June 23, 2024 | Brandon Cooper

This sermon discusses Jesus’ letter to the church in Philadelphia, emphasizing God’s love and faithfulness despite persecution. It encourages believers to persevere in their faith, even when facing exclusion or feeling insignificant, by focusing on Jesus’ promises and the eternal rewards awaiting them. The pastor highlights the importance of doing “little deeds” with great faith, as these can have a significant impact in God’s kingdom. Finally, the sermon calls listeners to live as though they already belong to God’s kingdom, demonstrating countercultural courage and compassion in the face of opposition.


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Good morning church. You want to go ahead and grab your bibles and you can open up to Revelation chapter three will be a starting in verse seven, Revelation three verse seven as you’re turning there, Jamal Adams was the number six overall pick in the NFL Draft I think was back in 2017 Don’t quote me on that I watched proper football, not American football so but I think he was the number six overall pick 2017 had a solid rookie season. And then it showed up for camp the next year. And early on in the camp process went you know, there’s still the point where like, people are filming guys, as they show up, you know, for the hype videos, and all that kind of stuff shows up to camp, you know, punches in his code to get to the door and the door is still locked. And so you can kind of see a little confusing thing I put the code in wrong or something like that. He looks over at the cameraman, he goes then cut me, you know, like, I was good last year, like this one for sure. punches in the code again, and then, you know, doors still locked kind of thing. And he goes they did, they did cut me. And you can see like his face falls. And there’s clearly somebody who’s inside the building who’s looking at him and stuff. And he’s like, they caught me, you know, like, I don’t know, I’m sorry. Like, see you later kind of thing. The guy actually comes and opens the door, the guy knew that he hadn’t been cut. I don’t know what the problem was with a code or something like that. But very funny video once you know the truth anyway became an instant meme. Because anytime a player on your team doesn’t perform up to snuff, you can just put his name over Jamal Adams in the video and kind of say, This is what tomorrow morning looks like for him kind of thing. So like blew up instantly viral video, all that stuff? Why was it so popular so quickly? I think it’s because it comically taps into one of our deepest fears, which is that we’ll be kicked out, excluded, cut, if we aren’t good enough. And we feel that all over the place, right. So even a good rookie season doesn’t mean that you won’t get caught in your sophomore slump. And it feels that way, you know, in your own career, for example, you know, you can have a good year in sales or something and next year, not so good. And just wonder is this it, you know, am I gonna get called into the office relationships, whatever it is, we’ve got this constant performance anxiety, am I gonna be good enough, this time around, tell me we don’t bring that performance anxiety into our walk with God that we don’t, you know, stumble and sin at some point and fully expect to find the doors of heaven locked to us, that we come in and pull on the door and it’s closed. And we go, that makes sense. That makes sense. I understand why Jesus would cut me, actually. So if that’s how you’re feeling, I’m gonna have some encouragement for you today. As we look at the sixth letter in our seven letter series here in Revelation two and three, this is the letter to Philadelphia. And normally, at this point, we tell you something interesting about the city. There’s nothing interesting about Philadelphia. And I don’t say that like as a knock on our Philadelphia, this is the one in western Turkey, it was just an insignificant town that nothing exciting ever happened in, which is kind of important to actually for the letter. So we’ll pay attention to that as we go, we’re gonna have our normal structure, except I’m going to tweak it just a little bit. Now. So we’ve got Christ Church, and then we’re gonna do the cheer section. Next, the promise that is given and then we’ll wrap up with the charges is quite short. And I want that to be kind of the punctuation mark on the sermon as a whole. So that is where we’re headed. Let’s go ahead and dive in. Starting off by looking at what Christ says about himself. In verse seven, we’re going to see that Christ is holds the key, the key, chapter three, verses seven, to the angel of the church in Philadelphia, right? These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. When he opens, no one can shut and when he shuts, no one can open. So we get three descriptions of Jesus, and all of them are taken from the Old Testament, no surprise there, just about everything in Revelation is taken from the Old Testament. The first title is the holy, the holy, and holy is a big, important Bible word that gets at God’s transcendence, and his separateness that he is wholly other than we are in terms of purity and goodness, and wisdom, and power. Now you can find this title for God throughout the Old Testament, he’s often called the Holy One of Israel. I’m going to read it to you though, from Isaiah 60, verse 14, and I’m gonna quote the whole verse because it’s going to show up a little bit later as well. Here’s what Isaiah 6014 says, The children of your oppressors to speak into the nation of Israel, the children of your oppressors will come bowing before you, all who despise you will bow down at your feet, and we’ll call you the city of the Lord Zion, of the Holy One of Israel. And so here we see that Jesus is also the Holy One of Israel, of course, because Jesus is Himself God, but it’s going to matter that Jesus is the Holy One of Israel. As we’ll see in a bit second, he’s called the true, the true. Now trues could have kind of one of two meanings