Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Revelation Chapter Three, Part 7 of 7

3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Here is a picture of our Lord standing at the door of His own church and knocking to be allowed entrance. Jesus our Lord isn’t allowed in His own church! This again is a sad indication of the sorry state of Laodicea’s spiritual condition. They have their Lord outside of the church, and the world within! I heard a song one time that sang about the believer having their Savior still up on the cross, while they reigned on the throne. What was needed was to exalt Christ by placing Him on the throne, while we die daily to sin on the cross.

The plea here is for any man. The refrain throughout chapters 2-3 has been “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Christ is pleading with this wanton church to let Him back in for closer fellowship. Notice also how personal this admonition and invitation is; if any man hears the Lord’s voice, to THAT MAN will the Lord come into and sup with him. This indicates a walk of fellowship; it is a feast that man is invited to, and he is invited to feast on the intimate presence of Christ, the bread of life, John 6:35. There is an act of volition involved. We must not only hear the voice of the Lord but go from hearing to faith by opening the door and allowing Him entrance, Romans 10:17.

This is not a verse for evangelizing the lost with. Giving one’s heart to the Lord or letting Jesus in your heart confuses the issue of the gospel and salvation. No; Christ doesn’t say to give our hearts to Him. He tells us that He is come to bring us spiritual life through a rebirth, and that rebirth is affected by faith in the message heard, Romans 1:16; 10:9-10; John 3:15-18. This passage is an invitation to this worldly and carnal church to open up and allow its true Master back in to rule in them once more, and those that do shall sit at table with Christ and feed again on Him. John recorded Jesus’ words about the futility and uselessness a Christian would suffer when detached from such a union of fellowship:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples,” John 15:1-8.

This was a gracious call to restore a relationship broken by a pursuit of what only served to harm, hinder, and hamper genuine spiritual growth. Like the prodigal son leaving the father, the son had to come to himself and recognize his sorry condition before the father was willing to bestow blessing on him again. But to the son’s surprise, the father was already racing out to meet him when news of the errant child had reached him, and that the son wanted to come home and restore a relationship once again, Luke 15:11-32. God “keeps the light on” for his delinquent children, for our God is full of mercy and love. We may receive correction, but we know that when we have grown tired of being wanton toward Christ, He invites us back to sup with Him and be cleansed from our sins, 1st John 1:9.

3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
This final overcomer passage is similar to a previous promise but it is not the same, as we shall see. First, it would be redundant to promise to sit on the throne with our Lord twice, when He is obviously not sparing when telling the churches what awaits those who overcome. Second, the verse I refer to for similarity is Revelation 2:26, which reads, “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.” This is not an invitation to sit on the throne of Jesus Christ; it is plainly an incentive to keep our Lord’s works so that when the thousand years arrives He may endow us with authority over so many cities or nations, Luke 19:15-19.

This final call is the loftier and the more fitting, being addressed to a group of exceedingly carnal Christians whose minds were fixed on the things of the world. Consequently: can a Christian be carnal? Are there “carnal Christians?” Of course! The unsaved can’t be carnal; they are the “natural man.” Only someone saved and still living as the unsaved can be carnal. Carnality relates to wantonness. You must have a relationship with Christ before you can grow wanton toward Him. The carnal Christian is like a straying spouse, seeking pleasures with someone other than their marriage partner. They are saved but unfaithful; a good thing our God IS faithful, 2nd Timothy 2:13! Christ was reminding them that those who overcome would be seated with Jesus on His throne as rulers. As Christ overcame and sat with His Father on the Father’s throne, so too will those who are Christ’s one day sit with their Lord and reign with Him since we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, Revelation 20:4, 6. We even know that angels are servants sent to minister to us as inheritors of salvation, Hebrews 1:14.

That this is not an invitation to sit on Christ’s throne in eternity may be found in 1st Corinthians 15:27-28. God will reign alone and unchallenged in eternity future; to suggest otherwise is to be deceived by the same lie that Satan first told himself (Isaiah 14:13-14), our first parents (Genesis 3:4-5), and has been telling their descendants since. Apparently it is a very good lie, since so many cults (such as Mormonism) believe it hook, line and sinker. Christ did receive glory as a man; and this glory He shared with us, and will share with us, John 17:22. Yet He possesses also the glory of God which was His by divine right before the universe existed, John 17:5. This glory is His alone since it is the unique glory of God; an attribute Father, Son and Holy Spirit share, but man partakes in only to reflect it as a vessel fit to bear such glory; not to own it. We must rightly divide God’s word and think God thoughts after Him. He has clearly told us that His thoughts are not ours; they are infinitely higher, Isaiah 55:8-9.

There is a stipulation adjoined to this passage as well, which is fitting to point out. Those who share Christ’s throne will be those who overcame in the same fashion that Jesus overcame on the earth: humble, faithful obedience. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death,” Revelation 12:11. The blood of the Lamb saves. The word of their testimony gave evidence of their allegiance and where their loyalty resided. Not loving their lives unto death, in this instance, meant that these believers suffered martyrdom rather than forsake Christ. The saints who live sanctified lives in faithful and patient obedience to Jesus Christ in this life shall be those that reign on His throne with Him, and have power over nations; even as Jesus overcame and was given the promise that the nations would be His inheritance, Psalm 2:8. Since we are co-heirs ours shall be a similar allotment if we persevere in the faith until the end. Our Lord’s obedience led Him to the cross. Where will ours lead? And will we permit the Holy Spirit to lead us? These questions will determine whether or not we desire to share the throne with our risen and glorified Lord. All are saved by faith alone in Christ alone plus nothing. Some however will be honored more than others due to their submission to Christ’s Spirit and obedience, Luke 14:7-11.

3 comments:

  1. I've stated several times before that these messages to the churches are custom guides for revival in our churches. As such, this is arguably the most important section of Revelation for the present day church. The future events are more important for those who will see them happening, to understand what is going on.

    This has been a great series. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A sister in the Lord has cancer
    and is very ill
    Can you pray for her?
    Nothing is impossible with God
    and there is power in prayer

    God bless you and your family
    Greetings
    Jan Samuel

    ReplyDelete
  3. Donald: thank you kindly for following along and adding your insights, which I value. I attribute any truth told to my God and Savior.

    Jan: Gillian and I will gladly pray for this sister and for her healing. Thank you for visiting and letting us know.

    ReplyDelete

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