Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me.
I. OF OUR SAVIOR "Behold, I stand," etc.; and they reveal him to us in all his grace, he is represented:
1. As in constant nearness to the soul. He stands at the door. He does not come for once and then depart, but there he continues.
2. And he knocks at the door: not merely stands there. The soul is like a great palace that has many doors. And Christ knocks sometimes at the one door and sometimes at another. There is:
(1) The door of the intellect. To this he comes with the evidence of the reasonableness of his faith and claims.
(2) Of the conscience. To this he shows the goodness and righteousness of that which he asks; how he ought to be obeyed.
(3) Of love. He wakes up, or seeks to wake up, the spirit of gratitude in response to all he is and has done for the soul.
(4) Of fear. The alarm of the awakened conscience, the fearful looking for of judgment, are the means he uses.
(5) Of hope. The blessed prospect of eternal peace and purity and joy.
3. And he knocks in many ways.
(1) Sometimes by his Word. As it is quietly read in the sacred Scriptures, some text will arrest and arouse the soul. Or, as it is faithfully, lovingly, and earnestly preached: how often he knocks in this way! And
(2) sometimes by his providence. Sickness; bereavement; loss of wealth, or friends, or other earthly good; disaster; the approach of pestilence; nearness of death; trouble of mind, body, or estate; - all are the Lord's knockings. And
(3) sometimes by his Spirit. These more often than any. "The Spirit... says, Come."
4. And we know that he does this. Have we not been conscious of his appeals again and again?
5. See what all this reveals of him.
(1) His infinite patience. How long he has waited for some of us, year after year, and is not wearied yet!
(2) His gracious condescension. That he, our Lord and Saviour, should thus deal with us.
(3) And, above all, what infinite love! Behold, then, this portrait of our all-gracious Saviour and Lord, and let it draw your hearts to him as it should.
II. OF THE SOUL - the soul of each one of us. Our text shows the soul:
1. As the object of Christ's anxious concern, He would not else be thus standing and knocking at the door of our hearts. And the reason is that he knows:
(1) The soul's infinite value and preciousness. He knows its high capacities - that it can love and worship, resemble, and rejoice in God.
(2) Its terrible peril. Were it not so, there would not be need for such anxious concern. It is in peril of losing eternal life and of incurring eternal death. It is nigh unto perishing - a lost sheep, a lost piece of silver, a lost child.
2. As exercising its fearful Tower. Refusing Christ, keeping him outside the soul. Many other guests are admitted freely, but not Christ.
(1) The soul has this power of refusal. None other has. Not the stars of heaven, not the mighty sea, not the raging winds, not the devouring fire. All these obey. But the soul can refuse.
(2) And here it is exercising this power. That Christ is kept outside the soul is the testimony of:
(a) Scripture. Texts innumerable tell of the estrangement of the human heart from God.
(b) Conscience. Does not the ungodly man know that Christ does not dwell within him, that he has no room for him - however it may be with other guests - in his soul? And the strange, sad reluctancy to speak for Christ to others shows how partial is his possession of even Christian souls.
(c) Facts. See what men are and say and do; mark their conduct, their conversation, their character; examine the maxims, principles, and motives which regulate them, and see if Christ be in all or any of them. And this, not only in men brought up in ungodliness, but often in those trained in pious homes, and from whom you would have expected better things.
(3) And this is the soul's own doing. It voluntarily excludes Christ. When his appeal is heard, and very often it is, men divert their thoughts, distract them with other themes; or deaden their convictions, by plunging into pleasure, business, sin; or delay obedience, procrastinating and putting off that which they ought promptly to perform. Ah, what guilt! Ah, what folly!
(4) And this is the sin "against the Holy Ghost, which hath never forgiveness." Not any one definite act, but this persistent exclusion of Christ. The. knocking of the Lord is heard more and more faintly, until at length, although it goes on, it is not heard at all. The sin has been committed, and the punishment has begun. But the text contemplates also the happier alternative.
3. The soul claiming its greatest privilege - opening the door to Christ. He says, "If any man will open," thereby plainly teaching us that men may and should, and - blessed be his Name - some will, open that door.
