Listen:  143.4

The Lord uses that expression in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Let’s look at the account in Luke and read Luke 13:23-25, “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 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.”

As the Lord Jesus was travelling through different cities and villages, He was asked if many people would actually be saved.  How perceptive is the Lord.  Rather than answer this frivolous question, the Lord directed his response straight to the heart of the inquirer.  The Lord did not directly answer the question, but addressed a more important question:  Make sure that YOU are saved.  Rather than speak of the “few that be saved”, the Lord warned of the many that would be lost.  The Lord encouraged this person, and all people, to sincerely seek to enter in at the strait, or narrow gate. 

Let’s consider the words of the Lord in Matthew 7:13-14where he said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  Here, He speaks of two gates, one is broad while the other is narrow.  The gate, or entrance, to destruction is very wide.  This gate includes all those efforts to gain salvation apart from exercising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  So many people try to gain entrance into Heaven by working hard; some by giving money to the church; some by church membership.  This gate is so wide because there are many, many false and useless ways of trying to be saved.  The true gate leading to eternal life is very narrow, because there is only one way of salvation.  The Lord said in John 14:6, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  In spite of all the religions in the world; in spite of all the noble efforts to earn salvation, the Lord is very emphatic in His words: there is only one way of salvation, and that is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  No other way will bring salvation. 

Once this day of grace is over, and the Lord closes the door of salvation to those who refused to accept His true Word, many will come to Him, expecting entrance into Heaven because of their own works.  Luke 13:26 says, “Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.”  Some will claim to have had an intimate relationship with the Lord while some will claim to have listened to the teachings of the Lord, but their claims will be dismissed as the Lord tells them in verse 27, “…I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.”  Such sorrow and bitterness will fill those who are denied entrance into the Kingdom of God, as we read in verses 28-29, “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. 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.” 

We then read in Luke 13:30, “And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.”  While the Lord used this expression several times, in this occasion it clearly has a historical reference to the rejection of Israel because of their rejection of the Lord Jesus.  While they were, at one time, in the forefront of the Lord’s attention and affection, they would be last as the Gentiles are brought to the forefront.  Although salvation is offered freely to all, and there is no difference in Jew or Gentile to all those who come to the Lord in faith, the nation of Israel still stands in rejection of the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, and thus they have become last.

We should all heed these words of the Lord and consider how that they are equally applicable to each of us.  Make no mistake, the Lord loves you and desires your salvation.  We read in 1 Timothy 2:4that the Lord wants, “…all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”  In that sense, you are ‘first’ in the Lord’s attention and affection.  Won’t you consider your need of a savior and put your faith in the Lord Jesus before this ‘day of grace’ comes to a close?  The Lord Jesus said in John 6:37, “…him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  (143.4)