Revelation 3:22
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Sermons
The Spirit Speaking the ChurchR. Ferguson, LL. D.Revelation 3:22
Visible Churches WarnedBp. Ryle.Revelation 3:22
AmenDean Farrar.Revelation 3:14-22
An Earnest Warning Against LukewarmnessC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 3:14-22
Christ's NamesJ. Culross, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
IndifferenceH. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
LaodiceaD. C. Hughes, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
LaodiceaA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
Laodicea -- the Self-Complacent ChurchA. Mackennal, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
LukewarmnessW. Mitchell, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
LukewarmnessC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 3:14-22
LukewarmnessJ. N. Norton, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
Lukewarmness in ReligionJohn Erskine, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
Lukewarmness Injurious to OthersG. Bowes.Revelation 3:14-22
The AmenC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 3:14-22
The Church Abhorrent to Christ Because of the Lukewarm Temperature of its Spiritual LifeJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
The Condition of the LaodiceansJ. Culross, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
The Creation of GodW. Milligan, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
The Danger of LukewarmnessCanon Girdlestone.Revelation 3:14-22
The Danger of Lukewarmness in ReligionS. Davies, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
The Destiny of a Lukewarm ChurchS. Martin.Revelation 3:14-22
The Epistle to the Church in LaodiceaR. Green Revelation 3:14-22
The First Stages of Spiritual DeclineJ. B. Marsden, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
The Three Stages of Religious EmotionJohn F. Ewing, M. A.Revelation 3:14-22
The Word of Christ to the Congregation At LaodiceaD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 3:14-22
The Words of Christ to the Church At LaodiceaD. Thomas Revelation 3:14-22
A Coal from the AltarA. Wood.Revelation 3:19-22
Christ Disclosing His LoveJ. Culross, D. D.Revelation 3:19-22
Christian ZealR. Culbertson.Revelation 3:19-22
Christian ZealG. Jordan, M. A.Revelation 3:19-22
Divine ChastisementH. E. Windle, M. A.Revelation 3:19-22
God Afflicts for Our Good; and What that Good IsJ. Mede, B. D.Revelation 3:19-22
Religious ZealA. Thompson, D. D.Revelation 3:19-22
Religious ZealA. Thomson, D. D.Revelation 3:19-22
The Love and the DisciplineH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 3:19-22
The Nature, Importance, and Right Exercise of Christian ZealT. Fleming, D. D.Revelation 3:19-22
ZealRevelation 3:19-22


Behold, I stand at the door, etc. These words, so welt known and much loved, however their primary intention may have had regard to a sinful community like the Church at Laodicea, nevertheless lend themselves so aptly to the setting forth of Christ's dealing with individual sinful souls, and have been so often used in this way, that once more we employ them for the like purpose. They supply three vivid pictures.

I. OF OUR SAVIOR "Behold, I stand," etc.; and they reveal him to us in all his grace, he is represented:

1. As in constant nearness to the soul. He stands at the door. He does not come for once and then depart, but there he continues.

2. And he knocks at the door: not merely stands there. The soul is like a great palace that has many doors. And Christ knocks sometimes at the one door and sometimes at another. There is:

(1) The door of the intellect. To this he comes with the evidence of the reasonableness of his faith and claims.

(2) Of the conscience. To this he shows the goodness and righteousness of that which he asks; how he ought to be obeyed.

(3) Of love. He wakes up, or seeks to wake up, the spirit of gratitude in response to all he is and has done for the soul.

(4) Of fear. The alarm of the awakened conscience, the fearful looking for of judgment, are the means he uses.

(5) Of hope. The blessed prospect of eternal peace and purity and joy.

3. And he knocks in many ways.

(1) Sometimes by his Word. As it is quietly read in the sacred Scriptures, some text will arrest and arouse the soul. Or, as it is faithfully, lovingly, and earnestly preached: how often he knocks in this way! And

(2) sometimes by his providence. Sickness; bereavement; loss of wealth, or friends, or other earthly good; disaster; the approach of pestilence; nearness of death; trouble of mind, body, or estate; - all are the Lord's knockings. And

(3) sometimes by his Spirit. These more often than any. "The Spirit... says, Come."

4. And we know that he does this. Have we not been conscious of his appeals again and again?

5. See what all this reveals of him.

(1) His infinite patience. How long he has waited for some of us, year after year, and is not wearied yet!

(2) His gracious condescension. That he, our Lord and Saviour, should thus deal with us.

(3) And, above all, what infinite love! Behold, then, this portrait of our all-gracious Saviour and Lord, and let it draw your hearts to him as it should.

II. OF THE SOUL - the soul of each one of us. Our text shows the soul:

1. As the object of Christ's anxious concern, He would not else be thus standing and knocking at the door of our hearts. And the reason is that he knows:

(1) The soul's infinite value and preciousness. He knows its high capacities - that it can love and worship, resemble, and rejoice in God.

(2) Its terrible peril. Were it not so, there would not be need for such anxious concern. It is in peril of losing eternal life and of incurring eternal death. It is nigh unto perishing - a lost sheep, a lost piece of silver, a lost child.

2. As exercising its fearful Tower. Refusing Christ, keeping him outside the soul. Many other guests are admitted freely, but not Christ.

(1) The soul has this power of refusal. None other has. Not the stars of heaven, not the mighty sea, not the raging winds, not the devouring fire. All these obey. But the soul can refuse.

(2) And here it is exercising this power. That Christ is kept outside the soul is the testimony of:

(a) Scripture. Texts innumerable tell of the estrangement of the human heart from God.

