Summary: Seven Letters to Seven Churches (6th in series).
PHILADELPHIA: THE CHURCH OF THE OPEN DOOR
INTRO: The church at Philadelphia was a very special church. It was one of the two churches of the seven that didn’t receive any criticism, condemnation, or blame. In fact, Jesus said that the day will come when all will know that “I have loved thee” (v. 9). This was a favorite church of Jesus.
Jesus declares that He opens the door and no man can shut it. When He opens the door, we cannot shut it, and vice versa. We need to see why it is so important for us to get on God’s time schedule. When God opens a door for us, we had better go through it. It is vital to respond as God gives us opportunity.
I. DOOR (v. 8).
In this verse Jesus is saying literally, “I have given you a door which I myself have opened for you.” This opportunity of the open door was a special gift and privilege.
What is the door? If we check carefully the reference to the “door” and the “open door” in the N. T., we will discover that the open door was the right to preach the gospel, the right to evangelize the world.
Many people believe that these seven churches represent the history of the church. THE PHILADELPHIAN CHURCH REPRESENTS THE PRESENT AGE. It is the age we call the age of grace, the age of the open door, the age when we can preach the gospel.
The last age in the history of the church will be the Laodicean age–an age of indifference and unconcern where doors are shut, and opportunity is abandoned. But now, Jesus said, the door is wide open. The tense of the verb indicates that the door is open and remains open. It is open until God shuts it. The doors of opportunity to preach the gospel are controlled by Jesus Christ.
II. DELIVERANCE (vv. 9-10).
Apparently, the church at Philadelphia and the church at Smyrna were under heavy attack from the Jewish community. Jesus said they were people who claimed to be Jews, but they were not even good Jews.
They assaulted the character of the Christians and lied about them. Many times the property of early Christians was seized.
They lost their jobs. Their names were condemned. Lies and slander were spread about them that destroyed their reputations.
It may be a long time coming and it may not be on our time schedule. It may not even be in our lifetimes, but the time will come when God will vindicate his own.
III. DESCENT (vv. 11-13).
Now he is speaking to the church to remind these saints of the wonderful promise of his return. The church that is going and growing is the one that is looking for the return of Christ.
This crown mentioned here is not our salvation. It does not mean that someone can take our salvation away. Our crown is our reward and we get that reward by our works. We are saved by faith but we are rewarded by works.
Jesus said, “Hold fast what you have, and do not let anybody take your crown.” Hold fast to your profession of faith, your trust in Christ, your relationship to him. Hold it fast so that no one or thing will take your crown. In other words, do not let anything get between you and your relationship to God.
CONC: Is our church fulfilling the responsibility of evangelizing our community? An open door lays before us. Are we going through it to reach those people who are without Christ?