ENTERING THE DOOR, #619
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (JOH 10:9).
The chronology of the gospel as set forth by Jesus in this chapter is so important. We need to understand that the Lord Jesus teaches an order of events of how the gospel progresses in each and every soul. Every soul whom the Lord brings unto Himself is going to follow the chronology that the Lord Jesus is teaching in this chapter.
Take notice in JOH 10:3-4; "To him the porter openeth [that is the working of the Holy Spirit]; and the sheep hear his voice [when the Holy Spirit opens the heart, then the true sheep of Christ hear His voice]: and he calleth his own sheep by name [now we see the call of the gospel.], and leadeth them out. [He leads them out from the fields and service of sin.] And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." Chronologically we cannot alter the form that the Lord Jesus has established. His sheep follow Him in the way of the cross.
As we come to that state of Christian liberty, after the Lord has led us out from under the power and the service of sin, we begin to understand the preeminence of Christ. Christ becomes everything and comes before everything. Nothing stands ahead of the Lord Jesus Christ. He spoke of this in JOH 10:8, and we spoke of it in the last chapter. "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them." If you and I have anything in our hearts that we set ahead of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we will place ourselves in bondage. Then we will not understand the words of our text, that "if any man enter in." We will not know what it is to enter into the blessed fellowship and rest there is in Christ as long as we have something else that stands before Him.
Now, we see this chronology, the knowledge of these things, as they are requisite to entering the door of rest. There is more than just knowing that when we die we are going to go to heaven. When we enter that door, we enter a rest in this life. We come to have peace. We may still have many trials. We may still have many tribulations and many struggles, but the anxiety is taken out of it. We are able to come to a place where we can have rest and peace in Christ.
As long as we have something that has preeminence to Christ, we will never experience that peace. Any time if we have lived in that peace and we allow something else to infiltrate; we start committing spiritual adultery. We become adulterers. Our wedding garments become spotted when we start looking at big opportunities or whatever it may be that we have our hearts set upon. The next thing we will find is that the Lord withdraws Himself, and we lose that blessed haven of rest. We lose that perfect peace of mind. So now we have to go again to this chronology. There we will find these things are requisite to entering the door of rest and fellowship, which is found in Christ.
In JOH 10:9 He says, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." We cannot enter in by our emotions. We cannot enter in by intellect. We cannot enter in by anything but the chronology set forth, and that is following Jesus as our chief Shepherd.
Now, what does it mean to find pasture? In other words, are we just talking about something to feed upon? No. David gave such a beautiful description of this blessed haven of rest for the flock of Christ in PSA 23:1-3. Now follow this and see the beauty of the harmony with what Jesus is teaching here in JOH 10:9. "The LORD is my shepherd [Jesus says, By me if any man enter. They are only going to enter this by following the Lord as their Shepherd.]; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures [It is more than a mere place to feast upon for our own privilege and our own benefit. We are talking about a place of rest, a place where our souls can lay down and rest in places of bounty.]: he leadeth me beside the still waters [theres food and drink. We hunger and thirst after righteousness. He gives us that we may feed upon His perfect righteousness]. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
Where is this pasture of rest? It is in the path of righteousness. It is in the path of unconditional surrender to the will of God, and that is walking in righteousness for His names sake. What do we mean "for His names sake"? We have to understand that it is by the walk of the flock in the way of righteousness that the world will know that the Father has sent His Son. It is for His names sake. It is that our good works may glorify Him. As we walk in perfect harmony with the will of God and our hearts are in perfect conciliation with the will of God, then we find that He leads us in these paths of righteousness.
How does He lead us? By the fact that He shows us every way that we have to go, He leads us. However difficult it may be, we are only walking in the footsteps of our Saviour.
Now, such times of refreshing and spiritual rest are reserved for those who hear the Shepherd's voice and follow Him in the way of holiness. The only one way that we will ever come into these green pastures and this haven of rest is by following the Lord Jesus Christ, by following His footsteps in the way of holiness, by humble obedience to the revealed will of God.
ISA 35:8-10 is prophesying the blessed way that God the Father opened in the Lord Jesus Christ. "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it." When you and I follow the Lord Jesus Christ, we are going to follow Him in the way of holiness.
When we regard iniquity in our hearts and cherish sin in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us. If our hearts are polluted with the things of this life, we will not hear His voice. Then we will find that our hearts will not experience His blessed peace and His blessed rest.
