God Knocking At Man's Door
Sermon delivered at The Moody Church by Herbert MacKenzie, D.D. President, Erieside Bible Conference.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me.”—Revelation 3:20
Do not think these words suggest to us that the Lord Jesus is standing outside one of the doors of this great Church and knocking, trying to get into this building, waiting for some person to go to the door and open it to let Him in. Don’t imagine for one moment that He was standing outside of the Laodicean Church, and knocking at the door and expecting somebody to come to the door and open it to let Him in.
He tells us that He is walking in the midst of the seven churches, and there were others besides the Laodicean Church that were unworthy of His presence within their midst. So the thought cannot be tolerated when He said He was in the midst of the seven churches, that He is on the outside of this assembly. He was on the inside of that assembly, as He is in the midst of this assembly, and He was knocking at the door of lives that were in that assembly. Perhaps some who were making a profession of His name, and it may be that some who had made a profession, were backsliders.
He tells us that He was in that assembly, that He was knocking at the door of every life that was not open to Him, and He says if any man in that company or in this company tonight will just open the door, He will come in to him. Not to the assembly, but to him, and will sup with him and they together will have fellowship.
Degrees of Vision
Our text begins with the word, “Behold!” There are three degrees of vision. The first is seeing. Frequently we see things that we do not look at. We see things unexpected, and we see things we don’t want to see. Seeing things is the first step of vision. The next stage of vision is looking. Looking is but an act of the will. When I look at a thing I look with desire, with intention. It may not be a long look, but a look is always the act of the will. I look because I want to look. I do look because I desire to look. The third stage is beholding. Beholding is the continuance of an unfinished look.
The first “behold” is in Genesis, when God said to Adam, “Behold all my creation that I have made for you.” Just keep on looking. The last look of Scripture is in the last chapter of Revelation, “Behold, I come quickly.” Beholding the coming. He is coming quickly. He is going to bring the payroll with Him. He does not pay His servants down here but in part. When He comes He is coming with His wage sheet. Keep on looking. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door.” Behold! Not only look by an act of your own will, but keep on looking. Keep on remembering that there is somebody outside the door.
My friends, my prayer for you tonight is this. If Christ is on the outside, that you will be kept in constant memory of the fact that He is on the outside, and that you will hear His voice saying, “Behold, I stand at the door.” If you go out of this meeting without letting Him in, you will hear Him say, “Behold, I stand at the door,” and tomorrow morning when you awake, if you have not yielded to His entreaty, you will hear Him say, “Behold, I stand at the door.” May the Holy Spirit imprint this upon your mind until you will never forget it.
Let us notice the person who is at the door. Sometimes we go to the door reluctantly. There is somebody there we do not care to see. Sometimes we go readily and sometimes we go with a rush. Our eagerness to open the door is generally decided by the person who is knocking at the door.
The Lord here says three things about Himself. First, He says He is the Amen. We often hear people say Amen. We read it again and again in the Scriptures. That word means, “So it is.” Not only, so it is. It could not be anything else but what it is. When we say “Amen” at the end of a prayer, we put our endorsement upon that prayer. When the Lord Jesus Christ says that He is the Amen, He wants us to understand that as He is standing outside the door, He is standing out there with the Word of God and He verifies everything that there is in the Scripture. He said that to His disciples. Beginning with Moses and through the prophets, He began to expound to them the things concerning Himself.
If you will let Him come into your life He will come in with the whole of the Bible. He won’t come in with one-half of the Word. He wants to come into every man’s life and to prove that every word that God has uttered is the very truth. If you will let Him, He will bring into your life the fullness of the revelation which God gives tonight to every sinner who will receive His Son, Jesus Christ.
Christ the Messenger
Next, He says He is the faithful and true witness. He is a faithful messenger of God. Then He is true to those to whom He ministers that message. If you want anybody to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth concerning yourself, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who will do it. He will be perfectly true to you. He tells us that all things are naked, they are uncovered and opened up like a surgeon will open up an anatomy. He says all things are open before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. When you begin to look at Him you will find out just what you are, and you will find out possibly after He comes into your life just how great a sinner you are. You will find out, little by little, as He tells you the truth, the sin of your own life, and you will begin to see the depth of the pit out of which He brings you.
Next, He says He is the beginning of the creation of God. That is, He stands at the head of all creation. Everything that ever was created was created by His power. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not one thing made that was made. He made everything. There are three things said about Him as creator. First, they are all created in Him. Second, all things were created by Him. Third, all things were created for Him.
All things that are made by man are first made in the man before they are made by the man. This building was made in design in the human mind before it became a structure. Always in before by. Everything that was made was first designed in the mind of Christ. The Lord Jesus carried the blueprint. He poised the planets. He designed the curve of the leaf. He tinted the flower. All things were made in Him, and if that flower could tell you where it got its beauty, if that star could tell you where it got its light, it would lead you into the throne room of God, and it would point you to Jesus Christ, and would tell you that it was designed by Him. It would go on to tell you that ever since it was made it was kept in place by the very hand of Jesus Christ, for by Him all things consist. That is, all things hold together. In less than five minutes the whole universe would go to pieces but for the nail-pierced hands of the Son of God. He holds things together. He who seeks an entrance into the life is the God who made all things, and who holds all things together. The hand that was nailed to the cross of Calvary is the hand that keeps things in shape in this old world.
The Standing Christ
His picture. He stands. Remember that, will you please, that He stands? There are some very interesting studies in the Scriptures about Jesus Christ. You study the feet of Jesus. You study the look of Jesus. Every time you read that Jesus saw anything or anybody something happens. He saw a man that had been lying at the pool. Something happened. He looked out upon a multitude and saw them like a sheep that had no Shepherd, and something happened. Jesus stood on the seashore and cried, “If any man thirst let him take of the water of life.” Jesus stood on the seashore, and when the disciples who had fished all night saw Jesus, something happened.
Jesus stands at the door of your life. The picture of the person of Christ standing outside of the door of a human life, knocking and calling, is the most remarkable picture to be found in the book of the Revelation, next to the wonderful and awful scene and tragedy of the Cross of Christ. The most startling scene is to see Him knocking for entrance and not being able to gain admittance. When we hear the choir singing those heavenly acclamations, we say that is just what He deserves, and when we think of Him coming again, we say, He should lead the armies of Heaven. He is the only General that is worthy to lead on those saints who have been washed in His precious blood. As we stand and look into His face and see the brightness of His face flooding Heaven and Earth with light until neither Heaven nor Earth has any need of the sun, that is in keeping with the conception of His glory. But when we see Him standing outside the door of a life, and He is refused entrance, we are looking upon a scene that would startle angels.
Oh, my friends, if you had spent yourself and almost given your life to save a man from drowning and you thought you would like to call at his home to see how he was getting along and you went to the door and knocked and he looked through the window and saw you standing there and refused to let you in because of some passing inconvenience it might be to him, what would you think of that man? You would brand him as an ingrate. My friends, the Lord Jesus Christ is standing outside of every life that is in this building. He is standing, patiently standing. He is waiting, patiently waiting, and there He stands and there He waits. There He shows His nail-pierced hands and He is appealing to you to open the door and let Him in.
Christ at the Door
Notice His position at the door. He stands at the door. A door always stands for two things. First, it stands for a possibility. Second, it stands for a prohibition. An open door is a symbol of grace. A closed door is a symbol of judgment. An open door is a decision to allow grace to come in. A closed door is rather an indifference to the judgment that must come. The only thing that stands between Christ and the lost soul is a door.
I love to think of God when He was putting up a prohibitive entrance to His presence. He just simply dropped a curtain. It was suggestive of a transitory way, as the closed entrance is to His presence. He is not a burglar. He does not have any skeleton key to open that door. He will never do anything but knock, but He stands there outside of the door and knocks, and His joy in coming in is in our consent to His coming, and our joy to His coming is in His willingness to come without enslaving us.
I have heard some people say that He cannot come any farther. That is not true. He could come father if we would consent to open that door. “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” “Whosoever will may come and take of the water of life freely.”
They tell us that the sunlight travels from the deeps of the firmament. They tell us that the sun is ninety million miles away, and when that sunlight reaches us it comes in the window with a softness and falls upon the eyeball, but the sunlight can travel ninety million miles and can come up to your eye and mine and we can shut it out with a penny. You can say, it has traveled far and long to give me light but I don’t want the light. The Lord Jesus Christ can travel until He reaches the door and He can knock at the door of your life and you can say, “Oh, Thou Christ, stay on the outside.” I prefer a Christ on the outside rather than a Christ who controls me according to His will.
