Sermon Transcript – Will Those Who are Saved Be Few?

Series C – Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost – Sunday, August 21, 2016 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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Time StampTranscript
0:26The holy Gospel According to Saint Luke chapter 13 verses 22-30
0:36Jesus went on his way through towns and Villages teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem
0:41some said to him someone said to him Lord will those who are saved Be Few
0:47he said to them strive to enter through the narrow door for many I tell you will
0:52seek to enter and will not be able when Once the Master of the House is risen and shut the door and you begin to stand
0:58outside and to knock at the door saying Lord open to us then he will answer you I do not know where you come from
1:05then you will begin to say well we ate and drank in your presence and you taught in our streets
1:11but he will say I tell you I don’t know where you come from depart from me all you workers of evil
1:16in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets
1:23in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out and people will come from the
1:29East and from the North and the South and recline at the table in the kingdom of God and behold some who some are last
1:37who will be first and some are first who will be last
1:42in the name of Jesus Amen all right I’m going to date myself again
1:48all right some of you remember these years ago there used to be a stock brokerage company named EF Hutton
1:54yeah Janet yeah you remember right you have Hutton uh you have Hutton commercials were quite memorable and one
2:01of those commercials there were two men walking through a crowded Airport baggage claim area as they were walking
2:08one fellow was talking about an investment opportunity and so he asked the other fellow what does your broker
2:15think and the man replies well my broker is EF Hutton and EF Hutton says
2:21and as soon as he says that everyone in the airport stops what they’re doing the airport goes completely silent as
2:28everyone strains to hear what EF Hutton said and then the
2:34commercial announcer says this when EF Hutton talks people listen
2:41no they did not pay me to say that I’m just saying you know I’m not I’m on not on their Dole so our gospel text is sort
2:48of like those old EF Hutton commercials Jesus is asked a question by an unnamed
2:53fellow and you could practically hear a pin drop and this is an important question and how Jesus and how scripture
3:00answers this is of vital importance in fact I’m going to make the claim that
3:07our gospel text combined with our epistle text today are going to help us kind of understand the answer to a
3:13vexing question and this is something that we’ve all struggled with have any of you come to church
3:19and just gone through the motions
3:24I’ve done it I’ve done it yeah and from time to time you you get that kind of vexing question
3:31you know especially regarding the Lord’s supper if we were to have it more often how are we going to keep it special
3:38right and the underlying question behind that is everybody knows that although
3:44God has instituted these good things we as Sinners can somehow get into
3:50autopilot mode right where we just come in we stand up we sit down we pray the
3:55prayer we do this we do that we sing A Hymn we leave and you go home and you
4:00ask yourself did I go to church today all right
4:06if you’re honest you’ve you’ve done this right so this text again with our
4:11epistle text we’re going to be looking at what’s the solution to this problem all right so let’s return to Our Gospel
4:18text I’m going to be preaching from my translation again it’s not because my translations great it’s because I’ve
4:24taken the the finished job on it and kept it at the primer stage because there’s some things going on and here’s
4:30what it says and he that’s Jesus he was journeying through according to cities and Villages
4:36teaching and making the journey to Jerusalem a little bit of a note there that’s our context that’s the important
4:42part because remember a few weeks ago the text said that Jesus had set his face like Flint heading to Jerusalem
4:49heading to the Cross so Luke is very kind here to remind us Jesus is heading to Jerusalem to die for your sins and
4:57mine to fulfill all righteousness and become the sacrifice
5:02so that we can be forgiven of our sins there’s your context verse 23 so someone
5:08said to him we don’t know who this fellow is it’s you know kind of shows up out of nowhere nowhere and then he asks
5:13a question Master are few the ones being saved now I’ve kind of kept it in the
5:21order it shows up in the Greek because there’s a little bit of a play in the Greek on the word ones
5:26all right I’ll explain it as we go are few the ones being saved now it seems on
5:32the surface like this is a great question right I mean everybody wants to know at the end of the world on the day
