John 14:1-6;
Colossians 1:15-2:23

Despite the best efforts of many people involved in both politics and academia to make this world as ‘politically correct’ as it possibly can be, it must be recognized that in religious circles it is still true that:
1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God’s chosen people.
2. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world.
4. Baptists still do not recognize each other at the Boot Scootin’ Saloon!

Theology professor and author of 40 books on worship, Robert Webber, was traveling on a plane from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He was sitting next to the window, reading a Christian book. The man next to him, obviously from the Eastern hemisphere, asked, “Are you a religious man?”

“Well, yes,” Webber replied, “I am.”

“So am I,” said the Indian and they began talking about religion.

In the middle of the conversation, Webber asked, “Can you give me a one-liner that captures the essence of your faith?”

“Yes,” he said, “We are all part of the problem, and we are all part of the solution.”

Webber asked a few clarifying questions and after thinking for a while, said, “Would you like a one-liner that captures the essence of the Christian faith?”

“Sure,” he responded.

“We are all part of the problem, but there is only one man who is the solution. His name is Jesus.”

In contrast to Webber’s declaration of faith, the percentage of Christians who say they believe that there are many ways to God has been increasing over the last 25 years as our nation has become more and more PC. In today’s cultural environment, the belief that Jesus is the only way, the truth, and the life because He is divine is judged by many as offensive and arrogant. Who wants to be seen by others as offensive and arrogant? So more and more Christians are reticent to speak about what they believe or maybe are even changing what they believe. Indeed, according to a survey of 35,000 Americans conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 83% of Protestants believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. 1

That would not sit well with the Apostle Paul who is not turning over in his grave; he’s probably spinning around! Paul does not pull any punches when it came to his belief about Christ: there is one way, baby; Jesus is as He claimed to be! He is the way and the truth and the life.

Believe it or not, the main reason Paul writes his letter to the Colossians is that a 1st-century version of PC is extending its tentacles into the church there.

He has heard from his colleague Epaphras not only the good news that faith remains strong in Colossae but also that they are being troubled by two groups who are trying to convince the Colossians that faith in Christ is okay … but there is something beyond Jesus.

One group was the Gnostics. We can think of Gnosticism as one of the first politically correct religious views for it melded together Christianity and certain Greek religious philosophies. Gnosticism held that Jesus was not equal with God, but rather a lower form of God; some versions called him an angel. And there were other created entities; Sophia, a female angel of wisdom. According to Gnosticism, we do not need to be saved from sin but rather from ignorance. So the accumulation of knowledge from Jesus and/or Sophia (wisdom) is vital. This is why Paul writes:

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ. (Colossians 2:8, 18)

And the other source of PC comes from Jewish Christians. Paul has had trouble with them before; particularly in the churches of Galatia. They too promote, it is fine to believe in Jesus . . . but in addition one must also submit to Jewish rules and regulations.

So Paul writes:

So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. (Colossians 2:16, 20-22)

In both cases, Paul points out how they are being tempted to stray from the true faith and reminds them Jesus is the real deal and the only One to follow:

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. (Colossians 2:6-7a)

Why Jesus? I glean three reasons from Colossians.

Reason Number 1: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life because Paul writes, Jesus is divine; that is, He no less than God.

In other words, Paul believes what Jesus spoke about Himself

When you have seen Me, you have seen the Father. (John 14:7)

What a bold statement to make . . . Jesus claims to be God. Only one of two things could be true. Either Jesus was an egomaniac, or He was telling the truth. Paul believes He was telling the truth and he attests to that in all his letters, but none more so sublimely than here in Colossians:

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. (1:15)
For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ. (1:19)

Paul goes on to agree with the Apostle John’s assessment of Jesus:

In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God and nothing was created except through Him. (John 1:1-3)

Paul similarly writes in vs. 15b-16a:

He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation; for through Him God created everything.

C.S. Lewis, the brilliant and once-skeptical Cambridge University professor, who after careful examination of the claims of Jesus, became one of the most articulate defenders of the faith writes:

We are faced with a frightening alternative. The man we are talking about was (and is) just what He said or else a lunatic or something worse. Now it seems to me obvious that he was neither a lunatic nor a fiend; and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is the Son of God. God has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form . . . You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.” 2

Again Paul in Colossians 2:9,

For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life because He is divine.

