Friday, March 30, 2007

Kicking Down The Door

I’m sick and tired of people portraying and describing the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Alpha and the Omega, the victorious Son of God who reigns on the throne of heaven, as some effeminate, weak and neglected Arminian hippy that is just standing there knocking on the door and waiting for sinners to invite Him into their life and heart. Our view of evangelism has to change. Is Jesus really standing there, anxiously and helplessly, on the outside of the sinner’s heart? Is He powerless and stuck on the outside until the “decision” is made and the door is opened from the inside?

But, you might ask, what about Rev 3:20? It says this: “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.” The problem is that this verse has been ripped out of its context and applied to evangelism. It is a message to the elders of a church (the church in Laodicea). As David Chilton wrote: “He is not making a feeble plea, as if He did not rule history and predestine its most minute details… Nor is he speaking to people in general, for he is directing His message to His church; nor again, is he simply speaking to Christians as individuals, but to Christians as members of the Church. This verse cannot be made to serve the purposes of Arminian, subjective individualism without violently wrenching it from its context.” Chilton also wrote: “For it should be obvious that in this verse He is extending to the Church an offer of renewed communion with Himself.”

Rev 3:20 is not describing the door of anyone's heart. Jesus knocks at the door of that corrupt church of Laodicea. Christ does not knock at any man's heart and wait for permission to come in. God opened Lydia's heart - then she listened and believed. That is the irresistible power of His grace. He breaks down the door of the closed heart and makes us believe. Acts 13:48 says, “…and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” Jesus is Sovereign, not man. He doesn’t need our permission to come into our heart. In fact, we cannot even come to the door when we are laying face down and dead on the floor. The sinner is "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1); "you being dead in your sins" (Colossians 2:13). Dead men don’t open doors.

In John chapter 6, Jesus stresses the absolute inability of the natural man to perform acceptable spiritual actions, including opening the door of our heart. In verse 44, He said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44) We are not able to come to Him unless the Father “draws” us or drags us. I want a picture of Jesus kicking a door down in the same masculine way He overthrew the tables in the temple while chasing out the religious hypocrites with a scourge of cords. He’s the one who commands the wind and sea to be still…and it obeys. (Mk. 4.39) He speaks and the galley of soldiers falls flat on their backs. (Jn. 18.5-6) Thank God He rescues us from our own depravity and rebellion and brings (or drags) us into His loving presence.

We don’t need to open the door of our heart, we need a new heart. Ezekiel 36:26-27 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Before we can respond we need to be resurrected. Before our heart can respond our heart must be replaced. In the famous picture, shown above, there is no door knob on the outside of the door. In other words, Jesus can't do anything until the door is opened from the inside. Yes, we need a picture of a masculine Jesus kicking down a door.

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