19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ~ Revelation 3:19-22
We return to the second half of the seventh message from the Lord Jesus to the seventh church, the church at Laodicea. God disciplines those whom He loves. Don't misunderstand, He loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to let you remain as you are.
In v.19 we read, "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent."
The word translated “rebuke” here means “to expose one’s faults.” It is a term used in Scripture to speak of God’s dealings with sinners. The word translated “discipline” can also be translated "instruct, learn, teach." Christ loves the church, even if it is full of unbelievers and He is calling them to come to saving faith. The goal of God's rebukes and His discipline is that we might repent from self-dependence to God-dependence. Up to this point this church appears to have been content with just being religious. Salvation must always begin with repentance, an agreeing with God that we are sinners at odds with Him and that in and of ourselves there is nothing we can do to change that. It is only through Christ's death and resurrection that we can be reconciled to God.
In v.20 we read, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."
The Lord Jesus was standing at the door of this church and He was knocking to be let in. Motivated by compassion, the Lord Jesus knocks, because He was shut out of this church that bore His name. The promise is if anyone hears His voice and is willing to repent from self-dependence, they will be saved.
The nature of saving faith is that it admits our spiritual bankruptcy, nakedness, and blindness, and it rejects self-righteousness, and self-sufficiency. The result is a deepening fellowship with the Lord Jesus wherein we experience intimacy with both He and His Father.
Our intimacy with God is vital for us to experience the security of our salvation and to do the work that God has called us to. It is crucial for us to experience God in a personal way everyday, in order to to share the truth with others. And, the events of our everyday lives create the framework whereby He expresses Himself to us and we are given a story to share with others. It is out of these God-given stories that He gives us with Him that we share the Gospel with others most effectively.
In v.21-22 we read, "21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Again, as we have seen in the last three letters, the promise is to share in our Lord's reign. The church is intended to reign with Christ, but notice the distinction the Lord Jesus makes here. Notice how he distinguishes between his throne and his Father's throne. The Father's throne, of course, is the sovereign government of the universe. God is sovereign over all. The whole universe is under His control. Every human event comes under his jurisdiction. That is the Father's throne. When the Lord Jesus had overcome, when He, too, had endured faithfully to the end of His life, trusting God, He sat down on His Father's throne. When He ascended, we are told in Hebrews 12:2, "He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
But He too has a throne. He calls it "my throne." The overcoming Christian is invited to reign with Him on it. His millennial kingdom has been mentioned several times in these letters already. The church, resurrected and glorified, is to share with Him in that reign. That does not end the reign of the church with Christ. It goes on into the new heavens and the new earth. But this is a particular promise looking to the coming kingdom on earth when the Lord Jesus will reign over the earth for a period of a thousand years.
For the last time in these letters we hear the Lord Jesus say, "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches." We listen to His Spirit and we receive truth from Him and then we dispense it to the world. But we do not originate the truth. We do not think up the things that we would like to believe and spread abroad. We are responsible to hear what the Spirit says to the churches and then to pass that along, as we we grow in our ability to dine with Him.