A study was done in 2015 that showed 72 percent of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die. However, many of them hardly ever pray, read the Bible, or attend church. They admit that they live to please themselves instead of God. In fact Today less than 20 percent of Americans actually in church. In other words, more than 80 percent of Americans are doing, well, something else.
How do we make sense of that? The problem is that we want heaven and we want to define on our own who is allowed in. The first people of course is us.
This week to prove my point I asked a question on Facebook. The question was “If you could let anyone into heaven, what would be the criteria, meaning, what would they have to do?” Many of the people who answered simply said “love” or “love” and something else. So my interpretation of that is that for them to let someone into heaven they narrowed the road down to heaven down to “love” but there is one caveat and that is, “love” by their definition.
The question this week is “Do all roads lead to heaven?” That’s a tough question because if we say yes than that means we have to throw out all of our faiths and if we say no that means we all have loved ones, family and friends who we know probably aren’t there. So the easy way to deal with that is to say pretend ignore the question. But it’s there and in our face “Do all roads lead to heaven?”
If someone were to ask me this… I’d ask “which heaven do you like best?” and “why do you want to go there?” Because for me the only heaven that matters is the one where God the father lives, therefore I don’t care where that place is because I just want to be with God and to be with God you have to be perfect which means and our main point this morning is…
Main Point: There can only be one way to heaven.
Only one way to heaven folks. The logic is pretty simple though.
You can only have one way because we believe:
1. In absolute truth.
2. There is a God.
3. That God revealed himself in the bible
4. The Bible tells us how to get from Escondido to heaven.
Now that is a church centered approach. Maybe your listening and your thinking, well I don’t know if I follow that line of thinking because I don’t believe in God. At that point then I’d say well if you don’t believe in God “who cares about heaven?”
You see your only having the conversation about all roads going to heaven with people that believe in a God who can make a heaven. These are religious people, in fact these are the only religions in the world that have a heaven to go to:
Our of 4,200 organized religions on the face of the planet there are only 6 religions I could find that even claim to have some kind of heaven and they are:
1. Judaism (Heaven)
2. Zoroastrianism (Paradise)
3. Christianity (Heaven)
4. Islam (Paradise)
5. Hinduism (Moksha)
6. Buddhism (Nirvana)
This is why the bible is so important to us. We believe what the bible says because we believe God revealed himself in it and we believe it to be true, tested, accurate, reliable and trustworthy and here is what the bible says about our question today…
John 14:5-7 (NIV)
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
A couple things you need to know about heaven: 1) Jesus is the way. (vv. 5-7)
Jesus makes things very clear. He doesn’t teach a good path he teaches people He is the path. Done. Drop the mic and go home. Jesus is the way. The implication for the disciples and for us then is to follow Him and worship him to the point that we deny our own lives, carry His cross and worship Him.
If you believe in God then you must believe that God has the ability to allow people into His presence. If is pure then He must require purity in his midst, he can’t have impure people around him unless they have been cleansed. Jesus teaches us that through His blood we have been made clean. See with me in verse eight…
John 14:8-11 (NIV)
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
If God is real and we believe in Him the next question is “How can we possibly know this God.?” Jesus makes that really easy by letting people know that He is God and was sent by God. And then he throws in a caveat by saying “or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.” For us…
The second thing to know about Jesus being the only way to heaven is this:
To know Jesus is to know God Himself. (vv. 8-11)
Jesus makes it abundantly clear here for anyone looking for a path to heaven. The only way to go to heaven is to know God Himself. The only way then to know God is through Jesus because Jesus is God.
The miracles of Jesus were specifically designed to show us that He is God. He demonstrated that truth over and over to the 12 disciples and now for us and those beyond us. All can see that Jesus had the power of God. That is the ability to do the miraculous on earth, the ability to forgive sin (imperfection) and the ability to raise the dead to life. These things must cement in our minds that Jesus is Lord.
Without that we really can’t know God, we can’t enter heaven, we don’t know the way and we can’t know how to live a life with God. Jesus must be God and therefore to know Jesus is to know God Himself.
To his point, Jesus was asking for his disciples then and us now to have faith. We need faith because knowledge isn’t enough. In fact…
Now is the time to ask yourself “Can I possibly learn all that I need to know about God in one lifetime and make a decision to trust Jesus or should I gamble and see what happens?” I say that because to hear all that you’ve heard today and walk away from it questioning (if you already believe in a God) is to gamble with your life. If you’re hear today and you’re not sure there is a God you’re not concerned with Heaven and it really doesn’t matter.
But if you do believe there is a God then I have to ask you to take a hard look at your life and ask yourself why you haven’t taken that step of faith. The Bible which we believe is the word of God teaches us that Jesus wants to know us and He wants us to know God and He wants us to do the things He did so the world would see that Jesus is in fact God. See with me in verse 12…
John 14:12-14 (NIV)
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Jesus desires that we know Him in a personal way so that we can know God in a personal way. The goal always is that our life and our actions would bring glory or fame to the name of Jesus and lift Him up as the supreme being in all of the universe. The challenge for us then is…
The Challenge: Get to know Jesus. (vv. 12-14)