Luke chapter 13, the part that I want to focus on is beginning in verse number 23 where the Bible reads, "Then said one unto him, 'Lord, are there few that be saved?' He said unto them, 'Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able.'" The title of my sermon this morning is, "Be one of the few." Be one of the few. In all areas of life, there is the way that many people are going, and then there is the way that few people are going. When it comes to salvation, first of all, number 1, you better be one of the few. The question is specifically asked here, "Are there few that be saved?" Jesus Christ's answer makes it very clear that the answer to that question is yes.
In Matthew chapter 7, in the famous passage that says, "Enter ye in at the strait gate," notice "strait," if you look down also at Luke chapter 13 verse 24, strait is spelled S-T-R-A-I-T. There's no G-H there. This does not mean straight as in not crooked. This means strait as in narrow, like the Straits of Gibraltar. The Bible says, "Enter ye in at the strait gate," I'm quoting Matthew now, "For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat, because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth onto life, and few there be that find it."
This question is asked here in Luke chapter 13, "Are there few that be saved?" I'm sure there are many people in this world who have that same question on their mind today. "Are there few that be saved?" The answer is yes. He says in verse 24, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able." You say, "Well, how could someone seek to enter into salvation, seek to enter into heaven, want to be saved, want to go to heaven, and not make it when it's so easy to be saved?" I mean, it truly is easy to be saved. It's so easy that a little child could be saved. In fact, Jesus said, "Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Salvation is so easy that it's easier for a child than an adult, because an adult will make it complicated.
If it's so easy, how could someone try to enter in, or strive to enter in, or as it says here, seek to enter in, and not be able? Remember that word "seek" and flip over to Romans chapter 9. Romans chapter 9 explains it to us. First of all, let me give you just a quick English lesson on this word "seek" because it's an old word. The past participle, or the past tense of seek, is sought. S-O-U-G-H-T. Seek, sought. Those are the exact same word. One of them is in the present tense. One of them is in the past tense. For example, sink, sank, sunk, right? Drink, drank, drunk. Think ... No, I’m just kidding. Anyway, these words have a different past tense. Here's the thing. Seek, sought, sought. It's the same word. Keep that in mind.
Look at Romans chapter 9 verse 30. This is talking about the Jews versus the Gentiles, which is, again, going to come into play when we're back in Luke 13. It says in Romans 9:30, "What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, have not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore?" Why? Wherefore just means why. "Because they sought it ..." You see that word? "They sought it not by faith but as it were by the works of the law, for they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written, behold I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
Notice in Romans 9 it says that these people sought salvation but they did not seek it after faith. They sought it according to works. They sought it through the righteousness that comes by keeping God’s laws, and so because they did not seek it by faith, they did not find it. Go back with that in mind to Luke chapter 13 where we were. I’ll reread the first few verse of the passage. “Then said one unto him, ‘Lord, are there few that be saved?’ And he said unto them, ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’” Who are the people who are seeking to enter in and they’re not able? It’s people that are seeking it by works, it’s people that are seeking it by the deeds of the law. You’ll find more support for that in the parallel passage in Matthew chapter 7. Romans 9 makes it clear.
Let’s keep reading. It says in verse 25, “When 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.’ Then shall ye begin to say, ‘We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.’ But he shall say, ‘I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.’”
Now notice these people here, they think basically that just being in church is enough to get them into heaven. I mean, they think just by hearing the word of God preach that that means that they’re saved. Because Jesus says, “I don’t know you.” They say, “Well, yeah, but you taught in our streets. We ate and drunk with you.” What are they saying? “Hey, I showed up to church. I heard the preaching of God’s word. I ate the barbecue lunch afterward. Lord, open onto me.” But if you don’t have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your only way to heaven, as your savior, he’s going to say, “I know you not whence you are.” “But Lord, I was at the faithful [inaudible 06:23] Baptist barbecue lunch.” “I don’t know you who are. I never knew you. Depart from me.” Nobody wants to hear those words.
Being in church isn’t enough. Hearing the preaching of God’s word isn’t enough. Living a good life is not enough. Because all have sinned and come short to the glory of God. It’s faith that saves us. The only way that you're going to enter in to that strait gate of salvation is if you seek it according to faith. It’s not hard. It’s easy. But you have to look in the right place. You have to look by faith in Jesus. “Look and live, my brother, live. But it’s not of works lest any man should boast.” This is where people miss the boat.
