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Author:Rev. Stephen 't Hart
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Melville
 Melville, Australia
 www.frcsr.com/fellowship/melville/
 
Title:There’s only one door to eternal life
Text:John 10:7-9 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Unclassified
 
Preached:2018-03-04
Added:2021-12-12
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Bible Translation: ESV

Book of Praise: 2014

Psalm 118:1

Psalm 119:66

Psalm 95:1,2,3

Psalm 118:5

Psalm 62:3,4

 

Read:  John 9:13 – 10:21

Text:  John 10:7-10

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Stephen 't Hart, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When the apostle John wrote his gospel, he did so for a specific purpose, which He spelled out in John 20:31 –

“These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

What you find in the gospel according to John, therefore, and what you find in the rest of the Bible, is not just a collection of interesting facts and stories about God, about God’s Son Jesus Christ and about life in ancient Israel, but John leaves us with this question, a question that needs to be answered:  “What will you do with Jesus, who is the Christ?”

This is not a theoretical question, a question to be answered by weighing up the facts, conclude that “Yes, He is the Christ” and then go on with life.  Rather, the way in which you answer the question of who Jesus is will change your life.  If you receive Jesus as the Christ, if you believe in His name, then you will belong to Him, then you will enter His Kingdom and then you will receive eternal life.  But if you reject Him, if you do not receive Him as the Christ, then the kingdom is shut, there is no way in, and you will be left outside.

The Lord Jesus makes this clear to us in John 10:7 when He declared,

“I am the door of the sheep.”

And a door isn’t simply something to be looked at, to be admired from a distance.  A door is to be opened, a door enables one to pass through, to go in and out.  And in John 10:7-9 the Lord Jesus declares that He is the door, He is the One through whom we are to go in order to be saved, in order to have life and to have it abundantly.

And so the question we are faced with is this:  What will you do with Jesus who is the Christ?  What will you do with the door?  I preach to you God’s Word under the following heading:

There’s only one door to eternal life.

  1. A door to enter.
  2. A decision to be made.
  3. A life that awaits.

 

1. A door to enter.

There should be no doubt as to who Jesus really is.  He did not hide his true identity, that is, that He is the Son of God, the Messiah, but He made this known both in what He did and in what He said.  In John 9 the Lord Jesus healed a man who had been born blind and He did so, John 9:3-5 says, to reveal Himself as the light of the world and so that “the works of God should be revealed.”  The big question that was being asked at that time was, “Who is this Jesus?  Is He the Christ, the Son of God?”  The Pharisees had their answer to this question.  Who He was and where He came from, they said they did not know.  But what they did know, they said in John 9:24, was that Jesus is a sinner.  And elsewhere they declared that He had a demon.  And the Pharisees were so strong on this, that not only did they refuse to believe in Christ themselves, but they tried to stop the rest of the people from believing in Him as well.  The Jews had already agreed, John 9:22 says,

“that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.”

And that’s exactly what they did to the man born blind, the man whom Jesus healed.  After the man born blind said concerning the Lord Jesus,

“If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing” (John 9:33)

the Pharisees answered and said to him,

“You were completely born in your sins, and are you teaching us?”  And they cast him out.  (John 9:34)

But then Jesus found him, and when Jesus found him, He asked the man born blind a question:

“Do you believe in the Son of God?”  (John 9:35)

Notice the question that the Lord Jesus asked the man He had healed.  The Lord Jesus did not ask him if he felt it was still worth being healed of his blindness, the Lord Jesus didn’t ask him if he still believed that He was from God or if He was a prophet, but He asked him,

“Do you believe in the Son of God?”  (Note:  ESV:  Son of Man.)

That is, “Do you rely, not just for your gift of sight but for your whole life, on the Son of God?  Do you trust Him, do you entrust your whole life to Him, and are you prepared to follow Him?”

  You see, this is why the Lord Jesus came into the world.  He came, He said in John 9:39, so that

“those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”

Jesus said in John 9:3 that this man was born blind “so that the works of God should be revealed in Him” and the works of God was not just that the man might see for the first time in his life, but that God might open the eyes of his heart.

