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THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, November 15, 2015

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).


When we read the 13th and 14th chapters of John we see how blind the Disciples were. They had been with Jesus for three years and they were still blind. They had healed the sick and cast out demons and they were still blind. It amazes me that people can read the four Gospels and not see this! Jesus had told them over and over that He was going to be crucified, that He was going to die, that He was going to rise from the dead.

“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:31-34; see also Matthew 12:38-42; 16:21-23; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34).

His Disciples did not understand that basic truth. “Neither knew they the things which were spoken.” They did not understand the Gospel! Here we find Jesus with the Disciples having the Last Supper. He is going to be crucified the very next day. Yet His Disciples are blind concerning the most simple truths of the Gospel!

Jesus is washing their feet after Supper. Peter says to Him, “Thou shalt never wash my feet.” Jesus says, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” Peter says, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head” (John 13:8, 9). They didn’t understand the need for humility (13:14-17). Then Judas goes out from the other Disciples to betray Jesus (13:30). Then Peter says, “Lord, whither goest thou?” (John 13:36). Jesus told Peter he couldn’t follow Him now, but he would later (John 13:36). Peter had no idea that Jesus was talking about ascending back to Heaven. Peter blurts out, “I will lay down my life for thy sake” (John 13:37). Jesus said, “The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice” (John 13:38). Then Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). They had no idea that He was talking about going back to Heaven. Thomas blurts out, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). As I said, the Disciples of Jesus were utterly blind concerning these very simple truths. The Scofield note on John 3:3 explains their blindness,

The necessity of the new birth grows out of the incapacity of the natural man to “see” or “enter into” the kingdom of God. However gifted, moral, or refined, the natural man is absolutely blind to spiritual truth, and impotent to enter the kingdom; for he can neither obey, understand, nor please God.

I completely agree with that statement. The unconverted man is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). As the Scofield note said, “the natural man is absolutely blind to spiritual truth.” And this was still the condition of the Disciples the night before Jesus was crucified. They had followed Him for three years, but they were still dead men spiritually! For

“the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14).

The Disciples remained spiritually dead, in an unconverted state, until Jesus rose from the dead and came to them on Easter Sunday night! Someone says, “Where does it say that?” How blind we are to conversion in these days of apostasy! It says that at the end of all four Gospels! (See John 20:19-22; Luke 24:36-45; etc.). It shocks me that many preachers in the last days don’t know such a simple thing! No wonder they don’t preach the Gospel anymore! I hardly ever hear pastors who preach the Gospel now! We used to hear them. But we don’t hear them now, at least not in America! It seems to me that many preachers are as blind as the Disciple Thomas, who said, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Thomas was just like the rest had been. He was an unbeliever, an unsaved man, a lost man. And it was this lost man, Thomas, who asked Jesus, “Lord, we know not [where you are going] and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5).

Jesus is not angry with Thomas and the other Disciples. Thomas asked about Heaven and how to get there. Jesus answers him by saying,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

I am adapting the rest of this from Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843), the great Scottish preacher who saw God send revival to his church, before he died at the age of only 29. Robert McCheyne said, “Regarding [John 14:6] as a complete description of gospel salvation, let us go over the different parts of it.”

I. First, Christ is the way to God.

Jesus Himself is the way to Heaven. The article is an adjective, “I am the way.” Not only does Jesus show us the way to God – He is the way to God. There is no other way! Only Jesus can bring you to God!

When I was twelve years old my mother drove us from Phoenix, Arizona to Toronto, Canada. When we got to the Chicago area she asked a policeman which highway to take. He told her to throw a U-turn. He said that was the way. We drove along for an hour or so, but I began to notice things, along the roadside, that I had seen before. I said, “Mother, I think we are going back the way we came.” She pulled off the highway and a taxicab was parked there. Mother said, “We are going east of Chicago to Toronto. Are we on the right road?” The taxi driver had a cigarette hanging from the side of his mouth. He said, “Lady, youse is all fouled up! Youse got to go that way!” He pointed to where we had already been. So we turned around and went back, the same way we had come in the first place! The policeman had given us the wrong directions! We are all going on the wrong road until Jesus comes to us. In the ancient world it was said, “All roads lead to Rome.” In today’s world we could say, “All roads lead to Hell.” Jesus alone is “the way” to God!

Robert McCheyne said, “Jesus pitied the poor sons of Adam vainly struggling to find a way to the paradise of God, and He left paradise and came down to open the way to the Father in Heaven. How did He do it?...He became a man in our place. He bore our sins on the cross. Now the guiltiest sinners may enter in through His bleeding body, and find the paradise of God, and live forever. Come quickly to Jesus, doubt not; for He says, ‘I am the way.’”

It is not by saying the “sinner’s prayer” that you come to the Father. It is not by living a better life. It is not by giving up a few sins. It is not even by believing things about Jesus.

Robert McCheyne said, “And now, my friends, is this your way of coming to the Father? Christ says, ‘I am the way…no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ Then, if you keep trying to come your own way – whether it be the way of self-reformation, or by hopes that God will not be strict – if you will not be warned, you will find in the judgment day that you will fall into the fires of Hell.”

You must come to the Father by coming to Christ. There is no other way to be saved, for there is only “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5).

