Alfred Place Baptist Church

Revelation Chapters 1, 2 and 3

This book is called ‘Revelation’ and it is a literal apocalypse, a literal unveiling. Curtains are pulled back and the whole universe, heaven and earth, God and man, is revealed to us both in teaching and in a series of mighty scenarios. The opening verses tell us that the book comes from God the Father; it is a revelation which God gave John (v.1). It is given the apostle John to show to God’s servants, the bond-slaves of Jesus Christ. Throughout the book John is testifying to the Word of God. He writes down what God reveals to him. There is a great blessing promised to those who read and hear and take to heart this book (v.3). So let’s get going without any more introduction because “the time is near” (v.3). [For the first part of this message I am indebted to notes taken from a sermon of Principal Macleod]1 WHAT HAPPENED TO JOHN ON THE LORD’S DAY.

John calls us back to a particular Lord’s Day in his own life when he was on the Isle of Patmos because of his testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ. He tells us on this particular Lord’s Day three things happened.

1. On this day he was in the Spirit. Now that does not mean that he was in some kind of emotional condition. He is not referring to certain feelings that he had because spirituality is not an emotion or feeling. Nor is he referring to the ordinary sense in which every single believer every day of his life is ‘in the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ’. It is the norm and the standard for believers that they are in that sense “in the spirit”, that is, led, comforted and helped by the Spirit of Almighty God. But John is referring to something different and distinctive. He was in the Spirit in the sense that the Spirit of inspiration and illumination and revelation had come into his life and upon his soul in a special way. He was in the spirit of prophecy.

2. On that same day he heard a certain great voice (v.10) and it sounded to John (we are told elsewhere) “like sound of many waters.” He could hear from any part of the Isle of Patmos the roar of the sea, and yet this voice was so powerful that it completely drowned the sound so the waves. It was as the noise of many waters, and that voice gave him the commission to write to the churches of Asia.

3. We are told that John saw the glorious Son of Man. He turned around to see where the noise had come from. He turned and saw seven golden lampstands, and for a moment they draw his attention, the gleaming cluster of light from the lampstands. But this does not hold his attention because there is something else superlatively attractive. It isn’t the church itself in the candlesticks that holds his attention, it is this sight of the Lord Jesus Christ. He sees him in the very midst, and it is the vision of the glorified Saviour that grips the apostle and holds him fascinated. It is a common misunderstanding of this great book to imagine that it is concerned primarily with the foretelling of future events – as if it were some kind of history written beforehand. But this book is first and foremost a revelation, and a revelation of the glory of the Lamb and what it sets before us in almost every chapter is the majesty of Christ, as the one who is the Lord of history, in whom all of human history is to find its meaning and at last its consummation. And I want to begin by highlighting some of those points to which our attention is drawn in this scene.

2. WHO IS THIS EXALTED LORD?

John is seeing the same Christ as he had known during the years of his earthly ministry, and yet he is a transformed Christ. You see where John’s testimony begins, “I saw,” he says, “someone like a son of man.” In other words he saw someone who looked utterly and completely human. John looks at his glorious Lord and the first thing that strikes John is the humanness of the exalted Saviour, still in human form, still the recognisable human features, and the apostle sees at once that this is a human being. John is reminding us that this is still what Jesus of Nazareth is, that the humanity remains, and yet it isn’t exactly the humanness of the earthly ministry. It is the same Christ, and this Christ is still human, but he is now exalted. He is clothed with a regal garment, a golden sash. His head and his hair are white like wool as white as snow.

Have we caught something of the significance of that, because if we go back to Daniel 7 we discover there is the Son of Man. He is also the Ancient of Days and the Great and Almighty God. But when John sees the same vision he acknowledges the Son of Man to be the Lord Jesus Christ. He has that very mark of deity and divine splendour that had belonged in the Old Testament to God the Father. So we are seeing first of all this risen Lord, that he is still human, but we are told this also that he has an exalted, transformed, transfigured humanity.

Let us pause for a moment and see the significance of this, that although the Lord Christ is today an exalted and risen Saviour yet that exaltation has not destroyed his humanness. We come back so often to the great aphorism of Rabbi Duncan, that the dust of the earth is on the throne of the majesty of high. The man Christ Jesus has still a human body and psychology but the seed of Abraham has inherited the earth. He has undergone the most sublime transfiguration – not only his body, but his soul and spirit too. He is not today a ‘man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’. He remembers those days when his heart was broken and step was heavy, when he experienced renunciation and abandonment by the Father. That memory is the stuff of his compassion, but God has wiped away every tear from his eye. All that is gone; his body has been transformed. The clarity of his vision has been increased, and out of his life sorrow and sighing have fled away.

This John had lain his head on the Lord’s bosom only two hours before the passion. He had seen the betrayal and the arrest. Perhaps he was a witness of the scourging, and certainly of the crucifixion. Now he sees that all such humiliation has gone. John sees Christ satisfied with the travail of his soul, his body and soul transformed. Christ is now in sublime and supreme eminence in the very midst of the throne. John is shown it for a reason. All around him there is imprisonment, captivity, persecution and death. The world is dealing with the church as it dealt with the church’s Lord, and John is shown for his own comfort, where the Lord’s own pilgrimage has ended, and he is given the assurance that such is the glory which the church will one day itself know in accordance with the Lord’s own prayer that where he is there they may be also. Their bodies undergo the same transformation; their souls experiencing the same comfort. They sit with him as partakers in his eminence and of his sovereignty. So we have asked the question as to who is this exalted Lord. Now let us ask another question.

Where is this exalted Lord? He is surrounded on all sides by the seven golden candlesticks. In other words we are told that these represent the Christian church and that therefore the risen Christ is in the midst of his church. He is shown in all his eminence and all his exalted glory, and yet he is equally the one who is in the very midst of his church on earth Can I define that more closely?

We have the promise that where two or three gather in his name he is there and we ourselves know that promise fulfilled today. We are to know that he is present not because we have certain feelings or that there is some kind of atmosphere in a meeting created by lights, candles or light streaming in through stained glass windows, music playing, choristers or a group with guitars, or Gregorian chants or plainsong being sung, a gentle voice speaking to us as we have all closed our eyes in prayer and a ‘communicator’ is speaking softly to us and we feel religious. Not by any of that human engineering do we know that Christ is in a certain place. Supposing today that our spirits felt utterly dejected and this building felt chilly – like a spiritual icebox, then Christ must still be here. He has promised, and so always in the midst of his churches you will find the Saviour. The head is never separated from the body. He gives directions to his body; he speaks to his own beloved people and he listens to them. He makes his gospel come not in word only but also in power and in the spirit and in much assurance. We are to search ourselves so often as to whether we prepare ourselves for some divine teaching or therapy or coaching or discipline or spiritual exercise that comes from Christ whenever we gather here. As we pray or sing are we conscious that we are directing our words to the most powerful being in the universe and beyond? Do we listen to his words in the preaching as those on whose ears his words are falling, not simply as logical utterances but with life-giving spirit and life-giving power? Christ in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. Two Christians never get together without Christ being there, seeing all they do, hearing all they say. This is an inescapable reality in our Christian lives

Again you can say this, that Christ is the glory in the midst of the church. He is at the heart of the church and he is the church’s splendour. We find ourselves as John did in his day, a small community of believers in a sea of paganism, and we stand before the world in the challenge of the gospel, and we are saying to them, “Come with us and we will do you good.” But what is the church’s glory and its chief attraction? What can this congregation offer to the world in which it lives? All it can offer is Jesus Christ. It has nothing else, and it must be exceedingly careful lest it tries something else to offer them, or that it starts to become content with something else. We have no alternative. We cannot say to people, “You don’t like our emphasis on Jesus Christ; you don’t need him, well, what about our music, our band, our group, our choir?” We do not have therapy and education and family living and a philosophical system to offer people if they do not want Jesus Christ. He is the only one we have to offer them.

There is nothing on the face of the earth that is more useless than a congregation without Jesus Christ. It may be packed to the rafters and it may have in its membership men of the highest ability and eminence and prestige. It may have the most marvellous orator in its pulpit, and every kind of social and leisure activity on earth, and yet unless the Lord is in the midst of it as its glory it is worse than useless. How exceedingly careful every church ought to be to ensure that the Lord is indeed the glory, because when people walk into this kind of service there is no possibility of our entertaining them. We are not particularly interesting people, and if we don’t have Jesus Christ then we have nothing because that is the glory that is in the midst of the candlesticks. We have a Lord who will shepherd, a Christ who will save, a prophet who will teach them, a priest who will plead for them, and a king who will lead them. That is all, and if we don’t have that we have nothing.

