Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”
He replied, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
Luke 13:23-25 NLT
The way of religion promises “say this sinner’s prayer and join our group and be once saved always saved for all of eternity” to earn your way out of Hell. The way of religion sells daily practice of rituals and repeated sacrifices at the altar to earn your way into heaven. The way of religion sells a country club membership to complacency and prosperity and moral compromise while telling you that there is no work to be done because you already have grace, just send your money to buy your way into heaven. And many will fall to the evils of religion because their hearts have grown cold and they have no desire or love for God that compares to their love for themselves, nor love for their brothers and sisters – even though they know in their hearts that He expects us to be doers of the Word and to bear the burdens of one another in love and service unto Him.
Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
Luke 13:26-27 NLT
He first tells us, there is work to be done. Then He tells those who do evil to get, away from Him. Yes, the Lord offers forgiveness and mercy and grace – but not so that we can return to the slop with the pigs.
Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
John 8:10-11 NLT
He tells us, take up our cross, follow, Him, repent, learn from the forgiveness that we have received, be healed and delivered from our old lives – “Go, and sin no more.”
There are many who will become angry over this verse from the Bible, as they cling to their sins and they shrink back from grace, holding tightly onto their flesh while afraid to let go and cling to the life that is available to them in Christ. They will say, but no one can walk without sin but Christ. And I tell you that it is true that any man who says that He has no sin is a liar – because we each have a past, a life of walking in the flesh. But Christ bids us to come to Him, to have faith in Him, and to walk in the Holy Spirit in the kind of Godly love that fulfills the law. To those who find conviction in this message, these words do not come to condemn you, but to make you aware that you were already condemned and that each must be born again in Christ in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, you must be a new creation, set apart from the world, no longer clinging to the ways of the flesh, but running to God.
Because if we love God with each of our thoughts, our words, and our actions, then how can we defile Him or choose to not bring Him honor and glory – unless we find it true that we do not love God quite as much as ourselves – unless we find that we have been practicing empty religion with no real relationship with God – unless we find that we are removed from His presence and not even knocking. We are either in, or we are out. We are either loving and serving and participating in the celebration of His Kingdom, or we are outside and need a way in. Let’s not wait too long and find the door locked, my friends.
And if we love our brother and sisters with each of our thoughts, words, and actions, how can I choose to stumble them with the pitiful example of an unfaithful testimony while claiming the name of Christ and continuing in my sin? How can I lie to my brother? Steal from my brother? Gossip about my brother? Curse my brother? Withhold good from my brother when I am able to help? Isn’t it because many have no Christ alive in them even though they would lay claim to His name?
“Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what the Lord is saying!’ So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it! But when all these terrible things happen to them—as they certainly will—then they will know a prophet has been among them.”
Ezekiel 33:30-33 NLT
I plead with you, friends. Seek the Kingdom of God while there is still time. Equip yourselves for the work that He has laid out before you. He has a prose for your life and it does not have to be destruction and fire and gnashing of teeth – unless that is what you choose.
What do you choose today, friend?
Are you running the good race to prove yourself faithful? Are you fighting the good fight?
Let’s remember the words of Paul to Timothy and let’s work to make them our own –
As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 NLT