The Door is Open


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. 


The church in Philadelphia had been faithful in their service to God. They did struggle with opposition from the Jews within their community, but these words came as a sweet promise from the Lord. This wasn’t about evangelistic opportunities, but about the certainties of the kingdom of God. This work of the church was God’s work and the doors would remain open to the church, and no one would shut them. The people themselves in this small church in a small town didn’t have much power, but they were faithful, and as a result they were participants in the larger kingdom of God.  The kingdom door was open!


I remember visiting the seven churches to whom John had written in this book. When we arrived in Philadelphia I was a little disappointed at what I saw for there were just a few ruins left to identify where this church had stood. It seemed sad, considering this admonition, that the open doors would be before this church. But considering the words of promise here, the church really wasn’t closed. The church can be seen as a local expression, but also of something much larger. The church is organic and because she is comprised of people, she can move from place to place, and remain alive. 

Jesus had told Peter that he, Jesus, would build the church. Far too often we think that we are responsible for building the church and when things become difficult we pour guilt upon ourselves for we think that we have failed. I don’t believe that the church in Philadelphia failed because today there are churches all over the world. I believe that the church in Philadelphia served the purpose for which she was created. We know that there were demographic shifts and changes which occurred, wars, natural disasters and the like. The building and the first century congregation are no longer there, but the promise of God is alive and well, for the doors have never closed on the church. The church of Philadelphia will have raised up new generations who will have spread throughout the world and made a difference. 

From time to time we have to shut the doors on a physical church building, but we are not closing the door on the church. The church is much larger than all of us and is not ours to open or to close. The church was birthed on the day of Pentecost and continues to live until this day. This is more than just what we can see or touch. An open door remains before all of us as the kingdom continues to expand. We don’t have to live in fear, but in faith and trust that no one can shut the door, and we don’t need to be thinking of ways to keep it propped open! That’s the Lord’s work, for we are people of little power. We must get to know the one who has great power and can lead us in the ways of the kingdom. 


Lord, thank you for the promise of the open door. Amen. 


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