Jesus began making His way to Jerusalem in Luke 9:51, knowing that His purpose on the earth would be completed there (Luke 13:32). As He traveled He was teaching (Luke 13:22). In response to His teaching someone asked, “Are there only a few who are being saved?” (Luke 13:23). Jesus answers affirmatively, offering both a command and a warning. The command: “Strive to enter through the narrow door”. The warning: “many…will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24). Jesus then presents three excuses that will keep a person from entering the narrow door:
They will wait too long (Luke 13:25). “I have time,” someone may say. Every person has time, but not one of us knows exactly how much. Some will wait too long to come to God, seeking fellowship with Him after the door is shut. If you have not been obedient to the gospel, recognize the next time-milestone is the click of the latch as the Master shuts the door, leaving you outside for all eternity. Through tear filled eyes you will then watch as those who entered enjoy the house of God. Your teeth will grind in pain forever as you suffer for your negligence toward God. Come in quickly, because every moment may be too long.
They will think their proximity to Jesus will save them (Luke 13:26a). Some will shout at the closed door before them, “I was at every worship service!” Neither proximity to the Savior nor to the saved can save you. Many who Jesus touched would be lost because they would be near the Savior but reject the teachings He brought (cf. John 6:59-66). Many today will think themselves saved because they stand near the saved, singing the same songs and praying the same prayers. Salvation from God is not given because we exist near others who are saved, it is given freely to those who obey the gospel of God (Mark 16:15-16). Rather than being near the Savior and near the saved, be one with the Savior and be saved (John 17:17-26).
They will think hearing the teachings of Jesus will save them (Luke 13:26b). Some will persist, saying, “I heard (insert name of famous preacher) preach the gospel!”. Just hearing accurate teaching will not save you. Many heard Jesus and the apostles, many heard the gospel accurately and convincingly spoken (Acts 2, 7, etc.). What decided their eternal destination, and what decides yours today, is your response to that accurately spoken word from God (Mat. 7:24-27). Listen to what is right and, as Jesus said, “Let these words sink into your ears” (Luke 9:44). Let the righteous words spoken from God’s Word sink in and become part of you, causing you to behave in ways that please God.
Jesus died to save all, but only a few will leave their excuses behind in time to obey the gospel and be saved. Will you believe the gospel and be baptized in the name of Jesus, becoming one of the few that are saved (Mark 16:16)?