“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
In the first chapter of this book we read the revelation to John of seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of them one like unto the Son of man. In his right hand he held seven stars. These things were wonderful and mysterious to John, therefore further revelation of them was made to him. The candlesticks were the seven churches of Asia. He in the midst of them was Christ, who upholds the entire church, represented by the number seven. The stars were the angels or ministers of the seven churches, or in other words, all ministers of the gospel of the grace of God, all are in his hand (under his control) and are accountable to him only for their stewardship. A message was sent to each angel or pastor of the seven churches by Him who is in their midst. Our text is embodied in the message to the angel of the church of Laodicea. Five of the churches were in disorder and were sharply rebuked. One had left her first love; another had those who held the doctrine of Balaam; another suffered that woman Jezebel to teach; another had a name as though she lived but was really dead; another was right and needed nothing, while indeed she was poor, miserable, naked and blind. To each church the Lord said, “I know thy works.” The works were then described and the remedy for each transgression given, which was repentance. If they did not repent, the candlestick should be removed out of its place. The church of Philadelphia was commended for its steadfastness, and blessing was pronounced upon it.
If we note the time and circumstances under which the writings of the Bible were penned it will give us a more proper conception of their import. This book, Revelation, in which is recorded the seven messages to the churches of Asia, was written in the gospel day, therefore sets forth gospel order and discipline, not legal commandments and legal obedience. While the church is freed from the law, it is under law to Christ, and he demands gospel obedience, hence order in his house must be maintained or the candlestick will be removed out of its place. He is fully acquainted with all our works, we therefore should be careful to keep his house clean. None of us should forsake our first love for gold and silver. We should not hold the doctrine of Balaam and put a stumbling-block in our brother’s way. We must not suffer a woman to teach and usurp authority over the man. None of us must manifest false zeal, thereby giving others to think we are alive when we are in reality dead.
The church of Laodicea seemed to be in a deplorable condition, notwithstanding they thought they lacked nothing, being rich and full. The message says they were “lukewarm,” and because of such condition the Savior would “spew “them out of his mouth. This lukewarm condition seems to be the state of many of us in this age of the world. If such condition was distasteful to the Master of the house in the days of the churches of Asia, is it not equally so now I There seems to be much indifference in all the world toward church privileges; if everything is favorable we will go to meeting, if not we remain at home quite satisfied. This was not the case with us in our first love. If a man comes along bringing the doctrine of Balaam, some one will say, O he may have been embarrassed, we should be charitable toward the poor fellow. Such was not the case with us when we lived upon the sincere milk of the word, and would not even for a moment tolerate anything that gave a shadow of Ashdod. We do not seek the society of each other as we once did when the relation of the experience of the sheep and lambs was precious to us. The Scriptures seem old and we read less than in former years. Do we who are pastors visit our flocks and thereby keep up that warmth of feeling between pastor and people, as we once did! Do we render all the service we can to the church! or do we render as little as possible! Is our conversation seasoned with salt, that the hearers may be edified thereby! or is it upon worldly topics mingled with levity! Is our walk before men such as commands respect and has influence for good! Do we seek to have variety in our preaching that the interest of the church and congregation be kept up! If we, together with the churches, are neither hot nor cold, we surely must be lukewarm.
This knocking at the door by the Savior is not at the heart of the dead sinner for admittance, as many imagine, but each knock is a revelation to the church in disorder, whether individually or collectively. To the church or individual who says, I am rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing, the revelation from God that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” is the knocking at the door. To be shown that we must buy of Him gold tried in the fire, that we may be rich, is to reveal to us that our gold is not refined or purified. To be shown that we need white raiment that we may be clothed, that our barrenness and destitution appear not, is to reveal our righteousness as filthy rags. To make known to us that our eyes need anointing with eyesalve that we may see, reveals our blindness to spiritual things. When He thus knocks the door opens and the poor sinner or church sits down with him in his kingdom which cometh not with observation. In his light they see light; in his righteousness they are clothed; in his riches they are rich. Through this operation of the Spirit order is restored; true zeal and warmth of love are again given. Is not this supping with him’. Is not communion with God and with his Son Jesus Christ supping with him and he with us! It is because of his love to the church that he rebukes and chastens it. He deals with us as with children; we overcome through his strength the powers of evil and sit down with him in his throne, even as he overcame and is set down with his Father in his throne. K.
Editorial – Elder H. C. Ker
Signs Of The Times
Volume 76., No. 18.
SEPTEMBER 15, 1908.