Perilous Times Primer #21 - Open Doors for Overcomers
Open Doors for Overcomers
“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, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”REV 3:8
A Brief Review
For those who may not have read the previous posts, or perhaps have some points that remain unclear, let me review the main ideas of this passage.
The message to the “Philadelphian church” not only spoke to an actual church of the Apostle John’s time, but also represents the faithful church at the end of this present Church Age, just prior to the Rapture of the Church (note that the message to each of the seven churches is directed to all churches throughout history, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”).
The “hour of trial” (REV 3:10)is a tumultuous time preceding the Rapture of the Church and the beginning of the Tribulation period, which will last for seven years. The purpose of this time, from God’s perspective, is to “test those who dwell on the earth.” God’s tests always focus on one issue: faith or unbelief. This “hour” is a final opportunity for men to believe in Jesus Christ before the terrible events of the Tribulation.
The rise and spread of Islamic terror is a prelude to what life in the Tribulation will be like under the antichrist. During this time, beheading will be a daily occurrence for those who will not bow to or worship Satan’s counterfeit-christ (REV 20:4). Mankind will finally be brought to see clearly that there are only two choices in time and eternity: either we serve Jesus Christ or Satan. There is no middle ground!
The Open Door
With this background, we can now better understand the promise of the open door to Philadelphian believers. When we read, “I know your works,” we should connect it with “you … have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” The “works” which our Lord honors consist of faithfulness to His Word, specifically that which relates to His name or reputation. This means the message of the Gospel testifies to His virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead. These central truths are now being compromised, modified, or outright denied in churches all around the world.
The “Laodicean” church has bartered away the truth of the only way of salvation for the sake of gaining popularity and prosperity in this world (see REV 3:15-17). The “lukewarm” church is made up of all who have surrendered to the political correctness of our age. In our generation, all religions must be given equal respect, embracing the idea that “all religions lead to God,” but denies that eternal salvation can come only “by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.”
For those who have guarded the precious truths concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, the “hour of trial” is a time of unprecedented opportunity. While the world reels under “wars and rumors of wars … famines, pestilences [Ebola?], and earthquakes in various places” (MAT 24:6-7), the hearts/souls of many will be opened to hear and respond to the only hope for mankind. The “open door” is opportunity to present the gift of eternal life—the ministry of the Gospel to hungry souls. This ministry will not come without the opposition of our enemy (1CO 16:9). How important it is for us to know that there is nothing the devil or his demonic hosts can do to harm us (ISA 54:17; MAT 10:28).
This also explains the “little strength” possessed by the Philadelphian believer. In spiritual terms, great strength comes from deep understanding resulting from years of good biblical training (see ROM 4:20; ROM 15:1; EPH 6:10; 1CO 16:13; HEB 5:14), followed by obedient application. No doubt there are many such believers in our generation. But the promise is not limited to them. It is given to those with “a little strength,” who may lack great spiritual maturity, but are faithful to what they “have received and heard” (REV 3:3). They hold in the simple truths of the “good news” the only hope and security for which the troubled and fearful souls around them seek.
Though spiritually their strength is “small,” God delights to demonstrate His mighty power through the weakness of those who believe (2CO 12:9; HEB 11:34b). For those who have attained a measure of spiritual maturity and power, so much the better! This is the goal we should always strive for. But I pray that those who see themselves as weak and insignificant can grasp this one point: These present perilous times offer you an opportunity to make up for lost time, if you are willing to go through that open door, and become a living witness for your Lord and Savior.
The promise of the “open door” is sure. What we will do about it, whether we personally will enter into the opportunity, remains to be seen. This is a choice each of us must make, the most crucial decision of our time!
Those who enter the open door, who are spiritually alert to the open ears and souls around them, are designated as “overcomers.” In each of the letters to the seven churches, there is a promise to those who overcome by “our faith” (1JO 5:4-5). The tests, trials, and obstacles in each church are different. But the means of overcoming always remains the same. That is faith in God’s Word and the resulting obedience of action. In the present letter, the overcomer is one who is vigilant to souls around him/her, and is “ready in season and out of season” (2TI 4:2) to proclaim the Savior to lost and fearful men.
The prize for those who seize the present opportunity is great. First, it will involve an eternal “crown” (REV 3:11). This will likely be the “crown of joy” (PHI 4:1; 1TH 2:19), also known as the “soul-winners crown” (see DAN 12:3). Also, to become a “pillar” is to have the spiritual status of rank and leadership in the temple of God forever (cf., REV 3:12 with GAL 2:9). With this honor comes an identity forever linked to God the Father, the New Jerusalem, and a “new name” by which Christ will be known forever. What this is we will have to wait to find out. But it will be an incredible “treasure” (MAT 6:20).
This “hour of trial” will be relatively brief. We have set before us amazing potential for pointing others to faith in Jesus Christ. Will you choose to enter that “open door”?May the Spirit of God overcome our spiritual timidity to take a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ, that in our witness we might become “bold as a lion” (PRO 28:1).