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The Narrow Door

• Greg Boyd

Jesus taught that the way to salvation is narrow, but what exactly does that mean? Who gets saved? How does someone get saved? These are big questions, and the answers will surprise many people – even some who have attended church their entire lives. Discover what Jesus meant when he called us to enter the “narrow door.”

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The focus passage of this sermon can be hard to embrace. It speaks of a narrow door, few entering the door and the fact that the door will close. Traditionally this has been interpreted as meaning “if you believe in Jesus, you are saved. If not, you are damned, no ifs, ands or buts.” Heaven for those who believe hell for those who don’t. But is this truly what Jesus was teaching about salvation? What can we say about salvation and who does enter the narrow door. There are five considerations:

1. Jesus is the only way into the Kingdom.

Religions don’t save. Good works don’t save. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. There are not may ways. The door is not wide. Some might think that this is intolerant, but whatever a person believes is narrow. All beliefs are singular. Even if you believe that all religions lead to God, this belief is just as narrow as any other. Jesus was saying that He is the only way to the Father, not just one of the good guys doing good things, but God himself here on earth.

2. Jesus is the light of the world.

The man Jesus incarnated this light, but even more so, wherever light is found He is the light that is found. Whatever light people have is from Jesus. God is working to give light to all. To the extent people are seeing the light of truth; it is Jesus working in them.

3. God wants all to be saved.

God’s dream is for every person to participate in the Kingdom. God is at work in every human heart, trying to get them to open up to Him.

4. Many in the Bible end up in the Kingdom who didn’t consciously know Jesus.

In the Old Testament some outside lineage of Jacob like Melchezedik, Jethro, Rahab, and Job were considered participants in God’s Kingdom. They were sinners in need of Jesus as much as anyone else.

5. Assurance of entering the Kingdom at the end of the age is given only to those who are now living in the Kingdom.

God is working in all people, and therefore there is hope for the entire world, but the only assurance is for those who are in a real relationship with Christ that is those who are being saved now. The New Testament only celebrates the death of Christians. With regard to everyone else we say, “I don’t know.”

In fact, the New Testament doesn’t focus on escaping destruction at end of age. It focuses on getting right with God now, being saved now, and entering the Kingdom now. Instead of, “Will I be saved, live in the Kingdom, or dance in the love of God in the future? We must ask, am I doing this now? If you are, you don’t have to worry about the end.

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Topics: Heaven, Hell, Salvation

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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 13: 22-30

    Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?"

    He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' “But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'

    “Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.'

    “But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!'

    <p “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last."

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