daily Broadcast

The Gate

From the series Jesus Is...

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “gate?” Maybe a door to a fenced-in yard? Or perhaps it’s grander, like an entrance to a castle? Well, in this program, guest teacher Ryan Ingram examines how Jesus used that word to describe Himself in John chapter 10. Don’t miss the way Christ acts as our protector and thee door to experiencing a deeper connection to God the Father.

Chip Ingram App

Helping you grow closer to God

Download the Chip Ingram App

Get The App

Today’s Offer

Jesus Is… free mp3 download.


Message Transcript

Let me ask you this. Who do you believe has your very best interest at heart? Like, who do you fundamentally go, “They have my best interest”? And here’s why this is important. Those who you believe have your best interest, you actually will listen to and perhaps you might even follow after.

In Jesus’ day, those who were supposed to have the very best interest of the people of Israel were the religious leaders. And, yet, they exploited their relationship, they put all these burdens onto people, they set stuff up for their own gain, for their own popularity, their own influence and affluence.

And we pick up this next “I Am” statement of Jesus and it’s actually Jesus confronting the Pharisees and where they are actually thinking they are the gatekeepers for who is in the community, who is a part of the people of God, and who are not.

And so, the context for what Jesus is about to say happens just after someone got kicked out of synagogue. And you’re like, “Whoa, you can do that?” They did that. In fact, it was a Sabbath day. Jesus sees a man who was born blind, He has compassion on [him], He heals him.

The Pharisees get word of this and they call him in and they begin to examine him and go, “Who did this? Well, it was the Sabbath. You shouldn’t heal.” That’s silly, by the way. And they examine [him] and he says, “This Jesus does.” And the Pharisees are saying, “Listen, now that you are a follower of Jesus, get out of the synagogue.” And they literally kick him out of the synagogue. They were the gatekeepers of who was in and who was out.

Now, think about this. This man, he’s like, “I don’t even really care about all that anymore. I couldn’t see. I was begging on the side of the road and now I can see.” And the Pharisees are so resistant to Jesus, not even recognizing that one of the great signs for the coming Messiah was that He would bring sight to the blind.

We pick it up in John chapter 10, verse 1. If you’ve got your Bibles, why don’t you go ahead and open up there. John 10, verse 1. He is speaking to the gatekeepers. He says, “Very truly I tell you, Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper[s] opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Verse 6, “Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what He was telling them.”

“Therefore,” Jesus said it again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep,” O you self-proclaimed gatekeepers. “All who have come before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Jesus introduces really four elements or four characters: the thief, the shepherd, the sheep, and the gate. And I just want to draw your attention and pull out some things that are really important for us in this day of what it means of who Jesus is and how we follow Him. And, and who has our very best interest at heart?

Let’s take a look at the thief. The thief, by the way, doesn’t come to bring freedom, but destruction.

Now, it may seem obvious that the thief doesn’t come to bring freedom but destruction and, yet here’s what is interesting. Jesus uses two different words here: thief and robber. And they mean something subtly different. Thief means subtlety and trickery. And robber is one that does so by violence and plundering. And I think in our mind when we’re thinking about the thief, we often think about the violence and the plundering and we miss out on the subtlety and the trickery.

And so, we aren’t aware that the thief is actually at work and drawing and wooing us away from the pen. Well, what does that look like?

See, I think the thief comes and the enemy comes and he says to the sheep in the pen and he doesn’t go, “Hey, you see this lovely pen for your safety? No, no, no. This is a prison. Aren’t you tired of always listening to that shepherd that is calling you?

See, the enemy’s always used subtlety and trickery all the way from the beginning. Back in the garden with Adam and Eve, the enemy shows up. It says, “The serpent was more crafty than all the other creatures.” And you know what he did? First, he cast doubt on God’s Word. First thing that the enemy wants to do subtly in our hearts is to cast doubt on God’s Word. Did God really say you must not eat of any tree in the garden? And then he casts doubt on God’s character. “See, God doesn’t want you to do that because then you’ll be like Him.”

See, fundamentally, we know that the thief comes for our destruction not for our freedom, but the thief is constantly telling us, “No, it’s for your freedom.” That’s the reason we keep buying into it, keep thinking beyond the pen there’s actually something better for me. Beyond the shepherd’s voice and beyond the shepherd’s guidance I actually can do this all on my own. And we buy into it time and time again.

The shepherd, on the other hand, we know this, the shepherd’s purpose is for the flourishing of his flock. Fundamentally, the shepherd’s purpose is for the flourishing of his flock. “I have come that they may have life and life to the full.”

Now, when we translate this word full, we don’t really get the full meaning of it. Full is like, oh, that’s nice. Life to the full. This word full means exceeding abundantly above.

It means exceeding. It exceeds abundantly above. What is abundantly above? Well, it’s an extraordinary amount. It’s beyond measure. And Jesus came, He said, “I came that I would give you life and life that exceeds abundantly above. It’s beyond measure. Like, My purpose is for your flourishing. It’s the reason I showed up. And so, My ways, My guidance brings flourishing.”

And what is interesting is I think in our minds we think, If only I could get out and wander and do my own thing, then I would finally be free. And, actually, we end up shackled down and stuck and we are just trying to survive rather than thrive.

