WILL FEW PEOPLE BE SAVED?
Please read the above passage before reading this message.. In Luke 13:23 we read that a man presented this question to Jesus, “Lord, are there few that are saved?” This question was about heaven Will only a few people make it to heaven? That is probably the most surprising question Jesus ever had to deal with. I will say this to the credit of the man who posed it; he brought it to the only person on earth who could have answered it, and a remarkable answer it was. I feel certain this man had the Jews in mind when he asked this question. Will all Jews be saved simply because they are Jews? What about the Jewish situation?. Will some Jews be saved and others lost, and if this be true, what will be the determining factors?
And what about the Gentile situation? Will any of them be in heaven? Some of the Jewish thinkers taught that God made this world for many but the world to come for a few, and that few would be Jews. This man is a type of many today who are puzzled about the problems of human life and destiny. People in many different religions are asking this same question, but they have no one who can answer the question. Only Jesus can answer this question. Jesus did not give a yes or no answer to the question, but His answer implied that many are in danger of missing heaven. The Lord did something more wonderful than giving a yes or no answer to the question. He revealed certain causal factors which will determine how many people will be saved, and He informed this man. how he and those with him could be saved.
In answering the man's question, the key words to note are in Luke 3:24, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many I say to you will seek to enter and will not be able.” What does it mean to enter through the narrow gate? This striving to enter the narrow gate is something which must be done in this life, not in the next life. To strive or agonize is something people must do before they die. After death and at the time of the judgment, striving or agonizing will not help us.
What is this gate that we must strive to enter sometime during ur lifetime, sometime before we die? Fortunately, Jesus made another statement about this gate in Matthew 7:13,14, “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. Because narrow is gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” By the word
“Enter” we are directed to think of beginnings. We must learn of this gate, for until we have passed through it we cannot be on the way to heaven at all. The two ways are the two ways people live in the Christian age of the world. The Jewish age of the world was about to end and did end when Jesus died on the cross. Going to heaven would then be a matter of being a Christian and no longer in being a Jew, and Jesus wanted this man and the whole world to understand this truth. The narrow way of life is the Christian life, and the broad way of life is the sinful way people live who are not Christians. The gate is the new birth, for Jesus said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God....unless one is born of the water and Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” At the time of the new birth we do not enter into heaven but into the kingdom of God on earth.(John 3:3-5). Jesus said to Peter after he confessed Jesus was the Messiah the Son of God, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”(Matthew 15:18,19). In that passage we learn that Christ's church is the kingdom of heaven on earth. No one can become a Christian without effort. We neither drift into the kingdom, nor do we grow up into it unconsciously. The gate is the doorway into the New Testament church and the narrow way is the Christian way of life. Jesus said few people,. comparatively speaking, find the narrow way leads that leads to eternal life. The broad way is not a shortcut to the narrow way. Each has a separate destination. We do not all come to same end, and the character of the end is determined by the character of the way. This is a factor that determines how many will go to heaven.
Christ has revealed to us something very important that helps us understand the answer Jesus gave this man. Christ has revealed that the kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven has two phases. In relation to time the kingdom of heaven has an earthly existence and a heavenly existence. The earthly period of Christ's kingdom began in the first century A.D. in Jerusalem and will continue to the second coming of Christ. The heavenly phase of the kingdom of God will begin at the resurrection and continue forever in the heavenly world. This truth is verified by Paul in I Corinthians 15:24 by saying that when Christ comes, He will deliver up the kingdom to God the Father. . Peter verifies this truth when he says in 2 Peter 1:5-11 that if Christians will dd several Christian virtues to their faith, an abundant entrance will given them into the everlasting kingdom of Christ. When the earthly kingdom of Christ is delivered up to God at the end of the world, it will become the everlasting kingdom of Christ in the heavenly world..
The second thing we learn from the passage in Luke 13:22-30 is that people, for whatever reason, do not become a member of Christ's church-kingdom on earth, cannot go to heaven. This simply means that when people die who are not Christians, it is impossible for them to go to heaven. People must have entered the kingdom of heaven when it was in its earthly phase or they cannot enter into it when it has entered its heavenly phase. This is what Jesus meant in Luke 13:24 when He said...”For many I say to you will seek to enter in and shall not be able.” Many will try to gain entrance into the kingdom of Christ after Christ has delivered it up to the Father, but they will be rejected. This is clear from Luke 13:25, “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 to us, He will answer and say to you, I do not know you, where you are from.”
This was a warning to the Jews who were refusing to enter His Messianic kingdom, the church. Christ is the Master, and when He returns He will shut the door of His kingdom.. Death is the period when the door of salvation is shut to the children of men. In Luke 13:28, Christ was speaking directly to unbelieving Jews when He said that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets will be in the heavenly kingdom above, but you will be cast out. Moreover, He said Gentiles from all over the world and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God. This was the kingdom in its heavenly phase, for these great men were never in the kingdom of Christ on earth. He elaborated by saing, “And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.” This expression has a historical reference, and sadly predicts the rejection of Israel, not only in this present world but in the world to come. Under the law of Moses, the Jews were first and the Gentiles last, but under the Christian religion, many Gentiles will become first and many Jews will become last.
The admonition of Jesus is, “Be ready.” We are to live in expectation of Christ's sudden appearance. This is necessary because odur death is equivalent to His second coming. There is a close relationship between the day of our death and the day He comes. The word of God reveals the first thing Jesus will when He returns is to raise the dead. For those in the grave, there is no passage of time for the body. This necessarily means that between the moment we die, and the moment that Christ calls us out of the grave will seem to but a moment of time. I firmly believe that between the day I die and the day Christ comes, it will be like the snap of a finder. As strange as it sounds, to everyone it will appear that the day they died was the day Christ came. Make up your mind. Enter Christ's church before you die.