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May 16, 2010
On the Offensive – Part 1
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Time:
Revelation 3: 7-13
Scripture: 
Topics: 

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This series provides insight into Jesus' master plan for the church today. We cannot afford to ignore what Jesus thinks of the church. You've Got Mail will help deepen your understanding of the church and the essential elements necessary to remain healthy, holy, and faithful in today's society.

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Transcript

(00:00):
… Bibles and turn to Philippians chapter, not Philippians. Revelation. I really have slept in this morning. Revelation chapter 3. I want to begin a two-part message on the church in Philadelphia. If you’re with us this morning for the first time, we’re glad you’re here. The mark of our Sunday morning ministry is just a biblical exposition going line upon line, precept upon precept through God’s word and for some months we have been in Revelation 1 to 3. We’re not going to go through the whole book. We’re looking at these letters, this correspondence from the Lord Jesus to the churches then, but the every letter finishes with this call. “He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches,” and so Jesus is speaking over their shoulder to us. So let’s hear what he has to say to the church in Philadelphia.
(00:56):
This is the sixth of the seven letters. “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. I know your works. See, I have sat before you an open door and no one can shut it for you have a little strength, but you’ve kept my word and have not denied my name. 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. Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial, which shall come upon the whole earth, or the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

“Behold, I’m coming quickly. Hold fast what you have that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God and he who 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. I will write on him my new name. He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(02:34):
When someone suggested that rowing become part of the Clemson University’s athletic program, that then athletic director Frank Howard replied with a certain tone of disgust, “We are not going to have any sport where you sit down and go backwards.” David Livingstone the Scottish explorer, an evangelist to Africa said, “I am ready to go anywhere with God so long as it’s forward.” I like that. In fact, on the offensive is where God wants us to be in God’s work and in God’s world there is no place for sitting down and going backwards. Think about this. If we have read the Bible correctly, it’s forward or it’s nowhere for the Christian. Paul said, “I forget those things which are behind and I press forward.” It’s forward or nowhere. It’s forward in terms of missions. It’s forward in terms of maturity. Jesus said to his disciples as he commissioned the church, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” Forward. The writer to the Hebrews said did he not in Hebrews 6:1, “Let us go on to perfection,” to maturity, to another level of likeness and commitment to Jesus Christ.
(04:12):
Write this down and think about it. The Christian must always be going after the sinner and after the savior. There is your life in a simple statement. Go after the sinner, go after the savior. Go forward in missions, go forward in maturity. You see we’re to do more than just hold on. Do you not pick that up with some Christians who are just kind of gritting their teeth until the rapture, but I think God has so much more for us. He’s called it to something grander and something greater. No, he doesn’t want us to just hold on. He wants us to break out and break through. Our impact for Jesus Christ ought to be ever wider. Our experience of Jesus Christ ought to be ever deeper and our ambitions for Jesus Christ ought to be ever higher.
(05:11):
When I was up at the Masters College graduation, I was talking to an old friend of mine, Rob Provost who works in Tirana, Albania at the Lincoln Center as a witness for Jesus Christ and not country that is emerged out of communism. He was telling us that they just entertained the visit of the British evangelical and British evangelist John Blanchard. We in fact use his book here, Ultimate Questions every Sunday morning giving it to our visitors or those who are seeking answers to questions relating to Christ.
(05:45):
He told us that when John Blanchard was there recently in Tirana, Albania, he preached with such enthusiasm with the excitement of a child. He had just lost his wife. He’s bumping up against 80, but he’s still being motivated by this motto. Here’s John Blanchard’s motto, “As much as I can, as well as I can for as long as I can,” he’s not taking his foot off the gas pedal in terms of his commitment to Jesus Christ and God just doesn’t want us holding on, gritting our teeth until he comes. He wants us breaking out, breaking through, making a dent, an impact for the Lord Jesus Christ.
(06:34):
As we come to the sixth letter of the seven letters, the Lord Jesus Christ commends the church of Philadelphia for holding on. Nothing wrong with that, he commends them for not denying his name, for keeping his word, for persevering. We read that in verses 8 through 11, but we also see that holding on was not enough. He doesn’t want this church simply playing defense. He wants this church playing offense. He says, “Look, I’m glad that you’re holding on. I’m glad that you’ve dug your heels in the city of Philadelphia and you’re a witness to my gospel or without compromise. You have not denied my name, but I want you breaking out and I want you breaking through. I have sat before you.” This is the key verse, verse 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. You’ve kept my word and you’ve not denied my name.”
