Service Video Message Video Message Audio %} Lakeside Christian Church · The Spiritually Alive Church | Dear Church episode 06 Scripture Verses Revelation 3:7-13; Isaiah 22:21-24; Matthew 16:13-19; 1 Peter 2:4-6 Worship Playlist This We Know by PassionEgypt by Bethel MusicYet Not I But Through Christ In Me by Shane & Shane Downloads & Resources The Spiritually Alive Church Dr. Jon Morrissette - 8/27/2023 Dear Church. This morning we consider Christ’s letter to Christians living in Philadelphia. This is the 6th of seven letters written to churches in Asia Minor. The tone of this letter is quite affirming. More than anything, Philadelphia was a church that needed a boost of encouragement. Sometimes the most encouraging truths are also the most simple, or basic truths. Maybe for example, when you were younger, you sang the song, “Jesus loves me.” If you were to jam out on this song, it might raise a few eyebrows! Yet the simple truth of this song is exactly what Philadelphians needed to hear! There were many times in Jesus’ ministry where the Father’s voice boomed from heaven, “This is my Son, whom I love…” If Jesus needed to hear those words, how much more might we need to hear the same? Do we ever outgrow such truths? So let’s dig into this letter… Revelation 3:7-13, “Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: Thus says the Holy One, the true one, the one who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and who closes and no one opens: 8 I know your works. Look, I have placed before you an open door that no one can close because you have but little power; yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Note this: I will make those from the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown. 12 “The one who conquers I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God—the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God—and my new name. 13 “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.” If you’ve been tuning into this series, you have a sense of what is going on. Like the Philadelphians, we live in pluralistic society. There is a high chance there is someone in your immediate work circle (neighborhood, school, family) who is Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, Atheist, Agnostic, Universalist. This is not a political critique, or statement. But the culturally diverse populations of the world are shifting and being shuffled together. Red cards. Black cards. Every number. King, Queens, Jacks… Aces, Spades, Diamonds, Hearts. The die has been cast. The bubble has burst. Whatever monolithic existence Christians once had in America, or even rural America, has long passed. The salt is out of the saltshaker. The good and bad yeast are already in the dough. The roots of weeds and wheat are inseparably tangled. We are the church of Philadelphia. How do you survive in a pluralistic, religiously diverse, religiously hostile, society? The way we survive is to stick to the fundamentals, and be encouraged. This is what the whole letter to Philadelphia is about! (1) First, Be Encouraged to Know Jesus is “The One”. Revelation 3:7, “Thus says the Holy One, the true one…” One of the ways people try to cope in a pluralistic societies is to cook up a good ole’ fashion Burgoo. Did anyone here grow up in a small town? A Burgoo is when they take pork, beef chuck, chicken, deer, turkey, pheasant, and fresh roadkill… and throw it into a big pot in the center of town… along with sliced vegetables, spices (and only the Lord really knows what else). They cook it up all night, and the aroma fills the town, and courageous souls begin lining up. A Theological Burgoo is when you take every religion, philosophy, and idea and try to meld it all together into one giant pot. Jesus is not a chameleon. His favorite color isn’t plaid. His choice entree isn’t Burgoo. I’ve taken note how preachers in deeply pluralistic and religiously violent places (like India) differentiate Christ, and Christian faith, from all other beliefs. They compare and contrast the profound uniqueness, holiness, and truth of Christ. . . with all that might rival the name of Jesus. He’s not just another religious sage—he is the holy one of God. He is not just “a” truth among “truths” but he is THE TRUE ONE, the TRUTH. Stop being theologically lazy. Stop throwing Jesus in the pot with every other philosopher, sage, teacher, prophet, or holy man. Go deep in the Old and New Testament—you will find Christ to be quite incomparable. He is God! (2) Second, Be Encouraged to Know Jesus is “The Door”. Revelation 3:7b-8, “[I am…] the one who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and who closes and no one opens: I know your works. Look, I have placed before you an open door that no one can close because you have but little power; yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” If our first temptation in a pluralistic society is to strip Jesus of his unique identity as the Holy One and True One of God… what is our second temptation? Our second temptation is to strip Jesus of all authority and power. The “Key of David” is a reference to Isaiah 22:21-24. Isaiah 22 is about how God conferring his authority and power on his chosen servant. “I will clothe him with your robe and tie your sash around him. I will hand your authority over to him, and he will be like a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 I will place the key of the house of David on his shoulder; what he opens, no one can close; what he closes, no one can open. 23 I will drive him, like a peg, into a firm place. He will be a throne of honor for his father’s family. 