in Greek thought. And in Western thought today true generally means that which is genuine or real, as opposed to that which is counterfeit, fake, deceitful and, and certainly that’s on view, we talk about liars and verse nine, for example, in Hebrew thought the word true has the sense of faithful, as in somebody who’s true to their word or true to their spouse. Now, both of those are true of Jesus both on view here but but the idea of faithfulness is certainly the more important one here, Jesus is trustworthy. Caitlin read for us earlier, Exodus 34, verses six and seven, and describes God as abounding in love and faithfulness to the most important words in the Old Testament. Love, we could you know, Grace, mercy, compassion, this is who God is, and then faithfulness that it’s that word. True, you actually see this in John 114, when it talks about the Word became flesh, He came from the Father full of grace, there’s that love and truth. There’s that faithfulness, it’s quoting Exodus 34. So this is who Jesus is, then and again, it used of God, Jesus is God. But these two descriptions set up the question that is really always hanging over us. It’s the question we are answering every moment of our days, every day of our lives, whether we know it or not, which is in whom will we trust? Really? And is what we trust, holy, and true? How would you know? If it’s holy and true? That is, whatever it is, you’re putting your trust in? Is it good? Will it satisfied? Will it last? Are you willing to bank your life on that? Are you willing to make eternity on that? You think of some of what we put our trust in, in Proverbs tells us caspo, to glance at riches, and they’re they’re gone, sprouts, wings, flies away kind of thing. Like we all have known people who had money and then didn’t have money, money is not holy, and true. Or I read a story this week. Certainly people are not always holy and true. And relationships read a story this week of someone whose spouse had a stroke. And so all of a sudden they became the caregiver, which is tremendous loss. A huge percentage of those who become caregivers eventually abandoned their spouses.
Usually saying something like this is what I signed up for. Which is ironic, because it’s exactly what you signed up for, at least if you read vows and not romantic drivel that people sometimes spout out at weddings these days. But you know, in sickness and health, better or worse, you know, this is it, but people are not holy and true. Or your reputation, a lot of people just kind of building a name for themselves. And that can come crashing down so fast, one wrong move. So Jesus himself is reminding us and encouraging us trust only in the trustworthy, capital T, trust in Him who is holy and true. And then we get this third description of Jesus, which is the most interesting one, and that Jesus is the One who holds David’s key. Now Jesus has been holding keys already in Revelation, chapter one, verse 18, it says he’s got the keys of death and Hades. And that makes total sense to us. Like we get that the resurrection, he’s the grave robber don’t need any explanation or anything like that. But what about this key of David thing, like what’s going on there? Well, this is a quote from Isaiah, chapter 22. I’m not gonna give you the whole context here. But Israel, Judah, being tempted to trust in a Syria or someone else to protect them from invaders. And they’ve got this palace administrator, the chief steward of the kingdom named Shebna, who’s kind of leading the people astray. And so it’s this humorous image where God says, he’s basically like, spin around with this guy, and then hurl him like a discus away from Jerusalem. And then here’s what it says verses 22 to 22. In that day, I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe, and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. So he’s gonna be the new palace administrator, who will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem, to the people of Judah, I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David, when he opens, no one can shut and when he shuts, no one can open. So this chief steward Palace administrator, think like White House Chief of Staff, basically, some people say is the most important person in Washington. Why? Because he decides who gets on the President’s schedule. And so that’s what’s happening here who gets to come into the palace? see who gets to meet with the king. That’s what’s being talked about and and so the question becomes, okay, that was back in David’s day or those in the line of David. But you know, what about now like who is on David’s throne who gets to decide who gets to see the Son of David who sits on the throne now and Jesus, Jesus has all authority. Now he is the true and better David. He’s the King we really want to see. And he’s got the keys. He’s the one who lets people in to see him to really to enter into His Messianic kingdom. Now, why does all this matter? Why is Jesus saying this about himself, we’re going to pull some clues out from what comes later in the letter. And it’s clear that the church in Philadelphia has gotten locked out of the synagogue. And they’re being persecuted by the Jews who have rejected Jesus as Messiah. You know, the church almost always starts in the synagogue back in these days. And so they’ve been excluded. All of a sudden, they showed up for camp one Sabbath, and they found their code didn’t work anymore. They’re locked out no longer welcome. Exactly as kind of everyone expected all along, you can read a couple points in John’s gospel, where this fear was there. John 1242, for example, it says, because of the Pharisees, they, that is some of the Jewish leaders who had started to follow Jesus, they would not openly acknowledge their faith or fear they’d be put out of the synagogue. And their fears were well founded, because that’s what’s happening now been locked out and excluded. And don’t just like, blow past this either. Like we need to put ourselves in their shoes for a moment, to feel