The scripture is Rev 3:7-13
“To the angel of the church in 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. 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. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
In contrast to last week where we looked at the Church in Sardis to which Jesus gave some pretty strong warnings, there is no critique of the church at Philadelphia offered. There are only positives to talk about here, in fact, this is the most positive of all the seven messages.
As with each of the seven messages Jesus begins with a greeting. Jesus identifies himself as the one who is holy and true. These are both descriptors of God himself. God is the only one who is holy. He is the definition of true. Jesus also holds the key of David - to the key of the Kingdom of God itself. This reveals the theme of this message: an open door. The open door is used in two different ways in this message.
The first refers to the open door of the gospel. With his key, Jesus has opened the way to God himself. The path to salvation is open to any and all who would come. In Philadelphia, as in many of the other early churches, many of the Christian believers were Jews. While the doors of the kingdom of God have been opened to these believers, the doors of the synagogues have been slammed in their faces. It is ironic that in the city of brotherly love, Jews are attacking their religious siblings, the Christians. Despite this discouragement the doors to the kingdom are wide open and the rewards are there for those who would make the journey. Jesus speaks in Matthew 7:13-14 of two doors available to all people. One gate is wide and on a broad easy path, however this easy path leads to hell. The other gate is narrow and the path is challenging, but it is open to all people and it leads to heaven.
The second meaning of the open door refers to a door of opportunity in Philadelphia. “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut” (Rev 3:8). There is an open door in Philadelphia for the sharing of the gospel. Philadelphia was on the main highway from Europe to Asia and of the seven churches in Revelation it was most ideally located as a strategic point to share the gospel. I’ve often wondered about Merritt in this regard. We are ideally situated at the confluence of major highways and many people pass through Merritt. Just something to chew on.
The church in Philadelphia is also in an ideal situation to share the gospel. They are not struggling with false doctrines, they are not comfortably complacent; they are spiritually alive, they are holding tightly to Jesus. Yet, even in this church that receives so much praise, Jesus says “I know that you have little strength.” It is possible that this church struggled to be influential because of the local cultural conditions. As with many of the other early churches, Christians would have been on the fringes of society, often ridiculed, persecuted and denied business opportunities and positions of influence. This does not mean this church is ineffective, it simply points back to Jesus. Human strength is limited. Jesus has unlimited power! Only by relying on him can we move forward. A church with little strength, and seemingly, little influence, but a full reliance on Jesus can make a big difference! Jesus calls his church beyond their own strength so that they must rely on him and not themselves. Following Jesus is not about being safe. It is about trusting him. There is an open door of opportunity, Jesus’ call is to seize the opportunity.
Jesus finishes the message with some great encouragement for the Philadelphians and for us. He encourages them to hold onto what they have. Despite the challenges, waiting on Jesus is worth it. Jesus says that believers will be pillars in the eternal temple with God. In Philadelphia names of municipal leaders who had accomplished great deeds were inscribed on pillars of local temples. Jesus goes one better. “The inscribed name signifies identification and ownership. To those who have little influence because of being ostracized, Christ promises recognition in his kingdom worthy of the most noble hero in any society.”
Next Jesus promises “Never again will they leave it.” Philadelphia was in an active volcanic field. The city was severely damaged in a major quake in AD 17. Earthquakes were common and people in Philadelphia were often fleeing out of the city. Jesus is saying that he is the rock and the security of all people. He is unshakable and totally reliable. They will no longer have to flee from the city, which should have been their secure home. In the storms and earthquakes of life, Jesus is the solid foundation for all who will trust in him. All believers are identified with Jesus and they will receive his name. Jesus offers significance, safety and identity for all who will trust him. The door is open.
 Darrell Johnson Discipleship on the Edge pg 108
 Barker and Kohlenberger III eds, Expositors Bible Commentary Abridged Edition: New Testament, 1994, pg 1152