“I AM THE DOOR”
By Pastor Robert L. Donnelly
John 10:9 – “I AM the Door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
Let us turn now to the Wonderful Word, and spend the time we have left in meditation on the WORDS of JESUS. Turning again to the Gospel of John 10:9, we read, “I AM the DOOR. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
First, we had “the LIGHT,” then “the SHEPHERD,” and now, “the DOOR.” What a blessed combination – Light, to lead us to the Shepherd, and then to find, when coming to the Shepherd, that He is also the Door. But, first of all, we want to deal with the “I AM” part; for it is one of the most blessed of all Bible truths. The primary idea wrapped up in these two words is not the fading glory of a past ‘might have been’, nor is it the budding promise of a future ‘will be’; but it is the ever present and eternal ‘NOW’ –the realm which Christ inhabits.
His divine ability, today, has not diminished as much as one jot or title – though His Almighty power has worked throughout the past ages of history. And though the prophecies regarding His future glory are among the most glowing and glorious themes of Scripture, these two little words “I AM” suggest that, whatever Christ will be, He already is. He does not improve with the passing of the centuries; for Christ Jesus is the sum total of all perfection. All that He was, He is now and ever shall be “throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:2).
You remember away back there in the book of Exodus, when God was trying to persuade Moses to go back to Egypt and deliver His people, and Moses was trying to get out of the responsibility (Exodus 3:13-14) –one of his arguments was this, “When I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
Over four hundred years had gone by since their father Abraham heard the call of God in Ur of the Chaldees, and in obedience to that call he had gone out, not knowing whither he went. Subsequent history abundantly justified his act of faith, and for the rest of his life he was known as “the friend of God” (James 2:23). Abraham’s son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob, likewise came to know Him; and to know Him is “life eternal” (John 17:3). By Moses’ time, their descendants had been in bondage to the Egyptians for over two hundred years, cruelly oppressed and abused. But now, after God’s pronouncement, Moses came to the people with the glad announcement, ‘The God of Abraham, whose name is I AM, has sent me to you.’ In other words, ‘He who called out our father Abraham and gave to him and to his seed the land of Canaan, is still the same today. He is calling us out of Egypt and will bring us safely into the land of our inheritance.’
The ages roll on, with periodic demonstrations as to the reality of the one true and living God who outlasts every generation, until we come to the days when the words of our text were spoken, “I AM the DOOR.” Nearly four hundred years had gone by since the last of the Old Testament prophets had laid down his pen and gone the way of all flesh. Nearly four hundred years of silence and darkness, during which times Israel had suffered cruelly under the heel of the oppressor. Imagine, then, what a stir it must have been for these students of the Scriptures, to hear again these words that had been spoken to Moses so long ago – “I AM” . . . “I AM the LIGHT” . . . “I AM the GOOD SHEPHERD” . . . “I AM the DOOR.” He who led Israel out of their Egyptian bondage into Canaan rest, was now ready to lead Israel out of their spiritual bondage, and deliver them from the oppression of their sins. But only those who heard His voice followed Him, and so it is until this day. Jesus said, “I AM the DOOR, by me if any man enters in, he shall be saved and go in and out, and find pasture.”
The picture is of a sheep-fold, an enclosure wherein the sheep are kept in safety through the long dark hours of the night. The only door is the Good Shepherd. The only entrance into this fold is through the DOOR, Christ Jesus, who gives His life for the sheep.
—There may be many paths that lead to this door, but there is only one DOOR.
—There may be many churches showing the way, but there is only one WAY.
—There may be many folds, into which sheep are invited to come and find rest; but only one has Jesus for a door; and only in that fold can we find “rest indeed.” There is rest in His fold, because only there are we safe. Nothing can come to us but it must first pass through the DOOR, CHRIST JESUS.; and He “neither slumbers nor sleeps.” (Psalm 121:4).
Let us go back, now, to John 10:1, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”
Here is a very simple test, that will enable anyone to discern the true nature and character of all those who appear as shepherds: Do they enter the fold by “the DOOR” or by some other way? In other words, do they hold forth “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2) as the only entrance into the Kingdom of God, or do they climb up some other way? I would suggest that we immediately become suspicious of any person, or of any doctrine, or of any church, and of any type of “Christianity” that does not emphasize the necessity of the new-birth through faith in Christ Jesus, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). After all, why should a person go to all the trouble of carrying a ladder, and go through all the effort of trying to climb over the wall, when there is a DOOR that will open to the simple request of faith?
Frankly, I’m suspicious of anyone who shows religious intentions; but seems to avoid mention of the name of Jesus, who seems embarrassed and uncomfortable when the conversation turns to the cleansing power of the Blood of Calvary’s lamb; who shows no interest in the glorious doctrine of the Atonement. He may be wonderfully clever in debate, powerful in logic, and well-versed in history; he may talk proudly of God the Father of all, and even urge men to the path of obedience; but if there is no “Christ” in his gospel, no “Repentance” in his doctrine, and no “Blood” in his message, the same is a thief and a robber. Jesus said, “I AM the DOOR. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
I like that word “if anyone.” With Jesus, there is no preferred group; there is no one with a high priority rating; there are no select few, who by virtue of their special social advantages and intellectual attainments, have first claim on the good offices of the Good Shepherd. But Jesus’ Word is to “anyone”
–to the poor as well as to the rich –to the young as well as to the old to the wise as well as to the otherwise. The brilliant scholar will find such depth, such height, and such breadth in Christ and His teaching, as will keep him searching the Scriptures until the end of his life, saying, like Paul of old, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33). Yet, the unlearned and ignorant one, whose power of perception is so very, very limited, will find in Christ and His teaching such refreshing simplicity and appealing clarity that he too can say, as Paul of old, “nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Jesus said, “If ANYONE enters in . . .”
—There are many who admire the DOOR, but they do not enter in.
—They talk about the “DOOR” but they do not enter in.
—They sing about the “DOOR” but they do not enter in.
—They argue about the “DOOR” but they do not enter in.
Before we leave the air, I would like once more to join the “I AM” with this “DOOR.”
—It is just the same “DOOR” as Peter entered.
—It’s just the same “DOOR” as John entered.
—Yes, it’s just the same “DOOR” as Abraham entered.
Jesus said: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:56-58).
The “DOOR” is just the same today as it was centuries ago. Though many attempts have been made to widen it, so that a man might enter with all his sins, yet it’s still the same “narrow way” as ever it was. And if you want to enter, you must leave your sins at the Cross, just as the man in PILGRIM’S PROGRESS did. Others again, have tried to narrow this door so that only a special few could enter; but it’s still wide enough for “ANYONE,” for “WHOSOEVER WILL.”
Will you listen, now, while I read it again: Jesus said, “I AM the DOOR. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.” Not until we stand on the shore of eternity in the pure light of eternal day, and behold the joys that God as “prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9), will we know what it means to “be saved.”
Not until we hear that “great multitude which no man could number” (Rev. 7:9), singing praise “to the Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:12), will we know what it means to “be saved.”
Not until we see the Judgment of the Great White Throne, when the dead of all ages stand before God, and the books are opened, will we know what it means to “be saved.”
Not till the world is on fire, and the elements melt with fervent heat, will we know what it means to saved.”
Not until the New Jerusalem comes down from God out of Heaven and we find our place in that eternal city of eternal joy, will we know the full meaning of what it means to “be saved.”
But Jesus said, “I AM THE DOOR, IF ANYONE ENTERS IN BY ME, HE SHALL BE SAVED.”