Sunday Worship 11th October -Enter through the narrow door

Today's service is being led by Simon Brown from Glencroft Church in Glen Parva, we are grateful that Simon has provided his message for distribution to those who cannot attend.

The Narrow Door

Opening words:

“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able."

Hymn 106 Come ye thankful people come https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imK0j7eBJsc

Prayers:

I’m grateful, Lord God, that you love me and care for me, that Jesus lived and died for me. I’m grateful that you are interested in me, even me with all my faults and failings. Thank you for sharing my life and my living, for being within my hopes and dreams. Thank you for giving me purpose and meaning. Thank you for showing me how to live a life of goodness and truth, a life of caring and sharing. Thank you for your generosity and abundance even if I fail to see it. Thank you, God, for being you and thank you for making me, me. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Bible Reading

Luke 13 v 22-35

Hymn 511 O Lord, your tenderness (Graham Kendrick)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRkX61VVA5E

Comments on Bible Passage

  • What questions would you really like to know the answer to?

  • E.g. During the current pandemic: Will there be a vaccine? Is my job secure? Will I get ill? If I do, will it be serious? Will my family be OK?

  • Or maybe we have more ‘big picture’ type questions: Why are we here? What is really worth living for?

  • Have we ever asked the question that Jesus was asked at the start of our passage? “Lord, will those who are saved be few?”

  • The need to be ‘saved’ was not an alien concept to the people who Jesus mixed with, and it won’t be an unusual thought today to anyone who is familiar with the Bible.

  • But, to some modern ears, the question in verse 23 might be a slightly unusual one. We need to first have a concept of what we need to be saved from. That will come in today’s passage.

  • Enough to say at this point that today we are talking about safety and danger, about heaven and hell, and about the response that we need to make to these issues.

The Question

“Lord, will those who are saved be few?”

The Answer

“Strive to enter through the narrow door.”

  • Does Jesus give a straight answer here? He doesn’t seem to, to me.

  • Jesus points the inquirer to the really important issue as far as that inquirer is concerned.

  • Q: “How many will get into heaven?” A: “Strive to go there yourself.”

  • The question is more general and broad; the answer is personal.

  • For me and you, the big issue is not how many will be saved, but, ‘Will I be saved?’ and ‘Will you be saved?’

  • The question, and the answer Jesus gave, is the overall theme for us this morning as we look at the rest of the passage.

  • With that in mind, here are some things we need to learn from these verses.

  1. We need to strive

  • The Greek word means ‘to contend’ and is related to the English word, ‘agonize’. The same root word is what is used of Jesus being in agony in the garden of Gethsemane, as he faced the cross.

  • The Bible makes clear that we are not saved by our own efforts to be good.

  • But, getting through that door should be supremely important to us – it’s not a casual decision or something we do out of curiosity (‘I wonder what’s through that door.’).

  • When we come to Jesus (who described himself as the door in another place) we should really mean it.

2. It’s a narrow door

  • Because it’s narrow, we need to deliberately choose to go into it.

  • Because it’s narrow, we can’t take lots of things through it with us. They won’t fit! Imagine going through a narrow door carrying lots of full suitcases full of all our most valued possessions!

  • If we go through that door, we won’t be able to live as we did before we entered.

  • Because it’s narrow, the majority of people won’t be going that way, so we won’t get through it by following the crowd.

  • We probably all know what it’s like to be going along just doing what everyone else is doing. That’s not how we’re going to get through the narrow door

3. Many won’t be able to go in

  • See verse 24 – solemn words

  • Does this mean living people who are striving to enter are now being turned away? That you and I might approach that door in the same way, and yet for some random reason you’ll get in and I won’t? No, read on.

  • v25. A time is coming, when it will be too late.

  • Have you ever missed a bus or a train? I remember an occasion many years ago (but it’s stayed with me because of the intense emotion which it, for some reason, generated)

  • I was trying to catch a bus into Leicester and arrived at the bus stop just as the bus was pulling away. The doors were shut, maybe even just shutting. I remember the sense of frustration – To my shame, I think I may have even gnashed my teeth! I really wanted to be on that bus, and if I’d arrived a few seconds earlier I would have been. But now it was too late – and there was nothing I could do about it!

  • Have you ever had that experience? If only I’d got up 5 minutes earlier! If only I hadn’t got distracted by reading that thing in the newspaper or on my phone! But you didn’t get up, you did read that article, and now it’s too late! (By the way, how many times in my life have I had cause to regret not just starting 15 minutes earlier!)

  • But back to the bus … The illustration breaks down, because there was another bus!

  • It’s not like that with the door.

  • This narrow door is the only door to safety, and ultimately to heaven.

  • Come to Christ now, before it’s too late.

4. Contact is not necessarily connection (Scroggie)

  • Read verses 26-27