Verse 8 concludes, "But it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." The world will call you a fool for walking in these ways. How can you give up that certain opportunity, and how can you give up this fleshly delight? They will look at you as fools, but we are wayfaring men. Do you know what that means? We are not here to stay. We are here only preparing for that great eternal rest and that great eternal dwelling that we will have with Christ.
In Verse 9 we read, "No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there." Redeemed. What did He come to redeem us from? He came to redeem us from all iniquity. Those who have been redeemed from iniquity and no longer walk in sin shall walk there. It is a place reserved for those who have been delivered from the power of sin.
Verse 10 says, "And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Do you see these fields of rest. Do you see those green pastures? Who will enjoy those green pastures? They are for those who walk in the way of righteousness.
Such blessed times of refreshing are a foretaste of that eternal rest which Christ has purchased for His Redeemed. The Lord gives us a day of rest, the Sabbath. The word sabbath means a weekly repose from secular distraction. This is an emblem of eternal rest. This rest that our text is speaking about, these green pastures, are emblems of that eternal haven of rest, where we will come to dwell with our God for all eternity.
The requisites for entering into these blessed pastures of rest are identical to those for entering our eternal rest. If you want rest in this life and that perfect peace that passes all understanding, you must meet the requirements. ISA 26:2 says, "And I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee." If you want to be able to live in a state of perfect peace of mind the requisite is exactly identical to the requisite to enter heaven. Why? We are talking about a bit of heaven. We are talking about a foretaste of heaven. What is the requisite for entering heaven?
Look at REV 21:27; "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." In other words, those whose lives are spelled out in the life of Christ. Nothing that defiles, nothing that works abomination or makes a lie will ever enter heaven. What does it mean to make a lie? It is by taking a partial truth, and what you say is perfectly true, but it is not the whole truth, and you make a lie.
I will give you an example. If I were to stand here and tell you that the Lord Jesus Christ died to take away the penalty of your sin and to open the way to go to heaven, I am telling you a truth. That statement is perfectly true, but if I dont tell you the whole truth, I make a lie. The statement is true, but it is only one part of the whole truth. I would be telling you the whole truth if I added, "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." LUK 13:3. Those who make a lie will not enter in.
There is also telling a white lie. When you take truth out of context, you can tell a whole truth, seemingly, but it is a truth that covers the truth; the end result is that you are making a lie. I have found this by experience in the court system. Lawyers will bring you in and ask you a loaded question. You will answer that question perfectly truthfully, along with other carefully selected questions. They will take the truths, accumulate them, and use them to make a lie. The end result is that they worked an abomination or made a lie. They will not enter into this rest or heaven. Those whose names are written in the Lambs book of life, in other words, those whose names are written in the same life-style and the Spirit of Christ, that the Lord Jesus walked are the ones who will enter.
Now, our text says in JOH 10:9, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." The Lord is telling us, in other words, by My example, by My leadership, by My quickening, by My leading you out of the power of sin, by My leading you out of the world of iniquity any man enter into the green pastures.
Now this door is not set forth as an ornament to impress the natural man. You can come to some buildings and they have a door that actually is an ornament, but this door that was opened is not an ornament to attract the natural man.
Look at ISA 53:2-3. I want you to see the prophetic description of this door. "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
Now, I want you to stop and ponder something. You see a man who has been prosecuted and condemned by the law, and he is being sentenced to death. What beauty do you see in that? There is no beauty in such a man. He is a man of sorrows. He has been condemned to die. He is the reproach of the whole earth. What beauty do you see in such a man? This is the image of the door that we have projected in the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to explain to you why that is. It is because you and I deserve to die. It is because you and I have deserved reproach, and He came to take our reproach.
You will never see any beauty in that Man until you learn to understand the depravity of your own heart. Until you have learned to understand that you deserve to be condemned to die and deserve to be the reproach of the whole earth, you will see no beauty in Christ. In Christ we see a spotless man who left His glory in heaven and came down and bore your reproach. Now, He becomes so beautiful. Until then, there is nothing there that a natural man would look at and find any beauty. He was a man of sorrows. He was smitten. He was rejected of men. He was acquainted with grief. It is as if we hid our faces from Him and despised Him. We esteemed Him not because we have not yet learned to understand His preeminence. We have not yet learned to understand that it was for our transgressions that He was smitten. It was for you and me that He suffered!
