Philadelphia: Church of the Open Door

David Bast

Read: Revelation 3:7-11

Behold, I have set before you an open door. (v. 8)

Of all the churches, this one seems to have been the Lord’s favorite. It’s the only church of which he has no words of either criticism or warning. The same formula (“I know your works”) that introduces Christ’s judgment on churches like Ephesus or Sardis is used in Philadelphia as a prelude to comfort.

In human terms the Philadelphian church was small and weak. But it was faithful. It held fast to Christ’s word and kept proclaiming his name in the face of opposition. It was displaying that most important fruit of the Spirit: patient endurance. So Jesus blessed his church in Philadelphia.

He reminded them of the open door he had set before them. No one could shut out those whom Jesus had invited into the kingdom of God, because he held the only key. In fact, Jesus himself was the open door—the door of the sheep (John 10:7), the narrow gate that led to life (Matt. 7:14). By trusting in him, the Christians of Philadelphia had entered the kingdom, and the Lord promised that their faith would be vindicated. One day their enemies would be made to bow down before them, “and they will learn that I have loved you” (Rev. 3:9). When I read these words, I think of all those who have been harassed or arrested or beaten or forced to flee their homelands because they turned from the majority religion to follow Jesus. Eventually everyone—especially their persecutors—will know they were right. —David Bast

As you pray, give thanks for Jesus, the open door.