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There's No Need to Fear!

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Finally some good news!

Revelation 3:7–13 HCSB
“Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: “The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says: I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close. Take note! I will make those from the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying—note this—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown. The victor: I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God—and My new name. “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.
We are down to the last two churches in our blue prints series. This is the second of the two churches who didn’t hear the but I have this against you line.
Philadelphia: Has been known by several different names including Decapolis, Neokaiseria, and it’s modern name Ala-shehir, Philadelphia became an important city for trade.
This week we are going to focus on a different aspect of the letter, For the past few weeks we have been talking about the things the churches needed to do, the lessons they needed to learn and by extension the lessons that we need to learn and take to heart in our world today. It always amazes me how timeless God’s word is and how much it still speaks, centuries later to churches and communities the world over. Still these letters to the churches also give us a picture into the character of the God we serve.
Here’s what we know.

It’s all about who you know!

John wants to make sure everyone reading this letter understands just who Jesus is. In the early church persecution came from many sides, not the least of which was from those faithful to Judaism. The Jewish leaders and people of that day were still looking for the Messiah, this fact has remained true throughout history, and continues today. The Jews are still looking for the Messiah. What John does in these verses is put the people in the church in Philadelphia at ease when it comes to questions that they may have regarding who Jesus is.

Jesus Is

The one who is Holy and True
When we think of God we usually think of three distinct adjectives all three can be seen in this passage, but these two in particular are important Holy and True are both aspects of the Character of God. We find this designation in both the old and new testaments.
Revelation 6:10 HCSB
They cried out with a loud voice: “Lord, the One who is holy and true, how long until You judge and avenge our blood from those who live on the earth?”
Hosea 11:9 HCSB
I will not vent the full fury of My anger; I will not turn back to destroy Ephraim. For I am God and not man, the Holy One among you; I will not come in rage.
Each of these verses points to Jesus being God in the Flesh. When we read the word became flesh and dwelt among us, when we understand that Jesus is part of that amazing mystery that is the Holy Trinity, the three in one eternally existent holy one that we worship, the one that can not lie, that is righteous. Being clear on this is important, Jesus godhood is essential to our relationship with Him. Make no mistake when Jesus made the claims he made the religious leaders of the day knew exactly what he was saying, so too when John made these claims in this letter the people knew what he was saying about who Jesus was.
Who has the Key of David
This is big, this statement speaks directly to Jesus being the Messiah. In we find that the leadership in Judah has become corrupt, that the person in charge is not doing things that are pleasing to God. We can actually read a parallel to the verses in Revelation
Isaiah 22:20–24 HCSB
“On that day I will call for my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and tie your sash around him. I will put your authority into his hand, and he will be like a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the House of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; what he opens, no one can close; what he closes, no one can open. I will drive him, like a peg, into a firm place. He will be a throne of honor for his father’s house. They will hang on him the whole burden of his father’s house: the descendants and the offshoots—all the small vessels, from bowls to every kind of jar.
This letter is going out of it’s way to say that Jesus is the fulfillment of all that the Jews and the world were looking for. Being given the Keys of David, is big.

Opening a door that no one can shut / Closing a door that no one can open.

