Revelation 3:7-13 | Philadelphia (Open Door)

Revelation 3:7-13 | Philadelphia [The Open Door Church]

Revelation 3:7-13 | Philadelphia [The Open Door Church]

Posted by Calvary Chapel McAllen Metro on Sunday, March 8, 2020

[For our Previews Studies in Revelation, click Here]

Revelation’s Devine Outline:  Revelation 1:19“Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.”

Revelation 1:19
Revelation 1:19

In Chapters 2 and 3 we find 7 letters Directed and dictated by Jesus to the 7 churches in Asia.

The 7 churches in Asia.

Each letter follows the same pattern:

1) Introduction: (Jesus description, Ch 1:12-17)

2) Commendation:

3) Critique: (None is given to this church)

4) Prescriptions: (Improve or fix)

5) Promise:

The 7 churches give us The chronological flow of church history, from the apostles to the present.

chronological flow of church history
  • 1) Ephesus, The apostolic church (age of the apostles),
  • 2) Smyrna, = The Persecuted Church (Starting with Nero 63 AD to Diocletian 310 AD = 10 waves of persecution)
  • 3) Pergamos, =The Compromised Church(300 AD Satan joined the Churched under Constantine = The religion of the Empire), |
  • 4) Thyatira, = Catholic Church —Work based  (Birth of the Catholic church: Papasy, Justification by works, Celibacy, Confession, Mariolatry,  Purgatory, Penance, indulgences, etc.. (300s-1500s) |
  • 5) Sardis, = The dead Church: (Name but not alive) |
  • 6) Philadelphia, = The Favored Church (The Church of brotherly Love- Open door set before them We need to be) |
  • 7) Laodicea. =The LukeWarm Church: (Seeker friendly, neither hot nor cold. Doesn’t stand for truth. >>> [The Last 4 are still around today])

The Flow of the Church One by One:

  • 1) Ephesus, = The apostolic church (age of the apostles),
  • 2) Smyrna, = The Persecuted Church (Starting 63 AD to 310 AD = 10 waves of persecution)
  • 3) Pergamos, = The Compromised Church/mix marriage (300 AD Satan joined the Church = Christianized Eastern practices.
  • 4) Thyatira = Continual Sacrifice! (The Roman Catholic Church.) (600 AD – 1500s AD – to present.)
  • 5) Sardis = The dead Church: (Name but not alive) (1520s – 1750s – to present, Mainline dead denominations)
  • 6) Philadelphia = The Favored Church (The Church of Brotherly Love- Th Open door Church.) (1750s – 1900s – to present, Missionary Minded, Bible Believing and teaching Church.)

A stirring in the dead denominationalism

A stirring in the dead denominationalism that had strayed from the simplicity of the gospel.

Two books sat in the London shop of a young cobbler: a well-worn Bible and Captain Cook’s journal. —As the days went by, the cobbler found himself losing interest in working on the soles of shoes, and caring more about the souls of people in far regions. 

So deep was the passion that stirred within him that on May 31, 1793, he walked into the little Protestant church he attended and said, “Could I please share?” Allowed to speak a word, he read Isaiah 54:2, 3. 

Passionately he preached. “We must lengthen the cords; … we must strengthen the stakes, … We must include others who have never heard. I want to go. Send me to India.”

His request stunned his congregation, it had been 1000 years since anyone had launched a foreign missionary endeavor. But William Carey’s congregation sent him to India. 

In his first 10 years, he became fluent in 12 languages. He translated the Bible in Sanskrit, is still used to this day.

William Carey goes down in history as the father of the modern missionary movement—and the church awoke from her lethargy. 

He set the example that, one doesn’t have to be skilled, gifted, or special to be used in the kingdom.

God is looking for men who are willing to go.

The Church at Philadelphia in Church History

The church at Philadelphia speaks of this age of church history beginning in the 1800s, for it was through men like Carey in India, Hudson Taylor in China, D. L. Moody in America and C. H. Spurgeon in London, that evangelism was taking place and missionaries were being sent out.

The letter to Philadelphia is one of only two letters of the seven in which Jesus has nothing critical to say. —Because the Philadelphians were involved in evangelism. They were loving the lost—and love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

Three Greek words for love. Eros is erotic or sensual love. —Phileo is brotherly love. —Agape is God’s love. 

Introduction:

[TEXT>>] 7 “And to the angel (pastor) of the church (Saints that loved, served Jesus) in Philadelphia write, 

Historically: Philadelphia:

Revelation 3:7-13 | Philadelphia
https://aleteia.org/2018/07/05/you-can-visit-the-ruins-of-3-of-the-7-churches-of-revelation-in-turkey/

It was a beautiful prosperous city. Known for its Architecture “Little Athens” but also well known for her frequent earthquakes. 

https://rickbarbarebiblestudies.blog/2019/08/04/philadelphia-a-church-on-unstable-ground-part-1/

Positionally, “Philadelphia commanded one of the greatest highways in the world, the highway which led from Europe to the East. —Philadelphia was the gateway from one continent to another.” (Barclay)

It was originally founded as a missionary outpost with the purpose of spreading the Greek language, the Greek way of life, the Greek civilization, throughout the Asian provinces and beyond.

