Friday, July 20, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 22, 2018

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(The narrow door)
(Luke 13:22-30)

   The events of Luke 13:22 through 17:10, all take place in “Perea”, the area described in the New Testament as being “beyond the Jordan”. The name “Perea” is the Greek term that means, quite literally, “Transjordan”, and it describes the region between the Jabbok and Arnon rivers, east of the Jordan.    
    As JESUS was passing through this area, and pressing on toward Jerusalem for the final time, someone stopped HIM and asked HIM this question; “LORD, will only a few be saved?” Here JESUS replies in no uncertain terms saying, “The door to Heaven is narrow. Work hard to get in, because many will try to enter, but when the HEAD of the House has locked the door, it will be too late. Then you will stand outside knocking and pleading, “LORD, open the door for us!” But HE will reply, “I do not know you”. You will say, “But we ate and drank with YOU, and YOU taught in our streets”. And HE will reply, “I tell you, I do not know you. Go away, all you who do evil”.
    This passage is seen by most scholars as a direct prophesy against the Jews who have rejected, or will reject the complete doctrine of JESUS CHRIST. This prophecy, however, in conjunction with what JESUS says in Matthew 7:21-23, can also clearly be seen as a warning to any and all “so-called” Christian denominations (those who call themselves by HIS name, but do not adhere to HIS complete doctrine and concepts), or whose man-made doctrines are only similar to, or partly in compliance with the Word of GOD. To be partly in compliance with the Word of GOD is to not be in compliance at all.
    Any such groups that does not adhere completely to “the Word of GOD”, as it comes to us from “the mind of GOD”, will be ultimately rejected by CHRIST, whether or not they claim to represent HIS cause here on earth, or not. Here JESUS says that all those groups and individuals and their works will be deemed by CHRIST as “unauthorized” (Matthew 7:21-23), and also as, “evil” (Luke 13:27).
    In fact, here’s exactly what JESUS says about the subject in HIS, now famous, “Sermon on the Mount”: “Not all people who sound religious are really GODly. They may refer to ME as LORD, but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey MY FATHER in Heaven. On judgment day many will tell ME, “LORD, LORD, we prophesied in YOUR name and cast out demons in YOUR name and performed many miracles in YOUR name”. But I will reply, “I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized” (Matthew 7:21-23 – NLT).
    And just as many Gentiles, who come from all over the world, will be grafted into the Kingdom replacing many Jews, so too, will many people come from all over the world, who are not associated with any of the main-stream “so-called” Christian denominations today, who will take the places of the “avid Church-goers” of this age, in the Kingdom of Heaven. And it will be because they assembled together, and lived personally, adhering only to the Word of GOD, just as it comes from the mind of GOD, while they were here on earth. And so, “some who are despised now, will be greatly honored then, and some who are greatly honored now will be despised then” “(Luke 13:30 - NLT).
    I teach my bible students that they should stop declaring themselves “saved”, and instead, adhere to the attitude that they are on the “road to Salvation”. It is a process, and JESUS says that “those who endure until the end “will” be saved” (Matthew 24:13). Salvation is not “a foregone conclusion” for anyone who is still living in this physical life facing all of the challenges of the human experience.
    One’s entry into the Kingdom of GOD can never be thought of by humans as being “automatic”, but rather, it is the result of overcoming “a great struggle with satan” in this world. In fact, the struggle to enter the Kingdom is so intense that it is described in Scripture as an “agony of soul and spirit”, and JESUS says that we must “work hard to get in” (Luke 13:24).
    Because of false teaching, it becomes easy to assume that once we make a pledge to CHRIST JESUS, we have reached the end of our struggle and can now sit back and do nothing until JESUS returns. Somehow, we begin to feel as though our goal has already been achieved. Unfortunately, there is no such finality in the Christian life, and, unless we continue to move forward in CHRIST in this new physical life, we face the inevitable risk of falling backwards, into the old life from which we came, or into a life of complacency.
    Those who JESUS speaks about in this passage, who, in the end, will be “weeping” and “gnashing their teeth”, are those who have altered the doctrine of GOD to shape it into a way that best fits their own wicked lifestyles, and then, sought to teach those wicked ways to others. Just like the Jews of the first century, main stream “so-called” Christian denominations in this century, each, consider themselves to be “first” in every way.
    However, because they do not adhere strictly to the Word of GOD, and indeed, do not sincerely believe that they have to, they, in the end, much to their own surprise, will be “ultimately left out” of the Kingdom of Heaven. And the words of our LORD and SAVIOR, as they ultimately must, will, ring true in the end; “Some who are despised now will be greatly honored then; and some who are greatly honored now will be despised then” (NLT). Ultimately, people don’t fail to get into Heaven because they didn’t work hard at their own, various religious applications, they fail to get into the Kingdom because “their” religious applications don’t, and can never, align with GOD’s. 

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website


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