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Are There Few that Be Saved?

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A Sermon on Luke 13:23-28

And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. (ESV)

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Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones opens his sermon reading from Luke 13:23-28, where Christ answers a man’s question: how many will be saved? Instances like these, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says, allow the believer to see how Jesus walked and talked on Earth. They are important because understanding how Christ acted clues Christians into how He has always been, since the beginning, and for eternity. But what is Jesus’ answer to the question? He says, “Strive to enter through the narrow door.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones, however, wants to know why Christ answered so strangely. He didn’t quote a number or provide a list of names. No, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says Jesus didn’t answer because the question wasn’t important. It doesn’t matter how many people will be saved, but rather if you will be saved. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that these types of questions reveal a person’s heart. The man asking Jesus wasn’t interested salvation. He wanted to approach Christ as an equal, to discuss matters of philosophy or theology. He concludes by saying that Jesus isn’t interested in discussion. His opinion is the only opinion that matters, and when it comes to salvation, Christ wants to see to a person’s soul, to show him or her His redemptive love.


Additional Scripture Translations

Luke 13:23-28, New American Standard Bible

23And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, 24“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin standing outside and knocking on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ and He then will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 26Then you will begin saying, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets!’ 27And yet He will say, ‘I do not know where you are from; leave Me, all you evildoers.’ 28In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out.

Luke 13:23-28, King James Version

23Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,

24Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: 26Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 27But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. 28There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.


About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.