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Home School of Suffering Christ's Encouragement for a Discouraged Church - Text

Christ's Encouragement for a Discouraged Church - Text

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Christ's Encouragement for a Discouraged Church - Revelation 3:7-13

Paul Thompson

Bible Readings

Revelation 3:7-13

Isaiah 54:5 - 55:5


I want with the help of God the Holy Spirit to encourage you from the book of Revelation this evening and in particular Christ’s letter to the Church at Philadelphia. Don’t be put off reading the book of Revelation because it’s a difficult book to understand. It is also one of the most encouraging books in the Bible. It is written to help us be overcomers as we battle the world, the flesh and the Devil. Its theme is the glorious victory of the Risen conquering Christ over Satan and His enemies.


How can we be encouraged?


We can be encouraged by believing Christ’s words to the church in Philadelphia. I want to suggest It’s a church not unlike your church this evening. Will you come with me now and step into the shoes of the church at Philadelphia and believe the risen Christ is talking to you this evening and encouraging you?


Who where the Philadelphians?


The Name of the city means brotherly love. It was named after a Ruler’s love for His brother. The whole area was prone to frequent earth quakes so the people didn’t live in the city as it had been destroyed by earthquakes. This made them very nervous.


The Church was also small and greatly troubled by local Jews who persecuted the Christians saying they where the true members of God’s Kingdom and that their Messiah and faith were wrong.


Do you feel small and troubled like the church at Philadelphia?


What does Christ say to her and to you his church this evening?


  • Firstly Church - King Jesus promises you’re his Church

  • Secondly Church - King Jesus promises you’ll preserve as his Church

  • Thirdly Church – King Jesus promises your members of His Kingdom!



Firstly - King Jesus promises you’re his Church



We can believe his promise and be encouraged because of


King Jesus’ character looks at  v7a “These are the words of him who is holy and true”


Why does the Spirit say that He is Holy and true? Because He our King takes the title for God we find in Isaiah 40:25 "To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.


As He said to the Philadelphians so He says to you as church, “Look there’s no one to compare to me, because I’ll the Holy One I’m not going to lie to you or break my promise to you as church


No, my Holy character forbids it, as I’m one with my father the Holy God I’m therefore the true one. You may be oppressed by people who claim to be righteous –these Jews who say they speak the truth – that their are the rightful heirs of the Kingdom of God.


And this must have filled them with doubts – is the Kingdom of God ours? Do you have similar doubts because of your present situation as a Church? Are we part of Christ’s Kingdom because we are weak and shepherd less?


But listen to what King Jesus say to you? Listen to me for I am Holy and true...


Why are we to listen to Him?


Because He holds in his hand… what?


Look at v7b “ The  key of David…” In Chapter 1 our king holds the keys of death and Hades and in chapter 2 the seven stars


Why a key and why of David? David we know was the King of Israel and a shadow of the true King Jesus Christ.


Now in David’s day a key was a thing of substance, you tucked it into your girdle, your belt or you slung if over your shoulder, Remember the prophecy read to us to Shebna and Eliakim in Isaiah 22: 15- 25


Let me repeat verse 22 “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.


You see Eliakim failed in his God given authority to control the doors to the Kings interests, He failed because he let his family be hangers on helping themselves to the king’s wealth


To be a key holder is to exercise great responsibility - used to be when you where 21 you where given a key. You where meant to be responsible!



Notice the Spirit takes up the language of Isaiah and says, this Holy and true one isn’t going to fall down on His responsibility. He has the key to His place to His Kingdom.


But notice it’s because He has the Key, not these Jews who are oppressing them with there torts


No He says to us He has total sovereign power and control over who comes into His kingdom.


But he hasn’t  just kept this authority to Himself


That’s why we read in the Gospels Christ’s promise to Peter


Matthew 16 19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."


Remember how Peter used this authority to preach the gospel at Pentecost  and in Acts 2 how 3000 are converted and enter the Kingdom of God and are added to the Church – if you’re a Christian He’s saved you so can’t He save others in Cessnock and bring them into His Kingdom & the Church? Of course He can!


But look at what the Spirit now says  v7c “What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”


In the midst of this opposition King Jesus says to you as Church


Look at v8a “I know your deeds.”


King Jesus says he has complete knowledge of what your are doing as a Church; He’s sympathetic to your ministry in this Church. He say’s I know about it. I appreciate it. Now these deeds must include living faithfully as a Christian, but I think it’s more than that.


How is He going to overcome the opposition you face? The opposition maybe in this town from non Christians or even churches to your gospel ministry as church.


Here’s King Jesus answer – it’s an amazing promise to opened doors!


Look at the next phrase v8b “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” He repeats what he said in v7 but adds what he’s now done for the Church. I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” What an amazing promise for you as Church this evening! But we are…such and such be gone unbelief.


King Jesus promises to open the door not only of His Kingdom thru you but He has chosen who becomes Christians before the foundation of the world. You can’t muck it up as you share Christ with your family and friends and workmates. I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” In other words to preach the gospel and evangelize here in this city!


Remember the Apostle Paul said a door of opportunity had been opened to Him to preach the gospel and what mighty things God did through that!

But Christ’s knows your condition as you engage opposition to your ministry as a Church


Look at v8c “I know that you have little strength,” why did they have little strength. Because of these deeds we have just referred to, the opposition they face from the Jews who are oppressing them and their current situation, they are like you a small Church as we said and they have the constant threat of earth quakes.


So He knows your situation this evening.  He knows that some of you are not young any more. Oh how He sympathizes with you in your weakness as a Church this evening.


