The Gate (John 10:1-10)

May 28, 2023 | Jake Thomas


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Good morning church. It’s been said a few times. My name is Jake Thomas. And I’m a Moody Bible Institute student, and I’m working as an intern this summer. And I’m very excited to learn and to serve you all this summer. And you may recognize me. I’ve been here for a few years now. I work down in the basement of kids city. If your kid has ever told you about a Mr. Tall Jelly Bean, that’s me. It’s a long story. I don’t really understand it myself. But yeah, I’m very excited to be here today and to preach the Word of God. And I’m very humbled. So if you would, please open your Bibles with me to John 10. It’d be John 10. And we’re gonna start in verse one.
As a grown-up my dad, he had a tradition and every house we moved to every new place we would go to pretty early on in the process, he grabbed an old bucket of red paint, and an even older paint brush, and he’d go to the front door and paint the door red, bright red. And I don’t know why red, I think he just liked the color. But every house that I’ve ever lived in, has had a red front door. So whenever I saw that bright red door, I knew I was home. So whenever I leave for the day to go to school, or I go to work, I go hang out, with my friends, and I got tired, I could return to the red door and find rats, I could eat and sleep in the peace of my own home. Or whenever I became scared, and I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, I could return to the red door and lock it behind me and the fear couldn’t get to me anymore. I got safety behind the red door. Or whenever I was alone, all my friends were gone. I didn’t know anyone around me, I could return to the red door because my family was right behind it. So whenever I saw my bright red door, I knew I was home.
I think we’re all looking for home, we’re all looking for a place to find rest, and safety and community.
Ever felt tired, unsure of where to go to find rest in peace? Or felt scared, unsure where to go to find security and safety. Or maybe you felt alone? Feel like you’re not connected to anyone you’re unsure where to go to find community. So where is our home? Where it is our big red door? Where do we go to find rest and safety and community? I think a better question isn’t where is our big red door, but rather who is our big red door. So if you’re just joining us this week, or you miss the past few weeks, we’re in the middle of a series called I am Jesus. In his own words, we’re going through the I am statements of Jesus. In week one, Pastor Brandon, he talked about how Jesus is the bread of life, the better choice of calories to consume. And then last week, Pastor Kyle talked about Jesus is the light of the world that he’s come, and we are to follow him. Today. Today we’re going to be in John 10. One. So please bear with me while I read verse one. 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. And so we’re hopping right in the middle of a story here. And to understand what’s going on, we got understand who’s talking to who who’s listening to that, and what happened before that. So we see from chapter nine that it’s Jesus is the one talking. And you see in verse one, it says who he’s talking to, he’s talking to the Pharisees. So what happened before this that led to the Pharisees in the Jesus talking, like kind of in a little bit of a spat right now. So in chapter nine, Jesus, He heals a blind guy, a guy who couldn’t see for his entire life. And even more shocking, he says, He’s the Son of Man, which is basically Jesus saying that he is God. And the Pharisees, they’re like the religious leaders of the day, and they don’t like what Jesus said, they find that unbelievable, like, Who are you to say you are God. And so Jesus, he actually doubles down on what he’s saying. He says, I am the Son of Man. And Pharisees are actually more blind than that blind guy that I healed. So naturally, the Pharisees don’t really like that. And so tensions are kind of high right now between Jesus and the Pharisees, which makes what he says next even more shocking. So we see in verse one, Jesus is laying out the image of a sheep pen, which he goes into more detail about for the rest of the passage. And so in the other verses, you see what you would expect to find a sheep pen, right, you see sheep, and you see a shepherd. Those are the things that make sense to be in the sheep pen. You also mentioned is the gate and that’s a really important image to take note of some translations that you have might say door so I’m going to use those words relatively interchangeably. When I say door I mean gate when I say gate, I mean door you guys get it. But there’s something else that Jesus mentions that doesn’t quite belong in the sheep and it’s the thieves And I think I picture the Pharisees, they’re listening to