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Jesus is the Gate for the Sheep

By Donald P. Moss

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Series Introduction

Foreshadows Introduction

Volume 1 -THE GARDEN OF EDEN - Adam's Creation and His
Spiritual and
Physical Environments

Volume 2 - NEW BEGINNING AND NEW WORLD ENVIRONMENT

Volume 3 - JOSEPH, EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH - A Foreshadow of God's Agenda for Jew and Gentile

Volume 4  - CROSSING THE JORDAN RIVER - A Foreshadow of Salvation for Jew and Gentile

Volume 5 - THE BOOK OF REVELATION - God's Agenda for the End Time

Volume 6 - THE SEVEN LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

Volume 7  - CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE - A Foreshadow of Redemption

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Bible Lessons

 

In the last days there will be many who proclaim to be messengers of theological truth, which proclaim there are many religious and new age belief systems that lead believers into the kingdom of God. To support their theories of faith, these messengers must take a stand against the Christian belief that Christ Jesus is the only way to enter the kingdom of God. Else, their message cannot stand up under the scrutiny of those who believe in their message. Non-Christian religious systems teach the way to heaven is through personal works of self sacrifice and deeds that improve their standing with their god. But, Christianity is the only faith system that teaches God is not waiting on man to approach Him. God is pressing in to approach man and teach him to open the door to his heart through faith, not through personal deeds - Revelation 3:20-21 (NIV) - Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (21) To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. God seeks out those who believe and establishes a life line connection, a personal relationship with each who believe. He is not in heaven waiting to see who can make it into heaven by their own strength and power. He is here and He is knocking!

Is Jesus the Son of God Or Just a Prophet?

The most common theological element between non-christian religions is the denial of Jesus' deity as the Son of God. Jesus is thought to be only a messenger or prophet of God. After all, he was born of a woman just like all other prophets or messengers of god in other religions. These religious tenets place Jesus on equal footing with Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, or any other proclaimed messenger of god.

Satan's underlying motive is to destroy faith in the shed blood of Jesus the Son for the forgiveness of sin. Why? If Jesus is believed to be the Son of God, His name is exalted above all other prophets or messengers. If Jesus is the Son of God, then His blood is the blood of God. If the blood of God was shed for the forgiveness of sin, then forgiveness and repentance has a most profound impact on those who hear this truth. This truth cannot be passed over as meaningless words. Thus, there can be no greater message of God than a message sent through God's Son.

The hearer of Jesus's words must make a decision to accept or reject what he has heard. If he rejects Jesus' message of truth, then he must reject Jesus as the Son of God without denying God. To do this, he reduces Jesus to the level a prophet or messenger of God, like all other prophets.

If Jesus is believed to be the Son of God, then all other religious messages are of a lesser truth. So, adversaries of Christianity want to remove the deity of Jesus so their messages will be on equal footing with the gospel.

There has always been great conflict between Christian messages of truth and other messages of lesser truth. Jesus' truth includes the statement in - John 14:6 (KJV) - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. When a believer from a non-Christian faith hears this statement, he is offended because Jesus's words reject his belief system. He then feels rejected and sees Christianity a faith of exclusion rather than inclusion.

Jesus' truth also includes the statement in - John 3:16 (KJV) - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. "Whosoever" means this truth applies to all peoples regardless of their religious systems and is inclusive of all peoples on earth. After hearing these words of Jesus, do believers in other religious systems feel rejected on included in this truth?

Other religious belief systems cannot wrap their minds around the deity of Jesus, the Son of God. If anyone accepts Jesus, He has accepted God. If anyone believes in Jesus, He believes in the one true God. If anyone seeks Jesus, He seeks God. Jesus doesn't stand in the way of people getting to God. He has prepared the Way to God, because He was the only One to shed His blood for the forgiveness of sin and made reconciliation to God possible. It was God's blood that open the Way! What other religious prophet or messenger ever paid the sin debt for mankind's sin?

The Words of Jesus will always bring into conflict the truth of God and the words of other non-Christian prophets or messengers. Real truth has no common ground with other religious tenets proclaiming God's acceptance of those who try to enter the kingdom of God by any other way (gate) other than through faith in Christ Jesus. To get to God all must have their sins covered by God's blood through faith in His Son as His Messiah. This is the true message of salvation.

