“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. 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 I will write on him My new name.
13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
This address to the church in Philadelphia carries a very powerful statement in verse 10, I will keep from the hour of trial that will come upon all of the world. Jesus Christ will keep them from the world wide tribulation. The church is going to escape the great tribulation, why? It is very clear in verse 10, "because you have kept my command to persevere." As a church we must persevere. We must hold fast the teachings of Jesus Christ and we must fight the good fight with every ounce of who we are. There are three main beliefs about the tribulation period regarding christians. Basically there are those who believe that the church is raptured before tribulation begins, pretribulation. There are those who believe that the rapture occurs 3 1/2 years into the tribulation period, midtribulation. Finally, there are those who believe that the rapture occurs after the tribulation period is over, posttribulation. I will share my thoughts and beliefs with you. I believe in pretribulation. I believe the church is raptured before the great tribulation period begins. I believe this because there are some 19 references to the church on the earth in the book of revelation. All of these references occur in the first three chapters of revelation. After chapter 3 the church on earth is not mentioned anymore. At the beginning of chapter 4 something happens to John (author of the book of Revelation), he is called up to heaven with a loud voice like a trumpet.
4 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
John looked saw a door open in heaven, heard a voice like a trumpet saying come up here, sounds a lot like the rapture to me. The voice then says I will show the things which must take place after this. After what? After the rapture. The church on the earth is not mentioned again in the book of Revelation. Chapter 4 continues with many things that will happen after the church is raptured.
Jesus tells this church they are to hold fast what they have. He declares that He is coming quickly. Do you realize that He is coming quickly? I look at this church in Philadelphia and I think in some ways The Way Church is like this church. We certainly have some open doors to walk through and we have to do some ministering in way of providing and meeting the needs of many, but we are headed in the right direction. Arrived? Not even close! Pointed in the right direction? I believe we are.
A Church of Opportunity (open door) There is an open door before us. We have many areas where we can minister and meet the needs physically and spiritually of a hurting world. For the church to be the church we must be spreading the gospel and meeting the needs of those less fortunate. We have to be stepping out, we have to be doing more than bible study and worship services. Not everyone has this thought and idea. However, I do pray and ask God to change the hearts of those who don't feel this way. I know there are some that simply like a good worship service, a place to learn the Word of God and that is it. They are not motivated and inspired to minister to a hurting world, to take the gospel to those who don't know Him, to teach someone that the world doesn't want to teach. I am praying God will strengthen those who are here to minister. I am praying God will change the hearts of those who are not. And yes, finally I am praying God will move those who refuse to listen, those who refuse to change, when their refusal interferes with what Jesus is doing, something has to give and it cannot and will not be Jesus. That may seem harsh, but I believe you have to ask God to strengthen your team. I believe team players follow the leadership of the team. Not with arms crossed pouting but with sweat, tears, dollars, cents, time and loyalty. I believe we are to provide all we can, to all we can. This is going to require many not a few. I am praying God molds us into a team so united that nothing or no one could set it asunder.
A Church of Little Strength (we are small) (financially supported by small percentage) We are a small church we don't have several hundred members. We are supported financially by a small percentage of our congregation. We don't have large facilities. We don't have modern architecture and fancy play grounds and signage. Are all of those things appealing, sure they are and I pray that one day we will have those things but only and absolutely only if we follow Jesus right to and through those things. What we are is a quiet little church in a perfect location because it is right where God has placed us and we have a beautiful opportunity before us to minister to Phenix City and the surrounding areas. But we are perfectly located and situated in such a way that we will have to depend on Jesus Christ for everything we do. No exceptions. Financially, we need Jesus. Teacher wise, we need Jesus. Facility wise, we need Jesus. May we depend on Him for everything so that our strength will always be little in regards to what we can do and great in regards to what He has done, is doing and will forever do.
A Church that keeps the Word (we teach the Bible and shall not steer from it)
We teach the Bible and we believe the Bible. We will not change that no matter what the world says, what membership says, or what anyone says. We will teach and preach the Bible. The Bible is the Holy infallible Word of God and we will respect it, we will believe it, and we will walk in it. It will be your pastor's guide to every decision and it will be what I use to lead you, guide you and direct you. When you come to me for help and guidance, we will use the Bible. When you come to me for marriage counseling, we will use the Bible. When you come to me for premarital counseling, we will use the Bible. My counseling is a Bible Study. Everything I believe will be backed up with scripture. I pray that you do the same. Many times what we believe is grounded in what we have always been taught. I challenge you to examine what you have always been taught and back it up with scripture. Blind acceptance is very unfortunate and can be misguided. It is imperative that every thing you believe be grounded in the Word of God. You cannot and must not depend on your feelings. Your feelings will cause you to stumble. Your emotions are like a roller coaster but the Word of God is steady and absolute. You can't know what the Bible says unless you study it.
A Church that has not denied the Name of Jesus (we do all we do in the name of JESUS) All we have, came from Jesus. Every knee that has bowed at the altar, every tongue that has confessed to be a sinner, every tongue that has then surrendered to Jesus as Lord, every tear that has fallen on the altar, every struggle that has saw victory, every heartbreak that has been experienced, everything has been and will forever be is in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. He is our Lord and He will forever be our Lord. We will give Him the glory and the Honor for what He has done and will do. He is the King. We are His. What an awesome place to be.
Brother Big Daddy