Sermon Starters

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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

From Rev. Kelly Bedard

God's Open Door Policy
Luke 13:22-30

A. Gated Communities

    1. A desire for a narrow and exclusive spirit: Jews only!

    2. Or an accusation (against Jesus) of unpatriotism: Gentiles? Gasp!

B. Kingdom Come!

    1. Jesus' perfect life is the access code--then our repentance and faith

    2. The Spirit empowers right and timely entry


1. Strive to enter through the narrow gate isn't a call to save yourself by good works. Good works aren't the right gate. You can strive to enter all your life long, but if it isn't at the right gate, it makes no difference. Jesus Himself is the gate; He is the door. (David Guzik)

2. The narrow door is that of repentance and faith in Christ; the opportunity for entrance is present but not endless. (Charles Erdman)

3. It is not important to know exactly how many will be saved; it is for each who hears the Gospel to place himself in that number, now and at any cost. (Erdman)

4. The sad truth is that many who, like the Jews, have the largest religious opportunities are the furthest from salvation. (Erdman)

5. A narrow door prevents great crowds of people from entering [the banquet] all at once. Entrance into the banquet is gained by going through the door one at a time. That narrow door is a symbol for Jesus Himself. One enters the banquet hall by way of Jesus. Jesus urges his hearers to "make every effort to enter." A Greek word is used in the original text which suggests a contest or struggle to enter. The struggle is not against other people but, rather, against our own sinful flesh and the temptations of the devil. (Victor Prange)

6. The term [narrow door] draws attention to the self-denial required of the disciples of Jesus, which resembles entering a narrow door which will not permit a person to bring along with him all the baggage he would like to have near him. (William Arndt)

7. The trouble with the many who will seek to enter but fail is that their seeking is either not of the right kind (sincere following of Jesus is lacking) or is undertaken too late. Heaven is a gift of divine grace, but accepting the gift and clinging to it imply a constant struggle with the forces of evil inside and outside ourselves seeking to induce us to refuse or drop the gift. (Arndt)

From Rev. Wayne Dobratz

The Banquet Hall Is Through The 
Narrow Door On Your Right

Luke 13:22-30

I. Salvation is through the narrow door Text, v.24

A. It is a "struggle"-agoonizesthe-"Make very effort to enter through the narrow door" Cf. Matt. 7:13; also Mt. 4:17, 5:1-8; 11:20-24.

B. The Narrow door recognizes that sin's pardon had a high price tag. (Cf. John 1:17; Acts 10:36; Acts 13:38; Rom. 5:21

C. The time is coming when the door will be shut. Matt. 25:10;

II. A casual familiarity with Christ won't do-Text, vv. 25-27 The broad 4-lane highway leads to destruction because there is no repentance for sin there.

A. A saving relationship is more than a casual acquaintance-Matt. 7:21-27

B. A saving relationship is more like a marriage-Isa. 62:5; Eph. 5:25-32

C. A saving relationship is "on the right"
    1. It recognizes the difference between good and evil-Ps. 97:10; Prov. 8:13; Amos 5:15.
    2. It recognizes that we have been saved to serve-Eph. 2:8-10
    3. It recognizes the difference between a fruitful tree and a barren one-Lk. 13:6-9; 
        Matt 13:22-23;
    4. It has a fear of God, knowing that some will be left on the outside looking in-Text, v. 28 "thrown out"-cp. with Matt 13:47-50. See also Job 28:28; Ps. 19:9; Ps. 34:11ff; Prov. 1:7; See also Matt 13:41-43; Matt. 21:11-14.

III. The Joy of the Banquet Hall
A. Sitting down with the Patriarchs at the Feast
1, It is by grace-Lk. 14:15ff.
2. It the supreme joy awaiting God's faithful people-Cf. Rev. 19:9

B. Enjoying the diversity of the Church Triumphant as the redeemed will be "from the east and west and north and south."-Cf. Isa. 11:10, 42:1-10, 51:4-5, 52:10, 62:2 & 10, 66:5.

Sobering Thoughts from Albert Barnes: 

Strive: Literally, "agonize" (v.24) The word is taken from the Grecian games. In their races, and wrestlings, and various athletic exercises, they "strove or agonized," or put forth all their powers to gain the victory. Thousands witnessed them. They were long trained for the conflict, and the honor of victory was one of the highest honors among the people. So Jesus says that we should strive to enter in; and he means by it that we should be diligent, be active, be earnest; that we should make it our first and chief business to overcome our sinful propensities, and to endeavor to enter into heaven. This same figure or allusion to the Grecian games is often used in the New Testament, 1 Cor. 9:24-26; Phil 2:16; Heb. 12:1.

Seek the Narrow Gate: Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. i. p. 32) says: "I have seen these strait gates and narrow ways, 'with here and there a traveler.' They are in retired corners, and must be sought for, and are opened only to those who knock; and when the sun goes down and the night comes on, they are shut and locked. It is then too late."

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