Sunday Night 1-13-2013

Posted by Sherry


The Open Door of Opportunity
Revelation 3:7-13 

A little trivia quiz this evening - you may want to take out a piece of paper to write the answer down 
How many doors (NOT DOOR WAYS) are in this sanctuary? 12

Did you know that a lot of doors are mentioned in Scripture as well? 

Revelation 3:20, Jesus says: (Revelation 3:20) Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 
door of intimacy with Christ 
  • We usually apply this passage in an evangelistic sense, 
  • it was written to a church of believers. 
  • It illustrates for us the willingness of Jesus to pursue believers who have grown cold in their relationship with him. 
  • The imagery is of Jesus knocking at the door of a church, 
  • and waiting for the church to re-open that door so that a vital relationship can be re-established 

John 10:29, Jesus said: (John 10:9) I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 
-Jesus was teaching that he is the only way to salvation. 
Inside that door or gate, there is safety and everything we need. 

Colossians 4:3: “and pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains”.
– the door of opportunity.  
refers to the way that God gives wonderful opportunities to preach the gospel, 
how he prepares willing ears to listen and 
eager hearts to receive it 
God has a unique way of providing opportunities for fruitful service, and hearts ready to accept the gospel. 
TEXT:
7 And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Philadelphia write: These are the words of the Holy One, the True One, He Who has the key of David, Who opens and no one shall shut, Who shuts and no one shall open:(A)
8 I know your [record of] works and what you are doing. See! I have set before you a door wide open which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My Word and guarded My message and have not renounced or denied My name.
9 Take note! I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and learn and acknowledge that I have loved you.(B)
10 Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the [a]lesson of My patience with the [b]expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth.
11 I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown.
12 He who overcomes (is victorious), I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God; he shall never be put out of it or 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 descends from My God out of heaven, and My own new name.(C)
13 He who can hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).

In Philadelphia, there was a small bunch of Christians who were faithful to the task. They were neither large in number, powerful or influential, but they were significant to Christ, who takes the time to write them a letter.

Christ - the Writer

1) He says he is holy – morally perfect and without flaw or blemish.
2) He is true - the one behind everything, the one who is wholly trustworthy and reliable. 
  1. He holds the Key of David. 
Now this is an interesting description which refers back to Is 22:20f. 
In Chapter 22, Isaiah condemns the city of Jerusalem. 
They had just been delivered from their enemies camped outside their city, 
but they showed no gratitude for their divine rescue. 
The charge lain before them is that they were self-sufficient, 
  • trusting in their weapons, 
  • their efforts in strengthening the city walls 
  • and their stores of water. 
He then turns his attention to an individual 
– Shebna, the chief steward of Jerusalem, 
guilty of a similar sin as the city itself. 
seeing himself as indispensible, 
a “Mighty Man” in verse 17. 
He apparently paraded through the streets in a mighty chariot and prepared for himself a splendid grave. 
As a result of his unfaithful service, he is replaced by Eliakim. 
Now the significance of the image is that the chief steward of the city held the key of David 
– this was the master key to not only the city but also to the palace. 
He was second only to the king and controlled who could come and who could go 
– who had access to the king and who didn’t. 
He was the one who opened the doors and shut other doors. 
Isaiah …Vs 20 "In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. 21 I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 23 I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will be a seat of honor for the house of his father. 
In Revelation, we see this image continuing in 
vs 7
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. 
What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 
V8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.

Christ is here claiming to be the new Eliakim 
– the one who holds the palace key, 
not an earthly door, though, 
it was heaven’s door. 
Christ opens and closes the doors which allow people to enter the kingdom 
– he is in control of the opportunities which we have and no opportunity is not appointed by him. 

The Church’s Condition 
Philadelphia was a blessed city. 
They were living in the land of opportunity, but why were they so blessed. 
The answer is found in verse 8.

8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

  1. Weakness - 
This was a small church with seemingly no prestige. 
It regularly got beaten up by the local Jews who had condemned them. 
But because it was weak, they relied upon God. 
They knew who’s work it was and didn’t try to usurp his authority. 
– It’s a lesson for all of us fiercely independent people isn’t it.
  1. Wordly – 
No I haven’t left out an “l” here and yes it is a word – and if it is not, it should be. 
They were wordly 
– They were consumed by the word, 
devoted to the word, 
satisfied by the word and 
thriving on the word. 
They kept God’s Word, 
which meant that they knew God’s Word and we could likely conclude that 
they therefore spent time studying God’s Word. 
Are we Wordly or are we Worldly in our focus?
  1. Wavering–Not. 
– no matter what they were faced with, refused to give up on their faith. 
The ridicule, 
the peer pressure, 
the opposition or even 
the possible persecution they faced could not make them waver. 
Instead they were faithful to the end.

www – Weak, Wordly and Wavering-not were the reasons given for the giving of the open door 
– the opportunity to preach the gospel to their neighbours, to their friends, to people passing through the city.

