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CHRIST - THE ONLY DOOR TO THE CHURCH!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, March 5, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).


Many college-age young people have come into our church during the last few weeks. We are so happy that you are here with us this morning. Thank you for coming!

But I know that most of you are probably wondering, “What am I getting into? And what will happen to me if I keep coming here every Sunday?” I’ll tell you right now what you’re becoming involved with. You’re getting involved in a New Testament local church, a church made up of people who believe and follow the New Testament. That’s what a Bible-believing Baptist church is - a group of people who have been called out of the world and drawn together by Christ, people who believe in Christ and have been baptized into the membership of this local church.

Books and commentaries have said a great deal about these verses in John 10. But much of what is said is confusing. Let’s break it down and look at it like Baptists, and see that it shows many things about a local congregation.

There is the matter of “the sheepfold” in verse one. Jesus said,

“He that entereth not by the door of the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” 
      (John 10:1).

In my opinion the “sheepfold” can be nothing else but the local church. Although Spurgeon was not always completely clear on the local church, he did understand that the sheepfold was the church (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, No. 3, p. 287). Matthew Henry and John Gill also see a reference to the church when Christ speaks of the “sheepfold,” or, in modern words, the “sheep pen.” Dr. Gill said, “By the sheepfold is meant the church of God” (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume 2, p. 11).

Then, there is the matter of the “door” to the sheep pen. The “door” is clearly Christ Himself. In the text Christ plainly says, “I am the door” (John 10:9). He said this also at the end of verse seven, “I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7).

This makes it clear that Christ is the door to the sheepfold, which is the local church. To enter into the local church one must come in through the door, which is Christ Himself.

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).

In his sermon, “The Only Door,” Spurgeon gives two points, which I will simplify this morning (C. H. Spurgeon, MTP No. 3287).

I. First, how you join the church.

You join the church by entering it through Christ. You can’t get into the true membership of the church any other way. Look at John ten, verse one. Please stand and read it aloud.

“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).

You may be seated. If you try to enter the sheepfold of the church any other way than by coming in through the door (Christ) you will be counted as “a thief and a robber.”

You cannot get into the sheepfold of the church by birthright. Everyone is born a lost sinner. Therefore, a person can be in the church all his life and still not have “entered into the sheepfold.” It is a privilege to have Christian parents. It may be a great help to you if you take advantage of it. But if you don’t take advantage of it, instead of being a blessing, it can be a terrible curse. The good example of Christian parents and years of godly teaching do not ensure that a person will be converted. And without conversion you are still outside of the sheepfold, because Christ said,

“Except ye be converted…ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

Neither can you enter into the sheepfold of the church by a mere outward profession of faith. People do not get rich in this world by professing to be wealthy. They may say that they have lots of money, but if they have nothing in the bank they are poor no matter what they say. And you cannot become a Christian by saying certain words or going through certain actions. You cannot become a Christian by coming forward and asking to join the church, saying that you believe in Christ. Merely saying, “I am willing to believe, I am willing to say that” no more makes you a Christian than it would make a handful of mud into a lump of gold by merely calling the mud gold. The person who professes to be a Christian, when he is not, is in great danger because he is the least likely person to be awakened to his lost condition.

Also, you cannot truly join the church and be admitted to the sheepfold by physical membership. A person should not try to join the local church until he is joined to Christ. Spurgeon said, “He has no right to join the external organization until he has first got into the secret conclave by a living faith in Christ. If he…climbs over the wall, and comes into the outward church without…Christ, so far from being saved, Christ will say to him, ‘Thou art a thief and a robber, for thou hast climbed up some other way, and thou camest not in by the door.’ I believe…we do rightly to examine candidates [for church membership] to see whether they…know what they are doing…If you have not Christ, your church [membership] is [only] a name to live while you are dead, for the only way, the sole way, of getting into the real, vital, living church of Christ is by coming to Christ, who is Himself the door” (ibid., pp. 51-52).

Nor does it do any good to “feel” that you are saved. Many a person feels saved, but many of them will also feel the flames of Hell when they die. If he is trusting a feeling, he is trying to “enter into the sheepfold…some other way” and Christ calls him “a thief and a robber.” He who feels saved now will feel the flames later. No feeling can bring a lost sinner into the sheepfold.

