Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Jesus is the door: what do these famous testimonies reveal about their understanding of Christ?

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

This is one of the famous I AM statements by Jesus. Here they all are.
1. And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
2. Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
3. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
4. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
5. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
7. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1).
Any study on these statements would be rich and edifying. However let's just look at the door. The door is narrow. There is only one door. It is an exclusive door. No other door will allow entry to heaven. If anyone tries to come another way, he is a thief and a robber. (John 10:1)

Jesus leads his Jews out of the fold into salvation. He has another fold (John 10:16) where He leads His Gentiles out into salvation and green pastures. No one can go to green pastures another way except through Jesus. His way is exclusive because He is the ONLY way. His way requires repentance, a realization of our utter inability to perform any act He would consider righteous and a realization of His total ability to crush us like a bug if He so desired- and that would be just. We understand His holiness but also His mercy in saving us. One would think that a conversion testimony would include acknowledgement of at least some of those positional truths.

Here are a few conversion testimonies I found online. Compare them. And in the back of your mind, keep thinking about the Door. At the bottom I'll have the moral of the story.

---------------------------

Conversion story #1
At the end of the sermon, the preacher had "Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but look and live!" I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said—I did not take much notice of it—I was so possessed with that one thought . . . . I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, "Look!" what a charming word it seemed to me. Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away.
There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, "Trust Christ, and you shall be saved." ... I listened to the Word of God and that precious text led me to the cross of Christ. I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribable. I thought I could have sprung from the seat in which I sat, and have called out with the wildest of those Methodist brethren . . . "I am forgiven! I am forgiven! A monument of grace! A sinner saved by blood!" My spirit saw its chains broken to pieces, I felt that I was an emancipated soul, an heir of heaven, a forgiven one, accepted in Jesus Christ, plucked out of the miry clay and out of the horrible pit, with my feet set upon a rock and my goings established ... Simply by looking to Jesus I had been delivered from despair...
That young man certainly was aware of his position in Christ prior to salvation. He had been in despair, he heard the Gospel and he was saved by blood.The young man was Charles Spurgeon. His subsequent life certainly reflects the foundational understanding he had of the Gospel.

---------------------------------

Conversion story #2
"I didn't have a fireworks moment for my salvation, I had a falling in love with Jesus in Sunday school when I was a very young child." But she did have an altar call moment. In high school, she had planned to become a lawyer, but one summer while leading a group of sixth-grade girls at camp, she received what she considers a call from God. "I had no words, nothing but a sense," she says. "God took a very troubled young woman and made sure that she understood." She walked down the aisle of her church, committing herself to ministry."
So she had a mystical sense to walk down an aisle and commit to the idol of ministry. Not the standard Gospel call of realizing our depravity in brokenness and turning to a resurrected, blood shedding Jesus as the exclusive hope for reconciliation with God... The woman is Beth Moore. Her subsequent life certainly reflects the lack of understanding she should have had of her position in Christ both before and after salvation.

------------------------------

Conversion story #3
in 1914 at the encouragement of their minister the young man was now beginning to take a hard look at the reality of his spiritual condition. "For many years I thought I was a Christian when in fact I was not. It was only later that I came to see that I had never been a Christian and became one." As he struggled with his salvation a grace truth came into focus. He said he had not really heard sound preaching of the gospel in his early life. "What I needed was preaching that would convict me of sin and … bring me to repentance and tell me something about regeneration. But I never heard that. The preaching we had was always based on the assumption that we were all Christians …" As the young man read for himself he slowly but surely saw the logic and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Like the waves of the incoming tide, the reality of God's grace swept over his heart until trusting Christ was all he could do. As surely as that reality overwhelmed him personally it overwhelmed him professionally.
The young man was Martyn Lloyd Jones, (source) a preacher called "logic on fire" and certainly his long and fruitful life subsequent to his conversion testifies to the grace of Christ in bringing him to regeneration from brokenness in sin.

------------------------------

Conversion story #4

A certain young man began attending a tent revival.
"And then it happened, sometime around my sixteenth birthday. On that night, [the preacher] finished preaching and gave the Invitation to accept Christ... On the last verse of that second song, I responded. I walked down to the platform, feeling as if I had lead weights attached to my feet, and stood in the space before the platform... My heart sank when I looked over at the lady standing next to me with tears running down her cheeks. I was not crying. I did not feel any special emotion of any kind just then. Maybe, I thought, I was not supposed to be there. Maybe my good intentions to be a real Christian wouldn't last. Wondering if I was just making a fool of myself, I almost turned around and went back to my seat..." As [the young man] stood at the platform, a friend of the family's, testified to the young man and guided him to pray.
"He prayed for me and guided me to pray. I had heard the message, and I had felt the inner compulsion to go forward. Now came the moment to commit myself to Christ... I checked 'Recommitment' on the card I filled out. No bells went off inside me. No signs flashed across the tabernacle ceiling. No physical palpitations made me tremble. I wondered again if I was a hypocrite, not to be weeping or something. I simply felt at peace."
The young man was Billy Graham, attending Mordecai Ham's tent revival. The subsequent life of Graham testifies to his lack of a foundational understanding. Especially when in his mature decades, Graham said things like a person could go to heaven without ever hearing the gospel, knowing Jesus Christ, or having lived a sincere life just knowing he needed something. "They're going to come another way" Graham said. No. They're not.

