A Church with open doors: Revelation Church of Philadelphia ( Rev. 3: 7-13)

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In times when life becomes so tough, giving up hope is scrambling in man’s mind. Many succumb to end life without even knowing the truth about their Savior. This is prevalent because of so many closed doors existing to weaken one’s faith to live. Doors in which one thought will be his way to good future. Haven’t you wonder what is the door in your life that there’s only One allowed to open and shut it? Have you not known this good keeper of the keys and doors of the church yet?

The City of Philadelphia:

Philadelphia: The name means “brotherly love”, and this city was the youngest of the seven cities, and was originally founded as a missionary outpost for Hellenism, the culture of ancient Greece. This was a prosperous city. This city was also known for beautiful buildings (it was called the “little Athens”) and her earthquakes, which required frequent evacuations. Earthquakes are prevalent even in its modern day Asia Minor called Turkey.

“The original purpose behind this key city was to make it a center for spreading Greek language, culture and manners throughout the Asian provinces.” (Hocking)

“Philadelphia had been built with the deliberate intention that it might become a missionary city. Beyond Philadelphia lay the wilds of Phrygia and the barbarous tribes; and it was intended that the function of Philadelphia should be to spread the Greek language, the Greek way of life, the Greek civilization, throughout the regions beyond.” (Barclay)

The Church in Philadelphia:

What Jesus knows about the church of Philadelphia?

“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” Rev. 3:8

Jesus Opens Door:

The church in Philadelphia had an “open door” set before them. Often, an “open door” speaks of evangelistic opportunity (1 Corinthians 16:9, 2 Corinthians 2:12, and Colossians 4:3). Jesus told them He had opened the door of evangelistic opportunity, and they must go through that door in faith. In its history, Philadelphia had a great “evangelistic” calling. The city had the mission of spreading Greek culture and language through the whole region. Now Jesus opened the door for the Christians of Philadelphia to spread the culture of His kingdom through the whole region.

It seems Christians in Philadelphia were excluded from the synagogue of”satan”(Revelation 3:9). The open door may also speak of their opportunity to enter God’s kingdom in contrast with exclusion from the synagogue. Jesus had open the door for anyone to come be free and worship Him. He opens a door of opportunity to his churches; He opens a door of utterance to His ministers; He opens a door of entrance, opens the heart; He opens a door of admission into the visible church, laying down the terms of communion; and He opens the door of admission into the church triumphant, according to the terms of salvation fixed by Him.

Jesus Shuts the Door:

And no one can shut it: The emphasis is on unhindered openness. There is nothing that can keep them from their access to this door. Since Jesus is He who opens and no one shuts, and He shuts and no one opens (Revelation 3:7), He had the authority to keep this door open for the Christians in Philadelphia. He shuts the door. When He pleases, He shuts the door of opportunity and the door of utterance, and leaves obstinate sinners shut up in the hardness of their hearts; He shuts the door of church-fellowship against unbelievers and profane persons; and He shuts the door of heaven against the foolish virgins who have slept away their day of grace, and against the workers of iniquity, how vain and confident soever they may be.

This church is commended:

“Thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”

The term “a little strength” does not imply weakness, but real strength. They were weak enough to be strong in the Lord. We can be “too strong” or “too big” or too sure of ourselves for God to really use us. Yet He’s please for one with honest heart of his need of strength. The church in Philadelphia had the poverty of spirit to know they really needed God’s strength. “Blessed are the (poor) meek in spirit for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 ASV

“It is not a matter of great strength, not great ability but great dependability. Samson had great ability but poor dependability. A little strength faithfully used means more than much strength flashily and fitfully used.” (Havner)

“Have kept My word, and have not denied My name:” The church in Philadelphia was faithful to Jesus and His word. The idea behind have not denied My name is not only that they expressed their allegiance to Jesus, but that they lived in a way that was faithful to the name and character of Jesus.

What Jesus wants the church of Philadelphia to do?

“I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy Crown” Revelation 3:11 ASV

This church is to be crowned. This was not a crown of royalty, given because of royal birth. This was a crown of victory. Jesus encouraged His saints to finish their course with victory. If they failed to hold fast, their crown might be given to another.

In this end times generation, churches receive same promise of the great favour God would bestow on this church: Evangelistic opportunity (I have set before you an open door). Reliance on God (You have a little strength). Faithfulness to Jesus (have kept My word, and have not denied My name). Jesus told them to see that they had this open door. Sometimes God sets an open door of evangelistic opportunity in front of us, but we don’t see it. Once we see the open door, we then have to walk through it, grab every opportunity. God wants us to take every evangelistic opportunity that He gives us before He closes the doors to His kingdom. Yet He’s still doing the knocking at the door of your heart to be enthroned in there for you to be accepted to His kingdom. Jesus as the keeper of the keys and doors has the power and authority, especially whom to admit and exclude. You will never be excluded; never be in closed door if He is your personal Lord and Savior as being forgiven and cleansed from sin. A crown awaits for His children in the church of Philadelphia as well as to one like you!

References: David Guzik Bible Commentary and Matthew Henry Bible Commentary. 

Pictures credit: Getty online images

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