I want to ask you tonight whether you have a door of opportunity open for you? 
If you do, are you making the most of every opportunity? 
I must admit, that I fail so often and let the opportunities slip. 
We need to pray for each others that we be bold enough to take the opportunities God gives us. 

I don’t have any opportunities, then why not. 
Which W are you lacking? 
Weakness? 
Are you trying to do it all on your own instead of waiting for God’s power? 
Wordliness Is your life based wholely and solely on God’s word - following the principles laid out in his Word? Or maybe it is just that you are Wavering instead of Wavering- Not. 

Promises and Blessings. 
It shouldn’t surprise us that when we are given wonderful opportunities for service, there is usually also new opportunities for selfishness, pride, defection or compromise. Satan hates you with a passion and will try to undermine any and all spiritual progress. 

An organization in Montana once offered a bounty of five thousand dollars for every wolf captured alive. Two hunters named Sam and Jed decided to head for the hills and make some money capturing wolves. Day and night they scoured the mountains and forests searching for their valuable prey. Exhausted after three days of hunting without any success, they both fell asleep. 
During the night, Sam suddenly woke up to find that he and Jed were surrounded by a pack of fifty wolves, with flaming red eyes and bared teeth, snarling at the two hunters and preparing to pounce. Sam nudged Jed and said, "Hey, wake up! We’re gonna be rich!"

Sometimes when we are surrounded by what appears to be many difficulties, we may in fact be surrounded by many opportunities. Christ recognised that often opportunity and opposition go hand in hand and gave the Philadelphian church 4 specific words of comfort.

  1. First, he promised to humble their enemies and open their eyes to the truth. 
Vs 9 reads 
I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars--I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.
The first opponents of the church were the hostile Jews. 
This was the continuation of the tension we see between the early church and the Jewish community who believed that they were the people of God by birth and religious heritage. 

RO 2:28 A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.
God is not pleased by outward rituals, but is pleased by inward attitudes. In the end of time, the Jews will recognise the distinction between a real follower of Christ and their brand of religion. 

2) second, that he would keep them from the hour of maximum trials. 
10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from (or more accurately, out of) the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
This tribulation was going to be global in nature 
– it was to come upon the whole world. 
It was also to test those who live on the earth. 
This is not just talking about the Christians in the church here. 
This phrase is repeated several times through the book of Revelation and refers to believers and unbelievers. 

The hour of trial is understood to be a time of intense trouble that will fall on the world before Christ comes again. 
It is called elsewhere in Scripture the “day of the Lord” or the “Great Tribulation.” 
But just how the Christians are protected from it a matter of debate. 
Those who believe in a Pre-tribulation rapture, would see that this passage and others like it teach that the Christians will be taken out of the earth (raptured) before the great tribulation and so will be protected from all that it involves by their absence. 

Others who hold to a post tribulation rapture believe that this promise is not to remove the Christians from the earth, but to offer protection to them while on earth.

This verse can not prove or disprove either argument on its own and so we won’t dwell on it any more. 
It is sufficient to say that we have a marvelous promise here 
– Christ will protect his own because of their obedience to him. 

3) Third promise of strength and security.
11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it.
Philadelphia being in a volcanic area. 
Often the only parts of the city left standing after a severe quake were the huge stone temple columns. 
When you visit ancient ruins you will notice that often all that is left standing are the pillars. 
In the Jerusalem temple which was destroyed in 70 A. D., there were two great pillars in front of the building, one called Jachin (which means "established, permanent"), and the other Boaz ("strength"). 
Pillars were synonymous with strength and permanence. 
Christ promises to set his believes up in such a secure fashion that can never be moved. 

"Never again will he leave it," says Jesus. This promise of Jesus to never go out again is a reference to the experience of these Philadelphians who had frequently to flee the city because of the earthquake tremors that came. 
When you labor for me, says Jesus, you will reach a place where you will not have to go out ever again. It is a picture of security, permanence and strength.

This is the promise to those who overcome. 
To those who are faithful. 
The faithful are also said to have a crown which can be lost if they waver. 
This does not speak about salvation, but future rewards and opportunities for future service. 

4) a new name which is representative of our character. 
V12 I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.
If we overcome, we will be given 3 names
  1. the name of God – shows we will be godly. 
This is the purpose of the HS dwelling in our lives.
  1. the name of the city of God. 
The last 2 chapters of Revelation speak about the New Jerusalem being like a bride being prepared for her husband, Christ. 
This new name speaks of the loving intimacy that Christ has for his faithful.
  1. a new name that no one knows. 
Names in the Bible symbolize one’s character or role. 
Before Jesus was born in Bethlehem an angel appeared to Joseph and told him that Mary would have a son, who was to be called “Jesus." 
Why? "Because he will save his people from their sins," 
When we get to heaven, we will each have a new ministry, a new area of service and this will come with it a new name symbolic of this new ministry.

What wonderful promises,
• Our enemies will be humbled,
• We’ll be kept from tribulation
• We will be strengthened and made secure.
• We’ll be given a new name

13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Stop! Look! Listen! Hear the Spirit. Think through these letters. Pay attention to them, because they are spelling out your future destiny.

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