Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Open Door?

My wife and I once visited a large church in the inner city. The building was probably constructed in the early 1900’s and was a magnificent Gothic structure. It was called the "Church of the Open Door". Evidently we somehow became confused regarding service times. We saw no one entering the church and therefore we were not sure about the main entrance to the sanctuary. We tried the nearest door and it was locked. We went on a little further and found another door and it was also locked. We turned the corner and found another door. Guess what? Locked! Finally we found a door that opened into the vestibule and we made our way to the back of the sanctuary as services had already begun. Even though this was a thriving inner city church, it seemed not a little ironic to us that we had trouble finding an open door at "The Church of the Open Door".

There was another church way back in the first century that may have been called "The Church of the Closed Door". This was the church at Laodicea. We see in Rev 3:20 that Christ is on the outside, knocking. The door was not was locked. What had happened? It appears that they had "property" they needed nothing else. They said "I am rich and increased with "property" that as long as I have "property" and I have the keys to the "property", I have need of nothing else". What else happened? They had forgotten their mission! Or perhaps they had re-defined their mission. Maybe the "great commission" actually meant something other than preaching the pure gospel and making disciples of all nations. Perhaps it may have some political overtones and undertones...a concentration on the systems that would promote "human liberation".

Whatever it was it garnered the rebuke.." I will spue thee out of my mouth". They said.. "because I am rich and have property and hymnals and pews, vestments and endowments....I need nothing else!" The answer came back in stark reality..."you don’t know that in actuality you are miserable, wretched, blind, and naked. Buy from me pure vestments and riches that will last for eternity. I have the medicine for your eyes...that you may truly see. Repent. Repent!" True riches come by way of repentance. For the church to regain it’s’s vision, it must repent. To fill once again those emptying pews, it must repent.
The alternative is to be spued out of His mouth. "Behold I stand at the door and knock..."

This first century story has an eerily familiar ring to it!

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