the pain of exclusion, losing community, losing friends, this is the place where kids have grown up, going every week, you know, that kind of stuff. And all of a sudden, it’s all taken away. And that is very real pain. It’s interesting. I read just this week of Christianity Today article about different atheists who had come to Christ, and they did an interview with one of them. And he said, The hardest part was he lost friends. He had atheist friends who once he said, I now trust in Jesus, they were like, then we’re done with you. And that’s the pain that’s being experienced here. And think of what that does to even your your understanding of who you are, you can start to feel very quickly, very insignificant. I’m sure the, the church of Philadelphia would have felt powerless, as well, you know, they’ve got no recourse. There’s no legal aid that’s going to help them out here. They’re just they’re just done. They’re excluded now. And so they need the reminder, Jesus has the key. Jesus has the key and he opens the only door that matters, ultimately, which is where we go next. So second section, verses eight to 10, the church, and here’s where we’re going to see the door that we’re talking about. So we got the key. And now the door, let me read verses eight to 10. For us, I know your deeds. See, I placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, you have kept my word and have not denied My name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan who claimed to be Jews, so they are not, but are liars, I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 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. So here’s what Jesus is saying in these verses if you are truly in Christ, meaning you have turned from your sin, and trusted in Jesus, who is holy and true, you’ll never get cut, and never get locked out. The door is open to you. Now what door that gets answered for us really quickly. It’s probably you don’t even need to turn a page in your Bible. I don’t know I’m not looking at your version here. But chapter four, verse one says, After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. Like we’re talking about the door to God’s presence, we have freedom to approach God. And no one can shut this door because Jesus holds the key. People can exclude you from so much in this life. But they cannot keep you from God. And we know because they’ve tried throughout the centuries, with Christians all across the globe. They can toss you in prison. In solitary, they can say you know no visitors no letters in or out. You don’t even get to have your Bible and guess what? You can still boldly approach the throne of grace to find mercy in your time of need. You can still talk to God God is in this Sal there with you because he dwells within you, in fact, I mean, what can they do to keep you from God? Even if they kill you guess what? That just means a short stroll through gates of splendor, right back into the presence of God for eternity. And this is the lesson that that someone like Elijah learned, you know, after his confrontation with the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, and all that, and then, you know, he’s like, I’m all alone here. He’s hiding out in the wilderness, ravens are feeding him and stuff like that. And so he he’s all by himself, and he’s despairing. But God is there. And in fact, the ravens are feeding him because God is ministering to him through the animals. Jesus learned this as well. Elijah was actually not alone. Jesus really was alone, like even his closest friends deserted him. And what did they learn, though, that if the whole world rejects you, but God accepts you, that’s enough. That’s enough. Doesn’t mean it’s not hard. Like, let’s not make this easier than it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t mean it’s fun. Jesus was not having fun in seminary, or on the cross. But you can endure, because God is enough. Now, Jesus knows that this church that he’s encouraging here in Philadelphia truly trusts him. They’re truly in Christ. Why? Because they kept his word. They didn’t deny him, like Peter denied Him. The night before the crucifixion, even though they’ve got little strength, which is a little bit insulting. But hey, it’s true of them. And they probably knew it. So they’ve got little strength, meaning they’ve got no power, they’ve got no influence, and dark, they’ve lost power. And that’s why they can just get kicked out of the synagogue probably have the Roman authorities skeptical of them now, too, because the Jews had certain religious exemptions granted to them that Christians weren’t sure they were going to get so so like, they got no power, they’ve got no influence, I am confident that they would have felt tempted to feel afraid, insecure, in this moment. Like, how are we going to do this? It’s like in the old days, when you’re in gym class, and you’re just staring up at that rope, and they’re like, climb to the top, if you get to the top, you get to ring the bell, like, that’s not enough reward for me, okay? Because you’re 25 feet up in the air and you got this much map between you and cement. So, you know, your compound fracture is going to feel really good as it’s lying there. Like, that’s the kind of fear they have, like, how do we do this though? Like, how do we actually make it and yet they, they, they persevered. They did endure. And here’s the thing
