PART TWO in the series in THE REVELATION TO JOHN — Chapter 3:
Grab a church friend, your spouse, a bible study partner and each one take out a piece of paper writing down your answers.
FIRST QUESTION: HOW MANY DOORS are there in your church’s sanctuary?
Just take a wild guess and write the number down. You can get the actual count later.
Second, how many doors are there in the entire church? Put down a number.
Okay, exchange your papers with the person who took the same quiz. Just kidding–you can mark your own. Now how did you come up with your answer?
I’ve been told people, who get bored during their pastor’s message, count just about anything & everything–how many doors?; how many chairs?; how many lights?; you name it. I’ve often myself, looked up at the wood-planked ceiling where I usually sit, staring at what looks like the face of Jesus embedded in the grain patterns. I think you get the idea.
My PURPOSE for the “trivia quiz”–was only that you be aware of what’s around you–the OPPORTUNITIES already granted to us by Jesus; yet we fail to follow through by not being aware of any doors at all.
DID YOU KNOW THAT A LOT OF DOORS ARE MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE?
Both the Old and New Testament mention “doors”–often with different meanings.
“Here I am! I stand at the DOOR and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and he with Me.”
We usually apply this passage in an evangelistic sense. and yet it was written to a church of believers.
THE ILLUSTRATION: The willingness of Jesus to pursue believers who have grown cold in their relationship with Him. The imagery is Jesus knocking at the DOOR of a church–maybe your church–waiting for the church to reopen that DOOR so that a vital relationship can be re-established.
Another type of door mentioned in Scripture.
“I am the DOOR; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture.”
JESUS was teaching the remarkable TRUTH for all to see: He is the only way to SALVATION. Inside that DOOR, that GATE, there is safety and everything we need.
There’s a THIRD type of door to mention.
I was reading a prayer request from a gentleman who was unemployed. The bank creditor was making demands, and almost simultaneously, been turned down after a seemingly good employer interview. He explained: “I won’t give up knocking on the doors, but I’m tired of waiting in the hallway of opportunity.”
The apostle Paul says in a letter to the church at Colossae:
“Pray for us, too, that God may open a DOOR for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains” (Colossians 4:3).
The DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY refers to the way that God gives opportunities, even when we are waiting in the hallway. Opportunities to preach the gospel; how He prepares willing ears to listen and eager hearts to receive it.
THE SIXTH OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES–Philadelphia – Revelation 3:7-8:
Other than its geographical location, this particular church is more than just a gateway to the East or a fertile valley, but also an “open door of opportunity”–spiritually speaking.
*NOTE: [Be sure to READ Revelation 3:7-13].
In Philadelphia, there was a small bunch of Christians faithful to the task. Neither large in number, powerful or influential, but they were significant to Christ Jesus, Who takes the time to write them a letter.
Jesus introduces Himself with terms which are relevant to the audience:
1. He says He is Holy–
HOLY=morally perfect without flaw or blemish.
HOLINESS is an important attribute of God.
HE IS TRUE=the One behind everything, the One Who is wholly trustworthy and reliable.
JESUS holds the KEY OF DAVID= ___
This is an interesting description in which I found reference to the Old Covenant–Isaiah 22:
THE PROPHET ISAIAH in this story, condemns the city of Jerusalem.
The people had just been DELIVERED from their enemies camped outside the city; but they showed no gratitude in the divine rescue. The charge lain before them, they were self-sufficient, trusting in their own efforts.
He then turns to Shebna, the chief steward of Jerusalem, who was guilty of a similar sin as the city residents itself. He was guilty of seeing himself as indispensable, a “STRONG MAN” (Amplified Bible); a “MIGHTY MAN” (Verse 17, NIV translation). He apparently paraded himself through the streets in a mighty chariot and prepared for himself a splendid grave. As a result of his unfaithful service, he was replaced by Eliakim.
The Significance of the IMAGE portrayed…
The CHIEF STEWARD of the city held the KEYS!
KEYS OF DAVID= This was the MASTER KEY, not only to the city, but to the palace.
He was second only to his king and controlled who could come and go–who had access to the king and who didn’t have access.
He was the one who opened the DOORS and shut the other DOORS (Isaiah 22:20-23).
The IMAGE Continues in REVELATION 3:7-8:
 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of Him Who is holy and true, Who holds the KEY OF DAVID. What He opens, no one can shut; and what He shuts, no one can open.”
 “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an OPEN DOOR that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name.”
*[I capitalized words for emphasis to this blog.]
2. JESUS is here claiming to be the NEW ELIAKIM–the One Who holds the PALACE KEY, not an earthly door, though, it was heaven’s DOOR.
Christ Jesus opens and closes the DOOR and allows people to enter the kingdom–He is in control of the OPPORTUNITIES which we have and no OPPORTUNITY is not appointed but by Him!
The Church’s Position-
Philadelphia was a BLESSED city, living in the “Land of Opportunity,” BUT…why were they so BLESSED? Wouldn’t you want to know why a church in your community was so BLESSED? And yet, Christians tend to be more interested why a church in the town is so UN-BLESSED!
