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Princeton Presbyterian Church (EPC) Sermon # 1315

Dr. Ed Pettus August 20, 2017 John 10:1-10

(This is an extended outline, not a verbatim transcript.)

 

“I Am the Door”

 

We have been walking through the “I Am” statements of Jesus through the gospel of John. We began with the statement Jesus said to the Jews, “Before Abraham was, I am.” We were taken back what the Jews would have remembered when God told Moses, “I am who I am” and tell ‘em “I Am” sent ya! This connected Jesus to God the Father in a way that disturbed the Jews of the time but teaches us once again that Jesus and the Father are one with the Holy Spirit.

We followed that Sunday with Jesus teaching us that He is the Bread of Life. We are fed by Jesus and in His word. We are nurtured at the Eucharist table by the Holy Spirit. We do not live by physical bread alone, but by every word that comes from God.

Last Sunday we explored Jesus lighting us up with “I Am the Light of the world.” His word lights our path, His light gives us fellowship and forgiveness, and His light is our light and life.

Today we take up Jesus’ words, “I am the door.” I want to begin on a negative note with thieves and robbers.

 

  • Thieves and Robbers

 

Jesus speaks of thieves and robbers in three verses in our reading for today:

Verse 1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.

Verse 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.

Verse 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

 

Thieves and robbers seek to take away our freedom, our hope, our faith, our love, or our obedience to Christ. Thieves and robbers come to take away the life that God gives in Jesus. They have been known to us throughout the scriptures. The serpent, Pharaoh, Baal, the devil, sin, death, the world and so forth, anyone or anything that seeks to distract us from following Jesus. Anyone or anything that seeks to take life in Christ from us. In Genesis it was the serpent who asked Eve if God really said what He said. Later it would be Pharaoh who refused to let God’s people go. Elijah challenged the false god Baal since the people refused to follow God in order to go after Baal, a robber and a thief. The devil runs throughout the Bible whether in the book of Job or like a roaring lion in 1 Peter 5. Jesus may have specifically meant the Pharisees and Sadducees, a group once referred to as a brood of vipers. Some of our biggest enemies are the sins that abide still: greed, pride, lust, no time to list them all here! And what about the things of the world...1 John 2:15-16,

 

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 

 

All of these are thieves and robbers. They only want to steal and kill and destroy everything that Jesus has built. I’ve got good news for them, not even the gates of hell will prevail over all that Jesus has built.

 

One of the things that these verses reveal is that Jesus is the only true Messiah. All others are counterfeit. All others who claim to save or bring genuine hope are fake. Fake news on either side of the aisle is counterfeit. The good news is the real, true news. Truth. We learned in Bible study last Wednesday that those who specialize in knowing counterfeit money or counterfeit diamonds learn how to know counterfeits, not by studying counterfeits, but by studying the real thing. We can know a counterfeit bill or counterfeit diamond by knowing what the real ones look like and feel like. We might also know the truth from a lie, real from fake, messiah from thief, by studying and knowing the real Messiah, Jesus Christ. That leads us to our second point for the day...to know His voice.

 

  • To Know His Voice

 

3bThe sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  4When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  5A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.

 

I shared with you some time ago about how sheep will only respond to their shepherds voice. YouTube has this great video that shows several people trying to call the sheep and it is not until the shepherd calls out that they even look up and start moving toward the shepherd. What is most vital for us is to be like those who study real money to know when they see counterfeit. We need to know Jesus’ voice that we might know all the counterfeits in the world. We know His voice by knowing His word. We know His voice by knowing the Scriptures. We know His voice in obedience and love.

 

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10

 

We learn God’s word so that we will not follow the thieves and robbers of the world. We learn to hear only the voice of Jesus in order to silence the enemies of life. We learn the truth so that we might be able to discern truth from lies. Jesus’ “voice”, His word, becomes the most familiar of voices. It’s like when we call someone on the phone or we receive a call, sometimes we are recognized right away and sometimes recognize who has called us. (I know, unless you cheat with caller ID.) We train our hearts and minds and ears to know Jesus’ voice so that we might not sin, might not be led astray, might not fall into the ways of the world. We are called by name, led to green pastures, and given life only in Jesus Christ because He is the door.

 

 

  • I Am the Door”

 

7So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep…. 9I am the door.

 

Jesus is Lord. Jesus is the Way. Jesus is the door/gate for the sheep. All others are false gods. The “I Am” has “shown us the door”, not in the sense we would normally use that phrase, to show someone out, but to show us the way in and out, in to God’s family and out to pleasant places. In to the protection of God’s flock and out to the land of milk and honey. In to forgiveness of sin and out to life. In to the way of God’s kingdom and out to tell the world.

It has become popular in culture to claim that there are many ways to God, that Christians do not have an exclusive claim, but the Scriptures tell us otherwise. I believe the verses that claim Jesus as the only way would and should encourage us to share the good news. If we think we can be saved through any other means, then we betray the message we are commanded to proclaim. I am not really concerned that so many people want to believe that there are many ways to God. My only concern is to do as Jesus has told us, to tell the world that He is the Door, the Way, the Gate. If we enter by Him, we are saved. Jesus speaks of salvation after proclaiming He is the Door.

 

 

 

  • Salvation, Pasture, and Abundant Life

 

9I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

 

 

Salvation

There’s no way around it. Jesus is the only way to salvation, to God, to heaven, to pasture, to life in abundance.

 

Narrow way – Matthew 7:13-14 13“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

 

Acts 4:12 – 12And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

 

Later in this series we are going to get to this statement, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

 

 

 

Pasture

 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

 

He makes, He leads, He restores, He leads. We are led to lie down in green pastures maybe in a comfortable hammock. We are led to still waters for refreshment. Our souls are restored to a peaceful existence. We are lead down the right path all for the sake of His name.

 

 

Abundant Life

 

Jesus came to bring us life. Not just life eternal, which He does, but life right now. Better, joyful, peaceful, grace-filled and graceful life. It is abundant because Jesus is the giver. It is abundant because there is always enough, enough bread, enough fish, enough healing, enough love, enough forgiveness, enough life. It is the kind of life that promotes life, in the womb, in our identity, in the world. Jesus says “yes” to life. Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 1:18-20. Paul is talking about a change in plans to come see the church at Corinth, but I believe he is also saying something more.

 

18As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

 

All the promises of God find their Yes in Jesus Christ. Yes to life, yes to pasture, yes to salvation, yes to love, yes to hope, yes to grace, yes to mercy, yes to forgiveness, yes to bread and the cup, yes to all of God’s promises, yes, yes, yes! Abundant yeses. Abundant life.

 

 

Jesus the I Am. Bread, Light, Door...we are fed in Him, shone the way, and led in and out of the sheepfold for protection and life, life in abundance. We are quick to give directions to places, “go down this hallway and it’s the second door on your left.” Let us be ready to give the direction to life, “that door right there – Jesus Christ.” Amen.