in God’s economy, little strength does not mean little impact does not mean little impact. Jesus even says, right, he says, I know their deeds. But I know your I know that you’ve been able to do stuff, even despite your little strength, we can do little deeds with great faith. Honestly, we can do little deeds with little faith, and still have great impact because our God has a gracious God. Francis Schaeffer says this in his book, no little people, which is, you know, almost written about Philadelphia, you can tell, he says, as are no little people in God’s sight, so there are no little places to be wholly committed to God and the place where God wants you. This is the creature glorified. In other words, whoever you are, bigger little, wherever you are a big place, little place, whoever, wherever you are, just do what God has asked of you. Whatever deeds he’s set before you. What an encouragement This is to us in different areas. Evangelism comes to mind immediately, doesn’t it? Like how many of you feel like you’ve got little strength when it comes to evangelism? Like, I’m not good at this. I’m not gonna be able to answer questions. One of my favorite little deed stories in evangelism, I’ve told it before, because I like it a lot is Edward Kimball. He was a Sunday School teachers in the 19th century, had a group of young men in his class and he was just determined to reach them for Christ. All of them even the one who was particularly disinterested, and who used to fall asleep in all the classes so we can tell you who that is here at Cityview if you want to talk later as Jake but you know, holiday is always one right? Okay. So, as determined he like the Lord’s laid, you know this on his heart to just go and share the gospel with his kid. He knows where he works like he’s got a part time job after school, and this shoe store if I remember correctly, and so he’s like, outside, you know, sweating and everything, hearts beating rapidly he flings open the door, he says come to Christ, and then flees the scene. That is a little deed. Done it quite clearly with little face. This was not boldness and courage. And you know what the guy came to face. His name was Dr. Moody, by the way. Little deed create impact, create impact. That’s what we’re talking about here. The same can be true of our evangelism. Do you think you could shout come to Christ at someone? Probably. I’m not saying that’s the best approach. Okay. So, you know, however the Lord leads you, you know, follow spirit, all that kind of stuff. But we can do that. It’s true of our service as well. Like how often you think like, I’m not doing much like, I want to do great things for God. And all I’m doing is I’m writing, you know, a handwritten card to some of the chatons in the church once a month. That’s a little deep with great impact or, or the little deeds of our mundane lives. I want to do great things for God at all. You know, I’ve got too many kids. And so all I do it feels like is pray with them before bedtime. That’s a big thing, isn’t it? You think that’s shaking eternity at all? faithful prayers for your children across 18 years, 20 years? I would think so. Or maybe it’s in your job. You’re looking at this year, like I don’t know, I don’t even know what I’m doing with my life. I get up every morning, I go to the blind, I change oil in cars all day long. So that people can get where they need to go. That seems like important work, doesn’t it? And if you’re doing that, while representing Christ to them, you see the idea that little people, not little places, maybe a little deeds, maybe a little faith, great impact. Don’t disparage the little deeds that God has said before you. There’s this wonderful scene in CS Lewis’s great divorce, if you’ve never read it would highly recommend it to you. It’s a bus tour of hell, and then heaven. So really fascinating trip to say the least. And we’re going to heaven at this point, just so you know. And he’s there. He’s kind of getting the tour and stuff. And, you know, having conversation with the angel who’s giving the tour and this like parade starts approaching them, like this throng of people and animals also like and they’re all joyfully singing, and there’s person who’s clearly the focal point of this parade, such a big parade that that Lewis actually wonders if this is Jesus that’s approaching, and the angels like, no, no, like, it’s not at all like, Well, this must be somebody so important. And the angels is yeah, this is one of the great ones. Absolutely. And so you’re like, when it’s a woman, it turns out, so who is this woman then, you know, is this Catherine of Siena? Teresa Abila. And angels like, you wouldn’t have heard of her. Her name was Sarah Smith, from Golders Green. And he kind of says, you gotta remember, fame works a little bit differently in this place, than it does back on Earth. And so like, Who are all these people? And angel says, these were her children. And Lewis is like, that’s crazy. Like, I thought, Brandon, Amy had a lot of kids, this is even more like, no, no, no, not like that. Like, it was just you know, she was just a mom in the neighborhood. And every son in the neighborhood, every boy in the neighborhood became her son. And every daughter in the neighborhood became her woman and the girl in the neighborhood became her daughter. And even all the pets and stuff like stray cats and whatnot, who are there in heaven also, like following about her? Do you see like, she didn’t do anything except love the people around her? Well, and that’s what makes you great in heaven. I love that, you know, like, she’s not a preacher. She’s not a missionary in a far off place. Because you don’t have to be that to be great. You can be great when doing those things. I hope otherwise, I’m in big trouble. But you know, you don’t have to be is the point. We can do great things for God. Even people’s little strength, little influence, right? I mean, the ServiceMaster is just a little person who did little deeds in a little place with great love. Now, contrast this on the littleness of all of what we’ve been talking about with those who are doing the excluding the Jews in the Senate synagogue who have the power to exclude, they can lock the doors to the synagogue. They can turn Roman authorities against this nascent church. And they are also bullying, this little church seems pretty clear. So they’re insulting them. You know that God doesn’t really love you. Because God loves Israel. And you’re not Israel anymore, because you just got kicked out of the synagogue where you are Gentiles. So you never belong to Israel in the first place. You’ve got no place in David’s kingdom in God’s kingdom. And that’s why it’s so important that we hear what Jesus says here because his evaluation is so different. of both the synagogue and the church. He calls them the synagogue of Satan. That’s the second time we’ve come across this phrase, just want to be real clear. Again. Jesus is a Jew, John is a Jew. This is not anti-semitism here, anything like this. What he’s saying is that this is not a true synagogue. This group of people they’re actually following Satan, because they’re doing what Satan does, which is lie, and then murder, as Jesus tells us in John chapter eight, and so here they are. Lying about God about Israel about this church. And so they’re the synagogue of Satan. And he says, here’s what’s going to happen though this synagogue of Satan, they’re going to come and fall at the feet of this little church. Which is interesting to remember Isaiah 60, verse 14, and I’ve just read for you, where the children of your oppressors will come bowing before you, that will make them bow at your feet. He says, and here they are doing that. This is such an ironic appropriation of Isaiah as prophecy to because what’s happening in Isaiah 60, is that the Gentile persecutors are flocking to Jerusalem, to Israel, in other words, and bowing their feet vindicating Israel, and it seems like being converted, like becoming part of Israel, but here it is the Jewish people who are coming to the mixed church, Jews and Gentiles and bowing at their feet, hopefully, again, being converted, but certainly vindicating the church and vindicating them, especially with the most important claim. Jesus loves me decide now, for the Bible tells me so even the church’s opponents will acknowledge that in the end, now, Jesus did not view I was wrong about that. But just think, what more do you need to know than that right there? Do you know that Jesus loves you know, that he loves and this is what Paul prays in Ephesians chapter three, right? I want you to know how high and wide and long and deep is the love of God and and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, do you know that he loves you? What would it do for you, if you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus loves you? Tim Keller told the story. This was in his early days of pastoral ministry when he’s a pastor in Hopewell, Virginia. And there was a teenage girl in his congregation who was really struggling with depression. And so he met with her to kind of talk through what was going on. And she said this one point she’d grown up the church, she knew all the right answers. She says, you know, I know Jesus loves me. I know Jesus saved me. I know he’s going to take me to Heaven. But what good is all that when no boy at school will notice you will even look at you. She knew that Jesus loved her, but she didn’t know that Jesus loved her. Like she would have gotten the answer right. And a multiple choice test. Does Jesus love you? Yes or no? Yes. I learned that. I’ve got this down, right. But it wasn’t in her yet. Like it hadn’t captured her heart. So she knew it in the in the core of her being Do you know, really know that Jesus loves you? And has that changed your everyday life? In situations like this, especially when you’re part of a church that’s suffering, or you’re going through trials of persecution, because your circumstances are are screaming at you the way that a synagogue of Satan was screaming at this little church? See, God doesn’t love you. He doesn’t care. Otherwise, he’d rescue you out of this. But if you know, yeah, but I’m not worried about that. Do you see Jesus on the cross? That’s how I know he loves me. He did that for me. You see the empty tomb. That’s how I know that suffering is not the final word. In fact, I see the coming glory, what we’re talking about here and revelation, even, like I’m, I’m good. I’m confident, I know that he loves me that that kind of knowledge emboldens us doesn’t it gives us the capacity to live and courageous, compassionate lives. Honestly, the image I have here of this little church is standing up to a hole those were against him his tank man, from Tiananmen Square. You guys remember that? All right. He’s just like the one guy like a stream of tanks come in, and he’s just like, stop. Like, that’s what it looks like. For someone who knows, Jesus loves them to be bold for Jesus. You know, we talk a lot here about raising kids that the world can’t ignore it like you can’t ignore that. You’re gonna get run over by a tank, everyone’s talking about you. That’s what we’re emboldened to do here. And here’s the good news that we get at the end of this section. If we keep Jesus’s command to persevere, then he will keep us from the hour of trial that’s coming for all the inhabitants of the earth. So Jesus is going to protect his people from some coming storm and we got to be a little careful here about what exactly it is that we’re talking about now, when revelation uses this phrase, the inhabitants of the earth uses it a handful of times in Revelation, it becomes a stock phrase, it always means the unbelievers in the world, like the world in opposition to God, the world excluding the church, in other words, so you see what what is being promised here is not that the church will be kept from trials. Because the church is in a trial right now here in Philadelphia. And plus, we know trials are, are good, they were fine us like gold in the fire so that we can even rejoice in them. No, we’re not being kept from trials, we’re being kept from God’s wrath. That’s what’s coming were being kept from. So we’ll be there for it. But we won’t be experiencing it. Like I think of Israel and Egypt during the 10 plagues. You know, the darkness on the whole, and it got dark for everybody. But like the locusts only eat the the crops of the Egyptian. So the hail only falls on the Egyptian homes and stuff. Or think of Noah even like Noah, Noah got wet, really wet, probably suffered a little bit of seasonal affective disorder. I would think after all that rain for that