(07:43):
As we have noted, simply holding your grind is not enough and therefore not surprisingly, the Lord Jesus urges this church and every Christian who reads about this church to advance, Jesus wants them to advance his cause in this city and throughout this region. He’s asking them to make a bold step and go through an open door that he has sovereignly sat before them. Now, we’ll look at this more deeply next time we’re together, but the open door symbolizes opportunity. It represents some opportunity that Christ had sat before this church that then might have a wider impact for him in the surrounding society.
(08:28):
Although they were small, we can tell that from the fact that Jesus acknowledges that they have little strength, that they have access to the power of God, so he’s not speaking spiritually, he’s speaking physically. They were rather small. They had little strength. They were not imposing or impressive to look at, but Jesus tells them, “Hey, I have sat a massive open door before you,” and like John, like David Livingstone. I want you to go in one direction, in one direction only and that is forward. I don’t want you to be circumscribed by your circumstances. I don’t want you to be limited by your resources. I don’t want you to be beaten into subjection by your enemies.

“I’ve got big plans for this little church,” says Jesus. Have you got faith large enough to seize the day? That’s the challenge to them. That’s the challenge to us. God has got big plans for Kindred Community Church. Have we not got an open door here in Orange County to make a wider, deeper impact for Jesus Christ if we have faith enough to seize the day. As for them, so with us. This is no time to draw down. This is no time to hold back. This is no time to stand aside.
(10:01):
Don’t you love the verse 2 Corinthians 2:14 where Paul says, “I thank my God in Christ who’s always leading us in triumph.” Paul takes the picture of a conquering Roman general who has returned and the ticker tape parade through the streets of Rome. It’s known as the triumphal possession and there he isn’t all his military regalia and behind him is his sons and behind him is his soldiers and behind them are the slaves captured in the conquest and that’s the picture Paul has for us to grasp, that Christ is always leading us in a triumphal procession. We mustn’t be discouraged, we mustn’t be down in the mouth. We mustn’t be intimidated by the seeming overwhelming odds that we’re up against as God’s people. We are of little strength compared to a pagan culture.
(11:07):
Jesus is reminding us that the gospel teaches us that he has taken to the field of human history and by means of his incarnation he has, and death on the cross, has conquered sin and hell, the Bible reminds us that through his resurrection and ascension, Jesus is leading his church in victory into the future. Climaxing his return when the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God. Listen, if you and I have understood that metaphor correctly, he’s leading us in a triumphal procession that means the enemies on the run.
(11:49):
Why are we hiding as god’s people. Why have we got our head between our knees sick to the pit of our stomach wishing for Jesus to come back sooner than later that we can get out of here. Now the enemy’s on the run, therefore the church ought to be on the march. Timidity and tepidness is unbecoming of a Christian. The results are in according to the book of the Revelation. We know who wins according to the book of the revelation. You can bat your house on the kingdom of God. Amen? So let’s play some offense, not defense. Let’s have faith that’s large, prayers that are bold, plans that are big, actions that are daring. May we attempt great things for God and expect great things from God.
(12:48):
Now we’re going to just basically cover verse one this morning, but before we even get there, let me note for you because it is of interest to note that unlike so many letters that we’ve already covered in this series, there’s no word of complaint attached to the letter to the church of Philadelphia. Did you note that? Unlike the other letters, Jesus doesn’t say to this church, “I have this against you.” There’s unmixed prayers for this assembly of believers and I want to appreciate them for that fact. This is a good church. It’s a small church but it’s a good church. I want to appreciate them because Jesus appreciates them and I want to appreciate what he appreciated in them so we might have the marks of an effective church.
(13:44):
Now here’s what’s striking. In some ways just given the fact that Jesus says “Look, I know you have little strength,” in many ways then this church is the ugly duckling of the seven. It’s small and it’s in one of the smaller cities, so we have a small church in a small city and yet it’s the letter that’s marked by unmixed prayers and we would do well to pause wouldn’t we? We would do well to just think about that thought. Success in the eyes of Christ and within his kingdom has nothing to do with the size of a church’s budget, the size of a church’s building or the length of a church’s membership role.
