The Open Door
Rev. 3:7 “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:
Rev. 3:8 “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. 9 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. 10 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. 11 I am coming soon; hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 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. 13 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
The church in Philadelphia — the city of brotherly love — was praised for her work and ministry. They were living out their name within their community. God had placed before them an open door — an open door which led into the work of the kingdom. Jesus had opened that door to the kingdom and it was one that no one could close. This church had figured out how to walk in and live into that kingdom.
A few years ago I visited Philadelphia and there is very little left of any ancient church in that city. That part of the world has been hit numerous times by earthquakes and so often you find abandoned ruins when finally the people could no longer rebuild. There are just a couple of pillars of old arches which are left standing in that city where the church used to be.
Interestingly the church in Philadelphia, living into the kingdom, is then referred to as a “pillar in the temple of my God.” This church which was built in an area prone to earthquakes was to become a stable pillar in the new Jerusalem. Their faithfulness in walking through the open door and living out their faith in the new kingdom would transform them from an earthly church prone to destruction, to a heavenly church established for all of eternity. Walking through the open door changed everything and in that moment they gave up the temporal and gave all for the eternal.
This church in Philadelphia gives us hope for not all the churches had lost their first love, nor fallen asleep. Instead here is a church which understood the realities of the open door which stood before them.
The open door stands before all of us. Jesus has accomplished all that needs to be done for the door to be opened. This is the portal into life in the kingdom of God and all are invited into that place. The problem is that too many of us, and even many churches, don’t really want to step into kingdom life. The material world in which we live provides us with a temporal sense of security as we want to be able to see, touch, and smell the things around us. The church in Philadelphia had figured out that those things were temporal. Maybe it was because they had so often lost the material through earthquakes that they could trust in the eternal of the kingdom. But is that what it takes?
Unless the church and God’s people are willing to step over the threshold of the open door and live in the kingdom her works will be temporal. By faith we are challenged to step into kingdom life and daily living. Let the things of this world crumble, but live and minister in the eternal. Only in this way can we join the church of Philadelphia in becoming pillars in the new Jerusalem.
Lord, thank you for the open door. May I have the faith to walk and live in the new kingdom daily. Amen.
Thank you to Nazarene Publishing House and Keri Mitchell for helping to create and publish Reflecting the Image. This is not a devotional book, but rather a collection of thoughts and stories which lead us in the direction of reflecting Christ. Click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.