Monday, April 14, 2008

Easter 4 April 13, 2008

April 13, 2008
Easter 4
John 10:1-10
The Red Door

Churches often have red doors, not to indicate they are running in the “red” but to symbolize the door to the kingdom, made red by the blood shed on Calvary. A door is a means of entrance. Christ is the door to the kingdom of God. This is a message people really need to hear these days. This is a message we need to hear - a message to counteract the false tolerance and pluralism of the day - which makes Jesus out to be just another religious leader. Pluralism is an attempt by modern people to invent their own custom religion with God defined as “whatever fulfills your needs”.

Today Jesus is considered by many as nothing less then a moral guide and certainly nothing more! In today’s world whatever differences religions might have are not as important as their fundamental similarities. Therefore everyone can consider themselves “Spiritual.” Today we need to consider Jesus as the door of the kingdom.

1. Jesus is the one and only door — “the door” — v. 9. “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”

Jesus is not one among many. He is the only door. These words teach that Jesus is the only door which leads to life and salvation. He is not one of a series of doors which lead to God. In today’s world, the emphasis is upon pluralism — one religion being as valid and certain as the next one. Christianity is considered by some as one of many ways to God. This passage contradicts pluralism.

Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep.” (Vs. 7) Do you know why Christ is the only door to the heavenly pasture? He went out of a door, the door of his Father’s house. He left that house to be born in a stable to live, die and rise again for you. He came for your salvation.

2. Jesus is the door to God — “he will be saved” — v. 9.

The door to life, to God, to salvation, is Jesus. Is this not the basis for evangelism and missions to non-Christian people? It is not done in the interests of building up a gigantic religious organization in the hope of getting a control hold but of sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Jesus had a door slammed in His face, on the cruel and bloody cross. Being abandoned by His Father Jesus cried from the cross, “My God, Why?” “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) The Father slammed the door of heaven right in Christ’s face. Jesus pounded on that door - until His knuckles were bloody and red and raw. No answer! Christ endured such torture that we might look forward only to the blessings of heaven.

He went through the door, - the door of death - on Good Friday.

He came out of the door, that door of death on Easter. By going through that door and coming out again, He has become your door to the heavenly pasture.

3. Jesus is the door to freedom — “go in and out and find pasture” — v. 9.

As your good Shepherd Jesus goes before His sheep “…He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.” (Vs. 4) You don’t have to worry about the future. The Shepherd is ahead of you making it good and glad and safe for you. In the Shepherd Psalm, Psalm 23, David reminds us, “Thou prepares a table before me” i.e. He sets pasture land before me, right under the nose of my enemies.

You don’t have to be frightened about anything – even the last enemy - death. He still goes before you even in that experience. He knows the way, every inch of it. He stands by with rod and staff to comfort and the correct.

4. Jesus is the door to life — v. 10. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Jesus says that He came to bring abundant life to all people. What is life? There is more then seeing life as mere physical existence. Children of the heavenly Father have the “Life” of God in them. Our Good Shepherd doesn’t care to get things out of us, things like obedience and love. We are not worth very much of these things. It really wouldn’t pay Him to rob us. The take would be too small. Our Shepherd doesn’t come to get things out of us. He comes to give, to give His life as a purchase price for our pardon and eternal blessings.

Our Shepherd is good because He lays down His life for the sheep. Instead of beating His sheep from straying, the Good Shepherd beats Himself. It happened when He died the death of the cross for the pardon and salvation of His staying sheep. He is good because He takes up His laid-down life.

The only reason we call Christ Good is because of Easter when He wrestles forever free from the tenacious grip of death. Now to us His sheep He says, “Because I live you will love also.” (John 14:19) No other Shepherd can match that promise. Only Christ, the Good Shepherd can say, “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” (Vs. 10)

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

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