(b) Conscience. Does not the ungodly man know that Christ does not dwell within him, that he has no room for him - however it may be with other guests - in his soul? And the strange, sad reluctancy to speak for Christ to others shows how partial is his possession of even Christian souls.

(c) Facts. See what men are and say and do; mark their conduct, their conversation, their character; examine the maxims, principles, and motives which regulate them, and see if Christ be in all or any of them. And this, not only in men brought up in ungodliness, but often in those trained in pious homes, and from whom you would have expected better things.

(3) And this is the soul's own doing. It voluntarily excludes Christ. When his appeal is heard, and very often it is, men divert their thoughts, distract them with other themes; or deaden their convictions, by plunging into pleasure, business, sin; or delay obedience, procrastinating and putting off that which they ought promptly to perform. Ah, what guilt! Ah, what folly!

(4) And this is the sin "against the Holy Ghost, which hath never forgiveness." Not any one definite act, but this persistent exclusion of Christ. The. knocking of the Lord is heard more and more faintly, until at length, although it goes on, it is not heard at all. The sin has been committed, and the punishment has begun. But the text contemplates also the happier alternative.

3. The soul claiming its greatest privilege - opening the door to Christ. He says, "If any man will open," thereby plainly teaching us that men may and should, and - blessed be his Name - some will, open that door.

(1) The soul can do this. It is part of its great prerogative. It could not say, "Yes," if it could not say, "No;" but because it can say, "No," it can also say, "Yes."

(2) And the opening the door depends upon its saying, "Yes." This is no contradiction to the truth that the Holy Spirit must open the heart. Both are essential; neither can be done without. It is a cooperative work, as consciousness and Scripture alike teach. But the Spirit ever does his part of the work; it is we only who fail in ours. May we be kept here from!

III. SALVATION. The result of such opening the door is this, and the picture that is given of it is full of interest.

1. Christ becomes our Guest. "I will sup with him." Now, if we invite any one to our table, we have to provide the feast. But what have we to set before Christ that he will care for? Ah, what? "All our righteousnesses" - will they do? Not at all. In this spiritual banquet that which he will most joyfully accept is ourselves, coming in contrition and trust to rest upon his love. "The sacrifices of God," etc. (Psalm 51.). Let us bring them; they, but naught else, will be well pleasing to him. But the scene changes.

2. Christ becomes our ]lost. "He with me." Ah! now what a difference!

"Blest Jesus, what delicious fare!
How sweet thine entertainments are!" This we shall soon realize.

(1) There is full, free pardon for every sin.

(2) Next, the assurance of his love, that he has accepted us.

(3) Power to become like him - renewing, regenerating grace.

(4) His peace, so that in all trial and sorrow we may "rest in the Lord."

(5) Power to bless others, so that they shall be the better for having to do with us.

(6) Bright hope, blessed outlook to the eternal inheritance.

(7) And at last, in due time, that inheritance itself.

Such are some of the chief elements of that banquet at which Christ is the Host; and all the while there is sweet, blessed intercourse, hallowed communion, with himself. He is "known to us in the breaking of bread."

CONCLUSION. How, then, shall it be? Shall we still keep the door of our hearts barred against him? May he forbid! We can do this; alas! some will. But we can open the door. Do that.

"In the silent midnight watches,
List! thy bosom door!
How it knocketh - knocketh knocketh -
Knocketh evermore!

Say not 'tis thy pulse is beating:
Tis thy heart of sin;
Tis thy Saviour knocks and crieth,
'Rise, and let me in.'

"Death comes on with reckless footsteps,
To the hall and hut;
Think you, Death will tarry knocking
Where the door is shut?

Jesus waiteth - waiteth - waiteth
But the door is fast;
Grieved, away thy Saviour goeth:
Death breaks in at last.

"Then 'tis time to stand entreating
Christ to let thee in;
At the gate of heaven beating,
Waiting for thy sin.

Nay - alas! thou guilty creature;
Hast thou then forgot?
Jesus waited long to know thee,
Now he knows thee not." S.C.









Hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches &&&
I. THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN GREAT MORAL ELEMENTS BY WHICH ALONE WE CAN DETERMINE THE CHARACTER OF INDIVIDUALS OR OF COMMUNITIES.

II. THAT IN PROPORTION TO THE DEPTH AND VITALITY OF HOLY CHARACTER WILL BE THE STRUGGLE WITH ERROR AND WITH EVIL.

III. THAT THE REWARDS AND HONOURS OF THE HEAVENLY STATE WILL BE DETERMINED BY THE STRUGGLES AND THE CONQUESTS OF EARTH.

(R. Ferguson, LL. D.)

1. Let me warn all who are living only for the world to take heed what they are doing. You are enemies to Christ, though you may not know it.

2. Let me warn all formalists and self-righteous people to take heed that they are not deceived. Where is your faith? Where are your evidences of a new heart? Where is the work of the Spirit?

3. Let me warn all careless members of Churches to beware lest they trifle their souls into hell.

4. Let me warn every one who wants to be saved not to be content with the world's standard of religion.

5. Let me warn every one who professes to be a believer in the Lord Jesus not to be content with a little religion.

(Bp. Ryle.).

Behold, a door was opened in heaven.
I. THE OPEN DOOR.

1. The place where the open door was seen: "In heaven." This implies several important things.(1) The changed sphere of operation.

(a)The "golden lampstands" represented Churches, not in heaven, but on earth.

(b)The "seven stars" represented the pastors of those Churches.

(c)Now the seer's attention is called from the condition of things on earth to a condition of things in heaven. This is fruitful of suggestion.(2) That the door is represented as "open" is noticeable.

