Agonizomai: Rev 3:20-22 - Laodicea the Materialistic Church<br>Christ Excluded from His Own Church?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rev 3:20-22 - Laodicea the Materialistic Church
Christ Excluded from His Own Church?

Rev 3:20-22 - Christ Excluded from His Own Church?

Rev 3:20-22 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. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

This verse, and the ninth verse of second Peter chapter 3 {2Pe 3:9} are arguably the most misused verses in the New Testament. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock" has become an evangelistic favourite, parlayed to almost every person to whom a witness is given. It is a standard exhortation given to those who come forward at crusades - to many who hear the gospel and are asked to "make a commitment to Christ".

But to whom is it addressed here? Is it to unbelievers or to professing believers? It is to professing believers. It is first and foremost an indictment to the Laodicean Church that the Saviour that they profess to love, and Whom they claim is living in them by the Spirit is actually on the outside, knocking to be let in. But they are so complacent, so self-satisfied, so sure that their religiosity is spirituality that they aren’t listening.

There may yet be in this church a remnant (for God has a remnant that He chose before the foundation of the world) and that remnant will be the ones, if any, who actually hear the knock and let Him in. They will repent of tolerating unwatchfulness in others and committing it themselves. They will repent of falling into the sin of self and of silently watching others do the same. They will repent of worldliness and compromise and of bringing it into the church and calling it godliness. And this repentance they will come to by the grace of the God Who both calls them to it and grants it to them.

Who will sit with Christ on His throne? Who will sit with Him at the wedding feast of the Lamb? Who will eat his flesh and drink His blood but those whom He came to save, being the same as those whom He actually justifies, sanctifies and glorifies? Who will conquer but those with the genuine saving faith that comes from God, and was wrought by Christ? They open the door not because they are smarter or better or more worthy than the others, but because His sheep hear His voice - they know His voice because He is their shepherd. It is not "if anyone wills (of himself) to hear My voice..." but "if anyone (does) hear My voice...." They will be drawn (literally "dragged") by the Father to the Son. {John 6:44}

Is there application for sinners in general? Yes. The same way that there is application through the ages for churches and saints that display the same obediences and errors that the seven churches show. Sin is common to all men. There is nothing new under the sun. The errors that men made in the first century have been made in different garb (but the same errors) down through the centuries to the present day. We don’t need a new "paradigm" to express or to understand what the Bible clearly says about our nature, our tendencies, our struggle to abide in the perfect salvation of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. And we don’t need a redefinition of any of the terms that describe the glories and perfections of God and His sovereign plan of redemption.

So there is a sense in which God, commanding all men everywhere to repent, taking no pleasure in the death of the wicked, calling many (even while choosing few) - there is a sense in which whenever the gospel is preached that Christ is knocking. When the gospel goes forth it is perfectly true that "whosoever will may come". Whosoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. The blood of Christ, the sacrifice is sufficient for all - but it is only efficient for those whom God elected in Christ before the foundation of the world. For no man wills to answer the call of God unless God Himself enables Him. The order of events in salvation is as follows, according to the Ordo Salutis of some in Reformed theology:
The Effectual Call
We can therefore be confident that it is God at work when a saint comes to repentance and faith, and God at work when a saint perseveres to the end. The words of Paul confirm this...
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. {Ro 8:29-30}
It is not that the true saints can sit on their duffs because the have a free ticket to heaven - God forbid! It is that because they are assured of heaven and God’s eternal love for them in Christ, the true saints press toward the mark for the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus, {Php 3:14} relying totally upon His grace and power through faith in Christ. Do the saints conquer? Yes they do. But to Whom belongs the victory and to Whom do all saints bow down, casting their crowns before Him, knowing that it was all of grace? Christ!

This is the final demonstration, the proof if you like, that the nature of Christ has been wrought in us by grace. For, though we have pressed in we take no credit for it and are content to let our Lord and Master reward us as He wills, trusting in His perfect judgment. In a similar way, Christ came not to do His own will, but the will of the Father, and He could do nothing but what He saw the Father doing {John 5:19,30} - said nothing but what He heard the Father saying. {John 8:28,14:10} It is the Father Who glorifies Christ with the glory that He had before the world began. It is the Father Who gives Him a Name which is above every name. {Php 2:5-11} Do you see that parallel - the similarity? We follow the pattern by God’s grace alone, through faith alone and on account of Christ alone.

[Sorry for the rude and abrupt end. Not what you expect from a civilized Englishman, but I'm at the frontier and in the Colonies now]


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