July 15, 2012
In one of his most powerful self-declarations, Jesus Chirst talked about one of the most common, everyday objects we know, a door. This isn’t just any door. It is the door that leads to eternal life. But how do we get through the door? And what happens if and when we do?
In this message, we travel back to one of Pastor Ed Young’s first messages ever delievered. And as he unpacks this life-changing claim from Christ, we discover how walking through the door is the greatest thing that we can ever do.
Announcer: It’s a real joy to welcome you to this time of worship together.
New Ed: Throwback. A brand new series that we’re doing that I’m very, very excited about. We are going back in the archives 25 years ago when I first started preaching. You might be going, Ed, why are you doing that? Well, basically you can’t understand me today unless you look back and see where I’ve come from. See, back in the day I began to preach and we’re gonna see some of the first messages I ever, ever delivered. So to understand anyone’s life you’ve gotta look back in the past. It helps you in the present and also I believe it will inspire us to take it to the next level in the future. These messages are timeless because they’re from the Word of God, but I think you’ll get a big kick out of it. And during these messages I’m going to narrate and tell you some things. You’ll see some pop-ups on the screen that I think will give you some fun facts about the history of my life and the history of what God has done at Fellowship Church. So sit back, relax, and let’s throwback. Let’s go old school and let’s enjoy ourselves. We will go right now into the worship service of Second Baptist Church Houston back in 1987! Watch this!
The service was very, very structured, very, very organized, almost if you coughed it had to be in the bulletin, in the worship guide. You can see just how it was orchestrated with all of a sudden the choir stops their song, they’re seated, and I go right up. And you had to do certain things so I started with reading the Scripture.
Old Ed: Turn with me if you would in your Bibles to the book of John. John, chapter 10, we will read verses 9 and 10.
New Ed: I get nervous every time I speak. I was extremely nervous at this juncture because it was the first time I’d ever spoken. Second Baptist Houston was the most attended church in America.
Old Ed: John 10:9-10. “I am the door. If anyone enters through me he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, to kill, and destroy. I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly.”
Let’s bow for prayer together. Dear Heavenly Father, clear our hearts and our minds of every outside thought except what you’re going to say to us. Oh Lord, you know I have nothing to say but you have everything to say. You give me the words. For we ask these things in the precious and holy name of Jesus. Amen.
New Ed: You know what’s scary is to hear my accent. I sound like Joel Osteen. A-men! I don’t know why I talked like that. You know, I grew up in the south and I still had that nasally southern twang and for some reason I don’t have that accent any more. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s due to moving to Dallas and a lot of the travels and things of that nature.
Old Ed: During the Christmas holidays my wife and I went back to her home town, Columbia, South Carolina. Now, Columbia is an exciting place to visit, especially when you visit your in-laws. Now I was there in Columbia, sitting lazily on a couch one afternoon. And I noticed in front of me a newspaper. I opened the newspaper and what section do I always turn to first? Not the front page, not the business section, but the sports section.
And as I was reading the sports section a headline caught my eye. It said, “Eau Claire Shamrocks #1 in Nation.” Now to you that doesn’t mean anything, Eau Claire Shamrocks #1 in the Nation, but to me it meant something. It meant Eau Claire High School, a small Podunk public school in Columbia, SC was rated the #1 basketball, the #1 high school basketball team in the country. I said, “Lisa, can you believe this? Can you believe Eau Claire? That’s the team I played against a long time ago, they’re #1 in the country!”
New Ed: It’s hilarious to see everybody wearing the coats and ties and the women all dressed up. I think that’s good but it kinda shows you the vibe of the church and where I came from.
Old Ed: So the next night my father-in-law and I went to Eau Claire High School to see the Shamrocks in action. Now let me tell you something about Eau Claire High School. You don’t just go to a game at Eau Claire. It’s not just an event, it is an experience. I mean they packed this gym out. The crowd is swaying back and forth, chanting cheers, and we are ushered into the game sitting right behind the bench. And we are watching these high school kids who look like Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, take the ball coast to coast from the length of the court, slam-dunk it. They were stealing passes, playing unbelievably!
