Revelation - 4
20th January 2008
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do! – John Wooden
We’ve been going through Revelation - Here is a church that fulfills this -
Father, thank You for the work You are doing in our lives – You are a great God – we bow before You – and need You. Thank You that You come to meet us in our need – to fill our need – You are near to those who need You. You are dependable and can be trusted – speak to us and may Your Spirit work in our hearts.
I want to thank some people – Bob and Allen put some lights up that really help. I can see – so I know what I am talking about now.
For those of you who weren’t in the first service – the sound board died.
This church that we are looking at – the 6th of the 7 – Matt will be doing 2 and 3 next week – this church reminds me of our church – there are many people who step up to the plate. We have an old sound board down in the hallway – and they got it all hooked up – it is encouraging to pastor Grace Summit Community Church.
You can go back and listen to these messages at http://gracesummit.org/Messages.
John mailed this letter to the seven churches – and if you look at the map, the order of the churches goes in a circle – the mail route for the message.
Philadelphia – the gateway to the East – everything came from Philadelphia into what is modern day Turkey.
I am going to read this passage in Revelation 3 – and then I’ll tell more about this church
Revelation 3 –
7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: from He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: 8 'I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 'Behold, I will cause [those] of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie-- behold, I will make them to come and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 'Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that [hour] which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth. 11 'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown. 12 'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon 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. 13 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'
As we start into each church, we give information about each church. There is a correlation between the city and the church. Culture influences the church. Where we are has an impact upon the makeup of the church. It is true today, it was true back then.
Philadelphia was a strategic city – built upon volcanic ash – economy was built on grapes. The city was small – because there were 3 major earthquakes – 17 AD – a lot the city was destroyed – because it was unstable – people moved out. Kinda’ like what is going on with New Orleans – 50% left after Katrina. That is what happened in Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love – the Romans changed the name 2 or 3 times. They worshipped the goddess of wine. There was a strong and powerful synagogue – referred to as the synagogue of Satan – the reason – for the Christians – many kept their relationship with Judaism and the Temple. It was not divided like it is today. The Jews and Christians were intermingled – and the Church used the synagogue as a place of worship for a time. The Romans gave privileges to the synagogue – and to the church by proxy – but then the synagogue kicked the church out. They were kind of a homeless church – without the protection of Rome under the synagogue – now persecution can come in and put an end to this church. They are unstable with no place to go. This church has been forced out.
With that as a backdrop - let’s go into this:
Rev. 3: 7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: from He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:
Jesus is trying to encourage this church that has been kicked out – he uses 3 Old Testament terms – there would have been a lot of Jewish people within the church –
HOLY – speaking of God.
TRUE – also, always speaking of God. I am the One they have rejected – but I am their God – and I am your God – I am the Old Testament God. Even though they rejected you – first they rejected me. This synagogue of Satan – in rejecting the Messiah has rejected God.
Key of David – Speaking of the Messiah – entrance to the Kingdom – who opens and no one shuts – I am God and I have the keys to the kingdom – I am the only one who can open it up.
There is no other way. If Christ is rejected, that person is shut out – the door is shut. Now, today, in our day where there is no such thing as absolute truth and the worst thing is to claim that you have the truth – THIS DOESN’T LIE – there is no other way to get to God. Christ is the only way. This church has found Christ. If the door has been opened to them, it has been shut to those who are persecuting them.
We should never be afraid to speak the truth – Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by Him. Christ is the only one who paid for our sins. He has the keys. The argument, then, is with Christ, not with You.
Rev. 3:8 'I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
Everything in this message is positive – if you went to this church – you might not think it. Ephesus – from the outside, appeared to be the church to go to.
Open door which no one can shut – Once you put faith in Christ, and believe that He gave His life for you – and that He is God and trust Him fully – not yeah, yeah, I have heard it all my life – but if you really believe, you have it forever – it can never be shut – there is an assurance for those of us who put faith in Christ. We know without question – there needs to be no doubt – when you leave this world, you will be with Christ. No one will keep you out. When it comes to that point – we want to make sure we are there.
The other thing with this – there is a practical side – because this church – there was a sense of an opportunity – He speaks about giving this church a unique opportunity. As we think about this – God wants to give us opportunities.
The other day – I was at The Nat - I join during the winter – after my workout – I was talking to a guy – I asked him – are you finishing or starting your workout? He was finishing. He had been sick – just getting back into it. I expressed my concern. He mentioned that he lived on Pierce – right around the corner from here. I told him I was the pastor of this church. He started to tell me about his son – who is 30 and in Seminary. He started to tell me about his son – whom they had taken to church when he was younger – but not really into it. As I listened – I realized his son’s story was like mine. The door was open – I needed to step in. As it worked out – I started to tell him my story. I didn’t have much of a strong church background, but when I went to college, I had never personally made it real. I had not gotten to the point where I gave Christ my life. Trusted Him completely and believed in Him for my salvation. As people walked in and out of the locker room – I had to be careful how much I shared. God wants us to have our eyes open. I told him I’d pray for his health. I’m sure I’ll see him again – and we’ll be able to keep in touch. Take those opportunities and make use of them.
Because you have little power. This church was small in stature – had few resources – had little political power – like the city – it was unstable – rocky – weak – small. But what does God believe success to be? As you look at this church – it looks insignificant – but God says –
You have not denied my name. Success is not about size and resources, but the ability to keep His word. To do what He asks us to do. To be faithful to Him. They have not denied His name. We can’t hide our faith – we want to be popular. These people were going through trials, but never denied His name. they kept speaking of Him. They were putting their life on the line by speaking of Him. We don’t understand that – their lives were on the line – death staring them in the face. Yet – they still spoke.
Martin Luther stood – before the counsel – he had written some things about the Pope – who was corrupt – Luther was excommunicated – and was told to reject what He had written – if not, he would have the sentence of death upon him.
What I have written is Scripture – if there is something that is not accurate – I can’t recant. I will stand on what God has said and I will not change. Even though he had the sentence of death, anyone could have killed him – he lived for about 30 years more.
He never backed down. He never stopped. That is how this church is. We don’t live in that realm, but we have the responsibility to stand for the truth. They were small – as we close – real success – 3 sentences.
We are most useful to God when we are most dependent on Him.
We are most depende3nt on God when we have limited resources now, it this present time.
God comes to the aid of the weak and needy (who are broken and humble), but He is opposed to the proud and self-sufficient. This does not automatically mean financial issues – this is about every area – morally –
Just because you lack resources does not mean you receive God’s aid – there are many who have resources who are broken and humble and many who lack them that are proud.
Bill Bennett – book about Virtue – qualities we hold dear, commitment – hard work – stories/tales – But one virtue is missing – Humility. In America, Humility is not elevated.
Psalm 51: 16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
He is speaking of a sense of… a heart that understands our failure. He does not despise that. We think, about broken people – “Why don’t you get it together? Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!”
Ps 34: 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
I love that verse. Crushed means crushed – smashed – destroyed.
Isaiah 57: 15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, "I dwell [on] a high and holy place, And [also] with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.
Elevates our status.
Luke 1: 51 "He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered [those who were] proud in the thoughts of their heart. 52 "He has brought down rulers from [their] thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. 53 "He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed
Ps 113: 7 He raises the poor from the dust, And lifts the needy from the ash heap, 8 To make [them] sit with princes, With the princes of His people.
God loves taking people who are down and raising them up if they are humble and broken. That is what God does. He opposes the proud – he lifts up the humble. That is God’s way. He takes those who are down and pulls them up. When we are down, and crushed – we are right where God wants us – if we are humble and broken.
Humility – some of the most dynamic people are humble – it is trusting in God – depending on Him wholly – completely – with faith. With an understanding that we are His servants – we have kept His word and did not deny Him.
Gives Grace and Strength
9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
God’s power is perfected in our weakness.
James 4: 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore [it] says, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
God’s great missionary - Hudson Taylor: God’s great people are weak people who believe in a great God.
It is very simple.
Revelation 3: 10 'Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that [hour] which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth. 11 'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown. 12 'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon 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.
There is some confusion as to what this means – some think that the hour of testing is the tribulation and about the rapture.
9 'Behold, I will cause [those] of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie-- behold, I will make them to come and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 'Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that [hour] which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth. 11 'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown.
12 'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God,
The city is unstable – they are weak with little power – and God says – I will make you a pillar in the temple. You don’t have a place, you will have a permanent place with me – you will not only be let in – you will be a pillar. What remains of many of the temples? Just the pillars! You will become the ones who will be stable – who will hold up this temple.
and he will not go out from it anymore;
You will be permanent. No one can put you out of my love. You will be there forever.
and I will write upon him the name of My God,
Remember – they changed the name 3 times – but there will be a permanent name for you – you belong to Me. They think they belong to me – but they do not. You do.
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. 13 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'
When we get to heaven, Jesus will have a new name – which no one knows except Himself (Rev. 19) – You will have that name. You will have a special place with me – let’s pray.