Joseph Prince - Discover The Door of Hope In Your Valley of Trouble
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I'm going to show you something that is a puzzle and confused many, many, many believers. I remember years ago somebody challenged this, just threw it in front of me and said to me that not many will be saved, not many will go to heaven, all right? And I asked for authority and the person gave me this particular verse we're going to look at, all right, saying that strive to enter by the straight gate. Okay, I'm quoting from the Old King James. Have you heard this before? "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be that find it. For narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it".
So it's always puzzled me. And like the person, since the person start saying that, I say, "God, give me an accurate scriptural interpretation of this passage". Because number one, Jesus did say strive. And the word strive there is agonizomai from the word agony. Agonize to enter by the narrow gate. For broad is the way, all right, that leads to destruction, and many, many, so he said that enter by the narrow gate, for few there be that find it. So, again, it seems like there are many who are destroyed and there are few that are saved, right? That's not very encouraging, isn't it? So anyway, I know the Word of God because I know God. I know God is a good God. I know that God always has the truth for his people. It doesn't make sense to me because when I look at the Bible, look at Revelation 7.
Revelation 7, "After these things I looked," the apostle John said, "and behold," let's all say it, "a great multitude which no one could number". The word "no one" is "oudeís". "Oudeís" is not no man can number. Man is limited. The best mathematician is limited if he's a man, but if angels are calculating, there are also angels who are numberers. We find one named in Ezekiel, all right, the numberer, all right? You know God has angels that number things? Here it includes angels. It includes not just man, but heavenly creatures. No one could number the people who were redeemed. It is a multitude no one could number. Now, how does this correspond with what Jesus said? Few there be that find it. There are only few that find the narrow way, but many go by the way of destruction.
So it seems like it contradicts. Always remember there are no contradictions in the Bible. The contradictions are in man's interpretation, man's thoughts when you find something that is a seeming... Say: seeming. Remember this word, seeming contradiction, it is not actually a contradiction. Ask the Lord for the true interpretation. Amen? So this has spanned for me a number of years, this search. Just to let you know, probably about five, six years, all right, before I have the boldness to share it line upon line. So you're going to get line upon line like you have never been lined before. I'm going to lay the stripes on you, and by your stripes I'll be healed for these six years of preparation. Now, what did I say? I'm sorry. Line upon line, that's good for you, okay? Are you ready for it?
There are only two places where Jesus says strive to enter, agonize to enter by the narrow gate. So what is this narrow gate? Some people say is Jesus. He's the only way to life. If that's Jesus, then few there be that find it 'cause broad is the way and many there be that go by that way. There are only two places in scripture in the gospels where this occurs. We look at the first one, Luke 13. "And Jesus went through the cities and villages, teaching and journeying towards Jerusalem". Don't forget he's about to die. He's not dead yet. He has not been crucified yet. He has not paid the ultimate price for the redemption of all our sins. He's on his way. "Then one said to Him". Notice it's not a disciple, it's just somebody. The Holy Spirit doesn't tell us who is it. Many-a-time when people challenge Jesus, it's always to trap him. We do not know who this person is. "Lord, are there few who are saved"? Coming with a pessimistic note. "Are there few who are saved"?
Now, saved here cannot mean, listen carefully, cannot mean saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, washed by the blood of Jesus. Jesus has not yet died. Are you listening? So saved here means saved in that time when Jesus is preaching, those who are saved from parasitism, those who are saved from a sinful life, those who are saved from destruction and become Jesus's disciples. So this person is saying, "You have only a few that follow you," in other words. "Are there only few that are saved"? And the saved there is in the present passive participle. The reason I show you that is because it is not referring to a future these people are being saved, it was at the time of Jesus. This person was challenging Jesus. "Looks like there are only few that are saved," telling Jesus.
Now, Jesus, when he sensed this kind of thing, he always answered like this. Jesus said to them, "Strive". This is the word agonizomai from where you get the English word agony. "Agonize to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able". Don't forget many will try to enter this gate, but will not be able. Next verse. "When once the master of the house has risen up and shut the door". Say: the door. Now, go back to verse 24. "Strive to enter through the narrow gate". Here's a gate. Verse 25? "Once the master of the house rise up and shut the door". So you have the gate, you have the door. How many of you know that gates and doors are two different things? Even in Greek, all right, gate is pula, all right? Door is thyra. In Hebrew gate is shaar. Double gate is shaaraim, shaar. The word for door is pethach.
So you can see I'm telling you that not to impress you, I'm just telling you so that those are two different words. Some people will say gate and door is used interspersedly. No, they are not. Two different words used. Jesus says if you can't make it by the gate, remember, you come through the gate, the Jews come through the gate to meet the door. One day this door will be shut, then the day of salvation will be over. It will be shut, okay? "Now, then you stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us.'" So obviously the Lord is behind the door, okay? "And He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from.' Then you'll begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence and you taught in our streets.'" Obviously, Jewish people, all right? "But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from me all you workers of iniquity.'"
So we have one passage here. Let's go to Matthew chapter 7, the Sermon on the Mount, which is the more famous portion that people like to quote from, okay? Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, he is on the mount. And many people don't realize that the Sermon on the Mount is not completely grace. Let me explain to you. The King went up the mountain to give his laws. Now, his laws, he's bringing the laws back to his ancient glory. The Pharisees has brought the law of God down to the place where they can keep it, and then they fine tweak it for their own convenience. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount brought the law back to his ancient glory, all right? Its pristine state, the way God wanted it to be received. Because when you receive the law in its purity, adultery is not just sleeping with a woman, adultery is undressing a woman in your mind. Then everybody is guilty. Murder is not just stabbing someone with a knife physically, murder is hating somebody in the heart.
