DM I have been impressed by the way that the Lord spoke to Philip in John 14: “Am I so long a time with you, and thou hast not known Me, Philip? He that has seen Me has seen the Father.” I suppose most of us have known something of our relationship with the Lord over a much longer period than the three years, or thereabouts, that Philip had accompanied the Lord. We have the advantage of the indwelling Spirit. But I felt challenged by this verse, in particular, as to how well we know divine Persons. I am not thinking merely of what divine Persons are for us; no doubt many have known them in exercise, and going through the difficulties of the wilderness life. But what one is exercised about is how well we know divine Persons – know the Lord; know the Father; and indeed know the Spirit of God. Soon, very soon, all or most of us here will be there in the eternal scene, dwelling with Them eternally. How well do we know Them now?
If you follow through some of the references to other passages, you will find that the suggestion of knowledge is not just an objective knowledge. If you know a person, if you know what his mind is, you know what his heart is, you know what his objectives are. How well do we know God in relation to His own thoughts, and what He has set about to accomplish for His own pleasure and glory? These are the exercises that are with me, and I wondered if we might be helped in looking at the passages in Colossians and Revelation.
The first passage in Colossians speaks about the apostle bowed in prayer, and he does not cease praying – and perhaps that is the secret of a lot of what we have been speaking about. And he prays that we might “be filled with the full knowledge of His will,” and that we might “walk … well-pleasing, … and growing by the true knowledge of God.” That is, the full knowledge of God and of His thoughts.
We might refer to some persons in the Old Testament, and begin with Enoch. He walked with God (Gen 5:24). There are two other references to him, in the New Testament. One is in Hebrews 11, where it tells us he “pleased God” (Heb 11:5); that is, God found pleasure in Enoch’s company. The other is in Jude: it shows that he had God’s mind, because he prophesied of the Lord coming amidst His holy myriads to execute judgement (v14). We should bear in mind that judgement is impending on this scene: we need to be in God’s mind in relation to things, and that, in our knowledge of God, requires that we should be near Him.
We could also refer to Abraham as a “Friend of God” (James 2:23). “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?” (Gen 18:17). He knew God. Abraham’s knowledge of God started, I suppose, with his obedience “to go out … not knowing where he was going” (Heb 11:8), to a strange land. Some here today may be young in the faith, knowing the Lord as their Saviour. It is a good beginning, but we all need to grow. The knowledge of God is not just for old persons! The Lord says, again, where He speaks of the knowledge of God in Matthew 11, “Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to babes” (Matt 11:25). How we need the babe attitude – the readiness to receive, the simplicity of mind receiving things from God, and not, like the wise and prudent, presuming anything!
The verses that I had particularly in mind in Colossians 1 were “Giving thanks to the Father, Who has made us fit for sharing the portion of the saints in light, Who has delivered us from the authority of darkness” – that is the beginning for us – “and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (vv12,13). That is, the Father has done it, and He has brought us into subjection. We need to know subjection to get the gain of it. These things are very practical, beloved. But then the remainder of the chapter brings out something of the glory of the Lord Jesus and what He has done – so that our bearing fruit, and our walk, result from our knowledge of God, and not the other way round.
Lastly, I refer to the assembly in Laodicea, and that verse that we read in connection with it: the Lord standing at the door and knocking. I think He is taking that position now. It is a solemn thing, but we are in Laodicean days. These are the last days of the Church before the translation. It was not until I was looking a little more carefully at the Scripture that I realised it was not addressed to the overcomer – there is a separate word to the overcomer – but the Lord says this to Laodicea, which is to the company, the Lord standing without and knocking. But to him that opens unto Me, “I will come in unto him and sup with him, and he with Me.” That is, He comes into our circumstances, and we learn Him in our circumstances, but then we sup with Him, and He would have us in His circumstances. That is my exercise, that we might enter more into the knowledge of divine Persons in relation to Their circumstances, that we might get help also in our circumstances.
I wondered if there might be a line of enquiry for help; these are just a few random thoughts, but I trust that, amongst the saints, the Spirit will help us to open them out.
