Tuesday, November 1, 2016

1 November 2016

Revelation 3:7-13

Good morning, welcome. Today being All Saints Day, it seems somewhat fitting that we are visiting Philadelphia, the Church of the Open Door. Nothing to condemn here; only words of commendation and encouragement.

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of the holy one, the true one,
who has the key of David,
who opens and no one will shut,
who shuts and no one opens:
“I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
The message to Philadelphia contrasts power with opportunity. Opportunity comes from our Lord, who, as the holy and true one, the last Davidic King, alone has the authority, and the power. This message is well worth remembering today, especially in this country where, all too often, power is pursued in a more secular manner resulting in loss of moral authority. The open door itself may refer to missionary work, to entrance into God’s eternal Kingdom, or both, with the first leading to the second. Any evangelistic endeavor must be grounded in the Gospel of Christ; in the Kingdom of God power is not the point. Jesus is.

I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but are lying—I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.
This is an important verse. The synagogue of Satan appears in Smyrna and Philadelphia and does not necessarily imply Satanic worship; rather it describes Jews who, believing they are worshiping and serving God, are in fact persecuting Him by persecuting His church (cf. Acts 22:7-8), thus doing Satan’s work for him. These Jews thought they were doing God a service, yet they did not recognize Him when He came. We must be careful not to make the same mistake today. Anyone who persecutes God’s people-and His church-wherever they are found is doing the work of the Accuser and will be held accountable. The point here is this-before you persecute someone for who they are or what they believe, think about to whom they may belong.

Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. Revelation. (10-11)
The phrase ‘keep you from’ could mean the church will be present but protected during the time of trial, or that it will be removed before the time of trial. Protected during seems to me to be more consistent with the general message of the New Testament, and with the mission of the church to be a faithful witness to our Lord. What do you think? Why?

If you conquer, I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God; you will never go out of it. I will write on you the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem that comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. (12-13)
Pillar implies a permanent place in God’s presence. The reward for faithful endurance is knowing God now, and a permanent place with God in His new city. Once again we see-what we do here and now matters for eternity. Those throughout the ages who persevere will know God and they will know where He lives and they will be with Him there. Those who reject Him will not. Many today invest and plan for retirement in the hope that they will be able to live comfortably when their working days are over. There is a spiritual parallel here-those who invest their lives in God’s Kingdom on earth will in rest in God’s Kingdom-and enjoy His presence-for eternity.

May the Lord Himself bless, strengthen and keep you this day. JRG

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