From the sermon of July 21, 2019 by Rev. R. Andrew Maxwell. Scripture base is John 10:6-20.
(All Bible verses are taken from the New Living
Translation unless otherwise noted.)
Bible times the shepherds would lay across the gate to the sheep pen keeping
predators out and the sheep safely in.
During the day they would lead the sheep out to find good pasture and
safe water supplies. The shepherds led
and stayed with the sheep to protect them from predators and thieves. At night they would put the sheep into an
enclosure that only had one entrance. If someone or a wild animal tried to
attack or steal the sheep, they had to go through the shepherd. He also served as a door to prevent the sheep
from wandering out of the fold into the dark.
said in John 10:6-10, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the
sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves
and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9 Yes,
I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come
and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The
thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a
rich and satisfying life.”
I mentioned in the first week of this series, Jesus is the door through which
we are saved. In this illustration Jesus
is the Good Shepherd who protects us from those who would seek to separate us
from God the Father. The devil would
seek to enslave us, harm us and kill us.
Jesus told us that the devil was a thief, a liar, and a murder. Through lies and deception the devil seeks to
lead people astray, to steal our souls away from God. His ultimate goal is to see us separated from
God and his blessings eternally and to experience his wrath forever in the Lake
of Fire that the Bible calls the Second Death.
came to save us from all the devil planned to do to us. He crushed Satan’s power by going through the
cross and rising from the dead, thus breaking open the doors of death and the
grave. Christ came to destroy the work
of the devil and he did this by stepping aside from his throne in heaven and
becoming fully human in mortal flesh that he might taste death on our behalf. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 2:14-15, “Because
God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became
flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying
could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only
in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the
fear of dying.”
of what Jesus did we have the freedom to explore and find all of the good
things that God has prepared for us to enjoy (the freedom to come and go and
find good pastures). As the Apostle
James said, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from
God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never
changes or casts a shifting shadow.” – James 1:17. Also, the Apostle Paul
said in 1 Timothy 6:17, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be
proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust
should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” –
of the things we treasure in America is our tremendous level of freedom to live
and enjoy life as we desire. The
limiting factor is the rights that others also have. Thus, we created a tremendous Bill of Rights
and a Constitution designed to protect those rights for all people. This freedom has brought great wealth to many
problem is a nation’s constitution cannot guarantee you will be able to enjoy
those rights. It only gives you the
right to try. In a fallen world we have
many limiting factors: poor health, lack of opportunity, poverty, ignorance,
corruption in politics and business, and crime. All of these things limit our abilities in
this world. This is why Paul said our
trust should be in God as worldly wealth is unreliable.
of the protection we have in Jesus and the way he teaches us to live with one
another we are free to pursue many avenues in Christ. We should always seek God’s best will for us
and not our own selfish will. Living for
selfish and sinful desires brings death to our bodies and souls, living for
Jesus brings a fullness of life we never before imagined.
was in accordance with God’s will for us: to give us a rich and satisfying life
that would last forever! One of the men
who discovered the secret to great wealth in Christ was Brother Lawrence, a 17th
century monk in France who in the last fifteen years of his life sought to live
every day for the love of God. He
ordered the wine for the monastery and washed pots and pans, yet he had an
abundance of joy in the presence of God that money cannot buy. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism is
another man who learned the great joy of living daily in Jesus. Though he had great wealth at his disposal
having one of the highest incomes in all of England in his day, he gave the
vast majority of it away and lived a very frugal life. His joy was not in the power of the
pocketbook, but in knowing and serving Jesus.
The same key applies for us.
While God gives us many good things in this world to enjoy, the key to
our joy is in knowing and serving Jesus.
But, … what did it cost Jesus to give us this wealth?
we mentioned earlier from Hebrews 2:14-15, Christ became human in order to
experience death. By going into the
realm of the dead by means of the cross, he paid the penalty for our sins and
God’s wrath was satisfied. According to
the Apostle Peter, Christ even went and preached to the souls of those who had
died before going into the realm of the dead as fully God who had taken on
human form (1 Peter 2:18-21).
part of the flock of God, we know the voice of God, of Christ our Savior. In ancient times and even today in the Middle
East shepherds will bring their flocks together on good pastureland. But when it is time to go, the shepherd calls
and his sheep will recognize his voice and follow him. The shepherd will then count the sheep as they
enter the fold for the night. If one is
missing, he will go and search for the lost sheep to protect it and bring it
home, – just like Jesus spoke about in Luke 15:1-7.
said,“The Father loves me because I sacrifice
my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can
take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to
lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my
Father has commanded.” – John 10:17-18.
For Jesus, the cross was the doorway by which he entered death. No one could force him to do it, but he did
so willingly because the Father commanded it.
His resurrection from the dead was how he opened death’s doors. In a sense he smashed them down. Death had no power to hold him. He opened that door for us so that everyone
who will turn away from their sins and trust him will have the promise of a
resurrection from the dead to eternal life.
were divided in their opinions about him: 1) some saying he was demon-possessed
or insane; while 2) others said such a person could not do the miracles he
did. No one remained neutral about
Jesus. Today it is the same. No one who
encounters or is confronted with the claims of Christ Jesus can remain neutral
or indifferent about him. A person can
accept him as Lord and Christ, God’s chosen King and only Savior for all mankind
or they can reject him. Indifference
towards him or ignoring him are just forms of rejection as to who Jesus is.
about you? Who is this Jesus to you?
he merely a great teacher with eccentric ideas?
he a fraud, a false teacher?
is he the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of the world, the King of all
around the world are divided about him, but no one who encounters him is
neutral about him. As Christians, part
of our job is to share this Good News of the Gospel. A little tract called Doors of Bible
has been published by Answers in Genesis*. It is a simple explanation of how
salvation by faith in Christ works so that you can share it with others. There is no pre-written prayer in this tract. Each one of us must approach Christ in the
words and actions that represent our faith and understanding his Lordship and
more information on or from Answers in Genesis you will find them at http://www.answersingenesis.org
or you may write to them at: Answers in Genesis, PO Box 510, Hebron, KY 41048
or call them at (800) 778-3390.