(a)That now, for the first time, heaven is to be laid open to saints on earth.

(b)That now these heavenly things, as here revealed, should be prayerfully pondered: an open door, ever inviting entrance.(3) Though this is a vision of the heavenly world, the objects seen are symbols; the things symbolised are as real as heaven itself is real.

II. THE INVITATION: "Come up hither."

1. The authoritative character of the invitation. The speaker is no less than the risen Lord.

2. The distinguished honour of the invitation.

3. The gracious purpose of the invitation.(1) These "things" contain the substance of the Divine purposes concerning the destiny both of the people and the enemies of God.(2) These purposes had never been disclosed till now.(3) They are purposes in which all God's people should take a lively interest.

III. THE SEER'S TRANSFORMATION.

1. Its suddenness.

2. Its significance.

IV. THE SUBLIME VISION. Practical lessons:

1. The great importance of the study of the laws of "prophetic symbols."

2. The symbols of this chapter are not only interesting as throwing light on the place this chapter occupies in the prophetic scheme of this book, but they are also full of practical value.(1) They should impress us profoundly with the-awe-inspiring presentation of the majesty, sovereignty, and holiness of God, whose name we should revere.(2) They should deeply impress us with the Divine activity, and the multiplicity of Divine agents in the bringing about the Divine purposes concerning the children of men.(3) They should impress us with the faithfulness of God, and the sure reward of those who love and serve Him on earth.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

I. A DOOR OF INTERCOURSE BETWEEN GOD AND MAN. A door of intercourse was virtually opened in the covenant of grace, when the sacred persons of the Divine Trinity entered into solemn compact that the chosen should be redeemed, that an offering should be presented by which sin should be atoned for and God's broken law should be vindicated. In that covenant council chamber where the sacred Three combined to plan the salvation, a door was virtually opened in heaven, and it was through that door that the saints who lived and died before the coming of Christ passed into their rest. But the door was actually and evidently opened when our Lord Jesus came down to the sons of men to sojourn in their flesh. There is no little comfort in the belief that heaven's gates are opened, because then our prayers, broken-winged as they are, shall enter there. The ports of the glory-land are not blockaded; we have access by Jesus Christ unto the Father; and there is free trade with heaven for poor broken-hearted sinners.

II. A DOOR OF OBSERVATION.

1. A door is opened in heaven whenever we are elevated by the help of God's Spirit to high thoughts of the glory of God. Sometimes by investigating the works of nature we obtain a glimpse of the infinite. More often by beholding the grace and mercy revealed in Jesus Christ our hearts are warmed towards that blessed One who made us, who sustains us, who redeemed us, to whom we owe all things.

2. A door is opened in heaven whenever the meditative spirit is able to perceive Christ Jesus with some degree of clearness.

3. We sometimes get a door opened in heaven when we enjoy the work of the Holy Spirit in our souls.

4. A door is often opened in heaven in the joys of Christian worship. Yes, but if it be sweet to-day to mingle now with Christians in their praise and prayer, when we are so soon to separate and go our way, how passing sweet that place must be where the saints meet in eternal session of worship, the King ever with them, etc.

5. Another door is opened in heaven in the fellowship which we enjoy with the saints on earth.

6. A door has often been opened in heaven to us at the communion table. Astronomers select the best spots for observatories; they like elevated places which are free from traffic, so that their instruments may not quiver with the rumbling of wheels; they prefer also to be away from the smoke of manufacturing towns, that they may discern the orbs of heaven more clearly. Surely if any one place is fitter to be an observatory for a heaven-mind than another, it is the table of communion.

7. Another door that is opened in heaven is the delights of knowledge. The philosopher rejoices as he tracks some recondite law of nature to its source; but to hunt out a gospel truth, to track the real meaning of a text of Scripture, to get some fresh light upon one of the offices of the Redeemer, to see a precious type stand out with a fresh meaning, to get to know Him and the power of His resurrection experimentally; oh! this is happiness.

8. Another door of heaven may be found in the sweets of victory. I mean not the world's victory, where there are garments rolled in blood, but I refer to victory over sin, self, and Satan.

III. A DOOR OF ENTRANCE. Christian, the message will soon come to thee, "The Master is come, and calleth for thee." Soon, I say, that door will open; surely you do not want to postpone the day. What is there amiss between you and your Husband that you wish to tarry away from Him?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE NEARNESS OF THE HEAVENLY WORLD. We are at its "door." Heaven is simply that which is heaved up. An uplifted life. We are always on the threshold of the pure, the noble, the blessed.

II. THE POSSIBLE REVELATION OF HEAVEN. It is not merely near and closed against us. It is near, and may be known. A door into it may be opened.

1. The Bible is such a door.

2. The death of good men is such a door.

3. The life of Christ is such a door.

4. Our own best experience is such a door.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

This passage derives intense interest from its position as well as from its terms; for it occurs at the close of one group of scenes and at the beginning of another. My text, then, forms the transition between the earthly and the heavenly pictures. There is something striking, surely, in this sudden contrast, for the former chapters contain the most emphatic references to this present life of conflict and of sadness. They speak to those whose dwelling is "where Satan's seat is"; they speak of their labour and their patience, their tribulation and their poverty. "Watch, repent, hold fast, overcome," are the solemn, stirring words urged repeatedly on those addressed. How well we can understand their position, for it is our own I Instructed by the glorified Son of Man, the apostle saw and wrote those things. But "after this," he says, "I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven," and through that open door he saw a sight how different. In place of the strife and tears and guilty stains which he saw before there was perfect splendour, sanctity, and bliss. He saw God's throne with its rainbow emblem of mercy, etc. How complete the contrast between that world above and this world below, described before. I propose now to regard this transition passage as suggesting some relations between these two separated worlds.

