Dr. Sarah Han is the recently appointed Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry at the Seminary and she will be leading us in considering the next “I am” declaration of Jesus in the Gospel of John: “I am the door…”
Sarah has provided leadership in the Canadian immigrant church context for over a decade as an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church. She and her husband have a passion for church-planting initiatives around the GTA that capture the missional spirit of Acts 2 and are currently planting a church out of their home with their neighbours. Sarah considers herself to be "third culture" Canadian-Korean-Chinese and her formative theology was shaped on the mission field abroad. She and her husband live just outside of Milton with their three young kids and fifteen chickens and they consider themselves to be missionaries in the GTA.
Sarah’s message is entitled “The Door to Abundant Life”.
Good morning, everybody. It is so good to be here with you this morning, and I'm especially just thrilled to be back in this Chapel. I was part of a church plant a few years back, and we used to worship here every Sunday, and isn't it's such a beautiful place to worship the Lord. And so I'm so glad to be here to share the Word of God with you this morning, and I especially want to extend a warm welcome to those of you who are here for the Encounter Day. I know that you are discerning and considering a path into going into Seminary here at Tyndale College. So we just want to especially welcome you, and we pray that God would reveal himself in ways that he is calling you. And so today we are continuing on in the I Am series, and this is the third week in our installments, and we'll be looking at Jesus's I Am statement that is found in John chapter 10. And so let's turn together to John chapter 10.
If you have your Bibles, or maybe a Bible app on your phone, if you'll turn to, with me, we're going to be reading from John chapter 10, verses one to 1ten. Let's read the Word of the Lord together. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheep fold by the door, but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens, the sheep hear His voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know His voice, a stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him. For they do not know the voice of strangers. This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers. but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I want to read that last verse again. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Amen for this is the word of the Lord.
I'm gonna invite us up our heads in a quick prayer before we go into this word, and let's just ask the Holy Spirit to come and just illuminate these words into our heart for us this morning. Let's pray together. Jesus, we thank You that You are the door to abundant life. And God I know that you have called each brother and sister that is here by name. And even though I may not know their story, or they, their journey, God you know them so well. Lord, would You speak through Your Holy Spirit in this text this morning? Would you fill our hearts with a knowledge of your love? And would you open our eyes so that we may leave our blindness behind, and be able to see you, our perfect Shepherd and our door to abundant life. So God join us here this morning. We thank you for your presence here. And we pay these things in Jesus's name, Amen. Amen.
Doors, they are all around us, and we use them every single day. Even this morning, I woke up to an alarm. I'm not a morning person. I got out of my bedroom door I went into my bedroom door. And then I had to go into many different doors in our home to wake up all of my children, and went in and out of their bedroom doors and in and out of the bathroom doors to get them ready for school on time. And then I left our house door, and I left maybe about three times, because usually I forget something, so I have to go back and so I went in and out of our house door about three times in the morning trying to get out of the house. I went and I opened the door to our chicken coop, we have about 10 chickens at home. And the door is there to keep them protected, to keep them away from the cold, away from predators. So I opened that door and I watched all their cute little bums coming out of the door one by one I counted to make sure they're all there. And then I opened the door to my car.
I drove here to Tyndale, I opened the door to the campus, and then I opened the door to the office. And then I opened the door to the washroom, and then I opened the door to the chapel, to enter into this beautiful place. Just this morning, I went through almost 25 sets of doors. And each and every one of you probably did about the same, as you made your way here to Tyndale. Doors are all around us. And my hope is, that as we leave this place this morning, every time we go in and out of a door, that we would remember the Gospel message that God has for us this morning, that Jesus is our door to a life full of abundance. Jesus is our door to a life full of abundance. I hope that every time, as you walk out this door, and as you walk out the campus door as you walk in the door of your cars, that you will remember this gospel message. And in our passage today, in the book of John, Jesus doesn't just say this teaching to us with his words, rather, when we look just before John 10, in John chapter nine, we see that Jesus illuminates his teachings, that he gives with his words, by showing through his actions, what he really means when he is saying that He is the door to abundant life.
