Easter Service 2007
April 8, 2007
It is amazing how many doors that we walk through every day, isn’t it? We all walk through doors. Just the other day I was thinking about the doors that we walk through. Some walk through car doors, others walk through revolving doors, some walk through electronic doors. We have pet doors and all sorts of doors. Our culture is a culture of doors. We like doors.
I just got a Doberman and his name is Dolcé. He is a really smart dog. I didn’t teach him this, yet this dog can open every door in our house. Yesterday, I went upstairs in our playroom to work out. We have some exercise equipment up there and I noticed the playroom door is totally jacked up because this dog has scratched that door as well. Our front door is scratched. Our kitchen door is scratched. Our bedroom door is scratched. Pretty much every door in our house is scratched because we have a dog who is into opening doors.
It’s kind of shocking. We’ll have friends over and we’re sitting around having coffee or whatever and then all of the sudden, boom! A door opens and there’s the dog. The Doberman who opens doors.
It’s pretty crazy, but we are a culture of doors.
Years ago I wanted to see Phil Collins in concert. You know, I’m kind of a frustrated drummer. Phil, he can bang the drums. That guy can do it. So he was coming to Dallas and a friend of mine got us tickets and he said, “Ed, I have something incredible for you, man. I got us some backstage passes.”
I’ve never had a backstage pass before and I thought, “Okay, this is cool. A backstage pass. I can meet Phil Collins and say, ‘Phil, you’re a great drummer. Come to Fellowship Church whenever you’re in town.’”
That’s what I thought. The concert was great. And after the concert those of us who had backstage passes were in this group. And I looked around and there were hundreds of people. I thought to myself, “All of these people had backstage passes? Man, this isn’t that great.”
We were lead through a series of doors and all this security and we found ourselves in this giant room, just kind of waiting and waiting and waiting some more. And then finally, a few of the band members walked through and shook the hands of some attractive females there and then bolted. I never saw Phil Collins. A backstage pass—totally overrated.
A couple months ago, something really cool happened. One of Bono’s people called our office and invited me personally to have coffee with this iconic rock star. And pretty much they just said, “Show up at a certain hotel and you can hang out with Bono. It will just be you, Ed, and a couple of people.”
So I walked through this door and there’s Bono with just a couple of people. There was no security, no fanfare. It was just Bono sipping coffee. And I was so close to the guy, I hate to tell you this, but he had a lot of dirt under his fingernails. The guy was not that well groomed. Which you know, you shouldn’t be well groomed if you’re a rock star. That’s the whole vibe. That was all access though, wasn’t it? I mean, to sit down and have coffee with a guy like that? I mean I really enjoyed it a lot.
There’s a difference between a backstage pass and all access. There’s a huge difference. And speaking of all access, if you read your Bible; if you go back to the book of Genesis, back to the Garden of Eden, most of us have heard about the Garden of Eden, that nirvana, that perfect environment. Well, the door was totally open. Man had this fluid relationship with the God of the universe. Everything was just going perfectly and man and woman were living together with all the animals; they were just having the time of their lives relating to God.
And then the Bible tells us something. The Bible says that Adam and Eve chose to go their own way. They turned their back on this door, on this relationship and they tried to find their own door because they thought that would lead to even a better life. So they did their own thing. And the Bible tags this behavior as sin. That’s what it’s called, sin.
We all sin. I sin; you sin; everybody sins. We just sin. It’s just something that we do. Where do we get this sinnetic behavior from? (Some of you got that.) We got that from Adam, because Scripture says that Adam, when he sinned, slammed the door in God’s face.
Have you ever had a door slammed in your face before? Don’t raise your hand. It’s not fun, is it? You feel totally rejected, like, “Man, what did I do? They slammed the door in my face!”
Adam slammed the door in the face of God. Now God, being God, could have done a number of things. He could have taken Adam and Eve out. He could have. Or he could have said, “They slammed the door in my face, and the door they slammed is the sin thing. I’m going to bolt. I will never have anything to do with these humans again.”
God could have done that. But God didn’t. Well, what happened? Adam and Eve, after a while, realized they had sinned. And Scripture says they realized their nakedness and they were hiding, trying to play a cosmic hide‑and‑go‑seek game with God. You can’t hide from God. You know, in God’s economy there’s no such thing as a closed door, a closed office door, car door, a bedroom door. God knows everything. And God knew they were hiding. And God did something that made their heads spin.
