I would invite you to the Gospel of John chapter 14 as we continue our series on the entire principle of truth. Hello and welcome once again to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
I'm Bill Wright. Today, Don continues teaching God's people God's Word, and he's going to take a sobering look at the danger of watering down the deadly effects of sin. Don has part one of a message called Truth and Salvation. And Don, it seems as though there are far too many pastors preaching kind of a warm and fuzzy kumbaya approach to Christianity rather than warning people to turn from their sin. But God's Word is crystal clear about steering clear of a feel-good gospel, isn't it? Jesus' own words can protect us from being misled on this point. And you know, my friend, as you're listening to today's broadcast, just remember that Jesus said, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
And he also said, A man's enemies will be the members of his own household. Well, that's difficult and sad to contemplate, but it shows us an important aspect of truth is that the gospel is not always going to feel good. Jesus said, In this world you will have tribulation. The call of Christ is to repent of sin and to follow him. And so there's just a lot about the gospel that makes us uncomfortable, but we have the blessed joy when we follow Christ of being in fellowship with him. And that's our focus for today as we return to our series In Defense of Truth.
Thanks, Don. And friend, if you have your Bible handy, let's join our teacher now with today's lesson from The Truth Pulpit. You know, when we walk around feeling the weight of sin, that's a genuine reality. The world tries to define away guilt and to explain it away and to prop people up with messages of self-esteem in order to minimize the effect of guilt on the human soul. That's deadly.
That is wrong. That is the worst possible thing that we could do is to minimize guilt to people who are one day going to stand before a holy God. The biblical approach for dealing with guilt is to see the provision that God has made in order to resolve it, in order to remove it, in order to forgive it.
There is reconciliation available, but it's not through your own works, and it's certainly not through protesting that you are a good person. We must come to grips with sin and seek the divine method of deliverance from it. And it is to those vital questions that Jesus speaks. Look at verse six with me again in our text. Jesus said to him, said to Thomas, he said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, but through me.
No one comes to the Father, but through me. The idea of going to the Father, of being safe in the Father's hands, of being delivered into salvation and away from sin and being safe in the presence of God is the core of what Jesus is addressing in this text. And during his ministry, as we see in the Gospel of John, Jesus spoke often about going to the Father. Look at John chapter seven with me, if you'll turn back just a few pages in your Bible. John chapter seven in verse thirty three. John seven, verse thirty three, we read, Jesus said, for a little while longer, I am with you.
Then I go to him who sent me. Jesus speaking about an earthly departure to go be with his father again in heaven. Turn over to John chapter eight, verse twenty one, where you see Jesus talking about this departure again, this going away. In John chapter eight, verse twenty one, he said again to the Jews, he said, I go away and you will seek me and will die in your sin.
Where I am going, you cannot come. Jesus saying, I am going away, I'm going to my father, I'm going to depart from this world. He had been inculcating. He had been teaching that idea and developing it in the minds of his disciples throughout his ministry, as it's recorded for us in the Gospel of John. And he even returned to that theme on the night prior to his crucifixion. Look at John chapter thirteen, John chapter thirteen in verse thirty three. Remember, this is on the night prior to his crucifixion. As he speaks to his disciples, he says, little children, I am with you a little while longer.
You will seek me. And as I said to the Jews, now also I say to you, where I am going, you cannot come. Jesus reminding them of what he had said earlier in the Gospels and saying, I've been saying all along that I'm going away.
My time here on earth was never permanent. It was not his purpose to establish the kingdom in that first advent. He came. He had a work of redemption to do. But he said, when the work is done, I'm going to go away. Now, the word for go, you know, we use a little word like that so commonly that we don't often stop to think about what it means.
But here it's important for us to do so. The word that is used here for translated go, it conveys the idea of going away or leaving. It indicates someone is proceeding from a departure point to somewhere else.
Jesus is here on earth as he's speaking. This is my departure point. I'm going to go away.
I'm going somewhere else, and I'm not going to be with you any longer. Now, for the disciples, this was not news. This was not something that they wanted to hear. No, it was coming from the lips of their lords.
They resisted the idea. They loved Jesus. They depended on Jesus. They were learning from Jesus.
He was the source of their blessing, the source of their fellowship, the source of the love which had transformed their souls. And so put yourself in the shoes or in the sandals of the disciples and understand that the idea of Christ going away, the idea of Christ departing from the only realm in which they had known him was something that was quite concerning to them. Now, Peter questions him.
He quizzes him in what follows, but he does not get anywhere in the discussion. Look at verse 36. In Simon Peter, this is John 13, 36. Simon Peter said to him, Lord, where are you going? Jesus answered, where I go, you cannot follow me now, but you will follow later. You can see in Simon Peter's question, where are you going? There's this note of urgency, this desperation. Lord, you're talking about going away, and I don't understand.
And so I want you to explain it to me. Tell me where you are going. And Jesus kind of deflects the question. He says, where I go, you cannot follow me now. The time is not now for you to be with me as I depart.