We will never see any beauty in Christ until He is seen in His condescension. He condescended to come down, leaving His place in glory to take our place. He took upon Himself all that we deserved and the reproach that we deserved. Sometimes we suffer reproach in this life. According to our human nature, we can get repulsive over that. People say very sarcastic and very offensive things about us. However, we learn to see that Christ can intimately relate with our every temptation and our every trial because He condescended to come down and to be tried and tempted so that He could intimately understand our every trial and temptation.
Now Christ also wants you and me to have a little intimacy with the reproach that He bore on our behalf. That is why we are going to suffer reproach in this life; we will get just a taste of the reproach that He bore for us. An intimate relationship requires both parties to understand and share the conditions surrounding them. When we have an intimate relationship with Him, He can intimately relate to our condition. We can then start to relate with intimacy to the price that He paid. We will never understand this until we have received a taste of reproach that we might also be able to share in His glory. See the blessedness of that door and start to see the beauty of that door that was open. He condescended to come down to take our reproach so that we could be cleared of that reproach and that we could go now and share in His glory.
In JOH 17:20-22 we read, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." Do you understand that? That the world may believe that the Father has sent His Son, we must be one. We must not be divided by contention and by strife. There must be oneness and love and unity that the world may see it and see that Spirit of Christ in us.
Now watch this. We are going to sit upon His throne. Now, do we start to see beauty in that door? That despised man, who came down to bear our reproach that we might share in His glory. Do you see the green pastures that we can feed in? Do you see the blessed hope that we have?
However, it is only after we have heard the voice of Christ and after we have followed Him out of the fields of sin do we have that blessed hope. Even if we with our natural understanding would have some understanding of what I am explaining to you, few are going to take part in it unless we understand chronologically what Christ has set forth as the way of salvation. We have to understand that we have to come out of the fields of sin. We are not going to find green pastures in the fields of sin, and until we have come out we will never experience that blessed peace and hope. We have then been renewed in the spirit of our mind to worship His preeminence. We need an understanding of Christ and what He did to see the beauty there is in Christ.
Then He is not looked at as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, but He is looked at as the Lord of life and glory, who condescended to come down and take my reproach. He came down to take away that nature, that sinful nature and to redeem me from all iniquity. Then I will enter that door which opens the way to such blessed green pastures of rest.
To enter that door means to enter into Christ, and the only one way is in the way of the Spirit of Christ. Look at HEB 10:35-36. "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." There is no salvation until after we have done the will of God. We first come out before we come in.
Faith, i.e., to believe the truthfulness of what Jesus says, is such an essential element to our entry into those green pastures. In HEB 10:35 it says, "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath a great recompense of reward."
Those who do cast away their confidence, those who walk in unbelief, through rebellion against the will of God, are as unstable as water.
Look at JAM 1:5-8. I want you to see the necessity of this faith, this obedience of faith, and if we lack this obedience of faith, we are as unstable as water. JAM 1:5-8 says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."
I want you to stop and think about something. We can have our hearts set on these green pastures, and we would have a desire to enter into these green pastures, but the allurements of sin keep drawing us away. As we walk in unbelief, we cast away our confidence by not doing His will, and we keep serving sin. So we want to have the blessings, but we also want to serve sin. We are just like a wave in the ocean. Have you ever watched one?
When I crossed the ocean it was a mystery to watch the waves of the ocean. It isnt a straight wall of water driven by the wind. I was in a hurricane out in the ocean, and I want to tell you what it does. You will be sitting on top of a mound of water, and as that mound of water goes down and disappears those mountains of water come up on the sides of you. Now when you are in a ship and one of those mountains of water begins to swell and that ship rises up on that and the end of the ship goes down. If you look over the deck, you can see the nose of the ship going into the water. There was 150 feet of water on top of the nose of that ship. It just vibrated and jarred like a crow bar when it is driven into hard ground. The next thing you know one of those walls of water will come up on the side of the ship. I was in the mess hall one time at the edge of the ship, and when one of those hit, I grabbed the table that was bolted to the floor and hung on and it. Other people in that whole mess hall slid to the side of the ship and the food trays on top of them. It was a skating rink. I had never seen anything like it.
