Who’s at the door?

Jesus isn’t knocking at the door; He left the door open, for heaven’s sake!

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

Poor Jesus. Won't someone let him in?

Poor Jesus. Won’t someone let him in?

As a child growing up in a fundamental, evangelical church, attending my share of summer, fall and winter camps and the resulting gospel message, this verse was probably the second most widely used verse in the scriptures, right behind John 3:16. This verse came up usually somewhere during the actual invitation to become a Christian. Jesus was standing outside the door of your heart right now waiting to get in. Can’t you hear Him knocking? Won’t you let Him in?

Indeed, this verse may be the source of the common evangelical-speak, “Have you accepted Jesus into your heart as your personal Savior?” – a phrase, by the way, that has no founding in scripture except maybe for this verse. It’s amazing how some of these phrases become equal to the word of God.

Recently, it has come to my attention that using this verse as a source of an individual personal relationship with Christ is not necessarily what was intended. The context is not salvation, it is about revitalizing the church. It is part of a prophetic message given in Revelation to seven churches in the end times. This particular church, named Laodicea, is going through the motions of being a church, but is “lukewarm” in it’s passion for Christ (“neither hot nor cold”). The indictment against it is strong: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” And the solution is direct: “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” (Rev 3:17-19)

This is what backs us up to the former verse, “Behold I stand at the door and knock…” The picture leaves no doubt. Here is a church trying to be church, and Jesus isn’t even in the building! They left Him outside! This is not about individuals being saved, it’s about a church full of hypocrites – a church without Jesus. Kind of hard to do, but quite possible in a time of affluence as we have now in America. So the invitation to open the door is to let Jesus into the center of what is rightfully His. Accept His discipline. Accept the truth about yourselves (you aren’t what you think you are) and get back to the Lord’s supper, where we all have fellowship over the forgiveness of our sins and Jesus is in our midst and we’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next.

And as far as the open door of salvation is concerned: that door’s already open. Jesus left it open. We can walk right in to where He is and He can walk right in to our hearts.

This makes a lot more sense, don’t you think? Besides, I always felt kind of sorry for poor Jesus out there in the cold waiting for someone to open the door. It always made Him seem so helpless. I don’t think so.

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12 Responses to Who’s at the door?

  1. Reblogged this on Ace News Services 2014 and commented:
    #ANS2014

  2. Richard M Nixon (Deceased) says:

    Reblogged this on Dead Citizen's Rights Society.

  3. John, You certainly know how to open a can of worms! 🙂

    First of all, in Middle Eastern countries, people don’t knock, they call. Just as in many Hispanic countries today, houses are surrounded by walls, so it is in Middle Eastern countries. When Peter was let out of prison by the angel in Acts 12, and stood outside the house where people were praying for him until Rhoda let him in, he wasn’t knocking, he was calling, because he was outside a gate.

    Second, all our phrases in Christianity, and in life in general, are not direct quotes from Scripture; but that doesn’t make them any less true. I challenge you to find Scriptural references to the word “Trinity” or to any of the sundry phrases in our theology that contain the word Trinity. You can’t, because it is an idea that exists because of a compilation of Scripture, not from any single verse. So, where is Jesus before someone is born again? Certainly not inside a person’s heart. Scripture does talk about our heart being a home, and that if we obey Jesus, He and the Father will come and make their home with us. That’s John 14, and that is a Scripture that is talking about salvation.

    Obviously, a home is going to have a door or a gate. A good guest, or even a good bride-groom, doesn’t barge in. They wait to be asked. And while they wait, they knock or call to let the person know they’re there. That doesn’t seem strange to me. What does seem strange is if someone left their door open as if they had been born in a barn. (Which, of course, Jesus could admit to. 🙂 )

    Obviously, you’ve been reading Revelation lately, so you’re hyped on it. But don’t throw out all other Scripture that deals with aspects of Christian life different from those you are presently studying. And don’t throw out artwork that has inspired millions through the years in their walk with Christ. Your theology and your way of doing things isn’t the only way, is it? Jesus is the only way, and He reveals Himself in different ways to different people.

    There are so many concepts in our culture that relate to God, and all of them are imperfect. Can we really afford to take pot shots at those we don’t like today, but may like again tomorrow, like a child in a shooting gallery who decides she doesn’t like the red ducks, so those are the ones she concentrates on? But tomorrow she will decide she doesn’t like the blue ones. Our God is big enough to enfold many concepts and many denominations. Scripture is our authority for truth and practice, not for our prejudices, and not so we can shoot each others’ beliefs down. God is the God of acceptance, not rejection. You know?

    • jwfisch says:

      Perhaps I didn’t make my main point clear enough, that this was spoken to a church not to an individual and the picture it was meant to convey is that they left Jesus outside their activity and they needed to welcome Him back in.

    • bobbobs60 says:

      Geez, Waitsel, who put the burr up your butt??
      I did not perceive John as espousing any particular prejudices or beliefs over others.
      If anything, his views were – and are always meant – to stir up thought and inspire dialogue.
      Granted, you’re responding as I think John – and Jesus – ‘might’ have desired (“…as iron sharpens iron…”) but aren’t you, yourself, equally as guilty by accusing John of the very “concepts” you’re assailing in your last couple of paragraphs?
      As far as I can tell, John has always been willing to admit his shortcomings, misinterpretations, and imperfections right there in front of all of us which, to me, shows both his genuine humility and honest desire to seek Truth and Understanding.
      While you may be well-knowledgeable in Scripture and history, you also may need some additional lessons in tact and engagement if you’re going to be a reflection and pleasant aroma of our Lord…

      • Mark S says:

        Sorry to “say” this to you Waitsel I have to fully agree w/ what bobbobs60 wrote to you. If I may please suggest to you my Catch friend Waitsel to consider opening your mind a bit and educate yourself more by thinking about reading Dale Carnegie great people skills book: “How To Win Friends & Influence People”

  4. Mark Seguin says:

    To answer this: “This makes a lot more sense, don’t you think?” Yes I do..!

  5. Hans says:

    Jesus told this church to “repent” and, of course, as far as salvation is concerned, tells sinners everywhere to “repent” as well.

    Nothing like some good old repentance to open the door of a sinner’s heart (i.e. his spiritual eyes and ears) to the realities from heaven.

    I’ve always liked this verse, because it’s so simple and clear:

    ” Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:25-26)

    Hans

  6. Mark Ziemer says:

    John, may we use “Who’s Knocking at the door?” in our church February newsletter? This names the issue we are seeking to address 1) to open our congregation to Jesus since we are too often caught up in all our doing to notice Him missing, and 2) to clarify our personal response – it’s not my act in letting Jesus in since He’s always been there; it’s learning to love & serve as He does to us!

    • jwfisch says:

      Absolutely! Hope it didn’t take me too long to see this request.

      • Mark Ziemer says:

        Thank you John! I am a fervent “Luther-an” as in salvation/life/Bible/church/faith is all about God’s grace first, last, always! Because of that I deeply treasure your “Catch” and am eager to inspire others to sign up – and support! THANKS!

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