"Who Is Jesus?" part 6
Jesus Is the Way
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
May 9, 2010

For the past month, we’ve been working our way through our message series entitled, “Who Is Jesus?” And as you might be able to tell by the title, we’re exploring the identity of Jesus. We’re trying to learn everything we can about the man, the mission, the message.

Which, as I’ve said, makes this perhaps the most important series we’ve ever done here. Because the message we have is the message of Jesus. The hope we have is the hope that comes from Jesus. The reason the Church exists is because of Jesus. We even call ourselves Christians or Christ-followers… because we follow Jesus.

So we’re devoting this series to answering that question, “Who Is Jesus?” Which, I’ve got to say, is a pretty daunting task. I mean, that would be difficult to do with anyone, but especially Jesus. Because if Jesus truly is who He claimed to be and who we believe Him to be… if He really is God… then there’s no way we could ever fully understand who He is. He’s far too wonderful, powerful, awesome, compassionate, holy, and righteous for that. He goes beyond our capacity to understand. We simply can’t contain Him like that. All we can really hope to do is get a rough idea… a character sketch… of who He is.

But we’re taking a stab at it. And we’re making some progress. We started out on Easter Sunday, looking at the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And what we discovered is that there is evidence that points to the Resurrection being a real event in history, and not just some religious idea that evolved over the years. And if the Resurrection really happened, and I believe it did… I believe the evidence points in that direction… then it proves that Jesus is who He claimed to be… the Son of God.

And so we built on that, and we explored how Jesus could be both a man who lived in a specific time in history… who lived and breathed and walked among us… and at the same time be God. And so we saw how His earliest followers came to understand Him to be truly God and truly Man… how Jesus Himself made that claim… and how His humanity and Divinity were expressed through His life.

We moved on from that to look at some of the things Jesus said about Himself. We saw how He described Himself as The Good Shepherd… meaning we can trust Him, we can know Him on a intimate level, how He cares for us, leads us, and protects us…

We’ve also seen how Jesus claimed that He came not to be served but to serve others. He came as a servant, and in so doing He completely redefined greatness. He was the Servant King. And because He Himself was a servant He expects us to adopt that same servant-attitude. So that’s what we talked about last week.

And that brings us to today. Today, we’re going to look at something else that Jesus said about Himself. In John 10:4, Jesus said…

John 14:6 (NLT)
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

[VIDEO – “One Way” from SermonVideos.com]

“One God, many ways to get to Him.” Interesting. Sounds pretty open-minded. Sounds politically correct. But how does that compare to what Jesus said?

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

Over the next week or two, we’re going to be discussing what sets Jesus apart from other faiths and other religious leaders. And if you’ve ever wondered about that sort of thing, then I’d encourage you to be here.

But for today… today we’re not looking at those other beliefs and those other people. Today we’re looking specifically at what Jesus said about Himself.

Jesus claimed to be the one and only way to God the Father. Either He was lying and should be dismissed out of hand, or He was telling the truth and no other way will do. No religion, no good deeds, no merit badges… nothing.

You know, I like to think of myself as being a pretty good person. Maybe you think of yourself that way, too. But I think I’m pretty good. I help people when I can, I give to charitable causes, I’m loyal to my friends, I try to always tell the truth and live with integrity and honour… I pay my taxes, treat people with dignity, and I’m faithful to my family. I may not be the best person in the world, but I think I’m doing okay.

But you know what? None of that matters as far as finding my way to God the Father. Because nothing I could ever do could earn me salvation. Why? Because no matter how good I am, I could never measure up to God’s perfect standard of holiness. The Bible puts it this way… Read it with me…

Isaiah 64:6 (NLT)
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.

Even at my best, I fall far short of God’s standard of perfection. And that’s why it’s so important for me to realize that no other way will do.

