Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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PENTECOST 11 – August 25, 2019 – Luke 13:22-30 “THE BIG PICTURE”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel lesson just read, from Luke 13.  We begin with prayer.

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • In our text we see some of the most important questions being raised with Jesus. How many will be saved?  Will it be the majority of mankind, or only a few?  It seems this question could be answered with observation and human logic, and many people have done so.  With this method of answering the question, basic assumptions about the nature of man enter in – is he more good than bad.  Most people assume we are basically good, and so they conclude that most of us should get into heaven with just a little forgiveness.   But it is not so –  the matter is much more complicated than that.
  • Secondly, Jesus addresses at least to some degree the basis upon which people are to enter the “narrow door.” It is not on the basis of “wanting” or “trying” on the part of human beings.  Neither is it a matter of doing certain things.  And it is certainly NOT a matter of who a person superficially fraternized with in this earthly lifetime.  It is much deeper than this.
  • Ultimately, human reason can only confuse us in these matters – and so Jesus cryptically comments: “Some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.”  The most important matters are settled by God, by His gracious mercy, and not by human endeavor or human ingenuity. 
  • Jesus helps us grasp “THE BIG PICTURE.” In so doing He shows us God’s will, God’s plan, and He invites us into the blessedness of God, the blessedness of faith.  First, it is clear that:

 

I.  God’s Word Goes Out Into All The World Inviting All People To Enter God’s Kingdom Through the “Narrow Door”

 

Ezek. 33:11  “’As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.’”

 

1 Tim. 2:4  “God wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

 

A.  So God Calls All People To Enter Into His Kingdom Through Repentance

 

Psalm 51:17  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

 

Psalm 51:1-4  “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of You tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.  Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.”

 

B.  And God Calls Us To Enter The Narrow Door By Putting Our Faith And Trust In Jesus – Believing That In Him, Our Savior, We Have Full And Complete Pardon For Our Sins

 

1 John 1:7  “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

 

Eph. 1:7  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

 

John 3:36  “He that believes the Son has everlasting life.”

 

John 5:24  “Truly, truly, I say to you, he that hears My word, and believes on Him Who sent Me, has everlasting life, and he shall not come into condemnation; but has passed from death unto life.”

 

John 14:6  “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by Me.” 

 

Statement:  So it is a “narrow” and exclusive protocol by which a human being is brought into the kingdom of God – as God brings us to repentance through His Word of Law, and as He comforts our hearts and minds with the assurance of His gracious mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus.  In this way – through faith in Jesus – we are brought to the Father, into His presence!  We are introduced to Him as He truly is, and come to know Him as He truly is.  This is a blessedness we enjoy each day, here and now, to know God’s love, His watchfulness over us, and His power and promise to bless us in all things.  And it is an even greater blessedness that we look forward to in His heavenly kingdom.

 

Application:  But it is not a matter of human accomplishment.  No, it denies all human accomplishment!  It is a matter of truth – what we cannot do but what God has done for us in Christ Jesus.  And although the way is “narrow,” it is intended for all people, and is broad enough for all people, and has been provided for all people.  Jesus, after all, is “the blood atonement for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”  [1 John 2:2]  The “narrowness” is not a matter of God being stingy with His salvation, or a matter of “difficulty” for God.  Rather, it is a matter that there is only one way to the Father:  through acknowledgement of our sin, and rejoicing in Jesus our Savior.  What makes the way “narrow” is the recalcitrance of human nature, our pride, our self-righteousness, and our fear of being revealed and convicted for what we are.

 

Transition:  This means that although it is not God’s primary or antecedent will, nonetheless:

 

II.  The Impenitent And Unbelieving Have A Dismal Future

 

Text:  “In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

 

A.  Many Seek Entry On The Basis Of Some Superficial Contact With Jesus

 

Text:  “But we ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.”

 

B.  Some Seek Entry On The Basis Of Their Relationship To Other Believers

 

Matt. 3:8,9  [John the Baptist said]  “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.”

 

C.  But Because They Reject Repentance And Faith In Jesus They Are Shut Out Of The Kingdom Of God

 

Text:  “When the master of the house has risen and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door saying ‘Lord, open to us.’  . . . 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.  And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the Kingdom of God.”

 

1.  Those shut out of the kingdom don’t know and believe in Jesus

 

Text:  “The master will answer:  ‘I do not know where you come from.’”

 

John 17:3  “This is eternal life, that they know You the only True and Living God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent.”

 

2.  And so Jesus does not know them either

 

Text:  “I do not know where you come from.  Depart from Me, all you workers of evil!”

 

 Statement:  Again, we dare not to think that God is somehow to blame for any of this!  He created and dearly loves each and every human being.  He provided forgiveness and salvation for every single human being.  He sends His Word out to every human being, calling us to repent of our sin in integrity and truth, and to rejoice in His gracious gift of salvation and life, in Jesus Christ.  But the sinful nature is incorrigibly evil – and continuously compels us to impenitence, unbelief, and even misbelief, to trust something or someone and not Christ.  But to do so is death, the way of death, and leads to eternal death in hell.

 

Application:  If we understand “THE BIG PICTURE,” then we will see how blessed we are that God has enabled us to simply repent of all of our sin, and to grasp His love, mercy, and forgiveness.  In this way we truly know God – in Christ Jesus, by faith in Him.  And to know Him is eternal life.

 

Conclusion:   So we do not make salvation a thing of our work or doing or accomplishing.  We know this to be ridiculous nonsense!  Nor do we think that some casual acquaintance with Jesus, some time spent merely in His presence, is going to do anyone any good at all.  Nor do we think that some relationship to a pious Christian is going to get us in.  Not at all!

 

Each is called to know God in repentance, and in His assurance of gracious mercy and forgiveness.  This is eternal life!

 

We do not know completely why it is that the way is so narrow to human beings, but we do know our sinful nature’s rejection of truth and God.  We know the Way is wide enough for everyone, for He has taken away the sin of the world.  It is hard to fathom why, in view of the truth of God’s love, that any human being would reject God and opt for some foolish, superstitious optimism.  It is all so unnecessary! 

 

We have “THE BIG PICTURE,” given to us by Jesus, in God’s Word, the Holy Scripture.  Let us rejoice as we live in the peace and integrity of repentance and faith in God’s mercy.  In the future we too will recline at table in the Kingdom of God – with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets of God!  God grant such blessedness to us all, Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.