[TEXT>>] ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true (not fake)

There is a big difference between a Rolex vs back alley Rolex: They may look alike from far away. But surely one is fake.

Christ is holy and true—perfectly pure in His righteousness and completely trustworthy in His character.

[TEXT>>] “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:

  1. In chapter 1, tells us that Jesus holds the keys of hell and death (1:18). 
  2. To this missionary church, He says He holds an additional key: the key of David. 

In Isaiah 22, we read of Shebna, the treasurer in the kingdom of Judah during Hezekiah’s reign. Shebna used temple money to purchase a sepulcher and chariots for himself, Isaiah was sent and said, “What are you doing? You had opportunity, but you abused it.” 

The key to the treasury was removed from Shebna’s shoulder and given to Eliakim, a godly man of whom Isaiah said that he was steadfast, dependable like “fastened nail.”

But there was another who was fastenednot like a nail, but with a nail. Another one who perfectly carried the key of the government upon His shoulder (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus The Christ.

The Father has handed the keys of authority over God’s heavenly blessings to Christ alone. He controls access to the Father’s spiritual treasury, turning difficult situations into wonderful opportunities for Him to shine through us. 

This speaks of Jesus’ sovereignty and power to open the doors for the Gospel as He did for William Carey in India, for Hudson Taylor in China, great salvation and rejoicing. 

He is also the one who shuts the door and no one can open it. Your decision will be permanent: 

Remember Noah (Gen 7:16) the doors to the Ark remained open for 7 days, then the Lord shut the door. 

Another good example of this is when God harden Pharoh’s heart (Ex 9:12) is also another great example.

[No Critique]

 Commendation

[TEXT>>]:  8 “I know your works (was this a Blessing or terrifying thought for these saints to hear?).

[TEXT>>] See (behold, pay attention, look!), I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; 

Imagine the excitement of hearing “I have set an Open door before you.” —It is opened, and no one can shut it (v7). The Open Door speaks of evangelistic opportunities.  

Ac 14:27, “reported everything God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles…”

2 Co 2:12, “when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord,” 

1 Co 16:8–9, “In the meantime, I will be staying here at Ephesus until the Festival of Pentecost. There is a wide-open door for a great and effective work here, although many oppose me.”

Col 4:3, “pray also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,”

  1. God has set an open door before us -to share the gospel with the Lost. The Great Commandment:

Mt 28:19–20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,

That seems like a huge impossible task. Where do I start?

Ac 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in 1st) Jerusalem, 2nd) and in all Judea and Samaria (Neighboring cities, towns, and nations), 3rd) and to the end of the earth (Africa, China, Malaysia, the Congo).”

Perhaps that’s what you are afraid of, to be sent by the Lord >> to Africa, >> to China (Corona Virus), >> Malaysia, >> to the Congo? —“I don’t like airplanes, bugs, frogs, lions or crocks.” 

But other disciples long to go and share the Gospel with the Lost in these regions… and they need to be sent and supported. You maybe can’t go, but you can still be part of this blessing.

1 Sa 30:21–24 “David said, “No, my brothers! Don’t be selfish with what the Lord has given us. He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the band of raiders that attacked us. Who will listen when you talk like this? We share and share alike—those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.

As a church throughout the years, we have supported missionaries, to Reynosa, Rohilgas of Bangladesh, France, China, to the USA.

Listen, if you can go, then go… If you can’t go, support, every dollar counts. But it starts, in our home, street, work, town, city. 

Jesus said: “see” I have set an open door before you. The door of evangelistic opportunity in front of us, but often we don’t see it.

A man once came to Spurgeon and asked how he could win others to Jesus. Spurgeon asked him, “What are you? What do you do?”  The man said, “I’m an engine driver on a train.” “Then,” said Spurgeon, “Is the man who shovels coal on your train a Christian?”   “I don’t know,” said the man. “Go back,” said Spurgeon, “and find out and start on him.”

How can I turn the conversation into one about Jesus? It is much simpler than you think, one simple way is to ask them “may I ask you a Spiritual question?”

Another way to really get unsaved people hungry for a relationship with God is to treat them as if they are part of the family of God. “Would you pray for me, I am feeling sick… or what do you think Jesus meant when he said….”

It may sound weird, silly, unreasonable, but it works. Try it.

Once we see the open door, we then have to walk through it. “An open door is as good as a shut door if no one goes through it.” God wants us to take every evangelistic opportunity He gives us.

Three Qualities Every Church Should Have, But Many Don’t Have!

Why did he opened this door to them? Jesus mentions three very important qualities that every church should have, but many don’t have.

