Word of the Day – I have always felt that when the Lord returns, all of those who believe in Christ will somehow be linked or identified by one of the seven churches found in Revelation. I have heard sermons about being Lukewarm, about overcoming and about making sure Christ remains my first love. The prophecy found in Revelation is so amazing it was prophetic for those who first read it, just as it is prophetic for those who will one day see the Lord return. Only God could have written such a book through John. I often reflect and ask; which church am I honestly in today? For I truly believe that it is not our physical location that determines our church home. There is a church I yearn to be in, yet I know that I can’t just choose a church that I like. For it is the very heartbeat of our souls that determine where we truly stand in the Kingdom of God. If we take scripture in context, there is only one church that will be taken away and spared from the great hour of trial. The other churches will be shaken in mercy to see who will truly overcome and take hold of the promises that are given in each church. God disciplines those He loves, yet what can a loving Father do if He has an obedient child that has no need to be corrected? That is what we find in the Church of Philadelphia.
So what does God say about this Church? He says that he has an open door that no one can shut. Without putting too much onto the text, I think we can agree that it has something to do with our access to the Father in some way. The result of this open door can be seen in verse 10 where he says, “I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the Earth. Logically, we understand that the only way He could keep this Church from this world wide trial would be to remove them from the world before it takes place.
Therefore, what does it take to identify with this church? Jesus lists all of the traits. First, he says that they have little strength. They will be the least of these in the Kingdom. They may not be in the largest churches with the greatest speakers. They many not be the charismatic personalities we love to see when we come to church. They are the humble and meek who silently and completely live a surrendered life of love. Secondly, these men and women have kept His Word. This means to the best of their ability; they are not rebelling against the Holy Spirit that is dwelling in them and they are surrendered to God’s law written on their heart. And finally, they have not denied the Name or character of Christ. The Word of God is the perfect reflection of the Name of God. Those who deny His name are those who claim sovereignty over God and inform God that they know better as to how to define His love and holiness. These are the ones in the church who will change the Word of God to justify their sinful actions. As the end draws near, scripture warns us that the sins of His people will manifest themselves near the end as their hearts are revealed by their actions. Surprisingly, those who deny His name in the church are the same ones he will continue to show mercy to by allowing them to go through the tribulation and turn from their wicked ways. Even at the end, God still shows us mercy.
If you truly follow the context of what is going on in the churches, the one small church that needs no discipline will be called up before the time of testing, and all of the other churches will be seen as they are: Synagogues of Satan… For we know that there is no communion between Light and darkness. And as these churches realize their predicament, the Lord will make these harlot churches to fall down at the feet of the blameless ones and acknowledge that God has loved them. Doesn’t that sound a lot like a certain Old Testament story in Genesis? May God’s grace work in the same way as we see that all of the brothers who sinned were forgiven.
The birth pains of the tribulation can be seen all around us. Be it 5 or 5,000 years, time is running out for those of us to choose the church we call home. Yet, no matter what church our souls currently reside in, we can have peace knowing that God has made a way for each person in every church to overcome and to walk through the door. Therefore, if you someday find the door closed, with all humility, confess and repent your sins and believe in the Way of Holiness that has been set before us. For there is only one version of Love. The rest are just counterfeits.