Jump Start # 2921
Genesis 7:16 “Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the Lord closed it behind them.”
The other day I went looking for a door. It wasn’t just any door, it was a special door, an antique door. Several years ago, my dad, my two brothers, my sister and myself were at a small town festival where dad grew up. We ran into this guy that my dad knew. I would have walked right past him. After chit-chatting with him, he said that he had a door that was on my great or great-great grandfather’s house. It was up in his attic. He pointed specifically to me and said that he wanted me to have it. Great, let’s work it out. Years past. My dad died. This guy, now 99 years old came to dad’s burial. He since passed away. They had an auction at his farm and I went. I thought maybe that door would be there. I sure didn’t fit in that crowd and I think they knew that because they all kept starring at me. Bib overalls, scraggly beards, worn out dirty pickups, they all probably knew that I was a city boy and not one of them.
Our verse today is also about a door. It’s one of the most important doors. It was the door to the ark. The animals were inside. Noah and his family were inside. The Lord shut the door. Salvation was on the inside and death and doom were on the outside. The rain fell. The deep opened up. I expect as the flood waters rose, some people ran to the top of hills. Some likely tried to get up mountains. And a few would have gone to the ark. The door was shut. God had shut the door. As the waters rose, they likely pounded and pounded on that ark door. They would have hollered and screamed at Noah to open that door. But it was closed. It remained closed.
In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, another door was closed. The wise were inside where the wedding was taking place. The foolish, having gone to get more oil, were on the outside of that door. They cried and wanted to be let in. The door remained closed. They were too late. They missed out.
Doors—one side is safety and other side is trouble and peril. One side is joy and happiness. The other side is tears, remorse and fear. And, what separates those two sides is a door. What separates the living from the dead is a door, only a door. A door that swings only one way.
Now some thoughts:
First, some might think that it’s not fair that some are on the inside and others are on the outside. Back in the 1800’s the theory of Universalism was extremely popular. The moderns preached that. That idea was the basis of many debates in the late 1800’s. Universalism died out. Today, it has been resurrected, but most don’t recognize it as universalism. Everyone is saved, except for the most vile and wicked of our times. One doesn’t have to believe, practice or even go to worship. One can drink. One can commit adultery. It’s ok, we are told. We all make mistakes. Have fun. Be nice when you can. Give a little now and then. Heaven is yours. Nothing about Jesus. Nothing about discipleship. Nothing about commitment or a changed life. People today just want to take that door of the hinges and not have any doors. What you believe and who you believe really doesn’t matter. Without a door, we all are going to make it. My that’s sweet. But it is certainly not Biblical. The door to the ark was shut. The door to the wedding feast was shut. There were two sides to that door. One side was salvation and the other side was lost.
Second, not only do people want to remove the door, but if a door must remain, then they want to be the one who decides who gets in. And, once again, Universalism rises up again. They’ll let anyone in. They’ll let everyone in. And, you hear this as people begin sentences with, “Well, I think…” And, somehow, what they think matters. What they think becomes the standard. What they think determines which side of the door people will be on. Once again, missing from a conversation like that is, “God says…” “Here is a passage that explains who will be saved.” They don’t say those things. They are not aware of those things. They don’t care about those things. They only care about what they want.
Third, there are periods of time when the doors are open and opened widely. It was that way with the ark. It was that way with the wedding feast parable. The doors were opened and people could have entered. An open door is an invitation. An open door welcomes. Come into the ark. Come to the wedding feast. God was inviting. God was hopeful. God wanted them to come.
There are some doors that are not opened to us. Unless you have a lot of money, don’t even apply to Harvard. Unless you have great ability don’t even show up at an NFL tryout session. Unless you can sing, don’t go try to get on TV programs that are based upon singing. Some doors are closed and will always be closed to us.
God’s way has never been that way. The great commission was to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every person. Every person could become a disciple. Every person could be saved. Every person would find an opened door to the Lord. Samaritans, tax collectors, lepers, outcasts, misfits, unwanted, unloved, unwelcomed, all of them would find a door to the Lord opened. This is how you and I got in. It wasn’t our great looks. It wasn’t our ability. It wasn’t our knowledge. It was finding God’s grace that led to His opened door.
Back to the auction the other day. I got up real early and drove over two hours to be there. The items were old, rusty, and in poor condition. Wagons full of stuff. Tons of stuff. And against a tree stood an old wooden door. I went over and looked at it. I looked at one side and then the other side. I never saw anyone that was connected to the family that I could ask. Was that the door? It started to rain, and there were so many items to go through that I didn’t want to wait until they came to that door. I left. I didn’t stick around. I don’t know if that was the door of my family. It didn’t look special. It was just a plain brown door. I went to dad’s grave and put grass seed on it. I drove home without any second thoughts. There’s another door that I’m more interested in. It’s the door to Heaven. That’s the door I’m after.