Jesus, right? They’re getting ready to refute anything’s gonna say, and they’re tracking with them. And I think they would have understood the sheep and the shepherd. I think that would have made sense to them. Because the Pharisees they, they knew their Bible, right? They were pretty well read, because in the Old Testament, in the Old Testament of the Bible, it talks about the sheep and the shepherd as images for the people of God, the sheep, and God, the shepherd, the Pharisees, they would have understood that they’re like, Okay, I’m tracking Jesus, he is talking about that. But I think what would have confused them would have been the thieves. I think they would have been like, who? Who were the thieves supposed to be? I don’t understand. Who are they? And we even know the the Pharisees didn’t get it. Because you see, in verse six, it says, The Pharisees did not understand. So let’s help the Pharisees out a little bit. Let’s build a case file on these thieves. Let’s put our Sherlock Holmes hat and figure out who the thieves are? Well, first, let’s figure out the motive of the thief. Why would the thief want to get into the sheep pen? I mean, it seems kind of obvious. But to get to the sheep, the sheep are desirable to the thief. That’s why they want to break into the sheep pen. But what did the sheep even have that are worth stealing? Well, sheep have Wolf. That’s what makes the sheep valuable in the eyes of excuse me, of a thief. So then, who are the thieves? Well, I think Jesus was actually talking to the thieves. He’s in the presence of them. You see, because the Pharisees they’re very interested in the wool of the people of God. You see the thief. The problem with him is that he doesn’t care about the sheep, only what the sheep can give them. And the Pharisees didn’t care about what the people of God about them only about what they could give them. Because in that time, the Jewish people, they needed to offer sacrifices at the temple. So they would buy an animal to go to the temple, they give it to the Pharisee. And the Pharisee would sacrifice it for forgiveness of the Jewish people since the problem though, was that the Pharisees they would upcharge the Jews on the animals, they would sell like doves and goats for way more than they were actually worth. And not only that, sometimes when they were given the animal, they would just cook it and eat in themselves, they want to actually sacrifice it to God. You see, the Pharisees, they didn’t care about the people of God, the Elland cared about the people of God could give them the wool. And yeah, you and I, if we ask people about, we don’t sacrifice animals anymore. It’s not something that we really do. But we still have wool. That is desirable. There are leaders in the modern church that don’t care about the people of God, but only care about the people of God can give them. And yeah, it’s not animals, but the there are modern church leaders who want money, and want status and even sexual gains from the people of God. And so we see the problem. And we see the intruders there are thieves wanting to get into the sheep pen, but who actually belongs in the sheep pen who actually lives and the sheep pen. Follow me as a read on. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep, the gatekeeper opens the gate for him and the sheep LISTEN to His voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leaves them out. When he’s brought out all the sheep. on his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know His voice, but they will never follow a stranger. In fact, they’ll run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. Jesus uses figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. So what does it mean to live in the sheep pen? Well, I think one way to understand a place is to understand who owns it. A way to understand what it means to live somewhere is understand who owns the building. Let me give you an example. So what if I invited you to come live in this amazing penthouse in downtown Chicago? It’s got an amazing view of the Michigan, Lake Michigan, and downtown Chicago. It’s got awesome stores in the basement, awesome restaurants, this is just a great place to live. I think most people be like, Yeah, that makes sense. I’ll take that deal. Now what if I told you that place was trumped our Donald Trump is an incredibly polarizing figure you either you love him or you hate him. Now, some people they get really excited by this, they put their Magga cap on, they have our suitcases packed, like when can I move in, I’m ready to go. And other people, you cannot pay them enough to set foot in that building. They feel physically ill at the thought of living in a building with his name on the side of it. So you see the to understand what it means to live somewhere is understand the owner, it’s a helpful way to understand what it means to live there.
