Sunday School Lesson – July 22, 2018 Entering God’s Kingdom
To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator
Time: A.D. 29 Place: Perea
Golden Text: Strive to enter in at the straight gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able – Luke 13:24
When listening to the media when some celebrities die one might get the impression that they lived godly lives in spite of immoral liaison, alcohol and drug abuse, a total disregard for the things of God. Not only with celebrities, but when someone dies in the community or our family members who renounced the things of God when they’re funeralized somehow the preacher preaches them into heaven although they lived a life contrary to the Word of God. Whether we want to accept the Word of God or not; God’s says He has no pleasure when the wicked die ( Say unto them, as I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked – Ezekiel 33:11) but He has pleasure in the death of His saints (Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints – Psalm 116:15). In order for anyone to enter into heaven, there must first be a true repentance. True repentance the individual no longer live to give pleasure to themselves but seek to please God in all of their ways. They will love God more than themselves, they want His desire and His will to be in their lives.Lesson Outline: I. Intriguing Question – Luke 13:22-23
Luke 13:22 – And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Here we find Jesus journeying towards Jerusalem, to the feast of dedication, which was in the winter when traveling was uncomfortable. Jesus was intentionally going to Jerusalem knowing He was on His way to His death, He continued preaching to large crows. The prospect of death did not deter Jesus from His mission. During Jesus’ earthly ministry the Jews still observed many of the ancient feasts such as the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Dedication. The Feast of Dedication was a Jewish festival commemorating the purification and reconstruction of the Jerusalem temple and the dedication of the new altar by Judas Maccabeus. The modern name of the festival is Hanukkah, it was on the occasion of the Feast of Dedication that Jesus described Himself as the Messiah, the Son of God (John 10:22-38).
Luke 13:23 – Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them. As Jesus was teaching the people about the kingdom one was concerned with who is and who is not going to get into heaven. Many believe their acts of charities will enable them into the kingdom of God. As of today, many entertainers, actors, and actress they will give of their time as well as their money to different orphanages, building schools, providing food and shelter but many of them reject the teaching of the Bible, many of them don’t believe in God or His Son but they believe because of their good acts they will enter into heaven. Human nature makes people think they can earn their way to heaven, which is false, no one can earn their way to heaven only through repentance and accepting the salvation God has given through His Son, Jesus.
Lesson Outline: II. Insightful Answer – Luke 13:24-27
Luke 13:24 – Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Jesus seemed to be leading the discussion away from being concerned with what others were doing and directing the people instead to examine themselves. Many base their Christianity on how they see others live when they should be basing their lives on what the Bible gives instructions on how whose professing to be a Christian should live. According to the teaching of universalists that everyone will be saved is contradictory to what the Word of God teaches. One must repent, and then live to submission to the teaching of the Bible, and the leading of the Holy Spirit which will only instruct what concise with the Word of God. Many professing Christians want to live according to their desires of worldly pleasures and then think they will enter into heaven because they attend church on Sunday or because they give their tithes and offerings. Jesus teaches His listeners to strive to enter the strait gate because if they try to enter in any other way they will not be able to enter. Jesus is the strait gate, only through Him and submission to His teaching can one enter into heaven (Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him – John 14:23). If a person truly repents of their sins, believe in Jesus, willing to submit to the Word of God, both Jesus and the Father will live within them. When you truly love someone it’s not hard to do what they ask you to do when it’s not detrimental to yourself or someone else. Rather than focusing on whether there will be few or many saved, Jesus challenged His listeners to make sure that they themselves were on the right road, heading in the right direction and ultimately arriving at the right destination. The Bible is our GPS, it will direct us to the presence of God, and the kingdom of God.
Luke 13:25 – 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: Entering into heaven is not by denomination, God alone sets the qualification as to who enters heaven. Jesus went on to say that those who choose not to enter by the narrow path will be locked outside; although they knock, the door will remain shut. Many think because they have used the name of Jesus and people were delivered from sickness and diseases they will have the privilege to enter into heaven. Some believe because they cast out demons and devils they will enter into heaven, but they will not enter heaven because they neglected to submit themselves to the Word of God through repentance and turning from their wicked ways.
Luke 13:26 – Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. The Kingdom of God will not be populated with the people we expect to find there, some perfectly respectable religious leaders who knew Jesus will not be there because secretly they were morally corrupt. Many take communion on the 1st Sunday or whichever day that has been set aside to take communion will not be in heaven because they lived a double life. As professing Christians, we can’t be entertained by secular music and entertainers (Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you – 2nd Corinthians 6:17). There are certain movies and TV programs Christians shouldn’t be looking at for entertainment. When an individual has truly accepted salvation their spirit has been changed by the Holy Spirit and as they continue to follow the instructions of the Word of God they will no longer have a desire for worldly entertainment and they will be blessed with the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is only given to those who have truly submitted themselves to the teaching of the Bible (Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new – 2nd Corinthians 5:17). True salvation brings about change of appetite for the things of the world.
Luke 13:27 – But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. Jesus explains that although many people know something about God, only a few have acknowledged their sins and accepted His forgiveness. Just listening to Jesus’ words or admiring His miracles is not enough, it’s vital for an individual to turn from their sins and trust Jesus for salvation, allow true repentance to come from the heart, and follow the Bible’s instructions for the believer. Workers of iniquity are people living according to one self-will rather than the will and Word of God. Sadly, to say, not to many professing Christians take the time to read their Bibles only on Sunday when they’re at church. How can one submit to the Word of God if they don’t know the Word of God? Every professing Christian is held liable for knowing God’s Word of instructions, the Bible. and submitting to it.
Lesson Outline: III. Incontrovertible Conclusion – Luke 13:28-30
Luke 13:28 – 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. “ The weeping and gnashing of teeth” points to eternal punishment. Israel’s rejection of Him as Messiah would have eternal consequences, not only for the Israelites but for every individual that rejects Jesus and His teaching. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were the patriarchs of Israel. Both they and the prophets are envisioned as being part of God’s eternal kingdom that includes a great feast. To be excluded from this banquet is seen as a great tragedy. It’s not our relationship with patriarchs or prophets that gives assurance of salvation but it is our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We build a relationship with Jesus through prayer, fasting, reading and studying the Word of God. Taking time to talk with Him, telling Him about your day, telling Him about what trouble you, just having a general conversation with Him as you would do with a friend.
Luke 13:29 – 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. God’s Kingdom will include people from every part of the world, not a denomination or certain nations. True Israel includes all people who believe in God. While Jesus’ ministry was primarily to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, He was rejected by them. He came to His own, and His own received Him not (He came unto his own, and His own received him not – John 1:11). The rejection of the Jews of Jesus being the Son of God set the stage for others to come into His kingdom, this is what Jesus meant when He said that people from all directions shall sit down in the kingdom of God. The grace and the love of God open doors not only for groups but also individuals. Repentance should be preached and taught in every nation because He is the God of all nations. Jesus is the only One who gives the remissions of sins, He came to set the captive free!
Luke 13:30 – And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. Some who are despised now will be greatly honored then; some influential people here will be left outside the gates. Many great people on this earth in God’s eyes are virtually ignored by the rest of the world, but are committed and dedicated to Him will enter in. What matters to God is not earthly popularity, status, wealth, education or heritage but one’s commitment to Jesus and His instructions He has given through God’s written Word. As professing Christians, we must live according to the Word of God if we want to enter into heaven. We can’t live this life without His assistance, only through the Spirit of the Living God living in our being can help us to live according to God’s desire. As soon as our spirit leaves our body we are either going to heaven or hell the choice is ours to make.