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I AM: Way, Truth, & Life

John 13:36-14:6 CSB | Trey VanCamp | April 16, 2023

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Where we once found hope and meaning outside of ourselves in the church, the city, or the market, today we’re left to create our own hope and meaning from within ourselves. We follow our hearts and feelings, no matter the cost to ourselves and those around us.

But where society says choice is now the highest value, tolerance the highest virtue, and denying yourself is the new unforgivable sin, how should Christians respond? What hope does Jesus offer?

In John 14, Jesus makes another countercultural claim about himself: that he alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Each of these statements is a direct counter to the values and virtues of today. Only in Jesus do we have access to God. Only in Jesus do we experience true reality. And only in Jesus can we have life and life to the full. To respond to the way of the world and live in a way congruent with these claims of Jesus, we practice self-denial.


You can take interactive notes here. At the end of the message, you can email the notes to yourself.


I’m gonna read our scripture from John chapter 14 as verses one through six.

It says, don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me, in my father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself so that where I am, you may also be Also, you know, the way to where I am going.

Lord Thomas said, we don’t know where you’re going. How can we know the way Jesus told him, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. Amen. You guys can open there to John Chapter 14. The religious man is born to be saved, but the psychological man is born to be pleased.

This was said by Philip Re and he’s the late professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, and he wrote that prophetic line in a book in the 1960s, which was called The Triumph of the Therapeutic. It’s a pretty fascinating read. Don’t read it. Read your Bible instead. However, it is helpful to kind of understand where he has noticed this shift of values and virtues over time.

And so he dives back into history and he shows really what people thought about how it influenced all of their life. And so he first points out there was the political man and. The political man and woman. This was the days of Aristotle, so this was back in the day, even before Jesus’s time in this type of society.

Back then, your hope and joy was always tied with the city. You were all about building a civilization. How were you contributing to the welfare of your city? And of course you still see that very much today, but this was the predominant way people found purpose and meaning in life. He then shifts and says, then the next kind of era was the religious man and woman, and this was at its peak, certainly within like the medieval times.

And in this era, your hope and joy was tied with the church. And so the church back then had like so much power, right? It was like they would guilt trip people into doing things or into not doing things, and you really felt like, oh no, the priest is here. What do we do? Right? Everything was about the church.

It was even said that in that time, Uh, people only took communion once a year. Not because they didn’t really appreciate it. In fact, they were so terrified that there would be a possibility they would partake in communion with sin in their heart, and they were worried about the repercussions. There’s a lot of good and bad in that, but there was an era where religion was the purpose for most, the majority of people.

Then the industrial revolution, Phillip re points out, you have the economic man and woman, and in this era, because of the industrial revolution, your whole life is now thought in. Was I productive today? Well, how many hours did I work today? Right? How efficient is my business? These are types of words and, and ideas that you and I have.

To be honest, Sabbath is so difficult because we think in these industrial terms, cuz your hope and joy is tied to the marketplace. It’s tied to the. And, and so it has really influenced the way that we just count as a day was successful or not successful in those sorts of things. But now he says in the sixties and on, and I think he was really prophetic, there was a new way to view life, a new value, a new hope, and a new joy.

And he coined it. The psychological man. The psychological man, and women again, is most predominant. I think now. And here, your hope and joy is tied to not the city, not the church, not even the marketplace. It’s to your body’s chemistry. It’s to your mind how you are feeling in that moment. And even as Christians, I think this is something you and I struggle with on a daily basis, and he points out, and I would agree, of all of the shifts, the psychological is the most volatile.

Today we are at the mercy of feelings and our feelings. Are merciless. Have you felt that? Yeah. Like out of nowhere, your heart can discu decide that they’re just disgusted with something out of nowhere. Your mind can say, you know what? I don’t like this body and how it is. And you now feel an obligation to meet its demands and to mutilate it.

Not only that, what about your job? It’s a terrifying place to be in. Especially as I talk to more and more younger people, we feel like our career needs to be so satisfying, but then our mind says that we’re worthless and now we just quit our career. Or even more sad what I’ve seen in recent days and it breaks my heart.