See, we translate flourishing with feeling good. And that’s the reason we resist the good shepherd in our life.

The shepherd, at the end of the night, as he is coming in, he would take his staff and he would put it low and as the sheep would go into the gate, they would have to go in and climb under his staff. And what he was doing is he’s inspecting every single sheep to see if there’s anything that happened throughout the day, any wounds they incurred. He would anoint them with oil, that’s where we get that picture out of Psalm 23. It’s what the shepherd would do to bring healing and to bandage any wounds. But he sees what you’re going through.

The shepherd’s purpose is for the flourishing of his flock. He goes ahead. He says He goes ahead of you. Think about He doesn’t drive you forward. He guides you in front of you.

He’s not like, “Get going! Get going! Get going!” He says, “Do you want to come? I’m going this direction.” He guides you; He sets the pace. The shepherd would, shepherds would lead either from the back or the front. It was common to do either way.

Jesus says: I am the shepherd that leads from the front so that I set the pace and so if you’re weak, if you’re young you’re not going to get worn down or injured along the way. He sets the pace, He scouts the path, He goes in front to check and make sure, “Hey, is this all safe?”

And think about the intentionality. We don’t know how big the flock was. It could be a dozen, a few dozen, it could be actually up to a couple hundred. He says He knows them by name. You’re not a number to the shepherd. He knows you by name. He personally knows you and calls you by name. You are precious to Him.

The thief, he doesn’t come to bring freedom but destruction. The shepherd, His purpose is for your flourishing.

And sheep, they fundamentally need a shepherd to thrive, not just survive. And here’s what I want to point out about the sheep that is so great. Did you notice the sheep actually know the voice of their shepherd and follow him? When he has brought out all his own he goes ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

But they’ll never follow a stranger. In fact, they’ll run away. When they hear a stranger’s voice they are like, “Not now! That’s not my shepherd.” Friends, we need people, we need the Church to know the voice of their Savior.

And my fear and my concern is that we don’t know His voice and so we don’t recognize the stranger’s voice. And we are listening to so many voices and we are plugged into so many areas. I want you to know His voice and to follow Him. He said, “I came for your flourishing.”

Let me ask you a few questions. Who is leading your life? See, that’s the problem with shepherds is they lead. That’s the problem with us Americans is we like to be in charge. We don’t mind Jesus being, you know, a consultant. Right? Hey, yeah, would love, consult, mm, good. But you can’t be in charge. Who is leading your life? Let me ask you, do you know the voice of Jesus?

And then final question: If Jesus is in front and He’s leading the way and we are to follow Him, are you running ahead of Jesus?

Jesus says: The life that I came to bring you exceeds abundantly more. The sheep, well, they know his voice and they follow Him. Are you getting out ahead of Jesus?

And then it brings us to the gate. The gate provides access to life and protection from harm.

And Jesus says, “I am that gate.” That fundamentally when you walk in and you come in, you experience life. And He says: Salvation through Me. And, by the way, at the same time, I am standing guard and protecting you. Safety and security. He would say it this way in another part, He would say, “No one can snatch you from My hands.” The gate, it provides access to life and protection from harm.

Who is Jesus? He says: I am the entrance. If you want to know what life is really like, it’s not like some hoops you’ve got to jump through, some kind of levels you’ve got to attain. It’s Me. And the door is not locked for you, by the way. And you don’t have to earn your way or good your way or do better. He says: No, no, no. The door to life, the entrance to life is a person and it’s Me. And I long for your flourishing. Would you come into Me?

Who do you believe has your very best interest at heart? What door have you been knocking on to bring you life? Whose voice are you listening to?

You know what’s interesting about Jesus, He says He is the gate, He’s the door. In Revelation 3:20, He says, “Behold, I stand at the door of your heart and knock.” He reverses the image on us here. Because I think some of us, we have a door up from Jesus. We actually have a barrier up. And today you need to let your barrier down. You have been believing a lie where you thought, No, His best interest, He doesn’t have the very best interest. I want to look out beyond in the pasture. I want to roam free.

And Jesus is saying, “I’m standing at the door right now knocking. Anyone who opens the door I will come in and eat with them and they with Me.” It’s personal; it’s a relationship with Him.

And maybe you have never started a relationship with Jesus. Today is your day where you say, “Jesus, I believe You are the shepherd that brings flourishing and the gate to life. Today, I open the door of my life to You. Would You come in and make me new?” And it’s just that simple, honest conversation. He says yes every time.

And others, you have been, well, you’ve been doing the Jesus thing, but you have been listening more like a consultant to Jesus. And you have doors up. What would change? Think about this. What would change if you actually believed Jesus has your very best interest? What would actually change if you actually believed in Him through Him alone you will experience abundant – no, no, no – exceeding abundant life?

If you have never started a relationship with Jesus, I want to invite you today to start.

It’s simply a prayer. A prayer is just a conversation with God. God, I am tired of doing life my own way and I have been seeking stuff to finally bring life and it hasn’t worked. Today, I believe You are the good shepherd, that You came for my flourishing, that You died for my brokenness and my sin and You came back to life that I might have life to the full. Today, I open the door of my heart to You. Would You come into my life and make me new? And all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved.