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“Where does your gate lead?”, Malcolm Cox, Thames Valley churches of Christ

Looking at two ‘gates’ today and what they mean for us and the world….

1. Gate of Confusion, Gen 11.1-9    

“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”     But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel —because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.”

A. What are they trying to do?

“one language / common speech” about outlook, not just words East – away from Eden, away from God Desire to control destiny Idolatry / Pride Our world devastated by human pride, selfish ambition and attempt to control destiny

B. Why does God do what he does?

God’s mercy in action For humanity’s protection – rushing headlong to destruction Imagine it had not just been Nazis in WW2; or Stalin, or ISIL? But whole world united against the Jews, the intellectuals, those of free thought, the Christians….. They did their worst, but it could have been much worse. How much evil can you do if you can’t understand each other? One united voice without respect for God will lead to terrible things.
Bab-El – “gate”; Babel – “confusion”

2. Gate of Satisfaction, Jn 10.7-10

“Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Voice: “Enter my gate and you’ll experience love, meaning and safety.” Safety: “I have a place of safety in a world of savagery.” Sustenance: In, out, find pasture – what you need Salvation: Because close to the shepherd. He considers my salvation more important than his safety…..

““I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” (John 10:11–13 NIV11)

  • Jesus came down
  • To gather
  • To open the gate
  • For all nations
  • To be brought together under his protection and love
  • If we are united in Christ we are united in love and truth and thus united under the sovereignty of our maker who knows best how we are to function and his life can then be experienced, and shared with others. This unity is not dangerous because it is a humble unity. Partly seen in this life in the kingdom, through the church, fully expressed in the next life as revealed in revelation.

Conclusion…., Rev 21.22-27

“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

CHOOSE YOUR GATE

Choose carefully Your future depends on it The world’s future depends on it

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John