I hope you hear none of this is out of a spirit of judgment. It’s actually to say, man, I struggle with this too, but not this one in particular um, but some of us, our mind says our spouses are no longer good enough for us. Us and what we kind of believe in this era of the psychological is if our mind thinks it, we believe it.

And so then we go, I guess I’m done with my spouse because I have this feeling and I need to be authentic to myself. And it doesn’t help that society applauds us when we do these things, when we meet our feelings, demands, our society says, good for you. You’re pursuing your most authentic self. And again, before we point the finger at the world, we are also guilty of living life with this point of view.

That line, the religious man is born to be saved, but the psychological man is born to be pleased. Most of us, even this morning, I think we came to God right here in this moment, saying, okay, God, you need to please me. But it’s a totally different disposition. If we say, no, God, I need you to save me. It’s even in the way that we, uh, invited people to Easter.

Easter was incredible last week. Thank you for everybody who made it just the way it was. Even in us creating an ad, I was trying to think of all the ways that, hey, come to this church cuz we’ll please you with X, Y, and Z. And I thought, no like this. Come here because this is the family of God. And certainly there’s things that’s pleasing, but we’re here to be saved and for our souls to be sanctified.

All that to say the era of the psychological has created for us a new set of values and virtues that make the Christian life and certainly today’s passage nearly impossible to accept, let alone to obey. If you haven’t yet opened your Bibles to John chapter 14. This is growing up, it was one of my favorite scriptures of all time, but now I feel the weight of the room, the weight of our society, cuz it’s something we don’t like to hear at all.

Here’s one way to summarize our cultural moment. It’s on the screen. Choice is now the highest value tolerance, the highest virtue. And denying yourself is the new unforgivable sin choice. Ultimately, we believe, especially in America, no one should have the power to tell us what to do. In fact, we believe in choice so much that we should bypass consequences on the name of freedom.

What about tolerance? We’re gonna dive into this, uh, in a bit and, and I believe when it’s defined properly, I think tolerance is a wonderful thing. But the new version of tolerance today is to have absolutes on not having absolutes. If you don’t get that, we’re gonna dive into that a little bit and also denying yourself as the new unforgivable sin, meaning authenticity to inner fillings is more important than adherence to transcendent truths.

And today we’re gonna be reading transcendent truths, and Jesus is going to be in direct opposition to our highest value being choice, to our highest virtue being tolerance, and to our biggest unforgivable sin, which is deny yourself. Welcome to church, everyone. It’s going to be a good day, I promise. No laughs this time.

I need to stop using that. You used to be welcome to church. Everyone’s like, oh good. This was an intense intro. Now, John 14, the context for today’s passage is Jesus is having the last Supper with his disciples, right? So they just experienced Jesus washing his feet. And John 13, they just heard, Jesus calls him out and says, one of you will betray me.

And so they’re all saying, which one is it? Is it me? Is it going to be me? And now the disciples are sad and they’re really anxious because at the end of chapter 13, Jesus tells them, I’m going away and where I’m going, you can’t come with me yet. And John 14 through 17 is one of the best, I think like passages of scripture.

It’s called the Farewell Discourse. If you think about it, it’s Jesus’ last words before getting crucified on the cross for our sins. But we have to remember, as we’re about to read, John 14, the tone here is that of love and compass. Jesus is with his crew that he’s been with for three years. He loves them dearly and so he is giving them these important truths for them to hold onto, and the disciples are doing exactly that.

They’re hanging on to every word because he’s about to leave. Look at actually John 1336. We’re gonna start there and we’re gonna go all the way to 14 six. Again, it says, Lord Simon. Peter said to him, where are you going? Jesus answered where I am going. You cannot follow me now, but you will follow later.

Lord Peter asked, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you. Jesus replied, will you lay down your life for me? Truly, I tell you, a rooster will not crow until you have denied me three times. I love this passage cuz Jesus is saying, when we rely on our flesh, we’re gonna let Jesus down. But when we rely on the grace of God, that’s how we’re sustained.

