“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out, and find pasture.”
How very condescendingly the Lord Jesus Christ sets Himself forth! The noblest figures of speech are not too lofty to describe His merits. If we could speak with the tongues of poets and of angels, we could not adequately represent His loveliness and though the writers of the Scriptures, Inspired by the Holy Spirit, have used language which exceeds all other in majesty and beauty, even
they are not able to tell all the excellence of the Glory of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Yet, beloved Friends, when He speaks of Himself, He is pleased to use no lofty imagery, no far-fetched metaphors–He talks of Himself one day as water, and another day as bread–and here He deigns to call Himself a door. The illustration is exceedingly simple! Who is there that will not understand it? He means that as by passing through a door we enter into a house, so by passing through Christ Jesus, by faith, we enter into eternal life, enter into the true Church and ultimately shall enter into Heaven!
“I am the door.” This metaphor is not only simple, but it is wonderfully commonplace. The dealers in profundities will not like this expression. The gentlemen who must have something new–something very striking–will hardly admire this kind of talk but then, our Lord does not court their admiration. His objective is not to win the applause of the wise and the poetical, but to win the souls of the poor and the needy, to bring them to eternal life–so He uses what many call a child’s figure, a commonplace figure, “I am the door.”
He has selected this emblem, I should think, partly that it may often come before our notice. You will not go out of this place without seeing a door! You will not get into your own house without seeing a door and when you are inside, you will not get into your parlor without seeing a door. And when you go up to bed, you must pass through a door. When you rise, tomorrow morning, and start to go out to work, you will have to open a door– probably two doors–and when you reach your work, there is pretty sure to be another door to be entered. Doors meet your gaze almost everywhere, so our Lord Jesus Christ seems to say to you, “I will meet you wherever you are. Anywhere and everywhere, I will speak with you and plead with you. I will make the door of every room in your house and the door of every cupboard, too, preach a little sermon to you, as you shall be reminded by it that ‘I am the door.’” I am sure our Lord Jesus Christ does not want His ministers to deliver magnificent orations, spread-eagle sermons, with long and elaborate sentences in them. He wants them to just come and talk as He talked, in all simplicity, so that the very poorest and most illiterate of their hearers may understand their meaning, embrace the Truths of God they proclaim and find everlasting life in Him of whom they speak. So I shall try to do at this time, keeping the style of my discourse congruous with the text.
We will begin by noticing first, the door. “By Me if any man enters in.” And, thirdly, theprivileges of each of these users. “He shall be saved, and will go in and out, and find pasture.”
- First, then, concerning THE DOOR.
“I am the door,” says Jesus, and the first thought that strikes us is, the necessity of it. Here is the house of mercy and,inside, there is washing for the filthy, healing for the sick, food for the hungry, clothing for the naked. But suppose there had been no door to the house–what use would it have been to us? Suppose there had been only windows, through which we could look in and see the provision prepared there? And suppose that we could hear the songs of those who were permitted to partake of it, but there was no door by which we could enter in? All the mercy of God would have only been a tantalizing of our hunger in such a case as that. The house of mercy, without a door, would have been a house of misery to us! Look at this picture, if your eyes can perceive it–the city that lies foursquare, that mighty city, whose pinnacles tower on high so loftily that the height is as great as the breadth, and the breadth is the same as the length. Her very foundations are of precious stones and her twelve 12 gates are priceless pearls! Can your eyes gaze, even for a moment, on that brilliance that outshines the sun? And can you hear the sound of harpers harping with their harps within that city whose streets are of pure gold?
But suppose there was no door there and that our spirits had to go flying with awful beating of weary wing, round, and round, and round that solid wall, but never finding a gate where we could enter? What hope would there be for a soul shut out from the city of the perfect, the home of the blessed, because there was no door of entrance? Yet there would not have been any door if it had not been for Christ! Our sins had, as it were, walled up God and shut Him in–and walled us up and shut us out! There would have been for us no going in to God, nor any coming out from God to us, had it not been for Christ, the Mediator through whom we draw near to God because, in Him, God has drawn near to us! See, then, the necessity for this door and, blessed be His holy name, see how Christ meets this necessity. We needed a door by which we can get to God–and Jesus says, “I am the door.”
Next, observe the singularity of it. then, into the Divine Mercy? Is thereno other entrance into the true Church? Is there no other entrance into the eternal blessedness of Heaven except by Him? No, there is no other, for He says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he shall be saved.” But suppose a man will notenter by this door–may he not climb up some other way? If he should attempt to do so, he would be a thief and a robber–and God would know how to deal with him! He may think himself a bold and cunning man, and a man to be praised, for he has tried to enter into eternal life and glory by a way of his own, but God calls him a thief and a robber, and out he must go to the prison where such evildoers abound!
