Write this to Philadelphia, to the Angel of the church. The Holy, the True—David’s key in his hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open—speaks:
“I see what you’ve done. Now see what I’ve done. I’ve opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don’t have much strength; I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn’t deny me when times were rough.
Philadelphia was a city that was one of the most beautiful in all of ancient Greece. It was one of the wealthiest places in the world. In 17 AD an earthquake hit the city. It was one of the greatest earthquakes in history. Many of the residents were swallowed up in yawning chasms created by the disaster. Accounts are given of huge mountains sinking, of former plains seen heaved aloft, of fires flashing out amid the ruins. The city was completely destroyed. As the massive and beautiful city was toppled by the natural disaster, the residents were forced to live outside the city in makeshift homes and tents.
Once outside the protection of the once massive city walls that had before protected the citizens they were now vulnerable to attacks to thieves, murderers and bandits as they were victimized in the areas outside the city walls. Many thousands of the city residents died in those months, as they fell prey to the crimes of visiting criminal that took advantage of the vulnerable position.
John was writing here in Revelation to a church there in the city of Philadelphia. These church members had been removed from their homes, struggled to live in the conditions that followed the earthquake and survived the conditions in the tent city while the restoration of the city was taking place. By the time they received this letter, the city had been rebuilt, but the citizens were still traumatized because of everything that had happened to them. As the church received this letter, John was saying to them;” You are going to be fine, have no fear; God has set before you an open door”.
We read in this passage in Revelation what John said to that church. He said to paraphrase “You are doing extremely well! Your character is amazing. You are sharing Christ and your faith in God with others despite your circumstances. You are standing strong, unwavering for God and His word. You are teaching others of your faith. God has set before you an open door in the midst of all your trials and tribulations; recognize this. If you will simply recognize the open door God has placed in front of you, and walk through that door, no one on earth can shut the door that God has opened for you.
We should not be labored and worried about the tragedies of our past. If an earthquake strikes your life and everything around you seems to topple, just realize that God is in control and He is faithful to deliver you and place before you open door filled with success. Do not worry or be afraid if you see a door in your life close and you are feeling afraid. The door that closes in your life, could be a job, it could be a relationship or any number of things. The principles here in Revelation are simple.
- You don’t have much strength, I know that. We need to realize that we are weak and He is strong. Simple theology for God to work in your life. Surrender to His will, His strength will always deliver and guide you.
- You used what you had to keep my Word. When we use what we have to keep His Word, His Word becomes a living force in our lives. What we have is faith in a risen Savior that delivered us from sin. He will also deliver us in our time of need. We also have the power of His Spirit working in us to direct our thoughts, give us comfort and guide our paths. In His Word is direction for our life and that life more abundant in Christ Jesus.
- You didn’t deny me when times were rough. Times will be rough, times will be difficult and times will be hard. Circumstances will sometimes make us doubt everything we believe in. But there is good news, He who has overcome death itself is alive in you and me, and He is always working on our behalf to give us strength and deliver us from the “earthquakes” that occur in our lives. So don’t deny Him when the going gets tough. This doesn’t mean just to deny His name, don’t deny Him the opportunity to intercede on your behalf. Submit to Him and His will and allow Him to open the door that He wants you to go through and trust His Spirit to guide you to the place where you can rebuild the tragedies in your life through Christ Jesus.
The safest place to be at is where The Lord is leading. The Lord is always opening and closing doors if we are following Him. Doors in our lives will close, sometimes we must leave them shut so the future can open up for us. It may seem that the circumstances do not always make sense, but we must trust God’s wisdom for our lives. The point of full surrender to the will of God is exciting and liberating, yet sometimes extremely frustrating. We know God calls us to trust Him in ALL things, and it will always make things worse if we trust in our own thoughts ability and reasoning. We MUST be resolved to follow Him at all costs.
God’s greatest glory is not us in never falling, but in rising every time we fall in Christ Jesus.
When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.
– Helen Keller