Monday, May 18, 2009

Words of Encouragement

The Purpose of the Door

Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth is own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers…Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man entered in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. – John 10:1-5, 7-9

The Purpose of the door. Entrance through the door. When we think about a door, we think of several things. The first purpose of a door is to keep things inside. The door shut and locked keeps those on the inside protected, yet they always have the opportunity to go in and out, they have the key. The second purpose of a door is to keep things on the outside. Those that would try to break into the house or to take what is not theirs is kept on the outside.

Jesus is addressing that which was spoken about him. The Pharisees’ stand was that Jesus was some how one that did not have a right, but here Jesus corrects them. He explains that he is not the one entering into the sheepfold as a thief, but as one that has a right.

Jesus correctly says that he is both the door of the sheep and one that enters through the door. Jesus does not enter into the sheepfold as a thief, but one that has the key to enter in. He enters into the fold because he is the owner of the sheep. He comes into the fold to feed them and to care for them. He is also the door by which the sheep enter and exit. The sheep cannot become part of the fold until they have gone through the passageway into the fold. For you and I, that passageway is through the blood of Christ. We become part of the fold when we pass through the doorway of hope and salvation.

We are kept safe behind the door (Jesus). He locks out the enemy that would want to try to take from us that which belongs to us. We are safe and provided for behind the door. We are not locked in the house like prisoners, but one that has freedom in the house. That freedom comes because we have the key, which locks the doors. When we accepted Christ as our savior we were given the keys to the kingdom, to the door.

We also can go in and out as Jesus states. We are not leaving our place with God, but have the freedom to go out and reach others in this world of sin, without it being able to overtake us. I pray for us today that we remember our entrance into the family of God is not by our own power and strength, but by the gift of God. You or I have nothing to boast in other than the power of God. For it was God that first had to help us recognize we were even lost. Then when he, through his Spirit showed us our sinfulness, he then offered us the entrance, the door to salvation. And when we accepted that entrance through the open door, we became part of the sheep, protected and cared for. It all points to the Jesus as the door, the entrance in.

For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. – Exodus 12:23

The Purpose of the door. The protected door. Moses has tried to talk to pharaoh to convenience him to let the people of God go, but he refuses. The plagues that fall upon Egypt are because of pharaoh’s refusal to let the people go. This plague is the killing of the first born of all in Egypt. However, God gives instruction for the children of Israel on how to protect themselves.

The instruction is to place blood upon the beams and the two sides of the door. When the destroyer (death) comes past the house that has been cover on the top, bottom and the sides will be passed over.

In this instance that the door is used, it is important to see the significance of this instruction. Those on the inside of the house and behind the door would be protected. This protection does not come simply because they are behind the closed door, but because of the sacrifice of the blood that covers the door. Closing a door is something possible in humans to do, even locking or securing the door is possible. This however is something that is impossible in mankind to do; this is an act that only God can do, salvation of those behind the doors.

There is something I also think we need to see is that even though the act was only something that God could do, it is important for us to see where the Israelites played a part. There was instruction given for the people to follow. The first part of the instruction called for a hearing of the words. The second part of the instruction called for an acknowledging and receiving of the word. The third thing was the obedience to the word. If these three steps were not taken, then those behind the door would not be protected.

What that signifies for us today is that we are given instructions and if we are to be saved from destruction, we must follow them. We must first hear the words of God. They are given to us in many ways and we are to heed them all. The word is spoken to us across the pulpits, studied in our Bible classes, taught in Sunday school and read in our own times of devotion. We are instructed to hear the words. Then when we hear the instruction we must acknowledge the truth and receive the instruction of the word. And finally we must obey the word. This is the action then that places the blood of Christ on our doorposts securing us in on all sides, covering our heads and directing our footsteps.

It also reminds us of our hearts. Our hearts our the doorway to who we are and if we are not covered by the blood of Christ because of lack of obedience to God’s instruction, we stand waiting for the destroyer to come and smite us.

I pray for us today that we take the steps and allow the blood of the Lamb to cover our doors and protect us from destruction. Lord help us to follow your instructions completely as you give them. Help us to hear your, obey you and live.

Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon they gates; That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth. Deuteronomy – 11:18-20

The Purpose of the door. Doorway to understanding. The instruction is regarding the word of God. The instruction is to lay the words in your heart and then bind them for a sign upon your hand and as a frontlet between your eyes. Can you image something on your hand so whenever your hand reaches out to sin, the word of God is there to remind you of the right way to go. When you are walking you cannot help but see the words of God dangling in front of you, so that as you would want to walk into a path of disobedience, the word would remind you otherwise.

Then you shall teach the words to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk along the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. When you would want to put other things before God, his word would be mentioned so often that it would serve as a reminder of what is right. And then the instruction is write the words upon the doorposts and upon your gates so that your days may be multiplied.