At the end of John eight, if we backtrack just a little bit in the chapter, we see Jesus in the temple, and he has just proclaimed something very provocative in front of the Jews. He said, "Before Abraham was, I am." And effectively what that statement meant, was Jesus was saying, I am above the law of Abraham, because I have come to fulfill it. I am the fulfillment of that law. And you can just imagine the Pharisees were not happy with the statement. And so in John chapter eight, we see Jesus about to get stoned by the teachers of the law, who feel that he has just made a proclamation of blasphemy. Thankfully, Jesus hides himself away. Now, I would love to see where Jesus hid. Imagine Jesus hiding somewhere, he hid himself away, and he was able to get out of the temple. And on his way out of the temple, hiding and escaping from being stoned. He sees a man that was born blind, sitting in front of the temple, begging for money. And Jesus must have paused seeing this man, even in his hurry of trying to escape a stoning., and people coming after his life, Jesus pauses, and he sees the blind men. And we know that he pauses because the disciples look at him, pausing looking at the blind men. And they asked him a question, they say, Rabbi, who has sinned, that this man is blind? Was it his sin? Or was it the sin of his parents?
Now this may seem like a funny question, you know, why is blindness associated with sin. And yet, in the time of Jesus's days, the ancient nations regarded blindness as the lowest form of degradation that can be afflicted on a man or a woman. And that is why when we look in the Bible, after warfare, a lot of times people would make statements by gouging out the eyes of their enemy. That was a statement of national retaliation. And so the blind, together with cripples, and with lepers, were outcasts of society. And many times, they had to resort to be beggars, like this blind men, seen in John chapter eight. And yet Jesus answers this question, why is this mind, man blind, who has sinned him or his parents? Jesus answers this question in this way that is contrary to the societal norms at that time. He says, it was not this man, or his parents that sinned, but he is here in this place, to be in engagement with me, so that the glory of God may be displayed through Him. Jesus does not condemn the man, like everybody else in his life probably had. But instead, without any prompting requests from the men, Jesus gifts the man with healing. It says that Jesus bends over, he spits into the mud. And then he makes a form of mud with his saliva. And then he anoints the man's eyes with it, and he says, go, go and wash in the pool of Siloam, and then come back. And the miracle of the text, and John chapter 8, is that the man listens to Jesus, he goes, he washes the mud out of his eyes, and he comes back, seeing, his eyes were opened by Jesus. And the controversy that takes place after this man's eyes have been opened, is that all of those around him, who have seen him begging everyday in the temple, they just cannot believe that this has happened. And so they go to him and say, "How could it be that now you can see? Who has done this?" And they drag this man to the temple, in front of the Pharisees, and they say, something has happened to this man, and now he can see. And so the teachers of the law, who just moments before we're about to stone Jesus, for saying that he was the fulfillment of the law of God, now question this man whose eyes Jesus has now opened, and they say, "How has this come about? How is it that you can now see it?" The even brag his, drag his parents down to say "Is this indeed your son, who was born blind?" And the man stands before the teachers of the law, before all the people in the temple, these people who have rejected Him, and cast him out of society, as someone not worthy of love. And he says, the man Jesus, put mud on my eyes told me to go wash. And now I can see.
Now you would think if you and I were there, that we would just be so amazed that we would all be looking for Jesus, "Jesus, tell me how you heal, show me how this is done." And yet, this is not the response of the Pharisees. The Pharisees and the Jewish people, instead of rejoicing with this man, they are just livid. They are livid, because the day that Jesus has done this healing, is the Sabbath day. And in the law of the Jewish people, people were not allowed to heal, and were not allowed to do any kind of work on the Sabbath day. And so for them, it was more important that they kept the laws, than it was that this man was saved from his blindness. And so the Pharisees declared, This man is not from God, because he did not keep the Sabbath. And yet, there were a few more reasonable people, reasonable people around them that were asking, but how is it that he has healed this man from blindness if he is not from God? And so they asked the blind man himself, "You, tell me what happened, exactly? Tell us again, how it is that you can now see." And you can imagine this blind man, who was a beggar, who was probably uneducated, who probably had never been able to set foot in the temple before. Now he's standing before the teachers of the law. And he says, "Why are you making me repeat my story? Are you a little bit dim in mind? Don't you understand what I said? I told you that Jesus has healed me of my blindness. And we know that people can't do this kind of work unless they are from God. So this man, he must be from God. Why do you keep asking do you want to believe in him too?" And the Pharisees are just angry, they are so angry. And rather than seeing that this blind man has been given, not only his physical vision, but he has been given spiritual wisdom to even make statements like this, rather than responding to that in awe, the Pharisees and the teacher, the law are angered. And they say, "How dare you, a sinner, try to teach us how we should live." And it says that the Pharisees cast the blind man out of the temple. Effectively, they cast him out, and they make him an outcast, once again.
