FEW THAT BE SAVED
Luke 13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: 26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. 28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. 29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
In Luke thirteen twenty two and in Luke seventeen eleven, we are informed that our Lord is making his way towards Jerusalem for his last entry there. Therefore we are allowed to be edified by his last public ministries and discourses while on earth.
And a question from some unidentified person is the occasion for the Lord’s parable revealing the shutting out of his kingdom of all those who were only practicing religious tradition, but were not actually personally known of him. For he is the Master of the house. (See Hebrews 3:4-6.)
But just what was this “one” asking? He most certainly was not asking if there are few that are spiritually regenerated. For that is how we use the word “saved” in our day. But redemption had not been yet accomplished. The question was asked, no doubt, by a Jewish man, in the present setting and conditions of his day. We must also take notice of the answer that our Lord gave him in order to farther understand the question asked. Therefore we take due notice of a twice repeated phrase, listed in verse twenty four. And that phrase is, “to enter in.”
Then there is another phrase, listed twice in the parable that seems to sum up the man’s definition of his word, “saved.” And that phrase is recorded for us in verses twenty eight and twenty nine. It is the phrase, “in the kingdom of God.” So the man’s question and our Lord’s answer is regarding entrance into the kingdom of God – into the Messiah’s kingdom! He was asking, “Are there many of us who shall be granted opportunity to enter Messiah’s kingdom, like Joshua and Caleb were, to enter into the promised land?”
The Apostle Paul wrote of this in his Hebrew letter. Please take note of the words in bold print. Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Hebrews 4:1 ¶ Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
Then in his first letter to the believers at Corinth he also writes of this. 1 Corinthians 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
And we present day Gentiles need to “take heed” concerning our entering into Christ’s spiritual kingdom. For we have a complete Bible and a finished redemption. Therefore it is ours to seek the Lord while he may be found. For he alone provides the application of his accomplished redemption by the Holy Spirit. Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
We must take serious notice, if we value our soul’s eternal well-being, of the words of verses 24 and 25 of our text. For therein we find the words, Strive, seek, knock. But these are followed by the solemn statement, and shall not be able.
But wait! What of Christ’s teachings in Luke 11:9,10? And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. How can there be this “seeking and knocking” here in Luke thirteen followed by those words, and shall not be able?
The answer lies in Isaiah’s writings. Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. After Jonah went to fish school, he came to understand one glorious truth. And that was, Salvation is of the Lord! (Jonah 2:9). Therefore Isaiah is instructing us that the Lord must be sought while he may be found! And he must be called upon while he is near!
And we must understand two things: to whom the Lord was speaking, and hat their relationship was to Him.
First we must understand that the Lord was addressing national Israel. Look at Luke 13:28, 29. He is clearly instructing, with strong warning, that individuals within the natural genealogies of physical Israel would be thrust out. And that it would be especially hard on them, with themselves outside the kingdom, when they would see believing Gentiles coming from every direction to sit down with their patriarchs!
And national Israel was clearly instructed by the Lord Jesus that they had missed the day of his visitation to them. Luke 19:44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. And now the master of the house had risen up and shut to the door! So their seeking and knocking was as those of Noah’s day, outside the ark when the Lord had shut that door! (Gen. 7:16).
Secondly we must understand the relationship of all natural born Israelites to the Lord Christ. Romans 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
Wake up Christians! None gain entrance into the spiritual kingdom of Christ by the natural birth! None! Ye must be borned again in order to either see or enter the kingdom! (John 3:3,5). Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. For it is only those birthed and in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit who are the Israel of God! Galatians 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Then in his parable the Lord reveals the natural tendencies of the human heart and mind when finally alarmed, but too late, concerning their eternal well being. They begin to plead from the natural affections concerning familiarities to God. Listed in verse twenty six of our text we find them reminding God of just how close they had been to him down through the years. But this only condemns them for not bowing to him as their personal Lord!
They remind him that they had eaten and drank with him! And they had, like no other peoples. Exodus 24:9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: 10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. 11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.
They had also the glorious opportunity of having done so with the very Humanity of God – the Lord Jesus Christ. But to what avail? Luke 7:34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
Then the parable reveals them as saying, thou hast taught in our streets. But that light became their condemnation! John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. Matt. 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
It only fitted them for the greater punishment! Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
This is set forth for us by the Prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah 11:6 Then the LORD said unto me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them. 7 For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice. 8 Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not.
And again the master of the house repeats his former statement to them: I know you not whence ye are: But this second time he adds a more serious inditement against them. For the second time he also says: depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. And that Greek word, here translated iniquity, is translated 16 times as, righteousness.
But is this not those legalistic moralists whose righteous ours must exceed? Yes. Matt. 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. So what was it that warranted this severe inditement leveled against them by God? Their ‘work of iniquity’ was the devoted practice of religion without bowing to the Lord Christ! 1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
2 John 7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Then after telling them that the Gentiles shall come from all points of the compass to sit down with the Patriarchs, he makes a statement concerning the reversal of all their supposed order. For he tells them there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. Now listen to the voice of the Apostle Paul, speaking to the Jews. Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
For now it is devotedness to the gospel kingdom of Christ which takes precedent above all other kingdoms! Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
1 Corin. 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Pastor Gene Breed October 9, 2014