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Jesus Is... - The Gate

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2024 6:00 am

Jesus Is... - The Gate

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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March 19, 2024 6:00 am

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “gate?” Maybe a door to a fenced-in yard? Or perhaps it’s grander, like an entrance to a castle? Well, in this program, guest teacher Ryan Ingram examines how Jesus used that word to describe Himself in John chapter 10. Don’t miss the way Christ acts as our protector and thee door to experiencing a deeper connection to God the Father.

Main Points

Four characters from John 10

  1. The Thief - doesn't come to bring freedom but destruction. - John 10:10a
  2. The Shepherd - purpose is for the flourishing of His flock. - John 10:10b
  3. The Sheep - know the voice of thier shepherd and follow Him. - John 10:4-5
  4. The Gate - provides access to life and protects against harm. - John 10:9
Broadcast ResourceAdditional Resource MentionsAbout Chip Ingram

Chip Ingram’s passion is helping Christians really live like Christians. As a pastor, author, and teacher for more than three decades, Chip has helped believers around the world move from spiritual spectators to healthy, authentic disciples of Jesus by living out God’s truth in their lives and relationships in transformational ways.

About Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge exists to help Christians live like Christians. Established in 1995 as the radio ministry of pastor and author Chip Ingram, God has since grown it into a global discipleship ministry. Living on the Edge provides Biblical teaching and discipleship resources that challenge and equip spiritually hungry Christians all over the world to become mature disciples of Jesus.

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What comes to your mind when you hear the word gate? A gate provides access. You know, it's just a little swinging door that opens up and some people get in and then you shut it and you keep other people out. When you think about that in the big picture, who gives you access to God? How does God shut a gate to keep you safe from the evils of the world? Today, Jesus will say, I am the gate. What's that really?

Stay with us and find out. Well, there's a lot to get to. So here's Ryan with his talk, The Gate from John chapter 10. I was 16 years old and I was just like absolutely smitten as any teenager is. And I remember my dad sitting me down to not have the talk, that had already happened, but have a very important talk about what I was going through in this dating process. And he sat me down and said, son, I know that you think you're in love. And I go in my mind, I go, I don't think I am.

I am in love. I know that you think you're different. I am different. I mean, in my mind, I am just arguing with them the entire time, you know, and like this is going to last forever. He said, but son, these are things that just happen as a teenager. And all in my mind, I am arguing with him, disagreeing with every single point that he brought up. Of course, not out loud, just in my mind. And of course, as you all now know, I wasn't any different. She was not the love of my life.

And thank God I did meet the love of my life later on. And there's something interesting that I think we all do, but I definitely did there. What's interesting is we can often think that those who have our best interests are the people who agree with us or say what we want. Instead of like my parents who go like, oh no, they're just out of touch. They just don't understand what it's like to be a teenager anymore.

You see, what's fascinating though, is we grow up in life, but some of us don't ever grow out of that way of thinking. Let me ask you this. Who do you believe has your very best interests at heart? Like who do you fundamentally go, they have my best interests.

And here's why this is important. Those who you believe have your best interests, you actually will listen to, and perhaps you might even follow after. In Jesus's day, those who were supposed to have the very best interests of the people of Israel were the religious leaders. And yet they exploited their relationship. They put all these burdens onto people. They set stuff up for their own gain, for their own popularity, their own influence and affluence. And no surprise, Jesus had incredible conflict with the religious leaders because they were supposed to be the ones shepherding the best interests of the people of Israel.

And yet they were the ones who were exploiting and taking advantage of them. And we pick up this next I am statement of Jesus, and it's actually Jesus confronting the Pharisees and where they're actually thinking they are the gatekeepers for who's in the community, who's a part of the people of God and who are not. And so the context for what Jesus is about to say happens just after someone got kicked out of synagogue. You're like, whoa, you can do that?

They did that. In fact, it was a Sabbath day. Jesus sees a man who was born blind. He has compassion on them. He heals him. Think about this.

You have never seen in your entire life, and one day all of a sudden, whoa, sight, you get to see everything, how joyous and how amazing. And he's seeing his friends and they're like, oh my gosh, well, you can see his parents. The Pharisees get word of this, and they call him in and they begin to examine him and go, who did this? Well, it was the Sabbath.

You shouldn't heal. That's silly, by the way. And they examine them. He says, this Jesus does, and they bring in his parents.

Is this true? They say, ask him. He's a man. They say, ask him.

He's a man. And then they go back at him, and the Pharisees are saying, listen, now that you are a follower of Jesus, get out of the synagogue. And they literally kick him out of the synagogue.

