Summary: The door of opportunity is there for the taking and John in Revelation outlines this for the Church in Philadelphia.
An open DOOR
Of all the seven churches in the book of Revelation, Philadelphia was the ideal Church, and the one against which Jesus had no accusations nor did He find any sin there.
However, Philadelphia was not a perfect city it was a city of many temples, and was called “the little Athens” because of its many idols and gods.
Philadelphia was a city strategically located on the road from Rome to the east, and was a strong fortress city.
It was a city of major influence in the area and was located on the edge of a great volcanic plain which as a result was very fertile and ideal for growing grapes.
Philadelphia, however, was more than just a gateway to the east or a fertile valley, it was also an “open door of opportunity – spiritually speaking.
Jesus tells this struggling church, "I know that you have little strength."
The city was slowly recovering from an earthquake that devastated the area in AD 17.
The people in Philadelphia were constantly depressed because earthquake tremors continued on a regular basis.
Suppose your house was destroyed every year and you had to rebuild it? – Wouldn’t you get discouraged and want give up?
Every time there was a new earthquake tremor, you would be reminded of the past destruction?
But the church in Philadelphia kept loyal to the WORD and did not deny His Name, so Jesus say’s
Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.
Both in the OT and the NT talk about a number of doors, often with very different meanings.
Later in Rev 3:20, Jesus says: 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.
This is the door of intimacy with Christ - We usually apply this passage in an evangelical way, and yet 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, waiting for the church to re-open that door so that a vital relationship can be re-established.
Another type of door mentioned in scripture is the door of salvation, in John 10:9, Jesus said: I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
Jesus was teaching the remarkable truth that He is the only way to salvation, inside that door or gate, there is safety and everything we need.
There’s a third type of door mentioned in scripture – the door of opportunity, Paul says in 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”.
It’s mentioned a number of times in scripture, and it refers to the way that God gives us wonderful opportunities to preach the gospel, and also how He prepares willing ears to listen and eager hearts to receive it.
Throughout history, people have found that God has a unique way of providing opportunities for fruitful service, and hearts ready to accept the gospel.
So Jesus tells the Philadelphian church that He is going to open a door for them because of their deeds
· …they had kept Jesus’ word
· …they had not denied His name
· and they had endured difficulties patiently because they were looking to Jesus
Notice, Jesus isn’t telling them that they’ll have an OPEN DOOR for a dynamic ministry because they had…
¨ powerful programs
¨ a forceful preacher
¨ OR a beautiful church building
Jesus is telling them He’s going to entrust them with a dynamic ministry because they were faithful.
It’s Faithfulness to Jesus (NOT PHYSICAL POWER) that is the power source of a truly dynamic church.
In fact, there was NOTHING impressive about the church at Philadelphia. Jesus tells them: (vs. 8) “I know that you have little strength.”
As churches go – they weren’t much to look at. BUT they were a faithful church and God intended to use them in a big way.
This is very important as it shows how God does things.
“God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things— and the things that are not— to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. ICor1:27-29
Jesus tells the church at Philadelphia – they are responsible enough to be trusted with an open door.