He knocks. The first knock of the New Testament is man knocking at God’s door. God says that if we knock He will answer. Every time a man comes to God’s door and knocks at that door with a knock of prayer, the door is opened. When we knock at a door it is because we believe somebody is inside. When we knock at God’s door we find there is somebody inside. We find that we can have a meeting with Him.
The Door of the Heart
The last knock is the knock of our text. God knocking at man’s door. He does not say it shall open, but He says if “any man” open. Will you notice the “any man.” There may be a beggar in this house tonight. He is included in that. There may be a burglar, and if so he is included. There may be a giddy girl. She is included. There may be a scholar in this house. He is included. If any man will open to the knock of the nail-pierced hand, He will open the door.
I believe that He knocks in many ways. But there is one way He does knock. He says, “If any man hear my voice,” that is, His Word. He knocks by His Word.
There are three things necessary to the perfect articulation of the message. First, the alphabet. Second, the Word. Third, the voice. Jesus Christ is the alphabet of God. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the A to Z. Jesus Christ is the divine alphabet from Heaven, revealing the Father in all His fullness. Jesus Christ is the Word. He is the expression of the alphabet. So Jesus Christ is the alphabet in shape, formed up into expression. He is the express image of the Father’s person. The third thing you need for articulation of the message is the voice. Jesus Christ is the voice that went through the world crying. It was the voice of the Lord that went through the garden crying, “Adam, where art thou?”
Finally, His purpose. If any man open, I will come in. I wonder what right He has to come in. He tells us that we are slaves of sin. He tells us that we belong to another master. I wonder why it is that He wants to come in and take possession of us. I know why. He has paid the price for our redemption. He who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. We are not our own. We are bought with a price. This price was the one who was foreordained before the foundation of the world. The reason why He can rightly and justly come into our lives is because He has bought them with His precious blood. He says, I will come in. He does not say, if any man will clean himself up and make himself better than he is. He says, open up. He does not say, polish up your morals. He does not say, make resolutions. He says, open the door and let Jesus Christ come into your life.
Christ Inside or Outside
This old world is divided up in two great sections and there is one section that has Christ on the outside. Every man and woman who has Christ on the outside is lost. There is another great section of the race that consists of those who have Christ on the inside, and they are saved. Lost or saved, according to whether Christ is on the outside or inside. If Christ is outside then you are lost. An inside Christ and you are saved. People talk about the open Bible. It is a good thing to have the open Bible, but the open Bible on the outside does not do you any good. You have to get the Bible on the inside. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” When you get the Bible inside you are sin-proof. You are saved from sin, and in the moment of temptation.
The meal on the plate does not satisfy your hunger. You need to transfer it from the plate on the outside to the inside. It is not an outside Christ. It is an inside Christ.
Perhaps you have let a lover come into your heart. You did not know much about him; you expect to love him; you expect to marry him. Why? Because you opened up your heart and let him come in. You will allow desires to come in. You will allow money-seekers to come in. Hunt gave us that wonderful picture of Christ standing outside the door. He gave it to a friend to criticize before he gave it to the public. “Hunt,” he said, “you have painted the door without a handle and without a latch.” He replied, “Yes, there is a latch, there is a door knob, but it is on the inside. This door can never be opened from the outside.” Open wide the door. Let Him in. Why keep Christ waiting outside tonight?
Said a woman to me one night, “I wish I knew how to receive Him.”
“I think I can tell you how to receive Him. Isn’t that a wedding ring you have? Who put it on the finger?”
She replied, “My husband.”
“Was there a time in your life when you did not know your husband?”
She answered, “Yes.”
“Was there a time when your husband proposed to you?”
And she answered, “Yes.”
“Was there not something that you did before you gave him your answer? You opened your heart to that man and you let him in.”
“Do the same with Jesus Christ. Open the door of your heart and let the Saviour come in.”
He says if you will let Him come in He will sup with you. That word “sup” does not mean breakfast. You know you don’t have very much time for breakfast. That word “sup” means the evening meal, when you take time. You are not in a hurry, and He says, we will sup together. We are fellowshipping together. We are talking things over. We are entering into mutual fellowship with each other and I will be Saviour to you. “To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”