Summary: Jesus promised Philadelphia an open door. What did it open to? And why would Philadelphia (a church of little strength) rate such an honor?
OPEN: There’s a story about a guy who happened to be visiting a friend who took him to an old one-room church building in the backwoods of Arkansas. He didn’t realize what kind of church it was until the minister started pulling rattlesnakes out of a burlap bag & passing them up one side of the aisle & down the other. The man had never seen anything like this before, AND he certainly wasn’t interested in somebody handing him a snake!
Frantically, he began turning one way & then another, looking for a way out. But the only exit he could see was up past where the preacher was passing out the snakes.
Turning to the guy next to him he asked, “Where Is the back door? I’ve got to get out of here!” The man answered, “We ain’t got one.”
“Alright then,” the visitor said. “Where would you like one?”
APPLY: That man was willing to open a whole NEW DOOR for that church.
In our text today, we find Jesus telling the church at Philadelphia – “I am willing to open a whole NEW DOOR for you!”
He tells them in Revelation 3:7-8 “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. 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.”
I. Jesus has always desired to open doors for His people.
* In the book of John – Jesus declared: “I am the door: if any man enter in by me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” John 10:9 Jesus is the Open Door. In other words, it is through Him that we have the offer of Salvation.
* In Revelation 3:20 Jesus addressed the church at Laodicea: “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.” By that He meant that He desired to have an intimacy with His people and that they had to open up their closed hearts so He could come in amongst them.
* But the door talked about by Jesus in Revelation 3:8 appears to be slightly different than the other two. This isn’t a door opened TO Jesus (for salvation of the lost). This isn’t a door opened FOR Jesus (for intimacy and eating with Him). THIS is a door opened BY Jesus for a faithful church. This is a door of opportunity, a door of power, a door of success in ministry.
II. Jesus tells us He is going to open a door for them because of their deeds
· …they had kept Jesus’ word
· …they had not denied His name
· & 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
He’s 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, had you looked at the church at Philadelphia you wouldn’t have been impressed. 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.
III. You see, that’s 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. He 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.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God— that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” I Corinthians 1:27-30
ILLUS: It’s almost amusing sometimes to read the back pages of one of our church periodicals. There are want ads back there – churches wanting preachers and pews and all types of things. And once in a while you’ll run across an ad like this:
“Church of 50 people desires hard working, Bible based preacher that is highly motivated to make a church grow…”
With all due respect to the churches that put want ads like that in there their words betray a unfortunate attitude. What they are saying is – we’ll grow if we have the “right preacher.”