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Author:Rev. Stephen 't Hart
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Melville
 Melville, Australia
 www.frcsr.com/fellowship/melville/
 
Title:I am the Way, the truth, and the life
Text:John 14:6 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Unclassified
 
Preached:2018-10-07
Added:2021-12-12
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Bible Translation: ESV

Book of Praise: 2014

Psalm 86:1,2

Psalm 25:2

Psalm 145:1,3

Hymn 39:1,2,3,4,5

Psalm 86:4

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Stephen 't Hart, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a peculiar thing for the Lord Jesus Christ to say about Himself!

“I am the way, the truth and the life.”

That the Lord Jesus would call Himself “the truth” is not all that surprising:  John 1:17 already said that

“grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

And to call Himself “the life” was not entirely new.  In fact, He’d called Himself “the resurrection and the life” already in John 11:25.

But now the Lord Jesus calls Himself “The Way.”  The Way.  That is, “The Road.”  And that’s a peculiar thing for the Lord Jesus to say about Himself.  For who would normally describe Himself as a road?

But this was not the only way that the Lord Jesus Christ had described Himself in the gospel according to John.  In John 6 He said, “I am the bread of life”; in John 8, “I am the light of the world”; in John 10, “I am the door” and “I am the good shepherd” and in John 11, “I am the resurrection and the life.”  And in each of these statements the Lord Jesus revealed great and wonderful truths about Himself.  And that is also the case here, in John 14:6, when He said to Thomas and the other disciples,

“I am the way, the truth and the life.”

When Jesus called Himself “the way, the truth and the life”, each one of these things describe who He is.  But He did not mean to say “I am the way and I am the truth and I am the life” in the sense that these are three completely separate things, but the emphasis is on the first thing here, “I am the way”.  And He is “the way” by being “the truth” and “the life”.

But now let’s think further about what “the way” is.  It is interesting to note that the Lord Jesus had spoken about “the way” previously.  In Matthew 7:13,14 He said,

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to live, and those who find it are few.”

So Jesus warns us here as to which “gate” we are to go through and which “way” we are to follow – because there is only one way to eternal life.

  You can also read about “the way” on two occasions in the book the Acts of the Apostles, where we learn that the early Christians were described as followers of “the way”, and from Acts 16:17 we learn that this is “the way of salvation.”  But now here in John 14:6 the Lord Jesus not only speaks about “the way”, but He says to Thomas and to the rest of the disciples that He is The Way.  He is the way that leads to life.  He is the pathway, He is the road, He is the means through whom you can come to the place that He has prepared for you.  And even more, He is the way, and He is the only way, through whom you can come to the Father.  And so I preach to you the gospel under this theme:

There is only one way to God the Father – and that’s through God the Son.

  1. An exclusive claim.
  2. An inclusive promise.

 

  1. An exclusive claim.

You have to feel for Thomas.  In John 14:1 the Lord Jesus had said that He was going away, but “let not your hearts be troubled” because not only would the Lord Jesus return to bring them to Himself but, He said in John 14:4,

“you know the way to where I am going.”

But Thomas was troubled, and He did not know where Jesus was going.  And so Thomas said to Him in verse 5,

“Lord, we do not know where You are going.  How can we know the way?”

“Lord,” Thomas is saying here, “we don’t understand.  You told us “Let not your hearts be troubled” but now You are making our hearts very troubled by your talk about going away.  And a big part of the reason why we are so troubled is because we don’t really know where You are going.  And if we don’t know where You are going, we don’t know the way to get there!”

You have to feel for Thomas, not just because he did not understand what the Lord Jesus was saying, but because of the context of what was happening when Jesus said this.  When Jesus spoke these words in John 14, He and His disciples were in Jerusalem, they had just celebrated the Last Supper, and the cross and the crucifixion were looming up on the horizon.  And although the disciples did not know all that was about to happen, by now they were deeply troubled.  They were troubled by a number of things.  First of all, in John 13:21, the disciples saw that Christ Himself was troubled.  John 13:21 says,

“Jesus was troubled in his spirit.”

And then the Lord Jesus told His disciples why He was so troubled when He said,

“Truly, trule, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”  (John 13:21b)

To hear that one of the twelve, who had been travelling and working and eating with them for the past three years would betray the Lord was a shock and deeply troubling.

 

But then Christ said a third thing in John 13 that was troubling.  He said in John 13:33,

“Little children, yet a little while I am with you.  You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.”