Let me put it this way, that Christ is in the midst of the church as the Jehovah in Psalm 46, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved.” That church, with Christ’s glory at her heart, is inviolable. The gates of hell will not prevail against her because God’s Christ is in the midst, and so long as this particular congregation is built upon the rock Jesus Christ, and as long as its pulpit and its people point men to the Lamb of God who bears the sin of the world then this church shall stand secure.

There is always the possibility of a congregation without Christ, of him outside and knocking for admission. There can be New Testament congregations with a form of godliness, and teaching, and the right office-bearers, regenerate members and so on, but Christ himself on the outside. That possibility always exists and such a congregation never has the right to plead God’s promise of preservation and of perpetuity. So the Lord Jesus is wherever his people gather; he is the glory of a congregation; he is the defence of a congregation.

But surely he is more than that. He is not only in the midst of the candlesticks, but he is also in the heart of every child of God. He never leaves nor forsake any for whom he died, his presence as particular as his love, and his love was intensely particular – “he loved me and gave himself for me.” And are we jealous of this privilege? Are we conscious of this day by day? Christ is in me, and Christ is with me, and around me, that underneath are his everlasting arms, that from one point of view as a Christian I never have a moment’s privacy; I am never alone. No matter what the temptations and the sufferings and obligations I face, whatever they may be I am not facing them alone because Christ has come and dwelt in the soul of the Christian and so there is always that fellowship and togetherness.

So John sees the exalted Lord and he sees him in the midst of the candlesticks, a glorious presence which means that church living under his constant surveillance, and sustained by his strength, and directed by his day to day leadership because there he is always, in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.

3. HOW THIS AWESOME CHRIST HUMBLES THE CHURCH.

John tells us very plainly that perceiving this Christ he fell at his feet as though dead (v.17). He is utterly overwhelmed by the Lord and the light of his countenance. It was as brilliant as the sun shining in its strength. The overall impression of Jesus Christ being in the midst of his people is, John says, as if a man were looking right into the sun. Not only that, but the sun shining in its power, at the very height of its brightness. God is light and in him is no darkness at all, and John as he sees Jesus Christ is utterly overwhelmed. All the strength drains out of his body and he collapses prostrate before the lord, and the great lesson is that the majesty of God in Christ is such as to overwhelm with a sense of dread those who are the very closest to him. When Jesus Christ comes to a congregation how profoundly threatened we are. That is our chief impression. So it was with Moses in the cleft of the rock, and Elijah as God came in earthquake, fire, wind and a still small voice. When Isaiah saw the glory of Christ in the temple the angels felt threatened by him and Isaiah felt a sense of woe that he was undone. Thus it was with Peter falling before Christ in a boat and crying, “Depart from me O Lord for I am a sinful man.’ So too with Saul of Tarsus when this same Christ met him on the road to Damascus. “Who art thou, Lord?” he cries. There is in the Bible in fact no description of men coming into close contact with Christ and enjoying it. They all long for it to be over and done with. The Philippian jailer feels suicidal as the Lord comes to the prison and shakes the whole place. And I wonder whether any of us have ever felt Christ as a threat? But that is built right into the holiness of God. No man can see God and live. We have never understood that holiness unless we have seen it as an overbearing, overwhelming, omnipotent challenge to our creatureliness and to our self-esteem.

Now this is not the only way to react to Christ. It had not been the exclusive way John had reacted to him. John had spent precious moments with his head on the bosom of the Saviour. But there is no authentic Christian life that is a total stranger to the overwhelming nature of the Lamb. John falls at his feet as dead, impotent, defenceless, possessed by a total dread because he has looked into something that he found to be utterly threatening, different from any other being whom he had approached in his life. He does not fall on his back and laugh inanely, or make animal noises. He falls on his face before this extraordinary holy being. Now let me ask this question; Who should feel like this?

4. WHO SHOULD FALL BEFORE CHRIST?

i] All the seven churches should fall like that.

