John 10:1-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
Jesus the True Shepherd
1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
Jesus the Good Shepherd
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
"I was glad," said David, "when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord."
--As often as able, glad to worship God, in His house.
--"To give thanks to the Lord," for all He's done.
--To "pray for the peace of Jerusalem." One another.
--To seek "peace" and "prosperity" for all.
--"For the sake of my brethren and companions" (v 8).
--They were enjoying it! Were blessed by it!
Back then these saints knew how to be "glad" and enjoy, going to God's House.
I wish more today might know.
I invited a man to church, saying, "You'd enjoy it."
--He replied, "Enjoy church? Are you kidding?"
--I said, "Many people, like you, do every week, when they come to know, and grow, in the Lord, His Word."
Sometimes people can get disappointed in a church.
--Something happens, and they stop attending.
--But friend, it is not with God, it is with people.
--God's love reaches out to us all. Always.
--We people need always to show it, as Jesus did.
Most churches I know have a warm welcome to everyone.
--They teach, preach, and practice Christ-likeness.
--Where its a joy to attend, worship, belong, or serve.
--Until we give it a try, we won't know, will we?
Where we go hereafter depends on what we go after, here.
When we were kids, we couldn't wait to go to our grandparents' home - it was so close to heaven for us.
--Not just the fun and love, but God's Holy Spirit!
--Of going to church with them. Granddad baptized me.
--The joy of what they taught us of the Bible.
--The model of an ideal Christian example, they set.
--We kids, in fact, always had tears on leaving them.
God's House of worship should be like that my friend.
--His great Ten Commandments begin with, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3).
--And "Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy."
--Do we? Is it a "holy" day? Or a holiday?
God's church is not dead! But alive, where Jesus is!
--The Spirit of the Lord is there. Or should be.
--Fellow saints are there. Growing in God's Word!
--To greet, and be greeted, in a warm, winsome way.
--To be able to share one's blessings, or burdens.
While in God's House, the cares of the week leave us.
--Heaven's sweet music, and gentle peace, heals hurts.
--The Word of the Lord is opened, to teach His truth.
--It is a "Balm of Gilead" to wounded pilgrims.
--A sweet rest, for all who are weary.
--We find direction for decisions. Obstacles along life's rough roads are made smoother,.. easier.
--And we find forgiveness for our faults. That's joy!
To me, and so many, spiritual relief is spelled, JESUS, in CHURCH. No other institution on earth, as this!
--Listen! C-H-U-R-C-H spells nothing, unless U-R in it.
--You see, we can't spell CHURCH, without U. You!
--Let us say, with the Psalmist, "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, fine Christian and former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, seldom missed going to church, all his life. Loved, served, the Lord.
--He said, "There is in my heart a little plant called reverence, which needs to be watered once a week, at least." He was a leader in his church.
Four keys can unlock God's blessings and success.
--They are: God's Book - the Bible, our daily bread.
--God's Day - the Lord's Day. The day of worship.
--Long ago God commanded Moses to tell the people often, "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8), "Six days you shall labor and do all your work." Don't forget to worship! "Glad" to do so!
--Then, God's House - a very valuable key to His help.
--It should be our second home! Spiritual home.
--God's House - or church - that we love to go to like going to grandparents - or even better!
--Fourth key is God's Way! To obey .. His way.
--God's Way is Jesus Who said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father, except through Me" (John 14:6). Is He in you? You in Him?
--My friend, Jesus Who arose, is "the Way," best way!
Life is like these Psalms, for we must make our way, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the abode of God and His saints.
--Like these pilgrims, walking to the Temple, our feet become soiled .. stained with selfishness and sin.
--So we come to be forgiven .. to be saved .. cleansed.
--Life has its ups and downs, like hills and valleys.
--We all have our own needs.
--So we come to God .. and God's House, to meet them.
--The best place on earth, to do so!
Dr. Luke, "the beloved physician," tells when Jesus was 12 years old, He came with Mary and Joseph to worship.\
--To Jerusalem. To the Holy Temple.
--On the way, they sang this same Psalm 122 and others.
--They traveled in caravans, for safety.
--Notice Psalm 122:1 says, "Let us - in company as family and friends together — go into the house of the Lord." Why? To "seek the Lord."
--Even in His youth, at 12, Jesus said, as Mary and Joseph found Him in the Temple, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:49).
That verse, we know, brought the conversion of Gregory, of Nazianzus, a pastor there for 45 faithful years.
--He often used to quote that verse. Blessed many.
Dear friend, no matter how small or large "the house of the Lord," and no matter its lack or weakness, faults or failings, it is God's House, and we are God's people!
--We are to love it! Attend it! Pray for it as we can.
In Psalm 23 - familiar and favorite - David said of it, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (v 6).
Again, in Psalm 26:8, he said, "Lord, I have loved Your house and the place where Your glory dwells."
Or, Psalm 27:4, he said, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple."
Everybody benefits by going to church, while able.
--The individual has a much better life, by worship.
--The family is happier. More unified. Organized.
The nation is better. Less crime, costs, problems.
--The world is more peaceful, a better place to live.
I meet people disappointed, who fault the church.
--It sometimes may have its faults, like a bad apple.
--But friend, it is God's church. He does not fail.
--It is we who do. All of us still need the churches!
The Gospel of Jesus Christ works! Saves, and blesses.
--Jesus alone is sinless, as God. He died for our sins.
--He is the only One, on His own, to arise from death!
--Never to die again, but "ever lives to pray for us."
--I've studied all religions, and Jesus is best!
Of all institutions serving mankind, church is finest!
--Let's focus not on faults, but on improving.
One July 4th, I was preparing for an all day picnic of fun, food, and games, for our church.
--A stranger called, wanted to see me today.
--So Ed came over with a lovely nameplate, for me.
--"I'm _making these for all pastors in town," he said.
--I offered to pay. "No, no, it is a gift to them."
--I enquired of his church. "We don't go."
--"I'm not working. And have no offering to give."
I invited Ed and Pearl to the picnic as guests, and to church; as well as come to see me tomorrow for help.
--He came. I counselled. Made telephone calls.
--Was able to get Ed a good job at Selfridge Air Base, where many of our parishioners were stationed.
--Brought them to know the Lord and Savior.
--Hardly ever missed church. They enjoyed it!
--In our new building, made all the handsome signs!
Like David, he "was glad .. to go to the house of the Lord." How about you, my friend?
Jesus said, "I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).
--His true church - of all "born again believers."
--It needs you and me, and all of us, at our best.
--To commune with God, and one another, joyfully.
--In church, following Him!
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 692