I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. – Rev. 3:8 NIV
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The Apostle John whom Bible scholars record to have probably been the only one out of the twelve Disciples who did not die the death of a martyr was imprisoned in the island of Patmos when the Lord decided to show him in a vision what seems like the report card of the seven churches in Asia. The sixth of the listed churches, not in any particular order, was the church in Philadelphia. In that report which started from verse seven of chapter three of the book of Revelation, the disciple John introduces the Almighty God as the one that is true and holy and holds the key of David.
In one single statement, the disciple John captures an impressive image of the character of the Almighty God – Rev. 3:7a.
- He described Him as true which means that He is not in any way fake or false. A fake god will make pretentious claims of possession of ability over the challenges of life of its adherents. Anyone who depends on such a god will definitely experience failure on the very first encounter such may have with the challenges of life irrespective of the gravity of the challenge as such a person will immediately realise that what he/she is calling support is no support at all.
- The disciple John says the Almighty God is a holy god. This implies that He will not tolerate any unclean act around Himself and whoever wants to worship Him must do so in holiness. It means that such must be dedicated or consecrated to God in all aspects of life. This God will not tolerate any form of competition with other gods.
- Equally important is the awareness that this is the god that holds the key of the beloved which is what it means when John said He hold the key of David. He it is that holds the key to success in all areas of life and the key to victory over every life challenge for His beloved and never hesitates to use it on their behalf. The disciple John says when He opens a door, no power can shut it and when he shuts it likewise, no power can open it. He is indeed a great god.
The disciple John reports that the Almighty God acknowledged the dedication of the Church in Philadelphia. Despite their little strength, they had kept faith in His Word and did not deny Him – Rev. 3:8b. They kept the Lord’s command not only to endure but to endure patiently – Rev. 3:10. Because of this their act of dedication to His worship, He was going to do the following:
- He was going to make the people who called themselves Jews when to Him, the Almighty God, they were synagogues of Satan, come and bow before them and acknowledge that He the Almighty God indeed loves His beloved – Rev. 3:9.
- He will also keep them safe from the hour of trial that will come to test the inhabitants of the earth – Rev. 3:10.
One can never completely list all the advantages that is inherent in being dedicated to the Lord in worship and there can be no valid excuse for not worshipping the Almighty God exclusively. The church in Philadelphia had people who had very little strength acknowledged and highlighted by the Almighty God but that did not stop them from remaining dedicated to the worship of the Almighty God. The Christian today must admit that a decision not to worship God is not because of the challenge that is before the Christian but because of the non-willingness to endure pain and distress for what he/she claims to believe in. Many Christians experienced worse situations than what the Christian today may be experiencing but they did not as a result of that deny their faith. They were human beings just as we were. It is better to continue to plead with God to grant the ability to over-come a faith threatening situation rather than compromising one’s faith in the Almighty God.
The Apostle Paul could not help but think aloud when wondering what could separate the Christian from the love of Christ – Rom. 8:34-36. He could not think of any. That same thought process should also be that of the Christian today. It is not because the pain and distress associated with all these conditions are not sufficient to sway one away from the Christian path, but because nothing, absolutely nothing can replace the eternal joy that is found in Christ Jesus. It transcends this realm into life after life. The one who does not consider life in eternity will not mind trading away the relationship with Christ due to earthly challenges but the one who is wise will stick with the Lord. This is because with retention of faith in the Lord, there is the very high likelihood that the Almighty God will recompense such by showing up in the situation, but again just as the three Hebrews said to king Nebuchadnezzar, even if the Lord does not appear in that situation, it is still not enough reason to swap the worship of the Almighty God for anything or condition – Dan. 3:16-18. It is simply not worth it. This is because, just as in the case of the church in Philadelphia, the Almighty God will show up somehow, and justify Himself as a reliable god, if you remain in your faith. He encouraged them just as same applies to the Christian today, to hold on to the faith as He will come very soon and reward such ( Rev. 3:11-12).
- He will reward such with the position of a being a pillar in His temple.
- Such will be come permanent resident of His earthly and heavenly temple.
- Such will have and bear a new name that will reflect the new status of being a child with a new father, and a new address that will show that they no longer belong to this present world but to the new Jerusalem that will be descended from heaven.
- Such has before him/her an open door to greatness that no one can shut – Rev. 3:8
This renewed status is what will entitle such to the life of peace and comfort, probably in this world but definitely in the world to come.
It is true that there are life challenges that are really life threatening but the ultimate such can lead to will be to shed the mortal body which is called death leaving the immortal soul to face the next life. Whether those challenges are there or not, whether man overcomes them or not, that remains the faith of all who were born into this world anyway. So the fear of such transition, called death, should never be the reason for the Christian to lose the relationship with God. All will eventually live eternally after dropping this mortal body, but that decision during those challenging times could decide where the soul will live eternally. In that state, there will perpetual living but there will be no chance to swap positions as there will be no opportunity to repent. All decisions will be cast on stone. You can make a sacrifice today for a better eternity and God may give you in addition, peace in this world, but you must remember that no matter how long you may live in this world, it will never be comparable to the time to be spent in eternity. It will be wise to prepare for then than lose all because of the joy of now. May God guide your decision in Jesus name. Amen.