You have to realize that Adam and Eve had never seen death before. God took an innocent animal and killed it. Just for a second, think about Adam and Eve watching the unnatural movements of death, watching the blood spill on the floor of the Earth. I’m sure they were horrified. God skinned the animal, the Bible says, and God used the skin to cover their nakedness.
What was God doing? God was foreshadowing, already, about something he was going to do. Even though sin had slammed the door shut, God was communicating to man that it would take the shedding of the blood from an innocent third party to cover the sins of mankind.
Then, on top of that, so we would still get it, God, at the eastern entrance of the Garden of Eden, placed a couple of angels at the door, the eastern door to the garden. These angels throughout Scripture represent grace and forgiveness. Say it with me—grace and forgiveness. Say it like you mean it—grace and forgiveness. Isn’t it cool that God did that? It’s pretty unbelievable. It’s mind blowing, because Adam slammed the door because of sin; yet, God is beginning to foreshadow. He’s beginning to give hints that something is going to happen, that this door deal is not yet done.
Remember God’s chosen people, the Jews? The Bible talks about the history of their development. The Israelites were in Egyptian slavery and it was time for them to get freed up to go to the Promise Land. It all came down, though; you won’t believe this, to a door. I mean, you’ve got the door in the Garden, now you’ve got the door of Passover. And God said, “Hey, you know what? Find an unblemished lamb, kill it, take its blood and place the blood on the doorframe. Because if you do that, the death angel will pass over your household.”
People stepped up and did what God said. They obeyed; they killed the unblemished lamb. Now, can’t you imagine maybe the children of a family saying, “Dad what are you doing? You’re killing our pet lamb?”
And I’m sure the father looked and said, “Hey, its atonement time.”
Remember, it takes the shedding of blood of an innocent third party to atone for the sins of man. And the death angel passed over this. It’s all about the door.
We also have the tabernacle, the temple. And the tabernacle had this place called the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies is where the presence of God resided. It had the arch of the covenant there; it was a powerful place. There was a veil, a door, which separated the Holy of Holies where God resided from man. There was basically a type, an illustration, of what had happened in the Garden of Eden. And the historian Jehoshaphat tells us the veil was so thick it would take a team of horses, he said, just to rip it a little bit.
Well, a high priest could go into the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to do what? To atone for the sins of the nation. And it was a pretty tenuous deal because the high priest had to have bells on his robe. And this guy would have a rope around his ankle, because if he mis-stepped in the presence of God, in the Holy of Holies, behind the door; if he walked in there with any sin or if he as unclean in any way, boom! He would just clock out. Well, the people wouldn’t go in there and get him, so they had the rope and they would just drag the body out. And Scripture tells us if they couldn’t hear the bells anymore, they would just drag the dead body out. God is holy. He is powerful. Standing in the presence of God is nothing to be taken lightly or flippantly. The tabernacle, which ultimately, of course, became the temple, was all about a door.
Well, then God decided to do something. God stepped forward in a time of history and he sent the second person of the Godhead, the Trinity, to planet Earth. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. God the Son, Jesus.
Jesus lived on planet Earth. And one day during his 36-month public ministry, Jesus said this in John 10:9: “I am the door.”
Isn’t that incredible? He said, “I am the door.”
He didn’t say, “I am a door.” He said, “I am the door.”
And then, if you keep reading in verse 9, Jesus said, “If anyone…” What does anyone mean? It means anyone. “If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out (you can say he’ll be safe) and find pasture (you can say he will be satisfied).”
Now that’s off the chain, isn’t it? If we enter through Jesus, and Jesus is the door, we will be saved; we will be safe and satisfied.
Jesus was using a picture that his listeners could connect with because remember, shepherds were all over the place back in the day. You go to Israel right now and they’re still there, but not like they were back in the day. Shepherds, as they would take their flocks through this countryside at night, would make this thing called the sheepfold. It was a makeshift structure which was kind of like a corral. And the shepherd would leave an opening at the front. And a good shepherd, isn’t this amazing, would actually become the door. He would lie down and become the door. So for the sheep to be saved, for them to go in and out, for the sheep to find pasture, they had to enter through the door. Jesus didn’t say, “I am a door.” He said, “I am the door.”