(14:36):
I need to remind myself of that. You need to remind yourself of that. That which catches the eye of man does not necessarily catch the eye of Christ. I mean in the letter we just studied, Jesus said, “Hey, I know that you have a reputation. People are talking about your church. You’re on the radar screen up in the denominational headquarters, but I know something they don’t know. You’re dead. I don’t care how big your building is, I don’t care how big your budget is. I don’t care how many people are sitting on the seats have taken your spiritual pulse. You’re a church marked by easy believism, a lack of discipleship and holiness,” and then Jesus turns his eye somewhere else in western Turkey today, Asia Minor then, and he spots a little church in one of the smaller cities and it catches his eye. They had no reputation
(15:38):
But they had Christ’s admiration and I think it’s good to remind yourself and I remind myself of that fact this mini church had a mega praise from the risen and really in Christ. Sam Storms puts it like this in his book on these churches, “Jesus loves the mini church. He says it explicitly in Revelation 3:9, about which I shall say more later. The greatness of a church is not measured by its membership role or its budgetary prowess, but by the size of the savior who is faithfully honored and passionately praised and faithfully preached and confidently trusted.”
(16:21):
I like this statement. “The big church is any church that boasts in a big God.” That is a good statement. The big church is any church that boasts in a big God. And so we have this letter to this small church in a small city and yet Christ sets before them an opportunity second to none. I have sat before you an open door. We need to remind ourselves of that fact that in God’s upside done kingdom, the real mega church is not a church which numbers more than 2,000, but a church with a large faith and a great God.
(17:05):
There is no small churches and no little people where God is present. A little church with big faith in God can do more than a big church with a little faith in God. In his book Through the Valley, Dr. Van Soner tells an old preacher who worked lead into the night to get his sermon ready for his small congregation. In fact, his wife wakens up, finds him still at his desk and urges him to come back to bed telling him, you know what? Not to spend so much time because there’s not going to be a lot of people there. To which he replies you forget my dear, “How large my audience will be because God’s there.” There’s no little people, no small churches, nothing’s trivial. If heaven’s looking on, That’s what we’ve got here.
(18:04):
Now, there’s three things in this letter. Just cover hopefully one of them this morning, but I’ll outline the letter for you and I think we can gather our thoughts around three dramatic images. If you look at this letter, Jesus talks about a key. Jesus talks about a door. And Jesus talks about a pillar. Jesus says, “Hey, I have the key into God’s kingdom and I have said before, you a door into the world and if you’re faithful to this commission, if you’re faithful to this calling, I’ll make you a pillar in the next life.” Key, door, pillar.
(18:44):
I’ve outlined it like this. The key speaks of power, the door speaks of possibility, and the pillar speaks of permanence. Let’s take the first image, the first thought this morning, the key which speaks of power verse 1. “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 opens and no one shut and shuts and no one opens.” Christ begins this letter as with all the other letters defining and outlining some facet of his person and work by now. You should know that every one of these letters begins with a Christ centric profile. We’re told something about the Lord Jesus Christ and how fitting is that? Should the Lord Jesus Christ not be the first subject in the letter to the church since he is its head?
(19:42):
He is the hope behind every promise in these letters. He is the authority behind every command in these letters. He is the wisdom behind every insight in these letters and you and I are reminded that churches rise and fall in terms of the relationship they have with Jesus Christ. Now before we even look at the profile, I think it’s interesting to note that there’s a departure here because so far in all of the preceding letters ,five in all, Jesus has taken this Christ centric profile from that earlier vision, right, that John saw the Lord Jesus Christ in all his risen and radiant glory.
(20:26):
But you find here this description of Jesus being holy and true and holding the key of David, that finds no reference to Revelation 1:12 and following this is distinctly Old Testament in its source and then its significance and that’s not without purpose and design because we’ll see more fully the next time this church was facing ostracization and opposition from the Jewish community. Jesus calls in the synagogue of Satan, those who say they’re Jews but they’re not because they’ve rejected Israel’s promised Messiah. They have rejected the one who’s got the key of David. He who’s the root of David, he’s from the tribe of Judah, the lion of Judah himself. They say they’re Jews but they’re not Jews and think Jesus is saying to this church who’s being persecuted by the Jewish community, “Hey, you got it right. They got it wrong. Be encouraged. Don’t deny my name. You have history on your side.”
