#2167 – Open the Door to Life Abundant! (18 Sep 2011)

The Message

Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman

Special Guest

Mr. Alfred Lam Chi-Yuen
Pastor, Christian Philadelphia Church
He is now ministering at The Christian Philadelphia Church. He was once a bright student scoring 9As in HKCEE, but he left his career of surveyor at the age of 24. After receiving training on theology, he has been serving as a pastor at church. Because of the mercy and calling from God, he gladly dedicated his youth and his life that he has discovered a more abundant life than he ever had.

The Message

So who is God? Who is He? You know when God revealed Himself to Moses at that burning bush that didn’t burn; Moses said who is this that’s speaking to me? And how God identified Himself with these simple words, He said, “I Am who I Am.” That’s who God said He was. I Am. Meaning God was, God is, and God will continue to be. He doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I Am. I Am here, God says. I Am here for you always.

And so then God reveals Himself to us through His word, but He also reveals Himself to us through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was God, walking, talking, breathing, touching, healing, speaking. We were able to see God in flesh through Jesus Christ. And yet the people who got to walk with Him and talk with Him, they actually had no idea, some of them, that He was actually God incarnate. They thought He was a wonderful teacher, they thought He was a wonderful prophet; they thought He was a wonderful healer. But Jesus said oh no, no I am much more than that, in fact this is who I Am. I Am. It harkens back to what God said when at the burning bush, I Am who I Am. And so we’re talking about the seven I Am’s of Jesus, and they all start with those same three letters, I A-M, I Am. Because Jesus was making a very bold statement, I Am, I Am. And then He gave us beautiful, beautiful metaphors to help paint a portrait of who God is. So we don’t have to wander around in darkness. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt who God is through the I Am’s of Jesus.

You heard my dad preach on Jesus, my one essential friend. Oh, that’s a strong word, essential. Meaning you cannot live without Him. You can have lots and lots and lots of other friends, but Jesus is the one essential friend. He’s the friend you have to have if you want to really have life. And then last week I preached on where Jesus said “I Am the light of the world. And whoever follows Me,” Jesus said, “will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” What a wonderful, wonderful promise that Jesus helps us know where to go, how to avoid pitfalls. We don’t have to worry about getting lost because He’s the light. When we don’t know the way, He’s our light.

And today we’re continuing and this one is found in John 10, where Jesus says, “I Am the Shepherd and I Am the Door.” A few selected verses from John 10, starts right out in verse one. “Most assuredly, Jesus said, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheep fold by the door but climbs up some other way, that person is a thief and a robber. But I, said Jesus, I Am the Door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me, they’re thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them because I, said Jesus, I Am the Door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and they may have it more abundantly.”

Jesus continues and says, “I Am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The Father loves Me because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me but I lay it down of My own accord.” This is what Jesus says about Himself, as a Door and a Good Shepherd in John 10.

So shepherds and doors, they’re kind of synonymous because they do the same thing. They both protect and they provide. Shepherds protected the sheep from the wolves and the predators, but they also led them and provided provisions for them, pasture, water. Doors do the same. Doors: when they’re closed, they can protect us from things that can harm us. But they can also open the doors to possibility and life abundantly. And this is what I believe Jesus meant when He was talking about in John 10 about I Am the Good Shepherd and I Am the Door.

Closed doors. Nobody likes closed doors. But closed doors protect. In fact I’m going to re-read those first three verses in John 10: verses 1-3, “Truly, truly I say to you,” Jesus said, “he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in another way, that man is a thief and a robber.” So closed doors, they protect us from thieves and robbers.

You know the thief and the robber wants to kind of sneak in through a window or through a back way, but Jesus says no, I Am the Door and I will use this door to protect you from the thief and the robber, from the one who wants to steal and destroy, the one who wants to take away your joy, the one who wants to take away your abundant life. I have a feeling that there are many of you out there who probably do something similar to me, when a door is closed, and I feel like I’m not getting my way, I kind of do this in my heart, and sometimes I even say it out loud. God, open this door. God, open this door. I want to be able to go through. When I was younger, I remember praying and going God, I want that guy to like me, I want to spend the rest of my life with that guy. And I really tried and pushed and pounded on that door through prayer. I did. I was like God, open the door to him! And that door stayed shut. Am I ever glad that God shut that door because God had a much better man for me and I am so thankful. Every single day I say God thank You for shutting that door. I have a wonderful husband, and let me tell you, you want to marry the right person because when your life goes through difficult, hard times, you want the right person to stand by your side, who can walk with you through the fire in love and understanding. So I’m grateful. God closed that door because otherwise He knew that if I went through there that the thief would steal and destroy all the love I have, my four sons, this beautiful, beautiful life, because God closed that door.

