Emails to Churches- Philadelphia

Jul 8, 2013

Ancient Philadelphia

“This is the message from the one who is holy and true. He is the one who has the key of David. He opens doors, and no one can shut them; he shuts doors, and no one can open them. “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can shut. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.”

In the previous letter, Jesus really did not have any thing good to say about the church in Sardis. Here, He has nothing bad to say about the Christian community in Philadelphia. This church appears to have been going through a difficult time. Jesus mentions a “great time of testing,” promising to protect them in the midst of it.

“I have opened a door for you that no one can shut.” Jesus

Jesus also says that He has opened a door for this church, “that no one can shut.” The open door that Jesus speaks of here seems to have a double meaning. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians from the city of Ephesus. He told the Corinthians that, “there is a wide-open door for a great work here, and many people are responding.” He also asked the Colossian Christians to pray for him, “that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…”

The Church’s job is to faithfully proclaim the message of Christ to the world. Jesus’ last instructions were to “make disciples of all nations.” Even though the church in Philadelphia was suffering for their faith, Jesus still expected them to take advantage of the open door that He had provided. They were to continue to be witnesses and to not give up. It is interesting to note that it is the Greek word “martyr” is the word that is translated into English as “witness.”

Jesus last instructions were to “make disciples of all nations.”

An open door also signifies access to God. In the very next chapter, John writes, “Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me with the sound of a mighty trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after these things.” In other places in Scripture as well, an open door conveys the idea that we have access to God and His blessings.

Here, Jesus tells the Christians at Philadelphia that He has opened a door for them that cannot be shut. They have access to Him that He does not promise some of the other churches. God seems to have a special place in His heart for those who suffer for the sake of the Gospel. Jesus also discusses a door with the next church that John writes to at Laodicea.

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