It’s not about us. In other words, it’s about God in us. But look at verse one. Don’t let your heart be trouble. So this is Jesus filling the anxiety of the room. Believe in God, believe also in me, in my father’s house or many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you.

If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself so that where I am you may be also, you know the way to where I am going. But Thomas says, Lord, we don’t know where you’re going. How can we know the way? And Jesus told him, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Father God. We just ask that as we read this passage. Give us clarity. Give us ears to hear, give us eyes to see. Give us hearts to love God. We come to you with our struggles. We come to you with our presuppositions. God, we come to you in an era of the psychological. Where we toil, where we fear our thoughts, and I pray that you give us some freedom today.

In Jesus’ name I pray, everybody says amen. Amen. Let’s take this I Am statement. We’ve been looking at the book of John. He’s given us, it’s gonna be overall seven different I am statements. It’s based off of Moses saying, I am right. I am who I am. God said that to Moses and Exodus, and now in the gospel of John, Jesus is drawing that out.

He’s saying, okay, I am also. I am God and here’s how I’m God. So the first week we looked at bread of Life, which means that he satisfies us. We looked at the next week that he’s the light of the world, which means he rescues us from wickedness and darkness and ignorance. Pastor Caleb talked about how he’s the gate, which means he offers protection to all who believe.

Jay Stoval, church planter from LA talked about how he’s a good shepherd, which means he’s gotta lay down his life for us. And then last week we celebrated the resurrection, looking at Lazarus and saying, death is defeated and resurrection is not only Christ, but because Christ’s resurrection. It is now ours for those who believe.

But now it’s this next phrase, which is way, truth and life. And so it’s pretty interesting because it’s one statement, but it’s kind of threefold. So really there’s three different lessons packed within this, this simple statement. So first, write this down. Jesus is the only way we especially know this because at the end he says, no one comes to the Father except through me.

So this is very exclusive. Now this word way means hot offs, which is both a path to life. So it’s like, hey, there’s many different paths you can take and understanding how to live all these principles. So Jesus himself is saying, I am the path. Um, but not only that, like I’m the manner of living. So, so take my road that I’ve provided.

And as you’re on that road, there’s certain things you do and certain things you don’t do. Right, and, and so it’s important for us to know when he says he is the way, it means he’s the only way to God. There’s no, it’s not like it’s a mountain and there’s different ways to get there. He alone is the way.

But notice here, Jesus being very exclusive, but here’s his invitation. I am the only way to what the context here is that he’s the only way to the father, the father’s home and the father’s heart. So this is a beautiful invitation. It’s the ache of every human. We want to be in the father’s house. We want to be, have a place to belong.

We want the father’s heart. We want to be loved. And Jesus is saying all of that is yours, but it comes through me. Eugene Peterson, I think he’s the one who says, Jesus is the only way you and I come to God. And Jesus is the only way God comes to us. Jesus is the way. Now I feel it in the room. Write this down.

Jesus’s claim of exclusivity. Rubs against our highest value of choice to live and breathe in this world today. Choice is our favorite thing. And so Jesus seems to be claiming every other way. He’s being offensive. Every other religion, every other, being a good person, all those things lead to death. It doesn’t lead to a home.

It leads to isolation. It leads to depravity. Again, I wanna use that illustration of a mountain. A lot of people, when I share the gospel, I think even my neighbor recently told me this, he’s like, Hey, every religion’s the same. As long as we’re good. And it sounds beautiful, but it’s not true. Again, imagine this illustration of a mountain and most people say the top is heaven or your vision of whatever that looks like.

And there is the Buddhist way to get there. There’s the Islam way to get there, the Mormon way to get there, the Christian, all of these different ways. And the point is, if you’re persevere, you do good. We’re all gonna wind up on top. Now that’s not true. And even these religions, all of these world religions, and I’m gonna show you a few, they don’t claim, they also claim exclusivity.