Churches like Smyrna and Philadelphia of which our Lord makes little criticism should bow before him. Here we have the apostle John, the one Jesus loved especially, the faithful witness, the one who had suffered for his faith. His had been close to God. His life had been full of eminent usefulness and spirituality. Everything seems right between him and his Saviour. There is no backsliding, no secret sins, no lack of assurance, and yet John, in the consciousness of salvation, and the persuasion of his own integrity, and the possession of his strong faith, and the testimony of a clear conscience yet still is overwhelmed by Christ. And I would say that it is utterly normal that when we get a clear vision of the divine glory of Christ that we are going to feel it. before the God of the Old Testament, or the God of John Calvin, or the God of Jonathan Edwards. He is standing before Jesus Christ, but he does not stay standing for long because he has seen the glory lucidly. He falls at his feet as one dead, in total submission and dependence, without any sense of self-worth, or self-justification.

ii] The backsliding congregations should be falling before Christ.

Churches like the congregations at Ephesus and Thyatira who were backsliding should be falling before him. And almost every Christian has been a backslider at one time or another, and it would be very, very strange if there were none in this congregation today. Yet with our spiritual weakness there is so little interest in spirituality, and a close walk with God, and mortifying anything that would drive the gentle dove of Jesus Christ from our lives, and creating in us a spirit of earnest prayerfulness, and encouraging earnest Christian living. I think it is all right in our church meetings to spend time discussing the fabric of the church, but the primary focus of our lives is upon the Lord’s Day and the Spirit of Jesus Christ in our midst. How can I walk closer with God? How can I present my body as a living sacrifice to him? How can I love my neighbour as myself? How can I bear the burden of the weak brothers and sisters? How can I live a more Christ-centred life?

iii] Every real congregation everywhere needs to be falling before this Saviour.

What are the reasons we should be falling before Christ? Let’s look at the seven churches. What reasons does Jesus give them to be falling in repentance before Christ?

A] There is the Ephesus reason to fall before the Lord Christ: leaving Jesus your first love “You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (2:4&5). There was a time when you used to fall in adoration before Jesus Christ. You loved the ordinances of the gospel, the preaching of the word, the fellowship of his people, the Lord’s Day. You thought of becoming a preacher, but then slowly and imperceptibly you forsook Jesus Christ as your first love. You loved something else, surfing the web, making money, another woman. Remember the blessings you once knew? They have left an aching void the world can never fill. Remember the heights of blessings and you have fallen from that for what? Fall before him in repentance.

B] There is the Smyrna reason to fall before Jesus Christ. Fear of what might happen in the future: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days” (2:10). It is so desperately defiant. Christ says to us in the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not worry about tomorrow,” and yet here was a congregation thinking about everything that might happen, and all the possibilities of what we are going to suffer with imprisonment and persecution. “I might be tortured. I might not have enough food. I might deny the Saviour who bought me. Who is going to look after my family when I am behind bars?” We can dwell on so much that might happen in the future and become neurotic and depressed. Our Almighty Saviour is the King of the future as of today. All his promises of keeping us and never leaving us and working all things together for our good apply to the future as much as in the past. The goodness and mercy that have followed us all the days of our lives will be the blessing of the future too. Sufficient for them will be its own troubles. There will be time enough when they arise, time enough to take measures, and act as a Christian should act. Of course we can pre-plan and take measures if anything is inevitable, but sometimes congregations worry about wild possibilities. There are churches whose present is mortgaged and whose today is a strain because they are afraid about the what is about to happen. Fall before Jesus Christ.

C] There is the Pergamum reason to fall before Jesus Christ: heresy. “You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam . . . likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans” (2:14&15). They were tolerating false teaching in the congregation of God’s great prophet, Jesus Christ. What would you think of a family whose father had certain godly convictions but the family brought a man in to eat with them every day. He spoke at the table to the wife and children things that constantly grieved the father. He had built the house, taken the wife from poverty and made her rich, paid for the children’s education and upbringing, caring deeply for them so that they lacked nothing, and yet now they brought a stranger in and listened to his sweet lies getting so excited about his opinions and changing their lives. What should such a family do? It should fall before its father and confess its sins in repentance, and throw that man out of the house and never let him nor his doctrines through the door again

D] There is the Thyatira reason to fall before Jesus Christ: unrepented sustained immorality. “You tolerate that woman Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols . . .” (2:20ff). Here is not doctrinal error but immorality tolerated in the church. Here is the pulpit being offered to the adulterer, or today, to the practising homosexual. Let me use my illustration again, of the woman being invited into the family to sit at the table day by day and the sons committing adultery with this Jezebel, while the father breaks his heart. This sort of thing was happening in Thyatira. Christ had given his church time to repent of her immorality, but she was unwilling. She loved Jezebel more than Christ. Hear this holy one’s terrible words, “I will strike her children dead” (v.23). Let the adulterer fall as dead before Christ before it is too late.

