Saturday, October 13, 2018

From Spitting Out to Eating In

Here’s today’s big lesson: If we will do something different towards Jesus, Jesus will do something different towards us.

Someone has described insanity as doing things the exact same way while continually expecting different results. God counters such insanity by showing us that there is a way to respond to him differently that leads to different results.

Through a series of blessed events I found myself in Revelation 3 where I am looking at Jesus’ ministry to the lukewarm Laodicean church.[1] I arrived here a day or so ago as I considered what it would look like for Jesus to come in and share a meal with us. I wondered what that would be like when people feel inner trauma that has never seemed to know him in such a way.

What stood out today is that Jesus said, So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”[2] Based on the present condition of that church, Jesus had already decided what he WILL do. If nothing changes with the church, nothing will change with Jesus’ discipline.

However, when Jesus says, 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”,[3] he presents another possibility. Instead of him spitting us out, he would come in and share a meal with us.

Although I have preached on this passage numerous times, all ending with a church choosing to stay the same instead of changing, I have never noticed how strongly it connects the pictures of Jesus spitting us out and Jesus sitting down to share a meal with us. What a contrast!

To spare us the negative emotions of thinking that whatever Jesus would do for us depends on what we do for him, everything is in the context of the salvation we have already received by grace through faith (Jesus is speaking to one of his churches), and, the encouragement to do something different is simply in response to our discovery that Jesus is standing at the door already knocking.

In other words, no matter how we look at this, things do not begin with what we do. However, what happens after we discover something Jesus is doing does affect what happens next.

Our part is not to make something happen, but to respond to what is happening. If we respond by saying no to opening the door, we become vomit. If we respond by opening the door as encouraged by the Spirit, we become host to Jesus sharing fellowship with us over a meal.

It is interesting that Jesus does not identify the “door” on which he is knocking. It is just a metaphor after all. However, yesterday I caught a glimpse of Jesus knocking on the door that has hidden away the worthless orphan-minded child part of myself and asking that part of my soul if I would like to fellowship with him like friends over a meal. I knew the answer was yes.

Today Jesus wants me to see another situation in which the door handle is on my side and he is knocking from his side. It is the one who hears his voice and opens the door who will receive the waves of grace that will satisfy us with his unfailing love.

After enjoying the blessing of what the Spirit was teaching this morning, I realized that God is preparing me for situations up ahead that will require me to be in fellowship with him in my inner being, especially when circumstances would shout out that I am a worthless orphan after all. This makes it even clearer that keeping in step with him each day will make me all the more ready for divine appointments than if I keep dragging my feet on whatever he gives me each day.

Somehow, if my experience of Jesus in my inner being was like an orphan-minded child who is being transformed through the newness of mind I have in Jesus, my fellowship with Jesus will not only help me to proclaim “him” to people as I have been learning,[4] but will give me righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit no matter what anyone else chooses to do.[5]

© 2018 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Revelation 3:14-22
[2] Revelation 3:16
[3] Revelation 3:20
[4] Colossians 1:28 (context: Colossians 1:27-29)
[5] Romans 14:17

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