long like I am ready for the sun Lord anytime you were so like he suffered. But he was kept safe in the storm. From God’s wrath. That’s the promise that we have here we will borrow Chrysostomos language, we will suffer, but we won’t suffer harm. That’s the difference. Because what harms us in this life actually helps us in the life to come. And that produces in us such an unshakable hope, which is where we’re going next, by the way because unshakable Hope is the cheer of the promise that we are given. And so we’ve got the key that opens the door. And now here, where are we going in, we’re going to into the temple, specifically when we read verses 12 and 13, for us to actually read 1112 and 13, just so we don’t skip over 11 I’m coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown, 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 in 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, Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. So remember, this cheer section, the promise is what’s supposed to motivate us to keep doing what God has asked us to do. And the book of Revelation, what God is asking us to do is persevere no matter what come so what’s going to motivate our perseverance when we’re being excluded? When we feel insignificant and powerless when we are suffering? The answer to that question is knowing what’s coming. That’s what will motivate us to persevere. They’ve been locked out of the synagogue, and that’s rough. But now they’re pillars in the heavenly temple. And that’s awesome. Especially because those pillars can’t be shaken. See pillars is actually kind of a bold image for Philadelphia, because Kyle mentioned earthquakes near Sardis. Last week, well, Sardis and Philadelphia are like next door neighbors. So same earthquake at 17 Knocked most of Philadelphia down all the pillars fell over. And although they got some money from Caesar to rebuild their town, they really never totally recovered, there would still be pillars on the ground. So to say Look, you’re gonna be a pillar is maybe not as encouraging as we might think. Except that it’s a pillar in the heavenly temple. And that’s the whole point, like you’re being pulled away where there no earthquakes in glory, nothing will ever knock you over, you’re gonna be unaffected by the circumstances of this life. So it’s similar to earlier when I said, you know, are you are you trusting in what is a holy and true I think the question here is you’re holding on to or building your life on what can’t be shaken. Like if an earthquake can knock your life down, you need a better foundation. Your circumstances can knock your life down, you need a better foundation. I think this is a message especially for the younger generation, like your fear here, and you’re still in that point of like, what’s my career going to be? Or how successful am I going to be? What relationships are going to end up in your all that kind of stuff, like, if your identity is wrapped up in that, then all it takes is a little earthquake, and your life falls down? You need a better foundation. You know what that foundation is? It’s what’s been described here the unending unbreakable on imaginable fellowship you can experience with God him self, to be His people in his place in the heavenly temple, known and loved by Him. That’s the foundation you want to build your life on. Nothing can touch that. And that’s what these three names suggest. So we get this promise I’m gonna write on you the name of my God. The name of the city of my God and then my new name each hints at the glory of the coming Kingdom. So I’m a Baptist preacher, it’s alliterated. Alright, so here you go, here’s what the three names get at ages access and authority. So first of all ages when it says that he’s going to write on us the name of my God, it means that he set his seal on us, God has set His seal on us so that we belong to Him, we are under his protection. Under his Aegis, it’s maybe not the most flattering analogy. I apologize for that. But it’s a little bit like when they brand cattle. And then what happens? People don’t steal that cattle because you’ll go no, that was mine. You can’t have that. That’s what God does for us. He’s fine. She’s fine. You can’t have you can’t touch her. And then second, access the name of the city of my God. That’s the code. Okay, doors never locked to God’s forever city. You know, it’s interesting for a little while Philadelphia was actually known as Neo Surya, the new city of Caesar, because of the help that Caesar provided after the earthquake knocked Philadelphia over. And so you can almost see that the Jesus here is like putting on this whole like, would you rather live in the New City of Cesar was never recovered. Its glory pillars are still tumbled over and things like that? Or would you rather live in the New City of God, which we get described for us in Revelation 21. You know, the city where there’s no more mourning, no more pain, no more crying, just unending, unimaginable joy forever and ever. It’s an easy choice. And then third authority. This is when Jesus says that he will write his new name on us. It’s taken from Revelation 19, verse 12, where it says the Jesus has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. So he’s got his name written on him as this new name, no one knows. But he him self in the context of this. This passage here at Ford is when there’s a white horse, and on it sits a writer whose name is faithful and true, which is interesting, because we just talked about all of that. And this writer called Faithful and True Jesus, he’s come to bring justice, to the earth, to wage war on wickedness. And so what’s happening here is Jesus is saying, We will share in His authority, when He comes again, ages access authority, this is amazing. This is such good news. from a human perspective, you would rather be the synagogue, you got all the power, you got all the influence, you got the keys to the synagogue even, but from a heavenly perspective. It’s flipped on its head, isn’t it?
