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The Shepherd and the Door


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T is wonderful to have a testimony that we know that our Redeemer liveth. When we get this old-time religion, we know. We know how clean we have to live, and how straight we have to walk to keep it. We can't fool with this thing. One cannot live a shallow, foolish, and worldly life and have anything in his soul.

 

God is faithful. He will give you this old-time religion, but after that it is up to you to work out your salvation "with fear and trembling." The Holy Spirit will check you when you might turn aside a little — even some word you might say. If you are a real child of God and want to live close to God, He will check you. Don't you thank God that He does?

 

Some of you people should see some- of the "stuff" that is going out in the world in the name of religion. But we can thank God that in the midst of everything crooked there is the real thing, a real salvation.

 

"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" (John 10:1).

 

That is plain talk. There is a door into the sheepfold. And if you try to get into the sheepfold any other way, the Word of God says you are a thief and a robber. All you have to do is read this Book to find out where the thieves and robbers are going. They certainly are not going to Heaven unless they repent and come through the door. And they will have to clean up before they get there.

 

"But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep."

 

We know that Jesus was the Door, but He had to come through the door Himself. How could He do that? He was the Word of God. He was the Second Person of the Trinity, and He had to come in through prophecy.

Here in Malachi we read why this was:

 

"Behold, I will send my inessenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts" (Malachi 3:1).

 

God said He was going to send a messenger to go before Him. Here we realize who the messenger is when we read these words:

 

"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 his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out."

 

The porter was the messenger who was sent as the forerunner to prepare the way for the Messenger of the Covenant. John the Baptist opened the door of the sheepfold for Jesus, you might say, when he stood that day on the bank of Jordan and saw Jesus coming, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

 

John the Baptist had told these people before, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" (Matthew 3:11). John saw Jesus coming, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

 

John opened the door through the prophecy of the Word of God, and Jesus came in through the door. And Jesus tells more about this door.

 

"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.

"This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them."

 

They could not understand how this could be; but Jesus never left. His people in darkness. He was the Light of the world. He "lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Nobody has to be ignorant as to who Jesus is.

 

"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 enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

 

Jesus says that when you come through. Christ the Door into the sheepfold, you will go in and out and find pasture. There is something marvelous about this salvation! Whether you are sitting in the church, or going about your work, if you are serving Him you find pasture.

 

In times of distress or temptation things come hard sometimes, but the Word says that when the enemy comes in like a flood the Lord will raise up a standard against him. What is that standard? It is the Word of God. Jesus said, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." God wants Bible Chris­tians. He does not want people to put all their trust in some preacher and let him be their guide, but God wants to be your Guide Himself. And He wants Bible Christians who know the Bible and the Word of God. Then when you hear some false prophet preaching something crooked, you will immediately know what crowd he belongs with.

 

What we want is more of the Word of God. The more we read it and get it into our system, the more the Holy Ghost will bring it to our re­membrance whenever it is needed. When the testing time comes, the standard will be there.

 

God will feed your soul. I have been fed many times. Out on the job somewhere, or where things were going hard, just some little word would come to my mind. That was the Spirit of God putting it there. It would seem like a whole sermon would be preached in my heart through the one word, the standard He raised up in my heart — right out there on the job.

 

The Holy Ghost is the Teacher, and if you have Him in you, you have the Preacher in you. He takes the Word of God to show you. Jesus said:

 

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: ... for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you" (John 16:13, 14).

 

Don't you thank God that we have the truth! Thank God, we know it. We know because we paid the price to get it. We did not mince matters. We just threw ourselves prostrate at the foot of the Cross, and we came clean with God and said: "God, search me out and clean me out and clean me up. Put Your power in me; give me victory and I'll serve You the rest of my life." When we did, God was true to His Word.

 

It is wonderful to have this great salvation! We need it in these days. We are in the last days of this dispensation. We are on the threshold of the coming of Jesus. We have heard it many times. I don't know how many believe it, but I know that I believe it.

 

When we see these young people coming into the Gospel in these days we know it is only the Spirit of God that has brought them. It was no pressure that we put upon them. It is the Spirit that speaks convic­tion. Jesus said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44).

 

That is a glorious promise. Jesus said, "No man can come to me, except the Father . .. draw him." It takes the Spirit of God to draw people. We can beg them, we can nag them, and put on the pressure, but that will do no good. But when the Spirit of God gets hold of them, He brings them in.

 

When Noah built the Ark and got it all ready for the Flood, you know what happened. The Spirit went throughout the land and into the air and began to draw the animals, the birds, the reptiles, and all creeping things. They were all going to one place, to one door. That was the door of the Ark. The Spirit of God was drawing them in. It was not Noah's power or persuasion that brought them in; he did not drive them in. It was God who brought them in. And so it is with the human being. If he comes in, it will be because God brings him in. There is nothing we can do, only pray -- pray much. God, does hear and answer prayer. He is bot­tling up the prayers of the saints; and when He pours them out, then God begins to work on the soul and brings him in.

 

He says, "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers." There were many prophets down through the years who probably came and said they were some great ones, or professed that they were the Christ who should come. But Jesus said they were all thieves and robbers. There was only one genuine Savior. Thank God we have found Him.

 

"Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

"I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

"I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witness­es, saith the LORD, that I am God" (Isaiah 43:10-12).

 

In the forty-fifth chapter of Isaiah we read:

 

"For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:18).

 

And here again He said:

 

"I am the LORDS and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou host not known me:

"That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:5, 6).

 

Thank God, He says it one time after another.

