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God, Yes, But Why Jesus? Part 3

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
January 6, 2023 1:00 am

God, Yes, But Why Jesus? Part 3

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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January 6, 2023 1:00 am

In today’s world, “tolerance” is heard everywhere. But Christians must be ready and able to lovingly point people to Jesus—the only way to the Father. In this message from John 14, we define three characteristics of truth: universality, consistency, and objectivity. Without that truth there is no knowing, and without that life there is no living.

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at or call us at 1-888-218-9337.


Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

Its force is growing day by day. That force is political correctness, and when it comes to the Christian faith, it's out in full strength. Today, how to witness for Christ at a time when people tolerate everything but the truth and even deny that truth exists.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, these days people like having their own truth, so sharing the Gospel as truth can be an uphill battle. It certainly can, but this idea that I have my truth and you have your truth breaks down very quickly when you go to a bank to withdraw money. Suddenly, everybody is expected to have the same truth.

And today, those who pride themselves in tolerance are often very, very intolerant. I've written a book entitled Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible. What I hope to do in this book is to show people that there are rational reasons that support our view that the Bible has come down from God. That is to say that it was written by men inspired by God. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Of course, when we think of the Bible, Jesus is the centrifugal force. He is the center of Scripture predicted in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New, and thank God coming again.

For a gift of any amount, ask for seven reasons why you can trust the Bible. And now let us listen. The word today is tolerance. What do you think of that word, tolerance?

Well, there's a good sense in which the word is used. We believe in legal tolerance. Legal tolerance means that people can believe whatever they want to religiously or not believe at all, and they have that freedom, and we would stand up for that kind of tolerance. But there's another kind of tolerance that is making the rounds, and that is politically correct tolerance. I read a few weeks ago that there was a university in which students were lined up, freshman students, and then they were asked, do you believe in pro-life? If so, step across the line. Do you disagree with the radical homosexual agenda?

Step across the line. And then the students were basically told, you have to understand that here at the university, if you have a different belief like that, you keep it to yourself. And I'm adding this now because there seem to be some people who find a new right in the Constitution, and the new right is that they should never, ever have to hear anything with which they disagree. And so there's this politically correct tolerance. Then there's even a kind of tolerance beyond that. It is called, quote, positive tolerance. Positive tolerance says that we should joyfully affirm those with whom we disagree so that even though we have our own private opinions, and usually when those are evangelical opinions, they are our private prejudices.

Notice that word. When people have that, then we're told that what you have to do is to affirm those who are not a part of your prejudice and joyfully affirm those who believe in the things with which you disagree. And in the midst of this, we get to minister and to witness and to serve and to explain the gospel. What a day to be alive. What a day to be alive. Isn't that wonderful that God would let us, that he'd wait for centuries for us to be born so that we could spread the gospel in this era and under these conditions? You university students, you are some of the most fortunate.

I almost used the word lucky, but I'm not into that luck bit. But you are some of the most fortunate students just to think you're living in an era and a day in which you might get kicked out for witnessing for Christ. That is absolutely great. What a wonderful time to be alive.

We're going to be turning to the scriptures in a moment, but I need to say that the climate in which we do so is there are those who disagree with the scriptures, like you have these Jesus seminar in California where a group of scholars get together and they decide what Jesus said and what he didn't say. And some of you might be intimidated because of that. Let me be very clear.

We have nothing to fear. Years ago, there was a painting by burn Jones, which was to be taken care of very, very well and have a specific kind of solvent. And I guess the memo didn't get through and they used the wrong solvent and they ruined it all. And it turned out to be just simply a gray canvas. Perhaps I've told you that story and reminded you that there are people today who want to take the rich Hughes of the new Testament, the beautiful portrait of Jesus, and they want to condense it into nothing but a dull gray at all costs. They want to make Jesus into a mere man. Want you to know it's not based on any manuscript evidence. Now knows some new archeological find just personal hunches and a welter of contradictions based on the fact that he has to be a man and nothing more.

