Christ Knocking At The Door

Title: Christ Knocking At The Door

Bible Book: Revelation 3 : 14-22

Author: J. Gerald Harris

Subject: Jesus is Calling; Salvation; Call of God



There is a famous painting by Warner Sallman. It is a picture of a cottage, run down and neglected. Thistles have grown up around the door and grass has grown in the pathway. The trailing years of vines and weeds are everywhere. The hinges are rusted. Yet, in the midst of that dishevelment and neglect there stands the kingliest form that mind could imagine -- the Lord Jesus Christ. There Jesus stands knocking at the door, and the glory of His light falls upon the neglected cottage.

One of the most familiar stories I have read is of a discerning man who looked at the picture, went to see Mr. Sallman, the artist, and said, "You have made a mistake. You did not put any handle on the door. It is just a plain door." The artist replied, "No, not a mistake. You misunderstand. The handle is on the inside. We must open the door. When we do, the glory of that light falls upon the soul, and what a difference!" The Lord says, "I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Now, with that picture in mind I want us to look at our text. The first thing that we shall consider is,

I. The Authoritative Christ

Verse 14 establishes the fact that Jesus is the authoritative Christ. Notice how it describes Him. "These things sayest the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." First of all, we see that it is Christ alone who authoritatively represents finality. He is "the Amen." He only among men is the affirmation and the confirmation of the mind of God. Because He is God's last word, there is no improving upon Him. "Amen" is stamped upon the very image of Christ. "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." His ministry fulfills every promise of God: "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen" (II Corinthians 1:20). Nothing can be added to     or subtracted from any utterance that He makes.

In thinking on this matter, I recalled a problem, which was incurred over 200 years ago when this country was in its infancy. John Quincy Adams was the President of the United States, and he did a rather dramatic thing. He called both houses of Congress together for a special meeting. He walked upon the rostrum carrying two bushel measures. Holding one in each hand, he said to the people, "The bushel measure in my left hand comes from the city of New York. The one in my right hand comes from the state of South Carolina. One of these bushel measures contains 68 cubic inches more than the other one." He stood silent for a few moments to let the implication sink in, and then he slowly paced from side to side on the floor. In the same deliberate way, he walked over to a little table and picked up two one-pound weights, the kind that were used on a set of balance scales to weigh produce. With measured words, he said, "This weight in my right hand came from Massachusetts. This other one came from Maine. One of them weighs nearly an ounce more than the other." Again he waited a few moments for everyone to grasp the problem. And then with a resonant voice, he said, "Gentlemen, we need a standard measure and a standard weight for the United States of America." Thus came into existence what is known in Washington as the Bureau of Weights and Measures. In it is a set of scales so delicate that the man who wishes to weigh something accurately must stand at least ten feet away from it lest the heat of his body upset the balance. I have read that the balance is so delicate that it could weigh a wisp of smoke. The Bureau of Weights and Measures in Washington is the final authority on such matters.

By the same token, there is a finality about Jesus Christ that points to His authority. He is the "Amen." But Christ not only represents finality, He represents reality. Our text says that He is "the faithful and true witness." He combines in himself all those qualities that a witness ought to possess -- in a word, reality. That word "true" is a favorite word with John and expresses more than just the opposite of false. It implies reality in contrast to shadow. Reality, that is what young and old are hungering for today. They are fed up with the emptiness of the world, the sham of nominal religion and the dissatisfaction of their own lives. They want reality; they want authenticity. Dear friend, reality is to be found in Jesus Christ.

Stephen Olford tells about a very distinguished gentleman who sought him out after a worship service some years ago. The man said, "What you have had to say tonight has made sense. It is both reasonable and acceptable and I must act upon it. I want the Lord Jesus Christ to come into my life.   I desperately need Him." After a brief period of time, the man accepted Jesus Christ as his     personal Savior. Dr. Olford said, "Do you mind telling me who you are?" The man said, "My name is Edgar Congdon. I am a doctor." Dr. Olford said, "In what field?" The man said, "Well, I started off in surgery, went into general medicine, and then decided to become a psychiatrist." Dr. Olford said, "As a psychiatrist, Dr. Congdon, may I ask you why you came here tonight?" Dr. Congdon said, "Well, I have always carried a chip on my shoulder. I have looked down on Christians as morons and nitwits. Yet all the time I knew in my heart that I was the stupid idiot. Although I was thoroughly qualified to analyze patients, prescribe medication, perform operations, give shock treatments and so on, I've often sent patients away from my office without the real answer because I did not have the answer myself." But he said, "Tonight I have found reality. I have found the answer. It is in Jesus Christ."

As we think about the authoritative Christ, let me say that He represents finality and reality, but He also represents vitality. Our text says that He is "the beginning of the creation of God." He has the originating power in the material, physical and spiritual realms. The Bible says, "by him were all things made." When He speaks, men and things live. By the same creative word, all things consist. In no other realm is this vitally and magnificently more operative than in the spiritual.

If you have never experienced the transforming power of spiritual life, dear friend, then encounter this Christ at once. So here is this authoritative Christ with His word of finality, His word of reality, and His word of vitality. But I want you to notice another thing.

II. The Analyzing Christ

As He stands with a lantern in His hand to search out the darkest recesses of our hearts, He says, "I know thy works" (verse 15), or more literally, "I know where you live." The truth is that He knows us through and through. Nothing escapes His searching light or His analyzing gaze.

Let me say first of all, as we should expect, He sees our half-heartedness. He says, "thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." The Lord Jesus Christ despises half-heartedness. He had sooner have frigid hostility or boiling hot fervency, but He hates lukewarmness. Now, this is a word to those of you who just persist in "sitting on the fence." This is a word to those of you who "halt between two opinions," who are neither one thing nor the other. Let me tell you with severe directness that since half-heartedness nauseates the risen Lord -- whether it is in the sinner or the saint -- He cannot stand it. Indeed, He must judge it. His words are "I will spew thee out of my mouth."

Chuck Swindoll tells about this kid who was on the football team, but he was real half-hearted about football. He added very little to the team. He practiced, but he wasn't committed. He had a uniform and would show up to play, but never with any kind of enthusiasm. Everything was casual -- no big deal. Swindoll says that he was somewhere between "on the bench" and "off the team." One day the players were doing 15 laps, and this showpiece was doing his usual 5 laps. The coach came over and said, "Hey kid, here is a telegram for you." The kid said, "Read it for me, coach." He was so lazy he did not even like to read. The coach opened it and read, "Dear son, your father is dead. Come home immediately." The coach swallowed hard. He said, "Take the rest of the week off." He didn't care if he took the rest of the year off. Well, funny thing -- game time came on Saturday and here came the teams rushing out on the field. And, lo and behold, the last kid out was the goof off. No        sooner did the gun sound than the kid said, "Coach, can I play today? Can I play?" The coach thought, "Kid, you're not playing today. This is homecoming. This is the big game. We need every real          guy we have and you are not one of them." Every time the coach turned around, the kid badgered   him. "Coach, please let me play. Coach, I've got to play." The first quarter ended with the score lopsided against the coach and his team. At half time they were still further behind. The second half started and things got progressively worse. The coach, mumbling to himself, began to write out his resignation, and up came the kid. "Coach, coach, let me play, please." The coach looked at the scoreboard and said, "All right, get in their kid. You can't hurt anything now." No sooner did the kid hit the field than his team exploded. He ran, blocked and tackled like an all- star. The electricity leaped to the team. The score evened up. In the closing seconds of the game, this kid intercepted a pass and ran all the way for the winning touchdown. The stands erupted with cheers. The kid was everybody's hero. Finally the excitement subsided and the coach got over to the kid and said, "I never saw anything like that. What in the world happened to you out there?" He said, "Coach, you know my dad died this week." The coach said, "Yes. I read you the telegram." "Well, coach," he said, "my dad was blind. Today was the first day he ever saw me play."

Folks, we need to realize that the heavenly Father is watching us in this life. He really is not absent. He's not unconcerned. He's not blind or dead. He is alive. He is watching, and we need to learn to hate lukewarmness and half-heartedness just like He does. May God forbid that quality and integrity and authenticity are ever negotiable in this church. If you have never been set on fire, offer God a surrendered heart and let Him kindle a sacred flame on that altar. If your fire has died down, rake off the ashes and stir up the gift of God. Rekindle the flame until you come to a boil. But whatever you do, do not be lukewarm. It would be better if you had no fire at all.

So He sees our half-heartedness. But He also sees our high mindedness. Look in verse 17 (read).  If half- heartedness nauseates the Lord, then high mindedness causes Him to burn with a holy indignation, especially when this high-mindedness overlooks personal wretchedness and misery and poverty and blindness. You know, there are so many people today who do not sense any need for God -- who do not sense a need for anything. They say, "We can do it without God. We do not need to pray. We do not need to cry to God. We do not need to repent. We do not need to turn. We do not need to ask. All we need to do is just get our human energy hitched up to some great task and  we can work out all these things ourselves." This was the spirit of high mindedness that was prevalent in the Laodicean church, and it is so prevalent today. I pray that we might humble ourselves with fear and trembling before God has to do the humbling. But with this half-heartedness and high mindedness, I am thankful to say that He also sees our hunger. Notice what He says in verse 18 (read). In these words of everyday life, the Lord Jesus reveals the true hunger of the human soul. I have talked to at least a half dozen people recently who have indicated to me that they were searching for something; they were in quest of something.

