Hey, as we get started this morning, I wanted to update you and let you know that Friday was a historic day for our church.
We officially closed on the loan for our building!
A huge thank you to Ben Riechers from our church, who put an endless amount of hours over the past 5.5 years into making this deal happen!
(Show Land Slide 2020)
So, we are hoping to break ground on our building…sometime this month!
We’ll have a big ground-breaking ceremony once we get closer to it, so stay tuned in the next week or two for that.
THE NARROW DOOR
(LOST & FOUND SERIES Slide)
All right, as a church right now, we are going through a Book of the Bible called Luke
It is one of 4 books of the Bible that has the teachings of Jesus in it.
I’d love for you to follow along.
We are going through this book in order (verse by verse, chapter by chapter), and today we are on Chapter 13, starting at verse 22.
And in the month to come, we’ll just keep going through it.
So if you want to learn more about what the Bible teaches, this is a great place for you.
And today, we’ve come to a pretty challenging teaching from Jesus.
Especially for modern-day Americans anyway.
I’m going to read it all the way through first, and then we’ll start talking through it
(Luke 13:22-30) – NIV
22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
So it starts with someone asking Jesus, “Will only a few people be saved?”
That is be saved from the consequences of their sin? To be saved from hell.
That’s a strong way to say it, but that is what they’re asking.
I don’t want to lie to you just I can avoid talking about hard things
And Jesus, doesn’t directly answer the man’s question about how many or how few will be saved, but instead, he starts applying the question to the people themselves.
And he says, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door.”
Okay, what does that mean?
Well, it means a couple of things.
For one, we see that there is one way to be saved. One door.
He’s not saying, “If you want to go to heaven, and be saved, choose any door you like.”
He’s saying, “If you want to be saved, you need to pick ‘this’ door…the narrow door.”
And the door is Jesus
In John 10 in the Bible, Jesus tells us this:
(John 10:9a) – NIV
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
The Bible makes it clear that salvation is found through one door and one person.
And we see this teaching often:
(Acts 4:12) - NIV
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
But this is hard for us as modern people, isn’t it?
It feels intellectually arrogant to say, my religion is the right way, yours is the wrong way.
It feels better to say, “No, they’re all right.”
The average person wants to agree with that.
But do you know who doesn’t?
All of the people who are actually a part of those world religions
Guess what, Muslims think they’re the only way to God
Buddhists think they have the only path we are to follow
And on and on
But many Americans would counter by saying, “No, All religions have different doors, but they lead to the same place”
I often hear this explained by the analogy of the blind men and the elephant.
Have you heard this one?
Three blind men come upon an elephant…
The 1st blind man grabs the trunk and says, “This creature is long and flexible…it’s a snake!”
The 2nd blind man grabs a leg and says, “This creature is thick and round….it’s not a creature, it’s a tree trunk!”
The 3rd blind man touches the side of the elephant and says, “This creature is flat and large, it’s not a creature at all, it’s a wall!”
And the analogy is supposed to teach us how each religion of the world is like one of the blind men.
It has a grasp on a PART of a spiritual truth, but not all of it.
But to claim that one has full knowledge of God…is arrogant.
Makes sense, right?
A LOT of Americans resonate w/ that analogy
However, put your thinking cap on, and take a step back.
It appears like a really humble analogy, but it’s actually quiet arrogant
Because the person who’s saying all religions are partially true…is saying, “None of you has the whole truth…you’re just blind men…but I have such an absolute vantage point of reality…that only I can see the whole elephant. Only I can see things as they really are.”
And they are therefore claiming that they have the very knowledge that no religious experts have
They KNOW who God really is.
Which is the same sort of exclusivity that all the relgions are accused of.
I want you to reason with me…this is a thinking person’s church.
It is actually intellectually irresponsible to believe all religions lead to the same place
If they do, that’s not even a God not worth following.
The world religions contradict each other so intensely, if that is God’s version of trying to speak to us, that’s not a God I want to listen to.
No, logic and reason say there are only two rational options:
Option One: 1 of religions is right…and the rest are wrong
That’s a rational conclusion.
Or, Option Two: They can all be wrong (you could come to that conclusion)
I don’t think it’s the right one, but you could logically go there.
But the idea that they are all right…is intellectually irresponsible…
And so, knowing that, let’s look again at Jesus’ claim that He is the way to God.
We want to spend the rest of our time looking at that.