No, there is only one door. You may search the whole realm of Nature and you shall never discover another. Not by self-sufficiency, nor self-righteousness, nor priests, nor rites and ceremonies–not by anything of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, can you obtain admission there–
“Could our zeal no respite know,
Could our tears forever flow”–
“there is no other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Believe in Jesus! Put your trust in Him and you are saved! But, unless you come to Him in that way, there is only one sentence for you–“He that believes not shall be damned.” There is no hope of salvation by any other means. Our Lord Jesus Christ has Himself said, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be damned.” So that there is singularity in the way by which God has supplied our necessity and, therefore, Christ said, “I am the door.”
But, to my mind, the chief point in my text is personality. If we come to the Lord Jesus and say to Him, “O Lord,You can teach us how to get to Heaven; will You be pleased to tell us how we can enter the house of mercy, and the Church of God, and the Kingdom of Glory at the last?” He answers, “I am the way. I am the door.” What do You mean, great Master? Tell us, what is the door? “I am the door.” But, surely, Lord, You mean that by copying and imitating You, we shall enter in, right? He shakes His head and says, “Not so. I am the door.” But surely, You mean that by attending to certain rites which You have ordained, we shall enter, right? My Brothers and Sisters, He did not say that! He simply said, “I am the door.” “But does not Christ mean that by being orthodox and believing certain doctrines which He has taught us, and which are identified with Himself, we shall thereby enter into life and be saved?” He does not say that! He says, “I am the door.” “But is not Baptism Lord'sSupper the door?” No, for He says, “I am the door.” “But, surely, holy living must be the way into the Kingdom of Heaven!” No, it is not, for Jesus says, “I am the door.” Jesus Himself, personally, is the way into His Kingdom. There is no door into His sheepfold except Himself–His own Person. So we must just come and believe in Him, and trust in Him, for He is the door!
Would not some of the so-called “priests” lock us out of the fold if they had the keys? Thank God they have neither the key nor the charge of the door, for whoever believes in Jesus, to whatever church he belongs outwardly, or if he belongs to no visible church at all, if he does but come to God by Christ, he is saved, for Christ is the door–and nothing else is the way of entrance–neither this opinion, nor that external doing, nor such-and-such works, nor such-and-such feelings, but Christ Himself, and Christ alone. The incarnate God–our substitutionary Sacrifice who rose again from the dead for our justification, who ascended up to the Majesty on high, whose, prevalent plea is always being presented on His people’s behalf and who is coming back again, by-and-by–He it is who is the door–and only by Him can we enter the true Church on earth, and the “Church of the first-born, which are written in Heaven.”
Notice, dear Friends, in the fourth place, over this door the word suitability. Jesus says, “I am the door.” You knowthat every door has two sides to it and so has Christ. Our side of this door is His Humanity. Oh, how freely and how gladly we may come to Christ! I think that if any of us had seen Christ when He was here on earth, we would have felt no desire to get away from Him, but we would have been delighted to draw near to Him. If, in this place, just now, a little child could see Jesus Christ as He was in the days of His flesh, I am sure that the boy or girl would soon have his or her hand in Jesus Christ’s hand, for He was so sweet and loving, and tender, that the children gladly ran to Him. So that is our side of the door–Christ’s gentle Manhood. But what is God’s side of the door? It is the full splendor of Christ’s Godhead, “for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” So, our side of the door is Christ’s gentle loving Manhood, but what is God’s side of the door? It is the full splendor of Christ’s Godhead and we can only come to the Father through Him whose name is Emmanuel, “God With Us.”
And what do I see over that door but His own sprinkled blood, so that we may be quite sure of being accepted with God, for has not the Lord said to us, as He did to Israel in Egypt, “when I see the blood, I will pass over you”? Therefore, the door is Christ Jesus, so let me put the Truth very plainly and say that if any of you wish to be saved, it must be by coming to God through Christ Jesus! You cannot be saved in any other fashion or way. But you will certainly be saved if you come to God by Christ Jesus. He is the door and He is an open door and a door available for you if you will but enter in by Him! May His blessed Spirit sweetly incline you to do so! Then all the rich promises of this text shall be yours–you shall be saved, and you shall go in and out and find pasture.
