By John Barnett
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Jesus changes His the tone of His Voice as we open to Revelation 3:20. After seven rebukes to the most disobedient church of the seven, Laodicea is hearing something amazing. Jesus makes them an offer that is unbelievable. Jesus invites anyone who wants to spend time with Him, face-to-face, and one-on-one, to join Him for the most refreshing meal of the day: the unhurried evening meal that every laboring person longed for after a hard day’s work; and every rich person looked forward to as the best time of the day.
Jesus inserts Himself into what those living in the 1st Century would consider the best time of their day; and in that time, Jesus Christ offers Himself.
This is one of the truly great invitations from God, in all of God's Word. Jesus here invites anyone who will respond to the incredible event of time with Him. But first, as we consider this invitation, we need to remember some of:
The Great Invitations Of God’s Word
The invitations of God’s Word are all amazing. Many of them are enough to take a lifetime of exploration. Listen to just a few:
The great Gospel call of Isaiah 55:1 (NKJV) “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price."
The verse that Charles Haddon Spurgeon heard and responded to in the invitation, the day he ws saved in Isaiah 45:22 (NKJV) “ Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other."
The great promise of so many in the modern missions movement, from Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV) "‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’"
Perhaps Christ's greatest Gospel call in Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV) "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus makes an offer to anyone searching for truth in John 7:17 (NKJV) "If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority."
Jesus defines the work of salvation in John 7:37-38 (NKJV) "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
Those six are amazing invitations, but as we take the time to unpack the one in our verse today, we will see that it is the greatest of them all. Here in Revelation 3:20 Jesus makes the very greatest of all invitations for us as believers.
Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)" Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
As we look at this invitation, we need to put Revelation 3:20 in context: this verse comes almost at the end of three of the greatest chapters about Jesus Christ in the whole Bible.
If you think for a moment, we have just walked for months through Revelation chapters 1-3. We have found that there are more Names of Christ, more Titles of Christ, and more attributions or acsriptions of glory to Christ in Revelation, than any book in the Bible except the Psalms. Pause and remember with me:
Who this Invitation Is From
The invitation for dinner in Revelation 3:20 comes from the Highest One who could ever be imagined. In our lifetimes we may meet some very amazing people.
But the rich, the famous, and the human rulers of this world do not compare to the One who speaks to us today. Listen as we just skim through some of the dozens of Names of our God, revealed in this Book of Revelation.
For those of you who love to study and get details, all of these Names are in the notes that are uploaded each week with the audio and video copy of this message.
Our Great God’s Great & Mighty Names
In Revelation our Lord is revealed through no less than 56 unique and varied Names as:
1. The One Who is, Who was, and Who is to Come 1:4, 8; 11:17; 16:5
2. Jesus Christ Faithful Witness 1:5
3. The First Born from the Dead 1:5
4. The Prince of the Kings of Earth 1:5
5. The Alpha & Omega 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13
6. The Beginning & End: 1:8; 21:6; 22:13
7. The Almighty 1:8
8. The First & Last: 1:11,17; 2:8; 22:13
9. I am He who lives, was dead 1:18
10. I am Alive Forevermore 1:18
11. He who holds the seven stars (messengers 1:20) in His Right Hand 2:1
12. He who walks in the midst of the seven lamp stands (churches 1:20) 2:1
13. The First & Last who was dead and came to life 2:2
14. He who has the sharp two edged sword (Word of God) 2:12
15. The Son of God with Eyes like a Flame of Fire 2:18
16. The Son of God with Feet like Fine Brass 2:18
17. He who has the Seven Spirits of God (1:4) 3:1
18. He who Has the Seven Stars (messengers 1:20) 3:1
19. The One who can Blot Names from the Book of Life 3:5
20. The One who can Confess names before the Father & His Angels 3:5
21. He who is Holy 3:7
22. He who is True 3:7
23. He who has the Key of David 3:7
24. He who Opens, and no one shuts & shuts, and no one opens 3:7
