August 9th Open Hearts For Jesus


Reading: Revelation 3:14-22

Today we examine the seventh and final church: Laodicea. Perhaps Laodicea has the worst rebuke from Jesus; he labels them the church that nauseates him! (16)

Ten miles to the east of Laodicea was Colossae, renowned for refreshingly cold springs. Six miles to the north was Hierapolis, famous for its medicinal hot springs. Laodicea was on a raised plateau, far from any springs it was forced to transport its water by a series of stone aqueducts. Arriving at Laodicea the water was tepid, lukewarm and often sulphurous; Jesus tells them that their faith is like their water supply – horrible. They as a church are neither refreshing to the spiritually weary or healing to the spiritually sick. Instead they are self-indulgent, half-hearted and insincere. He says they are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (17).

So Jesus tells this church they are finished and he will utterly destroy them…only he doesn’t. He tells them that they are only one step away from him.

He tells them that he loves them, that this stinging rebuke comes precisely because of his great love for them (19). They are way off track, wandered so far from the way they don’t even know it! ‘You think you are rich’, Jesus says, ‘but it’s not true, you have settled for something less than me.’ He tells them he longs to eat with them, share fellowship and love with them, but he is shut outside the church. All they have to do is open the door and let him in. (20) There is no sin too great for God’s grace. There is no habit too big for his healing. There is no label too strong for his love.

It is often easier in life to shut Jesus out, it’s easier for churches and us to hide behind ‘fig leaves’, smoke screens of great activity, even beautiful liturgy and yet have no love for Jesus, no passion for him having locked down, shut up hearts.  We stop praying daring prayers, we stop taking risks for God, even refuse to open our hearts to others, scared we will have them broken.

CS Lewis writes,

Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least the risk of tragedy, is damnation…To love is to be vulnerable.”  

Jesus is asking us to open the door to our hearts, will you?

Jesus says,

“Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:7-10)

For memorisation:

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. (20)

Prayer

Father, I want a lifetime of holy moments. Every day I want to be in dangerous proximity to Jesus. I long for a life that explodes with meaning and is filled with adventure, wonder, risk, and danger. I long for a faith that is gloriously treacherous. I want to be with Jesus, not knowing whether to cry or laugh. In Jesus name. Amen (Words of prayer by Mike Yaconelli)

Comments:

  • Hi Roger CS Lewis quote is from the Four Loves p.111in my old Fontana paperback 1963. It’s in the last chapter ‘Charity’ in a section dealing with Augustine. Love Andy

  • Roger Stevenson says:

    Great teaching Andy. I have loved every day. Where does the CS Lewis quote come from? So true!

  • Jem Dawes says:

    The famous painting ‘The light of the world’ by William Holman Hunt portrays Jesus standing at a door with no handle. This means that we are the only one’s that can open it. According to Ian Coffey the painting is very rare in that it has two originals. He will never force his way in. Jesus is waiting for you to open the door and invite him in.

  • Harry Alston says:

    I do not feel happy with Mike Yaconelli’s prayer. In the Eden the picture is one of peace and fellowship with God before the fall. Jesus’ purpose for us is abundant life – life to the full, not a dangerous life. He could have thrown Himself off the pinnacle of the temple but chose not to. St Paul advocates that we seek to live at peace if possible with all men. It is attractive to live dangerously and experience an adrenaline rush. I suspect that the pre-emininent danger that we are likely to experience is from persecution. I do not think that we should go out of our way to seek excitement because if it is by persecution, the perpetrators are heaping up judgement on themselves. The Lord advises us to seek His rest not danger.

  • Janet R says:

    I want to have the courage to pray that prayer every single morning and really mean it. What a life that would be and how the world change if everyone who proclaims faith in Christ were to do the same. Wow the possibilities.

  • Mike A says:

    The last three days of this have really hit home for me as something I’ve struggled with recently. Each prayer has meant so much and put into words exactly what I’ve wanted to say. I can’t wait for tomorrow already!

  • Rachel Prentice says:

    Wow. Not an easy prayer to pray.

  • Douglas Prentice says:

    The picture of Jesus standing, at the door of the heart, knocking for entry, is often used as a Gospel outreach verse. Nothing wrong in this of course.
    But, how poignant and very sad when looked at from its first intention-Jesus outside the church/fellowship! He fervently wants to come in! The Church should know better! Regretfully, it’s very apparent that increasingly the church apostates itself.



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