This is Rodney from the Masculine Journey Podcast, where we explored manhood within Jesus Christ. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds.
Sit back, enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Okay, I've entitled tonight's message The Narrow Way.
We're going to be looking at Luke chapter 13 verses 22 through 30. Kent Hughes shares the following story in his commentary on Luke. He writes, at a convocation that he attended one year in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the speakers, Alistair Begg, you may have heard of him, shared a heartening encounter he'd experienced as he was preparing his message that morning. Begg had risen early and found a restaurant next to Harvard Yard where he planned to put some finishing touches on his message. And as he worked, he watched Cambridge just come alive and the restaurant filled up with a variety of people.
Some had slept in the street, others were apparently regulars. But he felt like he was out of his element. The university culture was overwhelming and he felt insignificant. And he began to think about his insignificance and how foolish the gospel seemed in such a setting.
He was feeling small. But two things happened that encouraged him. First, when a sparrow landed on his table inside the restaurant, he thought of Christ's words about sparrows. And then he looked across the aisle and he saw an Asian girl intently reading what appeared to be a Bible. And so he watched further and saw that, sure enough, she was indeed studying the scriptures. So he went over and he asked her, I see that you're reading the Bible.
Are you a Christian? She smiled and replied, Oh, yes, I found the narrow way. Her answer, if you think about it, was remarkable.
Neither Alistair Begg nor Kent Hughes in all their years in ministry had ever heard anyone answer like that. And so he began to have a conversation with her and she explained that she had come from Korea to study at Harvard and she was the only Christian in her family. He was a young Christian woman 10,000 miles away from her Buddhist home with its three million gods, the antithesis of the narrow way in the midst of Harvard's aggressive pluralism, which tolerates everything except the narrowness of the gospel. And yet she so profoundly understood her Christian faith that she expressed it with an unabashed awareness as the narrow way.
Anybody ever responded to you like that? I'm on the narrow way. Well, that brings us to Luke chapter 13. And here Luke writes, beginning with verse 22, Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as He made His way to Jerusalem. And someone asked Him, Lord, are only a few people going to be saved? 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. And then you will say, We ate and drank with you, and you talked in our streets.
But He will reply, I don't know you or where you come from. Away from Me, all you evildoers. And 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 yourselves thrown out. The guys, I thought about six questions that I wanted to answer as I read this text, and here they are. Why is the way of salvation narrow? Two, what is the narrow door? Three, how do many people try to enter heaven through a different way? Four, what will happen to the many on the wide road?
I'm talking about in the end. And then five, what will happen to the few on the narrow road? And then lastly, how does one enter through the narrow door? So let's first consider why the way of salvation is so narrow. Now, in this text, we see that Jesus, remember, He's still headed towards Jerusalem. And He knows that He's headed for the cross where He will pay a very heavy, heavy price. And He's paying a price minute, if you think about it, to actually open the doorway to heaven. But as He travels, He's preparing His followers for the difficult journal, journey that any person will encounter if they choose to follow Him. And the more He speaks of the difficulties, the more people begin to turn away. We see this clearly in John chapter 6. John 6 verse 66 through 69 says, From this time, many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.
So He asked them, You don't want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the 12, And Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God. You are the Holy One of God.
You are the Holy One of God. So guys, many were beginning to turn away because they realized that He had not come to restore the kingdom of Israel the way they thought He was going to. So here in Luke 13, we see that someone in the crowd must have realized that the people following Jesus is becoming fewer and fewer. And so this person cries out, Lord, are only a few people going to be saved? And I want you to notice that Jesus does not directly answer His question. Instead, He gives a command. He says, Make every effort to enter through the narrow door.
Because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. In other words, what He said is, Don't worry about everybody else. Make sure you're on the narrow road.
That's what I would say to you all tonight. Make sure that you're on the narrow road. The English, the ESV translation, it reads like this. It says, Instead of make every effort, it uses the word strive.
Strive to enter through the narrow door. And the Greek word that's used here is the word agonizomai from which we get our, you can hear it, we get our word agony. And so the word pictures of a runner straining using every nerve in his body to the uttermost, literally agonizing to reach the finish line. To strive means to devote serious energy or effort. It implies great exertion against great difficulty and suggests persistent effort. It's an ongoing effort picturing an intense struggle to gain victory. And so this is why, this is what this word strive means. And this is why Jesus said, Make every effort to enter through the narrow door.
This is what he means by it. It's agonizing. It's difficult. So why does it take so much effort?
Why is it so difficult to enter through the narrow door? Well, because the wide road is constantly beckoning you to enter it. The wide road is like a magnet pulling you towards what appears to be a joy ride. The wide road looks a lot more promising and seems to offer so much more comfort and pleasure.
Have you ever noticed that? Plus, that's the road where most of your friends are traveling. Most of them are on the wide road. And the wide road is crowded with so many more people who seem to be having so much more fun. It just looks easier. So why bother entering the narrow door that promises difficulties and hardships?