(1) The soul can do this. It is part of its great prerogative. It could not say, "Yes," if it could not say, "No;" but because it can say, "No," it can also say, "Yes."
(2) And the opening the door depends upon its saying, "Yes." This is no contradiction to the truth that the Holy Spirit must open the heart. Both are essential; neither can be done without. It is a cooperative work, as consciousness and Scripture alike teach. But the Spirit ever does his part of the work; it is we only who fail in ours. May we be kept here from!
III. SALVATION. The result of such opening the door is this, and the picture that is given of it is full of interest.
1. Christ becomes our Guest. "I will sup with him." Now, if we invite any one to our table, we have to provide the feast. But what have we to set before Christ that he will care for? Ah, what? "All our righteousnesses" - will they do? Not at all. In this spiritual banquet that which he will most joyfully accept is ourselves, coming in contrition and trust to rest upon his love. "The sacrifices of God," etc. (Psalm 51.). Let us bring them; they, but naught else, will be well pleasing to him. But the scene changes.
2. Christ becomes our ]lost. "He with me." Ah! now what a difference!
"Blest Jesus, what delicious fare! (1) There is full, free pardon for every sin. (2) Next, the assurance of his love, that he has accepted us. (3) Power to become like him - renewing, regenerating grace. (4) His peace, so that in all trial and sorrow we may "rest in the Lord." (5) Power to bless others, so that they shall be the better for having to do with us. (6) Bright hope, blessed outlook to the eternal inheritance. (7) And at last, in due time, that inheritance itself. Such are some of the chief elements of that banquet at which Christ is the Host; and all the while there is sweet, blessed intercourse, hallowed communion, with himself. He is "known to us in the breaking of bread." CONCLUSION. How, then, shall it be? Shall we still keep the door of our hearts barred against him? May he forbid! We can do this; alas! some will. But we can open the door. Do that. "In the silent midnight watches, Say not 'tis thy pulse is beating: "Death comes on with reckless footsteps, Jesus waiteth - waiteth - waiteth "Then 'tis time to stand entreating Nay - alas! thou guilty creature;
(1) There is full, free pardon for every sin.
(2) Next, the assurance of his love, that he has accepted us.
(3) Power to become like him - renewing, regenerating grace.
(4) His peace, so that in all trial and sorrow we may "rest in the Lord."
(5) Power to bless others, so that they shall be the better for having to do with us.
(6) Bright hope, blessed outlook to the eternal inheritance.
(7) And at last, in due time, that inheritance itself.
Such are some of the chief elements of that banquet at which Christ is the Host; and all the while there is sweet, blessed intercourse, hallowed communion, with himself. He is "known to us in the breaking of bread."
CONCLUSION. How, then, shall it be? Shall we still keep the door of our hearts barred against him? May he forbid! We can do this; alas! some will. But we can open the door. Do that.
"In the silent midnight watches, Say not 'tis thy pulse is beating: "Death comes on with reckless footsteps, Jesus waiteth - waiteth - waiteth "Then 'tis time to stand entreating Nay - alas! thou guilty creature;
Say not 'tis thy pulse is beating: "Death comes on with reckless footsteps, Jesus waiteth - waiteth - waiteth "Then 'tis time to stand entreating Nay - alas! thou guilty creature;
Behold, I stand at the door and knock.I. THE STRANGER-GUEST WANTING TO COME IN. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock."
1. When a stranger comes to your door, it matters a good deal to your feeling as a host whether he be a mean man or a great one. An inhospitable act done to your Queen might never vex you at all if it was only done to an obscure wanderer. Who, then, is this? Is He mean? or is He great? He does not look very great in the starlight. But He is. At home He is worshipped, and wields all command; and beings before whom the mightiest of the earth are as infants, only venture to bow themselves at His feet when their faces are shielded from the lustre of His glory.
2. When a stranger comes to your door, it is a consideration for you whether he has come to a door only, or to your door; whether he has come to your door by chance, or to yourself on purpose. Has this Stranger, then, just happened upon this cottage-door as one that serves His turn as well as any other? or does He mean to seek this very home and this very board, if haply He may be welcomed as a friend? How deeply does He mean it, and how tenderly!
