by Mike Ratliff
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 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. (Revelation 3:19-20 ESV)
The “visible church” is without a doubt Laodicean, that is, lukewarm or χλιαρός or chliaros, as we saw in yesterday’s post Laodiceans. We saw that that means the vast majority of our local churches are comprised of a mixture of those who are ψυχρός or psuchros, which the ESV translates as “cold,” and those who are ζεστός or zestos, which the ESV translates as “hot.” We saw that that meant apostasy was predominate because unbelievers were allowed to be part of local churches professing to be believers even though they obviously showed no evidence of being ζεστός or fervent in their faith. My own experience in this is that the real believers in these churches are in the minority. This will vary of course from church to church. One of the first and most prolific red flags that is a warning of Christian disingenuousness is whether a church or a believer is focused in their walk and their ministries on God and His glory where it should be or whether that focus is upside down or backward in that the focus is on people or self rather than God. If everything is focused on the person or the people in what is preached, taught, and what the “worship style” is (whatever that means) then what you have is man-centered religiosity and that is a clear marker of disingenuousness.
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 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. 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. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:14-22 ESV)
This is a very solid rebuke my brethren. This church is being called out by our Lord. Their apostasy, which is just like what we see today, is so bad that it makes our Lord want to vomit. However, even to these people he offers mercy. Here is v20 from the above passage:
“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.”
Here is v20 from the Greek New Testament:
“ἰδοὺ ἕστηκα ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν καὶ κρούω· ἐάν τις ἀκούσῃ τῆς φωνῆς μου καὶ ἀνοίξῃ τὴν θύραν, εἰσελεύσομαι πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ δειπνήσω μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ καὶ αὐτὸς μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ.”
Here is a word-for-word translation of this passage into English:
“Look I have stood at the door and I knock; if some might hear the sound of me and might open the door, also I will go in to him and I will dine with him and himself with me.”
The phrase “I will dine” is the Greek verb δειπνήσω the singular, future tense form of δειπνέω or deipneō, which refers to eating or having supper. Notice my brethren where our Lord is to the Laodiceans. He is outside not inside their church. A God-centered church would be Christ-centered and He would not be outside knocking to be let in. However, Laodiceans are man-centered. They are apostates. They have thrust the Lord out of that which belongs to Him.
What happens to those who “might hear the sound of Christ and might open the door?” Christ will go in to them and He δειπνήσω with them. What exactly does this mean? Meals were an intimate affair in the ancient world. When guests were present they became very special events which were held in his honor. In the Roman world this meal was set up as a triclinium. This was an arrangement of three tables set around a square, with access to the middle gained through the open side of the square so that servants could come and go to bring in food and to take away the left-overs. Couches were arranged on the outside of the three tables, close to one another, so that the guest could recline to eat. The guest was given a cushion and lay on his left arm with his head towards the table, leaving his right arm free to take what he wished. This made it possible for servants to rinse the feet while the guests continued to banquet. Jesus was therefore probably using a couch at a triclinium when his feet were washed in the following passage.
One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50 ESV)
Now my brethren, the point of this is to examine our hearts. Are we really living and walking as Christians who sup or eat with the Lord daily as our honored guest or is He pushed outside as we focus on self? What about our ministries. Are we trying to be popular by tickling the ears of people and being man-pleasers and creating seeker-sensitive Laodicean systems that only focus on people rather than God and His glory? Examine yourselves my brethren. Is the Lord being honored in your own walk and ministry and church or is He standing outside asking to come in to what is rightfully His?
Soli Deo Gloria!