-----------------------

You see the weakness of Moore's and Graham's theology in describing their conversion. Their descriptions posted were not immediately after conversion, either, they were statements made decades later when one presumes some sanctified maturity has set in.

You see the strength of Spurgeon's and Jones' conversion stories. They talk os sin, grce, redemption, resurrection, regeneration.

Jesus is the Door. It is a narrow door. It is the only door. It isn't easy to become a Christian. It involves a deep, soulful agony. Here's Don Green on how to recognize true repentance,
Look at verse 4, where Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” This word for mourning describes deep, inner agony…agony. Jesus is describing a spiritual mourning here, not an earthly mourning. It’s easy enough to see that. There are a lot of people that suffer earthly loss and mourn that, that don’t receive comfort from Christ. Unbelievers who are mourning their losses don’t receive comfort from Christ. What Jesus is talking about here is spiritual mourning over sin. He had just talked about poverty of spirit. It’s in the context of repentance.
...the tax collector in Luke 18, verse 13…Luke 18, verse 13, you don’t need to turn there. The tax collector standing some distance away was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven but was beating his breasts saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner.” He was beating his breast, his agony, his mourning over sin was so great that he had to release it physically. This was no superficial response. This was no quick nod of the head to the question, “Do you think you’re a sinner?” And then move on to whatever the next topic of discussion was. No, the kind of mourning, the kind of sorrow that repentance expresses is a sorrow that stops you in your tracks, a sorrow that you can’t get over.
Salvation is no easy-breezy nod to the Holy I AM whilst wiping one's feet on the doormat saying, "Gee, thanks for the ministry." It isn't ambling down an aisle, and checking off a 'recommitment'  box after a quick prayer. Salvation is agony and going through the door means you leave all else behind, enter alone, and worship. Jesus isn't relieved you have recommitted. He isn't wringing His hands in hopes that you will fall in love with Him. He doesn't have an 'easy button' you push. He has a narrow way of entry with strict requirements. Jesus is THE DOOR. He is not a doorMAT.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Further Reading

How easy is salvation?


9 comments :

  1. It has long been doctrine that the preaching of the gospel is the means to lead a person to repentance. This is true, but it is also true that repentance leads a man to believe the gospel. See Mark 1:15 . Can God only save a person through preaching? If we look closely at the parable of the sower, we see the 'good soil' is actually a soil prepared by the Father ( Matthew 13:8,23 ). Remember 'I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser (John 15:1 ). Also 'No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him' (John 6:44 ). A good way to recognize true repentance is if one listens to Him. This theme is repeated throughout the book of John. There are many places in His word that may convict a person of sin and drive a person to repentance. A person may also turn to God and beg Him for mercy without preaching or and understanding of His word. God has the power to do these things! We do not! Without the cross none of this would be possible and everything else would have had to die except God Himself. This is why God could only do this with Himself, no other sacrifice would save anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! Itis all of God. And well said.

      I'm just sad that Moore and Graham's testimony in latter years, when they'd been matured supposedly,failed to acknowledge anything close to what you have rightly said.

      Delete
  2. Interesting that adult Beth's "call" was to ministry, not to Jesus Christ. No mention of her sin or her repentance or her trust in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. And that even though she considered herself saved from her childhood, she describes herself at that time as "troubled."

    ReplyDelete
  3. Concerning a statement made by the first commenter identified as Anonymous

    You write, “A person may also turn to God and beg Him for mercy without preaching or and understanding of His word.”

    What is your authority in making such a statement?

    I seriously question your statement. In fact, I will go as far as saying that this view violates sound Biblical doctrine. 



    1Brothers,a my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.b
    The Message of Salvation to All
    5For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?c And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    Romans 10: 1-17 ESV

    As preachers, teachers, bloggers, genuine Christians, evangelist (or you could say soul winners too) KNOW and GET OUT Biblical Truth - which includes the solemn warnings of the doctrine of hell, sin, judgment, eternal death, repentance, and grace alone, faith alone, Jesus Christ alone, for the glory of God alone, THEN God will save those whom HE will.

    To say that “  A person may also turn to God and beg Him for mercy without preaching or and understanding of His word.” is in harmony with the Billy Graham deceptions, and seriously undermines the authority of scripture. People must hear the Biblical TRUTH!