3. When a stranger comes to your door, it is of some moment to you whether he has come but a short distance to see you, or has come from far. This waiting Stranger — whence comes He? From another country? He has come from another world. Through peril, through tribulation, He has come hither.
4. When a stranger comes to your door, it is a thing of influence with you whether your visitor is in earnest to get in, or shows indifference, and soon gives up the endeavour. A caller who knocks and goes off again before you have had reasonable time to answer.
5. When a stranger comes to your door, it is of every consequence to you what may be the character of himself, and the complexion of his errand. Is he good, and likely come for good? or is he evil, and likely come for evil? What far-brought tidings, what peace, what hopes, what aids, what influence, he fetches with him!
II. THE STRANGER-GUEST GETTING IN. "If any man hear My voice, and open the door."
1. The Stranger did not force an entrance. It is from the inside, after all, that a man's heart opens to his Saviour-King.
2. At the same time it is of the utmost importance to note, that the transaction, with this indispensable element of free choice in it, is the veriest simplicity. "If any man hear," "and open" — lo! it is accomplished, and the Son of God is within. Very natural it may be — after you have at last acknowledged the Voice by some beginnings of faith, and have arisen at its call to bustle long about the apartment in a process of rearranging, cleansing, tidying, adorning. Not less natural it may be to sit down, after a desponding glance around you, and endeavour to devise some plan by which you may entertain the Guest more worthily. All the while, and all the same, your Guest is standing without. The one luckless fact is the tardiness of your hospitality. The honour is done Him by nothing but by letting Him in. And more: your heart-home will only be made fit for His presence by His presence.
3. But there may be some one who is saying with a certain sincerity, "I have tried to open my heart to Christ, and I could not — cannot!" It will baffle your own strength. But what of your Guest Himself, and that power of His — so freely available now?
III. THE STRANGER-GUEST IN. "I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." It is a scene with much light in it, and an atmosphere of security and deep peace.
(J. A. Kerr Bain, M. A.)I. THE LOVE OF CHRIST. It is free love. It is large love. It is love irrespective of goodness in us.
II. THE PATIENCE OF CHRIST. He stands, and He has stood, as the words imply — not afar off, but nigh, at the door. He stands. It is the attitude of waiting, of perseverance in waiting. He does not come and go; He stands. He does not sit down, or occupy Himself with other concerns. He has one object in view.
III. THE EARNESTNESS OF CHRIST. If the standing marks His patience, the knocking marks His earnestness — His unwearied earnestness.
1. How does He knock?
2. When does He knock?
IV. THE APPEAL OF CHRIST TO THE LAODICEANS. "If any man will hear My voice, and open the door." It is —
1. A loving appeal.
2. A personal appeal.
3. An honest appeal.
4. An earnest appeal.
V. THE PROMISE OF CHRIST.
1. I will come in to Him. His standing on the outside is of no use to us. A mere outside Christ will profit us nothing. An outside cross will not pacify, nor heal, nor save.
2. I will sup with him. He comes in as a guest, to take a place at our poor table and to partake of our homely meal.
3. He shall sup with Me. Christ has a banquet in preparation.
(H. Bonar, D. D.)
I. THE EXALTED CHRIST ASKING TO BE LET IN to a man's heart. The latter words of the verse suggest the image of a banqueting hall. The chamber to which Christ desires entrance is full of feasters. There is room for everybody else there but Him. Now the plain sad truth which that stands for about us, is this: That we are more willing to let anybody and anything come into our thoughts, and find lodgment in our affections, than we are to let Jesus Christ come in. The next thought here is of the reality of this knocking. Every conviction, every impression, every half inclination towards Him that has risen in your hearts, though you fought against it, has been His knocking there. And think of what a revelation of Him that is! We are mostly too proud to sue for love, especially if once the petition has been repulsed; but He asks to be let into your heart because His nature and His name is Love, and being such, He yearns to be loved by you, and tie yearns to bless you.
