“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
“These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
These are the words of Jesus Christ. He is the one who is holy and true. And he is the one who possesses the keys to eternal life with God. He died on a cross to save us from our slavery to sin. And he was resurrected from the dead. And he lives to empower us to live to him and to his righteousness.
No human being can reverse what Jesus did for us on that cross. No man or woman can take that away from us. No one can alter or change what Jesus did for us on that cross, though many try. The gospel of Jesus Christ remains the same forever, even though some people try to distort it.
Thus, the true message of the gospel of Jesus Christ has not changed. Jesus provided the way on that cross for us to be delivered from our slavery to sin so that we can now live to him and to his righteousness. By his grace we are saved, through faith, which is God’s gift to us who believe in him.
So, what is that true message of the cross? It is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23).
We should have been taught, as the truth that is in Christ Jesus, to put off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26).
By faith in Jesus Christ, we were crucified with Christ in death to sin and we were raised with Christ that we may live new lives. Our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin but slaves of righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).
He sets the criteria for who gets into his heaven and who doesn’t. We can’t make up our own gospel to suit our own purposes and promise ourselves heaven as our eternal destiny. What he says in his word stands! Eternal life with God is not promised to everyone who makes a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, only to those who die to sin and who obey him (Rom 6:1-23).
Revelation 3:9-10 NIV
“I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.”
There are many liars and deceivers out there teaching a gospel other than the one that Jesus taught and that Paul and the other apostles taught. They claim to be Christians, and many of them are pastors of churches, but they deny the Lordship of Christ over their lives, they are still living in sin, and they are convinced they do not have to obey the Lord.
And they are opposed to the true gospel of Christ and to those of us who are teaching the true gospel of our salvation. They see us as legalists, self-righteous, intolerant, hateful (perhaps), disunifiers, stompers on God’s grace, and as teachers of works-based salvation.
Though presently these false teachers have been allowed to truly stomp on God’s grace by turning it into a free license for lasciviousness, they will not be allowed to continue forever. Though for now they have been allowed to attack the true gospel and its messengers, that day will come to an end, too.
One day these workers of iniquity and these false teachers of the gospel who are distorting, diluting, and altering the truth will be brought to their knees.
Regarding these words which say to this church that because they endured patiently that they will be kept from the hour of trial that is going to come on the earth, there are many interpretations of these words, some of which teach a pre-tribulation rapture of everyone professing faith in Jesus Christ.
But there are others who see this as God preserving and holding on to those of his who are keeping (obeying) God’s word, who are not denying his name by their lifestyles, and who are patiently enduring much persecution for their testimonies for Jesus Christ and for the sake of his gospel. He will carry us through every trial in his strength, because we have little of our own.
For, Scripture does not teach that followers of Jesus Christ will not have to endure suffering, hardship, or persecution. In fact, it teaches us the opposite. We are told that we will be hated and persecuted, and that some of us will be falsely accused and imprisoned and even killed for our faith.
[See: Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thes 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Matt 5:10-12; Lu 21:12-19; 2 Co 1:3-11]
Revelation 3:11-13 NIV
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Our hope in all of our suffering is that one day we will get to be with our Lord forever. Crying and pain will be no more. Sin will have no place where we are going. No vile or wicked person will be able to enter in, so we will no longer have people treating us badly, and we will no longer be tempted to sin. But our salvation will be complete. Amen!
So, we are being encouraged here to hold on to what the Lord has given to us and to not “jump ship” when things get much worse, which they will. For, according to Scripture, if we bail, and we choose to walk away from the Lord and to deny him and to return to living in sin, and that is where we remain, and we don’t repent, we don’t have eternal life (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).
We must be victorious, not only over sin, but over the attacks of the enemy against us and the enemy’s attempts to get us to deny our Lord and to follow his lies, instead. We must resist him to the very end. We must remain strong in the Lord even if they beat us to death. We must be overcomers!
And one day when Jesus returns for his bride, we will get to go be with him forever, and forever we will be with our Lord. Amen! Oh, what a glorious day that will be when my Jesus I will see face to face and he will wipe away all the tears from my eyes.
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!