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ATN 7 - "Of Keys and Open Doors"

Review: “All Things New”

  • John is in exile on the island of Patmos, a Roman mining colony (He will be later released under Emperor Nerva, and was “in the Spirit” on the “Lord’s Day” and had a vision

  • The Book of Revelation is the conclusion of the epic story of God’s redemption of humanity, where we are fully reunited with our Creator and are present with Him as we were in the Garden

  • The Kingdom of God is fully realized: all sickness, pain, sorrow, and death – and all those who cause it – are removed from the universe

  • There is universal restoration – all things are made new

  • This book is an apokalypsis (a figurative narrative which reveals) and prophecy (the speaking of God’s will), and a letter (to real people for life-application). It’s a manifesto for the Kingdom of God – a public declaration of God’s intentions; things which “are” and “are to come”

  • A blessing on those who “hear” and “keep” what is revealed here – think, the “Shema.” Update: there is no word for “obedience” in Hebrew)

    • shema levot: Hb.“hearing hearts” vs. obedience (Western view)

    • NOT a mental evaluation with obedience upon agreement, put an open and willing heart which responds to God

    • To hear is to obey, belief takes form ONLY in action

  • The tribulation and the Kingdom and the patient endurance. Yet, it is all “in Jesus” – making it possible and hope-filled

  • Ephesus: Commended for works, charged with a loss of heart, called to do the things they did at first

  • Smyrna: no rebuke, only encouragement!

  • Pergamum: commended for testifying to the faithfulness of Christ, rebuked for food offered to idols, sexual immorality, and tolerating the Nicolatians

  • Thyatira: commended for love, faith, service and patient endurance, rebuked for allowing “jezebel” a false prophetess in the church

  • Sardis: had the reputation of being alive, but was really dead, with their mission not completed. Yet there were a few who have walked the Jesus way of life, whose example they should follow


The Message to the Sixth Church: Philadelphia

  • Philadelphia is about 28 miles southeast of Sardis

  • Was in a volcanic region with continual earthquakes, and had suffered an devastating earthquake in 17 A.D. from which the city was still recovering

    • Main temple was of Dionysius/Bacchus, god of wine, fertility, ritual madness and religious ecstasy

  • V.7 – “the holy one” is a term used only of God Himself, Christ is making a statement that He is one with the Father

    • “the true one” – the One true God who has proven faithful

    • “who has the Key of David” – Jesus has complete authority over the “household of David” – the Kingdom of God and His “city” the new Jerusalem – which Jesus opens and shuts: Isaiah 22:20-22

  • V.8a – Jesus is intimately aware of their works

  • V.8b – I give you the gift of an open door, which no one can shut. Two meanings:

    • An open door to His Kingdom – salvation is assured

    • An open door for His Kingdom ministry – to do greater works

  • V.8c – “I know that you have little power” – the church is small, weak and persecuted

  • V.8d – you have kept my commands and, therefore, have not denied Me

  • V.9 – the church in this city is in conflict with the Jews, who at the end of all things, will realize who Christ is and how He has loved the Church

  • V.10 – Because they have kept covenant with Jesus, He will keep covenant with them as their Protector: Revelations 1:9

  • V.11 – They need to hold fast what they have until Jesus comes, lest they lose their “crown” – their place with Him in eternity

  • V.12 – Two pillars – 1 Kings 7:21 – the old temple had two named pillars – Jachin and Boas, speaking of strength and stability. An interesting prospect to those who lived in a quake-ridden place

    • They would be in God’s presence and never leave

    • He would claim them as His own - include them in the “New Jerusalem” – His people, and give them a new identity

  • V.13 – shema the Spirit

Why This Matters

  • It reminds us that Jesus has ALL AUTHORITY in heaven and on Earth! Matthew 28:18

  • He gifts us with an “Open door” TO His Kingdom and FOR His Kingdom work: Ephesians 2:8-10

  • Like the church at Philadelphia, in our weakness:

    • We are saved: Romans 5:6

    • We boast in the Lord, not ourselves: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

    • His power is made perfect: 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

    • We can find His strength to do His works: John 15:5

    • Even in our weakness He provides strength for us to become and remain obedient in every circumstance: Philippians 4:10-13

  • When we walk in covenant obedience to the Lord, we can expect to have a stability of heart and mind in the midst of the world being shaken: Hebrews 12:27-29

  • Jesus has the “key” to open the door to our future in Him! As we walk with Jesus with shema levot, “hearing hearts,” we can enter into the grace and destiny which He has for each of us!

  • He has the key and has opened the door!

Your Next Steps

  • What did the Holy Spirit point out to you today?

  • For reflection:

    • What do you do when you feel weak?

    • If money was no limitation and you knew that you wouldn’t fail, what do you think God’s “good works” would be for you to “walk in?”

  • Read next week’s passage: Revelation 3:14-22

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