The Expository Files



“Many Will Seek to Enter”
“Strive to enter through the narrow door…”

Luke 13:22-28


Many are seeking peace, contentment, security and purpose. Many others once searched for these things as well but since have given up, not because these things cannot be found but rather because they looked in the wrong places or did not search diligently enough. Some of seekers turn to Christ.

Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7,8).

But it appears some seekers are not able to find the way to life through Him. That's right. Some will seek for Jesus, arriving at the gates, with opportunity to enter in but will fail to do so.

Jesus also said, “And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem.
And someone said to Him, "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?" 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. 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.' 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.' "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 13:22-28).

We note and compare especially this statement: “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds…” and this one: “...for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” On the one hand Jesus says “he who seeks finds” and in the other He says, “ will seek to enter and will not be able.”

The answer poses no dilemma at all. It is a certain kind of seeker who finds. Not those seekers who give up. Not those seekers who search in the wrong places. Not those seekers who lack earnestness in their search. Not those seekers that are satisfied with false answers that the world provides for them. But rather, those that find are those that “strive” in their search and choose to take the “narrow door”.

I would have to say that this is a man or woman's final and most terrible tragedy. But it is a tragedy that does not have to be. Let us therefore consider what is it that will cause some seekers to be lost.

Because Their Search is Casual in Nature
Note again Luke 13:24-”"Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Note the word “strive”. It means to “strain every nerve” describing a dedicated seeker intent on finding. This is the kind of seeker of which Jesus promises “he who seeks finds…” as recorded in Matthew's gospel. Everyone who seeks in this manner will find.

Far too many will seek to a point, but without the dedication necessary to find (see Matthew 13:44-46). Also note the following:

And Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old." (Matthew 13:52). This suggests that seekers continue to discover as they deal with old, familiar teachings in God's word as well as when they tread into unfamiliar, newer territory.

Because Dedication is Lacking
There are all kinds of illustrations used in the Scriptures that describe the commitment and dedication with which we are to conduct our seeking. One excellent illustration to consider is that of a good soldier. Another is that of a successful athlete (2 Timothy 2:3-5) We, like them, must be dedicated to the point of being unwilling to be deterred from our search. We must be dedicated to the point of learning and obeying the rules. Beyond a casual look heavenward, we need to be striving to discover purpose and cause. Are you contending? Good… but are you contending according to the rules? (2 Timothy 3:14-17). Yes, we see two kinds of seekers, but only one kind will find the object of their quest for eternal glory.

Because Of Being Unprepared
The parable of the five prepared and the five foolish virgins illustrates the need to be prepared (see Matthew 25:1-13). Some seekers will be lost because they put off seeking until tomorrow, and tomorrow will not come for them. How often does God urge us to take advantage of present opportunities! Felix was a seeker (Acts 24:24-25). But Felix was seeking for something less than eternal life-he was looking for a bribe (Acts 24:26). He kept looking over the next two years, but never found the bribe he was looking for, nor for the eternal life that he should have been looking for (Acts 24:27).

Because of the Pride of Life
Selfishness and self centeredness take many forms, sometimes even a “form” of supposed righteousness (Luke 18:9-14) Had the self righteous Pharisee of this text found the way? “Of Course!” He would insist. But Jesus says “Absolutely not!” (cf. Colossians 2:8; 18, 19; 23).

It is pride that causes one not to stand up for that which is right (John 12:42,43). Because of pride, these people had not found the way yet, even though they believed!

Then, there are those who make no pretense of seeking for the Lord; instead their search has to do with fulfilling their own desires (2 Peter 3:3,4; 2:17-19).

Jesus talked of seekers finding. Indeed they do, but the search must not be casual; we must strive. It must not be put off; the time is now. It must not be fueled by pride, but by humility before God. Be a successful seeker! There is the way that leads to life. Settle for no less than this!

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 17.9; September 2010