The First and the Last

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Luke 13:22-30


I.         A friend that I correspond with once asked me about Luke 13:30. He wanted to know what Jesus meant by his statement.

            A.        The context shows that some of his audience realized that not everyone would be saved. In fact, relatively few would be saved. - Luke 13:23

            B.        Jesus confirms this and begins explains why

II.        Why few are saved

            A.        There is only one way in - Luke 13:24

            B.        There is limited time to respond - Luke 13:25

III.       What you think is an advantage is not

            A.        Who you know will not help you - Luke 13:26-27

                        1.         In business they tell you that you need a network of connections to get ahead. But such doesn’t work in the kingdom of God.

                        2.         Being in the same neighborhood or knowing the right people does not imply a personal conviction - Titus 1:16

            B.        Your social status is of no help - Matthew 23:1-12

                        1.         Some believe that if others think you have it made, then it must be so.

                        2.         Yet, it is God’s approval and not men’s which we must seek

                                    a.         The Jewish leaders would not admit to their belief in Christ - John 12:42-43

                                    b.         We need the Lord’s commendations - II Corinthians 10:18

                                    c.         Seek to please God - Galatians 1:10

            C.        Personal wealth is not an aid - Matthew 19:23-30

                        1.         It is easy to think that the wealthy have all the advantages

                        2.         When Jesus pointed that wealth causes greater difficulties into entering the kingdom, the disciples were shocked.

            D.        Aggressive self-promotion will not get you in - Luke 14:7-14

                        1.         I can’t recall how many times I have been told, “If you want to get ahead, you have to look out for yourself.”

                        2.         I even had a friend in college who took aggressiveness training to enhance her ability to be successful.

                        3.         Self-promotion will not get you anywhere with God.

            E.        Positive self-esteem will not benefit you - Luke 18:10-14

                        1.         Tell me, did not the Pharisee have a positive self-esteem?

                        2.         Self-esteem is just another term for pride - James 4:6

                        3.         Yet, what God looks for in a person is not pride but humility - Matthew 5:3

            F.        Youth is not an advantage - I Peter 5:5-6

                        1.         Sometimes we older people pine for our lost youth. There is so much energy and potential among the young. Oh, what we could do if we were young again!

                        2.         It is very easy for youth to be over proud and such pride is a hindrance to serving in the kingdom of God.

            G.        Past performance is not a guarantee - Matthew 21:28-31

                        1.         Of course, older people have their problems as well. It is easy to look back at all we have done. We pat ourselves on the back and then lean back in the easy chair.

                        2.         The Pharisee’s saw themselves as righteous and therefore had nothing else to do.

                        3.         Those in sin realized their lack and their need. They were driven to find the solution in Christ.

            H.        Length of service is not an assurance - Matthew 20:1-16

                        1.         Some think they are better because they have been at it longer.

                        2.         God looks at who you are, not how long you have been working.

IV.      The disciples did not understand this

            A.        They actively discussed who would be getting the best positions in Christ’s kingdom - Luke 22:24-30

            B.        Jesus responds with an example - John 13:3-17

V.        This is why Paul recorded - Galatians 3:26-29

            A.        A man doesn’t have an advantage over the woman.

            B.        Slaves are not at a disadvantage compared to their masters.

            C.        Jews don’t have a special in road unavailable to Gentiles.

            D.        We are all one. We all entered the church the same way.

                        1.         If you are not a member, there is no better time to join. Paul mentions we are made children by faith. That we have put on Christ by baptism.

                        2.         If you are a member and would the prayers of your brethren, please come.

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