They were the gatekeepers of who was in and who was out. Now think about this. This man, he's like, I don't even really care about all that anymore. I couldn't see. I was begging on the side of the road and now I can see. And the Pharisees are so resistant to Jesus, not even recognizing that one of the great signs for the coming Messiah was that he would bring sight to the blind. We pick it up in John chapter 10, verse one.

If you've got your Bibles, why don't you go ahead and open up there. John 10, verse one. He's speaking to the gatekeepers. He says, very truly, I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeepers opens the gate for him and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they'll never follow a stranger.

In fact, they'll run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice. Verse six, Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. They're like, okay, shepherd, sheep, we get this picture, we use that. A shepherd is used to the picture of God. It's also used of our kings and leaders and spiritual leaders.

It's used of the coming picture of the one who would be the Messiah in Ezekiel chapter 34. Jesus, what are you saying to us? Therefore, Jesus said it again. Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.

Oh, you self-proclaimed gatekeepers. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it to the fool. And then he's going to go on and talk about him being the good shepherd.

Here's what I want to do with our time. Jesus introduces really four elements or four characters, the thief, the shepherd, the sheep and the gate. And I just want to draw your attention and pull out some things that are really important for us in this day of what it means of who Jesus is and how we follow him and who has our very best interests at heart. Let's take a look at the thief. The thief, by the way, doesn't come to bring freedom but destruction. The thief doesn't come to bring freedom but destruction. So the thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy. In ancient Palestine and all throughout the ancient days, thievery was a big issue and it was a big problem. And having your flock, which was also part of your wealth stolen, was a major issue. The way they would guard and protect, especially during the winter months, is they would in the one city, one town, they would have one major pen that everyone would use and they would pay a gatekeeper or guard to stand guard over that.

All the sheep would come in at the end of the day there and they would watch over that and protect it from any outside robbers or bandits or wolves or lions or whatnot that would want to kill or destroy the sheep. Now it may seem obvious that the thief doesn't come to bring freedom but destruction and yet here's what's interesting. Jesus uses two different words here, thief and robber, and they mean something subtly different. Thief means subtlety and trickery and robber is one that does so by violence and plundering. And I think in our mind when we're thinking about the thief, we often think about the violence and the plundering and we miss out on the subtlety and the trickery. And so we aren't aware that the thief is actually at work and drawing and wooing us away from the pen.

Well what does that look like? See I think the thief comes and the enemy comes and he says to the sheep in the pen and he doesn't go, hey you see this lovely pen for your safety? No, no, no. This is a prison. This isn't, you know, like stealing you.

This is a prison break from, this is not a pen, this is a prison. Don't you see outside and see all that vast landscape? Wouldn't you want to roam free out there?

Look at how the moon's hitting the mountains, doesn't that look so enticing out there? Aren't you tired of always listening to that shepherd that's calling you? You know he uses this whistle and you just perk up and you run after him and you know you have to go everywhere he leads. Don't you want to go somewhere on your own? Don't you want to have your own freedom, do your own thing? Don't you get tired that when you do start to stray off the path that he either calls you or he might even use his staff to kind of correct you and move you around?

Aren't you so tired of that? See the enemies always use subtlety and trickery all the way from the beginning. Back in the garden with Adam and Eve the enemy shows up, says the serpent was more crafty than all the other creatures and you know what he did? First he cast doubt on God's word. First thing that the enemy wants to do subtly in our hearts is to cast doubt on God's word. Did God really say you must not eat of any tree in the garden? And then he cast doubt on God's character. See God doesn't want you to do that because then you'll be like him. See fundamentally we know that the thief comes for our destruction not for our freedom but the thief is constantly telling us no it's for your freedom. That's the reason we keep buying into it.

Keep thinking beyond the pen there's actually something better for me. Beyond the shepherd's voice and beyond the shepherd's guidance I actually can do this all on my own and we buy into it time and time again. My friend was telling me about the tactics of coyotes and he was telling me this. I looked it up and there's actually some dispute on whether this really happens but it makes a really good illustration so here we go. That coyotes will come and actually play with a dog.

They'll send one in and just kind of play around and eventually lure the dog away from its home and to where the pack is waiting to kill it. See I think that's so often true of us and that the enemy is like hey I'm just toying with you. I'm just playing with you.