DWB There are quite a few! Do you think the knowledge of each divine Person will help us in our response to Each in praise? Is that in your mind?
DM Yes, I think so. That would be one answer, and it is not something that is merely for the future. We might think of our knowledge, or refer to dwelling with God, eternally. But something of that is to be known, and enjoyed, now, and answered to now.
DWB It involves our love, does it not? Paul says, “If any one love God, he is known of Him” (1 Cor 8:3).
DM And then we shall know according as we also have been known (1 Cor 13:12). Yes, I think that is what I had in mind, that we are “translated … into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” It is not an arbitrary sphere, it is a sphere marked by love. It is the Father, that One known in that name of relationship, who has done it. The Lord says, “They were Thine, and Thou gavest them Me” (John 17:6). The Father has given us to come in subjection to the Lord. Let us be simple, because there is a good number of younger ones here – we learn the Lord, first of all, as our Saviour. But then we have to learn His Lordship – we come under His Lordship. We have been transferred into the kingdom of the Son of His love. The Lord is going to rule over the whole world; but now He wants to rule over our hearts – individually – and that is why, first, we learn Him as our Saviour, and then we confess Him as our Lord.
MJC Could you open up for us some more as to the matter of the Lord speaking of the Father, just before He was going to suffer and die, and go back to glory?
DM I think in John’s Gospel the Lord is characteristically seeking to make known the Father. No doubt it was in view of His departure; even in this section He encourages His own not only to make a request of Himself (vv13,14) but also a request of the Father because of the Father’s love for them, because they had love for Christ (ch 16:23-27). The inter-relationships between the Persons of the Godhead are most interesting and instructive, are they not? But say more what you had in mind in asking that.
MJC I was wondering about the whole passage. The Lord says “In my Father’s house,” and the Lord is going away to prepare a place, and He wants us to be there with Him in His Father’s house. It is not only knowing the Father, but being with Him in that place.
DM Yes. And, further down in the chapter, knowing the Father coming and abiding with the one who keeps the Lord’s word (ch 14:23). We may put off being in the Father’s house to something future – and a glorious future it is. But what about the present, and the promises of the present? For that we require the Spirit as the Comforter.
AJM In commenting on the little children in his letter, John says “I write to you, little children, because ye have known the Father” (1 John 2:13). You might have expected that he would have said ‘because ye have known the Lord Jesus.’ Could you say something about that?
DM Well, would you say something more about it?
AJM I just thought of the family idea that John develops. In it, the knowledge of the Father is most important, is it not?
DM Yes, and throughout the Gospels – John’s gospel in particular, but also in Matthew where the Lord speaks of a heavenly Father, and our heavenly Father’s care for us. That is God caring for us in our side of things. I suppose in many ways that is the first way we learn the Father. But we need to understand that the Lord delighted in going to be with the Father, the joy that He had in the Father’s presence, and that He would have us to be in the enjoyment of that relationship, as He expresses in resurrection – we sang of it, ‘On resurrection’s morning’ (hymn 117) – “I ascend to my Father and your Father” (John 20:17). That was, I think, the first time that He expressed it in that way.
DWB It is a name which characterises this dispensation, is it not?
DM A wonderful name – a name of grace, a name of relationship, a name of love – and it is the Father who has delivered us from the authority of darkness. Think of what we were as under the power of darkness of Satan, the ruler of this world. Many of us have the privilege, of course, of being brought up in Christian households, where we are preserved from much that characterises this scene. “The whole world lies in the wicked one” (1 John 5:19), and we have to learn that. It is in complete contrast to the love of the Father.
MSB Could you say some more as to what you had in mind in relation to Philip’s question? I can quite understand why Philip asked this question, because the Lord had been speaking so much about the Father.
DM Well, it really raises the question with me as to how well I know the Father, how well I know the Lord. How well do we know the relationships? We could have read right down, the relationship between the Father and the Son – “I am in the Father and the Father in me” (John 14:11) – the intimacy of relationship between the Persons of the Godhead, and all in view of securing an answer to Their affections.