Look what he says next. You’ll see how this ties in perfectly with Romans 9 where we just read. Verse number 28, “There 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. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.”
He’s saying the Jews who look to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as their patriarchs, they’re going to be weeping and gnashing their teeth when they see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God and them thrust out. When they see people coming from all nations, when they see the Gentiles coming from the north, south, east, west, and truly the first will be last and the last will be first. Meaning the last being the Gentiles and the first being the Jews.
We see that weeping, flip over to Matthew 7 and I’ll just quickly wrap up this first point, that number 1, there are few that be saved. The title of the sermon this morning is be one of the few. First of all, in regard to salvation, be one of the few. Don’t go the broad way. Don’t go through the wide gate my friend. Strive to enter in at the strait gate. Find that narrow gate and enter in by the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.
You see, even when it comes to those who claim to be Christians in this world today and profess Christ by a huge majority, the wide gate says you have to obey the commandments. You have to live a good live. You have to join the church. You have to be baptized. You have to work your way to heaven. But they don’t use those words. They say, “Well, it’s not of works, but here’s all the work you have to do. It’s not works, but you do have to stop sinning, go to church, live a good life,” and then they list a bunch of work that you have to do.
Let me tell you. Roman Catholicism is a wide gate. It’s huge. Let me tell you, the east orthodoxy is the wide gate. A lot even amongst evangelicals it’s a wide gate that says it’s by works that’s not trusting salvation by faith alone. Matthew chapter 7, verse 21, and don’t forget in verses 13 and 14 he gave that exact same speech about strait and narrow is the gate.
Jump on to verse 21. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?” These people think that what they did is going to get them into heaven. Oh, I preached in your name, I cast out devils, I did all these wonderful works. “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Some that teach a works based salvation are so blind they would actually turn to this passage to try to teach you work salvation. Some are so blinded that they’ll turn to this passage to teach that you can lose your salvation, when it says as plain as day I never knew you, not I used to know you. Some people will turn to this and say, “Well, you’ve got to do the will of the Father,” and then they’ll translate that to a bunch of works. No, this is the will of my Father, which is in heaven, that everyone that seeth the son will believe on him and have everlasting life. That’s the will of the Father in regard to salvation.
Number 2, flip over to Acts chapter 1. Be one of the few that is consistent and faithful to the work of God. You see number 1, it’s few that are saved. But then amongst the multitudes that are saved in this world, it’s few compared to the 8 billion in this world, but of course millions of people are saved. But then amongst those who are saved, then we don’t just want to be saved, but we want to be one of the few that are saved and we are consistent and faithful to church. We’re consistent and faithful to the Lord.
By the way, you can’t be faithful to the Lord without being faithful to church, because this is God’s house. This is what God has commanded us to do, to assemble ourselves together and to work together as a team here. Not to just be out by ourselves, a lone ranger keyboard warrior.
Look at Acts chapter 1, verse 13. It says, “And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, the number of names together were about a 120, ‘Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.’”
According to this scripture we have here the assembly of the early church in Jerusalem. We’re including women here because he mentions specifically some of the women and the fact that they’re war women included in this gathering, and he says the number of names together were about 120. Now, that’s a little bit startling if you’ve read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and then you get to the book of Acts, and all the sudden you show up at a major important meeting of the church where they’re ordaining another apostle to replace Judas, and all the sudden the number of names together is about 120?
That’s kind of surprising, since John the Baptist baptized multitudes of people, thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of people that were saved and baptized through the ministry of John the Baptist. Then Jesus himself spent 3.5 years of ministry preaching the gospel of the Kingdom all the way up and down Israel one side to the other. The bible says that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John. Though he himself baptized not, but his disciples. The bible is clear that John the Baptist won multitudes onto Christ and baptized multitudes, and that Jesus had even more people saved through his 3.5-year ministry, and even more people got baptized. Remember when Jesus fed the 5,000? That was 5,000 men, not counting the women and children. And when Jesus fed the 4,000 with 7 loaves and 2 fishes. Look, there were huge multitudes that were saved. They entered through the relatively strait gate of salvation.