II. NOTICE THAT AWFUL POWER WHICH IS RECOGNISED HERE AS RESIDING IN US, to let Him in or to keep Him out. "It any man will open the door" — the door has no handle on the outside. It opens from within. Christ knocks: we open. What we call faith is the opening of the door. And is it not plain that that simple condition is a condition not imposed by any arbitrary action on His part, but a condition indispensable from the very nature of the case?
III. THE ENTRANCE OF THE CHRIST, with His hands full of blessing. It is the central gift and promise of the gospel "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." He Himself is the greatest of His gifts. He never comes empty-handed, but when He enters in He endows the soul with untold riches. We have here also Christ's presence as a Guest. "I will come in and sup with Him." What great and wonderful things are contained in that assurance! Can we present anything to Him that He can partake of? Yes! We may give Him our service and He will take that; we may give Him our love and He will take that, and regard it as dainty and delightsome food. We have here Christ's presence not only as a Guest, but also as Host — "I will sup with him and he with Me." As when some great prince offers to honour a poor subject with his presence, and let him provide some insignificant portion of the entertainment, whilst all the substantial and costly parts of it come in the retinue of the monarch, from the palace.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)I. WHAT IS IMPLIED by the expression, "I stand at the door."
1. That Christ is outside man's heart.
2. That He is deliberately excluded.
3. That He is excluded in favour of other guests.
4. That notwithstanding He wishes to enter.
5. That He recognises our liberty to admit Him.
II. BY WHAT MEANS HE MAKES HIS PRESENCE KNOWN.
III. THE BLESSINGS TO BE ENJOYED BY THOSE WHO ADMIT HIM.
Homilist.I. THE PERSON. The Greatest at the door of the meanest.
II. THE ATTITUDE.
2. Waiting expectation.
III. THE ACTION.
IV. THE OBJECT.
Homilist.I. THE SAVIOUR'S HUMILITY AND CONDESCENSION.
1. Patience. Repeated application where rudely repulsed.
2. Desire to enter. Not for His own good or gratification, but for our salvation, because He delights in mercy.
II. THE SAVIOUR'S PERSISTENT EFFORTS.
III. THE SAVIOUR'S PROFFERED REWARD. The presence of Christ is the highest privilege man can desire. It involves —
(Homilist.)I. THE SUPPLIANT FOR ADMISSION. A strange reversal of the attitudes of the great and of the lowly, of the giver and of the receiver, of the Divine and of the human! Christ once said, "Knock and it shall be opened unto you." But He has taken the suppliant's place. So, then, there is here a revelation, not only of a universal truth, but a most tender and pathetic disclosure of Christ's yearning love to each of us. What do you call that emotion which more than anything else desires that a heart should open and let it enter? We call it love when we find it in one another. Surely it bears the same name when it is sublimed into all but infinitude, and yet is as individualising and specific as it is great and universal, as it is found in Jesus Christ. And then, still further, in that thought of the suppliant waiting for admission there is the explanation for us all of a great many misunderstood facts in our experience. That sorrow that darkened your days and made your heart bleed, what was it but Christ's hand on the door? Those blessings which pour into your life day by day "beseech you, by the mercies of God, that ye yield yourselves living sacrifices." That unrest which dogs the steps of every man who has not found rest in Christ, what is it but the application of His hand to the obstinately-closed door? The stings of conscience, the movements of the Spirit, the definite proclamation of His Word, even by such lips as mine, what are they all except His appeals to us? And this is the deepest meaning of joys and sorrows, of gifts and losses, of fulfilled and disappointed hopes. If we understood better that all life was guided by Christ and that Christ's guidance of life was guided by His desire that He should find a place in our hearts, we should less frequently wonder at sorrows, and should better understand our blessings.
II. THE DOOR OPENED. Jesus Christ knocks, but Jesus Christ cannot break the door open. The door is closed, and unless there be a definite act on your part it will not be opened, and He will not enter. So we come to this, that to do nothing is to keep your Saviour outside; and that is the way .in which most men that miss Him do miss Him. The condition of His entrance is simple trust in Him, as the Saviour of my soul. That is opening the door, and if you will do that, then, just as when you open the shutters, in comes the sunshine; just as when you lift the sluice in flows the crystal stream into the slimy, empty lock; so He will enter in, wherever He is not shut out by unbelief and aversion of will.
