Philadelphia - Open Doors
Open your Bibles to Revelation 3: 7 -13 and in so doing, you open to the sixth of seven letters our Lord Jesus wrote to seven literal, historic churches. Each church was given a powerful message from Christ.....each letter closes (2:7,11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22) with an application to all "who have ears.”
Now, just before we plunge into this letter, ask yourself: Why did Christ not admonish this church for any error? This is the second church that is so blessed! Philadelphia and Smyrna were uncondemned! The reason is:
Smyrna was purified by obediently suffering persecution.
Philadelphia was purified by obediently fulfilling God's commission.
One church was suffering, one church was serving.
One church was standing alone, another was speaking out.
Are we standing up and speaking for Jesus? Let me share the life story of one who was speaking for Jesus:
It was a typical flight. One that occurs thousands of times every day around the world. Ethiopian Air Flight 961 took off November 23rd, 1996 from Addis Ababa. Onboard were 163 passengers and 12 crew members. Among those flying that Saturday were Mr. & Mrs. Andy Meakins. Andy was an elder at the International Evangelical Church of Addis. That large Bible believing church was pastored by a dear friend of mine up until last year. In less than two hours more than 120 people died, including five from Andy’s church. Andy never survived the crash.
Somewhere near Kenya the hijack began. An unidentified number of men declared themselves escaped convicts taking the flight to Australia. Then things turned horrible. Brandishing an ax and a supposed bomb they stormed the flight deck. After savagely beating the copilot and throwing him down they proceeded to order the plane to turn eastward. In spite of the nearly empty fuel tank they forced the pilot to continue.
With dangerously low supplies the pilot tried to plead for a refueling stop to no avail. After trying to hug the coast, the hijackers threatened to blow up the plane and so the pilot tried to make it to the Indian Ocean island of Comers. When it became evident they would not make it, Captain Luella Abate announced to the cabin passengers, “Listen, guys, we’re all dead people, there is no argument now.” People began to scream one witness said, others began to pray.
The crash is now well known as the film of a Japanese honeymooning couple caught the descent, dip of a wing, the flip, the crash and the disintegration of the 767 over the water. What they never said on the news was contained in a fax to us this week. It was the inside the cabin account of Andy Meakins wife who did survive the crash. This is what she told her church . . .
As soon as the captain told us we were going to crash I heard the distinct snap of my husbands seat belt. He was up and out of his chair. Going down the aisle row by row he earnestly shared the gospel of Christ with any who would listen. Before the sickening screech of twisting metal and the 110 mph crash of our plane into the water Andy had signaled me that 20 passengers had trusted in Jesus for their salvation. Andy never made it back to the safety of his seat belt. But, he took twenty souls with him to Paradise.
You see there was a safe spot in that plane. A shelter where no twisted wreckage could permanently harm. A haven that no crushing impact could erase. Andy knew and shared the Divine Directions. “God’s directions are the only way to make it to happiness now and forever!!” He knew how to escape the plane before it was too late for eternity. Do you know those directions? Are you following them? Are you sharing them with those who God has placed around you?
Part One : Meet the AssemblY
Its Name: Philadelphia which literally means “brotherly love”. Was thirty miles southeast of Sardis on the road to Laodicea. This is seventh time this word Philadelphia is used in the New Testament.
Hebrews 13:l says let Philadelphia continue “brotherly love”, what a name. What a church that must have been and if we let it continue, what a church for God’s glory!
Its Climate: The most striking historical note on this city was the very frequent tremors and earthquakes that were characteristic of this area....This city had been destroyed by quakes several times. Fissures, ground cracks, volcanic activity in thermal pools, hot mud and regular tremors were common. In fact, at times the population would go out of the city and live in tents to be safe from shocks, after shocks and bigger quakes...Thus, that explains Christ’s words in verse 12 “not go out anymore’. They were so used to leaving town in haste for safety...no more. Christ gives enduring safety.
So first off, this was an assembly with a great name, “brotherly love,” and a terrible location, earthquake alley. And a precious promise--live out my love in you and someday you’ll be safe with me forever!!!
Part Two : Meet the Author Jesus Christ
'These things says:
He who is holy,
He who is true,
“He who has the key of David,
He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:
First, Jesus is holy. Jesus Christ wants us to remember that He as God the son is “Holy”. Let me help you see this attribute HOLY.
Leviticus 11:44 - I am holy says the Lord God.
Isaiah 57:15 - God alone is holy says the Lord God. God alone is holy > Jesus Christ is our Holy God, the Son.
Secondly, Jesus is the truth. “He who is true.”
John 17:3 “This is life eternal that they may know thee. The only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Here Jesus claims oneness with the Father.
Look at 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
John is particularly fond of that word true. Paul describes the end of the age as a time of lawlessness and deception. Jesus Christ is here declared to be holy and true. When lawlessness surrounds, he who is holy keeps them -- when deception abounds there is one who is truth.
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