1 John 5:13
1 John 5:13
1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33
Scripture Reading: John 2:1-11
Sermon – Christ at Heart’s Door:
The following sermon has been modified for our 5th Sunday worship today. The original
sermon was given on September 25, 1966 for the dedication of two memorials at this
church, a painting and a silver tea service. The memorial we’ll be speaking about is the
painting called “Christ at Heart’s Door” which hangs right over there. (point to painting)
Some things in our homes become precious to us when we associate meaningful events in our lives with them. Grandma’s rocker may not be a genuine antique or be very valuable, but to us it’s precious when we remember Grandma rocking us, or our cousins, in that chair. A plaque on the wall may be metal and wood, but because it was purchased on a memorable family vacation it is precious for the memories we remember from that happy family trip. Outside the family, these things may not seem precious at all, because they have no happy meanings for others. The furniture in our homes may include a lot of
“priceless junk” as well as some things that are really valuable.
When we look at something in a new way, there is a strangeness about it until we
associate it with something else in our lives that has meaning. As we share our life in this
church, things we understand better will have more meaning to us. Let’s look at the
painting together and see new things about it. We’ll suggest some new meanings about
the picture so we can all become more familiar with it.
First notice the thick stone walls and heavy door. This house is well protected. Why do
we protect ourselves with a wall? Aren’t our hearts well-protected? We don’t want
anyone to come in there. Maybe in the past we have been hurt and the memory of that
hurt causes us to protect ourselves. We don’t want to be open to more hurt. We protect
ourselves so well that not even Christ who comes in love can come in freely. We protect
ourselves from other people. Notice that even the little window in the door is protected by a heavy grille. No window glass there! We don’t want anyone smashing into our lives, or reaching in to open the door from the inside. We want to stay locked up inside and be able to see clearly who it is and what they want from us before we open the door of our
There are thorns and thistles growing around the doorway. There is a bird’s nest up there beside the door. This isn’t a well-traveled path. This door isn’t opened often. Birds don’t nest and weeds don’t grow close to a door which is used often. Chris has had to make a real effort to get close to this door and knock. We can remember the thorns which were made into a crown and pushed down on Christ’s head. Jesus had to pass through these thorns in order to come close to us, and he did this willingly. He didn’t let the thick walls, the firm door, or the thorns and thistles in the path get in the way of his mission.
Other people might not make the effort that Christ makes. They see the walls and barriers we build and have no desire to be scratched and hurt by the thorns to get to the door. They see the path is not well-traveled and fear being called trespassers if they set foot there. So we live alone in our dark, well-built homes, and the path to our hearts is not traveled. The door stays closed and locked.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” Jesus doesn’t seem to be pounding on the door.
He won’t try to break it down and force his way in. He gently knocks. Whether we open
the door is our decision. Do we hear that knock? Do we recognize who it is who knocks?
Maybe we are too busy, too occupied with other things to hear. Does Jesus need to beg us
to open the door?
When someone from our church asks us to do a job or to join an activity is this like Christ
knocking at our heart’s door? Do we hear Christ through our brothers and sisters in the
church? How often are we too busy to answer the requests made of us? We have other
‘important” things that have to be done. We don’t have time to take on another responsibility or to join another committee. So He stands and knocks. He is persistent. He
will knock again and again, hoping that we will answer and open the door.
Notice that there is no latch visible on the outside of the door. This is a door which has to
be opened from the inside. We have to decide to open the door and let Christ in. He can’t
force the lock. He will not break down the door. He knocks instead.
“If any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.” scripture says. Do
we hear the voice of Christ calling to us? He is always calling. Gently, softly, but He calls
When we are deeply troubled, depressed, sick, grieving, or upset, do we listen for His
voice? There are so many other voices calling to us. There are so many other sounds in
our ears. Can we hear His gentle knock, or His voice? We don’t expect to hear it. We feel
that we have to meet the challenges of life alone. We are so busy screaming we can’t hear
anything else. Our own questions of “Why?” drown out the sound of His knock, His call.
