Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In Search of Evangelical Genius

We Need Innovation, Creativity, Intelligence, and Wisdom - All for the Kingdom.

The Messenger: The Mind and the Message
The Jehovah's Witnesses are killing us in one-on-one evangelism. The reason for this is that they spend hours and days thinking about how to reach their cities. In the towns that they live in, they have graphed out entire sections of the city that certain church members are responsible for trying to evangelize. They also hold workshops every week to help fine-tune their technique for spreading their beliefs. If that wasn't enough, they find ways to downsize their living conditions in order to spend less time working and more time telling people about the teachings of the Watchtower Society. The Jehovah's Witnesses are killing us in one-on-one evangelism due to persistence, thoughtfulness, and industriousness. We need to apply our thinking to our Gospel-spreading, too. Like the Jehovah's Witnesses, we need to work out and apply strategies for reaching every single person in our cities with the message of Jesus Christ - but we need to do it better than they are doing it. How can we strategize (intelligence) and create new methods (innovation) and adapt to different situations (creativity) and listen to the Spirit (wisdom) in our efforts to use our minds to spread our message to every single person in the cities that God has placed us in? How do we use our minds to help our evangelism?

The Scientist: My Father's Inventions
Forget about the dominant strain of Christian anti-intellectualism for a second. Forget that there are entire movements of people that glory in their ignorance. Stop thinking about the fact that, somewhere out there, a people exists who thinks that the mind and the use of reason is the enemy of the God who created both the mind and the faculties of reason. Forget about all of that for a second. God created the world to show us something about who He is, and science is the way that we get to explore that. So science brings God a lot of honor. It is like God, our Father, spent time coming up with inventions like stars and plants and biological mechanisms and the scientists are like the kids who explore those inventions and hold them up and say "hey, look at what my dad invented!" We need to use our minds for science so that we can also give our Inventor Father that kind of glory. Francis S. Collins (Human Genome Project) is a great example of a Christian who sees God at work in the processes of nature that scientists observe. We can also pay attention to the handiwork of God in biology, cosmology, physics, chemistry, and other scientific disciplines. We can use our minds to find God's finger prints in creation.

The Politician: My (Non?) Partisan Utopian Dream
Read the book of Leviticus in the Bible, and you realize that it is Utopian literature. It describes a perfect society. In the society of Leviticus, the common people care for the poor. The young rise in the presence of the aged. The culture is united in collective identity and worship. Laws, just and equitable, apply to each and every citizen and govern the daily lives of the Israelites. The book of Leviticus is a handbook to a perfect and (mostly) peaceful society on the earth. So maybe we need more Christians who think about Leviticus and become policy wonks and people in government who draft legislation to help run the societies of the earth. I am not talking about creating a theocracy like ancient Israel, but a fair and just society that is supported by research, guided by Biblical principles of poverty relief and individual responsibility, and not hostile to the Gospel should be within the grasp of Christians who think carefully.

The Laborer: I'll Tell You About a Carpenter
But let us not leave this thoughtful cultural and revivalism thing to the information-class workers of society, either. The construction workers and carpenters and factory workers and electricians can catch the vision of smart evangelism, reflection on God's creation, and a more just world too. We all can. Let us not get so caught up in being "smart" that we forget about the most intelligent and wise man to ever walk the earth - our carpenter savior, Jesus Christ. And let's not forget that His disciples (the Apostles and our fathers in the faith) were mostly working class fishermen and uneducated Galileans. In all of this talk about innovation and creativity and wisdom, we should probably keep in mind that the people who will make most of the real progress will be the tradesmen who can build things and can use their skills to reach more people than the academics would ever be able to. God seems pleased to use the laborers and the guys who do not only have book knowledge but practical knowledge as well to get things done. Do not forget that Jesus was a carpenter... and so might most of our real innovators be.

