Monday, 18 April 2011 12:30

I Am The Door

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I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” So Jesus says in John 10:9. This is the third of seven “I am” statements in the gospel of John, each of which is meant to describe and proclaim to us the greatness and glory of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners. What an impressively simple gospel from the impressively superb Saviour is given us here in this verse. Notice with me on the basis of this text and its setting how we can learn here about the sincerity of Jesus as Saviour, the simplicity of His gospel, and the splendidness of His Person and work as Saviour.

How does Jesus saying, “I am the door” bring out His sincerity as Saviour of sinners? Here we need to consider the context. The setting is Jesus speaking to religious leaders who were not believing in Him and who were like false shepherds to the sheep, more concerned for themselves and their own glory than the honor of God and the care of the sheep. In that context Jesus declares Himself as the true shepherd of the sheep, one sent from God and called to care for the sheep, even to the point of giving his life for the sheep. This is what Jesus relates in the first verses of chapter 10. But vs. 6 makes clear the people did not understand His message. They didn’t get it, how that Jesus was the one true shepherd, and all the others, speaking of the unbelieving scribes and Pharisees, were just pretenders and actually more like thieves and robbers.

That is the setting of our text passage. And here take notice, dear friends, what Jesus does. Does He throw up His arms in exasperation and frustration at how dull of hearing and understanding the people were? No, see the sincerity of Jesus as Saviour as He goes out of His way now to make His gospel message still more clear to them. In vs. 7 Jesus states, “Verily, verily I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. And then in vs. 9 Jesus says more clearly yet, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” The comparison Jesus here makes is not hard to picture. In Jesus’ time in the countryside there would be these sheepfolds, which were often nothing more than a rough circle of rocks piled into a wall with a small open space, a door through which the shepherd would drive the sheep at nightfall. Since there was no door to close, just an opening, the shepherd would keep the sheep in and wild animals out by lying across the opening. He would sleep there, and in that case literally become the door. So Jesus says, “I am the door of the sheep…I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” We all know the function of a door, keeping people out or letting them in. Jesus here tells us that He as Saviour and shepherd stands at the entrance of the kingdom. He is the entrance way into the kingdom and He alone. The text in the original emphasizes Jesus alone is the door.

Now I say, just the setting of this “I am” statement should help us see that in saying “I am the door” surely brings out His sincerity as Saviour of sinners. Notice to what lengths Jesus goes to make plain His special person and work on behalf of sinners. Can you hear Jesus saying to these people He was addressing, ‘People, I am the door. The hope of Israel, the hope of sinners, the hope of all people is all in and through Me. Not going through Me and by Me, there is just no hope for anyone. I am the door to salvation, the door to forgiveness of sin, the door to holiness, the door to renewal, the door to heaven on earth and the door to heaven hereafter’! How gracious for Jesus to go to such lengths in making Himself known, that He even will say in making the gospel as plain as can be, “I am the door”.

His sincerity as Saviour of sinners comes out too when you just reflect on what a lowly title this is really. It’s so true as someone put it, “how very condescendingly the Lord Jesus Christ sets Himself forth here.” Just think of Who the speaker is here. The noblest figures of speech are not too lofty or too high to describe His Person and work. There are not words enough really to tell of His majesty, His excellency, His glory as almighty Creator and Redeemer God and as King of kings and Lord of lords! And yet get this, dear friends, when Jesus speaks of Himself as Saviour, out of a desire to make Himself known for all He is, He doesn’t hesitate then to say also, “I am the door.”

Honestly, can you think of a more lowly title and common place description than that? Do you see too how calling Himself the door, in making plain His person and work as Saviour, indeed, here He shows His sincerity as Saviour? Don’t you think too Jesus used this comparison not only to make very plain His person and work as Saviour but also to ever remind us of how He is key to our salvation, yes, the only door of hope for us all? Calling Himself the door, Jesus gives us a title for Himself that must often come before our notice. For just think of it, yes, how often every day again we see doors and pass through doorways. Each day we see doors in our house, and we use the doors of vehicles, and we go through doors in our daily work. . We meet with doors everywhere, don’t we?