But while Jesus was making it abundantly clear as to who He is and while He was calling people to believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God, the Pharisess and the Jewish leaders were doing all the could to keep people away from Him, to turn peoples’ hearts away from Christ and from believing in His name.

That’s the context in which the Lord Jesus went on to speak about the shepherd and the sheep in John 10.  John 10:1,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up by some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”

The Pharisees and the other Jewish leaders considered Jesus to be a thief and a robber, taking people away from them and away, they claimed, from Moses.  But they were blind to the truth (John 9:41) and their sin remained.  And so it was not Jesus who was a thief and a robber, but the Jewish leaders.  Jesus was the true Shepherd, the one who entered the sheepfold by the door, the one who called out His sheep by name, the one whom the sheep would hear and follow.  But for all their talk about Moses the Pharisees were not true shepherds but they were thieves and robbers, those who come to kill and destroy.

When Jesus said this in John 10:1-5, the people did not understand Him, and so He spoke to them again in verse 7 and following, but this time He changed the metaphor, He changed the illustration.  In verse 1-5 the Lord spoke about Himself as the shepherd who would go to the sheep pen and call out his sheep by name.  In that scenario, we are to picture a fairly large enclosure in which a number of flocks of sheep would be housed for the night.  A doorkeeper would be there to guard the sheep, trying to keep thieves and robbers out.  Then, in the morning, the shepherd would go to collect his own sheep from the sheep pen.  The shepherd would whistle or call out to his sheep – in this case even calling the sheep by name – and the sheep would recognise his voice as their true and legitimate shepherd.  Hearing the shepherd, the sheep would then follow him out of the door and into pasture.

  But in verse 7-10 the illustration changes.  In these verses the Lord Jesus doesn’t liken Himself to a shepherd, nor even to a doorkeeper, but to the door itself.  John 10:7,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”

We need to see this as a different illustration to the first.  Later, in John 10:11, the Lord Jesus would go back to calling Himself “the Good Shepherd” but here He is the door through whom one must go through. 

  The type of sheep pen that verse 7-10 would have us think of is a smaller sheep pen, often outside of the village and away from peoples’ houses.  The walls of this sheep pen would be made of rocks and stones with pieces of sharp thornbushes and the like on top of the walls to keep wild animals and robbers out.  There would be a single opening, a gate or a door, to this sheep pen, through which the sheep would enter.  Some sheep pens would have a physical door, whereas in other cases the shepherd would lie across the doorway as a physical barrier to keep the sheep in and thieves and robbers out.  Whether in this case we should think of a physical door or of a shepherd acting as a door makes little difference in this illustration: the point is that everyone, both sheep and shepherds, were to come through Him, the door of the sheep.

Now understand the tension here.  By declaring Himself to be the door of the sheep, the Lord Jesus is setting Himself up against the Pharisees and the religious leaders of that time.  They were the thieves and robbers but He, and He alone, is the Door.  What Christ is telling us here is that He is the exclusive Saviour.  Either you come through Him and be saved, but if you reject Him, you will remain in your sins.

  But that’s what the Jewish leaders, the Scribes, the Pharisees the chief priests and others could not accept.  Initially the Jews who heard Jesus say this had difficulty in fully understanding what He meant, but when they did understand Him, many were offended.  They were offended at the teaching that they too would have to believe in Jesus Christ, that they too would have to go through Him who is the door to enter eternal life.  And they were offended at who Jesus was claiming to be.

  But it’s not just the Jews of Jesus’ day who could not accept the Lord Jesus’ saying:  many in our day cannot accept this either.   For people to have religious views about Jesus is fine for many people.  That people want to go to church and try to live a Christian lifestyle is well and good.  But to say there is no other way but Jesus?  To say that He is the only door?  “No”, many would say.  “You can’t say that.  Whatever you believe, so long as you are sincere about it, is enough.  There are many paths that lead to the top of the mountain, many paths to travel on your spiritual journey.  Choose one that suits you, be true to yourself, and everything will be alright.”  Except Jesus says that things will not be alright . . . unless you enter through Him.

