The Narrow Door | Luke 13:22-30

The Narrow Door | Luke 13:22-30

The Narrow Door – Luke 13:22-30

Introduction

The brick wall was faded, uneven, and weathered; the imposing wooden door was more than seven feet tall but less than three feet wide, arched at its top and situated in a doorway that was a few feet deep.
The visitor stood outside in the darkness, peering into the warm glow of the Baroque interior-a cavernous room filled with tables overflowing with sumptuous food and chalices of wine. The people inside were ready to enjoy their feast, but they were all waiting as they looked to their left, as if anticipating someone was going to speak before the meal.
Peering in, the visitor saw his friend David sitting at a table not far from the doorway. Surprised, he called out to get David’s attention. “I thought we were going to eat together” the visitor said.
David, his gaze never leaving the front of the room, was only able to reply, “You never responded.”
As he described the scene to me, my friend Nabeel was staring off to the side, his brow furrowed and his eyes narrowed as if he was reliving the experience. He turned to face me. “That was the whole dream,” he said.
My living room was quiet, except for the gentle hum of the air conditioner outside. “And this came after you had asked God for a clear vision?” I asked.
“That’s right,” he replied. “I called David the next day and asked him what he thought of my dream.”
“David is your Christian friend?”
“My only Christian Friend. I was a devout Muslim; I didn’t like to sully myself by associating with too many Christians.”
“And what did he tell you?”
“He said there was no need to interpret what I had experienced. All I need to do was open the Bible to the thirteenth chapter of Luke”.

  • This account is from the book “A case for Miracles” by Lee Strobel. Nabeel, the man who had this dream, was a devout Muslim who had never read a single verse from the new testament. After asking God for a sign, then having this dream, Nabeel gave his life fully to Christ and was born again.
    • It’s a true story, very similar to my own, and it touched me enough that I had to share it this morning. Let’s turn our Bibles to Luke chapter 13.

Luke 13:22-30 ESV  He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem.  (23)  And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them,  (24)  “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.  (25)  When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’  (26)  Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’  (27)  But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’  (28)  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.  (29)  And people will c23ome from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.  (30)  And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Show Title Slide

  • The sermon that I am going to preach today is heavy, but I urge everyone in this room to listen to every word… EVERYONE needs this message. Me, my wife, the pastors of the church, the elders, the Christians, the members of the church, visitors, and those who are not yet Christians… all of you need this…

PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY

Point One – Few Will Enter the Gates of Heaven

  • Point one this morning “Few will enter the Gates of Heaven”.
    • Say the word few.
      • FEW
        • Not many, not tons, certainly not everyone… but few!

Luke 13:23-24 ESV  And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them,  (24)  “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

  • Just look at this verse for a moment… there are two groups of people here… the “few” group, and the “many” group.
    • “will those be saved be few” is the question.
    • “Many will seek to enter and not be able” is the answer.
  • The few are saved, the many are not.
    • THIS, CHURCH, SHOULD TERIFY YOU!
    • This should make you so fearful that you TREMBLE.
    • Why? Because if you are a Christian you ought to want to go to heaven…
    • And if only a few go to heaven, you ought to want to be one of the few…
    • Because if you don’t go to heaven there is only one other option…
  • Many will seek to enter and will not be able! YOU SHOULD BE TERIFIED THAT YOU MIGHT BE ONE OF THE MANY!
  • “But Pastor! You can’t say that! I know I am going to heaven because of…”
    • Because of what? Because you go to church on Sunday?
    • Because you pay tithes and offerings?
    • Because you said a prayer and were baptized?
    • Because you do so many good things?
    • YOU KNOW WHO YOU SOUND LIKE?! The MANY who did not make it…

Luke 13:26-28 ESV  Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’  (27)  But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’  (28)  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.

Matthew 7:22-23 ESV  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  (23)  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

  • When Jesus says “Few will enter heaven, many will be cast out”… again I will say it, THIS SHOULD TERIFY YOU!
    • It ought to bring you so much fear that you tremble!

Philippians 2:12 ESV  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

  • Paul says “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”.
    • Note that he wrote that to a church of believers…
    • And not just any church, he just said “as you have always obeyed”.
    • This is an obedient and submissive church.
    • And yet Paul, as inspired by God Himself, still says “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”.
  • If few are going to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, I want to make sure I am one of the few?! Amen?!
    • Now I don’t say all of this to make you question your salvation.
    • In fact, I want you to be assure of your salvation!
    • I don’t want you to question your salvation at all, I want you to continue it to completion!
  • “What do you mean ‘continue it to completion’ pastor, I thought salvation was through Christ alone”,
    • It absolutely is, but it’s not a one time event that happens.
    • It’s not a ticket into heaven that you purchase with a prayer and a baptism then keep in your back pocket till you die.
  • Salvation is a life long race, it is a marathon that only ends when you die.

Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  (2)  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  (3)  Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

  • So you started your race well, you got saved, born again, baptized and on fire!
    • Great! But they don’t give out prizes to people who START in 1st place.
    • They only give out prizes to people who FINISH in 1st place.
  • Back to Philippians 2:12

Philippians 2:12 ESV  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

  • That phrase “work out” is translated from the Greek word “κατεργάζομαι”
    (kat-er-gad’-zom-ahee”) which literally translates to “Finish the construction” or “Complete the task”.
  • Now the good news is, Jesus doesn’t leave us hanging, He tells us exactly how to do that… and this brings me to point two: Stop seeking, start striving.

Point Two – Stop seeking, start striving.

Luke 13:24 ESV  “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

  • There are two groups of people in this verse, those who seek to enter the narrow door and those who strive to enter the narrow door.
    • DON’T BE A SEEKER. BE A STRIVER.
  • There are so many seeking Jesus… they want to find Him… if they could only find Him…
    • There are churches that label themselves as “Seeker sensitive” and whole marketing movements that teach you how to build your church to be attractive to the seeker.
    • If you play this kind of music, use this kind of advertising, preach this kind of sermon… then seekers will come to your church looking for Jesus.
  • HERE IS THE PROBLEM! JESUS IS NOT THE ONE WHO IS LOST!
    • People are seeking Jesus like He is the lost one… Jesus is not the lost one, WE ARE.
    • And if we do not strive, if we do not work out our salvation, we will find ourselves on the wrong end of a closed door!
  • And I am not talking about works based salvation… I am talking about salvation that produces good works.
  • Look, Paul uses the race example, so I will use that too.
    • Did you know it cost’s $180 dollars to enter the Boston marathon?
    • Not only that, but you have meet a qualifying time of 3 hours and 10 minutes…
    • Now, you may have $180, but I doubt anyone in here could run 26.22 miles in 3 hours and 10 minutes.
      • Works based salvation says “Therefore, go out and train and work and train and work until you can run 26.22 miles in 3 hours, then save $180 and enter the Boston Marathon.
      • True salvation is like this “Jesus say “Do you want to enter the Marathon, I will pay the price for you” you say YES and Jesus pays the $180 for you and runs the qualifying time for you!
        • “That’s cheating!” you might say, but actually it’s not, it’s right there in the rule book, Jesus knows the rules because He wrote them and His father enforces them!
      • Now in one case you must WORK to enter the marathon, and no matter what you do you will never make it.
      • In another you are granted entry as a free gift.
        • But here is the deal… just because you entered the marathon doesn’t mean life is over.
        • YOU STILL HAVE TO RUN THE MARATHON.
  • The problem with seeking is that once you find what you are seeking, you stop.
    • Maybe you are seeking joy, or love, or friendship, or happiness, or healing, or blessing… and once you find that blessing… boop… you are done seeking!
      • I have seen it happen time and time again. People seeking Jesus as a crises management tool, seeking that blessing, and the SECOND things get better you never see them again.
  • The problem we have is so many people seek entrance to the marathon, find their free ticket, then sit on their buts at the starting line.
    • Many will be at the starting line, church, but few will finish.
  • And here is the thing, the Boston Marathon has a 4 and a half hour time limit, you don’t finish in that time, you are disqualified… no matter what you did to gain entry.
  • OUR LIVES HAVE A TIME LIMIT. Once we die, that’s it… it doesn’t matter how you start but how you finish.
  • FINISH THE RACE.
  • And here is what is beautiful… there are some who worked SO HARD to qualify and lived lives that look SO HOLY… but never accepted the free gift… and even though they had the best times before the race… they don’t win, because they don’t have Jesus helping them.
    • On the otherhand, there are some who are so slow, so wicked, so evil, they should never be allowed ever near the race, but because of Jesus free gift and His constant help during the race, they win!

Luke 13:30 ESV  And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

  • Isn’t that beautiful, Jesus will help you no matter who you are, just keep striving!
  • So what does striving look like? In a word, “humility”.
  • Do your prayers sound like this, if so, you are a striver, if not, check your heart.
    • “Lord, thank you for saving me, I can never thank you enough. Father can you show me how I can grow in you today? Can you show me how I can look more like you today? Father I love you so much and I want to be like you, show me what I need to kill in my life… show me sin that I need to repent of, even if I don’t know I am doing it. Help me be more like You. Use me for Your kingdom. Send me, and I will go.”
  • That’s a humble prayer. That’s a striving prayer.
  • Do you read your bible like this, with humility?
    • “Wow, I never knew that… I need to align my life to look more like the verse I just read!”
    • Or do you think you know it all? That you have it together?
  • Do you listen to sermons and think:
    • “How can I apply this to my life”
  • Or do you think
    • That was a great sermon for someone else?
  • Do you desire to grow in Christ, to serve more, learn more, teach more, share more, worship more, love more, exalt more, read more, praise more, repent more…
  • Or are you happy with what you found, and that’s all…

Conclusion

My testimony

Matthew 5:13 ESV  “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Altar call for people to be saved

Luke 13:22-30 ESV  He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem.  (23)  And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them,  (24)  “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.  (25)  When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’  (26)  Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’  (27)  But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’  (28)  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.  (29)  And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.  (30)  And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Altar Call for rededication.

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