No Restricted Access for the Gospel
The letter to the church in Philadelphia (the one in Asia Minor/Modern Turkey) is a word of encouragement to a missionary church. This could be written to TCC today. We have historically been a sending church, allocating considerable resources to the cause of missions both overseas and abroad. So Jesus says to us: ‘Keep doing what you are doing’ and it’s repeated several times (Revelation 3:7-13). We are told to “hold fast” even if tough times are ahead. Here Jesus encourages all faithful Christians deeply committed to the spread of the Gospel. There is “an open door” that “no one can shut.” In short, God doesn’t believe in the idea of closed-access countries or ideologies (like American militant securalism). The saving power of God found in Jesus will make its way anywhere, even in secular Wayland, Weston, Sudbury, Framingham, Maynard, Natick, Hudson, etc. etc. The story of Reona Peterson-Joly and Evey Muggleton Heckman in atheist Albania in the 1970’s is a great family read. Their story is one more confirmation that Jesus is the One that opens doors for the Gospel to go forth.
Commit your way to seeking Him and to finding open doors of ministry. Don’t be intimidated. Jesus knows we “have but little power” (Revelation 3:8). He will be faithful to open doors in what appear to be impossibly closed places. These places don’t need to be exotic locations overseas, though they could be for some of us (Reona relocated from Auckland New Zealand). Areas declared off limits for the Gospel abound: our schools, our workplaces, even perhaps within our own homes. But when the Holy Spirit puts a place, a person or a situation on our heart, He is the One that will create the opportunity for an opening (Acts 14:27; 1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3). We only need to be attentive and seek His face to discern the open door. There is no question we will face fierce opposition even as the doors get opened (Reona faced 20 hours of interrogation in Albania). But we also remember that the reward of walking through these open doors is great: Direct access into His presence (aka, “pillars,” “temple,” the “new Jerusalem” Revelation 3:12).
Questions for the week:
- One of the lessons from this passage was that as Christians we need to hold fast to God with patient endurance. What hard things have been present in your life and how has God used those to draw you closer to Him?
- Would you pray regularly that the Holy Spirit open doors of opportunity to share the Gospel with those around you?