Repentance and Glory Projects

Every once in a while I have to step back and re-evaluate what I am doing - usually this has to do with a project that I need to drop. It happened a couple of months ago when I had to drop my 13-week review of Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. This time, I need to publicly repent and drop the month-long meditation on the doctrine of The Image of God that I have been working on. It is a good project. It needs to be done. But at this point I have too much on my plate, and this is becoming a glory project, which is something that people do for their own glory at the expense of other projects that God has called them to do for His glory. I am guilty of that: this is a good project, but it isn't the right time, and I am robbing God by spending all my time on my project and not on the projects that He has set for me such as school and my relationship and renewed focus on evangelism and discipleship and prayer and writing on a wider variety of other topics.

Repentance for Ditching the Blog
One other order of business: while I am repenting for blogging about the wrong things, or at least for coming up with the wrong projects for this blog, I also need to repent of laziness. I still feel like writing for The Voice is something that I am supposed to do. I left this place hanging for two full weeks, and my petty reasons -mostly sickness- do not cut it. I will return to daily or semi-daily writing starting tonight. Thank you for your patience and for continuing to follow the blog, officially. Means a lot.

What Is Coming Up on The Voice
There are still a few projects that I have not been led to drop: the Gospel of Mark series has a lot more posts coming (one this coming Friday or Saturday!) and some one-shot book reviews are getting the early touches. Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe will be the first review coming, followed by Donald Miller's A Million Miles In a Thousand Years. There are also some video interviews and guest blogs in the works - more information is coming! I am looking forward to bringing back the content. Hope you guys find something worthwhile, here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Outstretched Arm of God - Day #6

The human arm is a window - a symbol through which we are reminded of God's strength.

Taking Comfort In the Strength of God
Tim gets the rough end of the stick every day - figuratively. He came out as a Christian, talking publicly about it, about three weeks ago. Since then his friends have stopped hanging out with him ("you're different now, man," one of them told him on the way to a party), his Atheist co-worker has started to take verbal jabs at his intelligence during breaks, and his history teacher has started devoting 15 minutes of every class to listing off the sins of Christian institutions during the medieval times leading up to colonization of North America. He gets trashed and belittled all the time. His girlfriend dumped him because she didn't want others to think that she was religious too. The yearbook and student newspaper dropped him because they thought that he might insert his own "fundamentalist biases" into the publications. And to top it all off, his family has become combative and demeaning as well.

Tim has a secret for dealing with all of the trouble in his life. In private prayer he holds up his right arm, stretching it out, and looks to it as he asks to God to fight on his behalf. Doing this reminds Tim of all the verses in the Bible that speak of God fighting for his people with an outstretched arm: "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment," says God in Exodus 6.6; Isaiah the Prophet even asked Him to "Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble" (Isaiah 33.2).

The Image of God and the Arm of Man
This story is meant to show that God (in His infinite wisdom) created the human body in a certain way and for certain reasons to tell us something about Him: as people who are made in the image of God (Genesis 1.26), every part of our bodies represents Him in some way - see The Body and the Image - Day #3 for more info. In this case, the human arm represents God's strength. This is the case throughout the entire Bible, where "the arm of the LORD" means God's might, power, ongoing work in fighting for the cause of His people, etc. When you see your own arms in the mirror, or see someone using their arms for something like physical labour, mixed martial arts, weight lifting, or arm wrestling, think of how the arm is a symbol for strength and remind yourself that it speaks to the might of God, who is our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. Let the human arm and its strength remind you that God is strong; let it remind you of "the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might" (Ephesians 1.19). Let it remind you that he fights on your behalf to make all things work together for your good. The arm is a window - a symbol through which we are reminded of the strength of God.

Reflection Passage
Read Psalm 89.13-21 and think about how the protection of God's "arm" inspires the writer to worship God with "a festive shout." Since God is invisible and spiritual and does not have a body (see "Our Invisible God and His Image - Day #4" for more information), think about how the human arm tells us something about who God is and what He is like.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Image and the Dominant Species - Day #5

God gave the earth to us to take care of responsibly as His image bearers.