I just got some stuff. You know what that pornography that's not really that big of a deal but it's actually going to kill your marriage. It's actually going to kill your thriving. You know that conversation at work and she's really nice and he's really wonderful and wow they listen to you the way your spouse doesn't at home and man you guys are in it together. You're building something important and you play and you hang out and eventually undermines. The thief doesn't come to bring freedom but destruction. The shepherd on the other hand, we know this, the shepherd's purpose is for the flourishing of his flock.

Fundamentally the shepherd's purpose is for the flourishing of his flock. I have come that they may have life and life to the fool. Now when we translate this word fool we don't really get the full meaning of it.

Fool is like oh that's nice life to the fool. This word fool means exceeding abundantly above. It means exceeding. It exceeds abundantly above. It exceeds abundantly above. What is abundantly above? Well it's an extraordinary amount. It's beyond measure and Jesus came. He said I came that I would give you life and life that exceeds abundantly above.

It's beyond measure. Like my purpose is for your flourishing. It's the reason I showed up. And so my ways, my guidance brings flourishing.

And what's interesting is I think in our minds we think if only I could get out and wander and do my own thing then I'd finally be free and actually we end up shackled down and stuck and we're just trying to survive rather than thrive. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and our guest teacher Ryan Ingram. We'll be back in just a minute to finish today's talk. But quickly I want to remind you that this program is only possible because of the generosity of listeners like you. So if you'd like to support us go to livingonthedge.org. That's livingonthedge.org and thanks for doing whatever God leads you to do. Well let's rejoin Ryan now for the remainder of his message.

I want to show you a slide. This is a sheep named Chris. Chris, they found him and he was on his own for about five or six years, got lost from some, you know, flock. And he had 89 pounds of wool on him. He only weighed his actual body 97 pounds. About half of his body weight was wool. He became so heavy that he could barely walk. He had multiple burns because of urine that got stuck in his wool and as they saw where he was at they thought there's a good chance he wouldn't survive the very next summer heat.

And so they actually had to put them under and shave them. Next slide you can see there's Chris all, oh it's all stretched out on you, but there's Chris all you know shorn up and you can see the wounds. Here's what I just want to say. Just because it's for your flourishing doesn't always mean it feels good. See we translate flourishing with feeling good and that's the reason we resist the good shepherd in our life. The shepherd at the end of the night as he's coming in he would take his staff and he would put it low and as the sheep would go into the gate they would have to go in and climb under his staff. And what he was doing is he's inspecting every single sheep to see if there's anything that happened throughout the day, any wounds they incurred.

He would anoint them with oil. That's where we get that picture out of Psalm 23. It's what the shepherd would do to bring healing and to bandage any wounds. But he sees what you're going through.

The shepherd's purpose is for the flourishing of his flock. He goes ahead. He says he goes ahead of you. Think about he doesn't drive you forward. He guides you in front of you. He's not like get going, get going, get going. He says do you want to come?

I'm going this direction. He guides you. He sets the pace. The shepherds would lead either from the back or the front.

It was common to do either way. Jesus says I'm the shepherd that leads from the front so that I set the pace and so if you're weak, if you're young, you're not going to get worn down or injured along the way. He sets the pace. He scouts the path.

He goes in front to check and make sure, hey, is this all safe? And think about the intentionality. We don't know how big the flock was. It could be a dozen, a few dozen.

It could be actually up to a couple hundred. He says he knows them by name. You're not a number to this shepherd. He knows you by name. He personally knows you and calls you by name. You're precious to him. The thief.

He doesn't come to bring freedom but destruction. The shepherd, his purpose is for your flourishing and sheep, they fundamentally need a shepherd to thrive, not just survive. And here's what I want to point out about the sheep that's so great. Did you notice the sheep actually know the voice of their shepherd and follow him? Like I said, in the town, and this was really mainly during winter season, they would keep the flock in a big pen and they'd have multiple flocks in there. They weren't concerned about getting confused, their flocks getting confused because every flock of sheep understood and knew their shepherd's voice. Many had a little whistle that they would use to call them and they would come out. And so the shepherd would come and he would call his sheep. He'd use the whistle and then all the sheep that were part of his herd, his flock would come out.

And here's what I just want to draw for us. The sheep know the voice of the shepherd and they follow him. When he is brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they'll never follow a stranger. In fact, they'll run away when they hear a stranger's voice.

They're like, not now. That's not my shepherd. Friends, we need people. We need the church to know the voice of their savior. And my fear and my concern is that we don't know his voice and so we don't recognize the stranger's voice.

And we're listening to so many voices and we're plugged into so many areas. I want you to know his voice and to follow him. He said, I came for your flourishing.