I'm going to depart by myself, and you can't join me in this departure, but you'll follow me later. Peter isn't having it. Peter said to him there in verse 37, the idea of separation from Christ to him was unthinkable at the time.
And he's a little bit, you know, I mean, it's superficial here. We know that in just a few hours, he'll deny Christ three times with curses. And so Peter is kind of riding the wave of emotion here rather than settled conviction. But you have to appreciate the urgency of the presence of Christ to him. The presence of Christ was something serious and valuable to him.
Something that, you know, we might do well to reflect on, on how important the presence of Christ as manifested in his word, as manifested in the practice of prayer, is to us. Peter says to him in verse 37, he says, Lord, why can I not follow you right now? I will lay down my life for you.
You know, the superficial intentions of his heart were, were in the right place. He says, I don't, I don't want to, I don't want to be separated from you for a moment. Why can't I go with you now? You're who I want.
You're who I want to be with. And Jesus, again, deflecting the question and exposing the, you know, the, the shallow nature of Peter's confession of faith at that point. In verse 38, he answered him, will you lay down your life for me?
Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny me three times. And so the whole point of everything that we've said so far is that Jesus has been emphasizing going away, going to the Father, going to be where the Father is at. And he has done this repeatedly throughout the course of his ministry. And now as he approaches the cross, he comes back to that theme as he's instructing his disciples in the upper room. Now, with that, we go to chapter 14. And the chapter break, unfortunately, suggests that there is a change in subject or a change in dialogue, and so very often when people will read from, will read this text, there's no consideration of the context.
And I suppose I've probably done that a time or two myself. But here in this time where we're taking some more time to look at the, this text with greater care and greater detail, understand that the chapter break is something that was added many centuries later after the original text was written. In the original text, there were no chapter breaks. And that's very important here to understand that the same subject of Jesus going away to the Father, the context is carrying into John chapter 14, verses 1 through 6, it is not being changed. Jesus is talking about the same point, about the presence of the Father. And here in John 14, 1 through 6, you can see that the broader passage begins with the Father and it ends with the Father. Jesus says in chapter 14, verse 1, believe in God, believe also in me.
In other words, believe in the Father, believe also in me. And then he is explicit in verse 2. In my Father's house are many dwelling places. So he's talking about his Father and what is there at his Father and why it's necessary for him to go there.
And he says, if it were not so, I would have told you. And now he starts to open up the purpose of his departure for them with more detail. He says, for I go, there's our word again, I go to prepare a place for you.
I am leaving, I am moving away from this departure point in order to be with my Father. And I am doing that in order to prepare a place for my disciples to be with me. Verse 3, you see again the concept of going.
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 then in verse 6, Jesus says, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me. And so in this six verse passage, Jesus is speaking about the Father at the beginning and at the end.
He's speaking in the middle about going. The whole emphasis here is that Jesus is going away in order to be with the Father and he has clarified for his disciples that he is doing something for their benefit as he does. That when he goes to the Father, he'll be preparing a place to be with him forever.
Now, the question then that becomes so urgent to us all, the question that's urgent for mankind, the question that's urgent for you and me in this room, is this question and Jesus is answering this question in what he is saying here. Who is it that can go to the Father? Can just anyone go and be with God the Father?
Is it a matter of indifference what your religion is? Do all paths of every religion lead to God? Were the hardened, unrepentant Pharisees who were about to participate in his crucifixion, were they also on their way to see the Father? Were they going to the same place that Jesus was?
What about you and me? Is it not that important to know the truth? Is it not that important to know who Jesus Christ is? Is it not that important to know what constitutes true worship? Is it not that important to know what the mark of a Christian is as shown in the Doctrine of Perseverance?
Are we kind of wasting our time focusing on these things? Why can't we just eat, drink, and be merry and let God sort it all out in the end? It doesn't work that way. Not everyone goes to the Father. Scripture has made that so abundantly clear. And who goes to the Father?
That's what we must see in this text. There is a departure point and there is an arrival destination. A departure and a destination. And those two points are separated geographically and spiritually, you could say. And the question is, is how do you get from point A of the departure on earth to point B, the arrival in the Father's house? What is it that joins those two together?
How can that gap be bridged? That's what Jesus is saying. And that's what we must see in this text. Look at John chapter 14 verses 4 and 6, 4 through 6, and notice the word way. The word way that is there in each verse. John chapter 14 verse 4, Jesus says to the disciples, You know the way where I am going.
Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How do we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the way.
And so, see, the repeated use of that term shows us what the emphasis is. Jesus is explaining to them, here in verse 6, he is explaining the way from the departure point on earth to the destination point in heaven. And there is a way to get from point A to point B. But it is an exclusive narrow road in order to find it. You see, the Father's presence is a destination to which you must go, to which you must arrive.
The kingdom is not found here on earth in this era. And so we have to be conscious of the fact that there is a separation between us and the Father. There is a separation geographically. He's in heaven, we're on earth.
