Is it really even the church anymore? When we look at the lay of the land in our nation, we see a church that so often majors in minors and devotes its attention to itself rather than to the Lord who has called us to be a light to the nations, and to make disciples of all. A church that is so preoccupied with card clubs and meetings that it has lost sight of prayer and proclamation. A church that so often wants to be popular with the world and as a result becomes a stench in the nostrils of God. A church that often pats itself on the back and says, “Look how glorious we are!”, but in reality is so often spiritually poverty stricken.
Most of us have not been through poverty or persecution or prison. The American church has had it easy in so many ways, but we’ve also become smug and self-satisfied, content with spiritual mediocrity, but God is calling us to the joy of knowing Him as never before.
What happens when we have much? We often rely on God very little. And the end result is we depend on ourselves to do the work of “the church”, rather then being humbly dependent on the living God and allowing Him to guide and direct, and the result is a delusion. A delusion that things are well, but in reality we are spiritually poor. So Jesus speaks to Laodicea even as He speaks to us here in America.
He is saying, “I gave my life for you. You matter to me. I offer you life forever, and I desire to bless you with every spiritual blessing in this world, and blessings untold in the next.” He says, “My love for you knows no limit. Don’t take me for granted.”
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.” (Revelation 3:20). What gracious word they are. What a powerful promise from the Lord our God. But before we just look at those words, and say, “Wow, I love those words. They are so good, and so gracious, and they make me feel so good.” Please look at the context. Jesus is speaking these words outside the door. Outside the door of the church because we have locked Him out. Do you see that? He says to the church of Laodicea, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. You have become so enamored at your own wealth and your own accomplishments, that you have effectively kept me out.” He says, “Here I am.” He graciously pleads, “I am standing at the door knocking. If any one of you will hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and I will eat with you.” We will share fellowship together forever. What He is saying is to hear Him, listen to His voice. Don’t simply go through the old way of doing things. Church, the same ole, same ole, is so often church without Christ. Church, where we have put all of our attention on ourselves, is church that has lost sight of the Lord’s mandate to make disciples of the nations. When the church becomes the social club, the Lord Jesus is locked out, and is knocking on the door.
He truly is the Amen, God the faithful King. He pleads with us today. He pleads with us in a culture that has been so materially blessed, but spiritually bankrupt. He pleads with us to come to Him, to hear His voice, to understand that apart from Him we can do nothing, to recognize that we must be connected to Him, and to understand that faith is more than head knowledge. Faith is a commitment of the heart. A commitment to God who gave Himself for us all. A commitment to allow Him to guide and direct us. A commitment to say, “I will stop living life in my own power, and Lord I will depend upon You to guide and direct. I will scour Your Word. I will search the Scriptures. I will look to Your truth to define, guide, and direct me, and I will stand up against myself and my old nature when it seeks to do things my way rather than God’s way. I will listen to You Lord Jesus, because I have heard You knocking, not just at the door of the church, but at the door of my heart.”
What the Spirit is saying today is that Reformation must begin anew with each and every one of us. It is to no longer be church as usual. It is to be Jesus as Lord and Victor. It is to be Christ as the head and me and you and all others as just the parts of the body that are connected to Him that is the head even Christ. It is God saying, “Take Me seriously.”