Sunday, August 25, 2013

Proper 16

Pentecost 14 – Proper 16
“The Door which leads to God” – Luke 13:22-30
25 August 2013

Those who would be saved must enter the kingdom through a narrow door. All people are prospects for the Kingdom, but only those who go through the narrow door of righteousness will be saved.

This message of Jesus may be found to be too restrictive to many of our time. For many in our world, “whatever differences religions might have are not as important as the fundamental similarities.” 1.

Well, what are the “fundamental similarities” among religions today? There are only two; first, all religions believe that man is sinful. And second, religions believe that God will somehow broker some sort of deal to make up for man’s sin.

But here is where the world’s religions differ among themselves. Some believe that God will somehow make up for man’s inability. Others say that God will somehow turn His back on man’s sin. But that sort of scrutiny will not measure up to the test of every man.

What separates Christianity from every world religion is the fact that Christianity is not a religion at all. Rather, Christianity is a relationship established with the person of Jesus Christ.

While most religions focus on man working his way up to God Christianity claims that God has come down to man through the person of Jesus Christ. John will tell us in his gospel, “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus’ desire is that man would find a relationship with Him so that He can dwell with him.  How is this relationship with Christ made possible? We enter through the narrow door of righteousness.

1.   We enter through the narrow door. “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Vs. 24. Though God wants all to be saved, not all qualify. It is the narrow door of obedience to Christ and Him alone that grants entry into the Kingdom. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.”

2.   It will be open- but only for a time.  “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.” V. 29 The door to the Kingdom is open to all regardless of nation or race. Christianity is a universal faith. God desires all people to be saved. If this is the case, why not evangelize?

3.   The closed Door. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers.’ Vv. 25-27

The door is closed to religious people who thought they could get in on their own terms – playing by their own rules – “We ate and drank in your presence” they will say.

The door is closed to the wicked, “workers of iniquity,” whether they are in or out of the church. Some will be shut out of heave by their own evil condition. Once the door is closed it will be too late.

4.   But those on the inside – there will be bliss and peace forever. There is the glass door. There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.” V. 28

Through this door the lost will see who made it into the Kingdom.  Our Old Testament lesson shows us that people from every nation are represented and present. Our Epistle lesson enables us to see the angels and saints in heaven. This view will make the lost regret their wrong choice of godlessness, but it will be too late.

Conclusion: A door is a means of entrance and a way to exclude. It matters whether the door is open or closed, whether it is wide or narrow. The question asked of the Savior, “Will those who are saved be few?” is still being asked.  During this week ponder the Savior’s response.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

1. BOBO’s in Paradise by David Brooks    

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