Date: 23 May, 2017
Text: Luke 13:22-30
Title: One Instruction To Get Into Heaven
Have you ever looked at a really large city and thought about all the people living there?
ill. Living in NYCity - driving over an hour (with good traffic) to get out of the city. Filled with high rize buildings filled with flats.
ill. I remember in Tucson, AZ - looking at all the city lights and being reminded of all the people.
ill. Here - you can be down in the heart of Edinburgh during the festival - and there are people swarming past.
question: Have you ever wondered how many of them are saved?
note: Saved means - saved from sin's awful punishment of eternal damnation in the fires of Hell and INSTEAD PREPARED TO into the Kingdom of heaven.
Isa 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
ill. Jesus comment on the impossibility of a rich man getting saved. What was he talking about?
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
NOW: Back to the original question - have you ever looked at a city or a great mass of people from that city and wondered - how many are going to spend eternity in Heaven and how many are going to spend eternity in Hell?
exp. We aren't the first generation to wrestle with the reality that MOST are on their way to hell and FEW are on their way to Heaven.
our text: Matthew 19:22-30
22 And he (JESUS) went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved?
exp. This man - probably with a look at the crowd following Jesus - asked the question that has often troubled our hearts as well, "Lord, are there few that be saved?"
I. The one instruction regarding salvation.
exp. Salvation isn't complicated. It is so simple that many very young children have obeyed and received the blessing of their obedience. JESUS HAS JUST ONE SIMPLE COMMAND TO OBTAIN SALVATION.
And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate:
exp. The straight gate is JESUS CHRIST. Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
note: We think of the word "strive" as meaning "try." As in "try your best" to accomplish that. We would in the same way tell someone who failed, "Well at least you tried. You gave it your best shot."
exp. This cannot be the meaning of our Lord's instruction. God never tells us to "give it your best shot and if you fail it is ok."
def. strive - struggle, labor fervently, to compete for a prize.
app. You don't earn Heaven by your works - but you won't be save without determination and striving! If you don't have faith in Jesus - you had better get it before it is too late!
Jer 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Heb 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
ill. James Robe, Kilsyth, Scotland in defence of the revival that was taking place.
"I seriously beg of any who are prejudiced against this dispensation of God's extraordinary grace, and look upon it as a delusion, that they will show themselves so charitable, as to direct me and other ministers, what we shall answer distressed persons of all ages, who come to us crying bitterly that they are undone, because of unbelief and other sins -'What shall we do to be saved!' And as a young girl about twelve, who had been in distress for some time called upon me in the house where I was, and asked me with great sedateness,'What shall I do to get Christ?', shall we tell them that they are not Christless, and are not unconverted, when we evidently see many of them to be such? Shall we tell them that their fears of the wrath of God are all but delusion, and that it is not such a dreadful thing that they need to be much afraid of it" Shall we tell persons lamenting their cursing, and swearing, Sabbath-breaking, and other immoralities, that it is the devil that now makes them see these evils to be offensive to God, and destructive to their souls? Shall we tell them, who, under greatest uneasiness, inquire of us what they shall do to get an interest and faith in Jesus Christ, that Satan is deluding them, when they have, or show any concern this way" In fine, shall we pray and recommend it to them to pray to God, to deliever them from such delusions? It would be worse than devilish to treat the Lord's sighing and groaning prisoners at this rate; and yet such treatment is a natural consequence of reckoning this the work of the devil, and a delusion." The Log College, by Archibald Alexander
exp. Do you know anything of the soul distress mentioned above? If not you are drifting closer and closer to Hell and you are content not to follow God's instruction!
app. If you have yet to succeed in obtaining God's gift of salvation - are you content to lose the opportunity. There is only one instruction - STRIVE TO ENTER THROUGH THE STRAIGHT GATE. (STRAIGHT AND NARROW)
II. The many failures to follow that instruction.
exp. Jesus is asked regarding the number saved and on their way to heaven. He answers with how many are going to Hell.
