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JOHN 14:6

Pastor Stephen Muncherian
April 6, 1997

Before we get into our topic today, I’d like us to begin with a short quiz. So, take out your mental pencils. I’m going to read a few statements - put a check mark next to the one’s you’ve heard recently.

1. “No, I don’t go to church. I don’t think going to church is as important as how I live my life.”

2. “I believe in God in my own way.”

3. “I think God sees what I do and I do my best to be a good person. I believe He will understand that.”

4. “All religions are basically the same - man and his beliefs. Muslims, Buddhists, Jews.... we all pray to the same god anyway.”

5. “In my view, the height of arrogance is to attempt to show people the ‘errors’ in the religion of their choice. We need to be tolerant and open to the beliefs of others.”

6. "I don’t think you can really be certain of anything.”

The reality is that we have all heard at least one of these statements - or something similar.

This morning we are exploring absolutes.

Is it possible to know with absolute certainty the way to a relationship with God - to know with certainty absolute truth - to know life with God now and the certainty of future eternal life with God?

The society in which we live answers these questions with a resounding NO! - we cannot be certain of absolutes. The reason for this uncertainty is because our society is dominated by a philosophy - a way of thinking - which has been labeled “postmodernism”. The statements on our quiz reflect reflect this post-modern way of thinking.

Postmodernism rejects the idea of objective - or absolute reality. A postmodernist would say that something is real only if I experience it as being real.

Today - on your way home - consider that the sun exists. The existence of the sun is an objective fact. However, to the postmodernist the sun only exists if they experience its existence.

If that sounds strange - it is. But it is where our culture is at today - post modern thinking has invaded our lives.

In our schools - courts - politics - community - we are told that we must be tolerant - inclusive - open to the experiences and beliefs of others. “Truth is relative to how I experience life.” “Homosexuality is an experience which we must tolerate - be open to.” “One should not be so dogmatic as to define marriage as only being a monogamous relationship between one male and one female.” - “The reality of someone’s personal faith journey should never be questioned.” “God is who I experience Him - or her - or it - to be.”

This church building is located on Brotherhood Way. And, it really is a great location - freeway close - reasonable parking - beautiful setting. And, because of our neighbors - a very interesting street.

At the west end is the Greek Orthodox Church - then the Masonic Temple - the Armenian School and Cultural Center - the Church of Christ - us - the Jewish School - the Jewish Temple - and at the very top the Roman Catholic Church. Quite a collection.

Often I hear this statement, “We are people of different faith experiences.” or, “Brotherhood Way expresses the openness we can have to each others faith traditions.”

Two years ago - June 6, 1995 - during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations - here in San Francisco - Anglicans, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, Muslims, Christians, and Jews - gathered together at Grace Cathedral to offer prayers - chants - and incantations - to at least a dozen deities. Costumed children from around the world participated in the interfaith worship service by bringing flowers to the altar and co-mingling holy water from the Ganges, the Amazon, the Red Sea, the Jordan River, and other sacred streams - pouring them into a “bowl of unity.”

There is today, a religious body - led by Episcopal Bishop William Swing - which is in the process of setting up a permanent “United Religions” facility - here in the Presidio.

These words like “tolerance”, “openness”, and “inclusion” are spoken so often to the exclusion of an absolute reality. In the rush towards postmodernism - personal experience vs. objective reality - reality has become relative not absolute. Reality is whatever my experience suits me to believe.

Please turn with me to John 14:6 - I’d like us to read this verse together - to see and hear these words of Jesus Christ which stand in absolute contrast to the philosophy of the world in which we live.

Is is possible to know absolute truth? To know God? To know life with Him now and hope of eternal life? John 14:6 - “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.’”

The setting of John 14 is this. Jesus is in the Upper Room - it is the Last Supper - just prior to Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion. Jesus is sharing with the disciples truths which literally stagger the imagination.

In 14:1 He says, “Believe in God, believe also in me.” - Jesus equates trust in God to trusting in Him. He is speaking of Himself as God.

As He continues - He speaks of the believers future dwelling with God and His own return to bring us into that dwelling.

In verse 5, Thomas is confused - and in honesty - asks Jesus “How?” - “How are we to know the way to God?”

Jesus replies with this incredible revelation about Himself - “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

What an awesome claim! Jesus does not say, “I show the way. I teach the truth. I give life.” He is not merely a “way-shower.” Other religious leaders fit into those categories. Buddha called himself “the way-shower”; Mohammed called himself a teacher of truth. Many prophets throughout history have offered to lead one to life, but none of them can make the claim Jesus did.

How can Jesus make such a statement - so absolute - so dogmatic - so exclusive? In our “inclusive” society today this verse is not “politically correct”. In fact, many people today would like to avoid this verse or make it say something that it does not - to soften the words of Jesus and make them more palatable to our culture today. But, according to the best Biblical scholarship - these words of Jesus mean absolutely what it sounds like Jesus is saying:

“There is no other way - no other truth - no other life. When you come to me you are meeting God; you have found ultimate reality and truth. When you come to me you then and there possess life.”

