that they are in danger of facing God's judgment in their life. Not everybody agrees with that. Not everybody understands his own sinfulness and need for forgiveness. Malcolm Muggeridge said one time, "The fact of human depravity is the most empirically verifiable, and yet Philosophically resistant truth in the world today". People don't like to accept the fact that they are sinners. But my friend, he didn't resist that truth. He didn't need a preacher to tell him he had fallen short of God's plan. His own failed marriage, some other problems in his life, convinced him that he was in need of forgiveness.

As we landed and our plane was taxing toward the gate, I wish I could say that in that moment he bowed his head and prayed to receive Christ as his Savior. Perhaps if I had been Billy Graham, that would've happened. He didn't do that. But he said this, he said, "Pastor, you've given me something to think about. And although I'm not fully convinced yet, I promise you this. When I get home, I'm going to start reading my Bible and check out what you said". That was good enough for me. See the fact is, ladies and gentlemen, we cannot force people to utilize the way of escape that God has planned. But that shouldn't keep us from courageously waving the light of God's truth in this sinful, dark world. Encouraging people to utilize God's way, the only way for salvation.
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