“Where I am going”, the Lord said, “You cannot come.”  But where, then, was the Lord Jesus planning to go, and why couldn’t His disciples follow Him?  And so Simon Peter asked Jesus in John 13:36,

“Lord, where are you going?”

And in verse 37,

“Lord, why can I not follow You now?  I will lay down my life for You.”

To which Jesus responded in verse 38,

“Will you lay down your life for me?  Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.”

No wonder the disciples were troubled!  One of them would betray the Lord, Jesus was going to go somewhere without them, and their fearless leader, Simon Peter, would apparently deny three times that he even knew who Jesus was.

But Jesus response was “Don’t worry”!  John 14:1,

“Let not your heart be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in Me.”

But how could that help?  How could they believe in Christ at a time when He had just told them that where He was going they could not follow, how could they believe in Christ, and how could their hearts not be troubled?

And then the Lord Jesus goes on in John 14:2.

“In My Father’s house are many rooms.  If it were not so, would I have told you that  I go to prepare a place for you?”

And verse 4,

“And you know the way to where I am going.”

Except they did not know where He was going, and they did not know the way.

This was all too confusing.  This was all too troubling.  What was going on?  Why was Jesus going away?  And how could they know “the way”?  And for that matter, what did it even mean to know the way?  The disciples did not understand.  They did not understand what the Lord was saying, they did not understand what He was about to do, they did not understand where He was going to go, and they did not know “the way”.  And so Thomas answered Jesus and he said to Him,

“Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

The disciples did not know where the Lord Jesus was going, and they did not know the way, not because Jesus had not told them, but because they had failed to understand Him.  But if their hearts were not to be troubled, if they would have any reason for comfort, any reason for hope when Jesus went on to the cross to be crucified and then to rise from the dead and later ascend into heaven, then they had to know who Jesus really is, and they had to know what He had come to do.  And so Jesus said to Thomas in John 14:6,

 “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

“Thomas”, the Lord was saying here, “You need to know who I am and what I have come to do.  “I am making the way, Thomas!  I am making the way for you and for sinful men and women to come to the Father.  And I am making the way by being the way Myself!”

That’s what the disciples needed to understand and that’s what we need to understand if our hearts are not to be troubled.

There are so many troubled people in the world today.  There are so many people who stagger under the burden of their sin.  There are so many people do not even dare to come to church because they think that their sin is too great, that God could never accept them.  There are so many who hold out little hope for forgiveness and everlasting life.  But Jesus says,

“Let not your heart be troubled.  You believe in God, believe also in Me.”

For He is the way, the truth and the life.  He came to make the way when there was no way to God the Father.  He came to make the way by being the way.  He would be delivered up to the chief priests and Pharisees, He would be dragged before Pontius Pilate and He would be hung on a cross.  He would even be forsaken by God the Father and He would die and be buried.  But He would do all these things so that in this way He might take our sin upon Himself and put an end to sin so that we who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  And He will then rise from the dead and ascend into heaven to prepare a place for us who believe in Him, so that we might be with Him forever.  That’s what Christ had come to do, and that’s how He would be the way, the truth and the life.

Brothers and sisters and all of you who are here today, do you understand this?  Do you know what the Lord Jesus meant when He answered Thomas and said to Him that “I am the way, the truth and the life”?  Do you believe in Him, and is your heart therefore no longer troubled but at peace in Christ Jesus?

There are so many people, still today, who do not understand this and who do not believe it.  There are many people who think that they need to do something grand to be noticed by God.  For some that means being a good person, doing good deeds, helping the poor or saving the planet.  For others that means being very religious and following all sorts of rules and regulations, as if those things would get you into heaven.  But that can never work!  You can never get to heaven in this way, for you could never do that which is truly good, you can never earn your way to the Father.
And then there are some who follow their own man-made religions.  Some will build elaborate temples or go on great pilgrimages.  Some will give up certain foods or live the life of a beggar.  Some will go so far as forcing metal hooks through their flesh and carrying heavy weights up many stairs in an attempt to have their god look at them and approve.  But none of this will work.

And then there are others who have a higher view of themselves, who think that sin is not so bad, who think that most if not all will get to heaven in some way or another.  Or else who buy in to the idea that there are many roads that lead to heaven, that while Jesus may be a way, that He is not the way, and certainly not the only way.

But all of those attempts are bound to fail.  For there is only one way and only one name under heaven by which we may be saved, and that is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  As the Lord Jesus Himself said in John 14:6b,

 “No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Jesus’ claim to be the way is an exclusive claim:  there is no other way to the Father except through Him.  But it is because He is the way, it is because He is the truth and the life, that our hearts should not be troubled.  For He has told us why He had to die, and He has explained to us that He has now gone to prepare a place for us.  And He has promised that

“that where I am, there you may be also.”

