Our learning text this week, from Sunday’s message, is Luke 13:22-30, a story of Three Doors. Do you remember them?
Doors 1 and 2
First there is the narrow door. Christ taught us to struggle to enter the narrow door of discipleship. He is talking about salvation – this is evident because the question being posed to him is about salvation.
“Are only a few going to be saved?”
Over the past few hundred years much of the western church has separated salvation from discipleship. But Jesus did not do so, nor has the church done so for much of its history.
Discipleship is not something that begins after you are born again. New life – regeneration – and following Christ (discipleship) go hand in hand. They may not be exactly the same things but they are inseparable.
This is the point of the narrow door. There is no thoughtless, easy believing in the New Testament – not “easy” in the sense of casual confession of belief.
Just as the corrupt medieval church had turned salvation through God’s grace into a salvation of works, the western, modern church has turned Christ’s call to discipleship AND salvation to deny self and follow him into a casual confession of a few core truths oriented around the atoning death of Jesus for our sins.
No such vision exists in the kingdom of God. It is much more than intellectual belief alone or casual confession. True salvation is, at its core, new life from God – evidenced by true conviction, true repentance, true confession and true discipleship. Hence, the narrow door.
The door to the kingdom of God will not always be narrow. For many, it will one day be shut. No one has unlimited time to decide to follow Christ.
That is the second door – the heart-wrenching closed door.
Today is the day to make the decision. The themes of the brevity of our opportunities and taking advantage of “today” pervades the Word of God.
Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today. You may think you have tomorrow but the reality is you may not.
The third door is not specifically called a door by Jesus in the Luke text, but it is there. It is the open door, flung audaciously open by God to any and everyone who will fight the battle of faith and enter through the narrow door.
Rather than staying with the door metaphor, Jesus took the narrow door off its hinges and re-purposed it into a table – a table for feasting — where people from the four corners of the earth will come and party at the banquet of the coming kingdom.
The open door was made possible by Christ, who made squeezing through the narrow door possible through the cross.
Jesus is the hero of the story of the Three Doors.
What a story he could tell! What a story we have to tell! Who could you tell the Story of the Three Doors this week?
Our friends don’t have forever to enter the narrow door. Let’s pray and work — in other words, do our part — to invite them to the Table Feast. With Jesus, they too can squeeze through the narrow door.