The Dominance of the Species
As human beings -made in the image of God both in nature (Day #1 and Day #2) and in body (Day #3 and Day #4)- God has given us the honour and the responsibility of caring for His entire creation as its dominant species and as His representatives. In Genesis 1.26-30 we are told that God made man in His imageand let them have dominion over the fish, birds, livestock, and the things that creep on the earth (Genesis 1.26); then God blessed the first humans and said fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion (Genesis 1.28); then after giving them the gift of food (Genesis 1.29), God told our ancestors what the animals of the earth were supposed to be eating (to every beast of the earth… I have given every green plant for food), sort of in the same way that a pet owner might describe his or her pet’s diet to a house-sitter before leaving on a holiday: the assumption is that God had given our first parents this information (Genesis 1.30) because the animals were under their care; then, in Genesis 2.5, it is suggested that man’s purpose is to work the ground, and in Genesis 2.15 his purpose is serve in the Garden of Eden and take care of it. If you take this all together then it looks like God gave us the earth but also told us to take care of it – with great power comes great responsibility, or to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12.48).

Responsible Care of the Earth
So if we are God’s representatives, and if He has given us the earth to take care of, then that has to mean a few things. It means that Christians need to respect the environment. It means that we need to stop the wasteful killing of animals. It means that, as God’s children, we should stand against the cruelty that God’s creatures are subjected to. I know what you are thinking – this sounds like a passionate Greenpeace blog post. Most of you don’t believe in global warming. Many of you are suspicious of Christians who take up environmentalist causes. Hear me out: I am not a liberal trying to pick up a trendy cause; I am a theological conservative who reads Genesis 1 and 2 and takes the Scriptures on this subject seriously. Even God sounds off the “save the trees” bell a couple of times in the Bible: When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? (Deuteronomy 20.19)

Some of the resistance that you have to this post has to do with conservative politics, not conservative theology – to this I would say, choose your master. If you had to pick between God and the Republican Party on this issue then whose side would you take? God has made us the dominant species on the earth and the only ones of whom it can be said "they are made in the image of God." But that comes with some responsibility. God has given us dominance, but also responsibility.

Reflection Passage
Read Genesis 1.26-30, along with the rest of the passages in the article (if you can). Ask yourself what it means to accept the responsibility that comes along with being made in the image of God; what stands in your way? What doubts or fears do you have?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Our Invisible God and His Image - Day #4

God is infinite, spiritual, and invisible; our bodies are a window into His nature.

God Is Infinite and Doesn’t Need A Body
When God created us in His image, He did not mean His physical image. God does not need a body and the Bible repeatedly tells us that He does not have one – He is the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). He does not need eyes to see, or ears to hear, or a mouth to speak, or a stomach for digestion, or anatomical structure for the creation of offspring. Although the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, took on flesh, there is no shape or body that belongs to Him from all eternity past. This is why God appears in all sort of different ways in the Old Testament: As a fire in Exodus 3.1-6; as a whirlwind and a pillar of fire in Exodus 13.21-22; or as a shining cloud in Leviticus 16.2. God does not have a physical form because, as Jesus said, "The Father... is spirit" (John 4.24).

When people say, “I think the Image of God means that we look like Him,” there are a lot of problems that come with that. God is infinite and beyond comprehension – and having a body like ours makes Him little more than some kind of ascended human being (which is what the Mormons teach). It takes away from His omnipresence –the teaching that God is everywhere at once- and ties Him to a specific place wherever His body is. Teaching that God has a physical form lowers our view of who He is. We need to understand that God does not have a body.

Our Bodies Are Icons of the Invisible God
I am trying to be very careful here, but our bodies are sort of like the icons in Greek Orthodoxy through which God is worshiped: the physical representation directs our minds toward the reality and the essence and the character of God. Like in the last post, everything from the human arm, to legs, to ears, to sex tells us something about the one true Trinitarian God who is represented by these things, and directs our minds to the worship of Him. Knowing that God does not have a physical form helps us to see Him, and our own bodies, with more appreciation and respect.

Reflection Passage
Read Psalm 139.5-11and ask yourself how God's omnipresence (being everywhere at once instead of being limited by a body) has an affect on the way that you live your life. Ask, how can we appreciate God through the things that the human body tells us about Him?

The Body and the Image - Day #3

Our bodies, not just our souls, are part of being made in God's image.