James Hamilton, and his commentary on Revelation kind of makes his point I’ll riff on him a little bit here. He says, The Jews have the synagogue. But Jesus has the key. The Jews have the synagogue, but the church has and keeps his word. The Jews have the synagogue, but Jesus makes us pillars in God’s temple, the Jews have the synagogue, but those who keep His Word will never be made to leave his temple, they will dwell there forever, the Jews have the synagogue, but we have the name of God, and the City of God, and of Jesus himself written on us, which would you rather have? Like those columns don’t match up what Jesus offers is so much better than what the world claims to? So how do we make sure that we really have Jesus, that we trust Him and keep His Word? What’s the charge that’s given to us, we’ll go back to verse 11. Here again, I’ll read it once more, I’m coming soon. Hold on to what you have that no one will take your crown. This is a very simple charge. We’ve seen it already a couple times revelation, how often we use that word a hold already, in the seven letters. Jesus is just saying, you know, keep on keeping on, persevere, don’t give up. But that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? So how do we do it? Well, notice what’s around the charge. I’m coming soon. Hold on what you have so that no one will take your crown. So we get these two things. I’m coming soon. And there’s a crown. The only way to persevere, to hold on, is to bring the future into the present. Who will be true in the future into the present. Jesus is coming back. It’s guaranteed. And when he comes back, he will set everything right. And he will reward those who persevere. So we’ve seen throughout the letters again to the one who is victorious I will give, I will give I will give. That’s the crown that’s coming. If you know that’s coming. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. But don’t let anyone take your crown by tempting you into faithlessness you belong to Jesus. He’s got the key, he’s holding the door open, you’re gonna be a pillar in God’s temple. So if that’s true, and here’s the big idea that charge, if that’s true, live like you belong already. Live like That’s true. Because by the way it is you remember God’s outside of time, the reason why God can write revelation and tell us what’s coming, because he knows what’s coming. So this is every bit as certain as if it had happened in the past. So live like it’s true live like you belong already. Just because it’s in the future doesn’t mean it’s not true. God has promised it and God keeps all of his promises. So what does it look like? Then to live like you belong in the here and now? We’ll give you just a few thoughts and three kind of key areas? And what does it look like to live like you belong before God? Before the church, and before your opponents? Those who oppose the church? So what does it look like to live like you belong before God? I mean, you have access to the Father through the Son. So go on in. It’s like, somebody bought you a membership in the diplomats club at the airport or whatnot. So like, why would you stand outside there? Like there’s food inside, there’s big comfy chairs and go on in, you’ve got membership, we have membership. In the body of Christ, we have access to the Father boldly approachment prayer, rest in His love. And build your life on that unshakable Foundation. And it looks like not giving into temptation. Especially, because what would it mean to give into temptation would be to, to hold on to what is unholy and untrue. And very, very shakable I’m going to trust now and money or relationship person, you know, something like that. Don’t do that persist in godliness. And in those little deeds that he’s set before you That’s before God before the church, what does it look like to live like you belong before the church as we do this before each other here, it looks like encouragement, encourage one another. Like little deeds beget little deeds. And even if the world’s got a boulder and we’re just you know, tossing pebbles, you get enough pebbles, and pretty soon them can’t see the boulder anymore, right? Like little deeds, can can still become mountainous, when they’re combined. I mentioned take man earlier from the Tiananmen protest. And, you know, in the picture, he’s all by himself. But he wasn’t all by himself. There about a million people protesting there with him. I tell you what, those million people aren’t there, he doesn’t go get in front of the tanks. Like No way. It is the encouragement of everyone else. We also have a great cloud of witnesses around us, we will not make it on our own. That’s why God has not called us to be on our own. Like this is where we need the reminder of Hebrews 10, do not forsake meeting together as some are in the habit of doing But encourage one another. And all the more as you see what approaching the day, the future, right as you see what’s coming, encourage one another exactly what we have here to Jesus is coming. And then what does it look like to live like you belong before your opponents? This looks like countercultural courage and compassion. So countercultural courage. What I mean by that is a willingness to be excluded. Because we’re different. Because we are no longer of the world even though we are in the world. And so a willingness to experience the persecution that may come our way because of our faith in Jesus, but to do so without bitterness, or vindictiveness. Like we don’t need to get back at the people who exclude us, because we’re following Jesus, who was also excluded for our sake so that we could be welcomed in what does Jesus do? What does he call us to