Revelation 3:7 ESV
“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.
The True One
Jesus Christ, God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the author of this letter to the church. These are his words. And, they are still his words today to the part (or whole) of the church throughout the world where these specific truths apply.
He is the holy one. He is set apart from the world of sin. He is pure and unadulterated with the world. He is undefiled by the world of sin. He is fully righteous, just, truthful, good, kind, compassionate, trustworthy, and faithful in all that he does. Although he was tempted to sin when he walked this earth, he never sinned. He remained pure throughout his life here.
He is head (King) over his church, the bride of Christ, the heavenly Jerusalem. And, he alone holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Only through Jesus Christ, through faith in him, can any one of us enter into God’s heavenly kingdom. And, only in the way in which God laid out that it should be can any of us gain access to the kingdom of heaven.
In other words, we cannot determine our own course or our own path to heaven. We cannot, in our own flesh, ever be good enough. Only through Jesus’ blood shed on a cross for our sins can any of us be saved from our sins and have access to God’s eternal kingdom. And, only by God-given faith in him, which is divinely persuaded that we must die to sin and live to righteous, can any of us enter. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting sin to death, we will live.
If we have taken the course of life Jesus offered us, which is freedom from slavery to sin and freedom to live holy and godly lives, pleasing to him, then no man can shut us out of God’s kingdom. But, if we have taken the course of life that our flesh dictates, and we are living to please the sinful cravings of our flesh, then there is nothing we can do to get into heaven other than to repent of our sins and to turn to follow Jesus with our lives.
God’s words are always true and they will never change. We can trust that our Lord will do everything he said he would do.
Revelation 3:8-10 ESV
“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
We are not saved by works of the flesh, but we are saved to do good works which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:8-10). And, those works do determine our salvation in that they are the fruit of righteousness in our lives which prove our faith to be genuine faith. For, if we sow to please our flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8).
Our Lord has opened the way of salvation to us from slavery to sin and to walking in his holiness and righteousness – all in His power and strength within us. And, again, no one can keep us out of heaven if we are in Christ, by faith in him, and we are walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. We can have the confident assurance that heaven is our eternal destiny and that we are the Lord’s and he is within us.
But, he has the keys, not only to the kingdom of heaven, but to ministry, too, and to the direction he wants us to go with our lives. And, if God wants us to be at a certain place doing a specific ministry, he will keep that door open. No man and not even Satan can thwart God’s plans and his purposes for our lives. So, we never have to worry when opposition comes our way, but we just need to pray. If the Lord wants us there, he will make the way.
All of this is not dependent on our own strength, either. We can be physically weak, tired, injured, lonely, persecuted, abandoned, and forgotten by man, and still be used of God for his purposes and for his glory, because he is the one who empowers, who strengthens and who equips us for service to him.
The important thing for us to do is to remain faithful to our Lord, to keep trusting him with our lives, and to follow him wherever he leads us, and to not deny his name by shrinking back from doing what he says out of fear of rejection or persecution or abandonment.
Our Lord will honor us for our faithfulness to him. One day those who are now our enemies, some of whom pretend to be Christ’s followers, but who are not, but are lying, and who stand against us, they will know that God loved us and that he is with us and that he is indeed working in and through our lives for his glory and for his purposes.
And, because we have endured unjust suffering with patience and have continued to do the will of God with our lives, despite all opposition and persecution, he will keep us “out of” the hour of trial that is coming on the earth to try the people of this earth. From the inside out he will keep us during this time of testing on the earth. He will protect us from its impacts on our lives spiritually, and he will bring us safely into his eternal kingdom.
Revelation 3:11-13 ESV
“’I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, 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 from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
Life throws curve balls at us sometimes. We go through hard times, difficulties, rejection, persecution and abandonment. Friends and relatives desert us, and people talk badly about us or mock us. We are betrayed, stabbed in the back, treated unfairly and unjustly, and we may feel, at times, that we are all alone in the world, completely forgotten.
But, no matter what comes our way, we must know that Jesus Christ is still King over all. He is completely sovereign and in control over all that he has made. No human can thwart his plans or close doors that he has opened. So, we never need to fear what humans may do to us, for God is with us, he will never abandon us, and he will carry us through everything in this life.
So, we need to hold on! We need to keep pressing on and not ever give up. We need to remain hopeful, and rejoicing in our Lord, no matter what comes our way. We must not ever let Satan or other humans steal away our joy or our victory by giving in to fear of what they might do or say to us or about us. We are mighty conquerors through Jesus Christ, who loves us. And, one day we will be taken home to be with our Lord forever. Amen!
Be Still, My Soul
Hymn lyrics by Katharina von Schlegel, pub.1752
tr. by Jane L. Borthwick, pub.1855
Music by Jean Sibelius, 1899
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well-pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.
*Copyright status is public domain
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus.