JULY 3, 2016

MAIN TEXT:  JOHN 10:1-9

“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. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheepAll who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

 


As you read through the Gospel of John you will see an escalating tension develop between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day. In chapter 9, we read an account of Jesus healing a man that was born blind. The man subsequently confessed Jesus as Lord and worshiped him. As a result of his confession the man was thrown out of the synagogue.  The Jews were, in effect, saying, “We’re the ones that decide who belongs to God and who doesn’t”, “Who’s in and who’s out.”  In our day and age we most certainly encounter the same spirit. Jesus makes this bold statement in John 10:9 as a rebuke to the Pharisees; I am the Door. If anyone enters by me he will be saved…”

Our passage today is a strong indictment of the Pharisees but it also speaks to the religious spirit that we see in our world today. 

The Door Means Division

It is clear in reading John 10 that there are two distinct sheepfolds; the Jewish fold, out of which Jesus called those who believed in him, and the believers fold, into which Jesus calls both Jews and Gentiles into “one flock” and permits them to go in and come out and enjoy their new life of freedom. 

This picture of “calling out” is clearly depicted in John 9. The blind beggar had been born into the Jewish fold but the religious leaders excommunicated him from the synagogue because he honored Jesus. But Jesus found him in the temple, led him to saving faith and brought him into his own flock.

Jesus, the door, creates a division. Some people are inside and sadly some are outside. 

Those of us who follow Christ are called to be in the world but we are not of this world. We should act and speak and love differently than the world. How we live should be shaped by this gospel, not by the current philosophies of this world. When we live according to the gospel, don’t be surprised if the people of this world hate you  (John 15:18-20). 

The Door Means Decision

You and I live in a world that promotes tolerance over truth. 

When we come to Jesus, the door, when we are confronted by his word, we have to decide to accept it as truth and we must decide to act upon it.

You may like the idea of being in church and associating with moral people and living a clean life, but you’ve not submitted yet, your life to Jesus and his word. 

It is the heart of God that each one who hears the gospel would have the courage and tenacity to act upon it. 

At the door you alone are at a place of decision, and to make no decision is to indeed make a decision and sadly, it’s the wrong one.

The door speaks of decision. 

The Door Means Salvation

I believe we can hear an echo of Jesus words in John 10:9 in the words that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The Door of Salvation means life

Jesus statement in 10:9 is clear; “Whoever enters through me will be saved”. We’re not saved because we admire Jesus. Rather, we are saved because we admit that we are sinners, that we can do nothing to rescue ourselves from God’s wrath against sin and that we are in desperate need of a savior. 

To be saved means to have your sins forgiven and to be adopted into Gods family, His flock. It means to have eternal life and life to the full. Whoever believes in the son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the son will not see life, for Gods wrath remains on them. John 3:36

The Door of Salvation means liberty

Salvation brings to us eternal life, but it also gives us the privilege of enjoying liberty; “they will go in and out and find pasture.”(John 10:9)

Jesus leads us out of the old flock and into the new flock and then he permits us to go in and out of the sheepfold because of the freedom that we have in him. Jesus said in John 8:36,  If the son sets you free you will be free indeed.   This door of salvation grants us liberty. Let’s use it for Gods glory and the benefit of our neighbor. 

The Door of Salvation means the pursuit of happiness

There are times where we can get comfortable and would prefer to graze in familiar territory where we know the terrain, while others would seem to want to frolic off into new places, not even caring what the shepherd has planned. Both positions are incomplete. 

The shepherd always knows what’s best for his flock. In the Psalm 23, the writer says, He guides me along paths of righteousness for his names sake. 

There are times in our Christian walk where the Holy Spirit leads us into places of safety and familiarity. There are other times where He would lead us into areas that require a much greater level of faith and trust. Both kinds of terrain are needed.  Both places make for a beautiful, fulfilling and robust life in Christ. 

The Door Means Protection

Jesus, as the door to the sheepfold risked and eventually gave up his own life for the sheep. The security of the flock is the number one function of the door, Jesus assures us that his sheep will never perish.   

 


In Community

This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing to discuss the implications of the message.


BLESS RHYTHMS

This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Bless
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Eat
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Speak
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Sabbath
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

DISCUSS THE MESSAGE

Read: John 10:1-9

In our day, we put a high value in being tolerant and all-inclusive. How does the exclusive and sometimes divisive nature of the gospel message fit into this worldview

How have you personally experienced division because of the words and person of Jesus?

We are constantly faced with life decision regarding how we spend our time, our resources, where we live and work and worship.  How does the message and person of Christ influence your decision making process? 

What does the phrase “Christian liberty” mean to you and how do you practice that in daily living?