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Back To The Future
THE CHURCH OF THE OPEN DOOR
Intro: We are continuing
to move through the letters of our Lord to the seven churches of
1.) Practically These letters were written to real churches functioning in that day.
Prophetically Each church represents a different
period of church history from Pentecost to the Rapture. This particular church represents the period
between 1,700 AD and 1,900 AD.
During this period, the true Christian churches, though weak numerically
and financially, began the modern missions movement. This was also the period that saw the “Great
Awakenings and revivals in
3.) Personally These churches have something to say to every individual believer and to every church in existence.
we will consider the church in
city was located in a narrow pass between two mountain ranges. It stood as a literal doorway between Asia
of its strategic location, it was used as a military buffer city. Enemy armies passing through the narrow pass
could be delayed by a small force at
city was named for King Attalus II, the king of
is to the church in
A. The Master’s Attributes Jesus comes to this church and He identifies Himself in two powerful ways.
1. He Comes As The Sinless One The word holy tells us that Jesus is sinless and pure.
That is the Bible’s testimony to Jesus,
That is Hell’s testimony to Jesus,
That is Heaven’s testimony to Jesus,
That was Jesus’ testimony to Himself, “Which of you convinceth me of
sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?”
Jesus is speaking to a church that is striving to be holy in the midst of a corrupt and sinful world. He comes to say to them: “It is possible to live for God! I am holy, and I can help you be holy too.
2. He Comes As The Sincere One The word true here means that which is genuine. We know that His Word is true, now He tells His people that He is the real Savior; He is the only genuine Lord.
These early believers were surrounded
daily by that which was false. False
gods and false worship abounded in that day.
Jesus just wants them to know that He is the real deal. They are not wasting their time serving
Him. They did not make a mistake when
they turned their back on their idols and pagan gods. When they came to Jesus Christ, they came to
the only Savior,
It is a comfort to be reminded that at least one thing is real! Jesus is the real deal! Jesus is not a substitute for anything! When you trusted Jesus Christ, you got in on something that is real! Salvation is real! Prayer is real! Grace is real! Heaven is real! His presence is real! His Word is real! His power is real! I am just saying, Jesus, and not Coca-Cola is the real thing!)
B. The Master’s Authority Jesus identifies Himself as the One Who is in control! He has the keys and He opens and closes the doors.
1. He Carries The Keys Jesus says that He has the key of David. Look at Isa. 22:20-25. This passage speaks of a man named Eliakim. This is an Old Testament prophecy that the glory of God; the power of God; the authority of God will rest on his shoulders. Then, we are told that he will be set as a nail in a sure place and that he will be cut off after a while. This ancient prophecy is a picture of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God placed on His Son His kingdom and His government, Isa. 9:6. He set Him “as a nail in a sure place. But, after a time, He was cut off. This is a clear picture of the cross of our Lord. We are told that He will have the “Key of David. What does this mean?
Well, what are keys for? Keys grant you authority, access and availability. Jesus comes to this ancient church and says “I have the keys!” He is telling u today that He “has the keys”. What kind of keys does Jesus have?
a. He Has The Keys Of Sleep Rev.
1:18. Jesus alone is the Master of
death. You can’t even die until He opens
the door! You can’t stay dead if you know Him,
b. He Has The Keys Of Suffering Rev. 1:18 - Only He can open Heaven and shut Hell. Jesus is the Key to Heaven!
He Has The Keys Of Salvation
He Has The Keys Of Service -
e. He Has The Keys Of Safety Col. 3:3 No one can touch those who are locked away within Jesus Christ.
He Controls The Doors Jesus
is in the business of opening and closing doors in the lives of His
people. We see this truth at work in the
life of the Apostle Paul,
When God opens a door of opportunity in your life; run through it as fast as you can. It may be a once in a life time opportunity. How tragic it would be to get to Heaven and see what we could have done if only we would have trusted the Lord and stepped through the open door He gave us.
