Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Philadelphia – the serving church

“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” (Revelation 3: 7.8)

Years ago I remember a letter arriving from a Communist. It ended, ‘Your jammy little job will go for a Burton. And not before it is time.’

So it seemed with the church at Philadelphia (now the Turkish city of Alasehir). Hated and persecuted, it was – like Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11) - precious to Christ, with no word of criticism! Notice three symbols here.

1. THE KEY (v.7). The clue to ‘the key of David’ is in Isaiah 22:22, where the key of King David’s house was placed with his steward, with the words, ‘What he opens, no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.’ The steward is but an illustration of the authority of Christ!

2. THE DOOR (v.8). The ‘open door’ set before the Philadelphian church symbolised its opportunities – ready for the taking! A Christian leader years ago regularly prayed, “Lord, give me eyes to see, and grace to seize, every opportunity for Thee.” Could your church so pray?

3. THE PILLAR (v. 12). Permanence is the emphasis! In a city often shaken by earthquakes, as Philadelphia was, this symbol would have meant much to the fragile, persecuted church. Permanence and stability are the rewards for faithful service to the Church’s divine Head!

Take these seven verses of Scripture as a model for your own church!