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Letter to Laodicea 3

Revelation 3:19-20
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (NIVUK)

Jesus did not commend this church for anything. Like the rich and self-obsessed city of Laodicea, the church was a convenient and lukewarm religious club (Revelation 3:15-17), but Jesus was excluded. That is why He was standing at the door knocking and calling. He was on the outside and wanted to be welcomed, and received inside. Despite their nominal allegiance to Jesus they did not know Him. This second-generation church had not only lost its first love of Jesus (Revelation 2:4-5), they did not know Him. Like worshippers at the pagan temples in the city, they adhered to the church ritual but had no living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

And yet the Lord still loved them: He has loving compassion on all that He has made (Psalm 145:9). He rebuked them, not to condemn them but to give them the opportunity of repentance and a relationship with Him. His discipline (or rather chastening) was to wake them up to their eternal peril because He did not want them to be lost – the fate of all who have no relationship with Jesus, irrespective of their religious piety. Jesus urged them to earnestly desire Him, to repent of excluding Him from their lives, and to welcome Him to take command.

Jesus is not far away. He is very near but separated from them by a door. The whole purpose of this letter is to give them a personalised message that He wants to be welcomed to take His rightful place as Lord and Saviour. His calls had thus far been spurned but His knocking on the door has become insistent. If they refuse to open the door they have no hope. It seems as though the call to the church now becomes a call to each individual. If any man will hear and open the door to Jesus, He will come into that person and will begin a personal relationship with him or her (a meal is the eastern way to establish and progress a relationship).

Western cultures unhelpfully separate 'believing' and 'receiving'. But the Bible does not think like that. John 1:12 says, " … to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God …" On the final Day the only thing that matters is if we have already welcomed Jesus, having repented of excluding Him. All who welcome Him in this life will be welcomed by Him as God's children in the next (Matthew 10:32-33). Our good deeds cannot save us because any sin will condemn us (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus died on the cross to bear the punishment of all our sins; so, repentance enables us to be clean to welcome the King of Glory. Have you intentionally welcomed Him? If not watch www.crosscheck.org.uk to understand more of the gospel, and choose to welcome Him into your life today. Share the video with others and help them to understand that religion and trying to be good is not good enough: they need to repent and welcome Jesus if they are to be children of God with a present purpose and an eternal future.

God of love. Thank You for loving me so much that You sent Jesus to bear the punishment of all my rebellion, and excluding Jesus. Forgive me for preferring to assert myself in a religious group rather than repenting and welcoming Jesus. Forgive me too for thinking that it is not my business to share the gospel with others, wrongly presuming that their religion can save them - even when they do not know Jesus personally. Please help me to take action today. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams