Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds Christ's self-analogy as the door to salvation.
[Message] For the Scripture reading today we are turning to John chapter 10 and reading verse 7 through verse 10. As we have been saying for the past two or three Sundays, in the 9th chapter of the Gospel of John, John records the healing of the man born blind, and then he records the steps by which the man born blind came to understand the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ for he was healed physically and then was healed spiritually and finally reached the place where he said, “Lord, I believer.” And he worshiped the Lord Jesus. He was of course cast out of the synagogue because it had already been said by the leaders in religion in our Lord’s day in the land that anyone who followed the Lord Jesus would be cast out of the synagogue, and so he found himself cast out of the synagogue, but into the arms of the Lord Jesus.
In John chapter 10 there is a discourse or two, and in the first discourse our Lord in something of an allegorical fashion speaks of himself as the shepherd, as those who come to know him as sheep and in this way he allegorically and symbolically pictures what happened to the blind man when he was cast out of the synagogue and came into fellowship with Jesus Christ. So, what we have historically set out in John chapter 9 is symbolically and allegorically set out under the figure of the shepherd and the sheep in John chapter 10. And we’re looking at some aspects of that and we’re reading now beginning with verse 7.
“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
May the Lord bless this reading of his word.
[Prayer removed from audio]
[Message] The traditions of the Christian church are very interesting. Some of them are understandable and some of them are very difficult to comprehend. One of the things that is characteristic of the Christian church today is to approach a special occasion such as this, the last Sunday before Christmas thinking that it is proper to stop whatever one has been doing and to give special messages that pertain to the subject that is particularly on our minds at this time, in this case, the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then at Easter time sermons on the resurrection, Mother’s day, a sermon on mothers, and Father’s day occasionally sermons on fathers, and on other occasions of the Christian year, the Christian festival year.
One of the things that has characterized Believers Chapel from the beginning without any special purpose necessarily is that we have ordinarily continued what we have been doing thinking that it is probably a better thing all around, considering all things, to continue to expound the Scriptures in a consecutive way. A few weeks ago, about four weeks ago to be exact, I was in a book store, and I saw a book entitled, Sermons on the Saving Work of Christ by John Calvin. Leroy Nixon had collected twenty sermons which related to the saving work of Christ, and in the course of his little preface introducing the book he spoke about the fact that there were one thousand sermons of Calvin available in the French that he had given in Geneva, and that he had chosen twenty out of the one thousand, and he had arranged them to follow roughly the Christian year. So sermons on the saving work were arranged to follow the Christian year. But then he said, “This is my own devise. Calvin would never have done such a thing.”
It was Calvin’s method to preach consecutively through the whole books of the Bible. For example, without any regard for the Christian year, Calvin preached two hundred consecutive sermons on the Book of Deuteronomy. Once in his whole career so far as we know he preached a special sermon on Christmas and twice in his whole career in the years 1559 and 1560 he preached a special sermon on Easter. Otherwise, Mr. Nixon said, “As far as the records go, Calvin ignored the Christian year as completely as possible.” And so you would of course expect me to follow in the traditions of the Apostle Paul, and Augustine, and Calvin. And so, consequently we are ignoring the Christian year, and we are turning again to John chapter 10, and we are expounding, as we have been doing, this great book, John’s gospel.
It so happens of course on this occasion at least that the message is very appropriate for Christmas because what better message can we have than “Christ, the Door,” which is the subject for the sermon this morning. This is really a section of the 10th chapter of the Gospel of John which is known to us primarily as the chapter of the good shepherd. He is presented as the source of life, and then we know from the passage that we have just read as the source of abundant life. In fact we could go on to say that he is the source of all of the solutions to the problems of life. There is an old anecdote about a king who suggested to his whole country that they take up the practice of weaving. And he said since he evidently knew something about it that if they had any difficulties they should come to him. Well at the end of the first day, everybody had nothing but tangles to show for their weaving except for one person. And of course they asked the one person how did you manage to do it so correctly? And he answered, “Because I went to the king directly.” I found a little tangle to illustrate the fact that in the problems of life, we should go directly to him. And remember that he is the good shepherd and consequently gives life, abundant life. He is the solution to all of the problems that we have as human beings.