There was another door I pounded on. I said God, let me into med school. I’ve worked hard, I’ve got the grades, I sent out the applications, God, I’m praying for acceptance letters back from med school. Rejection, rejection, rejection. God, come on, there’s a few more out there. I’m counting and planning on You to open this door for me because I want to go out there and help people. The door stayed closed. Why? Because God wanted to protect me. He had a whole much better life for me and knew that wasn’t my best, that wasn’t His call, that wasn’t for me. Now mind you, I gave God permission to open and close doors in my life, because I made Him the door of my life. I allowed Him to be my Lord and my Savior.

Doors: sometimes God closes them and He won’t let us open them no matter how we try because He loves us and He wants to protect us from going astray and losing out on that life abundant that He has planned for you and for me. Sometimes the doors are closed because we have closed them. God wants this door in terms of a relationship with Him, to be open that we can come in and we can fellowship with Him. We can have a positive relationship with Him. But then there are times when we diss Him, meaning we dishonor Him. We disobey Him. We disrespect Him. We say you know I don’t need You God. I’m doing just fine right on my own, and what happens, we get like this and we’ve closed the door on God. Happens all the time. And in fact, here is God, beautiful, mighty, wonderful, loving, giving God. And His children, they dissed Him all the time. They disrespected Him, they dishonored Him, they disobeyed him and the door was closed. But God wants the door to be open. And so He thought isn’t there a way that I can have the door open with My children, that I can have this wonderful relationship with them.

And so He told His children, He said, and if you do a word study on doors in the bible, throughout the Old Testament, it talks about how bring your sacrifice to the door of the temple or the tabernacle. And so as the children brought their sacrifice and they placed it at the door of the temple, they figuratively and literally were allowed to open the door, walk into the temple and they were also able to restore that open door relationship with God. But of course, being who we are, the children did this: they had that wonderful relationship with God, but then they disrespected Him again and closed the door again. And so the next day they go and they get another sacrifice, and they go back and they go oh my goodness, I’ve got to restore my relationship with God and they go in the door, they have a wonderful relationship with God again, but oh I’m going to mess things up again. So this is going on: open and shut, open and shut. This relationship was just going on and on.

And then God thought, well, in Revelations 3:7-9, it says this, “See I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” Wouldn’t that be wonderful? To have a relationship with God that it would be an open door that no one can shut. No matter what I do, I can’t shut that door. That’s what God did when He sent Jesus to be the once and forever sacrifice. Once and forever so we don’t have to bring sacrifices to God over and over again. God said My Son will be the once and forever sacrifice, and that is the meaning behind Jesus when He said I Am the Door. Anyone who comes in through Me will have life abundantly. His is a door that no one can ever shut.

When you look at shepherds and you look at sheepfolds and you actually look at how they were in the times of Jesus, if you think of like a circle, or a square of walls built of walls, but there’s just a little opening, an opening just big enough for the sheep and the shepherd to walk through. And so the shepherd would round up the sheep at night and bring them into the sheepfold but there was this opening. Nothing there, just an opening. So what’s to keep the predators from coming in, what’s to keep the thieves from coming in and stealing the sheep, what’s to keep the wolves from coming in and destroying them, what’s to keep the sheep from wandering out and getting lost. Well the shepherd literally would lay down his life. He would lay down in front of that opening and sleep there that night so the sheep couldn’t get out and nothing could get in to harm them.

And that’s why it says in John 10 where Jesus said, “I lay down My life for My sheep.” As the door, I lay down My life for My sheep. As the once and forever sacrifice, I lay down My life for My sheep.

When Jesus hung on the cross, when He uttered these last words, “it is finished,” it is finished; it is as if the holy of holies went. It is if the doors were flung open of the temple in the tabernacle once and for all because the Good Shepherd lay down His life. And even as He was buried and placed in the tomb, and the women came to dress Him and to check on Him, they said to themselves, who will open the door of the tomb for us, not knowing that God, the angels had already rolled away the tomb, the stone, they had already opened the door of the tomb and that Jesus is alive, Jesus is resurrected. Yes, He lay down His life for us so that we never need fear. Never need fear.

In fact, without Jesus, without Him laying down His life, all of us live under a death sentence. We have no hope for eternal life without the sacrifice of Jesus laying down His life for us. And this is how I see it, I see it as if God looked down and said My children, My children whom I love, My children are living under a death sentence. And so He sent Jesus and Jesus hung from the cross and said over My dead body. You may feel that your world has come to an end and you have no hope and you don’t see anywhere to go. And Jesus hangs from the cross and He says over My crucified body. You may not feel like there’s any hope of life for you, any hope of life, and Jesus says over My resurrected body! Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Thank You, Jesus.

So here we are. What are you going to do with the door? What are you going to do with Jesus? He stands at the door of your heart, the door, stands at your door and knocks today. He says here I am. “I stand at the door and knock. If you will open the door, I will come in and we can be friends,” one and true essential friends forever and forever, an open door that no one can shut.

Lord Jesus, thank You that You came to be the door, came to be the shepherd. Thank You that You came, the I Am God walking, talking, healing, raising, loving, forgiving. Oh Lord, we are so grateful and today, You stand at the door and You knock and we say yes Lord. Thank You, Lord, amen.

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