The validation of Jesus’ claim is what we celebrated last week - the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus can make any claim He wants - claim to be God - truth - or a little green man from Mars. Without proof - why should we believe Him? The proof is Jesus’ conquest over sin, Satan, and death - His accomplishment of that which only God is capable of.

There are three absolutes that we want to consider this morning. What does this statement of Jesus mean for us today?

1. We Can Know The Way To God

This past week my curiosity finally got the better of me and I logged onto www.heavensgate.org - that’s the Website of this cult group that two weeks ago committed suicide in San Diego County.

The leader of this cult - Marshall Applewhite - was the son of a Presbyterian minister. He claimed to be possessed by a member of the Kingdom of God called an Older Member. They all committed suicide - believing his teaching - that by leaving their human bodies they would join a spaceship which would take them to Heaven.

In their own words “The joy is that our Older Member in the Evolutionary Level Above Human (the “Kingdom of Heaven”) has made it clear to us that Hale-Bopp’s approach (they’re referring to the comet Hale-Bopp) is the “marker” we’ve been waiting for — the time for the arrival of the spacecraft from the Level Above Human to take us home to “Their World” — in the literal Heavens.”

So many people struggle to know God - to understand who He is - what He expects of us. The peoples and religions of this world are full of speculation and uncertainty.

But the statement of Jesus Christ is a great reassurance. If we know Jesus Christ - we know the way to God. Look no farther - He is the only way to the Father. If we will trust Him with our life - we have confidence that we are on the right path.

2. We Can Know Truth

According to the 1992-1993 Barna report - 50% of the adults in America believe that “everything in life is negotiable.” 60% of all adults believe that, “nothing can be known for certain except the things you experience in your own life.” According to Barna’s research most people dismiss the notion of the existence of absolute truth.

But Jesus said He is the truth.

What part of Bible do we eliminate? How can we conform scripture to fit our own beliefs? Where should we cut and paste to suit our postmodern philosophy, “If I believe it then it becomes my truth”?

Even as Christians we do this. We choose what truth of scripture we will live by.

One example of too many. God says, “You shall have not other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3) - That’s in the Bible and we believe it - no idolatry. Consider how the Apostle John stated the same truth. “Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” (1 John. 5:21) - Beware of anything or anyone that occupies a greater priority in your life than God.

Sports - money - family - work - personal pleasure. How many good “Christians” claim that it is hard to come to church - to give priority to God in their lives - to worship God and be in His presence - because Sunday is the only day they have to themselves. How many family commitments replace church on Sunday? - weddings - anniversaries - birthdays —- often times planned and celebrated at a time which makes it impossible to come to church. What we believe is truth - or feel fits our lives as a guideline - is not as important as what God declares as truth.

Those who are believers in Jesus Christ give the Word of God absolute authority over their entire lives. The foundation of their lives is based upon confidence in the absolute truth of God. Those who build their lives on God’s truth are not overcome by the uncertainty of the world around us.

One other thought about truth that we need to consider.

Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John. 8:32). People today need to be set free.

In a world which is very confused - where morality is relative - philosophy subjective - depression and emptiness bottomless - where people are willing to follow after even the most bizarre notions that seem to offer hope - people need to know the truth of Jesus Christ.

The Bible says that we are to “Speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15a)

Outside of Grace Cathedral - while the Political and Religions leaders of the world were proclaiming unity - a group of believers stood across the street holding up a sign that read in part, “No king but Jesus.”

In a world that hungers for one world religion and that is open to joining together in worshipping dozens of deities, the followers of Jesus Christ are challenged to proclaim more clearly that ever - to all who are willing to listen - the truth of Jesus Christ. It is not popular. It is not easy. It is divisive. Stand firm on these truths - by how we live our lives - but what we proclaim with our lips - and we will be rejected and ridiculed.

But, if we really believe that Jesus is the truth - then we must proclaim and live that truth regardless of the cost.

3. We Can Know The Life

Jesus said, “I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly.” (John. 10:10)

To know God now - to walk with God through each circumstance of life - is to know confidence, strength, and hope in an absolute way which too many people in this world cannot even imagine - but greatly long for.

Often, I think about the words to the hymn - Great is Thy Faithfulness. Listen and think about God’s presence in your life.

Great is Thy faithfulness - O God my Father! There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not: As Thou has been Thou forever wilt be.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide, Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow - blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness, Morning by morning new mercies I see: All I have needed Thy hand hath provided - Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!


How will you respond to the words of Jesus Christ - “I am the way, the truth, and the life....”?

Do you know His life - the offer of a relationship with God now and forever? Do you have the assurance of His truth guiding you through the uncertainties of life? Are you sure you are on the way with God?

Today - you can know the absolute reality of Jesus Christ in your life. Just tell God that you know you need Jesus to be your Savior - that you want to receive His Son by faith.