So someone can really be breaking all the Ten Commandments and they look decent outside. Are you listening? Okay? So here Jesus is bringing... why is Jesus doing this? He's causing man to despair. There are two things. When you look at Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in Jesus's earthly ministry, there are two things that Jesus always does for those who are not under conviction, for those who are not pricked in their conscience. Many-a-times when people are not pricked in their conscience, when you see down there, these are the people that complain against God. God has to change for them. "Oh, I don't like this system. God has to change the system. Oh, I don't like the fact that I'm a sinner. I'm not a sinner, all right? God has to change. I don't change, God changes, all right"? Pride. Their conscience has not touched them yet, has not been pricked. Self-righteous. Amen.
"Other people, it's other people's fault. It's other people. Other people have this problem, not me". Are you listening? "Oh, how terrible this person is. Darling, darling, come here and see this guy, all right"? And all of us has certain degree of what the guy had, just that it's not exposed, didn't go to court. So everybody is guilty before God. Jesus, whenever he sees pride, in his love he will wound that pride, in his love he will convict you with the law, all right? Do you understand that? So the Sermon on the Mount, I like to say it like this, the mist of Sinai is leaving the mountain and the glorious day of grace is coming. But don't forget it cannot be fully revealed yet, grace, until Jesus died and rose again. Are you clear?
All right, so when you read the words of Jesus, always remember is he unfolding the law to convict so that man will see his need of him, or is he speaking words of grace to those who have been convicted and they are now in despair? Once you understand this approach of Jesus, you will understand the gospels. Can you understand that? Well, some people dispute that and they will say, "Well, Pastor Prince, Jesus preached grace in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. That's why it's all in red". Well, my friend, red was put by man, okay? And by the way, the words of God in Romans, Ephesians, Thessalonians, Colossians, Galatians, don't you think for one moment those are the words of mere men. Those are the words of the present day, glorified, ascended, seated Christ at the Father's right hand. In fact, we could put them all in red because Paul himself says, "The words that I have is not my own". Amen? "And you receive it not as the word of man, but as the word of God".
So remember this, okay, Jesus, before he died, says he gave man the law. For example, Jesus says, "Unless you forgive one another their sins, God will not forgive you". And he told the Jewish people because he said to the Jewish people, "Your Father", don't forget these Jewish people, Jewish people, when Jesus came on earth, the Jewish people are the only ones that Jesus can say, "Your Father in heaven". He cannot say that to a Gentile. Because in a sense the Jewish people, even when they were under law, they were God's children, but babies. We learn that from Galatians. They are not huios. They are not sons. They are nepios, babies. They are under law. Jesus came to bring sonship, mature sons, only true for the Jewish people. Are you listening?
So that's why even before they're saved, Jesus would say to them, "Your heavenly Father". Do you understand? Doesn't mean your heavenly Father means they're all saved. All those listening to Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount, they are not saved. The disciples were, even followers, not saved. How can anyone be saved without Jesus shedding his blood? Are you with me, you know? Okay? So here Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "Enter by the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many", kind of wish he didn't say many, but many, okay? "Many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it". And I guess when he say few, it'll be like the Zacharias and the Elizabeths, the Simeons and Annas, you know, the Josephs and the Marys. A remnant, very few made it through this narrow gate.
So does that mean we take from here like someone who told me many years ago that only few people will be saved? I don't think so. Number one, I want to say from the onset Pastor Prince does not believe in universal reconciliation. In other words, there's a heresy going on right now that everybody will be saved no matter what. Regardless of what you believe, everybody will be saved, all right? That's a heresy. It is not from God. It makes nothing of all that Jesus has said. To, "Come unto me," makes nothing of that. If that is true, Paul suffered in vain, don't have to preach the gospel. Everybody who were preachers all suffered in vain. No. People have to believe, but what I believe is that you'll be surprised how many are really saved.
Now, preachers, unfortunately, many preachers have made it hard, okay? "To be saved you must believe in Jesus and give up this, give up that, give up this". No, you repent towards God. Repent towards God means change your mind about God. God is not out to destroy you, God is out to save you. God is not against you, God is for you. All right, change your mind. Repentance must be towards God, okay? Repentance change your mind towards God, and then believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Okay, once that is done, now someone is saved. Praise God. I believe even on the deathbed. Like, my grandfather, my mother's side, okay, he's a Peranakan, he's a Baba, and he's a very stubborn man. I still remember when I was a small boy, he made fun of my faith. You know, he would laugh at me and say, "Ask your God to bring bread right now. Pray right now, ha ha ha". He'd start laughing.
I was a young boy. I mean, he was destroying my, you know, and I look at him, and I feel kind of sad for him, you know. But when he was in the deathbed, all right, he was going up and down, he had massive heart failure, and he cannot die. It was just, like, up and down. He got up, he was restless, he was panting, he was grasping, but he could not die. The doctors, they have left him already. They say, "Anytime". And that week he was up and down, up and down. And my mother went down, and my mother says, "Call on Jesus. Call on Jesus, all right? Dad, call on Jesus". And he shook his head. He refused. He can't talk anymore, all right, and he shook his head, refused to the very last moment. And I remember one day, all right, my grandmother was there and my mother was there. And then he was really desperate, and my mother says, "Call on Jesus. He's the only one who can help you".
Then he look up, you know? And my mom will never forget this, and that's what got my grandmother saved. She saw what happened. He says, "Jesus, forgive me". Straight away my grandmother, my mother saw, like, a shaft of light on his face, okay? He lied down on his own, such peace, and went on to be with the Lord. And everyone that came can still see the peace on that house that he used to live in. Is he in heaven? You bet you. Was it a last-minute conversion? Yes, just like the thief on the cross. Jesus didn't say, "You know, before I save you, you must go down and repay everybody what you have stolen and all that, all right"? The thief would say, "I want to, but I'm stuck, you know". So we put a lot of restrictions on people who want to be saved. "Yeah, you can be saved, but you must give back this, you must do this, you must do that".
Now, that's called restitution, okay? By the way, if you have a book that I used to lend you last time in your house right now, in your library, please return it, okay? If you can return anything, return it please, all right? It's for your own conscience, it's for your own dignity, amen, but the thing is that it's not a crucial, it's not a means of salvation. Salvation is just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, what he has done, not what you do, amen? So I believe many of you are saved just by calling Jesus. You never know. Your grandfather or your grandmother, I don't care how antagonistic they are towards God, because you are saved. In that place of limbo where they are suspended between heaven and earth, they cannot be released yet because God is holding them back because only this side of heaven can you be saved, over there nobody can be saved anymore. Cross the line already. Your decision has been sealed.
So God will hold them. Even in coma, God will hold them. And you never know. They pass on to be with Jesus. You see a smile on their face. It's because Jesus came and spoke their language. Whether it's Chinese, Mandarin, Japanese, whatever, he'll speak to them, and they'll say, "Jesus". Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. "Oh, Pastor Prince, you're making it easy". No, no, don't compliment me. It's not me, it's Jesus. But don't you forget we ain't just called from a sincere heart, we are saved. Sounds easy. Cost God his Son. Cost Jesus extreme, acute suffering like no man ever suffered before. And all we have to receive is just call. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
I tell you there are people who don't have time to pray a sinner's prayer when they're dying. During wartime many people have received Jesus in World War 2. All right, their friend they know say, "Now, say this prayer". And some people are long winded, you know. No, just call on Jesus, and they shut their eyes in peace, okay? I believe many of you saved, but I don't believe in this automatic salvation for everybody. No, that's heresy, okay? Are you with me? So what did Jesus mean by this, enter by the narrow gate? What is the narrow gate? I'm going to show you from scripture, all right, that the gate... what is the gate for, what is the gate all about?
All right, go to Deuteronomy 16, Deuteronomy 16, "You shall appoint ju..." Always remember, Bible must interpret Bible. It's not important what this man of God says, that man of God says, or even what I say, it's always important what Bible says. And if Bible is allowed to interpret Bible, you get a accurate translation, all right? "You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the Lord your God gives you according to your tribes. They shall judge the people with just judgment". So gate is the place of judgment. Judges sit there, officers sit there for judgment, to execute judicial decisions. It's a place of judgment. It's a place of the law being executed. People are punished at the gate. Decisions are made judicially at the gate. The gate represents the law. Somebody getting it already?
Okay, remember this. Judges and officers are found where? At the gates. These are the people involved with what? The law, righteousness, judgment. Now, what is the door? Remember the word door is different. John 10, Jesus says it like this, "Most assuredly I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door," say door, "but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber, but he who enters by the door," say door, "is the shepherd of the sheep". Now, the door is not the gate. So Jesus says that's how thieves avoid the door. Who is the door? Drop down same passage. Verse 7, "Jesus said to them again, 'Most assuredly,'" in the original, "'amen, amen I say to you.'" That means, "Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep". Jesus is not the gate, Jesus is the door. Hello? Why then did he say, "Agonize to go through the gate"?
That's what he always does. When people come to him and they still have a lot of pride, a lot of self-righteousness, and they are proud, you know what Jesus tells them? "Go, agonize through the gate". And I'll tell you, few make it. Are you listening? He's talking about, I'm letting Bible interpret Bible. But he says here to us, "I am the door". And there's nowhere he's like, "Strive to enter through me". No such thing. "I am the door of the sheep. All who enter came before me," the Pharisees, "are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved". The word enter is enter, not agonize to enter. Those who go through Jesus, he'll be saved and he will go in and out and find pasture. Hallelujah. Pasture is provision for the sheep. Pasture is supply for the sheep. "The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy".
Remember this. Every time you have been stolen, every time something is killed, whether it's your relationship or something in your life that's been killed, it is not the work of God, it is the work of the devil. And the devil works through the Pharisees. He works through people who believe you must perform to please God, you must perform to be accepted by God. Jesus came against this. And when you believe in that kind of system, you'll be robbed. Things in your life will be killed. Not only that, after he kills, the devil destroys. But Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life and that they may have life more abundantly". Hallelujah.
Now, God is not saying life more abundant because you have plenty of money, all right? I'm not against money, but there are many, many poor rich people. There are also many, many rich poor people, but these many rich poor people don't remain financially poor. At the point God chose them, they are strong in faith, but poor in this world, but the moment God chooses, many of us are like that. Amen? Then God prospers them. But sadly, there are many, many, truly many poor rich people. Amen. Praise the name of Jesus. I said praise the name of Jesus. Hallelujah. "I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he'll be saved". That means what? If you go by the door, you'll find life more abundant. So there is the gate. Say, "The gate". And there is a door inside. So what is the difference? The door is grace, the gate is the law.
So Jesus will always tell people who are proud: "Go ahead. Go ahead, enter by the gate. Go ahead, strive to enter by the gate". Many will not make it, only few. And even those few is because of the sacrifices of the law. Like the Josephs and Marys, the Elizabeths, the Simeons. Are you hearing what I'm saying? Yet Jesus said... "Pastor Prince, I don't understand. Why would Jesus give people the law when he knows himself he's the door". How to explain this. Sometimes, you know, people don't see their need. You've got to create a need first. Every person knows that nobody want to buy something if there is no need. Somebody comes to a woman and tells the woman, "Hey, you know, you've got two wrinkles quite bad already, you know? I know a friend who can fix those". Then she begin to think, actually, the wrinkle is not so bad. You know, these salespeople, they understand they must sell you the idea that you are in need before you will get the solution. How many understand?
That's human nature. That's what advertisements are all based on, all right? Now many of it is manipulative. I'm not saying all, okay? Don't write to me, okay? All right, I think there are doctors who really care for people, all right? There's a growth on your face, whatever, he's concerned. Better remove it or whatever. But the thing is that there are people who are just manipulating. "Oh, you look so... you know what you need? You need this. You need this medicine, you need this supplement. Oh, I see you're quite pale, uh? You look like you're sick, uh? Something's wrong with you, uh? Uh, you need something. I have," okay? Watch out for that kind of thing, okay? "Pastor, are you referring to my product"? Look, why are you feeling so guilty? I'm talking about manipulation, okay? Manipulation, all right?
At the end of the day, even doctors can manipulate. But thank God for those doctors who really honor their profession, okay? They're not alarmists. They know when to comfort, they know when to smile, they know when things are serious, take things seriously, okay? So, if man was not given the law first and Jesus came, they would never realize that they are sinners. You tell them, "You know, you have stolen". "What is 'stolen'"? There's no law. Jesus says, "I'm your Savior. You're an adulterer, all right? Adultery brings death". "uh, what is 'adultery'"? "Those five women, are you married to them"? "No, but what is 'adultery'"? There's no point of reference. "Thou shall not covet what belongs to your neighbor". What is 'coveting'? You understand?
So, long before Jesus came, God put his advertisement first: the law. Go ahead, strive to enter by the gate. Do your best, c'mon. Remember this, huh? It's not just deed; it is thought. God's standard is perfect. A thought is a deed already. Man said, "As long as you don't do it". You see, we judge people, we always judge people, by their actions. We judge ourselves by our intentions. "I didn't mean to hurt you". We judge people by their action. When you do wrong, "Wah, terrible". We don't judge people by their intention. We judge ourselves by our intention. "I know I did wrong, but I didn't mean to". So God sees the whole deal as a pure thing. The law has demand on spirit, soul, and body. And that's why the faster we say we can't do it, the better Jesus is to us, as a Savior. We see our need for Jesus. Are you with me so far?
All right, so the thing is this. The door is the place of grace, mercy, and peace. The door is the place of a sin offering. Remember when after Cain murdered Abel, remember the story? All right, now before Cain murdered Abel, God gave him a chance. He was jealous of his brother, because God accepted his brother's sacrifice. Not because his brother is better in terms of morality, okay? Now, I believe in morality. Let me say this to you, all right? Doesn't mean everything moral is divine. Always remember. Not everything moral is divine. But everything divine is truly moral. Doing good doesn't mean it's divine. We can do good so that our name is in the plaque. We can do good so that people can do something for us, these people, all right? Doesn't mean everything moral is not necessarily divine. But everything divine is truly moral, okay? We're interested in divine, all right? True holiness.
Now the thing is this: when Cain was envious and God saw murder in his heart, even before he did it, you know what? God came to him, you know? There goes this idea that God doesn't come to people who are full of bitterness. God did with Cain. God came to Cain and you know what God said to Cain? "So the LORD said to Cain, 'Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well...'" "Do well" here is not moral. "Do well" here, like his brother. How did his brother do well? Offered the right offering: blood sacrifice, the lamb without spot. That is doing well. In other words: "'If you offer well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not offer well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.'"
Now, sin here appears very, like, it's a personality. Can you see it? Because you know why? The word "sin," "chata" in Hebrew, "chata". You've got to say it with guttural sound. Chata, all right? It's the same word for sin as well as sin offering. So when do they put sin offering? It's the same word, you can ask any Jewish person. It's the same word, so you can't tell when is it a sin, when is it a sin offering, but the context will tell you. Here, the picture is like there's an animal crouching at the door for Cain. You see, Cain offered what? Salad dressing. Has no blood. God condemned, these vegetables came from the ground that God has cursed. God said, "Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness," and men are still bringing their own effort to please God. You know, I mean, it's like man is so proud. "I'll bring my effort". God says, "I don't want your effort. It's all cursed," amen.
Abel brought the lamb, all right, and the shedding of blood, and God accepted Abel in his lamb. Not because of who he is. Then God is so kind, you know what God did? God gave Cain a lamb and God brought the lamb all the way to Cain's door. I tell you, it's a sin offering because you all know Young's Literal Translation of the Bible. Young's is a amazing Hebrew scholar. Young's Bible says: "And if you dost not well, at the opening," the door, "a sin-offering is crouching". There's a lamb there, crouching at your door. Go outside, look at the lamb. Take him. You will rule over him. He's submitting himself to you to be killed. A picture of Jesus. Offer him. You know what he did? He refused and murdered his brother. The first killing is in the name of religion. Those who believe that by their performance, they are right with God, killing those who believe by another's performance, they are right with God. Are you with me?
So the sin offering is at the door. The opening here is pethach for the word "door". Sin lies at the door. Actually, a sin offering is lying at the door, and it's desirous for you to take it. Amazing, isn't it, God's mercy? God's brought the sin offering all the way to his door. All right, so there's the first occurrence of the door in the Bible, the story of Cain. This one here, this verse, is the first occurrence. The word "opening" should be a door, all right, like in King James, New King James. Go back to New King James, all right, "lies at the door". That's the first time the word "door" appears in the Bible, the law of first mention. It tells you there's sin offering there. Remember the story of Passover? God said, "Put the blood," where? Show them the picture.
Can you see the blood on the doorposts? It's on the door. The door is a place of grace, the place of cleansing, the place of forgiveness of sins, all right? Gate represents what? Law, judgment. Door represents what? Jesus, grace, sin offering. The place where sin offering is offered. And by the way, if you study Leviticus, the five offerings, the burnt offering is offered at the door of the tabernacle, okay? The sin offering is offered where? At the door of the tabernacle. Remember, the tabernacle has a gate, and then the alter, a burnt offering, and then the door. When you entered, only a chosen family can go through, the priest's family can go through the door. No one else can go through the door in those days. They all come to the gate, all right? Because all Israel are supposed to keep the law. The gate is the law. And all Israel can come to the gate.
Let me explain to you. Let me show you the picture of a tabernacle. Can you see on the extreme left, that's the gate, all right? No Gentile, no non-Jew, can go through the gate. The law is only given to the Jews. I know the Jews can't keep it for 1500 years before Jesus came, they can't keep it. And then a Gentile says, "Let me try". And for 2,000 years they are still doing it. The law was never given to the Gentiles. It was given to the Jew. Are you listening, people? And that's why the gate is only for the Jews. But once you go in, what do you see? You see the altar of burnt offering. And then, after that, can you see the five pillars? All right, that is the door to God's presence. And what is in front of the door? Burnt offering. Mm, the place of grace. Are you with me?
