Philadelphia, the church of brotherly love, is the only church listed in the book of Revelation that God does not have something against. Last post we looked at the first of three vivid symbolic descriptions that characterize the reason for Philadelphia’s standing before God.
This post we will delve into the concept that Christ is the “One who has the key of David” (Revelation 3:7) and unfold God’s message for us through that phrase.
The message to Philadelphia begins, “The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens.” Revelation 3:7
In Isaiah 40:25 God calls Himself “the holy one” and by Jesus applying the designation to Himself He is declaring His divinity to the church. But, Jesus is also “ the true one” and thus hates sin, deception and epitomizes sinless perfection in and of Himself.
What is important for us to understand is that the door that stands open for the church of Philadelphia is only possible because Jesus holds the key within His hand. John Stott writes in What Christ Thinks of the Church, “The language is borrowed from Isaiah 22 where it is used of a certain Eliakim. He was one of the three delegates chosen to negotiate for the kingdom of Judah with the Assyrian Rabshakeh. This was doubtless because of the honorable position he occupied at the palace. He had been made steward over King Hezekiah’s household. God gave him this authority, calling him, ‘a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah,’ and added, ‘I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut and none shall open.’ ” 2 Kings 18:17, 18 p. 107
Eliakim was a type of Jesus, for it is Jesus who has the keys to heaven and only He shall open and no one shut, or shut and no one open.
It is Jesus who holds the key to the door of our salvation. Through Jesus the gates of heaven and salvation are open to all believers through His shed blood. He holds the keys and no one can work his way into the Kingdom. It is only through Jesus, the keeper of the keys, that we have assurance.
Any sinner may now enter into the inner sanctuary and into the presence of God now, with confidence “by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which He opened for us through the curtain, that is, His flesh” Hebrews 10:19, 20 What amazing good news. Praise God for all He has done for us and in us through His grace and love.
Jesus holds the keys to the open door but remember from our last post that the door is narrow and will not always be open. Now is the time for us to put our faith in Jesus and enter into relationship with Him.
24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. (Luke 13:24-28)
I can be a regular churchgoer and never walk through the open door and the result is that God will say, “I don’t know you.” In North America we are free of persecution, for the most part, we live easy lives and good lives as Christians. We spend our time listening to prosperity gospel pastors seeking out tips on how to expand our wealth and fortune.
We love our big churches, celebrity pastors, Christian music and a host of other church activities. We work to keep our doctrine and beliefs sound, but if we have never entered through the narrow door we don’t know Jesus personally. God calls us to be so much more than a nominal Christian taking up space Sunday mornings in church.
Jesus calls us to enter through the narrow door, the door of discipleship where we lay our baggage down and pick up the cross and allow Him to lead us and guide us in all that we do and all that we are. And if these verses in Luke 13 are not enough to convince us that we need to be on the inside when the door closes, open your Bible to Matthew 25:1-13 and read about the five girls who were not ready when the bridegroom returned. What a terrible experience it would be to cry, “Lord, lord, open to us,” only to hear, “I do not know you.”
There is another aspect to the keys of David and that is God unlocks certain doors for ministry and other doors are not open at a particular time. We would be foolish to rush into doors that are not open and ignore doors that are.
Some of us, with the best intentions, seek out people to tell about Jesus and wonder why we don’t have success. It could be those doors are closed at that moment. Meanwhile, a husband, wife or our children may be forgotten in our evangelist zeal.
As Christians we need to become very serious about our relationship with God. Prayer, Bible study and community are essential for us if we are to grow spiritually and grasp the opportunity to enter into the narrow gate that Jesus has opened with the key of David.
As a new Christian I barged through every door I could find without waiting on Jesus to direct and lead me to the doors He had opened. The results were not pretty. Today, too many of us still rush in not waiting on Him “who has the keys of David” to lead us to the open heart.
Let us pray for guidance and wisdom and patience in all that we do in our Christian walk that we will enter in by the narrow gate and allow Jesus to dwell within our hearts
* Please remember to pray for the Christians who are suffering persecution for their faith in many countries around the world. These people remain true to Christ even unto death. There is a great evil settling on this earth and we must be vigilant in our prayers and stay close to Christ. Our hope is in Christ and he is faithful to his people. Please take the time to read about what is taking place in the world around us at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…