Now, these unfolding events in John chapter eight, they are a depiction of how Jesus, not only speaks the truth into people's life, but he acts the truth into people's life. And Jesus comes, not just wanting to share about religiosity, or how people need to live and giving them teachings. But Jesus is showing how he has come to embody the redemption of Jesus Christ, and He wants to be that door to abundant life. And we see a contrast, and we see a contrast between how the Pharisees deal with this blind man, and with how Jesus deals with this blind man. Whereas everyone else condemns this blind man as a sinner, Jesus approaches him, gifts him with the gift of healing, and of being able to see, and then leads him to salvation. And so once this man has been cast out, it says that Jesus again, returns to the scene where people are wanting to stone him, and he goes to find this blind man. And when he finds him, he says to him, "Do you believe in the Son of Man", and the man answers, "Who is this man, sir, that I can believe in Him?" And Jesus says to him, "Now that your eyes are open, you have seen him, it is He who is speaking to you." And we see that this blind man, not only have his physical eyes been open, but the eyes of his spirit are open and he says, "Lord, I believe", and he worships Jesus in that place. Through the healing of the blind man, in John chapter nine, Jesus is trying to show us that He is the one that opens the eyes of the blind. He Is that door through which we can walk, to enter into abundant eternal life in God. Amen. Amen.
And so when Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees, in the texts that we see here in John chapter 10, he is now illustrating with words, what he has demonstrated in his actions by enabling the blind man to see. And he tells them this, he says, "Truly, truly," he's really trying to get it into their minds and their hearts. "Truly, truly I say to you, he who does not enter the sheep fold by the door, but climbs in another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters the door is the shepherd of the sheep." And Jesus is saying that the gatekeeper opens the door to that Shepherd, the sheep hear His voice, and he calls the sheep out by name, and he leads them, and he leads them and the sheep follow him for they know His voice. And Jesus says that a stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from the stranger for they do not know the voice of strangers.
Now, while this may just seem like a very nice image to us, of sheeps and shepherds, in that day and age, a shepherd and a sheepfold was a very common sight in Palestine. So this analogy that Jesus is presenting, would have had a much fuller meaning to his first century listeners. Now, one kind of sheepfold, that would have been familiar to those that were listening to Jesus, were ones that were found in cities and villages. And these would be large sheepfolds that were in the middle of a town, and various shepherds would come and bring their sheep, and leave their sheep there. It's kind of like a sheep motel, right. They would come and bring their sheep there. And then a gatekeeper would watch their sheep all night, so the shepherd can go and rest. And then in the morning, the shepherd would come, and he would call the sheep out by name. He would enter, isn't this a beautiful picture, he would enter into the sheep motel, and he would call them by name, he would say, you know, Fluffy, Softy, come here, I don't know what, what Jewish people named their sheep at that time. Maybe it was more like Sarah, Michael, Arnold, you know. He called them by name and the sheep, they would, like hear the voice of their shepherd., and then they would come. So if there were like 100 sheep, and 20 of them belong to one shepherd, those 20 would hear the voice of their shepherd. And they would get their furry bums out of that sheepfold and follow their shepherd, because they knew his voice.
This kind of reminded me of when we hatched chicks at home. And my children lived with these chicks every day, they touched them, they named them, they knew all their different personalities. Chickens really do have personalities. And they knew them so well, that by the time they were chickens, and we put them outside into the coop, my kids were able to tell all 10 chickens apart, just by a various speckle or the way that they cockled. And he knew them all by name. And yet, for me, when I would go out there, I wouldn't know who Maple was, or who Syrup was, or who Brownie was. I had no idea. They were just all chickens to me. And yet, my children knew them each by name, and knew every feature of every chicken. And just in the same way, Jesus is saying that the shepherd knows us all so well. He calls us by name. And he brings us out from that restricting fold. And he takes us out to the pasture to graze. Jesus knows us intimately. And even though, sitting here you may have all just met each other, He sees us in every day of our lives. And he is the only one, that just like he brought the blind man out of blindness, into the pastures, into abundant life, Jesus is reminding us today that he is our shepherd, and he can bring us out of our own blindness and into abundant life with Him.
