Text: – “Then said one unto the Lord, are there few that be saved” – “LUKE: 13:23”
You are here today and listening to me and I can tell you of a surety that it’s not an accident or mere chance that you are doing so. God has seen fit to bring your time and circumstances together in order that He might reveal to you His opportunity of Grace, Mercy and Acceptance.
It’s a fact that sermons serve many purposes – They Inspire, They Inform and They can even Motivate and it’s my sincerest desire today that in one way or another what I have to communicate will indeed do one or all three of these things – Inspire, Inform and Motivate.
It’s usually Preachers who are doing the sermonising and as a result people from all walks of life come to Christ as a result of responding to the effectual calling provided by the Holy Spirit as the preacher proclaims the Word of Truth – after all, the “Gospel IS the power of God unto salvation”.
What do preachers do? Preachers are the Brokers of Hope. Preachers are the instrument in God’s hands whereby people are assisted in the reframing of their lives from the circumstances of frustration and despair, in order that they can be enabled to embrace the hope and love that is offered by God in Christ.
Preachers preach sermons in order that something can be started. What do I mean? The sermon that provides a true representation of the Gospel provides individuals with a method whereby they start their relationship with Christ and their journey of discipleship with Jesus. Preachers preach sermons in order that something can be started or re-fuelled. What do I mean? The sermon preached can lead a congregation forward in loving their neighbours, in re-focusing their lives on the majesty of God, and to strengthen their hold on the hope that derives its source from God and which the Scriptures tell us “do not make us ashamed.”
Sermons that are provided with the anointing of the Holy Spirit have power and as a result they are dynamic things (dynamic in their content and dynamic in that they own the preacher) and that make an eternal impact.
I want to say right now to you that the message I have to preach is one which provides the Lost a way to be Saved and to Find their Way. Its a message that proclaims that the Condemned can Feel No Shame. Its a message that states that Fear has No Place. Its a message that says The Weak can find Strength. If you are hungry today then the message I’m proclaiming says to you You can Find Grace.
Are you feeling fatherless then let me say right now that God wants to be a Father to You. In addition, I want to state very clearly that through Jesus the Sick are Healed and the Dead are Raised.
How can these things be? Well! Simply its all via Jesus was slain for us. He was and is the Son of God – He is high and lifted up and at the sound of His great name all of that which encompasses heaven can be yours – If you have ears to hear then listen for the sound of His great name in your circumstances.
I don’t know if you ever attend a Church Service outside of the normal religious festivities and times such as Births – Deaths – Marriages – Easter or Christmas.
If this is the case then I am delighted and am thankful to God for the opportunity as a preacher of sharing with you a lifesaving and urgent message right from God’s heart, to you as an individual, which can be summed up in just three words – “God Loves You.” To leave it there however would not really be enough, and as it is in all matters of love it is important that the recipient of it, recognises and understands the reason for it. It is also vital that the truth is spoken in love.
In the case of God Almighty we see His love manifest in that Jesus died some 2000years ago, in order that mankind might escape the flames of Hell, and enjoy the Paradise of Heaven, and at the same time, whilst living out our earthly lives enjoy the blessing of God, to the full.
The Bible says to us “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him might have everlasting life” – “John 3:16” that is just as true today as it was some 2000years ago when it was penned by the writer of the Gospel of John. God gave His Son Jesus Christ to die on the Cross of Calvary, in order to express the depth of His love for you, and today, on this celebration of opportunity He asks you to respond to it by giving your life to Jesus Christ and receiving Him as your Saviour and recognising Him as you Lord.
The text that I have chosen to speak to you today on is one of a group of three texts found in “Matthew 19:25” – “Luke 13:23” – “Acts 16:30” and each of them present before us a very serious and solemn question, that deserves our full consideration.
We live in a world that socially is characterised by the attitude that a neighbour can lie dead in their homes for weeks until a neighbour feels that something might be wrong, and if that is not bad enough in the spiritual realm, people in general have very little if any time for God, or the consideration of their eternal destiny, and instead they fill their minds and lives with Domestic and Financial matters.
Now don’t get me wrong, these financial and domestic matters are vitally important, but they do need to be kept in the right perspective; Jesus brought this out very graphically in “MARK 8:36” when He said – ”What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul” and in a similar vein Jesus considered people to be fools if that was all that they could contemplate in life. In “LUKE 12:16” Jesus said, “You fool this night shall your soul be required of you” and that was said to a man who had exactly the attitude that I am speaking of today.
I wonder today, “What is your attitude?” – how do you figure in the description that Jesus gave in “LUKE l2:16”, would He consider you to be a fool today or not.
Jesus said it you see in order to get people to recognise what was important in life, look at we find in in “MATTHEW :6:25-29.” All around about us we see people taken up with this fad or that, totally lost in Politics, always wanting to look cool, and many of them are doing so, at the cost of their own damnation, and even Christians, who should know better are often caught up in the same entanglements, and discover that their spiritual lives are on the way out and are totally gone to pot and shot to pieces.
In the context of our text, Jesus was being asked, if there were only a few people going to Heaven and being saved from damnation and the fires of Hell, and in Jesus in response to it said that there would be countless millions who would discover that they were unable to enter Heaven, and with a statement, that is so vital as that, we need to examine what He said a little further.
All May Be Saved but All Will Not Be Saved
Don’t believe for one moment all the clap-trap that some (so-called ministers of the Gospel) who preach UNIVERSALISM and tell you, that one day everyone will be saved and get into Heaven, and that a God of Love will not condemn any to Hell, it’s all twaddle, God makes it very clear, what happens to those who do not do things in His way.
