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The Narrow Door of Salvation

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
October 20, 2020 8:00 am

The Narrow Door of Salvation

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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October 20, 2020 8:00 am

A single door leading to God is a troubling picture for many people. Especially when the door is narrow. And when you can only get through it with conscious effort. And when the door will one day be closed. But then, Jesus never did shy away from saying troubling things. In this message, Dr. James Boice talks about what this narrow, yet open door means for us.

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A single door leading to God is a troubling picture for many people, especially when the door is narrow and when you can only get through it with conscious effort and when the door will one day be closed. But then again Jesus never did shy away from saying troubling things. Keep listening now is Dr. James Boyce talks about what this narrow yet open door means for us. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically as Jesus walked from town to town talking with people. Someone asked him a theological question. We've all wondered about Lord, are only a few people going to be saved and in his typical style Jesus told a story and also in his typical style. He didn't really answer the question that person asked. He did no answer a different theological question by saying that the kingdom of God will be filled with people from East and West from North and South, but his main point was a practical one named much closer to home, make every effort he said to enter through the narrow door. I tell you that many will try to enter and not be able to, let's listen now is Dr. Boyce talks about that open door that narrow door. The door we need to make every effort to enter or studying lay various parables of our Lord Jesus Christ saddens, in particular those parables said which he deals with salvation. Most of these are obvious parables. We, however, in this study to one which probably would need to be called a borderline parable that is. It's sort of a parable and then in other ways. It's not quite mean by that. It isn't so much a story or a response of our Lord to a question he was asked where he brings in a particularly vivid illustration of the illustration kind of becomes a parable and the only reason for considering it fully. As a parable is that it's such an important illustration in our Lord's teaching and especially so in the matter of salvation occurring not only here in Luke 13 the text that we are studying but other places in the Gospels slip. It's not really possible to consider what he says about salvation in any full way without looking at it.

This borderline parable has to do with an open door open door of salvation, not abroad door, narrow door, but nevertheless an open door, and I learned brings it into a question asking him by somebody who wanted to know in a rather academic way, whether only a few people are going to be saved or whether a loss will be saved. Now we find another place its sermon on the Mount has something very similar.

Our Lord got to the end of the sermon on the Mount and he told the people of his day. Listening to that sermon that there was a Broadway leading to a broad gauge in a narrow way leading to a narrow gate and he said get on the narrow way and keep on it. You go through the narrow gate of salvation. That was a different kind of setting, but it's the same image, or again you find it's toward the end of that same gospel Matthews gospel where he talks about the five foolish virgins and the five wise and how the five wise were waiting for the bridegroom to calm and when he came they went in with him to the marriage feast and the door was shut and then the others came and they wanted to get in but they couldn't because the door was shot on the master the house wouldn't open the door, there is that kind of setting. When you find it in John's Gospel where he's teaching about himself as the shepherd and his people as the sheep and he says I'm the door of the sheep by me if you go in and out, you'll find pastor so the same image occurs in different places I think of all the various settings that we find this matter of the narrow door, none is perhaps as interesting as the setting in Matthew 13 and the reason for that is the question which Jesus is answering when he introduces the image that question about whether few or many are going to be saved. I don't know what kind of an answer, you would expect the Lord to give you her that Aaron had heard this question asked or if you ask it yourself. I would think you would expect either yes or no answer are only few going to be saved. Well what is it, Lord is going to make you have to say. Well, yes, in the final analysis, it's only going to be you or he would say, by contrast, all in the final analysis load times in history.

It seems that there are only a few that are actually going to be many interesting thing he doesn't answer it in that way.

And the reason he doesn't answer. That way, as it was a speculative question the theologically speculative question. Then the Lord is not so much interested in answering our theological speculations as he is getting us to do the right thing in terms of our relationship to God. So he answered the question by not answering it. He didn't say yes there will be few or no, there won't be if you know he said I'll tell you what you should do, you should strive to get through that door to make sure the weather there are few in the final analysis are many. In the final analysis, you are at least on the right side when that door is closed and the judgment comes. We don't always like that kind of an answer we would rather it were theology we would rather it was speculation because we can keep that in arms length.

You don't have to change your lifestyle if you're debating with somebody whether few or many are going to be saved, or how we will operate sort what the sovereignty of God includes sore what predestination means and whether it's double or single and Solon you can hold all Aladdin arm's-length. Jesus says if you want to talk about salvation of you want to talk about doors only pointed really out of concern you is whether you get through or not. So is message to the people of his day was simply make every effort to enter through the narrow door. I must say there is a lot of theology in that statement. The first made obvious point is that there is only one door and it's now monies not talking about many different doors is talking about one and he specifically says that it's a narrow door therefore is not a case of heaven being thrown open, as it were, to all comers in the sense that all comers can come as they choose to, after coming God's way they're going to get there is going to be through the door, which God has made and which God has opened and anybody else who tries to get in in any other way is, as Jesus said when he was talking about the sheepfold is a thief and a robber. And you know perfectly well they're going to be no thieves, no robbers in heaven. The only people are going to be in heaven are those who, at the invitation of God Almighty in the way that he is provided.