It’s very interesting that Jesus is talking about that. And then he continues if you read in verses 10 and 11. Then Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
Who is the thief? The thief is the enemy. That’s the evil one. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out there is an evil force in our world today wrecking havoc. Just take a panoramic view and think about how he’s stealing from people, how he’s killing people, and how he’s destroying people. And his agenda is to destroy, in this context, the door.
Well, the plot clots because Jesus says this in verse 11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
And Jesus also said, “I am here so that you’ll have life and have it on the next level.”
But then in verses 17 and 18, he begins himself to do some foreshadowing, some prophesy. In verse 17 he said, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.”
Uh‑oh, he is talking about the resurrection there, but it’s over his listeners’ head. They had no clue what he was talking about. He said it again in verse 18: “I lay it down on My own accord. I have the authority to lay it down and the authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
So twice he says, “I’m going to lay my life down and then I’m going to rise. I’m going to bust this door of sin and death. I’m going to destroy it.” That’s what Jesus said, but his listeners didn’t get it.
Let’s move now to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was praying the night he was arrested, and Scripture said that Jesus was dealing with so much anxiety and stress that he sweated drops of blood. That’s very important. Jesus began to shed His blood, because he was the lamb of God. That’s what John the Baptist called him, right? He began to shed his blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. He said, “God, if it’s your will, may I not have to go through this door of pain and death and suffering.”
That’s what Jesus said. Three times he told his Father that. And three times the Father said, “You’ve got to go through the door. You’ve got to go through the door.”
Now, let me stop for a second. If there had been another door; if there had been another way, God, being God, would have said, “Okay Jesus, that’s right. Let’s just wait. Let’s put this off and go through another door, because you don’t need to go through the pain and the suffering and the abuse.”
Any father worth his salt would have said, “Let’s just wait; let’s hold off because there’s going to be another door.”
But God the Father couldn’t, because Jesus is the door. He’s not a door, but the door. If he had been a door, God would have said, “Let’s stop, because there’s the door of Buddha; let’s stop because there’s the door of Joseph Smith and the Mormon church; let’s stop because there’s the door of Scientology; let’s stop because there’s the door of Islam; let’s stop because there’s the door of Christian scientists; let’s stop because there’s the door of being a good guy or good girl; let’s just…”
But he didn’t. Jesus said, “I am the door.” And now listen, don’t get a mad at me for saying this. If you’re mad at me, just take a chill pill. Talk to God about it. God is the one who said that he is the way. And Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
Not just an option; not just, “I might be one avenue to God.” He said, “I am it.”
So Jesus said, “I am the door.” Not a door, but the door. And here’s the great message of Easter—Jesus wants to become your door. What’s the door for? Well, it’s for you and it’s for me. Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins. That’s something I can’t even get my mind around. He voluntarily did that because of his unfathomable love and grace and mercy. He spilled his blood for your sins and mine; the perfect lamb of God. You know what he said on the cross? He said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
What was he saying? He knew that God the Father was behind the door. Jesus became sin. Think about the Trinity. He had been with God the Father forever. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit—three in one, one in three; coexistent and coeternal. Yet, God the Father had to turn his back on his only son because of sin.
Jesus said, “I am the door,” and then here is the awesome thing about the door. The door, which is Jesus, was and is unscathed and unscratched. Not like the doors in my house, no. The door of Jesus is unscathed and unscratched.
Then he breathed his last breath and everyone thought, “Oh man, it’s over, lights out. The Messiah has clocked out. We won’t see him anymore.”
And they put him in a tomb and shut the door. His disciples bolted. You know the enemy was like, “We got him! It’s over.”
Yet, Jesus, what did he do? Jesus, on Easter morning, destroyed the door of death and the door of sin and he opened the door. And that’s why we celebrate every Sunday the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because it’s something that I don’t deserve and you don’t deserve. It’s something that’s totally out of God’s love. And the Bible says that Jesus stands at the door, because he is the door, and he waits and he extends his nail scarred hand to you and to me and he says, “Whoever.”
Remember in John 10:9 God said, “Anyone who enters through me will be saved and safe and satisfied.”
