15 June 2007

"I AM" The Door of the Sheep--John 10:7

You know, it’s funny how many sayings we often think are in the Bible actually aren’t. For example, “God helps those who help themselves.” Not in the Bible. In fact, many places say that GOD helps us when we CAN'T help ourselves. Well, what about, “Money is the root of all evil.” That’s gotta be in there, right? Not quite. 1st Timothy 6:10 says that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. And in much the same way that people make these mistakes about the Bible, many more people make eternal mistakes about heaven. They think that doing good deeds and being a “good person” will get us there. But Romans 3:10 tells us that …there is none righteous, NO NOT ONE. They think that because they said a little prayer, and they read their Bible, and they went to church, that they’ve scored enough brownie points with GOD for Him to let them into His kingdom. Isaiah 64:6 says that all of our “good deeds” are like filthy rags. Fact of the matter is there is only ONE WAY to enter into eternal rest in the kingdom of GOD. And in a verse we’ll be looking at in a few weeks, Jesus tells us that HE is THE ONLY WAY to go to the Father.

We’re looking at the 9 times when Jesus used the phrase “I AM” to refer to Himself. And how that phrase “I AM” is the phrase that GOD used when Moses asked Him, “Whom shall I say sent me?” and GOD replied, “Tell them ‘I AM’ has sent you.” This is the fourth in our series. We’ve seen in chapter 6 how Jesus is like bread to our soul. Then in chapters 8 and 9, we saw that He is the light that leads us through this world of darkness. Well, today, we’re going to see that Jesus calls His sheep, guides them, and protects them.

John 10:1-10—“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I AM the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I AM the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Just a little background on what Jesus is saying here. Back around this time, people who owned a lot of sheep would have their pen close to their house, with a high wall and a door. They would have someone at the door, and his job was to open that door for the shepherd. And only the shepherd could go through the door. Jesus said, “I AM that door.” And it didn’t dawn on me until I read what John Gill had to say about this:
I am the door of the sheep; and of none but them; not of goats, dogs, or swine; none but sheep enter at this door; and all the sheep do sooner or later.
What does a door do? It lets in what you want let in. It keeps out what you want kept out.

So first let’s look at WHAT THE DOOR LETS IN.
First, it lets in FAITH.
Hebrews 11:1—Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. One of the first passages that you learn as a new Christian is Ephesians 2:8-9--For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. The faith that you have was given to you by GOD. I have not found one verse in the Bible that tells us that true, saving faith can come from us. That we can come to know and trust completely from now until we fall asleep by anything inside of us. Our minds, our hearts, nothing that is of us could ever lead us to a faith in Christ that would last for all of our days.

Second, this Door lets in HOPE.
You’ve probably never heard of the Valley of Achor. I hadn't until about a year ago. But in the book of Joshua, after the battle of Jericho, a man named Achan disobeys GOD’s command, and took some stuff out of the city. And because of this, the next time the Israelites went out to battle, they got whupped. And, long story short, Achan and his family lost their lives. And they named the valley “Achor,” which means “causing sorrow.” Remember, “causing sorrow.” You can find this story in Joshua chapter 7. But wait! Listen to Isaiah 65:9-10—I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there. Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for My people who have sought Me. This place that had once been the site of one of the most blatant transgressions against GOD, a place called “Sorrow” would be a place for His sheep to lie down! And check out this verse from Hosea 2:15—And I will give her her vineyards from thence and the valley of Achor for a door of hope… GOD will take the sorrows in our lives, and use them to bring healing to us, and glory to Himself. Isaiah says again that GOD will give us beauty for ashes. He will give us hope for our despair.

What is this hope?
Colossians 1:27—…Christ in you, the hope of glory…
Romans 8:24-25—For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Hope, Godly hope, means something more than we mean when we talk about hope. “I hope it doesn’t rain,” “I hope I get I've got the right lottery ticket,” etc. When the Bible talks about hope, it means “to anticipate with pleasure.” If you're not sure something’s going to happen, how much pleasure do you have in your hope? But we have this hope in Christ: that what He said is going to happen, is going to happen! That as Paul wrote in Philippians 1:6, we can be confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ… Do you hear the word “maybe” in there anywhere? The Door lets in faith, it lets in hope.

The Door lets in LOVE.
Many times, we humans throw around this word “love” without really thinking about it. We think of love as this kinda squishy feeling we have for our family or our spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. That kind of love isn't necessarily a bad thing. It’s a good thing actually. But the kind of love I'm talking about here, the kind of love that Christ shows us, is the kind of love that will never change no matter what. You see, no matter how much we love the people in our lives with human love, things can change. We can say the wrong thing, or misunderstand what someone said, and that love just goes, “whoosh.” But the love that the Door, that is Christ Jesus, lets into our lives is the kind of love that will never change no matter what.

Romans 8:38-39—…I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1st John 3:23—And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
GOD is not going to command us to do something, and then leave us on our own to figure out how to live up to this commandment on our own. If He commands us to do something, He will give us what we need to do it. He commands us to love, and He gives us the power to love. And what does this love look like? What is this love that GOD gives to us to show to others?
1st Corinthians 13:4-7—Love is patient and kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, doesn’t always have to have its own way, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in sin, but rejoices in the truth; puts up with other people’s quirks, trusts in GOD for all things, puts all of its hope in GOD for everything, and endures all kinds of hardships.

