Revelation 3:21
To the one who is victorious, I will grant the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Sermons
A Commonwealth of KingsJ. Spencer.Revelation 3:21
OvercomingW. Martin.Revelation 3:21
The Christian ConquerorAbp. Benson.Revelation 3:21
The Christian Promise of EmpireGeorge Matheson, D. D.Revelation 3:21
The Christian Raised to the Throne of ChristW. Arthur, M. A.Revelation 3:21
The Condition of Celestial KingshipT. McCullagh, D. D.Revelation 3:21
The Conqueror's RewardAmerican National PreacherRevelation 3:21
The Future Dominion of VictorsSunday School ChronicleRevelation 3:21
The Great VictoryRevelation 3:21
The Victory and the CrownH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 3:21
The Epistle to the Church At LaodiceaS. Conway Revelation 3:14-21
AmenDean Farrar.Revelation 3:14-22
An Earnest Warning Against LukewarmnessC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 3:14-22
Christ's NamesJ. Culross, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
IndifferenceH. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
LaodiceaD. C. Hughes, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
LaodiceaA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
Laodicea -- the Self-Complacent ChurchA. Mackennal, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
LukewarmnessW. Mitchell, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
LukewarmnessC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 3:14-22
LukewarmnessJ. N. Norton, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
Lukewarmness in ReligionJohn Erskine, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
Lukewarmness Injurious to OthersG. Bowes.Revelation 3:14-22
The AmenC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 3:14-22
The Church Abhorrent to Christ Because of the Lukewarm Temperature of its Spiritual LifeJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
The Condition of the LaodiceansJ. Culross, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
The Creation of GodW. Milligan, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
The Danger of LukewarmnessCanon Girdlestone.Revelation 3:14-22
The Danger of Lukewarmness in ReligionS. Davies, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
The Destiny of a Lukewarm ChurchS. Martin.Revelation 3:14-22
The Epistle to the Church in LaodiceaR. Green Revelation 3:14-22
The First Stages of Spiritual DeclineJ. B. Marsden, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
The Three Stages of Religious EmotionJohn F. Ewing, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
The Word of Christ to the Congregation At LaodiceaD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
The Words of Christ to the Church At LaodiceaD. Thomas Revelation 3:14-22
A Coal from the AltarA. Wood.Revelation 3:19-22
Christ Disclosing His LoveJ. Culross, D. D.Revelation 3:19-22
Christian ZealR. Culbertson.Revelation 3:19-22
Christian ZealG. Jordan, M. A.Revelation 3:19-22
Divine ChastisementH. E. Windle, M. A.Revelation 3:19-22
God Afflicts for Our Good; and What that Good IsJ. Mede, B. D.Revelation 3:19-22
Religious ZealA. Thompson, D. D.Revelation 3:19-22
Religious ZealA. Thomson, D. D.Revelation 3:19-22
The Love and the DisciplineH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 3:19-22
The Nature, Importance, and Right Exercise of Christian ZealT. Fleming, D. D.Revelation 3:19-22
ZealRevelation 3:19-22
Behold, I stand at the door, etc. These words, so welt known and much loved, however their primary intention may have had regard to a sinful community like the Church at Laodicea, nevertheless lend themselves so aptly to the setting forth of Christ's dealing with individual sinful souls, and have been so often used in this way, that once more we employ them for the like purpose. They supply three vivid pictures.

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!
How sweet thine entertainments are!" This we shall soon realize.

(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,
List! thy bosom door!
How it knocketh - knocketh knocketh -
Knocketh evermore!

Say not 'tis thy pulse is beating:
Tis thy heart of sin;
Tis thy Saviour knocks and crieth,
'Rise, and let me in.'

"Death comes on with reckless footsteps,
To the hall and hut;
Think you, Death will tarry knocking
Where the door is shut?

Jesus waiteth - waiteth - waiteth
But the door is fast;
Grieved, away thy Saviour goeth:
Death breaks in at last.

"Then 'tis time to stand entreating
Christ to let thee in;
At the gate of heaven beating,
Waiting for thy sin.

Nay - alas! thou guilty creature;
Hast thou then forgot?
Jesus waited long to know thee,
Now he knows thee not." S.C.







To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me. &&&
I. "TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH"; THIS SUPPOSES A CONFLICT.