[TEXT>>]#1) for you have a little strength, #2) have kept My word, and #3) have not denied My name. 

Little strength:

This is not a critique: The term a little strength does not imply weakness, little 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” in our flesh, for God to really use us. 

The church in Philadelphia had the poverty of spirit to know they really needed God’s strength.“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 dependant on the Lord means more than much strength in the flesh:

For contrast, remember the Apostle Paul, God’s strength was made evident in his weaknesses (2 Cor 12:7–10).

Kept My word:

They were an exception, not the rule. Churches that keep God’s are still an exception. 

https://bible.org/illustration/inerrancy-survey
https://bible.org/illustration/inerrancy-survey

Others who have completely turned away from the Word and placed it on Ambiance as the main reason to congregate.

Have they forgotten the power of the Word? It transforms lives, reconciles with God, gives eternal Salvation, Let’s us know our creator.

Remember what Jesus said: The fool and the wise Matt 7.24-27 

Have not Deny my name:

“You have not denied My deity. You recognize I am who I claim to be

—not just an interesting teacher, not just a model of how to live successfully, of how to have prosperity, or of how to be happy.

I am the Christ.”

“The church of Philadelphia is commended for keeping the Word of the Lord and not denying His Name.

Success in Christian work is not to be measured by any other standard of achievement.

  • It is not the rise in ecclesiastical position.
  • It is not the number of new buildings that have been built through a man’s ministry.
  • It is not the crowds that flock to listen to any human voice.

All of these things are frequently used as yardsticks of success, but they are earthly and not heavenly measures.” (Barnhouse)

 [TEXT>>] 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie

In John’s day, this is a reference to the Jews who Persecuted Christians. In today’s church, this clearly speaks of “Christians” who have Replacement Theology.

They claim God is done with the Jewish people and now they “as the new people of God” have replace them and are to receive their promises.

[TEXT>>] —indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you…

in repentance in shame for all they have done against you. As they worship me they will know, that I always loved you!

[TEXT>>] 10 (Why?) Because you have kept My command to persevere… 

Websters: To continue in a course of action, even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success!

Remember Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego, they persevered! (Daniel 3) They had perseverance, even willing to burn alive but trust God till the end.

Greek: (hupomone: ) means “to bear up or to endure – under pressure.” This is the ability to keep holding on even while trials, temptations, and sufferings, keep on going on. 

Same word used by James: Jas 5:7 “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.” 

 Jesus says, “You at Philadelphia, you of little strength, you’ve kept My Word and you haven’t denied My Name. You’ve gone through the open door, and you’ve been patiently awaiting My coming. Because of this,

[TEXT>>] I also will keep you from (“from” is ek, which means “out of.”)  the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth (The Great tribulation). 

Prescription:

[TEXT>>]  11 Behold, I am coming quickly!

Tachu, the Greek word translated “quickly,” actually means “suddenly.” Thus, the Lord could come at any moment.

Only those who believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture can say, “It could be today.” Mid- and post-Tribulationists, on the other hand, have no recourse but to say, “The Lord can’t come back today because the Tribulation hasn’t begun yet.”

Notice the contrast between this and Sardis… to Sardis it was a threat, but to Philadelphia is a promised blessing.

Which one is right? Both, it all depends on your walk with the Lord. 

[TEXT>>]   Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 

The church at Philadelphia must not depart from its solid foundation (v8)

  • 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).

“no one may take your crown” The idea is not that it might be stolen by another, but given by us to another.  In 1 Thess 2:19-20, Paul identifies the crown as people—people with whom we’ve shared, people for whom you’ve prayed. 

“Stay with them,” says Jesus. “Keep praying for them. Don’t give up on them.”

  Promise:

[TEXT>>]  12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more 

“Hold fast to your crown, look for My coming, and you will be planted firmly as a pillar in My kingdom” Philadelphia had massive seismic activity. But in heaven no more. No more shakes no more scares, no more fear!

[TEXT>>]  I will write on him the name of My God 

EX>> Part of the Band, Jackets. Beyond the Jordan! –the Lord says, “I’m going to put the name of My Father on your jacket. His will be the Name you wear for eternity.”

[TEXT>>] and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God…

If you are unhappy with your living Situation, always dreaming of the big fancy cities, a beachfront property, etc… Saint, don’t grow weary, because The New Jerusalem is going to make any city on this planet look insignificant. And we will be residents therein..

[TEXT>>] And I will write on him My new name. 

I like weddings. The last step in a wedding is the famous Wedding Pronouncement: “And now I present you Mrs and Misses Man’s name and last name.”

When we get to heaven, we’re truly going to be the bride of Christ.

 I pity our poor brides because as time goes on, it must be disappointing, disheartening, disillusioning, and depressing to them to see our flaws become ever more evident. 

Not so with God. Unlike any relationship on earth, this one will only produce greater and greater joy, greater and greater delight as we explore the nooks and crannies of His nature for all eternity.

[TEXT>>] 13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’


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