Look at Exodus 40: "And Moses," in obedience to God, "put the altar of burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle or tent, and offered upon it burnt offering and grain offering". So, look at the picture again. All right, it's before the door. Am I right? Like the verse says, the door... it doesn't say that.. put the alter of burnt offering in front of the tent. It says in front of the door, Exodus 40. Isn't it precious? It tells you the door is a place of redemption. The door is a place of forgiveness of sins. Are you with me?
So, actually, when Jesus says: "Go ahead, strive. Enter by the narrow gate," he's telling them what? Keep the law, because at one time Jesus in heaven told his people: "Do this and you will live". The same Jesus who said that now walk on the earth and tell them, "Go ahead, do this and you will live. Keep the Ten Commandments and you will live". But no one can and he knew it. So now he says, "I am the door". The same one who says, "Do this and live," now saying, "I am the door". Have you realized you cannot do it? Therefore, you cannot live. "Now come to me and you will live," okay? Many a times people who are proud, it's very sad, you know, for me. Some people are so proud, so full of pride, until they're very old they're still proud. But the thing is that when they get saved when they are old, many years have gone already. I don't know about you, but I wanna be humble when I'm still young. I say, I wanna be humble when I'm still young, okay? Whatever God'll teach me, "Teach me, Lord". If I'm too stubborn, knock me there, Lord, amen? Praise God. Are you with me so far?
Now, let's go on. Show you another picture of the door as a place of grace. The story of Noah's Ark, all right? God told Noah in chapter 6, Genesis, "You shall make a window for the ark, you shall finish it to a cubit from above". The window of Noah's Ark is not on the side. Our houses, are windows at the side, all right? The windows for Noah's Ark is on top, for the birds to fly to, okay? In other words, when destruction falls, okay, when there's death and carnage all around, God does not want his people looking out at what is happening in the world. God wants his people looking up to him alone for help and comfort, amen? And then God says what? "And set the door of the ark," pethach in Hebrew. "Set the door," see the word "door" of the ark, "in its side". In its side. Where is the door? At the side.
Look at the picture of Noah's Ark. Again, our Patrick drew this very beautifully. See the windows are all on top, okay? It's a picture of Jesus. It's three layer, by the way, a picture of his spirit, soul, and body, okay? The wood, it's pitched within and without. In other words, redemption within, redemption without. We are secure from inside. We are secure from outside, all right? Even though there's destruction, we are all safe in Christ. I said we are all safe in Christ. And even when you fall, like maybe you, when the waves get too strong, one of Noah's sons might slip and fall or his daughter-in-law might fall. They always fall in the ark. I said they fall in the ark. Nobody falls outside the ark. Once you're in Jesus Christ, you fall in the ark. Good news? Amen, but please, don't keep on falling. "Oh, I'm so weak. I'm so weak," you know? The monkeys will laugh at you, you know I'm saying, or not? All right?
Live life in such a way, all right, that you have a steady walk to glorify God, amen, amen? Praise God. All right, so notice where is the door. You can't see the door here, but the door is at the side. We read just now, the door is at the side. Now, this is a picture of Jesus at the cross. To become an ark of refuge for all his people, he was pierced at the side, in the side. There's a door there. And that's a place where blood flow out, water and blood flow out. The door is the place of safety. The door is a place, there's only one door. Rich and poor will go through the door. Giraffe and turtle will have to go through the same door. I don't care how tall the giraffe is, he has to bend down, y'all. Don't care how high and mighty you are in the world today, your name is recognized, all right? When you come to the door, you still bow down. It's the same door, all right? Even giraffe or turtle, all have to go through the same door. Male or female, all go through the same door. His name is Jesus, amen?
This is the second time the word "door" is mentioned in the Bible and it's Noah's Ark. The third time it's mentioned is very interesting. It is Abraham, and look at this. Abraham, Genesis 18: "Then the LORD appeared to Abraham by the alon Mamre," all right? The terebinth tree is alon there in Hebrew. The oak tree of Mamre. Mamre is fatness, strength in Hebrew. There's a beautiful sight here. Those of you who are coming up in age, there is a revelation here that's fresh. I'm going to show it you right now, okay? Are you ready? All right, Abraham was sitting where? "In the tent door". This is chapter 18, verse 1. Don't forget, Abraham has a nephew. His name is Lot. Where was Lot at this time? Lot went with Abraham and he was a lot of trouble, remember? But was he saved? Yes. He's a picture of a defeated righteous man. Abraham is a picture of a victorious righteous man.
Now where's Abraham sitting? In the tent door, pethach in Hebrew. He is sitting at the tent door. Where is Lot? He's sitting in Sodom. Next chapter, 91: "Now two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting," where? Not at the door; at the gate, shaar. Shaar in Hebrew, gate. He's now an elder in Sodom. Some people prefer to be an elder in Sodom than to be sitting down in the tent door and get wonderfully blessed. All right, now go back to Abraham again. "Abraham sat in the heat of the day," at the door. The door is a place of rest. When the heat is on, rest in grace. Rest in Jesus, the door. Rest in Christ when the heat is on. And you know who will come to you? The Lord appeared. "Then the LORD appeared to him, as he was sitting". Ah, you all didn't hear that. "The Lord appeared to him as he was sitting at the door".
The Lord will always come to you when you are sitting. This word "sitting" is yashav, where you find in Psalms 91: "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High," the word "dwell" there is yashab: he who sit down in the secret place of the Most High will abide under the shadow of his perfection. Yashav, sit down. Sit down. When the heat is on, in the heat of the day, sit down and the Lord will appear to you. And when the Lord appeared, this is the time he said that his wife will have a son next year. Last 2 years I read this and in this chapter the Lord says, "At this time next year, Sarah will have a son". And the Lord said, "Son," to me, "this time next year you will have a son". At that time, I don't even know it's a boy or a girl. She wasn't even pregnant yet. So I went, took the Bible, went straight to Wendy's room and I touch her on the shoulder and I said, "Darling, at this time next year, you shall embrace a son". She wanted a girl; she lost. All right, it's from this chapter.