Let me ask you a few questions. Who's leading your life? See, that's the problem with shepherds is they lead.

It's the problem with us Americans is we like to be in charge. We don't mind Jesus being, you know, a consultant, right? Hey, yeah, with love. Consult.

Good. But you can't be in charge. Who's leading your life? Let me ask you, do you know the voice of Jesus? Let me ask you, do you know the voice of Jesus? And then final question. If Jesus is in front and he's leading the way and we're to follow him, are you running ahead of Jesus? That's by nature.

I think many of us just simply run ahead of Jesus. I got to coach my son's seventh grade basketball team and we made it to the playoffs, not because of my great coaching, but because of some really talented kids. The playoff was at this junior college about 40, 45 minutes away. We drive up. I had four kids. One of them was mine in the car. And we get out. I had studied the map.

They had marked everything out for me. And the boys, this is so funny, seventh graders, four of them, they get out of the car and they're just chirping, talking, and they start walking. They have no idea where they're going. They start going this way, but the gym is that way. And I just watch them for a little bit. And they get about 50 yards away.

50 yards away. I go, hey, hey, boys, what, what? Oh, oh.

And then they follow me. See, I think we get so consumed with what we're doing, what we want to do, and we're just kind of chirping with one another that we don't recognize our Savior's over here and we're not checking in with him. We getting way out ahead. We're not ending up where we should be and we're curious.

No, no, no. We're wondering why in the world this Jesus thing doesn't work. The thief, he doesn't come for your freedom, but for your destruction. The shepherd's sole purpose is for your flourishing. Jesus says the life that I came to bring you exceeds abundantly more. His sheep, well, they know his voice and they follow him.

Are you getting out ahead of Jesus? And then it brings us to the gates. The gate provides access to life and protection from harm.

The gate provides access to life and protection from harm. And you'll notice that there's two paragraphs. First, Jesus tells a story. The Pharisees didn't understand it.

And then he explains it even more clearly the next time saying, I am the gate. Many scholars believe that Jesus is kind of mixing metaphors here. And so if you think about the first story really being about shepherding during the winter season in town, when they would be close and bringing the flock in for warmth and safety. The next, those who know, you know, I don't really know a whole lot about shepherding. I've never shepherded a day in my life.

I read a lot about it this week though. But during the summertime, the springtime, when you needed to go up into the highlands and go days away to bring, you know, get just the right food and nourishment for the flock, they would camp out with the sheep and they would have either a makeshift pen that was built out in the plains there, or they would use a cave. Now these pens didn't have doors.

They didn't have gates. What a shepherd would do is at night, he would be the gate. And he would lie down in front of the opening to protect the flock. To say, if you're going to come in here, if you want what's in here, you got to go through me. And Jesus says, I am that gate.

That gate. That fundamentally, when you walk in and you come in, you experience life. And he says, salvation through me. And by the way, at the same time, I am standing guard and protecting you.

Safety and security. He'd say it this way in another part. He'd say, no one can snatch you from my hands. The gate, it provides access to life and protection from harm.

Who is Jesus? He says, I'm the entrance. If you want to know what life is really like, it's not like some hoops you got to jump through, some kind of levels you got to attain.

It's me. And the door's not locked for you, by the way. And you don't have to earn your way or good your way or do better.

He says, no, no, no. The door to life, the entrance to life is a person and it's me. And I long for your flourishing. Would you come into me? Who do you believe has your very best interest at heart?

See, I would argue we often buy into the enemy's lies, believing his best interests rather than the shepherd's heart that he paid for with his life. What door have you been knocking on to bring you life? Knocking on the door of success. Knocking on the door of finally getting a family.

Knocking on the door of image management. What door have you been knocking on? And whose voice are you listening to? There's so much noise and so much noise and so many voices.

Whose voice are you listening to? You know what's interesting about Jesus? He says he's the gate, he's the door. In Revelations 3 20, he says, behold, I stand at the door of your heart and knock.

He reverses the image on us here. Because I think some of us, we have a door up from Jesus. We actually have a barrier up. And today you need to let your barrier down. You've been believing a lie where you thought, no, his best interest, he doesn't have the very best interest.

I want to look out beyond in the past year. I want to roam free. And by the way, you're looking a whole lot more like Chris the sheep, but you have your freedom. And Jesus is saying, I'm standing at the door right now knocking. Anyone who opens the door, I will come in and eat with them.

And they with me. It's personal. It's a relationship with him.

