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Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

August 25, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Luke 13:22–13:30

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 13:22-30
Date: August 25th, 2019; Pentecost 11; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • As Jesus made his way through towns and villages on his way to Jerusalem, he was teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven.  
  • Someone who was in the crowd listening wanted to know what the population in heaven will be.  
  • He asked, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” (Luke 13:23).
  • Jesus replied to him, "Strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24). 
  • As Jesus often did, he didn’t answer the question directly.  He turned it around.  
  • Don't ask how many are being saved.  Instead, focus on your own salvation.
  • Since only God can judge the heart, this is good advice for all of us too.  Leave the counting to God.  
  • Instead, examine yourself.  Focus on your eternal salvation.  “Strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24).  
  • The words strive and narrow tell us that this door is difficult.  It’s a tight squeeze.  
  • Jesus tells us that he is “…the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). 
  • So, Jesus teaches us that not all belief systems and religious paths lead to heaven.
  • The door is narrow.  It is only through Jesus, who is our Door, that we enter.
  • And entering this narrow door is only possible with God's help.
  • It is impossible for us to enter through the narrow door in our natural state.  
  • We are sinners, unholy, unclean.  
  • Only those who have been made holy, righteous, and pure through Christ Jesus may enter.  
  • All others remain outside.
  • Our Lord teaches that a time is coming when we will no longer be able to pass through the door.  
  • He said, “When 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’” (Luke 13:25).
  • These words are addressed to those with the mindset that God can wait until later.
  • It is addressed to those who think, “I just don’t have time for God in my life right now.”
  • The time of salvation is now!  
  • Jesus warns to stop “sitting on the fence,” to stop indifference to spiritual matters, to stop ignoring the ultimate questions in life - just because they are difficult and make us uncomfortable.  
  • He makes it clear in this parable that this is an urgent matter!
  • Jesus tells us that we are to be prepared for when he returns to judge the living and the dead.  The world will end as we know it.  
  • This could happen in 2 minutes, 2 hours, or it could happen in 2000 years.  
  • No one knows the day or the hour, but we are to be prepared.  
  • We are also to be prepared for our death.  Life is fragile and can be taken from us in a blink of an eye.  
  • Whether our Lord returns in our lifetime, or upon our death, every one of us will end up before the door to heaven.  
  • The question is - will it be open for you?
  • "Strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24).  
  • The door is narrow - but it is open.  
  • Christ was opening it from the manger when he - God of the universe, was born as a frail human being.  
  • Christ was opening it from the road as he taught about the kingdom of God.  
  • Christ was opening it from the cross as he traded his perfect life - for the death of our sin.  
  • Christ was opening it on that Easter morning when he declared victory over sin, death, and the devil and rose from the dead.  
  • The door is open for you.
  • The time of salvation is now.  
  • Salvation is what you have now as you have faith in what God has done for you in Christ. 
  • Salvation is what you have now as you remember your baptism and the promises God made to you there. 
  • Salvation is what you have now as you come to the Lords Table to receive Christ’s true body and blood for the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening of your faith.  
  • The door is open for you.
  • "Strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24).   
  • This sounds a bit like you must do something to enter through the narrow door - that’s how we normally understand the word “strive”.
  • But we don’t strive with our own power.  
  • The Holy Spirit brings us to faith and changes us.
  • Remember all the people Jesus healed during his ministry on earth? 
  • None of them had the strength to heal themselves, but through the power of Jesus' Word, they were made well.  
  • When Jesus said, “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home” (Mark 2:11)  a paralyzed man rose, took up his bed, and walked.  
  • That man didn't have the power to do that himself, but with his Word, Jesus healed him and gave him the power to obey.  
  • When Jesus said, "Lazarus, come out" (John 11:43) a dead man walked out of a tomb.  
  • We know he didn't have the power to do that - again, Jesus’ Word made it so.
  • That same Word of God that healed the sick and raised the dead also speaks into your heart and says, "Strive to enter through the narrow door" (Luke 13:24) - and  then you do.  
  • Although the door is narrow, God wishes that all enter.  
  • As we are told in 1 Timothy 2:3-4, “[God] desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
  • God has given us the privilege of proclaiming to others the salvation we have in Christ, the One who is the door to eternal life.
  • We look forward to the day when we finally enter the narrow door to be with God and all of his people – people from east and west, and from north and south for all of eternity.  Amen.  
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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