To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: “The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” – Revelation 3:7-8
In the book of Revelation, the key is a symbol of Christ’s authority and the door is a symbol of an opportunity. So as He writes to the Philadelphian church, Jesus is declaring Himself to be the holder of the key that opens the door in to salvation and opens the door out to service. In other words, once we have walked through the narrow gate that leads to life, we discover that life to be a life of service.
The Philadelphians had entered the door into salvation but now were confronted by opposition and the threat of future tribulation. So far, they had “not denied [Christ’s] name”—they had not shrunk from declaring the truth about their Lord and Savior in the city He had placed them in. Yet, recognizing that the storm clouds were now gathering, they may have been tempted to simply circle the wagons, sound the retreat, and decide that it was not a good time for evangelism. Considering all that confronted them, they easily could have concluded that such a life of service would need to wait for a more opportune moment.
Christ, however, urged them not to turn back from their calling. The door was open; now they had to go through it! While they would not be spared from suffering, He promised to uphold them when they faced it. He told these hard-pressed believers that if they would boldly march through the door and be faithful to their calling, they would see converts from among those who opposed them (Revelation 3:9).
What about us? Are we prepared to walk through the door of opportunity, knowing that Jesus calls people to saving faith through the words of those who refuse to deny His name? Are we willing to say, “Lord Jesus Christ, I feel I have little strength, but anywhere, anytime, anyone, I’m ready to speak”?
Pray that when you meet the moment of opportunity, you will say and do something. Pray that you would be imaginative and creative, with one foot in the Bible and the other foot in the culture, so that you speak the truth about Jesus in a way that connects with those who are listening. If you do not shrink back but rather continue sharing the gospel imaginatively, humbly, sensitively, and creatively, then by the power of His Spirit and the might of His word, those who today see you as an enemy may one day become your brothers and sisters.