Sunday, July 24, 2016

I stand at the door and knock: But on who's door? The lesson of Laodicea.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the doorI will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

The music is playing. People's heads are bowed and eyes closed. Many are already praying for themselves and for others. The preacher says:

"These altars are open." He pauses, then continues, "Jesus said, I stand at the door and knock. If any man will open the door, I will come in to him." Another pause. "Don't you want to dine with Jesus? Don't you want him to come in?" 

All the while the singers softly sing," Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling. Calling Oh Sinner, come home." 

The implication is clear to everyone listening. Jesus would only be knocking on the door of a sinners heart. Real Christians don't have to worry about it cause he's already there.

I'm all for using scripture to try and convince people to come to Jesus. But, the scriptures MUST be used in the context in which they were written. 

Let's look at that section of scripture in it's totality.

Revelation 3:14-21King James Version (KJV)

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
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.
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.
Was this section written to people who have never known God? NO!!!
This section was written to THE CHURCH!!!
Read it. If ever a section of scripture applied to the modern church this is it. 
Church used to be all about Jesus. It was all about accomplishing his great commission. It was all about showing kindness and love to others. It was all about giving to others and helping others. 
In times past, people in need could go to a church and the ministry there (both the leaders and the members) would reach out with the love of God and lend a helping hand. This show of love would draw the person (or persons) to come and "give church a try." 
Once there, they would visibly see and hear the love of God in action towards each other in the church. The love was genuine. It wasn't an act. They saw the hands of Jesus vividly on display before their very eyes. 
This would solidify in their minds that they wanted to be like that. In trying to find out how to be like that, they were open to Compassionate Bible studies that lovingly showed them the truth. The truth that all were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. The truth that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins." The truth that God himself became a man and shed his own blood to redeem a lost and dying world. The truth that we all need to be born again for 2 reasons: 1) to wash our sins away. 2) to begin the journey to become like Jesus by letting Jesus live through us. The truth that once you're born again (Acts 2:38), you are a child of God and enabled to show his love and be his hands and feet to others. And you wanted to, because you wanted to be the helper for others that your fellow church folk were to you. They showed you Jesus in real and palpable ways. Now, you wanted to do the same. 
That's how it used to be. 
But, Jesus told the Apostles that in the end times "the love of many shall wax cold." (Matthew 24) 
As a new born child of God, I (and the church in general) used this scripture to talk about the state of "the world." The great unwashed and unregenerate mass of people out there that were in dire need of saving. 
Little did we know that Jesus was also (and primarily?) referring to the church. 
The church now tends to look down it's noses at the unwashed masses. If someone comes to the church that's in need, they are looked upon with skepticism, and sometimes even open hostility. If they happen to receive help, and then return to the church thinking that they may actually have found a group of caring people to possibly belong to, they are told in no uncertain terms (and sometimes from the pulpit), that if they came back because they received help from the church, they should not look for more in the future.
 The message they receive quickly becomes that the church only wants people who can help the church do what it wants. The church is not interested in those who will be "a burden" on the church. 
All the while, Jesus is crying. He came to churches door and knocked. And the church is leaving him outside the very same doors. 
The church has grown lukewarm. It revels in it's riches and finery (calling gain-unbiblically- godliness). It builds ever bigger and more immaculate sanctuaries. It becomes state of the art with all the latest tech gizmo's and gadgets. The leadership are all dressed in fine clothing,drive nice vehicles,and live in fine houses. 
But, the people they are called to serve and be the hand of Jesus to are left unserved and unwashed in his blood. 
The modern church, for all it's fancy finery, is a shell of what the Bible teaches. 
Real relationship is replaced by religious activity. 
Real help is replaced by pious prayers and government programs. 
Real brotherhood is replaced by "fellowship breakfasts" and fishing trips. 
No one aches for the lost. No one agonizes over the hurting brethren. In fact, testimonies of God's goodness are limited to comfortable subjects. Former drug addicts aren't allowed to tell where God brought them from. The testimony could get too messy and long.
Services are limited to a certain time period because we all have to get to the buffet before the church down the road does. 
Almost nobody has dinner on the grounds anymore, and if they do, they charge people a fee to partake of the very food the people brought to. Why? To help with "the building fund."
People are asked to give sacrificially to help fix the bathroom (even though there's nothing wrong with the bathroom) up to be as nice as the bishop's bathroom in his church. Give to build a game room for the youth. But, no one is asked to give to help a needy family in the area- or even in the church. 
The church truly has become, as predicted in Revelations 3, wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. 
 JESUS is calling on the modern church to REPENT!!!!!
Become zealous for the love of God again. Become zealous to see a lost and dying world again. Let Jesus work through you again, before it's too late!!!!
Church, the door Jesus is knocking on is yours. Will you open it again? Will you allow him to cleanse and change you into what he has called you to be? 
Or will you hold on to your pride and position, your fine things and your religion? And will you follow these attitudes to a fiery lake- just like the other pharisees before you? 
Repent church! Before it's too late. 
Doctrine is important. Holiness is necessary. But, Jesus didn't say that the world would know us by our doctrines or by what we call holiness. 
Jesus said they would know us by our agape': our unconditional love for each other and for them. 
Let's get back to that! 
For too long we have believed that the way to catch the fish we are supposed to be fishing for is through the hook of doctrine. Either that, or by our separate ways of dress, etc. 
But, those things are not the hook he gave us to fish with. The hook he's given us to fish with is love. And when they feel the love of God coming through us in our words and deeds, then they will ask questions and can be shown doctrine. Because only then will they want what we have.