Why? Acts 14, 22 declares this truth. We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. I want you to consider some of the things that Jesus says that you will encounter if you choose to follow Him.
Are you ready for this? In Matthew 10, 22 Jesus says, All men will hate you because of My name. In Matthew 10, 38 and 39 Jesus says, And anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Then He goes on to say, Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
In John 15, 20 Jesus says, No servant is greater than his Master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. So men, the narrow road promises persecution, hatred from others, and you must die to self on your own cross.
Who wants to sign up for this when the world is offering pleasure and comfort and excitement and fun? No wonder the road is narrow. The road is narrow because only a few people choose to enter through the narrow door. In Matthew 7, 13 and 14 Jesus says, Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate, and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Are you one of the few? Have you found the narrow road? Have you found the narrow road? By the way, what exactly is the narrow door or gate?
Well, it's not a question of what, but who. Jesus is the narrow gate. Jesus is the narrow door. In John 10, verses 7 and 9, He tells us clearly.
He said, I tell you the truth. I am the gate for the sheep. All who enter came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved.
Did you hear that? Whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture.
You know, it's interesting. The narrow road at first glance doesn't look attractive, but that's where He says you'll find pasture. In other words, that's where you'll find soul contentment. Jesus said in John 14, 6, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Why is it so difficult to come to God by way of Jesus? Why is it so difficult?
Why is it so difficult? Because there's something in man's nature that makes him want to find another way. When you say Jesus is the only way, human nature wants to find a different path.
It's just human nature. Look at verse 24 again. Jesus says, Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and not be able to.
Did you hear that? Many will try to enter and not be able to. So here's the question. How do many people try to enter heaven through a different way? Well, first, just look around the world. Most people around the world are trying to come to God through the thousands, millions of man-made religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and the list goes on and on. We'd be here all night if I listed all religions in the world.
Why is this? Because most people would rather create their own religions and design their own gods, a god in their own thinking. But I would argue there's a more subtle way of trying to come to God found here in America called Churchism. Coming to Jesus is just too simple for a lot of people.
Most educated, sophisticated people want something that takes more effort. And this is what Churchism offers, a more sophisticated and complicated system. Many people, you know, think about it, begin their own personal religious journey by joining a church, particularly when they get married, where no one ever mentions anything about the narrow door.
When's the last time you went to some churches and heard a sermon on the narrow door? No one dares to mention that Jesus is the only way. And no one ever talks about sin and the need for repentance.
Why is that? It's because these subjects are just too uncomfortable, and they don't really apply to sophisticated religious people, do they? But this is not the way of Jesus. Religious striving through church membership, reciting liturgy, doing good works, obeying the golden rule, all those things are good if they're done by faith. But if they're not done by faith, they count for nothing if they're not done by faith.
And the people who are striving believe that somehow they actually deserve eternal life, that somehow they have earned it. But according to Charles Spurgeon, true Christianity says the opposite. This is a quote from Charles Spurgeon.
I read it today in my morning devotional. Charles Spurgeon says, the life of faith is represented as receiving, not doing. In other words, Christianity is a receiving religion. I hate to even call it religion.
It is an act that implies the very opposite of anything involving merit. It is simply the acceptance of a gift. True believers, he writes, are empty vessels into which God pours his salvation.
It's a gift. But see, that's just too simple for sophisticated religious elites. So men, to enter through the narrow door, you must not only turn away from the pull of the world, but you must come to God through Jesus, because he's the only way. When I was coming over here this afternoon, the sun was going down. I was listening to the Billy Graham channel.
Y'all get that on XM radio. Billy Graham, 24-7. And he said, religion never saved anyone. The only thing that saved anyone was Jesus on the cross.
And that's so true. So what's going to happen to the many people on the wide road? Well, look again at verses 25-28. Jesus said, Guys, I talked about this some last week, but let me just reiterate it. At some point, I hope it's soon, the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return to this earth. And when he returns, a great separation is going to occur.
Did you hear me? A great separation between believers and non-believers. We read about this in Matthew 25. So take your Bible and turn it over to Matthew 25. I want to read verses 31-41. And here, these are the words of Jesus in Matthew 25. And he's talking about his second coming.
Jesus says, My father, take your inheritance. The kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me.
I was in prison and you came to visit me. One thing I don't want you to read into this, this is not talking about works. Faith proceeds into works, but it's not the works that save you. It's just the works are the evidence of salvation.
Are you with me? Verse 37, then the righteous will answer, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The king will reply, truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Then, I'm going to end with verse 41, even though there's more to it. Then he will say to those on his left, depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
So guys, here is the truth. When Jesus returns, he's going to divide the world into two groups. Number one, those who traveled on the wide road will stand on his left and be sentenced to an eternity in hell. And number two, those who enter through the narrow door will stand on his right and be welcomed to an eternity in heaven. That's why this narrow door is so important.