It’s not the cri, just the Christian way that says, this is the only way. Let me give you a few examples from the Islam faith. For example, we’re gonna read from the Koran this morning. Was that in your bingo card today? All right, so, uh, this is a quote from the Koran talking about how Islam is the only way quote.

It says No religion other than Islam, which is submission to the will of God, will be accepted from anyone. Whoever follows a religion other than Islam will be lost on the day of judgment. So right there, all religions are the same. Islam doesn’t think so. Christianity doesn’t think so. Okay, so it’s, it’s actually offensive.

Just say all religions are the same, cuz all the religions will go, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Ours is the only way. Let me show you another one. Hinduism. I have a lot of, uh, good friends who are Hindu in the, in, in Malaysia, a and here, uh, I is what they say. Those who are without faith in my teaching cannot attain Krishna, which is, I put in parentheses enlightenment.

That’s kind of their version of heaven, which is actually dramatically different than you and i’s version of heaven. According to the scriptures, it says, I permeate all the universe in my unmanifest form. All beings exist within me. If you do not accept this view, you will never achieve Hindu salvation.

What does that mean? Hindu faith also claims exclusivity for some reason. Jesus seems to be the only person that we get mad at and say, you’re claiming exclusivity. A lot of them do. Most of them do. Buddhism. This is my last example. It says this in their, in their writings, this is the only path. There is no other, for the purification of insight, walking upon this path, you will make an end of suffering.

What does only mean? Only? And so I would say it’s actually disrespectful to billions of people when we claim that all religions are the same. Put it this way, to say all religions are right, is to imply they’re all wrong. But here’s the good news. We only need one way. And that’s good enough for me. I don’t need options.

I just need one that’s gonna work. And we believe the way of Jesus is, I remember, um, we’re actually planning an Israel trip and so we’re gonna start asking some interests. We’re gonna go at the very end of December into beginning of January, and I went seven years ago. I actually flew there all alone.

And, uh, I’m a man, so it didn’t terrify me. No, I was scared. Uh, especially when I went to the Paris Airport. They did not like me because my name was William. It was, it still is. Uh, William Trey Lamar, VanCamp iii. I was traveling to Israel. My only other country I had visited on my passport is Malaysia. And apparently there’s just some stuff between Malaysia and Israel.

So they did not like me at all. They’re like, you have 18 names. You don’t make sense. Let’s take you to security. Well, the problem was they took me in security forever. Like it took forever. And this was in Paris, again, in the Paris Airport. And I could not understand all of the, like, there was not as much English as I thought.

So I, I knew I had like 10 minutes to find my, my, you know, the, the next plane to get to Israel and no one was helping me. I think the two would testify to that, right? His Paris. So they were not helpful. I remember being terrified. Now, in the way that we explain salvation today, the answer to me going home or going to Israel is just, you know what I believe.

The E five is the right way. So I’m gonna go on to plain E five. The gay E five. I just know it within the depths of my soul that it’s gonna get me there. So I’m just gonna walk on. That’s a problem. If it’s D six is the one going to Israel, E five, I’m now in Taiwan. What am I doing here? Right? And so we have to look at it that way.

It sounds so sentimental. Oh, it’s so nice. Just if you believe it, it’s gonna happen. No, I had to go to D six and so this is really helpful here. I wasn’t mad that there weren’t more options to get to Israel. I was just glad I found the gate and that should be our disposition with Christ. Thank the Lord.

There is a way, the only way, and here’s what’s so great, the grace of Jesus is what makes Christianity so compelling, cuz write this down. Christianity is the most inclusive of all exclusive religions. Let me prove it to you. The way to God is not a specific race, which some religions believe. It’s not a specific race that you belong to or even into.

Uh, some people say you need to be born into a caste system, so it’s not even just the same race. You need to be born into a rich family, which shows that you have been good in previous lives. The way is not a set of rules which other religions say. It’s not a to-do list. It’s not even like a 12 step program that you have to perfectly follow and then you’ll go to God.