The other night I took Lisa to the grocery store. I didn’t want to go in so I just sat out in the car and she shopped. Have you ever watched people walk through the doors of a grocery store? You talk about hilarious. What people wear to a grocery store! I was just dying laughing to myself. You know it’s funny. And the people who would walk up to these electronic doors—all shapes, all sizes, all colors, all stripes—they would walk up and put their foot on the electronic pad and every time, every single time that door would open. The door didn’t refuse anybody, it just opened. People had the faith to step on the electronic pad.
Jesus said, “I am the door. Whoever enters through me—prostitutes, adulterers, liars, cheaters, people all caught up in lust and greed and gluttony, whoever, whenever.” Jesus said, “Enter through me.”
You know what I’ve discovered about life? Life is a series of doors. There are doors everywhere. We’re always closing doors, opening doors, closing doors, opening doors and thinking okay, “What is that door for? Should I go through the door or not? I’m not sure. I don’t know. Maybe. Girl, what do you think? Should I do go through that door?” The door.
There are three important doors that I was thinking about recently. One we have control over; the over two we don’t. The first door is the door of birth and life. I didn’t control that; you didn’t either. We just showed up here, right?
The second door is the door of death. I don’t control that; you don’t either. We all have a terminal disease called life. The day we were born is the day we started dying. We’re all dying. Everybody in my family has died or will die. I checked it recently. Everybody in my family has clocked out. And I think you’re the same.
You might be thinking, “Don’t talk about death, Ed. That’s a doggie‑downer on Easter.”
I’ll tell you what; I’ll stop talking about it if you can say, “I have this guy in my family, Uncle Roy, and he has never died. That guy is 727 years old.”
Everybody dies. I don’t control that. But I do control and you do control the third door. See, we do control—isn’t this great—this door, the door. We control whether we walk through it or not. We’re not robots. We have a freedom of choice. And love demands a response. We either respond or not.
So what’s the door for? It’s not a door; it’s the door. And the door is for you. And you have an option right now; you have an opportunity right now to walk through the door. I can’t make you do it, but you have that choice.
“Well, man, I might put it off until next week. Let me think about it. Maybe next year.”
The only time that we can be guaranteed of is right now. I can’t guarantee you that we’re all going to be alive tonight or tomorrow or next week or next year. But I can guarantee you right now. We have this time. And Jesus wants to meet you right where you are. And all you have to do is say, “Jesus, you know what? I messed up, man. I’ve gone through a series of doors and it’s left me wondering, ‘This is it?’ It’s left me kind of looking around going, ‘Wow this is the whole deal?’”
Maybe you have gone through a series of financial doors. You thought, “If I go through that door and that door and that door, that will lead to this incredible room and be the ultimate and that will be nirvana.”
And maybe you’ve reached all your goals and made this amount of money and you know something is still missing. Well, you have a desire for the door.
Others here maybe have gone through a marriage or two; or you jump from bed to bed with different people and you think that will do it. And you find yourself going through a series of doors and now you’re like, “That’s it? I mean, there’s got to be more to life.”
See, you have this desire for the door. You might not have realized it or understood it, but the Holy Spirit of God is telling you right now, “You have this desire for the door.”
Or maybe you’ve gone through a series of doors with alcohol addiction or drug addiction or depression or anxiety and you’re like, “Something is not right.”
You have a desire for the door. Jesus is waiting for you; he’s waiting right here because he is the door and he’s extending his nail scarred hand saying, “Enter through me.”
You have a choice, so do I, in eternity because this door, this door of eternity is where we have a decision. We can choose life or death, freedom or bondage. We’re all, though, going to live forever.
When Jesus died, do you know what happened to the veil in the temple? It was ripped from top to bottom. And what did Jesus preach? What happened in the early church? Grace, forgiveness and mercy. I bumped into this verse just a while back and it blew me away.
Hebrews 10:19-20, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body.”
What’s the door for? The door is for you. What is the door? It’s the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The door was open. The first Adam slammed it shut. The second Adam, Jesus, opened it. And He is inviting us to have an all access relationship with the living Lord. You see, there is no way; it’s a pipe dream if you think you’ll know which doors you can open without first going through the door. Life comes at us too fast. You can’t do it. So it’s all about the door. What are you going to do with the door?