I. THE DIVISION BETWEEN EARTH AND HEAVEN.

1. The fact that heaven and earth are divided by so wide a gulf seems to me cue of the strangest facts in our experience, though long habit prevents the strangeness from striking us so much. We should have expected the very opposite. Comparatively few cross the Atlantic to America, yet, though we may never see it, we require no act of faith to realise its existence and condition. But the world of heaven is so far removed beyond the range of our knowledge that we have need of faith to be convinced even that it exists. The material universe has been called the garment of God, and so far it reveals Him; but it hides Him too. Little can be said in explanation of our exclusion from all direct knowledge of the unseen world and God; but that little springs out of the very things which make it strange. If heaven were not invisible, if God sometimes appeared, the chief trial of our pro. sent life would be removed, and we should have perfect assurance instead of wavering faith. Our life, in fact, would cease to be the discipline which it is at present. His wisdom appoints that we walk by faith, not by sight; no wonder, then, that all the arrangements of our life are in keeping with this purpose. Moreover, to this separation of earth from heaven we may observe several analogies, e.g., as a thoughtful writer has pointed out, the material universe might have been one great plain allowing of the freest intercourse between its countless inhabitants, instead of which it is broken up into myriads of globes, divided from each other by abysses of space impassable to those who inhabit them. We are separated from the dwellers in Jupiter or Sirius (if such there are) as completely as we are separated from the dwellers in heaven. And note how the same policy is carried out even on earth. Two-thirds of the surface of our globe is water; vast oceans separate us from the inhabitants of America or Japan almost as entirely as if they lived on another planet. Nay, the majority of even English people are and will remain perfect strangers to us. Moreover, the periods of time contribute to this end as well as the expanse of space, for how entirely we are cut off from intercourse with those who lived in the past, and we are still more completely divided from future generations, and we come into contact with only a few of the people who are now living. Now these facts show that it is God's will to break up His vast family into little groups, in order, perhaps, that each individual may, in comparative seclusion, be tried by the mystery of existence, instead of finding many of its problems solved by the combined experiences of all. All this is in keeping with the strange division between heaven and earth.

II. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN EARTH AND HEAVEN. One point of connection between the two, which at least helps to make heaven seem nearer to us, is that life in heaven, just as much as our life here, is proceeding now. We cannot see, indeed, that bright and holy world for which we yearn, as we should like to do, but there are those who do see it, who do enjoy it now. Their bliss is a present feeling arising from the presence of God now. Their endless life runs along a parallel course to our transient life. The present, which we call time, they call eternity. We cannot see them or hear of them, for there is a great division between earth and heaven, but there is a real connection, too, since those we love are present with the Lord, and are now receiving and returning the love of Christ, whom they "see as He is." But there is a deeper lying connection between the two than this. We mourn over God's absence from our earth, but what would earth be without Him? "In Him we live, and move, and have our being." And the angels from whom we are so divided, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation?" So far from being independent of and forgotten by God, it is true rather that all we see and all we are was made and is upheld by God's ever present power, and the ministrations of His angels. And if nature's laws are God's will, it may be said also that human history is the evolution of His providence. Individuals and nations, with all their wild and reckless freedom, do but accomplish what God's hand and God's counsel determined before to be done. We may trace this on the large scale when we note, in the Bible history, how God's purposes have been wrought out by men, though we often cannot trace it in the narrow region of our own observations. But if God is present in the great, we may be sure He is present in the little, of which the great is made up. In history and in nature, too, we see effects, an endless tangled chain of them, but causes we do not see and cannot find out. Causes, forces, are beyond our reach, for there is a great division between earth and heaven. Ours is a God who hides Himself. But as we must believe that without these indiscoverable forces the universe would cease to be, so we believe that all depends upon the unseen God. Earth and heaven, then, are divided by a gulf we cannot pass, but the connection between the two is nothing short of complete dependence.

III. THE DOOR IS SET OPEN BETWEEN EARTH AND HEAVEN. The division is maintained between the two in order that our discipline may not cease. But sometimes the door is opened that our faith may not fail. That has happened "at those sundry times and in divers manners when God spake unto the fathers by the prophets." And in later days there was a still more wonderful exception. The door was opened wider, and, attended by a train of angels singing "glory in the highest," the Son of God passed through, and dwelt among us, and men beheld His glory. And whenever a Christian pilgrim reaches his journey's end, then, too, it may be said that the door between earth and heaven is set open to let the wanderer pass into his home. How close, then, heaven is to earth in spite of the separation, for at any moment the transit may be made. In yet another sense we may say that to us on earth a door is opened in heaven, and that is when we worship. The prayers and praises to which we give utterance on earth pass that strange division between earth and heaven which we cannot cross, and mingle with the nobler worship of the temple above, making us one with friends already there.

(T. M. Herbert, M. A.)

I. THE SOUL HAS THE ABILITY TO PERCEIVE HEAVENLY VISIONS.

1. Man has the ability to look into the world around him — in nature, in society, in the nation.

2. Man has the ability to look into the world within him. It would be well for the moral life of men if they would enter more frequently into the chamber of the heart, and inspect the sentiments and energies reigning there.

3. Man has the ability to look into the world before him. This is his noblest ability. It brings into requisition the keen eye of a Divinely-enlightened soul. This vision is sublime, captivating, inspiring, elevating.