A. A desire to enter does not mean you are able to enter.
for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
exp. They are seeking - that sounds good. Why aren't they striving to enter in the gate? How are they trying to get into God's heaven?
ill. Because of the Manchester Bombing - Buckingham Palace is closed with uncertainty as to when it will be opened. No doubt many tourists are very disappointed. Normally there is a way into that place if you desired to go in. But NOBODY will pat a person on the back for their desire to enter that place WHO TRIES TO GET INTO IT IN THEIR OWN WAY.
quest: Are the police mean to prevent them? Has the queen no love for her subjects to only allow proper entry to her palace?
exp. We are not applauding religious people today who have a "desire" to get into Heaven.
Our World says - If you are religious that is great! You can worship God how you please! We respect your choice to get into Heaven in your own religious way!
app. You could be a very religious person today - but if your way to Heaven is not GOD'S WAY TO HEAVEN - you will seek to get in but will not be able.
B. There is a final hour where the door is locked.
25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door,
exp. There is a time frame associated with entrance to God's house.
1. The door shuts when you die.
Jas 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
thought: The flowers for your grave may already be cut.
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
2. The door shuts when you spurn God's Spirit of grace.
song: "Seems now some soul doth say, 'Go Spirit, go thy way. Some more convenient day, on thee I'll call."
Heb 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Mat 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
app. Willfully resisting God - when you know it is God commanding you to repent and giving you opportunity to repent - IS A DANGEROUS THING.
C. There is no hope for those outside the door.
and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door,
exp. Knocking shows a desire to be inside. Do you get that - they want in BUT THE DOOR IS SHUT AND IT WILL NEVER BE OPENED.
ill. The ark.
Genesis 7:15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.
19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
exp. I hope the walls of the ark were so thick that Noah and his family couldn't hear the hell (God's judgment) going on outside. I hope they couldn't hear the pounding of any able to get close enough to try to get into the ark after it was TOO LATE!
trans: There is only one instruction to enter - BUT MANY WILL VIOLATE THAT COMMAND.
III. A protest is given despite that instruction.
saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
exp. Hear their pride they demand entry into the King's house - LORD - open unto us!
note: When men get saved it is with humility not pride.
ill. 2 men - pharisee and publican - Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
exp. Now hear the argument of those who refused to humble their heart in life.
A. The protest will be silenced.
26 Then shall ye begin to say,
exp. Their speech will not be lengthy.
ill. I've met many sinners who believe that when they stand before God - they are going to give him a piece of their mind.
note: It's easy to see even now that they believe they will do this.
- If God sends people to hell I want nothing to do with him. (Jehovah's witnesses)
- If God can't see the goodness in me I want nothing to do with him.
- If God doesn't accept these good people who are trying to please Him - I want nothing to do with him.
app. There will be very little protest because the judge will silence them.
B. The protester declares familiarity with the Judge.
We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
exp. Even if these men were Jesus own half brothers and sisters, disciples and friends - they could not enter into Heaven without coming through the straight gate.
ill. Jesus' family calling on him.
Matthew 12:46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.
47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
exp. You aren't family because you are religious - you are family when you become worthy to enter God's kingdom.
Luke 20: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
app. Do you think you have met with God because of your religion and heard His Word? Jesus has harsh judgment for these unsaved religious people. Joh 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
C. The Lord will silence them with the truth.
1. He SAYS to them.
27 But he shall say, I tell you,
ill. Experts are important - if you watch the news - when they discuss terrorism - they call in the most studied person on that topic - because it doesn't really matter what someone on the street thinks - it matters what those who are in the know say.
app. Who better to give His judgment that the Lord Jesus Christ - whom they claim to know?
2. He does not know them.
I know you not whence ye are;
2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.
app. Dont worry friend - if you have Jesus - He knows you and He is in you. But, make no mistake about it - if he doesn't know you - HE KNOWS IT AND YOU DO TOO!