Have you entered through the narrow door? Now, I want you to notice it's interesting to see what the response of the many who travel down the wide road will be. The Lord says they will plead with him to let them into heaven. And in their pleading, they will point to their good works. They will actually make the case that they actually deserve to be let into heaven, even though in this life, they rejected Jesus as the only way. We see this clearly in Matthew 7, verses 21 through 23, where Jesus says, not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven.
Let me ask you something. Where do people learn to say, Lord, Lord? In church. Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, in other words, they will be very familiar with my name. Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only He who does the will of my Father who's in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons, and in your name perform many miracles? In other words, they're going to be pointing to all the things that they did, that they think qualified them, earned them a right to enter heaven. And then He will tell them plainly what? I never knew you.
Away from me, you evildoers. So why will those on the wide road be turned away from heaven? It's because they will not have a personal relationship with Jesus. They will not know Him, and He will not know them personally. And Jesus will say, I never knew you.
Guys, this is so important here. Listen, I've thought about this before. This is not the way it happens, but if you arrive at the pearly gate and Peter stops you and says, why shall I let you into heaven? All you have to do is this, if it's true, look around him and look at Jesus and say, because I know Him and He knows me. And you know what Peter's going to say?
Good answer. Salvation, men, is knowing Jesus. That's the definition of salvation.
You know Jesus. Revelation 17, 3 says, Now this is eternal life. In other words, Jesus right here, this is His prayer.
Excuse me. This is John 17, verse 3. John 17, 3 says now, and He's praying to His Heavenly Father and He's defining eternal life. He says, Now this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Do you see that? You must know Jesus, not about Him. You must know Him. I know this is what the writer of the hymn in the garden was talking about when this person wrote, And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own. Can you see how the writer of that hymn is describing this personal relationship that you know, when you're first saved, it may not feel that personal, but as long as the longer you're saved, the more you spend time in God's Word, the more you spend time in prayer, it's more like you're walking with Him and you're talking with Him. That's what it means to know Jesus. 1 John 5, 20 says, We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true. So my question to you tonight is, do you know Jesus?
Do you know Him? Those on the wide road miss Christ, thus they miss heaven. And they'll be cast into hell where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And this is why Jesus pleads with us.
Make every effort. He ignored that question. Will only a few be saved? If the answer doesn't matter, here's the thing.
Make every effort He pleads to enter through the narrow door. And you see why? Look at the consequences. So what will happen to the few on the narrow road? Look at verses 29 through 30. Jesus goes on to say, People will come from the east and west and north and south.
And this probably shocked these Jews because all the Jews live right there in Israel. And He's saying people will be coming from the east and the west and the north and the 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. So those on the narrow road men, if you've entered through the narrow gate and you're on the narrow road, then you're headed to heaven where an incredible welcoming banquet is awaiting known as the wedding supper of the Lamb.
Now I think we might have looked at this last week or week before, but let's look at it again. Take your Bible and turn with me to Revelation chapter 19. This is the great welcoming banquet for those who are traveling down the narrow road. It's known as the wedding supper of the Lamb.
John writes, and again John is on the island of Patmos and he's given a vision of this great banquet, this great feast that's going to take place one day. Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud pills of thunder shouting, Hallelujah for our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory for the wedding of the Lamb has come and His bride, that would be those on the narrow road, has made herself ready. It's the church, the universal church. Fine linen bright and clean was given her to wear. Fine linen stands for the righteousness, the righteous acts of God's holy people. Then the angel said to me, write this, blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb. And he added, these are the true words of God. Men, the moment you step through the narrow door, your wedding invitation is in the mail.
Have you thought about that? And it cannot be rescinded. You don't have to RSVP or regret. You will just show up. And what a blessing it will be on that day when it dawns on you how important that decision was when you decided to enter through the narrow door. Now I want you to notice that there will be a great multitude of believers traveling down this narrow road.
So why does Jesus say only a few enter through the narrow gate? Well the reason is because mathematically the number is few compared to the number who are traveling down the wide road. But it's still a very big number. There will be I believe hundreds of millions if not a billion plus. I don't know.
I don't know the number. But it's going to be a lot of people. And they will be coming from the east and the west and the north and south, literally from every nation, tribe, people and language. Look at Revelation 7 verse 9.
It says, after this I looked. Again John is looking into heaven and he says, And there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. And they were all wearing white robes and were holding branches in their hands. Man, Jesus says make every effort to enter through the narrow door.
So how does one enter through the narrow door? Well, as I've already said, you must come to know Jesus personally. This is how you receive the gift of eternal life, by coming to Jesus in faith. John 1 12 and 13 guys. So coming to know Jesus involves receiving Him into your heart by faith.
Receiving and believing mean the same thing. John 1 12 says, Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, children born not of natural descent, nor human decision, or husband's will, but born of God. Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net. . This is the Truth Network.
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