    YES, it is the Holy Spirit that gives one repentance and belief in the Jesus of the Bible, but through HIS WORD.


    Rick
    Metro Atlanta



    PS, One can not build a case for not hearing the Biblical gospel by using the parable of
    ..the tax collector in Luke 18, verse 13.

    Further reading: Question: "What is the meaning of the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector?"

    Excerpt:
    Answer: The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in the Temple (Luke 18:9-14) is rich with spiritual truth. In fact, it contains the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As verse 9 tells us, Jesus spoke this parable to those who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others” (NKJV). Jesus spoke often of the issue of righteousness, pleading with His hearers to understand their utter inability to be righteous enough to attain the kingdom of heaven. This knowledge was essential if they were to understand His mission on earth, which was to save sinners—those who knew they could not save themselves. Continue reading at;
    http://www.gotquestions.org/parable-Pharisee-tax-collector.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I apologize, one would need to have to have a rudimentary understanding of the Word which gives one at least a crude understanding of who God is in order to realize that they need to repent. I am not sure if God's invisible attributes talked of in Romans 1 would be enough understanding of God to get one to turn to Him or not. What would be your take on this? Therefore I was not being precise enough and assuming that most have heard the bare bones gospel or know that they need to turn to God for forgiveness. Without the Gospel being put forth from the start of the church, we would not know who to turn to. I was thinking of sitting more under active preaching at the time of one's repentance when this was written. I can only speak of my own conversion. I knew of Christ and the cross and the bare bones gospel from my childhood but it had no effect on me whatsoever for over 40 years. During a family crisis, I turned to God and begged Him for forgiveness for several days before He made it known to me that I was right with Him. I was not looking for the gift of eternal life or trying to avoid hell, I just wanted Him to forgive me. He gave that gift to me, I did not ask for it nor was I looking for it. It was a gift. It is funny how you mention Billy Graham. When I made my testimony known to a group who follows his form of evangelism, they told me I could not get to heaven that way. I needed to repeat their prayer. Did I believe His word after I was converted, absolutely. The Lord's words are His Fathers words and His words are eternal life. In order to be His disciple, we must continue in His word. His words are the foundation of anything we do. They supersede any work He has us doing. If we are not listening to Him, our works are in vain. Did His words make a difference to me before? Probably not as I don't even know if I opened a Bible more than once or twice before that. I guess the question would be then how much does one need to believe and or have knowledge of in order to repent or be turned. Probably not much, but probably some. It is always good to remember what went forth from Christ's early church(Acts 1:8) and continues to do so through the word they wrote which is now proclaimed. Thank you for reminding me of this. I would not call "begging God for mercy" a work or equate it with what goes on at most modern crusades and alter calls however where man often claims sovereignty over the Spirit. I will try and be more precise and see the whole picture in my future diatribes. thanks again, don

      Delete
    2. Evidence that both people involved are saved: discernment and grace -- truth in love.

      That's encouraging to me more than all the perfect a priori agreement in the world.

      Delete
  4. Thank you for this insightful piece. I have purchased and watched the Logic on Fire! film about Dr. Lloyd-Jones, and it is wonderful. Your quote from Dr. Lloyd-Jones sums up my experience exactly: "For many years I thought I was a Christian when in fact I was not. It was only later that I came to see that I had never been a Christian and became one."

    ReplyDelete
  5. "The preaching we had was always based on the assumption that we were all Christians"

    This sort of thing galls me. I'm a fan of qualifying my statements, and so unqualified statements to an audience, when there is no logical requirement that they all belong to one category which may be addressed the same way, is to cause confusion.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Don and to whom it may concern,

    You write:
    “I am not sure if God's invisible attributes talked of in Romans 1 would be enough understanding of God to get one to turn to Him or not. What would be your take on this?”

    My response:
    Men and women have an innate knowledge of God, but the absolute vast majority still shun God and live wicked lives. These same people will worship false gods of their own makings, and will pursue anything which makes them feel good - what a deception, and they are given over to a reprobate mind (good for NOTHING!)!

    As I believe it was John MacArthur that said, “ if people would respond to the light that they do have, then the Lord God would reveal more Truth”. Bottom line - people MUST hear Biblical Truth, AND it IS the Holy Spirit ALONE that will give one “repentance and belief in Jesus Christ!

    In regards to Billy Graham, and perhaps some other frauds as well. I believe that they have preached enough truth - but mixed in with lies and deception, that God has used in order that His elect would be saved.

    “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.”
    Philippians 1:15 ESV

    Glad to have read you follow up comment. Stay in the Bible daily Don, and thank you for your testimony!



    Rick : > )
    Metro Atlanta


    PS, Without the gospel (Biblical TRUTH) and the drawing of the Holy Spirit, nobody could or would be saved!

    ReplyDelete