“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, The true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will
shut, who shuts and no one opens.

“ ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door,
which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.  Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and
they will learn that I have loved you.” Revelation 3:7-9

I have recently become reaquainted with a series of lectures by Martyn Lloyd Jones entitled, “Preaching and Preachers”.  I find this material unparallelled in its depth and insight, which is consistent with all of MLJ’s publications and recorded interviews.  For a man not very impressive in physical stature, the brilliance of MLJ continues to reverberate and inspire decades after his earthly life.

For every MLJ there are hundreds of believers who will serve the Lord in obscurity, and yet face intense opposition on the journey.  For such believers and churches, the words of the glorified Christ to the church in Philadelphia may stand as a real source of encouragement.  Here’s just a couple of my observations from this special passage: (You should be able to find more!)

1. Relative to the outside world (and perhaps to other churches), this church seemed weak and inconsequential.  “I know you have but little power“.  Take note of how many times Jesus uses the word, “know” in his evaluations of the churches.  No one knows the local churches and individual believers more accurately and intimately than Jesus.  Jesus is saying, “Hey, I can clearly see your unique struggle in life.  But there is something else I can see.  I see you.  I know you.  And though you may go unnoticed by others, you are never, ever out of My vision.”

2. Though they lived in obscurity, there time was coming.  I’m most attracted to the promise of Christ in verse 9, “they will learn that I have loved you”.  These words are meaningful because to the watching word the very opposite seemed true.  More importantly, hidden believers and small local churches often feel not as loved and maybe forgotten by the Lord.  Jesus is saying, “Hey, just you wait”.  There will be a time when Christ will give very clear and compelling evidence of His continuing presence and work in your life.

So, don’t give in to the feelings of insecurity and self-pity.  There is Someone who truly delights in you.  Far from being distanct, He is drawn to you.  His eyes never can leave you.

Abiding in Him,
Pastor Mark