Several years ago someone gave me a videotape of a testimony of Pete Maravich. The video was entitled "Pistol Pete Maravich, the Other Side." Now, Pete Maravich was a fabulous basketball player. In fact, I was in the seminary when he played high school ball at Meedham Broughton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, and I used to see him play high school basketball. He attained all kinds of college records when he was at LSU. And, of course, he went on to play professional basketball, and was with the Atlanta Hawks for a period of time. He became a bold and brave Christian, but he died of heart failure several years ago. But on this video he told about his search for reality. He said, "I tried everything. I tried transcendental meditation. I tried Yoga, reincarnation, life extending drugs. I became a vegetarian. I tried alcohol. At one point I fasted for 25 days straight. I even got tired of basketball." He said, "After a spring game with the Boston Celtics in which I scored 38 points, I just decided to quit. I became a recluse for two years." Then he gave his life to Jesus Christ, and he said, "I wouldn't trade what I have now for a thousand NBA championships." He realized that the hunger of his heart could only be satisfied in Jesus Christ. But this analyzing Christ -- He knows our half- heartedness. He knows our high mindedness. He knows about our hunger. But finally I want us to see…

III. The Appealing Christ

Now, I want you to mark with attention that the light, which sheds its rays about the door of the heart, is also the appealing radiance of His face. Listen to His words of appeal. He says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." Now, I want you to notice that this is the reminder of Christ. In this passage we learn that there is a limit to His aggression. He stops in reverence before our personality. He does not violate our moral freedom. He stops at the door. He will do all in His power to gain our attention, to attract our love, to win our hearts, but He never forces an entrance.

In the story of the prodigal son, the father waits and prays and hopes and yearns, but he does not force the boy. If the boy chooses to live in a far country, he has the right to make that choice. The father can but wait and pray and hope. If you'll remember, when the older brother was angry and would not go in, the parable says, "The father went out and entreated him, and spoke to him, and pled with him." So it is with us. The King of glory never breeches a man's will or violates a man's freedom, but He reminds us of what we need to do. So here we have the reminder of Christ.

But the next thing I want us to notice is the recognition of Christ. He says, "if any man hear my voice." The voice of Christ is the gospel of Christ. God has spoken His last word to men in the gospel through His Son. The writer to the Hebrews says, "God, who at sundry times and in diver’s manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" (Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus declared in John 5:25, "They that hear the voice of the Son of God shall live." Dear friend, do you recognize that it is Christ who is speaking to you at this moment. He is bidding you to view His hands, His feet, His side in order that you may be sure that it is the redeemer himself, the One who died to put away your sins, who rose again to justify, save, keep and satisfy  you. Will you not cry with Thomas of old, "My Lord and my God"?

Having considered the reminder of Christ and the recognition of Christ, notice next the reception of Christ. He says that we are to open the door. Now, a little child is capable of doing that. It's the deliberate act of faith, which receives Christ into the heart and into the life. If you have recognized Him, receive Him. Welcome Him in your life.

I want you to notice His promise. He says, "I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." That is a wonderful promise, and the Lord never breaks His promise. By the way, the word translated "sup" is "deipnein" and its corresponding noun is "deipnon." The word is very significant. The Greeks had three meals in a day. There was "akratisma" which was their breakfast, which was no more than a piece of dried bread dipped in wine. There was "ariston," the mid-day meal. A man did not go home for that. It was simply a picnic snack eaten by the side of the pavement or in some colonnade or in the city square. It was a meal eaten in passing. But then there was "deipnon." This was the evening meal. It was the main meal of the day. People lingered and sat long and talked over it, for the day's work was done. There was time now for unlimited and unhurried fellowship together. It was the "deipnon" that Christ would share with the man who answered His knock. This was no hurried meal, no visit in passing, no hasty conventional call. It was the meal where people lingered and fellowshipped together. This was not a "brief glance, a passing word." This is the promise of intimate and lasting fellowship with Christ. If a man will open the door, Jesus Christ will come in and linger in fellowship with him.


Now, what will you do with this Christ who stands at the door of your heart? Surely you will not keep Him waiting any longer. Already the door is covered with creeping ivy. Already the threshold is overgrown with brambles and grass. He knocks patiently because the latch is on the inside. But how much longer will He continue to knock is hard to say, because His posture is that of one who is about to depart. Will you not draw that rusty bolt and lift the latch and let Him in?

“If you are tired of the load of your sin,

Let Jesus come into your heart.

If you would like a new life to begin,

Let Jesus come into your heart.

Just now your doubtings give o'er,

Just now reject Him no more,

Just now throw open the door,

Let Jesus come into your heart.”

Posted in


Scroll to Top