(21:36):
Which reminds us by the way that the Jew should there be a Jew among us this morning belongs to the covenant people of Israel, of people blessed by God and yet to be blessed by God. But you need to remind yourself this morning, my Jewish friend, that the Jew without Jesus Christ is lost despite his privileges. You can be a Jew and not a Jew biblically speaking. And Jesus reminds these Christians of that fact. Despite the ire of the Jewish community, the Christians in Philadelphia must not deny the name of the Christ, the Messiah, the holy and true one who has the key of David who has access to the kingdom.
(22:26):
Secondly, unlike some of the other letters, this description of Christ is not set in contrast to the church’s condition but actually compliments it. Like last time we looked right, Jesus said, I have the seven spirits. You need what I have because you’re dead. He sets what he has in contrast to what they need, but not here what He is they are. This is a faithful church and Jesus describes himself as faithful. This is an unpromised pure church and Jesus describes himself as holy. I think that’s interesting. A faithful Lord gives himself to a faithful church and a holy Christ gives himself to a pure church.
(23:16):
I remember some years ago as a young Christian being challenged by something that Warren Weirsby read, wrote and I read. He said this, “If you and I want to be blessed, we must first be blessable.” This church was blessed because it was blessable. The holy and true one showed up because they were fearful and committed to his cause.
(23:41):
I think I need to remind myself that I have as much of God as I desire because God will give all of himself to that which we desire of him and from him. We will know a holy God if we desire holiness. We will know a faithful God if we desire obedience. We will know an imminent God if we desire humility. We will know a true God if we desire integrity. We will know a gracious God if we desire repentance, God will give himself to that which we desire of him. I’m holy, I’m true. I’ve got the key of David. He says that to a church that desired that.

Now, there’s two things about this profile. One, his deity and number two, his dominion. “And to the church or to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: these things says he who is holy and who is true.” Remember what we said at the beginning of this study, there is a sublime Christology in the book of the Revelation. The book of the Revelation is high on Jesus. Sometimes we forget that. The main figure of this book is not the anti-Christ but the true Christ and this book moves us on from the Gospels. It wants us to see Jesus in all respects to who he is.
(25:08):
Yes, he was the suffering servant. We read about that in the gospels. We read about his humility. We read about his humiliation. We read about the horror of the cross as he gives himself for our sin, but the book of Revelation moves on. The suffering servant is now the enthroned son. The enthroned son is now the coming king. There’s a sublime christology here that squashes our little ideas about Jesus and so Jesus wants them to see, wants us to grasp, “Hey, I’m holy and I’m true.” That’s a claim to deity. When Jesus says he’s holy, he’s clearing equality with God. Holiness is the essential attribute of deity, isn’t it? God is all together different. At the heart of the word holy is the idea of separate set apart, a cut above or a cut beyond. God is all together different from creation and God is all together different from mankind and God is all together separate from our sin.
(26:24):
When we talk about God’s holiness, we’re talking about God’s otherness, God’s apartness. We’ve got to be careful that we don’t overreach in talking about intimacy with God, he is all together different from us. He is a thrice holy God. Isn’t that what we read in Isaiah 6:3, as the angelic hosts cry, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory.” He’s righteous. He’s different. That’s what they’re crying. He’s different. He’s different. He’s different. He’s above us, beyond us. He’s glorious and you dare to come into his presence. Isaiah melts like a popsicle on a summer’s day, bows down before a holy God.
(27:21):
That’s the idea. God is all together different from us. Isaiah 43:15, “I am the Lord your holy one.” There’s our statement. Jesus says, I’m the holy and true one. Well, if they knew their Bible. They’d know that Jesus was claiming equality with God. Jesus was self-consciously divine unless he was a mad man. That’s why Lewis tells us, right? “Jesus is either Lord or a liar or a lunatic,” but according to the biblical record court, he was self-consciously God and divine. I’m the holy and true one. Isaiah 43:15 tells us that. I am the Lord, the holy one, the creator of Israel, your king.