But wait a minute. Where are they when things get tough? Where are they when persecution is there? Where are they when Jesus is crucified and when people are being arrested? Where are they when there aren’t any loaves and fishes being handed out? When it comes to who the diehards were, when it comes to who actually showed up for church, in season and out of season, the consistent, the faithful, the diehard church members in that church, there were 120 people in that church. There were 120 that were there on Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, that were the serious dyed in the wall church members.
That’s kind of surprising, isn’t it? All the multitudes, all the thousands of people that were reached through the ministry of Jesus Christ. But you know what? It’s funny today is that people would look at a church like ours or other independent fundamental Baptist churches and they’ll criticize them for being small. They’ll say, “Oh well, you know, you guys supposedly won all these thousands of people to the Lord through soul winning. Where are they all?” Who’s heard that kind of talk before? “Where are all these people that got saved on soul winning?” Let me ask you this. Why don’t we bring John the Baptist in here and why don’t we bring Jesus in here, and you can rebuke and criticize their ministry since they claim to have won thousands of people to the Lord and they claim to have baptized thousands and they only had 120 in church?
Well, hey, if we have 300 in church, and we’ve been adding for 10.5 years here, that’s not that bad. But it’s these fools who don’t want to win souls, and so they criticize people who do win souls, people who go out and roll up their sleeves and say, “Hey, we had 100 people saved, because we had 100 people out soul winning all day or something. Hey, we had 200 people saved. We won all these people to Christ.” They look at their own life, they look in the mirror and they feel guilt and shame for doing nothing for the Lord. So they have to justify their laziness and complacency by saying, “Oh, well, that soul winning is not real. Because look how there’s only 120 in that service.” That’s one.
I mean isn’t that just foolish? See, what people fail to understand is that just because you're saved, that doesn’t mean you're consistent. That doesn’t make you faithful. Let me tell you something. I guarantee you that the vast majority of people that are in this room right now are saved this morning. I know that there are some that are not saved, but I guarantee you that the vast majority of people that are here in this church this morning are saved, and they know they’re going to heaven. They’ve entered into that narrow gate. They’ve entered into that strait gate.
But let me tell you something. That doesn’t mean that you're faithful and consistent in serving the Lord. Don’t just be satisfied to say, “Well, I’m saved, and that’s good enough. At least I’m going to heaven.” No, God wants you now to take up the cross daily and follow him. Yes, you're going to get to heaven whether or not you do that, but we have a world out there that needs to hear the gospel, that has not entered into that narrow gate. We need to go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, that God’s house may be filled. We need to roll up our sleeves and the do the work. Let me tell you something. The church is the institution that God has ordained to accomplish that work and to accomplish that task. That’s who he used in Acts, and that’s who he’s going to use today, churches. Not just one church, churches.
All throughout the book of Acts we see various churches being established. All throughout the New Testament we see epistles that are written to this church or that church in different geographies and different areas. God uses churches to do his work. That’s why all these epistles are written to churches. The epistles that are written to individuals, those are written to leaders in the church. He didn’t say, “Well, I got to write to Timothy because he’s not in church. We’ll write to the church of Ephesus, the church of Philippi, the church of Colossae, but then there’s old Timothy, the keyboard warrior, who doesn’t go to church, so I’ll write him his own little epistle.” No, no, he’s writing to Timothy because he’s a leader in the church. Those are called the pastoral epistles. Timothy, Titus, Philemon, those are pastoral epistles because God uses the church. That’s why Acts is all about churches. That’s why Romans 1st, 2nd Corinthians, all these books, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonian, it’s being written to churches and leaders in churches. That is the institution that God has chosen to use. These were the few that were faithful. The majority were unfaithful. The majority were hit and miss. These were the diehards. Who do you want to be today? Of course you want to be saved and of course most people already are saved as I said because we’re an independent fundamental Baptist church that preaches the gospel frequently. Who do you want to be though? Do you want to be the guy that was missing when this happened?
Because let me tell you something, I’m going to move on to this, go to Acts chapter 2, the people that are consistent and faithful, they tie in with point number 3, be one of the few that is spirit filled, and that does the work of God. Number 1, be one of the few that’s saved. Number 2, be one of the people the few that’s consistent to church, consistent in serving the Lord. Number 3, be one of the few that is spirit filled and does the work. Let me tell you something. Those, the same 120 people in Acts chapter 2 are the same 120 people from Acts chapter 1.