We’ve said that John chapter 10 is a symbolic picture of the sign of John chapter 9, the deliverance of the blind man from the false shepherds, the false shepherds of the Jewish religious leaders of the time. In the first 6 verses of the 10th chapter, we have something like a morning scene, and there is pictured the separation of the elect from the theocracy, the theocracy looked at as a theocracy in unbelief. Of course if the theocracy had been a believing theocracy then there would be no need for the separation of the sheep from the theocracy, but as the case was when our Lord was here the leaders of the religious life in the land were for the most part unbelievers. There were a few exceptions like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who came to faith in the Lord Jesus, but by and large the nation was plunged in unbelief and ultimately was responsible for his crucifixion. So, to leave the fold and to come out of the fold is to fall into the hands of the good shepherd.
Now in verse 7 through verse 10 the Lord speaks of a new figure. He speaks of himself here as “the door.” In verse 7 we read that Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” Now he has already mentioned door above in verse 1, “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold.” In verse 1 when he says that there is a door into the sheepfold, he refers to what the Old Testament says about him as the Messiah. The way to enter into the fold and become a part of the flock is to enter through the Old Testament testimony to the Lord Jesus that is to recognize him as the Messiah and to believe in him is to enter though the door into the sheep fold where the true sheep are. But now he has said that in verse 1, but he has changed his figure slightly now in verse 7 and says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” And here he refers to a door out of the sheepfold of the false into relationship to him who is the true shepherd, but the true shepherd stands outside of the sheepfold of Judaism for he has been cast out, for they have not believed in him, and we know that ultimately the Lord Jesus will be crucified outside the city of Jerusalem in token of the fact that he was rejected. That’s why the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews will say later on, “Let us go forth unto him outside the camp.” So, we may expect that if we are to have fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ in days when the body of professing believers are in unbelief, we will have to go outside of the religious life of the day in order to enter into fellowship with him.
In verse 7 then he expresses this new figure, “I am the door of the sheep.” Now he contrasts this with the false for he says, “All the ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.” Now we must as we read something like this remember that he is giving us something in symbol. So when he speaks about all that came before me, he is looking at himself as the shepherd who goes out early in the morning to the sheep to take them out to pasture, and all that came before him are those who seek to lead astray the sheep by coming before the shepherd comes to the flock and seeking to destroy them.
Now we know from the practice of the shepherds that the shepherds came early in the morning. Just as the light began to dawn, they were there to take the sheep from the fold out to the hills in order that they may pasture, but those that come before there must be those who work in the nighttime, those who work in darkness, those who in effect who by their activity demonstrate that they are not really true shepherds. Well he said in verse 1, “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” In verse 8 he says, “All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers.” So he pictures those who do not have a true relationship to the Lord God as working in the dark as false shepherds.
Now he refers of course to the religious leaders. There is so much of this that is applicable to us today. It would be nice to stop and talk about the unbelief that is present in the Christian church today, and how many false shepherds there are who do not want to give the flock anything, but who rather want to get something from the flock. “All that came before me are,” he’s talking about the present time, “Are thieves and robbers.” But fortunately he adds the sheep did not hear them. That is one thing that we stressed last week, that when the Lord Jesus ministers the word of God in the spirit to the flock those who belong to him hear his voice. Those who do not belong to him do not hear his voice. So when he says, “The sheep did not hear them,” he refers to the true sheep, those who really are his own. As he said in verse 3, “To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep,” that of course is the electing grace of God by which he communicates life to his sheep and they respond to the voice of the shepherd.