New Ed: I think it’s fascinating when I look back at this old school message, because so many of the things I talk about today are still built off what I said in this first message.
Old Ed: Now throughout the game the fans, they repeated one cheer. Over and over and over again. They said, “If you got it, now use it. If you got it, now use it. If you got it, now use it.”
New Ed: If you got it, now use it.
Old Ed: And when those guys would hear that it would spur them on. And let me tell you something. Eau Claire had it and they flat used it. Now when I heard that cheer I immediately thought about the Christian life. That’s what Christ is saying to me. That’s what Christ is saying to you. He’s saying, “Ed, if you’ve got it, if you’ve received me into your life, now I want you to use it.”
T.S. This morning we are going to look at four questions. The first one: How do you get it. The second one is: Once you have it, what happens in your life? The third one: Who keeps you, who keeps me, from really living the abundant life? And finally: What keeps us from this abundance?
Let’s look at the first question. It’s found in verse 9, the answer of it. How do we get it? Jesus says, “I am the door. If anyone enters through me he shall be saved.” That’s the answer right there. I am the door. Christ didn’t say, “I am a door.” That’s the definite article in the Greek. In the Greek language when they used a definite article, they mean ‘that is it. That is the door.’ So Christ says, “I am the door. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.”
The word ‘door’ is a beautiful word. It refers to an eastern shepherd as he’s letting his sheep graze in the morning and in the afternoon. And then when nighttime comes he takes his sheep and gathers the sheep into something called the sheepfold. A sheepfold is a corral-type structure built of rocks and shrubs and the sheep are inside of this corral-type structure. And there is an opening right at the front of this sheepfold.
New Ed: I remember reading every book, every commentary, looking at the original language in the Greek to find out as much as I could about these verses, and also about sheep and about the abundant life.
Old Ed: Now the shepherd, the good shepherd, he puts his body across that opening and actually becomes the door. So when Christ says, “I am the door.” He literally is the door. That’s the way we have peace. That’s the way we have understanding, is through entering the door. And the door is the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. “I am the door.”
Then he says, “If anyone enters through me…” Christ didn’t say, “If only Israelites enter through me.” He didn’t say, “If only Americans enter through me.” He said, “If anyone enters through me…” Christ died on the cross for the world’s sins. Red, yellow, black, and white, they are precious – we’re precious – in his sight. And he says if anyone comes up to the door, if anyone comes to Jesus Christ and comes through the door, they will have eternal life. They will have that peace.
Illus: A couple of weeks ago I was with my wife at the Randall’s Flagship. You know that big, beautiful supermarket across the street there. And I was in the car where I guess most men belong when women are shopping. And as I was sitting there in the car I noticed those huge electronic doors that are right there on the front of Randall’s. I saw people. They would walk up to the door. <eent!> It’d open up. <eent!> Another person would walk up. <eent… eent> I watched probably a hundred people go through the door in about 30 minutes. Now I have never seen that electronic door at Randall’s, or at any other supermarket, say, “I’m sorry. You cannot go in because you don’t look right. I’m sorry, you can’t go in because you’re the wrong nationality. I’m sorry, you can’t go in because you don’t have enough money.” The doors don’t say that. If the people have enough faith to walk up to the doors, that electronic door just opens.
That’s the symbol here. When we walk through the door, if anyone comes to Christ, if we have enough faith and say, “Lord, I give it all to you,” the doors open and we’re inside on the great abundant life. “I am the door. If anyone enters through me he shall be saved.”
New Ed: I think it’s something that every person should understand, the abundant life, the incredible life that Christ has in store for all of us. I think it’s humorous, too, to see all the flowers and everything. But it was just more of a controlled environment.
Old Ed: You know, in the Orient they have a beautiful custom. When you enter into a residence, into a restaurant, you leave your shoes at the door. When we come to Jesus Christ our sins are left at the door. And we come in as white as snow.
