All Paths Do Not Lead To God (John 3:18)
(John 3:18; 14:6)
Prepared and Preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, April 8, 2018 in Poland, OH
Another time, another place, I was in high school, it was 199—–, we won’t finish what year it was, I was in high school and I was talking with a fellow senior about Christianity. She said, “I make my own religion Steve.” Another time, another place, I was working at Jack’s Aquarium & Pets. They were a local pet store in the Dayton area. I loved that job! I was in eleventh grade and at this time I was growing in my faith. I was beginning to take my faith seriously. We were opening the store, cleaning the dog cages, the cat cages, the cages for all the small animals, snakes, etc. I remember doing this while I was having conversation with another high school employee. I said to a co-worker that someone was a Christian and she responded, “Everyone is a Christian Steve.”
These high school students have good Theology, right?
How many think these views are correct? Raise your hand if you think you can make up your own religion…
Raise your hand if you think everyone is a Christian…
What is wrong with those views?
Those viewpoints do not fit with truth or Christianity, do they?
We have been studying Theology together since January, so think about what is wrong with those views. First, it is obvious everyone is not a Christian. Second, the point of religion is to earn our way to Heaven. If we have to earn our way to Heaven then we cannot make that up because we have to earn our way to Heaven by what God requires. But the Bible teaches that we cannot earn our way to Heaven and if we could earn our way to Heaven, Jesus would not have needed to go to the cross. Christianity is not about a religion. Christianity is about a relationship with God who sent Jesus to pay our debt and thereby save us. We cannot make this up. We need Jesus’ death and resurrection to forgive us for our sins. We need atonement, we need justification, we need redemption, we need what only Jesus provides.
A few months ago, I attended a seminar through the C.S. Lewis Institute on this subject and Dr. Andy Bannister shared, he asked, “How do we navigate the religious diversity?”
One way is to say: every religion is essentially the same… We can’t say the mountain illustration… This is that, God is at the top of the mountain and we all go up to the top. Each religion goes a different path. But the illustration Fails: Dr. Bannister climbs mountains and every path doesn’t lead to the top of the mountain. Some paths lead the wrong way… Where do we stand to see that every path leads to the top?
The top, no that doesn’t work… we would have to float several hundred meters above the mountain.
If God is at the top of the mountain we don’t want to worship Him because that is the wrong god. These things that flatten religions and say every path leads the same way it takes away the doctrine. Every religion is exclusive. Truth is exclusive. We see exclusive claims in the Bible.
This is why Theology is important. So, today let’s talk about the God of the Bible versus the god of the koran.
All Paths Do Not Lead To God (John 3:18)
Application: Make sure you are on the right path.
(I have taken the points below from Dr. Banister’s seminar)
- The Bible teaches, God is relational.
- Adam walked with God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8).
- Rev 21:3: the dwelling of God will be with men. God is described as a Father, Friend, husband.
- The whole Bible is about God desiring a relationship with humans.
- Banister shares that in the Koran god is not a relational god. Allah is distant and remote. No relationship is possible with him The Koran borrows stories from the Bible but takes away the relationship nature.
- The Bible teaches, God can be known.
- Jeremiah 9:23-24: Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.
- The Koran:
- Allah does not reveal himself Only his commands are made known in the Koran.
- No invitation is made to know God.
- Muhammad did not even know God.
- In the Bible God reveals Himself time and time again.
- The Bible teaches God Is Love.
- Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
- God made the first move.
- John 3:16 teaches this: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
- The Bible teaches that God suffers for us.
- Isaiah 53:4: God carried our sorrows and took up our infirmities.
- Jesus suffered and died for us. Jesus suffered and died to be in a relationship with us.
- The Bible teaches that God handles Justice and mercy without compromising either.
- This is really important.
- Bannister shared the following: The Koran talks about the justice of god and Mercy of god a lot.
- Many religions talk about Mercy and justice.
- But Mercy and justice conflict with each other. They are conflicting.
- In the Koran: Mercy is always offered at the expense of justice and justice is always offered at the expense of Mercy.
- One is ignored. This is a contradiction in most religions including Islam.
- The Koran never reconciles this. In Christianity this problem is solved.
- In the Bible: There is justice and mercy. The punishment is on Jesus. In Christianity, God does not exercise mercy and forgiveness at the expense of justice, but through His justice.
- God offers mercy and forgiveness through justice. Jesus takes our place. Every sin will be revealed. Jesus pays our price, or if we reject Him than we pay. Either way, justice will be paid.
- Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941) He helped people escape from the Nazis. He was captured and taken to Auschwitz. Some escaped. They were going to make an example of 10 people who were locked up to die being starved or dehydrated. Maximilian took the place of one of those men. There is no other God besides the God of the Bible. He is unique.
- Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God.
- Trinity: Love requires a subject and an object. It makes no sense to say there is love without saying there is someone to love. The Trinity solves a lot. It shows that God Is Love and there is love in Himself. Since God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit He can be love even before He creates things. Otherwise, He would have to create things in order to love. He did not have to create me in order to love.
Who knows John 3:16?
Who knows John 3:18?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:18 shares that it is important to not reject Jesus. Rejecting Jesus bring judgment. Rejecting Jesus is rejecting God. Knowing Jesus is knowing God.
Do you know Him?
Do you know Jesus?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)