May I ask you a question? Do you recognize the shepherd’s voice? Do you understand as the word of God is preached the things that have to do with Jesus Christ? Is there something deep down within you that answers the message concerning the cross of Christ? When the word of the cross is preached, is there something within you that says, “That’s for me because I need his forgiveness, and he offers forgiveness through the blood that was shed. His ministry is that which is life to me?” Is there that response? Do you understand the things that the Lord Jesus speaks about? I don’t mean everything because we grow in the knowledge of the word of God, but is there that basic understanding of the ministry of the Lord Jesus or is it all strange and foreign to you? If it’s all strange and foreign to you and you do not understand it, the chances are you are not one of the Lord’s sheep, at least not at this moment.
In fact the Scriptures say, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God. They are foolishness to him. Neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.” His sheep hear his voice and he speaks of others and says, “You do not believe me because you are not of my sheep.” We cannot escape these words that Jesus speaks. He gives discernment to his own sheep so that they hear his voice. Nothing is more wonderful than the discernment that the Lord gives that enables us to hear his voice. Those who have heard his voice, and who know it, know exactly what I’m speaking about. Those who do not know his voice who have never learned to distinguish his voice from other voices, you do not yet, nor can you, understand what Jesus is speaking about.
Now we come to the 9th verse, this important verse in which he expands this figure of the door of the sheep. He says simply, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Now he doesn’t say the door of the sheep here. In verse 1 the door is the door to Judaism by which they leave Judaism and come to Christ. But now he says, “I am (simply) the door.” That is the door for all, whether Jew or Gentile, he is the door, and if we enter through him we shall have life.
Now I think it’s important for us to concentrate on this simple four word expression, “I am the door.” Now if you were looking at this in the original text you would notice that there is a little bit of emphasis upon that personal pronoun, “I.” “I am the door,” almost as if he were saying, “Others who claim to be the door by which we enter into life are not true doors.” “I (and I alone) am the door.” And that is further stressed by the fact that he says, “The door.” It is not a question of different methods of salvation. So many people think that it does not really matter what we believe so long as we believe it sincerely. Oh, nothing could be farther from the truth of the word of God. “I am the door,” the Lord Jesus said. The whole of the Bible stresses the fact that there is only one way to eternal life. That’s why we have Christmas. We celebrate the incarnation which is the one way by which the second person of the Trinity is able to take a step along the way to the redemption of the saints of God. “I am the door.”
One of the great figures of salvation in the Old Testament was the Ark of Noah. How many doors were in the ark? There was one door in the ark. That was the figurative way of expressing that there was one way of deliverance from the flood. Peter speaks in his epistle of how that is an illustration of salvation. The tabernacle, perhaps the greatest visual picture of the salvation of God in the Old Testament, how many doors were there into the tabernacle? Well there was one door. All of this designed to stress the exclusiveness of the salvation that God provides. One may call this narrow intolerance, but it is the narrowness of truth. Every expression of the fact that there are different methods of salvation and it’s important simply to believe something and believe it sincerely all of those are false ideas. The world is flooded with them. But the Scripture stands solidly behind the truth that the Lord Jesus and the Lord Jesus alone is the door. It would be foolish to try to stress all of the passages in the Bible that emphasize it. You could look at this and say it’s a beautiful illustration of the simplicity of entrance into life through the Lord Jesus. It’s not a philosophy. It’s not by the creeds. It’s not by personal conduct. It’s not by personal membership in the church. Jesus is the door. “I am the door.”
Some years ago I received a post card with a picture of a very beautiful church on it. Someone had sent it to me and had a message on the back side of it, and I can just imagine that the publisher of that card thought, “Well it would certainly be wonderful to have a biblical text to go with this beautiful church.” And so on the card there was the picture of the beautiful church, and then there was a text from the Bible. It was chosen I imagine that he hastened to find a concordance and look up words that might suggest some text that would go with that beautiful picture. And in his concordance he was thinking of house of God and things like that, and evidently he came across the expression in verse 17 of Genesis 28, Jacob’s experience at Bethel, in which we read, “And he was afraid and said how dreadful is this place. This is none other but the house of God. This is the gate of heaven.” And so on this beautiful picture of this beautiful church there was the quotation from Scripture “The house of God, the gate of heaven.”
