Monday, June 2, 2014

The Seven Letters, Part 7: The Knocking

"And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 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 you nakedness may not be see, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 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. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" Revelation 3:14-22


They were almost to Damascus.

The thrill of anticipation surged through him. He was eager to get to Damascus, and start the Lord's work.

"What is our mission in Damascus?" The young man traveling with him looked eager to do, to work.

"A dangerous group of radicals has formed. They are threatening the religious orders of Jehovah." But if he had anything to do with it, the radical group would soon all be dead or thrown into prison.

He would make sure of that. He clenched his fists tightly around the reigns.

Saul shielded his eye's from the sun's glare. The men didn't ask anymore questions. Saul  really didn't know much about this group. They claimed a man named Jesus as God's son, claiming he died and rose again. Saul didn't know when he had developed such a hatred for them, it was just something all the Pharisees' said. They all hated the Jesus group. They all said he and his followers were evil. So one day, Saul started fighting back.

Until a couple of months ago, he had felt justified in his righteous warpath. Holy in his vengeance. Faithful in his persecution.

That is, until he saw Stephen.

The memory still haunted Saul's dreams and unguarded thoughts. The peaceful look amid the rain of stones...

That day, something started to change inside Saul. But instead of acknowledging it, Saul helped in Stephen's stoning.

Now he was almost to Damascus, where he would start weeding out the corrupt Jesus radicals, and be rid of them once and for all.

The sun's glare seemed to be getting stronger. That's strange. The glare shouldn't be coming from this direction this late in the day...

Suddenly, everything was golden. The light had gotten so strong, Saul felt like the sun was sitting in the road, shinning and blinding him and his traveling companions.

Foolishly, Saul had tried to keep his eyes open. The light burned them, and amid the cries of him and his men, Saul fell to the ground.

"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"

Saul went completely cold. He cried out into the golden abyss, hoping the voice would answer, "Who are you, Lord?"

"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what to do."

Jesus! That was Jesus? How? Saul could hardly even think straight, but the voice and light from Heaven could only mean one thing.... He rolled over, and retched on the side of the road.

He had been persecuting not just Jesus, but Jesus, Son of God, his God.

The men around him help him. He kept his eyes closed, trying to avoid the truth. The men bombarded him with questions about the voice, but Saul had no answers.

What should he do?

Should he go and do what Jesus had said, or would he continue with his plans. If he suddenly turned aside and started following Jesus, all would be lost. He would lose his title as a Pharisee.

Saul tried to open his eyes. He blinked several times, trying to clear his vision. I can't see. The encounter with Jesus had left him blind. Panic squeezed his heart, and for a moment, Saul thought he might retch again. He knew what he must do.

Taking a rattled breath, he spoke to the men, "We will go to Damascus, and do as Jesus commands us."

Based on Acts 9:1-8

Everyone sits there for a moment in stunned silence. The messenger has finished reading the letter. He folds it up, and places it into the open hand of the pastor. You wonder, could all of this be because our hearts are lukewarm towards God? Have we been ignoring God, and denying Him? Is Jesus still standing at the door of our hearts, knocking to come into our lives?

I wrote about Saul today, because this man was so far away from God, there was no doubt, he was cold. His goal was to destroy Jesus and everything related to Him. When Jesus blinded Saul with Heavenly light and spoke to him, that was His subtle way on knocking on the door of Saul's heart.

In verses 10-19 of Acts 9, when Ananias came to pray with Saul, Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit, and scales fell off his eyes, and he regained his sight.

"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 you nakedness may not be see, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see." Revelation 3:18

Do your spirit eyes need salve so you can see? So many are still lost in this world. Many are lost in the church body. They think they are serving God, Jesus, or someone, but somehow, they were deceived. Today, Jesus is saying He has miracle salve. He can take the scales from your eyes. He can give you holiness to wear like a cloak, and a golden heart, refined by fire, but altogether beautiful as an end result.

If anyone has been been on the fence about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, know this   by being lukewarm, by pretending, you are doing the same as those who are cold. You are fighting against the kingdom.

"Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." Matthew 12:30

It is fitting that the end of these mighty messages, these letters to the church, there would be a call to true salvation.

"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." Revelation 3:20

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Jesus stands at the door of each and every heart. Day in and day out, He knocks. Will we let Him inside our hearts? Will we choose to follow the Light, the Voice, the Way? Or will we live with scales always covering our spiritual eyes.

Today, right now, Jesus can change everything. If you will open the door, and believe.


V. Joy Palmer

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