5:38of judgment what’s going to be this how’s the pie chart going to be split is it 50 50 30 70 you know I’m not good at
5:46math start working out your pie charts right you know we all want to know kind of the and you’ll notice that that’s quite an abstract question
5:53right because the guy asking the question kind of is hinting at well he thinks he’s on
6:01the good side of that pie chart all right so Jesus isn’t at interested
6:06really in answering abstract theological questions in fact uh two really good
6:11Lutheran theologians that I love Arthur just and Martin frondsman both of them have noted that theoretical
6:17theological questions that are framed in the third person they often have this effect of putting
6:24off repentance and they do not actually lead to faith in Christ
6:30so Jesus doesn’t answer the question and that’s the important part
6:36read through the text at the end as Jesus sit there and go okay it’s gonna be like 50 40 you know 60 40 something
6:41he doesn’t answer the question watch what he does and so here’s where the Greek gets again interesting
6:46literally here’s how it reads and then I’ll kind of fill it in and the said to
6:52them I know you read it in the Green Hill
6:58all right and then you have to think back to first-year Greek grammar okay this is one the sentence literally
7:04remains and the said to them when this construction shows up Greek grammar
7:10demands that you insert a word and the word is one so let me do this using proper Greek
7:18grammar and the one said to them
7:24and now you can start to see what’s going on are few the ones being saved and the one Jesus now said to them
7:33here’s what he said be struggling to enter through the narrow door because
7:39many I say to you will seek to enter and will not be able forget the pie chart
7:45forget what the percentage is going to be on the day of judgment you you be
7:51struggling to enter through the narrow door none of this abstract theology nonsense right we’re not talking about
7:57them we’re talking about you that’s how Jesus just turns on them right here says
8:04so be struggling to enter through the narrow door many I say many I say to you
8:10will seek to enter and will not be able from whatever time the house Master
8:15arises and shuts the door and you begin to stand outside and to be knocking on the door saying Master open for us
8:22and having responded he will say to you I do not know you where you are from and
8:28then you will begin to say well we ate and drank in your presence and you taught on our wide roads
8:35think religious activity here right
8:41where do you go to hear the words of Jesus come to church where do you come to eat and drink in his presence church
8:46back then those who were following Jesus around they were following him around for religious purposes they were hearing
8:52his teaching they were eating and feasting with him all right keep that in mind so he will speak to them saying I
8:59don’t know you where you’re from depart from me all you workers of unrighteousness in that place there will
9:06be weeping and the grinding of teeth and you will see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob
9:11and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you being thrown outside and yes
9:17that is a literal reference to Hell itself
9:22Jesus was one of these guys who taught about hell and by the way he’s got in human flesh
9:28so if you have a difference of opinion regarding Jesus when it comes to the doctrine of hell you might want to check your theology Jesus has better
9:35credentials than you so then he goes on they will come from the East and the west from the North and
9:41the South and they will recline in the kingdom of God and behold there are and watch what he does with the with with
9:47the words here there are last ones who will be first and there are first ones who will be
9:54last all right and now you can kind of see the word play on the word one the one
10:00says this now let’s kind of unpack this see what we can do with this so we can kind of get
10:06this all sorted out in our minds correctly I mean it all seems clear as mud right now right
10:12okay me too I’m with you there all right so let’s work with this Jesus said strive
10:19or be struggling to enter through the narrow door now here is how we often
10:24intuitively understand what Jesus is saying and you need to get this our intuition is dead wrong
10:31okay when Jesus says strive to be entering through the narrow door here’s what we think clean up your act put away
10:39your sin get rid of your cigarettes your booze your secular music your playing cards cover up your tattoos and be a
10:46good person so that you can Merit and earn God’s forgiveness that’s how we think
10:53right I mean after all when we stand before Jesus there’s going to be one of those old-fashioned pan scales right
10:59right you remember you ever seen the scales of Justice you know the statue
11:04where she’s got the blindfold of her eyes and she’s got the pan scale and you know so that way she can just give an objective you know judgment right we