Now if there is one thing that is unbiblical, it is that a building is the house of God. A building is not the house of God, and of course if there is one thing that is true in the 20th century, it is that such a building is not a gate of heaven. As a matter of fact many of the church buildings of the 20th century are gates not to heaven, but gates to hell, and it would be much safer for you to bring your children into a polio or a meningitis ward than in some of the professing Christian churches of today where no gospel what so ever is preached and in fact the opposite, in which men are told it’s not important that you believe something specific. It’s simply important that you believe something and that you believe it sincerely. Jesus said, “I am the door.” And then as if to emphasize it he lays stress upon the fact that one enters through him only. For he adds, “By me if any man enter in he shall be saved.” Later on he will say in this gospel, “I am the way, the truth, the life. No man cometh unto the Father except by me.” “By me if any man enter in,” this is the message of the apostles. The Apostle Peter says, “There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Paul the Apostle says, “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” He later says, “There is only one foundation.” No man can lay any foundation other than the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle John also confirms that by simply saying that, “This is the record that God has given to us eternal life in his Son, and whoever believes this record is the Son of God.”
So, “By me if any man enter in,” what shall we have? Well he says, first of all, we shall have safety. We shall be saved. There are even some people who are embarrassed about the word saved. They don’t like to hear people say, “I am saved.” They’d much rather say, “Well, I’m a Christian,” or “I’m a member of a church,” or “I do have a relationship to God.” Saved seems too common to some people. But it’s a beautiful word. Mel Trotter used to say, “It’s a good Jesus word.” It is. No one should ever be ashamed to say, “I am saved.” That’s the Bible’s word. Why should I be ashamed of the word of God? So, he shall be saved. To enter through the door is to be saved.
G Campbell Morgan was a well known Bible teacher of a couple of generations ago, and he traveled to the United States a number of times, finally had a ministry in the United States in Augusta, GA. One of his trips over was made on a boat with George Adam Smith, one of the greatest of the Old Testament scholars from Brittan. They had some conversations together, and in the course of one of their conversations Dr. Smith told Dr. Morgan about an experience he had had in the east. He said he was traveling and he came upon one of the folds of the shepherds in the land of Palestine. He said, “In this case there was just a wall that marked the fold, and there was a simple door into that fold.” He spoke to the shepherd who was on hand and said, “Is this a fold for the sheep.” “Oh, yes,” the shepherd replied. And then George Adam Smith said, “I only see one way in.” “Yes,” said the man, “Only one way, that‘s the door.” And he pointed to the opening in the wall, and then George Adam Smith said to him, “But there is no door there,” because he had always thought of a specific kind of door. After all he knew what the New Testament said. The shepherd then replied to him, “I am the door.” And he said, “My mind went back to John’s statement when Jesus said, ‘I am the door’.” And so he asked the man, “What do you mean when you say, ‘You are the door’?” He said, “Well the sheep go inside, and I come here and I lie down across the threshold and no sheep can get out except it walks over me, and no wolf or wild beast can get in unless it walks over me. I’m the door.”
Well I think that’s a beautiful picture of our Lord. That’s what he is. He is the way in, but he also protects those who are in. He keeps them and he keeps them from others who would seek to plunder them. “I am the door. By me if any man enter in he shall be saved.” What a magnificent statement of the safety that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ when we believe in him. But not only does he say that, he says he shall go in and out. That speaks of liberty, the ability to go in and to go out in freedom and in protection.