(28:21):
And then the idea of separateness is to be fined in Isaiah 40:25, “To whom then will you liken me or to whom shall I be equal? Says the holy one. Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number. He calls them all by name by the greatness of his might and the strength of his power. No one is missing.” Now you and I mustn’t just go running by this or in any way yawn at this thought this morning because Jesus is clamming equality with God and as evangelical Bible believing Christians, we believe that we must defend that and we must proclaim that. It’s a staggering claim that the Jesus of the New Testament is one with the Jehovah of the Old Testament. That’s denied by the Mormon, that’s denied by the Jehovah Witness that’s denied by the Jew. That’s denied by the Islamist, but that’s the claim of the New Testament.
(29:35):
That’s the claim of historic Christianity. Jesus is not merely a good man. Jesus is not merely a mighty prophet. According to John’s gospel, when you saw him, you saw the Father. We beheld the glory of the only begotten son of God. Amen. Staggering. We maybe need to sing Christmas carols all year round because how good is the theology of hark the herald angels sing, veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Hail incarnate deity.
(30:17):
Listen my friend, maybe you’re here this morning and you’re a seeker. You’re engaging your mind and heart to the questions of the Christian faith and the claims of Jesus Christ. Can I put this challenge before you based on this verse and a host of others? If you read the Bible honestly and humbly you’ll find out that God turns out to be Jesus. That’s what this church was being reminded of and what kind of implication does that have to us this Sunday morning here in Orange County? Well, it has this kind of implication. If the fullness of God dwelt bodily in Christ, which we believe it did, Jesus is God, then he commands our worship and he demands our obedience. He’s not simply a choice on the religious platter. You either choose him or you die and you’re damned forever.
(31:20):
He’s your creator. He’s your God, he’s your judge, and therefore this Sunday morning he must be your savior or he must become your savior. Would that not be wonderful this morning for you who do not know Jesus Christ to come to seeing him more than a man, come to seeing him more than a prophet, come to seeing him more than a religious teacher and a good example come to seeing him, God come in the flesh to die on the cross for you so that the offense of your sin can be removed before the face of God and God can reach out his hand and claim you as His in Jesus Christ. How glorious is that? Do that today. Do it now. He demands it. He deserves it. He’s your creator. He’s your judge. He’s your Lord and he’s willing to become your savior.
(32:15):
I may have quoted these words before, but I will quote them many times because they continue to strike me to the quick. The words of Dermot McDonald, “Jesus Christ is the ultimate. There is none before him, not beyond Him, nothing without him, other than Jesus will not do, less than Jesus will not suit, more than Jesus is not possible more than all we find in him. Everything of God is to be found in him and little of God is to be found apart from him.” That is a phenomenal and a true statement.
(32:51):
What’s the second part of this claim? The deity. We see his deity, we see his dominion. He’s holy and he’s true. He’s the holy one and he’s the one who is true. This word carries the idea of real and reliable. Jesus is real and he’s reliable. He’s true. You can bet the house on Jesus Christ. You can stick your life on the ground of Jesus Christ and that’s a glorious thing because we live in a world of pretension. We live in a world of presumption and perversion in a world of fantasy and fantasy. The Bible saying clearly here, Jesus is communicating clearly here that he is the touchstone of that which is true, that which can be counted on that which truly corresponds to reality.
(33:48):
He said, didn’t he in John 14:6, claims not to be ignored or diminished but theist. I am the truth and I am the life and I am the way. Jesus defines what’s real and if you want to know what’s real, if you want to know what constitutes reality, you’ll find it in relationship to him. No one will ever trust Christ in vain. His promises are sure his will is safe and his love is steadfast. He is to be believed on. He is to be believed in.
(34:34):
You know what this verse is saying? Listen. Because this has impact for you as you go out into a culture that believes that truth is as shapeless as a wad of bubblegum and just as elastic, This claim of Jesus is this. You don’t need to guess and you don’t need to grope anymore about what is true or what constitutes reality. That search has gone forever. Truth and that which is true is to be defined in Jesus Christ and that confronts our culture, toe to toe, nose to nose because you see your workmates maybe some in your family, certainly our neighbors here that surround our church, they will fall to this idea. You know what? Truth is, what you decided to be or what our group decides it to be. Therefore, truth is one thing to one person and another thing to another person like bubblegum. It stretches. You can reshape it, you can mold it. It’s one thing to one person, another thing to another.
