Summary: A message on the conditions Jesus gave for going to heaven.
Luke Series #66 May 26, 2002
Title: Will You Go To Heaven?
Introduction: Welcome to New life in Christ. This morning we are continuing in Chapter 13 of the Book of Luke in our verse-by-verse teaching series out of that book.
Read Luke 13:22-35
Illustration: A certain lady died stood at the Gates of Heaven. She could look and see a beautiful banquet table set, with all her family members who had died before sitting and enjoying the feast. They all saw her and started waving and motioning her to come in. A saint appeared and said, “Hello. We’ve been waiting for you.” And she said, "This is such a wonderful place, how do I get in?" The gatekeeper smiled and said, “All you have to do is correctly spell one word.” “What is it?” She anxiously asked. “Spell love,” he said. The woman smiled and spelled “l.o.v.e.” and she was welcomed into heaven. About a year later, the same woman was on gate duty when her husband arrived unexpectedly. She said, “I am surprised to see you! How have you been doing?” He said, “Actually, I’ve been doing really well since you died. Do you remember that pretty nurse that took care of you? We fell in love and married a few weeks after you died. Then I won the lottery so we sold our little house and moved into a huge mansion. My new wife and I have been very happy and have been traveling all over the world. In fact we were just on a skiing trip to the Swiss Alps when I was caught in an avalanche, and that’s why I’m here. By the way, how do I get in?” His ex-wife said, “All you have to do is spell one word correctly and you can enter heaven.” He said, “OK, what’s the word?” She smiled wryly and said, “Czechoslovakia.”
I think all of us realize that this is not the way to get into heaven when we die, which is probably good news for all of us who depend on spell check! This humorous story does bring up a most serious question. How does a person get into heaven? Who will be there and who will not? Perhaps it would be best to ask this question in a more personal manner-not wondering who else or how many will go to heaven, but rather asking ourselves, “Will you go to heaven?”
I do not believe there is a more important issue than this one. It is important because it affects everyone in this room today. According to the Bible, everyone in this room will either go to heaven forever or go to hell forever. Such an important issue as one dealing with our eternal destiny should not be taken lightly. We do not want to be ignorant, deceived or wrong about our future beyond the grave. You and I don’t have to be uncertain or wrong about going to heaven because in this passage is primarily about heaven and how to gain entrance into it. In this passage Jesus gives us the conditions for going to heaven.
I want you to understand that this passage is about entering into heaven. When the man in this story asks about people being “saved”, he is asking, “How many people will go to heaven?” When Jesus talks about entering through a “narrow door” and a door being shut, he is figuratively speaking of the entrance door to heaven. Even the reference to the “feast” in verse 29 was a well-known metaphor for eternal fellowship at God’s table in heaven. Having established that the subject matter of this passage of the Bible is heaven; let us now look at this passage verse by verse.
Read Verses 22,23
Luke once again notes that Jesus was on his “way to Jerusalem.” This was not just literary “filler” but was rather intentionally noted by Luke with the purpose of showing us that Jesus always kept focused and intent on following God’s will for his life, which was suffering and dying for our sins in Jerusalem. Jesus serves as an example to us who are his followers, in that above all things he pursued God’s will purposely and resolutely. We are to do the same. That determination to do the Father’s will, despite the personal cost, is also reflected in verses 31 through 35 where Jesus refuses to be dissuaded by fear or intimidation from following the Father’s will.
As Jesus travels, he also teaches and this presents an opportunity for someone to bring up a much-discussed question of the day. “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” In other words the man is asking, "Are only a small number of people going to heaven?" We do not know what prompted this person to ask this question; perhaps he wanted Jesus to join the current theological debate?