III. THE ENTRANCE AND THE FEAST. "I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with Me." Well, that speaks to us in lovely, sympathetic language, of a close, familiar, happy communication between Christ and my poor self which shall make all life as a feast in company with Him. John, as he wrote down the words "I will sup with him, and he with Me," perhaps remembered that upper room where, amidst all the bitter herbs, there was such strange joy and tranquility. But whether he did or no, may we not take the picture as suggesting to us the possibilities of loving fellowship, of quiet repose, of absolute satisfaction of all desires and needs, which will be ours if we open the door of our hearts by faith, and let Jesus Christ come in?
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Homilist.I. HIS ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SOUL. He is constantly in contact with the soul. He does not come occasionally and then depart; He stands.
1. His deep concern. In the eye of Christ the soul is no trifling object: He knows its capabilities, relations, power, influence, interminable history.
2. His infinite condescension.
3. His wonderful patience.
II. HIS ACTION UPON THE SOUL. He does not stand there as a statue doing nothing. He knocks: He knocks at the door of intellect with His philosophic truths; at the door of conscience, with His ethical principles; at the door of love, with His transcendent charms; at the door of hope, with His heavenly glories; at the door of fear, with the terrors of His law.
1. The moral power of the sinner. The soul has the power to shut out Christ. It can bolt itself against its Creator. This it does by directing its thoughts to other subjects, by deadening its convictions, by procrastinations.
2. The consummate folly of the sinner. Who is shut out? Not a foe or thief; but a friend, a physician, a deliverer.
3. The awful guiltiness of the sinner. It shuts out its proprietor, its rightful Lord.
III. HIS AIM IN REFERENCE TO THE SOUL. It is not to destroy it; but to come into it and identify Himself with all its feelings, aspirations, and interests.
1. Inhabitation. "I will come unto him." We are perpetually letting people into our hearts. How pleased we are if some illustrious personage will enter our humble homes and sit down with us, etc.
2. Identification. "Sup with him and he with Me." I will be at home with him, be one with him. A conventionally great man deems it a condescension to enter the house of an inferior — he never thinks of identifying himself with the humble inmate. Christ does this with the soul that lets Him in. He makes its cares His own.
(Homilist.)I. THE GREAT KINDNESS OF THE REDEEMER TO MAN.
1. Compassion for man.
2. Condescension to man.
3. Communion with man. The Saviour does not come as a stranger, He comes as a friend and a guest.
4. The consummation of man. He takes possession of our spirits to make them perfect and glorious. This will be the perfecting of our humanity, the consummation of all our best and brightest hopes and capacities.
II. THE GREAT UNKINDNESS OF MAN TO THE REDEEMER.
1. Ignorance is the cause in some cases why the visit of the Saviour is not welcomed. If the ignorance be involuntary and unavoidable, then it is not culpable; but if it be the result of a voluntary refusal to know who the Saviour is, and what His knocking means, then it shows great unkindness to the Redeemer, and is regarded by Him as a great sin.
2. Another cause is indifference. Some know that it is the Saviour standing at the door of their hearts; but they are so absorbed with other engagements, they are so careless about the unseen and eternal, that they let Him stand outside, and make no effort to let Him in.
3. Another cause is unbelief.
4. Prejudice is another cause of the unkindness of man to the Redeemer. The Cross is an offence to many. Prejudice blinds the eyes and hardens the heart and prevents man seeing Jesus as He really is — "the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely."
5. The last cause of unkindness we will mention is ingratitude.
(F. W. Brown.)I. FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD IS PROPOSED AS THE GRAND PRIVILEGE OF THE RACE.
1. The friendship which God offers is on entirely a human plane. Christian life is only a transfiguration of every-day life.
2. The friendship which God proposes is permanent in its continuance.
II. AN UNDOUBTED PROOF OF THE DIVINE SINCERITY.
1. You see this in the fact that the entire proposal comes from Him. The grace of this transaction is absolutely marvellous.
