Summary: 6th in a series on the seven Churches in Revelation. Looking at characteristics that help us have a positive presence in our community and in our church.
OVERCOMING THROUGH THE OPEN DOOR
INTRODUCTION: The church we have before us today is a church doing things right. A church with a positive presence in its community and in its world. A church, which by this account also breaks many of the so-called characteristics of what today is thought to make a church. Here is a church where the people make Jesus the center of their thoughts and ministry. A church focused on people, not things. A church teaching people to love Christ and to love each other. Even the name brings a vivid picture to the mind of the reader. Philadelphia -- one who loves his brother.
What is it that allows a church to function so positively in the world? There are several reasons – and hence several characteristics we can implement in our own walk ……
I ACKNOWLEDGE WHO JESUS IS – 3:7
A Jesus is HOLY
1 Set apart for all other things
2 Different from all other things
How much have we set apart our lives for Jesus?
-- Where does worship fit into our picture? DO we mix it in with everything else, or do we give it its own place?
-- Do God’s plans interfere with our lives, or do we base our lives around them?
-- Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Are we REALLY different enough that the world ACTUALLY sees the difference?
B Jesus is GOD
1 Holiness is a quality of DEITY
How much do we REALLY believe in the deity of Jesus?
-- Belief affects action – If we REALLY believed Jesus was God we would ACT different.
-- Belief affects attitude – If we really believed Jesus was God we would have a DIFFERENT attitude.
-- When there was a call for help at the church we would answer
-- When there was an opportunity to serve, we would serve
-- When there was a ministry to be staffed, we would fill it!
-- Belief affects activity – If we REALLY believed Jesus was God, it would affect what we DO.
C Jesus is TRUE
1 True as opposed to false
2 Genuine as opposed to fake
If we REALLY had a grasp of Jesus as the real thing, we would know what is the wrong thing.
As your pastor, I would become a spiritual Maytag repairman, -- if we all grasped that Jesus is TRUE
If We can get real personal with truth, we will know what untruth is.
We do not need what is fake to show us what real is, we need real to show us what fake is!
D Jesus is AUTHORITY
1 Holds the KEY
2 Keys are evidence that you have the authority over what is locked or loosed.
How much stock do we really put in the authority of Christ?
-- This is the difference between embracing our faith or being embarrassed by our faith
II COMMUNICATE WHAT JESUS DID – 3:8
A Doors are “Open to go out”
1 Missionary efforts
2 It is the job of the church to go out into the world
B Doors are “Open to let in”
1 Ministry efforts
2 It is the job of the church to build up those who come in
Doors are nothing less than opportunities to serve!
We need to exercise care not to push at unopened doors, yet, still walk through the open ones. The opposite is in reality, just selfishness!
C Up to date with the Message
1 We cannot be faithful to what we do not know
2 We will not be faithful to what we do not live
III BE PREPARED WHEN JESUS COMES – 3:10-11
A Persistent in obedience
1 A command is a non-negotiable
2 Lives should be built around non-negotiables.
B Patient in endurance
1 Always easier to swim with the current
In order to survive, salmon must swim against the current
2 Ships are always safest in the harbor
Ships were not built to stay in the harbor
C Diligent in integrity
1 Integrity says there are bigger things at stake
2 Integrity says there is more below the surface
3 Integrity says it is worth the wait
IV CONCENTRATE ON WHAT JESUS SAYS IS IMPORTANT
A Size is not important – consistency is – consistency brings victory
Consider the life of a certain man. In ‘16, his family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them as a young boy. In ‘32 he ran for State Legislature. He lost the election, then his job. In ‘33 he borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next seventeen years of his life paying off the debt. In ‘35 he became engaged to be married, but his sweetheart died. His heart was broken and he never got over it. In ‘36 he had a nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months. In ‘38 he sought to become Speaker of the State Legislature and was defeated. In ‘40 he sought to become an Elector and he was defeated. In ‘43 he ran for Congress and lost. In ‘54 he ran for the Senate of the United States; he lost. In ‘56 he sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention and he got less than 100 votes. In 1860 he was finally elected President of the United States. Abraham Lincoln didn’t park by his setbacks.