So when Christ says, “I am the door. If any man enters through me he shall be saved,” that’s the answer. That’s how we get it. We get it by entering into the door. But to enter the door, it’s not a gradual thing. You can’t just slowly enter a door. It’s a point in time where you open the door and you’re in. And there has to be that moment, there has to be that time of salvation for every person if they’re going to know happiness, if they’re going to know peace and joy and love. “I am the door. If any man enters through me he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.” We are talking about entering through Jesus Christ.
You know, when Christ knocks on the door it’s continuous. But if we continue to harden our hearts, if we continue to reject him, if we continue to turn our back on him when he’s knocking, when he’s working in our lives, this is what will happen. In Luke 13:25 it says, “Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door saying, ‘Lord open up to us!’ then he will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’”
New Ed: This is a very frightening text. It says that we cannot become a Christian whenever we want. So I want everybody during this old school series to listen to the Word of God, listen to what I’m saying right here. This is a very, very frightening fact of Scripture. You cannot become a Christian anytime you want. You have certain opportunities, certain chances, certain venues where you can deal with the door. But one day, one day, and only God knows this, God will shut the door and it’s done.
Old Ed: That’s one of Satan’s biggest lies. He tells us, “Hey, that door will always be there. Don’t worry about it! Go ahead and live the way you want to right now. That door’s gonna be there! It’s gonna be open!” But that’s a lie! That’s false! Because when we believe that we are in trouble. We are in deep, deep trouble with the Lord.
So, how do we get it? We get it by entering the door. What happens once we go inside? The last part of verse 9 tells us three things that happen once we walk through the door. We are going to be saved. We are going to be safe. And we are going to be satisfied.
The last part of verse 9, “Anyone enters through me, he shall be saved.” That word ‘saved’ means saved from a wasted life. You’re not really living until you know Jesus Christ. You’re saved from a wasted life. Now a lot of times when you hear the word ‘saved’ you think, well that’s a future thing. That’s a future word. And right, being saved, having salvation, is a future thing. But that point starts when you and I enter the door.
New Ed: The word ‘saved’ here, people say, “Are you saved?” It’s kind of a church word. It’s a Bible word. I think a better word is rescued. And you’ll hear me say this a good bit. The radically rescued rescue radically. We are saved literally from a Christ-less eternity.
Old Ed: Christ says you’ll be saved. Then he says, “And you shall go in and out…” That means total safety. Complete security. To be able to go in and out during Christ’s day meant that you were as safe as you can imagine. It means that you could travel anywhere in that part of the country and have total security because your ruler had your nation under control.
I read this past week where there have been nine teenagers across our country commit suicide. Here are these teenagers, 14, 15, 16 years of age taking their life. They’re from well-educated families. They are intelligent. They’re handsome. They’re popular, but they’re taking their own life. People go around saying why? Why in the world could that happen? It happens because these kids are burnt out. They’ve tried all the sex. They’ve tried all the drugs. They’ve tried all the intellectualism and it doesn’t satisfy. And because the future seems so bleak, they just end their life.
But Christ is the answer, isn’t he? He is the answer because in this next part he says, “You shall go in and out…” You’ll have total security. You’ll be safe. “… and you shall find pasture.” That means you’ll be satisfied. You’ll be nourished.
When a sheep is in pasture, when an animal is in pasture, they have every single need met. How are we nourished in the Christian life? We’re nourished through the Word of God. Through spending time with him in prayer. Through getting and being with Christian friends. That’s how we’re nourished. That’s how we have that total security. But the only person who can give it is the Good Shepherd. That’s the only person who can give it.
Now a lot of things have to be intact for a sheep to have total rest. First of all, a sheep has to be free of any ticks, any mites, any fleas for that sheep to really lie down and relax. And sheep also cannot be threatened by any wild beasts. The sheep also has to have an abundance of food right there by it.
