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Summary: Jesus encouraged them and let them know that even though they were small in their strength (and perhaps in their sense of significance and value), they were the little church that could do great things, as long as they stayed true to Him.

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The Little Church that Could!

Revelation 3:7-13 7 "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. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars-- I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Intro: This world is filled with people who might have dreams, but who never step out and try anything extraordinary b/c someone has told them they would never amount to much. Unfortunately, many people in our churches suffer the same thing. They see themselves through other people’s eyes instead of through God’s eyes. They believe what other people have said about them, rather than what God has said about them. Because other people have rejected them and sent them a message that they are not important and won’t amount to much, they have adopted this as their working identity and never attempt to do great things for God.

-Now, I’m not saying that this was necessarily the case with the church at Philadelphia. This church received no word of rebuke, warning, or correction from Jesus. One reason might be b/c they had been beaten down through persecution and rejection and really needed some positive encouragement. However, Jesus still reminded them who He was; He told them He knew what all was going on in their lives; and He reminded them that they could overcome the enemy and would be rewarded greatly by the Lord.

-Jesus encouraged them and let them know that even though they were small in their strength (and perhaps in their sense of significance and value), they were the little church that could do great things, as long as they stayed true to Him. This was no “do nothing” church! But, what could this little church do?

1. They could get close to God

Revelation 3:7-8 7 "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. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.

-Access to God (Open door, key of David, the New Jerusalem)

-It appears that the Synagogue door had been slammed in their faces by the unbelieving Jews. They had been banned from the Synagogue. They may have felt like a homeless church with no place to belong. But Jesus said, “I have the key and I’ve opened the door to you so you can come right in. Nobody can bar access to My presence.” I am the way, the truth, and the life!

-The open door analogy can certainly be applied to God-given opportunities in our lives as well. Not only were they the church that could get close to God and enjoy His presence, worshiping at His feet, but they could minister to others by His power as they walked through the open door of opportunity. This was the little church that could!

2. They could remain faithful in hard times

Revelation 3:8 I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

-Small Strength but Faithful

-An organization in Montana once offered a bounty of five thousand dollars for every wolf captured alive. Two hunters named Sam and Jed decided to head for the hills and make some money capturing wolves. Day and night they scoured the mountains and forests searching for their valuable prey. Exhausted after three days of hunting without any success, they both fell asleep.

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