So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. – John 10:7-9
This morning I want to talk a little about fire escapes. Fire escapes and fire exits delineate a path of egress: they lead you on a path to safety.
If you look around the sanctuary, you will see the familiar rectangular white signs with glowing red or orange letters that say “EXIT.” If you follow these signs they will eventually lead to a door to the outside.
The NFPA, OSHA, and the AHJ such as the local building inspectors all have something to say about fire signs: how high they must be, how many lumens they put off, how long they will glow without power, the contrast of colors, the width of the corridor, the feet between sequential signs, even down to the exact dimensions of the letters themselves. When you need to escape a fire, you want to get everything right. If built to code, a fire escape will lead you to safety, in the most direct way, nothing extra, just away from the fire.
But if you’re like me sometimes, we want to do it our own way, instead of reading the signs, we may want to create our own path from the fire. We may want to make additions to the path. We may think we need to take things with us on the path. We may think we know a better route. We may question the path and its merits. Instead of trusting in the path of the fire escape, we may jump directly from the windows only to land on our heads.
Even worse, we may even decide that we don’t need the fire escape at all. That the fire is not real, or even that fire does not exist. No need to run for the exit door. I’m going to stay right here and keep doing what I’m doing. It’s tragic but people make that decision every day.
You can close your eyes if you would like. Imagine now you are in a large burning building with none of these familiar white and orange fire escape signs we see in the sanctuary. The smoke is all around, it’s hard to breath, and you are lost. You can feel the heat and you know something is very wrong. You’re scared and alone. About that time, a man more trustworthy than anyone who has ever walked the earth, shows you a way out. He shows you fire escape clearly, but one of a very unusual design. This man then assured you that this path has the means of saving thousands of lives. Do you think that you should not trust it because it was such a peculiar design? Because you didn’t create it or plan it? Because you are not in control of the route? Maybe the path of the fire escape seems too easy, for how important its mission is. Would you go down this path that leads to the door to freedom and safety?
Of course, you would.
Then why are those who do not know Christ so foolish as to object to the design of the fire escape that God has created to rescue them from everlasting burning? What could be better than the divine plan of substitution? That God sent one man, his only Son, in our place to pay the ransom for many, to die on the cross to save anyone from the fire. Anyone that accepts his deed and believes in Him.
The path to salvation is Jesus. He tells us in John 14:6
“I am the way and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me”
Romans 10:9-10 tells us
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
This morning when we take communion lets be exceptionally grateful for the path that Jesus made for us. The path that rescues us from the fire, that rescues us from the sin, both what we inherited through Adam and Eve but also from our own lives and choices. Let’s be mindful that the path He created was not an easy one for Him, but because of God’s great love for us, He created an easy path for us to spend eternity with Him.
Let us take the bread that represents a body without sin, that was beaten and bruised on our behalf. And the wine that represents the sacrificial blood of the Lamb of God, blood freely given to atone for our sins.