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Are Only A Few Being Saved?

The Narrow Door To Heaven

John 10:40 tells us that after Jesus escaped the religious leaders’ attempt to murder Him, He left Jerusalem for the other side of the Jordan where John the Baptist had started baptizing people. We do not know how long Jesus remained on the other side of the Jordan River; but when we come to our study, we are told that Jesus was visiting one city after another as He moved back to Jerusalem. In our coming studies in Matthew 19:1-20:34; Mark 10:1-52; Luke 13:22-19:28 and John 11:1-54, we will discover what Christ did while He was away from Jerusalem. We will be given lessons on discipleship, watch Jesus comfort Martha and raise Lazarus from the dead, hear the Sanhedrin Council agree to murder Christ, learn about the healing of ten lepers and Bartimaeus, rejoice that Zaccheus was saved, be given a series of parables and receive instructions about the future, including the second coming of Christ. While outside of Jerusalem, Jesus accomplished much. This study is the first information about what Christ did while in Perea. Our study centers on a question someone asked, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” Jesus will answer the question with a parable. This study comes from Luke 13:22-30.

Just A Few Are Being Saved

Our first verse tells us that Jesus was moving from one city and village to another.

And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem. Luke 13:22 (NASB)

The Greek word for “passing through” is diaporeuomai. The word has the sense of passing through an area extensively and throughly. This is an excellent example of Scripture not telling us everything. We do not know how many places He visited or how long He stayed in any of the cities and villages. All that the Holy Spirit has concluded to be important is that Jesus was serious about ministry. He was not lazy and He was thorough. We are told that He was teaching.

What did He teach? While we are not told, it is very likely that His teachings included many of the parables that we have already studied. We know that Jesus repeated the parable of the Mustard Seed and Leaven. Both parables are recorded in Christ’s sermon about the Parables of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:31-35) which were given in the early part of A.D. 32. It is now late A.D. 32. He has just recently repeated these two parables in Luke 13:19-21. How many other parables did He repeat? Did He repeat the Sermon on the Mount or the Olivet Discourse? The gospels do not tell us everything because they are focused on that which is important for us to know and understand. God never intended for us to spend all of our time speculating. Instead, He wants us to be preaching the good news about salvation, which is most likely what Jesus did in every city and village as He made His way back to Jerusalem.

Then we are told that someone wanted to know how many people were being saved.

And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” Luke 13:23a (NASB)

The word for “saved” is sozo. The word is a present, passive participle. The participle refers to continuing action which means they wanted to know how many would continue to be saved. It would be difficult for us to answer, but not for Jesus.

Israel Map 35

Narrow Door Is Hard To Enter

Jesus’ answer is similar to the parable of the Narrow and Wide Gates that is recorded in the Sermon on the Mount given about one year earlier in the last part of the year A.D. 31.

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.” Luke 13:23b-24 (NASB)

On this occasion Jesus refers to a narrow door of a house and tells whoever asked the question that many will try to enter through the door. The Greek word for “strive” is an important word. It means more than the English word strive. The Greek word is agonizomai. We get our word “to agonize” from this word. The word was used to describe contests in the gymnastic games (1 Corinthians 9:25); to fight, a fight with adversaries (John 18:36; 2 Timothy 4:7) or to be involved in strenuous effort (Colossians 4:12). The picture that Jesus paints is of someone very seriously agonizing to get through the door of the house. The door is extremely narrow. Only a few are able to squeeze through.

We will discover soon that Jesus’ illustration is about how a person is saved and is able to go to heaven. It may surprise some Christians that throughout Jesus’ ministry, He repeatedly teaches that salvation is not easily obtained. Salvation requires serious effort. In the parable of the Narrow and Wide Roads (Matthew 7:13-14), He said that few find the narrow road that leads to eternal life. In John 6:27 Jesus tells us that we must work, ergamozai, in order to enter into eternal life. Hebrews 4:11 encourages us to give intense effort in order to obtain salvation. Jesus’ message was that gaining eternal life is not easy and simple. Not everyone is going to go to heaven and see God. Only a few will get there!