The Bible says clearly “The Soul that sins shall surely die” – “Ezekiel 18:20” and “The wages of sin is death” – “Romans 6:23” and what God has said stands firm and clear today.
Earlier I mentioned that God showed His love towards mankind by allowing Jesus Christ to die and take the punishment of sin upon Himself on the Cross of Calvary, and today God’s command to all men everywhere is to repent, to turn their lives around and to follow the example of Christ, receiving Him as their saviour – “God therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, now enjoins men that they shall all everywhere repent, because he has set a day in which he is going to judge the habitable earth in righteousness by the man whom he has appointed, giving the proof of it to all in having raised him from among the dead.” – “Acts 17: 30-31” Darby Bible Translation
Only those who in TRUE Repentance and Faith accept Jesus Christ will get to heaven and none other, God has given the passport freely to all, we need only to take it, if we don’t, we will be the losers in the end and for eternity.
Some Will Be Saved Whom We Didn’t Expect to Be Saved
It wouldn’t stretch our minds very much today to recognise and accept the fact that as a society, we are very prejudice, and not only in the realms of colour and race, it goes far beyond that, into areas of wealth, popularity, politics, intellect and even health, and it affects everything we do, and also our reactions to people that we meet.
In the book of “James 2:1-4” we read the following – “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” – NIV and here it is speaking of the sin of partiality and prejudice finding its way into God’s Church. So, as Christians don’t let us for one moment think that we are not as effected by prejudice as another, because we can be equally so, and if we are not careful, we can make the mistake of thinking that some will find their way into Heaven who we didn’t expect to, let me give you some examples…..
The Pharisee and the Publican – “LUKE 18:9-14”
Given the following set of circumstances, in the ordinary course of events, I wonder, if we didn’t already know, who we would expect to be accepted by God and who rejected.
On the one hand you have a man who from his earliest childhood has been a strict Moralist, he has lived a very Devout and Religious Life, he has learned whole portions of the Bible, and is able to recite them clearly. He is well respected by his peers and a pillar of his society, and on the other hand you have a man who had lived his life only for gain, his one ambition was to be and stay on top, he couldn’t care less for anyone around him, he thieved and stole, was probably a racketeer, and was hated by everyone except his own close community of associates, who were no better than he was.
Who do you reckon in this scenario would be acceptable to God, well without one thing separating the two of them, neither of them would be, God would have considered them both as bad as each other, and both of them would have felt the fires of Hell, but one thing did separate the two of them, and it is revealed in “VERSE:13” where we read of the Non-Religious Person saying “Oh God be merciful to me a sinner” that’s what separated these two men.
The Bible tells us that God is looking for honesty in the inward recesses of our hearts, He is sick to the back teeth with all the Pomp and Ceremony that presents itself as Religion and Gods way, Gods way is the pathway of Repentance and Faith and there is none other.
The Bible says and it is Jesus speaking “I am come NOT to call the righteous BUT sinners to repentance.” – “Luke 5:32.”
Other examples that we are given are of the Law Breaker and Thief who died on the other side of Jesus in “LUKE 23:39-43” here was a thief and a murderer, he had probably committed many rapes and would have sold out his own Mother, if the price was right, but Jesus said to him, “I say unto you today, you will be with me in paradise” and the reason why was that he honestly recognised himself for what he was and got his life right with God.
In “LUKE 19:1-10” there is the familiar story of Zacchaeus the Tax gatherer, he was despised and rejected by the society in which he lived, but he found acceptance with God, and how by REPENTANCE and FAITH.
Many Who Expect to Be Saved Won’t Be Saved
Let me read to you what we find in “LUKE 13:25-27” – “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.’ “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!.” These verses reveal to us that there are many people who will expect to be saved and get into Heaven who will be thrown out as they try to enter, and the reason is simple, they have refused to go in God’s way.
In the verses I have just read it is clear that many of those thrown out have been regular Church Goers, very religious and up-right people, those who do much for charity and are characterised by good works, but as much as it is true that DISCIPLES get to Heaven and not DECISION MAKERS, Good People don’t get into heaven Forgiven people do so it is true that only those who do things God’s way get to Heaven.
The Bible says to us clearly in “ACTS :4:12b” – “there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved and that name is Jesus.” It’s not the Pope, it is not the Virgin Mary, it’s not Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, it’s not the reverend Moon, it’s not Buddha or Mohammed or even the New Age Teaching, it is Jesus and only Jesus.
The Bible goes on to say “There is only one mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus” and if today you are putting your trust in any other than Jesus Christ you are doomed to failure, and if you wish to escape the wrath to come, you must go God’s way, and REPENT and believe in the Son of God Jesus Christ, and then come out from among those things that you have sought as your raft to escape the waters of perdition and punishment.
You know it would be true to say today that God has alloted a span of life in fact the Scriptures say in “Hebrews 9:27a” – “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…..” it also goes on to to say “My times are in thy hand.” – “Psalm 31:15” – It’s therefore vital that we take the opportunity during the lifetime of the opportunity to ensure that we are right with God.
It does not matter what medical advances are made or how much wishful thinking we may engage in – God in His soveriginty has decided “When you are born and when you will die” its all marked on His calender.
I have never seen a tombstone Say “I didn’t work enough” and its unlikely that you have ever heard a father say “I held my kids to much” so I want to say to you – Don’t waste your life, Don’t lose your life, Don’t let your life be stolen from you and especially – Don’t steal it by neglect by yourself.
Know that it’s precious.
Know that its priceless.
Equally know that your time is flying by – and come to God and say to Him “Show me how to spend my life”
God commands all men everywhere to repent, will you obey Him today
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