I Do Not Think it Means What You Think it Means - Part 1

This week I want to do something a little different. I hope it doesn't come across the wrong way.

One of the most quotable movies in all history has to be "The Princess Bride." In that movie, there's a funny exchange between Inigo Montoya and Vizzini, after Vizzini continues using the word "inconceivable." Inigo Montoya looks at him and says, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

There are a couple of passages of Scripture that I hear quoted all the time. But when you start looking at them, I'm not sure they mean what we use them to mean. I'd like to take a stab at a few of them this week.

The first one is Revelation 3:20. This verse is a favorite invitation verse for summer camp and Vacation Bible School speakers because it paints such a compelling picture. We imagine that the door is the imaginary door to our heart (I've always pictured the left ventricle, myself). Jesus is standing in the cold and rain, unable to enter our heart because of our sin. He stands there knocking (at this point it's helpful to knock three times on the pulpit, just for effect). If only we would ask Jesus into our heart, He could come in out of the cold.

Now, please understand. A person could hear that kind of invitation and understand that God loves them, sent His Son to die on the cross for their sin and gives eternal life by faith. I did. But that was because the Holy Spirit was speaking louder than the preacher, and I don't think the end justifies the means.

In Revelation 3:20, Jesus is talking to a church. He's not knocking on the door of a heart; He's knocking on the door of a church requesting fellowship with them.

Also, if the people in Laodicea He was writing to were unbelievers, it would be the only one of the "churches" in Revelation who were not believers; and the only "church" of unbelievers in Scripture. If you believed a person could lose his salvation, you might be able to make the argument that these people were once believers but now aren't, so Jesus is knocking at the door of their heart so that they would be saved. But that interpretation doesn't square with the rest of Scripture.

Revelation 3:20 makes an appealing invitation verse, but sometimes I want to go forward during the invitation and say "I do not think it means what you think it means." Jesus isn't knocking so little boys and girls will ask Him into their heart and not go to hell. He's asking boys and girls and moms and dads who have already trusted Him for eternal life to - as a church - repent and rejoin fellowship with Jesus.

Revelation 3:20 is an invitation, but not for eternal life. It is an invitation for churches to not get so distracted by other things that they leave Jesus standing outside.


Dan said...

Great idea for a series ... I hope you cover Matthew 18:20.