Introduction Detlef Stegen
We greet everyone in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank the Lord for every mercy and kindness He has shown in the past week. May we thank God for His work even though you may regard it as insignificant. If you are faithful in small things, you will be given greater things.
We greet everyone in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - a wonderful name that is above every other name.
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20
In this text the Lord speaks to the church of Laodicea. This church was in an important town/city. It was an economical and administrative hub at that time. These people had everything they needed, and this was their strongest condemnation. There was no major sin such as immorality, greed or idolatry. They were like the rich young ruler who said, ‘I have kept everything.’
These were strong and harsh words. They did not see that they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind. In life the most dangerous times are when things go well. Then you take things lightly. But when something shakes your life and you cannot bear it, that is when God is waking you up. I have seen how dangerous good times are. You can grow used to God’s word.
This church had reached the conclusion that they were wealthy because of their spirituality. It is important to weigh yourself according to the word of God to see whether you are in line. To these people the Lord said, I stand at your door and knock. Behold I stand and knock. The Laodicean church also resembles the last period before Christ returns.
The heart is like a room. A room has a door. That room should be furnished with spiritual things and gifts. There is a door into this room. Behold – wake up, I stand at the door. If you hear my voice, hearken. Open the door and I will come in. You must open the door to Jesus. The house must be cleaned. I will eat with you and you with me. There is a procedure that the Lord follows.
Who stands at the door? The devil can also stand there and he also knocks. God warned Cain and said that sin lurked at his door. ‘I stand and knock,’ Jesus said. ‘I want to draw your attention. I don’t want to chase you away. I don’t knock to make you afraid.’ How does He knock? It could be that He knocks at your door through something that happens to you such as an accident, a sickness, bad or heart-breaking news. There are many ways in which Christ knocks. We were taught that when an accident took place, one of the first things we should ask is, “Why Lord?” If you use a machine and it breaks, ask the Lord, why? It could be because you have become lukewarm. The Lord could knock because He sees how lukewarm you have become. God knocks in His ways. If you are sleeping or lukewarm, you will hear nothing. Jesus might knock at your door by using your children. He asks, ‘Where are you?’
In my house when someone knocks at the door, my dogs react immediately, even though they do not know who is on the other side. Although the dogs do not know who is on the other side, they react with a big racket, however you are absolutely dead. When Christ knocks on your door, you do not hear, or you know better. We must learn that when Christ knocks at your door, in whatever way, you had better wake up. It could be that you hear the knock, but you say you are busy or the person should wait – must the Lord wait for you until you find the time to be obedient?
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. If anyone hears my voice, that still small voice. Friends, you will not hear that voice from the other side of the house, you must be near the door to hear who is speaking. When last did you hear that voice? Remember how sharp you used to be? Can you still hear that voice? My sheep hear my voice. God uses circumstances, things that happen to you. You need to hear what God says to you. Are you so deaf that you cannot hear what that voice is telling you to do? Then you ask others and if things go wrong, you blame the person you went to. You need to clean the sin out of your ears. Do your homework. Of course, you can ask for advice, and find out whether you heard the voice of the Lord correctly, but the Lord might want you to grow and stand on your own feet and use this approach when requiring advice: ‘This is what I feel I should do. What do you think? Please pray with me.’
If you hear a voice, do not simply open the door - make sure you know who or what is there. Christ will not force his way in. The Lord will urge you to open the door. One way in which to open the door is through repentance. If a man conceals his sin, that door can be closed, and repentance will not be found. If you hide your sin and your evil motives, the door will not open.
6And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected? 7If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it. Genesis 4:6,7.
Cain found himself in a situation that displeased God. It could have been that when Abel gave his offering, he gave the best of what he had, but Cain did not give his best and he also did not give a blood offering. These two children were born in sin. Sin ruled their lives and they had to give an offering. Abel gave the best he could. What Cain did was not acceptable to God because of his evil heart. The Lord spoke to Cain, there was a voice at his door that said, ‘Why are you angry?’ Cain was very angry. Anger is not a good sign. “Why is your face downcast?” the Lord asked him. The face is the mirror of the heart. A person can smile and try to look happy but the face shows that there is something wrong. The expression of his face was not right. God said to him, ‘If you do what is right (make right), you will be accepted.’ He gave Cain a chance. ‘But if you don’t do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.” If only we would understand when Jesus is there and that things must go according to His will. If it’s our stubborn will - sin is there, it is waiting for you.
God warned Cain that sin was crouching (not standing) - like a wild animal ready to spring and devour. If you open the door to the whispering of the devil then that sin will spring up and devour you. Be careful of pornography because it is coupled with satanism. Imagine opening your door and suddenly this ‘thing’ attacks you and you are attacked by demons. No wonder your life is as it is. No wonder you don’t hear any knocking, any voice anymore. Why don’t you hear God speaking anymore? It could be that you watch movies made by Hollywood and actors who are immoral and live evil lives, and that evil enters your life. You listen to that music.
‘Cain, sin is crouching at the door of your heart.’ It is a temptation, and you love it because you open the door. If you hated it, you would close the door, and cry to the Lord. You would lock the door. Cain was tempted. God warned him. God said that he should not open the door, but he did. No wonder his end was what it was. When the Lord enters your life, you close the door and He is with you inside your room. If someone knocks then, you must know it is not the Lord.
I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The Lord says that He will eat with you and you with Him. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Psalm 23:5. The Lord does not only want you to eat what He gives you, but He also wants to see what you give Him. He wants to eat that fruit that He expects from your life - the fruit of the spirit 22 …love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22,23
He wants to see if things are as they should be. Not only must we expect something of Him, but we must also give something to Him. Do not be stingy. If you sow a little, you will reap nothing. Give your life to Him. He is waiting for something, and you know what it is. The rich young ruler was asked for something but it was too hard for him.
10 But while they were going away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were prepared went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Matthew 25:10
There was a time when they fell asleep, or they took things easy and lightly. For years you may have been praying for your children, but the Lord is waiting for you, mother. What must the Lord still do for you to listen? Where are your children? The Lord will ask you where they are. Maybe He knocked but they were asleep and did not hear and when they called for Him, the door was locked. The Lord might knock at the door and plead with you. He asks you to listen and you will see how your life will change.
I can thank my parents, now only my mother is left, who disciplined us. If we want to walk this narrow way, it goes against the will. You must break the will of the child before it is three years of age.
If the Lord loves us, He disciplines us. It can be very hard and painful. The word says that we should be careful not to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)
Think of the meal that Jesus offers. What does He not want to give you? How does He not want to help you? Why don’t we open the door and say, ‘Lord Jesus, even if I don’t understand, here is my life. I will open my door.’ The Lord will never stay in a dirty house. Clean it.
Conclusion Detlef Stegen
I was reminded of the fellowship that Adam enjoyed with the Lord. One day, the Lord did not find Adam where he should have been. ‘Adam, where are you?’ He called. Adam answered that he had heard God’s voice and he was afraid because he was naked. He had lost fellowship with God. He had been dining with the Lord, but he had allowed the enemy, sin, to enter. Then he was afraid. He had been robbed of all. He was naked. His son Cain, however, was not afraid, but angry with God. Adam had to reap something worse in his son’s life.
This is not God’s plan for you. He is knocking because He wants to enter and dine with you. What a fool and what remorse you will have if you do not open to Him. You will lose the greatest treasure that God places before you - eternal life.
Have you woken up? Have you heard? May God be gracious that no one will keep his door locked and closed to the One who knocks.