Revelation 3:7-13 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.
“‘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. 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.’”
The Holy One
This is Jesus Christ speaking. He is the holy one, the true one, and thus he is God. And he is Lord over all, and he has authority over all, and he reigns supreme over all which he created. I believe the point here is that Jesus Christ is absolutely sovereign over all that he has made and whatever doors he opens no humans can shut them. So, we don’t ever have to fear those who are opposing us, for our Lord trumps over all!
Now this is speaking to a very specific group of people at a particular time in history, so we cannot just arbitrarily apply these words to everyone who calls himself a believer in Jesus Christ. But there are things we can learn from this passage of Scripture, some of which may apply to some of us. For, those of us who are following Jesus with our lives, and who are being led by him, we do have doors Jesus has opened for us.
And so we are not to fear the enemy forces coming against us who might try to shut whatever doors the Lord has opened for us. For if our Lord opens the door, no human can shut it, unless God allows it to be shut, for his purposes. So, even though we may have little strength and power when we are under attack by the enemy, we are to keep the word of the Lord, and we are not to deny his name, and we are not to lose hope.
Synagogue of Satan
The synagogue of Satan would be a term today for a church which had given itself over to the rule of Satan, which I believe these market-driven and flesh-driven “churches” in America today definitely fit the description. For they have turned to the government and the world for their support, and they have turned the gatherings of the church into businesses which they are marketing to the people of the world in order to draw in large crowds of people from the world to their gatherings.
And so they have altered the meaning of “church” to where it is now associated with a building and a church denomination, which is a business, and they are running “the church” just like a business, and so they are now following teachings of man and marketing schemes on how to grow their earthly kingdoms. And so they have also diluted the gospel of Christ to make it more acceptable to human flesh so as not to offend the people of the world.
Now, many of these market-driven “churches” are teaching against true repentance (dying with Christ to sin) and walks of obedience to our Lord and to his commands (New Covenant), calling that “works salvation,” which it is not. For all over in the New Testament we are taught that we must die with Christ to sin and walk in obedience to his commands in holiness and in righteousness. The message could not be more clear! Yet, many of their adherents are still living in deliberate and habitual sin, without remorse.
For the true church, the ONLY CHURCH, is the body of Christ, with him as our head, which is all people throughout the world who have believed in Jesus, died with him to sin, and who are now walking in obedience to his commands, and no longer in sin. For if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, then we will not inherit eternal life with God regardless of what faith in Jesus we profess.
But if we are following Jesus Christ with our lives wholeheartedly, and he is truly our Lord and Master, and if we are sharing the truth of the gospel, and not this watered down one meant to appease human flesh, then we will be rejected by these market-driven churches which are trying to attract the world to their gatherings. For we will not fit in with their marketing schemes and goals, and so they may persecute us, discard us, toss us to the curb, and otherwise want nothing to do with us.
Jesus is Coming Back
Now I can’t say that I totally understand this next section, but what I get out of it is that there is a day coming when God is going to open people’s eyes to the reality of the evil that they have done to his true servants, and perhaps they will even be forced to admit that God was with those of us who are his true followers and that we are the loved of God. For in this present life, that is not happening. Many of us have truly been discarded by these market-driven churches and they don’t even acknowledge our existence or that the blessing of God is on our lives and on our ministry, which is of God.
Now this next part is interpreted several different ways, but if you look it up in the Greek interlinear, the phrase “keep you from” is really intended to say, “keep you through,” which has to do from the interior outwards, out from within, out of the depths of the source and extending to its impact on the object. So the indication is not that this is an escape from the hour of trial, but that the Lord will keep us, who have kept his word about patient endurance, in his care through the hour of trial.
And then there is the encouragement that our Lord is coming again, and so we are to hold fast to what we have in Christ Jesus our Lord, i.e. our faith, and our walks of holiness and obedience, so that no one may seize our crown. And how might they do that? If we didn’t stay the course, and we got lazy and unconcerned about our walks of faith, we might be ripe to deception and to changing courses, so this is why we have to hold fast to the word of truth and stay the course.
But if we remain in Christ in walks of obedience and surrender to our Lord, and we do not revert to living in sin again, then we have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
I Stand in Awe
By Mark Altrogge
You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above
And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You
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