Study in John’s Gospel. Presentation 33. I Am The Door Chap 10v1-10. Presentation 33. Introduction.
I meet a number of people who are confused by the many world religions; they say that they do not know what to believe. They genuinely want to go in the right direction, if only they can be sure what the 'right direction' really is!
In Jesus’ day people were asking, ‘Who are
we to believe? In what direction should we go?'
Jesus' answered with the arresting expression,
“Truly, truly, I say to you”. He was saying, 'I am
going to tell you something, which is totally
reliable something and which can be depended
upon absolutely'. Within the context of such
authoritative assurance we will examine Jesus’
words, "I am the door, if anyone enters by me
he will be saved".
We dare not examine Jesus’ claim to be the DOOR out of context. Why did Jesus make this claim and use this figure of speech? The teaching of v 1-5 is explained and amplified in v6. The story of the shepherd and the sheep begins by first introducing us to robbers, whose sole interest was to steal the sheep away from their rightful shepherd.
They had no right of access to the sheep but this
did not stop them from trying to get their hands
on them. They climb into the fold by another way.
These robbers are usually identified as the
Pharisees but the application widens to all who
are intent on keeping men and women out of the
kingdom of God.
The Pharisees and their modern day counterparts may sound extremely plausible: "We have tradition on our side. Jesus only causes division - to talk about the need of conversion in order to enter into the kingdom of God is to challenge the status quo”.
The religious establishment has often used these
arguments against the gospel. They were used
against Luther, Whitfield, Wesley and Moody,
to name but a few.
But in these verses, Jesus is saying,
‘I have a right to my sheep; I alone can lead them into
the kingdom. Those who challenge my right are thieves
Secondly, we discover in these verses that the aim of Jesus’ ministry was radically different from that of his opponents, who were invariably motivated by self-interest. They asked, “What is in this for me? How can I benefit from these sheep?” A clear reference is made to this in Mk.12v38-40... Do you see the self-interest of the teacher of the law with regard to his public image, his reputation, his power, his wealth and so on?
Or look at the way in which the Pharisees treated the blind man, who
had been healed and who had come to faith in Jesus in ch.9.
Were they pleased that the man, once blind, could now
see? No! They were indifferent to his welfare. However,
what did concern them was that they saw their authority,
their power, their teaching, and their position being
undermined by Jesus.
Look at the way in which Jesus sums up the function of the robber in v10… he comes ‘to steal, kill and destroy’. In contrast Jesus came that we might have ‘abundant life’. Jesus is not motivated by self-interest. He wants to give and goes on giving even to the point of laying down his life for the sheep.
Jesus is not a spiritual pickpocket, who embraces
you in order to rob you without your realising it.
Jesus did not come to fleece the sheep but
to provide for them. The uniqueness of his
provision, he restates in his magnificent claim
“I am the door whoever enters through me
will be saved”v9
Why did Jesus call himself the door into salvation? The original meaning of the word ‘salvation’ means ‘to provide elbow room, room to breathe in’, it has to do with ‘liberation and deliverance’.
When it is used in connection with Jesus, it has to do with deliverance from the guilt, power and penalty of sin.
In this regard you will remember the angel's words at Jesus’ birth, "you will call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins". Matt.1v21
Try to imagine the whole of humanity in a deep dungeon without light or fresh air. The stench is overwhelming but worse than that, there is no door, no way out. Despair grips the inmates. Then someone from outside, at great personal cost tunnels into the prison. At long last there is a way of escape.
This is what Jesus has done. He began
constructing the door at his incarnation.
The entrance was completed by his
death and resurrection. A door which
delivers us from sin’s penalty and power
and delivers us into the clear fresh air
of the kingdom of God's grace and glory.
Jesus does not describe himself as ‘a’ door but ‘The’ door into salvation. His claim is exclusive. "I, alone, am the door". We live in an age, where tolerance is exalted above conviction. As a result men water down the claims of Jesus
describing him as only one of many ways to God. Buddha taught,
“There are many ways to the top of the mountain it does not
matter which route we take".
Jesus says, “On the contrary, it does matter".
