Summary: Are you small? Are you weak? If so, you are in VERY good company, and God will set before you a door that no one can shut.
To the angel of the church of Philadelphia write: These things says the Holy, the True, the one having the key of David, the one who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens
I know your works. Look, I have given before you an open door, and no one has the power to shut it, because you have little strength (power), and have kept my word, and not denied my name.
Look, I give those out of the synagogue of Satan, the ones saying of themselves they are Jews, but are not, but are false,
Behold I will cause them to come and worship at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you.
Because you have kept the word of my endurance (patience), I also will keep you out of the hour of the great testing that is coming upon those who live on the earth. I am coming quickly.
Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes the your crown (of victory).
The overcomer I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will no longer go out. And I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of the heaven of my God, and my new name.
The one having an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
v 7 Philadelphia, (modern Alashehir) is a name indicating the devotion of Attalus II to his brother. Philadelphia means brotherly love (Jn 14:1-6; Isa 22:15-25; II Kgs 19:27-37). Historically, this is the Missionary/Revival Church. The Holy and True One is obviously Jesus (Isa 40:25; Hab 3:3; Mk 1:24; Jn 6:69). This key indicates control over the royal household, here it deals with admittance to the kingdom (Isa 22:21-22). This is a contrast to the experience of many in the church of Philadelphia in John’s day who were excommunicated from the synagogue, and those who today are rejected because they take a stand for Jesus in the modern revivals.
v 8 The open door speaks of missionary activity (I Cor. 16:9; II Cor 2:12; Col 4:3, etc.).
v 9 John the Baptist refers to the scribes and Pharisees as seed of the serpent, and teaches that God can raise up children of Abraham from stones (Mat. 3:7-9). Jesus said the Pharisees were seed of the serpent (John 8:)
v 10 Kept guarded
The Advantages of Small Strength
When God called Moses to give His message to Pharaoah, he said “but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue”. David was a king, a billionaire before billionaires, had an army to do his bidding, was loved, respected, and famous. This is what he said about himself,
“. . . as for me, I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
you are my God, do not delay.” Psalm 40:16-17
People said of Paul the Apostle “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing”
C S Lewis said,
“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping.”
A W Tozer suffered from severe migraine headaches, and often required chiropractic massage before he was able to go before an audience and present a sermon. Yet his sermons and writings have instructed millions of people.
Nick Vujicik was born without arms or legs, yet his testimony continues to inspire millions of people in dozens of countries (look him up).
Maybe all of these people have something in common with the Church at Philadelphia. They were weak.
This is the only group Jesus doesn’t say “. . . but I have this against you . . .” Instead He said He set an open door before them BECAUSE they had little strength, yet they had kept His word and not denied His name. Does this describe you?
I think we will never know the tremendous life-changing power of God in and through our lives until we realize our own penury of spirit and strength. The strongest among us may be able to deadlift 1,000 lbs., and that’s truly impressive. But He carries the nations on His shoulders. My voice may be loud, but He speaks and the universe leaps into existence. Only when we look at ourselves as small does our LORD begin to occupy the prominence of place in our hearts that allows Him to be our strength. For this reason, God speaks through the prophet and says