Knock, Knock

This morning I read a very popular passage of scripture, and learning something completely new to me.

“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 him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

This is a verse that is often used in “alter calls” and evangelism tracts. However, this morning was the first time that I realized its context. The verse comes from the letter to the church in Laodicea, which is best known as the place where Christ, speaking through John, calls the church neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. So, the meaning of the verse has nothing to do with non-Christians; it is instead a plea to lukewarm Christians. The verse that comes before Rev. 3:20, gets even more to the heart of why Christ is knocking at the door of their heart.

“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.” Revelation 3:19

Christ is using strong cautionary language to Christians who are becoming irrelevant, stale, and useless. He is at the door of their heart to use a loving rebuke and firm discipline to shake them up and bring them to repentance. What sins did these Laodicean Christians have stored up in their heart that they were keeping locked away? This morning as I realized the true meaning of this passage, I asked myself the same question. Then I told Jesus that I am opening the door of my heart to allow him to root out any sins that I had tucked away in the deepest places. I told him to extend his lordship into every part of my being. I invited him to come in and eat with me, returning to the table of his body and blood, the feast of the Bread of Life, the Living water.
“Lukewarm” has been used a weapon to deride many different styles of worship. All throughout the history of the church, people on various ends of the stylistic spectrum of worship have lobbed the “lukewarm” hand grenade at each other. But, It has most often been used to accuse people who attend worship like it was TV, staring glazy-eyed like a coach potato making no effort to engage their heart. However, even the most active and enthusiastic worshiper might have a lukewarm heart if they are squirreling away some secret sin or idol for which they have not yet relinquished lordship to Christ.
I encourage you to stop sometime this weekend and meditate on the letter to the church in Laodicea found in Revelation 3:14-22.

  1. #1 by Phil Lohr on June 18, 2006 - 10:26 pm

    Sorry, this isn’t a comment on “knock, knock”, but on your song “Before I knew what freedom was”. We sang it this morning at New City Chattanooga. I think I’ve heard it at least once before. Anyway, I like it a lot– good theology and good tune. Keep up the good work, and to the God be the glory.

  2. #2 by Tanya on June 20, 2006 - 9:19 pm

    Thank you for this post. I appreciate your insight. I often feel like the verse is used out of context for new christian alter calls but it has called many to Jesus so praise the Lord! Thank you for the encouragement to spend time reflecting. I have been at both ends of the lukewarm spectrum but thankfully Jesus continues to draw my heart back to him in genunine worship. What an awesome God we serve!

  3. #3 by Dad M on June 21, 2006 - 6:12 am

    Great points. The verse is often misused not only by making it Jesus’ appeal to unbelievers, but to convey the idea that he has no sovereignty (there’s no door knob on the outside some say). Instead it’s His Lordship over the believer he’s pursuing – “despite your great needs and lukewarm attitude I want to come in fellowship and meet those needs.” The picture of this Jesus is not the image of paintings that looks like the need is on his side of the door instead of theirs. The picture is in chapter 1, where seeing Jesus, John (his closest friend on earth, falls facedown as though dead. Thanks for this reminder of what it means to open the recesses of our hearts to him.

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