RAP SHEET 3/21/21
Series: I AM 7
Sermon: The Gate
Scripture: John 10:1-10
ICE BREAKER: If you could only choose ONE option for every vacation the rest of your life, what kind of vacation would you choose? (camping, beach, international, wine country, etc.)
This week, we learned the 3rd "I Am" statement from Jesus as recorded in John's gospel:
I AM THE GATE
Before we could dive in to John 10, we first needed the background of chapter 9 - the healing of the blind man. After Jesus gives the blind man his sight, the local pharisees see it as an opportunity to take Jesus out! That's right, instead of rejoicing that someone in their village had experience a miracle, all they cared about was using this man for their own political and religious protection!
Have you ever had someone see your success as their opportunity to capitalize on?
Do you ever feel manipulated by people in power over you?
The Pharisees were the GATEKEEPERS of society. They determined who was "in" and who was "out." Specifically, they ruled the synagogues and temple. These religious centers were also the core of social life. This is how you integrated into society.
When Jesus healed the man's blindness, it was an opportunity to join the real world. He could get a job, meet a woman, start a family, gain influence, make friends, and so much more! His WHOLE life was changed!
Then, the Gatekeepers - the Pharisees - called him in to testify against Jesus. Jesus had healed him on the sabbath and they thought that meant he had broken God's law for the Jewish people. The formerly blind man was now caught between betraying the one who had mercifully healed him, or losing any shot at joining the society he had dreamed of his whole life.
The man sticks with Jesus, and this leads us to chapter 10.
The new chapter begins with Jesus going RIGHT at the Pharisees. They are supposed to be the protectors of the people. They are supposed to shepherd the hurting sheep of Israel! Instead, they use the people for their own greed and power!
Jesus makes it clear that they are robbers and thieves who sneak into the sheep pen from the sides only to steal and kill and destroy! However, Jesus is the true Shepherd of Israel - a BOLD CLAIM!
But he goes further in his explanation. Not only is Jesus the good shepherd (something we will hear more about next week), but He is the GATE to the sheep pen. This was a real thing in Jesus' time. The sheep pens out in the country would have an opening the size of a grown man. The shepherd would literally lay across that gap and act as the Gate keeping the sheep in, and the thieves, robbers, and wolves out!
Jesus is the Gate, which makes him the ultimate GateKeeper!
What GateKeepers have you run into in life? (People or processes like the pharisees who worked to keep you from what you wanted most in life.)
We all experience GateKeepers. We have all been excluded, looked over, passed up, or betrayed. Life is full of boundaries to the life we want to live and the success we want to attain.
To get by the GateKeepers we have to play their games. For some, it is all political. You have to act the right way, wear the right clothes, drive the right car, and use the proper lingo. Maybe you have had to compromise your moral compass or give up your true aspirations to get past some of your GateKeepers. Perhaps you find yourself involved in things you could have never imagined.
This 3rd, "I AM" brings us incredible news. Jesus is the Gate! He doesn't require any politicking to get past. He does not insist that you clean up and put yourself together. Jesus did not come to manipulate or exercise control over you.
Jesus IS the Gate. His desire is for you to simply come to Him in faith. He WILL let you in. He is the Gate that lays himself down to keep you in safety, and the wolves that seek to harm you out!
9 I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.
10 A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
How do you enter the Gate? You simply put your faith in Jesus!
HERE IS YOUR APPLICATION FOR THE WEEK
For those who have already trusted in Jesus, name one person, process, place, or thing that you are allowing to be a GATEKEEPER in your life.
This could be a boss, a family member, a boyfriend/girlfriend - anyone who is causing you to compromise to get what you want. Once you have determined the GateKeeper, break their power over your life by trusting fully in the ONE who is the Gate! Gain a new perspective by realizing that no one in this world can offer you what will truly satisfy. That only comes by following the true voice of the Shepherd.
For those who have not believed in Jesus, consider whether you are ready to trust your eternity to Him. If you are ready to make that commitment, pray something like this:
"Jesus, today I choose to believe in You. I believe that you came to earth, lived a perfect life, died for my sins, and rose again to defeat death itself. I thank you for a new life today and an eternal life with you someday. Amen!"