25. The One who can make us pillars in the Temple of God 3:12
26. The One who can write on us the Name of God & the Name of the “City of My God” New Jerusalem 3:12
27. The One who can write on us “My New Name” 3:12
28. The Amen 3:14
29. The Faithful & True Witness 3:14
30. The Beginning of Creation Of God 3:14
31. The Lord God Almighty 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 21:22,23
32. The Lion Of Tribe Judah 5:5
33. The Root Of David 5:5
34. The Slain Lamb 5:6
35. The Lamb 5:8; 21:22; 22:3
36. The Lord Holy & True 6:10
37. The Living God 7:2
38. The God of The Earth 11:4
39. The God of Heaven 11:13; 16:11
40. His Christ 11:15; 12:10
41. The Child Who was to rule all nations 12:4,5
42. The Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the world 13:8
43. The King of Saints 15:3
44. God Almighty 16:14
45. Lord of Lords 17:14; 19:16
46. King of Kings 17:14; 19:16
47. Lord God 18:8
48. Lord our God 19:1
49. Lord God Omnipotent 19:6
50. The Faithful & True 19:11
51. The Word Of God 19:13
52. Almighty God 19:15
53. Him Who sits on the Great White Throne 20:11
54. The Lord God of the Holy Prophets 22:6
55. The Root & the Offspring of David 22:16
56. The Bright & Morning Star 22:16
That Great, Almighty, Living, Omnipotent, Lamb that was slain for you and for me: has sent an invitation. The greatest invitation can only come from the greatest person in all the Universe, Who is revealed in the Scriptures to be beyond anyone we could ever imagine. So what we have come to in Revelation 3:20 today is:
The Greatest Invitation For Any Believer
Jesus is here explaining to us in His Church, that He is standing at the door of our heart, waiting for us to invite Him in to linger in fellowship as our Lord and Savior throughout our life. Jesus offers Himself, personally and privately for us to spend a quiet time like a longed for time spent with someone you love deeply. What a precious invitation!
Revelation 3:20 (NKJV) "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
Those who lived in the ancient world usually had three meals. In the morning, they had akratisara—bread dipped in wine; at noonday, they had ariston—a snack eaten at work, or the roadside; the word deipnon, used for “dine” in verse 20, refers to the evening meal, the main meal of the day—a time for lingering over the meal after a long day’s work.
Remember Holman Hunt’s famous picture of Christ standing at the door knocking? Friends who saw his painting told Hunt he left the handle off. He replied that it pictured that the handle of salvation is on our side, before we trusted Christ; and the handle of fellowship is on our side, the moment we became a Christian.
What Does Jesus Offer Believers?
My dad spent a couple weeks of his vacation times each year, for almost two decades with his buddy Holman Johnson traveling to the most remote lakes of Ontario. They rode loggers trains, jumping on with just a canoe, sleeping bag, and back pack to explore, fish, and enjoy God’s creation.
When I grew up big enough to survive the north woods, my dad began to show me what he had found. The journey of discovery, with someone who knows the way, anticipates the journey, and has as their sole desire to share that wonder: is simply amazing. What I experienced with my dad, when another vast and remote Canadian lake appeared at the end of the trail: is just a tiny flash of the wonder Christ offers to us.
Jesus wants to give us a foretaste of knowing and exploring eternity with Him each day. Like a preview of the greatest trip imagineable is the daily video clip Jesus wants to narrate, and show to us each day we meet Him in the agreed upon meeting place: His Word. There in His Word He explains Himself to us. We learn Who He is, what He has done, and how we can please Him.
Nothing is like spending time with Jesus, and nothing quite matches this offer in Revelation 3:20. After spending most of the letter to Laodicea, pointing out the seven areas that are offensive, Jesus explains that all of those areas ruin the fellowship time He awaits with us.
The Offer of Personal Face Time with Christ
The challenges of Rev. 3:14-19 are all pointing to the offer of v. 20. Jesus wants to come in and meet with us, one-on-one, and face-to-face. He wants to not just stop in for a moment, He is asking for the main meal of the day. Jesus is the one asking, He is the One knocking, and He is the One waiting.
He has already asked the Laodiceans to make changes to their lifestyles so that He can spend time with them. The whole opening section of this letter is a way of answering the question: “What Inhibits My Spiritual Intimacy with Christ”?
