Summary: How little faith opens big doors by keeping the Word of God
Philadelphia: An Open Door No One Can Shut
watch this sermon https://youtu.be/b6EqN1OcVU8
Pastor Brad Reaves
Grace Community Church
June 14, 2020
This is a tough series of messages. Very tough. We are more drawn to the image of Jesus carrying a little lamb in his arms and children clinging to the hems of his robes as he walks through grassy meadows. The picture here of our Lord is our powerful judge. The coming King. He is firm, strong, calling out members of his bride for their unfaithfulness and compromise.
There are some who are uncomfortable with this rhetoric. We don’t like the idea of being held accountable or even repent. “I prayed my prayer and I’m in the club, right? I come to church and I even give to the offering.” It is churches that Jesus is writing to in these 7 letters. Churches like we find in the towns and cities in America. Living in a world that is generally hostile to the gospel. Christ is calling these churches to be separated from the world. Faithful to him. Of the 7 churches addressed by Jesus, 2 of them were commanded by Jesus without correction. The first was Smyrna. The second is Philadelphia, which we are covering today:
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. 8 “ ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who says that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (Rev 3:7-13)
Now, it is obvious there is no such thing as a perfect church, nor is there such a thing as a perfect Christian; and so church then is a collection of imperfect Christians. There is no such thing as a perfect pastor. It is possible to be a church that pleases the Lord. A church that is faithful and genuinely does its best with the resources and situation around it.
To the church in Ephesus, Jesus acknowledged that they were committed to the truth: they hated heresy, they hated evil. But they faced judgment because they had forsaken their first love. In, Pergamum, our Lord acknowledged that they were holding to the Lord in the face of persecution, but they too faced judgment because they were compromising with idolatry and immorality.
In Thyatira and we find them being commended for their love and faith and service. But this church had let the world in and sin was being accepted and advocated inside the church. Last week, we saw the letter to the church at Sardis. They were spiritually dead. There was a little bit of life there, and our Lord speaks into that hope.
There is a progression here. There is the loss of first love, and then comes compromise with the world, and the world comes in and sin is accepted, and then the church begins to die – that’s the progress. Ultimately, it ends up like Laodicea; it is a church the Lord will spew out of His mouth. But before we get there, we come to the church at Philadelphia, and there’s a break in this tragic progression.
The Church in Philadelphia
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
I’m sharing all of this to the collective body of Grace Community Church as individuals to challenge you; to encourage you. Just because our culture and even other churches have sanitized something, doesn’t mean that it’s ok. We’re off the hook. Jesus makes it clear we are to stand firm in our faith and those who do find eternal reward. That is why the author of Hebrews reminds us: