Click on following for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.
“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 with Me. (Revelation 3:20)
The above scripture has been used ad infinitum by preachers. Many evangelists use it to say Jesus is knocking on the door of sinners’ hearts. Prophets proclaim Jesus is trying to get back into His own church. On and on, it is used for this reason or for that one.
But seldom have I heard anyone mention why Jesus wants to dine with believers. Is He hungry?
Maybe, you’d hazard a guess by saying, “The word dine is used to simply illustrate intimate fellowship and intercourse between the Lord and us.”
Okay, you get a passing grade for this answer; let’s say, a D-.
Let’s look at the context where the dining remark is mentioned which is a specific discourse by Jesus to seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
Now, when we western culture believers view the word churches, we instantly think structure. As in buildings at specific locations with governing systems, replete with pastors, boards of elders, deacons, ushers, worship leaders and worship teams.The whole shebang, right?
But this was not the case for these seven churches…not at all.
The Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation around the year 90 A.D. At the time, one of the churches, Ephesus, had been around for forty or so years, having been founded by the Apostle Paul. Laodicea is mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, thirty years earlier (Colossians 2:1; 4:16).
So, knowing that Paul stayed in Ephesus for a little over two years, training and teaching men like Titus, Timothy, Gaius, Sopater, Aristarchus and Secundus, it is easy to hypothesize that these apostolic workers could have founded these churches in Asia Minor, twenty to twenty-five years before John wrote this letter. Each church was only 200 miles or so from Ephesus.
Since the early church was not a lethargic, static organism as it is today, we also can hypothesize that new believers were continually added to the seven churches through evangelism and by their witnesses to their individual communities. These churches were not small. Maybe, hundreds and hundreds of members in each one.
Okay, so far?
When Jesus referred to the seven-city churches, He was not talking to single-building or single-location churches. Instead, Jesus was talking to collections of home churches in each city. Because of the sizes of homes in this era, twelve to twenty-five people usually gathered in each home church.
Thus, when Jesus stated, “…I will come into him and will dine with him...” He was simply saying, “I will come to the home-church meeting and have a Lord’s Supper with you.”
You see, the early church had meetings in homes and ate full meals as Lord’s Suppers. These meetings were fellowship feasts for the believers, not wafer-snacks and thimbles of grape juice gobbled down while looking at the back of a person’s head, sitting in the pew in front of you (1 Corinthians 11: 17-34).
So, what about the separation of clergy and laity? Is it scriptural?
(Continued in Part 7.)
Larry Who’s writings and teachings appear on this site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s a little of this and a little of that, all written to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys.
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