Now, when you think that you can serve the flesh and walk in unbelief and then want to serve Christ you are as a wave in the sea. Its up, and a second later, its down. And it is as far down when it goes down as it is up when it goes up. You are unstable like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. There is no stability, there is nothing to rest upon. We must come to stability. We must be able to follow His good judgment if we want to walk in those green pastures of Christ.
JAM 1:8 says, "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." They will not receive anything from the Lord.
Unbelief causes a man to want to be argued out of doubt. Have you ever found people who just love to argue? They want to defend their position and they want you to argue them out of their doubt. Do you know why? They want more reasoning, persuading, and showing, but this will never convince them as we can see from the man who dwelt among the tombs.
It matters not how solid you can show the Word of God; you could be so convincing and so persuasive, but you will never bind someone with it. Notice MAR 5:3-4. I want you to see that you can never bind a man with the Word of God by convincing and arguing and reasoning. "And no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones."
He was walking in the place of death. He was among the tombs, among the things of death. How was that possible? How can a living man dwell among the tombs in a spiritual sense? How could a person dwell among the things of spiritual death? The stench is not recognized. A person who is dead does not smell death, but the very second you bring a live person into a tomb where there are dead corpses rotting, the stench will drive him away. This is the way it is in a spiritual sense, when the Holy Spirit quickens, and there is new life. The things of death come to have a stench that you cannot tolerate any more. You can no longer dwell with the things of death.
MAR 5:6 continues, "But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him." A man who is walking in unbelief doesnt need more persuading, what he needs is Christ. What he needs is that Christ is lifted up. By the eye of faith that he can behold that blessed redeeming love. He can enter into that door now and walk out of the things of life and the things of death. When the man saw Jesus, "he ran and worshipped him."
When that blessed Redeemer is raised before the eye of faith, there is life. Then we recognize the stench of death in everything of the flesh. The Lord Jesus leads us out of the things of death by giving us our spiritual senses, and the sense of smell is one of them. There is a stench in everything that is displeasing to the Lord, and therefore, the believer no longer has pleasure in those things.
Christ is the only door of hope for any man. Only love can cure as Jesus told the woman of Samaria! There is only one cure to unbelief-the love of Christ. There is only one cure. Look what the Lord Jesus told the woman of Samaria in JOH 4:10, "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God."
When you and I get a right understanding of the love of the Father in giving His Son, we begin to get a right understanding of the stench of sin in His nostrils. Can you imagine if one of your children found a dead animal and just rolled in it, and then came in the house and sat at the table and said, "Well, what did I do wrong?" Can you imagine you and I wallowing in the things of death and then wanting to come into the presence of the Lord and find His love and favor? We must be cleansed from he stench of death, the stench of that sin by the perfect righteousness of Christ. We must be cleansed by the love of Christ. We must be cleansed by His blood to remove the stench of death. We cannot come into that door with the stench of death.
Jesus said to that woman of Samaria in JOH 4:10, "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." If you knew who Christ was and you knew the Father and His love, then you would have a desire to be cleansed.
To every sinner our blessed Saviour is an open Door that is never shut; no sin is too great. No sinner will ever come to the door of Jesus Christ and find it closed.
Look at REV 21:25, "And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there." Never, ever, ever, ever will a sinner come to that door and find it closed because he is a sinner, but he may find it closed because he wants to take sin in with him. There is no room for anything through that door but the sinner himself.
We may have roamed away ever so far, but the door is never closed to those who repent. There are prerequisites to entering the door. Repentance. We must be cleansed. We must have that stench of death removed. By nature we dwell among the tombs. By nature the stench of death has moved upon us, and we must come out of those tombs. We must come out of the things of flesh, and we must be cleansed in the blood of Christ, before we can enter into the perfect rest.
In LUK 15:20 we will find the story of the prodigal son. He roamed far from his father. He spent his living in riotous living. He was with harlots. He was spending his life living in the stench of death. Then he came to himself and carefully planned his return and repentance. "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."
When we have turned from sin and turned unto the Lord Jesus Christ, He sees us coming while we are yet a great way off. He comes running, and He places His arms around us and He gives us the kisses of His love. That is far different than finding the door shut, isnt it? He is waiting. He is knocking on the door of our heart, and He wants us to recognize that we have something that stands in the way of our salvation. If we do not understand that love and that peace and that haven of rest, it is because we have something that holds pre-eminence to Christ, and it must be removed.
For the repentant sinner the Door is wide enough for a persecutor like Saul of Tarsus. What did he do? Look at 1TI 1:15-16, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." When the Lord saves one who is a renowned sinner, we see the precious longsuffering of Christ. That is what the Apostle Paul is telling us when he said, "That in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering."
No sinner has to despair, that is, a truly repentant sinner, one who has truly been cleansed from the stench of death, never has to despair that the gate is not open wide enough for him, that he has sinned too greatly or that he has gone too far.
On the other side of this same principle, there was a rich young man, a young ruler, who had kept all the law all from his youth. MAR 10:17 tells us, "And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" Verses 19-20 continue, "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth."
Verse 21 continues, "Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me."
Do you see where he was lacking? He had not taken up the cross. He was self-sufficient. He had done all the commandments Jesus listed in Verse 19. He had lived a good life. He thought he could go to heaven. Jesus said no because he expected to enter heaven based on his own self-righteousness. He was not trying to enter through the door. What is the door? The door is the perfect righteousness of Christ, and he was trying to enter by his own good works.
The rich young ruler was not willing to let go of the things he had done and acquired. The Lord Jesus put a finger right on his sweetheart sin, covetousness. He had saved up a great store of wealth, but the Lord Jesus said he was not giving to the poor. He was not doing what was commanded. He was not doing the spirit of the law, which is loving your neighbor as yourself. He was living in great wealth while the poor were suffering from want, and he was doing nothing about it.
Yet he said, "Master, all these have I observed from my youth." He had a legal religion. In a legalistic way, to the letter of the law, he had not killed anybody, he had not actually taken another mans wife, and he had not done these things. But considering the spirit of the law, he did not have a heart of love. Take up your cross. Self-sacrificial love is required. You are to love the other man enough that you are willing to sacrifice yourself for him. Jesus pointed this out. He needed repentance.
Now, of that door which is opened through the righteousness of Christ-and not that of our own. That is a very important thing. There is only one place we will ever enter, and that is through the strait gate. Jesus said in MAT 7:13-14, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." It is not the big multitude of Christian believers that are going to find the gate. Few, and when the Lord Jesus says, "Few," He means few.
Now, I want you to see why. That word strait means "narrow by reason of obstacles, or difficult to stand." What is the verse just before it? Do unto others as you would they do unto you. Now, the word strait means there are many obstacles that stand in the way and it is very difficult to stand. What did He say to the rich young ruler? Go sell all that you have and give to the poor. These obstacles were standing in his road. The obstacle was his own honor and his own wealth and he was not willing to identify with the poor. He was a rich young ruler. These are obstacles to salvation. These are obstacles to entering that door. "Strait" means that it is so "narrow by reason of obstacles," that it is very difficult to stand.
Now watch this. That door which was opened by the righteousness of Christ is too narrow to allow any such obstacles as self-righteousness, or any form of bitterness, or any unrighteousness of any kind to enter. Its a marvelous door. It is not an ornament to human reasoning. It is despised and rejected by the human mind. The way of salvation, the way of entering today is just as mocked and despised by modern Christianity as Christ was in His day. Do you know why? It is because we have to follow Christ without the camp and share in His reproach, and that is against our human reasoning. We have got to be able to turn a cold shoulder to all those who want to give us that big pat on the back and say, "Come on, good buddy, come with me." We have to be able to come out and then we can enter in.
Christ must first become our Door of exit from the service of sin, before He becomes a Door of entrance into the rest He has for His own sheep who hear His voice and follow Him.
Now look at ISA 26:3-4, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength." In the way of reproach, we follow Him in the way of the cross.
Our text says, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in." Man cannot enter in except by Christ first leading them out of the service of sin.
Look at PHI 1:29, "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." You and I are going to suffer reproach for His sake. And it is given unto you as a gift from the Father of light, the privilege that we may suffer shame for His sake. Do you know why? You and I are going to identify with our Saviour and not be ashamed of Christ and the reproach He bore, or we are not going to enter. That is why it is a privilege. That is why it is a privilege that we may suffer for His sake. Believing on Him is a gift. Believing on Him is a gift of faith that we receive from God.
Now, this same principle comes through most clearly in our chapter in JOH 10:16. "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." You and I are not going to take on that step of reproach of ourselves. We will never have the grace, outside of the divine influence of the Spirit upon our hearts, to follow Christ. We will never be able, by a firm resolution of our own to enter in the door of Christ.