We have nothing to fear from their so-called scholarship. Now let me tell you why I'm preaching this message. It's the second actually in a series entitled God. Yes, but why Jesus? And I hope that you were here last week to hear the first message in the series.

And this is the second, just two messages, which would really be five or six, but just two. We could also entitle it Jesus in the Pantheon. And that will become clear in just a moment. But let me explain why I preach it. First of all, because there are some of you who are holding Jesus Christ at arm's length.

And I want to urge you to investigate him carefully. This past week, a Messianic Jew who was converted to Christ about six years ago said that there are many Jewish people who use the Holocaust as an excuse to not look carefully into Jesus Christ. Why should I consider Jesus? Just look at the Holocaust because they believe that it was done in his name.

When of course we strongly disagree with that and repudiate any thought of such a connection. And then there are those who say, well, you know, I've been hurt by the church and because I've been hurt by the church, I don't want to investigate the church's Jesus. Well, I'm encouraging you today to get beyond that and to investigate Jesus. And then there are some of you who maybe already have your minds made up. You think to yourself, you know, there's no way that Jesus could be the only way to God. And you're not willing to consider his claims. I'm preaching to you today.

Please listen. There's another reason why I give this message. And that is I want you as believers to joyfully witness for Christ. And when you meet somebody who says, well, you know, I think Jesus is one way among many. When you meet somebody like who says that I hope that you are so thrilled.

You say, Oh God, how good you've been to me to lead someone in my life who is saying this because I am ready with an answer. And I want you to leave here today itching for somebody to say that, hoping, praying, Lord, send me somebody today who believes that Jesus is one way among many, please, because I want you to know all the truth is on our side. And yet the mouths of many believers are tied because they think they're going to meet somebody like that. And they don't know what to say after today. No excuses.

That's the agreement. Now I want you to take your Bibles and turn to the 14th chapter of John's gospel, John chapter 14. I love this passage because you remember Thomas is a little bit confused. He says in verse five of John chapter 14, Thomas is speaking to Jesus. Jesus says, I'm going to prepare a place for you.

And when I go, I'll come again and receive you. And Thomas says in verse five, Lord, we don't know where you are going. So how can we know the way? He's not sure that he knows or more accurately.

He's sure that he doesn't know. So I says, Jesus, how can we know the way? And then Jesus gives one of his famous, I am statements, seven of which occur in John's gospel. I am the way. It's one of the few verses I memorized in German.

And whenever I get to it, I like to review what I learned. Some of you thought tongues have come to Moody church. I know that some of you are ready to applaud and say it's here folks.

It's here. Thomas, God bless him is interested in the question of how do we get to the father, the way to the father. Now maybe I've quoted this earlier at my age. Sometimes I may repeat myself, but if I do, it's because God knows that you didn't remember it properly the first time.

Did I quote Pascal? Pascal says, there are only two sane people in the world. One who loves God with all of his heart because he has found him. And the other is one who seeks God with all of his heart because as yet he has found him not want you to know today, there is no question as important as the one of how do you get to the father when you're in the rubble of the world trade center, there is only one important question and that is how do you get to the father? How do you rest assured that that's your destiny? Or if you're in a space shuttle and it explodes, the only question for you is, am I prepared to go to the father? Do I know the way?

That's the only issue that's important. And so Thomas says, how do we know the way? And Jesus makes the I am statement. He says, I am the way, the way. Old Testament readers would have understood that because it says in the Old Testament, teach me thy way, O Lord. You've had the experience of being in a town and you ask somebody the way.

Nine times out of 10, what is it that they say? I'm new here too. I can't believe that there are so many new here too's in the towns where I've been in. How wonderful it is to find somebody who says, I live here and I know the way. Follow me.

Follow me. Jesus is the beginning of the journey. Here's an alcoholic who does not have to find his own way to God in the sense that he doesn't have to make his own way to God. He doesn't have to climb some kind of a ladder and say, Lord, I want to get to you.

