Counter-Culture: Triumphant Living in a Turbulent World
Week 6: Revelation 3:7-13
Our current series examines the powerful and encouraging message Jesus Christ sent his church in the New Testament book of Revelation. In the first three chapters of Revelation, Jesus Christ messaged seven third-generation churches about how to live God-honoring lives in a culture that disregards or opposes him. The short letter Jesus sent to the church in Philadelphia (not Pennsylvania, but modern Turkey) packs a powerful punch of encouragement. Those faithful believers faced rejection and isolation. But, what that small church lacked in strength, it made up for in opportunity. Jesus opened a door and invited them to walk forward through it. His counsel is still sound for today: “I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have” (Revelation 3:11). Don’t diminish Jesus’ power to use you powerfully, even when you lack strength. And, don’t quit!
When you were young, how good were you at waiting for things?
Getting into the Text:
1. (Rev 3:7) Each of the seven letters to the churches begins with a reminder that Jesus is the source of the message and that he speaks with authority because of who he his. What characteristics of Jesus are mentioned here? What kind of authority are we reminded that Jesus has? (See Isaiah 22:15-22 for a similar use of “the key of David”.)
2. (Rev 3:8) What is this church commended for? What do you think the open door in this verse represents? Can you relate to the idea of remaining faithful when you feel you have little strength or little power over your circumstances?
3. (Rev 3:9) What does Jesus promise those who honor him despite being rejected by others who do not honor him? When will this happen? How does this help to foster a patient endurance? (See also Isaiah 45:22-25 and Matt 10:26-33.)
4. (Rev 3:10-13) For those who have endured and have overcome, Jesus offers several promises. What are these? What significance is there in having God write names on you? (See Ephes 2:17-22 for a similar reference to God’s people being like a building and temple. See Rev 21 for more on the “new Jerusalem”.)
5. (Rev 3:11) For some, the imminent coming of our Lord means judgement but for others, it means welcome relief and justice. How would the church at Philadelphia have heard these words? What specifically is Jesus telling them to hold on to?
1. Obedience and patient endurance can be hard to do under pressure or when relief does not come for a long time. If you are in a situation like this right now, what is God calling you to hold on to? What does obedience mean for you right now? How can you use the promises in this text to help you stay faithful?
2. This passage reminds us that it is Jesus who has the authority and the power to open and shut doors in our lives. In what ways have you experienced closed doors recently? Although it may be OK to pray for God to open some doors, what else might you pray for in light of this passage?