In Philadelphia, they had little power and an open door.
In Laodicea, they had plenty of power and a closed door because they didn’t want to open the door. “Behold I stand at the door and knock,” says Jesus—Jesus, which literally means, “God is Salvation.”
If someone’s at your door and you don’t open it, you don’t trust the person on the other side of the door. Trust is Faith.
Perhaps the folks in Laodicea don’t trust “God is Salvation,” and they think He may also be “Not Salvation.”
Perhaps they don’t want Salvation. Faith is opening the door.
What will Jesus do if they don’t open the door?
He can’t cast them into Hell if they’ve already trapped themselves in Hell.
The side of the door that Jesus is standing on is Heaven; the other side is Hell.
If I were evil and didn’t want you to open the door, I’d try to convince you that Heaven is Hell and Hell is Heaven.
I’d try to sell a little Heaven in Hell so you’d think that you had salvation “in the bag”—that you already were “saved” and didn’t need any more saving, and therefore, didn’t need to risk opening the door.
I’d suggest that the Real Thing is Coca-Cola, Eternity is a bottle of perfume, and that Salvation is the US military.
I’d make things pleasant as Hell in Laodicea. I’d make you comfortably numb.
“Would that you were cold or hot,” says Jesus, “but because you are lukewarm, I will spew you from my mouth.”
He prescribes: “gold refined by fire, white garments washed in blood, and salve for our eyes.”
He prescribes shared tribulation, confessed shame, and eye-salve that we might see—see that He is not a thief in the night, but our Husband, and so surrender our shame and watch how Love conquers all our fears.
“If anyone opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him and he with me,” says Jesus.
“What’s for dinner?” we ask.
“Roast Lamb, red wine, body broken, and blood shed” is the answer.
He invites you to ingest Him . . . I think He’d like to ingest you . . . unless, of course, you don’t want Him to . . . in which case He’ll spit you out of His mouth . . . for a time.
Salvation is not small. You can’t own it or buy it.
Salvation is being filled with all the fullness of God.
And Heaven is an economy of relentless, ecstatic, and sacrificial Love.
*Sermon discussion questions are available here: Discussion Questions “Laodicea: Pleasant as Hell”