So who owns the sheep pen? The shepherd, the shepherd is the owner of the sheep pen. Now I’m not going to go too much into the shepherd because pasture Brandon’s gonna preach on that next week. And yeah, so come next because it’s gonna be a really great sermon. So I’m gonna kind of dip and dip out. But the most important thing to learn about the shepherd in this passion is passage is his voice. You can see the power of it in verses four and five and verse 14, So that’s why the sheep follow him. They know the sound of his voice and they go down and verse five, he said they won’t follow a stranger’s voice. If someone tries to call them the sheep, they won’t go to them. That’s the power of the shepherds voice. It’s even more interesting if you know how Middle Eastern Shepherd practice worked back then. So it wasn’t like each shepherd had their own pen necessarily. So they were pens and multiple shepherds would use the same pen overnight. And other other shepherds would sleep while one shepherd washed all the sheep. And then in the morning, there wasn’t this really big concern about Okay, wait, which sheeps mine, which sheeps? Yours, the shepherd would just go to the gate and call the sheep and only his sheep would come out? The shepherd, they know the sound of the sheep, they know the shepherds voice, they’re not going to move in a way that their shepherd isn’t calling them. And so again, that’s really all we’re gonna talk about Jesus being Shepherd today. So coming in next week, Pastor brand is going to give an amazing sermon about that, I’m sure. Okay, so the shepherd, the most important thing about him is his voice. So then, what about the sheep? What is so important that the sheep, what does it mean to be a person of God to be in the flock? Well, I think if the most important thing about the shepherd is his voice, then it stands to reason that the most important thing about the sheep are their ears. The people of God are those who listen to the voice of the shepherd, the listen to the voice of Jesus. To live in the sheep in is to listen to the voice of God and submit to the homeowner of the sheep pen. And so, in the same way that sheep they didn’t move and toward a stranger’s voice, you and I, we shouldn’t move in ways that our shepherd isn’t calling us. We need to listen to the voice of God. And I don’t use that phrase is kind of interesting, the voice of God, what does that actually mean? How do we listen to the voice of God? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had like a thundercloud speak to me or had like a dream or a vision that told me what to do and how I should honor God. So where do we go? Where do we go to listen to the voice of God? We have in our hands, the voice of God is the Bible. This book is the wisdom and truth of the Lord, his voice shouts from these pages, to be one of the sheep to be a person of God, to be in the flock is to listen to submit to the Bible, the Word of God. So then, I get to be a sheep as listen to the voice of God, but how are the sheep get into the sheep pen? How does that happen? How they access the sheep? And we know who lives there, right? We know the residents is the shepherd and the sheep. But how did the sheep get there in the first place? How do they get into the dream home? Or how to get into any place the door? So what is the door to the sheep and what is the gate to the sheep pen? Let’s read on in verse seven. Therefore, Jesus said, again, very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate, whoever is enters through me will be saved, they will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief has comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come they might have life and have it to the fool. So the door to the sheep pen, it’s not a place, it’s a person. He is how we enter the sheep in Jesus, how we get in. It feels kind of weird, right? So wait, Jesus is the shepherd and also the door? How does that make any sense? In verse nine, it’s very clear what he means by that. Jesus is saying that he is whoever enters through and will be will be saved. To enter through him is to start a relationship with Jesus. That’s how you enter the gate. That’s how we use the door. He’s a person that you have a relationship with them. And that’s how you enter through the gate. And not only that, you enter through the gate to receive salvation to receive life. So Jesus saying in this passage, is telling us to enter the gate. He’s offering a place for us to receive rest and safety and community he’s offering all a home. All we need to do is enter into a relationship with him and then we have entered the gate. But why do we even need a door in the first place? Why can’t we just be in the sheep pen? Well, the problem was that we actually used to live in the sheep pen Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. That was the original sheep and they lived with God in relationship with him. But they had to leave because they disobeyed God and they sinned. They stopped listening to the voice of God and they couldn’t live in the sheep anymore. So we need a way back. We need a way back to the sheep and because you and I we also sin as well. We’ve stopped listening to the voice of God. And we turn off our ears right we kind of not only listen to this, you know, I can figure it out myself. I don’t really need to listen to what the voice of God is telling me to do. So we need a way back, way back into the sheep pen. And Romans 323 says, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So we all don’t listen to God. So we need a way back into the sheep pen. And Jesus gave us a way back, enter into a relationship with Him, He cleanses us of our sins, so we can be called sheep. He makes us into sheep and we enter into relationship with him. And he’s calling anyone that’s gonna listen. It’s not like there’s a category like, oh, yeah, you’re gonna be a sheep, you can be a sheep. He’s calling anyone that’s wanting to put on the ears of a sheep to listen to the voice of God and enter the gate. Anyone who’s willing to enter the gate can be a sheep. So if you think you’re not good enough to be a sheep, that’s