Archive for October 14th, 2021

To The Faithful Church

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

To The Faithful Church

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Jesus Letters / Revelation 3:7–13

  Have you ever had a door slammed in your face? I have on occasions, when I’ve gone out witnessing—knocked on the door. So many more occasions I’ve had the door opened, and people have been so gracious to me. But, there have been those times when I’ve had that door go kablam right in my face. And, I just wonder why that doesn’t happen more. You know, we ought to be a little ashamed of ourselves that it doesn’t happen more. You know, those early Christians rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

 None of us like to have doors shut in our faces. You don’t like to go to some particular social club and hear people say, “That’s not for you. Stay out.” But, I want to tell you a wonderful truth: that our Lord is the Keeper of the keys. And, there are certain doors that He opens that no man can shut, and there are certain doors that He can shut and no man can open.

1 Adrian Rogers, “The Keeper of the Keys and the Doors of Destiny,” in Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust, 2017), Re 3:7–13.

Our Jesus Letter today is to the church at Philadelphia. They were a small church with big opposition. In His letter to them, Jesus comforts them with this truth, He is the door keeper and He is going to open the door of gospel opportunity for them and no one will be able to shut it.

Dear believing friend, are you tired and overwhelmed? Have you been faithful in your little corner of the universe only to feel that it just doesn’t matter? This letter is for you. Jesus has been watching. He sees your faithfulness. When He is ready, He will open wide the door and all you need to do is walk through it. Let us learn from Jesus’ letter to the Faithful Church.

The Author’s Credentials

Revelation 3:7 KJV

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

He is Holy

Isaiah 6:3 KJV

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: The whole earth is full of his glory.

Isaiah 40:25 KJV

To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

 He is the one who is holy. Holy is the description of God himself. ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts’ was the song of the seraphs which Isaiah heard (Isaiah 6:3). ‘To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One’ (Isaiah 40:25). ‘I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King’ (Isaiah 43:15). All through the Old Testament, God is the Holy One; and now that title is given to the risen Christ. We must remember that holy (hagios) means different, separate from. God is holy because he is different from us; he has that quality of being which belongs to him alone. To say that Jesus Christ is holy is to say that he shares the being of God.1

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 139.

He Is True

 He is the one who is true. In Greek, there are two words for true. There is al?th?s, which means true in the sense that a true statement is different from a false statement. There is al?thinos, which means real as opposed to that which is unreal. It is the second of these words which is used here. In Jesus, there is reality. When we are confronted with him, we are confronted with no shadowy outline of the truth but with the truth itself.1

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 139.

He Has The Key of David

He is the one who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. We may first note that the key is the symbol of authority. Here is the picture of Jesus Christ as the one who has the final authority which no one can question.

Behind this, there is an Old Testament picture. Hezekiah had a faithful steward called Eliakim, who had authority over all his house and who alone could admit to the presence of the king. Isaiah heard God say of this faithful Eliakim: ‘I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open’ (Isaiah 22:22). It is this picture which is in John’s mind. Jesus alone has authority to admit to the new Jerusalem, the new city of David. As the Te Deum has it: ‘Thou didst open the kingdom of Heaven to all believers.’ He is the new and living way into the presence of God.1

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 139–140.

Matthew 28:18 KJV

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

He is the Door Keeper

1 Corinthians 16:9 KJV

For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

2 Corinthians 2:12 KJV

Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,

Colossians 4:3 KJV

Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

John 10:9 KJV

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

The Author’s Critique

Revelation 3:8 KJV

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

I Know Your Works

 • That is why I have opened the door for you.

 • I will bless your efforts with opportunity

You Have Little Strength

A little strength (?????? ???????). This would mean, thou hast some power, though small. Many, however, omit the indefinite article in translating, and render thou hast little strength; i.e., thou art poor in numbers and worldly resources. So Alford, Trench, and Düsterdieck.1

1 Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 2 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 465.

