Thursday, June 18, 2020

Are You an Authentic Believer in Christ?

Jesus is inviting us to be an authentic church or an authentic Christian, and the world is waiting to see just what that looks like. The more you get to know Jesus, the more authentic He becomes and the more substances there is to Him. The more you know a real believer, there is an authenticity you come to respect, not become upset with. So if we want to be real witnesses, we need to be authentic. We need to be real. When we do something right, we need to give God the glory and when we do something wrong, we need to ask those around us to forgive us.

We need to be a real witness, but sometimes we blow our witness in our life and think we have disappointed God, but there is one way that God allows us to redeem that, is when we go to them and tell them we were wrong. We tell them I shouldn't have said or did that, it's not what the Bible teaches or what Jesus would want. I was wrong and I ask you to forgive me. Please don't judge Christianity based on my poor performance. It doesn't matter who you say this to, you will have gained their respect of those you offended. The only reason you won't do it is pride. It's amazing. Jesus is Holy and True and that is why we are following Him.

John 8:32 ~ "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

Lets take a look at the pastor of the Church of Philadelphia. We know that he must have been a pastor that loved the Lord, because the church was grounded in the Bible. He cared for the church, who tended to it in its generalities and its specifics.

1 John 4:8 ~ "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

The pastor at the Church of Philadelphia had a passion for the world, to spread the simple gospel, simply. He was the kind of pastor who had a tenacity toward his calling. He could not, would not, deny what God had done is his life, church and the world.

Jeremiah 23:4 ~ "I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, no will any be missing, declares the LORD."

It is my personal opinion that if there is ever going to be any true revival today, there will be a revival of Biblical holiness and Biblical truth. God will begin that with faithful men and women of God.

When Jesus calls you to follow Him, He calls attention to His lordship, His kingdom.

Revelation 3:7 ~ "To the angel of the church of Philadelphia write: 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."

As we match this attribute of Jesus to previous scriptures, we see here a slight variation. Before you could see those comparisons in verbatim. The Book of Revelation demands us to know more of the Old Testament than any other book of the Bible.

Revelation 1:17-18 ~ "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he place his right hand on me and said: ' Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."

Isaiah 22:22 offers us a Messianic prophecy, ~ "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."

Hebrews 3:6 ~ But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast."

God, the Father, is giving the keys to the heaven treasury to His Son. These are the keys of opportunity to fund a war against hell, and to wage a campaign of death.

Revelation 3:7b ~ "What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open."

These are the keys of opportunity to communicate holiness or to tell the truth. Jesus is LORD, and these open and closed doors are God-given opportunities custom made for you - it's called ministry.

Luke 6:46 ~ "Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say?"

Do you know what an oxymoron is? Like jumbo shrimp! Oxymorons don't fit. To say Lord, Lord but you don't do that things He calls us to do. We can't call Him Lord. The church at Philadelphia did what God called them to do. We need to ask our ourselves this question, are we faithful to obey when Jesus calls? Only here and in the Church of Smyrna are commendations , no judgments, no rebukes, no corrections. Just praise! They were a faithful church!

When Jesus calls you to follow Him, He calls through opportunities to obey, prepared by Him. When the church asks for opportunities to help us, it is Jesus calling you to fill those needs, if the church that is asking you is your home church. You are there to serve Jesus, get involved in prayer meetings. You will obey the Lord, you will be blessed in ways you won't believe. You might grow the church by what you are called to do. God is never at work when everything is covered and there is nothing for you to do. When an opportunity comes, Jesus is opening a door. Jesus knows what you did last summer! He knows what we have done all of our lives as a Christian, in His glory or for your glory. I know everything.

Revelation 3:8 ~ "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."

Commendation 1 of 5: "I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door," Jesus is the one who is responsible for opening and closing opportunities or doors. They could claim this if judgment came to them at that moment. He doesn't elaborate on it. What is an open door for? To go through them. You have to remember don't try to force a door that Jesus has shut. When Jesus opens a door, you better go through it. When He closes it, you better stay out. What is an open door?

1 Corinthians 16:8-9 ~ " But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me."

Whenever there is an open door, plan on being attacked. This church corporately could literally take stock of their ministry efforts and view the fruit of their labors.

2 Corinthians 2:12 ~ "Now I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me,"

Colossians 4:3 ~ "And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains."

An opportunity to witness was commendation 2 of 5:  "that no one can shut." Revelation 3:8b.

John 10:9 ~ "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture."

Remember the introduction to this letter? Attalus Philadelphius was the cities founder, and it was his intention to create a city that could broadcast the Greek language and Roman culture to the world. Scholars have referred to the city of Philadelphia as the Mission city or Missionary city. We need to understand it's geography. "Philadelphia the Door." Ramsey states that the physical location fully explains the words of Jesus here...Philadelphia was located at the upper end of a long valley, that makes its way to the Sea. From Philadelphia as it was situated on the Roman Imperial Highway, that great trade and travel route of the empire (aka The Post Way), you had to travel through the city of Philadelphia to reach the interior of the Asiatic peoples. It was located on a freeway, the Pony Express of that day. Any city you had to go to, you had to go through Philadelphia. You've heard of the Appian Way? It means opportunities to obey! Jesus has the keys to any door of opportunity. Wait for the opportunity to obey Christ, and when it comes around don't sit around and wonder if this is it! Go through the door! You understand that mystery that Jesus is using in this letter?

If you are a Christian, God has placed you in a sphere of opportunity to be an influence for Him in where He has placed you.

Commendation 3 of 5:

Revelation 3:8b ~ "I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name."

They had very little of their own strength. This was not an insult to the church. They were not self-reliant as a church, but rather God dependent. It means they didn't rely much on itself. When it does, it goes arrogant and becomes prideful.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ~ "But he said to me, ' My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 

It is not the talents of the worship team or the shouts of the choir. It's not the seating or the window or the eloquence of the speaker, it is Jesus Christ opening doors. May we all be believers of little strength.

Commendation 4 of 5: "You have kept my word." - Revelation 3:8b.

They had not left God's Word behind, and they didn't replaced it with something else. The Word was authoritative. They didn't leave their Bibles behind. Are you a Christian who goes through the Bible? Are you in a church that does not go through the Bible?

Commendation 5 of 5: "You have not denied My name." ` Revelation 3:8b.

They haven't tried to hide my authority and deity and they prayed in Jesus' name. The biggest opposition to praying in Jesus' name has been from other churches, not atheists. Organized religions are the greatest proponents to not praying in Jesus name so as not to offend the community. If you don't pray in Jesus name,  it will not be heard based on Jesus' Word and His teachings.

They stayed faithful to Jesus' Word, Bible doctrine and didn't deny His name. They worshiped the Jesus of the Bible. Because of that opportunities abounded!

We will finish up this study on the church of Philadelphia tomorrow! 

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