2. You see this in the successive and persistent endeavours to bring this friendship within reach of the soul.
III. THE ASSURANCE OF THE ENTIRE FULNESS OF THE ATONEMENT. There is no restriction in the offers of Divine grace.
1. There is no limit on the human side. If any man will open his heart, the Saviour will come in.
2. There is positively no limit on the Divine side either. The offer is made in terms utterly without restriction.
IV. AN EXPLICIT RECOGNITION OF HUMAN FREE AGENCY UNDER THE PLAN OF SALVATION BY GRACE. It is well to inquire why it is He thus pauses on the threshold.
1. It is not because He is unable to force His way in. There is no opposition so violent that He could not crush it beneath His Omnipotent might.
2. The reason for the Divine forbearance is found in the inscrutable counsels of the Divine wisdom. In the beginning, He drew one line around His own action. He determined to create a class of beings who should have minds and hearts of their own. A free chance to choose between serving Him and resisting Him He now gives to every one of us. And when He had thus established men in being, He sovereignly decided never to interfere with the free-will He had bestowed.
V. IF ANY MAN IS FINALLY LOST, THE RESPONSIBILITY RESTS UPON HIS OWN SOUL. The Saviour has come so far, but it is perfectly clear He is coming no further.
1. Observe how unbeclouded is the final issue. There can be no mystery, there is no mistake about it. The Providence of God always clears the way up to the crisis, removing every side-consideration which can possibly confuse it. Education that fits for usefulness is a demand for usefulness; the love of our children is a hint for us to love God as children; social position, wealth, official station, accomplishments, popular favour; whoever has any of these ought to hear in them the accents of that quiet voice speaking to his heart: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock."
2. Observe the ease of the condition required of us. It is only to open the door. Great things under the gospel are always simple.
3. Observe then, finally, what it is that keeps the Saviour out. Nothing but will. This is the inspired declaration: "Ye will not come unto Me, that ye might have life." That is, you set a definite purpose against the purpose of grace. Christ came and you resisted Him.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)I. THAT THERE IS IN THE HUMAN SOUL A DOOR FOR THE ENTRANCE OF THE TRUTH.
1. The intellect. Is not the theology of the Bible in its broad outlines reasonable? Christ, in the evidence, enlightenment, and conviction of the truth, stands knocking at the mind of man, and the greater the knowledge of the truth, the louder is the appeal for entrance.
2. The heart. Man is endowed with the capability of love and sympathy. He has warm affections. He is so constituted as to be attracted by the pathetic and the beautiful. Hence, he looks out upon nature with admiring eye. And it is to this capability in man that the truth appeals. It presents to him an ideal beauty in the life of Christ, as recorded by the gospel narrative, which ought to win his spirit into an imitation of the same.
3. The conscience. Man has the ability to turn his natural judgment to moral and spiritual questions, and this is what we mean by conscience. To this faculty the truth presents its requirements; convinces of failure in the devotion of the inner life to Christ; and spreads out before it the threat of avenging justice.
4. But, strange to say, the door of the soul is closed to the entrance of the truth. The door of the mind is closed by error, by ignorance, and by prejudice. The door of the heart is shut by pride, by unbelief, and by wilful sin. The door of the conscience is barred by a continued habit of evil.
II. THAT AT THE DOOR OF THE HUMAN SOUL TRUTH MAKES CONTINUED APPEALS FOR ENTRANCE.
1. This appeal of truth is authoritative. Truth comes to men with authority, even with the claim of a sinless life, and with the emphasis of a Divine voice. Its distinguished character should gain for it an immediate and hearty welcome into the soul, as a king should be welcomed into a cottage. But truth comes to men not only with the authority of character, but also with the authority of right. The faculties of the human mind were made to receive it.
2. The appeal of Truth is patient. Other guests have entered — wealth in splendid apparel, ambition with loud clamour, and pride with haughty mien — but Christ with gentle spirit has remained without. His patience has been co-extensive with our neglect of Him. It is Divine.
3. The appeal of truth is benevolent. The truth does not seek to enter the soul of man merely to spy out its moral defilement, to pass woful sentence on its evil-doings, but to cleanse it by the Holy Spirit, to save it by grace, to enlighten it by knowledge, and to cheer it by love.
4. The appeal of truth is heard. "And knock." Knocks at the door are generally heard. And certainly this is the case in reference to the advent of Christ to the soul. It is impossible to live in this land of religious light and agency without being conscious of Divine knockings at the portal of the soul.
III. THAT THE HUMAN SOUL HAS THE ABILITY OF CHOICE AS TO WHETHER IT WILL OPEN ITS DOOR FOR THE ENTRANCE OF THE TRUTH OR NOT.
1. The door of the soul will not be opened by any coercive methods. Does it not seem strange that Christ should have the key of the soul and yet stand without? This is only explained by the free agency of man. But though He enter not to dwell, the soul is visited by spiritual influences which are the universal heritage of man.
2. The door of the soul must be opened by moral methods. Calm reflection, earnest prayer, and a diligent study of the inspired Word, together with the gentle influences of the Divine Spirit, will open the soul to the entrance of Christ (Acts 16:14).
IV. THAT IF THE HUMAN SOUL WILL OPEN ITS DOOR TO THE RECEPTION OF THE TRUTH, CHRIST WILL ENTER INTO CLOSE COMMUNION WITH IT.
1. Then Christ will inhabit the soul. "I will come in to him." Thus, if Christ come into the soul He will dwell in its thoughts, in its affections, in its aspirations, in its aims, and in all its activities. He will elevate and consecrate them all. True religion just means this, Christ in the soul, and its language is (Galatians 2:20).
2. Then Christ will be in sympathy with the soul. "And will sup with him." It is impossible to have a feast in the soul unless Christ spreads the table; then the meal is festive. It removes sorrow; it inspires joy. While we are partaking of it we can relate to Christ all the perplexities of life. The good man carries a feast within him (John 4:32).
3. Then Christ will strengthen the soul. He will strengthen the moral nature by the food He will give, by the counsel He will impart, and by the hope He will inspire. The feast, the supply of holy energy will be resident within.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)I. THAT, IN THE DISPENSATION OF THE GOSPEL, CHRIST IS THE UNINVITED GUEST, PLEADING FOR ADMISSION. Whatever acquaintance any of us may have with Jesus, the acquaintance began on His side: by Him are the first overtures invariably made.
1. The written gospel is a proof of it.
2. The Christian ministry is another proof.
3. The strivings of His Spirit are another instance of this. In the two former cases, His approach can more easily be avoided.
II. THAT CONSENT ALONE IS REQUIRED, ON OUR PART, TO GIVE US A FULL PARTICIPATION IN HIS FRIENDSHIP.
1. The consent which is required.
2. The friendship which is offered.
(J. Jowett, M. A.)
(W. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.)
(Morgan Dix, D. D.)I. WHO KNOCKS? The Son of God, Immanuel, the Mediator betwixt God and man, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of glory, the Redeemer of the lost, Almighty to save, and all-sufficient to satisfy your souls. What hinders that you should not let Him in?
II. DIFFERENT HEARTS ARE BOLTED WITH DIFFERENT BARS. Some are closed by carelessness, and some by ignorance, and some by indolence, and some by frivolity, and some by prejudice, and some by pride, and some by strong besetting sins.
III. WERE YOU TO YIELD TO THE STRIVING SPIRIT — WERE YOU TO WITHDRAW THESE BOLTS, AND ADMIT INTO YOUR SOUL A MIGHTY AND MERCIFUL REDEEMER, WHAT WOULD BE THE CONSEQUENCE? Pardon of sin would come. Peace of conscience would come. The smile of God would come into your soul.
(James Hamilton, D. D.)I. WHO IS HE?
1. It is clear that He is some one of importance. "Behold," He says, "I stand at the door; I who could never have been expected to stand there." He speaks, you observe, as though His coming to us would surprise us; just as we might suppose a monarch to speak at a beggar's door. And there is a reason for this. It is the glorious Redeemer who is here, the Monarch of earth and heaven. See then how this text sets forth at the very outset of it the Divine mercy. We think it a great thing that God should sit on a throne waiting for sinners to come to Him, but here He describes Himself as coming to sinners.