Well, as we daily see doors and often go through doorways, so now with John 10:9 the Lord Jesus Christ seems to say to you and me, as it were, ‘I will meet you wherever you are. Anywhere and everywhere I will speak with you and plead with you. I will make the door of every sheepfold, the door of every room in your house, and the door of every cupboard to preach a little sermon to you, as you shall be reminded by it that “I am the door.’ Saying He is the door, Jesus makes Himself known in a way that we may be reminded of Who He is as Saviour every time we pass through a door, and how many times doesn’t that happen each day and night again? With Jesus saying “I am the door” it is like He is repeating here the sincere well meant proclamation of the gospel as expressed also in Proverbs 8:1-4ff.  “Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man…..”

The setting of the title, I am the door, and the lowliness of it and the commonness of our use of doors in daily life all brings home, doesn’t it, the sincerity of Jesus in His gospel message. “Verily, verily I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep…” I am the door: by me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.” Does this title strike you too as the impressively simple gospel from the impressively superb Saviour?

But let’s go on and notice our second main point of how this statement of Jesus, “I am the door”, not only speaks of the sincerity of Christ as Saviour of sinners, but also consider with me how it speaks of the simplicity of His gospel message. Using the title ‘door’, Jesus makes the gospel He gives a simple message of grace, indeed. As by passing through a door we enter into a house, so by passing through Christ Jesus, coming to God in and through Him by faith, we enter into eternal life, and enter into the true Church, and ultimately shall enter into heaven. Yes, trusting and following Jesus Christ the Saviour will bring to you forgiveness of all your sins, a clear standing before God and everlasting life. Trusting and following Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord will bring you, guaranteed and free, perfect reconciliation with God and the endless favour of God and the riches of His mercy and love even to all eternity.

Jesus Himself IS the door. In other words, the gospel way He has opened is not a hard and difficult way. There is no complicated course to follow. As one put it, if Jesus had compared Himself to a wall we should have to climb over, it might be hard work. If He had compared Himself to a long dark passageway or tunnel, we should have to feel along it and some might be afraid to try. But He is not a wall or a passageway or tunnel. He is a door, “the door”, and a door can be entered easily and instantly, or not? C.H. Spurgeon writes in a sermon on our text along the same line, “Passing through a door is not a long operation; it can be done in the twinkling of an eye, and so can a man be saved in the twinkling of an eye going to and through Jesus Christ the Saviour. Passing through a door is not a difficult operation if the door is open, and coming to Christ is not a difficult operation. Indeed Christ stands before us even now calling, ‘I am the door. Come to Me and come through Me to God the Father, and you will be acceptable to Him as His dear child and the everlasting recipient of His tender love and saving mercy.’

Jesus who says here that He is the door also emphasizes there is no other way to be received of God and reconciled and restored in His favour. Is there no other entrance then into the sheepfold of God? Is there no other way into the divine mercy and the eternal blessedness of heaven except by Him? No, there is no other door. But suppose a person will not enter by this door. May he not climb up some other way? No, there is only one door even as there was just one entrance to the ark Noah built and to the tabernacle made in the wilderness by God’s design. Just one entrance way, and no one will ever find another. So also the apostles declared, as we can read in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” How tragic that today even so called Christian leaders and churches are suggesting there may be more than one way to heaven. Whoever says that is a false teacher, not going by what Jesus Himself taught us in His Word. Be forewarned won’t you? Don’t follow anyone who doesn’t teach and preach faithfully God’s inspired, infallible, unchanging, authoritative, abiding Word.

