1. Series: God’s Message to the Church in Philadelphia
This is part of a series on the seven churches in Asia Minor (Revelation 2-3). This article covers the message to the church in Philadelphia (Rev 3:7-13).
The video messages of letters to the churches in Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7), Smyrna (Rev 2: 8-11), Pergamum, (Rev 2:12-17), Thyatira (Rev 2:18-29), Sardis (Rev 3:1-6), and Philadelphia (Rev 2:18-29), Laodicea (Rev 3:14-22): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzs5B_RI3OQ&list=PLGZv4fOP54n3HbIZJqV-Juw8qSO_tO7Ls
2. When Temple Doors Are Shut on the Less Privileged
In Matthew 23:13, Jesus rebukes the hypocritical religious leaders and the teachers of the law: “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to”. The church in Philadelphia was a persecuted church, perhaps excommunicated by the religious leaders. The temple doors are shut to them. However, only God has the power to open the real door. So, to the church in Philadelphia, Jesus says “I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it”. Jesus has the authority to open doors (access to God) and welcome people. Some may try to shut the door, but they cannot, as only God has the authority.
3. The Door That No One Can Shut – The True Light That Attracts
People from all over the world, from all walks of life, will be attracted to the light and accept God’s welcome and the open door. Isaiah 60 says:
“Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn…
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip…
Foreigners will rebuild your walls,
and their kings will serve you…
Your gates will always stand open,
they will never be shut, day or night…
The Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory…
The least of you will become a thousand,
the smallest a mighty nation…”
4. Solution to the Identity Crisis
Continuing on the letter, Jesus says in Rev 3:12: “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name”
We live in a time of identity crisis and narcissistic personalities, which is a major cause of most relationship problems and mental health issues. Here in Revelation 3:12, Jesus gives us the right source of identity. a) We are sons/daughters of God – The name of God is written on each of us. b) We are a spiritual family of brothers and sisters in God’s church (new Jerusalem). c) We are the corporate bride of Christ – we take the name of the bridegroom.
When we understand the value and identity that God has given us, we should never have an identity crisis, and our family/community relationships, work ethic, moral character, etc will be substantially transformed.