do? We don’t repay insult with insult, we repay insult with blessing. We pray for those who persecute us. Knowing that they’ll come and bow at our feet, and again, hoping that they’ll come and bow at our feet because they’ve come to Christ. And they’re bowing before Jesus just as surely as we are. And what does Peter tell us to do? We went over this just a few weeks ago to live such good lives among the pagans that even though they accused us of doing wrong, they may see our good deeds, and be ashamed of their slander, see the little deeds and go, I don’t know what I was saying. And maybe just maybe, even they’ll see our little deeds in the face of persecution and go How can you keep doing this? And they’ll ask us to give the reason for the hope that we have within us and we’ll be able to tell them about King Jesus. Lee live like you belong. Because if you trust in Jesus, you do. You do. And by the way, I am well aware of the fact that not everyone in this room. Trust Jesus. So let me just say to you today if you don’t trust Jesus like, the door is open, Jesus has the door wide open. Come on in. Come on in. You are welcome here. It does take a bowing down, absolutely. Recognize I don’t get to be the God of my life anymore. But God is God and I am not recognizing that I have lived in rebellion against God. And my rebellion deserves punishment. But Jesus has taken that punishment in my place when I come to him in face. And if you come on in, here’s gonna find even if the world locks you out, and Jesus has the key to open the door to get you in to God’s temple. I began this sermon by telling the story about Jamal Adams getting locked out kind of a funny story. I’m gonna close with another story. So I’m getting locked out not quite as funny, much more serious. In 1782, Charles Simeon was appointed to Trinity Church in Cambridge, England, appointed This is the Anglican Church. So people who are higher up just tell you what church to go to. The church doesn’t get a say in it. There’s no Congregationalism there. So this congregation at Trinity Church, they didn’t want him. They’d really hoped that the associate pastor was going to get promoted to be the senior pastor, and it didn’t happen. So they were really angry. They wouldn’t let him preach in the afternoon service, because they had control the afternoon service, they wouldn’t let them preach in the afternoon service. They gave it to the associate pastor for seven years, until the associate pastor finally left, and then they give to a different guy for another five years. So 12 years, he has been got to preach the second service at his church, which is kind of crazy. If you think about it. He held evening services then instead, so the people from the town could come because the town liked him. Unbelievers were curious about the gospel that he was preaching. So you know what they did, they locked the doors to the church, they couldn’t hold the evening services anymore. So we had to stop. They also wouldn’t come to the morning services, which might have been a blessing, except back then. And this is not good. This is definitely abomination unto God. But back then you used to rent your pews. And the richer you were, the more proud you could be. You get the seats up front. These were not Baptists, obviously rich Baptists by the pews in the back, we know that. But this is like Pentecostal Anglican, so they get the ones in the front, okay. So what they would do, they would lock the pews that they had rented, so all the pews were empty, and the people from the town who came again to hear the gospel proclaimed, Charles Simeon would set up folding chairs in the aisles for them. Until the church wardens started moving the chairs again. So people just had to stand or sit on the floor.
For 10 years, this is what they did. Until finally, a law was passed. You couldn’t walk your pews if you weren’t going to be there anymore. Like that’s what it took for this to happen. Here’s the thing, Charles Simeon stayed in that church for 54 years. That’s insane. To be there, when you weren’t wanted, when you were locked out, literally and excluded, and to go on preaching the gospel, he was eventually accepted. And he saw revival in that congregation in the town as well because of his faithful proclamation of the gospel that is little deeds, little strength, effecting great change the glory of God’s name. But what I asked you what would sustain anyone to go on doing that for more than a decade. Jesus loves me. This I know. That’s it. That’s the only thing that could do it. Jesus has the key. And he loved you enough to open the door by His death on the cross. And he holds it open to all who would enter by grace through faith into God’s temple in his forever kingdom. Come on in. Let’s pray. Father, we bow before you now in awe of what you have done for us in sending your son with the key to open the door to be the door as John chapter 10 tells us so that we can enter into your presence. Lord, we recognize the great cost of our entrance into your kingdom. That was the blood of your Son, which is also the proof of your love. The needed reminder that we can persevere no matter what we face in this life. We know we know we know you love us. Would you help us to really know that you love us to know this love that surpasses knowledge. And may that then Lord, sustain all of the deeds you have set before us. We’re not little people. We’re not in little place because there are no little people in our little places in your economy but law We can keep doing whatever you have given us to do to build for your kingdom and the glory of your name, amen.

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