A well-known preacher was about to retire one night when there came a knock at the front door. Upon answering it he found a poor little girl drenched with rain. From the slum district where she lived she had come through the storm to find the preacher. As he stood looking into her thin, haggard little face, she inquired, “Are you the preacher?”
“Yes, I am,” he replied. “Well, won't you come down and get my mother in?” she asked.
The preacher wisely answered his little inquirer: “My dear, it is hardly proper for me to come and get your mother in. If she is drunk, you should get a policeman. He is dressed for the occasion.” “Oh, sir,” she replied in haste. “You don't understand! My mother isn't drunk; she's at home dying, and she's afraid to die. She wants to go to heaven, but doesn't know how. I told her I would find a preacher to get her in. Come quick, sir; she's dying!”
The preacher could not resist the appeal of the little night caller, so he promised her he would come as soon as he was dressed. As he walked with the little girl through the night, she led him into the slum district to an old house, up a rickety stairway, along a dark hall, and finally to a lone room, where the dying woman lay in the corner.
“I've got the preacher for you, Mother. He wasn't ready to come at first, but he's here. You just tell him what you want, and do what he tells you, and he'll get you in.”
At that the poor woman raised her feeble voice and asked, “Can you do anything for a sinner like me? My life has been lived in sin, and now that I'm dying I feel that I'm going to hell, but I don't want to go there; I want to go to heaven. What can I do now?”
On his own confession the great preacher declared, “I stood there looking into that face and thought: ‘What can I tell her?’ I have been preaching salvation by reformation, but this poor soul has gone too far to reform. I have been preaching salvation by character, but she hasn't any. I've been proclaiming salvation by 'ethical culture,' but she wouldn't know what the word means and besides she hasn't time for that. Then it came to me. Why not tell her what your mother used to tell you as a boy. She's dying, and it can't hurt her even if it doesn't do her any good.”
So bending down beside her the preacher began: “My dear woman, God is very gracious and kind, and in His Book, the Bible, He says, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’.”
“Oh,” exclaimed the dying woman, “does it say that in the Bible? My! That ought to get me in. But, sir, my sins, my sins!”
It was amazing the way the verses came back to him. “My dear woman,” he continued, “the Bible says ‘and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sn’.”
“All sin, did you say?” she asked earnestly.
“Does it really say, ALL sin? That ought to get me in.”
“Yes,” he replied, kneeling down beside her.
“It was ALL sin. The Bible also says that ‘This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief’.”
“Well,” she said, “if the chief got in, I can come. Pray for me, sir!”
With that the preacher bent down and prayed with that poor woman. Just as she was she came to Jesus, who never turned any one away, and SHE GOT IN.
“And in the process,” added the preacher, “while she was getting in, I MYSELF GOT IN. We two sinners, the preacher and that poor woman, were saved together in that little room that night.”
The Lord Jesus says: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” (John 10:9) Again, “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)
The Lord Jesus is the Door. He does not say “a” door, for there is no other door. The church is not the door; the Ten Commandments are not the door, neither are reformation nor good works the door, as many would like to believe. Jesus is the only door; and a sinner must have to do with Him to have his sins forgiven and washed away, before he can enter in.
The preacher's good living didn't get him in nor did the poor woman's bad life keep her out. Both were sinners, “for all have sinned,” and as such they entered through the same Door to life and peace, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”