II. Second, Christ is the truth.

“It cannot be said that an unconverted man knows the truth. No doubt there are many truths which an unconverted man does know. He may know the truths of mathematics – he may know many common truths; but still it cannot be said that an unconverted man knows the truth, for Christ is the truth” – said Robert Murray McCheyne.

I had two uncles who were both great readers. Back in World War II, before television, many people read a lot. It was very common for people to read books back then. But these two uncles read more than others, even when it was more common to read books than it is now.

One of these uncles was named Porter – Robert Porter Elliott. But everyone called him by his middle name, Porter. Uncle Porter always had a book in his hands. He had been in the Army, but now he was a mechanic, working in a brake shop in Santa Monica. He was always reading. At lunch time, after work, even while he watched TV, he was reading a book. He would look up at the TV and then look down at the book he was reading. He read murder mysteries, Agatha Christie, that sort of thing. But his favorite books were about science and science fiction. He literally had hundreds of books on science and science fiction. He knew a lot about real science, and even more about science fiction. He was a great believer in Darwinian evolution. He could talk about it by the hour.

I was very surprised one Sunday morning to see him coming into our church. He sat very quietly at the back of the room and listened to me preach. Afterwards I thanked him for coming. He said that my sermon was very interesting. After that he came every Sunday. Finally, after several weeks, I spoke to him about becoming a Christian. He listened very carefully, and I was able to lead him to trust Jesus. I could hardly believe it! He had always been such a cold, intellectual man that I was afraid to speak to him as a child. He looked something like Humphrey Bogart wearing thick reading glasses. But after he was converted he smiled and talked to our young people like a completely different person. Then he began asking me for Christian books. I gave him a book against evolution, a big, thick book. He devoured it. The next Sunday he asked me for more books. I loaded him down with about forty or fifty books. He read them all, and even read some of them two or three times. He never read another murder mystery or science fiction book again. I baptized him and he became a faithful member of our church. Mrs. Sally Cook remembers Uncle Porter very well. Then he died suddenly from a heart attack.

What had happened to Robert Porter Elliott? Why did he turn away from science fiction and evolution? It was simple – he had found the Lord Jesus Christ! He didn’t need fiction anymore. He had found the truth – Jesus, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Uncle Porter will be one of the first people I look for when I get to Heaven! He was saved by Jesus, who is the key to all truth!

The other uncle was my mother’s older brother, Lloyd V. Flowers, Jr.. He had been in the U.S. Navy in World War II. Like Porter, Uncle Lloyd was a great reader. He was particularly interested in books on metaphysics and Eastern religion. He always had a book like that with him wherever he went. He was a landscape gardener, but he always had a book about the pyramids or ancient hieroglyphics, or Oriental religion with him. He was my friend, and I listened to him talk about pyramids and Eastern religion by the hour. Although I tried to get him to read the Bible, he never showed any interest at all. He, too, died from a sudden heart attack. But unlike Porter, Uncle Lloyd died without Christ. He often told me that he was searching for the truth. But he never found it. He never found Jesus, who is the embodiment of all truth! Sadly, when I get to Heaven I will not look for Uncle Lloyd – because I know he won’t be there, for Jesus said, “I am… the truth…no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Uncle Lloyd is in Hell.

Which one of my uncles is like you? Are you like Porter, who found the truth in Jesus? Or are you like Lloyd, who never found the Saviour?

III. Third, Christ is the life.

Robert McCheyne said, “Both Scripture and experience alike testify that we are by nature dead in trespasses and sins…True, those who are dead in sins do not know they are dead. Yet if the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sinful, dead nature, you will know it…If you have ever tried to keep all the commandments of God, if you have ever tried not to think sinful thoughts, if you have ever tried to keep your heart from covetousness and sin – if you have ever tried this, didn’t you find it impossible? It was like trying to raise the dead! Oh, how plain it is that you are dead – not born again! You must be born again. You must be joined to Christ, for Christ is the life.”

Is your soul like a shriveled branch – dry, fruitless and dead? Come to Jesus! Trust Him. Be washed clean by His Blood. Be made alive by His resurrection. Then you will find that you have life in Christ! You will be able to say with the Apostle Paul, “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV). Jesus said,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

How could He say that? Because it is true. Christ is the only begotten Son of God. He is the only one who could die to pay the penalty for our sins on the Cross. He is the only one who rose physically from the dead. Therefore “no man cometh unto the Father but by [Him].” I pray that you will trust Jesus this morning and be washed clean from all sin by His precious Blood!

“Man of Sorrows,” what a name
   For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
   Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
   In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
   Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
(“Hallelujah, What a Saviour!” by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer.

If this sermon blessed you Dr. Hymers would like to hear from you. WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: John 14:1-6.
Solo Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“For All My Sin” (by Norman Clayton, 1943).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

(Luke 18:31-34; John 13:8, 9, 14-17, 30, 36, 37, 38;
John 14:2, 5; Ephesians 2:1; I Corinthians 2:14;
John 20:19-22; Luke 24:36-45; John 20:25; 14:5)

I.   First, Christ is the way to God, John 14:6a; I Timothy 2:5.

II.  Second, Christ is the truth, John 14:6b.

III. Third, Christ is the life, John 14:6c; Galatians 2:20.