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Summary: THE AVAILABILITY OF SALVATION.

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FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY

LUKE 13:23-28

I. INTRODUCTION

DEPARTMENT STORES OFTEN HAVE SALES AND SPECIALS THAT THEY OFFER TO THE CONSUMER. OCASSIONALY, THEY WILL SEND ADVERTISEMENST IN THE MAIL. COUPON AFTER COUPON ARRIVES TO NOTIFY US OF SUCH SALES. FOR SOME, THESE COUPONS ARE LIKE GOLD, WHILE FOR OTHERS THEY ARE JUST JUNK MAIL THAT FINDS IT WAY TO FILE 13.

IF YOU CHECK THESE OFFERS CLOSELY, SOME OF THEM ARE PRETTY GOOD DEALS, WHILE OTHERS DO NOTHING FOR OUR SPENDING APETITE. IF I’M READING YOUR FACES CORRECTLY, SOME OF YOU LOVE TO GO ON THESE SHOPPING SPREES TO GET ALL YOU CAN BEFORE THE OFFER RUNS OUT. WHY? BECAUSE YOU UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY.

HAVE YOU EVER PLANNED TO GO AND BUY THAT SPECIAL ITEM ONLY TO DISCOVER THAT IT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE? OFTEN IT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE DUE TO OTHERS BEATING YOU TO THE PUNCH, AND SOMETIMES IT’S NOT AVAILABLE DUE TO YOUR PROCRASTINATION. SOMETIMES WHEN THE PRODUCT IS NOT AVAILABLE, THEY WILL OFFER WHAT THEY CALL A RAINCHECK, MEANING THAT YOU CAN COME BACK LATER AND GET THE ITEM THAT YOU DESIRED.

BUT MY BROTHERS AND MY SISTERS, THERE IS ANOTHER OFFER THAT IS AVAILABLE MORE PRECIOUS AND MORE VALUABLE THAN ANY ITEM THAT YOU CAN FIND IN THE DEPARTMENT STORE, AND THAT’S THE ITEM OF SALVATION, AND IT IS FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY. THERE ARE NO RAINCHECKS TO BE GIVEN. IF YOU MISS THIS SPECIAL OFFER DUE TO PROCRASTINATION, YOU WILL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE AT IT. WHY BECAUSE SALVATION IS FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY.

II. THE TEXT

JESUS HAD BEEN TEACHING IN THE SYNAGOGUES AS WAS HIS CUSTOM WHEN SOMEONE ASKED HIM ABOUT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT WILL BE SAVED. WE SHOULD NOT BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT WILL BE SAVED, BUT WE MUST MAKE SURE THAT WE WILL BE IN THE KINGDOM. THAT’S NOT TO SAY THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE CONCERNED ABOUT OTHERS, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO SALVATION, WE MUST BE SURE, AND VERY SURE THAT WE ARE SAVED FIRST.

JESUS PROCEEDED TO TELL THEM THAT THOSE WHO WOULD BE SAVED MUST STRIVE TO ENTER IN AT THE STRAIGHT GATE. THE WORD STRIVE IN THIS TEXT, COMES FROM A GREEK WORD THAT MEANS LABOR FERVENTLY. CHANGING ONES WAYS IS A STRUGGLE AND JESUS KNOWS THAT SOMETIMES IT CAN BE AGONIZING TO GIVE UP THE OLD FOR THE NEW.

THE PHRASE STRAIGHT GATE COMES FROM THE ILLUSTRATION OF A CASTLE ON A HILL HAVING A NARROW PATH AND A NARROW DOOR. MANY WILL SEEK TO ENTER BUT WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ENTER BECAUSE THEIR LIVES WERE A TOTAL CONTRADICTION TO THE WAY, THE WORD, AND THE WILL OF GOD. IF A PERSON DIES WITHOUT ACCEPTING CHRIST AS SAVIOR, THEY WILL NEVER BE SAVED. WHY? BECAUSE SALVATION IS FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY. ONCE THE DOOR TO SALVATION HAS BEEN CLOSED, IT IS CLOSED FOR ALL ETERNITY.

HAVING THE GOOD INTENTION TO BE SAVED AND ACTUALLY BEING SAVED ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS, AND WHEN IT COMES TO OUR ETERNAL DESTINATION, INTENTIONS DON’T AMOUNT TO A HILL OF BEANS. CHURCHES ARE FILLED WITH FOLK WHO WILL TRY TO GET INTO HEAVEN BUT CAN’T.

GRACE AND MERCY ARE KEEPING THE DOOR OPEN RIGHT NOW, BUT THERE WILL COME A TIME WHEN GRACE AND MERCY WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE TO MEN. JESUS PATIENTLY WAITS FOR ANYONE WISHING TO BE SAVED TO COME UNTO HIM. MATT. 11:28, “COME UNTO ME, ALL YE THAT LABOUR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST.” THE INVITATION TO COME TO JESUS IS FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY. JESUS DESIRES THAT ALL MEN WOULD BE SAVED. 2 PETER 3:9, “ THE LORD IS NOT SLACK CONCERNING HIS PROMISE, AS SOME MEN COUNT SLACKNESS; BUT IS LONGSUFFERING TO US-WARD, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE.”


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