In Matthew 10:37-39, Jesus said that he who loves father or mother more than Him “is not worthy of Me.” He did not mean that it was wrong to love our parents. His message is that He must be the priority in our lives. In verses 38-39 He added,

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:38-39 (NASB)

His message of self-denial is required. In Matthew 12:49-50 Jesus tells us that those who are true disciples are those who do “the will of the Father who is in heaven.” In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus repeated the same message when He said those who do not do the will of the Father in heaven are lawless and will not enter heaven. Again in Matthew 16:24-26, Jesus taught that we must deny ourselves if we want to go to heaven.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 (NASB)

The common theme to these statements about salvation is that self-denial and submission to Christ is required. This is the same message that Christ sent the rich, young ruler (Matthew 19:21-22). The man’s real problem was his unwillingness to submit and admit that he could not earn his way into heaven.

Characteristic of Saving Faith -- Life of Christ Study

The phrase, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first,” makes the point that heaven is not for the proud but for the humble. In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus gave us an illustration of a tax-collector and a Pharisee. The Pharisee was proud, but the tax-collector was repentant and pleaded for forgiveness. Jesus said the tax-collector was justified because he had humbled himself.

In Romans 10:9 we are promised that if we confess Christ as our Lord and believe that He can and will forgive our sins, we will be saved. John 3:16 declares we must believe in Christ in order to have eternal life.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)

It is important to notice that this verse is about humility too! Most people think that they must earn their way into heaven. In fact, most want to earn their way into heaven. Most people think they can earn their way into heaven because proudly they believe they are good people. Many when asked if they are going to heaven say, “Yes, because I am a good person.” But God tells us in Romans 3:10-12 that none of us are good. That is, none of us do anything “good” enough to earn heaven. In Mathew 5:3 Jesus tell us only the “poor in spirit” will go to heaven. That is, only those who humbly see themselves as spiritual beggars will go to heaven. The proud do not seek God, plead and beg. They think they are good enough to go to heaven. But humble people admit their sins and beg God to forgive them. Humility is the response of a person who sees his or her sins and understands they desperately need their sins to be forgiven. They respond this way because they believe only Christ can forgive them. They realize that unless God forgives them, they are going to suffer eternal punishment in hell. The proud do not see any such need to be forgiven. They are indifferent and comfortable in their condition.

Jesus is not telling us that we must do some work in order to go to heaven and be with God. Romans 4:3 and Ephesians 2:8-10 clearly teach that salvation is not by works. It is by God’s grace through faith that we are saved. Jesus repeatedly described the response of a believing heart which responds to the work of God in the hearts of men and women (John 6:65, 44, 37; Ephesians 1:4-6). Therefore, when Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door,” He was referring to the fact that true humility is rare! It is the work of God in the heart of men and women.

. . . Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Luke 13:23b-24 (NASB)

True humility is impossible without the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11). It is God’s work in the heart. This means that the humble, believing heart responds in true repentance and humble submission to Christ. The characteristic of the humbling work of the Holy Spirit is a true faith that involuntarily repents and submits. This is rare!

Yet, many will try to enter by their own works (Matthew 7:21-23). The proud are confident in themselves and what they can do. The proud do not see any need to pray, but the humble do. The rich, young ruler is a good example. He asked, “What must I do to obtain eternal life?” Many try to enter heaven by doing good works, but Jesus warns they will not be able to do it.

They Will Still Go To Hell

Parable About Who Enters The Kingdom

The parable now shifts to the end of the age and then takes a twist when He reveals that the parable is actually about them. He describes how they will respond in the future.

Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, “Lord, open up to us!” then He will answer and say to you, “I do not know where you are from.” Luke 13:25 (NASB)

We are told the door has been shut by the head of the house. The people who are hearing the parable are the ones who are standing outside. They will not be able to get in. The opportunity to enter heaven existed then. Jesus warned them that later they will want to enter the kingdom, but then it will be too late. 2 Corinthians 6:2 warns us that now, here in this life, is the time to believe in Christ and seek to have our sins forgiven.

Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION” 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NASB)

In the account of the beggar called Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31, we are told that after death no one can cross over from hell into heaven, or from heaven into hell. We are told that there is a great chasm and the distance is fixed. No one can change their destiny. If we fail to believe in Christ in this life, then we will dwell in hell for eternity. Hebrews 9:27 is a frightening verse.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment . . . Hebrews 9:27 (NASB)

The decision one makes in this life determines one’s destiny. We discovered in Luke 12:20, 40 and 58 that life is short and the decision we make must be made quickly. In verse 20 Jesus warned, “This very night your soul is required of you” and in verse 40, “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”

But Jesus’ parable, which becomes real-life in Luke 13:22-30, tells us that when the door to the kingdom is shut, no one will be able to get in. Only Christians will enter the kingdom. Everyone else will be in hell. Then in verse 28, we discover that Jesus is describing those who enter the kingdom and those who will not be able to enter. Those who, because of pride, will try to squeeze through the door will find the door shut and then it is too late. Where are you? Do you believe in Christ and not yourself? If you have believed in Christ and not your good works for the forgiveness of your sins and entrance into heaven, then you have entered through the door. If you are thinking about trusting Christ, then pray that the door does not close.

Then Jesus says that after the door is shut, some of the very individuals listening to Him will ask to be allowed in. But He will reply, “I do not know where you are from!” Now notice that Jesus says, “Then you will begin to say . . .”

Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets”; and He will say, “I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.” Luke 13:26-27 (NASB)

This is very personal. He was talking directly to them when He said that some individuals in the crowd had shared a meal with Him and heard Him teach in the streets. They were just like some today who attend church and hear a wonderful sermon about Christ. But that did not make any of them a believer, a follower of Christ. Christ makes that clear when He said, “I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.” That stunning statement reveals that they were going to hell.

We are discovering an important truth that is missed sometimes from this passage. Notice these people had heard Jesus teach and they knew or believed Christ existed. Eventually, they knew He died on the cross, and some heard that He was resurrected, but they will still go to hell. This means it is not enough to believe that Christ lived, died, and was resurrected because Jesus will tell them at the judgment, “I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.” This reveals that good works do not save anyone.

Earlier in the year of A.D. 32, Jesus stated that at the judgment many will try to get into heaven by reviewing all the ministry that they performed in Christ’s name.

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.” Matthew 7:21-23 (NASB)

This illustration is the scariest statement in the Bible except for descriptions about hell. It is scary because these individuals thought they were Christians who were going to heaven. They may even be individuals who had dedicated their whole lives to God. At an annual, nationally well-known pastor’s conference, it is not uncommon for some pastors to discover that they are going to hell and choose to become a Christian for the first time. How many laymen think they are going to heaven because they said a prayer? They believed in Christ, but their faith was vain faith (1 Corinthians 15:2). Our study in Matthew 7:21-23 reveals that some who think they are Christians did not actually squeeze through the door and get into heaven. They never had real faith.

Chronology12 - Ministry in Judea to Ministry In Perea

Consequences of Unbelief

Then Jesus declared the tragic consequences of empty faith in Christ.

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 yourselves being thrown out. Luke 13:28 (NASB)

Jesus’ message is very clear. These individuals were not going to enter the kingdom. It is important to realize that at the Goat and Sheep Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46), Jesus will tell us that only Christians will enter the kingdom. It is important to note that the passage helps identify a true Christian from those who are not Christians. Revelation 19:11-14 tells us that all the Christians since the cross will come with Christ at His Second Coming. The first part of Revelation 20:4 refers to “they sat on them, and judgment was given to them.” This refers to the Old Testament saints who will be resurrected and enter the kingdom.

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. Revelation 20:4 (NASB)

Apparently Luke 13:28 describes both the Goat and Sheep Judgment and the anguish of those who will be in hell and see others going into the kingdom. In order to live in the eternal heaven (Revelation 21-22), a person must have lived in the kingdom.

