Sermon #101                                Luke Sermons


     Title:            The Strait Gate

     Text:            Luke 13:24

     Subject:       Faith In Christ

     Date:            Sunday Evening—May 11, 2001

     Tape #         X-59b

     Readings:     Bob Pruitt and David Burge



(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."


Our Lord said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate.” This is not a legal precept. It is a gospel exhortation. The strife we are urged to carry on is an earnest endeavor to avoid missing the gate, being turned aside by the allurement of some larger, broader, more eye-pleasing gate, which will only lead to our eternal ruin. You are in danger of missing the gate. And once you find the gate, you are in danger of not being able to enter. “Many…will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Therefore, we must “strive to enter in at the strait gate.”


Proposition: How we ought to bless and thank God that there is a gate, that there is a way of salvation for sinners!


I. What is this strait gate?


The word “gate” is not hard to understand. It is the means of access to an enclosed area. It is another word for “door”. And you know that the Door is Christ himself (John 10:9). When the Lord Jesus said, “I am the Door,” he might just as well have said, “I am the Gate.”


A.    Christ is the Gate of access to God the Father (John 14:6; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 10:19-22).


(John 14:6)  "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."


(Ephesians 2:18)  "For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."


(Hebrews 10:19-22)  "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, {20} By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; {21} And having an high priest over the house of God; {22} Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."


B.    Christ is the Gate to the City of Refuge.


C.   Christ is the Gate to paradise.



D.   Christ is the Gate to eternal life, eternal glory, and eternal bliss.


1.     He is an open Gate.

2.     You are invited to enter in through the Gate.

3.     The way to enter in is faith, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.


It is not enough to know that you will perish if you are found outside the gate. It is not enough to know the gate is there. It is not enough to know that on the other side of the gate eternal life is to be found. You must enter in through the gate. That entering in is an act of faith. The difference between those who live and those who perish is not what they know about the gate; but whether or not they enter in through the gate.


II. If entering in through the gate is so simple a thing as believing on the Lord Jesus Christ – Why is it that so few are able to enter this gate?


Our text says, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”


A.   Many are not able to enter in at the strait gate, because their hearts are not in the matter.


It would be okay with you to enter in to eternal life. You would like to have their sins forgiven. And you would like to go to heaven when you die. But you will not strive to enter in, because you heart is too much enamored by other things. It is not particularly important to you to have Christ. It would be fine to have him. That would be nice. But you do not yet feel that you must have him. There are many things that you must have; but Christ is not among them (Jer. 29:13; Matt. 6:19-33).


(Jeremiah 29:13)  "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."


(Matthew 6:19-33)  "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: {20} But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: {21} For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. {22} The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. {23} But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! {24} No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. {25} Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? {26} Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? {27} Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? {28} And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: {29} And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. {30} Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? {31} Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? {32} (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. {33} But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."


The only one who ever gets Christ is the one who is made to realize that it is Christ alone that he wants and must have (Ps. 73:25-26; Phil. 3:3-10).


(Psalms 73:25-26)  "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. {26} My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."


(Philippians 3:3-10)  "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. {4} Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: {5} Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; {6} Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. {7} But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. {8} Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, {9} And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: {10} That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;"


When you realize that you must have Christ, you will enter in at the strait gate; but not until then.


B.   Few there are who are able to enter in at the strait gate, because it is a strait gate.


The word “strait” here does not particularly mean that it has no crooks, bends, or curves in it. It means that the gate is “narrow, contracted, or close.” There is nothing particularly appealing about this gate.


1.     There is a broad gate, which is far more flattering, far more appealing, far less costly, and far more popular.


2.     The lintel of this gate is too low, and the gateposts are too narrow for most of you to enter it.


a.      You have to stoop down and enter upon the same grounds as all other men – as guilty, helpless sinners.


Illustration:  Do you think that Betty, my maid, will be

                            in the same place I am?”


b.     You have to enter this gate alone.

c.     You can carry nothing in with you.


C.   Few will be able to enter in at the strait gate, because you cannot carry any contraband goods with you.


Illustration: Passing through customs.


·        Self-righteousness

·        Good works

·        Experiences

·        Pedigree


D.   Many will try to enter in at the strait gate and not be able, because they have waited too late.


Illustration: Dixie, Repent! “My God, preacher, I can’t repent.”


E.   And there are few who are able to enter in at the strait gate, because they think they are already in!


I tremble to think how many there may be here this morning who think they are in the gate who are yet outside! You mistake the outside for the inside. You have rubbed your back against the posts of the gate for so long that you can describe every aspect of the gate’s character. You may even defend the gate with zeal. But you have never entered the gate. You have never crossed the threshold and found refuge in Christ. You had some excitement in a religious meeting a long time ago and joined the church. But you got in without a wedding garment. Satan has fooled your soul with one of his counterfeits, and you do not know the difference. You have mistaken:


·        Reformation for regeneration.

·        Feeling for faith.

·        Emotion for love.

·        Religious habits for commitment to Christ.

·        Guilt for conviction.


You have been religious for a long, long time. But you have cheated yourself out of Christ, cheated yourself out of eternal life. Spurgeon said, “Of all cheats, the man who cheats himself is certainly the least wise, and, as I think, he shall be the least honest. Do not play the nave with thine own soul. Suspect thyself too much rather than too little. Better journey to heaven in terror of hell than dream of the happy land while drifting in the other direction.”


My dear friends hear me and be warned. “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Take nothing for granted.


III. How can I enter in at the strait gate?


It is my responsibility to fervently labor, fight, and strive with all my heart to enter in at the strait gate. The text might be read, “Make every effort to enter in at the strait gate.” That means we must never give up. We must never become indifferent about our souls.


·        Hear the Word.

·        Seek the Lord.

·        Read the Bible.

·        Pray for mercy.


But the enemies of my soul are too great and too many for me: the world, the flesh, and the devil. And I know that unless God does for me what I cannot do for myself, I will be among the many who perish. The same is true of you.


A.   I must be drawn to the gate (John 6:44).


(John 6:44)  "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."


Only as I am taught of God will I be drawn away from the broad and damning gate of free-will and good works, and drawn to the gate of free-grace in Christ. No man will ever see the beauty of the strait gate until he is taught of God.


B.   I must be made willing to enter (Ps. 65:4; 110:3; John 5:40).


(Psalms 65:4)  "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple."


(Psalms 110:3)  "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth."


(John 5:40)  "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."


     1. I must be stripped stark naked before God.

     2. I must be made to bow down in the dust before Christ.


C.   I must be drawn through the gate with the irresistible cords of divine love (Hos. 11:3-4).


(Hosea 11:3-4)  "I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. {4} I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them."


Being drawn to the gate, being made willing to enter in at the gate, being drawn through the gate, I do with all my heart enter in at the strait gate!


Application: Enter in now at the strait gate while the gate is open and the Spirit of God bids you come.


·        Manasseh, the King of Judah entered this gate. Why not me?

·        Saul of Tarsus entered this gate. Why not you?

·        Many of the Jews who had the Son of God crucified entered this gate. Why not you?

·        The Philippian jailor entered this gate. Why not you?

·        Old John Newton entered this gate. Why not you?

·        Don Fortner entered this gate. Why not you?


“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