The bible says in verse number 1, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they,” meaning those 120 people that we just met in chapter 1, “were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”
“Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”
Notice how he goes back and forth between tongue and language, because guess what, those words mean the same thing. He even lists specific foreign languages. This wasn’t a bunch of crazy … charismatic movements. This was a legitimate preaching of the gospel in foreign languages. This was a miracle that took place. These people are winning souls onto Christ. A great multitude is saved on this occasion. The church grows by leaps and bounds and that eventually churches are started and established and grow and thrive all over Asia Minor, all over parts of Europe and different places. But it’s few that were actually doing the work that were spirit filled.
I’ve heard some people say that at most churches 80% of people do 20% of the work, and 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Which one are you going to be? The 20%, who does 80% of the work? Or the 80% who does 20% of the work? Or [inaudible 22:33], no work at all. Now, in our church thank God I don’t believe that that’s the case. Our church has a very, very high participation level. In fact, I think it’s the highest of any church I’ve ever seen or heard of in my entire Christian life as far as how many people who come to the church go out and knock doors and win souls, and are dedicated serious members. I praise the Lord for that. It’s exciting.
Be one of the few today that’s saved. Be one of the few though that’s also faithful and consistent. Number 3, be one of the few that is spirit filled and does the work. Fourthly, let me say this, be one of the few that takes a stand. That takes a stand. Even amongst those who are saved. Even amongst those who are consistent and faithful. Even amongst those who are spirit filled and do the work there are some that are not willing to take a stand and then by and by, when persecution cometh, they fall away. They don’t want to fight the Lord’s battles. They don’t want to be the one who takes a stand, and that in some cases stands alone.
Now turn back to 1st Kings chapter 19. 1st Kings chapter 19. Everything’s been in the New Testament this morning. But let’s go back and get an Old Testament example of this truth. You see we could actually trace this truth throughout the entire bible where we look at the world in general and then we see a smaller group that represents God’s people. Then we see a smaller group within that group that are the ones who are really faithful and consistent and serious. Then an even smaller group that are leaders and then leaders of leaders, and there’s a smaller and a smaller group of the people who are doing more for God, more serious about serving God and have a greater level of faith, even amongst those that are just saved and that’s it.
But one place we could go, and we could go literally from Genesis to Revelation and point that phenomenon out at every stage of human history, and at every stage of the biblical account. But let’s just take one example here in 1st Kings 19. This is the story of Elijah. Now, we know that Elijah at that time is the greatest man of God on the earth at that time. He’s doing the most for God. He was the leader of leaders. I mean, he was the guy. But he wasn’t the only one serving God.
This is a very famous passage because of the fact that this is quoted in Romans chapter 11. Anything that gets quoted in the New Testament tends to be more famous in the Old Testament because we have it refreshed in the New Testament. Well, even though this is quoted, there’s an aspect of it that people miss, that they don’t understand. Because sometimes when we just take a famous quote and just pull it out of its context, it still can be profitable for doctrine and useful, but sometimes we actually miss the whole story. That’s what reading the bible cover to cover does for you. You get the things that don’t often come across the pulpit. This is one of those things. Because 1st Kings chapter 19 is the famous passage where Elijah is discouraged and he thinks he’s the only one left. You’ll notice the famous words when we get there.
Look at verse 14 of 1st Kings 19. Verse 14, “And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me 7,000 in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”
Haven’t we all heard this quoted so many times, right? The 7,000 men who haven’t bowed the knee to Baal. Because it’s quoted in Romans chapter 11. But actually these 7,000 guys are brought back up in the next chapter, in chapter 20. That’s what we don’t hear about as often. Flip over to 1st Kings chapter 20. Let’s learn a little more about the 7,000 that have not bowed the knee of Baal. You see in the Old Testament we read a lot about physical battles, but in the New Testament the bible teaches that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. The bible says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual and that we’re polling, we’re casting down imaginations, bringing every thought into subjection to Christ. You see today there is still a war going on today, there is a fight to be fought. But it’s a spiritual battle, not a physical battle. It’s a spiritual warfare.