II. WHAT IS THE LORD JESUS DOING AT OUR DOOR?
1. On our part, it implies this mournful fact, that our hearts are all naturally shut against Christ, yea, fastened, bolted, and barred, against Him.
2. On Christ's part, this expression implies a willingness to enter our hearts; and more than a willingness, an earnest desire to enter them.
III. WHAT DOES THIS GRACIOUS STRANGER AT OUR DOOR WISH US TO DO?
IV. WHAT WILL THIS EXALTED BEING AT OUR DOOR DO FOR US, IF WE LET HIM IN?
1. "I will come in to him." There His presence is promised, and with it the light and comfort and bliss and glory of it.
2. "I will sup with him, and he with Me." This implies a manifestation of Christ in the heart He dwells in, and intercourse and communion with it.
(James Hamilton, M. A.)I. WHO STANDS? An ancient patriarch, by keeping open heart and open house for strangers, was privileged to entertain angels unawares. This day we may obtain s visit of the Lord of angels, if only we will let Him in.
II. HOW NEAR HE COMES. "Behold, I stand at the door." We are not much moved by anything that is far distant. Whether the visitant be coming for judgment or mercy, we take the matter lightly, as long as he is far away. A distant enemy does not make us tremble — a distant friend fails to make us glad. When your protector is distant, you tremble at danger; when he is near, you breathe freely again. How near the Son of God has come to us! He is our Brother: He touches us, and we touch Him, at all points.
III. HOW FAR OFF HE IS KEPT. "At the door." He in great kindness comes to the door; we in great folly keep Him at the door. The sunlight travels far from its source in the deep of heaven — so far, that though it can be expressed in figures, the imagination fails to take in the magnitude of the sum; but when the rays of light have travelled unimpeded so far, and come to the door of my eye, if I shut that door — a thin film of flesh — the light is kept out, and I remain in darkness. Alas l the light that travelled so far, and came so near — the Light that sought entrance into my heart, and that I kept out — was the Light of life! If I keep out that Light, I abide in the darkness of death: there is no salvation in any other.
IV. HE KNOCKS FOR ENTRANCE. It is more than the kindness of His coming and the patience of His waiting. Besides coming near, He calls aloud: He does not permit us to forget His presence.
V. MANY THINGS HINDER THE HEARING. Other thoughts occupy the mind; other sounds occupy the car. Either joy or grief may become a hindrance. The song of mirth and the wail of sorrow may both, by turns, drown the voice of that blessed Visitant who stands without and pleads for admission.
VI. HEAR, AND OPEN. Hearing alone is not enough. It is not the wrath of God, but His mercy in Christ, that melts the iron fastenings and lifts up these shut gates, that the King of Glory may come in. The guilty refuse to open for Christ, even when they hear Him knocking. They have hard thoughts of Him. They think He comes to demand a righteousness which they cannot give, and to bind them over to the judgment because they cannot pay. God is love, and Christ is the outcome of His forgiving love to lost men. He comes to redeem you, and save you. It is when you know Him thus that you will open at His call.
(W. Arnot, D. D.)I. "IF ANY MAN HEAR MY VOICE."
1. That the voice of Christ is either external or internal; or, that which is addressed to the senses only, and that which reaches the heart.
2. The internal voice of Christ is various, according to the different circumstances of the persons to whom it is directed. To some it is an awakening voice: it rouses them from their carnal security. To those who are bowed down with a sense of sin, and wounded with the fiery darts of Divine wrath, it is a healing and comforting voice.
3. In order to hear His voice aright, our hearts must be renewed. Dead sinners cannot hear the voice of Christ; but His is a life-giving voice, and what it commands it communicates.
II. AND OPEN THE DOOR.
III. "I WILL COME IN TO HIM."
3. Inhabitation.He not only comes near to the soul to converse with it, but into it to dwell there, and becomes the vital principle of all holy obedience.
IV. "AND I WILL SUP WITH HIM, AND HE WITH ME."
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)
(J. Culross, D. D.)
(J. R. Miller, D. D.)
(D. L. Moody.)
(J. R. Miller, D. D.)
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