There was a woman by the name of Mrs. Field who was the consecrated leader of Hepsaba house in New York City. She had a habit of asking others when she met them, “Are you an out and out Christian?” Well she had a good friend, and it was Dr. C.I. Schofield, the editor of the well known Scofield Bible. Mr. Scofield one day asked her, “Mrs. Field you never do ask me, you never have asked me, ‘Am I and out and out Christian’?” And she said, “Well I’ll ask you know. Are you an out and out Christian?” And he said, “No.” And she was a little astonished, obviously because she thought of them that way, but he went on to say, “I’m not an out and out Christian. I’m an in and out Christian.” And then he cited this text, “I’m the door by me if any man enter in he shall be saved and shall go in and out.” I’m an in and out Christian. I have the liberty of being delivered from the bondage of the law and from the bondage and condemnation of sin. I have liberty in Christ.
And then our Lord concludes the famous statement in John 10:9 by saying, “And fine pasture.” Sustenance, all the things that we need the Lord Jesus Christ supplies. All of the solutions to life’s problems, all of the means by which we grow, Jesus gives those things for us. That’s the difference between the true shepherds and the false shepherds for he goes on to explain further in the 10th verse, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” That is so characteristic of the work of the Lord. There are many people out in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ professedly who are not there to give the sheep something, but to get something from the sheep. But the true shepherd is one who gives, not one who seeks simply to get from the sheep. The Lord Jesus is one who gives. “I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” One of the characteristic of the ministry of God is that it is a ministry of giving not getting, not seeking to obtain from people, but to give to people. We always hope that in Believers Chapel that is the ministry of the word of God here, to give to people, not to get, not to seek your wealth, your substance, but to give you the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, they shall “Find pasture.” They shall be given life, given the supply of everything that is needed to the glory of the grace of God.
In the 10th verse when he says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy,” he adds, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. There is such a thing as life and it is found in the Lord Jesus Christ of course. But there is such a thing as the abundant life. Notice what he says, “I am come that they might have it more abundantly.
Now I took classical Greek long before I was converted. That’s one reason why I believe that God puts his and upon us and he prepares us for what he is going to do with us. I thought that I was studying classic Greek so I could continue to play golf every afternoon. I played Sunday morning and afternoon for that matter. Sunday morning was always good because there were a few people who would abandon the golf course and attend church on Sunday morning, and we didn’t have to bother with them. It was easier to get a starting time on Sunday morning. But I played every afternoon because I took it seriously, and I played just like a person played football. I trained for it. I played in tournaments the year round if I possibly could get them into my schedule of college and fun. [Laughter] Well when the time came for me to take courses I looked over the schedule and fitted them into my own personal schedule. I decided that I wanted to take German, and I took a week or two of German. The professor came in one day and said, “I’m sorry but due to some changes in my personal situation, we’re going to have to meet in the afternoon.” I hastily went outside and looked over the schedule again to find a course that would fit in my schedule, and amazingly, German was a three hour semester coarse, and there was one course there that met four times. That was a disadvantage. It met four times, but all of the meetings were in the morning, 11:00 on Tuesday, 12:00 on Wednesday, 11:00 on Thursday and 12:00 on Friday. That fit my schedule perfectly. I transferred into classical Greek.
Now that was my acquaintance in classical Greek. I was studying in the classics and was taking Latin, and I had already taken five years of Latin, and I decided I would continue the Latin and I would take classical Greek. So I took classical Greek so I could play in the afternoon. I learned some things by reading Xenophon, and Ibycus and some parts of Xenophon’s Katabasis and Plato and Euripides and others that I studied, but one thing I learned from Xenophon was a little phrase which is used here in John chapter 10. It’s the little phrase, “Perisson echein.” And that particular expression means “To have a surplus.” That’s the expression that is used here. “I am come that they might have life and that they might have a surplus, an abundance of life, or they might have it as an abundance,” so to have abundant life. There is such a thing as life, and there is such a thing as abundant life. And the Lord Jesus is speaking about that here.