(35:52):
You hear that don’t you, in the debate about ethics, you hear that when we in the debate about what constitutes reality and how we come to understand our world. Let me tell you something. Holy scripture says there is truth and it’s one thing and it’s in one person. The Lord Jesus Christ, not one thing, the one person, another thing to another person. It’s one thing and one person. I am the truth.
(36:23):
In fact, according to Colossians 2:2-4, what does it say? All the treasures of wisdom are treasured up in Jesus Christ. If you’ve got a question about life, a fundamental question, remember what we’ve said many times, if the Bible doesn’t answer your question, it’s because you’re asking the wrong question, but if you’re asking the big questions, what John Blanchard talks about in that little booklet we give out to our visitors, the ultimate questions I want to tell you is Jesus Christ has the answer. He’ll tell you where you came from, he’ll tell you why you’re here. He’ll tell you why the world is messed up. He’ll make sense of all the fractured relationships that is life. He’ll tell you where history’s going. He’ll tell you what God is like. He’ll tell you how you can have a relationship with God. When it comes to truth. Jesus Christ is one stop shopping. I’m the holy one. I’m the true one. No messing around with that. Truth is to be discovered. It’s not to be invented because truth has lived as long as Jesus Christ has existed and that’s forever.
(37:47):
Remember you’ve watched the program, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? It’s maybe past its time. I was into that for a while. Maybe you were too and you remember that a certain part in the show, if someone’s kind of stumped or stuck at a question, they get what? Lifelines and they get three lifelines. And I think there’s a corresponding application to how people view truth and as they seek answers to their questions. Some people they use the lifeline of 50/50 and maybe that’s somebody you work with or somebody. It may even be you. You make it up as you go along or you just kind of take a chance. Now I think that’s right. In the pit of my stomach, I have a sense that that’s right. I’m going to go on my gut, I’m going to go on my feeling. I’ll take a 50/50 chance on that, that there is no heaven and there is no hell or if there is a heaven, there is no hell. We don’t want that dreadful thought to be true.
(38:53):
Or maybe some phone a friend. People just do what their friends tell them. This is one of the traps for young people, the peer pressure, the group pressure, and you kind of just go along with the crowd like someone coming out of a sports stadium and the crowd’s so dense that you kind of get lifted off your feet and carried to where you don’t want to go. There’s no way you’re turning around against 10,000 people coming in the one direction. And so many people are like that too. The majority are right. That’s not always the case.
(39:29):
And that’s the third lifeline. Ask the audience, we’ll just accept the majority of you. If 60% of the country rejects the Bible, then let’s reject the Bible. But what’s your lifeline this morning? My friend Jesus Christ said here, I’m the holy and I’m the true. That’s a last thought.
(40:01):
Let’s look at the next thing Jesus says here. Do you notice his dominion? He who is true and he who is holy is also he who has the key of David. He who opens and no one shuts and shuts and no one opens. Jesus having been spoke of his deity now speaks of his dominion. The name David, you’ll find it in Revelation 5:5, Revelation 22:16 is associated with the promised coming of God’s rule on earth in the Davidic kingdom. In answer to the Davidic covenant, it speaks of the messianic office and the messianic kingdom and the symbol of the key represents authority and access. While much more could be said here, I think we’re simply being confronted with this reality that Jesus Christ says I have the keys into God’s kingdom. I’m the gatekeeper when it comes to salvation.
(41:02):
In fact, this is reinforced by the fact that this verse alludes to Isaiah 22:22. You’ll see it’s in italics in your Bible. It’s straight out of the Old Testament and it speaks of a man called Eliakim. He was the faithful servant and steward of King Hezekiah and he held the key to that which governs and gains access into the king’s house. In fact, you read about it in Isaiah 22:22, where here’s what we read of Eliakim. “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David when he opens, no one shuts and what he shuts, no one opens.” So it goes back to an Old Testament figure. A man who was acting as kind of the prime minister of Israel during the time of Hezekiah and he had the keys to the king’s house and the king’s favor. He let you in or he kept you out.