II. Now, in the second place, I am to speak of THE USERS OF THIS DOOR. “By Me if any man enters in.”
What is the main purpose of a door? It is to give admission to the house. There are some persons who stand and lookat the door or perhaps praise it, saying, “What a fine door that is!” Yet they do not go in through it. And I have known people who liked to hear Christ extolled, yet they did not yield themselves to Him. They said, “That was a rich Gospel sermon,” but they did not trust the Christ who was preached! They looked at the door–that was all.
There are others who occasionally knock at the door. They tell me that they have often prayed to God, but that they have never been heard. Well, it is wise to knock at this door, but is not enough to knock, for the text does not say, “By Me if any man knocks, he will be saved,” but, “by Me if any man enters in, he will be saved.”
I have known some persons who have sat down on the step of this door–some of you have been sitting there a long time. You have been hearing the Gospel and you have listened to it with some degree of attention. So far, so good. But if you do nothing more, you are simply sitting down on the doorstep. Doors were not made for us to sit on the doorstep. Little children frequently do that at your houses, do they not? You often wish they did not, yet there they will sit and play. But that is not the purpose for which the door was intended. A door is made for us to pass through it, not for us to sit down in front of it. If a man stands and admires your door, or if he knocks at your door and yet still sits on your doorstep, he is not making the right use of the door. According to our text, the proper way to use a door is to enter in by it–and that is the right way to use Christ–to enter in by Him!
There are some who do not do that, but they very jealously guard the door. They stand like sentinels outside the door. They are true Protestants and their blood is on fire at the very thought of the Pope. They like to read books that bully everybody who does not agree with them. Only let a heretic come near–they are orthodox enough to knock him down, directly. They are protecting the door, but they do not go through it. I have marveled to find some men downright bigots in defense of the Gospel which they have never received themselves! They would not allow anybody to say a word against it on any account whatever. They are righteously indignant at error, yet they have never been saved by the Truth! I would not like to be a hungry man set to guard a loaf of bread, to have to walk up and down like a soldier with bayonet fixed, and all the while to be dying of starvation, my bones sticking out through my skin, yet never eating a crumb. Taking care that no Zulu ever came near the bread, shooting anybody who approached it, but never getting a morsel to eat myself! There are numbers of people who are doing just that–they are simply sentinels at the door, remaining outside all the while. But the proper use of the door of salvation is to enter in by it, so our Lord Jesus says in our text.
Note, particularly, the description given of those who use the door. in.“ Christ does notsay, "By Me if any king or prince should enter in.” No, thank God, He says, “If any man enters in”–any man from the slums, any man from the abode of poverty or vice–“He will be saved.” Christ does not say, “If any highly intelligent person is able to understand the plan of salvation, He will be saved.” It is not difficult to understand, for it is only like going through a door–and everybody knows how to do that. You coal-heavers, who have strayed in here, and you squires from the country who have your pockets well lined, and you poor people who have your pockets empty. You who have good characters and you who would do better if you were to lose your present characters, for they are no good to you, my text is so broad in its comprehension that it shuts none of you out! “By Me if any man enters in he will be saved.”
I want to call your special attention to this point, for, evidently, this entering in is irrespective of character because a man can go through a door whether he is the biggest thief that lives, or the most honest man in the world! He does not need to be a good fellow to go through a door. And when Christ says, “any man,” He means the sinner who deserves the deepest Hell. It means me. It means you, my Friends, who are in the same condition as I was in when I came to Jesus! “By Me if any man enters in, he will be saved.” Perhaps someone says, “Do you mean to tell me that men are to go to Heaven without being holy?” I tell you no such thing! But I say that they are to come to Christ without being holy. They trust in Christ and then He makes them fit to go to Heaven, but, at their first coming to Him, there is no fitness required. You are to come just as you are–downright bad, through and through–just pass through this door!
Going through a door is a very simple action. It may be performed by an idiot, or by a baby who can but just toddle. That is faith–passing from this side of Christ to the other side–passing from where I am, in myself, to be reconciled with God by trusting in Jesus Christ. Passing through a door is not a long operation. It can be done in the twinkling of an eye, and so can a man be saved in the twinkling of an eye. Passing through a door is not a difficult operation if the door is open–and coming to Christ is not a difficult operation. I will tell you when it is difficult–when a man has an enormous load of what he calls, “good works,” upon his back! I have seen people in that condition. They could not get through the door at all! They had such a mountain of good works that they could not get through the doorway! A wagonload of hay was nothing to the load they carried–they could not pass through the strait gate. The man who gets to Christ most quickly is the one who is utterly stripped of everything of his own.
