The Church in Laodicea (Part 7)

I was rather exhausted after returning from Margate, KZN yesterday. I packed up on Thursday night and got to bed around 12.30am and struggled to sleep. When the alarm went off at 5am, the last thing I wanted was to “rise and shine”, but since it was Friday and we needed to return to Pretoria, it was a must. We left at 6.40 and less than an hour later as we traveled on the N2 towards the N1, there was a traffic backup. A lady tried to cross the N3, a 120 km zone and was hit by a bakkie. Everyone needed to look with many stopping and parking. This agitated the congestion. From there onwards it was not too bad, though there was lots of road construction forcing us to reduce speed to 60 kph. We eventually clocked in at home at 4.35pm, unpacked, had supper and I needed to do some work on the Daily Note and start preparing the online sermon (that is, loading the recording, making jpeg files for the slides, etc.). The result was a late night again. This morning Joshua came to do the garden for me, I did three loads of washing and hung it up. I was really tired and need an hour’s sleep before putting the online sermon together and uploading it to YouTube. I put my head down and started to nod and there was a knock on my door. Joshua needed something. This repeated itself two more times. I was frustrated yet he was not doing anything wrong. After the last time I said … “Joshua, I’m going to lie down for half an hour. Please don’t disturb me.” It’s frustrating to get the knock on the door when the last thing you need is to be disturbed. The knocker might have the best intentions … the hearer being disturb does not want to be disrupted. Sometimes sleep is needed for all the right reasons … sometimes for all the wrong reasons. The metaphors the Lord Jesus uses are alive with meaning.

7) The Lord Jesus disturbs those in self-deception.

Rev 3:20 Here I am!

This is staggering … shocking, disturbing and confrontational. None other than God, the Savior, Judge and King says … Here I am! It’s not an angel. It’s not an apostle. It’s not someone else delegated … this is Jesus. Those three words shout loudly … all attention is commanded. We have the final Word from God to this pastor and His Church. Beloved … every time the Bible is taught and the Gospel preached is a megaphone sounding to the lost, wayward, deceived and backslider. Jesus is talking … listen up … if you refuse it will be at your eternal expense.

(1) Jesus Himself is the knocker. 20 … I stand at the door and knock. You have to get this … Jesus is at the door knocking. The door is your heart … the entrance to your soul and Jesus is so concerned for your soul that He Himself comes personally, knocking to get your attention. Gospel love is personal, confrontational and direct. He wants your soul. He wants some to return in repentance and He wants others to surrender in repentance unto salvation. Without ignoring the latter (the lost needing salvation) … I feel the Lord Jesus is addressing the pastor and those who are so self-deceived that they need to go through the process of repentance and faith to return to Jesus … to make sure their initial commitments were genuine. In all Churches there are lost souls … but like this Church, there are those who flourished for a season and now the “grey zone or lukewarm-ness” is where they are. Jesus is knocking. Jesus is calling, Jesus is disturbing. Jesus is rattling the cage. Each time the Gospel is preached … each time the Bible is taught … each time a testimony is heard … each time a gospel hymn is sung Jesus is knocking … but …

(2) Are the disturbed hearing? Jesus says … If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. The tiny word “if” means so much. Not all will hear the Gospel Call to repent and return … just as everyone will not hear the Gospel message. The great news for those who are serious is … hear and open your heart and … I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. The earnest, serious person who realizes that self-deception leads to eternal hell will open up to Jesus. The glorious result is … intimate fellowship. This is spiritual food. It is being fed the Word of God, it is Jesus’ presence at the Lord’s Table, it is intimacy during daily devotions, it is joy in prayer and praise. There are four aspects to this intimacy …

(a) Immediate. As soon as there is true repentance and return, Jesus becomes active spiritually in the soul.

(b) Present. Each day Jesus joins us as we demonstrate our sincerity.

(c) Future. As long as we pursue intimacy with Jesus, He is present throughout life on earth.

(d) Eternal. Being in His presence for all eternity will mean eternal intimacy. Right here lies the promise for each person who has slipped into self-deception and lives in the grey zone … repent by turning away from your lukewarm-ness, return to Jesus in faith and surrender and prove your sincerity by being single minded about the Gospel. Are you needing to hear, open the door to your heart and return to Jesus through repentance and faith?

(3) Overcomers are eternally blessed.

Rev 3:21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Working backwards we see …

(a) Jesus overcame the enemy [satan], He overcame the enemy (death) and He gained victory over sin by nailing Himself to the Cross. His “reward” was sitting down on His Father’s Throne. This is a picture of acceptance and “well done” with authority to rule and reign.

(b) The person who overcomes their self-deception and lukewarm heart will sit with Jesus on His throne … meaning he or she will reign with Jesus. This starts on earth as we rule our lives by living Scripture and apply God’s Word to all actions and decisions. We also use Biblical morality in our homes, families, places of employment, politics, etc. As the Word is eternal and as we the people of God will live eternally, the Word will always reign in our lives.

(4) Are you hearing?

Rev 3:22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Eagerly avail yourself to hear the Lord Jesus as He speaks.

Lord Jesus thank You for speaking. Keep me hearing, obeying and faithful. Amen.

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