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you were created to become like Christ
you can hear a MP3 recording of sermon here
John 14:1-21
Sunday, 30th March, 2014

This morning is not an exposition of this passage but it concentrates our thoughts on one clear message.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

Jesus did not say he was the way to the Father, but the way. Although he is speaking about going to be with God in heaven, his message is about living here and now AND going to the Father.

Your destiny is to be in Christ. To be on the road to glory, knowing the truth and living the life of Jesus day by day.  The headline purpose we will read about and pray about this week is

You were created to become like Christ

Which reflects two scriptures.


Genesis 1:26-27

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”


27 So God created mankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.


And the second in Ephesians 2:10


For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


Being like Christ is not an aspiration it is a destiny, it is the reason you were born, it is the reason why Christ died, it is the reason God sends his Holy Spirit to dwell in your hearts and minds, it is what we will be like in heaven. 


So when Jesus said:

“I am the way and the truth and the life.

He is telling us how to be saved and how to be  fulfilled in life and death. Your life is intended to be Christ-like. There is no other way, no other truth and no other life that will satisfy what you were created for. Those who have never received Christ have a life but it is unfulfilling because it revolves round themselves.  Some replace their destiny in Christ with money or power or sexual gratification or success or popularity or leaving a lasting legacy to the world. Bu these are all transitory, dependant on opportunities you may or may not have.


So what does God intend?

First we have to unpick

1.     the way

2.     the truth

3.     and the life.

Then reading on we need to recognise the importance of

4.     faith leading to action.

5.     Love leading to obedience.

6.     The Holy Spirit leading to truth



First Jesus says “I am the Way”

          Politicians have been using the term ‘road-map’ to describe the process of solving dilemmas such as peace processes.  Is Jesus saying he is the road-map?  Yes, he is. His death on the cross made your ultimate road possible. It removed your sin by nailing it to the cross and in his resurrection life, he enters your life by his Holy Spirit enabling you to enjoy the presence of  God now and for eternity.


Jesus was sinless and perfect. He had this amazing relationship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit that is eternal. His death and resurrection opened the way for you to share in that awesome relationship. When you asked Jesus to be your Saviour, you may not have though it at the time but you began a new life where you are eternal and in a close relationship with God himself.

Second  Jesus says “I am the truth”

          Jesus also said in John 17:17

17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

Everything God has said is the truth. The Bible contains the words of God. If you want to know the truth then you will read God’s word, learn it for yourself, apply it to your life. The ultimate expression of that is in Jesus. You see the book is not the truth but the person revealed in it.  The Bible is about God and his plans and purposes throughout history and Jesus is central to both the Old and New Testaments.  Knowing the book is good but not the key point. You need to know Jesus. And you do that by receiving his salvation and a life-long conversation with him. Listen to the front page of the Gazzette this week:

Khalilzada was quite shy at school and reserved. I didn’t hang out with him much, but would say ‘hello’ and ‘bye’. He had his own group of friends at school. It’s just so odd; you think you know someone but actually you do not know them at all.”

Khalilzada is beginning a 6 year jail term for importing and assembling weapons.

you think you know someone but actually you do not know them at all.

How well do you know Jesus? Do you say ‘ Hello’ and ‘bye’ or have you invested time and energy in building a relationship with the truth?

In a time long gone, the majority of the population did not read. From the 1st Century to the 16th Century, God’s word was not read out of a Bible in your own home, but at a church service. You listened and memorized it. You repeated it to your friends and they corrected you. Because there was no TV, internet and books, you spent your evenings rehearsing what had been read to you at the previous s service. Then books began to be printed and the front runner of books was the Bible. Christians embraced the new technology because suddenly they could read it for themselves. Sunday Schools were set up to learn to read. Today, we learn to read in Primary school. We have a multiplicity of Bibles. In fact I am part of a transition. I read books and I look up information on the internet. I can read the Bible on my phone. I have access all the time, everywhere to God’s word. But how much about Jesus do I actually know? We have the means to know, but do we invest in time reading the Bible, thinking about what it says praying back to God what is written in his word, recognising how my life has to change to become more like his?


Third Jesus says “I am the Life”

If you want to live a fulfilled life, you have to live it as Christ. You have to be Christ-like, or imitate Christ or be united with Christ. There are a number of ways this is expressed in the New Testament. 

To go into detail about this living Jesus is the substance of the New Testament. It begins with the life of Jesus and goes on with letters which God has caused to be collected together that cover many aspects of the Christ-likeness.