But if we hear His knock, His voice, He will come in. Even the deepest trouble we have
can be used by Christ as an opportunity if we open our hearts and let Him into our lives.
Christ waits there at the door. All we need to do is open it and let Him in. Our door is so
strong, we might not be able to hear His knock, or His voice through the thick walls and
heavy door. But it is there, He is there…….waiting.
Look closely at those hands. If we look carefully we can see the marks of the nails which
bound him to the cross. The marks don’t show, but we can remember that Christ’s head
held a crown of thorns which was pressed down and made him bleed. He bears the scars
of suffering. The visible signs of that suffering can’t tell the full story of all that He
suffered. And why? Why did Christ go through this agony? For us, in order to open the
way through the overgrown path to our heart’s door. He was hurt badly and He suffered, but He comes to us. He tried to reach other people too, and look what they did to Him!
He continues to come to us, in spite of what others have done to Him. Would we be that
persistent? If we aren’t welcomed by others, we don’t try again very soon. Because of our
injuries, we shut ourselves up inside our tightly closed lives and guard our hearts. Not
Christ though. He carried our grief and sorrow, and He’s still willing to carry more, yes,
and He’s able to carry far more than we are willing to let Him carry.
Notice there is NO welcoming light at this door. We are not expecting guests and do not
want to light the way to heart’s door. No, we make it as difficult as possible to get there.
Christ carries no light as He stands there and knocks. But there is light there. He brings it
with Him. “I am the light of the world” he said. At that dark and forbidding doorway
there is light, the light that Christ brings. He would bring that light into the dark house
where we live in fear of intruders. He would bring that light of love into our hearts made
dark and dismal by our turning away from the light, that is, by our sin and selfishness.
Into the darkness of our self-centered lives, Christ wants to bring the light of love. Into
the darkness of our fear He wants to bring the light of peace. Into the darkness of
loneliness and despair He wishes to bring the light of God, the light of His presence, the
light of love which passes understanding. “The people that live in darkness have seen a
great light” scripture says. Here the light stands at the doorway to our hearts, knocking,
waiting for us to open and receive that light.
If we open the door, what then? Scripture says, “I will come in to him and eat with him
and he with me.” What is God trying to say to us here? The people who first heard this
would be reminded of the custom of receiving strangers at our doors. If they came into
our homes and ate with us, it meant that they came in peace and wished not to harm us. It was a way of sharing more than just food, but of showing a welcome and willingness to
share our lives.
This is what Christ wants when He comes into our hearts, He wants to share with us. He
wants to show us that He comes in peace and means to do us no harm. He wants a
welcome where we will share with Him what we have and what we are. He wants to be a
part of our lives.
When we finally open the door of our hearts and let Christ in, we should offer our very
best. We should prepare a welcome for Him where we offer the very best that we have,
the very best we are able to provide.
Of course, Christ doesn’t peer through the door to see if what we have to offer Him is
good enough or not. Whatever we have is good enough! He is willing to share whatever
we will provide, whatever we can provide. But do we always give Him our very best?
How often does He have to be satisfied with left-overs? We wouldn’t think of offering
left-overs to a special guest coming into our homes. What do we give to Christ? Does He
get what’s left over of our time after we’ve done everything else we want? Do we give
Him what is left over of our energy? Do we give Him the very best of our talents, or what
is left over after we have used them in so many other ways? Is the church mission to
minister with what is left over after all our other obligations are met?
If we hear Christ’s voice, listen to His knock, and open up to Him, because our lives can
begin to enjoy the feast God meant for us to have. We don’t need to be alone inside our
tightly closed doors. We can open up to Christ and to our brothers and sisters. We can
make the pathway to heart’s door a well-traveled path, letting in all who knock and want
to find shelter and hospitality.
Christ stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. Will we open up to Him? Will we feast
with Him? He will not come in unless we let Him in.
Please pray with me:
Dear Lord, help us to open our hearts to Christ. Let Him come into our hearts and live
with us. Let Him bring His light into the dark places or our hearts. Let us feast with
Christ together. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.