SGP Is it not a surprise that anyone should be in the presence of the Lord Jesus and not really have a knowledge of Who He is? We could go all through our lives and not really have an appreciation of Who the Lord is.
DM We may go through our lives and know what He has done for us. Philip had three years – I believe it would be about that – with the Lord. He did not have the Holy Spirit at this point. How long have we had? We have the presence of the Holy Spirit with us, knowing His indwelling and His presence with us as the Comforter. How well do I know the Lord? How well do I know the Father? That was the question for me. We might be surprised at Philip, but, perhaps, if we really looked at ourselves we might be even more surprised.
SML There is something very wonderful about this statement of the Lord’s, is there not? “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.” Is it that, as we learn something of Christ – and we all know something of Him – we see the Father’s features in that way? The more we know of Christ, the more we come to know the Father.
DM I think that is right. Even if you think of the malefactor who came into blessing: he probably heard the Lord saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). We cannot say too much, but he must have had some impression as to the Lord, because he then says, “Remember me, Lord, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom” (Luke 23:42). How did he know it? He had heard the Lord speak to the Father. And, as you say, the more we know of the Lord, the more we know of the Father, and the more we know of the Father the more we know of the Lord. In Colossians the fullness of the Godhead is presented in Christ.
MJC How much do you associate the thought of care for us, circumstantially, with the Father?
DM “Your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things” (Matt 6:32).
MJC I was thinking, too, that whilst the Lord was here on earth, He cared for His own: “I have not lost one of them” (John 18:9). The Lord was going away; the Spirit was going to come as a Comforter; but the thought of the Father, to my mind, suggests care for us practically too. We pray to the Father for our needs, do we not?
DM Yes, and I suppose most of our prayers take that character. But how far do we get to the other side, to see what the Father’s thoughts are for us? It is not to set the first aside, because it is very important, our Father’s care, “your heavenly Father” – ‘A holy Father’s constant care’ and His watch over us, as the hymn puts it so well, ‘To see what fruits His children bear’ (hymn 138). The idea of fruit comes into Colossians here (ch 1:10). God is looking for fruit from us. But then that can only come as we learn more of Himself.
MJC Say something about the fruit.
DM Well, it is “bearing fruit in every good work.” You could not limit that, could you? And “growing by the true knowledge of God.” And our walk would be governed by it as well. We would understand, I think, something of the holiness of God – the Lord refers to it, “Holy Father” (John 17:11). And His sovereignty – why has He taken you up, why has He taken me up? It is not just to save us from eternal judgement.
DJB I was just thinking that this is very much a matter of the revelation of God that we have through the coming in of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would have been expected of a pious Jew that he would walk commendably, but this is walking commendably because of our knowledge of the Lord and of the Father, is it not?
DM That was my exercise that it should be, and we have to grow in that, and to grow in the knowledge of Himself. It may involve the pruning process – the Father chastises in view of more fruit. But it is the knowledge of Himself, and the sense of His holiness, together with the sense of His purposes in glory which would encourage us, that there might be greater commitment, which would result in greater fruit.
In this passage, not only has He translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, but it then goes on to say of the Lord that He is the “Image of the invisible God,” which would be in line with what you have said, the way that the Father has been made known in the Son.
DJB That was what Philip did not realise. If you look back to his first knowledge of the Lord, he says, “We have found Him of whom Moses wrote in the law, and the prophets, Jesus, the son of Joseph, who is from Nazareth” (John 1:45). It took several chapters to bring him to the point of realising that He was the Son of God.
DM How long does it take us?
DJB Well, that is actually very interesting, because you spoke about coming to know the Lord as Saviour. Part of the gospel is that He is the Son of God, is it not?
DM That is in the first preaching of Paul recorded (Acts 9:20).
CPB Can you help us a little as to how we are to acquire this knowledge? Your challenge comes home, but how are we to go about this learning of divine Persons?
DM How do you get to know anyone?
CPB By spending time in their presence, I suppose.
DM I think so. I think that is true of learning divine Persons – it requires time in Their presence.
SGP You could take account of God’s works, for a start – that is evident to all men, is it not? And the more they find, these display the glory of God. Then we want to go on further than that.
DM Yes, we do. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps 19:1). But, unless you are in His presence, you do not learn God Himself. There are many ways that God has given a testimony: we did not read the following verses, where the Lord says as to believing in the works (John 14:10-11) – there is much in the way of the works that demonstrate the glory of God, and we might learn a lot about God. My exercise is not that we might learn about God, but that we might learn God – to learn His heart, to be near enough to hear Him, to understand what He is saying to us: what He is saying to me, what He is saying today, to me in the exercises of life – not about my problems, but what God has in mind.
JB Is this the purpose for which He sent the Spirit to us? You made reference earlier that they had not got the Spirit, but we have.
DM Yes. Well, He comes in first of all in chapter 14 as the Comforter, who shall be with you and in you (vv16,17). He is the One Who has come to take the Lord’s place here. But also, further on, He speaks about bringing the Lord’s things from His presence, and making known the Father, too – the Spirit has a very wide service for us, has He not?
JB I wondered if being free in communion with Him would help us in our knowledge of the Father and the Son.
DM Yes, I am sure it would. Learning divine Persons is largely in communion, is it not? So often – in Colossians, and also in Ephesians – you find the apostle resorts to prayer.
MJC Can you say a little more along this line as to verse 9: the first thing the apostle prays for is that they “may be filled with the full knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” The walk, and the fruit, flows out from that, does it not?
DM Yes. There was a basic work there with them – there was faith, and there was love. That is the ground for growth. Then there is growth as we enter into the understanding of His will. For example, a child may know his father quite well, and his love and care for him, and his provision for him in his home circumstances; but it will be some time before he enters into the knowledge of his business and outlook. The Lord Jesus said when He was 12, “I ought to be occupied in my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49), showing the constancy of the affection of our Lord Jesus – a true Son who was interested in His Father’s business. And we have been taken up in sonship that we might be interested in our Father’s business.
DJB Would those first verses, 9 and 10 of this chapter, point to a moral, and indeed spiritual, walk down here, which can only be the result of a right knowledge of God? The Colossians were in danger of a diversion which would hinder them from the true knowledge of God, and would ultimately have a corrupting influence on their way of life.
DM And, sadly to say, that has prevailed in the Church publicly.
DM That is why I also went on to chapter 2, where it gives us a warning as to that, and speaks again as to a full understanding of things. That was my exercise, that we might have a knowledge of God’s will, and a knowledge of the Father’s wondrous purposes in glory, that the glories of this world might not dim our eyes, but, as we see what God has in mind in taking us up in sonship, that our walk and ways might be thus affected.
DWB It speaks here of “walking worthily of the Lord.” That is a challenge, as to whether my way of life, and the way in which I conduct myself, is worthy of such a Person.
DM It is a constant exercise.
LG “Let My son go, that he may serve Me” (Ex 4:23). Would that be involved in the knowledge of His will, and raise our thoughts as to what is for Him? We get blessing, salvation and so on here, but it is a great thing to get on to His side, as you had in mind, I think.
DM Yes, and it is a wonderful dignity to be called – “Let My son go, that he may serve Me” – and a wonderful dignity to be found in this pathway, well-pleasing to Him. We know that we are still in flesh and blood conditions. We know that we are still in a scene of weakness, trial and sorrow, and deep exercises with many of the saints. But the great thought is that we should serve Him. Now, serving Him may have many facets, but serving, as we mentioned earlier, in praise and worship would be one thing; we want to be found walking in such a way that there is a testimony that we are sons of the Father, that we are a heavenly people on our homeward journey; and that we might, in every way that God might put before us, be available for service to Him.
MJC In John 7 we get the question of the Father’s will – “My doctrine is not Mine, but that of Him that has sent Me. If any one desire to practise His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is of God” (John 7:16-17). We are to have a desire, are we not, to understand and to know the will of God.
DM Yes, and we do not arrive at that in a day, do we?
MJC I think the desire is the important factor, do you not?
DM How is the desire awakened?
