Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons

One Way

One Way

For many people in the world the idea that there is just one way to God, heaven, salvation and eternal life seems so unfair. This reaction could not be more misplaced. Think about it. If I were really in danger, perhaps lost in the woods for days without food or water, or trapped on a mountain-top in a snow cave, or out in the deep, raging ocean in a disabled sailing vessel — what are the chances I'd be complaining about a very effective, yet single means of rescue? I would be beyond grateful for first plane, boat, or search and rescue person that I encountered.  In like manner, if a loved one was dying of cancer I would not complain or be offended if the doctors said, “Chance of recovery is certain, but know that it is only so by one operation”. I would be inexpressibly appreciative that such a single procedure was available and would quickly opt for it. How much more appropriate this response when it is the eternal part of me that is being rescued?

What Scripture Says

It is clear, there is only one way to God and it is through Jesus Christ; even Jesus Himself taught this:

  • “You will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Note that Jesus does not mention any other option.
  • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
  • “And there is salvation is no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
  • “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
  • “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
  • “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:12).

The Perspective

Typically I have found that the people who complain about such verses do not see themselves as lost. For someone who is lost and knows it, like a dying or desperate man does not complain about the only cure or only means of deliverance that is available. 

Do We Deserve Heaven?

We live in a day and age when people feel they deserve or are entitled to many surprising things. Some feel they deserve a free college education, a nice home with working for it, or a high paying job when they graduate or being rapidly promoted to Vice President of a company within just a few years of being hired. In the same sense I believe that we have a generation of people who feel “entitled” to heaven, it is their “right” to go there, to select their own terms of entrance and to opt for whatever religion, or "path" they want. For years among the denominations we heard the familiar slogan, “Attend the church of your choice” as if every religious group, regardless of how much or little they listen to the Shepherd, or false teachers, they are all of equal value.

The Accurate Perspective

Having been a non-Christian, I know how non-Christians often find some comfort in being hard-working, a good person, as good as the next person, sincere, having some good motives, or perhaps being a good parent. Yet, even when we encounter such rare people in the Bible, for example Cornelius (Acts 10:2-4), they still needed to become a Christian to be saved (Acts 11:14). Yet often when God describes our lives prior to obeying the gospel, such lives are not stated in glowing terms, rather descriptive phrases are used such as, “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:1), “having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). 

Thinking Things Through

There is certainly great appeal in the belief that everyone is just allowed to pick their own road to heaven and end up there on their terms. The trouble is, heaven is not heaven if it is filled with selfish, unchanged sinners. To say that only “sincere/ religious” people will go to heaven is just as illogical, for history is filled with examples of extremely religious people who were very sincere, truly believing in what they were doing, yet because of misplaced convictions, have put to death many innocent people.


To argue that “I deserve” or am “entitled to heaven” demands that I must at the same time be either completely blind to my own sins, or blissfully ignorant of the real evil or selfishness and harm involved in such acts and attitudes. I believe this is where many people fool themselves, for it is easy to downplay the seriousness and destructive nature of our own anger, lusts, laziness, cowardice and so on. 

People in Other Cultures

Some argue that it is unfair for Jesus to be the only way, especially for cultures where religions other than Christianity are predominant, such as nations dominated by Hinduism or the Muslim faith. Yet is it really unfair?

  • God Himself has spoken specifically on this point: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
  • As someone has noted there has always been “enough light” for any human being on the planet to see that there is a God and to start searching for Him (Psalm 19:1-2). People end up lost, not because there is no light, but because they ignore, rebel against (Romans 1:18-19) or discount the light that is offered to them.
  • People who live in both our country and in other parts of the world can see the proofs for the existence of the true. In fact, people in India, Iran or Africa actually had the opportunity to hear the gospel centuries before the inhabitants of North America.
  • People in such nations are not ignorant of Jesus, Christianity or the Bible. The Koran itself even speaks of Jesus!
  • In a similar fashion, people in our country who happen to be surrounded by very secular or worldly friends still have access to the light.  I might be in a college classroom with a very atheistic professor, but often such an environment will have discussions about Evolution verses Creation or even about God’s existence.
  • Having been in the world and around some very worldly people, I know that the topics of God, Jesus, His Second Coming, the Bible, and Heaven and Hell do come up quite often.

“You Believe that Only Those Who Trust & Obey God will be Saved”

Actually, on a certain level just about everyone believes this. Because if I say it doesn’t matter what one believes as long as they are sincere, then am I arguing that only the sincere will be saved, thus I am excluding those outside the bunch I am in — that is, the insincere. 

“Well What About…”

It is so easy to spend so much of our lives speculating about this “what if” or that "what if”. I like how Jesus answered such things: Jesus’ solution is not to sit down and worry, fret or complain about what might or might not happen to others. When Peter said to him, “Lord, and what about this man?” (John 21:21), Jesus responded, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me” (21:22). In like manner, God’s solution for the lost world is not to worry, fret or speculate about their eternal destiny, but rather to “go tell” (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 1:8). So if we really are concerned about the lost or people in other nations hearing the gospel, then let’s be busy in getting the message out. Share God on your Facebook, support an overseas preacher, send Bibles to countries you care about, host foreign students. There are so many creative ways to encourage hearts to seek Him!

Mark Dunagan |
Beaverton Church of Christ | 503-644-9017