*THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION The Final Victory Mark 15: 25-16:6

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1 *THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION The Final Victory Mark 15: 25-16:6 Have you noticed that people sometimes object to the message that Jesus Christ is the only way to God? In our pluralistic society, tolerance is sometimes misinterpreted as meaning that you must believe that all religions are equally true in order to be tolerant. To hold the belief that Jesus is the only way to God is seen by some as being intolerant. That is not intolerance at all, that is just freedom of conscience. Freedom of conscience is the very essence of tolerance. Everyone should have the freedom to decide what they will believe about God without coercion or threats. They should be able to hold those beliefs without fear of reprisal. Biblical faith requires that people have the liberty not to believe. But while we affirm the right of all people to believe as they decide, this does not mean that we believe all faiths are true. Allowing other people to believe as they wish does not mean that we must relinquish the truth that Jesus is the only way. There are some in our world who believe in conversion by force, such as groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. This behavior is the opposite of what the Bible teaches and the opposite of tolerance. The city of Mosul in northern Iraq had a population of two and a half million people and a large population of Christians before ISIS invaded it. ISIS forced all the Christians to leave the city then ISIS burned all the Bibles and other Christian literature. *This picture (video) is a harsh reminder of the kind of coercion and persecution that is in going on in the Middle East and in other parts of the world. It is estimated that there were 2 million Christians in Iraq but now there are around 200,000. There has been a systematic effort to drive out or kill all the Christians by radical Islamic groups. How is the follower of Christ to respond to all of this? As for terrorist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, we should do all that we can to encourage our government to eradicate such groups at home and abroad. It is the God given responsibility of government to protect its citizens from evil doers. (Romans 13:3-5) But as for people who are law abiding Muslims in this country and in other countries, we are to show love and kindness to them in every possible way. The follower of Christ is never mean or unkind to those that hold different religious beliefs. How can I make a blanket statement like that? The reason it is true is that the moment that someone acts mean or unkind, they are no longer following Christ.

2 Kindness and love should be shown to people of all religious persuasions. Buddhist, Hindus, Muslims, atheists, and all others are to be treated with graciousness. This is what tolerance is all about and it is what the Bible teaches. *Look at Exodus 22:21 "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him NIV We are never to mistreat those that are different or that disagree with us. After all, it is our love for those that disagree with us that is our greatest leverage for leading them to faith in Christ. Even those that hate Christians and try to harm them will be positively impacted when we show love to them. This is what we are commanded to do in *Matthew 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, NIV All of that is tolerance from a biblical perspective. But it is very important to remember that tolerance does not mean compromising the truth. For the Christian not to hold to the truth and proclaim it is not tolerance, but compromise. The greatest gift we have to give to the world is the message of Christ. *Jesus message is very clear. He said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, NIV) If we fail to give this message without compromise, then we have no love for people. Let me demonstrate what I mean. *ILL. It was in 1980 that the Sunshine Skyway Bridge disaster occurred. It was a stormy and foggy morning when a large ship took out a section of bridge over Tampa Bay, during the morning commute. *A greyhound bus and 7 other vehicles did not see that a large section of bridge was gone and drove off the bridge. 35 people in all plummeted 150 feet to their death. *What if you had been on that bridge that morning and could have warned those people? Would you have done it? Most people would consider that the right thing to do. But what would you think of a person that saw what was about to happen and did not try to warn the oncoming traffic? That person would be a horrible person! Can you see how that applies to us as Christians? People all around us are headed to their destruction because they do not know Jesus as their Savior. We know what is about to happen to them and we can warn them. Not to do so would be horrible! Wouldn t you agree that everyone deserves the chance to hear the truth? Jesus is the only way to God. Let s pray