Reason # 2 Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life because He is the only religious figure who deals with humankind’s theological problem: SIN.

One of my Disciple I students asked me this week, “How do we know that the Christian religion is the right one?” And the answer is that only Christianity adequately deals with sin.

The religions of the world teach that we don’t need to worry about sin – as long as we are doing our best at being good, we’ll be okay with God. The Christian faith holds that it isn’t enough to be good . . . we must be blameless; that is, without sin, because as long as sin remains between us and God we’re in trouble. But we can only be blameless by allowing Christ, who was perfectly blameless, to pay the debt we owe for our sinfulness.

Jesus did not say He was the only way because He was arrogant; He said it because of the real and terrible cost of sin. Being ‘good’ isn’t enough to reconcile us to a holy God; we’re all sinners and no amount of good behavior can overcome that reality. There is nothing narrow or limited or arrogant about this path to salvation. God provided this way for us out of love, extending undeserved salvation to absolutely anyone who would accept it, simply because He is a God of love and grace.

You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault” (Colossians 1:21-22).

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

The person who chooses Christ has a peace, confidence and assurance that comes from not having to worry about if and when we’ve done enough, that comes from knowing that when the book of life is opened we won’t be judged for our salvation based upon what we did or did not do in this life, but upon what God has done in Christ Jesus.

Reason # 3 that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life is because Jesus delivered the knock-out punch when He rose from the dead!

Here is where Christianity towers over the religious systems of the world that the one who promised eternal life in His name rose from the dead in order to guarantee it to those who would believe.

Can the same be said about Buddha, Confucius, Herbert W. Armstrong, Mohammed, Lao-tzu, Moses, Joseph Smith or Zoroaster? All their graves are still . . . occupied.

If Jesus tomb is still occupied, the Christian faith is a foolish fantasy. However, if the resurrection of Christ did occur it confirms His life, message, and atoning work and it is the basis of our hope of life beyond the grave.

Josephus, respected Jewish historian of the mid-first century, was not a Christian.

Now there was about this time of the rule of Pontius Pilate, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call Him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.  He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles.  He was the Christ; and when Pilate had condemned him to the cross, those who loved him did not forsake him, for He appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold.” 3

Again Paul to the Colossians:

For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. (2:12)

So, over there in that corner is religion with its system of doing what we can to ensure that in the end we’ll be able to take the final 10 and still remain standing and in the other corner is the God we know through Jesus, the Christ who has already won the fight for us by offering His life as a sacrifice for our sin and rising up from the dead.

The question then becomes, “Whose corner do you want to stand in?” I don’t know about you but I’d rather have Jesus in my corner than anyone else.

Dr. Harry Ironside, pastor of Moody Church from 1929 to 1948 was giving a lecture on the Christian faith when he was handed a note challenging him to an “Agnosticism vs. Christianity” debate by Arthur Lewis, a noted agnostic who was in the auditorium. Dr. Ironside read the card aloud to the audience and then said,

“I accept your challenge, Mr. Lewis, on these conditions: First, that you promise to bring with you one man once a slave to sinful habits, but who heard you deliver a lecture on agnosticism and was led to turn from sin and live a more righteous life ALL because of your unbelief in God! Second, that you agree to bring with you one woman who was once lost to all purity and goodness, but who can now testify that agnosticism came to her rescue while deep in sin and implanted in her poor heart a hatred of impurity and a love of holiness, causing her to become upright and holy, ALL through a disbelief in the bible.

If you will agree, I promise to be there with 100 such men and woman, once just such lost souls, who heard the Gospel of the grace of God, accepted it for themselves and have found new life and joy in Christ and are enjoying the fruit of a relationship with Him. Will you accept my terms?”

Arthur Lewis got up from his chair and left the auditorium in silence. 4


1 Fox News, June 24, 2008, Contributed By: Seth Dillon | Date Posted: 2011-02-07

2 Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. [ ]. Page

3 Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. Book 18, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.

4 Sargent, David, A.