 

And therefore not only is Jesus’ words that He is the way and exclusive claim, but it is also an inclusive promise.  We will see this further in our second point.

 

2. An inclusive promise.

When the Lord Jesus told Thomas that “I am the way, the truth and the life”, He made it clear that He is the only way to the Father.  That is true, and the rest of the Bible teaches us the same thing.  Acts 4:12, for example, says,

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

And 1 Corinthians 3:11,

“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.”

And 1 Timothy 2:5 –

“For there is one God and there is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”

So it is in Christ and in Christ alone that we have the way to come to the Father.  We should not be surprised by that.  In fact, if there was any other way, we could never have expected the Lord Jesus to come in the first place.  And if He did come down to earth, He would not have hung on a cross, nor would He have left His disciples even “for a little while.”  But there is no other way to the Father.  The only way to come to Him is through the One who is the way, the truth and the life.

But when you do believe in Jesus, when you do receive Him as the way, when do you believe that He is the embodiment of truth and when you do have life in His name, then you will have come to the Father.  And then you may look forward to being with Him and to being with Christ forever.  And this was what the Lord Jesus wanted His disciples – and us – to know.  This is what the Lord Jesus is teaching us in John 14:3 where He said,

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself; that where I am you may be also.”

That’s His inclusive promise:  that you may come to the Father and that you will be with the Son forever.  And everyone who believes in the Son, everyone who embraces Him as the way to the Father will inherit the place that is being prepared.

And why is this so?  How can we be sure about this?  It is because of who our Lord Jesus Christ is.

“Let not your heart be troubled” Jesus said. “Believe in God; believe also in Me.”

And why should we believe in Him just as we believe in God the Father?  It is because, the Lord Jesus went on to say, because He and the Father are One.  Because He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.  Because He Himself is God.

Do not be surprised that immediately after the Lord Jesus answered Thomas’ question by saying that He, the Son of God, is the way, the Lord said in John 14:7,

“If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.  From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

At which time another of Christ’s disciples, Philip spoke up and said in verse 8,

“Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.”

To which the Lord responded in verse 9,

“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip?  Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father.”

There is only one way to God the Father – and that’s through God the Son.  The LORD God has come to us in Jesus Christ and He has bridged the gap between us and the Father through the cross.  The way has been opened, and all those who believe in that way will inherit eternal life.

But since these things are true, what should we then do?  Since these things are true, how should we respond?  What will you do with this Jesus, and what will you do with “the way”?

In the first place, of course, we need to come to Jesus, we need to believe that He is the Way.  We need to trust Him, and Him alone for our salvation and for everlasting life.  Because if you do not do that, if you do not believe and if you do not belong to “the way” then you will not be saved, then you will die in your sins.

But if you do believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, if have come to the Father through Him, then you cannot leave it at that.  You cannot be satisfied to know that you will inherit the place that Christ has gone to prepare for you.  Rather, then you will want others to know of this way also. 

“For the promise” Acts 2:39 says, “is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

And Romans 10:9 says that

“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

That is the way that our world so desperately needs.  Jesus is the answer to the world’s problem of sin and alienation from God, and He is the only answer.  And therefore since Christ has died and has now risen, let us go out into all the world.  Let us preach the gospel and tell the world that Jesus is the only way to the Father.

Brothers and sisters, do you see Christ as the only way to the Father?  Do you really know who the Lord Jesus Christ is, and do you want Him to be known?  Do you not only know the truth that is in Christ Jesus, but do you also want that truth to be known by others?  Do you, who have life in His name want that life to be known and received by the world?  Do you live by the gospel and for the gospel?  Do you realise that you who both know and believe that Jesus is the way to the Father have the answer to what this world needs to know?  While Jesus is an exclusive saviour, while it is true that no one can come to the Father except through Him, it is also true that He really is the way, the truth and the life.  And all those who do come to the Father through Him will be saved.

Brothers and sisters, what do you think of these things?  Have you come to God the Father through God the Son?  And are you calling others to do the same?  Don’t wait for another day.  Don’t wait for a more convenient time.  Because now is the time of God’s favour.  Now is the day of His salvation.  And Jesus says, “Come!”  Come to the Father through Him.  Because He and He alone is the way, the truth and the life.  Amen.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Stephen 't Hart, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2018, Rev. Stephen 't Hart

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