In the ongoing conflict between good and evil, artists and writers attempt to instill the notion that all people are inherently good. When evil rears its ugly head in books and movies, we always root that love and goodness will overcome evil. The stark reality of sin, as taught by the Bible, supports a completely different notion. All people are inherently evil. The love and goodness in our world is a direct result of God’s presence. The question is not, “Are only a few people going to be saved?”, but “How can anybody be saved?”
“Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 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.’ “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ “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. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” (Luke 13:22-30)
When the Bible gives us a stunning portrait of the last days, they are vastly different than the secular version of what the future may behold.
The world teaches that there is inherent good in most people and love conquers all. The world says wide is the road that leads to eternal happiness and narrow are the minds who think differently.
The Bible teaches that there is inherent evil in all people and perfect love has already conquered all. The sacrificial love of God sent his one and only son to conquer death, sin, and the forces of evil.
Jesus says wide is the road that leads to eternal destruction and many are going to follow it. Narrow is the road that leads to life. What is his message? “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door.”
I am reminded of the story of Noah.
What was it like when he was building an ark? In the world’s eyes, it was an utterly foolish project. He was mercilessly laughed at and ridiculed.
I wonder if Noah tried to recruit people to help? I wonder if he tried to convince people to repent from their sins and follow the one, true God? We don’t have record of that in the Bible. The world may have been too evil at the time. It took a drastic act – to build an ark – to save his family from pending destruction.
Sometimes we feel like Noah.
We want to build an ark of spiritual protection for our families so that they may be saved from this world. But they grow up and leave our spiritual ark to go out into the world. Will they be safe? Will they heed the words of instruction and warning? Will they be able to stave off the fleshly pursuits of this world where absolute truth is increasingly fuzzy?
Last night, our smoke alarm went off for no apparent reason. It was only two short piercing beeps, but it was enough to awaken me from a deep slumber. More annoyed than anything, I went downstairs to check out what may have triggered the alarm. I grumbled to myself about how difficult it was going to get back to sleep.
My episode reminded me that we live in a society that is increasingly getting hostile to Christianity – especially organized religion — and less tolerant for those who take the Bible seriously. I imagine that believers today can sound like a false smoke alarm in the middle of the night. Abrasive. Annoying. Terrible timing. People will respond to our attempt of sharing the gospel, “That’s nice. Just let me go back to sleep.”
As believers, those who are set apart from God to share a message of salvation, we feel bad to wrestle people up from their spiritual slumber. Right? We don’t want to be an abrasive alarm. We don’t want to be intrusive. We don’t want to wake people up from a deep sleep.
We are reluctant to come and rescue people from what is going to happen in the future.
It would be far easier to rescue people from a burning house when there are flames present. It would be far easier to rescue people who are drowning in the lake while they are in the water. It doesn’t make any sense to try and rescue people when they already feel safe and secure.
“What danger? What peril?”
Yes, it is tough to be a Noah in today’s world. It is challenging to build a spiritual ark to keep our families safe. It’s almost impossible to tell our neighbors there is going to be a day of judgment.
No wonder there are only going to be a few people saved.
But that’s not God’s fault.
He wants all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.
People are making the decision to take the wide road by rejecting God’s truth today. They are choosing to not be saved.
What is the gospel message that needs to be proclaimed today? “Don’t delay, but strive to enter now.” There is a great contest or struggle at hand for every person’s soul. There are bitter conflicts that prompts repentance and brings a person to the point where they need a Savior. Jesus is saying to unbelievers, “Don’t ignore the struggle. There will be a time when the doors of opportunity are closed. And like smoke detectors that shrill in the middle of the night, those doors can close at any time. Make sure that you are going to be saved.” [Evangelism means trusting that God works behind the scenes.]
Believers keep the doors open by proclaiming the powerful words of the gospel. Do not give up. Rest in your salvation because of what Christ has done and fearlessly proclaim this confidence to others.
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