The Wrong Door
“I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture”
Imagine a gathering of people in a hilly country in the north of England: farmers, shepherds and labourers, rough of exterior, but warm of heart, and with a glad light upon almost every face, for the gathering is largely composed of happy believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Such was my first audience in the district of my simple story.
In that audience were two, a man and his wife. I could not help noticing them, for their looks were in direct contrast to those of the rest of the people present. I have not seen a man in the dock charged with a terrible crime, waiting for the verdict of the jury and sentence from the judge, but I believe that he would look just as those two people looked that night — miserable, conscience — stricken, and deeply concerned.
Glad news of the Lamb of God who had come to take away sin sounded from my lips, but no answering joy showed itself upon those abject faces; nay, the gloom seemed only to deepen as the meeting proceeded.
They had a three-mile walk to their home from the meeting, and for some time neither spoke; at last the wife, the more deeply concerned of the two, broke the silence. “Aye, Jim,” she said, “did you no' feel ashamed of yersel' in the meeting? Every word the preacher said was for us. I do believe we were the only sinners in the place.”
She did not sleep that night, for the thought of her sins and of hellfire, which she knew she deserved, made sleep impossible. How to be saved was her one concern.
It transpired that she had been more or less anxious as to these things for three months, and her anxiety commenced in this way: a Christian neighbour had invited her to an open-air gospel service which was to be held not far away, but she had said that she did not need that kind of thing, for she was a respectable woman, and went to church whenever she could and what more could she do than that? “Ah well,” said her neighbour, “don't forget that ‘ye must be born again.'” “Born again” said she, “and what do you mean by that?” Her friend spoke to her of God and His holiness, of her soul and its sins, and again urged her to go with her to the open-air service. She went.
A few country folk gathered at the cross roads; the preacher stood upon a low wall and without any preamble announced his text. It was, “Ye must be born again.” “Dear me,” said the woman, startled into interest by the preacher's words, “that's what Mrs ___ said to me; what can it mean?” As she listened to the preacher's words, she realized that it meant something to which she was a stranger, and something that was absolutely essential to the blessing of her soul. From that time until the evening of which I have spoken she had groped in the darkness for the blessing, the salvation of her soul.
It was Tuesday night when she heard the preaching in the small village hall. On Friday afternoon of the same week I had to pass her cottage on my way to another gospel meeting in a farm kitchen some distance beyond. Hearing that she was very troubled I called to see her. We went over some Bible texts together and knelt in prayer before God, but still the darkness remained. I did not seem able to help her, and telling her that I hoped the evening's preaching would make all clear, I rose and opened a door in order to go; but I found that the door I had opened led into the pantry instead of the garden. That was not the way out. “That's the wrong door,” she said, as she threw open the right one. “So I see,” I replied, “The wrong door”. Do you know that there are a great many folk who are wanting to get out of misery into peace, out of danger into salvation, but they are going through the wrong door for it, they are seeking it by works and prayers and the like? Now Jesus said, ‘I AM THE DOOR.'”
“Why, so He did,” she said; “I never thought of it like that before.” And then, sinking into a chair, as the tears of relief flowed down her cheeks, she sighed, “I am glad that it is over.”
Yes, thank God it was over — the misery, the anxiety, the burden of soul, all that was over; she had found the door, the way of blessing; that door was JESUS our Lord and Saviour.
They came together, the husband and wife, to the preaching that evening, and, the husband while listening to the Word believed it; believed that the Lord Jesus had come into this world to save sinners, that in order to do this “He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities.” He believed that it was for the ungodly that Christ had died, and so for him. He believed that He was also raised again from the dead, and he confessed Him as his Lord and Saviour.
I said to the woman: “Your husband has got the blessing.” “I knew he would,” she said. “What a grand month November is for us. We first met in November, we were married in November, and now we are both saved in November.” They were a happy couple that night, and that blessing that they got on that Friday in November they can never lose, for God's salvation is eternal, and the life that He gives is everlasting, for “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” But how do you explain it? asks the unbeliever. We do not explain it. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). We state the facts, and pass on the simple words that brought light to a soul in darkness and distress. It was a word of salvation, and salvation is “not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:9). But it is by hearing in faith the word of the gospel, the gospel concerning the Son of God. He it is who said “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture ” (John 10:9).