The Body and the Image of God
Aside from representing God in our actions and lifestyles, our actual human bodies also tell us something about what God is like. Even the writer of Psalm 94.9 suggested this: “He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?” While God does not have a body of His own –God does not need a stomach to digest, lungs to breath, or anatomical structure to produce offspring- He also knew what He was doing when He formed [the body of] the man from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2.7). Like the ancient idols of pagan gods were made to represent their deities, with the bull appropriately representing a god of strength or the owl representing a goddess of wisdom, the form of man fit well with the One who was being represented by it. It is because of the physical body’s importance that believers look forward to a bodily resurrection on a renewed earth rather than an eternity as spirits in heaven (John 5.29). As part of creating us in His image, God gave us not just a soul, but a physical form too. The human body is important.

Body Parts In the Image of God
There are a lot of ways in which our bodies were designed to represent God. Like the writer of Psalm 94.9 pointed out, the God who gave us ears can hear, and He who created the eye can see. But the human form gives us a lot of other ways of being able to talk about our invisible, spiritual, infinite God and communicate something about what He is like. Human legs help us to understand that God is near to us – that He promises to “walk” among us (Leviticus 26.12); the human ear helps us to get that God “hears” our prayers and cries of distress (Exodus 22.23); the warrior’s arm makes us understand the might and power of God that he uses for our sake, helping us by His “great power and outstretched arm” (Deuteronomy 9.29). If the human body did not exist then the Bible would have no way of talking about what He is like. Even things like sex (oneness within the Trinity) and gender (roles within the Trinity) and speech (God’s commands, revelation, and creation of the world) and hands (God’s election and support of believers) help us to understand who God is and what He is like. Our bodies are an important part of being made in the image of God.

Reflection Passage
the verses provided in the article’s links and ask yourself how you could use the parts and functions of the human body to talk about what God is like. These passages help us understand the importance of the body to our humanity and to representing the Lord.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Holy Spirit and the Image - Day #2

Living in God's image is not about us - it's about letting the Spirit live through us.

The Image of God Lifestyle Isn't About Morality
After Day #1 of the new series, you might think that being created in God's image is all about morality; "Live better! Try harder! Represent God more in your actions! Be more loving!" may have been the only thing that you heard while you were reading. Like a child with an overbearing parent, or a man with a nagging wife, or a woman with a husband who yells, maybe you just took the words written yesterday as just another set of commands to live up to. That isn't what that was about. Let me be honest - I hate moralism. I hate the idea of Christianity being about making ourselves into good people, or about "making good men better." I completely despise the idea that we go in and out of favor with God based on good works, because the Bible celebrates the good news that we are saved by faith, not by works, so that no man can boast (Ephesians 2.8-9). And I hate the idea that we can be perfect like God, because -besides it not being true- the Bible warns that If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1.8). So the post from yesterday isn't a command to try harder in order to earn God's love. I don't think that kind of oppressive thinking matches with the Bible. And it isn't a command to be perfect, either - in this life we will always contend a noble fight against our brokenness.

Being Created In God's Image Is About Being Spirit-Led
When God created humans in Genesis 2.7, it says that he "breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life." That word breath can also mean wind, or it can mean spirit, which is why the book of Job says my breath is in me, and the Spirit of God is in my nostrils (Job 27.3). Human beings were created with the Holy Spirit in them, guiding them, forming their character, and uniting their hearts with the will of God so that they could fulfill their roles as the visible representatives of God made in his image (Genesis 1.26). Then humanity fell from grace - sin entered the world (Genesis 3) and the original humans lost the Spirit: they had rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them (Isaiah 63.10).

Through a new relationship with God, the Holy Spirit has returned to his children after our original parents' fall from grace. Through Christ, He lives in us like He lived in our first parents. He helps us to live out the Image of God lifestyle that I was talking about in the last post. It is by the fruits of the Spirit, not the fruits of self-discipline or moralism, that we represent God in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5.22-23). When we go to live out the lifestyle that comes with accepting that God made us in His image, we do it not through effort, but by letting the Holy Spirit live through us (Galatians 5.25).

Reflection Passage
Read Galatians 5.22-25. This passage shows us what the Holy Spirit does in us, and how He makes our nature the same as His own. Living in the Image of God is about letting the Spirit live through us, not about doing better or trying harder.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Children of God - Day #1

We were made to reflect God's nature to the world.

Nature Teaches Us What God Is Like
Romans 1.19-20 says that God made Himself known through nature. We know "His eternal power and divine nature... in the things that have been made." When we reflect on the beauty and the intricate design of nature, we know that God creates and appreciates art and beauty. And when lightning crashes and tsunamis hit, who can but think of his power? Still, when the leaves come out in spring and the sun grows warm, we are made aware of his provision and his care for us - especially in harvest time, when he gives his children food. God shows himself through nature.

Humans Were Made to Reflect God's Nature
In Ephesians 4.24, we are told that God created man "in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." And after saying this, St. Paul continues to write, "therefore... put away all falsehood... be angry and do not sin... let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths... let bitterness and wrath and anger be put away from you... be kind to one another... forgive one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Although the rest of nature shows us what God is like, this passage says that humans -like us!- were meant to represent God in a special way: Unlike nature, we can display God's truthfulness (put away all falsehood), his righteous anger (be angry and do not sin), his love for grace and building up rather than crass talk and tearing others down (let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths) and his absolute kindness and forgiveness towards us (be kind to one another... forgive one another, as God in Christ forgave you).

Do you see? This idea of being created in the image of God isn't just some doctrine. It's a lifestyle. It's a way of living that reflects God's nature to the world , like the way that a mirror reflects the sun. It's a lifestyle of honesty, and kindness, and forgiveness, and anger that does something constructive instead of just destroying everything, and words that build others up. If God was the sun, you would be his mirror. Embrace that. Live that out. You were created to be the image of God.

Reflection Passage
Read Ephesians 4.24-5.1, and go further than that if you like. This passage shows us what the "Image of God" lifestyle looks like, and teaches us about what God is like in the process.

On the Holy Spirit: An Overview

With the second (and possibly final) part of Ryan Rice's On the Holy Spirit series completed, I (Sean Rice - no relation) thought that this would be a good chance to summarize what we have learned so far through Ryan's writing. This summary isn't meant to replace the original posts, so if what you read sounds interesting then you should go check out the original articles.

The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Part 1)

The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. In the the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit hovers over the face of the waters before the creation of the Earth (Genesis 1.2). After this, He

  • Dwelt within those individuals who had belonged to the people of Yahweh.
  • Equipped people to carry out the work that God set before them to do.
  • And many other things besides these. Check the original article for references.

The Role of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. In the New Testament, there is a paradigm shift - a change in the way that the Holy Spirit relates to His people.

  • The shift starts in Ezekiel 36.26-28: "I will give you a new heart."
  • In Acts, the Holy Spirit descends and gives the Apostles the gift of tongues.
  • In Romans 8, the Spirit intercedes for us, helping us in our weakness to pray.
  • In Ephesians 1.13-14, having the Holy Spirit is our assurance that we belong to the Father.

Conclusion. "So in conclusion to part one, we see that the Holy Spirit is in the Godhead, is in the process of Creation, rests with God’s people Israel, promises a new covenant in which the Spirit is written on the hearts of God’s people, and ultimately is the down payment for our eternal inheritance in Christ Jesus." - Ryan.

The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Part 2)
There are many different views of the Holy Spirit because we all come to see Him with our own denominational biases. We need to see beyond these lenses that we have.

TEXT #1: You will receive power... (Acts 1.8)

  • There is a power that the disciples will be clothed with from on high (Luke 24.49).
  • To say that tongues is the main evidence for a person's baptism in the Spirit is not true.
  • It just, flat out, is not a requirement for a Christian to have to speak in tongues

TEXT #2: Walk by the Spirit... (Galatians 5.16-18)

  • To walk in the Spirit is to make war against our sinful nature.
  • To walk in the Spirit is to communicate with God constantly.
  • This does not mean that we can become perfect: holiness theology is flat-out wrong.

TEXT #3: Do not get drunk with wine... be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5.18)

  • A Spirit-filled church is one that needs to be humble.
  • The second way that we are Spirit-filled is that we are thankful.
  • Getting "drunk with the Spirit" is a bad interpretation. See Ephesians 5.19-21 for context.