Those who reject Christ, both Jews and Gentiles, end up in hell and truly suffer (Matthew 8:12, 22, 29; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Mark 9:43-44; James 3:6; 2 Peter 2:4). Hell is fiery torment day and night which will last forever.

Blessing of True Faith

Then Jesus describes those who came through the narrow door. As we have already discovered, these are those who humbly believed. The mark of true faith is humility which includes repentance and submission to Christ. They will eat and drink and celebrate in the kingdom.

And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. Luke 13:29 (NASB)

During the last supper that Christ had with the disciples, He said that they would all, except for Judas, eat and drink in the kingdom (Luke 22:16, 30). Prior to the last supper, He had spoken of eating and drinking in the kingdom (Matthew 8:11-12; Luke 14:15; 22:29-30: Revelation 19:9). The kingdom is real. Every Old and New Testament believer will celebrate Christ’s reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Conclusion

Christ’s closing comment is directed at the Jews who believed they were going to have eternal life because they were descendants of Abraham (Matthew 3:9; Luke 3:8; John 8:39-40). Earlier in Luke 3:8 Jesus warned them that they needed to repent if they wanted to go to heaven.

Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham for our father,” for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. Luke 3:8 (NASB)

But the Pharisees officially rejected Christ. Therefore, Christ’s closing comment was that some who think they are first will be last. John 12:42 states that many of the rulers of Israel did believe in Christ. Consequently, He directed this at them.

And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last. Luke 13:30 (NASB)

Since some of the religious leaders or rulers failed to repent of their sins and believe in Christ, they were going to hell. That is, some who think they are first will actually be last.

Galatians 3:28-29 gives us the principle that among Christians, no one is first or last.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3:28-29 (NASB)

But what a disappointment this would be to Jews at the time of Christ. All who believe in Christ are equal. Jews and Gentiles are equal in heaven and anyone who believes in Christ is a spiritual descendant of Abraham. We can praise the Lord that salvation is equally free to Jews and Gentiles.

How does one go to heaven? A person becomes a Christian when one truly understands that one is going to hell because they commit sins. They realize that only Christ can forgive their sins, and they want to be forgiven. True faith in Christ produces humility, which evidences itself in repentance and submission to Christ in response to understanding the Christ did everything necessary to forgive one’s sins. Are you going to heaven or hell?

Proclaim the Good News of Great Joy – Christmas Devotional

Proclaim the News of Great Joy

A little boy returned from Sunday school with a new perspective on the Christmas story. He had learned all about the wise men from the East who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. He was so excited he just had to tell his neighborhood friends. This is how he told it. He said, “I learned in Sunday school today all about the very first Christmas. You see, there was no Santa way back then, so three skinny guys on camels had to deliver all the toys. Rudolph the reindeer with his nose so bright was not there yet, and so they had to have this big spotlight in the sky to find their way around.”

That was his story. It is funny because it is told by a child with a child’s perspective. I always enjoy children’s perspectives on adult matters. They often get things confused. It is like my understanding of the very first verse of Psalm 23 which says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” As a child I used to wonder, “Why do you not want Jesus?” I totally misunderstood what the verse was about. It was not until later in life that I realized my understanding as a child had been wrong. But this little boy did the right thing. He might have had the facts wrong, but he had the right desire. He demonstrated that he was an evangelist. He wanted to go and tell his friends all about Jesus.

Luke tells us that Joseph took Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. If you read the passage in Luke 2, it says that they went up. Verses 4-7 read,

Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, and in order to register with Mary, who was engaged to him, and she was with child. And while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. She gave birth to her first-born son. She wrapped him in clothes and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

I suspect that many of us understand exactly the words that we just read, but did you know that there are many people who do not understand what Christmas is all about? Fifty years ago almost everybody, even non-Christians, understood what happened at Christmas. But we live in a time now where that is not taught in our schools even as part of our historic culture. Nativity scenes are no longer in our schools. You rarely see a nativity scene in the public square. You do not read about it in the news, the story is not being told.

One of the questions that people are really interested in at NeverThirsty.org is what is the real meaning of Christmas? Or why was Christ born into the world? Those two questions with the answers are posted on our website. People are finding the answers at our website and they are reading them. People want to know what the real meaning of Christmas is. That tells you that many people do not know; they have no idea. That little boy in our story did the best thing. He did not have it right, but he had a great heart. As I was thinking about that little boy, I realized he was not the first one that told other people that Jesus had been born.

What do you think of when you think of the Gospel? Do you think of the fact that Jesus did miracles, that He did signs and wonders? He multiplied food. He fed both the 5,000 and then a second time He fed 4,000 people. He died on a cross; He came back to life and then ascended into heaven. Is that the Gospel? What do you think of when you think of the Gospel? The little boy actually gave good news—he actually was giving the Gospel. What is the Gospel? Let us keep reading in Luke 2. Verse 8 says,

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.

We are familiar with the story and we then remember, “This is when some angels showed up!” Verse 9:

And an angel of the Lord suddenly [appeared] before them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all the people.

When I was reading that, it dawned on me that in verse 10 the angel said,

Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good news.

Do you understand what good news is? In the Greek it is the same Greek word that is used for “Gospel.” It is good news. The angel did not say, “I just came to bring you good news.” It is “good news of great joy!” It is megas kara. Mega is great! Kara is “joy.” So it is “great joy.” So it is good news of great joy! As I read I realized, “The Gospel starts with this verse!” The Gospel is not just that He taught, did miracles, signs and wonders, and then died and came back to life and ascended into heaven. The Gospel starts with His birth. Then what are these angels doing? The angels were the first ones to announce the birth of Christ. They were giving or announcing the good news or the gospel. What is the gospel? Luke 2:11 tells us,

For today, in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

The title, Christ, also can be translated as the Messiah, who is their Savior, and that has to be a foreign thought to them. Probably many of the Jews would have thought the angels were talking about a military savior, someone who would rescue them from the Romans. But if you were to read what Zachariah said about John the Baptist, Zachariah said that his son was going to give his people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. Zachariah knew that the coming Messiah was going to be the Savior of the world and would bring forgiveness of sins. So when the angels announced that the Savior had been born, their announcement is the beginning of the Gospel. I thought when I read that, “The angels are evangelists!” The boy in our opening story was an evangelist and the angels are evangelists. They are telling the story about Jesus. I should say not just a story; it is the historical account that actually happened. Verse 12 says as the angel continues to speak,

This will be a sign for you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

Now I have a question for you: Why did the angel say that? Let me make my question a little clearer. Why did the angel not tell the shepherds more precisely the location where they could find Jesus? What could the angels have done for the shepherds, to help them find Jesus? They could have led them to the exact place. Or they could have provided precise directions to Jesus’ location. It is interesting the angels did not give them any more information. It is interesting that the angels told them only that the baby was wrapped in cloths. Now you might ask, “Why is that a sign?” Have you ever asked yourself why is it a sign that the baby was wrapped in cloths? The reason it was a sign is because only the wealthy wrapped their babies in cloths. Cloths were expensive. So to find a baby in a manger, wrapped in cloths that only wealthy people would have, is inconsistent. It is definitely a sign. So how did the shepherds find Jesus? They had to go door to door to find Him, from house to house. They had to search for Him. What would happen in the process of searching? People would ask questions as to why they were looking for a baby. What would the shepherds have said? “We were just visited by some angels!” Can you imagine the stir that would create in the community, to be told that some angels had just appeared to these shepherds?! Imagine! We do not think about the “what if?” We just read the story and we often do not stop to think about the serious implications in this account.

Do you realize what the angels did, by only giving them the sign that the baby was wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger? That caused these shepherds to become evangelists, because then they were able to share the Gospel, the good news, about the birth of Jesus, the Messiah! It was amazing what happened. They were evangelists going house to house! I realized that is the way God has always worked.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God responded in Genesis 3:15 with a prophecy about the coming Messiah – the Messiah who had just been born in Bethlehem. God has not always just given us a sign; but He has also been an evangelist with good news. That is what He did for Adam and Eve after they sinned. Genesis 3:15 was good news of the coming Messiah! God continued to give us good news about the Messiah. He repeatedly gave us good news in the Old Testament that the Messiah was coming. Now when Jesus was born, the angels said “We have good news, you can find Him, here is the sign.”

