I’m a bit old to go to nightclubs, but I have seen plenty of video and film footage of what they are like. To get into the really exclusive places you have to go through the front door. And there is always some really big dude with muscles on his muscles, a T-shirt that is a size or two too small, and a bad attitude towards anyone who tries to sneak in or jump the cue.
Well getting into the kingdom of God is kind of like that too. You ain’t gonna sneak into heaven. You can only get in through the door. Some people are going to try to get in through sneaky methods, but that will not help. It’s through the door or not at all.
Thieves and Robbers
Jesus says that anyone who tries to sneak in rather than going through the door is a thief and a robber. They are not being straightforward but are trying to bend, break or change the rules.
Think about it. You may own, rent or live in a place. When you come home you come through the front door. You have a key and all of your stuff is inside. However when a thief or robber comes calling, they don’t have a key, they often look for an open window to gain entry and most of all, they have no right to be there.
It’s the same with those who think they can sneak into heaven. First, they do not have the keys to the kingdom of heaven because they get them only through Jesus Christ and living a life pleasing to him. Second, they think they can sneak in without doing the will of The Lord. Some people think they can make a deathbed confession after living a life of sin and presume they will gain entry to heaven. But it’s not about your confession, its about your faith and living your life according to the will of God in Jesus Christ. And finally they have no right to be there and their “stuff” is not inside. To people of the world their possessions mean more than walking in The Lord. Their stuff is the stuff of this world not the kingdom of God. In fact they don’t even know what the stuff of The Lord looks like!
The Lord’s Sheep
On the other side of the coin we have the people of The Lord. Jesus is the good shepherd and his people are his sheep. This is a very important and insightful analogy he uses.
It is the shepherd who,has the right to enter through the door of the sheepfold to access the sheep. The sheep are his “stuff” and He has the right to call them out.
In the same way the sheep have the right to also come and go through the door for they belong to the shepherd. In verse 3 Jesus says, “To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” This is evidence that Jesus has the right to enter through the door and that his sheep are his and they too can come and go via the door. His sheep are not like the thieves and robbers who try to sneak in, but instead they are the rightful ones to come and go through the door.
Following the Shepherd
We then see The Lord make this interesting statement in verses 4-5.
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
The sheep that belong to Jesus will follow him. Everywhere the shepherd walks the sheep walk also. The shepherd provides the sheep with security and protection from the wolves and the other animals of the world that would harm the sheep. The shepherd takes the sheep to green pastures and good water so that the sheep are well fed and watered.
Jesus is the good shepherd and his people have learned through practise and experience the ways of The Lord. They have trained to distinguish between good and evil and they do not listen to false doctrine for they know what the truth is.
The strangers Jesus refers to in this parable are those ministers who come preaching false doctrine. They are also the thieves and robbers for their purpose is not to do the will of God but to seek their own glory and to take advantage of the flock.
And there are some who will go the way of the thieves and robbers. But the ones that Jesus has sealed as his own will not follow these false doctrine, false teaching strangers. They follow Jesus and they know that the words of strangers do not accord with the word of God.
So there will be no sneaking into the kingdom of heaven. There will be no,climbing in the window, sneaking in the back door or any other way in apart from coming in via the door. In the next post we will look at the door in more detail for there is a great message there and one that we must remember to become a part of the lord’s flock.
(Picture sourced from stock.xchng)