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May 19, 2021 12:01 am
God has prepared a place of sanctuary and safety for His people--a place into which there is only one entrance. Today, R.C. Sproul establishes a controversial truth: Jesus Christ is the only way to God.
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John chapter 10 Jesus says I am the door. Jesus is speaking of heaven of the kingdom of the presence of God and he uses a statement that the Pharisees choked on, but I have to say to beloved. There's probably no time and no culture in the history of the Christian church more offended by this kind of teaching by Jesus than the culture in which we live today. When is it difficult to find so offensive pillow on the web and welcome to Renewing Your Mind every other year. We conduct a survey called the state of theology to find out what people believe about God and the Bible we discovered that 63% believe that God accepts the worship of all religions. Many people reasoned that since God is love. There are many ways to enter his kingdom. That's simply not true, but that's not me saying it's not our teacher Dr. RC scroll soon. It's Jesus himself once again were going to be looking at the so-called iambs of geniuses.
Those pronouncements that he made during his earthly ministry that are extremely important in terms of his own self-consciousness and his own definition of his person and his work and we've already seen that when geniuses uses the IM formula. He uses the formula of the statement that equates with the Old Testament language for God.
And so we've seen already two of the iambs and today were going to look at the statement that Jesus makes in John chapter 10 I am the door. Now before we look at that I often say that in this same passage, Jesus expresses another important I am. When he calls himself the good Shepherd and so in the same context. In the same discussion Christ calls himself the door and the good Shepherd. Now those two expressions have to be distinguished one from another because they don't mean precisely the same thing.
But even though we distinguish between them. We must never separate them because they are so closely related one to the other. So, the first of the two that Jesus expresses is the statement I am the door and let's look at the context for this in John chapter 10 beginning in verse one where Jesus said most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way. The same is a safe and a robber, but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep and to him. The doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out and when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers in Jesus use this illustration, but they did not understand the things which he spoke to them and then Jesus said to them again. Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep who ever came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. Anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy.
But I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly. So here in the beginning of the good Shepherd discourse.
Jesus likens himself to the door of the sheepfold knowest take a couple of moments to look at the historic and cultural background of the scenario that Jesus is painting for his ears. At this point, we know that the shepherding vocation was very important in the ancient Jewish community and we know that the Old Testament is replete with references to this whole business of shepherding where we see David emerge as the Shepherd King of Israel, and we are most familiar with the 23rd Psalm that likens the Lord as the shepherd of his people and again throughout the Old Testament we see this imagery, but in the ancient world sheep would be outside during the day and they would graze in the shepherd would lead them beside the still waters and into the green pastures where they could be nourished by their feeding in the pasture lands, and if you've ever seen flocks of sheep you know that they moved helter-skelter with no seeming rhyme or reason to their activity and without a shepherd. They are sometimes behaving in such a way that we think that there done that they would actually do harm to themselves. And so, in the ancient near East, and the sheep always had a shepherd who went with them during the day but at night the sheep were brought in from the pasture and were kept in a place that was protected that was called the sheepfold and there were different kinds of sheepfold.
Some of them were made out of wood with wooden fencing around them to protect the interior but more often the sheepfold was constructed out of stones and so you had an impregnable fortress, as it were, to shelter and protect the sheep from thieves or from wild animals that would come and harm them and the walls around the sheepfold didn't have Barb wire at the top because I didn't have barbed wire in those days that they would have briars attached sharp needle he thorns around the top of the walls to discourage the intruder from trying to climb in over the wall and that's why Jesus said that only those who were out for destruction for thievery or for murder, climb up over the wall but the door is the proper entranceway for the sheep. And then of course most importantly for the shepherd and they would have with in the sheepfold one person who would be in charge of being the gatekeeper as it were, who would guard the door.
He was not the shepherd.
He was the guardian of the door and often the sheepfold would be big enough to contain several different flocks of sheep and various shepherds would come in with their sheep and the sheep would not get lost and intermixed with other sheep from other flocks because the sheep recognize their shepherd and the shepherd recognized his sheep and will talk a bit more about that later, but again, remember that the entrance to the sheepfold which is the place of safety, which is the place of protection is the door, and so the first image that Jesus uses here in this context is.
He says I am the door.
And obviously the shepherd was not the door but he said that the one who enters by the door is the shepherd. And so we see a distinction here between the shepherd and the door and to the shepherd, the doorkeeper opens in the sheep here, his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
Now there are records of sheep farmers not only in this country, but in other nations who can recognize their sheep by the distinctive markings and characterizations in many of these shepherds actually gave and today still give particular names to the sheep just like we do for our household pets for our cats and for our dogs and so on and also the shepherd if he spends any time with the sheep and gets to know the sheep and the sheep get to know him that sometimes the shepherd would stand inside the sheepfold and call the sheep and they would come running because the sheep were supposedly dumb animals recognized the voice of their shepherd and they wanted to be where the shepherd was and so when the shepherd would call them by name. They would come running in to the sheepfold. But again, the only way of entrance into the sheepfold was through the door and sows to the shepherd. The doorkeeper opens sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out and when he brings out his own sheep. That is when he leaves the sheepfold.
He goes first and he leads the sheep through the door to go back out into grazing and again the sheep follow him. So there's an emphasis here even before the metaphor of the good Shepherd of the behavior of the sheep with respect to the shepherd not notice the immediate context for this illustration that Jesus is giving me so often when we read the New Testament we pick up something that begins with a particular chapter. We almost think that it's an isolated incident.
From what went before it, but chapter 10 follows exactly on the heels of chapter 9 and in the original gospel. There were no chapter divisions or verse divisions and so we have to look what immediately precedes this discussion to see what motivates geniuses to give this illustration and if you recall when we looked at the statement.
I am the light of the world.
One of the context in which Jesus made that statement was with respect to his healing of the man born blind, who by the touch of Jesus was able to see light for the first time in his life and not only does Jesus say I am the one who gave this man light, but I am the light of the entire world and you remember when we look at that in chapter 9 that the Pharisees and the Sadducees were furious at Jesus for the claims that he was making and also at the man they virtually excommunicated this poor man who had been born blind, who had been healed miraculously by Christ and instead of rejoicing. The Pharisees were angry and so immediately after this confrontation the Jesus as with the leaders he goes into this discussion about his being good door to the sheepfold and also then preparing for the statement of the good Shepherd because obviously the Pharisees who were called to be the shepherds of God's people were like thieves and robbers who had no real concern for the well-being of the sheep here was a man who was born blind and was under their pastoral care. He was a member of their flock, as it were, and when this poor sheep who'd been wounded from birth was made whole. They become jealous and enraged against the man and against Jesus and Jesus and what what what kind of shepherds of are you that that's all the concern you have for your sheep you're more concerned about your own status you're more concerned about your own reputation than the order for the welfare of this man that I just and so that's the context in which Jesus makes a statement about the door. Now, obviously when he talks about the sheepfold and the door to the sheepfold.
Jesus is he using this common earthly real life situation that they were all familiar with to call attention to a higher truth. Remember at the heart of Jesus parables and of his illustrations is his communication about the kingdom of God and what Jesus is saying is that God has a sheepfold that God has a place of sanctuary.
God has a place of safety. God has a place of everlasting peace and protection where God is the mighty fortress for his people and that fortress like the sheepfold has a door, and so Jesus is speaking of heaven of the kingdom of the presence of God and he uses a statement that the Pharisees choked on, but I have to say to beloved. There's probably no time and no culture in the history of the Christian church more offended by this kind of teaching by Jesus than the culture in which we live today if Jesus ever made a statement that was politically incorrect. It was this one because what Jesus is saying about himself is that the kingdom is exclusive not inclusive and the sheepfold doesn't have 15 different doors 15 ways to get in. There's only one door. As the New Testament repeats there's only one mediator between God and man that the flock of God has one shepherd one door and the only way into that door is through the one who is the door.
That's what I say when Christians second in one way that's so offensive to the inconclusive pluralistic culture in which we live. Christians are frowned upon when they talk like this.
But again, it's Jesus who makes the same and in the apostles Peter says there is no other name under heaven, through which men must be set in another of the iambs that will look on Jesus says I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father but by me. And so again, if there's ever a time when Jesus makes a statement that provokes conflict among his contemporaries is here when he makes this statement about himself. Let's look at it again when he says he who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep and to him.
The doorkeeper opens the sheep peers voice and so on. And then in verse seven Jesus said to them again, truly, truly, are most assuredly, I say to I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before me are thieves and robbers now terms we refer I don't think he's referring to the profits of the ultimate calling Moses a thief or robberies are calling Isaiah at the for Robert but he's referring to those who were false messiahs. Those who claim to be the way to God. Not again. If you're going to interact with the Scriptures of the old and New Testament and then interact with the pluralistic culture which you live.
