Sermon #100                                Luke Sermons


     Title:            “Strive To Enter In”

     Text:            Luke 13:24-30

     Subject:       Entering The Strait Gate

     Date:            Sunday Evening – April 27, 2001

     Tape #         X-57b

     Readings:     Bob Duff and Merle Hart



I am of the firm and ever deepening conviction that most religious people are lost. Most of the people I preach to in churches throughout this country are yet in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. It is not as easy as you might suppose to find one who truly knows the Lord Jesus Christ. There are few who trust Christ, few who are committed to Christ, few who are in love with the Lord Jesus Christ.


God’s elect, contrary to popular opinion, are not to be found in every church. It may well be true that there are few in any gospel church. Many of you, I fear, are yet without Christ! In the last day, multitudes, vast multitudes of religious men and women who are absolutely sure they are saved, will hear the Son of God say, “Depart from me,” and shall be forever consigned to the torments of the damned (Matt. 7:21-23).


(Matthew 7:21-23)  "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."


·        They believed the truth about Christ.

·        They professed faith in Christ.

·        They preached in the name of Christ.

·        They performed miracles in the name of Christ.

·        They performed many wonderful works in the name of Christ.

·        They had perfect peace, confidence, and assurance that they were saved, born of God, heirs of heaven, and eternal glory.


But they were lost, without God, without Christ, without hope. Any honest man who reads these three verses in Matthew 7 must be compelled to ask himself, “Lord, is it I?” As John Newton put it in one of his hymns…


‘Tis a point I long to know,

Oft it causes anxious thought,

Do I love the Lord, or no,

Am I his or am I not?


Will you hear me, as I endeavor to speak plainly and honestly to your soul one more time? May God the Holy Spirit give me your heart’s attention.


Proposition: The vast majority of those who profess faith in Christ and think that all is well with their immortal souls are lost, in the broad road of destruction, which leads to eternal ruin.


Now, I want you to turn with me to Luke 13:24. Our Lord Jesus Christ says to you and me, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Let us make neither more nor less of this solemn exhortation than our Lord means by it. And the best way to determine what he means is to look into the context.


A Remarkable Question


I.                   Our Lord gave this exhortation in answer to a most remarkable question (v. 23).


The Master had been preaching on the necessity of repentance and faith. He had plainly declared the nature of faith, how that it gradually grows and spreads, permeating the whole man, like leaven in the meal. Then, someone asked our Savior, “Lord, are there few that be saved?”


We do not know who asked this question. It may have been a self-righteous Pharisee. It may have been a curious spectator. Perhaps it was asked by one of the Lord’s disciples who suddenly realized the impact of the Master’s doctrine. They had asked such a question before, in similar circumstances (Lk. 18:26).


(Luke 18:26)  "And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?"


This is a fact, which we most naturally try to avoid, but it is a fact nevertheless: There are few who are saved (Matt. 7:14; 22:14).


(Matthew 7:14)  "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."


(Matthew 22:14)  "For many are called, but few are chosen."


There are few who live by faith. There are few who love Christ. There are few who are committed to Christ. There are few who do not love this world.


A Sobering Exhortation


II.                Then our Lord Jesus Christ gives us this very sobering exhortation (v. 24).


(Luke 13:24)  "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."


The word “strive” means “to agonize, labor fervently, and fight” to enter in at the strait gate. The word “strait” means “narrow, constricted, contracted, or close.”


Here the Lord is showing us our responsibility. Our concern must not be what others may do, or even what may happen to others. Our responsibility is to seek the Lord ourselves, whether anyone else does or not.


J. C. Ryle said, “The gate is strait. The work is great. The enemies of our souls are many. We must be up and doing. We must wait for nobody.”


The unbelief and indecision of others will be no excuse in the last day. We must never follow the multitudes. If we go to heaven alone, we must resolve by the grace of God to do so. If we follow Christ alone, we must be resolved to let all others perish if they will, but we will not perish with them. Whether we have many with us, or few, our responsibility is plain – “Strive to enter in.”


We must not go on in our unbelief, saying, “I can do nothing until God draws me.” It is my responsibility to draw near to God. “Strive to enter in.” God’s election and my own inability have nothing to do with my responsibility. I must “strive to enter in.” “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12).


A Solemn Warning


III.             Then our Lord sets before us a very plain and solemn warning (vv. 25-30).


(Luke 13:25)  "When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are.”


The long and short of that is this.—There is a day coming when the forbearance of God shall come to an end. He declares, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man” (Gen. 6:5). You can make what you want of that. Men can argue and debate for the rest of their lives about whether that is sound doctrine or rank Arminianism. I really have no interests in their wranglings. My concern is for your soul. And I know this, there is a day appointed by God when the door of mercy, which has been open to you for so long, shall be shut.


There comes a time when men and women cannot be saved, even while they live they are dead (Prov. 1:22-31; Hos. 4:17).


Illustration: Noah’s Generation – SodomIsrael.


(Proverbs 1:22-31)  "How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? {23} Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. {24} Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; {25} But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: {26} I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; {27} When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. {28} Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: {29} For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: {30} They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. {31} Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices."


(Proverbs 29:1)  "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."


(Hosea 4:17)  "Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone."


Our Lord is saying, “Strive to enter in now while you may, while the door is open before you, for the door will not always be open.” (Jer. 7:13-16).


(Jeremiah 7:13-16)  "And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; {14} Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. {15} And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. {16} Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee."


A Day of Reckoning


IV.            Then our Lord assures us that there is a day of reckoning and righteous judgment coming (vv. 26-30).


(Luke 13:26-30)  "Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. {27} But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. {28} There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. {29} And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. {30} And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last."


Many who thought they were saved find themselves at last under the wrath of the Lamb (vv. 26-28). Your religious profession, your great experiences, your doctrinal knowledge, your mighty works will all be vanity.


NOTE: These verses plainly reveal to us the fact that all men will see what is right when it is too late. Hell is a place where truth is known too late!


But in that last day, all believers shall receive the full reward of heaven and eternal glory (vv. 29-30).


In this whole passage our Lord is making an illusion to the ancient marriage feasts, which were held at night. The house would be all lit up. And those who were admitted to the marriage feast would be in the light. Those who were excluded were in darkness outside, “outer darkness.” The guests entered by a narrow wicket gate, at which the porter stood to prevent any uninvited people from rushing into the feast. When all who had been invited were in the house, the door was shut. It would not be opened to those who were without, no matter how much they knocked.


(2 Corinthians 5:18-21)  "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; {19} To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. {20} Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. {21} For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."


(2 Corinthians 6:1-2)  "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. {2} (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)"


“Come, humble sinner, in whose breast

A thousand thoughts revolve,

Come with your guilt and fear oppressed,

And make this last resolve


‘I’ll go to Jesus, though my sin

Hath like a mountain rose;

I know His courts I’ll enter in,

Whatever may oppose.


Prostrate I’ll lie before His throne,

And there my guilt confess;

I’ll tell Him I’m a wretch undone,

Without His sovereign grace.


I’ll to the gracious King approach,

Whose scepter pardon gives;

Perhaps He may command my touch,

And then the suppliant lives!


Perhaps He will admit my plea,

Perhaps will hear my prayer;

But if I perish, I will pray,

And perish only there.


I can but perish if I go,

I am resolved to try;

For if I stay away, I know,

I must forever die.


But, if I die with mercy sought,

When I the King have tried,

This were to die (Delightful thought!)

As sinner never died.’”

                                  Edmund Jones