MJC I think it has to be sovereign, actually, because unless we are drawn by the Father we shall not get there at all. So, it is sovereign on the one hand, but the responsibility on my side is to be in communion, is it not?
DM Well, it is. But think of a child: if you want to get him to desire something, you show him something attractive. Desire is created by seeing something that is attractive. Now, how attractive are the Father’s thoughts to us? How attractive is the Lord to us? We need our eyes opened to see it, and, I suppose, the readiness to be attracted. But so often we are distracted by other things, as the Colossians were liable to be distracted by philosophy and vain deceit (Col 2:8).
KHW Is it beautiful to see that He has “made us fit?” And is that a tremendous stimulus to our affections, to help us to move forward with desire to grow in the knowledge of Him, do you think?
DM Yes, He has “made us fit” by removing what is not suited – but then that requires practical exercise too. But, from God’s side, it has been cleared away. And then He gives us the Spirit, which makes us fit to enjoy these things. But it is a great comfort to see what God has done in making us fit.
DJB I thought the reference made earlier to “If any one love God” is an important factor here. God sheds His love abroad in our hearts (Rom 5:5). He looks for love from our side, but I feel with myself, and maybe with others, there is sometimes some hesitation about love for God – we feel that He makes demands on us that we are not equal for – but love is an unqualified thing, is it not?
DM Love answers to love, does it not? The more we appreciate the Father’s love, and the love of God expressed in Christ, the more our hearts, if they are open to that, will be responsive in love. But, like yourself, I feel that hesitation – perhaps it is a weakness – on my side anyway.
DWB What extraordinary lengths He has taken to make us fit!
DM If we only appreciated the greatness of what it meant to God, giving His Son – His only Son!
AJM Does that give us an impression of the resources that belong to the Father? I was thinking of this section in Colossians 1, and if we really got a little understanding of these resources, would it help us into His presence? Not only with needs, but to give thanks that such resources have met us?
DM What He has done that He might reconcile us! We did not read that – “you … has It reconciled in the body of His flesh through death” (Col 1:21-22); there is a volume expressed there. We often speak of the sacrifice of Christ, but think of God’s part in it – how much it cost Him, as it says of the assembly, “purchased with the blood of His Own” (Acts 20:28).
SML Can you say something about this “giving thanks” that is mentioned here (v12)? It just struck me that the Lord, as the perfect Son here, was always giving thanks to the Father – thanks, even, for food, and thanks for the loaf and the cup at the supper, which moves us very much. But I just wondered whether you could say something about the result of what the apostle talks of here – “giving thanks to the Father.”
DM Well, we have much to give thanks for. I am not thinking just of our needs, but think of His sovereign operation which has chosen you and chosen me that we might be sons before Him, accepted in the Beloved, taken up in all the worth of Christ. And it was His thought, before the worlds were, that we should understand what the Father has done to secure our blessing and an answer to His own heart.
The making us fit was an accomplished matter. Reconciliation comes in later on (vv20-22). Now, there are two aspects of that. First, there are the things in the heavens and the things on the earth (v20). That has not been completed yet. But, secondly, “you … has It reconciled” – that has been accomplished. Is that right?
MJC Yes, indeed. We have been delivered, have we not? “Who has” – past tense – “delivered us from the authority of darkness” (v13); “in Whom we have redemption” (v14). The desire of the apostle was that those that had been brought onto this ground should go on further and come into the good of it.
DM Well, that is our exercise today, that, together, we might learn, and the more we take account of what God has done from His side, and the more we lay hold of that, the more there will be a subjective answer with us. Love answering to love, as has already been said.
MJC I am concerned about it too, because as we look around we see a very imperfect understanding of these things. But the desire of the apostle for the saints in Colosse was that they should come fully into them. And how great a need there is today for believers to come fully into all that God has for us!
DM Well, what hinders us?
MJC It is our will, I think – not being subject to the divine will. What do you think?
DM Well, that is possibly true in some instances.
