“ Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. “
This scripture was always used for a “salvation” message. How Christ is standing outside knocking on your hearts doors waiting for you to invite him in. It’s not that it’s not a good message but to use this verse to support it is error. This verse is speaking to the churches. Rather sobering isn’t it. It’s not speaking to the lost, it’s speaking to the body of Christ. The significance in the misuse of this verse has great repercussions on how we actually view the church/body of Christ and especially in the context of eschatology. Read the entire chapter and the messages to the seven churches, which is for then and now and the entire sole conclusion is that He (Christ) is standing outside of the church door knocking. The condition of the church is horrendous. So much so He is nauseated at the characteristics of pride, ignorance, self-sufficiency, and complacency the church had become.
The Laodicea church exemplifies the apostate church at the end of the age and the closing verses of Revelation 3 is what Scofield calls, “the place and attitude of Christ at the end of the church age.” Luke warmness demonstrates those who are content to remain neutral in the contest and contrast between truth and error. I would never run to the defense of religion but will always earnestly contend for the faith! The corruption of the faith is found in self-centered and unloving behavior, immoral and sensual life styles and in distorted or deceitful teachings. To remain neutral is to neither deny or defy such conduct and clearly is the contrast between “cold” and “hot.” Sadly, the biggest characteristic this church confirms is that it is a church of self-delusion.
Because this church fits within the context of eschatology, and its lukewarmness validates apostasy, it behooves us to search the cause to which the church finds itself just prior to our Lord’s return. In the New Testament, apostasy is not necessarily a condition as it is an event. One warned about by Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians.
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.” ~ 2 Thess. 2:3
There exists no better initiate of Apostasy than wealth, it lolls to sleep even the cautious of men, but even this is not the cause. The root cause is complacency, as A.W. Tozer says; “A reason for the absence of real yearning for Christ’s return is that Christians are so comfortable in this world they have little desire to leave it.” And as Paul warned the Corinthians; “If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha (a person doomed to destruction till our Lord comes)” 1 Cor. 16:22
Jesus taught His disciples in the Olivet Discourse the parable of the faithful and Evil servant. This then serves as both a promise and warning to all who would become complacent.
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, My master is delaying his coming, and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The Laodicea Church, just as the last generation church will, had become complacent, lax, because of prosperity and wealth. If any church in the world today fits this criteria, it is the American Church. The love for Jesus Christ is waning and we have replaced our zeal for Christ with merchandise, things, and trinkets. Jesus Christ exist on the outside knocking and only His sheep hear His voice and respond. The non-believer cannot recognize the voice of the Lord nor can they hear, nor do they seek for Him as the Scripture says; “There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.” Rom. 3:11
It is clear that Revelation 3:20 is directed to the believer rather than the unbeliever, that is, to the lukewarm believers of Laodicea, a type of modern church. To apply this verse to unbelievers requires an ecclesiastic twisting. The knocking at the door, the voice of the Lord calling out is expressive of the near approach, or sudden coming of Christ to judgment (Matt 25:1-13).