You say, what is that narrow door that 1 Way Way is quite obviously the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

He said I am the door.

He said I am the way the truth and the life in case we don't get it. The amplifies and for all us people were think he said no comes under the father but by me so that the teaching of the story and that's obviously a great principle of Christianity. We live in a day. Of course that prizes tolerance and in a day that prizes tolerance. This particular teaching seems in tolerant a lot of people to lie Christianity as a result they say what right do you have to go around proclaiming that your way is the only way well is so matter-of-fact it's not so much that were proclaiming that our way is the only way we're simply saying that Jesus is the way we understand what's involved in the claim. Not only is it not intolerant, it's the most reasonable thing that could possibly be mentioned sale.

I would say I am the only way that would be bigoted as well as intolerant of you would say you're the only way that would be bigoted as well as intolerant, but this isn't a mere man who is speaking this is not me or you or somebody else. This is Jesus Christ. This is the one who is the God man combines in himself. All that is God the same time. All that is my end game Dorothy in his incarnation to die in our place representing my end before God, because man is offended God and at the same time dying as God by paying an infinite price for the sins that we've committed. That's why Jesus is the only way that means there's no other way, people want to come with all sorts of ways all sorts of claims and present these to God expect God to follow her ingratitude that they're offering themselves or their religion or their morality or whatever it may be a small town a little bit. Jesus is the only way you can only come to God through Jesus. It means a lot other things that you cannot come to God through nature that is through nature worship work through perceiving God in nature through knocking the golf ball around in the course of the Saturday afternoon certain things you find out about God in nature. Romans talks about it very clearly. Roman says oh yes from nature you find out that there's a God and furthermore that is a supreme being and that idea of supremacy is all important because it means that you are not supreme. He is supreme and therefore you owe him your loyalty and your worship.

And so what you find out from nature is not only that there is a God needs a supreme being, but that you have violated the laws of his universal what you find out from nature condemns you would does not save you people who talk about finding God in nature are really using nature as a substitute for God, I might not always recognize that but they do. I was talking number of years ago now to a campus Crusade for Christ worker who worked on the beaches out in Southern California with the surfers and when this particular person began to talk to the surfers early in our ministry. One of the things she would often ask is whether the surfer believed in God and she found out much to her surprise that they all seem to yes I believe in God then she got wise and she said what is the God you believe in, and the answer often was my surfboard is my God. When somebody says that they're worshiping God on the golf course on Sunday afternoon. What they're really worshiping is the golf course or the golf ball or the money they're betting or some such thing, not the God of nature, though, the God of nature, is there must come to God and that way we don't come to God through our own morality either. Romans also speaks about this. It's not that morality is an important thing, it's that our morality isn't good enough and not only that we don't even live up to our own. We can have all sorts of standards not hard to erect standards.

Now it's hard to erect a perfect standard.

That's why the 10 Commandments have been so important and have lived even in the minds of unbelievers with such force all down through the centuries. They are perfect in human standards are not but apart from the idea of perfection is not hard to erect a standard you and I can get together and say we'd like to form an ideal society and so let's work out the standards of our society. We can hammer them out. We can produce Plato's Republic with those standards or Rose Walden or some such thing. And we can say this is the way were going to operate. These are the rules were going to obey.

But the great tragedy of human society is in human attempts to establish morality is not only that we don't live up to the perfect morality of the old and new Testaments. We don't even live up to validate that's why societies like this folder and eventually are disbanded because the people who constitute them Lived even by their own rules to make rules for the way you're gonna run your family.

You break the rules of your family. You make rules of the way you're going to run your cities you break the rules.

It was established to run your cities you make rules according to what you're going to run your government you break those rules, even if it your personal individual standard of morality. You break that you can get to God by morality either and neither can you get to God by your religion know God says more things in the Bible in a negative vein about religion when he says in a positive way is not to say of course there's not a true religion religion of the heart is been transformed by God's spirit finds God in Christ and comes in that way and come spitefully and serve God with body, soul and spirit. That's the true religion and God certainly blesses that kind of thing. But when we talk about religion. Usually we mean something else very least, we mean the externals religion we mean what you do where you are, how you bow your head what day of the week you do it on in such things. That's what we're talking about and that the workers were talking about externals without any representation of what's going on inside.