Some people cannot get through this door because they carry their heads too high. I believe that he who is bowed down to the dust, on his hands and kneels, is the man who gets in most easily. He who is nothing, he who is nobody, he who is undeserving, ill-deserving, Hell-deserving, he who has no hope apart from Christ is the man who most quickly finds hope in Christ! Righteous self is very hard to get rid of, and that is the great difficulty of passing through this door.
You see, then, that character is not set down as a fitness for Christ. Neither is feeling to be set down as a preparation for coming to Christ. Christ needs nothing to prepare a sinner for Him. That poor man who was wounded and left halfdead on the road to Jericho would have been in a still worse plight if the Samaritan had said to him, “Now , my goodman, I am willing to help you, but you are hardly fit to be helped. I am afraid you do not feel your wounds sufficiently. I am afraid you are not sensible enough of the bruises you have received. I am afraid that at the present moment you are scarcely awakened to your danger. You seem to me to be half stupefied by that crack you had on your head, so I must leave you, I am afraid, until you are able to feel a little more and to be better prepared for me to help you.” He did nothing of the sort, but he just brought out his oil and wine and he tore his coat, took a piece of rag to bind up the wounds and lifted the poor fellow up and set him on his own beast and took him to the inn.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ is far better than that good Samaritan, but He acts on the same principle. He comes to the sinner just where he is and He does not need him to feel this or feel that, or be this or be that, or do this or do that–just to trust Him, to rest in Him and in Him alone, and He will pour in the oil and the wine, and heal the sin-sick soul! Feeling or no feeling, if you will pass through that door, you shall be saved! If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are not condemned and, therefore, you are saved!
So now I leave that point, only praying the Lord to make it very plain to all who have heard it. It may seem, to some of you, to be the plainest thing in the world, for you have heard it so often, but I tell you, Beloved, that the poor trembling sinner needs to hear this over and over and over again, for although it is put in the plainest Saxon that can be discovered, he will not understand it till the Holy Spirit opens his understanding. They still think there is something to do, like that old German Lutheran woman who said, “I do not understand this. My minister asked me a hundred questions before he thought I was converted and, as for me. I was groaning and crying for many years before I dared believe in Jesus Christ.” That is just the way with many–they will do anything except trust Jesus then and there! Yet the Gospel–the true simple Gospel is, “Christ is all. Trust Him and be saved.” He is Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” therefore, trust Him, trust Him, trust Him, trust Him and, then and there, salvation is yours! “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me”–that is all he has to do–“he will be saved.”
III. Now, very briefly, I want to speak of THE PRIVILEGES OF THOSE WHO USE THIS DOOR ARIGHT.
The first privilege of the right users of it is salvation. Those who have entered in by Christ, the Door, are saved. Hesays, “By Me if any man enters in, he shall be saved”–saved from the guilt of sin, saved also from the power of sin. He shall be saved from being what he has been in the past. He shall be so saved as to enter into holiness, and so saved as to enter into Heaven. What a grand salvation that is!
“Oh,” says one, “I could believe in Christ if I felt that I was saved.” Never put the cart before the horse! That is reversing the proper order of things! Trust in Christ and then you are saved. Go through the door of which I have beenspeaking to you. “Oh, but I wish I felt that I was saved.” Go through the door, Man, for our Lord Jesus says, “By Me if any man enters in, he will be saved.” There is no text that says, “If any man shall wait outside the door, he will be saved.” There is no encouragement given to people to say, “We will sit and wait till the angel troubles the pool.” The command of Christ is, “Rise, take up your bed, and walk.” The message of the Gospel is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” A Gospel that tells sinners to wait is not the Gospel that our Lord Jesus Christ blesses. His word is, “Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.” “By Me if any man enters in, he will be saved.”
And what follows this salvation? The next privilege is liberty–“He shall go in and out.” We do not come to Christ to be shut up in a prison–we shall go in and out. There is no such liberty as you who believe in Jesus have–liberty to go to your bed at night and to feel that it does not matter whether you wake up here or not! Liberty to go out into the world and feel that losses and crosses cannot happen to you without your Father’s permission and that you will have Grace to bear them! Liberty to go wherever you please on the errands of God, always protected by His almighty power! Do not imagine that walking with God, as Enoch did, means a narrow and confined life. He only has true largeness of heart who has God dwelling in his heart.