3 If we are going to be effective in warning people that they are on a road that ends in destruction we need to be able to explain why Jesus is the only way to God. TS Let s look at two reasons why Jesus is the only way to God. *1. JESUS IS THE ONLY PERSON THAT DIED FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD. It s at the cross that we see why Jesus is the only way to God. *Look at Mark 15:25 It was the third hour when they crucified him. NIV *Mark 15:33 At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"-which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" NIV TS Notice *(1.) JESUS WAS FORSAKEN BY THE FATHER. Why was Jesus forsaken by God the father? It was on the cross that Jesus took the punishment for the sins of the whole world. *Look at Hebrews 7:27 He (Jesus) sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. NIV Notice the words once for all. Jesus offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people. Because Jesus lived a perfect life, He was able to offer Himself as the substitutionary atonement for all the sins of the human race. No one else has ever done that. His one sacrifice was all that was needed to satisfy the justice of God. There is no need for any other sacrifice. *Look at Hebrews 10:11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. NIV Notice that the animal sacrifice was offered by all the priests before Jesus could never take away sin. But the one sacrifice of Jesus himself took away all sin. That is why it says He sat down on the throne of God. He had completed the road to redemption and won the final victory. This passage gives evidence that Jesus one sacrifice for all sin was accepted by God the Father. *Look at Mark 15: 37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. NIV TS Notice *(2.) THE TEMPLE CURTAIN WAS TORN IN TWO.

4 This was the curtain between the holy place and the most holy place. The most holy place was the room where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. On top of the Ark, was the mercy-seat. The high priest was the only one that could enter this room. He would enter once a year to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy-seat for the sins of all the people. When the curtain of the room was torn in two from top to bottom by God, it demonstrated that God s righteous justice was satisfied by Christ s sacrifice of Himself. The way to God was open to anyone to come through Jesus because His sacrifice had been accepted. *Look at Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith NIV Of all the religious leaders that have ever lived, Jesus is the only one that died for the sins of the whole world. Indeed, He is the only one that could have died for our sin because He is the only one that ever lived a perfect life without sin. Some believe that all religions are equal and they all lead to God. They say that Christ is just one of many ways to God. But that does not change the truth. The people who went off the end of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and plunged to their death thought they were travelling on a safe bridge to their desired destination, but they were wrong. Believing in something no matter how sincere or fervent does not make it true. At the cross, Jesus proved that faith in Him is the only way to heaven. TS Now the cross is not the end; there is more evidence that Jesus is the only way to God. *2. JESUS IS THE ONLY ONE WHO DIED AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD NEVER TO DIE AGAIN. *Look at Mark 15:46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. NIV *Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb *3 and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. *6 "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. NIV Jesus death on the cross tore down the barrier of sin between God and man and His resurrection from the dead proved that He has the power to save all who come to Him.

5 No other religion offers a savior that died for the sins of the whole world, was buried, and rose from the grave. No other religion offers historical evidence of a bodily resurrection like Christianity does. Don t ever let anyone deceive you into thinking that Christianity is a blind leap of faith. There is good reasonable evidence for believing that Jesus rose from the dead. Mark 16:1 give us the names of three who saw Jesus buried and who saw him raised; Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. These were people that were alive at the time when Mark wrote his historical record of these events. Anyone of them could have questioned by sceptics. They were witnesses to the validity of what Mark wrote about the resurrection. There were many more besides these three that were living when the books of the New Testament were first circulated. *Look at what the Apostle Paul wrote about Jesus and the resurrection 1 Corinthians 15:4 he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, NIV Our trust in Jesus as Savior and the only way to God is built on reliable historical evidence. We have every reason to believe it and proclaim it. Challenge: So, if you are called intolerant or a bigot for telling people that Jesus is the only way, please don t stop, it is too important! Remember, that even if the truth offends someone, that does not make it any less true. It would be horrible to know that someone was on the road to destruction and not to warn them. *Let s commit our lives to letting the people who live around us, hear the truth. It is the most loving and compassionate thing you can do. After all, someone loved you and me enough to tell us the truth. You may be hearing this and thinking to yourself that you are on the wrong road. You may realize that the path you are on doesn t lead to Heaven. Christ died for you on the cross so that you could have a real relationship with God and so you could spend eternity with Him in Heaven. Don t wait any longer in asking Him to be your Savior. He is the only one that can take you to Heaven.

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