1. You must contend against yourself. The main battle is fought on the field of your own heart. Your closest foes are the affections which struggle there.

2. Allied with your heart and habits stands the world. God has so mercifully made us that we hail as a light upon our path the beam of kindliness in the eye of a fellow man. Even this will be turned against you.

3. But self and the world are but visible weapons of an invisible hand. Behind them, setting their edge and thrusting them home, is your great adversary the devil. Watchful when you are drowsy, plotting when you are unsuspicious, laying snares when you are tripping heedlessly, bending the bow when you are exposing your breast, he is ever going about seeking to devour.

II. HERE WE HAVE A PROMISE TO STIMULATE US TO OVERCOME.

1. Whatever this promise means, it must mean at least that the faithful Christian will be received into the immediate presence of his Lord. And this is a thought you must set well before you.

2. But as you linger on these words of promise your heart feels that they tell of more than merely of the abundant entrance. "I will grant to sit with Me in My throne." Ah I this seems, you think, to say that you shall be wondrously close to Him.

3. This seems to declare also that, if faithful, you shall share at last in the very honours which Invest your adorable Head.

4. But, lingering still on this rich promise, your heart gathers from it another assurance, and one that to us in our struggles is wondrous sweet. "In His throne," you repeat, "in His throne," what foe can approach me there? In this wide world I can find no inviolable rest. But "on His throne," surely eternal repose dwells there.

III. HERE YOU HAVE THE EXAMPLE SET BEFORE YOU FOR YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT.

1. Your Captain does not lead you to a warfare in which He is a stranger. You will meet no foe whom He has not met.

2. Consider, then, the example of Him who passed through every kind of temptation which can assail you, and in a degree of aggravation to which it is not possible that you should be liable. His victory is the pledge of yours, for His strength is your strength, and your only foes are His vanquished assailants.

(W. Arthur, M. A.)

This is the promise of the ascended, victorious, crowned, and almighty Saviour to men whom He would have imitate and reproduce the life which He lived while upon the earth. This promise implies that life is a struggle with foes which assail it for the mastery. This truth has its illustrations in all forms and spheres of life. Many fail where one succeeds. The higher you rise in any sphere in life the smaller do the classes become. There are more Canadian thistles than Yosemite pines. There are more ants than eagles. There are more men who can read and write than can weigh the planets in scales and call them by name, paint a Madonna, build a Parthenon, write an epic. So there are more men who succeed in temporal pursuits than attain grand Christian characters and live a Christlike life. The first great truth implied in our text is, if men would live that higher life which is governed by the principles of the gospel and in the eternal world sit down with their Lord and Master on His throne, they must resist the temptations which assail them, vanquish the foes which would destroy them. The dangers which beset each one in this life-battle are special. The rock on which your neighbour struck, the reef on which your friend lies stranded, may not imperil your safety because you are steering in another direction. There are men whose integrity money could not buy, in whose keeping the uncounted millions of the mints and treasury of the nations would be safe. But there are others who are ready at any moment to part with reputation, character, aye, sell their very souls for its possession. Take spirituous liquor. There are some to whom in any form it is as distasteful as vitriol, as poisonous as croton oil. There are others — God pity them! — in whom the appetite is so fierce, powerful, overmastering, that if they saw a glass of rum on one side of the mouth of hell, and they stood on the other side, they would leap across, at the risk of falling in, to get it. There are two things which differentiate and specialise each human being's danger. The first is natural constitution. No one denies the law of heredity, that physical resemblances, mental aptitudes, and moral qualities are transmissible, and sometimes travel down family and national lines for centuries. But while a man may inherit tainted blood and receive a legacy of disabilities from his progenitors, it does not relieve him from personal responsibility. What are the weak points in your character? In the presence of what temptations do you most easily surrender? Along what lines does your constitutional predisposition to wrongdoing lie? As you confront these weaknesses the command of the great Saviour of souls is, "Overcome." On this your salvation depends. The second thing which differentiates and specialises each man's peril is providential circumstances. John Stuart Mill was carefully trained by his father in childhood and boyhood in the principles of atheism. Young Mill had no voice in determining the character of his childhood instruction. But did that fact relieve the future philosopher of responsibility in adhering to and teaching others the principles of atheism? Your greatest peril may lie wrapped up in some providential event which you had no voice in shaping and which you must meet. It may be money. It may be family alliances. It may be social relationships. It may be a business crisis — such a business crisis as sometimes reveals the whole moral mechanism of the man. I know not whether your inherited qualities of mind and moral aptitudes are helps or hindrances to you in life's battle. I do not know the revealing tests to which a searching Providence may subject you. But I do know that special dangers lie along your pathway and menace your eternal well-being; dangers which you must conquer if you would enter yonder pearly gate and sit down with your Lord on His throne. The text affords glorious encouragement in the blessed assurance that it is possible for men in this life-battle to overcome. The success possible in the text rests on surer foundations than human resources or individual reserve power. It rests on the truthfulness and sincerity of Jesus. He does not mock men by laying down impossible conditions of salvation. That God is on the side of the man who is struggling to preserve his purity, maintain his integrity, and vanquish what is wrong both within him and without him, is a truth taught with increasing clearness from Eden to Calvary. Observe the greatness and grandeur of the reward of him who overcomes: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne." Can you conceive of a greater incentive to be offered man than this promise of eternal participation in the regal splendours of heaven? Turning to the practical suggestions of this subject, notice that religion is a personal matter which has to do with individual character. Each one must overcome the obstacles which lie in his pathway. Yea can never understand how much Christ is to men until you realise your danger, feel your helplessness, and experience His saving power. You can never appreciate the towering sublimity of His peerless life until you attempt to walk in His footsteps and regulate your life by the same principles which controlled His life. The essence of the Christian religion is life, life shaped and controlled by supreme love to God and love for fellow-men equal to the love cherished for self.