Why Do So Many Religious People Reject Christianity?

The natural man desires acceptance by God. He will seek to follow religious precepts that will guide him and teach him the things he must do in order to be accepted. Things that are within his ability to acquire. He will resist precepts that deny self actualization. He basically wants to remain in control of his own eternal destiny. Therefore, to appeal to this basic desire of the natural man, many religious theologies are formed which open the eyes to spiritual enlightenment for self actualization through good deeds.

He will follow precepts that tell him what to do, how to do, when to do, and why he does it. His eternal vision is one of self improvement until he gets it right, as defined by the religious system of his choice. Self righteousness is earned by good deeds and is his point of acceptance before God. So, he does not believe he needs to be saved from his sins because he has worked past his old beliefs and he no longer does things that are wrong. He lives his life to please his god.

Are good deeds the way into the kingdom of heaven? Remember, the Bible states in Genesis the fall of Adam was due to his consuming the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The fruit of this tree (believing life is centered on worldly knowledge and vain philosophies) brought death to the perfect man Adam. Not only there evil in this tree, but there is also good in this tree that leads to death. Good deeds are the right things to do, but cannot get man past the realm of death. There was no life in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Proverbs 14:12 (NIV) - There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

What is the knowledge of good and evil? Knowledge is based on man's observance of his environment, even down to the particle, atomic and molecular level, even to the RNA and gene level of the human body. What man observes becomes rationale for his brain to analyze and determine what is factual. Through his observations he forms philosophies, laws, morals, ethics, religious beliefs, etc. His whole life is based on the knowledge derived from man's power to observe and decide. Things he learns from this tree are true, but there is no truth concerning eternal life. The only truth of eternal life is in the other tree that was in the midst of the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life. This Truth is eternal life in the kingdom of God is through faith in God's Son. All of mankind lives daily using the knowledge formed by the minds of men, but to rely on this information as the source of real Truth is a stumbling block to the spiritual growth of men.

The two trees that were in the midst of the Garden of Eden is a metaphor of life and death that is set in the midst of every man's life. God's Word teaches us to chose the fruit of the Tree of Life, God's provision of eternal life. Do not trust in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil for your provision of eternal life. The precept of self actualization is based on the knowledge of good and evil in this tree, leading to self-righteousness.

It is prudent to seek greater enlightenment beyond self actualization. What is this enlightenment according to the Bible?

Why Does Christianity Proclaim Jesus as Savior?

The first basic thing one needs to beware of is this scripture - Romans 6:23 (NIV) - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

"Wages of sin is death" - This a most powerful statement by the Apostle Paul. But, this statement is rooted in the Genesis account of the original sin of Adam - Genesis 2:17 (KJV) - But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Disobeying God separated Adam from God and he and his descendents will die for their sin. Death is man's wage for his rejection of God. Man earned death by his own decision and action. Man is held accountable for his decisions. Man's sin is an offence against God and requires seeking God's forgiveness, to be reconciled to God.

Salvation from death is not merited by good deeds. It is therefore imperative man be saved from eternal death by reconciliation to God and by God's forgiveness.

Reconciliation to God is a covenant precept first mentioned in the Bible when Abraham asked God to bless Ishmael in Genesis 17:19-21 (NIV) - And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! (19) Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. (20) And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. (21) But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year."

God's covenant of reconciliation is through Isaac. God blessed Ishmael, but did not make the covenant with him and his descendents. The Abrahamic Covenant was first made with Abraham, then with Isaac, and then with Jacob and it provides a way for man to make things right with God. Reconciliation to God by seeking His forgiveness is the correct precept of the Way God provides man to return to Him.

So, what is the Way of forgiveness? The shedding of blood is the Way of forgiveness!!

Hebrews 1:1-4 (NIV) - In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, (2) but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (3) The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Jesus' death on the cross shed the blood that provides purification for sin. Prior to Jesus' death the shedding of blood for the atonement of sin, as defined by the Mosaic Law, was a part of temple worship and would suffice until the day of Jesus' death. The blood of animals could never remit sin because remission is only through the blood of God's Son, Jesus. Hebrews 9:21-22 (NIV) - In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

It was God's blood that was shed on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. His Son had to die in order for other sons to live!! There had to be a death, so there could be life!! Else, each man will die for his own sin against God.

