“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 is a very familiar Scripture. One of my earliest memories is sitting in a church service in which a famous picture derived from this verse was being explained. I don’t remember a lot about it anymore, except that it was the usual approach that Christ is standing at the door of the heart of the lost sinner, calling to him to open the door and let the Lord in. One preacher in this vein even went so far as to refer to our Lord as “the Christ of the bloody knuckles.”
Ah, beloved, the Lord God and His Son have more interest in and concern for the salvation of sinners than you or I can even begin to imagine. Look at all they’ve done to bring it about. Salvation isn’t just the thing of a moment, the result of an “oops” on God’s part when our first parents fell. It wasn’t some result of a “hastily called emergency meeting,” as one writer put it. How anyone can even think such a thing of our God is beyond me. There are no “emergencies” with God.
Scripture tells us salvation stretches from eternity past, when it was conceived in the heart, mind, purpose and action of God, through today and the work of the Spirit in regenerating sinners and bringing them to faith in the Lord Jesus, into the boundless eternity of the future in the presence of These who loved us and gave themselves for us. It was the Lord Jesus who died on the Cross, but the others have been or are just as active and have their own part in our salvation.
Christmas, just a few days from now, should remind us of all this.
But that’s not what John is telling us. Our Lord is not talking to sinners, but to His own churches! And since churches are made up of individuals, He’s talking to the individual members of those churches.
It ought to be a staggering thought – that the Lord of the church stands on the outside! Asking for entrance! No wonder John records Him as saying, “Behold”!
This doesn’t mean that the Lord is impotent, or that He “must” wait for us to “take the first step.” It does mean that we are responsible for how we respond to His commands, and His entreaties. Besides, Scripture tells us that He is quite able to open the door Himself, cf. Acts 16:14, which tells of us of Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened…to heed the things spoken by Paul.
And we are responsible to respond. Make no mistake about it. Some have taken the sovereignty of God to such an extreme that they almost make men puppets or robots. Or take them out of the picture altogether. They’re like those who responded to William Carey, “the father of modern missions,” who felt a call and desire to go to India. In effect, he was told, “Young man, if God wants to save the heathen, He can do it without you.” Others go to the other extreme and make God little more than a humble supplicant at the throne of man’s will.
We’re not sticks or stones. And we don’t just run on instinct, as much of the animal world seems to. We’re creatures with intellect, emotions and will. We’re able to think, to feel, and to do. The fact that these faculties have all been corrupted by the Fall of Adam doesn’t make us any less responsible to use them, or for how we use them.
The Lord’s talking to them.
I wonder how many in their church services really look to see if the Lord is with them, or if He’s on the outside. Or if they assume that just because they’re there, then so is He. And Baptists tend to be as bad at this as those “formal” churches they differ with. After all, their “order of services” is pretty much as “set” as any routine in any liturgical church.
But He’s not talking just to individuals in churches.
There’s so much application here.
He’s talking to churches, yes.
But I think He might also be talking to –
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock….”