Who can give those things? The good shepherd. Who can satisfy in our lives? Jesus Christ. There is a void in every person’s life, that’s what Augustine said, and this void can only be filled by the Good Shepherd. “I am the door. If any man enters through me he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.” We shall be nourished. That’s what happens when we enter the door.
Now in verse 10, it answers the question, who keeps you, who keeps me, from entering into the door? And not only entering into the door, who keeps us, once we’re in the door, from getting in on that great pasture, that abundant life that our Lord has for us?
New Ed: That’s got to be a mother and daughter. I’m sure that lady’s wondering, “What will I look like in about 25 years?” Well, look to your right!
Old Ed: Verse 10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Who is the thief? The thief is Satan. He says, “I’ve come to steal.” That means he lies in wait, just waiting for that exact moment to come and grab us. He says, “And kill.” That means hand-to-hand combat. That means an overt situation. He comes to destroy. He plots against us.
Satan’s biggest lie is this. He’s saying, “If you go through that door, if you accept Christ, Christ will stifle your creativity. He will have you all chained up. It’ll be like you’re limited. It’ll be like you’re living this life half-mast.”
That’s what Satan tell us. That’s a lie. See, Satan pays in counterfeit money. It might look good for a while. Counterfeit money looks good for a while but once you try to buy something with it you’re caught. Satan pays in counterfeit money. The thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy.
Illus: There was a gentleman I was praying for for two to three months. Some of my friends and I were praying for this guy, that he would come to know Jesus Christ. And every time we’d talk to him he’d say, “I’m just not ready.” We could tell Christ was really knocking at the door of this person’s life. He had so many natural gifts and he could have done such great things for Jesus Christ.
Two years ago I saw him over in the east parking lot of our church. He was on his way to Hawaii. Boy, he was fired up! He said, “Ed, I have not taken a vacation in so long! I cannot wait to hit that surf, to lie in the sun, just to have a great time over in Hawaii.”
And I said, “John, are you ready to make that decision to give it all to Jesus? Are you ready to go through that door?”
He said, “Well, Ed, I will tell you what. When I get back from Hawaii I will really consider that and I’ll really think about doing that.”
John was in Hawaii two days and one afternoon he went swimming at Sunset Beach and he drowned. He had bought the lie. He had taken Satan’s counterfeit money. He had missed out on abundant life because he believed what Satan was telling him.
Satan comes to steal, to kill, and destroy. But look what Christ says in that next part of verse 10. He says, “I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly.”
New Ed: That gentleman right there, his name is Robert Benjamin. He is a completed Jew. He became a Christ-follower and is one of the best Christian guys you’ll ever meet. I see him as a young man there. I know the decision that he made for Christ. He is an amazing, tenacious, he and his wife, followers of Jesus.
Old Ed: Do you know what Sylvester Stallone told People magazine last year? People magazine was interviewing Sylvester Stallone. Here’s a man who makes $15 million a movie. They said, “Sylvester, what do you think of life?”
Stallone replied and said this, and I quote, “I will always be searching for something but never be able to find it.”
Can you believe that? Sylveser Stallone. I will always be searching for something but never be able to find it.
Folks, the things of this world do not satisfy. The things of this world do not bring life. The life-giver is Jesus Christ. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
For you to reach your ultimate potential, for me to reach my ultimate potential, I have to give it all to Jesus. Christ didn’t say, “I’ve come that you have abundant life.” He first says, “I have come that you might have life…” then he says “… that you might have it abundantly.”
That word in the Greek is perissos. Perissos means an over-abundance. That word perissos is in the neuter form. When the Greek is in the neuter form it means a continual thing.
So Christ is telling us, I have come that you might have life. When you go through the life you’ll have abundance. But this abundance won’t just stop. It’ll keep on going on and on and on and on. The symbol behind this word is a riverbed, completely flooded. Flooded out a valley. Another picture behind this word is waves hitting upon the seashore over and over and over again. That’s the abundant life.