But could they take advantage of it? There were at least two obstacles to overcome, the first being their own lack of strength (Rev. 3:8). Apparently, this was not a large or a strong church; however, it was a faithful one. They were true to God’s Word and unafraid to bear His name. Revelation 3:10 suggests that they had endured some special testing and had proved faithful.

It is not the size or strength of a church that determines its ministry, but faith in the call and command of the Lord. “God’s commandments are God’s enablements.” If Jesus Christ gave them an open door, then He would see to it that they were able to walk through it! Martin Luther put it perfectly in his well-known hymn:

Did we in our own strength confide,

Our striving would be losing.

Were not the right Man on our side,

The Man of God’s own choosing.

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 578.

You Have Kept My Word

You Have Not Denied My Name

I know thy works … that thou hast a little power. Perhaps the church was of recent foundation, and had not yet obtained great influence in the city. hast kept, hast not denied, R.V. didst keep, didst not deny, i.e. in some recent crisis, perhaps persecution at the hands of the hostile Jews. The key to the reference has been lost; but for Christians of all times, it gives the comforting thought that Christ knows the events in our lives that are unable to impress themselves upon the memory of the world.

1 J. T. Dean, The Book of Revelation, ed. Alexander Whyte and John Kelman, Handbooks for Bible Classes and Private Students (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1915), 87.

Author’s Promises

I Will Convert Your Enemies

Revelation 3:9 KJV

Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

 • Either they will get saved and worship with the other believers – hence the open door to get the gospel out.

 • Or they will eventually bow in Eternity

Philippians 2:9–11 KJV

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 • Either way they will know Jesus loved the church at Philadelphia!

I Will Keep You Safe

Revelation 3:10 KJV

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

I Will Come Quickly

Revelation 3:11–13 KJV

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 • Don’t let go of the victor’s crown or rewards you have already earned

In a very real sense, the church today is like the Philadelphian church, for God has set before us many open doors of opportunity. If He opens the doors, we must work; if He shuts the doors, we must wait. Above all, we must be faithful to Him and see the opportunities, not the obstacles. If we miss our opportunities, we lose our rewards (crowns), and this means being ashamed before Him when He comes (1 John 2:28)1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 579.

 When Andy Griffith, star of the classic television program that bore his name, entered his fifties, he found it increasingly difficult to find work in Hollywood, and his personal finances became tighter and tighter. He wrote in Guideposts that finally he and his wife Cindi decided things would be easier if they moved from Los Angeles back to Andy’s home state of North Carolina; so they put their home up for sale and waited for a buyer. Unfortunately the real estate market was down, and no one gave them a decent offer for their home. Months passed, and Andy grew depressed.

 Then one day the Lord gave Cindi an insight. “Maybe it’s a good thing we couldn’t sell the house,” she said. “Maybe it was God showing us grace. If we moved to North Carolina now, you might indeed never work again. What we need to do is stay here and stoke the fire.”

 And stoke the fire they did. Day after day they went together to the office of the talent agency that represented Andy. They sat in the lobby, chatted with agents, and went with them to lunch. Eventually the work started to come in: four TV movies that year, including the pilot for Matlock, a show that ended up running for nine years.

 Sometimes a closed door is a signpost from God. He has a better way for us to go.

1 Craig Brian Larson, 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers & Writers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002), 121–122.

Friends, EBC is a tiny church that has outlasted many of her critics. We have been faithful to the word, and to the Gospel. I believe that God has given us opportunities right now to reach this town like never before. Let us, like the church at Philadelphia, walk through the door God has opened. Let us reach out online. Let us dig deeper in our personal understanding of God’s love. Let us demonstrate the love of God in our words and in our actions.  Let us be good stewards of every friendship, every moment, every chance to worship, every chance to give testimony. Let us walk through the open door!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:00 PM October 14, 2021.

Kid’s Bible Club (Ages 4-11) starts this Friday!

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Starting October 15 KBC will meet every Friday between 6-8 for some singing, shouting, playing, crafting and learning. Parents can drop their children off a little before 6 and pick them up at 8. For more information call the church at 860-496-8022.