11:12think oftentimes the way the judgment is going to work is like that there on the one side God places all of our sins and
11:18all the bad things that we’ve done and then on the other side all of our good works our righteous Deeds our religious
11:23things that we’ve done and then if our good outweighs the bad
11:29oh right then Jesus will go oh that was close Well Done Right you’re in
11:36that’s how we think strive to be entering through the narrow door duh try harder
11:45no that’s not what Jesus is saying and the fact that he references people who
11:51are doing these religious activities of listening to Jesus’s religious preaching and teaching eating in his presence
11:57shows that that’s not what he’s talking about you see it right let me give you a cross reference let me
12:04give you a cross reference Matthew 21 28-32 and I want you to hear Jesus’s
12:10words on this because scripture throughout teaches that we are saved by
12:15grace through faith not by our works now this is not saying this is not to knock
12:21works works are a great thing but as soon as you’re holding them up to God and say look what I did I get to go to
12:27heaven God says oh that’s cute that’s precious go to hell right
12:33you can’t get to heaven that way let me give you so here’s our cross cross reference Matthew 21
12:3928-32 all right Jesus talking to the Pharisees he says what do you think all right a
12:46man had two sons and he went to the first one and said Son go and work in
12:51the vineyard today I’ve done this with my son right I didn’t have a Vineyard but I’ve told him to go and do work right somehow it never
12:58gets done that’s a different story I’m still in therapy about this anyway son
13:03going to Vineyard work today and he answered I will not but afterward and here’s what the text
13:09says he repented the translation says he changed his mind
13:15but the Greek says he repented and he went and then he went to the other side and
13:21said the same and he answered sir I’m gonna go but he did not go
13:26which of the two did the will of his father they said well the first Jesus said to them
13:32watch who he was talking to Pharisees very religious people truly I say to you and here comes the real stinging words
13:39the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God before
13:44you yeah that’s right those dirty rotten tax collectors and the hookers are getting into the Kingdom of Heaven how and Earth
13:50is that possible right well here’s the reason why for John that’s John the Baptist came to you in the way of
13:57righteousness and you did not and and you did not believe him but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed
14:03him they believed you mean to tell me that some flea
14:09bitten STD written hookers gonna make it into the kingdom because she just believed
14:16uh-huh yeah exactly that’s kind of the point right
14:22and then he says to them and even when you saw it you did not afterward change your minds you didn’t repent and believe
14:31ah so this is what’s going on when Jesus is talking about well
14:36hey people are going to come and say we ate in your presence we heard you preaching in the streets we know what we
14:42we’ve done all these religious things right in other passages Jesus on the day of
14:50judgment says to people say Lord Lord did we not prophesy in your name
14:58right you see your religious activity doesn’t
15:03save you but that doesn’t mean that religious activity isn’t important
15:09and this is where you have to make a distinction so kind of think of it this way Jesus
15:14right now is here at 470th Avenue Northwest in rural Oslo
15:21right he’s here right now and do you think for a second that you’re going to be saved because you
15:27heard Jesus’s words preached here today just by hearing no no
15:33so you think for a second that because you can say that you ate and drank in Christ’s presence when we’ve had the
15:39Lord’s Supper does that save you no
15:44or how about because you went through some kind of religious motions or performed some religious ceremony or
15:50prayed some really cool religious prayer is that going to save you
15:55no now again don’t get me wrong it is truly God’s will that you come to church
16:02and you hear Christ’s words and that you pray and that you feast in Christ’s presence but no one not one person is
16:12saved by these religious activities you see it
16:18okay now let me give you another cross-reference prophet Isaiah Isaiah chapter one I’d
16:25like you to be there with me while I’m reading Isaiah chapter 1. in the opening
16:31chapters of the prophet Isaiah Isaiah lays out
16:38if you wouldn’t the picture he paints for us the picture of just how Wicked
16:43Israel was in the time that he prophesied
16:49but you want to understand how Wicked they are you have to understand it through kind of this lens here’s the
16:55issue here’s what he says starting at verse two hero Heavens give ear o Earth
