Summary: This is 6th in the series of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3
Anyone else tired of all the road construction going on around here? It’s so frustrating to not be able to go on the street you want to, or to have to wait and wait and wait for your turn to go because of all the new construction. Road blocks and road diversions can be frustrating! Road blocks are a lot like closed doors. They can be so frustrating and depressing.
Open doors, on the other hand, can be exciting, inviting, and sometimes scary. Open doors can be exciting, yes, but they are useless if we do not or will not go through them.
Christ brings to our attention a church in the 1st century in Asia Minor, the church in Philadelphia that was prepared and ready for an exciting opportunity for ministry.
What a great opportunity they had before them!
What a great opportunity we have before us!
Will we open up ourselves to the great opportunity for ministry before us like this early church? To learn how we can take advantage of the great opportunity for ministry before us, let’s look at what Christ says to this church in Revelation 3:7-13...
In order for us to take advantage of the open door of ministry opportunities before us, we must operate in God’s strength, keep His word, and not deny His name.
Before we look at what Christ says to this church, let’s first find out how Christ describes Himself. Look at verse 7...
1. THE DESCRIPTION OF CHRIST (v. 7)
• He is Holy
Jesus Christ is God! He is the Holy One. He’s not a created being.
He’s the Creator! He is completely free of all sin. And because He is the holy God, He has the right to call all those who choose to follow Him to a live of holiness. Listen to 1 Peter 1:14-16...
1 Peter 1:14-16 “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”
Christ is not only holy, He is also...
• He is True
The Greek word used here has a double meaning to it. Christ is true in the sense that He is genuine and real. He’s the real thing! (Like the Coke commercial) Others have come and gone, others will come and go, but there is only one true Christ.
He’s the real thing!
The other sense of the word is that He is also trustworthy and reliable. You can depend on Jesus! Others will lie to you. Others will lead you astray, but not Jesus! You can count on Him!
There’s an authenticity to Christ that we must emulate if we want to truly follow Him. It’s hard for many of us to show our true selves. We hide behind masks. We’re afraid of what others might think of us if they knew the real me.
Tim Hansel speaks about this when he writes these words:
“Afraid to fail, we no longer risk. Afraid that someone will see behind our image, we no longer share. Afraid that we will appear to need help, we can no longer be vulnerable. Afraid to appear not religious enough to some, we no longer can confess. We withdraw into a petty world consumed in emptiness and fear, covered with the thick shell, worshipping an impotent God. The tragic result...is that in our fear of becoming childlike, in our fear of becoming a fool for Christ, in our fear of being seen as we are, we discover all too late that it’s impossible to be fully human and fully alive.”
We must be like Jesus here and be true and authentic.
We have nothing of any value to lose by being real and authentic.
• He is Sovereign (“who holds the key of David”)
Now, what does this refer to? It’s a reference to Isaiah 22:2.
Back when Hezekiah was king of Judah, his chief of staff was a guy by the name of Shebna. Shebna ran the whole palace.
Shebna got involved in taking a kickback in exchange for his influence in the palace. This made God angry, so God replaced him with a godly man named Eliakim. And this is what God said about Eliakim: Isaiah 22:22 “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”
Now, what Jesus is doing is applying these words to Himself, as it relates to the ministry of a church.
He is the one who shuts doors of opportunity for ministry. He is the one who opens doors for ministry opportunity. And what He shuts, no force on heaven or earth can open. And what He opens, no force in heaven or on earth can close.