“Just Outside the Door”

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock…" (Rev. 3.20)

     INTRO.: A song which pictures Jesus as the Savior who stands at the door and knocks is "Just Outside The Door" (#458 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by James Rowe (1865-1933). A prolific hymn text author, Rowe produced several other songs in our books such as "After the Shadows," "God Holds the Future in His Hands," "He’s My King," "I Choose Jesus," "I Walk With the King," "I Would Be Like Jesus," "Love Lifted Me," "What Is He Worth to Your Soul," and "Wonderful Jesus." The tune for "Just Outside The Door" was composed by Bentley DeForest Ackley (1872-1858). Ackley also provided music for such hymns as "What Will You Do With Jesus," and Rowe’s "I Walk With the King" and "I Would Be Like Jesus." Their "Just Outside The Door" was copyrighted in 1912, later owned by Homer A. Rodeheaver, and renewed in 1940 by The Rodeheaver Co.  Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 (for male quartet) edited by E. L. Jorgenson; and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch. Today it is found, to my knowledge, only in Sacred Selections.

     The song tenderly pleads with those who are in sin to hear and come to Christ.

I. Stanza 1 encourages us to seek rest in Christ
"O weary soul, the gate is near; In sin why still abide?
Both peace and rest are waiting hear, And you are just outside."
 A. A gate is a way of entrance or access, and access to God is obtained through Christ: Eph. 2.17-18
 B. Those who abide in sin are separated from God: Isa. 59.1-2
 C. However, if they will come to Jesus, they will find rest for their souls: Matt. 11.28-30

II. Stanza 2 encourages us to find forgiveness in Christ
"Forgiveness Jesus will impart; To save your soul He died.
How can you still offend His heart By staying just outside?"
 A. Jesus came to provide forgiveness of sin: Col. 1.14
 B. In order to accomplish this aim, He died for our sins: 1 Cor. 15.3
 C. However, those who remain in sin offend or grieve His heart: Eph. 4.30

III. Stanza 3 encourages us to make preparation in Christ while we have time
"The day of life is pasing by; Soon night your soul will hide.
And then ‘too late’ will be your cry, If you are just outside!"
 A. The day of life is passing by rapidly because our lives are but a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away: Jas. 4.14
 B. Night here represents the time of death when we must be ready for judgment: Heb. 9.27
 C. Those who are unprepared will then find that it is "too late," just like the five foolish virgins: Matt. 25.10-12

IV. Stanza 4 encourages us to gain freedom in Christ
"Come in, be free from stains of sin, Be glad, be satisfied;
Before the tempest breaks, come in, And leave your past outside."
 A. By coming to Jesus, we can be free from the stain of sin: Rom. 6.17-18
 B. Those who thus come and are free can be glad and rejoice in the Lord: Phil. 4.4
 C. Whatever our past may have been, we can leave it behind, outside, and press on: Phil. 3.13-14

     CONCL.: The chorus reminds us of the danger of not coming to Christ before it is too late.
"Just outside the door, just outside the door, Behold it stands ajar!
Just outside the door, just outside the door, So near and yet so far!"
This makes a very effective invitation song to call sinners to come for pardon. If Christ is standing outside the heart of an individual knocking to come in, then that individual is, with regard to the fellowship and favor of the Lord, standing "Just Outside The Door."


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