 

"Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just Gad and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

"I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

"Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed" (Isaiah 45:21-24).

 

How I thank God for these passages of Scripture! Only one God, one Savior, one Lord Jesus Christ, one God the Father, one Holy Ghost — one triune God! And we thank God that we have found Him. He is leading us on to victory in these last days.

The Lord wants soldiers in these days — men with faith in God who will take His Word and swing out on it and believe it with all their hearts. We have God's promise that if there is anything in this Book which we do not have, He will give it to us. We read: "No good thing will he with­hold from them that walk uprightly." Nobody has a corner on this won­derful salvation. It is not for just a few people. It is for the "whosoever will." Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. He gave His life for the whole round world. His Blood is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. There is not a human being upon the earth that God does not want to save — and Jesus came for that purpose. The invitation is universal.

 

When God saves a person He does not leave him there in a stage of infancy. He expects him to grow up, put on spiritual muscle and bone and sinew — grow up to be something more than just an infant, and feed on something besides milk. You know you can't bring up a child on milk alone. He will go so far on it, and after a while he will need something else. If you want a healthy child who will grow up to be something, you will have to feed him on more than milk. God has strong meat for you.

 

He expects that child to grow. He puts shoes on his feet and starts him walking. The Word tells us, "This is the way, walk ye in it." You will find that when you walk in His way, you will walk in the light. That light will give you more than you have, will put something in you that will make you stronger. What is light? It is the revealed will of God. The Lord leaves no one in a justified state. He wants us to go on to perfection. When you start to build a house you do not stop at the foundation. God expects us to complete the house, build the whole house.

 

Justification is the foundation. But you must begin to build. Sanc­tification is a second work of grace, holiness, purity of heart. That is the thing without which no one will see God. You may ask, "If I am justified, will I not see God?" You will not be justified long if you do not walk in the light. You are justified only so long as you walk in the light. If you get more light, and refuse it, saying, "I don't need this," the first thing you know, darkness will come upon you and you will lose your testimony. You must keep walking in the light.

 

When you are sanctified you are a candidate for the greatest thing God ever sent to the world, the mighty gift of the Holy Ghost. And what does He mean to you? He means a lot to us. In the first place, He is not only the Teacher but He is the Seal. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). What does that mean? It means the redemption of the body, for our soul is already redeemed. We have been washed in the Blood; our sins have been forgiven; our names are written in Heaven; and our souls are clean and pure through the Blood of Christ — but our bodies are not redeemed yet. They are going to be. God has sealed us, His purchased possession, by the Holy Spirit, unto the day of redemption.

 

In Romans 8:22, 23, we read:

 

"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travail­' eth in pain together until now.

"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."

 

When a saint passes out of this world and is laid to rest, there is no dead hope there. We know we will see again our loved ones who have died in the faith. Jesus said: "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day" (John 6:39); and I know He will keep His promise.

 

That is the spirit of this wonderful Gospel. That is the spirit which Elisha had. He died and was laid to rest in a sepulchre. Later the Israel­ites were carrying out a dead man, and a band of Moabites came along. The Israelites were fearful and they threw the dead man into the sepul­chre where the bones of Elisha were; and when the man fell on those bones, he revived and stood up. And the Word says, "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Romans 8: 11).

 

What a hope the Christian has! We do not sorrow as those who have no hope, but we have a living hope, a lively hope. Our Christ is going to descend one of these days with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God shall sound, and the dead in Christ (those who are sleeping in the cemeteries) shall rise first, and then we that remain shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord. That is the promise we have. That is the assurance we have. We have a wonderful hope! We know we shall meet again on that bright and happy shore where there will be no sorrow, no pain, no trouble, no canes, no crutches, no arthritis, no rheumatism. We shall have a new body — glorified, raised in power, incorruptible. I suppose that body will be so strong that you could probably carry the universe if you could get it on your shoulder. No telling what the power of that body will be, the power of the body which Jesus had when He could appear there in that upper room in a moment's time. The disciples were talking about the resurrection of Jesus, but Thomas said, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25). It was only a little later, when the door was shut, that Jesus stood there, with a body that could go through stone walls or iron cages. Thank God! He called for Thomas and told him to thrust his hand into His side, and be not faithless, but believing. Yes, when Thomas saw his Lord he could believe.

 

There are many unbelievers who say, "Show me and I will believe." Materialists! We don't have to see Jesus to believe Him. We know He is alive. He said, "Because I live, ye shall live also." Jesus said to Thomas: "Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." That is the premium that God puts upon the Christian — the man who believes whether he sees or not. We do not have to see. Moses did not have to see. When he went out of Egypt he feared not the decree of the king. "He endured, as seeing him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:2'7). He did not have to see God to know that He was. He had gotten word from God, and he knew what to do.

 

We do not have to see God. We have our marching orders: God tells us to go forward and witness for Him. "Ye are my witnesses" (Isaiah 43:10).

 

We are going to have a prayer meeting. I hope there are people here who will lay hold of God in faith. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." This is the Word of God. You can just take some promise here for your particular desire and need, just hold to it and say: "God, You said it. You can't lie. You can't fail me. I believe it; I stand on it." Before long you will find you have a grip on something that is alive. There is power in it. It will bring what you are looking for right down into your life. Many people have found that out lately, and I hope some more will find it out. I pray that God will stir you up, make you desperate, make you realize what you are going to miss if you don't get this marvelous experience. You can't go along and just fool with this thing. The command­ment of God is to tarry until you receive the Holy Spirit. He told you what to do. He puts the seal upon your life for the day of redemption.


By Rev J. Robbins
 

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