17:01Yahweh has spoken now here’s what Yahweh says children I have reared up and
17:06brought up but they have rebelled against me the ox knows its owner the donkey its Master’s crib but Israel
17:12doesn’t know my people do not understand sounds bad right well it gets worse he
17:18says Ah sinful Nation a people Laden with iniquity offspring of evil doers
17:23children who deal corruptly they have forsaken the Lord they have despised the
17:29Holy One of Israel they are utterly estranged you’re thinking what are these people up
17:34to right what are they doing verse 10. so hear
17:41the word of Yahweh you rulers of Sodom yeah God is calling Israel Sodom and Gomorrah here that’s how Wicked they are
17:47but watch he says hear the word of Yahweh you rulers of Sodom give ear to the teaching of our God you people of
17:53Gomorrah what to me is the multitude of your sacrifices says the Lord I’ve had
17:59enough of burnt offerings of rams and of the fat of well-fed beasts I do not
18:05Delight in the blood of bulls or of the Lamb of lambs or of goats pause there
18:11for a second notice these people are coming to the
18:17temple and they’re doing what they’re sacrificing who told them to do
18:23that God did where in the Old Testament you could find this
18:30in Exodus you can find this in Deuteronomy you can find this in Leviticus it’s all spelled out in black
18:35and white right any little Jewish school boy has known who knows his aleph baith
18:41gimbals Dallas it knows his alphabets and can read can see that God commands these sacrifices
18:47and you know what these people are doing they’re doing exactly what God Said to
18:53do you want to sacrifice God no problemo which one of my plot do you want you
18:58want that one no big deal I’ll go grab that one we’ll just lit its throat there you go God
19:03What’s missing faith
19:09and this is where it gets really dangerous God commands certain things of us
19:17but he does not command them apart from faith in Christ as soon as you start going through the
19:24motions you’re thinking that your religious activity is the thing that makes you have a right standing with God
19:29and it’s Christ who gives you a right standing with God and he has you pray
19:35has you take the Lord’s Supper has you come to church to hear his word not to
19:40be saved because you are saved and you do these things apart from faith
19:47what does God say about you you’re absolutely Wicked
19:53I’ll explain why more in a minute he continues so when you come to appear
19:58before me who has required of you this trampling of my courts it’s a rhetorical
20:03question God has right so he says bring no more vain offerings incense is an Abomination to me the new
20:10moon and the Sabbath are the calling and the calling of Congo of convocations I cannot endure iniquity in solemn
20:15assembly your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates them they’ve become a burden to me I’m weary
20:22of beer of bearing them but you’re the one who commanded them God
20:30right so you see there’s something wrong here the idea of religious activity apart
20:37from faith is totally vain it’s empty
20:45yet had they had faith had they truly trusted in the promise of
20:52the Forgiveness of sins trusted in God alone would God have
20:58despised the things he commanded them to do no he wouldn’t
21:04and so the idea here then is this is that what is it that makes a
21:10religious function unspecial is not the doing of it it’s the doing of
21:17it apart from faith does that make sense
21:23so don’t come here and pray the Lord’s Prayer on autopilot
21:29come here believing that God hears your prayer and that when you’re praying you’re praying as Christ has told you to
21:35pray you see the difference when you come to the Lord’s Supper don’t think of it as some kind of just
21:41vain religious ceremony believe what Jesus says it is Christ is here present
21:48feeding you with his body and his blood for the Forgiveness of your sins he’s
21:53truly their presence serving you to keep it special you believe and hang
21:58on those words and then when you’re hanging on those words then it is always precious and
22:05you’re never walking through the motions turning it into something vain turning
22:11it into something that God hates you see right now
22:18our epistle text deals with this also and I’m not going to have time I’m going to be I’m gonna
22:24save you from a 90-minute long sermon but the idea here is this when you go
22:31back and you read the epistle text and I’ll pick up a part of it keep in mind that this epistle Hebrews was written to
22:39Jewish Christians who were abandoning the Christian faith tempted to go back to Judaism to the
22:46types and shadows they were really really tempted in a bad way and the
22:52context of what we heard said in our pericope you know consider him who
22:58endured from sin or such hostility against him you know to raise up your flagging hands and strengthen your weak
23:04knees all of that is in the context of having first gone through Hebrews 11.
