Luke 13:18-30

Luke 13:18-30

God wants us to always, always, feel welcome close to Him.And sometimes we think because bad things are happening in our life that God has abandoned us but, in fact, it’s the opposite. God has not abandoned us. When those rough things start happening in our lives, it is usually because God loves us, because He is packing manure around us. He is making life stink for us, but He is giving us the life-saving nutrients that we need that will cause fruit to grown. And yet, we resent those times. We become angry in those times. We don’t want those times when our life stinks. We don’t want trouble in our life, but the fact is, if it wasn’t for trouble in your life, you would have no reason, I would have no reason, to turn to God and give Him any attention whatsoever. We give attention to those things that we can see, to those things that we can touch, to those things that we can experience, and so God says fine, I’ll give you some things that you can experience that you’re not going to like, and you’ll need to turn to me to resolve them. And we are forced, then, to our knees. We are forced to that place in God’s Word where only God can meet us, and God begins to resolve those issues of our life and draw us close to Him. And then, we begin to interact with other people in such a way that fruit is displayed. They can see the work of God in us. And so, rather than despising those moments in our life where God allows for us to be uncomfortable, where He causes the hard times to come to us, rather than allowing those times to be times of misery and resentment, those are the times that we need to be the most thankful. That if you can look past the hardship, you will see that God is there…

God wants us to always, always feel welcome close to Him. It doesn’t matter what you’re going through. It doesn’t matter if you have an illness. It doesn’t matter if you’re blind or crippled. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most intelligent person in this room. God desires for us, all of us, to know that we are welcome close to Him, in His presence…

[Jesus] says make every effort to enter through the narrow door or the narrow gate. Many other places Jesus says, “I am the gate, I am the door, I am the way in, and I am the One Who is the gate to the sheep pen. No one comes or goes unless they come through Me.” Jesus was very narrow-minded. And guess what? If you believe in Jesus, and you trust Jesus for your salvation, you are very narrow-minded, and the world will accuse you of being very narrow-minded. Thank you. Thank you for recognizing in me the teaching of Jesus Christ. You can ridicule me all you want, but this is what Jesus taught, and I will not move one inch from what Jesus taught. Where salvation is concerned, it is very narrow, and it is difficult because people don’t want to hear that Jesus is the only way…

What effort have you made today to enter in through the narrow door? What effort have you made to help your neighbor to know the door is narrow but they need to go through it? “Because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” They will try, but they try to bring their luggage with them. They try to bring all the things of their life that they think is right. It is so hard for us to leave our flesh behind. We want to tell God, “You’re wrong. I don’t need to change. You need to change. Oh, but please save me. I want salvation, Lord, but I want to live my life the way I want to live my life. I want to do what I want to do. Oh, but God, I love you, really.” We are all this way. In our lives, we will look up to God and say, “God, I am not going to change. I will live the way I want to live. Oh but, by the way, I want to be saved, too.” The door is narrow, and there will be many who will try to enter and will not be able to. You can not bring your flesh with you. You can not bring the things of the flesh with you. The only way you can enter through is through truth, and the truth is I’m a sinner, and I need to die to myself, and I need to ask Jesus to forgive me and to deal with my flesh, to rid me of my flesh…

And what does [Jesus] say here twice? “I do not know you.” What is this about? Getting to know God so that He knows you. It is about personal relationship, and Jesus has told us how to have that personal relationship. “To all those who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” All we must do, all we need do, is receive Who Jesus is and what He’s done. That’s a hard one to swallow for many people, very hard, because we want to do something…

You know, it’s not about doing anything to help God so that your sin can be forgiven. All you need to do is ask, and He forgives the sin. In fact, when Jesus died on the cross, when His blood was shed, the issue of sin was dealt with. Salvation was offered and given. There will be no man who will stand before God the Father at the judgement and be denied entrance because he was a sinner, because if we were denied entrance because we’re sinners, the guess what? None of us will be allowed in. It’s not about the sin. Jesus died for the sin once and for all. It’s about knowledge, now. Do you know Jesus and that He died for your sin and washed it away?…

Does God know you today? You may know about Him, you may have association with Him, but I need to ask the question. Have you received Jesus into your life? Have you asked Him to be a part of your life so that you know Him on a personal level? Or, do you just play church? Do you just show up because it’s the thing to do because you want to impress your neighbor?

Dave Elkins