He is not being intolerant, when he says, ‘I am the only way
into the kingdom of God’, he is simply stating a fact. No one else
has broken into the dungeon from the outside, or borne the
cost of our sin. Only he is equipped and qualified to lead
us back to God.
Today, people will often describe the door by which they hope to enter the kingdom of God. As they do so some reveal the same kinds of reasoning as Jesus' contemporaries. The Pharisees trusted in a door that said,‘diligent law-keeping and correct religious observance’. The Greeks queued outside a door that read, ‘God can be bribed by offerings and service’ … the list goes on.
Imagine the shock of such people when they open these doors only to be met by a blank brick wall. Their hopes then collapse for they have clearly failed to open a door that leads into the kingdom of God.
The dungeon in which they sit already possesses the only way out but they insist on importing their own door, a different door. They entertain the vain hope that somehow the mass of brickwork behind this door will disappear. They have placed their faith in a mere
façade, which promises much but fails to deliver.
Many years ago there was a dreadful cinema fire in Abadan in Iran. The faces of some of the dead were fixed with horror. Why? The exits, which promised hope of escape, led to doors that were chained and padlocked.
Now think of the horror etched on the face of the person who, having trusted in a door other than Jesus discovers that salvation does not lie on the other side.
Your response to the unique claims of Jesus may cause you to say, “I accept the exclusive claims that Jesus has made and believe them to be true”. If so, then there remains one more question for you to answer. Have you entered this door?
You may reply, ‘No! But I am very close to the door’.
If you remain there too long, then you are in a vulnerable position. Many people are familiar with this door, they admire it, they are able to describe its importance, they can make a strong case arguing that there is no other way into God's kingdom! BUT all this familiarity with the door is no substitute for entering it.
Indeed, familiarity can blind people to their need of doing so. If you merely linger on the threshold then all your knowledge of the door will not benefit you one iota. Are you expecting God to drag you across the threshold? He will not!
God will neither bludgeon your will nor compel you.
Yes, God leads us to repentance, and yes God leads us to faith by the operation of his Spirit within our hearts,
having made it possible for us to act, God calls upon us to act. Have you entered by the door?
There are others with every intention of entering the door but not at the moment. They are waiting for a more convenient time. They say they want to enjoy life before entering the door. They fear what God may have in store for them on the other side of the door. They think God a spoilsport, who wants to make life less enjoyable.
That has been the Satan's lie from the
temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden
of Eden till the present day. Jesus talks about
‘abundant life’ on the other side of the door
v10. Are you waiting for a more convenient
time? In the lifespan of man God draws a line,
where exactly it is drawn we do not know. When
men cross that line the door is no longer open to them.
This truth is illustrated in the story of the ark. In Gen.7v16 we read, "The Lord shut him (Noah) in." The rest of mankind was shut out. It was too late for them to make use of God's provision. Multitudes of people, who rejected Noah’s preaching over many years, now searched in vain for the door of access into the ark, for a place of safety as the flood waters began to rise. Judgment had begun but the door of mercy was now closed to them.
Some people no sooner approach the door that God has provided in the person of his Son than they are frightened away from it. Like those approaching the door of a high class hotel, who are put off from entering by a stern looking commissionaire. They fear, wrongly, that they will not be made welcome.
Bunyan identifies this problem in Pilgrim's Progress. Pilgrim's wife and family come to the wicket gate.
As soon as they start knocking a fierce dog begins to bark. They are paralysed with fear and tempted to retreat.
But they persevere because they have no appetite
for the life they have left behind.
Later we learn that the dog was in the employ of Satan and given the task of frightening pilgrims away from the door. Have you heard his barking? Do you fear that you are not ready to come to God for; you are not good enough or, serious enough or, sorry enough for your sin… Satan is hell-bent on keeping you from knocking on this door.
Jesus continues to provide unique and sole access into the kingdom of God. He continues to stand before us and say, "I am the door if anyone enters by me he will be saved."
Do you see the uniqueness of Jesus’ provision, or are you attempting to construct your own door?
You may be familiar with this door but have you crossed the threshold? Do you see the danger of waiting for a more convenient time? Is your mind and heart assaulted by a variety of fears? Don't let any of these things turn you away. God will not pull you across the threshold. He sets before you an open door, you and you alone must decide to enter.