Conclusion. "I've always been a huge fan of worship music; I always have been. Even this morning as we were singing praises to our King at church, I felt the warm, loving touch of the Spirit in my heart as I sang. I cried, felt humbled, felt like dancing, and felt reverent fear all in the time frame of about thirty minutes. The Spirit can move as He wishes (John 3:8) and it is my deepest desire to have more of Him, to sing more about Him, and to worship Him. I feel honored that He called me and chose me to be His Son before time began. In short, we need to understand who God is, what He's done for us, and what our response should be towards His great love for us. I am amazed at the fact that we have such a Savior who would send us a Comforter, and that is exactly what the Spirit is by the way, that we would never be without Him, ever. My mind still has trouble with that simple truth. Above all, I want the Spirit more in my life, my ministry, my marriage, my parenting, all of it. I want more. I think in the end that is the right response to what we see in Scripture, and in the lives of the saints that have gone before us." -Ryan.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Asking Jesus Into Your Heart

I subscribe to a blog from a former youth pastor where I am from who is now a pastor just outside Philadelphia, and I loved this post he put up, so I'm officially ganking it and putting on here. Thank you Todd Pruitt and sorry I stole your picture!

If you grew up in the typical evangelical church from Southern Baptist to Assembly of God then you have heard the phrase, "Ask Jesus into your heart" more times than you can count. But is this biblical? After all, in matters of salvation we had better get it right.

Dan Wallace has written an excellent post examing the biblical language in Revelation 3:20: "Behold I stand at the door and knock..."

In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he [will dine] with me.” The crucial phrase for our purposes is “I shall come in to him.” This text has often been taken as a text offering salvation to a lost sinner. Such a view is based on two assumptions: (1) that the Laodiceans, or at least some of them, were indeed lost, and (2) that the Greek εισελεύσομαι πρό means “come into.”

Both of these assumptions, however, are based on little evidence. Further, the resultant notion is anything but clear. To invite Christ into one’s heart is hardly a clear picture of the gospel.

Regarding the idea that those in the Laodicean church were not believers, note that in the preceding verse, the resurrected Lord declares, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline.” Here φιλέω is used for “love”—a term that is never used of God/Jesus loving unbelievers in the NT. This φιλέω is applied to the Laodiceans here, for the verse concludes, “Be zealous, therefore, and repent.” The inferential ‘therefore’ connects the two parts of the verse, indicating that the Laodiceans are to repent because Christ loves (φιλέω) them!

The second assumption is that εισελεύσομαι πρό means ‘come into.’ Such an assumption is based on a less than careful reading of the English text. The ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, for example, all correctly render it ‘come in to.’ (Note the space between the prepositions.) The idea of ‘come into’ would be expressed with είς as the independent preposition and would suggest a penetration into the person (thus, spawning the idea of entering into one’s heart). However, spatially πρό means toward, not into. In all eight instances of εισοέρχομαι πρό in the NT, the meaning is ‘come in toward/before a person’ (i.e., enter a building, house, room, etc., so as to be in the presence of someone), never penetration into the person himself/herself. In some instances, such a view would not only be absurd, but inappropriate (cf. Mark 6:25; 15:43; Luke 1:28; Acts 10:3; 11:3; 16:40; 17:2; 28:8).

What, then, is this verse is affirming? First, it is not an offering of salvation. The implications of this are manifold. Among other things, to use this text as a salvation verse is a perversion of the simplicity of the gospel. Many people have allegedly “received Christ into their hearts” without understanding what that means or what the gospel means. Although this verse is picturesque, it actually muddies the waters of the truth of salvation. Reception of Christ is a consequence, not a condition, of salvation. Second, as far as the positive meaning of this verse, it may refer to Christ having supremacy in the assembly or even to an invitation (and, consequently, a reminder) to believers to share with him in the coming kingdom. Either way, it is not a verse about salvation at all, for the Laodiceans were already saved.

Does this mean that those who have come to faith in Christ via Rev 3:20 are not saved? This answer needs some nuancing...

Read the rest of the article HERE.
Todd's blog can be read here. He pastors the Church of the Saviour in Wayne, PA. Their site can be found here.