That’s, that’s pretty exclusive. That that means you have to be real good. No, it’s not. The good verse the bad. It’s not the rich verse the poor. It’s not one race verse another what’s on offer. Jesus says, anybody who’s humble enough to receive my invitation, it’s all yours. You just have humble yourself.

You just have to say, I can’t get to God, but Jesus, you did in my place and I receive it. That’s salvation. Beautiful. Every other religion, there are hoops to go through. There are things you have to prove. In Christ. It’s Christ alone. It’s the most inclusive of all exclusive options. The humbler in and the prouder out.

Let’s keep going. So he says, I am the only way to God and next Jesus is the ultimate truth. This word here, uh, that, that Jesus is using is alaia, which means it’s defining reality. I don’t love that definition. It’s not just truth. It’s reality. So you, you don’t have to believe in gravity, but if you jump off this building today, reality is gonna hit you.

And it’s called concrete, right? It’s just reality. And Jesus is saying, I’m the ultimate reality. I have authority over all truth. But what does this do to us? Again, write this down. Jesus’ claim of ultimate truth contradicts our highest virtue of tolerance. Now let’s start talking about tolerance. Now, tolerance is a beautiful thing.

If it’s defined properly. The last thing I want you to think is, I’m not tolerant. We are very tolerant. However, here’s today’s version of tolerance, quote, welcoming everyone who doesn’t believe in absolutes, which is of course an absolute. I’m gonna say that again. When we say tolerance, we’re saying, I will accept you as long as you don’t have absolutes.

Christian faith has absolutes. Truth is truth. Evil is evil. Love is is There’s a definition to love. He’s the only way. These are all absolutes, but we say, I will absolutely not accept anybody who has absolutes. That’s an Abso. It’s crazy, right? Tim Keller for the win, he puts it this way for you. Star War nerds, Caleb.

He says, Obi one says, only the sif deal in absolutes. Since that is an absolute, does that mean that he has churned to the dark side?

Is Obi one on the dark side? Right? Then he goes on to say, Tim Keller. This was on Twitter by the way, saying there are no absolutes offers. An absolute saying you shouldn’t impose your morality on others is to IPO impose your moral sense on others. You guys see that? So when we claim truth, everyone else is claiming truth too.

The question is, which one is closest to reality? And we’re saying in faith, the Jesus way is truth and it’s most realistic, it, it’s most bathed in reality. Don’t hear me wrong, Christians were the ones who led the way in giving everyone freedom to believe what they wanna believe. Okay? So that version of tolerance, I’m actually all four.

I had a friend of mine who was kind of dabbling in the Christian faith and he said his neighbor put up a sign that it clearly is, um, kind of against Christianity. And he said that they’ve been getting eggs and getting, uh, threatened and, and I told him, look, I believe as a Christian, my first job is to protect that neighbor.

He has the right to believe that I’m wrong, but I have the right to protect him from others who are trying to hurt him. Does that make sense? That’s the Christian faith. We believe in truth, but we also believe in protecting because that person’s made an image of God just like I am. So we are gonna do everything we can to make sure that person feels loved and saved and, and kind of feels at home, right?

So, so we ought to be the first to protect people and their rights and, and we cannot be the one that, uh, that, that is, that is really evil and, and hate hateful towards others. Let me put it this way, Jeremy Treat, he’s a pastor and a professor in Los Angeles and he gives this really helpful cuz because when you say tolerance, there’s actually two different definitions.

Underneath you have tolerance, which is the pluralism version, or you have tolerance, which is the relativism version. If you don’t know what that means, That’s why we have a quote, watch this quote says, we would be wise to recognize the difference between pluralism and relativism. Pluralism acknowledges that there are many different beliefs.

Relativism says that they are all equally valid and right, so we can acknowledge pluralism without becoming relativists. In other words, we can accept that everyone has the right to believe whatever they want, and we can still have distinct and firmly held convictions. This is like the thing right now, if you guys noticed, right?

