Why Don’t You Invite Jesus for Supper?

Revelation 3: 20

by Robert Brooks

Introduction:
Door-to-door salesmen are fast becoming a thing of the past because of rising crime and the consequent fear of answering our doors to strangers.  Likewise, personal visitation on the part of churches is experiencing similar pressure.  We guard the doors of our homes carefully, as well we should.  We decide who enters to fellowship with us.

I. We notice first in our text that Jesus takes the initiative.
A. Man is not so much seeking for the Living God as God, all through scripture, is seeking man.  If man takes life as it comes, he automatically becomes an idolater.  That is, things become his gods:  family, work, houses, cars, and materialism – a thing-centered life.
B. In John 15: 16, Jesus says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. . . .”

II. You must open the door to Jesus
A. Have you ever noticed a painting depicting our text?  The doorknob is not located on the outside of the door.
B. Jesus knocks on the heart through the Holy Spirit, but Jesus will not force His way in.  You must answer the door.

III. If you open the door of your heart, Jesus will set the table.
A. The original Greek says, “I will come in to him and will dine with him.”
B. The table has been set with a covering, a covering for sin by the work of the cross, the blood of the Lord Jesus. (Ephesians 2: 13)
C. The table is set for salvation.  Our “goodness” does not make us worthy to sit at His table, but totally His grace (unmerited gift). (Ephesians 2: 8 – 9)
D. The table is set for fellowship with God.  There’s just something about a meal for fellowship!  Eating is right there at the top of the list of life’s greatest pleasures as well as a necessity.  My wife and I were dining the other day at the International House of Pancakes.  I said, “Ann, just listen to this place!  Such laughter!  Such fellowship!”  Jesus wants to dine with us.  He invites us to fellowship with God everyday, not only as a necessity but for pleasure!
E. Is it any wonder that Jesus initiated a simple symbolic meal to commemorate His body and blood for His Church – communion (or the Lord’s Supper)?  The great Swiss theologian and beloved pastor, Walter Luthi, wrote:  “We have the message, splendid beyond all supplication and understanding, that Christ the crucified offers Himself to His Church in the Lord’s Supper.  He offers His body and blood.”  This observance is to be participated in perpetually “till He comes.” (I Corinthians 11: 26)
IV. Jesus gave us a parable about a host who sent his servants out with invitations to a great banquet.  The Invitation was “come for all things are now ready.”  Those invited began to make excuses. (Luke 14: 1 – 24)
A. The parable first applies to Israel’s rejection of her Messiah and God, so that present Israel, except for a remnant, is under the wrath of God.  Those who are invited, but reject the invitation will not share in God’s fellowship.  Indeed, Jesus said shocking words to the religious leaders of the day (as He often did), “Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you.” (Matthew 21: 31)  Jesus hated nothing more than proud, religious piosity. (Matthew 23: 12 – 33)
B. Secondly, this parable applies to every color and every status in society, especially Gentiles or non-Jews.
C. As with the host in this parable, God is still offering the great opportunity to fellowship with Him.  He sends out all Christians (not just preachers or Sunday school teachers).  But people are still responding, “Thanks, God, but no thanks!”  The Lord’s servants are still offering invitations, but the vast majority of people are still slamming the door in Jesus face!
D. But we, like the host in the parable have the message – “and yet there is room!” (Luke 14: 22)

Conclusion:
The old hymn stands true:
There’s room at the Cross for you.
There’s room at the cross for you.
Though millions have come,
There’s still room for one.
There’s room at the Cross for you.
Ira F. Stanphill

Open the door of your heart and dine with Jesus.

Keepers of the Sacred Fire

Revelation 3: 14 – 22
Sermon by Robert G. Brooks
RgregoryBrooks@aol.com

Introduction:
G. E Ladd calls the Laodicean church “the Lordless church.”  It is known as the lukewarm church.

I. Addressed to the Pastor, (because angel is better translated “Messenger”).

All too often, as goes the pastor, so goes the church.  If the pastor is weak spiritually, so will be the church.

II. Verse 14 identifies Jesus as the true witness of God.
“I am the way, the truth and the life,” said Jesus.  “No man cometh unto the father but by me.”  The world religions and the so-called “Christian cults” are erroneous.  Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and the voice of strangers they will not follow.”  An authentic, New Testament Church is the guardian of His truth.

Verse 14 also points to Christ as Creator.

