Summary: The danger of being excluded from the kingdom of God teaches us to be sure that we have entered the kingdom of God.
Jesus is still on his way to Jerusalem from Galilee. He only has a few months left to live. He knows that he is going to Jerusalem to pay the penalty for people’s sin by his death. He will sacrifice his life in order to reconcile sinners with a holy God.
The theme of Jesus’ preaching is the kingdom of God. He has been urging people to enter the kingdom of God. Someone wanted to know if only a few people would be saved. Jesus did not answer the question, but warned people about the danger of being excluded from the kingdom of God. He urged people to enter the kingdom of God through the narrow door.
Let’s read about the narrow door in Luke 13:22-30:
22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:22-30)
In the summer of 1988 my wife, Eileen, and I flew from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh. It was Independence Day weekend and we anticipated an overcrowded airplane. Since we did not have to be back in Pittsburgh for another day, we decided that we would arrive at the airport at the last minute. We were hoping that the flight would be overbooked. The airline would find us another flight home and we would get vouchers.
When we arrived at the gate we were the last people in line. When we got to the desk, the airport attendant apologized and said that the flight was overbooked and we would not be able to fly on that plane that day.
We learned that there were about twenty-five passengers who were getting bumped off that flight. All of us had confirmed tickets. None of the bumped passengers were happy, except for Eileen and me. Everyone else was missing some important event. One person, I think, had a funeral to attend, and another a wedding. As you can imagine, there were many unhappy people in the airport that day.
Of course, Eileen and I wanted to be late so as to get bumped off that flight. However, none of the other passengers wanted to be excluded from that flight.
As bad as it was for those people to be excluded from the flight that day, it pales in comparison to being excluded from the kingdom of God. Jesus warned people of the danger of being excluded from the kingdom of God.
The danger of being excluded from the kingdom of God as set forth in Luke 13:22-30 teaches us to be sure that we have entered the kingdom of God.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Question Asked of Jesus (13:22-23)
2. The Answer Given By Jesus (13:24-30)
I. The Question Asked of Jesus (13:22-23)
First, let’s look at the question asked of Jesus.
Luke noted back in Luke 9:51 that Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Here, toward the end of chapter 13 Jesus is still going to Jerusalem, and while he was traveling, he went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem (13:22). Jesus was going to Jerusalem to pay the penalty for people’s sin by his death. He will sacrifice his life in order to reconcile sinners with a holy God.
The closer Jesus got to Jerusalem, the more urgently he spoke about eternal issues. He wanted to shake people out of their complacency and to pay attention to their own eternal destinies. He knew that the Father had sent him as the Christ to seek and to save the lost. He had announced the kingdom of God, and taught people about the kingdom of God. He taught that entrance into the kingdom of God was gained through faith and repentance. And he urged people to trust him and repent of their sins before they perished. While he was teaching someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” (13:23).