Do you think everyone who attends church is “saved?” Do you think everyone who calls their self a Christian is “saved?” Historically there have been many occasions when more people attending church were not “saved” than saved. Of course, even Jesus himself labeled many as “hypocrites.” These were people who actually believed they were saved because of who they were (Jews) or what they did (Pharisees), but unfortunately were not saved.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 13

Are Only A Few People Going To Be Saved?(Luke 13:22-30)

By Delbert Young

Are Only A Few People Going To Be Saved? video audio notes

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Lord, Are Only A Few People Going To Be Saved? – Luke13:1-9 13:22-30

Scriptures: Luke 13:22-23, Luke13:23-30, Matthew 7:13-14

Initially, I dreaded teaching today’s lesson. The reason is it’s not a “happy” passage, but when we go verse by verse (expositional preaching), I don’t get to pick and choose. Initially, I dreaded it until I realized this could be one of the most important lessons I’ve ever taught and could be the best day for you to be here.

Let’s begin with a few questions. Do you think everyone who attends church is “saved?” Do you think everyone who calls their self a Christian is “saved?” Historically there have been many occasions when more people attending church were not “saved” than saved. For example, Constantine, the Roman emperor (306-337 AD), forced people to convert to Christianity. The Roman Catholics attempted to force people to become Christians. Wars have taken place to force people to convert to Christianity, but there is no real relationship with Christ when people are forced.

Also there were/are times when it’s been fashionable to be a Christian. “All my friends are doing it, so I should too.” I sort of experienced this when I was young. We’ve all heard of, or perhaps know people who openly say they go to a “First” church to make business and social connections, not because of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Again, this is not true salvation.

We’ve all known people who “prayed the prayer” because of an emotional moment or hoping God would get them out of a mess, but their prayer didn’t last as there was no true relationship developed with Jesus Christ and no salvation.

Of course, even Jesus himself labeled many as “hypocrites.” These were people who actually believed they were saved because of who they were (Jews) or what they did (Pharisees), but unfortunately were not saved. So, today we read,

Luke 13:22-23 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “LORD, ARE ONLY A FEW PEOPLE GOING TO BE SAVED?”

Wow! Excellent question! Likely, we’ve each asked a similar question. What do you think? Will there be few or many saved? How’s Jesus going to answer this? Let’s find out.

Luke13:23-30 He said to them, “MAKE EVERY EFFORT to ENTER THROUGH the NARROW DOOR, because MANY, I TELL YOU, WILL TRY TO ENTER AND WILL NOT BE ABLE TO. 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!’ “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. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

Characteristically, instead of Jesus giving a simple “yes, there will be few” or “no, there will be many” answer, he told a story meaning the answer is not that simple. When Jesus told a story or parable it’s so we can find where we are in it. Where am I? Where are you? How horrible it would be to assume I am saved, but awake in hell.

I was attempting to find a way to engage you and make it interesting. Since Jesus was asked a question concerning quantity, let’s attempt to put some numbers on what Jesus said. We don’t think this way, but this concerns millions of people alive this minute. Let’s use America where 73-76% of the people say they are Christians. This means of the 315 million people in America there are about 230 million Christians. If this is true, 85 million are doomed for hell, but do you believe there are 230 million people in America with a true relationship with Jesus Christ, loving him, serving in the kingdom, giving, and worshiping? I have a problem with this number.

There are about 10 million people in Georgia. This stat means there are 7.5 million Christians in Georgia. Do you believe there are 7.5 million people in a true relationship with Jesus Christ, serving, giving, and worshiping in Georgia?

Realizing maybe… 10% of those are not saved means 90% are saved. So, 207 million Americas and 6.75 million in Georgia are saved and 108 million Americans alive today will go to hell. But, Jesus didn’t say many would enter. What did he say?

Luke 13:24 …MANY, I tell you, will try to enter and WILL NOT BE ABLE TO.

Sadly, the word for many is polus {pol-oos’} – many, much, large, great. So, to get a more accurate quantity, let’s reverse our numbers to 10% saved and 90% not saved. This means there is something like 23 million saved in America, but are there 23 million people in America and 730,000 in Georgia who love Jesus, have a relationship with him, serve, give, worship, etc? I pray there are. But sadly, if only 1 out of 10 of the 230 million Americans who believe they are saved and are alive this moment, 207 million of them and 292 million Americans total, will go to hell. What about this room? What if many in this room will not be able to enter? What if only 1 out of 10 in this room is saved?

Do you think Jesus was using “scare tactics” on us, or showing us the seriousness and magnitude of this issue? So, if the purpose of Jesus’ stories and parables is to find ourselves in them, where are we? Where am I? Where are you? Where do the people I love stand according to this parable and what can I, am I, doing about it?

What a heartbreaking passage! Sadly, this wasn’t the only time Jesus said this. Earlier, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the NARROW GATE. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and MANY {polus} enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and ONLY A FEW FIND IT.

“Only a few?! No one told me this when I signed up. I was sort of told if I recited ‘this prayer’ I was in.” You weren’t told that here, but this is frequently told though Jesus never told it. This is obviously not what we want to hear. We all think, “Certainly Jesus doesn’t mean me, or you, or our children does he? Certainly, I made it through the door/gate. He’s referencing all those other people, right?” Is he?

This is why it is a narrow door, small gate, and narrow road/path. It’s a door/gate you enter alone. It’s a road you walk alone. This passage is intended to cause us all to take an evaluation and the great thing is you’re here today to do it. So, how do I evaluate?

What I want to do in the remainder of our time together is to emphasize two thoughts Jesus gave to make certain we know how to enter through the narrow door.

 (NIV) Luke 13:24 “MAKE EVERY EFFORT to enter through the NARROW DOOR, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.

(KJV) Luke 13:24 STRIVE TO ENTER in at the strait gate…

(NLT) Luke 13:24 “The door to heaven is narrow. WORK HARD TO GET IN

(TMB) Luke 13:24 Put your mind on your life with God. The way to life–to God!–IS VIGOROUS AND REQUIRES YOUR TOTAL ATTENTION.

The word translated “every effort” in the NIV is agonizomai {ag-o-nid’-zom-ahee} – to enter a contest, to contend with adversaries, fight. We get our English word “agony” and “agonize” from it, but who makes a narrow door so narrow we have to agonize to enter through it? God does. It’s a work in our hearts.

Years back we had a man here to minister. Once while here, he wanted to go to Rock City. Lance and I took him. While walking through Rock City, we came to a place called “Fat Man Squeeze” a cave like passage through rock. This person was a huge man. We looked at it. I said, attempting not to embarrass him, let’s go back the way we came. Knowing what I meant, he said no and wanted to try to get through it. He told Lance and me to go on through. We did, or began, staying close enough to him to see how he did. It was tight on us and I thought he will never get through. He began, but couldn’t make it. He took off his coat and tried, but didn’t make it. He unbuttoned his shirt so it wouldn’t rip, sucked his belly in and pushed, and pushed, and grunted. Finally, agonizingly, he popped through like a cork out of a bottle. He was determined to make every effort to enter through the narrow door.

What is your “Fat Man Squeeze?” What in life do we need to strip off to get through to have a relationship with Jesus Christ? What flesh needs to be dealt with that is hindering your getting to him? How much grunting and pushing and agonizing do you need to do?

For some people, it’s a little tight. For some people, there’s a lot of flesh to deal with, but for all, weenter through it alone. It’s a narrow door. It’s a small gate and narrow road. This is the thought. You do this alone. You can’t depend on anyone else to get you through and you can’t allow anyone to stop you if they won’t go. Jesus said, “Make every effort,” “Strive to enter,” “Work hard to get in,” “Put your mind on your life with God.” Agonize to enter.

Luke 13:25-27 “…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!'”

Jesus has got to know you and know where you live. Not your address, your heart. Where does your heart live? He wants to know where you’re coming from. Jesus wants to talk to you through his word. Do you ever let his word speak to you? He wants you to talk to him in prayer. Do you talk to him in prayer? There is no relationship if there is no communication. He wants to commune with you in communion. That’s why he gave it – “Remember me.” When’s the last time you met him in communion? He wants to sing with you in praise. He wants to hear you tell him you love him in love songs. He wants to tell you he loves you. He wants to have some alone personal time with you where you can express your triumphs and failures to him. When is the last time you set apart time to only be with him? Do you make every effort to enter through the narrow door?

Jesus ended answering this most excellent question with,

Luke 13:29-30 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

The Jews thought/think they are God’s first and in the kingdom of God. They were not. Gentiles – other people from the east and west and north and south will come. Jesus wants you there at the feast in the kingdom of God. Let’s make certain we are.

Other Related Sermons:

I SEE GRACE pt 2 – Easter sermon video audio notes

I see Grace part 1 – Palm Sunday sermon video audio notes

What Then? – Easter sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young