II. THE SOUL HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO PERCEIVE HEAVENLY VISIONS. God allows man to gaze into the mysteries of the life above. Kings do not often give men free access to their presence-chamber. Here we see the love of God, in that: He reveals the unseen to the race; His wisdom in that He casts a little light upon the problems of futurity. This opportunity is the most frequently given:

1. To men in lonely sorrow (Revelation 1:9, Ezekiel 1:1). Men can see a long way through tears.

2. To men in humble duty (Matthew 3:16).

3. To men in dying circumstances (Acts 7:55).

III. THE SOUL IS CALLED BY MANY VOICES TO RISE TO HEAVENLY VISION.

1. It is called by the voice of God as heard in Scripture; by the voice of Christ, whose earthly life was one continued gaze into heaven; by the Holy Spirit, who purifies the life of the soul that it may be capable of celestial vision.

2. The soul must ascend to heavenly vision. Elevated above flesh, above the world, above reason, even to faith.

IV. THE SOUL OBTAINS ITS TRUEST KNOWLEDGE OF FUTURE DESTINIES FROM ITS HEAVENLY VISION.

1. From the heavenly vision men learn that all human events are under the wise providence of God.

2. From the heavenly vision men learn wisely to estimate the passing events of life.

3. From the heavenly vision men learn calmly to wait the destinies of the future. Lessons:

(1)Learn in all things to look heavenward.

(2)Seek to rise morally to the level of heavenly vision.

(3)Learn to read history in the light of clear prophecy.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. The reality of a heavenly world, and of its concern and connection with this. That world has its inhabitants, its plans and its purposes, its presences and its agencies, even like this. The subjects of its chief deliberations are the interests and the fortunes, the events and the destinies, of this lower world.

2. What an astonishment would it be to any one of us, to see that door into heaven suddenly opened! Oh, what a marvel, what a confusion, what a discomfiture, must it be to a worldly man or to a sinner to find at the moment of death that this thing which we have so long seen and handled, in which we have so long lived and moved, was not, after all, the whole or the chief part of that which is!

3. To Christian persons, to those, that is, who mourn for sin, and renounce and forsake it, and trust in Christ only, and pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit to make them and keep them His, it ought to be and will be a real comfort to remember that just inside that door there is a heaven, and a throne set, and a God seated thereon, and a holy and loving council gathered, and plans under preparation for purposes of good to the poor struggling and suffering people below; and that round the throne is the covenant bow, promising evermore a clear shining after rain, and pledging the very faithfulness of God to their final rescue and deliverance.

4. Life and death, things present as well as things to come, accident and disease, want and age; yes, things more outward still, the bread and the water, the fire and the covering, the judgments of sword and famine and pestilence, the mercies of dew and rain and fruitful seasons; all are God's, all are Christ's; and if God's, if Christ's, then the Christian's too (1 Corinthians 3:22, 23). Oh, what an antidote to life's cares, for those who can use it l It springs from the fact that creation itself, in all its parts, rational and irrational, has its representatives before the throne in heaven, and ascribes the glory, the honour, and the strength to Him who sits upon the throne.

5. But if the thought of the four living beings which typify creation has something of comfort for us in reference to the world above, how much more that of men of our own flesh and likeness, who are already clad in the robes of priesthood, and admitted to the sight of God and to the ministrations of the heavenly temple! That world is not all peopled with strange and unknown forms.

6. Are our faces and our feet set heavenwards?

(Dean Vaughan.)

1. After the first vision, John gets a second, which shows that God continues and multiplies His favours on the godly, who make a good use thereof, and are desirous of more.

2. He looked, and was not disappointed; neither shall any be who looks up to God for grace, or growth of heavenly knowledge.

3. He could not see till a door was open to him; neither will we ever see heavenly mysteries till the Lord opens the door of our mind and heart (Luke 24:45; Acts 16:14).

4. This and the other visions were seen in heaven; which shows that all that falls out on earth is first decreed in heaven, and the future to us is ever present to God.

5. The first voice that talked with John was as a trumpet; and so is the trumpet of the law the first voice that talks with a sinner for his conversion (Isaiah 58:1).

6. John is bidden come up thither; to show that the knowledge of heavenly things requires a heavenly and elevated mind.

7. This also shows that we should have God's warrant for all our doings, and be bidden do what we do.

8. God only is able to foretell all future things, because He is omniscient, and determines the event thereof, which is a great comfort to His own elect; therefore it is said here, "I will show thee," etc.

9. This also is for their warning, that trials and troubles must be; and also for the comfort, that their delivery must be, and shall be in like manner.

(Wm. Guild, D. D.)

I. THE TIME, AND MANNER, IN WHICH THIS SECOND VISION WAS GIVEN TO JOHN.

1. The time. "After this I looked." He looks up for a vision. He is prepared and looking for a further revelation. Those who have seen heavenly things once will look twice. Oh, how much nearer than we commonly imagine, faith borders upon sight, and the spiritual upon the heavenly state!

