Summary: Pentecost 14 (C) - Heaven’s door is narrow. By only trusting in God’s grace alone will believers live to make every effort to enter.
HEAVEN’S DOOR IS NARROW (Outline)
September 6, 2009 --
PENTECOST 14 --
INTRO: Today Jesus points out that the door to heaven is narrow. This does not mean that heaven is full. The Lord’s will is to see all mankind saved. But not all people are saved! Why? When left on their own humans simply make the wrong choice. Adam and Eve, living in a perfect world, used their free will to disobey God and chose evil. After the flood only eight (8) people were saved. Millions died. Human-ity had chosen sin, wickedness, and evil. Lot and his family are spared from God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. This time the angel of God had to take them by the hand to lead them away from evil and out of destruction. Man’s heart hardens a bit more with every generation. God’s choice for the world is eternal life. "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth"(1 TIMOTHY 2:3,4). God wants salvation for all. Sadly, people choose damnation.
HEAVEN’S DOOR IS NARROW.
I. Trusting only God’s grace,
II. Make every effort to enter.
I. TRUSTING ONLY IN GOD’S GRACE
A. Verse 23. Someone asks Jesus the question of the day, the question of the ages. How many saved?
B. Jesus answers with an example to show that his time of grace will finally, eventually come to an end.
1. Verse 25. On Judgment Day the door will be shut. There will be no second chance.
2. Those outside want in. It is too late. Judgment takes place once – and for all, forever.
3. Verse 26. The unbelievers have excuses. These are all external not involving their heart.
4. A passing acquaintance with Jesus will not save, verse 27. Jesus alone changes hearts.
C. The wicked are separated from God forever. Worse, they will also know they forsook God’s grace.
1. Verse 28. God’s prophets whom the people rejected are safely gathered into God’s kingdom.
2. Unbelievers reject Gods’ grace. Unbelievers choose to separate themselves from God’s grace.
D. Let’s face it no one is exempt from turning away from and against the Lord God Almighty. By nature we are God’s enemies. We live in a sinful world with our sinful flesh constantly trying to turn us away from God. Sometimes sin wins. Sometimes Satan succeeds. Left on our own we would and should be lost forever. It is in our sinful nature not to please God. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear"(ISAIAH 59:2).
E. How, then, can anyone be saved? Salvation is impossible with man’s desires but with God all things are possible. Our eternal salvation depends only, solely, and truly on God’s grace and God’s grace alone! It is most certainly true that we do not deserve to be saved. Nor can we earn or buy forgiveness. God’s free grace alone that save us. "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit"(TITUS 3:4,5). God’s grace opens heaven’s narrow door.
F. Exactly, what is God’s grace? Some Bible translations call grace mercy. These words certainly can be interchanged. Mercy is God’s kindness. Grace is God’s undeserved love. "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding" (EPHESIANS 1:7,8). For a further explanation please be sure to read Ephesians, chapter 2. God freely forgives. Freely God provides eternity as our home. This is God’s grace. In spite of our sins heaven’s door is opened without any merit or worthiness of ours.
HEAVEN’S DOOR IS NARROW. Even though the door is narrow it is open. God’s grace swings wide the door to invite all to enter. Those trusting and believing God’s grace alone enter. Our life on earth is our time of grace. This means that we have a lifetime to know God better.
II. MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ENTER
A. Someone asks if only a few would be saved. Jesus wants that person to be prepared, verse 24.
1. Jesus says, “Make every effort to enter”. Do not lose your own soul for the sake of others.
2. Jesus makes the “effort” easy, verse 22. Jesus went to the small towns bringing the Gospel.
B. Everyone’s time of grace on earth will come to an end. Those posing as Christians will be lost.
1. God’s kingdom is more than a matter of eating and drinking. This takes no effort at all.