Message: ‘An open door… to the world!’ Text: Revelation 3:8
Introduction: PP: Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase ‘When God closes a door, He opens a window?’ Do you know where that comes from? No. Not from the Bible.
It’s what’s called ‘popular theology.’ It’s defined this way: Popular theology refers to the informal and unofficial theological speech of society, distinct from the more formal theology of the Church and academy.
PP: To put it another way, it’s the kind of ‘religious’ sayings that you often find on bumper stickers. Cute but often not found in the Bible.
It’s the kind to saying that usually makes you feel good, but has little to no spiritual depth…
- Like candy, it’s sweet to the taste, but has little to no dietary benefit.
In our text this morning, we’ll look at a door that has great spiritual value and will give depth to your relationship with Jesus.
PP: Take out your bulletin and look at the front page. Or you can look at the PowerPoint slide.
Tell me what you see in that picture?
- From the door we can see a neighborhood.
- There’s not much shown in the house, but much is given in detail outside the door.
Now… what looks a bit… wrong?
- The Welcome mat is facing the outside, the neighborhood, not the inside of the home.
Why do you think the welcome mat is faced that way?
- To get us to be more outward focused.
- To get us to see that an open door is more about what’s outside of it than what’s inside of it.
And the same is true for the church today.
In our text, God wants us to have that same attitude about the doors of CBC…
- Open and welcoming to all who enter… a place to be refreshed and refueled, to be built up and encouraged… absolutely!
But, also to see our doors as fresh new opportunities each day, to see our surrounding neighborhoods and neighbors, as a mission field, as the place where we go… we go, to BE the church to those who desperately need to know Jesus.
Background: PP: But, before we look at our text, we need a little background so we can differentiate between what’s ‘popular theology’ and what God’s Word, the Bible says about open doors.
- The Apostle John is writing to the church in Philadelphia. No not, Pennsylvania, but somewhere in ancient Turkey.
- It was founded by Greeks to spread the Greek culture to the uncivilized areas in Turkey. And they were successful at changing the very culture of the inhabitants to the Greek way of life.
The church in Philadelphia was 1 of just 2 churches that received only accommodation and no condemnation. That made this church rather special. One that we perhaps should seek to follow its example.
And from how this church is described, it’s believed to have been a small church.
From our text we see that the Apostle John, refers to a door that no one is able to shut. Doors in the Bible are used as metaphors of important Biblical truth.
- In John 10:9 Jesus says that He’s the door of salvation.
- In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says He’s the door of intimacy with the Believer.
- In Colossians 4:3, Paul mentions a door for the Word, or an opportunity to proclaim the Word of God to others.
Summary: As we face a new year, 2022, full of wide open doors that Jesus has promised no one can shut, let’s look and pray over every opportunity we’re given…
- to reach the lost, the heal the broken, to encourage the saints, to help build God’s kingdom and to BE the church!
Transition: How do we get there? Let’s open our Bibles to Revelation 3:7
- Revelation 3:7-8, 13 The standard to follow
- vs 7 Jesus, the head of the Church
PP: And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the Holy One, the True One, Who has the key of David, Who opens and no one will shut, Who shuts and no one opens.
First, make no mistake, these are not the words of the Apostle John, these are the words of Jesus Himself. Not only do we find these words belonging to Jesus, but they tell us much about Him:
Jesus is holy.
- The angel who announced the birth of Jesus declared that He would be the Holy One.
Jesus is True.
- Jesus, in John 14:6 declares I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
Jesus holds the key of David.
- The key of David speaks of controlling the entrance to the kingdom as found in Isa. 22.
When we read Who opens and no one will shut, Who shuts and no one opens.
- This speaks clearly of Jesus’ complete authority, His absolute sovereignty over all things.
The point of this description in verse 7 is to give weight, authority to the words we’ll find throughout this book, but specifically here in our text. It’s forcefully declaring that each word has the absolute authority of God Himself.
- So, we must not take any of them… lightly.
- vs 8a Our works, Jesus’ door
PP: I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.
PP: Today, there are any number of places we don’t have access to because they have locks. This door is different.
