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Question 2

In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says: “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.” Is Jesus addressing unbelievers or Christians?

This verse is often used in evangelistic messages as an invitation from the Lord Jesus to lost people. Unbelievers are told that Christ is standing at the door of their hearts, and if they open the door of their hearts, the Lord will save them. But if we take the immediate context of Revelation 3:20, as well as the larger context of chapter 2 and 3 of Revelation into consideration, it is clear that Jesus is speaking to lukewarm Christians who have become apathetic about their relationship with Him.

The Lord is ready and desires to renew His fellowship with these believers. If they open up their hearts to Him, fellowship with Him will be restored. The message is directed toward Christians who are out of fellowship with Christ. Of course, we may use this passage in evangelistic appeals, and many people have been encouraged to open their hearts to the salvation offered through faith in Christ as a result of hearing this text. But Jesus’ words in context are directed first and foremost to lukewarm Christians.

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely is Vice President and Dean of Moody Theological Seminary and Graduate School. An ordained minister, Winfred has served churches across the city of Chicago, the near west suburbs, and Senegal, West Africa. He is the author of How to Overcome Worry (Moody Publishers) and a contributor to the Moody Bible Commentary and Moody Handbook of Preaching. Winfred and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren.

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