It is prudent at this point in this study to quickly review what is meant by the "wages of sin is death" because we all will die.

Hebrews 9:27 (KJV) - And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. It is true that we will all die once. But, is there another death?

Revelation 2:11 (KJV) - He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Jesus last statement to the Ephesus church mentions that overcomers will not be hurt by the second death. So, there is another death for non-overcomers. When is this second death to occur?

Revelation 20:14-15 (KJV) - And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. The white throne judgment at the end of the millennium reign of Christ will judge each man whose name is not found written in Jesus' Book of Life. Those who have rejected Jesus as God's Son will not have their names written in the Book of Life. The second death is a eternal spiritual death in the lake of fire.

Christians are saved from the second death by the grace of God through faith in God's Son. This truth of the second death is not proclaimed by any non-Christian prophet or messenger. Surely, if they had heard from the one true God, they would not have overlooked this truth in their messages. The truth of salvation from the second death is a covenant promise of God to all who believe.

God Does Love All People - But We Must Will Ourselves to do His Will or We Miss the Mark He Set in Place

God gave His Son out of love - John 3:16 (KJV) - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

"God so loved the world " - This phrase includes all inhabitants of the world. God's forgiveness is made available for each of earth's inhabitants and is based in love. Love is the power to forgive. Forgiveness apart from love is mere words. This is the reason Jesus told the disciples to love their enemies, so they would be empowered to forgive and be set free from hatred, resentment, bitterness, etc.

"Whosoever believeth in him should not perish" - Man's participation in reconciliation is by faith in Jesus, as God's Sacrificial Lamb for the forgiveness of sin. Then eternal life is assured!!

"He gave his only begotten Son" - It was the will of God that Jesus die in order that many may live eternally. Apart from the death and blood of Jesus, all of mankind would die and go to hell. Even while man was hostile or separated from God, God open the door to forgiveness and reconciliation.

The way into the kingdom of heaven is faith in God's Son, Jesus - Matthew 16:24-25 (KJV) - Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (25) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. The Way of reconciliation is the way of self denial by giving his life to God and becoming His adopted son. Even as Jesus denied self will to do the will of the Father and endure the cross.

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Jesus is the Gate to the Father - A Study of the Parable of the Shepard

1) Matthew 7:13-15 (NIV) - "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. (14) But, small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it. (15) "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."

"Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it" - There are many theologies and doctrines that widen the way to destruction and death by compromising the truth of the gospel - "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me".

"Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life" - The gate is narrow because not many are willing to deny self and give themselves wholeheartedly to Christ.

"Come to you in sheep's clothing" - False prophets in the church that teach false doctrines and precepts. They look life Christians and sound like Christians, but teach a gospel of self justification through deeds, in one form or another. Denial of self is a big obstacle in the church's growth and effectiveness in the ministry of grace and love to those who sit in darkness (no enlightenment to God's truth).

"Inwardly they are ferocious wolves" - But in their hearts they are ferocious wolves who preach and teach messages that cause Christians to stumble in their growth of faith and devotion to the Lord.

Recognizing false prophets in the church - Matthew 7:20-23 (NIV) - Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (21) "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' (23) Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Doctrines and precepts that edify self and good works will lead many into a form of legalism that prevent them from having a viable relationship with Christ, because they rely on their good works as evidence of their righteousness before God. This is self righteousness, because they believe they gain righteousness through good works or deeds.

Righteousness is a free gift of God by faith in Jesus, His death for the forgiveness of sin and His resurrection for a new of life of love and grace to others. Good deeds is something Christians do because they love God and love those who God loves. Especially those who are lost, and those who are in need. Good deeds are gifts of love, not investments expecting something in return.

2) John 10:1 (NIV) - "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. This scripture speaks of those who claim to be in God's flock, but entered into the flock's pen by means other than faith in Jesus as the Sacrificial Lamb of God for the forgiveness of sin or by failing to follow the example of Christ. The thieves and robbers are false prophets, preachers and teachers.

Jesus states that He is the gate for salvation - John 10:9-10 (NIV) - I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.

3) John 10:2-5 (NIV) - The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. (3) The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (4) When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (5) But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."