2. The manner in which the vision was brought under the notice of John.(1) He saw a door open in heaven. He says not an open door merely, but a door that had been opened. It had not been always open. It had been once closed. A door opened in heaven signified to John that more of the counsels of heaven were about to be revealed. The door of the Church was closed against him, the door of ministerial usefulness was closed, the door of liberty, and every door of human hospitality, but a door was opened in heaven. In proportion as the people of God are precluded from the world, they have intercourse with heaven. They find readiness of access above, when hemmed in around; as water pressed on all sides rises in a fountain. To Isaiah visions were given in affliction, to Jeremiah in prison, to Ezekiel in captivity, to John in exile. This appearance to John may have been emblematical, in some degree, of renewed supplies of the Spirit of prophecy. In allusion to the manna which descended round the camp of the Israelites, God is said to have "opened the doors of heaven." In Malachi you have these words: "Prove .hie now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing." Compare this with "the heavens opened, and the Spirit descending" upon Christ at His baptism, and the descent of the Spirit upon the apostles and.the primitive. Churches.(2) John informs us of what he heard. The tones of this voice were encouraging to John, and expressive at once of its design.(3) John tells us what he felt on this occasion. Heaven is first opened by God to sinful man. It is opened by His mercy, not by our prayers. We love Him because He first loved us. Having opened a door He invites us to come, and promises rich manifestations of His wisdom and grace to our souls. But how can we come to Him? How rise to the door of heaven? By the power that invites us. The invitation guarantees the ability to act, and the promise ensures success.

II. THE FIRST TWO OBJECTS IN THIS VISION.

(G. Rogers.)

I. THE OPENING OF THE SCENE.

II. THE DIVINE THRONE.

1. The nature of the throne. There is a manifold throne attributed to God: there is a throne of grace and mercy, of glory and majesty, of dominion and sovereignty.

2. The properties of the throne. These are great and manifold. It is a throne high and lifted up; it is Divine, supreme, and universal; it is infinite, eternal, and immutable; it is from everlasting to everlasting; it is eternal in its date, and endless in duration; it has neither beginning nor end, succession nor change.

3. The position of the throne. It is "set in heaven." The throne of judgment, the great white throne, is placed in the clouds; the throne of grace is erected in the Church; the throne of glory is placed within the vail; the throne of the universe is placed in the heavens (Isaiah 66:1).

4. The stability of the throne. It is "established in the heavens." It is ordered and arranged, guarded and disposed by infinite wisdom and unerring skill. It is firmly fixed, stable, and immutable.

III. THE POSSESSOR OF THE THRONE: "One sat upon the throne." He sits on the throne, in a state of deep repose, undisturbed felicity, and eternal blessedness.

IV. THE MAJESTY OF THE THRONE. This. is represented by two sacred emblems — sitting and similitude. He sat upon the throne, and He was to look upon like three sacred stones.

1. Here we behold the fulness of the Divine perfections. He is possessed of infinite, eternal, and immutable excellence — He is the source, the centre, and the sum of all worth and glory.

2. Here we behold the variety of Divine perfections: "I am the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering," etc.

3. Here we behold the unity of Divine perfection. All these perfections are displayed in Immanuel, who is the image of the invisible God.

V. THE MERCY OF THE THRONE.

1. The history of the rainbow is very remarkable. We first find it in the clouds; then established in the heavens, as the faithful witness of God's eternal truth (Psalm 89:39). It forms the glorious diadem of the angel of the covenant (Revelation 10:1.); and in the verse before us it forms the gracious canopy of God the Father's throne.

2. The rainbow round the throne was the blessed symbol of God's glory and perfections; it was the token of His love, the emblem of His mercy, and the pledge of His faithfulness, His counsel and His covenant.

3. The position of the rainbow: "The rainbow was round about the throne." It surrounds the seat of Divine majesty, above, below, and on every side. The majesty of Deity, the glories of the Godhead, and the splendours of the Trinity all beam benignantly through the rainbow of the covenant.

4. The likeness of the rainbow: "It was in sight like unto an emerald." Amid the varied hues blended in the rainbow, green is the prevailing; and the colour of the emerald is a deep, living green.(1) The comparison implies the beauty of the covenant. God beholds His people enrobed in all the beauties of the rainbow, and the deep, living loveliness of the glowing emerald.(2) It also implies the riches of the covenant.(3) It likewise supposes the perpetuity of the covenant. The rainbow, like the emerald, is ever fresh and green.(4) The comparison teaches the unity and variety of the blessings of the covenant.

VI. THE ATTENDANTS ON THE THRONE.

1. Their names. They are called "elders." This is the sign of their age, their honourable office, and dignified condition; their wisdom, experience, and venerable character.

2. The number of the elders: "They are four and twenty." There is an enlargement of the Church implied in the number. He was then the God of Israel, but He is now the God of the whole earth.

3. Their posture and position: "There were four and twenty seats." The saints sometimes stand; but here the elders sit, the emblem of dignity and undisturbed felicity, dominion and authority, rest and holy happiness, and their great reward.

4. Their glorious clothing: "They were clothed in white raiment." White robes are beautiful, they are Zion's loveliest garments — white robes are excellent, they form the best robe — white raiment is resplendent, it is both white and shining.

5. Their golden crowns: "They had on their heads crowns of gold."

VII. THE TERRORS OF THE THRONE.

(James Young.)

The first voice...
I. REVELATIONS ARE MADE TO US OF GREAT AND SOLEMN REALITIES. What a world this would be if there were no voices from heaven, no Divine utterances, no spiritual revelations, to meet our needs and our questionings! We have a gospel not of figures but of facts, a gospel symbolised by the priest blowing the trumpet over the sacrifice, by the blast of the trumpet through the length and breadth of the land, ushering in the year of jubilee, by the great trumpet which was blown, that men in exile and ready to perish might return to their own land.

II. THE REVELATIONS MADE TO US ARE PRESENT AND PERSONAL We hear a voice talking with us (Hebrews 1:1, 2). The voice of Christ is reproduced in every believing and loving heart. His words do not die, they are still spirit and life. Revelation is not a dead, imprisoned truth, but a living fountain, the streams are as bright and pure as they were yesterday.