Now, a lot of people, they get it when we say in the Old Testament they fought all these physical battles, but in the New Testament we don’t. Everybody’s got that down it seems like amongst Christians, amongst independent Baptists, amongst evangelists. They’ve all got that down, like, “Oh yeah, we don’t fight those type of battles. Yeah, we don’t fight.” But what they fail to understand is that we do fight against principalities and powers. We do fight against the rulers of the darkness of this world. We do fight against spiritual wickedness in high places.
There’s a Christianity today that doesn’t want to do any fighting at all whatsoever. They don’t understand that from Old Testament to New Testament we’re going from a physical fight to a spiritual fight. The average church today believes that we went from a physical fight to no fight, to no fight, to get along with everybody. That’s what they believe. But there is a spiritual battle going on today and that’s why these scriptures are so applicable.
Let’s look at it in 1st Kings 20, verse 13. Look, we don’t want to be the many that are unsaved. We want to be the few that are saved. We got that. Check. Are you one of the few that’s faithful and consistent to church? Check. Are you one of the few that’s spirit filled and doing the work? That means you're a soul winner. Check. Number 4, are you one of the few that’s willing to take a stand and fight the good fight? That’s the fourth point.
Look at verse 13, “And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.” Let me just give you a little background here by saying that King Ahab is often regarded as a very wicked king because he was a wicked king. But what you have to understand about Ahab is that he’s a more complex character than that in the bible. He was not rotten to the core. There are people in the bible who are just rotten to the core. Ahab was not one of them. Jezebel, his wife was rotten to the core. She was a bad influence upon him. She stirred him up to work wickedness.
So you have to understand that Ahab is a complex character. There are times where he gets right with God. There are times when he does good things. Other times when he does that which is wrong. By the way, that goes to show you that it’s pretty important who you get married to, because here’s a guy who could’ve gone either way. He’s a weak man, a very weak man. He could’ve gone either way, but he ended up going the wrong way most of the time because of his wicked wife that he married. We need to be equally yoked. If we’re a bible believing Christian, we need to get married to a bible believing Christian and not marry a worldly wicked person, especially not a girl marrying a heathen man, because he’s the leader. Even marrying a heathen woman can be a downfall, so we need to be careful with that.
But it says here in verse 14, “And Ahab said, By whom?” I mean God is telling Ahab, “I’m going to deliver this great enemy host of the Syrians into your hand. I’m going to give you a great victory today. You're going to know that I am the Lord when I deliver them into your hand.” He says, By whom? Where is the army? Where are the troops? How’s this going to happen? He lacks faith.
“And he said, Thus saith the Lord,” this is a prophet of God speaking on God’s behalf. “Thus saith the Lord: Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, ‘Well, who shall order the battle?’ And he answered, ‘Thou.’” You're going to. “And he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were 232. And after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being 7,000.”
Now don’t misread that. He’s not saying that there’s only 7,000 people in the whole nation of Israel. He’s saying he numbered all the children of Israel that had come out to fight the Lord’s battle. He numbered the people and there was a total of 7,000 men that showed up to fight the battle. These are the 7,000 men that had not bowed the knee to Baal, that are brought up in chapter 19. In chapter 19, God said, “I’ve reversed to myself 7,000 men in Israel who’ve not bowed the knee to Baal,” and he said, “I’m going to use them to win the battle.” I’m not going to use the compromisers. I’m not going to use the people that had the Lord in their hearts and they believed on the Lord in their heart but they went through the motions and bowed the knee to Baal. No, no. I’m going to use the 7,000 men that haven’t bowed the knee to Baal. They’re the ones that are going to do the great work. They're the ones that are going to bring deliverance to Israel. Then amongst those 7,000 were 232 that were the leaders. Then there was 1 man that was asked to lead the whole thing.
7,000 men that haven’t bowed the knee to Baal are 7,000 men who are willing to fight the Lord’s battle. It’s the same group folks, the same group that showed up. All the people, even all the children of Israel, it says in verse 15, being 7,000. When he numbered the troops there were 7,000. Of them there were 232 that were the princes of the provinces. It says in verse number 16, “They went out at noon. But Benhadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the 30 and 2 kings that helped him.”