We get the abundant life by going through the door. We get the abundant life by spending time in the Word. We get the abundant life by prayer. We get the abundant life by joining and being a part of a body of Christ, of a church, and using our spiritual gifts.
If we could see Christ’s plan for every person’s life we would fall flat on our face. We could not believe it! We could come up with great plans selfishly for our lives but Christ’s is abundance. It’s over and over and over and over above anything we can comprehend. But what we have to do is we have to give it to him.
New Ed: Now that has got to be one of the cheesiest shots I’ve ever seen in my life. The levitation shot. I’m speaking over the crowd. That is absolutely horrendous.
Old Ed: The 23rd Psalm in the Living Bible says, “The Lord is my shepherd. The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need.”
This morning we found out how to get it. We’ve also found out what happens once we get it. We found out who keeps us from getting it. Now let’s get more specific. What keeps you, what keeps me from truly living in abundance every day, every moment in our lives. Well it’s spelled S-I-N. Sin. I sin every day, you sin every day. But it’s not only sin. It’s unconfessed sin that keeps us from the abundant life. You see, Christ wants us to keep short accounts with him. That means when I sin, when you sin, at the most convenient time we’re to get on our knees and say, “Lord, forgive me of that sin.” And now only speak those words but say, “I want to repent from that sin.” Repentance is making an about-face and going the opposite direction. But unconfessed sin, when unchecked, can kill.
Over in Europe I read the other day that they use spider webs, they cultivate millions and millions and millions of cobwebs to make cables, huge cables, that hold up weather balloons. Can you imagine that? Small spider webs used to hold up weather balloons?
Sin in our lives, if its unconfessed, starts collecting like cobwebs. If we don’t confess it, there’s a cobweb. Another spider web, another one, another one, until finally it chokes us out of the abundant life.
Illus: Like a lot of boys growing up I had a tree house. And we lived in the mountains of North Carolina and I had a tree house in one of the tallest trees in that small community. We lived kinda back in the woods and one day I got some food and went up to my tree house. I was sitting there eating some food. After I finished I thought, well, I’m kinda bored. I’m gonna go down and play ball or tag or whatever.
And so as I start to scale down the tree, made my way down the tree, I got caught on this huge limb. It was the biggest limb you’ve ever seen! I got caught and I had my arms around it. And I couldn’t go up and I couldn’t go down. So what do most children do? “Dad! Mom! Come help me!! I’m caught in this tree! Help me!”
Dad was out there doing some yard work and he had a nice crew cut back then. And he was running so fast his crew cut was kinda back against the wind. And he ran! He said, “Ed, are you all right? Are you all right?”
I said, “Dad, I’m caught up here on this tree!”
He said, “Son, go ahead now and just drop down into my arms. Here they are.” And I kinda eased my feet down and I was in my father’s arms. But, I still had hold of that branch. I was in my father’s arms, but I was still hanging onto that branch.
That’s the way a lot of folks here are this morning. You have life. You prayed the prayer to receive Jesus Christ but you’re still holding onto something. You’re still holding onto some secret sin. I’m talking about an immoral lifestyle, high school student. I’m talking about sex outside of marriage. I’m talking about drugs. I’m talking about dishonesty. We are holding onto something.
New Ed: You wonder how many people are still living and how many people in that shot made the decision to become followers of Christ and how many people said, “No, I’ll just wait until a more opportune time.” You don’t know.
Old Ed: But finally my father kept saying, “Ed, let go! Come on, now. I’ve got you. Let go.” And I held up there for so long until finally I just let go and I fell into my father’s arms. And I felt such peace there. Such security there. That’s what our Lord is telling you right now. He’s saying, “Let go of that limb. Come on. Drop into my arms. Rest into my arms. I’m right here for you.”
I can guarantee you something this morning. When you rest in the Father’s arms, when I rest in the Father’s arms, we will know what the abundant life is all about.
<Ed leads in closing prayer>