We finish our week on praying for personal revival in the last book in the Bible. Revelation 3:20 was a prominent verse in my childhood. It was often quoted by travelling evangelists. They would conclude their message with the image of this verse – Jesus standing at the door of our hearts knocking and asking to come in. All we had to do was open the door and Jesus would enter and we would become his children. That’s an attractive picture and God graciously used it to draw many into his family, but it’s not what this verse is really saying. Jesus is not addressing non-Christians with his appeal to enter and eat but lukewarm Christians. He is speaking to those he loves and disciplines. See for yourself.
SCRIPTURE: REVELATION 3:14-21
To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 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.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Laodicea was the wealthiest city in its region with a burgeoning financial sector, extensive textile industry and famous eye salve. You will find allusions to these aspects of Laodicea in this passage. The main problem for the Christians was that their wealth was making them self-reliant. They could not see their spiritual poverty. They were lukewarm. Sure they spoke of Christ and acknowledged his salvation and worshipped together, but for most of the time they pretty well did what they wanted. And this made God sick.
This church’s problem is probably true of much of the Western church. We have so much materially and so little spiritually. We are lukewarm. But God has not given up on us and he hasn’t given up on you. Jesus stands at the door of your heart and is knocking. He is appealing for you to listen for his voice and let him take over. He wants to bring personal revival to you. He wants to make you spiritually hot.
You can see many of this week’s themes reflected in the passage. The invitation is to deep friendship. Jesus wants to eat with you. To spend time with you. To encourage you. To relax with you. To do life with you. To love you. This is personal revival.
The entry of Jesus requires acknowledgment of our lukewarmness and deep repentance. Revival is not an added dimension to strengthen our spiritual walk but a new passion and friendship with Jesus based on acknowledging our brokenness (“wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, naked”) and turning away from our self-sufficiency.
Jesus is knocking on your heart right now. He wants to share your whole life. He wants to cleanse you of your self-reliance. He wants to “dwell” in you. He wants to reveal the immensity of his love for you. He wants to set you free to be his completely. You can hear him calling. It is time to open the door.
I am hungry for more of your presence Jesus. I have heard you knocking and calling. I am ready to open the door. I confess that I am broken and self-reliant and lukewarm. I desperately want you to fill all my life.
PRAYER FOR REVIVAL
Lord much of the church in our country is lukewarm. We think we are doing okay but we are not. Please forgive us and heal us. Put a new fire in us. Work in fresh power. Please revive us in your grace.