Sermon on APRIL 9 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Revelation 3 : 7 – 13
When a church honours Jesus, doors swing open. The Bible speaks of doors of intimacy (Rev. 3: 20), of salvation (Jn. 10:29) and of opportunity (Col. 4:3).
1. THE CHARACTER OF THE OPEN-DOOR CHURCH!
- Weak, yet strong (v 7,8)
Eliakim (Isaiah 22:22) had the keys to the city of Jerusalem, but Jesus has the Master key to the Father’s kingdom. Philadelphia was no megachurch, but their weakness was their strength. What is God doing in your life to make you strong?
‘When God sought me out and called me to do His work in China, He must have said: ‘This man is weak enough – he will do.’
(James Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission)
- Ridiculed, yet faithful (v 8b-9)
The early church faced persecution from both the culture and the Jews. But when you put pleasing Jesus above popularity, doors that seem shut are opened even further.
If we want more open doors for the gospel in Brussels, we must not hedge our bets but live all – out for Jesus.
- Squeezed, yet persevering (v 10-11)
Persevering through trying times are the prelude to open doors. To this day a Christian bishop serves the area of Philadelphia.
“It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice with which to shout, ‘He is risen!’—but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout.”
(Dr. William Sangster who battled with muscular atrophy, without giving up).
2. GOD’S COMFORT TO THE OPEN-DOOR CHURCH!
- A credible walk with Jesus (v9b)
History is heading for a day when the enemies of Christ will acknowledge that the church was on God’s side. When you serve Jesus without reserve, God promises a credibility that even those who hate Him cannot deny.
Are you wishing you might be or serve God elsewhere?
‘The first words we will likely say when we get to heaven are the words, ‘Of course!’’
- A safe journey with Jesus (v10)
Will the Lord take us out of the hour or testing or keep us in whatever hour of testing we go through? Do you ever feel anxious? As if you are not quite sure where you are in the journey to heaven?
‘Every mile of the journey He has chosen – and every place where I pitch my tent He has selected for me’
- A secure identity in Jesus (v12-13)
In a crumbling and confusing world, those who bear Jesus name are not only secure – but point to the only security – giver.
Remember! We may be weak, but we are not nobodies. We may be despised, but we have a story to tell to the nations. And if we persevere in faith and love, God will open doors that we did not dream of.
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QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- Philadelphia is one of only two churches for which Jesus has no criticism. Why?
- What are some of the challenges we face if we want to remain true to God’s Word and presenting Jesus as the only way? Does opposition only come from without the church? If not why is that? What should our response be?
- So far we have noted the witness of six churches: Ephesus (correct but cold), Smyrna (faithful to the end), Pergamum (sitting on the fence), Thyatira (toying with tolerance), Smyrna (sleeping on duty) and now Philadelphia. What in your own words makes a healthy church?