E] There is the Sardis reason to fall before Jesus Christ: a name for being religious which name was hiding a state of inward death. “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (3:1). People talked about this congregation. “What a live congregation,” they said. “Plenty of life in that church,” they judged. But people mistake liveliness for life, and crowds for Christ’s blessing; and enthusiasm for godliness; and sincerity for salvation. But you and I know that many religions have crowds of lively enthusiasts who are utterly sincere in what they believe but they are all dead. When Josef Stalin died there was such a spirit of fear in Moscow that no one would say he was dead. The doctors were reluctant to write a death certificate in case they were shot as traitors. So the days dragged on, the outside world believing that Stain was still alive while for days he had been dead. The world was in ignorance about him and fear prevented anyone telling them the truth. But Christ goes right through the outward appearance to the heart. He knows if there is life, its quality and purity and strength. He knows when all a church possesses is a carefully nourished reputation. It is all religious spin. You can fool people but you can’t fool the Great Physician. Let the man who is a Christian merely outwardly fall at his feet as one dead and cry mightily to Christ for life.

F] There is the Philadelphia reason to fall before Jesus Christ: spiritual weakness. “I know that you have little strength” (3:8). That is better than having no strength at all, but today we are called to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Paul prays for us in these terms, that we be strengthened with power through God’s Spirit in our inner beings, that we should know God’s incomparably great power, which power is like the working of his mighty strength, which God exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead. How dare we have little strength. Are our resources inadequate? Think of the sluggard in the book of Proverbs. Others are working in the harvest but he is lying back on his armchair. “I admire you working so hard, but I have little strength,” he sighs. Exercise yourself unto godliness! Fall down as dead before the Almighty Christ and ask him to strengthen you with might by his power.

G] There is the Laodicean reason to fall before Jesus Christ: lukewarm religion. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (3:15&16). Religion as tasteless as soggy lettuce or lukewarm soup. They would never take the alabaster box of precious oil and pour it all over the feet of Christ. They would never say, “This one thing I do.” They would never think, “If Jesus Christ be the Son of God and died for me nothing I do can be too much for him.” They loved moderate religion, but the Christian faith has at its heart the immoderate and excessive and prodigal love of God. It is a love which demands my soul and my life and my all. They were lukewarm, but they did not know it. They were deluded. Lukewarm religion never walks alone. So it was with this Laodicean church; they had the most marvellous self love – what a wonderfully positive self image! Each one said this, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth, and do not need anything” (3:17). God’s verdict was very different, “You are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” When you fall before Christ’s feet this is what he will tell you about yourself, but also he will tell you where the blind may see, and the naked get clothing, and the poor get true riches. But you have to fall at his feet first.

5. HOW SHOULD THEY LIVE WHO HAVE FALLEN AT CHRIST’S FEET?

It is one of the great questions facing the church today, as we seek to live authentic Christian lives, and be salt and light in the world. How should we live? If we have fallen before Jesus Christ how then should we live? If he is in our midst week by week as we gather for worship what impact should he make upon us? What difference should Christ make? Let us go to the fountainhead of Christianity, to the New Testament churches and their Lord and ask them what are the marks of an true Christian lifestyle? You will notice that the size of these congregations is not even hinted at. We have no idea which was the largest, and which the smallest, and which was – in that wonderful Church Growth phrase – “an awkward sized congregation”! To judge like that never entered the mind of the Lord of the church. He was the one who had added to each of them those who would believe. What does he command in them?

A] The Ephesus church displays perseverance; “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name and have not grown weary” (3:3). There is no place for this ‘weariness’ excuse for neglecting our duties and being absent from meetings and not taking part in the full life of the church. “How are you feeling?” “Oh, a bit weary . . . so much to do.” Keep going brother, sister! Persevere! Endure hardship for Jesus’ name. Don’t ever let weariness become an excuse for sitting back and letting others bear the heat of the sun and the burden of the day. Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.

