Summary: Jesus takes 3 actions in the letters to 3 churches in Revelation 3.
What do you think of our church? More importantly, what do you suppose Jesus Christ thinks of our church?
Do you remember the old E.F. Hutton TV commercials? (I guess this will tell your age if you do remember…) They were usually set in a crowded restaurant or other public place. Two people would be talking about financial matters, and the first person would repeat something his broker had said concerning a certain investment. The second person would say, “Well, my broker is E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton says…” At that point every single person in the bustling restaurant would stop dead in his tracks, turn, and listen to what the man was about to say. “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen” was their motto.
In the church, our motto should be, when Jesus Christ speaks, the church listens. When we look at Jesus’ words to the church in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, everyone in the room should stop in their tracks, turn, and listen to what he has to say.
Jesus has plenty to say in the letters to the 7 churches. Last week we looked at the first 4 letters in Chapter 2. Today, we’ll look at the last 3 letters in Chapter 3.
We know what Jesus did during his 33 years on earth. The book of Revelation describes what he will do in the Second Coming when he conquers, judges, and rules the earth. But what is Jesus doing in the in-between time? What is he doing right now? One thing that might surprise you is to realize that right now Jesus is attending church. Jesus currently reigns in Heaven. But make no mistake about it: He is attending church here on earth. He is ENTERING THE CHURCH DOORS.
1. ENTERING CHURCH DOORS
Sardis Revelation 3:1-6
To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds… Revelation 3:1
Jesus is actively involved in the life of every church congregation. He told the church in Sardis I know your deeds. He could tell CHCC the very same thing… I said last Week that Jesus is not an absentee boss. He is here among us and knows everything about who we are and what we are doing. He knows our deeds. So what does he think about our deeds?
When he spoke to Sardis he said they had a reputation for being alive, but they were dead. What a chilling rebuke! And I am sad to say that I have seen churches like that from time to time. Sometimes churches have glorious past. Oh how they love to remember and reminisce about the good old days.
As a congregation we should not be relying on our past reputation; we should be building our reputation by the things we do today and plan to do tomorrow. Our biggest dreams should be about what God is preparing to do with and through us in the future. We should be focused on what Jesus is doing in the here and now, because He is right here in this room with us. He sees our deeds and he knows even the motivations behind our deeds. What is he saying to us?
I’ll tell you what he was saying to the Sardis brethren. He looked around, saw a congregation that was basically dead, and He shouted: “Wake Up!” Are there some areas where we are asleep? --- Asleep to the presence of Jesus Christ in our midst? Asleep to the needs of others around us?
Let’s wake up to reality, because Jesus is not only ENTERING CHURCH DOORS, He is also OPENING the DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY.
2. OPENING DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY
Philadelphia Revelation 3:7-13
To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: 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. I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. … Revelation 3:7-8
Jesus is orchestrating the spread of the Gospel across the earth. It is Jesus who opens doors of opportunity at the time of His Choosing. Reagan and Gorbachov may get credit for tearing down the wall of East Berlin, but the truth is, it was Jesus Christ who decreed that the door of opportunity would finally open in the former Soviet Union. And when Jesus decrees that a door will open, no one … no earthly dictator, no army on earth … no one can close that door.
It is Jesus Christ, the CEO of the church, who places opportunities before each congregation. Example: I think God gave CHCC a unique opportunity to walk through an open door of evangelism in South India. (talk about how God re-connected us as forwarding agents and how many people in our church are connected with preachers and children in India. It would be a good Sunday to have an insert in the bulletin where more can sign up as sponsors)