But notice the last part of v 8 “yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” They are living the gospel in life and have spoken it and has stood up for Christ as Messiah. Now like them you  haven’t done it perfectly but Christ says He looks on our heart motives and they have been good. Be encouraged by His words  in the midst of your troubles as Church


Now what does he says about the Philadelphian’s opponents


Look at v9a “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan,


We met this same phrase “synagogue of Satan” in chapter 2: 9 concerning the Church at Ephesus “ Those who says they are of the… synagogue of Satan…”


A synagogue was a Jewish gathering place where they met for worship. Why does Christ call it a synagogue of Satan? It sounds a bit harsh


Remember in Matthew 16 : 19 when Jesus comes to the disciples and he tells them that He must suffer, be killed and rise on the third day to life.


Then what does Peter do? We read …


V 22 "Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you."



To deny that Jesus is not going to suffer, be killed and raise on the third day to life is tantamount to satanic, it’s just what Satan wants to happen. Why? Because if he doesn’t suffer, be killed and rise on the third day to life, there can be no salvation! No hope of my sins being forgiven and me having new life and entering Christ’s Kingdom.



Now notice the rest of the verse “who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—“

They are saying they are the true believers; they are the right inheritors of God’s kingdom, because they have the law and Abraham is there father. But he says they are liars


Isn’t this religious people? I was born a Christian, I believe in God. I’m a good person, You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian - but what does King Jesus say – there lairs – lairs


But look at the rest of the verse - v9b “I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.”


This was a promise for the Philadelphians of their opponents but Church - what a promise to believe and pray this evening! That some of these religious when they hear the gospel  you preach  may fall down before Christ and acknowledge that Yes He is their Messiah and has loved them before the foundation of the world..


What glory that would bring to God   that some of these people who claimed to be true believers got converted through the open door of gospel ministry of this church.

God is promising you.


So Church, despite opposition King Jesus promises you’re his Church – believe it, hang onto it!


Secondly Church - King Jesus promises you’ll preserve in the midst of your trials.



Look at verse 10a “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently,

Both the NIV and the NKJ are very poor translations here; The KJV picks up the words in the original Greek.” the word of my patience, the logos. What is it? If we go back to v8 remember how we said it was living a life that reflected the gospel but it must also refer to the gospel.


And what did the Philadelphia’s do? They held the Gospel as a keep sake, it’s something that is very special to you important – May you continue to hold the glorious gospel as something that is very special to you


How is King Jesus going to preserve you in the midst of trials as church?


He gives you another encouraging promise


Look at v10b “I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.”


It’s similar to what he said to the church at Smyrna in 2:10” Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. He says some of you are  in prison to test you, and suffer persecution ...”


What’s this hour of trial Christ’s talking about? It’s not period of time but the trial itself.


This must include Christian and non Christian. But the emphasis here is not so much on the trial but the assurance that God will preserve you His Church from the judgments associated with His Kingdom.


You can be assured that no matter what God brings upon you in the future as His Church. You are safe, yes you may die or suffer terribly for being a Christian but you will be preserved as we will soon see.


Next church be encouraged because King Jesus promises you that He’s coming back!


Look with me at v11 “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”


The NKJ has behold, fix your attention, and focus your mind on my soon coming. Why? To encourage you in these tuff times you face.



But He not only comforts us with His coming,


He encourages you strongly v11b to “Hold on to what you have...” I take it it’s this word of v8 “yet you have kept my word” it’s refer back to v10 my command to endure patiently.”


What are you to hold onto as church? The Gospel, the good news, and “That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners?”


Why is this? v 11c “So no one will take your crown”. The crown is a symbol of position or status Because Christ has given you entry into His kingdom you will as His subject wears a crown in Heaven because you are His by sovereign right.


So Church, despite opposition King Jesus promises you’re his Church and He promises you’ll preserve in the midst of your trials. But now


Thirdly Church – King Jesus promises your members of His Kingdom!


Look at v 12


“Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him 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 him my new name.”


Notice He says Kingdom membership has one condition He who overcomes…”


As I said at the beginning this is the theme of this book – which we learn to be overcomers and so wear the crown of life.


There are eight references in Revelation to being an overcomer with great promises given to those who do…


.But what is it to overcome?


The same John writes… in his 1st Epistle...


1 John 2 :.14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you has overcome the evil one.”


We overcome as we rely on the power of the Gospel and God’s word to fight against our sinful natures, and the pull of the world and the Devil’s temptations


But notices the Kingdom Membership He promises you this evening as you preserve in the midst of trials this church faces.


Look again at v12


Church - He promises you strength – “I will make a pillar” – remember they lived in an area of earthquakes – Paul says the Church is the pillar of the truth…

Church - He promises you a place – “In the temple of my God “that’s Heaven

Church - He promises you security – “Never again will he leave it.” You’re not alone

Christian He promises you a new names – not just one but three – “the name of my God”- “And the name of the city of my God” and “my new name”


Not the name Jew – but better God – Not a dirty old room for a synagogue–But to live in the city of God


Church King Jesus promises you’re his God’s people, by name, In God’s place heaven and under His Sovereign Rule – oh what a King to worship and believe in


But maybe your are not a subject of King Jesus tonight. You don’t know Him. You’re a stranger to His love and grace and forgiveness. There’s good news for you. He pleads with you in your rebellion and says…


“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. “ Rev 3:20


King Jesus’ finally word to all of us is found in v13 of His love letter to you His Church


“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”


May you believe what the Spirit is saying to you his Church. That despite opposition the risen King Jesus has opened a door of gospel opportunity for you as a Church. But in the midst of your trials as a church King Jesus promises you’ll preserve and be members of His Kingdom!


God says “You’re my people, therefore preserve on mission with My Son Jesus Christ.


May God the Holy Spirit encourage your hearts with these promises He gives you and may you believe what He says for His GloryAmen

Paul Thompson

12 - 6 - 2011



Last Updated on Thursday, 03 May 2012 16:16  

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