by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Luke 13:23-30
I. If I asked you to name a famous inventor, the name of Thomas Edison would quickly arise.
A. Mr. Edison had a strong influence in our society.
1. He invented the light bulbs which light our auditorium.
2. He invented the method of distributing electricity to homes
3. For you music loving teens, he invented a way of recording sound so that it could be played back at later times.
4. He even invented motion pictures.
B. What was the key to his success, he stated, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”
1. In other words, his success came about by persistent effort
2. When he worked, he literally forgot everything else. He would forget to eat or sleep. He was oblivious to the passage of time.
II. Why is it that so few reach heaven? That is the question Jesus was asked in Luke 13:23.
A. The answer is that many desire heaven, but few put in the effort to seek it.
B. It is the same answer to the question of faith. A living faith works - James 2:14-26
1. Do you really have faith? How then do you show your faith?
2. What are you doing?
C. When someone misses services at the least reason, where is the effort?
D. Or the times we gather here to study
1. When people don’t come, what does that say about your faith?
2. When people don’t study in advance, what does that say about your interest?
3. Would you expect someone else to reach heaven with a similar attitude?
E. Suppose someone in a competition went to the meetings but was often late and never practiced. Would you expect that person to win? - I Corinthians 9:24-27
1. Brethren we have many in danger of being disqualified
2. Just how badly do you want to reach heaven? I am afraid many don’t really care. They expect it to be easily gained.
F. Notice Paul’s request of Timothy - I Timothy 4:12-16
1. Timothy was a preacher, yet he was not to allow his youth to be an excuse.
2. He was to be diligent in these things.
a. It literally means to keep on practicing
3. He was to give himself wholly to these things.
a. A. T. Robinson says this phrase is equivalent to being up to your ears in these things.
b. Adam Clarke states it is being fully absorbed in these matters.
4. To what extent?
a. So that others can see your progress - Matthew 5:16
b. It is sad to see far to many digressing instead of progressing.
G. Christ died for people zealous to do his will - Titus 2:14
1. Ephesians 2:10 - We are the product of God’s effort. We were created as Christians for the purpose of doing good works.
2. Not wimps who looking for the easy way into heaven
III. Such sustained effort means we must persevere
A. Galatians 6:9 - We can only gain our objective of heaven if we do not grow weary.
B. We must be careful to maintain our good works - Titus 3:8
C. Part of the problem, I suspect, is that we don’t reach our goal in this life
1. It is so easy to let life distract us, to get caught up in daily activity
2. Satan lures us with sin, taking our eyes off the goal.
3. Consider those who have blazed the trail - Hebrews 11:8-16
D. Heaven is only reached if we hold on until the end - Colossians 1:21-23
E. We must remember the warning of Ezekiel - Ezekiel 18:24-26
1. It is not a game where if we have more positive points than negative then we win.
2. It does not matter what we were but what we are.
IV. The reason brethren gather is to help each of us persevere - Hebrews 10:23-25
A. The flowers in our gardens look so beautiful, but what happens when they are cut?
B. When brethren don’t study, don’t attend studies, don’t attend worship, they have cut themselves off from the very things that nourishes them.
C. Hebrews 10:37-39