Off to Home Affairs we went this morning to apply for some unabridged certificates. Just opposite Home Affairs in Nana Sita Street is a large gravel / sand parking area. The cost to park there is R15. We parked and the chap comes to me for payment. I have R50 and he wants me to give him the R50. I refused saying I want the change at the time I give the money. He called the “main” man who himself did not have change. I said I’ll give him the R15 once we return. He agreed. As we were about to cross over at the pedestrian crossing, a man came across the road and said “Home Affairs is closed on account of Covid.” He showed a picture he took of the sign on the door. We thanked him and returned to our car, got in and drove off.
Picture me giving the guy R50 and even if he had change I would have lost R15 because Home affairs was closed. He knew we were going there and he did not tell us they were closed. He wanted to cheat me! A closed door … yet a closed Home Affairs because of Covid is better than an open Home Affairs spreading Covid. So we understand the picture. You get to the premises and the door is shut … as in not just closed but locked. You can’t get in! You have business to do but you can’t do your business because the premises is closed and locked.
When we arrived back home there was a delivery truck at our opposite neighbour’s house. His son has a small ice cream business and the truck was delivering boxes of ice cream … but no one was at home. The gate was locked and the dogs were barking. It can be terribly annoying when you need to do business and you just can’t get into the gate or door or premises. Although I have used the concept, I personally have not heard it for years … in the 1970s and 1980s preachers would often inform the congregation that if they don’t decided for Jesus Christ “today”, it might be too late and the door of heaven will be shut and they can’t get in. They will not just be stranded outside of heaven, they will be dispatched to hell–for there are only two eternal places … heaven and hell. I am so aware that many people thought this was a tactic to get people to make sudden, un-thought through decision for Jesus. They felt this was playing on their emotions … trying to catch them off guard to pack them into the Kingdom of God, almost without their knowledge and against their will. I think at times that slant could have been true … but let’s consider the reality of a shut door to heaven. Come with me on a short journey …
First, there is an open door to believe. Luke tells us what was said in Antioch:
Ac 14:27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
The promise to Abraham that all nations will be blessed through him was being realized because God had now opened the “door of faith” so that once despised and rejected Gentiles could now believe and be saved. This is great news because you and I fall into the “Gentile” category! The “door of faith” is wide open! This is the reason for evangelism and missions.
Second, there is urgency to go through the “door of faith” because there is coming a time when it will be shut solid:
Lk 13:22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.'”
Notice that Jesus is not interested in answering the question in verse 23. Rather, He says there is urgency to enter … to make every effort … many will try to go through the narrow gate and fail and no amount of knocking and pleading … begging and making a noise will help. Once the “faith door” is shut, that’s final.
Third, there is a Judge to stand before after the “faith door is closed”. Some might think preachers are entertaining and trying to get people to do something they don’t want to do … James, the half-brother of Jesus says:
Jas 5:9b The Judge is standing at the door!
Far too many people are flippant about God, His Gospel and their eternity. Yet right here is the great leveler … there is a Judge and He is ready to perform His duty! This is no play-play matter. This is not some ducking the judge … as in “I want my day in court” and when the opportunity arrives there is a plea for the judge to recuse himself … all to avoid that day. No … each person born will stand before the Judge of all the earth (Almighty God) and give an account of his or her life … and whether or not they have been cleansed in the Blood of Jesus!
Fourth, there is even a door for the backslider to return to God.
Rev 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 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.
The wanderer is called to return through repentance and face the consequences because the wanderer is loved by God. That call is urgent and the need to repent and return is urgent.
Fifth, there is a need to know that this “faith door” will be shut finally … and this will be devastating for many!
Mt 25:10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.”
How terribly sad when God says: I don’t know you! At this point there is nothing but hell to face!
Have you entered through the faith door? There is urgency. Time is running out. Make sure and call the lost too!
Dear God, thank You for the faith door. Help me to be certain I have entered and help me to call the lost. Amen.