Lord, Lord, Open Unto Us!
Based on Series of Sermons on the Repetition of Name and Titles
Preached in PCC Worship Service, 1 September 2013
Part 3 of 3

We have been studying Luke 13:22-30 in our ongoing series of articles on the repetition of names and titles in the Bible.

We have considered the context and question leading up to the Lord’s teaching on entrance into His kingdom. We looked at the Lord’s command to strive to enter in, His caution that a time is coming when it will be too late to seek entrance into the kingdom, and finally, the great change or reversal that will take place in terms of the kind of people who will be in the kingdom.

In this concluding article on this passage, I’ll like to briefly draw our attention to four points that we must take away from it.

First, it doesn’t matter how many people will eventually be saved. What concerns us and what is of great importance to us is whether we are saved or not. In the end, the most important question is not whether there are few that will be saved but whether we are among those who are saved.

Whatever the motivation and reason for that man’s question, the Lord directed his attention to what really mattered. The same is true of us. It doesn’t matter what the total number of the saved will eventually be. It doesn’t even matter whether most in our day and age will be saved or not. We must not look around or wait and see what other people are doing. We must rather look to ourselves and ask, “Am I among those who are saved?”  

Second, there will be many people who will think and hope that they are saved when in fact they are not. The Lord warns us in verse 24, “for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

In a sense, these people will be in a different category from the rest of the unbelieving world. They will go through life thinking that they are already in the kingdom of the Messiah and believing that they will spend an eternity with Him. But the final Day of Judgment will be a day of great surprise and astonishment when the awful realisation dawns upon them that they are not truly citizens of the kingdom and will not spend eternity in glory.

But why will these people be deceived about their eternal state? One of the reasons is that they think that mere outward membership in Christ’s kingdom is enough. For the Jews, many of them had the mistaken idea that being circumcised and being a physical descendant of Abraham was all that was required for entrance into the kingdom. They were content to rest in their outward circumstances and privileges. But as we have seen, these things, of themselves, do not save. It is not the mere use of the means of grace that saves.

Dear reader, do you have the same attitude and approach to the kingdom of God as these Jews of old? You are baptised and you regularly attend the means of grace, whether personally or in the family or in the church. You do not engage in any scandalous sins. You faithfully perform your duties and you appear to have a credible profession of faith. Nevertheless, you are bankrupt inwardly and have no true spiritual life or communion with God. Your religion is external and outward, at best, and you really do not have the root of the matter within you.

Christ is not the One whom you are living for and He is not the One whom your soul desires above all else. The love of God does not motivate you and the word of God does not guide you in all your actions and words and thoughts and decisions. In the end, Christ is but a stranger to you, and you do not hear the voice of the Good Shepherd speaking and calling out to you.

O do not continue in such a state! Do not say – as long as I’m a member of the visible church and as long as I perform all my religious duties, I’ll be alright. Seek the Lord afresh this day and every day. Earnestly beg of Him to give you a change of heart and mind, and keep seeking Him until He does so.

This brings us to the third point, namely, that great effort is required for a person to enter into the kingdom of God.

Christ tells us all to strive or to agonise to enter in at the gate. One cannot simply stroll into the kingdom of God and one cannot carry with him lots of worldly baggage in his hands. The gate is narrow, the enemies of our soul are great and many, and the work of seeking salvation is difficult. We cannot afford to be idle or careless or indifferent to the kingdom. Rather, we are to make the seeking of it the main business of our lives.

And we do so by making faithful and diligent use of the means of grace, and striving and warring against sin, Satan and the world. We do so by putting Christ and His kingdom first, ahead of everything else, be it our earthly success or wealth or pleasure or the praises of men.  

O how foreign this concept of agonising to enter the kingdom of God is to many of us today! You will not hear many contemporary evangelists or gospel preachers saying that. That kind of message is not very seeker-sensitive and it will not be very popular with the crowds.  But that is the teaching of our Lord. Will we not take heed to His voice and do as He commands?

The fourth and final thing I’ll like us to take away from this text is that there is a limit on how much time is available for us to seek God’s kingdom and strive to enter in.

The door of opportunity is currently open. Now is the time of God’s favour. Now is the day of salvation. But it will not last forever. Someday, the door will close, either at our death or at the coming of Christ, and then no amount of asking and seeking and striving and knocking will open it. Once the master of the house rises up to shut the door, no power in heaven or on earth can reopen it. A time is coming when it will be too late to believe and to repent, too late to sorrow for sin and to forsake the world, too late to pray, too late to hear and obey God’s word. In short, when it will be too late to be saved.

There is a sense of urgency in the teaching of our Lord that we must not miss. Time is precious. Let us be up and about the work of seeking Christ and His kingdom. There is nothing so awful in this entire world as to miss out on an entrance into the everlasting kingdom.

On the other hand, there is nothing so wonderful as to sit down in the kingdom of God together with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets, and especially with the master
of the house himself, even the Lord Jesus Christ; and to do so for all eternity. May the Lord grant us ears to hear His word and hearts to believe it and hands to act on it!

“Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Amen.   

—Linus Chua