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. Revelation 3:20
Revival hinges on God's awakening his own people. It is they who have fallen into unbelief, who have mixed themselves with the world. "Ephraim mixes himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned" (Hosea 7:8). The church has, in essence, lost sight of their raison d'être, their very reason for existence, their purpose. When this happens they retreat into any number of lesser aberrations, none of which truth supports or the Spirit embraces.
Most often used to share the gospel with the lost, this verse is intended for the church. Jesus is pictured standing outside knocking in order to gain entrance . . . into his own church! How can that be?
Other questions arise: 1) Is this really the Church? 2) Is Jesus outside the Church, or something else? 3) Why knock?
1. Is This the Church?
Laodicea, where this occurs, was a church. Revelation 3:14 says so. A negative pattern had taken over this group of believers. A first-century sort of materialism had hi-jacked their hearts rendering them spiritually comatose, unresponsive to her very Savior! Because mammon had their hearts, Jesus couldn't. You can't serve both (Luke 16:13). Remember? Sounds so much like the American church that for years we have heard and preached this text precisely with that in mind.
2. Is Jesus Standing Outside the Church or Something Else?
Well, he's standing at the door. But it would seem that it is actually the Church's heart from which Jesus is excluded. And it is in the heart of the believer that communion with God takes place. When the body of believers gathers in Jesus' name, then their hearts collectively welcome Jesus to the table for loving fellowship. But where other things impose themselves into our hearts, little concern is given to the person of Jesus. His place is relegated to a banner over our doorway reminding us (when we look at it) that Jesus in fact did die for our sins and save us. Memorials aside, we simply get on with life on our own it seems . . . life without Jesus. And few today have caught on to what they have done!
3. Why Does Jesus Have to Knock?
Isn't he the very Life of the Church? Irrespective of their attitude toward him, isn't Jesus still the lifeblood of his body? Well, . . . yes. He is. So, why knock? One argument would be that Jesus (like I once read of the Holy Spirit) is very much a "gentleman" and doesn't barge in on his own unbidden. The ESV Study Bible suggests that Jesus knocks as a master at his own house, expecting his servants to jump up and let him in. Perhaps so. But they are not being very servant like at this point. May I suggest that the act of knocking requires several things: 1) that we be alert to hear Jesus when he does knock. 2) Sitting down in loving communion with your servants is not best preceded by pounding on the door and demanding to be let in. And 3) knocking forces contrition. True believers may feel that lump in their throats, that knot in their stomachs, that guilt for not having realized sooner that Jesus wasn't even in the room!
If this means anything to you, please let it mean that 1) you'll repent of your own hardheartedness, and 2) that you'll commit yourself to praying that Jesus will knock on churches all across this nation. Only as the Body of Christ yearns for communion with Jesus will they be in a position to cry out for more God-exposure, more light, more repentance, and more salvation.
Will you join me in this cry for revival?