Those whom our Lord Jesus Christ brings into that perfect state of peace find true Christian liberty. A lot of people have a wrong impression of Christian liberty. Jesus says in our text, "He shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." The world knows nothing of this liberty. Look at PSA 23:2; "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters." There is the liberty to be found in Christ.
A door is not only used to allow exit or entrance, but it is also used to exclude. Did you know that many will come to a closed door? Lets look at an example. You have your home, and when you come home from work, your wife and your children see you coming and the door stands open; they are there with their open arms to receive you. If the robber and the thief come to that same door, they will find it locked. When you and I come to that door as a robber or as a thief, we want to take Christ. We want to take heaven. We want to take - we come to a locked door because we are robbers and thieves. We have to become a part of the household before that door opens to us, and we come in without hindrance. Those who come to that door as robbers and thieves find that the door is closed, because they want to take sin with them.
Now lets look at MAT 16:18. "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." When we are in Christ many of the things that are excluded by that door being closed are the terrors and the trials and all the disappointments of this life. I am talking about those things that cause so much anxiety in our lives. I believe, the Lord has taught me well to understand how we can become so frustrated and we can have so much anxiety about these things of this life. We have anxiety until we are entered in and see the beauty of the tranquility of Christ under the trials that He went through and learn to understand that we receive all these things at the hand of our heavenly Father.
Now, when we are in, and that door is closed, all these anxieties come to a closed door. They cannot haunt us anymore. We have peace. We have tranquility. We can rest beside still waters and feed in those green pastures. The gates of hell cannot prevail against that perfect peace that God gives us.
So, what is that rock, or foundation upon which Christ will build His church? MAT 16:17 says, "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." The name, Simon Barjona means obedience, which is the offspring of holiness. That is the foundation upon which Christ will build His church. Flesh and blood will never reveal to you that the blessedness of salvation is that obedience is the offspring of holiness.
Christ is the Author and the Finisher of our faith as we see in HEB 12:2. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Verse 18 continues, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Therefore, He is not only the author of our rest, which we find in Him, but He also secures it by His restraining grace. When you and I have entered into rest, and we have entered into that rest, then we find that blessed security. It is not only in the fact that these trials cannot come to us but that He used restraining grace, and that door becomes a restraint. Those things that you would you cannot do because of His restraining grace.
So, that door is not only that you and I can enter in and is an exit to take us out of the fields of sin, but also now it is a closed door to all the powers of sin. All the powers of hell cannot prevail against it, and they cannot come in to harass you.
Look at GAL 5:17, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." And that word cannot, when you take that in the original means, God forbid, in other words, God restrains it. He does not allow it.
So, as we analyze our text we can recognize seven gospel principles are revealed:
FIRST: "I am the door," i.e., there is only one way whereby we can enter into the green pastures spoken of in PSA 23.
SECOND: "by me if any man enter in," i.e., it is only by the drawing power of Christ's love that any would desire to enter. You and I dont desire to walk in the way of the reproach of Christ. By nature that is not our desire. We have no pleasure in it, until it is by the drawing power of Christ and we see that in JOH 12:32-33, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die." What death did He die? He died unto sin.
THIRD: "If any man enter in," i.e., that door is open wide for the nations of the earth. That door is open so wide that the nations of the earth can enter in. REV 21:24 says, "And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it." It is open wide enough that the nations of the earth can enter.
FOURTH: "If any man enter in, he shall be saved." We are talking about an act of faith here. We are talking about an act of obedience of faith. We must enter. It doesnt say, He is going to pick us up by the hair and set us in, i.e., by the obedience of faith the miracle of salvation is performed as we obey.
This is revealed in ROM 16:25-26. "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith."
FIFTH: "He shall be saved," i.e., he shall be not only be delivered from the wrath of God, but also from the power of sin as we see in JOH 8:36, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
SIXTH: "And shall go in and out," i.e., he shall walk in Christian liberty as we see in GAL 5:13-14. "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
SEVENTH: "And find pasture," i.e., those who exercise their Christian liberty under the law of love will not only have spiritual food and drink, but will also find rest for their soul.
2PE 1:10-11 tells us, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
These are the seven gospel principles revealed in our text, JOH 10:9, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." Amen.
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