"The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep" - This scripture speaks of those God calls to be shepherds of His flock. Pastors, evangelists, teachers, caretakers, missionaries, administrators, donors, etc., all who are in the body of Christ are called by God to do the work of Christ Jesus in the earth. In this light all Christians are shepherds. However, some are called and specifically anointed to work in specific offices with specific gifts of the Spirit - 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 (NIV) - Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (28) And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

Inherited by the Christian, at the time of his entering through the gate, is the responsibility to be involved in the ministry of grace and love to others in need. All Christians indwelt by the Holy Spirit will have this desire to serve others because caring about others is the essence of God's love. So, shepherds are those who care about other members of the flock, as they follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

4) John 10:14-16 (NIV) - "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - (15) just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me....as the Father knows me and I know the Father" - The sheep know the Good Shepherd relationally, as Father God knows His Son and the Son knows His Father. Through this spiritual unity between the Christian, the Son and the Father, spiritual discernment through love is the voice of the Father and the Son.

"I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also" - This statement is one that speaks of another flock in a different pen. These sheep are Jews who are under the Abrahamic Covenant and still under the Mosaic Law, but have yet to accept Jesus as God's Messiah to Israel.

The proper interpretation of this parable is very important to understanding this parable and the gospel agenda of Christ.

Some false teaching and preaching interpret this scripture to mean that there are others outside Christianity that will enter the kingdom of God, because it's a different pen and a different flock. This is an improper precept of New Testament theology.

For the proper interpretation the following scripture should be used as a pre-supposition through which all New Testament scriptures should be viewed - Ephesians 3:2-6 (NIV) - Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, (3) that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. (4) In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, (5) which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. (6) This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

"Mystery of Christ" - The end result of Christ Jesus' death and resurrection was a mystery because God kept it a secret (I Corinthians 2:7-8) and did not reveal it to His prophets or apostles until after Jesus' ascension into heaven. The mystery was revealed by revelation from the Holy Spirit.

"This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body" - There are two groups of people that become heirs together to the Abrahamic promise that all peoples on earth would be blessed through Abraham - The Jews and the Gentiles (those outside the nation of Israel). This covenant promise is available only through Christ Jesus, because only by the blood of Christ are sins remitted and reconciliation with God manifested. So, when Jesus said, "I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also", He was speaking of the Jews who had rejected the gospel message of Christ and His apostles at the time of His statement. But, He goes on to say, "They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." There will come a time "after the full number of Gentiles have come in" that all of Israel will be saved and there will be one flock (Jew and Gentiles united together) and one shepherd.

Romans 11:25-27 (NIV) - I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (26) And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

"The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
(27) And this is my covenant with them
when I take away their sins
."

For the Jews, the Abrahamic Covenant cannot be complete until they accept Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord and are saved. This event will take place during the first half of the end time seven year tribulation period of time under the preaching and teaching of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists.

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Review:

1. Jesus is the narrow gate that leads to eternal life in the kingdom of God.

His blood remits sins and reconciles men to God.

His death and resurrection parts the Way across the Great Divide and the land of the covenant promise is granted to each of HIs followers.

The Gentiles (people outside Israel) are grafted into the Abrahamic Covenant promise that is available through faith in Christ Jesus, as the Son of God and as God's Sacrificial Lamb for forgiveness of sin. This includes Islamists, Buddhists, Hindi, etc. God does not exclude anyone. But, He does exclude any theological way to Him other than through His Son.

2. Wide is the gate that leads to death and destruction and many more enter through this gate than through the narrow gate. No one should think theological belief in any religion that proclaims one God for all religions will gain him entry through the narrow gate. A one God for all religions percept is a part of wide gate theology.

3. Christianity is not about self actualization, but rather it is about transformation into the likeness of His Son through God's grace and by faith.

The most important decision that any man can make during his life time on earth is to make the decision to believe Jesus is Savior and Lord and no one is reconciled to God apart from faith in His blood covering for the forgiveness of his sins. Eternal life in the kingdom of God is solely based on our acceptance of this truth. I encourage all readers of this lesson to ask God for wisdom and seek the truth of His Word through diligent study and prayer. He will grant you what you ask! Amen!