Summary: Open Doors The Gospel is Narrow, part 5
The Gospel is Narrow, part 5
October 27, 2013
As we started this series, I said that we have no control over when we die but we have lots of control over what we do with the days God has given us. So the psalmist prayed, 'teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.' And Paul said to walk in wisdom toward those who do not know Christ by making the most of our time. I said that means to accomplish as much spiritual good as we can with the relationships God has placed in our lives. So Paul asked the Colossian church to pray that God would open a door to declare the gospel. So we ask God to open doors, then we look for God to open doors, and then we walk through those doors by sharing the gospel clearly.
Today I want you to understand that the gospel is narrow. Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart yet rejecting Jesus is disasterous. Turn with me to Luke 13:22-30. I want to give you some context to this passage so you understand the bombshell it was to the original hearers and why a listener would ask the question, 'will only a few be saved?' This whole chapter is about repentance and faith. Turning away from our sin and trusting Christ. The chapter starts out with Jesus telling his listeners that unexpected tragedies like murder and natural disasters like a tower falling and killing people are warnings for all of us that there is a coming judgment and unless you both the religious and the irreligious repent they will face a similar, terrible fate. Then he tells a parable about cutting down a fig tree unless it bears fruit which illustrated Israels need to repent and trust in Jesus as their Messiah. Then there is the parable of the mustard seed and the leaven points to his coming kingdom which will encompass and overcome all other kingdoms of the earth. It is this reason that some listeners say, if the religious as well as the irreligious must repent will only a few be saved? He gives four answers that describes the narrowness of the gospel and the need for everyone to repent and put their faith in Jesus. First, no one gets to heaven by accident; the road to heaven is narrow; not everyone is going to heaven; and missing heaven will be eternal torment.
No one Gets to Heaven by Accident (24)
There are those who strive and those who seek. Those who strive are included; those who seek are excluded form heaven. Striving comes from a word that describes athletic contests, fights, or struggles which require great exertion to compete. It is where we get the word agonize. Following Christ is not for the faint of heart or the armchair quarterback. Paul's describes following Christ as the good fight or the fight of faith. I can hear some say, but I thought salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. It is but the gospel makes dead people spiritually alive who understand that their faith is a struggle, a fight to the finish. No one gets to heaven by accident, only those who strive. When we walk through an open door and share the gospel, we need to communicate that one needs to repent of their sins and believe.
The Road to Heaven is Narrow (24-25)
There is a parallel passage in Matthew that sheds some light here. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. I think Jesus is talking about the narrow door as a a specific door to heaven. The narrow doors is Jesus. I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me. Not all roads lead to heaven. The narrow door also means that all who come to Jesus must understand their need for a Savior who can rescue them. “And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." The narrow door is also a closing door. There is a time for salvation and a time for judgment. John tells us that “God gave his only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Because God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world but so that the world might be saved through him.” The opportunity for salvation is in this life; the next life is for judgment.