It is sobering to think of being outside the kingdom.
22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 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.’
26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
28 “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. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
While in this series we have seen passages of joy around those who are in the kingdom of Heaven, here we see the truly desperate and terrible state of those who are not. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. These are words of great anguish, the realisation too late of what one is missing out on, the horror of eternal separation from all that is good and bright.
We don’t like to think about judgement, but it is real. Those who reject Jesus, who do not really know Him – on that awful judgement day, He will say that he doesn’t know them.
Once our lives belong to Jesus, they have a continuous state of entering in through the narrow door, shedding the things that could drag us away from following the Saviour.
Many will try to enter, thinking that they can make it into Heaven on their own terms, eternal security that they have bought themselves. “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets”, but it is one thing to be in the presence of God, and completely another to be filled with His presence.
Jesustells it as it is, there is no grey, only black or white. You will either be inside or outside. The grace that gets you into the kingdom is entirely His doing. And if we reject it, that is entirely our doing to choose eternal sorrow.
If this fills me with a sense of discomfort, maybe I am still trying to trust my own ability to get through the door.
In verse 29 we see that famous statement about the first being last and the last being first. There is no ranking regarding the Kingdom, you are either inside or outside. All those who enter in, are there by the grace of God: you cannot earn a ‘better place’ because there is none. His love has brought us in from the outside. Donot reject that love!
Head: How is it possible to ‘eat and drink’ with the Lord and still not know Him? Is there a danger of going through religious motions but still being on the outside?
Heart: The effort to enter the narrow door starts with the heart – how can we rededicate our hearts to Jesus now and keep that narrow door in focus?
Hands: Consider the names of those who will be in the kingdom, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – they had their moments of failure. How does this remind us even more that entry to the kingdom is all due to God’s grace?
Prayer: Dear Lord, judgement is scary, but help me to put my trust in Your grace. At the same time please galvanise me into action to tell those around me about Your grace. Amen
A song to listen to: This Life I Live
Nicole Davenport – Living Church Creek Road