God is continuing to give us a sign. Some might ask, “Why is the sign important?” When you find someone who fulfills all of the Old Testament prophecies about Messiah’s coming, then you know that He is the one God about whom God has been prophesying. For example, Isaiah 7:14 says that the child would be virgin born. Jesus was virgin born. Micah 5:2 tells us that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah. If you go to Matthew 2, you find out that when the magi arrived in Jerusalem, they asked, “Where is the king of the Jews?” King Herod asked, “Where is the king of the Jews going to be born?” The answer was, “Bethlehem,” the fulfillment of Micah 5:2.

Interestingly enough, if we go back to the ancient rabbinic writings, the rabbis interpreted Micah 5:2 as being a prophecy related to the coming of the Messiah. They said that it would be fulfilled during the time that Rome controlled Israel. That is exactly when the Messiah came. But today, the Jews have stumbled over Christ. They were looking for a military savior, not one who saves us from our sins. So they have changed their interpretation of Micah 5:2 to fit their view of Jesus Christ. But the ancient rabbinic writings at the time of Christ said the Messiah would come at the time that Rome was in control of Israel. Is that not interesting?!

Daniel 9:24-25 pinpoints the time when Christ would die, A.D. 33. So if He is going to die in A.D. 33, He had to be born before that date. God has always been in the business of giving us signs, and here is a sign: the baby will be wrapped in cloths. Then we are told in verse 13,

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.

I will not read the rest of the verses from verse 15 through verse 20, but we know what the shepherds did. They were so excited they then told everybody they met about the birth of Christ. They were evangelists. Do you see where I am going? I am talking about the fact that the angels were actually evangelists. God the Father was the first evangelist, but at the time of the birth of Christ, the angels were the first ones, and then the shepherds were the next evangelists. What has Jesus told us to do? To go and to share the Gospel. We are to go into the entire world and to share the Gospel. We are to go and make disciples of all men. We are to go and to be evangelists. It is easy for us as Christians to rejoice in the fact that our Savior came and was born, but I think we need to do one more thing. We need to tell other people about Jesus. We need to be evangelists, just like the little boy who gave an inaccurate message but had the right heart.

But we are to tell the good story. What is the ultimate end of the good story? It is one thing to tell them that Jesus was born into the world, did miracles and taught the people. He died, came back to life, and ascended into heaven. But do not leave the story there. What is the really important part of the story? That “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Then the next thing is to tell them that Jesus is God, who took on human flesh and died in our place. He was the Holy Lamb of God who died for our sins. By repenting of our sins and believing in Him, we can have our sins forgiven. Do you know what true faith is? True faith includes repentance from our sins. True faith believes the truths about Jesus including that He is God, and true faith is a willingness to yield one’s life to Christ. The person who truly believes those things will be true to them.

Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus who is our Savior, and it is an opportunity for us to share the good news. I suspect if you went to a neighbor and you asked them, “What is Christmas all about”? they would probably tell you it is family, getting together with friends, having a party, drinking, having fun. It is amazing what people think Christmas is about. For far too many, it has become totally secular, and they have lost the meaning of Christmas.

So what can we do at Christmastime? That is what I want to close with and make you think about. I am not going to give you a lot of suggestions, but one suggestion you might think about is taking a plate of goodies to your neighbors, and wishing them Merry Christmas. Include a message about the true meaning of Christmas. If they are upset that you said “Merry Christmas,” remember Jesus told us we will be persecuted, but at least you tried and may have opened the door for later conversation about the gospel. I encourage you to do something to share the Good News about Jesus Christ. Be an evangelist—but do not be like the little boy who mumbled the message. Let’s get the message right!

Necessary Qualities of Spiritual Growth

So That You Can Remember These Things

Second Coming of Christ Is Certain, part 1

Second Coming of Christ Is Certain, part 2