For the fifth Sunday of Easter, the three assigned readings are Acts 6:1-9;7:21, 51-60; 1 Peter 2:2-10 and John 14:1-14. The text I will be using to preach about in Nokomis, Illinois is John 14:6, “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
To demonstrate that most Christians live under the Law, the sermon could begin by asking this question, “Do you feel that you are worthy enough to get to heaven because of the way (road) that you are on in this life?” Most Christians would not give a definite “yes” to that question because they feel that their works are still not good enough to get to heaven.
The main point of the sermon to get across can be summarized as, “Every religion in the world talks about one kind of works that not only you do in secular society but that also help you in the spiritual dimension of your relationship to God. Only Christianity speaks of two kinds of good works.”
It does??? Yes, because Christianity mirrors God’s way of looking at good works, He reveals in the Bible that there are two kinds of good works or as some would say, the “two kinds of righteousness.” There is first of all the righteousness that one has to have with God in order to be saved. Then there is the other kind of righteousness that one has with the neighbor, who could include family, co-workers, friends, relatives and even your enemy.
From God’s point of view, any time you imagine that your good works to the neighbor have any bearing at all as to whether or not you are saved, you are confusing Law and Gospel. For the only works that save you are not your works. They are the works of Jesus Christ in dying and rising for you. If you ever offer God your own good works to the neighbor as a contribution toward your personal salvation, God would prefer that you give Him a plate of worms.
When it come to your relationship to God, nothing you do, say or think has any bearing as to whether you are saved. The only item God looks for is whether or not you are wearing the robe of righteousness. And how did you earn or merit such a robe? You did not. It was given to you as a free gift through believing that Jesus Christ is your Savior.
As there are two kinds of good works God recognizes, so also there are two ways which people are on. The one is the broad way that leads to destruction because it is the road of self-centered and self-righteous works that ends up in hell. The other is the narrow road which Jesus built with His suffering, death and resurrection. Those who are saved rejoice that they believe Him when He says, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through My Way.”