Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Is Jesus Really the Only Way?

 “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment.” – Hebrews 10:26-27

Perhaps you’ve seen the movie: God’s Not Dead. The 2014 film tells the story of a first semester college student named Shane Harper who enrolls in a philosophy course and experiences a formidable challenge on the first day of class. You see, he is a committed Christian, and his professor is a militant atheist who requires every student to sign this simple statement in order to pass the class: “God is dead.” One by one, all the students in the class take out a sheet of paper and sign the statement. All of them…except for Shane. He refuses to sign it, and as a result, the professor requires him to spend the next three class sessions doing his best to prove that God’s Not Dead.

As you probably know, by many measures Christianity is on a decline in America. Fifty years ago, the overwhelming majority of Americans identified as “Christian” and considered the United States to be a Christian nation. But as much as I hate to admit it, America is a Christian nation no longer. Each year hundreds of churches close their doors. More than ever before, Christians are marginalized and criticized. A large percentage of Americans don’t believe the Bible to be God’s word. And millions of Americans—even many professed “Christians”—proclaim, “If there is a heaven, Jesus is certainly not the only way to get there.”

In this age of inclusivity and tolerance, many Christians are hesitant or embarrassed to affirm the exclusivity of the gospel. They deem it to be a huge cultural blunder to declare Christianity to be true and every other religion to be wrong. Let’s face it: We don’t like to be labeled “intolerant,” “narrow-minded” or “bigoted” by our culture. Therefore, we find ourselves second-guessing what the New Testament teaches about heaven. We think: Perhaps Christians have been too narrow-minded with their doctrine of salvation. Maybe we have misunderstood what Jesus and Scripture teach about salvation. Could it be that our belief in “Christ alone” is illogical and doesn’t stand up to intellectual scrutiny?

Allow me to share something very important that Christians everywhere need to hear—three proofs that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Proof #1: Jesus revealed it. Throughout the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), Jesus reveals this truth over and over. For example, in John 3:16-17, Jesus makes it clear that he is “the” Savior from whom we receive eternal life. In John 11:25, Jesus reveals himself as the “resurrection and the life.” In Matthew 28:18, Jesus tells his followers that he has “all authority in heaven.” In other words, Jesus oversees all of heaven, even the front gate. There’s no back door, and there’s no appeal to a higher power, because Jesus is the highest power. And Jesus couldn’t have been more clear than he is in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So, is Jesus the only way to heaven? Yes! Jesus revealed it.

Proof #2: The New Testament confirms it. Time and again, the Book of Acts and the epistles confirm that Jesus provides the only path to salvation. In Acts 4:12, when the Apostle Peter is being pressured to stop preaching in Jesus’ name, he boldly proclaims, “Salvation is found in no one else [besides Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Paul declares in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” And according to Hebrews 10:26-27, if we reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, there is no other path to salvation. Inevitably, all those who reject Christ will have to face the music: “judgment and raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”

Proof #3: Logic proves it. Once we understand that Jesus Christ and the New Testament speak in harmony regarding salvation through Christ alone, it is completely illogical for any Bible-believing Christian to come to any conclusion other than this: Jesus is the only way to heaven. Now, Christians get accused all the time of clinging to beliefs that are too narrow-minded and too exclusive. But the fact is: All truth is narrow-minded and exclusive. Think about it: The truth that “two plus two equals four” is exclusive. Basic arithmetic doesn’t allow for any other conclusion. Two plus two can never equal three, five, seventeen or 38,000. Two plus two always equals four. Every truth is equally narrow-minded. Racism is wrong. Period! First degree murder is evil. Period! Incest, rape and armed robbery are always bad. Case closed! All truth and all truth claims are exclusive, narrow-minded and intolerant. Truth couldn’t care less about being politically correct. Truth doesn’t dabble in the “touchy-feely.” Truth is truth whether we like it or not.

In our culture where a growing number of Christians are more concerned with being politically correct than biblically correct, we need to embrace and speak the truth regarding salvation and heaven. We need to lock arms with Shane Harper and boldly proclaim the gospel. Pastor John MacArthur says it well: “As long as Christians are being duped or intimidated into softening the bold claims of Christ and widening the narrow road, the church will make no headway against postmodernism. We need to recover the distinctiveness of the gospel. We need to regain our confidence in the power of God’s truth. And we need to proclaim boldly that Christ is the only true hope for the people of this world. That may not be what people want to hear…but it is true nonetheless. [Therefore,] it is all the more urgent that we rise above all voices of confusion in the world and say so.”

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville and the author of "Holy Huldah: Lessons You Should Never Forget from Bible Characters You've Never Heard Of." For more information, visit www.YourVictorvilleChurch.com, and join us for our Worship Celebration Sundays at 10 a.m.

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