III. Verse 15 – 16 points up the main problem of the Laodicean church — Lukewarmness.
Jesus says with Him it is all or nothing at all.  Jesus measures the temperature of the Church and finds it a half-hearted Church that has lost it’s urgency.

Martin Kidde says it is better to be untouched by the flame of Christianity than to be merely half-choked ashes.  The old blues singer, B. B. King, has a song called “The Thrill Is Gone.”  So it was with the Laodiceans.  They were infected with the sin of feeble service.  Jesus says once for all to every church that He will not honor, bless, or make fruitful a half-hearted church.  A good illustration is the marriage vow which should commit oneself unreservedly to another person.

In verse 16, Jesus seeks to shock in the most strenuous terms the Laodiceans out of their spiritual lethargy.  On a hot day, or any day, for that matter, a warm glass of water (instead of a cold one) is repelling.  In fact, it can be nauseating.  Jesus here points to the fact that halfway religion is the sin that nauseates Him.  He uses the strongest word possible for his shock treatment.  King James and other translations render the words “spew thee out of my mouth.”  Others approach the unpleasantness of the words by translating them “spit thee out of my mouth.”  But the literal translation for the Greek words are “I will vomit you out of my mouth.”  So seriously wrong is half-hearted religion that Jesus says it makes him sick.

The Iroquois nation was actually a confederation of six tribes.  The Onondagas were designated as the fire keepers.  They were to light the sacred fire when the tribes came together for council.  We are supposed to be the keepers of the sacred fire, to “let our light so shine before men that they may see (our) good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.”

Now here’s a point: If you or I can remember a time when we were closer to the Lord than we are at this very moment, then we are letting the flame of God burn too low — we are either lukewarm or in danger of becoming so.  Verses 15 and 16 are key words in the whole of Holy Scripture!

IV. Lukewarmness caused by self-satisfaction (17).

The city of Laodicea was a prosperous one.  It was a commercial  center.  The Laodicean church (from Jesus words) must have been a materially affluent church, putting riches in place of righteousness.  Their attitude, Jesus said, was “I have need of nothing.”  But Jesus rebuked them as spiritually poverty stricken, calling them wretched.

We who are materially blessed in America may be like the Laodicean church, thinking we have need of nothing.  We may indeed be like the bum who wandered into an exclusive men’s store.  His beard was straggly.  His hair looked as if it had not been washed in months.  His clothing was shabby, his shoes perhaps having never been polished.  Surrounding him were Tommy Hilfiger suits, Van Husen dress shirts, expensive ties, and Florsheim shoes.  A clerk asked the bum if he could help him.  The bum casually glanced around the store and said, “I — don’t need nothing.”  This was the Laodicean church.  It may be us (17).

V. Jesus counsels spiritual riches. “Gold tried in the fire.” (18)

The Christian tested in the furnace of God is to come forth pure for Him.  Laodicia was famous for it’s black wool.  Jesus counseled the Church to be clad spiritually in white robes.  Laodicia was famous for it’s medical school, which produced a certain healing powder for the eyes.  Jesus said if you want to have eyes controlled by the Spirit of God, then come to Him.  Then one would truly see.

VI. Jesus warns that He chastises wayward Christians (19a).

In the Greek, “be zealous” is literally “be hot!”  Have a fervent faith.  Have a burning heart.  The two disciples with whom Jesus walked on the road to Emmaus (after He disappeared from their view) exclaimed, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us by the way and while He opened to us the scriptures.”  Our hearts will burn within us if we let Jesus walk with us.  Thus it will be with the Church, so that it will be a fervent Church, not a cold Church.  Someone said entering some churches is like stepping into a deep freezer, so cold the ushers have to skate down the aisles to take up the collection”

Jesus counseled the Laodicean church to repent.  Even so we are counseled, to constantly be repenting of the tempting of our sinful nature.

VII. Jesus seeks to fellowship with us to keep the sacred fire burning (20).

Food is a great pleasure, and a great source of fellowship.  Jesus wants to be the greatest pleasure in our lives.  He wants to have spiritual fellowship with us that we might feed on Him, the Bread of Life.

Have you ever noticed the painting that depicts Jesus knocking at the door?  There is no doorknob on the outside of the door.  Jesus must be invited in.

VIII. If the church would be a warm and vibrant church, it must listen to the voice of the Spirit of God (19).

Conclusion:

Like the Onondaga Indians who were the council fire-keepers, let us realize we are to be the bearers of the sacred fire of the Gospel.  Let us lift the torch of truth, and pass it on from all the Christians of past history!