When The Doors Are Shut

Michael E. Phillips

Every night at bedtime, the doors of the houses are shut and locked. This is not for the purpose of considering the well-being of the poor burglar who might be outside but for the security of the family members on the inside. The focus is on the peace, safety, and happiness of those who have made the preparations to be inside when the doors are shut and locked.

In the spiritual application, how many sermons have been preached, using the illustrations of doors which are shut, yet focusing on the lost, the weeping, and gnashing of teeth, on the outside? There is a much better view when the focus is on the blessed souls who are on the inside, when the spiritual doors are eternally shut.

In Genesis 6, Noah was warned of the wickedness of man (vs. 5) and of God's promise to destroy man from the face of the earth (vs. 7). God tolerates sin for only a limited time, as is also promised by the preaching of Paul in Acts 17:30-31. Consider the examples of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim (Deuteronomy 29:23); Nineveh (Jonah, Nahum 3:7); and Jerusalem (Matthew 24:4-35). The flood was coming, just as Jesus recounted (Matthew 24:36-39). When the time had come, "they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in" (Genesis 7:16). Inside the ark, there were the blessings of life by the Lord's plan of preservation and grace. This example of the salvation of eight souls by water means so much to the faithfully obedient souls in this Christian age, for "the like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:20-21). As the Lord adds the faithfully obedient to the safety of His church (Acts 2:47), all spiritual blessings are enjoyed inside the door.

In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus delivered the parable of the preparation for a great marriage, with the examples of five wise virgins who were prepared, who would be accepted into the gathering when the bridegroom arrived. Five foolish virgins were unprepared, yet desired to enter also. Verse 10 reveals that while the five foolish virgins went away to buy oil "the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut." It was the responsibility of each virgin to be prepared, and those who were unprepared at his coming were not allowed to enter. Likewise, each soul must remain prepared for the eternal door to shut, as the Lord has promised to come again and receive the saved (i.e. Matthew 24:42-44). Inside the spiritual door, there is joy in the kingdom of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Jesus spoke in Luke 13:24-25, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are." Many expect to be on the inside (i.e. Matthew 7:21-23). The message of the truth of the gospel must be accepted now! Luke's account continues, "And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God" (vs. 29). The faithful from all parts shall enjoy the inside of the kingdom's door.

Some day, the door will be shut for all mankind. The question remains, "What or where is the door?" John 10:1-9 reveals that Jesus is the door of the sheep. Jesus offers salvation, peace, and eternal life, but only to those who are on the inside when the door is shut. -P. O. Box 176, Belington, WV 26250.


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