III. THE REVELATIONS TO WHICH WE LISTEN ARE OFTEN TRUMPET-TONED. Those voices have been trumpet-toned that have uttered great truths in this world; truths that yet live in it, speak in it, rule in it. Those voices have been trumpet-toned that have uttered the watchwords of liberty, that have raised the war-cry round which men have rallied, and which have stirred their souls like the blast of a trumpet. The voices that come to us in revelation are trumpet-toned, in their earnestness, in their importance. In our personal history there have been dispensations of Providence, that have been "as the voice of a trumpet talking with us." How clear and distinct the voice that came to us in the season of sickness, in the hour of temptation, when death entered our home, etc. There is a sense in which we find it true, that the "first voice" we hear is "as of a trumpet talking with us." We hear the awful words of the Divine law in the depths of our souls, and are convinced of our sinfulness and become conscious of our unrighteousness.

IV. THESE REVELATIONS CONDUCE TO OUR SPIRITUALITY. "Immediately I was in the Spirit." A man must be in the Spirit to see the glory that streams through the opened door in heaven, to see the throne and Him that sits on it, to see the sign of the covenant of peace, etc. If the windows of our hearts are opened towards Jerusalem, we shall sometimes see the light and glory of that golden city. The design of the sanctuary, of the Sabbath, of ordinances and sacraments, is our spirituality.

(H. J. Bevis.)

Come up hither
I. THE PLACE TO WHICH WE ARE INVITED — "HITHER." Geographers, geologists, and travellers have described the earth, its islands, continents, mountains, rivers, plains, and products; but heaven is a domain beyond all merely scientific research. What we know of it is from revelation alone.

1. It will be a place exempt from ignorance. Seated there, we shall know as we are known; our views of things will not be as "through a glass, darkly," "but face to face," and in the highest sense we shall have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things.

2. It will be free from all kinds of evil.(1) No slavery will be there. All its sons, of whatever clime, are freeborn. All are without shackle, brand, or chain. All walk at liberty.(2) No sin will be there. The imagination will never conceive an unholy thought, the lips never utter a corrupt speech, nor the judgment, the conscience, the will stoop to an unholy action.(3) No famine will be there. The bread is enough and to spare. The supply of fruit from the tree of life is constant and abundant.(4) No tears, sorrows, pains, or death will be there.

3. Then there is nothing wanting to complete its happiness.

(1)There are great possessions.

(2)The society there is most blessed.

(3)The joys there are lasting.

(4)The life there is everlasting.

II. THE INVITATION ITSELF — "COME UP HITHER."

1. There is a way to reach this place.(1) What road to heaven is wrong?

(a)Sin is the wrong road.

(b)Self-righteousness is the wrong road.(2) What road is right? In Virginia, in South America, and other parts, there are natural bridges of solid rock, whose stupendous arches join mountains together, and make a path firm and safe over the rolling rivers and dashing torrents beneath them. But there is no natural bridge to heaven. There was once, but man broke it down by sin. But there is still a path for man, formed by the Son of God — a path formed by His blood and righteousness. Along this path our pious fathers travelled and never found it give way, nor shall we. It is the path that leads from guilt to mercy, depravity to holiness, earth to glory.

2. Then the invitation also implies you cannot reach the place unless it be obeyed. Heaven in the gospel is set before men as an open door. It is not Christ that closes it, but unbelief. Let this be gone.

(S. Fisher.)

The standpoint from which God views everything is vastly different from that which men commonly regard as their standpoint. God is for quality, clearness of vision and fundamental principles; man too often for mere quantity, haphazard vision, superficial estimates. God is ever seeking to draw man up to His level, man thinks to reduce the things of God to his convenient level, from which he hopes, without much trouble, or even thinking, to form some opinion or gain some knowledge of that which, in the deeper moments of his nature, he knows to be of vital and eternal importance. The higher the standards are the more must energy strive to reach them. It is a vastly different thing to brave the Matterhorn or Mont Blanc, or those gigantic mountains which rear their heads heavenward and lose their summits in the clouds. Climbing them means the hardest kind of toil and steadfast courage. Our standards determine the height of our aspirations, our aspirations press us on in the climbing and furnish the impetus to the outreach of our faith and courage, hut they must be fed by God, who leads us to His own standard and bids us look up and beyond, even beyond the material, into the realms of the spiritual, with a faith that does not shrink from the lessons such leadings bring. The question of questions is, Do we see, do we behold these high level truths of God? or have we so little interest in beholding that we skim them over, as we do the pages of a book that has proved uninteresting? John says, "After this I looked and, behold." God can never do anything for a man who is blind, unless open his eyes; but God will not do anything for a man who wants to be blind. Looking shows desire. Beholding suggests power. John saw, and behold a door was opened in heaven and the first voice which he heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with him, which said, "Come up hither and I will show thee things which must be hereafter." That seems to us to be a beautiful but exceptional sight. Picture John's lonely exile life on Patmos. There did not seem to be much for him to live for, shut out and away from the busy work of life, and perhaps we have a theory that God was very gracious to him for that very reason. But such visions always come to souls that can see — long to see — and needing the blessing of such a vision. Whatever the outward life, the inner life is the condition of beholding. Lives need to be broadened and exalted. Heaven is not only to make life more tolerable, but life is to determine heaven. The vision came not to the place, but the soul, and was determined not by the meagreness of the surrounding, but by the condition of the heart-life of him who beheld. By every analysis we are to know, then, that life is not in itself either omnipotent, or satisfying, or self-sufficient, nor has it any high standard, nor is it enough to be merely practical — doing without seeing, deeds without visions. God gives us to see what we are, in order that we may see by the aid of this revelation what we may become. Ignorance is simply fatal to all progress and enlightenment. "And immediately I was in the spirit," John says. The thought for us is this: the power that exalts life is of God and comes from above. Look above, then, though you walk the earth. Open your heart and mind and soul to the unseen realities of the eternal. Higher and higher we must go and grow, like the vine upon the trellis, abiding in the branch, lifting its myriad shoots towards the summer shining and the clear, pure air. From His standpoint, God will give us to see what must be hereafter. Our privilege is to hear God's blessed invitation, "Come up hither, higher, to higher altitudes, with waiting, expectant attitude." God help us to break the spell that keeps us down; God help us to unlock the bolts that shut us in; God help us to fling aside the shutters that keep us in the dimness; God help us to be as free as His truth makes us, and then, when we truly behold, how beautiful everything will grow. Just as the little child, long blind, having at last her sight restored, said to her mother, as she looked for the first time upon the beauty of nature, "How beautiful! Why didn't you tell me how beautiful everything was!" The element of the ideal must occupy a large place in our practical life if we are to grow at all strong, buoyant, and symmetrical. Visions are not mere air castles. Some one has said, "All men who have shown our race how great things are possible have had their inspiration in dreaming of the impossible." The vision changes and goes on changing, adapting itself to our need and our life, but the reality always remains. Visions, therefore, are the wings which bear us upward and aloft. You do not have to teach a bird how to fly. The soul, saved by the power of the Divine Christ, rises because it can; it ascends because it has within it the irresistible yearning to do so, and faith and hope give impetus. This is the revelation which is constantly coming to your life, to my life. God help us, above all, to be "in the Spirit," as in meditative quietness of life we steadfastly watch for and behold the visions that come to us. The cross and visions of the Christ are the inspiring themes of the Christian life. Life is truly potent, as we see its lines shaped according to the Cross of the Lord Jesus, as the symbol of our salvation and the standard of our service. Look and live, then live and look, is the whole of the Christian life. Let us not be satisfied with plodding, but let us be climbing. Let our lives take on daily newer beauty, the beauty of holiness, which is the adornment of righteousness.

