Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

I am the gate. 
Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 

Jesus has two goes and explaining himself here.

In the first, he uses an image that all would have been able to understand,
or so he hoped.

The sheepfold he refers to was a courtyard in front of a house where the sheep were bought in for the night. It was not for just one flock, but several.
Each shepherd would bring their flock in for the night,
and it would be looked after by the gatekeeper.
There was no need to worry about who was getting whose sheep,
because the  shepherd would only have to speak,
and his sheep would recognise his voice.
The other sheep would not follow, nor would they follow another shepherd.

The gatekeeper would only open the gate for the shepherds that had left their sheep in the sheepfold.

The only other way in was by climbing over the fence.
The only person who would do this is the one who has no business there.
Their only purpose would be to steal.

The people don’t understand Jesus when he uses this parable.
He is being to obtuse.
They aren’t relating the shepherd, the sheep, the thieves, the gate to their life situation.

He goes in for another attempt.

I am the Gate.

What does a gate do?
A gate keeps people in and it keeps people out.
We can see a gate as protection.
Or we can see it as a means of access.
It depends where you are.
It depends what side of the gate you are on.

He isn’t saying he is the sheep, or the shepherd (yet) or even the gatekeeper.
He is the gate.
He is the means of going in and out of the sheepfold.
He isn’t the one who opens the door, he is the door.

He is the door by which the sheep and the shepherd go in and out.

So, the sheep are believers.
The sheepfold is the church.

The only way onto the church is through the door, Christ.
No other way in to the church.
You can’t come to church for prestige, status, respectability,
because someone makes you,
a need to protect it,
a desire to control it,
or to check on who is or isn’t there,
or what the priest is doing to your church.
The only way in to the church is through belief and trust in Jesus Christ.
That is the way in.
He is the door.

Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.

Jesus is primarily talking about himself as the entry not as a means of keeping people out.
He is the way into the church.
It makes sense then that he is also the way out of the church.
Out to find pasture.
Jesus doesn’t mean that we just enter and stay.
He means we are go into the world and be. We go out through him.
We are to go and be with people where they are.

How do we enter into other peoples lives? Through him.
The only way we an be with other people is through him.
We can’t be carrying on about some other stuff, other things we are doing, what services we offer,
but only Jesus Christ.
All we do, all our outreach can only work if it is done through Christ.
He is the way in and the way out.

So, if the sheepfold is the church,
and Jesus is the gate, and we are the sheep,
who are the thieves and bandits?

They are the things that take our hearts, minds, and time away from Christ.
They climb over the walls of the church and take over from Jesus.
If it is not the Gospel, it will only destroy the church.
We need to be careful of what it is when we say we are doing the work of the church.
Is it through Christ, or is it through our own ego?
Is it to do Christ’s work, or is it to keep myself busy.

It all has to be through Christ.

He is the gate.
It is through him that we can find pasture outside.
It is through him that we can be the church.

It is only through him that we can have life.

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Who are you my brother??? With this amazing sight/understanding.

I thought i was alone, for so long i would ask God am I the only one who truly prays to you?? He actually talks and walks with me and has opened up an understanding to me that is continuously blowing my mind.

I tried to explain the meaning of clean hands and feet to people earlier this year. The fact that Jesus was explaining to people that deeds in life MUST be done out of good intent. When you minister to someone for example, you must not enter a person's mind trying to grip their heart or system of beliefs with unclean hands or tools...methods of or devices to promote bad intent thru the most powerful form of persuasion...perception.
People want God so bad...but we can't gain access to Him nor all His knowing and understanding except thru Jesus whom is seated at His right hand. Referred to as "I" so many times, by the prophets whom prepared His way, like in Isaish chapter 43.

I enjoyed reading this and i no longer feel alone in this world. We have work to do, the day of Our Lord is at hand. We MUST continue to promote and uphold the name of Jesus so that we may soon crown our King!!

He said it Himself. .if 'I' be lifted up 'I' WILL draw ALL men unto me.

I love you for doing God's work and properly representing the kingdom of heaven.