Now let’s just think for a moment about this. You can easily see that this is true, if you’ll just take the case of a candle. This is to do with light, but we’ll give illustrations of life too. There is such a thing as light from a flickering candle, like a Christmas candle, but there is also light that comes from a blast furnace. They are both light, but oh what a difference in the power and wattage of those lights. So, one may have light, but one more have more light. There may be two people who are alive, but one may be very sick. They both have life, but one does not have abundant life. You may even think of two people who are perfectly healthy, and yet there is a difference. One may have life, and health, but the other may have life and health and maturity. And oh what a difference it is to have maturity as well as health, and then one has a more abundant life. Or we may think of an individual who is healthy and who is mature and another individual who has life and health and maturity but for some reason or other he may be in prison, and he doesn’t have liberty. Both have life, both have health, both have maturity, but one does not have the same freedom that the other has. There is a great deal of difference in the experience of life. One has life, the other has life, but one has a more abundant life. Or one may think of individuals who have all of this but are poor, and other who have all of this who are rich. There is a difference in the kind of life that they enjoy. There is such a thing as life. There is such a thing as abundant life. Now that which is true in the physical life is true in the spiritual life. Every individual who is believed in the Lord Jesus Christ has spiritual life, but there is such a thing as abundant spiritual life. The Lord Jesus speaks of it here, “And that they might have it more abundantly.”
What does it mean? Well it would be nice if we had another twenty or thirty minutes to talk about the things that characterize the abundant life. I think one thing that characterizes them is strength. The apostle speaks about, “Ministering in the arm of the Lord.” He tells the Corinthians to quit themselves like men. The work of the Lord demands strong workers, but many of us are simply weak. God would have us to know the truth of Isaiah chapter 40, verse 31, the text that Dr. Gerstner spoke on a few weeks back, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” That is more abundant life.
It is interesting that in the Christian church there are many, many people that have life. There are fewer that have abundant life. In fact looking out over the congregation one wonders if the majority should not really be placed on the sick list. Oh, they have an understanding of biblical doctrine in measure at least. They know the words to say, but there is not tenacity of faith. There is no real doctrinal grit to speak of. They are puny camp followers and if something is to really be done for the Lord you better put them in the back because they’ll be a discouragement to those who are strong, like Gideon’s three hundred who were strong and the thirty-two thousand who were weak. That’s why God selected the three hundred instead of the thirty-two thousand. Why the remainder would have discouraged the strong. They were so weak and so, God in a simple way managed to separate the strong, those who had abundant life, from those who were just living. There are those who are carried about by every wind of doctrine. The latest thing interests them and they wonder, “Is it really true, what we have believed?” It’s amazing to me. They can hear the word of God Sunday after Sunday. They can, as they say, rely upon the Lord Jesus Christ but someone preaches a strange doctrine and they are immediately attracted and shaken in wonder.
I don’t have to investigate, thank God, every false doctrine that comes along. We now know what the Scriptures teach and that is the touch stone of all truth. It’s unnecessary to investigate the wild statements made often by professing Christians if we have the truth of the word of God, strength, characteristic of a man with more abundant life, the enlargement of interests in life. The men of the world live in a narrow range. Talk with the men of the world; they talk about the Cowboys, “Are they going to really be able to beat those Saints this afternoon?” What about the market last week? What about IBM? What about RCA? What about General Motors? How’s your oil well been doing and what about your merchandise and your ledgers,” and all of the other things, but when Jesus Christ fills the heart, the greatest intellect feels that all life before that time was to use the words of a poet, “Cabined, cribbed, confined,” for the more abundant life is the life that brings enlargement of interests in life. God wants us to live in fellowship with the infinite. He doesn’t want all of our life to be gathered around the stock market, important though that may be in its own sphere, or any of these other things about which we are so concerned in the 20th century.
Another characteristic of the abundant life is the exercise of dormant powers. You know you can look at a little child; I looked at a little child around the breakfast table this morning. Healthy, chubby, smiling, smiled at the preacher too. [Laughter] And just full of life, full of health, but oh what powers may really be dormant there? Well when you look at a person who is born again, think of the dormant powers that really exist but often are never seen.