And maybe you've never started a relationship with Jesus. Today's your day. Where you say, Jesus, I believe you are the shepherd that brings flourishing and the gate to life. Today I opened the door of my life to you. Would you come in and make me new? And it's just that simple, honest conversation. He says, yes, every time. And others, you've been, well, you've been doing the Jesus thing, but you've been listening more like a consultant to Jesus.

And you have doors up. What would change? Think about this. What would change if you actually believe Jesus has your very best interest? What would actually change if you actually believe in him through him alone, you will experience abundance.

No, no, no. Exceeding abundance. Life. If you've never started a relationship with Jesus, I want to invite you today to start. It's simply a prayer. Prayer is just a conversation with God. God, I'm tired of doing life my own way. And I've been seeking stuff to finally bring life.

And it hasn't worked. Today, I believe you are the good shepherd, that you came for my flourishing, that you died for my brokenness and my sin, and you came back to life that I might have life to the full. Today, I opened the door of my heart to you. Would you come into my life and make me new and all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved.

I want to ask you that question again that I closed with. What would change if you actually believe Jesus has your best interest in mind? You know, ever since the garden with Adam and Eve, the goal of the enemy has been to get humanity to believe that God is not good and his word is not trustworthy. You know, the serpent said to Eve, did God really say questioning and undermining God's word? You can't really trust what God says.

And then the serpent said, for God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be open. Translation, God's holding out on you. God wants to keep you from what's really good. And honestly, at the root of all our problems, every sin we've ever committed is the belief that God is not good and his word is not true or trustworthy. Ever since the garden, humanity has bought the lie and defiantly wanted life on our own terms.

We have experienced the pain, suffering, heartbreak, loss of relationship and hopelessness as a result. The prophet Isaiah spoke of Jesus as our good shepherd and our defiant waywardness as sheep in this way. He writes, surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering. Yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him and afflicted, but he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities and the punishment that brought us peace was upon him. And by his wounds, we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray.

Each of us has turned to our own way. And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Jesus is the good shepherd who laid down his life for you for you and me. He loves you with an everlasting love. The devastation of sin and brokenness in your life and in the world breaks his heart. And he was not content to sit by and watch you suffer or wait until you fix up your life. He came for you. He died for you. You are forgiven of everything you've ever done or will do.

He longs to welcome you home and give you life to the fool. What would change if you actually believe Jesus has your best interest in mind? Would you trust Jesus with your whole life? Would you invite him to be the Lord and savior of your life? If that's where you are right now, I want to invite you to pray a simple prayer with me to invite the good shepherd to be the shepherd of your life.

Lord Jesus, I need you. I surrender my life to you today. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive you as my savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.

Take control of the throne of my life and make me the kind of person you want me to be. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Amen. Well, if you prayed with Ryan, we have a free resource we'd like to put in your hands uniquely created for new believers. This tool will help you understand what it means to trust in Jesus and what to do next. Request this free resource by calling 888-333-6003 or by visiting livingontheedge.org, then clicking the New Believers button.

That's livingontheedge.org or call 888-333-6003. Let us help you get started in your faith journey. And as Chip always says, welcome to the family. Well, Chip's with me in studio now, and Chip, you had something you wanted to share with our listeners. We have a few minutes left, so why don't you go ahead and do that? Dave, I appreciate that.

I just want to stop and pause with a very select group of people. You're people that pray for Living on the Edge. I know because you write and tell me, and you're people who give financially to Living on the Edge. And we know that when we share the gospel like this on a broadcast, literally hundreds and hundreds of people come to Christ. And so you're a part of that.

And we have reaped, not because we're special, but because the gospel is the power of God to salvation. But I want to just celebrate that reward and thank every one of you who pray and thank every single person who gives to this ministry. People's lives will be different forever and ever and ever because of you. Thanks so much.

Thanks, Chip. Well, if you'd like to join us in spreading the gospel and discipling fellow believers, consider becoming a financial partner today. As Chip just said, your support can have an eternal impact on someone's life. To learn more, go to livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003.

That's 888-333-6003 or visit livingontheedge.org. App listeners, tap donate. As we close, an easy way to share messages like this is with the Chip Ingram app. With just a couple of taps, any program you choose is on its way to your friend, someone in your family, or social media to help others benefit from the truth of Scripture. And don't forget to include a quick note about how it made a difference in your life. Well, be sure to join us again next time as Chip picks up in our series, Jesus Is. Until then, I'm Dave Druey, saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-19 05:22:29 / 2024-03-19 05:35:04 / 13

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