Jesus claimed to be the only Way, and I believe Him. Hey, in this series we’ve already made the case for His divinity, we’ve examined His credentials, and we’ve seen that He really is the Son of God. And if all of that is true, then I’ve got to believe that He was serious when He claimed to be the way, the truth and the life. Jesus basically said the same thing when He said…

Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT)
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

So Jesus is the only way to God the Father. He’s the only way to life. So if I want to find God… if I want to know God and live with the promise of spending eternity with Him in Heaven…

If Jesus is the Way, then I need to…

A.    Choose the right path

Because as Yogi Berra said…

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else!”
~ Yogi Berra

Good ol’ Yogi. Smarter than the average Berra.

How many of you have a GPS device? A couple years ago, when Nate was just six months old, Shera and I packed him up in our Neon and drove all the way to Kansas to visit her grandparents. And let me tell you, that was a crazy trip. Word of advice—never go on a 2000 km road trip with a six month old. It’s just a bad idea.

Well, before we left we borrowed a GPS from Harvey and Sandra and it took us right to the doorstep. In fact, I was so impressed with it that we bought our own when we got home.

But there were a few times I missed an exit I should have taken or taken one I shouldn’t have. And do you know when that happened? When the GPS told me which way to go and I thought, “Nah, that doesn’t look right.” And honestly, we were probably halfway home before I finally realized that I needed to trust the GPS.

Which understand, was a difficult decision to make. Because remember, I’m a guy. I don’t ask directions. But after getting lost multiple times because I followed my own sense of direction, I finally realized that I was being shown the right way and I needed to follow it. Read this verse from the Old Testament book of Proverbs with me…

Proverbs 14:12 (NLT)
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

There are so many ways we can choose in life… so many things we can put our trust in and place our faith in… so many things that may seem like a good idea at the time, but in the end they’ll all disappoint. All but one… Jesus. Knowing Jesus is the right path.

Acts 4:12 (NLT)
“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

You must choose the right path… Jesus Christ. You need to choose to place your faith, your hope, your trust in Him.

You know what happened with those first disciples of Jesus? The earliest Christ-followers? Jesus called to them and said, “Follow Me.” And you know what they did? They left whatever they were doing and followed Him. And it works the same way today. Jesus has told you that He is the One and Only Way. And He has asked to you follow Him… to place your hope and trust in Him. What are you going to do about it?

And you know what? Maybe you’ve been thinking about this for a while. Or maybe this is the first time you’ve really thought about it, but it’s ringing true for you this morning. So how about deciding this morning that Jesus really is right path… that you believe His claim and that you’re going to trust Him?

In fact, let me lead us in a prayer right now. And if you’re ready to trust Jesus as being the Way to God the Father, then even right now you can pray… and you don’t even have to do this out loud, because remember as God He even knows your thoughts… you can pray something like this…

“Jesus, I do choose You. I may not even fully understand what that means, but I choose You. Today, I am placing my trust and my hope in You and You alone. Help me to follow You. Amen.”

If you’re making that choice this morning, then I’d encourage you to let someone know about it. You can tell me, you can tell the person you came with, but tell someone that you’re choosing Jesus today.

But maybe you’ve never thought about this before. Maybe this is all new for you and you’re not prepared to make that kind of a choice this morning. Could I encourage you to keep investigating? Start reading the Bible… if you don’t have a copy you can understand, talk to me and I’ll get you one. Start asking questions. Check Jesus out for yourself. Because of Jesus really is the way, the truth and life, and there really is no other way, then deciding what you’re going to do with Jesus is the most important decision you’ll ever make.

So choose your path. Is Jesus telling the truth? Is He really the one and only way to God the Father? Choose your path. If you believe He is and choose to trust Him, then the next thing you need to do is…

B.    Travel on the path

Because let me tell you, far too many people decide that they’re going to believe Jesus, but then it makes no difference in their lives.

“Some seek out the narrow road but never choose to walk on it. They decide it’s too narrow, requires too much sacrifice and that it would be too uncomfortable walking upon the rocky surface.”
~ Bruce Hamsher
The Narrow Road, http://sermoncentral.com/print_friendly.asp?ContributorID=&SermonID=56734

How many times do we do that? How many times do we decide we’re going to do something but never do it because it just looks too hard or it’s too inconvenient?