(42:04):
What we have in that image is that Eliakim prefigures the greater rule and greater administration of Jesus Christ over a greater kingdom. The door in verse 1 therefore speaks of salvation and the opportunity to enter into God’s kingdom and the key speaks of Jesus’ sovereignty and Jesus’ sufficiency and Jesus’ supremacy as the one who gains access for man in the God’s presence and favor. In fact, the word key here is in the singular, in the Greek and it’s also prefaced by definite article. The key, the one key, this son of David has come in the line of Judah has the key to the Davidic kingdom. He’s got access into the blessings that God has promised his people. How radical is that, and what an implication it would’ve had. Remember some of these had been kicked out of the synagogue, defrocked, disinherited, and left by friends and family.
(43:18):
Jesus saying, “Hey, I’ve got the key of David. Remember they’re wrong. You’re right. I’m the holy one. I’ve got the key of David. You may be locked out of the synagogue, but I’ve opened the door. No one will shut it. You’re in the kingdom.” It’s wonderful. What a encouragement that must have been, but what is the implication to us? In a closing thought, maybe we’ll expand next Sunday, next time we’re together. You have here the united testimony of the New Testament and it’s this, that God has only one son who came to be our savior through the offering of one sacrifice and he has the key. He has access into God’s kingdom. He has authority to forgive sin and admit us into God’s presence.
(44:10):
What does the Bible say? It says this in 1 Timothy 2:5. “There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” The Bible tells us, doesn’t it, in John 14:6, there’s only one way to the Father. “Jesus said, ‘I am the way. I am the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father, but by me.'” There are many antichrists that have gone out into the world, says John, but only one true Christ that’s come into the world and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ.
(44:46):
Many times have you been told maybe when it comes to picking a friend, when it comes to putting something in your financial portfolio, when you’re putting out your resume to a job in the job market or putting a application into some higher educational institute, what are you told? Don’t put your eggs in the one basket. Don’t put all your eggs in the one basket. That’s okay for all of those things. Do you know what the Bible says? God put all his eggs in one basket and you’ve got to put all your hope in one person, the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who has the key of David who opens the door into God’s presence and no man shuts it, and if he shuts it on you, no man will open it.
(45:37):
This is not something he possibly does. This is something he actually does. He saves those who believe. He rejects those who remain in unbelief, and I know that doesn’t sit well with our modern society. I know in a post-modern pluralistic America with its creeping universalism that doesn’t jive. See, we’re told there’s no one size fits all kind of religion. Therefore exclusiveism is a dirty word and so they say it doesn’t matter what you believe. It actually does. And we’re told that one religion is as good as another. It isn’t. And we’re told that everyone will eventually go to heaven. They won’t.
(46:32):
Only those who have put their faith, their belief in the only begotten son of God who came to die for our sins on the cross and died and rose in victory. For God so loved the world that he give his only, one and only, begotten son that whosoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Henry Ford is famous for saying you can have a model T Ford in any color you want so long as it’s black. God gives you a choice, but it’s a Hobson’s choice. It’s a limited choice. It’s limited to one person. And it’s limited to one plan.
(47:29):
I’m not making a political statement. I’m just making an analogy. When it comes to your eternal health, it’s a one payer system, all right? It’s a one payer system. You got to pay in by putting your belief and your trust completely in Jesus Christ because God offers only one son and one sacrifice. You’ve got one shot at heaven. Don’t miss the Lord Jesus Christ.
(47:59):
Let’s pray. Lord, we want to be gripped and held by these truths this morning. Lord, help us not to read your word this morning like we read the sports page on a Sunday afternoon. Lord, this is eternal truth. This is reality. This is what it’s all about. Oh God, help us to understand who your son is, what he came to do. Help us to realize he is the holy God who was made flesh and made sin so that indeed we who are unholy may be made holy and brought back into a relationship with you. Lord, help us to understand that our eternal health is a one payer system. It’s Jesus Christ alone, for there is no other given among man whereby we can be saved. Lord, for those of us who claim Him, may we indeed speak his gospel and obey his commands and defend his claims. For those that do not yet believe in him, Lord, help them to realize you’ve given them a choice. He who has the son has life. He who has not the son has not life. Help them to choose your son this day. Amen.