Revelation 3:7-8 NIV
“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.”
One of the fears that our enemy Satan likes to try to instill in us is that if we don’t do something to “help God out” that disaster will overtake us, as though we, as humans, are more powerful than God and as though God needs our help. Wrong! But so many people think they have to take matters into their own hands to prevent certain things from taking place. Now, we are called to action and not to being lazy, but we need to follow God’s lead.
God doesn’t need our help. He wants our obedience, though. And sometimes he allows difficulties into our lives to grow us, to mature us in him, to teach us to be humble, to teach us to rely on him and not on ourselves, and to make us more like Jesus. So if we fight against those circumstances, we can be fighting against God and what he is trying to do in our lives. So don’t try to open doors that he has closed, and don’t try to close doors he wants to remain open. Just follow His lead, and let God be God.
And the encouragement here is that God is absolutely sovereign over all that he has made, and he is in control over all things, so nothing is going to happen in our lives but what God allows it for a purpose and for which he will give us the strength to endure it, if we are following him and his will for our lives. The enemy has no power over God or over us unless we yield to his power. So no matter what comes your way, keep putting your hope and trust in the Lord, believe in his sovereignty, and just follow His lead.
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.”
A synagogue is a place of worship, and it was one time a place of worship of the one true God, so a “synagogue of Satan” is a place or a house of worship of Satan, not God. And it can be a physical meeting place called “church” which is not the true church, and at which the people are not truly worshiping the one true God but a god of this world, even though under the guise of worshiping the one true God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
For if they are following the teachings of man, and not the Scriptures in their fulness, and so they are being led to continue in sin and to continue to follow their flesh, and not God, then this “house of worship” is not worshiping the one true God. It may be called “church,” but that doesn’t mean the people gathering there are the church, the true body of Christ. For many people professing faith in Jesus Christ are living no different from the world.
The vast majority of what is called “church” today is not the church, the body of Christ, but it is a conglomeration of some true followers of Jesus, many false worshipers of Christ, people of this sinful world, church denominations, businesspeople, and the government, etc. And its bible is marketing books written by mere men (or women) of flesh who are following after the ways of this sinful world and not after God.
And so they have altered the meaning of “church”, and they have altered how the “church” is to be conducted, and they have altered the gospel message to make it more attractive and acceptable to human flesh and to the people of the world. And so these “churches” are not the church, but they are businesses of men being marketed to the world via worldly means and methods in order to attract the world (the ungodly) to their meetings.
Since they are following after men (and women) and not God, and since they are believing in a false gospel of men, and not the gospel of Jesus Christ, and since most of their followers are following the flesh and not the Holy Spirit, they are a house of Satan, not of God, because their honor is going to Satan and to his will for our lives, and not to God and to his divine will and purpose for our lives.
And these “houses of worship” which are not worshiping the one true God, but the flesh of man, are largely rejecting and casting aside those who are faithful to the Lord in their commitments to the purity of the Scriptures. And they are accusing us of teaching “works-based salvation” because we teach the whole counsel of God. And they are embracing a gospel of men which does not put sin to death and which does not insist on obedience to God.
But one day they will acknowledge that we who are following Jesus with wholehearted devotion are the beloved of God. And since we have committed ourselves to enduring unjust suffering and to continuing in faithful obedience to our Lord, despite all opposition against us, the Lord promises to keep us through the hour of trial, from within, that is coming on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
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.”
Many people today are teaching “once saved always saved,” i.e. that you can make a one-time in your life profession of Christ as your Savior and now heaven is guaranteed you no matter how you live your life. That is not what the Scriptures teach, though. They teach salvation as progressive sanctification which will not be complete until Jesus takes us to be with him, provided that we are faithful in obedience and steadfast in faith to the end.
It is those believing (present active) in Jesus who have the hope of eternal life with God, and believing in Jesus involves walks of obedience to the Lord, in submission to his will, and in daily dying to sin and to self for the glory and honor of God. For if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, then heaven is not what awaits us. We will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God.
And so this is why this tells us to hold on to what we have so that no one will take our crown. And what we, who fit here, have is we have kept the word of God and we have not denied our Lord, not meaning we never did any of that, but that this is where we are presently, walking in faithfulness to our Lord. But even there we must be careful that we do not fall back into sin and risk losing our lives for eternity. We must remain victorious unto the end.
[Matt 7:21-23; Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24; Jude 1:1-25; Lu 9:23-26]
Under His Wings
By William Orcutt Cushing and Ira David Sankey, 1896
Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him, I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings—what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blest.
Under His wings—oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me;
Resting in Jesus I’m safe evermore.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
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