The apostle John wrote to the first century Christian believers in seven cities in Turkey and gave them messages from Jesus which came to him as visions. One of the seven churches was the one in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13), and remarkably the Lord had no words of correction and rebuke for them. They were a faithful church which was pleasing in every way to Jesus. They had kept to the word of God and not denied the name of Jesus even though they had ‘little power’.
How marvellous that Jesus said He was setting before them an open door and no one would be able to shut this door. These Christians in Philadelphia had been thrown out of the synagogue, but God the Father was throwing open the door to His heavenly kingdom. They were being persecuted by the Jews. But God would vindicate them. Their enemies would be forced to acknowledge the truth that they were loved by God.
The apostle Paul had been through severe persecution and suffered all kinds of difficulties but given open doors for evangelism and ministry. We read, ‘And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them’ (Acts 18:9-11).
The beginning of the message to the Church in Philadelphia says that Jesus holds the key of David. ‘And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens’ (Revelation 3:7). Jesus has authority to let people into God’s Kingdom or keep them out. When Peter got a revelation that Jesus was the promised Messiah from God the Father, Jesus said that Peter that he was named ‘rock’ and on this ‘rock’ He would build his Church and the gates of Hades would not overcome it. Then He said He would give the keys of the kingdom to him (Matthew 16:19).
How about us? Are we given an open door by the Lord for His purposes? Let’s seize it and walk through it, not being fearful or negative in our thinking.
The Philadelphians were given encouragement by Jesus. The hour of trial for everyone on earth was coming. This probably meant increased persecution for Christians across the world, including suffering and martyrdom. But Jesus said He would keep them from the hour of trial. It could mean they would be kept safe from all harm or that they would be carried through it all by the Lord’s presence.
Jesus said, ‘I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown’ (Revelation 3:11). The promise to them was, ‘The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name’ (Revelation 3:12). A pillar in God’s temple is a picture of a secure place or home in the new Jerusalem in God’s presence. Inscribed with the name of God means an identity secured as adopted children of God and full heirs to His kingdom.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the message to the faithful church in Philadelphia. May we also be faithful in Your eyes. Help us to discern the doors that You open for us and the ones You shut. May we rest securely in our identity as Your beloved children, adopted into Your family. Amen.
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