Nor does it do any good to say a “sinner’s prayer.” There is no such prayer in the Bible. It is an invention of man. He who claims church membership because he said such a prayer will find that his true membership is not in the church, but in Hell.

Nor does it do any good to believe the “plan of salvation,” or to believe the doctrines of Calvinism, or any other doctrines. Doctrines and “plans of salvation” are but a spider’s web. They will not bear the weight of your soul. They will not draw you into the sheepfold. They will not save you; they will not bring you into true membership in the church of Christ.

“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).

You must come in through Christ or remain outside! There is no other way to get in! Christ made it plain!

“I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7).

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…” (John 10:9).

You must come to Christ, or stay outside. There is no other way into true membership in the church!

II. Second, what you receive by joining the church.

I hope there won’t be anyone foolish enough to think I said that you are saved by the physical act of joining this or any other church. All that I have said is quite the opposite of that. You must enter into Christ. That is the only way into true church membership. You must be “in Christ” before you can be “in” the church. Christ is the only door to church membership. But what are the benefits of joining yourself to Christ, and, thus, truly joining the church? Please stand and read the text again, John 10:9.

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).

You may be seated.

“If any man enter in, he shall be saved.” Saved from what? Saved from great judgment. Noah’s ark was built in olden times to save Noah and his family from the Great Flood. It could not be said that Noah was saved from the wrath of God until he had gone through the door - into the ark. But once he was inside, God Himself shut the door, “and the Lord shut him in” (Genesis 7:16). If God shuts you in, the storms of life cannot injure you and the Devil himself cannot strip away your salvation. He who is shut in to the sheepfold is safe forever. He must be safe whom God shuts in. The moment you come to Christ you enter the sheepfold, and God shuts the door and locks it behind you. He who has gone through the door “shall be saved” - the very instant that he passes through Christ into the sheepfold.

Saved! Saved! My sins are all pardoned, my guilt is all gone!
Saved! Saved! I am saved by the blood of the crucified one!”
   (“Saved by the Blood” by S. J. Henderson, 19th century).

“If any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).

What? Does this mean he will leave the church? Oh, no! The one who leaves his church is called an antichrist (I John 2:18-19). We all know that an antichrist is not saved. So it cannot mean that. I think it means that you go into the church on Sunday, and go out again during the week. Then you come in again at midweek, and go out again into your employment - and so on, going in and out of the church to find pasture, as a sheep went in and out of its pen to find food.

We go out, but why do we come back every Sunday? The answer is at the end of the verse,

“…and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).

The Greek word translated “pasture” means “food.” A Christian goes out, but he comes back to the sheepfold on Sunday to “find pasture,” to find food! And the food is Christ Himself. Here in our text He is called “the door.” But in the sixth chapter of John He is called “the bread of life.” He said,

“I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger” (John 6:35).

We come again and again to “find pasture” - to be fed “the bread of life.”

It is a great shame that so many churches do not keep Christ in the center of their preaching. No wonder the people only come on Sunday morning. Once is enough for them because they are not fed the “bread of life.” But we “go in and out, and find pasture” every Sunday morning and every Sunday night because our thoughts are centered on Christ, the food our souls long for and hunger after - always. And it was Christ who said,

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).

Come to Christ! Come into the church through Him!

You cannot join the church the way you are, your soul all covered with the muck of sin. You must first be cleansed, you must be washed “white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). He shed His Blood on the Cross to flush away your sins. He is now alive at the right hand of God in Heaven. Come to Him and be made clean! Come into the church through Him! He said,

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).

Christ is able to save you. Come to Him! He is willing to save you now!

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 10:1-9.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Saved by the Blood” (by S. J. Henderson, 19th century).


THE OUTLINE OF

CHRIST - THE ONLY DOOR TO THE CHURCH!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).

(John 10:1, 7)

I.   How you join the church, John 10:1; Matthew 18:3.

II.  What you receive by joining the church, John 10:9; Genesis 7:16;
I John 2:18-19; John 6:35; Revelation 7:14.