24 They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s family: the descendants and the offshoots—all the small vessels, from bowls to every kind of jar.” There are two things that Jesus uniquely demonstrated authority and power over, that no one has ever done. One thing is the power of sin, and the other is the power of death. Jesus singularly holds the keys to life and life everlasting. He is the door, the gate, the narrow way. He conquered sin through the cross, and by his Holy Spirit. He conquered death through his resurrection, which was also by his Holy Spirit. His ascension into glory was a tangible demonstration of his identity, his power, and authority over all things. It's interesting that in Isaiah 22 God uses the imagery of a peg in a wall, or a nail in the wall. Your faith, whatever you believe, isn’t a neutral thing. At the end of the day, your faith is the peg that you hang everything on. How much weight can your peg hold before everything you hang it on it (pots, pans, household items) come crashing down? If you aren’t too lazy to investigate—at the end of the day you can hang everything on Christ (including salvation) and his name will never fail you. Sin, death, not even the gates of Hades will prevail against Jesus. You might recall in Matthew 16:13, Jesus asks Peter, “Who do you say I am?” Peter verbally vomits out a theological burgoo. Some say a prophet, some say this, some say that. But Jesus pins Peter down and says, “yeah but who do you say I am?” When Peter confesses that Jesus is the unique Christ, the Son of the Living God, do you recall what Jesus says? Matthew 16:17-19, Jesus responded, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.” Salvation is bound up in both the unique identity (Jesus is the Holy One and the True One) but also the unique power and authority of Jesus (There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we unlock the gates of heaven… the way of life, life everlasting). Contrary to the Burgoo people… there aren’t many keys, or many ways to eternal life, or many names by which to be saved. But if you have Christ there isn’t any door in all of heaven closed to you. Christ is the master key that gets you access to the very throne room of the Father. (3) Be Encouraged to Know Jesus is Present. Revelation 3:9-11: “Note this: I will make those from the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you. Because you have kept my command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown.” I don’t want to be that preacher that continually reads Romans 8—but what does it mean that God loves you? In a pluralistic society we might be tempted to think faith in Christ matters not. Does God hear our prayers any more than that of other faith groups? Does God lead us, guide us, protect us any more or less? Is there any benefit, any blessing accrued to the Christian by virtue of his or her faith? If you think your crown of faith is worthless, you might discard it. You might trade it for some other worthless crown. But our crown is pure gold! In Revelation 3 we’re being told that no matter what the circumstances may seem—we’ve already begun to reign with Christ. He is sharing his power, his authority, his name, his crown, his very throne with us. All things work together for the good of those who love God, and who are loved by Christ. Nothing shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus—not even death! Again Jesus is the peg that you can hang everything upon and he will never fail you. (4) Last, Be Encouraged to Know Jesus is Builder. Revelation 3:12-13, “The one who conquers I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God—the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God—and my new name. Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.” In a pluralistic society, we might be tempted to lose our sense of identity, or even permanence. Who am I? Does my life have meaning, purpose, significance, value? Jesus says you are a pillar in the temple of my God. Do you realize that in all these cities the most religiously massive, permanent, breathtaking structures (the wonder of the world) was the massive stone pillars of the Acropolis—of the pagan gods, of the cult of emperor worship. The pillars of nearly all these cities of Asia Minor (and the names etched in them) stand still to this day! But what Jesus is saying is you are pillar in the temple of God, in the city of God, and I’ve permanently written my name on you. You belong to me. I can’t help but hear echoes of 1 Peter 2:4-6 here! “As you come to him, a living stone—rejected by people but chosen and honored by God— you yourselves, as living stones, a spiritual house, are being built to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and honored cornerstone, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Jesus is The ONE. The DOOR. Ever PRESENT. He is BUILDER! Jesus is building his Kingdom or Church. No scheme of Satan or man shall ever prevail against Him!