Morning Bible Study
This Thursday Night in the Truth Project, we begin a two week look at the
subject of Science:
Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just
at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.
13:22-30 The Narrow Gate
:22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying
:23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said
:23 Lord, are there few who are saved?
The religious scholars liked to discuss this question.
Jesus isn’t going to answer the question, “How many will be saved?”, but He
will respond by asking, “Are you saved?”
I think that today some people aren’t sure what it actually means to be
While there are times in the Old Testament where “saved” refers to
deliverance from an earthly enemy or army, it shifts when we get to the New
Here are some New Testament ideas:
When Jesus returns, He will set up an earthly kingdom, and
only those who are “saved” will be a part of this kingdom.
We will see this concept being used in our passage today
Saved from hell
When the Bible talks about “perishing”, it doesn’t mean
that you die and your life is over, “perishing” refers to an eternity in hell.
In our passage today, those in hell are “weeping and
gnashing their teeth”.
3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The New Testament concept of “eternal life” is used to
describe those who will live forever with God.
On Thursday night, we looked at this verse:
17:3 NKJV) And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true
God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Eternal life comes from “knowing”, from having an intimate
relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will
seek to enter and will not be able.
:24 the narrow gate
I did a wedding yesterday, held in a beautiful backyard.
The only way into the backyard was through a gate, a narrow gate.
The gate was so narrow that the father of the bride and the bride had to
come through separately before he could escort her down the aisle.
The “gate” into heaven is also narrow – only allowing one person in at a
You can’t get in on your parent’s coattails.
You can’t get in because you’re an “American”.
You can only get in by yourself, by you trusting in Jesus.
:24 many…will seek to enter and will not be able
Fewer than you think
There is a belief in the world that just about everyone and their dog will
make it to heaven.
Some people who think it doesn’t matter who your “god” is, as long as you
are pretty good in this life…
Video: The Truth Project 04 – Views on who God is
Do “all roads lead to heaven”? Jesus
will tell you that’s a bit too wide of a gate.
Earlier in His ministry, Jesus taught,
7:13–14 NKJV) —13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is
the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because
narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life,
and there are few who find it.
There is only One Way into heaven, and it’s through Jesus.
That may sound narrow-minded to some, but listen closely, I didn’t make up
the rules. Jesus did.
14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one
comes to the Father except through Me.
Suppose you decided to go to Hawaii for vacation this
year. You buy your tickets, you go
through airport security, and you finally get your seat on the plane.
Then the pilot gets on the intercom to welcome you to the
flight and declares to you that he’s decided not to be so “narrow-minded”. He knows that Hawaii is “that-a-ways”, so
he’s turning off his navigation equipment and we’re all going to fly off in
that general direction.
Would you want to run screaming to get off that plane?
Why is Jesus narrow-minded?
Because He’s the only one with the solution.
Our problem is that we are all sinners.
Our sin has cut us off from God.
For God to forgive us and still be a “just” God, someone would have to pay
the price for our sins.
Paying for sin requires a perfect sacrifice, and only Jesus qualifies as
the perfect sacrifice because He didn’t sin.
When Jesus died on the cross, He was being your
sacrifice. He paid for your sins.
Now all God requires of men is to accept the free gift of eternal life that
He offers to those who will believe in Him.
Have you received God’s free gift?
:25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and
you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for
us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are
:25 risen up and shut the door
Jesus is describing a time when God will close the door to heaven.
There are some things in life that you will have problems with if you’re
If you arrive at the airport ten minutes before your flight leaves, you’re
If you are a kindergarten teacher and one of your students has to go to the
bathroom, you better help them before it’s too late.
If you have tickets to the Angels’ game this afternoon, and you don’t go
until tonight, you’ll be too late.
The same goes when it comes to your ticket to heaven. The point here is that there will be a time
when the “door to heaven” will be shut.
It took Noah a few years to build the ark, and during that time that Noah warned
the world about the coming flood. Peter
called Noah a “preacher of righteousness” (2Pet. 2:5)
But there came a day when the rain came, and God shut the door of the ark
on Noah, his family, and the animals they had collected (Gen. 7:16). It was too late for everyone else.
When you die, it will be too late, the door will be closed.
(Hebrews 9:27 NKJV)
as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
There are no second chances after you die. Only judgment.
The choice you make before you die determines where you go
when you die.
The Spanish composer Manuel de Falla was notorious for not answering his
mail. When he heard that a friend had died, the composer said, “What a pity! He
died before I answered his letter, which he sent me five years ago!”
Here's the challenge.
Some of you may have been putting off turning your life over to Jesus. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Do it today.
Others of us have been putting off talking to our friends or family about
We too have no guarantee of tomorrow. You could die. They could die. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
:26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You
taught in our streets.’
:27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from.
Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
:26 We ate and drank in Your presence
These are the people that Jesus has been ministering to as He’s traveled
throughout Israel. They will have this idea that because they were around when
Jesus lived, that they will have some kind of special privileges.
Close isn’t good enough
Going to McDonald’s doesn’t make you a hamburger.
Going to Krispy Kreme doesn’t make you a donut (or a cop).
Going to Angels Stadium doesn’t make you Mike Trout.
Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian.
I would imagine that there are people who think that because they go to
church, eat and drink the Communion elements, and listen to the teaching of the
Word, that they are Christians. Ain’t so.
