Summary: Parable of the Master of the house rising and shutting the door. The danger of delay.
Please turn in your copy of God¡¯s word to Luke 13 and follow with me as I read verses 25-30.
When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: 26Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 27But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. 28There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. 29And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 30And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
Sunday morning I intended to preach through these verses, but it seemed enough to dwell on the great question, ¡°Are there few that be saved?¡± This hotly debated theological topic dominates many tea house conversations in Jesus¡¯ day. Our Lord agrees that few are saved, yet goes beyond a simple affirmative answer. Like so many responses, Jesus turns the attention to the ones asking the question and puts the spotlight on them. ¡°Strive,¡± he says, ¡°to enter at the narrow gate.¡±
When visiting people I usually hear theological questions that are really smokescreens. That is, they don¡¯t care about yielding control of their lives to Jesus, so they concoct a theological objection: ¡°Where did Cain¡¯s wife come from?¡± or ¡°Was there really a flood?¡± and so on. Usually, when challenged, I change the subject and ask about their prayer life, their quiet time, or their involvement at church. In every case I remember they fall silent. People like to argue. It makes them feel justified. It only sounds like they are arguing with you. In reality they are arguing with themselves and their own guilty conscience.
Jesus addresses them in second person: ¡°you.¡± This makes it personal, specific, not general. He gets in their face. He tells them to ¡°strive¡±, which is the Greek word (¦Á¦Ã¦Ø¦Í¦É¦Æ¦Ï¦Ì¦Á¦É) from which we derive the English word ¡°agonize.¡± To agonize in your service to God, agonize in your effort to love others as yourself, agonize to expand the Kingdom of God is central to your identity as a follower of Jesus Christ. And now to drive home his point, Jesus offers a parable in verses 25-27.
Three elements make up this parable: the house, the master, and the people. The house represents God¡¯s kingdom. The house is open right now. Anyone alive can become a citizen of God¡¯s kingdom, move in to God¡¯s house, by receiving Jesus Christ as Lord, as Savior. One of the last verses in the Bible testifies to this in Revelation 22:17, ¡°and the Spirit and the bride [which is the Church] say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.¡± But the day approaches when the house closes, and none enter.