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Sunday, April 17, 2016
Sermon Notes - Third Sunday after Easter - The Way, the Truth, and the Life - St Andrew’s Anglican Orthodox Church - 17 April 2016, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. (John 14:1-14)
There are two stellar and remarkable truths mentioned by our Lord Jesus in this text today - I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and, No man cometh unto the Father but by Me. These two profound statements come in a single verse - John 14:6.
The occasion is the moment that Jesus is preparing to bid farewell to His disciples ere His Passion. 1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Our Lord says that He is going so that He might prepare a place for us. What does this mean? Old Jewish wedding tradition requires a prospective groom to meet with the family of the bride which his father has found through much searching and enquiry. The two meet with the two families. There will be a cup of wine on the table between them. After much conversation, if the boy desires to be wed to the young woman, he will reach for the cup of wine and drink from it. If the young lady is in agreement to the marriage betrothal, she, too, will then drink from that SAME CUP as we do in Holy Communion. (since the Church is betrothed to Christ)
The Church is the betrothed Bride of Christ. We drink from the same cup of sacrifice from which He drank. That seals the betrothal. The bridegroom will then depart with his family to their home where he, under the supervision of his father, prepares a place for the bride. After perhaps a year or more of labor, the father will declare the living quarters suitable for the bride. The son then goes, in the company of his groomsmen, to the young ladies house (without prior notice) to take his bride. One of the groomsmen will either make a loud shout that the Bridegroom cometh! or else sound a trumpet near the girls house. She must be always ready to be taken - just like the Church. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (1 Thess. 4:16) (see also 1 Cor. 15:52)
In spite of His steady and repeated teachings of who He was, the disciples seemed to have been asleep to all learning for the past three years. (John 14:5, 7-9) We are all that way. However, though we may not be aware, we are still learning. As we see God's plan coming together, the Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance those things which God has spoken in His Word which we did not believe we retained so well.
Jesus responds to the questions of Thomas concerning the way of Christ' going, and to Philip's request to be shown the Father, by pointing out that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The fullness of the Godhead is fully comprehended in Christ! Let us examine those three points Jesus expounded:
I. I AM THE WAY
The way of our Lord is not a broad field open to every creature and beast. He is a DOOR to an enclosed fold that is protected and into which not all can come unless they know Christ as Lord and Savior. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (John 10:9) His way is not the gloomy and winding marshlands of the sinner, but a HIGH Way, and a STRAIGHT Way. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matt 7:14) Most prefer the broad highway lit with the false lights of the world. It is a declining way and easy to travel. Its end is destruction. But the Way of Christ if Narrow. That does not pose a problem since few travel that Way.
All who know Christ, know the Father, because the Son and the Father are One with the Holy Ghost. But the comparison does not end there. If we are One with Christ, we , too, will be One with the Father and with the Holy Ghost. Those who know the true followers of Christ will be led to know Christ and His Father through our lives. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18) Being One with Christ, have we, too, declared Him.
We are now privileged to enter the Holiest place face-to-face with the Father by our High Priest which is Christ. We are sprinkled by the blood of the sacrificial altar which gained our entrance into that Holy Tabernacle. And the Laver of God's Word, standing just before the Holy Place, is our place of washing in coming before the Almighty. 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb 10:19-22)
Christ has become our High Priest and Advocate before the Father - not St. Peter or Paul; not some Roman pontiff or tin-horned magistrate; not the beloved Mary; but Christ ALONE! No priest can intercede for us - it has always been the privilege of the High Priest which is Christ. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Tim 2:5) And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1)
Christ alone is the only One who could provide the Way to the Father - not Buddha, not Mohammad, not Ishtar - but only Christ. But not only is He the Way to the Father, but He is also -
II. THE TRUTH:
Truth is not subject to debate. Can you imagine a panel of learned scholars gathered for the purpose to question whether or not the earth is flat? But the Truth of God shines a s bright and blinding Sun in the Heavens which no man can deny. When he asked, What is Truth? Pontius Pilate had not thought through the question. (John 18:38) Truth is absolute! Our knowledge of what truth is may change, but never the truth itself.
What are the benefits of truth? Truth is a liberator from the darkness of ignorance and blind chance. 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32) The Light of the sun reveals the true and safe path we travel. Abject darkness leads to ruin. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)
The Truth of Christ is the only means by which we may be washed clean of our sins and given a life of joy and liberty. He is the LIFE:
III. THE LIFE
Christ is our Good Shepherd. He has proved this by laying down His life for the sheep. (John 10:10-11) His peace exceeds all that the world can offer. (John 14:27; 16:33) His love for us surpasses all knowledge. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Eph 3:19) The joy of His love is beyond expressing: These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. (John 15:11)
An Abundant Life in Christ is a super-natural life. No creature that God has made is capable of being 'born again' except man! Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . . Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:3,5-6) It is a fact that we must first be born into this world to have the privilege to be born into Heaven. This comprehends the tiny fetus conceived in the womb and murdered before it can know sin, or see the light of day. This spiritual re-birth opens the flood-gates of Living Waters to our parched souls: If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:37-38)
We can only know the Way, the Truth, and the Life by knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, for His is truly the Way, the Truth, and the Life. NO ONE comes to the Father but by Him - notwithstanding the heresies of the Roman cult. Knowing the truth sets us free from the nagging guilt of sin. The blessings of the abundant Life in Christ is one which lasts forever.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life is of no benefit unless His Way, His Truth, and His Life becomes your own through the benefits of the Cross that He suffered.
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:15-16)