But what do you think?  What do you believe?  Is Jesus really the door?  Is it really true that it is only faith in Him, in His name, that you will have life?  Isn’t such a claim too big to believe?

  It would be too big to believe and it would be offensive, except for who He is and what He came to do.  When the Lord Jesus said “I am the door of the sheep” He used an expression that you find on a number of occasions in the gospel according to John.  He said, “I am”, or in the Greek Ego Eimi, that is “I, I AM”.  And earlier, in John 8:58, Christ had gone so far as to say,

“Before Abraham was, I AM.”

And by speaking about Himself in this way, the Lord Jesus was declaring Himself to be God!  For every Jew knew that this was the name God gave Himself in the Old Testament.  When Moses spoke to the LORD in the Burning Bush in Exodus 3 and asked God for His name, the LORD said that He was I AM WHO I AM.  And He said,

“Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”  (Exodus 3:14). 

But now in John 10, as He did a number of times in John’s gospel, the Lord Jesus takes that special name of God, I AM, and He applies it to Himself.  In saying “I AM” in the manner that He did, therefore, the Lord Jesus was declaring Himself to be God.  And He, the Son of God, had become the Son of Man, born in human form, to take the sin of the world upon Himself, to pay for that sin and to open up the way to everlasting life.  The eternal Son of God, who is and remains true God, came down to be the door through which sinful men and women can go through to approach God the Father and to enter His Kingdom.  He is what Hebrews 10:20 calls “a new and living way” and it is through Him, Ephesians 2:18 says, that we have access to the Father.  Those who object to Jesus claim that He is the one and only door to salvation fail to realise that if it was not for Him, there would be no door at all!  But if we do receive Him, if we do go through that door, we will be saved.  But now we are faced with a question, now we are called to make a decision:  will you go through that door?  That brings us to our second point,

 

2.  A decision to be made.

The thing about doors is that they are designed to be opened and to walk through.  And whenever you are standing in front of a door, you are faced with a choice:  either you stay where you are, outside, or else – whether you open the door yourself or the door is opened for you – you walk through the doorway and to wherever that doorway might take you.  And in many respects, that’s the same with our Lord Jesus Christ.  When Christ found the man who had been born blind, after this man had been cast out of the Synagogue for saying that Jesus was from God, He said to him,

“Do you believe in the Son of God?”  (John 9:35)

The Lord Jesus didn’t just catch up with this man to have a chat together and to say how nice it was that this man thought so highly of Jesus, and that he defended Jesus’ honour before the Pharisees.  No, He came to the man with a question:  “Do you believe?”

  And that’s the same for us today!  It does not matter who you are or where you have come from, you can’t just stand by the door:  you need to make a decision concerning that door, you need to make a decision concerning Jesus Christ.  Perhaps you’ve already made that decision, even many years ago, and that is wonderful.  Perhaps, like the blind man whom Jesus healed, your eyes have been opened, you have embraced the gospel, the good news of salvation, have said words to the effect of “Lord, I believe!”  and you have worshipped Him.  But not one of us can forget the importance of going through that door, of confessing your faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour.  And so I ask you:  Do you receive Christ as the door?  Do you receive Him as the only way to the Father?  Do you worship Him as your Lord and Saviour?  The Lord Jesus says in John 10:9,

“If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved”,

but you need to enter!  It is not enough to simply say that you’ve been baptised, because your baptism calls for a response.  Psalm 95:6,7 says,

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the sheep of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”

But very next verse, Psalm 95:8 says,

“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness.”

The Israelites in the wilderness did harden their hearts, and they did not go through the door, they did not enter God’s rest.  But what about you?  What are you doing with the door who is Christ?  Have you ever heard that children’s song that comes from John 10,

“One door, and only one

And yet its sides are two

Inside and outside

On which side are you?”

And the question is a good one.  Which side of the door are you on?  Do you know?  When you are faced with who the Lord Jesus is, when you stand face-to-face with the door, you can’t just stand there.  A decision needs to be made: you are called to believe in Jesus Christ, the only Saviour, so that believing you might have life in His name.

Perhaps this call to make a decision leaves you somewhat uncomfortable.  Perhaps you wonder if it sounds too Arminian, too man-centred.  After all, doesn’t it say in John 6:44 that

“no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him”?