Elsewhere, in The Book of John…he says this:
(John 14:6) – NIV
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
In our passage in Luke, Jesus says that he is the Narrow Door through which we must enter if we want to be saved.
But listen, a narrow door is not something that you just aimlessly drift into.
If you can imagine a narrow door…it’s something you have to purposefully, intentionally try to get into.
Maybe even turn sideways to get in, or duck down.
It takes intentionality and effort.
And yet many of us are just drifting through life spiritually.
Sure, you maybe grew up in church, come every once in a while, believe God exists.
But you’re not, as Jesus says, “making every effort” to make sure you’re going through the right door.
If we were to map your spiritual life, it looks more like a feather being blown around in the wind…
And that feather is more likely to just hit the wall at the end of its journey than purposefully enter through a specific, narrow door.
BUT WE KNEW YOU!
Jesus then begins to elaborate on this sort of casual, spiritual drifting a bit more in verse 26 if you still have it in front of you.
He says, eventually, the door will shut.
That means, eventually, your life will end.
Whether tomorrow, or when you’re 85, none of us know
And as soon as your life ends, so does the chance to decide whether or not you will enter through Jesus’ narrow door.
You can only decide here on earth.
And if you haven’t entered through the narrow door, you haven’t become a follower of Jesus…
You will be on the outside.
Not in heaven.
And when we see God, and see heaven, we’ll want to say, “Sir, open the door!”
Again, let me say, this is a tough passage in the Bible that we’ve gotten to this week.
But these are the words of Jesus…the same Jesus that everyone loves when he talks about forgiveness and peace and love…
…so we must take this just as seriously.
Because that same Jesus is saying, “Some of you are going to be shocked when you find out you’re not going to heaven.”
And this will be true, right?
How many people do you know (outside of atheists), that say, “Yeah, I don’t believe I’m going to heaven.”
Certainly many will be surprised.
And Jesus says that we’ll say, “But I ate with you…and drank with you…”
“I took communion at my church…”
“I heard your teachings!”
“I was in church…I learned about the ten commandments”
“I was confirmed…baptized as a baby”
And Jesus will say, (verse 27), “I don’t know you.”
Of course Jesus knows who you are…but He’s saying that you don’t know each other…
You don’t have a relationship with Jesus.
And that, is what will save you.
The Bible teaches that we are saved when we become a disciple of Jesus…a follower of His.
One that believes He died on the cross in our place.
And we walk through the narrow door by committing to follow Him
Jesus doesn’t just want you to know about Him, He wants you to know Him…personally.
To be in a relationship with Him.
To truly know His love and forgiveness for you.
If you don’t know Him like that, then you probably haven’t ever walked through the narrow door.
And then, as if today’s passage isn’t intense enough, Jesus gives us a warning.
I’m going to read the verse that most will skip over.
But again, Jesus Himself said this, so we would be foolish & arrogant to skip over it.
When we die someday, Jesus is not going to say, “Oh good. I’m glad you skipped that part…I said it, but I didn’t actually want you to know about it.”
We’re committed here to studying the whole Bible, even the parts that make us a little uncomfortable.
If we felt comfortable with everything God said, then He wouldn’t be God…he would be a God we made up.
So in talking about those who get left outside the door, Jesus says this:
(Luke 13:28) – NIV
28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.
He says, that if aren’t saved…if we don’t make it in…
We’ll begin to weep…and gnash our teeth.
That’s to be in so much anguish that you grind or strike your teeth together
I’ve often felt that there is no stronger emotion than regret.
Especially, to know you should have done something, but you didn’t.
To know you should have married a certain person, but you broke up with them, and now they married someone else
To know you should have taken a certain job, but you hesitated, and now someone else has it
To know you should have forgiven your mother, but now she’s gone, and it’s too late.
Regret is an extremely painful emotion.
And Jesus is warning you that you don’t want to spend eternity regretting turning down his incredible offer to save you.
THE LAST (the humble) WILL BE FIRST
Think of it this way: Imagine you’re trapped in a really large, dimly-lit room…with no windows…and just one small door.
And the door has some writing on it, so you walk up to it, and it says, “Enter through my narrow door and you will be saved – Sincerely, Jesus.”
But you think,
“I don’t need help from Jesus. I can do this myself.”
“And besides, if I walk through that door, I’m going to have to surrender my life to Him, and I don’t want to do that.”
So you spend the next day or two…trying to find another way.
Could you punch your way through the wall?