a lie. Listen to him into the gate. Everything I just don’t really belong in church is totally my scene. That’s a lie. Listen to him into the gate. Do you think I’m just too messed up? I have too much baggage. I’m just there’s no way I’m gonna have to be a sheep. It’s the biggest lie of all Jesus is calling for you is calling for you that enter the gate, to enter into a relationship with Him so that you can receive life. But why could only Jesus be the gate? Why couldn’t God make another way into the sheep pen? It’s a good question. The key to that is in verse 10, you look at it says, Jesus says I have come. And that’s the key word for a door to be useful has to be accessible. Jesus, he couldn’t have been a door have been distant. So when he says I have come, that’s the key. He is. So we cheat. We need a way back to the sheep and right, we’re separated from the sheep and in our humaneness. Our sin has taken us away from the sheep and to be in the sheep in is to have a relationship with God. Right. So we need a way back into that. So for Jesus to be the door, he has to be both accessible to us, and also able to access the sheep and he has to access sinful humanity and access God relationship with God. And the blessing is that Jesus is fully human and fully God. And so we can do that. John 114 It says the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us we have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. There isn’t anybody else who could even think about being the door, Jesus in the category all by himself, he, he’s able to access the sheep and access God, He gives us a way to get back into the sheep pen. Jesus being human allows us to access a relationship with Him, him being God allows them to access the sheep and we enter through the humanity of Jesus into the reward of His deity. We have to enter the gate to receive the reward of the sheep pen. And what is the reward? The ward is of the sheep in his life with the shepherd. So Jesus sees the shepherd and the door and the reward how’s it make any sense? He’s not just the door. He’s also the reward on the other side. So picture like this. If he was a real estate agent, he would just enter and he helped you find an amazing house and said I got the best house for you. Come on in. He did all the paperwork for you. I got you the keys right away. You moved in, you got all your stuff in and said Okay, going in and closed behind then left. The home feels so empty. It’s not a home as a house. Is there anything worth having in that house? Geez, he has to be reward. It’s not that the reward is to go live in the sheep and the reward is to go have life with the shepherd. She is he offers life and that he offers himself. He’s not a real estate agent. He’s a homeowner. He’s invited us to come inside. I got to play set for you right here. Come and live with me in the sheep and in the home. He gives us life because he gives us life with himself.
He offers rest life was Jesus he offers wrestle, give verse nine it says the sheep they will find pasture sheep. They are they need to be fed and they need to be sustained. And you and I we also our souls grow hungry and we need to be well fed. Jesus says that any who live in his flock will never go hungry will be well fed into the gate and find rest. Life where Jesus offers protection as well. To live in the sheep and is to be under the watchful eye of the shepherd, Ezekiel 34 It talks about the punishment for those who take advantage of the flock of God, the people of God. So woe to those who threaten the sheep because shepherd the shepherd is watching and he will take his vengeance into the gate and find safety. Life of Jesus it offers community as well to live In the flock is to not graze alone, you live with the other sheep. And not only that, even when you do kind of graze alone for a little bit, the shepherd is always nearby, comforting and listening to his sheep. You’re never alone once you’re in the sheep pen and to the gate and find community. Because when you enter the gate you find not just life, but look at excuse me, look at verse 10. Again, it says that he is life but life to the full. I don’t know if we’re shocked enough by that really small four-letter word. The life that Jesus is offering is complete, unrestricted, brimming, overflowing and abundant life. Jesus, He offers his sheep who enter the gate full life. So how does this change our lives? How does Jesus telling us to enter the gate change how we live our day to day, to those who aren’t quite sure about this whole Christian thing. The door is hoping for you. The door, the sheep gate is wide open for you not only that Jesus calling you by name. He’s saying I got a play set for you here, come join me in my home. So enter the gate, receive safety and rest and community. Because I’m sure you’ve been tired. I’m sure you felt scared before. How I’m sure you feel kind of lonely sometimes. And the sheep pen offers the answer to all of those problems, the sheep and offers rest and safety and community. Enter the gate because it’s wide open for you. And to those who have already entered the gate to the sheep, keep living like a sheep keep listening to the voice of God. And know maybe every once in a while get an ear examination. Because you and I think we let some wax build up over time. And we don’t always listen to the voice of God like we need to. So maybe there’s someone in life that can check yours for you. But just make sure you’re putting on the ears of a sheep every day, and you’re doing your best to listen to the voice of God to the words of this book. And to the parents, disciple, your kids, raise them to be little sheep. So they also enter the gate. And look, I get it like, of everybody in this room part of the least qualified to talk about this. I’m sure everyone wants to hear family advice from a young single college guy. I think that’s, that’s probably why you’re right. I’m definitely not the most popular thought about this. So I’m not going to tell you what I would do. Instead, I’m gonna tell you what my parents did. They’re actually here today over there, and my brother, too. So my parents