They have a great multitudinous army. We don’t know exactly how many but we know it’s hundreds of thousands of troops, hundreds of thousands. He has just the 7,000. Listen to me. The 7,000 that haven’t bowed the knee to Baal are always going to be more powerful than all the hordes that the devil can muster. The devil can muster millions and millions and millions and millions of people, and the devil wants you to believe you're outnumbered, you can’t win, just give up, there’s more with me than there are with you. But what you never need to forget is that greater is he that is in us, that he that is in the world, and 7,000 of us can defeat millions of the devil’s minions any day of the week.
Here when the 7,000 defeat the armies of the enemy, the enemy makes excuses and says, “Well, you know, their God is a God of the hills. That’s why we lost, because it was … If we do it in the valley, we’ll win.” And no, he’s the God of the hills and the valleys, and that’s why they fight a second time and they get destroyed a second time, because God’s people can always win the battle any time, any day of the week, thanks be to God that always giveth us the victory, that always causes us to triumph. We always win. We never lose.
You say, “Well, I’ve seen God’s people lose.” Yeah, when they bow the knee to Baal. That’s when they lose. You lose when you quit. You lose when you bow the knee to Baal. You lose when you’re going and hiding in a cave somewhere instead of boldly preaching the word of God. That’s when you lose. But when you got 7,000 hair legged men that show up and that haven’t bowed the knee to Baal, and they’re willing to fight the Lord’s battle, they can take on any army of any size, of 32 nations, 32 kings, 32 armies. It’s nothing compared to the Lord and his power. It’s nothing.
It says here in verse number 17, “And the young men of the princes of the provinces,” how many were there? 232. “The young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Benhadad sent out, and they told him, saying, ‘There are men come out of Samaria.’ And he said, ‘Whether they be come out for peace, take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive.’”
Look, we already know that they’re going to be captured. We already know they’re going to be POWs. We already that we’re going to win. This is Benhadad’s attitude. This is the devil’s attitude. I mean, it’s just how are we going to go about it? How are we going to work this out? Well, let’s think. Well, okay, if they come out and want to fight, we’ll just take them alive as POWs. And if they come out and they want peace, we’ll still take them as POWs. No, that’s not what they had in mind. Because look what happens. The bible says in verse 19, so these young men of the prince of the provinces, how many where there? 232. The young men of the prince of the provinces, 232 went out first, and then they’re followed by the rest, which number is 7,000. Everybody got it? And the army which followed them. That’s the 7,000.
“And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them: and Benhadad the king of Syria escaped on a horse with the horsemen. And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter.” I don’t know about you but I want to be one of the 7,000 men that haven’t bowed the knee to Baal. I’ll take it a step further. I want to be one of the 232 men that are in the very frontlines. They go first into battle. They go running in first.
Now look, being on the frontlines doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the title to go with it. Because you had the title as being the top dog in this story, as being the guy who won the battle? King Ahab. But was he really the top dog in God’s eyes? King Ahab was wavering. He was weak. He wasn’t the greatest. He had the title but he wasn’t the greatest amongst them, was he? No, the greatest amongst them were the 232 guys that went out there and got on the frontlines and got their hands dirty and went out there and did the fighting. They’re the ones who were the-
So you say, “Well, but I’m not a pastor.” Well, they weren’t kings either. But they did the work and they got the glory. They did the great things for God. Be one of the 7,000. Look, if you're one of the 7,000 you're already one of the few. Relatively speaking with the millions of Israel. Then if you're one of the 232, then you're really one of the few. That’s what we ought to strive for in our lives. There are the 5,000 that Jesus fed. Then there’s the 12 disciples, the ones that are the most zealous, the closest to Jesus. Then amongst the 12 then there were the 3, Peter, James, and John. Then there was the one, who leaned on Jesus’ breast.
You see, this principle, we can carry it all throughout the bible. There’s the many. Then there’s the few. Then there’s the few of the few. Then there’s the few of the few of the few. We ought to strive to greater heights in our service for God and be one of the few. You know what’s funny today? Is that teenagers have this built in desire to stand out and be different, don’t they? Isn’t this the truth? They have this innate desire. I remember when I was a teenager. I felt the same way.
You want something that sets you apart, because you're trying to figure out where your place is in this world. You grow up, you're a child, and you reach an age as you're approaching adulthood and you’re asking yourself, who am I, what am I going to do with my life. You don’t want to believe that you're just 1 of 8 billion people or 7 billion people on this planet and that you're just like everybody else, you're just another cog in the machine. You want to be different.
