I Stand At The Door And Knock

“ ‘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 3:15–22, ESV)

The “I stand at the door and knock” phrase is frequently directed at the unsaved as an invitation to be saved. But notice that the door Jesus is standing outside of is the door of the church. Why is He outside?

Will we argue that this is just the church of Laodicea, and doesn’t relate to today’s church? It relates if we do the same things. If we act like Laodicea, then we ARE Laodicea. Can anyone deny that our works are lukewarm? Can anyone deny that the huge buildings, the expensive cars and designer clothing, and the lush interiors of our homes and meeting places fairly scream “I am rich, I have prospered, I need nothing?” Compare the modern church to the church right after Peter unleashes the Word of God in his first powerful public sermon.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42–47, ESV)

It is the church that needs to answer the door and invite Jesus back in. It is the church that is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. It is the church that has locked out His Word, His Law, His ways and statutes and commands. We reject the hot and yet are not fully cold. The words of Jesus are rejected, and as His words go so goes He.

The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12:48–50, ESV)

Therefore be zealous and repent. Buy gold from Him 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.

Shalom
Bruce

Why Do We Follow The Law?

Easy answer. We follow the Law because we love God. Love and Law go together like mountains and valleys. Jesus says it this way.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12, ESV)

Interesting how Jesus equates Law and love, isn’t it? As people move away from the Law, they move away from love. So if we want to get closer to God, we get closer to His Laws. Every tiny little command we follow is loving Him that much more. He loved us first, and we love Him in a small way by doing everything He says.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12, ESV)

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19, ESV)

Some people insist on questioning the Law. They liken it to “slavery,” or “legalism,” or stuff we cannot do. They view God as a sadist because He gives us “laws” that we cannot follow. They don’t see the Law as love, because they do not understand love. Their hard hearts prompt them to resent the Law as burdensome requirements imposed from the outside on the unwilling. They see God as a harsh taskmaster who doesn’t deserve the smallest return on His investment (Matthew 25:24).

But our hearts are flesh, and have the Law written on them by the Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31-34). We delight in every word God speaks, and work at whatever He suggests. We love others in the Body with a similar love, because He first loved us. After all, Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness. He paid the penalty for disobedience to God’s Laws, so we don’t have to worry that if we make a mistake we will be separated from Him again. He is not waiting to hammer us for the smallest misstep. He longs for us to respond to His Words of Life and have life more abundantly. His Word trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives, zealous for good works.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11–14, ESV)

Shalom
Bruce

Where Are The Women Like Abigail?

1 Samuel 25 gives us the story of Nabal and David. David had guarded Nabal’s livestock and sent some men to Nabal to ask for food. Nabal refused to give it to them. Nabal means “fool,” which is apt for this man because he lived up to it. His wife, Abigail (her name means “my father is joy”) had a much different response. The Bible account says that she was “discerning and beautiful.” She loaded up a whole bunch of good food and took it to David, who was on his way to wipe out Nabal’s household. She apologized and asked forgiveness for her husband’s actions. David granted it because of Abigail.

She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. Let not my lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. Now then, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, because the LORD has restrained you from bloodguilt and from saving with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. (1 Samuel 25:24–26, ESV)

Abigail tells her husband what she did the morning after Nabal had a feast. The Bible account says he “became as stone” and died ten days later. Then David asked Abigail to be his wife. The interesting thing is her response.

And she rose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” (1 Samuel 25:41, ESV)

Abigail was not only discerning and beautiful, she was humble. Seven times in this passage she refers to herself as a servant (David also refers to himself as a servant of God). Humility is her strength. She knew what David had done to protect Nabal’s livestock and what a debt they owed to David and his men. But aside from that, according to the Word or Law, people were supposed to help those less fortunate. Israel was supposed to leave grain in the corners of the fields, grapes on the vines, and olives on the branches so that the needy could glean. At the very least Nabal should’ve given that much to David. Abigail not only recognizes that God is with David, she seems to also recognize both the debt and the obligation to provide for the hungry.

Today we have something a little different. We’ve got sluts like Sandra Fluke who not only bang anyone she wants, but also wants the taxpayer to subsidize her birth control so she can do it without concern. We’ve got actresses getting naked onscreen depicting the sex act and going through men like they go through designer gowns. Divorce is rampant, sex is devalued, and abortion no different than going to the bathroom. Instead of going against the “fools” we’ve got such equal opportunity that women have become the fools. Can you imagine a “modern woman” who would respond to a marriage proposal with “your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord?” Even the thought deserves a ROFL.

There are still a few gems here and there. Not all women have bought into the kingdoms of the world. A precious few have remained unsoiled and in humility serve God. Distressingly few. The world has gone Canaanite, but God still has a few that have not bowed the knee to Ba’al. For you there is a crown of life, and blessings pressed down and overflowing. Stand strong, girls. Stay humble. Serve the Lord and your husbands (or future husbands) and the Lord will reward you. Remember Abigail.
Shalom