That’s the kinds of love that this Door lets into our lives. And how is it that this Door could let this faith, this hope, and this love into our lives? It was through His cross. When He went to the cross, and He took our sins upon Himself, and took them to the Father, He became our sin, and He made us the righteousness of GOD. 2nd Corinthians 5:21—For GOD made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. The Door lets in faith, hope, and love.


Now, let’s see WHAT THE DOOR KEEPS OUT.
The purpose of the door of the sheepfold was to keep out thieves. Look at verse 1. Jesus says, “…he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” Remember I started out by telling you that many people think that there are many roads that lead to the kingdom of GOD? There are people that worship Allah, or Buddha, or some other false “little-g” god. But then there are those who claim to worship GOD—Almighty GOD—and yet they ignore the clear teachings in the Bible, and lead people down a side road that looks like it leads to the heaven we know, but in the end leads to their destruction. Let me put it in everyday terms. If you get on Kingston Pike, you’ll eventually wind up in Kingston. Clinton Hwy. goes to Clinton. So it's a bit odd that Tazewell Pike doesn’t go anywhere near Tazewell. And that Jacksboro Pike doesn’t go anywhere near Jacksboro.

Well, in much the same way, Jehovah's Witnesses claim that they worship Jehovah, the one, true, living GOD. But they have so badly twisted His word, that it kinda sounds good, but if you follow their road, you won't wind up where you want to go. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—the Mormons—they have the name “Jesus Christ” in the name of their organization. They use the Bible…once in a while…when they need it to agree with their teachings. But they too mangle the Scriptures, and add stuff to the Scriptures that are just—wrong. And their road does not lead to heaven.

The one who is behind these and all other false religions is the robber, and the thief. And it is this thief that the Door keeps out. Notice what Jesus said in verse 8—“All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.” So we who have heard the calling of the True GOD, we follow Him, and we see all these others who look like they have a form of righteousness, but we don’t hear them, we don’t listen to them, we hear and we follow the one true living GOD, and we enter in through the Door of the sheep. And we don’t follow thieves. Because what does the thief come to do?

THE THIEF COMES TO STEAL.
Matthew 13:19—“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.” Do you think Satan liked it when you stopped being his slave? When you heard Jesus knocking at the door of your heart, and invited Him in, and made Him the Lord of your life? When someone does, Satan is going to send someone to steal that word that was sown in their heart. Matthew 7:15—“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Satan sends these wolves, and uses these wolves to test your heart, and to steal the seed of truth that was shown to you by GOD. And he has purposed to try and steal sheep out of GOD’s flock. And like the thief Jesus talks about, Satan will climb walls, and look for any cracks to get to the sheep. But, he can't get to the sheep. Because Jesus is the Door. And no one can get to the sheep unless Jesus lets them in. And do you think He’s gonna do that?

Now, check this out. I want you to look at verses 4-5. There are those who think that even after you are one of GOD’s sheep, that you can ever leave His flock. But listen to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. John 10:4-5—“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Once Jesus calls us into His flock, and the Holy Spirit seals us to Christ, and He becomes our Shepherd, we will follow HIM AND ONLY HIM!!! Once we become one of His sheep, we will by no means follow anyone else but our Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ!!!

THE THIEF COMES TO KILL.
1st Peter 5:8—…the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. We all know what it says in John 3:16. Now, think about it. If Jesus came so we may have eternal life, well, what’s the opposite of that? We’re all guaranteed an eternal EXISTENCE. But only those who know Christ as their Savior and Lord will have eternal LIFE. Listen to Revelation 20:14—Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. There are many who have been deceived into thinking they had eternal life, only to wind up standing before the Lord, being judged, and hearing those most dreaded words, “I never knew you. Depart ye worker of iniquity.” Not, “I knew you for a while but you left.” He will say, “I never knew you to begin with.” The thief comes to kill, and to steal.

Finally, THE THIEF COMES TO DESTROY.
Matthew 7:13-14—“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” 2nd Timothy 3:5 tells us that some will come, Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. Mormons have a form of godliness, Jehovah's Witnesses have a form of godliness. But because they are led astray by the thief, they deny the power of GOD, and walk that broad road, and enter that wide gate that leads to their destruction. And don’t think that the thief will ever give up on you. He’ll attack, and attack. But when you resist him, unless you resist him by the power of the Holy Spirit, that thief will overtake you. Listen to Luke 11:24-26—“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”

Now, check this out:
  • The thief comes to kill. Jesus says at the end of verse 10, “I have come that they may have life...”
  • The thief comes to steal. In Amos 2:25, GOD says, I will restore the years that the locusts have devoured.
  • The thief comes to destroy. In John 14:2-3, Jesus says, “I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again and receive you unto Myself, so where I am, you shall be also.”
Jesus is the Door that keeps the sheep. And He is the Door that keeps the thief out.

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