(T. McCullagh, D. D.)

American National Preacher.
I. THE CHARACTER OF THE CHRISTIAN. It is that of a soldier — a successful soldier. His life is a warfare. It was such unquestionably in the days of the apostles. And what is the case now? The antipathy of the carnal mind may be restrained or softened by the influence of knowledge and the force of conviction, but the fact is still patent that we must take up our cross if we will win the crown. Our enemies within, whatever they may be without, am neither few nor weak. And to subvert our eternal salvation is the one thing in which they are all united. We have, therefore, the greatest need of caution and courage. One thing must be ever borne in mind, namely, our constant dependence upon God. As long as we abide beneath the wing of Omnipotence we are secure.

II. THE REWARD WHICH SHALL BE ADJUDGED TO THE SUCCESSFUL WARRIOR. He shall sit down with the Saviour on His throne.

1. The promise may be understood to shadow forth the future dignity of the conquering Christian. He shalt sit down with his Lord, and on the same throne. The faithful unto death shall thus be exalted above the angels of God.

2. The imagery in the promise is intended to indicate the future holiness of the saints. Wherever God is there is purity itself.

3. The promise before us is expressive of the future happiness of believers. There we shall behold a sky without a cloud, light without shadow, and flowers without a thorn.

(American National Preacher.)

I. THE BATTLE. Common life in this world is a warfare.

1. It is inner warfare, private, solitary, with no eye upon the warrior.

2. It is outer warfare. The enemies are legion.

3. It is daily warfare; not one great battle, but a multitude of battles. The enemy wearies not, ceases not, nor must we.

4. It is warfare not fought with human arms.

5. It is warfare in which we are sharers with Christ.

II. THE VICTORY. Here it is spoken of as one great final victory, but in reality it is a multitude. As are the battles so are the victories.

III. THE REWARD.

1. A throne. Not salvation merely, or life, but higher than these — glory, honour, dominion, and power. From being the lowest here they are made the highest hereafter.

2. Christ's throne. He has a seat on the Father's throne as the reward of His victory, we have a seat on His as the reward of ours. We are sharers or "partakers with Christ" in all things. We share His battles, His victories, His rewards, His cross, and His crown.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

I. A LIFE OF CHRISTIAN HOLINESS IS POSSIBLE.

II. IT IS NOT TO BE SUSTAINED WITHOUT VIGOROUS AND PERSEVERING EFFORTS.

1. The natural inaptitude and aversion of the unrenewed heart to the things of God and eternal life.

2. The world is against us.

3. The life of man is often the scene of distress.

III. THE ENCOURAGEMENTS TO A HOLY AND CHRISTIAN LIFE held out to us in the religion of Jesus are manifold and great.

1. In this arduous undertaking we are not left without assistance.

2. Multitudes of our fellow-men have already accomplished salvation, and are for ever with the Lord.

3. Whatever of warfare and pain may attend the Christian life they who maintain it are already the happiest of men.

4. Viewed aright it is matter of encouragement that the strife will soon be over.

5. What a vast reward awaits the faithful. (James Bromley.)

The word used here for "conqueror" does not imply one who has conquered. It is literally, "He that is conquering I will give to him to sit with Me." While the battle is raging he shall have My peace, while he is but starting he shall be at the goal — as the boy has his prizes and his scholarships not because he is a finished scholar but because he is longing and learning to be one. And as this continues all through life to be the law of life, so in the kingdom that is coming effort is victory and victory is only encouragement.

(Abp. Benson.)

"To him that overcometh." There is a tendency very common which these words may be taken to warn us against — that of settling down to the daily round of our lives without appeal to anything high or holy in purpose. Do not listen for a moment to those who tell you that the struggle is not worth engaging in. "To him that overcometh." Men have tried different ways to accomplish this. A favourite way in the history of the early Christian Church was to withdraw actually from the world, to seek the solitude of some cave or monastery. Others who would think it very wrong to do this, spend the greater part of their leisure in attending religious meetings and reading their Bibles, and tell you that the chief end of man in this world is by these methods to prepare for the next. Both of these attempts to overcome the world are based on a misconception. The text says to us that we are to overcome the world even as I (JESUS) overcame. Now in what way did our Saviour overcome the world? Not after the manner of the religious ascetic. His life was in the main lived among ordinary men and women in the ordinary vocations of life. If the life of Jesus had been that of a hermit or a monk, He would never have been called a friend of publicans and sinners. If, again, He had been a constant attendant at religious meetings, noonday, and evening, or had divided His life between keenness for this world's success in money-making and eagerness for the salvation of His soul for the next, He would never have been put to death. No, it was because He was so zealous to overcome the world — the world of religious selfishness and of worldly selfishness alike — it was because He was devoting Himself amid the ordinary pursuits of life to bring about the kingdom of God. It is, of course, not to be forgotten that there are means, such as the reading of the Bible, attendance on public worship, prayer, and fellowship with those who are like. minded, which, if rightly used, will help us for the battle we have to fight. It is by forgetting that these are only means that men become hypocrites, and the form of religion becomes the all in all. When we realise what Christ meant by "the world" and what He meant by the kingdom of God, we will take a more enlightened view of what our duty is, and we will strive more eagerly to achieve the victory. Think of how many men and women are hindered from overcoming the world — that is, sin in all its forms — by the conditions under which they are made by a selfish society to live. How can men and women hope to realise the Christlike life if they are forced to toil from morning to night, and then to sleep in badly ventilated houses, only to rise again to the same round of unrelieved drudgery? Those who to-day are endeavouring to bring about a better state of affairs, who are trying to realise to some small degree that part of the kingdom of God which consists in better houses and more healthful surroundings for the toilers in our midst are doing quite as much to enable men to overcome the world — the world of vice, of drunkenness, of coarseness — as those who attend to what are considered more strictly the needs of the soul. There is another idea in the text: "To him that overcometh." That is the battle. The reward follows: "I will give him to sit down with Me in My throne." It was because Christ had so completely overcome — had so unreservedly rendered up His own will to the will of His Heavenly Father — that we find such a royal, kingly sense of self-conquest pervading His entire life. Jesus Christ could not have brought so much of the kingdom of God into this world, He could not have foreseen with so much confidence a time when it would be universally established, had He not had it reigning within Himself. Throughout His life there was an air of kingly majesty that makes Him as secure as if He sat and reigned upon a throne, while all around Him seemed to indicate defeat and disaster. Whence did this come but from His oneness with the Father? Whence can we hope to receive it but from the same high, never-failing source?

(W. Martin.)

When Cyneas, the ambassador of Pyrrhus, after his return from Rome, was asked by his master, "What he thought of the city and state," he answered, "that it seemed to him to be a state of none but great states. men, and a commonwealth of kings." Such is heaven — no other than a parliament of emperors, a commonwealth of kings: every humble faithful soul in that kingdom is co-heir with Christ, hath a robe of honour, and a sceptre of power, and a throne of majesty, and a crown of glory.

(J. Spencer.)

Sunday School Chronicle.
"So you intend to be a reformer of men's morals, young man," said an aged peer to Wilberforce. "That," and he pointed to a picture of the crucifixion, "that is the end of reformers." "Is it? I have read in an old Book this, 'I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.' That is the end, not death, but dominion. And if we be faithful, doing our duty, the end shall not be exhaustion, but 'sit with Me on My throne.'"

(Sunday School Chronicle.)

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me on My throne." These words bear the stamp of their environment. They were written at a time when the ideal of all men was the possession of a throne. Alike to the Roman and to the Jew the dream of life was the dream of dominion. The son of Israel contemplated his Messiah who should make him ruler over all nations. The son of Rome was eager to complete his almost finished work of universal empire. But from another point of view it was in striking contrast to both. Who were the men that claimed to be the recipients of this promise? A baud of obscure slaves. To the proud Roman leading his armies to victory, to the proud Jew counting his ancestors by hundreds, there must have been something almost grotesque in the claim. Must it not to the age in which they lived have appeared the presumption of insanity? Nor is it only to a Roman age that the claim of this passage seems to suggest the idea of presumption. Must it not appear so at all times to every man? The throne, as I have said, is a throne of judgment. How can any human soul aspire to such a seat? Is not the state of the Christian one of humility? Does not the amount of the humility increase in proportion as the Christianity grows? Have not the most purely spiritual souls been precisely those most conscious of their sin? It is in the incipient stages of the Christian life that we find ambition. But let us look deeper. I think we shall find that we have altogether mistaken the meaning of the passage, and that the John of the Apocalypse is nowhere more like the John of the Gospel than in his present claim to Christian empire. So far from being influenced by the old feeling of presumption, he is actuated by the direct desire to avoid that feeling. His position is that, instead of being presumption to claim a seat on God's judgment throne, it is presumption that prevents the Church of Laodicea from having a right to claim it. If that Church would adopt more humility, it would be more entitled to a place on the throne. "Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." What is the state of mind here indicated? It is poverty unconscious of itself. It is the description of a Church which has no elements of strength within it, but which believes itself to be strong just because it has never been tried. Accordingly in verse 18 He says, "I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich." Nothing could reveal the weakness but exposure to the fire And first, let us consider that, as a matter of fact, every man has seated himself on a throne of judgment. The difference between the Christian and the non-Christian is not the occupation of a throne. It is that the occupation of the one is legal, and the occupation of the other usurped. Every man by nature has constituted himself the judge of other men. But to all such the seer of Patmos exclaims, "Come down from that throne; you have no right to be there; you have not overcome." He tells them that until they have felt the temptations of their own nature they are in no condition to judge others. Now, the next question is, what would be the effect of what is here called overcoming — of vanquishing the temptation? It would clearly be to transform a throne of judgment into a throne of grace. For, be it observed, the value of overcoming is not the victory but the struggle. There are two ways in which a man may reach freedom from temptation — by innocence or by virtue, by never having known or by having known and vanquished. If mere freedom from temptation were the goal, we ought to be content with the first. What makes the overcoming better than the innocence is the fact that in struggle we learn our weakness, and that in learning our weakness the throne of judgment becomes a throne of mercy. And now the passage takes a remarkable turn. To the inspired ear of the seer of Patmos the Christ who offers the conditions of empire is heard declaring that He Himself has reached empire by conforming to these conditions, "even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father on His throne." There is something startling here. There seems at first sight to be no analogy between the case of Christ and the case of ordinary men. Now, Jesus was tempted; that is one of the cardinal features of the gospel. He was tempted in such a way as to make Him feel the inherent weakness of humanity; that is one of the cardinal features of the Epistle to the Hebrews. But He was tempted also "without sin." The idea clearly is that His right to judge others rests morally on the fact of His own struggle the struggle with the thought of death. In His dealings with man He acknowledges no power but the sympathetic. And what is the root of universal sympathy? Is it not universal experience? If I would have sympathy with all nations, I must know experimentally the weakness with which all nations contend. Jesus emerges from the conflict with death wider in His human capabilities, stronger in His hold on man. He is able to promise rest to the labouring and the heavy-laden because He has known a kindred labour and felt an analogous ladenness. He has made the law of the Christian life the law of His own spirit: "I also have overcome, and am set down with My Father on His throne."

(George Matheson, D. D.)

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