“20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
I want to talk about God’s knock at the door of our hearts before repentance. And I want to begin by introducing three thoughts to you.
- Did you know that man’s heart by nature is shut against God, and only we can open the door to our hearts? Thank God He patiently waits outside for us open.
- God never stops knocking, but people stop hearing God’s knock because they stop listening or override what God wants to show them. God in His patience will continue to knock, and this is the longsuffering of Christ.
- God’s knock is gentle; it is not loud, and He does not compel us with violence or force. God has a subtle way of letting us know He is waiting for us to respond to Him.
Although there are many ways God might knock on the door of our hearts to get our attention, we will only explore a couple at this time. God sometimes knocks through our conscience. God gently nudges us to get our attention, but it is our responsibility to hear and open the door of our hearts to Him.
Our conscience works like this; maybe we are doing things we know in our hearts are not right. When we feel upset with ourselves or the situation, that upset is God nudging us to change our direction and our thinking. It doesn’t have to be something outwardly sinful either. We tend to identify immoral outward behavior with sin, and it is, but sin can be as simple as:
- Silently deciding to keep God out of your life,
- To keep God out of your decisions,
- making a conscious choice to believe God isn’t real
- or rejecting God in your heart and His way for your life.
Before many younger adults and young people start drugs, fornication, or manifest signs of other outward sins, subtle things have already happened in the heart. This person has already spent a considerable amount of time focusing on things or practicing attitudes that are unhealthy spiritually. And God is knocking ever so patiently at their heart door, waiting for them to answer.
Another way God knocks is through the preaching or teaching of His word. In fact, God will knock on some of your hearts’ doors this morning. When hearing God’s word, some people may feel a sting in their hearts—hearing the preached word for the first time even causes some to become emotional. We call these overwhelming feelings conviction. Conviction comes from God’s Holy Spirit, and this conviction is God knocking on our hearts’ door, especially when His word shows us we’re lacking. When we recognize we are standing on the wrong side, God is in His mercy gently knocks, waiting for us to respond.
I was working with a young man who was hungry for God. He didn’t know anything about the Christian religion. As a true child of God who longs to win others to Christ, this was an answer to prayer. The young man was a blank slate when it came to an understanding of the things of God. He would call three or four times a week asking for something to read or ask questions about the Bible. I worked with him for over a year, and he finally came to church. What a blessing to have someone I labored over to come and visit our house of worship finally! God was drawing on His Heart, and He came every Sunday morning for a while. Then he started attending our young adult classes at the church.
I didn’t pressure Him at all. It was the love of God, the knocking on his heart’s door drawing him in. The last three times he was in service, he cried as the Spirit of God moved among us. I want to share with you further that this young man isn’t a drug addict or an alcoholic. His parents raised him with good morals and strong core values. He is a hard worker with good manners, and it’s important to him to treat people right, but all this is not enough, and he was beginning to understand that he was lacking in God’s sight. God faithfully showed the young man that he needed Jesus in his life. Jesus was knocking and waiting for him to open the door of his heart. It was time for him to make a decision. Then sadly, one day, it all stopped. He stopped coming to church, he quit calling or asking questions, and when we speak now, God rarely comes up unless I bring it up because it’s relevant to the conversation and my life. He is a successful young man in his thirties. And like the rich young man who came before Christ, this young man with everything was unwilling to let go of something.
“16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Jesus told the young man to keep the commandments but notice how the young man responded to Jesus. He asked Jesus for more specific information.
“18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
So Jesus answered the young man’s question by giving him a specific list of commandments to follow. But this is where the conversation becomes interesting. Let’s look at what happens next.
“20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”
Two things are evident by the scriptures we read. First, this young man’s parents raised him with the knowledge of God and the scriptures. He knew how to be successful in life. Second, this young man knew a little bit of what Jesus taught, or he wouldn’t have come. The young man was not satisfied with the answers Jesus had given him to his previous questions, so he pressed the Lord further.
I want you to understand what verse 20 teaches us. This young man was aware of his lack before Christ. And we know this because the young man would not have pressed Jesus after Jesus had already answered his first questions. The young man knew something was missing and his religion and successful life were not satisfying his soul. This young man reached an age he was accountable for more to have eternal life, and he understood his own lack before Christ Himself. Let’s continue.
“21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”
Jesus’s patience and answers to the young man were His way of knocking on the door of this young man’s heart. He showed the young man where he lacked, but this person was unwilling to give himself entirely to Christ.
Brothers, sisters, and young people, please don’t make this young man’s mistake. His life was good, and his parents brought him up with love and the knowledge of God. He knew all the important commandments and proved to be very successful in worldly pursuits. His behavior towards others was perfect, at least in his mind. And we know these things by the commandments he said he kept. But he refused to follow Jesus all the way, and that refusal, just that one thing kept him from being perfect in Christ. Jesus was faithful to show this young man that his riches in religion, moral behavior, and material goods were insufficient. He needed to let go of those things and build a relationship with Jesus by walking with Him. Then eternal life in Christ would be his. But his unwillingness caused him to go away sorrowfully.
Many of you listening today have the opportunity of learning about Christ while you are young, and you should. It is a beautiful way to be raised. It is a blessing to grow up with loving, Godly discipline and to have an opportunity to learn how to excel in life by practicing good behavior, but all this is not enough. Good behavior and morals are riches you inherit from the people that raise you in Christ. But core values and Bible stories learned as a child will not be enough when Jesus reveals your lack. Jesus wants us to forsake the idea that morals and good behavior will save and keep us into eternity. He does not want people to rely on religious practices or doctrine, although these things can be important. Jesus ultimately wants to have a relationship with us. And to have a relationship with Christ, we must be willing to sell all our self-righteous ideas and open the door of our heart to Him.
If Jesus shows you, you are lacking, and you can feel the sting of conviction in your heart from the teaching of God’s Word, Christ is knocking on the door of your heart. He wants you to acknowledge your lack and open the door of your heart to receive Him, but you must hear and respond. Sadly the young ruler walked away with the riches of his youth, knowing that he lacked something in his soul keeping him from riches in heaven. You don’t have to walk away. Listen to God’s knock, and open the door of your heart to a relationship with Christ.