No, the way is already there. Jesus is the beginning of the journey. Jesus is the end of the journey because he knows the father.

And because of that, we come to him with confidence. There was a guide in a desert and somebody said, a tourist said, we're going to walk with you, but where is the path? And the guide said, I am the path.

Wow. How wonderful to know that you're with somebody who knows where he is going. Now, if you're not interested in where you're going, any path will get you there. And did you know that truth for all of its power has one limitation. There's only one way to be right, but many ways to be wrong. The Bible says that there is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof is the ways of death. Because believe me, there are many false paths out there. And I don't believe that there's been an era in history when there have been as many wrong paths as there are today in this whole business of spirituality.

Could I throw this in at an extra cost? People are into spirituality today. What they aren't into is righteousness and holiness.

They're just into spirituality. I want to be spiritual, but I don't want to be religious. Do you want to be holy? No, I don't want to be holy.

I just want to be spiritual. So Jesus Christ said, I am the way. Secondly, he says, I am the truth. I am the truth. We all know people who have taught us the truth, what we don't know many people, or we've never met anyone who embodies the truth. My parents said, this is the truth. My parents did not say, we are the truth. You know, when you think about somebody teaching mathematics or chemistry, maybe their character isn't too important for teaching those disciplines, but what a conundrum.

Boy, there's a word I haven't used for a while. What an awful experience it would be to have to put up with somebody who is lecturing on the benefits of purity who himself is immoral, or someone who is talking about the beauty of generosity, and yet he is stingy. Jesus had consistency because he is truth. Could I give you three characteristics of truth very quickly?

I know this gets a little technical, but I know you're going to follow me. First of all, truth has universality. It has universality. Two plus two is equal to four. You say that's a Western idea. When you get out to the East and Eastern religions, why you discover that two plus two isn't four. Oh yes, it is four. You know, when you meet somebody who says, I have this opinion or that opinion, you always take off your glasses if you're wearing glasses and you always smile.

Remember always to smile and you tell them this. You are entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own truth. If you come across some truth that applies to me as well, I am the way, the truth and the life. If Jesus is the truth, it applies in Japan and Morocco and India and all over the world. It has universality.

Secondly, it has consistency. It's not possible to believe a contradiction. Mormonism and Christianity logically may both be wrong, but logically they cannot both be right because they contradict one another. If all the religions of the world were equally true, they would all be equally false because they contradict each other at every important point.

Years ago, I was in two Buddhist temples here in Chicago. The Buddhist priest told us that in Buddhism, there is no God. We said, well, when you come to pray, who are you talking to? And he said, we're talking to ourselves because there is no God. I want you to know today that the religions of the world disagree at fundamental issues.

It is consistency. Only Alice in Wonderland could believe as many as, what was it, six contradictions before breakfast? I always say, if you can believe two before lunch, you need more help than we're set up to give you. Nobody can believe a contradiction. I had a professor who used to say that a contradiction is a charley horse between the ears. Nobody can believe a contradiction. Truth has universality, consistency.

It has objectivity. It exists outside of us. It's out there outside of us, you see, and it's to be discovered. You can't say, what would we say to an astronomer who said, well, you know, you know, I believe that I have to look within to see whether there are stars without, like our postmoderns say. Oh, you know, truth resides with me.

I have a friend who teaches in a secular school and because he teaches comparative religions is able to dialogue with students about Christ. And he said to one student, what would you say to Jesus if at the end of time you would be judged by him? Now listen to his answer.

It is thoroughly postmodern. He said, I would tell him that he has no authority over me because I didn't believe in him. Now think that through. What he's saying is, is that if I don't, if I don't believe in you, it rests with me. Since I didn't believe in you, you have no authority over me. And Jesus would say, oh yeah?

