Seize the Opportunity (Revelation 3:7-13) - October 20th 2013

    Without a big view of God, people tend to measure their opportunities by the way they see themselves. The little church in ancient Philadelphia was challenged to allow God to help them stretch to the challenge He placed before them.
    7 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.
    Philadelphia was the newest town mentioned in Revelation. Attalus II founded it to honor his brother Eumenes. The city was created to be the point of departure from the West as one went east. The design was to use the city as a chief exporter of the Greek language, culture and approach to life.

    The Spirit speaks through Pastor John as One who is set apart (holy) and authentic (true). The reference to the key of David draws imagery from Isaiah 22:20-22 when Eliakim served as the royal treasurer who controlled the king’s resources. Eliakim took his position following one who had compromised with the culture. The Spirit used the imagery of authority to apply to opening the door of opportunity.

    1. Keep God’s perspective.
    8 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 Christians in Philadelphia were small in number and limited in resources. They presented no apparent significance. Yet the Spirit said I know your deeds. Furthermore, He promised them an open door. Between the lines, we hear our Lord saying, “I outrank those who think they are in charge where you are.”

    Door imagery in the New Testament usually addresses mission, witness and/or ministry. These people were strategically placed. More than buildings, the church is made up of people—people have personal networks filled with relationships. Each follower of Jesus in the church creates a satellite location for the church wherever he or she goes. The gospel God has stored in our hearts is displayed in our ideas, words and actions.
    Arthur McPhee: The greatest proof of God’s love is a life that needs                           God’s love to explain it.

    2. Look for God’s purposes.
    9 I will make those who are 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. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
    The Jewish neighbors treated the Christians with contempt.
    The Spirit tells us to acknowledge God’s love. Jesus challenges us to act lovingly even to those who might be seen as enemies (Matthew 5:43-47). As we see them as human, everything changes. 
    The hour of trial could refer to Roman persecution, tribulation or present troubles.

    3. Move toward God’s promises.
    11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.
    The Spirit promised security in stability when God sets the final order to the world. Once again, we see the promises of newness. A new name of my God assures believers of a permanent relationship with God. A new Jerusalem addresses a place without worries and with complete provision (Revelation 21, 22). A new name addresses the full revelation of our Lord and a full understanding of His character.

    13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
    Are you willing to open your eyes to the open door in your life? 
    Seize Your Opportunity!

    The Bible translation used in this study is the New International Version.