did it at two main things. Because me and my siblings, there’s three of us. They raised us all to be sheep. We’re just a little pack of sheep over there in Iowa. And so what they did the two main things, and what tell us is do you make the church your home, raise your kids and the sheep pen. Let the sheep Enos of the older sheep rub off on your kids that the voices they listened to be the ones who listened to the voice of God. If anyone grew up in the church, it’s me my dad’s a pastor. So the lobby was my playground, my best friends growing up. Those are my Sunday school buddies. And the people that I listened to the most were the older sheep that show me the ropes like, hey, this grass is good or don’t go there, it’s not so good. So raise your kids in the sheep pen at the sheep Enos of older sheep rub off on them until they enter the gate. And the other things my parents did was, I’m sorry, the other thing you have to do as well is to help your kids listen to the voice of God, you have to listen to it yourself. You have to model what it means to be a sheep. My parents, they entered the gate a long time before I was even born. Not that long, but And so every day as me and my siblings grew up, my parents invited me and my siblings to join them in the gate. And my parents, they weren’t perfect. Obviously. There were some days they their ears a little more clean than others. But every day they invited us into the sheep pen. And so we join them. So raise your kids in the sheep pen, and live like a sheep so that your kids and then invite your kids to join you in the sheep pen. And to the sheep pen to to the church. Turn on your sheep cents when you hear things that people say about Christianity and about the Bible. Ask questions when it doesn’t sound quite right when it sounds like the voice of a stranger, not the voice of your Shepherd. When your sheep senses tingling. Follow that feeling because it could just be an honest mistake. It could be that someone just misspoke or you misunderstood them. But it could be something much worse. It could be someone trying to lead you from the sheep pen lead you from your Shepherd. But I think even more important is we need to invite people to join us in the sheep pen. We invite people to walk through the front doors of Cityview I mean, when was the last time that you invited someone to come in here? It’s a humbling question something I gotta ask myself too. We need more new faces around here. We need to live Like obnoxiously loud sheep that can’t stop making noise about the sheep pen. So we need to invite those that we know around us to come join us in the sheep. And because Jesus, he’s inviting everyone to come in. And so in the echo his call, we need to be obnoxiously loud sheep saying join us in the sheep pen calm, have full life. And not only that, we need to, we only need to just open the gates of Cityview, we need to open the gates of our own homes, I’m gonna embarrass my hosts, I’m a little bit but Andrew & Megan Massengale have just really opened the gate of their own home to me, they have welcomed me into their life these past few weeks, they and their kids have just loved me so well. It’s been amazing. And it’s not just me, they also use our house as a ministry all the time. They’re constantly hosting different parties and people, and they’re sharing their life with those around them. And we need to do the same thing. So Jesus, He gives us a home by inviting us to share in his life. So we need to model that by inviting people around us to share in our lives in the share in our homes, open the gate of your own home. Jesus said, He says enter the gate, to go into the sheep pen to have full life. And yeah, we know there are intruders, there are those who want to get to the wall of the sheep, to get to the people of God. But the shepherd, he provides rest and safety and community, a officer to the sheep to those who listen to His voice, those who put on the ears of a sheep and go in the gate. To those he offers rest, safety and community. And what he means by entering the gate is to enter into a relationship with him so we can go into the sheep. And because we needed a way back, right, because our sins, separate us from the sheep and we needed a way back. And Jesus, He gave us a way back, he is the door, he’s the way we access the sheep pen, his humanity allows the access him and his being God allows us to access the sheep pen. And he’s not a real estate agent. Remember, he’s not just an entrance, he doesn’t just throw you in the house and then leave. He’s a homeowner is offering a place to say gives, He offers life because he offers you to live with him. He’s not only the shepherd and the door, but he’s the reward on the other side. So all we need to do to have full life with the Shepherd has entered the gate. So I don’t live at my house anymore with my big red door. So whenever I see a red door even to see red, I think of home though. And whenever I go home to visit my family. The last thing I see after a long carry before I see my family is my big red door. And I know when I see it, I’m just a few steps away from the loving embrace of my family. And I think the sheep gate is actually a lot like my big red door. I think it’s actually red with the blood of Christ from the cross. And it’s painted with the blood of Christ. Because of the cross, you just die so that we could go to the sheep and we could get away back he came and he died and rose again so we could go back to the sheep pen. So when we see the big red door, the sheep gate, we know we’re just a few steps away from the life-giving loving embrace of our shepherd and to their gate, receive the reward of full life. The door is open. It’s got to coincide. Pray with me. Lord, thank you for giving us a door away back to the sheep pen and I pray that we would continue to listen to the voice of God to listen to your words, and that we would just go and live like sheep and we would invite others to join us in the sheep pen. Thank you for the reward of full life you give us and life with you and forever, we pray Amen.

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