GBS Should we pray more, do you think? I was thinking of what you said earlier, what is referred to here in Colossians and also in Ephesians: Paul is praying that they might have “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him” (Eph 1:17). Prayer is not just a matter of making a request. We need to seek, by the Spirit’s power, to know in Whose presence we are, and what it is to be in that presence – we are there to have something imparted to us that would form us.
DM Therefore we might be more careful in His presence. But, as we said at the outset, I think there is need for very much more prayer.
BED Paul says “I would have you know what combat I have for you” (Col 2:1).
DM That was no light-hearted prayer.
BED No, indeed! Might come into the “full knowledge of the mystery of God.”
DM “And [for] those in Laodicea” – that would include us.
TRP While communion involves prayer, it involves far more than prayer.
DM I think so, but go on.
TRP I believe it involves the enjoyment of the presence of the One that you are with, does it not?
DM Communion is a two-way matter. “Enoch walked with God.” We are not told of the conversation, but we know a little of the result of it. We know it was conversation that was pleasing to God – Enoch obviously recognised the One with Whom he walked. As has been said, it is not just our side of the matter – it is a two-way matter, communion. And, perhaps, the more silent we are in the divine presence, the more we learn.
DWB It says, also, of Abraham that “he was called Friend of God” (James 2:23). That would involve the intimacy that you referred to, would it not? “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?” (Gen 18:17).
DM That is very interesting, because Abraham went on with God, and he felt the greatness of the One who was there, but nevertheless he begins to intercede. I think at the present time the Lord looks for intercession by the saints. The Lord on high is interceding; the Comforter intercedes; the Comforter with us intercedes for saints. Why should we not intercede with God in relation to His thoughts and purposes?
PJW Do you think the fact that we have a risen Lord in God’s presence would help? I was thinking of the message that Mary took back to the disciples after the Lord had risen – “I ascend to my Father” (John 20:17). Philip would have got a bit more help at that point, would he not?
DM I am sure he would. He would realise the reality of the relationship between Persons of the Godhead, that the blessed Man, Whom he had accompanied these three years, found delight in returning to the One Whom He could speak of as His Father. What volumes that must have spoken to his heart, and the others with him!
DWB It was the Lord’s great desire to associate them with Him in that declaration, was it not? “My Father and your Father” – it would come home to Philip, as you say.
DM “I am in my Father, and ye in Me” (John 14:20).
There is so much wealth in Colossians 1 that we could not even begin to touch it now. But in the second chapter it speaks that they “may be encouraged, being united together in love” – that is not just an individual matter. “And unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding” – the presence of Christ before God would give us that full assurance. Then, “to the full knowledge of the mystery of God” – the apostle never stops short of the full thing. I feel that sometimes we stop short – sometimes we stop short to spare ourselves the exercises that might be involved.
MJC Tell us something about the mystery of God.
DM He refers to it in the previous chapter – “the mystery which has been hidden from ages” (Col 1:26). We might touch more on that later. It is “the mystery … in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.”
DJB He kept that to open up to the Ephesians, did he not? But, with that short reference that he makes, “all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the full knowledge of the mystery of God,” he seems to have thought that, with sufficient prayer and exercise, there were believers in Colosse and Laodicea that could actually attain to that. Would you say that that could be true today as well?
DM That is why I read that word addressed to Laodicea in Revelation. You would say it is a hopeless case. Things have reached a sorry state, and the Lord is outside.
SGP Is nearness to the Lord a great key for us? Because we can know somebody, but you might say the nations of the world know the Lord: it speaks of Him as “the desire of all nations” (Hag 2:7); they know Him as such, they know Him maybe as King – Israel knows Him as King. But to know the Lord in this intimate way – is that what we need to get through to?
DM I think so. It is a two-way invitation: first of all there is the opening of the door, that is to allow the Lord in. That is addressed to Laodicea, but it is also addressed to an individual, to open the door to let the Lord in. And He will come in and sup with him. Now, when you have a meal with somebody, normally there is conversation, and you learn something of the person, something of their thoughts and what concerns them. But the Lord is coming into our circumstances – “I will come in unto him and sup with him.” He enters into our circumstances. Then He says, “And he with Me.” He wants us to come over to His side. And then, as we are in His circumstances, and sup with Him where He brings us, we learn something of His interests and His mind, and then we will learn Him, and know Him much better.
SGP Does the new covenant relationship enter into this?
DM Well, it may do initially, but I think this leads us on beyond that. Strictly speaking the new covenant applies to Israel in a coming day – we enter into the spirit of it now. However the purposes and blessings set out in John’s gospel and Paul’s ministry lead to the fullness of God’s eternal and heavenly thoughts.
AJM Is the suggestion that it might be more than just a visit? “I will come in unto him.” I was thinking of the word in John 14, “If any one love Me,” and the suggestion is that “[My Father and I] will come to him and make Our abode with him” (John 14:23). Would that be the way to get to know the Father?
DM I would think so. We could well have read that, it would have been a profitable verse today. The prelude to that is that the person keeps His word, and then the Father comes in. Again, questions are asked there – Judas, not the Iscariote, asked that question (v22). But it is a wonderful thing that it is not just a short visit.
MSB Is it striking that it is not the knock that is heard, but the voice?
DM Well, the voice is what is recognised, is it not? It could be anyone knocking, but the voice is recognised. What were you thinking?
MSB Yes, it just strikes me, as reading this Scripture, that He stands there at the door and is knocking – we might think it is the knock that we hear, but we need to hear His voice, do we not, especially if we want to come over onto His side?
DM And it is His voice we want to hear as we sup with Him.
TRP It is my responsibility to open the door, is it not?
DM Yes – it is the responsibility of each one who hears His voice!
MJC How do I open the door?
DM Open the door of your heart.
MJC Lydia knew about doors being opened, did she not? The Lord opened her heart “to attend to the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14). Now, I think opening our doors is the thought of letting what the Lord has given gain entrance into our hearts and minds.
DM Yes, and that says a lot.
TRP Do we have to remember that we shut the door? David, in Psalm 51, opened the door for God to come in, did he not?
DM Well, we should not shut the door.
DWB Except shutting the door in John 20 (v19)!
DM Yes, to keep the Jews out.
DJB Would it be your understanding that there was a substantive, real work of God in Laodicea?
DM I would think so. What do you think?
DJB Well, I think there must have been, because the Lord said, “I rebuke and discipline as many as I love” (v19). But it is put as an ‘if,’ as to ‘anyone hearing my voice’ – it is left as an open question.
DM It is, yes. It is left to be answered.
DWB They were written to (Col 4:16).
DM We have to remember that Laodicea is just on the very brink of the close of the Christian dispensation, and the next movement is that a door is opened in heaven and John is taken up there to see the saints in another setting altogether (Rev 4:1-4). This is a last appeal, almost; the Lord’s last appeal to the Church. And, as has been said, it is open to any exercised soul; it is put to the individual. The day we are in, as we know, is a broken day. But the possibility is there that we might know the Lord’s presence with us in all its reality and, above all, might be with Him in His circumstances.
GKB There was an angel of the assembly in Laodicea, just as there was one in Philadelphia. Would it be a messenger from God?
DM It was the responsible element in the assembly (note e, Rev 2:20). I will not say that it would be a responsible person – that would try to make it too official. But I understand the angel represents what is responsible in the local assembly – and we are all responsible. I am not talking about those very young in the faith, but we are all responsible to answer to this.
BED Although we don’t get the Lord’s supper here, if we allow the Lord in – to “sup with him, and he with Me” – would it lead on to that?
DM I think there is a suggestion as to the supper. There is no occasion like the supper to enjoy the Lord’s presence. And He comes in as we break the bread, He comes in as we remember Him – that is our side. But He would lead us over into His circumstances. Sometimes we are guilty of speaking as though it was all in our circumstances. But He takes us over into His circumstances.
DEM I was thinking of that in respect of the events in Emmaus – they opened the door to bring the Lord in, not knowing who He was, but “He was made known to them in the breaking of bread” (Luke 24:35).
DM How much He had spoken to them beforehand! What an opening up of the Scriptures that must have been! But then it was in the breaking of the bread that they recognised Him.
13 May 2006