Sermon Manuscript: The Narrow Door
Jesus often surprised people with his teachings. He made statements that at times were shocking, revolutionary, and down right confusing. He said things like, “Loose your life to save it.” “The meek will inherit the earth.” “Pray for those who persecute you.” “It is better to give than to receive.”
We’re going to look at a passage this morning that contains one of those surprising statements. “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able to.” Why does that statement make us a bit uncomfortable? Perhaps, it's because from this passage we learn that not everyone who thinks they belong to the kingdom of God, really does.
Now I don’t say that this morning in order to introduce doubts or fears into your minds. The goal is actually quite different. My hope is that through self-examination you might see your doubts and fears driven away. My hope is not to demolish your assurance, but instead to make it exceedingly impossible for false-assurance to linger in your heart. And my hope is that our study of the text would prepare us to come to the Lord Table this morning and enjoy the foretaste of the heavenly feast that awaits those who belong to the kingdom of God.
If you haven’t already, please make find your way to Luke 13:22–30. We’re in a series on the parables. You need to know up front that not everyone considers this portion of Scripture to be a parable. In fact, most don’t. But I’ve chosen it this morning for three reasons. Number one, it’s has some literary features very common to the parables. For example, Jesus is using an image his hearers can easily understand (a narrow door) to illustrate a heavenly truth. Second, this is an important teaching on the nature of salvation that we find in many of the parables. Jesus puts forth a very clear teaching about what it means to be saved. And third, this section - like the parables - shows us something about the surprising nature of God’s kingdom. Namely, who will be a part of it, and who won’t.
Imagine for a moment that you’re standing in a hallway, lined with doors as far as the eye can see. Each door represents a different religion—a different worldview or ideology. Some might say that they all lead to the place. Or that it doesn’t matter the door you choose, so long as you’re sincere and devout. But what if that isn’t true? What if there is only one door that leads to God? The Lord wants us to know today that there is one narrow door, and it won’t be open forever.