We need to get this, we need to understand this, right? Relativism we actually believe leads to people’s hurt. It leads to division, it leads to heartache. It leads to not the abundant life. And so we speak truth, but we also protect other people’s rights to not believe that truth. Cuz here’s what I’ve seen.

You can never force people into faith. You can never coerce people into Christ. It’s all invitation. Let me put it this way, here’s what relativism does. Relativism cuz Jesus again says I am the truth, which means they’re not just any kind of truth, whatever, relativist, which is who we are bathed in society today.

Oh, your truth is your truth. My truth is my truth. And here’s typically a phrase you’ll hear because of the relativistic just culture we’re in. And maybe you’ve heard this before, follow your heart and it sounds so good. Follow your heart. The problem is course is our hearts are full of mixed motives, contradictory desires.

It’s a mess. Like first of all, our hearts are complicated. It’s very, very common to do a really good deed for a very selfish reason. Anybody else see those people on TikTok that give people $10,000, but they gotta make sure they film it right? Are you doing that for him or to get attention to get more likes?

I don’t know. It’s contradictory. It’s complicated. Our hearts are contradictory. I want to be slim and healthy, but I also want slim gems. So what do I do? Right? It’s they, our heart contradicts itself. I want this and I want that. And those things don’t go together. Which one do I choose? Following? Your heart leads to all sorts of division, at least to all sorts of confusion.

And not only that, our hearts are easily manipulated. Narratives on TV and social media have a huge sway over us. And if we’re not willing to admit that we’ve been swayed, y’all know your crazy uncle that’s been swayed, right? Yeah. To some political party where they’re angry at the world. How did that happen?

Following your hearts, listening to narratives, poisoning your soul every day with the news, and it turns you into something you’ve never planned on. Churning into that happens when we follow our heart. I feel like a scrooge today. I’m so sorry. You know, it’s, I feel like, eh, but it is, you know, it is what it is, you know, whatever.

So, This is one of my favorite lines from Dallas Willard. He says, no one has ever yet made a belief true by believing it.

What? What’s that other phrase? As long as you believe, yeah, but if your belief’s not based in reality, it really doesn’t matter how much you’re convinced that it’s gonna be true. And so the way of Jesus, the beautiful thing is we say, yeah, believe even more. Why? Because what we’re believing in is anchored in reality.

And Jesus holds the world in his hands, right? Everything exists by him and for him and through him. Colossians one says. So all that’s to say it’s really good news that Jesus is the final authority on truth, especially knowing this truth is bathed in love and in grace in the person of work of Jesus. So lastly, not only is Jesus the only way, Jesus is the ultimate truth, but this passage is telling us that Jesus is the abundant life.

We’ve been running into this a lot. If you’ve been with our church the last seven weeks as we’ve been studying the book of John, because he loves to use that phrase life in, uh, there’s two different ways, at least two different ways to say life in Greek. One is bio’s life, which means to, uh, just to exist your biology.

In order to sustain your bios life, you need food, water, and shelter. But then you have Zoe life, which is quality of life. It’s meaning, purpose, exhilaration. It’s what gets you up in the morning, right? Excitement. And so Jesus is saying, no, I’m not offering you just bio’s. Life I am saying in me is Zoe, quality of life, overall purpose.

Make no mistake, you and I can improve our bio’s life, right? We can pick better jobs. That kind of moves the needle on satisfaction. We could even pick healthier diets, which I’m trying to do. I just downloaded my Fitness Pal and like, why is everything so many calories? It makes me mad. You know? You guys ever noticed that?

I never looked at the label before. I’m like, This is evil. Like I’m just kind of hungry and now I can’t eat for 10 days. I’m just kidding. But my fitness pout, right? But I’m trying to improve my bios life, but there’s nothing we can do to bring Zoe to life, to our soul outside of Jesus. CIA Lewis, one of my favorite authors, he has this really helpful, uh, dichotomy between Bio’s, life and Zoe life.

