Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20 NLT
What a word picture, Jesus standing at the door of the church knocking! So many times, this passage of scripture has been used by preachers as an invitation for the unbeliever to come to salvation. While it can be used as an appeal to the heart of man, the context of this scripture is to the church. This word picture is so emotional to me because it is loving and graceful, yet sad and sobering. What love it takes to patiently beckon the church to open its doors for the One who is it's Lord! What disgrace and disgust for Him to be on the outside having to request entry. Jesus could open the door and walk right in because He's the owner. Instead, He, in His kindness, allows us (like tenants) to willfully open the door and invite Him in. He could kick down the door, because He has the power, but He is gracious and merciful. He could toss us out into the street and be found righteous for doing so, but He grants us space to repent. Interestingly, if you have ever seen, or if you have, the picture of Jesus standing at the door knocking, there is something you ought to pay attention to. There is no door knob on the outside. We must let Him in from the inside. Like tenants that damage the home, don't pay the rent, and have no respect for the owner and His property, we occupy the church and take advantage of the owners kindness. We aren't supposed to be tenants. We are supposed to be His children. Sadly, however, many, within the church, are tenants and not children. To be a child, there must be a birthing process - "born again". Just because we sit on the premises, claim the promises, and play the part, doesn't make us His children. We must be born again!!! Like Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, we are local churches, geographically positioned all over the land. We each have our own characteristics and Jesus has something to say to all of us. Is He standing outside, knocking on our door, waiting for the invitation to come in to the place where He should already reign? Have we found ourselves so engrossed in our own tradition and culture that we have completely lost the very presence of the One who died and rose again? Do we need to ask Jesus to come in, reconcile our hearts to Him, and commune with us? From the time He ate His last supper with His disciples (see Matthew 26:17-30) until He serves the saints at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (see Revelation 19: 5-9), He has commissioned His church to carry the gospel to the world. In many of our churches we don't hardly carry it out the door. In reality, many churches, in the world today, don't even proclaim it in the pulpit anymore. Yes, we call ourselves churches. Yes, we have the religious rhetoric, jargon, and lingo. Yes, we have the social programs. The real question is this: Where is the presence of God that once brought conviction, correction, and consecration? The Master of the church is Jesus! He stands at our church doors, knocking and waiting. Let's invite Him in and give Him His church back. We have hi-jacked it long enough. Pray this prayer with me: Father, in Jesus name, I give myself to you! I want to re-affirm my salvation. Search my heart and know my thoughts. See if there is any wickedness in me and purge me with Your blood. May I know, with certainty, that I am Your child. Forgive me for making the church anything other than what You want it to be. I give myself to you and invite you to dine with me. Help me be the part of Your church that You have called me to be. Help me hear the voice of Your Holy Spirit. Help us to be Your church in this world, at this time, and in this place. In the name of the matchless Lord of the Church, Jesus, we pray! Amen!
Rev. Curtis Norris