23:10Hebrews 11 verses 1 through 6 says this now Faith is the Assurance of things
23:15hoped for it is the conviction of things that are not seen by faith the people of
23:21old received their Commendation by faith we understand that the Universe was created by the word of God so that what
23:27is seen was not made out of the things that are visible by faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than
23:34Cain and notice here did Cain not offer a sacrifice to God go back in your Bible read the opening
23:42chapters of Genesis you know you want to talk about dysfunctional family it begins with family number one right
23:48family number one things go so badly there’s a murder right and the setting for the murder is
23:55this Cain and Abel for the rest of their family they offer sacrifices to God
24:02Abel is a shepherd and he offers the best of his flock oh Kane he’s a farmer he offers sugar
24:09beets and corn and wheat right and there’s nothing wrong with with what
24:15it is that was offered but the Lord does not look on Cain’s offering he looks unable
24:21and he accepts his offering why scripture says right here
24:27Abel had faith Cain didn’t right
24:32so there’s your religious activity pain had all kinds of religious activity
24:38but he had no faith he despised and hated his brother and ends in a murder right
24:44but by faith Abel accepted or offered a more
24:49acceptable sacrifice than Cain through which he was commended as righteous God commending him by accepting his gift and
24:55through his faith though he died he still speaks by faith Enoch was taken so
25:00that he could not that he should not see death and he was not found because God had taken him now before he was taken he
25:08was commended as having pleased God and here’s your important verse and without faith
25:14it is impossible to please God it doesn’t say that it’s difficult
25:21it doesn’t say It’s Tricky somewhat challenging but here’s how you can still pull it off
25:26no without faith it’s absolutely impossible to please God
25:32so with that kind of ringing in your ears kind of return again to
25:39Our Gospel text and now maybe in our Sunday school today kind of tease out a
25:44little bit from the epistle because I really want to drive some of these things home but we’ll pick up the
25:49epistle text in our Sunday School so here again then the one remember that
25:54text says and the said to them so here’s what the one the one who journeyed to Jerusalem for you said from whatever
26:01time the house Master Rises and shuts the door and you begin to stand outside and to be knocking on the door Master
26:08open for us and having responded he will say to you I don’t know where you are from then he will begin to say what they
26:16will begin we ate and we drank in your presence you taught in our wide roads
26:21What’s missing faith they heard but never believed
26:27so he will speak to them saying I don’t know you where you’re from depart from me you
26:33workers of unrighteousness and he sends him to hell
26:38sends him to hell terrible outcome is it not
26:43it’s utter foolishness it’s utter foolishness but see you got to understand this that
26:51the one Jesus the one he was made to be the lowest of the low
26:57in all of humanity I want you to think about this second Corinthians 5.
27:03starting at verse 17 says this if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation
27:09can’t wait till I get rid of the old one totally but if anyone is in Christ he’s a new creation and brothers and sisters
27:15are you not in Christ if you’re baptized if you’ve been to this font or any other place and been
27:21baptized you’ve been baptized into Christ you are already a new creation the oldest passed away the new has come
27:27all of this is from God it’s not from you it’s from God who through Christ God
27:33has reconciled us to himself and he’s given us listen to this the ministry of
27:38reconciliation that is that in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself
27:44not counting their trespasses against them and he has entrusted to us the
27:50message of reconciliation we’ve familiar with this concept watch where it goes therefore we are ambassadors for Christ
27:57and God is making his appeal through us so we implore you on behalf of Christ to
28:02be reconciled to God here’s the important words for our sake God made him to be sin who
28:11knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
28:18there it is you see the one became the last one
28:24the least Among Us how so well God literally lifted our sins off of us and
28:31placed them all on Christ the one who was sinless was made to be the one and
28:38only sinner in all of the world and he bled and he died for you
28:44and this calls for faith plain and simple because salvation is a
28:52gift received not a waged that is earned so God made Jesus to be sin for you
29:03so someone said to Jesus Master are the ones being saved few and the one
29:09said to them so be striving to enter through the narrow door
29:15brothers and sisters are you striving to enter through the narrow door keep in mind in the Gospel of John Jesus
29:22says I am the door so how does one strive how does one
29:29struggle to enter through the narrow door Jesus is that narrow door
29:35when strives and struggles by faith period
29:42and it’s all for you those who strive to earn their salvation through their
29:47religious activities or going through their religious motions or through their
29:52own righteousness well they’re striving and struggling to enter eternal life through a different
29:58door rather than Christ but keep this in mind there are no
30:03secret passages no underground tunnels into the Heavenly Jerusalem
30:08Jesus says I am the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the father except for through me
30:14it’s a struggle to enter through the narrow door is to believe trust the one who became the
30:23last for you and the one whom God has exalted above all of us so that the name
30:30of Jesus every knee would bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord he’s done this All For You by grace through faith
30:37this calls for belief so repent of your sins repent of your
30:43wickedness that’s slavery and Trust in the one who reconciled to you to God by becoming
30:50sin for you in the name of Jesus amen [Music]
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