The pointed challenge Christ gives is to cultivate seven new habits spiritually and by these choices, abstain from what distances Jesus from our day-to-day lives. After dealing with the distractions and destroyers of spiritual intimacy: Jesus makes the offer.
That is a way to say: please start cultivating habits that please Me. Doing what? Starting to consciously cultivate:
Seven Ways to Promote Spiritual Intimacy with Christ
First, to dine with Jesus we must get zealous about Him & Repent of any Spiritual Neutrality
v. 15 “I know your works that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."
Spiritual Neutrality is when we say that it no longer matters that every part of our life come under Christ’s control. Remember I Corinthians 6:19-20:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV) "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."
To dine with Jesus we must get zealous about Him & Repent of any Spiritual Neutrality.
Secondly, to dine with Jesus we must get dependent upon Him & Repent of any Spiritual Self-Sufficiency
v. 17a "Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—"
Another form of Spiritual Self-Sufficiency is when we stop seeking God’s will before our own in all the decisions of our lives. Christ is to be first in priority. Jesus is to be the greatest influence upon us.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
To dine with Jesus we must get dependent upon Him & Repent of any Spiritual Self-Sufficiency.
Third, to dine with Jesus we must get into His Word & Repent of any Spiritual Insensitivity
v. 17b and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
Spiritual Insensitivity is becoming what James calls a “forgetful hearer” Look again at James 1:22 (NKJV):
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
To dine with Jesus we must get into His Word & Repent of any Spiritual Insensitivity.
Fourth, to dine with Jesus we must get Invested with Him & Repent of any Spiritual Wastefulness
v. 18a "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich;"
Spiritual Wastefulness is when we ignore Christ’s words in Matthew 6:19-20 (NKJV)
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal."
To dine with Jesus we must get Invested with Him & Repent of any Spiritual Wastefulness.
Fifth, to dine with Jesus we must get Dressed His Way & Repent of any Spiritual Neglect
v. 18b and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed;
Spiritual Neglect is when we become more concerned with what we look like to men rather than to God. We impress people outwardly rather than pleasing God inwardly, as Paul explains in Romans 13:12 (NKJV):
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
To dine with Jesus we must get Dressed His Way & Repent of any Spiritual Neglect.
Sixth, to dine with Jesus we must Guard our Eyes & Repent of any Spiritual Blindness
v. 18c and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
Spiritual Blindness is when we begin to stumble along, acting more and more like lost people who do not know, can not see, and do not follow the Lord. Acts 26:18 says that Christ opened our eyes at salvation, and now we can see.
To dine with Jesus we must Guard our Eyes & Repent of any Spiritual Blindness.
Finally, to dine with Jesus we must Hate sin & Repent of any Spiritual Laxity
v. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
Spiritual Laxity is when we forget He wants us walking in the light, seeing our sin as He does and immediately seeking His cleansing as we repent and forsake all sin. Jesus hates it when we hide and cover for our sins, instead of confessing and forsaking them. Listen to Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV)
He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
Revelation 3:20 should be burned into our minds as a picture of Christ’s standing outside the house and seeking (not demanding) admission by knocking at the front door.
Jesus Waits for You Every Day
When Jesus said “if anyone hears my voice” it mean that, not only does He knock at the door, but he also calls out, requesting admission: and then stands outside waiting.
Christ standing, pleading, and at the door of a human heart is the unique new fact that Christianity brought into this world: that God is the seeker of men.
No human religion has the vision of a seeking God. The distinctive difference of Christianity is seen in, “Man not seeking God, but God taking the initiative in seeking man.”
Holman Hunt was right when in his famous picture The Light of the World he painted the door of the human heart with no handle on the outside, for it can be opened only from within.
Christ pleads and offers; but it is all to no avail if we will not open the door.
This is the picture of Christ we have in Revelation.
He stands at the door and knocks. He will not crash the door.
Regardless of what some extremists say on this matter of election, the Lord Jesus has moved heaven and hell to get to the door of your heart, but when He gets there, He will stop and knock. You will have to open the door to let Him in.
Lost Sinner: have you said yes to Jesus, and been saved?
Saved Believer: how many days this past month have you opened the door to Christ by opening His Word and spent time in fellowship with the greatest One of all?