But, you maybe ask, how can Jesus actually say this about Himself and so assertively proclaim, “I am the door, by me if any man shall enter in he shall be saved”? How could Jesus make such claims? Well, it is because Who He was and is. Jesus is the God-sent Mediator between God and man. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us and for us, that is, He is literally God come in the flesh, the Promised Seed of Genesis 3:15 come to this earth to bear the punishment for sin that we sinners deserve, and to crush Satan, and to accomplish plenteous redemption for sinners. We by ourselves as sinners deserve to die for our own sin, both physically and spiritually. We deserve, on our own, as sinful sinners, to be forever separated from God and cast away in eternal judgment under His holy righteous wrath against sin. But now this is the simple gospel. Jesus Christ took that punishment in the sinner’s place. He Who always was and remained perfectly sinless yet accepted the guilt of our sin and suffered the wrath of God and endured hell and died, all in the sinner’s place, yes, as substitute for sinners. No one else could give such a perfect atonement for sin as Jesus could and did. Christ Jesus paid it all. All the wages of sin Jesus paid as Saviour of sinners, and all on behalf of sinners like us, and thus literally yes, He became the door, the open door by which sinful, guilty, undeserving people such as you and me can approach God the Father.

How striking it is that when Jesus breathed His last on the cross, then also the heavy curtain in the temple blocking the entrance way into the Holy of holies, which represented the throne room of God, what happened to it? When Jesus breathed His last, that very moment we learn from the gospels then also that thick curtain door was also miraculously torn from top to bottom opening the way into that intimate presence with God as it were. You see, through Jesus’ Person and work as Saviour of sinners, through His once for all sacrifice for sin, a highway is now opened for us right into the very presence of God. The author of the book of Hebrews called Christ Jesus in fact, “a new and living way” [Hebrews 10:20]. And Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:18, “Through Him we have access unto the Father.” Yes, through Him, Jesus, the door!

The simplicity of the gospel is further underscored in vs. 9 also when Jesus says, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” Take notice of that phrase, “by me if any man enter in”. You see that Jesus doesn’t just say, “I am the door: if any man enter in he shall be saved”, No, but He says, “I am the door: by me, if any man enter in he shall be saved.” Why would that be added by Jesus? Is it not to highlight that Jesus well knows no man can or will of himself enter through the door, Christ Jesus? But this now is the wonderful truth; the gospel message doesn’t ask for that or call for that either. Rather, praise God, the gracious gospel message tells of a Saviour Who is not only the door, but Who also extends His hand through His Word and by His Spirit and says, ‘Come now, let me bring you to the door and through the door’. While it is true of ourselves we cannot go through the door of salvation, yet no sinner can ever use the excuse, ‘but I can’t go through the door of myself.’ No, for you see it in our text, the gospel message proclaims a Saviour Who says, “by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” In other words, whatever your impossibility, bring it to the Lord Jesus Christ and see if He as almighty compassionate Saviour of sinners can’t help you through the door unto salvation and life everlasting. Oh, Christ Himself invites you to come to Him, urging as stated elsewhere in Scripture, “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him…” and as we read also in John 6:37, Jesus said, “…him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.

Oh, what an encouragement to come to and through the door of salvation, yes, to flee to Jesus Christ with all your sins and struggles and obstacles, once and again and again, knowing He has said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture. Jesus is the compassionate Saviour Who never yet turned any sinner away who came to Him for help, whether it be the first time you come or the ten thousandth time. He will get you through the door! Trust Him now today and always. The only ones who never will make it through the door are those who insist on some self-righteousness, some self-sufficiency, and some self-preparation before coming to and through the door. Christ calls us to come to Him as we are, with our unworthiness and our unrighteousness and our unpreparedness and our inability to make anything right or do anything good, or have any right repentance and true faith even. Just as undeserving, hell deserving sinners, Jesus says, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…” Note too those words of the text, “if any man”. That means, in other words, whosoever will hear and repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be saved. Any man – do you hear that? The gospel invitation is so free, so unrestricted, not only here but in many other places in Scripture. “Ho, everyone that thirsteth; come ye to the waters…[Isaiah 55:1]; God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever (anyone at all)… [John 3:16].” In other words, whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus is the door. Have you entered in by this door? Are you regularly, day by day, passing through this door of Christ Jesus? The call of the text is to trust Christ the Saviour of sinners and to entrust yourself to Him, time and again. Is that what you do too by God’s grace, or will you not look unto Jesus Christ and be saved by Him by faith in Him and His once for all sacrifice on sinner’s behalf? Don’t you see how that turning away from Christ the door, or loafing near the door but not entering in by it, is to despise the unending love and mercy shown to us from God Triune. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?