Now, watch this. You know how old was Abraham at this time? You know how old was he at this time? Nearly 100 years old, 99 years old at this time. Watch this: "The LORD appeared with two angels. So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door". I was studying this and I said, "This old man is running". At the place of grace you will find strength in your old age. The Lord's gonna appear to you and you'll be strong. A man nearly 100 years old, running, running, to meet them. When I look up the Hebrew word "run," it is not exactly the word "run". It is the word "run swiftly". The old man is running swiftly to meet the Lord, "and bowed himself to the ground," and he invited them, all right, he gave them hospitality and he told them to eat in his house and you know the story. Sarah was in the tent, listening, eavesdropping. Sarah dropping, not Eve. And later on, watch this. Abraham wanted to choose a calf, to kill the calf to feed them. Look at this.
Drop down, verse 7: "Abraham ran to the herd". Nearly 100 years old and he's running here, running there. Father in heaven, in Jesus's name, I pray, Lord, for everyone under the sound of my voice that at the age of 100 years old, they will still be running. I will still be running, Lord. Running for Jesus, running for his glory, amen. What a renewal of youth. God renews your youth like the eagle's. The world will say, "aging". Every time there's a problem, "aging". "Oh, it's called aging process, aging, aging, aging". You switch on the radio, "aging, how to age successfully, how to..." But the Bible says, God's Word says, God renews your youth, renews your youth. There are many words in Hebrew for youth. Many words, all right? There are youths, like in your 30s to 40s, also called youth. There's youth, all right, children youth, 1 to 10. Then there's youth, teenaged youth. Which one do you think it is? Psalms 103, God renews your youth. It is the teenaged youth. Be careful. Pimples start popping, hormones start bubbling. You need some discipline.
All right, so where did it all happen? Verse 1: "At the tent door". You see it some time, real quick, come on. We are looking at all this and we are showing you the difference between a gate and the door, hallelujah, amen. When the rich young ruler came to Jesus, he says, "What must I do to inherit eternal life"? Any pastor, any preacher, any professor of Bible college, if they were to ask, "What must I do to inherit eternal life," we all know the evangelical answer: "Believe on me". That's what Jesus should have said. But Jesus sensed pride in this young man. He sensed a self-satisfaction, pride, all right? And he says, "What must I do," the emphasis is on "do," "to inherit eternal life"?
Jesus gave him the law. Isn't that what Jesus is saying? "Go by the gate. Here is the gate," all right? "Don't commit adultery, don't bear false witness, don't steal, honor your father and mother". And the Bible says the young man was proud. He says, "All this I have kept," probably in this kind of attitude... Now, in Mark's account of the same story, Mary says Jesus looked at him and loved him. Jesus loved him. And don't forget, it is love that said this: "Sell all you have and give to the poor, come, follow me". And the Bible says he went away. He turned around, he went away. Now, it was love that sent an arrow to prick that pride. To nobody else did Jesus ever say, "Sell all you have and come and follow me". Nobody else, only this young man. He was a test. Whether you love God first or you love money. He walked away. Jesus loved him. That arrow was sent out of love.
Now, next chapter, all right? No laws given. Jesus said, "Zacchaeus, come down. Tonight, I must eat at your house". Zacchaeus was so happy, all right, he's like a betrayer of the nation. And at the end of a dinner that he hosted, he stood up and says, "All that I've cheated, I'll give, I'll pay back, I'll pay back four times over". And he says, "Half my goods I give to the poor". Jesus smiled and say, "Salvation has come to this house". Now, notice to the young ruler, the proud young ruler, Jesus gave the gate, the law. But to Zacchaeus, who was already ashamed, hiding up in the trees, like Adam did one time, behind the trees, already convicted by the law. Jesus gave the door. He gave grace. "I am the door," okay? Are you with me so far?
All right, a few more verses, we'll close. Now, don't forget, the gate is a place of judgment. In Deuteronomy 17, please. Deuteronomy 17 says: "You shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who worshiped other gods," all right, the context's there, idolatry, "and you shall stone to death that man or woman with stones". How many are glad you're not under law? A few of you. "You shall bring out," what? "To your gates". The gate is the place of stoning, capital punishment. That's where the law is executed. Again, I'm showing you all this Bible interpret Bible to show you the gate is never place of grace. No wonder few there be that find it. Many go through it and they end up in destruction. Are you with me so far?
The gate is not the door. The door is not the gate. All right, let's go to a story of Lot. We saw Lot sitting down there just now, all right, at the gate of Sodom. What is he doing sitting at the gate of Sodom? When his uncle is breathing fresh air at this very moment, fellowshipping with the Lord up there on the mountain. And this place is about to be destroyed. "When Lot saw them," two angels. The Lord didn't come in, okay? The Lord sent the angels. By the way, it was on the way from Abraham just now with the two angels, and then the angels went down. Okay, the two angels. Now, angels are beautiful creatures, very handsome, very strong, very tall, big size, all right? They came, and they look like humans. They came. "When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face towards the ground".
Now, you all know the story. He brought the angels to his house. He has two virgin daughters and he's got his wife and all that. And the amazing thing is that he has son-in-law and yet the Bible says his daughters are virgin. I'll leave that to what you think, okay? Now, those men saw the angels walk through. Like I said, the angels are good-looking people, all right? Walk into the house of Lot and all these men, old and young came to Lot's house. Let's follow the story. "Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.'" I don't have to explain, right? Next verse. "So Lot went out to them through the doorway," watch this, "shut the door behind him". There's a door there, okay?
Now, he went from the gate to the door. At the gate, there's no place of protection for him. Now he's gone to the door of his house. "And said, 'Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish.'" What a terrible thing. You see, whenever you compromise, even though you're a righteous man, when you compromise... Abraham is an uncompromising righteous man. You tell me, "Pastor Prince, if we don't lose our salvation, then people can do whatever they want". Well, the story of Lot is put there and he's a righteous man. In the writings of Peter, Peter calls him a righteous man, but a defeated righteous man. Why? He choose to stay in sin. Abraham chose to stay in the fresh air of communion with the Lord. You choose. And the sad thing, many times, your family suffers, okay?