By the same token, when He closes a door, don’t try to force it open. You don’t want to be where God doesn’t want you to be. The path to blessing is to be where the Lord wants us to be, when He wants us to be there.
I think there is a word here for the church as well. There will be times along the way when God lines things up for His church. He may give us an opportunity to make inroads into our community. He may give an open door to ministry to our town. When that open door comes, it is not a time for delay. It is a time for faith and action. When we see that door opened, we must go through it, regardless of the cost. We need to pray that God will give us spiritual wisdom to see the doors when He opens them.
C. The Master’s Appraisal As He does with the other churches, Jesus reminds them that He knows everything about them. He sees their works and He sees the motives that drive the work.
Just a reminder, He knows us too, Heb. 4:13; Pro. 15:3! When He looks at our lives and at our church, what does Jesus see about us?
II. v. 8b-11 THE CHURCH AND HER MINISTRY
A. v. 8 Their Ministry Involved Opportunities In His sovereignty, the Lord had given this church a powerful open door of ministry. Jesus says, “thou hast a little strength. This may mean that they were small in number and lacking in political and financial influence. They were weak, but they Lord was using them in a mighty fashion. They were weak, but they were making a tremendous impact on their city! Why?
They had kept His Word. This means that even though they were weak in many ways, they were pure and strong in their doctrine.
They had not denied His Name. They were not ashamed of Jesus or of their relationship to Him.
I think this means that they were not
keeping the Gospel to themselves! They
were actively spreading the Word of God to a lost and dying world. God had given them an open door of ministry
Because they were faithful to Him, He was blessing them! They were preaching and exalting Jesus and the enemies of the cross were powerless to stop them. Such was the power of God in their midst!
(Note: I think the same principles still apply today. Fundamental, Bible-believing churches are in the minority in our world. If we will honor God’s Word and keep Jesus at the center of all we do, the Lord will honor that by giving us an open door of ministry in this world. But, we have to do what He says here. We must “keep His Word. This means that we are to hear it, love it, do it and share it.
We must “not deny His name. That is, we must not minimize Jesus to draw a crowd. But, we must make Him the centerpiece of our church and of our worship! God blessed that kind of church 2,000 years ago and I believe He still will today!
If we will love the Book and live the Book; if we will love Jesus and lift Jesus; God will use us in this world in ways we can not begin to imagine! He “opened that door long ago, and it remains open today!)
B. v. 9 Their Ministry Involved Opposition The phrase synagogue of Satan probably refers to the local Jews who were persecuting them.
The phrase “which say they are Jews and are not can be interpreted by what Paul said in Rom. 2:28-29. This church is suffering at the hands of people who claim to love God, but are lying! They have rejected their Messiah and they are headed to Hell, Rev. 21:8.
Jesus tells them that He is aware of their mistreatment. But, He wants them to know that a day is coming when they will see those who oppose them bowing before them. He is probably referring to that day when “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:10-11. One day their enemies would experience total defeat. Whatever the Lord is speaking about here, He wants them to know that He is in control of the critics too.
(Note: We might as well face this fact: old-fashioned churches are not as popular as they used to be. There was a day when most churches were good churches. They preached the Word. They live right. They evangelized the lost and exalted the Lord. That day is long gone! Just because a church has the right name on its sign does not guarantee you that you will find the right kind of church behind the doors.
in our day, old-fashioned churches are going to be ridiculed, maligned and
When people talk about your church and make fun of your for your standards, don’t worry! Just respond like Jesus taught us to respond, Matt. 5:44. And, remember that there is a day coming when God will have the last word! Vengeance is His jurisdiction; simple obedience is ours!)
(Note: By the way, if I were moving to a new town and started looking for a new church to attend, I would listen to the talk around town. That church that every body laughed at, criticized and mocked, is the church I would attend first. Why? The world and all that are joined to it hate the truth and they hate any church that preaches truth.)
C. v. 10 Their Ministry Involved Optimism This is a precious promise to a suffering people. They have endured much, but they will be spared the horrors that will come upon the entire world and those who dwell in it. Jesus promises them that their faithfulness to them guarantees them deliverance from the terrible time of tribulation that is to come upon this earth.
(Note: The phrase “them that dwell upon the earth can be literally translated the earth dwellers. We will encounter this phrase several more times in Revelation. It refers to those who are part of this world’s evil system. It speaks of those people who do not know the Lord. They will face the wrath of God in the tribulation, but His people will not!
the church pass through the tribulation?
Absolutely not! Jesus is coming
and He is going to remove His church before God pours our His wrath upon this
world, Rom. 5:9;
v. 11 Their Ministry Involved Obligations The believers in
Jesus is coming and His people need to be
ready to meet Him. That means we are to
live as if He might come at any minute and we are to work like our time is
short. But, as we watch and as we work,
we are to be careful of how we live our lives.
We must not allow ourselves to become like the world around us. We are to live for Jesus, love Jesus and look
for Jesus; guarding everything He has given us, so that we can be confident of
a reward when He comes. We will face our
Lord some day at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
That day can be a day of reward, or it can be a day of loss, which
depends on how we live now,
(Note: As He relates to them all that He has given them and
is doing for them and through them, it is possible that they didn’t even know
just how much the Lord was blessing them and using them for His glory. Here’s what Jesus saw as He looked at the
ministry of the church in
think it is very likely that we don’t know the extent of our outreach and the
strength of our influence in this world.
We may never know until we get to Heaven. But, I am confident that God is using
III. v. 12 THE CHURCH AND HER MESSAGE
A Message Of Stability
Jesus tells these believers that He will make set them as a pillar in Gods
temple and they will go out no more.
This was a message of hope to the people in
(Note: This world may rock and reel and troubles and trials may assault us day by day, but we have been placed on a solid rock and we are headed to a sure destination. There may be little stability in this world, but the saints of God will be fixed firmly in Heaven above and they will never be threatened, assaulted or attacked again! Nothing that troubles the church down here will be allowed to enter over there, Rev. 21:4, 27.)
In that city, the highest honor that could be bestowed on an individual was for a pillar in one of the pagan temples to be dedicated in his honor. His name would be written on it and the reason for the honor would be inscribed there too. Jesus is saying to these saints, “You might not be well known or honored down here, but things are different in Heaven. You might be a nobody today on earth, but you are a somebody in Heaven!
(Note: It’s the same for us, my friends! This world hates us; the devil hates us; and each day sees the church become the focus of increasing attacks and hatred. But, in Heaven, we are somebodies! We are the redeemed children of God! We are the spotless, chaste, virgin bride of the Lamb of God! Our names are known over there and one day, well enter that city and be firmly fixed there forever! Praise His name!)
B. A Message Of Security God says that His people will be identified with The Creator; with The City; and with The Christ
· God puts His name on them to establish ownership. He has redeemed them and they are His forever!
· He places the name of the city on them because that is their destination. They might be living on the earth today, but they are headed for glory.
· He writes a new name for Jesus on them because they are special to Him. The name of Christ represents the fullness of His Person. And, in Heaven, they will see Christ in all His fullness! In the Old Testament era, His name was Jehovah. In the New Testament era His name is Jesus. In Heaven, He will have a new name!
world might not see their value, but God does and He honors His faithful
servants. The people in the
(Note: This verse reminds us of the wonderful security all
the redeemed have in Jesus. We have been
saved to the uttermost, Heb. 7:25. We have been given everlasting life,
has claimed us as His children, I
Conc: I am grateful to be a member of a Philadelphian kind of church. Of all the churches in these two chapters;
So, here is the invitation: If you are lost and you would like to give your heart to Jesus you come. If you are saved, but you haven’t been watching and you know you are in danger of losing your rewards, you come. If you are thankful to be a member of a great church and want to ask God to help us, and to give us wisdom as we move into His future, you come.
These precious words from our Lord should motivate us to serve Him faithfully until He returns for us.