I AM Coming Soon... Hold Fast What You Have
2017 Advent 1: I am Coming Soon… Hold Fast What You Have – Rev. 3:7-13
Advent Theme: The four “I am coming soon” statements from the book of Revelation. Advent is the season of anticipation and preparation for the coming of God’s Messiah.
For years the people of the Old Testament waited.
We’ve been waiting for around two thousand years.
What would God say to you if He wrote you a letter? He wrote a letter to a congregation somewhat like our congregation here. There are 6 other letters to congregation in Revelation, but we are zooming in on this one because in it God says, “I am coming soon.” Let us look at the letter together.
1. To: the angel of the Congregation in Philadelphia
a. “the Gateway to the East” –major trade city
b. near volcano – many earthquakes
c. known for having many temples & cultic festival days (Brighton)
a. “the holy one, the true one”
i. =the Son of Man, the Lord of the Church, Jesus
ii. see the Prologue (Rev. 1:1-8)
1. Jesus = the witness, the faithful one
i. John 3:31-36, “He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
ii. 8:13-18, “So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”” (John 8:13–18, ESV)
b. Rev. 1:1-2, 5-7, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.” (Revelation 1:1–2, ESV)
c. “and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5–7, ESV)
2. The Church is now called to carry this witness throughout all the world.
b. the one “who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens”
i. Isaiah 22:
1. Is. 22, “I will thrust you from your office, and you will be pulled down from your station. In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” (Isaiah 22:19–22, ESV)
2. “and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:18, ESV)
ii. Connected to the keys of the kingdom (Mt. 16:19; 18:18; John 20:22-23)
1. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”” (Matthew 16:19, ESV)
2. “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18, ESV)
3. “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”” (John 20:23, ESV)
iii. These keys are entrusted to the Church
3. I Know…
a. I know…your works. (situation/reality)
i. BEHOLD… I have placed/set before you an open door
1. No one can shut it
2. The open door is an opportunity for entry into the Kingdom of God (LSB “symbolizes the Gospel invitation”)
a. Opened by Jesus when he died and rose again
i. Closed the door to death & hell (can I say this?)
ii. Opened the door to heaven
1. Open for the Congregation and for the lost!
b. I know… that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
i. They were not rebelling against God
ii. They were missing out on the opportunities, the open door, that God had placed before them.
1. Are you missing out on the opportunities that God has laid before you? The opportunities to invite people through the door into the Kingdom of God?
a. BEHOLD (BEHOLD) I will deal with your enemies
i. The Synagogue of Satan
1. Unbelieving Jews “who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie” (False Jews/False Israel)
a. They didn’t hold fast
b. They rejected Christ and opposed the believers
2. Vs. True Israel (believing Jews & Gentiles)
ii. I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you.”
1. Either in conversion
2. Or at judgment
iii. APPLICATION: Who are your opponents? The ones that make ministry difficult?
b. I will protect you “I will keep (protect) you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.”
i. Why? “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance,” or literally (Brighton) “have kept the Word of my endurance” meaning “you have kept my Word”, but with the added thought that the Christians exhibited ‘endurance’ in holding fast to the Word in adverse conditions.
ii. APPLICATION: This world has enough trials in it, don’t you think? What trials are you enduring right now. God will protect you from those trials.
c. I am coming soon/quickly
i. Urgency: go through the door
1. For yourself – This door won’t always be open. One day Jesus will lock this door.
2. For others – “ “ “
ii. Jesus’ second coming will not happen until God is done with His mission of salvation
5. Instruction: Hold fast what you have
a. You have a crown! (“so that no one may seize your crown”)
i. =eternal life
ii. Connection to previous sermon: Those of you who are trusting in Christ have put on immortality!
b. Hold fast… and you are “one who conquers”
6. Result of following the instruction: (Promises to the ones who hold fast)
a. I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and…
i. A secure place in God’s presence (LSB)
ii. An unshakable pillar was a powerful image to the people of Philadelphia because of the earthquakes
iii. ILLUSTRATION: Earthquakes in California.
b. I will write on him…
i. …The name of my God,
1. Baptized: the name of God placed on you
3. Name in the book of life
ii. …And the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from out of heaven,
1. Citizen of heaven, the New Jerusalem
iii. …And my own new name.
a. Jesus opened a door before you
i. First of all, have each of you walked through the open door into God’s Kingdom?
ii. Second, what opportunities has God placed before you to invite others into the Kingdom of God?
b. Hold fast to the promises of God so that you don’t lose your crown of eternal life.
c. Believe that when you cling to God you will be fine. He will deal with your enemies. He will protect you. He will bring you into His eternal Kingdom, put His Name upon you, call you His own, and establish you unshakable in His presence for all eternity. Hold Fast brothers and sisters and let us take this opportunity, this open door, and invite our neighbors into Christ’s everlasting kingdom which He opened through His death and resurrection.