Oh, to encourage each and all to seek the Lord while He may be found and to call upon Him while He is near, consider with me still our third and last point. Having seen the sincerity of Christ the Saviour and the simplicity of His gospel as found in this saying, “I am the door”, see now the splendidness of Jesus’ Person and work as Saviour and as the door to salvation.

The splendidness of this saying comes out when Jesus says in vs. 9, “…by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” From these words, as others also have observed, notice the three great benefits of entering into God’s flock through Christ. First, Jesus says that anyone who enters in by Him will be saved. Saved! Saved here refers to salvation from sin’s guilt and from sin’s bondage, and from sin’s punishment. The gospel message is that trusting in Christ Jesus as Saviour of sinners, with Him as the door to salvation for us, we immediately escape sin’s penalty so that we need not fear our sins will ever rise against us. This is justification. Then too we also enter into a life in which we are increasingly delivered from sin’s power. The Bible calls this sanctification. And ultimately we look forward to a day marked by the return of Christ or else our passing into His presence through death in which even the presence of sin will be gone forever, and our salvation will be perfected. The Bible calls this glorification. Going through Christ the door, living by true faith in Him as Saviour of sinners for us, means salvation in this total sense, splendid salvation for sure!

But Jesus promises more. “….by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” When Jesus says, “he shall go in and out”, He promises really with that anyone who enters through Him, the door, will be safe and will enjoy security and liberty. If we did not know better from other references you might think going in and out referred to entering and leaving the church or salvation itself. But that surely is not what Christ means here. For in Christ’s day when a man could go in or out without fear, it meant that his country was at peace and that the rulers had the affairs of the nation under control. When danger threatened, the people were shut up in the cities under siege; they couldn’t go in and out. But you see, Jesus promises safety and liberty to move about, that is, total and endless security in life’s journey for those who trust in Him.

Oh, contrary to the false notions of unbelievers and of this world, we do not come to Christ to be shut up in a prison. Rather, in and through Him we shall go in and out. There is no such liberty and security as you who believe in Jesus have. Liberty to go to your bed at night and to feel that it does not matter whether you wake up here or not; liberty to go out into the world and feel that losses and crosses cannot happen to you without your Father’s permission and that you will have grace to bear them; liberty to go wherever you please on the errands of God, always protected by His almighty power. Psalm 121 speaks of the Lord being His people’s keeper and it promises in the last verse of the psalm, “The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in, from this time forth, and even forevermore.”

Oh, the splendidness of entering through Christ the door, truly turning from sin and trusting in Him and following after Him! Not only does that bring the benefit of wondrous salvation and safety and liberty, but also, says Jesus further, entering by Him into His fold you “shall find pasture”. This means with Him you shall find truly real and ultimate satisfaction and contentment in all life’s journey, and even at the end. It was in this sense that David wrote of the care of the good Shepherd in Psalm 23. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters, he restoreth my soul.” Jesus says in John 10:10 thus also, “I am come to give life and that more abundantly.” Oh, God’s people find pasture. In other words, they are fully satisfied, trusting in Him and feeding on His Word and drinking from the fountains of His salvation. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ: it promises salvation, safety, and satisfaction, all this and more to all who will enter into the fold through Christ Jesus, the door.

Are you a sheep of Christ’s flock? Have you entered the fold through Christ the door and are you living calling others too to do the same? How many doors are there that we see every day? May each door remind you and me of our gospel text where Jesus says, “Verily, verily I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep [and yes, for the sheep]... I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” The gospel door in and through Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners, is yet open to all who will hear the gospel and come to Jesus. This door could soon, very soon even, be shut forever when the day of grace is past. So pay attention, won’t you, and pass the message on too. Jesus says, “I am the door”. Amen.

Hans Overduin, Radio Pastor

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