August 3, 2017

Asahel Nettleton (1783–1844) on Revelation 3:20

Christ knocks “at the door of they heart, O sinner. Though invisible to mortal eyes, he is here, whether you regard it or not.

He knocks. But how?

By his word—by a preached gospel—by the admonitions of conscience—and by the strivings of his Spirit. Nor is this all.

He calls. “Unto you O men, I call, and my voice is unto the sons of men.” He calls by all the invitations of mercy contained in the Bible.
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 41: Christ Standing at the Door (Revelation 3:20),” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 377. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon XXV: Christ Standing at the Door,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D. D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 297.
He does not knock at the door of his friends merely, but at the door of his enemies. He knocks at the door of the vilest of sinners. . . .

3. Behold the extent of his willingness to receive sinners. The sinner sometimes says, I am willing to receive Christ, but he is not willing to receive me. But what says the text? “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” Does not this imply his readiness and willingness to come in? Nor is this all—He calls, open unto me—open unto me. Nor is this all—He says, “if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in.” He positively declares that he is willing. Nor is this all—you may say, I am such a great sinner—I have rejected him so long, that he will not receive me now. But what says the Saviour? “If any man hear my voice”—vile as he may be, if he is on the side of hell—“if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.”

If you are not now a Christian, permit me to say that you have never heard his voice, nor opened the door, nor been willing to receive him. You have never complied with the invitation in the text. The Saviour is ready and willing, but you will not come to him that you might have life.

4. Behold your danger. The Saviour stands at your door. He does not sit. He stands ready to enter or ready to depart . . . He may say, as he once said to the Jews, “I go my way. Ye shall see me, and shall die in your sins.” How often “I would,” and “ye would not.”
Nettleton then quotes a hymn that includes these words:
O lovely attitude, he stands,
With melting heart and loaded hands,
O matchless kindness, and he shows
This matchless kindness to his foes.
Ibid., 380–382; Ibid., 300–302.


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