By Arch Hoercher
We are going to look at a popular scripture which is used often as an evangelistic message. That scripture is Revelation 3:20 (NIV): “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” First I want to acknowledge that this scripture works well with a personal salvation message, but the context of the scripture as it stands has a different meaning. Looking at scripture in context is very important.
This scripture refers to the church in Laodicea. If one would go back to verse 14 and read through 22, one would have the total picture of the context of this scripture. This is a warning to the church of Laodicea. It is a wealthy church. It lacks nothing. What is sad is that this church also lacks Jesus’ presence. This church is self-sufficient. Jesus’ name is used in the church, but there is no power present of the Holy Spirit. The problem is that there are many churches just like this one in the world today. They know who Jesus is, but He does not occupy the church or its members. The church of Laodicea is an example of a church where the members are unsaved. It is a church that promotes health and wealth, but not conviction of sin and repentance.
Jesus in verse 20 is knocking at the door of the church of Laodicea. Is there anyone in this church that will hear his voice and open the door? The invitation is, first of all, a personal one. Salvation is an individual decision. But He is knocking on the door of the church, calling the many to saving faith, so that He may enter the church. If one person opened the door by repentance and faith, Christ would enter that church through that individual. The implication here is that there were no believers there at all.
One thing needs to be understood. Jesus is not pleading or badgering anyone to enter the kingdom of heaven. He is not at the door of an unbeliever’s heart banging on it until that person opens the door. Just as in the story of the prodigal son, the Father did not go out from His home to search and plead for His son to come back home. The son made the decision on his own to return home, to repent and ask forgiveness of the Father. The Father ran to him when He saw His son a long way off. Once an individual makes the decision to repent and accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior, God will come running to him because of His great love.
Ephesians 2:1-9 reads: “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Amen!
To revisit Revelation 3:20, Jesus is at the door of the church of Laodicea knocking to see if anyone will hear His voice and let Him. But again, salvation is an individual decision. So let us look at the rest of this verse. As an individual when you accept Jesus Christ and let Him into your heart things happen. He comes into your life, not just to visit, but to live. He takes up residence. If you look at a portion of Revelation 3:20 that speaks of Jesus dining with you and you with Him, it is of great significance. In ancient times when someone would dine with another person it symbolized the union of people in loving fellowship. When Jesus is dining with you it is at your home. When you dine with Him, it is at His home. Your home has now become His home. He writes His name (in His blood) next to yours on the deed to the home. He takes that deed to the courthouse of Heaven and files it in the Lambs Book of Life. Once filed there is no power in the earth or on the earth or above the earth or under the earth that could ever tear or blot out your deed. And guess what else, you receive an engraved personal invitation to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
It even gets better. John 1:10-12 (NLT): “He came into the very world He created, but the world did not recognize Him. He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.” Do you remember a song made popular by Bob Dylan many years ago – “Knock, knock, knocking on Heavens door”? Guess what, when you get to the “door” of heaven you have no reason to knock because you are a child of God and can walk right on in. After all, it is your home.