Brother and Sisters, Jesus sees you, he hears you, and whatever struggles that you are dealing with. And he desires to speak against the voices of the thieves and the robbers in your world that are trying to rob you of your abundant life in Jesus. You know, there are voices in this world that speak condemnation to us. There are voices, like the voices of the Pharisees, that tell us that our life is not worthy of being saved. There are voices that tell us that, just like the Pharisee said, you know this blind man, he's not worthy of breaking the law of the Sabbath. There are voices that may tell us religiosity is more important than you receiving the grace of Jesus. And these voices of the thieves and the robbers, they come and they try to tell us you're not good enough. You know, as a Christian leader, a student in a Christian University, you need to be better. Try harder. Pursue more gifts. These voices make us feel that we need to keep up images before our God. And we get sucked into a religiosity like the Pharisees. And yet the scripture verse in John 10 today is telling us that we need to listen to the soothing, loving voice of our shepherd, that is Jesus, that is calling us each by name. He knows us, and He longs to take us to pastures where we can receive abundance in his gracious presence. Amen.Amen.
And yet, after hearing this imagery, and this story, the Pharisees they still, they don't get it, they don't understand, they can't read between the lines. And so Jesus gives another imagery of a shepherd. And he says, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. And so the second kind of sheep pen, that this image, that Jesus is trying to bring up, in these pass, in these verses in verse seven to 10, is this, I actually found a picture online, of a picture, of what a sheepfold in the country might have looked like. So before it was a sheepfold in the city, but this sheepfold in the country, really was nothing more than, you know, a rough circle of stones and rocks. And the shepherd would put this together, and then he would herd his sheep inside at night to keep them sheltered from the wild animals, and from you know, all the weather that may come. And after the sheep are inside, you can see that there's no door, because it's just a stone wall. And so the shepherd would literally lie down across the door, becoming a door to make sure that no predators could get in, and that no sheep could get out and lost. And so Jesus is drawing this picture of a sheepfold in the country. And he is saying, I am that door. I am lying there in the opening. And I am there to protect my sheep from all the thieves and robbers, and I am there to guard them from the strangers that may come to steal, kill and destroy.
Jesus is saying that he is the door to salvation. He is the door to abundant life, and he will be the one to protect each and every one of us from those thieves and robbers that try to come and steal that abundance that we may have in Jesus Christ. In verse 10, Jesus says, "The thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." A life exceeding in goodness can be found in Jesus when we come to Jesus and asked for his grace to cover our lives. And yet, there are so many voices of the Pharisees around us, voices in this world that try to speak louder than the voice of our Saviour. There are voices that tell us we are nothing more than our past failures and our limitations. There are voices that tell us that there is nothing that can save us from our sordid past, and that our redemption and Jesus is not enough. There are voices that tell us, even as Christians, or as Christian leaders, that we need to amass fame, or wealth, and success, and that that is where our value is wrapped up in. Brothers and sisters, there are so many voices today in this world, and especially with the internet, and the smartphones that we have. It is almost impossible to escape these voices that tried to compete with the voice of our Saviour, and that try to still steal, kill and destroy us by drawing us away from the Lord. Jesus is telling us, that just like He acted so powerfully in healing the blind man, He also is coming to us is calling us by name. He is blocking the door that all the other voices may fade away. And He is saying that when we come into him, that we can experience life and have it abundantly.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus is inviting him, inviting you to Himself. He is inviting you to enter into Him who is the door to up abundant life. And when we enter into that abundant life, Jesus is saying, you know, don't just hang out there as a bunch of sheep comfortable in the abundance of who I am. But Jesus says, once you have come in, once you have experienced the abundance that comes with My grace, and the promises of My Word, then go out of the door, that is Jesus. And now go and be that door of abundance to all those that are around you. Brothers and sisters, when we go out into this world, if we are living in the abundance of Jesus Christ, we also can be a door to abundant life in Jesus, for all those that we encounter, in our day to day. We can transform the lives of those around us, as we invite them to come into our lives and experience, the goodness, the graciousness, and the healing of Jesus Christ, who is the door to abundance. Thieves and robbers, they are trying to kill and destroy, and take away the lives of all those that are around us. And especially in this pandemic world, where there is so much inciting fear, where there is so much need and so much loss. God is calling us to now go out and be a door of abundance, for others to walk in and meet with Jesus Christ.