The Bible says,
(John 1:12 NKJV) But as many
as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those
who believe in His name:
NKJV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and
opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
There must be a time where a person actually chooses to follow Jesus. They must cross the line of being a spectator
and jump onto the playing field.
You must choose to turn from your sins.
You must open your heart to Jesus.
You must choose to follow and obey Jesus.
:27 Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity
Is it real?
Jesus rejects these people. Even
though they can claim to have hung around him, eating, drinking, and being
taught, He replies that He doesn’t know them.
The only significant clue Jesus gives us as to the reason He doesn’t know
these people is that they are called “workers of iniquity”.
These are people who are “doing bad things”.
NKJV) —21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom
of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will
say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast
out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I
will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice
You see the same thing said here.
People who claim to know God, but live lives of constantly
doing the wrong things might not be true believers.
whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise
man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and
beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But
everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a
foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods
came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its
It is not enough to just call Jesus “Lord”, or even listen to His words.
He is looking for people who will actually do what He
It is not even enough to do “churchy” things like
prophesy, cast out demons, or do wonderful works. What is important is learning to do what God
wants you to do.
The two house builders both “heard” the sayings of Jesus,
but only one acted upon them.
Simply repeating the words of a prayer isn’t going to save you if you don’t
really believe in what you’re saying.
The only way to know if it’s real is by seeing if anything ever starts to
When you truly open your heart to God, He puts His Spirit in you, and the
Spirit is not going to be comfortable with the sin in your life.
He’s going to start making you uncomfortable with your sin as well.
Do real Christians sin?
Yes. All real Christians continue to
wrestle and struggle with sin. We all
still have a sin nature we struggle with.
Paul the apostle wrote,
7:19 NLT) I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is
wrong, but I do it anyway.
The question isn’t whether you sin or not, the question is whether you want
If you have no desire to change, there’s a problem.
Some people accept Christ, and they stop drinking or doing drugs
immediately without ever looking back.
But some of us didn’t quit so easily.
If you can’t stop your sin, but you want to, you may be “addicted” to your
But that doesn’t mean there’s no hope.
It means you have to find what it takes to change.
Do something about your sin. Take your sin seriously.
It might mean you need to get serious and join something
like a Twelve Step program (like Sunday Night’s James Gang) and do whatever it
takes to stop your addiction.
I hope I’ve made some of you uncomfortable today.
It is good to examine yourself to see if you are a real Christian.
Corinthians 13:5 NKJV) Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test
yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless
indeed you are disqualified.
While I don’t believe we ought to be going through our
whole lives wondering about our salvation, it’s not a bad thing every once in a
while to be sure that you are “in the faith”.
:28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and
Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves
:28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth
Hell is not a mindless passing into oblivion. It involves eternal torment.
It would be a horrible thing for the Jewish crowd before Jesus to see
people like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, their beloved ancestors, go into the
kingdom while they don’t.
:29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the
south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.
:30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who
will be last.”
:29 east … west … north … south
The point is that these Jewish people who lived in Jesus’ day would not
make it into the kingdom, but people from all around the world, presumably
:30 last who will be first
There will be Gentiles (whom the Jews would consider the “last”) who will
make it into the kingdom of God.
:30 first who will be last
There will be Jews (the “first”) who will reject the Messiah and not make
it into the kingdom.
:29 east … west … north … south
More than you think
While some make the way to heaven too broad, others make it too narrow.
They have the idea that only their select group, their little sect, will
enter into heaven.
Jesus is telling the Jews that there will be people in heaven they wouldn’t
Be careful about judging other people who don’t go to the same church as
Be careful about judging people you don’t like, or who bother you, people
who struggle with certain sin issues, or who aren’t as spiritual as you and
then you say, “Well they are not really saved”.
What will you find when you get to heaven?
St. Peter is very busy in Heaven, so he leaves a sign by the Pearly Gates:
“For Service Ring Bell.” Away he goes; he barely gets started when BING! the
bell rings. He rushes back to the gates, but no one’s there.
St. Peter goes back to work when suddenly BING! the bell rings again. He
rushes back to the gates, but no one’s there. A little annoyed, St. Peter goes
back to work.
Suddenly, BING! the bell rings again. St. Peter goes back; again, no one’s
there. “Okay, that’s it,” St. Peter says. “I’m going to hide and watch to see
what’s going on.” So St. Peter hides, and a moment later, a little old man
walks up and rings the bell.
St. Peter jumps out and yells, “Aha! Are you the guy who keeps ringing the
“Yes, that’s me,” the little old man says.
“Well, why do you keep ringing the bell and going away?” St. Peter asks.
“They keep resuscitating me,” he replies.
I think that for some of us, our relationship with Jesus seems like that
little old man – one day we’re saved, the next we’re not.
I don’t think that is a healthy way to walk with Jesus.
God wants you to settle it today that you are saved.
(1 John 5:11–13
NKJV) —11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and
this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God
does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the
Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue
to believe in the name of the Son of God.
Do you believe?
Have you given your life to Jesus?
If you are struggling with a certain sin, make today the
day you decide you’re going to do whatever it takes to stop.
:30 last who will be first
Have you thought that you are the “last” person to ever become a Christian?
Maybe today is your day.