This is why you see teenagers sometimes say, do, wear bizarre things. Isn’t it true? They’ll do weird things to their appearance, make themselves stand out. Their hair will turn different colors. They’ll pierce themselves in various ways, get all kinds of tattoos and things. They’re trying to stand out. You say, “Well, no, they’re not.” Well, they’re not exactly trying to blend in, are they? They’re trying to stand out. The reason why is because there’s something in the heart of all of us as human beings that wants to be somebody special, that wants to do something special.
We don’t want to just be like everybody else. Want to achieve greatness in our lives. In fact, most people that you meet, there’s something about that person that they can do better than anyone else or that they’re striving to do better than anyone else. Even if it’s something silly. That’s where you get all these bizarre contests that don’t make any sense. Hey, who can hold their breath the longest at the bottom of a pool? Who can eat the most onions? Who can eat the most hotdogs? Who can pull a train car with their teeth? I mean, there are all these bizarre world records, all these strange world records. Why? Because it’s a part of the human experience to want to do something better than anyone else or greater or different or just stand out somehow.
But today I’m here to tell you that if you serve God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength, you will be special. You will be different and you will stand out. You don’t have to do anything strange to your appearance in order to stand out at your local high school. All you have to do is live for God, bring your bible with you, preach the word of God, win souls to Christ, and you know what, you will stand out. You will be noticed. You want people to notice you? You’ll be noticed.
Let me tell you something. Instead of going out and trying to say, “Well, I’m get a tattoo so I can look different.” Well, guess what? A lot of people are getting tattoos. You’ll probably stand out just by not having a tattoo these days. You’ll actually be one of the few in America if you don’t get a tattoo. You know what? Instead of just trying to have some shallow way to stand out like that, hey, why don’t you stand out by being the greatest Christian that the world has ever seen? Why don’t you stand out like that? I don’t care whether you're a man, woman, boy, or girl. That will make you stand out. The Lord’s looking for someone that would be one of the few.
You say, “I don’t want to just blend in the crowd. I want to be different.” Okay, get on fire for God. You’ll be different. You’ll be a peculiar person. You’ll be one that stands out. Women try to stand out and get attention by dressing provocatively, dressing in a sleazy manner, being scantily clad, and it’s to get attention from men. But you know what the bible says? “Don’t let your outward adorning be about your clothing and jewels and costly array.” He said, “Let it be the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” You know what? If you're just a Godly young lady who wins souls and knows the bible and prays, and you know what, you’ll stand out, people are going to see that and say, “Wow, that is a real gem right there. That is a real rarity. That is a real blessing.” A young pure righteous Godly young lady, that’s going to stand out.
A Godly young man with some fire in his belly that loves the Lord and knows the bible and wins souls and preaches the word of God. Be one of the few today and don’t be one of the few by rebelling against your parents. “I’ll show them. I’m going to stand out in my family by rebelling against my parents.” Join the club. It’s a huge club. Broad is the way. No, no. You want to stand out in your family? Let’s say you're in a big family. You have lots of brothers and sisters. You want to stand out? Be the most zealous for the Lord. Why don’t you stand out like that? Hey, I want to stand out. Hey, stand out for the Lord. Don’t be one of the few by sinning and doing weird things. Because guess what, that’s what everybody is doing. Be one of the few today.
Number 1, be one of the few that gets saved. Number 2, be one of the few that’s consistent and faithful to church. Number 3, be one of the few that’s spirit filled and out doing the work. Number 4, be one of the few that’s willing to fight the Lord’s battles and take a stand for what’s right. Then be one of the few of the few. Be the 232.
Let’s bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much Lord for your word, and we thank you for giving us such a great ministry Lord, the ministry of reconciliation that you’ve given to every single person who is saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. Thank you for giving us thy great ministry and making us ambassadors of Christ, Lord. What a privilege.
I don’t know what the numbers are Lord, but I’m sure that if we took the 7,4 billion people on this world, a very small percentage of them would be able to say that their job is to be an ambassador for a nation. Lord, you’ve given us the privilege to be ambassadors for the kingdom of God. Help us to realize that we are the few Lord, and help us to be the few of the few. Help us to strive to greater heights in serving you. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
All right, we broke the attendance record. How many do we have here this morning?