Saturday 13 May 2017

John 14 v1/6
Jesus was speaking to His disciples shortly before going to the Cross, teaching and giving guidance, and that same teaching is passed down for the benefit of all Christians throughout the ages.

Jesus is here telling His Apostles He was going to leave them for He was going on a journey He had to take alone. The Apostles were devastated at the thought. So Jesus tried to comfort them and tells them. ‘do not let your hearts be troubled’. The heart is the seat of all our emotions and when that is upset it affects thoughts and actions and causes personal disturbance. Jesus wanted to reassure them He was not forsaking them. He told them they were to believe in Him as well as God. He was putting Himself alongside God and wanted them to trust Him

He said there were many rooms in His Father’s house, meaning there was room for all in heaven, and He was going to prepare a place for them. This meant there was the prospect of living for ever with Him in heaven being given to the Apostles, and by extension to those who are prepared to give their life to Jesus, who have accepted Him as Lord and Saviour. through faith, and who one day will see Him face to face.

This passage is widely quoted in funeral services when people assume that everyone is automatically going to heaven. I have taken thousands of funerals over the years and there has never been doubt in anyone’s mind that the deceased is going to heaven irrespective of the life led. Nowhere in the Bible is this view upheld.

There is a grossly mistaken notion that as long as one is honest and a nice person one is assured of heaven. That is not what the Bible teaches. Many people who are atheists are honest and
nice people. There has to be a personal commitment to Jesus.

Jesus was very clear in His teaching that it certainly was not so. In parable after parable He spoke of two roads, of sheep and goats, of tares and wheat, of heaven and hell. The Church has not always given sound teaching on this and some misguidedly preach that Jesus was giving a blank promise for everyone when He is clearly addressing His followers, and if we do not follow Him our end will not be in the rooms of His Father’s house. The sad thing is that Church funeral liturgy perpetuates such belief, and is so therefore totally misguiding,

If we say to someone who has no Church commitment, has only a tenuous belief in Jesus Christ, never reads a Bible or prays, that they are going to heaven, then we are leading them astray.

It is like telling a blind person standing on the footwalk of a major road it is safe for him to cross when ready. Others say if you just follow your conscience you’ll be fine, but consciences become dulled and hardened. Taking the lead from politicians, people can look you in the eye and lie without any qualm of conscience.

In this passage before us He is talking to His followers, people who have made a personal commitment to accept Him as Saviour. This is why it is so important for each person to make his/her own decision whether to follow Jesus in His teaching, commands and demands He makes on us.

The Bible is all about commitment. We are reminded that less than 2% of people think God worthy of one hour per week to visit a Church. Yet if you were to ask people their religion, the vast majority would reply C of E and seriously consider they were Christians. They would be mortally offended if you suggested otherwise. Very few people seem bothered to think of Jesus, even less to do anything about it.

When Jesus said they knew the place where He was going, Thomas asked Him how they could know when they didn’t know the way. This brought forth from Jesus that profound immortal statement, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no one can come to he Father except through me.’

Jesus spent His entire ministry telling that we are separated from God through sin and only He could obtain forgiveness for us, so we have to make a choice whether to follow Him or face the consequences. Jesus is quite unequivocal. This is not generally liked as it is seen as being too restrictive, too bigoted and intolerant, and to be judgmental is not liked.

What exactly does Jesus mean when he says, ‘we can only come to the Father through Him alone’. Often we go on a journey to a strange place and without any idea how to get there. We have two alternatives, either to let a satnav guide us, or hope to find someone where we are going to take us, or we would never get to where we hope to go; that is what Jesus does for us. He says you can’t get to heaven on your own, but I will direct you, guide you, and take you myself. He is saying there is no other way. This is an exclusive offer.

The common belief these days is that all religions lead to God which Christians cannot accept. No other faith had a man who died on a Cross to grant universal forgiveness, no other faith had a man who rose from the dead. Our faith is not something someone has made up, it is God given.

Jesus said He was the truth. If a person is to teach moral truth that person must have an impeccable reputation and have no hidden misdoings. Only Jesus can claim moral perfection, which is why He can say ‘I am the truth’.

Jesus said ‘I am the life’, meaning the opposite of death. He is the source of life and gives life to His own. Just as death mean separation from God, so life means being in communion with Jesus.

Jesus claims exclusive way to God and since we are totally dependent upon Him for the understanding of truth and for eternal life, it naturally follows that no one can come to the Father other than by and through Him.

I cannot understand how we can share in multi-faith worship and maintain Biblical integrity. Whilst I believe we should respect other faiths and try to live amicably with them; but in view of the unique teaching of our Lord (here set out in verse 6 that He alone is the way to God) we cannot justify sharing in multi faith services when our beliefs are so different, and it is matter of recognising the unique authority of Jesus. Jesus warns us that there must be a clear acceptance of His teaching and total obedience to it

One of the biggest problems the Church faces is apathy, it is so easy in the times we live in to opt out, saying, ‘there is no point in fighting them’, it is the way of the world. Can you imagine what would have happened if Winston Churchill had have said in 1940, ‘we must give in the Germans are too strong for us.’

The silence of the Church is an affront to God; it is expected to be the voice for the nation in moral matters. Every so often someone pops up calling for a back to basics campaign, but no one knows what the basics are.

I find it hard to understand the ethics of holding meetings for LGBT people on Methodist premises whilst at the same time prohibiting alcohol to be used or kept. I have no personal interest as I am neither gay nor a drinker.

Jesus saw the world as a decaying and dark place and needing a curative effect. Jesus said the world is in darkness and needs Christians to shine in the darkness. The world in its creative state is a wonderful world, but in reality is also a place of evil and suffering.

In God’s plan the people who have been touched by the gospel have a role in influencing the world, to be as salt and light. Salt to be a cleansing influence; and light, to shine in dark surroundings, in which we live and work; we are the moral disinfectant.. We must stand firm by the Cross. If salt is mixed with impurities it loses its effect and becomes rotten like matter around it. Jesus is the light of the world and we should reflect that light in our lives. We have to stand up for Biblical ideals

Let us remember there are Christians being persecuted in non Christian lands with violence, arson, and yes even murder. Hundreds have been killed in the last few months in Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia and Nigeria; whole villages ransacked, yet they valiantly fight on for their Lord and Saviour. How pathetic if we let some vociferous secularists silence us.

Rather than contend for the gospel we can deny our Lord by denying we are Christians to avoid being mocked, or to avoid embarrassment. How many are prepared even admit they attend Church. The country is in spiritual death throes and in need of intensive care. This is why we must contend for the faith. How God must weep when He sees the Church singing His praise, pretending to be holy, whilst countenancing and failing to speak out on moral issues and totally ignoring His written Word.

We need to be contending for the faith, especially to any non believers in our families, and challenging those who mock. .

You and I are called to contend for the truth. Do not let anyone tell you that you do not count. You count tremendously, so glory in what God has called you to do and be faithful to His command. Our Lord’s last great commission was to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations; let us not fail Him.

Let this be the faith we adopt and believe and not that now being re-interpreted to suit modern culture.

May God bless His Word to us and enable us to give our service to Him.

Be at Church each Sunday

No comments:

Post a Comment