The Door of Invitation


Peninsula Community Church

Door of Invitation

June 26, 2016

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

In the past few weeks we have looked at the door of hope and the door faith. We found that through Christ the door of sorrow, disappointment, and trouble can be turned into a door of hope. The fact is there is nothing beyond the power of God to bring change. The door of faith taught us what faith is and what faith is not. Through that teaching we learned how we can step forward by faith into the things God has called us.

As I was preparing for this message, the memories of my childhood came rushing to the forefront. First of all, I remember when I grew up our doors were always open. This was in part because we needed circulation in our home as we had no air conditioning. But it was also a means by which we welcomed people into our home. In fact family and friends did not even have to knock they would just shout out to us as they came through the door. We felt safe and we felt that no one would harm us. That has certainly changed in our lifetime. I would guess that most of us never leave our doors open. Today, we are more guarded about who comes into our homes. Most of us have locks and dead bolts on our doors and many of us have an alarm system to protect us from unwanted guests.

I can also remember a day when the fuller brush man, the encyclopedia salesman, and the vacuum salesman would go door to door to push their wares. Today that has also changed. When the door bell rings how many of us answer the door with joy, especially when we look outside  and see an uninvited guest. The result is that we have become guarded, fearful, and isolated. In many cases instead of being welcoming we have instead shut people out of lives. Unfortunately we have done this to Jesus as well. We have become guarded, fearful, and isolated in our Christian experience.

It is interesting that Jesus, when writing to the church of Laodicean, wrote that He was standing at the door and knocking. The church of Laodicean was one of the seven churches of Asia Minor to whom Jesus was writing to encourage and warn them of their spiritual condition. Jesus knew their spiritual condition intimately and He was warning them, they needed to change. We see this in the fact that Jesus pulls no punches in His analysis of this church as He calls them a lukewarm church.

He does this because the Laodicean Church had everything that it needed but it had left God out of the equation. They were trying to do good things but without the One who could make it happen. They had a false sense of who they were. They were going through the motions of Christianity without the power source. They were Christian in name but were not accomplishing much for God. They professed Christ but they trusted their abilities and their riches more than they trusted the one who died for their sin. They had therefore been neutralized in their effectiveness for Christ.

This was such an egregious act that Jesus makes an amazing statement in regard to their lukewarmness. He states that He would rather that they would be hot or cold. He is warning them about towing the line in the middle. He defines this as being lukewarm. He was saying  to them that they not try to play both sides of the fence. He was saying do not be half in and half out. By being lukewarm their effectiveness as believers had been diminished because lukewarm things serve no purpose. Cold water protects and preserves food while hot water is used to cook and prepare food. Lukewarm water does neither. It is ineffective to accomplish anything of value. It is interesting that this illustration of lukewarmness here is not a matter of being a Christian or not. It is a matter of being a believer that is fully committed and dedicated to the cause of Christ.

When we read through the Bible, we find that this idea of choosing is not a new theme of Scripture. Throughout the Bible we find references to believers choosing who and how they will serve the One true God. In the Old Testament, Joshua challenged the children of Israel. In Joshua 24:14-15, in one of his final messages to the nation, Joshua encouraged them to choose who they would serve. His challenge was simple. Choose God or choose Baal but choose one or the other and don’t ride the fence. He was saying, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot claim to serve God and then serve the devil at the same time. The result will be a fruitless life that is filled with a dissatisfaction with God and others.

Jesus also reminds us of this need to choose in Matthew 6:24. He stated that “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” The Laodicean Church had become comfortable with their riches and their abilities when in fact they were wretched, blind, and spiritually poor. They had in fact deceived themselves into believing that they were ok with God. With the Laodicean Church Jesus had a response that might surprise us. He stated that the result of being lukewarm is that He would spit them out of His mouth. He is saying to them their spiritual condition is not tolerable and it is unacceptable.

As Jesus does so often, however, while He reprimands the church about their spiritual condition, He offers a way of renewal and He offers hope. First, Jesus says to buy from Him gold that is refined by fire so that they might be rich in what really matters. Gold represents that which is eternal and that which lasts. Riches will be lost. Success will fail. What we have stored away will become rusted and rotted. For that reason Jesus made this statement about this matter. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21). Their treasure was in themselves and not in the riches of Christ and who He was.

Secondly, Jesus paints a picture of Him standing at the door and knocking. He stands at the door of your heart because He wants to abide with you and not just visit. Before we look at this let me clear up a couple of misinterpretations or misunderstandings of this passage. Too often this verse is interpreted as if Jesus is knocking on the door of the sinner’s heart but that is not who Jesus is concerned with here. He is knocking on the door of the lukewarm believer who is settling for a wishy washy and uncommitted way of life.

Secondly, it has been suggested by some of America’s great pastors that Jesus was not just passively standing at the door but rather He was pounding on the door with a sense of urgency.  He meant business with the church. He loved them enough that He was willing to get serious about their condition and He was unwilling to settle for anything but their best. Jesus was standing at the door of the believers heart to usher in a new day. His desire was to come in and abide with them. In John 15 we are reminded that if we abide in Him, He will abide in us. He in fact desires to live in relationship with us. He desires to reside with us and not just visit us. This is important as we tend to treat visitors differently than we do people who reside with us.

Listen to this statement by Pastor John Piper. Christ did not die to redeem a bride who would keep him on the porch while she watched television in the den. His will for the church is that we open the door, all the doors of our life. He wants to join you in the dining room, spread a meal out for you, and eat with you and talk with you. The opposite of lukewarmness is the fervor you experience when you enjoy a candlelit dinner with Jesus Christ in the innermost room of your heart. And when Jesus Christ, the source of all God’s creation, is dining with you in your heart, then you have all the gold, all the garments, and all the medicine in the world. You have healing and the result is that you are an overcomer through Christ.

Finally, we witness, through this action of Jesus, that no matter how you have lived your life He is standing at the door of your heart and He wants to come in and dine with you. We are reminded that there is nothing that you can do to get Christ to stop loving you. You cannot get Christ to hate you. He loves you and He desires a personal relationship with you.

So how do you buy gold when you’re broke and spiritually drained? We do so by praying, and trusting the promise: ‘I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.’ When He dwells in the innermost room of our affections, He brings us the power to conquer selfishness and live for others.”

So what do we do with this message. We invite Christ to reside in our hearts and not just visit with us. We open the door to our hearts and invite Him in to live with us. Perhaps your relationship with Christ has become stale and so it seems that Christ is distanced from you. Perhaps you have never opened your heart to Christ. Regardless of where you are today if you will open the door of your heart, He will come in and He will dine with you. He will spread a table of riches and nourishment that cannot be gotten by any other means.

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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