An Ikthus East Sermon, April 2016
TEXT: John 10:7-10
There’s a saying that goes this way: “Jesus is the Answer. What is the question?” The point of this saying is not that Jesus is the answer to all kinds of questions, but that Jesus is the answer to the deepest questions in life. That is, the only way to find true meaning and purpose and satisfaction in life is by entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. And I think that’s the point of all these metaphors that Jesus used to describe himself. They are figures of speech that communicate in a very powerful way who Jesus is for us. When he says, I am the light, it’s a powerful way of saying that through me you can have true enlightenment. When he says I am the bread of life, it’s a powerful way of saying that through me you can have true satisfaction, and when he says I am the door, it’s a vivid and powerful way of saying that it’s through me that you can enter into eternal life.
1. JESUS IS THE DOOR TO SALVATION
(a) Jesus is the only way to be saved.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7)
According to New Testament scholar William Barclay –
“But when the sheep were out on the hills in the warm season and did not return at night to the village at all, they were collected into sheep-folds on the hillside. These hillside sheep-folds were just open spaces enclosed by a wall. In them there was an opening by which the sheep came in and went out; but there was no door of any kind. What happened was that at night the shepherd himself lay down across the opening and no sheep could get out or in except over his body. In the most literal sense the shepherd was the door.”
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
(b) All those who teach any other way are false teachers who rob the sheep of true life.
“All who came before me are thieves and robbers…” (John 10:8a)
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)
“Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:22-23)
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” (1 John 4:1-3)
(c) We who teach and preach should be careful to offer in our preaching and teaching not the wisdom of this world, but the gospel of Jesus Christ – because only the latter saves.
“Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe… [We] preach Christ crucified…” (1 Corinthians 1:20,21,23a)
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and vain deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
(d) True Christians stick to Christ and his gospel; they will not listen to false teachers. They can discern the true from the false.
“All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.” (John 10:8)
“So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.’” (John 6:67-69)
“They are from the world; therefore, they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:5-6)
“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting.” (2 John 9-10)
2. JESUS IS THE DOOR TO SAFETY.
“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out find pasture.”
“To be able to come and go unmolested was the Jewish way of describing a life that is absolutely secure and safe.” (William Barclay)
See Psalm 121, especially verse 8. See also Romans 8:35-39. There is absolute safety in Christ.
3. JESUS IS THE DOOR TO SATISFACTION.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
“Men lead lives of quiet desperation.” (Henry David Thoreau)
It is possible to have everything and still feel empty. It’s also possible to have nothing and yet have everything.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:7-8)
The apostle Paul was living life to the full even though he was in prison because he found satisfaction in Jesus Christ.
“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11b-13)
Paul could rejoice and be at peace – even in prison. Abundant life is not dependent on circumstances.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice… do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4,6,7)
The abundant life does not consist in owning a lot of material things.
“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 11:15)
The abundant life consists of faith in God’s faithfulness, which gives rise to a sense of security, and results in a life of generosity and good works.
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
The abundant life is a life of unselfish giving and not selfish hoarding. It is the life which Jesus lived.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24-25)