- It will always be open, because it was opened by Jesus and He, by His sovereign power, will keep it open.
- No one, no thing, no power, is strong enough to close it.
PP: The way the sentence is structured seems to indicate the reason the door has been opened is because of the works of the Christians at the church in Philadelphia.
Now, the text does not tell us what the door is open to. Since He’s writing to the church, to Believers, it’s probably not a door to salvation.
- That leaves a door to intimacy with God, a doorway into God’s presence or a door of opportunity to serve God. Perhaps it’s both.
- Doors for opportunity will also bring with it opposition from others. And that will necessitate an open door to God’s presence for strength, healing and guidance.
Remember the great commission in Matthew’s Gospel includes both opportunity and intimacy.
PP: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19–20)
I said the Greeks saw Philadelphia as a missionary outpost to spread the Greek culture to all the world. Is it possible Jesus was playing off of this knowledge, to show us that the church of Philadelphia, and even CBC, is to be a missionary outpost to spread the Gospel of Jesus to all the world?
They were that missionary outpost, because they faithfully went through the door, took advantage of every opportunity to share Jesus with all who would hear, regardless of the cost.
PP: Here’s something interesting. The Greek verb tense indicates a past action that’s still happening.
- Listen, the church that’s faithful; will find a continual source of opportunity, continual access to God’s presence,
- to be a light for Jesus, to their surrounding neighborhood and prevailing culture.
Remember Jesus promised in Matthew 16:18 …I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
What I believe we need to see here is that it’s God Who places opportunities on our path so that we might help build His kingdom.
Christian… are you looking for God’s open doors? Are you willing to go though them when they appear? Those who are faithful… will!
Transition: But that doesn’t mean it will be easy.
- vs 8b Our weakness
PP: I know that you have but little power
Friends, this is something everyone here at CBC understands. We are… a small church, by any standard. Yet, that hasn’t hindered our ability to be used by God to help build his kingdom.
- We may be weak, but God is strong.
- We may be few but God uses the few to do much.
- We may lack monetary resources, but God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
Yes, friends here at CBC, we have little power:
- But so was Moses, so was the Apostle Paul.
- CS Lewis wrote: ‘I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time-waking and sleeping.’ Yet, he was one of the foremost Christians thinkers of our time.
Remember what Isaiah 40:28-31 promises.
PP: (2 slides) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
That’s the picture of the faithful in the church at Philadelphia, and it can be the picture of the faithful here at CBC, regardless of our size or resources.
Transition: Next we’re told what that church did.
- vs 8c Our faithfulness
PP: and yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name.
Remember that the church, Christians, were being severely persecuted, by the Greeks and the Jews.
- And by persecution I don’t mean people called them names or didn’t invite them to their parties.
This persecution included taking away their livelihoods, burning their homes, taking them into slavery, placing them before lions and stoning
them to death.
YET.. and that’s a HUGE yet. Yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name. In other words… you have been faithful:
- You have not diluted or polluted the truth of the Word of God. For you, God’s Word stands absolute, as it is, w/o change or compromise.
- You have not denied my name. You have been willing to suffer rather than renounce Jesus.
You have, in all things, remained faithful to Jesus.
- You didn’t give in to the worldly pursuits of the crowds, you didn’t compromise your faith to please the prevailing culture.
You remained faithful to Me.
Transition: Now, in verse 13 Jesus speaks to all who read this book, He gives a command to those who hear these words of Jesus.
- And CBC, that’s our challenge in 2022. Remain faithful to Jesus.
- vs. 13 Our command to listen
PP: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 3:13, ESV)
The command here is quite simple: hear, and to do what the Holy Spirit is telling us in this text.
PP: Summary: Friends here at CBC, look,
- I believe we’ve been faithful; we’ve kept God’s Word as absolute and we have not denied His name to the sinful world around us.
- I believe, with all that I am, that God has opened a door for us to both intimacy in His presence and to opportunity to serve Him in the coming year.
- And I believe we will be found faithful to walk through those doors.
But, it’ll take more of the kind of commitment Elder Wes spoke about last Sunday in His message.