Revelation 3:8 NIV:
“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
The NIV translation here is a bit wrong in my opinion. The Greek reads like this:
“I know your works. Behold I have set before you a door that is open, and no one is able to shut it because you have little power; have kept My word and have not denied My name.” *[See Footnote [ii] ]*
JESUS gives us THREE REASONS for Taking OPPORTUNITIES:
1. WEAKNESS –
This was a small church without prestige in the surrounding community. If you are attending a small church or have attended a small church, you might get the idea here.
It regularly got beaten up by the local Jews (the RELIGIOUS ) who condemned them. Their doctrine sure didn’t agree with theirs. But because it was weak, they RELIED ON GOD; they knew whose work it was and didn’t try to seize His authority.
Perhaps a lesson for all of us fiercely independent people.
2. WORDLY –
No, I didn’t forget the “L” between the “R” and the “D”. Yes it is a word and if it isn’t, it should be.
The church members were CONSUMED by the WORD. Keeping God’s WORD meant that they knew God’s Word and… we could likely conclude, therefore, they spent time studying God’s Word.
Are we “WORDLY” or are we “WORLDLY” in our focus?
3. WAVERING-not –
Here was a church, who no matter what they were faced with, refused to give up on their FAITH. The ridicule, the peer pressure, the opposition, persecution did not make them WAVER.
They were FAITHFUL while waiting in the hallway praising God to the end.
The 3 W’s — WEAK, WORDLY and WAVERING NOT…
These THREE WORDS were the reasons given for the open door–the OPPORTUNITY to preach the gospel to their neighbors, their friends, to people passing through the city–or even waiting in the same hallways.
DIFFICULTIES & OPPORTUNITIES:
We can be surrounded by trial, bother, inconvenience, pain…and may in fact, be surrounded by many opportunities.
Christ recognized that often OPPORTUNITY & OPPOSITION go hand in hand and gave the church in Philadelphia…
4 specific words, PROMISES of COMFORT:
1. PROMISE TO HUMBLE THEIR ENEMIES.
How do you HUMBLE anyone, much less your enemies?
 “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars–I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.”
JESUS promised the believers that not only would He humble their opposition, but He would open their eyes to the TRUTH!
Now there was an OPEN DOOR of OPPORTUNITY!
God isn’t pleased by outward rituals but PLEASED by inward attitudes.
2. PROMISE TO KEEP THEM FROM THE HOUR OF MAXIMUM TRIALS.
 “Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the lesson of My patience with the expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth” (Amplified Bible).
A couple of things to take note here. The coming TRIBULATION period is going to be GLOBAL in nature–come on the whole world.
Also, to TEST those who live on earth; not just talking about Christians in the church here.
This phrase is repeated several times through the Book and refers to believers and unbelievers alike.
3. THE PROMISE OF STRENGTH AND SECURITY.
 “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.  Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from My God; and I will also write in him My new name.”
(See Revelation 21-22)
The Two Great Pillars of the City…
The Jerusalem temple was destroyed in 70 AD where TWO GREAT PILLARS stood. One of the pillars was called Jachin (which means “established, permanent”), and the other Boaz (“strength”). with that in mind, another PROMISE is given.
Christ PROMISES the believers, the “overcomers” in verse 12, by using the image of the “pillars” that He will set His believers up in such a SECURE fashion that can never be removed.
“Never again will he leave it”
Jesus was simply saying, no matter what’s going on around you…what’s in the news headlines, when you labor for Me, you will reach a place where you will not have to leave ever again. It is a picture of SECURITY, PERMANENCE and STRENGTH.
4. THE PROMISE OF A “NEW NAME”
I often wondered in growing up as a child, why my parents couldn’t come up with a better name for their first child, other than the name MELVIN. I was teased almost every day, even as a teenager. The comedian, Jerry Lewis would use the name on the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis TV show every week: “MEL-V-I-N!” . Someone must have protested to the show’s writers, for on one occasion, Mr. Lewis said that there was a U.S. Navy Ship with the name: USS MELVIN. I would then make use that information as a “come back” when teased later.
Christ promises a NEW NAME which is represented by our character. If… we OVERCOME, we will be given three names:
1. The NAME of God shows we will be godly.
This is the PURPOSE of the Holy Spirit dwelling in our lives.
2. The NAME of The City of God.
The last 2 Chapters in Revelation–the New Jerusalem being the bride being prepared for her husband, JESUS. This new name speaks of the loving intimacy Christ has for His FAITHFUL.
3. Given a NEW NAME that no one knows.
Names in the Bible symbolize one’s CHARACTER or role.
Before JESUS was born in Bethlehem, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him that Mary would have a son, who was to be called “JESUS”. Why? “Because He will save His people from their sins.”
When we get to heaven, each one of us will have a new ministry, a new area of service, and come with a NEW NAME symbolic of this new ministry.
PROMISES THAT ARE AVAILABLE IF…
The promises listed in this study were available to the church in Philadelphia and also available to us–IF…we are FAITHFUL; taking the opportunities JESUS sets before us in the meantime.
Perhaps JESUS has an OPEN DOOR for you right now. Do you have the FAITH in Him to step through it?
[13} “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
[PART THREE TO FOLLOW – “Entering the Throne Room”]
Photo – Heaven Images 123rf.com/stock-photo/heaven.
NEW JERUSALEM IMAGE: Google Search – New Jerusalem images.
NIV (New International Version); AMP (Amplified Version).
[i] – The Little Church that Tried @ Ray Stedman.org.
[ii] – Bible Hub – Rev. 3:8; INTERLINEAR.