Episode 1. Knock, Knock, Who's There?
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So many people believe in Jesus – in fact the stats tell us that fully 2.2 billion people on planet earth today would call themselves Christians. But by far the majority of those have what could …
So many people believe in Jesus – in fact the stats tell us that upwards of 2.2 billion people on planet Earth today call themselves Christians. But by far the majority of those, have what could best be described as a lukewarm relationship with Jesus. Now – we might think that’s better than nothing but the question is – what does Jesus think?
It’s so exciting to be with you again at the beginning of a new week – a fresh start, a fresh week and a new series of messages that we’re kicking off today. But before we get going, I want to tell you what led me to this point of kicking off this new series.
One of the things that I’ve done many, many times in churches around the place is to stand up front, either leading worship or preaching. And one of the things I’ve noticed, especially let me say, as people are supposedly worshipping God, is – what are the words? – a lack of engagement. You look around at the sea of faces and you can see people’s minds wandering. People being distracted by who’s walking in late behind them, people looking at their watch or … well, you can just tell that they’re not there, blankly staring into space. Okay, their lips might be moving, sure, but the last thing they’re doing is worshipping God.
Now I don’t care whether you’re someone who believes passionately in Jesus or maybe you’re not in that place at the moment. Maybe you call yourself more an agnostic or an atheist. Irrespective of where we’re at, if we wander into a church amongst people who profess to believe in this amazing God, we’d all expect them to be sincere about it, wouldn’t we? I mean, we would. But a good many people aren’t. They go to church out of, I don’t know, a sense of obligation, perhaps, or maybe it’s a habit. It blows my mind. And that’s what led me to this series of messages.
This series is called, “There’s a Knock at the Door”. And that’s a phrase that comes straight out of the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, as Jesus is speaking to a church where the people are lukewarm towards Him. We might think, “Well, you know, at least they’re lukewarm. That’s better than ice-cold, right?”
Have a listen to Jesus’ take on it. Revelation Chapter 3 beginning at verse 14:
To the angel of the church in Laodicea, the Words of the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the origin of God’s creation. I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I’m about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say ‘I’m rich, I’ve prospered, I don’t need anything’. But you don’t realise that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. So I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich and white robes to clothe you and keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and a slave to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
I reprove and discipline those I love. Be earnest therefore and repent. Listen, I’m standing at the door knocking, if you hear my voice and open the door I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me. To the one who conquerors I will give a place with me on my throne just as I, myself, conquered and sat down with my Father on His throne. Let anyone who has an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches, listen.
This idea that “lukewarm” is better than “cold” is so far from the truth. Jesus wishes we were either cold or hot. Have you ever drunk a lukewarm cup of tea or coffee – it’s disgusting. What you want to do is spit it out. And see, the thing doesn’t start with the church so much, this thing starts in our hearts. You and I, we’re hot or we’re lukewarm or we’re cold when it comes to this Jesus, this God who loves us with a love that would have Jesus nailed to a Cross for you and for me.
There’s nothing, absolutely nothing lukewarm about God’s love for you and me. God is passionate about you and me. It is so easy for us to live a lukewarm life. Just recently I had to fill out a census form here in Australia, as we have a national census. I think we do it every five years or so. They ask you all sorts of questions. And one of the things they ask is your religion. So you can tick different Christian denominations or boxes for other religions or you can tick a box for no religion at all.
Last census almost two thirds of us ticked the box for a Christian religion, and yet only 10% of us are regularly part of a church. So at least over 50% of the nation are probably lukewarm Christians. Probably more because there are plenty of lukewarm Christians in church as well. Okay, that’s a broad generalisation, but you get my point right.
By far, by far the vast majority of people who would call themselves Christian are not committed followers of Jesus Christ. By far the majority of people who would call themselves Christian are not part of a dynamic, vital faith community. By far the vast majority of people who would call themselves Christian have anything but an intimate relationship with Jesus, Himself.
Hello. I’m sorry if I’m getting in your face here. I’m sorry if this has you squirming a bit in your seat, but this passage that I’ve just read before, this passage of Jesus talking about a bunch of lukewarm Christians is bound to make us squirm just a little in our seats if we happen to be a lukewarm Christian.
Anyone who kind of believes in this Jesus as a bit of an insurance policy, just in case there is a heaven, just in case there is a hell; anyone who kind of believes in this Jesus but has Him at arms length; anyone who goes through the motions, who plays out the religious rituals of church every Sunday, but doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus; anyone who’s in that place is bound to squirm just a little.
That’s good. I think that’s what Jesus is looking for because today, if you’re in that place, the last thing I’m here to do is to criticise you or condemn you because you know something, I spent a huge part of my life in that place as well. I know it really well. And the longer I stayed in that place, the less certain I became that there was a God who sent His Son to this earth to die on a Cross to pay for my sins.
So if you’re one of the people who’s squirming a bit, wondering if you are a Christian, wondering if Jesus would consider you hot or cold, or worse still, lukewarm, then this is especially for you today. There’s a knock at the door, a knock at the door of your heart. Today, as we spend these few minutes together, I believe that Jesus in knocking at the door of your heart and asking you, “Where are you at?” Today I believe Jesus is calling you to open your heart to Him.
And I remember when He first came knocking on the door of my heart, it was a shock. You know those “knock, knock” jokes – “Knock, knock, who’s there?” And that’s kind of how it felt. Someone or something is knocking on the door of my heart. I had the sense that God was touching me, that God was speaking to me, that God wanted to fellowship with me. It was such a weird feeling. It was like, “What’s this? What’s going on here? Who’s there?” It was a very unsettling feeling.
And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt as I speak these words, there is many a man and woman and child listening who has the same unsettling thing happening inside them right now. That’s because Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart. He doesn’t want you to be lukewarm any more. He wants something so much more, so much better for you. Here and now, for the rest of your life, and for all eternity. Now I can speak the words but I can’t touch your heart. Only He can do that. And that’s what He may well be doing right now in your life.
Our first reaction is to recoil. But tomorrow on the program we’re going to see the last thing you and I need to do is to pull back, because He hasn’t to condemn us, He hasn’t come to beat us over the head, He hasn’t come to punish us, He’s come out of His great love to save us and to fellowship with us and to spend eternity with us.