This is all –embracing. It affects your attitude to your career, the way you live in your family, your private thoughts, your work ethics, the way you spend your money, the people you associate with, the way you wield the power that you may or may not have.  WWJD is recognition that every choice we make will be governed by our underlying desire and wills. If we are seeking to be Christ-like we are challenging our decisions in the light of the character of Jesus. What would he do? How would he react?

Forgive me for pointing this out but this is not about what others should do. We are good at taking the splinter out of our friends’ eyes, but we have difficulty admitting we have a plank in our own.

This is not about living a narrow control-freak existence where we fear least we fall off the straight and narrow but a liberating experience where we discover new aspects of godliness, try and fail, seek forgiveness, move on and ever seek to please the one who gave us life.



Today we will just reflect on three aspects of this life.


faith leading to action.

Jesus said:

9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Do you see the progression? Show us the father is answered by a call to believe in Jesus and a call to believe that he is going to greater works because Jesus is going to the Father. That leads Jesus naturally to talk about prayer. Believing leads to action. Action begins with prayer. Prayer is asking in Jesus’ name for that which brings glory to Jesus.  Do you believe that God wants you to do works for him? Works of faith, believing in Jesus, asking in his name that he may be glorified?  Can I remind that we started with

Ephesians 2:10


For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We are not here for our own reasons. We are here to do the good works that we were created for. By faith to transform childcare into a spiritual exercise, housekeeping as an act of worship, building friendship as an imitation of Christ, giving sacrificially of our time and money as a reflection of that great compassion Jesus has. This is not a call to do ‘church-work’ this is a call to live out every part of your life as Jesus would live it. Your job is what God you to do for him, your family is to be cared for because they are his children, your friends are to be supported because Christ wants to step into their lives.

Let me illustrate this with what happened the other week at the church meeting. Yo exercised faith. We know that supporting a full-time elder and a Youth Worker is going to stretch our giving. But, by faith that this is God’s plan, we voted unanimously to seek to appoint a full-time elder. That will cost us. But the adventure of faith is that as we plan to give sacrificially, and tighten the belt on other expenses in our lives, the Father may be glorified in the Son. Your commitment will bring glory to God, as will every action that comes from faith in Jesus.


Love leading to obedience.

15 “If you love me, keep my commands.

Listen to these familiar words in

READ Philippians 2:1-13 (from WHO?)

In meditating on Jesus, we will seek to be

United in Christ


Put others first

and see God at work in and among us.

When you love someone, then their wish is your command. Love does not feel it is imposed on, it gives willingly, and there is more about that in 1Corinthians 13 which we will come back to on 25th May.


The Holy Spirit leading to truth

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.

The word advocate here is translated variously throughout history The Geneva Bible, Wycliffe Bible, Bishop’s Bible,  King James, Living Bible,  &ASV,  use comforter which meant in the 16th Century more an encourager than a soft blanket.

CEV translates ‘to help you’;

ESV  , Easy-to-read version & GNB‘Helper’;

JBPhillips:someone else to stand by you’,

Common English Version: Companion; 

The message: another Friend;

Amplified Bible : Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby)

All are correct and together give us an insight into the way the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.

It was originally  written in Greek but maybe was said in Aramaic by Jesus. The Greek word παρακλετον which John uses 5 times here, v26; 15:26; 16:7: 1John 2:1. And literally means ‘to call on to help’. To put it in modern language, the Holy Spirit makes us able to cope with life. The Holy Spirit is in fact the fulfilment of the promise, 'Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world' (Matt. 28.20).

He encourages, helps, stand by us, explains the words of Jesus, he is our friend companion and advisor. Like any of those we have a choice. We can listen and take advice, listen and ignore or refuse to listen. He is the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of truth. So to live the Jesus life, the only life that fits this creation, we must respond to his guidance with Yes, Lord, we believe and we obey. The Holy Spirit is here for the express purpose of helping you in your pursuit of Christ-likeness! Isn’t that great news! Its not a lonely struggle to sinless perfection and maybe God’s approval. God loves you so much that Jesus died for you before you were thoughts of. He has come and given you new life and today he walks with you by the Holy Spirit, encouraging you to seek his way, alerting you to sin, guiding you as you struggle with prayer to be able to share God’s heart.


So be encouraged, you were created to be Christ-like and God sends his Holy Spirit to help you do just that!

You have the Holy Spirit and you have the written word of God to direct your thoughts in the correct direction. To go God’s way, to know the truth, to live as God intended you to live – like Jesus as you walk by faith, obey God’s word because of the love you have received and want to respond to.

Your destiny is in Christ! You were created to be like him. So do the good works that you were created for by living as he calls you to live.

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