There's a separation spiritually. He is holy, we are sinful. There is an unconquerable chasm between us and God. And how can we get there? None of you, none of you in your natural state, none of you, none of you in your apart from scripture have any idea how to get to heaven from earth.
None of you have the power to do that. You cannot find it, you can't search it out with a telescope. And even if you could join in a rocket mission, it could never take you to heaven. You don't know where God dwells.
You don't know how to get to him from here to there. And so you see that there's this unconquerable chasm between us and him. This is a great problem, especially when you put it in the context of the many warnings of scripture that it is appointed for man to die once and then to face judgment. Death is going to carry us away. Death is going to carry us away from this realm.
And what's going to happen to you when it does? What a miserably lost position we find ourselves in apart from scripture, apart from Christ. Thomas sees the problem with his question in verse 5, look at it with me again. Thomas sees the problem.
And he's sometimes derisively referred to as doubting Thomas. But he saw the problem. And he said, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How do we know the way?
I want to be with you. And yet you say that you're departing. You tell me that you're going to the Father's house, and I don't know how to get there. I don't have the power to do that. It's hard for me to even know what you're talking about, Jesus. How can I go to a place that I cannot see?
I've never tried to do this. I wish I had thought of it before the message to dial in God's heaven in your GPS and see what it says. The GPS can't take you there. We are lost as we contemplate these things apart from Christ.
And so Thomas is crystallizing the issue for all of mankind. Where are you going? We don't know the way. And how are we going to get there? Now, Jesus then is answering that question in verse 6. He's been talking about going away. He's been preparing his disciples for it. He's been talking about a departure point and a destination point. And now, in verse 6, he's about to answer this colossally important question, not just for Thomas and the circle of disciples there, but for all men of all time.
This is universal in its import, universal in its consequence. So Jesus now answering Thomas's question, where are you going? How do we know the way?
And there's that desperate urgency in Thomas's doubting mind. Jesus now is going to answer the question. He says in verse 6, Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.
Now, beloved, sometimes the most important observations are the ones that are easiest to overlook. And here in verse 6, I want you to understand that Jesus is making an emphatic statement and he is making an exclusive statement. This verse demolishes the idea that all religions lead to God. Jesus leaves no room for other religions leading to God. He leaves no room for other paths or ways to God.
They're all planes going to the wrong destination. And Jesus says in verse 6, look at it with me. It begins emphatically, I am the way.
And it concludes emphatically. No one comes to the Father but through me. I am the way, I and I alone, Jesus is saying, am the way. And no one comes to God the Father except through me. If you reject me, you have closed the door to hope. If you reject me, you have no alternative way to get there.
There's not another train on the schedule. There's not a second chance after death. You either receive Christ in this life or you are eternally lost and judged and condemned in hell forever. And so Jesus is emphatic about this. One of the reasons that we're doing this series on truth is that it is such a confrontation with the spirit of our age that doesn't even care about truth.
That if it thinks about religion at all, says that it's really a matter of indifference, your opinion is as good as mine. Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ has none of that. And it is in plain English there in your text in words of almost exclusively single syllables whose meaning cannot be evaded or denied. Jesus says, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me. You know, as you look at what Jesus said there, the only word with more than one syllable is the word father. Everything else is a single syllable word. This isn't complex.
This is simple enough for the youngest child in this room to be able to understand and to grasp the significance of what Jesus is saying. You know, when we think about the way to get somewhere, we think about the road that we're going to take. We think about the path that we're going to walk or the sidewalk that we'll take to get from point A to point B. You go to the store, you go from your car to the entrance of the store. You're gonna walk across the parking lot. There is something physical and tangible that we are used to associating with going from the departure point to the destination point. Whether it's a car, a train, a plane, whatever it is, we're used to something taking us there and having a physical reference point to get us to where we are going.
It's something different here. Jesus, rather than pointing to a bridge that leads to God, a literal bridge of some kind, rather than pointing to something physical and tangible, he points to himself and he says, I am the way. He says, in my person, I myself am the way to God and there is no other way to get to him. Only Christ is the path of destination to the Father. Only Christ has the power to bring you out of sin and into the family of God. Only Christ can take you from earth to heaven. No one else is able to do that. No one else has the power to do that.
Beloved, if it was possible for men to do this, they would be doing it all the time. They'd be selling tickets. There are rich people who want the opportunity to circle in space. What would people pay to get to heaven? But the bankruptcy of man, the inability of man to concoct a way to get to God is shown by the fact that there is nothing like that. You can get on a spaceship and go into the stratosphere, but you can't find any earthly vessel to take you to heaven. Only one way exists to heaven, and it is through Jesus Christ. Amen, and thank God for his Son, Jesus Christ.
It is in him alone that we find everlasting life. Well, thank you so much for joining us today on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green. If you'd like to find out more about our ministry, we invite you to visit thetruthpulpit.com. Once again, that's thetruthpulpit.com. We're out of time for today. I'm Bill Wright inviting you to join us again next time as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word here on The Truth Pulpit. .
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