3. He will not know them.
depart from me,
Ill. When I was engaged to my wife - there was nothing I feared more than being separated from her. We were apart for 6 weeks before our wedding and it "felt like an eternity."
exp. This reality is sadder than the flaming fires of hell. YOU GO TO HELL - YOU FOR THE FIRST TIME AND FOR ALL ETERNITY (it will not just feel like it) ENTER A TRULY GODLESS ENVIRONMENT. GOD IS NOT IN HELL!
app. There is no truth in Hell. No peace in Hell. No joy in Hell. No refreshment in Hell. No love in Hell! DEPART FROM ME!
4. How could He know them?
all ye workers of iniquity.
exp. The Judge will have no trouble proving their guilt to these "good" religious people who protest that they know him.
Jude1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
app. Good works - do not remove or cover your sin. It is removed by the BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST ALONE - THE STRAIGHT GATE - THE WAY INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
IV. The judgment passed for breaking that instruction.
exp. Only one rule - but how sad the state of those who neglect God's simple instruction.
A. The punishment is hell.
28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,
exp. Being at A and E and hearing a woman crying out in pain. It was very uncomfortable to hear her agony and not to be able to help. These people will be in such pain that they grind their teeth.
B. The loss will be fully viewed.
when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God,
exp. I don't know how this works - but the rich man could see Abraham and Lazarus in the fires of judgment. What torment to see the paradise but be refused entry.
C. You will be fighting to get in.
and you yourselves thrust out.
exp. Those cast into Hell will not go calmly into the fire. They will be fighting to get into God's kindgom - BUT IT WILL NOT BE ALLOWED.
Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
ill. Friends of ours had tickets booked to spend a week with us several years ago. Illness almost prevented their trip. We told them - go ahead and come. They tried but realized as they got their passports that one of them was expired.
app. That is very disappointing. However, it doesn't begin to explain how you will feel if you don't have a passport to Heaven. You will fight to get in - BUT YOU WILL BE THRUST OUT.
V. The impartiality of that instruction.
question: As you think about this one instruction this morning - Is God unfair or are people foolish?
Joh 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
Rev 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
app. He is waiting today - and you can come to Him!
A. Anyone from any nation who obeys can come into Heaven.
29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
note: There is one gate - and it is narrow - but it is OPEN TO PEOPLE FROM EVERY NATION IN THE WORLD.
Ill. The heavenly city - New Jerusalem - Rev. 21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
app. Brits, Americans, Africans, Europeans, Canadians, Mexicans - all can enter in WHO ENTER THROUGH THE STRAIGHT GATE.
B. You are in the wrong queue if you neglect this instruction.
30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
exp. These Pharisees were in the front of the queue - they thought. They were wrong. The gentiles would enter the Kingdom of Heaven - and they would not.
Ill. The day after Thanksgiving - getting up at 4:30 getting in a very long queue. Imagine that when the doors open I get up there and all along I had been in the wrong line! What a waste of time, effort, energy - how disappointing that would be.
exp. But, imagine what it will be for those who worked so hard to get into Heaven THE WRONG WAY.
app. You won't go to Heaven today -because you come from a religious family, because you have been christened, because you have been a faithful part of your church! YOU MAY THINK YOU ARE FIRST IN THE QUEUE TO ENTER GLORY BUT YOU HAVE BEEN STANDING IN THE WRONG LINE.
REMEMBER THE MAN WITH THE QUESTION - probably with a look at the crowd following Jesus - asked the question that has often troubled our hearts as well, "Lord, are there few that be saved?"
Did you notice that Jesus didn't really answer his question? I wonder if it isn't because it doesn't matter this morning HOW MANY are saved. What matters this morning is IF YOU are saved!
What about you my friend?
Are you born again?
Have you put your faith in Jesus?
Are you a follower of God's way?
Today would be a great day to get saved? To enter into God's kingdom by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!