B] The Smyrna church displays richness during affliction and poverty: “I know your afflictions and your poverty – yet you are rich!” (2:9). Hadn’t they heard of the health and wealth gospel in Smyrna? Didn’t they have apostles to invite to special meetings? Hadn’t they learned that God wanted everyone to have bags of gold and live for ever? No. They hadn’t been told the heresy of health and wealth teaching. They had learned in whatever state they were in to be content. They had learned how to abound and also how to suffer want, as God saw best. When God prescribed for them a thorn in the flesh he gave them all sufficient grace to bear it. They learned how to glory in their infirmities; when they were weak they went to God for strength. They were rich in poverty; all grace was always abounding to them. God supplied all their needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. That is the blessing that comes to those who fall at Jesus’ feet.

C] The Pergamum church displays faithfulness: “You remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city – where Satan lives” (2:13). How easy to be a gospel preacher in the Bible belt of the USA, or in Ballymena in Northern Ireland, or standing in your own pulpit where you’ve been for forty years and most of the congregation love you. It is easy to be faithful and to speak of faithfulness there, but in Pergamum? Satan lived there. It was the centre for antichrist and the occult. It cost you everything to be faithful to Christ there, but that was where these people true to Jesus’ name. Think of the lands where Islam dominates, or think of Harvard or the Sorbonne and the contempt for true Christianity in those places of learning. What do we need to stand in an evil day and not to compromise? We need to fall before Jesus Christ the head of the church in worship. That alone will enable us to endure.

D] The Thyatira church displays spiritual growth. Here it is at last, church growth! Listen, “you are now doing more than you did at first” (2:19). In what areas of their lives was there growth? In every single area. Christ specifies in verse 19 of chapter 3, “your deeds, your love, your service and perseverance” – in none of those areas was there stagnation. In their good deeds they were doing more and more; they were loving one another more and more; their service of one another was increasing and they were persevering more and more. That is the mark of a church that falls at the feet of Jesus.

E] The Sardis church displays purity: “you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy” (3:4). You remember the early nickname given to Christians? They were called ‘Puritans.’ People who were obsessed with purity. We live in a world obsessed with pure water, and wanting to take only pure drugs, and wearing a wedding ring made of pure gold, and no one bats an eyelid at such concerns, but when Christians preach purity of speech and life, when we urge people to fill their minds with pure images, and live in purity before marriage and faithfulness during marriage they look at us as though we are crazy! So if they choose to, let the politician and the policeman and the preacher walk around in soiled clothes, we will esteem the people who dress in the purity of God’s will. These are the ones who have fallen at the feet of the pure Lamb of God.

F] The Philadelphia church had evangelistic initiative: “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut” (3:8). Don’t we have opportunity to reach out into our community? Where are the no-go areas in Aberystwyth for the gospel? Can we think of any? Do we ever get together and hold a pity party because we have no opportunity to share the faith? Some of our friends are speaking many mornings a week in local school assemblies. I have been interviewed a number of times on Radio Ceredigion. We can hold a service in the old people’s homes and in the hospital chapel. We can write letters to the press. We can preach in the street in the heart of the town right opposite one of the main banks. We can distribute a thousand evangelistic newspapers around the houses at Christmas. We can announce our services and invite people to attend without any hassle. An open door has been placed before us that no man can shut, and those who have fallen at the feet of Christ will be the ones to go through that door in Jesus’ name.

G] The poor backsliding Laodicean church had much to bow in repentance about, but they did have this one thing and it is tremendous to have it if you will respond. Jesus Christ was standing at the door and knocking (3:20). They had the offer of fellowship renewed with the Saviour if they only opened the door. “I will come in,” he said to them. “Open the door,” he urged them. Isn’t it a simple thing to open a door? Open it to him! Please open it. We have Christ in the invitations of the gospel. If we have nothing at all certainly you all have this today. A Saviour who is willing to become your Lord, and enter your life to give mercy and grace to help you. Let him into your life. Don’t keep that door locked with so gracious a Saviour able and willing to change you. Let him in! Resist no longer!

6 February 2005 GEOFF THOMAS