So here, he says, "Only do nothing to these men," the angels, "since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof". Next verse, "And they said, 'Stand back!' Then they said, 'This one came in to stay here,'" referring to Lot, "'and he keeps acting as a judge.'" All right, why? Sitting at the gate. All right, "'Now we will deal worse with you than with them.' So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. But the men," the angels, "reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door". Remember this, the door is a place of protection. Let me tell you this: Nothing can stop these people from breaking down the door. Am I right or not? So the door is a place of protection. It's the mercy of God that pull this defeated righteous man into the door. "But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house, shut the door. And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door".
These people are blinded and they cannot find the door. God will make sure your family and you are safe behind the door, that your enemies cannot find you to defile your children in this day and age. With the advent of social media when filth abounds on the Internet and our young people are exposed to these things, things that we are not exposed to in our day and age, what hope do we have? His name is Jesus. He says, "I am the door". If you put your family in that door, that door will be a door that will make everything that try to defile your daughters, your sons, inaccessible, completely protected. They cannot have access. They cannot find the door. Evil men cannot find the door to destroy you. You are safe, like in the ark, behind the door. Jesus said, "I am the door of the ship". He stands in front and protects. All the entire family of Lot was protected, okay?
Another example of a door, we are closing, is the story of Joseph and his brothers, and I'm bringing this to a close. Listen, church, I've got so many more things to talk about the door. I can tell you about how Ruth had a judicial decision at the gate. Now, the story of Joseph. The second time the brothers came back, you know what God did, early on? Jesus loved the Jewish people. The sad thing about the Jewish people is that they had first claim on Jesus when he came, but they rejected him. And he became the bread of life to the Gentile world. So Joseph was rejected by his brothers. Joseph is a type of Jesus. God hide these stories about his Son and he expect us to search it out. Joseph was rejected by his brothers, loved by his father. Jesus was rejected by his Jewish brothers, loved by his heavenly Father. Joseph, the rejection of his brothers, became the bread of life to the Gentile world.
Finally, the brothers came, second time. Watch this. Let's follow the story. Genesis 43: "When Joseph saw Benjamin," for the first time, okay? Joseph saw Benjamin, and I'm not gonna go into detail about Benjamin generation. You can get my book or my CD series on the Benjamin generation. How we are the Benjamin generation of these last days. Notice Joseph represents Jesus. When Jesus sees the Benjamin generation, "he said to the steward of his house..." Now, this steward of the house is not named. Who do you think it is? He's a steward of all of God's riches. Who is he? The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit doesn't call attention to himself. He's there to glorify Jesus. So "he said to the steward of his house, 'Take these men to my home, and slaughter an animal and make ready; for these men will dine with me at noon,'" okay?
When the Joseph Benjamin is in the land, Jesus will say, "Throw a party". There'll be abundance of food. The Holy Spirit will arrange for it. "Then the man did as Joseph ordered, and the man brought the men into Joseph's house". Next. "Now the men were afraid". Joseph's brothers were afraid, "because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, 'It is because of the money, which was returned in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so...'", let me say it, "'that we are brought in, so that he may make a case against us and seize us, to take us as slaves with our donkeys.'" All right, you all know what happened, right? The first time they brought money, grain, Joseph actually put back their money in their sacks, with the grain. And the meaning there is that you cannot buy the bread of life. You cannot buy the bread of life. I'm bringing this to a close, okay, this story. "When they drew near to the steward of Joseph's house, they talked with him at the door of the house".
They talked with him. In the Old King James they "communed with him at the door of the house". The door is the place of communion with the Holy Spirit. The love of God, the fellowship, the communion, of the Holy Spirit be with you all. You want the Holy Spirit talk to you? Don't spend time in the law, don't spend time in judgment. Spend time at the door with Jesus and the Holy Spirit will commune with you. You all know the story, let's follow real quick, then finish. Verse 23: "But he said, 'Peace be with you, do not be afraid.'" Now, the Holy Spirit is telling us, "Peace be with you". Where is he saying this? At the door. Not at the gate. The door is the place of the offering, sin offering, is all paid for, is a place of grace, and the steward of the house, a picture of the Holy Spirit, said to all these men whose conscience have pricked them, "'Peace be to you. Don't be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money.' Then he brought Simeon out to them".
Let me tell you this about the Jewish people in the last days. Many of the Jewish people today, they do not know who put money in their sacks. Many Jewish people around the world have this anointing on them to make money. The youngest billionaire in the world today is a Jew, Mark Zuckerberg, all right? There are many Jewish people around the world, they can go to a country as an immigrant, in a short time, become one of the richest people in that city, all right? So what they are saying is this: We don't know how we got this rich. We do not know who put the money in our sack. The answer is here. God, "Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sack". God is positioning them. Are you listening, people?
All right, "So the man brought the men into Joseph's house and gave them water". By the way, he brought Simeon out to them. Simeon is one of their brothers who was captured earlier, all right? Simeon means hearing. The moment the Holy Spirit tells the Jewish people it's God who prospered them, their hearing is restored. "So the man brought the men in Joseph's house, gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their donkeys feed," okay? So, all this happened, the revelation of the Holy Spirit talking to them, all at the door, because the last line says so: "The man brought the men into Joseph's house". So all this transpired where? At the door before they were brought into the house. Can you see that? The words, "Don't be afraid," hearing is restored, it all happened at the door. The steward talked to them at the door, explained to them at the door, assured them at the door. Then he brought them into the house. Are you with me?
As I was preparing, God says, "One more verse, son, and then let them know that this verse is a verse that I will do and perform in their lives". Are you ready? Just one verse. It's for all of you facing trouble right now, be it financial trouble, family trouble, physical trouble, all right? I don't care what trouble you have, emotional trouble, God told me to tell you this. And this is found in the story of Hosea, all right? And I will, this is the last verse and then we'll close. "God says, 'I will give her..." "Her" here, primarily, is Israel, but it refers to all of us as God's people today in Christ. "I will give her..." We are the bread of Christ, amen? We guys are so blessed. We can be called him and her, the bride of Christ. "I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt". What a wonderful prophecy.
Now, see the word "door of hope"? In Hebrew, pethach hatikvah. You know Hatikvah? Is the national anthem of the state of Israel. One of the most haunting national anthems ever. Every time I hear it, it's like so sad, you know? You think of the Holocaust and you think about all, it's like a yearning. And that song is called Hatikvah. Ha is the, hatikvah, the hope. The song is called the hope. Here it's door of tikvah, pethach hatikvah. Door of hope. But where is God gonna put the door of hope? You know what's hope? Hope means, hope with God is not "I hope things will happen," no. Hope means it will happen. What you dream will happen, all right? God will meet the desires of your heart, all right? God says, "Have hope". Man says, "Don't raise your hope". God says, "Raise your hopes as high as the throne of God," hallelujah, amen.
You have a God. Those other people who say, "Don't raise your hope," they don't have a God. You have a God of grace, of goodness, of mercy, amen. And you know where he puts this door of hope? You know where to find a door of hope? God says there's no temptation, no testings, no trials, that has come on you that God will not give you the strength, but find a way of escape. There is a door. In every test, there is a door. When do you find this door of hope? In the Valley of Achor. What is the wonder with the Valley of Achor? God expects us to study the Bible and because some of us don't study, we come to church on Sunday, I'll tell you what's Achor right now so you can all go back. This is the last verse already. Are you ready? It's a word for all of you, all right? It's a word, a promise, in your Valley. Achor means trouble in Hebrew. It means trouble. "In your Valley of Trouble".
Notice that when you are in trouble, you feel like you're not in the mountain, you're in the valley. "Pastor, I have all these debts looming. I'm all down here. I feel crushed". God says, "You know what? In your valley of trouble, I will open to you a door of hope". "Pastor Prince, you don't understand, Pastor. The doctors have given me some alarming news". That you're in a valley? You're going through a valley now? God is gonna put the door of hope. And every time you open this door, don't forget what we learned about the door just now in John 10. When you open the door, you step into life more abundant and you will find pasture. God puts a door there, all right? Don't open other doors that men try to put down there, all right? The door is Jesus. When you open the door, you will find life, and life more abundantly.
So what trouble are you going through right now? God is putting right now, in your valley, a door of hope. His name is Jesus. And what do you do with a door? Open it, amen? Jesus says, "I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in," amen. Once he comes in, your sickness goes out. Once he comes in, your lack goes out. Once he comes in, peace on the house. And by the way, people forget, Jesus said, "I knock at the door," in Revelations 3:20. It's not written for sinners. It is written for the church, okay? But he invites you to open the door. He will not break down the door, the door of grace. It has only one knob. The knob is not outside. The knob is inside. Jesus can only knock. There's no knob. You have to open the door, and say, "Lord Jesus, come into my trouble. Come into my mess. Lah, I don't know what to do," hands off. Then Jesus says, "You will find pasture. Life more abundant has come".
Zacchaeus did. Not too long ago, Zacchaeus opened the door and said, "Lord, come in," and Jesus says, "Salvation has come to this house," hallelujah, amen. Will you do that? Will you do that right now? Stand to your feet. First, I wanna pray for those of you who are here and you don't have Jesus as your Savior and Lord, all right? I'm just telling you, cast your daily doing down. Cast your daily performance down. Your performance is killing you. Stop trying to perform to please God. Stop trying to perform to score points with God. Stop trying to be accepted by God. God sent his Son. God provided for us a Lamb. God brought it to our doorstep. Humility says, "I receive. I receive what God has given". Humility says, "I receive what Christ has accomplished for me at the cross". And this is what he did, my friend.
On that cross, whether you know it or not, you are full of sin, just like I'm full of sin, from head to toe. We're all sinners, and given the right circumstance, our sins will manifest in its ugliness. We've all sinned. God sees our hearts, man sees our behavior. We've all sinned. And sin is like cancer in a body. You love the person, but you hate the cancer in your loved one. Same thing with God. God does not hate you. God love you. And God sent his Son to save you, but God hate the cancer of sin in you, and the solution is the cross. At the cross, Jesus Christ bore your sins and my sins. At the cross, Jesus Christ was punished and that's why the Bible says in Hebrews 13, verse 15, "He..." It says that he suffered outside the gate. Jesus suffered outside the gate, the Damascus gate. He suffered outside the gate without the law. He suffered for you and I.
We cannot be saved through the law, so he suffered outside the gate to sanctify you and I, to save you and I, to be the door, to bring your family in to salvation, not just you but your entire family, like Noah's family all went into the ark and they were saved. Grace is not saying there is no judgment. Grace is saying if you are in the ark, the judgment will fall all around you but not on you, simply because you are in the ark. Judgment will fall on this earth, and the world has yet to see its very worst. Things are not getting better out there in the world. It's gonna get worse. Earthquakes will increase, nation against nation. The Bible says it like this: Ethnic wars will increase and Jesus will return. But meanwhile, you and I can be safe like Lot and his family behind the door. Evil men will not be able to find the door. We'll be safe in the ark, even when we fall, we fall in the ark. We never fall out of the ark. If that is you, you want Jesus Christ to be your personal Savior and your family's Savior, pray this prayer with me right now. Say:
Heavenly Father, I thank you that you sent Jesus Christ as the Lamb of my sin offering, and on that cross he bore all my sins, was punished in my stead, died in my place, and was raised from the dead for my justification. I thank you, I confess with my mouth because I believe in my heart Jesus Christ is my Lord and my family's. Jesus Christ is my Savior and my family's. Thank you, Father, all my sins are forgiven. I am blessed, blessed, blessed! I'm in the door. I'm saved in Jesus's name (and all the people said) amen, amen, amen.