Just recently, I was in the emergency room with my son, who is just very accident prone, he had dislocated his elbow. And we were there, and there was a lady in front of us who just couldn't stop staring at my son, and she struck up a conversation with us. And I found out that this lady, during COVID, had found out that she had three, stage three lung cancer, and that chemotherapy, radiation therapy, nothing was working. And now she was at the end of her life, facing the reality that she only had a few months left to live. And this lady, she was pouring her heart to me, she was in tears. And then she was profusely apologizing, saying, I'm sorry that, you know, I'm such a mess. But I'm just dealing with all of this right now, I can't even meet my family because of COVID. And so I'm having to go through all of this on my own. And I remember looking at this lady, into her eyes and realizing, oh, my poor son's elbow dislocated, because God wanted me here in this place, to speak with this lady. And I looked around the room, and there was about 60 people in the ER room, and it was dead quiet because it was like midnight, you know, you could hear a needle dropping on the ground. And yet I felt compelled, that I was here, and I needed to be the door to this lady, that she can enter in and encounter our God who would give her life abundant. And so I told her, I said, I don't know what you believe. But I believe in a God that tells us, when we call upon his name, that when we die to our fleshly bodies, this life here on Earth, our life doesn't end. But there is a greater life awaiting us afterwards. And then this lady, suddenly she burst out into bigger tears. And she said, I know Jesus. I was actually raised in the church. I was baptized as a child, I was confirmed. But I left the church maybe four decades ago, and I haven't heard the name of Jesus again, until today. As she said, I want to believe. I want Jesus to save me. And so we prayed together there in the ER room. My son came and laid his little hand on her. We prayed together. And in the most unexpected place, God opened a door to his abundant life. And he allowed me to be part of his miraculous work in bringing this lady into his sheepfold.
Brothers and sisters, when we walk out of our doors every day, and when we walk into doors, I hope that we can remember those beautiful words in Psalm 121, where it says that we have a Lord that neither slumbers nor sleeps, and he watches over our going in and are coming out from this day forth till forevermore. And so every time we walk in a door, let that be a reminder to us, that we need to walk into Jesus, who is our source of abundant life. Spend time with him. Read the Word, be in worship, because Jesus desires to quiet the voices of the thieves and robbers in your life, and lead you to abundant life in him. And then as we walk out of doors, let it be a reminder to us, that we have a mission to go out and then to be the door of abundance to all those that we encounter. That as we go out, we can bring people into our sheepfold. We can love them with abounding grace, with unreasonable measure, and we can invite them into the abundance that is Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, let us live today as in are going in and are coming out. Let us enter into Jesus's door that is a life of abundance. And then let us be the door to Jesus, for everyone that is around us. Amen. Amen.
Let's pray together. I'm just gonna invite us as we close off, just to say a prayer of commitment before the Lord. And let's say two things, let's say Jesus, I want all these other voices to be quieted down, that tell me I am unworthy, or that tell me that I am not good enough. Jesus, I want to receive the abundant life that comes from you. And then secondly, let's say Jesus, would you make me your door to abundance for all those that are around me, I want that to be foundation of my identity in you. Why don't we pray before the LORD and then I'll close this a prayer.
So Jesus, we thank you, that you do not teach with mere words. But God, you came and you showed us with your life and your actions, how you are the door to abundant life for each and every one of us. Lord, we want to see you, we want to have our eyes opened, just like you opened the eyes of the blind man. And Lord, we want to enter into you as you are the source of our abundant life. And then God we want to be called by you to go out, and to be that abundance to all those around us. And so God we thank you that you are a God that neither slumbers nor sleeps, and that you will watch us as we go in and out of many doors, even just in this one day. Would you meet with us? And would you show and reveal to us that you are the source of life, that we can live abundantly in you? We thank you. Pray these things in Jesus's name, Amen.
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