a. Apart from what we read in Isiah, it’s important to recognize something about God and this passage lets us know. The bible is full of symbolism, we read about roads, gates, doors, races, keys, wine, bread, seed, soil, the list goes on. God uses everyday objects to teach us truths that are to make a difference in our lives and hearts. Life is a series of choices. When we make good choices, it follows that good things happen, poor choices well then bad things happen. There are times that things beyond our control happen in life, we make a choice and circumstances beyond our control slam the door shut and we think we can go no further. What Jesus does though is open doors that no matter how hard others try they can’t close them, and when he closes a door for our own good then we need to not only accept it but leave it closed. This is where we fall short. Years ago a guy named Dallas Holm wrote a song that said when God closes a door look for a window. People have taken this to be a biblical principle, the problem is it’s not. Doors are to be entered or exited, windows are to look out of. Think about who usually goes through windows, not the people who belong in the house, or place, but people who are wanting to do things that aren’t so cool. We need to trust God that he has our best interests at heart. That’s hard to do. Humans historically have always felt they knew best. Which is what making the look for a window so appealing. We don’t want to be told no, we view every obstacle that we face as something to be conquered, and while that serves an athlete or mountain climber well, when it comes to our spiritual life there are times we need to recognize an obstacle for what it is, a door that is closed. How does this play out in life though? Are the instances in life where a door is closed because God is looking to protect us, or is being opened because God has something in store for us that will bring him Glory and further the kingdom of God? I believe so, what is so frightening though is when we attempt to close and open doors to people. The people in the church in Philadelphia were standing firm in the middle of people who wanted to tell them exactly what a relationship with God looked like. They wanted to prove their worth and religious power by opening can closing doors.
"Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild"
Ike Miller was the terror of a North England mining district.
Gospel services were being held and many miners were listening to the old, old message. The love of Christ was the theme of the young preacher, Henry Moorhouse, one evening. Ike Miller had said that he would break up the meetings, and coming in to the service, he took his seat near the front.
The preacher and all his fellow workers were in fear lest a disturbance should be created.
Unknown to them, a disturbance was created. It was in the depths of Ike's soul. As he listened to the sweet message of a Saviour's love his proud heart was broken. The light of the Gospel shown in.
The meeting was over and Ike left it for his home.
Several of the older Christians surrounded the young evangelist, telling him that he had missed a great opportunity. They thought that a warning word of judgment, and not a winsome message of love, should have been sounded. "What does he care about the love of Christ?" they asked.
"I am really sorry I did not preach to him right," said young Moorhouse, "I did want so to help him."
Little those well-meaning men knew of the power of the good news of the Gospel.
Ike Miller reached his home, where he had been a terror oftentimes.
"Home so early?" his wife cried, as he entered. She had come forward to meet him and shelter their children who had fled into a corner. Then, to her astonishment, she saw that he was not drunk but perfectly sober. To her greater astonishment he put his arms round her and kissed her. "Lass," he said, "God has brought your husband back to you." Taking up his children, he said to them, "My little boy and girl, God has brought your father back to you. Now let us all pray."
"Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look upon a little child;
Pity my simplicity,
Suffer me to come to Thee."
What we have in this illustration is what we find in many places the world over. A group of people willing to close the door on someone, willing to tell that person what it means to be “saved” Jesus is not the same, He looks at what is on the inside of a person, he knows what a person needs to hear, he knocks on the door of our hearts, and once we open that door to him, he begins to open doors for us, and close doors that need to remain shut. It is this type of relationship that God has in store for us a relationship with the savior of the world, the one who gave up heaven, suffered, died, and rose again because he loved us. God incarnate giving all so that all who would be saved would be. There is always a choice. We can choose to live a life pleasing to God or we can choose to walk away, we can choose to judge people by what we see and push people out of the way that don’t fit in with our picture of what a Christ follower is, or we can be like Jesus, reaching in love. We can look for the doors he is opening for us, and run through them, we can look at the ones he has closed and thank him for his protection. We can do all of these things because of the person the Jesus is.

When we push into God when we look to him for direction and instruction, when we walk the path he has laid out for us, we are given an awesome promise.

Eternity with God, living moving and having our being in a place where there is no more pain or sorrow. Jesus promise to people who remain steadfast and faithful to him through the bad times and the good is simple, and yet elusive. Being faithful in the bad times can be simple because it’s easy to see our need for God, our reliance on him when things are going bad is much more understandable, and many times easy to do, when things are good, when life is sweet, when all is well it’s easy to walk away from the things we know, to pat ourselves on the back, to look at all that we have and be content with what we have done. When we recognize that doors that open are opened because of him and that all we have comes from God, that the rain falling on the just and unjust is a principle that we all live with. When we trust him no matter what we are on our way to the type of life that will make a lasting impact on our families, our church, or city, our nation and the world.
The church in Philadelphia was commended for standing firm in their faith even when things were hard, even when people were telling them that they were doing it wrong, even when all those around them were doubting that they were true followers of Christ. We must do the same.

This Week’s Challenge

Stop telling God what you will accept. Stop trying to force your will into his plan. If you don’t have a relationship with God stop putting so many provisions in front of him.
Start to walk away from closed doors, stop looking for open windows. Walk the path He has set before you.
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