When Paul talks about religion in those early chapters of Romans. He says the difficulty is that you can do all kinds of things externally, and none of this touches the heart so you don't get to God by your religion either. How you get there you can't do it by nature and you can't do it by morality and you can't do it by religion by coming to God in simple faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is that narrow door and he's the only door no man comes under the father but by me as a second point that comes out of Jesus treatment of this theme in these verses and is also obvious.

But like many obvious things is very important and that is that the story is an open door in this age time is coming when that door is going to be shot. He talks about that. Indeed, the emphasis of the parable is upon it. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door he says you will stand outside knocking and pleading you say Sir open the door to Louisville answer. I don't know you. I don't know where you came from, you'll say why we ate and drank with you and you taught in our streets. Your reply. I don't know you are where you come from, the door will be close and it will remain closed today.

The day is so this is the day of grace. This is the day in which the Lord Jesus Christ himself makes the invitation, on the manual labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. This is the day in which in his name. That same offer is repeated day after day week after week and month after month and thousands of situations personal and public in this country and around the world. It's the day of God's grace. All I know we do talk in our missions conferences and we do so rightly about the billions of unreached people. Many people never heard the gospel message would never heard the name of Christ to do not know that he is the door who had not been told that the door slams open, but leaving the billions that haven't heard aside for a moment think how many billions of herd grace. It's a day of great knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed as the way and the invitation is sent millions upon millions will go to an eternity without Christ because they will not enter it is not that they don't need to enter in. They do it's not that the opening is not there, it is to not want to come to God in God's way they go in the plywood except the little bit of their religion. They would come in of God would accept a little bit of that morality but to be told that you have to leave all of that aside and come in God's way, which is through faith in Jesus Christ, that they will not do so they fight God's and will fight God right down to the wire when condemnation balls.

Oh, it's wonderful to be able to talk about an open door, and indeed we do and we want to stress that again and again.

But as we do, we have to say that the time is coming when that door will close in on that basis, we have to encourage people of our day is the Bible itself says to seek the Lord while he may be found. That brings me the last point of the parable. And while it's clear in the parable itself Christ statement makes it very clear interesting thing you say this is where comes out is that after the question was asked Lord, are only a few people going to be saved.

He said to the make every effort to enter in through the narrow door that sounds doesn't.

It's as if there's something we can do for our salvation, after all.

Jesus himself, speaking, and he says make every effort we think about that theologically. We talk about salvation.

We say that nobody can, unless God himself draws them. Yes we do. The reason we say that is because Jesus himself said that though we say that nobody can believe until God first gives them the ability to believe. Yes, we do and the reason we say that is because Paul made it plain. You're saved by faith. But even that is not of yourselves.

It's the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast. That's the case we can enter by ourselves we can believe by ourselves.

We have to be regenerated before we even begin to understand spiritual things, let alone respond to spiritual things.

How is it that our Lord can say in this particular parable strive to enter in. Make every effort to enter and you would think he would say, here is the door standstill a minute push you through and then get on with the business of the Christian life that is not what he says hiding what the Lord is saying here is something that has been very important in some periods of history. But, unfortunately, is not our own time and perhaps needs to be revived. It's what Jonathan Edwards talked about at great length and elaborated in many, many of his sermons when he talked about preparation for salvation.

While it is absolutely true that you cannot save yourself while it is absolutely true that you cannot quicken your own heart, it is nevertheless also throw that you can lay aside the things that would normally occupy your mind and fill your heart and humanly speaking now seek after God.

I was, I say you don't hear that very much today that's what Jonathan Edwards preached in the last grade each really great nation shattering revival in America came about as a result of that preaching say Edwards would speak to people as I believe the Lord in this parable is speaking to people and say look with full consciousness. That salvation is of God. That is all of grace nevertheless expose yourself, make every effort strive, read, play, communicate with Christian people and if I may say so, as you pray, you may even pray like this.

God, I am not even sure that there is a God, but if you're there.

I recognize said I am going to find you only if you find me and so I want you to know that even though part of me doesn't want to find you and even though I'm running away from you with all my heart. Even though I resist the ministrations of your spirit.

I do want help with these things and I want to expose myself to Christian teaching is much as I can. I want to strive to enter in and listen if I can put it to the bottom line at least when you're doing that you're not out sitting keeping sin upon sin and condemnation upon condemnation and who knows, but that in that kind of a setting. God may speak and speak clearly from his word to draw you to faith in Jesus Christ.

There is one door and it is a narrow door. It is Jesus Christ.

That door is open, but one day it will be closed in Christ: word to you if you've not yet entered in is to strive to enter in and use every means at your disposal.

And by the grace of God, perhaps even in this hour to find Christ as your Savior and enter in the fullness of joy, of eternal life and you do so may God give you the grace to move in that direction. Let us pray our father, bless these words to our hearts.

Granted from this study, you will speak through your word to the hearts of many point them to him, in whom alone is that great salvation, even Jesus Christ in his name we pray. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by.

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