By Mike Ratliff
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, b 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, c he will be saved and will go in and out and d find pasture. (John 10:7-9 ESV)
We spend quite a bit of time looking at doctrine, heresies, apostasy, et cetera, but not enough time looking at the incredible privileges Christians have and why they have them. We must obey our Lord in standing firm against the forces of darkness, but we should also take the time to reflect on who we really are in Christ. The mind of Christ includes this my brethren and we should not neglect it. Why? It is as we learn the truth of who we are in Christ that we also gain the right perspective of God and His sovereignty.
Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post. Our focus when we study this passage is usually on Christ the great I AM and the door of the sheep. However, it also contains the four great privileges of all whom God saves.
Jesus, the great I AM, is the entrance into the true church, and the way of access to God Himself. He gives to the man who comes to God by Him four choice privileges.
- He shall be saved. The fugitive manslayer passed the gate of the city of refuge, and was safe. Noah entered the door of the ark, and was secure. None can be lost who take Jesus as the door of faith to their souls. Entrance through Jesus into peace is the guarantee of entrance by the same door into heaven. Jesus is the only door, an open door, a wide door, a safe door; and blessed is he who rests all his hope of admission to glory upon the crucified Redeemer.
- He shall go in. He shall be privileged to go in among the divine family, sharing the children’s bread, and participating in all their honours and enjoyments. He shall go in to the chambers of communion, to the banquets of love, to the treasures of the covenant, to the storehouses of the promises. He shall go in unto the King of kings in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the secret of the Lord shall be with him.
- He shall go out. This blessing is much forgotten. We go out into the world to labour and suffer, but what a mercy to go in the name and power of Jesus! We are called to bear witness to the truth, to cheer the disconsolate, to warn the careless, to win souls, and to glorify God; and as the angel said to Gideon, “Go in this thy might,” even thus the Lord would have us proceed as His messengers in His name and strength.
- He shall find pasture. He who knows Jesus shall never want. Going in and out shall be alike helpful to him: in fellowship with God he shall grow, and in watering others he shall be watered. Having made Jesus his all, he shall find all in Jesus. His soul shall be as a watered garden, and as a well of water whose waters fail not. – From Spurgeon’s Evening by Evening devotional for December 17.
As many of you know, I had a car accident last week, which resulted in enough damage to the right front of my pickup that we had to enter in to dealing with the insurance company of the person who caused the accident. I have been driving my wife’s car to and from work this week. It has not been pleasant. My pickup is over 10 years old and isn’t worth much when compared to newer vehicles, but it has been paid for since 2000 and its absence has revealed to both my wife and myself what a blessing it is. However, today I received a phone call from the adjuster at the other fellow’s insurance company authorizing me to rent a car that they would pay for until my pickup is repaired. I have been thanking God profusely ever since. I have been pleading with Him since the accident that justice would be done, but I also submitted myself to His will no matter what. God is good.
I am 57 years old and I take one prescribed drug each day, an enzyme blocker that keeps my borderline blood pressure in check. I know of others my age whose health is deteriorating much quicker than mine and they have to take so many pills each day that I do not know how they keep track of them. I was down to my last three pills as of today and my 90-day refill had not showed up in the mail. We are preparing to travel over the next two and a half weeks so it began to look like I was going to have to ask for an emergency refill from my personal physician. This is expensive. However, my refill was in the mailbox today when I got home from work. The timing was perfect. God is precise and very good to those who love Him.
I know that both of these examples appear to be quite mundane to most of you, but these are the sorts of things that make up our finding pasture. Our circumstances can be quite trying and it can often appear to our fleshly side that God is not taking care of us like we think He should. I am one of those who is not comfortable waiting until the last moment for anything. I would not be a very good Database Administrator if I did my job like that. I plan for contingencies. I can get my critical systems backup in a matter of hours if something happens to them that would require some sort of disaster recovery operation. I have all of this planned out and tested. However, God does not do that with us does He? No, He is all about strengthening our faith, humbling us, and growing us in Christlikeness. This requires our pride to be dealt with in such a way that it is denied as we humble ourselves before the living God who loves us and cares for our every need.
Look again at those 4 great privileges we have my brethren! We have fellowship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and with the rest of God’s family. We have no need to fear the second death. We are saved from the wrath of God. We have the privilege of standing firm in the world and experiencing the wrath of the world against all who proclaim the truth to all. God Himself upholds us as we find pasture and learn to grow up in grace, becoming those who bring glory to God as we submit to the Lordship of Christ and obey Him in all things. Praise Him with a grateful heart my brethren!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.