Is there a way through the ceiling…maybe through the vents?
How about the floor? Can you tunnel out?
And after 2 days of trying, and no food, and no water…you still can’t save yourself.
And you’re just staring at that door.
And it still says, “Enter through my narrow door and you will be saved – Jesus”
Listen, I don’t want you to miss how good of news this is!
You don’t have to earn your salvation.
Jesus doesn’t say, “you’re in the ‘room of life,’ and as soon as you do enough good deeds, then my door will appear to save you.
No, it’s already there. It’s there RIGHT NOW!
No matter what you’ve done…it’s already there.
You just have to walk through it.
To believe in faith that He died for you, and turn your life over to Him.
But to do that will take an immense amount of humility
It takes humility to stop saying, “Nah…I’ll figure this out myself…I’m not going to turn my life over to God. I got this.”
Most people aren’t humble enough to turn their life over to God.
Many of you will leave this room today and not surrender your life to God…because you’re convinced that you’re fine….
…you’ll find another door!
In the Bible, Jesus is speaking this message to a particular group of people…most of whom thought they were “fine,” and that they would be saved…
…simply because they obeyed the 10 commandments and they were “good people”
You cannot get to heaven just by somehow becoming a good person…because no one will have paid for your sin!
If that’s what you believe, ironically, it’s your pride that will keep you out.
This is what the last 2 verses are all about
(Luke 13:29-30) – NIV
People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
This would have been so shocking to Jesus’ listeners.
Jesus is saying to his immediate listeners, “People from all over the world are going to enter through the narrow door and be saved, but you, yourselves, will be thrown out.”
Because they thought they could save themselves!
They thought another door would appear once they were good enough!
They thought, “We’re religious! We attend religious services. We obey the rules. We don’t get divorced. We give our money to God. We’re sexually pure.”
But they were saying, “But Jesus, let me get this straight, you’re saving that all of these sinful people around us that have messed up their lives…that many of THEM are going to get saved instead?!?”
This is what Jesus is talking about in verse 30 when he says, “The last will be first, and the first will be last.”
It’s….Those who think that they’re first…those who think that they’re going to heaven because they’re such a good person and had a nice successful and moral life…they’re ‘first in line” in the world.
…those will be the very people who will be shut out. They will be “last”
Because they never really knew Jesus.
They never had a relationship with Him.
They never accepted his death on the cross for them.
And they just tried to get there on their own merit.
But the rest of you…Those that the world considers last.
Those of you who can humbly accept that your life has been messy, and full of sin.
Those of you that can accept that God doesn’t owe you anything but his justice.
Those of you who are humble enough to see that you can’t save yourself
You will be the ones that will accept Jesus’ rescue…and walk through his door.
Even if the world says Jesus is narrow and there other ways to God.
You’ll humbly trust in His worlds rather than the culture’s
Even if you have to stoop down and lower your pride to get in the door
Jesus says it this way in Matthew:
(Matthew 18:3-4) – NIV
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
If you want to enter in through that narrow, little door, you’ll have to become like a child to fit through.
You’ll have to let go of the adult ways of:
Knowing that you’re right.
Thinking you’ve got it all figured out
You’ll have to surrender to someone bigger than you
The last (the humble)…will be first…will be saved.
And Jesus can save you RIGHT NOW if you are willing to believe
This is summed up in perhaps the greatest verse in the Bible
(John 3:16) – NIV
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Whoever believes that He died on the cross for them, and walks through the door, ready to follow Him…will be saved.
And you can do that today.
You can start a relationship with God…who loves you so much.
Despite seeing all of your sin and all of your mistakes…He loves you like a Heavenly Father.
He’s the perfect Father.
I want you to know His love and forgiveness!
This is a relationship that he’s already initiated.
The Son of God came down to die for your sins…putting the door in its place.
All you have to is accept this gift and walk through it.
And so today, if you need to be forgiven…if you need to walk through that narrow door to follow Jesus…I want you to take that step today to become a follower of Jesus Christ.
Here’s what we’re going to do.
In just a second, I’m going to pray, and then our band will come up for a final song.
If you want to turn over your life to Jesus, to start a relationship with Him, what I want you to do…is to literally walk out that narrow door right there…into the hallway…ANYTIME during the last song.
And I’ll be out there.
And I will pray for you…And give you some important next steps for how you can follow Jesus.
That won’t be easy to do.
To get up and walk through it.
It’ll take some humility
But boy will it be worth it.
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.