- And that’s how I want to close this message today, with some application, some practical insight to help us all trust God as we look for and enter those open doors He provides in 2022.
Walking through the door
- To change
Pastor Jeff Strite put this into perspective when he wrote this after seeing an ad by a church looking for a new pastor. A Church of 50 people desires hard working, Bible based preacher that is highly motivated to make a church grow…
Pastor Strite writes: With all due respect to the churches that put want ads like that, they reveal an unfortunate attitude. What they are saying is – we’ll grow if we have the “right preacher.” The “right preacher” will simply pull the people in by
- his friendliness
- by his faithfulness to the Word
- by his prayer life
- by his commitment to the church
But it never seems to turn out that way. Why? Because they put their faith in the wrong things. Their eyes aren’t on the Holy One of Israel, but rather on the Mighty Boy from Bible College.
I’d be more impressed by a church who’d put in a want ad like this:
- Church of 50 people looking for a Biblicaly sound preacher who won’t get in the way. A man who will encourage us in our prayer life, who will teach us how to witness. We want a man who will preach good sermons from the pulpit but who won’t feel it’s his personal responsibility to do everything else in the church. We want a preacher who will help us be ministers for our God.
That’s the kind of church that will impress Jesus, because that’s the kind of church that together goes faithfully through the open doors Jesus provides.
Folks, in 2022 we need to make a change in how we see and do ministry.
- I promise to buffet my body for you and for the Lord here at CBC, but I just can’t do it by myself.
- I need you, all of you, this church needs you and the kingdom of God needs you.
- To develop a new vision
To that end we need to develop a new vision of what’s on the other side of the door.
- A new vision of the world and our place in it.
- A vison that no longer looks at what we can’t do but what God has called us to do.
- A new vision, no longer of what the church can do for me, but how I can be used to help reach those neighborhoods and neighbors outside our doors.
- A new vision, no loner about my comfort, but about helping to relieve the pain and suffering of others.
- A new vision, not I… but Christ!
- To develop courage
Remember I said that new opportunities will often bring new opposition. We can expect that in 2022.
- Some doors will stir up fear and doubt.
- Some doors will cause us to leave our comfort zone.
- Some doors will require we step into the unknown.
So we need to develop courage to be faithful to go through the open doors Jesus provides.
Remember God called Joshua to take over the leadership of Israel after Moses death. That was a huge door of opportunity that Joshua knew would bring much opposition. Do you remember what God told Joshua?
- Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
- To develop new priorities
Some doors opened to us in 2022 will require that we establish new priorities.
- Like devoting more time to reading/studying God’s Word.
- Like devoting more time for intimacy and prayer in God’s presence.
- Like developing a servants heart.
- Like keeping our tongue under the control of the Holy Spirit especially in our relationship with others.
- Like seeing the lost… as God sees them and responding to them as He does.
- Like making Sunday the most important day of the week and worship your highest good.
- Like not just going to church, but seeking to serve a city.
- To be active
Finally, and most simply… to be active, to be a regular part of what God’s doing here at CBC and through the ministry of this local church.
- Or for you on Facebook Live, being a regular part, being active in the life and ministry of your own local church.
Conclusion: CBC family, God has taken a hold of my heart and I am yielding it to Him for this new 2022 year. I want to be sold out, all in for Him and for His work here at CBC.
- And I’m asking you to join me in being faithful to the open doors God brings our way in the new year.
I’ve been informally talking to some of the ministries and committees here at CBC about my hope for 2022.
I’ve been asking them to look for those doors, here at CBC that are opened to their particular ministry, to a specific neighborhood or school or community project.
- Let’s look outside our doors to opportunities to reach people for Jesus.
- Don’t worry about the money, God will provide.
And, let’s all look for open doors to invite our neighbors, friends, relatives, coworkers and fellow students, onto this property to show them the love of God and to let them know they not only matter to God.. they matter to us.
- Broken or whole, rich or poor, old or young, single or married, they have a home here.
CBC, the door to a new 2022 is open. Will you walk through it.. with me? PP: