Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jesus Knocking on the Door

One Year Bible
New Testament passage for Wed., Dec. 12, 2012: Revelation 3:7-22

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)

One of the most effective tools of evangelism for many decades has been the picture of Jesus knocking on the door. I remember from my youth, evangelists knocking on their wooden pulpits in imitation of Jesus seeking to come into our hearts. It was a powerful way to bring a revival service to a dramatic invitation to receive Christ as Savior. Also, in personal evangelism, after carrying someone down the "Roman road"*, you could slip over to Revelation 3:20. That was the closer. "Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart. Won't you let Him in?"

Revelation 3:20 speaks to Jesus' desire to pay us a visit - to enjoy an evening of fellowship - to have a meal with us. The evangelistic implications are clear in this picture.  But, surprisingly, evangelism is not the primary message in this passage. This is a message to the church!  In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Jesus writes letters to seven CHURCHES.  Yes, Jesus does desire to save the unregenerate sinner, but in this passage He's trying to get INTO THE CHURCH!

Amazing! This church that Jesus built and that bears His Name - and He is shut out!  He's on the outside. Jesus should be the life, the focus, the center of the church - but instead this church is Christ-less. A flood of questions arise around this fact. How could such a thing happen?  How can a church lose its Lord?  If Jesus was no longer present in this church, who were they worshipping?  Were they even worshipping at all, or just going through the motions?  Are there churches today that have lost the presence of Jesus - and what should they do?

I will not try to address all the questions and implications here.  That must be left for another day.  I will make one final observation. The condition that set up or accompanied the absence of Jesus was that this church was "neither hot nor cold" (vs. 15).  They were lukewarm in their relationship to God. They were INDIFFERENT.

Perhaps the greatest show of disrespect is DISINTEREST and INDIFFERENCE.  The images of "hot or cold" here speak to the contrast to environment. I think Jesus wants us to live by strong CONVICTIONS. Either be FOR Him orAGAINST Him, but don't IGNORE Him!  The greatest insult is to disregard and ignore. I by no means would say that it is a good idea to fight against God, but perhaps such a person is "closer to the Kingdom of God" than the one who simply doesn't care.

The lukewarm church never noticed that Jesus wasn't there any more. In response to this, let me call us all to place Jesus once again in His rightful place - at the center.  Do this personally, and for your church - your local congregation. You can do this today. Jesus says, "If ANYONE" in the church hears His voice and opens the door, He will come in.  You can be a part of the great re-entry of Jesus Christ to His people - His church. We pray the simple prayer, "Jesus, we believe You love us and are knocking on the door.  Forgive us for excluding You and shoving you outside. Please come into Your church and into our hearts. We want to no longer be lukewarm, but on fire with love for You.  Thank You for doing this. Amen."

* The "Roman Road" is an evangelistic method using three passages from the Book of Romans. Those passages are Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, and Romans 10:9-10. As I mentioned, Revelation 3:20 flows naturally from the thoughts embodied in the Romans verses.

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