Listen, Jesus isn’t looking for people who agree with Him. He’s not looking for you to give Him your nod of approval. And He’s not looking for you to just respect Him. He’s looking for commitment. He’s looking for disciples. Jesus wants followers, not admirers.

John 8:12 (NLT)
“If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

But you’ve got to be following. You’ve got to be progressing. You’ve got to be moving down that path. You’ve got to seek to know Him better everyday. You’ve got to strive to live in a way that honours Him. You’ve got to be reading His Word, you’ve got to be talking with Him daily through prayer. Worship Him, make it a point to get together with His Church every week, practice spiritual habits and disciplines… practices that will help you grow.

Because following Jesus is not a one-time decision; it’s a progressive journey. And it’s an exciting journey. And sometimes it gets difficult… but you’ve got to make the choice: will you follow Him? Not just believe in Him, but follow Him?

We need to listen to Jesus when He calls us. But more than that, we need to respond. We need to follow Him down that narrow path today and not delay.

C.    Stay on the path

I got an email this week from an aunt of mine… one that I haven’t had much if any contact with in close to a decade. She’s actually the widow of Aubrey Hanson, if any of you have followed Country Music in the Maritimes over the past 60 years or so.

Anyway, in her email, she reminisced a little bit, and she asked me a question… she asked if I remembered the days when I was just a kid, and she and my mother would drag my brother, sister and I to K-Mart. And you know what? I do remember those days. In fact, there are two things I remember about those days. I remember blowing bubbles in my milk in the K-Mart cafeteria. (Which incidentally is something Nate has recently discovered how to do.) And the second thing I remember is getting lost in the aisles. Which as I recall, happened more than once.

Okay, maybe I wasn’t so bright. How could I get lost in K-Mart? Well, I would get lost because I would be distracted by other things. We’d be walking down an aisle, we’d all be together, but then everyone else would turn left, and I’d see something off to the right that I wanted to check out… probably an Evel Knievel toy or a game of Hungry Hippos or a Six Million Dollar Man action figure… whatever was popular back in the 70s. So I’d wander off and check them out, and by the time I was done I couldn’t find my family.

I don’t think I understood back then how easy it is to wander away from where I ought to be. I don’t think I knew how easily I could be distracted and led away. But what I’ve learned since then is that it’s not just while shopping at K-Mart that I can get distracted and wander away… it’s in life. We’re told in the Old Testament book of Proverbs…

Proverbs 4:26-27 (MSG)
Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.

You know, some people start on the right path… they decide that they’re going to follow Jesus… but then they stray when the road gets rough. Listen, just because you decide to follow Jesus doesn’t mean everything’s going to be easy. In fact, the Jesus warns us that if we follow Him we may be insulted, persecuted, and lied about all because of our relationship with Him. There’s no greater joy than living for Jesus, but it can also be challenging… it can be difficult… it can be heart-wrenching. You can become discouraged, you can become apathetic, you can become distracted by other things… and it’s easier than you might think to wander away from where you know you should be with Him.

If you do wander away, then get back on track as soon as possible. But even better, don’t wander away in the first place.

How many singers get their start singing in church and following Jesus, but become enticed by all the trappings of fame? How many businessmen betray their faith because it gets in their way as they try to climb the ladder of success? How many young adults cash in their purity in order to gain a few minutes of pleasure? How many athletes compromise their values because they might prevent them from achieving their dreams?

But the temptation to stray from the narrow path is not exclusive to the famous, the career-minded, or the super-ambitious. We all face obstacles and opportunities, challenges and compromises which can lead us astray. So choose now that when those temptations and distractions come your way you’re going to stay on the narrow road. Because there’s nothing that could take you away that’s worth it.

Sometimes it’s good to look back down,
We’ve come so far - we’ve gained such ground.
But joy is not in where we’ve been,
Joy is who’s waiting at the end.
~ Mike Hudson



Copyright © Greg Hanson, 2010 SunriseOnline.ca