Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843), one of Scotland’s great preachers, preached one night on these words of Jesus: “I am the door, whoever enters through me will be saved.” (John 10:9)
A man who had listened to the sermon, came to him at the end and said: “I have been a church member all my life, but I never felt close to Christ until now. When I heard you preach tonight, something clicked and I felt that Jesus was very near to me.”
He continued: “When you preached about Jesus’ words, ‘I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved;’ I realized what my problem had been for all those years: I had been trying to enter the wrong door! I had been trying to go through the door of the saints and I just could not make it. But sir, you made it clear today that I must go through the door of the sinners.”
If we go to church week after week to prove to ourselves and strengthen our delusion that we are perfect in every way, we are not getting any closer to Jesus because we are trying to go through the wrong door.
If we go to church week after week to repeat the prayer of the proud Pharisee who said: “God, I thank you that I am not like all other men” (Luke 18:11), we are not getting any closer to Jesus because we are trying to go through the wrong door.
If we go to church week after week and do not echo the humble prayer of the tax collector, who said: “God have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13), we are not getting any closer to the Lord because we are trying to go through the wrong door.
Many religions teach that one must be pure and sinless before he or she can knock at the door. But Christ’s message is very clear: One knocks at the door as a sinner. A sinner who needs cleansing and healing knocks at the door so that the one who answers the door can heal.
Christ’s door is opened to sinners, not because of their holiness and purity, but because of their sinfulness and misery. Being a sinner is our problem… but knowing and acknowledging it is our hope!
Christianity is not, and should not claim to be, a creed or a religion. Rather, it is a Person, and that person is Jesus Christ. Christ is the Door, the only Door. Salvation can only be received through Christ. Christ is the Saviour of Jew and Gentile alike. But to be saved, a person must enter that door. It is a personal act, and without it there can be no salvation.
Jesus said to the religious leaders: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31) Jesus came to call everyone to repentance. None of us is completely well; we all are sick and in need of the Divine Physician.
Not one of us is righteous; not one of us is perfect. We are all sinners and in need of repentance and healing. God loves us, weak and sinful human beings in trouble, and He wants us to respond to His love for us.
God has given us freedom to freely choose to either live under His rule or to do it our way. He wants us to freely acknowledge our weakness, our sickness, our sinfulness, and our dependence on Him for healing.
God wants from us more than just going through the motions of religion. He wants us to turn away from the wrong door and enter the right door. He wants us to turn away from self-centeredness, pride and sin that keep us away from Jesus, who has promised to open the door to those who come to Him.
Jesus said: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” ( Matthew 7:7-8)
1. Ask – “For everyone who asks receives.” (Luke 11:10)
James wrote to the believers: “You do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:3b-4)
2. Seek – “He who seeks finds.” (Luke 11:10)
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
3. Knock – “And to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:10)
Jesus is the only Door. The Door is open to you now. But two things can keep you from going through: thinking you are too good, or thinking you are too bad. You can never be too good, nor can you ever be too bad to come to God.
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian