Summary: The way to life with God is through the door, and Jesus Christ is the door. There are two groups of people that ‘gotta come in through the door.’ First, there is the shepherd, and then there are the sheep.
First Presbyterian Church
Wichita Falls, Texas
May 15, 2011
YOU GOTTA COME IN THROUGH THE DOOR
John 10:1-10 (ESV)
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. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
There’s an old spiritual. I’m sure you’ve heard it. It starts out, ‘So high you can’t get over it, so low you can’t get under it, so wide you can’t get around it! You gotta come in through the door.’
That’s what Jesus tells us in this passage from John’s Gospel. ‘I am the door of the sheep,’ he says. ‘I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.’ It does not always sit well with our ears -- it may even sound a bit restrictive to our sensibilities -- but Jesus is unapologetically exclusive here. There are not multiple entrances to life with God. There is only one, and it is Christ. He is the door -- he is the only door -- to the Father. In another place, Jesus says, ‘The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few’ (Matt. 7:14). And in John 14:6 we hear Jesus saying, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’
The way to life with God is through the door, and Jesus Christ is the door. As we read this passage in John, chapter 10, we see that there are two groups of people that ‘gotta come in through the door.’ First, there is the shepherd, and then there are the sheep. Let us look at each of them in turn.
I. THE SHEPHERD’S GOTTA COME
IN THROUGH THE DOOR
First of all, the shepherd’s gotta come in through the door. Shepherds are admitted to the fold only by Christ’s authority. In John 10, the first two verses, Jesus says, ‘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.’
Jesus is talking to the religious leaders of his day. He is speaking to the Pharisees. And he is telling these would-be shepherds that they have disqualified themselves from being the leaders of God’s people. As we read from Ezekiel earlier, ‘Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves!’ (34:2). They have become ‘thieves and robbers.’ Why? Because they do not come in through the door.
God’s people need shepherds. The Latin word for ‘shepherd,’ as you probably know, is ‘pastor.’ We need pastors. The Second Helvetic Confession is one of the great statements of faith that came out of the Reformation in the sixteenth century. It lays out for us in helpful ways the contours of our Reformed heritage. And it says very simply, ‘The ministry is not to be despised’ (5.143). We need pastors.
In Romans, chapter 10, Paul underlines this need. He says that ‘“everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”’ But then, he asks, ‘How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?’ (vv. 13f.). We need pastors.
And we need pastors who are called. Again, shepherds are admitted to the fold only by Christ’s authority. Romans, chapter 10, again -- in that same section. Paul says: ‘How are they to preach unless they are sent?’ (v. 15). The shepherd’s gotta come in through the door. In other words, no one is to preach unless Christ has authorized it. In Jeremiah, God says of those who preach without a call, ‘I did not send [these] prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people’ (23:21f.). Those who preach to us must ‘stand in God’s council.’ They must proclaim God’s Word to us, not their own word. To put it another way, they gotta come in through the door.