(C. E. Eberman.)

Homilist.
Of course it was not the bodily senses of John that were thus addressed — not the body that was commanded to ascend. His outward eye saw not the material heavens open. Elevation of soul, then, is our subject. What is it? First, is it the elevation of sensuous excitement? The souls of all men have great variation of mood. Sometimes they are buoyant and sometimes sluggish. Such souls often soar aloft on the pinions of an excited imagination, but in their own fancy they indulge in a hind of spiritual reverie, and find a heaven for the hour upon the mountain heights of their own creation. But this is not what we mean by elevation of soul. Secondly, is it elevation of intellect? "Is it the elevation which arises from study and culture? This is important, this is essential to soul elevation; but this is not it. Some of the greatest and most cultured intellects have often been found in alliance with souls deeply sunk in passion, depravity, and vice. It may be represented as consisting in three things:

1. An uplifting sense of the Divine favour.

2. An uplifting sense of moral right.

3. An uplifting sense of the spiritual world.

I. THAT SOUL ELEVATION IS ATTAINABLE. The apostle saw "a door open in heaven." Christ is this "door." By His teaching, His death, and His ascension, He has opened the new and living way for man into the "holy of holies."

1. He is the exclusive door for man's spiritual elevation.

2. He is the door for man's spiritual elevation, and man's only.

3. He is the door for man's spiritual elevation available only for him on earth.

II. THAT SOUL ELEVATION IS OBLIGATORY. "Come up hither."

1. I hear this Divine command sounding in the starry firmament. The great universe is the domain of mind. "Come up hither," immortal man, wing your flight from orb to orb, system to system; count our multitudes, mark our movements, gauge our dimensions, bathe in our brightness, rise beyond us, scale the wondrous heavens still far away, revel in the Infinite, be lost in God!

2. I hear the Divine command sounding through the biography of the sainted dead. Our nature speaks from heaven. There are the voices of the goodly fellowship of prophets and apostles, of the glorious army of martyrs and confessors, etc. There are the voices of our favourite authors, the sacred poet, the holy sage and the learned divine.

3. I hear this Divine command sounding through the gospel of Christ.

4. I hear this Divine command sounding in the depths of our higher nature. Reason and conscience unite in urging us to ascend, etc.

III. THAT SOUL ELEVATION IS DESIRABLE.

1. Man's happiness is greatly dependent upon bright prospects of the future.

2. Those bright prospects are secured by soul elevation.

(Homilist.)

Suppose that I had gone away from here for years, and came back to find my daughter living in some low, obscure place, bound out to hard labour. Suppose my son were in another place, half-clothed, half-fed, and suffering all manner of ill-treatment. And thus with all my children. What should I be likely to do? Should I not at once set about lifting them out of such situations, and getting them up where I was? I should say to them, "Come up, my children; you were not born to live down there. Your place is where I am. Come up here to me; here is where you belong." Well, this is what God is doing to men. He has a few, a very few, children living in the high places of spiritual life — those regions of hope and love where He Himself dwells. "Come up hither — come up into the region of warmth and love, where your Father dwells. You were not made to live down there. This is where you belong. Come up hither."

(H. W. Beecher.)

It is said of Anaxagoras, the philosopher, that one night when in the act of studying the stars, his countrymen came to confer upon him an inheritance, in token of their appreciation of his genius. His reply was, "I wish it not — these heavens are my country." Can we say the same in a grander, Diviner sense?

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