THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST – Sermons and Biblical Studies


LUKE 13:22–30

“Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will he last”

(Luke 13:30).

A man asked Jesus, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” (Luke 13:23). Jesus exhorted the people to press through the narrow door because the time was approaching when the door would be shut. The people would beg the judge to reopen the door, but it would be too late. The unbelieving Jews of Jesus’ generation will weep and gnash their teeth on that day, because they will behold Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but be themselves cast out (vv. 24–28).

On the other hand, said Jesus, “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God” (v. 29). The Gospel will be gladly received by the Gentiles.

Then Jesus said that many who are last will be first, many who are first will be last. There will be some surprises in heaven. Some will enter the kingdom with only their salvation, while others will be given great rewards because of their faithfulness. Remember, though, that God’s rewards will be according to His perfect wisdom and righteousness. Regardless of what reward we receive in heaven, we will rejoice at the rewards all the other people receive. There will be no envy.

In this world, we cater to the big givers and the big doers, forgetting that much is required from those to whom much has been given. These people may be doing no more than is expected of them, while someone who gives or does only a little, may be doing far more than is required. When God judges us, it will be those who were the most sacrificial who will receive the greatest rewards.

Thus, some of those who are greatly honored on earth may not be among the greatest in heaven, while there will be many who are highly honored in heaven who were completely unknown here on earth.


Psalms 88–89

Romans 10


Psalms 90–95

Romans 11

In certain kinds of services God desires us to give of ourselves secretly. However, in our egocentric society, many personally herald their own good deeds. Ask God to give you a commitment to pray for a contentment to work with those who toil for the Lord behind the scenes, the “hidden heroes.”

For further study: Matthew 8:5–13; tape #B57INT.62/63