Sermon 8-21-2016

August 21, 2016 Text: Luke 13:22-30

Dear Friends in Christ,

Years ago Crosby, Stills & Nash sang a song entitled, “Wasted On The Way.” One line from that song is as follows: “I am older now, I have more than what I wanted . . .” Those words probably sum up life for a lot of us. More than what we wanted. More living…more running…more accumulation…more conflict…more hurts…more pains than we ever thought when we were children.
Life gets heavy for some of us. Then the day comes, a quiet time alone when we look at where we’ve been and where we are going, and some of us are convinced that if we had to do it over again there would be changes in our lives. Can you sing it: I am older now, I have more than what I wanted?
Life can be full of questions and thoughts that run through our head. Today in our text a question is posed to Jesus – a curious question. Let’s see how Jesus handles it.
Let’s get right to it. “(Jesus) went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, ‘Lord, will those who are saved be few?’” (vs. 22-23a) What’s fascinating about this scenario is that Jesus doesn’t fully answer the question. At least not here. He does in
Matthew where he says, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt. 7:14)
Only a “few” find it. That is a little chilling. In this moment of our text no specific answer is given. And there’s a reason. Remember when you were young and you tried to reason with your parents about how other parents let their child do this or that? And what was the answer: “You are not other children.”
That’s the issue. Not how many are going to be saved, but whether you or I will be saved. All the other “why” questions are wasted diversions. Michael Green relates a story that contains a serious truth mostly ignored:
“An atheistic barber was conversing with a minister…Said the unbeliever, ‘If there is a loving God, how can he permit all this poverty, suffering, and violence among these people? Why doesn’t he save them from all this?’ Just then a disheveled bum crossed the street. He was unshaven and filthy, with long scraggly hair hanging down his neck. The minister pointed to him and said, ‘You are a barber and claim to be a good one, so why do you allow that man to go unkempt and unshaven?’
“’Why, why…’ the barber stuttered, ‘he never gave me a chance to fix him up.’ ‘Exactly,’ said the minister. ‘Men are what they are because they reject God’s help.”
“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” “Many” will try to get in, but “few” will enter. How does that fit with the world’s thinking that if there is a God and people do their best they will go to heaven or whatever they want to call it? It doesn’t square at all. Doing your best isn’t the answer. Most won’t make it.
Can you imagine Christ the Judge looking at people and saying, “I don’t know you.” What a horror to become eternally unknown. Hebrews 11:8a reads, “And without faith it is impossible to please God…” Faith. Paul writes, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8,9) Do you really believe God is going to cave to the sentimental demand that God would surely not send a “good” person to hell – since no-one can be good enough? And what about all those celebrities who have died and, we’re told, are “looking down on us.” You know, from heaven. They’re in heaven because why – they’re celebrities and they entertained us? You think, maybe, some are looking up?
So where is the answer? In the Scripture of course. God’s Word always has the answer. Know this and don’t let anyone downplay it. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) The Jesus answer to the question is: JESUS. Your good works will not get you through the narrow door. Confess your sinfulness before a Holy God and believe that Jesus suffered, bled, and died to pay for all your sins! That has always been the message from this pulpit. God’s love is yours – now – through Jesus Christ. And if you don’t understand that message – if you are not sure – you should get in touch with me as soon as possible.
On the other hand, if you are sure of the Gospel message and the answer to the question then with the Holy Spirit we work to tell others what we already know. Christ crucified and risen. Dwight L. Moody the evangelist once said a cherished epitaph on his tombstone would be: “A young man walking about the streets witnessing to Jesus.”
People all around us have questions. We have the grand answer. The Lord provides it because it is Him. Share it. Live it. “The Jesus Answer To The Question.”