Here we have another example of a doorpost. The words of God are written upon the post and the gate so that as you go in you see them and when you go out you are reminded of their wisdom. This too calls for instructions to be followed. First, the word must be read and then the time is spent writing them down. In other words, they had to have spent time with the word so that it could be placed on their doorposts.

After we have placed the blood of Christ upon our doorpost (hearts) we then must cover it with the word of God so that we can take possession of the promises in it and to prosper in the fullness of God’s glory. This is how we are afforded life, through the life giving word. Otherwise, the things we do will continue to lead us to death and separation from a loving Father.

I pray for us today that we allow the word to become not simply something we pick up from time to time to read, but that it becomes like the very air we breath, for without it we die from lack. Lord help us to read, understand and live your word. Help us to post your word on our heart so that as we go in and out (as the sheep did in the sheepfold) we will have your word to guide us. This is what will keep us safe, being under the protection of the almighty.

Lord, I cry unto thee: make hast unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. – Psalm 141:1-3

The Purpose of the door. Control of the door. The psalmist seeks God for his control over his life. The psalmist cries out that God would quickly come and see about him, to hear his cry for help. The request is receive my prayers as sweet smelling incense unto you. He asks God to accept his up lifted hands. Then the psalmist says something important. He asks God to watch his mouth and to keep the door of his lips.

What do you think it means to keep the door of his lips? The psalmist understands the weakness in himself that his mouth that should bring forth living waters, can also (if unchecked) bring forth bitter waters. So his request is that God would be the watchman over his lips. He is yielding himself to the control of God.

It is important that we grasp the necessity of giving control of the door to the best doorkeeper. You and I cannot keep ourselves, as we should without the power of God to equip us to do so. Doors allow things in and things out. In this instance the psalmist is asking for control to keep those things in that should not be let out. As believers this tends to be an area that many of us struggle in, keeping our lips shut. We should think as the psalmist did. He wanted God to quickly come to see about his needs, to accept his lifting of holy hands and to hear his prayers. He also seems to understand that he needs God to do something first so that his request is not hindered and that is to guard his mouth.

If we began to think about this matter more closely, might we be slower to speak some of the things we do? What if God said to us, I will not hear your prayers or accept your raised hand because you have consistently brought bitter waters from your mouth, what would we do? Oh to think my unbridled tongue could be such a destructive devices, even though it is so small.

Lord, today help us to be mindful of our lips. You have protected us from the destroyer because of the blood on our doorpost. You have instructed us to write your word on our doorpost so that we can live long, but if we do not give you the control of the doors in our lives, we set ourselves up for missing your provisions. Keep the doorway of our lips so that the words that come forth are only those that are acceptable to you. Help us to hear you speaking to us when you either tell us to be quiet, or to speak. We want our words to always be like rivers of living water, leaving life in their path and not destruction.

The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him. The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets. As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed. – Proverb 26:10-14

The Purpose of the door. Don’t be a swinging door! What a proverb, this proverb of wisdom. The writer tells us that God will reward to everyone, what is do him or her. To the foolish man or woman, to them their rewards is from that foolishness. To the transgressor, their reward is from that sinful state. We would not call these rewards, but in the sense it means payment. Each one will stand to receive payment for their lives (based on how you spent your life).

The writer compares the foolishness of a dog to that of a fool. Just as a dog returns to its vomit, so does a fool return to his/her foolishness. In this instance the writer wants us to see how disgusting and repulsive it is for a dog to go back and put his nose in his vomit. It is sickening for a fool to go back and put his/her nose into the sin they are regurgitating from the depths of their soul.

The writer also talks about the slothful man or woman. The slothful are like the hinges on a door that swing back and forth. The inactive or slothful (spiritual lazy) easily turn back and forth as it suits them. Have you ever held a door hinge and watched how quickly it swings back and forth without anything controlling it? The warning then to each of us is this, we need something holding us securely so that we won’t swing back and forth, opening and closing at the whim of every wind that blows. Instead, we need God to take control of our doors; the doors to our mouths, to our heart and to our minds.

When we go to service this weekend, let us go understanding that God is able to sustain us against the destroyer because of the blood of Christ on the doorpost of our hearts. We also can have abundant life in Christ when we post the word on our doors so that we see them as we go in and out. The word will become that which keeps us safe from the evil one that wants to take away that which belongs to us through Jesus. We then can run this race because we have yielded ourselves to God and he has the control of our lives. And finally we are warned not be swing back and forth with ever wind of doctrine. We are told don’t be tossed to and fro, but be grounded in the truth of God, and not a door swinging on its hinges in the wind. So Lord help us be what you have called us to be.