Which tells you from the time your little children. There are many ways to God.
It doesn't matter what you believe.
Whether you're Buddhist or Hindu or confusion or doll was there.
Whatever else all these different roads go up to God.
God's had many sons many avatars.
Many manifestations or incarnations in this world and we want to have this all-inclusive concept.
It's on a collision course with what the Scriptures teach about salvation, but Christ is called the mono good nice. The only begotten of the father told the story before what happened me when I was a college student in our professor in English who was quite hostile, openly hostile to Christianity asked me for low class. This is Brody think that Jesus is the only way to God and I felt the stairs of everybody in the class on million on. I knew I was deep, deep trouble because if I say yes that I'm a bigot and if I say no, trader, so I mumble my answer. She's when did you say I said I said yes think he's the only way she came down on the sea said that's the most arrogant, narrowminded, bigoted statement I've ever heard. And she humiliated me before the class and after class I was leaving I stopped at the door and I sent her a set.
I know that you don't believe in Christianity but you think it's possible that a person could ever be truly persuaded that Jesus was at least one way to God. She said will yes course and I said well if you persuaded that Jesus is one way to God then you find out he tells you he's the only way to God than what you do.
I said if I thought he was the only way to God because he happens to be my way and I'm saying that you have to believe my way or the highway and only RC Sproul has the truth then of course that would be the most arrogant, bigoted, narrowminded thing you ever but if I'm really persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, and he teaches that he's the only way don't you see that I would be betraying him if I said to make you happy or the culture happy with her many many ways. Moshe Turco. She said yes I do see that she said but I have to say how can you believe in a God that only gives one way is a blessed thing that amazes me is what he gives away, why should he give one way and what he is done. The extent to which he has gone to redeem a fallen world through the ministry of Christ whose life and person isn't worthy to be compared with Buddha or Mohammed or Confucius or anyone else. They're all dead. None of them gave an atonement. None of them bore the sins of the world on their back before the judgment seat of God. And I said of God sent his only son into the world to bear. Every sin that you've ever committed and he kills him in your place, and then says if you put your trust in him.
He's going to forgive every sin that you've ever committed and he's going to give you everlasting life that you never die that you will live forever with no more pain with no more disease with no more darkness with no more trouble and I said and that you can look at him and say you haven't done enough. We are so arrogant that we demand that God gives us five doors into the sheepfold and we reject Jesus own teaching when he says yes there is a Broadway if you don't want to be narrow there's a Broadway broad is the way and why does the door… Sheepfold now that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in at that point but Jesus said narrow is the way in straight is the gate that leads to life, and few there be confined and so Jesus says if you want to enter in the want to go to that place of safety. You have to come through me and he says again later on if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and he will go in and he will go out to go into the place of safety. He'll go out to the green pastures.
The thief does not come except to try to scale over the wall.
He comes to steal to kill and destroy. But I have come as the door they may have life and have it more abundantly. For Jesus when he says he's the door to the sheepfold is also saying he is the door to life itself is a way the transcendent kind of life that he came to give this one him here. He says the bring life abundant life, the kind of life that only occurs in the other side of the door if you want to stay outside that door or try to find another way in except through that door you will miss that life you will miss the kingdom you will miss the father's buddy said, I am come through me. MetLife that's an incredible images and it those who are in Christ are safe and secure because there's only one door. We only come to God through Christ him were protected by the one who is the door with great encouragement that is worse today. This week on Renewing Your Mind. We are featuring Dr. RC Sproul series knowing Christ. The IM sayings of Jesus. Each of the sayings reveals who Jesus is and we like to send you the complete series.
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You can call us at 800-435-4343 our desire to accurately dinner ministries is to proclaim, teach, and defend the holiness of God in all its fullness to as many people as possible. We do that through this broadcast through the many books we publish hundreds of teaching series and conferences. We also produce a variety of podcasts to help you grow one of those is simply put a short podcast about long words every week my colleague Barry Cooper sheds light on a different biblical or theological term, and he makes it easy to understand. Here's a brief portion of a recent episode if you had to name the weakest difference between Christianity and all other religions would be. I think the biggest difference is this. It's only the Christian faith that says build became a man the goat to come our humanity. It's a radical and startling claim and theologians call it the incarnation you'll find.
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Dr. scroll, take a look at whether Jesus statements that's familiar to most Christians, he says I am the good shepherd. I hope you make plans to join us again Thursday for Renewing Your Mind