And that is true of course.  No man has ever made the first move towards God.  No man has ever, of his own free will, taken hold of the door that is Christ, opened that door and went in.  From God’s perspective people only come to Him because He has drawn them to Himself.  He’s the One, our Canons of Dort rightly says in chapter III/IV, article 11, who opens the closed and softens the hard heart.  He is the One who makes the will, which was dead, alive, that which was bad, good, tat which was unwilling, willing and that which was stubborn, obedient.  But that takes nothing away from the earnest call of the gospel!  That takes nothing away from the call that goes to all those who stand at the door who is Christ.  The Lord Jesus says,

“I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.”  (John 10:9)

Or, as it says in John 3:16,

“whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

So what about you?  Have you believed in Him?  Have you gone through the door?  It’s not hard it’s not complicated.  One commentator, James Montgomerie Boice, wrote,

“There is no complicated course to follow.  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, we should have to feel along it; some might be afraid to try.  But he is not a wall or a passageway.  He is a [door], and a [door] can be entered easily and instantly.”

When you come to a door, you can’t stand outside the door forever.  You need to make a decision.  And with respect to the Lord Jesus, the decision is this.  Recognise that in and of yourself you are spiritually blind, that you are lost, that you are sinful and that you need a Saviour.  Like the blind beggar recognize and accept that you have nothing to offer, nothing to give so that the door might be opened.  But like that blind man, come to Jesus, come to the Door, come to Him who says

“If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

 

3. A life that awaits.

For the man born blind, receiving his physical sight was just the beginning of the new life he received in Jesus Christ.  By believing in Jesus as the Son of God and worshipping Him, he became an heir to everlasting life and so he became one who would have life and, as John 10:10 says, have this life more abundantly.  And the same applies to us.  John 10:7-9 makes it very clear what sort of a life awaits those who enter through the door that is Christ.  In short, (as Montgomerie Boice puts it in his commentary) we will be saved, we will be safe and we will be satisfied.

  The Lord Jesus first says in John 10:9 that

“If anyone enters by Me he will be saved.”

He will be saved from his sin, he will be saved from the punishment of sin.  He will be freed from his sin, freed from guilt, freed from misery, to be given everlasting life.  And being saved in Christ we are also made new in Christ, so that we might now live as children of the light and not of darkness.

In addition to being saved, those who enter by the door will also be safe.  John 10:9b,

[He] “will go in and out and find pasture.”

He will be safe to go “in and out.”  In the list of blessings given to God’s people Israel, Deuteronomy 28:6 says,

“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.”

And Psalm 121:8,

“The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”

In times of danger a city would shut its gates and the people would be trapped inside, under siege.  But that’s not what will happen to those who go through the door that is Christ.  Rather, we look forward to dwelling with Christ in the New Jerusalem, in a city in which Revelation 21:25 says the gates shall not be shut but where there is freedom and where there is safety.

And third, the life that awaits those who enter the door that is Christ is one in which they will be satisfied.  We His sheep “will find pasture”.  Yes,

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me besides the still waters.  He restores my soul.”  (Psalm 23:2,3)

And more, Christ says in John 10:10,

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

That is, “that they may have life in superabundance, that they may have life to the full.”  And that starts here and now, in this life.  An abundant life is one where, forgiven in Christ, the love of God fills our hearts, our souls and our minds.  An abundant life is one where the peace of God guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Yes, to quote once more from Psalm 23,

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”  (Psalm 23:6)

Is that too much to expect, too much to hope for?  To be saved, to be safe, and to be satisfied?  It would be if Jesus was just a man.  It would be if He was not at the same time true God.  And it would be if He was not just the Door but also the Shepherd who lay down His life for His sheep.  But the Lord Jesus is all those things.  He is the Christ, the Son of God.  He is the Great I AM.  He is the One through whom you may have life and have it abundantly.  And therefore receive the Lord Jesus, believe in His name, and so be assured that you have entered through the door.

Amen.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Stephen 't Hart, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2018, Rev. Stephen 't Hart

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