Behold I stand at the door and knock-
This is a passage used so often for evangelism, but it is not used by the revelator in that way at all. In fact while this verse seems to be such a happy verse, such an offer of pardon, and such a display of mercy, instead it must be seen as one of the saddest passages in all of the scriptures.
Revelation 3:14-22 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot: ‘So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Because you say; “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”
‘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. He who overcomes, I will grant to him sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Behold I stand at the door and knock...
This has to be one of the saddest passages in all of scripture. Back when the Lord led Israel out of Egypt with a great deliverance of power, it was only one short generation later that Israel fell flat on their face and forsook the Lord. We read that account and it breaks our hearts. However that is not near the travesty we see with the Laodicean Church. It was only one short generation after the death and resurrection of our Lord and His deliverance from sin a death that we see this Church falling into a lukewarm state. It is unthinkable that a generation after that amazing outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost the Church would be lukewarm without any zeal. It really is unthinkable, but nonetheless that is the case. We see in Revelation 3:14-19 an explanation of what is happening at Laodicea and an exhortation to buy refined gold. This whole passage up to verse 20 is a total rebuke of the Church in Laodicea, a very brash railing against it. Then we come to the famous words of verse 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 will dine with him, and he with Me.” Why in the world would the Lord have to make this offer to a church? Remember this message is to the CHURCH in Laodicea. This is not an evangelistic verse, this is written to the Church, not to the pagan. This is written to you and to I if we are lukewarm, to our church if it indeed is lukewarm. Behold I stand at the door and knock.
To paraphrase this whole passage: Church, you have your own thing, but I am not in it! Look! I am standing at the door and knocking, if someone lets Me in, I will come in indeed, and I will dine with you and you with Me.
This verse is a rebuke, not an evangelistic outreach verse! He is not standing at the door of a person’s heart lightly knocking and just begging them and patiently waiting for them to let Him in. He is standing at the door of the Church, and pounding, waiting for someone to take Him in, and take Him seriously.
What then is our response? Too often I hear so many people complaining about the lukewarm temperature of the church, and it is possibly a valid complaint, but they do not recognize the call of Revelation 3:20. If the Church is lukewarm then you and I are to blame, not everyone else. IF ANYONE HEARS MY VOICE AND LETS ME IN, THEN I WILL COME IN. The issue may very well be that the whole ‘Church’ around you is lukewarm and surely if that is the case then the Lord is standing at the door of your church and knocking, will you be the one to let Him in? See this verse is not about everyone else, it is about you.
Now for the pragmatic, how do you let Him in? Is your life a life of purity that is a rebuke to the unpure? Are your habits and actions leading toward holiness, and causing discomfort to the unholy. Are you so bathed in prayer and the word that each day you leave your home and enter the world with the power of God upon you? He is Lord, if you want to let Him in, you have to be willing that He take over. Maybe the issue at your church is that you have not opened the door. Maybe the reason the fire of God has not fallen on my church is because I have not opened the door. Behold He stands at the door and knocks, and He is not knocking at an unbeliever’s heart, but He is knocking at your Church door, and waiting for YOU to let Him in.
Those who are living in Christ spend far less time complaining about everyone else, and instead spend their time exhorting, reproving, and rebuking in love. They are honestly active in the conversion of souls, and seeking the lost. They make honest efforts to encourage believers, and spurn them on to higher living, and they gratefully receive reproof and rebuke as well. That is how it is done, not by pointing that big fat ugly finger at everyone and telling them they are lukewarm. You and I are the ones who need to open the door and let in the knocking Jesus.