Or something like that. Oh yeah? Truth has objectivity. It doesn't matter whether you believe that. It doesn't matter whether or not an astronomer believes a particular star is there.

The issue is whether or not it is there. Truth has objectivity. Jesus said, I am the truth.

Wow. I want you to know today that Satan's whole kingdom is based on lies. Jesus is based on the truth. And then he says the life. Physical life, yes. Standing at the tomb of Lazarus, he gave one of his great I am's. I am the resurrection and the life.

He was able to breathe the life into a dead body. But spiritual life, eternal life undoubtedly takes prominence in this phrase. I am come that they might have a life and that they might have it more abundantly. It's life to the max. It's life to the max. It's life with that is free of guilt. It is a life that that is able to take care of regrets because of forgiveness. It is a life that is connected with God. It is that abundant life. And Jesus said, I am also the life. Without that way, there is no going. Without that truth, there is no knowing. And without that life, there is no living. There are many people who say, well, you know, we're living it up.

Well, if you knew what you were doing and if they understood it and if they see the long term consequences, they should know right well that actually they are living it down. They're living it down because the end thereof are the ways of death. I am the way. I am the truth.

I am the life. And then Jesus makes this astounding statement. He says, no man, no man would say, well, this doesn't apply. When I was at the parliament of world religions that I told you about in the last message, there were people who said, well, you know, Jesus is for the West. When you get to the East, it's Krishna.

When you get to who knows where it's somebody else. No, no, no, no man comes to the father but by me. And there are reasons why no man can get to the father except by Christ.

There's nobody else out there who meets the father's qualifications. And then Jesus continues to astound us. Verse seven, if you really knew me, you would know my father as well.

From now on, you know him and have seen him. I love what Phillip says. Phillip says, Lord, show us the father and it's enough for us. Just show us the father and we'll be satisfied. Frequently I quote Augustine, oh Lord, it is said that no man can see thee and live. May I die that I might behold thy face. Let me see the father. And then Jesus makes a statement that should cause a shiver to go down our spines if we are aware and fully conscious.

He says, have I been so long time with you, Phillip? Anyone who has seen me has seen the father. Wow, it was God who came to that Jewish peasant home. It was God who was tempted in the desert. It was God who died on the cross. He that has seen me have seen the father. Now, what are you going to do with this Jesus? I say to you, skeptics, what are you going to do with this Jesus? Nobody has made claims like this.

They are beyond belief. Look at Hitler. He made some astounding claims about the third Reich that would last a thousand years, only lasted 12, but he predicted it would last a thousand years. And yet Hitler never said, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Can I say it one more time? I say it too often, but I've got to say it here.

Wow. Then I think of Lenin. Lenin said that if, if Russia accepts communism, shall be bred on every table.

But Lenin never had the nerve to say, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger. He who believes in me shall never thirst. I think, for example, of Buddha who claimed enlightenment, but he never said, I am the light of the world. He who fall with me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. My friend today, why would we ever be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ or ashamed of him?

Imagine his authority. One of the reasons that I wrote the book entitled Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible is to help bolster our confidence in the scriptures and our confidence in Jesus. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. And I have to tell you that the Bible has an advantage that other religious books do not have. It can be substantiated from history. And because we can see how correct it is when it comes to historical facts, we can also trust it more when it comes to spiritual facts.

It's a remarkable book. As I mentioned, for a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, I'm going to be giving you that contact info again because if you're like me, frequently when you hear information, you wish that you had a pen handy. I'm giving you time so that you can get ready to write this down.

And I want to thank you in advance for helping us. We here at Running to Win do not take our listeners and supporters for granted. You are a part of this ministry.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. People accept the fact of only one speed of light, but only one way to God? The claim of Jesus to be the exclusive path to eternal life forces a decision. Do I go with my instincts or do I go with Jesus? Next time on Running to Win, don't miss some final thoughts about a unique Jesus. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-06 13:46:27 / 2023-01-06 13:55:34 / 9

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