This is a season where many are calling us to pray … for revival, for many to be saved, for our country. I’ve been praying especially that I, and all of us, would be strengthened in our faith. So then I began to ponder that if God calls us to faith, then God is the One who strengthens our faith, so how then, do we position ourselves in such a way that we can receive what God has for us?
John Piper had a blog re-published this week from 1983. It is extremely relevant in these days. I’d like to share with you from this blog because it hits me right in the center of my question. Piper’s message is an exposition on Revelation 3:14-22 where Jesus is speaking to the church in Laodicea, and where He says they are “lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold,” and then threatens to therefore spit them from His mouth. This is a text that has often given me a sense of pause, and when I have read that verse, I have stopped and wondered if Jesus would consider me lukewarm.
Now the essence of lukewarmness is saying, “I don’t need it. I need nothing. I have enough of Jesus. I walked the aisle one day, and He came into my heart, and I have Him. I don’t need anything.” The lukewarm are spiritually self-satisfied.
Barometer of Self-Satisfaction
The way to tell whether you are among the number of the spiritually self-satisfied is to look at your prayer life. To tell whether we are in the bondage to spiritual self-satisfaction is how frequently, how earnestly, how expectantly, how extendedly do you strive with God to have a deeper knowledge of Christ, greater earnestness in prayer, more boldness in witness, sweeter joy in the Holy Spirit? Do you long for deeper sorrow for sin, warmer compassion for the lost, more divine power to love? Are you going after God in your prayer life hard every day, often, long? And if not, that’s the barometer of whether you’re spiritually self-satisfied – not what you think about yourself in your head.
Poor and Pitiable
Now, Jesus has a word to you and to me if we think we need nothing, not in 1983, but now in this crazy year of 2020, if there’s no sense of desperation in our hearts for change. People may think that it’s a bit melodramatic, overdoing it a little bit to have an all-night prayer meeting on Friday, as though there were some volcano about to come down upon us. Well, there is, in Revelation 3:14-22, a volcano about to come down on lukewarm people. And Jesus’s assessment: “You are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). That’s the way He looks down upon churchgoers who don’t have any passion for change in their lives, who are quite content to go on, day in and day out, with two minutes with the Lord. And such churchgoers, if they don’t begin to do something, to change, will eventually be spit out of his mouth.
Counsel from Christ
Jesus Himself gives us counsel in verse 18: I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Christ’s will for the church is not to spit it out.
- His will is that our poverty be replaced with wealth.
- His will is that our nakedness and shame be clothed with robes of righteousness and obedience.
- His will is that our blindness be healed so that we see like God sees and assess everything the way He does.
Where do we get that gold, those garments, and that medicine – and that’s Jesus himself. And that’s why He says, “Buy from Me gold.” But if you’re poor, blind, naked, miserable, and wretched, you can’t even get out of your closet.
Open Your Doors
Jesus answers that question in verse 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. We’ve often heard that verse applied to unbelievers, but here, the verse is applied to lukewarm Christians who think they have Jesus sufficiently. This is for people who want to keep the Lord on the porch and deal with Him like a salesman; you might want to buy the thing, but you don’t want Him to come in and get mixed up in the deep places of your life. Christ did not die to purify a bride who would keep Him on the porch while she watches TV in the den. His will for the church is that we open the door, all the doors of our lives.
This is that sweet promise: He wants to join you in the dining room of your life, light a candle, spread the table, sit down with you and talk for an hour. Just try to imagine the favorite meal you’ve ever enjoyed with the nearest and dearest friend you’ve ever had. That’s the experience Jesus wants with everybody. And He’s knocking right now and asking for it. “Wouldn’t you take the time for me, please – an hour – so that I can eat with you and you with me?”
And when Jesus Christ comes into the room, He brings with Him all the gold, all the garments, and all the medicine in the world. To have Jesus is to have everything. How do you buy gold when you’re broke? You pray. You start opening all the doors of the deep recesses of your life. And you appeal to him to come into every single sphere and be at home and sup with you, and you with Him.
Power for More
When Jesus comes and dwells in the innermost of our affections, there’s going to be power – power to love. Power to overcome all the crummy desires that pull us around by the nose and lord it over us. When Jesus comes in and has dinner with you by candlelight, you’ve got power to overcome all the allurements of the world.
After I finished reading this blog from John Piper, a particularly appropriate song came to mind, and I’d like to share it with you.
Do you want more of the beautiful hospitality Jesus offers to you?