In his book Mere Christianity, he says, the following quote, bios has to be sure, a certain shadowy or symbolic resemblance to Zoe, but only a sort of resemblance there is between a photo and a place or statue. And a man. It’s kind of the same thing, but it’s not at all, right? There’s no life in it. He says, A man who changed from having bios to having Zoe would’ve gone through as big a change as a statue, which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man.

And that is precisely what Christianity. Is all about. So what’s Jesus doing here? He’s saying, I’m not only just the way, I’m not just the truth, but only through me will you have meaning and true life, abundant life. One commentator on this, he says, Jesus is full of humility, but he has zero modesty, right?

He says like He’s so humble, he loves and serves, and he’s gonna die for you, but he’s gonna say, but I’m the best. You know? He’s like, you come through me. You have everything. Way, truth, life. Don’t come through me. Death, destruction, decay. You pick. He’s so humble but not modest. I love my Jesus. Now, this life only comes to those who surrender.

Jesus makes that clear as it continues in this passage. Again, Jesus’s claim of the abundant life requires us to partake in society’s unforgivable sin, self denial. This means this offer of Zoe life. It’s on offer when I’m willing to abstain from desires that I really, really want to indulge. This is so hard cuz our culture is saying the way to life is to indulge in every desire.

But Jesus says, actually deny yourself. Pick up my life and you’ll have it in abundance. I was kind of thinking through journaling, man, what are like some of my desires I’m still waging war against and seems to never change. Uh, food is one that I think I’ve already kind of made obvious here, but also I’m gonna put, just to make myself sound better, feel better, is like edutainment.

Like I like learning, but like from in interesting YouTube videos, right? So I do those rabbit holes in the name of curiosity. And I even noticed this week, like I think the invitation to Jesus is to, to kind of say no to some of those things. I know for me, my brain just gets so full of useless information.

And it, and it actually takes me away from just encountering God and praying to him and reading from the scriptures. I think all of us, we have just a different version of what self denial looks like, right? For some of you it’s, sure it’s food, but others of us, it’s, it’s finances. It’s changing. The way that we, we put our hope in it, or lack thereof, is to deny certain desires.

See, we don’t, I wanna be clear here. We don’t deny our desires to make ourselves more precious to God. I need to say that one more time. We’re not Sabbath cuz of this either, right? We don’t deny desires to make ourselves more precious to God. No. We deny our desires to make God more precious to us. It’s not to make ourselves more precious to God in Christ.

We are precious. But it’s to make God more precious to us. And the invitation is to deny certain things. Not because that thing is inherently bad, but it’s keeping me from desiring the kingdom and the life that Jesus has on offer. I think this is why Jesus calls it the narrow way, cuz you can’t take everything with you.

It requires you to drop some things in order to pass through. Again, when I was in Israel, when I finally got there, I did get there, praise God. And I came back, by the way, as you could tell, but I, when we were in Israel, there was a temple and they called it, uh, the eye of the needle. And, and it was this idea where in order to get into this huge gathering place, this huge worship people were singing.

It was really incredible. But you could only get in there through this three foot tall door. I thought, were they that short during the time of Jesus? Like I was like, one of our first questions, are we really that much bigger now? They’re like, no, no, no, no, no. It set your heart to recognize this is what the way of Jesus is all about.

Because here’s the thing, in order to get in and to encounter God, you need to bow down and lay low. If you want what’s in there, the presence of God, you first have to get there by humbling yourself and crawling through. And when Jesus says, I’m the way, I’m the truth, I’m the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

He’s saying there is a way, but it’s a really small door and it’s called Jesus. You gotta go through him. But when you humble yourself and get through, you experience the manifest presence of God in a way where you’re like, wow, I have life and life and abundance.

So as we close, I want us to respond to the call of the Holy Spirit. It. And so I first encourage you, um, looking at this passage, trying to think through how do we make this into something we do this week? I encourage you to practice Sabbath this week if you’ve been failing at it, that’s all right. The, the point again of Sabbath is not to make ourselves more precious to God, it’s to make God more precious to us.

And so I encourage you, take 24 hours, stop working, stop worrying. Stop wanting, put away the phone. Turn your attention to Jesus and solitude a community. But here’s what I want you to do specifically this week, I think to respond with to God with gratitude. First, thank Jesus that he’s the way during your Sabbath this week.

Thank God, thank you that I don’t have to earn your love. I just have to churn to your love, that it’s not making myself more precious. Jesus, you are the way I am now accepted. I’m righteous because you’re the only way during your Sabbath this week. Praise God that Jesus is the truth. I know for us at our meal, we’re gonna say, okay, I once was blind, but now I see.

Let’s talk about the ways we used to be blind. But the truth of Jesus has come into our life and we praise you, God, that we can now see what this life is really for. And lastly, really meditate this week. How Jesus is. Thank Him that he’s the wife. You’re not just existing. You have meaning and value and purpose.

And God has called you to extend the kingdom of God in your household, in our city, and around the world. And so in your groups, you’re gonna practice this message by talking about how are we gonna prepare for Sabbath? But also there’s gonna be three questions. It’s up at Passion

But for today, as we close, I want us to focus on the first question in that guide. Come Holy Spirit, ask yourself, where am I trying to find life apart from Christ?

Holy Spirit come. Even ask yourself in this moment, holy Spirit, confront us with your truth and comfort us with your love. Maybe we’re trying to find it in career.

Maybe we’re trying to find life in the approval of others, even though we have the approval of God.

Am I trying to find life and finances instead of the Father?

Ask God right now, where am I trying to find life apart from you?

And the invitation here is not okay. Get better, get good. No, no, no, it’s, it’s humble yourself and say, God, you’re the only way. I admit that you’re the only life. So forgive me. I lay that aside and I grab onto you. Maybe you’re finding life by holding onto bitterness instead of holding onto Christ, whatever it is, holy Spirit, come

confront us and then comfort us with your truth.

Group Guide

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Meal & Conversation

Open the night with a quick prayer over your time together. As your Group shares a meal, use one or two of these questions to check in with everyone:

  1. What are your highs and lows for the week?
  2. What’s something God has been teaching you lately?


Overview of Teaching

Where we once found hope and meaning outside of ourselves in the church, the city, or the market, today we’re left to create our own hope and meaning from within ourselves. We follow our hearts and feelings, no matter the cost to ourselves and those around us.

But where society says choice is now the highest value, tolerance the highest virtue, and denying yourself is the new unforgivable sin, how should Christians respond? What hope does Jesus offer?

In John 14, Jesus makes another countercultural claim about himself: that he alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Each of these statements is a direct counter to the values and virtues of today. Only in Jesus do we have access to God. Only in Jesus do we experience true reality. And only in Jesus can we have life and life to the full. To live in a way congruent with these claims of Jesus, we practice self-denial.


Have a few people read John 14:1-6. Then discuss the following questions:

  1. What stands out to you from this teaching of Jesus?
  2. We learned on Sunday that in today’s society, choice is now the highest value, tolerance the highest virtue, and denying yourself is the new unforgivable sin. How do you see these values, virtutes, and unforgiveable sins play out in the culture around us and in your own life?
  3. What do you make of Jesus’ claim of exclusivity, that he is the only way to salvation? Does this sound controversial or problematic to you?
  4. In what way does Jesus reveal truth? How have you wrestled with following your heart versus following God’s direction?
  5. How have you experienced the different between the life that Jesus offers, and lesser forms of life?
  6. What does self-denial mean to you? What next steps of self-denial might God be inviting you to take in your current season of life?



During your Sabbath this week, or now with your Group if you have time, reflect on the following questions:

  1. Where am I trying to find life apart from Jesus? Think about what you’re living for and finding hope in: your job, next vacation, a relationship, and income level, etc.
  2. Where am I unwilling to give up my choices and tolerance? Reflect on the areas in your life where you’re following your heart and feelings rather than God’s call.
  3. What next step of self-denial is God inviting me to take?



As you end your night, spend some time praying for and encouraging one another.