Second Sunday In Lent: “Walking Through the Narrow Door”

March 17, 2019

Genesis 15:1-18

Psalm 27:1-4, 7-9, 11, 13-14

Philippians 3:17-4:1

Luke 13:22-30

 

 

 

In the gospel, Jesus was asked, “Are there just a few who are being saved?” Jesus, instead of answering the question, did not give a number, but emphasized the importance of making sure that we are walking in the right way, the narrow path that leads to life.

 

What does it mean to be saved?  To be saved does not mean that we secure our eternal fire insurance or ensure that we will go to a place called heaven.  To be saved means our life is preserved, and we are saved from anything that destroys this life particularly sin.  Sin is what destroys the life that God gave us until it eventually leads to death.

 

In Matthew 1:21, the angel said to Joseph in a dream, “You shall name the baby born to you and Mary Jesus because He will save you from your sins.” The angel did not say that He will save them from the fires of hell, but He will save them from their sins because the sin is the enemy.  Sin results from the full blown stage of death, which is our ultimate and final enemy. Being saved is not going to a place called heaven after we die.  The kingdom of heaven is not an afterlife place.  The kingdom of heaven is where God’s rule is followed as it is in heaven.  We pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is heaven.”  If His will is done here on earth, His kingdom comes here. Being saved is walking thus.  Being saved is walking according to the will of God here, now, and for eternity.

 

2Corinthians 3:17 NASB says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”   The Passion Translation says, “Now, the “Lord” I’m referring to is the Holy Spirit, and wherever He is Lord, there is freedom.” Lord means God and Master implying that He is obeyed.  His will is followed.  In Scriptures, Jesus expressed His will and the will of the Father that He is going to Jerusalem to be executed, and St. Peter made the statement, “Not so, Lord…” which is a contradiction in itself.   If He is Lord, what He says is so.   When it says that “where the Spirit of the Lord is,” it means that God’s will is followed where His commandment is obeyed, and His Word is done, and therefore there is liberty, freedom, and life.

 

Jesus preached and enacted the kingdom by obeying His Father's will and doing good and healing (Acts 10:38).  The narrow gate that leads to life is not a ceremony or a sinner's prayer or baptism.  Those are the initial steps, and it is not a one-time thing.   Some Christians think that a relationship with God is a one-night stand.  They pray the Sinner’s Prayer, and from that they think they are eternally secure and they can live the way they want to because their sins are forgiven – past, present, future.  This is not so because the relationship with God is continuous.  It requires striving.  Strive to enter into the narrow door because this door leads to life.  

 

In Matthew 7:12-14, Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount with the Golden Rule.  Matthew’s words are:  treat others the same way you want them to treat you.  If we want people to treat us with kindness, treat them with kindness.  If we want people to treat us with mercy or forgiveness, treat them the same way.  Jesus says that the same way we want people to treat us, this is how we treat them.  This is the Law and the Commandments, the Golden Rule.  The Golden Rule is the narrow way, and very few people follow it.  What do many others follow?  It is the way that is self-serving, the way that would advance self and profitable for them.   It is not how salvation is earned, but how salvation is lived. 

 

A phrase from our Collect today says, “God whose glory it is always to have mercy.”  The glory of God is seen in the heavens, where the heavens declare the glory of God and His creative ability and power; but His glory is demonstrated in an extraordinary way in His mercy.   His glory is always to have mercy.  In the same way, we found our life in treating others well, in loving our neighbor as ourselves.  Our life is derive