For 7 weeks, we're partnering with over 100 other churches in metro Richmond for the Explore God series. This series is especially designed for people that have spiritual questions and are exploring what they believe. For more information on the full series, as well as other Explore God opportunities we have going on, visit our Explore God page, or visit the ExploreGod.com.
Last week we looked at the question of suffering which perhaps is the oldest problem that people have had with religion and Christianity. This week, we look at the problem of exclusivity, which may be one of the most provocative questions that people have about Christianity specifically and religion in general, especially in our current cultural climate. We live in a world in which we are deeply conscious of our multi-faith, multi-cultural, multi-religious environment, so it is deeply ingrained in us that exclusive views lead to division at best, and violence at worst.
So what do we do with the exclusive claims of Christianity where Jesus says things so starkly like, “I am the way, the truth and the life”? This week, we'll grapple with that question and wrestle with these exclusive claims of faith in our current time and place.
We especially want to look at the way people who are truly living out the Christian faith, who are shaped by living out the gospel of Jesus who died and rose for us, should become people marked by being gracious, generous, understanding, compassionate and tolerant. Because at the very center of our life and faith is a person who gave away his life for his enemies. So in the least, the centrality of grace in the Christian faith should make us a truly generous and welcoming people. So that’s what we’ll seek to understand this week.
Our weekly worship guide (bulletin) can be downloaded here.
Psalm 115: 1-8
1 Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. 2 Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. 4 But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. 5 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. 6 They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. 7 They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. 8 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 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.