Sermon Bite 06/01/08

The Church With the Open Door

Revelation 3:7-13

I want to see Jesus revealed in His glory as sovereign, and ruling in His Church, determining when and where His Church and people are to minister, and preach the gospel of grace, and the whole counsel of God.

The city of Philadelphia was founded by a King whose name was Attalus in honor of his brother and thus is known as the “city of brotherly love”. (Source – THE PROPHECY STUDY BIBLE, p. 1369.

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;”

The city of Philadelphia is approximately 28 miles Southeast of Sardis. The name means “Love of the brethren” or “Brotherly love”.

The main religion of Philadelphia was the worship of Dyonisus. To a certain extent the city was known as “The keeper of the gateway to the plateau” W. M. Ramsay THE LETTERS OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA, pp. 404-405. This city was also earthquake prone and destroyed and rebuilt.

I. WE SEE JESUS AS THE ONE WHO IS HOLY, TRUE, AND HAVING THE KEY OF DAVID (v. 7).

* Holy is the first.

1. To declare Himself as that which is holy He declares Himself as God – He is.
2. He is holy in His character.
3. He is holy in His judgment.
4. He is holy in His actions, words, and purposes.

* He also is identified as “He that is true”.

1. He is not a copy, but the original.
2. Because He is true He can be trusted with history, the present, the future of our lives.
3. He can be trusted to bring about that which we have entrusted to His care (2 Timothy 1:12).

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

4. There is little reference back to His characteristics revealed in chapter one.

a. In verse eighteen of chapter one Jesus describes Himself as having the “Keys of hell and of death”.
b. The “Key of David” is a reference to Isaiah 22:22.

“And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” Isaiah 22:22 (KJV)

II. THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION OF THE CHURCH OF PHILADELPHIA (v. 8 ).

* They have an “Open door” for evangelism and missions.
* They have kept the Word – obediently.
* They have been faithful to His name despite the persecution they have gone through.

1. “Open door” may also be a reference to readiness to receive the Word of God.
2. Could be both evangelism and the Word.

* This “little strength” could be a reference to their size of congregation, however, their great strength lay in the Lord, His Word, and the “Open door”.

III. THERE WAS A SUPPOSED JEWISH OPPOSITION AGAINST THIS CHURCH (v. 9).

* They called themselves “Jewish”, but opposed all that was godly, and Christian.
* They would be made the synagogue of Satan. Also see chapter 2:9.
* They would also, come and worship God before the feet of the faithful of the Church.

IV. IN THEIR FAITHFULNESS TO CHRIST AND HIS WORD THEY RECEIVE A PROMISE OF DELIVERANCE (v. 10).

* “From the hour of temptation…”

1. This may very well be speaking of a specific time which has yet to take place.
2. This had some signigicance for the church of Philadelphia, a promise for them to be kept from a certain “Temptation”.

* Keep in mind that these seven churches represent the whole Church throughout the Church age, but we could also see that each church represents separate times during this age.

1. This church of Philadelphia could be seen as the church which would see the rapture of the church.
2. If seen as the age of great Missions emphasis and the Open door.

* The “hour of temptation” mentioned is for those “that dwell upon the earth”, and used several times throughout the Revelation referring to those who love the world, and hate God, and the things of God.

V. THERE IS A CAVEAT OF HIS COMING QUICKLY, SUDDENLY, WITHOUT WARNING (vv. 11-12).

* He is not speaking of minutes or seconds.

1. He is speaking more of suddenness.

“Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (Luke 12:40).

2. He is coming suddenly to take His Bride home with Him.

a. That is called the “Rapture”.
b. The word is not mentioned in Scripture, but the principle is,

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess 4:16-17).

c. This is certainly speaking of a “Catching away”.

* Jesus says, “Hold on to these rewards, don’t let anyone take them from you”.
* Sometimes in this city of earthquakes the only thing left standing was marble pillars of the temples which had been built for varied purposes.
* Since all of Heaven is the temple of God every overcomer will be identified as one who stood when everything around them fell, cracked and was destroyed.

1. “Go no more out” is speaking of seeking shelter outside the city when it was falling.
2. In God’s city, the New Jerusalem, none will ever have to flee.

VI. LET THE CHURCH OF PHILADELPHIA HEAR THE SPIRIT OF GOD, AND BE STRONG IN HIS WORD AND FAITH (v. 13).

* Though there is no condemnation on this church the cry of the Lord Jesus is that they be attentive to the Spirit of God.
* The message of the Spirit of God is for all those churches who name the name of Christ, and each who know Him are to hear.

-Tim A. Blankenship

For more reading on this topic you may read THE WAYMAKER.


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