Then notice the further privilege that is included in this liberty–that is, liberty of access. “He shall go in.” He whogoes through the door–that is, believes in Christ–shall go in to God in prayer to pour out his heart before the Lord. He shall go in to the Church to have fellowship with all the saints. He shall go in to that secret of the Lord which is with them that fear Him and, one day, he shall go into the innermost Heaven, into that blessed circle where God reveals His love in the highest degree. “He shall go in.”
And he shall have liberty of egress, as well as liberty of access, for, after he has been with God in private, he shall goout and–
“Tell to sinners round
What a dear Savior he has found.”
He shall go out to bear his cross with joy and to lift up his Captain’s banner with confidence. He shall go out farther and farther afield, learning more of the things of Christ, discovering more and more how great are the estates of God which cannot be enclosed within a fence, but which exceed all space and can only be compared with eternity and infinity!
Then there is added the privilege of nourishment–“and shall find pasture.” Whatever his heart needs to live upon,to fill it, to sustain it, to comfort it, to make it grow, to develop it, to perfect it, he shall find it all in Christ Jesus his Lord and Savior! When a soul comes to Christ and receives life, it does not receive a life that will ever die, for Jesus, who is our Life, is also the Bread of Life and we live upon Him, and feed upon Him, and so our life endures until, in its full expansion, we enter into our eternal inheritance before the Throne of God!
These, then, are the privileges of those who enter in by Christ the Door–salvation, liberty, access, egress and nourishment for the soul. Who will have all these things by entering the door? Sometimes, when I have preached the Gospel with all my might, I go home and think to myself, “Oh, I am grieved for those people who will not lay hold upon Christ! I could cry my heart out over them.” But, at other times, I feel that I must take God’s side of the matter and say, “Well, if they will not have salvation–if His Son has been torn from His own bosom and put to death to save men, and yet they despise Him–if God writes His message of love in letters of blood, the blood of His own well-beloved Son, and still men refuse to accept it–then their blood be upon their own head!” If Jehovah stoops right down from Heaven and says, “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool”–if He goes out of His way, as it were, to plead with sinners, by His mighty love and by the precious blood of Christ, His Son, I sometimes think that if they will not come to Him then, I am more inclined to blame them than to pity them! If they will not see what God sets before them and they are then struck blind, who can blame the justice of God? Surely, they deserve the deepest Hell who refuse and reject the Christ of God!
Suppose that a man was standing at your door and that he said he was starving–and that you pointed to the door and bade him enter? But he says, “Yes, I see the door.” “Well, then, enter it and you shall have food.” “No,” he says, “I am very hungry, but I am afraid I do not feel my hunger enough to entitle me to go in.” You say, “My dear Fellow, enter in.” “But–but–but–I–I–I–” he keeps on saying and you reply, “My dear Fellow, do you see the door?” “Yes,” he says. “Well, then, enter in!” He says that he is ready to faint, that he feels so sick, he needs medicine. You answer, “Everything is inside that door and the only condition is, ‘Enter in.’” “Oh, dear,” he cries, “I am worse than I thought I was! I am covered all over with a foul disease. I dare not go in.” Still you say to him, “Enter in. Everything is ready, come along with you–do not wait outside any longer.” “But I cannot climb over the top of the roof.” “I did not ask you to do so! I said, ‘Come in by the door.’” “But I cannot dig through the cellar and come up that way.” “I did not ask you to do anything of the kind! Come in by the door.”
Is not that what the Apostle meant in the chapter we read? [Exposition at end of sermon.] “Say not in yours heart, Who shall ascend into Heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead). But what does it say? The Word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the Word of faith which we preach, that if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in yours heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”
“But I thought–I thought”–the man still says, “that to get such great mercy as to be fed, and to be clothed, and to be healed–I thought that there would be something for me, to do, some performance for me to go through.” You say to him, “My dear Man, I have told you over and over and over again that everything depends upon your just entering in by that door. Will you do it?” He comes right up to the door. He looks through the doorway, it is wide enough for him to pass through, and there is all that he needs just on the other side of the door. He says, “I am almost persuaded to enter, I am very near the Kingdom.” “But,” you exclaim, “my dear Fellow, you will perish, near as you are, if you do not take one step more, over the threshold, into the house! Receive what is provided and all will be well with you! But if you will not enter, you must perish.”
I think I hear somebody say, “Then, I will do it! I will trust Christ, whether I may or may not.” You are a saved man if you only did it while I was speaking the word, for there was never a soul that said, “Christ shall be All-in-All to me,” but Christ really was All-in-All to that soul! May the Holy Spirit bring many of you to that blessed decision! And God shall be glorified, and you shall share His joy forever and ever! Amen.