Look at the Apostle Peter, before Pentecost he with the other apostles were ambitious, contentious, and blind to many truths. Afterwards this same one who was standing by a little woman outside the Lord Jesus Christ’s trial around that little charcoal fire, and she said, “You’re one of them.” “I’m not.” “Yes you are, one of them.” “No, I’m not.” “You are one of them.” And then with a curse like, “Dammit I’m not one of them.” That’s Peter before Pentecost, but on Pentecost, filled with the Holy Spirit, the dormant powers now brought to fruition. He stands up in the midst of the Pantheons and the Elamites and those religious leaders that everyone was fearful of and preached that bold sermon concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Increased energy, enthusiasm, enthusiasm is a word that only means something like “In God.” It’s life effervescent, life in volcanic eruption. It’s the kind of life the apostle speaks about when he says, “The love of Christ constraineth me because we thus judge that if one died for all then all died.” And he speaks about the committal that he had to the ministry of the gospel of the Lord Jesus in reconciliation. Energetic, forceful triumphant life belongs to souls that are enamored with the cross and who feel espoused and ardent love to the heavenly bride groom. That’s what it is to have abundant life.
And finally the overflow of enjoyment, lambs frisking, gambling on the hills, I never knew what that meant until I went to Scotland, and in the spring see those little lambs running down the hills and jumping up in the air, just to entertain me of course. But nevertheless what a revelation that was. I had always heard of lambs gambling, jumping, excitable, frisking lambs like puppies rolling and jumping. Children playing, take a child up and the thing they want to do is to get out of your arms. They just like grabbing hold to life itself. Well when the abundant life comes to individuals it’s like that and when the abundant life comes to churches it’s like that. It means joy. It means singing. When Luther’s reformation came, those who never sang in the congregations began to sing. Hymns were written. Hymns were translated. Wesley brought hymns. Whitfield and Toplady brought hymns. And we’ll be singing too if we have abundant life. I always like the singing in Believers Chapel on Sunday morning. I think it’s good because I think there is a manifestation of some life in your singing. I look around and I notice those who are singing. I notice those who are not. It’s amazing to me. I can see some individuals who are here Sunday after Sunday, have been here for five or ten years. “Joy to the World” is sung. They are like the great stone face of Hawthorne. Amazing, that’s a miracle in reverse. It’s amazing. How can you do that? How can you do that if you have some understanding of the things of the Lord? I never had a singing lesson in my life. Ask Mr. Prier. He knows. It’s true. My grandchildren sit on this side of the auditorium if I’m over here because I’ll embarrass them by my singing, but at least I open my mouth. There’s something there for which I’m grateful to God. The game is not until three o’clock so don’t worry.
Jesus said, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” If any man enter in. The door of the sheep fold is always open. The tabernacle’s one door was always open. The door to eternal life, though the Lord Jesus who died as a sacrifice on Calvary’s cross for sinners, is always open. You may come right now and enter the sheep fold through the door, the Lord Jesus, and have him forever after caring for you, providing for you, giving you not only life, but abundant life. Life comes from Christ, and abundant life does not come from someone else. It comes from him, the same place that the life comes from. It’s a personal salvation. He says, “By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” I think it’s striking that the doors of sheep folds were usually just wide enough for one sheep to enter at a time. That’s very interesting. The Lord Jesus must be entered personally, and of course it comes through faith. It is only through faith in him that we enter into life. God says I deserved hell. Christ took my hell and he gave me his heaven. It’s as simple as that. Come to Christ. Come through the door into the sheep fold. Come to the fellowship of the sheep who hear his voice, who know his salvation, who go in and out in the liberty of the relationship to him and enjoy is wonderful pasture, his abundant life.
[Prayer] Father, we are so grateful to Thee for this wonderful message from the Lord Jesus Christ. “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,” and shall go in and out and find pasture. Lord if there are some here who have never entered the door, may at this moment they say to Thee, “I know I’m lost. I know Christ died for sinners…”
[RECORDING ENDS ABRUPTLY]